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25th October 2015
Orphan to heir: living in unstoppable love Without knowing who we are and whose we are, we wander around looking for purpose. Purpose flows from identity and intimacy, which we have looked at over the last two weeks. What is your purpose here on planet Earth?
Those who have accepted Jesus as their Lord and Saviour have become children of God and co-heirs with Christ. There is nothing that can be done to separate us from the love of God. We are one with Jesus – everything that is true of Jesus is now true of you!
What does it look like to be like Jesus? Firstly, when we look at Jesus we see that He knows that the Father is always doing things – He is active. Jesus was not only aware of the Father’s love for Him, but He was also completely secure in it. It meant He didn’t need to please people.
Jesus was also aware of His Father’s love for others too. He lived from that foundation of love. There’s a quote that says, “Love is the best thing you have to give.” It’s true – when you love others, it brings the best out of them.
Our purpose is to live from the Father’s love – His unstoppable love. What it means to be heirs is that we take the presence and goodness of God whenever we go and we can distribute it to others.
When we know it’s all about love, there’s no more striving. We don’t have to go to much effort to be like our parents – whether we want to or not, there are ways in which we will look like them and imitate them in terms of mannerisms and behaviour. As Christians, we are called to look like our older brother Jesus and our Father in heaven. We can copy their ways. God’s heart becomes my heart; the Father’s way becomes my way.
As we stay in deep connection with Him, we increasingly reflect Him to those around us. His love increasingly flows through us. We go about the Father’s business. What does this look like?
Take a look at Luke 4:16-22 – we’re not just meant to preach good news but we are to be good news! What does this mean? God has shown me goodness, so I am going to be good to you. God hasn’t judged me, so I won’t judge you. God has given me love, grace and mercy, so I am going to give you love, grace and mercy.
Wherever we go, whomever we’re with, we can have this mentality: Father, what are you doing? Who do you want to bless? Please show me where you’re working and who you want me to love. You’ve got the King of heaven within you, so wherever you go He goes! You can change the atmosphere of wherever you go tomorrow.
Posted by Santino Hamberis
18th October 2015
Jesus said: “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (John 14:18) Isn’t that wonderful? Last week we looked at our identity – who we are in Christ. We can encounter God and be doing sorts of wonderful activity, yet still be orphan-hearted, having the mentality of orphans.
This means our hearts wander about looking for love, security and significance in all sorts of places. But the Father wants us to be in His embrace, our hearts held secure in His heart.
The Bible says that we have received the Spirit of adoption, by which we cry, “Abba! Father!” (see Romans 8:15-17a and Galatians 4:4-7). We have been made for a purpose – it’s to have intimacy with our Maker: to know the Father and be known by Him.
We have been designed for love. Through what Jesus has done on the cross, we have the beautiful reality of knowing God as our Father.
What thrills my heart as a dad is when my kids look at me with such security knowing that they are loved by me. How much more does God’s heart melt when we come to know that we are dearly loved and accepted by Him as our Father?
God accepts you. He adores you. And He welcomes you. He calls you His child.
When I use the phrase ‘intimacy with God’, how do you respond? Through the lens of identity, we begin to grasp the intimacy the Father wants us to have with Him. When we know who we are in Christ, we understand the intimacy we have been beckoned into.
Intimacy with the Father can be helped or hindered by our experience of our earthly dad. Some of us have never been told we’re loved, we’re wanted, we’re important. So we can resist or withdraw from God, thinking He is like our earthly dad. But He isn’t.
We can approach God with freedom and confidence (Ephesians 3:12). This is an outrageous idea, but it’s true: we can come running into the throne room of God and have full access to the Father. Jesus has brought down every dividing barrier.
All of the Father’s house, is your inheritance; all of what is true for Jesus, is true for you. All of the Father is on offer for you. God promises that as we draw near to Him, He will draw near to us.
We are now in a safe place with Him where we can be ourselves. We also get this on-going revelation as the Father reveals His heart for us – as you draw near Him, He reveals what He thinks of you!
When we draw near to Him, He also tells us who He is, so we understand Him and see how He responds to calamity and crisis, we get His heart and His nature, we see that He is healer, saviour, redeemer. He is a faithful dad.
The Bible tells us that God always has good gifts for us – our Father in heaven is abundant and He loves to be good to us and to bless us.
Another thing that happens when we draw near to God is that we can rest. We no longer have to strive or perform. We can be still and know that He is God. As He woos us towards Himself, we can live from a place of rest. All of us live either like Martha or Mary (see Luke 10:38-42). Where do you position your heart? Is it at the Lord’s feet like Mary or is it all over the place like Martha?
