01 May 2022

CHURCH WEEKLY

MAN HAS TO LABOUR (GENESIS 3:23)

Dear Members in Christ,

Man has to labour “Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. Genesis 3:23)

Labour Day is a day set aside to pay tribute, honour and celebrate the achievements of working men and women. Countries celebrate this day on different dates. Malaysia celebrates Labour Day on 1st May annually.

Back to the Beginning: On the third day of Creation God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.Genesis 1:11-12. God then created man, Adam, on the sixth day. “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” Genesis 2:15. Man has a blessed and simple life. Adam’s work was to tend and look after the garden. God provided Adam and Eve with fruits from the ground. It was a vegetarian diet. “And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food;” Genesis 2:9a.

It was paradise on earth for Adam and Eve. The LORD God was with them. They were to obey God in order to live eternally: “… Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. Genesis 2:16b-17. This is the Covenant of Works. The Westminster Confession of Faith describes this Covenant as one “wherein life was promised to Adam, and in him to his posterity, upon condition of perfect and personal obedience” i.e. eternal life was promised to Adam and all his descendants if he obeyed God.

Regrettably, Adam failed and broke the Covenant of Works. Satan, as a serpent, deceived Eve into disobeying God with the lie: “…Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. Genesis 3:4b-5. Tempted by Satan’s proposition, Eve ate the forbidden fruit and then offered to Adam. Adam foolishly partook the fruit. He disobeyed God! Adam and Eve both fell from their state of innocence into sin! God drove them away from the garden of Eden.

A life of sorrow, toil and sweat: God then said “… cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Genesis 3:17-19. Since then, man’s life is filled with sorrow. He has to work hard for his meals. He has to toil and sweat. Life would not be the same as before the fall. The ground will not bear fruits easily. Thorns and thistles shall it bring forth!

Providence of God: Man has to work hard in order to live. Through the ages work has evolved. Man went through the agrarian era followed by the steam, machinery, electrical, digital and internet revolutions. Today, man are in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) in which Information and Communication Technology (ICT) converge with new innovations viz: artificial intelligence, robotics, Internet of things, unmanned vehicles, 3D printing and nanotechnology. The 4IR uses big data to incorporate the physical, biological and digital worlds that will affect all sectors of life.

Today, life is still hard. Man continues to toil and sweat despite the evolving work culture and transformation. Christians today must look to God for wisdom, leading and guidance in his workplace. Before he embarks on a new job, he prays. When he is in his new workplace, he prays for God’s blessings and leading. If he faces work issues and challenges, he seeks God for wisdom, provisions and deliverance. If he needs to move on, he seeks God’s permissive will and blessings. Christians must always be “a light and salt” in his workplace to testify and give glory to God. He must be thankful for God’s daily care and providence. A Christian must “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. As the world remembers Labour Day once a year, Christians must remember the reason for man’s hard labour of toil and sweat on earth. Christians look forward to the day when they shall be free from the earthly bondage to be with the LORD God in Heaven. 

A brother’s testimony, Jacob Li: “Recently I celebrated my 20th anniversary at my workplace. Time flies and all glory must be unto our Lord.

Since graduated from university, my spiritual life was in hiatus and taken the back seat. My life was in upheaval. It was not until 2016, through God’s divine grace and faithfulness, I was brought back by His loving kindness, knowing that I am a sinner saved by His grace. At work, the cares of the world is great, chasing after diverse worldly standards seems to be the right way of life. The worldly temptations, by far and large, are very real propagated by the philosophies of the carnal world. How do we as Christians walk among the heathen, practising and exercising our faith and battling the principalities of the world that are ever real, urgent and immediate! James 1:14But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed. John 11:10 “But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.”

Notwithstanding to worldly influence, I was ignorant about spiritual attacks from the wicked one via the instruments of the world; tempting, swaying and influencing me deeply. How wrong I have been. All along I was under the impression that all is well with my soul. Yet somewhere deep within myself, I know something is lacking with a huge void. There is no remedy nor satisfaction in life, and truly I need God. With God’s words, through His faithful servants, the leaders of our church espousing on His faithfulness I have unraveled His truth. I was deeply convicted. From the sermons, Bible studies, fellowships, I learned what is the appropriate way to live and work through the times especially now in the end of the last days. Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Throughout numerous incidents at my workplace, many times I needed to fend off challenging and dire situations. Being stubborn and going with my own effort, of course the outcome is less than ideal. In recent years, I have learned. It is only by trusting in our Lord, slowly and surely, we can succeed. I have learned that no matter to what extent with my worldly training, understanding, past experiences, they are far from being perfect and reliable. True deliverance can only come by trusting in our Lord’s faithfulness and understanding His sovereignty. Psalm 46:10a Be still and know that I am God.”

God’s Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path”. We are to be light and salt to the world. Every day is a struggle, as much as every struggle can be difficult, yet it is necessary that our faith and knowledge get strengthened throughout the trials and testings (cf. James 1:2-4, 12; 1 Peter 5:6-7). Amen.”

In Christ,
Eld. Choe Tong Seng