“We Cry”: Romans 8:15–27 Praying in the Spirit – Part 1

“We Cry”: Romans 8:15–27

Praying in the Spirit – Part 1

  • “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.” John 14:16–17
  • “When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13–14 NIV11)
  • “And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:22 NIV11)

1. “We” 

2. “Cry”

  • “cry” – deep emotion, in distress (see all NT refs to ‘kratzo’ below)* 
  • Matthew 14.30; 9.27; Mark 6.49; John 19.12; Luke 19.40
  • Creation groans, Romans 8.22 
  • We groan, 8:23
  • Spirit groans, 8:26–27
  • “What kinds of life situations have we encountered that have caused us to “cry” to God in the Spirit?”
  • “What is the difference between moaning and groaning?
  • For what purpose? 8:28–29. Groan to grow.

Conclusion

  • What do these two points mean for you and your ‘group’?
  1. We – communal
  2. Cry – real
  • How will you adjust the way you pray as a result of what the Spirit has made possible?
  • Suggestion: Use Romans 8.15 as a prayer frame for a week – “We cry, “Abba, Father.””

*“Cry” (katzo): Matt. 8:29; 9:27; 14:26, 30; 15:22–23; 20:30–31; 21:9, 15; 27:23, 50; Mark 3:11; 5:5, 7; 9:24, 26; 10:47–48; 11:9; 15:13–14; Luke 4:41; 9:39; 18:39; 19:40; John 1:15; 7:28, 37; 12:44; Acts 7:57, 60; 14:14; 16:17; 19:28, 32, 34; 21:28, 36; 23:6; 24:21; Rom. 8:15; 9:27; Gal. 4:6; James 5:4; Rev. 6:10; 7:2, 10; 10:3; 12:2; 14:15; 18:2, 18–19; 19:17

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“Malcolm’s Major Moments”, Week of 3rd August 2019

“Three Hospitals and a Wedding””

The Power and Pain of “threes”

When I was a youngster I vividly remember my father complaining that bad luck always came in “threes”. On that occasion it was the freezer, television and washing machine which all broke down at the same time.

This week the Cox household had its own version of the same phenomenon. The difference being that this was people, not household appliances. On Saturday my son went into hospital via A & E. On Monday my mother went into hospital for a hip replacement. On Tuesday my mother-in-law went into hospital for treatment on an infected foot. All are on the mend, but It’s been a bit crazy round here as a result.

For a day or two we had three different relatives in three different hospitals in three different counties. Shuttling between them became quite the art for Penny and I. 

As a result, this week’s newsletter is shorter than normal. Please forgive the brevity, but I’m sure you understand. Due to pre-recording a number of posts last week, I have managed to put up material on the usual topics.

Have you been dealing with a set of “threes”? I pray the one-in-three and the three-in-one we worship will bring you strength, comfort and wisdom.


Prayer request

You’ve guessed it – my mother’s continued recovery from hip surgery, my mother-in-law’s recovery from her foot infection and my son’s recovery from his health challenge. Also, please keep the wedding preparations in your prayers. It’s all systems go for two weeks today!


Teaching Day Update

I’ve made enquiries about using a Quaker meeting hall for the teaching day on Colossians (probably) in Watford on 16 November. Please pray we get the OK to use it if that is God’s will. 


Thank you for reading this far, and encouraging me in my endeavours to support our times of quiet with God, our corporate worship experiences, and the effectiveness of our preaching and teaching.

If you know anyone who might enjoy these materials, please send them a link to my website and encourage them to sign up for this newsletter.

God bless, Malcolm

The Sunday Sample, Episode 94: “What to do when the congregation isn’t ‘with you’.”

Have you ever led worship and the congregation just weren’t “with you”? What did you make of it?

This happened to me recently and I found myself uncertain about what to do.  In the end, we ran the church service through to its conclusion. The worship was not terrible. It just wasn’t as engaged as usual. And not as engaged as would be healthy. There was a listlessness in the room. A sense of distraction.

The congregation appeared to be struggling to focus on God and enjoy worshipping him.

Rather than stop and try and address it at the time, I decided to let it ride and reflect later. Hence this Sunday Sample.

I don’t have answers even now, but I thought I’d record this and test out some ideas. I’m looking forward to hearing what you have to say about anything similar you’ve experienced.

