This message was preached by Colin D'cruz at Word of Grace Church on March 19th, 2017. To listen/download the audio please click here. To listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here
Some say, Diamonds are forever. Have you ever seen a diamond? They are precious. When we are doing a barbeque we need coal. A diamond and coal are fundamentally made of the same thing. Theoretically, coal has the potential to become a diamond. We are like that. There is a process to help us mature and grow.
James 1:2- 4 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”
In our everyday life we will encounter trials and persecution. James gives us another perspective. It doesn’t make sense to consider it pure joy.
Q. So why does James urge us to consider it pure joy to face these trials?
It is because the testing of faith produces perseverance. Perseverance takes time. The coal is kept in a place of high temperature and pressure for an extended period of time. God will allow trials, especially when we preach the gospel.
Churches in India have been persecuted increasingly. Last week we saw in Acts 3 and 4 how Peter and John heal the lame man at the temple gate. Then a great persecution broke out, but they continued to proclaim the gospel.
As we go out, be prepared to face opposition.
Q. How can we face it?
James 1:12- “Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him”
When we are rejected, we persevere. We don’t back down. Peter and John did not back down but boldly proclaimed the gospel. Acts 4:13- They got this boldness because they had been Jesus. We can’t do this in our own strength. We need the Holy Spirit. The disciples had even seen the resurrected Jesus. But they had to wait for the Holy Spirit.
Q. How many of us are diffident about sharing the word?
Most of us are like that. Today we’ve got to tell the church- go out and do it. In Peter’s time they had to tell them to stop doing it. The start of any ministry is that we have time with God.
Acts 4:23- 26 “When they were released, they went to their friends and reported what the chief priests and the elders had said to them. And when they heard it, they lifted their voices together to God and said, “Sovereign Lord, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and everything in them, who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, “‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’”
There were corporate prayers. It is powerful to pray together. India needs much prayer. There are hidden agendas coming through political bodies. Our God reigns. So we will pray. We will be bold and proclaim the gospel.
In verse 31 when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness. We normally associate power with healings and miracles. But when God’s power came upon them there were no needy people. There was an environment of community and love.
God is working in us, we are going to grow and there si a crown of life awaiting for us. Romans 8: 18- “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us”. Whatever you are suffering this morning, please persevere. We keep our eyes on glory.
Mother Teresa said, our stay on earth is like one night in a cheap motel. God will enable us to endure our suffering. Paul was beaten, flogged, shipwrecked... but he says, it is nothing compared to the future glory.
Let us pray, be filled with the Holy Spirit and boldly proclaim the gospel. Let us persevere.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking 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 into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.