Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Let's Make History Together

 This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on Oct 24th 2021 by Nigel P via zoom. For the audio & video please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.

We are going to look into the book of Jeremiah, chapter 1 and focus on the words, "Word of the Lord came."

Jeremiah 1:1-3 ESV - The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, one of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, to whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, and until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the captivity of Jerusalem in the fifth month.

In these verses, we see the following -

Word of the Lord came
It came also

Why does the Word of God come?
When does it come?

Jeremiah 1:2 ESV - to whom the word of the Lord came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. 

In the days of Josiah, 13th year of his reign, days of Jehoiakim, until the end of the 11th year of Zedekiah, until the carrying away

We see that it came 4 times again and again. It came at the "Now Moment".

We live by written Word. At times, the Word comes to us at  "Now Moment".

We've been in the pandemic for so long that some started wondering where God is. Some have become comfortable. There's so much happening - trials in families, churches, we got a shock in the beginning.

God has plans. Spirit of God helps us move forward. We pick up something from the Word of Jeremiah.

Why does the Word come? And to whom?

Though the Word had come to Jeremiah, it was for God's people to warn them of the captivity. God's "Now Word" comes because they are God's people. He wants them to be restored. The "Now Word" has the potential to quicken them. When it comes, it has power.

In Bible, when Moses died, Joshua received the Word at the "Now Moment". As God's people, we can be prone to give up or sin and ignore God's call on us.
As a church, we need to think. Do we have a purpose? I believe God has a Word for us.

The "Now Word" is always a part of "Always Word"

Jeremiah 1:4-5 ESV –

The Call of Jeremiah

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born I consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

 

We begin to see the "Now Word" comes to Jeremiah. It's always in context of God's people. What God says is "always".

 

1. Prophet to nations, ordained for the nations


God gave a promise in the garden of Eden. He promised a seed which is Jesus, that would effect the nations. It started right at the beginning. In Genesis 12, Abraham was called the Father of Nations. Now after 1500 years, Jeremiah got that same Word. It came as "Now Word". It's not new. It has always been there.
Who are you? You, I, the church. You are ordained. The church is for the nations. We are not to be survivors but influencers. Hey Church! Wake up! God has ordained you.

Though the pandemic is not over, God wants you to pick up something. Something about the church is going to change. What are we doing about our neighbours, colleagues, friends etc. God is reminding us that we are ordained.
So, God's first reminder to us is that we are ordained for the nations to bring life, hope to the people in the city.

 

2. Formed... Known by God


Jeremiah is about to be called prophet to the nations. To him, God says, "I formed you, chose you, picked you for a purpose.
Once I heard a prophetic song which I still remember. It goes  like this - I know you, you know me, let's make history together.
God is reminding us like Jeremiah - " I chose you to make history"

1 Peter 2:9 ESV - But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

The word "formed" is very important.

In the most powerful nation, Egypt, the Israelites were formed as a nation out of slavery. How can that be? It is only possible through God. Not just formed them, but God also delivered them and made them leave with gold, silver and many other riches.
We must understand that God's people just can't come into existence. God forms people. Word of Grace church didn't come into existence but God formed you.

When you read Psalm 139, you will know that each of you was formed for a unique role to play.

The word "knew" - long before you existed, I knew you Jeremiah.
What does that even mean?

It is an element of God knowing us intimately and choosing us to have a relationship with us. Your DNA is changed. It is of God's DNA.
He knows how to shape us. In some versions of the Bible, it is written as "Adam lay with Eve" This is about the intimate sexual relationship. In some other version, it is written as "Adam knew Eve".
So, knowing is a very deep and intimate thing. It is not just for purpose but to be known inside out.
There is something different about Christians. God knows us. And we must know Him. Know that He loves us and knows every flaw of ours.
Though Peter denies Jesus, He reinstates him.
God knows you. He wants to make history along with you.

