Responding to Our Knowledge of God - Compassion
1. This is our FINAL study in the series: Reaching New Heights in Our Knowledge of God!
- I hope this isn’t your last attempt to GROW in your knowledge of God (obvious reasons!) . . . but our hope & goal in this study, which has been to further APPLY the subject to our lives as an ABF, has been ‘reached’ or stirred your thoughts/heart to Respond to Our Knowledge of God
- that you’re actually DOING something different in your walk with the Lord as a result
2. Remember the words of Daniel:
- Daniel 11:32 "…but the people who know their God will display strength and take action.”
Q: Is your faith a faith of ACTION . . . where you are doing what God wants you to do?
Q: Or, are you the kind of person that likes to sit and TALK about your faith (which is good to do sometimes, but it has to result in OBEDIENCE!
Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep my commandments!” (John 14:15)
- we also tried to tie this into Paul’s words:
- Philippians 3:10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death
‘know’ = knowledge based on personal experience (because of the interaction/relationship)
- not just an intellectual knowledge, but a PRACTICAL knowledge of God (a life of obedience, a attitude of hope, and high motivation for future service to demonstrate that faith in God and what you truly believe about Him!)
Input: What have you learned so far from this study that has helped you the most in knowing God better (which attribute has impacted you the most)?
(Holiness / Faithfulness / Justice/ Omnipresence / Power / Sovereignty / Mercy / Omniscience / Patience)
4. We’re coming to a conclusion of this study, but our purpose has been to
* The purpose of our study:
1) to GLORIFY God by with our praise of worship of Who He is
2) to put that knowledge into ACTION! – especially the way we respond when God demonstrates His particular attribute (either in a way that we understand, or in a way we don’t understand . . . but still have to walk by faith!)
Input: Why is the concept of God’s LOVE so hard to understand at times?
- because of the magnitude of our sin – How can we understand the love of God to sinners?
- we are so UNLOVING – and selfish, self-centered –
- It raises a number of philosophical and theological difficulties:
1) If God is so loving, why does He send people to hell? 2) Why does He allow sin, suffering, pain, and sorrow? 3) How can holocausts and natural disasters and other forms of mass destruction and human suffering exist in a universe designed by God who is truly loving?
- If we are honest, we must admit to these being difficult questions – but not without ANSWERS!
- God has not revealed full answers to some of those questions
- Instead, He reveals Himself as loving, all-wise, perfectly righteous, supremely good, and absolutely holy
> and then He asks us to TRUST Him – ‘the just shall live by faith’
- That’s easier as you study the Word of God and what it says about the love of God!
- there is no greater example of LOVE than God modeling it perfectly to His people!
I. Reaching New Heights in Our Knowledge of God’s LOVE!
- the Greek words for love means this:
Agapa = self-sacrificing kind of love
Phileo = a brotherly love
Eros = sexual type of love
* One of our goals in this study is to learn more about God . . . and His LOVE so we will understand how we should LOVE Him and love others (the 2 greatest commandments!)
- because God is love, we should ….
1) exercise our faith in a loving God (know that He cares about you and trust Him!!)
2) proclaim this truth of God’s love to others – yet explain His holiness & justice & our accountability to Him as our final Judge!
3) model this attribute of love to others because God’s loves us (let them ‘see your good works and glorify your Father Who is in heaven’ – Matt. 5:16)
- each week, we’ve been asking a set of questions for you to consider in the context of the specific aspect of God that is being presented in the Worship Service!
II. Responding to Our Knowledge of God’s Love!
Q: Do you really believe that God loves you?
- John 3:16 is probably the best known verse in the bible:
- John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
- yet how many people REALLY believe that? (I’m talking about believers in Christ)
[Note: Some other q’s to ask: How many people really KNOW God loves them? Have they heard the message of His love? What are you doing to tell/show them the love of God?]
- think about the words of these verses:
- Ephesians 2:4-6 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus
- Ephesians 3:17-19 So that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.
- but yet, we still question His love for us at times in our lives!
- What other passages communicate this attribute of God? [various answers]
- Deuteronomy 7:8 but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
- Psalm 146:8 The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; the LORD raises up those who are bowed down; the LORD loves the righteous.
- Jeremiah 31:3 The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, "I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.
