If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
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These pages are designed to aid study or investigation for Christian discipleship through individual Bible study, Cell groups, Home groups, or meeting one to one. The questions could be used alone allowing each person to use their own Bible.
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Love is wonderful to receive, and risky to give. We desire God’s unconditional love, but are not so forthcoming in showing love to others. When our heavenly Father loves us, He is extending trust, asking if we can love others with that love. When we do, we show we trust Him to cover our risk. We are built up by His love, and in turn build up others through His love. When we fail to, we find love goes stale and eventually dies when kept to ourselves.
John, the author of the gospel of John also wrote letters. In his first letter he writes much on love. It is there we focus.
For most love is best understood within a family. Where parents love their children, this is a strong bond. John shows that love is more than words it is only seen when it costs us. In his first letter, John explains love among the family of believers. 1 John 3:16-18
1 John 3:16-18 16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.17 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister* in need but shows no compassion—how can God's love be in that person?
18 Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
Unconditional love for those with whom we have no relational bond is beyond what we are naturally capable of. God the source of love enables us to show His love.. John continues in his letter to encourage us in sharing this love of God. 1 John 4:7-10
1 John 4:7-10 7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
Unconditional love takes a huge risks. Risk is the essence of faith, sticking our necks out when only Jesus can rescue. Sharing the love of God when it is risky connects us with God. John shows that as God lives in us through love, we gain confidence in Him relationally and so can trust Him even for death. John expresses this in 1 John 4:11-12
1 John 4:11-12 11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.
John now shows us that love and fear don’t mix. Love drives out fear, fear drives out love. This fact has wide reaching implications as we see in 1 John 4:17-21.
1 John 4:17-21 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.
18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.19 We love each other* because he loved us first.
20 If someone says, "I love God," but hates a Christian brother or sister,* that person is a liar; for if we don't love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.*
There are people we can’t stand. It is sad if they are also our spiritual brothers and sisters. People justify themselves calling it a personality clash. The Lord’s call on us is to pray for them looking for our common Father to show us His perspective.