Archive for November 2012

Sermon Review XXIX: Sermon on the Mount CD 21 The Narrow Way

Sermon on the Mount

 

 

 

 

 

Matt 7:13-23
A Christian life is the result of choice I made in the past.There are two ways Lord Jesus talked about:
– Broad way
There is no boundary. This road has much permissiveness. This road does not require holy determination.
– Narrow way
The boundary is clearly marked by the word of God. We should stay focused; otherwise we will fall off the way.

There are two gates Lord Jesus talked about:
– Wide gate
It leads to destruction. In this way, people do not have to leave their past immoral lifestyle.
– Narrow gate
We might miss it if we are not careful enough. This gate demands us to leave behind past immoral lifestyle or even relationship. We can never follow Lord Jesus without first denying ourselves.

Wide gate leads to physical, spiritual and eternal destruction.
Narrow gate leads to life (zoe). It talks about quality of life: the presence of God in our lives.
There are many in the wide gate and there are few in the narrow gate.
The common thing is that everyone is informed of their choice.
Christians should make a choice to always serve the LORD. By not making a choice, actually they choose the wide gate.

Lord Jesus was warning regarding the false prophets. These prophets lead people astray.
False prophets claim to have heard from God but it is just a lie.
There are wolves too. Wolves divide and conquer the prey.Wolves are people who divide the church.
False prophets and wolves have some characteristics: to give people false sense of security. Instead of teaching a life of consecration, they lead people to deep sleep in sins. They make it hard for people to focus on the narrow gate. They even teach that the broad way leads to life too.
We are likened to sheep. Sheep are actually the dumbest of all the animals. Hence, sheep need a shepherd.
Wolves are dangerous because they look like sheep. Lord Jesus expects us to think critically to recognize the disguising wolves. How to test? Look at their fruits. What are the fruits to inspect?
– Inspect the man, the character and conduct (Gal 5:22-23).
If the fruit of the Spirit is missing, most likely they are impostors.
– Check the message
Their true teaching will come forth sooner or later. We should be like Berean church (Acts 17:11) who checked a teaching.
– Influence
The effect of his teaching to their followers.What kind of listeners come to their meeting? What kind of disciples do they raise up?

Truth matters. What is an example of false teaching? Lawlessness or antinomianism.

Antinomianism = against the law, primarily the 10 commandments.
10 commandments of God is really the moral value of God. The weakness of the law is that it does not give the power to obey the law. Lord Jesus gives the power to obey 10 commandments.

1.)    Grace does not excuse us from 10 commandments. Obedience is the evidence of us loving God. Sinning more to obtain more God’s grace is a lame excuse. Rm 6:15. ‘To be under the law’= to live under the guilt of the law. It does not mean we throw away the law. Just because we are good drivers, it does not mean we do not need the traffic light.
2.)    Grace is not license to sin.
3.)    Grace does not absolve us from confession. God forgives the sinner when they are willing to admit and confess their sin. Forgiveness only comes when the heart is fully repentant.
4.)    Grace does not absolve from sanctification. 1 Thes 4:3. Sanctification is God’s will for me. It will last for lifetime. Just because we are saved, it does not mean there is no sin in our lives. We need to grow in holiness.
5.)    Grace does not excuse us from works. Eph 2:8-10. True faith produces action. Without good works, our lives purpose can’t be fulfilled. Titus 2:11-14. Grace of God makes us zealous for good works. During the Judgment Day, we will be rewarded according to our good works.

True Christians live in holiness and responsibility before God.

You can get a copy of the sermon at The Ink Room here:

http://theinkroom.com.sg/sermon-on-the-mount-download.html?___SID=U

Posted November 30, 2012 by Jefri Yue Fei 吴岳飞 in Sermon

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Personal Testimony Updated

Hmm, haven’t touched Personal Testimony page for quite some time.
I have just updated it with the story on how I arrived in Singapore.

In short:

“How do I arrive in NTU? I did study and prepare myself. However, I don’t think it was enough. I arrived NTU mainly because of God’s grace.”

Posted November 29, 2012 by Jefri Yue Fei 吴岳飞 in Thought

Sermon Review XXVIII: Sermon on the Mount CD 20 Balance in Relationship

 

 

 

Matt 7:1-12
Lord Jesus then dealt with our relationship with God and people around us.

