Thursday, September 26, 2013

An apostolic people | Vision & Values | Fusi Mokoena Part 2


This is part of a series of messages that were preached at the Regions Beyond  India Leaders meeting at Igatpuri . This message  was preached by  Fusi Mokoena .Regions Beyond, is a part of Newfrontiers Intl. You can listen to the audio by clicking here.

P       PART 2

         Unity in the Church is escatological because it goes beyond this age.
h             This unity is not something for now but goes beyond it. The Jews had 2 ages- the age gone by where Israel was the chosen nation and brought out of slavery into freedom and fellowship with God and the age to come when Jesus is going to return. We live in the tension between the fallen world where the powers and principalities still operate but has been won by Jesus Christ. In such a world, the church displays the beauty of the age to come. So we need to fight for it.We don't just worship, we worship together. We don't just plant, we plant together.Paul took Timothy and Silas with him and both are from different churches. We need to learn to work together.At conferences we get time to spend with each other and from around the world.

a.      Guard yourself against insecurity- we need to allow the gospel to shape our togetherness and not have unreal expectations. It means that when we come together, we learn from one another. We may not see one another as much as we would like to, but let that not be a reason to feel insecure.
b.      We can’t allow relationship to be the reason we are together. We want to be here for the gospel and for Jesus. we are gathered for the gospel.It would be sad it we are good friends and not spread the gospel.
We need to keep remembering why we are together otherwise some will go back to what they were. In the phase that Regions Beyond is it is important that you are clear or when we do mission you will get left out.

2       Apostolic Partnership:

John 14:24 reflects the Trinity which is one and which is on mission. Jesus is our great apostle. The blessing that God gives us is for mission. Do not let it hinder us from actually doing mission.   Sometimes we see a church that gets so full of the Spirit and they don't want anything else. The blessings that God gives us can actually hinder us from doing mission. We need to be sold out for mission that is why He sent Jesus to the cross. So if God is sold out so should we. The mission of God is at stake.

The church of Jerusalem chose men who were full of the spirit and full of wisdom to go out on mission. The reason they did that is so that the word of Jesus is preached. Advancing of the kingdom in different places- this is our mission.We need to know the reason for gathering so we can go.Joined together we strengthen one another, equip the saints and the gospel will go. We need to train our churches for mission. We should have mission in our DNA. The church exits for mission.
 All of us are on this mission- some are sent and the others send or equip them to be sent.  We bring our churches with us.We need to keep raising leaders.We have the freedom  and the commission to preach the gospel .

a.      Don’t make mission a department in the church. Every single person in church is for mission. Mission is not just for apostles/ teams.
b.      Don’t be selfish saying you go on mission and I will build the church.
c.      Mission has t be made a new and fresh topic. We need to refresh it in the church.
d.      We need to model mission as leaders. It’s for all of us.We need to continue to make mission a new fresh topic or we will end up with stories that are 5 years old.
e.      Don’t do mission for the sake of mission or competition or just to perform. Do it for Jesus.

We need to do mission well and go out of strength. We are partnering for the sake of the gospel. New frontiers transition is going to take time.  There are some churches still feeling their way. We are going to multiply and grow and we  need skill and faith to maintain what we have and also grow. The great news is that you’ve got a part to play.

In the 19th and 20th century, we saw the church grow like never before yet experience more problems than ever before. Nelson Mandela said- "sometimes, it falls upon a generation to be great". We can be that generation. We are one under the banner of Jesus Christ and the gospel. We need to be that generation!

An Apostolic people| Vision & Values | Fusi Mokoena Part1

Fusi Mokoena Part 1
This is part of a series of messages that were preached at the Regions Beyond  India Leaders meeting at Igatpuri . This message  was preached by  Fusi Mokoena .Regions Beyond, is a part ofNewfrontiers Intl. You can listen to the audio by clicking here.

We have been receiving words of wisdom and prophecy but I don’t want us to go back just having filled our minds with a lot of information. Ask God- How do I put the things I heard in practice? Words that have been brought speak to individuals, churches and us as a family of churches.

