Australia Kneels : Week 1 – Day 6

Doing the Will of the Father who sent us – Joh 4:34

Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work. 

The Garden Catalogue For Today

Welcome to the Discipleship and Action Day – Let us go and Draw from the Well of Life, and get filled up so we can pour out the Living Water to others we can bless.

On this day we will have a variety of messages and input from trusted disciplers.

Shining Light Into Darkness

“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness could not overcome it.”
John 1:7

The enemy has really crept into our nation. God is starting to move against him. People are noticing that God Himself is manifesting His power increasingly in people’s lives, bringing them to saving faith. The extent of these God-Revolution miracles gives us tremendous hope for the future.

Watch Rev. Richard Temby in the above video describe the impact of a healing prayer on a man’s friend who had been given a death sentence with stage 4 cancer. Richard says that YOU really do have something really precious, worthwhile and awesome to share and to give. So take courage from God who wants to use YOU to share the Gospel.

Anyone with an ounce of common sense would want to change the world. Everyone has some besetting problem either personal or in their family. It’s only natural to seek solutions. The self-help books don’t help.

There is only one comprehensive, all-encompassing solution and that is GOD HIMSELF. We can be telling people that there is HOPE – that God Himself is the solution.

 . . . . . . .

Becoming a Disciple for Jesus

By Tony McLennan

Chapter 1

What do I do Now?

The purpose of this book (Becoming a Disciple of Jesus by Tony McLennan) is to help you grow strong in your faith in the
Lord Jesus Christ so that you will live in Him and for Him as His disciple.
The aims of this book are:

  • To help you look at how your daily life is affected by your faith
    in Christ.
  • To provide you with in-depth Bible teaching.
  • To help you experience close fellowship with other Christians.
  • To help you become a person who models his life on Jesus Christ

Introduction
God loves you and offers you a wonderful plan that He has designed for your life.

What is God’s plan for you?

Jesus said:
I tell you the truth, whoever hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. John 5:24

I. Assurance of your Salvation

Can we know if we are going to go to heaven when we die?
Can we know for sure? What gives you this assurance?

  • 1 John 5:11 -12
  • 1 John 5:13
  • Ephesians 1:13 -14

What does it mean to have received eternal life?
See John 17:3.

  • Memorise John 5:24

II. Assurance of Forgiveness

What if we should commit some sin – what can we do?

  • 1 John 1:9
  • Isaiah 55: 7

What cleanses us?
What does it mean to forsake?

III. Overcoming Temptation

How should we handle temptation?

  • 1 Corinthians 10:13
  • James 1:13 -15

Who tempts or what tempts us?

IV. How can you stay close to God?

  • Love and obey Him (John 14:21)
  • Pray (Matt 6:6; John 16:24)

• A set time as well as whenever you want/need to.
use A-C-T-S* (refer below).
• Read the Bible (Psalms 119:9 -11)
• Start with John’s Gospel or Mark’s Gospel.
• Read a portion every day.
• Meditate on the scripture.
• Mark some passages.
• Memorise selected scriptures.
• Discuss this quote concerning the Bible ..
This book will keep you from sinning.”

  • Attend a Bible-based Church (Hebrews 10:25)

• Make it a habit.
• Worship with others.
• Take notes and apply the sermon to your life.

  • Tell others about Jesus (1 Peter 3:15)

• Always be ready to speak.
• Be always ready to explain the reason for the hope that you have.
• And do so with gentleness and respect.

  • Live a Godly life (1 Peter 2:12). Set an example for others.

Conclusion:

  • It was God’s plan to save you:

“… Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners …” 1 Timothy 1:15

  • God will see you through:

“… being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.Philippians 1:6

  • God loves you: “God so loved the world ….” John 3:16

Insert your own name in the space:
“God so loved ________________________ that He gave … .”

Memorise these verses:
I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes in him
who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has
crossed over from death to life”. John 5:24

~~~~~~~

* A-C-T-S means:

  • Adoration of the Lord
  • Confession of your sins
  • Thanksgiving
  • Supplication (asking)

~~~~~~~

 . . . . . . .

Becoming a Disciple for Jesus

By Tony McLennan

Chapter 2

How to Survive as a Christian
in a Hostile World?

Introduction
There are many enemies that we face in the world. Everyone
acknowledges the enemies present in crime, pollution in our environment and the obvious enemies presented by hostile forces at time of war.
But what about spiritual enemies? These are behind all other forms of threat. They challenge your survival as a Christian.

