Living the Lectionary – What’s On The Outside

Living the Lectionary is a weekly devotional tool intended to give you ideas for living out the Word of God that we encounter on Sundays in worship. 

The Armor of God

About this coming Sunday:14th Sunday After Pentecost – What’s On the Outside –  The rules of God figure heavily into this week’s readings, but in a way that is celebratory instead of burdensome. We are invited to take on the Law with strength that we find in the freedom of the Gospel. Law: God’s rules are impossible for us to follow in their totality, but Jesus has already fulfilled the requirement of totality, and now encourages us as His Body to take up what we can. Gospel: God protects us through the working out of His Word, giving us an armor to use as we encounter a world that is hostile to us.

About this Season and Series: 

Sundays After Pentecost/”ReGIFTED” – The long season of Pentecost affords us an opportunity to look into continuous readings from certain books – this year, we have a semi-continuous reading of Ephesians that serves as the basis of the ReGIFTED series.

Reflecting on the Readings (readings are linked to text on ESVbible.com)

Deuteronomy 4:4:1-9 – Statutes of Life – God gives His people rules because He believes that those rules will help them. God assures His people that His rules are so good that they will earn Israel a positive reputation. What are some of the rules that you “live by” that you believe will give you a positive reputation among your neighbors?

Psalm 119:129-136 (Pe)– Tears for Lawbreakers – All of Psalm 119 extols the virtues of God’s Law, but here especially, the Psalmist mourns those who break the Law of God and therefore are in pain. Who around you might you notice breaking God’s law, and how do you show sorrow over their pain that comes as a result?

Ephesians 6:10-20 – The Armor of God– Paul reminds the Ephesian people to be ready for all kinds of attacks, and to ready themselves with what God has given them. All of these things are imperatives, commands given to the Ephesians, and are therefore Law – but the thing that makes them all possible is the Gospel of Jesus Christ who has given us the armor to put on. Which of these commands might you work on this week?

Mark 7:14-23 – What comes out  – Often, our culture puts moral stipulations on what we consume: what we eat, drink, and watch are some of the most common. But Jesus says that it is much more worth while to pay attention to what is coming out of us, rather than being puritanical about what is going in. What are the things that are coming out of you that are worth repenting of?

GIFTED Considerations

Gift of God: God’s gift to you is His Law. His Law does show you that you are a sinner, but it also shows you how to live a life that is in open rebellion against sin. How are you rebelling against your sinful side?

Giving Ourselves As Gifts: The Psalmist cried over the sins of men and how they hurt them. What is your response to the sins you see in others, and how might you make your life a gift to them?

Celebrating Gifts Given: God’s Law is worth giving thanks for. Consider a time when God’s Law helped you make a difficult decision and give God thanks for that.

Living the Lectionary Ideas

Learn: The Pharisees were such adamant law keepers that they devised a list of 613 laws that they tried to follow. Look up this list and see which laws make sense to you, and which are simply legalisms.

Do: Take a look at the 10 Commandments, and decide which of these is hardest for you to keep on a regular basis. Write that commandment on a card or place it somewhere were you will see it and really attempt to work on keeping this commandment. It will likely mean you will see more reason to run to Christ for forgiveness.

Live: At times we live our lives without thinking the effects that our actions have on others. This week make a point of considering the outcomes of your actions for a week from now, a month from now, and a year from now. See if that makes a difference in your actions.

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