The primary idea you need to keep revisiting during this Following Jesus Pathway is that we are following and being formed by Jesus. This pathway can be learned simply or in great depth. We trust that you as a leader know your people and the dynamics of your group well enough to adapt and impart this topic with grace and wisdom.
This guide is designed to help you and others follow and be formed by Jesus. Remember to keep it Jesus-Centered.
We pray that you will be Spirit-Led and Spirit- Empowered as you lead and learn together.
Pray Hand Motion
Researchers have found that moving our bodies and adding actions to our learning significantly increases our ability to remember. Here is a hand action you can add to the command to remember it:
Step 1: Take both hands with palms facing up and cross across your heart/chest - hug action
Brief Commentary and Context
Summary of "Love" - Agape love is a “compassionate commitment to delight in the soul of another and to will that person’s good ahead of your own, no matter the cost to yourself.” (Live No Lies, John Mark Comer p. 130)
God is love and has fully revealed what love is in Jesus and his sacrificial death on the cross. God’s Love is the source of all things and the fulfillment of all things, the beginning and the end. Love is not a cold choice, or only fervent emotion. Love is attentive affection, delighted connection, compassionate commitment, self-giving joy. Loving one another is about attitude and action. It means listening to each other, remaining patient, and forgiving each others' faults or weaknesses. It’s about working for the health and well-being of the other, generously caring for the person, and learning to see the inherent beauty and good in one another.
Love is the distinguishing mark of all of Jesus’ followers, and we are able to love in this radical way because of the self-giving love of Jesus. His love empowers his followers to love each other with the same patience, devotion, and fervency he showed to them.
Brief Commentary for - 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 - “The Greatest Of These Is Love”
After 18 months in the bustling Roman city of Corinth, Paul was very acquainted with the cultural realities that existed. His time there was fruitful and many followed Jesus and formed the first churches in that city. Paul moved on to continue his apostolic work sharing the gospel and establishing churches in other regions, but soon he got reports of many significant issues plaguing the Corinthian church.
He wrote his first letter to address these problems like division, sexual immorality, hyper-spirituality and false beliefs about the resurrection by helping them to return to the way of Jesus in every area of life. At the heart of his magnificent letter he brought them to the central reality of the gospel, and the high calling of the church, love.
1 Corinthians 13:1-13 is set in the discourse of chapters 11-14 about the gatherings of the church. Many people had been caught up in the powerful displays and gifts of the Holy Spirit, but missed love. Paul wanted them to experience all the gifts of the Spirit, but was concerned and understood both the motivation and aim of God’s power is always love. The apostle drops a stunning piece of poetry into the discourse that helps us see the majesty and meaning of love as “the greatest of these.”
With clarity and potency love is described and defined, each line drawing us back to the very character of Christ. We discover love is patient and practical, plays out in our relationships and responses, it deals with our attitudes and affections. It’s a love that unifies divisions, purifies behavior and satisfies desires. There is nowhere to hide and why would we want to. We can do miracles, know mysteries, move mountains, even give all that we are away, but without love, it ultimately means nothing!
Not only did all things begin from love, Paul makes it clear that in the end this is where everything is headed. Love is all that ultimately matters! “Love is God’s river, flowing on into the future, across the border into the country where there is no pride, no jostling for position, no contention among God’s people. We are invited to step into that river here and now, and let it take us where it’s going.” (N.T. Wright Paul for Everyone: 1 Corinthians p. 177) Love is how we will be measured when we stand before God. And on that day, in those eyes, love will be looking deep within us, we will be known and loved, gazing back it will be true for the first time that we will know as we are known, and we too will love with perfect love. There is no end to God, there is no end to love. Love is stronger than death! Love is forever! Love is our future! And our future is our calling today and everyday. “The greatest of these is love”!
Core Truths from the Topic:
Summary Scripture: 1 John 4:7-10- “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”
1 John 4:19-21- “We love because he first loved us. Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.”
John 14:21- “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”
1 Corinthians 16:14 - Let all that you do be done in love.
Colossians 3:14 - And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
John 15:13 - Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.
1 Peter 4:8 - Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.
John 3:16 - 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.
1 John 3:1 - See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.
Proverbs 3:3 - Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.
Romans 12:10 - Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Romans 13:8 - Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.
Other Biblical Stories of “Love”
1 Sam 18:1 - In the face of fear, Jonathan loves his friend David as he loves himself.
Ruth 4:14-16 - Ruth's love and care for her mother-in-law, Naomi, outweighs that of seven sons.
People turn away from God to love other gods, an action compared to adultery (e.g., Isaiah, Hosea, Jeremiah, etc.).
Proverbs 8-9 - Wisdom, personified as a woman, pursues people’s hearts and ears. She longs to love those who would listen to her guidance.
Ephesians 5:25-32 and Revelation 19:7-16 - Jesus’ love for his followers is compared to a bridegroom’s love for his bride.