Day 1

Source of Joy

Read: John 15:9-17

Background:

In John 15:9-17, Jesus speaks to His disciples about the importance of abiding in His love. He emphasizes the inseparable connection between abiding in His love and experiencing true joy. Jesus highlights that His love for us is the source of our joy and that abiding in Him enables us to bear lasting fruit.

Key Words:

  1. Abide (Strong’s G3306): To remain, dwell, or stay closely connected. Jesus urges His disciples to abide in His love, emphasizing the importance of maintaining a deep, intimate relationship with Him.
  2. Joy (Strong’s G5479): Gladness, delight, or rejoicing. Jesus promises His disciples that His joy will be in them and that their joy will be complete, pointing to the fullness of joy found in Him.

Theological Truths:

  1. Source of Joy: Jesus teaches that His love for us is the foundation of our joy. As we abide in His love, we experience the overflowing joy that comes from being intimately connected to Him (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).
  2. Completeness in Christ: Jesus assures His disciples that His joy in them will lead to their joy being complete. This highlights the transformative power of abiding in Christ, which brings about a deep and lasting joy that surpasses circumstances (Grudem, Systematic Theology).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on Jesus’ invitation to abide in His love in John 15:9-17. How does abiding in Christ’s love contribute to experiencing true joy in your life?

  2. Consider the promise of Jesus’ joy being in you and your joy being complete (John 15:11). How does this understanding of joy differ from worldly happiness? How can you cultivate this deep joy through abiding in Christ?

  3. Meditate on the inseparable connection between abiding in Christ and bearing lasting fruit (John 15:16). How does the fruitfulness of your life reflect your relationship with Christ and the joy found in Him?

Application:

Today, commit to abiding in Christ’s love as the source of your joy. Spend time in prayer, reflecting on His love for you and the joy He promises to those who remain connected to Him. Seek to cultivate a deep and intimate relationship with Jesus, knowing that true and lasting joy is found in Him alone. As you abide in His love, allow His joy to fill your heart and overflow into every aspect of your life.

 

Day 2

Sorrow Turned to Joy

Read: John 16:16-24

Background:

In John 16:16-24, Jesus speaks to His disciples about His impending departure and the sorrow they will experience. He uses the analogy of a woman in labor, illustrating how their sorrow will turn to rejoicing when they see Him again. Jesus assures them that although they will grieve at His departure, their grief will ultimately be transformed into rejoicing when they are reunited with Him.

Key Words:

  1. Sorrow (Strong’s G3077): Grief, distress, or sadness. Jesus acknowledges that His disciples will experience sorrow due to His departure but promises that their sorrow will be temporary.
  2. Rejoicing (Strong’s G5463): Joyful exultation, gladness, or celebration. Jesus assures His disciples that their sorrow will be replaced by rejoicing when they see Him again, emphasizing the transformative power of His presence.

Theological Truths:

  1. Temporary Sorrow, Eternal Rejoicing: Jesus teaches His disciples that while they will experience temporary sorrow at His departure, their sorrow will ultimately be transformed into eternal rejoicing when they are reunited with Him. This highlights the redemptive nature of Christ’s work, where He turns mourning into dancing and sorrow into rejoicing (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).
  2. Hope in Christ’s Return: Jesus encourages His disciples to endure temporary sorrow with the hope of future rejoicing when they see Him again. This underscores the importance of looking forward to Christ’s second coming as the ultimate source of rejoicing and fulfillment (Grudem, Systematic Theology).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on Jesus’ analogy of sorrow turning to rejoicing in John 16:16-24. How does this illustration resonate with your own experiences of grief and joy in life?

  2. Consider the temporary nature of sorrow in light of the eternal rejoicing promised by Jesus. How does the hope of Christ’s return impact your perspective on suffering and trials?

  3. Meditate on the transformative power of Christ’s presence in turning sorrow into rejoicing. How can you trust in His promises and find hope in the midst of difficult circumstances?

Application:

Today, embrace the truth that sorrow is temporary, but rejoicing in Christ is eternal. Spend time in prayer, surrendering your sorrows and burdens to Jesus, knowing that He is able to turn your mourning into dancing. Trust in His promise of future rejoicing when you are reunited with Him in His glorious presence. As you await His return, choose to live with hope and anticipation, knowing that He is faithful to fulfill all His promises and bring everlasting rejoicing to those who belong to Him.

Day 3:

Joy in Trials

Read: James 1:1-12

Background:

James, the half-brother of Jesus and a leader in the early Christian church, addresses his letter to the twelve tribes scattered among the nations. In the opening verses of his letter, James encourages believers to consider it pure joy when they face trials of various kinds because these trials produce perseverance, leading to maturity and completeness in their faith.

Key Words:

  1. Trials (Strong’s G3986): Testing or trials that challenge one’s faith or character. James emphasizes the inevitability of trials in the Christian life and encourages believers to embrace them with joy, knowing that God uses trials to refine and strengthen their faith.
  2. Steadfastness (Strong’s G5281): Endurance, perseverance, or steadfastness in the face of trials and difficulties. James highlights the importance of remaining steadfast in faith during trials, as this leads to spiritual maturity and completeness.

Theological Truths:

  1. Purpose of Trials: James teaches that trials are not random occurrences but have a divine purpose in the lives of believers. God allows trials to test and refine their faith, producing endurance and character as they trust in Him amidst difficulties (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).
  2. Perseverance and Maturity: James highlights the connection between trials, perseverance, and maturity in the Christian faith. As believers endure trials with joy, their faith is strengthened, leading to greater maturity and completeness in Christ (Grudem, Systematic Theology).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on James’ exhortation to consider trials as sources of joy. How does this perspective challenge your understanding of suffering and adversity in the Christian life?

  2. Consider the role of trials in shaping your faith and character. In what ways have you experienced growth and maturity through facing various trials and challenges?

  3. Meditate on the promise of God’s wisdom and provision in the midst of trials. How can you trust in God’s sovereignty and goodness, even when facing difficulties that seem overwhelming?

Application:

Today, embrace the truth that trials have a purpose in your life as a believer. Instead of viewing trials as obstacles to joy, choose to see them as opportunities for growth and refinement in your faith. Ask God for the wisdom to endure trials with joy, knowing that He is working all things together for your good and His glory. As you face trials, rely on God’s strength and grace to persevere, trusting in His promises and resting in His unfailing love.

Day 4

Joy in God’s Presence

Read: Psalm 16

Background:

Psalm 16 is attributed to David and is a beautiful expression of trust and dependence on God. In this psalm, David declares his refuge in God alone, acknowledging Him as his Lord and the source of all blessings. He finds joy and security in God’s presence and commits his future into His hands.

Key Words:

  1. Delight (Strong’s H6026): To take pleasure or find joy in something. In Psalm 16:11, David speaks of the fullness of joy and eternal pleasures found in God’s presence, highlighting the deep satisfaction and contentment that believers experience when they abide in Him.
  2. Presence (Strong’s H6440): The face, presence, or nearness of someone. In Psalm 16, David acknowledges God’s presence as the source of his security and joy, emphasizing the intimate relationship believers have with God and the comfort found in His constant companionship.

Theological Truths:

  1. Joy in God’s Presence: David’s declaration of finding fullness of joy in God’s presence underscores the believer’s experience of deep and lasting joy when they abide in communion with Him. This joy surpasses temporal circumstances and is rooted in the unchanging character of God, who delights in His children (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).
  2. Security in God’s Presence: As David expresses his confidence in God as his refuge and portion, believers are reminded of the safety and protection found in a relationship with God. In times of trial and adversity, God provides a secure foundation and an unshakable hope for those who trust in Him (The Bible Knowledge Commentary).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on David’s declaration of finding fullness of joy in God’s presence. How does this concept of joy differ from worldly pleasures or temporary happiness?

  2. Consider the significance of God being described as a refuge and portion. How does trusting in God’s sovereignty and provision bring security and peace in times of trouble?

  3. Meditate on your own experience of finding joy and security in God’s presence. In what ways has abiding in God’s Word and spending time in prayer deepened your relationship with Him and brought assurance in difficult seasons?

Application:

Today, take time to meditate on Psalm 16 and reflect on the truths it presents about finding joy and security in God’s presence. Consider areas of your life where you may be seeking fulfillment or security apart from God and surrender them to Him. Spend intentional time in prayer, seeking refuge in God’s presence and allowing His Word to renew your mind and strengthen your faith. As you delight in God’s presence and trust in His provision, allow His joy to fill your heart and His peace to guard your mind, knowing that He is your refuge and portion both now and forevermore.

Day 5

Rejoicing in the Found

Read:  Luke 15

Background:

Luke 15 contains three parables spoken by Jesus: the parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. Each parable illustrates the joy of God and the celebration in heaven over the repentance of a sinner. In these stories, Jesus emphasizes God’s relentless pursuit of those who are lost and His boundless love for each individual.

Key Words:

  1. Lost (Strong’s G622): To be astray, wandering, or separated from the right way. In Luke 15, the parables depict individuals who are lost in different ways: a sheep that strays from the flock, a coin that is misplaced, and a son who rebels and squanders his inheritance. These illustrations emphasize the universal need for redemption and the compassion of God towards those who are lost.
  2. Found (Strong’s G2147): To discover, to come upon something that was previously lost or hidden. In Luke 15, Jesus describes the joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, highlighting the moment of discovery and restoration when the lost is found.

Theological Truths:

  1. God’s Pursuit of the Lost:  In Luke 15, Jesus portrays God as the Shepherd who leaves the ninety-nine to search for the one lost sheep, the Woman who diligently seeks the lost coin, and the Father who eagerly awaits the return of his wayward son. These parables reveal God’s compassionate heart and His unwavering commitment to seeking and saving the lost (Grudem, Systematic Theology).
  1. Repentance and Restoration: Through the parables in Luke 15, Jesus illustrates the transformative power of repentance and the joyous response of heaven when a sinner turns back to God. The stories of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son demonstrate God’s eagerness to forgive and restore those who repent, highlighting His boundless grace and mercy towards humanity (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son in Luke 15. What do these stories reveal about God’s character and His attitude towards those who are lost?

  2. Consider the joy in heaven over the repentance of a single sinner. How does this concept of rejoicing in heaven challenge your perspective on the value of each individual in God’s eyes?

