Tuesday, January 19, 2021

An Anchor For The Soul

 

 This message was preached by Colin DCruz via zoom at Word Of Grace Church on  January 10th 2021. for the audio please click here.  TO listen to the worship please click here

 

We are living in very challenging times. We saw the COVID become a pandemic and we hoped that things would get better over time, but there has been no respite. The death toll has been devastating. Whole industries have shut down, businesses have come to a grinding halt or reduced significantly! Millions have been rendered jobless. In 2021, we are still in unchartered territory. Fear can grip us because of health and economic needs. IN the midst of all that is happening, I want to share how to anchor our lives in Christ.

Heb 6:19- 20 “We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20 where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” The hope is in verse 14 – I will surely bless you and give you many descendants.

The full prophetic word was in Gen 22 which concerns us, because we are the descendants of Abraham. It anchored Abraham’s life in turbulent waters. Without an anchor, a ship can drift or crash against the rocks. The anchor keeps it safe.

In this stormy waters, where is our anchor? It is in the word of God. So we will look at some promises in the word that will be our anchor. Let’s pray.

Psalm 23:6 “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

This Psalm is about the goodness of the Lord to us. Come to this Psalm when you are anxious, worried, fearful, etc.

1.      God’s goodness is there for us: Psalm 139 talks about God’s involvement in our life.

3 You search out my path and my lying down
    and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
    behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
    and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
    it is high; I cannot attain it.

7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
    Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
    If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
    How vast is the sum of them!
18 If I would count them, they are more than the sand.
    I awake, and I am still with you
.

               There are angels watching over your life. God is watching over you. It does not mean bad things don’t happen to us. But even though bad things happen, God will work it out for good. Romans 8:28 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose”

2.      His mercy / loving-kindness follows us: His mercy is when God doesn’t give us what we deserve. Jesus died in our place so God can have mercy over us. Goodness relates to his provision, mercy relates to his pardon. We need mercy all the time.

Eph 2:4-5 “4 But[c] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved

Micah 7: 18 “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
    and passing over transgression
    for the remnant of his inheritance?
He does not retain his anger forever,
    because he delights in steadfast love.
He will again have compassion on us;
    he will tread our iniquities underfoot.
You will cast all our sins
    into the depths of the sea

God is not mad at you. He is mad about you.

Exodus 34: 6 “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,”

When we commit a mistake, we need to run to God. The confidence is in what He has done. God loves to show mercy and his nature is good.

The Lord is my shepherd. And behind the sheep are two sheep-dogs, goodness and mercy. IN the midst of all the uncertainty, His goodness and mercy follow us ALL the days of our lives.

3.      Dwell in the house of the Lord forever: People fear death more than anything! If you have put your trust in Jesus, there is no fear of death. Our eternal destiny is settled. Death is just a doorway into resurrection life. Jesus is preparing something beautiful for those who love Him.

All the things that plague us on earth will no longer be there in heaven. As Christians we need to focus on heaven. We need to have a long term plan, knowing our future is secure in Jesus. Heaven is the place where God dwells. It is filled with the glory of God. What we see is just a glimpse of what His glory is. No eye has seen, no ear has heard and no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him. We need to be a people who are anchoring our lives in heaven. No one can take that away from you. Romans 8: 18 “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

What were Pauls Troubles? 2 Corinthians 11:23-33“with far greater labours, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.” 

Whatever trouble you have this morning, it is light and momentary compared to the riches of heaven. Even being martyred is no big thing. Phil 1:21 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Let us be a people who love heaven.

 

How shall we respond to this?

1.      Be grateful:

When we look around and see how blessed we are; we need to be grateful to God. This is the antidote to fear. Write down on a journal the things we are grateful for.

 

Hebrews 12:28 “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe”.

 

2.      Generous:

Let us be a people who not only receive but give freely.

