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Living in Love

Living in Love – Pleasing God Matt 22: 34-36, 1Thess 2:1-13

It takes courage to proclaim the Gospel. Paul, Silas and Timothy came to Thessalonica after being ‘shamefully mistreated’ in Philippi. Elsewhere, Paul lists the many ways he has suffered hardship on behalf of the Gospel (2 Corinthians 11:16b-27).

Even today, some parts of the world are dangerous for Christians who face arrest, torture and even death for daring to proclaim the Gospel of Christ.

But what about us? Is there a different kind of courage required of those who live in prosperous, peaceful countries that celebrate religious tolerance and freedom with all its diversity? What kind of courage is needed in our context?

Courage is far more than simply bravery or bravado. Courage requires a confidence that’s not so much about being right, but being comfortable in knowing who we are – our true self in Christ.

It’s a confidence that allows us to remain non-defensive when challenged; to listen respectfully to others, recognising that God may be speaking to us through them; a confidence that’s not smug, arrogant or rude but generous and patient.

Such confidence provides a courage that enables us to take calculated risks, to be more than we think we can be, to come alongside those who are new and different to us, and to trust that God, who has entrusted us with the Gospel, will help us to discern what it means to be a faithful witness in each new context and encounter.

May we each discover the joys of what it means to experience the Spirit of Christ in our time and place as we learn to live in love.

 GOSPEL: Matt 22:34-46 The Greatest Commandment
34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36‘Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?’ 37He said to him, ‘ “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” 38This is the greatest and first commandment. 39And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.” 40On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.’

41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question: 42‘What do you think of the Messiah?* Whose son is he?’ They said to him, ‘The son of David.’ 43He said to them, ‘How is it then that David by the Spirit* calls him Lord, saying,
44 “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I put your enemies under your feet’ ”? 45If David thus calls him Lord, how can he be his son?’ 46No one was able to give him an answer, nor from that day did anyone dare to ask him any more questions.

NT EPISTLE: 1 Thess 2: 1-13 Paul’s Ministry in Thessalonica
1 You yourselves know, brothers and sisters,* that our coming to you was not in vain, 2but though we had already suffered and been shamefully maltreated at Philippi, as you know, we had courage in our God to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition. 3For our appeal does not spring from deceit or impure motives or trickery, 4but just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the message of the gospel, even so we speak, not to please mortals, but to please God who tests our hearts. 5As you know and as God is our witness, we never came with words of flattery or with a pretext for greed; 6nor did we seek praise from mortals, whether from you or from others, 7though we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle* among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children. 8So deeply do we care for you that we are determined to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you have become very dear to us.
9 You remember our labour and toil, brothers and sisters;* we worked night and day, so that we might not burden any of you while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10You are witnesses, and God also, how pure, upright, and blameless our conduct was towards you believers. 11As you know, we dealt with each one of you like a father with his children, 12urging and encouraging you and pleading that you should lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.
13 We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers.

Love the Lord your God…. Love your neighbour…. Mt 22:37-39, Deut 6:4-5

Priorities 1Thess 2:4

Concern for the integrity of the Gospel 1Thess 2:3-10

Concern for others 1Thess 2:7-12