Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Continue Strong Till the End

This message was preached by  Navaz at Word of Grace Church on September  22nd, 2019. To listen/download the audio please click hereTo listen to the Sunday's worship and propheticcontributions please click here






CONTINUE STRONG TO THE END


STORY
 King Uzziah was another successful King. He reigned 52 years. Then he became proud and he offered unauthorized incense in the Temple and the Lord struck him with leprosy and he lived out his days like that.  What a tragedy!!

King Hezekiah was a successful king of Judah. He became king at the age of 25 and reigned for 26 years. He fought off the Assyrians, restored worship to Yahweh alone, dealt with idolatry, made economic reforms, had some of the most clever military strategies. He had a lot of favor of with god. The prophet Isaiah served in his tenure. Then he became sick and God added 15 years to his life. Then Hezekiah became proud and started showing off his wealth to enemy kings. That was his downfall.
 Isaiah who served both these Kings prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem but not in his lifetime. And he was pleased with that!! (Isaiah served 4 kings over a span of 64 years.)
Why am I telling you this? You can have success for many decades and fail at the end.

My topic for today is Continue strong to the end.
Colossians 2:6-7
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Paul wrote this in prison and written to Colossians whom he had never visited. He is addressing issues Ephaphras has raised to Paul when he visited him in prison. He is reminding them about who Jesus is, His supremacy and that they would hold onto the truth.

Let’s get in our text for today.
V6 a- So Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord -  Paul was encouraging the Colosse Christians to hold on to truth and not be swayed by many fine-sounding arguments ( verse4) or even a false gospel that was already making the rounds. (verse 8). Paul then addresses the cultural pressures that are tempting the Colossians to turn away from Jesus.
How did we receive Jesus?
He wants them to hold fast to what they were taught by the apostles. They received it from men of creditability and received it by faith.
We have no lack choice today as to who we would like to listen to, which church sermons we want to watch. Sometimes we can be sucked into subtle false teachings without even realizing it.
The Colossians were in danger of mixing Greek beliefs with their new faith in Christ and the Jews were in danger of taking away from the finished work of the cross by adding law to their faith.
What are we in danger of adding of subtracting today?
.
The other think that Paul is reminding them is about how they received Christ. How did we receive our salvation? We received it by grace through faith. Nothing more, nothing less. The Cross of Christ is complete and covers everything for me. I cannot earn it, I don’t deserve it.


V6b - continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him.
you, therefore, have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding [d]in it with thanksgiving. (KJV)

Paul uses 3 pictures: walk, rooted and built up. All imply movement in such a way as to go forward. Another recurring theme with Paul is “in Christ” .
The gospel does not end with our sins forgiven. The full the gospel is salvation, redemption, reconciliation and restoration of all things to us the children of God i.e Spirit, mind, soul and body.

WALK
 In the old usage of the word “Walk”, It meant way of life. We often see this phrase used in the bible. Noah walked with God, Enoch Walked with God, Abraham walked with God. It means they lived their lives before God, in a way that reflected God’s heart and ways.
In my over 4 decades one thing I have seen and now with ever-increasing measure, sadly, is that people often start well but do not continue with increasing fervor. Some tragically lose their way floundering amidst the cares and worries of this world.
So the encouragement to ‘continue ‘is not without cause. To Continue is an important motif in the New Testament and should be in our lives too. This is mentioned in many different ways in the Bible.

Here are some: persevere in the faith, fight the good fight of faith, press on toward the goal, run the race with perseverance, run the race marked out for us, he who preservers will be given the crown of life, do not grow weary in doing good and many, many more such exhortations.

ROOTED
As I reflected on the word ROOTED, I thought it is good to pause and ask some questions. Is, my life built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness? He is my cornerstone.
Why are roots important?
It is the life source to the whole plant. Whatever soil the roots of my heart are planted in, will nourish me and determine how healthy the plant will be and what kind of fruit I will produce.
So where do I get my values from? What is influencing my life?
 What my mind feeds on will affect thought patterns, my emotions, and my behavior.
What soil my roots are in will affect what is” built up”. I need to continue to be rooted in Christ which is the richest and best place to have my life planted in. John 15 is full of repeated reminders to remain in Jesus so that we will bear fruit that will last.

BUILT-UP

As a child learns to walk they may do so with the help of a walker or by holding on to things. Once they gain full control and balance, they do not need the walker anymore.
Or its like learning to ride a bicycle. The trainer wheels come off when you have learned to balance and ride well.

We continue our Christian life “In Christ” not without Christ as time goes on. We never outgrow our dependence on Christ unlike how it is when we learn to ride a bicycle etc. Christ is not a crutch but the cornerstone of our very existence. The opposite is true in our relationship with Christ.

