Tuesday, April 27, 2021

An Encounter Of A Close Kind


This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on April 4th 2021 by Colin D via zoom. For the audio please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.


We are in a series of different appearances of Jesus after His resurrection. Last week, we looked at His appearance to His 12 disciples, especially to Thomas. This week, we will look at a beautiful encounter which two of His followers had with Him on the road to Emmaus. Let us read from Luke 24:13-35.

After Mary Magdalene and other women returned from the tomb and narrated what happened at the tomb, the disciples did not believe them.

On the same day, two of His followers were walking towards a village called Emmaus. While walking, they were talking about all the things that happened to Jesus.

15 So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were restrained so that they did not know Him. – Luke 24:15-16

As they were talking and reasoning with each other, Jesus himself drew near to them. Though the followers saw Him, they did not know Him.

19 And He said to them, "What things?" So they said to Him, "The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and Word before God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. – Luke 24:19-21

It was observed in their conversation and reasoning that they didn't believe in what was prophesied. Jesus saw their unbelief.

25 Then He said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?"  - Luke 24:25

Jesus called them "foolish ones" because they didn't believe what was already prophesied about Jesus that the Son of Man would suffer and then enter into His glory.

27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He [g]expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. – Luke 24:27

Not just that, but Jesus reminded them of all the scriptures prophesying about Jesus' birth, death and resurrection. Even at that time, the followers couldn't recognize Jesus.

After this, they all went to the nearby village and sat at a table to eat together.

30 Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they knew Him, and He vanished from their sight. – Luke 24:30-31

When Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it and gave it to His followers, it was then their eyes were opened, and at once, they knew Him. But Jesus vanished from their sight.

 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they knew Him, and He vanished from their sight. 32 And they said to one another, "Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?" 33 So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, "The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!" 35 And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was [i]known to them in the breaking of bread. – Luke 24:31-35

This beautiful encounter two of Jesus's followers had with Jesus changed their life. This is what they got to know about Jesus that day.

 

1. Jesus is our Redeemer

 

The two disciples thought Jesus would redeem the nation Israel from Roman Empire. They expected Him to overthrow Roman rule and establish a Jewish kingdom in the nation of Israel.

 

Luke 24:21a - But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel

It is not "was" but "is".

Jesus came to redeem not just the people of Israel but all of us.

 What did Jesus redeem us from?

He redeemed us from the bondage of sin and the curse of the law.

 Ephesians 1:7 - In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace.

 Gal 3:13 - Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole."

 Jesus is the only one who was resurrected and defeated in death. We need to go and tell people about Jesus' love for us. When we were just born again, we had a great enthusiasm to share the gospel. What about now? Do we still have the same enthusiasm? If anyone wants to know more about Jesus and His sacrifice, please reach out to one of us.

 

2. Jesus is the Word

 

Luke 24:25 – 25 Then He said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken

 The two disciples had read the scriptures about the Messiah, but they didn't believe in the Word of God. Jesus rebuked their unbelief.

 God gave us His Word to believe in it. Why does Jesus expect us to believe in His Word? It's because Jesus himself is the Word. How can we believe in Jesus and not believe in His Word?

 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. - John 1:14 NIV

 Jesus is the Word, and He knows how to keep His promise because He is faithful. 

 2 Corinthians 1:20 -  For all the promises of God in Him are Yes, and in Him Amen, to the glory of God through us.

For no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ. And so through him, the "Amen" is spoken by us to the glory of God.

 Numbers 23:19 - "God is not a man, that He should lie,

Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?

 God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfil?

It is impossible for God to lie. He never lies. So His Word is truth.

 For a very long time, I believed that I looked ugly. There's no particular reason, but I just believed that way; I knew what's written in the scriptures. It is written that I'm fearfully and wonderfully made. But I failed to believe in the Word. After seeking help, I realized that it's a choice that I need to make whether to believe in the Word or now. So, I chose to believe in what was written in the Word because it is the truth. God never lies. So I started believing and declaring the Word of God. Even today, I hear the lies of the devil that I look ugly. But every time I hear the lie, I choose to believe in the Word.

