December 29, 2019 – 1 John 3:1-15
Lesson Date: December 29, 2019
Focal Scripture Passage: 1 John 3:1-15
AIM: To lead students to discover and discuss characteristics of children of God and children of the devil, and to examine themselves to determine whose child they are.
Before class: Read the notes on 1 John 3:1-15 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Get enough copies of the “Fathers and Sons” handout sheet for your anticipated attendance. Write, “Who Is Your Father?” on the marker board or chalkboard.
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the students’ attention to the question written on the board. Ask: “Who is your father?” After some responses, ask: “What physical or personality traits did you receive from your father?”
Give everyone a copy of the “Fathers and Sons” handout sheet. Direct their attention to the picture of the younger man in the upper right block of the handout sheet. Ask: “Which of the three older men in the left column is most likely to be the father of this young man?” Do the same for other two pictures of the younger men.
Ask: “On what basis did you pair up the pictures?” (ethnic appearance). Tell the class this one very prominent characteristic enabled us to match the likely fathers with the sons. If, however, all the pictures had been of men from one ethnic group we would have to look for more subtle characteristics such as facial shape, hair color, or eye color to try to match the fathers with the sons. Ultimately, if there were no other way to match the fathers and sons, DNA testing would be necessary.
Tell the students that whether it is skin color, eye color, or even the unseen genetic characteristics that are revealed through DNA testing, everyone carries characteristics of his or her father. Whether we knew our father or not, or whether we even liked our father or not makes no difference; we still carry characteristics of our father in our bodies.
Tell the class in today’s lesson we will discover characteristics of the children of God and characteristics of the children of the devil, as well as some more Tests of True Salvation. We will have an opportunity to compare those characteristics and tests to our lives to see whose child we really are.
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Remind the students that we are in a study of 1 John, but last week we had a Christmas lesson from the Gospel of John.
- Direct their attention to the Tests of True Salvation poster and remind them that throughout this study we have been finding criteria by which we can determine if we are truly born again.
- Ask: “Do you remember what we learned about two weeks ago in 1 John 2:15-29?” (don’t love the world, and beware of antichrists).
- Ask if any volunteer would recite the memory verse from that lesson (1 John 2:15).
- Children of God.
- Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 3:1-3.
- Tell the class these verses describe some of the blessings of being a child of God.
- Ask; “What blessing do you see in verse 1?” (the Father’s love has been bestowed upon us).
- Ask: “Why can’t the world really know or understand Christians?” (because they don’t know Jesus Christ).
- Ask: “According to verse 2, what blessing awaits the child of God?” (we will be like Jesus when He appears, for we will see Him as He is).
- Ask: “What other blessing does verse 3 describe?” (children of God can purify themselves because the Holy Spirit of God lives within).
- Tell the students the rest of the chapter presents differences between children of God (Christians) and children of the devil (lost people). These differences will help us answer the question on the board.
- Read 1 John 3:4-5.
- Explain that words such as “committeth” and “sinneth” convey the idea of continuing action. John was talking about a lifestyle of continual sin, not just an isolated act.
- Ask: “According to verse 4, the person who has a continual lifestyle of sin does what?” (transgresses the law – this means they are lawless).
- Ask: “Why did Jesus come into the world?” (to take away our sins).
- Ask: “Did Jesus ever sin?” (no).
- Summarize: Those who know Jesus Christ as their Savior are children of God. They are objects of God’s love, will be like Jesus when He appears, and they purify themselves.
- The Test of Our Sin.
- Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 3:6.
- Ask: “What does this verse say about the person who abides in (belongs to) Jesus Christ?” (he or she does not exhibit a lifestyle of sin).
- Ask: “What does it say about those who sin continually?” (they do not know Jesus Christ).
- Tell the class this is the next Test of True Salvation – The Test of Our Sin.
- Direct the students’ attention to the Tests of True Salvation poster and read the third sub-point under The Test of Our Sin.
- Ask: “Do you live a lifestyle of continual sin?”
- Read 1 John 3:7.
