A People In the Hands of God
By Minister Kola Taiwo
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: 1 Peter 2:1-9; Exodus 15: 1-18
Sunday 21st April 2013
According to 1 Peter 2:9, the first of our foundation scriptures for this series, we are a chosen generation, a holy nation and God’s special people. God is not just interested in a people; He also desires a dwelling place. In the same passage we can infer that Christ is the chief cornerstone and as living stones we are being built into a spiritual house for God (V. 5-6). This was God’s original plan for the Israelites as they journeyed, out of Egypt through the wilderness to the Promised Land – to relocate them to a new place so that He could dwell among them (Exodus 15:17).
The same is true for us today, God still desires to dwell among His people, and here is the reason why our church will continue to ‘Go Forward!’.
From the story of Stephen in Acts 7:48-49, we read the same words in a previous prophecy declared by Isaiah “However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with hands, as the prophet says: ‘Heaven is My throne, And earth is My footstool. What house will you build for Me? says the Lord, Or what is the place of My rest?
Reading again from 1 Peter 2:5: "You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." Notice the word ‘stones’. You don’t have one stone and declare that you have a house. It is a collection of stones put together that make a house. We are all significant in building God’s house. We are all significant in what God is doing in the church and in the body of Christ. Some of us will be the ‘roof’, others the ‘doors’ and some others the ‘furniture’; and Christ on whom we are ‘built on’ remains the cornerstone, in the foundation. So the world may not see Jesus physically, but we as God’s building represent Christ.
So regardless of what you may be going through, you are still God’s living stone, created for His purpose. God is building us into a spiritual house. God has moved on from living in mortar houses; He’s done with living in tabernacles and altars, He now dwells in living stones. It all was fulfilled from that moment of Christ’s incarnation, in which he accomplished the unfinished work begun by the children of Israel. As Christians, we are now Christ’s emissaries.
From the last series concluded by Minister Gbenga, he emphasized the importance of a destination, as led by God. God has given us the mandate as a local assembly to ‘Go Forward’ in 2013 and it is He who will lead us forward. Without God and His strength, we will end up frustrated. Each one of us must understand the mind of God regarding what He has called us to do; what part of the building we are positioned to serve. It is God that leads us to our destination through His wisdom and knowledge.
A true Church will be a people in God’s hands. This means as a corporate body, and as individuals, we are in God’s hands. God knew the Israelites will get to the red sea and have to cross it. He led them there by himself and opened the red sea for them to cross over. Israel saw the great work that the Lord had done and in awe rendered a song to declare His greatness (Exodus 15). And I believe we will experience God’s greatness as well in our church! As we allow God to mould and lead us, we will discover our blessings and victories are in Him. Our response thereafter should then be a victory song like the children of Israel.
All that we may be longing for – walking in the blessings of God, healing, Sonship and much more – are found in the gospel of Christ. As Paul writes in Romans 1:16, ‘For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile’ (NLT). Our responsibility is to believe in God’s power to complete this in us. Paul in writing this verse was simply re-echoing the prophecy of Prophet Isaiah stating that the government is now on Christ’s shoulder, whom is Lord and light to both the saved and the unsaved. (Isaiah 9:6-7; 60:1-3).There is a light over us as a corporate body and over your life as an individual. Don’t worry about what you can see, focus on the light that is over you.
Hence, that which Israel failed to achieve in the wilderness is now fulfilled through the church. In Christ, through the church, God now dwells on earth.
Asaph, a songwriter and composer for the nation of Israel wrote Psalm 77. His words up onto verse 10 of this Psalm, was full of his complaints. However from verse 11 he did something different, he switched his focus away from the issue and onto God. He remembered the goodness of God and praised Him. Verse 13 talks about a great God in His sanctuary; verse 16-20 referred to Israel’s deliverance at the Red Sea. As Asaph encouraged himself at this difficult point of his life, we can also conduct ourselves likewise, shifting our objective from ourselves and our issues to Christ.