3.      Be gracious and merciful to others:

Eph 4:32 “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” Don’t hold on to grudges but extend forgiveness and grace.

 

1 John 4:18 “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love

4.      We are living for God’s glory:

When our mind is focused on doing good deeds, we are bringing glory to God.

 

When we are anchored to these things, we are steady through the storms of this life.

Let’s pray!

     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. 

 

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Biblical Parenting

 


 This message was preached by Colin DCruz via zoom at Word Of Grace Church on  January 10th 2021. for the audio please click here.  TO listen to the worship please click here


If I was to ask you what your gender is, would you think? Why did I ask this? These days, the gender question is assaulted. This morning, I want to state what establishes the fact about gender.

6 But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ – Mark 10:6

God made them male and female. There are no 100+ gender identities. But there are only 2 – male and female.

27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.

28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”

29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.

31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.

-        Gen 1:27-31

God’s Word outlines that there are only 2 gender identities and the mankind is made in His image. And it was very good. Let us look into a few important truths.

 

Family is from God

Are all families equal? Let us look into a real life example.

There was a man name Jonathan Edward. A study was made on the lineage of his family tree. This is what was found –

Out of approximately 1,400 known descendants:

 

·                  "practically no lawbreakers";

·                  more than 100 lawyers and 30 judges;

·                  13 college presidents, 100+ professors;

·                  100 clergymen, missionaries and theological professors;

·                  62 physicians;

·                  80 elected public officials, including 3 mayors, 3 governors, several congressmen, 3 senators and 1 vice-president (Aaron Burr);

·                  60 authors or editors with 135 books to their credit; and

·                  75 army or navy officers.

 

Let us now look the lineage of Max Dukes family tree.

Of the total group of related individuals, this is what was found -


·                  310 were paupers who spent a combined 2,300 years in poorhouses;

·                  130 were convicted criminals;

·                  50 women were prostitutes;

·                  7 were murders; and

·                  these paupers and criminals cost the state of New York $1.5 million to pay for their incarcerations and $1.25 million in public welfare and other costs to society apart from incarceration.

 

What is the difference? Bringing up the children according to God’s Word is the difference. We have choices to make. We need to make the right choice. The legacies we leave go onto many generations and impact the world.

How do we bridge the gap between starting and leaving a legacy?

 

1.     Material Provision

 

As parents, it is our responsibility to provide for our children.

 

8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. – 1 Tim 5:8

 

 

 

 

2.     Faithful Instruction

 

8 because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free. – Eph 6:8

 

We may provide with everything but without faithful instruction, they may get spoilt. Children however young, they do understand. So read to them the God’s word. Read the Bible stories. As they grow up, they would come to know the love of Jesus

Training them includes discipline in love.

 

3.     Giving a godly example

 

People should be able to see us training our kids.

 

 1 Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. – 1 Cor 11:1

 

We should be a living example. Our walk must match our talk.

 

4.     Showering love upon our children

 

It is very easy to see our kids doing wrong. We should remember to give them affirmation, love and encouragement. Remember to shower love. Sometimes we wait for them to perform well. But our love should be unconditional just as our Father in heaven showers His love upon us.

 

Family is very important. It is not man’s idea, but God’s. The gender is male and female. What we do have repercussions in the next generations till Christ returns. So, we need to stay rooted in the Word of God.

   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, January 5, 2021

Crossing Over Into 2021


 This message was preached by Colin DCruz via zoom at Word Of Grace Church on  January 3rd 2021. for the audio please click here.  TO listen to the worship please click here


Phil 3: 10-

10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.

Paul is writing to the Phil and talking about his great desires: know Christ, power of his resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering.

Paul wrote a large portion of the New Testament, he went up into heaven, and encountered Jesus in person. He was an amazing person

What can we learn from this passage for the New year

1.    Desire for more V12 Paul was dissatisfied with his spiritual progress. Imagine that. He was still looking forward to something greater.

