Studies 9 and 10: Walk in Love
In classical Greek, there were four words for different kinds of love:
Agape – an unconditional undeserved love, an act of the will. The feelings come after we put God’s love into action, Ephesians 5:25.
Eros – expressed sexually between husband and wife.
Philia – reciprocal love involving emotions. It is a love based on giving and receiving on both sides; a brotherhood and friendship.
Storge – is family love, 2 Timothy 3:3.
God’s love for everybody is ‘agape’
God showed the world how much He loved us, by sending His only, precious Son to earth and by allowing Him to give His life for us. Because of that, every person can also be a child of God. All any of us needs to do is receive that love, 1 John 4:8-10. God’s love is a love that is hard for us to understand because it is not dependent upon anything we DO.
God loved us passionately when we didn’t know Him and when we were very un-lovely. He saw the mistakes we made and the messes we got into, but just loved us without conditions, making a way (through Jesus) for us to get back into a perfect relationship with Him. It’s a place where we can know we are totally loved even if we can’t fathom why. We certainly didn’t deserve it, but we have it. Just by believing that Jesus is The Son and accepting His love for us personally, we can begin to get to know God as a loving and adoring Father.
Jesus took the sin of the whole world onto His body on the Cross. He then offered Himself to God as a once and for all payment for all sin everywhere. The price for our sin was paid then, and was received by God as being the payment that was acceptable to Him. So, because of Jesus, we have been forgiven, and will not pay the price to God, for our own sin. All we have to do is believe Him, to receive this love. So nobody will go to hell unforgiven, just unbelieving.
Our love for others
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 says this about agape love:
Love endures long, is patient and kind;
Love does not envy, or boil over with jealousy;
Love does not boast or take the glory itself;
Love is not proud, rude or unmannerly;
Love does not insist on its own way for it is not self-seeking;
Love is not touchy, fretful or resentful and takes no account of evil done to it;
Love keeps no record of wrongs;
Love does not delight in evil or injustice;
Love rejoices in right and truth;
Love bears up under anything and everything that comes;
Love is ever ready to believe the best of every person;
Love’s hopes are unfading under all circumstances;
Love endures everything without weakening;
God’s love never fails.
Jesus showed love:
- He loved not His life unto death, Revelation 12:11.
- The love of God was shed abroad in His heart by the Holy Spirit, Romans 5:5.
- He overcame the world, Revelation 3:21.
- He had no fear, 1 John 4:18.
- He had no sickness, Exodus 15:26.
- He walked in the covenant (God’s ways), Deuteronomy 28 and Deuteronomy 29.
- Satan had no authority over Him, 1 Corinthians 15:24.
- He never failed, 1 Corinthians 13:8.
- He recognised who was behind His difficulties, John 10:10.
- He made Himself obedient to death, Philippians 2:8.
Love your enemies
To walk in love the way Jesus did, means you also love those who wrong you – those who you consider to be your enemies, Matthew 5:44. You can only do good to those who hate you or wrong you if you see them as valuable and precious, Acts 7:50-60; 1 Peter 3:8-11. Sometimes we have to look hard, but it is possible to find good in everyone! Don’t forget, the Holy Spirit is our helper.
When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the continual process of filling produces fruit. One of the fruits of the Spirit is love, Galatians 5:22-23. By allowing God, in the form of the Holy Spirit, to flow out of us, we show God’s love to others. People who are hurting are looking for special care, extra attention and unconditional love. They take time as they have to be held closer, and prayed with a little longer. Reach out and love someone in need, remembering that it is God’s love and grace that brought you through, so you can help and encourage someone going through difficulty and hurt.
When we walk in love we are quick to:
- Repent (turn, as God shows us His ways).
- Put the Word first, not our feelings.
- Obey the Word.
- Guard our mouths, Ephesians 4:31.
- Fear God.
- Not fear what people can do to us.
- Not be in wilful sin (rebellion).
- Give out love to the unworthy and selfish.
- Develop all our talents so we can be a benefit to those who have very little.
What Jesus said about love:
- God loves us. John 3:16.
- We are to love God. Matthew 22:37.
- Because God loves us, he cares for us. Matthew 6:25-34.
