Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sunday night's Bible study guide

This week we will once again study the topics of love and holiness. We will revisit the simple claim from scripture that God is love (I John 4:8, 16) and how it resides at the center of our understanding of divine holiness, and again how this three-word phrase sheds light on what it means to be holy. "God is love" illustrates the whole of the Bible's testimony regarding the character and identity of God.

Leftovers from last week:
There are couple of items from last week's we still need to discuss before we move deeper into our study:

1. (I John 3:16-17) God's love (agape) acts to promote well-being when responding to the caused ill-being. In other words, God's love repays evil with good. (Oord, Relational Holiness, pg. 79)

Example: God's love responded to man's sin by acting in a way that promoted abundant life (Romans 5:8).

2. If we love God ... we will respond to those who sin against us by acting/treating them in ways that promote abundant life (Romans 12:14).

3. How is God's love expressed to His creation?
(1) God's love (agape) is demonstrated to His creation through "eros". An expression of sensuality that conveys the value, beauty and desirability of a person or object to God. Eros promotes well-being of His creation by affirming and enjoying what is valuable to Him.

Can you recall any examples of this from the scriptures?

(2) God's love (agape) is also demonstrated through "philia" - a cooperative friendship. God's love promotes well-being by acting out His value for relationship with His creation.

Can you recall examples of this from the scriptures?

4. God's love is manifest in these distinct ways. He perfectly demonstrates them "agape-unconditionally, (Omni-benevolently) to His creation. When we love in the proper context we are holy as God is holy. When we choose the best (act in agape-love through eros, philia) to which God calls in any particular moment we are acting in holiness. Walking in holiness is our moment by moment response to God's love.

5. Holiness is the result of a distinct and subsequent work(s) of grace that occurs at the time when a Christ follower fully surrenders self to Christ. At this time the believer's heart is filled with God's complete and perfect love which then pushes out of man's heart the things that have been in rebellion to God's love. Living the life of holiness then is abiding in the love of God - demonstrating the full manifestation of agape love to God, others, creation and self.

This week's material: focuses on the main reason why we love.

6. We love because Jesus Christ is God (I John 4:15; 4:9-10; John 1:1, 14) Jesus shares fully in God's character and being.

7. We love because we have fellowship with Jesus (I Jn. 1:3; 2:6; 3:23. Fellowship means to walk as He walked.

8. We love because Jesus' love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5)

9. MAYBE THE MOST IMPORTANT REASON... We love because Jesus first loved us (I Jn. 4:11-12, 19). A perfect love responds to others because God first loved us.

What implications does this have for us?

Oord, Relational Holiness, Beacon Hill, 2005
Sellon & Smith, Practicing Right Relationship, Alban, 2005
Len Sweet, So Beautiful, David C. Cook, 2009

I hope to see you Sunday night. Please come prepared to discuss this important topic. Thanks for stopping by!


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