  3. Meditate on the theme of repentance and restoration in Luke 15. In what areas of your life do you need to turn back to God and experience His forgiveness and restoration?

Application:

Today, take time to read and reflect on Luke 15, paying attention to the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the prodigal son. Consider the ways in which you may have strayed from God’s path and how He is inviting you to return to Him in repentance. Spend time in prayer, confessing any sins or areas of disobedience, and surrendering them to God’s grace and mercy. As you experience God’s forgiveness and restoration, rejoice in His love and join in the celebration in heaven over the found being restored.

Day 1

The Source of Love

Read: 1 John 4:7-12

Background: In 1 John 4:7-12, the apostle John emphasizes the central importance of love in the Christian faith. He highlights that love originates from God Himself and is manifested through Jesus Christ. John encourages believers to love one another because love comes from God, and those who love have been born of God and know God. This passage underscores the divine nature of love and its role in revealing God’s character to the world.

Key Words:

  1. Love (Strong’s G26): Agape, the highest form of love, characterized by selflessness, sacrificial giving, and unconditional concern for others’ well-being. In 1 John 4:7-12, love represents the essence of God’s character and serves as the defining attribute of genuine Christian discipleship.
  2. Born of God (Strong’s G1080): Refers to the spiritual rebirth or regeneration that occurs when an individual believes in Jesus Christ and becomes a child of God. In this passage, being “born of God” signifies a new spiritual birth that enables believers to love as God loves and to reflect His character in their lives.

Theological Truths:

  1. God’s Nature of Love: The Bible declares the theological truth that God is the ultimate source and embodiment of love, as affirmed in 1 John 4:7-12. This passage underscores that love originates from God’s very nature and is supremely revealed through the person of Jesus Christ. It emphasizes that believers can experience and demonstrate genuine love because they have been born of God and intimately know Him (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).
  2. Love as Evidence of Regeneration: The passage elaborates on the theological concept of being “born of God” and its connection to the ability to love authentically. This passage underscores that genuine love is a characteristic of those who have experienced spiritual rebirth through faith in Jesus Christ. It affirms that the capacity to love others unconditionally and selflessly is a tangible evidence of one’s new life in Christ and intimate relationship with God (Grudem, Systematic Theology).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on the profound truth that love originates from God Himself, as described in 1 John 4:7-12. How does understanding God as the ultimate source of love impact your perception of love in your own life and relationships?

  2. Consider the significance of being “born of God” and its connection to the ability to love authentically. In what ways does your relationship with God empower you to love others selflessly and sacrificially?

  3. Reflect on the transformative power of God’s love to renew and regenerate hearts, enabling believers to reflect His character through acts of love. How has experiencing God’s love transformed your capacity to love others? What steps can you take to cultivate a deeper understanding and expression of God’s love in your daily interactions?

Application:

Today, meditate on the truth that God is the ultimate source of love, and His love empowers you to love others authentically. Take time to thank God for His love poured out through Jesus Christ and ask Him to fill you afresh with His love. As you go about your day, seek opportunities to demonstrate God’s love to those around you through acts of kindness, compassion, and selflessness.

 

 Day 2

The Indwelling Presence of Love

Read: 1 John 4:13-16

Background:

In 1 John 4:13-16, the apostle John emphasizes the indwelling presence of God’s love in the lives of believers through the Holy Spirit. He highlights that those who confess Jesus as the Son of God abide in God, and God abides in them. This passage underscores the intimate relationship between believers and God, characterized by His abiding presence and the assurance of His love.

Key Words:

  1. Abide (Strong’s G3306): To remain, dwell, or stay in close fellowship or union with someone. In 1 John 4:13-16, abiding refers to the ongoing, intimate relationship between believers and God, marked by His indwelling presence and the mutual expression of love.
  2. Spirit (Strong’s G4151): Refers to the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity, who dwells within believers and empowers them to live according to God’s will. In this passage, the Spirit’s presence in the lives of believers is closely associated with the experience of God’s love and the assurance of salvation.

Theological Truths:

  1. The Indwelling Presence of God: The Apostle John highlights the theological truth of God’s abiding presence in the lives of believers, as emphasized in 1 John 4:13-16. This passage affirms that those who confess Jesus as the Son of God experience a deep union with God through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. It underscores the assurance that comes from knowing that God abides in believers and empowers them to live in His love (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).
  2. Confidence in God’s Love: This passage assures believers that the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit serves as a tangible expression of God’s love for them. It affirms that the Spirit’s presence in believers’ lives enables them to experience deep fellowship with God and to abide in His love with confidence and assurance (Grudem, Systematic Theology).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on the significance of God’s indwelling presence in your life, as described in 1 John 4:13-16. How does knowing that God abides in you through the Holy Spirit impact your relationship with Him and your daily walk with Him?

  2. Consider the assurance and confidence that come from experiencing God’s love through the presence of the Holy Spirit. How does the Spirit’s indwelling presence reassure you of God’s love and faithfulness, especially in times of doubt or difficulty?

  3. Reflect on the implications of abiding in God’s love and allowing His love to permeate every aspect of your life. How can you cultivate a deeper awareness of God’s presence and love in your daily routines and interactions with others?

Application:

Today, take time to meditate on the reality of God’s indwelling presence in your life through the Holy Spirit. Spend moments in prayer, expressing gratitude for the assurance of His love and the intimacy of fellowship with Him. As you go about your day, consciously seek to abide in God’s love and allow His Spirit to guide your thoughts, words, and actions. Trust in the abiding presence of God’s love to sustain you and empower you to live as His beloved child.

 

Day 3

Love’s Perfect Expression

Read: 1 John 4:17-21

Background:

In 1 John 4:17-21, the apostle John delves into the perfect expression of love that casts out fear. He emphasizes that as believers abide in God’s love, they can have confidence on the day of judgment because their lives are characterized by love. John underscores the inseparable connection between loving God and loving others, affirming that those who claim to love God yet hate their brothers and sisters are living in contradiction to the truth.

Key Words:

  1. Confidence (Strong’s G3954): Refers to boldness, assurance, or freedom of speech. In 1 John 4:17-21, confidence arises from abiding in God’s love and living in alignment with His commandments. Believers can face the day of judgment with confidence because they have experienced the transforming power of God’s love in their lives.
  2. Fear (Strong’s G5401): In this context, fear denotes dread, anxiety, or apprehension, particularly concerning the judgment of God. 1 John 4:17-21 highlights that perfect love casts out fear, indicating that a deep understanding of God’s love enables believers to overcome fear and live boldly in His presence.

Theological Truths:

  1. Freedom from Fear: This passage emphasizes that as believers abide in God’s love and allow His love to permeate their lives, they are liberated from the bondage of fear, especially in anticipation of the day of judgment. It underscores the transformative power of God’s love in dispelling fear and instilling confidence in believers’ hearts (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).
  2. Authentic Love: This passage challenges believers to examine the genuineness of their love for God and others, emphasizing that authentic love is inseparable from God’s nature and character. It underscores the imperative of loving others as evidence of genuine fellowship with God and highlights the hypocrisy of claiming to love God while harboring hatred or indifference toward fellow believers (Grudem, Systematic Theology).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on the assurance and confidence that come from abiding in God’s love, as described in 1 John 4:17-21. How does experiencing God’s perfect love enable you to face the future with boldness and freedom from fear?

  2. Consider the inseparable connection between loving God and loving others highlighted in this passage. How does your love for God manifest in your relationships with those around you? Are there areas where you struggle to demonstrate love to others?

  3. Reflect on any lingering fears or anxieties in your life and examine them in light of God’s perfect love. How can you surrender those fears to God and allow His love to dispel them, trusting in His sovereignty and faithfulness?

Application:

Today, purposefully cultivate an atmosphere of love in your interactions with others. Seek opportunities to express genuine love and kindness to those around you, demonstrating the transformative power of God’s love in action. As you encounter moments of fear or anxiety, pause to meditate on the truth of God’s perfect love that casts out all fear. Surrender your worries to Him, trusting in His love to sustain you and embolden you to live fearlessly for His glory.

 

Day 4

Love Demonstrated through Service

Read: John 13:1-17

Background:

In John 13:1-17, Jesus demonstrates the depth of His love for His disciples by washing their feet—an act typically performed by servants. This act of humility and service exemplifies Jesus’ sacrificial love and serves as a profound illustration of His teachings on love and humility. Taking on the role of a servant, Jesus models the essence of true leadership and calls His followers to emulate His example by loving and serving one another.

Key Words:

  1. Humility (Strong’s G5012): Refers to lowliness of mind, modesty, or meekness. In John 13:1-17, Jesus exhibits profound humility by stooping to wash His disciples’ feet, emphasizing the importance of humility in serving others and expressing genuine love.
  2. Service (Strong’s G1248): Denotes the act of serving or ministering to others. In this passage, Jesus illustrates the essence of true service through His selfless act of washing His disciples’ feet, challenging His followers to adopt a posture of servanthood in their interactions with one another.

Theological Truths:

  1. Servant Leadership: This passage underscores Jesus’ paradigmatic example of servant leadership, where He willingly takes on the role of a servant to demonstrate His love and humility. It emphasizes that true greatness in God’s kingdom is characterized by humility and sacrificial service, challenging believers to follow Jesus’ example in serving others selflessly (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).
  2. Transformation through Service: This passage highlights the transformative power of serving others in love, both in the lives of those served and the one who serves. It underscores that genuine love is expressed not merely in words but in tangible acts of service and selflessness, reflecting the character of Christ and fostering unity and humility within the body of believers (Grudem, Systematic Theology).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on Jesus’ act of washing His disciples’ feet in John 13:1-17. What does this demonstration of humility and service reveal about Jesus’ character and His expectations for His followers?

  2. Consider your own attitude toward serving others. Are there areas in your life where pride or self-interest hinders you from humbly serving those around you? How can you cultivate a servant’s heart and follow Jesus’ example of selfless service?

  3. Reflect on the transformative power of serving others in love. Have you experienced personal growth or spiritual transformation through acts of service? How can you leverage opportunities to serve as a means of expressing genuine love and fostering unity within the body of Christ?