 The more I grow in my relationship the more dependent I am on Him.
The ones that forgot this, this it to their own destruction. Take King Uzziah. He became famous and successful and then pride filled his heart and he offered unauthorized holy incense to God and he was struck with leprosy.

In verse 6 Paul is urging us to continue in certain things as we live out our Christian life and calling.

He reminds his readers of the great sacrifice that Jesus paid for us all. He reminds us that is a complete work; Satan s defeated.

We are set free from the tyranny of the myriad laws that encumbered the poor Jewish soul.

Now that we are free – we are free for a purpose. This is specific for each one of us.
We are to continue in many things. However this “continue” is not static. It’s not about maintaining the status quo. It is about sustaining growth
verse 7, which asks us to be “built up”
Why do we need to do this? How do we do this and what is involved?

WHY
In our journey as Christ-followers, our aim is to become more and more like Jesus, to be Holy even as He is Holy.


HOW

We are built up as we stay rooted – as we continue to grow deeper in our fellowship with him.
We get built up by meditating on His Word and allowing it to grow richly in our lives, allowing the word to challenge and change us.


WHAT
What do I do, to be built up, to grow, to be encouraged, and to be focused?


 So what do I continue in? Here are some things:

Continue to be a learner – seeking the kingdom to influence my lifestyle and decisions.
Continue to add to my “faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.”  (2Pet 1:5-7)
Continue to persevere in the face of trialsbecause you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. And tastings so my faith grows strong.” (James 1:3)
Continue to dig deep into God’s word in sweet fellowship and prayer (Col 3:16)
Continue to do good, and not grow weary of it (Gal 6:9)
Continue to meet with other Christ-followers to encourage and be encouraged. Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are doing.( Heb 10:25)
Continue to build on Christ the Cornerstone. (1Cor 3:11)
When I do this, I will grow strong, mature and be productive bearing the good fruits of the faith.


CONCLUSION AND APPLICATION
 Are there things that you need to continue in that you have stopped doing?
Now is a good time to hit the reset button and restart.
If Christ has never been your cornerstone, make them the center of your life today.
Let us encourage each other and our other brothers and sisters to keep going.  We are yet to come into our best. Let us continue to the finish line.


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, September 17, 2019

Love In Action

This message was preached by  Colin at Word of Grace Church on September  15th , 2019. To listen/download the audio please click hereTo listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here





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-        Our tag line is "Enjoying God, Making Friends, Changing Lives".
We often focus on the vertical relationship but neglect the horizontal relationship.

In Acts, 120 believers gathered to whom Jesus had appeared.

After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
Acts 1:3 NIV


Jesus proved that He was alive. He died on the cross for our sins and rose again. If you have not believed in Him, you can do it today.

Jesus gave them a command - wait for the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:41, after the Holy Spirit came, Peter preached an amazing message and 3000 were added to their number that day.

Believing is one step and getting baptized is the next step.

Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
Acts 2:41 NIV


So from 120 that became 3000 and the Lord was adding daily. Imagine that!

Acts 4:4 They grew to 5000 men (+ women & children)

Acts 5:14 - More and more men and women believed.

Acts 6:1 -The disciples were increasing

Acts 6:7 - Increased rapidly

Acts 21:20 - How many thousands of Jews have believed!

What did they do?

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
Acts 2:42 NIV


This is how the early church was. There are some practices they were engaged in - BOB, Prayer, fellowship and the apostle teaching met together, met in homes, shared their possessions.

They had great love! They were together, they shared and had things in common.

One thing that we see in this - 10000 to 15000 people is huge. They met in the temple courts and in homes.

That's what I want to focus on today - "In home"
You took a lot of effort and came here today. That's great! That's one part.

Paul went from house to house. The large gatherings were important but they also met in homes, ate together. So there were small groups happening as well.

As a Christian, this is one area we need to grow in. There are some Dynamics that happen only in a small group that cannot happen in large meeting.

The church can be like 2 legs - the large meeting and the small meeting. When the small meeting does not happen, it hinders our progress. It is like walking hopping in one leg.
The large meeting is doing well. But the small meeting is not doing well. Some think it is not important and it's okay if I miss it.

John 13:34-35

The mark of a disciple is love one another. This loved cannot be shown in a large meeting. But we can have real fellowship in a small meeting. In a small meeting you can practice your spiritual gifts, pray, share you needs and burdens

Meeting in small groups is critical. Make every effort and make it to your GYM meetings.

What do we demonstrate when we meet together?
It's LOVE!

Yes, there is pressure from work, but for the sake of love, can we stretch ourselves? When we are in love, we don't think of time and distance.


Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.
1 John 2:9
-11 NIV

John speaks a lot on Love.

