Q1: Discuss how these three passages correlate and why, even though we are told to expect opposition, it can still be surprising.
John 10:31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”
1 John 3:13 Do not be surprised, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you.
1 Peter 4:12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
Q2: Read John 8:1-11. What are the ways Jesus showed loved to this woman? How might someone reading this account be “offended” by our Lord’s response? What does it mean that some will find this kind of “acceptance, unacceptable?”
Q3: In 1 John 4:7-12, how many times do you see “love” (or a form of the word)? How would you summarize John’s argument in a single sentence?
Q4: In 1 John 4:8 you find what the New Testament affirms over and over, the cross of Christ is the clearest revelation of the love of God. Why do you think some people find great comfort in this and are able to trust God with the mystery of his will and others do not find this sufficient to deal with their doubts and struggles? (The point is not to try and mind read others, this is a hypothetical question aimed at thinking about why the cross of Christ is a satisfying answer for some and not for others. If you want to tell your own personal perspective that would be great.)
Q5: When might the statement, “I want my kids to be happy” be very right and when might it be very wrong? (or “I want to be happy.”) When have you seen the pursuit of happiness take people in a wrong direction. When have you seen it take them on a path towards Christ?
Q6: In 1 John 4:13-21, how are the “truth test” and the “love test” tied together? How do they work together to increase confidence in relationship with God?
Q7: The bar for loving others is set very high. It is the cross of Christ. This is sometimes called a “Cruciform life.” It is where faith in Jesus is expressed in sacrificial love for God and others. How are you doing in this? (We can assume no one is doing “great” but how are you growing or how are you currently going backwards or stuck?)
Read: Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Phil. 2
Pray: Everyone pray (preferably out loud) a brief prayer for your own life related to this passage.