Overview Of Compelling Love Bible Lessons
Introduction Balanced Living
The need for balance. Jesus said a house built on the “Rock” will stand firm in the midst of all storms and trials. With Jesus as our foundation, we can build the outside walls and roof to protect us from the wind, rain, and thieves. The outer shell illustrates the major teachings or doctrines that can protect us from Satan’s lies and the temptations offered by the world. The inside rooms are where we live with Jesus and introduce others to Him.
Lesson 1 In the Beginning, the Good News About The Bad News
This lesson introduces the war between good and evil and the basic lies of Satan: We need not, should not or cannot obey God. If we accept any of these lies, we join in rebellion with Satan. Unfortunately, Adam and Eve chose to learn about evil. This led to the many negative consequences we suffer from today. Fortunately, God did not forsake us. In fact, He knows all about us and still loves us. This is the good news about the bad news.
Lesson 2 The Love of God
God’s amazing love is revealed through the stories of how Jesus treated people who were condemned by others. Human love is also contrasted with God’s kind of love. A chart shows how our understanding of the gospel is affected by our understanding of God’s grace and love. The song, “Jesus Loves Me” is used to simply illustrate the five basic things we need to know as Christians. If this is all we knew, we would know enough.
Lesson 3 Motivated By Fear, Motivated By Faith
We are all motivated by fear and reward to begin with. God invites us to experience His perfect love that will cast out fear. Following a series of stories, a principle in the war between good and evil is made clear: Whenever God acts, Satan reacts! But God always has a plan! Out of fear, Satan tries to make us take our lives into our own hands and take care of our own needs. Those who wait upon God will find true fulfillment in life.
Lesson 4 The Gospel Foundation: Finding Security In Christ
God faced a huge dilemma. How could He uphold His law and still give eternal life to anyone? For we have all sinned and the law says, “Obey and live; disobey and die” (See Galatians 3:10-12). Fortunately, God found a way. Seeing the plan of salvation from God’s perspective enables us to understand the truth that motivated Paul, “…one died for all, therefore all died” 2 Corinthians 5:14.
Through Jesus, God took the initiative to reconcile the whole world to Himself. The amazing truth is that God is “not imputing their [the world’s] trespasses to them” 2 Corinthians 5:19. In other words, no matter who we are or what we have done, God is not counting any of our sins against us. This shouts the unconditional love of God for the whole world. Because God is full of love, He will never force anyone to come to Him. He removes the sin barrier, invites us to come to Him just as we are and gives us the freedom to be reconciled to Him or reject His gift, cling onto sin and perish in the end (2 Corinthians 5:20; John 3:16-19).
Lesson 5 Jesus, The Savior Of The World
Hearing that God is not counting any of our sin’s against us, no matter who we are or what we have done, sounds too good to be true. But the Bible presents a consistent message:
1. God takes the initiative to save, justify, and reconcile the human race through Jesus;
2. God’s choice gives us the freedom to choose to receive or reject Jesus as Savior and Lord.
This lesson focuses on the difference between being saved by grace and being saved by grace through faith; being justified by grace and being justified by grace through faith; being reconciled to God by Jesus and choosing to be reconciled to God ourselves.
Lesson 6 Jesus, A Complete Savior From Sin
A balanced understanding of the gospel recognizes that Jesus saves from every aspect of the sin problem: The legal, spiritual and physical consequences of the sin problem. We can also describe them as the penalty of sin – death; the power of sin – slavery; and the presence of sin – sickness, death and brokenness. Our part is to believe the truth, confess, repent and be transformed by the renewing of the mind. A personal story is shared as an illustration of the growing process.
Lesson 7 Our Redeemer: Jesus Gave His Life As A Ransom For All
Why was it necessary for Jesus to give His life as a ransom? When God created Adam, He gave him dominion over all the earth. When Adam chose to learn about evil, he gave that dominion to Satan. Because love always gives freedom, God needed to honor his choice. Jesus referred to Satan as the prince of this world.
Fortunately, through His perfect life, death and resurrection, Jesus was able to cast Satan out, redeem the human race and legally become the rightful ruler of the world. This gives everyone the freedom to choose the kingdom of light or the kingdom of darkness.
