The Lord’s Supper is a place of intimacy and connection to the remembrance of Jesus Christ, His death and resurrection and the body of believers. The Corinth church was using the Communion table for the wrong purposes and Paul reminded them with his loving rebuke not to be unworthy or dishonoring to one another or the true meaning of Communion. He encouraged them to “examine themselves”, confess and reconcile so that they could receive Communion with the right hearts, therefore bringing edification to the body of believers.
1 Corinthians 11:17-18- “I hear there are divisions among you”
- What were the divisions Paul heard about?
- When the Lord’s Supper was celebrated in the early church, it included a feast or fellowship meal followed by the celebration of Communion. In the church in Corinth, the fellowship meal had become a time when some ate and drank excessively while others went hungry. There was little sharing and caring. This certainly did not demonstrate the unity and love that should characterize the church, nor was it a preparation for Communion.” – Life Application Bible Commentary
- Paul lovingly rebuked the Corinth church of their actions and reminded them to focus on the real purpose of Communion.
1 Corinthians 11:27-32 “Examine your yourself before eating the bread and drinking the cup”
- :27 don’t take The Lord’s Supper unworthy-Paul was speaking to the church members who were participating in communion without thinking of its meaning. When he talks about “guilty of sinning against the body” he is meaning, that it does not honor the body of Christ. The word honor means to have great esteem or great respect for. Without this mindset or attitude toward the body of believers, there is division within one’s heart.
- :28 this is why Paul says, “you should examine yourself.” Go make right what is wrong so there isn’t any division in your heart toward the body of Christ. This is why Christ died. He came to make us right by His sacrifice and covered our wrongs with His grace. So when we approach the communion table in remembrance of Him, we are reminded of His great love for us, so we should do the same toward others. Make right what is or has been wrong.
- :31 “If we would examine ourselves, we would not be judged by God.”
- :32 “Yet when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined.”
- The words judged and discipline here are not bad words – The word states that the Lord disciplines those he loves like a Father to a son.
“For the Lord corrects those he loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom he delights” – Proverbs 3:12
- Discipline is for time but there is purpose to build the believer back up afterwards.
“For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.” – Hebrews 12:10-11
- There is sin in our hearts, division as for this context
- The sin dishonors the body of Christ and the meaning of coming to the communion table
- Examine yourself, confess your sin so the body of Christ is honored
- Receive the loving rebuke of your heavenly Father for the purpose of receiving the Lord’s Supper with a clear heart
Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned…
“We are all sinners saved by grace. This is why we should prepare ourselves for Communion through healthy introspection, confession of sin, and resolution of differences with others. These actions remove the barriers that affect our relationship with Christ and with other believers. Awareness of your sin should not keep you from Communion but should drive you to participate in it.” – Life Application Bible commentary
- Can you look inside your heart and ask, “Is there division that is separating me from the closeness that God desires to have with me? Are there any barriers inside me that I need to confess?” Take a moment to do that and journal through your thoughts or pray through them.
- Not only may you confess that sin to God himself, but when you are able, by the sincere grace and strength of God, will you commit to reconciling your differences with that person or people?
- Are you a person that is able to receive the discipline of God as a good thing?
- Is there evidence of unforgiveness in your heart that is keeping you from the power and influence of fellowship with God or other believers and the real purpose of the Communion table?
Oh, Lord may you pour out your Spirit upon us, that we have eyes to see our sin and hearts to recognize that it is separating us from You. Let see where we need to confess our differences with others and give us the grace and strength to make right what has been wrong.
Let us not be unworthy or dishonoring to your Communion table. May we be a people who desire unity among the believers, even if it means personal sacrifice. May You be honored and glorified through us. Amen
Giving is an exciting part of being a believer and part of a church body. The heart of a giver is to bless more than to receive. The motive of a giver is to uplift others and see the joy of God’s provision work to his glory. The discipline of a giver causes spiritual growth and maturity as they surrender control and fear for lack of provision. God asks us to be a people who accept the scriptural challenge of testing him in our giving and see if He won’t cause our households to overflow.
