"Love Makes All the Difference" (#2: No Ordinary Love")

Sermon Date: 
Feb 19 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. Do you think Christian love is unique versus other types of love revealed in this world? If so, how so?

ADDITIONAL INFO
AGAPE-LOVE is a unique Greek word that is referenced to the nature of God, who is love. AGAPE-LOVE is therefore also referenced to God's redeemed children in Christ. What this means is a Christian also carries the same nature of God’s love. AGAPE-LOVE starts with the willingness of mind to desire the well-being of another even if sacrificial.

READ John 13:34-35.
1. What does Jesus expect from His true followers? What are some examples of Jesus' love for us and what does that mean for Christians today?

2. How is it even possible to love as Jesus has loved us?

ADDITIONAL INFO
"Love is a command, not just a feeling. Somehow, in the romantic world of music and theater, we have made love to be what it is not. We have so mixed love with beauty and charm and sensuality and contact that we have robbed it of its higher call of cherishing and nurturing." - Ravi Zacharias

READ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
CONTEXTUAL UNDERSTANDING: Apostle Paul is addressing areas of pride, arrogance, lack of respect, immorality, conflict, etc., within a church context. We often find our marriages suffering in similar ways which leads us feeling greatly hurt, discouraged, or disappointed. However, AGAPE-LOVE, as we notice in these verses, are ACTS of LOVE not FEELINGS of LOVE.

How would you assess the following LOVE-ACTS toward others (i.e., church ministry, marriage, etc.)?
1 = area of great growth required, 2 = growing, 3= is a strength in me

1. Patient & Kindness: Willing to suffer for not retaliating that would otherwise hurt others. You use your patience as an opportunity to show kindness.

2. Not Envy - Not Boast - Not Proud: You are humble and are honestly happy for what others have. You're not threatened that someone may take what you have away from you. Your desire is to build others up with encouragement.

3. Not Rude - Not Self-seeking: Your acts are in control and honorable. You don't act in ways that are uncharacteristic as a Christian (i.e., ugly, dishonorable, hideous, disrespectful, etc.). You don't try to insist always having your way.

4. Not Easily Anger (similar to being patient): You have a long-fuse. You don't react with anger over small inconveniences or irritants.

5. Keeps No Records of Wrong: This is about having a spirit of reconciliation towards another who may have wronged against you.

6. Does Not Delight in Evil - Rejoices in Truth: Hates the actions God hates (i.e., sexual immorality, idol worship, injustice, etc.) and delights in the actions that bring delight to God. You love what is right, moral, and pure.

7. Protects - Trusts: You do not expose or broadcast other people's faults, frailties, and failures. Your trust provides the benefit of doubt while you gain an honest understanding of the situation.

8. Hopes: You have a confident expectation for good things to come.

9. Perseveres: You find yourself enduring hardships not compromising your values or falling into temptation. You hold-fast in your faith to ensure suffering with integrity.

How did you do? Remember we truly need the Holy Spirit's indwelling presence to help us grow and live out these LOVE-ACTS. These LOVE-ACTS also allows Christ's personal love to flow through you and into the lives of others.

CONCLUSION:
1. What insights did you gain from this study?

Here's a saying from Josh McDowell

"Tolerance says, 'You must approve of what I do.' Love responds, 'I must do something harder: I will love you, even when your behavior offends me.'

Tolerance says, 'You must agree with me.' Love responds, 'I must do something harder: I will tell you the truth, because I am convinced 'the truth will set you free.'

-Tolerance says, 'You must allow me to have my way.' Love responds, 'I must do something harder: I will plead with you to follow the right way, because I believe you are worth the risk.'

-Tolerance seeks to be inoffensive; love takes risks. Tolerance glorifies division; love seeks unity. Tolerance costs nothing; love costs everything."

In His great love and grace,
Pastor Trevor