Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Creating A Counterculture Part 7

This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on Nov 21st 2021 by Lasya please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.

 Creating a Counterculture: Part 7 - Blessed are the Peacemakers 

Close your eyes and imagine the most peaceful place on earth. What comes to mind? How many of you just thought of a place with a lot of people? None, I'm sure! Why is that? Because people disrupt peace. In continuation of our series on creating a counterculture, we are going to study not only how to get peace but how to make peace. Peacemaking is a divine assignment very different from peacekeeping.. Peacemaking is a completely different approach. It is much more involved and countercultural. Peacekeeping involves cover-up and control but peacemaking exposes the truth. 

Our verse for today is Matthew 5:9 - “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God

Let’s pray

Martin Luther King Jr said, “Peace is not simply the absence of tension, it is the presence of Justice”. The Bible actually takes it a step further. The word for peace in the Greek - Eirene comes from the root word eírō meaning “to join”. The word Eirene/ Shalom in Hebrew means one, peace, quietness, rest. It is a part of the High Priestly blessing, it is a greeting in the Jewish culture… but Jesus says, not only is it blessed to have peace but it is blessed to be a peacemaker. So that is what we are going to look at today. 

  1. The person of peace 

    1. Know Jesus: Peace is the person and the presence of Jesus. Isaiah 9:6 Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Luke 2: 13-14 “13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others-the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

He restored ultimate peace between man and God, and to be a peacemaker, we need to know the prince of peace. We cannot have the peace of God without peace with God.  How can you be assured that you know the Prince of Peace? 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.

  1. Receives His peace John 14:27 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ” What are the keys of peace? 

    1. Set our mind: Isaiah 26:3 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you”; Romans 8:6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peaceAction Point (AP)- When anxious thoughts and cares to take over you, stop and listen for the voice of God by setting aside time for it, set your mind on him at random points in the day by reading the Word of God or reminding yourselves of the nature of God. Think about how you can practically incorporate this into your daily life.  

    2. Pray - Philippians 4:6 “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God which surpasses understanding will guard your hearts and minds” When you feel troubled or anxious, do you gravitate towards praying or something else? Watchman Nee wrote, ‘Our prayers lay the track down which God’s power can come. Like a mighty locomotive, his power is irresistible, but it cannot reach us without rails.’

    3. Practice what you have heard - Phil 4:9 “What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”. Faith may come from hearing, but peace comes with practice. AP - Obey the things you understand. Do the things you already know to do. If you want to stop stressing out about your to-do list, do the list. Don't wait for peace to do what God has called you to do.  The peace of God is hiding in our obedience.

  2. Pursues His peace - Psalm 34: 14 repeated in 1 Peter 3:11 “Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”; Ephesians 4:3 “be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” Romans 14:19 “So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.” We cannot be neutral about peace - we are called to pursue it. Romans 12:18 says as far as it depends on you, live at peace with all. Is that you can not go any further or you’re not willing to? 

However, the pursuit of peace must not precede the pursuit of purity. There is a reason for the sequence of these beatitudes. Righteousness and then mercy. Purity and then peace. James 3:17 “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peace-loving,” Any pursuit of peace over purity is unwise. Eg: of Aaron. It is in this context that Jesus says I’ve not come to bring peace but a sword. If you just dont want to ruffle any feathers, you’ll have a tough time truly following Jesus. We all need to carry our cross in order to follow Jesus. 

  1. The product of peace

    1. For us - shall be called sons of God. The word for shall be called in this means to call in a loud voice or to bear a name or title. We see this happen in Matthew 3:17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” This is what God does with peacemakers. 

    2. For the world - Romans 8:19-21For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. 20 For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God” The rising up of the peacemakers is freedom to the whole world. 

    3. For God - Ephesians 2 :22In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” Peace and oneness is to his ultimate glory. 1 Peter 2:5 “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”When peacemakers arise, the dwelling place of God is built and he is glorified! That is why we pursue peace. 

