"Love Makes All the Difference" (#1: The Church in Love)

Sermon Date: 
Feb 12 2017
Sermon Audio: 

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Please feel free to use the following as a reflection, personal study, or for your Life Group. Please be sensitive to other views expressed.

INTRODUCTION
1. What is your definition of LOVE?
2. How is the word "love" used in common ways?
3. Can you trust love? Why or why not?
4. Describe possible limitations to human love.

ADDITIONAL INFO
C.S. Lewis describes two stages of love. The first is "being in love" and the second is "to love". He wrote, “…ceasing to be ‘in love’ need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense — love as distinct from ‘being in love’ — is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God."

How might Lewis's thoughts challenge our western concept of love?

READ THE FOLLOWING SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES
1 Corinthians 12:31 - 13:1-3; 1 John 4:10-12

What thoughts / ideas come to your mind when reading these verses?

ADDITIONAL NOTES: The Greek Word used for "love" is AGAPE. This is the word used both in referring to God's love in 1 John 4 and for Christians in 1 Corinthians 13. This word is used both as a noun and a verb. We know God's very nature is LOVE which means believers in Christ, who carry's God's Spirit, are also identified to have this same love. “Agape” as William Barclay comments, “has to do with the mind: it is not simply an emotion which rises unbidden in our hearts; it is a principle by which we deliberately live." AGAPE love desires the well-being of another before themselves.

1. How has God demonstrated His personal love (see Romans 5:8; John 3:16; 1 John 4:10)?

2. Do you believe we primarily focus more on our feels of "being in love" than the decision from the mind "to love"?

QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

1. What do you think a loving (AGAPE) church looks like?

2. Based on what Apostle Paul is stating, why is agape-love so essential when serving each other in our areas of gifting?

3. What might be the consequences if believers become prideful in their spiritual gifts?

IN CONCLUSION
LOVE IS THE LIFE-LINE TO A SPIRITUALLY-EMPOWERED MINISTRY! It all starts with a committed decision in the renewal of your spiritual mind over your emotions that says, “Whatever I do and however I serve may I commit myself for the well-being of others that has them experiencing the power of God’s love.” Without LOVE we have no Eternal Heart-Beat, with no Heart-beat, we have no Spiritual Pulse in our ministry. So let us AGAPE one another in Christ's AGAPE in us!

In Christ's love,
Pastor Trevor