Preparing with Hope April 30, 2023

disciple: someone who follows Jesus and leads others to do the same.

Looking Back.

This past Sunday we examined Matthew 18:20 and used this verse as a tool to teach us the importance of reading a verse in the greater context of the section.  That we can't take a verse by itself.  That reading the whole section helps to reveal to us God's intent.  So, to help us take a step back, we read Matthew 18:15-20 and discovered that Matthew 18:20 was in a whole section about ways to restore relationships that have been broken within the church through sin.  That the first step to restoration is to approach a friend privately and confront them, with the hope of restoration.  If restoration doesn't occur, we are commanded to meet with 2 or 3 people and discover if you are in agreement with God.  Do you all agree that what the person is doing is sin?  Are they breaking relationship with God and you?  If you agree, go and confront the person together with the hope of relationship.  If there isn't agreement...STOP!  You may be the reason there is a break in the relationship.  You may be the reason that needs restoration.  But if you go, and they still refuse restoration, you are encouraged to bring the issue before the whole church.  We believe that a step prior to this is bringing it to a small group where there is still relationship and then bring it to the whole church.  Not to shame anyone, but because you care about them and desire unity.  Desire restoration.  And if they still don't desire restoration and continue to sin, Jesus tells us to treat them like a tax collector or a pagan.  Tough words.  But the wonder is if we care enough about relationships to do these hards things that God calls us towards.  I hope so.  I pray we care enough about each other and God.  Praying.  

Looking Ahead.

This week we are studying 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.  Chapter 6 is speaking about various sins that those within the church are committing.  
Questions to ask:
  • Why these sins? 
  • Is there a greater statement being made?
  • Why does Paul "wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God"?

Be sure to ask who wrote this letter?  What is happening?  What is the historical context?  Does this impact how we interpret these verses for us today?  How does God want to use these verses to change me?   As I read these verses, do I need to read them in a greater context?  


Before you go any further, stop and pray.  (Hopefully you prayed before you even began reading this.).   Allow God to calm you.  Allow God to sort out your thoughts.  Declutter them.  Spend some time listening to God before you try and understand these verses anymore.  Unfortunately, for most of us we have allowed the world to speak into all of these issues that are included in these verses and I'm too often ready to listen to the world before I pause and listen to what God has to say.  When studying the Bible, taking time to pause and pray, listen to God, is a MUST.

Read It Again.

Now, read these verses again in a different translation.  Include reading 1 Corinthians 6:11.  This is an important verse to read too.  When choosing a different translation, the English Standard Version is a good translation to use.   This translation is often thought by Biblical scholars to be the most accurate translation that we have in English.  It is alway good to try and read these verses in a couple of translations.  Did you learn anything different?  

Now What?  Where's Jesus?

Read this section again but look for Jesus.  Do you see him anywhere?  How does verse 11 apply to the entire passage?  How does this encourage you?  How does it change the way you think and act?  Do you see the Good News?  If you don't see Jesus in any of this or see the Good News, I want to encourage you to pause to pray and read it again.  All of the Bible points to Jesus.  Take time and look for Him as you study your Bible.  

Get Ready for Sunday.

Most people begin to get ready for Sunday when they wake up and maybe have a cup of coffee.  But getting ready for Sunday begins today.  It begins by making this time a priority in your life and not an afterthought.  
  • What do you need to do to not only make sure that you are there but that you are able to encourage others in doing good?  
  • Who do you need to invite?  Inviting someone to church starts with you sharing your story.  
  • How have you been changed by what God is doing in your life?  Get ready now to encourage someone this Sunday!  
  • How can you serve?  If you aren't serving in some way yet, find out what God wants you to serve someone this Sunday.  
  • Pray.  Pray for the service.  Pray for those serving.
  • Give.  Is God calling you to give something to further the Kingdom?  What is it?  It doesn't have to be money but it can be.  We are called to serve.  All called to give because we have been entrusted with so much already.  
See you Sunday!

It's not too late.  Click on the link below to join this week's devotional.

1 Comment

Suzanne Charity - April 24th, 2023 at 5:17pm

So far I've just read the passage in NIV and AMP. The writer is Paul. The passage is speaking to Christians. It is saying that for a person to have a place in God's Kingdom they have to be in a state of habitually following the Holy Spirit. For instance, the Word of God says to not be drunk wherein is wine to excess, but be filled in the Holy Spirit. Yes there is forgiveness if you get drunk. Then you are suppose to lean on God for help, and have a plan not to do it anymore. If you keep compulsively getting drunk over and over, like on purpose, and not trying to get God's or man's help then you are blaspheming God's Holy Spirit and you have no place in God's Kingdom.