26 | The Call of God

The Bible contains many exciting accounts of God calling individuals and groups of people to know Him and to follow His plans. Noah was called to build an ark, Abraham to leave his homeland to a land that would one day belong to his descendants; the Hebrews were called out of Egypt to be God’s special people.

Jesus began calling individuals from the outset of His ministry – beginning with the fishermen Peter, Andrew, James and John: ‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will send you out to fish for people.’

Jesus’ call was no light-touch refocus. It was all-encompassing, the call to leave all the old ways of thinking and doing, habits, the expectation of others, financial and family security. It was the call to leave the old tracks and set out on a new one:  following Jesus and being part of His kingdom. His call came with a warning to consider carefully the personal cost of following Him before making a response.

Jesus’ call was to a life of sacrificial choices, involving the death of all ‘the old life’ (and possibly physical death as well) in order to find a new one of life, love, joy, faith and sharing. The rewards of following the call were tangible: ‘in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields – along with persecutions – and in the age to come eternal life. Some heard the call and followed. Many heard the call and chose not to follow.

Paul, persecutor-turned-disciple, heard Jesus call him as he journeyed to destroy the church in Damascus.  Later in life he wrote to the Ephesian Christians: “I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received”.

Paul was called to be a disciple. He was also called to be an apostle. Mother Teresa spoke of a ‘call within a call’ to serve the poorest of the poor.

 

Discussion:

Talk about how God called you to be a disciple. Did it come with joy, sorrow or both?

Besides being a disciple, is there anything else (like Paul) God has called you to?

Read Matthew 13:44: Why is the kingdom compared to ‘treasure’ and why is it ‘hidden’?’ What does it mean for you ‘to sell all you have and buy the field?’

Does God call us once, several times or again and again?

 

Scriptures:

Matthew 13:44-46, Matthew 4:18-22, Matthew 16:24-25, Mark 10:29-30, Luke 14:16-20, Luke 14:25-33, Ephesians 4:1

 

Wednesday 21 to Tuesday 27 September 2016 | © Jesus Fellowship Church
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25 | The Excellent Way

God is love and Jesus is God. Jesus is the expression of love, and in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.

We, as his disciples, are living to become like him. His Spirit is working in us, changing us to be more and more like him, to be remade in the image of love.

Jesus shows us the way to live:

“…whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”
(1 John 2:5-6)

The more we realise how much we’ve been forgiven the more thankful we’ll become. This gratitude spurs us on to love well, to love excellently, to give our best. We will start to have an “excellent spirit” like Daniel (Daniel 5:11-14). We will do excellent works, doing people good. We’ll have a diligence, steadfastness, dignity and integrity that will witness to the love of Jesus in us.

 

Discussion:

Describe someone you know who has an “excellent spirit”, as defined above.

What’s the difference between “doing excellent works” and being a do-gooder?

How do you need to grow: knowing and loving God more or putting the love He’s put in you into action?

 

Scriptures:

Daniel 5:11-14, Luke 7:47, Colossians 1:15-23, Titus 2:7-81 John 2:5-6

 

Action:

Read 1 Corinthians 13 and ask God to flag up in you the things that love ‘is not’.

 

Wednesday 14 to Tuesday 20 September 2016 | © Jesus Fellowship Church
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24 | Godly Families

The Bible has a high view of marriage. Jesus saw it as an act of God bringing two people together. The intimacy and commitment between a man and woman is a picture of the relationship between Jesus and his bride, the church.

While God calls some in every generation to remain single, the majority will marry and have children. And so it’s important that we understand God’s heart for families.

There are some notable married couples in the Bible. For example Priscilla and Aquila lived together, worked together and served God together. They are always referred to together, but their marriage was inclusive – they invited Paul to live with them. They used their house as a place to minister to people. The church met regularly in their home.

The Bible presents parents with the challenge of bringing godly discipline to their children, while not exasperating them. Children are told to obey their parents because this will give them the right foundation for life. Youthful simplicity and energy help to normalise church life and create family.

Let’s celebrate families as they take their place in the wider church family.

 

Discussion:

Ask those who are married and/or parents to talk about:

  • What particular struggles they face
  • What they’re most grateful for

How does the ministry of married couples differ from that of celibates?

What are the ingredients of a good kids’ spot?

 

Scriptures:

Matthew 19:10-12, Mark 10:6-9, Acts 18, Romans 16:3-5, Ephesians 5:25-32, Ephesians 6:1-4

 

Wednesday 7 to Tuesday 13 September 2016 | © Jesus Fellowship Church
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