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Archive for June 2011

WISE - Holy Communion

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36. Holy Communion or the Lord's Supper

Luke writes “He took some bread and gave thanks to God for it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the Disciples, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this to remember me.” After supper he took another cup of wine and said, “This cup is the new covenant between God and his people—an agreement confirmed with my blood, which is poured out as a sacrifice for you.” (Luke 22v19-20)

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Depending on your church, it can be called amongst other things, the Eucharist or The Lord’s Supper. Christians are commanded to participate, as Jesus said: “Do this in remembrance of me” (Luke 22v19). Some churches do it every service and others do it monthly. Whenever we participate in it, we do it regularly as a remembrance of Jesus until He comes again (1 Corinthians 11v26)! The bread symbolizes His body broken on the cross and the wine symbolizes His blood shed on the cross. Therefore before we partake of the bread and wine, we are to examine ourselves and confess any unforgiven sin (1 Corinthians 11v28-29). This is done so because it would be hypocritical to eat it while harbouring known sin in our hearts and having fellowship with Jesus and others in the church!

What does it all mean?

It symbolizes the following things:

  • It also symbolizes the death of Christ for our sin (Luke 22v19)

  • It symbolizes our acceptance of Christ’s death for us.

  • Symbolizes our dependence on Christ for spiritual life.

Through your participation in it, you have:

  • fellowship with other believers in the universal church (1 Corinthians 10v17)

  • We receive the benefits of His sacrifice (1 Corinthians 10v16)

  • We spiritually feed upon Christ (1 Corinthians 11v24)

It also reflects the New Covenant between God and Jesus’ Disciples – a Covenant which guarantees salvation!

Two other main views insist that it is more than just symbolic! Firstly, there is transubstantiation, which believes that the bread and wine actually become the blood and body of Jesus Christ. Secondly there is, consubstantiation, which believes that the body and blood of Christ are present in the Communion meal.

However, it must be noted, that both of these views would indicate that Jesus Christ is being re-sacrificed and Hebrews 7v27b-28 (But Jesus did this once for all when he offered himself as the sacrifice for the people’s sins. The law appointed high priests who were limited by human weakness. But after the law was given, God appointed his Son with an oath, and his Son has been made the perfect High Priest forever.) seems to refute these views. The bread we eat and wine we drink at Holy Communion are only symbolic of Jesus' sacrifice and not a re-enactment.

Through the act of Baptism and the partaking of Communion, we remember the significance of Jesus’ death and resurrection on our lives.

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Worship Wednesday

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1. Opening Prayer

O God our Father! We thank you for a new day in which we can serve you! Thank you for placing joy into our hearts and life, even when we are not aware of it! As we come before you now, still our hearts and enable us to worship you. Thank you for your Son, Jesus Christ, who for the joy set before him, endured the cross so that all those who follow Him, may have new life in Him! We ask this in Jesus' name and in the power of the Holy Spirit, who was sent to dwell in all those who follow the Son. Amen!

2. Song - When I Survey

3. Message Part 1

It is no exaggeration to say that the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the centre point of all human history. When God came in human form, in order to bring salvation to humanity, through that man's death on the cross - the wondrous cross the singer sang about.  The wondrous cross where the Prince of glory died and upon which we survey. The wondrous cross where we see this Jesus bleeding from all parts of His body, so that humanity could choose to take up his offer of salvation or reject it.

Blood flowing from his hands, feet and side and where a crown of thorns was impaled into his head -  the eternal prince of glory died, in an act of love beyond our human comprehension! But he didn't just die, because He rose again from the dead three days later - which was part of the joy set before him as he endured the cross! That's the Jesus we celebrate today! That's the Jesus, in whose name we pray now, to God the Father in the power of the Holy Spirit.

4. Prayers

We now come to prayer! Please do give to God our Father, with a grateful and expectant heart, either out loud or silently, the names of people who are in need. Our God knows the details and is faithful to respond.  Let us pray!

