Re: Verse reading– Acts 4:32-37; 1 Corinthians 12:12-27; Galatians 6:9-10; Hebrews 10:24-25 (day five)
Acts 4 32 And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul.
There are many distinguishing marks of a person who has been given new life and a new heart in Christ: hunger for the scriptures, different strategy for battling sin, love for Jesus, love for others, and a love for the church (people/family of God). This love for the church results in more than appreciation and affection for other believers. Yes, something deeper and more significant happens to believers that who are called and placed by God to worship, serve, and be a light together. One of the distinguishing marks of a church (people) filled with Holy Spirit is unity. Only the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit can unify a group or body of believers in mission, purpose, priority, and activity. The presence and power of God are clearly on display when His children and church are unified and are joyfully and intentionally deepening friendships/relationships with each other.
Re: Verse reading–Ephesians 4:11-16; 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13; Hebrews 13:17-18 (day one)
” He gave. . . some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints. . .until we all attain to the unity of the faith. . .to a mature man. . .the measure. . .which belongs to the fullness of Christ.”–Ephesians 4:11-13.
It begins low, but ends high. God’s vision for the human race. First we are sheep. Helpless/foolish. Then, in salvation, we become saints. Eventually, by His grace, we attain unity, maturity as sons of the Most High! “Conformed to the image of His Son” shouts the scripture! No longer infants. Stable. Strong. Loving. God’s provision toward this miraculous transformation is to send shepherds. (Pastor means shepherd in the original language). Pastors protect/feed sheep, but they also equip/lead lead them toward maturity. At the end of life, it won’t matter who your Pastor was. It WILL matter whether you gained strength from him/her to get forward on the road from being a sheep to a son.
Re: Verse reading–Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; 1 Samuel 20:1-17, 27-42 (day seven)
“And Jonathan. . .loved him [David] as he loved himself.”–1 Samuel 20:17. TRUTH–Life is to be fortified with many friendships. TRUTH–“There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother”(Proverbs 18:24) TRUTH–Friendship has the potential of being the highest form of love. (John 15:12-15) TRUTH–Sin isolates. The Enemy whispers that I am enough in myself, that I do not need others, that being with “them” is a waste. TRUTH–The Spirit of God brings people together in unity and mutual agreement. TRUTH–solitary confinement is a form of punishment in almost every society, a universally recognized reality. TRUTH–ability to make and keep friends is the strongest predictor of success in every field of endeavor. TRUTH–God is very concerned about my friendships and very clear about His expectations of me on this subject. It is not “my private business”. TRUTH—We will meet together to think/believe/repent/change on this subject today at FBCSA. TRUTH–We can do this! Our Friend will help us.
Re:Verse reading Exodus 24 (day 6)
The people heard the written words, given to Moses by God, and they said “we will do all that you have said.” Worship is forever tied to the hearing of God’s Word and the people’s response. It was true over 4000 years ago, and it is true for us today as His church gathers. It begs the question, can we truly worship without a corporate response? Does it constitute worship if the church listens to the words of God and yet does nothing? I would contend that the answer is no; it does not constitute worship if the people do not respond.
Of course the people failed to obey God almost immediately; they fell into hypocrisy before the ink was even dry. God was not surprised by their failure, he anticipated it. Their sin did not rob their corporate response of any significance, nor should it ours- ever. Not only is our response to God appropriate and necessary, but it points to Jesus, the Word, who fulfilled every covenant promise on our behalf!
So, let me encourage you to do two things, first ask God this question, “Father, what must I do? Show me how I must follow your Son today.” Secondly, pray on behalf of the First Baptist family, asking God to move in mighty ways that we might all respond to His Word in unity.
Rejoicing that I have the privilege of joining my response with yours!