Grow Deep - The Gospel in Seven Words Edition Week 2

Week 2: March 13 - 19

The Gospel in Seven Words Edition

God Was in Christ, Reconciling the World!

Hymn Verse: Go to dark Gethsemane,
LW #110 v.1 All who feel the tempter’s power;
Your Redeemer’s conflict see.
Watch with Him one bitter hour;
Turn not from His griefs away;
Learn from Jesus how to pray.

Approval and acceptance are important to everyone. We elicit them from others through our actions. Teachers of children know that the most powerful student motivator is approval. Children want to show their work and to hear words of approval. They like to hear from adults that they are accepted.

Adults keep score of their success and failures, as well, for an “approval rating.” Adults look to society for affirmation. Money indicates success. Likewise, possessions reflect status. Acceptance is measured by the number of friends one has. And, we freely share our good feelings with others when we experience that acceptance and approval. Awards and recognition give us confidence. We are happy to let others know that we have worth through our acceptance. Let’s face it. We may even brag a bit.

Scripture has a message contrary to that of our culture about approval. It tells us that societal approval does not meet our needs. At best, it is temporary. God is the one who gives us our true worth. He loves us first. We have become His children because of His actions. He sent His Son to die for us. He accepts us as we are and forgives us for His Son’s sake. And, He continually loves us. It is not what we do or how we live our lives that gains God’s acceptance. It begins and continues because He loved us first. What a great feeling to know we are loved and accepted by God as His. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone felt this joy?

The passages this week speak about how God’s forgiveness and love encourage us to share acceptance and forgiveness by God. We love others because God loved us first. We forgive others because God forgave us first. We want to share this joy with others.

Wednesday, March 13
Read: Psalm 78:4
The writer of this Psalm uses the word “glorious” to describe God’s works. He tells us that we must tell our children of this glorious work.
Reflect: How do our moods and attitudes help to relay God’s message to children or other adults?

Thursday, March 14

Read: 2 Corinthians 5:18-19
God is the One who reconciled us to Himself through His Son. He is the One who has also given us the responsibility to share news of that reconciliation with others.
Reflect: According to Paul, the writer of this letter, what is the core of the message that we need to share? What is joyous in this message that we want to share so gladly?

Friday, March 15

Read: Genesis 12:3
The story of reconciliation begins in Genesis. Though mankind has rebelled against God, He blesses His children through Abraham and his descendants.
Reflect: Sometimes, like Abram in this chapter, we are shy about sharing the joy of God’s message with others. What God promises to Abram, He also promises to us. What is that promise? How does that affect the way we share with others?

Saturday, March 16

Read: Romans 5:10
We are in a new relationship with God because He reconciled us to Himself through Jesus when we were still His enemies.
Reflect: God reaches out to us through Jesus, not because of our works. How does that affect our lives? What is our reaction to His love?

Sunday, March 17

Read: John 8:36
We are free! The Son has set us free!
Reflect: What does it mean in your life to be free? From what are you free in your life? How does that change your perspective of life? Talk with your family about the freedom that you have in Christ.

Monday, March 18

Read: Isaiah 32:16-17
Isaiah says that the effect of righteousness is peace, trust and quietness.
Reflect: How can you see that God’s forgiveness brings about these elements in your life?

Tuesday, March 19

Read: Colossians 1:19-20
Paul refers to peace. Jesus is the fullness of God Himself and the One who reconciles us to God and gives us peace.
Reflect: What is peaceful in your life because of God’s love and forgiveness? How can this peace be at the center of your life?