Learning on the Way
Do you feel like the Christian community, especially those in your local church, are your family? What are some ways that plays out practically in your life? How do you call on your Christian family to help you? How do you help your Christian family?
What are some ways you demonstrate hospitality? What are some hindrances that keep you from being more hospitable? What are some steps you can take to be more hospitable, especially overcoming your specific hindrances?
Are you pursuing the goal of becoming more loving and sacrificial? How so? Or, have you become complacent in your love for others, especially your brothers and sisters in Christ? What do you think causes this complacency in your life? How can you correct it?
Where do you need to improve to strike the work/life balance so you can use your earnings to serve others and advance the Kingdom of Christ? What are some ways can you be better stewards of your finances so you can serve Jesus with them? If you need help with that, you can talk to Steve about attending his class in April.
Do you have any entangling alliances in your life (like the patrons in the Thessalonian context)? What are some steps you can take to break free of those? How can your small group or local church family help in that area?
Dale focuses on two points in this sermon: loving one another like family and being quiet and working hard. The first point emphasizes the importance of brotherly love among Christians, using the term “philadelphia” to represent familial love. Dale highlights that Christians should treat each other as family, not just friends, and should learn to excel at this as they were God-taught and known for their hospitality. Dale emphasizes that Christians should never become complacent with love and must keep growing in it.
In the second point, the sermon highlights the importance of working hard and minding one’s own business. Paul emphasizes this to show how to relate to outsiders. Paul advises Christians to live quietly, work hard, and avoid conflict. The sermon emphasizes that brotherly love sets up two-way relationships, not dependencies. Christians should be mutually loving and serving one another, refusing to become parasites living off others.
Paul’s advice is counter-cultural for his time, as people were trying to improve their honor ratings in society. Christians, however, are not called to establish their names in the public sphere but rather to be ambitious in a different way, to strive within and for the community. The sermon pointed out that this is especially relevant for Christians who were being persecuted, as the lower profile they maintained, the better it would be for them.
Overall, the sermon emphasizes that Christians should treat one another like family and love one another as God taught them. The importance of working hard and being responsible is also emphasized, as it allows Christians to support the ministry, missions, and hospitality. By living quietly, working hard, and minding their own business, Christians can set a good example for outsiders and create a strong community within.