Thursday, February 20, 2014
This message was preached by Terry Virgo is the founder of Newfrontiers. Newfrontiers has now multiplied into many apostolic spheres across the world that are united on global mission by core values and genuine
relationships. Regions Beyond is one of the Apostolic spheres which is led by Steve Oliver.
The Glorious Church- a wonderful phrase I came across in a book by Watchman Nee. He was one of the voices that made me see the wonder of the church. Earlier, one did not really glory in the church. For us it is a huge deal.
We’ve been looking at Ephesians 4 ministries to see the church as a functioning body. Ephesians has lots of other aspects of church life. One of the aspects is of Worship. The challenges we are facing as people who love the presence of God and we need to very jealously guard what is important to God because we are grounded in scripture and that’s the emphasis we find there.
In the fall, man sinned and ‘all have fallen short of the glory of God’. That’s the tragedy of the human race- we are lead about by this world and we don’t know anything about the glory of God. Man who was made with the fellowship with the glory of God was cast out from the garden out of the presence of God.
But as the plan of salvation comes into action, and the God of glory reveals himself to Abraham, he is made aware of the reality of an existing God. The God of glory appeared to Abraham and the plan of God’s revelation starts. He begins to deal with the patriarchs and gathers a nation.
God reveals himself to Moses through the burning bush and then through the glory cloud and suddenly, some of the human race is back in the presence of God. During Moses’ time, a group of people start experiencing that fellowship again. At one time God threatens to back off them and Moses says, “Don’t! This is what makes us distinct, that Your presence goes with us. We’re the only nation in the world- that what we are- the people of Your presence.” It was a passionate deal with Him. Moses asks the question- Who are You? In exodus tells you the answer- the reveals himself through power, glory and wisdom (ten commandments and other laws).
We see God reveal himself – God’s power, His glory and His wisdom revealed- a God who leads you into truth. Then they come to the promise land. The promise land is like the Garden of Eden to go in with this realization. The two mountains, the blessings and the curse- the ultimate justice of God- and if they do not obey God, they are out of the land of His presence- the land where the mountain of the Lord is where the glory of the Lord is. Prophet after prophet threaten to obey or get out of the land and finally.
David’s was one of those powerful empires, pushed back the borders and he gave it Solomon. The kingdom of God on earth- His dwelling place. God has chosen Zion! The teachings about the courts of the Lord.
After 70 years we have the story of Ezra- pointing forward to the one who will come. Ultimately, one does come. He stands in the streets and does breath-taking things. The temple was decayed by this time in the hands of the Pharisees-they had God buttoned-up.
Jesus when confronted with the cripple, says, “your sins are forgiven”. When the Pharisees object Jesus says, ‘which is easier… Get up!” And suddenly, the temple is in the streets! Jesus, the temple of God is walking the streets. The temple is something different. Then we get this amazing verse in Ephesians- you are the temple of God. We are the place of God’s presence!
We see throughout the Bible, that God comes- through a nation, through His son- and He’s here now. His presence is here in the church. The gathered church is the place of His presence. We need to help our people understand the sheer privilege in meeting together as God’s people in God’s presence.
1. Liberty in worship- where the spirit of the lord is, there is liberty. It is liberty of what we’ve been set free from. We’ve been set free from our blindness, bondage to sin, the dominion of darkness, hell, condemnation… so many thing!
In fact, the very first time when God says, “let my people go…” for what? “so they can worship me.” and when they come through the Red Sea, and then you get the very first worship song in the Bible- a terrific song of liberty. This is biblical liberty. We are a people who have been set free who could not have been set free on their own.
Jesus has set us free from powers far too great. God set them free- the Israelites. Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Worship is the celebration of that amazing freedom. As we enjoy this freedom, people move into more spiritual freedom. Worship is a dynamic experience. Genuine spiritual worship is where things happen, where God manifests His glory- and that is why I want to guard it jealously. We are worshipers. God is seeking worshipers not because he is ego-centric, but because when we worship everything else is in order.
When Israelite were in captivity, Psalm 137 says, “How can we sing songs or Zion in a strange land?” where is the kingdom? Where is the presence? But when the Lord turned again, the captivity of Zion, they were like those who dream! “Then our mouth was filled with laughter, our tongues with joyful shouting.”
When I got baptized in the spirit, I began to worship like never before. When we saw grace as a church, we worshiped! We’re not just happy clappy, we enjoy something breath-taking- celebrating liberty!