Regarding Regions Beyond- There was one apostolic sphere, Newfrontiers,  which multiplied into 17 spheres as key gifts have emerged.  Steve Oliver felt that he would give birth to something that would go beyond South Africa. But before we gather to anything or anyone else, we gather to Jesus. The reason we chat about all this is because of the finished work of the cross.

We don’t want to be those who are held back because of loyalty or some form of tradition  when God is doing something new. Neither is this a time when we think this is an opportunity to let go of what we have been taught. There is a threat in both. We don’t want to compromise of the key thing that brings us together.there is a danger of not doing what God as asked us to do. Terry is excited about all that is happening. So lets hold on to the vision and values that have been laboured hard for.There is a danger in both extreme and compromise. We are a church planting apostolic movement.

We believe the Spirit- filled church is the only way of building church. This means a strong local church built on good foundations- of making disciples and not just converts.
Church is the answer to the fallen world- where truth is no longer absolute but everyone believes what they believe. Church restores the gospel.

‘New frontiers’ describes itself as this- A diverse family of churches joined together in apostolic partnership. What does this mean?
1.      We are a family yet we are so diverse. We are committed to planting churches in villages, in towns and in cities. God gave us a vision to build churches everywhere.

We build churches for the wealthy and poor; young and old; people of all cultures- because God is for everyone. The message is not just for one group of people. We look at mission not as full time ministry but as relevant to people doing business, doctors, lawyers, etc. we want the gospel to be relevant to you.WE do not want to be caught up with idolatry, consumerism where truth is not absolute.

We believe the church is the answer.We are a diverse family of churches joined together in apostolic partnership. In a family you may all look alike but we do things differently. 
We in Regions Beyond are committed to planting churches in villages, towns and cities as well. So we are not just a City Church planting movement. 
We are committed to seeing the gospel going to wealthy and the poor. We are committed to planting multi-racial, multi- linguistic churches. Our messages is such that it targets people of all age groups.We don't talk mission as just for people who are serving the church full time but to business people, to Christians in the secular world, young and old, rich and poor. Business people have the responsibility to advance the gospel.
Some may be called to the towns and others to cities and some to villages. We are committed to the village as much as to the city. So we have a church in the mountains in Lesotho  a church under the tree and in a 5 Star hotel. 

That’s how diversity is going to work to reach the diverse world. It takes skill to do different things and God needs to give us this skill. So when we come together, we don’t undermine one another. Only Jesus can unite us.

Many movements have decided to go to cities alone. But God has called us to evangelize the world.the way I see it its like a juggler - it takes skill . That's pretty much what we are doing and its not for the faint hearted.
What we are doing will take people who are grounded in the gospel and interested in making Jesus known, transform lives and bring them together.

a.      There is a danger of compromise- we might build churches who are exactly like us. It takes skill to build a multicultural community. And when we are challenged with this, instead of asking help from the Holy Spirit, we may compromise.

b.      We may treat church as a part of the consumer-driven world. We need skill from God to reflect the gospel that Jesus gave. Consumerism is "come to Jesus and he will do this and that for you"We can have people who just consume our message and are not disciples. WE need to build church that will reflect what Jesus has accomplished on the Cross.

c.      We can’t emphasize on diversity alone. There are many different values of a church and diversity is one of them. It’s not the only distinguishing factor. We must embrace all the values.So diversity is not the only thing we talk about. there are many other values and God lives the church and is empowering us to be missional. If we only emphasize one value we become unstable . But this value is needed to restore a fallen  world.

               Churches joined together:
            Paul to Timothy asks for John Mark. Ephesian elders - Paul shares his heart with them. " Now that I am going to Jerusalem, protect yourselves from savage wolves.."

