Repentance

Prodigal Son, Return of the -- Rembrandt_Harmensz_van_Rijn - Copy

Rembrandt, The Return of the Prodigal Son, 1662–1669 (Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg)

By Pastor Glem Melo

“Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.” (Isaiah 1:16-18)

“[T]he Lord calls his people to the bar of his justice where of course, they can only be found guilty. But it is there that they hear words of free pardon based on the substitutionary death of a divinely appointed sacrifice.” – Alec Motyer

In the covenant, God demands from us (His children) true faith and it’s fruit of covenant-keeping righteousness. He calls us to turn away from our sinful and evil ways (verse 16). He commands us to live in accordance with His goodness and righteousness. (v. 17)

However, the human heart can never produce genuine repentance. Our “sins are like scarlet” and “red like crimson”; without God’s grace and saving intervention, they can never be “white as snow” or “become like wool” (18). Without the Holy Spirit’s repentance-producing work in our hearts, we are forever doomed.

"The Pharisee and the Publican" by James Tissot, 1894

“The Pharisee and the Publican” by James Tissot, 1894

Yes, in His word we can say that God commands what we can never do without His saving intervention. Indeed, the Bible teaches that “no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin” (Romans 3:20).

But the good news is that God did intervene 2,000 years ago in order to save us.

  1. ATONEMENT – On the cross, the Lord Jesus paid for all our sins. (Romans 3:25)
  2. REGENERATION AND CONVERSION – In answer to our risen Savior’s prayer, God sent the Holy Spirit to give the grace of the new birth, faith and repentance to His people. (Ezekiel 36:26)
  3. JUSTIFICATION – By faith, our sins are forgiven and Christ’s perfect righteousness is counted as ours. (Romans 3:21; 4:5-8)
  4. SANCTIFICATION – The Holy Spirit causes and enables us to grow in Christlike righteousness. (Ezekiel 36:26)
  5. GLORIFICATION – On the second coming, we will be made perfectly righteous like the Lord Jesus. (Philippians 3:20-21)

Yes, in Christ we have been washed and made “clean.” “The evil of [our] deeds” have been removed “from before [God's] eyes” (Isaiah 1:16). By His Holy Spirit whom He has given us, we have been set free from our slavery to sin and “evil.” By His enabling power, we are learning more and more “to do good, seek justice, correct oppression, bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause” (verse 17).

Yes, because of Christ’s life, death and resurrection… “though [our] sins are like scarlet, they [have become] as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they [have] become like wool” (v. 18).

“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:1-2)

Praise the Lord!

Church Planting Work Advances in the Philippines

???????????????????????????????

By Pastor Glem Melo

“… I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)

1

I look back with gratitude to  4 weeks of multiple seminars, ministry and ecclesiastical meetings in 5 localities:

  1. Cagayan de Oro
  2. Manila
  3. Bulacan
  4. Pampanga
  5. Antique

???????????????????????????????Overall, through 8 seminars and 4 milestone ecclesiastical meetings, our Open Eyes Mission team served 3 reforming churches, 2 new church plants and 1 potential new church planter.

Cagayan de Oro Seminars and Meetings

In Cagayan de Oro City alone, we conducted 4 seminars:

  1. How Christ Builds His Church: An Exposition of Matthew 16:21-28 on August 18-19 by yours truly
  2. Science and Christianity on August 20-22 with Dr. John Byl (Canada)
  3. The Christian Family on August 22 with Rev. Carl Vermeulen (Australia)
  4. The Christian Church by on August 23 with Rev. Carl Vermeulen (Australia)

3Best of all, in the evening of August 21, we conducted a milestone ecclesiastical meeting, on which the Consistory (Board of Elders) of Kagay-an Reformed Church unanimously agreed to grant provisional care and oversight to the leaders and members of 2 mission congregations:

  1. Ptr. Bryan Angao Ranalan and the mission congregation in Puerto, Cagayan de Oro; and
  2. Bros. Bryan Petinglay, Mel Navidad, Jimmy Arevalo and the mission congregation in the province of Antique.

Praise the LORD!

