Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The Wonder Of Christmas | Colin D

This message was preached  by Colin D'cruz at Word of Grace Church on November 25th, 2018. To listen/download the audio please click hereTo listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here.


In the entire Bible, there were 2 periods of 400years gap –
1.      Israelites had to endure 400 years of silence in Egypt, waiting to hear from God
2.      People had to endure 400 years of silence waiting for the birth of Jesus

Malachi 4:5-6 - “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”
Malachi prophesies about prophet Elijah before the day of the Lord comes. And then the 400 years of silence follows.
This silence was broken by an angel

Luke 1:11-17 –


Zechariah and Elizabeth were very old and thus could not have children. But our God is a God of miracles. Even at her old age, Elizabeth could conceive.
We must remember to pray for the women who cannot have children. God will bless them with children.

Luke 1:7 - But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.

After the angel of the Lord spoke to Zechariah, he could not believe it. Hence, he became mute till his son was born.

Luke 1:18-20 - 18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
19 The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news.20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”

In the bible, its written that John the Baptist was the greatest of all
Matthew 11:11 - 11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

Why was John the Baptist the greatest?
John was the greatest because he was the one that is going to announce the birth of the Savior of the world. As Christmas is approaching, let us focus on birth of Jesus and works of the Holy Spirit in this birth of Jesus.

Luke 1:15 - 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.

John was filled with the Holy Spirit while he was still in his mother’s womb.

Luke 1:26-33 - 26 

The whole Old Testament talks about the Messiah. In New Testament, it came to pass at Mary’s time.
Luke 1:35 - The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called [b] the Son of God. 

This verse talks about the Holy Spirit too.
For the first time in history, a woman was going to conceive by the power of the Holy Spirit without a man’s involvement.

Luke 1:35-37 - 36 Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. 37 For no word from God will ever fail.”

From these verses we say that nothing is impossible for God.

Galatians 4:4-5 - 4 But when the set time had fully come,God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.

What is meant by “When the time has come.”?

When we go through the Bible, we see that, at different times, different significant things happened. One of the examples is that when the Roman government came up, there was good governance. One of the many good things they did was they laid roads so that the soldiers could move around easily and quickly. Thus the saying, “All the roads lead to Rome”

This is “Fullness of time”. God wanted the gospel to spread and hence the right time.

Luke 1:41-42 - When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leapt in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice, she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!

Once again we see that Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. The result of it is the burst of praise.

Luke 1:67 - His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied

Even Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit after the birth of John. The result of it is the prophecy from the verses 68 to 79

Luke 2:1-2 -  In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.)

Those days, Caesar Augustus and Quirinus were well known and famous. But now when we ask people about them, most of them don’t know who they are.

Before Jesus was born, Mary was someone whom people never knew about. But after Jesus was born, people know more about Mary but not Caesar Augustus.
Micah 5:2 - “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    though you are small among the clans[b] of Judah,
out of you will come for me
    one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
    from ancient times.”

It was prophesied that the saviour would be born in Bethlehem.  For this prophesy to come to pass, God planned that Caesar Augustus would take census of the entire Roman world for which everyone must go to their respective own towns. Thus Joseph, along with Mary who was fully pregnant had to travel to Bethlehem all the way from Nazareth on a donkey.

Luke 2:6-7 -  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no guest room available for them.

God could have provided them with a room. But Jesus who was rich chose to be born in a stable as poor. This shows the humility of the Savior.
Micah’s prophesy came to pass after 800 years

In Bible, every time an angel of God appeared, he said, “Do not be afraid”. Why?
Angels are not cute little babies with wings like how they are shown on greeting cards. Angels are powerful!!! The first time an angel was mentioned in the Bible, he had a sword in his hand to guard Garden of Eden.

Luke 2:8-10 - 8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people

Angels are powerful and that is the reason why the shepherds were terrified.
The angels that are so powerful did not go to the rich people but instead went to the shepherds to share the good news. Why?

Shepherds were well known for being liars. Their witness was not considered valid. They were always looked down upon in the society.
But still, God chose these shepherds to reveal the good news. God chooses ordinary people for the works of His Kingdom.

1 Corinthians 1:26-31 - 26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called.Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. 28 God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, 29 so that no one may boast before him. 30 It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”

 If you are ordinary, then there is good news for you. GOD CHOSE YOU!
Luke 2:11-12 - 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

The angels revealed to the shepherds that the Savior was born and also revealed the sign to identify. The sign was – baby lying in a manger

Luke 2:13-14 - 13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
The news revealed by the angels was a good news. Savior of the world was born! There was a great heavenly singing which was witnessed by the ordinary shepherds.
Luke 2:15-16 - 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.

The shepherds did not stay quiet but immediately went to see the saviour.
Luke 2:17- 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 

After seeing the baby, they did not keep the good news to themselves but went on to spread the word just as they were told and just as they saw.

