Tuesday, September 28, 2021

The Art Of Journaling Your Journey With God.


  This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on Sept 19th 2021 by Navaz D via zoom. For the audio & video please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.


1 Timothy 4:13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of scripture to teaching and to preaching.

This is something we are commanded to do in scripture. As we let the word of God wash over us, there will be a transformation.

 

Why should we read scripture?

2 Tim 3:16-17 “ All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a]may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

 1 Corinthians 14:26 – “What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. 

 

We want to see all of these come at the meeting.

 1 John

 Each group will meditate on one chapter. Each group will share a revelation, an instruction etc.

 

S – Sin to avoid

P – Promise to take hold of

E – Example to follow

C – Command to obey

K – Knowledge to rejoice in  





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, September 20, 2021

Creating A Counterculture Part 3


 This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on Sept 19th 2021 by Navaz D via zoom. For the audio & video please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.

CREATING A COUNTERCULTURE – PART 3 . Navaz

 INTRODUCTION

Over the last few weeks, we have been looking at how Jesus came to usher in the Father's Kingdom- an upside, inside out Kingdom.

Jesus also said that when citizens of His Father's Kingdom live like this, it brings glory to the Father. And Jesus' reason for coming to earth was to do the Father's will and bring Him glory. Matt 5:16: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.".  So right off the bat, we are told the intent.

The last two weeks, we looked at Blessed are the poor in spirit, for there is the Kingdom of heaven. Poverty of spirit is the gateway to salvation- expressing our need and dependence on a Saviour.

Then we looked at Blessed are the those who mourn for they shall be comforted. When we live from the Father's heart, we will mourn over the unrighteousness and wickedness we see around us, and we will find comfort in God's word that God is sovereign and in charge.

We have already looked at what Blessed means – to be happy, to enjoy the favour of God. Let us ask God to speak to us through today’s text.

 

Today we are going to look at the next beatitude.

Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Matt5:5

This beatitude is probably a reference to Psalm 37 which, the Jews recognized. Psalm 37:9 and 11

V9 "but those who hope in the Lord will inherit the land."

V11 "But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.."

Jesus is taking things in the OT that the Jews were already familiar with, showing them the Father's heart of how it needed to be applied.


Look at these pictures

 





Both men have guns. Both horses are strong and fast.

Do any of them depict meekness?

MEEK- the Greek word is "Praus". Why do we look at the original meaning? Because the meaning and use of words change over time, we can lose the actual context of these words.

Meek has the idea of a powerful personality adequately controlled and of humility.

A meek person is not a passive, 'push over person'.

Do you know a soldier has to learn to become meek?

 A good soldier is a meek person – he is trained to fight, kill, subdue, and take land BUT only at the command of his General or superior. Every army needs soldiers who must learn to be meek first to win a war.

How is meekness different from humility?

Humility is how we look at ourselves – that we have a sober judgment of who we are and what we can and cannot do.

Meekness is about how we relate to people.

 

CHARACTERISTICS OF MEEKNESS

Meekness is not a personality trait. It is a character we are called to cultivate in this counterculture called the Kingdom of GOD.

1.TRUST – from Psalm 37, we see the meek "hope" in the Lord and "wait "for Him.

They do not put confidence in their strength or strategies.

2.WAITING – Hope often requires "waiting". Waiting is not passive. You continue to live a whole life seeking God's Kingdom.

Our faith is not a transactional relationship. You are not God's equal to dictate terms to Him. Many Christians have an "If.. then" relationship with God, which is unscriptural. We need to have an "Even if.." like the three men in the fire.

Like in Ps 37:5 Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will do this".  We need to learn to surrender our will to God's for Him to act.

3.REFRAIN FROM REVENGE – We are often reminded not to fret when evil men do wicked things. We are reminded to wait for God's vengeance and refrain from taking vengeance in our hands. It takes a tremendous amount of strength, courage, and self-control not to act spitefully.

3.SLOW TO SPEAK - James 1: 19-21 Know this, my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger, for the anger of man does not work the righteousness of God. Therefore, put away all filthiness and rank growth of wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.

When we lack meekness, we are quick-tongued and quick-tempered. We are therefore unteachable and want to push our own opinion.

