NASHVILLE (BP) – This weekly Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with Lifeway Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, Lifeway publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.
This week’s Bible study is adapted from the MasterWork curriculum.
Bible Passages: 1 John 3:10-24
- How might a person determine whether or not you love him or her?
- What difference does your love or lack of love for a person make in how you relate to that person?
- What benefits do Christians receive from loving God and other?
Food for thought:
When I meet a certain woman in public, I hug and kiss her. No other woman I meet, in public or private, do I greet in this manner. The particular woman who receives this singular greeting is my wife. My love for her determines how I relate to her.
Similarly, our love determines how we relate to God and how we relate to others. Author J. Ryan Wicker, in “Unfailing Love in Uncertain Times,” stresses that living love puts truth into action. We have heard the truth of the necessity of loving one another “from the beginning” (1 John 3:11).
A related truth clarifies how to discern whether one is God’s child or the devil’s child – does one “love his brother or sister” (v. 10) or not?
Wicker relates a personal experience with this truth while on a mission trip. Despite the physical difficulties and challenges of the endeavor, and with no other commonalities between them beyond Jesus, those on the mission trip developed deep relationships with their translators.
Our love, or lack of it, determines how we relate to others. Either the absence of love leads to de facto hatred (vv. 12-15), or its presence leads to sacrificial living (vv. 16-18). Those who have experienced and received the sacrificial love of Jesus will in turn demonstrate sacrificial love toward others. That love will not be merely “in word or speech, but in action and in truth” (v. 18).
Love not only puts truth into action, it also carries with it life-giving benefits. The love that determines how we relate to God and to others also assures us of our salvation (vv. 19-20). Loving in truth and action “is how we will know that we belong to the truth” (v. 19). The assurance that comes to our hearts then gives us confidence in prayer (vv. 21-22).
John closed the middle chapter of his letter by returning to love’s benefit of assuring us of our salvation (vv. 23-24). Love’s presence or absence determines how we relate to God and others, and the way we relate to God and others is a testimony of our love.
MasterWork is an ongoing Bible study curriculum based on works from a variety of renowned authors and offers pertinent, practical messages that adults will find uplifting and enriching. The list of authors and their books to be studied in upcoming months can be found at Lifeway.com/masterwork.