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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Is there a perfect church | Colin D Cruz

This message was preached by Colin D Cruz at Word of Grace Church on the 18 th. of Jan 2015. To listen/download the audio please click here.
Is there a perfect church? Have you found it? Lets read on...

There are some bachelors who are looking out for the perfect wife; some ladies are looking out for the perfect husband. There are some Christians looking out for the perfect church! There is no such place here on earth but one day we will have it in heaven.
I want us to look at the church in Philippi. Paul is writing to them full of love and affection. They have a special place in his heart.

Phil 1:3 I thank God very time I think of you. Maybe he had Lydia and family in mind. In Acts 16:14 we see how Lydia gets saved amongst others.
Verse 4. He prayed for them with joy. Are we full of joy when we pray for people?

There are some lessons we can learn from the Philippians.

1. Verse 5. They partnered with him. They were with him in his mission.
Verse 8. He longed for them. He was not a detached apostle but had a deep love in his heart for them.

Acts 16:33 The Philippians jailer was saved and so was his family.
2 .Phil 1:9 Not only does he love and pray for them, the Philippians prayed for him too. They were a people of prayer.

3. Phil 2:12 they were obedient. A higher level of commendation is that they were obedient in his absence as well.

4. They were living at a high standard. Acts 3:15-16 He commends their life style. He commended their leaders, elders and saints.

5. Phil 1:9 That your love may abound more and more”. They were a loving people.

6. Phil 4:14-16 They were a generous people. They were only one who supported him even in Thessalonica. They even sent Ephaphrodites. With gifts for Paul.

When Paul wrote to the Romans, Corinthians, Ephesians, Galatians he wrote to correct doctrinal errors that needed to be corrected. eg) Gal is a stiff strong letter. Gal 5:12 – very strong language.
Gal 2:16 He summaries the gospel
Gal 3:24 the purpose of the law is to lead us to Christ that we may be justified by faith.
With the Philippians there was no doctrinal deviation.
The Corinthians had divisions. Dis unity. 1Cor 1:10, 1Cor 5:1 Sexual immorality in the church that is worse than the outsiders!

If there was no correction to the Philippians what was the purpose of the letter? Although it seems calm on the surface Paul wants to address something that is hiding in the background.

He is addressing the deadly poison of disunity, discord and conflict that is lurking. We get glimpses of this in Phil1:27, Phil 4:1-3 We see it more obviously. I plead with Euodia and Syntche to agree with each other.

Verse 3 tells us that they were no ordinary woman but contenders for the gospel! Paul was addressing the lurking danger of disunity. This is not just for the Philippians but for all of us.
Phil 2:1-4 Paul lists out the motives for unity. He lists out the marks of unity and the means of unity.

Paul is in prison writing this letter. The key thing is that Paul wanted the church united. This was the thrust of what he was writing. We shall look at it in detail next week.

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 have 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. To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.
        





Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The chain reaction | Colin D'Cruz

This message was preached by Colin D Cruz at Word of Grace Church on the 11 th. of Jan 2015. To listen/download the audio please click here.


The apostle Paul wrote to the Romans. Rom. 1:10 that he longs to be with them and impart some spiritual gifts, His desire to go to Rome was fulfilled but as a prisoner.

Acts 21:28 is about how Paul is arrested and falsely charged. He is then in jail for 2 years and he appeals to Caesar being a Roman citizen and so he is taken there.
Phil 1:12-
This is the background. He is in prison now. But how? We will look at Paul’s attitude through this.

Bad things do happen to us – illness, tragedy, death, cancer, job loss etc.
In Rome Paul is under house arrest ( Acts28 :16-13). He is allowed to live with a soldier to guard hi. Phil 1:13 tells us that the was in chains i.e chained to his guard . These were the elite soldiers of the Palace.

How would you react if this had to happen to you? He was not in prison for a crime but for Christ.

Paul had every reason to grumble and complain. He sees his circumstances through different lenses. Verse 12 whatever happened is of no consequence because he was able to advance the gospel – that Jesus paid for our sins and if we believe this we will go to heaven.

Christians are like tea bags – you can tell what we are when we are in hot water!
Paul had a Rom8:28 attitude. Knowing that as we seek God’s kingdom ,no matter what, there is a sovereign God advancing the gospel.

What was the outcome of this?
Paul wrote letters to the Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians. Those churches do not exist anymore but the letters do and we read them till this day.
In our own lives whether we see or don’t see what is happening we need to trust Him. We need to hold on in faith and know that He will work it all out.

Verse 18 His attitude is full of joy. He rejoices because Christ is being preached. While in prison other Christians find the boldness to carry on the work. (v14.)
In our situation we may think that it’s time to pipe down a bit but we should continue to be bold to proclaim the gospel and do good.
Also Paul being chained to the guard caused him to have a captive audience. The result was all the palace guards received the gospel and they get saves. It’s called a chain reaction!!