                  There are two things under this:
i.                 Unity of the church is very important. The cross has made what is impossible possible. Because of Jesus tow can become one. Its not unity that we talk about but what we do.
ii.                This unity is the work of the Holy Spirit. It is only through him that we somehow overcome our differences.We talk different languages and yet we become friends and we can celebrate diversity. What God always wanted to do is restore the church to himself.Jesus is exalted and the unity has been built. The cross says Jesus has overcome the power but the resurrection says Jesus is crowned king

 ( Part 2 to follow)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

An apostolic people| New Testament Church blueprint| Stephen Van Rhyn Part 1

This is part of a series of messages that were preached at the Regions Beyond  India Leaders meeting at Igatpuri . This message was preached by  Stephen Van Rhyn. You can listen to the audio by clicking here.

Philippians 1:6
We get a wonderful description of what a church looks like. The church is made up of saints together with elders and deacons in apostolic relationship for gospel advance. Some churches are just made up of saints and don’t have elders or deacons. Some have elders and deacons but have no apostolic relationships or are in apostolic relationship but the apostolic ministry is not about gospel advance.

In Philippians I see the best practice modeled.

The common understanding of a saint is that that person has lived an extra ordinary or exceptional life and after the person is dead that person’s bones an heal people.

This is not the biblical understanding. What makes up or constitutes a Christian? – The gospel of Jesus Christ and the grace of our Lord. Paul could calls them saints because they were made righteous in Christ Jesus. WE are ALL saints. This is not a small thing but a massive thing. The main that we come across in Luke is that I have not come for the healthy but for the sick.

Luke 4 Jesus makes a jubilee announcement when he reads from Is 61 and the religious people want to kill him.

Luke 5 The paralytic is brought through the roof. The religious leaders question his ability to forgive sin.

Luke 7 Simon the Pharisee a God fearing man who is open to Jesus has him in his home and then this women bursts upon the scene and does something outrageous. In those days women did not let down their hair in public except in private for their husband. She wipes Jesus feet with her tears and Simon thinks ill in his heart. Then Jesus tells a story. Jesus initially tells a story of 2 bankrupt people. Only the grace of God can get us right with God. Only the way ward woman becomes a worshiper. The Pharisee trusts in religion.

The story of the Prodigal son is about two sons. The first one does something outrageous - he only loved his father’s possessions rather than the relationship. The father gives him his inheritance and he goes and lives a wild life and squanders it all away. He finally comes to his senses when he is forced to eat the food given to the pigs. He wants to serve his father as a hired hand. When he comes home,  the father embraces him and clothes him with the finest of clothes and puts a ring on his finger and kills the fatted calf. The father is not interested in his restitution speech.

The older son who obeyed all the rules has the same heart as the younger son. He too is interested in the stuff and wants to control the father by keeping the rules. He felt that this party for his brother was coming out of his inheritance. He loved the things of the father and not the father himself.
The squandering son is restored to the father and the son who kept all the rules is left out in the cold. (Luke 15). To all these stories the audiences were the religious people. Your rule keeping will not reconcile you to the father but GRACE alone.

Luke 18 . Two people go to pray - a Pharisee and a tax collector. The Christian message is not obey then you will be accepted. The Christian message is you are accepted if you will admit that you are bankrupt - ask for mercy and you will be fully and radically accepted. Then you will be called a saint and adopted into the family. We are not workers that can be fired. We are children of God forever.

So remember the people we serve are saints. The message is the good news. The gospel message is so radical and religious people do not like it. A church is made up of people who have been rescued by grace and he brings them together into a family.

An apostolic people | New testament church blueprint | Stephen Van Rhyn Part 2

This is part of a series of messages that were preached at the Regions Beyond India  ( which Word of Grace Church is a part of )Leaders meeting at Igatpuri .  Regions Beyond, which is a part of Newfrontiers Intl is an apostolic sphere led by Steve oliver.This message was preached by  Stephen Van Rhyn.  This is PART 2 You can listen to the audio by clicking here


The New Testament church is not a leaderless community. They work alongside people.
Leaders existed in the New Testament. It is not an evil invention of the 21st century. Leadership was a shared endeavor. Paul writes to the elders and deacons- plural. WE see this time and time again.

