Tuesday, February 23, 2021

The Christian life

 


This message was preached by  Colin D via zoom at 
Word Of Grace Church on  Feb 21st,2021. for the audio please click here.   For the worship please click here

 Many people think that Christian life can be a cakewalk. But biblically that’s not what the Christian life is like. It is not a bed of roses. Before you could get to the roses, there are thorns that can prick you. We already learnt that Jesus is building His church and we got to work towards it. Even before that, our perspective needs to be right. The Christian life also has challenges – financial, relational, emotional etc.

We are created for heaven. Earth is not for heaven. Earth is fallen with powers and principalities operating in it.

33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

Jesus has not promised us a trouble-free life.

21 They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. – Acts 14:21-22

If we look at Apostle Paul’s life, he experienced a lot of challenges.

8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:8

We get the right perspective when we know that there’s an enemy.

 

We have 3 enemies – The Devil, World, Flesh

World – Worldly things like money, philosophy, materialism etc. You must have heard of the American Dream. It is to get a job, earn a lot of money and enjoy life. Now, it’s become an Indian dream too.

20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, - Philippians 3:20

15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father[a] is not in them. – 1 John 2:15

Flesh – Though we are saved, our spirit is cleansed but not our flesh. The flesh still struggles. The Spirit of God and flesh are always fighting.

17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other so that you are not to do whatever[a] you want –Galatians 5:17

The Devil –

12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. – Ephesians 6:12

From the beginning, Satan and all his forces have always been at work. But God will take us through everything. Despite all these, God gives us wonderful promises in Psalm 23

20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, - Philippians 3:20

Our life on this earth is not permanent. We can’t opt-out of the battle. We are the battle.

Even in the Old Testament, the Israelites had their struggles.

13 Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. – Exodus 14:13

Just as God had promised the Israelites, the got delivered from the Egyptians. But even after that, they faced challenges – they had to face Red Sea, they were chased by Pharaoh’s army, and when they reached a place where the water was bitter.

The Christian life is also like this.

Just as the Israelites got delivered, we got saved. They passed through the Red Sea and we got baptized. They faced challenges and we have our current battles. They were moving towards the Promised Land and we are moving ahead to the eternal Kingdom of God.

When challenges come our way, initially we struggle, we grumble just like the Israelites did when there was no water. They had everything in Egypt – Garlic, Onion, Spices etc. They must have thought they could go back and enjoy everything that was there in Egypt.

This is how their life was – Peace – Problem – Peace – Problem – Peace – Problem

And that’s how our life on earth will be. But we as God’s children, are going to the Promised Land.

8 The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. – Exodus 17:8

Amalekites attacked Israelites but the Israelites overcame when Moses heard from God and obeyed Him.

As Christians we face challenges but please don’t pray for challenges.

13 We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you. – 2 Corinthians 10:13

How did Israelites handle the challenges?

1.   Let’s look to Moses and Joshua. They listened to God.

2.   When we face challenges and problems the solution is not to pray only but to do something as well. It’s a partnership.

Moses and Aaron prayed while Joshua fought the battle,

What is the preparation needed for battle?

1.   God is looking for people who are prepared. E.g. King David- When David defeated Goliath. David was anointed but he had prepared for battle. 1Sam17:34 – He fought the Lion and the bear.

Abraham – when Lot got captured in Gen14:14; Abraham called 318 trained men and pursued the enemy as far as Dan. So, Abraham had invested in training. We need to train spiritually

God is looking for FAT people i.e. Faithful, available and teachable. Acts 6:3 – choose 7 men full of the Spirit and Wisdom. Stephen was the first martyr was one of the trained men. Are you prepared for what God wants you to do? We don’t know when that will be but we need to be prepared in faithfulness.

Available – Act6 What did the men volunteer to do? To serve food and wait on tables!! Are you available to do the so-called menial jobs in the kingdom? Are you willing to serve in private or do you just want public roles?

Philip was faithful and was used greatly by God. Acts 8 – He did great miracles in Samaria and he too started off by waiting on tables.

The 318 were trained. Are you open to being trained and discipled or do you feel you know everything and don’t need anyone to mentor you?

Moses – moved out to pray while the battle was being fought. He had a staff in his hand- symbolic of power and authority. It was used to bring the players and part of the Red Sea. Moses took off to pray. If we want to have victory over our world, the flesh and the devil, we need to withdraw and spend time in prayer.

V11. As long as Moses lifted his hands they won. This tells us that preparation and prayer go together. It is this partnership of these two.

As we pray together, we will see mighty exploits happen. Moses took the staff. This should remind us of the authority and promises we have in Christ. So, when we go to God in prayer, we remind God of the promises.

