Inside and Outside
Series: How to Become a Better Church
Lesson 3: Inside and Outside
In the last lesson we focused on the nature of love. In other words, what does it mean to love someone. We learned it is far deeper than the emotions made trivial in pop music. It involves doing good for and to others.
Now let’s get specific about love within the church. How we treat one another is important. In fact, we really kind of need each other.
Galatians 6:7-10 (ESV)
1 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
- Does it surprise you that Paul uses the phrase “especially to those who are of the household of faith”? Why?
- In our culture, we are taught to treat everyone the same, whether they are like us or different from us. What are the implications of the word “especially”?
- Paul calls the church “the household of faith.” Most churches of the time actually met in homes. How would that be different from church today?
- In what ways are our church family really like family? What are some of the major differences?
- Is it easier or harder to love one another when we see one another a few times a week instead of living together and/or being together much more often?
- Does this “especially” let us off the hook for loving others in our lives? How does it help us establish priorities for how we use our resources and energy?
- What do we reap when we sow good works among those around us, especially in our church? Does what you get out of it serve as a motivation for you? What does it take to motivate you?
- What would it mean to sow to your own flesh? How prevalent is that sort of thing?
- Do you ever grow tired of the whole thing? What would Paul say to you?
Our church family is special. They should be handled with care and treated like the special people they are.
A household is made up of lots of different people. Some are mature, some are immature. Some are wise, and some aren’t so much. Some are spiritually-minded and others are self-absorbed. We all have problems, but our problems are unique to us.
We have to develop an ability to know one another before we can know much about one another. It’s hard, because we have enough going on already. But you know what Paul said, right?
Let’s get the know the very special people around us. Can’t you just feel it in your gut how wonderful our church would be if we really loved on another?
The challenge section for this lesson is pretty much the same as last time. We need to keep at it and not get tired of the project. Actually, it’s not a project.
I’ve lost hundreds of pounds in my life, and I’ve gained them all back. That’s because I always treated losing weight like a project.
Now I know that it isn’t a project; it’s a change it in the way of life that makes a difference. A project is short-termed. We are in it for the long haul. Loving one another is not just a project.
- Is there any way for love to grow and thrive in a group without the pain that comes with practice? What kind of things can go wrong during the practice phase? Does the learning curve tend to keep us from trying? How can we overcome it?
- Am I willing to do the hard work of love, or is just too much?
- Why do we Christians so often settle for less than the fullness of what God has to offer?
- What would happen if our community knew us as a church that really loves one another?