The Source of Love Sunday School Lesson Topic Discussion

1. Describe someone you know who excels at loving people. How will you follow his or her example?
Many of your students have relatives or friends whom they have witnessed loving unselfishly, even sacrificially. Sacrifice can be of both time and resources.
Some examples of lavish love can elicit warnings from well-meaning people, including Christians. For instance, those who care for foster children are warned that involvement in such a ministry will bring pain when the children are returned to their families. Those who minister to the urban poor are often warned of the dangers they face when they go out on the streets at night. Yet anytime we choose to put love into action on this fallen planet, we make ourselves vulnerable to pain. Jesus didn’t let pain prevent Him from loving us. We follow His example!
2. Some may view church attendance and Bible study as good measures of a person’s walk with God. What problems can that type of thinking create? Why is love a better test to discern authentic Christianity?
Church attendance and Bible study are spiritually nutritious activities. But thinking of those activities as standards by which to measure godliness confuses means with ends. When we grow spiritually through church attendance and Bible study (the means) the result should be to love as Jesus loves (the ends).
Loving others shows that a person understands the heart of the law …and the heart of God!
“And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these” (Mark 12:30, 31).
3. In what ways might you face (or have you faced) ridicule or social rebuff while expressing love as Jesus expects? How do you (or did you) react to such attacks?
People are generally tolerant, often approving, of small, convenient acts of charity. Writing a check to a good cause or participating in a fundraiser for a cancer victim fit this idea. But should you offer to give up a vacation to go on a mission trip, you may find yourself met with looks of disbelief by family, co-workers, or even other Christians.
To love as Jesus loves means going beyond what is easy for others to understand. Loving an “outsider” can risk someone’s “insider” social status. Yet connecting a person with a body of believers may provide a tangible way to experience the truth of God’s love for eternity. What could be more important than that?
4. Verse 20 implies that “seeing” a person makes it easier to love him or her. Why is this true? What are some things that we can “see” in others that can help us love them?
We may think that seeing people is part of the problem rather than part of the solution, since some folks are about as huggable as a cactus. It helps to remember that love is more than an emotion—it’s doing what’s best for the one you love.
To do something that benefits another, we first have to see (or somehow be aware of) his or her needs. God himself doesn’t need anything, but we can love Him by loving and serving the people He created. Jesus tells us that when we do loving things for others, He credits it to us as if we had done the deeds for Him personally (Matthew 25).
5. What was a time when it was difficult for you to love someone? What helped you to express loving action despite the difficulty? It’s not so hard to think of loving people if the people we are considering are our children, spouses, or close friends. But what about someone who is malicious? Can you act in a loving manner toward someone who is hateful to you?
Jesus tells us that  is the mark of the children of God (Matthew 5:44-46). This type of love doesn’t seem to be part of our human nature. It’s possible though, when we are filled up with God’s love. Remembering that God loved us when we were unlovable can help us behave kindly toward those who are hard to love (Romans 5:8).