Rom8:38, Eph3:20 So we are bringing the staff of God i.e the Word of God before Him. Jn 16:33 Jesus promises us peace and his presence in the midst of trouble.

Phil 4:19 God will supply all our needs

Jn1:16 The Holy Spirit our helper. He will be with us forever.

Jer. 29:11 God has good plans for us

The Christian life is not a cakewalk but we are in a battle. We go through cycles of peace and problems and we need to be prepared to face them through prayer. As we are faithful, available and teachable God will use us.

We will see transformation as we pray. Amen!

 

  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, February 17, 2021

True Love

 

This message was preached by  Colin D via zoom at Word Of Grace Church on  Feb 14th,2021. for the audio please click here.   For the worship please click here


No prizes for this answer. What day is today? Valentine’s Day. I am going to speak for a couple of minutes about Valentine’s Day. The legend behind it is that during the 3rd Century, there was an emperor Claudius and his army were losing battles because he didn't have enough soldiers. The reason he couldn't conscript people was that people were getting married and had families to look after. To overcome this he banned all the marriages. There was one Christian priest by the name of Valentine who in defiance of the King’s law would secretly help people to get married. He was then arrested, caught and was executed. As there were not one but three Christians martyred for their faith, in the fourth century or in the 10th Century, the Pope declared February 14th as Saint Valentine's Day. The original Valentine's Day is in honour of a Christian who was killed for upholding marriage.

 Where does love come from? Do you know, love comes from God?  My message today is on love and how we as followers of Jesus we can grow in loving one another specifically loving God. I'm going to share practical tangible steps that we can take to grow in love.

One thing that marks Christians out as mentioned in John chapter 13 verses 35. Jesus says “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.” We can only love if we have love in our tanks. Where do we get this love from? Romans chapter 5:5 says” Because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” It's only when we have the love of God in our hearts, our love tanks are full. If our tanks are filled with love, then we can love our husband/ wife/ children.

Romans 5:8 says “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” We see a demonstration of God's love on the cross and how long have we been loved like this? John 3:16 says “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. “ God's love for us is shown on the cross- the sacrifice of Jesus for us.

If anybody here this morning has not yet received this love of God into the hearts, I want to tell you that you can receive that love and it's very simple. You just have to acknowledge that you're a sinner and Jesus died on the cross for your sins. God sent Jesus to save you because he loves you. And if you repent and confess your sins to Jesus and say I trust in you that you died on the cross and rose from the dead, the love of God can come into your hearts. You will receive forgiveness of your sins and eternal life. 

Ephesians 1:4 says” For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight” Wow, that's a long long time ago, before the sun, the moon or anything else was created God saw you and loved you and chose you to be a part of his family. So we have been loved for a long time. We've been loved on the cross when Jesus died for us again and this love stretches into eternity. 1 Thessalonians chapter 4:16 says.

 “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. “

When Jesus returns, whoever has put their faith in him will rise up in the air and we will be with the Lord forever and ever we will live happily ever after. No matter what I'm struggling and I'm going through- one day Jesus my lover is going to come back for me and we will be with him forever and ever so let's focus on those truths.

 

Let's look at First Corinthians 13:1. “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but does not have love, I am nothing.” There are some people who have amazing spiritual gifts like speaking in tongues. They can prophesy, etc. It says that if we have all these gifts, but do not have love we gain nothing. Love is very important and as followers of Christ, how can we cultivate love and how can we grow in love?

Matthew22:37 -Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”The greatest commandment is to love God. This is the first and greatest commandment and the second is: Love your neighbour as yourself. Love is the most important thing. It's what distinguishes Christians. God himself is love and we've got to be a people who love. Love is the greatest commandment - loving God and loving one another.

John 4:8 says “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” God loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Now, how do we put love into practice?

In the Bible, there are four types of Love mentioned.

Eros-Romantic love,

Storge-Familiar love,

Philia- Affectionate love,

Agape-Unconditional love: This is the love that God has for us and this is the love we are aiming for. It's a love that seeks the best in the other person.

So how can we grow in our love? Let’s look at a few things. One of the first things we need to do to love one another is

1) Accept one another: Romans15:7 “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God”. The first thing that we need to do is we need to accept one another. We come from different places, different educational backgrounds, economic backgrounds, linguistic backgrounds. We all have our quirks and personality disorders or challenges. Society is divided on cast, educational background, economic state etc. God has come to break every division.

