Monday, June 27, 2022

Enjoying God in 5 G - Finding True Joy in Jesus.


T
his message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on June 26th 2022  by Lasya. For the audio & video please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.

 ENJOYING GOD

FINDING TRUE JOY IN JESUS


If I were to ask you - what do you enjoy the most, what would you say? For me - swimming in the ocean, eating good food, chatting with a friend/ 2 over a nice cup of coffee, waking up to a beautiful view, having my cat sleep on me… The list goes on. So we all know the feeling - of enjoyment, of delighting in something that is good. But somehow when we say that we enjoy God in the same breath it feels like we are being too religious/ weird/fake. Why do you feel that is? Is it even biblical to enjoy God? Philippians 4:4Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”

Psalm 37:4Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart

George Muller, the great evangelist said “the first great and primary business to which I ought to attend every day is to have my soul happy in the Lord.” he says “the secret of all true effectual service is joy in God, having experiential acquaintance and fellowship with God Himself

How can we love and enjoy God in our daily lives in a way that is authentic, powerful and based on scripture? We’re in the series on the tag line of Word of Grace - Enjoying God, Making Friends, Changing Lives.  I’ve entitled this message, Enjoying God: finding true joy in Jesus.

Last week Navaz shared about the overwhelming, never ending, amazing love of God. So we know that God loves us and he demonstrated it on the cross and by being with us now. But for any functional relationship, you need reciprocity. (why do we love God?)

As John Piper says “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him

The entire Law is summarized in this that you Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength and that you love your neighbor as yourself.

(How do we love God?)

Love is a choice and often we can think of loving God as choosing between the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But in fact, God said to Adam and Eve in the garden, you can eat from any tree in the garden but one. In the same way, enjoying God is a multifaceted activity and we can enjoy him in every part of life.

Have you heard about the 5 love languages? All of us receive love mainly in 1 or 2 ways. But God loves and receives love perfectly. Think of it like your mobile data.(1G - 5 G illustration) So how can we grow in loving him? Today we are going to explore 5 ways in which we can love God and enjoy Him.

Loving God in 5G: Gather, Grow, Give, Glow and Glorify.

1.    Gather to his Presence (Touch):  Every time we meet at Word of Grace, we worship. Have you noticed? The Greek word for worship that is used again and again in the bible is proskuneo Which means to kiss/ to kneel to physically express reverence. Matthew 18:20For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst”. That is why I feel this is most like the love language of touch. In the OT each time the Israelites would worship God in an acceptable way, it says that His glory would come down so people would have to back down and make room for him. 1 Kings 8:11And when the priests came out of the Holy Place, a cloud filled the house of the Lord, so that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord.Experience of Physical manifestation of God in worship at Living Room. If you feel like he’s not responding to you, he is not answering your prayer, you can't feel anything…Just keep coming! Examples of Mary and Martha… choose the better thing.

AP - Take every opportunity to gather - GYM meetings, Sunday Meetings, Living Room, Mens meetings - come and let us gather to Jesus.

2.    Grow in intimacy (Quality Time): Quiet time, learning to listen to his voice. Psalm 111:2: “Great are the Works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.Illustration - youversion audio study. Why do you have a quiet time in the morning? A relationship with Jesus cannot be built on just ritual. (Illustration - dinner table talk) Theology means the systematic study of God - it comes from the word Theos meaning God and logos, meaning discourse, or simply put, conversation. How do you move from being a servant of God to being a friend of God? John 15:15 No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. If public worship is the only time you’re intimate with God, you’re missing out on enjoying God. Our public worship is just an expression of our private devotion. Don’t be a bystander in the house of God, be involved, be intimate with Jesus.

AP - Spend time alone with Jesus, take at least 15 mins to study His word, learn to hear His voice… have a rich conversation with God.

3.    Give (Gifts): Matthew 6:21Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. If you’re struggling to enjoy God, the first checkpoint is - am I giving faithfully, generously and gratefully. Somehow, the physical act of giving, has an impact on the posture and attitude of our hearts. Even God so loved the world that he gave…

AP - Give more, give regularly, give sacrificially, give gratefully, give everywhere.

