Click here to download a printable version of the Daily Bible Study for 12.06.11.
Series: My Christmas Playlist
This Week: Where Are You Christmas
TUESDAY — God is Reconciling the World to Himself
Big Point: Despite our reckless, senseless behavior, despite a bad economy, homelessness, war or just plain ‘ole day-to-day struggles, God is repairing and restoring this world to Himself.
Think back on your deepest, most ugly act. Something you would probably be embarrassed to talk about. Getting drunk and doing something crazy. Living lustfully, only thinking of yourself and fulfilling your own desires with destructive behaviors. What if your actions caused harm to someone—perhaps you lashed out in anger or you seriously injured someone (either emotionally or physically) and it left such a deep wound that they are having a hard time forgiving you. Or perhaps you were the one who was harmed and you have since chosen to hold onto unforgiveness. Perhaps you’ve held onto this unforgiveness for so long that the wedge between you and the other person seems so thick that you can’t even see how you can ever forgive them — for one reason or another. Think about it … what is your ugliest sin? (Oh, and by the way, all the above actions make for great TV shows and box-office movie hits. Have you noticed that?)
Don’t have any ugly sins? Think about someone you read about in the paper or saw on the news where they may have killed someone or done something so terrible, so heinous that it’s even hard to think about.
Then, think about yourself, or that someone you are thinking about, accepting Christ as their personal savior. Do you know that at that very moment, it’s as if God takes a washcloth and blots away all of those deep, dark, terrible, ugly sins and scars. In an instant! At the very moment we accept God, He brings us back to himself… He reconciles us and makes us righteous. In fact, that is what he is doing with the world we live in.
READ…What does the Bible say?
2 Corinthians 5:19a (New Living Translation)
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sin against them …
Colossians 1:22 (New Living Translation)
Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.
Romans 5:10 (New Living Translation)
For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son.
THINK…Find the answers
According to 2 Corinthians 5:19a, what is that God no longer counts against us?
In fact, Romans 5:10 says our friendship with God was restored by what act? Colossians 1:22 is like a Christmas gift. What did we receive as a result of Christ’s death in his physical body?
LIVE…What will you do now?
Reconciliation is the process of repairing and restoring a damaged relationship. The fact remains, no one is good enough to save him or herself.
In what ways are you relying on your own methods to restore your relationship with Christ? In what way is God using you (or the church) to reconcile the world to Himself?
Realize this; you will sin repeatedly, this we can guarantee. But we can also guarantee that Christ has repaired and restored our damaged relationship with him. Write out the steps you took and the day you decided to accept Christ as your personal savior … then, share it with one or two people.
PRAY…God, What do you want me to know & do?
If you have not already accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior, perhaps today’s Bible study has encouraged you. If so, read this prayer: Lord, I confess that you are Lord and I believe in my heart that God raised Christ from the dead, and I accept him as my personal savior. Please forgive me of all of my sins. (Note: Read the weekend updates to learn about next steps)
DAILY BIBLE READING COMMENTARY: Amos 1-4
Amos was a Judean prophet called to deliver a message primarily to the northern tribes of Israel. Politically, it was a time of prosperity for Israel. Spiritually, however, it was a time of rampant corruption and moral decay.
1:6 “Gaza…” Philistia’s most prominent merchant city ideally situated between Egypt and Israel, here used to refer to the Philistine nation.
1:9 “treaty of brotherhood…” A long-standing, brotherly relationship existed between Phoenicia and Israel. No king of Israel ever made war against Phoenicia, especially the two major cities, Tyre and Sidon.
1:11 “pursued his brother…” More than mere fighting, Edom pursued his brother, i.e. Israel, stifling any feelings of compassion.
2:4 “Judah…” Now that the prophet Amos had finished with his judgments against the surrounding pagan nations, he proceeded to address Judah.
3:2 “You only have I chosen…” God’s sovereign choice of Israel did not exempt her from punishment for disobedience.
3:7 Judgment is coming, but the Lord graciously warned the nation in advance through His prophets.
4:4, 5 With poignant sarcasm, Amos indicted Israel for idolatrous sacrifices and ritualistic religion, all of which were meaningless and worthless to the Lord.
4:5 “burn leavened bread…” Although unleavened bread was required for most offerings, leavened was required as a part of the thanksgiving offering.
4:6-11 Past warnings of famine, drought, crop failure, a plague, and military defeat were futile, a fact repeatedly emphasized by the statement, “yet you have not returned to me”.