Themes and Messages
Year 2014 : Theme : True Love
Scripture: 1 Tim 1:1-7
· I want to concentrate on v. 5 in our text today.
· It says, “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
· Paul talks about a love that comes from:
1. A pure heart
2. A good conscience
3. A sincere faith.
· That is the true love Paul talks about.
· Timothy was a young man of Jewish and Gentile descent.
· His father was a Greek and his mother was a Jewish Christian.
· He was a native of Lystra (in modern Turkey).
· From childhood he had been taught the Old Testament.
· Paul led him to Christ during his visit to Lystra in his first missionary Journey.
· It is thought that Paul perhaps stayed in the house of Timothy on his first missionary journey.
· He knew his mother and grandmother.
· He mentions Eunice and Lois.
· He commended about their sincere faith.
· He knew how they had instructed Timothy in the word.
· Timothy was just a very young boy in Paul's first journey to Lystra, but evidently at that time made a commitment of his life to Jesus Christ and always held Paul as sort of a hero.
· Fascinated by this man, he looked up to Paul.
· Paul took Timothy along with him on his second missionary journey.
· From then on he was Paul’s constant companion.
· And so he is listed in many of Paul's writings.
· And so now Paul is writing to him and he addresses him as his son in the faith.
· He writes, "To Timothy my true son in the faith."
· And so there was this special relationship that existed between Paul and Timothy, like that of a father and son.
· I believe that Paul saw in Timothy a tremendous potential for one to carry on the ministry once Paul was taken.
· Therefore he poured his life into Timothy and he discipled Timothy.
· The purpose of writing this letter was twofold:
1. To command certain men not to teach false doctrines.
2. To command them not to give attention to myths and endless genealogies.
· This may be mythical stories built on genealogies that later developed into Gnostic philosophical system.
· The central teaching of Gnosticism was that Spirit is entirely good and body is evil.
· Problem with this are many.
· I will just tell you two things:
1. Salvation is the escape from the body, achieved by special knowledge (gnosis) and not by faith.
2. Since body is evil, you can do anything with this body, but your soul will be holy.
· But Paul says in 1 Cor 6:19, “Don't you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself.”
· The whole pupose of his instruction was love.
· The love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith.
1. Our love becomes true only when it comes from a pure heart.
· What do we mean by a pure heart?
· -A clean heart- a righteous heart- A heart in which there is nothing against anybody.
· Practically speaking, when we say or do something, do we do it with good intention?
· It talks about our relationship to others, our attitude in our service.
· Just like mind is the thinking factor, and body is the doing factor, the heart is the deciding factor.
· Mat 15:19 says, Out of the heart comes evil thoughts.”
· We read in Ps. 14:, “The fool says in his heart, there is not God.”
· The heart can be hardened – We have the example of Pharaoh’s heart that was hardened against the people of Israel.
· One can hate the other in the heart.
· Heart can be full of evil.
· Heart can turn away from God.
· We can loose our heart on account of negative criticism and discouragement.
· We can close our heart toward God.
· We can also be callous in our hearts.
· Finally we can be heartless too!
· Lam 4:3 says, “My people have become heartless.”
· David prayed once: “Create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit within me.”
· That’s why Paul instructs Timothy that the love must generate from a pure heart.
· if we want to sum up all of the commandments, it's summed up in that; loving, loving God and loving one another.
· That's what it's all about.
· That's what God desires of us - Loving with a pure heart.
2. Our love becomes genuine if it comes from a good conscience.
· In 2 Cor 1:12, we read that our conscience testifies our behavior.
· It is our relationship to ourselves – Are we aware of ourselves?
· Who are we?
· What are we?
· Are we doing the right thing?
· Are we doing right thing?
· The Bible says that our conscience can be weak.
· It can be defiled.
· It can be guilty.
· It can be corrupted.
· That is why Paul instructs Timothy that love must from a good conscience.
