This message was preached at Word Of Grace Church on Feb 4th, 2024 by Navaz D. For the audio & video please click here. For the worship please click here.
Good News of
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, [a]crying out, Repent ([b]change your mind for the better, heartily amend
your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins), for the kingdom of heaven is at
hand. Matt 4:17 AMPC
Jesus announced his ministry with
“Repent for the KOG is at hand.”
The Jews longed for the Messiah – the
conquering King who would overthrow their oppressors.
Jesus came to overthrow oppression
that had not just taken Israel captive, but His image-bearers as well. That is
why Jesus reads from Is 61 from the scrolls.
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a]
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
This was His mandate and vocation.
To bring the Kingdom of God here on earth as it is heaven.
Just dealing with the Romans would be
putting a band-aid on a deeper issue and that is the sinful state of man’s
Jesus came to preach the Kingdom — “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns
also, because that is why I was sent” (Luke 4:43)
and to restore us to the Father.
He did this by announcing His Kingdom
and what it would look like. The Sermon on the Mount is the constitution of
At the end of last year, I shared what I felt was
the focus for 2024 – Don’t ask what God can do for you but through you!
This is every Christ follower's Kingdom vocation.
We have been taken out of the kingdom of darkness
and brought into the Kingdom of His son Jesus or light.
This as you know was not always so. Because of
the fall, we were once objects of God’s punishment and wrath. In the
garden God gave Adam and Eve a Kingdom vocation to steward the earth, to
multiply and flourish. But they gave into deception and disobeyed God. It cost
them their relationship with God, it cost them their innocence and an
uncorrupted mind, and it cost them their vocation and authority. They handed
that over to Satan. He now ruled over the earth and the image-bearer. Praise God, He always had a redemption plan.
He chose a people for Himself to live in relationship with Him, but they
rejected God for rules. Then God sent
His son Jesus the show Image bearer of how this life ought to be lived and so
God became flesh, incarnate and dwelt amongst us. He is the second and perfect
Jesus starts His ministry with “Repent for the
Kingdom of God is here”.
Repentance is the doorway to the Kingdom. And
there is a constant cycle of renewal and repentance every Christ
follower participates in.
The Gospel is Good News. The Gospel is the good news of peace. Peace/
Shalom is not a feeling but a state of completeness and well-being. After salvation, we are
objects of renewal and agents of renewal.
We are being changed from one degree of glory to
another (2 Cor 3:18). We are called to work out our salvation with fear and
trembling (Phil 2:12). We are told to be transformed by the renewing of our
minds (Rom 12:2).
As we are being
renewed in all areas of our lives, we become agents of renewal and
transformation as Christ’s ambassadors.
We need to learn Kingdom ways, what pleases the
King and understand our vocation here on earth in its totality.
The Kingdom is larger than the church. And the church is the vehicle through which the manifest wisdom of God will be made known to everyone. (Eph 3:10) J
AGENTS OF RENEWAL
first begins in the individual, then the church and then the community.
Therefore, transformation comes through personal surrender to God before the proclamation and demonstration of the gospel. Having been saved we are now agents of renewal.
WHAT IS AN AGENT OF CHANGE?
of change operates as a catalyst for transformation.
agents of change that Jesus likened us to are SALT AND LIGHT.
Jesus also calls himself the Light of the World and then he says, “You are the light of the world”. Why? We are image bearers, right? Made in the image of God. As we abide in Him and become more and more like him, we will reflect His image in us.
transforms darkness into light. Light reveals and uncovers – sin gets exposed when we live as Image bearers. Light illuminates – The Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. When we live with the Word dwelling richly in us, we will have wisdom that comes from above for our daily life (feet) and to make wise decisions for our future (the path). This is not just for us but for society.
transforms whatever it is put on in many ways – it preserves, heals,
flavours and can destroy. We preserve society by how we live. “Meat
rots because there is not enough salt” John Stott. If there is moral
decay in society, don’t blame society. The church needs to repent and begin to
behave like salt. Without us society is insipid and empty. We bring flavour.
we kill the evils in our society? Not by isolating in our church silos but by
going out there and being sprinkled in society – challenging and disrupting
injustice, inequality, sin etc.
don’t ask what God can do for you but through you.
loses its saltiness because of adulteration. For
too long the church has slowly gotten sucked into a comfortable lifestyle and
we like frogs in a cooking pot are slowly getting cooked and it will be too
late to jump out.
Application: YOU AND YOUR CITY
We are apostolic agents – as salt and light we are a part of society bringing change from within- affecting and influencing the culture.
That is why before we can tell we must show. Before we can show
we must take the trouble to know.
Know your city to love your city. Do you know the pain points in your city?
Over the past few weeks, Colin
has challenged us with this question: Who are you living for? The answer
to that question will determine how you live and how you engage with society
Most people move to cities to
take from it and not to give to it. Now if you remember your
Kingdom vocation – to take care of, steward, multiply and flourish – how does
that translate to where you live?
You are not here by accident – He determines the times and places where you live. From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. Acts 17:26
Build, and marry plant
Seek the peace and prosperity
of your city. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I
have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers,
you too will prosper.” Jer 29:6-7. We all quote v11. Understand it is in the
context of being in exile or a hard place.
How did Daniel, Esther,
Nehemiah, and Joseph interact with the city where they were exiles?
So, wherever God has placed you – for now, it is Pune, what will we as the church, what will you, as Christ’s ambassador give back to the city? How can we the whole church, bring the whole gospel to the whole city? How will Pune be different because you came here? What mark will you leave on it that will last into eternity?
To wrap up. There is so much more to say but this message is a prophetic word I felt for Word of Grace that I am spelling out. We will flesh this out some more in the coming weeks and I pray this year we will begin to make a great impact not just on those who walk into the Word of Grace but as the Word of Grace we will make an impact upon our city.
1. What one point
stuck with you today?
2. What do you feel
the Holy Spirit is putting His finger on? Have you been salt /light?
3. What will you
change because of hearing today’s message?
4. What does it mean
for the whole church to take the whole gospel to the whole city?
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 part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.