Lesson 8 Grace That Is Greater Than Our Sin
In Romans 5:18, Paul summarizes the impact that Adam and Jesus had upon the whole human race: One man’s offense brought condemnation to all men; one Man’s righteous act resulted in justification of life for all men. While just one sin was able to bring horrible damage, Jesus’ abundant grace overcame trillions of sins. Having conquered sin and delivered the whole human race from under the “curse of the law,” no one needs to be a slave to sin any longer. We are free, truly free to choose to be “slaves of righteousness”
Lesson 9 The Supreme Sacrifice Of Christ
Why did the Jewish leaders cry out for Jesus to be crucified? What did it mean for Jesus to become a curse for us? What was Jesus willing to give up in order to save the human race? Jesus cried out, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Experiencing the curse of the law, Jesus felt hopelessly lost forever. Not being able to see beyond the grave at that moment, He made the choice to die eternally that we may have life. His love gave all!
Lesson 10 Jesus Receives Sinners
The Jewish leaders were trying to condemn Jesus when they said, “This man receives sinners!” Jesus responded with, “That is why I came!” With open arms Jesus welcomes all of us. There is nothing we can do to make Jesus stop loving us. Jesus illustrates that through eating with the tax collectors, the most despised group of people in His time. He also illustrates it through the story of “The Forgiving Father, The Prodigal Son and The Angry Brother.” The surprise ending reveals that everyone wants Jesus – Dead or Alive!
Lesson 11 Experiencing The Abundant Life
Satan wants to steal, kill and destroy. Jesus wants to give us abundant life. What is the abundant life like? It is full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self-control. Most people enjoy being around people who are like this and may even want these qualities themselves. However, they also want the pleasures this world has to offer. Jesus said a choice is necessary.
There are three Greek words translated “life.” What is the difference in their meaning? Jesus was willing to lay down His life (psuche) that we might have the abundant life (zoe). Without Jesus, we are described as “dead” even though we may be walking around, for we do not have the zoe kind of life that makes us spiritually alive (Luke 9:60). When we believe and receive the truth that Jesus shares, we pass from “death to life” (John 5:24).
Lesson 12 Living By Faith Or Believing A Lie
Faith is embracing the truth based upon the evidence that God has given. The evidence that God exists is plain, based upon His created works. When we seek Him, we will find Him, for He is anxious to have a relationship with us. Faith in Jesus will always produce righteous fruit. People who “suppress the truth” (Romans 1:18), will eventually believe a lie because “they did not receive the love of the truth” (2 Thess. 2:10). We cannot work up a love of the truth. It is what we experience when we follow the Be-Attitudes rather than the Me-Attitudes.
1. Blessed are the poor in Spirit – Acknowledging our brokenness and need for a Savior.
2. Blessed are those who mourn – Mourning over the pain our sin has caused everyone.
3. Blessed are the meek – Freely we have received, freely we give and serve others.
4. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness – Being a blessing to others leads us to want more from God so that we have more to give. Becoming more sensitive to the suffering caused by sin leads us to have a greater love for the truth and an increased hatred of sin.
Lesson 13 Lord, Increase Our Faith… Thank You For The Trials
The highest form of love is forgiving those who have hurt and wronged us. It is impossible for us to do this without the miracle of God working in our lives. If we hold onto hate, bitterness and revenge, we are saying that we don’t want God to work the miracle; we don’t want a Savior to save us from our hate. Since God is loving and honors our freedom, He will not force His forgiveness upon us. “If you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” Matthew 6:15. Forgiveness leads us to look beyond the faults of others and seek to minister to their needs. Trials in life create opportunities for us to learn to trust God to work the miracles in our lives that we need.
Lesson 14 Born Again: Spiritually Alive
Jesus told Nicodemus, “You need to be born again!” he was a model citizen, Bible student, leader and teacher in Israel. Being a good moral person is different than being spiritually alive. Without the Holy Spirit abiding within and giving us a new heart, we have nothing to offer others but gifts motivated by selfishness. Nicodemus expresses our natural human response, “How can this be?” Jesus didn’t pressure Nicodemus to make a decision immediately. He gave him time to think. He also promised that the Son of Man would be “lifted up.” When Jesus was lifted up on the cross, Nicodemus was convinced that Jesus was the Messiah and he openly surrendered his heart and life to Him.
