If you already have a regular devotion habit that's great! If not, use this section to help you to study the bible every day!
Sword Practice Tip:
"For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword." (Hebrews 4:12) Its easy to jump to thinking "what does this bible passage mean for me?" But we should really first think about "what is the author trying to say to his original audience?" Then we're in a better position to learn from God rather than imagine the bible says what we want to hear!
The Proclaimed Kingdom (Now): Study based on God's Big Picture: Tracing the storyline of the bible, by Vaughan Roberts. We saw in last week's study how everything that was disappointing in the Old Testament find it's satisfaction in Jesus. But once Jesus enters the scene the story is not over.
God's promises to reverse the effects of the fall and establish a Kingdom of people who willingly live in his rule and blessing are not yet fully satisfied after Jesus' death and resurrection. In fact this is the condition we are in right now: between Jesus first coming and his second coming to finish off those promises. Why the delay? God is deliberately waiting for more people to hear the good news about forgiveness and salvation and repent before it is too late to escape God's judgement of sin. As Christians we are delivered from the power of sin, but not yet from the presence of sin around us and in us. So there is both joy and frustration in this time before the fulness of God's kingdom arrives. But it isn't a time to just wait around, we are called to actively live in a way that is very different from the society around us and to share the good news about salvation with people (many of whom will be hostile to the message). We are citizen's of God's kingdom living as strangers in this world, so we shouldn't expect things to be easy. But one day God's perfected kingdom will come (but that's for next week's bible study).
Please use the study guide below to help you discover truths about this in-between time for yourself from the bible.
Tuesday: 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 - What is "this treasure"? In what way are we "jars of clay"? How does this passage reflect your experience in evangelism?
Wednesday: 2 Corinthians 4:7-12 - Why has God allowed us to be weak? What encouragement is there in this passage?
Thursday: 2 Corinthians 4:13-18 - What is our hope? What difference should that make to us now?
Friday: 2 Corinthians 4:1-18 - Review the whole passage. How has God challenged you through this passage? What can you do to try to put it into practice?
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