Monday, November 30, 2015

What is the goal of your faith?| Colin D

This message was preached  by Colin D'cruz at Word of Grace Church on the November 29th, 2015. To listen/download the audio please click here  . To listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here

In 1 Timothy 1, Paul outlines the key objective of his teaching and preaching. In 1 Timothy 1:5 he says “The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.” Paul had a goal. He was not aiming for a great reputation. He wanted life transformation.

Today many Christians become conference junkies going from one experience to the next. It is good to feed ourselves. Be discerning about what you feed yourself with. But in the end, it must result in a transformed life. Ezekiel 33:32-Indeed, to them you are nothing more than one who sings love songs with a beautiful voice and plays an instrument well, for they hear your words but do not put them into practice.” It is like when you go to a concert. You love the experience but it doesn’t change your life. Jesus speaks of this about King Herod. He loved listening to John. But his heart did not change. In fact, he beheaded him.

Paul’s goal was to change lives and not move hearts. This needs to be our goal as well.
Paul had a method to reach this goal- through instruction. The Word of God is critical to have our lives transformed. Worship is important. Worship based on the word is very important. 

The Bible is important. Make sure you have some access to the Bible. Early Christians did not have a big black bible. But Paul spent all his time and energy in preaching. He says in Acts 20:31- “So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears”. In Acts 20:20 Paul says, “You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house”.

In Acts 5: 28 the High Priest spoke to the Apostles, ““We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.” Teaching is important. Paul preached so much. Acts 20:9-11 accounts this incident when Paul was preaching all day and night, “Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “He’s alive!”Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left.” 

The word is important. Don’t neglect your quiet time. The method Paul used was so that he could produce a community of people who had certain characteristics. What are these?
It’s love.

1.       Love for God- Paul wanted to show people that God loves them so much. Will you respond in love to him? He reminded people of God’s love.

2.       Love for one another- this is the mark of a Christian. Is that love being produced in our life? 1 Corinthians 13:1-3-If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing” Love is important

Q. How do we get people to love God?

As we feed ourselves with the word- where he says he is not going to leave us, that we are loved abundantly and infinitely in our lives, we respond to his love.
Then, we love our brothers. Going a step further, we even love our enemies. Paul is trying to produce a community of people who receive the love of God and show that love to everyone.

Today we live in a throw away world. We throw away everything that doesn’t work. Sadly we are applying this to wives, friends, jobs, church everything. This is not love. Agape love is a choice to love. Jesus demonstrated this. His love is consistent. This means bearing with one another, forgiving one another. There is acceptance. Ephesians 4:3 says make every effort to maintain the unity of the spirit. It takes work!

Where there is sin, someone has to bear the pain of it. Irrespective of whether they let you down or not. Christmas is a wonderful time to express this.

Loving the ones who are enemies- of God and so to you- we love them by making every effort to bring them into the knowledge of God. The love of Christ compels us to share the gospel with others.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15 says, “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” Are you living for your pleasures and comforts? Paul calls us to live for him. We are ministers of reconciliation between man and God. What a privilege it is to be ambassadors of Christ. The God of this world has blinded them but we are called to bring them out of this.



We are not tolerating but accepting one another. We are to deeply love one another.  So let us put this into practice. Ask yourselves and one another: What can you do to grow in your love for one another, for unbelievers and for God? Discuss these things- spur on one another. When people see us, they should marvel at our love because we are disciples of Jesus

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.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Taught, Treasured, Transformed- Part 2| Terry V

This message was shared by Terry Virgo on November 14th, 2015 at the Regions Beyond annual gathering of the nations- 'the HUB 2015' in Dubai. It was one of the Seminar Tracks. Audio link to follow shortly


2 Timothy 1
Paul had selected Timothy. He did not volunteer himself. Then Paul commissioned him as an apostolic delegate going on Paul’s behalf to places where Paul could not go. 


It was the beginnings of an apostolic team. Now he is representing Paul. It’s a challenge no one will leap to. He had a big challenge, to represent Paul. It was a tall call.

He was called to several specific tasks- some demanding stuff- to instruct men not to teach strange doctrine, people with a wrong attitude to the law. This was huge in that day and time. Don’t judge the edges, speak with clarity.

