“God Is Love”
Manifestations of Heavenly Father's love for us.
Manifestations of the Savior's love for us.
Showing our love for Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ, and others.
A study of this lesson will help us understand how the Father and the Son
show their love for us and how we should show our love for them.
Scripture references for study:
2 John, and
Note: Underlined scripture references have been hyperlinked
to the LDS Scriptures at LDS.org and will open in a new window.
Lesson 44 Handout (PDF)
There is little or no evidence within this epistle to indicate where John
wrote this letter. There is a tradition that John spent a long period
in Ephesus, thus making it possible that the letter was written from there. Evidence indicates that this letter was written after the destruction of
Jerusalem in A.D. 70, probably as late as A.D. 96.
2 John & 3 John.
Evidence suggests that these two letter were written from the same time
period and place as 1 John, though a little closer to the turn of the century.
Manifestations Of Heavenly Father's Love
IF YOU WERE TO USE ONE WORD TO DESCRIBE HEAVENLY FATHER, WHAT WOULD IT
Consider the words of John:
"He that loveth not knoweth
not God; for God is love." (1 John 4:8)
"And we have known and believed
the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love
dwelleth in God, and God in him." (1 John 4:16)
WHY IS LOVE AN APPROPRIATE DESCRIPTION OF HEAVENLY
As we consider the wide variety of definitions for
the word "love," in its highest form it goes beyond a strong attachment
or affection. It is manifested in a giving of oneself to others. Heavenly Father has dedicated his entire Eternal existence to his children. As spoken to Moses, "For behold, this is
my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life
of man" (Moses 1:39).
1 JOHN 3:1-2. When we see
God, we shall be like him.
WHAT MANIFESTATION OF GOD'S LOVE DID JOHN MAKE REFERENCE
TO IN THESE VERSES?
God will call us his "sons" and make us like
Christ--glorified, exalted, and joint heirs with him.
It is important to note that the use of the words
"sons of God" in these verses does not refer to all of Heavenly Father's
spirit children. It is a specific reference to those who take upon
themselves the name of Christ through baptism and honor his name through
faith and righteousness.
as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received
the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of
adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth
witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then
heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer
with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Romans
WHAT MUST WE DO TO BE CALLED THE SONS OF GOD?
one that doeth righteousness is born of him."
(1 John 2:29)
let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that
loveth is born of God, and knoweth God." (1
ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For
as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ."
MOSIAH 5:5-9. You
shall be called the children of God.
my beloved brethren, pray unto the Father with all the energy of
heart, that ye may be filled with this love, which he hath bestowed
upon all who are true followers of his Son, Jesus Christ; that ye may become
the sons of God; that when he shall appear we shall be like him, for we
shall see him as he is; that we may have this hope; that we may be purified
even as he is pure." (Moroni 7:48)
1 JOHN 4:9-10. God
loved us and sent his Son to atone for our sins.
WHAT MANIFESTATION OF GOD'S LOVE IS REFERRED TO IN
He sent His Son to atone for our sins. "For God so loved the world, that
he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not
perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
Few of us can even catch a glimpse of what Heavenly
Father sacrificed in sending his Son to this wicked world. Heavenly Father knew the weight
of the burden his Son would be taking upon himself and yet he sent
him forward to carry out the eternal plan. Maybe Abraham, when he
went upon the mount to sacrifice Isaac, learned a little about the Father's
sacrifice. Maybe those who sacrifice children to a worthy cause know
a little about the great love shown by our Heavenly Father.
know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of
(1 John 4:13)
WHAT MANIFESTATION OF GOD'S LOVE HAS JOHN REFERRED
TO IN THIS VERSE?
One of the fruits of modern technology is GPS, or Global Positioning Systems. With a GPS system
aboard a sail boat, even the person who knows little about navigation can know where
he is at all times during a voyage. Upon sending us to earth, Heavenly
Father knew the challenges we would have navigating through the turbulent waters
of life. He has given us the gift of the Spirit to guide us in our lives,
something far more powerful and reliable that GPS.
HOW HAS THE SPIRIT BEEN AN IMPORTANT GIFT IN YOUR
As we live worthy of the Spirit and listen to its
quiet promptings, we can be aided in the important decisions of life. We are warned away from sin that can make our lives turbulent. The
Spirit guides us on a daily basis, at home, at work,
in our Church assignments, and in all that we do.
this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according
to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever
we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him."
