Monday, March 18, 2019

All You Need Is Love - John 15 Part 3 | Navaz D

This message was preached by Colin D at Word of Grace Church on  February 25th, 2019. To listen/download the audio please click hereTo listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here



JOHN  15 PART3

INTRODUCTION

What do you consider the greatest thing for our lives ( apart from salvation)? What is the most important thing ever!!

The Beetles wrote a song titled "All you need is love". They got that bit right but went about it the wrong way. What is the right way?
Verse 9“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love”

We are going to look at LOVE today.

Isn’t it great that Jesus starts off by reassuring us of His love.?

He loves us as much as the Father loves HIM. That is the most perfect intense love ever!! HE said this to his disciples before they could even do anything for HIM.

Jesus says the same to us

Rom 5:8  God demonstrated His love toward us in this that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.
Eph 1:4-5 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he[a] predestined us for adoption to sonship[b] through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will
1 John 3:1
Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God:
1 John 4:19
We love him, because he first loved us.


God’s love for us is complete. We do not relate to Him from a place of fear of performance. We related to Him from a place of relationship and grace.

How do we remain in His love?  Have your alone time with God each day, when you allow him to talk to you and you talk to God.

Jesus says obedience in an indication of love.

The Pharisees were obedient. Was that an indication of love? Jesus spells out what this command is in verse 12 and 13.

Verse 12-13  12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 

1.   COMMAND TO LOVE   

Why is there this switch as it were, a shift in focus from our relationship with Jesus to our relationship with one another?

He knew if He asked us to just love Him that would be easy. He asked us to love each other! He knew that was another story!!  The test of our love for Him is in our obedience to this command; to love each other.

We can be very good at communion with God but have no connection with people. It is a commandment. It is not a suggestion.

Jesus says we can’t say we love God but hate our brothers. Well, you might say I don’t hate my brother. Do you love your brother as Christ?

2.   COMPLETENESS OF LOVE

WHY IS LOVE SO IMPORTANT?
God is love. God is a relational God.  God’s love is mentioned 310 times in the Bible and 179 times in the New Testament.

So if Jesus says that all I need is love then love is all I needWe rather hide behind rules, rituals, religious duty than invest in relationships which equals LOVE.

3.   CAUSE OF LOVE

V12 -Love each other as I have loved you.
Love motivated the Father to send Jesus to the earth and die a horrible death to save us from eternal damnation by taking the judgment of all our sins upon His body on the cross. Love for us kept him there.

Jesus said the world will know that we are his disciples if we have love one for another. This is very important.

When we know and experience the love of God we are able to truly love one another.

1 Peter1:22 -Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.

4.   COMPOSITION OF LOVE

V12b -as I have loved you.
This is a comparative statement. It is saying love to the degree I have loved or in the manner in which I love. How does God love us? How did Jesus demonstrate His love. ?

Jesus did two things – In John 13 it says to show the full extent of his love, he served the disciples by washing their feet. And then the final culmination of His love was His dying in our place.

Jesus defined love for us – it is laying down our lives for each other.

IN day to day terms what does it look like?

It means putting the other person interest above my own.

Love is an action word – feelings may accompany it. Love is a decision of the will.

The Bible defines very differently. One only needs to look at ! Cor 13. That is our standard.

Love is something we do for another person.
That is why meeting like this on a Sunday is important. Christianity is a personal and corporate faith.

Do you know how many bible verses are there that say “one another”? There are 59 verses in the New Testament on one another.



You do not have to agree on everything to love. Unity is not uniformity.
In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things charity. If only we practiced this more!!

DO YOU WANT TO BE FRUITFUL?

v16. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit-fruit that will last.

Intrinsically linked to our fruitfulness is our loving one another. Jesus deliberately intertwines the vine and branches.

Most of us stumble on this thing called love. Very few people have left a church because of doctrinal differences but many have left because of hurt and unresolved issues.

This is where we stumble and Jesus knew this.