I Tim 1:8- he had to handle male-female relationships and care for widows- authentic and non-authentic widows, he had to confront the rich and he has to do the work of an evangelist. So it’s a challenging call.

The limitations felt by Timothy:

·       He was obviously young. Commentators say that he was 40 years of age. Paul says don’t let people despise your youth- not it age but in the lack of experience, etc. Timothy felt vulnerable.

·       He was evidently timid. He was not confident. Some people think that a leader is a leader wherever he is. Not so. Biblical leaders are like Gideon, Moses post wilderness- lacking in confidence. Jeremiah was young. God has his way of calling people which may not be impressive. 1 Corinthians 16:10- “When Timothy comes, see to it that he has nothing to fear while he is with you, for he is carrying on the work of the Lord, just as I am.” He was genuinely concerned for the Philippians and not pre-occupied with his own personal interests.

·       1 Tim 5:23- Timothy was frequently ill and was adviced some wine for his stomach. Some people are weak physically.

These were some of his limitations.

Q. So what was Paul saying to Timothy?

This was Paul’s answer to Timothy’s problem- Fan into flame the gift of God that was given you through the laying on of my hand.

Let’s read it phrase by phrase:
1.       It’s a gift
It is an activity of the Holy Spirit. It is not about personality, education, etc. It is other than us who has given to us. We think that some have just got it. No! It’s other than us, but we have to stir it up and kindle it in us.

Like Samson- they asked where do you get your strength from? It was a mystery. He did not have muscles as in the paintings they paint. If so, people would not have to ask. So it is other than us. It is not obvious to people because it’s the Holy Spirit. We tend to think that the Holy Spirit is a reward for good conduct. We often pray “sanctify us so we may have more power.” Power does not come from our holiness. He wants us to be holy but God gives power. Anyway Samson was far from holy, but God’s power comes on him. David cultivated a presence of God. It’s a mystery.   

2.       It’s a grace gift of God but sometimes we don’t believe it.
We think we have to be good to get it. We should be holy. He is holy but that’s not how we get it. We say it’s a gift but think it’s a reward. We pray ‘we are not worthy’. Yes you are not- but receive the gift. Peter was hardly worthy. He denies Jesus three times. And a few days later he is filled with power. It is a gift of grace. The Gift of God is not because of who you are. It’s other than you- you will never deserve it.

God said he will pour out his spirit on all flesh. God wants the power of the Spirit to flow in and through us. Samson was not the kind of person. Neither was Timothy. It was evident that God was doing it.

We tend to belittle things. Tongues- we belittle it, but Paul says he did it a lot. We need to take advantage of this gift. You spirit is praying mysteries to God. Speak in tongues daily. It introduces us to another dimension. We need to value all God’s gifts and don’t play them down. Allow God to use them. You have a gift- don’t back out, don’t deny it.

3.       It’s a gift of God within you:
Though it’s there we can neglect it. Here our response comes in. we need to fan it into flame. It’s in you. Don’t be timid. Like the woman at the well, she was confused about what Jesus was saying. He was talking about the living water. But she thought it was water. Jesus was offering her the well “in you a well”. She understood that he was offering her something that goes with her.

We often think that the well is church. Jesus says we have the well inside us. It is with us. In you. This is not to despise the gathering of the saints.

In the Old Testament, the presence was in the temple. It is an Old Testament concept. We think God is in the big meeting. But when we come to drink we get the well as well.

Luke 4- the spirit of the Lord is upon me… he has anointed me. We use the word anointed fairly carelessly. Jesus did not say I feel anointed. Something happened to him. 6 weeks ago in the Jordan when he got baptized.

We think if only I can get into an anointed meeting, sing an anointed song- no! We have been anointed. Paul says it’s in you.

4.       Fan into flame:
So we don’t neglect the gift of God that is in you. We have to counter attach the thinks that long to put the flame out. David was fighting at Ziglak. They come back to find everything stolen. His men wanted to kill him. David finds his strength in God. Then he speaks to the priest who says go. They go and get everything back.

