Motivated By Prior Love
Passage: 1 John 4:7–4:12
Community Group Questions: 1 John 4:7-12 "Motivated By Prior Love"
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Read the passage aloud as a group and then work through the following questions:
- Motivation is so important. Every accomplishment in life takes motivation. In your life, what are some of the key “motivators” that drive you each day, in big things and small? According to our passage in 1 John, what should motivate Christians to love one another?
- Verse 7 says that love is “from God.” This means that God is the ultimate source and definition of love. Love is objective and stable because it’s rooted in God’s very nature. However, modern western cultures like ours tend to define love as something people invent from within. Love is subjective. Love is something we feel, something we “fall into,” and something we “fall out of.” How does our culture’s understanding of love’s source compare with the Bible’s understanding? In your opinion, which is better: defining love for ourselves? Or letting God define love for us, based on his character?
- Verses 9-10 tell us that God’s love has been displayed concretely in our world, through the sending of his Son, Jesus, to be the “propitiation” for our sins. A propitiation is a sacrifice which turns God’s holy wrath into loving favor. God loves us in many ways: through creation, and provision, and ongoing care. But, why is God’s love seen most vividly in the cross? In what ways is God’s love changing your life even today?
- Verse 11 says, “if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” It’s an argument from the greater to the lesser: if God has shown us such great love in the cross, how could we not show lesser love to one another? In your life, have you ever been forgiven a great debt? How did that forgiveness change the way you treated others? Share the story with the group. In a similar way, how should God’s great love for us in Christ change our attitudes and actions toward those around us?
- As you think about your relationship with others in the church, where does your love for others need to grow? Where do you struggle most, and how does this passage help?
- Read verse 12. In what way does the “invisible” love of God become “visible” when we love each other? What specific things can you do for others in the church this week to make God’s love visible?
- Prayer suggestion: Spend time as a group thanking God for his love, and especially for his love shown to us in Christ. Pray for power to love one another in tangible ways, even this week.