Verse 15 – Christians were preaching some out of love and some out of selfish ambition and to stir up trouble for Paul (v17). Did not Paul have a right to get offended?
Verse 18 -  But what was Paul’s reaction ? What does it matter as long as Christ is being preached? This is a wonderful attitude to have.
Verse 19 we need to keep praying for a change in our situation when it is bad. Paul lives confidently despite the uncertainty around him. He is not afraid.
He then gives us a model of how we should live. 
Verse 20 ,Christ is  to be exalted whether by life or by death. What an attitude!!
Phil1:22 For me to live is Christ, to die is gain. This should be our attitude. If he died it would be to be with Jesus. To live would be fruitful labour.
Verse 25 To be on earth means we should be faithful and fruitful.
So there is much to learn from Paul’s attitude a Romans 8:28 one full of joy and confidence.
Verse 29: To suffer for Him. This is something we will face if we stand up for Christ. There are many who talk about “no suffering” for the Christian. That is not true. We will face opposition and rejection
Throughout church history we see great men and woman of God had to suffer great atrocities for the sake for the gospel. While we do have abundant life there is this part also that is not spoken or preached about often.
If you have been called to suffer he will also give you the grace for it.
But in all things have a Rom 8:28 attitude filled with hope, joy and confidence. 

               
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 have 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. To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.
        

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New Years Resolutions 2015


This message was preached by Colin D Cruz at Word of Grace Church on the 4th of Jan 2015. To listen/download the audio please click here.

When we come to the beginning to a new year we look forward to new things, new diaries, new resolutions etc. etc. So let’s seek God on what He wants us to focus on and do.

Phil 1:1-11
My desire is that we would have some worthy goals for 2015. This letter was written to the Philippians by Paul. This church was planted by Paul when he was supernaturally led to Macedonia where he met Lydia (Acts 16) and she got saved. As they stayed there for some time, Paul had cast out a demon from a girl who used to foretell the future and her masters would make money from it. Now this caused a huge uproar in the city. Paul and Silas ( Acts16:22) were brutally beaten up and thrown into jail and put into stocks.
What would your response be if this were you?

Verse 25 However Paul and Silas were singing and praises to God. What a contrast! It’s something for us to emulate. That, even when things go wrong we could continue to praise God. Sadly we don’t, we get dejected, offended etc etc

The next thing we know in  Acts 16:26 there is an earthquake, their chains fall off and in v.29 we read that the jailers gets saved, takes Paul and Silas to his house to wash their wounds. His family gets saved. V.33. Past midnight the jailer asks to be baptized. They are then escorted out of the city.

Phil 1:1
The mighty Paul calls himself a servant, not Apostle, miracle worker etc. Like Jesus who did not come to be served but to serve we should have the same goal – to grow in humility and servant hood. Not to think more highly of ourselves. We should be able to serve even when not thanked and even serve people who are ungrateful.

Q. Who is the letter addressed to? To all the saints. He is not just addressing the Elders, pastors or deacons but everyone. The Word of God is not just for leaders but for everyone. This includes children. Paul addresses them as well in the letter to the Ephesians. He addresses slaves as well.

Verse 2-5
Paul is praying for them and thanking them for their partnership in the gospel. He was specific. This is something we could do- be partners in the gospel. How? They accompanied him on journeys and sent money to support him. Phil. 4:14-16. The Philippians supported him.
Q. If Paul wrote this letter to you would he be thanking you for partnering with him? Are we actively proclaiming the good news?

Verse6
Paul says this demonstrates that we are true believers and he is confident that it will be completed. This is amazing!! He has begun something and he will finish it. “No power in hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand”. This is a great assurance.

However Ch2:12 “continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling” So is this a contradiction? God works but God wants us to work as well. He will work in you by the Holy Spirit to help you to work it out. So it’s divine partnership. AS we read His word , the Holy Spirit will sit us up to applying the Word and the Holy Spirit enables us to do it. This is how the Christian life is lived.

What would God have us do in the New Year? Often the things that occupy our minds are temporal. But look at what Paul prays for!!

Verse 9
Paul prayed that they would grow in being a loving people.
This is not an emotional flutter of the heart. It is a love that is a decision. It is agape love. Grow in being sensitive to people. This love may take many forms. We are thinking how can we bless, how can we serve.
1Cor13 we may have knowledge, prophecy etc but without love we are nothing!
A worthy resolution is to grow in love this year. It’s the tone of voice, your smile etc etc.

Verse 10
Paul was praying for discernment. We have many yo-yo /crazy ball Christians. Paul wants us to be able discern what is the best. There are many things that we can do but what is the best? Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial.

AS we study the Word of God it gives us a framework about what is best, where you live, whom you marry etc etc.
Verse10 Pure and blameless – Integrity is very important. Our character is important. We are going to heaven because of what Jesus has done, because of the finished work of the cross. However we are called to live in a manner worthy of the gospel. Grace is not a license to sin.
Throughout scripture Paul reminds us to live for Christ. Eph 5:1,3,4.

