Terry began his sermon by asking: What do you want? Essentially he was asking, why are you here in church today; why do you keep coming back each week; why do you come to small group each week; what are you looking for?
So how would you answer these questions?
The answers could be boiled down to this: you want to grow, to change, to experience God… maybe its because God is at work in your life and you want to grow.
Sincere Love—a Christ-like love—for God and others is key to growing in Christlikeness, in closing the gap from where we are to where we want to be in our relationship with Christ.
Our Objective is to understand that if we’re to close the gap in our relationship with God, we’ve got to grow in our love for God and love for others—both are connected you can’t have one without the other. In this passage Paul gives us some examples of what sincere love looks like in real life. This is a representative list, its not meant to communicate a checklist. It is a heart/life orientation not a set of love rules.
“SINCERE LOVE LOOKS LIKE THIS. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
In your own words describe what Paul meant by Sincere Love?
Terry shared with us that John wrote in his first letter: If you claim to love God but do not obey him you are confused about what loving God means. If you claim to know God but do not love others then you are confused about what it means to know God. How does this help us to understand what “sincere love” is?
Key Point: the Gospel is the good news of the Love of God revealed in Jesus Christ…and since that good news is real knowledge (true truth) and is real power (actually changes us and the way we live) then our lives will (should) reveal God’s love more and more.
Paul gives us a list of real ways sincere love is played out in the lives of a believer. He doesn’t do this to beat us up, but rather to encourage us! Why does he do this? Because he knows that the Gospel is the good news that we can be right with God through Jesus Christ.
Furthermore it is the good news that we can live right with each other through Jesus Christ.
For the application, look at this list below of good news Paul brings to us in regards to how we can love one another and consider the following questions.
Where is an opportunity for you to grow and apply God’s truth to your life?
Discuss with your group why you picked the one you did?
What would be a step you could take today to close the gap in the ones you’ve chosen?
What’s a barrier for you? What need to be in place for a change to take place?
- Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
- Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
- Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
- Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
- Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
- Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.
- Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.
- Live in harmony with one another.
- Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
- Do not repay anyone evil for evil.
- Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath
- Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.