Beyond Sunday - Week 20

Beyond Sunday

Week of June 9, 2024, 
“Time to Live What We’ve Learned”
When in Rome Week 19Romans 12:9-21

Thoughts: I met Jim at least a decade ago. Much of our relationship and our conversation over the years has revolved around the question, “What does love look like in this situation?” We have discussed countless situations, from our own adult children who rejected Christian faith and chose lifestyles abhorrent to God, to believers who just could not break free of substance abuse, to the friend caught in adultery, the panhandler on the street corner, the stranger with poor social skills, the friend who suffered the tragic loss of a son…it’s a very long list of situations.
Jim first posed that question as we stood in line at a Panera restaurant. We got to the counter and Jim warmly greeted the clerk, engaged her in a brief conversation in which he listened attentively as she spoke of her college experience and her career aspirations. Jim complimented her on her articulate and engaging manner and assured her that it would contribute greatly to her success. As we sat down to our meal, I said to him, “Well, she obviously felt seen and valued by you. That was love in that situation. You’ve got this.” He replied, “But that was an easy one. What about…,” and described some of those more difficult situations. That lead us to discuss the truth of a quote from the movie Peaceful Warrior, “Those that are the hardest to love, need it the most.”
This week you will read several Scripture passages that serve to answer that question, “What does love look like in this situation?” But let me end on this thought, one that Jim and I help each other hold ourselves to, from 1 Corinthians 13. “Love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” If your heart motive is Christ-like love, while you may never do it perfectly, whatever you do cannot ultimately fail.

Read: Matthew 22:36-40 and 1 John 4:7-21; James 1:22-25 and 1 John 3:18; Proverbs 27:6, Proverbs 28:23, Psalm 141:5; 1 Corinthians 13:1-8a

Discussion Questions:

Read those verses from Matthew 22 and 1 John 4 carefully, thoughtfully, and prayerfully--

•What about Jesus and our Heavenly Father stands out most to you in them?
•Jesus says that the entirety of Scripture up until His birth is summed up in “Love God, love people.” Describe how that is simple, but not easy to live out.
•The Scripture tells us, “This is how love is made complete among us…In this world we are like Jesus.” What specific changes might you make to be more like Jesus?  

Read the verses from James, 1 John 3, Proverbs, and Psalms together--

•What did you hear, specifically from Sunday’s message, or read in any of the associated Scriptures, that is hard for you to live out, and why is that?
•German historian and philosopher Hannah Arendt said, “Since we always act into a web of relationships, the consequences of each deed are boundless, every action touches off not only a reaction but a chain reaction...” Troy made the point that, “You put love into practice through relationships.” Acting in love in your relationships should produce a “chain reaction” of love. Describe a time when you saw your loving action produce a chain reaction of love.
•1 John 3 tells us that we should love “…with actions and in truth.” (Emphasis added) What does it mean to love “in truth”? How do the verses from Proverbs and Psalm affect your answer?
•Name a person, group, or type of person you have trouble loving as commanded in Scripture. Why do you think that is? How could a trusted fellow believer help you change that?

Read the passage from 1 Corinthians--

•Many years ago, a friend confronted me with something I carelessly said that revealed a seed of envy in my heart. That was difficult to hear, and it took me a while to process it and receive it as love. I am forever grateful to him for loving me “in truth” and helping me see one of the ways in which I was not practicing Christ-like love. Which of the things that love is and is not; does and does not do, are most difficult for you?

Pray: Pray using Psalm 139 as a model, something like this:
“You have searched me, Lord, and you know me…you perceive my thoughts from afar…you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely. Search me, God, and know my heart…See if there is any offensive or unloving way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

Next Steps:
•The Christian life is all about relationships. We are better together, and healing comes when we gather in a community of others who want to think and act like Jesus. If you are not already in a RHC Small Group, join one today by going to the website or the RHC App.

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