3. Set you apart

Jeremiah 1:5c - before you were born I consecrated you;

I have set you apart before you were born. He sanctified you. Set apart for not anything else but for God's purpose.
Church, you are set apart. You may come and love this church but not just that. Every member of the church, every believer is set apart for God, for nations and for people around us.
We need to relate to people with reference to God. Saying sorry to people, being angry or taking revenge, everything must be in reference to God.
Many people don't like to consistently move ahead. The "Now Word" is for greater numbers and for greater fruitfulness. In Acts, the believers met everyday and broke bread together everyday. God wants us to get back on track because -

He has ordained you, ordained for nations - your neighbors, colleagues, friends

He formed you and knew you

He set you apart for His purpose - for nations, people around you

 

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. 

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Creating A Counterculture Part 5


 This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on Oct 17th 2021 byNavaz D via zoom. For the audio & video please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.

CREATING A COUNTERCULTURE – PART 5.

CREATING A COUNTERCULTURE – PART 5


 

1. 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 came to establish a spiritual kingdom not of this world and which is eternal.

Jesus was describing how a true disciple or citizen of the Kingdom should live.  The Jews had encountered and experienced cold, cruel religion that was ritualistic. It fulfilled the letter of the law, but it was cold and heartless. Through this sermon, he is showing them how the law really needs to be interpreted and applied.

Here is a caution I would like to add as we listen to God's word this morning. Jesus ends his sermon with a parable of two men; one who built on sand and one who built on the Rock. Sand is the religious ritualistic approach where we like our ears to be tickled with information but makes no transformational impact. The one who builds on Rock is like a true citizen of the Kingdom where it is transformation inside out. My prayer is we will not merely be hearers of the WORD but allow Him to rearrange our hearts, minds, and actions.

SUMMARY

Jesus starts with the foundational core beliefs, which are these:

Unless you see yourself as insufficient, poor, and depraved spiritually, you will never in humility to God nor acknowledge your need of a Saviour. When we encounter our human depravity, we need to mourn our sinful state so that we may know God's pardon and comfort. Godly sorrow or mourning leads to true repentance, i.e., heart conviction that leads to behavioural transformation. This requires meekness – surrender to God because you know that you can do nothing apart from Jesus. From this place of dependence and surrender, we will seek, hunger and thirst for His Kingdom and righteous rule first and above all else. And He promises that all this and more shall be added to us.

 Today we are going to look at the next beatitude. Probably one of the most difficult to put into practice.

2.BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL, FOR THEY SHALL OBTAIN MERCY. MATT 5:7

Blessed or happy- Everybody is in pursuit of happiness. Is it wrong? No. Here is what Jesus is saying: you want to be happy? Then this is how you will find true happiness. Happiness is a by-product of the kingdom lifestyle.

Happiness is found in being poor of spirit, mourning, meekness and hungering after righteousness.

Today people are in the pursuit of happiness. They feel it's in the accumulation of wealth, things, and a certain lifestyle that they will be happy. This is the great deception. Depression has been on the rise despite this. This great deception is leading to greatest depression of all time.

As Christ-followers the secret of the Kingdom has been given to us. We need to be the happiest people on earth because Jesus has shown us how.

The true pursuit of happiness will drive us into the presence of Jesus. He said if we abide in Him our Joy will be made complete

BLESSED ARE THE MERCIFUL:

Keep in mind that Jesus is addressing his followers. If you are in the Kingdom of God, you have already obtained mercy. You can only enter the Kingdom of God if you seek God's mercy.

The mercy seat is the starting place. We all come to God and receive pardon because of His rich mercy.

Mercy is at the heartbeat of God. Were that not the case God would not have made a way for His people to obtain forgiveness. We can look at all the animal sacrifices in the OT and think God was so harsh. Quite the opposite. He was providing them with a way out until the fullness of time when He sent Jesus to die and be that sacrificial lamb once and for all. So, it is mercy all the way through. Ps103 reminds us that He does not treat us as our sins deserve. Let us never forget that.

The central message of the gospel is God who is rich in mercy made us alive in Christ.[1] He demonstrated his love for us while we were yet sinners.[2] He chose us before the foundations of the world were laid.[3] Just stop and thank God that He chose to have mercy on you and me.