Application:

Today, intentionally seek opportunities to serve others in humility and love, following Jesus’ example of servant leadership. Whether through acts of kindness, practical assistance, or words of encouragement, look for ways to demonstrate genuine love and selflessness to those around you. As you engage in acts of service, reflect on the transformative impact of humble service both in your life and in the lives of others, allowing God to work through you to bring about His kingdom purposes.

 

Day 5:

Love that Overcomes

Read: Romans 8:31-39

Background:

In Romans 8:31-39, the Apostle Paul affirms the unwavering love of God toward His children. He declares that nothing in all creation can separate believers from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. This passage serves as a powerful reminder of God’s steadfast and enduring love, which triumphs over all obstacles and challenges. Paul’s words offer comfort and assurance to believers, encouraging them to stand firm in the confidence of God’s unfailing love, even in the face of adversity and trials.

Key Words:

  1. Conquerors (Strong’s G5245): Refers to those who are victorious or triumphant over their enemies. In Romans 8:37, Paul declares that believers are more than conquerors through Christ who loved them, highlighting the transformative power of God’s love to enable believers to overcome every obstacle and challenge.
  2. Separation (Strong’s G5563): Denotes the act of severing or putting a space between. In Romans 8:38-39, Paul emphasizes that nothing—neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation—can separate believers from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Theological Truths:

  1. Unfailing Love of God: This passage emphasizes the inseparable bond between believers and the love of God, which transcends all temporal and spiritual forces. It affirms that God’s love is constant, unwavering, and unconquerable, providing believers with assurance and security in their relationship with Him (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).
  2. Victorious Living: This passage highlights the transformative impact of God’s love in enabling believers to live victoriously over sin, suffering, and adversity. It affirms that through Christ’s sacrificial love, believers are empowered to overcome every obstacle and challenge, standing firm in the assurance of God’s unbreakable love and provision (Grudem, Systematic Theology).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on the assurance of God’s unfailing love as expressed in Romans 8:31-39. How does this passage deepen your understanding of God’s love and its significance in your life?

  2. Consider the challenges or obstacles you are currently facing. How does the truth of God’s unbreakable love encourage you to persevere and remain steadfast in your faith?

  3. Reflect on the concept of victorious living through God’s love. In what ways has God’s love empowered you to overcome adversity or trials in your life? How can you continue to rely on His love to sustain you and lead you to victory?

Application:

Today, meditate on the truth of God’s unfailing love as revealed in Romans 8:31-39. Take comfort in the assurance that nothing in all creation can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus. As you face challenges or uncertainties, anchor your faith in God’s unbreakable love, knowing that He is with you, empowering you to live victoriously in every circumstance. Trust in His love to sustain you, strengthen you, and lead you into a deeper relationship with Him.

Day 1

Cultivating Lasting Spiritual Fruit

Read: John 15:1-5

Background:

In John 15:1-5, Jesus uses the analogy of a vine and branches to illustrate the vital connection between believers and Himself. He emphasizes the necessity of remaining in Him to bear fruit, highlighting the dependence of branches on the vine for nourishment and life. This passage underscores the importance of abiding in Christ for genuine spiritual growth and productivity.

Key Words:

– Abide (Strong’s G3306): To remain or dwell in close relationship with Jesus, emphasizing continuous communion and dependence on Him for sustenance and vitality.

– Vine (Strong’s G288): Represents Jesus as the source of spiritual life and nourishment, highlighting His role in sustaining and empowering believers to bear fruit.

– Fruit (Strong’s G2590): Refers to the outward manifestation of inward spiritual transformation and obedience, reflecting the character and works produced by abiding in Christ.

Key Theological Truths:

  1. The necessity of abiding in Christ for spiritual fruitfulness: The passage underscores the essential connection between believers and Jesus for bearing lasting spiritual fruit. Abiding in Christ involves a continuous dependence on Him for spiritual nourishment, guidance, and empowerment, leading to genuine growth and productivity (Grudem, Systematic Theology).
  2. The importance of genuine relationship over religious routines: The sermon emphasizes the distinction between religious practices and authentic relationship with Jesus. While routines and rituals may provide structure, true spiritual growth occurs through a personal, intimate connection with Christ. The Scripture warns against building one’s life, even religious activities, on the wrong foundation, emphasizing the need for genuine faith and obedience (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on your understanding of abiding in Christ. What does it mean to remain connected to Jesus in your daily life?

  2. Consider the difference between religious routines and genuine relationship with Jesus. How can you cultivate a deeper intimacy with Christ beyond outward practices?

  3. Examine your spiritual fruitfulness. In what areas of your life do you see evidence of genuine transformation and obedience to Christ?

Application:

Take time to assess your spiritual connection with Jesus. Commit to cultivating a deeper relationship with Him through prayer, study of His Word, and obedience to His commands. Reflect on areas of your life where religious routines may have replaced genuine intimacy with Christ, and seek to prioritize authentic relationship over mere practices.

 

Day 2

Joyful Abiding in Christ

Read: John 15:6-11

Background:

In John 15:6-11, Jesus continues His discourse on the vine and branches, emphasizing the consequences of failing to abide in Him. He warns that apart from Him, believers cannot bear fruit and may wither and be cast away. However, those who abide in Him experience abundant life and joy. This passage highlights the importance of remaining connected to Jesus for spiritual vitality and joy.

Key Words:

– Wither (Strong’s G3583): Refers to drying up or becoming dry, symbolizing spiritual decay or loss of vitality resulting from separation from Christ.

– Abide (Strong’s G3306): Denotes to remain or dwell in close relationship with Jesus, emphasizing continuous communion and dependence on Him for sustenance and vitality.

– Joy (Strong’s G5479): Represents a state of gladness or rejoicing, reflecting the inner delight and satisfaction experienced by those who abide in Christ.

Key Theological Truths:

  1. The consequences of failing to abide in Christ: John 15 highlights Jesus’ warning about the dire consequences of spiritual separation from Him. Apart from Christ, believers cannot bear fruit and may experience spiritual decay and loss of vitality (Grudem, Systematic Theology).
  2. The promise of abundant life and joy in Christ: The passage underscores the promise of abundant life and joy for those who abide in Christ. Genuine spiritual vitality and joy are the result of remaining connected to Jesus, experiencing His presence, and obeying His commands (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on the consequences of spiritual separation from Christ. How does failing to abide in Him impact your spiritual vitality and fruitfulness?

  2. Consider the promise of abundant life and joy in Christ. How does abiding in Him bring fulfillment and satisfaction to your life?

  3. Examine your experience of joy in your relationship with Jesus. In what ways does remaining connected to Him bring joy and gladness to your heart?

Application:

Take time to evaluate your spiritual connection with Jesus. Commit to deepening your relationship with Him through prayer, study of His Word, and obedience to His commands. Reflect on the joy and satisfaction that come from abiding in Christ, and seek to cultivate a spirit of gladness and rejoicing in your daily walk with Him.

 

Day 3

Loving Obedience to Christ

Read: John 15:12-14

Background:

In John 15:12-14, Jesus emphasizes the importance of love and obedience among His disciples. He instructs them to love one another as He has loved them, demonstrating the sacrificial nature of His love. Jesus also underscores the significance of obeying His commands, indicating that true friendship with Him is evidenced by obedience. This passage highlights the intimate relationship between love for Christ and obedience to His teachings.

Key Words:

– Love (Strong’s G26): Refers to a selfless and sacrificial affection, exemplified by Jesus’ love for His disciples and humanity.

– Commandments (Strong’s G1785): Denotes authoritative instructions or directives given by Jesus, reflecting His teachings and moral standards.

– Friends (Strong’s G5384): Signifies companions or close associates, illustrating the intimate relationship Jesus shares with His disciples and believers who obey His commands.

Key Theological Truths:

  1. The inseparable connection between love and obedience: Scripture emphasizes the intimate relationship between love for Christ and obedience to His commands. Genuine love for Jesus is demonstrated through obedience to His teachings and moral standards (Grudem, Systematic Theology).
  2. The call to sacrificial love and obedience: The passage underscores the sacrificial nature of love demonstrated by Jesus and expected of His disciples. True friendship with Jesus is evidenced by obedience to His commands, reflecting a deep love and devotion to Him (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on Jesus’ command to love one another as He has loved us. How does His sacrificial love inspire and challenge your own capacity to love others?

  2. Consider the relationship between love for Christ and obedience to His commands. How does obedience demonstrate your love and devotion to Jesus?

  3. Examine your willingness to obey Jesus’ teachings. In what areas of your life do you struggle to align your actions with His commands?

Application:

Take time to assess your obedience to Jesus’ commands. Commit to loving others sacrificially and obeying His teachings with sincerity and diligence. Reflect on the intimate relationship between love for Christ and obedience to His commands, and seek to cultivate a deeper devotion to Him through acts of loving obedience.

 

Day 4

Intimate Friendship with Christ

Read: John 15:15-17

Background:

In John 15:15-17, Jesus extends the analogy of friendship to His relationship with His disciples. He reveals that He no longer considers them merely servants but friends, sharing His plans and insights with them. Jesus emphasizes the chosen nature of their relationship, indicating that He appointed them to bear fruit and that their fruit should remain. This passage underscores the intimate friendship and purposeful commissioning bestowed upon believers by Jesus.

Key Words:

– Friends (Strong’s G5384): Signifies companions or close associates, illustrating the intimate relationship Jesus shares with His disciples and believers who obey His commands.

– Chosen (Strong’s G1586): Denotes selected or appointed, highlighting the deliberate and purposeful nature of Jesus’ relationship with His disciples.

– Fruit (Strong’s G2590): Refers to the outward manifestation of inward spiritual transformation and obedience, reflecting the character and works produced by abiding in Christ.

Key Theological Truths:

  1. The intimacy of friendship with Jesus: The gospels emphasizes the special relationship Jesus shares with His disciples, characterized by intimacy, trust, and mutual sharing. Believers are privileged to experience an intimate friendship with Jesus, marked by His revelation and commissioning (Grudem, Systematic Theology).
  2. The purposeful commissioning of believers: The Bible highlights Jesus’ intentional appointment of His disciples to bear fruit that remains. Believers are chosen by Jesus for a specific purpose—to bear fruit that glorifies God and advances His kingdom (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on the privilege of being called a friend of Jesus. How does His intimate friendship inspire and encourage you in your relationship with Him?