4. QUICK TO LISTEN a meek person is quick to listen. They know their limitations and accept their faults.

Is slow to speak always soft-spoken? No. We know that Jesus was meek, and yet He drove out the money changers with a whip.

You can be in a situation of conflict and still be meek – as long as you are quick to listen, slow to speak, teachable and willing to be open to another's opinion.

5. TEACHABLE He is teachable. Because they have a sober judgement of themselves and are open to counsel and correction, they are teachable. Or do you kick back or play the blame game, sulk, and pity yourself?

Look at Jesus – Phil 2 tells us though He was the son of God he learned obedience through the things He suffered. Therefore, God exalted him. The way up is down.

6. WISE

A wise person is a meek person. James tells us a wise person is peaceable, gentle, and open to reason. The meek are teachable and wise. When was the last time someone could give you feedback, and you accepted it? When was the last time you invited feedback and not shoot the messenger?

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.  James 3:13

7. DEFENDS TRUTH

Meeks submits to and seeks truth in every situation.

Meekness stands for righteousness and truth no matter what the cost. We have the best example in Jesus.

Meekness is the willingness to submit our thought and opinions to a higher moral standard. The Bible is our plumbline.

Matthew Henry describes meekness as a kind of self-control. True, biblical meekness is a self-control of strength that makes us lambs in our own causes and lions for the cause of Christ.

MEEKNESS IS NOT

Weakness – you are not a pushover or a doormat.

It is not a lack of convictions - It is not fence-sitting and saying your truth is your truth, and my truth is my truth.

Matt 5:5b  "Shall inherit the earth".

Let us look at what happens when we become meek. The world tells you the meek are weak and that you are looser.

However, Jesus says that we will inherit the earth. Is this a new thought?

No. God's plan and design in the garden of Eden for Adam and Eve was to have dominion over the earth – to be in charge, to rule to steward it well. But they forfeited this privilege because of the fall.

Had Adam and Eve lived with meekness towards God, surrendering and submitting to His will, they would have stayed in charge. But we know they forfeited that privilege when they fell.

Jesus came to glorify the Father and to reveal Him to us and restore us to sonship.

When we live with meekness towards God, God will once again entrust all things to us. We are co-heirs with Christ and reign with Him are seated with Him in the heavenly places.

Now is this inheritance a physical one? Does this mean you and go and claim any land as yours? The Jews misunderstood the rule and reign of the Messiah. They wanted a conqueror, and not even the OT described the Messiah in this manner.

If you read Isaiah, you will see the Messiah portrayed as meek

"He will not shout or cry out or raise his voice in the streets." Is 42:2. 

It was there all along, but they did not want to see it. What can we learn from this?

Do not try and make God in your image or conform to a figment of your imagination. God will do this and that for me when I tell Him to do so.

EXAMPLES OF MEEKNESS

Jesus said of Himself Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. Matt 11:29.

Jesus demonstrated his meekness by saying I only do what I see my Father doing. We see Christ living out meekness flawlessly, emptying Himself as He carried out His Father’s will. Meekness turned the tables in the temple, had compassion on the crowds, called the Pharisees a brood of vipers, and prayed, “Not my will, but yours, be done.” It is meekness that characterizes the Lion of the tribe of Judah who is the Lamb that was slain. It is meekness that carried out the Trinity’s plan for our salvation. Increasing meekness in us is merely a reflection of our Immanuel. ( Matthew Henry)

Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane epitomized meekness.

Moses: was considered the meekest man that lived, and yet he faced Pharaoh. Moses the Pharaoh’s son was not meek – he killed a slave in the name of justice. Forty years later he comes back meek and leads millions out of slavery. In his own strength he saved one. Surrendered he saved millions.

Abraham was meek – he did not assert himself with Lot but let his nephew choose first.

David allowed himself to be ill-treated by Saul- he suffered injustice, unkind treatment.

Stephen was meek. Paul was meek. And they spoke up boldly when required. They healed the sick and spread the gospel, and both were martyred.

 

 

CONCLUSION

So, we see meekness as a Christlike quality. All the characteristics of living the Kingdom life reflect our King. When we become like this, we become more like Jesus.

·         He will increase and we will decrease.

·         His priorities will become ours.

·         What breaks His heart will break ours too.

·         We will embrace our circumstances in surrender to His will allowing His peace to guard our hearts and minds.

