TRUE BELIEVERS WILL OBEY JESUS COMMANDS

Pretend actors-for-Jesus can quote Scripture, but their desires haven’t changed. They merely feel good that they now have religion, too. Their faith is not a central transforming reality; it’s an add-on to enhance their lives. They believe in a god made in their own image, not the true God of the Bible. They worship a cosmic genie who meets their needs and gives them what they want. They may call themselves servants of Christ. But in fact, they are masters, calling the shots, claiming what they want to claim and believing what they want to believe, and expecting God to come through for them. And when He doesn’t, they either blame Him for not being good or blame themselves and others for not having enough faith to get their way.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-22

How different from the biblical description of us as slaves of Jesus Christ! Yes, the original word is best-translated slaves, not servants, and describes those who are sold out to His ownership and committed to doing whatever He calls them to do, including dying on His behalf should He so desire.

“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as slaves (servants) of God.” 1 Peter 2:16

We are also called children of the King, and there is a time when we will enjoy all the privileges of royalty. But now is not that time! Presently we experience some royal kingdom privileges, including constant and unhindered access to the One who sits on the throne. We can “come boldly before the throne of grace,” as Hebrews says. God’s Holy Spirit dwells within us. He has promised to provide what we need to serve Him (Matthew 6:25-32). But when it comes to enjoying all the material provisions living in the King’s mansion provides, we are not yet there.

We are still on foreign soil—hostile soil—where people are fighting against God’s kingdom. We are not just tourists or palace-dwellers; we are “strangers and exiles on the earth,” who are “seeking a homeland” (Hebrews 11:13-14), and longing for “a better country, that is, a heavenly one”.

But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.Hebrews 11:16

God has prepared a heavenly Jerusalem which John saw coming down from heaven onto the new earth which the Saints will inhabit after the White Throne judgement.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.Revelation 21:1-3

What we need in our churches today are fewer actors and more sold-out followers of Jesus—converted people living lives centered on Jesus, the King of kings.

God is raising up leaders that are truly sold out to His purposes of making disciples. Find and connect with these leaders.

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NIV).

“The Kingdom of God is not going to be advanced by our churches becoming filled with men but by men in our churches becoming filled with God.” —Duncan Campbell

Taken from another great article, Our Mission: Make More Disciples and Fewer Performers  JULY 7, 2022 by RANDY ALCORN

WE MUST SHOW OUR CHRISTIAN COLOURS

Cooper Kupp’s team, the Los Angeles Rams, ended up winning the Super Bowl, and Kupp was named Most Valuable Player. But regardless of that, even if they’d lost and Kupp had not played well, he says it would have still been his best year in football ever. In fact, in the interview, Kupp says that because of his growth in his walk with Christ, even if his team hadn’t won a single game it still would have been his best year in football ever! (Here’s an article) about Cooper Kupp and his wife Anna Marie. She says, “We have prayed for a season to glorify our Savior Jesus Christ and you are doing just that my lovey.)

C. S. Lewis wrote, “We must show our Christian colours if we are to be true to Jesus Christ.

We cannot remain silent or concede everything away.” Even the Apostle Paul requested that the Ephesian believers “Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.” (Ephesians 6:19–20, NIV)

If Paul needed prayer for boldness, who doesn’t? When he was given the MVP award Kupp said, “I don’t feel deserving of this. God is just so good…”

In these last days may we be fearless in making the gospel of Christ known so that we may bring glory to God just as Cooper Kupp and his wife Anne Marie are doing.

WHEN GOD’S DISCIPLES GO MIRACLES FOLLOW

Missionaries working with Southern Baptist Convention (IMB) reported baptisms were up 81% from 2019 to 2020 (the most recent year for which data is available), and salvation testimonies continue to pour in.

The increases are particularly significant in a denomination where many cite missions as their reason for joining and staying.

Typical Testimony: A 53-year-old Thai man with chest pain went to see an IMB medical missionary outside Bangkok. The man collapsed in the clinic and regained consciousness only after the IMB missionary, a physician, performed emergency medical procedures.