The Kingdom of God is all about giving not getting. And even what we receive from God is so that we in turn can give.

Jesus has always been concerned with what's going on in our hearts- because out of the overflow of the heart we speak and act. That is why the first 4 beatitudes deal with our hearts. From that place and only that place can we do the rest.

3. WHAT IS MERCY.

The Romans and the religious leaders were merciless. The Romans saw mercy as a sign of weakness. Jesus was merciful and compassionate to the poor, the blind, the cripple, the demon-possessed, the sinners, tax collectors.

This word mercy – Elemnes is used only twice in the NT. Here and in Hebrews 2:16. The other Hebrew word Chesed is the more commonly used word.

Kingdom people are mercy givers. It is tangible.

Mercy is an element of salvation[4] (Eph.2) So mercy is behind the scenes in salvation. Mercy is behind forgiveness.  Mercy and forgiveness are two sides of the same coin.

God's mercies are new every morning (Lam 3:23, Is 43:19). He gives us a fresh start each day. Mercy is more than forgiveness. Mercy gives us a second chance, because we are commanded to forgive 70x7.

Mercy is not giving someone what they deserve.

Grace is giving someone what they don't deserve.

E.g.) Someone steals a meal from the canteen. Judgement would be you call out the wrongdoing and punish the crime.

Mercy is not punishing the crime.

Grace is giving you another hot meal. You cannot have grace without mercy. You cannot show grace without a proper understanding of mercy. Mercy also requires action.

Where can we expect mercy from?

Can I expect people to be merciful to me? I cannot demand it, nor can I expect it, nor am I entitled to it. I can expect mercy only from God. It is not your right to ask or expect mercy from people. Jesus who showed so much mercy to the broken were the very ones who screamed crucify him!!

Is this mercy deal a tit for tat? If I show mercy, I will be shown mercy? No! this is addressing people who are already in the Kingdom who are there because they were shown mercy first. Also, it would be a contradiction of salvation based on grace alone. So, we must always understand scripture in the context of the whole counsel of scripture.

4. WHAT MERCY IS NOT.

We cannot give mercy where we are not authorized to. As a teacher, I must grade a student in all fairness. It is not up to me to overlook the wrong answers and mark them right.

Mercy does not excuse wrongdoing. It is not calling wrong as right. Remember Jesus in His mercy did not condemn the woman caught in adultery but neither did he condone her sin. He told her to go and sin no more. He called her up to a higher standard.

Mercy is not avoiding confrontation. We could disguise as mercy when we are afraid to confront conflict because of our need to please people.

Mercy does not encourage dishonesty, disloyalty etc.

Mercy does not condone indiscipline.

Mercy is not toxic where it enables irresponsible behaviour.

5.WHAT IS MERCY? (CONTINUED)

And yet mercy is not treating a person as they might rightfully deserve. It is like the parable of the unmerciful servant. The other servant owed him money. He had every right to throw him in jail…. But he was shown the better way. He was forgiven a debt he could NEVER repay. He had an opportunity to do likewise.

Mercy requires that we are able to see people's pain and respond with a heart of pity and make the effort to help, even if it is someone who has illtreated you — that's mercy.[5]

It is kindness, compassion in action.

Mercy is costly- it will cost you even financially, emotionally etc. It is to give someone something they don't deserve when they have hurt you.

Jesus is not interested in our religion. He said I desire mercy and not sacrifice. You can pray, you can tithe, you can attend all the meetings and harbour unmerciful thoughts towards people. That is what Jesus was getting at when the teacher of the law asked Him what he should do to inherit eternal life. Jesus did not commend his religious acts. He gave him the story of the Good Samaritan where the kindness and mercy of the Samaritan toward the Jew (who considered him as unclean)

6. THE DILEMMA[6]

Real-life is complex for Christian people who seriously want to live out their faith in a sinful world. It is not black and white as some might think.

