Saturday, December 14, 2019

The Christmas Story And Redeeming Christmas Traditions

This message was preached by Colin  D at Word ofGrace Church on December 8th, 2019. To listen/download the audio please click hereTo listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here





What is the season we are in?
CHRISTMAS!!!

Sometimes Satan takes what is good and corrupts it.

In many Nations, because of the devil, same-sex marriage is being encouraged. Does that mean we decide not to get married at all?
Just because something being misused does not mean we stop doing it.
The devil corrupts what was meant for good. A classic example is Christmas.
Nowadays, the world has changed the meaning of Christmas.
How does the devil corrupt it? For example. Take e.g. Santa Claus

Have you heard of Santa Claus?
There are 2 kinds of people –
1.     People who celebrate Christmas with true meaning and also include Santa Claus.
2.     People who celebrate Christmas only through Santa Claus. That's a NO!

This is another trick the devil has played.
Who was Santa Claus?
He was a bishop - Saint Nicholas, a godly Christian.

Once Saint Nicholas met a poor man who had no money to get his daughters married.
So Nicholas secretly went to this man's house and dropped a gold coin. In no time this poor man got his daughter married. Next year once again he dropped a gold coin. The poor man got his second daughter married too. The same thing happened to the 3rd daughter too.

Why was he doing secretly? It’s because he didn't want any attention. Later on, someone found out about him and he was thrown in prison. There he was martyred.
Was Santa good or bad? GOOD!
The truth is - He was a godly Christian, with good Christian values, generous, gave gifts to people, he died for the faith in Jesus. As Christians, we are called to redeem the culture.

If something is good, carry on with it.
If something is bad, check and stop it completely.
If something good get distorted we change it and redeem it

Why do Christians o celebrate Christmas or why do they decorate their homes?

Was Jesus born on 25th Dec? NO!
Centuries ago, people decided to celebrate on 25th Dec.
Should we decorate? You are free to celebrate Jesus' birth in your own way. There's no compulsion.
Should we set up a tree n decorate it? It's up to an individual.

The origin of the word Christmas refers to Catholic word mass.
It's Christ + mass.

Over the time, the original meaning was gone. It doesn't mean Christ + mass but it's the celebration of Jesus' birth.
The meaning of words does change.
Once upon a time, we could say, "I'm happy and gay"
But now, can we say the same?

Jesus has set us free. Let's focus on Jesus and his birth. Let's not judge people who celebrate through Decoration, tree, sweets, Santa Claus etc.
 Now to our text for today.
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.  Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “ Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.- Galatians 4:4-7 NIV


We see 3 things –

1.     When the time had fully come

Right at the beginning, Adam and Eve were given a promise that a seed will come to destroy Satan.
And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”- Genesis 3:15 NIV

Who was God talking about? Jesus!
Right at the Garden of Eden, God made a promise for our salvation. People have been waiting to see who that Savior was.

In Old Testament, it's just a shadow. The New Testament has clarity. Over the period, God gave more and more clarity on his promise.
i)                 Line of David

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord , “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.  In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.- Jeremiah 23:5-6 NIV

As history progressed, God gave prophets the Revelation about Jesus.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.
- Luke 2:4 NIV

Town of David - Promise fulfilled

ii)               Virgin

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.- Isaiah 7:14 NIV

As the prophets were looking forward, there were signs.

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. - Luke 1:26-27 NIV

Virgin - Promise fulfilled

iii)             Where? – Bethlehem

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans 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.” - Micah 5:2 NIV

(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.  So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.
- Luke 2:2-4 NIV

Town of Bethlehem - Promise fulfilled
Throughout history, God has been working through governors and prophets to reveal the promise.
Historically, why was it the right time?
1.     God raised Babylonians

One sin - committed over and over again. This was to put an end to idolatry.

2.     Greeks

Alexander the great conquered Nations thus making Greek a common language. Communication through a common language.

3.     Roman
Powerful, established peace of Roman. The saying, "All roads lead to Rome". Paul and other disciples traveled  through the roads the Romans have built

All these put together was an ideal situation for the gospel to spread. What's the gospel about?

1. Jesus - Son of God
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, - Galatians 4:4 NIV

When did Jesus become son of God? Was it on the day he was born? No! He was eternally the son of God.

2. Redemption

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
- John 3:16 NIV
But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. - Galatians 4:4-5 NIV

This is the gospel.
It's redemption!
3. Adoption

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

When parents have their own child, do they have a choice? No!
When parents adopt a child, do they have choice? Yes!
God chose you. Adoption is legal.
When a child is adopted, he/she becomes a part of that family. The heir of the family.

Similarly, God chose you and adopted you into his family.

