Wednesday, June 5, 2024

Back to Basics - Part 1 - Who are you following?

 

 This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on June 2nd 2024 by Lasya. For the audio & video please click here.  For the worship please click here.

Who am I following?

Let’s start with a quiz - what were Jesus’ first words to any of his disciples? 

18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. Matthew 5:18-19 

About 10 times in each of the gospels, Jesus says, ” Follow me” to his disciples. 

You can be a social media follower of Jesus- enjoy his teachings, subscribe to his beliefs, and tomorrow if you see something that doesn’t align with how you think or feel, you can unfollow. 

University style of following - listen to sermons, learn the Hebrew and Greek but don’t actually know how to put it into practice. Spiritually obese.

A disciple is a life-long learner: not an academic acquiring information about God, but a craftsman acquiring skills in the faith.” –Eugene Peterson

Apprenticeship- In the Jewish culture of apprenticeship, the apprentice would go with his master everywhere, learn from him and one day, become like him.

Matthew 8: 19 And a scribe came up and said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.” 20 And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

Does this model work? 

Illustration of the Meenakari work, Stradivarius violin, Kintsugi art centuries old crafts that are still alive today. It’s not because of a university, but because of apprenticeship. Each master in his lifetime will only take 6-10 apprentices. Is he ineffective? No, these crafts have lasted centuries without compromising the quality. This is the model of discipleship that Jesus laid down for us. How did Jesus take on the world? By taking Peter, John, James, Andrew and other disciples.

Each of them left something or someone behind to follow Jesus. How do we think of following Jesus today? 

There are 3 steps - the tagline of Word of Grace. 


  1. Enjoying God - Being with him/ beholding him 
    1. The primary call of God is to himself. Mark 3:13-15 Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him. He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.
    1. How can you be with someone who is invisible? John 4:24 - God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 
    1. What do you do with him? Thank him (Psalm 100), Listen to him (my sheep listen to my voice), talk to him (prayer- ask and you shall receive), delight in him(behold, contemplate the glory of the Lord)
    1. Reflection question - What rhythms do you have in your life to be with Jesus? What is your sacred space, time? Do you have times when you will not touch your phone or any digital devices and completely turn your attention and affection towards Jesus? (Not just Sunday morning worship)

2.               Making Friends - Do as he did.

 

a.               Imitation - we are so scared of that word because we all want to protect our individuality. 

                                     i. But we are called to imitate Him. John 13:14-15 “14 If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another's feet. 15 For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. ” 

                                    ii. In fact, we are called to imitate those who imitate him! 1 Cor 11:1 “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.Illustration of an artisan. What are we supposed to imitate? Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith” (Heb.13:7).

                                  iii. Reflection Question- Who are you imitating? 

 

b.               Picture of apprenticeship. Eric Metcalf - 5 stages of apprenticeship - 

i. I do , you watch, we talk  

ii. I do, you help, we talk

iii. You do, i help, we talk

 iv. You do, i watch, we talk

  v. You do, someone else watches. Jesus did this with his disciples.

 

c.               Meals not meetings - Christian life is lived around meals not meetings. Jesus was always eating. With his brothers and sisters(those who were for him), with his enemies(those who were against him), with noted leaders of the synagogue (those who were socially above him), with sinners (those who were beneath him). 

Reflection question- What meals are you putting off with any one of these categories of people? 

3.     Changing lives - Becoming like him 

          

Q. What is the goal of your Christian life? 

Believe → become?

Romans 8:29 “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son

 

Believe → Behold → Behave → Become 

Salvation Sanctification

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 ESV

“Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2 ESV

a.               Who transforms us? So just as you would go to the doctor and ask why I am not losing weight, when we feel stuck in our spiritual growth, we need to go to his word and spirit and ask where I am stuck

b.               Jesus is committed to finish what he started. But what did he start in you? Not your job, your finances, your fame, or even your ministry. Jesus is not committed to your success. He is committed to forming Christ in you. 

c.               This is a long road. So much so that it is not going to be complete on this side of eternity. But it can be an indicator of who you are following. The partially formed version of Jesus that is in each of us. 

d.               Reflection Question - Are you more like Jesus today than you were a year ago? 



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 part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.   

Friday, May 17, 2024

Honouring Your Mother on Mother's Day

 

 This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on May 12th 2024 by Colin. For the audio & video please click here.  For the worship please click here. 

Honouring Your Mother on Mother’s Day

 There are so many special days that we celebrate. In fact, the greeting card company is making a lot of business out of these special days. The original Mother’s Day holiday was celebrated hundreds of years ago. It originated in America when a woman by the name Anna Jarvis held a small memorial service for her own mother to express her gratitude for all the sacrifices she made for her daughter.

Mothers sacrifice a lot from the time they deliver a baby. Even though the delivery process is painful, it brings great joy when you hold the baby.

What does the Bible say about parents, especially mothers?

Exodus 20:12 - “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

We all want to live longer. People are trying out different things to live longer. It is very simple – honour you father and mother. The Bible is clear about this.

