Thursday, January 31, 2013

Miracles of Jesus Part 1

 This message was preached by Micahel Eaton at  Word of Grace Church. You can listen or download the audio message by clicking here.


Matthew 14:22
The Christian life begins by putting our faith in Jesus and then gazing upon Him. Hebrews 12 talks about running the race fixing our eyes on Jesus.
The Bible says we feed on Him i.e. we take Him into our minds and hearts.

We see His origins- He comes from glory- the son of God. He is not ordinary. He is God’s replica- He is united with His divine nature. He took on flesh- He did not stop being God- He took within Himself the human nature and became a man. He was like us in every way- He ate, drank, was tired, sad, perplexed and hungry but He did not sin. In humanity He did not know about His second coming.

His decisions: He knew about the cross right from being a boy. He knew this. He decided to join John the Baptist. We would launch ourselves with a big bang but not Jesus. He joined John because he was the one sent by God to prepare the way.
He started His ministry with 6 weeks of prayer. He lived the life we have lived and died what we should have died- He has done it all for us. He is coming back for us. When you see Him, you see His salvation. When you see Him you see a short time. You don’t have to live long to do something for God. What did He do? He preached a lot- sometimes to one. We like to preach to thousands. He answered and told them the truth of God.

He spent a lot of time- having meals with people. He even invited Himself- E.g. Zacheus, Nicodemus. He did a lot of miracles but John only recorded some. The first miracle, he turned water into wine, banished sickness from a town (when He healed Peter’s mother in law), raises the boy from the dead- all done by faith. At the depth of His soul, He was divine- had perfect faith. He had the spirit without measure which we don’t have.

Q. What are the miracles there for and what do you do with it? 

It is not for us to copy necessarily. People love miracles, especially healing miracles. People don’t go to walk on water, or find a coin in the fish’s mouth, or control the natural elements.
He is the only one who raised Himself up from the dead. He laid it down and took it up.
1.       They are signs of Messiah-ship: when the saviour came he would show that He was the creator and Lord- heal, control nature. The father has given everything in Jesus’ hands. You can’t get to God without Jesus.
The world is interested in the super-natural. Not many atheists- the world wanders into false gods not so much into atheism. When you reject the God of the Bible you get false gods.
Everyone has a sense of God. We have a conscience but it can lead to idolatry and superstition. The only way to contact God is through Jesus- the way, the truth and the life. The Father gets to you through Jesus.
When John the Baptist was imprisoned, he fell into doubt. Jesus sent a message that the blind see, the poor have good news preached to them. He is the only one who has a message for the poor.
Only the Christian faith says you are saved by doing nothing- Romans 4:5. Therefore, we need to be poor in spirit to be saved. If you have something, you are in trouble. There is only one thing you can do- identify with the poor- come empty.
If you try to save yourself, you block your salvation. Christ takes you up- Jesus takes you- you have nothing. Faith is putting out your empty hand. Miracles are proof of sonship.

2.       Flashes of glory: You see this in the raising of Lazarus. People were upset that He let him die. Jesus told them that He is the resurrection and the life. It’s a flash of the last, now. Every miracle is a flash of that. In the last day everyone will be raised. Every Christian will be healed. In heaven, you will not have faith or hope because you will only have love. Love will go on forever. The baptism of the spirit is a little bit of heaven now. We are people living in the future because we have a little of the future glory now.
In the new heaven and earth everyone will be able to walk on water. Everything Jesus could do, you will do- Philippians 3:20. The whole Christian life is a little flash of glory- the first fruits of what is to come.
3.       Every miracle is a proof of what He could do, even when He doesn’t: Don’t live on miracles- don’t be disappointed when it does not happen. We have limited faith. Jesus fed 5000, walked on water and then they have no bread and they are worried!! Jesus rebuked them. We don’t need to be afraid. He can always do something but He doesn’t necessarily do it. Dan 3:17-18 “Our God is able… but even if He doesn’t, we will not bow down…” This should be our outlook to miracles.
He is able and He loves us, but He is also sovereign- we trust Him anyway.
Jesus can deal with all kinds of problems of hearing- physical and spiritual. He, who has ears, let him hear.    
4.       Every miracle is a kind of parable: it contains a special (specific) lesson. There are 35 miracle stories in the 4 gospels.  If you read them, they are pointing to His power directly. John7-9- everybody is confused. People are wondering who He is. The Pharisees are against Him, the common man thinks He is the savior. In John 8 He stands up and says ‘I am the light ‘. In the Greek, ‘I and I only’. Only He can deal with people’s confusion. He is not educated or of political influence- He is only a carpenter. His biological father is a carpenter.
I am the light of the world- God humbles human pride. He takes a carpenter’s son. God does not save the world in a way that makes anyone proud. You cannot save yourself. God will not allow anyone to boast that they could save themselves- where a human can take glory.
In the eyes of man He was ordinary-peasant- salvation has a humbling side to it.
John 9 He takes a blind man and given him his sight. The miracle is a picture of what He just said and heals a blind man. He was blind not because of sin, he was born blind. This is so that they would see the glory of God.

