Dear BPCWAians, Last week, we looked at one of God’s purposes for establishing BPWA as His local and visible witness – for the salvation of souls. BPCWAians, let us not lose sight of what we as a church must do for salvation of souls. Reaching out does not merely involve the “going out”. When non Christians come in our midst, let us actively tell them about our Saviour, let us pray for them, let us teach them about God, let us live like our Saviour in obedience to His commands – in our interactions with each other, and with them. Will you do so together with us?

After salvation, then what? In many Christians’ minds, the evangelistic duty of the church is probably all that matters. It is the end of all things and it ends there. But there is more to salvation than merely delivering souls from the penalty of hell. It is also about delivering man from the power of sin. The true gospel teaches that salvation is deliverance from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. Hence, those who “were sometimes darkness” should now “walk as children of light” (Eph 5:8). Salvation includes the deliverance from the bondage of sin in a believer’s life, so that they should put off the old man, and put on the new man. And we do this when we are “renewed in the spirit of your mind” (Eph 4:22-24). This is another of BPCWA’s purpose, and it must be yours too, as you worship here. Church is not just for saving souls, nor just about service. A church is not merely an evangelistic society, but we are commanded in Col 1:28 to be, “. . . warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus”. This is the second reason why a church exists.

(2) The edification of Christians through the teaching of God’s Word.As unbelievers are brought under the power of the gospel and saved, they are like newborn babes, desiring the sincere milk of the word (1 Pet 2:2). No parent brings a child into the world and expects the child to fend for himself. It is a terrible crime to leave a child in a corner and not feed it at all. There is a responsibility to every parent to nurture the child, to feed and to take care of the child. When God uses the church to save someone, it has a tremendous responsibility to that soul. As the child grows and progresses from infancy to adolescence, the parent adjusts the diet to more solid food for the child to help him grow. In addition, a nursing mother needs nourishment herself, that she may be able to have milk to feed the baby. Similarly, a Christian at different stages of his life needs milk, then meat (1 Cor 3:2), and even strong meat (Heb 5:12). We would shake our heads in disgust if parents expected children to turn to strangers, or to go to their neighbours’ homes to feed themselves. Unfortunately, this happens when churches fail in their duty to teach their flock. When Christians aren’t “fed at home” – through their churches – they turn outside for their spiritual nourishment. This is one reason why groups such as Bible Study Fellowships and other parachurch organisations are so popular amongst Christians. But this is not God’s intent and model. Because one cannot be sure of the content and doctrines taught at the many such parachurch groups, Christians, instead of growing in unity with the church, may be learning divergent doctrines. This will lead to confusion, instead of growth. God instituted churches as His witness, that there may be order and unity in faith and doctrines. To do this, the church fulfils its responsibility to teach. If a church provides good spiritual feeding for edification, then the responsibility of Christians is to participate and learn together with the church at these Bible Studies.

However, because many think that a church’s only and sole responsibility is just to save souls, the function of the church to provide spiritual nourishment to build up the saints is often neglected. Eph 4:12,13 clearly refers to what God appoints to each church today. Pastors are given by God “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” When God gives the church a Pastor, this is God’s blueprint for the Pastor’s role in church. Christ’s command to Peter was “Feed my sheep” (Jn 21:17). The teaching of the church enables Christ’s sheep to feed and grow. Saints must be built up and taught during Worship Services, Prayer Meetings, Bible Studies and Fellowships. Pastors must be work hard to teach, and believers must endeavour to come to study and grow.

Realising this is God’s purpose for the Church, then your role and desire must be to look forward and attend these opportunities so that you can grow in His Word. This is for your perfecting. You must look forward to these with the heart that seeks to be perfected – ie, to grow in holiness and Christ likeness. You may say “I’m a mature Christian”. But God says the ultimate aim and goal is a “perfect man”, until you reach “the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” (Eph 4:13b). How do you want BPCWA to be like? God’s blueprint requires the church to help you be progressively sanctified as long as you live. We must want BPCWA to be a church that helps Christians to grow in faith, to know God, to strive against sin, and to be more and more holy so that we can please and serve Him. Hence, BPCWA must preach the whole counsel of God (which includes both His Love and also pointing out what is sin), God’s standards, and His Truth. When we fail, then BPCWA has ceased to be faithful to God. Such a church will not be blessed of God.

Yours in our Lord’s service