Digging Deeper Devotional week of Mar 4th

February 3, 2024   /   First Baptist Church Elgin

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.

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