A Christian’s Commitment to Love
Love throughout human history- whether marital, familial, or fraternal love- has been consistently defined by the commitment that people make to one another. The only way that two people know that they have a commitment to each other is that they consistently see acts of self-sacrifice serving as signs of that commitment.
We live in a culture today that is completely conflicted on the true meaning of love. Many people define romantic love on the basis of some intangible feeling of “being in love.” Friendships have become more transaction oriented than commitment oriented. We tend to ask more about what our friends can offer us than what we can offer our friends.
The love of God should serve as a correction to the false notions of love that consistently flood our minds. Christian love is characterized by the love that God has for his children. This should form the basis of every type of love that we offer one another.
“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.”1 John 3:1
John moves from the truth of God’s love for us into the type of love that naturally from his children to one another.
“10 By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.
11 For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 12 We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. 13 Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. 14 We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death. 15 Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.
16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? 18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.”1 John 3:10-18
- What is unique about a Christian’s love?
- Why is “being in love” not always an accurate indicator of true love in a marriage?
- Do unbelievers sometimes exhibit Christian love better than Christians?
- What is 1 John 3:13 talking about when it says the world hates you?
- How can love be a sign that somebody belongs to God’s family or not (1 John 3:14-15)?
- Is it easier to love somebody or to hate them?
- Can neglect be a form of hatred?
- How does 1 John 3:16-17 personally convict you?
Ask these questions of your group as you begin to work to identify where they are at in the discipleship pathways (Exploring Christ, Growing in Christ, Christ-centered) that we have talked about as group leaders. Keep in mind that we are not merely interested in box checking religious acts. We are seeking to shepherd group members to evaluate how their measurable actions reflect their personal journeys of faith.
These questions will be on the discussion guide each week, so if you don’t get to all of them, you will have a chance over the next few weeks. If you need more information as a discussion leader, please contact Jonathan Pugh.
- Have you come to a place in your life where you can say that you have trusted God for salvation?
- Have you publicly stated that faith through believers’ baptism?
- How are you serving God with your time?
- In what ways are you making prayer a part of your daily life?
- How is your personal Bible study going this week?
- Have you been able to talk about faith with somebody outside of church this week?
- How are you currently being led to give of your resources to God’s work?
Try breaking into groups of three or four for a brief prayer time to close. You may simply want to break into men and women. Give each group member the opportunity to pray for the person on his/her right to be encouraged in his/her Christian walk this week.