NASHVILLE (BP) -- This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curriculum and additional resources for all age groups.
This week's Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passages: Ezra 9:1-6; Nehemiah 2:11-20
-- What kind of clutter builds up in our lives?
-- What results when God's people clear away the clutter in their minds and hearts?
Food for Thought:
Clutter is a problem. It bogs down not just homes and families but also churches. If you walk through the average church, you may find old Sunday School quarterlies, old hymnals stacked on the pianos and used coffee cups under the chairs.
What about the clutter we often overlook? The clutter of busyness, for example. We clog our schedules with so many activities we have little time for God. How about the clutter in our minds? There are so many voices shouting for our attention, it's hard to hear God speaking.
God longs for us to clear out the clutter, to throw away the junk and eliminate the nonessentials so we might see more clearly and know Him better. Ezra had a heart uncluttered when it came to wanting God's desire for His people. When he arrived in Jerusalem, he found that the people had rebuilt the temple, but he also recognized they had embraced pagan practices. We need an Ezra to remind us that we can build all the temples we want, but if don't deal with sin, those temples will just be houses for sinning. Until we see sin the way God sees it, we're just having religious meetings without experiencing revival.
When Nehemiah arrived on the scene he found crumbling walls. He dealt with the rubble that was keeping the people from rebuilding the wall. He got the people to see the possibilities, and they did what was needed. In the days following the rebuilding, worship was restored. The Word of God was taught, and this led to conviction and repentance among the people. God became the central focus. Revival came.
Revival begins with people who cannot accept the status quo any longer. It starts in the heart of one or a few who are weary of their cluttered, meaningless lives.
Why would anyone want to live with rubble when you can have revival? Removing the rubble is preparation for revival. If revival is to come, the clutter must go.
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors, offering adults pertinent, practical messages that also are uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at LifeWay.com/MasterWork.
Other ongoing Bible study options for all ages offered by LifeWay can be found at LifeWay.com/SundaySchool
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