“For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” Matthew 18:20 NIV
“The omnipresence of Jesus in the church is a central concept in Matthew, and as Luz says, is ‘the Christological center of the entire chapter.’ Jesus is virtually declaring his divinity, for such a claim is possible only for God himself. To gather ‘in my name’ means to be in union with Jesus, part of his community, and under his authority. So Jesus is especially present among them, not just metaphorically but through the Spirit of Christ in their midst. [Grant R. Osborne, Matthew, Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Zondervan 2010, p. 688.]
Prayer: Lord, we are gathered in the name of Jesus. We acknowledge your manifest presence, the community of God and your authority and power through and in the Spirit. In your presence we have everything. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Song: Let’s sing the song “Endless Alleluia” by Bethel (click here).
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” John 20:19 NIV
“But there is more. As Dean Flemming writes, ‘This peace—God’s wide-ranging shalom—signifies more than simply a conventional greeting or a calm state of mind. In the context, it speaks forgiveness of their failures, a restored relationship, and freedom from fear of the hostility of others.’ Ultimately, the word of peace signals the wholeness and the harmony associated with God’s coming kingdom, which begins with forgiveness of the people’s sins. The disciples are going to be commissioned with a ministry of the forgiveness of sins (20:23). But first they must themselves be recipients of forgiveness. ‘Rather than coming with condemnation on his lips for the disciples’ abandoning him in his arrest and death,’ remarks Andy Johnson, ‘Jesus comes with open arms that embody human and divine reconciliation, speaking words of peace that imply that the disciples are forgiven even before they ask to be.’ Their reaction is one of joy (20:20b), as they know they have seen—and heard—the risen crucified Lord. Implicitly, this word of peace in 20:19 is also, then, a word of mission. This connection becomes clearer in the second peace-pronouncement (20:21a), which immediately precedes the explicit commission (20:21b). [Gorman, Michael J.. Abide and Go: Missional Theosis in the Gospel of John (The Didsbury Lecture Series Book 0) (p. 137). Cascade Books, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition.]
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for declaring over us peace as we live in the Spirit’s presence. Peace that signifies forgiveness in our lives and that goes out to minister to others in the same. Stir us God for your mission. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Song: Let’s sing the song “God of Revival” by Bethel (click here).
“For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body,” 1 Corinthians 12:13a NIV
“Most likely, therefore, Paul is referring to their common experience of conversion, and he does so in terms of its most crucial ingredient, the receiving of the Spirit. Such expressive metaphors (immersion in the Spirit and drinking to the fill of the Spirit), it needs to be added, do imply a much greater experiential and visibly manifest reception of the Spirit than many have tended to experience in subsequent church history.” [Gordon D. Fee, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (pp. 605-606). Eerdmans Publishing Co.]
“In sum: ‘to be saved’ in the Pauline view means to become part of the people of God, who by the Spirit are born into God’s family and therefore joined to one another as one body, whose gatherings in the Spirit form them into God’s temple. God is not simply saving diverse individuals and preparing them for heaven; rather he is creating a people for his name, among whom God can dwell and who in their life together will reproduce God’s life and character in all its unity and diversity…What is new for Paul, and for the rest, is that the people of God are newly constituted by Christ and the Spirit; we enter that people one at a time. Such entry is, above everything else, also the work of the Spirit. [Gordon D. Fee, Paul, the Spirit, and the People of God, Chapter 6, “A People for His Name.”]
Prayer: Lord Jesus, thank you for saving us and bringing us together in your Spirit to form one body of Christ. May we grow as we walk in the Spirit together to reproduce God’s life and character for our world to see and be saved. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Song: Let’s sing to the Lord together “One and Only Jesus” by Vertical Worship (click here).
12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. 16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. 17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:12-17 NIV
For our devotional time today, let’s spend time praying for the churches (AMC, AHC, ALC, Ecc-NYC and Ecc-Paris) according to the passage in Colossians 3:12-17.
Let’s lift up God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved.
Pray that all will be clothed with the Spirit given character and fruit as we grow together.
Pray that the message of the gospel will grow more richly in each of our lives.
Pray that each moment of gathering and worship will be fruitful and life giving.
Pray that the church will grow in word and deed to give glory to God the Father.
Prayer: Lord Jesus we pray together for your chosen, holy, and dearly loved people of God, your church. May we put on the character and fruit of your Spirit and grow so that we will give glory to your name. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Song: Let’s sing the song “1000 Tongues” by Vertical Worship (click here).
God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord. Ephesians 3:10-11 NLT
Cape Town Commitment 9. We love the people of God
Jesus calls all his disciples together to be one family among the nations, a reconciled fellowship in which all sinful barriers are broken down through his reconciling grace. This Church is a community of grace, obedience and love in the communion of the Holy Spirit, in which the glorious attributes of God and gracious characteristics of Christ are reflected and God’s multi-colored wisdom is displayed. As the most vivid present expression of the kingdom of God, the Church is the community of the reconciled who no longer live for themselves, but for the Savior who loved them and gave himself for them.
Prayer: Jesus, we thank you for the eternal plan you have for your church. We pray that as we grow in grace, obedience, and love in your Spirit, that there will be greater witness of your character and glory to our world. Thank you for your love that always covers us. Spirit of God fall on us with your flame of love. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.
Song: Let’s sing together with the song “Spirit of God” by New Life Worship (click here).