Remember truth comes in layers and is multidimensional. Sometimes we must hold two truths in tension i.e., Justice and mercy. We are called to be merciful while not allowing God's standard to righteousness to slide. For this we need wisdom from above: But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

7.                CONCLUSION Mingle Justice and Mercy

He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you. But to do justly,
To love [
a]mercy, And to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8

God's will is that sometimes we deal with people with what they deserve, whether punishment or reward (call that justice).

And God's will is that sometimes we recompense people with better than what they deserve (call that mercy). In upholding the claims of justice, we bear witness to the truth that God is a God of justice. In showing mercy we bear witness to the truth that God is a God of mercy.

 

So how do we know when to show mercy and when to show justice? This balance will come only as we walk closer to Jesus. We may get it wrong at times and we need to trust our redeeming God to overturn our wrong choices.

Even in our execution of justice we can show mercy. While we sometime cannot condone the action of a person, we can still be gracious and loving in our dealing with the person.

Remind yourself of how merciful God has been to you.

Remind yourself of how people have been merciful to you.

Think about how you can show mercy today. How can you make being merciful a lifestyle because it is a core belief? If we want to be more like Jesus then we have no choice but to be merciful.

 



[1] Eph 2: 4-5

[2] Rom 5:8

[3] Eph 1:5









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, October 11, 2021

How Great Is Our God.


 This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on Oct 10th 2021 by Colin D via zoom. For the audio & video please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.

We are going to meditate on a Psalm this morning – Psalm 8

 

 

 1.    God is great

The LORD used in the bible is representative of the YAHWEH and Lord is Adonai. When we look at it in depth, we see the difference between these 2 terms.

 Yahweh is the name y which God revealed himself to Moses. IN Exodus 3:14, the burning bush – God says to Moses that he is coming down to rescue the people of Israel and he sends Moses. After a long discussion, Moses asks, who should I say sent me? God says I am who I am – the eternal God without beginning and without end.

 Yahweh is called as the Tetragrammaton. The Jews would not even pronounce it. But David is first addressing this Yahweh! We need to realize who is this God we are worshipping.

 If you are facing difficulties in your life, remember you are coming to a God who is the eternal God, the great God who is our God.

 2.    Not only is God great, but he is our Great God:

Our Lord – He is not a distance God but our God. Adonai is a title.

 

3.    His majesty is incomparable:

how majestic is your name in all the earth!” – In exodus when God delivered the Israelites, they proclaim his majesty. You have set your glory in the heavens – we don’t know when David wrote this song, but maybe when he slept outdoors and as he gazed at the skies, he saw the stars and thought about God. Psalm 19:1 “the heavens declare the glory of God and the skies proclaim his handiwork”.

 If you look at the skies, we identify a few things. When we want to measure our height, we take a tape. For speed and distance we have dials in the car, etc. But when we look at the stars we use lightyears. To go from earth to sun will take 8 mins travelling at the speed of light. It takes 33000 lightyears to go to the end of milky way. To cross the entire known universe, it takes 20 bil lightyears. The expanse of the Universe is incredible.

 Gen 1: 16 “And God made the two great lightsthe greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the nightand the stars.

 Isaiah 40:25-26 “To whom then will you compare me,

    that I should be like him? says the Holy One.
26 Lift up your eyes on high and see:
    who created these?
He who brings out their host by number,
    calling them all by name;
by the greatness of his might
    and because he is strong in power,
    not one is missing.

 

Not one of the stars and the host of heaven is missing.

  

4.    He is mindful of man:

When we see the greatness of God and his great power in creation, we have an estimation of ourselves – “what is mankind that you are mindful of them”. God is so much greater than us than we are greater than ants. Yet he is mindful of us.

 You have made them a little lower than the angels and crowned them[ with glory and honor” – Man is significant because of God. We are made in the image of God. That is what gives is greatness.

V.2 “Through the praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.” – The moment we come to Christ, we have an enemy. The way God silences the enemy is through praise. The praises of God even from the lips of children are sufficient to silence all the enemies. Matt 21: 12-16 after cleansing the temple “But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, Hosanna to the Son of David! they were indignant, 16 and they said to him, Do you hear what these are saying? And Jesus said to them, Yes; have you never readOut of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise?

