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Sabbath School Lessons on 1, 2 & 3 John
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About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 2: Experiencing the Word of Life *
Introduction: I'm in California! Over many years of visits to
California, I've learned that a certain (large) segment of the
California population is very concerned about looking young. This
group resists the natural order of life in which age is desirable
because it brings wisdom and dignity. Instead, everyone wants to
appear eternally young. Why is that? I think a large part of the
reason is that youth equals vibrant life. Age equals death. Youth and
life are exciting and attractive. Death is, well, dull. Our lesson
this week suggests another route to life (and youth). Are you
someone who wants to be eternally young? Do you desire the joy of
life? Let's jump into our study and find out more about the way to
eternal life and youth!
- Witness for Life
- Lets read 1 John 1:2. Last week we discussed John's
statement that Jesus is "the Word" of life. Now John
emphasizes the second part of the phrase: "the Life." What
is important about calling Jesus "the Life" when we have
already called Him "the Word?"
- Have you ever heard someone talk about a subject and
concluded that they didn't know what they were
talking about? (John tells us that Jesus not only
gives us instructions about life ("Word"), but Jesus
- In what ways is Jesus "Life?" (Last week we learned
that Jesus is our Creator, that makes Him the author
of life. John testifies that Jesus was resurrected
and is alive. That shows that Jesus has life now. The
resurrection shows a "life" power even when death has
- When John writes in 1 John 1:2 that "the Life appeared,"
what point is he making? He twice uses the word
"appeared." Would you say (about another person) that they
"appeared?" (No. Gods appear to humans. John tells us that
God became a human and then God connected with other
humans. "[T]he Eternal Life which was with the Father ...
appeared to us." The focus is on God coming down and
appearing to humans.)
- What does John teach is Jesus' relationship to the
Father in Heaven? (John is not ambiguous about this.
He claims that Jesus was with the eternal God and
then made His appearance as a human. Jesus had His
origin in heaven. You either believe this or you do
not. You cannot logically, like some religions and
some people, believe Jesus was simply a wise rabbi or
a good man. To do that makes Jesus and His closest
associates outrageous liars. You either make the
faith leap or you do not. There is no middle ground
- Read 1 John 1:3. What additional claim does John make for
Jesus? (He tells us that in addition to Jesus' origin
being in heaven, Jesus is the "Son" of God. He paints a
picture of the God of the Universe by calling one aspect
"Father" and the other aspect "Son.")
- This is radical stuff. Read Deuteronomy 6:4. This was
one of the most important Bible texts in opinion of
John's Jewish contemporaries. How do we square this
with John's picture of Jesus being the Son of God?
How can Jesus be God when there is only one God?
- Meditate a bit about Deuteronomy 6:4. Why would
you write this unless your God had multiple
aspects? (I think this reinforces the idea of
the Trinity, the idea that Jesus and the Father
are one God.)
- Read Genesis 1:1-2. The Hebrew for "God" in verse 1
is a word which is plural. What does this teach us
about the Trinity? (In both his gospel and his
epistles John begins much like Genesis. It is in the
beginning of Genesis we see God introducing to us the
idea of the Trinity, including an introduction to the
Holy Spirit. John explains that this Trinity includes
Jesus as the Son and the Creator.)
- Witness for Joy
- Look again at 1 John 1:3. Why does John say he is giving
his testimony about Jesus? What is his motive? (So his
reader can have fellowship with John.)
- John is dead. Why do we care? What kind of fellowship
does John have? (John says that his fellowship is
pretty special. John fellowships with "the Father and
with His Son, Jesus Christ.")
- Notice the substance of John's testimony in 1 John 1:3. He
links "fellowship" to what he has seen and heard. How
does that help us to fellowship with the Father God and
with God the Son, Jesus? (If we do not understand the
nature of God and that Jesus is God, we cannot have
fellowship with God.)
- What is fellowship, anyway, that we should desire it?
(Fellowship is getting to know someone, spending time
with someone. John says, "Look, I've spent time with
Jesus. I know Him. If you spend some time with this
message you will be "spending time" with Jesus and
you will get to know Him.")
- Are you excited about studying this book? Having
an opportunity to get to know Jesus and to
fellowship with God?
- Read John 14:7-9. Jesus says that if we know Him we know
the Father. Is John further explaining Jesus' statement?
(Jesus is God and a first hand witness of the things of
heaven. John is a first hand witness of Jesus. We have a
solid gold line of information.)
- Read 1 John 1:4. Shouldn't this say John is writing to
make your joy complete instead of his joy complete? After
all, he already knows Jesus. He is already in this
special fellowship club. He is offering to let us in on
this very special fellowship club!
- Imagine someone saying to you that they would take
you to the White House and (for free!) introduce you
to the President of the United States. Wouldn't it
be obvious that the purpose was to make your day
special instead of making the President's day
- Now ratchet this up a million degrees and say you are
being taken into the "club" of the Creator and Lord
of the universe. Is this for your benefit or for His?
- Why does John have this logically backwards?
(Something very unusual and special is being said
here: God wants to fellowship with you. It gives God
joy to fellowship with us!)
- Read John 15:15. What relationship does God want to have
with us? What does Eternal Life have in mind for us?
(Jesus calls us "Friends, for everything [Jesus] learned
from the Father [Jesus] made known to you." The next verse
continues by saying that Jesus chose us, we did not choose
Him. He wanted us to come to the oval office!)
- How does it feel to be a friend of God?
- Could you use more joy in your life?
- Sin has its pleasures, otherwise no one would ever
sin. If you have experience with serious sin, can you
testify that obedience to God brings real, lasting
- Consider the experience of the Governor of South
Carolina. If he could re-write the history of
the last few years, what do you think he would
do? (For readers who do not know, the Governor
has been deeply embarrassed, may have lost his
family and has lost his potential to be Vice-President of the United States (just to mention
three of a host of problems) because he was
involved in a sexual affair with a woman from
Argentina.) Do you think he has joy now?
- In 1 John 1:4 John includes himself in the "our joy." When
we introduce others to this circle of friendship with God,
does it give us joy?
- Friend, would you like to be a friend of God? Would you
like to enter the most powerful circle of insiders in the
universe? Would you like lasting joy? If so, let's
continue next week on in our journey to read and
understand John's messages to us.
- Next week: Walking in the Light: Turning Away from Sin.
* Copr. 2009, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.