God First Loved Us, Part 1

devotional lifeGod First Loved Us, Part 1
1 John 4:7-21

In his Systematic Theology, Wayne Grudem writes, “God’s love means that God eternally gives of himself to others. This definition understands love as self-giving for the benefit of others. This attribute of God shows that it is part of his nature to give of himself in order to bring about blessing or good for others.” As we begin a study on salvation, it’s vital to understand the source of our salvation at the very beginning. While we are the recipients of God’s love, his love has everything to do with who God is in his essence, and not who we are or anything we have done.

1. When you read or hear about God’s love, what images or ideas usually come to your mind? What are some different ideas that unbelievers and nominal believers have about the love of God? Give some examples.


2. Read 1 John 4:7-21 and write down everything John says about God’s love. What do you think John’s key idea is in this text?


3. According to verses 7, 8, and 16, what is the ultimate source of love?


4. A loving God is unique to Christianity because love by its nature is focused on and given to another. Only a God who has existed eternally and relationally in three Persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – is able to express love since love focuses on another. Read the following verses and write down what each teaches about love expressed in the holy Trinity*.

• Mark 1:10-11 –

• John 17:24 –

• John 3:35 –

• John 14:31 –

• John 5:20 –

• John 10:17 –

• Colossians 1:13 –


*  “The love between the Father and Son also presumably characterizes their relationship with the Holy Spirit, even though it is not explicitly mentioned.” (Grudem) Some theologians have taught that the love between the Father and the Son is the Holy Spirit.

Lesson 1: A Godly Man is Humble

prayer4Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew 23:12)

If you plan to build a tall house of virtues, you must first lay deep foundations of humility. St. Augustine


Humilitya freedom from arrogance that grows out of the recognition that all we have and are comes from God. (Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

Read Philippians 2:1-4

1.       What do you think of when you hear the word, “humility?” What would you say are the primary influences of your view of humility?

2.       According to the Apostle Paul, how can the Philippians “complete his joy” (verse 2)?

3.       What does Paul mean by, “being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose,” in verse 2? What would you say are some necessary conditions to the kind of like-mindedness and unity Paul has in mind?

4.       How does Paul’s command in verses 3 and 4 help bring about such unity? What would his words in these two verses look like if they were lived out in your…

·         Home

·         Church

·         Workplace

·         Community

5.       How would you define “humility,” based on these verses?

6.       C.S. Lewis said pride is the foundational sin that gives birth to all other sins in a person’s life. How is humility a foundational virtue and in what ways might it bring forth other virtues?

Walking Points

  • What is it about human nature that makes living out the humility described by Paul so difficult? In what circumstances do you find it hardest for you to live humbly in you daily life? Why?


  • What are three practical (real) ways you can apply Philippians 2:1-4 in your life, starting today?


It is a contradiction to be a true Christian and not humble. (Richard Baxter)

Read Philippians 2:5-11

7.       In these verses, Paul provides a picture of what humility should look like. What kind of “attitude” or “mind” does he commend?

8.       What did Paul highlight about the life of Christ that describes the humility we should seek to imitate?

9.       What does it mean that Jesus “made himself nothing” or “emptied himself?” Did Jesus cease to be God? Explain your answer.

10.    Paul said that Jesus was made in human likeness (v. 7). What did mean by also saying Jesus took the very nature of a “servant” (v. 6)

11.    In what ways was the death of Jesus on the cross an act of humility?

12.    According to verses 9-11, what name did God give Jesus as an expression of his exaltation? (hint: it’s not the name, “Jesus”)

13.    In your own words, what does it mean that every knee should bow before Jesus and every tongue confess his Lordship?

14.    What does it mean to call Jesus, “Lord?”

15.    Who ultimately received glory from this act of humility and exaltation (v. 11)?

Walking Points

  • It’s unlikely you will have to die for another person and certain you will not (nor can you) die for another person’s sins. Therefore, what are three ordinary ways you can imitate the humility of Jesus in your life? (Read Luke 14:1, 7-11)
  • How does remembering what Jesus has done for you (Philippians 2:6-8) impact your thoughts about the importance of humility?


  • Read Matthew 28:16-20; John 1: 1-3; Ephesians 1:15-23; Colossians 1:15-20; Hebrews 1:1-4. Considering these verses, how would you describe or define the Lordship of Jesus Christ to a friend?


  • Based on the verses in the question above, do you believe there is any area in all creation that should not be under the authority of Christ’s Lordship? Even in the lives of people who reject him?


  • Let’s narrow our focus and ask the hard question: Is there any area of your life which you have not submitted to Jesus Christ as Lord? What area(s) have you been keeping from him? Why?


  • What would your life look like if you submitted to Jesus Christ as Lord in every sphere of your life? Where would the inner conflicts arise? Where would the surrounding culture resist you? In what ways would it bless you and others?


God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, we give you our praise and thanks for the great work of Christ upon the Cross for our sin, rebellion, and brokenness. Not because he had to, not because of anything good in us, but because of his goodness and grace did he take on our flesh, humble himself, and become an obedient servant. He took the pain, humiliation, abandonment, and death that was our due. What a gracious Savior he is! Enlarge our hearts and minds to desire to know him better and love him more than we do. And let this knowledge of him and love for him humble us. We pray, O Lord, that our knees will bow before him as we serve others in our world. Fill us with his Spirit, for left to ourselves we cannot and will not imitate his humility. Help us die to ourselves and live the risen life with him, that we might faithfully represent him before a watching world, for your glory and the good of others. In Christ’s name, we pray. Amen. (based on Philippians 2:1-11)

Prayer Requests