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Lesson 13: The New-Covenant Life *

Introduction: What is life like under the New Covenant? Is it good now? If you say, "yes," then why did God promise us heaven in the future? Consider another angle to this. What was life like for early "new covenant" men like Peter and Paul? How did their life compare to "old covenant" men like Abraham and Isaac? Is there something that is not obvious that makes "new covenant" life better? Let's jump into our lesson and see what the Bible has to teach us!

  1. Joy Reason One: Jesus.

    1. Read 1 John 1:1-2. John gives us several clues about who he is describing. What are the clues in these verses?

      1. Who do you think John is describing? (Jesus.)

      2. Why is "Word of Life" a good name for Jesus? (Jesus is the message from God about the opportunity for eternal life.)

    2. Read 1 John 1:3-4. What is the first reason John gives for telling us about his experiences with Jesus? (So that we may join the group of Jesus' followers.)

      1. What is the second reason John gives for telling us about Jesus? (It gives joy. It is not clear whether the original Greek said "our joy" or "your joy.")

        1. Why would telling others about the "Word of Life" create joy?

        2. Would that joy be greater under the old or new covenant? (I think it is easier to have joy now because what was promised has happened. A person of very strong faith could have had as much joy under the old covenant because they believed what would happen. Since the promised substitute for our sin has come, and lived and died on our behalf, we can see the promise has been fulfilled.)

    3. Read 1 John 1:5-7. What is critical to having this joy of the new covenant? (Walking in the light. Living a life of fellowship with Jesus. For those walking in the light, the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross purifies us from all sin.)

  2. Joy Reason Two: No Guilt

    1. Read Romans 8:1-4. Have you ever dreamed that you committed some serious crime? Do you ever worry that some day you might accidentally commit a crime?

      1. Have you committed a crime or made some serious moral error in your life? (No need to answer out loud.)

      2. What was the worst part (for you) of making a serious error, committing a crime or just dreaming that you did? (The consequences. One of those consequences is the feeling of guilt and condemnation.)

      3. What does Paul say that the new covenant life gives us? (It sets us free from guilt and condemnation.)

        1. Why? (Jesus' sacrifice on the cross, if we are "in Christ Jesus," frees us from the condemnation of the law.)

      4. What obligation do we have in the future about right living? What does it mean to be "in Christ Jesus?" (These verses in Romans tell us that Jesus has set us free from the condemnation of the law (which we could not keep), but we now are expected to (v. 4)live a Spirit-filled life.)

        1. Read Romans 8:5-6. What does it mean to live a Spirit-filled life?

  3. Joy Reason Three: New Attitude

    1. Discussing a Spirit-filled life leads us to the next reason for joy. Read Ephesians 3:17b-19. What do you think it means to be "rooted and established in love?"

      1. Our lesson (Tuesday) suggests that this refers to our love for God and our love for our fellow men. I'm not so sure. I think it refers to God's love for us - that we are firmly grounded in the belief that God loves us. Do you understand this text to refer to our love or God's love?

      2. To whose love does verse 18 refer? (God's love.)

      3. Verse 19 tells us that we should "know this love which surpasses knowledge." Isn't that a contradiction in terms?

        1. How can we know something that is unknowable?

        2. What do you think this phrase means? (It means that we can know God's love, but we do not know enough to be able to understand His love. God's love is beyond our human experience.)

    2. How does being "rooted and established" in God's love affect our attitude towards others?

      1. How does it affect our enjoyment of life?

  4. Joy Reason Four: Life Forever

    1. Read John 11:21-22. You remember this story? Jesus' friends, Mary and Martha, had sent for Him to come because their brother Lazarus was very ill and they needed Jesus' help. Jesus delayed coming until after Lazarus got worse and died. Tell me what thoughts in Martha's mind are reflected in these two verses?

    2. Read John 11:23-24. Was Martha's understanding of the resurrection the same as yours?

      1. Was that a source of joy for her? Or, was the "joy" of that knowledge eclipsed by the death of her brother?

    3. Read John 11:25-26. What is Jesus promising you?

      1. How often do you think about retirement?

        1. When you think about "retirement," are you thinking about the few years when you are old, or life eternal?

        2. Our lesson (Wednesday) says "Of course, we all die." If that is true, what is Jesus talking about when He says "whoever lives and believes in me will never die?" (Christians live with the expectation that the "last day" will come during their lifetime. Jesus' message for us is that whether we live to see the last day, or whether we die before that day, we will live forever if we believe in Him. Some Christians who are alive at the Second Coming will never die.)

  5. Joy Reason Five: Changing Lives

    1. Read Matthew 28:18-20. What two assignments does Jesus give us? (To baptize and teach.)

      1. How do these assignments affect your life?

        1. Are they a source of joy?

    2. Our lesson (Thursday)says, "Most anything else we do in this world will end when this world does. But spreading the gospel to others is a work that will make an imprint on eternity." When I read those words it hit me that some of my work is much less important than other aspects of my work. Friend, how about you? What portion of your work will make an imprint on eternity?

      1. Is the effort you put forth on certain portions of your work in line with the extent of its eternal importance?

  6. Next Week: We start a new quarter of lessons on forgiveness. Our first lesson is entitled "God and Forgiveness."
* Copr. 2003, 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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