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Unto you who believe, He is precious!

13 February 2011 Elder William Seah
The Apostle Peter refers to believers “.…as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ….a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy” (1 Peter 2:5, 9-10). What a great privilege - to be “the people of God” having been purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ shed for the remission of sin (Hebrews 10:18), we are become the children of God! To this the Apostle Paul adds, “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:17) What a wonderful relationship! And “If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him….” (2 Timothy 2:12a). What glorious a prospect! To all true believers, amidst the ‘trials and troubles’ of this present life, the promise to us is that some day, “we shall also reign with Him” in His millennium Kingdom for “a thousand years” (Revelation 20:6) and thereafter forevermore! How precious indeed is Christ Jesus to all who are His blood-bought children that we can echo the words of the hymn writer Fanny J. Crosby with joy and gladness, “Take the world, but give me Jesus – All its joys are but a name; But His love abideth ever, Thru eternal years the same. O the height and depth of mercy! O the length and breath of love! O the fullness of redemption – Pledge of endless life above.” Professing that Christ is precious is one thing, living it out or practising it is something else. This ‘preciousness’ must go beyond mere mental assent to meaningful practical action. Yes, we must “know the ‘preciousness’ of Christ in our mind; keep that ‘preciousness’ in our heart; show it in our life, and share it with like-minded brethren in the church and beyond.” Let us consider just three (3) of the many aspects in which Christ is precious to us so that we may treasure Him, casting out all those ‘frivolous and fleeting things of this world’ which so often captivate us and take priority to the things of greater worth. Dearly beloved, let us consider how precious is the blood of Christ Jesus shed for us “for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28) “forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19). Thanks be unto God for that precious blood of Christ which flowed from Calvary some 2,000 years ago, which today is still efficacious to cleanse us from all our sins. My mind goes back to the hymn “There is Power in the Blood” by Lewis E Jones when he wrote: “Would you be free from the burden of sin? There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood; Would you o’er evil a victory win? There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood. Would you do service for Jesus your King? There’s pow’r in the blood, pow’r in the blood; Would you live daily His praises to sing? There’s wonderful pow’r in the blood.

Chorus There is pow’r , pow’r, wonder-working pow’r; In the precious blood of the Lamb.”
Having been washed by the precious blood of the Lamb, and in gratitude of sins forgiven, may we seek to live daily with eternity’s values in view, ready to die to self, sin and the world that in all things

Christ must increase and we must decrease (John 3:30)…..and echo the words in our hearts “Take the world but give me Jesus; All its joys are but a name.” Dearly beloved, let us consider how precious are “....the promises of God in Him (which) are yea and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God..” (2 Corinthians 1:20). The Apostle Peter has this to add, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4). Knowing how weak our faith and how frail our love for Him, the Lord is not unmindful to give us His precious promises to inculcate confidence in Him as we journey towards the ‘celestial city’ which is our final and eternal abode! The ever-so-familiar hymn by Nathaniel Niles put to music by Philip P. Bliss, “Precious Promise” rings loudly in my heart and I quote, “Precious promise God hath given To the weary passer-by; On the way from earth to heaven ‘I will guide thee with Mine eye.’ When thy secret hopes have perished In the grave of years gone by; Let this promise still be cherished, ‘I will guide thee with Mine eye.’” We are certainly not unfamiliar with the words of Psalm 32:8, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye” on the basis of which this hymn has been written. The promise of God’s guidance throughout life’s journey cannot be more comforting with the many uncertainties which we face in this changing world of ours. It must be so precious to us with this blessed assurance which reflects on the care and concern the Lord has for all His children, even though we may not even be aware or mindful of it. Are we not such a forgetful people needing to be reminded time and again that all the promises of God in Christ are yea and amen, to the glory of our heavenly Father? (2 Corinthians 1:20) In this restless world filled with uncertainties and perplexities in which we live, there is no greater comfort than the promise of God’s presence for in His “.…presence is fullness of joy….the upright shall dwell in Thy presence.” (Psalm 16:11; 140:13). The great king David, the man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14) in penning Psalm 23 records for us thus, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me” (verse 4) During my earlier days of business travel in and around the sub-continent of India with its many intrigues, not forgetting the horrendous traffic conditions, the presence of God with me gave me the peace of heart and mind being reminded that “safety lies not in the absence of danger but in the presence of God.” (Proverbs 21:31b) Another precious promise of Christ is in John 16:33 thus stated, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” He is the ‘Prince of Peace’ who has also said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” which Paul refers to as “the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, (that) shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7) In these last and perilous days, among others we “hear of wars and rumours of war” which should not trouble us for we have been forewarned that “such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet” (Mark 13:7) and the end is ‘the soon and glorious Return of our Lord Jesus Christ’ which is our blessed hope! To be forewarned is to be forearmed, ready to meet the Lord in the clouds when He comes to receive His own – for at that time “the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16b-17). What a rejoicing that will be! The question we ought to ask ourselves is, not when the Lord will come, but rather are we ready to meet Him at His coming, to give an account of what we have done for Him, when He comes again? There are so many other

like-precious promises in His Word which I can go on and on but I must conclude with just one more and let you have the opportunity of discovering the rest for yourselves first hand….do list them down and by faith lay claim on them and see if God will not open the windows of heaven and pour down His blessings that you will not have room enough to receive them! Take God at His promises and you will begin to taste of His goodness which you have never experienced before. The last precious promise which I would like to share with you is in Revelation 22:12-14, “And, behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Will our works stand the test of fire? The apostle Paul issues this warning to which all true believers must take heed, “Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (1 Corinthians 3:13-15). Dearly beloved, let us consider how precious the Word of God is by which we have been saved (Romans 10:17), through which we have been sanctified (John 17:17) and for which we have been called to serve the King of kings and to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). The psalmist refers to the Word of God as “precious seed” (Psalm 126:6) which the Lord Jesus Himself made mention in the ‘Parable of the Sower’ recorded thus, “The seed is the Word of God” (Luke 8:11). Thank God that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16-17) and not only so but God has preserved His Word for us as embodied in the Authorised or King James Version of the Bible which is the most faithful English version. Listen to the words of the psalmist, “I will worship toward Thy holy temple, and praise Thy Name for Thy lovingkindness and for Thy truth: for Thou hast magnified Thy Word above all Thy Name....The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, Thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever” (138:2; 12:6-7). God’s Word is a treasure trove of precious gems….let us therefore seek them out for our own blessing, ‘digging deep’ into His Word daily. Let us not keep it to ourselves but being constrained by His love, share it with those around us – at home, at school, at work and wherever He may lead. It is not easy but let us go forth in obedience to His command for “they that sow in tears shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him” (Psalm 126:5-6). So help us God, Amen.