Wesley Methodist Church Alor Setar

Wesley Methodist Church Alor Setar

Written by Lee Peng Chiat   
Topic       : My New Family
Speaker    : Ps Lee Peng Chiat
Scriptures : Ephesians 2:11-22
Date         : 18 April 2010

Previous Conditions

v.11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called "uncircumcised"

v.12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.

The thing that separates us from God, is sin.

So when Jesus paid the price for our sins upon the cross, He made the way clear for us to be reconciled to the Father. We just celebrated Easter. We celebrated His victory over death.

v.16 and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

v.13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.

We under go a fundamental change when we become new creatures in Christ Jesus.

The Apostle John wrote;
John 1:12 ,13; "..as many as receive Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even those who believe in His name; who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."

So those who accept Christ as their Lord and Saviour, are "BORN OF GOD."
We are a family of God.

v.19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household,

This is my new family.
We want a functional family.
A functional family has fellowship

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40 Days of Purpose: Week 3: You were formed for God's family

THE FIVE BUILDING BLOCKS FOR FELLOWSHIP

 

  1. The first building block is authenticity - Share your true feelings
  2. The second building block is courtesy - Respect other’s differences
  3. The third building block for fellowship is mutuality - Build up another
  4. The fourth building block is hospitality - Give to others
  5. The fifth building block is unity - Accept others as they are

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Today we look at FELLOWSHIP

The early Christians devoted themselves to fellowship.
They just didn’t HAVE fellowship; they devoted themselves to it.
They made fellowship a priority.

This word fellowship does not do justice to the depth of what the biblical concept was about. The word ‘fellowship” in Greek was - “Koinonia”
The Greek word for fellowship comes from a root meaning common or shared.
So real fellowship means a common participation in something deeper.
Today, however, we often view fellowship as what we do at the “fellowship hall”.
This is not bad and can contribute to fellowship, but it falls short of fellowship according to biblical - “Koinonia”.

Christian fellowship is two-dimensional - vertical before it can be horizontal. We must have a relationship to God the Father through His Son Jesus Christ before we can know the reality of fellowship with each other.

Paul wrote here in Ephesians that Jesus is very cornerstone and the very reason we can even call this a family. He is the foundation; Jesus is the very glue that holds this unique and diverse family together. The person who is not in fellowship with the Father, through the Son is no Christian at all, and so cannot share or even understand the reality of Christian fellowship.

The church is to be a family. Its unity does not come from organization, or ritual, or liturgy or tradition; it comes from Christ. Where Christ is, there is the Church. The Church will realize KOINONIA only when it realizes that to provide a home where the Spirit of Christ can dwell and where all who love Christ can meet in that Spirit.

Fellowship has 3 vital aspects:

  1. Fellowship is about a RELATIONSHIP
  2. Fellowship is about a PARTNERSHIP
  3. Fellowship is about COMPANIONSHIP
  1. Fellowship is about - RELATIONSHIP
    There is a COMMON BOND - our common bond is Jesus Christ, His grace and His mercy. Fellowship is first the sharing together in a common life with other believers through relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Fellowship is a relationship, rather than an activity. The principle is that any activity that follows should come out of the relationship. This is fellowship in the vertical.
  2. Fellowship is about a PARTNERSHIP
    Is about a PARTNERSHIP - A TOGETHERNESS In the book of Acts the church was fellowshipping not just at worship services but also day to day in their homes. Paul says that we are together as God’s family and that we are being built together. To do that you have to spend time with each other.

    Koinonia is God taking diverse individual strands and weaving them together to create a tapestry that draws others to marvel at His work.

    And in spending time together you learn to CARE for each other in a giving and receiving - You will need to minister to someone and be ministered to. This is fellowship in the horizontal.