1.)    The danger of being judgmental (v.1-5).
Mature believers, especially, are easy to look down to other believers who are less-disciplined.
It does not mean we turn blind eye toward other people’s sins.
We still have to make value/moral judgment. We should not be naïve with life.
What Lord Jesus is against is being censorious.
A censor:  a person who makes himself/herself a judge with regard to right or wrong. This person is eager to criticize and is harsh in evaluation. A censor is a fault-finder and expects the worst of everybody else. He/she plays God even though God is the only Judge.
We should not play judge. After all, we do not know everything that happens in the other person’s life.
When we judge others, we are judged with greater strictness.
Lord Jesus wanted us to have mercy when we evaluate others.
The tendency of human being is to exaggerate other people’s fault to hide their own fault.
What if we find fault in other people’s lives?
We should tell them their fault. However, we first need to evaluate ourselves before evaluating them.
We do have responsibility when other believers fall into sin. However, we should first be strict to ourselves.

2.)    The danger of being indiscriminate (v.6)
The indiscriminate thinks everyone loves him/her.
Lord Jesus taught that we have to be careful as there are cunning people around us.
‘Pigs’ and ‘dogs’ are explained in 2 Pet 2.
A dog does return to its own vomit. A pig always has pig nature. It always goes back to the mud.
They are pictures of Christians who are backslidden. They have no repentant heart. They always go back to their old sin. They do not appreciate holy thing of God.
Pearl: previous revelation God has given because we pay the price through praying and fasting. We should not share the revelation with just anyone.
There will be false teacher and prophets and Christians who want to make use of us.
We need to be discerning with people around us.

3.)    Be passionate when we relate to God (v.7-11)
We should be persistent in relating with God. Asking: praying, seeking: step out in faith, knocking: determination.
Prayer needs stamina and has to be specific. Prayer also needs persistent trust.
God is a good God. He gives what is the best for us.
What if we pray for the wrong things? God, in His love, will not give them to us.
What if God says no to our prayer request? God has something better for us.
The first principle still operates: God wants us to be devoted to Him.

4.)    Golden rule (v.12)
Lord Jesus taught to relate to people correctly: if we enjoy being loved, we love others around us.
When we live by golden rule, we become the citizen of the kingdom of God.
If we want God to passionate with our prayer request, we too should be passionate with God.

You can get a copy of the sermon at The Ink Room here:

http://theinkroom.com.sg/sermon-on-the-mount-download.html?___SID=U

Sermon Review XXVII: Sermon on the Mount CD 19 Spiritual Concentration

 

 

 

 

 

The first half of Matthew 6 deals with devotional righteousness such as giving, praying and fasting. The second half of Matthew 6 deals with material possession. In other words, the first half deals with the spiritual and the second half deals with the secular.
Things we do in both spiritual and secular matter because the whole world belongs to our God. Everything we do is done in His presence and must be done in His will.
God is not against secular things. He is against secularism.
Secularism = dominating spirit that pulls a person away from the kingdom of God and its moral value. It is mindset of selfishness and self-serving.

Matt 6:19-21
The first question is about treasure. God is not against material possession. He gave 7 promises to Abram (Gen 12:1-3). The blessing of God made Abram so rich that the land could not support him and Lot. Isaac was blessed materially so much that the Philistines were jealous of him. How many non-Christians envy Christians in terms of material possession?
Ps 35:27
The more prosperous we are, the more we magnify God.
We may start poor today. However, if we follow God, we won’t stay poor forever.
God is not against us having insurance policy, property or bank account.God is against us possessed with materials.
‘Laying up treasures for yourselves’. God is against selfishness. Once we reach the top, we should not forget God.
Our hearts should be placed in heaven, immovable in God. Our focus should be on the Blesser, not on the blessing.
Luke 12:15-21
This rich man excluded God in his equation.How to be rich toward God?
1 Tim 6:17
Riches are uncertain. Hence, we should trust God only. God wants us to enjoy His blessing.
How to avoid getting possessed with materials? By having a lifestyle of giving and eternity mindset.
Money is important. But, there are things more important than money: Christlikeness and the presence of Holy Spirit.

Matt 6:22
Secondly, Lord Jesus dealt with focus.
Good eye = single/focused eye. Do we focus on God’s light/viewpoint on every situation?
God’s light gives us vision and understanding.
As we live in the marketplace, we should focus on the vision from Him.
Darkness = living a life from our own point of view.
Spiritual concentration. We need to see everything from God’s viewpoint?
What would Jesus think/do/say in our situation?
To have a strong faith, we need to fix our eyes on Lord Jesus.

