Recapturing Family Camp Theme Messages

Dear BPCWAians, Family camps come and go yearly. But the lessons learnt should remain. Hence it is good that we revisit some key highlights from the theme messages and morning devotions. I hope these thematic summaries will help to reinforce the lessons and also help those who could not attend. The 8 camp theme messages for “The Christian Requirement” were based upon Deuteronomy chapters 1 to 13. So what are the Christian Requirements?

Begins with faith (Deut 1:1-8, 19-46). God is the object of our faith. Without faith it is impossible to please Him. But how do we put faith in a Spirit? Believing and trusting in His Word is the answer. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (Jn 1:1). You cannot separate God and His Word. God’s Word reveals Who He is, His Power, His Promises, and what He requires of His children. The enemy of faith is fear. Fear is caused by unbelief in God’s Word. The faithless spies trusted in sight and kept thinking about the giants in the Promised Land. The faithful ones saw who God is and remembered His promises, and that He is infinitely greater than any foe or situation. There are consequences of not having faith. It resulted in 40 years of wilderness wandering. As individuals and as heads of families, we must remember this lesson.

Be courageous (Deut3:1-29).Fear is the most powerful weapon of Satan. It is also our Achille’s heel. God requires us not only to know His Word, but also to have the courage to obey and live by it. The source of courage is not in us but from God. He delivered the giant ruler, Og, into their hands. Experiential faith is key. If you refuse to go through the battle, you will not know God’s power. The way to grow and to protect yourself and your family is to study the Word and to obey it no matter how daunting and difficult it may seem. Each victory will help you to win more. Unity in belief brings more courage. This is very critical in church and the family. And courage brings more courage. Members of church and family must support their leaders. And leaders and heads cannot be chicken hearted when it comes to living by obedience in all our decisions and choices and trusting God in whatever the outcome may be. Fearful leaders will dissipate courage in followers. May God help BPCWA, every worshiper, and every family to be courageous at all cost because God is able!

Keep and obey the Word (Deut 4:1-24). ”Keep” refers to guarding. We only bother to guard that which is precious to us. If God’s Word is not precious, we will not treasure it. But if it is, we will love to study and spend much time in it. And we will put it as our highest priority in our daily life. We will jealously guard and protect the time to study it. Do you treasure your quiet time, church Bible Studies and Fellowships, FEBC courses, etc? Or do you protect your leisure time above them? Loving His Word is loving God. If you do not treasure and guard your time in his Word, then you will begin to distant yourself from God and not obey Him. Treasuring God’s Word is treasuring your fellowship with God. The church likewise must uphold, defend, and faithfully teach His Word as much as possible while others may teach line dancing and cake baking. And also to obey it at all cost if we want BPCWA to last more than just one generation, “Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons” (Deut 4:9). If we will not keep and obey His Word, God will remove us as His light and witness. Your loved ones, your family, your friends, and the world need a true witness for God. You and BPCWA must not fail as Israel failed.

Remember the LORD! (Deut 6:10-25). “Then beware lest thou forget the LORD . . . (6:12). Like Israel, we are also a forgetful people. It is not that we will have amnesia but to forget is to not care much anymore about God and His commandments which we already know. The LORD warned them that with the comforts of life and many provisions, it is easy to not bother about their purpose. We are in the same danger today, being bombarded by the world with the pleasures and allurements of life. Do you care more for your own life and pleasures than the things of God and living to serve Him? If so, you have forgotten the LORD who saved you for His purpose. If you bring up your child in a carnal environment, you should not be surprised one day if they want to marry unbelievers. The cure for this forgetfulness is, “Thou shalt fear the LORD thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name” (6:13). We must live out His requirements of faith, courage, love for His Word, and to obey at all cost. So can a believer remember God the entire day? Yes, the believer remembers the LORD the whole day by prayerfully remembering His Word and obeying it every moment.

Be Holy! (Deut 7:1-11). God requires us to be holy in our marriage, in our individual life, and in obedience to His Word. Being holy is not sinless perfection on earth. Though true believers are positionally holy (is fit for and will go to heaven immediately if we die now), the command to be holy is about dealing with sin to get rid of them once we are aware of it. We may succumb and fall, but being holy is to repent of sin whenever we are aware of it instead of continuing in it. While being holy is to get rid of sins, we need to be godly too, which is to be more like God i.e. putting on the new man created in righteousness and true holiness.

Know Your God! (Deut 10:12-22). God wants us to know Him intimately. He gave us His Word to enable us to do so. When we know His attributes better, we will see life with new eyes. We will serve Him humbly as our privilege when we see how puny we are. We will love Him more when we see His compassion. We will accept His requirements willingly, “ And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul” (10:12). This because the better we know Him, the more we trust His requirements are for our good as seen in “To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?” (10:13). We are reminded that each must truly be saved and have a personal relationship with God. Do you really know God as your personal Lord and Saviour or are you just keeping His requirements for an outward show?

Protecting the Faith (Deut13:1-18). God always requires His people to protect the Faith. We are warned in no uncertain terms in Acts 20:28-30, “(28) Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. (29) For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. (30) Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them”. To ensure that false teachings and idolatry do not spread through His people, God required them to kill false prophets and those who led any astray. They were not to spare, not to pity, and not to conceal them (13:8-9) even if they were own family or closest friends. This is the test of true love for God and for souls. Being polemic is not unloving. But not exposing falsehood is unloving, souls will end up in hell because of the false gospel, and believers will live lives that bring shame to the LORD. God has marvellously protected BPCWA all these years. With the many problems we had, we should not have survived. We must hence not throw all these away and compromise because of the desire to be liked by others and to be part of what is popular even if false. We must expect to be lonely and unpopular if we want to defend the faith in this age. This is the test of obedience for our church. We should not love those whom God hates, or those who hate the church and her doctrines.

Each of us and BPCWA must always have faith and courage. We must never stop loving His Word, to constantly teach and obey His Word at all cost. We must deal with sin and be holy. We must know our God well. And we must defend His Word and practice personal and ecclesiastical separation even it means offending our own family and closest friends.

Yours in our Lord’s service