2 Corinthians 3:17-18 (NIV) 17 Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
“‘The Lord’ in this text can be seen as a reference to the spirit, the sovereign one who softens hearts and changes lives, who brings new life in the present and guarantees it for the future. And this leads Paul to the most astonishing claim of the whole chapter (verse 18). When he looks at a congregation, and when they look at him, and when they look at one another, everybody is looking at somebody else in whose heart and life the spirit, the Lord, has been at work, to heal, to soften, to change, to give life – in other words, to give glory.” (NT Wright, Paul for Everyone – 2 Corinthians)
The presence of the Spirit in our lives means we can and do change. This is exciting news! For anyone who’s ever said “This is just the way things are” or “I’m stuck like this forever,” now as people of the Spirit we have new expectations. As Christians we can and do mature, we can and do experience breakthrough, we can and do experience deeper measures of healing in our lives.
Prayer: “Lord, we pray for a new wind of the Spirit in our campuses and communities. May our gatherings this week be places of freedom where lives are changed and people are set free through the Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
Let’s worship to “Where the Spirit of the Lord Is” by Hillsong (click here)
Galatians 5:16; 25 (NIV) 16 So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit
“Being open to the Spirit has nothing to do with struggling to meet a standard… To be open means God’s grace is at work in us through the Spirit. Openness is not a game of strategy and intense planning, like chess. Rather, being open is a dance in which we listen to the beat of the Spirit and respond to the Spirit’s promptings. Every time we are open to the Spirit’s steps, the Spirit takes us to Jesus, the Living Word.” (Scot McKnight, Open to the Spirit)
“Keep in step with the Spirit ” is a life orientation of listening and following the beat and prompting of the Spirit. The image comes from marching and dancing – the world has a beat it listens to, but now we march and live to a new beat! Keeping in step with the Spirit means we will go to work, go to school – all the activities of life – but now in the rhythm of the Holy Spirit. Are you listening to the beat?
Prayer: “Lord, may we step into the new rhythms of the Holy Spirit. Fill us today as we listen, obey, and live in the everyday moment-to-moment life in the Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
Let’s worship to “Holy Spirit” by Jesus Culture (click here)
Galatians 5:17-18, 22-23 (NIV) 17 For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 22 The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Apostle Paul is describing a former life and a new life. In the former life we were constrained and enslaved. We couldn’t help but do evil; we couldn’t help but be selfish; we couldn’t help but act in ways contrary to the gospel. But today, in Christ, we live the new life in the Spirit. We are free now to make decisions and live out behaviors that genuinely benefit ourselves and others. We are free to become who God wants us to be.
A mistake we can make is to read the “fruit of the Spirit” as a list of things we need to do to earn God’s approval. Instead, the “fruit of the Spirit” is better understood as a description of the Spirit filled life – it’s a description of you and the church! Through the Spirit, we now have the desire, ability, and power to live out the “fruit of the Spirit.”
Prayer: “Lord, as people of the Spirit, may we live out the fruit of joy, peace, goodness, and faithfulness as we go to our campuses, workplaces, and cities. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
Let’s worship to “Resurrection Power” by Chris Tomlin (click here)
Galatians 5:7-8 (NIV) 7 You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? 8 That kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.
2 Corinthians 1:21-22 (NIV) 21Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, 22 set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.
“When you make your first payment on a car, on a home, on a boat, or a motorcycle, you are pledging that you will return with the remaining payments until the debt is gone. The gift of the indwelling Spirit is God’s first installment to us on a promise that God eventually will redeem us to the uttermost, bring us to the banqueting table in the new heaven and new earth, and grant us eternal life forever in the kingdom of God.” (Scot McKnight, Open to the Spirit)
What words characterize your relationship with the Lord? Is it – insecurity, fear, doubt? Paul says “No – that kind of persuasion does not come from the one who calls you.” As people of the Spirit, today we live in the promise that we belong to him forever. The Holy Spirit in our lives is God saying – “This one’s mine!”
Prayer: “Lord, thank you for the Holy Spirit’s presence in my life. May I live today in the assurance and security that I belong to the Lord right now and forever. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
Let’s worship to “He Lives In Me” by Sinach (click here)
Let’s read aloud together the following scripture, confession, and prayer:
John 14:16-19 (NIV) 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.
Manila Manifesto– “Good News for Today”
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. So the good news focuses on the historic person of Jesus, who came proclaiming the kingdom of God and living a life of humble service, who died for us, becoming sin and a curse in our place, and whom God vindicated by raising him from the dead. 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.
Prayer: “Lord, thank you that you have not left us as orphans for you have given us the Holy Spirit. May we live in the promise of your Spirit today, living out change, maturity, healing, and transformed life through the Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
Let’s worship to “Living With A Fire” by Jesus Culture (click here).