2. As an army- expression of faith. When we worship it’s a great opportunity to express faith. Worship that is not mingled with faith is just singing songs. But with faith, it’s declaring to the Lord, to yourself and to one another, what we believe. When they believed his word they sang His praise. It’s not been characteristic of the formal church to ooze faith The heart of the church is faith. The whole breakdown of the human race is unbelief The root of sin is unbelief.
When Satan came to Adam, he said, ‘you can’t believe God. You can make your own decisions.’ So, it says Paul goes out to bring obedience that comes from faith. We start making choices – I will change the way I raise my family, care for my wife, handle my finances, etc. - that line up with His will. You want to obey Him. Worship can generate that.
It’s about “Father I trust and believe you” The Word will affect our value system, our family live, finance; generosity will change because of faith where unbelief would not allow me to do and enjoy.
So we believe from faith and not because we think “we are not allowed to “
Worship helps the saints to grow.
Three things about worship
1. Worshipful faith – Creedal faith – Truth endures for centuries. In Christ Alone raises faith. It’s the words that cause faith to rise. Martin Luther and the Wesley’s wrote great hymns. We want to sing songs that say something. We need to sing creedal songs. I get weary when we sing lines that don’t say anything at all. Things we sing should declare reality. As leaders as should not hand over the guy who can just pay guitar but engage with truth. We treasure the truth.
2. Faith that is confidence for success. We need songs where people are going through all kinds of pain, struggles, and sickness. Worship leaders have a phenomenal opportunity to bless people. So faith is rising in his presence. How often to people say, or sing out what they believe. As you do this whole churches come alive in his presence. This is huge.
3 Advancing faith. We songs that inspire courage and about the future. We need songs that declare nothing is impossible with God. Faith is who we are. When a nation stops believing it stops being believers. So many people cope with life and go through pain. We want to see people come through pressure confidently and trusting.
Devotion- What is one thing Jesus says? Where ever you go this will be talked about. Its was devotion. The woman who anoints Jesus. There is something about it that Jesus liked. Jesus could have mentioned anything else but he delighted in this. There is something about the tenderness and intimacy. Worship does that. Worship should take people on a journey. Let’s meet with God and encounter his presence. It’s more than just being upbeat. Its meeting with him, singing with integrity.
Often people make big decisions in worship. Put give huge amounts of money as a result of being impacted in worship. It happens through devotion.
That’s why we need good songs. The church of God is where His presence is. So we want to meet with him and enjoy his presence.
People like Hudson Talyor etc wrote about heart devotion as they worshiped.
Rom 12:1-2. Worship that is rational and is a life style. It’s not just lifestyle but also that we sing his praises. It’s too important to be causal about or let anyone steal it form us and fail to expect to meet with God.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
This message was preached by Tim Davies who leads a church that is a part of Regions Beyond. which is a part of Newfrontiers. Newfrontiers has now multiplied into many apostolic spheres across the world that are united on global mission by core values and genuine relationships. Regions Beyond is one of the Apostolic spheres which is led by Steve Oliver.
When we look at the Apostle John’s he writes- no one has ever seen God. And then he says, but God has made himself known through His son Jesus. He repeats the same phrase in his first epistle- that no one has ever seen God, but he doesn’t end it with the spotlight on Jesus. He says, but if we love one another... Suddenly, the spotlight is on us. It’s a shock when you don’t expect such an ending. This value is so close and so essential to what we are.
John again makes that statement- God is love. It’s a startling stand-alone statement. It’s the very essence of God’s nature.
When John writes, he expects some kind of mocking laughter, when somebody walks in and says that he knows God but doesn’t love. If you know God and are born of God, you love one another. Jesus says, “They’ll know that you are my disciples if you love another.” It’s the sign of being in Jesus- the sign of the knowledge of the father is that we love one another. We see it in the New Testament life- the life of the Apostles, a community working it out because that’s what Jesus called them to.
In 1 Corinthians 13 Paul says- if I speak in the language of angels…and have no love…it’s nothing! Would we dare to say it so starkly if it is not in the scriptures? If there’s no love, it’s nothing. What do we gain if everything in heaven says, ‘it was nothing’? Love is absolutely central.
