Tuesday, 15 May 2018

The Ministry Part 2

May 11th

Titus 1:5-11 (NKJV)
5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you -
6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having children not accused of dissipation or
insubordination.
7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given
to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,
8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober minded, just, holy, self-controlled,
9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to
exhort and convict those who contradict.
10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the
circumcision,
11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.

Paul and Titus had been working together on the island of Crete. However, Paul had to leave so Titus was given the job of appointing elders in every city. Paul knew this letter would be read out in the churches around Crete yet he did not lower the standard to make people happy. The standard for the Pastors and Church leaders is very high. Our holy God desires a holy church. In fact these qualities are good for all members of the church. Only by what Jesus has done for us, can we be living our life up to this standard. God is not only interested in the message but the journey of the messengers that God would be able to do a work in their lives and bring them to His desired standard. When the messengers are ready and go out with the Word then surely the harvest will come.

According to the list in Titus 1:5-11
We must be ....
1. blameless - upright at all times
2. the husband of one wife (wife of one husband) - being absolutely faithful stops trouble
3. managing the family well - bringing up our children in the Lord
4. self controlled / self disciplined
5. not self-willed - not stubborn as this is of the devil
6. not quick-tempered - avoid hurting others with a temper
7. not given to wine - Proverbs 20:1
8. not violent but gentle
9. free from the love of money - don't go after the things of this world
10. hospitable - welcome others into our homes and serve them well
11. love what is good
12. just
13. holy - God calls us to live holy lives as He is a holy God
14. holding fast to the faithful word which we have been taught and able to instruct others

Philippians 1:27 
Only let your  conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,

God is calling us to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of the Lord. Our conduct shouldn't depend on whether the pastors are present or not, but we should be Christ like and Godly in all situations.

MINISTER'S RESPONSIBILITY

1. The minister is responsible for leading the flock. 
     Acts 20:28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit 
     has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 

      Christ is the Chief and the Great Shepherd. (Christ is the head of the body of Christ)
     The pastor is the under-shepherd and head of the flock (the believers)

      John 10:23 The sheep will and are to follow their shepherd. John 10:25 It is the shepherd to 
      lead the flock

2. The minister is responsible for correcting and comforting.
     2 Timothy 4: 1-5  talks about preaching the Word in season and out of season, correcting when needed and bringing the whole counsel of God because a time is coming when people will not want to listen to the whole Word but only the parts that are pleasing to them. The minister can not just preach Grace every week but must bring the whole counsel including judgement, curses or other parts which maybe people don't want to hear about.
     Hebrews 12:11-13 Rebuking must always be done in love so that people can be comforted and continue on for the Lord. Ephesians 4:11-13 where this unit started reminds us that equipping God's people, edifying the body of Christ and bringing everyone into unity of faith is what the ministers are responsible for so that the believers can measure up to the full and complete standard of Christ.






Sunday, 13 May 2018

The Ministry Part 1

May 4th

Ephesians 4:11-16 (NKJV)
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—
16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
This topic connects to the previous topic on The Church. Again we see The Church is the body of Christ and Christ is the head. We can also see that every

message and word spoken by the pastor, evangelist, prophet or apostle is important for equipping us to do the work of the Lord.

Mark 16:15-18
God has commissioned us to go out and preach the gospel so that people believe and are baptized. And there will be signs that follow like casting out demons and speaking in new tongues. God's protection will be around us. If any harm comes (like snakes), they won't be able to hurt us ( Acts 28:5 Paul shook the poisonous snake off into the fire and people were amazed) but this is not an invitation to test God by taking up dangerous things. 


1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (NKJV)

v22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. v23 Now this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker of it with you. 


We can see Paul's total focus was to win the lost to Christ. He even tried to find common ground in order to share the gospel. 

