December 8, 2019 – 1 John 2:1-14
Lesson Date: December 8, 2019
Focal Scripture Passage: 1 John 2:1-14
AIM: To lead students to discover more Tests of True Salvation, and to examine themselves to determine if Christ is their advocate and the propitiation for their sins.
Before class: Read the notes on 1 John 2:1-14 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Be sure the Tests of True Salvation poster is posted in your classroom. Write the words “Real” and “Counterfeit” on the marker board or chalkboard.
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Ask the students if they have ever seen a piece of counterfeit money, an imitation diamond or other gem, or a reproduction of a famous work of art. Ask: “What is the difference between the real article and the counterfeit?” (value, rarity, and nature). Read to the class the following illustration from Warren Wiersbe’s writing:
Suppose you have a counterfeit bill and actually think it is genuine. You use it to pay for a tank of gas. The gas station manager uses the bill to buy supplies. The supplier uses the bill to pay the grocer. The grocer bundles the bill up with forty-nine other ten-dollar bills and takes it to the bank. And the teller says, “I’m sorry, but this bill is a counterfeit.”
That ten-dollar bill may have done a lot of good while it was in circulation, but when it arrived at the bank it was exposed for what it really was, and put out of circulation.
So with a counterfeit Christian. He may do many good things in this life, but when he faces the final judgment he will be rejected. “Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? And in Thy name have cast out demons? And in Thy name done many wonderful works?’ And then will I profess unto them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity’” (Matt. 7:22-23).[i]
Tell the class the counterfeit article may look just as good as the original. It may even be hard to distinguish between the real and the reproduction, but there is a vast difference in their nature and value. Tell them in today’s lesson we will have another opportunity to examine ourselves to see how we measure up to the Tests of True Salvation.
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Remind the students that we are studying the letter of 1 John.
- Remind them that some new believers in the Roman world were confused about what constituted genuine salvation. Because of this, John included in his letter many Tests of True Salvation – criteria by which we can determine if we are truly saved or not.
- Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (light and darkness).
- Direct the students’ attention to the Tests of True Salvation poster. Remind them that last week we discovered two Tests of True Salvation. Read from the poster test number 1 and sub-point a., and then test number 2 and sub-points a. and b.
- Ask if any volunteer would be willing to recite last week’s memory verse (1 John 1:9).
- Ask: “Was that verse helpful to you when you sinned this week?”
- Jesus – Advocate and Propitiation.
- Read 1 John 2:1-2.
- Note that John displayed his affection for his readers by calling them his “little children.”
- Ask: “Why did he write to them?” (to encourage them to avoid sin).
- Tell the class we should try our very best not to sin.
- Ask: “Is it possible for us to live sinless lives?” (no).
- Ask: “What is the good news in this verse for all Christians when we sin?” (we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ).
- Explain that Jesus serves as the “defense attorney” for His children, representing them before His Heavenly Father. Since God is completely holy, sinful humans cannot approach Him or have fellowship with Him. We need an advocate to speak for us and represent us to the Father. Jesus Christ is that advocate.
- Ask: “What else does verse 2 say about Jesus?” (He is the propitiation for our sins).
- Explain that the word propitiation means a sin payment. Note that Jesus Christ didn’t just make propitiation for us: He is the propitiation for our sins. Jesus paid for our sins by dying for us on the cross (Isa. 53:6; 2 Cor. 5:21).
- Summarize: If we have come to Him by faith, Jesus Christ is our advocate before the Father and the propitiation for our sins.
- The Test of Our Obedience.
- Direct the students’ attention once again to the Tests of True Salvation poster and tell them in verses 3-11 we will find three Tests of True Salvation.
- Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 2:3-5.
- Ask: “According to verse 3, how do we know that we know Jesus Christ as our Savior?” (if we obey His commandments).
- Explain that this doesn’t mean if we break one command we are lost, but it does mean that those who are truly saved exhibit a continual lifestyle of obeying God’s commands.
- Ask: “What does verse 4 say about those who claim to be saved but do not obey God’s commandments?” (they are liars and the truth is not in them).
- Explain that the word “perfected” in verse 5 means to be made mature and complete.
- Ask: “What will be perfected in those who keep God’s Word?” (the love of God).
- Ask: “What does that reveal?” (that we belong to Jesus).
