This is the message…part 2
I. The link between LOVE and FELLOWSHIP. (3:11-4:6)
A. Love as a DIAGNOSTIC TOOL. (3:11-15, 19-24)
B. CHRIST as the PROTOTYPE. (3:16-18)
C. JESUS as the CONNECTION to love. (4:1-6)
Remember that John is writing to help us have “koinonia” (fellowship/participation) with each other and with the Father, Son and Spirit. That’s why it’s important to note the two times he says, “This is the message…”. He did it it back in chapter 1 to tell us that a key to fellowship was walking in the light. In 3:11 he reminds us of the importance of love.
1. Kid’s question: How can you know if you love someone? If someone loves you?
2. How do you define love? What does your love for others around you say about the state of your own heart?
II. LOVE as the defining CHARACTERISTIC. (4:7-21)
A. Love STARTS with GOD. (4:7-11)
B. Love is EVIDENCE of the DIVINE life in us. (4:12)
C. Love ENFOLDS us into the TRINITY. (4:13-21)
1 John has love as a theme, using the word 43 times in 103 verses. IN our text today he uses it 34 times in 34 verses. It appears he wants to get a point across. Love is the defining characteristic of those who have fellowship with the Trinity. In his gospel John wrote what Jesus said. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” (Jn 13:35)
3. Would you define yourself as a loving worker for God or a working lover of God? Why?
4. Who is the “one another” in 1 Jn 4:12? What does it look like when God lives in us and His love is made complete in us?
5. Has your understanding of the Trinity and what it means to be in “fellowship” been challenged or expanded through this series? If so, how?
III. Sitting at the TABLE with the TRINITY. (Mt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14)
A. A CULTURE of SELF-GIVING love. (Eph. 3:17-19)
B. PARTICIPATION in the divine NATURE. (2 Peter 1:3-4)
C. The FRUIT of love is MINISTRY. (4:19-21; Jn 21:15-17)
It all comes back to this connection with the Father, Son, and Spirit. What does it mean to have fellowship with the Triune God? What is John hoping to invite us deeper into bay writing this text? It goes deeper than theological knowledge. He wants us to experience God in relationship, to have the life of God actually flowing through us.
6. In Eph. 3:19 what do you think it means that we will be “filled to the measure of all the fullness of God”? What might that look like?
7. What comes first, love of God, love for God, or ministry for God? Is that true of your own life?
8. What has God been saying to you through these weeks in 1st John and how will you respond?