This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on January 8th 2023 by Colin D'Cruz. For the audio & video please click here. To listen to the worship please click here.
Six areas for growth in 2023
2022 ended just a few days ago. The older you get the faster time flies. When you’re young you are looking forward to things and so time doesn’t seem like it’s going fast at all. Now 2022 is behind us. Let’s get ready for 2023.
The fact that we are here today, alive, is the grace of god. Let’s thank God for that!
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
This year this should be our outlook. Paul was not casually walking into the purposes of God. He strained forward. We are looking at 6 areas of growth in 2023
Be with Jesus: no matter what gifts you have, this is the basic requirement. Mark 3:14 “.“And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him.” We know that the apostles did many great things. But the no. 1 purpose for which they were called is to be with Him. Make sure that we are feeding ourselves on the word of God.
Preach, cast out demons, heal the sick: “And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons.”Mark 3:14-15 ESV. We are amazing because the Holy Spirit dwells in us. Wherever we go we bring in the light of the world. “And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name, they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."” Mark 16:17-18 ESV. People may not be interested in your theology, but they will always welcome our prayers. Preaching is sharing the word of God to people. We just need a crowd of one. As we go about our day God will give us opportunities to speak about him.
Reach the lost: Christians love to come to meetings with healing and miracles and that is great. But this is a critical part of our assignment. Col 4:3 ““At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—” even in the prison, Paul was passionate about the gospel expansion. “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Luke 11:23. If we are not actively gathering people into his kingdom, you’re scattering.
Remember the poor: with inflation and the shooting prices and all we notice that there are poor among us. The apostolic mandate is to remember the poor. “Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” Galatians 2:10. “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction and to keep oneself unstained from the world.”James 1:27. So how do we remember the poor?
As a church, we give to the poor.
We can individually reach out to the poor around us.
Grow your gift: “For this reason, I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands,” 2 Timothy 1:6. Find someone to help you grow your gift. Discover, develop, and deploy. As you grow your gift god will give you the opportunity to use it. This is how we can fan it into flame.
Grow your character: “Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” Colossians 3:12-14. God’s calling for us is to become more and more like Jesus. Michael Eaton said maturity is not perfect but is acknowledging when we sin, receive forgiveness and move forward.
For all these, we need the power of the cross. As you spend time in his word and his presence He will bring about that transformation.
Next year we want to see how each of us has grown.
Let’s pray and ask God to show us one area that he wants us to start working on straight away.
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.