It is not the guidance but finding himself in God. He fanned it into flame. We need to give it time. Being filled in the Spirit is a continuous thing. We need to engage afresh the gift of God that has been given to us. We have to fan it into flame. It is our responsibility to engage with the presence of the Holy Spirit. Enjoy the wonder of Jesus. Make melody with all your heart and suddenly the joy of the Lord is your strength. Keep yourself in the love of God praying in the Spirit at all times. David did this- he spoke to his soul not to be downcast. We need to speak to ourselves not hear ourselves.

“My chief duty is to make sure that my soul is happy in God.” G. Mully. It is the secret of longevity in the ministry. The days are evil. So be filled with the spirit. It’s like in an aeroplane- we are told to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first and then help others. We need to make sure our soul is happy in God. This will help sustain us and we can serve others in the long haul.

We must take time out with the Holy Spirit. Fan into flame, stir up the gift of God.

Q. What is ash?
It’s what was burning yesterday. You can’t live on ash. Sentimentality can get us down and can block our progress. Don’t look back.

We can close down because of a disappointing experience. We need to be careful. Don’t neglect the gift. You’ve been anointed. You come to God for those gifts to flow afresh in you.

Don’t neglect the Gift of God. The gift grows as we keep doing it. Sometimes we’ll make mistakes and we may get it wrong, but keep doing it.

Don’t wait to perfect it before you use the gift. Take what God gives you to the edge so as to fan it into flame.

    
 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.

Taught, Treasured, Transformed- Part 1| Terry V

This message was shared by Terry Virgo on November 14th, 2015 at the Regions Beyond annual gathering of the nations- 'the HUB 2015' in Dubai. It was one of the Seminar Tracks. Audio link to follow shortly


1 Timothy 6:11-12
Fight the good fight of faith. We are called to fight, to have a militant attitude.
The fight is in the dimension of faith. Faith heroes of the Bible are like warriors not philosophers. They fought- they did not go with the flow.

To advance, we need a fight. The battle theme of Ephesians 6 is right through the Bible. Put on the armour and fight. There is a conflict we are involved in. Nehemiah sis not want to be a fighter. He was a builder. The walls were broken. It had lost its distinctiveness.
We fell like that with the church. We want to build and bring back its distinctiveness.

But you find that when you want to build you will face a fight. When you stand to build like Nehemiah, they wanted to kill him. He did not run away. In Psalm 8- Sons of Ephraim, fully equipped, ran away. Beware of the danger of not prevailing and breaking through. We have a very hostile and strong enemy.

Adam, the son of God and yet Satan could take him out. We mustn’t kid ourselves. This is not a game. He took out Judas who lived with Jesus for 3 years. He saw Lazarus being raised from the dead and yet he completely missed it. Peter was tripped up. Ananias and Saphira, Satan filled their hearts to lie.

That’s why Paul came for Timothy. It’s not our enemy- it’s God’s enemy. Because we identify with Christ we get attacked. He does not fight fair. He will get you at your weakest. He is subtle, cunning, an angel of light. He will creep up on you.

Jesus rebukes Peter, ‘get behind me Satan’. Satan showing compassion and telling you to take the easy way out. Parents can stop kids from giving their life to God saying we’ve paid for your degree, etc.

He distorts, he lies- he’s the father of lies. He will lie to you about yourself, he will tell you are useless. He will rob you of things you know. He will come against you and tell you to give up. You give up. You haven’t got it. And you think it’s your reflection and assessment of yourself. He will rob your joy, distract you and take you off.

He will tell you lies about God. If you trust God, you are giving away your freedom. You will be tempted like this all the time.

God does not want you to be a stoic philosopher. That’s not Christianity. It’s about trusting Jesus and moving on. It’s not about keep going, but knowing what you are here for. Jeremiah 29:11- I know the plans I have for you.

Satan will lie about his ability to help you.

Eph 4- Unity. Satan will lie to you about your brothers. Make every effort to keep the unity. In your imagination- as a pastor, you hear people’s hearts. You can imagine things and distort it in your mind. If Satan can sow this in your church you will not get anywhere. We have to take time to build love, fellowship and unity.

He can come into marriage. I don’t think he/she loves me. He puts things out of proportion.
He will tell you lies about circumstances. There is no way you can get through this. Like Jericho, Jordan has closed, the manna has stopped, and Jericho ahead.

