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Having a relationship with God – Series 11

Having a relationship with God – Series 11

The importance of Growth.

We continue to learn and go through lessons that equip us to be prepared for the coming of Christ. That should be our primary goal knowing that we are going somewhere. Our focus today is on the importance of growth.

Matthew 28 : 18-20. Many christian’s are at that level where their christianity is primarily based on themselves. Their prayers and drive are solely concentrated on their own needs? In this scripture, God has commissioned us to go out and make disciples of all nations. We have assurance that in this quest, we are not alone, but have Christ to lead and guide us. However, in order to be able to fulfil this task, one must become mature in the things of God. You must posses the ability to overcome all challenges and barriers whilst standing firm and in full confidence in Christ. Spiritual maturity, allows you to grow in this ability. If you are teachable, and can also impart your knowledge on others then you can fulfil the task commissioned to us. Jesus does not want us to be passive with what we have learnt in our christian walk, but rather share it to the nations.

Hebrews 5 : 8 & 12. Even Jesus Christ learnt from and through His experiences and it is that knowledge and authority He left His disciples. In vs 12, there was an expectation that the people at that time to have progressed in spiritual maturity, yet they seemed to have remained at the same level. This bares the question, Do you behave in the same way as you did when you first gave your life to Christ? Are you still in the same position? It is imperative to feed your spirit, otherwise you will not be able to overcome bigger challenges. When you are mature, you know and truly believe in the authority of Jesus. You know that God has given you the Spirit of power and not timidity. When you are mature, nothing can move you from your faith. You have a solid foundation in Christ. Sometimes, we are not waiting enough to give God the chance in our lives. We are quick to be discouraged. How much time has God given you in your life, and in that time, ask yourself, how much you have grown. Remember, if a tree stops growing, it starts dying. So you must continue to grow daily in the things of God. Going to church for 20 years, does not qualify you to spiritual maturity, but rather how you deal with certain situations and your ability to look beyond yourself and become selfless in order to achieve the great commission.

Therefore , take time for self reflection. Are you growing in Christ? If you find yourself solely praying for your own needs, then you are not yet mature. You are not yet acquainted with righteousness. Challenge yourself, introspect and measure your growth and make steps towards maturity.

Having a relationship with God – Series 10

Intro: There is a reason why God has kept you alive to this day. Acts 1:8-11. We have a final destination. A place where we are going. Our primary goal should be to refocus our minds to the second coming of Christ. Refocusing will help you to understand why we do what we do. All teaching therefore should be taken in the context of the coming of Christ.

Acts 28: 1-10. There are some keys points that you ought to keep in mind in these verses. Firstly, the bible says that the snake “fastened” itself to Paul’s hand, it is not written if it bit him or not. Secondly, the people of Malta had a preconception about Paul. Regardless of these key aspects, Paul did not waver from his mission. He was focused on what he was doing despite their perception of him and their presumptions. Regardless of the fact that they prematurely concluded judgement against his life and an inevitable death. Paul understood the concept of relationships, focus and purpose.

There are three main types of relationships a person has within their life and environment.
1. There are people who have a negative perspective on your life. They are prejudice towards you even without knowing you.
2. There are those that positively relate towards you and are there to strengthen and encourage you. These are the ones we naturally gravitate towards and hold dear in our hearts.
3. There are those that are seasonal and seem to be dominate in times of your success and stand to celebrate with you.

Understanding these group dynamics will make you better equipped to deal with situations. You need to understand why certain groups of people are in your life. For example, even though you may experience people with a negative perspective on your life, you need to understand that God put these people in your life to bring you an opportunity to improve yourself. Do not rule them out because through the difficult interaction with them, you have the chance to practise the word of God. The bible speaks of loving your enemies and praying for them. How then would you fulfil this, if every relationship you had was positive? To overcome something, you need to practise it, so view this group as that, a practise ground! Detremental to spiritual growth, most Christian’s do not see this in this light. They waste precious time and energy wishing these people to change and thus lose focus of Christ. In the scripture, people expected Paul to die. They stood watch and did not offer to help him even when they witnessed a venomous snake fastened to him. But Paul continued with his mission and proceeded to heal the sick. The name of God was glorified because Paul did not concentrate on the negativity. He held no grudge but rather demonstrated the power of God. You see the power of God can only be seen within a difficult situation. God does not put you in a situation to break you, but rather build you.