  2. Consider Jesus’ commissioning of His disciples to bear lasting fruit. In what ways do you perceive God’s specific calling and purpose for your life?

  3. Examine your commitment to bearing fruit that remains. What steps can you take to align your life more closely with Jesus’ purpose and calling for you?

Application:

Reflect on the depth of your friendship with Jesus and the purpose He has appointed for your life. Commit to cultivating a closer intimacy with Him through prayer, study of His Word, and obedience to His commands. Seek to discern and fulfill God’s specific calling and purpose for your life, bearing fruit that glorifies Him and advances His kingdom.

 

Day 5

Building on the Foundation of Christ

Read: 1 Corinthians 3:12-15

Background:

In 1 Corinthians 3:12-15, the apostle Paul uses the metaphor of building construction to illustrate the nature of believers’ work and the judgment they will face. He describes believers as builders who construct their lives upon the foundation of Christ. Paul emphasizes the importance of building with durable materials like gold, silver, and costly stones, which symbolize faithful service and obedience to Christ. He warns against building with inferior materials like wood, hay, and straw, which represent works lacking in spiritual value and enduring significance. Paul explains that believers’ work will be tested by fire, and those whose work endures will receive a reward, while those whose work is consumed will suffer loss but still be saved.

Key Words:

– Foundation (Strong’s G2310): Refers to the underlying basis or support upon which something is constructed, representing Jesus Christ as the foundation of believers’ lives and faith.

– Work (Strong’s G2041): Denotes the actions, deeds, and service performed by believers in their Christian walk, reflecting their obedience to Christ and participation in His kingdom work.

– Tested (Strong’s G1381): Signifies the examination or evaluation of believers’ works by God’s judgment, revealing their quality and enduring value.

Key Theological Truths:

  1. The foundation of Christ: The Scriptures underscores the centrality of Jesus Christ as the foundation of believers’ lives and faith. Building upon the foundation of Christ involves faithful obedience to His teachings and alignment with His will, resulting in spiritual growth and fruitfulness (Grudem, Systematic Theology).
  2. The testing of believers’ works: The passage highlights the judgment believers will face regarding the quality and enduring value of their works. Works that withstand the testing by fire represent faithful service and obedience to Christ, resulting in reward, while inferior works signify actions lacking in spiritual significance and eternal impact (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on the foundation of your faith in Jesus Christ. How does your life and work reflect your commitment to building upon this foundation?

  2. Consider the materials with which you are building your life and work. Are you investing in actions and deeds that have enduring spiritual value and significance?

  3. Examine your readiness for the testing of your works by God’s judgment. How does the prospect of accountability motivate you to align your life and actions with God’s will?

Application:

Evaluate the foundation upon which you are building your life and work. Commit to aligning your actions and deeds with the teachings of Jesus Christ, ensuring that they reflect faithful obedience and service to Him. Seek to invest in works that have enduring spiritual value and significance, knowing that they will be tested by God’s judgment. Prepare yourself for accountability by cultivating a life marked by obedience, faithfulness, and fruitfulness in Christ.

Day 1:

The Triumphal Entry as Fulfillment of Prophecy

Read: Matthew 21:1-10

Background:

Matthew recounts the events of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, which occurred five days before the Passover. This day, known as Passover Lamb selection day, holds significant symbolism as Jesus, the ultimate Passover Lamb without blemish, enters Jerusalem. The crowd’s enthusiastic response and the fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy emphasize Jesus’ divine selection as the sacrificial Lamb. The triumphal entry serves as a declaration by God that Jesus is the chosen Passover Lamb, destined to provide deliverance from sin and death.

Key Words:

– Passover (Strong’s G3957): Refers to the Jewish festival commemorating the Israelites’ deliverance from slavery in Egypt.

– Lamb (Strong’s G721): Symbolizes innocence and sacrificial atonement, particularly in the context of Passover.

– Prophecy (Strong’s G4394): Denotes a divine revelation or prediction concerning future events.

Key Theological Truths:

  1. Divine selection of Jesus as the Passover Lamb: Matthew’s gospel highlights the theological significance of Jesus’ triumphal entry in fulfilling Old Testament prophecies. God’s deliberate timing and fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy affirm Jesus as the chosen Passover Lamb, appointed for the redemption of humanity (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).
  2. Jesus’ sacrificial role in delivering from sin: The Bible’s story of redemption underscores the atoning significance of Jesus’ role as the Passover Lamb. His sacrificial death on the cross provides deliverance from the bondage of sin and fulfills God’s redemptive plan for humanity (Grudem, Systematic Theology).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. How does Jesus’ triumphal entry fulfill Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah?

  2. Reflect on the symbolism of Jesus as the Passover Lamb. How does His sacrificial role impact your understanding of redemption?

  3. Consider the crowd’s response to Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. How does their acknowledgment of Jesus as the Messiah challenge your own response to His identity and mission?

Application: Take time to reflect on Jesus’ role as the chosen Passover Lamb and its implications for your life. What role has God chosen for you in your calling, gifts and work in the Kingdom? Accept the call, use the gifts and continue the Kingdom work or get started by volunteering to serve at church.

Day 2:

Jesus’ Sacrificial Atonement

Read: Mark 15:20-39

Background:

Mark recounts the crucifixion of Jesus, emphasizing His sacrificial death as the fulfillment of His role as the Passover Lamb. Jesus’ crucifixion occurred at the third hour of the day, aligning with the traditional time when the Passover Lamb was slain. His cry of abandonment, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” echoes the agony of bearing the sins of humanity. The shofar sounded at the third hour symbolizes the completion of Jesus’ sacrificial atonement for sin.

Key Words:

– Crucifixion (Strong’s G4716): Refers to the method of execution by which Jesus was put to death, symbolizing His sacrificial offering for sin.

– Abandoned (Strong’s G1459): Denotes forsakenness or desertion, reflecting Jesus’ experience of bearing the weight of humanity’s sins.

– Atonement (Strong’s G2643): Signifies reconciliation or restoration of relationship, particularly in the context of Jesus’ sacrificial death.

Key Theological Truths:

  1. Jesus’ identification as the sinless Lamb of God: The Bible affirms Jesus’ sinlessness and innocence as the sacrificial Lamb. His substitutionary death on the cross satisfies the requirements for atonement, providing redemption for humanity’s sins (The Bible Knowledge Commentary).
  2. Completion of Jesus’ atoning work: Mark’s gospel highlights the significance of Jesus’ cry of abandonment on the cross. Through His sacrificial death, Jesus bears the full weight of humanity’s sin and experiences separation from God, fulfilling the requirements for atonement and reconciliation (Grudem, Systematic Theology).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on Jesus’ cry of abandonment on the cross. How does His willingness to bear the consequences of sin demonstrate His sacrificial love for humanity?

  2. Consider the significance of Jesus’ crucifixion as the completion of His atoning work. How does His death provide assurance of forgiveness and reconciliation with God?

  3. Reflect on the shofar sounding at the third hour. How does this symbolize the fulfillment of Jesus’ role as the Passover Lamb and the completion of His sacrificial atonement?

Application:

Sin separates us from God and Jesus experienced that on the cross. Do you feel separated from God and alone in your Christian faith? Pray and ask God to reveal any sins that may hindering your fellowship with Him.  Remember, sin can be active (doing wrong) or passive (not doing right). Regardless, confess, repent and abide in Him.

 

Day 3:

The Resurrection as Proof of Jesus’ Identity

Read: Isaiah 53:11 & Luke 11:29-30

Background:

Isaiah prophesies about the suffering and exaltation of the Servant of the Lord, who will bear the iniquities of humanity and bring salvation. Jesus refers to Jonah as a sign to the people, pointing to His own impending death and resurrection. The resurrection serves as the ultimate proof of Jesus’ identity as the sinless Lamb of God and the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies.

Key Words:

– Resurrection (Strong’s H6869): Denotes the act of rising from the dead, particularly in the context of Jesus’ victory over death.

– Sign (Strong’s H226): Refers to a miraculous token or indication, highlighting the significance of Jesus’ resurrection as a divine confirmation.

– Exalted (Strong’s H7311): Signifies being lifted up or elevated, reflecting Jesus’ triumph over sin and death through His resurrection.

Key Theological Truths:

  1. The resurrection as proof of Jesus’ identity: The Bible emphasizes the resurrection as the decisive proof of Jesus’ identity as the Messiah. His triumph over death validates His claims and fulfills Old Testament prophecies, providing assurance of salvation for believers (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).
  2. Jesus’ resurrection as the basis for faith: The Bible underscores the significance of Jesus’ resurrection in establishing faith in Him. Through His resurrection, Jesus overcomes sin and death, offering new life and hope to all who believe in Him (Grudem, Systematic Theology).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on the significance of Jesus’ resurrection as proof of His identity as the Messiah. How does His triumph over death strengthen your faith?

  2. Consider Jesus’ reference to Jonah as a sign. How does His resurrection fulfill this sign and confirm His authority?

  3. Reflect on the implications of Jesus’ exaltation following His resurrection. How does His victory over death impact your understanding of salvation and eternal life?

Application:

Meditate on the reality of Jesus’ resurrection and its transformative power in your life. Recall how you came to experience the power of the resurrection in a specific area of your life. Refocus on your current walk with Christ and ask Him to reveal the next area that He wants you to experience a resurrected life in. Repeat those experiences in faith and ask God to transform that area of your life.

Day 4:

Redemption through the Precious Blood of Christ

Read: 1 Peter 1:18-21

Background:

Peter emphasizes the preciousness of Christ’s blood shed for the redemption of believers. He contrasts the perishable nature of earthly wealth with the invaluable price paid by Jesus’ unblemished and spotless sacrifice. Christ’s sacrificial death, foreknown before the foundation of the world, was revealed in the last times for the salvation of humanity. Through belief in Jesus, who was raised from the dead by God, believers place their faith and hope in God’s redemptive work.

Key Words:

– Redemption (Strong’s G3083): Denotes liberation or release through payment of a ransom, highlighting the deliverance secured by Christ’s sacrificial death.

– Precious (Strong’s G5093): Signifies value or worth beyond measure, emphasizing the priceless nature of Christ’s blood.

