January 5, 2020 – 1 John 3:16 – 4:6

Lesson Date: January 5, 2020

Focal Scripture Passage: 1 John 3:16 – 4:6

AIM: To lead students to discover more differences between children of God and children of the devil, and to encourage them to be discriminating in their choices of the Bible preachers and teachers they listen to.

 

Before class: Read the notes on 1 John 3:16 – 4:6 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Write, “Who Are You Listening To?” and “Whose Advice Do You Take?” on the marker board or chalkboard.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Read aloud the two questions written on the board. Tell the class there are many sources of advice and information available to us today. Ask: “Should we heed all the advice we hear?” (no, we should consider the source).

For example, when your car needs repair you need to seek the advice and counsel of someone who knows about car repair. If you need medical advice it is wise to seek out a trained medical professional. We must be careful whose advice we take. Dr. James Dobson, for example, offers sound, biblically based advice for parenting. Dear Abby, on the other hand, offers worldly, humanistic advice. There is no shortage of advice available, but we must be discerning and careful to only take good advice.

Tell the students in today’s lesson we will discover several more Tests of True Salvation and find more differences between children of God and children of the devil.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review.
    • Remind the students that we are studying the little letter of 1 John.
    • Remind them that 1 John contains many Tests of True Salvation. To review the previous lessons, read 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, and 5a.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (differences between children of God and children of the devil).
    • Last week we discovered the following differences:
      • Children of God do not practice sin as a lifestyle, but children of the devil do.
      • Children of God live a lifestyle of righteousness, but children of the devil live in habitual sin.
      • Children of the devil do not love one another, but children of God do.
    • Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (1 John 3:1).
  2. The Test of Our Love.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 3:16-19.
    • Ask: “How is the love of God revealed to us?” (Christ laid down His life for us).
    • Ask: “Because of what Christ did for us, what should we be willing to do?” (lay down our lives for the brethren).
    • Explain that most of us will never be called upon to literally lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters in Christ, but we ought to be willing to sacrifice our selfish desires and our pride for the good of other believers. We ought to prefer others (Rom. 12:10) and put their needs ahead of our own.
    • 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?”
    • Ask: “According to verse 17, what indicates we don’t have the love of God within us?” (if we have the means to help our brothers and sisters in Christ but turn a blind eye to their needs).
    • Ask: “According to verse 18, how are we supposed to express our love for other believers?” (not only in word but also in deeds and actions).
    • Ask: “According to verse 19, what does putting our love into action prove?” (that we are saved).
    • Tell the class children of God put their love into action, but children of the devil ignore the needs of others.
    • Read 1 John 3:20-21.
    • Tell the students a genuine saving relationship with Jesus Christ frees us from condemnation (Rom. 8:1) and gives us confidence (1 John 2:28).
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 3:22-23.
    • Tell the class when we belong to God and do things that are pleasing to Him, we are in a position to receive answers to our prayers.
    • Ask: “What is the second command contained in verse 23?” (love one another).
    • Summarize: True Christians love their fellow believers and put their love into action, but those who are not saved do not.
  3. The Test of Our Belief.
    • Read 1 John 3:23
    • Tell the students there are two commands in that verse. We have already examined the second (“love one another”).
    • Ask: “What is God’s first commandment to us?” (believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ).
    • 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 first sub-point under The Test of Our Belief.
    • Ask: “Have you believed on the name of Jesus Christ (trusted Him for salvation)?”
    • Ask: “Did you realize that everyone on earth has been commanded to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation?”
    • Tell the class every lost person on earth has disobeyed this clear command. This rejection of Jesus Christ places them under God’s condemnation (John 3:18).
    • Summarize: True Christians have obeyed God’s command to believe on the name of Jesus Christ for salvation, but unsaved people have not.
  4. The Test of Our Obedience.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 3:24.
    • Ask: “According to the first half of that verse, what proves that we belong to Jesus?” (if we obey His commandments).
    • Tell the class this is another Test of True Salvation – The Test of Our Obedience.
    • Direct the students’ attention to the Tests of True Salvation poster and read the sub-point under The Test of Our Obedience.
    • Ask: “Do you keep Christ’s commandments?”
    • Summarize: True believers obey Christ’s commandment, but lost people do not.
  5. The Test of the Holy Spirit.
    • Read 1 John 3:24
    • Ask: Based on the last part of that verse, how can we know we belong to God?” (by the Holy Spirit who lives within us).
    • 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?”
    • Summarize: True Christians have the Holy Spirit living within, but lost people do not.
  6. Warnings and Promises.
    • Read 1 John 4:1.
    • Ask: “What warning do you see in that verse?” (don’t believe everything you hear, but test and try it to determine if it is from God).
    • Tell the students the Holy Spirit lives within all believers, but there are many other supernatural spirits in the universe. Some of them are holy angels committed to serving Almighty God, while others are unholy angels committed to serving the devil. We must be wise and discerning enough to distinguish between the two kinds of spirits.
    • Ask: “What does that verse say are out in the world?” (many false prophets).
    • Ask: “How can we tell if a preacher or teacher is a false prophet or a true one?”
    • Tell the class the next verses answer that question.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 4:2-3.
    • Ask: “How can we identify a spirit that is of God?” (it confesses that Jesus Christ was God in human flesh).
    • Ask: “What does the Bible say about those who deny that Jesus came in human flesh?” (they are motivated by the spirit of antichrist).
    • Stress that this may not be politically correct or culturally acceptable, but it is still true: those who deny that Jesus Christ is God in human flesh are not of God – they are lost.
    • Tell the class verses 4-6 contrast those who are of God (saved people) and those who are of the world (lost people).
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 4:4-6.
    • Ask: “Those who are of God have done what?” (overcome the world).
    • Ask: “Why?” (because He that is in us – the Holy Spirit of God – is greater and more powerful than he that is in the world – the devil).
    • Ask: “Why does the world hear false teachers?” (they are of the world – they are worldly and think like lost people).
    • Ask: “According to verse 6, how can we tell if the spirit of truth or the spirit of error is at work in someone?” (by whether they hear and receive the Word of God or not).
    • Summarize: True believers have the Spirit of God living within, who enables them to discern between truth and error and to overcome the world.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Direct the students’ attention back to the questions written on the board. Read those questions aloud. Ask: “Why does it matter what preachers and Bible teachers we listen to? After all, they are all religious teachers; aren’t they all saying about the same things?” (the Bible warns us that there are many false teachers out there; they are not all saying the same things).

Tell the class many popular preachers and teachers avoid the subject of sin, over-emphasize the person of the Holy Spirit, focus too much of their attention on spectacular supposed miracles, and do not teach the whole counsel of God from His Word. Here are some tests by which we can evaluate teachers, preachers, and other influential persons:

  • Does this person believe and teach that Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God who came to live in human flesh here on the earth?
  • Does he or she believe and preach that faith in Jesus Christ is the only way to be saved?
  • Do they teach that people are lost and need to repent of their sins?
  • Does this person’s lifestyle and behavior give evidence that they are truly saved?

Explain that the world is made up of only two types of people: children of God and children of the devil. A person who denies Jesus Christ may be intelligent, personable, and kind; but such a person is lost. Genuine Christians must not believe them or imitate their lifestyle.

Tell the students they must be careful not to believe everyone. They must beware of false teachers who speak under the influence of ungodly spirits. Encourage everyone to be discriminating in their choices of the Bible preachers and teachers they listen to. Lead a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Encourage the students to be discerning in whose advice they take this week.

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