Identifying the Enemy

Read Mark 4:1-20.
In the parable:

  • What did the sower sow? (v.14)
  • Who takes away what is sown? (v.15)
  • Why do some ‘quickly fall away’? (v.17)
  • What makes one’s life unfruitful? (v.18, 19)
  • Why do those who represent seed sown on good soil produce a crop? (v.20)

Make a list in the notes section of the enemies you have observed in
Mark 4:1-20.

I. The Devil

The Bible directly refers to the devil as your enemy.

Be self – controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
1 Peter 5:8

  • How does the devil seek to devour a person?
  • What affects can the devil have upon people?
  • How can we overcome him? (Revelation 12:11)

Satan, the devil, is an accuser.
How can we be sure that he cannot accuse us?

Some of the weapons he may use:

  • Slander and libel.
  • False accusations.
  • Discouragement/fault finding.
  • Sarcasm and put downs.
  • Direct mental and physical attacks: depression, clouded perception, nameless fear, illness.
  • Temptations.

How can we defeat the devil?

II. The World

The ‘world’ in the Bible is not only the Earth but also the order or system under which human beings operate separately from God.

  • Jesus referred to ‘the world’ as those who do not know God.
  • Paul refers to ‘the darkness of this world’ (Ephesians 6:12).
  • ‘The world will make you suffer. But be brave! I have defeated the world!’ (John 16:33b (GNB))
  • The world pressures us to conform to its ways and values. (Romans 12:1-2)
  • How does the world make us suffer?
  • How did Jesus overcome the world?

Your attitude towards the world:

  • Leaving pagan influences. (2 Corinthians 6:14 -18)
  • Do not love the world. (1 John 2:15)
  • What will happen to the world? (1 John 2:17)

In what way does God love the world?

III. The Flesh

Unlike the world or the devil, the flesh is always with us while we remain alive in the physical realm. The flesh is the human nature which only wants to do its own thing. It is against God and His law (Romans 8:7).

  • Human nature = sinful nature = the flesh.
  • S – E- L- F is F – L- E-S – (H) spelled in reverse.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:17-18

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come. All this is from God ….”

  • New life in Christ (Romans 8:1-2; Romans 8:14)

– Live by faith in Christ – the new life
– Do not yield to the desires of the flesh – the old life.

  • Each day we must:

– Put the flesh to death (Romans 8:13) or ‘crucify the flesh’ (Galatians 5:24).
eg. the natural man (the flesh) does not want to pray. The spiritual man wants to pray, so do what the spiritual man wants to do.

If we crucify the flesh, neither the world nor the devil can really influence us to sin.

  • Repentance (turning away from sin and turning to God) on a daily basis is the Key to crucifying the flesh (Matthew 4:17)
  • Fix your eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). The example is given by Jesus of the serpent lifted up on the pole (John 3: 14 and Numbers 21:8, 9).
  • Receive lovingly the chastening or correction of the Lord (Hebrews 12:10 -11).
  • What are typical signs to us that the flesh is at work within us?
    See also Galatians 5:19 -21. One signal that the flesh is at work is when we selfishly persist in trying to get our own way.
  • What is the effect of putting the flesh to death?
  • What influence can the world or the devil have upon one if the flesh is crucified?

    Conclusion:

      Three of our enemies are the world, the flesh and the devil.
      If we crucify the flesh, neither the world nor the devil can influence us to sin. Nothing can separate us from God’s love.

      Memorise these verses:
      IFor if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.Rom 8:13

      As an exercise, read all of Romans Chapter 8.

      Notes  __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

       . . . . . . .

      We will continue next week with the next 2 chapters from the book: Becoming a Disciple of Jesus by Tony McLennan

      For even more information please visit:  The God Revolution  & Australia for Jesus websites.

       . . . . . . .

      The Son’s Answered Prayer

      By Francis Frangipane

      Jesus never experienced an unanswered prayer. Indeed, the very things Jesus prayed were those things He knew to be precisely the Father’s will. The Son could heal or raise the dead or supernaturally feed multitudes because in prayer He understood what the Father intended. Jesus knew absolutely that nothing was impossible for God.

      Thus, on the night before He died, the most somber night in Jesus’ life, the Lord brought His most lofty request to God: He prayed for oneness in His church. Christ’s prayer was both visionary and practical considering that on this same evening an argument arose among His disciples as to which of them was the greatest (Luke 22:24). In spite of their immaturity, selfish ambitions and envy, Jesus harbored no second thoughts or unbelief when He prayed that they may all be one.

