05/06/12 1 John 3:18-24
Leader: Pastor Biebert
Meeting Time: 8:00 AM & 10:15 AM
WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?
1 John 3:18-24
“Is it my job to take care of my brother?” Does that sound familiar? It did to Cain. It did to his parents. It’s part of our mantra too. This isn’t simply insensitivity. It’s the pavement that leads to all life’s interpersonal pain and problems. What we think is going to work in avoiding interpersonal pain and problems, namely, walling ourselves off from other people, is only evidence that we are the problem.
What characteristic of Christian love does verse 18 emphasize?
The love John is describing isn’t a feeling. It’s “agape.” For a very short time in earth’s history, “agape” was what came naturally. Not anymore. “Agape” is deciding to and then actually doing kind things that inconvenience us.
Give four ways agape love is on an entirely different level than normal human love.
In C. S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters, Screwtape, a demon trainer, gives tactical advice to his junior tempters. “The important thing is to prevent Christians from doing anything. As long as they don’t convert it into action, let them think about Christian love as much as they want. As long as they keep it inside, it can’t hurt us.”
What’s the message of our sacrifices of time and money for surprising people (3:18)?
A “condemning heart” robs us of peace. That’s our conscience sounding off. Sometimes it’s right. The devil can use that to make us believe we’re hopeless. Sometimes it’s wrong. We can find a million ways to justify our behavior. It will fool us every time. We cannot reprogram ourselves. Check Jeremiah 17:9.
Why would our conscience bother us when we’re doing compassionate things (3:19-21)?
Why add the last sentence of 3:20? How does it fit in the context?
God’s standards for access to Him apply equally to our souls getting to heaven as well as our prayers. God demands total compliance to every aspect of His rules for living. When you’re confident you’ve achieved that, you can be sure God responds to your prayers.
Doesn’t 3:22 send a “give-to-get” message about getting along with God? Isn’t this verse also giving us a blank check (5:14)?
Once again, “name” (3:23) is a technical Bible word. It’s referring to the thing for which Jesus is most famous. Depending on what Jesus did for us and love that helps people are two sides of the same coin. It’s easy to emphasize correct doctrine and to neglect love. On the other hand, some say doctrine is not important and that love is our main responsibility. Both doctrine and Christian living are essential.
7. What’s the connection between God’s two prime directives (3:23)?
3:24 is the first time John mentions the Holy Spirit in this letter. The Spirit gives us the energy we need to make all the changes that happen in Christians. He does this by injecting Jesus’ personality into His people (John 15:4,5,7; Galatians 2:20; Colossians 1:27).
8. How can Jesus survive in people who have such a prominent dark side (3:24)?
Jesus is alive. The Holy Spirit injects Him into our personality. He communicates with us in the Bible. He motivates us to act out unconditionally, to unsavory people, no matter who they are, by putting our needs in the background. When our motives are less than noble, He forgives us.
1. How does this section connect to John 15:1-8? What’s the connection to Acts 16:11-15?
In what ways do we as a group demonstrate Jesus’ kind of love?
What are some ways we can let our “inner Jesus” out – individually, and as a group?