• Matt Beaney

#425 - THE GREAT REVERSE - (27/8/21)



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

‘As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved.’ (Ephesians 2:1-5)

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

This entire passage is about the gospel. It speaks of a great reverse. We were spiritually dead. The way that we lived revealed the condition of our hearts. We were ruled by demonic powers. We were under God’s judgement. However, God has turned everything upside down. ‘But because of His great love for us…’ God broke in with mercy. He made us spiritually alive.


2. UP

God is wrathful against sin. In His righteousness, He must judge sin and feel anger toward sinners. However, He is also ‘great in love’ and ‘rich in mercy’. This is a great dilemma. For God to show us mercy and overlook judgement would render Him unrighteousness and wicked! Only In Christ is this overcome. Jesus has taken God’s judgement in our stead. God is free to pour His rich love and mercy upon us.


3. IN

This text speaks of a great reverse in our lives. That which we were has been reversed in Christ. We were spiritually dead and living in accordance with that nature. We are now spiritually alive and live in accord with the Spirit. We were ruled by dark forces, we are now ruled by God. We once followed the appetites of the ‘flesh’ - sinful desires - now we follow the Spirit. We were under wrath, we are now under love and mercy. Because of God's great love we’ve experienced the great reverse.


4. OUT

Our friends and family are under God’s judgement. They are ruled by demonic powers at work in them. They need this great reverse that is possible in Christ. Let’s be praying for the Spirit to work in our communities. May they experience mercy and love triumphing over judgement.


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

An application from this text could be to give quality time to meditating on such a rich text. Our lives are transformed by these kinds of truths.

We could pray regularly for God to have mercy on our friends and family.

This text searches our lives. Are we living in accord with our new identity or are we allowing the flesh and demonic ‘spirits’ to lead us?

Such a text keeps us humble and patient. We were the same as everyone else. What we are is by God’s mercy. Are we treating people as God has and is treating us?


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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