· The love that comes from a corrupted conscience will corrupt everybody.
· Paul says in Acts 24:16, “I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and men.”
· In Heb 9:14 we read that the blood of Christ will cleanse our conscience from acts that leads to death.
· So we must examine ourselves whether there is any act that may lead to our spiritual death.
· We must possess aa conscience void of offence towards God and men.
3. Our Love becomes true only when it comes from a sincere faith.
· It talks about our relationship to God.
· Bible says that
· We can break faith with God.
· We can become weak in our faith.
· We can be very little in our faith.
· We can have lack of faith.
· We can become doubtful in faith.
· We can become unsound in faith.
· We can even renounce our faith in God
· That is why Paul instructs Timothy that the true love must come from a sincere faith.
· Paul says that some have turned away from this genuine love.
· Paul teaches Timothy in his very young age that his love must come from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith.
· That’s what the Lord wants us to have in our lives too.
· Such a love will always build up and encourage others and enhance the work of God.
· May the Lord help to be people of true love that comes from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith!
Year 2013 : Theme : Hold Fast The Profession Of Our Faith
Is it possible for us as young people to live a holy and exemplary life in this post-modern age where we see a lot of crime, corruption, injustice and violence? We live now in a period of godless and wicked generation. Anarchy in Government and chaos in the lives of people are seen all over. The scientists and top statesmen talk openly about the death of civilization, the energy crisis, population explosion and the threat of a nuclear holocaust. We go through economic crisis and a jobless situation of all times. Today religious fanaticism is intensifying, terrorism is getting higher, cyber crimes are increasing, moral standard is declining, and we have come to a point where human life has no value. In the words of Apostle Paul ‘a crooked and perverse generation’ (Philippians 2:15) is on the rise.
What should be our response to this as Christian young people? I am convinced that our response to this is to live a corporate and individual life that is acceptable to God as well as to our fellow beings. Show the whole world through our lives that there is a group of young people who live and work for peace, justice, truth, love and harmony. Rather than conforming to the pattern of this world, let us be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2). As an example, we see an Enoch in the Old Testament who walked with God and pleased Him in the midst of an unholy generation (Gen 5:21-24; Heb 11:5-6). God wants us to live a blameless and pure life without fault (Philippians 2:15).
How is it possible? Apostle Paul was very sure that it would be possible when he wrote to young Timothy about it (1 Timothy 4:12-16). He admonished Timothy that he should not allow anyone to look down on him because he was young. We give an occasion for people to despise our youth if we indulge ourselves in youthful vanities and follies. How to live a young life that will not give any occasion for others to despise? What should we do that others may not look down on our youthfulness? First, we must set an example in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity (v.12). Our speech must be edifying, love must be expressed in charity, faith must be in action and our purity must be according to the standard of God’s holiness. Many do it today according to their own conviction, but our speech, life, love and holiness must be according to God’s standard which is revealed in the Holy Scriptures. Second, we must devote ourselves in public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching (v.13). We must read God’s Word and expound it by teaching others both what to do and what to believe. Many read God’s Word just for a solace, but rather we must read it with joy knowing that it is something to be lived by. Third, we should not neglect our gift (v. 14). If we ignore and do not use the gift of God, they will become weak and we will loose them at the end which will cause others to despise us. As young people, we must use the gifts and talents that we receive from the Lord for his glory and for the benefit of others. Fourth, we should work hard and give ourselves completely to the things of God so that everyone may see our progress (v. 15). When others observe that we as young people are serious in the work of God, working hard and thus progressing well in life, love, faith, and holiness which bring benefits to them, there is no chance for others to despise our young life. Finally, we must watch our life and doctrine closely and preserve in them (v. 16). We are engaged in saving work – our main responsibility is to snatch many out of fire whether in our schools, colleges, neighborhood, work place or public places. So we must give heed to ourselves first to practice what we preach. There should not be any disparity between what we preach and how we live. If our life and doctrine go together, we will become an instrument to bring about the salvation of others.
