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Discuss: Longing for Love

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us,” 1 John 3:16 says. In this week’s Saturday Session, Sam Allberry delves into this beautiful and challenging verse to guide us towards a deeper understanding of the implication of that definition for how we live our lives.

Love is essential. We do know we can’t live without it. Whatever people’s worldview, or politics, or belief system, or cultural background, everyone pretty much agrees that life is about love.

We long for love; we long to have it; we long to give it. Love is confusing; love is essential, but love is difficult.

Paul is not saying we’re entirely devoid of love. We see beautiful and genuine acts of love around us frequently. We’re just not as good at this love thing as we tend to think we are, which is why we need the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“God is love.” Now that can be easily misunderstood. Sometimes people hear “God is love,” and they assume, “well anything I experienced and interpret as love, God must approve of. If I’m feeling any kind of love, by how I define love, then God must be behind it.”

“God is love” means God knows more about love than I do. God is the one I need to listen to if I’m to understand love. God is the one I need to know if I’m ever gonna live any kind of life of love.

Obedience to God’s Word is never going to mean you end up loving less. Disobedience to God’s Word will never mean you end up loving more.

If God is love, than all He tells us to do is going to be for the sake of maximizing love in our lives.

When you encounter Jesus Christ you are no longer defined by who you love you are now defined by who has loved you

Make it Personal

  • Are there ways of engaging with people that appear more loving to you though they seem to be in contradiction to God’s Word? What are some of the ways in which you might struggle in this regard?

  • Why does who or what we love become our identities? And how is it so radically different as Christians for our identities to be shaped by who loves us?

  • What is the significance of “God is love” to you? And how might you share that with someone this week who doesn’t know that God is love?

3 Likes

Hmm.

I appreciate the message, but I feel it would have gone differently if he focussed on the whole verse and not just the first part:

1John 3:16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

There’s another verse which comes to mind:

Matt. 5:20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Still:

Mark 1:15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand;5 repent and believe in the gospel.”

Basically, it is not enough for us to know God loves us, but we also have to take action of that by turning away from sin (repent) and in turn loving like Jesus. People should look at us and think to themselves, “That’s a person who is [Insert 1Cor 13]”

That is what I believe the Gospel is about. Not simply knowing God loves me, but knowing it enough to share that love with others by embodying the things in 1 Cor. 13.

Love like Mother Teresa. We will fail, but we must try.