Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Worship | Austin

This message was preached by Austin at Word of Grace Church on March 1st 2020 . To listen to the audio please click here.to listen to the worship please click here.

Who is the object of your worship?
 This season we’ve been talking about love and I will be talking about the expression of love through worship

John 4:20-24 English Standard Version (ESV)
20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 But the hour is coming, and is nowhere, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father, is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

10 times the word worship is mentioned which means that Worship is so important!

1.     What is worship?

According to Merriam Webster dictionary:-

it is to honor or show reverence for as a divine being or supernatural power.
“To regard with great or extravagant respect, honor or devotion.”

Wayne Grudem says, “Worship is the activity of glorifying God in His presence with our voices and hearts.”

All aspects of our lives are supposed to glorify God so this definition specifies that worship is something we do especially when we come into God’s presence.
The greek word for Worship is PROSKUNEO which means to show respect, fall or prostrate before. Literally, to kiss towards someone, to throw a kiss in token of respect.
To kiss the hand of a superior.

LIFESTYLE Worship should be your lifestyle (Not part of life)
Worship is not just for church services.
We are told to worship him continually and to praise him from sunrise to sunset.
 “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

Anthropologists have noted that worship is a universal urge, hard wired by God into the very fiber of our being- an inbuilt need to connect with God.
If we fail to worship God, we always find a substitute, even if it ends up being our self.  Romans 1:21 - 25
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

Vs 22 of John chapter 4 says: You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews.

Do you know who you worship? Who is the object of your worship?
In this world, some worship idols created by men, some worship celebrities, some worship their children or parents, some worship money, job, Satan.

 God is all-knowing – that is omniscient, God is all-powerful - omnipotent, God is present everywhere – that is omnipresent. God knows everything all the time, he never has to look into his filing system to find out the number of grains in the sand or how many hair strands are there on your head. He knows, names and numbers them all. He brought the universe into existence from nothing. HE is eternal, holy, righteous, loving, merciful, compassionate, forgiving.

Vs 23 of John 4 says: Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

When Jesus said you must worship in Spirit, he wasn’t referring to the Holy Spirit, but to your spirit. Made in God’s image, you are a spirit that resides in a body and God designed your spirit to communicate with him.

Worship is your spirit responding to God’s spirit.
So why does God want our praise?
God is not weak and has no deficiencies. Romans 11:36 For from him and through him and for him are all things.
    To him be the glory forever! Amen.
Zephaniah 3:17 
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.”

Piper says God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in him.
1 Corinthians 1:9 
So what does private worship look like?
It means conversing with God thru your daily activities.
It means having daily quiet time.
It means having a time of prayer and worship when no one is looking and praising God in your quiet space.
It means displaying God thru your lifestyle, your mannerisms, and your behavior.
It means witnessing and preaching the gospel to others.
It means serving your wife, your family, and friends
It means embracing the poor when no one is watching.
It means releasing forgiveness.
It means working with honesty and integrity.
It means declaring your faith in Jesus and not renouncing it in times of trials.
It means sticking to Biblical morals, values and what’s right no matter the outcome or circumstance.
In short private worship is simply being obedient to God’s word and giving Him reverence in all that you do.
Hebrews 10:25 
Hebrews 10:19 

Acts 17:25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.
Everything that exists owes its existence to him and no one can add anything to him which is not already flowing from him.

What could God give us to enjoy that would prove him most loving?
There is only one possible answer – himself.
God delights in us.
What does God do when we worship him? The amazing truth of scripture, is that as the creation glorifies God, he also takes delight in it.

17 The Lord your God is with you,

Worship is therefore a direct expression of our ultimate purpose for living – to glorify God and to fully enjoy him forever.

Emotions in worship
Jesus said, love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.  
He meant worship must be genuine and heartfelt
We are told to rejoice before Him, clap our hands, shout and sing and we see this example in King David.
Some have argued that old testament worship was external with its clapping, dancing and use of instruments where as new testament worship is internal because it is in Spirit and in Truth. God is seeking for those who will worship him in Spirit and in Truth not in temperament and preference.

