NBC SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON FOR NOVEMBER 8, 2020 : TOPIC – ABIDING LOVE
NBC SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
NOVEMBER 8, 2020
Devotional Reading: Psalm 80:7-19
Background/Lesson Scripture: John 15:4-17
I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5
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:
• Discussing the conditions for bearing fruits;
• Stating at least three reasons why it is difficult for contemporary Christians to obey Jesus’ command to love one another;
A young boy received a gift of a toy car from his father on his birthday with the instruction that it must be connected to power source before it will work. Out of excitement, the boy plugged the toy without switching on the socket for proper connection and flow of current. Immediately, he screamed, ‘Daddy, the car is not moving” After a careful examination, his father discovered that it was not properly connected so as to receive free flow of electricity. It is generally believed that nothing happens on its own or by chance. There must be something responsible for it. This is what the scientists and philosophers call the ‘Universal Law of Cause and Effect’. Many scholars agree that ‘for every effect, there is a definite cause; likewise, for every cause, there is an effect. Supposedly, there are consequences for every action we undertake in life and the law cuts across every human sector, Christians inclusive.
Today’s lesson can be likened to the story above about a young boy who expected his toy car to work without proper connection to electricity source. Having promised the gift of the Holy Spirit to His disciples (John 14:26), Jesus emphasised the importance of their relationship and dependence on Him. He said only if they remain united with Him will they bear fruit because without Him, no one can do anything.
THE LESSON EXPLAINED
A. The Condition for Fruitfulness John 15:4-8
The discourse of ‘The Vine and the Branches’ took place between the time Jesus and His disciples left the upper room (John 14:31) and their arrival at Gethsemane (John 18:1). To his credit, the account is only recorded by John, the beloved. It is probable that Jesus and His disciples were passing through a vineyard and decided to use the illustration of the vineyard to pass His message. He started the discussion by introducing Himself as ‘the True Vine’ while God, His Father, is ‘the Gardener’ (15:1). This is followed by an instruction in verse 4 to ‘remain in Him and He will remain in them.’ The command is repeated in verse 5, for the sake of emphasis because abiding in Christ is necessary for fruitfulness. On the contrary, anyone who fails to remain in Christ is likened to a withered branch of a tree thrown into the fire and burned.
It is obvious that fruit-bearing is dependent on abiding in Christ, otherwise one will remain spiritually barren. In other words, one must be in a relationship with Jesus like a toy car that is properly connected to power source in order to move. Besides, there is certainty of receiving answers to one’s request when we remain in Him and His words remain in us. Such fruitfulness brings glory to the Father and shows that we are His disciples (v. 8). After all, no branch bears fruit on its own. It must remain on the vine for nourishment, growth and fruitfulness. These commands became necessary for Jesus’ disciples so that they will be able to stand firm, even in the face of persecution. It is sad that today, many Christians find it difficult to abide in Jesus and His Word. While some see God as too slow, others believe in their efforts, earthly wisdom, talents and even their family name to become successful. They often forget that these are ephemeral things that cannot be compared with abiding in Christ in order to bear fruit that glorify God.
1. Every electronic device must be properly connected to a power source in order to
function. Discuss some practical steps Christians must take to remain connected
with Jesus, the Vine.
2. Identify some biblical characters who disconnected themselves from God, and
B. The Command to Love One another John 15:9-13
The fact has been established that if only the disciples will abide in Jesus they would be able to bear fruits (vv. 4-6). Again, Jesus stressed the importance of obedience to His command and the loving relationship between Him and His Father. Based on that, He said in verse 10, “If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love.” The command to love one another became necessary so that they may remain in His love too so that their joy might be complete. The same admonition was echoed by Apostle Paul in his letter to the brethren in Philippi. He admonished them to make his joy complete by having the same mind, love, purpose and oneness in spirit (Philippians 2:1-4). The command to love one another as He has loved them is repeated in verse 12. After all, the greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them. Jesus demonstrated this great love through His death on the cross, not just for His disciples but for the whole world (John 3:16). Therefore, we can say that the love Christ has shown us is not only in words but also in action through His sacrificial death. Therefore, one of the conditions to abide in Jesus is to love Him and obey His commands. Some other ways Christians can prove that they love Jesus is by giving themselves to His service, knowing His Word and communicating with Him daily. It can also be by reaching the unsaved with the message of the Gospel and giving sacrificially to His work. It is important to stress the fact that believers cannot faithfully obey Jesus’ commands and others if they do not know His Word because His Word is His command that propels us to love Him and other people.
1. Discuss what it takes to remain in the love of Christ.
2. At what point can we say the joy of Christians is full, according to verse 11?
3. What does it mean to lay down one’s life for a friend, according to verse 13?
C. Conditions for Becoming Jesus’ Friend John 15:14-17
The fact that Jesus is a friend of all cannot be overemphasised but we should be mindful of the conditions that authenticate such friendship. He said in verse 14, “You are my friends if you do what I command.” Thereafter, He affirmed that He would no longer call those who obey His command servants because servants do not know what their master is doing. Instead, He promised to call them friends because He has told them everything He had learned from His Father (v. 15). Usually, disciples have the choice of a rabbi to whom they want to be attached but the reverse was the case with Jesus. The disciples did not choose Him; rather, He appointed them for the purpose of bearing fruit that will endure. Upon fulfilling this mandate, the Father will hear and grant their request made in His Name. Again, He commanded them to love one another like He earlier told them in verse 12. There is no doubt that total obedience is one of the conditions of becoming a friend of Jesus as it is stated in verse 14. Interestingly, He made a distinction between a servant and a friend as well as the level of their closeness to their master. According to Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, a friend is a person who has the same interests and opinions as oneself. Even today, the condition of becoming Jesus’ friend remains relevant to all Christians. Those who will obey and love Him passionately will certainly bear fruit that endure. Although many claim to be Jesus’ friend, yet they do not show sincere love, obey His commands or spend quality time with Him. Friendship demands spending quality time together in order to understand one another better.
1. Identify some of the constraints Christians face today concerning knowing and doing the command of Jesus.
2. The clause: ‘Love each other’ is repeated twice in verses 12 and 17. Discuss the reason(s) for the repetition.
3. What is the purpose of the call of Jesus upon our lives and the benefits of fulfilling our calling?
Commitment Based on Today’s Lesson
My Personal Commitment__________________
Commitment to My Church__________________
Commitment towards My Relationship with Others___________
• Pray and ask God to help you become a fruit-bearing disciple.
• Teach me, Lord, to be an obedient and loving disciple as commanded by you.
• Thank God that you are no longer a servant but a friend of Jesus.
Fellowship and Ministry Building Activities
• Divide the class into two groups to debate this proposition: ‘Remaining in Christ is accomplished by being part of the church.’ · Close the session by singing BH 295 “Abide with Me” or a similar song that celebrates living in Christ.
• The command to bear fruits is for all believers.
• Only those who abide in Jesus can bear lasting fruit.
• Jesus desires that Christians will become His intimate friends.
• There are consequences for not bearing fruit.
• Christians have been commanded to love one another.
• Christians experience joy and are strengthened when we are united with Jesus.