Monday, August 26, 2013

Family Matters 6 - Marriage -an Introduction

This message was preached by Colin D Cruz at Word of Grace Church  Pune, on the 25th of August 2013. 

This is part 6  of a series called Family Matters.  What  is marriage? Why should we marry? What is the blue print for a good marriage?

Read and listen to this life changing message.
To listen to the AUDIO please CLICK HERE

Some people experience heaven on earth and they call it marriage. Some people experience hell on earth and they call it marriage. How can both be?

At every party there are two kinds of people - those who want to be the first to leave and those who want to be the last to leave. Usually, they are married to each other! We are all very different!

Different cultures have different experiences of marriage. In some cultures, the husband’s family dominates  the wife's family. This is common to India : where the daughters-in-law are exploited and the mothers-in-law dominate. In the West there are other issues - today they are contending with same sex marriages, live in relationships etc. This is also a growing trend here in India. We need to know what is God's design and intent for marriage.

Q. What is the Biblical pattern for marriage?
If you want to know the beginning or origin of things we need to go to Genesis. It tells you about the origin of man, where sin came from, etc.

1.     Genesis 2 - After God created the heavens and the earth God created Man. God created fashioned man from the dust of the ground and breathed life into him. This is not how the rest of creation was made.
Once man was created, he was placed in a garden in Eden. Garden in Greek is ‘paradiso’- paradise.
Genesis 2:9 - It must have been a beautiful place. It was a place you would love to go to.
In verse 15 it says that God gave Adam a job to do. He was responsible to tend the garden and name all the creatures.

2.     This was his Mission. But he had a problem - no suitable helper was found. He is in paradise filled with beauty but it was not enough. We need a depth of relationship to connect which cannot happen with a cat, dog or a pet parrot. Its only when we relate with other human beings is there fulfillment. Relating it a skill - some can talk till the cows come home. Some are like the rock of Gibraltar - you can’t get a word out of them.

3. God brought a "Miss" to Adam.

In verse 22 the world’s first anesthesia was given and the first surgery was performed. God made a woman from one rib. Then he wakes up and sees that God brings him a woman and we have the first poetry and the first marriage.
A suitable helper- helper doesn't mean sub-ordinate. The same word is used for the Holy Spirit - a partner, co-worker.

4.     God created Marriage and called it very good. (Gen 1:31)
This was God’s plan for marriage - one man and one woman. So it’s Adam and Eve,  and NOT Adam and Steve. God gave Adam a mission and to accomplish this, he needed Eve. ‘Marriage is not just a very good thing, it’s a God thing.’ 
Today marriage is being challenged. People are succumbing to the pressures of culture.

Q. How does this apply to me?
Not only did God create marriage but he gave us the instructions on how to live. God did not leave us in the dark. This is the blue-print for a God honoring marriage.

Gen 2:24-25 says, “For this reason a man will his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh. The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” 
These are part of the instructions for the manner in which husband and wife need to relate. There are many more. It’s not enough to just be married, but to have a Godly marriage.

Men - have the responsibility to lead well.
Women - you are  NOT sub-ordinate. It’s a complimentary role. We are equal before God but different.

Q. What about singles?
Single men - This is a good time to know what your purpose in life is. It’s not to expect your wife to wait on you ‘hand and foot’. There is a purpose - find out what that is. You have a responsibility to lead well.

Single women - God has plans for you as well. 

Gift of singleness - There is a small minority that God gives the gift of singlehood
Matthew 19:12 says, “…others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven.” The apostle Paul was one such person. 1 Corinthians 7:7 says that singleness is a gift. A single person is not inferior to a married person. Jesus and Paul were both single.

If singleness is not your gift, what do you do? You continue to serve God and prepare yourself for marriage. 

Men - study, get a job, save. Women - your primary role is being a good wife and mother. We get our values from the WORD and not from the world. If you can manage a career and a family great but remember your primary role is looking after your family.

What we are saying is counter culture. Many couples are DINKS - Double Income No Kids.
In the coming weeks we will unfold what marriage is all about and how we work out the most important relationship.

For those who are called to singleness - use it to be devoted to the Lord. God has promised to never leave you. Even in a marriage there is no perfect spouse. Only God can meet all your needs and fulfill you completely.  In the coming weeks we will see the Manner in which husband and wife should relate in a marriage and how Marriage is a Mystery
'Marriage is not just a very good thing, it’s a God thing.’ So stay tuned for more.       

   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.

    English Language Service Sundays at 10am. Please check google maps for directions!


    

Monday, August 19, 2013

Family Matters 5 - Some basics of family life

Family Matters 5
This message was preached by Colin D Cruz at Word of Grace Church  Pune, on the 18 th of August 2013. 

