Category: World


http://orpc.sg/happenings/sermons/rejected-hopeful

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On this day in 1938, Adolf Hitler, the leader of the Nazi Party, delivered a much-anticipated speech in Berlin. This was the beginning of the expansion of the Nazi regime, which later resulted in World War II (1939-1945). His regime was totalitarian and fascist in nature, and he strived to fulfill the message that “his” race were superior, leading campaigns to eliminate various racial, religious, and political groups including Jews, Africans, Romanis (Gypsies), Lutherans, and anti-communists, marked by dark periods of mass genocide such as the Holocaust.

Much of the book of Romans focuses on the nation of Israel as God’s special people. Throughout history, Israel and the Jewish people have been at the forefront of attention and news, especially in American politics and the many wars, insurgencies and tensions in the Middle East region. There is no doubt that there is something special about the Jewish people. Over 22% of all Nobel Prize winners since 1901 have been Jewish or people of Jewish descent (who comprise less than 0.2% of the world’s population, or 1 in every 500 people). Jews are also among the top genetic researchers in the world, and make up 20% of America’s chief executives and 22% of Ivy League students.

The Reformed tradition often teaches that because Israel had turned away in unbelief and rejected God, the church or body of Christ has now replaced it as God’s chosen people until the fulfillment of the end of the age.

Whichever camp you may belong to or support, whether you are German, Jewish, or a Christian, God’s word teaches us that all of mankind is created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27) and that God wants all people to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth and repentance (1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9). How often do we pray for the world or the lost, or even for Israel? May God grow a burden and burning desire in our hearts and lives to see souls won and turned to Christ, and for the gospel to be shared and spread across the nations before the return of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, to whom will be all glory forever!

For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile – the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on Him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” (Rom. 10:12-13)

Blessings and Abundance


Blessed Lunar New Year to all! For Chinese communities around the world, this holiday marks the start of spring, and a significant time of celebration and family reunions. Much of the food and practices associated with this holiday is tied to the concept of abundance. For example, the eating together of a fish whole, with the word “fish” sounding like the word for abundance, hence the proverb 年年有余 (nian nian you yu), meaning “may your years overflow with surplus.”
The Bible teaches us about blessings and abundance as well. The Abrahamic covenant begins, “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.” (Gen. 12:2) Jesus also gave us this promise, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (Jn. 10:10, NAS “abundantly”) Sometime in recent decades, however, the idea of blessings and abundance have begun to leave a bad taste in our mouths, or has become a sensitive or taboo topic, due by and large to the rise of the prosperity gospel, which emphasizes physical health and material wealth that can be made available to believers as long as they have enough faith and contribute significantly to God’s kingdom through giving and service. Granted the abuses and excesses that have ensued into huge scandals even here in Singapore, it is no wonder that we do not talk or teach about this subject more often. We begin to swing in a kneejerk fashion to the other extreme, we need to be humble, “poor in spirit,” live simply and don’t flaunt, boast of or pursue wealth and prosperity. The fact is, the Bible does talk about abundance and blessings, and we need God’s wisdom on how to approach the subject and apply God’s word into our daily lives. Solomon and several characters in the Bible were blessed with material wealth, and many used their wealth for godly pursuits and activities. We can indeed bless others and God’s work with what He blesses us with, and be assured that God will bless us in return (although not always in the form of material wealth). “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Lk. 6:38)
God’s word also teaches us that our lives do not consist only in the abundance of our possessions (Lk. 12:15). Abundance is also mentioned in relation to fruitfulness in our lives. What kind of fruit are we called to bear as disciples of Christ? Two examples are being moulded in our character into Christlikeness (fruit of the Spirit, Gal. 5:22-23) and winning lost souls for Christ (firstfruits of salvation, 2 Thes. 2:13). The same passage that Paul shares about giving cheerfully ends this way, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Cor. 9:8)
May this year be a year of blessings and abundance for you and your family as you seek and serve the Lord faithfully and fruitfully!

Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Eph. 3:20-21)

Credit: Bil Keane

As the world braces itself for yet another Christmas weekend, we are constantly bombarded by media advertisements, shop and brand campaigns, shopping mall events, all capitalising on this special festive season. Pretty lights, decorated streets and malls, secular Christmas songs, gift shopping and giving, the glitz and the glitter encapsulates the consumerism that has shrouded the true meaning of Christmas, often even in the hearts of Christians?

Do the simple gospel truths and good news of the baby Jesus born to save the world still continue to capture our hearts each Christmas? Or do we slowly begin to see the gospel grow smaller and smaller in our hearts each year, especially if we have been Christians for a long time? As John Piper writes, “Seek to see and feel the gospel as bigger as years go by rather than smaller.”

How can the gospel get bigger in our hearts? When grace gets bigger; when Christ gets greater; when His death gets more wonderful; when His resurrection gets more astonishing; when the work of the Spirit gets mightier; when the power of the gospel gets more pervasive; when its global extent gets wider; when our own sin gets uglier; when the devil gets more evil; when the gospel’s roots in eternity go deeper; when its connections with everything in the Bible and in the world get stronger; and when the magnitude of its celebration in eternity gets louder.

As the last week of Advent begins, let us remember the words of 1 John 4:10, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” May we experience God’s love anew this Christmas, and with the love we receive from Him, let us pray for opportunities to love the world and the lost, that they may come to know His love through the Lord Jesus Christ. May God teach us to love as He loves, and may the gospel message ring clearly in and through our lives, to the praise and glory of God the Father!

http://orpc.sg/happenings/sermons/whats-wrong-world-0

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