The Preeminence Of Love. AG Sunday School Teachers

The Preeminence Of Love. AG Sunday School Teachers

Memory Verse: Luke 10:27

Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself_ (KJV)

 

Central Truth

Our love for God is demonstrated by our service to others._

The Lesson Outline

1. Love the Lord
A. “What Should I Do to Inherit Eternal Life?”

Luke 10:25-26

B. “Love the Lord…and Your Neighbour”

Luke 10:27-28

2. Love Your Neighbour

A. “Who Is My Neighbour?”

Luke 10:29- 35

B. “Go and Do the Same”

Luke 10:36-37

3. Love Without Distraction

A. Where ls Your Focus?
Luke 10:38-40

B. Set Proper Priorities
Luke 10:41-42

Learning Objectives

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to:

1. Perceive the importance of love of God and others, and see such love as the motivating factor of life.

2. Demonstrate love for God and others in their daily lives.

3. Show love for all, regardless of ethnicity, economic status, and other areas that sometimes cause division.

Introducing the Lesson

It is common for Christians to wonder whether or not their lives are truly pleasing in God’s sight. Some believers even find themselves troubled by this, feeling like they need to be better and do more for God to make Him pleased with them. Yet this reflects a misunderstanding of! Christianity, a perspectlve that ís too focused on our own efforts. The truth is that God is pleased when we love Him, and then love others in response to that love. As Our lives are motivated by such love, we will in turn live in His ways.

 

Jesus made this clear when He was approached concerning the greatest commandment and the true meaning of the Law. Our Saviour’s answer to these questlons was always the same: Love God with all your heart, then love, others as yourself.

The Holy Scriptures

Luke 10:25 `“And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

26. He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

27. And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

28. And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

30. And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.

33. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him,

34. And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

35. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

36. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

37. And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

38. Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.“`

Commentary and Application

1. Love the Lord

A. “What Should I Do to Inherit Eternal Life?”

Luke 10:25-26

Luke 10 records a situation in which an expert in the Law put Jesus to the test (verse 25; “lawyer,” KJV).

More specifically, he was a Jewish Scribe, or one who concerned himself with interpreting the Law. The scribe’s motive for the question was likely not sincere; he may have even been sent by the scribes and Pharisees to trap Jesus into some kind of statement that could have been interpreted as blasphemy against God or the Law. However, the man’s question to Jesus was an important one: “What should I do to inherit eternal life?” (verse 25, NLT).

 

Jesus did not directly answer the question, but instead asked questions of His own (verse 26).

 

Jesus apparently wanted to search His questioner in order to compel him to think about what the correct answer might be. It is important to note that, in turning the man’s question back on him, Jesus appealed to the authority of all the Scriptures in existence at that time (see also Matthew 22:40) and, more specifically, the Law.

 

What follows in Luke 10:27, then, can be seen as a summary of every command in the
Law. All that God commnands, then, can be in some way derived from what is about to be stated.

Questions for Application

If someone asked you how to get to heaven, how would you respond?_

Why do you think the religious leaders of the day were so intent on trapping Jesus regarding the Law?

B. “Love the Lord…and Your Neighbour”

Luke 10:27-28
The scribe’s answer to Jesus’ qestion of what the law of Mosessaid proved to be right on target. Clearly, the man knew and understood the Law (Luke 10:27).

 

Yet while Jesus acknowledged the correctness of his response, the Saviour did not leave it at that. To simply say, “”You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself” was inadequate. The difference was found in what the man knew versus what he did: “”Right! Jesus told him. ‘Do this and you wil! live!” (verse 28, NLT). Just knowing what is right is not enough. The scribe was responsible to live the truth that he understood. God’s commands are to be acted upon.

 

 

The two-fold response of the scribe reflected two very familiar passages of the Law. The first, found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, is often referred to as the shema. The Hebrew word shema literally means “hear or “listen,” and is the first word of the passage. “Hear, O Israel (verse 4, KJV). God told the nation of Israel to focus on the heart of His commandments. The heart of the Law required that the nation love the  Lord their God supremely (verse 5).

