Dr. E. Dale Locke and Rev. Trevor Johnston
Series: Love the 561
Week 4: Living Proof
PDF file for printing: 10-27&28-2018
- Recite Luke 10:27 aloud together as a group.
“’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’.”
What new insights do you have about this verse as a result of this sermon series?
- In this sermon series, we are using Gary Chapman’s The Five Love Languages as a template to express five ways to show love within our community:
- Words of Affirmation
- Quality Time
- Receiving Gifts
- Acts of Service
- Physical Touch
What is your personal love language – the way you best give and receive love?
- Last week’s “Love the 561 Challenge” was to show love by giving gifts. How did you do? Share your experiences.
- Today, we’re focusing on the love language, “Acts of Service” which is expressing love by doing something for someone. Think of someone you know who is good at this particular love language and describe some things they’ve done to show love.
- Read 2 Corinthians 13:5: Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?
What is the point of this verse? What is Paul trying to get across here?
- Read James 2:14-26, written by James, the half-brother of Jesus:
What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.
20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.
25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.
What questions or comments come to you from this passage?
- October 31 is the 501-year anniversary of when Martin Luther nailed his 95 points of concern on the Wittenberg Door, which eventually resulted in the formation of the Protestant church. Luther felt that the message of the book of James is in conflict with the writings of Paul (such as Ephesians 2:8-9 below) which emphasize that salvation is not something we have to earn, but rather, we receive it by faith alone.
Read Ephesians 2:8-9: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.
Can both Paul and James be right? If so, discuss as a group how Ephesians 2:8-9 and James 2:24 don’t have to contradict each other, but rather can both be true.
Faith – action = dead religion
Genuine Faith Translates Faith Into Action
- James’ point is that if your faith in Jesus does not change HOW you LIVE your life, it’s not worth much. It is good every now and again to ask yourself: If I were on trial for being a follower of Christ, would there be enough evidence (beyond my words) to convict me of the crime? Share your thoughts on this with your group.
- When James says, “You believe that there is one God… Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.” What is James’ point here?
We’re not saved by our actions. But we are saved to be God’s action in the world, to love our neighbors. Here are some ideas from Bob Goff’s delightful book Love Does:
- Engage in Life with Spirit-led Awareness
- What did Pastor Dale mean by the expression “Spirit-led Awareness”? How do we do this in everyday life? What are some practical steps we could take to do this?
- Have a Willingness to be Used of God
- Many of us think we have a willingness to be used of God, but do we actually live that out? Discuss with your group some practical things that might help you live this out.
- Move the Kindness Meter Up
- There are currently many examples in our world of the lack of kindness. Talk briefly about this with your group (without getting political or getting into a long, depressing, negative conversation! 🙂 )
- As followers of Jesus, God doesn’t just call us to just grit our teeth and try to be kind in our own strength. Instead, as we consider the amazing kindness God continually shows us, it becomes a foundation that drives us to be kind to others, and then we ask God to produce His kindness within us.
Given what happened this past week at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Pastor Dale challenged us to seek opportunities to show God’s love especially to Jewish people we know or come into contact with this week, since this crime was particularly against those of the Jewish faith.
Faith + Action = Spiritual Maturity
As our faith grows, what we DO will also grow.
- Read Ephesians 2:8-10: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Notice that we’ve included verse 10 this time. How this this verse make it easier to recognize that Paul’s ideas about the Christian faith do not conflict with what James wrote in James 2?