Let us all choose to believe in the Word of God. Let us start replacing the lies with truth.

 

4. Jesus is present at the breaking of bread

 Luke 24:30-31 -  Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they knew Him, and He vanished from their sight.

 Luke 24:35 - And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was [i]known to them in the breaking of bread. 

 The two disciples' eyes opened, and Jesus was known to them in the breaking of bread. 

Breaking of Bread is not a ritual. It is a mighty and powerful thing because Jesus is present with us.

 When we do the breaking of bread, we should not do it as a ritual, but we should remember the sacrifice Jesus did for us on the cross, and we should take it worthily. When we remember the Lord and take the bread and wine, mighty things happen in the spiritual realm. 

  

1 Corinthians 11:29 - For he who eats and drinks in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

 

1 Corinthians 11:24-25 - and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."  In the same way, after supper, he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me."

I have a powerful testimony to share. My friends' son had an accident, and the brain stem was cut off. He was in a vegetable condition, and his parents were helpless. But because they believe in Jesus and the power of breaking bread, they decided to break bread together.  As they did that, their son opened his eyes and spoke. Doctors were amazed. Later on, the boy started walking, cycling, working, and now has his own company.

So, let us believe that Jesus is with us when we break bread. And as we do that, let us remember His sacrifice for us.

What did we learn from the passage today?

Jesus is our Redeemer. He is the Living God. He is present when we break bread. 


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, April 20, 2021

Skepticism To Confession

 




This message was preached at 
Word Of Grace Church on April 4th 2021 by Colin D via zoom. For the audio please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.

Skepticism To Confession

Introduction to the Series:

-          This is the  2nd  Sunday after Easter, and we are 5 Sundays away from Pentecost. In the Gospels and the Book of Acts, we read about the various appearances of Jesus after His resurrection and up to his ascension.

-          Theologians have made several attempts to answer the question: What was it that He taught them? Was there a new Revelation? Any progressive enlightening of their minds?

-          The 10 appearances (starting from to Mary at the tomb, too, the road to Emaus, to Thomas, to Peter at the Sea of Tiberias, etc) which we read about are powerful and we can learn from those, we can be encouraged, we can be inspired. Over the next few weeks, we are going to look at these appearances of our Saviour, learn from them and be equipped to do the good works we are called to do just like the Apostles were.

 

Today, we will concentrate on the appearance of Jesus to the disciples when Thomas was present, we find this in John 20:24-31

I’ve chosen the title “SCEPTICISM TO CONFESSION”

One line Summary:

Love, compassion and gentleness of Jesus leads a sceptic to make the most wonderful of confessions “My Lord and My God”

We are all familiar with this passage, and over the years this has been known as the story of “Doubting Tom/Thomas” this nickname has been associated with Apostle Thomas because of this story.

We shall see how “Doubting Tom/Thomas” is not entirely correct and robs from the the objective of the story, and, in that, we shall try to examine if doubt disqualifies one from receiving from God.

We will see the love of God in action in the way Jesus deals with Thomas and of course we will then see the result of the Love in action, in the confession of Thomas. Along the way of revisiting this popular Biblical story, I hope we can be encouraged in our own lives, we may find that the compassion of God and His love can swat away self-defeating thoughts which hinder us in our walk of faith.

Does Doubt Disqualify

We see in this story/episode, there are 3 principal characters, we have Jesus of course, and Thomas and John, through whose eyes we are seeing this happen. Keep in mind that the objective of John writing to us is very clear: That we may believe (Verse 31).

Apostle Thomas is mentioned in the NT 12 times, out of which 8 times he is mentioned in the Gospel of John, I am sure that it is by design, John has over the chapters built up the case for his ultimate objective, that his readers may believe and put their trust in Jesus -the Christ. Let us do a little character sketch of Thomas, from what we read about him in John:

-          John 11:16: When Jesus tells the disciples about the death of Lazarus, and tells them that they will now go to Judea, Thomas makes this statement: Let us also go that we may die with him.

