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 86:8-13 There is none like you among the gods,
O Lord, nor are there any works like yours.
9 All the nations you have made shall come
and worship before you, O Lord,
and shall glorify your name.
10 For you are great and do wondrous things;
you alone are God.
11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.
12 I give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart,
and I will glorify your name forever.
13 For great is your steadfast love toward me;
you have delivered my soul from the depths of Sheol.
YOU – What an important word in this passage. God is not an ‘it’ or a ‘force’ or a set of ‘ideals’. He is personal. Read the passage again slowly out loud if you can. As you read, emphasize the personal pronoun YOU. Ask God to help you remember that you are relating with a Him, a personal being who has always been and will always be.
1 John 2:28-3:10 – The Message
28 And now, children, stay with Christ. Live deeply in Christ. Then we’ll be ready for him when he appears, ready to receive him with open arms, with no cause for red-faced guilt or lame excuses when he arrives.
29 Once you’re convinced that he is right and righteous, you’ll recognize that all who practice righteousness are God’s true children.
3 What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who he is or what he’s up to.
2-3 But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.
4-6 All who indulge in a sinful life are dangerously lawless, for sin is a major disruption of God’s order. Surely you know that Christ showed up in order to get rid of sin. There is no sin in him, and sin is not part of his program. No one who lives deeply in Christ makes a practice of sin. None of those who do practice sin have taken a good look at Christ. They’ve got him all backward.
7-8 So, my dear children, don’t let anyone divert you from the truth. It’s the person who acts right who is right, just as we see it lived out in our righteous Messiah. Those who make a practice of sin are straight from the Devil, the pioneer in the practice of sin. The Son of God entered the scene to abolish the Devil’s ways.
9-10 People conceived and brought into life by God don’t make a practice of sin. How could they? God’s seed is deep within them, making them who they are. It’s not in the nature of the God-born to practice and parade sin. Here’s how you tell the difference between God’s children and the Devil’s children: The one who won’t practice righteous ways isn’t from God, nor is the one who won’t love brother or sister. A simple test.
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 Christian Challenge as they meet tonight at River. Ask God to speak through the message and the worship time.
Living as God’s People by applying the Bible
Scripture Reflection from the Sermon
What will life be like in the age to come? What will it be like when we die and are in the presence of Christ? What will it be like when we have resurrected bodies in the new heaven and earth? The fact is, Scripture tells us very little about this. We do know that we will be like him because we will see him as he is. We do know that the first time around, creation was called (by God) very good. The new creation will certainly not be less good. I suspect that the reason we did not get more information on the age to come is that we are not equipped, mentally, to handle it. Imagine if you were trying to explain an iPhone to someone from the first century. They don’t understand electricity. They have never heard a recorded sound or seen a picture. Where would you even begin? That’s in terms of how it works for the normal user of a smart phone. What about how the things work in terms of the actual science of it? I don’t know how; you probably don’t either. In fact, the people who do know how they work don’t know all of the reasons that they do. Physics is, even for the physicist, something of a mystery. The age to come is far more marvelous than a smart phone. It is far more than our current minds are equipped to handle. It is enough to know that it is wonderful. It is enough to know that we will be with and like Christ. Speculation on this is not just worthless, it can be a kind of insult to God. Why do we think we need speculation when we have his promise? Speculation can lead to pride or doubt. We speculate by beginning with ourselves and our experience. Those are very limited in scope. By all means contemplate what might be and wonder at the possibilities. Wonder can lead us to worship.