So this Christmas, we believe that, behind all that's happening in the nation, God is working.

As we enter this church, let's remember this great truth and rejoice.




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, December 3, 2019

When the Eternal stepped into the transient | Abhishek B

This message was preached by  Abhishek B at  Word of Grace Church on December 1st, 2019. To listen/download the audio please click here

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It is the 1st of December, which means ITS CHRISTMAS!!!,  It is the most wonderful time of the year!
Traditionally, the 4 weeks before Christmas are known as the “Advent”, Advent: is the fact of an event happening or a person arriving.(definition)
We of course are going to celebrate Christmas, along with millions of people across the world, and in the coming days all aspects of this “coming/arrival” will be celebrated, and rightly so, and no doubt we will hear about the “How”- Tableau/Virgin Birth, the Where- O little town of Bethlehem, there will be a recounting of all the stories associated with the Birth of Christ. And all of these have a certain glory, but it all fades in the light of the glory of the One who came- Jesus Christ. (eg- If Sachin comes in his Ferrari, there is some glory of the car, but not as much as Sachin)
We are looking at
- Who?- Whose arrival are we talking about
- Why?- Why He came.
- What? - What his coming means to us.


THE ETERNAL ONE
John 1: 1 &14
In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Jesus Christ- the maker of heaven and earth, the creator, as it says in Colosians-1:16 For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones and dominions or principalities or power. All things were created through Him and for Him.
He is Eternal, Everlasting, forever Exalted- Lord of Hosts, King of kings, and He chose to lower himself.
If you were here a few weeks ago, I had spoken about the Love of God which made him come for us and the Joy that was set in front of him for which he lowered himself.
What amazing love! And how privileged are we! We are the subjects of His love. It is for us, for you and me that He came. It was purposed by God from the beginning- 1 Pet 1:20- He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.

(Transition from 1st point to 2nd point-??)

THE MOMENT THAT CHANGED IT ALL - GOOD NEWS (can think of another header?)**
Luke 4:17-19, Isaiah 61: 1-2
And he was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah, and when He had opened the book, He found the place, where it was written:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me. Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted. To proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.
Verse 21: Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing


Jesus’ coming in his own words was so that we could receive the Good news of Liberty, of healing from the pain of a broken heart.

Gospel : We were separated from God and his Love, the fall of the man brought death- separation from God, we were alienated and enemies in our mind by wicked works (Col 1:21). but praise be to God that he sent His Son to reconcile us with Him. We are now elevated to an amazing position as 1 Pet 2:9-10 says
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His OWN SPECIAL people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Who once were not a people, but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
So you are His SPECIAL people, no longer alienated, no longer without mercy.
That the significance of Jesus’ coming for us, the moment He stepped into the transient, changed history, changed our lives forever. We would never have made it into the presence of God, we would never have known God if it wasn’t for His son Jesus Christ who came as a man for us.

Healing:
There are 2 greek words used for ‘Broken Hearted’ is:
-           syntetrimmenous: Its a difficult word to pronounce, it means to crush completely, to shatter, break in pieces, broken to shivers. Basically, it means to be broken to a point, where it is not possible to be broken further.
-           kardian: which means the heart, the thoughts or feelings and also by analogy ‘the middle’
Jesus came to heal people who have nothing left to be broken further, to heal the emotional pain of people.


Freedom:
The word used for Captives in the greek paints a picture of a prisoner of war, the word used there is that of a Spear. The image is of a prisoner of war walking and being held at the tip of the spear, who cant move anywhere else without being poked by the spear.
So we were prisoner, and could not try to come out from the kingdom of darkness, could not do any good even if we wanted to, but Jesus came to transform us from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of Light, to free us to do the good works prepared for us to do.

Recovery of Sight:
The word used for blind means murky vision, so those who are in the world and looking for God have a murky vision, they don’t have a clear vision of who God is and what He has done for you, Jesus came to show the world who God is, He is the visible image of the invisible God.



HOPE- (Positive expectation)

We heard Navaz talking about Hope last week, about how we as believers have Hope, which is different from the world, where theirs is just a wish, our is a positive expectation.
The Good news of the Advent of Christ, and His Cross has given us a living hope. So this morning I want to again encourage you
- if you are broken-hearted: Jesus came to heal you.
- if you are in despair- Jesus came to proclaim the good news to you
- if you are oppressed- Jesus came to set you free and to give you the liberty
- if you are struggling with any addictions- Jesus came to set you free of those addictions
- if you feel ordinary- Jesus came to make you HIS Special people.
- if you are sick- Jesus came to heal you. (Isa 53)
- if you are yet blind as in you don’t know who God is- Jesus came to show you the Father, He is the image of the invisible God.