-          John 14:5: Jesus is talking about making room for believers and accepting them to where he is and Thomas has a very practical question? We don’t know where you are going so how can we know the way? And that leads to the famous “I am the way the truth and the life” verse.

-          John 20:24- 29: The story we are concentrating on.

So, what we see, 1. That is Thomas is a straight shooter, 2. He asked practical questions or rather very earthly questions to Jesus, 3. He, much like Peter, had a grand view of his devotion to Jesus, willing to die with Him. 4. He simply wanted the same proof, as was given to the other disciples, of Jesus’ resurrection, it isn’t too much of a stretch to imagine Thomas remembering Jesus’ own teaching that many will come claiming to be Him, and Thomas simply didn’t want to go along without being convinced.

As I grew up, I struggled with the problem of doubt, every time I read the story of Peter walking on water or the fig tree withering due to faith, I wanted to be a man of that faith, and I would attempt at having bold faith, but the thoughts of doubt would follow and the more I tried not have those thoughts, the more they came

As I was mulling on this, over the years, (not immediately), God, through His Spirit and His Word, gently made me understand 2 things,

First, I discovered, that there are different Greek words for doubt, all translated into English as doubt, but they all have a slightly different meaning and connotation in Greek. Now we don’t have the time to go into all of the Greek words, but the ones relevant to our discourse are 1. Distazo: To stand in two ways, or to waver and

2. Diakrino : to separate thoroughly, to withdraw from, to oppose 

3. Apistos: not believing. And Jesus when he was giving us instructions to not doubt, he was using the word diakrino, which means to separate, that is to turn away from, He was telling us not to withdraw from the faith with which we speak in the first place.

And Second, In the passage of Peter walking on water and of course other places where the question “why did you doubt?” came up, I was concentrating more on the people who are being spoken to and not on our Lord and Saviour, It was such a wonderful moment when it dawned on me that in all those instances Jesus always stepped in and did what He does so wonderfully: Saves the day!! It is this Character of our Saviour that we should concentrate on, He will never let us down, He is in control and will not let any harm come to us. Praise the Lord! What a wonderful Saviour, isn’t HE?

We are not disqualified by our weakness, 2 Cor 12:9 His Power is perfected in our weakness. He is a wonderful Saviour who knows us and is compassionate. So the answer is no our doubts don’t disqualify us, but as His Word warns us, we have to not separate from, the Faith in Jesus and His Grace and power, doubt of the kind of Pharisees, where they opposed the notion of Jesus as the Saviour, as Christ. And in this case, it certainly didn’t disqualify Thomas from having an amazing encounter with Jesus and his Love.

Love in Action

Stepping back in the passage, we see Jesus when He enters the place where the disciples were, He specifically addresses Thomas, and invites him to check the marks of His wounds (Verse 27). This is so wonderful, is it too much to think that Jesus specifically came to address Thomas and his concerns? Imagine, this is the Risen Saviour! Exalted God and He makes a special appearance to Thomas. Wow how special and loved Thomas must have felt.

Isaiah 42:3 says A bruised reed He will not break, And smoking flax He will not quench.  This verse talks about the Messiah, that He will not be like the Human rulers before him, He will rule with compassion and justice, and here we see Jesus demonstrating this verse, in that, He did not make light of the concerns of Thomas, He gently gives Thomas the “proof” he needs to stop his unbelief and make him believe. He did not enter the room and start blasting Thomas, condemning him for questioning the other disciples, He is compassionate and just and He simply invites Thomas to have a more intimate revelation of His Risen self.

Even as Jesus shows His hands to Thomas, He is gently reminding Thomas of what He had taught them, about His body being given for Thomas, about how He was pierced for Thomas. Jesus bears the marks on His body with love and Jesus, God from the beginning, who was with the Father from the start, who, the Bible tells us, created all things, chooses to identify himself with these marks and wounds! What a wonderful Saviour we have! He is indeed meek and gentle and his compassion for us is so amazing. We can be so encouraged that He values us to that extent, He values our reconciliation to God and Himself and chooses to be identified by that act of His.

