PART 1 – THE KING IS REVEALED (24/2/20)
Welcome to the first part in our 'New King, New Kingdom series. For the next six-weeks (over the Lent period) we will seek to deepen our relationship with God using The Lord's Prayer.
This week our devotions will all be around the theme of 'who is the King?' So let's pray as we begin.
Pray: “Father, I thank you that it has always been your desire to reveal yourself and be known by people. I thank you that you have revealed yourself to me. I desire to know you more; please help me to grasp what you want to teach me over this next week. Amen.”
We’ve all experienced getting up in the morning and looking into the mirror. Regardless of how you feel about what you look like, we know that looking into the mirror is the best way of getting a real image of our face and so prepare for the day. Your face is reflected in a mirror; God’s ‘face’ is seen in the Bible. In the Bible, the king is revealed.
How did you view God before becoming a Christian, and where did your views come from?
The bible is inspired by God (the Holy Spirit)
‘All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.’ (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
All of the bible, is 'God-breath', which means that the authors of scripture were inspired by the Holy Spirit in what they wrote. Being God-breathed, the bible is without error and tells us who God is. This is foundational. This is vital. If the devil can cause us to doubt God's word, the foundations of our lives will be destroyed. Ultimately, if we lose confidence in the Bible, we will begin to invent who God is, which is idolatry.
God reveals Himself in His word
Throughout the bible, we learn about who God is. The first phrase of The Lord's Prayer reveals God as "our Father in heaven", and we'll think more about his tomorrow.
Jumping back to the Old Testament, God revealed Himself and His name to Moses whilst he was in the desert. We read,
Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” God said to Moses, “I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:13-14)
I choose this example of many; throughout the Bible, It is always God who takes the initiative to reveal himself to mankind. When He revealed His name as "I am" He was expressing a few things about Himself, including that He is eternal, self-sufficient, unchanging, and is to be defined as He reveals Himself to be.
Jumping to the New Testament, Jesus, who is God with us, gives us seven 'I am statements’ to describe Himself. Take a moment to think about what each one might reveal about God.
John 6:35 " I am the bread of life."
John 8:12) " I am the light of the world."
John 10:9-10 " I am the door of the sheep."
John 10:11-14 " I am the good shepherd."
John 11:25-26) " I am the resurrection and the life."
John 14:6-7) " I am the way, the truth, and the life."
John 15:1-4) " I am the true vine."
Did you notice how Jesus uses this “I am” phrase to describe himself? Jesus is equating Himself with the God who spoke to Moses.
So let’s read the Bible with eyes looking for God. As you read, ask the Father, “what do you want say to me about yourself, your will, character, attributes…?
Let's pray: “Father, I thank you that you have revealed yourself to us in many ways. I thank you for your word through which you teach us to know you. Help me to see you and to know you as I read your word. Amen”
During this series, let's aim to memorise and meditate on The Lord's Prayer.
TIPS ON MEMORISING SCRIPTURE
We will only do this, and persevere in doing this, if we believe that it's truly important to hide God's word in our heart. So get faith!
Don't disqualify yourself if it's hard - it is hard!
Write the text somewhere that's easy to find and use - a note on your phone, a post-it on the fridge...
Include the reference (book/chapter/verse) throughout the process
Read it slowly and carefully x 10 (Don't rush or dismiss this accurate repetition)
Recall it, without looking as much as possible x10
Do this a few times through the day - a habit is best formed by doing this at the same times, and places each day.
Revise regularly (and revise previously memorised verses)
Make it a habit to learn new verses - skill comes over time
USE IT! Actively use it to pray, worship, counsel, prophecy, and counter temptation and lies by quoting truth - it’s the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:17).
TIPS ON BIBLICAL MEDITATION - THE 'COME TO JESUS DAILY METHOD'.
Biblical meditation is to prayerfully read, repeatedly, a section of the bible and pray, worship and respond as God leads. Here are a few tips and questions, what I call the 'come to Jesus daily method', to help you when meditating:
PRAY - Ask for the Spirit to help you and to speak to you. Keep the goal in mind - having a relationship with God!
WRITING- Writing/journaling is often a great help as you answer the questions below. Remember, don't allow worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar, perfection... to stop you from writing - it's between you and God. In meditation, I encourage you to write in the first-person, speaking to God - "I see that you are...I sense you speaking to me about...I pray for...."
GOSPEL- What does God, through this text, say to you about salvation through Jesus?
UP- What does God, through this text, say you about Himself – His worth, character, attributes, will, promises…?
IN- What does God, through this text, say about you, His church and how we are to relate?
OUT- What does God, through this text, say about non-believers and our mission?
RESPONSE – Is there anything else that you want to pray, worship God about, do, ask forgiveness about, ask God to help you to change…?
COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY – WHO IS THE KING? (FOR THE WEEK OF 24/2/20)
Have you ever been lost and how did get ‘un-lost’?
Introduction - please read in your group
Maps are extremely useful but we must have the correct map and learn how to use it. A Christian receives a new map; the bible now directs their lives. For a map to be useful, it has to be scaled down, which means that much detail is removed. The Lord’s Prayer is a scaled-down ‘map’ to prayer and who God is; each phrase is a signpost to a wider path - we are to take each phrase and expand on it as the Spirit leads us. This opening phrase of the Lord’s Prayer teaches us that when we pray, it is helpful to begin by recalling who our King is. Focussing on Him will stir our hearts in worship, remind us of His love toward us, and His power to do the things that we ask for in prayer. Prayer should always begin with an ‘up’ focus - as we declare to our own souls ‘this is your King’.
Please read Matthew 6:9-13.
What have you been inspired by this week through the devotions?
How does knowing the King as Father change one's approach to life?
How does one become a child of God? (John 1:12-13)
‘Heavenly Father’ is a phrase that speaks of God’s power over all things; How does such a vision help us in prayer and worship?
God is revealed, principally, in the bible. Most clearly, we get a vision of the Father in Christ His Son (which is also in His word). What have you read in the bible recently that inspired your vision of God?
Pray - In groups of 3-4
In groups of 3-4 (Try to get into the same groups each week if possible)
Is there anything that you want prayer for out of this week’s study?
Is there anything that you want prayer for more generally?
How connected to God do you feel at the moment and how could you go deeper this week? (let's follow up on this when we next meet together).