One MCS - Annual Conference Highlights

Faith is a learned response

Jul 2012    

GOD’S WORD

“We know faith comes by hearing God’s word (Romans 10:17). But we may need a few lessons before that word becomes a reality.”

“IF ONLY I HAD MORE FAITH!”

On hindsight we might sometimes come to that conclusion. However, faith is not so much an issue of “more” but of learning to respond better. Faith is a learned response.

When Abraham left Haran in response to God’s call (Gen 12:1-3), it was a big step of faith. He left, “not knowing where he was going”. (Hebrews 11:8).

However, when he arrived in Egypt, his faith seemed amiss when Pharaoh lusted after his wife. When he presented Sarah as his sister, self-preservation seemed his motive, at the expense of his wife (hardly our hero of faith!). God intervened, speaking to Pharaoh in a dream, and ended the matter. In this faith lesson for Abraham, he did not fail the test because he had some help.

God appeared to him again in Genesis 15 to reiterate His promise. Abraham by this time had reasoned with himself: since God had not given him a son, Eliezer his servant was the heir through whom His promise would be fulfilled. Again, God nullified his plan and promised a son. It was at this point that God instructed Abraham to cut a blood covenant, demonstrating how serious He was with His promise. In this faith lesson, Abraham had to learn that God’s ways were not his ways.

Then Sarah had her own plan to realise the promise. Since she was childless, she insisted her husband made bed with her maid in order to have a child. Abraham complied but the birth of Ishmael led to turmoil in the household. e faith lesson for Abraham here is this: you may have learned not to devise your own plans to realise God’s promise, but it is harder for you when your wife has not.

God had to finally send a clear message: a son from Abraham and Sarah was the way He would fulfil His promise. The birth of Isaac was the culmination of Abraham’s long journey of learning to be better at believing God. Even then the journey was not complete: God asked him to sacrifice Isaac, the only one through whom the promise could be fulfilled. But it appears that he still had lessons to learn about faith: he reasoned that God would raise Isaac from the dead (Hebrews 11:19). Literally God did not, but figuratively He did.

We know faith comes by hearing God’s word (Romans 10:17). But we may need a few lessons before that word becomes a reality.

The Rev Dr Wee Boon Hup is the President of Trinity Annual Conference.

DEVOTION

Our God is on the throne – not on stage

THE GOD WE SERVE is an august, spiritual being both deserving and desirous of our deepest respect. ough described in Scripture as a friend to man (Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23), He is not some sort of “good buddy” to joke with or about.

Our God is still on the throne (Psalm 45:6), His ways remain higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:9), and His authoritative Word still promises to judge us in the Last Day (Revelation 20:12).

No measure of self-appointed, flippant familiarity with the God of eaven detracts one bit or whit from His inherent majesty. Our God is eminently
worthy of our reverence, thus we must serve Him “acceptably with reverence and godly fear” (Hebrews 12:28).

Moreover, our periods of public worship should express this spirit of reverence. “God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all about Him” (Psalm 89:7).

We agree that our worship services should be permeated with expressions of joy and thanksgiving – they should not come to resemble a congregational visit to the dentist; but neither should the reverent worship of our heavenly Father be confused for a carnival or rock concert.

Whether our worship is that offered during a Sunday morning service, that which involves a lectureship assembly, or that which is engaged in by a zealous throng of your people attending a youth rally – regardless where, when or by whom the worship is performed – it must be characterised by reverence and decorum. “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40).

The worship assembly is not the proper setting for screaming, whistling, clapping and stomping the feet in response to a speaker’s message. We do not gather to pay homage to men, but to worship God. We do not come together as a football game or a stageband concert, we come to worship God.

We do not assemble with the intent of being entertained or sensually excited; we come to worship God. Any assembly of saints with the intent of worshipping and praising the God of heaven should reject that which emphasises the carnal emotions and minimises the spiritual man.

An outsider should be able to attend one of our Sunday assemblies, or one of our many youth gatherings, and see a marked diff erence between the worship of God and the Jay Leno show.

May we learn to temper our joy in Christ with a Christlike reverence for things holy. And may we teach our children so. – KneEmail, a Christian resource organisation.

Dalton Key, writing in “God is on the Throne not on Stage”.

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