This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on January 15 th 2023 by Colin D'Cruz. For the audio & video please click here. To listen to the worship please click here.
GET COMMITTED – PART 2
We are going through a 6 part series on what it means to be committed to Word of Grace as your local church. Our vision, values and DNA are outlined in these sessions.
1. Baptism in Water and the Holy Spirit – One of the first commands that Jesus gave His disciples was to go into all the world, preach and baptise. Baptism is an outward expression of what has happened inside of you. Jesus was baptised. Acts 2:38 – Three thousand people believed in Jesus and Peter’s first instruction is to get baptized. Baptism is by immersion. Some practice infant baptism and sprinkling. Baptism follows repentance. If you are not baptised by immersion you need to, if you have put your faith in Jesus.
2. Baptism with the HolySpirit. When you believe the Holy Spirit is with you. You cannot believe in the Holy Spirit. The apostles were saved at the resurrection and yet Jesus asked them to wait for the promised Holy Spirit. Spirit-filled. There is something called being filled with the Spirit and this changes you from being timid to bold like Peter. Before being baptised in the Holy Spirit he was afraid of a servant girl. After being baptized he was bold and spoke to 3000. Jesus baptizes us to the Holy Spirit. We can’t do it. In John Jesus is referred to as the Lamb of God twice but five times He is referred to as the one who will baptize you with the Holy Spirit. Then we are also called to be filled with the Holy Spirit. It is an ongoing filling.
Acts 8:17-18 - “Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.” We can pray for you but Jesus baptises you. When this happens your life is transformed- you become an overcomer and grow in intimacy with Jesus.
3. Prize the presence of God - Moses said to God in the book of Exodus that if your presence doesn’t go with us then we won’t go. What makes you different from any other gathering, a club etc? It is the presence of God. We always want that. Not only do we want the presence of God, but we want each one to play our part in bringing in the presence of God.
1 Cor 14:26- “What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.”
All of us have a role to play. We make room for people to share testimonies, to share on the breaking of bread, offering etc. John7: Each one of us has the Holy Spirit and when we spend time with him, we will be bubbling up with something to share. Ask God to give you something to bless someone. When we all bring our gifts, it’ll be like a rich banquet.
a. It would be wonderful if we see great healings etc every Sunday. We want to see signs and wonders and we do pursue that. But the Bible says we can faith that moves mountains, but without love, it is nothing. We want to be loving, kind, and forgiving to one another. It is a key value. when someone comes to the meeting, we consider them valuable. Following Christ is in the community.
b. Hospitality is very important in this. Have you been invited by someone for a meal here at Word of Grace? The Bible commands us to be hospitable. It is not to invite your close friends and relatives only but to have strangers over. Make sure you’re eating with someone in the church. Out of 21 meals in a week, dedicate one meal to eat with your brothers and sisters, to build your relationship with a stranger. Jesus ate a lot with all kinds of people. When Jesus rose from the dead, what did Jesus do? He cooked breakfast for His disciples! The last supper happened in a home. Eating with people who are not from similar backgrounds, is powerful. When we eat together, we are saying I accept you. Even singles can be hospitable. When I was 17 years old I had many families over for a meal when I was a student in Cyprus. Yes, it will cost you.
c. Part of being a loving community is to meet one another’s needs. During the pandemic, we took collections in the gym groups to help those who lost their jobs etc. When we all do a little, God multiplies it. Don’t hoard, give away to someone in need.
d. Building relationships: people don’t generally leave churches because of theology; it is because of offence. They are offended because someone did something or they think someone has offended them. Taking offenceis a trap. We need to build authentic relationships, where we can speak the truth in love. It is good to clear things up because it could be an imagined offence. Seek clarity. Navaz has put together a teaching on relational dynamics. We teach about conflict and how to resolve it. Conflict is over an issue; strife is when you attack the person. So, we want to express love in every way.
5. A church where biblicalfamily life is valued: Family is important. Today even amongst Christians, family is not valued, and many singles are not interested in marriage! We have a teaching on how to biblically navigatemarriage, parenting, etc. godly families are powerful. In some churches, it’s all about families, and in some churches, it’s all about singles. Both are important. We want to be a multi-generational church where all are valued and can play their part.
6. Serving: Everyone wants to be a CEO. But Jesus ushered in an upside kingdom. Jesus came not as a king but as a servant. If anyone wants to be great, He must be the servant of all! At Word of Grace everyone serves. We expect that everyone serves in some way or another. It’s not like coming to a restaurant. Some people come to church expecting to be served at a restaurant. But a church is like a family get-together. Everyone helps with setting up, clearing up, etc. that is what Word of Grace is. That’s what it means to be part of the family.
7. A church led by male elders confirmed and recognized and ordained by the Apostolic ministry but has a leadership team consisting of women. There are different kinds of leaders and people who lead different teams. We have men and women who carry great responsibility. We are not a one-man leadership. We value the team. There are many gifts in this room, and we want to discover, develop and deploy them effectively. Mark 3:14 it says that Jesus called all those whom he desired so that they might be with him, and be given authority to preach, heal and cast out demons. So, we have discipleship groups. We gather to Jesus and one another. We start with being and then we do. The disciples left everything to be with Jesus. Those on the leadership team have made great sacrifices to be discipled. They paid the price to grow in their knowledge of God and to serve one another.
8. A church great in generosity, influence and action. We believe in giving. There is enough money to do all that God has called us to. But that money is in your pocket and we need to be faithful in giving. One of our values is giving our tithes and offerings to the local church. As you do that you also are blessed. We give away a lot to support other works, social projects and those in need.
9. A church involved in serving and empowering the poor: In Galatians, Paul writes to remember the poor. There are so many poor in our nation, and we want to be a blessing to the poor in our nation. There are projects were involved in and will continue to do.
10. A church which embraces the one new man across gender, race, language, generation etc. We are all one in Christ. Let’s not get cliquish based on ethnicity, age, language etc.
11. A church committed to excellent relationships between local churches and communities. We are one local church in the city. We want to participate and collaborate with other local churches in the city. We are together advancing the Kingdom of God. We bless them and honour them.
12. Connected to a family of churches across the world: we belong to a big family called Regions Beyond. Together we are able to advance the gospel throughout the world.
This is a short description of who we are. The invitation is this - like a soldier, who needs to get trained. No pain, no gain. will you get committed? There is a sacrifice. It requires each one of us to get committed. We will fight with spiritual weapons of praying to fast and preaching the gospel. We are here for such a time as this. We can’t just be concerned with enjoying life. Or can you imagine soldiers on the same side fighting and killing each other? That is what we do when we get offended by the body of Christ and slander one another.
Let us commit ourselves to the body of Christ. Heb 13 says Hebrews says to obey your leaders. So, when your leader calls for prayer as far as possible be there. That is the meaning of obedience.
So what can we do? We get committed to the local church.
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.