The theme’s main idea: « The believers live on love » because God in whom they believe and whom theyserve is a « God of Love » (1 John 4:16). So just as the Apostle Paul declared, « I no longer live but Christ lives in me »(Gal 2:20), so he also said, « Christ’s love compels us »2Cor 5: 14—Christ to whom he lived and who was his life. Very often when talking about them, the believers are always referred to as « victorious » (Rom.8: 35), « able to do everything » (¨Phil 4: 13), « knowing all things » (1Cor 2: 10), … These ideas are not wrong, not at all.But the present pericope reminds us that « where there are prophecies, they will cease, where there are tongues, they will be stilled, where there is knowledge, it will pass away”1Cor 13: 8, but« love never fails »1 Cor.13: 13b. This is how Paul said to the Corinthians who were rather diverted by the gifts of grace they had received (1Cor 12: 7-10), « If I speak in the tongues of men and angels but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I gain nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing » 1Cor.13: 1-3. Love is the Spirit of God living in the believers; it is not a matter of external show but their true life and nature as children of God. The life of love is the most powerful testimony of God’s work in them—and the reason why God delights in them. Conversely, the Lord is grieved when our love to him is not true as He says, « These people honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me » Mt.15: 8. Therefore the Apostle John urges us, « Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions in truth » 1Jn.3: 18. The « truth » is our life and actions reflecting love; for « then everyone will know that you are my disciples, » said Jesus (Jn.13: 35).
"THE BELIEVERS LIVE ON LOVE"
Monday 21: The believers live on the love for God.
« What does the LORD your God ask of you but…. to love him, to serve the Lord your God » Deu. 10:12.
Reading1: Mat.22:34-38. Reading 2: Deu.10:12-21. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Deu.10:12.
Introduction: God is the root and the spring from which love comes. In this regard, it is written, « For love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God » 1 Joh. 4:7. God grants his favor to those who love Him as He says, »Because he loves me, says the LORD, I will rescue him, I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name« Ps.91:14. What is God referred to as? “God is love” 1Jn.4:16.
Tuesday 22: God’s loving love is the same.
« Love the Lord your God … love your neighbor » Mt.22: 37,39.
Reading 1: Rom.13: 9-14. Reading 2: Mt.22: 34-46. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Mt.22: 36-39.
Introduction: God’s commands are not separated, they converge as it is written,« Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister » 1 John 4: 21. The Apostle John said,« This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him » 1Jn.3: 17.
Wednesday, 23: Living on love makes one happy.
« Love one another deeply, from the heart » 1Pet 1: 22.
Reading 1: Jn 13: 34-35. Reading 2: 1 Pet 1: 22-25. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: 1 Pet.1: 22.
Introduction: Love is the spirit of grace that works in the believers’ hearts and unites them in the Lord. The Psalmist declares, « How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity » Ps.133: 1. It is a pledge of great blessing, consistently with Jesus’ words, « Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven » Mt.18: 19.
Thursday 24: To love is the work of the Holy Spirit.
« But the Spirit produces love » Gal.5: 22a.
Reading 1: John 10: 11-15. Reading 2: Gal.5: 16-25. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: Gal.5: 22a, 25.
Introduction: True love is God’s love. It is the portion of the believers, grasped by faith through the Holy Spirit. For it is written, « God’s love has been poured out into our heart—into those who believe—through the Holy Spirit » Rom.5: 5b. Love is « God’s life and power that He gives to the believers », because « to all who did receive him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God »” Jn.1: 12 —children who live on love.
Friday 25: Love is keen to serve.
« For Christ’s love compels us » 2Cor.5 :14a.
Reading 1: Jos.24: 14-18. Reading 2: 2Cor.5: 11-15. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: 2Cor.5: 14-15.
Introduction: Lord as He is, Jesus became « as one who serves » (Lk.22: 27) because He loves men. The service He performed was the fruit of the love that worked fully in Him according to his statement, « There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends »Jn 15:13. For their sake « He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness and being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross » Phil.2: 7-8.
Saturday, 26: Stand firm in love.
« He will also keep you firm to the end » 1 Cor.1: 8a.
Reading 1: Jn.15: 9-16. Reading 2: 1Cor.1: 4-8. Preaching 1 (free choice). Preaching 2: 1Cor.1: 8.
Introduction: Happy are those who persevere in loveas this is the firstfruit of eternal life and the image of the kingdom of heaven. Paul said to the Ephesians, « For this reason I kneel before the Father, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love » Eph.3: 14,17. Such is the will of God who gives life, « but the man who does the will of God lives for ever » 1 John 2:17.
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