Verse 11. Fruit of righteousness
Are there good works in your life? We know that we are not saved by good works but for good works.
If all these thing happen it will bring praise and glory to Jesus,

This is the end result. These are wonderful resolutions to consider not just for the New Year but till the Day of Christ!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Hebron HUB : Steve Oliver | THE HUB 2014

This message was preached by STEVE OLIVER at THE HUB , the annual conference of Regions Beyond, an apostolic sphere that is a part of Newfrontiers, an international family of churches joined in apostolic partnership.

Prayer is important. WE pray a lot in our staff meetings. We worship lot. Diversity comes through in the worship as well.

Our journey as Regions Beyond has been exciting, challenging and far more extensive than I ever believed. It began with a few friends with a call to the nations and gradually God has handpicked you to join this family.

This is a launch pad for great things. In terms of transition/change my default is to find a story/passage that will be a template for this change. Scripture becomes a foundation for the change.

Hudson Tylor – I have often realized that without months of feasting… I have learned to obtain successful labor… first, earnest prayer to go, and the deepening of the Christian life so that men and women will be unable to stay at home”

The apostolic is not here to raise ways and means but to go and do the work.
The word of God undergirds all that we do. As a leader you have to speak the big things that God has spoken. If you live there people will join you.

I am living with the promise in Clarence 1997. I was struggling to raise leders. I was advised to lower the bar.

1 Chro 12
I want to take you to a picture of David’s life – 3 days of celebration and lots of lessons to learn from there.

David had been on the run and his heart was shaped while he was on the run. He transforms a rag tag army into a great army with God. Jerusalem was taken and God established a people. The first task was done. This is what God has done for us as well.
There are more good stories and some pitiful ones – that’s why prayers is important. Topy’s word “first a son” is important.

Verse 38  Many thousands had gathered in Hebron for the purpose of seeing the fulfillment of God’s promises. All these were fighting men who volunteered to serve in the ranks. They all came to Hebron to fulfill a promise. The men spent 3 days – the “Hebron Hub”. Families were providing provisions. There were plentiful supplies of flour, fig cakes, resins cakes etc.

These people have been formed by the hand of God. We are here for a common vision and purpose not to set up a King

4 actions points

1. To build a relationally strong family – What God brings together is great. We honour the past and embrace the future. We are more concerned about the well being of others than our own needs.

2. Strengthen existing churches – It’s only when we have strong healthy churches can we go forward. A local church is not functioning properly is not caught up with Apostolic vision. Go back and envision your people.

3. Many more churches planted. This will be our focus. Think how many lives get affected because your church got planted.

4. Continue to embrace the poor. Seventy percent of the unreached people fall into this category. God did not call us to care for the poor but to lift them up from the ash heap to be coequal partners in world mission.

As we look at the 3 day event.
Togetherness
Substantial skill gathered together. Humility – mighty men willing to join the ranks. Mutual recognition of the gifting.
Determination, sharing, generosity, collaboration.
As we are called to the nations what we see here should describe us.

4 things to learn
1. They came from humble beginnings. Always know where we’ve come from, where we started. Bill Hyble – “My biggest concern for leadership is arrogance”. We need to watch ourselves. We are a rescued people. As we go down we are exalted. These were men of war who could keep their rank” these were substantial men of caliber. These were warriors who were greater than their leader. God is adding people of caliber to us. Are you happy to be in the ranks?

FB Meyer -“too many like to break the ranks and do Gods work independently” 50 men tighter can do more than 500 can do apart. Be faithful with God has given you.

2. They were captivated by a common vision. They came to Hebron fully determined. If we can find clarity of who we are together we can do a lot. Common vision is important.

1 Cro12:13 bringing back the ark
There will be tough times. Saul’s men suddenly appear. David invites them provided they have come in peace.

V 18 then the spirit of God comes upon Amasiah. God joins us a one and Amasiah says “ We are yours..” We need to have Amasiah moments when we give ourselves.]
“Devotion is relinquishing our rights and individualism” Terry Virgo

3. Diversity in the details – the flour, wine, oil, cattle sheep etc. they had not seen a common together with a common purpose. It’s an Acts 2 moment. There was no need. Everyone in Jerusalem were in awe. They gave of themselves to one another.
B Hyble - Unity is not a vision but a fruit of God working in our hearts.

4 Generous community – The chronicler wants us to see the detail- resins cake, gif cakes etc look at the food! It’s the same thing. The queen of sheeba also remarked about Solomon’s table.

God says you build my way and people will come to see my presence. They were mindful of one another. It is not easy. When the church was birthed 97% were poor. It’s in that context that people shared. God had put it into their hearts. It was not arm twisting.

The common purse shows amazing ability of the disciples to love one another. If we can get this right across the nations!!!


It ends with saying that there was great joy in Israel. You see the church come alive. We can do this. What a might army God has put together! What it will take is for leaders to stand in humility.