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DAY ONE: Truth Encounters
Colossians 2:1–23, Romans 12:1–2
The world is always pushing its way into your heart, soul, and mind. The world is always trying to convert you to its way of thinking. You are bombarded 24/7/365 with the message of the world. There is a non-Christian worldview being imprinted on you…relentlessly.
A worldview is also known as an ideology. An ideology is a system of beliefs that are connected. An ideology is a systematic way of understanding the world. Nazism was an ideology. Communism is an ideology. There are political, economic, and religious ideologies.
This saying is not quite true: “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” It IS true to say, “There is nothing more powerful than an ideology (a system of ideas) whose time has come.”
The questions to be asked of all ideologies are: 1) Is it true? 2) How do I know it’s true? and 3) What is the FRUIT of the ideology? Christianity is a spiritual or religious ideology. It is a system of spiritual beliefs that interprets and makes sense of the world. Christianity emerged in the 1st century, which had many ideologies or philosophies or ways. Paul describes them in Colossians 2. He shows the greater truth and the better fruit of the Way of Christ.
While this passage does not talk explicitly about the Holy Spirit, it is the work of the Holy Spirit to convict the world about its ideologies. And it is the work of the Holy Spirit to teach the way of Christ.
CONTEMPORARY EXAMPLES: Here are several of the dominant ideas and ideologies of our day and age. For each one, what is the fruit of following this way of life? And what is the biblical wisdom offered instead?
Unlimited sexual freedom:
What do you learn, in general, from Colossians 2 about resisting the ideologies of the world?
DAY TWO: The Sword of the Spirit
Ephesians 6:17, Hebrews 4:12–13
The major corrective the Spirit uses to the ideologies of the world is the Word of God. The Bible. The Holy Scriptures, which make us wise to the ways of God.
The Word of God is the baseline for all wisdom from the Spirit.
Revelation and Inspiration is the work of the Holy Spirit to give us the Bible.
Now the Spirit guides us in the work of Interpretation; that is, to understanding the meaning of what has been revealed.
Along with Interpretation, we need Illumination and Enlightenment about God’s Words to us. It is one thing to understand the true meaning, but it is quite another to have the personal “aha moment” where you discover the particular importance of that truth for your situation.
Finally, the Spirit leads you into the Application and Integration of truth into your situation.
All of this is the work of the Spirit concerning the Word of God. That is why we want you to spend lots and lots of time reading, studying, and understanding the Bible, but then having those aha moments of insight and application, so you are transformed by the powerful Word of God.
PUT IN TO PRACTICE: Every time you read or hear God’s Word, ask: What Word have I heard? What is the meaning of that Word? What is the relevance of that Word for my life? How will this Word be activated in my life? Pray that the Spirit will guide you into all truth at all times.
Here are two passages you recently studied. Ask the Spirit to guide you into all truth about grieving the Spirit (Ephesians 4:30) and quenching the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). How have you grieved and how have you quenched the Spirit in your life?
DAY THREE: From Darkened to Enlightened
Ephesians 4:17–19, Ephesians 1:15–19
First read Ephesians 4:17–19 and see all of the powerful words that describe someone who is not in step with the Spirit of Truth. What are the descriptions and which ones speak to you?
Now read Ephesians 1:15–19 and see what it means to be enlightened by the Spirit. In particular, what does Paul want YOU to be enlightened about? If you were enlightened about those specific things what difference would it make for your Christian life?
PRAY: Pray for the Spirit to enlighten you on these specific things.
DAY FOUR: Words of Knowledge, Words of Wisdom
1 Corinthians 12:1–11
Of all Paul’s churches, the churches at Corinth gave him the most trouble—on many fronts and on many issues. But none were so messy as the confusion and distortions the Corinthians had about the Holy Spirit.
While you will read the longer passage to get the context, the verse to focus on is verse 8. In this verse Paul talks about a message of wisdom and a message of knowledge. These are two of the nine spiritual gifts mentioned in the passage.
First, understand that there is virtually nothing else said about these two gifts. They are not described nor differentiated in the passage. A reasonable interpretation is this. A word of wisdom is probably a word or message about a core teaching of the Scriptures. And when someone speaks a word of wisdom, they are giving a core biblical teaching in a timely way to a person who needs that specific truth.
A word of knowledge is possibly referring to a supernatural insight about a person or situation that would not be known apart from God communicating that insight. In this case, it is not a word about or from the Bible, it is an up-to-date insight about an immediate reality. You are given an insight from God to give to another person about their life.
Both these gifts are open to significant distortion and abuse. You should always be careful about giving or receiving a word of wisdom or knowledge. But at the same time, don’t be afraid to pray, listen, and discern if God gives you a good biblical word to give to another. When God does, share it gracefully and tentatively with the other person.
DAY FIVE: Revealed by the Spirit
1 Corinthians 2:1–16
This entire chapter is devoted to explaining how the wisdom of God is transferred to us by the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God delivers the words of God, from God to us. This passage was used in the Sunday message. Revisit the passage, read it one more time, and jot down everything you learn about how the Spirit works to bring to you the Wisdom of God.
PRAY: Ask the Spirit to search God’s heart and to bring to your heart what God has for you.
Ask the Spirit to teach you the deep things of Jesus. Ask the Spirit of God to open your own heart to hear and receive the “upside down” message of the Gospel of Jesus.
DISCERN: What are you hearing from the Spirit of God about the next steps and the new things God the Father has for you?
- Songs We Sing
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