  3. Fellowship is about COMPANIONSHIP Companionship involves communion and communication; interchange, intimacy, sharing and receiving. In our communion with the Lord, we need to listen to His voice and respond in obedience. God has created us to be dependent people—dependent on Him and on one another. Interpersonal relationships are so desperately needed to keep our faith glowing and growing. If you drop off your associations with other Christians and disassociate yourself from them in worship and service, you will run out of spiritual fervor and dedication in a short time. There is no substitute for “going to church and worshiping with others of like faith.” Heb 10:24-25 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. 25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (New International Version) Martin Luther, a great man of God , says “To gather with God’s people in united adoration of the Father is as necessary to the Christian life as prayer”
The TRUTH of Koinonia is that God’s family has some responsibility to and with one another…
  1. We are to be hospitable to one another - 1 Peter 4:9
  2. We are to have a care for one another - 1 Cor 12:26
  3. We are to pray for one another - James 5:16
  4. We are to restore one another - James 5:19-20
  5. We are to teach and admonish one another - Col 3:16-17
  6. We are to serve one another in love - Gal 5:13-14
Some practical suggestions to provide the proper fellowship
  1. Learn the names of EVERY member or at least as many as you can.
  2. Take notice of the cares and the joys of fellow Christians.
  3. Be an active part in the life of the family.
  4. Pray for those with special needs.
If Koinonia is about being a true family then take your responsibility as a family member seriously. “Fellowship is heaven, and lack of fellowship is hell: fellowship is life, and lack of fellowship is death; and the deeds that you do on earth, it is for fellowship’s sake that you do them” William Morris
 
Written by Amelia   
Topic       : Are You Hungry and Thirsty?
Speaker   : Ps Wayne Wasem
Date         : 11th April 2010

Are you hungry and thirsty? What do you want to fill yourself with?

Matthew 5:6 ; Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness for they shall be filled. In Luke 1:53 ; he who is hungry shall be filled with righteousness. In the world I see people thirsting and lusting after unrighteousness. This Scripture concerns those who hunger after righteousness.

There 5 important words here: blessed, hunger, thirst, righteousness, filled.
Do we want blessing or curses? Some of us walk part way in the world and part way in the things of God. We are being lukewarm. The Bible tells us God rather us be hot for the Word.

Hunger and thirst go together. When Solomon was asked by God what he desired. Solomon asked for wisdom. So God granted him wisdom. He hungered and thirsted for things of God. And he was one of the wisest people who has ever lived.

The ones who are blessed, they hunger and thirst for righteousness. This is the right order with God.

My challenge to you tonight.
1. Seek        2. Call        3. Pursue      4. Taste

To seek means to search earnestly until you find you. In the old America when gold was discovered everyone searched for it diligently. Our gold is in Christ. We only need to seek Him. Isaiah 55:6-7 . We wander off from God sometimes. Some more than others. God will take His hands away from you. He gives us freedom of choice. How long will he withdraw Himself? Until we acknowledge our offence. Then God abundantly pardons.

When we wander out of the pasture of God, He will abundantly pardon when we go back to Him. Remember that. God forgives sin. When you are hungry for God, you will pray like how David prayed. Psalms 27:7-8.

To call is to cry out loud to the idea of accosting a person met. Isaiah 55:6 , Acts 2:21 .

To pursue is to run after, to press forward. Hosea 6:3 , 1 Timothy 6:9-11 . God is after those who will seek Him. He's actually pursuing us. We are the ones always running away. We fall into temptation by our desires. For the love of money is the root to all kinds of money. It's up to us to pursue the same thing that Jesus has. That is why He died for us.

In Psalms 34:8, Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good, Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!" When you taste something good, you always go back for more. If we're not hungry and thirsting after God, we have to question whether we've tasted or truly hunger for the things of God. 

Taste, bless and trust.

I would also like to give you 7 benefits of tasting the goodness of the Lord.
  1. He will deliver me from all my fears.
  2. There is no want to those who fear Him.
  3. There will be no lack of good things.
  4. The eyes of the Lord are on the rigthteous.
  5. God delivers them out of trouble.
  6. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart.
  7. May are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers out of them all.
Finally, we have to be vigilant, be steadfast in our faith. Keep hungering for the Word of God.
 
Written by Joseph Chang   

The Perfect Sacrifice


The Fall

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

In the first two days God created light and the heavenly bodies. God said it and it was so. God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.

On the third day, God again by the words of  His mouth, created plants and vegetations on the earth according to their kind. And God saw that it was good.

On the fourth day, God again by the words of His mouth, God created the moon, the sun , the stars and the seasons. It was so. And it was good.

