Digging Deeper Devotional Week of Feb 12th

February 11, 2024   /   First Baptist Church Elgin

Day 1:

Read: Acts 8:4-8

Background: After Stephen was martyred for preaching Christ, Saul began persecuting the church in Jerusalem, causing believers to scatter throughout Judea and Samaria. Philip, one of the seven chosen to serve tables, went to Samaria and boldly preached Christ to the people there. Many Samaritans believed Philip’s message about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ. As a result of their newfound faith, both men and women were baptized in water, publicly declaring their identification with Christ.

Key words: 

– Proclaim (euaggelizō) – to preach the good news of salvation in Christ.

– Baptize (baptizo) – to immerse, submerge; united with Christ through faith.

Key theological ideas:

– Philip’s preaching of the gospel in Samaria shows that salvation is for all people, not just the Jews. (Expositor’s Bible Commentary)

Questions:

  1. Why did Philip go to Samaria? What does this teach about the spread of the gospel?

  2. Why was baptism closely connected to believing Philip’s message about Christ?

  3. When have you stepped out in faith to share Christ despite feeling unequipped?

Apply: Ask God to embolden you today to faithfully share the gospel and invite others to identify with Christ through baptism.

Day 2:

Read: Matthew 3:1-17

Background: John the Baptist preached repentance and baptized people in the Jordan River in preparation for the Messiah’s coming. When Jesus came to be baptized, John hesitated because he knew Jesus was the sinless Lamb of God. But Jesus insisted it was necessary to fulfill all righteousness, so John consented and baptized Him. At Jesus’ baptism the heavens opened, the Spirit descended on Him like a dove, and the Father’s voice spoke in affirmation of His Son.

Key words:

– Baptize (baptizo) – to immerse, submerge; symbolically to be identified or united with.

– To fulfill all righteousness (plerōsai pasan dikaiosynēn) – Jesus submitted to baptism to perfectly obey God’s will.

Key theological ideas:

– Jesus’ baptism pictured the baptism of suffering He would experience in His death on our behalf. (Bible Knowledge Commentary)

– Jesus’ baptism set an example for believers to publicly identify with Him through baptism. (Grudem’s Systematic Theology)

Questions:

  1. Why was John reluctant to baptize Jesus? What does this reveal about Jesus’ nature?

  2. How did Jesus use baptism to “fulfill all righteousness”? What example did He leave us?

  3. How does your baptism identify you with Christ? What does this mean daily?

Apply: Reflect on your baptism today, thanking Christ for inviting you into His family. Ask God to deepen your walk in newness of life.

Day 3:

Read: Acts 8:26-40

Background: An angel of the Lord directed Philip to go south of Jerusalem to Gaza where he encountered an Ethiopian eunuch reading Isaiah’s prophecy about the Suffering Servant. When the eunuch asked Philip who Isaiah was writing about, Philip proceeded to proclaim the good news about Jesus. The Ethiopian believed that Jesus was the Messiah foretold by Isaiah, so as they passed some water he asked to be baptized right away. After Philip baptized him, the Spirit suddenly took Philip away, but the eunuch went on his way rejoicing. 

Key words:

– Preach Jesus (euaggelizō) – to proclaim the good news of salvation in Christ.

– Baptize (baptizo) – to immerse, submerge; symbolically to be identified or united with.

Key theological ideas:

– The Ethiopian’s desire to be baptized immediately shows that Scripture demonstrates nothing extra is required for baptism other than conversion.  (Bible Knowledge Commentary)

– Baptism gives visible evidence of an inward spiritual transformation through faith in Christ. (Grudem’s Systematic Theology)

Questions:

  1. How did Philip know where to find this seeking man? What does this teach about walking in step with the Spirit?

  2. Why was the Ethiopian so eager to be baptized? What did baptism signify?

  3. How has baptism marked a clear before/after in your walk with Christ?

Apply: Ask God to remind you daily of your new identity in Christ which baptism signifies. Let this empower your obedience.

Day 4:

Read: Romans 6:1-14

Background: In his letter to the Romans, Paul responds to those who argue grace gives freedom to sin. He explains that in baptism we are united with Christ in His death and resurrection, enabling us to walk in new life. Our old self is crucified with Christ so we are no longer enslaved to sin. Just as Christ was raised and will never die again, we too should consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ.

Key words:

– United with Christ (syntphytos) – grown together, joined closely with.

– Count yourselves dead – (nekrous) – having died spiritually to sin. 

Key theological ideas:

– Baptism vividly portrays the believer’s union with Christ in His death and resurrection. (Grudem’s Systematic Theology)

– Baptism depicts our death to sin’s power and ability to walk in new life through union with Christ. (Expositor’s Bible Commentary)

Questions:

  1. How does Paul connect baptism to Jesus’ death and resurrection? What is the spiritual significance?

  2. What “reckoning” or mindset should we have about sin’s mastery over us (v.11)? Why can this be hard to remember?

  3. What does your baptism teach you about your spiritual identity in Christ? How will you live this out?

Apply: Daily remember your baptism and consider sin’s power broken. Walk in newness of life through the power of Christ in you.

Day 5:

Read: 1 Peter 3:18-22

Background: Peter draws connections between baptism and Christ’s death and resurrection. Jesus’ sacrificial death provides atonement for sins, and His resurrection resulted in authority over all spiritual forces. Likewise, baptism doesn’t cleanse sin but represents an appeal to God for a clean conscience based on Christ’s resurrection. Just as Noah and his family emerged from the floodwaters to a purified earth, baptism marks our departure from the old corrupted life to new life in Christ.

Key words:

– Pledge (eperōtēma) – an appeal, intense craving. Baptism demonstrates our intense desire to be right with God.

– Appeal (anamartētos) – an earnest request. Baptism is built on the appeal of a clean conscience before God through faith in Christ.

Key theological ideas:

– Baptism signifies our pledge to God for a clean conscience based on Christ’s resurrection. (Bible Knowledge Commentary)

– Just as Noah passed through judgment to new life, baptism depicts our passage into new life with Christ. (Expositor’s Bible Commentary)

Questions:

  1. How does Peter connect baptism to Christ’s resurrection? What does this teach about living in newness of life?

  2. What parallels does Peter draw between Noah’s ark and baptism? What hope does this imagery convey?

  3. How does your baptism remind you of your clean conscience and new life pledged in Christ?

Apply: Reaffirm your pledge today to walk in new life with a clean conscience before God. Let baptism motivate holy living.

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