- Tell the class this is the next Test of True Salvation – The Test of Our Obedience.
- Read to the class test number 3 and its sub-point.
- Ask: “Is your life marked by obeying the Bible or disobeying it?”
- Summarize: True believers strive to live each day in obedience to the Bible.
- The Test of Our Walk.
- Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 2:6.
- Ask: “If we claim to abide in (belong to) Jesus Christ, what should we do?” (walk as Jesus walked).
- Ask: “What do you think it means to walk like Jesus walked?” (in obedience to the Father, filled with the Spirit, and doing good).
- Direct the students’ attention once again to the Tests of True Salvation Tell them this is another aspect of Test # 1: The Test of Our Walk.
- Ask: “Are you seeking to follow Christ’s example in your daily walk?”
- Summarize: True Christians try to follow Christ’s example in their daily walk.
- The Test of Our Love.
- Read 1 John 2:7-8.
- Ask: “Was John addressing saved people or lost people in these verses?” (saved – he called them his “brethren”).
- Tell the class the commandment John spoke of is the command to love one another (stated in verses 9-11).
- Explain the following:
- That commandment is not new in terms of time: it was given centuries before as expected behavior among fellow Jews (Lev. 19:18).
- The command is new because Jesus Christ has given it more meaning (John 13:34): Christ’s disciples are to love one another just like He loved them – unselfishly and sacrificially.
- Tell the students those who belong to Jesus Christ should love one another because the darkness has passed from their lives and the light of Jesus Christ has come in.
- Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 2:9-11.
- Ask: “What does verse 9 say about the person who claims to be in the light (saved) but hates his brother?” (he is still in darkness; in other words, he is still lost).
- Ask: “What does verse 10 say about the person who truly loves his brother?” (he is in the light and won’t stumble; in other words, he is truly saved).
- Tell the students verse 11 echoes verse 9, but gives more detail about the darkness gripping the hearts of lost people.
- Direct everyone’s attention once again to the Tests of True Salvation Tell them these verses present Test # 4: The Test of Our Love.
- Ask: “Do you love your brothers and sisters in Christ?”
- Point out the large number of scripture references beside the first sub-point of test number 4 on the poster. Tell the class loving one another is obviously a very important evidence of genuine salvation.
- Read 1 John 2:12-14.
- Ask: “What different levels of maturity do you see in those verses?” (children, young adults, and older people).
- Explain that little children are baby Christians who realize their sins are forgiven and are getting to know God, young men have some spiritual strength and have won some spiritual victories, and fathers are older, more mature believers.
- Tell the students true believers should continue to grow in spiritual maturity.
- Ask: “Where do you think you fit in to those stages of Christian maturity?”
- Summarize: True believers love one another and grow in Christian maturity.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the class this lesson began with some wonderful truths: if we belong to Jesus Christ then He is our advocate and the propitiation (payment) for our sins. That is wonderful! That means we don’t have to stand before Almighty God without Christ as our advocate and representative, and we don’t have to pay the penalty for our sins. Hallelujah!
Tell the students that this lesson also ended with another wonderful truth: those who belong to Jesus progress through stages of spiritual maturity as they get to know God in a more intimate and personal way. That is another wonderful truth! We don’t have to stay stuck in a rut of immaturity. We can overcome the wicked one and really get to know eternal God. Hallelujah!
Tell the class both of those are wonderful truths, but there is a catch: they ONLY apply to those who are saved.
Remind the class that the counterfeit money described in the introductory step can look genuine and even do some good things along the way, but when it faces the final testing it will be proved to be fake. The same is true of counterfeit “Christians.” They may look like the real thing and even do some good works, but when they face the Great Judge of the universe they will be shown to be fakes.
Read from the poster the Tests of True Salvation we have discovered in these first two lessons (1a & b, 2a & b, 3a, and 4a). Ask: “How do you measure up? Based on these tests, are you truly saved?” Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. Encourage those who are saved to thank God for their salvation. Ask those who are not saved to repent of their sins and place their faith in Jesus Christ right now. Voice a closing prayer of thanksgiving and commitment.
CONCLUSION: Ask the students to memorize 1 John 2:1. Encourage them to behave like believers this week. Tell any who received Christ today to make that public during the commitment time at the end of this morning’s worship service.
[i] Warren Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: NT, Volumes 1 & 2, © 1989 by SP Productions, Inc.
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