The local church is led by a team of Elders and not an individual.
Acts 14:21-23. Paul and Barnabas preach and win a large number of disciples.

Verse 23 – Appointed elders. They appoint a team in each church.
Titus 1:5 Its not gurus, or superman. Appoint a team. Why? God himself is a team. God in essence is community. Church needs to be done in team. Some people think that this is not doable. If the most mature people in the church can’t work together and differ to one another, how can the church get it right?

James 5:14 “Let him all the elders” A team comes and prayer for you and anoints you with oil.
Heb 13 – “Obey your leaders- their authority”
Friends this is very important. Jubilee Community Church is a church led by an eldership team

Now the team has a team leader but he is a part of the team and not above it. He is the first among equals. This is very important. Church is a community saved by grace with team leadership.

This helps identify emerging elders. Acts 20. Paul calls for the Ephesians elders to meet him and in conversation he reminds them that God has anointed them. Paul knew that that was the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit. When Ephesus was told by Paul that he would not see them again, they were very sad.

Good apostolic ministry makes you very sad when they leave. Bad apostolic leadership makes you cry when they arrive. The Philippian church had the same relationship with Paul.

Paul thanks God day and night for the partnership they had in the gospel. Partnership is an important word. Christians can get superstitious in business. Churches are meant to be in partnership. You benefit from the successors. And you are invested in it. What Steve O and Regions Beyond does, you do. Their victories are your victories and their losses are yours.

Paul was interested in catching up the local church in global mission. If you are not interested in global mission find another apostle.
Acts 20:29-30 Paul says this strange thing. A vulnerable situation does not stop Paul from reaching the ends of the earth. V24

Are you after an easy chair apostolic ministry? Apostolic ministry will catch you up for apostolic advance and regions beyond.

We have one life and we need to do it right. Phillipians Ch1 is the blue print. This is the model that we want to model and that we want you to model to others. We may not go physically but we can partner in prayer, financially and in going. We are share holders in what god is doing in another part of the world.

He who began a good work will bring it to completion. Be patient. Jesus raises up elders. Gospel partnership, for gospel advance.
Steve Oliver is a team man. Life is short and you need to throw your lot in, sign up, join the partnership for gospel advance.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

An apostolic people| Hinge Moments| Steve Oliver 2

This is part of a series of messages that were preached at the Regions Beyond  India Leaders meeting at Igatpuri . This message was preached by  Steve Oliver who leads this apostolic sphere Regions Beyond, which is a part of Newfrontiers Intl. You can listen to the audio by clicking here.

At the prayer meeting this morning,  I felt in God that this is a season for us to engage against the enemy. Time has come when the commander says, “Enemy on the hills, let’s go get them!” where there is sickness or poverty, we are to go against it in the name of Jesus. Its not a time to just hold ground but to engage the enemy.Its a big shift and this is what God has put on my heart.

This is another hinge moment- when there is a shift. In the Bible there are some hinge moments- the Pentecost where the Spirit came as in tongues of fire and there were frightened believers that then went into all the world. Peter’s vision at Joppa where his racist heart was exposed and a massive shift takes place, Paul on the Damascus road, falls flat on his face and he become the greatest gift the church has ever received. etc. These are hinge moments of very positive change.

During the American Civil war, over the abolishing of slavery, there was a battle called as "The little round top". As insignificant as it sounds, it was the one that won the war. It was when a professor of Philosophy and a group of exhausted soldiers, with no ammunition left with them, see the enemy approaching and instead of giving up, decided this- I want to finish this having fulfilled what I’ve been commissioned to do. When the enemy advances, the professor shouts “let’s go!” and everyone came to the mountain top at once- by the sheer surprise, the enemy surrendered and they brought the enemy down together.  They brought the enemy down because such was their unity  and belief in each other. In that battle there was a hinge moment.That was the battle which won them the war.

