April 15, 2018 – 1 Peter 3:13 – 4:6
Lesson Date: April 15, 2018
Focal Scripture Passage: 1 Peter 3:13 – 4:6
AIM: To lead students to name things believers should be willing to sacrifice for Jesus Christ, and to give them the opportunity to lay those things down and commit themselves wholeheartedly to the Lord.
Before class: Read the notes on 1 Peter 3:13 – 4:6 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Share the following case study (or a similar one from your experience) with the class:
Sally made an appointment to speak with her pastor. “Pastor, you know I haven’t been saved very long – only about two months. Well, I must be doing something wrong. Before I was saved I used to run with a pretty rough crowd – nightclubs, drinking, drugs, gambling, and stuff like that. Since I’ve been saved I’ve not been doing those things: I just don’t want to do them any more.”
“That’s wonderful Sally,” the pastor said. “I’m glad you’re not doing those things; but I don’t understand – what’s the problem?”
“Pastor, I want to be a good influence on the people I used to hang around with. I want to witness to them, but they won’t have anything to do with me. They think it’s strange that I don’t run with them anymore, and they even say bad things about me. I just don’t understand – what am I doing wrong?”
Ask the class if they can identify with Sally in any way, and tell them today’s lesson explains why Sally’s former friends no longer want to be around her.
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Remind the class that we are studying the New Testament book of 1 Peter.
- Tell them the Apostle Peter wrote this letter to Christians who were suffering under Roman persecution.
- Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (how Christians should behave).
- Ask if any volunteer would be willing to recite last week’s memory verse (1 Pet. 3:12).
- Suffering for Righteousness’ Sake.
- Write the words “Suffering” and “Sacrifice” on the marker board or chalkboard.
- Ask the class to listen for how we should respond when we suffer for living righteously
- Ask a volunteer to read 1 Peter 3:13-17.
- Tell the class verse 13 reminds us that God is sovereign, so no one can harm His children unless He allows it.
- Ask: “According to verse 14, what should our attitude be when we suffer for doing right?” (we should be happy – see also Matt. 5:11-12; Acts 5:41 – and unafraid).
- Ask: “According to verse 15, what should we be willing to tell others when we suffer for doing right?” (we should witness by telling them why we can take persecution with meekness).
- Explain that verses 16-17 tell us we should always maintain a clear conscience, because it is better to suffer for doing right than for doing wrong.
- Summarize: When we suffer for righteousness’ sake we should be happy, unafraid, and witness for Jesus Christ.
- Christ Suffered for Us.
- Remind the class that this is not the first time Peter told us to be ready to suffer for living righteously.
- Ask everyone to look back at 1 Peter 2:21-25.
- Ask: “Who did Peter identify as the example of suffering for doing right?” (Jesus Christ).
- Ask a volunteer to read 1 Peter 3:18.
- Explain that Jesus Christ was just (sinless) and He died for the unjust (sinful), meaning us.
- Ask: “According to this verse, why did Jesus die for us?” (to bring us to God).
- Tell the class this verse teaches the doctrine of the substitutionary atonement, meaning that Jesus Christ died in our place, paying the price for our sins.
- Stress that this is a wonderful verse, packed full of doctrinal truth. Since it is this week’s memory verse, take a few moments to have the class recite it together in unison.
- Summarize: Jesus Christ suffered and died to bring us to God, so we ought to do our best to live for Him.
- Christ Served Even in His Death.
- Read 1 Peter 3:19-20.
- Explain that two different Greek words are translated “preach” in the New Testament. The more common of the two words means to evangelize, but the word in verse 19 means to make an announcement or a proclamation.
- Tell the students that when Jesus Christ died on the cross, His spirit descended into the lower parts of the earth (Eph. 4:8-10) where He announced the completed work of redemption to the spirits in prison (2 Pet. 2:4). Some of those spirits had been imprisoned since the time of Noah.
- Read 1 Peter 3:21-22.
- Tell the class that Christians are safely protected in the “ark” of Jesus Christ.
- Explain that the baptism spoken of here is not literal water baptism, but the baptism of the Holy Spirit (John 1:33; Acts 1:5), which takes place at the moment of salvation and makes us part of God’s family.
- Ask: “Where is Jesus right now?” (seated at the right hand of God the Father, ruling the universe).
- Summarize: Through Jesus Christ, believers are saved from eternal death and will be taken safely to heaven at the end of their lives, just as through the ark Noah and his family were saved from physical death and delivered safely back to dry land at the end of the flood.
- Give Up Your Old Ways and Your Old Friends.
- Ask a volunteer to read 1 Peter 4:1-2.
- Ask: “Since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, what should we do?” (have the same mind and attitude as Jesus Christ – see Phil. 2:5-8).
- Tell the students Christ suffered for our sins until He died. Once He died, His suffering for sins was over – the weight of our sin was removed.
- Similarly, we are instructed to “mortify” or “put to death” our sinful flesh (Rom. 8:13 and Col. 3:5), thus freeing us from the dominion of sin (Rom. 6:14).
- Read 1 Peter 4:3.
- Tell the class this verse describes our sinful lives before we came to know Jesus Christ.
- Ask the students if they can identify with these descriptions.
- Ask a volunteer to read 1 Peter 4:4-6.
- Ask: “If you were saved as an adult, what did your friends think when you stopped participating in their sin?” (they probably thought it was strange; perhaps they thought you’d lost your mind).
- Ask: “How does verse 4 say former friends will speak of a new believer?” (with evil, unkind words).
- Ask: “What does verse 5 say those who speak evil of believers will one day do?” (answer to God).
- Explain that verse 6 concerns those who were once alive and heard the gospel but have since died. These Christians endured the judgment and reproach of men during their life, but they now enjoy the blessings and rewards of heaven.
- Summarize: Since Jesus Christ suffered for us, we ought to willingly turn from our old ways to live for Him.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Direct the students’ attention to the word “Suffering” written on the board. Ask: “As Christians, how should we respond when we suffer for doing the right thing?” (be happy, unafraid, ready to share the gospel, and remember that Christ suffered for us).
Are you facing any ridicule, abuse, or persecution because you are a Christian? If so, rejoice and thank God for considering you worthy to suffer for Jesus. Pray for those who oppress you.
Point to the word “Sacrifice.” Ask: “What did Jesus Christ sacrifice for us?” (His life). Ask: “What should we be willing to sacrifice for Him?” (our lusts, sins, and even our old friends). Tell the class that since Jesus willingly sacrificed Himself so we could be saved, we ought to be willing to sacrifice our lusts, sins, and friends to live for Him. We are not the persons we once were, so our behavior should be different.
Encourage everyone to lay down the things from their old (unsaved) way of life and commit themselves wholeheartedly to the Lord. Lead a closing prayer of repentance and recommitment.
CONCLUSION: Encourage everyone to live for Jesus this week and be ready to suffer for Him. Ask them to memorize 1 Peter 3:18.
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