Pastor Tim Pianta 65 Main Street, Tolga, Phone 0418882605 Email tolgacommunitychurch@gmail.com ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Matthew Chapter 7


Matthew 7:1 “Don't condemn others, and God won't condemn you. 2 God will be as hard on you as you are on others! He will treat you exactly as you treat them. 3 You can see the speck in your friend's eye, but you don't notice the log in your own eye.
4 How can you say, "My friend, let me take the speck out of your eye," when you don't see the log in your own eye? 5 You're nothing but show-offs! First, take the log out of your own eye. Then you can see how to take the speck out of your friend's eye.”

6 Don't give to dogs what belongs to God. They will only turn and attack you. Don't throw pearls down in front of pigs. They will trample all over them.

7 Ask, and you will receive. Search, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you. 8 Everyone who asks will receive. Everyone who searches will find. And the door will be opened for everyone who knocks. 9 Would any of you give your hungry child a stone, if the child asked for some bread? 10 Would you give your child a snake if the child asked for a fish? 11 As bad as you are, you still know how to give good gifts to your children. But your heavenly Father is even more ready to give good things to people who ask.

12 Treat others as you want them to treat you. This is what the Law and the Prophets are all about.

13 Go in through the narrow gate. The gate to destruction is wide, and the road that leads there is easy to follow. A lot of people go through that gate. 14 But the gate to life is very narrow. The road that leads there is so hard to follow that only a few people find it.

15 Watch out for false prophets! They dress up like sheep, but inside they are wolves who have come to attack you. 16 You can tell what they are by what they do. No one picks grapes or figs from thornbushes. 17 A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot produce good fruit. 19 Every tree that produces bad fruit will be chopped down and burned. 20 You can tell who the false prophets are by their deeds.

21 Not everyone who calls me their Lord will get into the kingdom of heaven. Only the ones who obey my Father in heaven will get in. 22 On the Day of Judgment many will call me their Lord. They will say, "We preached in your name, and in your name we forced out demons and worked many miracles." 23 But I will tell them, "I will have nothing to do with you! Get out of my sight, you evil people!"

24 Anyone who hears and obeys these teachings of mine is like a wise person who built a house on solid rock. 25 Rain poured down, rivers flooded, and winds beat against that house. But it did not fall, because it was built on solid rock. 26 Anyone who hears my teachings and doesn't obey them is like a foolish person who built a house on sand. 27 The rain poured down, the rivers flooded, and the winds blew and beat against that house. Finally, it fell with a crash. 28 When Jesus finished speaking, the crowds were surprised at his teaching. 29 He taught them like someone with authority, and not like their teachers of the Law of Moses.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Being Filled With The Holy Spirit

Bible reference:  Acts 20:24;  Acts 2:3-8; Acts 4:31; Ephesians 5:8

Acts 2:3-8, Acts 4:31; and Ephesians 5:18


Acts 2:3 and there appeared unto them tongues parting asunder, like as of fire; and it sat upon each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound was heard, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speaking in his own language. 7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying, Behold, are not all these that speak Galilaeans? 8 And how hear we, every man in our own language wherein we were born?

Acts 4:31 After they had prayed, the meeting place shook. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and bravely spoke God's message.
Ephesians 5:18 Don't destroy yourself by getting drunk, but let the Spirit fill your life.

When we are born again through faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to live in our lives from then on. (1Corinthians 3:16) “All of you surely know that you are God's temple and that his Spirit lives in you”.

At times after new birth, our lives may be repeatedly filled to overflowing by the empowering presence of the Spirit. The testimony of the early disciples illustrates this.
On the day of Pentecost, the 120 followers of Jesus were filled with the Spirit. "Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire . . . And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit." "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them." After this encounter, Peter joined the other disciples for a prayer meeting. "And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit." In this event, those who had been filled with the Spirit at Pentecost were filled a second time. Peter, who had been so filled twice before, was filled a third time. Therefore, it is evident that the filling of the Spirit is not a once for all time matter. Subsequently, the Apostle Peter, who was originally filled on Pentecost, was again filled as he stood before the religious hierarchy of Israel.