As they waited for an ambulance, the man prayed to receive Christ, prompting the doctor to ask, “When did you start to become interested in God ’s story?”

National IMB missionary preaching to Thai congregation

The man pointed to the place on the floor where he collapsed and said, “Right there. Before that, I had never been interested at all. But when I collapsed, I heard God call my name three times, and I knew he was warning me.”

That wasn’t an isolated incident, according to IMB reports. The evangelistic surge, missiologists say, is attributable to the fact we are there (obedient to God’s call), the pandemic, and the sovereign work of the Holy Spirit. Several years ago under David Platt, IMB transferred ministries from missionaries to national partners.

“We have seen the Holy Spirit working across the globe in mighty ways,” said Wilson Geisler, IMB director of global research. One missionary team “saw the first believers among an incredibly tough-to-reach people group.” Another “saw more people coming to faith in 2020 than in the previous three years combined.

Jesus promised that in the last days before His return the GOSPEL, the GOOD NEWS, the only good news in a time of tribulation will be proclaimed throughout the whole world. Do you want to be part of the team proclaiming the GOOD NEWS? You can be like David (“I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.” Acts 13:22), just obey the indwelling Holy Spirit.

And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.Matthew 24: 14

BE PREPARED: “LAST DAYS” SPIRITUAL WARFARE IS INTENSE

Jesus tells us that in the “last days” before He returns to rule and reign there will be false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. They are under the power of Satan and we know he disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise that his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness.” 2 Corinthians 11-15

“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Philippians 4::11-13

We need to recognise that the true battle is in the heavenly places and it is against the spiritual forces of evil which is why we are told to put on the full armour of God daily. Are you being obedient to your Lord and Saviour?

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.Ephesians 6:12

Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,Ephesians 6:14-18

Our job with the lost is to preach the Good News as directed by the Holy Spirit knowing they cannot understand the word of God without the Spirit of God.

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.Romans 8:5-8

We are also called to love them, pray for them, and return good for evil but also to be sensitive to what the Holy Spirit may be doing in their lives. The Holy Spirit may prompt you to use one of the nine Holy Spirit gifts that He expects us to operate in. He distributes them according to His will.

Love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for He is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.Luke 6:35-36

God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will. Hebrews 2:4

MAKING AMBASSADORS FOR CHRIST

Making disciples is the most important job of any church, and there’s no better tool available than the Bible. Also, the best church model for making disciples is the House or Home Church where one on one exploration of God’s Word is possible and accountability is maintained. The disciple’s job is to help their student:

  • Know Jesus Christ better
  • Connect with and grow in biblical community
  • Apply God’s Word in their daily lives

Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us.2 Corinthians 5:20

Having discovered from this one verse that we are ambassadors for Christ we then need to be held accountable for what we do with that truth this coming week. This is what discipleship is all about and can best be done in small groups.

Note what Paul says here about how we need to pray for the ambassadors for Christ.

To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.Ephesians 6:18-20

We are in the last days Jesus spoke about in the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21) the tribulation that Christians experience during this time Jesus said will be like “birth pains”, the tribulation will increase in intensity to become great tribulation hence we need to pray for all the Saints and particularly ourselves that we will be courageous and stay the course continuing to proclaim the gospel as Paul did even though in chains.

For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.” Matthew 24:21-22

MAKING DISCIPLES IS THE MANDATE – CHURCH PLANTING IS THE OUTCOME

Where in the Bible are we commanded to plant churches? The simple and obvious response is, “it is not commanded.” Planting churches flows naturally out of making disciples. The heart of the church’s mission is to make disciples who make disciples.

In the New Testament, a disciple is more than someone who grows in their theological knowledge of God. A disciple fellowships with other believers, worships in a community, and prays like those assembled in a house in Acts 4.

And now, Lord, look upon their (the Worlds) threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.Acts 4:29-31

Empowered by the Holy Spirit, a disciple then boldly declares the word of God such that more and more people become followers of Jesus.

