December 30, 2018 – John 15:1-17
Lesson Date: December 30, 2018
Focal Scripture Passage: John 15:1-17
AIM: To lead students to discover the importance of abiding in Jesus Christ, and to examine their lives to see if their fruitfulness gives evidence that they are abiding in Christ.
Before class: Read the notes on John 15:1-17 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. If possible, get a thriving, beautiful plant of some kind, which is flowering or bearing fruit. This plant will serve as an object lesson, showing how the branches are alive, strong, and fruitful when they stay attached to the plant. A few days before class, cut a branch off this plant. Deprive the branch of water and soil, allowing it to wither and dry up. The dead branch will serve as an object lesson, showing that the branches cannot survive without being attached to, or abiding in, the plant. This will visually illustrate the fact that there is no life, strength, or bearing of fruit apart from the plant. Prepare the index cards described in the “Conclusion” step.
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Bring the thriving plant and the dead branch to class and show them to the students. Ask: “What’s the difference between the plant and the branch?” (the plant is alive, but the branch is dead). Lead the students to briefly discuss some of the differences between the dead branch and the live branches that are still attached to the plant. Ask the students if they look the same, smell the same, feel the same, or are doing and accomplishing the same things.
After the class has adequately contrasted the two, hold up the dead branch and ask, “Why are the branches attached to the plant thriving while the one that has been cut off is dried up and dead?” (those attached to the plant receive life and nourishment from the plant; the dead branch is no longer attached to the plant, the source of life and life-giving nutrients).
Write the word “Abide” on the marker board or chalkboard. Ask the students what that word means (to remain in one place or condition, to continue or endure, to dwell, or to conform or comply). Tell the class in today’s scripture passage Jesus said much about abiding in Him. Read the lesson aim to the class.
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Remind the students that we are studying the Gospel of John.
- Ask: “Why did John write his Gospel?” (so his readers would believe that Jesus is the Son of God and have everlasting life by trusting in Him – John 20:31).
- Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (Jesus comforted His disciples; comfort in troubling times).
- Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (John 14:15).
- The Vine and the Branches.
- Read John 15:1-3.
- Explain that in His teaching Jesus often used symbols and object lessons from nature and agriculture.
- He used imagery that was familiar to His listeners so they could better understand and apply His teachings to their own lives.
- An analogy or object lesson can be useful to help people understand and form a mental picture of the concept being explained
- We must remember, however, that analogies and object lessons are not perfect representations of the concept being taught.
- Ask: “To what does Jesus compare Himself?” (a vine).
- Ask: “In Jesus’ analogy, who is the husbandman or vine keeper?” (His Father).
- Ask: “What will the Father do to the branches that don’t bear fruit?” (He “taketh [them] away” – cuts them off the vine and discards them).
- Ask: “What will happen to the branches that bear fruit?” (they will be pruned so they can bear more fruit).
- Explain that pruning helps plants be more healthy and productive.
- Stress the fact that the branches receive life and strength from the vine, and the vine produces fruit on the branches. Without the vine, the branch can’t do anything.
- Ask a volunteer to read John 15:4.
- Remind the students of the dead branch you showed them during the introductory activity.
- Ask a volunteer to read John 15:5.
- Ask: “Who is the vine?” (Jesus).
- Ask: “Who are the branches?” (genuine believers).
- Ask: “What will we produce if we abide in Jesus?” (much fruit).
- Ask: “What can we do without Jesus?” (nothing).
- Summarize: Jesus is the vine and we are His branches. If we abide in Him we will bring forth much fruit, but if we do not abide in Him we will not.
- Results of Abiding in Christ.
- Direct the students’ attention once again to the word “Abide” written on the board.
- Ask: “What did we say the word “Abide” means?” (to remain in one place or condition, to continue or endure, to dwell, or to conform or comply).
- Ask: “What do you think it means to abide in Christ?” (answers will vary but they may say to stay close to Him in fellowship, to rest or remain in Him, to obey His commands).
- Tell the class verses 5-10 reveal several results of abiding in Christ.
- Ask the students to listen for those results as you read John 15:5-10.
