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Do you rejoice to be part of God's family?























Why is the unity of Christians important?




















What is the promise of the resurrection?










Will you respond in service?





















And in prayer?


































Texts













Acts 1:8



















1 John 5:2



















Ephesians 6:10-18
















John 11:25















John 14:12



















Colossians 3:1-4

The Way to Eternity

What Must I Know?

3. The Consequences

As we would expect, as the Holy Spirit continues to work within us, we will experience changes in our nature, in our understanding and in our behaviour. We have the confirmation of God's love, and a new peace of mind and tranquillity of spirit, even when faced with mockery and persecution. Spiritual things become more real to us. If our worship has been perfunctory, the repeating of words not understood nor meant, it now becomes meaningful, sincere and heartfelt. Our reading of Scripture has a new impact. Before it may have been casual, a skimming of the surface; now it becomes deep and full of insights. Our prayers have depth and vitality. We become better able to recognise and relate to other Christians. We are gifted and empowered to minister to those in need. We become aware of these changes in our attitudes, and other people become aware of changes in our conduct. All of this is the work of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit reminds us that we are children of God, and helps us to realise all the implications of this. God is a loving Father who has created us, provided for us, and desires the best for us. It is right that we should love him, and honour him with praise and thanksgiving. We can do this by ourselves, but it is so much better if we worship him in fellowship with other believers. It is right also that we recognise and love all others who are children of God, because we are brothers and sisters in Christ. Some of these may have helped us on our way, teaching, guiding and encouraging. We have to accept that we have obligations to all who are children of God, to love them and be there for them. We must share our insights, and welcome, nurture and teach new members who join the family. To those who are in material need we can give and provide help in any practical way possible. Those who are working diligently at their God-given tasks we can appreciate and encourage. It is very important to pray for them both in their practical everyday needs and also as they work to fulfill faithfully their calling. The love that we show to our brothers and sisters in Christ is returned by their love and concern for us.

As part of the family of God we no longer face the world alone. Of course we have not left the world, but our attitude and our perspective on the world have now changed. Before, with our human eyes, we saw the world as a place of challenge and opportunity. We had to struggle for survival, and we had to overcome the opposition to all our ambitions. Now we see the world through God's eyes, and we see it with his compassion. We become aware of its needs and also its dangers. The dangers must not be underestimated, but now we have God's protection. We can put on the spiritual armour, both as individual believers and as his church. This is why prayer is essential for everything that we do, and why we need the indwelling Holy Spirit to guide and to empower us.

The true story of Jesus did not end with the crucifixion. On the third day after his body was lain to rest, the tomb was empty. Christ had risen; death was not the end. For forty days the risen Lord Jesus appeared to the eleven disciples and others, teaching and ministering to their needs. After that he was taken up to heaven, where he is now enthroned and praying for his people. This gloriously demonstrates the divine nature of Jesus: he is indeed Lord. As we identify with Jesus in his resurrection, we too are raised now to a newness of life. In Christ we have a restored relationship with God, and the victory of Jesus over death is the assurance of our victory over death too. Our identification with Jesus in his ascension promises our presence with him in his eternal glory.

Our task now is to be the "presence of Jesus" in the world, as we allow the Holy Spirit to direct our lives and are obedient to his will. We will become witnesses of the Gospel of truth. This will be demonstrated not just by our words but in our lifestyle, by the goodness, honesty and generosity of the way we live. Like Jesus, our task is to find and win over the lost, that is those who are worldly and concerned with self-indulgence and material possessions, but are spiritually empty. We will have compassion for all in distress, the poor, the hungry, the sick, the physically and mentally handicapped, the ill-treated, the exploited and all who suffer injustice. Touched by the needs of those who are suffering, we will make a practical response, by our presence with them to give comfort, or if they are far-off, by giving financially to the agencies who are able to help. Always and most importantly we will pray.

We will pray for divine intervention, healing and deliverance for those who are suffering, whatever the cause, whether it be materially, physically, mentally or spiritually. If possible, we will pray not just for them but with them, so that we might be able by faith to impart something of God's presence. We will pray for those who are lost in a materialistic world. We will pray for the wicked, that they may come to a redeeming knowledge of Jesus. The world still presents a challenge, but it is to the betterment of all instead of the betterment of self. This is the Christian way. We desire goodness in ourselves, and goodness in and for others. We worship a God who is holy, and we have a close and intimate relationship with him. Our lives become a walk with God, and we listen and are obedient to him. We love our fellow Christians, and support, encourage and pray for them. We show compassion to a dark, needy and broken world, responding to its suffering. It is a life to be lived with faith and perseverance. This must be until the end. One day Jesus will return, in the same manner that he departed. We are accountable for everything in our lives, and there will be judgement on all. What counts for good is what God has done through us, using us as instruments of his blessings for a needy world. Our reward will be to know God's presence in his kingdom. Will you find the way?