Acts 11:19ff & 13:1-3 – The church in Antioch, was expansive and outward looking from its beginnings. Aptly described as a ‘church bursting its banks’, Luke’s account gives us a clear picture of the prevailing culture and values that made this the epicentre of a gospel explosion across the Roman world. In this message we explore these features of such a vibrant, multi-gifted church to see what made them instinctively outward looking, Christ-centred and fruitfully nurtured – a place where ‘living stones’ had room to grow!
Hebrews 12:18-29: The writer to the Hebrews points back to the time of the prophet Haggai, who spoke of God’s intention to shake everything in this world, in order that ‘treasures of the nations’ would come into His kingdom and His house would be filled with glory. In Hebrews we see that this remains God’s plan, and we consider (i) The Context in which we live, (ii) The Company in which stand and (iii) The Core of who we are … a ‘Kingdom That Cannot Be Shaken’, ready to reach out to a world in need of hope!
Over recent months the Lord has been drawing us further into His presence, around the throne, where there is everything we need. One of those essential things is God’s Promised Rest. In fact, we find in the letter to the Hebrews (3:7-4:11), that there is an ever-present invitation to join Him in ‘His’ rest. From here we take a journey through the Scriptures to see want this means, and how finding this rest will impact our past, present and future.
Hebrews 4:14-16 – Approaching the Throne of God is an awesome thing! Thankfully we can do so because we have One who has gone before us, securing our inheritance and our acceptance forever. As we approach we need to hold fast to a confession based on the Word of Truth about who He is, and who we now are (in Him). By embracing Jesus’ humanity, as well as knowing we are accepted we can also know we are fully ‘understood’. By a revelation of such things we can learn how to lay hold of the Grace of God, in its various forms, not only for ourselves, but also for the world He loves and came to save!
In these days the Lord is impressing upon us the importance of spending time around His throne together. The writer to the Hebrews (8:1-7) shows us the reality of what this means, whether we gather in twos or two-hundreds. It is a place of REVELATION – where the Lord wants to show us who He is and who we are in Him, of TRANSFORMATION – where our line of sight and our thinking comes into line with Spiritual realities, and COMMISSION – where the Lord wants to equip and instruct us, so that we can build according to the pattern He has shown us around His throne. From this place Mission becomes for us, simply an overflow of the Holy Spirit’s life within us.
The story of the Israelites is the story of ‘our forefathers’ says the Apostle Paul (1 Co 10), laden with warnings and promise. From God’s first promise to Abraham, the Apostle traces the history of his own people, including the ups and the downs, to show us God’s intended fulfilment through Abraham’s Seed, Christ Jesus. It is the story of a loving and faithful God whose GRACE to Jew and Gentile alike is displayed, and of RESTORATION, as Paul shows us God’s great plan to bring a future remnant from Israel back to Him, through Jesus.
Recently the Lord has been speaking to us about seeing all things through the Cross, but also moving out of ‘maintenance mode’ into ‘mission mode’. At the heart of the Mission, is the Cross. And the purpose of the Cross is the Mission. We have been co-Missioned by Jesus, to continue His great work of restoring all things to God. In this message we look at Paul’s words, to the Philippians (2:6-11), describing how Jesus embraced His own co-Mission from the Father, by embracing the Cross – inviting us to do the same. We consider how we should therefore view the Mission through the ‘lens’ of the Cross, and approach the Cross in light of the Mission.
In this second message in our series, we consider God’s credentials as Creator to be the source of all authority in His creation and the only fixed point of reference…