Friends, it is possible for ordinary people like us to live a holy life. We have many heroes of faith who had gone before us as examples. Do you still have doubt? Look back to the lives of our forefathers who left their houses, properties, wealth, possessions like gold, silver and other inheritance for the sake of Christ to stand firm in the faith that they professed in Christ Jesus. May the Lord help us to walk in constant fellowship with Him even in hostile environment so that no one may despise our youth!
By Mathew Philip
Year 2012 : The Purity and Dignity of Sexual Love
Introduction The Purity of Sexual Love Conclusion
Song of Songs 3:5 reads as follows, “Daughters of Jerusalem I charge you By the gazelles and by the does of the field:Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.” Bible talks about the purity and dignity of human love. God entrusted with his created human beings a lot of good qualities. One such quality is ‘sexual love.’ It is the quality to maintain intimate relationship, but this quality has been distorted due to human sin. We will see how God wants us to maintain the purity and dignity of human love.
The book of the Song of Songs is love poetry. This is a series of poems that speaks of the passion, the commitment, and the struggle of two lovers. Both Jewish and Christian scholars had questioned the inclusion of the Song in the Bible from time to time. It is because of many explicit erotic descriptions in the Song. Their argument is that the Song talks about ‘lips’, ‘kisses’, ‘breasts’, ‘love’, but does not mention God even once. How could such a sexually explicit book be included in the Holy Scriptures? We must know that sometime in history, the Song enjoyed popularity and wide distribution among the Jews. The Song also received the endorsement of their Rabbis and religious leaders. The Song is, in many ways, like other ancient Near East love poetry.
We should know that the Song of Songs is not an ordinary love poem. It reflects a different set of theological and moral values from that of other ancient love poems. These values are consistent with those of the whole Bible. It is not a pornographic literary effort. It contains values found in the rest of the Bible. Therefore the Song is not a mere secular love song. It is a “God-breathed” like other Biblical books. It is right that it be included into the Canon. God wanted His people to know clearly how love should be expressed in their lives.
Bible & Sex
The sexuality in the Song should not come as a surprise. While the Bible gives emphasis to moral values, it also speaks of human sexuality. Right in the first book of the Bible, it tells us that God created sexual beings – male and female (Genesis 1:28). The purpose of the creation of sexual beings is clear – They are meant to have sexual union. The sexual union is not only for procreation, but also an experience of physical as well as spiritual unity. When Adam first met Eve, he expressed his excitement without any reservation or embarrassment: “This is bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh.” (Gen. 2:23). Genesis says that both were naked, but they were not ashamed (Gen. 2:24). God never considered sex “bad” or “shameful.” In fact, it is one of the things that make God’s creation “very good.”
Is Sexual pleasure dirty or naughty?
The Bible does not see sexual pleasure as a dirty or naughty thing. On the contrary it tells us to enjoy it. Proverbs.5:18-19 says, “Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice with the wife of your youth.” Why does the Bible, then, often give an impression that sex is “bad”? Well, this can be traced all the way to Genesis 3. In Eden the beauty of sexual union was marred by Adam’s and Eve’s disobedience. The couple was expelled from the Garden of Eden because of their disobedience to God’s command. Outside Eden, sex has been subjected to all sorts of abuse. The Bible records how sex was abused by Abraham (with Hagar); Judah (with Tamar); Leah & Rachel (to manipulate Jacob); David (with Bathsheba); Solomon (with his 1000 wives) and so on. Whether in the name of procreation or mere pleasure, sex has been misused, exploited, commercialized and even perverted. It is not sex itself that the Bible condemns, but the abuse of sex or illicit sex. God has meant, since the creation that sex is to be enjoyed within a parameter, that is, marriage. We see this parameter stated clearly in the Old Testament. In Moses’ law, sex is said to be maintained for marriage. For example, Deut. 22:13ff says that brides are required to show their virginity at their marriage. God repeats the same parameter in the New Testament – “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer” (Heb. 13:4). This parameter is an indication and assurance that in the fallen world it is still possible to legitimately enjoy God’s gift of sex. To a Christian, it is more than legitimate. It is also part of the experience of Christ’s redemption. As Christ’s redemption includes all aspects of life – spiritual, emotional and physical – it is safe to say that sexual union is also redeemed. Thus The Song of Songs provides a picture of the redeemed sexuality. Its portrayal of love indicates the return of sex to Eden. And this happens only in the marriage bed. In a legitimate married life, there is no shame, fear, and tension. All sexual unions outside the frame work of marriage have had created a lot of havoc in the life of individuals, families, churches, and society. But God’s provision for human beings is great. Thus we see that human love has such high priority in God’s plan. That’s why God inspired the human author to devote a book just for it. Thus the Song of Songs is purely about the dignity and purity of sexual love.
