March 2007
M.I.T.A.(P) 103/01/2007
  VOL 38 NO. 2
The Future of LAACC

Fourth Letter from Pastor Quek Swee Hwa

Role of Singapore

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Message by ICCC President Dr Choi Kwang Jae
XIX Congress of Latin American Alliance of Christian Churches
in Guatemala City, Central America, Feb 8 - 13, 2007

It is a real blessing for me to know and see same minded brethren in Latin American countries coming together to encourage one another with the Word of God and to share their Biblical convictions through preaching, teaching and praying for the last few days. Though I do not understand Spanish language, all of you have shown me your faith and love with good works and deeds. I am very thankful to the Lord for the pastors, elders, deacons, laypeople, and missionaries who have been faithful to the Word of God. Especially, I must thank the Lord for the leadership of the LAACC, whose president is Dr. Nadir Carreno. I praise the Lord for his faithfulness, leadership and zeal for the ICCC and the 21st century reformation movement. It has been a real blessing that I have been able to fellowship with him and other leaders.

I was asked by the organizing committee to speak about the future of LAACC. I am very hopeful for your future because I am very excited about your faith and commitment to the Lord's business. However, I cannot say that there is nothing that you have to do or you will have to do. The more you are committed to the Lord's ministries, and the faithful proclamation of His Word, the more you will face challenges and threats from the enemies of the Gospel. What we are wrestling with is not the power of flesh and blood, but the power of principalities, spiritual wickedness, and the darkness of this world. We know that the devil is like a roaring lion trying to devour his preys. Today, we may sing with gladness, but tomorrow we may have to weep, if we do not prepare ourselves for the future. I know that more and more challenges will come your way and against you, because your testimonies are so clear to the whole world that even the devil himself is scared. I know that you have the power to fight against the wiles of the devil, because the gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation. I know that you have weapons to fight with to win the victories for Jesus Christ, because you have the Word of God, which is the sword of the Spirit of God. The ICCC's motto is "For the Word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ." The future of LAACC depends on those two phrases: for the Word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. Today, I am going to talk about your future and the future of the LAACC. If you and I want to keep our future bright and triumphant, we ought to put our feet on solid ground which is the Word of God and our testimony for Jesus Christ. There are three points you and I need to remember if we desire to make our future victorious for the Lord Jesus Christ. First of all, we need

I. More of solid theological training
The knowledge of God is extremely important for all believers of Jesus Christ. If we say that we believe in God, but do not know Him, then, our faith is hollow. If we do not have the right contents of our faith, then we do not understand what we ought to confess about God. The power of darkness knows about the problems of Christian ignorance. When the believers of God are ignorant of His truth, it is much easier for the prince of darkness to mislead them into falling for his deceptions. Therefore, over the centuries, even before the time of Reformation, the Scriptures were denied from the hands of the common believers. They were able neither to read nor to understand the messages of God in the Bible. Such cunning tactics were not only in the medieval age. Right from the beginning of the Church era, false prophets and teachers were inside Christian churches and tried to spread wrong teachings and false gospels. Thus, apostle Peter said in 2 Peter 2:1, "But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction." We must pay attention to the fact that false teachers were among the people of God. Their sole purpose was to seduce the people in the church to believe in wrong doctrines. Their tactics and speeches were clever and cunning. Thus, they even tried to make the people in their churches deny the Lord who bought them with His blood. The goal of these false teachers was to bring souls to destruction. Yes, false teachers and prophets were many and very active even in early Christian churches. Thus, apostles had to raise alarm bells to warn the believers of Jesus Christ. Peter continued to say in 2 Peter 2:2, "And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of." Having spoken of the present condition of Christian churches, Peter is now talking about the future conditions of Christian churches. In other words, he was talking about our time, which was the future from his perspectives. "Many shall follow their pernicious ways." Many people will be deceived and misguided. As a result, "the way of truth shall be evil spoken of."

The LAACC would not have existed, if the churches of God had firmly stood on the truth of the Bible. There is no reason to even talk about the ICCC or the 20th century reformation movement started by a group of faithful believers of Jesus Christ. Why do we have to talk about "Bible believing churches?" Isn't it true that all God's churches are expected to be "Bible believing churches?" Why do we call ourselves Bible believers or fundamental Christians? Isn't it true that, by definition, Christians are the Bible believers? Then, why do we make a distinction between us and others even within the Christendom? Why are we talking about biblical separation? Listen to Paul. He said in Galatians 1:6-10, "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. 10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ." Though, there is no other Gospel, there are people who spread another Gospel. There are people who are removing themselves from the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul warned the Thessalonian believers not to be deceived in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Paul also said in 2 Timothy 4:1-5, "I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry." Sound doctrines are not cherished but despised. People want to hear messages that may please their ears only. They turn away from the truth. However, they are still within Christian churches and confuse the minds of people. Therefore, Paul said to Timothy to preach the Word. It is something that we need to keep in our hearts: Preach the Word.