Take time to understand relationships in order to deal with them. Learn to categorise the people in your life, both positive and negative. Do not spend unnecessary time trying to change them. But use it as a chance for the Glory of God to be witnessed in mankind with “all the wisdom and understanding that His Spirit gives.”(Colossians 1:9).

Having a relationship with God – Series 10
Having a relationship with God – Series 9

Having a relationship with God – Series 9

We need to take time to consider what kind of people we are, so that we can yield the goodness of God. The media today gives a certain perception, it magnifies this perception which then appears to be the truth. It then becomes the norm and as the viewer we become dependant on the way in which that perception is portrayed. In all this, we forget who we are, we forget our own story, our own identity, our own relationship with God. If you value yourself, you are able to value the things of God. If you let the word of God have authority in your life, then you can be the master of your own story. Remember, the farmer sows the same seed, the variable is the soil. You are the variable. You are the difference between the absorption of the word and learning from it, or hearing the word and nothing changing in your life.

Season of Pentecost
Acts 1: 8, 11-12 – As it is the time for Pentecost, though we may not meet as normal, we still need to remain in prayer to receive strength through the Holy Spirit. People needed the power of the Holy Spirit to do the work assigned to them by Jesus. Only after following instruction and receiving the Holy Spirit, did they have the ability and authority to fulfil their calling. They were propelled onto a higher level.

Main Word
Matthew 6:12- Understanding the power of forgiveness will help us grow in our relationship with God. It free’s us from a certain emotional bondage. Have you ever stopped to think that if you say this prayer without having the heart of forgiveness, you are not only deceiving yourself, but you are a liar in the eyes of God. Failure to forgive results in a loss of energy and hinders spiritual growth and development because your heart is burdened with unresolved feelings. In the book of Acts during the time of pentecost, had they had unforgiving hearts, they would not have received the Holy Spirit. You therefore cannot have a meaningful relationship with God if you lack the ability to forgive. You need to realise that FORGETTING, and situation does not mean you have forgiven. We know this to be true because everytime you experience a similar situation, the same hurt arises again. SILENCE, or keeping quiet, is not forgiveness either, but rather a form of avoidance. Pretending something does not exist does not nullify it. True FORGIVENESS, is being able to go back, confront the situation, deal with it then completely let it go. If a similar situation arises, there are no hurt feelings attached to it, but rather you simply move forward and progress. In life, there are two main things that are extremely valuable. You must learn to be 1, a learner, and 2, a teacher. Allow other people to speak in your life. There is always a lesson in every situation you are confronted with. And once you overcome a situation, you can therefore impart your knowledge to other people, that they too do not face the struggle in the same way as you have done. Did you know that lack of forgiveness can manifest in the form of passive aggression and can be seen in the manner in which you speak to or relate towards an individual? Holding a grudge means you are holding on to negative emotions inside your heart. How then can you love God with all your heart, when it is consumed with unresolved feelings. God hears the prayer of a forgiving heart and it is free and ready to receive Him. Many Christian’s of today, despite coming to Christ, still hold on to past behaviours. Challenge yourself? Is there a behaviour you still posses today despite repentence? Are you carrying unforgiveness in your heart? Write down all those people you have not forgiven. Pray about it and even contact them and let go of negative feelings you have harboured towards them. Remember we are ambassadors of Christ and our conduct should therefore reflect this. Be challenged to forgive!

Having a Relationship with God – Series 8

Matthew 13:1-9 – You can only get somewhere when you know where you currently are. As a farmer sows seed, we as the ground fall into 4 different categories.
1. Those who receive the word, but it does not stay with them. It is snatched away due to lack of understanding.
2. Those that lack depth in Christ. They are shallow and easily discouraged by troubles and hardships.
3. Those that lack focus. They are consumed by the worries of life and give priority to chasing the world. This chokes their faith.
4. Those that have an active relationship with God. They know their Father and understand Him and His expectations of them.
Today’ s word is about understanding where you are as an individual and take responsibility. Self-reflection and introspect allow you to understand where you are so that you know where to go.

