Day 0: The Scriptures and the Power of God

 
 

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Matthew 22:23-33

Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.”
MATTHEW 22:29

Some of the Sadducees (the priestly class of Judaism) were trying to trap Jesus with a question about the resurrection of the dead, which they themselves denied. They presented Jesus a scenario based on a Jewish law, which required a man to marry his brother’s childless widow. The child of this new union would be regarded as the son of the deceased brother, ensuring that his family line did not die with him.

In essence, the Sadducees asked Jesus: if a widow married seven times within the same line of brothers, whose wife would she be in heaven? The timeless answer of Jesus is still relevant today: “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God” (Matthew 22:29). In other words, the hypothetical scenario they presented was a manifestation of the fact that they had been led astray and deceived, because they misunderstood both the Scriptures and God’s power. 

The word error in Matthew 22:29 is a powerful word in the original language. It means “to be deceived, to be led astray, or to wander about.” Tragically, I still see countless well-meaning Christians being led astray because they have failed to grasp God’s Word or experience His might.

Although this deception is rarely theological (like that of the Sadducees), the ramifications can still be devastating. Some Christians may be destroyed by bitterness because they have never fully grasped the implications of the scriptural injunctions to forgive. Or perhaps they lack the understanding necessary to appropriate God’s resurrection power, so they are living in a perpetual state of darkness and despair. 

No matter where you find yourself today, I want to begin a journey with you—a six-day journey into a deeper understanding of both the Scriptures and God’s power. As we journey together, I will introduce a number of exercises designed to give you the skills necessary to gain a deeper understanding of God’s Word and a fresh appropriation of His mighty power. I am also asking the Holy Spirit to help you apply these newly developed skills to an area in your life that has proven resistant to change. Finally, we will join in prayer with thousands of our brothers and sisters by focusing on specific prayer requests from around the world.

Apply

  • What specific area or pattern in your life has proven the most resistant to change? Please write it out. Let’s bring the Scriptures and God’s power to bear on this area/pattern for the next five days.

  • As great as fasting is, it loses its effectiveness when we do not pray. And although it’s clear in Scripture that God loves for us to start our day with Him, any time is better than no time. What time every day do you hope to pray? How long do you hope to pray during these times?

Remember: You don’t need to set a lofty goal. Be practical and realistic. Refer to the schedule on page 3 to help set a plan.
  • What is the name of your pastor? Is he or she married? If he or she is married, do they have children? Please write out their names. Make time to pray for your pastor and his or her family every day.

  • What special requests do you have from your congregation or local church? Write down these requests as they are given to you.

  • We will be taking time to pray for all six of our Every Nation regions around the world. Each day, choose one region and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you as you pray.

Tomorrow, we will journey together into some of the intricacies of our new nature. We will take a fresh look at some of the practices involved in appropriating new levels of divine life and power.