In Ephesians 4:11-16 the Lord explain to us that different giftings have been given out in the church. 
1. Apostles: (greek word apostolos - strongs 652 
    = ambassador of the gospel, one who is sent forth by 
   the Lord. Usually leaving home to go to another place.
2. Prophet: (greek word prophetes - strongs 4396)
    = one speaking forth a divine message from God
    They need to be in continuous communication with God to 
    get the message from God. In the church those who spend  
    time with the Lord will have a word from God even though 
    they may not be prophets.
3. Evangalists: (greek word euaggelistes - strongs 2099)
    = heralds of salvation who are not apostles. Basically all 
    of  us are evangalists as we take the message of salvation        into our families, workplaces and anywhere else we go.
4. Pastors: (greek word poiman - strongs 4166)
    = A shepherd who tends and guides the Lord's flock. 
5. Teacher: One who explains or brings God's truth.

In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Paul gives Timothy a warning about the last days: (NKJV)
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

Difficult times will come in the last days. There will be a fake godliness and behind the fake godliness will be lots of ungodliness that will grieve God. These people will miss out on the power that could bring them to true godliness. Satan is doing all he can to destroy and tear down the Church. 

Monday, 23 April 2018

The Church Part 5

20 April, 2018

In the previous week, the discussion focused on the spiritual gifts.

In this last session, the question was What is the glory of the church? 

2 Thessalonians 2:6-8
And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so
until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, who the Lord
will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.

This letter to the church of Thessalonians contains a strong message about the end times.
In chapter 2, a lawless one is described as rising in power and saying that he is God.
This will happen first before the day of the Lord's coming and all the believers will still be on earth and should be alert, knowing this lawless one or  'Antichrist' ( 1 John 4:3) will make all these claims.

After the 3.5 years of the lawless one claiming he is God and tried to fool everyone,
Jesus will overthrow him and destroy him (verse 8) with the brightness of His coming (the rapture)

The first time Jesus returns in the clouds is the rapture.
Matthew 24:30, Luke 17:34, 1 Corinthians 15:52,
Jesus will send angels to gather His people. 1 will be taken and the other left.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17
17. ... we who are still alive ... will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet
the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

After the rapture the Holy Spirit will be taken away and there will be a 3.5 year period of tribulation and persecution before the second coming and final judgement of Satan. Note that it will be almost impossible for anyone to turn to the Lord during the persecution period because its the Holy Spirit who convicts us and births something of the spirit in us, but the Holy Spirit won't be present.

The glory of the church is that we are the bride that Jesus is coming back for. We will be taken up
to dwell with the Lord and don't need to endure the period of tribulation.

We should seek the presence of God in our lives.

As a church we must:

1. have a biblical foundation (God's Word). Keep checking that what we are hearing aligns with the Word of God.
2. preach the message of redemption (born of water and of spirit)
3. lift up Christ. Be careful not to lift up ministries, pastors, leaders or other things more than Christ.

What can we do to help the church which is the body of Christ?

1. Be regular in our attendance. Hebrews 10:25
    CH U R CH    You are present in the center of  church 😃
2. Be ready to be used by God. Make ourselves available.
3. Be reverent in our attention. Romans 12:2 be transformed by the renewing of your mind
4. Be Godly in conduct. God wants to see His character reflected in us. Resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7)

Titus 2:11-12 (NIV) For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say 'NO' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled upright and godly lives in this present age...

5. As a church, strive to reach sinners with the gospel.




Monday, 26 March 2018

The Church Part 3

Friday 23rd March


Continuation of the discussion on The Church and its Members


Ephesians 4:11-12 New King James Version (NKJV)
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists,
and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry,
for the edifying of the body of Christ,

From this verse we can see there is a 5-fold ministry. These ministries are given to different
people and work together to build up and edify the people in the church, which is the body of Christ.

Last week we looked at the spiritual gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12
In this study we continued from verse 9


to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same[b] Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.

In verse 9 above, faith and healing are listed together.
When the disciples were praying for people, there were a few times they got frustrated because the person didn't get healed or demons didn't leave.
When they approached Jesus about it, Jesus told them it was because of their 'little faith'
(Matthew 17:19-20) Faith as small as a mustard seed is enough to move mountains.
On another occasion Jesus was asleep on the boat and a storm came. 
The disciples rushed to wake up Jesus. Jesus calmed the storm and told them they 
had little faith. (Matthew 8:26) So faith must be present for healings / other miracles
to take place and without faith you can't please God (Hebrews 11:6).