If you look into the Bible, you will see that women played a very important role in the life of the Israelites. The deliverance started with one woman, Jochebed, the mother of Moses. Hannah didn’t have children for a long time and she cried out to God. He blessed her with Samuel. Samuel was used by God to anoint Saul and David. We see more women – Ruth, great great great grandmother of David. Eunice and Lois, grandmother, and mother of Timothy. They passed on their faith Timothy. Mary was a young girl and God used her for a great purpose. She conceived as a virgin to bring Christ into the world.

You mothers, have a very important role to play in your children’s lives.

How do we, as children, treat our mothers?

When we’re 4, we think mom can do anything, when 12, we think mom doesn’t know everything, when 14, we think mom doesn’t know anything, when 25+, we think mom knows something, when 35+, we go to her for advice and later as we grow older we wish we could talk to mom.

What is the biblical response to mothers?

1.      Obey her.

Ephesians 6:1 - Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

As a child, your responsibility is to obey your parents. Obey and follow cheerfully. Do the chores happily, willingly, cheerfully and immediately. As you grow little older, the understanding is different, you can think and reason with others. As you are older, you are called to honour and respect your mother – greet her, serve her, talk to her, listen to her. Don’t bad mouth her in front of others. Uphold her in honour, appreciate her, thank her, love her.

2.      Love her.

Love your mother unconditionally. Sometimes our love can be conditional. Mothers may not be able to do everything. As, children we are called to love our mothers unconditionally.

At every age, your mother needs affection. So, hug her with no limit.

Women go through different phases – sickness, tiresome, anxiety, stress etc. So, listen to them attentively by looking at them.

3.      Remember her.

Remember her gratefully. Call her up and express your thankfulness. Do it while she’s still alive.

4.      Give her.

Give her gifts, cards, or anything small. The greatest gift you could give is the gift of your presence.

They may need financial help. If they can’t manage it all by themselves, we need to stand by them, help them and support them financially.

Mothers towards children:

1.      Provide godly example.

Give yourselves a time of prayer and the Word. Lead a life that imparts good and godly values to your children.

2.      Pray for your children.

In the 1820s, a guy named Peter Richley, who was fed up with life decided to travel from UK to Australia and so boarded a ship. On the way, the ship he boarded sank and he was rescued and put on a second ship. This way, he went through 5 shipwrecks and finally was put on a 6th ship. While he was on the 6th ship, the doctor who examined him and declared he was fit, asked him for a favour. There was an old lady on the ship who couldn't see well and had not been keeping well. She’s been praying to see her son who disappeared many years ago. The doctor asked Peter if he could pretend to like her son. He agreed and went to see the old lady. To his surprise, it was his own mother sitting there. His mother had been praying to see her son for many years. Finally, it took 5 shipwrecks to bring Peter to her.

Prayers of a mother are powerful. They can change the destiny of her children.

3.      Be a wonderful wife.

Children see love and unity in marriage as they grow up. It helps them to see what a marriage is. So be a wonderful wife.

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 part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.   

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Death Resurrection and Hope Part 5

 This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on May 5th 2024 by Colin. For the audio & video please click here.  For the worship please click here. 

We’ve been studying the post- resurrection accounts of Jesus. The last week we spoke about the great commission the very last post resurrection account before the ascension. 


”And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, "you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."“ - Acts‬ ‭1‬:‭4‬-‭5‬, ‭8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

It before he tells them to go, he tells them to wait. Then we see the outworking of his instructions in the remaining part of the New Testament. 

When Jesus said not to leave Jerusalem, it was a command. 

”Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.“ - Acts‬ ‭1‬:‭12‬-‭14‬ ‭ 

They waited and obeyed faithfully until the day of Pentecost. 

”When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.“ - Acts‬ ‭2‬:‭1‬-‭4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

What happened on the day of Pentecost was a supernatural phenomena and they were filled with the Holy Spirit. They were being baptised with the Holy Spirit. They were so immersed in the Holy Spirit that they began to speak in tongues. 

There were people from different parts of the world. When they heard the sound, they heard them speaking in their own language. ”And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. And they were amazed and astonished, saying, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God."“ - Acts‬ ‭2‬:‭6‬-‭11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

There are 4 types of tongues. This is the type of tongue where unbelievers could hear their own language being spoken. 

You see that the Holy Spirit had come, but where is the power? 

”But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: "Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.“ - Acts‬ ‭2‬:‭14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The first element of the baptism in the Holy Spirit was supernatural boldness. Peter who could not confess Jesus to a servant girl is now preaching boldly in front of thousands. The connection between the promise of the father and the power is the gift of tongues. 

Let’s look at the outworking of this in the rest of the New Testament. 

”Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city.“ - Acts‬ ‭8‬:‭4‬-‭8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

These are examples for us to follow. Don’t let your experience be what is possible. Let the word determine what we will believe in. 

”Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.“ - Acts‬ ‭8‬:‭14‬-‭17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

What is the difference between being a believer and being baptised in the Holy Spirit? 

