Bible Studies for Life Lesson for June 8: God is Loving
May 22 2014 by Hilary Ratchford, writer, Carmel Baptist Church, Matthews

Focal Passage: 1 John 4:7-12
Our society is in love with L-O-V-E. We dedicate an entire day to a holiday that equates love with teddy bears, boxes of chocolates, cards and flowers. We recognize loved ones on anniversaries, birthdays and days dedicated just to them like “Mother’s Day.” We’re infiltrated with shows, movies, novels and poems all about love! And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, we are created in the image of a loving God.
As we learn in this week’s passage, 1 John 4, God is love. We were created to be in relationship with Him and one another. The thing is, we can get too tied up in L-O-V-E, as we’d define it – romance, kisses, hugs, ooey-gooey feelings, dating, relationships – that we become man-centered. That’s when drama and breakups and bitterness come into play. Because it’s a known fact: sinners will let sinners down.
When we focus solely on that physical, passionate, romantic love as the Greeks would refer to as eros then we lose sight of the pure, godly and selfless love known as agape in our passage. God demonstrates His selfless agape in this: “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Inspired by the Holy Spirit, the apostle Paul gives us an incredible definition of God’s agape in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8: “Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,  does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails …” [NASB]
Agape love is not short-lived. It does not seek the best for oneself. It does not rejoice in immorality or any pursuit of unrighteousness. It is selfless. What a contrast to the kind of love that we see portrayed on the big screen of our culture.
As Christians, we can be counter-cultural because we worship a God who is love. How can you demonstrate God’s agape to someone in need of it this week?
5/22/2014 1:04:52 PM by Hilary Ratchford, writer, Carmel Baptist Church, Matthews | with 0 comments
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