Rom 12:1: Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship.
|Tuesday, 10 January 2012 18:42|
Can we truly Love anything without knowing GOD?
What is the definition of Love? The Worlds answer will involve feelings.
Remember the Bible says in 1 John 4:8 (He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.)
Remember everyone who has loved has been born of God and knows GOD.
There are 2 common types of Love in the Bible
1- Phileo - The Greek word "phileo" defines this kind of love, often translated "brotherly love." Phileo is a soulish (connected through our emotions) kind of love - something that can be experienced by both believers and non-believers.
2- Agape - The Greek word agape is often translated "love" in the New Testament. How is "agape love" different from other types of love? The essence of agape love is self-sacrifice. Unlike our English word “love,” agape is not used in the Bible to refer to romantic or sexual love. Nor does it refer to close friendship or brotherly love, for which the Greek word philia is used. Nor does agape mean charity, a term which the King James translators carried over from the Latin. Agape love is unique and is distinguished by its nature and character. (Agape is love which is of and from God, whose very nature is love itself.)
Phileo love is about feelings. Agape love is about how we act toward others.
I think we have taken this word Love out of context . (We say the following in the same context with the love we have for GOD)
1- I love Pizza
2- I love watching Football
3- I love my Car
4- I Love my Wife
5- I Love GOD or Jesus
What about our Marriage Vows "Till Death do us part"
Answer - I guess it means till I stop loving her or him do we part.
Verses on Gods Love (Talk About Them)
John 3:16 , "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
Answer - He gave the ultimate sacrifice.
John 15 : 12-13 (This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.)
Answer - He wants us to share his Love
Romans 5:8 , "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Answer - Remember there was no conditions to GOD's Love for us. (His Love was and is Unconditional)
Romans 8:38-39 (For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.)
Answer - we can deny him but he will not deny us
1 John 4:9-11 "In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."
Answer - We have free will but GOD truly desires this from us
We didn't have to get clean, and we didn't have to make any promises to God before we could experience His love. His love for us has always existed, and because of that, He did all the giving and sacrificing long before we were even aware that we needed His love.
This is an amazing love, because we are the ones who choose to be separated from God through our own sin, yet it's God who mends the separation through His intense personal sacrifice, and all we have to do is accept His gift.
God is Love, and His love is very different from human love. God's love is unconditional, and it's not based on feelings or emotions. He doesn't love us because we're lovable or because we make Him feel good; He loves us because He is love. He created us to have a loving relationship with Him, and He sacrificed His own Son (who also willingly died for us) to restore that relationship.
To understand what true love is and to be able to truly love others, we must know God, and we can do this through a close personal relationship with Him.
If you want to know this love -- get to know God. He is ready to pour out His love on you, and He wants to teach you how to love others as He loves you.
God's love has been made known to us and now He stands at the door and knocks. It's up to every individual to either pursue a personal relationship with God or else reject Him outright. The only barrier between us and God's love is our own freewill and Jesus Christ is the door. "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'"
Ask Them How do you know?
Does God love you? You bet! The Bible says that God knows the number of hairs on your head. It says that God knows your thought afar off (from His heavenly abode) and is intimately acquainted with all of your ways. He knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb. Why would God take so much interest in you if He didn’t love you?
Remember GOD first loved us without requiring anything from us. (Unconditional)
Remember He wants you to be a vessel through whom he can live his life. (He wants to work through you.)
Talk About each one.
1- First its about His Love for Us. (He loved us before we first loved him)
2- Then His Love in Us (We need to be a living sacrifice)
3- Then His Love through Us (So he can work through us to change the lives of those around us.)
Remember nothing can overpower GOD's love for us.
There are 6 specific areas that God will want you to really be able to love in. Bottom line - Write Them Down
Ask Them First to come up with them.
1- Love God
2- Love yourself
3- Love your family
4- Love your friends
5- Love your neighbors
6- Love your enemies
1- LOVE IS THE GREATEST VIRTUES
Remember everything we do needs to be of Love.
1 Corinthians 13 (Entire Chapter)
Without faith in God - we cannot connect to Him. Without faith in God - there can be no miracles. Faith is our lifeline to the Lord. Without faith in God, we would be spiritually dead in the Lord. So why would God say the quality of love is even greater than our lifeline to Him - which is our faith?
So why is Love above Faith?
2- WALK IN LOVE
What does this mean?
Have them Read and Talk about these verses.
Ephesians 5:1 "Therefore be followers of God as dear children. And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us ... "
1 Timothy 1:5 "Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from sincere faith ... "
1 Corinthians 16:14 "Let all that you do be done with love."
1 Peter 3:8 "Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling ... "
Simply put - God wants everything that we do for Him to be done in love and with love. We simply have to learn how to walk with His love operating in our lives. There is no other way to live this life but walking it out in the love of God towards Him, towards ourselves and towards one another.