      Just as the Son of God prayed on their behalf, be assured He is praying for us now. Jesus is the same “yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). He will never lower His standards (John 12:48); He will not modify His promises (Matt. 24:35); His intercession will remain unfailing until we attain His goal for us in God (Rom. 8:34).

      To know Christ is to know His heart toward His church. Look again at His relationship with His disciples that Passover night. If an observer compared the instructions of Christ with the responses of His disciples, he would have concluded that there was little real communication between them. Jesus presented His vision of a church motivated by His love and humility. In contrast, His disciples dwelt in carnal desires and weaknesses. Consider: while Jesus prayed they would be “perfected in unity” (John 17:23), the only unity the disciples knew that night was a common fear and a collective abandonment of Christ. Consider: Jesus told these soon-to-be leaders of the Jerusalem church that they would be known for their untiring, agape love. But that night Christ’s three closest friends could not remain awake with him even one hour while He agonized alone in prayer.

      His disciples were deaf to His promises, blind to His sacrifice, and ignorant of His vision; they were without revelation, obedience or courage. Yet, in spite of themselves, Jesus promised these very men, “He who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do” (John 14:12). How could they ever attain His works? They would do His works not because He had confidence in them, but because He was about to “go to the Father” (John 14:12b). There, at the awesome throne of God, Christ would stand on behalf of His church as a faithful high priest. Thus, the power that accompanied the early church on earth was a direct result of Christ’s ongoing intercession for them in Heaven.

      The Beginning and the End
      There have always existed two realms in the definition of the church. The first is the place of beginnings. Here in the first stages of spirituality, we see the calling of God mingling with human fears, sin and worldly ambitions. The second reality is the place of destination. This is the place of destiny, power and maturity that Jesus died to give us. It is the intercession of Christ on our behalf that carries us from beginning to end. Indeed, the shallow, immature level of the church has never stopped Christ from praying for its perfection. He could no sooner stop praying than cease being the Son of God. Jesus is the Redeemer of mankind.

      Jesus has always known the frailty of His church. He knows that when we commit our lives to Him, it is not a commitment that says, “I will never sin again; I will always be good.” If we could keep such a resolution, we would not have needed Christ to save us. Our commitment to Him is an acknowledgment that we have come to the end of ourselves: we need a Savior.

      Thus, having discovered no righteousness of our own within us, we have entrusted both our condition and our future to Him. Yes, we commit ourselves to obey Him, but we frequently fail. True, we pledge to study His word, but we barely understand it. We position ourselves to follow Him, but how often we wander and find ourselves lost! Our commitment is, in reality, an abandonment of ourselves into Christ’s keeping (Phil. 1:6). He who thinks otherwise has never come face-to-face with his need for God.

      Yet, this abandonment to Christ is also the key to our power. By accepting the living reality of our dependency, Christ Himself becomes our sufficiency. He reveals that our union with Him is as branches; He is the vine (John 15). His sufficiency is faithful and unending. He promises, “In that day, a vineyard of wine, sing of it! I, the Lord, am its keeper; I water it every moment. So that no one will damage it, I guard it night and day” (Isa. 27:2-3).

      We must each discover the sustaining and renewing power that comes from complete dependency upon Christ. At this moment, He is praying for us. As you read my words, divine strength, healing, wisdom and virtue are being released through the intercession of Christ. He says, “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:14).

      Human Need; Divine Commitment
      Peter discovered Christ’s unchanging commitment. Though others might fail, Peter had boasted that he would remain steadfast. However, Jesus told His upstart disciple that within just a few hours he would deny His Lord three times. All the disciples failed, yet what was the Lord’s reaction? Did He chasten them? Did Jesus express His personal offense to Peter? No. Although there are times when Christ must rebuke us, Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would continue and he would become a strength to his brothers (Luke 22:32).

      Immediately after warning Peter of his impending denial, Jesus further comforted His disciples. He urges them, “Do not let your heart be troubled” (John 14:1). While this verse is suitable for calming any troubled heart, Jesus was speaking uniquely and compassionately to His disciples. Incredibly, it was Jesus, about to go to the cross, who comforted the disciples who were about to deny Him! Beloved, we do not truly know Christ until we have failed and find Him still our friend, drawn ever closer to us by our repentance and our need.