Meekness is not easy.  Without becoming poor in spirit, we cannot become meek. Without mourning over our pride and independence, we cannot come to repentance to desire change and become meek.

Let us ask Jesus to grant us the grace to become meek and submit to His authority in our lives.

 

Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service.  Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org. 

 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Dedicated Fathers


 This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on Sept 5th 2021 by Lasya D via zoom. For the audio & video please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.

 What exactly is a baby dedication? Where does it come from?

 

I'm going to go one step back and first explain that we at Word of Grace Church are Evangelical Christians. By that, I mean that the final authority for faith and doctrine is the Bible - the Word of God. The Bible stands above every Pastor, Bishop, Pope, authority, or even Christian Tradition. What that means is that every Christian teaching and practice must be compared with the bible and where the teaching or practice contradicts the Word of God, that teaching or practice needs to be brought in line with scripture or discarded.

 

In Acts 17 - The great Apostle Paul came to Berea and began teaching in the Synagogue.  The Bereans were described as noble because they received Pauls message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Acts 17:11).

 As you listen to the word preached or you engage in Christian practices like worship, baptism, giving, etc - do you examine the scriptures to see if what is preached is in line with God's word - or do you blindly take it in. So we at Word of Grace aim to be Evangelical Christians.

 Even when Jesus taught the two disciples on the Road to Emmaus in Luke 24:27 - He didn't just tell them to believe. He took them to the Scriptures. And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself. Our Lord Jesus himself upheld the authority of Scripture and pointed to scripture to validate events.

 So what is baby dedication?

 

  1. The dedication of babies is a Preference and not a command in scripture. So why are we doing it? Well, it's a good thing and does not contradict scripture. e.g. All those who are married - you must have had a wedding reception. Where is that commanded in scripture? Or you have celebrated your birthday. Where is that commanded in scripture? But wedding receptions and birthday parties are a good thing. The 2 ordinances that Jesus explicitly commanded in scripture are water baptism and the breaking of bread. We will come to them a little later.

 

  1. The Purpose of dedication. What is happening here? Christy and Esther are so thankful to God for blessing them with baby Jason, that they want to publicly thank God for this blessing and want to present him to the Lord, and commit themselves to raise him up in the ways of God. The purpose of child dedication is really to be found in the purpose of the parents. Rightly understood, the ceremony is one of parental dedication. The parents are pledging themselves to obey the command of Paul, who in Ephesians 6:4 (NIV), tells parents, to “bring them up (your children) in the training and instruction of the Lord.” 
  2. The Precedent of dedication is found in Jesus being presented to the Lord in Luke 2:22 22 When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. Jesus as an infant was presented to the Lord. Here it was the faith of the parents that were at work. At age 30 Jesus was Baptized. Here it was Jesus who chose to be baptized. 2 distinct events. One carried out by the parent's decision and one carried out by the individual deciding.
  1. The Process of dedication - what exactly are the steps that are prescribed in Scripture. Well the answer is found in Hezekiah 3:16. There is no Hezekiah 3:16 and there is no process prescribed in Scripture for dedication or for that matter a marriage ceremony or a worship service. We take our tradition and make it gospel truth when the reality is that Scripture gives us much freedom in choosing how we celebrate, what instruments we use for worship or even a traditional white gown and vows at a marriage service. There is no prescribed format! For a marriage, the only two conditions are that they should be male and female and both should be believers. But the white wedding gown, the vows and the ceremony etc. are more tradition than explicitly mandated in the bible.

 

So what about the baptism of babies?

 

  1. If you read the Bible from the index to the maps you will find exactly zero instances of babies being baptized. Zero, none. There are several accounts in the NT of adults being baptized - Jesus, the Ethiopian eunuch, the 3000 on the day of Pentecost, Cornelius and his household, the Samaritans, Ephesian disciples, the Philippian jailer and his household. In all these instances, they heard the word being preached, they believed and as a sign of their repentance and faith they were baptized.  Acts 16:31 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized.

The pre-requisite for being baptized is belief and repentance - Acts 2:38 Peter replied - Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins...

So that is why biblical Baptism is also called Believers Baptism.

Babies cannot believe and they cannot repent. So if you were baptized as a baby - it was probably more a dedication than Christian baptism. 

