1 John 4:7-11
“7 Dear friends, we should love each other, because love comes from God. The person who loves has become God’s child and knows God. 8 Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 This is how God showed his love to us: He sent his only Son into the world to give us life through him. 10 True love is God’s love for us, not our love for God. God sent his Son to die in our place to take away our sins. 11 That is how much God loved us, dear friends! So we also must love each other.”
WHY IT MATTERS
Jesus tells us that the greatest commandment for us as children of God is to love Him with all of our heart, soul and mind. This means loving Him with everything that we are, everything that we have and in everything we do. Then he says for us to love our neighbor as well. This is not always easy, but the Bible teaches us how. As children of God we are loved with his real and perfect love. God showed us this love when he sent Jesus, his Son, to take our place, dying for all the bad things we’ve done. This was so that we could be with God forever. When we receive God’s love, the love for our neighbors, friends and family grows in our heart. Now, with God’s help, we can love people so much better than we can on our own because His love is perfect.
WHAT IT’S TALKING ABOUT
Jesus’s disciple John wrote this letter probably while living in the city of Ephesus almost 2,000 years ago! John wanted to tell people reading his letter how important God’s love is. He tells everyone that if you love God, you will know how to love others. He tells us that God is love and when we love like him we are showing the world what he looks like.
“...God sent his Son to die in our place to take away our sins. That is how much God loved us, dear friends! So we also must love each other.” 1 John 4:10-11
Parents, ask your child these questions and discuss with them:
Read the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus to your kids. You can choose to read from a kids Bible if they are younger. Then read John 3:16 and Romans 5:8 and John 15:13. God loved us so much he gave his one and only Son to take our place and die for our sins so that we could live with Him forever. We get to be called children of God because of his love for us. God has enough love to cover everyone in the whole world.
What are some ways God shows his love for us?
He gave his Son for us. He forgave us of our sins and invite us to be his children. He cares for us, he gives us his words and his presence. He gave us a big beautiful world to live in, he gave us a family.
Talk about the ways you and your child feel God’s love for you personally.
2. Talk about how we can love God with all of our heart and mind and strength. Read 1 John 14:19. God says because we are loved by him we can love him with every bit of our life, with all of our heart and mind and strength.
How do love Him with all of our heart, our mind and our strength?
We love him by knowing what he says and obeying Him (heart and mind). We love him by spending time with Him and knowing his heart for us and others. We love him by our actions and with everything he has given us (strength).
Talk about the ways your child can love God this way and how this might look in their everyday life.
3. As we experience God’s love for us and we love God, he asks us to then go and love our neighbors. The Bible says that we are to love our neighbor as we love ourself. If we know how much we are loved and how special we are to God, we will see ourselves as God sees us. Read the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:25-37. God tells us to love other people as much as he loves us. This kind of love is God’s perfect love and comes from Him. Not only are we told to love our friends and neighbors but even people who might be unkind to us. Explain to your child that the samaritans and the Jewish people weren’t friends but because God first loved us we can love others no matter what.
How do you think we love with God’s love? Who can you love this way?
When we are loved by God and we love him, he fills our hearts up with His love. His love is perfect and never fails. His Spirit who lives in your heart will help you love others with God’s perfect love. Talk with your child about who they interact with daily and who they can make a choice to love. It is a choice, it’s not just a feeling, it’s an action. Explain that when we love others they can show God’s love to people that maybe have never felt it before.
SET AN EXAMPLE:
Parents: Kids learn a lot about what love looks like by watching you. You can help them understand God’s selfless sacrificial love by modeling it at home. We encourage you to be intentional this month about things you do to show love to your kids and then remind them that God loves them even more than you do. Also you can model showing love for others with your kids. As a family you can go meet your neighbors and see if they need anything, or you can volunteer together and serve the needy in the city. Take time to stop for the one, lend a hand and tell people about God’s love while you’re with your children.
Father God, thank you for loving us so much and for sending your son to die for us so we can live with you here and in heaven forever. Fill our hearts with your love and help us to know and live every day in your love for us. Help us to love other people like you do so that people will come to know your love. In Jesus’ name Amen.
Make a checklist with your children and help them fill out ways that they can love their neighbor/friends this week. A love list.
1 Corinthians talks about love. Help your child write the qualities of love that are in the love chapter. You can write them out and have them draw pictures next to them or write them on note cards and go over them every morning as you eat breakfast. Love is patient, love is kind etc.
SPEAK TRUTH WITH YOUR CHILD:
The bible has a lot of verses about love, they have been compiled into a list that reads like a love letter. Read God’s love letter over your child this month.
I know everything about you...Psalm 139:1
I know when you sit down and when you rise up...Psalm 139:2
I am familiar with all your ways ...Psalm 139:3
Even the very hairs on your head are numbered ...Matthew 10:29-31
For you were made in my image ...Genesis 1:27
In me you live and move and have your life ...Acts 17:28
I knew you even before you were born ...Jeremiah 1:4-5
I chose you when I made the world ...Ephesians 1:11-12
You were not a mistake ...Psalm 139:15-16
I planned out every day of your life ...Psalm 139:15-16
I decided the exact time of your birth and where you would live ...Acts 17:26
You are beautifully and wonderfully made ...Psalm 139:14
I made you while you were in your mother's belly ...Psalm 139:13
And it is my desire to pour out my love on you ...1 John 3:1
Simply because you are my child and I am your Father ...1 John 3:1
I am the perfect Father...Matthew 5:48
Every good gift that you receive comes from me ...James 1:17
My plan for your future has always been filled with hope ...Jeremiah 29:11
Because I love you with an everlasting love...Jeremiah 31:3
My thoughts toward you are countless as the sand on the seashore ...Psalm 139:17-18
And I rejoice over you with singing ...Zephaniah 3:17
I will never stop doing good to you ...Jeremiah 32:40
For you are my treasure ...Exodus 19:5
If you look for me with all your heart, you will find me ...Deuteronomy 4:29
I am able to do more for you than you could possibly imagine ...Ephesians 3:20
For I am your greatest encourager ...2 Thessalonians 2:16-17
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles ...2 Corinthians 1:3-4
When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you ...Psalm 34:18
I am your Father and I love you even as I love my son, Jesus ...John 17:23
Jesus died so you and I could be together...2 Corinthians 5:18-19
His death was the best way to show you my love ...1 John 4:10
I gave all that I loved so you could love me back...Romans 8:32
If you receive the gift of my son Jesus, you receive me ...1 John 2:23
And nothing will ever separate you from my love ...Romans 8:38-39