Jewish thought has long regarded the soul to be the essence of the human being. It was considered to be the place of a person’s understanding, emotions, and will.

 

The soul was viewed as the essence of life and personhood. So, loving the Lord with all one’s soul meant with the entire substance of his being. Without love, obedience to the commandments of the Lord would be little more than a legalistic exercise. But love can transform duty into true, sincere commitment. God desires that our walk with Him be accompanied by joy, finding pleasure in being His people.

 

With regard to the second portion of the scribe’s response, in Leviticus 19, God provided a list of various regulations about how the Israelites were to treat one another. Leviticus 19:9-19 lists’ a variety of instructions, joined together by the repeated refrain, “I am the Lord” (verses 10, 12, 14, 16, 18).

 

This was a strong reminder that these commands came from God himself, so the people were accountable to God if they mistreated one another. It is easy to forget that God’s commands are more than just restrictions. We are not just to avoid certain behaviours, such as stealing, lying, or defrauding someone. The heart of His commands is positive, even as it is restrictive. When we understand them properly, we recognise that we must seek to love people and treat them with godly
compassion.

 

Just knowing the truth is not enough. We must put into practice what we know to be true. Scripture continues to say to us what Jesus said to the scribe: “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28, NLT).

Right thinking is good, but it is meaningless uniess a person’s lifestyle reflects his or her understanding. What the world needs from Christians is not just words of truth. The world needs actions that demonstrate these beliefs. When those who say they are followers of Jesus live like followers of Jesus, they will become salt and light to a lost and dying world.

Question for Application

What are some practical ways that we show our love for God?

How will loving others impact the way you live?

*2. Love Your Neighbour*
A. “Who Is My Neighbour?”

Luke 10:29-35
Jewish religious teaching at that time had twisted the teaching of Leviticus 19:18 and restricted the obligation of pious Jews to only those who deserved their love and compassion. Jesus made this point when He said on another occasion, Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy’ (Matthew 5:43, KJV).

 

Those who said this were ignoring the teachings of Leviticus 19, which calls upon people to show the same love for the foreigner as for the fellow Jew. (See Leviticus 19:33-34; note that a common practice in debating the Law in New Testament times involved citing a portion of a larger passage, where the unquoted part of the passage is the greater focus of the quote. The scribe knew very well the verses that answering the question as to who is one’s neighbour.)

 

To answer the scribe’s question Jesus responded with one of His one most familiar parables, the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-35). The parable conveys a vivid contrast. The two people who failed to carry out the true meaning of the Law were religious men.

 

One was a priest and the other a Levite. Both men likely were on their way to perform religious duties. While their way, they chose not to help a person (generally regarded as a Jewish person) who was in desperate need. They failed the test of loving one’s neighbour. But then the parable introduced another man, a Samaritan. He was from a group of people despised by the Jews, even as they themselves despised the Jews.

 

The Samaritans were those Jews who were left behind when the Northern Kingdom of Israel was taken into Assyrian captivity. The Samaritans intermarried with Gentile people groups and mingled the worship of God with the worship of idols (see 2 Kings 17). As a result, the Jewish people saw the Samaritans as detestable.

The Samaritan’s actions, then, demonstrated the command to love one’s neighbour as one would love oneself -a fundamental command of the Law. Note the irony in Jesus parable. The most devout of the Jews, who would have seen themselves as a far more righteous than the Samaritan, failed in the most basic of commands, even as the Samaritan obeyed those commands.

There is a powerful message here for Christians today. The
community of faith is to be a place of love. Then, as a result, the love of
God will flow from us through loving actions to the world around
us-those near to us and those who might be seen as hostile-testifying
to the transforming love of God.

Question for Application

Why do you think the command to love can be difficult even for Christians?

What are some practical ways that we demonstrate love for our neighbours?

B. “Go and Do the Same”

Luke 10:36-37
This parable is extremely important for us as believers today, as is its clear message as to who exactly is our neighbour, and how we are to treat that person. We need to show compassion and mercy to anyone in need, regardless of who they are, where they come from, or what their spiritual background might be. Only in this way can we obey the Command to love our neighbours as ourselves. Religious titles mean nothing. It is our willingness to show mercy and assist others that pleases God even if we think of that person as an enemy. We must ask ourselves, “What kind of neighbours will I be to others?”

