Family Bible Study lesson for Dec. 9: The Hope of Christmas
November 21 2001 by David Edgell , Romans 15:1-13

Family Bible Study lesson for Dec. 9: The Hope of Christmas | Wednesday, Nov 21, 2001

Wednesday, Nov 21, 2001

Family Bible Study lesson for Dec. 9: The Hope of Christmas

By David Edgell Romans 15:1-13 I once read a story about a bicycle race in India. The object of the race was to go the shortest distance possible within a specified time. At the beginning everyone cued up at the starting line, and when the gun sounded all the racers, as best they could, stayed put. Racers were disqualified if they tipped over or one of their feet touched the ground. So they would inch forward just enough to keep the bike balanced. When time was up and the final gun sounded, the person who had gone the farthest was the loser and the person closest to the starting line was the winner. Imagine getting into that race and not understanding how the race works. When the race starts, you pedal as hard and fast as you possibly can. You're out of breath. You're sweating. You're delighted because the other racers are back at the starting line. You're going to break the record. You think - this is fantastic. Don't let up. Push harder and faster and longer and stronger.

At last you hear the gun that ends the race. You are delighted because you are unquestionably the winner. Except in reality you are the loser because you misunderstood the rules of the race.

Jesus gives us the rules to the race of life. The winning strategy for this life and for all eternity is caring about others and not about ourselves. It is letting others go first and not pushing to the front. It is giving without the expectation of getting anything in return. It is to give sacrificially like Christ.

Christmas is a time of hope. Christ's incarnation gives hope to the world. God unselfishly left heaven and gave of Himself. He gave us the gift of eternal life. But He gave it at His own expense.

How do we reflect this unselfish love that God gave? Do we understand that hope comes from understanding God's plan and following His design for living?

Paul addresses this issue in Romans 15. The first 13 verses are verses of hope. We have hope because God showed His love and gave sacrificially. The love we have received should be reflected in how we show love toward others. "Not pleasing ourselves," (Rom. 15:1) but showing God's love.

Notice six ways we can show God's love and reflect His design for our lives.

First, those, who are spiritually mature have a responsibility to recognize and regard the weaknesses of others. We must be willing to give up habits and practices that cause others to stumble.

Second, we must encourage our neighbor for his or her good and edification. We need to build others up and do this for their good, not ours.

Third, we need to follow the example of Christ. He gave sacrificially and was willing to take even our shame. He humbled Himself and "endured the cross, scorning its shame," (Heb. 12:2) so we could see His example of love and show that love to others.

Fourth, we can learn from Scripture and share what we are taught with others. As we read Scripture we see all the reasons why we have hope and should continue in our faith. The faithfulness of God in Scripture challenges us to persevere and follow God's instructions for our lives.

Fifth, God's encouragement to us should overflow to those around us. We must love those around us to the same extent that God loves us. We must show the same love, the same compassion, and the same encouragement that God gives us.

Sixth, we must glorify God by being of one voice in worship. God is glorified when we worship Him for whom He is and when we speak with one voice to proclaim His truth.

Paul summarizes these principles in verse 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."

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11/21/2001 12:00:00 AM by David Edgell , Romans 15:1-13 | with 0 comments
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