Matt 6:24
The third question is on devotion.
Either we choose to be under God’s control or under mammon’s control.
Mammon = greed. It is also lifestyle or system that excludes God. It consists of pride, envy and manipulation.
The devil tempted Lord Jesus to worship him in exchange of the whole world.
Similarly, the devil still tempted us with riches in exchange of godly morality.
We need money and we work hard for it. However, we must not be trapped in material possession.
The mark of true disciple of Jesus Christ is devotion. Every other devotion seems like hatred (Luke 14:26).

Matt 6:25-34
The fourth question is about ambition.
‘Therefore I say’. If the ‘treasure’, ‘focus’ and ‘devotion’ are right, we will live a worry-free life.
It is ok to concern about food. However, Lord Jesus wants us not to be preoccupied with food.
‘To worry’ = to strangle. Don’t let a thought strangle you.
It is alright to plan, strategize, compare and evaluate. However, we should not be weighed down with them all.
If God bothers to feed insignificant birds, why wouldn’t God feed us?
If God bothers to clothe the lilies, why wouldn’t God clothe us?
– Worry is unproductive.
– Worry is unreasonable.
– Worry is unnecessary.
Worry is a result of lack of faith in God. It attracts the curse.
Gentiles were ‘seeking’. Seeking = ambition, internal motivation in heart.
God is not against ambition. Let’s get ambitious for God, let’s achieve great thing in God.
– Believers are not exempted from earning money. We are to work hard. Even birds have to fly around to find worms as their food.
– Just because God provides, it does not exempt us from providing for the poor and needy.
– Believers are not exempted from trouble too.
Coming to Jesus does not mean problem-free life. In Lord Jesus, God then becomes our wonderful Father. Nothing happens to us by chance. God is ordering our steps. We might have to go through heart-break or loss of materials. Nevertheless, all things work together for our good.
When we worry all the time, we show the world that God is not worthy of our faith.
Matt 6:33
Kingdom of God = a place where Lord Jesus reigns, not only saves.
Does He reign over our own finance, family and friend?
We seek first His righteousness = we obey Him. We live a life of obedience daily toward Him.
Only when we fully concentrate on God can then God use us.
All the things the world seeks after God will give them to us.

You can get a copy of the sermon at The Ink Room here:

http://theinkroom.com.sg/sermon-on-the-mount-download.html?___SID=U

Posted November 28, 2012 by Jefri Yue Fei 吴岳飞 in Sermon

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Sermon Review XXVI: Sermon on the Mount CD 18 The Lord’s Prayer

 

 

 

 

 

Matt 6:7
The Pharisees prayed because it was a chance for them to show off their praying skills.
They diverted prayer from the glory of God to their own glory.
The pagans changed prayer from intimacy with God to mere recital of words.
God hates vain repetition because our heart is not in them.
Lord Jesus is not against repeating ourselves in prayer. He prayed the same words three times in the Gethsemane.
He is against vain repetition, repeating words without thinking.
God does not want any prayer where the heart and mind are not engaging.
We pray both in spirit and in understanding.
God is looking for quality in prayer, not quantity. God is relational and wants a relationship with us.
He is our wonderful Father and He knows our needs. If God knows everything, why do we need to pray?
The more we pray, the more we long after God. The more we pray, the stronger our faith becomes as we exercise more in trusting His promise.
When we pray, we get the mind of God; we are less stressed out.

The prayer of a Christian should be genuine, real and sincere. It is not mindless words.
What is a model of prayer? Lord Jesus explained it in the Lord’s prayer.

1.) Our.
It is corporate prayer. We are part of body of Christ. Private prayer is not enough. There has to be corporate prayer too. The place of agreement is the place of power.

2.)  Father.
God is personal. He is not a strange God. He loves us.

3.) Heaven.
All authority belongs to Him as He is the Creator. Our personal God is great, hence we come with humility. Because He so loves us, we come with devotion. Because He is powerful, we come with confidence. God’s concern becomes our priority.
Some people treat God like vending machine. They have no concern for God’s glory.
In this prayer, the first part is God’s part. Second part is our part.

4.) Hallowed be Your name.
God’s name reveals His character. We are concerned with how people think of God.
We want the world to think of God as the holy God.

5.) Your Kingdom come.
He owns the whole universe yet He does not force His way to anyone’s live.
We invite God to rule over our life. Lord Jesus is both Savior and King.
We obey every word He says.

6.) Your will be done on earth.
We need to align our will to God’s will. God’s will is done in heaven. However, we pray that His will in heaven be manifested on earth. The more we pray, the clearer His will will be to us. 4 areas in which we pray His will be done: ourselves, our family, our church, our nation.

7.) Our bread
We move from God’s concern to His concern. We depend on His provision.
We pray for health and career.
Just because He provides, it does not mean we idle around.
God provides the power and we do the earning of money.