- God wants everyone to know how much He loves them. John 17:23.
- God loves those who hate Him; we are to do the same. Matthew 5:43-47; Luke 6:35.
- God seeks out even those most alienated from Him. Luke 15.
- God must be our first love. Matthew 6:24; Matthew 10:37.
- We obey God because we love Him. John 14:21; John 15:10.
- Those who refuse Jesus don’t have God’s love. John 5:41-44.
- Jesus loves us just as God loves Jesus. John 15:9.
- Jesus proved His love for us by dying on the Cross so that we could live eternally with God. John 3:14-15; John 15:13-14. (Eternal life is to know God now, John 17:3).
- The love between God and Jesus is the perfect example of how we are to love others. John 17:21-26.
- We are to love one another and demonstrate that love. John 13:34-35; Matthew 5:40-42; Matthew 10:42.
- We are not to love the praise of others (John 12:43), selfish recognition (Matthew 23:6), earthly belongings (Luke 16:19-31), or anything, more than God, Luke 16:13.
- Jesus wants us to love Him through the good and difficult times. Matthew 26:31-35.
- Jesus wants our love to be genuine (from our heart). John 21:15-17.
- Jesus said that all of the commandments were given for two simple reasons – to help us love God and love others as we should.
9: Living with Jesus – Challenge Questions
1. What did you enjoy most about the previous study?
2. Is there anything you would like to share for prayer?
3. When considering the amazing love of God for yourself, do you find this difficult to believe? Is there any particular reason why you find this so difficult, if you do?
4. Look at the notes “God’s Love for everybody” and find a Bible verse that really lifts you and encourages you to believe God’s love is for you and speak it out every day until you know that you know that you personally are right at the centre of God’s heart.
5. State several things that God’s love does for people.
6. Do you really believe that Almighty God has done these amazing things for you just out of love not because you deserve it?
7. Thinking about the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32) and the wonderful love of the father, can we make a commitment now to have the attitude of the father to any person or child who has wronged us when they come to see us? Remember “Love never fails” 1 Corinthians 13:8.
8. Read about Hosea and Gomer, (Hosea 1-3) See Hosea as a picture of God and Gomer like our attitude towards God. Can you see the amazing love of God for you? Can you stop now and ask the Holy Spirit to enable you to receive this revelation in full. This will completely change your attitude to life, when things happen that you don’t like, Ephesians 3:17-19.
9. People have a problem with the question “If God is a God of love, why is there so much suffering in the world today?” Did you find any answers to this question in your reading? Can you think of any other answer from God’s word?
10. Learn a memory verse from the study. Write a short sentence saying what you have learned.
10 Living with Jesus Challenge Questions
1. What are you benefiting most from doing “Joy for Life”?
2. What did you decide to change in your life as a result of God speaking in your last study?
3. Using your notes entitled “Walk in Love”, put your name in the place of “love” in the first quote from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8; and then speak out loud “…… is patient; …….. is kind” and use this as part of your daily confession of who you are in Jesus Christ.
4. In the story of Ruth and Naomi (Ruth 1-4) showing the amazing love each had for the other can you remember any time in your life when you have loved like this? Would you like to share a short testimony?
5. Ruth was willing to give up everything to look after and love Naomi. What relationship is God asking you to apply agape love to now? What action are you going to take this week in order to obey God? (As an encouragement, see the amazing blessing that Ruth and Naomi both received in the end.)
6. (Personal) If you are in a difficult situation this week, big or small, ask yourself the question “what would Jesus do?” (Romans 5:5) Then do it! Do you want to share what you did?
7. Read all the Bible references under the heading “Love your enemies”. Thinking about the stoning of Stephen, (Acts 7) can you think of anyone who has tried to kill your reputation, friendships or relationships, and can you honestly pray the same prayer from your heart.
8. If we are going to walk in love we need training. What area of your life do you need to work on? (See the list “When we walk in love we must be first to“)
9. From “What Jesus said about Love”, which verse really spoke to you and why?
Answer “True” or “False” to the following questions for Lesson 9 and 10. If you can give verses from the Bible to back up your answer, that will help you.