5-5-5 Daily Devotions

Transformed, Part 7
"Bridging the Divide"
July 18-19, 2020

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Day 1

S.O.A.P. – “Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer”

 

Conversation Starter

When have you felt like an outsider?

 

Scripture Observation (5 minutes)

Scripture:

Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were
proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. In those days you were living
apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant
promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope.
But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near
to him through the blood of Christ. For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one
people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. He did this by ending
the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in
himself one new people from the two groups.
Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward
each other was put to death. He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and
peace to the Jews who were near. Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what
Christ has done for us. Ephesians 2:11-18 NLT (Bible.com)

 

Sermon Insights:

History as we know it has exposed the bitter terms of racism which deems that certain lives are of greater value than
others.

 

Application (5 minutes)

Humans have drawn many dividing lines through history—racial, relational, religion, and many others. Read this Scripture
again, making a list of the 1) wrong lines we sometimes draw, and 2) the lines God wants us to draw.
Who bridged the divide between our holy God and sinful people?

 

Prayer (5 minutes)

As you spend a few minutes in prayer, repent of any unkindness you hold in your heart towards others (actively unkind or
passively ignorant), thank God for sending Jesus to bridge the divide and make you a family member, and ask for God to
use you powerfully in his ministry of reconciling people to him!

Day 2

S.O.A.P. – “Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer”

 

Conversation Starter

Do you believe humanity now is better, worse, or the same as people were in Jesus’ day?

 

Scripture Observation (5 minutes)

Scripture:

As Jesus was leaving the Temple that day, one of his disciples said, “Teacher, look at these magnificent buildings! Look at the impressive stones in the walls.” Jesus replied, “Yes, look at these great buildings. But they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”

 

Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives across the valley from the Temple. Peter, James, John, and Andrew came to him privately and asked him, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to be fulfilled?” Jesus replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah. They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in many parts of the world, as well as famines. But this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.

 

“When these things begin to happen, watch out! You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. For the Good News must first be preached to all nations. But when you are arrested and stand trial, don’t worry in advance about what to say. Just say what God tells you at that time, for it is not you who will be speaking, but the Holy Spirit. “A brother will betray his brother to death, a father will betray his own child, and children will rebel against their parents and cause them to be killed. And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. Mark 13:1-13 NLT (Bible.com)

 

Sermon Insights:

When you look at history, you begin to see why we are where we are today!

 

Application (5 minutes)

Jesus promised very difficult times would come for his followers at that time, and that they would uniquely be tried and persecuted because they loved him. While God sees fit not to give us a timeline on disasters in our day (just like Jesus did not give his followers a timeline back then), he does provide the same Holy Spirit who will see us through whatever difficulties we face in our time. Does this Scripture provide comfort and focus for you? Why or why not?

How do you think this changed the disciples’ prayer life? How should it affect yours?

 

Prayer (5 minutes)

Many pray for safety and health. While those make the journey easier, they are not the point of a life committed to Jesus.

Ask God to fill you with power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7) so you can make a difference!

Day 3

S.O.A.P. – “Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer”

 

Conversation Starter

Why are love and fear incompatible?

 

Scripture Observation (5 minutes)

Scripture:

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love. God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.

 

Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us. Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. All who declare that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God.

 

We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.

 

We love each other because he loved us first. If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a fellow believer, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see? And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their fellow believers. 1 John 4:7-21 NLT (Bible.com)

 

Sermon Insights:

We are told not to fear or be afraid about 365 times in the Word of God. Ignorance breeds fear, fear leads to hatred, and hatred to destruction! There is a problem with man made fear. It is absent of LOVE!

 

Application (5 minutes)

Who initiates love in the life of a Christian?
Is love active or passive?
Do you think of love as a feeling, an action, or an action driven by feeling?
Can you think of a time when you let love drive out fear in your life?

 

Prayer (5 minutes)

Thank God for his love and the power of his love to drive out your fear. Ask God to use you to love others—actively!

Day 4

S.O.A.P. – “Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer”

 

Conversation Starter

What is the most effective way for someone to help you change your mind on something? How do you like to be treated?

 

Scripture Observation (5 minutes)

Scripture:

Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.” So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” Genesis 1:26-28 NLT (Bible.com)

 

So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.

 

“He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.

 

“His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.

 

“God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.” Acts 17:22-31 NLT (Bible.com)

Sermon Insights:

What is the color of a soul?

 

Application (5 minutes)

What impact does it have on you to embrace the idea that every human is a member of the same family, descended from the first humans God made—in HIS image?

Paul actual found an altar that had been dedicated “to an Unknown God.” Perhaps something great had happened, and they did not know who to attribute it to. Perhaps they wanted to cover their bases in case there was a “god” among their many idols that had not been fully satisfied. Rather than Paul demeaning their worship, he REDIRECTED it! In this altar, he saw worship and humility—key components to surrendering to the one true God. Paul met them where they were at and taught them about the real God. Is it possible that sharing the good news of Jesus will be most effective, not when we try to angrily CORRECT, but when we lovingly REDIRECT?

 

Prayer (5 minutes)

Thank God that his “kindness leads us to repentance.” When he could angrily correct, he lovingly redirects—and he asks us to do the same for others, with wisdom and patience. Ask him to use you to spread his truth in love!

Day 5

S.O.A.P. – “Scripture, Observation, Application, Prayer”

 

Conversation Starter

What is your “one thing”? What, above all else, is most important to you?

 

Scripture Observation (5 minutes)

Scripture:

We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort, though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more! I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish
law. I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.

 

I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have
discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s
way of making us right with himself depends on faith.

 

I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:3-14 NLT (Bible.com)

 

Peter told them, “You know it is against our laws for a Jewish man to enter a Gentile home like this or to associate with you. But God has shown me that I should no longer think of anyone as impure or unclean. Acts 10:28 NLT (Bible.com)

 

Sermon Insights:

The color of your skin does not excuse you from the sin nature that is in you!

God does not care about color; he cares about obedience! He didn’t separate the people by color at the tower of Babel;
he separated them by language! Our identity is in Christ.

Jesus is where the solution begins!

 

Application (5 minutes)

What makes you “important”—your human traits or what Jesus has done in your life?

Is righteousness before God through Jesus the most important thing in your life? Why or why not?

How has Jesus taught you to love? Are you doing it?

 

Prayer (5 minutes)

In Jesus we find our ultimate security and significance. Ask God to help you see yourself as he sees you today!

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