Q. Can we have that and go for the nations?
This is not a question in the heart of God. Jesus says, “In the same way the Father sent me, I am sending you” the progression- father sending and we being sent- there is intimacy and mission. The intimacy in the Godhead- and the mission of the Godhead.
Love is just essential to Paul. It’s truly a better way. He believed that. It’s not just team dynamics, its love. In the problem with Barnabas, we see that this is actually important to Paul. We can’t do this without love.
The thing that can spoil it is:
· our own insecurities,
· our own selfish ambition and
When there is fear- ‘What about me?’ ‘What does this mean for me?’ Let’s be honest about our hearts. Competition kills the sense of deep relationship.
In Mark 10- when James and John were asking for glory, Jesus said, the gentiles lorded over one another. “Not so with you.” Just that phrase- “it’s not going to be like that with us.” Only a couple of verses later John is saying, that we stopped someone from casting out a demon because he was not with them. They did not get it. The night before Jesus lays down his life, there was an awkwardness in the room because they’ve been discussing about who is the greatest. Then Jesus takes off his outer cloak and washes their feet. He says, there is blessing in doing this for one another. Not so with you- there is a better way.
Friends, wouldn’t you want to be a person who does not need honour – nor is afraid of it? Someone who does not lust for recognition – nor, on the other hand, is frightened to death of it? … Wouldn’t you like to be the kind of person who, in their imaginary life, does not sit around fantasizing about hitting self-esteem home-runs, daydreaming about successes that give them the edge over others? Or perhaps you tend to beat yourself up and to be tormented by regrets. Wouldn’t you like to be free of them? Wouldn’t you like to be the skater who wins the silver, and yet is thrilled about those three triple jumps that the gold medal winner did? To love it the way you love a sunrise? Just to love the fact that it was done? For it not to matter whether it was their success or your success. Not to care if they did it or you did it. You are as happy that they did it as if you had done it yourself – because you are just so happy to see it.
(The Freedom of Self Forgetfulness - Tim Keller)
He takes it from Paul in 2 Corinthians 3. He is not talking about self-esteem. He is not even playing that game. Wouldn’t it be lovely to be free like that?
It’s saying, there is nothing in me that needs recognition, but I’m not going to scared of it either being afraid of what people are thinking about me. We are here for one another’s success! We are seeking first the kingdom.
Paul is like that. When in the jail, in Philippians and hears news of people preaching Jesus due to competition, he says, “I rejoice … Christ is proclaimed!” Even when you suspect of the motives, Christ is proclaimed and you rejoice in that.
Q. how do we get there?
Just enjoying the grace of God- that he loves you, forgave you, adopted you as His son, every spiritual blessing given, the hope for the future- never to forsake you, never to leave you. It’s embarrassing to add anything else to that. Pride isn’t about what you’ve got but about what you’ve got that others do not. No one is proud about being rich. They are proud about being richer! The things that are true of all of us, they are enough. If nothing else were to happen, I’ll be happy. Let’s just enjoy Him and wherever he leads us- into obscurity or moments of acclamation- let our treasure be him and him alone. This means, I can become a servant of all. It looks like a dead- end, to become everyone’s servant. But its great in the kingdom- to lay down your life for one another. Trusting a father in heaven who will keep His promises. Like Abraham, we can say, ‘I’ve got the promises.’ We don’t give up the promises as we lay down our lives for one another. We are going to do that- it’s a faith decision.
One of the prophetic words we got is a picture of a huge ball going down a hill and all of us in the ball. Things change- you’re at the top one moment and the ball is moving and you are under someone but we are all moving together. That’s a good picture! Things change and no one can lord themselves over the others. We are born of the spirit and the wind blows where it will. It’s like that for those born of the spirit.
The other option is- as Paul describes in a graphic way- that we devour one another. It’s a great one another! They are the extremes. If it is like a crossroads, what is it going to be? We devour one another or we lay our lives down for one another? We need to say, you stay God and I’ll be quiet. You tell me what to do- give me the opportunity. I will run like the wind but I don’t have to. If someone else does it, it’ll be glorious as well.
God is at work among us and this is what he is doing. In John’s letter where he says, love another. He gives the picture of the cross. The story is that whenever John was asked to preach his message was “dear children, lets love one another.” Can you imagine the frustration when someone like John comes to talk and all he says is, love one another? John was there just meters away from the cross. So he says, I was there when Jesus poured out his life, so little children, let’s love one another.
