The New Life: Serving & Loving Others

What’s it all about? While is it true that Christians are free from religious and ceremonial adherence to the Mosaic Law, they are not free to live in open rebellion or in ways that contradict the gospel (e.g., murdering, stealing, etc.). True gospel freedom expresses itself in the sacrificial service and unconditional love of others which is the true fulfillment of the law. (cf. Matthew 22:34-40). Such freedom rejects self-satisfying gratification and embraces a life of service.

So what? True freedom expresses itself in both service and love. Therefore, as Christians, we must not use our freedom for self-serving reasons, but instead to demonstrate the grace of God through sacrificial service and radical love.

[13] For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. [14]For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” [15]But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. (Gal. 5:13-15)

Questions from the Text:

1. What restriction does the Bible place on our Christian freedom (5:13)?

2. What is the primary principle for applying Christian freedom (5:13)?

3. What does Paul mean when he writes that the entire law is fulfilled by loving your neighbor (5:14)?

4. What are the results of a lack of love in the church (5:15)?

the new life serving and loving othersNow what? The Holy Spirit uses the teaching of God’s Word to instruct us on how to live a life of sacrifice and love. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit convicts us when we use our Christian freedom for selfish (idolatrous) purposes. Thus, believers should expect the Spirit to: (1) develop within us a love for others, especially fellow Christians; (2) convict us when we feel and/or express an unloving spirit toward others; and (3) remind us that the love we express toward others is an outgrowth of our love and adoration of Christ.

Small Group Questions – Scripture: Luke 10:25-37

1. How does Jesus’ response to the lawyer correspond to what we have learned about the requirements of the law?

2. How is the question about who qualifies as a neighbor significant?

3. Who were Samaritans? Why did Jesus choose a Samaritan as an example of a good neighbor?

4. How does the lawyer respond to Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan?

5. Who are the people (ethnically, socially, economically, etc.) that you struggle to serve and love as a neighbor?

6. What are some ways that the church can work to demonstrate the gospel; specifically working to overcome the ethnic, socioeconomic, and cultural barriers that divide people?

 

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