:33 I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes.
- Paul was satisfied with whatever he had
- Paul’s main aim was to do God’s work
:34 You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me.
- Paul was a tent maker by trade
- He worked his skill to care for his needs so he wouldn’t be a burden on others and to care for the needs of those whom served with him
- NKJV- “provided for my necessities”
:35 And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
- “Constant example”- Paul is saying that if your needs require you to work outside of the ministry, then use the skills he has given you. Working a job outside the ministry is not the priority, it is a means to an end. Paul’s tentmaking didn’t change the fact that he was there to “help those in need” by sharing the gospel.
- Paul’s heart was to work hard so you can take care of your needs and continue in the priority of doing God’s work
- Example- Pastor Jimmy knew he and his family were called by God to serve Summit County and plant Great Divide Calvary, so they worked in the community while also planting and maintaining the church.
- Reference scriptures –
- Proverbs 27:23
- Phil. 2:4
- 2 Cor. 9:6-10
- Mal. 3:8-10
- What do you have to give? God has given us all we need for life and godliness. He has provided us with resources to bless others with. Can you give of your time, your possessions and/or your finances?
- The Lord loves a “cheerful” giver. This is a heart condition not a obligation. We should give from the joy in our hearts because God has given to us. What does it mean to be a cheerful giver according to 2 Corinthians 9:6-10? What does the spirit of generosity look like in your life?
- Read Malachi 3:8-10. In what area does God ask you to “test” him in?The NKJV says, “try me,” and then we are challenged “to see” if God won’t work on our behalf.
- Look at Proverbs 3:9-10 and write down what you can do and what God will do for you.
- Giving should be exciting, it should be a joy. How does the enemy rob you of your joy in being a giver? Pray for God to remove fear, selfishness and control from your heart so you can experience the excitement of giving.
- If you are a part of a church body, how can you “help those in need” as Paul referred to in Acts 20:35? How can you look at your resources that God has given you and use them to bless your church body? Pray over that and if you’ve never been a giver in this arena before, ask God to change your heart for it is “more blessed” to give then to receive. Watch and see what God will do.
Lord, if we have never been people who give of our resources, may You change that in our hearts. Reveal to us the joy of giving. Let our hearts take joy in being generous with all that you have blessed us with. If we are the people giving out of our last denarii, than do as your word says and bless the heart of giving from a lack of resources.
May the discipline of giving cause growth spiritually and physically. Examine our hearts in giving and if we are a people who need to control where our giving goes, than give us freedom of heart and allow us to trust you and not man. Oh Lord provide for us in all areas, change our hearts concerning giving and fill our households with the joy of giving.
Protect us from our enemy stealing our joy in this area of our Christian walks. Let us be a people who embrace the spiritual discipline of giving for “it is more blessed to give than receive”.
Goodbyes are necessary for maturity and growth. Though they be hard, it is good. Paul is preparing the elders in the church of Ephesus for him to no longer be present, leading them day in and day out. Now, he is commissioning them to take the reigns and go as he has taught them, but he encourages them to not be detoured by the false teachers that will come and try to distort the truth they share. Paul entrusts them to God who will grow them in grace and build them up.
v. 26- “I have been faithful”
- Faithful- steady, immovable, enduring, persevering
- To be faithful means to just show up, to be present
v. 27 “ I didn’t shrink from declaring all that God wants you to know”
- Paul was faithful to speak the full counsel of God
- “full counsel”- sound doctrine, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, not avoiding the difficult parts of scripture
- NOTE: Sound Doctrine-
- 2 Timothy 4:3-4, it’s not popular, it’s boring, it’s irrelevant is what culture will tell you today.
- It doesn’t always make you happy but if received, it will make you holy
- 2 Timothy 3:16-17- All scripture is inspired by God
v. 28 “Feed and shepherd God’s flock- his church…over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as a leaders”
- Elders, husbands, fathers and community leaders- be devoted to upholding character and integrity in your living.