Furthermore, being filled with the Spirit is not automatic or universal for Christians, as is the indwelling of the Spirit. This fact can be clearly seen in the instruction given in Ephesians 5:18. "And do not be drunk with wine . . . but be filled with the Spirit." Since this is a command and not a description, it only becomes a personal reality to those who respond properly. God will not force you to obey a command – He wants to see your heart. This is the power of God’s Kingdom – those who are truly His will respond to Jesus no matter what is in the way.

Additionally, the form of this command contains tremendous insight concerning the fullness of the Spirit and God's desire for us. The injunction to "be filled with the Spirit" is in the present tense, indicating an ongoing condition. It could be translated "be always being filled." This imperative is a call to a way of living, not merely certain events as they happen. It is the will of God that we actually live, day by day, more and more, by the fullness of the Spirit's empowering work. We should humbly pray for the fullness of the Holy Spirit as we face each day, each challenge and each opportunity of life.

Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of God.
(Ephesians 5:18-21)
When a person is filled with the Holy Spirit, what will the results be in his life? What evidences will develop to validate the work of the Spirit in fullness? In some church traditions, which give considerable attention to the fullness of the Spirit, limited evidences are stressed such as those often mentioned in Acts: tongues, prophecy, or boldness. As important as these are the full biblical picture is much larger than this viewpoint.

Ephesians 5:18-21 is a classic example of the scriptures broad perspective on this subject. In Ephesians 5:18, the command is given to "be filled with the Spirit." The subsequent verses (Ephesians 5:19-21) list the spiritual consequences that will follow in a life that is characteristically Spirit filled.


When a believer in Jesus Christ is living in the fullness of the Spirit, he will be led and empowered to fellowship with, and minister to, brothers and sisters: "speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." These words fit those times when believers gather together for spiritual celebration and one example is like this time tonight. Some of the music of the church is directed toward other believers in the form of exhortation and edification. A Spirit filled Christian will be involved in "one another’s life" in the body of Christ.

Closely related to this, however, is the essential presence of a worshiping heart: "singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." Genuine fellowship and effective ministry flows out of a life focused in adoration upon the Lord Himself. A Spirit filled Christian will be a worshiper of the true and living God.

Further, when a disciple of Jesus is filled with the Spirit, his life will typically overflow with thanksgiving: "giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." The world and the flesh produce complaints and dissatisfaction. The Spirit of the Lord stirs gratitude and appreciation. It shows a life lived in the spirit.


Additionally, servant hood submission is a common attribute of one who is Spirit filled: "submitting to one another in the fear of God." Natural humanity wants to control people and exercise mastery over them. The Spirit of Christ, the servant of all (Matthew 20:24 - 28), brings forward humble service from those who revere and honour the Lord. It is the will of our Father to know and witness with the power of Holy Spirit - Jesus addressed this in acts chapter 1 verses 7 and 8.









Sunday, March 15, 2020

Grace

Bible reference: Luke 22:18-20

When the grace of God is allowed to work in us, we have access to the risen Lord Jesus. 

Jesus was already entered into winning for us the payment for sin.  Yet he indicated he would again celebrate the communion again with them.   Grace was given to lift us from our sin. 

The resurrection is one hotly debated subject in history.   Yet there were guards assigned, there was things done to ensure he was in the tomb.  Yet there were too many witnesses.   Jesus is declared to be the resurrected son of God.  He is the sufficient payment for our sins.  Don't keep paying.  Christ is the sacrifice that takes away our sins.  50 days after crucifixion,  the day of Pentecost,  the disciples spoke powerfully in the Spirit. 

Acts 2:23-24
In the garden of Eden death came.  The spirit of man died.  Through Christ,  the Spirit of man comes alive.   

Acts 2:32
Read the first 4 chapters.   Acts is the book that describes the acts of  the Holy Spirit in the lives of the early church. 

'Whom you crucified but God raised Him from death'.  Live in the victory,  but know how it happened.   Acts 4:33

Grace was as what powered them.  The outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost,  caused the disciples to preach powerfully.   

Acts - Peter's sermon.  Jesus raised,  there were witnesses,  a lame man was healed, they spoke powerfully in the Spirit,  the message centered on the resurrected Lord Jesus,  grace of God, power of the Holy Spirit.

When you talk about the resurrected Lord Jesus,  people don't like this.  Acts 4:2-10

They don't get upset if you talk about God's laws.

