Read Ephesians 3:14-19
“Love is something which can be contemplated… If love does not make you think, it is not love; it is a purely physical instinct. Love enjoys ruminating, dwelling upon, looking at, dissecting, analyzing and considering… Love is to be studied, and the more you study it the more you enjoy it.
We must never fall into the error of imagining that because we are Christians we therefore know all about the love of God. Most of us are but as children paddling at the edge of an ocean; there are abysmal depths in this love of God of which we know nothing. The Apostle is praying that these Ephesians, and we with them, may go out into the depths and the deeps, and discover things which we have never imagined.” Martin Llloyd-Jones
Why should we study love? Why do we need the Bible to understand love?
Scripture directs all believers to pursue love (1 Corinthians 14:1), keeps ourselves in the love of God (Jude 21), abide in Christ’s love (John 15:9), walk in love as Christ loved (Ephesians 5:2), and consider how to stir up one another to love and good deeds. (Heb 10:24)
Read 1 Corinthians 13- What is the main point?
In paraphrase form Paul is saying:
Without love even heavenly tongues sound annoying
Without love, knowing it all theologically and philosophically helps no one
Without love, powerful, risk-taking faith is worthless
Without love, giving everything to the poor is unprofitable
Without love, even the ultimate sacrifice of one’s life is pointless
“In these familiar words we possess one of the most central principles of the Christian faith. It is this. No religious act is of any value in God’s sight if it does not accompany and flow from Christian love.” – Maurice Roberts
It is distressing to see self satisfied Christians who refuse to grow in love. Repentance is at the heart of restoring our first love.
“What is meant is not merely an intellectual change of mind or mere grief, still less doing penance, but a radical transformation of the entire person, a fundamental turnaround involving mind and action and including overtones of grief, which results in “fruit in keeping with repentance.” Of course all this assumes that mans actions are fundamentally off course and need radical change.”- DA Carson’s definition of repentance
The chief duty of life is to love God supremely above self, others, or all material things.
Just as marriage is a commitment to love one another in good times and in bad, so love for God and neighbor is a commitment to love God and neighbor despite changing feelings or difficult circumstances.
Why do you think family relationships at home provide the best testing ground for the practice of Christlike love? 1 Peter 4:8
“A true love for people,” says John Stott, “leads to labour for them; otherwise it degenerates into mere sentimentality.”
Why is it necessary to pray about growth in Christlike love?
As believers, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, we have an immense capacity to love all people, even our enemies and those who are unlovely or disagreeable. (Luke 6:32) We all have to admit, however, that growth in love is a struggle. (1 Thes 4:9) He who is the source of love is also the best teacher of love, and he has given to his Spirit the unique work of inspiring and prompting love within us. The more we see how inherently and perversely selfish we are, the more we recognize our need to as God to help us love.
Although Christ commands us to love as he loved (John 13:34-35), he doesn’t leave us powerless to accomplish the task. He graciously gives his life-empowering Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit- who is God and is love- produces within every believer a supernatural capacity to love as Christ loves.
What practical steps can you take to guard your love relationship with Christ?
Keep yourselves in the love of God. Jude 21