Pastor Tim Pianta 65 Main Street, Tolga, Phone 0418882605 Email ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Who validates your Life?

Bible references:  Acts 20:24; Romans 12:9-21; Galatians 5:22-26; Ephesians 4:22-24; Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:25-26 - 5:3; Romans 12:19-21; Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17; Deuteronomy 19:15-21

How to live the Christian life?  We are servants of God.   Build up the Church. 
We are saved by God and the way He does things.  God wants to take you from being justified,  sanctified and glorified. 
We allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives,  the fruit is found in Galatians 5:22-23.
Each day  - we must dedicate our lives and bodies to the Lord.  To be sanctified,  is about committing ourselves to the Lord.  We must choose to put off our old self and put our new self put on.  A spiritual act to allow God to transform our mind.
When we read Scripture, we are challenged.   It's important to God that we participate in life, working, community.  Idle minds need work.  
Don't waste your time on people who can insult you.  People who do things to you, pray for them,  for one day they will face God.  We do not be overcome by evil; but overcome evil with good.  

Who validates your Life? Acts 20:24
Romans 13:1-7. 

How we, the Church behave in society.   We don't always know why God establishes some 'authorities.'

We should be the people who set the example on how to behave.   We need to be good and loyal citizens.   We're not to think we're better.  We are to bless others.   We are role models to other Christians and the people around us.   We are to walk as Children of the day; Christ himself is the light.   We are not to walk in the darkness.  Submission to God.

Don't use your Christian brothers and sisters,  don't use them to make personal gain.   Daniel 4:34-34 - example of respecting the Lord and government of land.  

God is still god regardless of what we think.  The role of government is to Administer justice and collect taxes.

Deuteronomy 19:15-21 - how God thinks about running things. We are required to fulfill our obligations to the community.   Churches were meant to bring people in.  

Matthew 22:17 - leaders of the law were trying to trick Jesus.  We're to live Gods way of life.  Not setting up laws.   Love is fulfillment of the law.  Love your neighbor as you love yourself. 

Don't do to others as we want.  Do to others as we want done to us.  We're not being told to deal with the sin, bit to run to Jesus and repent.   Be morally alert to what is happening in your life. 

Matthew 5:13-18 - the hope of our salvation.   Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it.  We are to be in authority over our conduct.   The Holy Spirit needs to be involved in our life so that we have real change.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

How We Ought To Live

Bible references: Acts 20:24; Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 5:14-16; Romans 6:13-15

Romans 12:1-2 speaks to us about how ought to behave.   We should dedicate ourselves to Jesus Christ every day; a spiritual act of worship. 

Often people struggle because they don't know how to think.   Teachers teach us to think.   We need to renew our minds.  

We want to love because Christ's love compels us to live for Him.
With salvation comes responsibilities. 

Sunday, November 24, 2019

We Need...Restoration

Bible references: 2 Chronicles 7:14; 2 Peter 2:9
In salvation we are justified,  sanctified and glorified.  Our Nation...needs restoration. 2 Chronicles 7:14

In our nation, culturally we are becoming more and more secular,  becoming indifferent to anything Christian. 

We need healing in our culture,  business,  education,  marriage,  families,  in our nation.  Most of all we need healing in our hearts.

We have hope, God is good and he can repair anyone's life.  He wants the best for his people.   Media and those indifferent to Christ,  want to tear the country apart. 

Almost 3000 years ago, God made a promise to King Solomon.   Today,  this promise is just as relevant.  2 Chronicles 7:14.

God told Solomon and the nation of Israel for things.  Today, the Church, his people,  have the same message from God. 

Christians are an elect, peculiar,  people.   We are to humble ourselves and live the way God wants.   Pride is still our problem.   Turn and read God's word and don't listen to the media.  Pride gets in our way; we forget we need God. 

Confess your sin,  but don't go to remorse.   Confess your sin and go to repentance.  God wants to open our lives up and let the light shine in.  Hiding our sin will not help us to be humble and grow up in Christ.   

