Wednesday, July 26, 2023

1 Peter Part 2


This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on July 23rd 2023  by Colin D Cruz. There is no audio recording for this sermon due to a technical failure. 


Christians are being persecuted all over the country today. Imagine if you were writing to a friend in Manipur right now, what would you say to them? 

In 1 Peter, we see a similar situation and the answer to the above question is contained in 1 Peter 1:3-9. 

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! 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, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭1‬:‭3‬-‭9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

As I was studying these verses, I was reminded of going to a buffet. Every section is so rich and we don’t know where to start. Peter is the great apostle who walked with Jesus. In the gospel, Peter is a very well-known person. Paul wrote a lot of letters in the Bible. There are letters that were written to specific people addressing a specific issue. But this book is for a whole group of people who are being persecuted. 

While writing to these people, Peter calls them the elect. Elect means people who have been chosen by God. He tells them that they are just passing through this world. There is a new heaven and a new earth we are destined for. The Jews were scattered in the Old Testament times when they pursued idolatry. Peter is using the same word- diaspora, the dispersion. They were mainly Gentiles. 

1 Cor 6:11 - “And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭6‬:‭11‬ ‭ESV‬‬

When we are saved, there is a measure of holiness - we have put away some things and pursuing holiness. We are not just attending a new place of worship, we are a new creation. When we are really in love with Jesus doing things like going to the hospital at 12:30 in the night like Sunder did, is a joy, we do it for Jesus. 

Then Peter bursts out in praise in verse 3. He describes our salvation as a new birth into a living hope. Today we use the word hope like an optimistic statement. Here the hope that Peter is walking about is a sure and confident expectation. This living hope is guaranteed by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Living hope means we have something to look forward to in the middle of all the suffering and persecution. This hope is as certain as Jesus being raised from the dead- that we will be raised from the dead in glory. 

Not only resurrection, but we will also have an inheritance. Peter is telling these persecuted Christians that they have an inheritance to look forward to that will not perish, spoil or fade. 

The Bible speaks about inheritance and reward. 

Revelation 21 gives us a beautiful picture of our inheritance. In Luke 19:17, we see the principle of rewards. “And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.'”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭19‬:‭17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

All we receive right now is that we have a glorious inheritance waiting for us. The most expensive things in this world will fade away someday, but the inheritance stored for us is safe and kept in heaven.  Not only the inheritance but we too are kept safe. He will keep us safe till the end. Jesus sees us through.

Then in v.6, he starts talking about the trials that they have to face.  Michael Eaton “Any version of Christian life that depicts it as free of trouble is false and ineffective” 

But Peter here is helping them process their troubles.

Q. What are some of the troubles that you have in your life right now? 

Imagine God speaking into that situation - 

  • We greatly rejoice in the inheritance and reward we have 

  • We realise our troubles are temporary- it’s not by the measure of our understanding but it will end one day. 

  • Sufferings vary - all types of suffering and grief. 

  • The purpose of troubles - “tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ” Will you continue to praise God and serve God when things are not going your way. Job had this trial - his faith was tested and it came out purer than gold. 

What do troubles do? They perfect us, bring us to maturity, rebuke our slack, and prepare us for greater dependence on God and for greater usefulness in God’s kingdom. 

Luke 8:13 “And the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy. But these have no root; they believe for a while, and in time of testing fall away.”

Testing will come, but will you fall away when they do? Amy Carmichael - She came to India from Ireland and set up a home for girls who were sold into prostitution. Towards the end of her life, she rescued over 200 girls. She visited a goldsmith who said, "I know the gold is pure when I see my face in it." It’s the same that God is looking for when he is refining us. Biblical writers talk about these troubles as light and momentary. They went through severe persecution, beatings, shipwrecks etc., for the faith. But they considered the glory to come as far outweighing it. 

“And he said to him, 'Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.'”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭19‬:‭17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

There is a commendation from God that we are looking forward to. 

“Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.”

‭‭1 Corinthians‬ ‭4‬:‭5‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.”

‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5‬:‭4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The people Peter is writing to are in the middle of a great trial, but they love and trust Jesus. That’s the best we can give the Lord. There are gems of grace that can only be seen in darkness. When we are tested, make sure you don’t come out empty-handed. 

