• Matt Beaney

#421 - WALKING WITH THE LORD - (23/8/21)




During this LEARNING TO HEAR series I’m taking a different approach to these devotionals. I want to us work harder at searching the scriptures for ourselves. We will use the ‘Come to Jesus Daily’ method below to help us with this. It’s well worth the hard work involved!


TODAY’S TEXT

‘Then the church throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened. Living (Walking) in the fear of the Lord and encouraged (Comforted) by the Holy Spirit, it increased (Multiplied) in numbers.’ (Acts 9:31)

I’ve included my reflections on today’s text below. However, I encourage you to pray and spend time reflecting (writing can be helpful) using the 5 questions below before reading my thoughts.


i. †GOSPEL - 'Gaze on the cross'- What does this text reveal about salvation through Jesus?

ii. UP – What does this text say about God – His worth, character, attributes, will, promises…?

iii. IN – What does this say about me, the church and how we are to relate? Is there a promise to believe, command to do, attitude to have, something to avoid, is there forgiveness to seek or give?

iv. OUT – What does this say about my community and mission?

v. DO - This has two components. Firstly, list as many possible ways that you can think of that one might apply the text (actions or attitudes). Secondly, hear - Pray about how the Holy Spirit is leading you, specifically, to respond.


MY REFLECTIONS


1. †GOSPEL

What are the sorts of things that we can glean from Acts 9:31? Through the gospel, these people had become God’s church because they have been forgiven and united together in Christ.

Along with unity, the members of this church had a new loving reverence - 'fear' - and enjoy the encouragement of the Holy Spirit in their lives.

Through the gospel the separation and distance caused by our sin has been removed. We can walk with God and find peace and encouragement as this first church did.


2. UP

This text - the story of this church - is recorded by inspiration of the Holy Spirit; God pays special attention to His church. He may allow them to go through periods of trial, but He remains with them and for them. In fact, He uses our distresses to draw us to Himself and do a deep work in us.


3. IN

The Father wants you to be healthy; this entails enjoying His peace, that He strengthen you, that you fear Him and no other and that you be comforted by the Holy Spirit as you walk with Him each day.

He wants you to ‘walk’ with Him in a closer way. Times of fear or challenge reveal our spiritual health; fear and challenge reveals who or what were are really ‘walking’ after and what or who we are trusting. If we are not truly walking with God and being filled with the Holy Spirit each day, we will fear people and be led into compromise in many ways. The Bible writes,

‘The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.’ (Proverbs 29:25)

Jesus promises us the peace, strength, awe, and the comfort of the Holy Spirit,

‘But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.’ (John 16:7)


4. OUT

This text ends with the growth of the church,

‘Then the church…encouraged (Comforted) by the Holy Spirit, it increased (Multiplied) in numbers.’

A healthy church that is walking with God and filled with the Spirit will multiply. More people will be saved. More churches will be planted. New things will be birthed out of ordinary church members like you and me!


5. DO? - Here are a few examples of application that I’ve come up with:

An application could be to simply spend more time meditating and praying for yourself and the church out of this rich text.

Take a regular health check on our personal life - have we become fearful of things we should not really be fearful of? What do we believe about God? Does this line up with the God in the bible? Are we running ahead of God and pursuing our own agenda? Are we lagging behind God, becoming stagnant?

Are you daily asking for the strength and comfort of the Holy Spirit to fill you as you go about your day?

Multiplication happens because each of us is listening to God, being devoted to a local church and playing our part. Are you truly a member of a local church? How are you helping in multiplication?

HEAR - Pray about how the Holy Spirit might want you to respond.


COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY



During this LEARNING TO HEAR series we are going to take a different approach to learning from the Bible together. We will use the ‘Come to Jesus Daily Method’ together (Gospel, Up, In, Out, Do) - you will have to do all the work!


1. Icebreaker - How has God spoken to you from the Bible this week? (During this LEARNING TO HEAR series, we are seeking to develop a culture of listening to God out of His word)


2. Select a text of scripture. (You could use the text from Sunday’s message or something of your choice.)


3. Read and recall. (Read the text and ask each person in the group to put it into their own words.)


4. Please go through these questions together:

i. †GOSPEL - 'Gaze on the cross'- What does this text reveal about salvation through Jesus?

ii. UP – What does this text say about God – His worth, character, attributes, will, promises…?

iii. IN – What does this say about me, the church and how we are to relate? Is there a promise to believe, command to do, attitude to have, something to avoid, is there forgiveness to seek or give?

iv. OUT – What does this say about my community and mission?

v. DO - This has two components. Firstly, list as many possible ways that you can think of that one might apply the text (actions or attitudes). Secondly, hear - Pray and share (if it’s appropriate) about how the Holy Spirit is leading you, specifically, to respond.


5. SIV - Finally, it would be helpful to talk and pray about how we are doing in regard to Serve, Invest and Invite. Do you have any encouraging stories or any plans in this regard? How do you want to pray in regard to our mission?







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