As we spend time praising God, there is great power – the enemies of God are being silenced. When King Saul was possessed by an evil spirit, David praised God and the evil spirit left him.

5.    His plans are bring us to glory:

V. 6 “You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet” – this tells us that David knew the scriptures. Gen 1:28 “And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Due to sin, man started worshipping creation, but we are called to rule over it.

 

God has a plan of glorifying us. He set his love upon us and has a plan for us. Hebrews 2:6 “It has been testified somewhere, “What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that you care for him? You made him for a little while lower than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honor, putting everything in subjection under his feet.” Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. At present, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 9 But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.”

God plans to take us to glory. No title on earth can compare to the glory he has in store for us.

Let’s persevere in worship, humble ourselves, honour one another and proclaim the gospel.

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, October 4, 2021

Creating A Counterculture Part 4

 

This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on Oct 3rd 2021 by Lasya D via zoom. For the audio & video please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.

CREATING A COUNTERCULTURE – PART 4. Lasya D



CREATING A COUNTER CULTURE PART 4

 

Q: How many of you have experienced hunger for something specific after a meal? ice cream, something sweet, coffee, saunf, or something else… Our appetites are so distinct and are developed by our culture, our habits and our own propensities.

 Today we will look at what Jesus says Christians need to have an appetite for. We are in a series on the beatitudes in Matthew 5 where Jesus is introducing this upside down inside out kingdom of God. We have dealt with issues of heart attitude - Poverty of spirit, meekness, mourning - but today we change gears a little and talk about the appetites of a Christian. What should we long for? What does God bless? What longing does he satisfy?

 Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.


1.     Righteousness:

a.      What is righteousness? Simply a right relation with God and man- Illustration with legos.

                                                       i.            Positional righteousness- the doctrine concerning the way in which man may attain a state approved of God

Romans 3:23- 25 “23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”

We cannot be made righteous by our works. In fact in Isaiah 64:6All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags

Romans 4:3, Galatians 3:6 and James 2:23 - Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.

Gospel presentation - Romans 1:17 For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.

Romans 10:9 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

 

                                                     ii.            Personal righteousness - integrity, virtue, purity of life, rightness, correctness of thinking feeling, and acting

This does not come by striving but by yielding - in surrender.

1 Peter 1: 14-16 “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct”

Work out your salvation with fear and trembling

Illustration of the court disposal of cases - If you have put your faith in Jesus for your salvation you are justified - there remains no record of wrong against you - but if you have been justified by faith, the outworking of that is sanctification.

1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you.”

 

                                                  iii.            Public righteousness - justice or the virtue which gives each his due

This is righteousness in the land - we live in a time of rampant unrighteousness - murder, rape, human trafficking, dictatorship, corruption, persecution of believers, war, and all forms of sin. The very worst attitude we can take as Christians during this time is to be content in the fact that we are going to heaven and let the rest of humanity go to hell. Have you heard the phrase Rome was burning, Nero was fiddling. Let’s not be Nero. In the cause of Justice, let us not be apathetic or accusatory, but let us be ardent.

 

Isaiah 9:7 “He will reign on David’s throne

    and over his kingdom,

establishing and upholding it

    with justice and righteousness

    from that time on and forever.

 Let’s run this race with the shoes of the gospel of peace and the breastplate of righteousness and take hold of that for which Christ has taken hold of us.

 

b.     Why righteousness?

                                                       i.            Because he himself is righteous and we are called to be like him.

Jeremiah 33:15 “in those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, and he shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.”

Psalm 119:137, 138 and 142 “You are righteous, Lord, and your laws are right. The statutes you have laid down are righteous

 

                                                     ii.            It is a facet of his kingdom

Romans 14:17 “For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 89:14 “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of your throne; steadfast love and faithfulness go before you.

 

Psalm 119: 142 “they are fully trustworthy. Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true.