– Unblemished (Strong’s G299): Refers to being without fault or defect, reflecting the purity and perfection of Jesus’ sacrifice.

Key Theological Truths:

  1. Redemption through Christ’s sacrificial blood: The Bible underscores the concept of redemption through the precious blood of Christ. His sacrificial death serves as the ransom payment for humanity’s sins, securing liberation from bondage and eternal salvation for believers (The Bible Knowledge Commentary).
  2. Faith and hope in God’s redemptive work: Peter’s epistle highlights the role of faith and hope in God’s redemptive plan. Believers trust in Jesus, who was raised from the dead, as the source of salvation and place their hope in God’s promise of eternal life (Grudem, Systematic Theology).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on the concept of redemption through Christ’s precious blood. How does His sacrificial death provide liberation and deliverance from sin?

  2. Consider the value of Christ’s unblemished sacrifice in contrast to perishable wealth. How does this perspective shape your understanding of salvation?

  3. Reflect on the role of faith and hope in God’s redemptive work. How does belief in Jesus’ resurrection impact your trust in God’s promises?

Application:

Meditate on the priceless nature of Christ’s sacrificial blood and its power to redeem and restore. What areas of your life has God asked you to sacrifice for the Kingdom? Comfort, recreation, control, power, identity? Surrender any doubts or fears to God, and ask for the strength to sacrifice and follow Him.

Day 5:

Embracing the Life-Giving Power of Jesus

Read: John 1:1-5

Background:

John introduces Jesus as the Word who was with God in the beginning and was God Himself. Through Him, all things were made, and in Him was life, which became the light of humanity. Jesus embodies the life-giving power of God, bringing illumination and transformation to all who believe in Him.

Key Words:

– Word (Strong’s G3056): Refers to the divine expression or communication of God, highlighting Jesus’ role as the embodiment of God’s revelation.

– Life (Strong’s G2222): Signifies vitality or existence, emphasizing Jesus’ capacity to impart spiritual and eternal life.

– Light (Strong’s G5457): Denotes illumination or revelation, symbolizing the transformative impact of Jesus’ presence and teachings.

Key Theological Truths:

  1. Jesus as the divine Word and source of life: John’s gospel emphasizes Jesus’ preexistence as the Word of God who brings life and light to humanity. His eternal nature and creative power affirm His identity as the source of life and illumination (Expositor’s Bible Commentary).
  2. The transformative power of Jesus’ light: The Gospel of John underscores the significance of Jesus’ light in dispelling darkness and revealing truth. Through His teachings and presence, Jesus brings enlightenment and spiritual understanding, leading to transformation and new life (Grudem, Systematic Theology).

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on Jesus as the divine Word who brings life and light. How does His eternal nature and creative power impact your understanding of His identity?

  2. Consider the transformative power of Jesus’ light in dispelling darkness and revealing truth. How does His presence bring illumination and spiritual understanding to your life?

  3. Reflect on the life-giving power of Jesus. How does belief in Him as the source of eternal life shape your perspective on existence and purpose?

Application:

Embrace Jesus as the divine Word who brings life and light to your life. Seek to abide in His presence through prayer, meditation on Scripture, and fellowship with other believers. Commit to fully participating in the vision and mission of FBCE to Love, Learn and Live like Jesus.

Day 1

Read: 2 Samuel 7:12-13

Background:

God makes a covenant with King David, promising to establish his lineage forever. God pledges to raise up a descendant of David who will build a lasting kingdom. This covenant is pivotal in Israel’s history as it anticipates the coming of the Messiah, who will reign eternally. The promise reflects God’s faithfulness to His chosen people and His commitment to fulfill His redemptive plan. Through this covenant, God reveals His intention to provide a righteous and everlasting ruler for His people, offering hope and assurance of future restoration. This promise sets the stage for the fulfillment of God’s ultimate plan of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Key Words:

– Descendant (Strong’s H3206): Refers to offspring or posterity.

– Kingdom (Strong’s H4427): Denotes a realm or dominion under the rule of a king.

Key Theological Truths:

  1. God’s faithfulness to fulfill His promises: God’s affirms His faithfulness to His covenant promises throughout history. The promise made to David regarding the establishment of an eternal kingdom demonstrates God’s unwavering commitment to His people. (Grudem, Systematic Theology)
  2. The establishment of an eternal kingdom: God’s promise to David is significant, highlighting the establishment of an eternal kingdom through David’s descendant, ultimately fulfilled in Jesus Christ. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Questions for Reflection:

  1. How does the promise to David reflect God’s commitment to redemption and restoration?

  2. What significance does the establishment of an eternal kingdom hold for believers today?

  3. In what ways can we trust in God’s faithfulness to fulfill His promises in our own lives?

Application:

Reflect on God’s faithfulness in fulfilling His promises throughout history and in your personal experiences. Which promise(s) of God can you claim and cling to today for victory over the enemy, brokenness or need?

Day 2

Read: Isaiah 40:3

Background:

Isaiah prophesies about the coming of a voice in the wilderness, preparing the way for the Lord. This voice is John the Baptist, who fulfills the role of preparing hearts for the arrival of Jesus Christ. Isaiah’s imagery of preparing a straight path in the wilderness symbolizes the spiritual preparation required for the Messiah’s advent. The wilderness represents a place of desolation and barrenness, mirroring the condition of humanity’s hearts before encountering God. John’s ministry of preaching repentance and baptism signifies the necessary inward transformation needed to receive the Messiah.

Key Words:

– Voice (Strong’s H6963): Refers to a cry, proclamation, or announcement.

– Wilderness (Strong’s H4057): Signifies a desolate or uninhabited place, often associated with spiritual preparation.

Key Theological Truths:

  1. The importance of spiritual preparation: Spiritual preparation is necessary for encountering God. John the Baptist’s role as the forerunner of Jesus underscores the importance of repentance and readiness for the coming of the Messiah. (Grudem, Systematic Theology)
  2. Fulfillment of prophecy: Isaiah’s prophecy is fulfilled in John the Baptist’s ministry. John’s proclamation in the wilderness aligns with Isaiah’s vision of preparing the way for the Lord, affirming the divine plan of redemption. (Expositor’s Bible Commentary)

Questions for Reflection:

  1. How does John the Baptist’s ministry exemplify the concept of spiritual preparation for encountering Jesus?

  2. In what ways can we actively prepare our hearts to receive Jesus in our lives for salvation and continuously in our sanctification?

  3. Reflect on moments of spiritual wilderness in your own journey. How has God used these times to prepare you for His work in your life?

Application:

Take time to engage in spiritual preparation by reflecting on areas of your life that need repentance and renewal. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in preparing your heart to encounter Jesus in a deeper way. List the areas that the Holy Spirit reveals and faithfully respond to the His promptings of preparation.

 

Day 3

Read: John 1:19-22

Background:

In John 1:19-22, John the Baptist is questioned by the Jewish leaders about his identity and mission. He clarifies that he is not the Christ, Elijah, or the Prophet, but rather the voice crying out in the wilderness to prepare the way for the Lord. John acknowledges his role in fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy and humbly points to the one coming after him, whose sandals he is not worthy to untie. John’s testimony serves as a pivotal moment in preparing the hearts of the people for the arrival of Jesus Christ.

Key Words:

– Testify (Strong’s G3140): Refers to bearing witness or giving evidence.

– Way (Strong’s G3598): Denotes a path or route, symbolizing preparation for the arrival of someone significant.

Key Theological Truths:

  1. The role of witnesses in God’s plan: John the Baptist’s role as a witness to testify about the coming of Jesus Christ proceeded his ministry of baptism. John’s testimony directs attention to Jesus and affirms His identity as the promised Messiah. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary)
  2. Humility and obedience in ministry: John the Baptist’s humility is displayed in acknowledging Jesus’ superiority. John’s focus on testifying about Jesus rather than promoting himself highlights the humility required in serving God’s purposes. (Grudem, Systematic Theology)

Questions for Reflection:

  1. How does John the Baptist’s humility in acknowledging Jesus as the Messiah challenge our own attitudes towards recognition and acclaim?

  2. Reflect on instances in your life where God has called you to bear witness to His work. How can you faithfully testify about Jesus in your spheres of influence?

  3. Consider the significance of preparing the way for others to encounter Jesus. In what practical ways can you emulate John’s example in your daily life?

Application:

Follow John the Baptist’s example of humility and obedience by seeking opportunities today to testify about the transformative power of Christ in your life. Prayerfully ask God to reveal those opportunities at work, at home and wherever your day leads you.

 

Day 4

Read: John 1:29-33

Background:

In John 1:29-33, John the Baptist publicly identifies Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. He also testifies that Jesus is the Son of God who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. John’s proclamation highlights Jesus’ sacrificial atonement for sin and His role as the one who imparts the Holy Spirit to believers.

Key Words:

– Lamb (Strong’s G286): Symbolizes innocence and sacrifice, particularly in the context of atonement for sin.

– Sin (Strong’s G266): Denotes wrongdoing or transgression against God’s law.

– Baptize (Strong’s G907): Signifies immersion or submersion, particularly in the context of spiritual purification or initiation.

– Spirit (Strong’s G4151): Refers to the Holy Spirit, representing God’s presence and power in believers’ lives.

Key Theological Truths:

  1. The significance of Jesus as the Lamb of God: The Scripture emphasizes the importance of Jesus’ sacrificial atonement for sin. John’s proclamation of Jesus as the Lamb of God underscores His role in redeeming humanity through His death on the cross. (Grudem, Systematic Theology)
  2. Jesus’ role as the baptizer with the Holy Spirit: The Scripture elaborates on John’s testimony regarding Jesus’ baptism with the Holy Spirit. This baptism represents the indwelling presence and empowerment of God in believers’ lives, fulfilling the promise of spiritual renewal and transformation. (Expositor’s Bible Commentary)

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on the symbolism of Jesus as the Lamb of God. How does His sacrificial atonement impact your understanding of redemption?

  2. Consider the significance of being baptized with the Holy Spirit. How does this aspect of Jesus’ ministry impact your understanding of spiritual renewal and empowerment?

  3. In what ways can you respond to Jesus as the Lamb of God and the baptizer with the Holy Spirit in your daily life and relationships?