Also at the cross, Jesus tells John, “this is your mother”. John went to the cross without a mother and came back with a mother he never had before. It wasn’t just a message, something happened with John there at the cross. So Paul says, be eager to keep the unity of the spirit. The cross is not just an example. Something happens at the cross. This is a present reality- we are a family because of what happened at the cross. It’s not about trying to make something happen. It’s something that God has done- a tangible reality on the cross- we now belong to one another. Paul does not say, make every effort- he says, ‘be eager’!
The thing about our personal ambition- we need to say, “not so with us”. We are here for one another’s success. I believe God has given us faith for this. There is incredible fruit from that. No one’s ever seen God, but when we love one another people see God.
Monday, February 17, 2014
This message was preached by Colin D' Cruz at Word of Grace Church Pune, on the 16th of February 2014
Are we in step with God's purposes for our lives and through our lives? Jonah was concerned with his comfort, God was concerned with the city. Which concern reflects our hearts?
To listen to the AUDIO please CLICK HERE
Chapter 3 Now Jonah gets the Word from God a second time. This is the message “Forty days and the city will be destroyed” Verse 10 The city pays attention to him and they turn to God. God has compassion. This story is not about a big fish but a big God full of compassion, long suffering, slow to anger and gracious and compassionate. Here we see the contrast between Jonahs heart and God’s. Often we are so much like Jonah and we need to change.
4:1 Disaster is averted and what does Jonah do? The most successful evangelist in the O.T and he is not happy with his success. Jonah is angry.
Jonah ran way because he did not want God to have mercy. God’s heart is for the nations of the world. He has a BIG heart. People from different nations are different from us but God loves every culture, language etc. God loves us all. We should not have a superiority complex. We are all equal n the sight of God. Paul considered his background as rubbish.
Rev 7:9 There was a great multitude from every nation, tribe, people and language. WOW!! What was Jonah’s heart? He did not rejoice in their salvation. How angry was He” 4:3 He was so angry that he wanted to die because they repented. He was a zillion miles away from God’s heart. Do we secretly wish punishment? Ask God for compassion. We may not say things like Jonah but our behavior and actions are telling. Who are our friends?
How does God reply? Verse 4 “Have you any right to be angry?” Verse 5 He is waiting to see what is going to happening?
The Lord provides a vine and Jonah is happy about that. He is happy about the vine but is not concerned about the city. We can be like this- totally self absorbed – concerned only with our needs, home family etc, etc. It never ends – there is no end to how much we can pamper ourselves and be unconcerned about the lost.
So God gives him an object lesson. God sends a worm. God is in charge of the worm and the whale. A scorching heat comes upon Jonah.
Jonah wants to die again – what a suicidal prophet!!!We can be like that. If we don’t get what we want we become angry and sulk.
4:10 Jonah feels he has a right to be angry. Now God gently rebukes him. God once again show his compassion. What do we learn? God has a heart for the people for the world. Even though we are selfish God is committed to us and wants to use us to reach the nations. Jonah had the anointing but he lacked the character. God is committed to working on our character as well and we need to work on that.
God could have sidelined Jonah but God pursued him even though he was messed up. God used super natural events and evens of life to teach Jonah.
Where is your heart today? Is you life goal your personal acquisition, comfort or are we caught up with the purposes of God?
Hudson Taylor said “I will live on less and less so that I can give away more and more” How different this is form the prosperity gospel which focuses on more and more. There is something about self-denial and sacrifice. God says seek the kingdom and all thing s will be added. God will provide for all our needs.
Jonah was concerned about his comfort but God was concerned about the city. So it ends with “Should I not be concerned about that great city?” God would ask us whether we are concerned about the great cities in India and the world.
What are you doing today and next week and next month that the glorious gospel goes to the nations?
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 ontowww.wordofgracechurch.org.
English Language Service Sundays at 10am. Please check google maps for directions!
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
This message was preached by Terry Virgo is the founder of Newfrontiers. Newfrontiers has now multiplied into many apostolic spheres across the world that are united on global mission by core values and genuine
relationships. Regions Beyond is one of the Apostolic spheres which is led by Steve Oliver.
Terry Virgo shares with such clarity the role of Ephesian 4 gifts and why they are important to us as a movement and for each local church. This part 2 of a 2 part message. You can listen to the audio by clicking here.
