December 1, 2019 – 1 John 1
Lesson Date: December 1, 2019
Focal Scripture Passage: 1 John 1:1-10
AIM: To lead students to recognize there is a vast difference between “darkness” (being lost) and “light” (salvation), and to use the first two Tests of True Salvation to examine themselves to determine if they are truly saved.
Before class: Read the notes on 1 John 1:1-10 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book. Be sure the Tests of True Salvation poster is posted in your classroom. You will refer to that poster every week of the quarter. To make the introductory activity more effective, close the blinds or shades over your classroom window(s), if possible.
INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Close your classroom door and turn the lights off in the room. Wait a moment and then turn them back on. Repeat this a few times (don’t do it quickly, because some people cannot tolerate that), asking the class to identify which is “dark” (probably only semi-dark because of light from the window and door) and which is “light.”
Ask if anyone in the class has ever been in absolute darkness (such as in a cave or long tunnel). If so, ask them what it was like. Tell the students there is a vast difference between complete darkness and broad daylight. Ask them to imagine that you had scattered pieces of broken glass, tacks, and sharp rocks across the front on the classroom. Ask: “Would you rather try to walk barefoot through such debris in total darkness or in the light?” (light, because in the dark you could not avoid stepping on the sharp objects).
Tell the class the Bible often uses light to symbolize purity and holiness, while darkness symbolizes sin and wickedness. Today we will learn about walking in light and walking in darkness so we can determine which we are doing.
HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):
- Introduce 1 John.
- Be sure everyone present has a copy of the Sunday School Member Quarterly for the winter quarter study of 1, 2, 3 John, Jude.
- Tell the class that 1 John was written by the Apostle John, who (along with Peter and James) was part of the “inner circle” of Jesus’ disciples.
- John wrote this letter around d. 90-95, sixty years after Jesus’ earthly ministry.
- John also wrote the Gospel of John, 2 & 3 John, and the book of Revelation.
- Explain that many new believers in the Roman world were confused about what constituted genuine salvation. Because of this, John filled his letter with many Tests of True Salvation – statements by which we can determine if we are truly saved or not.
- Who Did John Write About?
- Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 1:1-2.
- Tell the class John was referring to someone he had personally seen and heard – someone he called the “Word of life.”
- Read John 1:1-5, 9-14. Ask: “Who was John talking about?” (the Lord Jesus Christ – the Word of God).
- Ask the class to look back at 1 John 1:1.
- Ask: “How long has Jesus existed?” (“from the beginning” – in other words, eternally).
- Ask: “What do these verses reveal about John’s personal relationship with Jesus Christ?” (he heard Him, saw Him, looked closely at Him, and even touched Him).
- Ask: “Does this indicate that Jesus was a real, flesh-and-blood person, or merely a spirit appearing to be human?” (a real, flesh-and-blood person).
- Explain that one of the heresies abounding in John’s day (Gnosticism) was a denial that Jesus came in the flesh. John refuted this heresy several times in his letter.
- Ask: “According to verse 2, what did he bear witness of and show unto his readers?” (eternal life).
- Stress that eternal life is found only in Jesus Christ. When John pointed his readers to Jesus he was directing them to the only source of eternal life. That’s what we do today when we witness.
- Summarize: John declared to his readers the Lord Jesus Christ, the only source of eternal life.
- Darkness or Light?
- Tell the class John next gave three reasons for declaring to his readers the things he had heard and seen from Jesus Christ.
- Read 1 John 1:3-4.
- Ask the students to name the reasons in those verses. They should name the following:
- So his readers could have fellowship with John and other believers.
- So they could have fellowship with God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
- So their joy might be full.
- Stress the fact that true joy is found ONLY in knowing Jesus Christ as one’s Savior and Lord. Likewise, genuine fellowship with others and with the Lord is ONLY found through knowing Jesus Christ.
- Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 1:5.
- Ask: “What was the most important message John wanted to get across to his readers?” (God is light with no darkness at all).
- Tell the students that God is total, pure, and perfect light – He is absolutely pure and holy without the slightest particle of darkness or sin.
- Turn off the classroom lights again.
- Ask: “Is there ANY darkness in this room right now?” (yes; even if the room has windows there is darkness in corners and behind objects).
- Tell the class the room has some light, but it also has some darkness.
- Turn the lights back on and tell the students there is absolutely NO DARKNESS (impurity, sin) about God at all.
