Melody and Stewart Part 2
“Good morning, class,” Stewart said after the general greetings and opening prayer had been shared. “We’re going to do something today we’ve never done before.” He looked around. “Let’s start with Matthew 18:19 and 20.” Bible pages rustled as class members turned to the required text.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.”
“Who goes?” Stewart asked.
“We all do,” several said.
“Where do we go?”
“To all the places where there are people.” “To all the world.” “To people we know.” To people in need.”
Stewart picked up a brown paper bag from behind his chair and began passing out small notebooks and ballpoint pens to everyone. “Write your name on the inside cover,” he said, “and then start writing down in the notebook, line by line, all the names of people who need the Lord or need to know Him better and all the places you can think of where there are people like that.”
“Now you’re going to ask us to go to all these people and places…” one member said with a scowl.
“No, I’m not. You decide what you’re going to do. I’m just going to ask you to bring your notebook back to Sabbath school next week and share what has happened. Then we’ll talk about what we’re going to do.”
The eyes of class members glazed over a bit, but Stewart continued and after several minutes of silence he launched the teaching of the lesson. What do you think could have happened from then on?
[Thought Questions for A Love Response June 6, 2012]
1. A love response. What good is the gospel without love? What do all the teachings about the Sabbath, the state of the dead, and the soon coming of Jesus mean without love? Can every teaching we derive from Scripture be explained in terms of God’s love to us? Do we deserve this love? Is it hard to accept love from the Eternal God? Do you think our neighbors and friends would recognize something different about us if we were totally immersed in God’s love?
2. Motivated by love. Most people tremble at the idea of raising money for a worthy project, but does it have to be that way? If you support the purpose of the project and believe it is going to do what it is destined to do, does that make it easier to give? What if as a giver you feel a sense of ownership, as if the project belongs in part to you? If all the people working with you to raise money for a project believe it’s a project born and raised in love, will it be easier to reach your goals? What about in soul-winning?
3. Not by guilt. Have you ever heard a church leader make a call for service that includes the thought that if you really love Jesus, you’ll support this program? Aren’t we all death-guilty by means of our sins? Isn’t doing good works a cure for our selfishness? Do you ever go somewhere or do something for someone because of an obligation you sense that you wish you didn’t have? What are some better motives to help others on the heavenly way than to assuage our guilt?
4. Service a pleasure. Remember the voice of the toddler begging, “Mommie! I wanna help!” The kitchen may end up covered with flour and cooking oil, but does the little one feel he or she has been a big help to mommie? Why? Couldn’t God have left earth to its own devisings? Really, aren’t we in a worse mess than we’d be in if He had just turned us loose and let us go? Can you work, hard, to help another person only to be told your help wasn’t appreciated? Does God have reason to feel that way? What does God need from us that we provide in service? What do we need?
5. The legalism trap. If you were a legalist, would you show good behavior and proper attire in every aspect of your life? What’s wrong with trying to do your best? What’s wrong with measuring your progress towards reaching certain spiritual goals? Are there ways to be legalistic about the Plan of Salvation? How many people do you know who might be wonderful Christians if only they’d straighten up their behaviour? What are the inevitable and sad consequences of a legalistic life as a Christian?
6. Free to be a slave. Sin is everywhere on earth, so how can God make us free from sin? Wouldn’t we be better off if Christ would treat sinners as they deserve to be treated? You and I wouldn’t be included in the category of sinners, would we? Have you ever noticed a couple in love who want nothing as much as being with each other and sharing their love? Does our ultimate experience with God surpass even that? Given a choice between being free as a slave is or as free as one who has died, which would you prefer? Why?
7. Checklist. Do you benefit from checklists such as those on the last page of our lesson guide for this week? Many people do, and if you’re one of them, spend some time adding additional objectives for each one and then check your efforts in Christ day by day this week. If that is too much work, try praying for each of these and checking at the end of the day or week what the Lord has helped you achieve through the week.