Pastoral Exhortation

Greetings from Perth!

Written by Rev (Dr) Prabhudas Koshy Sunday, 10 July 2016

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Dear brethren,

Greetings from Perth, where I have been ministering God’s Word, together with my wife Carolyn, to the brethren of Bible-Presbyterian Church of Western Australia. The church camp ended on Thursday afternoon. The study of the Word was based on the theme, “Sanctified and Meet for the Master’s Use”, taken from 2 Timothy 2:21. The Lord has helped me to preach altogether 9 sermons on the theme in the camp, including the sermon during the last Lord’s Day service. I am personally blessed to have an opportunity to study, understand, and preach on that particular theme – firstly for my own sanctification and profitable use in the Lord’s Hand, and secondly for all the people of God gathered in the BPCWA Church Camp. Carolyn, who taught the children during the camp on the same theme, also rejoices in His enabling grace that strengthened her to serve Him.

Here in the camp, we also had the company of the Cho family (Wai Mun, Jolyne and Benjamin), and Sis Elizabeth Poon from our church, and a couple of families from Truth B-P Church, Singapore. Bro Benjamin Cho will be enrolling in a university here to pursue his studies; so we thank God that he can find pastoral care and church fellowship in BPCWA.

I write this letter on Friday morning from the church’s guest house (named Jeremiah House), where we will be staying till we return to Singapore on Tuesday (12th July). I have several more scheduled programmes of teaching God’s Word to fulfil before I return - a family seminar (with three sessions over two days), a combined fellowship gathering, and a Church Session retreat. I am grateful to know that you have been praying for our ministries here earnestly. We too pray daily for all the ministries of our church and all of you.

I take this time to convey the greetings of Rev & Mrs Joseph Poon, together with the brethren of BPCWA, to all of you. God willing, I will be with you during this Tuesday Night Prayer Meeting.

Meanwhile, may the following exhortations strengthen you in your pursuit of God. I am sharing them that you may be further encouraged to seek a closer walk with the Lord.

Yearn for God

Cultivate a deep desire for God like the psalmist who said, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee” (Psalm 73:25). The psalmist, by using a very persuasive Hebrew device of a question and an assertion, here expresses his deep and firm love for God. He is supremely satisfied in God. He desires no one more than the LORD whom he has been trusting. Such should be the sentiment of every child of God towards God.

By asking “Whom have I in heaven but thee?”, the psalmist exalts God above all the angels and the souls of the departed who are in God’s presence. None of the angels – not even the archangel – is worthy of such complete trust and adoration which the psalmist has for God.

Similar sentiments of affection and adulation towards the matchless greatness and glory of the exalted God of heaven have been confessed by many of His servants. Moses said, “O Lord GOD, thou hast begun to shew thy servant thy greatness, and thy mighty hand: for what God is there in heaven or in earth, that can do according to thy works, and according to thy might” (Deuteronomy 3:24)? King Solomon testified, “LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart” (1 Kings 8:23). Similarly, Job affirmed in the face of mistrust and false accusations, “Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high” (Job 16:19). The psalmist also openly sang, “For who in the heaven can be compared unto the LORD? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the LORD” (Psalm 89:6)?

Truly, “great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods” (1 Chronicles 16:25). May we, too, “praise the name of the LORD: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven” (Psalm 148:13).

The unparalleled greatness and goodness of our God also cause the psalmist to unequivocally declare, “there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.” He would go to no one but his God for the help he needs. He is assured that the God of heaven is very gracious and will condescend to aid him in all his difficulties and struggles. The matchless greatness and goodness of God make His child crave for His presence and support. May we truly say, “The Lord is with me; I am satisfied in Him.

Others may depart, but you must draw unto the Lord

The apostle Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68b). These were the words of Peter to the Lord Jesus Christ at a time when “many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him” (John 6:66). The Lord Jesus then confronted the twelve: “Will ye also go away” (John 6:67)? It is in answer to this query that Peter, with his characteristic fervour and promptness, declared: “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.”

Many followers of Christ had been offended at His doctrine. They used their own feeble sense, without the aid of the Holy Spirit, to judge His wondrous words of life. So they ended up saying, “This is a hard saying; who can hear it?” (John 6:60). They were not saying that His saying was hard to understand, but that it was hard for them to agree with or accept. His words were displeasing to their unbelieving hearts. They took offence at His statement: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life, in you” (John 6:53). They misrepresented His doctrine by critically looking at the “letter” of His profound saying, without perceiving the “spirit” of His words. How rash and foolish of them to choose to leave Him immediately! If only they had a little more patience to tarry with Christ!

Upon their departure, Jesus turned His attention to the twelve. The sudden departure of the multitude must have troubled the disciples. However, Jesus asked the bewildered disciples a probing question: “Will ye also go away?” He tested the genuineness of their decision to stay with Him. He wanted them to affirm their faith in Him and renew their allegiance to Him. The Lord compelled none to remain with Him against their will. He wanted each of them to make his choice whether to follow Him or not. Yet even among the twelve, there was one who would leave the Lord in order to betray Him (cf. John 6:70, 71).

When faced with the departures and betrayals of nominal Christians, we should not be unduly alarmed. Like Peter, we should seize the opportunity to reaffirm our faith and commitment to Christ. We too must boldly make our confession: “Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” Let us also have a firm resolution to adhere to Christ, our only Saviour and Lord. We ought to follow our Lord even when others leave Him. We seek no other companion more than our Saviour and Lord.