Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Called and chosen - our DNA in Christ | Navaz D

This message was preached by Navaz at Word of Grace Church on August 4th, 2019. To listen/download the audio please click hereTo listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here







Ephesians 1:3-5
 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he[b] predestined us for adoption to son ship[c]through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—
AMP VERSION
 just as [in His love] He chose us in Christ [actually selected us for Himself as His own] before the foundation of the world, so that we would be holy [that is, consecrated, set apart for Him, purpose-driven] and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined and lovingly planned for us to be adopted to Himself as [His own] children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the kind intention and good pleasure of His will—

This is not a complete exegesis of the text rather a pulling on the main thoughts on this passage and looking at how it applies to us.

We are going to look at How and why we have been called, and what implications does our new DNA in Christ have on how we live.

VERSE4a     For HE chose us
Our salvation story starts in Jesus. He selected us before we were even thought of by our parents. He decided we would be born and on the day we would become His. In His loving-kindness, He drew us to repentance Rom 2:4.

Yes, we responded. We have a responsibility to respond to the call. Predestination is a huge topic and a difficult one I do not want to get into. 

There are many passages in scripture to support this. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus. You did not choose me but I chose you. Those whom he called, He justified and so on. We do not understand it fully.

The point I am getting at is this. Rejoice in the truth that God chose YOU. Thank God for this great salvation given to us as a gift.

When we received Christ, God became our Father.

Our life as a Christ-follower starts and ends with God at the center of our very being. We are “in Christ”. Where is Jesus right now? At the right hand of the Father. So if we are in Christ, we too are seated in heavenly places in Christ.

We are blessed and have access to unlimited divine favour because we belong to Him
.
Some of us Christians live like this: Thank you God for this gift. Now let me prove to you that I deserve it. You get saved by grace and then you get into religious graceless faithless works trying to win God’s favour that you already have.

A true son does not work to win favor with his father, he works hard because he is loved and his hard work is a response to love not for love.   Do you see the difference?

Paul says in Col1:10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,

VERSE 4b- To be holy and blameless in His sight

The question of purpose is answered here. Why did God choose us?
In the amplified version it says – consecrated, set apart for Him, purpose-driven. Blameless is our standing. Jesus paid the debt for our guilt so that we can live shame-free, blame-free lives. This is huge.


VERSE 5- In love, he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ. NEW IDENTITY


This brings me to the realization that before Christ’s death on the cross I was not a child of God! God is not everyone’s Father. Not anyone can call him Father.

John 1:11-12He came to that, which was His own, but they did not receive Him, yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.

Paul is laying a great foundation for us to understand our new identity in Christ. This is who we are. We are sons and daughters of God. We can call Him Father.

2 Cor 5:17 says: Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” we are new creations in Christ.
New= never before created. You are one of a kind image-bearer of God. No one gets to be you.

 We have a new DNA, that of Christ. DIVINE NATURE ACTIVATED

DO not make the mistake of calling yourself a Sinner. That is no longer your identity. You were a sinner before you knew Jesus. You are now a Saint. You were an orphan, you are now a child of God. When you sin, you sin as a saint. It does not alter your identity.

Something miraculously alters in our very being. We now have the mind of Christ but we just do not tap into it.

We renew this mind by washing it with the Word of God 

When we attempt to change without the heart and mind transformation, we only have behavior modification that cannot be sustained for a long period. That is why some of us fall back into old patterns of behavior and thinking.

Some of us try living the Christian life under the bondage of religious duty and not from a place of relationship and delight in the Father. WE fall back into law instead of living out of grace.

We focus too much on what we ought not to do instead of focusing what the great Hope and calling we have

Today I want us to look at our Sonship in God.

In order to know the truth, you study the truth first, and then you look can spot the lie.

So let’s look at some truths about us today that are a part of our DNA as children of God.



SO WHAT DOES THIS NEW IDENTITY AND DNA GIVE US?

1.    GOD is your Father.Do you know and believe that he is truly a good, good Father?
The starting point of knowing who we are is knowing whose we are.

2.   The Supernatural is our new nature. We need to know that we live from a place of victory, therefore, nothing is impossible for us with God. So I can take leaps of faith.

 Jesus conquered everything on the cross. Therefore, I can dream big because God’s assignment for us is huge and encompasses all of our lives.
2b - I can trust God because He is good and can do the impossible, and all His promises are “Yes and Amen”!.

My new identity gives me access to all the spiritual blessings.

Its all in my account but not yet in my possession. ( Bill Johnson)
 I have to cash the cheque so that I can use that favour of access to be a blessing to others and fulfill God’s mandate for me on this EARTH.