So I have been reconsidering some of my own relationships … with friends, with family… and saying maybe I will pursue peace in this relationship a bit more. Maybe there is more peace in store than we think is possible… beyond our understanding. Until we attain that eternal peace - when we will be face to face with God - let’s pursue peace on earth because it glorifies God and it pleases him. 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. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Brokenness In the Hands Of God


his message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on Nov 21st 2021 by Abhishek  Bansode D via zoom. For the audio & video please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.

When we are broken in the hands of God, we are safe and he holds us. Psalm 147:3 “He heals the ”

Isaiah 35-3-4


In 2019 I was at a very low point in my life. I was broken! An image came into my mind – an epoxy coffee table – a broken piece of wood can be turned to something of worth and value. So I was encouraged by this. In the hands of God we can be made into a unique masterpiece. Brokenness in the hands of God can lead to something beautiful.


We can be broken physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc. It can be different for different people. Broken means crushed, destroyed, burst. It is a painful existence. But in that, the good thing is what Jesus says, he has been sent to heal the broken hearted.


The knowledge to rejoice in is that he heals us without any merit. Luke – 4:18. He makes is into a master’s piece.


3 Characters who were broken and what can we learn?

1.      David

a.      God has made David into a person who has a legacy forever. But David was broken

b.      He was disregarded by his brothers and by the king. He experienced humiliation at a very different level. He had to flee his own kingdom because of his sons. The Psalms all talk about his heart’s posture while all of these things were happening. He was broken.

c.       We too might be broken because of something that has happened to us. But we can do 2 things:

                                                              i.      Holding on – Isaiah 40:29 “he gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.” V.31 “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faith”. He gives us the strength and then rewards us for holding on.

                                                             ii.      Cried out – Psalm 56:8 “You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected al my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book”. His compassion for us is astounding! What a good good father we have. David was expressive and emotive and did not have any problem expressing himself to the Lord. He takes it seriously. God is on our side.

2.      Elijah

a.      Elijah was an amazing prophet of God. But he was broken! 1 Kings 18 Elijah wanted to die. Depression is a very real thing and there is no shame in seeking help from a qualified professional for clinical depression.

                                                              i.      Feeding and resting – 1 Kings 19 The angel of the Lord came and gave him food and allows Elijah to rest. God says I know the journey is long for you. He is compassionate and understands. We too need to rest and refuel ourselves by feeding on the Word of God and his abundant love.

                                                             ii.      God’s intimate relation with us – 1 kings 19:11-12 “The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.” We might want massive things to happen, but God is in the still small voice – a voice that is for us. His intimate still small voice is for guiding me.

3.      Paul

a.      2 Corinthians 11:23- 29 “ Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?” None of us have suffered like this. In addition, his friends abandoned him when he was in prison

b.      But in the hands of God, he has done great things for the kingdom.

                                                              i.      The sufficiency of Grace – 2 Corinthians 12:9 – 10 “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” To be made perfect is like the epoxy table. It means to fill up. He fills us what is lacking in us. In our brokenness there is such grace to look forward to. There is weakness but God’s weakness comes and fill up.

                                                             ii.      Endurance because of Eternal Hope- 2 Tim 4:7 “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” This is the proof of the sufficiency of Grace. Romans 8: 35 – nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. The love of God is the driving force for a person like Paul who was so broken to endure till the end.

In the hands of God, submitted to him, our broken lives can be made beautiful.  

 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, November 14, 2021

Creating A Counterculture part 6


This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on Nov 14th 2021 byNavaz D via zoom. For the audio & video please click here.  To listen to the worship please click here.





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

At the time of Jesus Christ’s coming into the world, Israel was in a desperate condition. Politically, and economically Israel was under the bondage of the Roman Empire.  Spiritually Israel was also in great trouble. We want to focus here on the spiritual element because that’s what the Beatitude addresses.

Every Jew feared being excluded from the KOG. That was at Nicodemus' heart as well and Jesus says unless you are Born Again you cannot see the KOG!!! The lawyer’s question is the same – what shall I do to inherit eternal life? The crux of these questions is “how can I get right with God?”.  Was not the scriptures clear on this?

And it is that question of the heart that Jesus answers in the Beatitude. How good does a man have to be? What is required? What is the standard? Here it is in verse 8, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” What is necessary in order to see God (which is really another way of saying to enter into His kingdom)? What is necessary for a pure heart?