Here are the options I came up with:

  1. Do nothing. This is a good option if I’m not sure what to do, or if I think it is likely that it’s something to do with the song selection et cetera. I might as well let it go and make some changes for next time. In the meantime, one could pray internally and persevere.
  2. Pause. Break up the worship, but without commenting on the cause. Under this option, one might read a Scripture, or pray before carrying on.
  3. Comment. Make a direct comment on the issue. Under this option, one could say something like, “It seems we’re a bit disconnected this morning. I feel that way from time to time. But let’s do our best to honour God by focusing on the words of these next few songs we’re going to sing.” Or something like that.

Can you think of any other helpful and healthy options? I don’t want to berate the congregation. It may not be their fault. It might be mine, or the rest of the worship team. Or something has happened that I’m not aware of that’s caused the congregation to be distracted. Maybe there’s been some bad news they know about that I don’t. Perhaps something happened in the media that I’m unaware of. Maybe it’s just the temperature is high and the air conditioning isn’t working!

Think back to previous experiences you’ve had of situations like this. What did you do, or see done that was helpful, and what have you seen done or done yourself which was less than helpful?

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“By the Spirit”, Class 4 – “The Unity of the Spirit”

“Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace”  (Ephesians 4:3 NIV11)

1. Pre-Jesus Phase 1, Oneness Enjoyed: Genesis 1.26; 2.25 Phase 2, Oneness Destroyed: Genesis 11 Phase 3, Oneness Misemployed

2. Jesus – Love, John 13.34-35 Oneness, John 17, John 14.17, 23

3. Early Church Acts 8.14, 11.2, 15.1-2ff

4. Ephesians

  • References to unity/oneness Eph. 1:10; 2:14–16, 18; 3:6; 4:4-6, 13; 5:31
  • References to the Spirit Eph. 1:13, 17; 2:18, 22; 3:5, 16; 4:3–4, 30; 5:18–19; 6:17–18
  • References to one another / each other / together Eph. 2:21–22; 3:6; 4:2, 32; 5:19, 21

Conclusion

The unity of the Spirit

  • Initiated
  • Relational
  • Strength
  • Action

“until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”  (Ephesians 4:13 NIV11)

What do each of these points mean for you and your ‘group’? How will you adjust the way you live to maintain the unity of the Spirit?

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

Quiet Time Coaching: Episode 99. “How to stay motivated in your relationship with God”

I’m recording this on the hottest day of the year in the UK so far. Possibly the hottest ever day since records began. 

Sensibly, I went out nice and early for my morning prayer walk. I noticed something unusual. Most days I see the occasional cyclist and a few joggers. Today, well before 7 AM, I was dodging between powerwalkers, joggers, runners and cyclist of all shapes and sizes. I couldn’t work it out. It’s Thursday morning. There’s nothing special about today. Why so many more people exercising than usual. Then it hit me. 

They all know that it’s going to be too hot to exercise later. They’re getting the lunchtime run or evening jog in whilst they can. They’ve adapted.

For the last three months I have adopted a more intentional and extensive exercise regime. More time on the bike, and regularly going through a strength training set of exercises developed for me by Debbie Bishop. Both innovations have been tremendously helpful to my energy levels, sense of well-being, and hopes for a healthier old age!

However, a mixture of travel to help my mother, a few days with a bug, and the recent hot weather have made me inconsistent. Or rather, I have decided inconsistency is allowable. Now, while adaptability as a good thing, inconsistency is not! Something interesting happened today.

I already knew I needed to do my strength training exercises, but, given the anticipated heat of the day, I had half allowed myself the idea that I would skip them. But, having seen all those extra joggers and cyclists this morning, it helped motivate me to get on with my exercises once I got home.

So, back at the pad, I jumped straight into it, before the heat of the day became oppressive. Placing a fan on the floor and directing it straight of my face while performing the floor exercises also made a difference!

Much as we might hope to not need external motivation, the truth is that the example of others and the camaraderie of working together on something makes a difference to us being consistent in the things that matter.

This is just as true of prayer and our times of quiet with God as anything else. Yes, we need our own motivation, but we are kidding ourselves if we think we don’t need some external support and inspiration from time to time. Let’s think about what this could mean and how it might help our times of quiet with God.

