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Love has No Limits

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LOVE HAS NO LIMITS 

Scripture: Matthew 5:38–48; 1 Corinthians 13:1–13

Memory verse: Matthew 5:44
"But I tell you, love your enemies andpray for those who persecute you..."

Lead—In

Begin this week’s study with the following situations. After each account, discuss how the students would react.

1. Lydia lives in a country at war. Many times she sees soldiers marching through her village. The war has cost many lives. Lydia’s family lost everything they owned. Sometimes the soldiers laugh and make fun of the people living in Lydia’s village.

Ask: How would you feel about the soldiers if you were Lydia? (Allow responses.)

2. Simeon lives in a nice neighbourhood. Everyone there is very friendly—except Matthew. Matthew is in Simeon’s class at school. He is loud and he brags a lot. For some reason Matthew decided he does not like Simeon. Matthew tries to embarrass Simeon in front of his classmates. He plays cruel pranks and does his best to make life miserable for Simeon.

Ask: How would you feel toward Matthew if you were Simeon? (Allow responses.)

Explain that no matter where we live—in a war-torn country or a nice neighbourhood—we will encounter people who do not like us. When people treat us poorly, our first response is to hate them and try to get them back for what they do to us. However, this is not the best way. This week’s study will show the best way.

Hearing God’s Word

Ask: “What does it mean to be a citizen of a country? Is it something you must buy?” (Allow responses.)

Explain that citizenship comes in one of two ways: by birth or by a process called naturalization. A naturalized citizen is born in a foreign country but goes through a process in which they learn about the new country, agree to abide by the new country’s laws, and pledges his loyalty to the new country. Citizenship does not depend upon money or possessions. It is a gift.

The Search for Happiness

In order to be a good citizen we must obey the rules of the land. These rules are made for the benefit of the people living in the country. These rules are intended to help everyone lead happy, safe lives.

Ask: “But what is true happiness?” (Let the students give their definitions of the word happiness.)

Many people’s ideas of true happiness are very different from God’s view of happiness.

People have been looking for happiness since the beginning of time. When Jesus was here on earth, He saw people searching for happiness in the wrong places. One day Jesus told a crowd of people what true happiness is and how each person can find it.

Being a Citizen of God’s Kingdom

Jesus told the people about the kingdom of heaven. We talked about the kingdom of heaven several weeks ago.

Ask: “What can you remember about the kingdom of heaven?” (Briefly review Lesson 5.)

Before anyone can be truly happy, he must become a citizen of God’s kingdom. The only way people can join this kingdom is by accepting Jesus as their Saviour and living for Him.

When a person becomes a member of God’s family, there are certain rules he must live by in order to be a good citizen of the kingdom of God. If he follows these rules, he will; find true peace and happiness.

Love Your Enemies

One of the “Kingdom Rules” Jesus gave the people is to love your enemies.

Ask: “What is an enemy?” (Write responses on the chalkboard. Refer to the Lesson Lead—In stories.)

This rule tells us what our attitude toward others should be. Some Pharisees, a religious group in Jesus’ time, lived by the saying, “Love your neighbour, and hate your enemy.” That is not a very hard rule to follow. In fact, many people think that is how life should be lived . But Jesus taught the only way to find true happiness is by also loving our enemies. Part of this teaching is our memory verse. (Repeat the memory verse together several times.) This rule is much more difficult to live by. But this is exactly what Jesus did, and He wants us to be like Him.

Why is it important to love our enemies? (Let a student read Matthew 5:45.) Jesus said that the way we treat others must never depend upon who they are or what they do to us. No matter what anyone says or does, we must do what we know God wants us to do; and one of His rules is to love our enemies. (Ask the students to read Matthew 5:38–42.)

But how can we love our enemies? Jesus knew this would not be easy for us, so He gave us the Holy Spirit to help us. Jesus listed three ways in which the Holy Spirit can help us show love to our enemies.