Matthew 13:18-33- Have you ever wondered why you hear the word of God, but no change in your life, you hear it and still remain in the same situation with no progression? How many times have you felt compelled to leave your church, alter your contribution to a church project, or just simply be discouraged because of other peoples opinions or words. How many times have you been inspired to take your ministry to greater heights but peoples responses have hindered your progress. The thing is, in life there are many hurdles. You cannot change what adversity you face, but you can take responsibility of your own actions and spiritual maturity and development.
Joshua 1:7-8. There is an intriguing lesson in these verses. The fact that God had chosen Joshua did not nullify Joshua’s responsibility to be determined and focused. Joshua had to be intentional. As soon as a person gives their life to Christ and embarks on their personal walk with Him, they are automatically engaged in spiritual warfare thus the need to be intentional, determined and focused. Lack of these aspects causes you to miss opportunities as you become distracted by the devil. You have to make a firm decision that when in church you will intentionally sing and dance , engage in the word and purposefully seek God and worship Him, otherwise that time spent in church will be fruitless. The more value you put into something, the greater the reward. Therefore you must be intentional in your walk with Christ. If you consciously decide to hear and understand the word of God, you retain it, but if you have no intent or focus you lose it.
Analogy- there was once a group of 10 merchants faced with adverse weather conditions on a particular day. 9 of them decided to forego their daily tasks and chose to remain at home, warm and comfortable. However 1 decided to brave the weather and set up his stall as usual. That merchant sold more on that one day than ever before as there was no competition. The merchant chose to ignore the barrier presented to him. He used a negative situation to his advantage. He flourished in persecution and stood in adversity.
God’s intent was to use Joshua, but it was Joshua’s responsibility to be determined regardless of whatever came his way. So be empowered today. Overcoming persecution leads to stronger character and depth in Christ. Always remain focused. Apostle Paul (2 Timothy 2:4) taught about how soldiers do not mingle with civilian affairs so as to please their superiors and remain focused on their task at hand. Likewise, as a Christian, be like a true soldier. Do not concern, dabble and mingle in affairs that do not concern you, but rather be focused and determined to be deep rooted in your relationship with God. Let go of perceptions and things that affect your ability to be effective. So today, take time to analyse where you are in Christ now and start to make the necessary changes and steps to get closer to where you want to go.

Having a Relationship with God – Series 8
Having a Relationship with God – Series 7

Having a Relationship with God – Series 7

An investment in a relationship with God remains key. A relationship with God empowers Christians to be active in the word. A person deep rooted in the word of God will know and recognize that the battles they may face are not theirs to bare, but the Lords. Therefore the word of God is not to be listened to passively.

Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23. The parable of the sower pertains to all of us. Everyone has a category that they fall under. Ask yourself this, how much of the word of God have you retained over the past few weeks? Evaluate then, which category you fall under!

Understand that the sower did not harvest what he expected to, in relation to what he sowed. The type of soil is what makes the difference. The seed is the same, the sower is the same so the variable is the ground. Therefore you hold the keys as to what type of person or soil you are. There are 4 different categories that have been identified in the scriptures.
1. Those who receive the word, but it does not stay with them. It is snatched away due to lack of understanding.
2. Those that lack depth in Christ. They are shallow and easily discouraged by troubles and hardships.
3. Those that lack focus. They are consumed by the worries of life and give priority to chasing the world. This chokes their faith.
4. Those that have an active relationship with God. They know their Father and understand Him and His expectations of them.

What you spend your time doing is that which you become. You therefore cannot expect to connect with God at the end of the week if you have spent that time invested in other things that do not concern Him.
Colossians 1:9. When the Spirit of God is in us, we get understanding. Your recognition and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit only comes from having a relationship with God.
Analogy – At a job interview, all employers are interested in 3 main things, knowledge, attitude and the skills. Knowledge alone does not make you competent, neither does attitude or skills on their own. Likewise spiritually, one must possess all the above to be competent as an effective christian. You need to understand what is “understanding ” in order to fully have a relationship with God.

Having a Relationship with God – Series 6

In this series, we are talking about having a relationship with God. It is about empowering Christians of today not to rely solely on leaders or wait for Sunday service, but rather have a personal relationship with God. This is achieved by living in God’s standards and His perfect will for our lives. In today’s society, unfortunately some Christians are taken advantage of and mislead because they do not understand the scriptures of God. This series of lessons seeks to equip God’s chosen. When you align yourself with God by making a conscious decision to be God’s treasured possession (Exodus 19:5), you will be able to defy situations and walk in extraordinary faith. Daniel’s prayer (Daniel 6) wasn’t about coming out of the lions den. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo’s prayer (Daniel 3) wasn’t about coming out of the fire. But when we understand
God, who He is and His mighty power, we are able to go through any situation and not trade our love or faith in Christ for anything. We have spiritual authority.

