Famous philosophers of the world view life as futile, meaningless, and filled with empty pain. When asked to address the ultimate purpose of life, they have little or nothing to say beyond “do what feels good,” and “there are no absolutes” so do whatever you want without guilt.
Is that really all there is to life?
The Bible is the only source that can truly clarify the meaning of life. It is the only source that offers hope beyond this world. The Bible offers the only accurate moral compass, with Jesus pointing the way to the hope of everlasting life.
Judah Smith set out on a journey to help people discuss the meaning of life. The result is a six-week discussion plan, called Life Is ______. We present lesson one of this study with the hope that you will use it as a tool to begin a discussion with your friends who have yet to meet Jesus or understand that God loves them wholeheartedly, beyond our comprehension, right where they are. ~ Fred Bittner, FaithGateway Bible Study
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Life Is ___________.
Several years ago, our church launched a campaign to get our city of Seattle to think about Jesus. We put a similar phrase, “Jesus Is _____”, on billboards, bus signs, and bumper magnets. We invited people to fill in the blank for themselves on our website.
Thousands of responses came in. The answers reflected what the people of Seattle thought about God and where they were on their spiritual journeys.
Thinking about who Jesus is led me to this premise:
We can live life to the fullest only through Jesus.
We all ask questions about the meaning of our lives, what we are here for, and what is truly important. We all have our own answers to those questions. For me, it all comes back to Jesus. He is the perfect example of a life well lived, and He is the source of authentic, refreshing, satisfying life for us.
Life Is… To Be Loved By God
Being aware of God’s love is foundational for everything we do in life. It is a truth that will change your perspective about yourself, about others, and about life itself.
Whether you have been following Jesus for years or aren’t even sure God exists, you are welcome on this journey. This study will provide a safe place for you to think, share, and ask questions as you work through the topics. It will provide a place where you can belong, no matter what stage of the journey you are on.
As we begin, find someone near you — a friend or maybe someone you’ve never met before — and ask each other the following questions:
- Have you ever been lost before? Describe the event briefly.
- How did you feel when you realized you were lost?
- How did you feel when you finally found your way?
The following are a few key thoughts to note as you watch session one of the video. Use the space provided to jot down personal observations or applications.
Love is the major theme of this life and our existence. And not just any love, but God’s love for you and for me. Our significance and our identity can be summed up in the word love.
Life starts not with our love but with us being loved — with us discovering how much God loves us.
In John 3:16 we read, “God so loved the world” (NIV). That includes bad people. In fact, God is obsessed with evil, sinful, bad people. His love for us is passionate and even illogical. He loves us whether we recognize and reciprocate His love or not.
Love finds its maximum expression in Jesus. Jesus died for us at the chance — at the mere possibility — that we would accept Him. God gave Jesus to us with no strings attached and with no guarantees. This is how risky and ridiculous God’s love for humanity is.
Life begins with us realizing the value we have before God. He is obsessed with us. He knows every detail and every nook and cranny of our lives.
The story of Hosea and Gomer in the Old Testament is one of the most beautiful and scandalous pictures of what God has done for humanity. It illustrates His shocking, relentless love for you and for me. We already belong to God, yet He paid to buy back what was already His — and the price He paid was the life of His son, Jesus.
We find our value not in things, status, and influence, but in the fact that the most powerful being in the universe is completely obsessed with us. He desires for all people to come to know Him.
We have the privilege to tell people everywhere about the unconditional, relentless love of God for them.
Our journey during these next few weeks begins not with us trying to figure out things using our own intellect, but with Jesus and with God’s love. It begins with the one who cares about us at our best and at our worst.
Take a few moments to discuss the following questions with your group.
- Have you ever wondered what life is all about? What answers did you come up with? What answers have you heard from others?
- How important is love to human beings? Why do you think it is so important?
- Why is God’s love for us more important than any other kind of love — including our love for Him?
- What does the phrase “God so loved the world” in John 3:16 tell us about God’s love? How big is His love? Who does He love?
- How is God’s love different from the love we usually receive and give to each other here on earth?
- How does the fact that Jesus became a man show us that God is interested in our existence and in the details of our lives?
- In the story of Hosea and Gomer, who does Hosea represent?
What does this story tell us about God’s love toward us?
- When it comes to sharing Jesus with other people, what is the essence of our message? What do we tell them about his love?
Sometime during the week — maybe even tomorrow morning — take this simple, practical step to help you put into words what God’s love means for you: Find a quiet place and spend a few minutes thinking about God’s love. Write down your thoughts. It doesn’t have to be polished, professional, or perfect — this is for your eyes only. For example, you could ask yourself:
- What are some words that describe God’s love?
- What is hard for me to understand or believe about His love?
- Have I seen His love in action in my life? In what ways?
Then, if you’re comfortable doing so, meet with another Jesus-follower, maybe even a member of your small group — over coffee, lunch, or even the phone — and share together your understanding of God’s love and how that affects your life.
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Come share your answers about the immeasurable love of God on our blog! We would love to hear some of your group’s answers to the discussion questions above!