Brotherly love is not theoretical; it is seen in our everyday heart attitudes and actions toward one another.
Scripture: 1 John 4:7-12
- John’s grasp of the love of God changed him, enabling him to bring us to the summit of biblical revelation in this text on God’s love.
- Knowing about God in the Scriptures is not the same as truly knowing the power of God that grips and transforms us.
- When the message of the Kingdom of God grips our lives it changes everything.
- The Holy Spirit reveals God to us personally so our knowledge is more than a mere analytical knowledge.
- John calls us to love one another so that God may abide in us and so that His love may be perfected in us.
- We must love one another for three reasons: God is love; God has loved us; God’s love is made complete when we love one another.
- The New Testament teaches that a) God is spirit; b) God is light; c) God is a consuming fire; and d) God is love.
- Our God is not an abstract being; He is a personal being who not only expresses love but He is love in His own being and love defines all His activity.
- The ultimate basis for all reality is the being of God Himself in Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- There is a profound and eternal mutual self-giving in the being of God among the persons of the Trinity.
- God’s attributes exist eternally in the relationship of the Trinity (cf. Jn. 14:7-11).
- God’s love for us is an overflow of the unfathomable love within His own person.
- When we’re exhorted to brotherly love, our own love is not primary; our love is a reflection of and a response to the love of God.
- The atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross is the ultimate act of love and the means that we might live.
- We are to express the self-sacrificing love of Christ toward our brothers; it is not up to us to decide whether they are worthy of our love.
- The love of God is brought to completion and perfected in us when we love one another.
- The untouchable holy God is manifested to us in the Son (Jn. 1:18) and also in our fellowship with one another (1 Jn. 4:12). When we are glorified and transformed we will see God as He is.
- Paul defines the characteristics of Christian love in 1 Cor. 13. These attributes of love are to be part of the day-to-day reality of our lives.
- Brotherly love is not theoretical; it is seen in our everyday heart attitudes and actions toward one another.
- If we love one another in this way God’s love abides in us.
- Do we just know facts about God and the Bible, or do we know the power of God personally in our lives?
- What are the theological reasons behind the imperative to love one another?
- Discuss how God’s love exposes and consumes the darkness.
- Why is God’s triune nature essential to God’s love?
- Identify the practical characteristics of love as it should be expressed in the Christian community.
- Review 1 Corinthians 13. How patient, kind, caring, faithful, hopeful, courageous, long-suffering, prayerful are you? How proud, rude, selfish, short-tempered, ungracious, gossipy, covetous, deceitful, self-righteous are you?