Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Enlarge - Part 1


This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church Camp on February 17th 2024  by Nigel Pereira. For the audio & video please click here.  For the worship please click here. 


It was 1982 when I was at a house group. I wasn’t saved but was just being exposed to the Gospel. I was very intrigued by who Jesus was and the people of God. God was doing something inside me, and I enjoyed the house groups. So, I kept attending it. I was seeking God but I was very comfortable till one day a leader took me out and asked me what I thought about Jesus. He asked me if I wanted to give my life to Jesus. Outside I said “Yes”, but inside, I said, “I’m not coming back here again.” I ran away for 6 months. I bought a Bible and started digging into it during those 6 months. As I read, the Word started speaking to me. It felt as if Jesus was leaping out of the pages and talking to me. I would weep everyday as I read through the Bible. After 6 months, I knew I had to go back to the church. As I came back for the Sunday meeting. I saw that same leader who met me and asked what happened to me. Later I realized that all of them were praying for me during those 6 months. God works through prayers. On 6th June 1983, I gave my life to Christ. Since then I’ve been with the same church in New Frontiers. I knew if I ever walked away from you, the problem is me but not someone else. So I want to say when Jesus comes through, we are captivated by him and nothing can stop us from walking with Him.

As we sang this song which says, “He’s calling sons and daughters back to Him”, I was stirred and I believe, Jesus is going to restore His church in an amazing way. I’m looking at 2024 as a year where in the church of Jesus is going to be stirred by who we are and what we can do, who He sees us as.

During these 2 days, let us get a glimpse of who He is and who we are. As Hazel brought that word on guilt, let us get rid off the shame and guilt. We are free. Jesus loves us. He understands our failures, temptations and when we fall. Even when Peter denied Jesus, He didn’t come back and say that Peter would not be an apostle anymore. Instead, He said, “Go tell Peter and my brothers…” That’s how He sees the church.

Psalm 84:10 - Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere;

One moment with God is enough for us. In these 2 days, come to God.

Isaiah 54:1-5 - “Sing, barren woman, you who never bore a child;
burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor;
because more are the children of the desolate woman
than of her who has a husband,” says the Lord.
“Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide,
    do not hold back; lengthen your cords,  strengthen your stakes.
For you will spread out to the right and to the left;
    your descendants will dispossess nations
    and settle in their desolate cities.

“Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame.
    Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.
     You will forget the shame of your youth
    and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.
For your Maker is your husband—
    the Lord Almighty is his name—
  the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer;
    he is called the God of all the earth.

I want us to capture this spirit of Isaiah speaking to Israel in captivity for 70 years. Verse 7 says, God abandoned for a brief moment. That’s what they felt.

1.        Sing, barren woman

Isaiah says, “Sing, O barren woman”. He also says, “Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.”

King Solomon time was glorious as people across the world would come down to that kingdom. But now, Israelites were uprooted from the God given land and put on a foreign land as captives. What would be their mindset? – defeated, enslaved, dominated, hopelessness and questions about God’s promises. Into this, the prophet is saying, “Sing”. It sounds strange as what’s there to sing about? God wants us to have a sense and understanding of who we are and who he is. It looked like God was punishing them in Babylon. He tells them to sing as their maker is their husband. Even though he was punishing them, He loves them. He cannot separate himself from them. He says “more are your children” – churches across the globe. Pune church must understand that they are a part of God’s church.

Isaiah 54:6 - The Lord will call you back

God can never let go of us. He’s bringing back everyone. We must sing at all times. Even when we don’t understand things or when things don’t go according to the plan, we must sing.

He wants us to see that something is written over us. As His people. We have a purpose. A barren woman is someone who can’t have fruitfulness. God says, “More are the children of a desolate woman that the one who’s fruitful”. He also says, “Spread out to right and left”

We must sing because there’s fruitfulness written over us. We are a fruitful people. Our DNA is fruitfulness. He says, “You will forget the shame of your youth”. What was their youth? 400 years of slavery was their youth. When they were formed, they were in slavery. God says they would forget that shame and widowhood. Shame is the slavery they were in and widowhood is the captivity in Babylon.

Can we forget what we had gone through personally and as a church? This is the truth. We are going to smile and laugh because we’re going to be fruitful.

Are you in a hardship? Start singing. Do you have a problem with your children? Start singing. Because it is not going to be there permanently.

As a church you may go through a time of desolation. But something is coming. His fruitfulness. Because the church will always recover lost ground and gain even more.

God has got a church, not just leaders. Let us catch this sense of churches being caught in this understanding of fruitfulness. In Regions Beyond, there was a prophetic word about low hanging fruit. If we can prophetically for each one of us, our prayer life will change. There’s no struggle. We will receive the fruit without struggling for it.

2.     Enlarge the place of your tent:

Let us look at the background. Israel was in captivity and God wants them to enlarge. As a church, we may in a place where nothing seems to behappened. But we must enlarge – start dreaming, start thinking, start praying, get something into your spirit.

