• Matt Beaney

#338 – LOVE LIKE THE FATHER (28/4/21)


On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount. This week we are looking at Jesus’ teaching regarding love.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)

The Father continues to give good gifts to every human being on the planet. No matter how evil a person is, they are blessed with ‘common grace’- the sun, rain, breath and every good thing they have.


Christians take on the family-likeness. Loving people, particularly our enemies, reveals if we are God’s children. Those who have been born again of the Holy Spirit gain a new ability to love those who are difficult to love. John writes,

‘The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil’s work. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in them; they cannot go on sinning, because they have been born of God. This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister.’ (1 John 3:8-10)


RESPONSE

Christians will love like the Father. A great way to grow in this is to take time each day to remember the gospel. Take time to express how worthy we are of God’s wrath and how unworthy we are of His perfect love. Take time to confess our sin which deserves His judgment. Take time to remember His forgiveness and gift of righteousness. It’s much easier to love those who have failed us when we are humbled by how we have failed God. It’s much easier to love sinners when we recall that we are sinners and how God loves us.


COMMUNITY GROUP STUDY - LOVE WITHOUT BOUNDS

Notices

It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.


Suggested opener/Ice-breaker

When have you ever received undeserved love in your life?


Recap of Sunday's message - please share in your group

On Sunday we continued with our series on discipleship from The Sermon on the Mount. This week we are looking at Jesus’ teaching regarding love.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48)

Jesus is correcting the stance of the Jewish teachers In His day. They had come to believe that it was right to ‘love your neighbour and hate your enemy’. Of course, this is an attitude to which every sinful human heart is prone. Sin distorts our capacity to love. We search for reasons not to love those ‘outside'. Our hearts are creative and find reasons not to love. We often have constrained love - love with boundaries.


We love through prayer

Jesus makes it clear that praying for people is a powerful way that we can love them. Praying for our ‘enemies’ is not praying for ourselves about our enemies - although this is good to do of course. Praying for our enemies is praying for them! It’s praying a blessing or forgiving people even through our pain.


We love through action

The Father continues to give good gifts to every human being on the planet. No matter how evil a person is, they are blessed with ‘common grace’- the sun, rain, breath and every good thing they have.

Christians take on the family-likeness. Loving people, particularly our enemies, reveals if we are God’s children. Those who have been born again of the Holy Spirit gain a new ability to love those who are difficult to love.

Like learning to play the guitar, love is not learnt in bed! Love grows as we act in obedience to Jesus’ command through faith. If we will seek to love others - seek the best for others - we will grow in our love for them.


Discussion questions

1. Did God speak to you about anything in particular from Sunday's message or the blogs this week?

2. How does or could you love through prayer?

3. We are called to have a 'seek first' attitude to growing in love. In what ways do you believe that the Spirit would want you to express love in the various contexts that He has put you?

4. How does a daily practice of meditating on the gospel - God's mercy to us in Christ - help one to remain loving to those who don't deserve it?


Serving, Investing and inviting

Our unconditional love shows the gospel and makes a way for it.

1) Who has God put into your life that we could pray for together?

2) Serving, investing and inviting is built on love. It's hard to do and we'll only do it if we love people! How are you planning to serve invest and invite?




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