Dear BPCWAians, How quickly time has flown by since our Family Camp. It is useful to recapitulate some key points from the camp messages so that we reaffirm the lessons we have learnt. It is also helpful for those who were unable to attend to have a summary. This way, the church will have a unity over the key focus areas as a family of God. The church and camp theme is taken from Phil 1:27, “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel”. We begin with a summary of the thematic messages delivered by Rev Koshy.

“Only let” calls the believer and the church to attention to one important task. And this task is to ensure that as citizens of heaven, our life and conduct (conversation) are befitting and governed by (becometh) the Gospel of Christ. What matters most is that the believer’s life is one of determined discipline to live according the high and noble manifesto given by Christ, our Heavenly King. This is a call to a life dignified by the high calling of a royal priesthood, above the temporal worldly and carnal pursuits. Only let such a life be your focus and the church’s aim. All else must go. Giving up worldly ways is not a loss in this royal priesthood. Your conduct and the church practices matter They reflect Christ’s Gospel. Live it rightly.

“Your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ”. The Gospel ofChristis not just about saving souls from hell. It is saving the believer from the power of sin. A Gospel oriented church is one that not only reaches out to the unsaved, and but also separates from worldliness and false teachings. Your walk and BPCWA’s convictions and conduct must solely reflect the Gospel. This was Apostle Paul’s burning desire for the church while he was absent from them because he was in prison for the Gospel’s sake. He commanded them to have a singular aim in living for Christ alone. God calls Pastors to care for the church, the believer, and their family. The Pastor’s role is to ensure your progress in Christ. If he sees something lacking, his duty is to tell you, as in Titus 2. God is the One who has chosen and appointed him to a particular local church. And it is God who equips the Pastor, and gives him to the church to under-shepherd and adorn His sheep so that their lives are becoming of Christ. It is not because he is special but simply it is God’s appointment. This is why the church, the believer, the families ought to follow and listen to the Pastor, unless he is unbiblical. To refuse to do so is to reject God’s appointment for His under-shepherd to you and your family. But the Pastor’s duty and responsibility is to lead to church because God has tasked him to ensure that its sole concern is its unwavering focus on living consistently with what is in God’s Word. As your Pastor, my prayers, labour, and main concern for the church, for you, and for your family is the spiritual health and progress in the Lord.

“Whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs”. Apostle Paul has the highest thoughts of the church and deep love for the church. His thoughts go out for it day and night even while in bonds in prison. We must love God’s church. You must love the local church God has put you in. We must progress in our spiritual understanding for what church is and have a deep love for it. Do you love BPCWA, the local church that God has put you in? The test is how you live your part in your personal walk that can influence others and how you bring up your child for the next generation here. Also, if you love BPCWA, you will protect it from erroneous teachings and worldliness. We must pick up Apostle Paul’s thoughts and feelings for God’s church. Christ’s concern is expressed through the Pastor’s heart when the latter teaches the Word faithfully. Hence, co-labor with your Pastor by understanding his circumstance and knowing his work among you (Phil 1:12); pray for your Pastor and that he may have grace for what he is doing (Phil 1:19), rejoice with him and receive him. This is what you can do individually to strengthen the Pastor in his labor and concern for you and God’s church.

“That ye standfast”. Stand fast speaks of unwavering steadfastness of the individual and the church for the faith. It is not to be distracted by worldliness but to resist it. And it is not to waver in the face of false doctrines. This calls for watchfulness and awareness of carnality and discernment of erroneous trends. As an individual, a family, and as a church we must get rid of worldliness. Why do we need to stand fast? It is because the possibility of compromise is very high. Paul was uncompromising when it came to the Truth. He stood against Peter and his mentor Barnabas when they compromised. In addition, we must take heed lest we fall. The tendency to worldliness for the individual, family, and church is very real too. 1 Cor 10:5-13 shows the result of God using fiery serpents to destroy 23,000 Israelites who refused to stand fast by His commandments. These people had Moses as their Pastor, but when they went back into their tents, they behaved and lived like the world. Beware of murmuring against God’s messages that He gives to the Pastor for you and your family. No one is exempt from God’s standard. You are fighting and rebelling against God, not the Pastor, when you reject what is the clear standard from the Bible regarding God’s Christian model for you and your family.

“In one spirit, with one mind striving together” One spirit is being guided by the Truth of God, ie His Word, instead of our own spirit. Unity must be based upon the Truth, not friendships. The conflict is real. If you do not have the guts to give up friendships, do not talk about zeal. Moreover, we must not serve for vain glory which will result in the spirit of striving against one another. One mind refers to the mind that is transformed by the Word of God and singularly focused on what God wants us to do as an individual, family, and church. We must be united in belief. We must hence educate ourselves about our beliefs. If anyone or a group of people in BPCWA have a zeal to serve God but would not want to learn about our BP faith, then BPCWA will have problems in time to come. One spirit and one mind striving together for the Truth cannot be achieved if you do not commit to understanding what we stand for. If you do not believe in the faith we believe in, then say it and do not pretend. If you want unity and steadfastness, then study it and strive together, not strive against the church. Also, contending for the faith is not something for the Far Eastern Bible College to do, but for the church to do so. BPCWA and each of its member must not only be able to, but must have the courage to articulate our faith.

“For the faith of the gospel”. The faith of the Gospel is the body of Christian Truth. It is the manifold wisdom of God revealed to man. Saints are often moved by it’s majesty and glory. The Truth of the Gospel must continue. If we deviate a bit, we will eventually move away from the Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This concerns both doctrinal Truths and the Christian walk. BPCWA must be worthy and must rise up to this highest duty and privilege to contend earnestly together for the faith.

Yours in our Lord’s service