February 9, 2020 – 2 John
Lesson Date: February 9, 2020
Focal Scripture Passage: 2 John 1:1-13
AIM: To lead students to discover some characteristics of deceivers, and to commit to take steps to guard themselves from deceivers.
Before class: Read the notes on 2 John 1:1-13 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. If you want to make the illustration about the two glasses of iced tea more realistic, you could bring two actual drinks to class.
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Tell the following to the class:
At about 11:00 Saturday on morning, your doorbell rings. You open the door to find two nicely dressed people who identify themselves as being from a local church. They invite you to a study group and leave you some literature.
About a half hour later your doorbell rings again. You open the door to again find two people on your doorstep. Dressed just as nicely as the others, they identify themselves as being from another local church. They invite you to a study group and leave you some literature.
Tell the students that one of those pairs of people on their doorstep was from a local Baptist church seeking to reach people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, while the other was from a cult group. Ask: “Based on what I have told you, can you tell the difference between the two?” (no). Tell the class that we as Christians must be able to identify those who are deceivers so we can avoid them and their false teaching.
Stress that false teaching about spiritual things is dangerous. Ask the students to imagine for a moment that you offered them two identical-looking glasses of iced tea. The only difference between the glasses is that one of them contains deadly poison. If faced with that scenario, they would do everything possible to determine which tea was safe to drink, because their life was on the line. Tell the class false teaching and spiritual deception is just as dangerous as a poison. Tell them in today’s lesson we are going to discover some characteristics of deceivers and commit to take steps to guard ourselves from deceivers.
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Review and Introduction to 2 John.
- Remind the students that we have just finished studying 1 John.
- Ask: “What was 1 John about?” (Tests of True Salvation).
- Last week’s lesson was a summary of all of those tests.
- Tell the class that in addition to 1 John, the Apostle John also wrote the Gospel of John, the little letters of 2 John and 3 John, and the book of Revelation.
- Today we are studying 2 John.
- John wrote 2 John from Ephesus about the same time as he wrote 1 John (d. 90-95).
- A Greeting in Truth.
- Ask a volunteer to read 2 John 1:1-3.
- Ask: “How did the aged Apostle John identify himself?” (simply as “the elder”).
- Ask: “Who did he address this letter to?” (“the elect lady and her children”).
- Explain that some commentators believe this phrase referred to an actual Christian woman and her children, while others believe the words were figurative, referring to a local church and its members.
- Ask the students to look back at verses 1-3.
- Ask: “How many times do you see the word “truth” in those verses?” (four).
- This reminds us that it is very important for believers to know and be established in the truth.
- Ask: “Where do we find truth?” (in the Word of God – the Bible).
- Remind the class that Jesus Christ said He was the “truth” (John 14:6).
- Ask: “According to verse 2, where does truth dwell?” (in us, where it will remain).
- Explain that through the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, the truth actually lives within all genuine Christians.
- Summarize: Genuine believers know the truth (Jesus Christ) and the truth dwells within them through the Holy Spirit.
- Walking in Truth.
- Read 2 John 1:4-6.
- Ask: “Why did John rejoice?” (he learned that the lady’s children were walking in truth; in other words, they were living according to the commands of God in scripture).
- Stress that verse 4 says God commands His children to walk in truth; in other words, it is not
- Tell the class since we are commanded to walk in truth, we had better learn the truth!
- Ask: “Where do we find and learn the truth?” (the Bible).
- Tell the students you sincerely hope they read the Bible every day.
- Ask: “In verse 5, what did John beg (beseech) his readers to do?” (love one another).
- Ask: “According to verse 6, what is love?” (obeying God’s commands).
- Tell the students that in John 14:15 Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.”
- Tell the class that the Bible says loving God and loving others is the sum total of keeping the law (see Mark 12:30-31; Gal. 5:14).
- Stress this truth: The greatest expression of Christian love is when believers behave on a daily basis in accordance with God’s commands.
- Explain that if we really love our Christian brothers and sisters, we will live right. If, on the other hand, we ignore God’s commands and “do our own thing,” then we do not truly love our Christian brothers and sisters: we only love ourselves.
