The inky black darkness bombarded my brain as my eyelids popped open. What is it that wakes us in the middle of the night–halfway between midnight and the time we need to wake up–and won’t let us go back to sleep? A boogeyman, as other kids told us when we were young? Then he started whispering those thoughts that are so heavy on our hearts: “You know you can’t deal with this situation! You might as well give up. You’re not going to win. You’re going to lose everything. You’re a loser. You’ve nothing to gain…” and so on and so on. On a good night, when we’re firing on all cylinders spiritually, we can (and should!) immediately turn all of the attacks over to God in prayer–even out loud if we won’t wake anyone. But the need to talk it over, to perhaps wake your partner and unburden the heaviness, almost overwhelms you. Then you hear them wiffle a little snore, and no, you won’t wake them.
Why is it our first desire, when things are burdening us so, to share it with someone? Or our first reaction when we have news of great joy is to think of who we can tell, so they can rejoice with us? Because we were made for relationships, that’s why! Ideally, we are “plugged in to” Jesus so deeply as a Friend that even in the midst of those long night hours when we lay awake, we feel Him wrap His arms around us, hugging us, letting us know it’s going to be okay. There’s no boogeyman, no one who is going to eat us, and it’s only Satan’s minions who are doing his will to try to tear away our peace and joy. As we mentioned last week, this is a great time to have the 46th Psalm memorized, and sing it in our hearts, as the Bible says.
Get your notebook out, have it handy, and be ready to listen (if you haven’t already!) to the sermon preached at Thomas Road Baptist Church, Sunday, August 28, 2016. Click on the link here: http://www.trbc.org/service-archive and select the last sermon. If you are by yourself, and wish to do the study below in one day, great! If you have a friend or group who can join you, take as long as you wish, perhaps working through it during the week, but holding each other accountable. However you wish to study, do it “to show yourself approved by God, a workman who does not need to be ashamed.” (2 Tim. 2:15.)
What type of crisis are you currently facing, or perhaps have faced recently? Do you have someone who can help you carry the burden and walk this path of tears with you? Get your notebook out to write down the thoughts or answers that come to mind!
We are currently looking at the need to be deeply “plugged in” to Christ Jesus, walking with Him closely each day. This is very necessary as you face trials and unbearable catastrophes on an almost-daily schedule. Let’s look at the need to be walking so closely with Him that we all are passionate to share His light to a very dark world.
Think About or Discuss:
- The Mission Statement of TRBC is a three-fold focus, all inspired from God’s word. For those of you who are not part of TRBC, we exist to change our world by developing Christ-followers who love God and love people
One of those areas is the desire to change your world. Let’s look at what is involved.
It takes work
- Read 2 Corinthians 5:11-21. What does Paul specifically tell you in verse 11a? If believers gather on Sunday, go through an “Order of Service,” then go home, will change in the world take place? Why or why not?
- You might pray for your “neighbor,” or someone you work or associate with, to be saved, but what are some things that must take place along with your prayer?
- Why would Paul say you have a “fearful responsibility?”
It takes commitment
- Read verse 14 again. Why is submission to the power of God completely at odds with the propaganda the world throws at everyone?
- How are you able to tell when a couple is happy in their marriage? How is that analogous to what people think when they find you call yourself a Christian? What do they think when they see your lifestyle?
It takes acceptance
- Read verses 16 and 17. Can someone be a “closet” Christian? Are there verses that come to your mind that refute that concept?
- Why is it necessary that others see your life has changed?
It takes HIM
- Read verse 19. Is there any reason for Christ to have died if you could get to heaven through your giving, through good works, or helping meet needs through social media?
It takes YOU
- Read verses 20 and 21. As you interact with people during a day, how many times do you actually look into their eyes to see if there’s a need? The eyes, it is said, are the window to the soul. What can their eyes tell you?
- How can you reach your world for Christ?
As you begin a new week, there’s much to think about concerning your passion to tell others what Christ has done for you. Take just a moment to write down some ways in which you can actually carry out the command of Christ to love the world (Matt. 28), love God with everything you are and everything you have, and love your neighbor (i.e., anyone you meet or come in contact with) more than you love yourself. List something you are passionate about. Does this passion exist in your relationship with Jesus? This week, ask Him to show you ways to know Him more intimately, love Him more dearly, meet ONE need of ONE neighbor, and start to change your world!
Memory Verse: 2 Corinthians 5:17: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, behold, all things have become new.”
Focal Passage: 2 Corinthians 5:11-21.
Contemplate: The members of any local body of believers should be passionate about 1) Having a Commitment to Scripture; 2) Having Discipline in a deep Prayer Life; 3) Being Engaged in a Lifestyle of Worship; 4) Being Connected in your Community—or area of influence; 5) Having a Heart for Serving; and 6) Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.