Notice that the beatitudes have a progression. And this is the pinnacle.  We first need to be poor in spirit, recognizing your spiritual bankruptcy, which leads us to mourn over our condition, and then we are meek and humble because of that condition and realize we need to hunger and thirst for His kingdom. From that place, we can grant mercy to others because we have experienced it first.

 Jesus came to establish a spiritual kingdom and is describing the heart of the Kingdom, its values, culture and practice.


Jesus is thrashing the theology and understanding of the scriptures of the Pharisees. He is it and showing them the real way, the law needed to be applied.

I would like to correct myself. Jesus was introducing a Right Side up Kingdom and not an upside-down kingdom. The God of the Old Testament was and is always kind and gracious and does not treat us as our sins deserve. If that were not so, Psalm 103 would not bear witness to that.

The human interpretation made is graceless and judging and shaming. Did God shame King David? God always acted justly and even in that there was mercy.

So, this beatitude hits hard at the gut of the Pharisees interpretation of the law-keeping. You cannot understand God’s commands without a relationship of love with Him. When we do that, it gets reduced to rules. We know that God has always been interested in our hearts and not our actions alone. Actions are judged by the intentions of the heart.

Jesus said we clean the inside of the vessel and not the out. What comes out of the mouth is more important than what goes in. Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.


I feel this is at the heart of the Christian life. And I feel a prophetic unction to call us up to higher ground to live from a pure heart: to have a passion to preserve and guard our hearts against being corrupted.


It is the seat of all our emotions, personality, affections, desires – the very center of our beings. So, God as always looks at the heart (1Sam 16:7) – for out of the heart flows the issues of life. (Prov 15:7, Prov 4:23) The heart is also a lens or a filter from which you understand life.


The heart is where good and evil stem from. Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness. (Matt15:19). The Psalms says in Ps 24:4 Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord – the one with clean hands and a pure heart.

Ps 51 David’s prayer was for a pure heart – he knew this was the root of his sin and his sinful actions.

1 Timothy 1:5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith



The ones that realize that their heart is not pure.

Here is the FULL GOSPEL that we often fail to preach and follow through with it.

We have been saved; our sin nature has been crucified to the cross. We have been justified and declared righteous – that is our standing before God i.e not guilty, all sins paid for in full. And it does not stop there, but often we stop our presentation of the gospel at this point. Yes, the gospel is being saved by grace, and the gospel is grace that teaches us to say no sin and yes to godliness.  AND God is continually cleansing us by washing us with the Word (Eph 5:26 Same root word for clean in Matt 5:8, John 13:10-11, john 15:3  καθαρο Katharoi). God wants to restore us to wholeness in body mind soul spirit.

There is an ongoing cleansing work. How do we know this? Read John 15 – the pruning process.

We are being sanctified – for that we need to be able to recognize the impurities in our heart. You cannot fix what is not broken.  We all have the baggage of sin habits that we need to put to death, and we must believe in the power of the finished work of the cross which can deal with that. The only way to have a pure heart is to first realize you have an impure heart


Another word for pure is sincere – without duplicity, without agendas, manipulation, or double-mindedness. We must learn to walk in this manner. And we learn to live like this when we live by the Spirit

Purity of heart is singlemindedness in what we desire

Purity is walking with integrity

Purity also has a quality of innocence – wise as serpents, innocent as doves.

James talks about us not being double-minded or having our affections and desires divided James 1:8. In James 4:8 he says, purify your hearts you who are double-minded.

John Bunyan has a character in Pilgrim’s progress called “Mr Facing Both Ways.”  When you are double-minded you are not blessed. Because with our faith it is impossible to please God.


The pure heart upholds the truth and does not alter it to suit its convenience.

Jesus talks about focus – love the Lord your God with all your heart mind soul strength.

“Purity of heart is to will one thing” Soren Kierkegaard.

Purity of heart does not mean we will not sin or be without sin. This would be in contradiction of 1 John 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. and we deceive ourselves. We are like Gold that has impurities that is being refined in God’s furnace of sanctification.