Baby Andrew 2Finally, on the Lord’s Day of August 24, Rev. Vermeulen preached at KRC as well as in the mission congregation in Puerto. Aside from providing the translation in both services, it was also my great joy and privilege to have administered the sacrament of holy baptism to Andrew Adamson, son of Open Eyes Mission trainee and church planter Ernnel Tacandong and his wife Divine Love. It was the very first covenant child baptism at KRC, and we all stood in awe of the Lord’s goodness and grace upon our church family.

???????????????????????????????

Manila Seminar

On August 27-28, we conducted a Science and Christianity Seminar at Shekinah Christian Church in Manila’s University Belt. More than 100 persons attended the event. Dr. Byl conducted the lectures. I gave the devotional messages, lecture summaries and concluding exhortations.

Counseling and Guidance for a Reforming Pastor in Manila

In Manila, it was also a blessing for me to have met with and provided counsel and guidance to a reforming pastor. Having embraced the Reformed Faith, this man of God is now in the hot seat in their Church Council, and feels forced to resign. I encouraged him to press on by faith, advised him to plant a new reformed congregation in the Metro Manila area or surrounding localities, and offered to request the Consistory of KRC to grant provisional pastoral care and oversight for him and his family, if he is indeed forced to resign in the future, whether near or far.

???????????????????????????????Bulacan Seminar, Lecture and Meeting

On August 29-30, we conducted another Science and Christianity Seminar at ‘God is Faithful’ Grace Community Church in Malolos, Bulacan. More than 40 persons attended the event. As before, Dr. Byl conducted the lectures. Once again, I gave the devotional messages, lecture summaries and concluding exhortations.

1415781_10205223292446966_345203500_nAlso, in the evening of August 29, I conducted a 2-hour lecture on The History of Redemption and the Doctrine of Election based on the Canons of Dort. In this session, the pastors and members of GIF Church were warned against the errors of both Arminianism and Hyper-Calvinism, and encouraged to continue living a life of faith and service to Christ and His gospel.

Finally, in the evening of August 31, a meeting with the pastors of the church was conducted. I shared to them practical encouragement, counsel and guidance on the Reformation of Doctrine, Life, Worship and Church Government According to God’s Word. Relying on God’s grace, work and help alone, I reiterated to them Open Eyes Mission’s long-term commitment to provide teaching, training, counsel and guidance as they continue in the path of all-of-life discipleship and reformation.

CoSF 2Preaching in Pampanga

On August 31, our team commuted to the City of San Fernando, province of Pampanga, my dad’s (deceased) hometown. There, I was honored and pleased to preach an expository message on Matthew 4:14 to the office-bearers and members of ‘Great I AM’ Church. The title of my sermon was Christ Defeated Satan by Totally Submitting to God’s Will and Ways (Jesus the New Adam and New Israel Defeated Satan for Us – Part 2). I preached Part 1 (overview message of the Lord’s temptation and triumph in the wilderness) there last year. Lord willing and working, I will preach Part 3 (Christ Defeated Satan by Refusing to Test God) to our beloved Kapampangan brothers and sisters next month.

10695061_10205223292606970_583160318_nAntique Services, Seminars and Meetings

On September 7, it was my great joy and distinct privilege to have preached the Gospel in 2 mission services in the province of Antique.

  1. In San Jose, I preached an expository message on Genesis 1: The Ways of Our God in Creation and New Creation (Salvation). Following are the main points: (a) God alone is our Creator and New-Creator (Savior); (b) the Holy Spirit is the Life-Giver of both Creation and the New Creation; and (c) the Word of God is the instrument of the Holy Spirit in both Creation and New Creation.
  2. In Anini-y, I preached an expository message on Matthew 3:1-2: The Coming of God’s Kingdom in Christ Calls Us to Repentance.

Anini-yThen from September 8-11, I conducted day-and-night seminars in the same localities.

  1. In San Jose, I taught a 20-hour Foundations of Biblical Theology and Ministry course to Open Eyes Mission trainees Bryan Petinglay, Mel Navidad and Jimmy Arevalo.
  2. In Anini-y, I taught a 15-hour Foundational Christian Doctrines course to the leaders and core members of the mission congregation there.