- Feed and shepherd- Reference- Ezekiel 34:11-16, what does a shepherd look like and do?
- Holy Spirit appointed- called by God, equipped for the task
v. 29-30 False teachers
- Their goal is to distort the gospel message and divide the fellowship of believers
- Matthew 7:15-20
- 2 Peter 2:1
- Ezekiel 13:9
- Jeremiah 23:16
- 1 John 4:1-6
v. 31 “Watch out!!”
- My constant watch and care over you- Paul’s care was daily, with much suffering and tears.
- Proverbs 27:23 (GDC’s vision and philosophy of ministry)
v. 32 “Now”- depicts a commissioning of sorts as Paul will no longer be present with them
- Paul entrusts the elders to be built up by the Holy Spirit and by grace
- Paul has given the elders a strong foundation in truth, his goodbye is the space God will use to grow them in grace
- Reference- Revelation 2:2-5, Concerning the church in Ephesus, they needed grace as they had become dull and lost their first love.
- Are you a believer that is devoted to sound doctrine or do you seem to wander from the truth to feel happy, entertained possibly forsaking truth at times to tickle your ears?
- Challenge- Read the Bible for one month without any other outside influence and see what God will reveal to you.
- What does a shepherd look like based off of Ezekiel 34:11-16? What does that look like for your life, in your marriage, household or workplace?
- From the reference scripture above, list the characteristics of a false teacher.
- What is Great Divide Calvary’s vision based off of Proverbs 27:23? Who is your flock or sphere of influence to put your heart into caring for (NLT)? What will that look like for you on a day to day basis?
- Have you become dull in your walk with the Lord? Do you need to turn back to your first love and repent? Pray for renewal and closeness with God again.
Lord, you are in the business of doing new things. You give and take away. You allow goodbyes in our lives intentionally for growth. May we be a people who receive goodbye as an opportunity for your Spirit to build us up and equip us for every good work. Give us a heart to care for our flock. May we be students of the full counsel of God so we are able to speak sound doctrine to others. May we be a people who desire truth even when we are not entertained or happy. Give us discernment over the messages taught to us. May your Spirit help to guard us from false doctrine. Lord, if we have grown dull in our walks with you, return us to our first loves. Keep us close to your heart.
Before Paul moved on, he called all the leaders to meet with him, and by sharing his life experiences, encouraged them to have determination of heart in sharing the gospel message of faith and repentance not matter the cost.
v. 17 Paul sent/called for the elders of the church at Ephesus, asking them to come and meet him
- Elders- Titus 1:6-9, elder qualifications, notice that most of the qualifications involve character, not knowledge of skill. It is important to have leaders that can preach God’s Word, but more importantly, to have those who can live out God’s Word and be examples for others to follow.
- Leaders- 1 Thess. 5:12-13
- NIV- Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work.
- NKJ- And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake.
- NLT- Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work.
NOTE: May we be a people who are full of love and grace to give to our leaders as they seek to please the Lord in their work, on our behalf, because they love and care for us.
v. 18 you know in what manner I lived among you
v. 19 serving the Lord with:
v. 20 I never shrank back from telling you what you needed to hear publicly or in your homes
- Paul never gave up, he never quit
- Paul preached in different ways to fit different audiences
- But the message never changed
NOTE: The gospel message will always remain the same but the methodology will change over time
v. 21 I have had one message…the necessity of repenting from sin and turning to God, and having faith in our Lord Jesus.
- This is what Paul taught
v. 22 bound by the Spirit…not knowing what awaits me
- “bound”- constrained, tied
- Ruth 1:16- Ruth was “determined” no matter the outcome, she was committed, devoted
- v. 23 the Holy Spirit tells me…that jail and suffering lie ahead
- ESV- imprisonment and afflictions
- NKJ- chains and tribulations await me
v. 24 Paul considered life nothing unless he used it for God’s work
“But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (ESV)
“But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (NKJV)
Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:58
- Do you recognize the hard work of your leaders? How do you honor, in love the leaders among you?
