Love Made Manifest

2015 Linger Conference

In this 39-minute session from the 2015 Linger Conference, Ben Stuart characterizes the love of God and explains how the objective truth of the gospel fuels affections for Him. Ben Stuart is the Executive Director for Breakaway Ministries, a weekly Bible study and gathering of college students on the campus of Texas A&M University. 

1 John 4:7-21 (ESV)

God Is Love

7Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.9In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.10In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.11Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

13 By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.14And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.16So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.17By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.18There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love.19 We love because he first loved us.20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.21And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Ben characterized people who know they are loved by God as

  1. Fearless (v. 18)
  2. Free to love others (v. 19) 

Would you characterize yourself as fearless? If not, what do you think you fear most and where does it manifest in your life?
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What situations or relationships in your life (good or bad) do you think have affected your openness to love? Is there anyone you really struggle to love?
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To become fearless and freely loving, Ben encouraged sitting in the objective truths of the love of God:
  1. Love Sends (v. 9)
  2. Love Sacrifices (v. 10)
  3. Love Stays (v. 13) 

Which of these three points struck you the most and why? How do they increase your belief in His love for you?
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Ben said, “For many of us, our love for God grows cold because we just haven’t stirred our affections for Him…God’s love is there. He has declared it to you. Fight for it.” Has your love for God ever grown cold? Why do you think that happened? How did you regain intimacy with Him? What are some practical ways you can regularly stir your affections for God and fight to keep that love alive?
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God loves you. His love was made manifest in sending and sacrificing His only Son, that you might live through Him by the power of the Spirit. If you struggle to believe this love or if your love for God has grown cold, make time to sit and stare at the objective truth of the gospel until you experience fearlessness and freedom. 

For more information on the Linger Conference and how you can attend the next event, click here.