On Sundays at 3pm. Please contact Bro Jose Lagapa: 81853623 anytime.
Dear Brethren and Friends,
Welcome to the Filipino Bible Fellowship!
We are thankful to the Lord for another series of Catechism classes to start today. Please pray that those who have confessed Christ as their Lord and Saviour will obey to fulfill all righteousness by being baptized.“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:37–38).
We thank God for the baptism of (from left to right), Ma Luisa Ordoño, Gregonia Garcia and Grecil Alayon, last January 2, 2022.
However, some may ask, why need to go through Catechism when the Bible tells us in Acts 2:41, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized…” The same day they believed, the same day they were baptized. Are we contradicting the Scriptures by letting them go through 12 weeks of Catechism classes? Why not immediately baptize them after they pray the sinner’s prayer?
We have to remember that in understanding the Bible, we must not take it out of context. Meaning, we interpret it not only based on the passage alone but with due consideration why it is there. The background of the record suggests that those who heard Peter and were baptized right away were Jews. They were not just nominal Jews, but were in fact, the devoted kind who travelled from far places in order to observe the Feast of the Harvest, the Pentecost. They knew the Scriptures and were looking forward to the coming of their Messiah. The important knowledge that they lacked was to receive Jesus Christ as their long anticipated Messiah and Saviour! When they believed, by the grace of God, they were immediately baptized. These were also true to the Samaritans and the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:12, 38) who had already the hope of the Messiah. More especially, it was true to Saul of Tarsus, who became Paul (Acts 9:18). The household of Cornelius, although Gentiles, were not ignorant as he was a “…devout man, and one that feared God with all his house…” (Acts 10:2). Likewise, Lydia, at Philippi who “worshipped God” was baptized shortly after she believed (Acts 16:15).
However, the Philippian keeper of the prison and his household, being Gentiles, received a fast track instruction from Paul (Acts 16:32) before baptism. From this time on Paul continued on fulfilling the Great Commission, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them…” (Matthew 28:19). The word “teach” is to make disciples, teaching the new believers to know the fundamentals of the Christian faith. This is particularly important to us who were not taught of the truth from the Bible. Let us pray the Lord will bless our Catechumens. – Bro Jose
Characteristics of Heaven and Hell-bound People – 3/3
The Things They Look Forward To
Both must look forward to death here on earth. Yet all the more we look forward to the after death which is either to hell or heaven. According to John Sung, a believer who is bound for heaven look forward to heaven but the unbeliever just looks down on earth (Book I, Heaven and Hell, 3).
All of us came from the dark side. But once a person acknowledges his sins, they look to Jesus with a pure heart. It was how Zaccheus lived out his name after living in a dark world. He decided to look and seek the Lord Jesus Christ. People at first may question our calling of salvation and despise it. Thankfully a believer will not see the face and opinions of men. John Sung rightly observes that Zacchaeus paid no attention to the peoples' mockery and hatred (Book I, How Zacchaeus Got Saved, 9). With this, he found true happiness when he saw and received Jesus Christ in his life.
Moreover, believers should not be easily discouraged by how the Lord is designing their lives. Sometimes we are a bit confident that we are doing the right thing. Yet the circumstances will give us doubt if it is so. Truly, as we go out witnessing at present, we meet little response and little success. But we just believe that one day we will see God’s glory. With this, we look ahead by labouring on for the Lord. At the same time, seek holiness (Book III, On Building the House of God, 16–19). If we have this kind of perception, though there are battles from within yet you know you are on the winning side. Thus, as heaven-bound people, we must claim that life after here on earth is the real victory.
The believer who looks forward expects new hope. This is what David is teaching us, that despite the difficulties permitted by the Lord, there is hope in God’s mercy. God is just and He has the right to get angry. Yet, God’s chastisement is love (Book III, A New Hope, 20–21). Unfortunately, the unbelievers are not, not hungry nor thirsty to see God. They are not longing for the righteousness which only God can give. This feeling is inevitable to happen in a believer if he let the devil dwell in his heart (Book III, A New Hope, 22). Another thing that the believers must hold on to as they look forward is the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. For the unbelievers, they will surely be filled with sadness. But for the believers, remember, that “What is impossible with man is possible with God”.
Therefore believers will all the more be zealous in preaching the gospel. Nevertheless, not with their eloquence but in the power of God (Book IV, Jesus Lives Again, 25, 28). A believer will help the unbeliever to draw hope in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Why? It is because God says so that heaven and hell are real.
O that wonderful promise believers must claim, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1–3).
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