- What are you bound to, and does it take priority over your relationship with God?
- Would you say yes to God if you knew that suffering and jail were ahead of you?
- In today’s culture, we see a lack of devotion and commitment. Why do you think that is?
- Where are you called to remain faithful?
- What do you hope your steadfast mindset will produce in you?
Father in heaven, we thank you for the example set for us through Paul’s life. May we do your work humbly. May we be faithful through the tears and trials.
May we have a heart for our leadership and may we be a people who care for them deeply with our love.
May we be determined to see people embrace salvation by recognizing their need for Jesus. Help us to live among one another in love and grace, seeking to reflect your heart.
Lord help us to be committed, determined people. May we lay aside all selfishness and seek out faithfulness for the purpose of producing spiritual fruit and maturity. Help us to love well. Help us to be bound to your Spirit in heart and mind. Let no trial or suffering move us from serving God.
After the riot in Acts 19, we see Paul taking his disciples and spending time encouraging them in Acts 20 before he left for Macedonia.
Scripture – Acts 20
v. 1 “Paul sent for the believers and encouraged them”
- Encourage– speaking comfort, hope, being with them
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Hebrews 3:13 (NIV)
You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God. Hebrews 3:13 (NLT)
“but exhort one another daily…” (NKJ)
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (NKJ)
Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
Hebrews 10:24-25 (NLT)
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
1 Thess. 5:11
Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.
1 Thess. 5:14 (NLT)
v. 4 “These men who were traveling with Paul represented churches that Paul had started in Asia. Each man was carrying an offering from his home church to be given to the believers in Jerusalem. Having each man deliver the gift gave, it gives a personal touch and strengthened the unity of the believers. This was also an effective way to teach the church about giving because the men were able to report back to their churches the way God was working through their giving. Paul discussed this gift in one of his letters to the Corinthian church. (2 Cor. 8:1-21)” [NLT life application commentary]
Warning! This is a small rabbit trail…
- Giving is a privilege and a biblical discipline (Proverbs 3:10-11)
- Giving is a place where the Lord says test him and see what He will do for you (Malachi 3:10)
- Giving is a biblical discipline, support the house of God (Nehemiah 10)
v. 7 “Paul continued his message til midnight..”- it was a long night of listening
v. 8 “many lamps in the upper room where they gathered”- the atmosphere was warm and low lit
v. 9 “in a window sat a certain young man named Eutychus”- the night and atmosphere caused him to feel drowsy and he fell asleep which caused him to fall from the window 3 stories, and he died
v. 10 Paul went and embraced him and encouraged everyone not to worry for Eutychus was alive
v. 11 So they went back to sharing in the Lord’s Supper, and Paul continued to share
v. 12 Eutychus was taken home and everyone was relieved
The people were not detoured from the almost tragic incident, but they remained focused on Paul and being together. Eutychus was brought back to life and the people were relieved! The Lord desires to bring us back to life. Awaken us!
- How can you encourage someone this week? How can you bring hope and care to another?
- What about you, what kind of care and hope or encouragement do you need? Ask the Lord to encourage you personally.
- Be intentional with your time and take interest in another. What does that look like for you?
- Do you support the house of God financially? Do you trust God to do as his word says, “I will open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that where will not be room enough to receive it.” Do you believe that God will fill you barns with plenty and cause your vats to overflow as it says in Proverbs? Receive the challenge to give and watch God work in miraculous ways on your behalf. Talk to one another about the blessings of giving.
- When tragic things happen in your life, how do you handle them? Discuss and pray about remaining focused on Jesus and not allowing your circumstances to detour you.
- Do you need to be awaken in Christ again? Do you need life brought back into your heart?
Father may we as church be marked by encouraging one another. May we be a voice that speaks comfort and hope to one another. Lord, know our unspoken needs of encouragement and speak to us personally. May we be a church who “puts our hearts into caring”(Proverbs 27:23) for one another daily. May we also care for our church and support the work you are doing through it in our community.
