• Matt Beaney

#593 (4/5/22)TO LOVE, IS TO IMITATE CHRIST


We are told by John:

‘Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.’ (1 John 4:7-8)

Our love reveals that we are Christians - those who are 'born of God' will love. However, John also encourages them, 'Let us love one another'. Just because we are born of God doesn't mean that we don't also need encouragement and teaching on love. We are told that God who ‘is love’; to know what love is, we must imitate God as He’s revealed Himself in His word and, most clearly, in Jesus.


Paul urged the Corinthians:

’Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ’ (1 Corinthians 11:1)

If we want to grow in true love, we need to imitate godly leaders and, most importantly, imitate Christ. The word ‘love’ Agapé means to do good to people regardless of their merit or demerit. This definition is formed from how Jesus has treated us. He left glory. He lived as a man. He was rejected. He died a criminals death and took the curse of our sin upon the cross - this is Agapé. In light of Christ we can define love:

‘Laying your life down for the good of another; particularly those who don’t deserve it.’

We read of this love in Romans:

‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.’ (Romans 5:8)

Do you see that God has ‘demonstrated’ what love is - the kind of love we are to imitate - in the gospel? Just after washing His disciple’s feet and just before His betrayal and death, Jesus told His disciples:

‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34)

He commanded them to love “As I have love you”; this requires that we learn from Jesus so as to imitate Him. This is what disciples do! We follow Jesus and seek to be like our teacher.


RESPONSE

Our response is to:

’Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ’ (1 Corinthians 11:1)

To do this, we need to be looking at the right people; do we admire and seek to learn from and imitate leaders who demonstrate Agapé love? Most importantly, do we read about Jesus and prayerfully seek to imitate His love?

 

COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY

1. Notices

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

 

2. Icebreaker

Do you have any encouragements to share from how God has been speaking to you from His word recently?

 

3. SIV WEEK

This week is SIV (Serve, Invest and Invite) week and so we will focus on this together.


On Sunday, we began our study on 1 Corinthians 13. We saw how vital love is. Love is to be the motive for seeking to have and use the gifts of the Holy Spirit; without the motive of love, all of our use of the gifts of the Spirit is 'nothing'. We read,

'If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind...' (1 Corinthians 13:1-4)

THIS WEEK IS SIV (SERVE INVEST AND INVITE) WEEK.

Let's spend this time sharing, thinking and praying about how God wants to work through us to help our communities to come to Jesus.


i) How would using the gifts of the Holy Spirit in love make us more effective in reaching our community with the gospel?

ii) How can we grow in greater love for our community outside of the church?

iii) Do you have any encouraging stories since our last SIV week?

iv) Do you have any plans for how you plan to serve, invest and invite in the places and people that God has given to you? Why not make a note so that you can pray and hold yourself accountable?

v) Are you planning to do anything together as a group?

vi) Let's pray for ourselves and our community together. Let's pray for the particular people that God is putting on your heart. Let's pray for the Holy Spirit to empower and direct us in how to Serve, Invest and Invite.










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