Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Sunday School Lesson

July 4, 2010

Title: Freedom

• Today, we commemorate the Declaration of Independence in 1776, declaring Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.
• John Adams told his wife Abigail that Independence Day “ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
• Thinking about Independence, freedom, and liberty, I would like to remind us that the LORD God is the source of freedom. I would like to talk about three kinds of freedom: national freedom, physical freedom, and most importantly, the spiritual freedom.

I. National Freedom

God gives freedom to a nation. When the children of Israel cried unto the Lord because of the hard bondage they experienced from the hands of the Egyptians, God heard them (Ex. 1:13-14; 2:23-25). And so God called and sent Moses to the Pharaoh of Egypt and told him: “Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let my people go, that they may serve me” (5:1; 8:1; 9:1). This phrase was repeated many times until Pharaoh could no longer take hold of them.
That released/freedom/liberty was a testimony to the true and living God of the children of Israel. This should be the purpose of a nation that experienced freedom. To thank Him, praise, worship and serve Him!
Psalm 33:12 tells us “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.”
In the last stanza of “The Star-Spangled Banner”, the national anthem of America promotes praise and trust to God. I wish that this stanza will be sung in public places. I think they only sing the first stanza.
Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
There are people who want to take God out of the picture of their freedom; not knowing that without God, freedom would not have been possible. In 1962, the Supreme Court has taken out prayer in public schools. Just like the children of Israel in Exodus 32:4-8. Instead of recognizing God who delivered them from Egypt, they made an idol, a golden calf, worshiped and proclaimed that it was the one that delivered them from Egypt. They had easily forgotten the afflictions they experienced in Egypt.
How sad! We need to always pray that the United States of America, as a nation might not forget the One, that’s God, who gave liberty in this land. Again we need to remember what John Adams told to his wife that Independence Day “ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.”
Samuel Francis Smith who wrote the song, “My Country, “’Tis of Thee,” recognized the LORD who gave this freedom in this country. In the fourth stanza, this is what he said:
“Our fathers God, to Thee, Author of liberty, To thee we sing:
Long may our land be bright With freedom’s holy light
Protect us by Thy might, Great God, our King!

II. Physical freedom.
In this world we are not immune to pain. There is pain that comes from sickness, calamities, and troubles. Yes, let’s thank the Lord when He delivers us from danger, physical malady, accidents, sickness, and even from death. Some people have been battling with cancer for a long time.
But the glorious liberty for our bodies and for this material world is yet to come.
Romans 8:23 tells us that when Christ returns, we will experience the glorious freedom from sin, Satan and physical decay. We will have perfect and glorified bodies. Then at the millennium, this present world/creation will be liberated from its bondage to decay.
This material world is in pain. The Bible says in Romans 8:22 that “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain until now“
We have oil spill in Louisiana – some wildlife creatures there are in pain. This present earth is in bondage of corruption (decaying) because of sin. But someday God will establish a “new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21:1; cf 2 Peter 3:7-13). Since God’s program of salvation for people is one of a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17), the physical world will also be re-created (Rev.21:5)
Let us serve the Lord diligently while waiting for that new and glorified body that He will give us.

III. Spiritual freedom
In Galatians 5:1, The Lord gave them spiritual liberty from the yoke of the Mosaic law. But the problem is that they were accepting the false gospel of law-keeping. The cause was some Jewish -“Christian” teachers who came to Galatia taught that a Christian is justified by keeping the Jewish ceremonial law (Gal. 3:3), including circumcision (5:2-4) and observing “days, months, times and years” (4:10).
There are religions today that teach that in order for man to be saved is to add the laws in the O.T. to their faith (e.g. 7th Day Adventist). They are going back to religious slavery. But Paul wrote this epistle and taught them that a man is justified by faith and not by works of the law (Gal.2:16).

This is the charter of Christian Independence.
We are free from the curse of the law because Christ became a curse for us (Gal.3:13). He redeemed us from the curse of the law. Jesus gave his life a “ransom” for us (Mt. 20:28). Ransom is a price of release – a payment to result the release of slaves or captives from bondage. We are therefore to serve the Lord because we are the Lord’s freeman – a servant of the Lord. Every Christian should realize that he is Christ’s slave and needs render obedience to Him (cf. Mt. 11:28-30).

