Lesson 9 -- second quarter 2000
April 30, 2000
© Copyright 2000, Christian Light Publications
Here's a little quiz for you: Identify the theme for this Sunday School quarter. I must admit I didn't know either. I finally got curious when I saw the lesson title for today. And I felt a surge of excitement at seeing the wonderful connection between the two!
True love...continuing Jesus' work. Amazing! My love for and relationship with others is a very tangible way in which I can continue the work of the Lord Himself. Jesus wants me to love other people as He would love them were He here in the flesh. What a solemn opportunity; what an incredible challenge. We just aren't up to it, but by His grace and love continuing to work in us.
This concept gives new meaning and greater impact to some very familiar verses, including our current lesson text. I am to love because that is part of the work and character of Jesus. Terrific!
We had better review some of the characteristics and manifestations Jesus' love.
Love first. Human love tends to be a natural response to someone else's love or favor. God's love doesn't wait; He loves first. He won't (and didn't) sit around waiting for someone to love Him so then He could respond with His love. No way! "We love him, because he first loved us" (1 John 4:19). "Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us" (1 John 4:10a). And that is precisely how God wants to work His love through us toward those about us.
Love actively. For many folks, love is a noble concept, an oh-so-nice feeling. God's love gets beyond the moving of the senses and the theorizing of the mind. God's love acts. An extremely well-known verse shows us the active dimension of God's love: "For God so loved the world that He gave..." (John 3:16). Matthew 14:14 doesn't use the term love but it definitely demonstrates it and its action: "And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick." God doesn't want us to sit back in self-satisfied "accomplishment" at our internal churnings of love, empathy and compassion. He wants us moved to action!
Love sacrificially. Natural love may well move us to give up something for another. Provided we can manage with out it. Or we have grown weary of it. Or we have something better. God's love moved Him to sacrifice. And He chose His absolute best for that sacrifice. No left-overs, second-rate stuff or useless trinkets when God sacrifices for the objects of His love! He "sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10b). Sometimes we sing, "Give of your best to the Master." That's good. How often do we live, "Give of your best to another"? That's love.
I urge you to review passages like 1 John 4:7-21 to mine from them the treasures of God's love to us.
Then let's faithfully continue Jesus' work!
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