1 Peter 3:12 – There is a notion that God listens to everyone, that you can live anyhow and still call upon the Lord. But this verse dispels that notion. Draw your attention to the words WATCH and LISTEN. Having a relationship with God is key as it draws God’s attention to our lives. He WATCHES over us as His eyes are always upon us, and He LISTENS to us as His ears are always open to hear our prayers. God is attentive to our every need regardless of whether we are aware or conscious of them. He will alert you of hidden dangers in your path without you consulting Him, and listen to your prayers with great assiduous. However, in order for us to enjoy this privilege, we must be aware of our role. The spirit of NEGLECT affects many Christians of today. If you neglect your duty or role as a Christian, one day when you are in a critical moment in your life, God will reject you. You can go to church every week but still neglect your part in the covenant between you and God. This will compromise the quality of your relationship with the Lord. One neglects their duty by not following the word of God daily. Neglect always results in negative consequences even practically in our everyday roles as a husband, or wife or child. So in all aspects, we must be people that take responsibility in our duties. Passive christianity won’t get you anywhere. Be intentional in your prayers, understanding and believing in God’s principles. For example, you cannot pray the Lords prayer in one moment, then walk in doubt and fear in another.
Matthew 6:33 – seek God first. Value God first. This verse in other words is saying if you are in a relationship with God and living in the way He has set for us then we will have all the things we need even without us asking.
1 Peter 4:2 – God desires us to live the rest of our earthly life as controlled and constituted by His word. Not our own desires.

Therefore, it is time to solidify our relationship with God. Do not succumb to the blame culture, but rather take responsibility for your actions and fulfil your role as a child of God. Then God will LISTEN and WATCH over you.

Having a Relationship with God – Series 6
Having a relationship with God – Series 5

Having a relationship with God – Series 5

Exodus 19:5. To recap on the last few sermons, it is paramount to remember that God wants a relationship with His chosen people. As the children of God, we are His chosen. Just as he has demonstrated His mighty power to the Israelites, God wants us to honour and worship Him.
2 Timothy 1:7. Apostle Paul emphasises that amongst the gift of love and self control, God has also given us the spirit of POWER. All these things work together. Power is unique as it gives you the ability to practise love and self control.

Isaiah 59:2. As a people we are not to allow our iniquity to separate us from God. The principle of POWER is relevant because it is the gift of power that will allow you to overcome the urge to commit sin. The Spirit of Power that Apostle Paul refers to in 2 Timothy 1:7, can manifest in two different ways. Firstly it can be portrayed through “STRENGTH “. One can have the understanding and the knowledge to refrain from sinning, but may lack the ability. Once you lack the strength to execute the things you need to overcome, then your relationship with God is compromised. Secondly, power can be portrayed through “AUTHORITY”. As Christians we require a higher level of spiritual authority. In principle, the greater the resistance, the greater the power or force to be applied. Therefore the greater the situation, the greater the authority that needs to be applied.
Ephesians 6:10 & 12. Here we are urged to be strong in the Lord. We are in essence the temple of God. If the temple has no power, then it ceases to be the temple. Remember then that even though the devil has power, God is superior and so is His power that has been gifted to us. That is why a close relationship with God is mandatory. In conclusion, the journey of a Christian is never easy. There will always be challenges, however with power you have the ability to pray for yourself, other people and even do extraordinary feats. The bible refers to peacemakers as blessed. One can only be a peacemaker if they posses the “power” to overcome, sin, conflict, anxieties, situations and negative thinking.

Having a relationship with God – Series 4

Analogy- Gym membership is ineffective in giving you the body shape you require unless you begin to use the equipment it provides. Likewise, the word of God is not effective in us unless you put it into practise.
The matter of LOVE greatly affects our relationship with God and our level of worship is determined by our actions.