4.    Glow (Acts of Service):Matthew 5:14- 16You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. John 14:15 “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” Our jobs, our society, our community - these are all lampstands on which we are supposed to glow and it is one of the ways we express love to God. We can get caught up in the big works of God - the calling- but our good works are all around us. Matt 25: 40 Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,] you did it to meIt’s on the path of loving God and serving that we stumble upon our calling. It is a call to service and laying down our lives.

AP - serve diligently at home, serve at the church (Sign up for set up, clear up etc. - testimony) serve well at work, get to know and love your neighbors… WWJD

5.    Glorify (Words of Affirmation):Prov 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” We love God through the stories we tell each other. testify of the nature and works of God in your life. After the entire nation of Israel crossed the river Jordan, God instructed Joshua to take 12 stones for a memorial in Joshua 4: 6-7 Joshua says “When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ Then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.””

AP - Take every opportunity - sunday meeting, GYM etc. to praise God and testify of his goodness.

So let’s see which area we can grow in and love God well!

The way to fulfill your calling in Christ is to first and foremost love him well. The world is broken but Jesus is so attractive. When we love him authentically, we invite people to do the same. Then you don't have to keep questioning what your purpose is. Our purpose always flows from our position and our position is lovers 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.  

Monday, June 13, 2022

The Love of God

 

This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on June 12th 2022  by Navaz D'Cruz. For the audio & video please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.

THE LOVE OF GOD

 INTRODUCTION

 The last two years have been a watershed for all of us. None of us has ever lived through a pandemic. This experience has changed us in more ways than we realize and admit.

Some were single and are now married. Others were double and became single because of separation through death or divorce.

For others, you had a hard look at your career path and decided to change course.

Others have experienced a crisis of faith where they questioned their faith or even why believe in God. Others drifted away from Him or drew closer to Him. Crises show us who we really are!!

Now that we are walking out of the Pandemic,

we need to re-look at some things and what or who are we anchored in. In Zechariah 2

[a]Then I looked up, and there before me was a man with a measuring line in his hand. I asked, ‘Where are you going?’

He answered me, ‘To measure Jerusalem, to find out how wide and how long it is.’

Zechariah  4

So he said to me, ‘This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty.

‘What are you, mighty mountain? Before Zerubbabel, you will become level ground. Then he will bring out the capstone (Plumbline) to shouts of “God bless it! God bless it!”’

In this new Era we will see a shift from the measuring line to the Plumb Line. There has never been a better season to this than now. What does this mean? Success is not about numbers but rather how we are building. Rather, are we building well? Is our foundation built upon Jesus and His word?

In the next few weeks, we are going to take you through the vision and values of Word of Grace. Every church has a vision statement. We have ours – Enjoying God, Making Friends, Changing lives. We value wisdom found in the word of God, we value loving one another by building authentic grace-filled communities and we want to leave a legacy of lasting impact on people whether you are here for one month or 10 years!

I am going to take a step back before Colin and the other speaker unpack our vision over the next few weeks.

EVERYTHING STARTS AND IS BUILT FROM THIS CORNERSTONE – JESUS.

Our walk of faith begins in this truth, and it rests on this truth – Jesus loves us with an everlasting love. Before we can even worship God we need to understand and remind ourselves and preach the Gospel to ourselves daily. This keeps us thankful, humble and patient in our interactions with others because we are aware of our own frailties, and this helps us be patient and long-suffering.

Rom 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

John 15:9 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.

What an amazing truth that God loves us!

For some faith in God has been an interaction with an angry God, a distant God, or a hard-to-please God.

WHY DOES GOD LOVE US?

Firstly, because God is love.

16 And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1John 4:16

It’s not that He is loving. The very essence of His being is LOVE.

God created us for love. He chose to love us. Love does not exist in isolation. For love to be expressed it requires an object. We have done nothing to earn or deserve it.

