International Sunday School Lesson
For Sunday April 12, 2015
Purpose: To live a life of unconditional love
Bible Lesson: 1 John 3:11-24
Key Verse: This is the message that you heard from the beginning: love each other. (1 John 3:11)
1 John 3:11-24 (CEB)
(11)This is the message that you heard from the beginning: love each other. (12) Don’t behave like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he kill him? He killed him because his own works were evil, but the works of his brother were righteous. (13) Don’t be surprised, brothers and sisters, if the world hates you. (14)We know that we have transferred from death to life, because we love the brothers and sisters. The person who does not love remains in death. (15) Everyone who hates a brother or sister is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life residing in him. (16) This is how we know love: Jesus laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (17) But if a person has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need and that person doesn’t care—how can the love of God remain in him? (18) Little children, let’s not love with words or speech but with action and truth. (19)This is how we will know that we belong to the truth and reassure our hearts in God’s presence. (20) Even if our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts and knows all things. (21) Dear friends, if our hearts don’t condemn us, we have confidence in relationship to God. (22) We receive whatever we ask from him because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. (23) This is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love each other as he commanded us. (24) The person who keeps his commandments remains in God and God remains in him; and this is how we know that he remains in us, because of the Spirit that he has given to us.
My Thoughts by Burgess Walter
The English language is so deficient when it comes to the word “love.” Unfortunately, we use the word love to describe both our favorite dessert, and our children and spouse. Let me assure you that God’s love for us and what our love should be for each other is not the same love that we express when we say, “I love ice cream with fudge chocolate and nuts.”
The way the writer uses the word “love,” is real love. It becomes a measure we can use to explore our relationship with our God. It measure whether we have moved from “death to life.” Not loving is not an option for followers of Christ. The writer of 1 John uses even stronger language, he calls it murder.
As followers of Christ, it is our willingness to join in the unselfish act of dying for a friend. Maybe not biological death, but certainly the willingness to die spiritually, that is, give of ourselves all that we have. We must contrast the willingness to die versus the “I don’t care attitude.”
As followers of Christ, saying we believe, without actions, means we are still dead spiritually. Saying “we believe” is not enough. We must be willing to put the love of God that is in our hearts to work, being Christ to the world. That means loving God, believing that Jesus was God’s Son, and accepting the leading of the Holy Spirit in our lives. That means loving our neighbors and our enemies and well as the Creator Godhead.
Loving in the way God loves us, has benefits for the present. Doing God’s work on earth allows us to have this special relationship with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It allows our prayers to be answered because, our will is aligned with God’s will. This could be better said, by saying, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
Also loving God in this way gives us the “Blessed Assurance” we love to sing about. We can have confidence in our relationship with God.