• Matt Beaney

#619 (9/6/22) LOVE REJOICES IN GOD

Updated: Jun 10



‘Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth’ (1 Corinthians 13:6)

Of all the ‘truth’ that we can rejoice in, God must come first. I know it sounds obvious to say that, as Christians, we are to love God by rejoicing in Him, but we all need encouragement. To rejoice in evil over God is idolatry. Man often substitutes other things for God. We read in Romans:


‘Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles… They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.’ (Romans 1:22-23, 35)

We, too often, exchange the truth of God and the worship of God for rejoicing in created things. All of creation is God’s gift to us, however, if we are not careful, we can seek to find our security, satisfaction and status from created things and this is idolatry; idolatry is the substitution of the true God.


Here are some good created things that can be so celebrated that they become idols: A political party, leader or ideology, a relationship, family, children, education, cars, houses, a job, money, travel, technology, films and series, music, health, food … these are good but they can easily substitute God as our source of greatest joy. This has a massive bearing on our witness: to share the good news of Jesus is to seek to replace idols with the true God. Bruce Milne writes:


The world is not neutral, but is filled with idols, i.e. false objects of worship. These may be human leaders, political ideologies, social classes or groups, human thought systems, even demonic agencies. We are called to challenge these usurpers and to confront these false gods in the name of the true and living God. This involves spreading the knowledge of God throughout the world, both geographically and culturally, by our prayers, the investment of our resources and our personal witness.’ (Milne, Bruce. Know the Truth)

It’s love for God to rejoice in Him as our ultimate truth; however, it’s also love for others; if we are not fighting the idols in our own lives, how can we hope to show the greater worth of God to those around us? If all we talk about is family, Netflix, holidays… how are we any different from anyone else?


RESPONSE

Let’s seek to put all of our idols in their place through worship. A daily act of worship in which we meet with God, learn about Him and praise Him in response is minimal. Let's ‘rejoice in what is true’ - let's rejoice in our great God. May we, like Paul, learn to say:


‘What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.’ (Philippians 3:8)
 

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 aspect of love.


Please read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7


Last week we looked at how 'Love... keeps no record of wrongs’. This week, we are considering the next attribute of Christian love: 'Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.'


What we celebrate tells us a lot about ourselves and our culture. These last few weeks have been saturated with celebrations of the queen’s Platinum Jubilee. True love -Christian love (Apapé) 'does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.'


i. DON'T CELEBRATE EVIL

What does it mean to celebrate evil? To enjoy what is against God’s will is what it means to celebrate evil. We don’t judge good and by how we feel; by the effects it has on society even; good and bad are defined by God in His word. There is much correction in the book of 1 Corinthians which points to aspects of evil that we are to avoid:

i. DIVISIONS

ii. SEXUAL SIN

iii. VALUING EACH OTHER BASED UPON SOCIAL STATUS

iv. FALSE TEACHING


ii. CELEBRATE WHAT IS GOOD

The phrase we are looking at is balanced with two halves; first comes the negative: Love does not delight in evil; this is balanced with the positive: ‘but rejoices with the truth’. The two must be kept in balance. Again, the content of this book points to some of the things that we could celebrate:


i. LOVE CELEBRATES CHRISTIAN IDENTITY

ii. LOVE CELEBRATES THE GOSPEL

iii. LOVE CELEBRATES GOD

iv. LOVE CELEBRATES UNITY IN CHRIST

v. LOVE CELEBRATES DIVERSITY (of the gifts of the Spirit)

vi. LOVE CELEBRATES SEXUAL PURITY

vii. LOVE CELEBRATES JESUS’ RETURN


Discussion questions

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

ii) How do we know what is evil and what is the good that we are to celebrate?

iii) What good have your celebrated recently?

iv) What are the evils that our culture celebrates and that we feel pressure to conform to?

v) This section on love is about the correct use of spiritual gifts; how will rejoicing in what is good help us to have a church in which the gifts of the Spirit are used healthily?


SIV - What effect will refusing to delight in evil but celebrating what is good 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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