8. Pleasing God & Loving Others
We must consider the extent to which our actions may hinder the development of the church and growth in the Gospel.
” 9 Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another, 10 for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more, 11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, 12 so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.”– I Thessalonians 4:9-12
Review from Last Week
- What is God’s will for every believer? What does God’s Word say about pleasing God? (4:3, 6, 7)
- What is the practical route to holiness (4:4-5)
- How did last week’s text affect your thinking, habits, and behavior as a follower of Jesus Christ?
I. Getting Without Giving (vv 1-2)
II. Loving Without Stopping (4:9, 10)
III. Contributing Without Hindering (4:11, 12))
Quick Thought: Love, Church, and the Watching World
Lesslie Newbigin described the local church as “the hermeneutic of the gospel” (The Gospel in a Pluralist Society, 222-233), The language is technical, but the idea is simple. The life of the local church shows people in the surrounding culture what the gospel means. It takes the gospel out of the realm of abstract ideas or propositions and grounds it in the reality of everyday life. Jesus says, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35). The way Christians love one another in the nitty-gritty of normal life shows others what it means to follow Jesus, just as Paul also confirms n 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12. And since our love is a reflection of his love, people who see our life together should get a glimpse of the love of God for his world.
Post-Service Online Coffee Fellowship
Please join us on a zoom call for our Virtual Coffee Fellowship (bring your own coffee!). We’d love for you to say hi, whether you’re a first-time visitor to United Community Church or a longtime member. All are welcome!
The call will be open for more or less an hour after the service finishes – you can join by clicking here! If you can’t join with the link, the Meeting ID is 998 7707 5071, and the passcode is 221309
Life Group Questions
Quick Review of the Text
- How does Paul’s teaching in 4:9, 10 flow out of his thanksgiving and prayer at 1:2, 3 and 3:11-13?
- What sort of things had Paul already taught the church about in his initial visit according to 4:1, 2, 9, 11?
- What does Paul want to see within the Thessalonians church according to 4:10? What might this mean in practice?
- Why does Paul give these particular instructions in 4:11?
- What twin aims did Paul’s teaching have according to 4:12?
- How might the behaviour of some of the members of this church have affected the churches reputation?
- To what extent do you think that a consumer mindset has infected the church? Is it evident that even Christians are more concerned about getting rather than giving?
Apply the Text
- Try to reconstruct what was happening in part of the Thessalonians church which caused Paul to address the issues here.
- What can we learn from Paul’s frequent use of the word “encourage”/”urge”? (see 2.12; 3:2; 4:1, 10, 18; 5:11, 14).
- How does Paul show that there should be no secular / sacred divide within this passage?
- What’s the difference between loving a fellow Christian and liking him (or her)? Are we obligated to like others?
- Some would say that if love requires effort and is not spontaneous, it is not genuine. Why is this false?
- Is it wrong for a Christian to have “getting rich” as part of a career goal? Consider 1 Tim. 6:6-11 in your answer.
- Consider how your behaviour could win the respect of outsiders this coming week?