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ASSEMBLIES OF GOD NIGERIA
ADULT SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSONS|JULY-DECEMBER, 2023.
LESSON 23: DECEMBER 3, 2023.
UNIT 5: The Gospel By Luke
TOPIC: THE PREEMINENCE OF LOVE
Memory Verse: Luke 10:27 – 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.
Lesson Central Truth:
Our love for God is demonstrated by our service to others.
Lesson Bible Text:
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 per-spective that is 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 questions was always the same: Love God with all your heart, then love others as yourself.
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 Is Your Focus? – Luke 10:38-40
B. Set Proper Priorities – Luke 10:41-42.
1. LOVE THE LORD
A certain Lawyer tempted Jesus through his question of what he needed to do to inherit eternal life? Jesus returned the question with a question: what is written in the law? This man as a lawyer should know the law perfectly well. The lawyer quickly summarized that we need to love God with all that we have (heart, soul, strength, and mind) and we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus answered the lawyer and said that he had answered correctly.
The Bible teaches us that we are to love God above all else. We cannot let anything in this world, or in life for that matter, occupy our love more than God. If we love God as described in these verses, then He will fill every part of our being. If we love God with our heart, mind, soul, and strength; there is no place left for Satan and the world to distract us from the love of God. Note that the inward expression of our faith is to love God with every fabric of our being. There is no part of our lives where God should not be the object of our love. And so it stands that the outward expression of our faith is to love others as we love ourselves.
This man as a lawyer knows the law of God as written very well. But on the other hand, he does not obey them. Note that one thing is to know His Words and another thing is to obey and live by the Word. As believer, 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 lawyer: “Do this and you will live.” Right thinking is good, but it is meaningless unless 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.
2. LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR
“Who is my neighbour?” Was the question the scribe asked Jesus. To answer the scribe’s question, Jesus responded with one of His most familiar parables, the Parable of the Good Samaritan. 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 on 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 Samaritan was the true neighbor because he showed mercy and compassion to the man attacked by the thieves.
The story of the good Samaritan shows us that a true neighbor has nothing to do with closeness. As believers, neighbor is anyone who crosses out path in life. Everyone we meet should taste the love of Christ in us, so that He can be glorified through us. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” – John 13:34-35.
Samaritan makes sure all the injured man’s needs are cared for, both his immediate medical needs and his need for a space to recuperate. The Samaritan thus cares for the man as he might care for his own self. This fulfills Leviticus 19:18 – “You shall love your neighbour as yourself.”
The Samaritan takes on an extraordinary degree of risk to help this stranger. He risks getting jumped by the same bandits when he stops to see what has happened to the man. He risks being cheated by the Innkeeper. He risks being saddled by the expense and emotional weight of caring for someone who has become chronically ill. But he takes on these risks because he acts as if his own life were the one in question. This is Jesus’ best example of what it might mean to be a neighbour to “love your neighbour as yourself.” As believers, we are to love our neighbours irrespective of their backgrounds. The Good Samaritan loved the wounded Jew as himself. And Jesus says to us what he said to the lawyer: “You go, and do likewise” (Luke 10:37).
3. LOVE WITHOUT DISTRACTION
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. 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. 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 Jesus, appealed to Jesus to tell Mary to help her with the hostess’ duties. Where is your focus as a believer? Our service and focus should be the one that will not distract our love for Him.
Jesus responded to Martha with a gentle rebuke. 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. 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 priority 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.
Lesson Action Word
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. Love is permanent. It is an attribute of God, which means it never withers or decays.
Lesson Prayer Point
I declare that the love nature of God dominates our thinking, motivatesvɓ our actions and conditions our words, in Jesus’ Name. Amen!