Year: 2021

The Purpose of Marriage

Dear BPCWA worshipper, We have just covered the purpose, plan, and privileges from God for singles whom He called and gifted with singlehood. Many wish to be married and some are already married. The church is made up of both married and singles, and both are crucial to God’s work on earth. Hence, for those whom God calls to marriage one day and those who are already in a marriage, it is important that you also know the biblical purpose, plan, and privileges of marriage too. God’s purpose for marriage. If a believer’s most basic act of eating and drinking is to be for the glory of God, “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31), then marriage must stand high in priority and importance for all married couples to ensure that their marriage does indeed glorify God. This must be seen in the way the marriage prioritizes God in its aims, obedience, and choices, which will truly reflect whether or not God is indeed supreme. Marriage is not merely to avoid loneliness, to have someone take care of me, and just so that I feel loved and have a sense of belonging. God instituted marriage in the garden of Eden with clear purposes, and these are what we shall see next. How is the purpose of marriage to be achieved? The Westminster writers well summarize the purpose of marriage in WCF 24.2, “II. Marriage was ordained for the mutual help of husband and wife, (Gen 2:18); for the increase of mankind with a legitimate issue, and of the Church with an holy seed, (Mal 2:15); and for preventing of uncleanness, (1 Cor 7:2, 9)”.  1) Mutual help. This mutual help is to enable each other to better

Singles and the Church – Part 2

Dear BPCWA worshipper, In my last pastoral, I wrote about how singlehood is ordained by God. When we understand that singlehood is God’s gift, we must not only treasure it, but also see it as the means to better serve Him in church and use the life that He has given to us. Christians should not be influenced by the world to think that singles are worse off than the married, as if God has unfairly given some of His children the raw end of the deal if He has ordained them to singlehood. Ultimately, whether married or single, we are called to be Christ’s servants – for His use in a manner that He specifies as best for each individual. We all love gifts, but as someone wryly but yet very aptly said – singlehood is a gift that no one wants. If God has given you the gift of singlehood, joyfully and gratefully accept it as you would in receiving any gift. If God has given you the gift of marriage and parenthood, joyfully accept it too. Ultimately, I hope that through these pastorals, all Christians will understand that singles are an important part of God’s body and God’s grand design for His church. Additionally, there is a study on Christian Singlehood that is available on our church’s YouTube channel for anyone who is interested to know more on this subject. Singles are a necessary part of the church on earth. Some singles wrongly feel that singlehood has no contribution to the church. Some feel that unless they are married and have children, they do not fit into God’s body. This cannot be further from the plan of God. For some reason, some believers in the Corinth church felt the same way about being different from what they

Singles and the Church

Dear BPCWA worshipper, I wrote about what was covered at the Family Seminar in some recent pastorals. Families are important because one of the reasons that God ordained marriage is to have godly seed for His church and work. However, we must also remember that God has also called some to singlehood as well. While God has set some apart to marriage to glorify Him in that estate, He has also set apart some singles to glorify Him for His work’s sake. So, to set things in the right and complete perspective of both groups in the church, it is also important to cover in this pastoral God’s purpose for singles in His church and work on earth.  A single in church recently rightly pointed out that there has hardly been any godly example in the past that showed what singlehood is about and how it is used as a witness for God.  It is an exciting time moving forward for this to change through the right biblical understanding and living, particularly of those called to singlehood. Singlehood is ordained by God and must not be despised, but treasured. Parents, adults, elderly, and children, all alike, must not be influenced by the world in this matter of singlehood. It is not for man, tradition, or culture to unilaterally dictate an individual’s estate of marriage or singlehood. Just as marriage is a calling, so is singlehood, “But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches” (1Cor 7:17). Singles must not loathe singlehood. It is God’s appointment, and hence it is to be treasured as Paul did, “I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as

Reformation Sunday: Will you stand under pressure?

