Text: Romans 5:7-8
Last week John examined the most important question we will ever answer: “Who do you believe Jesus is?” We went over the importance of believing in both the humanity and divinity of Jesus, and we also examined the ways we access the power of Jesus.
This week John talked about how we can really know that Jesus loves us.
Target time: 5-10 minutes
What does love mean to you? Allow each person to share.
Target time: 45-50 minutes
Small Group Leaders, please always make an effort to have each person engage in the discussion. Remember, all Small group discussions are meant to “…[build] others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29b).
Also, as with every week, Small Group Leaders should never feel the pressure of having to go in-depth on every question, or completing the entire outline. The purpose of these questions is to enhance your group time, and to encourage people to seek a deeper personal relationship with God. Do not let the pressure of thorough completion of the questions distract from what God might be doing in your group, at a deeper level.
- What are some ways you show love to those closest to you?
- Read Mark 12:31 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. By looking at scripture, how would you redefine the word, “love?”
- Do you truly love strangers the same way you love those who are dear to you? Read Matthew 5:43-47. What does the Bible say about this?
- Read John 15:13 and Romans 5:8. Jesus laid down his life for us, “while we were still sinners” (Romans 5:8). Some people are hard to love. Sometimes, if we’re honest with ourselves, we are hard to love. How do these verses demonstrate that loving someone else shouldn’t be about THEIR goodness or deserving qualities, but rather, about our own hearts?
- Read Zephaniah 3:17. For anyone who is a parent, or has affectionately cared for a child, you can read Zephaniah 3:17, and envision a doting parent checking in on their slumbering infant. One moment He is simply “in your midst,” the next minute, He is “[rejoicing] over you with gladness,” and the next, “he is [quieting] you by his love.” When you envision God as a doting parent over you, how does it alleviate any anxiety you might have in regards to pleasing Him, ideas of perfectionism, or striving?
- When Jesus was crucified, we tend to think the disciples were brave and knew exactly what was going to happen next, but they didn’t. In fact, they were scared for their own lives. While a couple headed out of town on the road to Emmaus to escape possible persecution, others like Peter, denied even knowing Jesus. That doesn’t sound like love, does it? And, even with the knowledge that Peter had denied him on three separate occasions, when Jesus saw Peter again, he merely asked, “Simon son of John, do you love me? (John 21:16a). In fact, because Peter had denied knowing Jesus three times, Jesus asks him three times, as if to negate Peter’s threefold denial.
- In the sermon John Dickerson asked, “How can you really know if someone loves you?” With all that you’ve studied today, how can you really know that Jesus loves you?
Is there anything you are carrying that you think is too big for Jesus to forgive? Are there things about you that you think God could never love?
This week, make a conscious effort to see God as He sees you. He is your Heavenly Father and he longs to have a relationship with you. Read Zephaniah 3:17 again and let it encourage you. Also, consider the following, “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are…” (1 John 3:1a).
Pray that each participant deeply knows the love of God and fully receives it. Also, pray that as the group departs they will conduct themselves, throughout the week, as those in whom God “[rejoices] over with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17b).