Psalm 65: 4
Extract from 1961 Anniversary Magazine
As part of our 105th Church Anniversary celebration, I have the sermon preaching by Bishop Amstutz during the dedication service on 1st Dec 1957 translated and reprinted in English. It was the first sermon that was preached at 1 Queen Street church building.
Bishop Amstutz officiated at the Inaugural and Dedication Worship Service of Kum Yan Methodist Church on 1 Dec 1957. Below is his sermon that Sunday. His Scripture passage is taken from the book of Ephesians.
Special thanks to Mr Lam Iu Cheung, the LCEC chairman, Mr Wong Luen Kwong, and all the LCEC members. We have a glorious building today because of all their hard work.
Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple. (Psalm 65: 4)
This afternoon, we are gathered here to offer this church to glorify the name of God. We need to know that before its dedication, a church building is only an ordinary house. But after the dedication, it becomes the Temple of God.
Is the church dedicated only for the Methodists, just as the other Christian institutions or societies for their own members? Did Mr Wong and the LCEC members build this church for their own members? Certainly not. The dedication of this church is not just for those here nor the people of this generation. It is dedicated for all the people now and in the future.
The main intent of building this church is to glorify the name of God. We shall use the Letter to the Ephesians to illustrate three important points about the dedication of the church.
Firstly, there will be many Christians coming to this church and they will invite many more non-believers to come. This is the main purpose of a church. As it is stated in Eph 3:8, “I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” The four gospels is first written in Greek, to bring the Good News about our Lord Jesus Christ to us. They are all gathered together, just like how we are gathered today. During the times of John Wesley, after his initial search to bring one person to Christ, they also gathered frequently. But at that time, they were not called a church. From a small group, they grew in numbers to become an assembly and eventually it became the Methodist Church.
The first aim of today’s church dedication is to call many Gentiles to the church in order to know the unsearchable riches of Christ.
Secondly, churches help believers to grow. Paul said, “Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.” (Eph 4:23) We, as Christians in church, are like clay. When we mix together and bake, we become a brick. So, when a believer joins a church, it is only a beginning of his Christian life. He needs to learn how to be a witness of Jesus Christ in this world. There is no other job more difficult than being a good Christian. As the life of a growing Christian is like climbing up a mountain, after reaching the top of the hill, he will see another higher hill. So, we need to work hard to grow.
After Paul became an apostle, he needed to take years to understand the mystery of how Jesus Christ, who took the form of a bond-servant, being made in the likeness of men, and being nailed to the cross and died. So, the aims of building this church: first is to lead people to know Jesus Christ, and second is to grow believers towards being good Christians.
Thirdly, a Christian needs to have a new life in every aspect, in order to fulfill the will of God. Eph 3:10 states, “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.”
In the last 75 years, the Methodist church preaches the gospel and focuses on education. Now, we extend our attention to the improvement of people’s livelihood as well.
Recently, we built a welfare point in Kuala Lumpur. Early this year, we built a hospital in Sarawak and established two farming stations, helping the economy of local people. Also, we have opened many clinics in the new settlements in Malaysia.
Today, at 1 Queen Street, we dedicate this church letting Singapore know that our church has holistic care for people. Apart from preaching the Gospel of salvation, Christianity also helps in the development of culture, ethics, politics, society, and business. Our mind cannot be narrow, and making our religion out of touch with daily life. We cannot have a face praying in our church and have another face when working outside. We need to let people see our belief all the time, whether in our family, school, office, marketplace, or sports hall.
To conclude, the aims of building our church are:
1. bring many non-believers to know and believe in Jesus Christ,
2. help believers to grow,
3. help people to know that Christianity is intimately related in all aspects of life.
By Rev Philip Lim