5. Revelation 19v11-16

I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. "He will rule them with an iron scepter." He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written:

KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

6. Message Part 2

Jesus! Faithful and True! Word of God! Prince of Glory! King of Kings! Lord of Lords! The rider being talked about is Jesus, the Prince of Glory, Son of God and decreed "Word of God!" That must have been an awesome sight! Jesus, the Prince of Glory who is now entitled the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Nobody can get into heaven except  by being a follower of Him! It was his death, resurrection and ascension that allows Him to be the one and only way, one and only truth and one and only life. Nobody can get to God without Him and nobody can enter the gates of heaven without Him.

To enter heaven you need to be declared sinless and right with God! That is only achieved by accepting Jesus Christ as your only Lord and Saviour.  He paid the price that nobody else could pay - dying on a cross, rising to new life and ascending back to right hand of God the Father. You can do it right now, by simply saying, "Jesus I choose to follow you!"  I cannot promise you an easy life if you do choose to be a follower of this Jesus, but I can promise you a fulfilled life as you do so and stick with Him! He will be with you through both the hard and good times of life! You don't need to know everything about Him to start following Him, but when you do start to follow, you will quickly learn about Him. If you decide for Jesus now, please let us know! So we conclude with a prayer.

7. Closing Prayer

Bring us, O Lord God, at our last awakening into the house and gate of heaven, to enter into that gate and dwell in that house, where there shall be no darkness nor dazzling, but one equal light; no noise nor silence, but one equal music; no fears nor hopes, but one equal possession; no ends nor beginnings, but one equal eternity; in the habitations of your glory and dominion, world without end. (John Donne)

For those that don't know you, around the world, I pray that they would come to a saving knowledge of you - the praise and glory of the Father, in the name of the Son and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

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Think Spot 2011 06 27

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Think Spot - 27th June 2011

G'day and welcome to Partakers! Welcome also to Monday and our Think Spot together!

I wonder what your last week was like! I know for me it was full of trial and yet with a deep-seated trust that God was in control, despite the events and discouragements I was undergoing! So, whether it was a week for you to forget or a week for you to remember, we now enter a new week! Last week we thought about trusting God in all circumstances! One of the natural outcomes of trusting God is joy - often an unspeakable joy that bubbles within you! A joy resulting from overcoming all that life throws at you, and overcoming those hurdles! It involves taking a daily commitment to follow Jesus Christ and not just a one off. It takes commitment, not comfort, to throw off hindrances and barriers. True joy results from being willing to allow the Holy Spirit to work in you, transforming you into the image of Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God the Father.

All of these things being done daily in your life lead to what I am convinced is the key to the reality of a successful Christian life - that key being joy. As you grow closer to Jesus, living in peace, trust and obedience, then your spiritual life will be your natural life and your natural life be your spiritual life! Your joy will abound and shine a light giving people a reason to ask "Where do you get all your joyous hope from?". You will then be able to· share Jesus as your source of joy. A joy that is anticipatory, expectant and true! Joy comes from putting Jesus first, others next and then yourself! Go practise it this week! ~~

You can show this joy by singing, laughing, smiling, shouting praises to God, lifting hands in worship', and crying, but that is only the external part of joy. True joy also incorporates an internal joy. Real joy is when you can believe in: the mountain top when you are in your deepest valley. Abundant joy is being surrounded by darkness and still believing in 'the light'. Anticipatory joy is when amidst total confusion you still believe God has a plan of love for you. It was this type of joy that Jesus had, when in the garden praying, the night before he was betrayed, when full of mixed emotions and anguish he said "Not my will, but yours, Father!"

As sons and daughters of God, we have many reasons to be full of joy. Yet how often we forget! Here are some reasons for joy!

  • Psalm 51v8 & 12 - Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me-now let me rejoice. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.
  • Jeremiah 15v16 - When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart's delight, for I bear your name, O Lord God of Heaven's Armies.
  • Luke 15v8-10 "Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Won't she light a lamp and sweep the entire house and search carefully until she finds it? And when she finds it, she will call in her friends and neighbours and say, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost coin.' In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God's angels when even one sinner repents."
  • 1 Peter 1v8-9 - You love Jesus Christ even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy. The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.

