SHAPED AND SANCTIFIED BY THE WORD OF GOD
God has a vision for his church. His vision for the church is to be glorious and beautiful as the bride of Christ who will be prepared for the second coming of Christ (cf. Rev 19:6-9). Paul says in Ephesians, “Christ loved the church and gave him up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendour, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish” (Eph 5:25-27). Church as the bride of Christ will be presented to Christ in glory and purity—by the washing with the word of God. God sanctifies and glorifies the church through his word that is read, heard, preached, meditated, applied and lived. The word of God sanctifies us and cleanses us. It convicts us of our sins, so that we can repent. It also points us to Christ, so that we can be forgiven, be freed from the sinful pattern of life, and pursue Christ and a life of holiness. The word of God shapes and molds us. It presents the glorious Christ whom we are to follow and imitate. We can become more like Christ in our character as we abide in the Word of God and bear fruit of the Spirit.
Are you being shaped and sanctified by the word of God? How have you been shaped and sanctified by the word of God this past year? Some Life Groups have been reading the Bible together faithfully. Some brothers have been keeping each other accountable by checking in on a daily Bible reading group chat. I am encouraged that many members of New Hope are reading the word and have a hunger for the word. That’s one clear evidence that the Spirit is at work in our church: having the desire to read the word, know the word and live the word. I want to see more and more members reading, loving and living the word of God, so that our church will be shaped and sanctified by the word of God, and grow together as a church that moves with a gospel-centered, missional spirituality.
How do you plan to be shaped and sanctified by the Word of God in the coming year? We need a plan; failing to plan is planning to fail. We as a church plan to use the Robert Murray M’Cheyne (RMM) Bible Reading Plan in 2020. It’s a plan that will take us through the New Testament (NT) and Psalms once and half of the Old Testament (OT). (In the subsequent year we will read through the other half of the OT, plus another round of reading through the NT and Psalms). Each day we will be reading a chapter from the OT and a chapter from the NT or Psalms. It is one of the best ways to read the Bible in a systematic and coherent way by which we get to see how the Bible fits together. It is also one of the most widely used Bible reading plans whereby we get to be part of a worldwide Bible reading community. There are also great resources we can tap into, like D.A. Carson’s devotional called “For the Love of God,” through Read the Bible with TGC in 2020. To sign up to receive daily devotionals, to supplement your daily bible reading you can sign up here:https://confirmsubscription.com/h/t/23B4906615708AD6. (Note: some devotionals will not apply to New Hope readings, as we are following the extended RMM plan, over 2 years as opposed to the 1 year plan TGC is following). There is also a daily podcast by Pastor Paul Carter called “Into the Word” also based on the RMM Bible Reading Plan. You can follow his podcast through podcast apps (like Apple Music, Podcast Addict, etc.), or subscribe from his website and receive daily updates. Pastor Charles will also be running a daily Bible Reading Accountability Group (B.R.A.G.) in the new year to spur on one another to be shaped and sanctified by the Word of God in the new year. If you are interested in joining B.R.A.G. sign-up online at https://forms.gle/baC43zFPUspLXGm69. You will receive daily reminders and be part of a messaging group for daily accountability.
We encourage you to set your heart to read the Word daily in 2020. Let’s do it together for the glory of God and for the edification of the body of Christ.
2020 Bible Reading Plan
For a hard copy, please speak to Elaine Park. You can also access a soft copy at:http://newhopefellowship.ca/mississauga/wp-content/uploads/sites/8/2019/12/2020-Bible-Reading-Plan_Online.pdf
This week’s bible reading schedule:
|☐||Mon: Hebrews 12||☐||Thu: Genesis 2, Matthew 2|
|☐||Tue: Hebrews 13||☐||Fri: Genesis 3, Matthew 3|
|☐||Wed: Genesis 1, Matthew 1||☐||Sat: Genesis 4, Matthew 4|