30 Orange Grove Road, down Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore 258352
Mailing Address: 1 Goldhill Plaza, #03-35, Singapore 308899
Email: email@example.com; Website: http://www.truelifebpc.org.sg
(Ring Pastor Jeffrey Khoo 62561189 Anytime)
|“The LORD is in his holy temple: let all the earth keep SILENCE before him.”|
Welcome and Announcements
A word of welcome or greetings may be given at this juncture (after the responsive reading and hymn). Welcome especially those who are visiting the church for the first time, and brethren visiting from other churches or overseas. Paul and Barnabas for instance who were members of the church in Antioch were warmly received by the leaders of the Jerusalem church when they visited (Acts 15:4 cf Rom 15:7). Greeting one another with God’s peace is a Christian courtesy and should be observed (1 Cor 16:20, 1 Pet 5:14).
Announcements concerning church events for the week or urgent prayer requests may be given at this point. There is no need to mention every item already published in the Weekly, just the main or important ones would suffice. Keep the announcements short and sweet.
After the announcements, the choir or fellowship groups may present a praise item. Psalm 95:2 says, “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.” In the Old Testament, choirs were organised. “For in the days of David and Asaph of old there were chief of the singers, and songs of praise and thanksgiving unto God.” (Neh 12:46). In the Old Testament, those who were gifted in music like Chenaniah and Asaph and even King David served as composers, directors and singers in this area of worship (1 Chron 15:22, 27, Ps 81:1). Heaven is full of singing by both men and angels to the glory of God: “And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” (Rev 5:9). Ephesians 5:19 calls upon us to minister to one another “in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”
Tithes and Offerings
Tithing is commanded by God—a tenth of what God has given to us belongs to Him. “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD.” (Lev 27:30). Beyond the tithe are the offerings, eg the sacrifices (Exod 10:25, Num 28:2), the firstfruits (Exod 23:19, Prov 3:9) and the freewill offerings (Deut 23:23, Ezr 7:16). The tithe and offerings were given in support of the temple and priesthood. Similarly, when we give today, it is for the support of ministers and missionaries of the gospel and the ministries of the church. Giving to God and His work is part and parcel of Christian life and service. It is a privilege and a blessing.
Yet, there are those who do not give at all. If they do, it is pittance. There is no love or gratitude in their giving, not even a sense of duty. God calls such ones thieves and robbers, “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” (Mal 3:8-10). God makes clear—when we steal from Him, we are cursed, but when we give to Him, we are blessed. “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work” (2 Cor 9:6–8).
Pastors, preachers, and missionaries and those in full-time ministry are also required to tithe (Num 18:26, Neh 10:38).
The offertory hymn is sung while the offerings are taken. A thanksgiving hymn or a consecration hymn would be appropriate, eg RHC137 “Thanks to God”, RHC419 “Take My Life and Let It Be”, RHC95 “I Surrender All”.
The doxology is a short hymn of praise and glory to God. The doxology “Praise God from Whom All Blessings Flow” dates back to the 17th century:
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise him, all creatures here below;
Praise him above, ye heavenly host:
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
It is sung as the deacons bring the offering bags to the front for the offertory prayer. The doxology is particularly meaningful after the offertory because it acknowledges that all that we are and have comes from God.
The Bible is full of doxologies especially in the Psalms (see also Rom 16:25–27, Eph 1:3, 3:20–21, Rom 11:36, 1 Tim 1:17, 3:16, Heb 13:20–21, Jude 24–25). Jesus Himself welcomed the doxology sung by the crowd when He rode triumphantly into Jerusalem (Luke 19:37–40). The doxology is sung in heaven as well (Rev 7:12, 19:1).
The offertory prayer is offered after the doxology. It should be a thanksgiving prayer expressing gratitude to God for all His good gifts and provisions. It is also a prayer for wisdom to use the funds for the extension of His Kingdom and to the glory of His Name. The spirit and content of such a prayer is found in 2 Corinthians 9:10–15, “Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men; And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.” The prayer should be brief—a minute or two at most.
The Scripture to be read should be the Scripture text of the sermon. It is best the pastor himself reads the text to the congregation since he is going to preach from it. The reading should be deliberate and unhurried. “So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.” (Neh 8:8).
The pastoral prayer follows the reading of the Scripture text. The pastor will pray the pastoral prayer. The pastoral prayer is a petition or supplication for the needs of nation, church, missions, and members. Philippians 4:6 says, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” (cf Eph 6:18). The prayer should be specific, and names of institutions and individuals may be mentioned. The pastor who is given to the ministry of the Word and prayer should take the lead in praying for the needs of the people (Acts 6:4). The Lord Jesus our Great High Priest expects us to pray such a prayer: “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb 4:14–16).
The pastoral prayer should not be an hour long; just about ten minutes praying for more immediate or urgent needs should suffice.
The pastor’s first and foremost duty is to “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” (2 Tim 4:2). The Scripture is to be read and expounded. This was done in the days of Nehemiah, “So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading.” (Neh 8:8). Jesus Himself read a portion of Scripture in the synagogue and explained what it meant, “And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written, The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth.” (Luke 4:14–22a).
The exposition of the Scriptures is one of the main if not the main means of grace by which the Spirit of God convicts, comforts, and edifies believers and cause them to become more and more like Christ (2 Tim 3:16–17, John 17:17, Rom 10:17). The Spirit counsels from the pulpit through the faithful preaching of the Word.
The sermon will only be a blessing and a benefit to those who have a faithful ear. As Jesus said, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Matt 11:15). Those who daydream, surf the net or are texting away, and doing something else other than paying attention to the sermon may just find themselves judged by God. The Lord condemns faithless or unfaithful hearing and hearers. “And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.” (Isa 6:9–10). Depending on how a person hears the Word, the sermon can either be a blessing or a curse to him.
How long should the preaching be? It should be at least 30–45 minutes long (at most an hour but not beyond that) to do justice to any Scripture text—to expound and apply it. It is important to keep time. JK
…to be continued
1 Goldhill Plaza, #03-35, S(308899) firstname.lastname@example.org 6254 1287
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