3- WHAT LOVE IS
Ask them what they think Love is
Here are some of the definitions on love from some of the different Bible dictionaries and commentaries:
1- Unselfish, benevolent concern for another; brotherly concern; the object of brotherly concern or affection
2- The self-denying, self-sacrificing, Christ-like love which is the foundation of all other graces
3- Unselfish, loyal and benevolent concern for the well being of another
4- The high esteem which God has for His human children, and the high regard which they in turn should have for Him and other people
5- To love, to have affection for someone; to be a friend; the love of brothers for each other
Now here are two very good verses on what is found in true love: (Talk about each verse)
1 John 4:18 "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love."
The first verse from John states that there is no fear in love. Those who are trying to love you by trying to rule over you in fear are not truly loving you in the way God has intended. GOD wants us to Fear him (Reverence HIm) Not Fear him (Be afraid of Him)
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails."
This last verse from Paul is a real mouthful. True love will always be kind. True love will never flaunt itself for attention. True love will never be jealous of others and their accomplishments. True love will always be thinking of others and their welfare. True love will never rejoice or wallow in evil and sin.
As a result of all the contamination that is in this fallen world, many people have lost the ability to truly love other people in the pure way that God has intended. (They truly do not know what True Love feels like) They are missing out.
4- LOVING GOD
What is this and how do we do this?
Read and talk about each one.
Matthew 22:36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" Jesus said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all you heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment."
Answer - It is a commandment but it is still our choice
Know the extreme importance that the Lord is placing on just this one commandment.
Deuteronomy 30:6 "And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul, that you may live."
2 Chronicles 15:12 "They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their soul ..."
The other verses are telling you that God is wanting you to press in and seek after Him with all of your heart and with all of your soul - which again means to seek after Him with all of your mind and with all of your emotions.
If you are truly in love with God, then you will spend some type of regular quality time seeking after Him, His ways, His knowledge and His direct involvement in every aspect of your life.
5- LOVING YOURSELF
What does this mean?
In the very self-centered society in which now live in, many people have gone to the one extreme of being totally narcissistic - which means they are only concerned about their own personal well-being and their own agendas to the exclusion of anyone else. The world totally revolves around them and their own personal agendas, and they will do everything and anything they can to constantly try to get their own way on things. Most of these types of people are incapable of bonding or loving anyone else but themselves. We all know people who are like this.
Then you have the other extreme - where some people literally want to annihilate their own personalities. They start misinterpreting certain Scriptures verses on what it means to die to one's self - thinking that God wants them to completely forget about themselves and focus entirely on serving Him and others to the total exclusion of their own selves.
When Jesus tells us that we are to die to ourselves - I believe He is trying to tell us that we are to enter into a full surrender with Him so that He is totally free to guide our lives into the perfect will of God the Father.
Dying to one's self does not mean that you try and totally wipe out or annihilate your personality with you who are in God. God wants to build you up in His grace, power and knowledge. He doesn't want to try and destroy who you really are in Him.
The real answer in learning how to be able to love yourself in the way that God would really like is probably right in the middle of these two extremes. The Holy Spirit will always be there to help keep you in balance with the way you are loving and treating yourself. Just realize that you have to stay on top of this part of the game - always making sure that you do not start to get too full of yourself and start sliding down to the one extreme of becoming too narcissistic and self-centered.
But you also have to make sure you don't start sliding down to the other extreme - where you start to begin to totally forget about yourself and start becoming a doormat for anyone and everyone who will want to try and use you for your goodness and generosity. Once you start to slide down into this type of extreme realm, other people will see it, and they will then try to start taking advantage of you in any way they can.
Read and talk about the verses - The two key words in these verses are the words "as yourself."
In other words, God wants you to love yourself to the same degree and with the same intensity as you would love anyone else. God is not excluding you from this equation - He is including you. This is why He is specifically using the words "as yourself" in each one of these verses.
1. "This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor AS YOURSELF.' On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (Matthew 22:38 )
2. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: "You shall love your neighbor AS YOURSELF." (Galatians 5:14 )
3. "You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor AS YOURSELF: I am the Lord." (Leviticus 19:18 )
I personally believe that you really cannot begin to love other people in the way that God would really like if you can't learn to first love yourself. This is why God is specifically using the words to love others as you would love yourself - with all of these words being in the same sentence.
6- LOVING OTHERS
When God says that we are to love one another, that we are to love others, that we are to love our neighbor - I believe you can bottom-line these statements saying that God wants you to be able to love all of the members of your own family, your circle of personal friends, your neighbors that live around you, and then any total strangers you may ever run across. In other words, God wants you to be able to love everyone across the board of your life.
Remember, this is the second greatest commandment next to loving God Himself. This is how important this commandment is in His eyes. Can you imagine what would happen to this world if everyone would obey and really walk out these two specific commandments? Reference the (Cross Love GOD - Love Others)
Read and Talk about each one.