Look at God’s word and see how it asks you to respond in the face of conflict, disagreements, hurt and injustice.
Sometimes I feel we Christians put a very heavy yoke on each other – that of perfection.

5.   CANCER TO LOVE
WHAT PREVENTS US FROM LOVING?

DISCONNECTION
We need to stay connected. We cannot be a branch that is disconnected. Jesus has deliberately intertwined the branches and the vine. You don’t know which branch is passing the sap from the vine onto you.

DISAPPOINTMENT/UNREAL EXPECTATIONS
We all carry around a “Spec to meter” We are very good at counting the spec in our neighbor’s eye. This clouds our judgment and vision of people. We need to shed a critical and judgmental spirit.

Why was Jesus so harsh with the Pharisees? They were very obedient – but it was loveless and graceless.

We need to remind ourselves of the Grace of God upon our livesWe need to have a sober judgment of shortcomings, our weaknesses and ourselves and extend grace to others.

UNFORGIVENESS /OFFENSES
This never affects us in isolation. Slow poison will soon affect everything we touch. We will get bitter, cynical, untrusting of everyone.

We have no choice when it comes to forgiveness. We have to let go in order to set ourselves free. Do yourself a favor and forgive today..
Luke 11:4 Forgive us our sins,  for we also forgive everyone who sins against us.
 Matt 6:15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins

PRIDE AND SELF-SEEKING
The disciples were jostling for power, promotion, and prominence. Remember John 15 is happening a few hours before Jesus’ arrest. They could not be in competition with each other nor in constant comparison.

 He wanted them to know the importance of first being connected to him they had to learn to get along with each other. It is the same with us.

CONCLUSION

 What I get from this passage is that it all about my relationship with Jesus and the other branches – my fellow Christ followers.

Religion can snuff out and replace relationship so subtly that we can fail to recognize this shift in our hearts. We need the Holy Spirit,  to help keep us in check and connected.

As I crossed the 50 mark, I have become more and more aware that I want the second half of my life to count even more.

All this is possible with lasting effect when I function from a place of knowing Jesus intimately and as in verse17 Jesus once again emphasizes “love each other”.
.
As Paul eloquently puts it

1Cor 13 :1-7 (The Message)
The Way of Love
13 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Let us 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, February 27, 2019

A Beautiful Thing : Part 2 | Colin D


This message was preached by Colin D at Word of Grace Church on  February 25th, 2019. To listen/download the audio please click hereTo listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here

Let us remind ourselves what we heard in last Sunday’s sermon. We got to know that Jesus spoke more about money. According to the research made, there are 2350 verses in Bible which talk about money and possessions. Statistics show that 15% of Jesus’s recorded words are about money. What is that He knows and we don’t know?
How we handle our money is the barometer of our spiritual health. How do we know the health of our spiritual life?

Matt 6:21 – For where your treasure is, there your heart will also be
The true test of our heart is to see where it is. If we want our heart to be in the right place, we should know where it is.

We all know about the story of Zacchaeus, the tax collector. Zacchaeus was a short man and hence he had to climb the tree to see Jesus. He was a tax collector. In Jesus time, the tax collectors were as respectable as a prostitute.

Matt 9:11 – When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

Matt 21:32 – For John came to you to show the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did……

Tax collectors were of very low ranking and were looked down. But why were they looked down upon? The tax collectors were Jews who used to collect the tax and give it to the romans with some of the tax going into their own pockets.

Luke 19:5-8 – When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” So, he came down at once and welcomed him gladly. All the people saw this and began to mutter, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.” But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.

When Zacchaeus’s heart was touched, he changed. When Jesus asked him to come down, Zacchaeus did not say Lord’s Prayer or sinner’s prayer. But he did the right thing and a generous thing.

When there is a call to giving, we tend to decide on some safe amount. But we need to align every area of our lives according to God’s word.

Last Sunday we saw how Mary, Martha’s sister gave. It was not a safe quantity. It was a generous and sacrificial quantity. It was worth one year’s wages. Today, we’re going to see the longest content on money.

