Daily Bible Readings:
Monday, June 8. Read Matthew 18:21-35. 1) What question did Peter ask Jesus? 2) What was Jesus’ answer to his question, and what story did he tell to illustrate it?
Tuesday, June 9. Read John 13:1-38. 1) What act did Jesus perform for his disciples in the upper room, and why did he say he had done it? 2) What new commandment did Jesus give his disciples, and how did the act Jesus performed illustrate this new command?
Wednesday, June 10. Read 1 Corinthians 12:22-26. 1) What comparison does Paul draw to the church? 2) What sort of attention do the members of the church give to her? 3) What happens when one member of the church is suffering?
Thursday, June 11. Read Philippians 2:3-8. 1) What instructions did Paul give in verses 3,4 to the Philippian church? 2) What does Jesus say in verses 5-8 was the corrective to a selfish point of view?
Friday, June 12. Read Hebrews 13:1-3. 1) What is our obligation to one another in the church? 2) What is our obligation to strangers? What sometimes happens to people who act in this way?
Saturday, June 13. Read Romans 12:9-21. This is Sunday’s sermon text.
Prayer for the Week:
Dear Father, the source of our lives, our name, and the riches that can come only from you, I pray that you will strengthen your church with the power of your Spirit dwelling in us. May Christ find us to be a family of people where he wants to live and do his work.
We pray that Christ’s presence in us with help us to mature in our faith and give us wisdom and understanding to know Christ’s surpassing greatness and resourcefulness. As a result, may we be filled with God’s fulness, and may the people we encounter see your influence in our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray this. Amen.
Hymn of the Week:
More Holiness Give Me
by P. P. Bliss
More holiness give me,
More striving within;
More patience in suff’ring,
More sorrow for sin;
More faith in my Savior,
More sense of His care.
More joy in His service,
More purpose in prayer.
More gratitude give me,
More trust in the Lord;
More pride in His glory,
More hope in His word;
More tears for His sorrows,
More pain at His grief;
More meekness in trial,
More praise for relief.
More purity give me,
More strength to o’ercome;
More freedom from earth-stains,
More longings for home;
More fit for the kingdom,
More used would I be;
More blessèd and holy,
More, Savior, like Thee.
Devotional Article of the Week
When a Church Stops Being a Church
by Tim Archer
In the New Testament, we read about a church that was very hard-working and careful to defend all the correct teachings. They were quick to expose those that tried to teach untruths. They had maintained their faith during difficult times. They had done all of these things … yet Jesus told them that if they didn’t change, they could no longer be counted as one of his churches!
Jesus said this to the church in Ephesus: “Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love” (Revelation 2:4). Just as married couples can lose the romance from their relationship, churches can lose their love. They begin to focus on ritual perfection and doctrinal hairsplitting, and they forget their reason for existence. They lose their first love. Instead of being an organism, Christ’s body, they become an organization. Rules, regulations, and rituals replace relationships. What gets lost along the way is the loving spirit Christians should have.
Jesus rejects empty rules and hollow rituals. That’s not how he envisioned the church, nor what he will allow his churches to be. The church must be a community of love, characterized by a fervent love of God and of fellow man. It is to be an accepting place, not accepting intentional error, but accepting imperfect people.
If you haven’t found the church to be this way, don’t give up! There are churches out there who remember their first love and continue to live it. There are Christians who work every day at becoming more like Jesus.
If you are a Christian but have forgotten what you are supposed to be about, it’s not too late. Jesus said to these Christians in Revelation 2: “Repent and do the things you did at first” (Revelation 2:5). We can go back to our first love, living out that love in our daily lives. We can replace empty ritual with a fulfilling life of love. We can return to being the body of Christ.
The church is an organism, not an organization. It is fueled by love, following the God that is love. We must never forget.