Readings before talk: Psalm 86: 11-13, Psalm 91: 1-2
Song: Amazing Grace
Thank you for asking us along to join you in praising Jesus and to speak today. My prayer is that the words I say to you today, speak personally to some of you, and that my words serve to edify the body of Christ.
You know, for all of the things we see around the place that need to be done or put right. All of the prayers that are said and all of the needs that are recognised it's sadly often the case that, that is as far as some peoples consideration of matters go. They stop short in my opinion and say "well I prayed & if God wants it to happen then the Holy Spirit will see to it, it's no longer my problem".
Having made that statement - my intention was not to be devisive but, demonstrative.
Paul tells us in.. 1Cor 12: 27-31
The body of Christ is made up of many parts.. God has appointed some to be prophets, some to be teachers, and so on..
If everyone just sat around praying, then certainly things would still roll on towards fulfulling God's plan - however I maintain that we are a part of God's plan. And as being a part of that plan, as Paul said, we need to be aware of the gifts God has provided us with (through the Holy Spirit) and make use of them. Be aware of his Holy Spirit and do things with Him & for Him. God chose us, not the other way around. see 2 Thessalonians 2: 13-14.
We must be His arms and legs in the world today and TAKE ACTION.
My name is David Simpson and the title of my talk today is: Christian Action.
NOTE: THE ENTIRE TEXT TO EACH BIBLE REFERENCE I DISPLAY ON THE OHP ARE NOT WRITTEN OUT FULLY, ONLY THE PARTS TO WHICH I AM REFERRING. THE PRECISE BIBLE TEXT VARIES SLIGHTLY DEPENDENT UPON WHICH TRANSLATION YOU USE. FOR THOSE TAKING NOTES, PLEASE MAKE A NOTE OF THE SCRIPTURE REF'S AND LOOK THEM UP IN THE BIBLE TRANSLATION YOU ARE USED TO READING.
Christian action characterises and is indicative of a Christ centred life. Christian action is a natural response to God's grace. in John 14:6 says "I am the way, the truth and the LIFE". My talk regarding Christian action is about the offering of YOUR LIFE to Christ, through the witness (or action) of YOUR OWN LIFE.
Please remember the Holy Spirit IS HERE, and one of the main reasons why he is here is for us to work with him, in obedience to God's word, make use of the gifts of the holy spirit to build the body of Christ and do his work.
John 14: 12-14 says: "..anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do greater things than these.. You may ask for anything in my name and I will do it."
Gifts are not given for the private ministry of a few but to and FOR the ministry of the whole communtity. Consider what gifts God has given or has in store for you. Paul makes it clear to us in 1Cor 13-13 that the greatest is love, without which all other gifts are empty. That is always how Jesus behaved. We should follow his example.
1John 5: 14-15 says: This is the confidence we have in approaching God, that if we ask anything of him according to his will, he hears us. And if we know he hears us then we know we shall have what we asked of him.
How do we know we know we shall have what we asked?
Because God (Jesus) said so many times in the gospels. One example I choose is: Matt 7:11 (would a father give his son a stone instead of bread)
One of the prime reasons for our Christian action to build the body of Christ. To impart the knowledge of and belief in Jesus, so that as in:- Romans 10:13
"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved".
Briefly, here is Part of the testimony which God has given me. We all have testimonies. Not all may be really colorful life and death stories but each are equally as valid, and when delivered - the Holy Spirit will speak the hearts of all who hear your witness.
In few moments I'll suggest ways of how to put your's into action.
Before my accident I was working as a technician for Telecom.
I was renting a flat in the suburb of Melbourne and my only means of transport was a 1980 Harley Davidson Lowrider.
I was returning home from looking at land in Kinglake with my girlfriend when our accident happened. We were travelling on Plenty road when we were hit by a Cortina, which failed to stop at an intersection.
My girlfriend died instantly.
A local doctor revived me at the scene and cared for me until the first ambulance arrived. I was taken straight to Intensive Care at the Austin Hospital. That night my heart that was so bruised and tired started to arrest. At this time the doctors came out and asked my family if they would like to have a priest nearby.
