NBC SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR NOVEMBER 15, 2020 : TOPIC – CONFIDENT LOVE
NBC SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
NOVEMBER 15, 2020
Devotional Reading: Hebrews 13:1-8
Background Scriptures: 1 John 3:11-24; 2 John 4-11; 3 John 5-8
Lesson Scripture: 1 John 3:11-24
Those who obey his commands live in him, and he in them. And this is how we know that he lives in us: We know it by the spirit he gave us. 1 John 3:24
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:
• Defining true love and how it affects the Christian community;
• Mentioning three practical steps of demonstrating genuine love to others according to the passage;
• Examining their conscience according to the standard of the Holy Spirit.
We live in a world that is characterised by self-centredness, hatred, hostility and lack of love. We often forget God’s repeated command to believers to love one another as He had loved us. A story was told of a cripple who usually sits by the roadside to beg for alms. Having observed this man for some time, Mr Samuel Okomu decided to show him love in words and deeds. Each time he passed by, he would greet, embrace the cripple, give him a peck and sometimes food/money and other things. One day, the man said to Mr Samuel, “Are you God? I know it is only God that loves all kinds of people without discrimination.” Mr Samuel remembered his pastor’s words that “The only way believers can measure the reality of their love for God is when we love our fellow humankind, notwithstanding their circumstances, gender or tribe”.
The book of First John was purposely written to expose the works of false teachers who taught that the human Jesus was not the same as the Divine Christ (1 John 2:22; 4:1-3). The book also emphasises sincere love among brethren as a standard for every Christian in their relationship with one another. Today’s lesson focuses on loving one another as Christ has commanded and the willingness to give one’s life for others, as Christ did (John 3:16).
THE LESSON EXPLAINED
A. GENUINE LOVE EXPLAINED. 1 JOHN 3:11-15
One of the virtues in the Christian community is genuine love (Jesus’ type) that believers have for one another. According to John, in verse 11, the command to love one another has been from the beginning (1 John 2:7; Leviticus 19:18). John made reference to Cain, who killed his brother Abel. Thus, he reveals why Christians are hated and killed because of their righteousness, just as Cain did to his brother Abel. The consciousness of passing from life unto death is stressed in verse 14 because we love our fellow brothers. However, John further emphasised that anyone who hates his brother is a murderer and such a person does not have eternal life with Him. Of course, it is a reminder that every believer must come to this reality that he/she has passed from death unto life; therefore, he/she no longer abides in death but is alive in Christ. The reality is evident in loving other brethren. Thus, anyone who does not love remains in death. In fact, such a person is a murderer, who will never reign with God eternally.
Love is a strong feeling of deep affection that a person has towards another person or a thing. It also means to be devoted to something. Everybody enjoys being loved but not everybody is ready to pay the price of loving others according to Jesus’ repeated command. However, Jesus wants believers to go extra mile in demonstrating genuine love to all, irrespective of age, status, religion, ethnicity and background. Loving one another is so important that Apostle Paul admonished the brethren in Rome saying, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.” (Romans 13:8) When believers exhibit genuine love, we will be able to overcome hatred and by so doing, our community will be affected and those who hate us will come to the saving knowledge of Christ.
1. What does it mean to pass from death unto life according to verse 14?
2. Discuss some common things that make people of the world hate Christians?
3. Is there hatred amongst Christians? Why?
B. GENUINE LOVE DEMONSTRATED. 1 JOHN 3:16-20
John was able to balance His teaching, which centred on loving one another. The fact that believers have been shown love through the sacrificial death of Jesus makes it mandatory for us to lay down our lives for our brethren as we demonstrate genuine love to them. He explains in verse 17 that rich people who see their brother or sister in need, yet close their hearts against them cannot claim to love God. After all, one of the ways to prove our love for one another is when we share our material possessions with our fellow brethren, as the early church did (Acts 4:32-35). The claim is similar to James’ illustration of the emptiness of words and speech with actions (James 2:15-17). However, he carefully highlighted three steps of demonstrating genuine love in the same verse.
• Observation: The needy should be identified, especially by the rich who should
find ways of meeting such needs.
• Sympathy and Empathy: Love for our fellow brothers should motivate us to show pity and to understand what they are going through.
• Sharing: The first two steps should propel us to share our material possessions with others. When this is done, then we can claim to have the love of God according to John who said, “Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth. This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence.” (1 John 3:18-19). He added that doing these will give our hearts rest in His presence.
One of the things that characterised the early church was her demonstration of genuine love towards one another. It was not just love in words or feelings but in practical terms to the extent that the difference between the rich and poor was not noticed. Similarly, God’s love toward humanity was demonstrated when He sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to die for the sins of humankind. In like manner Christians have been called to love one another with the love of Christ. It can be shown through the giving of materials things, time, godly advice and other possible ways. If Jesus Christ could shed His blood for the remission of the sins of humankind, believers should be willing to give sacrificially to the needy. After all, one of the ways genuine love can be measured is through giving.
1. What are the benefits of demonstrating love?
2. How can a believer lay down his life for his brother(s)?
3. How do Christians love with words or tongue?
C. THE COMMAND TO BELIEVE AND LOVE. 1 JOHN 3:21-24
The latter part of the passage discloses the gains of not being condemned by our hearts (i.e. conscience). He said, “Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him.” (vv. 21-22). Again, John echoes the command to Christians to believe in the name of the Son, Jesus Christ (John 6:29) and to love one another (John 13:34-35), in accordance with Jesus’ command. He affirmed that those who obey God’s command will live in union with God and He will live in them. This is made possible because of the spirit God has given to believers. Basically, the two commandments of the Christian community are: to believe in the Son of God, Jesus Christ and to love one another. Obviously, when these virtues are in the life of a believer, such a person is a child of God because of the work of Christ (v. 21). It also results to answered prayer (v. 22). As seen in verse 24, obedience to God’s command is crucial to receiving God’s blessings because it strengthens one’s relationship with God. The confirmation that He lives in the believer is the Spirit of God who dwells in us because the Holy Spirit is the seal of the believer and it bears witness that we are no longer condemned.
1. How reliable is the believer’s conscience in pleasing God?
2. Mention some characters in the Bible whose confidence before God was dead as a result of sin.
Commitment Based on Today’s Lesson
My Personal Commitment__________________
Commitment to My Church_________________
Commitment towards My Relationship with Others__________
• Teach us, O Lord, to love one another just as Christ has loved us and died for us.
• Pray and ask God to circumcise your heart and remove every form of hatred against people.
• We pray, Lord, that You will help us to be good givers, in Jesus’ Name.
Fellowship and Ministry Building Activities
• Identify someone who gives in your church and write a letter of encouragement to him/her to continue to do so.
• Brainstorm ways to counter hatred with love in your community.
• Believers should counter hatred with genuine love.
• God demonstrated His love towards us by sending His Son, Jesus Christ to die for the sins of humankind.
• Christians should emulate the love of Christ by loving others.
• We are God’s children because of the works of Christ.
• Love is an antidote to hatred and persecution.
• Giving is an expression of love.
• Believers are empowered by the Holy Spirit to love others.