So Christmas is coming…. And what a weird one… Normality is out of the window - we have definitely not been this way before.
I asked during the talk on Sunday whether you are faith filled? Or fed-up? Is God still on the throne? Or are you in the doldrums?
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” Romans 8:28
We looked at what it means for God... “in all things God works for the good” As well as understanding a little more about how we should demonstrate our love for Him and also to live out our lives, that are "called according to His purpose".
As I said, I am convinced all things work together for good, I am confident of this. I am also confident that just as God will play His part, we should also play our part. And Love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, by stepping into our purposes and calling to Love our Neighbour as ourselves.
I will Love God - and Love People…
We ended with concluding that the good that will come out of this pandemic is an awareness that God is calling us as a church to step up into the purpose He always intended us to.
"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you."
Will we arise? Will we allow God to shine through us…? Remember (Is 40v31) God priority is Elevation. It is not racing forward with a tonne of different things, or filling a building or a programme. It’s not even the faithfulness that is found in service.
His priority is - elevation.
And this verse in Isaiah 60, leads us to the same place. ARISE shine, for your light has come.
I have touched on this a bit, and Max prayed into it a couple of weeks ago. Simon Foster urged us to step into this reality. However I don’t think we naturally, head there. I think sometimes we are reluctant to step into all that God have for us, because we don’t see ourselves that way.
I believe this perhaps comes from a misunderstanding of humility. However, if we humble ourselves, God WILL lift us up. He WILL exalt us. There is no avoiding it, if we want to be biblical….
And that is the message I believe God wants to bring us today… He wants to elevate us to our rightful place, as children of God.
God wants to elevate us..
Elevate us out of our earthly thinking; that mire that so easily holds us down; the quicksand that our feet can find themselves in. Elevated into a place where Christ is seated in heavenly places where our thinking and language and a sense of understanding is in a much clearer place.
So today, I want to highlight some of the truths about you and about His church from God’s word. In an attempt to open our eyes to the place of elevation He wants us to live in.
There’s going to be a lot of scripture - but we need to absorb and chew on the Word of God in order to understand our identity and purpose.
Firstly, let’s get to brass tacks - You are a child of God…. The greatest place of elevation anyone can come to….
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— John 1:12
This is something ordained by God….
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1
Who me?? - Yes you
So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith Gal 3:26
Children born of His image - From before the foundation of the world…
he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— Eph 1:5
His Pleasure and Will…. You bring God Pleasure… How… By being His child….
But I’m not worthy - How can this be? Well it’s simple - God loves you and wouldn’t leave you as a orphan:
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. - John 14:18
Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me. Psalm 27:10
He Accepted you
just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. - Romans 15:7
It gets better than that….
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17 Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:14-17
Heirs with Christ - What an elevation…..
that we might receive adoption to sonship. 6 Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir. Gal 4:5-7
But Pastor - what about my old life? What about my sin? I don’t feel like I could rise on wings like eagles? Well
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! - 2 Cor 5:17
Our old life died with Christ
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Gal 2:20
Raised to life in Christ
We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. - Rom 6:4
A New Heart and Spirit
I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh - Ezek 11:19
And we are set free into a new life:
and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Eph 4:24
How are we to respond in this new elevated status? - lifted from the miry clay into a brand new life of sonship, co-heirs with Christ:
put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator Col 3:10
Why should we do this? Because our new elevated stuff requires new clothes:
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Col 3:12
you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10
You are chosen by God, His special possession, A Holy Nation, A Royal Priesthood.
The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. Deut 28:13
If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. Deut 28:1
Why and how does He do this?
Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? 1 Cor 3:16
My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them John 14:27
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. 2 Tim 1:7
Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, Says the Lord Zech 4:6
because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. 1 John 4:4
the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. Romans 8:11
God lives inside you… And not just a bit….
that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Eph 3:19
This is the power and the glory that the Word speaks of.
When we speak to our neighbours, our colleagues… We have the fulness of God within us, The Spirit that raised Christ from the dead flowing through us and we become, as part of the church the hope of Glory…
the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the Lord’s people. To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Col 1:26-27
Now can we see how we may become the hope of glory….
"Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD rises upon you. Isaiah 60:1
Will we arise? Will we allow God to shine through you…?
God wants to see this city changed, He wants to see this city healed… I believe this is the moment that His church will be elevated into a place where His glory can shine out over our neighbours.
Let’s not hunker down this Christmas, let’s get out there and demonstrate our love for God through fulfilling our calling and purpose - and then we will see God move in power and all things work together for good.