This is part 5  of a series called Family Matters.  What makes a family a family? How is it the same in the church. Ever met a Christian from across the globe and found there is an instant connection like meeting a long lost cousin? What binds us and keeps us together?

 Read and listen to this life changing message.
To listen to the AUDIO please CLICK HERE




Families are wonderful. WE are all placed in a family. Wonderful though they may be they have their challenges. No matter what, there is a connection that transcends time, space, geography. What binds us together is that we are family.

What about the church. The church is the family of God – not “like” a family, it “is “ is a family.
We are all sinners and we all have realized that the only hope we have is in Jesus. We all came to that realization at some point in our life. Good people don’t go to heaven, only forgiven people do! We believed in Jesus and then something incredible happened. We became born again and our desires began to change. Gal3:26 tells us that we are all sons of God through Jesus Christ. Thus we have brothers and sisters across the world. Its amazing how when you meet a Christian from across the world there is an instant connection like meeting a long lost cousin.
As believers we will be together in eternity so we better learn how to get along with each other now.

How do we live together as a family?

When a door creeks what do you do? You put a little oil on the hinges and the problem is sorted. It’s the same thing in relationships. The Bible gives us a little oil for different situations that when applied will help sort things out.

Romans 12:9-21 These 15 verses are packed with so much instructions on how to live. There are 200 words with 28 instructions and they all deal with LOVE. 1 Cor. 13 talks about the attributes of love. 1 Cor. 12 is very practical.

1.      Verse 9 – Love must be sincere. The word sincere comes from a latin word si·ne·cure

In those days they would make cast iron statues and if there were any gaps/flaws they would cover /fill it with wax. A good statue was one without wax I.e. sincere. Like we have a stamp that says “genuine leather” this was “sincere” meaning without wax. In love in implies, no cover up, no hypocrisy. This can only happen when God pours out his love in our hearts. In our flesh this is difficult to do so. To love those who love us is easy. But to love those who don’t reciprocate takes the grace of God.

2.       Verse 10 “Devoted to one another in brotherly love” i.e it means to loves as though we are from the same womb! We need to pursue love. It is not a “falling in love” kind of love.

How is this outworked?

3.      Verse 10b honour others above yourselves. The bible says a lot about this. This is something everyone can do. Don’t think of how nobody greeted \you- think about how you can greet the other person. You cannot demand love and honour but we can give it freely. Let’s honour the elderly and not ignore the children. Parents teach your children to greet and show proper respect.

In today’s world all good manners have gone out of the window. Men don’t behave like men .We want to live by a biblical standard and not cultural standards and often time the two clash.
This should change the way we conduct ourselves in our homes as well viz. eating together vis a vis a women slaving in the kitchen while the men eat.

4.       Verse 12 Faithful in prayer- everyone has needs. We need to be committed to each other in our prayer life. Paul told them that he is praying for them. This encourages the other person and lightens their burden.

5.      Verse 13 Share with God’s people in need. (we covered this a lot in last Sunday’s message). Practice hospitality. I have preached on this before. How can I be a blessing or help meet a need? It’s amazing how many times hospitality is mentioned in the Bible. When Jesus rose from the dead did he make a dramatic entry? Jn21:7, 12 “come have breakfast”. Verse9 Jesus was dos down to earth. The Lord of all creation cooks breakfast. Before he died he had the last supper with his disciples where he shared some important things with them.

6.       Verse16. Do not be conceited but be willing to associate with the lowly. In today’s world everyone wants to associate with the rich and famous. In the church not so. Be willing to associate with the lowly and someone different from you i.e language, culture, economic status etc. Always think about whom you can be a blessing to.

     If we just put these things into practice – greet everyone, practice hospitality and associate with everyone it will make such a difference to PUNE!! ( I didn’t say just church) People will begin to feel loved and accepted. They will know that we are Christians by our love. John Stott called the passage a recipe for love.
7.      The bottom line is, are we obeying something? Then this place will be buzzing with the love and life of God.  Amen !

   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.

    English Language Service 10am. Please check google maps for directions!





Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Do you know ?


This message was preached at Word of Grace church  by Ranjit Roderigues on the 15th of April 2012. You can listen or download  to the Audio recording ( in mp3 format ) of the message by clicking here

Text :Romans 2:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

As followers of Jesus these three words are very important: “and we know”. The Christian life is largely  is a matter of responding to something that Jesus has first done for you. eg) “you did not choose me but I choose you...”. Jesus has justified us by faith , so we respond by leading holy lives for Him.

