Community Group Questions
Texts: John 3:16, John 13:34-35, I Cor. 13: 1-7 

This week we continue our series on John 3:16, the Gospel in a Verse.   Last week we started with “For God.” God is the beginning of all faith and understanding. God is God and we are not! This week we will be looking at how God Loves and who God loves. We will also look at what that means for followers of Jesus.

At the beginning of the message the pastor asked us to write down our definition of love and three of the top five things we love. What is your definition? What are some of the things you love? 

The word for love here, in the original language, is agape. Just like English, the greek language had several meanings for the word love. Eros: is a selfish love. Desires only to take or have it’s needs met without thought or consideration of the object. Philia: (English: brotherly love) Implies a give and take kind of love. One of genuine affection. It’s mutual and most healthy friendships would fall under this category. Agape: Agape is the Greek words used here. It is an unconditional love. There are not conditions to be met for it to continue. Which of these would you say comes naturally to humans and why do you think so?  Which one is describes the way God loves us? 

In John 13:34-35 Jesus gives those who follow him and command, “love one another” and a reason for the command “this is how people will know you are a Jesus follower.” In I Cor. 13 we see a literal example of how we are to love each other...there’s actually as list! Why is it so important that the love Jesus followers have for each other be evident to others? What are the ramifications if we don’t love each other like this? 

What is the most challenging part of this message for you? 

 

 

The Gospel Magnified John 3:16 

Loved the World 

Continuation of The Gospel Magnified: John 3:16 Also known as “The Bible/Gospel in a verse” 

Last week we looked at “For God”. Everything must start with God. Not only this verse, but our understanding and faith as well. It does not start with us. God is God. We are not. 

Today we’re going to be looking at the second part of the verse as we continue the series. Next week Andrew will be up and then Larry will follow with two more. 

TEXT

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (KJV) 

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV) 

 

For God loved the world in this way: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. (HCSB) 

For this is how God loved the world: He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. (NLT) 

Love Defined
For God So LOVED the world 

Greek Love
(the language of the N.T.) 

Eros, Philos, Agape 

For God “So LOVED the WORLD” is the next part of John 3:16. We’re going to hone in on God’s love and what is meant by “the world.” 

To begin, if you want to participate, take your Current in the notes section. 

Write your definition of love (not the one you think I’m looking for or the one you would write because you’re sitting in a worship service!) 

Now write the top three of the top five things you love. We will return to this list later in the service. 

What is love? Really? We use the word quite liberally in the English language. Does it always have the same meaning? 

I love my spouse/kids/girlfriend/boyfriend I love ice cream
I love my church
I love the music at my church 

I love football (or the Saints) 

Are are all these the same kind of love? Does it mean the same thing? 

 

Eros: (English: erotic) is a selfish love. Desires only to take or have it’s needs met without thought or consideration of the object. Not used in the N.T. 

**Porn fits under this category and it’s why it can be so dangerous for young people. Transferring erotic, self centered expectations from a screen to a person you care about (what’s in it for me) instead of a mutual giving and healthy

Philia: (English: brotherly love) Implies a give and take kind of love. One of genuine affection. It’s mutual and most healthy friendships would fall under this category.

Agape: Agape is the Greek words used here. It is an unconditional love. There are not conditions to be met for it to continue. 

Agape Love
“This love is a love that desires to give. It is a love not based on the worthiness of the object but on the character of giver.”

 

Love Illustration  

Define the love type 

Banana Split
Dog/Cat
Saints 

Spouse/Kids 

God (how we love Him vs how He loves us)-no pic 

 

 

For God Loves This Way
Not based on our worthiness but His character the one loving.” Jerry Vines 

An unconditional, all encompassing, without reservation, complete love That’s the love of John 3:16  

Let’s look back at your definition and list in the Current.
Where does your definition best fit in this list? (eros, philia or agape?)
The list that you created, which category do most fall into? More than one?
No condemnation here. If you listed ice cream it would be weird if it fell into brotherly or friendship love.  

But other things... that may be a cause for greater thought. 

So who or what does God love in this way? 

But other things... that may be a cause for greater thought. 

So who or what does God love in this way? 

World Defined 

For God so loved the WORLD 

Here, the greek word for world is “kosmos” (don’t be impressed...I had to look it up) 

“Sometimes it refers to a world system organized in antagonism to God, but most often the word refers to the realm where human beings live. Sometimes the emphasis is on the human realm itself.” (Whosoever Will: A Biblical Response to 5pt Calvinism)
Here, in John 3:16, it refers to the whole human race. From the first man and woman to every human being ever conceived, and every one to come. 

Every. One. God has loved with an agape love. 

 Now it would be easy to skate past this point without further thought but I want us to think about it for a second God loves every single person.
Let’s explore that a bit before we move    

Does this include all races?
Hippies, Rednecks, Yuppies, gangsters, and thugs?
Does this include Republicans? Democrats? Socialists and Fascists?
Muslims? Buddhists? Atheists? Announcers on Fox News? MSNBC? Bruce Jenner? Trump? Obama? Your crazy neighbor? Your mother in law?
....You
Let’s face it. Some of us aren’t easy to love!  Every. One. Because His love is not based upon the recipient but His character.
Does loving mean agreeing? Absolutely not.
For those of us who have kids, have you ever disagreed or been disappointed? Did you still love them? Absolutely. 

Illustrate: My wife and I love each other but through the years there have been moments when we loved but didn’t like at that moment. “I love you today. Tomorrow is looking good too but I’m not sure if I like you right now:) Sometimes I’m hard to love.  

So What?

There are different kinds of love.  God loves us with the best one.  He even loves my mother in law   So what? 

I’m so glad you asked 

But today I want you to know

God loves YOU in a real and personal way
If you are a follower of Jesus then God has some expectations in the love department 

John 13:34-35 

(Jesus speaking) 

A new command I give to you: Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. (HCSB) 

I Corinthians 13
This is how you should love 

“If I speak human or angelic languages but do not have love, I am a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. 

And if donate all my goods to feed the poor, and I give my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. 

Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs. Love finds no joy in unrighteousness but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, endures all things. Love never ends. 

 

Jesus throws down the gauntlet for those who would call ourselves His followers.
The world (those around us) knows the selfish kind of love all too well. In us they should see the effort for something different. 

They difference in the way we love each other should speak volumes of the God who loves us and changed our lives. 

Now I’m not saying it’s easy.
It’s in our nature to be selfish, isn't it? Me and what I want is our default. 

It takes an effort to maintain our love those who are lovable in a philia kind of way. “I love you and I’m working on acknowledging your feelings and needs, ongoing.” 

But God wants us to pattern his kind of love. 

And this kind of love is not possible without God. It’s his nature...not ours. 

Galatians 2:19-20. I have been crucified with Christ and I now longer live but Christ in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God. (HCSB) 

For those of us who have made that decision it is a matter of daily laying down our selfishness and surrendering to His way. 

For those that have not, the first step is a decision. To believe, to confess, to accept, to follow.