???????????????????????????????Finally, after our concluding course session in the evening of September 11, we conducted another milestone meeting, on which the mission congregation’s Provisional Consistory was formed. Much-needed counsel, guidance and instruction was also provided for them to faithfully and effectively move forward in the task of teaching and discipling their members.

P???????????????????????????????rayer Request

Please continue to pray our church and mission work:

  1. For me, Rev. Glem Melo, as I continue to serve as the minister, teacher of theology, and chairman of the Consistory of KRC
  2. Bro. Ernnel Tacandong, clerk of the Consistory, KRC
  3. Ptr. Bryan Ranalan, Puerto Reformed Church (mission)
  4. Bro. Bryan Petinglay, Antique Reformed Church or ARC (mission)
  5. Bro. Mel Navidad, ARC (mission)
  6. Bro. Jimmy Arevalo, ARC (mission)

RCP webMay the Lord continue to bless and keep us all in Christ Jesus, our only Lord and complete Savior.

God Hates Hypocrisy

From "Casting Out the Money Changers" by Giotto di Bondone, 14th century

from “Casting Out the Money Changers” by Giotto di Bondone, 14th century

By Pastor Glem Melo

“Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom! Give ear to the teaching of our God, you people of Gomorrah! ‘What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says the LORD; I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams and the fat of well-fed beasts; I do not delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of goats. When you come to appear before me, who has required of you this trampling of my courts? Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me. New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations— I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly. Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hates; they have become a burden to me; I am weary of bearing them. When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.’” (Isaiah 1:10-15)

“Now here it is not man but God himself who speaks, and who pronounces, by an unchangeable decree, that all that men do is in vain offered for his acceptance, is empty and unprofitable, unless they call upon him with true faith.” – John Calvin, Commentary on Isaiah 1-16

Because He is perfectly holy, God hates all forms of religious hypocrisy, and He tells us through Isaiah that His judgment and wrath towards unrepentant hypocrites is uncompromising, unrelenting and extremely grave. And not just Israel but we all, because of our sinful nature, are guilty before Him and worthy of nothing but everlasting judgment and condemnation.

Yet in His great mercy and grace, the New Testament proclaims, the infinitely holy Lord of the covenant sent Christ to pay for all our sins (which includes religious hypocrisy) through His suffering and death on the cross. By faith we have total forgiveness and salvation in Him. And by His Holy Spirit whom He has given us, we have true faith and sanctification. He delivered and continues to deliver us from slavery to sin and hypocrisy. Trusting in Christ alone for salvation and growing by His Spirit in obedience to His word, both our worship and life have become acceptable to God our Father and Redeemer. Forever we are free from the curse of the law.

Fellow sinners in our fallen world, let us ask God to forgive us of sin and hypocrisy. Secondly, let us strive by the power of the Holy Spirit to make our worship real before the Lord. How? By genuinely repenting of all our sins and fully trusting in Christ alone for salvation and all things. United to Him by faith and indwelt by His Spirit, let us break the slavery and cycle of religious hypocrisy in our hearts and lives (for it is most damnable before our holy and merciful God) by growing in knowledge, faith and obedience to His word.

A Milestone Meeting Indeed

???????????????????????????????

milestone d1By Pastor Glem Melo

 

Our 2-day meeting with the leaders of our two (2) applicant mission congregations turned out to be a new major milestone for our church and mission. Henceforth, our consistory (board of elders) at Kagay-an Reformed Church will provide provisional care and oversight to Ptr. Bryan Angao Ranalan and the mission congregation in Puerto, Cagayan de Oro, and Bros. Mel, Jimmy and Bryan Petinglay and the mission congregation in the province of Antique.

RCP webPraise the LORD! And thank you, dear friends and prayer partners. Let us now pray for commitment to “be doers of the word and not hearers only” (James 1:22).