It was the grace of God that allowed the Church to witness boldly about the Lord Jesus.   Acts 4:33

This grace made the disciples bold.  They didn't have the resources we have, they only had Jesus.  

Isn't that enough?

He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. 







Monday, March 9, 2020

Salvation

1. Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,…”

We’ve all failed to keep God’s Word, the Law, His commandments. At some point we’ve lied, cheated, hurt with actions or words, failed to fully obey the commands set down by God.  We’re all in this together.  No person is exempt.  It’s inclusive for the whole human race.

2. Romans 6:23  “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Sin = missing the mark.  “The mark, in this case, is the standard of perfection established by God and evidenced by Jesus. Viewed in that light, it is clear that we are all sinners.” [https://www.allaboutgod.com/what-is-sin.htm]

Eternal life – a gift of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.  That is “knowing God”, now in the present and forever.  Being in relationship with Him now, today, not just when we get to heaven.

3. Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

How much does God love us?  So much that he gave his one and only Son, Jesus Christ to take our place and die. 

“God’s love goes beyond willingness to die for a good person. He is supremely willing to demonstrate His love, so much so that He gave His Son for sinners so that all can see it. This is the proof of His love for us. There is nothing in sinners to call forth this love, but there is something in the unconditional love of God that does.

The word “shows” means to put together by combining. Thus, the idea is to prove, establish, or exhibit. God’s love surpasses the most extreme sacrifice of man for others. God made good on His love by sacrificing His most beloved Son.

The present tense of the word “shows” indicates that God continuously establishes His love, because even today the death of Christ for our sins remains His most striking manifestation of His love. Christ died for His enemies (v. 10).” [https://versebyversecommentary.com/2011/07/10/romans-58/ ]


4. Romans 10:9-10 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.”

How are we saved?  Declare with your mouth that Jesus is Lord; Believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead.

“In verse 9, Paul directly states that believing and confessing are both essential for salvation.
In verse 10, while believing and confessing are now set apart into two separate clauses, confession is still declared to result in salvation.

The Greek word homologeo„ (“confess”) in the NT is most naturally used of public confession.
Confession in this context cannot be as easily explained as that which takes place in the heart as a private act before God as might be implied by interpretive option 2 above. In using the term “mouth,” Paul implies a public confession.

God does not need one to “confess with the mouth” for his benefit.
He can see into the heart to discern our faith, and grant us justification at the very moment of faith.”


For further reference: https://vimeo.com/390649940 

S Irvine

Sunday, March 1, 2020

The Freedom to Tell the Gospel

Bible references: Luke 10;  Psalms 116:12

"What shall I return to the Lord for all his goodness to me?"

We don't always know what is going to happen.   What people think isn't always what happens.

It's not for to decide who accept or reject.   We are to go.  The 70 sent out and had a great time. 

Chapter 9 demonstrates the disciples were unable to cast out a demon.   But in chapter 10, they are successful.   Yet we are to rejoice that our names are written in heaven.   Jesus wants our names written in the book in heaven.   

It's not us who gets it right.   God's love is not based on how well we do something,  its based on his love for us.

Psalm 51:15-17

Remembering the Gospel helps fight our pride and rely on his complete provision.   Christ sent the 70 (72) out in pairs to encourage one another.   Those who reject the message will be full of fear.  Anyone who despises you will be reckoned/judged as despises of Him who sent you.

We do not win the victory.   God is the one who wins the victory.   Beware of spiritual pride.   

Look ahead and be with Jesus.  Let the Holy Spirit guide you.  God requires a humble heart.   It's not about how smart or good you are; its about a humble life.

What matters is that your name is written in the book in heaven.  Men and devils cannot take our salvation away from us.  God and Jesus will not take your salvation/eternal life in heaven from you.

We are to ever take the name of the Lord in vain.   Don't render his name useless.   

In Australia...When the first fleet landed, it was daunting,  yet we are one of the freest nations in the world.   We can be ambassadors to our nation,  Australia. We have this privilege. 







Sunday, February 23, 2020

Exercise Our Faith In God

Bible references:  Joshua 3 and 4
The Israelites crossed the Jordon on dry ground.   There were 12 appointments to gather a stone from the Jordon and place them where they stayed that night.  The stones were a memorial to tell what the Lord had done that day.

