We praise God for our 15th Anniversary today. It is a B-P tradition to celebrate church anniversaries with a thanksgiving service. Our hearts rejoice in the goodness and grace of the Lord upon Berith this past year. Though small, we are thankful for God’s faithfulness in preserving us in the Gospel ministry. He has graciously led us through another year. Through our pulpit and teaching ministries, we have been built up in the most holy faith. May we avail ourselves of these means of grace to grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (II Pet. 3: 18).
As an assembly of the redeemed, we have enjoyed God’s many blessings. He has drawn us by His saving grace. We are His people, “the sheep of his pasture”, bought with the precious blood of our Saviour (Ps 100: 3; I Pet 1: 19). The Lord has blessed us richly in our personal and spiritual lives. He has instructed and guided us; He has kept our paths in safety. May our hearts today be united together in thanksgiving for all that the Lord has done for us (Ps 146: 1-2).
Indeed, it is of the Lord’s mercies that we are able to gather for this happy time of celebration even in these last days of turmoil and uncertainty. Many are the ominous signs of the end-times – extreme weather changes, “wars and rumours of wars”, “famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places” (Matt 24: 6-7). Added to the world’s present woes is the Covid-19 pandemic. The past two years had seen the world grappling with the unabated spread of the Coronavirus as one variant after another emerged. The pandemic has toppled global economies and brought the world to a standstill with containment measures like lockdowns, quarantines and border controls.
Thank God for keeping the church during the past two years of curbs and restrictions. During this period, we conducted our worship services, Sunday School, prayer meetings and fellowship meetings online. But from October 2020, we were able to resume our physical worship albeit with safe distancing measures.
We are grateful to the Lord for His grace as we made adjustments based on our government’s advisories. You may recall that for our anniversary last year, we were not allowed to sing as the Covid-19 Task Force decided to implement more stringent measures the day before our service due to a spike in infections. We are thankful to the Lord for the lifting of this restriction. What a joy to be able to sing praises to our Lord at our Thanksgiving Service today!
With the major easing of safety measures with effect from 26 April this year, Singapore is taking strides towards living with the virus. With the return to normalcy, we look forward to meeting physically for our prayer meeting and fellowship meeting in the near future. We are reminded of the Lord’s command to gather for fellowship that we may encourage one another
in the faith: “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Heb 10: 24-25).
It is our blessed privilege to serve the Lord. Even as the church returns to physical meetings, let us give of our best to the Master: “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Col. 3: 23-24). Pray for grace to adjust to meeting “normally” again.
We are grateful to the Lord that we can resume our ministries freely again. One particular ministry that we hope to resume is that of evangelism. After a two-year hiatus, we may find it awkward to go out into the streets to give out Gospel tracts. But let us not be deterred. When the time comes, we hope that all of us will come forward to be part of this important ministry. Let us obey the Lord’s command to: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matt 28: 19-20).
We thank the Lord for bringing us through another year. As we serve God, let us be of one mind and one heart. The apostle Paul exhorts us to be “likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind” (Philp 2: 2). We are urged to do nothing “through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others” (vv 3-4). May we all have the mind of Christ Who “humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (v 8).
Brethren, let us be encouraged that our labours for the Lord are not in vain: “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (I Cor 15: 57-58 ). Let us stand steadfast in faith, fervent in spirit and faithful in service till our Saviour returns for us. Amen.