- Summarize: John wanted his readers (that includes us) to understand that God is light with no darkness whatsoever.
- Tests of True Salvation.
- Tell the class that since God is light those who are His children ought to walk in the light. Their daily behavior should reflect God’s light of holiness. In other words, our behavior can indicate whether we are truly God’s children – whether or not we are really saved.
- Explain that the rest of the chapter (as well as the rest of the book) contains some Tests of True Salvation.
- Direct the students’ attention to the Tests of True Salvation poster.
- Tell them as we study 1 John we are going to look for those tests and then use them to test ourselves to see if we are truly saved.
- Summarize: First John includes several Tests of True Salvation, by which we can determine if we are truly saved.
- The Test of Our Walk.
- Read 1 John 1:6.
- Ask the class to complete this statement: “If we say that we have fellowship with Jesus Christ but we still walk in darkness (sin, impurity), then we _________________” (lie and do not the truth).
- In other words, if we claim to be a Christian but our daily lifestyle is characterized by darkness and sin, then we are lying – we are not truly saved.
- Read 1 John 1:7. Ask: “If we truly walk in the light (as Jesus does) with whom will we have fellowship?” (one another; in other words, other believers).
- Ask: “What does that show that the blood of Jesus Christ has done for us?” (cleansed us from all sin; in other words, our sins are forgiven).
- Tell the class this is the first Test of True Salvation – The Test of Our Walk.
- Direct the students’ attention to the Tests of True Salvation poster and read the first sub-point under The Test of Our Walk.
- Ask: “Is your daily lifestyle marked by darkness (sin) or light (holiness)?”
- Summarize: True believers strive to walk each day in the light of Christ’s holiness, but those who are lost habitually walk in the darkness of sin.
- The Test of Our Sin.
- Ask a volunteer to read 1 John 1:8-10.
- Ask: “According to verse 8, if we claim that we do not sin what are we doing?” (deceiving ourselves).
- Ask: “What is not in us?” (the truth).
- The Bible makes it clear that “all have sinned” (Rom. 3:23).
- There is a good point for application here: if someone refuses to acknowledge their sin the truth is not in them.
- In other words, don’t trust anything they say because they wouldn’t know the truth if it walked up and introduced itself. Sinners are liars by nature.
- Ask: “Can Christians live sinless lives?” (no).
- Ask: “According to verse 9, what must we do when we sin?” (confess our sins to the Lord).
- Ask: “What does the Lord Jesus do when His children confess their sins?” (forgive them and cleanse them).
- Ask: “What does verse 10 say about those who refuse to admit their sins?” (they are calling God a liar; doing such a thing proves that God’s Word is not in them).
- Tell the class this is the second Test of True Salvation – The Test of Our Sin.
- Direct the students’ attention to the Tests of True Salvation poster and read the first two sub-points under The Test of Our Sin.
- Ask: “Do you admit that you are a sinner and confess your sins to God?”
- Summarize: True Christians do not deny their sins, but they admit and confess them. Those who never admit and confess their sins are lost.
PERSONAL APPLICATION: Ask: “Are you walking in light or in darkness?” Turn the lights off and back on again, and then tell the class there is more difference between a true Christian and a lost person than there is between the darkness and light in the classroom. That’s because God is light and those who belong to Him manifest some of His light in their daily walk.
Direct everyone’s attention once again to the Tests of True Salvation poster. Read the tests and sub-points that the students have discovered in this lesson. Ask: “How do you measure up?”
Tell the students a famous quote says: “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.” In terms of whether we are truly saved we might paraphrase that this way: “You can fool a lot of people into thinking you are saved, but you can’t EVER fool God. He knows the truth about you.”
Ask: “Are you truly saved? If not, do you want to be?” Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes. Tell them if they are truly saved they should use this time to thank the Lord for forgiveness and new life in Christ. Tell them if they are not truly saved but want to be they should confess their sins to God, admit their helplessness to save themselves, and ask Him to mercifully forgive and save them right now. Voice a closing prayer.
CONCLUSION: Tell any who have just trusted Jesus Christ for salvation to make that public by coming forward during the commitment time at the end of this morning’s worship service. Ask everyone to memorize 1 John 1:9. Urge them to confess their sins whenever God brings them to mind, and to watch their behavior to see if it measures up to the Tests of True Salvation. We will discover more Tests of True Salvation in the coming weeks.
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