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Vol. XVIII No. 37
13 June 2021

CONTINUE STEADFASTLY

Acts 2:42, “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”

Doctrine

We thank God that we are saved by His grace through faith (Eph 2:8), and faith comes by hearing God’s Word (Rom 10:17), especially the Gospel. However, receiving the Gospel is not enough, we must press on and continue growing in the grace, truth, and knowledge of the Lord (2 Pet 3:18). We must be dependent on the Triune God and His Word. We must continue steadfastly in doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread and in prayers.

Doctrine must come first because the fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers must be based on God’s truth. Without doctrine, how can we practice fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers acceptably unto the Lord? We are living in an age of false Christs and false doctrines. There are many false doctrines (1 Tim 4:1), but only one true Doctrine (1 Tim 4:16). We need to know and stand firm on true Doctrine based on God’s Word—the Holy Bible. We must apply Biblical principles and not man-made principles to understand God’s inspired and preserved Word. God is holy, true, perfect, good and right, so His Word must also be holy, true, perfect, good and right without any mistake. If we are not well grounded in good and sound Doctrine, we will be easily influenced and deceived by false doctrines.

We should value theology highly, which is the study of God. The knowledge of God is the highest knowledge. All the knowledge of this world will be useless when this world ends, but the knowledge of God is valuable forever. The Great Commission (Matt 28:19–20) is not only about evangelism but also indoctrination. We need good and sound theology to stand against the false doctrines and heresies of this world. We believe that the Holy Bible is the Word of God, and it has been perfectly preserved by God according to His promise: We receive good theology when we believe in the Verbal Plenary Inspiration (VPI) of the Scriptures (2 Tim 3:16); and the Verbal Plenary Preservation (VPP) of the Scriptures (Ps 12:6–7, Matt 5:18). God has inspired and preserved all of His inspired words in the original languages to the jot and tittle.

Through God’s Word we know that the Lord Jesus Christ is fully God and fully Man in one Person with two natures (divine and human) and He is our Substitute and our Representative before God (1 Tim 2:5: 3:16). We also believe the doctrine of the Trinity, that there is only one living and true God comprising three distinct Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (1 John 5:7). We must reject all heresies that deny or undermine our Triune God and His forever infallible and inerrant Word.

Fellowship

Fellowship or koinonia in Greek comes from the root word koinos which means common. “Commonism” by love is to share what we have. Fellowship is to share one another’s burdens, struggles, joy, blessings, encouragement, needs etc. A Christian cannot be alone or lonely because he or she is in God’s family with fellow believers, who have the same heavenly Father, the same Supreme Brother Jesus Christ, and the same Comforter, the Holy Spirit.

Fellowship is important for God’s children to encourage one another and provoke one another to love and to good works (Heb 10:24). The believers in Acts had all things common (Acts 2:44). All things here refer to both spiritual things and physical things. There are two aspects to fellowship: (1) fellowship in spirit and doctrine, and (2) fellowship in good works. Fellowship in spirit and doctrine must involve God’s Word and theology. The believers had a common faith, and were together in doctrine and in spirit, having the same mind, and the same heart. There was unity among them. True fellowship must have this unity and sameness in spirit and in doctrine. This is the common faith, belief and theology that all of us must have and must share. To have a biblical fellowship, the focus must be on God’s Word and doctrine. We cannot have true fellowship without studying the Bible. Agape love and sound doctrine will unite God’s children, and separate them from the ungodly and worldliness (John 17:17–21; Acts 2:42–47; 15:1–22; Matt 10:34).

Breaking of Bread

Breaking of Bread or the Lord’s Supper is not a common meal, but a sacred meal, a sacred activity instituted by the Lord Himself. Holy Communion helps us to remember our Lord as He said, “This do in remembrance of me”. Holy Communion involves a true community. A true Christian does not desire to live alone without a true church. For a church to be a true church, the Word of God must be taught, and the sacraments (Baptism and Holy Communion) observed properly according to the Bible. A church (ekklesia) is a called out people. We must separate ourselves from the world and its ungodliness, and from churches that deny or compromise the faith if we want our spiritual life to be acceptable unto God (2 Cor 6:14–7:1).

