Love One Another
These are the readings for the Sixth Sunday of Easter.
God’s Word for This Week
What one word summarizes all of God’s commands? Love. Luke tells us about a Christian lady full of love for the widows of her city. The apostle John teaches us that love for God and his Word compels us to carefully examine all teachings and churches in the light of Scripture. Jesus himself commands us to love one another as he has loved us.
TRADITIONAL FIRST LESSON – Acts 11:19-26
According to verse 21, what happened to the church despite persecution?
Because of the persecution of the Jews, many Christians were scattered, and the Word of God spread to other regions. In Antioch, many non-Jews heard the gospel and came to believe.
Believers were first called Christians at Antioch. What is the significance of being called Christians?
By bearing the name “Christians,” we give testimony to the fact that we believe that Jesus is the Christ, the promised Savior of the world. We bear the name proudly. We also recognize that the life we live reflects upon him whose name we bear.
SUPPLEMENTAL FIRST LESSON – Acts 9:36-42
Why were the widows of Joppa so upset when Dorcas died?
The widows of Joppa were so upset when Dorcas died because, out of her love, she had sewn clothes for them.
What loving, amazing words did Peter speak when he raised Dorcas from the dead?
Peter said, “Tabitha, get up.” (In Aramaic, this sounded very similar to the time Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead, saying, “Talitha [little girl], get up).”
SECOND LESSON – 1 John 4:1-11
Who/what are the “spirits” of which John speaks here?
The spirits about whom John speaks here are those who make spiritual claims.
What are we to do with such spirits?
We are to test such spirits, to see whether they are from God. That is, we are to test teachers and churches against the Bible. If they disagree with Scripture—if they deny that Jesus is the Christ—then they are not from God. Note that we are not to test other people’s hearts (we can’t), or count other followers, or try to gauge their pizzazz. Any of those would be unloving. Rather, we lovingly check out what a spirit, a person making spiritual claims—teaches.
Evaluate the following statement. “If we do not always show true love for others, that means that we are not true believers.”
If we believe in Jesus as our Savior, we will produce fruits of love. Sinners, however, are hardly perfect. The fact that we don’t always show love doesn’t mean that we aren’t believers; it means that our faith needs to grow. We will not use that need as an excuse to not show love, but rather as a reason to grow in our faith through the use of the gospel.
GOSPEL – John 15:9-17
The world often portrays true love as weak and God’s commands as burdensome. According to verse 11, why did Jesus command us to show love?
Jesus commands us to show love that we might have his joy and that our joy may be complete. God does not give us his commandments to make our lives boring or more difficult but rather because he knows that it is for our good. We are happier when we follow his commandments.
What is love?
Love is self-sacrifice in attitude and action. Love is the opposite of selfishness. Love does everything for the other person. Jesus gives us the ultimate example of love in verse 13: “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.”