1). List and discuss the characteristics of God's love found in 1 Corinthians 13.
In this chapter it talks about God's love, which is charity, and this love is agape love.
This word translated "love" (or "charity" in some translations and versions of this passage of Scripture) comes from the Greek word agape which is God's kind of love. To love with His love means to love the same way as God loves, to manifest God's love towards another, whether it is towards God Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ, yourself, your Christian neighbor, or towards anyone else. We are to walk in faith, have hope, and must of all have love in our hearts as God has loved us. These characteristics is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance, (Galatians 5:22-23).
2). Name a synonym for or give a short description of each characteristic. Share what each quality means to you.
A. Faith: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Faith is the substance or assurance of things we hope for, but have not yet received. Faith (confidence, belief, trust) is also our evidence of that which is not seen—the invisible spiritual things. Faith comes before a prayer is answered or before an individual has received what he or she has requested from God. If we have received what we asked for, then faith is not needed.
B. Hope: The Greek word translated hope means "to have an expectation". As believers, we have an expectation (a hope) of spending eternity with the Lord. And because of our faith in what He accomplished for us, we can be sure that what we hope for will come to fruition. Some call this our "blessed assurance". "Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen (what is happening in this world), but on what is unseen (what will happen in the next world). For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal" (2 Cor. 4:16-18). In other words, "We live by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7). What is happening here will soon be over for us, but what will happen there will last forever.
C. Charity: The word is found primarily in the King James Version of the Bible, and it nearly always means "love." In the great "love chapter"——the KJV translates as "charity" while the modern translations render it more accurately as "love." The only use of the word to indicate "giving" is , which refers to Dorcas, a woman "full of good works and charity." The Greek word here means "compassion, as exercised towards the poor; beneficence." The KJV translates it "almsgiving."
3). Discuss ways in which the church as a body of Christian believers can express its love for God and one another.
Scripture teaches us about ourselves, our condition, and our God. God's love, of course, is a focal point of Scripture and a focal point of our stories of salvation. God's love is aimed at the individual, yes, but also to the Body of Christ, comprised of his redeemed individuals. The local church is a centralized representative of this body, a body promised to conquer even the gates of Hell (Matt. 16:18). There are perhaps innumerable ways to describe God's love in relation to the local church, but here are four significant ways our churches can reflect God's love properly to each other and the world.
1. Christ-Centered Leadership: Leaders should strive for excellence and use their gifts, but never in a way that compromises their call to love people with the love of God.
2. Community Engagement: Living in community with one another and in the midst of outsiders is challenging and not for the faint of heart. But we must fight for it because God's love is reflected in our love toward people. This is why the Great Commandment, according to Jesus, is to love God and love others. And this is why Jesus reminds his disciples that love for each other identifies with love for Him (John 13:35).
3. Church Membership: Believes are adopted into God's family (Romans 8:15, Ephesians 5:1) to receive His blessings (Ephesians 1:14) and do His work (Ephesians 2:10). Simply put, the life of a believer is now bound to advancing His Kingdom. Believers are identified and called through new life in Christ. Jesus specifically gives the keys to this Kingdom to His followers (Matthew 16:19) and tells them that this a blood covenant (Matthew 26:28). When God's people reflect the character of Christ, bear one another's burden, break bread together, and live life on God's mission, His love is clearly evident in the midst of them. AMEN.
4. Church Discipline: Discipline in the Church results in life within the body. Some of the greatest stories of repentance and rejuvenation that I've encountered (and experienced) began with a person being held accountable for their actions. Likewise, God's love for us is often disciplinary, but it is for our good (Hebrews 12:1-17).