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Genuine - Love
1 Peter 1:13–25 (NIV)
13Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
17Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 18For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
22Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24For,
“All people are like grass,
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
25but the word of the Lord endures forever.”
And this is the word that was preached to you.
Get ready to love one another with sincerity, depth and heart.
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Romans 12:9 (NIV)
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 1 Corinthians 13:1 (NIV)
1. The way of Jesus.
Through [Jesus] you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34–35 (NIV)
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 1 John 4:10–11 (NIV)
2. The way of obedience.
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth.
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14 (NIV)
3. The way of the word.
For you have been born again…through the living and enduring word of God.
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7–8 (NIV)
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:12–14 (NIV)
Small Group Questions
CONNECT WITH GOD (Select one of the below practices to begin your small group time this week or select a practice from a previous week.)
Practice of the Welcoming Prayer
- Begin this prayer practice by paying attention to what you feel in your body, mind, and heart. What bodily sensations are you aware of? What emotions? What thoughts? Notice them and accept them.
- Now, acknowledge the Holy Spirit who is present with you and within you. Welcome God’s Spirit.
- Commit to an attitude of surrender; letting go of a need to change, control, or fix.
- Sit expectantly, quietly, receptively. Be present to the Holy Spirit and welcome the gift of divine presence in your life–just as it is. You might consider saying this mantra as you wait: “Welcome, Holy Spirit. Welcome, breath of Life”.
Alone: Read 1 Peter 1:13-25 and underline a word or phrase that especially grabs your attention. Pray from that word or phrase and ask God to help you connect to its particular invitation for you this week. (This practice is from Everyday Connections Year A, ed. Heidi Haverkamp)
CONNECT WITH EACH OTHER
- Read 1 Peter 1:13-25. Read the passage three times.
- First, read it together.
- Second, read it individually.
- Third, read it once more together.
- After you have read, reflect in pairs or smaller groups:
- What words, phrases, or images stand out to you from this passage?
- How does this passage connect to your life today?
CONNECT WITH SCRIPTURE (Read the passages and review the sermon outline. Then select the best questions or customize the questions for your group.)
- Read the main points from the sermon outline.
- What questions, observations, or reactions do you have after reflecting on the passage and sermon?
- Read Colossians 3:12-14, Galatians 5:14, and John 13:34-35 from the message outline. How does this deepen your understanding of 1 Peter 1:13-25?
- What does it mean to ‘be holy in all you do’ (v. 15)?
- To what kind of life is Peter calling the exiled churches in Asia Minor? What ought their lives be marked by?
- The Greek word for sincere (v. 22) means something like “non-hypocritical”. Reflect together on what “non-hypocritical” love might look like in your own lives.
- How do you hear the Holy Spirit speaking to you in your context today?
CONNECT WITH GOD’S MISSION IN THE WORLD (Select one question/prompt below.)
- How do we love one another with the kind of love Peter talks about in verse 22?
“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.”
- Share some ways that we might exhibit genuine love to those in our neighborhoods and the places we work. What about to strangers in our communities?
We love one another deeply and from the heart when we enter into the messiness of one another's lives…when we are open, honest, and welcome others to be their most authentic, messy selves. Without expectation, share with one or two others where you are in your work, your relationships, or your own health right now. Welcome one another into a mutual life marked by the genuine love of Jesus. Pray for one another with humility and love.