2 Cor 8:1 – And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the grace that God has given the Macedonian churches.
1.      Giving is a result of grace
If we don’t understand grace of God, then we cannot give.
Stage 0 – There is no grace. People struggle to give.
Most of the people in the world are like this. But sadly, most of the Christians are like this too.
We see many advertisements on TV. All these are help people part with money.
People don’t mind spending money on themselves. It could be a new model phone or any new gadget. But they have a problem spending the money on others
When we as Christians, truly understand the grace of God, we will know how to be gracious in giving.
The richest people on the earth cannot buy salvation. We’re so blessed to have salvation, though we don’t deserve it. Hence, our response should be amazing. When we die, we can’t take anything with us.

Matt 6:19-20 – “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

Jesus has no problem with you storing up treasure. He wants you to store up the treasure in heaven.

How do we store up treasure in heaven? As we give to the poor, to gift offering , help others, we store up treasure in heaven.

2.      Financial situation / Difficult time
Some people may say that their financial condition is very bad or they may be genuinely going through some difficult times.
Let us see what Paul says about the Macedonians.

2 Cor 8:2 – In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity

How could the Macedonians give out of severe trial and extreme poverty? It’s because of God’s grace and immense joy that was overflowing


2 Cor 8:3 – For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability.

Stage 1 – Able
Stage 2 – Beyond ability (sacrificial)

We always want to increase the standard of our living. But God wants us to increase the standard of our giving.

Whatever Jesus spoke is recorded in the gospel lessons. But only one is recorded outside the gospel lessons and that is in Acts

Acts 20:35 – In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work, we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive”

3.      Attitude
What was the attitude of the Macedonians?

2 Cor 8:4 – they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people.

2 Cor 8:7 – But since you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you – see that you also excel in this grace of giving

Here is a question for all of us – Am I excelling in giving?

Jesus watches us when we give.
Jesus saw the old lady giving 2 copper coins. As the disciples were calculating who gave the most, Jesus said that the old lady gave more. It’s not the amount alone that is important. How much do we keep and how much do we give? We don’t compare ourselves with others.

2 Cor 9:6 – Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

If we want bananas, we need to plant the banana tree. If we want tomatoes, we need to plant tomatoes plant. Similarly if we want money, we must plant money that is give money.

Once, my mom told me that they were planning to get small houses built for the homeless. So, she asked me to give some money towards it. I gave. Then, my mom blessed me that one day God will bless me with a beautiful house. Today, I have a beautiful home.

As we shovel into God’s Kingdom, God will shovel back into our lives. The good news is that the shovel used by God is bigger.

2 Cor 9:12 – This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.

So, as we give, it not only meets the needs of the people but is an overflowing of thanks to God.

Here is the promise –

2 Cor 9:10-11 – Now, he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving. To 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. 

Monday, February 18, 2019

A Beautiful Thing Part 1 | Colin DCruz

This message was preached by Colin D at Word of Grace Church on  February 17th, 2019. To listen/download the audio please click hereTo listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here




Money!
When it comes to money, most of us get embarrassed. We get embarrassed to reveal our salary or sometimes, even to pay the bill at a restaurant. We must have heard people say that it’s not right to talk about money during a church meeting.

But we see in the Bible that Jesus talked about money. In fact, out of whatever Jesus spoke in the Bible, 13% of it is about money. He spoke more about money when compared to heaven, hell, and discipleship. So, do you think money is important? Yes! There is something significant about money.

Every year, in the month of November, we take a gift offering from all the churches under Regions Beyond across the globe. I am very blessed through Word of Grace church because of their generous giving every year towards Gift Day offering. The money that we receive towards gift day offering is used for different purposes. We send a part of this money to other Regions Beyond churches, we use a part of this money for the poor and the other part of the money is used to develop the infrastructure of our church. Well done church!

When we do not understand how to handle money according to the Bible, it can get very legalistic. We are going to look at Mark 14, which tells us about a woman called Mary, who breaks open the alabaster jar and anoints Jesus. However, before going through that, let us understand the relationship that Mary and her siblings share with Jesus.

