Lesson 4: September 24, 2017
Spirit-Filled Heart: Ezekiel 36:22-32
Teaching Strategy: Ask participants to identify people they know who are filled with God’s Spirit, and to reflect upon the qualities that demonstrate a spirit-filled heart. Invite them also to share times when they have felt God’s spirit acting within them to change their hearts – for example, their attitudes or their behavior toward others. End with a time of prayer for hearts that are open to be filled with – and transformed – by God’s Spirit.
There is abundant evidence of deep division among people in the U.S. and around the world. The extreme polarization of political parties, emotionally-charged rhetoric of diverse individuals and groups, increased violence against racial and religious minorities, and threat of nuclear war with North Korea are but a few examples.
In the lesson from Ezekiel, the prophet speaks God’s word of judgment and transformation. The people of Israel must repent, that is, they must confront their evil ways, their iniquities, and their abominable deeds (v. 31). Yet God will act to put God’s spirit within them so that they will follow God and observe God’s ordinances: “Then you shall live in the land that I gave to your ancestors; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God” (v. 28).
Believers today are challenged to discern and confront their own iniquities and evil deeds, and to open their hearts to be filled with God’s Spirit. How would Spirit-filled hearts transform our world? How might women and men whose hearts are changed by God help to heal the divisions and hostility among people everywhere – people who are all made in God’s image?
Stories of hope and change?
- Harvey Images Put the Lie to Trump’s Divisive American Vision; America’s Love Over Hate: Houston Over Charlottesville, What’s Next?
- ‘Reprehensible,’ ‘Unconscionable’: Christian Leaders React to Trump’s Decision to Overturn DACA; Faith Leaders Wash the Feet of DACA Recipients, Pray Outside Paul Ryan’s Office
Fall 2017 Theme: Covenant
Unifying Principle: People stubbornly follow their own agendas without regard to the impact of their actions on those they respect and admire. What will motivate these persons to change? God will give them new hearts and put a new spirit in their hearts.
Posted on: September 18, 2017, by : Sharon Harris-Ewing