The call to surrender is serious. Jesus knows the kingdom of this world is at war with the kingdom of heaven. We are invited to “count the cost” when making the decision to surrender our all to Jesus. For when surrender, He will change everything in our lives. The change will be positive, but the pressure and temptations the world will throw at Christians will tend to discourage them. The good news is that Satan has been defeated and God can turn every trial into something positive. Learning to trust God and His promises is our greatest need in life. It is also a growing experience. Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will be our constant companion to guide us, comfort us, empower us and to lead us into all truth. All authority has been given to Jesus in heaven and on earth. We have nothing to fear with Him on our side.
Lesson 15 Celebrating New Life With Christ
Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” Luke 9:23. The cross is a symbol of death. Christians daily choose to say no to sin, no to pride, no to being the king of their lives. This choice is like a death to self. When we surrender our lives to Jesus, the Holy Spirit comes in and unites us with the invisible body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13).
Water baptism is a tangible expression of our faith that we have died to sin and have died in Christ the death that the law demands. It also expresses our desire to be united with the visible body of Christ – the organized church family whose beliefs are in harmony with the Bible. Paul writes that each member of the body has a part to play in helping the whole body grow into maturity (Ephesians 4:11-16). In other words, we need each other.
The Holy Spirit works through each member to lead us into all truth and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. When we are emptied of self, Jesus is able to baptize us (fill or immerse us) with the Holy Spirit that we may represent Him and be empowered to take the gospel to the world.
Lesson 16 Growing Into Maturity
When we are born again, we are described as babies in Christ. Growing into maturity is what God’s plan is for all of us. Unfortunately, many people remain as spiritual infants, manifesting a spirit of “envy, strife, and divisions” 1 Corinthians 3:3. Some people justify the immature actions by saying, “I’m only human, what do you expect?” The truth is, the Christian is born of the Holy Spirit and is giving permission for Him to produce the fruit of righteousness in the life (Galatians 5:22,23).
We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, feeding upon the Word of God, trusting in Jesus continually and sharing with others what we receive from God. The motive for growing into maturity is not so that we can become more holy or qualified for heaven, for this is what is what comes to us from Jesus. Growing into maturity enables us to bring glory to God, be a blessing to others and enjoy the fellowship with others in the family of God.
The “reward” is not getting to heaven, for even the immature person will be saved in the end if they choose to stay with Jesus when the trials come (1 Corinthians 3:14,15). The reward is the rich blessing of sharing eternity with people we have known, loved and had an influence on while on earth. The danger of not growing into maturity is that we will have a negative influence on others and may eventually decide to reject Jesus when the trials come.
Lesson 17 Celebrating The New Covenant
God has always provided tangible ways for us to express our faith in Him. The tree of knowledge of good and evil was a tangible way for Adam and Eve to express their decision. The whole universe was able to know what choice they had made. In the church, Jesus instituted the footwashing and communion services. They are tangible ways for us remember what Jesus has done for all of us and to express our choice to receive Him as our Savior and serve Him as our Lord. (Baptism, tithing and the Sabbath are other tangible expressions of faith.)
Before the cross, the sanctuary service was a way for people to express their faith in the plan of salvation created by God. The new covenant communicates that a change has come. After Jesus died on the cross, the animal sacrifices were no longer needed. He also became the One High Priest that makes us acceptable to God. It is important to understand that this is not a new plan of salvation. The New Covenant is part of the everlasting covenant, for Jesus was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” Revelation 13:8.
The everlasting covenant has always been based upon God’s promises. He will be our God, forgive our sin, be our teacher and write His law of love on our hearts. Those who try to earn acceptance by their own righteousness are like the Jews continuing to sacrifice animals after Jesus had died. They are experiencing the “Old Covenant”.
God’s law of love is part of who He is. The Ten Commandments spell out specific ways to express our love to God and to man. Before we are converted, they are a standard of righteousness that is impossible to keep, for we are by nature selfish. They reveal our need for a Savior. After conversion, they become a promise of what God is going to produce in our lives.