The New Testament Hope

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1 John 5, John 3 & 16, James 1
Lesson Number: 

Lesson 8

The New Testament Hope

(1 John 5, John 3 & 16, James 1)

Copr. 2022, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. If you normally receive this lesson by e-mail, but it is lost one week, you can find it by clicking on this link: Pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit as you study.

Introduction: Logic was an important class in college. It taught me that certain kinds of arguments were fallacies - defective ways of thinking. Logical fallacies can be recognized by patterns of arguments. This week we consider one of the great religious fallacies: that discrimination is a bad thing. We know this is a fallacy because we discriminate all the time regarding important and unimportant things. When you chose your spouse did you discriminate? How about when you applied for a job? What about this morning when you decided what to wear? Central to Bible-based thinking is discrimination and central to the gospel is that God discriminates when it comes to eternal life. But does God discriminate to exclude humans from the opportunity for salvation? How can we be sure? Let’s dive into our study of the Bible to explore the truth!

  1. Only One Path
  1. Read 1 John 5:9. What is the most important source of truth? (The testimony of God. It is “greater” than the views of humans.)
  2. Read 1 John 5:10. Can the testimony of God be given by humans? (Yes! This is not a God versus humans issue, this is a “do you believe in God’s word” issue.)
  1. What testimony of God are we talking about here? (That Jesus is the Son of God.)
  1. Read 1 John 5:11-12. What does God say to us about the Son and eternal life? (That we receive eternal life in Jesus. If we do not have Jesus, we do not have eternal life.)
  1. Is this a binary matter? That is, do we have only two choices? (Yes, it is binary. If we have Jesus we have life, if we do not have Jesus, we do not have life.)
  1. Read 1 John 5:13. How do we receive Jesus? (We have eternal life by believing “in the name of the Son of God.”)
  2. Read Genesis 3:2-4. How old is the lie that Jesus is unnecessary to eternal life? (It is the first deception.)
  3. Read John 6:40. If you are someone who thinks there should be no discrimination, you probably don’t care whether people discriminate on the issue of what color shoes they wear. Why? Because it is unimportant. How important an issue is eternal life? (Issues do not get any more important than eternal life.)
  1. What does “looks on the Son and believes in Him” mean? (It means to contemplate Jesus and decide that He is the God who saves us. This sounds like a two-step process.)
  1. Read James 1:22-24. How does James describe this two-step process? And is it really two steps? (Whether you really “looked” and believed is proven by whether you did anything as a result of the look. It is not actually two steps. It is an affirmation of the belief.)
  2. Read James 1:25. Do you have a problem with forgetting? How do we resist it? (We all know that by developing “muscle memory” (repetition) we can protect against forgetting. Acting on our belief shows that we truly believe it.)
  3. Read John 14:6. When Thomas wanted to learn the directions to heaven, how did Jesus answer? (Jesus is the only way to heaven. He is “the way, the truth, and the life.”)
  4. Read Acts 4:12. What does this text say about the path to salvation? (There is only one name that saves us.)
  1. What have we learned so far about eternal life and discrimination? (There is only one path to eternal life. That path is believing in Jesus. That is discrimination concerning the most important issue in life!)
  1. Discrimination and Hope
  1. Most people think that if you live a reasonably good life you should go to heaven. Discriminating against good people is the worst kind of discrimination! Read John 3:16-18. What is our default state when it comes to eternal death? (We were condemned from the very beginning of our life. When Eve believed Satan’s lie about God and eternal life, when Adam and Eve rejected God, we were all condemned to eternal death.)
  1. When you read John 3:17-18 can you formulate an argument that God does not discriminate? (Yes. We were all uniformly subject to eternal death. We all have the opportunity to choose Jesus. Why? Because He came to save and not to condemn. We all have an equal opportunity to be saved. We all have hope.)
  1. Read Romans 3:20. What does this say about saving wonderful people who do not accept Jesus? (Keeping the law of God and being a good person is great! But, it does not cause you to escape the penalty of eternal death.)
  1. What does the statement that the law teaches us about sin add to the justice of allowing good people to die eternally? (The implication is that if you are really interested in living a good life, the law will reveal what a bad person you are and that will propel you on a journey to seek Jesus.)
  2. Let’s explore how this applies to our life as a Christian. We must discriminate between good and bad. We should reject the modern theology of non-discrimination. But, what happens when a sinner enters the church and sits down among the rest of us sinners? What should we say about sin? (We should make clear that we discriminate against sin. The rules of the “law” should be clearly stated.)
  1. What happens next? (The opportunity to freely choose Jesus - an opportunity provided without discrimination - should also be made clear.)
  2. If you mute your voice about sin, what is the natural result? (It is only through the knowledge of the law that we realize our need of Jesus. Failing to clearly discriminate against sin deprives others of an essential aid to salvation.)
  1. Read John 16:7-10. Details are important. When we are clear about sin, does that mean we should be accusing others in the church about their personal sins?
  1. Who is being convicted of sin? (The world. This does not suggest you should be confronting fellow members about their sins.)
  2. What is the nature of the sin being discussed? (The world does not believe in Jesus. They do not believe that He is the Messiah. This is not about how we act, this is about the most fundamental question of life - who is Jesus?)
  3. What does it mean to be convicted “concerning righteousness?” Is it our righteousness? (Notice that verse 10 supplies the context - Jesus is going to the Father where we will see Him no longer. Only unrighteous people would be crucified. Jesus is saying that the Holy Spirit will vindicate His name and show Jesus to be the Righteous One.)
  4. What “judgment” is referred to here? (Read John 12:31. Satan was the “ruler” of the world until Jesus cast him out (judged him) at the cross.)
  5. As you think about these actions of the Holy Spirit, does this say anything about discrimination? (Yes. We accept Jesus and we reject Satan. Jesus won, Satan lost.)
  1. If you believe this, does it make a difference in the way you live?
  1. Confirmation of Victory
  1. Read John 6:56-57. Is Jesus asking us to be cannibals? (Read John 6:58. If you look at this chapter you will find that Jesus just performed a miracle and fed thousands of people with bread and fish. Jesus explains the miracle by saying that He is spiritual bread, He came down from heaven and He provides to people the bread of eternal life.)
  2. Read John 6:60-62. Jesus’ listeners were having trouble understanding “eating” Jesus as bread. They were not cannibals! Why does Jesus comment about seeing Him ascending to heaven? (Jesus is arguing that His resurrection is the ultimate proof of what He is saying.)
  3. Read John 6:63-65. How is Jesus going to heaven proof about eating Him? (Jesus explains that He is speaking of spiritual matters. Jesus is the Messiah who came, lived, died, and will be resurrected to make it possible for them to have eternal life.)
  4. Read John 6:66-69. What did Peter believe and what does that have to do with Jesus being bread? (Jesus is the key to eternal life. Jesus’ resurrection proves that we can be resurrected.)
  5. Friend, will you accept Jesus’ offer of eternal life? Will you discriminate in favor of Him and against Satan?
  1. Next week: Contrary Passages?