This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on October 13th 2022 by Colin D'Cruz. For the audio & video please click here. To listen to the worship please click here.
We are just a few weeks away from Christmas. People around this time of the year just get into a relaxed mode. Imagine a marathon. People finish it in 3 ways
They collapse and don’t finish
They finish with a lot of difficulties.
They see the Finnish line and put in an extra burst of energy to finish well
We need to pick the 3rd option. A lot can happen in 7 weeks if we give ourselves to it. Maybe this year has not been good, maybe just moderate. But we can still finish strong. We will look into the lives of people who lived this way to inspire and envision us. We need to enjoy God, make friends and change lives.
Enjoying God - Cornelius - Acts 10: 1-4 “At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, "Cornelius." And he stared at him in terror and said, "What is it, Lord?" And he said to him, "Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God.”Acts 10:1-4
He was God-fearing. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. This is a good fear. One aspect of enjoying God is to be devout and God-fearing. We have been delivered from the wrath of God only because of Jesus. God doesn’t change. But because we are in Christ we come into his presence. The fear of God is a good thing. Exodus 18:21 - Moses was asked to find men who feared God.
He was Devout - which means he was faithful. Cornelius was faithful in giving to the lord and to the needy. Would you describe yourself as one faithful to God and to His church? Will you be faithful in the things of God? PLUS ONE- We are not to be content with where we are but to keep growing in faithfulness. Aim to do something that you’ve not been doing yet. Cornelius was devoted to prayer which reached God.
Making friends - Christianity is not a religion but a set of relationships. We are adopted into God’s family with other brothers and sisters. Acts 18: 24-28 ““Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was an eloquent man, competent in the Scriptures. He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he wished to cross to Achaia, the brothers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. When he arrived, he greatly helped those who through grace had believed, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the Scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.”
Humility of Apollos- he received from Priscilla and Aquila. It later says that he was of great help. This happened because he was taught by Priscilla and Aquila. Heb 10:24 Let’s spur one another to love and good deeds. There is a little bit of pain involved. Let’s encourage each other towards godliness. Start talking about spiritual things when you hang out. Ephesians 4:15 “instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the head, that is Christ.” Bridge illustration - first build the bridge and then spur one another.
Action point - who will you schedule a coffee, a tea, dinner with? Will you invest in them? Pray for them. And we need to also be humble to receive like apollos which only made him better. When is the last time you spurred someone onto godliness?
Changing lives - Acts 8:4 - 8 ““Philip went down to the city of Samaria and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs that he did. For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city.”
But how did Philip get started? He was chosen to serve at tables. In acts 8: 29, he was walking or running alongside the chariot. He hears the guy reading scripture and started talking to him. “So Philip ran to him and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet and asked, "Do you understand what you are reading?" And he said, "How can I, unless someone guides me?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. Now the passage of the Scripture that he was reading was this: "Like a sheep he was led to the slaughter and like a lamb, before its shearer is silent, so he opens not his mouth. In his humiliation justice was denied him. Who can describe his generation? For his life is taken away from the earth." And the eunuch said to Philip, "About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?" Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.” Acts 8:30-35 ESV
Here is a person who was not yet in Christ. But Philip reached out and God used him to bring the Ethiopian eunuch into the kingdom. So pray and ask God to show you people who should be invited.
John 4- Jesus himself was in Samaria and had a conversation with a woman who came to draw water. Jesus is asking her for help. Don’t hesitate to ask for help. That simple statement of Jesus opened something up and the gospel went to the entire village. Her testimony made a way for many to believe.
God has placed you here because he has a purpose for you. Part of that is to share the gospel with people. We have a great responsibility. Make a list of people and start praying for them. Look for opportunities to initiate contact with them.
Imagine if you make these 3 changes in your life in these 7 weeks, do you think you’ll grow? What’s stopping us? Our spirit is saying yes, but our flesh can say something else. Paul says he beats his body to obey the spirit. It is helpful if we have accountability with one another. You will grow stronger as you do this and the church of Jesus Christ will be built. Amen.
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English-speaking 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 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 about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.