#668. LOVE OR SELF-SERVING? (13/10/22)
This week, we’ve restarted our series and devotions from 1 Corinthians.
‘Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love’ (1 Corinthians 13:8-13).
Summary: Love (sacrificial service for others) or selfishness (serving ourselves at the expense of others) is a choice we will always have to make.
WHAT IS LOVE?
‘Love’ (‘Agape’) is Christian love, it’s to love like Christ has loved us. It’s to lay our lives down for the good of another, particularly those who don’t deserve it. It’s to show the gospel and Christ in our relationships.
i. DAILY LOVE
If we are to love others (which is the context of this passage) it’s also important that we know and experience Jesus’ love continually. He’s our model and, as such, it’s important that His grace is filling our lives. John wrote something fundamental when he said,
‘We love because he first loved us.’ (1 John 4:9)
As, we have been loved - modelled by Christ on the cross - we are to loves others every day. Choosing to Love or be self-serving is a choice that we will have to make every day for the rest of our lives. Every day you will be given opportunities to choose whether to be selfish or to express the love that we read earlier in this chapter:
‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.’ (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)
ii. ETERNAL LOVE
Love is not only something we are to experience and show in this life, love is also, like faith and hope, eternal - Love ‘remains’. Experiencing God’s love, our loving God and loving the church continues into eternity. Knowing God, Loving God and worshipping Him will last forever. Seeking the best for others will be our eternal pastime. To love is to be like God and, in glory, we will be like Christ who is perfect in love.
In every ‘fight’, will you choose love or self-serving? When relationships are strained, will you be faithful? Do you live to serve yourself or will you serve others sacrificially, seeking their best? In your church, Will you use your gifts and resources to build others up? Life is busy, we feel tired, we want our space… will we be devoted to loving fellowship? Money is tight, the economy is in recession (maybe) but will be be lovingly generous? At home, will we allow unfaithfulness, selfishness, laziness, to rule us or will we love our family like Christ? At work, will we love God in how we work? Will we love those we work with?…
How do you need to respond to God’s love at this time?
COMMUNITY GROUP NOTES AND STUDY
It might be good to begin with notices. Please share from this week’s Church News.
As this week is 'SIV week', perhaps we could start by sharing any encouraging conversations around the gospel and faith that we have had with people recently.
3. THIS WEEK IS SIV WEEK (SERVE INVEST AND INVITE)
After a very brief recap of Sunday's message, 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. In this time together, I’d like us to specifically think about how we can prepare to invite our friends to our carol service on 11th December.
Please read 1 Corinthians 13:12-13
‘For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.’ (1 Corinthians 13:12-13)
On Sunday, we looked at how Faith, hope and love are eternal principles on which we are to build all our thinking, activities and relationships. These character traits are also vital if we are to help to bring our communities to Jesus and share the gospel with them.
i. Faith - is trusting God. Trusting He exists. Trusting in the gospel to save us. Trusting in Him each day and in all that we do. Faith enables us to do hard things because we trust in God's promises.
ii. Hope - is believing for the glorious, eternal hope of heaven and a recreated universe.
iii. Love - is loving God and others like Christ has loved us. Love is laying our lives down for the good of others, particularly those who don’t deserve it.
This discussion and questions are designed to help us to plan and pray about who we could invite to our carol service.
Take a moment, firstly, to pray that God would lead you in your discussions, planning and inviting.
How do faith, hope and love help us to serve, invest and invite in our communities?
Discuss ideas of things that you could do personally, or as a group, in order to connect with your friends prior to the carol service.
Make a decision on the thing(s) you plan to do (as a group/personally).
Write a list of your friends that you would like to invite. Let’s pray for them now and every day leading up to the carol service.
Pray for what you plan to do.
Pray for the carol service.