- Ask: “What does this verse tell you about those who practice righteousness?” (they are righteous).
- Such people have been declared righteous by their Savior Jesus Christ; in other words, they are saved.
- Read 1 John 3:8.
- Ask: “What does this verse say about the person who practices sin as a lifestyle?” (he or she is of the devil; in other words, they are lost).
- Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 3:9.
- Ask: “Why can’t those who are born of God continue in sin?” (because God’s “seed” remains in them; they have been given a new nature and the indwelling Holy Spirit who convicts them of sin).
- Summarize: True Christians do not practice sin as a lifestyle, but lost people do.
- The Test of Our Walk.
- Read 1 John 3:10.
- Tell the students this verse presents two of the Tests of True Salvation.
- Ask: “What is the first thing this verse says that reveals (makes manifest) the difference between the children of God and the children of the devil?” (whoever does not live a righteous lifestyle is not a child of God).
- Direct the students’ attention to the Tests of True Salvation poster and tell them this is The Test of Our Walk.
- Read the third sub-point under The Test of Our Walk.
- Ask: “Is your lifestyle marked by righteousness?”
- Summarize: True believers live a lifestyle of righteousness, not one marked by habitual sin.
- The Test of Our Love.
- Tell the class there is another test found in verse 10.
- Read 1 John 3:10
- Ask: “According to that verse, what else shows if we are children of God or children of the devil?” (whether or not we love other believers).
- Tell the class this is the next Test of True Salvation – The Test of Our Love.
- Direct the students’ attention to the Tests of True Salvation poster and read the first sub-point under The Test of Our Love.
- Ask: “Do you love your brothers and sisters in Christ?”
- Read 1 John 3:11-13.
- Ask: “According to verse 11, what is the message we heard from the beginning?” (that we should love one another).
- Ask: “Who does the Bible name as an example of not loving one another?” (Cain, who killed his brother).
- Tell the students verse 12 says Cain killed his brother because his works were evil while his brother’s works were righteous.
- Ask: “According to verse 13, what should we not be surprised about if we belong to Jesus Christ?” (that the world hates us).
- Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 3:14-15.
- Tell the class these verses tell how we can know we have passed from death to life – in other words, how we can know we are saved.
- Ask: “According to verses 14-15 what reveals that we are truly saved?” (loving the brethren).
- Ask: “What do lost people do?” (hate and murder).
- Remind the students that Jesus equated hatred with murder. Religious people hate and murder (for example, the 9/11 hijackers were religious people), but genuine Christians love one another.
- Summarize: True Christians love one another, but lost people do not.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Remind the students of the pictures of fathers and sons they matched at the beginning of class. They matched those pictures on the basis of outward appearance – visible ethnic characteristics.
Explain that the point of that introductory activity was that children have characteristics they received from their fathers. Some of those characteristics are very visible – they are carried on our faces, in our build, and even in the way we walk. Some of those characteristics are not visible – they are written microscopically in our DNA.
Tell the class the same is true concerning children of God and children of the devil. Jesus once told some people, “Ye are of your father the devil” (John 8:44). Children of the devil (lost people) and children of God (saved people) behave differently because something is different about them on the inside. Today we have discovered three of those differences:
- Children of God do not practice sin as a lifestyle, but children of the devil do.
- Children of God live a lifestyle of righteousness, but children of the devil live in habitual sin.
- Children of the devil do not love one another, but children of God do.
Ask: “Who is your father? Does your life exhibit characteristics befitting a child of God or a child of the devil?” Ask the students to bow their head and close their eyes. Ask them to silently examine their lives to determine if they are children of God or children of the devil. If they are not saved, urge them to trust Jesus Christ for salvation right now. If they are saved, encourage them to thank the Lord for saving them, confess any shortcomings in their behavior, and commit to living like a child of God this week. Voice a prayer of thanksgiving and commitment.
CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize 1 John 3:1. Urge them to live like a child of God this week: practicing righteousness, turning away from sin, and loving other believers.
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