Luke 2:18 - 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
These shepherds who were known to be liars, went around everywhere and shared what happened just as they were told. And the shepherds who were never believed, were considered and people believed what they shared about the Savior of the world.

Luke 2:20 - 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

The shepherds who once used to lie returned transformed. They started sharing the things just as they were told and just as they saw.

This is what happens when we accept Jesus as our Savior. We are transformed.
Luke 2:22-26 - 22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”[b]), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”[c]

When Jesus was taken to the temple, there was a man named Simeon waiting to see Jesus. Long time ago, Holy Spirit revealed to him that he would not die before he had seen the Messiah.

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.

Led by the Spirit he went to the temple. There he took Jesus into his arms.
Luke 2:27-33 - 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
    you may now dismiss[d] your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and the glory of your people Israel.”
33 The child’s father and mother marvelled at what was said about him.

Simeon who waited eagerly to see Jesus had finally asked God to let him die in peace as he had seen the salvation that was promised.
Would you be caught up in the wonder of Jesus, works of the Holy Spirit, miracles, signs and wonders?
If you are a person who hasn’t received this amazing news, would you do it now?

   
 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 has 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.  Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org. 








Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Holy Spirit - And Jesus the Baptizer : Part 2 | Colin D

This message was preached  by Colin D'cruz at Word of Grace Church on November 25th, 2018. To listen/download the audio please click hereTo listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here.

Q. What does the word ‘Baptism’ mean?

It’s ‘Immersion’
An example of this is ‘Dip tea’. What do we do with a tea bag? We immerse the tea bag in water.
In New testament, baptism in water is recorded 4 times in gospel lessons and 5 times its recorded that Jesus is the one who would baptize us in Holy Spirit.
Matt 3:11 – “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
John the Baptist went around telling people to repent and get baptized in water and that someone greater will come and baptize them in Holy Spirit.
What is the importance of this?
Acts 1:4-5 – On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
This is very important.
Suppose a person gets pushed in a swimming pool, he gets to know it. Looking at him drenched, all the others get to know that he was immersed in water.
Acts 1:8 – But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
When Holy Spirit comes on you, you will receive power to become witnesses. The significant signs of a person baptized in Holy Spirit are Power, Boldness and Prophecy or Praise
Joel 2:28 – “And afterward, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions.
These words spoken by Joel came to pass on the day of Pentecost –
Acts 2:2-4 – Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
Acts 2:14 – Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning!
Here, what we understand is that when the people received the Holy Spirit, they got transformed. Sometimes, we feel timid, not bold enough to step up or speak up for God or share the gospel. The apostles were like that too. They were behind the locked doors for a very long time as they feared the Jews.
Matt 26:69-70 – Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee”, she said. But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about”, he said.
Peter was afraid of a servant girl, he denied Jesus because he was not baptized with the Holy Spirit.
The same Peter, after getting baptized with the Holy Spirit, received power and boldness.
When Peter and John were brought before the priests, they were asked by what power or what name they healed the lame beggar, here is how Peter displayed his boldness through the Holy Spirit -
Acts 4:8-10 – Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.
These days, there is a lot of division especially when it comes to baptism.
Baptism in water is very important but required only once.
Baptism in Holy Spirit is very important too. But it is required not just once.
In Acts 4:23-30, its written that after the release of Peter and John, they went back to his people, reported everything, and all of them raised their voices and started praying to God.
Acts 4:31 – After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
This shows that they were filled with the Holy Spirit once again.
Eph 5:18 – Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit
We need to be constantly filled with Holy Spirit
When we get baptized with the Holy Spirit, we receive power.
Acts 5:15 – As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by.
1.      What can we do to get constantly filled with Holy Spirit?
i.                 Be thirsty for the Holy Spirit
John 7:37 – On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink”

ii.                Pray like early believers
Luke 11:11-13 – “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

2.      How do we know we received power?
i.                 Our heart will be filled with the Holy Spirit
Our heart overflows. An example is Jar filled with water. Once it gets filled, it overflows. Similarly, when our heart gets filled with the Holy Spirit, it overflows and we speak in tongues, we prophesy etc
ii.                Experiential thing
When we get filled with the Holy Spirit, we feel something. We will know and experience love of God in a great measure.
An example is we feel our earthly father’s love to a great measure when he takes us in his arms, hugs us and kisses us. We don’t feel the same measure when he just walks with us.
So what is next?
We need to pray, spend time with God, exercise our boldness, power and other spiritual gifts.
If it doesn’t work the first time, don’t be discouraged. Keep exercising.








Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Holy Spirit- The Gift of the Father: Part 1 | Colin D


This message was preached  by Colin D'cruz at Word of Grace Church on November 18th, 2018. To listen/download the audio please click hereTo listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here.

