Whether it is Whatsapp, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, social media allows us to filter what we show to the outside world. We can show them the "me" that we want them to see. However, veiled or filtered living results in veiled or filtered hearts. We becomes so busy being the "me" we want others to see that we struggle to be authentic, even with ourselves. This causes us to struggle in our relationship with God. He sees us as we really are, we can't filter what He sees.
Life is all about love. Because God is love (His very nature is relational), the most important lesson He wants us to learn on earth is how to love. It is in loving that we are most like Him, and that is why love is at the foundation of every command He has given us. But, learning to love unselfishly is not an easy task. It runs counter to our self-centred nature, which is probably why we're given a lifetime to learn it. God wants us to love everyone but He is particularly concerned that that we love others in His family.
From the first 6 verses of 3 John we can draw out some points of application that we can implement into our everyday lives so that we may walk in truth and love through obedience to Jesus.
Jesus came so that we should not perish but have eternal life! We sing all the right songs about Jesus dying on the cross to pay for our sins, but when last did you hear of someone having that kind of radical conversion experience resulting in such dramatic repentance? Sin no longer seems to be a reality. We sing about being saved from our sins but have no sense of being sinful. Whatever happened to sin?
The above video was shown near the beginning of the sermon.
Salvation is through faith in Christ, we don't earn our way into Heaven, but the redeemed, those who are saved, will be known by their actions. God's people will be known by their kindness. Jesus demonstrates who important the whole thing of kindness is by speaking of it in the context of eternal life and death. He is saying that God's people should be known for their kindness. In a world that is so often very unkind, a world where people look only to their own interests, being kind can often be out-of-the-ordinary, counter-cultural, weird even. But we are called to be different, we are called to be a kind people. We need to show love when love is unexpected. Isn't that what kindness is? Unmerited, unexpected love?
We all have a battle going on inside each of us. The flesh versus the Spirit. The flesh represents our sinful nature, the nature with which we are born. When we give our lives to God we are born again, a new creation and the old is gone. When we place our flesh on the cross, surrendering our lives and giving up the old life we are changed. But, does that mean we stop sinning altogether? No! We must daily deny our flesh and follow the Spirit.
The authority we are talking about is the authority that has passed down from God to us through our faith in Jesus Christ, as we have been inhabited and empowered by the Holy Spirit. And yet, despite the delegated power that has been passed down to us, a lot of us hold back. We fail to consider that we are called by God and that by His ability we may live and represent His authority. We never, however, act out of our own authority – in and of ourselves we have no real power or control – we only reflect what God has given us to share. We are a people that should be committed to living with and exercising the authority that God has placed upon us.
We must never feel compelled to give for the Lord's work. What we offer to the Lord must be given cheerfully for God loves a cheerful giver. We can only give cheerfully when the condition of our heart is right with God and our giving is dictated by our love for Him. This is because God not only looks at the gift; He also looks at the heart. The condition of the heart when we give is much more important than what we give. Our giving must come from the heart if it is to please God.
As we reach out it is important for us to do so in the right way. In Acts 6:1-7we read how the early Church went about service and ministry. They looked for people who were full of the Spirit and wisdom. This is how the Church operated, following the Spirit's leading, waiting for the Spirit and then acting in obedience, empowered to do so.Â This is how we as a Church should be reaching out. Our mission into the world must be Spirit-led. As God has opened up to us these opportunities for reaching out and as we engage them, let us be prompted and led by the Holy Spirit.
Guest preacher, Michael Sischy from the Jews for Jesus organisation, shares the message of Christ in the Sabbath.
God asked Moses an important (and prophetic) question that He is asking each of us today. “What’s in your hand?” What is it that God has already built into your life, though it seems quite ordinary today, could become something quite different if used for the Lord? What passion for service has God sparked in you? What needs do you see that other may not? What abilities, talents or spiritual gifts has he equipped you with? What experiences have you had that God could use to touch the lives of others?
How often do we look for God in the big things, the "wow" moments? We ask for these signs so that we know He's with us but so often God is in the small things, the gentle whispers that can so easily be overlooked or ignored. God is in the small details, providing for us each day.
In Romans 12 Paul describes how we should behave as we wield the spiritual weapons of peace making, especially when dealing with people who oppose or mistreat us. He understands the classic military principle that the best defence is an effective offense. In no way does he encourage a passive response to evil, instead he suggests that we should go on the offensive, but not as the world would. This passage indicates that there are 5 basic principles that contribute to a victorious offensive and how we can use them with people with whom we are at loggerheads.
The Ten Commandments are not simply suggestions that God thought that we should follow, they are a grace in themselves. They assist us in living life to the fullest in that they help us to live in the way in which God created humanity to live. The ninth commandment essentially tells us not to lie, this includes deception, flattery and gossip.
Throughout scripture you see miracles that only occur after it has become absolutely impossible without God. Sometimes God allows the greatest defeats before He raises us from the ashes of despair. If God bails us out of trouble, we glorify Him a little, but if God redeems us from the ashes of despair we praise Him with all of our being. All too often we see that it is through the delay in His promise that our faith is established. It takes very little, if any, faith to demand immediate relief of fulfilment, but it takes a lifestyle of faith and a heart that truly finds its hope in God to remain faithful when the promises seem impossible.
Christy shares her testimony of what God is doing in her and her husband Nick's life and testifies of His faithfulness every step of the way.
It is good to come to the end of ourselves and realise our weakness, and give into God. It's then that we realise we can't do anything on our own anyway, so we ask Him to completely take over. We stop trying to make things happen and let Him have his way. To receive God's guidance, King Solomon said we must acknowledge God in all our ways. To acknowledge is to honour and obey.
In his first recorded letter, the apostle Peter writes to a church that was under escalating persecution. He writes to encourage the church and help remind them of their status in God, a royal priesthood in whom the Spirit of God dwells. Persecution exists today and is also escalating with no end in sight. Peter's principles for dealing with persecution can help us even today.
Jesus calls us out of the crowd and into discipleship, but in order to become a disciple we must do something. We must cross over with Jesus to the other side. We must step out of the crowd and get into the boat with Jesus. We must commit ourselves to Him, to travel where He travels, to do what He does, and to live with Him as the centre of our lives day after day after day.