Secondly,  God wants us to pray...and refuse to give up.   Have tenacity,  don't give up praying.   How serious are we about spiritual awakening and healing in our nation?

Pray each day for our nation,  our leaders, government,  pastors,  elders,  each other.  

Thirdly,  God says, if my people will seek my face... our 'job' is what God wants us to do.   God does not want to be our profession; He wants to be our passion.   Most people just want enough of God to bless them but not big them.  

Our Churches  have to be full of people truly seeking the Lord daily.
Your 'job's description can be simply this - help people seek God intently each day.

Finally,  we are to repent. The word for repentance in Greek is Metanoia. Meta means to turn, to change – it is a flip.   Noia means mind.  Literally, repent means to change your mind, to change how you think.

We go to school to learn.   When we repent we change the way we think about God.  We change the way we think about morality (life, business,  socially).  We need healing.   We need to have healing with our past, our future.  

Repentance is where it all starts.  It starts with one person.   Me. You. It starts in us.  What you do in your life matters; to our nation,  our church nation.   If God is going to judge the nation,  He will start with his Church nation.  Healing won't happen when people who don't know God behave better.  National healing will start with God's people. 

Sunday, November 17, 2019

A Wild Olive Branch Grafted In

Bible references:  Romans 11:1-36; Romans 11:11-36. NASB
Genesis 12, 15; Ephesians 3:14-21

The purpose of our being, our calling here on earth. 

Paul had a heart for his people to come back to the Lord.  The Gentiles are grafted into the olive tree.   Paul wants to see people restored to God. 

Restoring the people of God back to himself.   God made the plan of salvation; Jesus is the way to the Father.   The rejection of Israel of God has enabled us, the gentiles to be restored.   Israel will come back to God. 

Genesis 12, Abraham is our founder.  Its important in our own nation, the people of the nation will want to bless the church.  When the Church does the wrong thing,  the nation is thrown into turmoil. 

Genesis 15 - the covenant between God and Abram.  This covenant is the one we, the gentiles come under.  As Christians, we are grafted in.

Abram knew he could not keep the covenant,  God kept the covenant.   Jesus was sent to keep the covenant.  God paid the price. 

1 John 1:9 

The Jews, as a nation rejected Jesus.   But God had a plan.   The Gentiles were grafted into the tree of Gods people.   

Martin Luther read in Romans that through faith in God I am saved.  

Gentiles in our natural state, are wild by nature. God grafted us into the covenant of Abraham. Gentiles are grafted in to revive, bear  fruit.  We are witness to the Jews.   We should be humble and helpful.   When we think we can do it all,  we become religious.   We are justified by faith.  We are not here to judge Israel.   God called them to be a witness to the world.   The Church has the same call.  The foundation is Jesus Christ.  We should stand in awe of what God can do.   Always faith in what God would do.  

Through mercy,  we should seek to show mercy to another.   The book of Ephesians deals with "the one man"; Jews and Gentiles together in one sheep fold under Jesus, the Great shepherd. 

Ephesians 3:14-21 - Paul didn't know Jesus until he encountered Jesus in the Damacus Road.

Allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the depths of Scripture to you as you read God's word. 

Psalm 8 - how Much God considers us. In our Natural,  wild state we complain,  we fight.  In heaven,  we will only praise!

We need to talk to people about Jesus.  We have been called to tell Israel and the world, our nation of Australia,  our community of Tolga and the Tablelands about Jesus.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Open Our Eyes and See Jesus!

Bible references:  Romans 11:1-10;  Psalm 69; Romans 4:3, Elijah 19:18

Did God reject his people?  No!
We are saved by grace, not by works.  God has kept a remnant of faithful people. 

The Psalm refers to the suffering of His servant,  the passion, and the gentiles. 

