In today’s lesson, we will study what Jesus taught about love.
1. JESUS TAUGHT THAT GOD LOVES US (JOHN 3:16).
According to (John 3:16), who does God love?
n God loves everyone.
n The idea that God loves the whole world is a new idea. The Jews believed God loved the religious (the true Jew) and hated the non-religious (the Gentiles).
n The fact that God truly loves is shocking to many. Some wonder and others question how God could possibly love the...murderer, immoral person, wife beater, child abuser, prostitute, thief, and alcoholic. God loves everyone, not just the religious and the good. He does not love only the people who love Him. He loves everyone, even the unlovely and the unloving, the unbelieving and the obstinate, the selfish and the greedy, the spiteful and the vengeful (John 10:16; 2 Peter 3:9).
n The basis of God’s love is His nature. God is love (1 John 4:8, 16); therefore, He loves. He acts, demonstrates, and shows His love.
How did God show His love to us?
n God gave His only begotten Son. Note several points.
n God demonstrated His love in the most perfect way possible: He gave His only begotten Son to the world. As God, He is perfect, which means His love is perfect. Therefore, God not only loves, but He so loves. He loves to perfection, loves to the ultimate degree. Whatever the ultimate degree and the perfect act and expression of love is, God shows it. Without question, the greatest act of love is the sacrifice of a man’s own life; therefore, God sacrificed the life of His own Son to save man (John 15:13).
n The word gave (edoken) has a twofold meaning. God gave His Son to the world, and He gave His Son to die. The idea of sacrifice, of great cost, is in both acts. It cost God dearly to give His Son up to the world and up to the cross.
n He gave up His Son to be separated from Him, allowing Jesus to leave His presence, to leave the majesty and glory, worship and honor of heaven.
n He gave up His Son to be separated from Him, allowing Jesus to come to a world that was fallen, depraved, wicked, rebellious, revolting…a world full of darkness, hostility, bitterness, wrath, selfishness, greed, and immorality.
n He gave up His Son to be separated from Him, allowing Jesus to die for the sins of men (Matthew 26:37-38; Isaiah 53:5; Romans 5:6’ 1 Peter 3:18).
(Luke 12:6-7) reveals that we are valuable to God. Knowing this, how can we start living differently knowing how much God loves us and cares for us?
n Know that God loves us and deeply cares for us should motivate us to live a life of love not a life of guilt and shame.
2. JESUS TAUGHT US TO LOVE GOD, OURSELVES, AND OUR NEIGHBOR (MARK 12:28-31).
We are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. What does this mean?
n We are to love God with all of our being.
n To the ancient Hebrews, heart referred to the core of one’s personal being. The book of Proverbs counsels, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (4:23). The term soul is closest to what we would call emotion and is the word Jesus used when He cried out in the Garden of Gethsemane the night He was arrested: “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death” (Matt. 26:38). Mind corresponds to what is usually translated “might” in Deuteronomy 6:5. The Hebrew term had a broad connotation and carried the general idea of moving ahead with energy and strength. Mind is used here in the sense of intellectual, willful vigor and determination, carrying both the meaning of mental endeavor and of strength.
n Genuine love of the Lord is intelligent, feeling, willing, and serving. His love for mankind was so great “that He gave His only begotten Son” for their redemption (John 3:16). Godly love, whether as His love for man or man’s love for Him, is measured by what it gives, not by what it might gain.
n God requires more than bare belief. James reminds us that even the demons believe that God exists; but instead of rejoicing in that belief, they shudder (James 2:19). The distinguishing mark of saving belief in God is love of God.
n Loving God is more than an intellectual belief in God. Loving God requires action.
n The Ten Commandments themselves make clear that love for and obedience to God are inseparable. The Lord shows His “lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love [Him] and keep [His] commandments” (Ex. 20:6; cf. Deut. 7:9; Neh. 1:5). Jesus declared, “If you love Me, you will keep. My commandments” (John 14:15), and John wrote, “And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him” (1 John 2:3–5).
n A person who belongs to God loves God and therefore obeys God.
n The person who truly loves the Lord with all his heart and soul and mind is the person who trusts Him and obeys Him. That person demonstrates his love by meditating on God’s glory (Ps. 18:1–3), trusting in God’s divine power (Ps. 31:23), seeking fellowship with God (Ps. 63:1–8), loving God’s law (Ps. 119:165), being sensitive to how God feels (Ps. 69:9), loving what God loves (Ps. 119:72, 97, 103), loving whom God loves (1 John 5:1), hating what God hates (Ps. 97:10), grieving over sin (Matt. 26:75), rejecting the world (1 John 2:15), longing to be with Christ (2 Tim. 4:8), and obeying God wholeheartedly (John 14:21).
How can we practice loving God on a daily basis?
What does it mean to love ourselves?
n Loving ourselves doesn’t mean we become self-centered, arrogant, prideful, and think that we are better than others. Loving ourselves means that instead of having a poor self-image, we have a good self-image. We think positively about ourselves because God created us, and He doesn’t create junk.
What are some things you like about yourself?
What does it mean to love your neighbor?
n Genuine love for one’s neighbor is of the same kind as genuine love for God. It is a purposeful, intentional, and active choice, not merely sentimental and emotional. And it is measured, Jesus said, by your love for yourself.
n When a person is hungry, he feeds himself; when he is thirsty, he gets himself a drink; and when he is sick, he takes medicine or sees a doctor-all because he is so consumed with caring for himself. He does not simply think or talk about food or water or medicine but does whatever is necessary to provide those things for himself. A person never simply says to himself, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” without doing anything to secure his needed clothing and food (see James 2:16).
Who is one neighbor to whom you can show your love to this week?
3. JESUS TAUGHT US TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER (JOHN 13:34).
Why do you think Jesus gave a new command to love?
Every generation of believers need to be reminded to
love one another.
There are times when believers differ. There is always
the danger of becoming critical, judgmental, censorious, and divisive.
Remember, the disciples had just been arguing over who should receive the
highest positions of authority in Jesus’ new government. They had been struggling
against each other and were highly critical and judgmental of each other. They
had been deeply divided. The need for a new commandment and a new supernatural
love existed then even as it does today.
What was the new commandment?
n The new commandment is to love as Christ loved.
n This is not the old commandment, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” It is not a human, neighborly love being commanded. This commandment is a new commandment being given to disciples only. It is the spiritual love that is to exist between believers as brothers and sisters and as servants of God who minister together.
n The love being commanded is the love of Jesus Himself which is the love of God Himself, the love that can be shed abroad in our hearts only by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). It is not the normal physical love among human neighbors which is being commanded by God. It is a spiritual love that is wrought only by the Spirit of God.
n The new commandment is the mark of a true disciple. The distinguishing mark of a true believer is not the normal human love of neighbors, not even the love of brothers and sisters or of husband and wife. It is the spiritual and supernatural love of Jesus Himself that dwells within the life of the believer. By this love shall all men know that a person is a true disciple of the Lord (John 15:12; 1 Peter 1:22; 1 John 3:16; 4:7-8).
What steps can you take to become more loving to others?
1. This concludes our study on what Jesus said about love.
2. Let us love with the kind of love Jesus has for us.