Why Does God Love Us?

Lesson 4

 
 

Lesson Intro For Leaders

As we continue to try to answer our questions about God, we are closing in on the questions that are deeply personal to us. This lesson seeks to give space to enter into the question of ‘Why Does God Love Us?’ without presumption that a student is already in connection with God and without forcing a certain scripted personal response.

 

Gathering Questions

Supplies: Dice or Dice Roll App

As you gather, ask each other the following question:  What do you Love?


Roll a dice- whatever number you come up with is the way you have to answer the following question.. 

  1. Name a place you like to visit

  2. Name something you can cook/bake

  3. Name something from church

  4. Name a holiday you love

  5. Name something that you enjoy doing/ an activity (ie I love Running)

  6. Name a person who loves YOU!

 

Opening Prayer

Supplies: Candle (optional)

As a family/group- have one person read the “leader” parts, and the rest of the family/small group respond in the following call & response prayer below adapted from Psalm 136:1-9. Instruct the person leading the prayer to read the leader part and have the rest of group respond with the response “For God’s love forever!”


Leader: O give thanks to the Lord, for God is good

All:         For God’s love lasts forever!

Leader: O give thanks to the God of gods, O give thanks to the Lord of lords

All:         For God’s love lasts forever!


Leader: Who alone does great wonders and by understanding made the heavens

All:         For God’s love lasts forever!

Leader: Who spread out the earth on the waters and made the great lights

All:         For God’s love lasts forever!


Leader: Who made the sun to rule over the day and the moon and stars to rule over the night

All:         For God’s love lasts forever!

Leader: O give thanks to the God of heaven


All:        For God’s love lasts forever!

 

Alternate Opening Prayer

Gracious God, we know that you are good and that you love endures forever! We give thanks, for we know that you are the Lord of lords, the one who does great wonders throughout heaven and earth. You are the creator of all things and for your creation, we give thanks!

Bless this time together that we might be reminded of your love for us, a love that lasts forever! Amen!

 

Creation Challenge

Supplies Needed: Each student needs either a 12-inch piece of aluminum foil.

Give each student several minutes to create anything with their aluminum foil or saran wrap.  They can recreate a modern wonder of the world (like Eiffel Tower, Mt. Rushmore, Statue of Liberty, et.). They can create their favorite animal, real or mythical. They can create an action scene from their favorite book, movie, or even event so far at camp. Alert the students as time ends. Have each student explain their creations.

 

Scripture Background

For the leader...

In 1 John 4, God’s essence is described as love. Even though God does not have to, God chooses to love. Since it is God's essential nature to love, God demonstrates God’s love by lavishing it on undeserving people, even those who are in rebellion against God. God’s love is not a sappy, sentimental, romantic feeling. Rather, it is agape love, the love of self-sacrifice. God demonstrates this sacrificial love through Jesus and the cross to pay the penalty for our sin (1 John 4:10), by drawing us to God’s self (John 6:44), by forgiving us of our rebellion against God, and by sending God’s Holy Spirit to dwell within us, thereby enabling us to love as God loves. God does this in spite of the fact that we do not deserve it. "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).


Talk about Christ’s atonement for us can be tricky even for pastors and theologians. There are many ways to talk about what Christ did and accomplishes at the cross. Remember that your students can come from and hold a variety of perspectives and there are a variety of ways that we all can learn about what Christ does in new and different ways. Here is one online article that might be helpful: https://www.umnews.org/en/news/why-did-jesus-have-to-die

 

Scripture Reading Setup

Say something like this: “Why does God love us? This week we’ve been looking to answer some pretty big questions. Where do we see God? When has God shown up? Have we ever witnessed God showing up? Who is God?”


“Today we’ve been looking at answering the question: Why does God loves us? Honestly, it’s a tough question to answer. There is a really well-known bible verse, John 3:16, and in this verse, it says ‘For God so loved the world…’ But this doesn’t really answer the question? John 3:16 does show us though, that God does in fact love us! This is amazing news, and surely there are some other places we can dig in and see ‘why’ God loves us.”