We have to take up the fight of faith. People live with a sense of failure. David said, one day I’ll die at the hands of Saul. That’s where he got it from. He thought he won’t fulfill his call. Jonathan strengthened his heart in God. Put him on his feet again.

Satan accuses us day and night. Zechariah 3- it’s about restoration of worship. Satan is accusing us day and night and we hear the Lord rebuke you. Satan wants to get you head on “give him clean clothes…”

Rom 8- it is God who justifies. Who can condemn? We have to train our thinking not to take on negative stuff. It is lining up our thoughts with scripture. So don’t be overcome by the storm but by fighting with faith. Depression, self-pity, anxiety are all real issues.

Q. Why do we fight?
If we don’t fight, we will lose. If we fight, we will win. Surrender is not the biggest thing. Without faith it is impossible to please God.

Q. How do we lay hold of what God has called us to?
2 Tim 1:9- He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.

Dean Sherman said, “the most important battle takes place in the human mind.” It is a holy calling. It’s not according to works but according to his purposes. God did not call us because we are impressive or have something- our education, money, background. God chose Peter. God chooses the foolish, not many wise. It is a call of grace. That’s how we stand our ground. We don’t say God I did all this for you, God knows us. He is not shocked by our weaknesses. You have to fight to keep this ground. You don’t just surrender. You don’t give up but fight for what God has said over your life. You rise to the call over your life in faith.

It’s a call that has eternal purpose. Jesus said, “I have loved you with an everlasting love.” Faith rising to that. God does not give up on us. It’s a powerful call. God opened Lydia’s heart. Saul/Paul who was hostile was hand-picked. When we were saved we were dead like Lazarus. Then he calls us and we are made alive. He calls us for a purpose and we lay hold of it.
Ephesians 1-5 tells us who we are for a purpose which is in Ephesians 6. “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand”. When Jesus says do it, you can do it.

Faith is an activity- something that is exercised. It does not come into operation by itself. You and I have to put it into operation. It is not automatic. You have to do something. Faith has to be exercised.

When Peter says “we are perishing” Jesus says, where is your faith? Jesus never said anything that was not motivated by love. You can think Jesus was harsh or you can think Jesus thought he could do it. ‘Why do you doubt?’ it has us thinking of looking two ways. If Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he would be able to walk on the water.

We need to run at giants and take them out like David did. The giant/ Satan is mocking us daily. We need to take him out because Jesus took it all on the cross. Therefore we can stand. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain. Worthy is the kind that conquered the grave. We should not take the taunts anymore. Fight the fight of faith. See in Heb 11. By faith the walls of Jericho fell down. The Heb 12 witnesses are telling us that we can trust him.


God is calling us to be fighters. We do this daily. God will take us through. We need to win our private battles before we win public battles. David took out the lion and the bear before Goliath. Elijah had that encounter with the widow and the oil before the prophets of Baal. 



 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, November 24, 2015

Revelation demands a response| Janet


This message was preached by Janet Brann- Hollis on November 13th, 2015 at the Regions Beyond annual gathering of the nations- 'the HUB 2015' in Dubai. Audio link with follow shortly
When God speaks, there is a stirring and it needs a response. There are different responses. Everything that God is doing demands a response. We will all hear a sound that will take us to a new level, to move us in a certain way, start new projects, relocate, etc.

1.       1 Kings 18:2- God spoke to Elijah. There is a famine in the land. Elijah had this altercation with Jezebel’s prophets. In verse 43, when God begins to release is it’s not always the first thing. Here 7 times he relocated. The seventh time God spoke about the rain. God had prepared the rain for the future. God has a plan and a purpose. Perceive correctly or you will miss the rain.

Revelation generates a response that we have to move on. This means he is moving us on continuously.

2.       Luke 10:39- the second response. Martha and Mary serving Jesus. Jesus’ response in verse 41 shows that God wants us to set aside and take time off from busyness before God takes you into a new season.

What changes does God want to do? We should not be busy with the work of the Lord but with the Lord of the work. Mary chose to process what Jesus was saying.

