Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Foundations of the Local Church - Part 1


This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on April 23rd, 2023  by Colin.  For the audio & video please click here. To listen to the worship please click here.


Why do we exist as a church? What is the reason for our existence?

Many people come to faith and have an incomplete view of the plan of God for the church.


Otherwise, we will be like the 3 men who were working on a construction site

I am carrying bricks

I am  placing the cement on the bricks

I am constructing a hospital that will save thousands of lives

We need to have a vision for the church and a biblical basis for why we exist and what is it we are called to be and do.


Or we can be like a family who came to church …

How was it today?

The music was too loud

The preaching was too long

Youngest – I don’t know what you are complaining about – for the Rs. 10 we put in the offering we got cold drinks and chips for all of us!


With an incomplete or faulty view of the plan of God, we can become consumer Christians all the time asking the question – “What can I get out of it”. “How does it suit me”.


Every church has a foundation. Eph 2:20 Eph 2:20 19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, 20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.

This foundation needs to be laid in every church in every generation.

This is what the church is going to be built upon.

Paul laid a clear foundation - knew what it was and knew when he laid it.

1 Cor 3:10 10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. 11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Acts 14:22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith.

What is that foundation?

The narrative of God's plan throughout scripture.  The overall plan of God is revealed in Scripture. And determines a biblical worldview.

The promises found in the Old Testament are fulfilled in Christ and now worked out by those in Christ believers both Jews and Gentiles

you cannot understand the New Testament fully without understanding the Old Testament.

 It was God's plan to renew the world to head up everything under Christ

 We all have a worldview. What is a worldview? Every culture has a worldview. How the culture looks on the whole world. At the deepest level of culture often when we talk about culture we talk about external manifestations - what people wear, what they eat.

The deepest level of culture which you don't know you have is how you look at the world. Worldview is essentially a story. World view determines our beliefs and our behaviour

ill.  food habits

some people don't eat pork

some people don't eat any meat - only vegetables

some people don't even eat garlic potato and onion


We all have a worldview shaped by our family, school, religion, country

but it is not just food habits - all of life is shaped by our worldview


What is the truth?

or rather - Who is the truth?

 Jn 14:6 I am the way and the truth and the life ...

Jesus claims to be the ultimate truth

 In the biblical worldview, we know the new story of what God wants to do in the whole earth - biblical worldview

 A worldview is like wearing coloured glasses

wear blue glasses- see everything as blue

The narrative style of preaching generally used by Jesus

he used parables and stories all the time our worldview helps us interpret events

 e.g. Luke 24:13 - The first Easter Sunday when Jesus was raised from the dead


Luke 24:27 And beginning with Moses and all the prophets he explained to them all that was said in the Scriptures concerning himself.

OT Scriptures

Jesus taught them the big story

Luke 24 Emmaus road

Jesus opened up from the Old Testament  

Luke 24:77 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.


Going thru Genesis thru Revelation

Our task as church planters are to first get a biblical worldview and then pass this on to the people we are reaching.

 Another way to understand worldview is to understand the Grand Story of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth created man and woman in his image the plan was to fill the earth - with his glory

Gen 1:28 God blessed them and said to them, be fruitful and increase in number. fill the earth and subdue it.

The Garden of Eden - the first temple where God met with men and women

That is what a temple is - where God meets with people - not a building

The idea was to spread that throughout the earth

However, sin came into the world and instead of it being filled with the glory of the Lord Gen 6:5 The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time

the whole earth was filled with wickedness

But God started making promises as soon as sin came into the world

God is a wonderful redemptive God who loves to save

the first promise - promise Gen 3::15 And I will put enmity
    between you and the woman, and between your offspring] and hers;
he will crush[
b] your head, and you will strike his heel.”

 Notice the redemptive character of God – Adam and Eve sinned and God made a plan to rescue them.

