Question 5:  Do you have a growing concern for the spiritual and temporal needs of others?

This week's question, at this time, is fundamental.  "Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words" is a quote that is very popular and not true.  Words must be used to preach the Gospel.  At the same time, those who have been saved and changed by the Gospel will desire to help those who have temporals.  "Those following Jesus can trace their progress in His likeness by tracking their growth in their concern for both the spiritual and temporal needs of others." (68)

It is not either word, Spiritual truth - the Gospel OR Temporal actions - Love and Caring for physical needs.  When someone hears and responds to the truth of John 3:16, they will live out the truth of First John 3:16.

Jesus' earthly ministry included teaching spiritual truths, meeting physical needs (healing and providing food), and dying as the perfect lamb of God for God's glory and our good.  

James 2:15 - 16 reminds us of how we should respond to physical needs.  "If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,' yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?"

10 Questions to Diagnose Your Spiritual Health lists people through history who spoke truth and demonstrated love to others.

  • George Whitefield was a fruitful evangelist who started an orphanage.
  • William Wilberforce fought to end slavery.
  • William Carey worked against child sacrifice and widow burning in India.
  • George Mueller prayed and helped orphans.
  • "C.H. Spurgeon, remembered as the Prince of Preachers, built more than seventeen homes for elderly widows, two orphanages." (74)

Whitney gives three things to help you grow in your concern for the needs of others.

  1. Go to the Great Ophthalmologists.
  2. Look for the hurt in every heart and home
  3. Do something for the gospel and the good of others

I would like to add a fourth.  Remember how needy you were before you were a child of God.  

The last paragraph of this chapter serves as a great reminder.

Don't sit passively until you "feel led" to particular needs.  Go adventurously into your world with the gospel and the love of Christ, and you'll find Him guiding you to the needs He wants you to meet.  And as you become His instrument in meeting the needs of others, you'll find Him meeting many needs of your own.  (78)



This week's lesson has yet to happen in person.

"Are You More Sensitive to God's Presence?"

You may have had a unique God experience at camp, during a quiet alone time, in a Sunday service, looking at a baby, reading a book, or so many other times.

"But how often are you aware of the presence of God?  If we take the teaching of the Bible seriously, perception of God should not be an occasional experience." (pg. 52)

Continual awareness of God's presence helps with growing in the spiritual disciplines, fighting besetting sin, and depending on God more and more.

The presence of God is made known in so many different ways.  Through the universal presence of God, his omnipresence is that God is everywhere but is not everything.  The Christological presence of God is the fact that Jesus is God.  God is present in the believer through the indwelling presence of God.  In sermons and specific work on earth, the perceptible presence of God is known.  God's heavenly presence is what heaven is all about.  People often focus on the streets of gold, the "mansion," and seeing loved ones.  But the new heaven and new earth will be about God.  The eternal presence of God will be known through love and mercy OR divine wrath and justice.

We need to seek God "through His Word; or through experiences which are founded on His Word (such as biblical worship); or through daily life in ways that are informed by His Word (such as doing our work "as to the Lord," Ephesians 6:7)."  Knowing God's presence must go through His word not our emotions and experiences.  

We can grow through God's Desertions.

These desertions are not because God has left us but because we feel he has left us.

“If, while reading this chapter, you’ve thought, I haven’t been sensing God’s presence much lately, take note that it’s one thing to long for a sense of God’s presence while not experiencing it, and another to live routinely with no awareness of His absence.”

Some Practical Ways to Grow In Our Awareness of God’s Presence:

  • Go often to where God has revealed Himself most clearly—the Bible.
  • Acknowledge His presence with you by talking with Him.
  • Seek Him in manifesting His presence, which is given only in congregational worship.
  • Continually reaffirm the truth that He is omnipresent. God seems so far away.