God loves you! If you’ve been in church for any length of time, if you’ve listened to Christian audios or watched videos or tuned into your favorite Christian programming, then you’ve heard that phrase multiple times. God loves you. But when was the last time you truly pondered that truth? Think about it. The God of Creation, the same God who strides the winds of the earth, who sets boundaries for the waves of the sea … The same God who hung the stars in space, who spins our planet so that the sun comes up in the morning and goes down in the evening. The God of thunder and lightning, of storm and tempest, of sunshine and rain … the God of gods who is all powerful … who fills the universe with Himself … who has always known everything … that God loves you!
As the New Year continues to unfold, bringing with it unique challenges—delights as well as unexpected disasters; diseases, disappointments and perhaps even death—I don’t want to just hear that God loves me. I don’t want to just intellectually agree that God loves me. I don’t want to just think about His love. I want to experience the love of God in a fresh way. This was the Apostle Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian believers, and it is my prayer for myself … and for you.
READ EPHESIANS 3:12-21
I. THE SURETY OF GOD’S LOVE
- What are the two criteria for truly experiencing the love of God? Read Ephesians 3:12.
- How do the following verses underscore those criteria? Give phrases from Ephesians 1:3, 7 and 11.
- How can you be sure you meet the criteria? Read Ephesians 2:6-9; 1:13-14; and Romans 10:8-13.
- How can we be sure God really does love us? Read 1 John 4:9-10.
- In Ephesians 3:13, what seemed to be one reason the Ephesian believers doubted the love of God?
- Give several reasons Mary and Martha seemed also to doubt God’s love as expressed through
- Jesus. See John 11:1-44. In the end, what was their experience?
- What has caused you to doubt God’s love? Name it: _____________ .
- As you confess your doubt, would you refocus your faith on God’s character and God’s Word?
II. THE INTIMACY OF GOD’S LOVE
- How does Paul refer to God? Read Ephesians 3:14.
- In Luke 11:1-2, how did Jesus teach His disciples—and you and me—to address God?
- What gives you or anyone the right to address God in this way? Read John 1:12-13; 1 John 3:1; Romans 8:14-17; and Galatians 4:4-7.
- Describe a healthy relationship between parent and child. Apply this to your relationship with God.
- Take a moment to think about how you address God in prayer. How do you start your prayer?
- What do you “call” Him? Now bow your head and pray, “Father God …”
III. THE GENEROSITY OF GOD’S LOVE
- What phrase in Ephesians 3:16 indicates that God is not stingy with His love?
- What is the difference between a beggar and a billionaire giving you something “out of their riches”?
- Give one reason that it’s impossible for God’s love to run out or to be used up. Read 1 John 4:16.
- Besides the love of God, give phrases that describe different aspects of God’s generosity, from: Romans 2:4; 9:22-24; and 11:33; Ephesians 1:7-8, 18; and Colossians 2:1-3. Which ones are you most grateful for?
- Take a moment now to praise and thank God for His generosity to you.
IV. THE SECURITY OF GOD’S LOVE
- What two words indicate we are secure in God’s love? Read Ephesians 3:17.
- Give other phrases that describe our security: See John 10:28-30; 8:35; 14:15-17; and 1 John 4:17-19.
- Write out Romans 8:31-39, phrase by phrase, in your own words.
- What aspect of the security of God’s love is most meaningful to you, from Romans 8:31-39? Explain.
V. THE SUFFICIENCY OF GOD’S LOVE
- How does Paul describe the dimensions of God’s love? Read Ephesians 3:18.
- How does the psalmist apply these dimensions? Read Psalm 139:5-10.
- If you belong to God through faith in Jesus Christ, is there anything in your life that is outside the love of God?
- What do we need to pray for in order to truly experience and grasp the fullness of God’s love? Read Ephesians 3:16, 18; and Romans 5:1-5.
- Pray now for …
VI. THE GLORY OF GOD’S LOVE
- Before we can experience God’s love in a fresh way, what action do we need to take? Read Ephesians 3:20.
- How do we know God is not reluctant to give us a fresh experience of His love? Underline the superlatives in Ephesians 3:20.
- What is our ultimate aim in any prayer, including this one? See Ephesians 3:21.
- How is this aim accomplished as we experience God’s love? Read John 13:34-35 and 1 John 4:11-12.
As we celebrate Valentine’s Day this month, would you praise and thank God for loving you? Would you ask Him to give you a fresh experience of His love that is even more than you could think to ask for? Then, in a world that is filled with hatred, fear and division, would you choose to be a channel of His love to those around you? ©2016 Anne Graham Lotz