Month: March 2018

Serve Christ in building His precious Church

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I encourage you to serve Christ in building His precious Church

As I’ve had the privilege of sharing God’s Word in Fiji over the past few days, I’ve been reminded of the uniqueness of Christ’s body. There is simply no other organism on earth like the Church, with such a diversity of members which come gifted and empowered by the Holy Spirit to do a humanly impossible job. Not only so, but the faithful members are equipped to encourage one another as well as communicate the good news of Jesus Christ effectively to those yet to be saved.

Serve Christ in building His precious Church
Consider the apostle Paul’s remarkable relationship with the Church in Thessalinica? He explained how they had “turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come” (1Th 1:9-10). These Christians were the real deal. They had grasped the fullness of what it meant to be those “who did receive him, who believed in his name…” It was to these people that Christ “gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (Jn 1:12-13).

I feel like Paul as I’ve preached the excellencies of Christ and received such wonderful love and hospitality from the believers of Narere Community Church and Samabula Gospel Chapel. Like Paul, I “give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labour of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Th 1:2-3).

I’ve been refreshed as I’ve seen how God gives new life to people of diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. Indeed, it’s as the Samaritans said in evaluation of Jesus; “we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world” (Jn 4:42). It really is true; Jesus Christ is “God our Saviour, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1Ti 2:3-4).

As this body of Christians form the Church which is the “pillar and buttress of the truth” (1Ti 3:15), they have the privilege of displaying “the manifold wisdom of God” (Eph 3:10). “But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic” (Jas 3:14-15).

Beloved, be encouraged to serve Christ in building His precious Church. Keep it clean; encourage and grow it’s members through humble service done in love. Engage in Christ centered worship with heart felt passion for the Saviour. “Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honour”(Rom 12:10). Invite others into it through faith in Jesus Christ as Lord, and “whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1Co 10:31).

Together for Christ:  Lincoln Forlong                   www.bbf.net.nz

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Bay Bible Fellowship

Recognise God’s Spirit in Salvation

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Be encouraged to recognise God’s Spirit in salvation

The apostle Paul explains in Ephesians 1:13 the life changing work of the Holy Spirit in salvation. “In him (Christ) you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him (Christ), were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” As always, God’s Spirit is active in people’s lives bringing them to saving faith in Jesus Christ, then sealing their salvation as complete and irreversible.

Recognise God’s Spirit in Salvation

Salvation brings many changes, but no change would occur without God’s Spirit indwelling and proactively ministering Christ within the new believer. This infiltration is the beginning of the new Christian’s life. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him” (Romans 8:9). Every new believer needs to know that there is no secondary indwelling’s to be had. The new child of God gets to experience the entirety of the Holy Spirit from the moment of salvation. The first and most obvious evidence is the shift in attitude from being sin and self-centered, to being Christ centered.

One truth leads to another

As we have already learned; the Holy Spirit’s purpose is to promote Jesus Christ as Lord in all things. So, this same purpose should be evidenced through every Spirit filled Christian also. Of course, this can only happen at the exclusion of self. Selfishness is the greatest expression of a sin controlled life, just as selflessness gives evidence to a Spirit controlled life where Christ is Lord.

Paul explained to the Galatian believers how to further identify evidence of Holy Spirit activity in their lives. The positive proofs are visible; as “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23). Equally, the negative proof is also visible; for those who “walk by the Spirit …will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

It’s incredible, as Christians, to consider that “the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).  Without God’s Spirit there is only enslavement to sin in its various forms and with differing expressions in our differing lives.

Holy Spirit freedom in Christ

With all that said; the Holy Spirit sets the believer free to grow in ever increasing Christ-likeness. Obviously, this does not happen within a day or two. This is a life-long activity which God the Spirit is committed to in every believer’s life. Upon attaining to a new level of Christ’s glory through sanctified living, the Spirit sets about moving the believer towards the next level of Christ-like character. Neither the Holy Spirit nor the believer are ever stagnant in this ongoing business of ever increasing glorification of Christ.

Understanding these truths shines a whole new light on the impact salvation has; because “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Today, be encouraged to recognise God’s Spirit in salvation by recognising His purposeful activity in your life.

Together for Christ:  Lincoln Forlong                   www.bbf.net.nz 

Recognise God’s Spirit in Salvation

Recognise God’s Spirit in Salvation

The purposeful ministry of God’s Holy Spirit

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I encourage you to consider the purposeful ministry of God’s Holy Spirit

God is purposeful in all His activities. Consequentially, one of the many privileges assigned to every believer is a growing desire to know Christ more. Grasping the knowledge of Christ with a sharpening focus and an ever deepening intimacy is an unparalleled honour. As we all know, this developing desire does not come natural to mortals. The truth is, this is the direct work of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

The purposeful ministry of God’s Holy Spirit

Scripture reveals the Spirit’s purposeful interaction with humanity in every sphere of Jesus’s life and ministry. Primary to His divine activity in this world is the promotion and exaltation of Christ. From the initiation of Christ’s incarnation, Mary “was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.” As the angel explained to Joseph; “that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18, 20).