2 Timothy 1:7 – For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, LOVE and self-discipline. If we are true children of God and have been baptised in His Spirit, then we have been given love within us. Unfortunately in today’s society and churches, there are a lot of relational shortcomings. Ask your self this, why do you relate more with some people over others? God does not want anyone that is not at peace with everyone and treats all people equally.
Matthew 22 :34-40. The issue of LOVE can disqualify you in the presence of God. Our failure to accept each other as equals goes against the scriptures. Lack of Love in church communities is exemplified by group formations within the body of Christ. If you find yourself using avoidance to deal with certain people, it means that there is an underlying issue that needs to be addressed. Love is the fundamental foundation of all aspects of worship.
Matthew 5:43-48. God has given a mandate to not only accept our differences but go further by loving even those who persecute us. Loving your friends is normal and ordinary. But extraordinary creates perfection in Christ our Father. Therefore be elevated to a higher level of spiritual maturity by praying for your enemies. How do you exhibit love? Have a clear conscience. Take practical steps, write it down and actively make peace with all those you hold inhibitions towards. Remember, the death of Christ puts the level of Love God expects of us into perspective. If Jesus Christ could give His life on the cross for sinners, then surely we have the power to rise above any squabbles, grudges and negative feelings we harbour over careless words spoken to us.

Having a relationship with God – Series 4
Having a relationship with God – Series 3

Having a relationship with God – Series 3

2 Timothy 1: 3-7. Apostle Paul acknowledges that Timothy had faith, however as an experienced teacher of the word of God, he understands that faith alone is not enough. So he encourages Timothy to fan into flame a gift that is already inside him. A gift received by laying of hands through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Apostle Paul in this instance can be likened to a modern day mentor. It is important in your walk as a Christian, to not only read and understand the word of God, but also allow mentors placed and proved by God to speak in your life.

Remember the Spirit of God has already placed within you a gift of power, love and self discipline.
The bible speaks about serving God with a clear conscience. In order to do so, you must have self discipline. It is the ability to do away with the things that affect the conscience and solely focusing on God. When someone comes across a barrier, naturally one concentrates on that barrier, but those whom have received power and self control from God are focused on the end goal, to serve God.
Understand your focus. Do not be a passive observer. Know where you are going. Know your purpose. Chose your battles and let go of things that are not important. Only then can you serve with a clear conscience. In everyday life, everyone faces challenges through general interaction with the people around us, hence the importance of self control. What starts, a thought or a feeling? Analyse your thought process. Dwelling on the negative can only result in negative feelings which determines your preceding actions. We often put blame on situations and forget the power of self control. Positive choices in thought result in positive actions. Therefore our actions towards one another have the ability to compromise our relationship with God. Remember eternal joy is internal, it is not governed by the external.
2 Timothy 2 : 3-6. Be loyal to God. The path of a christian is not easy and is full of hurdles. But if we have chosen God, then we must take part in the suffering and endure it. Be an active soldier on duty. Distinguish yourself above the ordinary. Remember everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. An athlete’s discipline determines their victory, likewise the life of a true Christian should attract Gods approval. Do not concern yourself with the physical pursuits of life, but in the will of the Father.

Having a relationship with God – Series 2

We need to understand our role as the children of God. When we know and understand that, we will start to relate to Christ in a certain way that is pleasing before him.
Colossians 1:1-5. Here Paul acknowledges the faith and love of the church of Colossae. However love or faith on it’s own is not sufficient, hence Paul, in verse 9, now pray’s imploring of God to fill the people with knowledge of the Will of God, wisdom and understanding. Only then could they live a life worthy of the Lord. Through the Spirit of God they could bear fruit.

We too, can only grow through the Spirit once we start to hunger for God and understand the supremacy of Christ. This understanding allows one to see the difference from their way of old and today showing an elevation of spiritual understanding and growth.
Col 1:11. Paul speaks of endurance and patience. In this time of lockdown, what lessons are there to be learnt? If we do not know who Christ is, then we are often intimidated by every situation. God doesn’t always remove uncomfortable situations, but rather through our understanding of Christ and His power, we too can endure and be patient through hardship.
Col 1:15-20. This is the fundamental principle of who Christ is. He is superior over all things. Christ is in control, He will remain in control. He has ever lost it! There is nothing in our lives that we can go through that is a surprise to Him.
In conclusion, do not just concentrate on one aspect of being a Christian as did the church of Colossae, but through your acceptance of Christ as the ultimate supreme being, you can share in the inheritance of His Holy people in the
Kingdom of Light.

Having a relationship with God – Series 2
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