Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Church Of Christ Was Born

This message was shared by Lasya D'Cruz on 19th March 2020. It answers the question why should we do church and what should life be post resurrection. Life just begins at the cross, it does not halt there.

1 In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when he was taken up after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.
4 And while staying with them, he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

When you say what were the last words of Jesus on the earth, many think about His words on the cross. But if “it is finished” are the last words of Jesus, we have no reason to continue meeting like this. The reason we do what we do today is that he did rise again on the third day and appeared to many people over a course of 40 days.

The passage we will be looking at today is from a book which has historically been the most relied on for strategies on how to do church. Bill Hybels said the local church is the hope of the world. The book of Acts is a blueprint – it is both prescriptive and descriptive because there were some things in this book that are not going to happen again, like the Ascension of Jesus. But most of it is prescriptive. The book is written by Dr. Luke as an extension of the gospel of Luke.

These are the beginnings - of the birth of the body of Christ – the church. So what in fact were the last words of Jesus?

4 things Jesus addressed in his last few days with the disciples- these are the 4 P’s:
1. The proof
a. Why did Jesus bother proving that it was Him and that he was indeed alive? Think about how the disciples were behind closed doors, afraid and self-arrested. Jesus, in his kindness gave them these proofs – to give them sufficient confidence. He entered a locked room, he showed them His wounds, he ate and drank with them.

AW Tozer says “If you have to be reasoned into Christianity, some wise fellow can reason you out of it!

 If you come to Christ by a flash of the Holy Spirit so that by intuition you know that you are God's child, you know it by the text but you also know it by the inner light, the inner illumination of the Spirit, and no one can ever reason you out of it.”
Proof is for the purpose of witnessing whereas communion is to build faith.

b. Communion with Jesus is the only way we will build faith. There is no counterfeit to the confidence we gain from simply communing with Jesus. “When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.”
Luke 24:30-31 ESV

2. The Promise
a. Jesus mentioned numerous times about this helper, comforter who will be given to us and his command was to wait for the promise.
b. Gal 3:18 and 29 talk about the promise of inheritance.
c. Matthew Henry says it like this – “Temporal good things are given by Providence, but the spirit and spiritual blessings are given by promise”.
d. The Father gives the gift, but Jesus is the baptiser, he executes it and the Holy spirit himself is the gift. So if you have not received the holy spirit, let this be your time of waiting on God. All his promises are yes and amen.
e. What does waiting look like? Acts 1:14 – they continued in one accord to pray. My experience of receiving the Holy Spirit.

3. The power
a. What is peculiar about this promise is that it gives us power. Do we really need it? I am convinced that Jesus is Lord.
b. Imagine you walk into an antique shop and spot a 100 year old beautiful lamp. You bring it home and it doesn’t work, you get a bulb, rewire it and set it up on a coffee table. It is still not working. Why is that? It needs power. That is how important the power of the Holy Spirit is for us to reflect Christ.
c. IS the Holy Spirit relevant for today?
i. John 14:26 – He brings to remembrance everything that Jesus taught
ii. John 16:13-14 – glorify Jesus by taking what is Jesus’ and declaring it to us
iii. John 16:13 – Tell us what is to come.
So he has the past, present and future covered. The Holy Spirit is always going to be relevant!

4. The purpose
a. What qualifies us to do ministry? I am no theologian or pastor, can I share the gospel?  Yes, because I have tasted and seen! I am a witness. The power comes with a purpose and the purpose is always to glorify Christ because the Holy spirit glorifies Him.
b. The choosing of Christ is always followed by his charge. Mark 13:34-35 “It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—”
c. If you do not know what your calling is, go back to the last assignment Jesus has given every believer- ends of the earth have not yet been reached. So that’s a great place to start!

So in these confusing times, what can we really rely on? Our jobs, our health, our finances, or the Promise of the Father? Let us use this time to really wait well and apprehend the promises of God in our life and be witnesses.

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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