Are we Believers or Disciples?

Andy Elmes

August 9, 2020 • Andy Elmes

Pastor Andy asks if we are Believers or Disciples. There are similarities but great differences between the two. In Matthew 28, the Lord asks us to be a going people, to make disciples, not just to be saved. Help the people to learn of me, believe in me and obey my words and observe my commands….are words from the Amplified version of Matthew 28. So we are to go and make disciples and teach people to obey Jesus commands. Believing is having faith in something or someone. Believing in God is a powerful thing but even demons believe in God also! - James 2:19 (NKJV) “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!” So God does want us to experience the powerful salvation which comes from believing….. But also more……. being a disciple as well. In believing, lives are saved but not transformed. When lives are positioned as disciples, followers of Christ, transformation takes place. It’s an ongoing commitment to the work of the Holy Spirit within. Unlike the thief on the cross next to Jesus, we do have time in our lives for the Holy Spirit to change us. Moving from being a believer to being a disciple was Jesus’ plan in order to transform lives. This is what he called us to be. Believing is not the final thing! Jesus ministered not only to many crowds but also to his disciples when he was not with crowds. Crowds maybe are there for what they can get but disciples are there for what they can become. Being a disciple means becoming subject to the disciplines of the person you follow. A life being transformed will always involve a level of discipline in order to cause the changes required. God calls us to be subject to His teachings and truths. Do we want our lives to adhere to Jesus’ teaching? The bible calls all believers to achieve Christ-likeness choosing discipleship over pure membership. We need to let Jesus train us or disciple us into a better way of living. This means living in the Word allowing the Holy Spirit to challenge us and moving from being in a crowd experience about God to being a follower of God. Believing is belonging but disciplining is submitting, allowing changes to occur, daily. When we are living in the Word of God we will be transformed – Romans 12:2 (NKJV) “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God”. Our thinking will be challenged and our wisdom altered, this needs to be our prayer. We must exchange incorrect philosophies for correct ones. Colossians 2:8 tells us (NIV) “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ”. The Passion Translation colours this in with even greater clarity in modern day English “Beware that no one distracts you or intimidates you in their attempt to lead you away from Christ’s fullness by pretending to be full of wisdom when they’re filled with endless arguments of human logic. For they operate with humanistic and clouded judgments based on the mindset of this world system, and not the anointed truths of the Anointed One.” So we have a choice as believers, carry on as we are or turn to God and choose His wisdom to operate in inside us. This means we redefine our belief system in accordance with Jesus words. As Jesus said, disciples live by and are obedient to His words (he was speaking to Jewish believers), read John 8:31 (NIV) “To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, ‘If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples’”. So Jesus was speaking to people who were saved telling them they needed to hold true to His words. The same is true for us in order to be disciples.

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Jesus Centric

Andy Elmes • September 13, 2020 • Andy Elmes

Pastor Andy speaks about Jesus being the centre of our lives, being Jesus Centric. Jesus deserves to be central to everything we are and everything we do now. We can look at an example of a person being egocentric where they are self-centred believing everything involves around them. But for followers of Jesus, He is to be the centre of all things in our lives. But we've sung more recently where it says Jesus at the centre of it all …..It’s a great song but we have to ask ourselves a question: Is that more than a song in our life? Is Jesus the centre of it all? Is He the centre of our relationships, finances and our view on things happening in life? Romans 11:36 (ESV) says “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” speaking of the supremacy of Christ. In reality, we need to divide our lives up into sections or subcategorize things so that we can begin to ask ourselves honest questions. He should be central to our Gospel message when we're sharing the gospel which should be Jesus centric not work centric based upon what people do or how people perform but Christ centric. All roads do not lead to God. There's one way to Salvation. There's one way to remove the separation between God and man and that's through Jesus Christ only. Acts 4:12 bluntly states (NIV) “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved”. Jesus went to the cross, shed his blood for our sins and caused a divine exchange that made the guilty innocent. Christ alone did this. Christ Jesus is the key component causing a person to be saved. Salvation is not possible without Jesus. Worship is an expression of our Salvation to the one who saved us - an expression of thanksgiving and gratitude to Jesus. We turn our eyes in worship, bringing our adoration. Let's start a worship revolution and get our eyes back on Jesus. Let's get Jesus centric again and say Jesus my worship may be out of tune, but it's all for you! Let's be Jesus Centric in our worship. The simplest of songs sang out of tune but dedicated from an earnest heart to the one who is seated on the throne are the songs that change the atmosphere. Be encouraged to be a worshipper not when you gather with others. Psalm 22:3 (NIV) says “Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the one Israel praises”…..Jesus is enthroned in our praises again. Jesus Christ deserves the throne of our lives…..the central place of our lives where everything comes from, everything comes through, and everything returns back to him to enthrone. The key question is however …Who is sitting on the throne of our heart today?