3.       Luke 1:10: the angel spoke to Zechariah and in verse 18, Zechariah’s response was, “how shall I know this?” the response God would have wanted is, ‘yes, I receive it’. Zechariah’s negative response brought upon him a deaf and dumb spirit. He was kept in bondage.

Our fear and unbelief keeps us from re positioning. Here was a typical response- his eyes were on the natural. 
Another thing that keeps is from responding is doubt. We listen to our mind instead of our heart. We stay in a state of the un renewed mind and we hold back and question. Once we have hear the word of the Lord and we respond, things happen.

Ezekiel 37:4- valley of the dry bones. The nation has turned away from God. The spirit of the Lord asks him, can these bones live? Can the ministry turn around, can the barrenness go and fruitfulness come? When we see things in the spirit, we produce a different sound- we speak faith and a new sound emerges.


We pray that as we leave this place we will go in faith and release a new sound as we respond and re-position ourselves. 

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.

Faith or Fear? | Daniel M

This message was preached by Daniel Macleod on November 14th, 2015 at the Regions Beyond annual gathering of the nations- 'the HUB 2015' in Dubai. The audio link will follow shortly

Isaiah 7:

We don’t just have an apostolic leader but we are an apostolic people. Church meetings don’t make radical decisions. Left to a vote, the church would still be in Egypt. 


We need more people like Nicky Welsh who will do things against the tide. We should be able to see a different future.

What will hold us back? Fear more than anything that which will hinder us is fear in our hearts. The people were n the edge of the Promise Land. I’m sure Moses preached regularly. They have been fed by manna etc. but the 12 spies come back with fear. Fear creeps in at the last moment and a whole generation misses out. But 2 men saw differently. They felt it could be done. The most common command to us is, “Do not fear, I am with you”.

Let’s look at why we don’t need to fear. You can learn from success and failure. We can be afraid of the things around us. Each generation has its own challenges. You can fear failure. Church planting is tough, can be scary. Ahaz was afraid. He had 2 armies at his doorstep. We have the choice- fear or faith. There is no in between. If you are not firm in faith you will not have faith at all. Assyria is the world super-power now.

Ahaz is under pressure with his back against the wall. Ahaz goes to the king of Assyria. It’s like sharing your lunch with the bully for protection. Ahaz gives over his leadership to Assyria. He is ready o blow the whole thing apart because of fear.

Q. What does fear do?

1. He made a short term decision: he can’t see the future. Only sees today. Ahaz made a short term decision. I won’t talk to that person, I won’t address that issue. It will ultimately choke you. Your decision based on short term decisions comes back to bite you. Nettles never go away. They only grow. Whereas faith looks to the future.

2. Fear hinders the mission of God because it can’t repent. It can’t lose face in front of the people. Ahaz could have called off the pact. Fear is too consumed about self. Faith doesn’t mind repenting as long as God’s purposes are accomplished. We need to learn to repent and say sorry to each other.

Faith filled leadership knows how to repent. Leaders can take short term decisions. We can do a whole lot of things that are good ideas but not what God has called you to. We need to check what stuff we are doing.

3. Fear works in the flesh. Ahaz is in the wrong place with the wrong people, doing the wrong thing. He should have been in the temple with the priests praying. He got embroiled into works of the flesh. In Isaiah 36, Hezekiah was standing in the same point. He went ot the temple and prayed. This is what Ahaz should have done. What Hezekiah did was leadership. He fell on his knees and pleaded before God to accomplish His purpose in His generation.

Ahaz does not trust God and His promises. Faith or fear? Some are waiting for a big moment of faith. It’s not like that. Faith is tested Monday morning. How you plan your work. We could be working in the flesh or in faith.
God comes back to Isaiah. He wants Ahaz to succeed. He is willing to do anything for Ahaz to know that he can trust God.

But Ahaz says, “I will not ask. I will not put the Lord to the test.” It’s funny how we can sound spiritual and biblical to hide our fear.

In verse 13, God gets tired. Isaiah is ticked off now and ticked off God. God now gives a sign, “…a virgin shall be with child….”this gets read once a year. We need to put it abck in context. It comes in the midst of mission/ battle time. It is in the context of war.

