Sun, Nov 29, 2015

God's Love on Display through Suffering

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Big Idea: The incarnation is the ultimate example of love because God’s love was costly and He loved us enough to come into our mess. Having been so loved, God sends us back into the mess.

I. Real love is costly.

  1. Cultural understanding of love: People are disposable.

  2. God’s idea of love: Love is radical self-sacrifice.  
    Jesus showed us God’s love in what He suffered.
    (Hebrews 5:7-9)

  3. The incarnation displays God’s love in his willingness to enter our messy world.
    (Romans 5:6-8)

II. God demonstrates his love toward us by showing up.

  1. Jesus shows up in our mess.

  2. Jesus sends us into the mess. (II Corinthians 5:18-21; Matthew 5:14-16)

Discussion Questions:

  1. Have you observed people being treated as if they were disposable? If so, what was the context? Is it possible to treat people that way in work relationships? How about in marriage? Why are people treated this way?

  2. Has anyone ever showed you how much they loved you by suffering for you? If so, how did you feel when you experienced that? Have you seen examples of a stick-with-you-no-matter-what-comes kind of love? What produces that kind of relationship? Can a disposable relationship ever turn into a stick-with-you-no-matter-what kind of relationship? If not, why not? If so, how?

  3. Do you have surface-level friends who you would never want to see your mess? Do you have other friends that you are comfortable letting them into the less attractive aspects of your life? How do you get the second kind of friends? What are the necessary conditions to produce that kind of friendship? Are there certain behaviors that will kill that kind of friendship? If so, what are they?

  4. If you are a Christian, share your story of how Jesus came into your mess.

  5. What do you think about the idea that God sends us out as lights into the world? What does that mean to you on a practical level? How specifically can you or your group do that? What does it mean to wade into someone’s mess? How would you propose we take that from an idea to a reality?

  6. How might you be an agent of reconciliation?
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