On the fifth day, God again by His words created swarms of living creatures, birds and sea creatures according to their kinds and habitat. And god saw that it was good.

Gen 1:26-31 (Please refer to the scripture verses)

Gen 2:15-27   (Please refer to the scripture verses)

Gen 3:1-24   (Please refer to the scripture verses)

That was the Fall. That was the beginning of the severed relationship between God and man.


The Prophecy

Gen 3:21 says, “And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them. ” Adam and Eve were supposed to be vegetarians and even though they were naked, they were not ashamed. (Gen 2:25 ) But now God has to make for Adam and Eve garments of skins and clothed them. Bible scholars believe that this act of God signifies the beginning of animal sacrifice and the beginning of eating meat. The blood is used for spiritual cleansing for the forgiveness of sins before man could come to the holy God.

Heb 9:22 says, “Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”

When the serpent had cheated Adam and Eve, In Gen 3:14 God says to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. ” And verse 15, “ I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”

Bible scholars believe that Gen 3:15 is God’s first promise of the perfect sacrifice that will be offered so that the broken relationship between the creator God and His creation especially man can be restored once for all. The need for annual animal sacrifice would be done with.

A few thousand years passed. Then about 750 years before the birth of Jesus, God through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to Isaiah the prophet revealed this promise in Isaiah 53 .

Isa 53:1-12   (Please refer to the scripture verses).

We who are reading these verses today know very well who is it that is being prophesied here? And with the many accompanying prophecies that the scripture has made, we know that this prophecy is talking about none other than the Lord Jesus Christ Himself.

The prophecy came to pass when Jesus was born that first Christmas.

John 1:1-4 , 10-14 (Please refer to the scripture verses).


The Lamb

When Jesus was presented to the world as the coming Messiah, it was his cousin John the Baptist who did the introduction, "Behold,  the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! ”

The introduction was grand, especially when Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River by John. The heavens  opened. The Spirit of God descended like a dove and remained on Jesus. And the voice of God from heaven declared, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

The mission that Jesus was carrying was very important, no doubt, but it was never a pleasant one. The ministry to call out the people to repent of their sins, the ministry to preach the arrival of the kingdom of God and to heal the sick and demon possessed was quite an exciting ministry, I truly believe so. But the knowledge of the actual mission he had come to accomplish,  had caused Him much anguish. The bible records at least three times Jesus talked about His suffering, His death and His resurrection. Matt 16:21 , Mark 8:31 , Luke 9:22   (Please refer to the scripture verses).

He knew what was ahead of Him. He knew the humiliation and the torture He had to endure. He knew the pain He had to bear from every infliction of the thirty-nine lashes and every piece of raw flesh that would come off with each lash. He knew about the nails that would be driven into His hands and feet to keep Him on the cross. He knew about the crown of thorns that would be placed on His head and pierced through His skin. He knew that some of these thorns would have gone even right into His skull and maybe into His brain. He knew all that He had to bear. That is probably the reason why Jesus the Son of Man, the word who became flesh, struggled so hard when He was at the garden of Gethsemane.

"Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done." (Luke 22:42 )

Matthew records that Jesus pleaded with God with the same prayer twice. But each time He would end His prayer by saying, “nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will."

And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him (Luke 22:43 ). And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground (Luke 22:44 ).

Even while He was struggling, He was calling and teaching His disciples Peter, James and John to watch and pray. He warned them that “The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." He was probably remembering His plea to His Father to remove the cup of suffering from Him. He almost aborted the mission He was called to do! Nevertheless He went ahead to fulfill His mission. Such is the obedient Lamb of God who took away the sin of the whole world!

 

The Crucifixion

Mark 15:2-32   (Please refer to the scripture verses).

Despite what they did, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” ( Luke 23:34 )

And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. (Mark 15:33 )

The sixth hour is 12 noon and the ninth hour is 3.00 pm. During this three hour period, the sins of the whole human race, right from the beginning of the Fall until the time of the crucifixion and also the sins of the whole human race after that until the second coming of Christ was borne by Jesus. Imagine the tremendous weight of sin that Jesus bore on the cross! The effect is like a black hole absorbing everything that is surrounding it until everything is absorbed. No wonder the whole sky was turned into darkness! Every sin of yours and mine was borne by Him right there!