We need to have a holy dissatisfaction about what we have accomplished things for God. We can’t settle for less if we want to grow in maturity.

Often when we go for a buffet, we fill ourselves with the appetizers.

Ps42 As the deer pants for streams of water so my soul longs after you.

There is great desire expressed by men and women in scripture for God.

The way we move ahead is a desire for more of God

2.    Forgetting what is behind. v13 Sometimes things in the past hinder our spiritual progress viz failures – you can feel hopeless or paralyzed. We need to put it out of our mind. That does not define you

Success can also hinder you. you feel you have arrived – I am serving, giving etc.

With failures we humbly confess and with success we humbly thank God

3.    Strain toward what is ahead. Paul loved sport. He gave a lot of sports examples. Straining/press on. Those are not walk in the park terms.

1Cor 9:24-27 Run in such a way as to get the prize.

How are we beginning the New Year? We need to get hold of Christ, we need to make an effort

What does this mean for us? We need to have a plan like an athlete who trains for a marathon. They train months in advance,

Have a plan to get into God’s word – read, meditate, memorize, study it.

Prayer – I do not know anyone who is happy with their prayer life. This is something we all can grow in. When we pray God will act. It may be slow but God acts like the nation of Israel in the desert. Of like Daniel and the writing on the wall, The Medes invaded that very night.

Consider how you can increase your prayer life. This is how we push back the darkness.

Developing relationships – the lockdown has been a challenge but we need to find a way through it. We need to build relationships across the church to encourage others, to build friendship. In every encounter let us express love

 

 Giving -Many of us have not been affected by the COVID-19 19 crises. But many industries have been severely affected. WE need to be intentional about growing in our giving. We thank God for our finances. WE are intentional about increasing our giving.

4.    Reach the lost – People are in great need. We need to reach out. If people do not receive the gospel, shake the dust off your feet and leave. It is no reflection on you.

 

5.    Serving – Many served to make the Christmas Carols evening a success. Look at how you can serve. We are not doing this for public recognition but serving for the audience of one. People may or may not acknowledge it but you serve faithfully

We had many amazing prophetic words for this year. Here is the video link.

New wine is not put into old wineskins. We have to be ready to adapt to change. In the book of Acts, the church grew rapidly but they did not leave Jerusalem. Then in Acts 8 the church got scattered and the Word spread. With COVID-19 we have been spread out too. Jesus said when 2 or 3 are gathered he is there. He did not say 200 or 300. This year we want to strengthen the gathering of 2 and 3.

 

    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. 

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Make Way For The King

 

This message was preached by Colin DCruz via zoom at Word Of Grace Church on  December 6th 2020. for the audio please click here.  TO listen to the worship please click here

Sometimes we get so used to celebrating Christmas that we lose the meaning of Jesus’s birth. Today, we are going to look at Luke chapter 1.

Before that let’s look at Galatians

Galatians 4:4 - But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,

What is the fullness of time?

There are certain things that were needed to be fulfilled.

Isaiah 40:3 - A voice of one calling:
“In the wilderness prepare
    the way for the Lord[a];
make straight in the desert
    a highway for our God.

The prophetic word of somebody coming before Jesus was fulfilled by John the Baptist.


John 1:19 - 19 Now this was John’s testimony when the Jewish leaders[c] in Jerusalem sent priests and Levites to ask him who he was. 20 He did not fail to confess, but confessed freely, “I am not the Messiah.” 21 They asked him, “Then who are you? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” He answered, “No.” 22 Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23 John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, “I am the voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Make straight the way for the Lord.”

Who’s the greatest? John the Baptist? Moses? Or Elijah?

Matt 11:11 - 11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. 

So, today, if you are a follower of Christ, then you are greater than John the Baptist.

This Christmas, let us rejoice in everything that God has for us in store. We are great not because of anything that we have done but because of God’s love.