(1 John 5:14-15)
John taught that Heavenly Father will answer our
prayers if we ask according to his will.
This avenue of communication with Heavenly Father
ties in perfectly with the gift of the Spirit. As we navigate through
life, through the turbulent seas of life, we do have a
means of communication with our Heavenly Father. Through prayer we
can discuss the course of our life. When necessary we can send out
an SOS. It is often during these sacred moments of prayer that we
are closest to the Spirit and there is true two-way communication.
HOW HAS PRAYER HELPED YOU FEEL HEAVENLY FATHER'S
During the last weeks of my mission, my grandmother
passed away. I had hoped to meet her again after my mission and share
my experiences. Grandma had been tremendously supportive of the missionary
work. After her husband died, she served two missions herself. She assisted my parents with the cost of my mission. She often wrote. During my growing up years, she was always reminding me of little ways
to prepare to be a good missionary. I was so disappointed and upset
when she passed away. I would not be able to report back
to her on my mission experience. Before retiring to bed, on the evening I learned of her passing,
I knelt in prayer and expressed to Heavenly Father my disappointment and
loss. As I did so, I came to feel the sweet comforting influence
of the Holy Ghost. It was as if I was wrapped in a heavy, warm blanket
on a stormy night. My heart was calmed and I knew that all was well.
love him, because he first loved us."
(1 John 4:19)
Having progressed through mortal life first as a
child, on to adulthood, to parenthood, and now as grandparent, I think
I understand what John is saying here. As a child, I did not always
have great affection for my parents. Sometimes I thought they were
mean when they restricted my activities or punished me. I learned over time,
especially once I became a parent, they did what they did out of love. They were preparing me for the bigger world. And now my love and
admiration for them has grown, because they loved me first. Over the years I have
watched parents continue to love their children in spite of the follies
that they fall into.
And so it is with Heavenly Father. He has loved
us as his children. I think we only get a glimpse of that love as
we become parents. He loves all of his children, even though they
turn away from them. How he must have wept when a third of his children
waged eternal rebellion.
Elder Neal A. Maxwell: "Just
as the love of God for us is unconditional, one day ours for Him will be
likewise. This is what the first commandment is all about. But even then,
the adoration and awe we have developed for God will take humble and eternal
notice of the vital fact stressed by John—that God loved us
first. (1 John 4:19.) Indeed, while God's great plan of redemption was
made feasible by His omniscience and His omnipotence, it was made inevitable
because of His perfect love for us!"
(All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience, p128)
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE WAYS THAT GOD HAS SHOWN HIS
LOVE FOR YOU?
HOW DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU CONSIDER THE WAYS GOD HAS
SHOWN HIS LOVE FOR YOU?
President Thomas S. Monson:
Heavenly Father's plan contains the ultimate expressions of true love. All that we hold dear--even our families, our friends, our joy, our knowledge,
our testimonies--would vanish were it not for our Father and His Son, the
Lord Jesus Christ.... The world has witnessed no greater gift, nor
has it known more lasting love."
(Ensign, May 1993, pp62-63)
Manifestations Of The Savior's Love
"Hereby perceive we the love
of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down
our lives for the brethren." (1 John 3:16)
WHAT BLESSINGS CAN WE RECEIVE BECAUSE OF THE SAVIOR'S ATONEMENT?
1 JOHN 1:7-9. The blood of Christ cleanseth
us from sin.
1 JOHN 5:11-13. We can have eternal life
2 NEPHI 9:11-13. Through Christ we are
redeemed from physical and spiritual death.
"My little children, these
things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an
advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation
for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole
world." (1 John 2:1-2)
WHAT MANIFESTATION OF THE SAVIOR'S LOVE DOES JOHN REFER TO IN THESE VERSES?
He is our advocate with the Father. Elder Bruce R. McConkie: "According
to the law of advocacy, our Lord intercedes for the faithful saints and
pleads their cause in the courts above" (A New Witness for the
Articles of Faith, p126).
"Listen to him who is the
advocate with the Father, who is pleading your cause before him-- Saying: Father, behold
the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom thou wast well
pleased; behold the blood of thy Son which was shed, the blood of him whom
thou gavest that thyself might be glorified; Wherefore, Father, spare
these my brethren that believe on my name, that they may come unto me and
have everlasting life." (D&C 45:3-5)
"He that committeth sin is of
the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the
Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil."