- Luke 11:42 "But woe to you Pharisees! For you pay tithe of mint and rue and every kind of garden herb, and yet disregard justice and the love of God. . .
- Romans 5:5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.
- Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
- Romans 8:35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, "FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED." 37 But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- Titus 3:4 But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared,
- 1 John 4:9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.
Point: God's love and goodness are persistent themes in the OT/NT
“On almost every page of Scripture we see divine goodness, tender mercies, lovingkindness, patience, longsuffering, and grace. All those virtues are expressions of God's love.” – MacArthur, The Love of God, p. xiii
- What impact should this attribute have in the following areas: [various answers]
- 2 Thessalonians 3:5 May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.
- so how should the love of God impact your response to the following:
- Temptation to sin: Because of God’s love for me, I should be motivated to say NO to that temptation by obeying His commandments (John 14:15)
- I need to think about the cross when I’m tempted to sin (Christ shedding His blood for me because He loves me!)
- Jesus was tempted in all ways like I am, yet without sin – He loved His Father!
- Facing Trials (suffering, illness, disappointments)
- though I may not understand all the details about the trial, I know God loves me and I shouldn’t quit or get discouraged (focus on being in His arms, He is with me through it all)
- Conflicts with people:
- I need to show love to others (even when they are being sinful) just like Romans 5:8, so I should be willing to communicate in a biblical manner and seek to grant forgiveness and RESTORE the relationship
- my love for others should look like 1 Cor. 13 – being kind, patient, humble, not easily provoked, etc. [it may be good to READ this passage together!!]
- Prayer Life:
- my communication with God should not be based SOLELY on my ‘needs’ or my ‘requests’ (though God wants us to pray and bring our requests to Him)
- I should develop my prayer life because God loves me and I love Him (it’s really about building a relationship with God – talking to Him like you would your spouse, your children, and your FRIEND – that’s what Jesus called the disciples (and us) in John 15:14)
- KEY QUESTION: What impact should this attribute have on the following?
- because God is LOVE, that ought to have an impact on our lives:
- 1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.
- we demonstrate our salvation and our knowledge of God (the very are in which we are striving to reach new heights) by the way we show love to others (starting with our brothers/sisters in Christ and then to the world!)
- 1 John 3:17 But whoever has the world's goods, and sees his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?
- we ought to be willing to sacrifice to help meet the needs of other people
- IMPORTANT: We don’t view people through the lens of the ‘temporal’ (i.e. now), but through the lens of the ‘eternal’ (where will that person spend eternity? If they are believes, what kind of account will they give at the Judgment Seat, so how can I help them to give a better account)
- our praise should be motivated by His EVERLASTING love for us and His UNCONDITIONAL love for us!
- Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
- Our worship should be genuine and demonstrate our love for God and each other as we ‘encourage one another’ with our praises, singing, serving, etc.
- we are not perfect, so we have to keep growing in our spiritual lives – He loves us and gives us all the resources necessary to help us in that process
- we have to love each other enough to speak the truth in love and help each other grow – if I really love God & people, I will be willing/ready to be a part of the discipleship process
- I will recognize how God uses other people/situations in my life to help ME grow!!
- Serving (use of gifts/abilities):
- -Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
- if Jesus washed the disciple’s feet (cf. John 13), then I should wash the feet of others!
- One another ministry (Building Meaningful Relationships):
- consider the following verses:
Finish this phrase: Because God loves me, I should _________________!
- Romans 13:8 Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another;
- Romans 14:13 Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this -- not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother's way.
- Romans 15:14 And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another.
- Ephesians 4:2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love.
- Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
- Ephesians 5:21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.
- Colossians 3:9 Do not lie to one another. . .
- 1 Thessalonians 4:18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
Q: How would you rate yourself and/or your family on the issue of . . .
1) Your love for God:
- Worship(expressing that love to Him verbally, throughout the day during the week):
- Spending time in His Word:
- Prayer(talking to God because you love Him, not just because you have a request)
2) Your love for others:
- Fellow believers (especially those in our church family):
- Unsaved people around you (in our community, your workplace, neighbors, etc.):
- Close in prayer – thanking God for each of His attributes that we have studied so far!
- Holiness / Faithfulness / Justice / Presence / Power / Sovereignty / Mercy / Knowledge / Patience / Love