Grow Deep - Step 1 Edition - Week 2

 Week 2: January 13-19

Step 1: It’s Still Not Your Step

Memory Verse: “There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism …” Ephesians 4:4-5

My Dad was born into a Jewish family … his parents, grandparents, and extended family were all Jewish. When he was four, his mother died. For a part of the year following her death, he lived with some Christian neighbors who had a son the same age. Those neighbors took my Dad to worship services and Sunday School with them, and they had him baptized in their Lutheran church. And while he did not have a strong faith until much later in his adult life, God had already done His work. God stepped into my Dad’s life when he was a young boy and etched His name on my Dad’s heart, giving him a new identity. Through the power of the water and His Word in baptism, God washed my Dad clean, granted forgiveness of sins, and created faith in him through the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The power of baptism for my Dad, and for each of us, is not found in the faith or works of the one who is baptized. It depends solely on God’s power and His promise in His Word. Scripture tells us that we need to be baptized only once (Ephesians 4:5), but baptism is not a one-time event. It is, instead, God’s love in action every single day, and it affects every area of our lives. We are marked with the cross of Christ forever in baptism. It is in baptism where God makes us His own precious children and heirs of His Kingdom.

Taking Jesus to the Streets: Martin Luther tells us to remember our baptism daily. Baptism is God’s Step 1 in making us His children and His disciples. Share with your family something you remember or know about your own baptism. Talk together about some of the reasons it is important to remember your baptism on a daily basis. Celebrate God’s work in the lives of your children and grandchildren on their baptismal birthdays.

Sunday, January 13
Read: Luke 3:15-22
Reflect: Jesus takes “Step 1” in His earthly ministry by stepping first into baptism and His identity as the Son of God. Jesus was the sinless Son of God. Why did He need to be baptized? How was His baptism a step into our lives?

Monday, January 14

Read: Romans 1:1-6
Reflect: The Apostle Paul takes a “Step 1.” He takes on a new identity: that of belonging to Jesus. What does it mean to be “set apart” for the Gospel? What does Paul mean when he describes us as “called” by Jesus (verse 6)? Who took the step of calling us? Describe your step of faith in response to His call.

Tuesday, January 15

Read: Romans 4:16-17
Reflect: “Step 1” faith defines us not by class or rules but with grace. Paul talks about God’s promise in these verses. What is the guarantee of God’s promise that we will be His heirs? How do we claim that promise?

Wednesday, January 16

Read: Romans 6:1-11
Reflect: Step into your baptism with Jesus and gain a new identity and a new life. What does it mean to be baptized into His death? How is baptism an actual step into a new resurrected life with Christ?

Thursday, January 17

Read: Romans 8:14-17
Reflect: Through baptism, we receive the Holy Spirit. According to these verses, what does it mean for us to receive the Holy Spirit? In practical terms, how do you step forward confidently in your new identity as a child of God through the power of the Holy Spirit?

Friday, January 18

Read: Romans 10:9-13
Reflect: In these verses, the Apostle Paul elaborates on what it means to have a new identity, that of a baptized child of God. What points in these verses are clear expressions of the Gospel message? How do these verses encourage you in your faith?

Saturday, January 19

Read: Romans 12:1-3
Reflect: These verses encourage us to step into our new baptismal identity as living sacrifices for God’s glory. Why does Paul focus on the renewing of the mind when he speaks of living sacrifices? What does that look like? What gift will we receive when we are transformed by the renewing of our minds?