This week’s devotional prepares its readers for the August 12 sermon, Good Advice for a Lonely Life. The sermon explores the community nature of the church and the role it plays in the life of a disciple of Jesus.
Daily Bible Reading:
Monday, August 6. Read Acts 2:41-47. 1) What happened on the Day of Pentecost as a result of Peter’s preaching? 2) What good problems do you think arose as a result of the sudden creation of such a large group of people? 3) What practices began on the Day of Pentecost?
Tuesday, August 7. Read Acts 20:28-31. 1) This text is part of a speech that Paul made to the leaders within the church at Ephesus. What does Paul say to the elders in verse 28? 2) This may seem like a silly question, nevertheless, to what unit of people do these instructions pertain? 3) What protective function does the church fulfill?
Wednesday, August 8. Read Romans 15:1-10. 1) Would you say the church is homogeneous or heterogeneous? 2) What responsibility do members of the church have to each other? 3) What virtues are practiced in the church? Would you call them social or private virtues?
Thursday, August 9. Read 1 Corinthians 3:1-9. 1) How did Paul view his own life with respect to other people? 2) What did Paul believe about the roles that individuals play in the church. 3) What words did Paul use to describe individuals within the church (vs. 9)? How are these words social words?
Friday, August 10. Read Ephesians 4:1-13. 1) According to Paul, what does a life lived “worthy of one’s calling” look like in practical terms? 2) How does one go about living that sort of life? See verses 2-3. 3) What are the Christ-given gifts to be used for in the church?
Saturday, August 11. Read Ephesians 4:25-5:2. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
The Prayer for the Week:
Dear Father, hallowed be your name. In the heavenly realm you dwell in the company of the Trinity. As we pray, “Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, so it is now, and so it ever shall be.” May we, Father, imitate the community, the harmony, and the love which we see in the Trinity and which you modeled for us in Jesus. Help us to live for others rather than self. In Jesus’ name we pray this. Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
Blest Be the Tie That Binds by John Fawcett, 1782
Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love; the fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above.
Before our Father’s throne we pour our ardent prayers; our fears, our hopes, our aims are one, our comforts and our cares.
We share our mutual woes, our mutual burdens bear, and often for each other flows the sympathizing tear.
When we are called to part, it gives us inward pain; but we shall still be joined in heart, and hope to meet again.
This glorious hope revives our courage by the way; while each in expectation lives and waits to see the day.
From sorrow, toil, and pain, and sin, we shall be free; and perfect love and friendship reign through all eternity.