Give us the faith to trust you with our finances and let us know that you will bless us for our sacrifice. May we always be provided for and beyond.
Bless your house of worship, bless your this heart of worship and may we not allow tragedy detour us from you. Let us see your hands at work and in faith believe that that you will take great care of us. Lord, awaken us spiritually. Revive us in you. Let us not allow ourselves to spiritually separate from you. Keep us close to your heart and responding to your Spirit. Breathe life into our lungs and awaken us to righteousness.
The Way speaks of a course or path, a way of life that is definable and distinguishable by belief in Christ. Acts 19 paints a picture of believers following Christ and the trouble that develops in Ephesus when believers are fruitful for Jesus.
- Demetrius– a silversmith who had a large and profitable business making shrines of the Greek goddess Artemis
- Artemis– a pagan deity, a goddess of fertility, she was represented by a carved female figure with many breasts. The festival of Artemis involved wild orgies and carousing.
- Paul– preached in Ephesus against false gods and if people began to believe in God they would disregard their idol worship which would affect the profitable business of the craftsmen.
- Demetruis– stirred up the people for fear of losing his business
Early Christians known as the Way moved from town to town sharing the Good News. They model what being a believer looks like naturally. We are compelled to share Christ and tell others!
- “their anger boiled…”
- “soon the whole city was filled with confusion”
- “everyone rushed to the amphitheater”
When there is momentum, there is trouble, often in the form of adversity. It is a spiritual reality. Such difficulty requires our faith and perseverance. This trouble and momentum are about Jesus. This is what it looks like when you jump in the game. And we should get off the sidelines and jump in the game.
The battle is spiritual and we are meant to engage as believers.
Anger and confusion caused such a riot, it was dangerous for Paul to be around, so his companions refused his desire to go into the amphitheater. Paul’s safety was their concern.
Note that Paul wants to go in. He has no fear. His focus is on Jesus, and he knows the Lord protects him.
What about our own reactions? What are we afraid of? Can we move towards such freedom where we are ready to jump in?
Jesus commands us not to be anxious, afraid or worried. We are to look to him. His perfect love casts out fear.
- everything was in confusion, so much so, that most of the people didn’t know why they were there.
- The riot went on for about 2 hours
- The crowd would not quiet down
v. 35-37 The mayor was able to quiet the crowd and reassure them that Paul and his companions have done nothing wrong.
v. 38-39 Demetrius and the craftsmen can make a formal charge and take the case to court to settle legally. The Roman Empire gave responsibility to maintain peace and order through the city leaders.
False gods will eventually fade away from the mere fact that they are not real. However, Christianity will never fade away because it is the Truth.
v. 40-41 There was fear of being charged with rioting for no reason so they dismissed Paul and his companions.
- Where anger, confusion and fighting are, the Lord is not present. Are you experiencing relationships like this? Have you been the person who stirs the pot to an unwarranted commotion?
- How do you see Paul and his companions handling the anger and confusion they were experiencing?
- Our enemy speaks loud through voices of distraction. What does that look like in your life right now? In your personal life, what voices are trying to shut you down?
- When the Lord is speaking , you will know it by His peace in prayer, through one another, by the Holy Spirit and through God’s word. Do you hear Him speaking to you? Jesus is always speaking to us. Are you listening?
- What does it look like to listen? (Reference- Proverbs 8:32-36)
The voice you may be falling for is deception. Be careful not to be deceived. Come back to the Word. Spend time with Jesus so you can discern the voices that are spoken into your life. In your relationship with Jesus, you become discerning.
Lord, in our confusion and anger may we be slow to speak and quick to listen. Father, may you give us discerning ears to hear the voice of truth over our enemies voice of distraction. Quiet our hearts and minds and open up our ears to listen to your Spirit.
