• Matt Beaney

#455 (8/10/21) CLOSE THE DOOR



INTRODUCTION

Over the next three weeks, our devotionals will be based on our vision at CCP. If you are not a part of our church, I trust that you will still find these reflections helpful.


Our vision is to be a church community that is,


“Bringing people to Jesus - myself, one another and my community”




This week we are focussing on what it means to bring ‘myself’ to Jesus.




FAITH TAKES ACTION

This week we’ve been thinking about the crucial idea of bringing ‘myself’ to Jesus. Jesus calls each of us to follow Him and be with Him and we must respond in obedience. If we have put our faith in Jesus for salvation, He is also calling us to put our faith in Him each day through devoted, personal prayer out of His word. The Jesus who went to the cross to save us also wants to walk with us and help us each day. Why would we walk alone? Why would we not walk with this Good Shepherd in prayer? Faith takes action. Faith will make time to pray out of the word. Don’t wait for that easier season when things are easier; do we really believe that we need to pray less when life is challenging?


CLOSE THE DOOR

Jesus summarises our devotion to personal prayer with these words,

‘But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.’ (Matthew 6:6)

‘When you pray’ - Jesus is assuming that you will make a time to pray. I suggest that you try to make it the first thing you do in the morning. This will set your heart, mind and will on the right trajectory.


‘Go into your room’ - We need to choose a place to pray. It’s good to set up a habit of the same place and time each day. We are much more likely to pray throughout the day if we’ve had quality devotional time at the beginning of the day.


‘Close the door’ - Jesus wants to be alone with us. A place of solitude needs to be sought. We need to shut ourselves in with Christ. This practice of secret prayer reveals our integrity like nothing else. Tim Keller wrote,

‘The infallible test of spiritual integrity, Jesus says, is your private prayer life. Many people will pray when they are required by cultural or social expectations, or perhaps by the anxiety caused by troubling circumstances. Those with a genuinely lived relationship with God as Father, however, will inwardly want to pray and therefore will pray even though nothing on the outside is pressing them to do so. They pursue it even during times of spiritual dryness, when there is no social or experiential payoff.’

‘Pray to your Father’ - John Stott taught that knowing and praying to God as our father is the key to growing in prayer. Knowing His love and having love for Him will make secret prayer a delight and priority.


‘Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.’ - Jesus promises great reward for those who will obey Him by praying in this way. The rewards are many, such as knowing God intimately, experiencing His love, assurance of salvation, answered prayer, peace in all circumstances…


So what’s stopping you from obeying Jesus and shutting the door?



PRAY AND WORSHIP OUT OF THE BIBLE

In keeping with this aim of developing a personal relationship with God through prayer and worship out of the Bible, we’ll be developing our skill in meditation and prayer using the structure that we are taught in The Lord’s Prayer.


If you look at The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13), you’ll see that it can be broken into 4 major themes of Praise (6:9), Petitions (6:10-11), Peace-making (Matthew 6:12) and Protection (Matthew 6:13).


Using Matthew 6:6, use the Lord’s prayer structure (below) to help you to pray.

‘But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.’ (Matthew 6:6)

1. Praise - What does this text teach me about God? What can I praise Him for?

2. Petitions - What does this teach me about His will for me and others? What could I pray for from this text? This is a good time to pray for our non-believing. friends. It’s good to ask, Is the Holy Spirit leading me in any specific response?

3. Peace-making - Is the Holy Spirit convicting me of sin for which I need forgiveness? Do I need to forgive others?

4. Protection - Ask for God’s protection generally and for any specific areas of vulnerability. Am I believing lies regarding the truths in this text?


COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY

1. Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.

Let's be praying and actively preparing to invite friends to our carol service on 5th December. Please make sure this is in your diary

2. Icebreaker

How has God spoken to you from the Bible this week?

THIS WEEK IS SIV (SERVE INVEST AND INVITE) WEEK.

Let's spend this time sharing, thinking and praying about how God wants to work through us to help our communities to come to Jesus. Let's never forget the Great Commission that Jesus has given to us,


“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)


SIV is our main strategy for reaching our communities for Jesus. It has three elements:

I) SERVE - SERVING REAL NEEDS.

People who see our love in action - our ‘good deeds’- will be much more open to our message.


II) INVEST - INVESTING IN RELATIONSHIPS

Investment is about time and faithfulness. It's praying faithfully. It’s going to the club faithfully. It’s phoning the friend regularly. It’s sacrificing for the good of others. Many Christians speak of love and of wanting to reach the ‘lost’ but are not prepared to be like that 'good shepherd' and make time for people!


iii) INVITING

This is Inviting people into our church community and closer to Jesus, particularly through Alpha. This might even be a moment when you lead someone to receive Jesus through the gospel message. If we have been investing in our friends, this step will often happen naturally.


VIDEO

Please watch the video together (Click the image below)



In response to this inspiring video, let's talk about how we might respond to God's call to reach our communities for Jesus:


i) Firstly, do you have any encouraging stories since our last SIV week?

ii) Do you have any plans for how you plan to serve, invest and invite in the people and places that God has put? Why not make a note so that you can pray and hold yourself accountable?

iii) Are you planning to do anything together as a group?

iv) Who are you planning to invite to our carol service on the 5th December?

v) How do you want to pray in regard to our mission?




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