LOVING GOD AND OTHERS
Scripture: Exodus 20:3–17; Mark 12:28–31; John 13:34; 1 John 4:7–8
Memory verse: John 13:34
“As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
Ask the students to define love. Explain that love is usually thought of as an emotion, but true love also involves commitment. Often we will define love by what it does rather than by what it is. Use this story to lead into the lesson.
Solomon rushed into the house and headed for the kitchen. Football practice had run long that afternoon and he was very hungry. His mother handed him a loaf of bread. His grandmother had sent some of Solomon’s favourite bread home with his mother that afternoon.
Grandmother is a good person, Solomon thought as he bit into the bread. She really loves me. She is always asking me to come see her. I guess I really should, but I do not ever have time. Oh well, I know she understands.
Two weeks passed. Solomon still had not found time to go see his grandma even though she lives only a short distance from his house.
Ask the students if they think Solomon’s grandmother loves him. Ask if Solomon truly loves his grandmother. Let them explain their answers. Point out that Solomon may feel an emotion of love for his grandmother, but real love is seen in our actions. Solomon needs to show by his actions that he loves his grandmother in order for his love to be the kind that God says we should have. We need to be committed to those we love.
Tell the students that love is very important even though it is hard to explain. In this study the students will learn the value Jesus placed on loving God and others.
Hearing God’s Word
Ask: “Do you ever ask your teacher a question just to see if he knows the answer? Are all your questions posed from a desire to learn?”
A Lawyer’s Question
One day a lawyer, one of the Jewish leaders, was listening to some of the other Jewish leaders trying to test Jesus He saw that Jesus did a good job of answering them. This made him want to know more about Jesus. He asked Jesus, “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the Law of Moses?”
Ask: “How many of the Ten Commandments can you remember without looking them up?”
Ask: “Why would the lawyer’s question be a hard one to answer?” (Allow discussion.)
The Jewish leaders liked to try to put the commandments in various categories. However, even they could not agree on which ones were most important. The lawyer wanted to know how Jesus would solve this problem. If Jesus were to say the most important commandment was not to lie, some people might immediately argue, “Oh, then you are saying stealing is not as bad as lying?
Ask: “Which commandment do you think is the most important?” (Discuss.)
Jesus had the perfect answer. (Have a student read Mark 12:29–31.) He said loving God is the most important—the first commandment. Then He said loving your neighbour as you love yourself is the second most important commandment.
Jesus was saying that if we kept these two commandments we would be obeying all the others too.
Ask: “What do these two commandments have in common? How is it possible to keep all Ten Commandments by keeping only these two?” (Allow discussion.)
The First Four Commandments
The first four commandments govern and control people’s relationship to God. The First Commandment tells us to have no other gods but the true God. The second tells us not to worship any idol. The third tells us not to take God’s name in vain, and the fourth instructs us to have a holy day of rest and worship to God each week.
Ask: “What do these things have to do with the first commandment Jesus gave?” (Allow discussion.)
If we love God with all our hearts, we will not consider having other gods in addition to Him or worshipping idols. If we love God with our whole beings, we will not take His name in vain. This commandment forbids using God’s name for any meaningless,, unimportant, false, or wicked purpose. If we love God, we will feel bad when we hear someone else use His name as a swear word or even in a joking manner. Also, all people who love God want to take time to worship Him. Does not loving God cover every one of these commandments?
The Last Six Commandments
Ask: “How are the last six of the Ten Commandments in this one?” Would loving others as ourselves help us obey these commandments also? Let’s find out. (Indicate each commandment as you refer to it.)
The Fifth Commandment tells us to honour our parents. If we really love our mother and father, we will honour them by giving them respect, obedience, and appreciation. We will honour them because we love and care about them, not just because it is something we are supposed to do.
The Sixth Commandment warns against murder. We will not kill a person if we love them as God loves us.
The Seventh Commandment is about marriage. The Bible tells us marriage is good. A man and his wife are supposed to love each other and live together the rest of their lives. When a married person chooses to love another partner in addition to the one he is married to, his action is called adultery. If a man and his wife really love each other, neither of them will want another partner. They will be faithful to love only each other.
The Eighth Commandment tells us not to steal. If we love others, will we steal from them? No.
