This week my family and I are at Word Alive 2015.
Day 4 featured being sandblasted on the beach, hugging stewards and treating techies as they went about fixing things and sorting things out after the windy weather.
Here are my notes from Day 4…
Morning Bible Reading
If we are freely justified, does it matter how we live? The answer to ths question depends on whose person are you: are you in Adam, or are you in Christ? Do you belong to Adam, or do you belong to Christ?
When you face temptation and sin, we must ask ourselves: in this situation are you going to live as Adam, or as Christ?
Paul is a wise pastor, he repeats and revisits justification as we go along, hence in 8 v1 he reminds us that we are not condemned (because we are justified). The reason for this is that…
- we have been set free from the law (v2).
- through Jesus who offered himself as sin offering for us (v3a).
- and so sinful man has been condemned in Jesus (v3b).
- and the requirements of the law have been met and credited to us who have the Spirit (v4)
If we know Jesus, we have the Spirit. The same Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead now lives in us and will raise us from the dead on the Last Day (8 v5-11). We do not have a soul, we are a soul who has a body (C S Lewis). When we die we go to be with Jesus and will be raised with him.
The Spirit in us leads us to godliness and so we have an obligation to follow the Spirit and put to death the misdeeds of the body. But more than that, the Spirit in us testifies that we are God’s children and we can cry out to him as Father, ‘Daddy’ (8 v12-17).
For now, we eagerly wait (groaning, but with anticipation) and know that everything is being worked out by God for our good and his glory. Our ‘good’ is not just things that feel good or bring us pleasure, but also things that are uncomfortable for us and difficult for us – but are still good for us. This gives us confidence, that even the bad things in our lives are being used (often in ways that we cannot see, yet) to grow us more like Jesus. How amazing that even the work of our enemies is used by God to make us more like Jesus (8 v18ff)! Are we going to live as strong, mature, grown-up Christians who are firmly rooted to God and his goodness to us in Christ?
Paul finishes by answering three questions…
- Is there an effective enemy who can be against us (v31-32)?
- Is there an effective accuser who can bring any charge against you on the Last day (v33-34)?
- Is there anything that can frustrate God’s purposes for us and the world (v35-37)?
God is in the business of bringing us to Christ and making us more like Christ.
After all, we are Christ’s person now, not Adam’s.
8.30pm Evening Celebration
Give us our daily bread
If you were to take the Holy Spirit and prayer out of your Christian life, would it make any difference to what you did?
At this point in the Lord’s prayer, the focus of the petitions we are urged to make changes from ‘your’ to ‘our’; from the vertical focus on God to the horizontal focus on ourselves.
Give us this day our daily bread
The danger is to think that, especially in light of what has come so far in the Lord’s prayer, the request for daily bread is too mundane. Of we do this, we make an allegory out of what is fundamental to us: the provision by God of what we need to live each day.
Not selfish demand, but humble acknowledgement that we need God to provide for us. This brings us back to the generous, gracious nature of God the only true giver.
The wealthier we are, the more we should pay this to the Father, for we are more prone to assume that what is given by grace will always be given to us.
We are not to seek our (singular) daily bread but our (plural) daily bread. We are to ask God to give what is needed for life to all people: our family, neighbours, brothers and sisters in Christ… even enemies?
In terms of food, it is not the lack of food in the world that is the issue. Instead, it is the unequal distribution of food around the world. As we are praying this prayer, we must be aware of our need to play our part in sharing out of the abundance we have.
The sense is our daily portion or ration. We are to seek enough for this day, this moment or season. This is not speaking against sound planning, saving and storage. It is speaking against hording and acquiring to serve our own pride and self-centredness.
Every culture has a staple food. This is the food that provides the foundation for all we need to live and be sustained. This is food of necessity, not desire. There is a different for what we need and what we want. Jesus wants us to ask the Father for what we need, and what others need.
The request for daily bread comes in the context of a set of petitions brought before Our Father. We have unparalleled access to God the Father. And so we should be bold and confident in bruin bring prayers and requests to God. That said, we mustn’t demand God. Our prayers must honour God as hallowed, holy.
When we are brought to humbling ourselves before God and asking him to give us our daily bread, we are demonstrating that we trust God: his provision, generosity, wisdom, grace, goodness.
The bread God gives from Heaven
In describing himself as the bread from Heaven (John 6:26ff), he is identifying himself as the one we need, the true provider of everything we need for life and godliness. This is not to overlook the everyday provision of what we need for everyday life, but to acknowledge the extra-ordinary provision of what we need for eternal life.