We were created to be objects of His love. Then sin corrupted our hearts and broke our relationship with God, and we became objects of His wrath. Rom 9:22

We are told that before we could do anything – some translations say “while we were still powerless” Christ died for us. Before we could do anything good or bad. Rom 5:8

It’s one thing to say God loves His creation, God loves the world, God loves people and a whole different thing when you say, know and experience the truth that God loves you!!

As we all know sin entered the human race through one senseless act of disobedience. 18 Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people. 19 For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.  Rom 5:18

 We feel like God why did you give Adam and Eve a choice. Why that second tree?

Because for love to be true, it requires a choice. We must choose to love God. That is the responsibility of freedom. Love is demonstrated in action: through words and actions not just thoughts. Love is – it a verb, a doing word.

Salvation came through the obedience of the perfect son do Adam – Jesus. He paid for the sins that we could never pay for. He gave us Mercy on the cross – He took our sin upon himself – and thereby did not give us the punishment we deserved. He could have stopped there – but then he lavishes us with His Grace giving us what we do not deserve.

From here on the goal of our faith is to become more and more like Jesus: to be restored to our full identity as sons and daughters and walk in the good of that.

He has also blessed us with all the spiritual blessings in Christ. 

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. Eph 1:3

If we remain in Him Jesus tells us that we will bear much fruit that will last, and we can ask for anything and He will give it to us.

This is amazing grace!

We cannot fully appreciate grace until we understand His rich mercy. Ask the Holy Spirit to refresh your understanding of this truth once again so you will be able to worship Him with all your heart mind soul and strength. The woman who anointed Jesus (Luke 7:47) understood this that is why Jesus said of her

47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven – as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.’

“The one who is forgiven much loves much. She understood the depth of what Jesus did for her.

We need to understand that we need the Holy Spirit to live a grace-empowered life, or we will try and work out our sanctification in the flesh.

HOW ARE WE LOVED?

As the father as love me so have, I loved you! John 15:9

How did the Father love Jesus – completely. How does Jesus love us? In the same way!!

The Lord appeared to us in the past,[a] saying:

‘I have loved you with an everlasting love;
    I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.

Jer 31:3

Today my plea to you is this – you may know about the love of God, you may sing about the love of God, and you could even explain the love of God to someone else. What I am asking you to do is to go deeper. Experience the love of God.

First, recognize that He has already demonstrated His love for you – by dying in your place!

Begin to recognize His hand of grace upon your life every single day. And it starts by cultivating a thankful heart. Start giving thanks in everything and watch how your thoughts slowly drift towards worship and adoration of Jesus.

It is from a place of knowing that you are loved unconditionally, eternally, and completely that you can be a secure child of God. You will find rest in your identity as a child of God who has access to all the riches of heaven and from that place, you will love and serve God.

If not, you will serve and do things to gain attention, position, prominence, and approval from people and God. And this is a terrible way to live.

WHAT IS OUR RESPONSE?

We love Him back –   Does God need our love? NO. We don’t love God because He is needy, a narcissist, because He is insecure, He needs our love. It is what you do in a relationship. We were created to have fellowship with God. Jesus died so that we could once again have a relationship with God. That is how important developing a relationship with God is!! Not so that now we can come up with our big list of “give me this and that.”

Knowing the love of God makes us secure sons and faithful in service. We will want to live to please our Lord and Master. We will want to find out why God chose us out of billions and what is our purpose here on Earth and seek to fulfil it.

Our love for God will make us want to be more like His son Jesus – to listen to and obey His voice.

We will delight in the things that bring God joy.

Our affections and desires will change. Our heart will beat for the same things that are on God’s heart and so will ask in accordance with His will and therefore see prayers being answered.

All this starts with knowing how much God loves you!

In these two years wherever you have been in your faith journey – we are still a work in progress.

If you have been walking faithfully, there is so much more.

If you have been stagnant allow your heart to be ignited by reminding yourself to the hope to which you have been called

If you have drifted – Jesus woes us back to him in loving kindness. His loving kindness leads us to repentance. Rom 2:3-4

What is repentance? – changing the way you believe, think, feel and act. It is not beating yourself up. It is not regret. It is godly conviction knowing we have grieved the heart of God and no fear of being punished.

