NBC SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR OCTOBER 11, 2020 : TOPIC – OVERCOMING SELF-INTEREST
NBC SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
OCTOBER 11, 2020
Devotional Reading: Isaiah 1:12-17
Background/Lesson Scripture: Luke 6:27-36
“But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:27-28
Primary Learning Outcome/Indicators
Learners will know that God has commanded us to love one another as He loves us and indicate achievement of this by:
Identifying the enemies Jesus mentioned in the passage;
Discovering our responsibilities to the perceived enemies, according to the passage and the reward for doing so;
Making concrete decision on how they can overcome self-interest in order to love their enemies.
Mrs Victoria Owie is a Christian and a mother of two. She is the secretary of the Women Missionary Union (W.M.U) in her church. She looks pious but actually she is known to be troublesome and keeps malice at the slightest disagreement with people. One day, she had a quarrel with her neighbour and publicly, she declared that the woman has become her enemy for life. Every attempt made by the woman to reconcile with her proved unsuccessful, even with the intervention of the president of the Women Missionary Union of her church. The hatred she had for the woman continued for months without her readiness to interact or reconcile with her. However, Mrs Victoria Owie’s neighbour never ceased to pray, do good, care for her children and tolerate insults from her. When she was interviewed about her interest and generosity towards Mrs Victoria and her family, despite the misunderstanding, she explained and made reference to Jesus’ teaching in the gospel according to Luke about loving our enemies as Christians. Later, her persistence in doing good to Mrs Victoria and her family members brought about reconciliation and peace began to reign again. Mrs Victoria testified about the spiritual maturity of her neighbour who ceaselessly demonstrated love and kindness toward her and her family, in spite of the fact that she had declared her her enemy for life.
Oftentimes, we wonder how we should treat our enemies and how we should respond to them. Generally, the human nature in us would want us to retaliate and possibly cease from doing good to those who hate us and wish us evil. Jesus taught His disciples to love their enemies by forgiving them, responding to their needs, and by being non-judgmental. Our lesson today focuses on Jesus’ instructions regarding the principles of overcoming self-interest in the Christian community.
THE LESSON EXPLAINED
A. INSTRUCTIONS TO LOVE OUR ENEMY. LUKE 6:27-31
Jesus spent adequate time to instruct His disciples about the kingdom mandate. Chapter 6 of the gospel of Luke has the record of instructions for His disciples including the command to love their enemies. According to this passage, Jesus explained in detail how to overcome self-interest and to love one another, even our enemies. First He said, “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.” (vv. 27-29) Furthermore, He commanded in verse 30 to give when anyone asks for something and never demand back when anyone takes what belongs to us. Thereafter, He emphasised the importance of the Golden Rule which says, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” It simply means to overcome self-centredness. The command to love our enemies was also echoed by Paul in his letter to the church in Rome. He said, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” (Romans 12:14) The enemies Jesus referred to in this passage are those who hate us, curse, maltreat, persecute and forcefully take what belongs to us because of our faith in the Lord Jesus. They can be likened to Boko Haram members, kidnappers and some other Muslim groups who go about killing Christians because of their faith in Jesus. In fact, the principle of loving our enemies is contrary to the understanding of the people of the world who believe in ‘a tooth for a tooth and tit for tat’.
Jesus’ command to love our enemies is a call to overcome self-interest and a total change of life. A natural man cannot meet the requirements of loving their enemies and doing good to those who maltreat them without the tendency to retaliate. However, these instructions are for those who care to listen, obey Jesus’ teaching and those whose lives have been transformed. This explains the implication of Jesus’ statement to Nicodemus when He said, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” (John 3:3) It should be noted that as important as it to is love our enemies, we should also not compromise our stand concerning evil or fail to confront it, whenever it is necessary so that we will not be judged.
Class members should discuss how much they will be willing to take risks in order to love their enemies.
Are there enemies that they can never love? Why or why not, according to the passage.
Is it right to rejoice when calamity befalls our enemies?
B. THE REWARD FOR LOVING OUR ENEMIES. LUKE 6:32-36
Jesus’ questions in verses 32-34 are indications that the command for His followers to love their enemies is mandatory. He made a comparison between the lives of sinners, which must be distinguished with good deeds by believers. He said, what will be our credit if we love, do good and lend to those who love us, and those from whom we expect repayment? Because sinners do likewise without expecting anything in form of gain. In other words, our actions and kindness must exceed the activities of sinners to attract rewards. Again, He repeated the command to love our enemies, do good to them and lend without expecting anything back (v. 35). Similarly, in Matthew chapter 5:42, Jesus said, “When someone asks you for something, give it to him; when someone wants to borrow something, lend it to him.” The reward of obeying the command to love our enemies is in twofold: there will be a great reward and we will be qualified to be called children of the Most High. He concluded with an admonition to be merciful, just as our Father is merciful. This command is no doubt the cure for selfish interest and self-centredness.
There is always a reward for every action. Jesus did not only state our responsibilities to love our enemies, pray and care for them, meet their needs, He also stated the reward for obeying His command. It is the only way to confirm our claim that God is our Father; hence we are expected to live and act like Him. It is almost natural to reciprocate by loving those who love us and retaliate by hating those who hate us, but Jesus’ standard is that Christians are to love their perceived enemies. The command to be merciful is also important because it takes a merciful or compassionate person to do good, both to the ungrateful and the wicked just like God who allows the wicked to enjoy the rain and the sunshine.
1. Discuss the power of selflessness.
2. What does it require to obey the Golden Rule?
3. Apart from being called sons of God, what are some other rewards for loving our enemies?
4. Is it biblical to pray for the destruction of our enemies?
Commitment Based on Today’s Lesson
My Personal Commitment________________
Commitment to My Church__________________
Commitment towards My Relationship with Others________
1. Thank God for the grace to overcome self-interest and to love others as much as we love ourselves.
2. Ask God to give you grace to walk in the reality of Christ’s victory over self.
3. Pray and ask God to help you not to miss your reward for loving your enemies.
Fellowship and Ministry Building Activity
Encourage the members to write down some steps they will take to forgive their enemies and love them as themselves. They should be ready to share their ideas with one another.
* Christians are expected to obey the command to love their enemies.
* Those who receive and obey Christ’s teachings will experience the power to overcome self-interest.
* God is our standard of righteousness.
* Believers should be generous to both their friends and enemies.
* Christians should be ready to give without expecting anything in return.
* Be merciful like your heavenly Father.