The Way to Love Sunday School Lesson Topic Discussion

1. Some claim to believe in God, yet do not exhibit a lifestyle that acknowledges God’s commands. How do you share with someone of this mind-set what a relationship with God really involves? How do you prepare yourself for a “judge not” response?
Mere mental assertion is so easy! Yet our faith in Christ must be more than this. Scripture tells us that even the demons believe there is a God (James 2:19).
Perhaps you can approach the person with an illustration: someone claims to be an employee of a company, but he or she never does any work there and knows nothing of that company’s product line. Is he or she really an employee of that company? Scripture tells us that true faith and love for God is evidenced and expressed through obedience (James 2:20-24). After Jesus said, “Judge not” He also said, “by their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:1, 20).
2. John says God’s commandments are not grievous (burdensome). Without giving trite, pre-packaged answers, what would you say to a believer who is struggling with obedience in some area?
What we say to one who struggles with obedience can depend on the nature of the disobedience: giving up profanity may require a different approach from giving up an adulterous affair. It can also depend on whether or not the person seeks us out for counsel or we seek the person out for godly confrontation.
Modeling holy lives ourselves is a prerequisite in any case. Presenting oneself as an imperfect fellow struggler is also important. At our new birth, the Holy Spirit grants us a new nature that empowers us to obey, yet we know that we still struggle with sin (Romans 7:7-25). But we are not in the struggle alone: we have our fellow believers. God’s Spirit changes our hearts, motives, and desires to the degree we allow Him to do so.
3. The next time you face temptation, how will it help you to know that everyone who is born of God overcomes the world?
There’s nothing more empowering and encouraging than hearing “you can do it,” as these verses proclaim. Other Scriptures confirm our ability to triumph over sin. Since we know that God always offers us a way out (1 Corinthians10:13), we know to look for that escape. Since we know that we are in a battle and that God has equipped us with tools to fight Satan’s attacks (Ephesians 6:10-18), we know to prepare for and expect temptations (1 Peter 5:8).
4. John writes these verses to refute a heresy that claimed Jesus had not come to earth “in the flesh.” What other false ideas do we deal with today? What makes some false ideas more serious than others?
There is much historical evidence that Jesus walked the earth. Today we are snore likely to find people who would deny Jesus’ claim to deity rather than His humanity. Many struggle with the idea of virginal conception, six-day creation, and other biblical doctrines that science cannot explain.
Sometimes the most dangerous false ideas are not those that “subtract” from who Jesus was but those that “add” elements to His identity that are not found in the Bible. For example, one false doctrine acknowledges Jesus to be the Son of God while adding the idea that Jesus was also a spirit brother of Satan.
5. How does today’s text help you witness to someone who believes in God but feels that insisting on Jesus as the only way is too exclusive? How do cultural trends lure people into this trap?
Some nonbelievers agree that Jesus puts forth the highest standards for morality. They recognize Him as a great moral leader, yet Jesus claims to be God. Would a great moral leader tell lies? Either He is God, or His moral teachings are hypocrisies, or He suffered from delusions. Believing in God in the abstract is easy; believing in the God who walked the earth and looked at people eyeball to eyeball is threatening! Yet God himself offered dramatic validation of Jesus’ divinity (Mark 9:7; Luke 3:22). God offers us no middle ground regarding who Jesus is. God allows each of us to choose or reject Jesus. He doesn’t offer another way into His favor (John 14:6).