We are at such a moment. Something has changed in us. We also want to be like these soldiers, to fulfill what we’ve been commissioned to do. But there are a few things we need, to be able to do this. 
We look at 1 Chronicles 11. In this, verse 5 is a hinge moment for David. This a a good picture of Apostolic and prophetic. 2Sam5:6

Look at your promises. David goes in for Zion because it has been promised to him. When they say “even the blind and the lame can ward you off” David understands the prophetic significance. Before us is the greatest adventure. But these are the things we need in order to do what is to be done.

Verse 10 these were the chiefs of David. They were together. This is the key.
Verse 18 – The 3 broke through the Philistines lines. We see a moment when everything changed for David and his men, They were being pursued- it is a terrible feeling.
Before us lies the greatest adventure of our lives . this morning we spoke about Eretria, Cape town etc.

There are 7 things in this story that I want us to look at and learn from: Our impact as Regions Beyond will be determined by these things.

1.     Unity: 1 Ch 11: 1- “All Israel came together” It is not the name- regions beyond. It’s not superficial unity. The team, unlike a cricket team, knows you. Our unity is different. It breaks my heart when people with the anointing of God get caught up with wrong thinking. We can show the world what peace looks like.
Jesus destroyed every dividing wall between us. Always believe in the best, trusting God. That makes us one.

In Philippians Paul says, if you have gained anything from Christ… be one in Spirit and purpose. Our understanding of God makes us one. David found this unity.

Ephesians 2:4 says, “for he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and who has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility.” We need to live in this peace of Christ.

We are all equally sinners- so we come to the same savior. We have the same enemy.
You are going to find the person you don’t like your neighbor in heaven! When we are apart remember how we loved each other when we were together. Stay in that place and don’t let the enemy play mind games with you. Let’s go worship our God! Our unity is key.     

2.     Genuine Godly relationships- “we are your own flesh and blood”. That’s what we become when we come to Jesus. It’s different from being in a club. When we hear from one another, we long for one another, we love one another. As 1 Cor. 13 describes- If I’m to love someone for a long time, I’m always protecting them, I’m hoping for them, I persevere for them…

3.     Godly anointing- in verse 3 we see that as all Israel gathers and proclaims that they are his own flesh and blood, they anointed David. Godly anointing – they believed in the presence of God through the work of the Holy Spirit. They only enjoyed it to a measure but today it is for all of us. Whatever we do, we need to constantly seek after, received and give away the anointing of God. Our words will never be enough. Politicians are full of words. They need to be followed with the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

4.     Gifted people- mighty men are raised. It is important to recognize and raise up gifted people. God will raise up more mighty men and women.

5.      Verse 10 -Building teams- “Strong support” who come together for common vision. In verse 10, “they (the leaders), together with all Israel, gave his (David’s) kingship strong support…” this means teams of New Testament leaders who support the mission as they come together in common purpose- the advancement of the Kingdom of Jesus. Develop team. We are not in the gae of Kings but anointed New Testament leaders.

6.     Promises- We have so many promises. ‘Just as God promised’. We have individual and corporate promises.

7.     Great exploits together verse 18 they did great exploits together. The armies of God break through the Philistines lines.

An Apostolic People |Keeping Jesus at the center| Steve Oliver 1

This is part of a series of messages that were preached at the Regions Beyond  India Leaders meeting at Igatpuri . This message was preached by  Steve Oliver who leads this apostolic sphere Regions Beyond, which is a part of Newfrontiers Intl. You can listen to the audio by clicking here.

It is important that we continue to make progress and we thank God for that.

The landscape before us is enormous. U.P is just a small part of what God is doing and wants to do in the nations.

We are not far off from some of you being sent off into the other nations. We cannot take this lightly and there will be a cost to it.

In a long time I had time to reflect on what God has been doing over the years. We realized that once again we would have to fit into God’s program. God’s plans for us are many and the people working with us are many. We must pay the price. We will have to make adjustments to abandon ourselves to His purposes.