“To see why God loves us, we are taking a look at who God is. 1 John 4:8 and 4:16 tell us that “God is love.” These words in 1 John help us understand that who God is, how we can see God, and why God loves us. You see, God doesn’t just love; God is love. God’s nature and essence are love. Love permeates God’s very being and infuses all of God’s other attributes, even God’s wrath and anger. Because God’s very nature is love, God must demonstrate love, just as God must demonstrate all of the other attributes, because doing so glorifies God.”


“Another way we can understand that God loves us is by remembering the story in Genesis of God creating humankind, which we talked about this morning. We are God’s creation and there is a deep connection of love and affection towards our creator and us the creation. In this story after creating humanity, God called us “very good.” God loved what God had created and we continue to see this in 1 John 4 when Christ is sent to show how much God loves us.”

 

Scripture Reading

1 John 4:7-11, 16 (NIV)

(Bible Background for students:  the writer of the First Letter of John was writing to a congregation that had become divided.  The letter is intended to assure those who faithfully stayed in the church instead of leaving.)


7Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11Beloved, since God loved us so much, we also ought to love one another. 16So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.

Definition: A·bide - /ə-ˈbīd/

- to remain, stay 
- to continue to exist, remain, last, persist, continue to live, wait for, await

 

Discussion Questions

  • What do you think John means when he writes “God is love?”

  • We are shown God’s love for us through God’s Son, Jesus Christ. How else are we shown God’s love? How do we show God’s love to other people? 

  • What does it mean for us to abide in God’s love? 

 

Digging Deeper Questions

Surface: 

  • Have you ever made something you were proud of? Did you want to show it off?

  • Why is God all about love?

Deeper: 

  • Why is important for us to understand that God loves everyone? Why is it hard at times for us to believe that God loves everyone?

  • How does God’s love inspire us to act? When you finish camp, is there someone that you need to love differently? How?

Deepest: 

  • Who or what are things that you love? Why do you love them? 

  • What do you think God intends for creation? For us as people?

  • How do you think God perfects love in us? 

  • Why does God not not love us? 

 

Alternate Scipture

Alternate Scripture/Story if needed for Children (use the surface, deep, deeper questions above)

Luke 7:11-17 (NRSV) 

11 Soon afterwards he (Jesus) went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went with him. 12As he approached the gate of the town, a man who had died was being carried out. He was his mother’s only son, and she was a widow; and with her was a large crowd from the town. 13When the Lord saw her, he had compassion for her and said to her, ‘Do not weep.’ 14Then he came forward and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, ‘Young man, I say to you, rise!’ 15The dead man sat up and began to speak, and Jesus gave him to his mother. 16Fear seized all of them; and they glorified God, saying, ‘A great prophet has risen among us!’ and ‘God has looked favorably on his people!’ 17This word about him spread throughout Judea and all the surrounding country.

 

Creations Revisited

Bring the group’s attention back to the creations they made earlier. Once everyone gets a look, tell the group to instantly squash their creations, and then jump into the following questions. 


  • What was your reaction when I asked you to squash the things you created?

  • How did it feel to have your work suddenly destroyed? 

  • How do you think your love and feelings for something you just created in a few minutes compare to God’s love and feelings for us as God’s creation?

 

Closing Discussion

Spend some time discussing and reflecting on this lesson and then close with a prayer below.

  • After this lesson, how would you answer the question: Why does God love us?

  • Knowing that God always loves us, who is someone in your life that may be hard to love that you might keep trying to share God's love with?

What to Remember:

May we always rest in God’s abiding love

 

Getting Ready for Prayer

(Optional)

Help us to rest in your abiding love, oh God:


  • Raise your shoulders up to your ears, then drop them quickly.  Say “Thank you, God.”

  • Stretch your hands to the ceiling, then drop them quickly.  Say: “Thank you, God.”

  • Gently roll your head to the right, to the left and then slowly back to the center.  Say: “Thank you, God.”

 

Closing Prayer

Invite the students to cup their chin with both their hands and pray with you as you read the prayer below. 


Almighty God,

 in you there is no darkness at all.

Give us your eternal light.

When we cannot see the way before us,

may we continue to put our trust in you,

that under your guidance and protection

we may be kept from falling this day,

and finally, by your mercy,

enter into our rest;

through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

Amen

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