January 12, 2020 – 1 John 4:7-21

Lesson Date: January 12, 2020

Focal Scripture Passage: 1 John 4:7-21

AIM: To lead students to discover why Christians should love one another as well as more Tests of True Salvation, and to make some definite plans to demonstrate Christ’s love to other believers this week.

 

Before class: Read the notes on 1 John 4:7-21 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Enlist a volunteer to be prepared to read John 13:34-35 to the class when you call for it. Write the word “Love” on the marker board or chalkboard.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the class’ attention to the word “Love” written on the board. Ask the students to suggest definitions for the word “love.” Next, ask a few volunteers to use the word “love” in a sentence. After some volunteers have shared their sentences, note that the word “love” can convey many different levels of emotion. For example, “I love hot dogs,” and “I love my spouse,” mean two very different things.

Ask: “Is love merely an emotion?” (no; it includes emotion but it is actually a deep commitment that reveals itself in actions).

Ask the previously enlisted volunteer to read John 13:34-35. Explain that Jesus spoke these words to His disciples the night before He died. He stressed that His followers should love one another, even saying that was the way the world would recognize them as Christians. Jesus told us to love one another, but in today’s lesson we are going to discover the real motivation for that love. We are also going to find some more Tests of True Salvation.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Remind the students that we are studying 1 John, which contains many Tests of True Salvation.
    • Review the previous lessons by reading the following from the Tests of True Salvation poster (or the list found on page 6 of the Sunday School Member Quarterly): tests 1a, b, & c, 2a, b, & c, 3a, 4a & b, 5a, 6a, and 7a.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (being discerning and careful about what teachers and preachers we listen to).
  2. The Test of Our Love.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 4:7-8.
    • Tell the class “love one another” is good advice that could come from any number of sources: your parents, Sunday School teacher, school principal, athletic coach, the pope, or even the President of the United States could say these words.
    • Ask: “How do we know the Apostle John wrote these instructions to Christians?” (because the entire letter was written to believers and in verse 7 he clearly addressed his readers as his “beloved”).
    • Ask: “According to verse 7, why should Christians love one another?” (because love is of God).
    • Ask: “What does love or the lack of love indicate about a person?” (whether or not they are truly saved).
    • Tell the class this is another 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?”
    • Tell the students the contrast between those who are truly saved and those who are lost could not be clearer: those who love others are born of God (v. 7) and those who don’t love others do not know God (v. 8).
    • Read 1 John 4:9-10.
    • Ask: “How did God show His love?” (by sending His Son into the world).
    • Remind the class that true love is not just an emotion; it is a commitment that produces action.
      • Ask them to imagine for a moment that a young couple gets married.
      • In the wedding ceremony they pledge their love to one another; but after the wedding the husband refuses to live with his new wife, provide for her, protect her, or even communicate with her.
      • He continues to maintain his own lifestyle and his own friends without including his new wife.
      • Ask: “Does that man love his wife?” (absolutely not).
      • Stress the fact that words of love are empty if they are not accompanied by loving actions.
      • God didn’t just say He loves us; He demonstrated His love by sending His Son to die for us.
    • Tell the students that the word propitiation means a sin payment.
    • God’s love for us is demonstrated in the fact that Jesus died to pay for our sins.
    • Tell the class these verses remind us of John 3:16. Ask if anyone would quote that verse.
    • Summarize: True Christians love other believers because God first demonstrated His love to them by sending His Son to pay for their sins, but those who do not love others do not know God.
  3. The Test of the Holy Spirit.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 4:11-13.
    • Ask the students to complete the following statement: “Since God so loved us, we should ______________________” (love one another).
    • Stress that God’s love for us should motivate us to love other believers.
    • Ask: “Since Christ demonstrated His love by dying for us (Rom. 5:8), what kind of love should we have for our fellow Christians?” (sacrificial and unselfish).
    • Ask: “Based on verse 12, how many living people have seen God?” (none).