In the midst of issues and troubles, how should we respond? We must remember the following 'In Christ' realities:
There Is No Condemnation for Us:
Romans 8:1 reads “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” This is our ‘in-Christ’ reality. If you are in Christ you will walk in the Spirit. It is the Christ in you that wills you to do and live right. You cannot be in Christ and not walk in the spirit. There is no need to beat yourself up over your imperfections. Why? Romans 8:2 “And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” There is a law that those who do not have Christ operate by. This is the law of sin and death. That is why they sin and then die. However, if you are in Christ, you respond and operate under a different law; the law of Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:3 reads: “The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins.” I pray we all come into an ‘in-Christ’ revelation of God, because it will change the questions we ask when things do not go the way we want it to. When for instance we ask questions such as “Is this happening because of my sin”? Or “Was God repaying Israel for their sins when he took them to the red sea?” No! He wanted the world to see His power, and want the world to see His power in your life, also. Yes we might have lived foolish lives, but it is the grace of God that met us where we were and now leads us in His good life.
So whatever we may be going through on a corporate level or as individuals, there is no condemnation for us. We who are in Christ, operate by a different spirit and by the law of life in Jesus Christ. He is our strength and our salvation. We do not walk in condemnation but in the forgiveness of God. So if we miss the mark, we can run back to Him because of His grace.
We are a new creation:
2 Corinthians 5: 17 reads "This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”. If you are in Christ, you are a new species of men responding to a new set of rules and lifestyle which is encouraged and enabled through the Holy Spirit. So when people at work for instance are responding negatively to job cuts, you walk in faith of the Holy Spirit that all will be well with you. We respond to a new appetite, which is about walking in the love of God. In Christ we are a new people and so our natural response to the things of the world and situations has passed away with our old self. As new creations we should be responding to the things of God. The peace that Jesus has given us is not as the world gives (John 14:27).
We are God's handiwork:
Ephesians 2:10 reads “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”(NLT). This means that God has fashioned and shaped us before we were born. God knew we were going to be imperfect, but has already made preparation for us to lean on His spirit to become perfect. Therefore we have hope that things will get better; not in our strength, but in God’s strength. We are created in Christ Jesus for good works that God has already prepared for us and so the question beckons “What life has God prepared for New Wine church or your life that we are about to walk into?”
It is the grace of God that meets us where we are, leads and guides us daily. We have been in the mind of God since the beginning of time, just like Israel was in God’s mind. He knew they were going to get to the red sea and would need a way. He knows we will be facing the issues we are presently confronting and He has a way out for us. Besides, we have a purpose in God’s mind. If we are allow ourselves to be shaped by God’s hands we will fulfil His intention prepared for us from eternity past.
We are nearer to God:
Ephesians 2:13 reads “But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ.” God is not mad with us despite our imperfections. King David was an example of this, described as a man after God’s heart, despite his sin. Rather than seeing our imperfections, God always sees the blood of Jesus Christ upon our lives when we draw closer to Him. Remember also that Christ is making intercession before the Father, on our behalf (Romans 8:34).
Romans 8:34-35 reads “Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us. Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?” (NLT). Nothing, absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God. Whatever we are going through as children of God, we are more than conquerors. We must come to the full realisation of our ‘in-Christ’ reality and believe that nothing can separate us from God’s love. Yes there might be issues, but our focus must be on Jesus Christ and not the crises we may be going through.
Apostle Paul rounds us with this: Angels, demons, sickness, persecution and perils will not separate us from the love of God; for we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37-39 Paraphrased).
God is looking for a people to dwell in. We are designed and fashioned to proclaim the praise of God who dwells within us. We are to proclaim Nahum 1:7 “The Lord is good, a strong refuge when trouble comes. He is close to those who trust in Him".
As God came through for the children of Israel, releasing them from Egypt and leading them through the red sea, God will give you victory in every area of your life and lead you through everything that represents a red sea in your life (Amen).
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