Pastor Jeffrey Khoo
Pastor’s Message to the Young Adults’ Fellowship Anniversary, 1 October 2022
Text: Hebrews 13:1–18
We thank God for the 10th anniversary of the YAF. Tomorrow we commemorate the 19th anniversary of the church. The church by God’s grace is 19 years old and the YAF is 10 years old. So there is this difference. How come? Well I know many of the young adults were at a point in time young people from the YPF. Then you outgrew the YPF and started the YAF. You were young people, you became young adults, and now the YAF are full of young parents with children. So you are almost like another FBF. Well we thank the Lord for this growth in terms of family size in the YAF. Thank God for children, which God has given to us. You have your own families and surely this is one of God’s blessings.
Today we are living in momentous and dangerous times. It goes without saying that the Lord is coming back very soon considering the signs that we are seeing: wars and rumours of wars, the EU and Russia, the war in Ukraine, Putin making threats, the very strained relationship between US and China. There are famines, earthquakes, pestilences and all kinds of natural disasters going on.
We see also that when iniquity abounds, the love of many will wax cold. There is coldness today, a lack of love for God and for one another. That is the spirit of the world today. And sadly, the spirit of the world has crept into the church. So how to arrest and prevent the spirit of the world from coming into the church?
Here, the Apostle Paul tells us how: we must make sure brotherly love continues. “Let brotherly love continue”, he says here. The word “brotherly love” is the Greek word philadelphia. Literally, loving your brother. It has the idea of kindness and tender mercies that we should show one to another, helping one another, upholding one another in the faith. If we don’t see each other and look at each other with love but see how we can destroy each other—this is what is going on in the world. I look at you, I don’t like you, I see how I can destroy you. That is not our heart and not how we feel when we look at each other. It should be how can I help you, how can I support you, and uphold you in the faith? Are we showing this kind of lovingkindness and tender mercies towards each other?
The world is very cold, but in the church we need to find this kind of loving warmth for one another. Do we? Can we? Surely we can, for our God is a God of love, and if we are His children we should reflect this virtue that comes from Him, He will enable us. That is why Paul here can tell the church to do this. “Let brotherly love continue.” Don’t stop showing brotherly love. This is philadelphia, lovingkindness, tender mercies, showing sympathy and compassion for one another.
And how do we go about showing brotherly love? I want to focus on two things here—the two “Remembers” of this passage. The first is found in verse three, “Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.” The second is found in verse 7, “Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation.” The two “Remembers” over here tell us how to show brotherly love to one another.
Remember Our Brethren
First, let us remember our fellow brothers- and sisters-in-Christ who are in need. ”Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them”. In those days there was great persecution in church, persecution of believers. There were those who were thrown into prison for the sake of the faith, for the sake of the gospel. How should we feel? Paul says, “Remember them”. When your fellow believers are in prison, feel as if you are in prison with them. Weep with those who weep, suffer with those who suffer. Sympathise with them.
The word “Remember” here is not passive. In the Scriptures, the word “remember” is an active word. We remember and do something about it. We don’t just remember and do nothing. We remember and do something about it. To help our fellow brothers and sisters who are bound in prison and them which suffer adversity. They may not be in prison but they are persecuted, they are on the run or their properties have been confiscated, they are suffering physical lack or need, and for some, their husbands or fathers have been executed. There are widows and orphans. How do you help them? Is your heart cold towards them, not caring for them? The widows and orphans in those days were totally helpless because the husband or father was the sole provider. But today, the women can help themselves. In those days they were totally helpless, even the orphans. The church must step in to provide for their needs, to pull their resources together, to give and to provide for them shelter, clothes and food. That was what the early church did, showing love for one another. Why do we call ourselves Christians? What is this communion we have? The communion and fellowship we have must cause us to remember our Lord and one another, and we do something about it—“and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body”—in the same body of Christ. When one part of our body hurts, the other part also feels the pain.