The people faithfully obeyed God.   Joshua led them.  He was God appointed.   He had to be about Gods business.   The people walked after the rule of the word and after the Spirit.   The Spirit gives direction,  freedom,  life.

We must be prepared to pass ways we've never passed before,  do things we've not done before. 

We are to be bold and courageous. Things can happen to us.  In the world today,  persecution is paramount.  We obey and follow God,  we are following the author and finisher of our faith.   

The people had to sanctify themselves.   Walk away from our sin, and follow the Lord.  Let the Lord deal with our sin.   Be careful not to grieve the Spirit.   Whatever place your in depend on the Lord.

God has the same power to finish the salvation of his people as he has to begin it.  God's going to make the difference in his people. 

The Jordon in flood overflowed its banks.  God turned up for his people.   Those who oppose God's people will know Gods judgement. 

- walking from 'death to life' through the Jordon;
- we put remembrance stones to remember that God turned up to help his people 
- today, we are living stones,
- like the priests, we must not grow weary while we wait,
- enjoy Gods presence with you while you wait,
- honor given to Joshua for his faith.

The people were to tell others and their children about what happened. It is the responsibility that parents are to teach their children about God.  Serious godliness is to be undertaken.   

When we step out we do this in faith.   We step out on faith to make God purposes work.   We step out in faith for the Holy Spirit to move.

The Spirit gives us life.  Paul knew the Law of the Lord.   But he didn't know Jesus.   He knew the Spirit once he met and received Jesus. 

If you choose to go through the motions, he will let you live your life this way.   As we exercise our faith,  the Spirit goes into action.   
2 Corinthians 3:6
People need life initially and continually. 
Ephesians 2:1-9
Once we walked according to the ways of the world,  but now we follow the Spirit of God.   The only remedy for spiritual death is spiritual life.   People need life continually.  If we were left to our best efforts after salvation,  we would struggle.  We would not make it.  If we live by the letter of the law we will experience death.  Jesus had to come and bring salvation because no one could get life by letter of the law. 

John 10:10
John 6 bread of life

Jesus never said he was starting a new religion. Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Acts 5:20The life that Jesus came to provide is expressed through us who are saved. 

Colossians 3:4
He didn't come to start a movement,  he came to produce life in us.  It is the Spirit who gives life.  God will make a way where there is no way.  We are to exercise our faith and put our faith in God. 










Sunday, February 16, 2020

The Mustard Seed

He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field.  Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”  He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds  of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
Matthew 13:31‭-‬33 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/mat.13.31-33.NIV

The mustard seed demonstrates the dynamic growth of the Church even when the world is against it. 

The parable of the mustard seed show the power of God.   The contrast of the smallest of the Kingdom against the Kingdom of the world.   What could be less significant than a small church or a tent revival.   Or a missionary couple living half a world away amongst natives.  

We expect to find the Kingdom in the mega Churches, but these parables suggest that the real kingdom power amongst the small places. 

Example of Ps Rick Warren and his wife,  Kay going to Africa. 

We never know what God will use with the smallest, or seemingly insignificant things we do.

At the time of Christ,  Rome ruled as the world power.   But today, Jesus still touches the world.   Throughout history, the world has tried to kill the Church,  yet today the Kingdom of God is still working,  even though many of these 'worldly ' powers have come and gone.

The mustard seed is tiny.  But when it is grown,  it is large.  The parable promises great outcomes from small beginnings. 

Most of the Churches work gets done in unfavourable conditions.   
In New Testament times, it did not appear that this small movement would make a change.   

Why would Jesus not compare the Kingdom of heaven to a great tree instead of a scrub.  The Church is far exceeding from its humble beginnings.   It has manifested itself in modest ways, with times of great power. 

Christian's should live unexpectedly as heaven as our destination,  not the grand Church buildings around the world. 

The Lord is more likely to be evidenced as a small still voice  rather than a  king coming on a white horse. 

It's what God does. It is to be growing Churches from small beginnings to disciples that are mature and God-like.

What did Mary Magdalene think?  Stephen who was stoned, helped grow the kingdom,  even though he lost his physical life. 

Are we willing to grow our mustard seed?





Sunday, February 9, 2020

Obedience as Joshua Obeyed the Lord

Acts 20:24; Joshua 1:1-18; 1 Timothy 3:1-10

Martin Luther  - need to pray 3 hours to get work done. 

