Wesley Methodist Church Alor Setar

Wesley Methodist Church Alor Setar

Written by Amelia   
Topic : Growing In Truth, Growing in Discipleship
Speaker : Rev Hwa Jen (TRAC Northern Superintendent, Pastor of Penang Wesley Methodist Church
Date : 11th October, 2009
Scripture : Psalm 119:9-16 , Psalm 199:89-96

Background
Psalm 119 belong together with Psalm 1 and Psalm 19 . They have a special focus on the Word of God or the Law the Torah (the first 5 books of Moses). They remind us the importance of God's Word in our lives. It's good to memorize Psalm 1 , Psalm 19 and Psalm 119 .


Psalms is made up of poetry. Psalm 119 comes in a few sections which are clearly divided into 8 verses each. Each section has a title which are actually letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The Hebrew  alphabets are aleph (a), beth (b), gimel (c)… The psalms are in sections because you will find that in the first section every verse starts with an aleph, the second section every verse starts with beth, the third eight verse start with the letter gimel. There are 22 Hebrew alphabets. One of the way for us to check it out is to look out for Psalm with 22 verses. An example is Psalm 25 or Psalm 34 and you will see that each of them has 22 verses. The Hebrew alphabetical order is observed here. But sometimes this pattern is lost in the translation.


Take note also, the writer took great care and time to write the Psalms in this way. You know that the writer had done it as a labour of love. He must have loved God and the Word of God. Great amounts of time must have been spent on this. In this particular chapter every verse has reference to word, commands or decrees of God.


Reason for the Choice of this Scripture Reference

There is one reason why I choose these references for tonight. I learned it as a young man. It is important to us. We need the Word of God in our lives. How can a young man keep his life pure? By living his life (guarding it) according to His word. But this is a continuous process. Unless we have the Word of God, we tend to think and do the wrong things. There are times when I needed to control my anger or to forgive someone. Or even love somebody whom I hated. All of us go through this emotions. Therefore all of us need the Word of God.

Psalm 119:10-11 .. They say the same thing. Do not stray from God’s commands / that I might not sin against you. Hebrew poetry depends on ideas and not rhyme. Therefore you have two verses but they say the same thing.

Psalm 119:15-16 .. meditate on your precepts / delight in your decrees

Psalm 119:89-90 .. your Word, O Lord is eternal / Your faithfulness continues through all generations

Psalm 119:93-94 .. for by them you have preserved my life / save me, for I am yours

Bible scholars call this Bible parallelism. This is poetry.

What do we learn as we look into these verses? We are to keep God’s law, keep His command so that we will not sin. We want to do that but how often do we succeed? While with the best of intention we want to keep God’s laws, we often fail. Can we obey God’s laws on our own strength? The answer is No. The people in the Old Testament also realized this.

In Psalm 119:10 I seek you with all my heart, do not let me stray from your commands.
God is the one empowers, strengthens and enables us to do that - not stray from His commands.

Philippians 2:12-13 ; …….. continue to work out (NOT work for) your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose. God teaches us, shows us step by step to empower us to fulfill His purpose.

From Psalm 119:9 how does a young man keep his way pure… And it ends with Psalm 119:15-16 by keeping God’s Word and taking delight in His Word.


Relevance (Psalm 119:89-96 )
We are now in the midst of uncertainties – economic downturn, natural disasters.Things are changing. But what is it that does not change? God! He is eternal. Psalm 119:89 … your Word O lord is eternal, it stands firm in the heavens. Psalm 119:90 says the same thing.

Where is the source of everlasting life? God! Where is the source of hope? Without hope, life has no meaning.

Psalm 119:93 .. if your law has not been in my delight, I would have perished… (I am alive because I know your Word)
Psalm 119:95 … the wicked are waiting to destroy me. (we have no fear because God’s Word lives in us)
Psalm 119:96 … no matter how beautiful things are on earth, it will end sooner or later. And what remains are just memories. There is a limit to its beauty.

Isaiah 40:6-8 ; All men are like grass and their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows them away. The grass withers and the flowers fall. But the word of our God stands forever.

Part of our pledge during our water baptism is we will try to live our lives in obedience to God’s Word by God’s help. Cos like naughty children we too keep breaking the rules.

In being accepted as a church member, His Holy Spirit confirms us to the fellowship of the true disciples of Christ. We are learning from Christ.

Ultimately, it’s all about Christian discipleship. As we become baptized and members of the church we should be continually discipled.

Christian Education in many Methodist churches today is now known as the Board of Discipleship and Nurture because in most of the churches CE is associated to Sunday School which refers to children. The term discipleship gives a broader perspective to include all the segments of the church. We do not stop learning until we die. Discipleship continues even in heaven. We are learning and we have to keep learning. Our TRAC's next theme of the quadrennium : Spreading Scriptural Holiness and Transforming the Nation.

Area of focus will be:

  1. Discipleship
  2. Evangelism & Church Planting
  3. Missions
  4. Church and Society

TRAC Focus :
  1. Life-long Discipleship
  2. Wholesome Families
  3. A Voice to the Nation
  4. A Vision for the World

The operative word is DISCIPLESHIP. There needs to be change for if we don’t change we cannot change the world. And learning is a continuous process. It should not stop. We are constantly changed through this.

Ref:
2 Tim 3:16-17 ; All Scriptures is inspired by God, it’s useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the man of woman be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Matthew 28:18-20 ; All authority in Heaven and Earth has been given to me, therefore go and make disciples…. As they make disciples, they must teach them to obey the command Jesus gave… Matt 5:17 Do not think I have come to abolish the Laws but to fulfill them. ……

The Laws were given to us in order that we may learn how to live. Therefore we need to study them. Don’t take your Christian Discipleship lightly. We should grow as disciples and keep on growing to be Christlike.

One word to the men tonight. Let's look at  Deut 6:4-9 ; Love the Lord your God with all your heart…………"

Men must never forfeit and abdicate the duties given to teach their children. Sunday Schools are usually manned by women. It is a privilege given to you as head of the family. The fundamental unit of the society is the family. The fundamental unit of the family is the marriage relationship. It is to reflect the relationship between Christ and the church. If the marriage relationship is strong, the family will be strong. If all churches can teach that, there will be less social ills. We are to teach the Word of God to our children.

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