Its God who gets us saved,  not us.  God makes us good enough.  When we say no, we're telling him he's not good enough.   Pray to God, he can give you the strength,  comfort,  and perseverance to do his will. 

Sometimes people will say things about you that will be bad, but count them as suffering alongside Christ. 

The psalm tells us some of Christ's suffering.   He went through all on the cross for us.  If people persecute you because of Christ. pray for them,  they are in strife.   The jews sin was that they could not see the light and preferred darkness.   If this is what we desire, we will be given over to their own lust, passion.  God will not shut anyone out from righteousness. 

Acts 20:24 - our purpose.   Our purpose may work out differently to how Paul did.  

We should always pray for Israel and for the Church every day.  If we want to see our nation blessed, pray for God's people. 

God has dealt with our sin.  The psalmist concludes the psalm with praise.   God wants our praise from our heart. 

God will do great things for the Church who rejoice in His salvation.   Those who love his name,  will live with him forever. 

He is our great restorer.  There was a remnant of people,  who chose to believe and trust by grace that the Messiah would come.

God never gave the law to be a burden. but grace.   Either debt (bondage) or grace (freely) will be how you live.

There are many, many opportunities,  ways to testify to God's grace.   We can always do something to testify about Jesus! The alternative is going into a deep sleep,  no idea of the danger of eternal ruin.

Keep your eyes on Jesus.   As Jesus saves us, he also wants to restore us.  We don't like to be disciplined,  but it's for our own good.  God wants to restore us to live in the condition he originally created us to be.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

The Mission to the World

Bible references: Acts 20:24; Romans 10:1-21

Lots of people refuse to come to faith in Christ Jesus.   Jesus is the Way to salvation.   The strictness of the law shows us our need of salvation by grace through faith.

In the Old testament there are a number of ceremonies that the Jewish people would celebrate. 

God comes now and lives in us.  The ceremonies show us the need for Christ.   We live in the time of tabernacles (booths).  

Acts 20:24 - the task of testifying to the good news of God's grace.   We obtained salvation by faith.  Abraham was saved by faith.  Yet the Law came after him.  We put our trust in God to bring us through.   The Law is not destroyed by Christ,  it is fulfilled.  The law wasn't the problem,  it was us.  We're sinners. 

Full redemption was made possible by Christ's death on the cross. Jesus paid the price.  When we put our faith in Christ,  we are saved by grace.   God gave us Jesus,  and he saved us from our sin.  

Sinners will never make it in their own righteousness.   Don't build on a false foundation.   Keep looking forward to the Messiah,  keep looking back to the Messiah. 

"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace."  Acts 20:24

If a person confesses their need of a Saviour,  Jesus Christ, then they will be saved. 

But any of our fault is not justifying us, if we are being sanctified.   He wants to put our lives together so that it is perfect.   Jeremiah 1:10

"See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.” Jeremiah 1:10

Don't miss opportunities  - when we misunderstand our mission for God to the world.  If we say we can't do that, we're saying God is not good enough.   God called Israel out to be a witness to the world.   Israel misunderstood their mission to the world.   God chose you, me to be a witness to the world of the greatness of God to the world.   The promise is the same to all who call upon the name of the lord and confess and give their heart to the Lord.  People cannot call on the Lord,  if they don't see or hear or are told? 

God wants you to be a witness of the greatness of God in this world.   Are we prepared to give up all for God?

The mission of Israel?  To be a witness of God to the world and tell the world about the coming Messiah. 

The church has done the same.   We, who are saved, are all called to be a witness to the world of the Messiah,  who has come and is coming again.

The Jews should have known the gentiles would be called in.  Moses and Isaiah told them.  The patience of God towards sinners is wonderful.   There was a group of people in Israel who did tell people.   They changed the world. 

The proclamation of the Gospel is now.  When Jesus died on the cross,  it was evil what was done to Him, but He overcame in love.

We can judge the jews or we can learn from them.   I suggest that you learn from them.  