8.) Daily
We depend on God always. Even when the deal is signed, we still need to pray all the time.
We acknowledge His Lordship to guide us.

9.) Our debts.
Just as food is indispensable to body, forgiveness is indispensable to our soul.
We are still contaminated with fleshly desire.
Just like we bathe daily, we confess our sin to God every day.

10.) Debtors.
We mess up with God every once in a while. There are others also who mess up with us.
God will only forgive those who are truly repentant. But the ones who are truly repentant will have a forgiving spirit. If God can forgive but we can’t, we make ourselves greater than God.

11.) Do not lead us into temptation.
God does not tempt us. Satan does.
It is a figure of speech = a double negative, the opposite is true.
It means lead us into righteousness.
We will be tempted in lives. It is difficult to escape it.
However, God allows it for us to build spiritual muscles. He gives us power to overcome it.

There are three areas here: bread (material needs), forgiveness (spiritual needs), and morality.
The Triune God provides them: God the Father created bread for us, God the Son died to save us from sin, God the Holy Spirit empowers us to live a righteous life.

12.) Doxology (kingdom, power, glory).
God is the sovereign Ruler over the universe. God is all-powerful. God is the Most High, the Greatest.

Since God is for us, what is there to worry?

True Christian prayer is God-centered and thought –through.
Samson was the strongest man. And yet, he never delivered Israel from the oppressor.
The only prayer he made was when he asked God to bless his revenge.
The secret to his strength was his long hair.
We, too, may have talents like Samson.
The longer we pray, the stronger we are in Him.
However, once we let the world (career, etc) shave off our prayer life, we will accomplish so little.

Samson lost his eyes = we lose vision once we stop praying.
Nevertheless, his hair grew back = we can start the prayer all over again.

You can get a copy of the sermon at The Ink Room here:

http://theinkroom.com.sg/sermon-on-the-mount-download.html?___SID=U

 

Posted November 27, 2012 by Jefri Yue Fei 吴岳飞 in Sermon

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Sermon Review XXV: Sermon on the Mount CD 17 Authentic Spirituality

 

 

 

 

 

Righteousness unlimited, especially in hidden areas.
At first, Lord Jesus talked about practical righteousness, the way Christians relate to people.
Then, He talked about devotional righteousness, the way Christians relate to God.
This reflects the Great Commandments.
We should not swing to only one extreme; Christianity is neither social gospel only nor holiness gospel only.
Authentic spirituality covers both aspects. It is not showy, but truly from the heart.

Matt 6:1
Our alms is not to be showy. Our good works will indeed shine for Him.
There is no contradiction. The difference is in the motivation. In the end of the day, what is the motivation? Who gets the glory?
We are not to walk in cowardice whenever we do good work so God gets the glory. We are not to show off our giving so God gets the glory too.
Lord Jesus did not mention “If you give”, “if you pray”, “if you fast”. He mentioned “When you give”, “When you pray”, “When you fast”. In other words, Lord Jesus expects us all to give, pray and fast. These three are devotional righteousness.

1.) Spiritual giving
He expects us to give even to the ungrateful. We give to God only, not to human.
Lord Jesus is interested in the motivation of giving. It is not “what we give” but “why we give” and “how we give”.
Three possible attitude in giving: a.) to get an approval for God, b.) secretly we congratulate myself, c.) to get praise of men. Lord Jesus wants us to have the first attitude; the Pharisees had the third attitude.
Do we blow our own trumpets whenever we give? Self-praise is international disgrace.
We are not to become self-conscious in our giving. Once it is given, forget and let it go.
Be satisfied that God alone is the Witness in our giving.
There is a reward waiting when we give in secret. It is not wrong to expect reward from God.

2.) Spiritual praying
There is nothing wrong with praying standing up. Prayer walk is a good thing.
Pharisees was full with pride when they prayed. They wanted applause from men.
It is possible to come to church without worshipping the Lord. Some people come to church for business.
Lord Jesus talked about personal prayer then public prayer.
Personal prayer = intimacy with God. There must be no third-party interference.
When we pray, we usher the heaven on earth.
Prayer = seeking God. God is in the secret place. He is not really hiding but He still wants us to seek Him, knock at His door and ask Him.
Prayer = experiencing God. Prayer is not talking to the air.
God has a storeroom of treasures. We will get something from His treasure: His presence, love and anointing.
We can create the revival only if we pray. The whole world is waiting for His revival.

