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lesson 12

     1. Matthew 22:36-40 - Love of God and Love of Neighbor
     2. Matthew 7:12 - The golden rule - a positive response to others.
     3. Romans 13:8-10 - Love is the fulfillment of the law.
     4. 1 John 3:16-18 - How we know what love is - through the example of Jesus.
     5. Colossians 3:14 - Love is the binding force for all other virtues in our lives. 
II. MAIN THEME - How does the character of "love" help us to understand God's will and to keep 
                    His commands?  Love is the highest of characters.  It helps to guide our response to 
                    God, our perceptions of others, and our view of self.  Love should reign in our lives.
     1. Love is the medium through which God and man can relate:
                    a. During our sinfulness, God demonstrated His love to us - Romans 5:6-8
                    b. From His love toward us, we learned to love in response - 1 John 4:7-19
                    c. Now through love, we obey Him as our Father - 1 John 5:1-5
     2. Love for God is not just love for obeying rules, but it is love of our fellow man:
                    a. The laws are fulfilled in us when we love our neighbor - Romans 13:8-10
                    b. We learn how to love our neighbor by seeing the example of Jesus - 1 John 3:16-18
                    c. Therefore, we learn that "You shall not kill" is not just a law, but it is an appeal to love
                         God through loving (respecting) our fellow man.  John 13:34;  Matthew 7:12
     3. Love also helps us to have a healthy perspective of oneself:
                    a. Jesus implies that we should love ourselves - Matthew 22:36-40
                    b. We can honor this statement by Jesus when we remember how much God loves us.
                         John 3:16;  Ephesians 2:4;  1 John 4:9
                    c. We cannot love self when we are bound in a system of law-keeping - Romans 7:21-24
                    d. Through grace, though we are sinners, He has made us sons - Galatians 4:1-7
     4. So, how does love help us to understand God's will?  God loves us and we learn to love 
                     Him.  We show our love to God by loving others.  This is the fulfillment of all the law.
                     We then realize that the Bible is not a law-book, but a portrait of love (Jesus).  God's              
       love works through us to make us like Jesus - this is God's will - Romans 8:28-30. 
     1.When we love others we will practice righteousness - 1 John 4:20-21
                    a. Love does not harm a neighbor - Romans 13:8-10
                    b. Love prefers others in honor - Romans 12:10
                    c. Love is gentle and patient - Ephesians 4:1-3
                    d. Love never fails - 1 Corinthians 13:1-8
     2. Love is our proof of being a disciple of Jesus - John 13:34-35;  1 John 3:16-18
     3. Do you have enemies?  Love them!  This is what God did and look what happened to you.
                    Matthew 5:43-48;  Ephesians 2:1-9
IV. MEMORY VERSE  -  Romans 13:10
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