April 19, 2015 Sunday School Commentary
Highlighted Text – 1 John 4:13-5:5
Key verse- “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him” (1 John 5:1, KJV).
Life often ‘tests’ our true love for God through our relationships with others. Whether or not these relationships are intimate, casual or seasonal we have the opportunities to reflect our love for God through them. These tests can be challenging, especially depending upon the relationship and the person. Strangely, it is the people we are the closest too that we find it difficult to love unconditional. More bizarre, we find it easier to hate those related to us and in our Christian family than strangers and unbelievers.
Living Proof (1 John 4:13-17)
The apostle John, known as the “disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:20) is the writer of today’s text. In his first epistle, he discusses how love is evidence of our relationship with God. We are not able to love others the way God intended and expects on our own. Our flesh is incapable of doing so. But every born again believer has been given power to do so through the Holy Spirit. If we have received the gift of the Holy Spirit that comes from the omnipotent God, then we have the ability to love others in the most victimizing times. God is able to love us regardless of our flaws, background, sin, status, physical or mental abilities. He is living proof that love exists and provides living proof that love conquers.
Point to Ponder: When was the last time you inventoried God’s love for you?
Loving Proof ( 1 John 4:18-19)
Our inability to love others is derived from fear. We tend to fear what we don’t understand. Fear consumes us and keep us from dealing with our inner and outer issues. Operating out of fear causes us not to grasp the fullness of God’s love; therefore, keeping us bound from having healthy relationships. Our lesson guide states it this way, “The greatest strategy is to hoard the love of God and miss opportunities to pour this precious gift into the lives of others.” When we truly come to love God there will be loving proof in our relationship with others.
Point to Ponder: Who in your life right now do you need to work on your ‘love-proof’ relationship with?
Lasting Proof (1 John 4:20-5:5)
One of John’s most direct and convicting verses is 1 John 4:20a, “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar:” This is a power packed statement full of truth. It is a hard truth to swallow when we consider those we encounter every day. Those that don’t look like us, that mistreat us and seek to persecute us. Along with fear, forgiveness is a major factor that convicts us of this verse. The more we hold on to not forgiving others as God has forgiven us, our fleshly, unhealthy emotions will last. Love endures all things and lasts forever. We have to allow love to rule our lives and not our emotions. Love is lasting proof.
Point to Ponder: Who needs your forgiveness today?
God has commanded us to love one another and he has displayed this challenge with all of us. When we find it difficult loving others, we have to examine our relationship with God. We should be able to feed off of our love for God so that we can nourish others with it. We are not perfect, but we have the power to be perfected. Choose LOVE!
Commentary by, Evangelist Shulanda Hastings
Lesson guide, Direction Urban Ministries