My father declined, by this time my entire immediate family was collected outside intensive care. My sister & brother-in-law led my family in prayer for me. I understand everyone prayed for me even though my sister and her husband were the only Christians, at that time. My father signed for the doctors to use a heart drug that was still being tested. They said it's a 50/50 chance if it would help - it did and I made it through the first night.
- I was in a coma and was respirator dependent. I had a front left hemisphere brain haemorrhage, my rib put through my left lung, had aspirated my stomach contents into my right lung, broken clavicle, crushed elbow, split liver, ruptured spleen, crushed right ankle and assorted injuries.
On the second day in the operating theatre, the anaethetist when moving my head heard a "click". He said "hold everything". More x-rays were quickly taken and they then discovered I also had a C1 (hangman's) spinal fracture.
I remained in a coma for approximately two months. After the first two weeks of no change they moved me from I.C.U. into a room on my own in the neurosurgery ward. After 7 weeks I began to wake.
I was being fed through a tube in my stomach, was breathing through a tube in my neck; I was on a drip and my urine was collecting in a bag on the side of the bed.
My short term memory was a real problem. I couldn't talk because my voice box was paralysed and I had difficulty seeing things because my eyes were knocked crooked so I saw everything as double, which added to my confusion.
I had what resembled a large metal clamp with 2 screws screwed into my skull that led to a pulley with weights - to keep my spine in traction. I could open my mouth & blink but that's about it. Fortunately the only pain I could feel at that time was in my skull - which was all I could feel.
It was explained to me about how unique it was that I was still alive, due to my spinal fracture. (I was the 13th in the world in medical history - to have lived)
At first I was led to believe my girlfriend was ok and wasn't involved in the accident - but eventually it was explained to me that in fact my girlfriend was dead, but I should be really thrilled, because I wasn't (dead).
That was something I had difficulty understanding.
All I could feel was pain. I couldn't move. my bike was wrecked. My girlfriend was killed. I was given no prospect of recovery, yet I should really be "thrilled to be alive"!
I am now.. but then, no way!
My life was completely destroyed.
From the time when I was in I.C.U. with my heart failing, Jesus was there; and he gave me a chance. My life should have ended for any one of my injuries but it didn't. I spent 3 years of non stop work during my rehabilitation. Jesus sent several people to me to assist me in my recovery. I don't know where to begin to explain the wonders and depth of God's love and the grace which he freely gave, and continues to
give me. And I wasn't even a Christian - yet!
One of my first nurses at Austin, was Kaye Daley. She was a student nurse and despite the news of my supposed infertility, was to become wife and mother to my three lovely children - Prue, Molly and Joshua.
As I was lying in the neurosurgery ward, one day a young Physio came upstairs looking for me. Her name was Marcella. She had heard of my condition and that one of my injuries was a spinal break, so she used her initiative to find me. After feeling my left forearm, she was the first person who seriously considered that recovery for me was possible.
It was only later that I found out, she too was a Christian. She had just transferred to the hospital and I became her first full time patient. Soon after I discharged myself from Austin, she transferred back home to Queensland.
During the second year of my recovery I made friends with a bloke from the MRA (motorcycle riders ass'n) named Ben. Both he and his wife Vera also became friends with Kaye. Starting with Vera they each became Christians and began attending St Hilary's Church in Kew.
One day they conned me into accompanying them to a weekend church camp at Houqua. It was at a bush resort type place where everyone had their own room or unit but we all ate together in the same dining room. We stayed in a caravan in the carpark. On the second day we attended a talk given by bloke named Rupert Charkam. He is a Jew who is now a strong Christian. I wasn't really listening to him but at the end there were people going forward and being prayed for 'n stuff. I saw Kaye go up to talk to Rupert.
The next thing I knew I was standing, I felt like I wanted to cry. It felt.. weird. I went forward to talk to Rob Carter. (he was assistant minister at St Hilary's) and all these people came out of nowhere - praying for me. Rob gave me a choice and I accepted Jesus as my Saviour. Kaye had asked Rupert to pray for me.
