Beyond Sunday - Week 22

Beyond Sunday
Week of June 23, 2024
What time is it? When in Rome Week 21, Romans 13:8-14

Thoughts: Have you ever been to something that didn’t start on time; didn’t happen when it was supposed to? You start out fully focused on what you came to see or experience, but as time wears on, you become distracted and start focusing on other things. Maybe the people around you, maybe the things you could be doing instead of sitting there waiting. I know for me, sometimes at that point I find myself hoping that it won’t start at all, so I can just go home. So instead of letting the anticipation grow, I get frustrated.
This week's message presents us with that kind of challenge. Pastor Nathan reminded us that from Romans 13 vs 8-10, we are commanded to love others. He pointed out that this is what the Apostle Paul is encouraging us to remain focused on when he led off verse 11 with “And do this.”  So loving others defines “what” we are to do in the waiting. The “how” comes after, in verses 11-14, and that is what we are going to be talking about this week.
Paul begins this discussion with the phrase “understanding the present time.” In other words, in recognition of what is going on around us, Paul tells us it is time to wake up. In his message on Sunday, Pastor Nathan gave us three next steps that will help us come fully awake and fulfill the calling of God in our lives. It is the calling that each of us has received the moment we submitted our lives to Jesus. It is these next steps that will keep us focused as we wait for the promise of Jesus’ return.
Let’s walk through them point by point and see what God has for us.

Point #1 – Remember that Jesus WILL return!
Christ’s return! It is mentioned over 1,800 times in Scripture. The early church believed that it was imminent in their time. The Apostle Peter wrote in 2 Peter 3:3-4 that scoffers would come, saying “Where is this coming he promised?” That was in AD 67, and here we are, over 2000 years later, still waiting. Peter’s take on it: (a) time is irrelevant to God (vs. 8) and (b) God is supremely patient (vs. 9).

•How real is it to you that Jesus is coming back? Be honest with yourself and each other.
•How does the second coming of Jesus affect your view on life?
•How does it motivate you? Or de-motivate you?
•Read Matthew 25. What does Jesus want to find us doing when he returns?
•Matthew 25:1-13 – watch
•Matthew 25:14-30 – engage others with what God gives us
•Matthew 25:31-46 – Love others

Point #2 – Be spiritually active.
Read Ephesians 5:14-20 – Here we find the notion again of waking up, of being aware of the time we are living in. Let’s discuss:

•What do you think it looks like to “live as wise”? (vs. 15)
•Share what it means to you to be “filled with the Spirit”. (vs. 18)
•The idea of being filled with the Spirit in vs. 18 implies a continual process, and here Paul gives us the evidence of what that looks like: “speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Singing and making music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything”.  (vs. 19-20)
•Share how you are doing with that.

Point #3 – Get caught in Jesus clothes.
Ephesians 4:22-24 and Colossians 3:9-10 both indicate that we must take off the old before we can put on the new. This tells us that we are going to have to leave some things behind. Some of those things are going to seem really important, like they are really a part of who we are. In Romans 13:12, Paul describes it as putting aside the deeds of darkness and putting on the armor of light. A contrast between darkness and light, a time of being asleep and of being awake. Let’s look at what Jesus says about that. Read John 3:18-21.


•What does it mean to “come into the light?”
•How does coming into the light help us to put on Christ?
•Are there things in your life that you are keeping out of the light? Old things. Comfortable things. Even good things. But things that keep you from fully submitting to Christ.

Father, teach us to live with an expectation of Jesus’ return. Let that expectation cause us to live differently, and let that be seen by others so that we can testify of your saving grace. Activate our faith, and give us boldness to serve you and others. And make us courageous, bringing ourselves fully to Jesus so that you can restore all things in our lives. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen.

Next Steps
1) Read Luke 9:62  
2) What kind of commitment is Jesus looking for?
3) Think about areas in your life where you are distracted or off-focus. What would it look like for you to submit those to Jesus? Tell someone.

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