From the verses, hate can be indifference. Love is an action word - a decision

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
1 John 3:1 NIV


Verse 11 - We should love one another
Verse 14 - because we love our brothers

The proof that you are Born Again is that you love one another.


Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
1 John 3:18 NIV


Love with action and truth.
Words come easy but action is costly.


Action + Truth - Go to the GYM meeting

1John 4:7-10 - God is love

Have you received the love of Jesus? Since God has loved us, we also ought to love one another.

1 John is full of instructions on love.
In a small group, you get to know one another, share heart to heart and the other leg gets strengthened. Take every important opportunity and meet.  Let’s value the Sunday meeting and the small group meeting



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. 

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Saturday, September 14, 2019

An Introduction to the Gospel of John Part 2

This message was preached by  Abhishek and Asha at Word of Grace Church on September  8th , 2019. To listen/download the audio please click hereTo listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here







ABHISHEK:

My message today is the message of Love. Love: demonstrated. 
The Awe inspiring., enduring love of God.

The scripture we are going to look at is John 1: 10 & 11

John 1:10-11 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.

The Gospel of John was written by the Apostle John. And John himself states why he has written this gospel. He writes in John 20:31 that these are written that you may believe and in so doing have eternal life.
So we have to look at these verses John 1:10-11 from that viewpoint.

Verse 10 says, He was in the world - the world which he made himself.
John 1:3 says everything that was made was made through him. 
So he came into the world which He Himself created and yet the world did not know Him. 

When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
Psalm 8:3 NIV

This shows the magnitude and power of God.

We can fit 1300000 earths in the sun. But the sun is not the largest star in our solar system. The largest star observed is Canis Majoris which is 1420 times the size of sun.
That's the awesome power of God - the power that makes the heaven and earth. 

Verse 11 says He came to His own
  
but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you.
Jeremiah 7:23 NIV

God separated those people to be his own people. 

the people of Israel. Theirs is the adoption to sonship; theirs the divine glory, the covenants, the receiving of the law, the temple worship and the promises. Theirs are the patriarchs, and from them is traced the human ancestry of the Messiah, who is God over all, forever praised! Amen.
Romans 9:4-5 NIV

Jesus was their Messiah. But they didn't receive Him. 

Those days the word " receive" meant to receive with a kiss. 

Jesus lowered himself to take on the form of human, servant.


rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
Philippians 2:7 NIV

That's the joy set before him. That's the magnitude of God power. 

John 3:16 talks about Gods love for us.

He endured the lowering only because he loved us.

If we put our trust in him, he gives us eternal life. Here is an invitation - if there's anyone who hasn't believed in Jesus yet, this is a very good opportunity to put your trust in him. 
These things are written so that you'd believe in him.


ASHA

The Great Reception and a Response


Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
John 1:12-13 NIV

The summary of my sermon is The place where Jesus died for me is the place where I live from

Here is a story of a girl -

She is from Kerala, born in a Marthoma Christian family. 
There were 7 families converted by Thomas. Marthoma is one of them.

In 2011, she started reading Bible systematically and she encountered Jesus and accepted him.
In 2016, she got baptized and in 2017, she got baptized with the Holy Spirit.
And that girl is now standing here and preaching.

We all know we are God's creation, his handiwork. But are we children of God?
Believe and receive is the key for eternal life.
To become child of God, do we need to do good things?

We need to do 2 things to become children of God -

1. Believe in Jesus
2. Received Jesus in our lives

This is supernatural because it is God who is giving the right to become a child of God through the Word so that we become the sons and daughters of the King.

This is done by gift of faith. It is a free gift. If I have to buy a gift for a friend of mine, I have to pay for it and give it to my friend for free. 

We were all orphans. But God sent His own son, sacrificed him so that we could be adopted into His family.

Verse 13: it is a new beginning a new birth by renewing your mind and washing your heart with the word of God.

Your ancestry or background has nothing to do with it. And the way of Grace is dependent .We cannot but He can.
 Give your life to Jesus today. 

Now what are you going to do after becoming a child of God.  He has given us the power and the right to become his children .


With great power comes great responsibility: 

When you are becoming a child of God your DNA is changed. ( Divine Nature Activated) .
We are children of God means we are related to him.We carry his DNA, we are inseparably joined to him. 
Basic nature or character of DNA is to replicate without losing its essence. 

What do you say to a person who is using the latest iPhone only to make calls and receive calls?
We would say he's not using it to the full potential.

We are his image-bearers and DNA carriers.
what should be the response: Replicate the divine nature. behave and believe like Jesus. We should give our full potential.

Let the place where Jesus died for us let that be the place where we live from.

 Moravian saying-  May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering." By the way I live.



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.