So “Remember”. Of course, this is applicable also to those who are poor, who are needy, who are in want. There are brethren also in our midst who are suffering. We think that in Singapore everyone is well off. There are those who are not well off at all, who are basically living from hand to mouth. We must consider them with such lovingkindness and brotherly love—to help them and give to them to tide them over, and to pray for them. And give not only verbal support, but also financial support. We pray for them and we help them financially, they are really in need.
Remember Our Missionaries
This also applies to God’s servants who preach the Word, especially our missionaries. They have made many sacrifices. Our missionaries leave their home countries to go overseas, to countries which are not developed but developing—poorer countries which are not so comfortable or modern. They go into places that are quite rural, the infrastructure is not there, and the conditions are poor. But, the Lord has called them, and they go, making sacrifices. And of course they are happy to do that because the Lord has called them and they have this burden and conviction. And when they go there to serve, many of our missionaries, they go really sacrificially, not only giving of themselves and their time and energies to serve the Lord and to preach and to teach His Word to reach out to the lost, many of them also give of their substance, whatever savings they have, they use for the mission field.
Are we sensitive to the needs of our missionaries in the mission fields, to support the work overseas? We should be very sensitive and not say, “How come they are getting so much?” Sometimes the Lord knows their needs and move members’ hearts to give. We have designated offerings, and the Lord knows how to move hearts to give. We don’t know who are the ones who give, but the Lord moves the hearts of His people by His Spirit. That is the providence of God, and they give.
Sometimes I am amazed at how the Lord provides. We in the Session must not forget to support the missions under our trust. When there is a need, we must be ready to give, to support, that the work may continue and not be hindered in any way. Usually our missionaries do not write or ask for support so directly or explicitly. They pray. And I pray our hearts will have this brotherly love and kindness. And this brotherly love and kindness would mean we think of them. We are sensitive to them when they write their reports and we remember them and their needs.
Remember them who are in bonds, who are suffering for Christ’s sake, who are serving the Lord and making many sacrifices for Him. Many of us can’t go, but those who have gone, we can give to the work there, to participate, to be partners of the ministry.
For the Apostle Paul, he was willing to work with his own hands. But the Lord knows his needs, and how he must spend his time full-time in preaching the gospel and teaching His Word. The Lord moved the hearts of the believers especially in the Philippian church to give to his needs, not once, not twice but many times. So let us be such a church—like the church in Philippi—to be very giving and supportive, to exercise such brotherly love and kindness. Not just in word but also in deed.
The word “remember” is an active word. And I think it is better for us to build living stones than to build dead stones. The church is not about bricks and mortar. It is about flesh and blood, people and lives. Let us invest in lives. Give to help people live for the Lord and fulfil God’s purpose for them in their lives. That is the first “remember”.
Pray for the Vacation Bible School (VBS) this week, May 30–June 1, on the theme “New Creature in Christ!” (2 Cor 5:17). Thank God for the 80+ children and 40+ volunteers who have signed up.
Pray also for the VBS in Kemaman, Malaysia from May 31 to June 2. Pastor and 8 others going; pray for journey mercies.
Praise the Lord for the VBS in Luzon, Philippines on May 20 and 27 under Celeste, Theya, Thessa, Biboy, and FEBC student Ricardo Majedo which has just concluded. May the gospel seed sown bear good fruit for the Lord.
Of Allegiance to the Word of God
I swear in the Name of the Triune God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—that I believe “the Bible is none other than the voice of Him that sitteth upon the throne. Every book of it, every chapter of it, every verse of it, every word of it, every syllable of it, every letter of it, is the direct utterance of the Most High. The Bible is none other than the Word of God, not some part of it more, some part of it less, but all alike the utterance of Him that sitteth upon the throne, faultless, unerring, supreme.” So help me God. Amen.
TLBPC Constitution Article 5.7: “All church power, whether exercised by the body in general or in the way of representation by delegated authority, is only ministerial and declarative; that is to say, the Holy Scriptures are the only rule of faith and conduct.”
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