Verse5 (cf. 2:7) says that this love should not be aroused or awakened until it so desires. Out of the beloved’s (girl) experience of love comes wise admonition that love is not to be artificially stimulated. Utter spontaneity is essential to its genuine truth and beauty. That happens only in the marriage bed, and not in the harlot’s house. Going after anyone other than your married partner for sexual pleasure is sexual immorality. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7 says, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God … For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.” So everyone must patiently wait and control his or her body with the help of the Holy Spirit for the day of marriage for genuine sexual pleasure. Joseph of the Old Testament was very careful about sexual indulgence in his master’s house when he had to confront Potiphar’s wife. Let your marriage be honored by all, and the marriage bed be kept pure. Apostle Paul admonishes us that it is better to develop a permanent relationship with a wife or husband than to lapse into sexual sin.
The Song is very much relevant today! A lot of changes are happening around us due to modernization. Today we get our sex education from schools and have access to sex information on the Internet and other forms of media. Past generation expected virginity, many young people today think it is out of date. Culturally in many countries, pre-marital sex is still forbidden, but in reality it is a common secret to taste the forbidden fruit. It is also common knowledge that abortion and divorce rates are on the rise in many parts of the world. There comes the importance of the Song of Solomon! What does the Song teach us? The celebration of human intimacy can be enjoyed within a parameter, which is marriage. Until then, never arouse it or awaken it. Trust the Lord; He will help you in times of temptations and enticement. So, each one must control his or her body. Our body is not for sexual immorality, but for the Lord (1 Co.6:13). 1Co.6:18: “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit …”
The Purity of Sexual Love
By Mathew Philip
A Mothers' Day Wish!
Compiled by Evg. Joseph Thomas Mathew
A mother is a treasure that all possess but few cherish. Right from childhood, a mother has nurtured us and made us what we are. Through good times and bad, a mother is the one person who is sure to be by our side, holding our hand and leading us away from trouble. Though you may complain that your mother is nagging, exacting, demanding, annoying and judgmental, you are certain to miss her sorely when she is not around.
Being a mother forges a bond with the offspring that few can understand. Though a child leaves his/her mother when he/she grows up, however the bond forged is a mysterious one, never to be broke. There is nothing as pure or powerful as mother's love
4 Years Of Age - My Mommy can do anything;
8 Years Of Age - My Mom knows a lot! A whole lot
12 Years Of Age -My Mother doesn't really know quite everything.
14 Years Of Age -Naturally, Mother doesn't know that, either
16 Years Of Age -Mother? She's hopelessly old-fashioned
18 Years Of Age -That old woman? She's way out of date
25 Years Of Age -Well, she might know a little bit about it
35 Years Of Age -Before we decide, let's get Mom's opinion
45 Years Of Age -Wonder what Mom would have thought about it
65 Years Of Age -Wish, I could talk it over with Mom
Honor your father and mother so that you may live long in the land of the living!
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