So we respond by living a holy life. You can spend a life time reading the Bible and yet never fully understand all that Jesus had done for you. How do Christians fall into temptation, why are they weak? This is because we do not know who we are in Christ and all that God has done for us.

Train yourself to feed yourself on all the things the Bible has told you, you are. There are riches and treasures untold there. Those who feed on the promises of God never become obese.

There are 5 things in this passage that we will look at.

1. And we know – what do we know? We know that God is at work in our lives He is shaping you to become more like His son Jesus. WE need to feed on this truth. We live in a day when God has become small and man has become BIG. Our lives are in God’s hands no matter where you are, who your boss is etc. This should make us feel very safe. Today computers say “Intel inside”. Do you know that you have “Jesus Inside”? This should give us confidence.
Not only is he at work in our lives but he is at work for our good.

2. For our GOOD - This is a truth we need to saver. There will be times we will see He is working when when we don’t feel like it. He is constantly energetically at work in our lives.

3.  In ALL things – there are times when we feel overwhelmed with life. If you belong to Jesus, he says, in all that you are involved, I am involved too. You may run out of personal resources but God never does. Whatever life may throw at you God can turn it around for your success eg) Joseph’s life, Esther’s life.

4. Who LOVE HIM - Everything is narrowed done to this point. Is point 1 to 3 true for every person on this planet? No. It’s for those who love Him. Often we have an image of a Santa Claus God who will not send anyone to hell. We think everybody will go to heaven. That’s not what the Bible says. It’s those who have put their trust in Jesus who are assured of Eternal Life. God works for the good only of those who love Him.
Q) So how can we be sure that every area God is going to work for your good?
There is only one way – give your life to Jesus. WE don’t become children of God by reading the Bible, by going to church but by putting our faith in Jesus forsaking all other Gods. If you have not done that you will   look t the stars for your future and you will be afraid of every black cat and ladder etc.

5) Called according to His purpose- God has a worldwide purpose and God has plans for you in that purpose.
Hab2:14  “The earth shall be filled with the knowledge and the glory of the Lord even as the waters cover the sea”

So
Q1 Will you be a person of hope? If Rom 8:28 is true for you, God is at work in your life.
Q2 Will you see the events of your life under the sovereignty of God, not by chance or evil design?
Q3 Have you found your purpose in His Eternal plan? Have you asked the Lord what you should do to play your part in assuring that the knowledge of the Lord will cover the earth as the a result of what I am doing .

How sad it is when Christians think like everyone else.  It is tragic when our thinking is like everyone else. WE are a people of hope. 

Ranjit Roderigues
April 2012

Monday, August 12, 2013

Family Matters 4 - Yours, mine or ours?


Family Matters Part 4

This message was preached by Colin D Cruz at Word of Grace Church  Pune, on the 11 th of August 2013. 

This is part 3  of a series called Family Matters. What is the secret to loving much? being merciful and choosing to forget? How many times have we held on to petty hurts and made mountains out of molehills? Have you trapped yourself in the snare of  un forgiveness . Read and listen to this life changing message. 
To listen to the AUDIO please CLICK HERE
The past few weeks we have been looking at different aspects of living a Christian life- How do we live with each other. Last week, we looked at how to forgive unconditionally. 


This week we are going to look at another aspect of living together.

In Matthew 24: 3 Jesus’ disciples ask Jesus to tell them about the end of ages and Jesus tells them through a parable- the parable of the Sheep and the Goats (Matthew 25:31-46).
Jesus refers to himself as the Son of Man, and that He would come in glory with all the angels with him and sitting on the throne in heavenly glory. He going to come with judgment and is going to separate one from another- the sheep and the goats.

Each of the gospels gives a different view of Jesus. The gospel of Matthew talks about him as the king. Jesus was proclaimed in the gospel of Matthew as:
·        The king revealed- It talks about Jesus as not an ordinary man. Matthew talks about his ancestry, about the wise men who come and bring royal gifts and John the Baptist comes and proclaims Jesus like a herald who proclaims the arrival of a king. We see the temptations that Jesus goes through after the 40 days and nights of fasting and Satan tempts him knowing he is the Son of God. Moreover, he makes a royal entry into Jerusalem. And it ends with Jesus saying that “All authority in heaven and on earth” has been given to him and as a sovereign ruler, he commands us to go and make disciples.
·        The king rejected- Mary was rejected for being pregnant with Jesus. Herod sought to kill him as soon as he was born. After his first sermon, people wanted to throw him off the cliff. He was accused of being a drunkard, glutton, demon possessed, etc.
·        The returning king- Matthew 16:27-28. At the end of the age, Jesus is going to be sitting on the heavenly throne and judge. But on what basis is he going to judge? We cannot see the difference between a Sheep and a Goat. But as a shepherd separates the Sheep and the Goats, he will separate the world into 2 different groups of people. He will then evaluate them, judge them and accordingly, reward or punish them.