These are 2 different events. The believers in Samaria already believed in Jesus and were baptised. But they had not yet received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. It was a 3 day journey from Jerusalem to Samaria. But the apostles went there and considered it important to be baptised in the Holy Spirit.

What is the sign that someone was baptised by the Holy Spirit?

There is something you see and something you hear. Simon saw that they were being baptised by the Holy Spirit. What did he see? 

Account of Saul coming to faith: 

”But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" And he said, "Who are you, Lord?" And he said, "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do." Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord." And the Lord said to him, "Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight." But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; and taking food, he was strengthened. For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus.“ - Acts‬ ‭9‬:‭1‬-‭6‬, ‭10‬-‭13‬, ‭17‬-‭19‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Account of Cornelius coming to faith:

”At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, "Cornelius." And he stared at him in terror and said, "What is it, Lord?" And he said to him, "Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles.“ - Acts‬ ‭10‬:‭1‬-‭5‬, ‭42‬-‭45‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the gentiles. 

”For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, "Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?" And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.“ - Acts‬ ‭10‬:‭46‬-‭48‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Ephesian believers receiving the Holy Spirit: 

”And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said, "No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit." And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" They said, "Into John's baptism." And Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus." On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.“ -Acts‬ ‭19‬:‭1‬-‭6‬ ‭

In all these instances, after receiving Jesus, they were receiving the Holy Spirit. The sign that they had received the Holy Spirit was that they were speaking in tongues. 

”And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.“ - Acts‬ ‭4‬:‭31‬ ‭ESV‬‬

  1. Even if you were filled with the Holy Spirit, you can be filled with the Holy Spirit again. Eph 5:18 says be filled with the Holy Spirit. 

  2. We need to ask for boldness and power. The testimony of the New Testament believers that they turned the place upside down. May that be our testimony in this city. 

Why do we need to speak in tongues? 

”Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church.“ ‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭14‬:‭1‬-‭2‬, ‭4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

”Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.“ - 1 Corinthians‬ ‭13‬:‭8‬-‭10‬ ‭ESV‬‬

There is a misinterpretation of the passage saying the perfection is the word, so after the Bible was canonised all these gifts cease. But it does not bear the weight of scrutiny. We still seek knowledge, we do not yet see Jesus face to face. So the tongues will be still when we come face to face with Jesus. For now we need to be built up, so we need the gifts of the Holy Spirit. 

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 part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.   

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Death Resurrection and Hope Part 4


 This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on April 21th 2024 by Colin. For the audio & video please click here.  For the worship please click here. 

Jesus appeared many times to His disciples after His resurrection. The Resurrection is the most important event in history. So far we have looked at the post resurrrection appearances of Jesus.

Today we will look at the Post Resurrection instructions of Jesus.

Matt 28:18-20

v18 Jesus is saying that He is above every power and authority, therefore He can tell us to GO, MAKE disciples and TEACH them to obey.

Mark 16:14-18 Jesus instructed us to heal the sick by laying hands on them.

v.20 These disciples went out and signs and wonders confirmed their words

Luke 24:45 Jesus opened their minds to understand the scriptures

Our gathering on Sunday is just a job briefing time. Then through the week, we have to go and do.

John 20:21 As the Father sent me so I am sending you. For what? Not to attend Sunday meetings but to save people.

Acts 1:3-4 Wait for the gift my Father has promised. So eating together is a Biblical thing and a powerful thing to do. We need to do this regularly.

John 21:13 They ate together

Acts 1:4,8 Jesus was going to give them a gift - the promised Holy Spirit.

1- WAIT Acts 1:5, Luk 24:49, John 20

We don't need to wait today. ACts 2:1 - A violent wind came, tongues of fire treated upon each one and they began to speak in new tongues. The effects of being filled with the Holy Spirit are power, boldness and speaking in tongues.

If you are free ask yourself if you have received the Holy Spirit. We also need to be immersed in the power of the Holy Spirit.


2. Jesus cast out demons and healed the sick. The same is true for us. Act 36 Peter and John at the gate beautiful healed the lame man. We need to do the same.

Matt 9:35 Jesus went through all the towns and synagogues. HE drove out demons and the mute could speak.

v36 Jesus saw the crowds and compassioned them as He saw their helpless state.

We need to ask God for power and we do that in prayer.

3. Procvalining the Godpell and Making disciples

Matt 28:18-20 If you are a disciple of Jesus then one of the first things you do is get baptised in water.

Proclamation and discipline of nations

One day people from every tribe and language will stand before Jesus.

What are you living for?

James 4:14 Your life is like the morning mist that appears and vanishes.

The currency of heaven is should word and deeds done!!

If you are a Christ follower and not actively saving souls or discipliing men and women then you are not following the Jesus of the bible. There is no neutral ground - either we are gathering or scattering.

Act 8:4 The early church did this

Acts 6:8Stephen did signs and wonders

Mk16:20 The disciples went out

Col 4:2 Devote yourself to prayer.

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 part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.