We finished the last lesson looking at Jesus’ love life. He showed amazing love as He continued ministering to people’s needs and giving so much of Himself to all who called on Him, Matthew 14. He had just lost His best friend, and cousin, John the Baptist who was the only person who at that stage knew He was the Saviour of the world, the Messiah. Consider for a moment what Jesus must have felt like at this time. John died in such a disgusting way, being beheaded because of a weak leader, Herod, and a seductive young girl. Jesus did not focus on the injustice but recognised who had caused the death, Satan, and looked at the bigger picture of how to really hit him where it hurt, healing the sick and feeding the hungry. He did not get bogged down in grief although I am sure He was tempted to. He knew that John was rejoicing and worshiping in His Father’s presence and He was so pleased for him. He knew His most powerful weapon against the enemy was and is LOVE.
This walk of Jesus is such a challenge to us living a life of selfless service, suffering for the name of Jesus and giving up the comforts we love. The motivation for this wonderfully satisfying and rewarding way of life is love for God and love from God. It is only with the power of His Holy Spirit running like streams of living water through us that we can live like Jesus and be a power house for Him in this needy world.
“My Father loves me”
Before we can focus on loving God and others we have to receive His amazing love for us and really believe that whatever happens in our life God really does love us, 1 John 4:19. We cannot love others in the way God wants us to love them if we do not first have a real revelation of His overwhelming love for us just as we are.
John 17:23 AMP says that my heavenly Father loves me as much as He loves Jesus! Meditate on this truth and also what Paul called “the breadth, and length, and depth, and height” of God’s love, and that God desires to love me exceeding abundantly above all I could ever ask or think, (Ephesians 3:13-21).
Galatians 5:6 says ‘faith expresses itself through love’. So I realize that my faith is activated, energized, built up and strengthened by knowing the love my Father has for me. There is a new confidence that whatever I ask the Father in His Name, it is mine. Why? Because He loves me. This opens a new door in my heart to believe and receive from God.
If we allow this love from God to grow in our hearts, it will solve so many of the problems we face, because you and I will be totally secure and confident in the Father’s care and love. God’s love will be so alive in us that it will remove worry and cause us to lay down our lives for others. Our focus will no longer be on ourselves, but it will be on God’s love for us, our love for Him and our love for others. We can become so consumed by God’s love that we won’t even notice when an offensive word is spoken against us. God’s love for us will become so real that every response in our circumstances will come out of a pure, love-filled heart. The more we are aware of God’s love for us, the greater love we will have for others.
It should be no surprise to us when we say, “My Father loves me!” After all, this statement is one of the major reasons the Holy Spirit was sent to live in us. He came to communicate our Father’s love. Romans 5:5 says, “…the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” The Father is pouring His love into our hearts, and He uses the Holy Spirit to do it. Galatians 4:6 “Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out ‘Abba Father’” Abba Father is the most intimate name a child can give his father. Some translations render the word as “Papa.” But the literal Greek translation for Abba, Father, is “My Father, my dear Father!” Now can you see why we have been saying, “My Father loves me!” So the Holy Spirit has been sent to reassure our hearts. The Holy Spirit is crying out, Abba, Father! And He’s crying it out in your heart right now!
Try and comprehend the limitless, unsurpassed, overwhelming love of your Father, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal Him. He desires to do something magnificent for you today and He wants to love you exceeding abundantly above all you could ever ask or think.
My heavenly Father loves me. He cares about every detail of my life. 1 John 3:1 says ‘How great the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!’ I am a child of God and receive all that my inheritance allows. Thank You, Father, for loving me as much as You do! As you begin to realize anew the love God has for you, it is a good idea to identify every act of God’s love in your life — large or small and write it in a book. And as you recognise these kindnesses take time to speak out “My Father loves me!” Then just praise Him for such amazing love.
Take time now to be still and to hear His voice. Listen very closely. From deep within, the Holy Spirit is crying out—declaring, reassuring. He is saying, Your Father, your dear Father loves you! God loves us so much; He can’t help Himself. He made us, designing our very intricate being, knitting each of us together in our mother’s womb, (Psalm 139:13), we are fearfully and wonderfully made and He knows everything about us and what we are doing where we are going every minute as He goes with us. ‘My Father loves me’.
