In a Nutshell: If fear can help us to want to avoid punishment, then what can love help us want to do? The difference between “fearing God” and “loving God” is found essentially in our maturity. When I obey God out of fear I am thinking immaturely. If I obey God out of love I am thinking maturely. Obedience based on love is much preferred, hopeful, joyful and successful!
Ice Breaker: If you would react positively to a man wielding a gun if he wore a uniform and had a badge, then how would you react if you were being held captive by a terrorist and a soldier broke through and rescued you? Would you fear him, respect him, or love him? Now assume Satan is a terrorist holding you captive… (Col 1:13)
CONNECTING WITH THE TEXTS:
- Read the above passages and count how many times we are commanded to “Love” God.
- What motivations are given for “loving God?”
- What do the texts suggest we will do if we “love God?”
- Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11:1-11, Luke 19:28-44 and John 12:12-19; Were those who were cheering Jesus into Zion excited about what Jesus was going to do, or what they thought he was going to do? Was their obedience/joy mature, or immature?
- What desired life conditions or results of obedience was God trying to provide for Israel?
- What practical suggestions are giving for helping us maintain our Love for God?
- What appears to be the progressive steps of turning away from God? 30:17
REFLECTING ON YOUR LIFE:
- Think back about a time when obedience to a difficult rule was met with strong conviction… What inspired your strong conviction? What made obedience possible?
- Think back about a time when obedience to a difficult rule seemed impossible… What were you focused on? What made it so difficult to obey? Were you being driven more by fear or more by love?
- If you have older children, or as an older child yourself, how is obedience based on fear different from obedience based on love?
CONNECTING WITH YOUR CHURCH:
- Which do you imagine being more effective, a fellow CARE group member holding you accountable to obedience or one of the elders or ministers holding you accountable? What’s the difference?
- What can our church/your CARE Group, do which would emphasize the love of Jesus more consistently?
CARE Sheet Resources:
Title: “Water from THE Rock!”
Text: De. 8:14-19; Ex. 17; Num. 20:3-12; Ps. 114:7-8;
Parents with your children: It is safe to say that none of us have seen a dead person, three days buried, and raised to life again. Therefore, it is also easy to imagine that our kids at some point in time may become skeptical of the truthfulness of Scripture describing Jesus resurrection? Check out this resource on line: Resurrection iWitness by Doug Powell? Look up these additional Scriptures and discuss with your children the significance of water coming from a rock, life coming from death and our spirit’s being revived by the Holy Spirit. Nehemiah 9:15, Psalm 78:15-16, Psalm 105:41, Isaiah 48:21