Monday, April 30, 2007
Topic: You are Special
Text: Psalm 139: 13-16
29 April 2007
Holy Light Church
One of the four pillars in BB of the building of Christian character is self-respect. We have self-respect because we are special. We are special because God has specially created us in the past, God knows who we are now, and God knows whom we will be. And God has a good plan for our lives.
PS 139:13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
PS 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
PS 139:15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
PS 139:16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
William Alexander Smith was born in Thurso, Scotland in 1854. He moved to Glasgow in his teens and became involved in church activities. William was also a lieutenant in the 1st Lanarkshire Rifle Volunteers in 1883 while he was teaching in the North Woodside Mission Sunday School. While working with the children in church, he discovered the need for wholesome activities for children outside school hours. William Smith shared his ideas with his two friends, which later invited boys from North Woodside Mission Sabbath School and formed the first company of The Boys' Brigade, 1st Glasgow Company on 4th of October 1883. It is the world's first uniform organization, even before the Scouts.
William was the first Brigade Secretary in 1887 where he worked towards spreading the Brigade across the world. In 1909, King Edward VII knighted William Smith for his contribution towards youth development. Five years later, Sir William Alexander Smith passed away. Throughout his lifetime, Sir William A. Smith poured out everything he has into BB and he is best remembered as the man who spells Boy with a capital 'B'.
The original object of the Boys' Brigade is the advancement of Christ's Kingdom among Boys and the promotion of habits of obedience, reverence, discipline, self-respect and all that tend towards a true Christian manliness. Christian “manliness” was developed by the use of a semi-military discipline and order, gymnastics, summer camps and religious classes.
SURE & STEDFAST (taken from Hebrews 6:19). The original Old English (King James Version) spelling of "Stedfast" has been retained.
The emblem is original an anchor. Like the motto it stems from the verse "We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure" (Hebrews 6:19)
The Advancement of Christ's Kingdom among members and the promotion of habits of Obedience, Reverence, Discipline, Self-Respect and all that tends towards a true Christian Character.
Imagine a table. A table has four legs. Each of these legs needs to be of equal length or the table may not be stable. So it is like for a Christian character. It has four pillars: obedience, reverence, discipline and self-respect. The BB will teach you how to build these pillars.
Today we shall teach you about developing one good habits of the Boys’ Brigade- Self-respect.
We have self-respect because we are special. We are special because
(1) God specially created us in our past
Psalm 139:13, 15
PS 139:13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
PS 139:15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
Do you know how special you are? God knows all about you before you are born. In fact, God created you. God made you specially. God made only one of you. We are not custom made like a car, a Proton Gen2 (a made in Malaysian car) in a factory. The case is assembled from identical parts. Each car that leaves the factory is the same. We are not like that. God make each of us different. Some are tall, some short. Some of black, some yellow, some brown and others, white. We have blue eye, brown eyes, green eyes, or black eyes. Some are very smart, good with their brains while others are good with their hands. Each of us is special. Each of us is unique. There is not another one like us in the whole world. There is not another one like you in the whole world and there will never be another.
(2) God is interested is who we are at present.
PS 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Who are you? You are you. There no other you. God says you are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” What does this mean? Fearfully does not mean that you are very scary but that those who see you are astonished. “What, that’s special.” Wonderful is because it is so great. You are special because God has made you special. You may not feel very special now. You may not like the pimples on your face. You are not happy that you are so short, so skinny, or too far. Well, at this moment that’s who you are at this moment. You are a work in progress. You are like a caterpillar. You know that hairy, yukky thing. I am sure the caterpillar feels the same. I am a hairy, yukky thing. One day however, it will form a cocoon around itself. And then a beautiful butterfly will emerge.
(3) God knows who we will be in the future.
PS 139:16 your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
God who forms you in the past, see you now, also sees you in the future. To God, the past, present and future are like an open book. God can see you in the future and he knows what you will be in the future. That is because you are special. Everything God make is good.