All prophesy but not all are prophets. There are 3 categories of prophesying. All may prophesy- that’s the mark of this age in which we live i.e the age f the spirit. Acts 19 – they prophesied. It is the characteristic of the church. Prophesy is characteristic of when the people of God are together. It’s a phenomenal thing that God speaks to us.
In the OT it was only a few like Samuel, Elijah. Now its means to be wide spread. Philip had 4 daughters all who prophesied. What does that mean Some will do it often but not in the category of Eph 4 or Eph 2 eg) Agabus, the prophet and teachers. They are weighty guys.
In the New Testament all may prophesy and the others weigh it and substantiate it. We prophesy in part. We need to see much more prophesying. In our growing churches when you become 200 -300 the percentage of people who will prophesy will get smaller and passivity tends to set in but we should not give up on what is characteristic of the NT Church where the unbelievers recognizes that ”God is among us peaks “
The prophet reminds us of our identity. He is not a Bible teacher. A prophet will tend to live with a burden and carry it in his heart. Its different to the Bible teaching Shepherd and he will see things. We have very few like that viz. Keith Hazel, Julian Adams. They are praying people. We need to encourage but not let anything go.
The value of prophecy has gone down. Also we should not allow flaky stuff. That kills something. This stuff is exciting to anybody. The seeker will not be put off but will say God is among you. What are we trying to get rid of to attract the seeker? Certainly not the Holy Spirit!! We would be lunatics to do so. But we have given prophesy a bad name by letting unhelpful stuff go unchecked.
Just as we have Front Edge we should do something for the prophets. I am sacred of schools of prophets that set themselves up permanently outside of the church eg) America has this and its not helpful. The local church is a safe place.
This is one of the biggies for us. Apostle does not imply that there are only 12. The 12 were unique no doubt. The Bible commends people for testing false apostles. That means that there were other apostles around besides the 12. So apostles were part of the package in the Bible times and there were more than twelve.
So what is an Apostle?
Paul was a special Apostle. He is the clearest on what an apostle does. But we need to give ourselves some slack. There are degrees of this ministry. But what Paul did as an apostle we should expect to do in some degree. So this is fundamental to church life and to us as an ongoing movement.
The apostles were the ones who gave to the church its identity. Three thousand were added. What were they added to ? To the apostolic teaching and – the 12 and the 120 who were taught by Jesus. They then devoted themselves to these apostles teaching. The curtain was torn in two. They are no longer relating to God through priesthood. They are a new community on the earth and the apostle taught them who they were.
Ephesians 3 – they taught them things previously hidden and now revealed through God’s holy prophets. The apostle helped us to understand the OT in relation to the NT. They said you were a people redeemed by the Messiah who came to deliver us from the law and now you are His sons. This is radical – a new people not depended on the temple or sacrifices but a new people in a new relation with God who is their father and you have immediate access to him.
All the NT calls us to Godly living has nothing to do with keeping the law but now that you are in Christ. In view of who you are – seeing that you are now seated with Christ in the heavenly realms, so live this way.That’s apostolic doctrine.
Through the church for the living God and in our ranks sadly there are people who have not grasped this fundamental identify of the Christian. He is a person redeemed, born again and a new creation who does not go back to the law and so many Christians have a mixture.
“Many people are living in dried up stoicism I Packer . It is this stiff British upper lip where you keep on going and not drawing on “Now you are in Christ”
Apostolic is not a nuts and bolts specialists. I don’t believe they are the senior pastor of a church where they are a part of. They essentially bring in the truth about who we are in Christ now and how you should work together as a group. He is constantly getting them clear. That is apostolic passion. Its vital that we build church on gospel truth. Christianity at large is a mixture.
Apostolic ministry percolating down to the church should help people know who they are in Christ.The apostle Paul was able to interpret what God said to Abraham at the beginning. That this nation was the light of the world and now suddenly all the people of God are included. What did God say to Abraham and all the families on earth will be blessed through you. Already that is reflected here in the passion to reach the nations. That is why we have to build on apostolic foundations and not a pastoral one.
Think of Abraham who got saved and got world vision on the same day. He was justified. We want our church to be like that. That is why I am thrilled with New Day where we are impacting the teenagers. We are called to the nations and have World vision and they are captivated by it. As Ray was saying early on – three ingredients came from reading people like Hudson Taylor etc
Paul took hold of OT doctrine and theology and opened it up to this international, one New man in Christ going to the world.
It’s important that we not only teach that but like Paul and here like Steve O catching guys up on journeys. So the local church is caught up with apostolic passion.
So the health of the local church is all relevant to world evangelism. Paul writes to the Philippians you’re in partnership together. This meant financial aid to Paul. This means that the church is on apostolic and prophetic foundation, not a pastoral foundation because pastoral tends to meet people’s needs. In the OT if the priest did not meet the needs of God’s people God took him off. The danger is looking after people become the central thing and then people expect looking after all the time.
In the US and UK its like that with all seeker friendly churches where people tell you how church should be and how the Sunday school should be etc. They build huge churches like this. When you look at success ask yourself what made it successful before you take your old structure apart to adopt this new idea. Sometimes you may land up taking down the very wall that is holding up the structure. You may stop doing something that is integral to the foundations of your church and the whole things collapses. It’s not as obvious as that but 10 years down the track you ask what happened to us? Oh we took that wall off because the others felt that if we do this we will expand etc. Be careful o building churches like that where people want the meeting to last only an hour or so etc etc. God has called us to grow but we are also on a world mission and we make disciples.
relationships. Regions Beyond is one of the Apostolic spheres which is led by Steve Oliver.
Terry Virgo shares with such clarity the role of Ephesian 4 gifts and why they are important to us as a movement and for each local church. This part 1 of a 2 part message. You can listen to the audio by clicking here.
Pastors and teachers are what we are very familiar with. Pastors and teachers are overlapping gifts there one ministry essentially.
Jeremiah says I will give you Shepherds after my own heart who will feed you.
I have been studying the book of Leviticus off late. The priest is the mediator who relates to God. The people don’t have contact with God.
The church began to revert to that in some ways and we had Ray Lowe share a bit of that with us.There was the priest and laity divide and many people still have that in their minds.
God has given us diverse gifts to accomplish diverse purposes for God.
If we miss contact with anyone of these gifts we miss what they are to bring to the local church. We often give lip service to these things. In 1970s our Bible almost fell open to Eph 4. These days, not so much. It’s the first time in a long while that I have been asked o speak on this topic.
Its important that as Restoration people we don’t loose these important things and have a Biblical perspective.
Pastor/shepherd –What is he like? Down the centuries the church leader has been a bit shaped buy the culture.
Pre Reformation he is the celibate Roman Catholic, no marriage, weird individual between God and us, on his own, into the church. All that language was used to set him apart.
Then comes the Reformation. Then gradually the minister in the culture where you “go into the army” “go into the church” And he becomes the city squire.
As time goes on you get the Enlightenment and then you have Bible College’s springing up and there is this need for debate, discussions, criticism, knowledge acquisition and study and the intellect is very important.
The psycho analytic therapy creeps into the church were the Pastor is expected to have people lay on a couch as it were and tell you all that troubled them when they were 5 years old !!!
Most recent of phenomena prevalent in the church today is the business manager model of Pastor who can come up with a 5 year plan etc.
The pastor begins to be a reflection of what is happening in the culture and rather than shaping people’s thinking.
What is it like to be a shepherds? Moses, David were shepherds. Shepherds is a relational thing – its something about shepherd and flocks that reflect God and his people.
Jesus said I am the good shepherd, not good evangelist, good apostle etc. Shepherds is something very dear to the heart of God and pastors are under shepherds.
The word shepherd goes right through to the book of Revelation where it says that the Lamb will be their shepherd.
Shepherd is relational. It is important that churches are built relationally.
I couldn’t go into an Anglican set up because it was too professional- democratic election etc.
When we plant a church a Shepherd emerges it’s a relational thing because the guy or group of guy cares for us. That is key in Newfrontiers. A lot of our leaders have had no theological training initially. They gave up their jobs etc but only later had some training. The link has first to bee relational. In the OT the leaders sat at the gates – they decided who came in and who went out. There is an authority aspect. Jesus said “I am the door, I am the good shepherd. There is that ability to guard. The Rod and staff are needed.
So this is hugely important. We can get shaped by other factors especially the management model and you don’t bother to ask what is a true biblical shepherd and you let other things shape you.
Twenty years ago you were shaped by “Inner healing”. No. what does the bible say.
We feed the flock. As shepherds we are called to teach and expound truth and not just informing people’s brains but helping people to encounter God when you speak. They are confronted by the reality of God. That’s one reason why they first look in. When he speaks God speaks to me. If you don’t have the gift to feed the flock you will struggle.
When God raised up shepherds will give you the ability to feed the flock.
They are called to decision making. The responsibility of the shepherd is to re shape people value systems. Our responsibility as shepherd is to shape the values of the people how need their whole world view de constructed by another world view.
In the UK people have no clue how to have a good marriage, how to raise their children, how to do business in a godly way. This comes from inspired preaching and one on one discipleship and training people who can admonish one another etc.
Shepherding also happens in small groups by people who have already been taught so that they can teach others.
So the role of pastors/teachers should not be rushed on like the next big thing is to be the apostle..
We all believe that we need more of this gift and more gifted reapers. The reaper has a skill to reap. We do not have too many in Newfrontiers. I was so glad when we put on Front Edge which some of you know about. We had Lex a gifted reaper put on a lot of weekends with Adrain Holloway along with pastors and train them and they would pray for the sick on a Sunday morning.
We need to train up and release more reapers.
Phil Turner has a gift to reap at CCK. Ram Babu proclaims the gospel so well. We need to look again at Front Edge.
Evangelists come in different shapes and sizes. Some are public and some are one to one. These ministries not only do it but equip others to do it too. So part of the ministry is teaching other people to be evangelists,
In your whole congregation not all will be evangelistic ally motivated or active. The ones that are, are the ones we need to train and put tools into their hands.
( to be continues in Part 2)
Tuesday, February 11, 2014
This message was preached by Mark Jones who is a part of Regions Beyond which is led by Steve Oliver. Regions Beyond is an apostolic sphere within Newfrontiers Intl.
Mark shares on what does it mean to be an Apostolic people, how do we build apostolic churches whose foundation is on Jesus and not about Jesus. Great foundational stuff you do't want to miss reading about and listening to. Get your church folk to listen to this as well. Please share this freely. This is Newfrontiers DNA.
You can hear the audio by clicking here.
Acts 2 is essential to understand being an apostolic people group
Acts 2:1- 13.
Jerusalem must have been an incredible site, a very varied people group- every nation under heaven was in Jerusalem. They wanted to celebrate the giving of the law and they came some distance for this purpose. But what happened to them next changed their whole world-view. They encountered the presence of God and had an entire world-view change.
Peter stood up explaining what was happening glorifying Jesus, representing Christ whom they crucified- that has made Him both Christ and Lord. An amazing conviction fell on all of them- this was a brand new community not an appendage to what existed already- not a new Jewish sect. They were a brand new community and had new power and new purpose- to establish God’s mandate in every nation and every people group. They became an apostolic people.
Jesus in John 20 appeared before the disciples- ‘as the Father has sent me, so I send you’- in like purpose with the same outcomes. This new community devoted themselves to the apostles teaching. They were given new principles and values to live by. The power of God has affected them and what they were going to do? They were given teaching and understanding about what they are to do- this new people of God made up of Jews and gentiles, free and slave, rich and poor- a temple not made of bricks and water but of living stones; a dwelling place of God in the spirit- no longer subject to the law but free to call Him ‘Abba! Father’.
Apostolic doctrine gave them identity- establishing foundations they never had before. And thus the foundations of the early church were laid and I believe that every church must built on those foundations. The vision of local church should not be defined by an enthusiastic leader’s particular favourite subjects or cultural relevance, historic preferences or sentiment or latest techniques or even the desire of the masses. They must be defined by this apostolic call that has Christ Jesus at its foundation if we want to have a people group who will go to the ends of the earth.
Any foundation will control the quality and shape and structure of what is built upon it. Whatever you put in the ground is going to determine what is built upon it. If the foundation is not Christ, what we build will be inferior and will not bring true transformation on the earth. If church growth is done by referring to Jesus instead of building on the foundation of Jesus- we end up copying what God wants for us instead of building what God wants for us. The church is called to be an original. Paul makes this clear in Romans 1:4-6- Jesus “was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ”. We have to catch the heart of God. Paul understood that his apostleship is to bring the obedience of faith among all the nations including those who are now being called.
We need to be clear that we need to build from the heart of God. It’s easy to come to God with our plans and try to find a reference in God’s word to gain credibility, but we need to build on a foundation of Jesus Christ. Revelation has to always precede our methodology. We can’t start with our methodology hoping to find something to match it. An apostolic people always live in the revelation of God to produce a transformational methodology. If our starting point is God’s view, then the end result will be biblical transformation.
Q. So what is God’s view? What is His purpose?
Ephesians 1:9-10: “making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth together under one head, even Christ.”
Our world is far too parochial but God’s goal has always been to bring everything in heaven and on earth under the rule Christ Jesus. In Ephesians 2 it talks about how we are no longer strangers and aliens and we now become one new man in Christ. That’s God’s goal- where there is no segregation and separation between who we are, what we are and where we come from.
An apostolic people are concerened about how to make Jesus known and how to bring everything under His authority and His rule. It’s always been God’s intention from the beginning that this would happen.
In Genesis when God breathed purpose into Adam- to go forth and multiply, to fill the earth and subdue it. He was talking about developing God centered families, governments, nations, that establishes a culture that glorifies Jesus- A world where the glory of God would fill the earth like the waters cover the sea. It’s God’s goal that that should happen.
As we move through Genesis we come to the passage about Babel- where they turned around the call of God to fill the earth. So often, we get into that consolidation point. But God scattered them- the purposes of God would be fulfilled.
In Genesis 12, the promise of God comes again to Abraham. Paul picks it up in Galatians- Abraham’s seed was Christ. It was in Jesus that His promise was fulfilled. Nothing invalidates God’s promise that every nation under heaven shall be blessed. Every family on the earth shall be blessed through Christ Jesus.
In psalm 2- He who sits in the heavens laughs…“As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” God says, possess what I’ve called you to possess for he has set His king on His holy mountain. And it goes on to say, “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession”
We can become very pastoral. But God says, it’s too small a thing. The vision I’ve given you to go to the needs of the earth, so that my salvation goes to the ends of the earth.
It’s not an either or- God wants us to lift up our gaze. Do you see the nations? Our energy goes out but the impartation comes in. the transformation happens within us in the local churches as well.
God’s purpose is an apostolic people group who establish to genuinely reach out to the ends of the earth.
Sometimes, the gospel becomes too therapeutic- the gospel of salvation instead of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s first about God, before our sin i.e when peter encountered Jesus.
This gospel is about Jesus Christ and His authority to the ends of the earth. We are saved by grace, but our methodology doesn't reflect that sometimes. The answer to not becoming institutional is that we are diverse! It’s fantastic. Sometimes we can put up barriers because we don’t understand how grace works out. An apostolic people group don’t deny access to the poor!
We will never reach the nations if we don’t understand the grace of God. Unless we are secure in it, we want others to become like us and that’s just another legal system. They are comfortable and understand the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit came to empower God’s people to reach the ends of the earth, so that we are prepared to engage with people that He wants to reach.
He loves to take what belongs to Him and make known to us. We are an apostolic group. We are not here just to train discipleship groups to populate our children’s groups. We are to equip them to reach the ends of the earth!
Q. Are we training and equipping to send or simply training and equipping to maintain?
Our training and discipleship changes because we are an apostolic people. When we do this, it changes our worship- worship that’s full of the presence of God-where Jesus reaches the ends of the earth. Psalm 95- “Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!”
· Q. How are we raising our children?
Genesis 18: 19 says “ For I have chosen him, that he may command his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice, so that the Lord may bring to Abraham what he has promised him.”
My greatest regret is that we did not prepare our children better to do what God has called us to do. We must do that. Teach them to be pioneers. How well do we prepare them to do that?
· Q. How do we manage our finances?
We have a new view of finance. An apostolic people don’t hold on to their finances for a rainy day. They give it away. In 2 Corinthians, the Macedonians begged Paul to give away their money because of their relationship with the Lord and to the apostle. A people group who live like this, put God at the center of things.
· It effects how we develop teams. We need to have diverse leadership teams so that our conversations are diverse, our prayers are diverse. Acts 6- ‘choose from among you’- there must have been some diversity in that.
· Joining in apostolic partnership- an apostolic people will look out for one another- genuinely interested in what’s going on in other churches. Build partnerships to fulfill the purpose that God’s called us to. The whole church must be caught up!
· Works among the poor- an apostolic people know how to do psalm 113- (He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people) lift up those who cannot afford to get involved. Church is not a middle class programme- it’s the purpose of God. The poor get lifted by an apostolic people, because it matters.
We are an apostolic people group because we are drawn into the ministry of Jesus Christ and into His purposes.