The LAACC is a testimony for the living God and Saviour Jesus Christ in this part of the world. The LAACC is a witness of the Word of God. Thus, all members of the LAACC must be determined to preach the Word in and out of season. Faith comes from hearing, and hearing comes from the Word of God. If no one preaches, how can people hear about the Lord and their salvation? Therefore, all of us must give more efforts to preach and to teach the Word of God. If we want to keep our testimonies in this part of the world, we must strengthen sound theological trainings for preachers and teachers. The ICCC movement is a movement to bring the hearts of the people to the Lord and right doctrines. Therefore, the LAACC must bring more sound doctrinal teachings and preachings to its member churches. Secondly, the future of the LAACC depends on

II. More evangelistic efforts
When a runner runs a race, he must have a goal to reach. There must be a clear direction, without which he cannot finish the race well. I have told you that we need to preach the Word of God and to train preachers with sound doctrines. However, we do not preach to show off our intellect or communication skills. We do not preach for the sake of academic exercises. There is only one reason we need more sound doctrinal trainings. It is to save souls. Souls for Christ should be our battle cry. Jesus came to this world to find the lost ones. The name of Jesus means to save His people from their sins. The focus of Christian doctrines and preaching is on the forgiveness of sins. Jesus did not come in glory but in human flesh. He lived on earth like any one of us. He is God, but left His heavenly glory in order to be born as a son of man. Why is it so? Jesus had power to show miracles to His people. Lots of people witnessed His supernatural works. He could have brought legions of angels to destroy the evil ones, but He did not. Instead, He was humiliated, spat on, and hung on the cross. Why did He taste the bitterness of death? Why did He have to cry while He was in the flesh? Why was His body broken and His blood shed? Why did God the Father have to send His only begotten Son to the world? There is only one reason for all of these. It is to save the sinners. It is to remove their sins from them. It is to deliver them from the condemnations of their sins. Therefore, the primary focus of our work must be on saving sinners.

We are not here to build up an ivory tower for academics. The LAACC is not only for the intellectuals and the learned. The LAACC is here to bring souls to Christ. It is here to let the whole world know that Jesus saves. We may talk about doctrines such as Bibliology, Eccelesiology, Theology, and many others. However, if we do not share the simple Gospel with the common people, then we must ask ourselves why we are ever learning the doctrines. The whole Bible is a testimony of Jesus Christ. Though we know all the doctrines from A to Z, if we do not bring souls to Christ, then we are not doing well. Jesus spoke to a Samaritan woman, to a sinful woman, to lepers and the blind, and visited Zacchaeus and many others. He was tired and became weary. But the Scripture testifies that He did all of those things in order to save souls. Our work is not to build up an organization only. We are not laboring to make our names known to the people. We are toiling and laboring to bring souls to Jesus Christ. Evangelism is the key to our ministries. The Great Commission was the last command of Jesus. "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Jesus promised His disciples the coming of the Holy Spirit. They had to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said in Acts 1:8a, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you." When the Holy Spirit comes upon them, power comes, too. This power is not any power, but the power to evangelize. Acts 1:8b says, "And ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." The power of the Holy Spirit and evangelism go together. We are baptized into the family of God with the Spirit. Thus, we call Jesus our Lord and Savior. It is for sure that the Holy Spirit indwells us. Then, our question, "where is our evangelism?" "Where is our soul-winning effort?" If you and I want to have a bright future for the LAACC, we cannot and should not neglect soul-winning ministry. We may sing well, we may teach well, we may be hospitable, we may be kind one another, but if we do not cry for the lost, we are not doing well. Lastly, the future of the LAACC depends on its spirituality. We need,

III. More of a spiritual life
When we received Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we died to ourselves and lived to God. Thus, we are crucified with Christ, and Christ lives in us. This dramatic change is well explained in 2 Corinthians 5:17, "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." This transformation is also described as putting off our old man and putting on a new man. It is also said that we are to mortify the members of our body on the earth. Instead, we ought to seek the things which are above. We are to set our affection on things above, not on things on the earth. Paul explains the reason why in Colossians 3:3, "for ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." Did you hear that? Paul says in such a firm conviction that we are dead. If we are dead to our flesh, then, there is only one life we can think of. It is the spiritual life. Thus, Paul says in Galatians 5:16 that we ought to walk in the Spirit. It is not to fulfill the lust of the flesh. He also says in Romans 12:1-2, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."

The knowledge alone does not make us spiritual. Our intellect alone does not make us spiritual. Even our spiritual experiences do not make us spiritual. The Corinthians believers were familiar with spiritual gifts. But, they were not spiritual people. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:1, "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ." Nonetheless, Paul expects us to be spiritual as he says in Galatians 6:1, "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." If the LAACC will continue to testify of the Lord, it will pursue its spirituality, and its members must be spiritual. When we talk about being spiritual, we mean a few practical points. First, we are to be spiritual in understanding. Colossians 1:9, "For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding." Spiritual understanding is not something that we can gain from books, but from God through prayers. Second, we are to be spiritual in worship. 1 Peter 2:5 says, "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." Third, we are to be spiritual in discernment. 1 Corinthians 14:37, "If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord." 1 Corinthians 2:15, "But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man." Fourth, we are to be spiritual in bearing burdens for brethren. Galatians 6:1 says, "Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted." In addition to all of these, we ought to be godly. If we fail to be godly, all our confessions will lost their power. If we are not spiritual, then the world sees us as hypocrites. If the truth dear to us cannot change us, then what is the message we have for the world? The world becomes weary to Christian testimonies, because there is so much talk but few fruits. Therefore, let us build a spiritual work with a spiritual mindset.

I was asked to talk about the future of the LAACC. Though I do not know what will happen tomorrow, one thing I know is that the world will not be favorable to God and His messages, and the love of the believers of Christ shall be decreased. There will be more challenges and trials will come against us. Then, how can we prepare fr our future? I have suggested three fundamental issues: more sound theological training, more evangelical efforts, and more of a spiritual life. By focusing on those areas, we may bring more souls to Christ till Jesus comes again, and we shall be good and faithful servants to the Lord. May the Lord bless each and every one of you!
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