Far too many Christians have bought into the “pursue pleasure at all costs” philosophy. Marriages are breaking up at almost the same rate inside the Church as outside. Christian leaders often create just as much scandal as any movie star. And many churches no longer place holy living at the top of their priority list. But purity, as Paul explained in Romans 6, is a powerful alternative to our culture’s formula for living.
Jesus told His disciples to love one another “as I have loved you” (John 13:34). That wouldn’t be so hard if the love Jesus displayed was primarily the write-a-cheque or call-once-a-month kind of love. But Jesus set the bar immeasurably high. Jesus’s kind of love touched the skin of a leper and washed the feet of a soon-to-be betrayer. He didn’t mind interruption by another’s demands, even those of a person all others disdained. Jesus had the uncanny ability to look straight into a person’s soul to see the deepest need there.
Is that an impossible example to follow? You bet it is! That’s why God sent the Holy Spirit to live inside us and empower us with His supernatural love. Only when “plugged in” to that power will His followers stand out in their treatment of others and of one another. Then people will take notice and say, “My, how they love one another!” Let these resources set you on the path of loving with the Saviour’s love.
In this lesson, we will learn that encouragement is not the responsibility of a gifted few but the responsibility of the entire family of God. That means you.
Just as a river without the boundaries of the shorelines can become a devastating force, love without discernment can sweep away the reality of sin and the power of grace. John’s letter to a lady and her children provides for us guidance as we seek to balance truth and love.
Christians need to take time to answer the significant biblical questions people have. And many of those questions have to do with the identity of Jesus. Who is He? Why did He come? What did He teach? How can I connect with Him? These are the same questions asked centuries ago by people who lived when Jesus did. Let’s see how Matthew’s gospel answers these questions.
The highest form of love is charity—the type of devotion that seeks the highest good of another. This love serves unconditionally, regardless the cost. The Bible talks about this kind of sacrificial love in 1 Corinthians 13. This is the kind of love that we need most of all, and it finds its fullest expression in God’s relationship to us.
God’s desire is that we, His people, fully enjoy our freedom in Christ. However, there must be self-imposed boundaries or we will become self-serving, independent-minded, and careless rebels with no regard for others. The last 11 verses of Romans 14 address this issue.
Because of the weak believer’s human tendency to judge those who don’t embrace his or her customs and convictions and also because of the strong believer’s decision to discount judgments passed by those who find fault in his or her expressions of freedom, conflict emerges and persists. The solution? Put grace into action.
We often discover priceless gems in the strangest places—deep in the rugged, dark corners of the earth. This is so with the book of Ruth. Like an exquisite rose blooming in a foul garbage dump, the story of Ruth adds elegance, grace, and charm to an otherwise depressing scene.