What does it mean to be a part of the Church of Jesus Christ? How is Christ’s Church different than some of the other types of community we see in our world today? Why should our involvement and commitment to the Church produce fruit in all our various relationships? This Sunday, we’ll explore some of these questions as we wrap up our Skin in the Game series with a focus on Team Life.
Encounter: Slowly read through John 13:34-35 (English Standard Version)
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
This past week I was in conversation with colleagues in one of my seminary courses. The discussion was focused on the place and role of the Church in community development and engagement. In my response, I made remark that where the Church stands out from the rest of the world is in its concrete acts of love, but one of my colleagues disagreed and corrected my statement by simply adding that the Church stands out from the rest of the world in its concrete acts of Christ’s love.
What’s the difference between these two statements? How does the implication of Christ’s love differ from the verbalization of Christ’s love? Is there a place for both implication and verbalization in our interactions with those outside of the faith and other believers?
Reflect: Think of a time when you felt the love of Christ through another brother or sister in Christ. What did they do to show Christ’s love to you? What impact did that act of love have on you? How did you respond to that love?
Have you ever experienced the love of Christ through someone whose faith you’re unsure about or someone who is not a believer?
Encourage: Take a few minutes to read through the apostle Paul’s summation of Christ’s love in Philippians 2:1-8. What might you be able to do today or within the next week (especially in thinking about Thanksgiving) to live out the same attitude of Christ Jesus?
Gather: Time spent in your small group, life group, discipleship, group, Sunday school class, etc. is the perfect time to show love for others. During this time you can also discuss how the Spirit might be guiding you to show love to those outside the faith community.