God’s plan for us is to be fruitful. Every church should be thinking about this. We come to church not just to survive and to have friends who would comfort us. God wants to change you, transform you and use you to transform your city, village and a nation.

Praise God, it is not because of what we are. It is because of what He is. We all know what we are when we are all alone. We know what we do in the quiet place. And because of that we know that God shouldn’t be using us. But that’s okay. God wants to use you anyway.

Matthew 28:19-20 -  Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

He’s not asking us to stay and sort out things. No, he’s not saying stay and resolve issues with your wife or husband. He’s saying, “Go”. When we go, things get sorted out. That’s one of the principles I follow. Even if people have issues, I pick people and tell them to go. But I tell them to change in those particular areas.

Jesus’ command for the church is to be fruitfulness by going, not to one place but to all nations.

The command for fruitfulness is “Go”. The promise is that God will be with you.

How do we enlarge when there are bottlenecks and no resources? God’s promise is that He will be with you as we step out.

Go! God provides. God shows. That’s faith.

Matthew 16:18 - And I tell you that you are Peter,[b] and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades[c] will not overcome it.

God says I’m with you and when you go, I will break open the gates of hell. I will give you new ground and you will possess it.

Jesus had already set an example. He didn’t stick to one place. He went to different places. He was sowing something and moving on. We got to be on the go. Wherever he went, he healed the sick and forgave sinners. He was touching one person at a time and that one person brings the whole village.

Acts 2:46-47 - Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

The early church was not static. Their homes were centres for mission and everyday, people were saved and added to the church.

Acts 12:24 - But the word of God continued to spread and flourish.

The early church caught something – Enlarge.

Look at 2024 afresh and ask God, “How can I enlarge personally, as a family and as a church?”

God is going to use some of you as leaders and others as faithful men and women as the strong core of the church who would stay with the church – a core of 30 to 40 people who would stay but not go to other places for better opportunities.

Vision cant be just about numbers but quality is necessary too. It is about values.

3.     Stretch your tent curtains wide

When you see a tent being stretched, you see that every part of that tent is being stretched wide. When Israel was captured, the tent was a stone construction. Tent was only in the wilderness. Tents are stretchable. Solomon’s temple was fixed. Isaiah was referring to the tent because it meant growth and expand. Stretch is not just for the leaders but for every part of the church – every person who is a part of the church.

Acts 2:42-47 - 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

It's not just about what they did, it’s about their hearts from where they could do all these things. We find this in verse 42 – devoted themselves.

If were going to enlarge, there’s a quality that we need. That is “Devotion”. The stretchingSe job, family, etc. It is not about getting saved and going to heaven. The stretching has to be with a zeal. The early church was full of zeal and passion which was committed. The commitment was to apostles teaching, breaking bread, eating together, sharing etc. The early church had people who are devoted. We need people who are here to be together. Jesus called His disciples to be with Him and then He sent them out.

As a leader I’m not looking for people with talents. I’m looing for people whose hearts are here with the church and with me.

If you love Jesus, you will be like His disciples who stuck with Him. When we are stuck with the church, there is a devotion.

The early church met in homes which means everyone’s church was open. Everyone was serving. They waited on tables. They were ready to fully serve.

It is not just about being a part of good church, having a good worship and what the church offers you. God is looking for your devotion.

Let us look at Jonathan and his armour bearer. Everyone was discouraged. Even King Saul was discouraged and sitting under the pomegranate tree. Others were hiding in the caves. There were only 2 weapons, one was with Saul and the other was with Jonathan. Philistines were all over the place. At that time, unless God said, “Go” nobody would go. Jonathan says, “Perhaps, God is with me”. He’s got that fruit hanging over him. He got that. The armour bearer, at the risk of his life says, “Im heart and soul with you. Do what’s in your heart.”

Now, we understand the word, devotion.

We saying, “God, I’m for you.”, is church membership.

How many of you want to see a big vision for Pune? God is saying, “Can I get your devotion?”

Get into who you really are. You are going to see things which you’ve never seen before.

God wants a phenomenal and radical people whom he’s pulling out of culture and catching us up into city mission, global mission, worldwide mission.

When Jesus said “It is finished” on the cross, it was not about the Israelites. It was about everyone, the new Israel.

The apostles were given the task to unlock the church, showing who you really are. You are no longer slaves. We are no longer slaves. We are heirs of God, co-heirs of Christ. We have inherited promise of fruitfulness.

2 Corinthians 5:17 - Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here!

We always take it personally for our own self. But no, it is for the church, a whole new church. The apostles teaching has captivated the people into this glorious vision.

Very often the world looks at church as soft and timid. We are not a timid people. We are the tough and robust people of God. The Kingdom of God is forcefully advancing and forceful men lay hold of it.

Can we be a people of God who are devoted?

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   

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