Monday 11 July
Archbishop Greg Venables has been a missionary in South America along with his wife Sylvia and family for over 37 years and has been serving in Argentina since 2000. This week, he is leading the morning Bible Teaching sessions on the theme of “More than Conquerors” (taken from Romans 8:37) Here VOX editor Ruth Garvey-Williams brings you a summary of what he had to say on Day One.
We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. That is our theme throughout this week. Last night we were thinking about how God is calling us to be more responsible, more repentant, to receive more and to rejoice more. God has much more and He wants so much more from us.
The kingdom of God is here now and if you are in Christ, then Christ and all He is, is yours now! That is grace. You don’t have to deserve it. It is what God has already freely given you. Open your hearts and minds to everything that is already yours.
1 Thessalonians 1:5 - The Gospel came to us in word and that word is there to change our way of thinking. We need to start thinking the way God wants us to think.
We need to be renewed in our minds (Ephesians 4:24). So many of us are almost anorexic when it comes to the word of God. We are so full of the things of this world. Sometimes God sends circumstances to make us hungry for the things of God. Don’t despise the problems. Stand up and face them and see what God wants to do in your lives.
Romans 8 talks about “all these things” - persecution, famine, death… etc. and in all of these we are conquerors but not just that. We are MORE than conquerors. Not “you will be” but “you are”!
The normal Christian experience is to be more than a conqueror. So if it is not like that, we need to ask why. Expect God to bring you in your thinking to where you ARE in Christ and don’t let anything get in the way.
Calling Sunday the “Lord’s Day” is a disaster because it leaves the question… what about the other six? In John 3, Jesus was meeting Nicodemus - a man who was born into, brought up and trained into the “true” religion that God had revealed but when Jesus talked to him about being “born again”, he did not understand. There are many in churches around the world today, even leaders, who do not understand this. Are you a new creation? When you are called because God has intervened in your life. Suddenly you notice that there is something different.
Can you say for sure, “I have been born again?”
Turn to Hebrews 2:1. Many people begin well but because of circumstances, they simply drift away. What do you have to do to drift? Nothing! We need to pay close attention.
Someone once said to me, “I suppose you want to know what I think about God.” Perhaps what is more important is what God thinks about you!
When you ask God, He will tell you. But the trouble with knowing what God wants is that we then have to go on and do what He says! Do you need to pay more attention to listening to God?
Revelation 2: 1-7 What is your first love? It is not a question of priority or enthusiasm, it is a question of sin because that is the greatest commandment - to love the Lord your God with ALL your heart. If God is not your first love, then something else is and that is a question of idolatry and spiritual adultery. This is not an optional extra. Take it very seriously. If you are the centre of your love, that is a problem and that is sin! You have got to put God first.
King David was a man after God’s own heart but when he got to a comfortable place, he relaxed and the others went off to war. He ended up committing adultery and murder. He didn’t set out to do that. The minute he began to get comfortable and to look out for himself, he left his first love and fell into sin.
Peter loved Jesus but when the pressure came, he denied Christ. It is all about who matters more to you than anything else. We are starting with this because this is the first issue you have to address.
When Nathan the prophet pointed out David’s sin, he repented. When the cock crowed, Peter went out and wept bitterly. We need to repent. Maybe that is why our circumstances are so tough… so that we will look up.
The prodigal realised who he was and asked, “What am I doing here?” He got up and went back and the father was waiting. The Father is waiting for us to return to Him.
1 Corinthians 2: 9 - “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard and what no human mind has conceived’ the things God has prepared for those who love him.”