We can even see this in the context of the lost sheep story, that Jesus came to Thomas, He didn’t let Thomas think whatever he wants to, He came to convince him.

 

My Lord and My God: the grand confession.

There is no record of Thomas actually, putting his hand on Jesus’ marks, but the Love of God, coming to him to address him, compels Thomas, convinces him and swats away his doubts about the resurrection of Jesus. How could Thomas not be touched by this wonderful gesture of Jesus, who knew the thoughts of Thomas and came especially to him, to be close to him and assure him.

The Gospel of John is usually divided into 4 parts the Prologue, the Book of Signs, the book of Glory and Epilogue, in the book of Glory we are told about the impending glorification of Jesus after his death, Jesus has now risen, Glorified, He could have chosen to have a choir of angels around Him to get Thomas to believe, but He chose a personal encounter with Thomas, very tailored for him. Thomas so touched by this has the greatest moment, where he recognises this is MY LORD: to whom I submit, and Jesus is indeed GOD: In whom I believe.

John, very especially has put this story in his writing, as a culmination of, the result of his efforts in making this written record, to get his readers to do what Thomas did, to believe that Jesus is Lord and God!

The journey of Thomas from being sceptical to the grand confession of faith should serve to encourage us, as Jesus himself put it, happy are those who don’t see but yet believe, again even in this statement of Jesus, we should not read it pessimistically, as it being a criticism of Thomas, but rather as the best-case scenario of having believed without seeing results in a special blessedness/happiness.

Conclusion
Let us be encouraged today, that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever, He is always going to love us and even in scenarios where our limitations exist, He has compassion on us and He will be there, standing next to us and will lead us by His Holy Spirit and His Word, He will reveal Himself, His Godly Self, His Power to us as we need it and He will save us, and He will do so, in gentleness, in Love and meekness.

If we have gone away from His will, or have done things which we know are out of sync with God, we have encouragement that the God who loves us, who came to give his body for us, who bears the marks of the wounds He took for us, who was pierced for us, who was bruised for us, understands our limitations, and will gently bring us back in his fold, if we recognise and confess His Lordship and His Divinity.

What a wonderful Saviour!

As John says, so do I, all this I have spoken so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, if you have yet not believed, I encourage you, Believe and make the confession “Jesus, is My Lord and My God”

 


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, April 12, 2021

Freedom In Christ

 


This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on April 4th 2021 by Colin D via zoom. For the audio please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.

FREEDOM IN CHRIST

Gal 5:1 It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Romans 6:3-11

INTRODUCTION

This letter is written by the Apostle Paul. Paul establishes and reminds the Galatians that he is an Apostle not chosen by man but by Jesus himself. (Gal1:1)

Unlike his other epistles where after the regular salutations, he would remind them of their salvation, calling etc and then get to why he is writing his letter; we find that here in the third sentence itself he tells them the reason for his letter. He is shocked that they have turned away from grace.

 The law came through Moses but Grace through Jesus (John1:17). The Law was put in charge to led us to Christ (Gal3:24)

He reminds them that they are all sons of God through Christ Jesus and not the law. Therefore, ALL are in Jesus – Jew, Greek, Salve and free. (Gal3:28) We are the new vine that has been grafted into Jesus and now because the Holy Spirit dwells in us we can cry Abba Father (Gal4:6-7)

Ch5:1 – JESUS has set us free.

WHAT IS FREEDOM

 Freedom is the ability to make choices using the freewill God has given us. When we were slaves to sin in a way we could not really choose. We could not help ourselves from sinful thoughts and actions.

Jesus came to set us free. True freedom is found in the Cross. This is why Jesus’ resurrection is so pivotal to our faith. Your old nature was crucified on the cross along with Jesus. You are made alive and new in Jesus. Your old self is not raised to life. You are Born again – a new creation.

However, there are behaviours, sin habits and lifestyles, thought patterns that we need to work on. This process is called sanctification. Our behaviour is influenced by how we think. How we think is influenced by what we believe.