I Cor. 7:22, is the reference to one freed by the Lord from the bondage of sin. “People are captives under the power of sin and death (Rom. 5:12; 6:20) from which they cannot free themselves. The Lord freed us from the dominion of sin.
Christian liberty is “freedom from the dominion of corrupt desires, so that we do by the free impulse of the soul what the will of God requires.” (Gal. 5:13)
Note the chaos life when a person is a servant of his flesh (Gal. 5:19-21). Do not use your liberty as a license to fulfill the lust of the flesh. But you have now the freedom to live unto God; to obey the truth; to apply his word; To serve God by serving one another. Let us allow ourselves to be filled/controlled with the Holy Spirit (Gal.5:22ff). Because the Bible says in 2 Cor. 3:17, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty.”

The merciful God who is the author of freedom must be served. We must serve the Lord who has given us freedom. Following the Lord; serving Him is a liberating experience. Abiding in His Word continues to make you free from sin. Jesus said: “If you continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” That’s why James called the Word of God “the perfect law of liberty” (James 1:25). The law that brings freedom.
President George W. Bush once said: “ . . . a symbol of freedom familiar to all Americans – [is] the Liberty Bell. When the Declaration of Independence was first read in public, the liberty bell was sounded in celebration . . .”

To a Christian who experienced spiritual freedom, the Bible is his liberty bell. He should always ring it. If our Bible is like a bell, let’s ring it in the morning. Let’s ring it in the evening . . . all over this land. We would ring out danger. We would ring out a warning. For the Bible is a bell of freedom. “Let spiritual freedom ring.” Every Christian should declare his Christian Independence. Christians are also like a bell. You could ring out “warnings to the people about this world, and sin, and the need of living for God.”

Happy 4th of July! Happy Independence Day!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Prayer Letter #1

The ministries and activities of BBBC for over seven years were recorded in my missionary prayer letters and reports sent regularly to my three supporting churches.

Prayer letter #1 (06/26/2000)

"It is of the Lord's doing, it is marvellous in our eyes." Let me share with you how the Lord shows His faithfulness and grace here in Bethany.

Realizing the importance of the family, our emphasis for the whole month of April was on strengthening our families. Topics that have been dealt with were the following:

Sunday, December 9, 2007

First Ministries and Activities in Bethany

May 24-29, 1999 - First Daily Vacation Bible School was held for five days with its highest attendance of 130;

July 1999 - A regular ladies ministry (BS) was started and continues to meet every Thursday;

August 1999 - The youth activity which we call "Teens Active for Christ" was also initiated;

September 1999 - The Religious Instruction in the Tagaytay City National High School began;

December 1999 - First Christmas presentation entitled "And The Word Became Flesh";

December 21-23, 1999 - First Christmas Caroling as far as the neighbors of Mrs. Gloria Roderos in Indang, Cavite

January 8, 2000 - First Men's Prayer Breakfast that BBBC men attended held at the Campana's residence in Imus;

January 30, 2000 - First Baptismal Service held in Calaca, Batangas. Michelle and Melenie Floro were baptized.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Brief History

Bethany Bible Believers' Church, a name given by Rev. Gary D. Jones, was started when Brenda Hager, a GFA missionary, moved to Tagaytay City with a burden to reach the ladies and the children with the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. On November 1998, the Word of God was first taught to a group of ladies and children on the Go's residence where Miss Brenda Hager was renting. After four months, the Bible study group grew that even adult men began to attend and the need for a man to pastor was inevitable. On the second Sunday of February 1999, Bethany Bible Believers' Church had its first worship service led by Bro. Rey Marasigan who eventually became the pastor. The attendance increased that we saw the need for a bigger location. Pastor Jones took time to find a place for BBBC. After looking here and there, the Lord led Pastor Jones led to rent the property of Mr. & Mrs. Roger Rollon. On April 18, 1999, the church moved to Patutong Malaki South. Since then, by the Grace of God, various ministries and activities begun.