This message was preached by Justin Jaykumar at Word of Grace Church on July 10th, 2016. To listen/download the audio please click here. To listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here
When you get the newspaper you want to turn the pages quickly to the sports page because the news is so bad! The world is changing quickly. Asia will be a place of major cities because urbanization is increasing. With globalization the world is becoming a village.
You and I are called with a definite purpose. Jesus said upon the rock I will build the church.
Q. How do we face these challenges?
The church at Antioch is a model to follow. Antioch was an important trade centre. Acts 11:19 -21: “Now those who had been scattered by the persecution that broke out when Stephen was killed travelled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, spreading the word only among Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus. The Lord’s hand was with them, and a great number of people believed and turned to the Lord”
Let's see how they were effective and what we can learn from them:
1. The church as seen from outside
2. the church as seen from inside
3. The church that looks outside
1.The church as seen from outside:
This church was established by people who were scattered because of persecution. They preached and many believed. The news reached Jerusalem. Barnabas was sent to check it. He saw the grace of God in that church .
Q. What does this mean?
Undeserving favour put upon us. Who has put grace on whom? What did these people do? They preached and lives were transformed.
Rom 3:23- “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”
Rom 6:23- “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”
Eph 2:10- “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
Jesus died in our place. He have what we do not deserve. The outsider could see the difference in their lives.
Q. How can we make an impact in the world today?
When this grace impacts us we can meet the needs of people and bring about change. Grace changes our life style.
The people of the city of Antioch nicknamed them Christians. They did not give themselves this name. Allowing His word to touch our lives will transform us.
Q. How do people look at us?
There is a great expectation on us to set an example- to live a different life.
Q. What are the challenges we face?
At the traffic lights, the market place, etc. If we are to make an impact we need to allow God's grace to work in our life.
Col 3:3-5 put off. We are constantly called to put off things, to change our lives. In verse 12, we are encouraged to put on a few things. And then we can make an impact on the world.
2. The church as seen from inside:
The leadership of Antioch had a high degree of character. Personal testimony being guided by the Holy Spirit and the word is very important.
A. Barnabas was described as a good man. When Luke uses this word it refers to completeness and wholeness. The early church was clear on the qualities of leaders. In the New Testament we see that the leaders worked in team. It was not one person. At the Word of Grace everything happens in team. Right from set up, offering, communion, worship, preaching... It's all done in team. In Acts 7, a problem arose. They didn't pick up just anybody. They laid their quality before the people who could serve. They choose 7 men full of spirit, reputation and wisdom.
Q. How do we select people?
Q. How do what we do here impact the society outside?
B. Remember the story of the Ethiopian eunuch. Philip was used. It was through him the gospel reached Ethiopia. Stephen the first martyr. He was part of the serving team!
Q. How was Acts 1:8 fulfilled? In Acts 8:1 when persecution arose.
C. The leadership was not seen as a position but serving. Barnabas travelled so long so meet Paul. Antioch was flourishing. He could have made a name for himself. But no! He seeks out Paul and brings him to Antioch. He made room for Paul. The word leader is not in the Bible. The Bible talks about Servants only. Barnabas stuck his neck out for Paul. The church was founded by ordinary lay people- people who were scattered. It was the apostles. History had stories of many men and women who started churches. Paul stayed there for a year, then in Ephesus for 3 years.
D. When we start our IDT will learn how to share the gospel. Evangelism was a way of life for them.
Q. What is the need in Pune?
It's an educational center and an IT hub. So there are many people from outside here that can be touched.
3. The church that looked outside:
Acts 11:30- “This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul”
They were a caring church. We need to respond to the needs around us. We may be generous outside but we should take care of our own as well.
We need to begin from within. If we hear a need we should stretch ourselves and help. We also need to be aware of the need outside. There is a breakdown in marriage, society and we should get involved
Acts 13:1-2- “Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.””
The Antioch church shared the gospel. They set apart Barnabas and Paul for the work of gospel advance. And Paul was used mightily. We need to be a church that looks outside.
Q. How can we be effective?
· We should constantly believe in God’s grace on our lives
· We need to be men and women of quality, filled with the Holy Spirit.
· People who will care for another
· People who are looking outward always.
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.
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