1 John 4:7-12;19-26

Open your mind and heart as you read the passage of Scripture aloud and then again quietly to yourself. Listen for God’s word to you.

Spend some time in worship.




The ancient Greek words at the beginning of these verses in the first letter of John are directly translated as ‘those who are loved, let us love’. It is because we are loved by God that we are to love one another. Those who follow God live in the light of His love for He is Love. The one who decides to follow Christ experiences God’s love in a new way at the moment of that decision for such a commitment brings new life and love to them. Whilst their love for others will not be perfected this side of eternity, it will grow deeper as a result of their relationship with God. This love is described as agape love which is the sacrificial love that believers show to others. If such agape is not evident in a believer’s life then it is questionable as to whether they truly know God or not. Even then, those who do not know God are still able to love to a certain extent for every person is made in His image and He is love.
Agape is not only defined by the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross; it is also defined by the sacrifice of the Father as He gave His Son to bear the sins of the world for all humanity. John emphasises the uniqueness of Jesus’ Son-ship. Those who follow Christ are the adopted children of God; Jesus is the true Son in that He has the same nature and being of the Father. Such love requires that we pass it on to others (see John 13:14 – Jesus did not ask the disciples to wash His own feet but to do the same for Him to others. Agape love leads to practical action. It needs to flow through us from God to those around us, even though we have never seen the Father or the Holy Spirit. The witness of Jesus to love is all the believer needs – and so they should follow His example, even as they follow Him. When John writes that God’s love has been perfected in us he uses the Greek word teleioo which means matured or completed rather than without fault. Such mature love will be evident in the way the believer loves others.

Every true believer loves Jesus by definition, without exception. From before creation Jesus loved us, when we were still sinners, before we acknowledged Him as Lord. Our love for God is always in response to His love for us. As we grow in understanding of this fact, our love for Him will increase in depth and strength. It is impossible to try to love Christ more – our love can only deepen when we look at how much He loves us. It is also impossible to declare that we love God when we do not love those around us. We cannot practice agape love when we do not practice philia (brotherly) love. Jesus commanded His followers to love each other (John 13:35). Love is an act of our will. We can choose to love – or not. Loving others is the greatest gift of love we can offer to God.



What is the greatest human/animal love story you have ever seen/heard//read? (ie person/person love, person/animal love or animal/person love). Why is this story so special to you?


  • Can you accept the statement that God loves you? How does it feel to be loved by God? If you struggle to say you can accept it, what do you think prevents you from knowing and/or accepting God’s unconditional love? Does the belief that God loves you no matter what, encourage you to reach out to others?
  • Do you ever feel disillusioned when you are following God’s call on your life? What makes you want to stop? What gives you the energy to continue?
  • ‘I love Him; I love Jesus.’ Can you say that? Are you embarrassed to say it? In this group? In other places? What is the reason for your answer? How does your response make you feel?
  • What is the difference between agape love and philia ? Both are translated as ‘love’. How do you practice both in your life?
  • Would you say love is your number 1 priority? Why/why not? What difference would it make to who you are, how you live your life, your relationships etc if it was (or was not depending on how you answered the question)?
  • It has been said that Methodists ‘see flowers, not weeds’. How do you think you would describe the people in your life? Are they all flowers? Is there a weed (or two) amongst them? How does such a concept describe your relationship with them and your feelings for them?
  • Can we love someone without liking them? Why/why not?
  • Love shows itself in sacrificial action. Look up 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. How does it make you feel if you replace the word ‘love’ with your own or someone else’s name? Now use Gracepoint instead of ‘love’. How does that reflect what Gracepoint is to you? What changes are needed (if any) for Gracepoint to reflect these verses to the world? Now read the verses again as they are written. How do you feel now?
  • Send any suggestions you may have come up with about Gracepoint and how it can express the love you have been discussing to for their consideration.
  • How can the group help you with any struggles you have expressed?

Pray for one another in regard to the issues that have been raised during your discussion time, and in regard to other needs of the group.

How can you make love your number 1 priority this week – as individuals, as a group? How does God’s love shine through you as you did so? Report back to one another next time you meet.


1 John Chapter 4

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