January 19, 2020 – 1 John 5:1-13

Lesson Date: January 19, 2020

Focal Scripture Passage: 1 John 5:1-13

AIM: To lead students to discover that the Bible says we can know for certain that we have eternal life, and to encourage them to make their eternal destiny a certainty by trusting Jesus Christ alone for salvation.

 

Before class: Read the notes on 1 John 5:1-13 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Write the word “Certain” on the marker board or chalkboard.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct the students’ attention to the word “Certain” written on the board. Ask them what the word means. Next, name a few things and ask them if they can be certain about those things. For example, ask if they can be certain their job will remain unchanged throughout the next year (no – they could lose their job, change jobs, or even be promoted). Tell the class the economy is doing very well right now, but we know from experience that could easily change in the future. Ask them if their health is certain (no – they could get sick or die). Ask if they know for certain what they will do later today or tomorrow (no – we may have plans but our plans are often changed by unforeseen circumstances). Stress the fact that many things in life are uncertain.

Tell the students there are some things about which we can be certain. For example, if they are present and breathing they can be certain they are alive. If they are alive they can be certain they were born. They may not know the date or the exact time of their birth, but if they are alive today they were certainly born.  If they are married and have children they can no doubt recall with certainty the day they got married and when their children were born.

Ask: “Are most people certain they have eternal life and will go to heaven when they die?” (no; the vast majority of people – even religious people – think they must do things to earn their salvation). When you ask most people about their hope for heaven you will get answers such as, “I hope so,” or “I’m working toward that goal,” or “No one can really know for sure,” or even “That’s up to God – I’ll find out when I die.”