So wherever you are in your journey we stand at the crossroads of our past and future opportunities that Grace gives us.

Let us allow the love of God to flood and drench our hearts this morning.


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, June 7, 2022

The Day of the Pentecost

 


This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on June 5th 2022  by Colin D'Cruz. For the audio & video please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.

Today is a special day because it’s a celebration of the Christian feast – Pentecost. It is a great reminder of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that we find in the 2nd chapter of Acts that resulted in the birthing of the church and the subsequence spread of the gospel to all nations.

Remember, on the day of the Pentecost, there was an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Peter preached and the gospel went forth. It’s important that we remember these great events in church history because they are so instructional for us. We are going to look at many different scriptures this morning.

Before that, I’m sure all of us have participated in a race. If you remember, just before the race begins, what are the words we hear? “On your mark! Get set go!” Can you believe that Jesus almost said this after His resurrection? He didn’t use the same words. But he says to His disciples, “Go to Jerusalem. Wait for the promise of the Father and go into the world”. It’s almost the same as “On your mark! Get set go!”

We are going to look at the 2nd chapter of Acts and see how Jesus’s disciples obeyed His commands.

Acts 1:12 - Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk[c] from the city.  – On your marks!

Acts 1:13-14 - 13 When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. 14 They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. – Get Set!

In Acts 2, as they were waiting there, the Holy Spirit comes upon them. As they were waiting, Jesus gave them this promise. Jesus rose from the dead after His death on the cross and for a period of 40 days, He met with the disciples. He gave them convincing proof saying He’s alive.

Acts 1:4-5 - On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about.  For John baptized with[a] water, but in a few days you will be baptized with[b] the Holy Spirit.” 

This verse “baptized in the Holy Spirit” is there in almost all the gospel lessons and in Acts. It is important. God‘s plan for each one of us is to get baptized. Without the Holy Spirit, we don’t have the power to do anything.

Acts 1:8 - But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Peter was afraid of a servant girl. When he was asked about Jesus, he was afraid and ran away. But that same Peter, boldly preaches the gospel. The difference was that he received power. Are you afraid to share the gospel with anyone? Especially these days wherein many states, you could be accused of forcibly converting somebody and be sent to jail. The Bible says that on our own we can’t do it. But when we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, we can overcome our fear and boldly preach the gospel.

Acts 2:1-4 - When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.

They were not just playing video games but they were worshipping and praying.

Verse 2 says, “Suddenly”. They didn’t know when the Holy Spirit would come. But suddenly there was a sound like a violent wind filled the room and tongues of fire came upon each one of them. The first gift of the Holy Spirit we see here is “Speaking in tongues”. WE see it in verse 4.

Just to summarize what happens next is that there were other Jews who had come for this Pentecost and they heard the disciples speaking in different languages. AS they were wondering, Peter, stood up and proclaims the gospel as you can see in the verses -

Acts 2: 22-24 - 22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men,[d] put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 

Acts 2:38 - 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 

Acts 2: 40-41 - 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

So we see on the first Pentecost that Peter preached powerfully and 3000 were saved and added to the 120 disciples. And the church was birthed. And the rest of the Acts tells us how they started living.

We will cover that in the subsequent messages.

This morning, if you are here and you’ve not yet received forgiveness of your sins if you’ve not yet put your faith in Jesus if you have backslid in life, let me tell you, Jesus came, he died for the forgiveness of our sins on the cross and he rose from death. He has a plan and purpose for you on earth. But you’ve got to receive him into your life. And he says he will fill you with the Holy Spirit and give you power.

This morning, we are going to look at 3 things about the day of the Pentecost.

1.   1. It caused the reversal of the tower of Babel

In Genesis 11, we see that there was only one language in the whole earth and people moved together.