I’d like to pause and ask a question. What are your core beliefs?

HOW ARE WE SET FREE?

 When we say Jesus came to set us free it implies, we were not free before that. We were all therefore under bondage or slavery. To what?

Christ came to set us free from the law: living by rules and regulations which we call a legalistic lifestyle.

We were all slaves to sin. God made a perfect world with Adam and Eve as objects of His love. In that perfect world, there was perfect freedom.

Was there absolute freedom in the Garden? YES. From God’s perspective, YES. The world and the devil would like to tell us otherwise and therein lies the problem. This is what the devil tempted the first couple with – to believe that they were not truly free as long as they obeyed God and lived within the safe boundaries, He gave them.

Adam and Eve fell for this trap and instead of experiencing freedom, they fell into bondage.

True freedom is not without boundaries. Those boundaries keep us from pain, and sadness and misery. When we live by God’s will we are absolutely free.

The cross sets us free from the penalty and the power of sin.

What are we set free from? Old sinful habits, un renewed thought patterns, old identity and the requirement to live under the law.

Many believe that a magic wand is waved over our heads when we are saved and that is why they get disillusioned or do not know how to handle life’s challenges, personal weaknesses etc.

What we know by faith we have to act upon. Our old nature has been crucified on the cross. We still need to deal with the sin habits. We call this the renewing of our minds. We have to unlearn old ways of thinking and replace them with new belief systems.

On the other hand, there are some who do try to live by a whole set of rules – dos and don’ts that are not found in scripture but based on culture and human tradition.

The more dangerous deception is when we use scripture to stay in bondage.

Renewing involves removing and replacing. We have to get rid of old beliefs and thought patterns and replace them with new ones.

What do we replace them with? We replace them with the truth. What is Truth? Truth is the infallible WORD OF GOD.  

We read our bibles day in and out yet we do not experience freedom. Why? This knowing is not head knowledge. It's not information. Information that challenges us to change our beliefs and thoughts will lead to transformation. This kind of knowing will set us free.

We need His empowering enabling Grace in our lives that comes by being immersed in the Holy Spirit. Only then can we produce fruit of the Holy Spirit that will last. This new life is not about behaviour modification but heart transformation.

Change your beliefs and your behaviour with automatically change e.g.) Covid has changed how we do life because we believe it can kill us.

 

BELIEF ABOUT GOD

Do you believe God not just loves you with agape love but He likes you and the way HE made you?. He did not die to give you worth. He has accepted and approved of you from eternity.

But because of our world systems that are controlled by Satan its foundations are in the orphan way of thinking which is this system of performance-based acceptance. And we transfer this to our heavenly Father, the result is legalism. “Legalism is an attitude. It’s a system of thinking in which an individual attempt to gain God’s love and acceptance through good works or service.” Charles Stanley

 

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE THOUGHTS PATTERNS I NEED TO BE SET FREE FROM?

What I have seen in all our years as Christ-followers and in the ministry is that the battle for freedom from wrong beliefs which lead to wrong behaviour is one of the biggest battles, we Christian’s face. This affects our personal holiness, how we view God and relate to Him and how it affects us on a day-to-day basis is in how we relate with others.

 

Let us look at only 3 patterns today (Idols of the heart that become strongholds of thinking):

LOOK GOOD – This is all about outward appearances. This is marked by insecurity and you hide who you really are. You live life pretending to be someone else.  It’s bondage. This happens when we do not live out of our identity in Christ. We look for other people and things to prop up our good looks.

 So, you lie, cheat, deceive and create false impressions.

Here we will want people’s approval. The person will perform to gain approval and attention. A test is how you react when people do not appreciate you or you get overlooked. Will you continue to serve with the same faithfulness and fervour?

People-pleasing behaviour patterns are developed to feed this need. You find it difficult to say “NO” because you want the maintain the image of the ‘nice guy.

It will mask itself in good works.

Because I want to feel good about myself, I indulge in comparison and unhealthy competition.

 They are jealous of others blessings and success. Because they can have a superiority complex, they can be critical, judgemental, and gossip.

