Read 1 John 2:15-17
According to 1 John 2:15, if your love for God is growing cool, it’s because love for the world has begun to take over your heart and choke your love for God. The love of the world and the love of the Father cannot coexist. And every heart loves something. The very essence of our nature is desire. Everyone wants something. At the center of our heart is a spring of longing. But that’s an awkward image, isn’t it? A longing is a craving, a desire, a want, a need. But these aren’t very well described as a spring. A spring of needs is a contradiction in terms. Springs bubble up; needs suck in. A longing is more like a drain – or a vacuum. At the center of our heart is a sucking drain – like at the bottom of a swimming pool. We are endlessly thirsty. But we can’t suck water and air at the same time.
If you try to satisfy your longing by sucking in the air of the world, you will not be able to drink the water of heaven. And eventually your motor will burn up because you were made to pump the water of God, not the air of the world.
– What do we find ourselves craving more?
– What can you do that will allow you to focus more on God’s Love and not on the desires of the world?
– What is one area in our life that you feel like you can grow this week as you begin to understand the power of God’s love for you?
Read 2 Timothy 2:4
Paul tells Timothy to be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus and to pass on all that he has learned and heard from him to other faithful people who will be able to teach others. Paul goes on to encourage Timothy to “Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus.”. Paul then emphasizes to Timothy that a good soldier of Christ will not entangle himself in the affairs of everyday life so that he may please the one who has enlisted him.
The message of Paul is that to be good soldiers of Christ, we must stay focused on doing the will of God, thereby pleasing Him who has called us. Preoccupation with the world can hinder someone from entering God’s kingdom. God sent His only begotten Son into this world to die for our sins. He invites us to come into His kingdom. Yet, many people do not respond to God’s call and become weighed down by life and lose focus on what God really wants to do through them.
– How can our personal responsibilities cause us to lose focus?
– Where are your treasures?
o Based upon how you live, where would others say your treasures are located
Read 1 John 3:1-15
Our scripture today helps us look at how to deal with our new birth and our own sinfulness as we try to live in the full assurance of our salvation? That is, how do we deal with the conflict between the reality of the new birth, on the one hand, and our ongoing sin, on the other hand? The reason the new birth inevitably changes the life of sinning, John says, is that when we are born again, “God’s seed” abides in us, and we “cannot keep on sinning.” That’s how real the connection between the new birth and daily physical life is. The seed may be the Spirit of God or the Word of God or the nature of God-or all three. Whatever it is specifically, God himself is at work in the new birth so powerfully that we cannot keep on practicing sin. God’s seed cannot make peace with a pattern of sinful behavior. When we are confused by the idea of love we begin to think that understanding love from God is based simply upon our happiness. We can’t truly understand happiness or love until we come to an understanding of how God relates these in our life. If we are confused by love and happiness what we will do is continue to look for that to appease our life and not satisfy our soul. Our heart can deceive us, so it is important to make sure that we are striving to live completely for Christ and not for ourselves.
– Do you find yourself excusing your sinful acts or seeking forgiveness with a broken heart?
– Are you more concerned with seeking ways to make yourself happy, or seeking to please God?
Read 1 John 3:16-24
Sometimes we want to change love for work. What we do is think we can be involved in church activities or ministry or evangelism, and it set’s our definition of being ‘righteous’ before God to how many hours we spend at church or doing church things, We can easily do all the activities and care less and less about others. We can go to church on Sunday, and not miss them or personally feel their burdens or anguish over their needs. We can invite others to our Church activities or events, but not care about how their week went or what they are stressed about or how their family is doing. We can just be satisfied with the fact that they came to Church. We can even half-heartedly pray for someone’s salvation, but not really long to see them in heaven standing with us before God someday. It’s rather amazing how we can have a person right in front of us, and rather than thinking how this person is doing or what he/she must be going through, we can just end up thinking about ourselves or our own struggles. In this kind of loveless state, it’s about what I did, how much I did or did not do, rather than about God or the other person. That kind of loveless and self-centered heart is not a heart that is pleasing to God. God is love, and His most significant commands have to do with love.
– Could you write down three people from our church and the struggles they face and how you could pray them?
– In what way could you begin to demonstrate God’s love to someone in our church? What about outside our Church?
Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
A little girl was invited for dinner at the home of her first-grade friend. The vegetable was buttered broccoli and the mother asked if she liked it. “Oh, yes,” the child replied politely, “I love it!”
But when the bowl of broccoli was passed, she declined to take any. The hostess said, “I thought you said you loved broccoli.” The girl replied sweetly, “Oh, yes ma’am, I do, but not enough to eat it!”
Do you love your others? “Of course, we do!” We all would say that! It’s the only right answer. But what do you mean by love? So often we love others like that little girl loved broccoli: We love in the abstract, but when it comes right down to it, we don’t want to get too close. In the words of the Apostle John, we love in word, but not in deed and truth. (1 John 3:18)
What we can learn in our text today is what love looks like and how we can demonstrate that love to others.
– Do we find that we have little patience when it comes to others, but expect God to have unlimited patience with us?
– How do we think we show love to those in our church, or even those outside our church?
– As we go through this series, find someone that you can invest in, outside our church, to demonstrate God’s love to.
February 19, 2018
February 11, 2018
January 28, 2018