 One of our values in this church is private worship, public worship and heart worship.

a)     Private worship
God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Private worship is your personal time with God when nobody is watching you, it’s just you and God.
You will never grow a close relationship with God by just attending church once a week or even having a daily quiet time. Relationship with God is built by sharing all your life experiences with him.

b)     Public Worship
As a church we also give importance to public worship.
25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
God had to pay a huge price for us so that we could come into his presence together. In the Old Testament, only the high priest could enter the holy of holies once a year.
19  Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20 by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, 
What does public worship look like?
Public worship is worshipping as a church.
It can mean dancing, clapping, rejoicing, sitting, lying prostrate or bowing in God’s presence.
It can mean fellowshipping with God’s people.
It can mean honoring and submitting to your elders and leaders in the church.
It can mean obeying Jesus command to get water baptized as an adult.
It means giving Tithes and offerings into His kingdom extravagantly and you will get an opportunity to participate in the gift day offering next week. To give like you’ve never given before.
It means operating in the gifts of the Spirit like prophecy, the gift of tongues, healing.
It means serving the church and the community.
It means loving, encouraging and honoring one another.

In short public worship is when the community of people come together to give God glory, honor and reverence thru their words and actions.

Satan is also looking for worshippers
3 weeks back, Navaz touched on this.
Lucifer was the most beautiful and powerful angel – he wanted to be like God and wanted all the glory. God knew his intentions and cast him out.
In Rev 13 we see that those whose names are not written in the Lambs Book of Life had to worship Satan.
In Matthew 4, Satan approached Jesus and took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory and said to him “all these I will give to you if you will fall down and worship me.”
Then Jesus said to him “Be gone Satan, for it is written you shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.”
If Satan could approach Jesus, don’t you think he can approach us?
When we are disobedient to God or do not acknowledge him or give him reverence, then who are we worshipping?
So my closing question is:
Who is the object of your worship and do you know who you’re worshipping? 

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

Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Three Bs Of Marriage | David F

This message was preached by David Fernandes at Word of Grace Church on Feb 23rdFeb 2020 . To listen to the audio please click here.to listen to the worship please click here.

When I preach at a wedding, who am I speaking to? Is it the couple? Or everyone? The vows that were shared by the couple this morning are so deep that they have a tremendous head start. They were written straight from the heart. I have decided that I'm going to speak to everyone.
Gen 1:26-31 - 26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
    in the image of God he created them;
    male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
31 God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.
This description is an ideal description of what a life supposed to be. Can life actually be so?
Before the fall of man, what it was supposed to be is how it is supposed to be now.
The answer to every problem in the world is found in Genesis.
We belong to a God who is good. He's speaking to all of us now. If anyone hasn't known his goodness, today is the day for you to know.

1. Blessing
God blesses us.
Gen 1:28 - 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
His original intention is to bless us. If you're going through a time of trial, remember that he has made you have a blessed life. What is a blessed life? It is freedom, peace, Jo, tranquility.
He gives us acceptance. None of us is rejected. He gives us a clear conscience and good relationships. And there's one perfect relationship - God and us
That's one amazing blessing upon us. When there's strife, that's not a blessing. When there's peace, that's a blessing. It starts in the family and goes to the national level.
2. Bountiful
We are destined to be bountiful. Fruitfulness - productivity, fulfilling dreams, goals, and purposes.
During the marriage course, I ask the couples - "what is the purpose of your marriage?"
If you're sitting here and think your life is going nowhere, ask God -"What is marriage?"
In the garden of Eden, when God wanted to give us life, something happened. But let's not go there. Let's be in the present. Love through Christ.
3. Bliss
We don't use this work these days.
For me, bliss is Goa, relaxing, someone offering coconut
Bliss is really a state of the heart. There's intentionality to being blissful. How? - By looking at the one who is the author and finisher of our faith. Freedom from conflict gives us Bliss. The Bible gives a blueprint to resolve a conflict.
Phil 2:3-5 - Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
And a part of being in bliss is to celebrate differences.
What once was lost, can be restored. Because of Christ's death and resurrection, we live in him and have hope in him.