Isaiah 8:3- the Bible is not a leadership textbook though we learn from it. Till today we have an Assyria waiting to overtake us. We all have a little Ahaz in us- fear. This could have been the end of the story, but we have Isaiah 9:6 and the rest of the Bible. We have a promised one who when we fail to take up the mission, he takes it up.

Isaiah’s son was born as a assign for Ahaz. Jesus was born as a sign for all of mankind. He will accomplish all that he has set out to do. All the promises in Christ are yes and Amen. This book is about Jesus’ leadership.

Q. Why we don’t need to fear?
We can’t stop talking about the God of mission. Mission is exciting but if we don’t talk about Jesus we will gut the mission. We will end up beating people into works. We need to help see Jesus.

Any forward move in the church begins with the individual. Acquaint yourself with the old counsel- acquaint yourself to God.

Isaiah 6 talks about Isaiah seeing the Lord high and lifted up. It’s the same Lord that is spoken about in Isaiah 7:14- it’s the same Lord that lived outside universe that enters humanity.

The majestic God who sustains all things by his powerful word comes into the world kicking and screaming as a baby. He did not put out a cloak of humanity that can be taken off. He could be killed like a man and he was.

We have a lot common with other faiths. But not this. God taking on the weakness and frailty of humanity. No other has this humility where God becomes man. Jesus knew humanity fully with all its pressures. He gets baptized as our Emmanuel. He who was without sin.

John was baptising people who needed repentance. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says that he became sin on our behalf. He steps into humanity in totality and walks into sin for 3 years up to the cross.

Satan did not want this to be fulfilled and tries to derail Jesus by appealing to his ego. Be careful of ego. Everywhere that we fail, Jesus has overcome. Jesus was walking in Jerusalem because he knew the task he was called to. He led prophetically. As when he walked he must have recounted the promises of God. Jesus trusted the father unto his own death. The crux of our faith, what we do, Jesus does on the cross.

It did not end there. On the third day he rose again. He left satan, sin and death in the tomb once for all.

Jesus right now remains our mediator, our Emmanuel. There is a man who now represents your faith, failures, success before the father. Jesus sits at the right hand of the father. Stephen sees Jesus standing i.e. Jesus was with him, honours him and welcomes him into the kingdom.

You feel forgotten and beaten up and that the Lord has moved on. But Jesus stands for you, honours that you have not given up or thrown in the towel. Jesus now intercedes for us. He prays for the success of Regions Beyond, your town, your church, for you. He has good plans for you and he prays them into being. The prayers of a righteous man accomplish much. The righteous man is praying for us. When you know this, you should not fear. His prayer never diminishes. He prays that you will be strong till the end.

Jesus gives us his spirit to be with us so that we know that he is with us. Moses had the ark, we have the Holy Spirit living within us. Wherever we go the enemy will be vanquished and we do not need to fear.               


 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.

Friday, November 20, 2015

We are the Survivors| Terry Virgo


This message was preached by Terry Virgo on November 13th, 2015 at the Regions Beyond annual gathering of the nations- 'the HUB 2015' in Dubai The audio link will follow shortly.

Ezra 1
It’s a story about fresh beginnings. God constantly brings fresh beginnings. He loves to restore, redeem, renew



Abraham left Ur and went out to something he saw. Then God raised Moses who saw something in the future. He left the palace for what he saw. In the Promise Land, God started all over again. It’s Eden. It’s like a new creation- cities to be built, where God’s presence would be there- an Eden with a nation. Like Eden, it had not two trees but two mountains with warnings- blessings and curses; Judgement and warnings. Like Adam and Eve, warning not to be thrown out of the garden but out of the land- out of the presence of God. Soon enough, that happened.

Enemies came and destroyed them. Few were taken to Babylon. Jeremiah warned them but also a promise of a new day was brought when God will write his laws on their hearts. There was a promise that God would start again- A new beginning.

  1. Ezra starts here. God told Jeremiah that he is watching over his word to perform. And King Cyrus changes his foreign policy. It’s interesting how Cyrus refers to the people i.e. the survivors. In our day we hear a lot about survivors- earth quakes, flood, tsunami survivor. They are the ones who got through or coped. Survivors don’t just walk away- they look on with a sense of wonder of “how did I get out??”

