Today we went to the Evangelical Church of Bangkok. The walk was fifteen minutes which is good because we walked a lot yesterday and our feet were sore. This week our church service will be in English.
The ushers wanted to know how many in our party and put us in seats near the front.
Ordinarily we would have sat on the back row. I read recently that loneliness and lack of connectedness is epidemic in our world. Church should not be THAT place. Closeness should be our hallmark.
When we sang songs and the words appeared on the screen, the scripture that the song is based on was written on the screen as well. I love it we are speaking the truth of scripture in our songs.
When the Lord’s prayer was to begin, the leader asked us to get into a position of prayer. Most of us bowed out heads, others on their knees, etc. After each phrase of the Lord’s prayer, he elaborated on the topic and included relevant requests and petitions.
Once done he asked if anyone would be leaving the congregation to return home, leave for work, etc. in January. He asked them to stand, and we prayed for them to be a light in their new home. Others around them laid their hands on them.
Pastor Rene Dekker was the musician who led us in western songs that Chris Tomlin has made famous. He also gave announcements:
- House of Prayer on Wednesday nights
- Get the ECB Mobile App for sermon notes plus announcements. I think that digital means are the future in worship.
- Marketplace Sunday will highlight 15 mission organizations to which you can avail yourself.
- The Crosstown Program invests in children who are the current and future lights of the world.
- During the Advent season, a group from a closed access country came to worship, choirs sang in neighborhoods and
Christmas bags were given out.
The whole service is an offering to God…our praying and singing and monies. There was a responsive reading about praise offerings.
During the money collection a video was played which talked about love with relevant scriptures. Love moved God to action. Love held Jesus to the cross. Love is always His default. The Bible is God’s love story. If our expressions of love are not genuine, we are just making noise.
Sermon: Pastor Dennis Whalen.
- Who do you want me to be?
- Where do you want me to go?
- What do you want me to do?
In the next three weeks, we will be addressing these three points. We will just speak about the first one today. To this point, God wants us to be an Encourager, Expector, and Ehbed (or servant)
Scripture: Titus 2:11-14, 3:1-2
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.
Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.
Paul is instructing Titus. Titus is often overshadowed by Timothy, but he is told to go to the Crete Christians and straighten them out and get them back on track. That’s a big job.
The book of Titus is detailed and practical. It deals with love, leadership, and life.
Chapter one deals with the church. Chapter two deals with social issues. Chapter three is personal in nature.
God’s word is our standard. We are not to live what is right in our own eyes but right in the sight of God. We can never do it ourselves. There isn’t a balance that weighs the good deeds against the bad deeds. God knows our hearts.
Our words should be the proof of our hearts. In Ephesians 4:29, it says
Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
Words can encourage, add courage or discourage. The ultimate compliment would be “I heard Jesus speaking through the words you said.”
2 Timothy 3:15-17
and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
We need the Word of God to feed and fill us. Words are important. Here are verses about words in just two books of the Bible.
The pastor illustrated this point by having a glass of water filled to the brim. He said that it could be an illustration of each of us. When we get bumped, whatever you are filled with will spill out. If you are filled with the word of God, your overflow of God’s word will spill out. What are you filled with when you get bumped?
Here is another illustration: Try to hold your open Bible with one finger. Impossible. It takes all five fingers to have a firm grasp of God’s word. Each finger is necessary.
- Study and Meditate
The Greek word Logos refers to the whole word of God being compared to a deep well of water.
The word Rhema refers to specific words of God that speak to you personally. It is like drawing a bucket of water from that well.
Our words matter. They can be rays of hope, healing and love. Or they can do the opposite. The world watches what we do and say.
When the communists were knocking on the door of Vietnam, one Christian started to put Bibles in clay pots and buried them because he knew that it would be impossible for new Christians to get a copy of the Bible under communist rule.
When others were leaving Vietnam in 1975, he chose to stay behind because he was the only one who knew where those Bibles were buried. Between 1975-1990, Christianity grew dramatically. When a person would come to Christ, they would go dig up the Word of God together.
Jesus is coming back. In the Old Testament, there are over 1,800 verses referring to His second coming. In the New Testament, there are over 300. In the 27 books of the New Testament, the second coming is mentioned in 23 of the books.
and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
The pastor’s wife had been gone for a while taking care of ill family members. He can remember waiting at the airport for her return with great excitement and anticipation. This should pale in comparison to the excitement and anticipation of the second coming of Jesus for the Christian.
The second coming won’t be a quiet humble event revealed to a few like the first time but a dramatic worldwide event revealed to all mankind.
From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.
Jesus, our only hope, is coming. Our experience at that time will be based on our acceptance of the first coming. Always look for opportunities for telling others about Jesus.
Servant or better yet, Ehbed.
1 Peter 2:16
Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God.
Matthew 5:13 tells us that we are the salt of the earth. God’s people are called to be different. We are Ehbed.
Ehbed refers to the servant who chooses to remain with his master even though he has been freed. Christians are Ehbed. Jesus has set us free and we want to stay with Him.
We are embarking on a new year and a new decade. What will Ehbed look like for you in 2020?
He is my king and I will serve Him not out of duty but out of love and thankfulness.
It is summed up in Joshua 24:15:
“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”