Love and Faith

Love – Love and Fait

“If I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

~ 1 Cor 13

Openers

1.   Activity* Engage in a classic “trust me” activity like the game Mafia, ‘trust falls,’ or Truth or Dare.  Before the game, however, discuss who in the group is most trustworthy.  (Don’t let the conversation get out of hand.)  Afterwards, discuss or describe what it was like to believe someone in your head versus believing that person in your actions.

2.  Discussion* Is love possible without risk?  Why or why not?  Is that a defect of love?

Main Points (Choose ONE)

1.  Who we choose to trust will define us more than what we claim to believe.

2.  Loving God is only possible when you are willing to risk yourself trusting him.

Foundations

1 Corinthians 13:2 – “If I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.”

What is “faith to move mountains”?

It’s a reference to Matthew 17:20 and Matthew 21:21, where Jesus says that those who faith will accomplish seemingly impossible things.

It doesn’t take much faith, either.  Jesus compares it to a grain of mustard seed (which is very small).

Basically, it’s belief that God can do anything and that he answers our prayers.

That’s pretty important, right?  Notice, though, that believing that God is powerful isn’t all that difficult.  Also, consider your answers to the following questions:

a.  Do you believe that God answers your prayers? Do you always feel like he’s going to answer your prayers?  What’s the difference between believing something in your head and believing it in your heart?  What is faith without love?

Remember first of all that love requires vulnerability and trust.

1.  Faith without love is missing these elements.

2.  Faith without love is all in the head, but not in the heart.

So faith without love is nothing more than belief.  “Faith” isn’t supposed to be just belief.  Faith is a synonym for trust.  There’s an essential trust component to faith…or at least, there’s supposed to be.  Unfortunately, many folks in Christian circles talk about faith as if it’s some sort of trumped-up belief rather than a kind of trust that demands action.

Think about what it would mean if someone said, “I believe in you, but I don’t trust you.”  That’s what you’d get if you have faith without love.

So faith without love is nothing worthwhile.  What’s love without faith?

Love without faith would be missing both the belief and the trust elements.   What would be left?  This sort of ‘love’ would be nothing more than affection or desire.

So love without faith is nothing worthwhile.  Paul (the author of 1 Corinthians) doesn’t say “If I have faith but not love I can do nothing,” but rather that “I am nothing.”

Faith without love isn’t worth much despite how important it is.

Love without faith isn’t worth much despite how important it is.

The people you choose to trust will define who you are.

1. Your decision about who you trust says a lot already about who you are.

2. In addition, they will exert the most influence on your life.

Something to consider: If we are measured by who we choose to trust, what does it say about you if you choose to trust no one?

2.  The Last Supper

Jesus said many things during his final night with his disciples before his arrest and crucifixion. He was preparing them for what would come next.  Jesus knew the changes that were about to take place, but they didn’t. Jesus knew that they needed encouragement as well as a way of understanding something that would surprise and shock them.

He was giving them final instructions before everything changed.

This was his last chance to make sure that they ‘got it’ before he left it up to them to pass on his teachings For this reason, he emphasized the most important aspects of what he had been teaching.

He repeatedly talked about three things: love, the Holy Spirit, and belief.

According to Jesus, these things are all connected.

John 16:27 – Jesus told his disciples, “The Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God.”

Jesus makes an explicit connection between love and faith (belief).

Faith and love are intertwined.

If the disciples claimed to have a deep friendship with Jesus, but denied the most basic fact of his identity, would that friendship be real

If the disciples claimed to believe that Jesus was who he said he was, but hated him, what good would that belief do them?

The disciples’ relationship with God required both faith and love.

1.That’s the implication of the word “because” in the verse.

2. Without both faith and love, they could have no relationship with God.

John 14:1-4 – Jesus said to his disciples, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

Again, the word “believe” can be replaced with the word “trust,” because both words indicate faith.

“Do not let your hearts be troubled.”

Jesus had just finished telling them that he would be betrayed—which was shocking news—and that his betrayer would be one of them—which was downright horrifying.

Also, he had just finished telling Peter that Peter would turn his back on their friendship.

In order to encourage them, Jesus tells them to trust him.  Why?

a. They would need to trust that Jesus knows what he’s doing, and that his arrest and crucifixion are all part of the plan (which they were).

b.  They would also need to trust their friendship with Jesus.

c. They’d need to trust that Jesus wouldn’t reject them even when they blew it.

d. They’d need to trust that Jesus didn’t hate them.

e. They’d need to trust that they could get beyond the ugliness of their mistake.

f. “I will come back and take you to be with me”

In case there was any doubt, Jesus promises that he won’t abandon them, even after they abandon him.   Jesus reaffirms that he’s committed to them.

There’s an important connection between “faith” and “faithfulness.”  Trust that can’t endure through foreseeable failure is pretty weak.  Faith is what you believe about the other person, but faithfulness is how you believe.

They’re both a part of love, aren’t they?

What is love without trust?  Nothing!

What is love without commitment?  Nothing!

Jesus is demonstrating the connection between faith and love.   Love is trust.  Without faith, there is no love.  However, love is also commitment.  Without faithfulness, there is no love.

Human Struggles

1.   It’s a lot easier to make claims than it is to risk ourselves trusting someone.

2.  Many of us have heard loads of sermons devotionals about faith that claim that faith is just believing something that’s hard to believe, or believing something without any evidence.  So we end up thinking that faith is all in our heads.

3.  We tend to choose our friends on the basis of whom we like rather than who will have the best influence on us.

Application Helps

1.  Whose opinion do you trust most?  It might depend upon the question at hand, but there are people whose opinions and attitudes have the greatest effect on your own.  What does your choice of whom you trust say about you?

2. What was the last risk you took in your relationship with God?  If there have been no risks, then perhaps there’s no trust.  If there’s no trust, can there be love?  How could someone address a problem like that?

3. The Bible talks a lot about how important faith is for answered prayer.  Since faith is not just trumped-up belief, consider how your prayers ought to be different.

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