    • Tell the class when believers love one another we reveal God to the lost world. In other words, the only visible expression of the love of God on this earth is the way believers treat one another.
    • Ask: “According to verse 13, what has God given us?” (His Spirit).
    • Tell the class this is another Test of True Salvation – The Test of the Holy Spirit.
    • Direct the students’ attention to the Tests of True Salvation poster and read the sub-point under The Test of the Holy Spirit.
    • Ask: “Does the Holy Spirit of God live within you?”
    • Explain that every true believer has been given the indwelling Holy Spirit of God. In fact, anyone who does not possess the Holy Spirit is not
    • Read 1 John 4:14.
    • Ask: “What does that verse call Jesus?” (the Savior of the world).
      • Explain that Jesus Christ is the only Savior God ever provided for human beings.
      • He is the Savior of the world (1 John 2:2), but only those who truly believe and accept Him actually receive and experience genuine salvation (Acts 13:48; 1 Tim. 4:10).
    • Summarize: True believers have God’s Holy Spirit living within, but those who are not saved do not.
  4. The Test of Our Belief.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 4:15.
    • Ask: “What does this verse tell you about those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God?” (God dwells in them and they in God – in other words, they are truly saved).
    • Tell the class this is another Test of True Salvation – The Test of Our Belief.
    • Direct the students’ attention to the Tests of True Salvation poster and read the second sub-point under The Test of Our Belief.
    • Ask: “Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God?”
    • Summarize: True Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God, but lost people do not.
  5. The Test of Our Love.
    • Read 1 John 4:16.
    • Ask: “What does this verse say about the person who dwells in God’s love?” (he dwells in God and God dwells in him; in other words, he is truly saved).
    • Tell the class the remaining verses of the chapter bring us back to 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?”
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 4:17-18.
    • Explain that the word perfect means to be complete and mature.
    • Ask: “What does this mature love of God give us?” (boldness in the day of judgment).
    • Ask the class to speculate about the meaning of the phrase, “as he is, so are we in this world.”
      • Explain that Mormons use such phrases to erroneously teach that they will one day become gods. This is not true.
      • The phrase in verse 17 actually means that like Jesus, we are God’s representatives on earth, we are God’s spokesmen, and we may call God our Father. We also have an eternal home in heaven where we will forever be with our Father.
    • Ask: “According to verse 18, what does perfect (mature) love do?” (frees us from fear).
    • Tell the class those who live in the crippling torment of fear do not know Jesus Christ as their Savior.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 4:19-21.
    • Ask: “Why do we love God?” (because He first loved us – He is the instigator of this loving relationship).
    • Ask: “What does verse 20 say about the person who claims to love God but hates his brother?” (he is a liar who does not truly love God).
    • Ask: “According to verse 21, what has God commanded those who love Him?” (to love their brothers and sisters in Christ, too).
    • Summarize: True believers love God and love others, but those who do not love others do not even know God.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Ask the class to summarize the message of today’s lesson by answering the following: Why should Christians love one another?” (because God first loved us and implanted His love within us through the indwelling Holy Spirit). Loving fellow believers, then, is an evidence of true salvation. Read from the poster the Tests of True Salvation we have encountered in this lesson (4a, 6b, and 7a).

Tell the students that Jesus clearly told us to love one another. Ask: “What about you? Do you truly love other believers? Is your love for other believers evident to the lost world?” Ask the class to suggest ways Christians show their love for one another. One way we show our love for fellow believers is by faithfully attending Sunday School and church with them. Ask: “Does your Sunday School and church attendance reflect love for other Christians, or love for yourself and your own selfish desires and interests? Which do you love most?”

Ask: “Does your love for others show that you are truly saved, or does your lack of love call your salvation into question?” Encourage any who are not saved to repent of their sins and trust Jesus Christ for salvation today. Ask everyone to make some definite plans to demonstrate Christ’s love to other believers this week. Lead a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Ask the students to memorize 1 John 4:10-11. Encourage everyone to carry through on their plans to show love to other believers this week.

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