There is something about survival that makes you think about life in a different way. It makes you think that your life has meaning and purpose. It is an amazing privilege to survive. These people as we see in 1Chronicles 36, survived warfare. Many were slaughtered, burned, Jerusalem and the temples plundered and then these survived.

Isaiah 1:9- … the lord left us a few survivors. When we come out of it, you don’t know how to talk about it. There is something of the mark of a Christian. We have been given our life back for a purpose. Even in Elijah’s day there were only 7000 left.

That’s how Israel began. God judged right through Egypt. They were worshipping fake gods. Then God does the Passover- where they offer a spotless lamb. On that night judgement passed them. But those under the blood survived. The nation of Israel are survivors.

Another died in our place and we have been given another chance. Now 70 years have passed and there are survivors. We are born again, new creations, the old has gone, the new has come. We have been given another chance.

“Let all the survivors of His people”- when judgement falls we wonder whether we still belong, are we still his? 
Peter denied Jesus. It’s like the curtain collapsed on his life. Then the curtain rises. Jesus, “lads have you caught anything”. Peter sees Jesus and says, “it’s the Lord”. Jesus asks him, do you love me? He is thoroughly reinstated. He still belongs. We grow through chastening but we still belong. He will never leave you nor forsake you. His love never gives up, never runs out on us.

The Israelite s are out on the other side of the Red Sea because mercy triumphed. We are still called by him. We still belong. We can start again. We are survivors. Judgement is behind us, we can walk out free. There is no condemnation in Jesus.

We are still in the game. He is a God of incredible favour.

  1. They were seers with a vision for the future- ‘those whose hearts are stirred’. Ezra 2:63- 42,360 of them were left. 2 million came out of Egypt. They grew to be an empire and now they are like two Stoneleigh Conferences. It looked like everybody had abandoned.

He allows the tide to go out sometimes. Management techniques don’t work. God can work with a small group. God is not limited by that. But something in our hearts is stirred. Abraham was captivated by something he saw. We see something in the church and that’s why we go. Because we have see the city of God we are living and live in a tent.

It was the same with Moses. Exodus 15- by a prophet he brought them out and by a prophet he will sustain them. He knew that there will be a temple of God. This will happen again and again. Every nation will have its exodus- people coming out of darkness- a people called out. You have to have a mission to get there. Abraham did not start well. He is 99, Sarah is barren. Abraham believed God. This is the victory that overcomes the world. It’s our faith.

We closed Stoneleigh when we were 30,000 every year. It was successful. People thought we were crazy. We were 250 churches across the nations then. We met in Turkey early this year and now we are 1500 churches. Here we are today, so many nations. What a representation!

Abraham did not weaken in faith. He did not waver, believing that what God has promised he is able to deliver. Abraham grew strong in faith in the delay. Delay is often years. Maybe you be persuaded that God can do it. In Haggai we see that God wants to appear in glory.

We are on a journey, those of us who have survived.

  1. let the men support-… freewill offering”.

There were survivors, seers and supporters in the present. Have you seen a football supporter? Are you a supporter? Or do you go to church when you can? Are you there when things get difficult? Supporters support even when you lose.

Zerubbabel goes with the first group, then Ezra, then Nehemiah. These are pioneers. The others support with finances. Not all may go. We’ve got our life back, we’ve survived. We can give and get involved in some way.

It says in verse 4-6, let them bring a free will offering. 2 Corinthians 9 Paul asks them to give by making up their own mind- it has to be in your heart. It is not a rule book. It must be freewill offering to God. That’s a new dimension. It’s not tipping God. It needs to be a fragrant offering to God. 
God is pleased with our offering,even if its two coins- why? Because it was devotion, authentic. This is for God, not just something to put in the box. Done in worship, sanctifies the whole thing.

All that we are involved in is for His glory, not for our fame or name. We long for that. When we do this it sanctifies our offering.

Heb13- God is well pleased with such offering. We are survivors like saving private Ryan. Let our life count for something. We are saved for works prepared in advance for us to do. God has given us dreams, prophetic words… we have seen something and e want to give our lives to that.

When we are saved we only see Jesus- then the vision begins to grow. We see the nations, etc.

What we do in the present is going to count. It will advance His Holy cause. It will be a pleasing aroma to Him.   



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.