April 12, 2015
Believe God’s Love Alternate
Bible Lesson: 1 John 4:13-21; 5:1-5
What we shall learn from the lesson Scripture:
The commandment to love one another, in its simplest form, is not a new one, as can be seen in the Old Testament (Leviticus 19:18). But, the commandment Jesus gave His disciples (John 13:34) was new because He said for them to love each other as He had loved them. John extended this commandment to all believers. To model our love after the love exhibited by Jesus is setting the bar very high, because He loved us so, He died on the cross for us (1 John 3:16).
The reference scripture emphasizes that all Christians should love each other. That doesn’t mean we should love everything said or done, but we should be willing to sacrifice for the person and their well-being. The early Christian church faced significant and dangerous challenges. It was not uncommon for them to be persecuted or discriminated against by the Jewish establishment. However, the Christian community exhibited remarkable love for one another by voluntarily sharing what they had with other Christians who were in need, including selling their houses or property and giving the proceeds to the Apostles to distribute as needed (Acts 4:34-35). The believers were united and did not believe they owned anything they possessed (Acts 4:32).
Showing love for one another through our actions is evidence we have experienced the rebirth of our lives through Christ and will have eternal life. Conversely, if we hate a fellow Christian, we will face condemnation.
If we love one another, we will not steal from, lie about, envy or covert, murder, or otherwise harm one another. We will help one another in times of need and distress. This is an example of what Peter meant when he said, “Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8, ESV)
Today, we would have a difficult time convincing people to sell their houses and property and give the proceeds to the needy in the Christian community. Today, we have a tendency to take care of our own needs and wants first … everything else is secondary. Many of us give “lip treatment” to the concept that all we have belongs to God, and we own nothing. If we truly believed all we have belongs to God, churches wouldn’t have to request more offerings to meet the expenses; the offering plate would be overflowing. I’m just saying……….