“As it pleases You that we should pray for all mankind, we implore You, bless the spreading of Your holy gospel, that it may be proclaimed and received universally so that the whole world may know You. Enlighten the ignorant, strengthen the weak. May everyone by word and deed magnify Your holy Name. To this end send faithful servants into Your harvest and equip them to discharge the duties of their office diligently. Destroy, we pray, all false teachers, fierce wolves and hirelings who seek their own honor and profit rather than the honor of Your holy Name and the salvation of men.” – A Prayer for all the needs of Christendom

Milestone Ecclesiastical Meeting in Cagayan de Oro

f - Copy

By Pastor Glem Melo

RCP webI will be leading, facilitating and presiding over a death-or-life ecclesiastical meeting with these brothers today and tomorrow. Our core, “uncompromiseable” objective is to plant churches that bear the 3 marks of the true church as we confess in Article 29 of the Belgic Confession of Faith:

The true church is to be recognized by the following marks:

It practices the pure preaching of the gospel. It maintains the pure administration of the sacraments as Christ instituted them. It exercises church discipline for correcting and punishing sins. In short, it governs itself according to the pure Word of God, rejecting all things contrary to it and regarding Jesus Christ as the only Head. Hereby the true church can certainly be known and no one has the right to separate from it.

Philippines MapThis will definitely be another major milestone for the Lord’s church planting and upbuilding work here in the Philippines. I plead for serious prayer support from all who love Christ and His gospel.

Graciously preserve and govern Your Christian churches throughout the world in the unity of the true faith and in godliness of life, that Your kingdom may come day by day. Destroy the kingdom of Satan until the perfection of Your kingdom arrive when You shall be all in all. – Prayer for All the Needs of Christendom

Gospel: For the Lost and For the Church

"The Four Evangelists" by Jakob Jordaens, circa 1620

“The Four Evangelists” by Jakob Jordaens, circa 1620

By Pastor Glem Melo

The gospel is for the salvation of the lost. This is commanded and clearly taught to us by the Lord Jesus Himself:

And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15)

An 1880 Baxter process colour plate illustrating Revelation 22:17 by Joseph Martin Kronheim

An 1880 Baxter process colour plate illustrating Revelation 22:17 by Joseph Martin Kronheim

The gospel is also for the nourishment, sanctification and edification of the church. Whole books of the Bible, i.e. Romans, Ephesians, etc., are Gospel-proclaiming epistles plus application, written and sent to local congregations “for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16).

Think about it, the book of Revelation is pure gospel communication from the Lord Jesus Himself, unveiled, written and sent to comfort and strengthen the persecuted church of the 1st century.

And so, Christians ought to never graduate from the gospel. Instead, we are to sink our roots deeper and deeper in the gospel, constantly growing in our understanding and faith in Christ’s finished work for us on the cross, and thereby flourish and grow in Christ-likeness, and so become more and more consistent, persevering and effective in our witness to the world.

And so we, pastors, ought to dedicate and expend ourselves to the “Lord’s Day after Lord’s Day” serving of solid, sumptuous “law and gospel” feasts for God’s covenant children under our care. It’s the key to church growth, Jesus style.

Gospel Preaching and Contentment

 10553400_755943294447689_5823652523472912873_n

By Pastor Glem Melo

Tim Challies posted this image on Facebook. It got me thinking…

If

“Satan loves to fish in the troubled waters of a discontented heart”

And

  • Gospel-fed churches = Christ-filled, Christ-contented Christians

And

  • Gospel-malnourished churches = discontented Christians

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter... "Feed my lambs... Tend my sheep...Feed my sheep" (John 21:15-17). Image from Peter Paul Rubens, "Christ's Charge to Peter", c. 1616

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter… “Feed my lambs… Tend my sheep…Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17). Image from Peter Paul Rubens, “Christ’s Charge to Peter”, c. 1616

Then

  • Satan loves to fish in the troubled waters of Gospel-malnourished churches.

Therefore

  • Pastor (myself included), serve “Law and Gospel” feasts to God’s children Lord’s day after Lord’s day after Lord’s day. Make them fat, strong, happy and satisfied in the infinite goodness of God in Christ.

Because Christians ought to be the most contented people on earth.

Because of Christ crucified and raised from the dead for the eternal salvation, security and well-being of all who belong to Him by faith.