• Matt Beaney

#620 (10/6/22) COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS



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

Yesterday, someone drew my attention to this devotional by Charles Spurgeon, and I thought that it spoke directly to our theme of delighting in truth:


"The Lord hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad." (Psalm 126:3)... Some Christians are sadly prone to look on the dark side of everything, and to dwell more upon what they have gone through than upon what God has done for them. Ask for their impression of the Christian life, and they will describe their continual conflicts, their deep afflictions, their sad adversities, and the sinfulness of their hearts, yet with scarcely any allusion to the mercy and help which God has vouchsafed them. But a Christian whose soul is in a healthy state, will come forward joyously, and say, "I will speak, not about myself, but to the honour of my God. He hath brought me up out of an horrible pit, and out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings: and he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God. The Lord hath done great things for me, whereof I am glad." Such an abstract of experience as this is the very best that any child of God can present. It is true that we endure trials, but it is just as true that we are delivered out of them. It is true that we have our corruptions, and mournfully do we know this, but it is quite as true that we have an all-sufficient Saviour, who overcomes these corruptions, and delivers us from their dominion. In looking back, it would be wrong to deny that we have been in the Slough of Despond, and have crept along the Valley of Humiliation, but it would be equally wicked to forget that we have been through them safely and profitably; we have not remained in them, thanks to our Almighty Helper and Leader, who has brought us "out into a wealthy place." The deeper our troubles, the louder our thanks to God, who has led us through all, and preserved us until now. Our griefs cannot mar the melody of our praise, we reckon them to be the bass part of our life's song, "He hath done great things for us, whereof we are glad." (June 9th, Morning and Evening)

RESPONSE

Are you and I delighting in evil? Even if we are not, are we giving more of our attention and meditations to our failures and sufferings than we are to our victories in Christ?

As the great hymn encourages us:


“When upon life's billows, You are tempest-tossed, When you are discouraged, Thinking all is lost; Count your many blessings, Name them one by one, And it will surprise you, What the Lord has done.” “Are you ever burdened, With a load of care? Does the cross seem heavy, You are called to bear? Count your many blessings, Every doubt will fly, And you will keep singing, As the days go by”
 

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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