  • The Friend. 
    • Friends help us in three key ways:
    • First, they give us companionship: “And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God.(1 Sam. 23:16 NIV11)
      • Sometimes we need a friend to help us find strength in God. A person to talk to, a person to pray with.
      • Do you have such a friend?
    • Second, they give us guidance, “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently.” (Galatians 6:1 NIV11)
      • At other times we need someone to help us come back to God when we have moved far away from him.
      • And, of course we may need this ourselves.
      • Are you this kind of resource for other people? Or, do you need some restoration yourself?
    • Third, they give us inspiration, “Jehu said, “Come with me and see my zeal for the LORD.” Then he had him ride along in his chariot. (2 Kings 10:16 NIV11) 
      • Spending time with someone on fire for God can you help us reconnect with him.
      • Who would be the”Jehu” in your life?
  • The Community
    • “…the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”(Rom. 8:15 NIV11) 
      • The key word here for our purposes is, “we”. It’s never just that I cry, but I cry together with others.
      • It’s important that we know each other’s prayer needs in the congregation. If your congregation is large, then at least know the needs within your local small group. Take the example of the apostle Paul:
        • “For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives…” (Col. 1:9 NIV11)
      • And, of course, let your needs be known.
        • “Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favourably received by the Lord’s people there…” (Rom. 15:31 NIV11)
    • I sent a text message this morning to someone letting them know I was praying for something they asked us to pray about. I just received a reply thanking me, and telling me that she is praying for something I have asked for prayers about.
    • Knowing that my needs are known and that I know the needs of others is a motivation to consistency in my times of quiet with God.

I am grateful for the early-morning exercisers in Cassiobury Park this morning. They helped me to get on with what I really want to do. I hope you find the motivation you need to help you to develop the depth and intimacy with God that you really want. Could a friend and your Christian community help you with this today?

Do you have any tips you could share that might help us develop a consistent motivation in times of quiet with God? What helps you to stay motivated? And what ways have you found it effective in trying to help other people stay motivated? Alternatively, what demotivates you? Please share your story, your answers, your questions and your struggles.

Scriptures referred to or you might find useful: 1 Samuel 23; 2 Kings 10; Colossians 1:9; Romans 15:31.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

Tuesday Teaching Tip Episode 167: “Why you need to prepare in advance”

How far in advance do you prepare your lessons?

A conversation I had with a friend comes back to mind. His opinion is that,”The best sermons come straight from the heart and don’t need much preparation.”

To be fair he has a point in that over-prepared lessons can be dry. And indeed, we shouldn’t need preparation to be able to take advantage of a situation that suddenly presents itself. The book of Acts shows us many such incidents.

However, such sudden events are rare when it comes to what happens in most congregational speaking opportunities.

I can think of multiple reasons why being well prepared is advantageous, but I would like to explore just the one today.

Preparing your talk well in advance means you can live it.

There is a different quality of authority attached to a lesson which has been lived by the speaker. Why is this? Here are a few of the reasons: 

  1. The truth has time to sink into your own mind and heart
  2. You have time to work out how to live it
  3. In living it you can experience the struggle and bring us the fruit of your struggle

What was it people said about Jesus?

“The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority!” (Mark 1:27 NIV11)

Why was it that Jesus spoke with such authority? Because he lived what he taught – fully. It was not enough to bring us technical truth. He came to bring us enfleshed truth (John 1.17).

There will be times when we need to preach at short notice. We may not always get the preparation space we would prefer. But, when you have opportunity, when you’re provided with the time, begin preparing your lesson well in advance. At least live your lesson for a week before you deliver it. I guarantee that if this is done your message will have far more authority and, to the point, more impact.

What is your normal preparation schedule? How much time do you normally have between being assigned a passage (or picking one) and speaking on it?

I’m off to start preparation for a sermon I’ll be delivering in a two weeks’ time. 

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

Malcolm’s Major Moments

27 July 2019

Adapt to thrive

Thursday this week was the hottest day of the year and one of the very hottest ever in UK history since records began. We were all complaining about the heat, whilst simultaneously feeling guilty that we were complaining about the heat!

An odd thing happened that morning that gave me pause to think.

I took my customary prayer walk through Cassiobury Park in Watford starting about 6:45 AM. As I made my way through the park I noticed far more people out exercising than usual. I was almost run over several times by power-walkers, joggers, runners and cyclists. I see some every morning. But not this many. There must have been three or four times as many fitness fanatics than usual. What on earth was going on? It wasn’t some special day. Just an ordinary Thursday.

