"I have but one passion - it is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can most be used in winning souls for Christ."

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sunday School Message #9

Introduction: Well, today is our last Sunday to meet together. I want to tell you all that it has been a privilege to study God’s Word together with you and I look forward to more opportunities we will have to interact in the years to come. Today we are studying the final, and most important, aspect of “How to Think Like Jesus.” Today we are going to study A Heart for Love. Let’s begin in prayer…

8. A Heart for Love
a. Mat.22:37-40
- We’re reminded of the importance of love in Jesus reply to the lawyer in Matthew 22. “Jesus said unto him…” Jesus said that all of the laws of God hang on those two commands – to love God and love others. Today we’re going to focus on the second of those commands. What does the Bible have to say about loving others? How did our Lord Jesus treat others? Because as always, we need to follow our Lord’s example.

b. Jn.13:34-35
- This passage is the first time that Jesus commanded His disciples to love each other. He says, “A new commandment…” Two things in this passage are very important. Jesus says that we should love each other as He has loved us. This is the best way to describe our love for each other in one phrase. We should love others the way Jesus loves them – the way He loves us. We need to see people the way He sees them. They are not just another irritation; not just another person to get in the way of our lives. They are a special treasure that Jesus cherishes. We ought to love others the way Jesus loves them. The second thing that is important is verse 35. Jesus says, “By this shall all men know…” We have talked often about the importance of our testimony as a Christian. Jesus tells us here that if we love each other, the world will know that we are His disciples. This is probably the most important motivation we have for loving others – the world will know that we are His disciples.

c. Jn.15:9-13,17
In this next passage, Jesus repeats His command for us to love each other and explains it to us more. “As the Father…” Notice, if you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love. Again we see the connection between obeying God’s law and loving others. In verse 11, we learn that loving others is the key to having joy in our lives. “These things have I spoken…” And in verse 13, Jesus tells us the ultimate demonstration of love – to give one’s life for his friends. Very soon after Jesus spoke this, His disciples would understand exactly what He was saying and exactly how much He loved them. Then notice in verse 17, Jesus repeats His command. “These things I command you…” Remember that anytime the Bible repeats something, it is because we need to take special notice of it. We are commanded by our Lord to love others.

d. Jn.17:21-26
We have looked several times at Jesus prayer to His Father in John 17. In these verses, Jesus prays the same things to His Father that he taught to His disciples. “That they may all be one…that the world may believe…the love…may be in them.” So we see that Jesus didn’t only teach these things to His disciples. He prayed that they would follow them.

e. Rom.12:10
Look now at Romans 12:10. The Apostle Paul tells us, “Be kindly affectioned…” Notice he says that we should have “brotherly love” for each other. As Christians, we are a family. We ought to have the same love for each other that a family has for each other. And then he explains this by saying, “In honor preferring one another…” This is a very simple explanation of how we can love others – we prefer their needs above our own.

f. Rom.13:8-10; Gal.5:14
These next two passages talk more about how love fulfills the law in relation to those around us. “Owe no man…” And Gal.5:14 says, “All the law…” Love does no evil to another person. It’s simple.

g. Eph.4:1-2; 5:1-2
But you say, “It can’t be that simple. If I treat people like that then they will just walk all over me. They will treat me badly, because they know that I will not treat them badly in return.” What does the Bible say about that? Look at Ephesians 4. “I therefore…” Notice the words in verse 2 – lowliness, meekness, longsuffering, forbearing. Yes, when you love somebody the way Christ loves us, you may be hurt at times. You may be mistreated. But wasn’t Christ? When Christ was mistreated and hurt, did He ever respond by hurting others? No. He was humble. He was longsuffering. We’ve seen in passages already that we are to love others the way that Christ loved us! We are to be humble, longsuffering, meek, and forbearing. And notice chapter 5, “Be ye therefore…” When we love others the way that Christ loved us, we are being “followers of God, as dear children.” We are “walking in love.” We are giving “an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savor.”

h. Phil.2:2-5
We studied this next passage when we were talking about humility. But look again at how it also describes our relationship with others. “Fulfill ye my joy…” Did you see the phrases “like-minded”, “having the same love”, “lowliness of mind”, “esteem others.” Those same attitudes that have been described by other passages in the Bible are also true about our love. And look at verse 5, “Let this mind be in you…” This is the mind of Christ.

i. I Cor.13
For our last passage today, we are going to read the most famous passage on love in all the Scriptures: I Corinthians 13. “Though I speak…” Let’s break down this powerful passage and examine the many aspects of love. Verse 1 – Love is more important than our gifts, talents, or abilities. Verse 2 – Love is more important than our knowledge or our faith. Verse 3 – Love is more important than our good deeds. Verse 3 – Love suffers long. Again we see this principle of suffering in relation to our love. It is not always easy to love, but it is always commanded. Love does not envy. Envy wants what somebody else has so much that you even wish they didn’t have it. A relationship, a family, a house, a car – these are all things that we can envy. But love does not envy. Love does is not puffed up. Love does not exalt itself before others. Love does not show off. Love is not proud. Verse 5 – Love is not rude. Love considers others above itself and acts in a way that does not offend others. Love does not seek her own. We’ve seen this in several verses now. Love seeks the good of others above itself. Love is not easily provoked. It is not made angry easily. If you love somebody, you will not be constantly getting angry with them. Love thinks no evil. Verse 6 – Love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. If somebody loves you, they will not tempt you to sin. They will not encourage you to lie. They will not hinder your spiritual life, but they will help you to grow. Verse 7 – Love bears all things. Again we see the idea of longsuffering. Love believes all things. Every love relationship is based on trust. Love trusts in those it loves. Love hopes all things. Love is always seeking the good of those it loves. It hopes for their best and brightest future. Love endures all things. No matter what hardship if goes through, love will always come out on top. Love can never be taken away by circumstances or situations. It endures all things. Verse 8 – Unlike many other things, love will never end. And finally verse 13 – Now we live our lives with three things – faith, hope, and love – but the greatest of these is love.

Today’s lesson was very short. But that is because this teaching about love is very simple. We must love others as Christ loved us. We must have the same mind as Christ had. Young people, love one another. “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

Conclusion: This has been a wonderful time for us to study together over the past two months. I thank you all for your faithfulness, your attention, your participation, and I pray that as I go back to the States for a while, that you will all remember the things that we have studied. I pray that you will all be able to think like Christ. I pray that you will make your decisions, during these important years of your teenage lives, the way that Jesus would. So remember, to think like Jesus, you must have a heart for the lost, a heart for prayer, a heart for God’s will, a heart for others, a heart for purity, a heart for service, a heart for faith, and most of all, a heart for love. Let’s pray…

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