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 10, 2020

Intimacy That Leads To Identity

This message was preached by Navaz D  at Word of Grace Church on Feb 9th 2020 . To listen to the audio please click here.to listen to the worship please click here.

Last week we heard a story about 2 sons and how they responded to the Father. I believe God is speaking to us about something deep and life-transforming. I wonder which son did we identify ourselves with or did we feel we belonged to neither?
The Lord has been drawing me back to a few passages of scripture again and again
. Amongst them are John 15, Ephesians 1 and Romans 8:14-17.

‘The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him, we cry, “Abba, Father.”’ (Rom 8:15)

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”  ( John 15:9-10)

Today I want to talk about Identity that comes from Intimacy with the Father.
Jesus came to give us life in all its abundance. The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus came to reveal the Father and his main mission were to reunite us with Him.

Everything we have and enjoy comes from being in Christ. Jesus shares his inheritance with usWho gives us this inheritance? Naturally, does our father or your brother give it to you? Your Father. You may share your inheritance with your brothers/siblings.

In The Old Testament even though God talked about the nation of Israel as his children, the people did not really relate with God as Father However, when Jesus walked on the earth he only referred to God as His father. Only once did he refer to Father as God and that was on the cross.

Today we call to carry a father wound that was knowingly or unknowingly inflicted upon us by our earthly fathers. 

If he never affirmed you, you struggle with knowing who you are.
We have another player in this and his name is Lucifer.  Adam and Eve were deceived by the first orphan – Lucifer. Lucifer lived in God’s presence and was the chief worshipper. When he fell he lost his brilliance. His lights went out, literally and he was plunged into darkness. He was cast out of God’s presence, which was marked, by love and intimacy. He lost that forever.

The orphan spirit is independent, untrusting, and rebellious, un submitted and has fractured or broken relationships. That is the nature of Satan and that is what he makes us do as well. We can be Christians but still functioning like orphans.

The older son was also functioning from an orphan spirit. He seemed to be obedient, dutiful. But he had no intimacy with the father or else he would have known that everything the father has was his to enjoy.

 But we have often put the cart before the horse. Many have put the Great Commission before the Great commandment. When we know that we are loved and love God in return we are able to love our neighbor not just as ourselves but as Christ. When we love as Christ we will burn with passion for his Bride and for the lost.

Therefore, we need to learn to abide in Jesus. Remain in him. Develop an intimacy with the Father like Jesus did

Spend time with the Father. Let him talk to you and learn to listen. Replace the orphan thinking with truths about yourself and about the Father that is there in the bible. The truth will set you free. Intimacy with the Father will develop your identity. Identity helps you walk into your inheritance from which you can live an abundant life and make an impact.  Let us pray.

Jesus said his goal was to make the Father known to us. He could only do that by putting an end to the barrier of sin that separated us.

There has been a steady shift in our culture and even around the world in the past few decades. Never have we seen the issue of fatherlessness in our life experiences as we are seeing today.

Nobody has had perfect parents or fathers. Say I have not had perfect parents. Say I am not a perfect parent. Say I will never be a perfect parent. But we aim to become healthier ones. We have only good and perfect Father and that is Father God.

Several things could have happened to us during our growing up that could have tainted our view of the father.

If he was distant and uninvolved, you grew up learning to become independent and self-reliant and feel rejected and unloved.
If he was an angry man you learned to related with him in fear guilty and shame
If he was negligent in providing you grew up insecure and with a poverty mindset that there will never be enough and will there be enough for tomorrow
If he was cold and distant you grew up not knowing how to bond
If he was always critical, you grew up with a poor self-esteem and learned to defend and justify and cover up your mistakes
IF he was physically or sexually abusive, you grew up with fear, shame and a deep distrust for authority because the one that should have protected you, violated you.
If he showed approval, only when you did things right you grew up learning acceptance is based on performance and would work hard to please and earn his love.
I could go on with this list but you get what I am saying.