Prophecy and Discerning Spirits
Prophecies are revelations from God to us. They may tell us what to do in that moment.
We must check that they line up with THE WORD OF GOD. If not then the prophecy is
not from God.

People with the gift of discernment know when there is a bad spirit around. 
Bad spirits can turn up in church and someone may appear to be doing well
But suddenly a lot of  things not aligned with God's Word may start coming out. 
We must test everything against God's Word and be spiritually on guard.
The enemy likes to come into our camp and cause confusion and deceit. 

Acts 16 has the story of Paul encountering a demon possessed girl. 

We must be wise in dealing with these instances. 
Also be aware of preachers who just say what is pleasing to the ear. 

In our church the vision is to WIN, BUILD and SEND. 
If our local church catches the vision, it changes attitudes. 
Jesus said in Matthew 16:18
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, 
and upon this rock I will build my church; 
and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

1 Corinthians 12:12 tells us that we are one body 
And one in Christ. 






























Sunday, 18 March 2018

The Church Part 2

16th March, 2018


In the previous study, we discussed the first 3 points:
1. The Church is built on the foundation of Jesus Christ.
2. The Church is the body of Christ.
3. The Head of the Church is Jesus Christ.


In this study we discussed points 4, 5 and 6.




4. The Church is a constitution of true believers, born again of
    the Holy Spirit.
    John 3:6  'Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.'
   
   Discussion on why splits happen within churches: power, ego,
   difference in vision, lack of humility...... because of fleshly desires.


   But we cannot have one foot in the world and one foot in the Bible.
   Colossians 3:5, 2 Corinthians 5:17  and   1 Peter 4:2   remind us that
   the old person has been put to death, including all fleshly desires.
   In the ideal church, there is harmony, one vision (God's vision),
   people open to correction, humility.... God came to build a spiritual
   church.


   Our church's vision is to WIN, BUILD and SEND.




5. The believers are also born of the Word.
     1 Peter 1:22-23 (NKJV)

The Enduring Word

22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit[a]
    in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,
  23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through
     the word of God which lives and abides forever,[b]








      We can see the Holy Spirit is coming in again. The true Church is born
       of the Word of God. What is of the flesh will die on day.
      The Word speaks to us, breaks lies, strongholds, .... and the Word
       remains forever.




6. The believers also live an overcoming life.
     Ephesians 5:27
     27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having
        spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and
        without blemish.
 
    To achieve this we must be overcomers in our walk with God.
    
     Revelations 21:27







The Church and The Members.
1 Corinthians 12:7-12
This passage talks about the spiritual gifts.
The manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one and is
for the benefit of everyone.




Interesting to note that wisdom and knowledge are together
What is the difference?
Knowledge is knowing but wisdom is knowing with understanding.
God can give one person knowledge and give a different person
the wisdom to understand that knowledge. Knowing alone could be
dangerous.
As a Church we should use these gifts to edify and build each other up.



Faith and healing are also put together.
Ephesians 2:8-9 (Faith is a gift from God)
Hebrews 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes
to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those
who diligently seek Him.


Each of us has been given a portion of faith. We can operate
in faith and build each other up in faith. We pray for healing in faith.




Miracles includes healing. Other miracles are...
changes in government policies, seeing unbelievers start believing,
being kept away from a car crash.....




We should desire these gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:7-12






























































   
   

Saturday, 10 March 2018

The Church part 1

9 March 2018
Foundations of Living: The Church

Introduction: 
The word CHURCH can be found in the New Testament
only. The Greek word is EKKLESIA (1577) which means
'called out ones'. That means called out from their homes
to the gathering.

Ephesians 5:24-27

Matthew 16:18 (Jesus speaking)
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this
rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not 
prevail against it.

1 Peter 2:9
But ye (are) a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy
nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the
praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his
marvelous light. 

So going to CHURCH on Sunday is not about going to a
place (building) but it is a gathering of the CALLED OUT 
ONES.