Joshua respected Moses and obeyed him.  Joshua had the form of a servant.  Our Lord Jesus Christ came to earth and took the form of a servant.   Jesus obeyed His Father in heaven,  just as Joshua did under Moses.   Those who accept the authority of those placed in leadership under God's command.  Good leadership makes us want to obey if we accept his authority.   Joshua had learnt this.

Obstacles:

- Jordan in flood
- Jericho 
- moving the nation of Israel 

Joshua made the Law of the Lord his rule.  The Law is not burdensome until Man becomes involved.   We are to meditate on God's law day and night.  People have to meditate on God's word.   Pastors, leaders cannot do this for people.  We must not neglect the ways of the Lord.   Read it, 'chew on it', teach by example. 
Do not let your own failures dishearten you.  Look at the Lord and you will get there.  We are good enough because of what God has done in Jesus.   If Jesus is not near, come back to him.  

When we are doing our duty, we have reason to be bold.  Joshua was just a man who obeyed God, was able to hold up under immense stress and suffering.   Do we claim what God has given us?

God gives us privileges; take possession.   At your possession,  all the resources of the Kingdom of God.   When we see a fight in the Church,  the winner is never the Church.   It's important to meditate on the words of God.  Take seriously the word.

There is nothing so unreasonable in this world than the walk set before you in the world.   Always be careful of becoming friends with the world. As we walk in the word,  the world will hate us.

The most difficult path is the one Jesus won on the cross.   Our path is on victory and restoration.   Our knowledge of God is not the same as knowing God.  Knowing God is relationship...a marriage. 

Joy is very special to understand.   Happiness is based on happenings.   Joy is not happiness.   

Don't get distracted-walk with the Lord.   Don't get involved in the fights of the world.   

Joshua being appointed as leader, immediately sets about the work of God.   It's not about a title that you wear,  its a title that you live.  

1 Peter 2:13-14
The people of Israel obeyed Joshua.   Today, we are to submit ourselves to authority.   God wants us to be citizens who are responsible and honest.  Joshua 1:16 - the people obeyed. 

God has a different sense if justice to Man.  We are to accept authority.   If not, God will still be God regardless.   Don't worry about people,  but what God wants us to do.   

To do:
Pray for Church Leaders;
Pray for Government at each level and those in authority over us;
Pray for each other (brothers and sisters in Christ).



















Faith - In God We Trust

Bible references:  Joshua 2

The cleverness of Joshua who sent spies into the land of Canaan to observe and report. 

Caleb at the age of 80 raises an army to help take the land the Lord had promised the people.   When we don't use something God has given us, the item doesn't change,  but the value does.  When God gives you something,  use it or lose it.

Joshua had the spies in to observe Jericho.   Joshua just sent them to Jericho,  to report to him, as the general.   He wanted to protect for the good of the nation. 

This is a story about faith.  Faith in God's promises.  We've got to have the right faith in the right thing.  Faith in God and his promises.   We are to be diligent in doing this His way.

Into the city the spies went and found Rehab.  But God had been working in the city and in the life of Rahab.  That which seems to us to be accidental meetings, is God at work. 

God raised a woman to help Gods people.   James 2:25 - she did her work by faith.   Joshua had his faith in God.  Rahab had her faith in God, even above the fear of man.  Jericho knew Israel was coming.   Rahab knew God's way would be fulfilled.   The conduct of Rahab proved that she was willing to do God's work.  

Rahab is in the line of Jesus Christ. One of her descendants is King David. 

The promises made to Rahab by the spies.   Reference Psalm 111:1-2

Those who will be consciously make promises are cautious about making promises.   Rahab knew that.   She had to trust God that her family would be saved.   She had to have the scarlet cord in the window.   We are to flee to the blood of Jesus Christ.   The cord used to help the spies, was used for her own safety. 

The report the spies brought back was encouraging.   The people didn't have the courage to fight.   They had seen what God would do.   Still the people of Canaan would not yield nor repent.   Today is the day of salvation.   This chapter is an account of faith.   Jericho put their faith in themselves.   Israel put their faith in God.   Fear or faith.   Fear binds.   Faith in God liberates. 

Salvation is about faith in God to save us.   Abraham believed in God and it was credited to him as righteousness.   Joshua put his faith in God.