Luke 1:5-7 - In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

These verses say that there was a priest names Zecharaiah and he belonged to the priestly division. What does that mean?

Zecharaiah was a descendent of Levi tribe. The Levis were chosen to be priests. Those days God’s presence was in the holiest of the holies. Not every priest was allowed to go inside. Only the high priest was allowed to enter the inner most court.

In the passage, we see that Zechariah was a priest and his wife was Elizabeth. Both of them observed all God’s decrees blamelessly. But there was one problem. Elizabeth was barren and also old in her age. Those days, being barren was considered as a curse.

Luke 1:9-9 - Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.

Here, we see that Zecharaiah was on duty as a priest before God.

To be chosen to go inside and light the incense is a great honor and that opportunity comes only once a year, that too by casting lots. Some would have never gotten a chance to enter God’s presence and burn the incense.

With Jesus and His sacrifice, we can go into the holiest of the holies. Even the gentiles have a chance to enter God’s presence, approach boldly God’s throne to receive His grace and mercy.

We don’t have a temple. We are God’s temple.  Are you serving God is any way? Zecharaiah, descendant of Levi tribe, got this privilege to serve God. Others from other tribes didn’t have that privilege.

When we used to meet as a church at Ashirwad Hall, there were different teams serving in different areas. For example, the Setup team. They are there every Sunday morning, setting up things, cleaning, arranging etc. They recognize the temple of God and that’s how they served.

Even now, as we meet online, there are different people working behind every Sunday Meeting.

So, do you want to serve? If yes, speak to me.

Luke 1:11 - 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense

This is very significant.

Firstly, the angels are not small naked babies with wings. Angels are mighty. Every time an angel appeared to someone, they got scared and thus the angel said “Fear not” or “Do not be afraid”

The angel God placed at the entrance of the garden of Eden had a sword in is hand.

Secondly, an angel appeared for the first time after 400 years.

If we actually go through the Bible, we see 2 periods of 400 years of silence.

1st – The end of Genesis and beginning of Exodus.

2nd – After Malachi, 400 years passed away, and an angel appeared to Zecharaiah

For our personal application –

Let us ask ourselves – Are we hearing from God daily? It may not be angelic. But we hear him through His Word. We read His Word and ask Him to speak to us. Let’s be a people of Word.

Col 3:16 - 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.

We have GYMs, Videos, Audios etc. Let’s make use of all these resources.

Luke 1:13 - 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John

From this verse, we understand that Zecharaiah and Elizabeth had been praying for a child especially a son so that he could pass on the priesthood. God steps in, angel appears and thus their prayer was answered.

We know that God is good. We put our trust in Him. We know that He works everything for our good in His perfect time. Even if we don’t see an answer, we need to continue praying faithfully and fervently. Whatever the prayer is, don’t give up. Continue to pray, continue to declare God’s promises and hold onto to God.

John means gracious gift.

Luke 1:14 - 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth,

Luke 1:16 - 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God.

Mal 4:5 - “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes.

So, after 400 years, the prophesy came true.

John is special –

1.     God supernaturally healed Elizabeth and answered her prayer

2.     John was filled with the Holy Spirit while he was still in his mother’s womb

Luke 1:41 - 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 

What an amazing calling upon John! He had a very limited time to prepare the way for Jesus.

We need to be a channel for people so that they’d know Jesus. Pray for them. As John the Baptist had his ministry, we have our ministry to do too. It is to pray for people who are yet to be saved., share the gospel with them. The true meaning of Christmas is gospel but not just the decorations.

Luke 1:18-20 - 18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” 19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

For us, we can get depressed looking at the things that are going bad. God wants us to look to His Word. Continue to confess and declare the Word of God. Whenever you get doubt or thoughts of despair, we have a privilege which the Old Testament people didn’t have. So, let’s get a hold of the GYMs, worship evenings, Men’s prayer etc. Whatever be your prayer, confess it, declare it and hold onto it.

    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.