John 11:5 - Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus
Jesus loved Martha, her sister, Mary and her brother Lazarus.

John 11:1-7
Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”
When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days,and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”
When Lazarus fell sick, his sister, Martha, and Mary sent a word to Jesus about Lazarus. Jesus, by Spirit, knew that this will not end in death. Jesus stayed for two more days and then decided to return to Judea.
John 11:17 - 17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days.
By the time Jesus reached the village, it has been 4 days since Lazarus was dead and buried.
Jesus, after seeing Martha and Mary run to him and cry out saying, “If you had been here, my brother wouldn’t have died”, Jesus wept too and was deeply moved by the Spirit.
John 11:38-40
38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.
“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”
40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.
Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”
Imagine any one of our family members in place of Lazarus. How would we feel? Wow!!! We would not stop praising and thanking Jesus. Jesus has rule over life and death. For those who put their faith in Jesus will rise up when he returns and go with him.
In Mark 14, we see that Jesus was visiting Bethany again. How was he welcomed?
Mark 14:3 – While He was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon, the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
John 12:2 – Here, a dinner was given in Jesus’s honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him.
Where was the dinner? Simon, the Leper’s house. The dinner was given in Jesus’s honor. Why was Simon called “Simon, the Leper”? If he were a leper, he would not have been living with the community. Therefore, what we understand is that Simon who was a leper who got healed by Jesus.
At Simon’s home, what did Mary do? She did not put perfume on Jesus with her finger. She broke the jar of alabaster and poured the whole perfume on his head. What is so special about it? That perfume costs a year’s wages.
What devotion! The disciples felt,” What a waste!” They rebuked her. The disciples were calculating in their heads. However, Mary was doing with her heart. Jesus raised her brother, Lazarus to life. Breaking the jar of alabaster was the response to what Jesus did for her brother.
When the disciples rebuked her harshly, Mary did not say anything. However, Jesus said, “Leave her alone”. The King of Kings, Greatest of all said that.
Mark 14:9 – truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.
Wow! What a privilege!
We see three things –
1.      Jesus says, “It is a beautiful thing to me”.
Mark 14:6 – “Leave her alone”, said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She had done a beautiful thing to me.
End of the day, whatever we do, what does Jesus think about it?
2.      Mary’s giving was timely.
Mark 14:7-8 – the poor you will always have with you, and you came help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.
Can you imagine? The perfume that was poured on Jesus was so much that the fragrance would not have left him until he was buried and stayed inside the tomb for three days.
 Luke 24:1-2 – on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb.
The spices here are not to make a curry, but to embalm Jesus. But the women found that the stone was rolled away. The women didn’t get a chance to embalm him but Mary did it even before he died.
What Mary did was prophetic and timely. It would have been too late 4 days later. Sometimes God prompts us to do things and we need to do it immediately. Her giving has been immortalized in scripture for all to read. That is how impactful her giving was.

3.      How to give?
Mary, after pouring the perfume kissed the feet of Jesus. If we read the new testament there was someone else who kissed Jesus, i.e., Judas. However, what is the difference? One was a kiss of love and the other was a kiss of betrayal.
Mathew 26: 48-49 – Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi !” and kissed him.
How we give matters. We can give either extravagant like Mary or like Judas without our hearts in it. God does not want that kind of giving.
Sadly, the current younger generation is selfish. It is all about me. We need to change that. We need to teach them to give sacrificially. It should not be like we buy all the things lavishly and give very minimal to God.

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION IN THE GYM GROUPS

  • How do you view money? Is it something you own or are you a steward of it?
  •  Have you ever asked Jesus whether you should spend on something? Have you ever asked him who you should bless?
  • Have you ever been challenged to give in faith - share a story from your life?
  • Should I give when I don't have? Should I borrow to give? Can I plan my giving?
  • What is your biggest take away from this sermon?






 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.