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Lesson for November 1st, 2014

Love and the Law

Scripture Focus

James 2:1-13; Mark 2:16; Leviticus 19:17, 18; Romans 13:8-10; John 12:48


True love involves a substantial amount of risk and calls us to tear down barriers that separate us—both inside and outside the church.

Materials Needed

Paper bag, pens, paper, offering basket, printed lyrics to several popular love songs

Connecting with the Scripture Topic

  1. Describe your feelings when you see police lights in your rear view mirror. How does it feel when the police car passes you to pull someone else over?
  2. When you see someone at an intersection asking for help, do you tend to give cash, a sandwich out of your lunch bag, or just look the other way? Why?

Sharing and Receiving Scripture

  1. What do you think is the best way to help the poor and downtrodden? Write one suggestion on a slip of paper and put it in the bag. As your facilitator reads the suggestions, select a few that you believe are the best solutions. Now look up Bible texts that support your selection. Read aloud as many of these as you can find.
  2. Thought Questions

In your opinion, doesn’t James 2:1-13 seem like discrimination against the rich?

  1. No, James is just telling it like it is.
  2. Could be—I don’t think all the rich are as bad as he describes here.
  3. We shouldn’t show partiality in either direction.
  4. We should be more partial to the poor because they are at a greater disadvantage—let’s level the playing field.
  5. The church could use a few more generous rich people to help us with our mission.
  6. Other...

What is the best way to keep from jumping to conclusions as the Pharisees did in Mark 2:16?

  1. If you can’t say anything good, don’t say anything at all.
  2. It takes a lot of work and practice to habitually give people the benefit of the doubt.
  3. Pray to see all people through the eyes of God.
  4. Mind your own business.
  5. If you have a question about someone’s apparent behavior, ask him or her about it.
  6. Other...

Leviticus 19:17, 18 commands us to love our neighbor, but can love really be commanded?

  1. If God commands it, it must be possible.
  2. No, it’s like your mom making you tell your obnoxious little brother that you love him.
  3. True love is more action than emotion.
  4. If you force yourself, you really can treat people you don’t like with love.
  5. If we give our unloving thoughts and feelings to God, we can eventually learn to love the unlovable.
  6. Other...

Read Romans 13:8-10. How is love the fulfillment of the law?

  1. Each of the Ten Commandments has an element of love at its foundation.
  2. The commandments are “others-centered” rather than self-centered.
  3. Love is the law; the commandments and statutes are merely practical applications of love.
  4. True love is the fulfillment as long as we still pay attention to the law—we can break the law using a false love as justification.
  5. It’s a win-win: if we treat others as we’d like to be treated, we’ll receive good treatment in return.
  6. Other...

Applying the Message of Scripture

Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. Then report back to your group when your facilitator says time is up.

  • Option 1: Rewrite the story of the Good Samaritan so that the priest, Levite, and Samaritan all pitch in and work together to help the mugging victim. Include some good dialog that these three might have had. Do you think we’ve learned anything in our day from this parable?
  • Option 2: Let’s get practical and love till it hurts! Collect an offering from your group. Use these funds to purchase water bottles and gift cards from local fast-food restaurants. Plan a time this week to go around your town and distribute the water and gift cards to people asking for a handout. Include small, appropriate spiritual tracts with your gifts.
  • Option 3: Choose one of the love songs and change the lyrics to reflect God’s love for us, love in the law, and true Christian love for others. Sing it to the best of your ability!

Valuing Scripture in Your Life

  1. For the next few minutes, examine yourself to determine if you are a truly merciful person. Do you have room for improvement? How can you be a more loving Christian today?
  2. Do you need mercy from someone? Consider ways to communicate your need to the other person. Commit prayerfully to approach this situation at the proper time.

Next Week's Scripture Focus

James 2:14-26; Romans 3:27, 28; 4:1-5; Titus 2:14; 2 Corinthians 4:2; Joshua 2:1-21

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