Dear friends, it is now the month of September! (Actually, it’s already past that but here’s the blog post for Sept!) Activities for this month: Workshop, Mooncake Gospel Meeting, Outing, and Romans BS.
1. Workshop – Glorifying God in Our Entertainment (6 Sept)
This was the last workshop in the series of entertainment – we had 3 others, regarding the Reformed Worldview on movies, music, and gaming. Pastor Lanning gave the speech, and we looked at a number of verses as we considered what Scripture had to say about entertainment. They are listed at the end of this section for your reference.
Entertainment was defined as amusement which doesn’t necessarily contribute to our calling, and has the purpose of (1) rest and (2) pleasure.
We learnt about some principles regarding these two. Both are good gifts of God (God Himself rested on the Sabbath day)! However, they are not an end in themselves. Pleasure as an end in itself is vanity (Eccl 2:1) and seeking it thus will cause us to be poor materially, and especially, spiritually (Pro 21:17). They are also not to be used for sinful purposes. Rom 1:32 clearly warns us not only to abstain from sinful acts, but also not to have pleaure in them. We have the godly example of Moses, who, as a prince in Egypt with pleasures at his disposal, would not enjoy the pleasures of sin even for a short time (Heb 11:24-26). Positively, they must be consecrated to God. Our entertainment need not be in things of this world, and in fact, ought to be in things of God first of all! We are told what it means to have true rest (Ps 116:7, Matt 11:28, 29).
Finally, some practical advice was given. (1) We ought to practise taking pleasure in the gospel. (2) We could keep track of our entertainment hours. (3) We could help each other be accountable to one another. (4) We could set some screen-free time aside, which could allow us to spend our time more profitably.
List of passages (Ps 116:11, Ps 111:2, Pro 21:17, Ecc 2:1, Isa 58:13, Luk 8:14, Rom 1:32, Phil 2:13, II Thess 2:12, I Tim 5:6, Tit 3:3, Heb 11:25, Jas 5:5, II Pet 2:13, Rev 4:11, Gen 2:2, 3, Exo 20:11, Deut 5:14, Ps 116:7, Matt 11:28, 29, Mar 6:31)
2. Mooncake Gospel Meeting (13 Sept)
3. Outing at Sentosa (20 Sept)
We went Sentosa to learn a new sport! A little before the outing, it was raining pretty heavily, but the rain let up and we were able to carry on with our activity. Thank God for both rain and sunshine 🙂
We travelled over to Tanjong Beach, where we had an exhortation by Cornelius from Psalm 139, and sang some songs. After which, we learnt some basics of volleyball. We had a really awesome instructor to teach us, so we learnt really quickly and had an thoroughly enjoyable time playing away!
Hmm, who are we trying to kid here? 🙂 Those of us who came would know: it was way too windy, the beach was way too crowded with other people, we had way too many people to properly play a volleyball game, and we lost way too many volleyballs (2, actually)! Does that mean that we all had a miserable time? NO! We still enjoyed ourselves, despite the hiccups and not-so-ideal circumstances. It was a great time of fellowship together, one that we can look forward to again in our next outing!
The text covered was Rom 15:8-33. In verse 8, we learnt that Christ came to “confirm the promises made unto the fathers”. This clearly goes against the teaching of the health-and-wealth gospel, which states that God blesses whom He favours with material possessions. The riches given to the OT saints were not God’s promises/blessings to them! If riches really were the blessings, why would Christ have to come to “confirm the promises”? Clearly, it shows that the riches of the OT were only a picture of the spiritual blessings that were promised to those saints, blessings that would be realised in Christ. The saints in the past needed such picture language because the church of God would not be mature till Pentecost, where God poured out His Spirit on the church. Now, we are no longer in need of this picture language (Gal 4:1-7). The teaching of the health-and-wealth gospel has always been false. Even in the OT, the saints understood that God’s blessing upon them was a spiritual one rather than material (Heb 11:9,10)!
Another point worthy of note is found in verses 14-16.
14 And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.
15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God,
16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
Paul notes that the Romans already knew the truths that he wrote to them, and that they were able to teach that to one another, yet still wrote them anyway. In light of this, we considered the question, “Can a church ever grow to the point that she needs no further instruction in the Word of God?” The straightforward reply is, “no”, and there are various reasons for that. We are totally depraved, and our old man of sin seeks to go against God at every turn, and we need God’s Word to be renewed in our minds. God’s wisdom and knowledge is unsearchable (Rom 11:33-35), and who can claim to know all about God? There is also the children of the church, who have to be faithfully taught God’s Word by their parents and the church.
This has an application to us as a congregation as we hear the preaching every Sunday. In some sense we do not hear a “new” gospel, and especially so with respect to the Heidelberg Catechism preaching – it is constantly repeated! Yet it is highly profitable for us to hear these timeless truths, to know them well and love them, and to be equipped to teach the next generation in the fear of the Lord. May God grant us grace to hear His Word with eagerness!