Inwardly some can suffer from an inferiority complex where they don’t feel good enough about themselves and often feel guilty for not measuring up to their own standards.

They will manipulate people and situations for their personal gain and advantage.

They are opportunity-driven and not value-driven.

They fear failure. They have personal agendas well masked.

Life in God is about being authentic and real. It is about living from the Father’s approval and knowing that you are already loved and accepted.

 

FEEL GOOD

We live in a very sensuous world. Everything is about making you feel good and this has led to lifestyle choices that are harmful.

You can’t always feel good. God has given us a lot of emotions. God feels angry, grieved, jealous, sad, happy, joyful etc. Emotions tell us what is going on inside of us and what and how we need to respond.

So, while we are NOT ruled by our emotions, they are markers about how we are experiencing the world around us.

Our feelings are a response to our thoughts which are dictated by our beliefs. If we believe that all negative emotions are from the devil or an indication that we do not have faith; the result will be that I deny those emotions and live with unreality.

We do not deny facts. We also declare the truth. E.g.) I am sad that my daughter is unwell (FACT) but I know God can and will heal her (TRUTH). I am sad I lost my job (FACT) but I know God is my provider (TRUTH)

They don’t like to move out of their comfort zone. They do not want their life challenged. Comfort is an idol and they will cloak it in spiritual language of grace and God’s will.

The need to feel good can also result in self-medicating addictive behaviours that give you that constant “high”. For some it is religion.

A test would be: how do you react when sad things happen in your life? Are you able to acknowledge the pain and still confess the truth found in God’s word? Look at the psalms – they are full of raw admission of reality and confessions of faith. Even Jesus said He was greatly distressed. Did He not trust in God? Of course, HE did.

BE RIGHT

This behaviour is fuelled by the belief that I need to be perfect. Perfectionism drives what I do and how I relate with people. Therefore, because I expect people to be perfect, when I fail, I think that now “people will reject me, are think I am a let-down, a disappointment, a waste of time “etc.

So, we need to be right at any cost. This leads to lying, cover-up, deceitful behaviour, rationalizing our faults, blaming others, inability to take responsibility for our behaviour.

These people find it difficult to share weaknesses, be vulnerable or authentic. Apologizing and owing up is the hardest thing for them to do

They are unable to show grace to others. These people forget that they too are flawed and full of weakness.

To be right they will exercise control though driving the narrative of what is going on in their life. They create a reality that suits them.

A test would be how quick are you to admit your fault? How quick are you to repent and seek forgiveness? Or do you find yourself arguing, explaining, rationalizing, blaming others for what you need to take responsibility for? Are you able to overlook other people’s weakness and give grace? Remember 70 times 7.

ALL of us have elements of all 3 of these wrong belief systems. But as we renew our minds, we will get healthier and learn to walk in true freedom.

WHAT IS MY RESPONSE?

“Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

While Paul was talking about legalism and going back to Old covenant rules of circumcision etc. There is a principle here that applies to anything belief or behaviour that is not in line with the freedom Christ has won for us.

How do I respond? I respond by changing my beliefs.

LOOK GOOD

Know that God approves of you and gives you unconditional worth. He delights over you. He does not think badly about you when you fail. I am already declared righteous and I have nothing to prove to anyone.

FEEL GOOD   

Know that God will not leave you alone. He is always with you in your highs and lows. He does not reject us when we are having a bad day. He is close to the brokenhearted. He knows all your thoughts even before you can speak of them. You are fully accepted and eternally loved.

We transform our beliefs by taking thoughts captive and subjecting them to the Truth found in the Word of God and make them obedient to that truth but meditating on it and replace our convictions/beliefs.

This will release me from wanting to create an impression that everything is always honky dory and fine. I will have an accurate assessment of where I am right now and how I am feeling.

 

BE RIGHT

Know that God loves and accepts me despite my weakness, sins and failings. He does not punish me as my sins deserve but His grace comes rushing in when I acknowledge my wrongdoings and repent. He is for me and not against me. He loves me completely and will never reject me.