- Summarize: Christians are commanded to walk in truth and love one another. Walking in truth is one of the most significant ways we show our love for other believers.
- Beware of Deceivers.
- Ask a volunteer to read 2 John 1:7-9.
- Tell the students verse 7 says there are many deceivers in the world.
- Ask: “According to this verse, how can you identify a deceiver?” (they deny that Jesus came in the flesh).
- Ask: “What are these deceivers called?” (antichrists).
- Explain that the individual known as the Antichrist will rise to world domination during the future Tribulation period, but the Bible tells us there are already many antichrists in the world today (1 John 2:18-22). Those who deny and reject Jesus are deceivers and antichrists.
- Tell the class verse 8 is a warning.
- Ask: “What may happen if we carelessly become drawn away by deceivers?” (we can lose some of the rewards we might have earned if we had remained faithful to the truth; see 1 Cor. 3:9-15).
- Ask: “According to verse 9, what is the spiritual condition of someone who sins and doesn’t hold to the doctrine of Christ?” (they are lost).
- Ask: “What is meant by the ‘doctrine of Christ’?” (the Bible’s teaching about the person and work of Jesus Christ).
- Direct the students’ attention to the Tests of True Salvation Tell them this is a restatement of The Test of Our Sin.
- Ask: “Do you live a lifestyle of continual sin?”
- Stress the fact that those who live a lifestyle of continual sin do not truly know Jesus Christ.
- Ask: “What does verse 9 say about people who abide in the doctrine of Christ?” (they know God and His Son, Jesus Christ).
- Summarize: There are many deceivers in the world. We are warned to beware of them and to abide in the doctrine of Christ.
- Don’t Welcome or Bless Deceivers.
- Tell the class the next verses tell us how to respond to deceivers outside the church.
- Ask a volunteer to read 2 John 1:10-13.
- Ask: “What should we do if someone who holds false doctrine comes to our home?” (don’t welcome him or her into our house or wish them well as they go on their way).
- Comment that not wishing them well (saying something like “have a nice day,” or “God bless you”) seems rude and unfriendly.
- Ask: “According to verse 11, why must we not wish them well?” (if we do we take part in their evil work).
- The Bible makes it clear that we are not to receive or express good wishes to a deceiver, or else we will join in their evil work.
- Tell the class in verse 12 John said he didn’t write a longer letter because he hoped to go see “the elect lady” face to face.
- Summarize: Christians are warned not to welcome or encourage deceivers. Doing so would make us complicit with their evil deeds.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the class some years ago an off-duty policeman saw two fellow officers struggling with a suspect, so he drew his gun and rushed to their aid. Thinking he was another bad guy coming to attack them the officers shot and killed the off-duty policeman. In the dark of night they had trouble distinguishing between a friend and an enemy, so unfortunately, they killed a friend. As Christians we must be more careful than those policemen. We must learn to distinguish between friends of the Gospel and enemies of Jesus Christ.
Tell the class we often view people from other religious groups as folks who merely hold an opinion that is different from ours. They are obviously sincere and they are often very friendly and nice. The Bible makes it clear, however, that anyone who is not teaching the biblical doctrines of Jesus Christ is a deceiver and an enemy of Jesus. Those friendly folks who come to your door may not realize it, but they are doing the devil’s work.
Ask: “According to what we have learned today, how can we identify deceivers?” (they don’t obey God’s commands, they don’t love the brethren, they deny the reality and deity of Jesus Christ, and they sin and depart from true doctrine). Ask: “What can you do to protect yourself from those who spread false doctrine?” (learn the truth from the Bible, learn to recognize false teachers, avoid them, do not receive or welcome them, and do not even wish them well). Tell the class this is important! Urge them to devote the time necessary to learn God’s Word so they can recognize error.
Read the lesson aim to the class. Ask: “Are you willing to make a commitment to the Lord to take the steps necessary to guard yourself and your family from deceivers?” Lead a closing prayer.
CONCLUSION: Tell the students the best way to learn God’s Word is to read it every day and then attend Sunday School every week. Urge them to beware of deceivers.
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