 

When righteousness - right standing with God and man is establish in our lives, we become trustworthy. When that is the foundation we can actually build a life on it that pleases God.

 

                                                  iii.            It is of primary importance to God

Matthew 6:33 “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” All the blessings of God flow through a right relationship with God.

Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”

Amos 5:23-24 “Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Not that God despises worship, but we need to do that in tandem with righteousness - position, personal and public righteousness.

 

 

2.     Response - Hunger and Thirst

to crave ardently, to seek with eager desire; those who are said to thirst who painfully feel their want of, and eagerly long for, those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, strengthened

 All of us hunger and thirst for something! What do you hunger and thirst for? Validation, recognition, security, comfort - let's think about what drives us.

 The person who doesn’t hunger and thirst is the one who is 6 feet under.

 But by the grace of God we have been brought from death to life! In fact even when we are unwell, we have trouble with hunger. So it is a sign of spiritual health when we hunger and thirst for righteousness.

 Colossians 3:1-3 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God

 It is important what we long for. The Psalmist says in Psalm 84: 2 “My soul yearns, even faints,  for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” Psalm 42:1 “As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God” Psalm 63:1 “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you, in a dry and parched land where there is no water.” Can you see the intense desire - the longing to see God? For his Righteousness, his Kingdom… that is the hunger and thirst that God responds to.

 What do we do to grow in this hunger and thirst?

     Pray for the nations and these issues (the spirit will himself intercede through us with groanings too deep for utterance). There are only 2 things mentioned in the bible where heaven responds to something man does - when a person turns to Jesus (Luke 15:7 “n the same way, there is more joy in heaven over one lost sinner who repents and returns to God than over ninety-nine others who are righteous and haven’t strayed away!) and when saints pray (it rises as incense to His throne- Rev 8:3 and Psalm 141:2). If the prayers of the saints are as incense before the throne, let us saturate the air of heaven with the smoke of our incense. Let us be persistent in prayer.

 

       In your area of influence, be diligent and watchful about righteousness - remember progress not perfection.

 

3.     Reward - Shall be satisfied

 

What is the reward of hungering and thirsting after righteousness? That we will be satisfied. Psalm 63:5 “I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods” Since righteousness is not of man but of God, we cannot satisfy ourselves. But when we hunger and thirst after righteousness - he promises to satisfy us. Psalm 104:28 “when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.” St, Augustine said “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you

 So how does he satisfy us?

a.      Past - The wrath of God was satisfied on the cross - so when we place our trust in Jesus, our longing to be right with God is satisfied - not because of righteous deeds but by faith. Isaiah 53:11 “When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins.” The one who can satisfy is He who has satisfied himself in the work on the cross - so there is no wrath that remains towards those who put their faith in Jesus.  Romans 8:1 - 2 “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.2 And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”

 

b.     Present - Psalm 23: 3 “He guides me along the paths of righteousnessTitus 2:11- 13 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” He satisfies us not only in salvation but in sanctification  by giving us the grace that is required - he not only buys us the car but also fills up the fuel.

 

c.      Future -  But on this side of eternity we will never experience utter satisfaction for our hunger and thirst for righteousness - because sin and injustice still plague this world. Which is why Jesus says in John 4: 13 -14 “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

 

We can be wearied by the unrighteousness and injustice in the world. But we await a saviour from above and it is only in His presence that this becomes clear to us.

 The Psalmist felt this way when he says in Psalm 73: 3 “For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. V.13 “Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure and have washed my hands in innocence. When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors. When you arise, O Lord, you will laugh at their silly ideas as a person laughs at dreams in the morning. Then I realized that my heart was bitter, and I was all torn up inside. I was so foolish and ignorant-  I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you. Yet I still belong to you, you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, leading me to a glorious destiny. Whom have I in heaven but you? I desire you more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever.”

 

 

Revelation 21: 4, 6 “ ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelation 22: 1 - 3 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.”

 On that day our longing will be fully satisfied and until then we need to continue to hunger and thirst for righteousness. 



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.