Application:

Meditate on the profound truth of Jesus’ sacrificial atonement and His promise to baptize believers with the Holy Spirit. Surrender any burdens of sin to Him and embrace the transformative power of the Holy Spirit in your life.

Day 5

Read: Luke 7:20-22

Background:

In Luke 7:20-22, John the Baptist, while in prison, sends his disciples to inquire if Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus responds by demonstrating His identity and authority through miraculous signs, affirming His role as the long-awaited Savior. The miracles performed by Jesus, such as healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind, and raising the dead, serve as tangible evidence of His divinity and messianic mission. Jesus’ response to John’s disciples reinforces the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and solidifies His claim as the promised Messiah.

Key Words:

– Messiah (Strong’s G5547): Refers to the promised deliverer and anointed one, fulfilling God’s redemptive plan.

– Blind (Strong’s G5185): Denotes a lack of physical sight, often used metaphorically to represent spiritual blindness or ignorance.

– Lame (Strong’s G5560): Signifies an inability to walk or move properly, representing physical and spiritual infirmity.

– Cleansed (Strong’s G2511): Indicates purification or removal of impurity, symbolizing spiritual renewal and healing.

– Raised (Strong’s G1453): Refers to restoration to life, particularly in the context of miraculous resurrection.

Key Theological Truths:

  1. Jesus as the Messiah: Jesus affirms His identity as the long-awaited Messiah. His miraculous signs authenticate His divine authority and fulfill Old Testament prophecies concerning the Messiah. (Grudem, Systematic Theology)
  2. Power over physical and spiritual afflictions: Jesus has authority over physical and spiritual afflictions. His ability to perform miracles demonstrates His sovereignty and compassion, offering hope and healing to those in need. (The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Questions for Reflection:

  1. Reflect on the significance of Jesus’ miraculous signs in confirming His identity as the Messiah. How do these signs strengthen your faith in Jesus’ authority?

  2. Consider the implications of Jesus’ power to heal physical and spiritual afflictions. How does His ability to restore bring hope and reassurance to believers?

  3. In what ways can you respond to Jesus’ identity and authority in your own life? How does faith in Jesus as the Messiah impact your daily decisions and interactions?

Application:

Place your trust in Jesus as the Messiah and acknowledge His authority over every aspect of your life. Pray for spiritual discernment to recognize Jesus’ presence and power at work in your circumstances. Embrace faith in Jesus’ identity and authority, knowing that He is the source of hope, healing, and restoration for all who believe.

Day 1:

Read: Exodus 11

Background:

This chapter takes place just before the tenth and final plague that God will send upon Egypt. The Lord tells Moses that after this plague, Pharaoh will let the Israelites go. God also instructs the Israelites to ask their Egyptian neighbors for silver and gold, which they will receive as a sign of God’s favor.

Key words/ideas:

  – Plague (nega`, H5061): a blow, a wound, a stroke, a beating, a defeat, a slaughter

  – Firstborn (bekowr, H1060): firstborn, eldest son, eldest

  – Favor (chen, H2580): favor, grace, charm, elegance

Key theological ideas:

  – God is sovereign over all nations and rulers, and He will execute judgment on those who oppress His people (Grudem, p. 217; Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 127).

  – The plagues demonstrate God’s power and His determination to deliver the Israelites from slavery (Expositors Bible Commentary, V2, p. 371).

  – The favor shown to the Israelites by the Egyptians is a sign of God’s blessing and provision for His people (Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 128).

Questions for reflection:

  1. How does this chapter demonstrate God’s power and His concern for His people?

  2. In what ways have you experienced God’s favor and provision in your own life?

  3. How can you trust in God’s sovereignty and justice even when faced with difficult circumstances?

Apply it:

Take time to reflect on God’s power and His faithfulness to His promises. Ask Him to give you a greater sense of trust in His sovereignty and provision, even in the midst of challenges or uncertainties.

Day 2:

Read: Exodus 12:1-28

Background:

In this passage, God instructs Moses and Aaron about the Passover, which will become a lasting ordinance for the Israelites. Each household is to take a lamb without blemish, slaughter it at twilight, and apply its blood to the doorposts and lintel of their houses. They are to eat the lamb roasted with fire, along with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

Key words/ideas:

  – Lamb (seh, H7716): one of the flock, a lamb, a sheep, a goat

  – Without blemish (tamiym, H8549): complete, whole, entire, sound, healthful, unimpaired, innocent, having integrity

  – Passover (pecach, H6453): a pretermission, i.e., exemption; used only technically of the Jewish Passover (the festival or the victim)

Key theological ideas:

  – The Passover lamb is a type of Christ, the ultimate sacrificial Lamb who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29; Grudem, p. 575; Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 129).

  – Just as the blood of the Passover lamb protected the Israelites from the judgment of God, so the blood of Christ saves believers from eternal judgment (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, V2, p. 376).

  – The unblemished nature of the lamb points to Christ’s sinless perfection (Grudem, p. 570; Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 129).

Questions for reflection:

  1. How does the Passover lamb foreshadow the work of Jesus Christ on the cross?

  2. In what ways have you experienced the protecting and saving power of Christ’s blood in your life?

  3. How can you cultivate a deeper appreciation for the significance of Christ’s sacrifice as the ultimate Passover Lamb?

Apply it:

Consider how you can share this truth with others who need to know about the saving power of Christ’s blood. Pray specifically for God to give you the names of 3 people to invite to church and/or Easter Sunday. Then in faith, invite them.

Day 3:

Read: Exodus 12:29-51

Background:

This passage describes the tenth and final plague that God sends upon Egypt: the death of the firstborn. At midnight, the Lord strikes down all the firstborn in Egypt, from Pharaoh’s household to the captives in the dungeon. Pharaoh summons Moses and Aaron and urges the Israelites to leave Egypt immediately.

Key words/ideas:

  – Firstborn (bekowr, H1060): firstborn, eldest son, eldest

  – Struck (nakah, H5221): to strike, smite, hit, beat, slay, kill

  – Urged (chazaq, H2388): to strengthen, prevail, harden, be strong, become strong, be courageous, be firm, grow firm, be resolute

Key theological ideas:

  – God’s judgment on Egypt demonstrates His power over all earthly authorities and His commitment to delivering His people (Grudem, p. 217; Expositor’s Bible Commentary, V2, p. 378).

  – The death of the firstborn is a powerful reminder of the consequences of sin and the need for a savior (Bible Knowledge Commentary p. 130).

  – Pharaoh’s change of heart after the final plague showcases God’s ability to soften even the hardest of hearts (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, V2, p. 379).

Questions for reflection:

  1. How does this passage illustrate the severity of God’s judgment against sin?

  2. In what ways have you experienced God’s deliverance in your own life, whether from physical or spiritual bondage?

  3. How can you trust in God’s power to change even the most stubborn hearts and situations?

Apply it:

Reflect on areas of your life where you may be resisting God’s will or authority. Ask God to soften your heart and give you the courage to obey Him fully, trusting in His power to deliver you from sin and its consequences.

Day 4:

Read: Matthew 26:17, 1 Corinthians 5:7, and 1 Peter 1:18-19

Background:

These passages from the New Testament connect Jesus Christ to the Passover lamb. In Matthew, Jesus directs His disciples to prepare for the Passover meal, which becomes the setting for the Last Supper. Paul, in 1 Corinthians, explicitly states that Christ is our Passover lamb. Peter emphasizes that believers are redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, likening Him to a spotless lamb.

Key words/ideas:

  – Passover (pascha, G3957): the feast of Passover, the Paschal sacrifice, the Paschal lamb, the Paschal supper

  – Sacrificed (thyō, G2380): to sacrifice, immolate, slay, kill

  – Redeemed (lytroō, G3084): to release on receipt of ransom, to redeem, to liberate by payment of ransom

Key theological ideas:

  – The New Testament writers clearly identify Jesus Christ as the ultimate fulfillment of the Passover lamb (Grudem, p. 118; Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 467).

  – His sacrificial death on the cross serves as the atoning sacrifice for the sins of humanity, redeeming believers from the bondage of sin (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, V8, p. 345; Grudem, p. 579).

  – Just as the Passover lamb’s blood saved the Israelites from judgment, Christ’s blood saves believers from eternal condemnation (Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 737; Grudem, p. 575).

Questions for reflection:

  1. How do these New Testament passages deepen your understanding of the connection between the Passover lamb and Jesus Christ?

  2. In what ways have you experienced the redemptive power of Christ’s sacrificial death in your own life?

  3. How can you express gratitude for the price Jesus paid to redeem you from sin and death?

Apply it:

As you reflect on Jesus Christ as the ultimate Passover lamb,  pray and look for opportunities to demonstrate your faith in Jesus by intentionally doing a random act of kindness for the 3 people you invited to church and be prepared to share your faith in Jesus when asked why you did what you did.

Day 5:

Read: John 8:31-36

Background:

In this passage, Jesus is speaking to Jews who had believed in Him. He emphasizes that true disciples abide in His word and know the truth, which sets them free. The Jews question this, claiming they have never been slaves. Jesus clarifies that everyone who sins is a slave to sin, but the Son can set them free.

Key words/ideas:

  – Abide (menō, G3306): to remain, abide, stay, wait; with reference to state or condition, to remain as one, not to become another or different

  – Truth (alētheia, G225): objectively, truth as the reality lying at the basis of an appearance; the manifested, veritable essence of a matter

  – Free (eleutheroō, G1659): to make free, set at liberty, to exempt (from liability)

Key theological ideas:

  – True disciples of Jesus Christ are characterized by abiding in His word and being transformed by the truth (Grudem, p. 756; Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 309).

  – Despite the Jews’ claim to freedom, Jesus reveals that all who sin are slaves to sin (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, V9, p. 100; Grudem, p. 210).

  – Only through the Son, Jesus Christ, can one be set free from this bondage (Grudem, p. 724; Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 309). This freedom is not a mere removal of external constraints but a fundamental change in one’s nature and relationship with God (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, V9, p. 101).

Questions for reflection:

  1. What does it mean to truly abide in Jesus’ word, and how can you cultivate this habit in your life?

  2. In what ways have you experienced the liberating power of the truth found in Christ?

  3. How can you help others understand the nature of sin’s enslavement and the freedom available through Jesus?

Apply it:

Examine your life for areas where you may be enslaved to sin or not fully walking in the freedom Christ has provided. Prayerfully commit to abiding in His word and allowing the truth to transform you from the inside out. As you experience this freedom, look for opportunities to share it with others who may still be in bondage.