Gen 11:4 - Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

At that time people were united, they had one language and they had one goal – to build a tower to the heavens. They wanted to do this for 2 reasons –

·        To make a name for themselves

·        Not to get scattered across the earth

When God saw what was happening, this is what he thought –

Genesis 11:6 - The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 

God, the trinity understood that if people work together in unity, then nothing is impossible. Unity is very important. But God wasn’t pleased with this unity and this goal because of 2 reasons –

i.                 Pride and arrogance – They wanted to build a tower to make a name for themselves.

ii.                Against the command given to Noah – In Gen 9, God commanded Noah to multiply and fill the earth

God was not pleased with this and He caused confusion in the languages and that’s how different languages came to pass. Because they couldn’t understand one another, God forced them to spread out to different parts of the earth.

The people of Babel were cursed and their unity was broken.

How did Pentecost reverse this?

Acts 2:5 - Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.

When the Holy Spirit was poured out, the gift of tongues was given and they could understand what these people were saying in their own language. So one of the things the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the gift of tongues did was it reversed what happened there and it enabled a new unity to come for God’s glory.

So, unity is important and being filled with the Holy Spirit is important for that unity.

If we look at our country, we are proud to have diversity in culture, customs, outfits, traditions, languages etc. But in the church of Jesus Christ, there’s got to be unity where no matter you are from, we are ONE in Jesus Christ. And when we stay united and work in unity, nothing is impossible for us.

2.   2. The reversal of death due to the law

In Exodus, when Moses led the people of Israel out of slavery in Egypt into the promised land, he left the people there and went up to the mountain to meet with God and that’s where he got the ten commandments.

Exodus 24: 15-18 - 15 When Moses went up on the mountain, the cloud covered it, 16 and the glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai. For six days the cloud covered the mountain, and on the seventh day the Lord called to Moses from within the cloud. 17 To the Israelites the glory of the Lord looked like a consuming fire on top of the mountain. 18 Then Moses entered the cloud as he went on up the mountain. And he stayed on the mountain forty days and forty nights.

Moses was just with God for 40 days and 40 nights without eating or drinking anything. He just feasted and was sustained by the presence of God.

When we are in the presence of God, God’s presence can sustain us through whatever we are going through. While Moses was in God’s presence, there was something else happening down. The Israelites got tired of waiting for Moses and asked Aaron to make an golden calf. They went crazy dancing before this idol and God was not pleased with them.

Exodus 32:15-16 - 15 Moses turned and went down the mountain with the two tablets of the covenant law in his hands. They were inscribed on both sides, front and back. 16 The tablets were the work of God; the writing was the writing of God, engraved on the tablets.

Exodus 32:19 - 19 When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain. 

Exodus 32:25-28 - 25 Moses saw that the people were running wild and that Aaron had let them get out of control and so become a laughingstock to their enemies. 26 So he stood at the entrance to the camp and said, “Whoever is for the Lord, come to me.” And all the Levites rallied to him. 27 Then he said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Each man strap a sword to his side. Go back and forth through the camp from one end to the other, each killing his brother and friend and neighbor.’” 28 The Levites did as Moses commanded, and that day about three thousand of the people died.

Do you see this coincidence in the numbers? When the law was given, those who sinned were judged and 3000  were killed.

But on the day of Pentecost, when the Spirit was poured out, 3000 were added. The law gives death and the Spirit gives life. Hallelujah! 3000 were given eternal life!

3.   3. Received a blueprint for the church

What is the purpose of the church? Who gets entry into the church? What are we called to do while we are waiting for Jesus to call us home?

The entry into the church is very clear in Acts 2.

Acts 2:37-38 - When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

·        Faith in Jesus

·        Repentance of sins

·        Baptism in water

·        Receive the Holy Spirit

Acts 2:41 - Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

Acts 2: 42-47 - 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

From verse 42, we see what they did after they were added to the church. They fellowshipped together, they met together at homes, in temple courts, ate together, praised God, prayed together, there was unity, shared their possessions and it speaks about Holy Spirit and unity. It’s only in the church of Jesus Christ we see this unity. In our country, people don’t even eat together because of caste and religious divisions. But in the church, we accept one another as Christ accepted us.

What are we here for?

It is not to meet here every Sunday. Our purpose is to scatter and proclaim the gospel wherever we are. Some are called to go out, to another place, and some will be here, but our purpose is to proclaim the gospel and to do good deeds to bring glory to our Father in heaven. Love one another, proclaim the gospel. Do good deeds.

