Re:Verse reading–Acts 1:1-14 (day four)
As we begin our new study in Acts about the beginning of the early church, let’s put some things in perspective. One of the biggest differences between today’s church and the early church was the lack of authoritative Scripture. The Canon of Scripture did not yet exist…the New Testament was just being written. Most of the Old Testament was available, but was not yet collected and established as God’s Word. The Church was guided by the Holy Spirit speaking through the leaders and elders of the Church.
Today, we have not only the full Canon of Scripture, but also the understanding that it is God-breathed and Truth. This ‘new’ tool should only serve to make the modern church more effective in ministry and witness. We continue to have the Holy Spirit to bring us understanding and direction, but now with the inspired Word of God available to teach us. What will be the legacy of the modern church? To whom much is given, much is required! (Luke 12:48)
Re:Verse reading–Acts 1:1-14 (day three)
“Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” Yes, powers will rise and fall, cultures will conquer and get conquered, and nations will go from ruler to ruled. But Jesus invites the disciples out of obsessing over a geopolitical conundrum and into occupying an eternal kingdom. This is invitation done perfectly. It doesn’t squash peoples’ interest in matters at hand and try to sell them a bigger idea. Jesus’s invitation just says, “Yeah, some questions will work your soul to death. Or we can use our energy in a way that will make those questions seem too small. Ready to get to it?” We can build a workaround for our current circumstances, or we can rethink our future, but we can’t do both. What if a church put that invitation in front of people?
Re:Verse reading–Acts 1:1-14 (day two)
So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” – v. 6
Waiting is the worst. When you are ready to move nothing can frustrate like having to wait. Perhaps you are ready to leave for school, work, or church and nobody else in the house is ready. Does this try your patience? Waiting for good things can be difficult too. Sometimes the 9 (+) months of pregnancy seems to feel much longer. Promotions, graduations, vacations, there are many things that we long for and seemingly they never come fast enough.
Jesus says wait before he says go. Wait, pray, prepare these are needed for the task ahead. You may think you are ready, but God surely knows best. If you are in that waiting place, ask God to reveal how to best prepare for the next move.
Re:Verse reading–Acts 1:1-14
“And gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised.”–v 4
“Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings as eagles.”–Isaiah 40:30-31
Supernatural strength! It is what God has promised us. Power to do what is required. Faith for holy works. Peace that passes understanding. Love that conquers hate. Courage stronger than fear. A supernatural wind to lift you higher than your own wings/effort ever could.
To have this great assistance, we must surrender to the will of God and also the timing of God. No one conjures up the Spirit like a seance, nor controls the calendar of His work. We must want what He wants. We must want it when He wants it.
Wait, dear friend. Trust His plan. Trust His timing.
Re:Verse reading–Philippians 2:1-11 (day seven)
“Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”–v 4.
When Paul thought about unity,he realized pride is always the problem.
When he thought about pride, he realized SELFishness is the way it usually presents. Proud people aren’t always arrogant, just SELF-centered.
So, Paul taught the Philippians to look after the interests of others. To care “for their things” (literal translation). To develop (and practice) the ability to listen to what others are saying.
Like opposing sides in an angry protest, we often shout our opinions without any real attempt to hear what others are saying, feel what they are feeling, value what they are valuing.
“Many a man would rather you heard his story than granted his request”–Phillip Stanhope. “Big egos have little ears”–Robert Schuller.
You, my brother? How are you doing on God’s assignment to look after the things of others?
Re:Verse reading–Philippians 2:1-11 (day six)
“…he did not count equality with God and thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. -Paul, Philippians 2:7
Jesus emptied himself. There is nothing passive in Christ’s humility. He did not allow the incarnation, He willed it. Jesus said, “No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.” (John 10:17) This is the kind of humility that Paul declares is ours in Jesus, an active humility. A kind of humility that takes the first move; it doesn’t wait to be asked, or need to be noticed by men to do what is required.
Remember when Jesus told His disciples, “If you really want to be great you must become a servant to all.” Nope, there is nothing passive about that, and I need a lot more of that kind of humility! How about you?
Re:Verse reading–Philippians 2:1-11 (day five)
V. 8 He humbled Himself by becoming obedient
All of Jesus’ choices, decisions, and priorities were grounded in obedience. Jesus would say His greatest desire is, “to do the will of Him who sent me”. (John 4, John 6) “For I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” (John 8:29)
Paul directly connects obedience with humility in this passage. Why? “Obedience is the best humility, laying yourself at the feet of Jesus, and making your will active only when you know what it is God’s will for you to do. This is to be truly humble.” – Charles Spurgeon
Jesus’ obedience and humility were grounded in His love and devotion to the scriptures as well as His time and faithfulness in prayer. He showed us how to obey God as a man. He not only discovered His purpose, but He lived on mission with joy and courage. Have you found God’s purpose and mission? Are you living it out with joy and courage?
Re:Verse reading–Philippians 2:1-11 (day four)
“Jesus humbled himself by becoming obedient…” He did not give up His power or His authority. He submitted it all to the authority of God. Jesus was willing to suffer and even die to fulfill the will of His Father. In the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5, Jesus taught the very same truth. “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5) Meekness does not mean weakness…meekness is power under the control of a master.
Are you a strong willed, choleric, type-A personality? Have you placed your will under the control of Jesus? Are you mild mannered, quiet, and a submissive personality? You too are called to submit to His authority. Why would we want to do that (besides the wonderful promise of inheriting the earth)? Look at verse 11…”that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Sounds like a worthy objective for our lives!
Re:Verse reading–Philippians 2:1-11 (day three)
“In humility consider others better than yourselves.” Well, that’s not going to happen. Honestly. It should happen. But for many of us—probably for most of us—that is just not something we will do. Think about how heartbreaking that reality is. It can happen, however, if the will of a human being comes under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Consider such great power—that the Holy Spirit can actually teach a man to stand down from the guard tower of his own self-interest. How can such a transformation begin? By making this stark admission to God: I don’t want to think like Christ. This is, in effect, the way people such as Job and Jonah and Peter spoke to the Lord. God will answer such honesty, and you will never be the same if you’ll take his response seriously.
Re:Verse reading–Philippians 2:1-11 (day two) Make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Vs. 2
It is one of the questions that comes up frequently to the leadership of FBCSA, and it is also a central theme of our new paradigm. Individuals with much institutional memory remember the days when the church was less complex in structure and they long for us to be “united” again. It sounds good, doesn’t it? Everyone in the same place, experiencing the same thing at the same time. Yes, indeed, but that doesn’t paint a very accurate picture of our body. We are diverse, with different needs, languages, and experiences. We are large and small, young and old, but we are united.
Being united, does not mean all the same. What unites us is our love of scripture and our commitment to Re:Verse. Our staff and leadership are united in common purpose to reach and disciple. Our resources are all channeled to a single model. We are more united than many realize. It may not look like it did, but it sure feels like we understand this scripture.