1. "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another." (John 13:34 )
2. "This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you." (John 15:12 )
3. "Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another." (1 John 4:11 )
4. "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love." (1 John 4:7 )
5. "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." (1 John 3:14 )
The last two verses from 1 John are making some maximum intense type statements. The first verse says that he who cannot love his brother does not truly know God. In other words, God will not know you if you can't learn how to love other people in your walk with Him.
The very last verse then takes it one extreme step further when it says that he who cannot love his brother abides in death - and that he is actually considered a murderer in the eyes of God, and as a murderer, he does not have eternal life abiding in him. This is about as intense of a warning direct from God Himself that you can receive on this topic.
I believe the main reason God is really laying down the gauntlet on the way that He has worded these last two verses is because if we can't learn how to love God and love other people in this life - then we will never be able to live in harmony and unity with others. And if we can't live in harmony and unity with other people down here on this earth, then we will not be able with him.
7- LOVING YOUR ENEMIES
Without any question, one of the hardest commands that the Lord has given us is that we have to learn how to love our enemies. And when He says our enemies - He is including the worst of our enemies.
How can you truly love someone who has raped you, who has severely abused you in your marriage, who has murdered someone in your family in cold-blood, or who has abducted and killed one of your children like what we see so much of in the local news with the pedophiles still being allowed to run rampant across this country?
It is one thing to be able to forgive this type of criminal, and then let him go into the hands of God for His vengeance, payback and justice. But it is quite another thing to be able take a leap into this realm and actually try and love this person in the way that God would really like for us to love him.
So how can this realistically be done. Ask them how we will accomplish this?
1- One - we simply have to rely on the love of the Holy Spirit to be transmitted and imparted into us as one of His 9 fruits.
For most of us, our own natural love is not going to take us very far.
What are the nine fruits?
2- Second - the only way you can even begin to try and do this with the worst of your enemies is that you have to attempt to see things from God's point of view and perspective. In other words, you are going to have to learn how to see your enemy through God's eyes and how God looks at him. And this is where it really gets deep and intense.
The most perfect example of someone truly loving His enemies in the way God the Father would really like is Jesus Christ Himself. After Jesus had been beat to a pulp before His actual crucifixion, and then nailed to a cross to die a slow and torturous death - Jesus makes one of the most mind-blowing statements ever made on being able to love and forgive your enemies.
Ask them what this was?
Before He dies, Jesus speaks out and tells His Father to forgive all of those who had just got done crucifying Him to that cross because they really didn't know what they were doing!
Here is this most profound verse: Have Some Read.
Then Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do." (Luke 23:34 )
This statement and this action by Jesus is speaking volumes of revelation on this one issue. You can tell by the words and tone of Jesus' statement, that He was really feeling the love of God for these people - even as they watched and jeered as He was dying. In other words, Jesus was still loving all of these people even after they had just got done committing the worse crime that the world has even seen or will ever see again - crucifying the living Christ!
If you carefully study the actual wording in the above verse - you might be able to pick up some deeper revelation as to how Jesus could have made this kind of a statement after He had already been nailed to the cross and was experiencing the most extreme pain imaginable. The clue might be in the words "... for they do not know what they do."
They obviously knew what they were doing by committing this horrible act against Jesus - but the angle Jesus might be seeing all of this from is that they really did not know what they were doing in the big-picture, eternal scheme of things. If they really knew that there was a God and a devil, that there really is a heaven and a hell, and that being cast into hell will be for all of eternity - some of them might have thought twice before engaging in such a horrible and evil act.
Read and Talk about
1. "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? ... Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect." (Matthew 5:44-48 )
2. But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Highest. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful." (Luke 6:27-36 )
Jesus ends the first verse above telling us that we should strive to be perfect like our Father in heaven who is perfect. If God can love these evil and unthankful sinners, then He wants us to try and be able to do the same thing in our walk with Him.
8- BE DOERS OF THE WORD
Now that you know from the above Scripture verses that God is wanting you to love Him, love yourself and love everyone else across the board of your life - including any enemies you may have - now God wants you to be able to show that love in your actions to others.
There are a ton of verses in the Bible about how God wants you to act towards others. I'll leave you with a few good verses showing you the importance that we all learn how to be actual doers of the Word and not just hearers in reference to being able to show love to others in our actions and in our deeds.
1. "But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves." (James 1:22 )
2. "But whoever has this world's goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth." (1 John 3:17 )
3. "Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the Law." (Romans 13:10 )
4. "A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity." (Proverbs 17:17 )
5. "By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." (1 John 3:16 )
6. "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends." (John 15:13 )
All of these verses are perfectly showing us what true love can really do in our relations with others. Just as Jesus was willing to lay down His life for all of us in order that we be able to be brought back to Him and His Father - God and Jesus are wanting us to love others with that same kind of intensity and loyalty - even to the point of being willing to sacrifice our life to save someone else's life if that kind of need should ever arise.
Have the group come up with ideas of What God's Love is after finishing this study
1- God's Love is un-changing
2- God's Love is unconditional
3- God's Love is abundant
4- God's Love is everlasting
5- God's Love is the Answer
7- God's Love never fails