Ask: “If it were possible to be absolutely certain you have eternal life and will go to heaven when you die, would you want to know how? Tell the class in today’s lesson we will learn how we can know for certain that we have eternal life.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    1. Remind the students that we are studying 1 John, which contains many Tests of True Salvation.
    2. 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 & b, and 7a.
    3. Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (loving one another).
    4. Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verses (1 John 4:10-11).
  2. The Test of Our Belief.
    1. Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 5:1-3.
    2. Ask: “According to verse 1, who is born of God?” (those who believe Jesus is the Christ).
    3. Tell the class many people in our modern world might say that Jesus is the Christ, but they don’t really know what that word means.
    4. Explain that the word Christ literally means “anointed” – it is the New Testament Greek equivalent of the Old Testament Hebrew word messiah (which also means anointed). Christ is the promised Messiah, whom God said He would send to suffer and die to pay the price for our sins and then rule eternally as God and King of the universe. Anyone who sincerely believes that about Jesus is born of God (saved).
    5. Tell the class this is another Test of True Salvation – The Test of Our Belief.
    6. Direct the students’ attention to the Tests of True Salvation poster and read the third sub-point under The Test of Our Belief.
    7. Ask: “Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ (the Savior)?”
    8. Ask the class to look back at verse 1.
    9. Ask: “Is it possible to love God and reject Jesus at the same time?” (no; those who claim to do so do not really love God).
    10. Ask: “According to verse 2, what two things show that we truly love the children of God?” (loving God and obeying His commandments).
    11. Ask: “In other words, can you truly love other believers if you disregard God’s commandments?” (no; those who claim to do so are fooling themselves).
    12. Ask: “What proves that we love God?” (obeying His commands; see also John 14:15, 23-24).
    13. Tell the class that God’s commands are not too hard to understand or obey.
    14. Summarize: True Christians believe that Jesus is the Christ (the Savior), but unsaved people do not.
  3. The Test of Our Belief.
    1. Tell the class the next two verses speak of overcoming the world. That doesn’t mean we never have struggles or trials, but it means we persevere and win in the end.
    2. Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 5:4-5.
    3. Ask: “According to verse 4, who overcomes the world?” (those who are born of God).
    4. Ask: “How do those born of God achieve this victory?” (through their faith).
    5. Ask: “According to verse 5, who overcomes the world?” (those who believe Jesus is the Son of God).
    6. Explain that saved people overcome the world and its sinful temptations. They are set free from the bondage of sin. They also overcome the world when they die and go to live with Jesus in a completely sinless state. Lost people do not overcome the world and its sinful temptations.
    7. Tell the class these verses present another aspect of The Test of Our Belief.
    8. Direct the students’ attention to the Tests of True Salvation poster and read the fourth sub-point under The Test of Our Belief.
    9. Ask: “Does your faith enable you to overcome the world and its sinful temptations?”
    10. Summarize: True believers experience overcoming victory over the wicked world and its sinful attractions, but lost people are controlled by the world.
  4. Irrefutable Witnesses.
    1. Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 5:6.
    2. Briefly lecture on that verse using the following outline:
      • The water refers to Christ’s baptism and the blood refers to His death.
      • Miraculous events at both times proved that Jesus was the Christ.
      • That verse also says the Holy Spirit bears witness to Jesus’ identity.
    3. Ask: “Why does the Spirit do this?” (because He is truth).
    4. Tell the class that Jewish Law required two or three witnesses to confirm a fact in a court of law. Verses 7 and 8 cite three witnesses in heaven and three witnesses on earth, all of which testify that Jesus is the Son of God.
      • NOTE: Verse 7 does not appear in some ancient manuscripts. Because of this, some modern translations omit most or all of the verse. While this is an interesting fact, the most important thing we must remember is this: neither including the verse nor omitting it changes the overall meaning of the passage.
      • If we include the verse, it does not tell us anything we don’t already know – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all agree that Jesus is the Christ.
      • If we omit the verse, we have lost nothing because the New Testament is replete with confirmations that Jesus is the Son of God.
    5. Read 1 John 5:7-8.
    6. Ask: “According to verse 7, who testifies to Christ’s deity in heaven?” (the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit).
    7. Ask: “According to verse 8, what bears witness to Christ’s deity on earth?” (the Spirit, the water, and the blood).
    8. Ask: “Do we ever believe the words and witness of men?” (yes).
    9. Tell the students that all human education is based upon believing the teaching of men, and all legal systems are based upon believing the testimony of men. Virtually everything we know we learned from someone else. We believe the witness of men.
    10. Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 5:9.
    11. Ask: “Which is greater: the witness of men or the witness of God?” (the witness of God).
    12. Tell the class that God verbally, audibly, publicly, and miraculously testified that Jesus Christ is His Son on multiple occasions (see Matt. 3:17; 17:5; Mark 1:11; 9:7; Luke 3:22; 9:35). His testimony is true and should be believed.
    13. Summarize: God has given us numerous clear and irrefutable witnesses to the fact that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and our Savior.
  5. The Test of Our Belief.
    1. Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 5:10.
    2. Ask: “What do those who believe in the Son of God have within themselves?” (the witness of who Jesus is).
    3. Ask: “If you don’t believe Jesus is God’s Son, what are you calling God?” (a liar).
    4. Tell the students this is another aspect of The Test of Our Belief.
    5. Direct the students’ attention to the Tests of True Salvation poster and read the first sub-point under The Test of Our Belief.
    6. Ask: “Have you believed in the name of Jesus Christ (trusted Him for salvation)?”
    7. Read 1 John 5:11.
    8. Explain that the word “record” refers to evidence, a report, or testimony.
    9. Ask: “According to this record or testimony, what has God given us?” (eternal life).
    10. Ask: “Where is that eternal life found?” (in His Son, Jesus Christ).
    11. Read 1 John 5:12.
    12. Ask: “According to this verse, who has eternal life?” (those who have the Son; in other words, those who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ).
    13. Ask: “Who does not have eternal life?” (those who do not know Jesus Christ).
    14. Tell the class this is as simple and straightforward as it could possibly be – those who know Jesus have eternal life and those who don’t know Him do not have eternal life.
    15. Direct the students’ attention to the word “Certain” written on the board. Remind them that you promised at the beginning of class we would learn how we could know for certain that we have eternal life. The next verse sums up that certainty.
    16. Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 5:13.
    17. Ask: “Why did John write all these things?” (so his readers, including us, could know for certain that they have eternal life).
    18. Ask: “Who has eternal life.” (those who believe on the name of Jesus, the Son of God).
    19. Summarize: True Christians are those who have believed in the name of Jesus for salvation. Anyone who has not done that is not truly saved.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Direct the students’ attention once again to the word “Certain” written on the board. Tell them the Bible makes it clear we can know for certain if we have eternal life and will go to heaven when we die. Ask: “Are you sure you have eternal life?”

Ask: “Wouldn’t it be terrible to go through your whole life not knowing whether you will go to heaven or hell?” Tell the students they don’t have to live with such doubts and fears. Each of us can know for certain that we have eternal life and will therefore go to heaven when we die.

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. Ask: “Has there ever been a time in your life when you realized you were a sinner, realized you could not save yourself, and trusted in Jesus to pay for your sins and give you eternal life? If so, you can be certain you have eternal life and will go to heaven when you die. Thank Jesus right now for saving you.”

Ask: “If you do not know Jesus and have no certainty about your eternal life, are you ready to trust Him for salvation right now? If so, confess and turn away from your sin, ask Jesus to forgive you, and place all your trust and hope for eternity in Jesus and His saving work. Thank Jesus for saving you and giving you certainty about your eternal life.” Voice a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize 1 John 5:11-12. Encourage them to ask someone this week if they think it is possible to know they have eternal life and will go to heaven when they die, being prepared to show them 1 John 5:11-13 and tell them how they can know Jesus Christ as their Savior. Ask them to invite others to Sunday School next week.

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