Then it hit me. They all know what was coming. The heat.

They were aware that their mid-morning run, their lunchtime jog, their evening cycle-ride wasn’t going to happen. It would be too hot. So what did they do? They did not abandoned their commitment. They adapted.

It made me think about what I do when things get in the way of my normal routine with God. When I’m up a bit late the night before, or have to do something early in the morning. Too often this  has the effect of compromising my time of quiet with God. Occasionally it’s situation I could not anticipate. But more often than not I knew the challenge was coming.

On this particular Thursday I had been planning not to do my own strength training regimen. But, when I saw these devoted people determined to get their exercising in, I was spurred on. As soon as I got home I got on with my exercise plan before the intensity of the day’s heat struck.

In my posts this week I hope that I can inspire us to thrive by adapting when necessary. When corporate worship doesn’t go the way we had hoped, let’s adjust. When our preaching and teaching does not have the impact we desire, then reflect, learn and change. When our times of quiet with God are not as satisfying as we would like, let’s review and adapt. Above all, let’s not allow circumstances to push us around.

The heroes and heroines of Scripture show us that devotion to God does not have to depend on favourable circumstances (think Paul and Barnabas singing hymns in the prison at midnight in Acts 16).

Whether you are feeling the heat or not, whether you are enjoying the heat or not, I pray that whatever “heat” you are experiencing will lead you to adapt and thrive in your relationship with God.


Prayer request

My mother is going in for her rescheduled, rescheduled, rescheduled, rescheduled, rescheduled hip operation this coming Monday, 29 July. Please pray for her that all goes well – this time! Her name is Joy, by the way.


I would like your feedback – Teaching Day

You’ll know, if you been receiving these newsletters for a while, that I’m planning a teaching day in Watford for the autumn. November is more likely that October. I would covet your ideas for topics and/or Bible books which might prove of interest.  Colossians is the front runner at the moment.


Thank you for reading this far, and encouraging me in my endeavours to support our times of quiet with God, our corporate worship experiences, and the effectiveness of our preaching and teaching.

If you know anyone who might enjoy these materials, please send them a link to my website and encourage them to sign up for this newsletter.

God bless, Malcolm

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

The Sunday Sample: Episode 93. “Posture in Corporate Worship”, Part 11 – Folding of Hands.

What is the usefulness and relevance of movement and posture in corporate worship? This is the 11th in a series on this topic inspired by a chapter in “Participating in Worship” by Craig Douglas Erickson.

Today we look at the issue of folding of hands.

What do you do with your hands when you pray? Do you hold your hands together? Do you interlace the fingers, hold palm to palm, steeple your fingers, pull the hands together and point them to “heaven”?

As Eriksson says, “despite modern popularity, the joining or folding of handful prayer is a posture that is unknown in biblical and early Christian traditions. It likely originated from feudal rights in which vassals joined their hands between the hands of their Lord. Consequently, folded hands may be understood to express submission to God’s will.”

I rather like this image. As I place my hands together I can imagine God placing his hands around mine. In that posture I am weak. I am surrendered. My hands are within his hands. But, of course, that is where they should be. That is where they belong. In a willing, conscious and wholehearted healthy surrender.

Is there a place in our corporate worship for asking our attendees to put their hands together consciously for this purpose of honouring our Lord?

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community.

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

Quiet Time Coaching: Episode 98. “How to redefine yourself”

We continue our series today based on the book, “Unloading the Overload: Stress management for Christians” by Chris Powell and Graham Barker.

Today we explore the issue of redefining ourselves. How does our view of ourselves and the ways others think of us effect our times of quiet with God?

We will never grow to maturity in Christ unless we deal with the inner life. Our times of quiet with God are our primary opportunity to help us become develop the inner life and become more like Jesus. At times we have to deal with external barriers to this development, but a more common and pervasive challenge is what is going on internally.  

In other words, we can be our own worst enemy.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way.

Our times of quiet help us to develop emotional maturity. This maturity is not a position, but a process. As we go through life we develop healthily as we better understand and experience the ability to form our own independent convictions, whilst still remaining connected to community.

Jesus was at a key development point in his life when he made a decision of independence to stay behind and engage with the teachers in the temple, whilst still understanding his need to be obedient to his parents (Luke 2:41-52).

