January 26, 2020 – 1 John 5:13-21
Lesson Date: January 26, 2020
Focal Scripture Passage: 1 John 5:13-21
AIM: To lead students to discover things that believers know for certain, and to thank God for those certainties while also giving any who are not saved the opportunity to trust Jesus Christ so they, too, can experience those certainties.
Before class: Read the notes on 1 John 5:13-21 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Write the question, “What Do You Know?” on the marker board or chalkboard. Have enough copies of the “Things We Know For Certain” study guide for your anticipated attendance, as well as some pens or pencils for those who might need one.
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Read aloud the question, “What Do You Know?” written on the board? Ask: “How would you answer that question?” The students will probably struggle to answer the question because it is so broad. They know facts that are common knowledge, facts directly related to their vocation or daily activities, and personal facts about themselves. Tell them that question is difficult to answer because it is so broad.
Go to the board, erase the question mark, and add the words, “For Certain?” The question on the board should now read, “What Do You Know For Certain?” Ask: “What do you know with absolute certainty?” Tell them that question is much more narrow, because there are very few things in the universe that never change. Ask the following questions:
- “Has anyone ever lied to you?”
- “Have you ever known anyone who twisted the truth for their own advantage?”
- “Have you ever lied?”
- “Do you know anyone in whom you have absolute confidence, knowing with certainty that what he or she tells you is the truth?”
Tell the class that we live in a world in which real truth is a rare commodity. On TV news interview shows and political debates it is common to hear one person speak with an air of absolute certainty about a matter, and then hear the next person say, “No, that it not the way it is at all!” Public opinion seems to be shaped by who is the most “believable,” rather than who is actually the most truthful.
Tell the class that the Bible is the absolutely true Word of God, but because there is so little truth in our world many people have a hard time accepting the Bible as truth. Our world doesn’t believe in absolute truth, but the Bible we hold in our hands is absolute truth. Tell the students that in today’s lesson we will discover several things that we can know for certain, as well as one more Test of True Salvation.
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Remind the students that we have been studying the New Testament book of 1 John.
- Direct their attention to the Tests of True Salvation Throughout this study we have discovered all of the Tests of True Salvation listed on that poster.
- Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (knowing for certain that we have eternal life).
- Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verses (1 John 5:11-12).
- Certain About Eternal Life.
- Give everyone a copy of the “Things We Know For Certain” study guide (and a pen or pencil if needed).
- Tell the students that last week’s lesson ended with verse 13 and today’s lesson begins with that same verse.
- Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 5:13.
- Ask the students to fill in the blanks on their study guide for verse 13 (eternal life and believe).
- Tell the class that many people, including many religious people, have no confidence that they will go to heaven when they die.
- If you ask Catholics, Jews, or Muslims about this they will say that they hope so, or they are working toward that goal, or whether they go to heaven is up to God and they will not find out until they die.
- Stress the fact that if one believes in Jesus, eternal life is an absolute certainty, not something that we only hope for.
- Summarize: Those who have placed their faith and trust in Jesus Christ can know for certain they have eternal life.
- Certain About Prayer.
- Read 1 John 5:14-15.
- Ask the students to fill in the blanks on their study guide for verse 14 (hear and will).
- Ask: “How do we know God’s will?” (by reading and studying the Bible).
- Ask the students to fill in the blank on their study guide for verse 15 (answer).
- Explain that this is not a blank check: it doesn’t mean we can ask God for a million dollars and He is obligated to give it to us. Rather, it means when we are in fellowship with Him we will pray in accordance with His will and He will answer. It’s not a matter of getting God to do what we want; it is learning to want what He wants for us.
- Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 5:16-17.
- Explain the following:
- The sin unto death is a willful, premeditated sin of which the sinner does not repent.
- The sin unto death is not the same for every believer.
- In the case of Ananias and Sapphira that sin was lying (Acts 5:1-11).
- For some in Corinth, that sin was abusing and disrespecting the Lord’s Table (1 Cor. 11:30).
- Ask: “What are we to do if we see a brother commit a sin not unto death?” (pray for that brother, asking God to restore him).
- Ask: “Are we to pray for those committing intentional, premeditated, and repetitive sins?” (no).
- Summarize: When we pray in accordance with God’s will we can know for certain God will hear and answer our prayers.
- The Test of Our Sin.
- Read 1 John 5:18.
- Ask the students to fill in the blank on their study guide for verse 18a (habitual sin).
- Tell the class this is another 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?”
- Summarize: True Christians do not live lives of continual, repetitive, and willful sin, but lost people do.
- Certain About Our Relationship With God.
- Read 1 John 5:18
- Ask the students to fill in the blank on their study guide for verse 18b (wicked one).
- Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 5:19.
- Ask the students to fill in the blanks on their study guide for verse 19 (God and wickedness).
- Ask another volunteer to read 1 John 5:20.
- Ask the students to fill in the blanks on their study guide for verse 20a (come and understanding).
- Ask the students to fill in the blanks on their study guide for verse 20b (God and eternal life).
- Ask another volunteer to read 1 John 5: 21.
- Ask: “What was John’s final instruction to his readers?” (keep yourselves from idols).
- Tell the class an idol is anything that takes God’s rightful place in our thoughts, devotion, and affections. It can be a person, job, hobby, or sport.
- Summarize: Those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ can know for certain that God protects them, gives them understanding, and blesses them with eternal life.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Direct the students’ attention once again to the question, “What Do You Know For Certain?” written on the board. Remind them that truth is a rare commodity in our modern world. For many, truth is relative, depending on how it affects them. Some don’t believe in absolute truth at all. But for the believer, we know that God’s Word, the Bible, is absolutely true. The Bible tells us many things that we can know for certain. In today’s passage we have discovered eight things we can know for certain. Read those eight truths from the completed “Things We Know For Certain” study guide.
Ask: “How do those truths make you feel?” If responses come slowly, read the first truth and ask: “How does that truth make you feel?” Repeat this for each of the certainties. These eight truths should cause the believer to feel confident, safe, loved, and assured that we will spend eternity with Jesus Christ.
Tell the class this is cause for gratitude. Tell them when we end class this morning we will pray and have an opportunity to thank the Lord that we can know these wonderful truths for certain.
Say: “The sad news, however, is that anyone who does NOT know Jesus Christ as his or her Savior cannot rest in any of these wonderful truths. Sadly, those certainties do not apply to them. The only thing that is certain for the person who does not know Jesus Christ is hell.”
Ask: “What about you? Do you know Jesus in a personal and saving way, such that the eight truths we discovered today apply to you? If so, you should thank God. Is there anyone present who does NOT know Jesus? If so, you should repent of your sins and place your trust in Jesus right now.”
Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. Tell those who are saved to thank God for the assurance and peace we have in the eight truths we discovered today. Tell those who are not saved to repent of (turn away from) their sins and to pray in faith asking Jesus to save them. After a moment of silent prayer, voice a closing prayer.
CONCLUSION: Ask everyone to memorize 1 John 5:13. Tell them to put their study guide in their Bible so they can refer to it whenever things in life seem uncertain. Tell any who trusted Jesus for salvation today to plan to come forward during the hymn of commitment at the end of the service to make their salvation public.
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