Message: Love As You Have Been Loved
Speaker: Greg Holder
Group leaders - check in with your group - how was their weekend? Since it was mother’s day weekend, this could be a sensitive topic. If this is the case, be prepared to respond with appropriate compassion and sensitivity and then open with prayer before leading the following discussion.
We’re continuing to explore the Big Story of God and how all the various parts fit together and how WE fit in this Grand Story as well.
At the center of it all is Jesus. He’s at the center of Scripture -Fulfillment of ancient prophecy starting with Genesis chap 3-Promise kept to Abraham (Gen. 17)-Prophecies in Isaiah
He is the Good News. The Gospel. Our Hope. And He calls us to live differently in this story:
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34
Have fun with a little poll: How well do you love others? On a scale of 1-5 One being “I love animals, does that count? To Five- I taught Mother Teresa everything she knew.
The story picks up from where Tim left off last week in Acts. Essentially God’s story begins to go “viral” from the day of Pentecost on. Going from approximately 120 followers in Acts 1 to between 5-7 million Christ-followers by the end of the 3rd century. How did that happen?
From sociologist Rodney Stark
“The early followers of Jesus were simply more compassionate than others around them.”
In short, they outloved others. And the world took notice.
- People dying of smallpox in 165 AD early Christ-followers took care of each other and others outside the church.
- Christian families were apt to take in infants abandoned by the practice of exposure- (Roman families would leave unwanted children in the wilderness to die) They would adopt and raise them in the faith.
- Christians practiced hospitality to the strangers, moved in to help during natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods.
Jesus called them to step in and “out-love” the rest of the world. And He calls us to do that in various ways today.
The early followers were not perfect in their actions. They made mistakes (see Acts 6, and nearly the entire book of 1Corinthians). Following Jesus doesn't mean perfection. How does realizing this help us today? For those who are in the G1 class what are some Biblical principles that help us as we live out "loving as we have been loved?"
Have someone tell and then unpack the story Pastor Greg told of "the scared little boy". What does it mean to be Jesus with skin on?
Can anyone share a time when they felt the love of Jesus as shown in a tangible way? (i.e. someone acting as "Jesus-in-skin?")
As a group, discuss ways you can be Jesus in skin in tangible ways in your neighborhood, at your workplace, or through one of our Outreach projects?
Close in prayer.
"The early followers of Jesus were simply more compassionate than others around them. In short, they outloved others. And the world took notice."
Consider ways that the early Christ-followers lived out Jesus' command to love others as they have been loved.
Make a list of some of the historic things Christians did.
List some ways we can be Jesus-with-skin-on to those around us.
Pick one thing you can do as an individual.
Consider picking something your group can do together.
Consider one of our Crossing Outreach Projects