Dear BPCWA worshipper, Today, we commemorate Reformation Sunday. As many of you are aware, the 1517 Reformation was sparked by Martin Luther, a previous Roman Catholic theology professor and monk, when he nailed the 95 Theses (statements) on the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany. The 95 Theses disputed the errors of the Roman Catholic Church’s teachings and practices regarding salvation, penance, and indulgences. Luther had come to realise that the theology he had learned and was propounding as a Roman Catholic was not what the Bible, God’s Word, taught. Though it was not initially meant to be a protest but to seek clarification and even perhaps not quite expecting the uproar that would follow his action, Luther would spend the rest of his life defending and upholding the doctrines taught in the Bible. Believing firmly, despite religious pressure. The attacks that Luther faced for his opposition to the Roman Catholic church’s teachings only served to intensify his study of the Scriptures to find the biblical truth. As he searched the Scriptures, it shaped his mind, his theology was soundly solidified, and he developed a clearer understanding of the Bible. The indisputable biblical doctrines of justification by faith through grace inevitably resounded with greater conviction in his heart. Luther wrote several great works, including 3 Reformation treatises included Freedom of a Christian, On the Babylonian Captivity of the Church, and Letter to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation. These writings would cut him off further from the Roman Catholic church.  The inquisition against Luther led to a Papal Bull (an edict issued by the Roman Catholic Pope) condemning his teachings and threatening to excommunicate him from the church in 1520 unless he recanted. This edict was significant because according to the teachings of the Roman Catholic church, excommunication

Influence of Family Examples

Dear BPCWA worshipper, Last week, I wrote about what I covered at the Family Seminar. I hope that every married couple, grandparent, and parent has watched the video on our YouTube channel by now. I wonder if there are some parents who, in their minds, may be thinking “Is that really so?”. On the other hand, there may be some who may feel that as long as the children are taught “what is right”, the children will make the right choices, irrespective of what the parents do. Will that certainly happen? What even the world knows. To say that the family’s life does not affect the child is to simply be in self-denial. While we do not believe or disbelieve something simply because research bears it out but simply based on what the Bible teaches, we do see that numerous secular studies do inescapably agree that families do affect children. Studies validate that the family structure does have an impact on the well-being of the children. Children growing up in a dysfunctional environment either learn to follow their parents’ examples, or, by God’s mercies, resolve to never follow such poor parental examples. It is difficult to undo what is “seen” being practiced by the parents, even if attempts are made later to “undo” many years of inculcation. A case in point is China’s one-child policy. After years of enforcing this in families, the current generation of young adults has only grown up with a one-child family as a norm. Now, it is trying to promote a three-child family. A news article well summarised the reaction of those the government is trying to encourage as – “Generations of Chinese people have lived without siblings and are used to small families – affluence has meant less need for multiple children to become

Growing to be like me

Dear BPCWA worshipper, In this pastoral, I want to recapitulate the salient points of our family seminar so that key lessons take root in our lives. Is it useful for grandparents, singles, and the young? Of course. Grandparents, you still engage with your children and grandchildren. Singles, you may have a family one day. The young, you are part of a family. And we all are ultimately an influence to children in the church too. So, do read on, praying that God will help us be godly examples. Better still, I hope that parents and everyone who missed the session will watch the video of it on our YouTube channel bpcwa.org.au/youtube. Teaching by my example. Your example speaks louder than words to your children and grandchildren, even to children in the church. They see you as an authority and look up to you. What you do represents what is allowable, even to be desired, and they will emulate you. And even if they were sinful behaviours, children will follow suit too. In fact, they will take it to the next level of sinfulness beyond you. Am I exaggerating? Do my children and grandchildren really grow to be like me, you may be asking? Do children do really grow to be like me? God both encourages and warns us clearly, “And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 7 Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation” (Ex 34:6-7). God promises grace to the obedient. And the reason why God will be

Chosen to Witness

Dear BPCWA worshipper, Have you ever taken the trouble to go out of your way to buy something for a specific purpose, paid a very high price to purchase something that is not worth anywhere close to what you paid for? What if, when you finally want to use it for your purpose, that thing refuses to function the way you intended it to – how would you feel? Well, we often say that God chose to save us for His purpose, but do we actually want to live a life to fulfill His purpose? Or do we refuse to? In this 35th Anniversary year, BPCWA and individuals in it must truly reflect upon this fact lest we go on failing God if we have not been out living His purpose. I wish to remind ourselves what we have learnt from the church series on “Chosen to Witness” so that we do not quickly forget what God’s Word commands of us as His children. Chosen to be witnesses. God chose us to glorify Him, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world . . . To the praise of the glory of his grace” (Eph 1:4,6). And we do so by shining forth for Him, “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. (16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Mat 5:15-16). Hence Christ sends us out to bear witness for Him, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all

Are you observing the times?

