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Pastoral 2017

A Church United

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With one voice, we must praise our God this day for the twenty-nine years of His gracious blessings upon Gethsemane B-P Church. Our unity in the Gospel, our worship of Him in one accord, our co-labouring in His kingdom, our solidarity in the defence of His truth, our mutual love and harmony are precious gifts of His Spirit that worketh among us. “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:21- 22). Let us be thankful and continue to “stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel” (Philippians 1:27).

A Heavenly, Pleasant Unity

By the grace of God, Gethsemane has enjoyed a heavenly unity in her congregation, though made up of people of different races, languages, nations, social standings, educational backgrounds, etc. I call it “a heavenly unity” because the unity of our church is a foreshadow of the future gathering together of all the redeemed from all nations, races and languages around the throne of God to offer praise and worship. In Revelation 7:9-10, we read, “... Lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”

Being the pastor of Gethsemane, I have been most blessed by our oneness in Christ. It was not a dormant, passive kind of oneness, but truly a very genuine, vibrant one. Having tasted the sweet blessings of a united congregation of very diverse backgrounds, I cannot be silent about it. I must testify of this joyous experience that the Spirit of God has graciously wrought in our church. “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Psalm 133:1).

Blessings of Our Unity

Scripture not only urges churches to be united but also assures churches of the many blessings that will come to them when they are united in Christ for His glory. Many of those blessings are already seen in Gethsemane’s ministry, and they have made my pastoral ministry a very rich and exciting spiritual undertaking. The following are some of the major blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon Gethsemane as we serve Him in one spirit and with one mind:

  • There has been unity of faith (doctrinal unity) in the church, just as Paul has written in Ephesians 4:4-6, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” Church unity is non-existent when her members quarrel over biblical doctrines. The Lord has blessed our church with doctrinal unity. We have stood together during the period of testing of our confidence in God’s Word. We have affirmed that the Bible is inerrant and infallible forever, because it is inspired and preserved by God. We have one Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ; we have one faith (the Bible); and we function as His body, being strengthened and guided by His blessed Spirit.
  • The doctrinal unity that holds us together in Christ also helps us grow unto greater maturity through the learning and practice of His Word. This blessing is mentioned in Ephesians 4:13, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ”.
  • Our unity has led the church members to mutual ministering through the exercise of their spiritual gifts. This has resulted in brethren being loved, mutually helped and strengthened. This is yet another blessing of a united church mentioned in Ephesians 4:16, “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”
  • Oneness in Christ has kept us together, beyond all our dissimilarities and diversities that could have made for a disunited people. 1 Corinthians 12:12- 14 speak of this blessing: “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.”
  • Finally, the spiritual unity of our church helps us to turn our diversity into opportunity to spread the Gospel of Christ. Our ministries towards the exdrug addicts, Chinese ministry, Filipino ministry, Malayalam fellowship, foreign missions, etc. are the fruits of our unity that helped us to take advantage of the diverse backgrounds of our people. This is a true reflection of what Paul says in Philippians 1:27, “ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel”.

Caution about the Spirit of Disunity

Before I end this pastoral exhortation, I would like to caution all of us against the ploys of our adversary, the devil, who would certainly attempt to sow the seeds of discord to stop us advancing the glory of Christ through our unity. Let there be no bitterness and animosity that would disrupt our loving relationships. Let us be quick to forgive and restore one another if any offences occur among us.

“Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God” (Romans 15:5-7). ■

 

Anniversary Greetings from the Philippines

Dear Pastor, Church Session and beloved brethren of Gethsemane B-P Church (Singapore),

Colossians 2:5; “For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.”

In view of the 29th anniversary of the mother church, I find the words of the apostle Paul fitting as we – your brethren from the mission fields (though miles away!) – rejoice together with you on this happy occasion.

We are witnesses to your good order that is of your unity and singleness of heart in standing for the truth of the Gospel; of your testimony for the power of the Gospel; and of your commitment to pursue the work of the Gospel – from Singapore and into all the world through the work of missions, publication / literature ministry, and the web radio. Blessed be the name of the Lord!

Likewise, we are witnesses to the steadfastness of your faith in the Lord, as manifested in the consistency of your conviction both in principle and practice. Thus, we rejoice and give thanks to the Lord for sustaining and preserving you all these years.

Blessed 29th Anniversary to All!
To God be all the glory!

Yours in Christ,
Rev Reggor B. Galarpe
Gethsemane B-P Church (Cebu)
Cebu City, Philippines

 

 

Pastoral Exhortation