 The example of Noah. even when wickedness comes there will be a way to escape

Noah found grace/favour in the eyes of God

8 But Noah found favour in the eyes of the Lord.


Not that he was not a godly man - but he found favour/grace with God

After Noah came out of the ark the same command was given - it was  a missionary command Gen9:1

Adam and Eve had a missionary command to fill the earth

Noah and his sons had a missionary command to scatter throughout the earth

Gen 9:1 Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. so they started to do that then they ran into a problem

Babel - was resistant to the plan of God to scatter people

Gen 11:4  Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

Babel is the first manifestation of what keeps coming again and again and is opposed to the advance of the gospel and the coming of the kingdom of God which is the Empire spirit. Right thru the bible is where it is found.

So dominant  that they insisted that everyone speak the same language - which is what empires do

Daniel - spiritual conflict between human empire and human domination and the working out of the kingdom of God.


God brings judgment on the empire of Babel

He then makes another promise brings promise to Abraham

Gen 12:3 and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.

The people of god go to Egypt and become slaves

the next promise like a dramatic demonstration of what was going to come

A promise is not always words - can be a drama :

rescued from slavery by the sacrifice of a lamb and an act of great power

the lamb was sacrificed and the people of Israel were saved and went through the red sea and enacted promise - a lamb and an act of great power going thru the OT talking about the things concerning Jesus' passover and acts of great power

and then the establishment of sacrifice the glory of God coming down in the Tabernacle we get the book of Leviticus which is  all about sacrifice

get to Leviticus stumble through what do you do with the fat around the kidneys

in the way the bible is developing it is very important

it is saying sacrifice must be perfect God is holy cant have access to his presence taking sin with you

Heb 9:22 Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin

it is very important and is referred to in the NT

establishment of the Tabernacle and then the temple

what that was doing was referring back to the original temple garden of Eden


Certain symbols within that Tabernacle

Curtain - only high priest could enter once a year

to remind them of the Garden of Eden - cherubim to stop them from coming in.

In Exodus 25:18-22, God gives instructions to Moses regarding the construction of the Ark of the Covenant, which was to be placed in the innermost part of the Tabernacle. On top of the Ark, there were to be two cherubim made of gold, facing each other with their wings spread out. The cherubim were to be made as part of the cover of the Ark, which was known as the "mercy seat." God said that He would meet with Moses there, between the two cherubim, to speak with him about His commands for the Israelites.

In Exodus 26:1, God instructs Moses to make the Tabernacle, which was to be the place where God would dwell among His people. The Tabernacle was to be covered with curtains, and on the curtains were to be woven images of cherubim.


 24 After he drove the man out, he placed on the east side[e] of the Garden of Eden cherubim and a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the Tree of Life.

Read the details about the tabernacle - cherubim on the curtains

Cherubin in the Garden of Eden guarding the way to the Tree of Life

you can't come in

that is established the worship of God

 Then the promise to David

a specific promise

from your seed, a king will come who will rule the whole world forever

psalms came. They have a prophetic nature

Psalm  87: 3

Glorious things are said of you,

    City of God:[a]

We need to ask ourselves how we fit in with God's plan rather than ask God what is your plan for us.

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 part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.  

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

The Resurrection - what does it mean to me?

 This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on April 16thth 2023  by Lasya.  For the audio & video please click here. To listen to the worship please click here.

Resurrection - What does it mean to me? 

There are many wonders of the world. And it is fascinating to read about them, watch documentaries about them, and even visit them and admire their beauty. One of the 7 wonders of the world is in India - the Taj Mahal. This grand majestic monument was not built for tourists or to bolster the economy or to show off the splendour of the empire. It is essentially a symbol of love for the wife of an emperor. What the Taj Mahal meant for Shah Jahan’s wife Mumtaz would be very different from what it means for us. The world looks at the church and knows the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus and it might even pique people’s interest. But as the church, as his body,  the resurrection of Jesus is more than a marvel. He did not just die and rise again. He died and rose again for us - for you and me. 