Do you desire to be' overflowing with joy today and this week? Go into this week with a joy that is anticipating and expectant! Do you need to hand over to Jesus a particular area of your life' where Jesus does not fully reign and have control? I pray that the Father will reveal more of Himself to you, as you daily seek His face, overcoming all hindrances to living a successful and joyful-Christian life. May the Holy Spirit who lives within you, if you are a Christian, continue to transform you into the image of the Son Jesus Christ, and all to the praise and glory of God the Father. Amen.

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Lord’s Prayer

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Christian Disciple and Lord’s Prayer

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Jesus speaking in Matthew 6v9-13

“This, then, is how you should pray:

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.

for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

Amen.”

This is, in all probability, the prayer that is most frequently used, and repeated, by those professing to be Christian Disciples and also by those who are not.  It is often called the “Lord’s Prayer”.  This is not because Jesus, Himself would have prayed it, for as He was sinless, He would have had no need to have said to God, “forgive us our debts” (Matthew 6v12).  It was given by Jesus as a model for His Disciples prayers to be like, hence Jesus saying “how you should pray” (Matthew 6v9).  When it is spoken and prayed, I wonder if some people truly understand what is being prayed?

Father: By calling God, “Father”, this implies that God is in a personal relationship with the Disciple, and that be recalling Him as a loving and generous Father.  God is not impersonal, but wants to be approached intimately as a child approaching its daddy.  By saying “our Father”, the individual Christian disciple should realize they are not alone, but are part of a wider church family.

Holy: When we call God Holy, it is symbolic of our intimate adoration of Him and means that we are to place Him and His purposes at the top of our list – God is to be number one priority in all aspects of life and the world.  His glory, His kingdom and His will are to be our supreme concern high above our own needs.

Kingdom: God is a King and He rules!  This is where the Christian Disciple prays that the Gospel will spread far and wide, and God’s Kingdom will grow until the time when Jesus Christ returns in glory, to rule with majesty and honour.

Will: As God is holy and a king, His Will is already being done in heaven.  The Christian Disciple is to pray that life here on earth will approximate life in heaven!  The Christian Disciple wanting to place God as number one priority and to see God’s kingdom spread, will also pray that God’s Will be top priority as well!  They are the three priorities for a Christian Disciple: God will be number one; His Kingdom will spread and His will, will be done on earth.

Supply: This signifies that the Christian Disciple needs to rely on and trust in God for all things that are necessary for life to continue.  So often, particularly in the Western world, we rely on our own finance, our own goods, to supply our needs and forget that God has provided for our needs that way.  As Christian Disciples, we are to be thankful, for all the good gifts that God our Father has supplied to us: often without our needing to ask Him!

Forgiveness: Forgiveness of course is a major part of Christianity, both in the way that God forgives us when we come to Him in penitence and repentance, but also in the way Christian Disciples forgive others and themselves! Asking for forgiveness can be one of the hardest things we need to do. In times like that, we need to stop and consider Jesus Christ and the enormity of His forgiveness. If He forgave us for all we have done wrong, then we also should forgive others, regardless of how difficult that might be to do.   Forgiveness deals with our emotional response/s toward an offender. Forgiveness enables us to have the same openness toward the person after they offend us, as before.  When we forgive the offender, the hurt and the wound will start to diminish. This is helped when we realise Jesus Christ understands and we can use these experiences for our eternal advantage.

Temptation: It’s an undeniable and inevitable fact of the Christian Disciple’s life!  But it is good to know that temptations are common experiences for all Christian Disciples, and not just for us as individuals, no matter what we may think!  An important thing to note is that temptation itself is not sin!  Rather it is the giving into temptation that causes the Christian Disciple to sin.  One of the keys to living a righteous life and not sinning is by dealing with temptation the very moment it confronts us.  As Christian Disciples we face temptation from three different angles: the world, our old nature and satan.  It is not just temptation that Jesus means but trials of life as well.  The Christian Disciple is to overcome both temptations and trials, in order that their character may through the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit become more like Jes-us Christ the Master.

