Into the Lesson
Display the word FREEDOM in letters large enough to be read across your assembly area. Use a separate sheet of paper for each letter. Next write the following letters on seven separate sheets of paper: A, E, L, R, S, V, Y. As class begins, show these seven letters one at a time in the order given.
As you show each letter, ask. “What is a common sin that begins with this letter?” Accept group answers. (Answers could include the following: swearing and stinginess for S; lying and lasciviousness for L; adultery and avarice for A; violence and vengeance for V; envy and exclusion for E; ritualism and rebellion for R.)
As sins are identified write them on the sheet bearing the letter under discussion. Then stick each sheet over the letters in FREEDOM as follows: A over the first E; E, over D; L over M; R over O; S over F; V over the second E. When you show Y. say, “Do you see ‘Y we’re doing this? The simple answer is ‘Sin takes away our freedom and makes us slaves to evil.’ That’s the theme of today’s study and Jesus’ words in John 8:32-34.”
Into the Word
Now display a large copy of the word IF, either written to fill a poster board or cut out from two poster boards. As you display it, say, “Now There is a BIG word!” Then say, “And today’s text is filled with the word “if”.
Assign a verse from the text to each learner. Then say, “Look at your verse and write an “if”, statements based on your verse’s idea; then personalize it. Give this example, based on verse31: “If I stand fast in Jesus’ Word, then I truly am His disciple.” Allow a few minutes for consideration. Ask for responses in verse order.
Though responses for most verses are probably obvious, expect such things as the following:
Verse 32: “If I know the truth, then I will be truly free.”
Verse 34: “If I commit sin, then sin becomes my master.”
Verse 36: “If I am made free from sin by the Son of God, then I can’t be any freer.”
Verse 48: “If I think Jesus to be less than the Son of God, then why would I listen to Him or follow Him?”
Verse 50: “If I seek my own spiritual glory, then I am substituting self for God.”
Verse 52: “If there is no life after death, then I have believed a lie.”
Verse 53: “If Jesus can give me life after death, then He obviously is greater than Abraham or any of the prophets.”
Verse 54: “If I honor myself, then I am not acting as Jesus did.”
Verse 55: “If I know something and then deny its truth, then I have made myself a liar.”
Verse 56: “If I want to be like Abraham, then I will rejoice in God’s plan as He reveals ill.”
Verse 58: “If Jesus is indeed the great ‘I Am, then I must accept Him as God.”
Call attention back to the Into the Lesson activity, which used the words freedom and slavery. Give each student a sheet of paper and ask him or her to draw seven squares. On the front of the paper students are to write the letters of the word SLAVERY, one letter per square. On the back of the paper, students are to write the word FREEDOM. Say, “Place the letters of each word in order back to back: I’ on the back of S, R on the back of L, et cetera.
Then suggest to your students that they use this paper for repentance and prayer times in the week ahead. They can use one block on each of the seven days of the upcoming week.
Give the following instructions: “On Monday tear off the block that has S on one side and I on the other. Consider a personal sin that begins with S such as stinginess, and then flip the square over and use the letter F to ask God for forgiveness. Follow the same pattern each day as a reminder of freedom that we have in God’s grace and forgiveness. Close with a prayer that includes those two ideas.