13 February 2007

Part 10-Luke 6:12-49 (C) "teachings"

This is our third week in “The Sermon on the Mount” as told by Luke. Week one, we focused on observing what Luke says. Week two, we turned to interpreting & applying it. This week, we take a closer look at the core issue in this passage—the primacy of love. What does the Bible say about love? Look-up the following passages and note what they say about the topics noted.

Matthew 5:43-48; Luke 6:27-36

Love based on Reciprocity:
Our love is not given to others because they love or are even kind to us. Quite to the contrary, we are called to love even those who hate us and actively do us harm—those who are against us. This is how God treated us. The only way in which our love is to be reciprocal is that we proactively love others as we would like them to love us.

John 15:9-17

God’s Love for Us:
God has loved us through Jesus in the same way that He has loved Jesus Himself.

Expressing Love to God: We remain in God’s love by obedience—following His guidance and direction on how to live because we trust and love Him in return.

Love’s Greatest Expression: The expression of love to God by giving it to others is supposed to fill us with joy. We delight in loving Him. This extends even to laying down one’s life for one’s friends. God’s call is for us to make loving each other the basis for how we treat each other.

1 John 4:7-21

God’s Character: God is love—a holy love that is beyond anything we know.

God’s Expression: God has made the extent of his love for us by sending His one and only Son into the world—ultimately as a sacrifice to take away our sins. This is real love. And this love is given for our gain—that we might have eternal life through Him.

Experiencing God: When we encounter love, we are encountering something that comes from God. We place our trust in God’s love for us.

Living with Each Other: Since God loved us in this way, the very least we can do is love each other in response. We love because He first loved us. We know how much God loves us. Love for each other flows out of our ongoing love for Him. Love validates our belief that we are living life with God. It allows us to approach Him, and each other, with confidence.

John 13:34-35

Witness in the World:
Talk is cheap; actions are costly. Our love for each other is the way that the world will convinced that we are His followers.

1 Corinthians 13

Qualities of Love: Love, since it is of God, has a certain character. Love is selfless, goes the distance, is gentle, celebrates truth, and can be counted-on through anything.

Priority of Love: Love is the essential priority in all that we do. Without it, the greatest of words are just words. Without it, all of the wisdom of the world is irrelevant. Without it, you could give everything to what is right, but find-out that you had gained nothing because you did not do it in love.

Galatians 5

Exercise of Freedom: As we express our trust in God, and the guidance of His Spirit as we seek to follow Jesus, we do so in love. Not only love for Him, but love for those around us. This means that we may choose to limit the freedom we are convinced He gives us because others think that what we are doing leads them into doing what is wrong. If we live freely in order to love fully, freedom becomes the servant of love. Our freedom in love allows us to consider and seek the best interests of our neighbors. This is, after all, what we would hope that they would do for us.

Relationship to the Spirit: The Spirit of God actually yields the output of love in our life when we as led by it in our freedom.

Clearly, love is not a secondary concern for a follower of Jesus. As you add your thoughts up on the basis of these texts, how do you put them all together into an understanding of what love is? How do you define love?

Equally important, how do you give or express love?

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