Deliver: This is better translated as “evil one” rather than “evil”.  Satan is the one who tempts the Christian Disciple.  It is he who suggests to the Christian Disciple not to forgive others and to trust in themselves for their own needs.  It is he who does not want God to be number one or for His will to be done on earth as in heaven.  It is he who does not want God’s kingdom to be spread.  Neither does he want Jesus Christ to return in glory.  Therefore as Christian Disciples we are to pray for these things and that we need to rely and trust on God for delivering from satan, who wants to snatch the Christian Disciples inner joy and dependence on God.

Your power: How can God deliver us from temptation, trials and satan?  He can, because He is always all-powerful and eternally almighty.  Christian Disciples are to rely on God’s strength to overcome temptation, trials and satan, and not to rely on their own strength.  By relying on their own strength, failure is imminent but by trusting in God and His power and strength, overcoming temptation, trials and satan is assured.

Your glory: What is the aim of a Christian Disciple? To give all glory to God regardless of what personal achievements have been gained.  His glory is to be our supreme concern, so that God is number one in the life of the Christian Disciple, His will is done in the Christian Disciple and in the world and that His kingdom continues to grow until Jesus Christ returns in majesty and glory.

For more to think about please do read for yourself Matthew 6v9-13. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them.  Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. In what ways can I as a Christian Disciple adapt my prayers to follow this model given by Jesus?

Q2. How can my prayer life reflect attention on God’s name, will and kingdom?

Q3. How often do I lead myself into temptation and blame others for it?

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WISE - Perseverance

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Words In Scripture Explored

Perseverance

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Perseverance in relation to God and His work is the continuous operation of the Holy Spirit in your life as a believer. It is a work of divine grace that is begun in your heart, which is continued and brought to completion.

  • As a Christian, you will never perish, and nobody or nothing can snatch them out of His hand (John 10v27-29)
  • You have eternal life and you will not be condemned, passed from death to life. (John 5v24)
  • God, who began a good work in you, will carry it on to completion (Philippians 1v6)
  • You are shielded by God’s power. (1 Peter 1v15)
  • Nothing can separate you from God/Christ’s love. (Romans 8v38-39)
  • The Lord knows those who are His (2 Timothy 2v19)
  • Eternal life never depends on our feeble grip on Christ, but rather on His firm grip on us.

God’s whole purpose for you is to transform you into the image of Jesus Christ. His purpose for you is to make you holy. This is where perseverance for you as a Christian comes in.

Perseverance of the Christian

You are to keep your eyes focussed on Jesus Christ, carry your cross daily and be willing to obey God. But as a Christian, you are sometimes entangled by sin (Hebrews 12v1). God who wholly loves, must discipline His children in order to teach them willing obedience to Himself. God disciplines His children and “It is painful.” (Hebrews 12v11) Therefore as a Christian, and you sin whilst remaining unrepentant and habitually addicted to that sin, God will discipline (Hebrews 12v10). If you sin and are not disciplined, you are not His child (Hebrews 12v8).

The Practice of Sin - Habitual Sin

As a Christian, you cannot continue to sin habitually, willingly maintaining a sinful practice or attitude. That is why you are warned against falling away.

  • We share in Christ if we hold firmly to the end. (Hebrews 3v13-14)
  • It is possible to experience much of what God offers and not be a Christian e.g. The Pharisees (Hebrews 6v4-6)

Deliberate sinning after receiving the truth reveals a rejection of truth. However, God is merciful and will forgive if repentance is asked for!

As a Christian, persevere in your relationship with God. Obey Him and follow Him. Ask questions humbly of Him and expect Him to answer, particularly if you don’t understand something. Persevere in your prayers, your relationships with God and with other people. God will persevere with you, turning you gradually into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. God will not abandon you, but you are free to abandon Him. If you did abandon Him, He would still continue to call you back to Himself.

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Watch Now:

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Worship Wednesday

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I wonder what and who you trust in! When I am sitting on a chair I am putting my trusting in the chair to support me! When I go to the doctor, I am trusting in that doctor to help me! These are simple examples of everyday trust!