If we are to give out love to others it is so important that our love tank is full, we need to take in His love so we have plenty to give out. Burnout comes when we work so hard for the Kingdom of God without spending time with our Father who loves us and so we become very dry but keep trying to give out. This dry life cannot be nearly as fruitful as when we spend time in close fellowship with our Father and have wonderful love seeds to plant in people’s lives and the right words and conditions to grow these seeds.
Discipline – Real Love includes discipline even with God’s love. God disciplines us for our good so that we may share in His holiness. Hebrews 12:5-7 says “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when He rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes everyone He accepts as a son.” and Hebrews 12:10-11 ‘it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it’. This often serves to draw us back to God for a deeper more intimate relationship with Him.
1 John 2:7-8 A new command
John is saying it is an old command that they know from the beginning to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength’ Deuteronomy 6:5. They heard it again from Jesus when He walked the earth in Matthew 22:37 ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ The new command is the same but as we now have Jesus as the example we see love in action before our own eyes. We are also filled with His Spirit to walk as He did, ‘Love each other as I have loved you’ John 15:12. It is the same message of God’s grace and forgiveness, the same message of a need for a Saviour. The new message is in the encouragement to walk in the Light after all we have seen and learned from Him.
1 John 2:9-11 Relationships with other believers
John is challenging us to be totally honest, how we feel about and see other believers. If we say we love them but have hate in our heart towards them we are still in the darkness. For anyone walking around in darkness it is impossible to walk close to our Father as this person is also one of His children. If we continue in darkness we cannot see things clearly or walk by the power of the Holy Spirit, we don’t know where to go and we are blinded. It gives an opening for the devil to cause all sorts of difficulties in our Church, home life and work. If we are stumbling around and finding our Christian walk difficult it is good to check our love walk and ask God to show us if we have taken offence or are not loving another person as He would want us to.
If we have a wrong relationship it causes us to lose the Word and as soon as we have a problem we find it hard not to fall away from God as shown in Mark 4:17. If we are offended it is our problem as we are the ones who miss out on seeing clearly and are blind. We need to get down on our knees and repent and pray for the other person. Listen to the Holy Spirit and see if God wants you to do something. Even if this is embarrassing it is so much better than being out of fellowship with our Father who loves us. We are to be rooted and grounded in love so rejecting any feelings of offence. Give yourself totally to walking in love with that person and commit to pray for them. This is how the Church of God is going to reach the world when they can see that we love one another.
05 A new command – 1 John 2:7-11 Challenge Questions
Read the beginning of these notes on 1 John 2:7-11
1. How do you feel about what Jesus went through on the day John the Baptist was murdered? How do you think this is a relevant picture for our response to a crisis?
2. How does it make you feel when you speak out ‘My Father loves me.’? Think of a time when you did not obey God and remember He loved you even then.
3. This is such an important point in these notes. Read it until you really believe it and write out the verses from the Bible as that is Truth
Read the notes on 1 John 2:7-8
4. What do you think ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ means in our everyday busy lives?
Read the notes on 1 John 2:9-11
5. What is your relationship like with Christians? Do you feel you can be honest with them?
6. Do you have one Christian that you can pray quite openly with?
7. Many find the commands of Jesus hard to follow and don’t think the Word has to be taken literally. What would you say to them to encourage them to obey this Word
Read 1 John 2:12-14
8. According to 1 John 2:12 what is the title John gives to all the people mentioned and what is their common experience?
9. From these verses describe the three different generations.
10. What is the testimony about the ‘Fathers’? 1 John 2:13-14.
11. What is the victory for the ‘young men’? 1 John 2:13-14
12. What lives in them according to 1 John 2:14?
13. How is your Christian growth related to your years as a believer?
Read Titus 2:1-8
14. What do you think Paul meant in his comment to Titus about ‘sound doctrine’? How can any Christian know he is being taught ‘sound doctrine’?
15. According to these verses give a description of a ‘father’s’ lifestyle.
16. How should older women behave according to Titus?
17. What is their job according to these verses?
18. Write out the description of the young woman’s lifestyle. What do you feel about this in today’s society?
19. How do you think Paul’s advice to Titus on encouraging young men will help the young men described in 1 John 2:13-14
20. Are you fulfilling any of the roles mentioned in these verses? How?
21. In your opinion what was the point in John writing these few verses?