Series – This is God’s Church
Sermon – Living and Growing as Disciples of Jesus
Scripture Readings: Colossians 1:9-14
For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God. May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. (Colossians 1:9-12)
Monday November 4 — Psalm 1
There are images of growth throughout the Bible — both Old and New Testaments. The 1st Psalm uses the image of a tree to compare the two ways we can choose to live our lives. Like a tree that soaks up water from the stream so that it can bear fruit, we can choose to soak up the living Word of God’s teaching, grow to maturity, and bear the fruit of a faithful life. When we do, we live the life that God intends. In what ways does your life reflect the choice God desires? Are you growing to maturity? Are you deeply rooted in God’s Word and God’s grace?
• Prayer: Eternal God, thank you for your Word, revealed in both Scripture and in Jesus? Nurture my life and faith so that I will grow to maturity and bear good fruit. Amen.
Tuesday November 5 — 1 Corinthians 3:1-9
Much of Paul’s correspondence with the church in Corinth is about divisions and conflict. It’s comforting to know that there has been conflict in the Church from the beginning, but sad to realize that conflict and divisions have for so long prevented the Church from fulfilling its mission. In dealing with the divisions, Paul points to the Church’s purpose — to grow and to be God’s field and God’s building. It is vital that we remember that it is “only God who gives the growth” (1 Corinthians 3:7) How are divisions and conflicts in the Church today hindering the growth that God desires?
• Prayer: God of Life, create in me a desire to seek your purposes for my life and for the Church. Remove anything and everything in me that hinders the growth you desire. Amen.
Wednesday November 6 — Colossians 1:1-8
The opening paragraphs of the letter to the Colossians reinforces the image of growth that is a primary thread running through the Bible. As followers of Jesus, we know that we will grow and mature in our understanding and our faithfulness. The grace of God changes our lives and every day we grow closer to the example of Jesus and the life God intends for each of us — and for the Church. Are you aware of the changes God’s grace is making in your life? In what ways are you becoming more like Jesus?
• Prayer: Gracious God, fill me with your Spirit and change my life today. Mold me and make me more like Jesus. Show me how to live the life that you intend for me to live. Amen.
Thursday November 7 — Colossians 1:9-14
Today’s passage in Colossians makes it clear that God is the one who makes it possible for us to “lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, …” (Colossians 1:10). It reminds us that living and growing as disciples of Jesus is more about what God has done, and is doing, in our lives than what we do. Our part of the process is to allow God to have access to our lives through worship, prayer, study, service, giving, and other spiritual disciplines. What is God doing in your life today?
• Prayer: God of Mercy, grant me the courage I need to trust you with my life. Help me lead a life that is worthy of your son, Jesus. Give me strength to serve you more fully. Amen.
Friday November 8 — 1 Peter 2:1-5
The letters of Peter were written to the Church. That’s an important distinction: it reminds us that the Bible is not just about our personal (individual) relationship with God — the person we are supposed to be and the life we are supposed to live. The Bible is about the community of believers. Much of it is written using plural language. So, we take 1 Peter 2:4 seriously when it says to “let yourselves be built into a spiritual house.” Note that it doesn’t say to “build yourself into …”. It says, “let yourselves be built …”. What do you think that means?
• Prayer: Loving God, forgive your Church for failing to allow you to have complete access to our life together. Build your Church into the spiritual house it needs to be. Amen.
Saturday November 9 — 1 Peter 4:7-11
Remembering that 1 Peter is a letter written to the Church, we (the Body of Christ) are expected to be “good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). To be a steward means that we are to trust and share God’s grace the way God would trust and share God’s grace if God were in our place. In other words, we are to follow the example of Jesus, who was the Word of God in the flesh (see John 1:14). What might Jesus say about your stewardship of God’s grace?
• Prayer: God of Grace, help me follow Jesus’ example and be a good steward of your grace. Show me how to live my life in a way that gives you glory through Jesus. Amen.