June 2, 2024 – 1 Thessalonians 1

Lesson Date: June 2, 2024

Focal Scripture Passage: 1 Thessalonians 1:1-10

AIM: To lead students to discover several evidences of genuine salvation, and to examine themselves to see if those evidences are present in their lives.

 

Before class: Read the notes on 1 Thessalonians 1 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Bring a picture of a duck to class.

 

INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Direct everyone’s attention to the picture of a duck.  Ask: “What kind of animal is this?” (students will easily recognize it as a duck).  Ask: “How do you know this animal is a duck?” (it looks like a duck; they have undoubtedly seen a duck before, so they know what ducks look like).

Ask the students to complete this familiar saying: “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a ____________” (duck).  Tell the students that silly little expression illustrates the fact that appearance and behavior are very good indicators of identity.  Ask: “If you saw a duck’s appearance and behavior, what are the chances you would mistakenly identify it as a bear, an elephant, a giraffe, or a snake?” (virtually none, because none of those animals look and behave like a duck).

Ask: “Is it just as easy to identify a Christian?” (no).  Ask: “Why not?” (because all Christians don’t look the same or behave the same way; sadly, too many Christians blend in with the world, making them hard to identify).

Tell the students that the title of today’s lesson is Evidences of Genuine Salvation.  Tell them we will discover several things the Bible says are evidences of general salvation, so we can examine ourselves to see if those evidences are present in our lives.

 

HEART OF THE LESSON (Bible Study):

  1. Review and Introduction to 1 Thessalonians.
    • Remind the students that we just completed a study of the Old Testament book of Proverbs.
    • Ask: “What was last week’s lesson about?” (Things God Hates; we discovered things God hates and finds revolting).
    • Tell the class this morning we begin a study of the New Testament book of 1 Thessalonians.
    • Explain the following:
      • During his Second Missionary Journey, the Apostle Paul and his companion Silas were arrested in Philippi (in modern-day Greece; locate on the Map) and thrown in jail.
      • The Lord miraculously freed them from jail and saved the jailer and his family.
      • Paul and Silas then visited Thessalonica (locate on the Map).
      • After they had been there only three weeks, the unbelieving Jews ran them out of town.
      • They traveled on to Berea, Athens, and then Corinth (all in Greece).
      • Paul wrote this first letter to the Thessalonians while he was in Corinth.
      • He wrote it about d. 51, making it one of the earliest of the New Testament books.
    • Be sure everyone has a copy of the new Sunday School Member Quarterly.
  2. Faith, Love, and Hope.
    • Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1-2.
    • Explain the following:
      • This letter was sent from Paul, Silas (Silvanus), and Timothy (Timotheus) to the church of the Thessalonians.
      • Silas was Paul’s partner from the beginning of his Second Missionary Journey.
      • They met Timothy in the area of Derbe and Lystra (in modern-day Turkey).
      • Timothy joined Paul and Silas for the rest of the journey.
    • Ask: “What does verse 2 reveal about their feelings for the believers in Thessalonica?” (they continually thanked God for them and prayed for them, indicating that they cared very much for them).
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Thessalonians 1:3-4.
    • Ask: “Verse 3 identifies three specific things they remembered about the Thessalonian Christians; what were those three things?” (their work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope).
    • Explain the following:
      • Work of faith is work that results from one’s faith in Christ.
      • Faith that expresses itself in works is an evidence of genuine salvation.
      • Labor of love is labor prompted by one’s love for Jesus Christ.
      • Labor motivated by love for Jesus is another evidence of genuine salvation.
      • Patience of hope is patience that is marked by hope; in other words, hopeful endurance.
      • Patient hope and trust in Jesus is another evidence of genuine salvation.
    • Ask: “How did Paul address the Thessalonians in verse 4?” (he called them “beloved brethren,” because he knew they were his brothers and sisters in Christ).
    • Tell the students the Thessalonians’ faith, love and hope were evidences that they were among the elect of God (v. 4).
    • Summarize: Evidences of genuine salvation include faith that works, labor motivated by love, and a patient and confident hope in Jesus.
  3. Following and Leading.
    • Read 1 Thessalonians 1:5.
    • Ask: “Was it Paul’s words alone that caused the Thessalonians to believe in Jesus?” (no).
    • Ask: “What caused them to accept the Gospel?” (the power of the Holy Spirit).
    • Tell the class that we should tell everyone we can about Jesus, but we must remember that it is it is the Holy Spirit of God, not our words, that causes them to believe.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Thessalonians 1:6.
    • Ask: “What happened when the Holy Spirit caused the Thessalonians to believe the Gospel?” (they became followers Paul, and most importantly, followers of the Lord).
    • Tell the students that following the Lord is an evidence of genuine salvation; it’s hard to believe a person is saved if they don’t follow, obey, and imitate the Lord Jesus.
    • Ask: “The Thessalonians received the Word of God in a time of much affliction, but what did the Lord give them?” (joy in spite of their affliction).
    • Tell the class that joy in the face of affliction is another evidence of genuine salvation.
    • Read 1 Thessalonians 1:7-8.
    • Ask: “According to verse 7, what had the Thessalonians become?” (examples to other believers).
    • Tell the students that being a good example to other believers is another evidence of genuine salvation.
    • Using the map, explain that Macedonia was northern Greece where Thessalonica was located, and Achaia was southern Greece where Athens and Corinth were located.
    • Ask: “According to verse 8, what else did the Thessalonian believers do?” (they spread the Word of God throughout their region and country).
    • Explain the following:
      • The change Jesus made in the believers at Thessalonica was so dramatic that people were talking about it far and wide.
      • Another evidence of genuine salvation is spreading the Word of God.
    • Summarize: Evidences of genuine salvation include following the Lord, joy in the face of affliction, being a good example to other believers, and spreading the Word of God.
  4. Turn, Serve, and Wait.
    • Ask a volunteer to read 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10.
    • Tell the class that as word of the Thessalonians’ new faith in Jesus spread, three changes were obvious to everyone; those changes can be summed up with the words, Turn, Serve, and Wait.
    • Ask: “According to verse 9, what turn did they make?” (they turned to God from idols).
    • Tell the class that turning to God from idols is another evidence of genuine salvation.
    • Explain that the idols the Thessalonians turned away from were images or statues of false gods, but idols in our lives can be anything that we worship and serve other than Jesus.
    • Ask: “What does verse 9 tell us they served?” (they served the living and true God instead of dead statues and images).
    • Tell the class that serving the Lord is another evidence of genuine salvation.
    • Ask: “According to verse 10, what were they waiting for?” (Jesus to return from heaven).
    • Tell the class that waiting for Jesus’ return is another evidence of genuine salvation.
    • Direct everyone’s attention to the cover of the Sunday School Member Quarterly, and tell them that the return of Jesus is the overriding theme of 1 and 2 Thessalonians, being mentioned in every chapter of both letters.
    • Explain the following:
      • The Thessalonians’ work of faith (v. 3) was that they turned to God from idols (v. 9).
      • Their labor of love (v. 3) was that they served the living and true God (v. 9).
      • They had patience of hope (v. 3) because they were waiting for Jesus to come back from heaven (v. 10).
    • Summarize: Evidences of genuine salvation include turning to God from idols, serving the Lord, and waiting (looking) for Jesus’ return.