Seeing Jesus for who He is

Andy Elmes • September 6, 2020 • Andy Elmes

The title for this week’s message by Pastor Andy is “Seeing Jesus for who He is”. This is in theme of celebrating our children. Matthew 19:13-15 (NIV) says” Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there”. Maybe we do not prevent children from coming to Jesus physically but perhaps by not allowing them to have real encounters with Jesus. We can learn from watching the way children are with Jesus. They have no agenda, but a child-like purity. In Matthew 18 Jesus tells his Disciples that if they want to become great in the Kingdom, they need to become child-like (not childish!) in our approach to God. When we are walking with the Lord, we need to have a child-like faith in acceptance of what he says. Adults often become sceptical but this robs us of receiving Jesus, but Jesus actually encourages us to be child-like in their approach. Children see and want Jesus for what He is. Often we see and want Him for what He can do for us! We need to see and know Jesus for what He really is. Jesus is a God of much more than what we usually see Him for. Even during Jesus time on earth, people missed Him because He was not what they were looking for. When the Messiah came, many could not see Him as He didn’t look like they expected or do what they thought He ought to. Such preconceived agendas are only one aspect of a hugely bigger God. The children of Israel in Exodus 24 were busy melting jewellery to make a representation of God as they wanted; meanwhile Moses was on the top of the mountain having a life changing experience! Many of Gods people could not see Jesus even when he was in the room with them as they were looking for a warrior character to overthrow the Roman Empire. Others looked for a ruling king like King David to rule as he did, but rather missed the point that Jesus’ throne was a heavenly one! Being saved from their own sins was more necessary than being saved from the Roman rule but this passed them by. Even after Jesus had died and risen before their eyes (Acts 1) the disciples ask if He was going to restore the kingdom to Israel. Their preconditioned thinking was of a Messiah coming to overthrow natural rule, missing the point of who Jesus was and why He had come to earth. Even John the Baptist got confused for a while because what Jesus was doing didn’t register with his expectations - (Luke 7:19 NIV) says “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” John had also thought Jesus should be overthrowing Rome, not sitting with children, healing people, forgiving sins. Children tend to have an attitude of “we want to know you as you are”. Adults tend to want to fit Jesus into their self-made boxes. Jesus was God on earth, the full and total manifestation of everything God the Father was and is. Colossians 2:9 (ESV) states “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily”. Jesus is not just a representative of heaven; He is the fullness of God in every respect. All we need to know about God we can see in Jesus and His Word. Let us see Jesus for who He really is. Let us have a child-like faith and a child-like approach.

What is true repentance?

Andy Elmes • August 30, 2020 • Andy Elmes

Pastor Andy asks us “What is true repentance?” Recently we have focused on the gospel message, salvation, transformation, evangelism, believing and communicating the gospel. Communicating the message of Jesus is the key evangelistic activity. True salvation will allow God to move in someone’s life in a transforming way. This is often based on the decision made at the time of accepting Jesus. The difference between belonging to God and experiencing life change depends on whether true repentance has occurred. Repentance needs to be part of our invitation we make to people when giving the gospel message. The word must be understood correctly. It’s an invitation to come into a life better than anything known before. Jesus calls people to repent. Luke 13:3 or Matthew 4:17 (NIV) says “From that time on Jesus began to preach, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near."” In Luke 5:32 Jesus calls sinners to repentance. In Acts 2:38, Peter preaches a similar message to that of Jesus “Repent and be baptized……” What did Jesus expect of someone who needed to repent? Old Testament repentance is more about feeling of remorse and regret. Wikipedia aligns with New Testament thinking and suggests that repentance as taught in the Bible is a call to persons to make a radical turn from one way of life to another. The repentance (metanoia) called for throughout the Bible is a summons to a personal, absolute and ultimate unconditional surrender to God as Sovereign. So New Testament meaning of repentance includes sorrow and regret but includes a 180 degree turn from self towards God. Changing the way we think to bringing into alignment with Gods will brings the transformed life. The dual action is ‘turning from’ and also ‘turning towards’. Without the ‘turning towards’, we are left in no man’s land so to speak. The speed of this ‘turn’ determines the transformation experience. 2 Chronicles 7:14 (ESV) illustrates this “if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land”. God is willing to forgive us when we turn away ‘from’ (self) and ‘towards’ (Him). There needs to be an absolute turning from our will to God’s will for our life. This is almost a reverse manoeuvre from that of Adam in Genesis when Satan deceived him. Our prayer of salvation needs to include a turning away from our way and bringing our will into God’s will. Then we will fly and soar in our lives. If we are willing to change the way we live and think our lives can change beyond our imagination. We also need to be able to apply forgiveness and grace to someone who has turned away and towards. Romans 2:4 tells us that it is God’s goodness and His Kindness that causes a person to repent.