Lesson 12: Conclusion
1 John 4:10-11  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Beloved, if God loved us in this way, we also ought to love one another.
The Main Points for This Lesson:
This series of lessons centers around love as seen in chapter 13 of the apostle Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians. The purpose of these lessons is to teach about love: love's importance; what love looks like lived out, including what it is and what it isn't, and what it does and what it doesn't do; love's greatness.
This lesson is the conclusion of these lessons on love as seen in 1 Corinthians 13. The goal of this lesson is to review the three main thoughts about love we have looked at in this series of lessons.
Love is important. It is good to speak the truth. It is good to prophesy, to understand mysteries and knowledge, to have great faith. It is good to give you possessions and even your body to those in need. While these things are good, and may bring good to others, it is possible to do them while not having love, that is, while not loving your neighbor as yourself. If we do good things but don't have love, before God we will be nothing, and gain no eternal things. Love must be included in all these good things if we want to hear God say on the last day, Well done, good and faithful servant.
Love is real and practical. The love commanded by God is real and practical. It is not first a warm feeling or emotion. (That is not to say that emotions will not follow love.) Love is purposefully seeking the good of others, caring for others in real ways. Love is treating others the way we want to be treated. Love is seen and shown through our thoughts, words and deeds toward others.
Love is greater than all else. Many good things may help us and teach us to love others. Many other good things may be done as a result of loving others. Love is the goal. The goal of the commandment and teaching is love. What counts before God? It is not prophesying, or speaking in tongues, or possessing spiritual knowledge. What counts before God above all else is love. Do you and I love God and love our neighbor as ourselves?
God has loved us with this kind of love. He commands us to love one another just as he loved us.
To open the lesson, pray for the teacher and the students.
Let the children know that we are now having some lessons on 1 Corinthians 13, about love. While 1 Corinthians 13 is not the only place God teaches us about love, it provides a very helpful, practical, and (perhaps) easily understood description of love.
This is the last lesson on 1 Corinthians 13. In this lesson we will review the things we have already learned about love.
Read 1 Corinthians 13:1-3. Ask the children some questions. What is the most important thing in these verses? (Love.) Are the other things mentioned, such as prophesying, having faith or giving alms, good or bad? (Good.) They are either gifts from God or are commanded by him. What must we have along with these things if we want to hear God say to us, Well done? (Love.) Remind them of the story of Balaam and how he prophesied. Did Balaam have love along with his prophesying? (No.) Was his prophecy true? (Yes.) But what happened to Balaam in the end? (He was killed along with the enemies of God's people.)
Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. Ask the children some questions. Would you describe love more like a feeling and emotion, or would you describe it more like an action? (Action.) Why would you describe it that way? (Love is patient and kind. It does not do certain things and does do other things.) Remind them of the story of the good Samaritan. How many men saw the man on the side of the road who had been robbed and left for dead? (Three men.) Who stopped and helped the man? (The Samaritan man.) Who loved the man? (The Samaritan.) Why do you think he loved the man? (Because he stopped and helped the man.) Love is real and practical.
Read 1 Corinthians 13:8-13. Ask the children some questions. What is the greatest thing? (Love.) Will prophesying, speaking in tongues, and having knowledge (that perhaps others don't) last forever? (No.) Those things will one day pass away and be unnecessary. What won't pass away and be unnecessary? (Love.) Someone asked Jesus about which commandment is the greatest commandment. What did he say? (Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.)
Read 1 John 4:10-11. Ask the children some questions. Do you think God has loved us? (Yes.) How has he loved us? (He send his son to die for us, because we have disobeyed him and deserve to die ourselves.) If God has loved us in this way, what should we do? (We should love one another just as God has loved us.)
To close the lesson, pray with the children (perhaps asking God's help to love one another just as he has loved us), and have all the children read the Lord's prayer together.
1 Corinthians 13:1-13  If I speak with the languages of men and of angels, but don’t have love, I have become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but don’t have love, I am nothing.  If I dole out all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but don’t have love, it profits me nothing.
 Love is patient and is kind; love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud,  doesn’t behave itself inappropriately, doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil;  doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;  bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will be done away with. Where there are various languages, they will cease. Where there is knowledge, it will be done away with.  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part;  but when that which is complete has come, then that which is partial will be done away with.  When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I felt as a child, I thought as a child. Now that I have become a man, I have put away childish things.  For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I will know fully, even as I was also fully known.  But now faith, hope, and love remain—these three. The greatest of these is love.
Importance of love
Numbers 22-24;31:8,16 – Balaam prophesying while wanting really only to get money for cursing the Israelites
1 Samuel 19:18-24 – King Saul prophesying while wanting to kill David
Love is real and practical
Luke 10:25-37 – Good Samaritan helped the man in need. The other two men did not. Who loved the man in need, who was a neighbor to him?
Love is the greatest
Mark 12:28-34 – Which commandment is the greatest of all?
More Stories and Examples:
[see Love - Lesson 2: The Importance of Love for more stories related to the importance of love.]
John 3:16-17  For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.  For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him.
1 John 4:7-12  Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves has been born of God, and knows God.  He who doesn’t love doesn’t know God, for God is love.  By this God’s love was revealed in us, that God has sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son as the atoning sacrifice for our sins.  Beloved, if God loved us in this way, we also ought to love one another.  No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God remains in us, and his love has been perfected in us.