Lent Devotional: Week Four
Introduction to the Lent Devotional
Before Lent was the tradition we understand today, an opportunity for church members to repent and seek spiritual renewal, it had a different meaning. Originally it was understood as an intense season of preparation for “Catechumens” (converts under training) who were preparing to be baptized on Easter. The church would walk with these new believers by encouraging, supporting, and praying for them towards the greatest of celebrations: Easter Sunday.
This year, as a church we’re taking that 40-day journey of Lent on behalf of the people in our lives we are committed to loving who do not yet know Jesus (who we at Vintage often call your “love one”), harkening back to the original observance of Lent when the church would walk with new believers. While most of our love ones are not yet followers of Jesus, it is our desire for them to know the freedom and new life that comes only from surrendering to him. This Lenten season we hope to do that with more focus and passion than ever. We are committing the 40 days of Lent to praying, fasting, and petitioning God on behalf of our love one.
As we walk these 40 days to Easter Sunday on behalf of our love one, this devotional is designed to assist us in the journey. The Scripture verses, questions, prayers, and quotes are all aimed at deepening our faith in God and our love for others. Use this as a tool or resource to carve out time each day where you’re seeking God and praying for your love one.
In addition, as we’re growing our faith through the current series in Hebrews 11, our hope is that it will result in all of us inviting those love ones to join us on Easter. And what if—just imagine—they responded in faith on that day and were baptized? How Vintage Church and all of heaven will rejoice! Let’s believe in God and go to him on behalf of our love one!
“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy? Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good, and delight yourselves in rich food. Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live; and I will make with you an everlasting covenant, my steadfast, sure love for David.
(Isaiah 55:1-3 ESV)
On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’”
(John 7:37-38 ESV)
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
(John 8:12 ESV)
“For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’ How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’
(Romans 10:13-16 ESV)
Introduction to Week Four
Over the past several weeks we have been taking this journey of Lent on behalf of our love one. As we have looked deeply at those people in our lives, we have seen a beautiful person who was “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Ps. 139:14). Yet like all of us, they are deeply affected by sin and separated from God. We have also encountered a God who loves us so much that he sent his son to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10). As our hearts are stirred to love for our love one, our love compels us to act. With Easter Sunday approaching, we have an opportunity to take a step of action. According to several surveys, 84% of people would join you in attending an Easter service if you invited them. Invite them to an Easter service at Vintage Church, where they will hear the eternity-changing news of the loving Father and the Savior.
What we see in this week’s devotional is that the invitation to believe is already there from God, as true today as it was thousands of years ago when it was spoken.
Read Isaiah 55:1-3. After reading, answer the following questions:
- Who are the people who were invited to believe?
- What are they offered from God?
- We were not made to labor apart from God, and we’re unsatisfied by our own efforts and strength (v. 2). Think of your own life, and the life of your love one—are you satisfied by what this world offers? Are you satisfied by what your own efforts can bring? If you are satisfied, how long does it last before you see it fading?
In his sermon on Isaiah 55:1-3, John Piper wrote this about the covenant God invites us to in verse 3:
The same kind of covenant that he made with King David in 2 Samuel 7—a covenant of ‘steadfast, sure love.’ This means that when you come to God, he binds himself by an unbreakable oath to pursue you with goodness and mercy all your days right into eternity—with ever-refreshing water, and ever-strengthening milk, and ever-exhilarating wine, forever and ever!
The God of the Universe invites us to eat, drink, and be satisfied in him for all of eternity. Neither you or your love one will be truly satisfied without faith in Christ. Spend time praying to the God who invites your love one to himself, thanking him for creating your love one, and praising him for his heart that desires to save them. Pray also they would join you on Easter Sunday to hear the good news and see people baptized.
Read John 7:37-38. After reading, answer the following questions:
- Jesus’ pronouncement is clear. According to the late theologian John Stott,: “he is the fulfillment of all that the Feast of Tabernacles anticipated. If Isaiah could invite the thirsty to drink from the waters (Isa. 55:1), Jesus announces that he is the one who can provide the waters.” Do you believe Jesus can and desires to fulfill your love one? Do you believe his invitation in John 7:37-38 extends to them?
- If you believe Jesus’ invitation extends to your love one, do you believe they know of this invitation? If so, do you believe they know truly the good news of the gospel, or do they have misunderstandings about it?
- If you believe Jesus’ desires to invite your love one to himself, what do you believe is a good venue for them to hear about the good news of the gospel? Is it community group, one-on-one time, Easter Sunday, or another time?
Spend time in prayer, asking God to continue to show you just how much he cares for your love one. Pray they would hear and believe the good news of Jesus Christ. Ask him how he would like to use you in their life, and how you can share the good news of the gospel with them. Pray God would allow you to care for those who feel “burned” by past church experience, and that you would know how to lovingly share Jesus’ love with them.
Read John 8:12. After reading, answer the following questions:
- Amidst the four huge lamps in the center of the Feast of Tabernacles, at the culmination of a celebration where the Israelites danced and sang through the night, Jesus claimed to be “the light of the world” in John 8:12. Like his claim to be the source of “living water,” Jesus is declaring himself the fulfillment of God’s promises. What is required of people in order to “have the light of life?”
- After his bold declaration to be the light of the world, Jesus invites them to follow him. If Jesus’ invitation extends to us today, you’re not inviting your love one to a set of rules on how to behave, or instructions on living a better life today, but to a person—Jesus. What do you like and love about Jesus? What do you believe your love one would find appealing about Jesus as he’s seen in Scripture?
- According to Jesus, if we do not follow him, we walk in darkness. This is a definitive statement, and we live in a pluralistic society where people often blur the lines between what’s good and bad, defining truth by what’s true for them personally. As you consider inviting your love one to Easter Sunday, what beliefs do you see evident in their life that are harmful or in disagreement with Scripture?
In John 8:12, Jesus Christ makes a claim that changes the world. If his claim is true, we will finally find the joy we’ve been searching for our whole lives. Your love one was created to know this joy. Will you pray now that they will follow Jesus and find joy? Ask God for the courage and guidance to invite them to Jesus and to the purpose for which they were created.
Read Romans 10:13-16. After reading, answer the following questions:
- Who will be saved?
- According to the first few sentences, what needs to take place for them to “call on the name of the Lord?”
- What is your plan for your love one to hear and believe?
- According to this passage, the role we play as ambassadors of Jesus, as friends, and as those who walk in “the light of life” is a serious role indeed. What keeps you from carrying out this role with confidence? Ask God to show you his power and strength, and to make you dependent upon him because he is able.
Close your devotion with praying again for your love one. Pray also that God would use you in ways you cannot imagine, and that he would prepare the heart of your love one even right now as you consider and prepare to invite them to Easter Sunday, community group, or a conversation about faith.
Re-read the passages from each day this week. As you read, write down what these passages reveal about how God, what he is inviting them to, and your role in this.
- Isaiah 55:1-3
- John 7:37-38
- John 8:12
- Romans 10:13-16