Sermon: Core Values – Loving relationships
Reading: Ephesians 4:1-6
Sermon Date: February 11th
1. Have you ever been struck by someone’s goodness or kindness? (Outside your family and house group! It doesn’t have to be someone extraordinary like Mother Theresa)
2. What did they do that surprised you?
As part of our core values we are looking this week into how loving relationships should permeate every aspect of Church life. You might be surprised that many of those people who have struck us are not Christian, just loving and generous people. But one of our callings as Christians is to make an effort to try and be loving, to work on this. Hopefully we are growing into having more loving relationships between us.
3. Can you share anything that you remember about the sermon you heard on Sunday?
4. Which relationships inside Church do you find difficult?
5. Why do you think that it is so hard to relate in a loving way with certain people?
6. What frustrates you about relationships being “not so loving” in Church?
We have already read Ephesians 4 as part of our Core Values house group studies. We looked into Ephesians 4:11-16 when we studied about being mature disciples. Ephesians 4 is a very important chapter in our understanding of how a Church should work if it wants to be a good reflection of Christ’s body. There are many reasons why Churches struggle and divide, one of the big issues is when the relationships aren’t as loving as they should. When we have loving relationships between us we are also a very attractive community to be part of.
Greek geek facts:
Ephesians 4:2-3 “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
7. According to v. 1, generally, do you think we live lives worthy of our calling?
The word completely “pases” (π?σης) is literally “all (manner of), every, the whole, always, daily, thoroughly” which gives what Paul is saying a lot of strength and should be taken seriously. Being humble, gentle and patient is not a suggestion, it is something that we are called to be fully on board with. The word love is “agape” (?γ?π?), which is the way in which God loves us, we know that they had three words for love, but this is the deepest of the three. It is the unconditional love, like God’s love, who died for us. The third word that is interesting to look at is effort “spoudazontes” (σπουδ?ζοντες), which means “to make an effort, to use speed, to be prompt or earnest, be diligent, work on, to study”. A Nico’s amplified version of these verses could be:
Ephesians 4:2-3 “Be completely always, daily, thoroughly, wholly, in every way humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love, as God loves us. Make every effort, quickly, be prompt, be earnest, be diligent, to work and study to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
Please read Ephesians 4:1-6
8. Do you know anyone who is a role model of being humble, gentle and patient? What is it about them that makes them that way? How can you learn from their way of living?
9. Is there anything you can do to be more humble, gentle and patient?
10. Can you think about times in your life when you didn’t feel there was unity and “bonds of peace” in a Church? (please don’t name the people involved, especially if it is something related to this parish)
11. What effort can we do to “keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace”?
12. What is our role in keeping the unity?
13. Please read v. 4-6 again. “There is one body (Jesus’ Church) … one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all”. If we are in Christ, we are part of one body with all the rest of those in Christ. When you have a difference with someone at Church, do you remind yourself that they are also in Christ and trying to follow Jesus as you are? How could that change the conflict or disunity?
After washing his friends’ feet Jesus told them: “A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (John 13:34-35)
Try to think about practical ways in which we can be more humble, gentle and patient. Also think about ways in which we can make an effort to keep the unity of the Spirit. If anyone feels that they are finding it hard to relate with someone at Church, please pray for that situation. You could end the group praying that the fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) will grow in each member of the group. Please pray that our Church will be known as a community where Jesus’ disciples are being formed because of the way we love one another.
It is always good to remember that “Churches are not museums that display perfect people. They are hospitals where the wounded, hurt, injured and broken find healing.” (Nicky Gumbel)