Sunday School Material 4-12-15:  Love One Another

(I John 3:11-24; 4/12/15)

Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is that God is calling His people to be known for loving one another. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to work on loving one another.

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Read I John 3:11-18

I. Love as Action. Sunday School material John talks about the importance of believers loving one another. Cain is lifted as an example who should not be followed. Jesus is lifted as an example to be followed. Love is to be more than words.

Applications –

- Learning from the examples of others. Notice in vs. 2 that some people are great examples of what not to be or do. This was the case with Cain.

Let’s work on learning from the lives of others. Our learning may include examples of how to live right. Or it may be a lesson on how not to live. Let’s also strive to be examples of right living, not wrong living.

- The world and believers. Notice in vs. 13 of our Sunday School material that the world and believers are bound to get to a point where the world hates believers.

At a deep level, the world is opposed to the idea that humanity is in desperate need of a savior and the only thing worth living for is to hear God say “servant well done.”

However, that is exactly what Christianity is about. Consequently, we should not be surprised when there are divergence or going in separate directions with even some negative emotions. Christianity is not about being happy or promoting how great people are.

Christianity is about being faithful and how great God is. In fact, Christianity holds that people without God are sinful and wicked. Let’s be mindful that believers are in the world but radically different than the world in our deepest values.

- Loving one another. Notice in vss. 14-18 how important love is. First, love is the telling sign of being a real believer. It is not our wardrobe, worship style, Bible knowledge, nor our “morality.” Love is the telling sign.

Second, hatred is the telling sign that a person doesn’t belong to God. God has a way of softening us and transforming us from hating those who have mistreated us. But where there is ongoing hate with no conviction to change, the hater’s salvation is suspect.

Third, love responds to needs. Humanity needed “death” for its salvation, so Jesus died for us. In like manner, when we see people in need, especially other believers, we should respond to the need.

Think about how this applies to economic, health, and emotional needs. Let’s work on loving one another, especially in the church family.

Read I John 3:19-24

II. Love as Truth.  John continues to urge his readers to love one another in our Sunday School material. He talks about how the internal witness can be an advisor to God’s will. There are blessings for those who obey God’s will.

Applications –

- God’s word and our hearts. Notice in vss. 19-21 that the principles of God’s word are more trustworthy than our hearts or valued and emotion laden thoughts. Therefore, we need to make sure that we prayerfully study and strive to obey God’s word.

There are ways that look and feel right to us, but they end in death. Let’s live like we trust God’s word over our own sense of right and wrong. The greatest way to live by this application is to obey God’s word.

- Prayer. Notice in vs. 22 that there is a promise of answered prayers for those who obey God. On one hand, we are thankful that God does hear and answer our prayers, when we pray for the right thing with the right motives.

On the other hand, we should not think that we can do a few things right and then bargain with God to do a few things for us. Let’s strive to obey God and trust Him to do what is best with our prayer requests.

- Believing and loving. Notice in vs. 23 of our Sunday School material the priority given to being a believer and a lover. If you want to live a life worth living, focus on making sure that you have asked and are trusting God to save you because of Jesus’ death for your sins.

And then live a life that demonstrates a kind response to the needs of those around you. These things are more precious than silver and gold. Let’s live as if being a believer and lover are of foundational importance to us. Such living should be known for actions, not just words.

Conclusion: Let’s work on loving one another. God has much for those who obey His will.

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