The Irrestible Ethic
Icebreaker: What is the strangest gift you have ever received?
“Faith disconnected from love leads to legalism, an eye-to-the-sky, vertical morality that doesn’t concern itself with loving others.” - Andy Stanley
1). What did you think of the video segment? What struck you as most impactful? Who is your neighbor anyway?
The Apostle Paul has some commentary on the law. He just got done with showing that law was not the direct blessing from God. The promise was. He also pointed out that the law was meant to be temporary.
Galatians 3:21–22 (The Message)
21 If such is the case, is the law, then, an anti-promise, a negation of God’s will for us? Not at all. Its purpose was to make obvious to everyone that we are, in ourselves, out of right relationship with God, and therefore to show us the futility of devising some religious system for getting by our own efforts what we can only get by waiting in faith for God to complete his promise. For if any kind of rule-keeping had power to create life in us, we would certainly have gotten it by this time.
2). What do you make of the “vertical reality” concept Andy introduced? Practically, how do you complete the question: “Is ____ a sin?”
3). How does Andy’s explanation mesh with your own understanding of vertical morality?
4). If you were to ask strangers on the street what it means to love God, what things would they respond with?
Don’t lie, steal, or cheat.
Don’t drink or do drugs.
Give money to the church.
Don’t have sex before marriage.
That whole ‘do unto others thing.’
I’m going to read 5 verses. See if you can determine what they all have in common. I’ll try to emphasize as I read:
Hebrews 6:10 (CSB)
10 For God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you demonstrated for his name by serving the saints—and by continuing to serve them.
Galatians 5:13 (NIV)
13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
Romans 7:6 (NIV)
6 But now, by dying to what once bound us, we have been released from the law so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit, and not in the old way of the written code.
John 12:26 (NIV)
26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)
10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
The theme of these verses is service.
5). When do you feel closer to God? When you are trying to be a ‘good person,’ or when you are helping others?
What is love?
Romans 12:9–13 (NLT)
9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
6). When you feel unmotivated to show up for others, to extend a helping hand to others, to pray for or serve others, what’s most often the reason?
“It will take too much time/money.”
“It will be too messy emotionally.”
“It’s not my responsibility.”
“I don’t want to be a bother.”
“I have enough problems of my own.”
7). Think of a need in someone’s life that you recently helped meet. What explanations/excuses did you have to overcome? How did things turn out?
In a similar vein, how might the experience inform your ability to keep showing up, to keep prioritizing kingdom-of-God living, to keep loving your neighbor?
“Love for God [is] best demonstrated and authenticated by loving one’s neighbor.” - Andy Stanley
We are going to love one another by praying for each other.
What can we pray for?