Yet in other cases, trust in the world today is a missing ingredient. The one thing that most people today will say they trust in is them selves. The world says to trust yourself, don't rely on anyone else because all others are unreliable and the only person you can trust is yourself and you should only ask for help if your really desperate for it. I have had people tell me that!

It is like a refreshing breath of clean air, that we come to those words in Proverbs. When God says "Trust me", he is totally trustworthy. In the Bible we read of people learning to trust God. One such person was the man David. As we look through is life, we see David is growing in confidence from the shepherd boy to the aged and wise King.

We see him growing in rest and trust in and of God alone. Through out his life, David trusted God! One example is when he hid in the mountains and caves from Saul, Absalom and all others that were after him - he trusted God to save him.

We read that David's only hope, honour, refuge, rest and salvation was in God. That was what David trusted God for! David trusted in God for his salvation, both physical and spiritual. David learned to trust God for everything, including the bare essentials such as food and drink. Go out today, willing to trust God for every area of your life and praise Him when he supplies.

Holy and loving God - Open our eyes to see you. Open our minds to trust you. Open our hearts to love you, this day and forever. As we go now May we trust and love You each moment, showing this trust and love to others by being shining lights in darkness and gleaming mirrors of your love, power, majesty and glory. In the name of Jesus whom we trust for salvation and iIn the power of the Holy Spirit whom we trust to transform us! Amen

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Think Spot 20-06-2011

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Think Spot - 20th June 2011

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G'day and welcome to Partake! Welcome also to Monday and our Think Spot together!

We have the start of a new week! Its Monday! How and in what circumstances are you trusting God? How did Jesus Christ trust in the Father? Jesus knew that the Father was going to bring Him back to life after his death on the cross. Jesus trusted the Father in this area of His life, just as he did in all aspects of his life. How are you doing? Do you have concerns and areas of your life where you need an assurance that God the Father will help you?

Here are some simple steps which may help you maintain a trust in God.

1.   Pray, casting all anxiety on God. He cares for you because you are His personal concern (The great apostle Peter, one of Jesus' closest friends wrote this in 1 Peter 5v7 "Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.")

2.   Accept and thank God that His peace has filled that area (Another great apostle, Paul, wrote this in Philippians 4v7 says "Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.")

3.   Learn to be content whatever your circumstances are, resting in God (Paul goes on in Philippians 4v11-12 "Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.  I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little.")

4.   Allow the Spirit to control your mind for life and peace (and again from the pen of the apostle Paul, this time in Romans 8v6 "So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.")

5.   Trust God to fulfil your every need (Matthew records these words of Jesus in Matthew 6v32-33 "but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need." )

6.   Obey and follow God's commands to love God and love others (Jesus is recorded in Matthew 22v37-40 "You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.'  The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.")

7.   Finally, be prepared to be obedient to the Father, in supplying the needs of others you meet and therefore showing you love God and other people! One way to show you are trusting and loving God is to be the answer to the prayers of somebody else and showing that love to them! Ask God to show you, how you can help somebody else in need this week and showing your love.

Go in peace this Monday, into this week, knowing God is worthy of your trust! God will take care of you, but not always in the way you expect!  Expect Him to allow circumstances and situations to arise where you are to trust Him fully! He will help you if you ask! After all, He knows you better than anybody! And don't be afraid to help somebody else because by doing that, you show you are loving and trusting in God!

Father, I pray that You would help us to trust in You and that You would supply our needs, calm our concerns and help us to love You and others more fully. I ask this through the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit who lives inside all those who have peace with you. Amen

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ADD - Church

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41. The Christian Disciple and the Church

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Matthew 16v16-18 states “Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “You are blessed, Simon son of John, because my Father in heaven has revealed this to you. You did not learn this from any human being. Now I say to you that you are Peter (which means ‘rock’), and upon this rock I will build my church, and all the powers of hell will not conquer it.”

The Biblical word Church comes from the word ekklesia or assembly and means a group of people called out to God. It refers to people and not property!

