Sunday, May 21, 2023

1 John 4:7-5:5

Love, when nurtured as a deliberate choice, has the power to shape lives, heal brokenness, and transform our world.

In a world where self-promotion and personal gain often take center stage, it’s easy to lose sight of the transformative power of selflessness and sacrificial love. We live in a culture that encourages us to prioritize our own needs, desires, and ambitions above all else. But what if true fulfillment and purpose lie not in the pursuit of individual success, but in the profound act of putting others before ourselves? What if the greatest expressions of love are found in the choices we make to intentionally seek the good of those around us, even at great personal cost? There exists a depth of love that transcends mere emotions, a love that reveals its true nature in the selfless acts of service and sacrifice. It is in these acts where we catch a glimpse of God’s own nature, for we see echoes of this love exemplified in the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf in His death on the cross.

Starting Out:
  1. Who in your life would you hold up as an example of biblical love? Why that person?
Read 1 John 4:7-12:
  1. According to this passage, what is love?
  2. What do we learn about God’s love by considering that God sent His only Son into the world?
  3. Why does John emphasize that love cannot be properly understood through the lens of our love for God?
Read 1 John 4:13-21:
  1. Why do you think being loved by God and loving others are so closely linked?
  2. What, then, do you do when an issue barges into your relationship with someone else?
  3. How can you guard against the temptation to allow others’ actions determine the extent or nature of your love for them?
Read 1 John 5:1-5:
  1. Why is loving people one of the clearest indicators of a person’s love for God?
  2. How does your obedience to God affect your love for others?
  3. In your own words, how are faith, love, and obedience intertwined?
Taking it Home:
  1. What is one relationship in which love is difficult for you right now?
  2. How are you going to make the loving choice in that relationship this week?
Ways to Pray:
  • Adoration: Take a moment to praise God for His boundless love and the sacrificial gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.
  • Confession: Ask forgiveness for times when fear or selfishness hindered your ability to love others unconditionally.
  • Thankfulness: Express gratitude for the people who have shown you selflessness and sacrificial love, reflecting God’s character to you.
  • Supplication: Pray for strength and courage to overcome fear, so you can freely extend love without hesitation or reservation.
Additional Scriptures to Engage with this week:
  • Romans 5:1-11
  • Exodus 23:1-9
  • 2 Corinthians 5:14-21
  • Colossians 1:15-29
  • Romans 12
  • Matthew 18:21-35