Camp Thematic Messages 5-8

Dear BPCWA worshipper, In this final pastoral recapping the family camp messages, we summarise the last 4 sermons in the camp. I pray these summaries have caused your desire to revisit the sermons.

The Purpose in Watching (1 Thess 5:1-8). Life is always a spiritual battle, and everything can be joyful if you have a purpose. So, we must not be bitter. 1) The purpose of imminence (vv1-3). We do not need to know the precise date and time nor even the period when Christ returns and we must not be lazy while watching. “Know” refers to the head knowledge that we have of Christ’s return. The day of the Lord is the climax of our salvation that marks the end of the local church’s witness. Our opportunities to serve on earth will be over. We must persevere if we are to watch because it is imminent. This must be the oil that we must keep lighting and waiting – this day may be our last. Unbelievers will be overtaken like a thief, while enjoying pleasures with a false sense of security. 2) The purpose of separation (vv4-5). The return of the Lord will separate the sheep and the goats, so don’t procrastinate if you are not saved! For believers, Christ doesn’t come so that we can wake up and be watchful now. It is too late to wait till then. Don’t think of many years, but live for Christ day by day. We must show that there is an alternate way of life that is different from what the god of this world promotes – another life while on earth and an eternal hope beyond this life. Work hard at everything that you do for Him so the world can see that there is a separation from the children of darkness.  And, if you don’t bother about attending the Bible studies at church, growing, and serving, you have already been overtaken as a thief in the night.  3) The purpose of sobriety (vv6-8). Don’t let your mind be clouded by the world. We can only be diligent if we are sober. “Sober” means to abstain from alcohol, thus always having a sharp and clear mind. Fill your head with the knowledge of God’s Word to counter the philosophies of the world. When your mind is not clear about spiritual things, you are as good as drunken. Our main purpose and goal is always about the Lord Jesus Christ. Spiritual darkness is all around us. Be sober, protect your heart with God’s Word and the love of Christ. Do it with joy and gladness because it is an honour.   

The Demand in Watching (1 Pet 5:5-9). The church witness is a hybrid of both a family witness and a national witness. We must guard our unity as brothers and sisters in Christ as we come together.  1) The demand of humility (v5). When you are offended and relationships are broken, will you leave a sound church? The most deadly of the 3 sins is the pride of life. Humility will enable us not to have any conflicts with one another. Be teachable by the elderly when they share biblical lessons with you about their struggles and mistakes. Don’t approach each other with the constant mentality of a corrector who goes round correcting people, but yet doesn’t like to be corrected. We must take the beam out of our own eye and help one another with humility because we all have made mistakes in our lives. The garment of humility was only given to us by Jesus Christ which He first wore for us. Peace is priceless and we can give it up because of pride. 2) The demand of trust (vv6-7). When we exercise humility, unbelievers can see Christ in us. Christ suffered for us and we must be ready to be humiliated for Him. We don’t lose anything when we obey God to be humble. So, trust God because we are under His mighty hand. God cares and will always give the spiritual best to all His children. 3) The demand of resistance (v8-9). “Vigilant” means to watch, because Satan is your adversary after salvation. He will put obstacles in our way.  He may come into the church as a wolf in sheep’s clothing or even in a soldier’s garment serving with you. The devil can tempt you but you don’t have to sin. You can resist by His grace. We are in a spiritual battle – how can you not be vigilant and diligent?

The Focus in Watching (Rev 3:1-6). 1) Of introspection (vv1-2). This was a message to the local church at Sardis, who were a complacent people, satisfied with their glorious past and have had a good reputation. The 7 spirits refer to the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The 7 stars refer to the elders of the church. Loyalty to a church and following its leaders must be focused on Christ alone, ie if they follow Christ. If a church is about to die, it’s in the hands of the leaders. They must turn resolutely to strengthen the church and hand over a healthy and sound church for the future. A healthy church includes a spectrum of people – new believers converted through evangelism, elderlies, and teaching ministries to cater to the growing congregation. It must have fellowship that is not about meals and long years of friendships, but with a depth that overcomes differences, beginning with oneself. 2) Of obedience (vv3-4).  The Bible is always current and applicable for everyone to obey throughout all ages. It has heart and soul, but if it is boring, we must check the passion in our own hearts. Every teaching ministry must be the best it can be. Remember how the church was founded and how our hearts were burning bright when we repented in salvation. Christ says “if therefore” because it is still not too late for us to repent and not to be caught off guard. God loves the local church witness as long as there are believers upholding the truth. This is what the Lord sees that matters most – He sees the mind, thought, and motives in our obediences. 3) Of overcoming (vv5-6). We thank God for past victories, but we must be watching faithfully in the present. If not, God can deal with us just like He dealt with the 7 churches. As long as you are not taken home, learn, improve, and help the church grow from strength to strength. Watchfulness begins with yourself and at a church level. When it comes to the church, this is your purpose to obey in watchfulness.

The Perseverance in Watching (Rev 16:12-16). 1) The domain of perseverance (vv12-14). Time flies with its challenges and battles. But ending well is most important, especially when your course is coming to an end. Perseverance is vital because lives are at stake. The battle is lost only when you give up. The whole world will be transformed in the end times as kings from the east send troops to support the Antichrist in that great battle. The final moments will see the devil in his horror. There will be deception and discouragement as people embrace the false gospel and speak against soundness.  2) The target of perseverance (v15). There must be a purpose to our perseverance even as we endure. We must also keep our garments of holiness, humility, godliness, and righteousness. If you are not born again, you will be caught naked. God is still restraining the influence of the devil today – make sure of your salvation. 3) The finality of perseverance (v16). God will finally gather Satan and unbelievers together because He is in absolute control, no matter how deadly the forces are. Make sure that you are on God’s side because it will be worth it to pay the price for following God. Is following Christ everything to you, no matter how frightening it is? Perseverance is never in comfort and ease, but in the battlefield. Trust God to complete His work until Christ returns – keep on watching to the end for His glory and the blessing of the Saviour and Christ.

If, at the dawn of the early morning,
He shall call us one by one,
When to the Lord we restore our talents,
Will He answer you, “Well done?”

Yours in our Lord’s service,