James, the half-brother of Jesus speaks to his listeners in chapter 2 of James about practical Christian living with wisdom. James was a leader in the Jerusalem church and had several years invested into the 1st century Jewish Christians residing in Gentile communities. The key point of this letter is found in James 2:14-25 addressing faith combined with deeds.
- Faith – assurance of God (Hebrews 11:1)
- Action – what we do out of our faith in God
- Luke 10:25-37, Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan
- Samaritans we known as the mixed race of their time
- They were not respected in culture BUT they showed kindness
- Kindness- “unexpected kindness is a language a deaf ear can hear and a blind eye can see”
- We cannot earn our salvation by serving and obeying God. But such actions show that our commitment to God is real. Deeds of loving service are not a substitute for, but rather a verification of our faith in Christ.
- Example- we cannot see wind but we see the effects of the wind, so we know the wind exists (John 3:8)
- “you have faith”- true faith always results in a changed life and good deeds, true faith involves a full devotion of yourself to God
- “I have deeds”- our good deeds can never earn salvation, this teaching of James speaks against those trying to earn salvation by good deeds
Examples of faith combined with works:
- Example 1- Abraham, the father of faith (Heb. 11:8-12)
- Gen. 22- God tested Abraham
- Hebrews 11:17- by faith Abraham was tested
- Example 2- Rahab the prostitute
- Joshua 2- When Israel’s spies came to the city, she hid them and helped them escape. She demonstrated faith in God’s purpose for Israel. As a result, she and her family were saved when the city was destroyed and she is in the lineage of Jesus (Matthew 1:5)
- Hebrews 11:31- Rahab received the spies with peace
John 3:1-8 “New Birth”
- We as believers have two births:
- Our fleshly birth- the day you entered this world
- Our spiritual birth- the day you accepted Jesus as Savior, you have been “born again”
John 3:8- “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (NKJV)
We see that the Spirit of God works out of our control. He works in ways we cannot predict or understand, but He has moved in your life to bring about change which is seen through how you use your resources; time, money, possessions, etc… You live differently because you have been born again and desire to please God. There is evidence in your life of a new focus, a new purpose that will open the eyes and ears of others who do not know about this free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
- Have you been born again? Have you received the free gift of salvation?
- How do you spend your resources (time, money, energy, possessions, etc…) to bring an awareness to unbelievers about Jesus and His love for them?
- What life changes have you experienced since your new spiritual birth?
- What would you like to still change?
Lord, we thank you that you come to us and offer us the free gift of salvation. Thank you for making us new through new birth. Thank you that You desire to change our past to glorify your name in our future. Lord, may we be mindful of using our resources to worship and glorify your name. May we be a people that uses our blessings to bless another and build your kingdom. May we be a people who because of our faith, we desire to do great things for you. May we be a people who believe deeply and it is seen through our actions.
Thanks, Todd for sharing your wisdom and teaching with us! We are grateful for you and your whole family!
Are we “all in”? Are we available? We are encouraged by the scripture to speak boldly, reason and persuade daily about the things of the kingdom of God.
We are encouraged to be bold for Jesus. To be bold means to love courageously, speak fearlessly and to have courage.
“When we find a man meditating on the words of God, my friends, that man is full of boldness and is successful.” Dwight L. Moody
- vs. 8 “preached boldly”- In Acts 28:23, we see that Paul “morning and evening explained and declared to them the kingdom of God and tried to convince them about Jesus.”
- vs. 9 “held daily discussions- Paul reasoned and persuaded his listeners daily in the lecture hall at the school. The halls were used in the morning for teaching philosophy, but in the hot part of the day, many people did not work then, so they would come to hear Paul’s teaching.
- Reference scripture- Proverbs 8:34
- vs. 19 “ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan”
- vs. 20 “pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.”
- vs. 29 “O Lord hear their threats , and give us, your servants, great boldness in preaching your word.”