(1 John 3:8)
HOW DO THE SAVIOR'S LIFE AND TEACHINGS DESTROY THE DEVIL'S WORKS?
Satan's work is the opposite of that of the Father. He wishes to
keep all of us from immortality and eternal life. Neither would be possible without the intercession of the Savior. Christ opened
the door and made it possible for all of us to return to the Father. The teachings of Christ, as delivered by
himself and his prophets, guide
us in living righteously. Each person that follows the gospel of
Christ takes a brick out of the devil's fortress.
Showing Our Love For Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ,
HOW CAN WE SHOW OUR LOVE FOR HEAVENLY FATHER AND JESUS CHRIST?
1 JOHN 2:3-6. The love of God perfected
in those who keep His word.
As we seek to do as our parents have taught us, we come to love them with
greater feeling because we know that they have struggled to teach us correct
principles. And so it is when we "keepeth" the word of God. We come to learn that his teachings and commandments are not restrictive,
but as the Savior taught, the truth will make us free.
Bruce R. McConkie: "If Christ was in the
Father because he did the words of the Father (and the Father was thereby
in him), it follows that if we do the words of Christ, we will be in him
(and he in turn will dwell in us)." (The Promised Messiah,
"I have no greater joy than
to hear that my children walk in truth." (3 John 1:4)
As a parent, I am been pleased and joyful when
I see one of my children make choices based on eternal principles. How pleased I was, when one of my daughters told of walking out of a room
at a friend's house because an "R" rated movie was playing. How
it thrilled me when my daughters knelt at the alter and were sealed to
a righteous priesthood bearer. To have seen my son serve a mission
brought great satisfaction. We show our gratitude and love to Heavenly
Father by following the course set by the gospel of Jesus Christ.
1 JOHN 2:15-17. Love
not the world.
WHAT DO WE LEARN FROM THESE VERSES ABOUT SHOWING
LOVE FOR GOD?
HOW DO WE SOMETIMES SHOW LOVE FOR THE WORLD RATHER
THAN LOVE FOR GOD?
HOW ARE WE AFFECTED WHEN WE SHOW LOVE FOR THE WORLD?
"If any man love the world, the love of the Father is
not in him." (v15)
Brigham Young: "Take
courage, brethren ... plow your land and sow wheat, plant your potatoes.
It is our duty to preach the Gospel, gather Israel, pay our tithing and
build temples. The worst fear I have about this people is that they will
get rich in this country, forget God and His people, wax fat, and kick
themselves out of the Church and go to hell. This people will stand mobbing,
robbing, poverty, and all manner of persecution and be true. But my greatest
fear is that they cannot stand wealth."
(quoted by Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, p48)
HOW CAN WE OVERCOME A LOVE FOR WORLDLY THINGS?
John Taylor: "It
was said of olden time—'Love not the world, neither the things that are
in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not
in him.' (1 John 2:15.) That is as true today as it was eighteen hundred
years ago. It is proper that we, as elders of Israel, and as heads of families,
should reflect upon these things, for in many instances we are setting
examples before our children that will tend to plunge them to perdition.
Is this what we are gathered here for? I tell you, Nay; we are gathered
here to serve God and keep his commandments, and to build up his Zion upon
the earth." (The Gospel Kingdom,
let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth
is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God;
for God is love.... Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to
love one another."
(1 John 4:7-8,11)
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THESE VERSES ABOUT HOW TO SHOW
OUR LOVE FOR GOD?
John also stated, "He
that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even
until now" (1 John 2:9).
WHY IS OUR LOVE FOR OTHERS A MEASURE OF OUR LOVE
How can we truly love Heavenly Father if we do not
love His children.
As stated in the Hymn (#308),
As I have loved you,
Love one another.
This new commandment:
Love one another.
By this shall men know
Ye are my disciples,
If ye have love
One to another.
HOW CAN WE COME TO FEEL AND DEMONSTRATE GREATER LOVE
FOR EACH OTHER?
Gospel Doctrine Notebook
Record your thoughts on the teachings of John. How can you demonstrate
your love for Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ?
Resources Used In This Lesson
A New Witness for the Articles of Faith by Bruce R. McConkie.
All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience by Neal A.
The Gospel Kingdom by John Taylor.
The Miracle of Forgiveness by Spencer W. Kimball.
The Promised Messiah by Bruce R. McConkie.
Gospel Doctrine Class
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Changes last made on:
13 October 2015