C.P.F.

Date: 10 July 2022

Speaker: Ps Daniel Tan

Sermon Text: Colossians 1:1-14


(No video recording for this sermon, please read the below sermon transcript)



Transcript

Introduction

Blessed Lord’s Day to all. Let us continue to praise and thank God for His grace and goodness to Hermon these 34 years.


I’m currently reading a book edited by Professor Tommy Koh titled – 50 secrets of Singapore’s Success.


It is insightful to read about how Singapore Airlines, our Hawker Centers, our edicational centres like ITE and Poly and our toilets have made the list.


But I want to highlight this morning our Central Provident Fund system. In the book, it’s the 15th success story and I was surprized to note that the CPF act was established way back in 1955.


It started as a retirement system to replace the pension scheme and according to the article, has developed into the bedrock of social security in Singapore.


The Mercer CFA Institute Global Pension Index report examined 39 retirement income systems covering almost two-thirds of the world's population.


In 2020, it ranked Singapore 7th overall and the best in Asia.


To me, CPF enables all Singaporeans to save a little each month so that we have adequate funds for housing, medical and our retirement needs. And the great thing is that our funds actually grow over time because CPF pays interest.


It is the little but consistent effort each month that allows us to reap the benefits in the distance future.


And I would like to submit that our faith journey can be somewhat like the CPF system. And so this morning, would like to use the acronym CPF – Christ Proclaimed Faithfully, to share from Colossians 1:1-14.


What we are enjoying and benefitting from today, are the God-enabled sacrificial contributions from Hermonites of old.


And so what we should do in the present is – in full dependence upon the Holy Spirit, to play it forward - engage in spiritual C.P.F, so that many more Hermonites in the future will benefit.


On this special occasion , may I share from Paul’s thanksgiving prayer to the Colossians. As we celebrate 34 years and our 4th lap may Paul’s prayer for the young church, be an encouragement for us this morning.


Christ - Gospel grace

In Paul’s prayer, we see that he reminds the Colossians believers that they needed to give thanks for Christ. Christ who is the good news of God’s grace.


Colossae was a Gentile city with a significant Jewish population. It is approximately 200 km from Ephesus.


Now Paul had spent over 2 years teaching and discipling at Ephesus and so likely he would have evangelize and discipled the pioneers of the church in Colossae.


Col 1:2 To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae: Grace to you and peace from God our Father …. who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light.

In v2, Paul begins by addressing them as ‘Saints’. This means they are holy ones, people who are set apart and consecrated.


To the Old Testament Jew, ‘saints’ were always only applied to the covenant people of God, all descended from Abraham. Only the Jews were God’s chosen people.


So, Paul is saying to his audience, to the believers in Colossae, you all are saints. Chosen people of God.


The Jews already hated the Samaritans who were half Jews how much more would they despise the Gentiles.


But Paul is saying, if you are a believer in Christ, whether you were a Jew or a Gentle, you are a saint. You are set apart and chosen by God.


You may be living in a pagan society, where there is moral decay, the worship of idols, under persecution, yet remember you are a saint.


Everyone wants to be in the ‘in’ group. The popular, the majority, the winning team. The Colossian believers felt like outcast in their society.


But Paul says, in Christ you are part of the ‘in’ group. You are part of the cosmic ‘in’ group. You have a glorious inheritance awaiting you in heaven.


So don’t look at your current situation with natural eyes. But with the eyes of faith, see that you are privileged.


Believers of Jesus Christ are saints, included as God’s people.


If you are a believer in this ballroom today, you are a saint. It does not matter your gender, your race, your social status. We are all saints.


And how do you know you are a saint, it is when you keep on trusting in Christ Jesus each and every day.


How significant is being a saint?


Lk 10:19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

We just went through Luke 10 recently. Jesus said to his 72 disciples, don’t look at the miracles you can do in my name. That is what the world sees, and definitely, what would alleviate you in their eyes.


However, Jesus instructs, rejoice instead that your names are written in heaven.

Even as we thank God for the achievements of Hermon, let us rejoice more in the fact that all our names are in the Lamb’s book of life.


What do saints receive, Paul says in v2, we have received grace and peace from God our Father.


Grace is God’s unmerited favour. To be a saint is to receive God’s grace and when we have received grace, it is followed by peace - Shalom.


Peace because we are reconciled with God, thus we have wholeness. And God’s peace is also a peace that surpasses all understanding, and it will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.


Shalom for the 1st Century challenges the Colossian believers are going through. And shalom for the 21st Century challenges we continue to face today.


May God’s peace guard our hearts in Hermon even as we wait upon the Lord for our final regulatory approval.


Now to further appreciate that we are saints, who have received grace and peace, we need to be reminded of the context in which we have come from.


Col 1:13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

This is what we are before Christ. We are enemies of God, trapped in the domain of darkness due to our sin. There was a rejection of God’s ways and therefore a terrible destiny that awaits us.


Paul reminds us that we were powerless to do anything about of situation.


Therefore, thanks be to God that Christ came and through His death and resurrection on the cross, Paul says He has delivered us, He has transferred us, He has redeemed us.


In Christ, God has delivered us into His kingdom. Now we are saints, now we have received God’s grace and God’s peace.


Now and always, let us rejoice that our names are written in Heaven.

At 34, may we be reminded anew of who Christ is and give thanks for who we are in Christ.


I submit, when we rejoice foremost that our names being written in heaven, our hearts will keep burning with gratitude, till we celebrate another anniversary.


Proclaimed - Gospel witnesses

Col 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother …. 7 just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf 8 and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.

C for Christ and C.P Christ Proclaimed. Gospel witnesses.