 

  1. Baptism - means immersion. Like a tea bag dipped in water.  In every instance where a baptism account is detailed in the New Testament - there is a body of water to get into like a pool or a river.  John the Baptist - did not sprinkle people - Mt 3:6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.

Mt 3:16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water...

  1. Baptism is a command of Jesus - Mt 28:19-20 Go and make disciples, baptizing them    At Word of Grace Church, we dedicate children rather than baptize them. Just as Hannah dedicated Samuel to the Lord and Joseph and Mary dedicated the infant Jesus to the Lord according to the Jewish custom. We believe dedication more closely follows the biblical pattern than baptism, of which we have no precedent of an infant being baptized in the Bible. Thus, this dedication does not impart faith or forgiveness of sins to JASON. Rather it is CHRISTY and ESTHER’S public acknowledgement that JASON is a gift from God to them, and that they have a spiritual responsibility for the Christian nurture and training of JASON.

 The precedent for child dedication may be found in Scripture, as in the presentation of Samuel to God by JASON in 1 Samuel 1:28 and the presentation of Jesus to God by Joseph and Mary in Luke 2:22.

 1 Sam 1:28 28 So now I give him to the Lord. For his whole life he will be given over to the Lord.”

 Luke 2:22 22 When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord

Ps 127:3 Sons are a heritage from the Lord, children a reward from him

 Paul reminded Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:15 (NIV), “how from infancy (he had) known the Holy Scriptures.” Jesus considered children to be infinitely precious, and in Mark 10:14 (NIV) said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” 

 

Charge to the Parents:  Let us hear the Word of the Lord as it comes to us in Deuteronomy 6:6-7 (NIV): “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

 1 John 3:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.  It is the command of God that we should diligently seek to raise our children in such a way as to lead them to trust Christ as Savior and serve Him as Lord. In response to this command, these parents bring their child today to present them to the Lord and dedicate themselves to this task.  

 A DEDICATED FATHER

I am going to share why a father is so important and why, if you are a father, you are important. In America, 90% of the prisoners are male. 75-90% of those prisoners grew up without a father. Suicides – 60 % of suicides take place where there is no father. 90% of homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes. 80% of all people who commit rapes are from fatherless homes. A father is a very important person. Our role is vital. There can be another instance, you can have an absentee father. When you remove a father from a home, society becomes sick.

 

Fathers are needed even with animals. In Kruger national park in South Africa, the elephant population was growing so much that they were endangering other animals. They moved some elephants to another park where there is more space. Moving elephants is a problem. So they only moved only the mother and baby elephants. At that other park, the white rhino was becoming endangered because they were being killed. So they set up cameras to find out who is killing the rhinos. They found that the young male elephants were going on a rampage and killing the rhinos. SO they moved some of the adult male elephants to that park. These elephants fixed the problem! If you’re a father this morning you are the adult male elephant that will shape the life of your children.

 

Q. What is your role as a father?

 

1.      To protect your family: Men and women are different. Sadly the world is trying to go into a genderless society. They are confusing function with equality. We are equal but we have different functions. Men are more aggressive. Women say let's understand one another. When the person who is supposed to defend the family starts attacking the family, it is not okay. We protect the family by taking on the heavy-duty work.

 

2.      To be the provider: in Genesis when God created men and women, God said the men had the duty to tend the garden and to bring food to the table. Sadly, in our Indian society, women are working and husbands are gambling. Your wife may or may not work, but you are responsible to provide for the family. 1 Tim 5:8if anyone does not provide for his family, he has denied his faith and is worse than an unbeliever”. Looking after the garden was the primary job of the man. Earn the right to lead your family by

 

3.      To be the promoter: Your job is to take your children and train them up to become the best that they can be. Proverbs 22:6train your children in the way they should go and when they are older they will not depart from it.” The first part is overwhelming love. Discipline is also needed. Either extreme is difficult. Eph 6:1-3Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” These are the 2 things sons and daughters are called to do. The command to fathers is this – in verse 4 “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” So you discipline out of love and not to exhaust them. You exasperate children when you promise and don’t show up.

a.      Hug your children and tell them I love you. Communicate love. Daughters who don’t get love from their fathers seek love out there. So beware of that.

b.      Love is spelt T-I-M-E. No matter what age they are, make sure you’re spending quality time with them.