No wonder, in Mark 15:34   “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" ”

In John 19:28   “After this, knowing that all things have now been finished that the Scripture be completed, Jesus said, I thirst. ”

In John 19:30   “When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished.””

In Luke 23:46   “And crying with a loud voice, Jesus said, Father, "Into Your hands I commit My spirit." and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. ”

And Matt 27:51-52 , and 54 read “And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, "Truly this was the Son of God!" ”

Truly, this was the perfect sacrifice!

He is indeed the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the whole world!


A purple robe


A purple robe, a crown of thorns
A reed in His right hand
Before the soldiers' spite and scorn
I see my Saviour stand

He bears between the Roman guards
The weight of all our woe
A stumbling figure bowed and scarred
I see my Saviour go.

Fast to the cross's spreading span
High in the sunlit air
All the unnumbered sins of men
I see my Saviour bear.

He hangs by whom the world was made
Beneath the darkened sky
The everlasting ransom paid
I see my Saviour die.


H
e shares on high His Father's throne
Who once in mercy came
For all His love to sinners shown
I sing my Saviour's Name.
 
Written by Amelia   
Speaker  : Pr Andrew Yeoh (Butterworth WMC)
Date       : 4th April 2010

The BIble tells us many wonderful things about God. Rom 3:23 ; All have sin and fallen short of the glory of God. There are no exceptions. Rom 6:23 ; For the wages of sin is death. There is no escape. All of have sin and because of that each of us have to face a death. But the BIble also tells us about an eternal death - separation from God.

However, in John 3:16 ; For God so loved the world, that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have eternal life. We see our own shortcomings and sins and we try to do good things; giving money to orphanages, old folks' homes. Many people give their time for the underprivileged. They give of their lives sometimes even. But the Bible tells us no matter how much we give or do, it will not do. For we have fallen short of God's glory, we will do wrong again and again.

But God prepares the way for us to go back to Him and that way is through Jesus Christ. Christ came to die in our place. He who has no sin died on our behalf so that we can live. He is a great God because inspite of our sins, He loves us.

Rom 5:8 ; ......while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. God demonstrated His own love for us. This is the amazing love and grace of God; not because we earned it but because it's a free gift from God. The challenge for us is to put our faith in Christ. His love overflows to us throughout eternity.

What we need to do is to believe in Christ and receive Him. For those who have accepted Him, we understand that God has demonstrated His love. But is God's love demonstrated through our lives? Do we depend on ourselves? Isaiah 54:10 ; Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed but my love for you will never be shaken or my covenant of peace be removed. Remember, He continues to love us.

No mother will ever forget her baby but God says even if she does, He will not forget us. (Isaiah 49:15 ). God knows us even before we were formed. This is the God that we have. He knows us through and through. John 10:3 ; He knows us by name, He calls us by name.

I was a teacher. One of the secrets of winning the heart of a child is by knowing his name. If for the whole year, you do not know his name, you will not earn his trust or respect. God is a God who not only loves me but also hears the cry of His people. Whenever His people cried out to him, the Bible tells us He sends deliverance. God comforts us in our times of difficulty.

We were childless for many years. By the time Samual came, we were already married 7 years. We prayed to God for children. Being childless can be stressful in our culture. And if you do not have a son, tongues wag too sometimes. Yet God promises me that those who look to Him, their faces are radiant and are never covered with shame. In our distress, God gave us HIs word that He will deliver us.

Abraham didn't have children until he was 100 years old. Then he had Isaac. Isaac too had difficulty having children. Isaac prayed for his wife Rebecca to have children. God too answered our prayers. Our son is 17 this year. 7 years ago, our boy had a near death experience. He had appendicitis which was wrongly diagnosed as food poisoning. We were assured it wasn't a major problem. By God's grace we contacted a friend and we sent him to the government hospital. The surgeon felt him and told us he had a ruptured appendix. As he waited for his operation, he turned blue. But God was good, he was revived. As I went home that night, I went down on my knees and asked God whether my son was going to die. Psalms 23 came strongly to me immediately. God told me this "I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you..... " Immediately there was complete peace. Sure enough Samuel recovered.

