[28/06/2020]

The Church Pt 2 – Ps Bruce Claridge

"An identity reminder..."

Episode Notes

Psalm 11:3 (NIV)

“When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?’’

But here is something to encourage those who are “the righteous”.

Is 59:19b (NKJV)

“When the enemy shall come in, like a flood the Lord will raise up a standard against him”.

Raising up a standard means to make flee.

The psalmist sounds a lot like many people in 2020 asking the same question!!

What can we do?

Amidst a pandemic we see violent riots across our world, lack of respect for authority, anarchy and fear. People watch on confused and asking what can we do?

Isaiah brings encouragement to “the righteous”.

Firstly, we must answer this question, who are the righteous?

From Isaiah, they are people God stands up for.

Of course, it’s the believers! The Church today is called and equipped to turn our world upside down, just as the early church did in the book of Acts amidst Roman persecution and the pervading ungodliness of their society.

Acts 2:42-47 (NIV)

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.

 Today, forces are at work to destroy our Christian foundations and leave generations to come confused about the Godly heritage and freedom we have as a nation.

Our Aussie history is not a perfect history, far from it, but a history from which lessons were learned and biblical truths were applied in society’s laws and culture.

Two weeks ago, Steve Penny’s prophetic word focussed on Joshua’s leadership of God’s people to their promised land.

Joshua 1:8 (NIV)

Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.

You need strength and courage to walk the path of faith and obedience which leads to success.

The key focus to doing this is that you need to always maintain a heavenly perspective.

Populating Heaven is our mandate given by Jesus in the great commission.

Nothing has changed with this purpose even in our rapidly changing world.

The Church is God’s Plan A (with no Plan B), through faith and obedience, to be God’s vehicle of reconciliation between a loving God and his rebellious children.

This is how simply it works:

1.

Romans 10:9 (NIV)

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

John 20:22 (NIV)

22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice on a cruel Roman Cross, by faith in Him you can be justified before a Holy God.

Saved and being sanctified. God working on our heart through His Word and His Holy Spirit.

No longer living for ourselves, but for Him who saved us.

Born Again and then being transformed into the image of Christ. Moving from the dominion of the kingdoms of this world to the joys of living in the Kingdom of Light. This is our new identity, but it is not just a ticket to Heaven, it is an expectation to be a world changer.

It is knowing you are now qualified to be a servant of the King and move in his authority.

If you are uncertain of your identity then today you can have this transformation as we pray at the end of this message, or right now you can ask Jesus into your life and we can pray together later.

2.

Acts1:8 (NIV)

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Saved and now ignited by the empowering of the Holy Spirit, the fuse was lit at Pentecost. (Acts 2)

Remember, however, that a lit fuse is only a pathway to an explosion and as Steve Penny said, “Promises bring us to the border of our blessing, but only action enables us to possess it.” The experience of the Baptism in the Holy Spirit is to equip us to be a world changer not a church attender.

After Jesus breathed resurrection life into his confused disciples, he later told them to wait in Jerusalem for the empowering to be His witnesses eventually to the ends of the earth.

3.

Acts 2: 42-47 (NIV)

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.

We, the Church, become the barrel that directs the Dunamis charge so that the explosion ignited is not just fragmented and does not hit a target. Unattached believers have a “scatter gun effect “ignited and empowered” but without the structure of a local Church as outlined in God’s Word to bring about lasting fruit.

The local Church is the equipping vehicle to prepare the saints to fulfil the great commission as a Body of related believers each using their respective gifts in unity to impact their world.

This morning I want to focus on the justified, ignited and commissioned Church as we take the promised land as Joshua and his people did.

There are five roles we demonstrate as we witness and by faith grasp the promises God has given us for this exciting season. A season to not pull back despite the opposition to truth.

A season to raise the standard of truth

e.g. Moral compromise in the corporate and political world has seen truth sacrificed on the altar of success, power and financial gain

But a season of unlimited opportunities is emerging as we get back to a “new normal”.

We are to be present in our world, salt and light. We have roles to play as pastors, prophets (speakers of truth), priests and ambassadors.

Firstly, we must be present in our world, salt and light making people thirsty and show them the way by our abundant lives. Lives full of faith, adventure, love and acceptance.

Present in the lives of others, involved positively in their lives allowing them to witness God’s people living out their kingdom lifestyle, a lifestyle of generosity, authenticity and compassion.

As Paul says we are spreaders of “the fragrance of the knowledge of Him”.

2 Cor. 2: 14-16 (NIV)

14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us as captives in Christ’s triumphal procession and uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15 For we are to God the pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. 16 To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?

We must always ask ourselves, “What do I smell like to those around me?”

Secondly as pastors we are to be compassionate, caring pastoral influences genuinely reaching out to those who have no shepherd. Pastoring our community beyond the walls of a Church building.

Outwardly focused and tuned into the Holy Spirit who guides and directs our pastoral calling.

Being that person who is alert to the needs around us and prepared to do something about it.

Thirdly we are the carriers of the prophetic mantle bringing Good News, as carriers of truth to those who are ignorant of God’s love and plan for their lives. We know and share the truth in a world deceived by lies and godless philosophies.

Commissioned to be “the oracles of God” in a world overrun with godless myths and secular philosophies.

Being prepared to give an answer to the “God questions” that will come our way. You become the God person in your club, workplace, unsaved family and school or university.

Knowing the Word well enough to explain our Christian view in a society that is more and more ignorant of the claims of Christ.

Loving them enough to be asked about the hope we have.

More and more are believing the evolutionary inspired lies of secular humanism and self-centred spirituality, but we carry the truth.

Fourthly we are Priests, being beside and standing with those we are doing life with, praying for and praying with them, daily bringing them before God and interceding on their behalf.

What the Old Testament priests did on behalf of God’s people we do now on behalf of the lost.

Genuinely making time to be prayer warriors and not just prayer “worriers”.

Knowing what Ephesians 6:10-12 tells us of the battle raging in the heavens, the forces at work in our world which must however submit to the authority of the Kingdom we represent.

Finally, we are Ambassadors.

Representing the King as any worldly ambassador does on behalf of his Sovereign or country, he represents. We represent the Kingdom of God always. In everything we do and say we are acting out the culture and priorities of our Kingdom for the world to see.

This responsibility is a privilege and a responsibility in our worldly dealings knowing what is at stake.

Always present and always ambassadors, but as the opportunity arises, sometimes pastors, sometimes priests and sometimes God’s mouthpiece as prophets.

We are living in a” last days” society.

2 Timothy 3:1-6 (NIV)

3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires.

We, the Church, are the” hope of the world”.

You, as a vital part of this world changing Church, are commissioned and have been ignited to make a difference now and for future generations.

Always maintain a promised land perspective, a heavenly perspective so like Paul we will say as he said in:

2 Timothy 4:6-8 (NIV)

3 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires,

“For I am already being poured out… but also to all who have longed for his appearing”.

The application of this is: Salvation; Empowering by the Holy Spirit and Commissioned.

Suggestions for discussion

  1. Discuss how you can see forces at work to destroy our Christian foundations in these times.
  2. How do we always maintain a heavenly perspective?
  3. You, as a vital part of this world changing Church, are commissioned and have been ignited to make a difference now and for future generations. Discuss how you think we can do this?