Any one of these or a combination of these sets off a whole pattern of thinking and behaviors that can start very early in life.

Today God want to heal that wounded heart and reveal his father heart to you – that is for you, that loves you with an everlasting love, that gives you more than you can ask or imagine, his love is unconditional

But when we come to Christ the cross restores a connection that was severed not because of what you did but what happened along time ago in the garden of  Eden.
There are two types of Christians - one where Christ is at the center and the other where self is still at the center of their lives because we cannot trust the good, good Father .
We all lives in both these categories to varying degrees. Our aim is to live in Circle 1 more and more.

The Bible tells us that when we are born again we become children of God. We are adopted into his family. the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to son ship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”’ (Rom 8:15)

We are no longer slaves to fear or to the torment of Satan. We are children of God.
It is the orphan spirit and you see this operating in every human beings life, in political systems, cultures, families, relationships etc.

Deep down they struggle to comprehend that God loves us. 
 Even as Christians we are born again when we move from one kingdom into another, we carry some of those ways into the new kingdom and those ways have to be replaced.

The orphan spirit is one of them. It is not cast out, it needs to be replaced. It gets replaced by truth, truth that transforms the way we think which affects how we behave. This is a lifelong process and an ongoing process.

To understand this we have to go back to the beginning in order to deal with the roots.
 God created Adam and Eve to have a perfect relationship with him of love trust and intimacy. However, for there to be true love and trust there needs to be choice. Therefore, there were these 2 trees.

When he saw that God made man in his own image and was enjoying the intimacy he once had he turned his hate and envy toward mankind and was on a mission to steal, kill and destroy man’s identity, intimacy and inheritance in God.

So his biggest battle is against you, a child of God. He knows that when sons of God realize and live in their identity the earth that is his dominion will be dispelled of darkness, as son and daughters of God shine as light and regain their lost glory because of the fall.  These son’s and daughters who know who and whose they are, will fill the earth with the knowledge of and the glory of the Lord.

So how does he go about trying to keep us from realizing our full potential?  He uses orphan thinking – the root of it is lack of trust. That is what he used with Adam and Eve. He made them believe that God was holding out on them and not giving them the best.
When Adam and Eve sinned it separated them from God. Fear and shame replaced love and intimacy.

Praise God for salvation. God is not ashamed to be called our God and Jesus is our brother (Heb2:11)

Through the cross we are reconciled to the Father. We have to choose to embrace son ship i.e what we have positionally we now need to walk out experientially.

Last week we looked at the story of the prodigal son – Do you know that both the sons operated out of an orphan spirit? The younger was overtly rebellious, independent and self-willed.

 Instead he chose to work amongst and live like a slave who did not have access to the Father’s wealth.

Inheritance comes from a place of intimacy and identity. When you are the legitimate child of the father, you are automatically come into the inheritance.
The older son tried to earn favour from duty. The religious spirit is like this. Jesus was making this point to the Pharisees but I think its true for us today too.

So all this has been bad news or a reality check.  What do we now? How can we replace the Spirit that besets all of us. What can we do to walk free and walk into our full identity as sons of God?

 Now we have to be careful of playing the blame game : I am like this because my father was like this. No. The cross broke the curses of previous generations. WE are new creations in Christ .

We are also now adults who make adult choices. WE can choose to walk away from that by replace negative thought patterns with ones that are based on the truth that God loves us and is for us completely to the very end of time.

When we have intimacy with the father, we get identity. From identity, we get our inheritance and with our inheritance, we make an impact on this planet.

 This year I believe marks a new watershed in your life. I am not calling it a season. Seasons are there for a time until the next one comes along. This is a watershed, a turning point that is going to alter your life forever if you want it. It is going to be life-transforming. You are going to activate that DNA that was put in you when you became a Christian.

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.