Jesus is teaching that everybody is born blind about God, ourselves, our ideas of spirituality. We don’t even know ourselves. I am the only one who can get rid of your confusion and help you understand. Only Jesus can change the world- not a professor, Socrates, Plato or Aristotle. Jesus shall reign and the Kingdom of God shall stretch from shore to shore.
Jesus is in charge of the whole world and He does this for the sake of the Gospel and His church. The Romans left behind their roads, the Greek their language, the English their language- we can preach to the whole world.

So when you read your Bible, there is a story there- paralyzed, blind, deaf, fear, storms. He does these things not just physically but spiritually as well. As you received Jesus, live in Him, joined to Him, trusting in Him- Col 2:9. Be strong in the grace. Contact Jesus the first thing in the morning. 

Word of Grace Church is a spirit filled (charismatic), evangelical  ( Born- again) English speaking church that preaches from the Bible as God's inspired Word of 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. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Vision 2013 - New Wine skins Part 2

 This message was preached by Colin D' Cruz at Word of Grace Church on the 27th of Jan 2013. You can listen / download the audio file by clicking here.

 Last week we looked at Hab 2:14 where God’s ultimate purpose and plan is the whole earth be covered with His glory as the waters cover the sea.

God’s plan right from Genesis is to fill the earth with His glory. We see God’s glory in creation as well. Redeemed men are bearers of God’s glory as well and God wants to fill the earth with people He has redeemed so that Hid glory will fill the earth.

The new wine skin for this to happen is the start of many, many, house gatherings that are reaching out to their communities.

In U.P 50,000 people in the villages have come to know Jesus through this method. This is happening in the hardest of places viz. Bihar, M. P both which were formally known as the graveyard of the missionaries.

The gospel is the only hope for the nations. Last week we gave a call and 25 responded to start house groups.
How will God use us, weak vessels to spread His glory?

Ezk 47

Ezekiel was a trainee priest who lived during a very tragic period in Israel’s history during the reign of King Josiah. They had lost all the scrolls. This went on for generations. All they had was what the prophets taught them. Then one day on 622 B C they found the scrolls. This is when Ezekiel is born on the cusp of the rise of one power and the fall of another.
Ezekiel’s time saw the Assyrian empire crumbling and the Egyptian and Babylon jostling for power.
Israel was split into North ( the 11 tribes) and South ( Judah). North Israel was in captivity.

Josiah removed idolatry in Israel. The Bible speaks over and over again against Idolatry. Josiah dies in battle and Judah goes into captivity. Ezekiel was about 25 when he was taken in to captivity. He was trained to be a priest but he becomes a prophet.

Ezekiel was shocked that God revealed himself to him in an ungodly nation  i. e Babylon. God was at work in the most unlikely places. This is pre picture of John 14:4 . The Samaritan woman though God could only speak to her in a particular place. Ezekiel’s experience is a shadow of what is to come where God could be encountered and worshiped anywhere.

God gave Ezekiel revelation and vision of what was happening in Jerusalem. God gives him hope of a new thing happening. The book of Ezekiel has more visions than any other Old Testament book.

He has a vision of a new city and a new temple. An angel was showing him around. At one of the side gates there was a trickle of water. The angel takes him 450 meters away from the gate and it gets ankle deep, then knee deep and then waist deep and the too deep.

The irony is the further away they went from the temple the river got deeper and wider. Then the angel took Ezekiel to the banks of the river where there were fruit bearing trees and then the river reaches the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea as the name suggests does not support any life. But in this vision the river flows into the Dead Sea and the water begins to get fresh and there is life.

How does this story fit in with the whole story of the Word of God.
The Temple –  a place of worship where God and man meet. The first temple was in the Garden of Eden. It’s a source of blessing. The people are blessed there s that they can be a blessing o others. In Israel the temples ha plants and fruits ( Gen 2:8) and animals engraved on the pillars because it reminded them of Eden.

Gen 2: 10  A river watering the garden flowed out of Eden and split into 4. Along that garden are trees. God placed Adam and Eve there and the plan was that the entire earth would be blessed. Today’s temple is the church. Eph 2:22 – you are the temple.

We think that God’s blessing was in the temple. But in the temple the water was only a trickle but as you went further away it got deeper. In the same way as we go further into the mission field, barren situations God’s power and presence increases.

Evangelical and Charismatic churches stress being in God’s presence. That’s good but not enough. Some people just go from one meeting to another, one conference to another seeking blessing and it can be like the Dead Sea where there is resistance to anything fresh.

John 7:37 One the last day of the feast they would have large water jars. Jesus says “ If anyone is thirsty… “
Ezekiel had a vision of a river. In was symbolic of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit and streams of living water flowing out of us.
As we believe in Jesus – streams of living water will flow out of us and into dead situations to bring life.