      The Father’s Unchanging Purpose
      What is true concerning Christ’s devotion to us as individuals is true concerning His commitment to a repentant citywide church as well. I am not saying that we should continue in sin that “grace might increase” (Rom. 6:1). No. But, when we sin, “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). Our failings have not disqualified us from God’s purposes. If we turn and trust Him again, we will find that the same Lord who requires we obey Him remained our Redeemer and Intercessor when we failed Him.

      There are two things more enduring than the failings of the church. According to Scripture, these two things are “the unchangeableness of His purpose” and Christ’s role of priestly intercession for us (Heb. 6:17; 7:24). As a result, even though the church falls short, the purpose of God remains unchanging and the intercessions of Christ remain faithful. Because of these things, I am confident that I shall rise from my failures and find ever-unfolding Christlikeness in my life. Because of Jesus’ prayer, I believe we will see true New Testament unity in the people of God. Through Christ’s sacrifice, He is able “to save forever (lit: “to the uttermost”) those who draw near to God through Him” (Heb. 7:25).

      The Lord’s disciples frequently carried the burden of wrong attitudes and aberrant concepts. Yet, in spite of their immaturity, Jesus unhesitantly prayed for the most holy of possibilities: that they would become the human abode for the Trinity of God (John 14:16-17, 23)! If we look to ourselves, we most certainly will always fail. When we place our expectation in the power released through Christ’s intercession, we can walk with confidence. It is our destiny to be transformed; it is God’s plan for the church to become one in Christ, and it is the foreknown plan of God for nations to come to the Savior. Beloved, if you believe in Christ, and believe He is the only begotten of the Father, then be assured concerning your personal needs: Jesus will have all His prayers answered.

      THE SORT OF PEOPLE GOD USES

      Just who is used for God’s purposes?

      Let me cut to the chase here. What are the kind of people that God uses for his purposes? There is only one kind: sinners. People like you and me in other words. Sure, he wants all saved sinners to grow in grace, to become more Christlike, to be less self-centred, and so on. But the only material he has to work with in this fallen world is sinners who have been redeemed – but still struggle with sin.

      That is the long and the short of the Christian life in fact. Sinners who are saved by grace are given a new nature, but the old nature has not disappeared. So there is a constant struggle – a lifelong warfare – between the two. Growth in grace hopefully means we over time get more of the former and less of the latter.

      But we are all, as the apostle Paul put it, cracked, earthen vessels. Thus it is clear who should get all the credit and all the glory for any good things that we do: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

      The other day I wrote a few articles about a guy who really was quite a dodgy jar of clay – Samson. No one reading the four chapters devoted to him in the book of judges can come away thinking what a devout, godly and spiritual man he was. He was as carnal, impetuous and fleshly as they come. And yet – amazingly – God could still use him for his purposes.

      Just how do we account for this fact? Indeed, how do we account for the fact that a perfect, holy and pure God can use any one of us? The short answer is this: it is pure grace. We are not doing great things for God because we are such perfect little spiritual dynamos who have it all together. We are doing things for a great God who chooses to use even cracked pots (and sometimes crackpots) like you and me.

      That has gotta be good news. But let me say a little bit more about Samson. And it is relevant for all believers. In my previous articles I quoted a number of authors – pastors, teachers, commentators, etc. Here I want to quote from just one fellow: Tim Keller.

      If you do not know much about the New York pastor who went to be with the Lord a year ago, see this piece: https://billmuehlenberg.com/2023/05/20/vale-tim-keller/

      Image of Judges for You (God's Word for You)

      Judges for You (God’s Word for You) by Keller, Timothy (Author) Amazon logo

      Here I want to offer a few large quotes from his 2013 volume, Judges For You (The Good Book Company). I find what he says to be quite helpful. Given the greatly flawed character of Samson, we wonder why God would even bother working with him. Writes Keller:

      But how can God use such flawed people – people like Samson – to get his work done? Shouldn’t he only work with people who are good, godly men and women? Shouldn’t he only use the people who have the right beliefs, and the right behavior?

       

      The problem with this is that it puts God in a box. It would mean he is limited by humans, and is only allowed to work when people are being good and making godly choices. It would mean that God does not work by grace, taking the initiative to save; but that he works in response to good works, waiting for people to help him to save.

