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Scriptures
Ezekiel 36:27; Ezekiel 37:1-14; Luke 6:27-28
Open your mind and heart as you read the passage of Scripture aloud and then again quietly to
yourself. Listen for God’s word to you.

 

Observation
Ezekiel 36:27 and 37:1-14
Christ-followers are not expected to love others in their own strength. God says in this passage He will give His people new hearts – softened hearts to enable them to love even those who are difficult to love. God’s Spirit will live within His people, transforming them and enabling them to feel and act in love like never before. They will be transformed into new people in Jesus Christ, filled with His Spirit.

God’s people are aware of all those who do not yet know Christ as their Saviour. They are
commissioned, as Ezekiel was in the Valley of dry bones, to work amongst them, proclaiming
God’s word to them in such a way that shows their absolute confidence that God will do as He
has promised. They need to understand that the Holy Spirit is at work and His work is essential
to the process of change. They must pray in a bold way for the Holy Spirit to move. They must
notice every sign that this is happening and speak of these things with the power of faith. They
must also be alert to the revival of God’s servants and declare that, no matter what the situation,
there is always hope for God is here in His world.

1 Corinthians 12:4-11
God has given His people the gifts they need to serve Him and others as He calls them to do so.
The Son shows those who follow Him what is needed to serve others; and the Holy Spirit
enables God’s people to carry out the work on God’s behalf.

Luke 6:27-28
The Greek word for love that is used in this text is agapan which describes such strong emotions
of kindness and compassion that they lead the one who loves to take action. No matter what
happens, it is the good of the other person that is important. We love our family and friends
because we cannot help it. Such love just happens. But the love towards our enemies is an act of
the will and can only be nurtured through the grace of Christ. Jesus knew that, in this world, it
was inevitable that we would have enemies and, as His followers, we would need to take action
to love them no matter how we actually feel about them.

The Christian principle Jesus lays out in this passage is a positive one. Do to others as you would
have them do to you. The sentiment of these words appears in many other life-beliefs but they
tend to state the principle in the negative. However, Christianity is not about not doing bad things
for others. It is about going out of our way to do good.

Nor is it enough to do ‘just enough’. Those who follow Christ are commanded to do more than
enough. They are not to measure themselves against their neighbours but against God Himself,
and so ‘enough’ is never enough. When Christ-followers do more than is required of them by
human standards, they are modelling themselves on Christ. God loves everyone – sinner and
saint alike – and those who follow Him must do the same.

John Wesley on Truth
John Wesley preached sermons that were designed to reach and touch the man in the street. He
often preached in many places to all kinds of people four or five times a day and so learnt how to
preach as if he was having a conversation with his listeners.

In the early days of preaching he had given an accomplished sermon to a country congregation.
It was obvious from their reaction they did not understand what he was trying to tell them. He
cut out some of the complex words and preached again. This time, it seemed that half his
audience had understood. So Wesley tried again, preaching the sermon to a single servant maid,
requesting that she stop him every time he used a word she did not understand. She stopped him
so often he became impatient yet had the grace to keep trying until at last, she understood
everything he said to her.

For Wesley, the truth was everything. He begged people to make up their minds about salvation
and act on their decisions immediately. He was passionate about saving souls. He wrote in his
journal ‘I offered Christ’. He saw himself as an ambassador for Jesus and he offered the gift of
salvation to all who heard him, urging them to make a decision for Jesus there and then.

He presented the Christian faith as the ‘plain truth for plain people’. Emphasising and preaching
the truth of the Gospel, his greatest gift was to bring people to Christ. He had a deep compassion
for poor working people, the un-churched and the uneducated. He stated:

  • All people can be saved.
  • All people can know that they are saved.
  • All people can be saved to the uttermost.

This was what drove him to cover miles on horseback in difficult conditions: to preach the truth
of the Gospel of Christ that all may be saved

Icebreaker:
How was your week? What has impacted you most about the past week? Why?

Application
• It has been a week of contrasts – the devastation of the looting and the hope of people
coming together and helping to put things right. How are you feeling about the
situation now?
• What is your prayer for this country today and for her people? Pray your prayers together.
• How can you, as a Christ-follower make a difference in your community?
• How has the knowledge that Jesus is the Truth, the Way and the Life helped you in this
time?
• How can you use this knowledge to help others?
• How can the group help you with the struggles you have mentioned during this session?

Prayer
Pray for one another in regard to the issues that have been raised during your discussion time,
and in regard to other needs of the group.
Close your prayer time with this blessing from Romans 15:13:
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow
with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Service
Find someone different from yourself, in race, gender, economic status, ideology, etc. and ask
‘What kind of change will shift the difference between us?’
Listen to what they say. Be prepared to report back to your group and learn from one another’s
experiences and discussions. How can you begin to put this change into action? How can God
help you?

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