Day Four: Cape Town Commitment

1 John 4:11 – Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

“We love the people of God: The people of God are those from all ages and all nations whom God in Christ has loved, chosen, called, saved and sanctified as a people for his own possession, to share in the glory of Christ as citizens of the new creation. As those, then, whom God has loved from eternity to eternity and throughout all our turbulent and rebellious history, we are commanded to love one another. For ‘since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another,’ and thereby ‘be imitators of God…and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.’ Love for one another in the family of God is not merely a desirable option but an inescapable command. Such love is the first evidence of obedience to the gospel, the necessary expression of our submission to Christ’s Lordship, and a potent engine of world mission.”
[“9. We love the people of God,” The Cape Town Commitment]

The greatest commandment was for us, his household, to love God and love others (Matthew 22:37-39). Jesus, our Chief Cornerstone, first demonstrated this for us.

Lord, teach us to love like you. We commit to love the people of God, our household. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

– AW

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Day Three: Welcome Home

Ephesians 2:19-20 – Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.

“This is what life often feels like. We’re on the outside, looking in. Maybe we get in, but we don’t belong. Maybe we’re here but strangers…We can think, ‘I wasn’t here when this church got started. I don’t live in this part of town. I wasn’t raised in the church. I come from a broken family. I don’t see things the way everyone else does. I’m not gifted like everyone else. My finances don’t match up. Sure, I can be part of the church, but I don’t belong.’ Paul says, no, you’ve been brought all the way to the center of the family and purpose of God. Welcome to the Church. Welcome home.”
[Brad Watson, Ephesians: How Jesus Creates a New People in a New World, week 4, Kindle]

What does Ephesians 2:19-22 say about the Church?
What are the metaphors Paul uses and what do they mean?
What do these verses tell us about what Jesus has done in shaping the Church?
[Brad Watson, Ephesians: How Jesus Creates a New People in a New World, week 4, Kindle]

Lord, thank you for the church, and that we can belong to your household. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

– AW

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Day Two: We, the People of God

1 Peter 2:4-5,10 – As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Why do you think it’s important to remember that we were once far off from God and not a people?
What does it mean that we are now near and part of a holy priesthood?
What does this mean for us in 2020 to be built into a spiritual house?
[Brad Watson, Ephesians: How Jesus Creates a New People in a New World, week 4, Kindle]

Let’s worship to the song, “More to Come” by Passion (Click here) as we believe in the One who brings us near, brings the dead to life!

Lord, thank you for choosing us to belong to your household through Jesus Christ. Amen.

– AW

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Day One: Never Alone

“A single person is sitting at home in front of the TV; a Christian broadcast is on, a sermon is preached, an invitation is given, and the person responds by ‘accepting Christ.’ But the only ‘church’ the person attends is by way of the TV, with no connection to a local body of believers. The question: Is this person saved?

Though entered individually, salvation is seldom if ever thought of simply as a one-on-one relationship with God. While such a relationship is included, to be sure, ‘to be saved’ means especially to be joined to the people of God…God is saving a people for his name, not a miscellaneous, unconnected set of individuals.” [Gordon Fee, Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God, pp. 63-64]

God saved us to be a people for his name! Not to do this alone! We are reminded of this in Ephesians 2:21-22 – In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

Our being built and joined together is to become a dwelling in which God lives!

Let’s pray that any walls would fall as we are joined in this household of God, and worship to the song, “Never Lost” by Elevation Worship (Click here).

– AW

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Day Five: Forgiven For His Glory

Matthew 6:33 NIV – But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Will Bishop’s Testimony:
“At the end of high school, after having lived for achievement, I was burned out and felt deeply empty inside. I prayed, ‘God, if there is someplace you are real, will you send me there?’ God sent me to one of our campus ministries. I wasn’t really open for the first two years, but after a conference my junior year, I shared with a campus leader how I struggled with feeling forgiven. I felt like something was really wrong with me, but she shared, ‘Will, I think you just need to believe.’ As we prayed, God opened my eyes to see that my thoughts about His forgiveness were just from myself, and I was choosing to believe them over Him, and He showed me a new direction of living – believing without reservation or guilt that the gospel wasn’t too good to be true, and His love and forgiveness absolutely was also for me. As I agreed, there was a sense of a huge burden that had been with me for most of my life being lifted off. After this, I had new openness to following God, including His calling to stay with the church after graduation. Though there were not many job opportunities in the area, God had changed my heart from thinking only about my plans to desiring to follow Him. As I trusted, God miraculously provided, and I was filled with the joy that comes from living for something so worthwhile.”

Jesus thank you for forgiving us and setting us free. May we now know in deeper measures the joy that comes from living a life that seeks first your kingdom and your righteousness. Amen.
Worship with the song “Forgiven” by Bethel Music & Brian Johnson (Click here).

– GK

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Day Four: The Air I Breathe

Ephesians 1:3-4 NLT – All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.

