• Matt Beaney

#603 (18/5/22) GOD IS AT WORK IN US



‘Love… is not rude (does not dishonour others), it is not self-seeking…’ (13:5)

Rather than rudeness and self-seeking, we are encouraged to:

‘Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…’ (Philippians 2:3-5)

However, we must not get the idea that to be a Christian is to simply seek to live like Jesus. Our efforts to love others do not save us. In the story of Pinocchio, the blue fairy promises him that if he proves himself brave, truthful, and unselfish, he will become a real boy. For Christians, this is the wrong way round! God makes us a ‘real’ Christian - one born again of the Spirit’ - so as to be able to live unselfishly; too often Christians get this idea the wrong way round. So this encouragement to unselfish living in Philippians 2:3-5, must be read in its context. Earlier in chapter 1, we read,

‘Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 1:6)

Yes, we are to seek to love like Jesus, however, we must understand that all of our efforts are dependent upon the good work of God that He has begun in us. He is working and will complete His good work of character transformation in us. We are also read:

‘Filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ – to the glory and praise of God.’ (Philippians 1:11)

Do you see that our pursuit of Christ-like, selfless love, is a fruit that comes through Jesus Christ? We can only pursue this if we’ve received Jesus, been born again and have Him working in us. Yes, we make an effort, but, we understand that our success in love is a fruit from God.


RESPONSE

Our response is both rest and resistance: we rest in the work in Christ in us; He has begun a good work and He will continue to make us more unselfish. However, this rest is the basis of our resistance! We resist selfishness and rudeness as we cooperate with the Spirit who is at work in us.

 

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


On Sunday, we continued with our series 'Becoming Love' from the book of 1 Corinthians, looking at the next two aspects of love.


Please read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7


last week we looked at how love 'does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.' These are poisonous to our relationships. This week, we are considering the next two facets: 'love is not rude or self-seeking'.


i. LOVE IS NOT RUDE

Rudeness is to speak and act unbecomingly. To behave shamefully often sexually.

It's Immodest and tempts others to sin with our appearance, words etc. Rudeness is commonplace. Modern programming is filled with expletives. Our screens give the message that sex is free, easy and without consequences.


ii. LOVE IS NOT SELF-SEEKING

Self-seeking is to seek, search for, desire, require and demand our will. If we are self-seeking, we will inevitably be rude because we are inconsiderate of others.


Instead of being rude and self-seeking, we, like Christ, are to seek the best for others by using our spiritual gifts, our words etc. to build the local church.


Discussion questions

i) Did you feel that God spoke to you from any particular aspect of Sunday's message?

ii) This section on love is about the correct use of spiritual gifts; how will avoiding rudeness and self-seeking ensure that we use our gifts in a healthy manner?

iii) In what ways are we to use our words in order to love others? Do you have any personal experience of this?

iv) Why is listening to others and seeking to understand them so important to love?

SIV - What effect will the avoidance of rudeness and self-seeking have on our witness?

SIV - Do you have any encouraging stories of sharing your faith with your friends?

SIV - How do you plan to 'serve, invest and invite' into your friendships?

SIV - Let's pray for the Spirit to lead us in reaching our community.










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