Friday, March 3, 2017

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday March 5, 2017

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PERFECT LOVE
(Loving one another)
(1 John 4:7-21)

   Since perfect love originates with GOD in the Christian sense, a person who loves his fellowman is one who is born of GOD, and, in a discerning way, “knows” GOD (“oida” in the Greek – “to know inherently or intuitively”). Therefore, in contrast, the absence of love can be viewed as evidence that a person does not know GOD. And although all mankind shares “GOD’s nature” that is given to us at birth, by the time we reach an age of accountability, we have, through parental misguidance and being a product of our environment, been alienated from those “communicable attributes”, and we, as a result, have to be “born again”, in order to retrieve them.
    In 1 John 4:7-21, the apostle and author of GOD, John, elevates the topic of love to yet another level. Here John shows the divine and inseparable link between “GOD” and “love”. GOD showed how much HE loves us by sending HIS only begotten SON into the “human realm” so that we the people might have eternal life through HIM (v.9). HE did not send HIM because we were lovable, but rather, HE sent HIM because HIS love for us required that HE rescue us from ourselves.
    Such an action from GOD provides the defining standard for love as we know it, and thus, we as Christians are responsible to love each other because we enjoy the privilege of GOD’s largesse. Not only is GOD the source of love, HE is love itself, by HIS very nature. GOD is love, and anyone who doesn’t love his fellowman doesn’t know GOD.
    Christians who say they love all mankind, and indeed, really do have the love of GOD in their hearts, cannot stand idly by and watch while any other groups of people, different than themselves, are being treated unjustly, or, are being oppressed in any way, without coming to their defense in the name of JESUS. The love of CHRIST must be expressed fully by us, and exemplified through us, in our actions (v.12).
    In the New Testament Greek, the word used for “abide” is “meno”, and it means “to stay in a given place, state, relationship, or expectancy”. If we abide in our relationship with GOD, our love will grow more perfect. And when our history judges us, we won’t be afraid to come before GOD. We can face HIM confidently, because our history will show that we tried to live like CHRIST here on earth (v.17). Learning to show and express the “divine love” of CHRIST will dispel all fear of the coming judgment, which “true Christians” will not have to face.
    Because GOD is love, and CHRIST’ new commandment is love, it only stands to reason that love will inevitably bring us closer to each other, and, at one and the same time, closer to GOD. It is only by love that we ever come to know GOD, and it is only by GOD, that we ever come to know love.
    “The Christian Hope” has, throughout the history of the Church, served as motivation to make life on earth conform more fully, with the Word and ways of GOD, just as they were presented to us by JESUS CHRIST, during HIS life here on earth. The very foundation of that Christian hope, rest on “faith” in CHRIST JESUS, WHO delivered us into salvation.
    The only commandment that JESUS ever gave us was to “love one another”, and so we see why it is said that “faith”, “hope”, and “love” are “the three great enduring things” (1 Corinthians 13:13), and of those three things, “love” is the greatest, because “GOD is love”.
    All that we know now is partial and incomplete, because, until we finish this Christian race, we will remain “children” in the purest sense of the word, and in the true sense of what knowledge really is. We are incapable right now, of handling the Heavenly knowledge that GOD will one day impart to those who abide in HIM to the end. But we do know now that if we don’t have love for those brothers and sisters that we now see all around us, we will never be able to love GOD, WHOM we cannot physically see at all. We must rely on our “faith” to maintain “hope” as motivation to endure this earthly journey until we are ushered into GOD’s OWN glorious presence by CHRIST JESUS.
    And finally, in the biblical Greek, the word used for “confidence” is “parrhesia” (par-rhay-see-ah), and it is “a sense of sureness that is exemplified in both spirit and demeanor”. GOD HIMSELF has commanded that we love not only HIM, but also, our Christian brothers and sisters. And when we honor and obey that command, we can be confident that, when we stand before the LORD, our conscience will be clear, and we will be able to face HIM without fear, guilt, or shame.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander  





                                 
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