 

PERSONAL APPLICATION: Remind the students that at the beginning of this lesson we said, “If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck.”  Tell them that saying shows that appearance and behavior are very good indicators of identity.

Remind the class that the title of this lesson is Evidences of Genuine Salvation.  Tell them that many people around the world follow some sort of religion, some religious teacher, or some so-called “god,” but those who have trusted Jesus as their Savior will manifest certain evidences of genuine salvation.  Tell them we have discovered the following evidences today:

  • Faith that expresses itself in works.
  • Labor motivated by love for Jesus.
  • Patient hope and trust in Jesus.
  • Following the Lord.
  • Joy in the face of affliction.
  • Being a good example to other believers.
  • Spreading the Word of God.
  • Turning to God from idols.
  • Serving the Lord.
  • Waiting for Jesus’ return.

Ask: “Now let’s get personal; are those evidences of genuine salvation present in your life?  Stated another way, if you were put on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?”

Tell the students that 2 Corinthians 13:5 says it this way, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

Ask everyone to bow their head and close their eyes.

Ask: “Are the evidences of genuine salvation we discovered today present in your life?  Are you certain that you have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ?”  Tell them if they answered “yes” to those questions, they should thank God right now.  Tell them if they answered “no” to those questions, they can receive Jesus right now if they want to.  Tell them to talk to God from their heart, admit and turn from their sin, and place their trust for eternity in Jesus Christ.  Allow a moment for silent prayer, and then voice a closing prayer.

 

CONCLUSION: Offer to stay after class and speak to anyone who received Jesus just now, or who has questions about salvation.  Ask everyone to memorize 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10.  Tell them to look for opportunities this week to sound “out the Word of the Lord” to their friends by inviting them to come study the Bible at Sunday School next Sunday.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
share

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *