Tuesday, April 28, 2015

The Power Series : The Power of transformation 4| Colin D cruz

This message was preached by Colin D' Cruz at Word of Grace Church on the April 26 th 2015. To listen/download the audio please click here

Have you ever purchased something and realized that it is a fake?
In life, when we get hold of something, we need to be assured that it is genuine. 

So today we will look at how you know that you are a genuine follower of Jesus.
Ephesians 1: 13- 14 says “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.”

I.       First, the person hears the gospel. This is critical for someone to be born again. In a nutshell this is the gospel- we are all sinners with degrees of sinfulness. We try to achieve a sense of morality by enforcing a set of laws. But we are powerless to obey the law. The wages of sin is death. Man’s solution is to try and get things right with God.
But no matter how much good we do, it cannot take away our sins. But God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. God’s solution is Jesus who died on the cross and rose again.
If you believe this gospel your sins can also be forgiven. Then an amazing exchange takes place.

II.     Secondly, the person is marked in the seal- a stamp of approval showing you are saved.

Q. What is the meaning of a seal?
1.  After Jesus was crucified, a seal was placed on the tomb. A seal is used to secure what it inside.
2. In Romans 4:11 it says that Abraham received circumcision as a sign, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith while he was still uncircumcised. A seal is a sign that he has received righteousness. This authenticates it.
3. In Revelation 7:3 the angel put a seal on all those who believe. A seal also represents ownership.

Today, all these three apply to us. The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives secures that there is a genuine faith. It is a sign of authentication and ownership.
There can be a stage where the believers are believers but not saved.

III.              Thirdly, the Holy Spirit is a deposit in us. It’s a foretaste of what we are going to enjoy forever. 2 Corinthians 1:22 says that God set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.. God says “you are mine” by giving us the Holy Spirit. Again in 2 Cor 5:5 Paul reminds, the one who has fashioned us for this very purpose is God, who has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. It is important to receive this gift of the Holy Spirit. There has always been a second anointing in the Bible where believers received power- received the Holy Spirit.

Now the Holy Spirit gives us different gifts. How do we know that we are truly followers of Jesus. 1 Cor 12 speaks about these gifts. Today, believers don’t want to talk about it because they say they don’t understand it. But Paul says, do not be ignorant about the gifts. There are different kinds of  gifts but the Holy Spirit gives these gifts for the common good. We do not decide which gifts we receive. It depends on God. But in verse 31 it says, eagerly desire the greater gifts. Romans 12 gives another list of gifts.

Do you know if you have received any of the gifts of the spirit? Have we received the sealing of the gifts of the Holy Spirit?

There are objective and subjective signs of being filled with the Holy Spirit. 
Some of the subjective signs, which cannot be seen outwardly are as follows. In Christian history it has been recorded that whenever the Holy Spirit came upon people, there has been a deep sense of the love of God. There is immense boldness and power to witness. Mark 16:20- Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.

God never changes. So this needs to be our experience today as well. The prayer of a lot of preachers and evangelists today is to see a revival accompanied with signs and wonders. We need to desire it.

Some of the objective signs are as follows. The physical appearance of the person changes. Like Stephen who was filled with the Spirit while being stoned, the face would glow. There is freedom of speech. There is new boldness and fearlessness and authority in the person’s speech. When God’s spirit comes into us, life is changed.     

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.  

Thursday, April 23, 2015

The Power Series 3 - The Power of being filled | Colin D Cruz

This message was preached by Colin D' Cruz at Word of Grace Church on the April 19 th 2015. To listen/download the audio please click here

After Good Friday, Jesus rose 3 days later. The disciples were however confused, fearful and unsure. Jesus appears to them on that first resurrection day. Their faith is built up to an extent. Thomas still doubted.

In John 20, during those 40 days, Peter suddenly goes back fishing and Jesus meets them in a miraculous way and gives them a great catch.

We could be like this- we believe in Jesus but our faith is shaky. We can be fearful because of today’s political scenario. We can be doubtful because of mountains in our lives. 

However we saw that  the solution was the day of Pentecost. This transformed the disciples from fearful to fearless, from lambs to lions. What transformed them was the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and they were never the same again.
Four times in the gospels and Acts was Jesus referred to as the Baptizer in the Holy Spirit. One promise has been singled out as the promise of the Father, i.e. Baptism in the Holy Spirit.

The kind of life that Jesus wants us to live is one where we are full of power and boldness. The normal church life is a supernatural life. There is a lot of confusion in Christian circles regarding the Baptism in the Holy Spirit and the working of the Holy Spirit. John 3:7 says that the wind blows wherever it pleases.

 The working of the Holy Spirit is mysterious.
In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit was there right in Genesis 1. He has always been there. The Holy Spirit however, came upon a few people for a time to accomplish a task. In Gen 41:38 Joseph was described as the one in who is the Spirit of God. Moses in Numbers 11:17. Judges 6:34- Gideon. It was always God’s desire to put his spirit on all flesh and there are prophecies about it. Joel 2:28

Q. What is the effect of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit?

Acts 2:14- the disciples were filled and at the same time, Peter, who denied and deserted Jesus now speaks boldly to a large crowd. And in the power of the Holy Spirit is able to expound scripture that they could not understand at one time.
In Acts 3 we see signs and wonders which followed. Even when their shadow fell on people they were healed.

Q. Where is the Holy Spirit today? Don’t we need the Holy Spirit like that today?
Christians fall under 2 categories, one category believes that you receive everything at the time of conversion and the other believes in the Baptism of the Holy Spirit at some point after conversion. What’s important is that we have the working of the Holy Spirit in our lives. In Acts 2: 38 Peter said:

1.      Repent- putting your faith in Jesus. Putting up your hand at a meeting asking you to put your faith in Jesus is not a sign of repenting unless it is accompanied with genuine repentance.

2.      Be baptized- it is a simple act but important. Everywhere in the Bible where a person has repented they were then baptized.

3.      We then need to receive the Holy Spirit. Our experience is not the basis of our faith but what the Bible says is.

At Pentecost, the disciples were already believers. Often Baptism of the Holy Spirit quickly follows being born again. In Acts 19:1 Paul meet a group of disciples. In Acts, the word ‘disciples’ always refers to believers. He asks them, did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed

You can go to Agra and not see the Taj Mahal. Does that mean that you did not go to Agra? So it is with the baptism of the Holy Spirit and being born again. Acts 2:4- one of the signs of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is that they spoke in tongues.

Acts 10: 44-  the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message- even on the gentiles- praising God, speaking in tongues and even prophesying.

These were tangible signs of being filled with the Holy Spirit. Some changes took place. It’s a normal church life but a supernatural life. Would you like to have it? God wants to do the same thing with us. It’s a continual thing. Immense joy in the midst of trials when there is an overflow of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

 In John 7:35 Jesus says that if anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. There is something we need to do. The disciples had to wait. We need to come to Jesus and be thirty for the Holy Spirit.

Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Power Series - 2 The power of Pentecost | Colin D Cruz

This message was preached by Colin D' Cruz at Word of Grace Church on the April 12 th 2015. To listen/download the audio please click here

Easter is the greatest day in History- we see how Jesus died and gave up his life for our sake. Then on the third day, he rose from the grave. Now, put yourselves in the shoes/ sandals of the disciples. What would they have felt when they met Jesus rise from the dead. What was their life like? These were the same disciples who deserted Jesus. Jesus was arrested, falsely accused and finally sentenced to die on the cross.

Now the disciples are in hiding. Let’s look at 3 instances to tell us what the disciples were doing after they came to know that Jesus is alive.

1.      John 20:19- 20 “On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord”. We see that they were fearful. They are scared that their master of 3 years is now dead and it is their turn. Through the locked doors, Jesus appears in his resurrected body to them. When they see Jesus they are overjoyed. We can be a group of Christians like that- secret Christians. We know Jesus is risen but we are fearful in front of others to proclaim the Gospel or be open about our Christianity.  

2.      John 20:24 represents another group of Christians like Thomas. He says that “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” He felt, seeing is believing. Many people need proofs. But what does Jesus think about it? Next week the doors were still locked. They were still fearful. Then he asks Thomas to check and asks him to stop doubting and believe. This morning, we have not seen the risen Jesus, but we have his word, his activities in people’s lives, and we can believe. Here again we see surprisingly, that the disciples were fearful.

3.      In John 21 Jesus has appeared to them twice already. Said many things about the resurrection. Then in verse 3 we see Peter saying, ““I’m going out to fish,” Simon Peter told them, and they said, “We’ll go with you.” So they went out and got into the boat, but that night they caught nothing.” In the beginning when Jesus called them, they left their nets because he said that he will make them fishers of men. But now they have gone back to fishing. Their faith was not strong enough. They do not catch any fish. Jesus calls them from the shore and asks them to throw their nets to the right side of the boat and there they suddenly  found a large number of fish. This must have been déjà vu for the disciples. Then they recognized him. You can have some Christians who have heard the good news but are caught up with their own life- their own work, etc.

If we fast forward to Acts 4-these same group of Christians who were fearful behind locked doors, suddenly, their lives are transformed. They start preaching and healing outside Solomon’s temple. Acts 4:8- “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people!”. By the power of the Holy Spirit he answers before the high priest, and all the people who put Jesus to death. The disciples began to be questioned- and Peter being filled with the Holy Spirit does this. They do this over and over again in public.
From being afraid and not knowing what to do with their lives, they now have purpose and boldness-

Even after they have been beaten, they don’t care. They just go ahead and preach. What caused this difference? The Holy Spirit! The resurrection was the beginning. There is more to the resurrection other than Jesus rising from the dead. Many Christians are at that stage. They have put their trust in Jesus and received forgiveness for their sins. But they are living like the disciples lived before Pentecost- living fearful, doubting, or busy lives and missing out on what God has called us to do.

Jesus was with the disciples for more than a month but it was only the third time that he met them that something went into them. Jesus gave them many convincing proofs that he has risen from the dead. He spoke to them about the kingdom of God. He told them that he is going to be seated at the right hand of God that we are the agents of the kingdom. He gave them other instructions too. He asked them to wait till they were clothed with the promised Holy Spirit.

In the bible, Jesus is called the Lamb of God only once. But 4 times, he is called the baptizer with the Holy Spirit. For the advancement of the kingdom, we need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Martin Lloyd Jones, in his book ‘Joy unspeakable’ says that the Holy Spirit is in us, who has lead us to Jesus, who has caused us to be born again, be regenerated, it’s all the work of the spirit. But that’s only the first step. The next step is to be immersed in the Holy Spirit after which we are totally different. Baptism in the Holy Spirit is very important.

One of the things that the baptism of the Holy Spirit does is fills us with an assurance of God’s love for us. DL Moody preached a lot but was not baptized with the Holy Spirit. When he did receive the Holy Spirit, there was a renewed power in his ministry. In Luke 24:45- 49 Jesus appeared to the disciples and says to them “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

That’s the instruction. That’s Jesus telling you this morning that we are to be His witnesses. Do you know the difference between a witness and an advocate? There is much more credibility in what the witness says.

In fact, Acts 19, Paul meets a group of believers- the first thing that he asks them is if they had received the Holy Spirit. A qualifying mark of a true believer is the presence and work of the Holy Spirit in their life. We want to be a people of the Holy Spirit. 

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.