Saving Love-God Loves You-Love God Back (Sunday School April 9, 2017)

Lesson 15
April 9, 2017
International Subject: Saving Love
U.H.S.C. Subject: God Loves You—Love God Back
Lesson Text: John 3:1-16

1. There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
2. The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
3. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
5. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
8. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.
9. Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?
10. Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?
11. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness.
12. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?
13. And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
14. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:
15. That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.
16. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Lesson Outline
I. Nicodemus Meets Jesus (John 3:1-3)
II. Nicodemus Engages Jesus (John 3:4-8)
III. Jesus Critiques Nicodemus (John 3:9-16)

Lesson Setting
Time: 27 AD
Place: Israel
General Theme: “And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter ye shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man.” — John 1:51

Explanatory Synopsis

Jesus was a threat to the religious and political authority of his day. It was not the man they feared but his message and spirit. The message of Christ, in every age, is liberation. The system cannot allow liberation to the common man and woman. Liberated souls will not conform to the tends masterminded behind closed doors by the powerful elite.

Nicodemus was a member of the Sanhedrin council. The Sanhedrin was the highest authority of the Jews in Jerusalem during the time of Jesus. Even the High Priest served at the pleasure of the Sanhedrin. The council was concerned that Jesus was stirring up too much trouble. He was causing the people to question their authority. Nicodemus, and a few other members, knew that God was truly using Jesus. They wanted to know more.

Don’t be a Nicodemus. Nicodemus represents enlightenment constrained by fear. He represents love of position over love of God. Nicodemus could not be seen with Jesus. He had an image to uphold. How many of us are a Nicodemus? How many of us saints, pastors, ministers, and mediums are remaining silent as Father Hurley’s doctrine slowly erodes before our eyes?

Some theologians call Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea “secret disciples.” They followed the teachings of Jesus in secret, while maintaining their public positions. Are you a secret disciple? Are you a Hagar at church and a Christian among your friends, family, and significant others? Have you compromised your walk with Father Hurley in hopes of a position in the church? God forbid. Get in position with God within. Walk with Christ in the light, not in darkness.

Understand Why You Drink (Proverbs 31:4)

“It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for princes strong drink.”—Proverbs 31:4

This verse is ignored by most. People think the bible is useless but that’s not so. The King James Version has over 30,000 verses. Doctrines have been founded on only a select few. Wading through all these verses opens up our minds. I’ve never heard this verse preach. Nor have I come across it in a Sunday School lesson. But the truth of it strikes the heart.

I already shared with you that I stopped drinking in October 2010. While that came through revelation and impression, this verse gives me further pause. And it should make you pause! It’s becoming popular among African-Americans to call each other king and queen. This is nice and all. But this verse says that kings and princes should not drink at all. Wow! Wow! Wow! Did you hear that brother kings and sister queens? Most people that drink have gotten drunk. So drunk that they didn’t know what happened and when! Where’s the fun in that? I’ll leave this alone. You all probably really won’t read the bible now! Understand why you drink.

The Word is Everything (Proverbs 30:5)

“Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.”—Proverbs 30:5

There is refuse and safety in wisdom. Even the most independent person will eventually have to trust something or someone. If the atheist has a stroke, the atheist must trust the medical professionals for care. If the mean old man develops dementia, and goes to a nursing home, his quality of life will depend on the nursing assistants. And as we age, no matter our health status, all of us will need help on some level.

The best investment we can make is to invest in wisdom. The word of God, as passed down through the generations, is that wisdom. As we analyze it, practical lessons flow forth. As we learn to recognize wisdom, we will begin seeing it in other writings. We’ll hear it in conversation. We’ll feel it anytime someone expresses it. The word of God is our foundation. The word is everything.

Love Your Neighbor as Yourself (Proverbs 29:7)

“The righteous considereth the cause of the poor: but the wicked regardeth not to know it.”—Proverbs 29:7

I will wade into the political realm again. No socio-political theory, based in wisdom, is complete without considering the poor. If we take this verse to heart, then any socio-political theory that ignores the poor or is harsh toward the poor is wicked at best! The favorite phrase of many is “pull yourself up by your bootstraps.” But what about the people that have no boots!

The bootstraps theory ignores a fundamental truth. The people that hold to this theory assume that they and their family will never end up poor. But life isn’t fair! Unexpected events happen to us all. We’ve all heard stories of people who lost their job then subsequently lost everything they owned. These bootstraps folks found themselves before a social worker, getting assistance. What if they had been successful at destroying the so-called social safety net? They would’ve been worse off than ever.

Being a champion for the less fortunate is about love. It’s easy to tell people to help themselves. But everyone doesn’t have the tools. People face adversities that some can’t even imagine. Don’t you want us to symphatise when you’re hurting? Then you have to symphatise with us when we’re hurting. Love your neighbor as yourself.

Get Wealth the Right Way (Proverbs 28:20)

“A faithful man shall abound with blessings: but he that maketh haste to be rich shall not be innocent.”—Proverbs 28:20

Some people have the mistaken belief the bible is against wealth. Preachers and theologians have presented the scriptures this way. But just a study of Proverbs alone shows us that wealth isn’t the issue. A child of God can be wealthy. The issue is the way our wealth or prosperity is obtained.

There were several prominent drug dealers in the neighborhood I spent my teenage years and early twenties. I didn’t know them personally but did have mutual associates. One in particular stuck out to me. He dressed the way I wished to. He drove the car I wanted. He worked for himself. He wasn’t tied down to a 9-5 job he hated, like I was. He had the money I wanted. While I wasn’t jealous of him, I was a little jealous of his supposed success.

One day the truth of this verse hit home. The mutual associate I mentioned called me to tell me the horrible news. This brother that I envied had been shot and killed at a gas station in our neighborhood. The police didn’t even bother to cover his body up for hours after his death. He was stretched out wide, lying in his own blood. He was lying next to that fine car, never to drive it again. And because there were some drugs in the car, even the car was confiscated. He left his family nothing but a few dollars in his house and a broken heart. He left his children with no legacy.

Now I know that my faithful life is right. At 35, I am a few years older than that brother was when he passed. I still probably haven’t earned as much as he did in his life. But because I’ve lived a faithful life, God has blessed me with a beautiful family. My financial house is in order. I preach this all the time: I’d rather grow slowly and keep what I’ve gained, than to skip steps and keep falling short. Get wealth the right way.

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