In the last two years we have changed our name and added to it a strapline. We have declared ourselves to the world around us as a ‘Christian Fellowship’. Not an institution like the Catholic or Anglican church. But a group of Christians that meet together. Our particular stance is not in our name but then Protestant, reformed, Puritan, Evangelical, Brethren, Charismatic and now, I’m told, confessional is just a string of words with little meaning outside of our history and tradition. At heart we believe that the Bible is a sufficient basis of instruction on all aspects of life. In it we discover the love of God. By grace, through faith we experience that love in our own lives. So we are motivated by the love of God and we respond as church to the love of God. So SRCF responding to the love of God is a statement of intent.
How do we do that? First by loving God back in return. This is what Jesus, our boss said
“Love the Lord your God
with all your heart
and with all your soul
and with all your mind”
And we considered this in the light of what we read in God’s Word and as a church we believe that we express that we
Love God by
And we are going to look at one small part of that this morning.
Jesus further teaches us to
“Love your neighbour as yourself”
And we believe we can do that by
- Community Care
- Telling others the Good news
What is exciting
her is that we are developing our Mission Links right now as we sent Graeme and Jenny
off to train and to serve with BMS in
Jesus also taught us
“Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”
And we see that in terms of
- Serving each other
That is the big
picture of our Church’s vision for
Jesus, when teaching his disciples, taught them to pray. So prayer is not only the action of worship for the SRCF but also the action of a disciple.
. We need to understand that discipleship is commanded by Jesus. It is not an option. Grace has been poured out in our hearts. The proper response to the Love of God is to Read the Bible and find out what the boss wants us to do. Here is the full commission.
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 I will be with you always.
Matthew 28:18-20 Page 1001
So what is discipleship about. Basically, Jesus wants to transform every part of your life. Here are some of the things that Jesus taught about:
Character, Attitude, Behaviour, Prayer, Fasting, Investment, Anxiety, Judgment, Obedience, Commitment, Sabbath observance, Relationships, Marriage, Wealth, power, Bible reading, meditation, Work ethic, baptism, giving
You can email your additions to the list. Next week we talk of this as a Full salvation. The Holy Spirit enters our lives to renew every part of it. And what is the purpose of this?
…until Christ is formed in you, …
Galatians 4:19 page1171
I came across this the other day in my daily reading and I was struck by the simplicity of it. The purpose of the work of the Holy Spirit o=in the life of the believed. The purpose of discipleship is that Christ is formed in you. That is a process that leads to you being Christ-like. So that your friends, neighbours, relations and workmates see the way, the truth and the life lived out in front of them. It is preparation for heaven where we will be like him and able to enjoy the eternity of heaven. It is the reason we have all the struggle and pain and battles and difficulties and temptations each day. God is at work in your life and my life for good. He wants Christ to be formed in you so that together we become the body of Christ, expressing the love, life and power of Christ to a miserable, dying and dead end world.
“This, then, is how you should pray: ….
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”.
Matthew 6:10 Page 970
At the heart of prayer is seeking that God’s will is done, that Christ is formed in you and grace and salvation break out to the rest of the world.
So how do we go about payer. Our reading this morning is Ephesians 6:10-20
It seems a good thing to me that as we teach the children at Razzmatazz about the armour of God we remind ourselves that we need to put it on.
We are going to concentrate on verse 18.
But I want us to keep the context in mind. Prayer is not a side show, an extra, an activity for those who are specially spiritual. It is the day by day activity of a disciple. And it is spiritual warfare. Lets make no bons about it prayer is hard work. It is fraught with problems. Finding time, concentrating on Jesus. We must recognise that we are in a spiritual war. And the battle is not against terrorists but against the spiritual forces of this world, headed up by the Devil himself. And you do battle with him as you seek to let Christ be formed in you, as you spend time in prayer. So put on the armour to pray!
Our verse says Pray in the Spirit
Discipleship prayer is praying in the spirit
What does that mean? Well, we have already reminded ourselves that Jesus taught us to pray:
your will be done..
So praying in the Spirit is asking the Holy Spirit to guide us to pray for what God wants. It is willing obedience to be and do what God wants us to be and do.
it is my desires rather than my words. We are somewhat complex people, we often say one thing while thinking another. Praying in the Spirit means surrendering to the will of God and allowing the Holy Spirit to transform our desires to what Christ desires. This is serious. Our prayers are not what we say but what our innermost being is actually asking for. We have to be honest with God.
So here are some practical thoughts about praying in the spirit turn the telly off!
find a quiet place
take a notebook to write down distractions: shopping, things to do, etc.
have your Bible open at today’s reading;
I want to make a small diversion at this point because we must understand that ‘praying in the Spirit’ is not a matter of speaking in tongues or not. In this verse some have equated praying in the spirit with speaking in tongues. But Paul is challenging that notion. When we pray in tongues our mind is not engaged in what we are saying. So Paul would rather speak in his own language so that his whole person is engaged with God, including his spirit. When we pray in tongues and our innermost desires are being expressed in a spiritual tongue we are praying in the Spirit. The issue is not what is said whether in our own language or a spiritual language. What matters is that we are engaging our desires with the desires of God. That Christ has been formed in us and we express him in prayer to God.
The verse is more than one line.
We are to pray on all occasions.
Here are four different occasions to pray!
In a crisis
And when things are going well.
And how should we pray?
with all kinds of prayers and requests
The simple answer is in as many different ways and with as many different objectives as God lays on your heart. There is no prayer book for the Christian but if you find a prayer book helps to direct you to Jesus, use it. If you speak in tongues, pray in tongues and pray in English. God understand both perfectly well. If you sit or stand or kneel or lie in bed and pray. Do so. But if what you are doing has become sterile, change and do something else. If you pray through the TV news, great! If your prayers are centred around a particular prayer vision be it a particular mission, a particular country or, say, the persecuted church. That is good.
The next line brings us back to the fact that this is warfare.With this in mind,
You need to consciously put on that armour as you pray.
and always keep on praying
for all the saints
Christianity is a team game. You are in a battle, so are the rest of us. You pray for us and we pray for you. What do we pray for each other?
Here are 6 suggestions from the Bible.
Protection – that they put the armour on!
Wisdom – Ephesians 1:15 – 20
Christ in you – Ephesians 3:14-19
Love – Philippians 1:9-11
Worthy life – Colossians 1:9-13
Active in sharing faith - Philemon 6
Again you can find more. But I want you to know that we are called to pray for each others spiritual wellbeing as well as our physical wellbeing. So read the Prayer diary but also use passages like the above to lead you to pray for spiritual growth in each of us. Why?
…until Christ is formed in you…
Our prayer life is part of an ongoing development of our relationship with Jesus. It is the development of his likeness in us and our fellow Christians. That is the purpose of discipleship. That is the purpose of Prayer. So
Pray in the Spirit
on all occasions
with all kinds of prayers and requests.
With this in mind,
and always keep on praying
for all the saints
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