Rooms Week 2 – Discussion Guide
Love is central to the life of a Christ-follower, but so many of us are so familiar with a world-warped version of love that we often miss out on the kinds of relationships we could be having with others and with God.
What is your weirdest favorite thing to eat, that other people might not like? Some people love anchovies on pizzas, and others hate it. Some people like mayonnaise, and others hate it. Some people hate black licorice, and at least a dozen people like it. What’s something that you enjoy, but that others turn their nose up at?
This week, Pastor Micah talked about how God’s definition of love is so very different from the world’s definition of love. Interestingly, God makes the point that His love and His way of doing things are absolutely disgusting to those who don’t know Him. But to those who do know Christ, it’s amazingly wonderful. In 2nd Corinthians 2:16, Paul says that those who love Christ are the aroma of life to life to those who are saved, but the aroma of death to death to those who do not believe in Christ. When Christ asks us to follow Him, He doesn’t just say “follow me.” He says, “deny your own desires, and die to your own self, painfully, so you can follow me” (see Mark 8:34 and Matthew 16:24). Love is not just puppies and rainbows; the love Christ had for us involved pain and death. Love doesn’t always look like a Hollywood picture; sometimes it looks like a person being alone and in pain (Luke 22:44).
Primary Scriptures: 1 Corinthians 13:1-8, John 3:19, Romans 6:16, Galatians 5:22-23, Revelation 2:1-7, James 5:16
- Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-2. Talk within your group about what makes an action truly loving, as opposed to just big or impressive. How does your faith or intent factor into the loving-ness of your actions? (See James 2:26 for hints)
- In John 3:19, Jesus uses the same word for love (“agape”) as in 1 Corinthians 13. “Agape” is the love that is “totally given over to” something or someone. Compare this passage to Romans 6:16. Is it necessarily a bad thing to be “owned” by what you love? And what does the object of someone’s love say about them?
- Read Galatians 5:22-23. Do you see instances of “love” in the world that are missing some of the features of love that God mentions in Galatians 5 or 1 Corinthians 13? For example, imagine a parent and child, and the love between them has no “peace” like Galatians 5:23 mentions. What kind of love is that?
- Jesus writes a letter to the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2:1-7. In verses 1-3 He talks about lots of good things the church has done and is doing. But in verse 4, He says that they have left their first love. Looking at all the things that they did and did not do, how is it that they could have left their first love? And what might that mean? More importantly, how might they come back?
Discovery Bible Method:
For deeper study, as an alternative to the questions above, read 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 and use the Discovery Bible Method to explore the passage.
Suggestion: Consider breaking the group into twos or threes for this section.
Have you passed up an opportunity to be loving to someone this week-either intentionally or not? Share an instance of that with the group and talk about how to be on the lookout for ways to be loving the next time an opportunity like that presents itself. Be honest about your own personal failings in this; we all have them, and conversations about them with other believers is part of the healing process (James 5:16).
Engage the World Around Us
Engaging at Faith Promise: When we embrace others in our group and confess our faults to each other (like James 5:16 says to do), we should also be praying for one another, so we can be healed. Make sure to actually spend time in prayer for our church and our leaders, so we can be the way Christ wants us to be in this messed up world.
Engaging in Community and the World: The Bible says that we are all the body of Christ. All this recent ‘social distancing’ has been more than a little strange and even painful for us. As government and social restrictions are lifted, what are some ways we can bring our communities (safely) together?
Expand God’s Kingdom
This week, Hong Kong got legally absorbed into China, and millions of people are fleeing the oppression of the Chinese Communist Party (which has not been favorably disposed to the Christian church). Pray for the Chinese church, which has absolutely thrived under the persecution of their government in underground churches. There are many people whose lives are changing even more drastically than ours because of the results of the quarantine.
- In 1 Corinthians 13:1-2, Paul says that it’s better to just be loving to others than to have all sorts of amazing supernatural abilities (like the ability to move mountains with your faith). This is not an obvious truth; many people think they could do a lot of good with abilities like that! Let’s leave that “loving” bit to others, while I do the cool miracle stuff.” But Paul says that the miracles are useless without love.
- Discuss how we are “given over” to the things we love, whether that is God or the world.
- Paul talks about “the fruit of the spirit.” That’s “fruit,” singular, not “fruits,” plural. It’s not several separate things, some of which you might have, and some of them you might not. It’s all one fruit of the spirit. In the same way, a fruit (like a pear) might have a taste, a smell, a color, or a texture, we just call it by a single name (‘“pear”). The fruit of the spirit, according to the passage, is love, and God’s love has all those features.
- Remind group members that if (when) we realize that God has not been our first priority or that we have been loving the world, we can always repent and return to God, and He is gracious to forgive our sin.
ALL groups at Faith Promise should follow Jesus Christ and lead others to do the same. Below are the marks of a growing follower and disciple of Jesus.
– A follower of Jesus desires to encounter God through the deeper study and application of God’s Word.
– A follower of Jesus embraces people and values relationships on a deeper level so everyone can grow together.
– A follower of Jesus engages and serves the world around them and in their community, through local partners or God-directed opportunities.
– A follower of Jesus expands God’s Kingdom through development and multiplication of disciple-makers, possibly to lead more groups at Faith Promise.