When we realize how much we have access to, it increases our responsibility because to whom much is given much is required.


3.   He chose me, therefore, I am significant not in an arrogant self-obsessed way. I am significant to God’s plans and purposes
He has chosen us in order that the earth is filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord even as the waters cover the sea.

How you may ask? you and I as we are being changed from one degree of glory to another. Glory – we are meant to share in His glory and bear His glory. Imagine that!!!
If we realized this, we would not indulge in some of the things we do.

4.   Your identity as a son and daughter is covered in Royalty. You are a Prince/princess.

One thing the devil really trembles at is when Sons of God come into their full identity, operate in that anointing, and power.

He wants to keep you from fulfilling your purpose and destiny in life. HE wants to set us free, from shackled thinking and a wrong identity.

1 Pet 2:9 – 10 We are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation.

 A good King and royalty live for the benefit of their subjects. Our King Jesus laid down his life for us so that we could enjoy unlimited favour. 

We are blessed to be a blessing. We have favour in order to use it to bring blessing to others.

Therefore, since we know that we have a good God who can do the impossible because of the finished work of the Cross-we can take leaps of faith and serve him whole-heartedly, faithfully and diligently as sons and not as orphans or hirelings.

An orphan or hirelings in last in and first out. They do not care about their Father’s business but only look out for themselves.

When you have understood your place and identity as a son in the house of God, you will take on responsibilities with joy just as Jesus did. He laid down his life for his friends for the JOY set before him.

When we live in the goodness of our identity in Christ, we become a light to the world around us.

When we live in the awareness of the significance of God’s choosing of us,  that he has invested into us when He put the holy spirit inside of us; we will carry ourselves differently and conduct ourselves differently. You will not get involved with potty stuff.

There will be a shift from living a life to please me to living a life of service. Just like our Servant King, Jesus; knowing the Father has placed everything beneath him, He could serve with a towel and basin.

First, do you see yourself as a son or do you behave as an orphan or a hireling?
Do you know who you are and what you are called to and that you are chosen by God? Are you living out of your new DNA?
We will look more into this the next time.





Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service.  Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org. 

Monday, August 5, 2019

The Art Of Being A Good Friend | Navaz D


This message was preached by Navaz at Word of Grace Church on August 4th, 2019. To listen/download the audio please click hereTo listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here


Lots of people claim to be loyal and loving, but where on earth can you find one? Proverbs 20:6 ( The Message translation of the Bible)

This book was written in 700 B.C , that is nearly 3000 years ago. The issues that mankind faces is the same. Why? Because the heart is the same.

Today’s topic is about Friendship, how do I be a good friend, and how do I find a good friend.

 We all live in a very mobile society. Where you were born is not necessarily, where you will live for the rest of your life. we have to learn how to navigate a very fluid society

The way we can navigate all this is:  We need to have some parameters or a grid /point of reference that is constant from which we can view things.

The starting point to having good friends isis to be a good friend.

To be a good friend you first need to understand yourself. Do you know who you are? How would you describe yourself? 

Self-awareness is key to becoming a good healthy friend. If what I do is who  I am then when that changes, my core will get shaken.

But, if what I do does not describe who I am, then circumstances can change around me by my core stays constant.

Do you know that you are created by design? When you know you have been created by design, you will know that you have a purpose. The Bible tells us that even before the world was created, the Creator of everything thought of you and me and had a plan for our life.

At the heart of good friendship whether it is being one or finding a good friend is
Authenticity, vulnerability, trust, respect and listening.

HOW DO YOU FIND A GOOD FRIEND?
We all have friends at different levels. We have acquaintances, close friends, and deep heart friends. We need to know the distinction between these and not mix them up.

AUTHENTICITY
People show up in different ways. We show up in different ways. Our aim is to be authentic in who we are, how we show up and how people experience us.

100% - What you see is what you get. There are no two faces to you. You are not one person in public and another in private.

75% - Is a person who can be 100% but sometimes will not show all of themselves to you if trust has not been established or they are not feeling safe in a situation.

50% -  Are people who walk in the shadows. You are not really sure where you stand in relation to them and you are unclear about who they are?  You are often confused by them because their talk and walk don’t match.

 25%- These people have huge masks and walls. They do not let anyone into their heart.  They can be fake or very frozen and robotic when it comes it interpersonal relationship.
There are many reasons why we show up this way – it could be past hurts, abuse, someone let you down really badly, family/cultural norms of distrust etc. If we have not experienced healthy love and affection as a child that can affect our bonding as adults. It affects our grid from which we build relationships.