Jesus softened my heart and continues to bless me and my family. I have continued to improve both physically & mentally - only more slowly. I feel just so grateful. At last I had found what was missing in my life.
God, the Lord Jesus Christ.
I found smoking dope works like an analgesic to the brain, it clouds over problems - sure. But it also shuts out God! Rob Carter asked me, "Do you reject God?". I said, "Oh no, I wouldn't do that". That's when it dawned on me, and the question was raised in my mind: why then if I could acknowledge him - why then don't I grab hold of him with both hands ?
Imagine that - grabbing hold of God. Having your own 1 to 1 personal relationship with him. That thought alone blows me away. That is more than possible. Its what God wants - but he wants you to decide.
I just had.
I feel motivated to praise the lord at every opportunity and I feel peace and satisfaction from his presence in my life. I also feel a great or urgent need to try to explain to others who don't know Jesus, that he is real - he is God and he is here with us today and only wants us to receive his love and healing.
Through prayer, fellowship with other Christians, reading the bible and whole heartedly praising the Lord I have learnt to communicate with and receive love and guidance from Jesus.
You too can receive his love, healing and salvation. He will never ever let you down or leave you alone. He is Love.
God paid for our salvation through Jesus Christ who was killed on the cross and who rose again. He is the Lamb of God, who is described in Rev 13: verse 8 "all inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast- all whose names have not been written in the Lamb's book of life".
You are already accepted and loved by Jesus. All you have to do to receive his love is to ask.
Ask for forgiveness and accept him as your own personal Saviour. Jesus will not only forgive you, he will give you eternal life. The old you will die but you will live on because you have been forgiven and born again of spirit. Your name will be entered in the Lambs book of life.
After your talk it is a good idea to be free immediately after to talk, pray and make use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit for those who need it. This is HANDS ON activity time. A time for real Christian Action, serving to build the body of Christ.
A. Make a plan
Don't immagine Christian action will happen by accident. Ask your self: where can I see a situation that needs God's love in specific ways ? Pray for an opening and for the Lords guidance.
B. Work your plan
Trust that when you step out in faith, you will experience the love and support from the Holy Spirit. Matt 10: 19-20 You may not always succeed - there and then. You won't (or may not) reap every single time - but the planting of the seed and being faithful to God's word is the most important part. Remember it's in God's time and is God's power, not yours. Don't get downhearted therefore in times when you may think you have failed or are wasting your time. Matt 5: 10-11
C. Keep things in perspective
A Christian does not neglect his family or his job in order to do the Lord's work. Be prayerful. Christian action is or should be EVERY ACTION a Christian lives.
D. Don't do it alone/Be authentic
Rely on your own prayer partners and your own church for support. I cannot emphasise this enough. see Luke 10: 1 "(Jesus)..sent two by two..to every town ahead of him."
Don't let your emotions be welded to seeing manifestations of the Holy Spirit or in getting a tally of spiritual scalps, but instead on doing the work which He is relying upon you to perform. Remember you are his hands and feet.
Do not adopt a holier than thou attitude. Phil 2: 5-11 defines the ideal attitude.
E. Be available
The Holy Spirit will provide you with many opportunities, once you have indicated your prayerful preparedness and willingness. Christian action involves a commitment to take up the towel (as in) John 13: 14-16 and to become a selfless servant of Jesus Christ.
Just before I finish I want to read you two bits of scripture: The first is from a letter by Peter and the second is a prayer which Jesus said aloud to the Father.
But just as he who called you is holy, So be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy because I am holy." Since you call on a Father the judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.
"Father, I don't ask you to take my followers out of the world, but keep them safe from the evil one. They don't belong to this world, and neither do I. Your word is the truth. So let this truth make them completely yours. I am sending them into the world, just as you sent me."
The time for talking is over.. when the opportunity arises, take the bull by the horns and step out in FAITH.
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