“Things are going to get messy.” These were the words I scribbled as I listened to Rev Francis Khoo release the Prophetic Word for 2011 at Watchnight Service on 31 Dec 2010. The images and scenes he shared affirmed what I already knew in my spirit. The year would be one filled with confusion, conflicts and contradictions. As I type these words, scenes of the present uprising in Egypt fills my mind. And all too quickly, the scenes of the epic flood in Brisbane are being replaced. If we don’t carefully ponder these events, they can be easily reduced to just another news item. To a comfortable, cushioned Singaporean, we are not too bothered by these occurrences … until our grocery bills are affected, power tariffs are raised and a cup of kopi-o hits $1! But really, what in the world is happening? How does it impact us? And how are we to respond?
Not knowing what the Prophetic Word might be, I had, just a few days earlier, decided on a new series to preach through the five Sundays of January. For some strange reason, I was led to the little book of Titus, in particular the words … “set in order the things that are lacking” Titus 1:5 … hence the series title, “SET IN ORDER”. Hearing the Prophetic Word, I felt a jump in my spirit and I understood the timeliness of that leading by the Holy Spirit. It was a call for God’s people to get ready, to be prepared, to set their lives in order. What followed was five weeks of intensive reading and study as I prepared the messages from Titus – which explains the delay in getting this newsletter out. The same exhortations and warnings that Paul issued to the Christians on the island of Crete are just as applicable to us today. I raised many practical issues across the five weeks, but allow me to share what I believe to be the most important point which I addressed with some detail in “Set in Order: The Word”.
Without doubt, Christians would readily agree that God’s Word is important and true. That is not the issue. Rather, the challenge is if Christians are as ready to live the Word as they are to quote the Word. The sad truth is, no. Sadly, the Word is grossly lacking in our lives in at least seven aspects which I call to attention in the first sermon. Two of these lacks must be critically considered as we ponder how we are to be prepared in light of end-time happenings.
Firstly, we lack in the acceptance of the full authority of the Word. For sure, we have been taught to proclaim and declare the Word of faith so that we can have our blessings, breakthroughs and prosperity. That sounds nice (spiritual, even) but we must admit that the focus is us and our needs, and not God and His purposes. Christians love to tell the Word what to do. But when it comes to the Word telling us what to do, what to change and how to live, that’s a different story altogether. Secondly, we lack in the conviction of the sufficiency of the Word. Think about it. We don’t really believe that all we need can be found in God’s Word. As such, we are all too ready to supplement God’s Word with world ideas and values, preferring to listen to and trust experts and professionals in the field and seeking advice and counsel from worldly, ungodly people with questionable values and principles. Make no mistake. If you want to set your walk, your life and your relationships in order, it must be done in accordance with the Word of God. Anything short of that is a copout and a compromise!
Don’t miss the other side of the same Titus coin. Before you lap up anything and everything that is preached “according to the Word”, consider Paul’s warning against false and erroneous teaching. It existed in Paul’s day and it exists in our day too. The self-centredness in each of us naturally gravitates towards messages that sound good and nice, messages that stroke and pander to our ego and self-esteem. Whether it be extreme grace or extreme works, it is still the Word being taken out of context or being used to justify how we would like to be, or not to be. Realise, once again, how easily it is to turn the focus which rightly belongs to God to a pre-occupation with Self. How accurate can these teachings be, however biblical they may purport to be, when it directly contradicts the Lord’s command to deny the Self? Then again, that’s what deception is! Not outright lies, for that would be far too obvious; but where the Truth is quoted not in its entirety, but just enough that many may be misled and derailed. Sneaky, you say. But hey, have you known the enemy to play fair?
This exercise in expository preaching has been a great learning experience for me. It has forced me to read the Word and to preach from it, as is. I don’t get to say what I want nor interpret it the way I deem fit. I have to stay true and faithful to the Word and allow the Word to be revealed in its truth and glory. Above all, the person, name and majesty of Jesus must be exalted for it is He, the Living Word, whom I ultimately preach and proclaim! In these challenging times, I echo the words of Paul in 2 Tim 4:2, “Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and teaching.”
You can watch or listen to “SET IN ORDER” at Covenant Vision Media Centre. If you’d like to purchase a set of the CDs, please contact Covenant Vision Centre at 6391 0027 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Just in case you think it’s all doom and gloom, allow me to declare an emphatic “NO!” to that thought. God is in total control and He invites us to seek Him with diligence and He will direct accordingly. Regardless world events or catastrophes, there is still the promise of promotion, profit and prophetic fulfilment for those who put their trust in Him. And even more exciting than that, the hope of eternal life for those who know and are saved through Jesus. For those who are not Christians yet, this same promise is available to you through faith in Jesus Christ. Please know that the pains of this life is not the result of a God who doesn’t care but the consequences of our sin which separates us from His goodness. In His love, God provided a way back to His presence through His Son, Jesus. My friends, I urge you to consider salvation in the name of Jesus like never before. If you need guidance in this aspect, please do not hesitate to contact me, or to talk to a Christian friend/relative.
Thank you for reading this newsletter and hearing my heart. There is little space left to update you about my ministry and family, but that’s ok. You can stay abreast with what I am doing for the Lord through my personal website, be encouraged by the articles, as well as read about the adventures of The Lim Tribe. I also commend Serene’s blog and website to you, where you will find many encouraging articles and tips on parenting, homeschooling, household management as well as her personal struggles on the journey of sanctification. I know that many of you are still praying for us and we are very appreciative of your support in that department. In the area of finance, our household and family expenses have increased – thanks to rising tariffs and growing children – but the Lord continues to show Himself faithful, providing for our every need. Our thanks and appreciation also goes to all who have responded in obedience to the Lord’s leading to be God’s channels of blessing to our family and ministry.
It leaves me to wish all of you a very blessed and abundant Lunar New Year in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! May you experience His joy as you celebrate with family and friends through the festivities of the season!