When you see God going ahead and his obvious favor it can be both exciting and terrifying. That’s how it must have been for the disciples with Jesus.

There is a big thing that we need to be careful of i.e our vision and opportunities do not become the thing that captivates our attention. It’s very New Testament but that cannot be the thing that captivates us. It has to be Jesus. Having time to be rather than do, I realized that the vision can be exciting. Jesus should be our joy and what captivates us. If we replace Jesus as the center of what we are called to do and if he only becomes a part, we will produce an army of leaders that are striving for success and breakthrough. Opportunity and success can then become the greatest challenge. We need to have a balance in all that we do.

Joshua 5:13 Between the Jordan and Jericho we find encounter. That needs to be our lifestyle and the kind of leader we should be. In all the business there has got to be an encounter where meeting with Jesus must take us face down. If we lose that we will lose everything. God arrested me in this. “Your time with me, where you allow me to smile on you will be the making of your success” We have been given freedom to get on but we get to stay true to the very thing we’re here for.

One of the things that marked Joshua is the altars where it was all about God.
Matt11:25-28 Jesus is very busy and facing all kinds of challenges and suddenly this word comes- “come to me…”Our life in the church and at work can drain us. When we bring this scripture into a leadership context I realized that as a leaders the very things that God has called us to can become a burden. And you are pressing on and trusting God but it can become a burden if not carried in the right way. In a leadership context, those laboring which we are all doing for the kingdom, the good thing becomes a burden.

Jesus’ answer is come to me – and we find that He is big enough for all of it.
Eugene Peterson in one of his messages asked this- Are you tired? Anyone who is worn out? Anyone burnt out by religion? When Jesus asks if we are burdened, he means, burnt out to the point of exhaustion. Are you in that place today?

The Message – Matt 11:28-30 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

When ministry replaces Jesus it becomes dead religion. It’s scary. Jesus calls us to get way with him. “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace” The Message.

What is rest? It is a release from burdens. How do we get rest we come to Jesus? Jesus is meek i.e where he is totally surrendered to the purposes of the father. So it’s not something more to do but something we cease to do. It’s a place of saying “God without you it will not happen”. Allow Jesus to build his church and not try to stir up a momentum with one meeting after another. Our faith rests in his ability to do things. Jesus knew that the Father will go before him and stand with him.  

To look at this practically, God raises the humble. I have learnt a lot the hard way.

1.    Learn that it’s all about Jesus at an early stage. Never let anything substitute him. Learn to fellowship with him and see his smile over you. Your personal time with Jesus is right at the core of your development and success. If at any stage it becomes even a small measure about you it can be painful. The more you carry as a leader the important that time with Jesus becomes. If you are struggling to pray on your own, find someone who really prays well and join them once a week for a while.

2.    Be satisfied, faithful and obedient to the measure of anointing, gifting and talent that has been given to you. WE are in a culture where there is so much pressure to keep up with the others. You have to settle before God what is your measure. When you compare it, it will kill you. Honor other gifts around you.

3.    Maintain sober judgment about yourself. Romans 12:3. When you compare yourself with yourself you look good but when you compare yourself with the Jesus you will see clearly. Find a good friend who will tell you things truthfully.

4.    Raising up of others and seeing them fly and succeed is more rewarding that your own success. Ask any mum or dad. We need to be like that with God’s people. The most releasing scripture is “You will do greater things than these” When we hear the prophetic over people we should see how we can help them fulfill that.

5.    Take on the inconvenience of serving others or just serving. It’s a part our development. Serve, serve, serve!

6.    Wait your turn- you have promises over your life. You pray about them but you wait for God to release you into them with faith and patience you will inherit. When you get older you can see God’s purposes being fulfilled and how faithful God is. God is faithful – we rest in Him to do his work in us. Wives, stand firm.

