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LEADERS GUIDE Topic: Love: Part 2

Simple Reminders

  • The primary idea you need to keep revisiting during this Following Jesus Pathway is that we are following and being formed by Jesus. This pathway can be learned simply or in great depth. We trust that you as a leader know your people and the dynamics of your group well enough to adapt and impart this topic with grace and wisdom.

  • This guide is designed to help you and others follow and be formed by Jesus. Remember to keep it Jesus-Centered.

  • We pray that you will be Spirit-Led and Spirit- Empowered as you lead and learn together.

Pray Hand Motion

Researchers have found that moving our bodies and adding actions to our learning significantly increases our ability to remember. Here is a hand action you can add to the command to remember it:

  • Step 1: Take both hands with palms facing up and cross across your heart/chest - hug action

Brief Commentary and Context

Summary of "Love" - Agape love is a “compassionate commitment to delight in the soul of another and to will that person’s good ahead of your own, no matter the cost to yourself.” (Live No Lies, John Mark Comer p. 130)

God is love and has fully revealed what love is in Jesus and his sacrificial death on the cross. God’s Love is the source of all things and the fulfillment of all things, the beginning and the end. Love is not a cold choice, or only fervent emotion. Love is attentive affection, delighted connection, compassionate commitment, self-giving joy. Loving one another is about attitude and action. It means listening to each other, remaining patient, and forgiving each others' faults or weaknesses. It’s about working for the health and well-being of the other, generously caring for the person, and learning to see the inherent beauty and good in one another.

Love is the distinguishing mark of all of Jesus’ followers, and we are able to love in this radical way because of the self-giving love of Jesus. His love empowers his followers to love each other with the same patience, devotion, and fervency he showed to them.

Brief Commentary for - Matthew 5:43-48 - "Love Your Enemies”

After 30 years of relative obscurity and ordinary life in the hills of Galilee, Jesus leaves his vocation to launch out in obedience to his Father’s voice and the prophetic scriptures written about him. His ministry was to declare and demonstrate the Kingdom of God, defeating humanity's enemies and restoring all that was broken in creation. The way he lived was profound but simple, to hear and obey the Father. He embodied what he desired to reproduce in his first followers, the way of love.

The gospel writer Matthew describes the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in the early chapters of his gospel. As this new Rabbi moved throughout Galilee the towns were stirred with curiosity and wonder. Crowds flocked to him and those in most desperate need pressed close with the hope of a miracle. Many of these were considered unclean and unfit for God by the religious establishment. Jesus welcomed them, healed them and began to teach them about his Father’s kingdom, now open to those never qualified before.

He taught about a “surpassing righteousness” that flows from the heart manifested in love that fulfills the Jewish law. They were not aware but it was a righteousness he had come to fulfill on their behalf. Jesus had come to bring God’s blessing for all who had previously been trampled, forgotten and excluded. Line by line he stunned the masses as he reinterpreted their age-old law describing what it looked like to practice God’s kingdom way in all of life. They were left with a choice, their way or God’s way, the wide or narrow path. Would they forgive or harbor bitterness, stay faithful or break their covenant commitment, trust God or worry, serve God or money, live for God’s pleasure or human praise, show mercy or exude judgment, be generous or get even? God’s way is not the easy way but it is the best way by far!

Possibly the most radical of Jesus’ teachings was his call to love our enemies. From our earliest days as a child we learn to love those who love us and hate those who don’t. It is built into us to return love for love and hate for hate. Even the Jewish law instructed them to love their neighbor and hate their enemies. Mostly it is not difficult to love those who love us, anyone can do that. But to love our enemies, people who seek to tear us down, requires a love only God can provide. This is the kind of love we see embodied in Jesus over the course of his entire life to the very end. It was the example he showed us, most fully through his choice to forgive and die for his enemies and even the very ones crucifying him. He prayed for those persecuting him, blessed the ones who cursed him, loved us all despite how we treated him. This is what it looks like to be a Son of the Father, to become mature and perfect in love. The Father blesses and sends refreshing rains on the deserving and undeserving. Maturity is measured in love, love for those who don’t like us and aren’t like us. Love for everyone, especially our enemies. If we want to follow Jesus it will mean learning the way of love, becoming like Jesus in love. It will require the same Holy Spirit Jesus depended on to become perfected in love as the Father is perfect in love. The good news is the Holy Spirit is eager to help!

Core Truths from the Topic:

  • Summary Scripture: 1 John 4:7-10- “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

  • 1 John 4:19-21- “We love because he first loved us. 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.”

  • John 14:21- “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

  • 1 Corinthians 16:14 Let all that you do be done in love.

  • Colossians 3:14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

  • John 15:13- Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

  • 1 Peter 4:8- Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

  • John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

  • 1 John 3:1- See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

  • Proverbs 3:3- Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.

  • Romans 12:10- Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

  • Romans 13:8- Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.

Extra Resources

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