Lessons for us
We are special. We have self-respect because we are special. Just because we
*do not come from a rich family,
*do not have a loving family,
*family where our parents are always quarreling,
*a father who is in debt to the loan sharks,
*a father who left the family,
*we are always at the bottom of the class,
*our teachers do not like us,
*we have to work after school to help the family,
*we are always being bullied,
do not mean that we are not special. It does not matter what other people thinks of us. It matters what God thinks of us. God thinks you are special. The officers of the BB think you are special. That is why they care about you. That is why they sacrifice their time t look after you. And that is all that matters.
Because you are special you need to build up your self-respect. Your self respect we who you think you are. Here are some of the things you need to do,
*take part in all BB activities,
*respect and learn from your officers,
*build your character (remember what the four pillars of character building: obedience, reverence, discipline, self-esteem),
*get to know who God is,
*say no to drugs,
*say no to smoking,
*say no to gambling,
*say no premarital sex,
*say no to mixing with gangs,
*take care of your body,
because God and all of us are interested in whom you will become.
The Boys’ Brigade is a special organization because everyone in it is special. Everyone in it is a BB boy or a BB girl. The church is also a special organization. Everyone in it is a saint. To become a saint, you must get to know Jesus Christ. That is your mission. You are special because God has made you special. Jesus Christ is special because he is God. It is your mission as a BB to get to know Jesus Christ. He is your commander in chief. You know your have your officers, your Captain, your General. Well, Jesus Christ is your commander in chief or your chief commander. All you officers, captains, and generals report to him. You are so special that your command in chief died for you. That’s how special you are. It is your mission as BB to get to know him.
Soli deo gloria
Sunday, April 08, 2007
The resurrection of Christ on Easter is about remembrance, renewal, restoration, and re-creation.
Easter is a day of celebration. We remember the passion of the Christ on Good Friday; Jesus' secret illegal arrest at night, his trial by the Sanhedrin and the people, his questioning by Pontius Pilate, his whipping and humiliation by the soldiers, his rejection by his people who chose Barrabas instead of him, his judgement, his carrying the cross through the streets of Jerusalem, his crucifixion, his dying and death on the cross. And he was quickly and quietly buried before sundown on the Friday. All this happened more than 2,000 years ago. All this would have been forgotten except for one thing. Jesus claimed that he is God and that he will rise again from the dead. And it happened exactly as he said! The 4 Rs of Easter is remembrance, renewal, restoration, and re-creation.
LK 24:1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 `The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.' " 8 Then they remembered his words.
Why do you look for the living among the dead? That is the important question. Jesus has risen from the dead. Therefore all that he taught is the truth and we can trust him. We remember and celebrate Easter because it marks a new era in human history, and also in the history of the whole creation. The resurrection of Jesus in Easter Sunday marks the beginning of God’s work of renewal, restoration, and re-creation. In Genesis, we read that God created the whole creation in 6 days and he rested on the 7th. On the 8th day, which is Easter Sunday, God begin his work of renewal, restoration, and re-creation.
(i) Kingdom of God
15 "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!"
17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, 18 because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and approved by men.
The Kingdom of God is not a physical kingdom. It is not something we can see or touch. The kingdom of God is when God rules in our hearts. This kingdom has a now and latter perspective. The kingdom of God arrives when Jesus walks the earth. It is already here on earth, in the hearts of men who are believes in God. It will also come again when Jesus comes again in the Second Coming to start God’s Millennium Kingdom on earth. Easter gave a boost to the expansion of the kingdom of God. That is why it is a time of renewal.
(ii) The New Covenant
Easter also marks the beginning of the New Covenant. The Old Covenant or the Mosaic Covenant was between God and the people of Israel, mediated through Moses. It was a covenant of Law. The Law is supreme on earth because it represented God. Break it and God shall break you. The New Covenant is between God and all people. It is mediated by Jesus Christ. It is a covenant of grace.
HEB 9:15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance--now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.
