Why We Must Stand with Israel

On Thursday, several of our pastors and I were invited to attend and celebrate Israel’s 68th Independence Day with the Jewish community. If my memory serves me well, this is probably the 6th or 7th time that I’ve attended one of these functions, but this time it was a little different.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a growing number of prominent Christians present and the role they play in the support of Israel, which is heartening. Now you might have a different opinion on the matter from me but personally, I believe that one of the reasons why Singapore has been so blessed as a nation and in such a short span of time, has to do with the fact that our nation has always been friendly towards Israel and in many ways, a blessing to her.

The Lord promised many centuries ago, through the Patriarch Abraham and said to him, “Whoever blesses you, I will bless; whoever curses you, I will curse.” Gen 12:3 Without any fear of exaggeration, one of the key reasons for God’s continual favour over Singapore is because of our warm ties with Israel. I personally believe that the Jewish person who has crossed your path is not an accident. It was Winston Churchill who once said that no thoughtful man can deny the fact that the Jews are, beyond any question, the most formidable and remarkable race in the world.

In Matthew 25, we find a cluster of three parables, all having a common thread. Basically, they give us an idea of what we’re to expect when Jesus returns, how He’ll judge the Church and nations and how He rewards them as well. The parables are addressed to three different groups of people. Now the people in all the parables seemingly believed the same things, so it’s not a matter of what we believe in this instance. Is that important? Definitely yes! But in this scenario, it’s not what we believe but what we do with what we believe. It’s important what we do because one of the questions we’ll be asked on that Day is what we did with the life He gave us. And heaven forbid that we reply – do what?

The first parable is the Parable of the 10 Virgins and this parable is addressed to the Church. In the parable, all the virgins wanted to be part of the wedding. But we’re told that five were wise and five were foolish. Now all 10 virgins, which is a type of the believer in Scripture, slept. So we must watch the spirit of slumber. Then we’re introduced to the third group of people in the story – the cry of the midnight caller: “Behold the bridegroom is coming.” They’re not asleep. Now the wise ones had oil in their lamps. In other words, they had reserves. So it’s wisdom for us to be prepared.

Now why did the wise virgins prepare and take oil? Because they didn’t know when the Master was coming back, and so prepared themselves. The foolish virgins thought that He was coming back immediately and did not prepare. All the virgins believed in the bridegroom and all believed that He was coming back. One group prepared for it, but not the other. The lack of preparedness cost them everything.

The second parable is the Parable of the Talents and this parable is directed to the servants of the Lord – the ministers of the Gospel. And it’s about productiveness. The master had entrusted his business to three servants. A talent in those days was quite a sum of money. The first servant makes five talents from the five he was given and was richly rewarded. The second servant made two talents and he too was richly rewarded. But the third servant didn’t do anything with his talent. He didn’t lose the talent; he didn’t steal it; he didn’t waste it; he didn’t consume it. He just didn’t bother to use it. And what happened to him? He’s cast into outer darkness. That’s not a nice place to be for eternity.

The third parable is an actual scenario. It’s more an account of how the Lord will judge the nations when He returns. We’re told that when Jesus returns to this planet, He’s going to return to His throne in Jerusalem, not Canterbury, Tulsa, or Springfield. The nations are gathered before Him and He’ll separate the nations as a man separates sheep from the goats. And what’s the criterion of separation? On what basis is the Lord going to judge and separate the nations? The answer to that is how we treat the least of His brethren. Make no mistake about it, His brethren here is a direct reference to the Jewish people.

There’s no ambiguity about this. How we treat the Jew is going to be the plumb-line, the yardstick of measurement to how He’ll treat and reward us. We’re blessed as we bless Israel, and vice versa. How we treat the Jewish people is one of the plumb-lines that God is establishing in His Church today, much like the “Hyper Grace Message”, “Prosperity Gospel”, or LGBT issues. It’d be good for us to remember those haunting words by the German Theologian, Martin Niemoller who wrote those oft quoted words directed to the complacent onlookers as Hitler’s Nazis unleashed terror and destruction upon the human race, starting with the Jews. He wrote and I quote, “First, they came for the Jews and I did not speak out because I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists and I did not speak out because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists and I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”

 

Pastor Yang Tuck Yoong

Season of Transition

Have you been following the Hashtag 365 Bible-reading Plan? It’s highly recommended since it helps to provide a blueprint for what God is speaking and doing in the church today. How many sermons or messages have you heard that speak of a “new season” or an arising Joshua Generation? This new generation of leadership has many insightful parallels and lessons that speak to our day. Are we discerning the Lord’s voice; are we perceiving that new thing God is about to do (Isaiah 43:19)?

The leadership mantle was now transitioning to Joshua. He assumed the responsibility in taking Israel forward into their inheritance as they continued their pursuit towards Zion. Israel was given this opportunity 38 years earlier but failed at Kadesh-Barnea due to a lack of faith. How would they succeed this time? What keys can we gain from their read more…

Success Comes In “Cans”

This weekend is all about souls and the value that God places on each individual person. 
I don’t know of anybody who can stir us up in evangelism like our speaker this weekend, J John.

Did you know that when you get to heaven, you’ll see many amazing things? But one thing you’ll never ever see again is a non-Christian. That’s a scary thought isn’t it? Five minutes inside eternity, I believe each of us would wish we had sacrificed more, prayed more, loved more, sweated more, wept more, and grieved more for souls. We cannot be the foolish son who sleeps during harvest time. We must be urgent to do the work of evangelism.

I remember Pastor Nicky Raiborde telling a story of a friend of his who lived in this apartment block. There were 40 families living in the block read more…

A Response to a Misleading Lie

There’s been a disturbing video that’s been making its rounds, promoting a Christian lady who’s a lesbian and Christian at the same time. She’s promoting the virtue of being a happy homosexual Christian.