Gal5:19-25 19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual , immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things, there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 

 A cold heart -We are warned that in the last days the hearts of many will grow cold- 1 Tim 6:

Jesus put it another way – no one can serve two masters.

A hard heart – when our heart is clogged with pride, bitterness, being judgemental, unforgiveness etc it can dull the conscience.

A double-minded heart.


Ps 119:9 How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.

John 15: by abiding in Jesus. Learning to walk in step with the Holy Spirit.

Purity of heart takes being very strict with your conscience – not allowing even a hint of conscious deceit in your life. It is not trying to manipulate situations. It is refusing to deal with half-truths and cover up, lies, dishonesty

James says this person is unstable in all that he does. Also, you need to hold up the mirror to your soul each day. The Mirror is the Word of God Doing this will prevent your conscience from being dulled, misinformed, or seared.

God is looking for purity. He will come with his winnowing fork. Will you be the wheat or the chaff?

King David knew this. When his sin with Bathsheba was exposed, he realized that he had sinned against God.

At the beginning of the year, we had a prophetic word of the virgins with the oil lamps and that we need to trim our wicks of all the impurities so that there will be no smoke. What have we allowed God to trim from our lives? Are we filling our jars with the oil of His presence that will help us sustain?



When we are single-minded about becoming Christlike, this is the reward – we will see God. This is the goal of everyone who loves Jesus – to be able to see Him and have communion with him. This is what Adam and Eve enjoyed in their pure state. Their only love was God and to delight in His presence. Till they were tempted with something far less and which shut down their ability to see God. That plagued all of humanity.

Moses had one desire – show me your face

David – longed to see God’s face and dwell in his presence forever.

Man has always tried to get closer to God or to become one with Him and have tried to do it in their own strength. Some have tried it by isolating themselves from the world. Some have gone into monasteries. Some have tried to beat evil out of themselves or do some form of penance.

If it were possible by these means we could irradicate the world’s problems. But this is not so.

What does it mean to “see God”?

It is a deeper revelation, illumination, insight, understanding, intimacy, relationship with God. From this follows that we will know His ways, heart, thoughts and will.

Why is seeing God so important?

 Without Jesus we have no life. He has the words of eternal life. He is the source of living water which will quench our thirst once and for all! He is the source of our being, our joy, our fruitfulness. It all comes from abiding in Him and growing in intimacy with Him.

Only when we hunger and thirst for righteousness will be develop a pure heart. You cannot have one without the other. That is why we cannot study each Beatitude in isolation. They are all interconnected.

Today I am calling and encouraging us to live the Christian life as it should be: Where Inside and out is the same and it is the Right side up!!

The pure of heart receive the most wonderful reward. They shall enjoy greater intimacy with God than they could have imagined. The polluting sins of greed, envy, lust, and deceit and lies have a definite blinding effect upon a person.

The reward of an intimate relationship with God must become our greatest motivation for purity, greater than a fear of getting caught or a fear of consequences.  Because purity would mean owning up to the impurities in our heart and sometimes that would mean confessing to someone that is affected by your sin.

 How badly do you want the fruit of godly living in your life? Then you will seek it no matter what it costs you

Are we willing to let go the need for self-preservation and humble ourselves before God? Purification is a process of pain. Change is pain. When the pain of staying the way, you are is greater than the pain of the process of pain, you will embrace change. But when we allow ourselves to be moulded and purified by the refiner’s fire, we become this pure gold that has this translucent quality like a mirror.

Those who have had a revelation of God hunger for more and more of Him. O taste and see that the Lord is good.

In the same way there is an invitation to come and taste, come and drink (Isaiah 55:1, John 7 :37-39, Rev 22:17) And the more you thirst after the presence of God nothing else will satisfy and everything else will taste insipid, rotten and putrid. You will not be able to stomach it anymore.

There is so much to say about the presence of God and how beautiful it is and how inviting and attractive.

Do you want your life to be sorted? Allow God to rearrange your heart. Then you will see things clearly, you will be able to discern God’s good perfect and pleasing will for your life. And His will for your life is the best and life-giving.

 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.