[…Old Covenant…..Good Friday][Sabbath rest/Holy Saturday][Easter/Jesus resurrection…New covenant…]
14 For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.
No longer are we condemned by the Law. Jesus Christ by dying on the cross has taken on all our sins. We are declared righteous by the Law. It is a legal standing. Our slate has been wiped clean. We no longer have a criminal record. That is why on Easter, we can able to enter into the New Covenant with God. God is holy. We can only enter into a relationship with God only if we are holy. We are now holy because of Jesus Christ dying for our sins on the cross.
(iii) New Person
2 Cor. 5:17
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!
Not only our legal standing in God’s court makes us holy, we also received a new nature. We are a new person, a new creation in Christ. Our old sinful human nature has been renewed.
The Old Covenant is about the Law. The Law says, “You cannot do this, you cannot do that.” The Law is THOU SHALT NOT.
The New Covenant is about grace. Grace says, “What will Love do?” “What will Jesus do?”
There is a personal friend who was a pastor of a large church. His first wife died of cancer so he remarried. Unfortunately his second marriage did not work out, in spite of all they try to do to salvage it: counselling, prayers, and interventions of other Godly Christians. They divorced. My friend has a hard time because of this divorce. He resigned as a pastor and for many years was avoided by many Christians. Then he remarried again. After his remarriage, he was offered and accepted a pastor post in a church in Singapore.
What does the Law says?
*Deu. 22:13-21, 2-29 states that divorce was not permitted
*God hates divorce (Mal.2:16)
*Divorce is a failure of what God intends for humans (Mk.10:5-9)
*Remarriage is committing adultery (Mt.5:32; Luke 16:18b)
The Law says sinner, sinner, and sinner!
Someone wrote to “Dear Chai Hok” column in April/May issue of Asian Beacon to ask. “Can a Divorced & Remarried Person be appointed as a Pastor?” I like Chai Hok’s answer. Is murder as sin? Can it be forgiven? Yes. Is divorce a sin? Is it an unforgivable sin? Can it be forgiven? Then why don’t we forgive that person and allow him to be pastor. That is grace. That is renewal in this time of Easter from a covenant of law to a covenant of grace.
(i) Forgiveness of sin
28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
(ii) Reconciliation with God
11 Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
Having being forgiven and declared holy, we can be reconciled with God. A relationship that is broken is now mended. God created humans higher than the angels. God created us to that he can be our friend. He wants a relationship with his creation. Easter reminds us of the restored relationship with God.
TIT 2:11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. 12 It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope--the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.
Easter is a hope of renewing our hope. Our hope is in Jesus, our God and Saviour. Our hope is that he will take care of us, heals our diseases, protect us from the wicked and disasters, protect our families, guide us in the right road, and in the end, eternal life with God.
Did you even have a broken relationship with someone you love? Because of some incident, that close loving relationship you have is cut. You do not or cannot talk to each other. You feel hurt and anger. All those years of loving and close relationship experience in the past have been forgotten. How can that be? Can we forget what has gone before because of what happened now to sever the relationship? God asked can a mother forget the baby she has breast fed. Easter is when relationship is mended, a broken relationship restored.
REV 21:1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
That is our hope and that is what God is re-creation. In Genesis, the perfect paradise or the Garden of Eden was closed to us by human rebellion. Now God is working to re-create a new heaven and earth.
(ii) Holy Spirit
8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
When Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit to us. The Holy Spirit indwells us. The Holy Spirit is God. He empowers us with the power to do God’s work.
(iii) The Great Commission
19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
Matt. 28: 18-19
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
God is re-creating his whole creation. This means the people and nature. What is exciting is that his time, he wants us to help him. We are called to be co-creators with God. Of course, we cannot create something out of nothing. We are not God. However, we are to work with the existing materials to help God re-create the world. We are called to “make disciples of all nations” and we are to be God’s ambassadors “for the message of reconciliation.”
The resurrection of Christ on Easter shows God’s work on renewal, restoration, and re-creation. It is also a time of forgiveness. Picture in your mind someone who has hurt you, someone who has caused you pain, someone you hate. Than say on this Easter day, as God has forgiven me, I forgive you. Sincerely forgive the person. Ask God to help you forgive that person. And set yourself on the road of remembrance, renewal, restoration, and re-creation.
Soli Deo Gloria