Grow Deep - The Brand New Edition week 3
Week: January 19 – 25
A Brand New Community
Memory Verse: “To the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be His holy people, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ—their Lord and ours: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:1
We are always in relationships throughout our lives. Some of them are simple and trivial. We establish a temporary connection with the cashier at the grocery store. We say hello to the postal worker who delivers our mail. We thank the person who holds a door for us, even though he or she is a stranger. Other relationships are functional. They are commonly called working relationships. We interact with others to complete a job. These interactions are task-oriented. Then there are deep, long-term relationships with those to whom we are close, like our spouses, close friends, our children or our parents.
Relationships with others can be positive or negative. Is there a person in your life that brings out the best in you? You enjoy being with them. You laugh more and you talk more when you are with them. I know of three friends that still get together regularly even though their friendship began over 60 years ago. The three families look forward to each other’s company at least once a month. But then there are other people in our lives who may be difficult for us to be around. Those people can annoy us. We are not comfortable around them. When I am in a conversation with someone like this, I can become protective of my ideas. I can also become angry or frustrated easily, and I don’t listen as carefully as I should. I’m just not at ease with them.
This week our Scripture readings direct our reflections first on the loving, forgiving relationship that God has established with us. Secondly, these verses focus on our relationship with fellow Christians. Let God speak to you through His Word this week. Listen for His wisdom as it applies to you in your relationships. See where He wants to grow you!
Sunday, January 19
Read: 1 Corinthians 1:1-9
Paul’s lengthy introduction of this letter to the Christians in the city of Corinth does more than just say “Dear Friends in Christ.” He takes the time to describe how he sees the members of this early Christian congregation. Paul thoroughly describes the characteristics of those who have come to know Christ.
Reflect: Could Paul be writing to us as members of Christ’s Church today? What does he say are the traits that he would expect in our lives? How are these traits realized in congregational life?
Monday, January 20
Read: 1 Corinthians 9:1-19
Paul notes the problems that existed among the members of the congregation in Corinth. They were divided; some claimed that Paul was the center of their faith; others debated that the law should be at the center of faith. But Paul is very direct in his words: the focus of the congregation must be Jesus Christ.
Reflect: Most of us would agree that we have the Gospel in mind as members of our congregation. However, what issues tend to bring up disagreement among members of Christ’s Church here on earth? What is usually behind these disagreements? How do personal views get injected into our reasoning?
Tuesday, January 21
Read: 1 Corinthians 12:12-26
Paul describes the church and its members using the analogy of a body. All parts of the body have distinct functions and abilities. Yet, it takes all the body parts working together to be fully effective. In the same way, each member of Christ’s church has a unique function that contributes to the whole.
Reflect: What abilities and gifts has God given to you and how can you apply them to the church? When there is disagreement in the church, how do we feel about those with whom we disagree? How should we approach disagreements within our congregation?
Wednesday, January 22
Read: Ephesians 2:11-22
Paul reminds the Christians in Ephesus that they are a brand new community that is one in Christ regardless of their backgrounds or nationalities.
Reflect: How does Paul describe the oneness of the members of the congregation in Ephesus? Paul states that Christ delivers peace. What do you think that means to us as individual Christians? Are there differences between individuals that can taint our thoughts? How does that affect our relationships with one another? Can it be toxic to the function of the Church?
Thursday, January 23
Read: 2 Corinthians 5:16-21
Together we are a brand new creation in Christ. As such, we are called to be ambassadors of God’s grace to the rest of the world.
Reflect: What is the difference between what God would have us do in our relationships with others and the human point of view? How does this play out in our lives? How did God demonstrate this in Christ Jesus?
Friday, January 24
Read: Luke 10:25-28
Jesus calls His followers to love their neighbors in a brand new way.
Reflect: What was Jesus’ point? How do we find the way to eternal life? Is it possible to show perfect love to God and to others? Why then should we try so hard to live a life of love for God and others?
Saturday, January 25
Read: Luke 10:29-37
Jesus gives a picture of the brand new type of love to which His followers are called.
Reflect: Jesus illustrates how we should treat others by taking care of their needs first. There are opportunities around us every day. Can you name five opportunities to show God’s love through your daily relationships? What about today?