1.  Icebreaker:

-        Do you think God gets angry?  Why or why not? 

2. What (did the text say):

-        How does Jesus play a role in testing the spirits?  What position has God’s love given us?

-        What role does love have in the believer’s relationship with God?  What role does love have in God’s relationship with the non-believer? 

-        What is the result of God’s love for us?  Think both in regards to salvation and as an application for daily living.

-        Read 4:12-14.  How do we know God resides in us?  What does this mean?

3. What Else (does the Bible say in relation to historical / literary context)

-        Who loved first: man or God? What does this teach us?

-        Topic: Propitiation.  A couple of weeks ago Dustin mentioned propitiation in his sermon.  This theological concept comes up again throughout 1 John. The word propitiation carries the basic idea of appeasement or satisfaction, specifically toward God.  My favorite definition is Tommy Nelson’s: “to satisfy the wrath of a deity”.  Propitiation is a two-part act that involves appeasing the wrath of an offended person and being reconciled to him.  This is something many religions have in common. In many religions, the idea is taught that man appeases God by offering various gifts or sacrifices. However, the Bible teaches that God Himself has provided the only means through which His wrath can be appeased and man can be reconciled. In the New Testament, the act of propitiation always refers to the work of God and not the sacrifices or gifts offered by man. The reason for this is that man is totally incapable of satisfying God’s justice except by spending eternity in hell. There is no service, sacrifice, or gift that man can offer that will appease the holy wrath of God or satisfy His perfect justice. The only satisfaction, or propitiation, that could be acceptable to God and that could reconcile man to Him had to be made by God. For this reason God the Son, Jesus Christ, came into the world in human flesh to be the perfect sacrifice for sin and make atonement or “propitiation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17).  1 John 4:19 gets to the heart of this topic, and the implications are enormous.  List some of the implications of 4:19.

4. Now What (should we do as a response to the text)  

-        1 John 4:15-16 and 4:20-21 gets into some clear application.  How does this play out in community groups? 

FAMILY DISCUSSION GUIDE

-        What is love?

-        How do we show other people we love them?

-        What does sacrifice mean? 

- What did Jesus do in order for us to have eternal life?