Day 1

Read: Isaiah 53:7

Background:

In this prophetic passage, Isaiah describes the suffering servant, who we understand to be Jesus Christ. The servant is portrayed as a lamb led to slaughter, silent and submissive in his suffering. This powerful imagery points to Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross.

Key words/ideas:

– Lamb (seh): a young sheep, used for sacrifice (Strong’s H7716)
– Slaughter (tebach): to slaughter, slay, butcher (Strong’s H2874)

Key theological ideas:

– The suffering servant in Isaiah 53 is a clear prophecy of Christ’s sacrificial death (Grudem, p. 540).
– Jesus’ silence in the face of his suffering demonstrates his willingness to be the sacrificial lamb (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Isaiah 53:7).

Questions for reflection:

1. Why do you think Isaiah used the imagery of a lamb to describe the suffering servant?


2. How does Christ’s willingness to suffer silently challenge you in your own trials?


3. In what ways does this prophecy deepen your understanding of Jesus as the Lamb of God?

Apply it:

Spend time meditating on the imagery of Jesus as a lamb led to slaughter, thanking him for his willingness to suffer for your sake.

 

Day 2

Read: Genesis 3:1-7

Background:

In this passage, we see the temptation and fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The serpent deceives Eve, causing her to doubt God’s goodness and leading both her and Adam to disobey God’s command. This act of rebellion brings sin and death into the world.

Key words/ideas:

– Serpent (nachash): a snake, symbolizing Satan (Strong’s H5175)
– Deceived (nasha’): to beguile, deceive (Strong’s H5377)

Key theological ideas:

– The fall of humanity in Genesis 3 introduces sin and death into the world, necessitating a savior (Grudem, p. 490).
– Satan’s deception and the human choice to disobey God result in the corruption of God’s perfect creation (Bible Knowledge Commentary, Genesis 3:1-7).

Questions for reflection:

1. How does the serpent’s deception lead Eve to doubt God’s goodness?


2. In what ways do you see the consequences of Adam and Eve’s sin in the world today?


3. How does understanding the fall in Genesis 3 highlight your need for Jesus, the Lamb of God?

Apply it:

Identify a specific area where you are prone to doubt God’s goodness, and pray for faith to trust in his provision and love.

 

Day 3

Read: Genesis 3:8-13

Background:

After Adam and Eve eat from the forbidden tree, they hear God walking in the garden and hide from him. When God questions them, they respond with fear, shame, and blame-shifting. This passage reveals the immediate relational consequences of their sin.

Key words/ideas:

– Hide (chaba’): to withdraw, hide (Strong’s H2244)
– Shame (buwsh): to be ashamed, disconcerted, disappointed (Strong’s H954)

Key theological ideas:

– Sin breaks the intimate relationship between God and humanity, causing shame and fear (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Genesis 3:8-13).
– The blame-shifting of Adam and Eve is a picture of humanity’s tendency to avoid responsibility for sin (Grudem, p. 491).

Questions for reflection:

1. How do you see the effects of shame and fear in Adam and Eve’s response to God?


2. In what ways do you try to hide from God or shift blame when you sin?


3. How does understanding the relational consequences of sin emphasize your need for reconciliation through Christ?

Apply it:

Confess any areas of sin in your life where you have been hiding from God or shifting blame, and ask for his forgiveness and restoration.

 

Day 4

Read: Genesis 3:14-24

Background:

In response to Adam and Eve’s sin, God pronounces judgments on the serpent, Eve, and Adam. These judgments include enmity between the serpent and the woman’s offspring, enmity between Adam and Eve, pain in childbirth, and toil in work. However, even in the midst of these consequences, God provides a hint of redemption and grace.

Key words/ideas:

– Offspring (zera’): seed, descendant (Strong’s H2233)
– Bruise (shuwph): to crush, strike, gape upon (Strong’s H7779)

Key theological ideas:

– God’s judgment on the serpent in Genesis 3:15 is the first messianic prophecy, pointing to Christ’s ultimate victory over Satan (Grudem, p. 541).
– God’s provision of clothing for Adam and Eve is an act of grace, foreshadowing the redemption to come through Christ (Bible Knowledge Commentary, Genesis 3:21).

Questions for reflection:

1. How does the promise in Genesis 3:15 offer hope in the midst of the consequences of sin?


2. In what ways do you see God’s grace demonstrated in this passage?


3. How does understanding the far-reaching effects of sin highlight your need for a savior?

Apply it:

Thank God for his grace in providing a way of redemption through Jesus, even in the midst of the consequences of sin.

 

Day 5

Read: Genesis 22

Background:

In this chapter, God tests Abraham by asking him to sacrifice his beloved son, Isaac. Abraham obeys, trusting that God will provide. As he is about to sacrifice Isaac, God intervenes and provides a ram as a substitute. This event foreshadows God’s ultimate provision of Jesus as the sacrificial lamb.

Key words/ideas:

– Test (nasah): to test, try, prove (Strong’s H5254)
– Provide (ra’ah): to see, appear, consider (Strong’s H7200)

Key theological ideas:

– Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice Isaac is a picture of God’s willingness to sacrifice his own Son (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Genesis 22).
– The ram provided as a substitute for Isaac points to Jesus, the ultimate substitute for sinners (Grudem, p. 540).

Questions for reflection:

1. How does Abraham’s obedience in this passage challenge you in your own faith journey?


2. In what ways do you see God’s provision in this story?


3. How does understanding the substitutionary sacrifice in this passage deepen your appreciation for Jesus as the Lamb of God?

Apply it:

Identify an area of your life where you need to trust God’s provision, and take a step of faith in obedience to him.

Day 1

Read: John 13:1-17

Background:

Jesus and his disciples had gathered in the upper room to celebrate the Passover meal. Jesus knew that this would be his last meal with them before his death. During the meal, he decided to wash his disciples’ feet, which was normally a task for the lowliest servant. By taking on this humble act, Jesus demonstrated the depth of his love and the extent to which he came to serve. His extreme example of servanthood taught his followers an unforgettable lesson about true Christlike leadership. 

Key words:

  • Love (agapē) – sacrificial, voluntary (Strong’s G26)
  • Servant (diakonos) – attendant, minister (Strong’s G1249)
  • Humility (tapeinophrosynē) – modesty, lowliness of mind (Strong’s G5012)

Theological ideas:

“Christ did not demand that we serve him, but freely served us when we did not deserve it.” (Grudem, p. 642) 

Questions:

1) Why did Jesus’ act shock the disciples?

2) What did this teach about leadership?

3) How can you follow his example?

Apply:

Prayerfully and humbly find a way to serve a “Judas” in your life. Someone that is difficult to like, rubs you the wrong way or that you currently have a conflict with.

Day 2

Read: Matthew 20:20-28

Background:

Jesus was nearing the end of his earthly ministry as he and his disciples traveled towards Jerusalem. The mother of James and John approached Jesus, asking for her sons to sit in places of power when he entered his kingdom. Jesus addressed her request by explaining that his kingdom operates differently than earthly ones; true greatness comes through humility and service, not lording power over others. He then gave his own life as a ransom to serve and save humanity.

Key words: 

  • Ransom (lytron) – price paid to liberate (Strong’s G3083)
  • Servant (diakonos) – attendant, minister (Strong’s G1249)

Theological ideas:

“Greatness in the kingdom of God comes…by self-sacrifice after the example of the Son of Man.” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, p. 173)

Questions:

1) What view of leadership does the world promote?

2) How does Jesus flip this idea?

3) What areas of service are difficult for you?

 

Apply:

Ask God for a servant’s heart and prayerfully seek to humbly serve in one new  situation or in a unique way today.

Day 3

Read: Galatians 5:13-15

Background:

Paul wrote to the Galatian church to defend the gospel of justification by faith alone. Now freed from trying to earn salvation through works, he urged them to avoid indulging their fleshly desires. Instead, they had been set free by Christ to serve one another in love, following his model. Paul warned them that misusing their freedom could lead to harming one another. 

Key words:

  • Freedom (eleutheria) – exempt, unrestrained (Strong’s G1657)
  • Love (agapē) – sacrificial, voluntary (Strong’s G26)
  • Serve (douleuō) – to be subject to, serve (Strong’s G1398)  

Theological ideas:

“Christian freedom is… opportunity to serve one another.” (Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 600) 

Questions: 

1) What does “serve humbly in love” mean?

2) When have you witnessed the power of this?

3) What happens when people indulge selfish desires?

Apply:

Sacrificially serve someone today out of Christlike love with your time, money, or resources.

Day 4

Read: Romans 12:1-8

Background:

In his letter to the Roman church, Paul urged believers to be transformed by offering their whole lives to God. This personal sacrifice, he explained, was their reasonable act of worship. Paul then exhorted them to serve one another using the variety of spiritual gifts with which God had equipped them. Rather than pressing believers into one mold, these diverse gifts work together to build up Christ’s one body. 

Key words:  

  • Gifts (charisma) – endowment by the Spirit (Strong’s G5486)
  • Serving (diakonia) – beneficence, ministering (Strong’s G1248)  
  • One body (sōma) – the church (Strong’s G4983)

Theological ideas:

“God gives different gifts to each believer to fulfill his own purpose within the body of Christ.” (Grudem, p. 1020) 

Questions:

1) What does “living sacrifice” mean?

2) Why use gifts together?

3) How can you better serve others?

Apply:

Ask God to reveal your gifts or take a spiritual gift survey. Use them to serve fellow believers by volunteering to serve at church. If already serving, ask your leader how you might use your gifts in a greater capacity.

  

Day 5

Read: Hebrews 6:10

Background:

The writer of Hebrews addressed a group of Christians facing persecution for their faith. Enduring hostility and hardship, they needed reassurance that God saw and cared about their plight. The author reminded them that God never overlooks any work done in his name, no matter how small the act or difficult the circumstance. He validated their loving service and promised to reward it justly.

Key words:  

  • Work (ergon) – act, deed done (Strong’s G2041)
  • Love (agapē) – sacrificial, voluntary (Strong’s G26)

Theological ideas:

“Labors of love which glorify God will not go unrequited.” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, p. 58) 

Questions:

1) Why can service feel thankless?

