NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passage: Romans 8:9-11
- When do you start preparing for Christmas? Why?
- In Romans 8:9-11, Paul wrote of God (v. 9), Jesus (v. 10), and the Spirit (v. 11) living “in you.” What does it mean that God, in all three persons of the trinity, lives in believers?
- What “updates,” “renovations” or “renewals” has God made in your life? Explain your answer.
Food for thought with Tim Chaddick:
A colleague of mine counts down to Christmas every year. There’s nothing unusual about folks counting down the days until Christmas, but this gentleman starts his countdown the day after Christmas. At the time most adults are breathing a sigh of relief that Christmas has passed for another year, he has already begun to anticipate next Christmas. Ask him at any point during the year how many days it is until Christmas, and he’ll quickly enlighten you.
I love Christmas too, though I don’t want to start my countdown or hear Christmas music in the stores until after Thanksgiving. But I love it nonetheless. I love the lights. I love the decorations. I love the music. But I especially love the emphasis we are likely to hear about Jesus being Immanuel, God with us (see Matthew 1:23).
It is appropriate then, on this Sunday closest to Christmas, that the MasterWork study looks at “Habitat for Divinity.” Jesus is Immanuel, God with us, to the world in a general sense. But for the believer, “God with us” takes on a whole new meaning as we become His dwelling place. He is God within us. He takes up residency in us.
We could compare God’s dwelling in us to a habitat created for animals. As the best zoos provide only a limited facsimile of an animal’s natural habitat, so our places of worship are but crude attempts to create an atmosphere for the Spirit of God. Being Spirit, His “natural” habitat is within “the spirit and heart of every believer.”
Many of us know the experience of updating, remodeling or adding on to our homes. God is no different. Like us, He sees things in His residence that need to be fixed, need to be changed, need to be “updated” to reflect the new Owner. Unlike some of us, He is never at a loss for funds or knowledge regarding the best, most effective means to bring about the necessary renewal. As He renews us and makes us more suitable dwellings for Him, our relationship with Him grows in corresponding measure.
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at www.lifeway.com/masterwork.
Tim Chaddick is lead pastor of Reality Church, London, England.