God is love and all those who belong to him should likewise love. (7b)
A failure to love means we are not of God nor do we know Him. (8)
Christ is the love of God made manifest. (9a)
Christ came to bring life. (9b)
Christ is God’s love in propitiation. (10)
Back to the beginning: a call to love (11)
God’s love revealed in the gospel changes everything.
Knowing /Being is manifested by the degree to which we live out the mitigated divine nature. Communicable and incommunicable attributes
Christ came to bring life. (Galatians 2:20, Philippians 3:7-11)
This particular love is agape love – loving the other for their highest good.
Be as committed to giving God’s love as we are committed to receiving it.
Know God better by living out His character. Which parts of God’s character have you “caught”?
The command is to love one another. Where are you doing that? How are you doing that?
Being this close to Valentine ’s Day, how does our culture define love? How has your definition of love changed over time or is it the same today as years ago?
Do you tend to think of love as a command, an involuntary response of the heart, or something else? What are the presuppositions of commanding someone to love another? If love is a completely involuntary spontaneous response of the heart, does it make sense to command someone to do it?
What does it mean to you that God is love? Can one simply receive God’s love without being changed? Is the change automatic? Is this saying that God’s love will change everyone in whom it resides or that it should?
What does it tell you when there is a failure to love? What does our passage say about that? Are the categories of the text something you have heard a lot in church?
In what sense did Jesus come to bring life? What kind of life? Is that life now or life later? In your formative religious experience, did your church tend to emphasize eternal life as a “right now” idea or more of a “then and there” idea? Is the life of God a present reality or a future hope? What other things might be included in the life that Jesus came to bring?
Have you come to terms with the idea that God poured out his wrath on Christ? How does that make you feel – loved, scared, confused…? How is God’s wrath different from anger? How do you put together the fact that God is love and yet He poured out His wrath on Jesus? Are love and wrath opposites? Can opposites exist in one personality in a healthy way?
Have you encountered the idea that God wants you to share some of His attributes? How different are you for having been loved by God? Can you share some specific ways? Pick an attribute of God in which you have made clear progress. Is there an attribute of God where there is a glaring need to work on it from your side? What is it? Would you share your desire to grow in that area with someone else?
In what context do you experience agape love? What is your experience with community? Do you feel loved for your highest good? How often are you loving others that way? What size group is ideal for you to feel loved (over 500, 100, 50, 10, 3, 1-on-1)? What would need to change in your lifestyle to make room for God’s vision of agape love toward one another?