Sunday, October 27, 2019

What About Israel? What about us?

EXODUS 19, ROMANS 9:1-30, Ephesians 

To be indifferent to the eternal condition of other people is contrary both to the love required by the law, of God and the mercy of the Gospel. 

You are here today to be a witness of the love of God in your life.   You are not insignificant,  but worthwhile to God!

Israel was chosen and given special privileges,  but they did not do it. The children of the promise, Abraham's children.   God chose them, Israel to be his witness.  Today, out of all the world,  God chose you, God chose me.  We are His witness in this world.   To go into the fields of white and bring in the harvest.

Are we professing Christ,  or are we disciples?  Even Satan believes in Jesus,  but he is not a disciple.   Jesus is our King, He is our Saviour.   The real believer is a disciple. 

In the great commission,  we're told to make disciples, not believers. 
Eg the rain will come whether they believe in God or not.  

Israel took God's laws and started making their own regulations.  Those who walk in the Spirit who are children of God.  

We are chosen because God is sovereign.   He has the right to choose.  God is God and he will do what he will do.  Whatever God does, must be just,  because there is no higher authority. 

You are different from those who do not have Gods Spirit.   His grace alone makes us perfect.   His grace is God's own.  He can deal with His grace as he sees fit.  No one deserves God's grace.   If we are saved we must be thankful for Gods saving grace.

Sometimes God will bless one believer more than another.   It's not the blessings but what those who are blessed do with it.  God tells us we have what we need.   God is just and he has the right to fix the terms of mercy.

God will have mercy on whom He has mercy.  God displays his grace.   He had compassion on whom He has compassion. 

He will sanctify us - the preparation of the soul for eternity. 

God wants to bring people back to the glory of God.   

Sinners fit themselves for hell, but it is God who fits saints for heaven. 

In effect what the nation of Israel did was refuse their salvation.   They took God's commands which were to give them life, and turned it to curse people.   Today, we can do this is make religious acts more important than Jesus Christ. 

It is a wonder of divine power and mercy that any are saved.   We try to fix our sin, but we can't.   There is none who is right, only Jesus.  It's not how good I can deal with my sin that saves me,  it's what God can do in my life(salvation).

The gentiles don't have a problem because they don't know or care.  Introduce them to Jesus Christ. They attained a righteousness by faith.   The Jews only had to do the same.  They missed the Messiah.   Today, don't have scales on your eyes.  You don't get saved by joining Christian religion.   Put your faith in Christ.  You dont get saved by Jewish law, you get saved by faith in Christ. Abraham was saved by faith in God.

The Jews are ambitious to be the favourites of God.  They sought this in the wrong way.   They expected justification by observing the precepts of the law.  

We like to go through our struggles, instead of believing that God created us to be His. Justified,  sanctified,  righteousness comes from Jesus Christ.   Only Jesus makes us right before God.

Let us not reject the message of God.   There is a remnant of Jews who have believed in faith that Christ has come.   Let us be part of the remnant of the Church that is justified,  sanctified and righteous in Christ. 

Monday, October 21, 2019

Being the Message – Bringing God’s Shalom (Paul and the Philippian Jailer)

Bible Reference:  Acts 16:1-99, Acts 22:1-99, Acts 24:1-99, Acts 25:1-99, Psalm 119:61-62

Ephesians 6:19 “And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike.”

“At one point during his ministry, the Apostle Paul was at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. He was accused by some Jews of bringing a Gentile into the courts where only Jews were allowed. He hadn’t, but they thought he did and a riot started. When Roman soldiers pulled him out of the crowd to flog him, Paul said, “You’d do this to a Roman citizen?” (Acts 21 & 22).