When the time for baby Jesus presentation to the Lord arrived, the old man Simeon had already been prepared. “It had been revealed to him (Simeon) by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (Luke 2:26). “He (Simeon) took him (Jesus) up in his arms and blessed God” (Luke 2:28). The Holy Spirit never seeks attention or glory for Himself, even though He is God. His primary purpose in this world is to promote Christ, to bring praises and glory to God through Christ, and to enable mankind to do the same.

John’s Testimony

John the Baptist gave this testimony; “for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he (Jesus) might be revealed to Israel” (John 1:31). John continues; “He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’” (John 1:33). There exists a powerful synchronism within the Godhead that makes their character and workings inseparable. The Spirit paved the way for Jesus, yet it would be Jesus who would pave the way for the Holy Spirit to enter and seal people’s lives.

The Bible never shows the Holy Spirit doing His own thing. He works in harmony with the Father and Son as the stealth member of the Godhead. He invisibly and sovereignly administers the Fathers will in order for Christ to be revealed. After all, the Spirit revealed to the apostle Paul the Christ centeredness of creation; “all things were created through him and for him (Colossians 1:16). Therefore, every single atom in the cosmos exists for Christ.

Privilege beyond compare

With that said, Christians have the extraordinary privilege of aligning with the purposeful work of the Holy Spirit. Paul elaborates; “In him (Jesus) you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him (Jesus), were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his (Jesus) glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14). From salvation to the glory of eternity, believers are to reveal and exalt the Lord Jesus Christ.

Anticipating His departure, Jesus explained what would happen following His ascension. “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you” (John 14:26). This is the legacy left to us who are in Christ.

Today, be encouraged to consider the purposeful ministry of God’s Holy Spirit. Share it, pass it on, assure God’s children with it.

Together for Christ:  Lincoln Forlong                   www.bbf.net.nz 

The purposeful ministry of God’s Holy Spirit

The purposeful ministry of God’s Holy Spirit

Be a peacemaker for Christ’s sake

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I encourage you to be a peacemaker for Christ’s sake

A peacemaker not only appreciates peace from God, but they also enable others to experience it. Peace is mentioned approximately 340 times in the Bible, so it must be of importance to both God and humanity. We read in Romans 5:1 that only believers in Christ “have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”. Therefore, Christ alone is the divine peacemaker, mediating between God and man (1Ti 2:5; Heb 9:15).

Be a peacemaker for Christ’s sake

Since believers experience peace with God, they are best equipped to embark upon two significant peace missions. First, they point unbelievers who live indifferent toward God to Christ who alone can break sin’s grip. Second, they point fellow believers to living at peace with each other as an expression of Christ’s love.

For the Christian, peace is not optional. It’s divinely implanted and must translate into earthly relationships. As Christ “is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14), the child of God has divine resources at their disposal equipping them to “be at peace with one another” (Mark 9:50).

Here’s the connection every believer should make. Since Christ has purchased your peace from God the Father, so you should live His peace through your attitudes, words, and behaviour toward others. This is where the rubber hits the road. Due to the deceptive nature of the human heart (Jer 17:9), and the fragile nature of relationships, peace needs to be applied in multiple ways.

Real life application

Being a peacemaker requires intimate prayer and demands much patience. Often forgiveness will be required, even to the order of 70 times 7 (Mt 18:22). Grace that may even hurt you needs to be shown, along with mercy that costs, just as it was for the Lord who saved you and I.  You see, reconciliation is the work of a peacemaker.

Only an uncompromising walk of faith committed to a long term vision will satisfy a peacemaker. The apostle Paul put it this way; “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all” (Romans 12:18). So, the child of God employs all means at their disposal, but “never avenge yourselves” (Romans 12:19). Peace should never be acquired through sin, fear, anger, or error.

As Jesus explained to His disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27). The world offers a peace that requires indifference toward God accompanied by a self-centered attitude toward others.

The world’s peace invariably conflicts with biblical values and causes heart ache and fear. As you know, sin and peace counter each other. While sin offers peace, it actually creates an even greater need for it due to the ever increasing sense of discontentment and enmity with God.

God’s peacemaker is different

A Christian peacemaker recognises that; “Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love” (2 John 1:3). It’s the love of God which inspires the child of God to pursue peace in the truthfulness of Christ-like character, being filled with His Word (Col 3:16).

Finally, a peacemaker is dependent upon the Lord’s peace to accomplish what they cannot. “Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all” (2 Thessalonians 3:16).

I encourage you to be a peacemaker for Christ’s sake. Christ will be pleased, others will be relieved, and you shall be filled with joy. Live it and share it, but never forget it.

Together for Christ:  Lincoln Forlong                   www.bbf.net.nz 

Be a peacemaker for Christ’s sake

Be a peacemaker for Christ’s sake

  • Sundays @ 309 Welcome Bay Rd, Tauranga (Welcome Bay School Hall)