Step One of this lesson also on video!
Real Life Downloaded | Adult Lesson 11 from David C Cook on Vimeo.
OPENING ACTIVITY: A Demonstration of Love
Write the following on a board or sheet of newsprint: They demonstrated their love for me when they _____________. Ask students to think of people (other than God or Jesus) who demonstrated their love for them in a tangible way and then to share what that person did to express their love for them. Summarize their responses on the board or newsprint. Their answers may include a spouse who went out of their way to buy a special gift for them at Christmas or someone who sacrificed something significant in order to benefit them in a special way.
Then ask students how they responded when this person expressed their love this way. Summarize these answers on the board or newsprint as well. They may mention something simple like writing a thank you note or something more substantial like spending more quality time with that person or doing something significant for them in return.
This week’s article focuses on some ways that God demonstrates His unfailing and boundless love for us and how we can respond to Him.
OPENING STORY: [Read the story aloud or make copies and pass them around.]
TWO PEOPLE RESPOND TO GOD’S LOVE
Alec Penix, a celebrity trainer and fitness enthusiast and author of Seven Sundays: A Faith, Fitness and Food Plan for Lasting Spiritual and Physical Change, admits that for a long time, spirituality and faith weren’t always part of his training methods. That changed after over-celebrating a wedding in Mexico and waking up the next day in pain and despair and feeling lost. At a moment which he describes as “one of the darkest times I my life,” Penix cried out to God and said, “God, I need Your help.” He then heard a voice that said, “Alex, it is time to become the man I’ve called you to be.” Penix recognized that it was God speaking to him. As he recounted this experience later on, he said, “From that point on I really just fell in love with God.”
Penix responded to the recognition of God’s love for Him by devoting more time to church and the Bible. He noted later that “because of that I started to see my life change. I wasn’t spiritually malnourished anymore.”
Penix’s spiritual transformation—his spiritual awakening—began to filter into everything he did including his business. His enthusiasm for the Lord affected others he interacted with, and he noted that their lives began to change too on an emotional, mental, and spiritual level. God’s love also led to him to write Seven Sundays, a book that describes a six-week program promising “a meaningful journey that will finally connect your body and spirit.”
Praying for the salvation of others was one way that Francis Chan, former teaching pastor at Cornerstone Community Church in Simi Valley, California, and author of Letters to the Church, responded to his recognition of God’s love for him. What’s ironic is that other people would often beg him to speak to their lost friends, believing that Chan’s words would somehow affect the change they wanted to see in their friends. Chan admits that “too often, I granted their wish and tried desperately to come up with the perfect words to talk their friends into falling in love with Jesus.” Chan recognized, however, that “we all walk in complete spiritual darkness unless God decides to shine a light on us. In some mysterious say, God shines light in a person’s heart so that he instantly sees the beauty of the Gospel. No amount of human effort can produce this. Salvation is a mircle of God.”
Chan cites how his friend Ken came into saving relationship with Jesus. Chan and Ken were friends in college, but Ken had continually refused to follow Jesus, while Chan had decided to live a life of service for Christ. After college, they went their separate ways. But Chan “never stopped praying for him.” A couple years ago, Chan invited Ken to an event where he was speaking so that the two could reconnect. Ken showed up. After the event—after 30 years of praying—“God decided to shine His light on [Ken’s] heart. Suddenly Jesus looked beautiful to him, and he couldn’t believe that he didn’t see it all the time.” A few weeks later Ken and his wife flew to San Francisco and Chan baptized them.
Now have your students form small groups to discuss their answers to these questions.
- What are some ways that God demonstrates His love for us?
- What words would you use to describe the quality or characteristics of His love?
- What are some ways you’ve experienced God’s love for you in a personal way?
- What are some ways we can or should respond to our knowledge of the quality and character of God’s love?
Looking for Steps 2 & 3?
You can find Steps 2 and 3 in your teacher’s guide; your Step 4 appears below. To purchase a teacher's guide, please visit: Bible-in-Life or Echoes
GOD’S BOUNDLESS LOVE FOR YOU
God demonstrates His love for us in countless ways. He forgives us even though we don’t deserve it; He shows us how to avoid spiritual harm; He tells us how to have fruitful and fulfilling lives; He guides us down a path that leads to eternal joy. The qualities and characteristics of God’s love are equally beyond measure. It is unfailing; it is based on grace and not merit; it is unconditional; it is eternal.
How we respond as we meditate on God’s unfailing love for us should be just as boundless.
Ask students to return to the groups they had in Step 1 to respond to the following:
- Choose a quality of God’s love you want to meditate on this week. Write out or share what characteristic you choose. During the week, take time to focus on activities that will remind you of this aspect of God’s love as well as provide opportunities to demonstrate that love. Be prepared to share in class next week what you did and what the result was.
Close the class in prayer. Thank God for His unfailing and boundless love. Pray that you will all be able to experience this in a personal way in the upcoming week and ask for opportunities for you to demonstrate His love.
THE BIBLE IN THE NEWS
A ring has been found in King Herod’s former palace engraved with the name “Pilatus.” Is it connected to Pontius Pilate?
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