Troubles do not stop us from rejoicing. “and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.”

‭‭Acts‬ ‭5‬:‭40‬-‭41‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The way to move forward in the Christian life is to trust and obey the Lord Jesus and he will give us the grace to rejoice in it. 

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  

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Six Signs that the Kingdom of God is near


This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on July 9th 2023  by Ranjit Rodrigues. For the audio & video please click here.  For the worship please click here.

Six Signs that the Kingdom of God is near

Matthew 6:31-33 - 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

When we come to Jesus, our souls find Him. We start thinking about how shall we seek, what should we do for Him.

When we come to Jesus, our souls find their home. Many children’s stories start as “Long time ago there was a kingdom and a king in it..” We were made to be ruled by a good king.

When we come to Jesus, our souls are at rest.

We are living in a very uncertain world. Very few things are stable and dependable. The Kingdom of God never goes down. If you put your money in His Kingdom, returns are guaranteed.

In the Bible, if you see, Jesus talked about His Kingdom many times. He was very clear. He has an agenda – Preaching Good News to all.

Jesus taught us the prayer – Let Your Kingdom come. Our prayers should be Kingdom prayers.

From the time of John, till now, the Kingdom of God is increasing. What should we be talking about? As you go, preach the message – The Kingdom of God is near.

Everything that Jesus is, everything that He does is for the Kingdom.

Here are the 6 signs that the Kingdom of God is near –

  1. 1.     Kingdom of God overcomes spiritual darkness and Jesus becomes our King

Col 1:13 - For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.

There’s no place called “No man’s land”. You are either in the Kingdom of Son He loves or Kingdom of darkness.

What kingdom are you in?

Martin Lloyd Jones – Before he died, he thought of only this verse –

Rev 13:8 - 8 All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast—all whose names have not been written in the Lamb’s book of life, the Lamb who was slain from the creation of the world.

How do you get into the Kingdom of God? It is by putting our faith in Jesus.

All good things do not bring you into the Kingdom of God. St. Augustine wrote, “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they can find rest in you.”

Jesus is the King of the Kingdom. If you take Jesus out, there’s no Kingdom left. When the Queen of England died, the Kingdom did not end but continued. God’s Kingdom is greater than any other kingdom.


  1. 2.     Kingdom of God overcomes condemnation and brings forgiveness and acceptance.

Luke 5:20-23 - 20 When Jesus saw their faith, he said, “Friend, your sins are forgiven.” 
21 The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
22 Jesus knew what they were thinking and asked, “Why are you thinking these things in your hearts? 23 Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?

Here, the greater issue was a sin. Man’s greatest problem is not poverty, hunger or illiteracy. Man’s greatest problem is that we are all sinners and we need a Savior. In the Kingdom of God, condemnation is taken away.

There was a man who used to steal nuts and bolts from train tracks. Someone saw him and felt that he needed a good education. So, he spent money and gave him an education at Harvard. The man after getting an education came back and started stealing the train tracks. Here, the key issue was not dealt with.


  1. 3.     Kingdom of God overcomes confusion and wrongdoings and is replaced with righteousness.

Luke 19:8-9 - 8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because this man, too, is a son of Abraham. 

Jesus did not tell Zacchaeus to do that. When the Kingdom of God comes, everything changes. Righteousness replaces confusion and wrongdoings.

I used to smoke a lot. But after I got to know Jesus, I did not need it. I just left that habit. Righteousness is given to us and we become acceptable to God and we work out righteousness in our daily life.

  1. 4.     Confusion and lack are replaced with God’s powerful peace.

Jesus said “Peace be with you.” when he met His disciples. Not as the world gives but the peace I give to you. Peace is a very powerful word.

The Greek word “Irene”. This is completely different from the English word “peace”.

The English word, “Peace” means the absence of conflict. But the Greek word, “Irene” means permanently reconciled and connected with Him. In the Kingdom of God, you and I have a permanent place and a connection with God. But peace with God precedes peace of God. How? It is by entering God’s Kingdom. All the benefits like healing, deliverance etc., follow later.

  1. 5.     When the Kingdom of God breaks in even nature bows to its power

Mark 4:39 - 39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

Do we deal with the forces of nature? Nature submits to God. So speak to fever, sickness, waves and storms of your lives.


