Day Two: May Our Lives Speak

1 Corinthians 4:16 (NLT) 16 So I urge you to imitate me.

“One of the things we need constantly to remind ourselves when reading Paul (and when thinking about our own Christian living within a hostile world) is that nobody in Corinth, or any of the other towns outside Palestine, had ever before witnessed somebody living the way Paul lived. Nobody had seen someone giving of himself generously, living a life of self-sacrifice, and refusing to play the power-games and the prestige-games that were the stock-in-trade, not only of the sophistic teachers who came and went (and made a lot of money), but of the local rulers, the magistrates and civic dignitaries, and those who promoted and ran the new imperial cult. Paul was different, and the difference mattered, because he was modelling the Christ-life…His only authority – but it is the most powerful sort – was that of someone who was living and preaching the gospel of Jesus, and acting out the commission which Jesus had given him. He didn’t need to say much; he left that to the ‘puffed-up’ people. His uniform – the life he was living, which he urged them to copy – said all that was necessary.” [Wright, N.T.. Paul for Everyone: 1 Corinthians]

As we worship to the song, “Louder” (click here) by Matt Redman, let’s pray for our churches that our lives will speak louder and glorify our Savior Lord Jesus Christ in the cities that He has called us to.

-DP

 

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Day One: Spiritual Father

1 Corinthians 4:15 (NLT) 15 For even if you had ten thousand others to teach you about Christ, you have only one spiritual father. For I became your father in Christ Jesus when I preached the Good News to you.

 Colossians 1:9-10 (NLT) We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.

As a spiritual father in Christ, Paul is not going to withhold telling the truth to the Corinthians. Corinthians’ love for wisdom, philosophy of their culture was dangerous because they were priding themselves in knowledge, in self accomplishment and self-sufficiency which took them farther away from the cross. Humility went out the door. Denying the power of the cross was manifested in their arrogance which impacted their relationship with Paul and others. We all need to hear the message of the cross again and again to live the life that God has intended for us, a life of loving God and loving others with sacrificial love. Paul is committed to seeing his beloved children in Corinth through so that they may life a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way.

Spend time praising and worshipping our risen Lord as you sing “Christ Is Risen” (click here) by Phil Wickham. Let’s return to the cross, remembering how we were rescued from sin and death.

 

-DP

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Day Five: The Epic Worldview

Romans 6:4-6 (NLT) 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was.

 2 Corinthians 2:2 (NIV) 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

[Those in Christ] are free lords of all things, not bound to the whims of chance or the exigencies of life and death. The future is no cause for panic; it is already theirs. In light of such expansive realities, how can the Corinthians say, “I am of Paul or Apollos”? That is too narrow, too constricted a view. Apollos-and Paul, and Peter, and the whole universe–is yours. You do not belong to them; they belong to you, as your servants, because “you–and they–are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s”. [NICNT, Fee p.154]

The implications of being united with Christ in his death and resurrection are staggering. They are truly epic. Too epic in fact. Without the help of the Spirit, our human minds are utterly incapable of comprehending the full scale and scope of Jesus’ work on the cross. Like the Corinthians, we may settle for thoughts and world-views that are too small and limited. But our lives in Christ are epic. Let’s join in with Paul, being fixated on Christ crucified. Let’s allow the Spirit to take our breath away with all the blessings that have come to us in Christ. Let’s worship to the song “How Great Is Your Love” (click here) by Passion.

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Day Four: The Epic Generosity

John 3:16 (NIV) 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Because in Christ Jesus both “life” itself and therefore “the future” are ours, “death” is ours as well, is “the present.” We die, but “life” cannot be taken from us; we live the life of the future in the present age, and therefore the present has become our own possession. For those in Christ Jesus, what things were formerly tyrannies are now their new birthright. This is the glorious freedom of the children of God. [NICNT, Fee p.154]

When Jesus speaks about “eternal life”, it is not a metaphor for something else. It is not a statement of exaggeration for the purposes of emphasis. It is a literal statement. Those who have been saved by faith in Christ will live eternally, forever.  And because we will live forever, there is no fear of lost time and lost opportunities. And because we are free from the fear of lost time and lost opportunities, we are free to be generous towards others. We don’t have to live selfishly, but we can generously be loving towards others, knowing in the end that we will live eternally in the kingdom. We never miss out.

Let’s get soaked in this truth even more today as we worship to the song “This I Believe (The Creed)” (click here) by Hillsong.

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Day Three: The Epic Freedom

1 Cor 1:21-23 (NIV) 21 So then, no more boasting about human leaders! All things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.

These five items, “the world, life, death, the present, and the future,” are the ultimate tyrannies of human existence, to which people are in lifelong bondage as slaves. For Paul the death and resurrection of Jesus marked the turning point of the ages in such a way that nothing lies outside Christ’s jurisdiction. In the form of the cross God has planted his flag on planet Earth and marked it off as his own possession; hence the “world” is his. So also with the whole of existence (“life” and “death”), which are immediately placed into eschatological perspective (“the present and the future”). [NICNT, Fee p.154]

You can’t get more epic than the themes of life, death, and time. While the world is held hostage to these things, the Spirit people of God are free. Our eternal life and our resurrection to come has set us free from these powers. Let’s worship God with the song “The Anthem” (click here) by Planet Shakers and celebrate our epic freedom together.