 

We are also reminded that Jesus summarised the Old Testament Law
as loving God with one’s whole being and then loving others as oneself. We must not dismiss the teachings of the Old Testament as antiquated, for they inform us about the heart of God, and His desire for a relationship with people is rooted in love. The Christian life is relational. We must live in a right relationship with God and other people. When we embrace this truth and live accordingly, we will grow spiritually.

Question for Application

What might Jesus be saying to you today through the Parable of the Good Samaritan?

What groups of people might qualify as “modern – day Samaritans” for Christians, and how can we minister love to them?

3. Love without Distraction
A. Where Is Your Focus?

Luke 10:38-40

 

It was Jewish custom. to welcome travellers into one’s home for a meal and a place to sleep. So, when Jesus made His way into the village of His friend Martha, she followed custom and invited Him to be a guest in her home (Luke 10:38). She knew what was expected in this situation: Fix a meal, provide something to drink, and make sure the guest was comfortable. This was simply part of being a Jewish Woman in New Testament times.

 

Most likely, Jesus wasn’t the only guest in I Martha’s home. Jesus’ disciples were likely present, as well as others who would have gathered to hear Jesus’ teaching. As a result, it would seem reasonable to expec that Mary join her sister in caring for their guests. But this was not the case. Instead, Mary sat with those who were listening to Jesus teach (verse 39). Mary made no effort to care for His needs. She just made herself comfortable and listened to His words.

 

Martha and Mary were focused on two different things. Martha was
focused on the preparations that needed to be made. Mary was focused on what Jesus had to say.Martha, in what appeared to be frustration with both her sister and to help her with the I hostess’ duties Jesus, appealed to Jesus s to tell Mary (verse 40).

 

It is easy to sympathise with Martha. Most people know the stress
of having unplanned visitors. Martha just wanted some help from her sister. Indeed, Christians living in Western society often relate better to Martha than to Mary.

 

Our culture encourages people to be “doers often, the focus is placed on the outer development of a person, minimising the development of the inner being. This can even happen in the church, where the unspoken message is, “How would the work of the church ever get done if everyone just sat around and communicated with God”?

 

In Jesus’ response to Martha’s question, discussed below, we see
that there is a time to focus on moments with Jesus and there is a
tine for service. ldentifying these proper times will help us keep the right perspective in our walk with God.

Question for Application

Do you ever feel that your life is out of balance, and that you are more focused on “doing” than on spending time lis tening to Jesus? Explain._

How can Christians find the balance between doing and listening?_

B. Set Proper Priorities

Luke 10:41-42

Jesus responded to Martha with a gentle rebuke (Luke 10:41). She was allowing the urgent to get in the way of what was truly important. At that point in time, the priority was spending time with Him, listening to His words (verse 42). This is why Jesus commended Mary for the choice she made. There would be time enough later to be busy seeing to the needs of the guests.

 

We can often struggle with our priorities today, as well. We must
make certain that we don’t become so involved in the tasks of the Kingdom that we ignore the King.

 

Christians might become so focused on service that they fail to develop their relationship with Jesus. The incident with Martha and Mary points us to the truth that both devotion and service are commendable. But we must be balanced, and part of this rests on trusting God that the Kingdom work will be done. Let us take time to be with Jesus and learn from Him before we engage in service on His behalf. Such service needs to flow out of a relationship with the Lord.

 

Question for Application

_How might an overemphasis on “doing” reveal a lack of trust in God?_

_What will happen if we focus too much on doing and neglect fellowship with Christ?_

Call to Discipleship

Jesus taught that love must be the motivating factor in our lives. Loving
God and loving others requires us to prioritise both our time and our
resources. Being busy must not distract us from loving God or from reaching out to the needy among us.

Ministry in Action

Spend extra time this week worshipping and loving God for who He is.
Reach out to someone outside your family and usual circle of contacts to demonstrate love to them.

Look for some way you can volunteer to help the needy in your church or community regulary.

 

 

 

Action Point

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