TEXT: Rev. 3:14-22; Matthew 4:4; 1 Tim. 6:2
1. As Jesus builds His Church and executes His plan of redemption, individual believers are ‘adopted’ into the family of God as the Spirit of the Lord directs His children to belong to a specific, local church body. The gospel of Jesus not only reconciles us to our Creator, but it also reconciles us to the family of God (both globally and locally). This reality impacts our lives in many ways, but one distinct benefit is crucial to our ongoing transformation. Belonging to a local church puts us in relationship with other believers who, at times, are very different than ourselves. The gospel of Jesus Christ is powerful enough to bring unity to a group of people who have unique personalities and life experiences. Belonging to the family of Jesus provides godly friendships with those who are different than us, which is essential to our spiritual growth and transformation.
2. Jesus is aware of what is going on in each local church body. He knows our strengths, our weaknesses, and the motivations that are often hidden deep in our hearts. When Jesus addresses the seven churches in the Book of Revelation, He offers specific counsel to each body of believers.
3. American Christians are often tempted to be “lukewarm” in their affections towards Jesus. We reside in a nation that is full of affluence and material goods. Believers need to be aware that living in a land of affluence can dramatically affect the ‘temperature’ of our hearts towards the Lord. It is easy to become passive about the Kingdom of God when surrounded by affluence.
4. God doesn’t care if you have things, He just wants to make sure that things don’t have you.
5. God’s children should be excited when the Lord’s Spirit begins to reprove us and deal with our sin. Why? Because the Lord only takes the “junk” out so that He can put “gold” in its place!
6. We are referred to as “conquerors” several times throughout the NT. And we would be wise to discern that “conquer” is not a passive word. Jesus stands outside each Church, knocking and desiring to be the head of that church, so that He can motivate and lead us to be what He called us to be—conquerors.
7. To obey Scripture is to obey the voice of God. When an individual believer is obedient to the revealed will of God, it opens their hearts and lives up to be directed by the Lord’s specific will. In other words, the Spirit of God will not give us specifics about His will for our lives if we are passive about obeying His already revealed will (the Word of God).
8. Intentional and focused meditation on God’s Word are the means by which we hear His voice and receive “food” for our souls.
9. Jesus puts us in close contact with those who upset and anger us. This intentional act of our Savior is intended to bring about our spiritual growth. As we interact and deal with others who test our hearts and patience, we are driven towards prayer, selflessness, and putting other’s needs above our own.
TALK TO EACH OTHER:
1. What is the specific impact of belonging to a community of believers who are different than yourself? Why is it so crucial to our spiritual transformation?
2. How would you define "lukewarm" (in a spiritual sense)? What do you think this looks and feels like for the average American believer?
3. The line between enjoying 'things' and being consumed by 'things' is not as clear as many would like to believe it is. How can one discern if and when their relationship with the material world is unhealthy and sinful?
4. What are we called to conquer? What wisdom should we glean from our Savior referring to us as conquerors?
5. What does it mean to meditate on God's Word? Any helpful advice concerning how this can be accomplished in our daily lives?
TALK TO GOD:
Pray as you feel led concerning the following areas:
- Right relationships with the family of God; with those who are different than us
- That our hearts would be right concerning our relationship with the material world
- Obedience to God's revealed will, hearing His voice about His specific will
- That Abundant Life would be a healthy church that Jesus can add to