In Matthew 25:34- Jesus said that he is coming with his reward- the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. Why is he going to give these rewards? He gives 6 simple things which anyone can do:
  •     I was hungry and you gave me something to eat
  •     I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink
  •     I was a stranger and you invited me in
  •     I needed clothes and you clothed me
  •     I was sick and you looked after me
  •     I was in prison and you came to visit me

Now these are not difficult things to do and for doing this, Jesus rewards them with an amazing blessing.

Q. who do we do these things for?
In Matthew 25:40, Jesus says, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” He is talking about the church. Jesus said, “Whoever does the will of my father is my brother, mother…”

It is however important to understand that Salvation is by faith, not by works. We go to heaven not because we do these things, but by faith alone. But a saving faith is never alone. There has to be a change. What is this change?
>       We turn from worshipping other gods and we turn to Jesus. This is the spiritual change.
>       We share, we give- if somebody asks you to go one mile, you go two.

If you are truly saved, there will be a change. So it is good to evaluate ourselves. Are you saved? If Jesus were to come back, would he find evidence that you are saved? He said, every good tree will bear good fruit. The works will manifest by itself- it’s the manifestation of the new life. And Jesus says, “I am going to reward every act of yours”. Nowadays, people don’t want to part with anything, they only want more and more. So examine yourself if there is a manifestation of this new life.

 James 2: 14-24 explains what it means that true faith will manifest itself. Imagine a poor person, a believer, a brother of ours, walks into the church- if we only pray for him and do nothing else, there is something wrong. Now, Jesus is talking about a brother or a sister and not all the poor people in the world. You and I can make a difference for people who are in our midst. Sometimes we may say, “there are so many poor, what difference does it make?” But it will make a difference to that one person you help. There may be million but let’s reach out to 1 or 2 we come across who are our brothers and sisters. Let’s be faithful with the one.

May be you are thinking- “Good! Someone will hear this and will finally help me out!” But I challenge you to look at this way- “God has blessed me so much! Who can I help?” There is always someone better off than us and someone who is worse off than us. Let us open our eyes to see how we can make a difference to those who are worse off than us.

Q. how can we do this?
One of the things we have come up with is this. In a month, give up 2 coffees in CafĂ© Coffee day or Barista and 1 meal in Mc Donald’s or somewhere else and use that money for helping out someone else. It is sacrificial giving. It does not make much of a difference to us, but as we do that, God will reward us immensely.

Q. what about strangers?
We have visitors every week. Ask yourselves, “How can we show the love of God to them?” Jesus wants us to do that not only with our friends but with strangers who come to us.

Q. What about the sick? - pray, call or message them. Visit them if you can.
Q. what about those in Prison?

Few years ago Word of Grace had a prison ministry and one person gave his life to Christ and came out eventually. There are prison ministries where you can go and visit once in a while with teams that go out there. Some of them are innocent and are languishing in jail. There are also people who have robbed, killed, etc. but if we go with the love of Christ, they can be changed.
At the end of Matthew 25, Jesus addresses the goats and says, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” We have a high call. When we are truly saved, we are a new creation and we have a new nature. We think of these people and help them.

In Acts 4:34 it talks about the early church and says, “There were no needy persons among them.” How amazing would it be to say that here!
Now, there are 2 ways of doing that. One is, to have a closed membership like a club. And the second is that whoever comes in; make sure that their needs are met. Remember that these are needs and not greed.

In Matthew 10:42 Jesus says, “And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward.”

Q. what about those out there who are poor and needy?
Luke 6:27-36 urges us to love even our sinners, so we are to love those who are out there, who are poor and needy. But you are first called to love the church and then those outside. Charity begins at home- take care of your brothers and sisters and then those out there.
Jesus rewards us in 2 ways:
~       He blesses us
~       If you use those blessings for your brothers and sisters, you are rewarded.

Everything we have is given by God. And by giving away what he has given us, he gives us more. How amazing is this!

So, recognize the needs and how to meet them. Keep your eyes on the king and that reward so that our church is like the one in Acts- no needy people.
God bless you.


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.

English Language Service 10am. Please check google maps for directions
   

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Family Matters 3: Remember to forget: Forgiveness

This message was preached by Colin D Cruz at Word of Grace Church  Pune, on the 4th of August 2013. 