  1. 6.     When the Kingdom of God breaks in misery is removed and joy replaces it.

 John 15:11 - 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete.

Joy of the Lord is my strength and the misery of the devil is my weakness. Miserable Christians are a contradiction. Joy of the Lord is like glucose. We survive because of His joy.


a.     Seek the King and enjoy His presence

No King, No Kingdom. Let us make time and seek Jesus. Let the busyness of our lives not take over.

b.     Learn to love what the King loves and learn to hate what the King hates. When we love Jesus, we start loving everything that He loves.

c.      Let us serve the King

We don’t get rewards because of our titles but for what we do for the King and His Kingdom.

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  

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

1 Peter Part 1

This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on June 25th 2023  by Colin D Cruz. For the audio & video please click here.  For the worship please click here.



1PETER 1:1-2

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood:

Grace and peace be yours in abundance.


V1. Peter an Apostle of Jesus Christ

In the ancient Roman world, letters started with the writer signing the letter or stating who the letter was from. You then had the salutation, the person to whom it’s being addressed, and then the intent of the letter.

Peter is writing this letter 30 years after the resurrection of Jesus around 60 AD.


THE WRITER - Let’s look at the credentials of this writer.

Peter is one of the first disciples Jesus called to himself. He is most mentioned in all the gospels. Some fun facts about him.

·       He was the most rebuked by Jesus and the only one to dare to rebuke Jesus.

·       He made the boldest confession of all (you are the Christ) and the greatest denial of all (I tell you I don’t know the man)

·       He was the most publicly praised by Jesus and told off in the harshest way (get behind me, Satan)

·       He denied Jesus 3 times and was affirmed by Jesus 3 times.

·       He was one of the 3 that Jesus took on some unique trips viz Mt of Transfiguration.

·       He was one of the first to run away from Jesus when he was arrested and one of the first disciples who ran to the empty tomb.

·       He was absent at the crucifixion but was one of the first to whom Jesus appeared.

So, you see how much importance you give to a letter is based on who is writing it. Today we get many spam emails promising all kinds of things. But when you get a letter with O.I.G.S (On Indian Government Service) you take its content seriously.


One of the rules of interpretation of scripture is to ask the question: what did this mean to the original readers and then ask how can we apply it today?

Apostle or Ambassador, Baptism or immersion, Grace or patronage.



 Unlike Paul’s letters which are addressed to specific churches because of specific issues Peter’s two letters are general letters of teaching, encouragement, and warnings for believers from an entire region; in this case, it is the provinces of Pontus- N.E Turkey, Galatia – Central Turkey, Cappadocia -Turkey, Asia, and Bithynia.


Who are these Elect? They are the ones who have put their faith in Jesus. Elect implies chosen. Peter’s reason for writing was to encourage the believers who are persecuted and scattered away from their homes. He is reminding them of their special position and calling.

Stranger/exiles/foreigners/pilgrims”: depending on which translation you are reading. This is another word Peter repeats in his letters. He keeps reminding the believers that they are not of this world.

 STRANGERS -We do not belong to this world or its systems or values. Peter is making a point because he does not want their eyes to be fixed on their present trials. He was giving them perspective. Isn’t this true for us today? There are so many terrible things going on everywhere and we can lose heart. Or we can be so influenced by the lifestyle around us that we merge into it and lose our distinctness. This is a great challenge today – there is a battle for purity and holiness.

In another place in v17 live out your time as foreigners/strangers here in reverent fear. 

Chp 2:11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.

V2a who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,

These are not (and we) a random group of people. Peter is reminding them of who they are. They have been chosen in Christ before the foundations of the World were laid (Eph 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love). Salvation starts and is sustained by an all-knowing, all-powerful God. Therefore, we must be eternally grateful for our salvation.

Your election is special because unless the Father draws you, you cannot come to God. (John 6:44, Luke 10:20, Matt 24:22) Jesus spoke of the elect.

Also, in the verse, we see the trinity on display i.e., foreknowledge of the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit and obedience to Jesus Christ.

V2b – By the sanctifying work of the Spirit.

This refers to all that the Spirit produces in salvation: faith, repentance, regeneration, and adoption. This sanctifying work cleanses, purifies and sets us apart. Unless the Holy Spirit does His sanctifying work, you cannot be convicted of sin and righteousness.