Dear BPCWA worshipper, Winter is officially over, and spring is here! How do we know? Is it just merely by the calendar? Not totally. We also observe it from the changes around us. We see God’s creation changing according to His calendar as the seasons change. His creation obeys his creation command to “Be fruitful, and multiply” (Gen 1:22) as we see that even birds prepare nests to birth their young and actively protect them. They know that spring is the best time for the survival of their chicks, and so they change their habits when they sense the warmer weather come after winter, without the need for printed calendars or humans to tell them to do so. God made them to do so, and they observe the times. You must be willing to act based on the knowledge when you see the signs. Watching the weather plays an important role in our daily lives. If we are planning to travel, we worry about extreme weather. We plan our laundry days based on the forecast, and when we see dark clouds looming, we rush out to keep our laundry. When it comes to our physical life, we are generally very apt in planning based upon what we see and observe.  This was what Christ said of the Pharisees and Sadducees who came asking Him for a sign from heaven.  “… When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. 3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring.” (Matt 16:2-3). Yet, we are often less ready to “see” or respond spiritually based upon what is already made known to us “O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can

A look back at last week’s photo taking and Annual Congregational Meeting

Dear BPCWA worshipper, Thank God for seeing us through another year, and that with the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, we could continue with a Combined Worship Service before the ACM, have the ACM in church, and eat lunch together in church thereafter! We cannot take it for granted, as the government is warning that it is not an if COVID-19 comes into Western Australia again, but a when. What we have now are rare opportunities that we must humbly thank God for each day in today’s new COVID-19 and its variant ravaged world. The importance of chronicling. Our ACM reports this year reflected the changes that we experienced over the past year, particularly through the pandemic. We are recording these so that we and those who come after us have memories of what it was like during this period. Photographs also help us to document our history as well. As such, the photo taking last week was our desire to capture this momentous moment in our church’s history of God’s particular graciousness and mercies to us. The photograph captures this point in time in our church history. What will next year be like? Who will be in the photo? Will there be newer ones that come to join us? We cannot be sure, but in everything, let us not forget to be thankful in our hearts. I also want to take the opportunity to summarise my exhortation at the ACM so that every worshipper can work together with us to further God’s kingdom in the year ahead. What the must church must focus on. Mt 28:18-20 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the

Topical Teens study on Dark Things

Dear BPCWA worshipper, Some weeks ago, I announced that we were starting a new topical study for Teens QnA. The first of these subjects was about “Dark Things”. This is an important trend that Christians must be very aware of because it can be so prevalent around us that many may not notice the shift towards dark things. For the benefit of those who did not attend and also for reiterating the lessons learnt, I will summarise in this pastoral what was taught in the 2 sessions in June. The trend toward dark things. There is a trend towards dark things that has crept in stealthily into our society today that it has become more commonplace than we realise. This trend relates to an interest and fascination with things associated with gloom, horror, death, and the mystery around such things. There is even a romanticization and glamourization of these aspects. This can include areas of art, fashion, design, media, and social values. Unlike in years gone by when fashion models were made to look as “in the pink of health” and “bright and happy” as possible, many today are often made to look ghastly instead – with pale faces, sunken cheeks, and black or dark lipsticks or eyeliners to give a hollowed out look. Black is the new “in”, not because it is a formal colour, but because it is the colour of mourning and darkness. Bookstores continue to promote books about the supernatural, which often are the bestsellers. Computer games abound in this genre as well, with ghosts, ghouls, and more. Movies and TV help to promote this trend, with even cartoons like “Duckula” produced to make these monstrosities seem either harmless, comical, or just purely misunderstood. The promotion of dark trends. The Goth subculture is a movement that

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