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Friday: Further Thought – ‘The Central Issue: Love or Selfishness?’ — 7 Comments

  1. I am glad that the lesson this week has, despite its title, “The Central Issue: Love or Selfishness”, given a special emphasis on love. So often we get bogged down in identifying evil and pasting labels on those things we think are wrong, we fail to get to the good bit; love.

    When you think about it, the most well-known verses in the Bible, even among secular minds, are about love:

    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 KJV
    Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, [c]thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
    Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 1 Cor 13:4-8 NKJV

    I have noticed a couple of comments indicating that the church should be more loving. I understand that. As a church employee, most of it in Church institutions, I have seen the best and worst of Church behaviour. I learned long ago that I must start with myself to fix institutional behaviour. I am reminded that Jesus showed his love for us while we were still sinners.
    When you fill the house with light, there is no room for darkness!

  2. How interesting that 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says that "Prohecies will fail." Yet, we push prophecies more than love in our Evangelistic Thrusts, and we do it as if by doing so we are pushing not only "Love" but as if Prophecies will "Never Fail," either. How very, very sad to say the least.

    • Pete, there are a couple of things we need to understand about love. Our church is what we make it.

      Number 1: talking about love is about as useless as an extra pair of legs on a centipede. Love is something that you have to live, not just define and describe. How many sermons have we had on "Agape"? I bet that most of us have heard that one so many times we can recite it in our sleep. What is the use of that? That is a prophecy that fails! (forthtelling not foretelling)

      Number 2: Whenever this topic is brought up, I remind myself that it is not "the Church" that does the loving, but individuals. What am I doing to contribute to the love pool of the church? If I want a loving church, I have to be a loving person, even to those who want to knobble me with their latest theory on prophecy. That transformation into a loving person is the work of the Holy Spirit.

    • Pete, I believe that prophecies that will fail are the prophecies from false prophets who do not get the interpretations from searching the word of God.

  3. Discussion Questions:

    1. What is the benefit of suffering? What? Why do you think God allows His people to suffer at times? And although in some cases, such as in the early church, good could happen, what about the times when it seems that nothing good has come out of it? Why in such situations is the personal experience of God's love so important to maintain faith?

    Suffering can be beneficial because it can teach us patience, faith, and prepare us for other trials that we may face later.

    God can allow suffering because of His work of sanctification and change in our lives.

    Sometimes, suffering can help us see our need for God and strengthen our relationship with Him.

    In times when nothing good is happening, a personal experience of God's love can strengthen us and enable us to rely more on Him in times of trial.

    2. If a friend asks you this question, how will you answer: "Where is God during my suffering?" If he loves me, why am I going through such a hard time?

    You can answer your friend by saying that God is close to you in times of suffering and that he can use that situation to strengthen you and teach you a lesson.

    God loves each one of us and can do things that are incomprehensible to us because He sees further and knows how to bring us good from evil.

    3. How can your local church become a caring community in order to touch the world? Discuss appropriate ways to apply this week's lesson to life.

    The local church can be a caring community using social services, preaching the Gospel and defending the rights of vulnerable people.

    Effective ways to apply this week's lesson in life include participating in loving services, listening and helping those who are suffering, and preaching the Gospel in a practical way.

    The church can be a source of hope and comfort for those in need and show the love of Christ in action.

  4. In relation to question #2, the best thing you can do is listen and be there. Only then, maybe, should you try to answer your friend's question. I think a lot of times we talk to quickly and too much. We don't have to have all the answers.

  5. The cause of my suffering is the choice I make. I don't plan to suffer, but my choice or action takes me into contact with pain. Being far from perfection leads me to failure, frustration, loss, and pain. Thanks to God's mercy, He can use my pain to teach me something and make me a better person and a citizen on the way to Heaven. Thus, I must thank God when I learn not only not to repeat my choices but also to develop a dependence on Him.


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