Let’s get into the word of God this morning. As we refer to the verses, turn to them. It’s important that we check the word of God and see that everything the preacher says is in the word of God. Paul wrote many of the books of the bible. In Acts 17:11Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true” So we need to receive the word of God with eagerness. And secondly, they checked Paul’s words, if they lined up with scripture. This morning, as we go through the word, that’s what I want you to do. Take down notes as well so you can meditate on it later.


Christmas is coming and one the things children associate with Christmas is gifts. We all love to get gifts. Gifts are even better when they are promised beforehand. Sometimes we get so excited that we can’t sleep! That’s in the natural. What are the gifts that have been promised to us in God’s word?

Acts 2:38When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”” These are the instructions Peter gives to the people who have first heard the gospel. The Holy Spirit is the gift that is promised to each and every one of us.

Q. Are we as eager to receive this gift of the Holy Spirit as we are to receive a natural gift?

Acts 1: 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”” This gift is a promise from God the Father himself. Let’s pray!

How many of you know that Jesus is the Lamb of God? most of us! But this is only mentioned in the gospels once. But 4 times in the gospels it is mentioned that Jesus baptises with the Holy Spirit. Matthew 3:11- John the Baptist talks about how Jesus will baptise us with the Holy Spirit and fire. We see the fulfilment of this promise in Acts 2. Jesus died, rose again, appeared to his disciples and before ascending to the Father, he asked them to wait for the Holy Spirit. On the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came over the people and all were amazed! It seemed like they were drunk, but they were not. When the Holy Spirit comes upon Christians, we have to be different.

Firstly, we have to be saved. Believe in our heart and confess with our mouth that God raised Jesus from the dead. When we do that, a miracle will take place in our life. After that we have to be baptised in water. It means being immersed in water. The next thing is that we receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is different from the Holy Spirit working in our lives to draw us to salvation.

Q. Were the apostles born again when Jesus was on earth? Yes!

The Holy Spirit was already working in them, but they were not yet baptised with the Holy Spirit. Even when Jesus rose from the dead, the disciples were fearful. They met the risen Jesus, but they did not tell anyone about Jesus. They did not have the power to proclaim the gospel. They waited 10 days. But when the Holy Spirit came they proclaimed boldly, were to temples, healed people, cast out demons, the whole of Jerusalem had come to hear the name of Jesus. The result of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is great boldness just as the disciples had.

Acts 8- 4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. 5 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city” When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we have the power and boldness to do this.

In verse 14-17When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to Samaria. 15 When they arrived, they prayed for the new believers there that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 because the Holy Spirit had not yet come on any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.” These were believers. But they had not yet received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Here it happened as hands were laid on them.

Acts 10: 44- 46While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message. 45 The circumcised believers who had come with Peter were astonished that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out even on Gentiles. 46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God.” We’ve seen 2 ways in which the baptism of the Holy Spirit happens. Jesus baptises us in the Holy Spirit. We are immersed in the Holy Spirit.

Q. Are you baptised in the Holy Spirit?

You’ve got to know the answer. It is either yes or no. It is not automatic. Acts 19: 1- 2 “While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus. There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?.” You can believe in Jesus and baptised in water and still not be baptised in the Holy Spirit.

Q. What does this do?

2 Corinthians 1:21-22Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” The baptism of the Holy Spirit is a seal on us to mark us as authentic believers- it is a guarantee of what is to come. When the apostle Paul was talking about his ministry in Romans 15: 18-19I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done— 19 by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.” We can keep coming to church meetings but that is not enough. We need this power of God- that people will sense the holiness of God in your presence.
Paul was so anointed! Acts 14:8In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked. 9 He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10 and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.” We want to see this happening in our lives as well!

Acts 19: 13-16 “Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding”

The Father has promised us a gift and that is the power of God through the Holy Spirit. Jesus said if anyone is thirsty let him come and drink. My prayer is that we will all be filled with the Holy Spirit that we transform the world. Let’s pray.

 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 has 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.  Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Encouragement through Worship | John C

Encouragement through worship 



This message was preached by John C at Word of Grace Church on  November 11th, 2018. To listen/download the audio please click hereTo listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here.




Teaching the Church: Edification Through Praise Ephesians 1:1-14
Exhortation to live in the light of knowing who we are. Chapters 4-6
Predestined to be adopted (v 5)
Forgiven – we have this too. We are not trying to earn forgiveness or justify ourselves. Forgiveness was bought for us by Christ at the cross and is here, now and ours.
Questions Read Eph 1:1-14


Paul’s letter to the Ephesians is one of the most powerful books ever written. 
S T Coleridge called it “the most divine composition of man.” 
D M Lloyd Jones called it, “the sublime-est and most majestic expression of the gospel.” 