2) Forgiving one another: Ephesians 4:32- “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”. Now, the standard for accepting and forgiving is stratospheric, it’s sky-high. Just as Christ accepted you, you accept others. How did Christ accept you? He accepted me full of my faults, my failures, my sin and my everything. The same way we accept others. How do you forgive? It says forgive each other just as in Christ God forgave you. The next time you're having a hard time with somebody just remind yourself of how much you have been forgiven.

3) Encourage one another: Hebrews 3:13, says  “But encourage one another daily as long as it is called today so that you may not be hardened by sins deceitfulness.” Now, life can be very tough and our role is to ensure that we are bringing encouragement to one another.  Appreciation and encouragement are acts of humility where we are uplifting somebody else. Let's be a people who are quick to encourage,.

4) Carry one another's burdens: Galatians 6:2- “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfil the law of Christ.”We carry people's burdens by just speaking to them finding out what is going on in their lives. There are people who may be struggling with an illness or with some worries, else with some other difficulties and what we can do is we can listen to them, share their problems will help diffuse their worries.

5) No unwholesome talk come out of your mouth: Ephesians 4:29- “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”

So, let's be a people who are weighing our words when we speak. When we speak, is it going to build these people up or is it going to tear them down? Think carefully before you say “Can I build people up with what I'm going to say?” Words are very important.

6) Submitting to one another: Another way of loving one another is submitting to one another. That's there in scripture and I want to encourage us to submit to one another in a marriage, in a relationship, with friends. Not wanting and demanding my way all the time, there's give-and-take and there's mutual submission.
So I've just thrown some things that if we put into practice will just demonstrate love in a marriage or any friendship.

 I'm going to quickly touch on something called the FIVE LOVE LANGUAGES.

Gary Chapman has come out with a book called The Five Love Languages and he is found out that people primarily receive love in five ways and think of it as five languages. The first one is

1) Words of affirmation: Here we are speaking words of affirmation, appreciation, affection, compliments, verbal encouragement etc. So when you use words and say “Well done”, “I love you”, “you did an excellent job” and you're messaging them, texting them, putting the smiley's and the hearts and all. Those things make people sense a connection. That is important for certain people. Think about yourself; is that your love language?

2) Quality time: This is where people feel loved when you spend time with them. They want you to sit down and listen to them and talk to them. What they want is your undivided attention without the distraction of the television or cell phone or any other interference. They want to spend time. They want active listening.

3) Acts of service: Acts of service is when you go out of your way to serve the person and do things. Like, make coffee for them, make breakfast, and pick up the dry cleaning do all these things. Actions speak louder than words for them. This is how they like to be appreciated.

4) Gifts: Gifts are a pretty straightforward love language. They will give you visual symbols of love and some people just love gift because what they value is not the gift in itself but your thoughtfulness that you thought about them. And you chose the right gifts they would like, so it's very meaningful to them.

5) Physical touch: This is where people feel loved when they like to be kissed and hugged and holding hands and so forth, and of course, you’ve got to be appropriate with different things. Like physical intimacy in a marriage situation with husband and wife, one partner who likes this and the other doesn’t', both partners need to be aware and make adjustments.

So now I'm giving you these five love languages. This is what you need to do find out. What is your love language: your primary and secondary. Then you find out the love language of the people you're involved with, your husband, your wife, your children and others. Speak to them in that love language and you will see the affection and the love grow.

Jesus says love is the hallmark of His people. 1 Corinthians tells us that the greatest thing is love. God himself is love so you and I have got to make an effort to grow in our love. Paul says the same thing in Thessalonians that you not only one another but grow and increase in that love. The reason we can love is that Jesus first loved us and He demonstrated His love for us on the cross. So we are called to love God of course and to love one another, especially the family of believers. Love His church and then the world of course. Let’s show love.

   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. 

Monday, February 8, 2021

First Love


 This message was preached by  Lasya V via zoom at Word Of Grace Church on  Feb 7th,2021. for the audio please click here.  

FIRST LOVE

Last week Manesh brought such a timely word to us about the importance of belonging to God and to one another. He spoke about the urgent need to stay connected in right relationship to God and to one another, to stay in biblical fellowship and the first way we can do that is by receiving God’s love and he quoted this verse from 1 John 4:19We love because He first loved us.

This stirred up in me the theme of First Love that has been on my heart for several months now. There is another place in the bible where this phrase is used. In Revelation 2: 2-5 - ‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent, and do the works you did at first.”

I want to draw out 3 principles for our life from this passage – especially verse 4.

