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Resurrection Sunday 2021

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During our Holy Saturday and Resurrection Sunday services last weekend, we welcomed 24 new members and were reminded that our crucified Lord Jesus had risen!

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With masks donned and safe management measures adhered to, we thank God that we were able to gather physically, though at a limited capacity, with brothers and sisters in Christ at GBC on Resurrection Sunday this year. Elder Beh led the physical and virtual congregation to reflect on the hope that we have in Christ’s resurrection, and gave the call to worship from Ephesians 2:4-7, reminding us through God’s Word that we have been saved by grace and made alive through Christ:

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Through “Man of Sorrows” and “All creatures of our God and King”, Annie and Gerald led us in worship of our Lord Jesus Christ whose death and resurrection redeemed and liberated us from the bondage of sin and death, and who is deserving of all praise. The choir led our virtual offertory song “He Lives”, as we celebrated our Risen Jesus Christ. Oh, how we long to sing together again! We thank God that we can do so from April 5 onwards!

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Across the Saturday evening and Sunday morning services this weekend, our church family also welcomed 24 new members: (via baptism) Sherrilyn Lim, Sim Xin Yi, and Thia Zhang Jie, Melissa Chan, Christine Chew, Euodia Chi, Nicholas Goh, Zenn Lim and Sheryl Tay; (through membership transfer) David Chung, Dennis Koh, Daisy Teo, Daniel Koh, Sarah Lim, Krystal Voon, Caroline Cheah, Chew Bi Ting, Matthew Kwok, Eugene Lau, Zerline Lee, Rolland Li and Timothy Tan.  

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We thank God for the new life He has given these precious treasures whom He has called His own (from top row L-R) Sherrilyn, Zhang Jie, Xin Yi, Melissa, Christine, Euodia, Nicholas, Zenn and Sheryl.

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(L-R) Xin Yi, Sherrilyn and Zhang Jie were baptised during our Easter service on Saturday.

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(L-R) Melissa, Zenn, Sheryl, Euodia, Christine and Nicholas were baptised on Sunday.

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(L-R) Krystal, Sarah, David, Daniel, Daisy and Dennis joined us via transfer of membership and were introduced during our Saturday service.

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(L-R) Eugene, Matthew, Rolland, Timothy, Bi Ting, Caroline and Zerline were introduced during our Sunday service.

Before conducting the baptisms, Pastor Ian shared with the congregation that baptism is for those who are in Christ, declaring that they are dead to sin through Christ’s crucifixion, and have been made alive through Christ’s resurrection (Rom 6:4). We praise God for how He has worked in the lives of our brothers and sisters, convicting them to recognise their sin and their need for Christ as their Saviour. You can refer to their encouraging testimonies here. Please welcome them if/when you see them in church. You can also extend a personal welcome via email to each of them as their email addresses are included with their testimonies. Please join us to keep them in our prayers as we seek to encourage one another in our faith as in Hebrews 10:24-25.

The wonder of the empty tomb

Pastor Eugene continued the sermon series on Luke, preaching from Luke 24:1-12 about the wonder of the empty tomb. There were 4 scenes/emotions about the empty tomb in these 12 verses.

Confusion

Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary, the mother of James and the other women were initially confused by the empty tomb (vv 1-3). They arrived at the tomb at daybreak intending to prepare Jesus’s body for burial, but no body was found. Followers of Christ had definitely held him in high regard as a “Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all people” (Lk 24:19). But, rising from the dead after His crucifixion at the hands of the Romans? This was neither apparent nor anticipated.

Making sense

By God’s grace, He sent angels as messengers to help the women make sense of the empty tomb before them (vv 4-8). God spoke and reminded the first witnesses about what Jesus had said, as Luke had recorded earlier in Luke 9:22. The tomb was empty and the body was nowhere to be found, because Jesus was living and would not be found among the dead—Jesus had risen!

Scepticism

Having heard, remembered and believed in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, they were confused no more and sought to bear witness of the empty tomb and Jesus’s resurrection to His disciples and other followers (vv 9-11). However, the testimony of the women was dismissed. The disciples and other followers thought the women were spinning an incoherent and idle tale, and the cultural setting of the time certainly did not help their account. If we were to hear such news in our context today, we would probably accuse the witnesses of spreading fake news! Jesus’ disciples had not believed the witnesses’ account that Jesus had risen.

Wondering, running and marvelling

Well, this "tale" still led Peter to wonder and so he ran to investigate the empty tomb (v 12). Having denied Jesus 3 times (Lk 22:54-62) leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion, he raced to the tomb (together with John based on John’s account of their footrace in John 20:4). Seeing the linen cloths, Peter left the empty tomb feeling a sense of marvel. Grave robbers certainly would not have left such cloths behind, if they were going to steal the dead body of Christ. The logical explanation? Jesus had risen!

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From this account by Luke, we can be encouraged that even the followers of Christ in His day were sceptical despite hearing and seeing. Hearing and seeing did not necessarily or easily translate to believing. In fact, the purpose of Luke’s writing as we see in Luke 1:4 was to encourage the most excellent Theophilus about the “certainty” of the things he had been taught. More than hearing and seeing, this encourages us to remember, dwell on, and trust in the words of our risen Lord Jesus. For the sceptics, we should then be encouraged to wonder and investigate the claims of the empty tomb and the resurrection of Jesus. Then, we may all understand that the death of Christ on Good Friday is good, because of His victorious resurrection on the third day. This is the confident hope we have in our risen Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

If any of these resonate with you and you would like to join fellow church family members in growing and trusting in God’s Word, or would like to investigate these bold claims of Christ; regardless of your life stage, please reach out to connect with GBC through its Care Group ministries, Bible Study ministries etc.

Have a blessed week ahead!

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You can watch the baptisms here:

Baptism of Sherrilyn, Xin Yi and Zhang Jie on Saturday:

Baptism of Melissa Chan, Christine Chew, Euodia Chi, Nicholas Goh, Zenn Lim and Sheryl Tay on Resurrection Sunday: