The Road of Love
We are told to “Follow the way of love” (1 Cor 14:1)
If we want to find Christ-like maturity, we need to follow the road called love. This is a hard road, it’s uphill all the way. It’s the way of Jesus, who carried his cross up the road of love to Calvary.
Staying on this road takes regular, conscious choice. 1 John 4:7-21 defines the edges and the centre-line of this road called love.
1. Knowing that God is love and all love is from God. (v7-8)
2. Knowing that Jesus is the ultimate demonstration of love. (v9-10)
3. Knowing the Spirit living within us fills us with love. (v12-13)
Running the race
Hebrews 12:1 instructs us to Run the race marked out for us. 1 John 4:21 tells us how that looks in the grind of everyday life. We deal with the person in front of us. John calls them brothers and sisters and says we MUST love them to validate our love for God. (v21)
"Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister."
It’s loving your brother and your sister. Easy? It’s uphill all the way!
1. Love in Community
In a race you go the same direction. Church family- brothers and sisters is the basic way we practice love.
2. Love with Humility
Rom 12: 3 "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgement."
Appreciate you have blind spots. Know that you fail more than you know. Sins of commission and omission. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and we have done those things which we ought not to have done.
3. Love with Vulnerability
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love." (v18)
Love produces trust, which produces honesty and authenticity. When you love someone this way, they want to tell you how things really are, without fear of rejection.
4. Love showing Amnesty
“Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Col 3:13)
Love relationships always require forgiveness to be shown quickly and often. We must also be quick to always think the best of people’s motives: 1 Cor 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.
Motive is hardest thing to perceive and the most dangerous thing to guess. Don’t second guess motives. Especially when you don’t know someone.
John 13:35 “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
- God is love and love comes from God. Do you think this truth is generally accepted or resisted in our wider culture? Jude 21 says “keep yourself in the love of God”. How can we do that?
- Love is uphill all the way. Do you agree with this statement? What does the example of Jesus (1 John 4:9-10) teach us about love?
- Power within. “Whoever lives in love, lives in God and God in them” (1 John 4:16). How does the Holy Spirit within increase our capacity for loving others? How does loving others increase our capacity for more of the Spirit?
- Which of these poses the greatest growth area?
- Acting in community v going it alone?
- Thinking with Humility v judging others?
- Showing vulnerability v being guarded with others?
- Showing amnesty/thinking the best of people's motive v bearing a grudge?
- Vulnerability. For every strength we have an associated weakness. Think of one of your strengths; what weakness (related to that strength) may people in this group need to bear with you on? (leader you’ll need to share first to make this work)