Missionaries have historically been the most vital source of a nation’s social development. These findings yield two important conclusions about the work of Protestant missionaries. Their message was good for the world and their focus was making disciples.

This understanding of a disciple is highlighted throughout the New Testament. Through a study of the early movement in Ephesus, we see at least thirteen characteristics common to them all.

  • Disciples are respectful of people and culture when they engage in God’s mission (Acts 19:7, 37).
  • Disciples surrender to God’s will and maintain the work of their first love in a theocentrically focused missiological theology (Eph 1; Eph 5:18-19; Rev 2:4).
  • Disciples declare the mystery of Christ to the nations (Eph 3:4-10, 1 Tim 2:1-4).
  • Disciples are equipped by movement leaders for ministry (Eph 4:12; 1 Timothy).
  • Disciples exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (Eph 4-5).
  • Disciples are empowered by the Holy Spirit to be witnesses (Eph 5:18-19, 2 Tim 1:7).
  • Disciples are godly fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, employees and employers (Eph 5:22-6:9).
  • Disciples pray for opportunities to share the gospel because they know God is most glorified when more people are worshipping him (Eph 6:18-20, 1 Tim 2:1-4).
  • Disciples stand up for the marginalized (1 Tim 2:8-15, 5:3-16; Rev 2:6).
  • Disciples learn sound doctrine from movement leaders who can teach (1 Tim 4:7).
  • Disciples are willing to suffer for the sake of the gospel (2 Tim 1:8).
  • Disciples are committed to multiplying more disciples (2 Tim 2:2).
  • Disciples defend the faith against false teaching (Rev 2:2).

Extracts from an article “Is Church Planting a Biblical Mandate?” October 28, 2020, by Jackson Wu

COVID MADNESS

AUSTRALIA

State governments continue to pursue a foolish Covid-zero policy – even as vaccination rates rapidly accelerate, and the lethality of the virus has markedly decreased. The Prime Minister, Scott Morrison is right – This isn’t a sustainable solution.”

“The virus is not going anywhere. We cannot do this forever. Indeed, the longer we delay the inevitable, the greater the cost will be.

We are incurring unthinkable additional costs for fear of what we must face… lives, livelihoods, children, the economy and democracy are all straining under the burden of Covid-zero.

Fear is making us foolish. 

Let’s take a glimpse at the state of our nation…

  • 3,345 suicidal people called LifeLine on a single day this week – yet another record.
  • Our children simply won’t be able to pay back the debt levels.
  • Many small businesses are finished.  
  • We are not living (or even leaving the house) for fear of dying.
  • We are giving up total authoritarian power to people who despise what we believe.
  • Compassion is dead, with callous disregard for those torn apart or mourning.

And yet our State Premiers are telling us all this and more will continue – despite decent levels of vaccination.

It seems we’re too afraid to accept the brutal reality that, with half-decent levels of vaccination, a tiny proportion of Delta cases will die. Moreover, we will spend anything to delay it. 

Fearfulness and fearmongering are winning the day. This will change only when public opinion changes, and when Premiers stop getting the approval ratings they crave.” 

Christians – that’s you and me – should lead the way. We do not fear death, Jesus has secured eternal life for us and He will ensure you live to complete the work He has assigned for you to do.

Contact your Premier and set him/her straight on the need to get people vaccinated but then to start living normal lives accepting the risks associated with Covid 19 as we do with any other virus, bacteria or other pathogen. Let Scott Morrison and your local member know what you are doing.

“Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death He might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” (Heb 2:14-15) 

GREAT TESTIMONIES FROM THE OLYMPIC GAMES

Fiji Rugby Sevens thank God with prayer and a hymn after winning Olympic Gold.

Fiji’s rugby sevens team wrote another chapter in one of the great Olympic stories at the Tokyo Stadium, when they won the country’s second gold medal by beating New Zealand 27-12 in the final.
They gathered in a circle and filled the empty Tokyo Stadium with a beautiful rendition of their team hymn. “We always start with our prayers and songs, and we always end with our prayers and songs,” Tuwai said, “and that song says that our God is a loving God, and that while we always tend to go stray from what he expects from us, he still loves us, and gives us good things.”
 