- vs. 30 “Stretch out your hand with,
- Healing power- God is healer, Jeremiah 30:17
- Miraculous signs and wonders, Deuteronomy 10:21
- Be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus, Acts 3:16
- vs. 31 “After this prayer, the meeting place shook,
- They were all filled with the Holy Spirit- Acts 1:5
- Then they preached the word of God with boldness- Acts 1:8
2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.
How do you love courageously the people around you?
Where is your place that you speak daily the things of God?
Do you personally meditate on the word daily so you are filled with the words of God and ready to speak into another’s life if the opportunity arises?
What daily opportunities or open doors are in your life right now to be the mouthpiece of God?
Lord, we ask for your Spirit to fill us with a courageous kind of love to reach this world. May we have open eyes to see the opportunities before us each day. May we choose that open door into someone’s life rather than our own desires and wants.
Father, may our day start with time in your word. May fear of failure or insecurity be far from us. You have equipped us and empowered us with your Spirit to love boldly. Send us out into this world and give us opportunities to serve others.
Life is difficult and not static. There are ups and downs each day, struggles and accomplishments. How do we stay fixed on the things that are most important and not allow our emotions to be like a roller coaster based on our circumstances?
Paul learned how to do this. Even when he was in jail, he praised the Lord. When he had plenty, he kept his heart fixed on the kingdom. God is the one who gives us strength in the storms and trials, and He is the author and giver of all good things. Our hearts can remain steadfast in Him.
Summary & Scripture
“…I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ,[a] who gives me strength…” Philippians 4:11-14
- “I have learned how to be content”
- Content- satisfied, a state of peaceful happiness or satisfactionLearned- Paul who was well educated and a teacher himself communicates the profit in being a studentProverbs 22:12 “Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge”
- “I have learned the secret of living in every situation”
- Reference- (Acts 16:25) “While Paul and Silas were in jail, they prayed and sang hymns to God” Prayer- a solemn request for help or expression of thanks addressed to GodPraise- to express warm approval, respect and gratitude, especially in song
- “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength”
- “Everything”- in other translations, you may see the word “all”, meaning all – In every situation, in life, in all things
Where do you find your peace and contentment?
Do you give priority to reading the scripture in your daily routine? How about prayer and praise?
Do you still desire to be a student of or have you let yourself settle with being comfortable?
Do you continue to apply your heart to learning, prayer and praise?
During trying circumstances, may the word of God, prayer and praise give you strength to have peace in the eye of the storm. They say the calmest place in a tornado is the middle of it. O’ Lord, give us a deep desire to apply ourselves to finding peace in your words. May we be diligent in setting aside time to give you our hearts in prayer and in song. Lord, fill us with your Spirit and give us strength for each new day so that we may say, “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength”.
“You will keep in perfect peace, all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3
After Peter was restored on the shoreline of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus invited him back into action and gives him vision for his future ministry.
Jesus reminds Peter that before Christ, he did what he wanted but the challenge comes in verse 19, when Jesus calls Peter and says, “Follow me”. Jesus gives Peter a picture of how he will suffer for His name sake. We see in verse 20 that Peter, in his love for his brother asks about the Lord’s beloved disciple, John, when he says, “What about him, Lord?”. In verse 22 Jesus replies with, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”. He then tells Peter to return to his lane and focus on his calling.
“Follow Me” or we also see the same concept communicated in Mat. 10:38 as “take up your cross” and in Luke 9:23 when the scripture says, if you want to by a follower of Christ, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow him.
“Take up your cross” means to carry one’s own cross to the place of crucifixion.
- Crucifixion causes us to see that there will be suffering
- To carry one’s own cross means that it is yours alone and it will require self- denial
What is the difference between a disciple and follower of Christ?
- A follower is (literally) one who follows, comes after another while disciple is a person who learns from another, especially one who then teaches others.
The portion of scripture challenges believers to “take up their cross”. It is a challenge to deny self and choose to become a disciple of Christ. A disciple of Christ means to put aside selfish desires, to understand there will be suffering and that our purpose in life is to serve Christ’s purposes. We change our thinking from living for ourselves and what we want, to what can I do for Christ. How can I serve my Lord with my life?
