#685. ADORATION (8/11/22)
This week’s devotionals are based upon our ’New Ground Sunday’ and our recent Leadership Conference. Both of these events are focused on encouraging churches and leaders in the New Ground family of churches but I trust that anyone will find these devotionals helpful.
We would all say, I hope, that we want to be more like Christ. What does this mean? Does it mean doing more good works? Does it mean praying for the sick? Does it mean discipling people? Being like Jesus means many things but at the heart of likeness to Christ is being a worshipper. Of all people He perfectly kept the first and greatest commandment to:
'You shall have no other gods before me.' (Exodus 20:3)
'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.' (Matthew 22:37)
Without love for God, we achieve nothing even if what we are doing looks impressive! If we want to be like Jesus, we must live like Him and He worshipped. Jesus lived a life of adoration of the Father.
ADORATION LEADS TO INTIMACY AND OBEDIENCE
Jesus’ adoration and worship led to intimacy with and obedience to the Father. He walked with Him every day and at all times. He obeyed the Father in everything. We read:
‘Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. For the Father loves the Son and shows him all he does. Yes, and he will show him even greater works than these, so that you will be amazed.’ (John 5:19-20)
‘By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.’ (John 5:30)
‘For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.’ (John 6:38)
Jesus had times of worship and He also abided with the Father at all times. Jesus did not treat worship as a discipline to be ticked off; He treated worship and times of adoration as time with His Father. Time to experience His love. Time to be refreshed. Time to hear His voice and so obey Him. Adoration puts everything into perspective. If we are fearful, worship magnifies the love and power of God. If we are angry, worship magnifies the grace and mercy of God. If we are grieving, worship magnifies the hope we have in Christ. If we are becoming proud-full, adoration magnifies God and our need of Him… Dave Holden said:
‘Worship is about magnifying the Lord. When we don’t worship we magnify something else.’ (Dave Holden)
ADORATION LEADS TO FRUITFULNESS
If you are a leader of any kind - an elder, youth worker, working with children, in your job… do you understand that without prayer and worship we will have no true success. Jesus reminds us that if we fail to abide in Him we ‘can do nothing’!
‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.’ (John 15:5)
How does one remain in Him? Adoration is a massive part of this. Dave Holden said:
‘The key to leadership is never public. It’s always about what happens in private.’ (Dave Holden
Michael Reeves speaks to all when in what he says to church leaders about adoration:
Delighting in God is therefore the root and happy secret behind growing in Christ, serving the church, and blessing the world. It is not something extra that we add on to a list of righteous actions but the very ground and source of righteous living. So, friends, keep making sure of this: that all your ministry and all your life is an act of worship—full of prayer, full of praise, which are fuel for your enjoyment of God. (Reeves. Authentic Ministry. P. 11)
Time demands put on Christ were never as important as devotion. We read:
‘Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their illnesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. (Luke 5:15-16)
Will we priorities times of adoration? Will we push unimportant and important things aside so as to be with the Father? When, where and how will you worship God each day?
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
What has God been speaking to you about from His word recently? How would you like prayer?
3. Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group
NEW GROUND SUNDAY - THE KINGDOM IS GROWING
On Sunday we had Dave Holden speaking at our New Ground Sunday. He spoke about the need for fresh faith that God is building His Kingdom and that He wants us involved.
WHAT IS THE KINGDOM OF GOD?
The Kingdom of God, put simply, is God’s rule. Whenever someone becomes a Christian, they enter the Kingdom as they come under the reign of Christ. Whenever the church effects the world in any way, the Kingdom is expressed as God’s will in done. To see the Kingdom come means more people becoming Christians and more light being shown through he acts of the saints.
GOD IS EXTENDING HIS KINGDOM
It’s God’s will for the Kingdom to grow. Isaiah promises that the success of the Kingdom, ultimately, depends upon God’s power and zeal:
‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.’ (Isaiah 9:6-7)
God’s kingdom is going to be extended from generation to generation and nation to nation until the end comes. Jesus taught us to pray:
“Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…”
This prayer will be fully answered at the return of Christ. Then, and only then, will the Kingdom be fully expressed in this fallen world and universe.
THE KINGDOM STARTS SMALL AND GROWS
Jesus spoke of the growing nature of the Kingdom with these 2 parables:
‘Then Jesus asked, ‘What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it to? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches.’ Again he asked, ‘What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about thirty kilograms of flour until it worked all through the dough.’ (Luke 13:18-21)
Jesus is promising that the Kingdom of God will affect more and more people and places. Each generation is to expect to see the Kingdom extended. Again, as with The Lord’s Prayer, the full growth of the ‘tree’ and the full mixing of the ‘yeast’ is about the final consummation at Jesus’ return.
GOD WANTS YOU AND I INVOLVED
God is committed to His Kingdom coming. The final outcome is inevitable if the process of growth has started. The Spirit is at work to complete the work that He has started. However, He wants His church involved in this work. Through us, the Kingdom comes to more people and places.
RESPONSE - DIG AROUND IT!
Jesus gave us this parable:
‘Then he told this parable: A man had a fig-tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, “For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig-tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?” “Sir,” the man replied, “leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig round it and fertilise it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.”’ (Luke 13:6-9)
This parable was confronting and challenging God’s people, many of whom were religious but unfruitful. Many were rejecting Christ. Jesus was speaking to them of God’s judgment, patience and call to repentance. God was giving them time to dig around the soil of their lives and come back to Him. God is calling us to dig around the soil of our lives. Are we being fruitful? Are we seeking first the Kingdom? Are we paying lip service but our hearts are not engaged? How does God want you to be more involved in 'seeking first the Kingdom of God'?
i) Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?
ii) How would you summarise the Kingdom of God?
iii) How does one enter the Kingdom of God?
iii) When we pray “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…” what are we asking to happen?
iii. How does God want you more involved in seeking the Kingdom?
SIV - Let's keep praying and planning for how we can invite people to our carol service on 11th December (4 pm).
SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories of sharing your faith with your friends?
SIV - How do you plan to 'serve, invest and invite' into your friendships?
SIV - Let's pray for the Spirit to lead us in reaching our community.