1.      The principle of priority.

a.      God’s first love - God’s first love: 1 John 4:19We love because He first loved us. Ephesians 1:4-5 “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us[b] for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will

Have you ever made a vision board for yourself? What do you put in there first? (Dad’s house analogy) Psalm 139: 16 ““Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them” To confirm that our names were sealed with him before the foundation of the world it says in Revelation 13: 8 “and all who dwell on earth will worship it (speaking of the beast, the devil), everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.”

b.      God’s  first commandDeut 6:4-5Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” In fact when Jesus was asked to sum up the ENTIRE law this is what he said in Matthew 22:37- 38You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.” This is the command – to seek first his kingdom, to first love him. First love is not puppy love but priority love. To love is to be set apart – holy! Put him first in your day, your tithes, your love.

 

2.      The principle of remembrance

a.      God’s Remembrance – 168 times in the bible

                                                    i.     Lev 26:42 “then I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and I will remember my covenant with Isaac and my covenant with Abraham, and I will remember the land.” Does God remember because he tends to forget? Does he have a bad memory from having always existed? No, he’s omniscient, he knows everything! But for God to remember a covenant means he will bless us in accordance with his promises. Genesis 30: 22Then God remembered Rachel, and God listened to her and opened her womb”.

                                                   ii.     Then again, the Bible also says that he will not remember some things. In Isaiah 43:25I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more.”

                                                  iii.     It is in the nature and character of God to remember His covenant and forget about our transgression. Knowing this David cries out in Psalm 25:7Remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions; according to your steadfast love remember me, for the sake of your goodness, O Lord!”

b.     What are we called to remember?

                                                    i.     God’s call to remembrance is not to look back but to look up. Remember from where you have fallen. It is not meant to be in derision – it is a call back to first love. Remember God, his nature, his love, his covenant, his sacrifice.

                                                   ii.     The first command to remember that comes to mind is of course the communion. In 1 Corinthians 11: 24 – 25This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” We are called to remember the new covenant in Jesus’ blood as often as we eat bread and drink wine. That’s pretty often, isn’t it?

                                                  iii.     But this is not a new testament command – in Exodus 20:8Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holyNumbers 15:40So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God.”

                                                  iv.     Why is it important that we remember according to God’s word? What can our remembrance do? Numbers 11:5-6We remember the fish we ate in Egypt that cost nothing, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. 6 But now our strength is dried up, and there is nothing at all but this manna to look at” Do you remember what happened to them? The whole generation died without seeing the promise land. There is a remembrance that leads to death and a remembrance that leads to life that is why God says in Colossians 3:1-2Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.

                                                   v.     On the other hand, Joshua 4:6-7When your children ask in time to come, ‘What do those stones mean to you?’ 7 then you shall tell them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord. When it passed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. So these stones shall be to the people of Israel a memorial forever.” It is important what we remember in accordance with His word. What are the memorials in your life? What are you remembering daily? What is in the forefront of your mind?

 

3.      The principle of returning

Returning/ repentance has to do with our heart and it is a gift from God. It is the rerouting system of our spirit. God had never had to repent of anything because primarily, repentance is the means for us to access right belonging with God. Jesus has never had to do that but since we are born in Adam we are born with a sinful nature, and repentance is the only way we can adjust that relationship with God. Peter shared the glorious gospel to thousands – with great boldness and filled with the spirit. The people were impacted – they were cut to the heart but realise that being impacted or touched by a message is not the same as repentance. There is something we need to do with it. So Peter says in Acts 2:38Repent 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.” Now, repentance for salvation is a onetime thing. But there is a repentance that is ongoing. If we are always in step with the Spirit, we will not have to repent that much… but when we sometimes let the flesh lead, we take wrong turns, and need to repent. There are 2 things that repentance does apart from the forgiveness of sins:

                                                    i.     It returns us to intimacy with God. Malachi 3:7Return to me and I will return to you, says the Lord of hosts.” God is not one to punish us by withdrawing himself when we are broken. He gives grace to the humble.

                                                   ii.     It refreshes us -  Acts 3:19Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the LordMatthew 11:28 Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis.

Our response – is to follow Jesus’ example

1.      Cultivate a secret life with God- Mark 1:35And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.Matt 6:6But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you”.

 

2.      Let his interests become your interestsJohn 2: 13 – 17The Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. 14 In the temple he found those who were selling oxen and sheep and pigeons, and the money-changers sitting there. 15 And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. 16 And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father's house a house of trade.” 17 His disciples remembered that it was written, “Zeal for your house will consume me.”

 

At another gathering, in Matthew 12: 48-50 he says “While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.””

When the zeal for His house consumes us, we are able to set our houses straight. There are a million things demanding our attention from the second we wake up, but the right order of priorities will return to our lives when we put him first.