The bible always compares the church with a marriage.
To understand why check the Hebrew culture of marriage.
In the Hebrew culture the bride only needs to prepare
herself for her groom. But she must be ready not knowing
the exact time and absolutely spotless.
The groom must prepare the room before going to pick up
his bride. There will be a shout when the groom arrives.
https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/revelation/
related-topics/the-jewish-wedding-analogy.html

As the church, we are the bride of the King of Kings.
His is preparing rooms for us in Heaven and will
return to take us. We just need to be ready. The
trumpet will sound and we will gather in the air
(the rapture). John 14:1-3, 1 Corinthians 15:51-52

1. The Church is built on the foundation of Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 3:11
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that
which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:20
..having been built on the foundation of the apostles
and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief
CORNERSTONE,.....
Church is not another business or programme.
Everything has to be centered around Jesus, the chief
cornerstone. The church must not replace Jesus with
their own doctrines.

2. The Church is the body of Christ. 
Romans 12:5
so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and
individually members of one another.
1 Corinthians 12:27
Now you are the body of Christ, and members
individually.
and it goes on to refer to different members of
the church having different gifts (gift of teaching,
gift of helping, gift of healings...) and roles but
being one body.

3. Christ is the Head of The Church.
One body cannot have two heads.
Otherwise it will have 2 minds and
will malfunction.
Jesus never called anyone to be the head of the
church. We are the body and in subjection
to the head.
Ephesians 1:22-23
And He put all things under His feet, and
gave Him to be the head over all things
to the church, which is His body, the fullness
of Him who fills all in all.

Colossians 1:18
And He is the head of the body, the church,
who is the beginning, the firstborn from
the dead, that in all things He may have the
preeminence.


Note
Refer to the Jewish festivals including
the firstfruits.
After rising from the dead, Jesus presented
himself to God as the firstfruits. We are
following in his footsteps and will also
rise up from the dead.

1 Peter 3:18-20
This is the reference for the discussion on
what Jesus did in those 3 days between dying
and rising again. It mentions that He went to
preach to the spirits in prison














Monday, 29 January 2018

What is regeneration? (Part 2)

26 January, 2018

4. Regeneration involves a transition from the sinful old life to the new life
    of loving obedience to Jesus Christ.
     2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:
                                    old things are passed away;
                                    behold all things are become new.
      Galatians 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the
                                lust of the flesh.
      Ephesians 4:23-24 And be renewed in the spirit of the mind; And that ye put on the new
                                      man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
      Collosians 3:10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the
                                 image of him that created him:

      Romans 6:14-23 In this passage we see that when we yield ourselves to God, then sin
                                  shall not have dominion over us. That is sin has no authority or
                                   power over us and certainly shall not rule over us. But having
                                   an abundance of God's grace is no excuse to keep living the
                                   old sinful life. There is a
                                   transition from being a servant of sin to being freed from sin and
                                   becoming a servant of righteousness and moving toward holiness.
                                    When we are are servants of righteousness, we are not feeling
                                   bound and forced to follow particular religious acts, but rather
                                   we love to serve God and allow Him to make us righteous
                                   and become more like Him ( holiness)
                                   Although we will never be sinless, we will surely sin less as God
                                   works on our lives.

     1 John 2:29, 4:7, 3:9, 5:18. Those who are born of God (have been regenerated) do
                                                 live in righteousness, love one another and sin less.
                                                The wicked one has no power over them.

5. Those born of God cannot make sin a habit.
     1 John 5, 1 John 3:9 God's seed (of righteousness and holiness) remains in him
                        so he can't sin. This is going towards maturity.
     We depend on the Holy Spirit to keep up our relationship with God. 1 John 4:7-8
             says that 'He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.' So clearly
             there's a problem when one claims to follow God but doesn't know how to love.
             1 Corinthians 13 talks about doing all the right things but without love.
             This is empty. Regeneration makes us change from the inside out.

6. No matter what we confess with our lips, those who continue in sin
     show they are not yet regenerated but rather still under Satan's dominion.
      1 John 3:6-10
       We are not saved by works but works is a product of God's grace, righteousness and
       holiness in our lives. Righteous lives = loving life = children of God.
        Unrighteous life = unloving= children of the evil