This devotional will prepare you for the sermon on August 20, titled “Let the Spirit Renew You.” The text comes from Ephesians 4:25-5:2, and it looks at the tension between the Grace of God and the call of God for us to continually strive for the holiness which Jesus modeled for us. Dietrich Bonhoeffer warned against cheapening grace by living without commitment. This sermon takes a look at this.
Daily Bible Readings:
Monday August 14. Read James 1:19-21. 1) In this passage James contrasts the righeousness of God and what God wants with what? 2) What does James tell his readers to rid themselves of? 3) What function does the Word of God have in our lives?
Tuesday, August 15. Read Titus 3:1-3. 1) Paul shows that there are two ways to live by a short of before and after picture. What was in that picture? 2) What did Paul tell these Christians in Crete to do? 3) Why do you suppose he told them that?
Wednesday, August 16. Read Colossians 3:8-13. 1) Why does Paul tell the Colossian christians to give up things that he characterized as worldly? 2) What/who is the central fact of a christian’s life? 3) What effect does it have?
Thursday, August 17. Read Luke 12:34-37. 1) Where does Jesus say our attentions should be focused? 2) What does a life with this focus look like?
Friday, August 18. Read Matthew 12:34-37. 1) What language does Jesus use that makes it clear that Jesus believed there was a good and a bad way to live? 2) How do you account for good-fruit behavior? What causes it?
Saturday, August 19. Read Ephesians 4:25-5:2. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer of the Week:
Grant to me, Lord. I pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that I, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ my Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
Come, Holy Spirit, God and Lord!
Martin Luther, 1524
Come, Holy Spirit, God and Lord!
Let all your graces be outpoured
On each believer’s mind and heart;
Your fervent love to us impart.
Lord, by the brightness of your light,
You in the faith do men unite
Of every land and every tongue;
This to your praise, O Lord, be sung.
From every error keep us free;
Let none but Christ our Master be,
That we in living faith abide,
In him with all our might confide.
Lord, by your power, prepare each heart
And to our weakness strength impart,
That bravely here we may contend,
Through life and death to you ascend.
Devotional Article of the Week:
Grieving the Holy Spirit
by Phil Ware
He said, “Without question these are my people, children who would never betray me.” So he became their Savior. In all their troubles, he was troubled, too. He didn’t send someone else to help them. He did it himself, in person. Out of his own love and pity he redeemed them. He rescued them and carried them along for a long, long time. But they turned on him; they grieved his Holy Spirit. So he turned on them, became their enemy and fought them.
— Isaiah 63:8-10 MESSAGE
When we rebel against God, when we ignore his mercy and grace, when we do not do his will, we grieve the Holy Spirit. Immoral behavior and social injustice in Isaiah’s day grieved the Holy Spirit. Paul also said that the way we use our speech and the ways we treat and interact with others could grieve the Spirit (Ephesians 4:29-31). The key message from God that I hear in this passage is powerful and plain: When I sin, when I am not compassionate, and when I am careless with my words, I am not just breaking the will of God, but I am also breaking the heart of the Holy Spirit of God.
O God, gracious Son, and abiding Holy Spirit, please forgive me for my reckless words and rebellious behaviors that break your heart and wound your people. Amen.