- Understand God has called us to love our neighbor.
- Understand who our neighbor is.
- Think of ideas of how we can love our neighbor.
Introduction – The Evangelist Role Play
Select three members of the group to participate in the following role play:
Narrator’s Introduction: Christians sometimes have what we call a “narrow view of the Gospel.” They understand that accepting Jesus is a life-and-death decision, but they don’t understand something else. When they are blind to their neighbor’s needs, their message is actually lost. . . . Today, we’ll visit a very poor home. The only resident (PSP – Poor Sick Person) is ill and in bed. A visitor, a Christian evangelist (EV) on a door-to-door campaign, has just arrived.
EV: Hello, hello! Anyone home? May I come in? (Enters)
PSP: (Weakly) In here . . .
EV: Hi. I’m ____________ from __________________ Church. I just came today to invite everyone to our church. The Lord has been blessing us with a powerful revival. You won’t want to miss it.
PSP: (Groans, speaks haltingly) Can’t come . . . can’t get out of bed . . . too sick to move . . . lost my job . . . no money for medicine . . . or food . . . or rent . . .
EV: Those are big problems, but I know someone who has the answer to all of life’s problems. Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior?
PSP: (Weakly) My family and friends left me when I got sick and lost my job . . . Could anyone from your church help me? Please? . . .
EV: The best help you could get is found right here in this little tract. It explains God’s plan for your life. You know, it isn’t His will that you’re laying here! Take this, read it, pray the sinner’s prayer, and believe!
PSP: (Weaker) Can’t . . . too weak. . . (Stops talking, lies motionless.)
EV: (Checks pulse) Still alive! Praise God, I got here in time to witness! I’ll leave the tract. I’d better get going so I can minister to other lost souls. (Talks loudly in PSP’s ear) We’ll pray for you. Remember, Jesus is the answer. (Leaves)
PSP: (Watches him leave, groans) Ohhhhhhhhhhh……..
(Do nothing else – or whatever seems appropriate)
In a large group discuss the following questions:
- What happened in this role play?
- Have you ever seen or known of people who shared the gospel like this?
- How successful was it in the long term?
- How does this method of evangelism compare with the way that Jesus ministered?
The Scripture is clear that God is concerned about hurting people—and we must be also. One of the best “clues” to help us understand God’s heart for people is found in the commands of Jesus. Within these commands, we see the “irreducible minimum” of the Gospel. Its emphasis is not only clear, but surprising.
The Great Commandment
In small groups:
Read the following verses:
· Matthew 22:36-40 · Mark 12:28-31,33 · Luke 10:27
· Matthew 7:12 · Romans 13:9 · Galatians 5:14
What are the similarities and differences in these six passages?
- They all say “love your neighbor”
- Only half mention loving God
What does Jesus say is the greater of the two commandments?
- Love God
When the Law and the Prophets are summarized by only one of the Great Commandments, which is it?
- Love your neighbor
Why do you think Jesus chose to summarize the Law and the Prophets using this command?
- (Allow the students to think of their own answers. If they don’t conclude that it is because we demonstrate our love for God through our actions, then return to this question at the end of this lesson.)
Loving Our Neighbor
As a large group
Read I John 3:17, I John 5:3a, James 1:27
What is the relationship between God’s love and our response to people’s needs?
- If we love God then we will demonstrate that by loving our neighbor. If we say that we love God but do not love our neighbor, then it shows that we don’t truly love God.
Is it possible to share the love of God without helping people’s needs?
Are we disciples of Jesus if we are not ministering to the social and physical—as well as the spiritual—needs of man?
- No. If we look at the parable of the sheep and the goats, we are clearly divided by what we do and do not do. In that parable, they were not told to preach a sermon to those that were hungry. They were told to give them food. Jesus clearly shows in this parable that he expects us to care for the needs of those around us if we are truly His followers.
Draw a picture of the cross on the board as shown.
Explain to the group:
This diagram is designed to help us remember this principle. The upward line represents our relationship with God. It is the biggest line. The horizontal line represents our relationship with others. The horizontal line is supported by the vertical line. Without the vertical line, the horizontal line would be in the dirt. This is true not only for this picture but also for our lives. We need God to help us have good relationships.
Who Is Your Neighbor?
Introduction: This is a story that Jesus told someone who wanted to know how to inherit eternal life, that is, how to be a Christian. He said two things were required—that we love God and that we love our neighbor. The person then asked who his neighbor was and Jesus replied with the following story.
Read the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-37) while people in the class act it out. Ask one person to be each of the people in the story.
(Seven people are needed to assist in this story illustration: 1 man, 2 robbers, 1 priest, 1 Levite, 1 Samaritan, 1 innkeeper.)
As a large group discuss
- Did the Good Samaritan know the person on the ground?
- What was the Good Samaritan’s reaction to that person? How was it different from others?
- How did the Good Samaritan show love to his neighbor? Did he do just enough or more than necessary?
- What does this story teach us about whom our neighbor is?
- How does this story teach us about how we should show love to our neighbor?
Think about the people who you see often. What is one thing that you can do for someone else?