• Matt Beaney

#621 (13/6/22) LOVE ALWAYS PROTECTS



‘Love… always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.’ (1 Corinthians 13:7-8a)
‘We put up with anything (same word as ‘protect’) rather than hinder the gospel of Christ.’ (1 Corinthians 9:12)

On Sunday, Jem told of an incident when, as they approached the beach, a younger member of his family, overcome with excitement, ran away and toward the sea. Jem - being the hero that he is! - dropped everything and pursued and ‘rescued’ him from potential danger.


As we consider these words on Love, firstly, it’s vital that we remember that this is how God loves us. His love protects, perseveres and never fails. He never gives up on us.


THE LOST SHEEP

The Parable of the Lost Sheep is a perfect illustration of what it means to always protect.


‘Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbours together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.’ (Matthew 15:1-7)

Jesus is using this parable to correct the attitude of unloving religious people. When our life gains some forms of success, we can become hardened to those whom we see as failing. Self-righteous impatience is a trap that we can all fall into. Jesus wants to remind us that ‘love always protects’. Love leaves for the one. Love leaves comfort, safety, routines, home-turf to seek to protect others.


This is how Jesus loves us. He left heaven to come and save us. He is the true Good Shepherd. However, he tells us this parable so that we can do likewise - leave the ninety-nine for the one.


To ‘protect’ (stegō) means to cover or shelter. A good image could be that of putting an umbrella over someone in the driving rain. We are to be like David, in the field, fighting off the lion and bear in order to protect the flock. This is what God is like and, He wants to work through us to be good shepherds who ‘drop everything’ and protect.

RESPONSE

Is the Holy Spirit putting anyone on your mind whom He wants you to seek to rescue? Could you leave the ninety-nine (leave what’s comfortable) in order to intercede in prayer? Could you build a bridge to someone in order to share the good news of Christ? Are there church members whom you are concerned about?

 

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 does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.' This week, we are considering the next attributes of Christian love: ‘Love… always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.’ (1 Corinthians 13:7-8a)


On Sunday, Jem told of an incident when, as they approached the beach, a younger member of his family, overcome with excitement, ran away and toward the sea. Jem - being the hero that he is! - dropped everything and pursued and ‘rescued’ him from potential danger. These final aspects of love are around the theme of protecting those that we love.


THE LOST SHEEP

The Parable of the Lost Sheep is a perfect illustration of what it means to always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere and never fail in our love.


Please read Matthew 15:1-7


Jesus is the perfect Good Shepherd. He left heaven and sacrificed so much in order to find each of us - we were the 'one'!


Like Jesus, we are to seek to love like him. Our love is to always:

i. Protect - We seek to bring the lost and those who are struggline back to Jesus and truth.


ii. Trusts and hopes and perseveres - We will be enabled to persevere if we trust and hope in God; our faith that God can change the person we are seeking to help will keep us from despairing and giving up on them.


Discussion questions

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

ii) What does The Parable of the Lost Sheep teach us about God's love for us?

iii) What does The Parable of the Lost Sheep teach us about how we are to love others?

iv) How do 'trust' and 'hope' keep our love from 'failing'?

v) Do you have experence of someone being like a good shepherd to you?

SIV - What effect will having love that 'always protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres and never fails' 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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