Why We Must Love

January 11, 2019 Series: Letters of John - Knowing, Walking & Living the Truth

Scripture: 1 John 4:7–11

Home Group Study

Sermon Date: 11 January 2019

Text: 1 John 4:7-12

Opening Discussion: As we have been learning, love is a choice. We often hear people talk about falling in love and falling out of love, as if it happened without their involvement. When was the first time that you thought you had fallen in love? Share your story.

Observation - What does God’s word say?

The apostle John challenges our definition of love by having us consider its Creator. Jesus Christ who demonstrates the essence of what love is and the way in which He displays love is foreign to the world. It goes much deeper than emotion, sentimentality, and infatuation. We have seen previously in our studies from 1 John, that there are many ways the word for love can be translated. ‘Philia’ can mean care, respect and compassion. ‘Storjay’ describes family love, affection. ‘Eros’ is the greek word we get our English word for erotic. ‘Agape’ is the divine love that comes from God. Agape love is perfect, unconditional, sacrificial, and pure. In our text, John uses the greek word ‘agape’ for love. John states (4:7) that, “love is from God,” and then he goes farther and states (4:8) that, “God is love.” Then in verse twelve John says “[Gods’] love is perfected in us”.

What are your observations?


  • 1 John 4:7-12
  • 1 Peter 1:22-23
  • Deuteronomy 7:7-8

Meaning - What does God’s word mean?

John states (4:7), “Everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” The implication is that the life of God imparted to us in the new birth manifests itself in love for others. If we are children of the One whose very nature is love, then we will be like our Father. But at the same time, John commands (4:11), “Beloved, if God so loves us, we also ought to love one another.” It is not automatic or effortless! There is always room for growth in love. He tells us why we must love one another:

We must love one another because God is love and He showed it by sending His Son as the propitiation for our sins.

John states the commandment and gives the reason for it (4:7-8). Then he points us to the supreme illustration of love in the whole world, the Father’s love in sending His Son to die for our sins (4:9-10). Then he restates the commandment in light of God’s great love (4:11). He will go on to show how love for one another is evidence of God’s abiding in us and our abiding in Him (4:12-16). And, he shows (4:17-21) that love for one another is evidence that we are mature in our love for God.

Read: Ephesians 2:1-10

What are your observations from these verses?

Application - How must I change?

  • Is there a Truth to be believed?

It is important to think carefully about the different ways that the Bible speaks of God’s love. List the many ways the world defines love. How does the Bible define it? (See John 15:13 and 1 John 4:9–10.) What errors result if we ignore these differences? How do we integrate them?

  • Is there an Attitude to be fostered?

As born again people who have experienced God’s love, we should display His love to this wicked world that crucified the Son of God. Amid the pain and suffering of this world, how can we answer the challenge from unbelievers when they ask, “Is God loving?” How does 1 John 4:10 help answer such a question?

  • Is there a Behavior to be changed?

John says in 4:8, that "God is love", and at the same time, he says in 4:12, that "No one has seen God". How then, can we see what love looks like? How is God's love manifested or made visible, among us? What three purposes does John give for Christ’s death on the cross?


We make great professions but have to remember that if we truly belong to the Lord God we have to see some expression, some manifestation of the sacrificial love of the eternal God. Knowing God is more than head knowledge and Bible study. John implies that knowing God is experiencing his love.

  • How have you experienced God’s love?
  • How has God specifically made his love known to you personally?
  • Why is the atoning death of Christ important to your understanding of genuine love?
  • In what ways does your love for others conform to the world’s definition of love?
  • What sin stands in the way of you loving more genuinely with biblical love?

Prayer Points:

  1. Pray for those who have struggled with receiving or doubting God’s love for them.
  2. Pray for NLC to experience the love of God for them in Christ and to respond in love toward others by the power of the Holy Spirit.
  3. Pray for those who have struggled with being sure about their salvation, that they would clearly see their right standing with God, based on the work Jesus has done for them.

More in Letters of John - Knowing, Walking & Living the Truth

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A Bad Example

May 24, 2019

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