This is part 3  of a series called Family Matters. What is the secret to loving much? being merciful and choosing to forget? How many times have we held on to petty hurts and made mountains out of molehills? Have you trapped yourself in the snare of  unforgiveness . Read and listen to this life changing message. 
To listen to the AUDIO please CLICK HERE

As we live life, one thing is guaranteed- 


we will have misunderstandings and let down others and be let down. A simple situation can cause a lot of discord. This happens in natural families and also in our spiritual family i.e. the church.
In the world, un-forgiveness is such a hindrance to relationships. Two sisters do not talk to each other for many years! A small hurt is magnified- making mountains out of mole hills. Have you met people like this? Maybe you are like this.

In Matthew 18:21, Peter who was always the spokesperson for the disciples asks a question. In that day you were expected to forgive 3 times. Peter thinks he is being magnanimous by doubling the number and adding one!  When Jesus says “not seven times, but 77 times”, the Pharisee will count till 77. But what Jesus means is- unlimited!

Jesus then tells a story- it’s called the parable of the unmerciful servant. The man owed an unimaginable sum of money. The point Jesus is making is that it was a huge un-payable amount. This is a picture of God and us in the context of forgiveness. We can never repay God for all the sins we have committed  and in our foolishness we thing that we can "pay it back" but God know that we can't.
In the same way the servant did not realize how much he owed and the depth or seriousness of his situation when he says, “I will pay back”. But the Master knowing his condition takes pity on him and cancels it.

This is what Jesus did on the cross. The Father has forgiven ALL our sins. We need a deep revelation of this or we will be like Simon the Leper who thought he was better than the woman who anointed Jesus.The other extreme is, we can become sin conscious. We need to avoid both and realize that it was finished on the cross. 

The servant very quickly forgot about the mercy shown to him and man-handles someone who in comparison owed him very little and throws him in jail. The master hears of this and throws this ungrateful servant into jail. This is how the Father will deal with us. Wow! This is serious.

There are 2 levels- we have no problem with the first i.e. receiving forgiveness but it’s the second one that we stumble upon.
 Friendships are based on love, but misunderstandings are settled when we forgive. Now how do we do this?
1.     Realize that God has forgiven us much. If we don’t know then we cannot forgive.
2.     When we are sinned against, we take offence- we are hurt and we can justify our hurt and change our behavior toward that person. We avoid that person. Forgiveness is to love and treat that person as though they have not hurt us. Humanly we cannot do this- we need the help of the Holy Spirit for this.
(Illustration- . The one where a man was tortured and many years later when he finds out who it was he chooses to forgive him. READHERE.http://assets.baptiststandard.com/archived/2001/11_26/pages/carrier.html 

The power of forgiveness is wonderful. We need to decide to forgive. It is not a natural human inclination. We want revenge. If we lived by our feelings, we’d be a mess.
And some say, “I’ll forgive, but I’ll never forget”. What does Jesus do? He remembers them no more.
Quote of Amy Carmichael-If I say, "Yes, I forgive, but I cannot forget," as though the God, who twice a day washes all the sands on all the shores of all the world, could not wash such memories from my mind, then I know nothing of Calvary love.

 God can remove the memory of those hurts when we choose to let go and refuse to remember.
Q. What if the persons sins against you again and again?
People are like porcupines which huddle together for warmth in the cold but they poke one another and move apart- they are in danger of freezing to death or learn to huddle without causing too much pain.
How do we cope? We need to learn to forgive.

HOW DO WE APPLY THIS?
Think of someone who has hurt you- we are called to bless them. Forgiveness is unilateral (Romans 5:8). Th is can be applies between husband and wife, parents and children, neighbours, friends, and in the church.
That person may not change- our forgiveness needs to be unconditional. If you feel someone has hurt you in church, how do you deal with it? – Matthew 18:15- “if your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.”

Often, we need to clarify because we could have misunderstood the situation- that can settle so many things. When we seek clarification, we need to ask in a humble posture. We need to practice this especially in the church.
In the church if you feel you have been hurt- keep short accounts and settle it quickly. Small or big, settle it. Satan loves to fuel a misunderstanding and drive it to an irreconcilable situation. As we apply Matthew 18:15, Colossians 3:13, Ephesians 4:32 and Mark 11:25 we learn to forgive.

Be real in your relationships. The person who lets you down should seek forgiveness and name the sin- “please forgive me for not picking you up, I let you down”. It’s taking responsibility. Our response should be ‘I forgive you’.  That’s when there is closure to the hurt.
We are not trying to be perfect. We will hurt and let each other down. But let’s be quick to settle it- forgive and release forgiveness. Then there will be so much love all around!

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.

English Language Service 10am. Please check google maps for directions