2) How does this provide hope?

3) When have you seen God reward service?

Apply: Thank someone that regularly serves you, your family, or the church well. Write them a note, text or email or tell them in person that you appreciate them and remind them God will reward them for their steadfast labor of love.

Day 1:

Read: Acts 2:42-47

Background:

The book of Acts records the beginnings of the church after Jesus’ ascension. In this passage, we get a glimpse into the practices and community of the very early believers in Jerusalem. After Peter preaches at Pentecost, about 3,000 people believe in Jesus and are baptized. These new Christians begin devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching about Jesus, sharing meals together, celebrating the Lord’s Supper, and praying together regularly. Their shared commitment to Christ and to one another fosters a remarkable spirit of unity, generosity, joy, and care for each other’s needs.

Key words/ideas:

  • Fellowship – koinonia (community, joint participation, intimacy)
  • Breaking of bread – klasis (to break, distribute)
  • Prayers – proseuche (prayer addressed to God)

Key theological ideas:

The early church emphasized gathering together for teaching, community, meals, and prayer. Their shared faith and experiences united them. (Expositor’s Commentary)

Questions for reflection:
1. What activities formed the basis for fellowship in the early church?


2. How did the believers’ shared faith and practices unite them?


3. What are some ways your church family shares life together?

Apply it:

Set aside time this week to share a meal with other believers. Talk about your faith during the meal.

 

Day 2:

Read: 1 Corinthians 1:10-17

Background:

In his first letter to the Corinthian church, Paul urges them to agree with one another, be united in mind and judgment, and avoid divisions. They were quarreling over loyalty to certain teachers like Paul, Apollos and Peter, but Paul reminds them that all believers have been baptized into Christ, not into human leaders. True Christian unity comes from Christ alone.

Key words/ideas:

  • Divisions – schisma (split, division, dissension)
  • Quarreling – eris (contention, debate, strife)
  • Christ-centered unity – henotes (unanimity, oneness)

Key theological ideas:

Quarreling and disunity within the body of Christ damage Christian fellowship and witness. Our shared identity in Christ should promote harmony. (Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Questions for reflection:
1. What problem was Paul addressing in this church?


2. How does baptism into Christ promote unity among believers?


3. How can you prioritize unity over personal agendas or preferences?

Apply it:

Express appreciation and support for a fellow believer you don’t often agree with.

 

Day 3:

Read: Galatians 6:1-5

Background:

As Paul concludes his letter to the Galatian churches, he provides practical instructions on how believers should treat one another within the church community. If someone is caught in sin, other Christians should gently help restore them rather than condemn them. Believers should also help carry each other’s burdens when needed. At the same time, Paul cautions them to carefully examine their own attitudes and actions as well.

Key words/ideas:

  • Restore – katartizo (to complete thoroughly, repair)
  • Carry burdens – bastazo (to take up, bear, endure)
  • Test/examine – dokimazo (to test, discern, prove)

Key theological ideas:

An important aspect of fellowship is holding each other accountable and helping bear burdens when needed. (Grudem’s Systematic Theology)

Questions for reflection:
1. What instructions does Paul give regarding restoring and carrying burdens?


2. Why is self-examination important alongside caring for others?


3. How can you bear another’s burden this week while taking responsibility for yourself?

Apply it:

Offer to come alongside a struggling believer today to provide support.

 

Day 4:

Read: Hebrews 10:19-25

Background:

In this passage, the author of Hebrews urges Jewish believers to hold firmly to their faith in Christ. Because of Jesus’ sacrificial death, they can draw near to God with sincere hearts and full assurance. Therefore, the author encourages them to continue meeting together rather than neglecting fellowship, so they can build each other up in the faith through teaching, encouragement and accountability.

Key words/ideas:

  • Draw near – proserchomai (to approach, come to)
  • Hold unswervingly – katecho (to hold fast, retain)
  • Spur one another on – paroxysmos (provocation, irritation)

Key theological ideas:

An important aspect of fellowship is mutual encouragement towards spiritual growth and perseverance. (Expositor’s Commentary)

Questions for reflection:
1. What instructions does the author give regarding gathering together?


2. How can we encourage each other in the faith?


3. Why is consistent fellowship important for spiritual growth?

Apply it:

Connect with a believing friend today for mutual encouragement.

 

Day 5:

Read: 1 John 1:5-7

Background:

In this passage, the Apostle John stresses the importance of walking in God’s light by dealing with sin His way. Those who claim to be in fellowship with God but continue living in darkness deceive themselves. However, if we walk in the light, as God is in the light, then we have true fellowship with Him and other believers, as Christ’s blood cleanses us from all sin.

Key words/ideas:

  • Light – phos (light, brightness, brilliance)
  • Fellowship – koinonia (community, joint participation, intimacy)
  • Cleanses – katharizo (to cleanse, purify, make clear)

Key theological ideas:

Having authentic fellowship requires walking in the light and dealing with sin God’s way. (Grudem’s Systematic Theology)

Questions for reflection:
1. What is the relationship between walking in the light and fellowship?


2. How does Christ’s blood make fellowship possible for believers?


3. How can you prioritize fellowship this week?

Apply it:

Confess any known sin to God so you can have true fellowship with Him and others.

Day 1:

Read: Psalms 112

Background:

Psalm 112 is a wisdom psalm contrasting the righteous and the wicked. It describes the blessings on those who are gracious, merciful and just. The righteous are depicted as generous, lending freely and giving to the poor. In contrast, the wicked are stingy and withhold help from others in need. Overall, the Psalm promotes the virtues of compassion, justice and generosity as traits of the righteous.

Key words:

  • Righteousness (Hebrew tsedaqah) – moral rightness, justice, equity.
  • Gracious/compassionate (Hebrew chanan) – to show favor, pity, be merciful.
  • Justice (Hebrew mishpat) – judgment, decision, rights.

Key theological ideas:

  • God rewards righteousness (Grudem, p. 443).
  • The righteous person is generous, which reflects God’s grace (Expositor’s, Vol. 5, p. 801).
  • Generosity to the poor accords with God’s justice (Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 841).

Questions:

  1. When have you experienced God’s blessing through generosity?

  2. Where do you need to grow in generosity?

Apply:

Look for one opportunity to generously bless someone in need today.

 

Day 2:

Read: 2 Corinthians 8:1-15

Background:

In 2 Corinthians 8-9, Paul is appealing to the Corinthian church to fulfill their earlier pledge to donate funds in support of the poor Christians in Jerusalem. To motivate them, he highlights the example of the Macedonians who gave sacrificially and generously despite their own poverty. Paul seeks to inspire the Corinthians to excel in the grace of giving just as they excel in other spiritual gifts.

Key words:

  • Grace (Greek charis) – undeserved favor, lovingkindness.
  • Generous/liberal (Greek haplotes) – sincerity, openheartedness, single-mindedness.

Key theological ideas:

  • Christian giving is an expression of God’s grace (Grudem, p. 613).
  • It demonstrates the sincerity of our love (Expositor’s, Vol. 10, p. 256).
  • Giving meets urgent needs (Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 557).

Questions:

  1. Do you give cheerfully or begrudgingly?

  2. How can you cultivate joy in generosity?

Apply:

Look for ways to secretly bless someone who cannot repay you.

 

Day 3:

Read: 1 Timothy 6:3-10

Background:

In his first letter to Timothy, Paul provides instruction and warning about false teachers who were promoting controversy and incorrect doctrine in Ephesus. Specifically, Paul condemns those who treat godliness as a means of financial gain, supposing it to be a path to prosperity. He sternly warns Timothy that the love of money leads people to ruin and causes them to wander from true faith.

Key words:

  • Godliness (Greek eusebeia) – piety, reverence, respect.
  • Contentment (Greek autarkeia) – self-sufficiency, satisfaction.

Key theological ideas:

  • Loving money corrupts ministry motives and ruins faith (Grudem, p. 616).
  • Godliness with contentment has lasting value (Expositor’s, Vol. 11, p. 355).
  • Do not peddle God’s word for profit (Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 751).

Questions:

  1. Are you pursuing godliness or gain?

  2. Where can you grow in contentment?

Apply:

Make a list of things money can’t buy that you’re most thankful for. Share it with a friend.

 

Day 4:

Read: Luke 21:1-4

Background:

In this passage, Jesus is sitting near the temple treasury observing people giving offerings. He takes particular note of a poor widow who gives two small copper coins, praising her gift as more significant than the large sums of the rich. Though a small amount monetarily, her gift represented great personal sacrifice and devotion.

Key words:

  • Contribution (Greek doron) – gift, present.
  • Scarcity (Greek husteresis) – want, poverty, deficiency.
  • Abundance (Greek perisseuo) – be over, abound, excel.

Key theological ideas:

  • God values motives and sacrifice behind giving over the amount (Grudem p.615).
  • True devotion entails costly sacrifice (Expositor’s, Vol. 8, p. 1039).
  • God sees and rewards our giving even if hidden from others (Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 252).

Questions:

  1. Do you give equally sacrificially from your scarcity?

  2. How can you excel in generous giving?

Apply:

Prayerfully decide on a percentage of your income to consistently give.

 

Day 5:

Read: Matthew 6:19-21

Background:

As part of His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus teaches that we should store up eternal treasures in heaven rather than temporary earthly treasures. He explains that where our treasure is, our hearts will be also. As our hearts follow our investments, we should be intentional to store up heavenly rather than earthly rewards.

Key words:

  • Treasure (Greek thesauros) – storehouse, repository, treasure house.
  • Moth (Greek ses) – larva that eats wool and fabrics.
  • Rust (Greek brosis) – eating, corrosion.

Key theological ideas:

  • Earthly money has no lasting value, but heavenly rewards are eternally secure (Grudem, p. 1143).
  • Our heart’s desires are revealed by how we use money (Expositor’s, Vol. 8, p. 151).
  • Investing in eternity pleases God (Bible Knowledge Commentary, p. 23).

Questions:

  1. Are you storing up lasting treasures in heaven?

  2. What does your spending and giving reveal about your heart?

Apply:

Make a list of eternal “treasures” you can invest in like people, God’s kingdom, and future rewards.

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