3.) Fasting
He assumes we will fast. Fast = total abstinence from food. It is part of self-humbling.
Fasting is renouncing of the natural and invoking the supernatural.
It is not mere dieting. There are three reasons to fast:
a.) for God’s supernatural protection. Ezra fasted to ask God’s protection over his group.
b.) for God’s supernatural victory. Jehoshaphat won the battle through fasting.
c.) to weaken our carnal nature. It is form of self-discipline and self-denial. How to grow the fruit of self-control if we can’t even control our body? Fasting makes body a slave to our spirit.
The more we fast, the more we become sensitive to God.
The Pharisees made the fasting look so terrible, giving God a bad image of a tyrant.
When we fast, we should act as per normal. Don’t look depressed or be hyper.

In everything we do, there can only be one motive: we just want to please God. Our eyes are set on the Lord.

You can get a copy of the sermon at The Ink Room here:

http://theinkroom.com.sg/sermon-on-the-mount-download.html?___SID=U

Surprise: There is live soundtrack of one of the songs Pastor Kong wrote!!!!
The church sang it during Song of Solomon Bible Study!!! :D :D
I shall somehow crop it from the sermon soundtrack!!!

Sermon Review XXIV: Sermon on the Mount CD 16 Exceeding Righteousness Part B

Matt 5:20
What Lord Jesus wants is inward attitude.
Righteousness of the Pharisees is just external obedience.
While the Pharisees want more and more obedience, Lord Jesus requires deeper and deeper obedience.
God is the God of morality and He wants to see us changed inside out.

4.)    The 3th commandment (Matt 5:33)

Oath and vows are encouraged in the Bible. Oaths have to do with future action; vows have to do with material gifts. God is against someone who takes oaths and vows and don’t do them.
In Jesus’ days, oath and vows can be non-binding as long as they do not invoke God’s name. The rabbi came up with much excuse to break oath and vow. There was much lie and dishonesty.
Lord Jesus said: Don’t be flippant when it comes to holy things of God. For Him, any word is a bond regardless of any vows formula. Righteous person does not need to swear because every word he/she says is the truth.

Matt 26:63-64
Lord Jesus did not mind being put under oath. Christians are allowed to make oath whenever necessary.
– Oath taking is permitted.
– On rare occasion we may need to say “God is my witness.”
However, don’t use swearing a normal part of conversation. An honest man/woman hardly needs to resolve to swearing.

5.)    Loving someone who is down-right evil. (Matt 5:38-42)

It is not part of the 10 laws. It is part of the civil law in the days of Lord Jesus.
It is initially the instruction for judges, in the legal books.It is called principle of retribution.
Eye for eye, tooth for tooth. We are not to take matter into our hands. No one should take personal revenge.
The scribes neglected the background of verse ‘eye for eye, tooth for tooth’. They applied it to their daily personal relationship.
Lord Jesus taught us not to resist evil person = don’t immediately sue the evil person.
Our response is never based on retaliation.
Slapping on the cheek = insult. We may have the legal right to sue, but let’s not use it.
Tunic and cloak = very precious. When we are bullied, don’t retaliate.
One-two mile= Roman soldier was only allowed to command a Jew to carry out his stuff for one mile. It was public humiliation for the Jew, reminding the Jew they were still under Roman empire.
God will ensure justice is done. We just need to commit the injustice into God’s hand.
Lord Jesus is not promoting pacifism. Military service is still needed.
Vengeance is not my prerogative. It is God’s prerogative.
Don’t always demand justice because God does not always demand justice from our life. If He does, none of us stands alive.

6.)    ‘Love neighbor-hate neighbor’ teaching (Matt 5:43-45)

The Bible never taught to hate the enemy. The scribes added it because they thought only fellow Jews were neighbors. They considered non-Jews to be enemies. They were racist.
The scribes limited the ‘love’.
Lord Jesus taught them to love enemies, to speak well of, to be kind to, to do good to, and to pray for enemies. We can’t keep praying if we keep on disliking them.
Like Father like Son. God the Father sent rain to both Christians and non-Christians. Lord Jesus was sent to everyone. We, too, should love everyone.
What is so special about us if we only love our neighbors? What is so special if we avoid divorce, adultery or if we honor parents or if we are polite? Non-Christians do the same.
Our calling is to outdo the non-Christians in term of virtue.
The mark of perfection for Christians is love regardless of the attitude of the receiver. Our love has to be patterned after God’s love.

You can get a copy of the sermon at The Ink Room here:

http://theinkroom.com.sg/sermon-on-the-mount-download.html?___SID=U

Posted November 25, 2012 by Jefri Yue Fei 吴岳飞 in Sermon

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