Paul says in Philippians 3:8-10 “More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, …. that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection” If Paul counted everything else a loss in view of the surpassing worth of knowing this, it means we ought to pay attention to learning about it ourselves. In fact, after the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, it marks history as BC and AD. Every single epistle addresses the impact of the resurrection in some measure or another. So today, we’re going to look at the resurrection of Jesus and what that means to us. 

Let’s look at the bookends - What does the resurrection mean for our faith and for our future. And then we will look at what it means for me for now. 

  1. Faith: It is the foundational principle of our Christian faith. 1 Cor 15:14 And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.Without resurrection, there is no justification. Romans 4: 25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Old Testament equivalent of God’s acceptance of a sacrifice. Jesus was not delivered into the hands of Satan. An offering is made, not to appease the devil, but to satisfy the righteous wrath of God. It was never a battle between Satan and Jesus. It was always an offering of love. The resurrection is the evidence that God accepted the sacrifice of Jesus to redeem us from death and sin forever  

    1. Response? 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.” but do you know that when we believe in Jesus, God does a resurrection in us as well? Eph 2:8 But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in our trespasses. It is by grace you have been saved!”

    2. Baptism is a symbol of this belief: Romans 6:4We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in the newness of life.” If you believe in Jesus death and resurrection for your salvation, we are commanded in scripture to be baptized into Christ as a symbol of this new life.

  1. Future: 1 Corinthians 15:19If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” 

    1. glorified bodies: 1 Corinthians  15:42-4442 So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43 it is sown in dishonour, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44 it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” We’re not going to see a bunch of half-mangled zombies. 1 Corinthians 15: 50 I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51 Listen, I tell you a mystery: we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed – 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.”

    2. Inheritance: There is an imperishable inheritance that Jesus went to prepare for us in heaven. “to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1‬:‭4‬ .  How do we know this is for later and not now? “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭8‬:‭18‬; “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭4‬:‭17‬-‭18‬. There is a great expectation in Christ to receive an inheritance that can never be taken from us. 

  1. Now: Everything about our lives must change in view of the resurrection of Christ from the dead. It did for the disciples. A group of despondent and hopeless followers who returned to their former way of life after the death of Jesus, became an army of apostles who turned the world upside down after they witnessed the resurrected Jesus. Today that is Jesus who is among us - risen and reigning. The resurrection of Jesus means he has won the ultimate victory over the final enemy of all - death and sin. 1 Corinthians 15: 56-57The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”. But how does that affect how we live now? 2 Corinthians 5:15 - “And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” What does living for Jesus look like? The resurrection of Jesus means 3 th8gs to us here and now:

    1. It gives us a living hope: 1 Peter 1:3 “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. ” In a recent study neurologists found that hope shields the brain from the effects of anxiety. Cancer patients recovered and responded to treatment much faster when they had hope. What does this hope look like in our lives? Paul and Silas in the Philippian jail. They had every opportunity to grumble but instead they praised God. Complaining is the enemy of hope. It proclaims that God is not good or powerful enough to give you victory in all circumstances. It is not fake. Hope is choosing to focus on the greater reality. Personal illustration. 

  1. It makes us living stones:As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” ‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭2‬:‭4‬-‭5‬ ‭ESV‬‬. Will you give yourself to be shaped by God? To be a living stone in God’s temple means that we will be cut and shaped to the dimensions of the cornerstone. We need to be set apart, to be refined. 

  2. It demands a living sacrifice:I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” ‭‭Romans‬ ‭12‬:‭1‬ ‭ESV‬‬. God always delivers for the purpose of worship. Eg: the Israelites. Because Jesus is raised from the dead, we are no longer required to give dead sacrifices, but we are commanded to be a living sacrifices. What does that mean? To offer our body, mind and heart to serve God regardless of the patterns of culture. Our spiritual sacrifice is to build the kingdom of God. Where will you put set up on your CV? In your work life, in your married or unmarried life, in your family, what is the pattern of culture that doesn’t line up with the word of God and the spirit of God? 