 

4.      To be a priest for his family: it often happens that the women in the home are more inclined to follow God and the men want to do something else. In Joshua 24:15And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” In 1 Corinthians 11 Paul says imitate me as I imitate Christ. So, fathers, your behaviour will determine the outcome of your children.

 Today we know better and we can strive to be better fathers. We have been given an amazing privilege and responsibility from God to lead our families.

 

   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, September 6, 2021

Creating A Counterculture Part 2

 

This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on Sept 5th 2021 by Lasya D via zoom. For the audio & video please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.


Sermon on the Mount – Creating a Counterculture - Part 2 (Matthew 5:4-5)

 

 My first introduction to the Christian lifestyle as a new believer was the book of Matthew and until chapter 5 it was a storybook, and suddenly, the book was speaking to me – when I was going through the beatitudes for the very first time, I remember feeling I was going to have to renounce the world and live as a nun. Blessed are you when you are persecuted? Blessed are the poor, the mourning, the meek, the hungry? To be honest, it scared me.

 But as I developed a relationship with Jesus, I’ve come to understand that His heart is to bless those who are becoming like him. We are not just to be the poor, the mourning and meek, the pure and the persecuted. We are also the comforted, the inheritors of the earth, the satisfied, the children of God, the rewarded. Why do we do these things that crucify the flesh? so that we can be raised with him, in glory and fullness of life. His blessings always surpass the cost, it is always disproportionate. That is how we are to view this passage - not as a list of rules, but as a doorway to blessing, inheritance and reward.

 Last week navaz spoke about this upside-down kingdom that's so countercultural, that goes against the grain of everything that the world teaches us. And today I want to talk about the inside out kingdom. The world looks at performance and rewards the outcome, but God looks at the heart.  Before going on to things like murder, adultery and divorce, Jesus addresses mourning meekness, mercy, purity - he addresses the matters of the heart for everything we do flows from it. Our scripture for today is Matthew 5: 4-5 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

 

 In this passage, Jesus is dealing with how to get our inside world to line up with the kingdom of heaven. We started off last week by understanding the blessedness in confessing our utmost dependence and need for Christ. Today we will look at how we express our need for God in our hearts, our mind and our attitudes. How do we get our internal world in alignment with the values of heaven?

 1.      Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted

Contrition leads to comfort – This statement seems like a total paradox. The word blessed in the Greek also translates to happy. So, happy are the unhappy? It makes no sense! But theologians agree that the mourning referred to here is not just a state of our emotions, but a mourning in the spirit that leads to repentance.

 

    1. Why do we mourn?

Today we live in a grief averse culture – we have 101 ways to cope, avoid, and be distracted from feelings of grief, brokenness, guilt… (illustration - yoga seminar) and then since we don’t mourn, we remain unchanged and we don’t find comfort in the things of the world.

                                                              i.      We mourn into repentance: 2 Cor 7:9-10 Paul says “As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us.10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.” In Acts 11: 18 “Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life”. Repentance is a gift and proper mourning - not regret, not self-condemnation - leads us to repentance and transformation.

                                                            ii.      Mourning invites fellowship with the spirit: It is not the mourning itself that makes us happy, but when we mourn in the spirit, we have fellowship with the spirit - the spirit of comfort. Psalm 34:18 “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Isaiah 66:2 “But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”  Psalm 51:17 “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

 

    1. What do we mourn for?

                                                              i.      Our own sin - Mourning is not just a doorway for unbelievers to enter into salvation. (Illustration - Gym membership) This passage describes primarily, the life of a Christian and not the world.  We need to mourn as a people who ourselves are not wholly sanctified. (illustration - Heart of worship)  In the late 1990s, one worship leader stood on a stage with no sound system and sang his song of mourning - I'm sorry Lord for the thing I've made when it’s all about you. The song Heart of worship became an anthem for a whole generation who said, hey, I’ve not been living right. I need to set my heart right before God. Luke 18: 11-14 “ The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ 13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.

                                                            ii.      The world - Jesus, who was without sin, mourned as well. In Luke 19: 41 “And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it”; He mourned over the state of the city that was chosen and loved by the Father. He wept at the tomb of Lazarus – He did not mourn because Lazarus was dead, because he knew he was going to raise him up – he mourned for the state of man and the effect of sin. It was a spiritual mourning. It sounds very poetic when we sing in a song break my heart for what breaks yours - but when was the last time that your heart was broken over the concerns of the Lord? We need to mourn for our own sins and the sins and state of the world.