I find this very disturbing and misleading, and I felt that it’d make a good teaching moment for us to draw a clear dichotomy between the two. Let me put it in simple and unambiguous terms: A homosexual Christian is an oxymoron. You cannot live a lifestyle that the Bible condemns and say you’re a believer in Jesus Christ at the same time. It’s not only theologically-unsound; it’s deceptive for untaught people watching it. So I feel it’s only right for me to respond to this, since the video was launched in public square.

The first thing we need to understand as believers is that her misleading testimony represents read more…

Principles To Live By

“But he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, for the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall not return that way again.’ Neither shall he multiply wives for himself, lest his heart turn away; nor shall he greatly multiply silver and gold for himself.” Deuteronomy 17:16-17

These were the principles that were given by the Lord for kings that they should live by. They were instructed that they should not multiply for themselves horses, wives and wealth. The horses here speak about power and might, as in the ancient days, the most formidable forces in one’s army is the cavalry. I’ve heard these things said many times and in various ways, that the three principle temptations in any man’s life are exactly these three things – guns, girls and read more…

Success In Failure

Peter denied the Lord three times. The moment of denial was not muted or silent. Instead the Bible tells us that it was vehement. Matthew tells us that he made an oath, cursed and swore that he did not know Jesus. 

I’ve often looked upon the accounts of Peter’s denial with mixed emotions. If there is one thing that is certain, I do not want to be in Peter’s shoes. I look at it with much trepidation wondering if like Peter, my mistakes and failures are recorded somewhere in heaven where someday everyone may read about them. I would rather my mistakes and failures are covered and concealed than for them to become object lessons for the saints of God for all eternity.

Yet on the flip side of the coin, Peter’s life gives me great encouragement. I see a man flawed read more…

Outrageous Declarations

One of the things we’ve been exploring in the church is the subject of Decrees and Faith-filled Prayer. We realise the stakes are much higher today and with the threat of terrorism, wars, famines, you name it, the Church needs to up the ante. We cannot stay neutral, static and apathetic. We must engage and engage strongly. I was reading the latest post by Dutch Sheets, a mentor and dear friend, and he was speaking along the same lines. I’ve taken excerpts of his brilliant piece to share with you because I sense an increase in authority coming to the Church.

This is Dutch:
“Throughout my lifetime of prayer, the Lord has asked me to pray some pretty outrageous prayers, and make some extremely bold prophetic decrees. I wish I could say that in each instance I was full of read more…

Blessed Resurrection

One of the great misfortunes of society today, and more so in the West, is to have been more influenced by Greek thought and culture than Hebrew thought. This can be demonstrated in many aspects of life, including politics, architecture, leisure, sport – you name it. One of the things that the Greeks believed was that the body and the soul were two separate entities. The flesh was synonymous with evil, and thus, the body could be indulged, idolised or ignored. According to Greek thought, human beings are basically immortal souls imprisoned with mortal bodies. This restricts our development and we cannot realise our full potential until we’re liberated from our physical mortality. This can be partly achieved by treating the body with contempt, either in a disciplined or dissolute manner. However, it’s death that brings total and final release. read more…

From Faith to Faith

I’ve misplaced my spectacles on several occasions. Haven’t you? Each time I lose it, l search frantically where I might have left or dropped it. And often, I’ve no rest until I find it. So I’ll turn the house upside down to try and locate it, and then I’d come to my senses, sit down, and say to the Lord, “I don’t know where my glasses are but You do. Show me where it is.” And each time, in just a matter of an hour, the Lord shows me where it is, and it’s always there. Never failed. Not once.

So this time round, I was in the Bible College of Wales and I misplaced my glasses… again. I spent over an hour trying to search for it, but in vain. So I sit as I always do and say to read more…

Delighting in the Word

Can we ever over-emphasize the need to be trained and equipped? Whether it concerns our secular employment or our personal growth – it’s my staunch belief that if we’re not progressing, then we’re regressing. As the old Chinese idiom goes, “Learning is like sailing against the current – if the boat is not advancing, then it’ll be carried backward by the currents.”

I want to present to you several Scriptures for your consideration: “Be diligent to present yourself approved by God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” 2 Tim 2:15; “That we should not no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.” Eph 4:14; “For everyone who partakes only of milk is read more…

A Mindset to Prevail

On 9 September 1965, while flying his Douglas 1-4 Skyhawk over North Vietnam, James Stockdale came under enemy fire and his plane was disabled. He ejected from his plane and parachuted into a small village where he was captured and held as a prisoner of war for the next seven and a half years. During the time of his imprisonment, he was tortured no fewer than 15 times. He was beaten, whipped and strangled with ropes. He was kept in solitary confinement, in total darkness, for four years, chained in heavy, abrasive leg irons for two years, malnourished due to starvation, denied medical care, and deprived of letters from home.

Being the highest-ranked POW during that period of time, the Vietnamese tried on several occasions to use him as propaganda and in order to prevent them from doing that, he would read more…

Watch Your Words

There are some things that are worth reminding ourselves of on a regular basis and one of the those things is the power of our words. Here are some quotations for your enjoyment – “Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plants the seeds of either success or failure in the mind of another.” ~ Napoleon Hill; “Words are like eggs dropped from great heights; you can no more call them back nor ignore the mess that they leave when they fall.” ~ Jodi Picoult

More importantly, the Bible tells us over and over again the importance of governing our words, because of the power that’s contained in the words that we speak. Our words have the power to change our world, affect lives, give hope and inspire to action. At the same time, they can crush read more…

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