This is just a summary of Pentecost and we will be covering it in detail in the coming weeks. 

Let’s pray to God to fill us more with His Holy Spirit just as He did on the day of the Pentecost. 

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, May 30, 2022

The Ascension of Jesus

 

This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on May 22nd 2022  by Christy Thomas via zoom. For the audio & video please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.


The Ascension of Jesus 

  

Intro:

We all know about Christmas, Good Friday, Easter and Pentecost. The great events in history and Christian history. But there is one event most Christians know little about. Probably the most neglected event it the life of Christ. The Ascension of Jesus.

It has been marked every year for 2000 years as being 40 days after Easter, but what exactly is the Ascension of Jesus and how should it change our lives?

 

In Luke 24:50

50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

 

... returned to Jerusalem with great joy, continually in the temple praising God

The response of the disciples to the ascension was worship joy and continual praise

 

early church hymn noted the ascension

1 Tim 3: 16 Beyond all question, the mystery from which true godliness springs is great:

He appeared in the flesh,    was vindicated by the Spirit,[d]was seen by angels,    was preached among the nations, was believed on in the world,    was taken up in glory.

It is unthinkable to think about the crucifixion without the resurrection. Similarly, it is unthinkable to think about the resurrection without the ascension. It deserves to be ranked among the great events in the life of our Lord.

Rarely do we think about his leaving.

We celebrate his arrival - Christmas

We celebrate his death - Good Friday and resurrection - Easter

What about his ascension.

When Jesus told his disciples that he was going to go away they were sorrowful and sad. They did not want him to go.

Jn 14:1 Do not let your hearts be troubled.

Jn 16:6 Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief.  But I tell you the truth, it is for your good that I am going away.  Unless I go away, the Counselor, will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.

After accomplishing our redemption Jesus was received back into heaven.

The final diving stamp of affirmation and approval upon his ministry.

  1. Marked the completion of his earthly work

Jn 4:34 34 “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.

Jn 17:4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

Jn 19:30 It is finished

 

Jesus knew He had finished the work and He was ready to go back to the glory He knew

with the Father.

 

  1. It is his restoration to full glory

Jn 17:5And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

Phil 2 He humbled himself

end of humiliation and suffering to glory

 

  1. His exaltation and coronation

 

Mark 16:19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

ill. ascend to the throne of England throne room at Buckingham Palace

Phil 2:9

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place

    and gave him the name that is above every name,

10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue acknowledges that Jesus Christ is Lord,

    to the glory of God the Father.

Ruler over all things  and head of the church

Eph 1:20-23

he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, 21 far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. 22 And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

 

the defeat of Satan and demons

  1. Sending of the Holy Spirit

Jn 16:7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.

 

Disciples had Christ with them

we have the HS in us

 

 

  1. Beginning of his preparation of a place for us on our arrival

6 days of beautiful creation

2000 years of work wow!!!

to dwell in heavenly glory

John 14:1-3 Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

  1. Responsibility of evangelism is passed on to us

3 years of ministry - Jesus did most of the ministry

Mt 28:19-20 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

  1. Marks the start of his high priestly ministry

Heb 4:14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[f] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

Heb 7:25 25 Therefore he is able to save completely[a] those who come to God through him because he always lives to intercede for them.

  1. Stands ready to return

To take us with him

To punish those who do not believe

Acts 1:11 11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

2 Thess 1: 7

God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might 10 on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marvelled at among all those who have believed. This includes you because you believed our testimony to you

Our Response

  1. No matter what is happening in the world or in our lives remember - Jesus is on the throne
  2. He is interceding for us
  3. He has defeated Satan
  4. He had entrusted the kingdom to you and to me
  5. He needs to advance it by our lives and by proclaiming the gospel and doing good
  6. One day we will be with him to enjoy what no eye has seen or ear has heard what God has prepared for those who
  7. However, as it is written: 1 Cor 2:9
  8. “What no eye has seen,    what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”[b]—    the things God has prepared for those who love him—