These six short chapters gripped me as a young Christian and became the foundation for my understanding of who I am and what God’s purposes are. 
This letter gives us wings and equips us to fly into the heavenly realms, revealing a view of the plan of salvation unequaled anywhere else in scripture. There are two main sections:

Edification through knowing who we are. Chapters 1-3

Praise (1:1-14)
Prayer (1:15-23, 3:14-21)
Preaching  (2:1-21)
Prophecy (3:1-13)




Character (4:1-6)
Charisma (4:7-16)
Conduct  - (Morally 4:17-5:20)
                  (Socially 5:21-6:9)
Combat     (6:10-20)
                        
Conclusion (6:21-24)

We are going to spend some time working through this letter and reminding ourselves about the foundations of our faith. We will have a few weeks of edification, they move on to exhortation.

Today we are going to focus on praise: Praising God for what he has done in Christ is a great means of building ourselves and one another up.

Blessed – we mean thanked, honoured and recognised for who God is and for what He has done for us. The power of praise is this: it focuses us on the truth and lifts us from a natural perspective that tends to get bogged down, to the life of God and his view of things.

There is passion and there is theology found in these verses; hot truth, raw energy, and deep thoughts sufficient to last a lifetime. They remind us of things we are prone to forget.  “You have forgotten who you are!” Michael Griffiths spoke off the church as “Cinderella with Amnesia.” Paul wrote this letter to people who already knew these things.

Look at what Paul says and begin to rise up in your spirit.  This was probably a circular letter, true for Ephesus and true for us. You are not simply an ordinary Christian. There are so many lies that we tend to believe are the truth. This passage tells us the truth!

We have been blessed with all we need in the gospel.
Paul’s great outburst of praise begins with a general summary in v 3 which he expounds in the following verses.


Blessed
Blessed us
Blessed us in the heavenly realms
Blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing
Blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ

1. A New History (v 4-6) – The Past
      A trip down memory lane, look back at where you have come from. God started his work in your life before the creation of the world.
     We should ground our self-image in this truth
Chosen to be holy- not to drift through life in a meaningless fashion
Not to be driven through life by the world's ambitions.


Holy indicates that we are to be different from the world outside of Christ. By becoming a disciple of Christ I have a discovered a lifestyle and a purpose that separate me from everyone else.

I did not become a Christian against the will of God. He ordered my destiny. Adoption means that we have become God’s children: taken from the destitution of our sin and added to the royal family (Eph 2:2-3 cf. Eph 4:13, Rom 8:29, Gal 3:26, 4:4f).  There may be accidental additions to natural families, but there is never an unexpected addition in the family of God.

Graced  (v 6) – all these gifts come freely to us from God not because of what we have done, but by his grace. Praise him for it and enjoy it to the full.
All this is past tense. These things are ours. They are true of every Christian no matter how weak they may look or feel. This is the truth!

2. A new identity (v 7-8) –  The Present
We are no longer under the governing power of sin, but now we belong to Christ and should think of ourselves as his.

Redeemed – we have it, and Christ has us. Redemption indicates that we were bought with a price.

All this is present, but there is more to come. A Christian is promised more than they now possess, but what we experience here is the foretaste of what is in store for us.

3. A new destiny (v 9-14) – The Future

Enlightened – we have a revelation in the scriptures and through the Spirit.
God has shown us what the world cannot know or deduce that He will make Christ supreme over all things.


Included - Paul makes it clear that God intends to gather all his people redeemed through history to praise the Lord together forever (v 11-12).
There is a place for us in the Kingdom of God. How do we know this?
Answer:

a. We believe the gospel! (v 13a)
The gospel is the most important message in the universe as our response to it determines our destiny. Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Have you received his forgiveness? Have you placed your confidence in his sacrifice at the cross? Then by faith you are included.

b. We were sealed when the Holy Spirit came on us – (v 13b-14)
The gift of the Spirit is given to assure us that we are saved. His ministry in our lives is a foretaste of heaven. A guarantee of what is to come.

These truths are therefore vital for us all to live on, and to be the source of our worship, identity and security.

Application:

1.    Let our praise to God be in truth as well as in Spirit.
2. Let our praise neutralize our pride
3. Let our praise be Trinitarian
4. Let our praise be passionate
5. Let our praise be joyful
6. Let our praise be full of hope and confidence.



Why do you think Paul started his letter with a paragraph like this (v 3-14)? How would you summarise the main point in a short sentence?
What does this tell us about how God has changed our past?
What difference does this make to our outlook on ourselves?
How does praise neutralize pride?
In what way does worship in truth feature in your devotional life?
Pray for one another that your lives may express more substantial, Spirit-filled, Trinitarian, joyful, passionate and confident praise.


 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 has 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.  Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.