 It was for freedom Christ set you free. And it starts with your beliefs which affect how you think, which affects your feelings and your behaviour.


   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, April 6, 2021

Peace, Purpose And Power Through The Cross

 

This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on April 4th 2021 by Colin D via zoom. For the audio please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.

John 19:

On Friday, we looked at the sufferings of Jesus. When we watch a movie, if the good guy gets beaten up, I get angry. On Good Friday, the most innocent person was beaten, spat upon, whipped. He suffered an excruciating death.

Jesus suffered physical agony, emotional trauma and spiritual separation from the Father

Was Jesus a victim? No, he was the Victor!

John 10:8 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down on my own.

When we look at the crucifixion, all the players were part of the Cross's plan. He said, "It is finished!" Not I am finished. He was in control of His life. He gave up his spirit. Jesus needed to suffer for you and me. Why? For the joy set before him.

 John 19:38-

Jesus is taken down from the Cross in a hurry and placed in the tomb. There was no time to embalm him.

Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene goes to the tomb.

What is resurrection – Jesus was raised to life again in a new body, never to die again. Jesus raised many to life, but it was not a resurrection. They all died at some point.

The greatest enemy of man, death, was conquered that day.

Look at the devotion of Mary Magdalene.  While it was still dark, just at sunrise, she went to the tomb because she wanted to embalm her body. Her devotion was rewarded. She saw two angels in the tomb who gives her the good news, and as she comes out, she meets Jesus Himself, and He talks to her.

 

Matt 28:2

The stone over the tomb was huge. The angle was sitting on it. Imagine how big the angle was. The guards fell as though dead.

Do you know who was expecting a resurrection? The Chief priests and Elders

Matt 27:62 - They secured the tomb.

1Cor 15 – the resurrection is the cornerstone of our faith. So believing in this is very important.

 

3 THINGS ABOUT THE RESURRECTION

John 20: Go to the other disciples and tell Peter. Imagine Jesus singles him out. What amazing grace, forgiveness and love?

V19-  the disciples were in, the doors were locked, and they were fearful of the Jews

Jesus comes through the walls, and he shows his side and hands. And Jesus says peace be with you.

Peace is peace between God and us. We were enemies of God before we know Jesus. Rom 8:7,- the mind that does not know God is hostile to God

Rom5:10 – if when we were God's enemies.

The Cross reconciled us to His son

Col 1:21, we were enemies in your mind because of your evil behaviour.

Now we are reconciled, and we are a part of His family, and we are his friends, and He calls us His sons

Now we can have peace bet us and others in Christ. Gal 3:28 – we are all one in Christ. God has broken the dividing wall of hostility.

We need to preserve that peace and love. No matter where we meet Christian s we become family because we have one Father.

 PEACE

There is peace with ourselves as well. Jesus gives us peace that the world cannot give. Heb9:14 – How much more ….cleanse our conscience. The power of the Cross is that God can cleanse us of any sins. We can rely on the work of the Cross, and the penalty of sin is taken away, Not to sin but to serve the living God.

This peace is received by receiving God. John 1

Rom 5:1

 PURPOSE

John 20:21

As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. We are saved for a purpose. Between our conversion and heaven, there is a purpose fr our living. We are being sent just like Jesus was sent. – to serve and give his life as a ransom for many.

Our purpose is to serve the body and to share the good news. In our busyness, we need to make time for our primary purpose. Let us not lose sight of this.

 POWER

Jesus gave us peace, purpose and power. He gave them the Holy Spirit. John20:22

Acts 1:4 wait for the gift my Father promised. V8 You will receive power when the Hole Spier come s on you to be my witnesses to the end s of the earth.

IF you forgive, they will be forgiven; if you don't forgive, they will not be forgiven. I.e. when we preach the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, it is Jesus speaking through us, and if anyone does not receive our words, they miss out on the forgiveness that He has to offer and vice versa.

Jesus suffered died on the Cross not as a victim but as a Victor. He rose again from the dead, and what happened to him will happen to us. This is what Easter is about.

  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.