TRUST
 Trust is earned, respect is always given. Healthy friendships take time to develop.  
Trust is built in the small moments – John Gotham.  There are opportunities to build trust and betray it at the same moment.

It all depends on how you respond. Is what I share with you safe with you? Can what others share with me be safe with me?

A person cannot move from acquaintance to deep heart in an instant. That is when most disasters take place because a false sense of intimacy/closeness is created where trust has not been fully established.

Good friendships say I want to give you strength in me to help you be successful, to pull out the gold that is in you.

Can we be trusted to keep confidences?
Trust is at the heart of every relationship. You take that away and you don’t have a relationship anymore. It violates the person just as physical violence does. This is assassinating a person’s character. Its murder undeveloped. Think about it.

Gossip is like bits of paper that are thrown in the wind. Who knows where it goes and can anyone gather all of it back?
“If you reveal your secrets to the wind,
you should not blame the wind for
revealing them to the trees.”

― Kahlil Gibran, The Wanderer

VULNERABILITY
The willingness to share something that needs to be safe with you. The willingness to show up 100% with no masks, no lies or pretense.

For this to happen I need to be non-judgmental for others to be vulnerable with me.
I can fall apart and will not be judged by you.

RESPECT
R esist patronizing
E xercise self-responsibility. Take care of yourself and let people take care of themselves
S uspend critical judgment. Don’t shame or jump to conclusions
P ractice – love, patience, kindness, goodness
E xtend yourself appropriately. Have good boundaries.
C onsider confidentiality
T take one another seriously- don’t be sarcastic or joke about a person’s problem. It can be hurtful

LISTEN

We often communicate to convince someone else about our point of view to win a discussion. The aim of listening is to understand. To have an accurate understanding of how the other person is feeling about a situation.

Sometimes all a friend wants you to do is to  listen with warmth and empathy.
Reflect back what the person is saying

SOME SIGNS OF AN UNHEALTHY FRIENDSHIP
  • You are being manipulated and controlled
  • Fear is used to get you to do something
  • Untrustworthy
  • Insecure about your other friendships
  • Unloving
  • Ego clashes
  • Mean
  • Verbal and /or physical abuse
  • Make you feel “less than”
  • Jealous
  • Agendas
  • Blows hot and cold leading you to feel confused
  • Fake
  • Secretive
  • Holds grudges and makes you pay by withdrawing affection.


LAST WORDS
Be careful of people who only take from you. We need a balance in our lives. Do you have friends that refresh you as well? Are you one that seeks to refresh others? Are you a giver to taker?

When your life is out of balance, you make wrong decisions. You trust the wrong people. You cross boundaries by overextending yourself in a friendship or allow someone to invade your boundaries.

 So make a list of people in whom you want to invest your time and energy.
Make a list of people of whom when you talk to you feel invigorated. You are important too.

CONCLUSION

If you start putting this into practice you will develop that constant strong core in you that will help you no matter where life takes you. You will be a better person and you will attract the right kind of people in your life.



Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service.  Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org. 

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Living in the New Era | A Jay

This message was preached by Colin D at Word of Grace Church on June 30th, 2019. To listen/download the audio please click hereTo listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here







LIVING IN THE NEW ERA



We as a family of churches – Regions Beyond are carrying a word for us and that is a ‘Promise of a New Era.’ While we were spending time last week seeking God asking “what does this new era look like.”

The word says that we are in a new era – not a new season because seasons come and go and we know what a season is going to look like. A new era is something absolutely new and different – there is no prototype that has gone before us and we have never been this way before.

I am going to speak to you about someone who was called to live a life in the new era where there were implications and costs involved. Let us see how he and his family responded.

Gen 12: 1 – 3
The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
2 “I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
    and you will be a blessing.[
a
]
3 I will bless those who bless you,
    and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
    will be blessed through you.”

God wants every man and woman to carry a promise of God in the new era. The call of living in the new era is amazing – you don’t know what is in front of you and sometimes it’s confusing, breathtaking, at times it can be ugly.

 It can be like trying to build a plane in the air. Abraham was in a place where he was relying on God for what’s coming next. He came from a house of idol worshippers where he and his father Terah were idol worshippers when God got a hold of him and said “I want you to live in a new era.” 

God gave him some very big promises – so big that they were to play a vital role in the universal plan of redemption. His role was to be part of God’s big picture where God would reconcile man back to himself. Let’s look at scripture and see what this was all about.

