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Welcome to Refinery Life Australia.

Our message theme through to Christmas is “The Great Words of Christ.”

This is a series that will help everyone relate to Christ during this holiday time.

Today we are talking about Let Us Thank God and Take Courage.

Text

Acts 28:15 (AMP)

15 And the brothers and sisters, having heard news about us, came from as far away as the Forum of Appius and Three Inns to meet us. When Paul saw them, he thanked God and was encouraged.

Scripture Reading

Acts 28:11-16 (AMP)

Prayer

Father, as we come to the last Sunday this year, it is with humility and gratitude that we look back and thank you for the abundance of your blessings on us.

We come trusting in your forgiving grace to cleanse us of all our faults and mistakes and sins against you and against others.

We come thanking you for letting us walk through this year with you.

We thank you or the hope that we have a meaningful and productive life as we face the coming year.

Bless these gifts to that end.

In Jesus name we pray.

Amen.

Introduction

Approaching the end of an era in life is always a solemn occasion.

This is true of a student who approaches the end of school or university, of an employee who come to the end of a relationship with an employer, of a professional who finds it necessary to move to a new location to carry on his work, and its true of each of us as we say goodbye to someone or something.

And it is also true  concerning us as we approach the end of the year.

As we come to the end of this year, let us look back and thank God with gratitude for what He has done.

Then let us look forward with faith and hope for what He will continue to be and to do.

Our Scripture reading today portrays a significant moment in the life of the apostle Paul.

His had been a life of impactful service, with a combination of both successes and failures.

Hos was not a life of perfect performance and total success along the way.

There were periods and experiences in his life that could have caused him to go into deep discouragement and depression.

Paul had bee imprisoned in Caesarea for perhaps two years and had endured a difficult journey from Caesarea to Rome, where he was to face Caesar’s court.

We can be certain that Paul was exhausted in body and, at least at times, troubled in mind.

We find that in those moments of uncertainty when Paul faced a new era in his life, God provided for him.

We read how, when the believers in Rome heard of Paul’s approach, they immediately went to meet him, some of them travelled as far as seventy kilometres.

The patterns of Paul’s actions at this point provides us with a program for facing the coming year. 

  1. Let us thank God and take courage because God remains the same.

Through Malachi, God spoke to the people and said, Malachi 3:6 (AMP)

6 “For I am the Lord, I do not change [but remain faithful to My covenant with you]; that is why you, O sons of Jacob, have not come to an end.

The author of the book of Hebrews spoke of the unchanging Christ as being

8 Jesus Christ is [eternally changeless, always] the same yesterday and today and forever. In Hebrews 13:8 (AMP)

As we face the uncertain and uncharted road of 2021, we can be certain that God has not changed His character or His purpose, nor His promises or provisions.

He is the solid Rock in whom we can trust and on who we can place our feet for safety and security when the storms of life beat down on us.

The psalmist declared in, Psalm 46:1 (AMP)

46 God is our refuge and strength [mighty and impenetrable], A very present and well-proved help in trouble.

Individual humans change.

Families change.

Business changes.

Nations change.

Constant changes always present a threat.

In the midst of whatever may threaten us, we can take courage and be strong in the faith that our God who has revealed Himself in Jesus Christ will remain the same.

2. Let us thank God and take courage because the Bible continues to nourish us.

Psalm 119 is a hymn of praise to the benefits that come to those who delight themselves in the Word of God, who let God speak to their deepest needs through His law, His teachings, and His promises.

The apostle Peter encouraged all believers in 1 Peter 2:2-3 (AMP)

2 like newborn babies [you should] long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may be nurtured and grow in respect to salvation [its ultimate fulfillment], 

3 if in fact you have [already] tasted the goodness and gracious kindness of the Lord.

During the past year and in every past year, God has spoken words of guidance and comfort and help to His people as they have feasted on the words of His inspired book, the Bible.

Through studying the Bible, we have found guidance for our feet in times of uncertainty and have found strength for our times of weakness.

By meditating on the Word of God, we have received divine warnings in times of danger.

By listening to the words of the Bible, we have received divine directions concerning decisions that we were to make.

In times of grief and sorrow, we have found the encouragement and the comfort that God has to offer.

Let us thank God, as we come to the end of this year, for the benefits that have come to us though Bible study.

Let us take courage as we face the future, because the Word of God will continue to speak to us according to our individual needs and on the basis of God’s great generosity.

3. Let us thank God and take courage because the Holy Spirit continues the good work of God within us.

One of the most precious promises that our Lord made concerned the permanence of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers.

John 14:16-17 (AMP)

Role of the Spirit

16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever— 

17 the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive [and take to its heart] because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He (the Holy Spirit) remains with you continually and will be in you.

Our Lord was contrasting the length of time the Holy Spirit would be present in the hearts of believers with the brevity of His own time with them.

He was to depart, but the Holy Sprit was to come as an abiding companion and counsellor, to be to them on a permanent basis what Jesus had been for a brief three years.

Let us thank God and take courage as we face the future, because God the Holy Spirit will be at work in us to help us know what God would have us do.

Philippians 2:13 (AMP)

13 For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure.

4. Let us thank God and take courage because the gospel continues to save those who trust Jesus.

As Paul faced the challenge of visiting the capital city of the Roman Empire, he did so with full confidence in the power of the gospel to save any individual who would put faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.

Lets us not fear any decrease in the divine energy that is at work in the preaching of the gospel from the pulpit.

Let us trust God to help us witness on a one on one basis concerning what God has done and hat He is seeking to do through Christ.

God is still in the business of saving people from the waste, ruin, and disappointment of life without faith.

Let us thank God and take courage as we respond to the truth that people can still be saved.

5. Let us thank God and take courage that God’s invitations are still open.

Many people see the Bible only in terms of restrictions and prohibitions.

Others see the Bible in terms of orders and commandments.

Lets us look into the Bible for the thousands of invitations that God extends to us.

For example, He invites us to come into the throne room for prayer, He invites us to be part of His family, and He invites us to be in partnership with Him in His redemptive program.

Let us discover and respond to the great invitations that He continues to offer.

6. Let us thank God and take courage because the future belongs to believers in Christ.

We follow a victorious leader who has defeated satan, sin, death, and the grave.

Paul closed his great resurrection chapter of 1 Corinthians 15 with the shout, 1 Corinthians 15:57 (AMP)

57 but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory [as conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ.

There are times when it seems as if the devil is o the throne and that wickedness rules the universe.

In such times, we need with the eyes of faith to see that the decisive battle of history has already been fought and won on a cross and in an empty tomb.

Because Christ Jesus lives again, we also shall live with Him beyond the curtain of death.

Conclusion.

Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica in, 1 Thessalonians 5:18 (AMP)

18 in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.  

If we have thanks giving for the past, we will have courage to face the future as we enter 2021.

Until next time

Stay in the Blessings

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I really want to encourage you to be diligent with your Bible study time, because God has so much more for us than we can get from just going to church once or twice a week and hearing someone else talk about the Word.

When you spend time with God, your life will change in amazing ways, because God is a Redeemer.

Theres nothing thats too hard for Him, and He can make you whole, spirit, soul and body!

You’re important to God, and you’re important to us at www.refinerylife.org

When it comes to prayer, we believe that God wants to meet your needs and reveal His promises to you.

So whatever you’re concerned about and need prayer for we want to be here for you! Or even if you just want to say Hi, you can contact us

2020 IS A YEAR OF CLARITY

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