#389 - RAIN, WATERS, WIND (8/7/21)
Life has very difficult seasons for everyone including Christians. This week’s text is designed to warn and prepare us for the difficult moments in life.
“The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock… The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:25, 27)
Jesus promises that we will all experience ‘rain…streams…wind’ beating against the house of our lives. Let’s think about some of the challenges that we will face.
Death and final judgement
Death is a fearful thing for most people. God’s judgement should be a fearful expectation to more people! In this parable, Jesus reassures us that those who build on the rock of His teaching will be saved. We read in Hebrews that Jesus has come to,
‘Free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.’ (Hebrews 2:15).
We experience seasons of heightened spiritual attack. Those who will build on the rock by hearing and doing Jesus’ teaching will stand. For example, if we will hear and do what He says about prayer, we will stand. Jesus teaches us to pray,
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:13)
‘Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes…13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.’ (Ephesians 6:10-11, 13)
I guess that if I were to speak to anyone reading this devotional, my guess is that we all have people that we care for who are struggling with their health in some way. the ‘rain, waters and wind’ of Sickness and death are a part of this fallen world. However, those who build on Jesus will stand. They can stand because they can know the peace of God, by the Spirit, with them in the most trying of circumstances. They stand because they can pray to the one who can sustain and heal.
Difficulties covers things such as persecution, loss of a job, loss of a marriage, children who stop believing, relational breakdown… the list is endless. If you build your life - your house - on the rock of Jesus’ teaching, you will remain standing. A simple response is faith and prayer. This text speaks of the peace that you and I can have in all storms,
‘The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 4:6-7)
I’ll finish with this interesting event. Paul is in a storm and facing a shipwreck. Listen to the confidence that he has, and that you and I can have in the rain, waters and winds of our lives.
“But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island.”
Have you prepared yourself for the storm?
The wise person looks ahead and knows that he must be prepared for the storms that will come. The wise man, like Joseph, has stored wisely in the times of plenty so that during the time of drought, he had nourishment and could even nourish others. Are you so nourished with Jesus’ truth that you will stand?
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - SIV-WEEK - GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
Please share with the group
This is our second SIV-Week study. SIV stands for Serve, Invest and Invite. This is a simple way of thinking about reaching our community for Jesus. On Sunday, we finished our Sent series. During this series we’ve been considering The Great Commission where we are told,
‘Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising 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 28:18-20)
During this series, we’ve been using The Sermon on the Mount to reflect on the important things that we need to know as disciples and be able to teach so as to be able to make disciples.
In this SIV study, I thought that it would be important to reflect on our Commission again. Here are a few brief thoughts from our Commission.
i) ALL AUTHORITY
Knowing that Jesus has authority over all creation and over our lives is meant to motivate us to let Him lead us in His mission. We all have a unique part to play. He has the power to make us fruitful.
ii) GO AND MAKE
Too often, we can practice this verse by helping mature Christians to get more mature. Too many mature Christians (if you been a Christian for around 3 years you should be pretty mature) are not engaged in growing new Christians and helping unbelievers to come to faith. I believe that Jesus wants all reasonably mature Christians involved in making disciples. It’s hard work, but I believe it’s a key feature that’s missing from many of our lives.
iii) ALL NATIONS
Beyond Putney, London, Britain…God wants disciples from all nations. This is something that we all need to pray about. We must all be open to playing our part in world evangelisation.
Wouldn’t you love to see baptisms happening every week in our church community? Wouldn’t you love to be in a Community Group which is truly making disciples? This is a vision that we all need to work toward together.
v) I AM WITH YOU
Jesus began with the command and reassurance that comes with His authority. He ends with the challenge and reassurance that He is with those who will seek to obey His commission.
THE THREE ELEMENTS OF SIV
Let’s now briefly discuss how we are doing on the three elements of SIV.
i) Serving real needs
Discuss: How are you or do you plan to serve others in your community? Is there anything that we could do together as a Community Group?
ii) Investing in friendships
Discuss: Who are the friends that you see regularly and how do you or could you invest in those friendships? How are you or could you be faithful to invest through prayer?
Discuss: What are the church events that we can invite people to? How can we be creative as a Community Group to create invitational settings? Do you have anyone that you could invite to an Alpha Course?
What do you plan to do personally as a result of this study? What are you planning to do as a group?
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