BEGIN YOUR TEACHING WITH THE LOVE OF GOD
TOMIJO W. BROWN
As I began a Bible study with a neighbor who knew little of God’s Word, she asked, “How would you start a study with a child?” I answered her by telling her about God’s love. Most of what I said concerned Jesus’ death, but there are so many other evidences of God’s love seen in and out of the Bible. I am convinced that at the beginning of any Bible study for the purpose of converting one to Christ, we should stress the love of God for all mankind, with particular emphasis on His love for the person with whom we are studying. As the study unfolds and we emphasize the blessings we have as a result of becoming Christians, and His love as evidenced in the lives of Christians, we will be more able to touch the heart of lost persons.
There is no way to explain God’s love so we can REALLY grasp how much He cares for us, but there are many scriptures that give us glimpses of that wonderful, infinite love.
Being made in God’s image is one indication of His love (Gen. 1:26). He did not make anything else in His image. Unlike animals, we have a spirit that is eternal. If we obey Him, we can have inward peace and happiness while we work here with Him and for Him, and eternal bliss with God in the next life. This promise is made only to man.
After God made the earth, with all its beauties and pleasures, He gave it to us (Psalm 115:16). We should feel God’s love as we enjoy all the blessings we derive from the earth. Each season brings new joys and pleasures that declare God’s glory and care.
As we consider God’s love, we immediately think of His Son and His death on the cross (John3:16). The fact that God gave His Son to die for us shows His love in such a perfect way that it touches and wins the hearts and minds of sinners as nothing else can do. There is much more involved in Christ’s death than the physical pain, for He bore ALL our sins when He was on the cross (1Peter2:24). This concept is too deep for us to understand, but we can know that His suffering was much greater than any we might endure. We understand agony in some measure if we have lost a loved one who is not a Christian, but even if it were possible to bear the sins of that person, it would not compare with Christ’s suffering, for He bore ALL the sins of ALL the world. We were certainly brought with a price (1 Cor.6:20)!
God showed His love for us by allowing Christ to be tempted as we are (Heb.4:14). By the gift of Christ and His life, and by the fact that He was tempted in all points as we are, we can know that Christ understands as we fight against temptations and that He can sympathize and forgive when we fail.
We can also know that when we have problems and suffer in any manner, Christ knows and understands our pain. He must have been in great pain as He wept at the death of Lazarus, when He was rejected by many, when He was betrayed by Judas and denied by Peter, when John the baptizer was beheaded. All these and many other instances indicate that Jesus suffered as we do, and that we can be assured that He knows when and how we hurt. To be able to go a God who truly understands our pain makes going to Him in prayer one of our greatest privileges and blessings (Eph. 1:2). With the promise that all things work together for our good (Rom.8:28) we should never stay troubled for long.
God’s love and care are clearly shown in Matthew 6:26 as Christ tells us that even the sparrows lives are in the will of God, and that we are worth more than many sparrows. Again in Matthew 6:28-34, Christ explains God’s love for us as He compares His care for the lilies of the field and His care for His children.
In 1 Peter 5:7, Peter writes, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” This is an admonition and a promise that would be SUCH a help if only we would be wise enough to give our cares to Him. Only then can we know His love in this special way.
Not only does God show His love and care for us by giving His Son, the evidence of His love and care continues as He provides every spiritual and physical need, accepts our anxieties and cares, and gives us strength as we are tempted. In addition to all these, He promises us eternal life if we are faithful Christians.
I am confident that our work of teaching others would be easier, and more persons would respond properly to God’s will if they really understood how much God loves them and desires their salvation and happiness.