Jesus promised us his presence in the context of going. Matt 28:18-20 “… I will be  with you always… “
Acts 1:8  a promise to receive the Holy Spirit so that we will be witnesses to the ends of the earth.
Pentecost – was a movement – it was a declaration that every language group would receive the gospel.

Rev 22:1 “ River of water of life” Revelation is where the curtain is pulled back and we see the fulfillment of Genesis, John and Ezekiel coming to pass.
Genesis and Revelation- the Tree of Life is mentioned. How does this apply to us?

You are the river of God- for you are the temple of the Holy Spirit. Take the river of God to a thirsty and dying nation. God’s words will come as we go into different situations. So this year as we start the 30 house gatherings remember his grace is sufficient – his presence is with you.
Mak 16: 19-20 This is God’s promise to us

Are you ready to take that step of faith Jesus is with us as we go and in the going? AS we go His presence will increase. As we make disciples and take steps of faith His presence will increase. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Vision 2013 - New wineskins

Part 1

 This message was preached by Colin D Cruz at Word of Grace Church on the 20th of Jan 2013 . You can listen or download  to the  audio by clicking here

Acts 15:35 Paul and Barnabas return to Antioch and they along with many others taught the Word of God. We often skip the bit that says “others”. This is my prayer for Word of Grace that many will begin to teach and preach the Word of God.

Great things happened in 2012. Some of the highlights were :
The 10 Year Celebration.
We had 450 visitors at word of Grace last year of which 50 have joined us. 
13 Graduated from IDT. Acts 11:36. Teaching the Word of God systematically is very important.
We had several baptisms last year and we look forward to many more this year
Gift Day – We got a little over 5 lakhs which was a huge target for a church of our size to achieve.
At Christmas we distributed 700kgs of food grain to the poor.
Serving Teams are growing and new people like Sunny, Jeevan and Austin are leading them.
The Worship Team has seen new additions in Rakhi, Austin and Jerome and we are looking to add more in the future.
There has been visible spiritual growth in the lives of many people.

With 2013 before us what can we expect?
God will do even greater things in our lives individually and corporately. Habbakuk 1:5 “Look at the nations and watch— and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your day that you would not believe even if you were told.” I believe God will do that and all we need to do is believe.
We need to find out what is God’s purpose and we need to fit in.
Hab 2:14 “ For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, even as the waters cover the sea” God’s desire from eternity past to eternity present is to fill the earth with His glory.

Throughout  the Old Testament God’s appeared in glory to the Israelistes. Acts 7:2, Ex 33:18. God the father displayed His glory .
In Heb2, Jn1:14 we see the Son displays God’s glory. Jn16:13-14 The Holy Spirit brings glory to the Son.
Creation declares the glory of god ( Ps 19:1), Is 6:3 says the whole earth is full of His glory.

What about man ? God’s desire is that we ( 1Cor 10:31) too will display the glory of God. In anything we do we can demonstrates the glory of God.
2 Thes.  2:14 God tells us how man displays the glory of God. When someone believes in Jesus an sis a new creation we share in God’s glory. A  Christ follower is a bearer of God’s glory. Jesus is the light of the world and then he tell us : you are the light of the world. All mankind are created in God’s image but its only when we are saved do we demonstrate the glory of God on earth as well.

How will the earth be filled with the glory of God? As more people bear the glory of God. Therefore we need to put all our energies into taking people who only bare the image of God to becoming his glory bearers as well.

Mk16:15  There are  4 Calls
1.       Call from above – Matt 28:18-20. We are told to go into all the earth.
2.       Call from below – Luke 16:19 Hell is a real place of real agony. This is not a fairy tale because the story teller is Jesus himself. The rich man is being tormented and wants to warn his family.
3.       Call from within us. 1 Cor 9:16 I am compelled to preach. Woe to me if I do not preach.
2 Cor 5:14 Christ’s love compels us . Do we have the love to Jesus in our heart – the  you can’t sit still while people are perishing.
4.       Call from beyond. Acts 16:9 There are many groups of people who are calling who need the gospel to be shared with them.

What will we do?
All over the world God is using new wine skins – they are house groups. We start up little groups everywhere.
Jn 4:39-40 the Samaritan woman had no qualifications. She only had her story. God uses weak people . The whole town gets impacted because of one person’s story.
Mk5 the demonized man is set free by Jesus and the whole region gets to know about it.
At Word of Grace we can start 30 groups this year. All it requires is for you to say God use me . From our city it will go beyond.

What will it take?
1.       God wants our availability not our ability.
2.       Give your time- pray and meet people. You can meet them anywhere- Coffee shops, super markets, at your home etc.
3.       How many people? For starters you and another person is all you need to begin.
4.       What do you do? Share your story and what Jesus has done for you. The power of these groups is that from one you start the next and so on.
5.       What do you teach? Stories from the Bible. They are full of truth and power.

Next Sunday I will share part 2 of this vision for 2013.