Do Good to Those Who Hate You

One way to show love is to do good to those who hate you. Sometimes people are very cruel to those they do not like or those that are a little different from the rest. Have you ever seen anyone being picked on? A Christian should never hurt someone in this way nor be a part of a group that does.

Ask: “Has anyone ever picked on you? Have you ever had someone hit you or take something of yours just because he did not like you? What did Jesus say to do when people treat us this way?” (Allow brief responses.)

He said we are to do good things to them.

Ask: “How do you think people would react if you were kind to those who have been cruel to you? (Allow responses.)

Whatever the response, we must remember one thing; to be a citizen of God’s Kingdom, we must obey His rules.

Ask: “What are some ways you can do good to those who have been unkind to you?” (List the students’ responses on the chalkboard.)

Bless Those Who Curse You

Another way to show love is to bless those who curse you.

Ask: “Have you ever had someone say something unkind about you? What is the first thing you wanted to do?” (Allow brief discussion.)

You probably wanted to say something unkind back to that person. After all, he deserves it.

But this is not what Jesus said we should do. He said when someone says unkind things about us; we should say kind things to him. This is not easy to do; God’s Word does not say it will be. However, when we obey this rule, it will please God and bring us true happiness. King Solomon, the wisest king who ever lived, learned that secret long ago. (Ask a student to read Proverbs 15:1.) So kind, gentle words are better than harsh, angry words that just stir up more anger.

Pray for Those Who Mistreat You

One other important way to show love is to pray for those who mistreat you. Praying for an enemy may be the most effective way of all to love them.

Have you ever tried to pray for someone you did not like? It is hard. But if you continuously pray for a person, your feelings for him will eventually begin to change. The more you pray for him, the more God will fill your heart with love for that person and you will stop thinking of them as an enemy. Jesus knew prayer would make friends out of enemies.

You may think this sounds impossible. Why should we try to love our enemies? After all, we are only human. We cannot be expected to love people who are hateful and even cruel to us. These people deserve whatever they get.

Jesus—Our Example

Jesus never asks us to do anything He has not done himself. He showed this giving kind of love to everyone, no matter what they did to Him.

Ask: “Do you remember how Jesus was treated before He was crucified?” (Remind the class of the physical abuse He endured and the insults that were shouted at Him.)

Although Jesus did not deserve this kind of treatment, He reacted by showing love to those who abused Him. One of Jesus’ last prayers was for those who were putting Him to death. (Ask a student to read Luke 23:34.) Jesus has promised to be with us. Through the Holy Spirit He can put love in our hearts when it would not otherwise exist.

The apostle Paul gave us important guidelines on what love is and how we can show it. (Have the students find 1 Corinthians 13 in their Bibles.)

Jesus’ teaching on loving enemies was not just for the people living back in Bible times. It is for us today also. We need to ask God every day to help us love everyone—not just our friends. If we are really sincere when we ask for God’s help, He will give us the strength it takes to treat others as He wants us to. He will put His love in our hearts.

Accepting God’s Word

Explain that sometimes we may not get the love we need from our families. This is sad. But God is love, and He will provide for each of us all the love we could want. He loves us so much He sent His only Son to die for our sins. Stress that if a student does not know Jesus as his Saviour, he can accept God’s love and forgiveness today.

Reaching South America

REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for Unreached Tribes of South America

1. Messengers sent to all 62 unreached tribes,
2. Messengers boldly proclaim the gospel,
3. Thousands of unreached to believe and be saved.

Prayer Promise

"God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe" (1 Corinthians 1:21).

Remember: LOVE HAS NO LIMITS

Memory verse: Matthew 5:44
"But I tell you, love your enemies andpray for those who persecute you..."

1. There will be people who do not like me and will treat me like their enemy.
2. I will be kind to them, bless them and pray for them as God enables me.
3. I will respond as Jesus did when on the Cross, "Father, forgive them."

Pray for Unreached Tribes of South America.

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Study 14 | All the World/Great Teachings | africaatts.org/go-teach

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