7.    Treasure the relationships God gives you. We are not called to do things alone. Its team and groups of us. I am excited about the future. I wonder which other nation I will live in. New friends and opportunities. But even more than all this it’s got to be Jesus. When you look up you see Him smiling over you. Let’s stay true to what He has called us to.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Joy in the vine

This message was preached by Bill Berry at Word of Grace Church  Pune, on the 22nd of September 2013 

Do you want to know lasting joy? Can you have joy n the middle of trouble? Read on . you can listen to the message by clicking here.

We began the service by asking if we were joyful today and I want to end the service the same way. Joy is different from happiness.

 Happiness is found in various things and experiences in the world, but joy is just in one thing and that is Jesus. Irrespective of what the situations are like, you can find joy in Jesus Christ. The bible says, the joy of the Lord is your strength. The joy of Jesus Christ is our strength.

Today I am going to go through John 15 to explain this. We can’t glean all that is in God’s word even in a few readings. He is infinite and that makes his word infinite.
In verse 1 of John 15, it starts with an ‘I am’ statement- I am the true vine. This points us back to Exodus where Moses asks God, “who then shall I say sent me?” and God says, “I am who I am…I am has sent me to you.” Throughout the Gospel of John there are various ‘I am’ statements and Jesus Christ reveals himself as the I AM.

It also says that Jesus is the true vine. That means, there was another vine- Israel. Israel was to be an image of God to the world. But they turned away from God and failed to reveal Him to the nations.
Jesus calls God his father, as the vinedresser. This depicts a perfect harmony that is within the trinity. The vinedresser must serve the vine if he wants to see fruit and the vine serves the vinedresser by bearing fruit. They work in perfect unity.

Our God is one of relationship. Everything he does is about relationship. Jesus says, “my father and I.”
In verse 2 it says that the vinedresser cuts off every branch in the vine that does not bear fruit. Now, Judas was a part of Jesus who did not bear fruit. Those who appeared to be attached to Jesus but are not really part of the vine, the father cuts them off. And then it goes on to say that every branch that bears fruit, he prunes. He prunes those who are connected to Jesus so that they may bear much fruit.
Q. what does it mean to bear fruit in Jesus Christ?

In John 15, Jesus comes back to the point he was making in John 13:34-35. He says, “a new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Then Jesus gets interrupted by Peter and Thomas. The disciples are slow in understanding, like us.

So John 15: 4 onwards he gets back to what he was talking about. It says, in verse 8, “this is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.” The fruit we are to bear is our love for one another. Having expressed this love, we experience joy in our lives. The way to bear fruit is to abide in him- to live in union with the vine.

The fruit of love must be connected to Jesus Christ. But once we leave the church building it’s so easy to forget God. We need to be constantly aware of the love that is from God. In the reality of being loved by God, we can express love for one another.  We can show the world a love that they cannot understand. We give them a taste of Jesus Christ with this love we have through him. Thus, we need to learn to love.

The father and the Son live in this beautiful love relationship. In this there is the fulfillment of the 2 greatest commands- love the Lord you God with all you heart, mind and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. The gospel is a gospel of Love. Jesus is a story of love. We receive this as we connect our lives to him and connect this to the community in which we live in.

Sit at the feet of Jesus and know the power of forgiveness, the wonder of his coming, emptying himself, and giving himself up on the cross.
For joy, people go for experiences- playing games, entertainment, etc. as if they are going to get life from these things. It says, for the joy set before him, Jesus endured the cross. The experience of authentic joy is, giving yourself away- to love- to sacrifice.

Q. where is your sacrifice of love?
Dads, will you make the sacrifice for your children? Husbands will you make the sacrifice of love for your wives? And wives, will you make this sacrifice for your husband’s?
Real joy comes by living a life of sacrifice. It is an upside down view from the world. The only way to make this sacrifice of love is through connection with God because apart from him, we are able to do nothing. So make this connection with Jesus Christ everywhere so that you can make this sacrifice of love.

You can read /listen to another message by Bill Berry by clicking here

We long for joy, and Jesus says, abide in me- here you will find true lasting joy.
   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

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