 

    1. How do we mourn?

                                                              i.      We don't make a show of it - The mourning of the spirit is done with fasting and prayer and Jesus gives very specific instructions on how to fast and pray Matthew 6: 16-18 “And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 17 But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, 18 that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

                                                            ii.      Mourn until you are comforted - 1 Samuel 1:16-18 “ Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.”17 Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” 18 And she said, “Let your servant find favour in your eyes.” Then the woman went her way and ate, and her face was no longer sad.” It’s uncomfortable to mourn - it feels bad, but let's not be too quick to make ourselves feel good. For me, it is entertainment and shopping. Disarm the thing that you run to when you want to feel good. Mourn and stay uncomfortable until you are comforted by the Holy Spirit - because then we are able to comfort others with the same comfort we have received. We don't mourn as those who have no hope.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4 “who comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

 

Take the opportunity during our 3 days of fasting and prayer to set time apart to mourn in the spirit over your own sins and the sins of the world and we will experience the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

 

2.      Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth

Submission leads to succession - The Greek word Praus which is translated as meek refers to being gentle, humble, considerate, and courteous. In fact, Jesus referred to himself in Matt 11:29 as Praus (gentle) and lowly in heart. Since Jesus is Praus he calls us to be praus - meek.

 

    1. What does it mean to be meek?

                                                              i.      Not an inflated opinion of ourselves - To be meek means to have an accurate estimation of ourselves and others. Closely connected to mourning - if we cannot see and mourn over our own sin, we will have an inflated opinion of ourselves. (illustration - Instagram filters) Meekness is not a personality trait but a heart attitude. All of us are called to be meek.  Phil 2:3 “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” How about people who are lower than you in socio-economic status, in righteousness, inexperience… this is how - we wash their feet. Serve those who are below you because when we serve, we get to know their stories.

                                                            ii.      Not a doormat - Meek does not mean weak. it does not mean to give up all power and just be a yes-person. That is false humility - to not take responsibility for ourselves and blame others for the state we are in. meekness does not mean a lack of confidence - it means having a rightly placed confidence - not in our flesh but in God. In fact, all the great leaders we see in the bible were mighty meek men - it’s not an oxymoron. Not only is meekness a quality of great leaders, but it is a qualification for leadership in the church - 1 Tim 3:2-3 “ Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, ..., respectable, hospitable, able to teach...not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money” Leadership requires that we take ownership for our own selves and our decisions, while still maintaining a posture of meekness and gentleness. Consider Stephen - the great martyr who saw Jesus himself welcoming him into heaven as he gave up his life for the gospel - his assignment was not preaching to thousands but to be a server for the Greek widows at meals.

 

    1. How do we develop meekness? - These are spiritual disciplines that we cannot do in our flesh, so we need the holy spirit to grow in meekness. ( come to relational dynamics seminar this evening to equip yourselves with some practical dimensions of how to live this powerful yet meek Christian lifestyle)

                                                              i.      Sober judgement of ourselves - Romans 12:13 “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned”. Our attitudes are shaped by our thoughts. Meekness, which is an attitude of the heart, is developed by thinking of ourselves with sober judgment. (Illustration of recording myself singing)

                                                            ii.      Do not promote ourselves- Trust that God in due time will grant you the very thing you seek. Matthew 20:20-22 “Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.” Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” Instead our attitude must be like that of David - the anointed king -disregarded by his father and despised by his king, being chased to kill and driven away from his own country, his land, his inheritance by the current king Saul, still submitting, still honouring him as he says in Ps 16:6 “The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance” Ps. 37:11But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.

 

    1. How do the meek inherit the earth?

Story of the prodigal son - he demanded what is rightfully his - he followed all the self-help books and went and got what was his. And then he squandered it on reckless living. It might not mean a severed relationship with the father, but the inheritance once squandered is not coming back.

 

Instead we need to adopt the posture of Jesus as he did in the garden of Gethsemane - the very location of this sermon. In Luke 22:39-46 “39 And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives ... and knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” 43 And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground”.

 

Philippians 2: 5-11 “Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” This is the example we are to follow as followers of Jesus.

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.