  • Universal Church or the invisible Church, which is all believers, whether living or with the Lord. This is the body of Christ (Ephesians 1v22-23)
  • Local Church or the visible Church, which is the body of Christ in action in the world.
  • Christ’s Church - I will build my Church (Matthew 16v18). Christ is building His Church. Christ is the head of the Church, we are the body, He is the head to whom we submit (Ephesians 1v22-23) - leadership, unity, authority.

1. What is “church”?

In the New Testament the word “church” has two distinct, yet inseparable aspects. The first context is in the universal sense when talking about the entire body of Christ (Colossians 1v18). The universal church consists of all believers from the Day of Pentecost until Jesus returns. The second context is used within the confines of the local congregation, such as the Thessalonian church (1 Thessalonians1v1). Within the New Testament, the word ‘church’ has this tension between the universal (invisible) and local (visible) attached to it. Whereas the visible church comprises local communities of believers, the invisible church is the entire fellowship of elected saints. God only knows the invisible church inhabitants, but the visible church can be seen through local faith communities.

The phrase ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic’ probably remains the best means of identifying whether a church is truly part of the historical church or not. The Church at its inception was “a practice of shared faith”, epitomized by these four dynamic marks. If any church does not bear all of these four hallmarks, then it cannot be a true church of Jesus Christ due to their unquestioned universal acceptance throughout time and through the different strands of historical Christianity. Although definitions may vary, these four hallmarks traverse the broad spectrum of Christendom in the Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Protestant churches.

2. The Church and Jesus

The Church is the Body of Christ and is a living organism and not merely an organization (Ephesians 1v22, 23; 4v15-16). We are all baptized into one body (1 Corinthians 12v13) and this body is made up of many parts or believers. Each part or believer has a vitally necessary and important function (Ephesians 4v15; 1 Corinthians 12v13).

The Church is the Bride of Christ, which suggests the purity, holiness and faithfulness of God’s people. Furthermore it suggests the great love that Jesus Christ has for His Church, the Bride (Ephesians 5v25-32; 2 Corinthians 11v2; Rev 19v7.22v17)

The Church is the Temple of Christ - Christ is building a spiritual temple with Himself as the Cornerstone or foundation. As Christian Disciples we are living stones and God dwells within the temple, filling it with all His fullness (Ephesians 2v22; 1 Peter 2v5)

3. The Purpose of the Church -

  • · To glorify God (Ephesians 3v10 & 21)
  • · To build up God’s people to spiritual maturity (Ephesians 4v12-13)
  • · To equip God’s people for service (Ephesians 4v11-13)
  • · To evangelise (Matthew 28v10)
  • · To promote the welfare of all people - spiritual and physical (Galatians 6v10)

4. Church Government

The Church was intended to be governed and elders (or bishops) and deacons were appointed by the apostles in the NT Churches to govern the Church to govern, discipline and teach believers (Hebrews 13v17; 1 Timothy 5v17). There are three main types of church government systems operating today, all of which lay claim to having biblical precedence.

a) Episcopalian (Anglican, Roman Catholics). This is a hierarchical system of Church government consisting of Archbishops, bishops and priests, which governs the denomination as a whole.

Reasons for this are:

· claims that the bishops take the place of the apostles.

· Follows the order of the early Roman Government.

· follows the natural human tendency for organization.

b) Presbyterian – The local Church is governed by a group of elders and elected representatives of local Churches govern the denomination.

c) Congregational (Baptist, Brethren) - Stresses the autonomy and independence of the local Church. Each local Church is answerable only to Christ as its head. Elders and deacons are elected or appointed by the local Church, and promotes the priesthood of all believers. There may be support bodies to liaise between similar Churches (e.g. Baptist Union).