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Day Two: The Epic Effectuator

1 Cor 3:4 (NIV) For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly?  Are you not acting like mere humans?

We’ve been called to a life that goes far beyond being a mere human being. The effects of the cross are staggering and multifaceted… freedom, new identity, peace, power, etc.  It’s the Spirit who effectuates these epic effects into our lives. The Spirit helps us to daily walk in the epic effects of the cross. However, when we start to depart from the life in the Spirit as the Corinthians did, we begin to demonstrate the signs of living like mere human beings… conflict, insecurity, fear, etc. This shows how much we need to be filled with the Spirit every day!

Let’s invite the Spirit to fill us once again today. May we be flooded and renewed in his love and power. Let’s worship to the song “Gracefully Broken” (click here) by Matt Redman.

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Day One: Nothing To Upgrade

1 Cor 3:1-4 (NIV)  Brothers and sisters, I could not address you as people who live by the Spirit but as people who are still worldly—mere infants in Christ. 2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.

Everyone likes upgrades… faster computers, more powerful phones, better features we’ve never before seen. In the world of consumer goods and services there is always room for improvement. However, there is no upgrading the cross of Christ. It is complete and all sufficient in its work. The Corinthians thought they had upgraded their spirituality, moving beyond the embarrassing scandal of the cross. And at times, we too may seek to compensate the work of cross by seeking wisdom and council from other places. But the cross is both the milk and the meat of our Christian life. Let’s remain at the foot of the cross together, for it is the power to save.

Let’s ask God to help us keep in step with the Spirit. The life in the Spirit will keep us at the foot of the cross. Let’s worship to the song “Your Cross Changes Everything” (click here) by Matt Redman.

-ES

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Day Five: Power to Know Him Better

Ephesians 1.17-19 (NIV)  17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, 19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

Testimony of Hudson Taylor:
“But personal need stood first and was the greatest. I felt the ingratitude, the danger, the sin of not living nearer to God. I prayed, agonised, fasted, strove, made resolutions, read the Word more diligently, sought more time for retirement and meditation—but all was without effect… How, too, could I preach with sincerity that to those who receive Jesus, “to them gave He power to become the sons of God” (i.e. God-like) when it was not so in my own experience? Instead of growing stronger, I seemed to be getting weaker and to have less power against sin; and no wonder, for faith and even hope were getting very low.  I hated my sin; and yet I gained no strength against it.  When my agony of soul was at its height…the Spirit of God revealed the truth of our oneness with Jesus as I had never known it before “But how to get faith strengthened? Not by striving after faith, but by resting on the Faithful One.” As I read I saw it all! “If we believe not, He abideth faithful.” I looked to Jesus and saw (and when I saw, oh, how joy flowed!) that He had said, “I will never leave you.” “Ah, there is rest!” I thought. “I have striven in vain to rest in Him. I’ll strive no more. For has He not promised to abide with me—never to leave me, never to fail me?”…I saw not only that Jesus would never leave me, but that I was a member of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. The vine now I see, is not the root merely, but all—root, stem, branches, twigs, leaves, flowers, fruit: and Jesus is not only that: He is soil and sunshine, air and showers, and ten thousand times more than we have ever dreamed, wished for, or needed. Oh, the joy of seeing this truth! I do pray that the eyes of your understanding may be enlightened, that you may know and enjoy the riches freely given us in Christ.” [Hudson Taylor, The Exchanged Life]

Today, pray through Ephesians 1.17-19, asking the Lord to open the eyes of your heart to know Him better!  Sing and pray with the song “Your love it knows no end” (click here).

-GK

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Day Four: Power to Save Sinners

1 Timothy 1.15-17 (NLT)  15 This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all. 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as a prime example of his great patience with even the worst sinners. Then others will realize that they, too, can believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 All honor and glory to God forever and ever! He is the eternal King, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God. Amen.

Testimony of CS Lewis:
“Really, a young Atheist cannot guard his faith too carefully. Dangers lie in wait for him on every side. . . .You must picture me alone in that room at Magdalen [College, Oxford University], night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. . . . I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing: the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? . . . The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, and His compulsion is our liberation.” (Surprised by Joy, chapter 14)

Today let’s spend time in worship and thanksgiving, that God has saved us sinners in His kindness, mercy, and grace. Today, spend time in prayer as you worship with the song “Thank you Jesus (click here).

 

-GK

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Day Three: Power in His Word

Luke 24.31-32 (NIV)  31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

Testimony of St. Augustine:
“I quickly returned to the bench where . . . I had put down the apostle’s book [Paul’s Epistle to the Romans] when I had left there. I snatched it up, opened it, and in silence read the paragraph on which my eyes first fell: ‘not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh’ [Romans 13:13-14]. I wanted to read no further, nor did I need to. For instantly, as the sentence ended, there was infused in my heart something like the light of full certainty and all the gloom of doubt vanished away.” [Confessions 8.12]

“We glimpse our goal across the sea of the present age. . . . But to enable us to go there, the One who is our goal came to us. . . . No one may cross the sea of his age, unless he be carried by the Cross of Christ. . . . So do not forsake the Cross, and the Cross will carry you.” [Tractates on the Gospel of John, 2.2]

Today let’s pray that our eyes will be opened to God’s word afresh, with our hearts burning within us as the Lord speaks to us through His word. Spend time praying and reading through 1 Corinthians 2.

-GK

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