When you look in your own life, what do you need to deny to become a deeper disciple of Christ?
What selfish desires need to be surrendered in your prayer time?
What does “taking up your cross” look like personally?
Deny self, take up your cross and follow him = discipleship
Discipleship is a continuous process of learning
Do you desire to be discipled by Christ? Then it will cost you something as you will need to follow Him daily. It may cost you some sleep to wake up earlier as Jesus waits to meet with you daily by a warm fire on the beach, to restore you, encourage you, and give you vision for the ministry He has for you. Will you show up?
“Come and listen to my counsel. I’ll share my heart with you and make you wise.” Proverbs 1:23 (NLT)
Do you love me? Feed My Sheep
Many of us have times when we have walked away from the Lord or let our failures distance us from His love and grace. Jesus is always pursuing us to restore our relationship with Him. Because Peter denied Jesus three times, Jesus was intentional to ask Peter three times if he loved Him.
Do we have the courage to answer that question ourselves and to follow His desires for our life and walk with Him? It’s the best relationship of all.
Scripture – John 21: 4-7
Early in the morning, Jesus stood on the shore, but the disciples did not realize that it was Jesus.
5 He called out to them, “Friends, haven’t you any fish?”
“No,” they answered.
6 He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.
7 Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!”
Questions and Application
- Have you been trying to accomplish your goals with your own strength and wisdom?
- Is the Lord showing you a better way? Ask Him and obey. You may be surprised at what He tells you to do.
Scripture – John 21:15
15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?”
“Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.”
Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.”
Questions and Application
- Do you love the Lord?
- Do you love him more than your job, hobbies, pursuits?
- What does it mean for you to feed his sheep?
Lord, we love you. Forgive us when we act in fear or put other things before you. Thank you for your love and grace. Please help us to hear Your voice, obey, and walk daily with you, feeding your sheep and loving all those around us.
Do You Know the Holy Spirit?
Do you desire to go out into this world in the name of Jesus with power and might, with confidence and boldness covered in love and grace bringing the gospel message to a people who desperately need it?
Have you received the Spirit of God when you believed?
Scripture – Acts 19:1-6
“Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” Paul asked some disciples. They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.”
- Did you know that you can be a believer and not have the “power” of the Holy Spirit upon you?
- You can believe intellectually but still not “know” God – You can know of Him, but not know Him intimately, similar to going to a birthday party for someone you “know” but don’t really know them personally
The Spirit is WITH you
This when you feel the Spirit of God stir your heart, bring conviction, open your understanding.
The Spirit IN you
This is where the Spirit of God resides.
The Spirit is UPON you
When the Holy Spirit comes upon you, it is belief with action
Reference Acts 1:8 – But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…
Application Acts 19:2 – Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?
Have you been baptized in the Holy Spirit for the purpose of action?Baptism of the Spirit of God is for the work of the ministry, to be empowered by God.
Here is a short video from Francis Chan on this topic. So great!
- Judges 14:6 – The spirit of God came mightily upon him and he….
- Judges 6:34 – Then the Spirit of the LORD clothed him, came upon him and he…
- Isaiah 59:21 – My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth…shall
- Isaiah 6:1 – The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me…to
- Micah 3:8 – But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the Lord, and with justice and might to…
Word Study – Baptized = filled to the brim, confident, bold, enduring
- Do you want the power of the Holy Spirit?
- Do you desire to be empowered with the spiritual gifts that God gives to work in His name? (Galatians 5:16-26)
- Ask for the Spirit of God to make you a doer of his word and not just a hearer. (James 1:22) This is how you will experience change in your service to the Lord.
- Do you desire to go out into this world for the name of Jesus like never before?
Lord, fill me to overflow, empower me to receive by faith your Spirit. Gift me and make my spiritual gifts known and use me to build up your body of believers. Ignite me to minister your love and grace to others. Lord baptize me with your Spirit.