We have a God who hears our cries. His love continues to this day. He wants our love and He wants to love us. His love comes and overflows into our lives and He changes lives. If we seek Him with all our heart, we will surely find Him. If we seek HIm, He will carry our burdens for us.

What must we do to have eternal life? The answer is simple - believe in Jesus.

Zephaniah 3:17 ; Jehovah thy God is in the midst of thee, a mighty one who will save; he will rest in His love; He will joy over thee with singing.
 
Written by Amelia   
Topic       : Lessons from Palm Sunday
Scripture : Mark 11: 1 -10
Speaker  : Koay Kheng Chuan

Palm Sunday is described in all four Gospels. Jesus was ministering around and outside Jerusalem. This is what happened. Jesus was at the final week of His mission on earth. He was becoming more well-known to the masses. But the priests were plotting to kill Him. Jesus sent for a donkey through His disciples. The disciples threw their cloaks on the donkey. The people put their cloaks on the road. In Jerusalem a big crowd awaited. The crowd was a Passover crowd. (Passover – to remember how God saved them.)

As they entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred by the presence of Jesus. Yet there were people who asked who He was. As I read through the account of the Triumphal Entry, I was thinking of what to share. I felt God impressing this on me; to focus on Jesus and to draw some lessons from this account.

I was thinking of what was going on in the mind and heart of Jesus. He was receiving acclaims from the people. Yet the same people would crucify Him. Jesus is God come down as Man. He could feel what we feel. How did he feel as He rode on the donkey? So I looked at before and after the Triumphal Entry.

Before the Triumphal Entry, John 11:53-56 ; Jesus had performed many miracles, including raising Lazarus from the dead. Jesus then withdrew to a desert region near Ephraim where He stayed with His disciples . When it was almost time for the Passover, many went up to Jerusalem for the ceremonial cleansing. They were looking for Him. Before the time came for Him to fulfill His mission, he was like a fugitive. What made Jesus appeared again with conviction and purpose to Jerusalem. I think it is His love for us. He came to seek and save the lost. In Mark 10 , Jesus was not with a group of people who understood Him. The disciples were astonished even though Jesus had predicted His death. Those who followed were afraid. So, in many ways Jesus was alone.

The Triumphant Entry wasn’t so much of a grand procession. After the Triumphant Entry Jesus still did many things. But He did not lose sight of His primary mission. In Mark 14 ; as He was about to be betrayed. At the Garden of Gethsamane, He was deeply distressed and troubled. I think Jesus even when He was in Ephraim, He knew the time had come for Him to go to Jerusalem. The feeling was there even before that. In Mark 14 , Jesus told His disciples to stay and keep watch. Jesus was able to come out of the village of Ephraim and entered Jerusalem and onto Calvary. All throughout He prayed to the Father, He was in constant communion. He was able to complete His mission because He was talking and listening to the Father all the time, each step of the way; John 5:19 .

The first lesson we can draw from this example of Jesus is that we too should be talking and listening to God the Father in all that we do, seeking God one step at a time. God speaks to us through the Bible (the most important), circumstances, people, impressions, visions, inner voice, audible voices, people around us, in dreams. As I was preparing for this sharing I felt many times God impressing on me what He wanted me to speak. How does God speak to us through the Bible? Through Bible Study and Quiet Time.

When God speaks through us through the Bible, we should feel encouraged. God also uses people to confirm His Word. All of us also need to allow God to speak to us as a body especially in areas of major decisions. I hope all of us will be opened to this and perhaps see a change in the way we do things in church.

When Jesus asked His disciples to get the donkey. The disciples only need to say the Lord needs it (me). No one has ever sat on the donkey. If God says He needs us, let’s respond.

When the disciples were untying the donkey, in Mark 11:6 , they were permitted to take it. The owners released the donkey to be used. The lesson for us is let us release our children, spouse, our possessions if the Lord needs it.

In Matthew 21:10 , when Jesus entered Jerusalem, there were still people who still asked who He was. There were some people who still did not know who He was, despite so many welcoming Him. When we minister we will come across people asking us who this Jesus is whom we are serving.

What is our response? It is my hope that we will respond by saying we will be praying and listening. And also we will serve God when He shows us a need. We will also release to the Lord what He needs. And we will help those people who are seeking to serve.

 
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