Fiji’s players pray and celebrate after their win against New Zealand at the Tokyo Stadium. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

Sydney McLaughlin ‘giving the glory to God’ after earning Olympic gold, another world record

“All the glory to God,” McLaughlin told NBC following the victory. “Honestly, this season just working with my new coach and my new support system, it’s truly just faith and trusting the process. I couldn’t ask for anything more and truly it is all a gift from God.”

“I think the biggest difference this year is my faith, trusting God and trusting that process, and knowing that He’s in control of everything. As long as I put the hard work in, He’s going to carry me through. And I really cannot do anything more but give the glory to Him at this point.”2

McLaughlin often uses social media as tool by which she expresses her faith and shares the Gospel with fans. As depicted by an Instagram post from February, McLaughlin has actively chosen to hand her future over to God.

“We can laugh at whatever lies ahead because we know HE has already won,” McLaughlin wrote. “We can sleep easier at night knowing HE has a plan for whatever may normally trouble us. We can laugh at anything that doesn’t fit the purpose for our lives, because we know God’s plan is greater.”

Through social media, she has revealed that her relationship with God is more than just a matter of believing in God, it is a friendship with Him.

“The peace of knowing I will always have a friend, always have His support, and always have His LOVE; makes even the loneliest of moments feel full,” McLaughlin wrote in May. “My soul finds rest in knowing He is not like us. He doesn’t change, and He will never leave me. Giving the ability to be completely content, no matter the situation. Simply because, I don’t have to face it alone. That. Is. Love.”

Circled on Nicolla’s wrist: “Jesus Makes All things New” and  her book to record and improve her jumps along with encouraging scriptures. 

These three testimonies were stand outs but I have been impressed by the number of Christian athletes that have recognised the importance of acknowledging God when they have achieved victory or even a personal best. There have been many that have given a verbal witness like Thomas Green joint winner of the K2 1000m Canoe Sprint. When asked if he would like to thank anyone, he immediately responded by saying, “I am a man of faith and above all I would like to thank my Lord for all that I have achieved and then went on to thank his parents, coach and support team. Many have gone to their knees in prayer immediately at the conclusion of their race or shown some other physical manifestation such as looking up to heaven and raising their arms in thanksgiving.

It has been inspiring me to me and I am sure challenging to many people that have witnessed these expressions of faith and thanksgiving to God. May God bless abundantly all of these faithful Christian athletes and may we see many more.

THE HARVEST IS RIPE

A Team In Pakistan went out Into the Harvest. They shared the Gospel with the 3 Circles presentation. Six young men repented & believed In Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord!

Here is the report: “God is awesome; to be given six youths to teach them about God’s Word so God can prepare them and to make them a means of saving others. Because in Pakistan 98% population are far from Kingdom of God. Thank God by yesterdays first meeting when I had shared the Word of God with them, by great anointing of Holy Spirit, the 6 young boys did repent of their sin.”

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” 1 John 2:1

Need your prayers to spread the word of God in Pakistan.

LEADER USING THE 411 DISCIPLESHIP TRAINING TOOL TO TRAIN A COMMUNITY OF BELIEVERS

The 411 Discipleship Multiplication Tool!
3 Circles presentation

Report from one of the participants

Wow! It was an amazing Sunday today. After going through the Harvest training program, I gathered about 15 people today and taught them the 411 training program and they were all excited and this week we will bombard our various spheres of contact with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Thanks to the wonderful Harvest Team. I am so so grateful for the rich content of the trainings. God continue to bless you all.

BEARING FRUIT AFTER 44 YEARS

We are never too old to be a true disciple of Christ, i.e. a disciple who makes more disciples. Listen to the amazing testimony of this Dutch couple who are now living the Christian life and bringing others to Christ. They are excited about what God is doing and will do each day. They are energised, happy, joyful and could not go back to the old church life that they lived for 44 years. You will be challenged by their testimony and hopefully it will cause you to follow their lead and connect with the The Last Reformation (TLR).