 

3.      Remember God’s promises and His covenant – don’t look back, look up. Pay attention to what you remember, what is in the forefront of your mind and heart. Is it the way people let you down, is it the way you let God down sometimes, is it guilt, is it shame, it is pride or offense, what occupies your mind most of the time? Take time to remember what is true, write it in your journal, every time you eat, remember Jesus, in your waking, your lying down, remember his promises and his steadfast love, his faithfulness… Deuteronomy 11:18- 21 ““You shall therefore lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 19 You shall teach them to your children, talking of them when you are sitting in your house, and when you are walking by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 20 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, 21 that your days and the days of your children may be multiplied in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens are above the earth

 

4.      Return/ repent – as often as it is needed. And bear fruit in keeping with repentance. Matthew 3:8 Grief in itself is not repentance. 2 Corinthians 7:9As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting”, but the true test of repentance is in the fruit it bears. The rich young ruler went away after hearing Jesus’ words feeling very sad, but he did not repent. On the other hand, Zaccheus did not shed a single tear but he gave back all the money he stole and lost all his riches in an instance. If anything he was rejoicing, but that was true repentance. That is the true gospel as Paul also testifies before King Agrippa in Acts 26:20that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.” And what are the deeds in keeping with our repentance? Rev 2: 5 repent and do the works you did at first.””

 

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. 

Monday, February 1, 2021

Are You Walking With The Body?

 


This message was preached by Manesh P via zoom at Word Of Grace Church on  January 31st,2021. for the audio please click here.  TO listen to the worship please click here

Are you walking with the Body?

The bible calls us sheep and Jesus is our good shepherd. Sheep are meant to be in their flock. When a sheep walks away they put themselves in danger just as we do when we step outside the community of believers.

We are part of the body of Christ and we are supposed to walk with the body of Christ. Fellowship with a community of believers is not just chit chat or worship on Sunday morning. It is to develop a deep intimate relationship with one another.

WHY FELLOWSHIP?

1.      We are born again into Christ’s family.

God could have referred to Himself as the Master or CEO, but He calls Himself Father. God is love and he was eternally in a loving relationship in the trinity. Similarly, he expects us to be in a loving relationship with one another. If you have put your faith in Jesus, you are a part of God’s family. Families live together in unity. Psalm 133:1 “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!”

2.      We have a kingdom purpose together

Eph 4:15-16 “Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”

When we are held together that is when we grow. As each member does its part we will be able to accomplish all that God has to accomplish. 

John Maxwell says you can go faster by yourself, but you can go further together.

We are in a season of crossover. From one era to the next. They can be challenging, stormy, etc. and there is a danger of not getting to the other side if we don’t handle it well. This was Navaz’s word for this year. God wants his whole body together to move into this new era.

1 Corinthians 12:26 “If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honoured, all rejoice together.”

So how many of you are on board for this crossover? It is not a coincidence that you are here.

3.      We need one another

1 Peter 4:10 “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace:”

None of us has all the gifts. It’s to serve one another – not only to with spiritual gifts but acts of service. It’s not just you and God, it is You and God in community. 

Thank God we don’t have all the gifts. Because if we have all the gifts we will fall into pride. Romans 12:4-6 “For as in one body we have many members,[e] and the members do not all have the same function, 5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 6 Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith”

4.      Fellowship is modelled in the Bible:

Jesus had 12 disciples and they went everywhere with Him. The early church also devoted themselves to fellowship Acts 2:42- ” And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”

 

How can we have a biblical fellowship with our community?

1.      Receive love from God

1 John 4:19  - “We love because he first loved us.”

We cannot give what we do not have. So be dependent on his love. When we have a revelation of His great love, we will have a great well of love to draw from.

1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”

Eph 3: 17 “so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love,”

2.      Give love to others

1 John 3: 18 “Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth”

Practical acts of love are more than words. We know real love as Jesus gave up his life for us. The early church also gave themselves to each other. Every day they continued to meet together and had everything in common. Acts 2:44-46 “And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts”

Can you give time to fellowship? Take time to attend the GYM meetings, Living Room meetings, fasting and prayer meetings, men’s meeting, etc. You can meet with each other over meals. You can give your attention – when someone is rejoicing, rejoice with them. When they are weeping weep with them.

3.      Be watchful

Be watchful of that which breaks fellowship. The enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy. Fellowship is precious and that is why the devil wants to steal it. Pride, selfish ambition, unforgiveness and mismanagement of conflict can steal fellowship.

Romans 12:16 “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.”

Be watchful of those wandering away from fellowship. When we walk away from the community, we put ourselves in danger. As a loving community go after the one who is wandering.

We are not made for easy, we are made for victory. Conflicts will come when we go deeper in relationships, but genuine love never fails.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 “4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

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.