This emotional maturity is dependent on us developing a healthy self-image. An image of ourselves as God sees us. Most clearly articulated in Genesis 1:27:

“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27 NIV11)

As the writers of the book put it:

“This is really the only solid basis for a good self-image. Other options are poor. Public adulation, financial success, sexual conquests, material acquisitions, you name it – all give temporary satisfaction but have long-term negative impacts on life. They never suffice, and chasing more simply creates more overload.” (p71)

What to do?  Some time spent reading, meditating and praying through Philippians 2:1-8 could well help:

    “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:1–8 NIV11)

We see in this passage that Jesus sets us the example of someone who considered the needs of others more important than his own. But, this did not mean he did what people wanted him to do or asked him to do. He did what they needed him to do. What a helpful distinction!

It means I don’t have to live to please people. I don’t have to live to make people feel good. I don’t have to prove myself by how much I do for other people. I only have to connect with what God reveals as to how to help people according to what he has called me to do.

Jesus poured himself out for people, but he still had boundaries. There were many he did not heal and countless numbers to whom he did not preach. He gave his whole heart to the few so that in the end the many could be blessed.

Is this a message you need to hear? I think I do. At times I do things for others that they could and should do for themselves. On other occasions I’m not quite sure about my motives. Do I teach and preach, arrange services, meet with people and lead worship because it is what people need, or do I do it to make me feel good?

This, of course, is not always an easy question to answer. Again, this is why we need our times of quiet with God. Let’s finish with three suggestions which can help us with these challenges.

  1. Spend some time connecting with God’s love and reminding yourself, and allowing God to remind you, that his love for you is enough. You do not have to prove yourself to him or other people.
  2. Pray for wisdom that God would reveal to you when you are acting to meet the needs of others that God has called you to, or whether you’re acting to bolster your self-image in the eyes of God, yourself or others. Ask God to reveal your motives.
  3. Read, meditate over and pray about the themes of Philippians 2:1-8.

What helps you to redefine yourself? To strip away whatever is from an unhealthy and inaccurate perspective, and replace it with the only view that truly matters – that of our maker and Father God.

Do you have any tips you could share that might help us ?

Scriptures referred to or that you might find useful: Genesis 1.27; 1 Corinthians 2.15-16; 12.1ff; Philippians 2.1-8

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

Please pass the link on, subscribe, leave a review.

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John

“By the Spirit” – Class 3, “Walk by the Spirit”

“By the Spirit” – Class 3

Walk by the Spirit

1. Walk Away, 5:16-21

  • Romans 7 – to which Romans 8 is the answer – a Spirit-guided response – 8:27
  • Rom 8:9 – we are in the realm of the Spirit, v12-13 we can put to death the old life
  • All I dislike about this world will be improved by a more Christ-like version of me.
  • One of our aspirations: “always free but spiritual”, Galatians 5:13
  • Solution provided by God so that we can walk in the right direction, Rom 8.26-27
    • Spirit is on our side
    • Spirit prays for us
    • Spirit moves us towards the will of God

Question: “What helps us to walk away?”

2. Walk Towards, 5:22-25

  • Matt 7:15, fruit makes us recognisable for who we are, 7:19-20.
  • Not ‘normal’ levels of human qualities – but Jesus-level!
  • That’s why we need the Spirit’s life in us (Spirit of Christ, Rom 8.9), 2 Cor 3:17-18
  • Direction, not arrival; Process, not product; Lifetime, not year
  • John Mark – from hindrance to helpful: Acts 15:37–38 / 2 Timothy 4:11

Question: “What helps us to walk towards?”

3. Walk With, 5:26; 6:1-2

  • Growing in the Spirit makes us ready for service
  • Treating one another right, 5.26
  • Helping one another when we stray, 6.1-2
  • Remembering we are human too, Gal 6.3
  • A peacemaker, Matthew 5:9

Question: “What helps us to walk with?”

Conclusion, 6.7-10

  • People of “The Way”: Acts 9:2; 19.9, 23; 24.14, 22
  • Walking in a particular and different direction:
    1. Walking away
    2. Walking towards
    3. Walking with 
  • Gal 5.6b; 6:10
  • What does each of these points mean for you and your ‘group’?
  • How will you adjust the way you pray & live as a result?
  • Do you have questions about the Spirit? Send them to malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

If you’d like a copy of my free eBook on spiritual disciplines, “How God grows His people”, sign up at my website: http://www.malcolmcox.org.

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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John