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Posts Tagged ‘change’

Hannah’s Fight

January 31st, 2011

1 Samuel 1:1-20

  • This time we are looking at Hannah herself – we can learn so much from her as a mighty pray-er.
  • In her pain she prays – but she goes further than just a plea for help, which even atheists might do.
  • Barrenness – a symbol in the Bible of national failure and fruitlessness, when God’s people turn away from Him, replacing Him with other gods. All of humanity has done this and in return we reap corruption, pain and suffering in this world.
  • God speaks through this picture of a barren woman. God doesn’t want us to be fruitless.
  • When we get to that point of desperation of barrenness, that’s where God can work. He loves using impossible situations and loves being strong in our weakness. He wants us to turn to Him.
  • God was the one who closed Hannah’s womb – seems final – but He is open to changing the situation. God is sovereign over all and yet people in the Bible have wrestled with God and pushed through and succeeded – e.g. Jacob, Moses, etc.
  • God is not offended by us arguing with Him – rather He listens and seems to like relating to us in this way.
  • Hannah has every reason to just be depressed and give up, but she believed that she could also be a hero in prayer like the great and mighty figures of the past, despite being just an ordinary woman.
  • Instead of being inspired by the great pray-ers, we can sometimes be discouraged. Do what Hannah did – press through to God anyway; come with all your passion and emotion and longings.
  • God wants us to wrestle with Him – still with reverence and submission, but wrestling nonetheless.
  • Mark 7:25-30 – Jesus says what he says to the Gentile woman in order that she might persevere and to see what kind of fight she had; she did indeed argue with Him and succeeded. Oftentimes we get offended by God, but we need to just press through.
  • God wants us to be stubborn in prayer – all Christians are invited to this!
  • It’s so easy to fall into self-pity, but we are to never give up.
  • Sometimes God purposefully makes it hard for us to see what kind of fight we put up.
  • Jesus told us to pray and no give up.
  • We don’t pray to be religious or spiritual.
  • Be careful when looking at Hannah’s example – in order to persevere through all her suffering she must have been filled with the same Spirit as the Great Pray-er, Jesus Christ.
  • Hannah points us to Jesus. She got what she asked for eventually, but when Jesus asked the Father to take away the cross, He didn’t get His request answered (Matt. 26:36-36). He prevailed when no-one else stood by Him.
  • Jesus is our sympathetic High Priest. Because of His unanswered prayer when He asked for the cross to be removed, we are now able to confidently draw near to God’s throne of grace (Heb.4:14-16).

A Church For a New Age

November 17th, 2010

Amos 9:5-16; Acts 15:6-21

The book of Amos speaks about God’s judgement of His people – it paints a big picture of Almighty God. But alongside the promise of judgement is the promise of restoration. The key verse is  v.11 – the “booth” or tabernacle of David – one day the people of God will live with God in the new heavens and new earth.

1. The Prophetic Mandate (Our Vision):

i) Eden:

  • Adam walked with God and was able to hear God and minister to God on behalf of creation. He had authority on earth to expand Eden – the cultural mandate.
  • But Adam sinned and the fellowship was broken.
  • But from Genesis to Revelation, we are shown that God is restoring this and wants to dwell again with His people.

ii) The Tabernacle:

  • The dwelling place for God and His glory on earth.
  • The tabernacle of Moses on Mount Gibeon was about rules and rituals, but the tabernacle of David on Mount Zion was about being able to freely enter and worship God – a foretaste of the New Covenant of grace.

iii) The Temple:

  • This was God’s next dwelling place for his manifest presence.
  • However, with the second temple there was no presence of God – just rituals and religion. God wanted a restoration of the tabernacle of David.
  • When Jesus was on earth He said the temple would be destroyed but that He would rebuild it after 3 days. He was talking about Himself – He identified Himself with the temple, of God dwelling with man – and the resurrection after 3 days.
  • The coming temple was not one built with stones, but with people – the Church.

iv) The Church:

  • We are being built into a temple, experience God and His presence and power, by the Spirit.

2. The Prophetic Pivotal Point (Our Theology & Practice):

  • This is where the passage in Acts comes in. The era of the early church, filled with the Holy Spirit. The Jews were adding to the gospel – that Christians had to obey the Old Testament laws.
  • Here we see displayed the following:

i) Relationship leadership:

  • The leaders discussed this issue – whether new Christians should obey the Law of Moses.
  • v.16 – James quotes Amos – the restoration of David’s tabernacle, the covenant of grace, no more sacrifices or rituals.
  • The church are to fulfil the cultural mandate – to take the good news of the gospel to the ends of the earth.

ii) Operational power

iii) Defining grace

iv) Missional vision

3. The Prophetic Process (Our Lessons from History):

  • There is a process with promises being fulfilled. Things in history have happened in order to get us further towards that end fulfilment of the mandate and of the restoration.
  • 3 key words from the last 30-40 years: revival, renewal, restoration.
  • We are restoring the Church – building right. God has a bigger plan than just little pockets of revival.
  • What God does in one generation is different but all part of the big plan.

4. The Prophetic Challenge (Our Commitment):

i) Expect to grow – the fruit of restoration

ii) Expect the Spirit – He is given to us to reach out to others, not just for our benefit

iii) Build the church

iv) Change the city – rebuild the city, take Eden into it, release the captives, see people restored to God

v) Expect stability