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Lesson 4: Salvation *

Introduction: You undoubtedly have opinions on many things. I know I do. On some issues I think my opinion is important because I know a lot about the subject. On other issues I know very little and want to learn more from those who are knowledgeable on the subject. On many issues, what I think doesn't really matter. On a few issues, my opinion can change things. What is the most important issue on which we can have an opinion? I think it is the question of eternal life. Who is most informed on that subject? Jesus! What He did changed the course of human history. Let's jump into our study of the Bible and learn more about Jesus' opinion on salvation!

  1. Salvation's Source

    1. Read John 8:12. "Light of life." What a great phrase! What do you think it means?

      1. What is the advantage of light normally? (You can see what to do. I think the "light of life" means that Jesus shares with us what to do. Following Jesus gives us the secret to a better life.)

    2. Read John 8:13. What kind of objection is this? (This is a lawyer's objection.)

      1. What logical point are the Pharisees making? (A person is motivated to slant the truth to favor himself. In an American court, that would be grounds to argue bias, but it does not invalidate the person's testimony.)

    3. Read John 8:14. What is Jesus' argument about the validity of His testimony? (He says that he has first-hand information about who He is. The Pharisees know nothing about the subject. Jesus has the most informed opinion.)

    4. Read John 8:15-18. What other reason does Jesus argue for the validity of His testimony? (He has two witnesses, His Father and Himself.)

      1. Read Deuteronomy 17:6 and Deuteronomy 19:15. This is the legal rule cited by the Pharisees. What problem do you see with applying this rule to the testimony of Jesus? (This is a witness rule for convicting criminals, particularly where death is the penalty.)

        1. What does this say about the view of the Pharisees about Jesus' teachings? (Either they are misstating the legal rule, or they understand that Jesus is teaching about very important matters - matters of life and death.)

    5. Read John 8:21-24. What is Jesus teaching about? (He is teaching about life and death matters.)

      1. What is at the heart of our salvation? (Believing that Jesus is God. Believing that Jesus is divine. Believing that Jesus can take away our sins.)

    6. Read John 8:25-26. Do you think "Who are you?" is a serious question?

    7. Read John 8:27-30. What does this say about the state of mind of the listeners? (They did not clearly understand what Jesus was telling them.)

      1. How will Jesus being crucified ("lifted up") help them to understand His divine nature? Doesn't that confuse the issue? (Truth will dawn on them as they see His crucifixion and remember what He said. More important, this gets to the heart of salvation. The sacrificial lamb in the sanctuary service represented Jesus. It is Jesus' life, death and resurrection that, as Jesus clearly stated ( John 8:24), is the only way to eternal life.)

    8. Read John 8:31-33. Have you ever been in a debate and the person on the other side is seriously deluded? (Abraham's descendants were taken captive by the Babylonians, and they are now subject to the rule of the Romans.)

      1. What kind of slavery ("truth will set you free") do you think Jesus means?

    9. Read John 8:34-36. Jesus makes clear here that He is talking about the slavery of sin. But, He goes on to talk about slaves, sons and being permanent members of the family. This raises several questions:

      1. What family is He talking about?

      2. What does sin have to do with being a son in this family?

      3. Why does sin control how long you are a member of this family?

    10. Read Romans 6:23. What does sin bring? (Death. The slave to sin will not be a part of the family of God. The slave set free from the penalty of sin becomes a permanent member of the family of God.)

      1. When do we secure a permanent place in the family of God? (When we accept the light of truth: Jesus is the only way for us to be saved and enter into eternal life.)

    11. Read John 8:37-38. What claim is Jesus making? (That He has been in the presence of God the Father. This is a clear claim to be the Messiah.)

      1. Who is the father of those who want to kill those who disagree with them theologically? (Satan.)

    12. Read John 8:39-41. Do these religious leaders know about Jesus? (Yes. Notice the insult, "we are not illegitimate children." They are talking about Jesus' human birth. I suppose they did not appreciate Jesus' statement that they were the children of Satan.)

    13. Read John 8:42-47. Do you think Jesus is clear in what He is saying? Do you understand it? (Jesus unambiguously says God the Father sent Me to share the truth of salvation with you.)

      1. Have you been in a debate with a pagan who seems to be unable to think clearly, who cannot understand the most basic truth?

    14. Read John 8:48-51 and John 8:58-59. What is Jesus' claim? (Read Exodus 3:14. Jesus is unambiguously saying that He is God - and the listeners understood exactly what He was saying because they were going to stone Him for saying it. Jesus tells us that if we keep His word, the word that He is the God who died for us, we "will never see death.")

  2. Salvation's Motive

    1. Nicodemus, an important religious leader, and Jesus are having a conversation. Let's listen in by reading John 3:13-15. Why would Jesus compare himself to Moses' snake?

    2. Let's consider this history. Read Numbers 21:4-5. What do you think about the people's complaints?

    3. Read Numbers 21:6-9. What was the key to surviving snake bite? (Looking at the snake.)

      1. What is the logic of this? (I think it represented the people looking at their sin and its consequences.)

      2. How is this like Jesus being raised on the cross? (When we consider the agony of Jesus' crucifixion, we look upon our sin and its consequences. It is a sobering view.)

    4. Read John 3:16. Why would God the Father and Jesus the Son go through such a horrific thing for us? (He loved us!)

    5. Read John 3:17. I feel terribly condemned and guilty when I consider what my sin did to Jesus. Is that how Jesus wants me to react? (The point is not simply to make us feel badly. The point is that Jesus' death saves me from my sin. Just like looking at the serpent in the wilderness saved the people from certain death from poisoning, so Jesus saves us from the certain death of sin.)

    6. Read John 3:18. What is the key to salvation? (Belief in Jesus. Consider how many times we have read that same statement in the various Bible texts we have studied in this lesson.)

    7. Read John 3:19-21. Recall that we started this study with a discussion of light ( John 8:12)? Why would anyone reject Jesus' offer of eternal life? Why would anyone bitten by the snake not look at it? (We don't want to leave our sin. We don't want to live a transparent life.)

    8. Friend, Jesus is the only way to eternal life. It is a free gift. Will you ask the Holy Spirit to help you to want to live in the light, face the sinfulness of your life, and accept Jesus' free gift of salvation?

  3. Next week: How to Be Saved.
* Copr. 2014, 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.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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