The penalty for abusing a Roman citizen without a trial was severe, so instead the terrified soldiers sent him under armed guard to be tried by the governor of the region. What makes this story especially interesting is that seven years earlier, in the city of Philippi, Paul was arrested, flogged, and imprisoned for teaching about Jesus – but he never said a word about his Roman citizenship.
Why would he claim his citizenship at the Temple Mount, but choose to remain silent in Philippi, a city much more Roman than Jerusalem? …”

Bible Reading: Acts 16 English Standard Version (ESV)

Timothy Joins Paul and Silas
16 Paul came also to Debra and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. 2 He was well spoken of by the brothers at Lystra and Iconium. 3 Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. 4 As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. 5 So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.
The Macedonian Call
6 And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7 And when they had come up to Mysis, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. 8 So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 And when Paul[c] had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

The Conversion of Lydia
11 So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the[d] district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.

(Note:  Lydia heard the message, believed the message and became the message.  She wanted to bring peace into the lives of those around her including Paul and Silas.  She expressed hospitality to them and cared for them.)

Paul and Silas in Prison
16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.
19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20 And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21 They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.” 22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

The Philippian Jailer Converted

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer[e] called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

35 But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying, “Let those men go.” 36 And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore, come out now and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemn, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” 38 The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. 39 So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city. 40 So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.”

Prison in the Roman world was a holding place until their sentence was determined.  Paul and Silas had been beaten yet Paul did not state his Roman citizenship.  Why?

Paul was showing the message of Jesus – if you truly are the message then those who suffer, the displaced, the poor, the ones that our world system chooses to ignore, will be drawn to you.  Are we prepared? 

Being the message – bringing peace means paying a price.  Jesus did this for us!  He paid a heavy price to be the message – to bring peace (Shalom) to the world.  His death on the cross paid the price of peace with God.  Reconciliation.  Hope. 

In Jail, Paul and Silas were worshipping; praying; singing. They were being the message to those in the prison. Perhaps Paul remembered Psalm 119:62 “At midnight I rise to give you thanks because of your righteous rulings.”  He was a disciple of the Book – God’s Word.

Then God showed up!  We know because the text says, “Suddenly” … (v26)
There was an earthquake and the chains fell off and the doors were opened.  However, as Paul and Silas brought the message inside the jail, the others being held in prison did not leave.  Had they heard and understood the message – shalom, peace? By these prisoners staying, they saved the life of the jailer and his family. Whether innocent or not, those in the prison had experienced pain, suffering and possible death.  However, now the jailer expresses, “What must I do to be saved?” Paul explains about Jesus.

“And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 3And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.”

The jailer cared for them – this is a direct violation of his job because those who were in prison were there being held until trial/or verdict.  They were not supposed to be looked after. The jailer went from following the religion of Caesar to a renewed, reconciled life in Christ.

However, Paul, who was a roman citizen and had remained quiet now claims his citizenship. Why?

35 But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying, “Let those men go.” 36 And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore, come out now and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, un-condemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” 38 The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. 39 So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city. 40 So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed

If Paul reports what happened to him as a roman citizen, the whole town would have suffered under roman law.  The magistrates may have been killed.  But what he does by announcing his roman citizenship now, is to protect the new believers in the town.  The magistrates would be careful about how they treated the new church knowing that Paul could report what they had done to him.

What does this story of Paul going to Philippi teach us?

  • ·         God loves us – He loves people.
  • ·         Christ is Lord and Savior – regardless of your culture, social status, work, connections
  • ·         We need to listen and obey the leading of the Holy Spirit
  • ·         The Church has the same mission as Israel had – Bring God’s shalom (peace) to the world
  • ·         How we live and behave matters

So, God wants us to bring peace to others.  How do we do this? How do you bring shalom to someone’s life?  What will it cost?

Jesus Christ is the answer.  We can only know real peace when we come to the Lord, confess our need of him.  Accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior and trust Him to save us and restore us into a relationship with the Lord and become part of God’s family.

Further Bible references: Phil 1:3-11; Phil 2:1; Phil 4:4-6