Hearing God’s Voice from His Word
James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
Take a moment and turn your attention to God. Tell God that you desire to trust and obey Him. Ask God to speak to you from His word.
Psalm of the Day
Psalm 53:1-3 The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, and their ways are vile; there is no one who does good. 2 God looks down from heaven on all mankind to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. 3 Everyone has turned away, all have become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.
Read the Entire Psalm
God Looks Down. This Psalm looks like all bad news. Every human is corrupt and vile and no one does good. There is no one who understands or seeks God. But notice what God does. He looks down. When mankind turns away, God turns towards. Praise God that He has revealed Himself and that He has turned towards humanity.
1 Peter 4:1-11 – Christian Standard Bible
4 Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same understanding—because the one who suffers in the flesh is finished with sin— 2 in order to live the remaining time in the flesh no longer for human desires, but for God’s will. 3 For there has already been enough time spent in doing what the Gentiles choose to do: carrying on in unrestrained behavior, evil desires, drunkenness, orgies, carousing, and lawless idolatry. 4 They are surprised that you don’t join them in the same flood of wild living—and they slander you. 5 They will give an account to the one who stands ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this reason the gospel was also preached to those who are now dead, so that, although they might be judged in the flesh according to human standards, they might live in the spirit according to God’s standards.
7 The end of all things is near; therefore, be alert and sober-minded for prayer. 8 Above all, maintain constant love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10 Just as each one has received a gift, use it to serve others, as good stewards of the varied grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let it be as one who speaks God’s words; if anyone serves, let it be from the strength God provides, so that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ in everything. To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
Having God’s Ear through Prayer
- Express thanksgiving to God.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal sin to you.
- Confess your sin to Him and receive forgiveness.
(1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sin He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins.”)
- Bring your personal requests to God.
(Psalm 62:8 “Pour out your heart before God”)
- Pray for someone in your small group.
- Join with others from River and pray for those in our church who are sick. Ask God to comfort and heal them. Pray for peace and strength for them and their family.
Living as God’s People by applying the Bible
Scripture Reflection from the Sermon
This is pretty weighty stuff. We are to speak as if speaking the very words of God and to serve in God’s strength. I think Peter intends for it to be weighty, but not “heavy.” This is not meant to sound oppressive or even impressive. It is meant to signify the great stewardship and opportunity we have been given by God. He has gifted us for service, and now we are to consider ourselves as speaking for him and serving directly from his strength. This doesn’t mean you get to go around saying “thus saith the Lord!” That is weird and unhelpful. What it means is that you must weigh your words. You must consider the fact that others need to hear words of truth: words that encourage, and challenge, and give direction. Others need you to serve them in God’s strength and not in your own. The difference isn’t readily apparent the majority of the time, but perhaps it is seen mostly in our attitude. When we serve in God’s strength, we are not going to begrudge that service; it will be full of joy. When we serve in God’s strength, we are not going to take pride when others are helped. It is not about us. Embrace this great privilege and responsibility in your life. God has made you his ambassador in the world. You get to represent him. Take this seriously, but don’t act overly serious. Represent him with joy, because he is a joyful God.