Vs 1 The Lord said to Abraham
1)     God is the origin of the call over our lives.
It’s simple, but sometimes we forget. Abraham had done nothing to receive this call on his life. When God speaks, stuff happens. When God said “let there be light”, there was light. When God called Abraham there comes in the picture of the redemptive plan of the universe – God’s people being called back to God.

The Bible is full of such stories like Moses in the wilderness. He saw the bush that was burning but not being consumed by the fire and there was no smoke. He went there and God spoke to him. He came up with lots of excuses but God called him to do something and he did. Samuel got up and went to Eli and said “did you call me?” Eli said no until he understood that it was God who was calling him and he responds. 
Andrew and Peter were on the boat and Jesus said “come follow me and I will make you fishers of men and they left their boats and their nets to follow Jesus. Saul became Paul in a moment. Now there’s my story.

  
If you are sitting here today wondering if Jesus really exists and died for your sins, today is the day of salvation. Give him your heart and he will be yours forever.

We need to be absolutely sure that it is God who has called you because when challenges come, you will need the strength, the grace and the courage from God alone.

2)     The Call is costly.
Our battles are going to get more difficult. We are living in times where times are gonna become very difficult, but our victories are gonna become easier because it is  God who will fight for us.

Vs 1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.
Sometimes the call is literal, it actually requires us to leave our family and our household and go.

 But many times, God is actually saying “leave your comfort zone.” We have become very comfortable – it is about me: my wife and children, my job, etc. and I am comfortable. That’s when God says come on – move on. Things are not about us.

Leaving our comfort zone can look very different for each one of us. Sometimes it can be about Sunday morning – the alarm goes off and you are on the serving team, you feel someone else can replace you, and you rest. The serving team needs you – the buck stops with you. Sometimes it can be about Sunday afternoon – on Sunday afternoon I want to chill, I want to rest. I know that Colin and Navaz call for hospitality, but maybe I can rest and do it next week.

 Then next week becomes the next and it never happens and we get comfortable. God says let's come out of our comfort zone. Getting out of our comfort zone can also be about sharing the love of God with our friends.

I am friends with this person and we are comfortable. I don’t want the friendship to get awkward or for us to get disconnected so let Jesus be out of the conversation here -  but God says to come out of the comfort zone.

By asking him to leave his country, God was saying leave your comfort zone that you are in and to leave his people and his familiarity.

By asking him to leave his Father’s household, God was asking him to leave every security that comes with living under a protected roof. God was saying “make me your security, make me your dependable one, you can rely on me, I will be with you forever, I will never leave you.”

The scripture talks about the call being costly – Peter and Andrew left their nets, Matthew left the table to follow Jesus. There was a man who Jesus said to come follow him.

The man said, “let me bury my Father and then I will follow you.” It wasn’t that his Father had just died and he had to carry out a funeral service. What he really meant was let my father get old and die, let me grab my inheritance, then I will follow you. Then Jesus said “If you hold on to your life, you will lose it, if you lose your life for me, you will find it.”


. There is a cost involved and the cost may look different for everyone. It may look like no promotion. We are coming into times where people may look at your name and your belief system and say I don’t want this man or woman to go ahead in life and there will be a choice that will be in front of you. Will you follow Jesus or will you leave Jesus out of the equation. You will know when you are being ashamed of the Gospel.

The call is costly but it doesn’t end there. God is Faithful – he promises us that he will never leave or forsake us. There is a purpose behind the call – there was a purpose behind Abraham’s call.

3)     Purpose of this call.

God said to Abraham
“I will make you into a great nation,
    and I will bless you;
I will make your name great

In those times, making your name great was not just being famous, but it meant that people will know you and the purposes of God in many generations to come. Today we are still talking about Abraham in 2019 which means God has been faithful – he has kept his word.

All the families of the world will be blessed through Abraham – and that is great. God’s ultimate purpose by calling us is much more than just us being blessed. We are blessed to be a blessing. It is far better to be a blessing than to be just blessed. 

The rest of the world wants big houses and cars. For us God is saying “I want you to be a blessing.” Imagine someone dies and everyone says: “this lady was such a blessing to our community, to our city.” That’s what God wants for us.

 Once we get a hold of that, everything – the way we do life, our attitude changes. The way mums and dads raise their children would completely change. Everything around us would change when we realize that God has called us to be a blessing.

How can we be a blessing? What does that mean for us?
If we line up with God’s purpose, we will be a blessing. God’s ultimate purpose is people from every tribe tongue and nation came to know Jesus. Jesus said go and make disciples, baptize them in the name of the Spirit and I will be with you till the end of age. That is God’s ultimate purpose. When our lives align with this purpose of God, he is glorified and our purpose on Earth is fulfilled.





Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service.  Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.