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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 37 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 10: Confidence *
Introduction: John tells us in 1 John 5:19 that "we know that we are
children of God, and the whole world is under the control of the
evil one." What kind of confidence can we have in such a setting:
that we will continually be beaten up? That life will kick us
around? Everyone wants to have something they can trust. Everyone
wants someone or something that they can depend upon in difficult
times. Is this desire destined to remain unfilled? Let's plunge into
our study of the Bible and find out!
- Confidence in Eternal Life
- Read 1 John 5:13. Of what can we be confident? (That if
you believe in Jesus you have eternal life.)
- Read James 2:19. Are James and John in disagreement?
- What have we learned about John's two paths so far
that might help us with this apparent dispute? (In
our lessons so far we have learned we are on one of
two paths, either the path of light or the path of
darkness. The path of life leads to eternal life.)
- How can being on a path (meaning we are on the move)
be reconciled with the certainty of salvation? (The
only logical conclusion is that being ON the path of
light means salvation. At the same time it is not
just a matter of words, it is traveling on the path.
Making progress on the path, however, is a post-salvation matter.)
- When I was a young man I believed that salvation was sort
of a moment by moment thing. It was important to die at
the right time(i.e., when you were behaving). I think I
got this idea from my church and church school. Does your
church teach what John says in 1 John 5:13? If not, why
- Is this the same as "once saved, always saved?"
(Read 1 John 3:6. I think this closes the door to
the idea that we make a decision once in our life
and then live like we never made that decision. If
you truly "know" Jesus, then you have a
determination to live like it.)
- How would your attitude about life change if you
knew that you had eternal life, and that no day to
day ups and downs in the battle against sin would
change that? (You would have confidence!)
- Confidence in Prayer
- Read 1 John 5:14-15. Will God hear all of our prayers?
(It seems there is a condition.)
- If you have children, do you give them everything
they ask? Do you give serious consideration to
everything they ask?
- What does it mean to ask for something "according to
His will?" (God is like mature parents, He is not
promising to give us just anything we ask. He
promises that He will "hear" (give serious
consideration to) our requests that are within His
- Is this a satisfactory outcome? Are you satisfied
just to know that God hears your requests that
accord with His will?
- Do your children ever claim they did not hear what
you asked them to do? Does your spouse ever make
that same claim?
- What is so important about knowing that your
request was heard? (You know it is being
- What does 1 John 5:15 add to this? Are we promised
more than a hearing?(John tells us that not only
will we be heard, but that God will give us what is
within His will.)
- Have you ever asked something that was
obviously within God's will and He did not
grant it? How do you explain that? (My only
answer is that I'm not God. I trust His
judgment about His own will over mine.)
- Read 1 John 5:16-17. Should you pray that God will
forgive the sins of your loved ones? (Whatever this may
mean, it at least means that something happens when we
pray for those close to us who are sinning.)
- Are all kinds of sins referred to here? (No. John
makes a distinction. I'm not sure what is that
distinction (commentators differ), but it means at
least some kinds of sins of others are vulnerable to
- Although my sins are enough to keep my prayer life
occupied, in the past I have prayed that God would
forgive the sins of my children. I made those
prayers based on my hope of what these verses mean.
- Confident in Spiritual Warfare
- Read 1 John 5:18-19. When I think of being "safe," I
think of not being run over by a truck. How does not
sinning keep us "safe?"
- Recall the introduction where we considered verse 19
which says the whole world is under the control of
Satan? What relationship is there between not
sinning and not being harmed by the world? (Anyone
who has engaged in serious sin understands that it
brings harm to you.)
- If you normally discuss this lesson as part of a
Bible study group, imagine that everyone in the
group knew about every one of your sins. Would you
be embarrassed? Would this harm your reputation?
- I will not go into details, but I know a fellow who
was bright, highly educated, had a sunny
personality, was handsome, and was a Christian
teacher. Something happened between him and some
teen-age girls that resulted in him being sentenced
to serve 16 years in prison. He is currently in
solitary confinement. Has harm occurred because of
- What do you think Satan would like to do to
you? Embarrass you? Imprison you?
- How do we protect ourselves from that? (If
you are born of God, don't continue to
sin. Sinning makes you vulnerable to
- Read 1 John 5:20-21. What do you think you would decide
if you were told "You can sin and spend 16 years in
prison or you can refrain from sinning and be free?"
- Do you think this is how most people look at sin?
- What does 1 John 5:20 suggest about how those on the
path of light look at sin? (Jesus gives us
"understanding" of the big picture of sin and
destruction. Jesus shows us that God loves us and
wants to give us life. Jesus' experience shows us
that the author of sin wants to torture us and kill
us. Sin is not just a temporary pleasure, it is the
road to torture and death. Jesus clarifies these
- Read John 5:21. Create a mental picture of this. Is John
walking away and he turns around for a second and says
"By the way, also steer clear of idols?" Is this just a
stray thought? Or, is this connected to the rest of
- What is an idol? (Something you depend upon instead
- If this is true, how is steering clear of idols
connected with keeping safe? How is it
connected with having confidence? (John has
just said the whole world is under the control
of Satan. If we are depending on our idols to
keep us safe (an idol would include self-dependence) then we are in great danger. An
idol is nothing. Only trust in Jesus gives us
security in this hostile world.)
- Friend, the world is a dangerous place. You can exchange
an attitude of fear for one of confidence. Confidence in
your salvation, confidence in God listening to you, and
confidence in the day-to-day battles against sin and
suffering. Would you like an attitude change? God offers
it to those who believe in Jesus.
- Next week: Important Themes in 1 John.
* 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.