ADORATION – Reflect on God’s Greatness
GOD IS MERCY, GRACE, AND PATIENCE
God’s mercy, patience, and grace may be seen as three separate attributes, or as specific aspects of God’s goodness. These three characteristics of God’s nature are often mentioned together, especially in the Old Testament. When God declared his name to Moses, he proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Exodus 34:6). David says in Psalm 103:8, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.”
Praise the God who is Merciful, Gracious and Patient
Think for just a moment about mercy. God has not given you what you deserve. Consider saving grace for a moment. God has given you what you could never earn, salvation and freedom from sin. Think now about God’s patience. He waited for you to repent. He is patient now in leading you to become like his son. Praise him and thank him for his mercy, grace and patiences towards you.
CONFESSION: Confess your sins to God and receive his continued mercy.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
THANKSGIVING: Giving thanks to God for his specific blessings in our lives.
“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.” Psalm 100
SUPPLICATION: Bringing our requests to God.
- Bring your personal prayer requests to God.
- Pray for Christian Challenge as students meet tonight at River.
- Ask God to challenge students to walk with him and to bring unbelieving students to saving faith.
- Pray that God would direct us as a church to be faithful with the stewardship he has given us regarding student ministry.
- Ask God to speak as you read and meditate.
1 Corinthians 10 The Message
1-5 Remember our history, friends, and be warned. All our ancestors were led by the providential Cloud and taken miraculously through the Sea. They went through the waters, in a baptism like ours, as Moses led them from enslaving death to salvation life. They all ate and drank identical food and drink, meals provided daily by God. They drank from the Rock, God’s fountain for them that stayed with them wherever they were. And the Rock was Christ. But just experiencing God’s wonder and grace didn’t seem to mean much—most of them were defeated by temptation during the hard times in the desert, and God was not pleased.
6-10 The same thing could happen to us. We must be on guard so that we never get caught up in wanting our own way as they did. And we must not turn our religion into a circus as they did—“First the people partied, then they threw a dance.” We must not be sexually promiscuous—they paid for that, remember, with 23,000 deaths in one day! We must never try to get Christ to serve us instead of us serving him; they tried it, and God launched an epidemic of poisonous snakes. We must be careful not to stir up discontent; discontent destroyed them.
11-12 These are all warning markers—danger!—in our history books, written down so that we don’t repeat their mistakes. Our positions in the story are parallel—they at the beginning, we at the end—and we are just as capable of messing it up as they were. Don’t be so naive and self-confident. You’re not exempt. You could fall flat on your face as easily as anyone else. Forget about self-confidence; it’s useless. Cultivate God-confidence.
13 No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it.
14 So, my very dear friends, when you see people reducing God to something they can use or control, get out of their company as fast as you can.
15-18 I assume I’m addressing believers now who are mature. Draw your own conclusions: When we drink the cup of blessing, aren’t we taking into ourselves the blood, the very life, of Christ? And isn’t it the same with the loaf of bread we break and eat? Don’t we take into ourselves the body, the very life, of Christ? Because there is one loaf, our many-ness becomes one-ness—Christ doesn’t become fragmented in us. Rather, we become unified in him. We don’t reduce Christ to what we are; he raises us to what he is. That’s basically what happened even in old Israel—those who ate the sacrifices offered on God’s altar entered into God’s action at the altar.
19-22 Do you see the difference? Sacrifices offered to idols are offered to nothing, for what’s the idol but a nothing? Or worse than nothing, a minus, a demon! I don’t want you to become part of something that reduces you to less than yourself. And you can’t have it both ways, banqueting with the Master one day and slumming with demons the next. Besides, the Master won’t put up with it. He wants us—all or nothing. Do you think you can get off with anything less?
23-24 Looking at it one way, you could say, “Anything goes. Because of God’s immense generosity and grace, we don’t have to dissect and scrutinize every action to see if it will pass muster.” But the point is not to just get by. We want to live well, but our foremost efforts should be to help others live well.
25-28 With that as a base to work from, common sense can take you the rest of the way. Eat anything sold at the butcher shop, for instance; you don’t have to run an “idolatry test” on every item. “The earth,” after all, “is God’s, and everything in it.” That “everything” certainly includes the leg of lamb in the butcher shop. If a nonbeliever invites you to dinner and you feel like going, go ahead and enjoy yourself; eat everything placed before you. It would be both bad manners and bad spirituality to cross-examine your host on the ethical purity of each course as it is served. On the other hand, if he goes out of his way to tell you that this or that was sacrificed to god or goddess so-and-so, you should pass. Even though you may be indifferent as to where it came from, he isn’t, and you don’t want to send mixed messages to him about who you are worshiping.
29-30 But, except for these special cases, I’m not going to walk around on eggshells worrying about what small-minded people might say; I’m going to stride free and easy, knowing what our large-minded Master has already said. If I eat what is served to me, grateful to God for what is on the table, how can I worry about what someone will say? I thanked God for it and he blessed it!
31-33 So eat your meals heartily, not worrying about what others say about you—you’re eating to God’s glory, after all, not to please them. As a matter of fact, do everything that way, heartily and freely to God’s glory. At the same time, don’t be callous in your exercise of freedom, thoughtlessly stepping on the toes of those who aren’t as free as you are. I try my best to be considerate of everyone’s feelings in all these matters; I hope you will be, too.
Paul’s concluding thought in vs 31-33 is that Christians ought to do all things to the glory of God and the good of others. This principle needs to be what guides our decision-making process, especially in difficult situations. We need wisdom in these situations to act in God-honoring and people-blessing ways.
Wisdom in the world is all about gaining knowledge in order to gain power and status. Knowledge is about self-promotion. But wisdom is about skilled living, not intellect. Earlier in 1 Corinthians, Paul talked about “the wisdom and power of God.” This wisdom is manifest in the cross of Christ. Jesus is the one who fully embodied what it meant to surrender his rights for the sake of loving others. He was highly exalted, but came to earth, taking the form of a servant, and gave up his life in order to save us and reconcile us to God. If we truly want to embody wisdom, we need to be like Christ—loving others through acts of service. How can you embody the wisdom of Christ today through serving others?