- Ask: “What does verse 5 say about those who abide in Christ?” (they bring forth much fruit).
- Write this below the word “Abide” on the board.
- Ask: “What does verse 6 say about those who DO NOT abide in Christ?” (they are cast forth and burned like dead branches).
- Ask: “What does verse 7 say about those who abide in Christ?” (their prayers will be answered).
- Write this on the board.
- Tell the students verse 8 speaks of those who bring forth much fruit, which verse 5 clearly says are those who abide in Christ.
- Ask: “What, then, does verse 8 tell us about those who abide in Christ?” (their lives glorify the Father).
- Write this on the board.
- Ask: “What do verses 9-10 say about those who abide in Christ?” (they keep His commandments and are objects of His love).
- Write these things on the board.
- Summarize: Use the things written on the board to tell the students those who abide in Christ bring forth fruit, have their prayers answered, glorify the Father, obey Christ, and are loved by Christ. It is a good thing to abide in Christ!
- Joy, Love, and Obedience.
- Read John 15:11-14.
- Ask: “Why did Jesus tell His disciples to abide in Him?” (because this would result in joy in their lives – verse 11).
- Add this to the list written on the board.
- Tell the students some people mistakenly believe that following Christ is either boring or burdensome, but Jesus said if we abide in Him we will be full of joy.
- Ask: “What is Jesus’ commandment stated in verse 12?” (His children should love one another).
- Write this on the board.
- Tell the class verse 13 is a wonderful statement of Jesus’ sacrificial love for His followers.
- Ask: “According to verse 14, what must we do to be Jesus’ friends?” (obey His commands).
- Write this on the board.
- Ask: “Do you meet that criteria; do you live in obedience to Christ’s commands?”
- Ask a volunteer to read John 15:15-17.
- Tell the class servants don’t know everything their master does.
- Ask: “Why did Jesus call the disciples His friends?” (because He revealed Himself and His Father’s will to them).
- Ask: “According to verse 16, why are you a follower of Jesus Christ?” (because He chose you).
- Ask: “What has Jesus Christ ordained that we should do?” (go and bring forth fruit).
- Ask: “What did Jesus command us to do in verse 17?” (love one another).
- Summarize: If we abide in Christ we will have joy, we will love one another, and we will obey Christ’s commands. Conversely, those who do not have joy, love, and do not obey the Lord are not abiding in Him.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Direct the students’ attention once again to the word “Abide” written on the board. Remind them that the word abide means to remain in one place or condition, to continue or endure, to dwell, or to conform or comply.
Ask: “What do you think we must we do to abide in Jesus Christ?” Allow time for students to give answers to that question. Their answers should include some of the following:
- You must be truly saved. By definition, unsaved people are not in Christ and therefore cannot abide in Christ
- You must confess any and all known sin. Sin makes us distant from the Lord.
- You must seek to live in obedience to Christ.
- You must spend time daily in prayer. This is how you commune with Jesus.
- You must spend time daily in Bible reading. This is how you know what Jesus has told us to do.
- You must love other believers.
Show the class again the thriving plant and the dead branch you used during the introduction. Remind them that the dead branch is not attached to the plant, it is not drawing life and strength from the plant, and it is not going to bear any fruit. The branches that are still attached to the plant (abiding) are alive, strong, healthy, and fruitful. Remind them that Jesus has commanded us to be fruitful Christians.
Ask: “Which best represents your spiritual life, the dead branch or the thriving plant? Are you living a fruitful Christian life, abiding in Jesus Christ, drawing life, strength, and fruitfulness from Him? Which branch do you want to represent your Christian life?”
Tell the class that sin in our lives prevents us from abiding in Christ. Ask them to examine themselves, for evidences of sin that they need to confess. Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. Tell them to privately confess any known sins and to commit themselves to abiding in Christ this week. Voice a closing prayer.
CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize John 15:5 and to ask the Lord every day this week to make them a fruitful Christian. Give each person an index card on which you have written or printed the word “Abide.” Ask them to put the card in a prominent place where they will see it each day this week.
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