5. Marks of the Church

Jesus when praying in John 17v17-21 stipulates these four hallmarks of His church: one (John 17v21), holy (John 17v17, 19), catholic (John 17v21b) and apostolic (John 17v18). These hallmarks are the Spirit’s functioning of Jesus’ continuing works for the kingdom to come, and are the true church’s indisputable marks. The term ‘one holy, catholic and apostolic church’ is a verbal confession, denoting the four visible dimensions of the invisible church and being a community springing forth from its first century founding, and this is what was meant when the Nicene Creed was first agreed. Furthermore, it evolves from generation to generation, but without losing the core beliefs held in the Nicene Creed. Catholic here, in case anyone requires clarification, means universal and not the denomination.

6. Functions of the Church

While these four hallmarks are statements of faith, they also must lead to declarations of function, because the Church must be actively visible. These four derived functions of the church are: fellowship, worship, mission and bible interaction. They are mutually interdependent and are the invisible church’s visible manifestations. These four hallmarks of the Church, “one, holy, catholic and apostolic” are what I hope to discuss in the next four discussions.

For more to think about please do read John 17v15-26. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. How much do I as a Christian Disciple love the Church and reflect its complete unity?

Q2. How is the love of God the Father visible in me as a Christian disciple?

Q3. Why am I as a Christian Disciple sent?

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Psalm 23

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Psalm 23

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1 The LORD is my shepherd,

I shall not be in want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 he restores my soul.

He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil,

for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

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Worship Wednesday

The Apostles Creed

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I believe in God the Father,

Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth:

And in Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary:

Suffered under Pontius Pilate;

was crucified, dead and buried:

He descended into hell:

The third day he rose again from the dead:

He ascended into heaven,

and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty:

From thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead:

I believe in the Holy Ghost:

I believe in the holy catholic church:

the communion of saints:

The forgiveness of sins:

The resurrection of the body:

And the life everlasting.

Amen.

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Think Spot 13-06-2011

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Think Spot 13/6/2011

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G'day and welcome to Partake! Welcome also to Monday and our Think Spot together!

Matthew 5:9 records Jesus speaking these words "God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God."

All over the world, people share a common desire for peace! But what is peace? The peace the world wants varies from the peace the Christian knows. The world sees peace as the absence of conflict and people being generally ‘nice' to one another. Peace in the Christian context goes further, saying peace is perfect harmony with God, other people, circumstances and self. Therefore perfect peace will not come until Jesus Christ comes again, and takes Christians to be with Him.

That doesn't give us as Christians a mandate to sit around not doing what we can for peace, because we are commanded to be peacemakers (Matthew 5:9), our God is a God of peace (1 Thessalonians 5:23), and the Kingdom of God is about peace in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). Peace is to be our business! In a world full of conflicts, such as conflicts between nations, conflicts between neighbours, conflicts even within families and conflicts within and between churches, Christians are to be peacemakers!

With that in  mind, here are some thoughts on what the Bible has to say on peace, to help you this week be a peacemaker:

1. Peace with God

  • Justified by faith (Romans 5:1-2)
  • Christ is our peace between God and man and between men (Ephesians 2:13-18)

2. Peace with others

  • Live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:17-20)
  • Do everything possible which leads to peace and mutual encouragement (Romans 14:13-19)
  • Be a peacemaker - a sign of real wisdom producing a harvest of righteousness (Matthew 5:9, James 3:17-18)

3. Peace within/circumstances

  • Peace is a gift of God (John 14:27, 2 Thessalonians3:16)
  • Worldly peace requires manipulation of circumstances, God's peace comes regardless of circumstances
  • We have peace in troubled times - an untroubled, unfearful heart and mind (John 16:33)

Go in peace this Monday, into this week, knowing that the God of peace lives inside you if you are one of His children! Yesterday churches around the world celebrated the feast of Pentecost - the coming of the Holy Spirit as promised by Jesus. If you desire peace with God, with others and in all circumstances, ask this Holy Spirit who lives inside you to help you! If you would not consider yourself as one of His children, ask Him to help you become one!

Father, I pray that this week we will do all we can to be peacemakers and make a difference in world in conflict. I ask this through the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit who lives inside all those who have peace with you. Amen

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Worship 20110608

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Worship Wednesday

Be Thou My Vision

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Music taken from Godly Christian Music website and in the public domain.

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