Ignite Day 10 Fueling The Fire: Digging Deeper

Digging Deeper Days

Finding the original intent of Scripture and making good application to our everyday lives as we become equipped to correctly handle the Word of Truth!

Today is 2-for-1 Friday!
Check out Fueling The Fire!

The Questions

1) How can we grow into maturity as a Christian?

2) How do we know what “part” we are in the Body of Christ, His church?

3) How do we speak the truth in love?

Ephesians 4:11-16

11 And he himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, 12 equipping the saints for the work of ministry, to build up the body of Christ, 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of God’s Son, growing into maturity with a stature measured by Christ’s fullness. 14 Then we will no longer be little children, tossed by the waves and blown around by every wind of teaching, by human cunning with cleverness in the techniques of deceit. 15 But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into him who is the head—Christ. 16 From him the whole body, fitted and knit together by every supporting ligament, promotes the growth of the body for building up itself in love by the proper working of each individual part.

Original Intent

1) How can we grow into maturity as a Christian?
Paul wrote his letter to the church at Ephesus while he was a Roman prisoner. His purpose was to instruct the church how to live as Christians while he was absent from them.  One of the main ways Paul encouraged growth as a Christian was to be under the ministry of solid, biblical leaders.  Paul exhorted pastors, teachers and other spiritual guides to help believers deepen their faith and knowledge of Jesus. In writing to the Colossians, he urged them to be rooted and built up in Jesus and strengthened in the faith that they had been taught.  Later in his letter to the Ephesians, Paul gave more advice on how Christians should live. He exhorted them to imitate Christ in everything.  He echoed this teaching in 1 Corinthians 11:1.  Through the Holy Spirit’s leading, Paul, on the essentiality for Christian leaders to be immersed in learning about Jesus and His life in order to lead others in truth. (Swindoll, Charles.  Insight.orgEphesians”)

2)  How do we know what “part” we are in the Body of Christ, His church?
The apostle Paul makes frequent use of the metaphor of the church as the body of Christ.  Author Bruce Fisk suggests several reasons, including that, “For Paul, the urgent need for humility, interdependence, and love within the Christian community is grounded in this dynamic horizontal unity between members of the body of Christ, a union that overcomes even the most imposing racial and social barriers.”  With churches made up of Jews, Gentiles, and believers from many different cities and countries, the early church had many divisions to contend with.  Paul was eager to promote unity and encourage each Christian to work together as one toward their common cause, knowing Christ and making Him known.  (Fisk, Bruce.  Biblestudytools.com)

3) How do we speak the truth in love?
Towards the end of Paul’s 3 year stay in Ephesus, a riot broke out when a silversmith named Demetrius incited people against Paul and other Christians.   His issue was that Paul claimed the gods made by artisans and craftsmen were not gods at all.  Consequently, many people stopped buying idols, which led to a loss of money for the silversmiths and other craftsmen who created items for the temple of the goddess Artemis.  The riot is described in Acts 19:23-41. There were also sorcerers and magicians who left their practice of witchcraft and burned their expensive books after becoming Christ followers (Acts 19:18-20)  It was very important for Paul to emphasize the truth of Jesus to the new converts who had left behind deception and witchcraft when they trusted in Christ. Paul wanted believers to hold onto the truth they had gained and share it with others in love so as to continue the unity they had built in the Ephesian church and the church at large.

Everyday Application

1) How can we grow into maturity as a Christian?
Rarely do new things come naturally to me.  I have to thoroughly research a new subject, study all the steps and concepts, watch other people perform the new-to-me-task, and then try and try again until I get the hang of it.  I think growing as a Christian is no different. God has given His Word to help me, much like an instruction manual.  Psalm 119:105 states His Word is “a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” He has provided a loving church family, surrounded by others working toward the same goals who share with me what has helped them build their faith in God. Just as Hebrews 10:24 encourages Christians to “watch out for one another to provoke love and good works”, so are we to throw ourselves into this studying of His Word that we too might build up the Church and grow the Kingdom. God has also supplied mentors and teachers to guide and support me, which echoes the prophet Jeremiah’s teaching on how good leaders “will shepherd you with knowledge and skill.”  These caring leaders lift me up when I fall and help me learn from my mistakes so I can do better the next time around.  They remind me what God’s word says, and they point me to Jesus as my ultimate example to follow.  We should both be a mentor to another, while also placing ourselves under a solid believer who has long studied God’s word and followed after Jesus.

2) How do we know what “part” we are in the Body of Christ, His church?
In Ephesians 4:11-16, Paul talks about the church as the “body” of Christ, repeating the teaching again in I Corinthians 12:12, “just as the body is one and has many parts, and all the parts of that body, though many, are one body—so also is Christ.“   All the members are doing what they do best individually to make up a body that works together as one entity.  How do we know where we fit in?  Paul offers a plan in Romans 12:6-8, According to the grace given to us, we have different gifts: If prophecy, use it according to the proportion of one’s faith;  if service, use it in service; if teaching, in teaching;  if exhorting, in exhortation; giving, with generosity; leading, with diligence; showing mercy, with cheerfulness.“ These verses provide a good starting point for finding our place in the Church. We can teach a Sunday school class, encourage a single mom in a hard place, share our resources and time, or serve in a ministry at church or in our community.  Our role may alter as we mature and change, but God always gives us grace to function as part of His body.

3) How do we speak the truth in love?
If I want to know the truth about myself, I ask someone I love and trust to give it to me straight.  I know their love for me will motivate them to tell me the truth and help me to accept what they say.  I think that is what Paul had in mind in Ephesians 4:15 when he admonished believers to speak the truth in love.  The heart of God desires every believer to share the truth they have learned about God with their neighbors in a manner that is full of love, grace, and truth. Paul was not asking them to share their opinions or judgments about how others should act.  Rather, he wanted them to take what they had been taught and share it through loving acts and words.  Learning to do this love and respect is vital today when more people are unfamiliar with the truths of the Scripture. We need to be sure our words and actions always reflect the love of God.  Our friends will be more receptive to God’s truth when we share it with love and not judgment.

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Digging Deeper is for Everyone!

1) Take this passage (or any other passage).
2) Read it, and the verses around it,
several times
3) Write down your questions
as you think of them.
4) Ask specific culture related questions and be ready to dig around for your answers. Google them, use www.studylight.org, or look them up in a study Bible and read the footnotes (click on the little letters next to a word and it will show you
other related verses!). (www.esvbible.org)
5) Check your applications with other trusted Christians that you are in community with and embrace the fullness of God
in your everyday!

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Why Dig Deeper?

Finding the original meaning is a huge deal when we study Scripture and can make all the difference in our understanding as we apply God’s truths to our everyday lives.

In our modern-day relationships, we want people to understand our original intention as we communicate; how much more so between God and humanity?!

Here’s a little bit more on why we take Digging Deeper so seriously.

Study Tools

We love getting help while we study and www.studylight.org is one of many excellent resources, providing the original Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament) with an English translation.

Want to know more about a specific word in a verse? Click on “Strong’s Interlinear Bible” then click the word you’d like to study. Discover “origin”, “definition” and hear the original pronunciation – That Is Awesome!

Want more background? Click “Study Tools”, then pick a few commentaries to read their scholarly approach, keeping in mind that just because a commentary says it, doesn’t mean it’s true. (just like the internet :-))

Memorize It!

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