 THE PURPOSE V2c- To be obedient to Jesus.

Peter states the reason for our election. Our obedience to Jesus is paramount and must be the by-product of our Salvation. Matt 28:18-20 “Teaching them to obey everything I have commanded”. All the Epistles are written to encourage believers to obey. Jesus ends his sermon on the mount with “Not everyone who says Lord, Lord.” (Matt 7:21)

So let us not treat our election lightly. It is not fire- insurance but we have been saved for a purpose.

V2c Sprinkled by His blood!!  

We have been saved by the Father’s foreknowledge and the sacrifice of Jesus: washed clean/sanctified. Peter is reminding his readers that their election has come at a huge cost i.e. the Savior’s death. It was only 30 years ago that the event of the crucifixion took place. Our memories can fade if they are events that we have not personally witnessed by knowing this second hand. Also, by then people were questioning the crucifixion and resurrection.

It is also an old phrase from the OT where the altar was sprinkled with blood (Ex 24:3-8, Rom 1:5, Heb 9:18-23, 12:24) and then Moses sprinkled the blood on the people. The blood sprinkled on the altar represented God’s agreement to reveal His law and the blood sprinkled on the people signified their consent to obey. This is powerful.

In the New Covenant – Jesus sprinkles his blood as a covenant of redemption and forgiveness and our response is to obey His Word. (Act 5:31-32)

V2d Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

 These were common salutations in the Greco-Roman world.  Grace or Charis was a common Roman greeting like “Salam” or “Namaste”.

We have misunderstood the word Grace to mean, anything goes, God understands, we need to overlook people’s faults, and we can ‘nod and wink’ at sin!

What did Grace or Charis mean?

 Charis/Grace in those times meant receiving favour from a higher to a lesser-a powerful relationship between a giver of gifts and the recipients of those gifts.  Today the word patronage could have negative connotations like favouritism. In the Roman world, it was understood as a relationship between a patron and a client where the patron gave the client something usually money to the amount that they could never repay but they entered an agreement and relationship “based on mutual trust and loyalty. The new client “was expected to show respect and gratitude to the patron, to render certain services to him . . . and to support his political, economic and social activities” ” (Paul Sampley, editor, Paul in the Greco-Roman World: A Handbook, Vol. 2, 2016, p. 206). So, becoming a client in the Roman world was not a light commitment. The client was supposed to show gratitude. The Patron protected the client.

But this takes on a new meaning for the Christian.

Charis served New Testament authors as a model for God’s mercy through the atonement of Jesus Christ, which also comes with covenantal obligations. When Paul sought to explain the Christian’s new relationship with God, then, one of the ways he did so was in terms of the ancient system of patronage—something everyone understood.(Richards and O’Brien )Paul and Peter use this as a part of their greetings to mean that God is our divine patron giving us undeserved forgiveness, favour, and the amazing gift of eternal life! They use the word Grace when explaining what Jesus has done on the Cross for us. They take common day words and weave them into their gospel so people can make sense of what they are saying. Patronage had its own vocabulary. Words we usually consider particularly Christian terms—grace and faith—were common parlance. So, there is an expectation that Jesus also has of us. Just as the client demonstrated ‘pistis” i.e faithful loyalty we are required to live in obedience to His word, that we are faithful and loyal to Him. (Rom12:1) Faith (pistis) without works is dead (Jam 2:17)

As time went on, by the 5th Cent AD a number of Christian scholars began to teach that grace is something given freely without expecting anything in return. However, “free grace” is not what Paul intended. Paul profoundly understood that “by grace [charis] you are saved through faith [pistis] . . . it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8, ESV).

Peace – was the common Jewish greeting – Shalom which means wholeness in every way. My guess is being aware that these letters would be read by both Gentile and Jewish converts the Apostles adopted this dual style of greeting.


What are the key thoughts I want to leave you with?

You are chosen by God, brought in a new covenant that requires you to live in obedience, you are strangers on the planet who can live because of the Holy Spirit’s work in you.  Much grace and peace and been given to you.

How should I live? – where am I compromising with the world? What do I need to set right to keep being faithful to my patron- Jesus?

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