Prayers

Prayers consists of many aspects—confession, intercession, supplication, adoration, thanksgiving etc. Prayer is a means of grace with sanctifying power. The church that prays together will stay together. More prayer means peace and more power. When we pray, we draw ourselves closer to God as we acknowledge our sinfulness and weaknesses, and our need of Him to sanctify us and strengthen us so that we will become more and more like Him.

The church in the first century was a prayerful church, and the Lord blessed them. We must continue steadfastly in prayers, to pray without ceasing, personally and corporately. A powerful church is a prayerful church. The New Testament church was a powerful church because it was a prayerful church. They prayed and waited for the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:14; 2:1–3). They prayed for those who were suffering and persecuted (Acts 4:24–31). They prayed for Peter without ceasing when he was in prison (Acts 12:5). Paul and Silas prayed and sang praises to God when they were in prison (Acts 16:25). We should pray for God’s wisdom when we want to know God’s will and what we should do (Jas 1:5). When we are full of God’s Word, the Holy Spirit will remind us of God’s Word to speak to us in our prayers. When we honour God, God will honour us (1 Sam 2:30). When we delight ourselves in the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart (Ps 37:4).

May God graciously help us continue steadfastly and faithfully in doctrine and in fellowship, in the breaking of bread and in prayers until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. Amen. JK

THE DIDACHE

Concerning Teachers, Apostles, and Prophets

“Whosoever, therefore, comes and teaches you all these things that have been said before, receive him. But if the teacher himself turn and teach another doctrine to the destruction of this, hear him not; but if he teach so as to increase righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord.

“But concerning the apostles and prophets, according to the decree of the Gospel, thus do. Let every apostle that comes to you be received as the Lord. But he shall not remain except one day; but if there be need, also the next; but if he remain three days, he is a false prophet. And when the apostle goes away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodges; but if he ask money, he is a false prophet.

“And every prophet that speaks in the Spirit you shall neither try nor judge; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven. But not every one that speaks in the Spirit is a prophet; but only if he hold the ways of the Lord. Therefore from their ways shall the false prophet and the prophet be known.

“And every prophet who orders a meal in the Spirit eats not from it, except indeed he be a false prophet; and every prophet who teaches the truth, if he do not what he teaches, is a false prophet. And every prophet, provedtrue, working unto the mystery of the Church in the world, yet not teaching others to do what he himself does, shall not be judged among you, for with God he has his judgment; for so did also the ancient prophets. But whoever says in the Spirit, Give me money, or something else, you shall not listen to him; but if he says to you to give for others’ sake who are in need, let no one judge him.”

Reception of Christians

“But let every one that comes in the name of the Lord be received, and afterward you shall prove and know him; for you shall have understanding right and left. If he who comes is a wayfarer, assist him as far as you are able; but he shall not remain with you, except for two or three days, if need be. But if he wills to abide with you, being an artisan, let him work and eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10), but if he has no trade, according to your understanding see to it that, as a Christian, he shall not live with you idle. But if he wills not to do, he is a Christ-monger. Watch that you keep aloof from such.”

MY EYE
Lou Tow Yong

A thanksgiving shared at the Family Bible Fellowship meeting on 29 May 2021

Last Sunday as I was bending down to weed the garden, my left eye came in contact with a small but dried stem. I felt a sharp pain and I expected the incident to draw blood. It didn’t, but my left vision became blur. I prayed to God for healing and was not overly alarmed. I didn’t inform my family members.

Does it occur to you that God gives us the feeling of pain for a reason? Just imagine if you put your hand over a lighted stove and you didn’t feel any pain at all. Your hand will be burnt, just like bak kwa.

Came Monday, I consulted an eye specialist. He said such injuries are quite common and minor. Thank God for answering my prayer. I was relieved.

Today, I almost recovered my eyesight with antibiotics and eye drops. The contact point is right at the centre of the cornea. I learnt that the cornea is about 4mm thick and is able to repair itself when scratched, like the skin. Thank God for creating a body which is able to repair itself and is going to last a lifetime. If the lens is outside, the vision will be permanently impaired. God’s design of the eye in most well thought out. “With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.” (Job 12:13).

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