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

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