The key to this intimacy we can have with the Father is the Holy Spirit. Jesus promised us another counsellor to be with us forever, the Spirit of God. We encounter God’s love through the Holy Spirit. Are you hungry for more? Do you want to draw near to the Father?
Posted by Santino Hamberis
11th October 2015
During my sabbatical over the summer, God spoke to me about some precious things that I am sharing today and over the next two Sundays.
Do you know God as Father? Do you personally know Him as your Abba?
Being a Christian is all about knowing God. There are lots of things that are important and worth thinking about, but nothing compares to knowing Him and knowing how He sees you. Jesus promised that He would not leave us as orphans.
When we read verses such as these – Romans 8:15-17a, Galatians 4:4-7, Ephesians 1:4-5 – we realise that God wanted us and wants us! He chose me, He adopted me, and it's all because He wanted to!
In light of this, I must shake off an orphan mindset, because I am chosen and loved and I belong to the Father. It was for freedom that Jesus set us free – to live the life that Jesus purchased at the cross; to live as secure, accepted, chosen children. We live from identity, not to perform.
When Jesus said, "I will not leave you as orphans..." He was saying that He wouldn't leave us in our current state. An orphan is someone not living under the care of a parent. We can be baptised in the Spirit, coming to church, but our hearts full of wounds and our souls in unrest.
If you never pick up the Bible, you never go to church again, God loves you and adores you 100%.
Symptoms of an orphan heart include feeling like your heart has no place to call home, wandering around looking for security, acceptance and significance. Other symptoms include constantly feeling rejected, alone or isolated; criticising and judging others; a victim mentality; the need to be affirmed, recognised and given position; the unhelpful drive to be something or someone; easily angered or agitated; being super defensive; having a perpetual sense of hopelessness; etc., etc., etc.
These are just the tip of the iceberg. The root causes of these – what's below the surface – are often things that have happened in the past, such as a parent or parents failing to love us well.
How do we break free from orphan thinking? Jesus wants to take us from where we are to the Father's heart, that we would live in His love and goodness.
An orphan heart isn't something that needs to be cast out: it needs healing. Since the fall of humanity we have all been in this orphaned state, and Jesus came to bring us back to our Father.
Firstly, we need to acknowledge that our hearts need healing. Secondly, we need to reject lies and affirm truth. The Bible says we're transformed by renewing our minds to think what God thinks about us (see Romans 12). Are you letting what the Bible says define who you are? God's mind is wrapped up in the words in the Bible.
We must also be those who walk in forgiveness. The danger of unforgiveness is that it's like drinking deadly poison but expecting someone else to die!
We then need to see the beauty of the gospel again. Jesus was sent by the Father as our life raft – once we've been saved, we don't live on the raft, but Jesus takes us to the Father. Jesus is the rescue and the access to the Father. Jesus died on a cross so that we can live for eternity in the Father's house.
Everything that is true of Jesus is now true of you, too, if you are in Christ. Everything that Jesus inherits is now ours!
Posted by Santino Hamberis
5th October 2014
I am hungry for more of God. I love this church and I love all that we experience of God, but I believe there is more. I don't think I've yet experienced all that is available for me in Christ.
I went to a conference last week because I'm hungry for God. I want more of Him. On the first evening, the speaker talked about acceptance and rejection.
We read in Galatians 4:4-7 that we were born as slaves, under the Law. It's not how it was meant to be, but it is how it is. The only way we could relate to God is through the Law, which tells us that if we can perform to a certain standard, God will accept us. But the problem is that if we break one part of the Law, we're guilty of breaking it all and cannot come to God. Under the Law, all we can do is relate to God through performance.
But when we came to Christ, our sins were forgiven. Not only that, but we were also adopted into a family. The Law highlights our rejection. Adoption highlights our acceptance. The way we relate to God has completely changed: we now relate to God as children to our Father. Now it doesn't matter how I perform. Now I am in His family, accepted, a beloved son. My whole position is different. This adoption is forever. It's not temporary; it's not conditional; it will never change; it is secure eternally.
With adoption comes power, responsibility and belonging. This is foundational. I cannot be rejected, because I've been adopted by my Father in heaven. It's a done deal, by the grace of God. And now I have the Spirit who cries "Abba! Father!"
To listen to Paul's story of how God spoke to him about rejection and acceptance, and how this applies to all of us, click here.
Posted by Paul Mann