Tuesday 16th Apr 2024Lighthouse

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“I thank Christ Jesus for our Lord, who gave me strength because he trusted me and gave me this work of serving him. In the past, I spoke against Christ and persecuted him and did all kinds of things to hurt him. But God showed me mercy because I did not know what I was doing. I did not believe it. But the grace of our Lord was fully given to me, and with that grace came the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. What I say is true, and you should fully accept it: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the worst. But I was given mercy so that in me, the worst of all sinners, Christ Jesus could show that he has patience without limit. His patience with me made me an example for those who would believe in him and have a life forever. To the King that rules forever, who will never die, who cannot be seen, the only God, be honour and glory forever and ever. Amen.”

1 Timothy t NCV

 

1. Strength is Christ given 

 

Real strength comes from within, I feel the challenge growing to stand up speak up and bear up so that people need to be able to depend on us, those who are strong Paul writes bear the weakness of others.

 

Strength means holding to our convictions. We live in increasingly challenging times. People can easier be swayed by the opinions of others if they lack the core strength and convictions from within.

 

The church is rising, at the same time the Holy Spirit is speaking into the church to a greater degree and pressing the church to look upwards and outwards more than ever.

 

The church today that only focuses inwards is a church in trouble.

 

We are encouraged to look upwards towards our God and outwards towards people whom he loves.

 

A church that exists for its non-members is moving forward. If we are too comfortable in our holy huddle then the only people we look out for are people in the church.   

 

We are in danger of isolating ourselves becoming religious and irrelevant. It's the inspiration of the Holy Spirit it's the very heartbeat of Christ.

 

The purpose I came, Jesus said was to seek and save the lost. I think those whom the Holy Spirit is inspiring inwardly realise that it is for the world at large benefit outwardly.

 

James writes that those who are truly spiritual are practical.

 

Religion that God accepts as pure and without fault is this: caring for orphans or widows who need help and keeping yourself free from the world’s evil influence. (James 1:27 NCV)

 

The world we live in needs people of great strength and character, people who stand up for something.  To defend those who can't defend themselves. It would be sad if the world at large only heard us when we were against this or that.

 

Jesus walked and talked among everyday people, whom the religious people of his day wouldn't go near.  Jesus was known as someone who would choose to spend time with people.

 

When someone had a party Jesus was the first on their guest list and he probably bought the wine.  

 

Jesus was a man filled with the spirit of god and went around doing good and healing all the people whom the devil oppressed.

 

2. Strength to share the good news 

 

Paul writes he was trusted with the gospel, a mission to the Gentiles to bring them the good news of Christ. It wasn't that he was qualified he wouldn't have been our choice. If God was able to use the worst of the worst, we can have hope for our own situation. Whaywever excuse we can come up for not serving the lord in the gospel pales in insignificance. 

 

Jesus commanded his disciples, we call it the great commission, the command comes from a position of power. It also comes with a promise. 

 

“Then Jesus came to them and said, “All power in heaven and on earth is given to me. So go and make followers of all people in the world. Baptize them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach them to obey everything that I have taught you, and I will be with you always, even until the end of this age.”

Matthew 28:18-20 NCV

 

Christ promise to be with us comes with the commisiomkmg. Paul too had this commission 

 

3. Without limits

 

Strength comes from Christ and he is paitiet with us as we grow into the calling we have in him.

 

There are times when we fail, we miss an opportunity to share our faith. We know we should obey that little voice yet we ignore it. God is full of mercy and grace towards us. Christ leads us by his Spirit and calls us again and again until we respond.

 

The patients Christ had with Paul was an example to others. 

 

Not only is he patient with us, but we also show who we are by the life we live.

 

The example of Paul was that he lived up to the expectations Christ had of him.

 

His calling in Acts showed him he would suffer for preaching Christ. Of course, Paul had a reputation among his peers for his zealous persecution of he church and among the Chrotoans as someone not to be trusted. Following the commission meant he lost his former colleagues and was not trusted by the people he was now fighting for instead of against.

 

Paul had to defend himself on so many occasions explaining the vision he had and the obedience that followed.

 

“We show we are servants of God by our pure lives, our understanding, patience, and kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by true love, by speaking the truth, and by God’s power. We use our right living to defend ourselves against everything.”

2 Corinthians 6:6-7 NCV

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