2021 Family Camp’s Thematic Message
Dear BPCWA worshipper, Having recapped the morning devotion sermons which I preached during the camp, we will spend the next two pastorals summarising the 8 camp messages delivered by Rev Quek Suan Yew. These were based on our church’s theme for this year “But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” (2 Pet 3:18)
1. Grow or die (2 Pet 3:17-18). We are surrounded by many things that grow. Spiritually, that must be the case for all of us too. When Peter commands us to grow in grace, it is so that we will grow in our holy witness for Christ. Conversely, if we do not grow spiritually, our witness of Christ to unbelievers will be affected. Our bad witness can affect cause others to reject Christ because of what they see in our lives. The world which is full of wickedness, idols, and fornication will hinder our holy living and put obstacles to our growth to cause us to fall. We will fall from our own steadfastness if we pick and choose what we want to obey in the Bible. The greatest danger is when the obstacles are closest to our hearts, when we choose to side with errors simply because they are our family or loved ones, instead of choosing Christ. There is no neutrality – if we don’t grow, we will decay and die. In Christ, we must grow in the graces of prayer, forgiveness, overcoming sin, worship, and fellowship. But these growths must be closely bound with Bible knowledge, all for the glory of God.
2. Enemies of growth (2 Pet 2:1-3). There are many things that hold us back from growing. The Bible is widely available today, but many are still ignorant. Some may be ignorant because they are taught by false teachers. These are like the false teachers among the people even in Peter’s time, “who privily shall bring in damnable heresies” (2 Pet 2:1). These may even be your family members or people who are very nice to you and your family. How will we respond when they are exposed, unrepentant, or disciplined? God instructs us clearly in Deut 13:6-11 how we should stand against enemies identified. We cannot be neutral – we must make a choice to obey God. We cannot go by feeling and emotions, even if it is a very painful choice that we have to make to follow God. An enemy is based on objective, undeniable guidelines – God’s Word. The Bible says that “many shall follow their pernicious ways”(2 Pet 2:2) so it must be no surprise that they are the majority out there today. The enemies are the charismatics, the new evangelicals, and those who say that God’s word has mistakes. They are motivated by money because “they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not” (2 Pet 2:3). These enemies may not be strangers, but they may be people that we care for and have helped us. They are enemies of God and must be our enemies. You have to choose. But choose wisely so that we will grow and not die.
3. Don’t forget to grow (2 Pet 3:1-4). We have a tendency to forget that we need to take concrete steps to continue to grow spiritually to be Christ’s witness. We must organise and plan to spend each day with a spiritual perspective. The cure for forgetfulness is to “stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance” (2 Pet 3:1). The world, however, is full of things that will cause our minds to be drowsy. Satan does not put warning signs that doing something will make us drowsy. They may not be sinful things in themselves, but as we partake more and more of worldly things, it will drown our minds in drowsiness. Going through Christian motions in itself is not Christianity. How do we stir up our minds? By “the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour” (2 Pet 3:2). We must know the meaning of the word of God, not just the facts of the Bible. Firstly, we must remember the turning point of our life at our salvation. Next, we must also have a proper plan of daily meditation and hiding God’s Word in our hearts. Everything that we do must be with the reference to God’s will and glory. Without this, we can be very sinful in our hearts even if we are going through the motions. The church may have a lot of Bible studies but you do not prioritise it. If you do not prioritise the Word of God, then you are already taking the sleeping potion to dull your senses. Christendom today is full of “scoffers, walking after their own lusts” (2 Pet 3:3). When you are forgetful, you become a victim of forgetfulness. You begin to believe these scoffers and the family will then leave sound churches. Such ones won’t blame their spiritual stupor but will instead find fault with the church and pastor. They may tell and influence others as they leave, subjecting others to their spiritual stupor as well. Your life then becomes a walking witness of failure and carnality, and cold-heartedness. You will then become a scoffer as well. If you are truly born again in Christ, you have no excuse to be drowsy and spiritually ill.
4. Hindrance to growth (2 Pet 3:5-7). “For this they willingly are ignorant” (2 Pet 3:5). With the word of God readily available to us now, the hindrance to growth is our own willingness. We may be unteachable and refuse to move because of our pride. There is too much for us to lose if we admit that we have made a mistake and to apologise. So instead, we choose to be willingly ignorant. Willing ignorance is the greatest hindrance to growth. Even theological professors may be ignorant because they are blind. They are blind because they refuse to see, submit, and subscribe to God’s word. That is why we must take responsibility for our own spiritual growth and not blame someone else. Even under the doctrine of being stumbled, we are still responsible for our own decision, because we don’t want to admit our own wrong and be embarrassed. We choose to be blind. We must be sure that we are saved, because only those who are saved can understand. Conversely, those who are willingly ignorant are “reserved unto fire against the day of judgment” (2 Pet 3:7). If the preaching of God’s word only resides in your mind, it is still a failure because you have not been transformed by the Word.
Mental assent is insufficient. Only if we are saved will we want to grow and want to have a strong church. This is what we must desire because the destruction of the world is near. The graces of God in love, prayer, and fellowship are only possible with an intimate and close walk with our Saviour. Don’t deliberately blind yourself.
Yours in our Lord’s service,