       

      David Jackman describes how Judges “shoots holes through all of that:”

       

      “It is above all a book about grace, undeserved mercy, as is the whole Bible … That is not to play down theological accuracy or to pretend it doesn’t matter how we behave … [We will still suffer from our sins]. But we can rejoice that he is also in the business of using our failures as the foundations for his success. Let us never imagine that we have God taped, or that we know how he will work, or when. As soon as we start to say, ‘God cannot or will not… until…’ we are wrong-footed.”

       

      The amazing truth is that God works through sinners, and through sinful situations. He keeps his promises to bless his people in the dark and disastrous periods of our lives, as well as through the times when things are going “right.” Not even our own sin will stop him saving us, or using us. Mysteriously, often unseen, and usually far beyond our comprehension, God works through the free (and very often flawed) choices people make: “In all things, God works for the good of those who love him” (Romans 8:28). pp. 145-146

      And what he goes on to say about the difference between “gift-giving and fruit-growing” I personally found to be quite revealing. I often think I am an OK teacher and the like, but I wonder how much fruit of the Spirit I have. Just thinking about the first three fruit in the list in Galatians 5 – love, joy, peace – I often think I am not so loving or peaceful or joyful! So I for one need to take his words to heart. He writes:

      Again, Samson is gifted by the Spirit in a remarkable way—killing a thousand armed men with a jaw bone is no mean feat! But if Samson has God’s Spirit, shouldn’t we see him growing in holiness? How can he be so empowered by the Spirit, and yet show no patience, humility or self-control?

       

      But the Bible has always made a distinction that most believers are unaware of. It is possible to have the gifts of the Spirit, yet lack the fruit of the Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, Paul tells us that “gifts” of the Spirit are skills for doing—abilities for serving and helping people, though they can be used for other ends, too. But in Galatians 5:22-23, Paul tells us that the “fruit” of the Spirit is character traits of being—qualities such as peace, patience, gentleness, self-control. Then in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3, Paul tells us that it is possible to have skills (or gifts) of teaching and speaking and leadership—and yet lack the fruit of love, without which gifts are worth “nothing.”

       

      So we will at times in Scripture come across men and women—like Samson—who have great gifts, but seem very shallow in holiness and character. And 1 Corinthians 13 means that we should beware this in ourselves, too. The gifts of the Holy Spirit can operate in us, even mightily, and we can be helping people and leading movements—yet our inner personal lives can still be a complete wreck. In fact, this pattern is so common that there may regularly be a link between an impressive outer life and a broken inner life. Some people who are the most vigorous and effective in teaching, counseling, and leadership are, in their private lives, giving in to temptation, discouragement, anger, and fear.

       

      What can we do about it? First, we can recognize the biblical distinction between gifts and fruit. Many people look at their gifts as self-justifying “proof” that they are fine spiritually: ‘Look at the people I serve, and who tell me how much I mean to them! Surely God is pleased with me.’ But we must not mistake the operation of gifts for the growth of fruit. The fruit is the “proof” of spiritual growth.

       

      Second, our prayer life, rather than our religious activities, is the best indicator of spiritual health. Is prayer warm, enjoyable, consistent? Are you not only talking but listening and learning? Or like Samson, do you only pray as a last resort, and only for yourself and your own desires?

       

      Third, we must avoid “Lone Ranger” Christianity. Intimate fellowship is the best way to ensure the integrity of our inner and outer lives. Samson is notable for his aloneness. Not only does he not take any advice, but he never works with others, or builds teams. He is a one-man wrecking crew. That is a prescription for focusing on outward impressiveness while suffering from internal disintegration, since no one is close enough to see our spiritual lives, or to encourage and challenge us about it. pp. 147-148

      Good words indeed – words that I certainly need to hear. Maybe you do too.

      Pastor Jeff’s Special Today:  “exaltation of the State/Government as god..” 

      We are to question the traditions of men, and instead choose Christ. Colossians 2:6-10As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwell all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.

      Being candid with yourself and the Holy Spirit, is this issue of following the traditions of men, even placing your State or Goverment above God, something blocking your serving your Almighty Creator? Is there any remnant of this old pattern needing to be confessed? Do you think this is only applicable to the disciples 2,000 years ago? Do you have any residue of a residue of this issue for such a time as this? Was it connected to your upbringing as a child? Was it a family pattern in any way?

      God bless you as you seek His Holy Spirit Wisdom and Comfort on this issue. May you go forward on His path, “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1).

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      Bible Verse of the Day

      Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.