Bearing false witness means lying. The Ninth Commandment tells us lying is sin. Will we lie about someone we love? Will we lie to someone we love? No. Love wants what is best for the other person and it respects the other person enough to be truthful to them.
The Tenth Commandment tells us not to covet.
Ask: “What is coveting?” (Allow responses.)
Coveting is “a strong desire for something that belongs to someone else.” True love keeps us from wanting something owned by someone else. If we love others, we are happy when they have nice things even if we do not have those things ourselves. Our love keeps us from being jealous. If we love others as we love ourselves, we will be keeping each of these commandments.
Is it hard to love God? If we remember that He gave the gift of His Son Jesus to be crucified for our sins, it is easy to love Him. Our memory verse says: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” Jesus died for us even though we are sinners and deserve to be punished. Even when we didn’t love Him, He loved us. How do you learn to love someone else? By saying you love them? By sending them a card? Does that show love to someone? No, the Bible says, “Don’t just pretend that you love others: really love them” (Romans 12:9, The Living Bible).
Real love comes only from God. It is not just saying you love someone; it is showing them and proving to them that you love them. Real love means commitment. How can you have God’s love in your life so you can love others? Remain in Him. Remember, one fruit of the Spirit is love. Jesus had a reason for quoting the new second commandment after He quoted the greatest commandment. Jesus wanted people to know that while loving God is most important, it is also important to love other people. That means not only loving those who are nice to us, but also loving all people. I John 4:7, 8 says love comes from God. (Let a student read the verses.)
Showing God’s Love
(Hold up a lamp that has not been plugged in.) This lamp is not giving light.
Ask: “Can it make light by itself? Why not?” (Allow responses.)
Do you know anyone like this lamp? A person like this may say they love others, but if they aren’t plugged in to God’s power, God’s love does not shine through them. It is hard to love others by oneself, but with God’s love shining through you (plug in the lamp and switch it on), you can love because God’s love is within you.
Another kind of person may say, “Oh, I’m plugged in, I am a Christian.” Yet no love shows through their life either. Their problem is that they are plugged in but they are not turned on! (Turn off the lamp switch.) This person is not faithful to read the Bible and pray every day, or to witness to others. They are not remaining in Jesus and helping the fruit of love to grow. (Unplug the lamp).
We need to plug in to God (plug in the lamp) and let God’s love shine through us (turn on the switch). Does this light shine on only one person and leave all others in the dark? No, it shines on anyone who comes near it. God’s love does not miss anyone. With it we love those we did not love before. Remaining in God keeps the current of His love flowing through us.
Ask: “If we find we do not like someone, what should we do?” (Allow discussion.)
We should ask God to help us love that person. We should also ask God to bless them. Then we should treat them as someone we love. If you want to keep the commandments and please God, then love Him with all your heart, strength, and mind. Love others also. We are commanded to show God’s love to others. God’s Commandments need to be obeyed. The responsibility to obey them belongs to everyone who has accepted Jesus. It is not always easy to take time for others, but it is necessary if others are to see Jesus in our lives.
Accepting God’s Word
Do not pass up an opportunity to show God’s love to others. God loves everyone no matter who they are or how bad they have been. He loves and forgives us, so we should do the same for others.
Dear Lord, I approach Your throne of grace with confidence on behalf of the Fulani people – millions of them. They need a messenger, a message and a Saviour. My heart cries out to You for their salvation.
The need is great, but You are all-sufficient and able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. Thank You for many Fulani who have already responded to Your love and accepted Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour.
Thank You for hundreds of worshipping groups of Fulani believers who currently offer their communities a visible witness of the transforming power of Jesus Christ.
May the Fulani who have yet to believe encounter the living Christ through the words and life of a Christian, from light coming to them through reading the Bible, by a miracle capturing their attention or whatever means You choose to use.
You promised in Jeremiah 33:3, “Call to me and I will answer you….” On the basis of this promise, I call for an expanding work among the Fulani. As messengers proclaim the gospel, confirm Your Word by the signs that accompany it. Amen!
Remember: LOVING GOD AND OTHERS
Memory verse: John 13:34
“As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
1. Love is expressed by an action, doing something good.
2. I will love God by honouring Him in word and deed.
3. I will love others by giving a helping hand where needed,
Pray for messengers to live among the Fulani and show them true love.
Study 10 | Come Holy Spirit/Born Again | africaatts.org/go-teach