Camp reflections (III) – Continuing Steadfastly in Breaking of Bread, and in Prayers

Dear BPCWAians, We come to the final recapitulating of the camp thematic messages. If I were to ask you what have you learnt from the thematic messages, are you able to recall?

In the breaking of bread – the sacraments. From the context of the verse, this breaking of bread refers to Holy Communion. But one cannot separate Holy Communion from the other sacrament, which is water baptism. Water Baptism is the pre-requisite for partaking of the Holy Communion. These two sacraments were instituted for the New Testament Church by our Lord Jesus Christ. Sacraments are holy signs and seals instituted for our spiritual good. The church must continue stedfastly in both the Word of God and the proper observation  of these sacraments because they are essential to the church. They are means of grace. How so? Water baptism is an outward and public confession of your inward faith. This public commitment reminds and constrains the believer of his public confession of faith. Water baptism declares that you have been washed in the Blood of Christ. And it is about identification with our Lord Jesus and to walk in newness of life (Rom 6:3-6). There is another aspect about water baptism that is often overlooked or not understood. It is also an identification and union with the people of God in the local church (1 Cor 12:13). That is why we enter into local church membership in the church that we are baptised in. And because this sacrament must remind us of our union with one another, we are reminded of our responsibilities to each other as members of BPCWA too. Hence, the injunctions by God in John 13:34, Eph 4:32 and Gal 5:13-15 tell us of our responsibilities to love, care, not to stumble one another, and to be accountable for one another. Moreover, water baptism must remind us of the great commission too (Matt 28:19)! I pray that all worshipers in BPCWA would be evangelistic, and many more will come to know our Lord and be baptised. Have you been evangelising personally and with the church?

The Holy Communion, when observed biblically, acts as a means of grace. How so again? 1 Cor 11:23-32 is really the Gospel dramatized, acted out, preached by the actions with the broken bread and cup. Moreover, because we are reminded to reflect, examine and search our hearts, we are once again constrained by the love of Christ. The representations of His broken Body and shed Blood drives us to reconsecrate our lives and repent of any known sins. This is the spiritual element that goes beyond just commemoration. That is why there is a judgment pronounced. Moreover, one must realise that withholding Holy Communion is part of the church’s responsibility as part of church discipline in particular cases. This is yet another spiritual element. Both the personal warning of judgment and this public exercise of withholding the Lord’s Supper promote purification. Being kept from partaking of the Holy Communion is to remind the person of the seriousness of his sin and that he has broken communion with Christ and His people. This ought to cause a genuine believer to re-evaluate and reflect on his actions and repent. Do you treasure Holy Communion with your Lord and partake of it with His people? It must break our hearts when we are ever prevented from doing so because of our scandalous sins that calls for such strong discipline.

So, we see how when we faithfully and biblically participate in the sacraments, it strengthens us spiritually and ecclesiastically. Hence when continuing stedfastly with the understanding of these sacraments, we will remain strong.

In prayers. Prayer is in the plural here. The individual and the church must constantly be engaged in prayer and remain stedfast in its exercise. The different kinds of prayers include personal, corporate, adoration, confession, thanksgiving, supplications, and intercessory prayers. We are called to pray without ceasing. Prayer has a sanctifying influence. A praying church is a powerful church. We learn from various passages in the book of Acts where the church prayed and God answered in mighty ways. When we are at a loss about what to do at times, when we are facing trials or crises, or in danger, we need to learn to turn to prayer. When we need wisdom in such situations, we are reminded in James 1:5-6 to pray and ask wisdom from God. And the more saturated we are with God’s Word, the more the Holy Spirit will use His Word to give us discernment and godly wisdom even as we pray. God also tells  us  to pray for those who are unwell in the body and have also backslided spiritually (James 5:14). Ministers of the Word are also reminded that we need to depend upon prayer while preparing messages. God will give the message because He knows the heart of His people. Hence the church must pray for the messages too. When we evangelise, we must also depend on prayer to ask God, Who is the only Person who can work in hearts. Why does God want us to pray? So that when He works, we remember and know that He is the One who worked and helped us. By this, we experience His power and His presence.

The New Testament church showed the pattern to us to be stedfast in the Apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the sacraments, and in prayers. May BPCWA be stirred to have all these in greater focus and to continue stedfastly in each of them so that God will use BPCWA for His Kingdom and to glorify Him till He returns again.

Yours in our Lord’s service