Into the Lesson
Display several facsimile traffic signs as class begins: STOP, YIELD, NO U-TURN, ONEWAY, or others. Simple hand-drawn and colored ones will be adequate. Ask the class to note their reactions when they see such signs.
Next, direct students to make a quick read of I John 5:1-12 and select the sign that best makes a visual for today’s study. Allow students to justify their choices with brief explanations. Example: someone may choose One Way, because of the exclusive nature of Jesus being the only way to Heaven (v. 12).
Into the Word
Make copies of today’s text, with a space after each verse. Distribute one copy to each student.
Say, “By now we all have noticed John’s style: emphatic repetition of ideas and phrases. I want you to look at today’s text and find phrases of three or more words that appear more than once. Circle them and draw a connecting line between the matches.”
If students need a start, point out that “born of God” occurs in verses 1 and 4. Others they may find include “believeth that Jesus is the” (vv. 1, 5); “keep his commandments” (vv. 2, 3); “overcometh the world” (vv. 4 [twice], 5); “by water and blood” (v. 6 [twice]); “the witness of God” (v. 9 [twice]); “he that believeth” (v. 10 [twice]); “of His Son” (vv. 9, 10); “the Son of God” (vv. 5, 10, 12). Have students call out their findings; make a list on the board. When the list is complete, go back through and ask how each phrase is completed in the text and what the implications are.
Label this next activity “Ask John” (write those two words on the board). Tell the class that you want them to be John. You will ask “John” questions and you want “John” to answer with one of the verses from today’s text.
For example, if you ask, “John, many say they are ‘born again.’ What is a first step to being born of God?” “John” should answer, from verse 1, “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ.”
Here are some questions, in random order:
- “John, sometimes witnesses give conflicting testimony. Isn’t that true regarding Jesus’ humanity and deity?” (v. 8).
- “John, what is the most obvious result of loving God the Father?” (v. lb).
- “John, how will I know that I truly love God’s children?” (v. 2).
- “John, isn’t belief simply a matter for the head? Isn’t it only intellectual?” (v.10a).
- “John, this world we are in sometimes just overwhelms me… with temptation, sickness, death. Can I get out alive?” (v. 4).
- “John, what is the secret to being an overcomer?” (v. 5).
- “John, aren’t you being a bit exclusive when you say ‘life is in his Son’?” (v. 12).
- “John, I’ve heard some claim that Jesus could not be both God and man. How do you respond to that?” (v. 6a).
- “John, I know that more than one witness is required in most legal systems. Do we have that regarding Jesus?” (vv. 7, 8).
- “John, the Old Testament is full of rules and regulations. How would you characterize God’s commandments?” (v. 3b).
- “John, I know I should tell people that Jesus is the Christ, God’s Son, but some won’t believe me. What do I do?” (v. 9).
- “John, do I have to obey the Scriptures in order to love God?” (v.3a).
- “John, some reject God’s testimony regarding Jesus. What’s the bottom line in that circumstance?” (v. 10b).
Divide your class in two by saying, “I want those whose age is an odd number to help with the first list I am going to request. I want those whose age is an even number to help with the second. OK, here are the questions for our lists: (1) What can a person do this week to show love for God? (2) What can a person do this week to show love for others?”
As ideas are given, write the two lists on the board. Alternate between the two. When lists are completed, recommend that each student pick one entry from each list that is not in his or her typical lifestyle and try to implement both into the coming week of life and service.