  What are you building today? We are not labourers of Shah Jahan building a mausoleum. We are labourers of God, building a spiritual house for him to live in because Jesus rose again

Today what does the resurrection mean to you? 

  • Are there dead areas in your life where you need the resurrection power of God? 

  • Do you need renewed hope for your circumstances? Do you need the grace to stop complaining and start praising? 

  • Do you need to step into being a living stone- do you need a fresh vision of the church and your role in it? 

  • Do you need to renew your mind with the Holy Spirit and be transformed? 

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 part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.  

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Why is the Resurrection pivotal?


This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on April 9th 2023  by Colin D Cruz. For the audio & video please click here. To listen to the worship please click here.

Why is the Resurrection pivotal?

No other event in history is as important as the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

It’s so important that the celebration of Easter is rooted in the word of God. It’s not about eggs and bunnies. 

“Now there was a man named Joseph, from the Jewish town of Arimathea. He was a member of the council, a good and righteous man, who had not consented to their decision and action; and he was looking for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the Sabbath was beginning.” - Luke‬ ‭23‬:‭50‬-‭54‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“The women who had come with him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was laid. Then they returned and prepared spices and ointments. On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.” - Luke‬ ‭23‬:‭55‬-‭56‬ ‭ESV‬‬

5 emotions associated with Easter :

  1. The first emotion associated with Easter is sorrow. The women went to the tomb to embalm his body. Peter was first a fisherman, he just had to fish every day and it might have seemed like a mundane job until Jesus called him to follow him. He saw so many miracles, that the fisherman’s life was so shaken. He would’ve been shaken. But then Jesus died. He must have gone from being hopeless to being full of hope to being hopeless again. He, like the women, were full of sorrow. On the Emmaus the 2 disciples in Luke 24 “And he said to them, "What things?" And they said to him, "Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, a man who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how our chief priests and rulers delivered him up to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since these things happened.”‭‭ - Luke‬ ‭24‬:‭19‬-‭21‬ ‭ESV‬.

  2. Fright: “While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise." And they remembered his words,” ‭‭Luke‬ ‭24‬:‭4‬-‭8‬ ‭ESV‬‬. The angels met with the women and they were afraid. 

  3. Joy: “So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭28‬:‭8‬ ‭ESV‬‬. When we come to know that Jesus is not dead anymore but is alive. They were running to tell the disciples about it

  4. Worship: “And behold, Jesus met them and said, "Greetings!" And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshipped him.” ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭28‬:‭9‬ ‭ESV‬‬. Our lives must be punctuated with worshipping this risen Saviour. 

  5. Hope: Death does not end the existence of people. Every human being who has ever lived will live forever. Believers and unbelievers will live forever. The message of the Bible is that we will live forever either in heaven or hell. We will all live with a new body. One day we will have a resurrected, glorified body. 1 Cor 15, the resurrection guarantees that we will be raised with Christ. Resurrection is not just one feature of Christianity. It is the linchpin. 

Acts 2: 22-24 

“"Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.”

Peter talks about the miraculous life of Jesus, his death and his magnificent resurrection. He gives 1 verse about Jesus’ life, one line about Jesus’ death and 9 verses on his resurrection. Jesus died for our sins but by rising up He won the victory over death forever. 

Today where are you in your emotions? Jesus can do the impossible. Whatever situation you may be in, take it to Jesus. You might be in fear. But when he is with you in the boat, do not fear. 

Maybe some of us need to worship. Make your whole life a life of worship. There is hope in Jesus- for eternity and for today. Jesus is with us even today. The resurrection of Jesus is the cornerstone. After Jesus rose again, Christians met on Sundays, not on the Sabbath. 

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 part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.