Editor’s Note: The AMI QT devotionals from Feb. 1-7 are provided by Cami King. Cami, a graduate of University of Pennsylvania, is about to complete her M.Div. at Gordon Conwell Seminary. She is currently serving as a staff at Journey Community Church in Raleigh.
Devotional Thoughts for Today
Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
The late great preacher S.M. Lockridge once said, “A sermon should do at least four things for you. One, a sermon should stretch your mind… You ought to be able to learn something from a sermon. Two, a sermon should tan your hide. A sermon should correct you. Three, a sermon should warm your heart. It should inspire you. Four, a sermon should provoke the will. It should challenge you to do what the Lord would have you do.”
Whenever we receive God’s word, be it preached from a pulpit or studied in the privacy of our homes, there are a few things that happen. In our post-enlightenment, post-modern world, many approach God’s word expecting primarily to learn something. Be it learning something new, being reminded of something old, or gaining deeper insight into something familiar, we are ready and willing to engage our minds. With the dawn of the modern-worship movement, Western Christianity has begun anew to engage the heart. As a result, we also expect to feel – usually to feel encouraged and uplifted. For many of us, God’s word functions like a motivational speaker or a morning cup of coffee, preparing us to face a new day. And with the basic formula of the expository sermon now-a-days, which always ends in application (“how do I apply what I learned”), most of us are trained to draw from God’s word practical life applications. All of these are immensely important, but one thing is missing.
When the word of God goes forth, there should be repentance – this is the Holy Spirit’s work in our hearts. When truly understood and received by a broken and sinful people (which all of us are), God’s word convicts and the only proper response is to repent and surrender to Him. May we seek God in His word, not only to strengthen our minds, or to comfort our hearts, or even to guide us in a specific situation, but may it transform us as we turn from our ways and yield to His.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, please “search me and know my heart, test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23-24) In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Genesis 30
Lunch Break Study
Read 2 Timothy 3:14-17
But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Questions to Consider:
- Why is it important for Timothy to remember from whom he learned God’s word? How are Paul’s words to him relevant for us today?
- According to this passage, why is knowledge of God’s word so important?
- What are the reasons Paul says God’s word is useful? Why is this the case? How have you experienced the profitability of God’s word in your life?
- The truth of God is demonstrated in the lives of the people who follow Him. It’s important for Timothy to remember what He learned, not only from childhood, but from Paul, because he’s seen God’s truth at work in Paul’s life (a testament to the truth of the message). In a similar way, our lives should bear witness to the truth of God’s word and we should serve as witnesses or proofs to its genuineness to an on-looking world.
- It is important to know God’s word because it is “able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” It is through the Scripture that we come to know God and gain wisdom. And, ultimately, the Scriptures are our avenue to salvation in Christ as we come to know the Gospel and put our trust in God’s salvation.
- Paul gives a list – doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness. Through knowing and yielding to God’s word, we are equipped to do good works in the world. Scripture has this effect because, although written by human agents, it is inspired by God and is ultimately a revelation of God Himself to us – and He is what we need to be complete.
What are some ways God has called you to repentance through His word recently? Think back to Sunday’s sermon, small group Bible study, or your personal time in the word. Spend some time in repentance. Offer those areas to God, acknowledging your error, receiving His forgiveness, and surrendering your ways to His ways.