Tim Platz’ Testimony:
“At 17 I became a father, I was married at 18 and then divorced by the time I was 21. This led me to a deep desperation to know God, as I became very depressed. Life seemed so pointless and I felt so powerless to do anything about my situation. Also, not being able to see my son everyday made me feel miserable. As a father, I wanted to be the most influential person in his life, but I could barely get my own life together. In the Spring of 2002, I was invited to our pastor’s house for a barbeque. During the time of prayer and singing, as we sang these words – ‘This is the air I breathe, Your Holy Presence living in me, This is my daily bread, Your very word spoken to me, and I’m desperate for you, I’m lost without you,’ the power of the Spirit brought those words to life. They were stronger than my depression and more truthful than my circumstances. It felt like I could breathe for the first time. Through continual powerful encounters with God and the church’s ministry, I was no longer the Tim whose life had been a series of hopeless events. But now God empowers me to live this new life that brings glory to His name.”

Our God rescues us and give us new breath to breathe. Today spend time worshipping with the song, “This Is the Air I Breathe” by Christy Nockels (Click here).

As you worship, also pray for your ministry group as you ask the Lord to breathe afresh in everyone’s life.

– GK

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Day Three: No Hyphenation!

Galatians 2:20 ESV – I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

We live in a world of hyphenation; Asian-American, African-American, Mexican-American, Indian-American, etc. What this hyphenation means is that even though someone might be a naturalized citizen, it implies that at the core of one’s identity they are still from the country of their origin—including the culture, language, preferences, and habits with which we have our ancestry in. The hyphenation speaks of a merger, instead of a completely new identity. Perhaps that is how we also view this Christian life—a merger of the old and the new: “I am a sinner with sinful identity, but who is now hyphenated with Christ—hence I am both, “Sinner-Saint.”

For many this is where the struggle lies, where at the core of our beings, we still don’t feel like we belong to Christ—for there are still areas that resemble more of the past sinful ways, than the identity of someone who belongs to Christ.

Q: In what ways do you find yourself hyphenating your life?

The message today is that in Christ, there is no hyphenation! For we’ve been crucified with Christ, and raised with Him, hence our identity is that of a saint/redeemed/child of God/new humanity—those who belong to Christ. At the core of our beings (the deepest parts of us), it is now in Christ!

Today spend time meditating upon today’s passage, declaring that you fully belong to Christ alone. Pray that you will now exude the thoughts, desires, patterns, habits, culture of the new humanity that is in Christ.

– GK

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Day Two: Fully Included!

Ephesians 2:12 – Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.

It is one thing to be excluded from a team or from a group of people. However, it is a completely different matter to be excluded from God and His plans. Today’s passage describes that this was the state of our lives without Christ—where our exclusion included all the promises of God for salvation, rescue, and blessing that are spoken of in scripture.
That is why the passage says we were without hope and God in our lives. However, in Christ that is no longer who we are. We are now fully included in God’s plans, promises and blessing!

Today let’s Manila Manifesto in joy and assurance:
We rejoice that the living God did not abandon us to our lostness and despair. In His love He came after us in Jesus Christ to rescue and remake us. To those who repent and believe in Christ, God grants a share in the new creation. He gives us new life, which includes the forgiveness of our sins and the indwelling, transforming power of His Spirit.
The passage also says that we were excluded from citizenship and had no part in God’s purposes.

Lord Jesus we thank you that we are now included in your kingdom. We rejoice in the love and grace you’ve poured into our lives. You call us your children, your church, your people. To that we say Amen and Amen!

– GK

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Day One: Brought Near

Ephesians 2:12-13 – Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Today’s passage describes the way things were when we were separated from God.
• We had no relation to Christ
• God was a stranger to us
• We were without hope and God in our lives.
I remember how this was the case for me before I became a Christian, where God had no role or place in the sphere of my life. However, all this changed when I was brought near the Lord through His blood. In Christ we are now those who belong to Him.

Let’s read the Heidelberg Catechism and let’s be affirmed afresh who we are now in Christ.

Q. What does it mean to be washed with Christ’s blood and Spirit?
A. To be washed with Christ’s blood means that God, by grace, has forgiven our sins because of Christ’s blood poured out for us in his sacrifice on the cross.
To be washed with Christ’s Spirit means that the Holy Spirit has renewed and sanctified us to be members of Christ, so that more and more we become dead to sin and live holy and blameless lives.

Today, let’s spend time praying as we thank the Lord that we have been brought near the Lord, and that Christ’s blood has washed us from all of our sins. Let’s worship with the song “It’s Not Over” by Elevation (Click here).

– GK

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Day Five: The Good News

Ephesians 2:1, 10 (NLT) – Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world.
He has created us anew in Christ Jesus…

“Paul was under no illusions about the degradation of mankind…Yet he refused also to despair because he believed in God. True, the only hope for dead people lies in a resurrection. But then the living God is the God of resurrection. He is even more than that: he is the God of creation.” [John Stott, The Message of Ephesians]

1. What is the condition God has rescued us from? What is the current condition of our campuses, our cities?
2. What is the hope for their rescue, just as it was for us?

May we see the condition of those who need life around us, and respond in prayer that believes in our living God, the God of resurrection and creation.

God, would you open our eyes to see the world around us? Fill us with your great love for our campuses and our cities, and with faith in You for those who are in desperate need of life. I bring __________ to you today….

Let’s proclaim who our God is as we sing “Way Maker” by Leeland (Click here).

– KW

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