December 2, 2012
Focal Scripture Passage:
1 Thessalonians 1:1-10
To lead students to discover some evidences of a genuine relationship with
Jesus Christ, and to examine their lives to see if those evidences are
Read the notes on 1 Thessalonians 1 found in the Sunday School Teacher
Book. Prepare some strips of paper with the following phrases written
on them (cash register tape works well for this, or print the phrases using
a computer and then cut them into strips): “Work of Faith;” “Labor
of Love;” “Patience of Hope;” “Election of God;” “Affliction
with Joy;” “Served as Examples;” “Spread the Gospel;” “Turned
to God from Idols;” “Served the True and Living God;” “Wait
for the Son;” and “Delivered from Wrath.” Also, create a title
banner with the words: “Evidences
of Genuine Christianity.” Place this banner on the focal wall of
the classroom (or write it on the marker board or chalkboard), and scatter
the other phrase strips on the floor around the classroom.
Enlist two class members to role play the
introductory activity. The first is to pretend to be a prisoner standing
trial and the other is to pretend to be the court bailiff. Put a chair at
the front of the class facing the students. Tell the two volunteers to wait
in the hall until you call them in. When called, the “bailiff” is to come
in and call the court to order. (“All rise. Court is now in session for the
trial of ___________ on the charge of being a Christian. You may be
seated.”) He is then to bring the “prisoner” into the classroom and seat
him in the chair. The “prisoner” should hang his head and look guilty.
(Create Learning Readiness): Call
the “bailiff” into the room. After he calls the court to order and seats
the prisoner, tell the class that the prisoner is accused of being a
Christian, and you are calling for the class members to present evidence to
prove the charge. Ask: “What evidence can you present to prove that
_____________ is a Christian?” Allow a few moments for them to tell why
they think the “prisoner” is a Christian. Thank the volunteers and send
them to their regular seats. (An alternative to this role playing activity
would be to show a picture of a courtroom or ask the students if they have
ever been in a courtroom. Tell them in a criminal trials evidence is
presented to try to prove that an accused person committed a certain crime.
Ask: “If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough
evidence to convict you?”)
Tell the class that in today’s lesson they
will discover some scriptural evidences of genuine Christianity, and examine
themselves to see if their lives give evidence of a genuine saving faith in
HEART OF THE LESSON
Introduce the New Quarter.
Tell the class this quarter they will study the little New Testament
letters of 1 & 2 Thessalonians.
Briefly introduce the book of 1 Thessalonians, using introductory
material from the Sunday School Teacher Book or Sunday School
Tell the class the theme of this quarter’s study is “Living for
the Return of Christ.”
Genuine Christians Work and
Wait for the Lord.
Read 1 Thessalonians 1:1-2.
Ask: “Based on the way Paul referred to the Thessalonians in verse
1, do you think he believed they were genuinely saved?” (yes).
In verse 2 he said he was thankful for the Thessalonians and that he
prayed for them constantly.
Tell the class that the next verses give reasons the Apostle Paul
knew the Thessalonians were genuine believers.
Ask a volunteer to read 1 Thessalonians 1:3-4.
Ask the class to point out phrases on the strips of paper scattered
on the floor that are contained in these verses (“Work of Faith;” “Labor
of Love;” “Patience of Hope;” and “Election of God”).
Explain the meaning of each phrase:
Work of faith
means work that is the result of one’s faith
in Christ. Faith that expresses itself in works is an evidence of genuine
Labor of love
means labor prompted by their love for Jesus Christ. Christians should be
eager to serve the Lord, out of love for Him and gratitude for the love He
has shown us.
Patience of hope
means patience that is marked by hope – hopeful endurance.
Election of God
refers to God’s sovereign work in saving them.
Post each phrase under the title banner. The first three of those
phrases name an evidence of genuine Christianity. The last one refers to
the source of our salvation.
Genuine Christians can
Endure Affliction with Joy.
Ask: “Do you think the Thessalonians trusted Christ as their
Savior because Paul was such a great and persuasive preacher?” Tell the
class the answer to that question is found in the next verse.
Ask a volunteer to read 1 Thessalonians 1:5-6.
Note that the gospel came not only through Paul’s words, but it was
also evident in the power of God and the conviction brought by the Holy
Our words never save anyone, but people are saved when the Holy
Spirit brings conviction and assurance (of the truth of the gospel) to the
Ask: “What did the Thessalonians know about Paul, Silas, and
Timothy?” (they knew what kind of men they were – their lifestyle
confirmed the gospel rather than cast doubt on it).
This reminds us of the fact that our lifestyle and conduct are
Ask: “Who did the Thessalonians follow?” (Paul and the Lord).
Pick up the strip of paper containing the words “Affliction with
Joy” and post it under the title banner.
Another evidence of genuine Christianity is that we can endure
affliction with joy.
Genuine Christians are
Examples to Others and Spread the Gospel.
Tell the class that two more evidences of genuine Christianity can be
found in 1 Thessalonians 1:7-8. Read those verses.
Ask the class to point out the phrases on the floor that are named in
those verses (“Served as Examples” and “Spread the Gospel”).
Post these strips on the wall under the title banner.
Tell the class that genuine Christians should be examples to everyone
of how believers ought to behave.
Ask: “Can people see how to live for Christ by watching you?”
True believers should also spread the gospel.
Ask the class to brainstorm ways Christians can share the gospel.
One good way is to enroll lost people in Sunday School.
Tell the class that genuine Christians living in such a way that they
set good examples for others, and they also spread the Good News of Jesus
Christ to others.
Changes Resulting from
Tell the class that 1 Thessalonians 1:9 describes changes
others could see in the lives of the Thessalonian believers. These changes
were further proof that they were genuine Christians.
Ask a volunteer to read that verse.
Ask the class to look at the phrases remaining on the floor and name
the ones found in verse 9 (“Turned to God from Idols” and “Served
the True and Living God”).
Post those strips beside the first two (see example below).
As you post those two strips, explain the connection between these
phrases and those in verse 3:
When God does a work of faith
in a sinner’s life, that sinner will turn away from idols to worship God.
When a new convert recognizes
the love Christ has bestowed upon him, he will want to labor and serve the
Tell the class that genuine salvation causes change. Everyone who
has come to true faith in Jesus Christ has turned away from “idols” such as
self, pride, and sin. It is impossible to turn to Christ without
also turning away from those false gods.
Stress the fact that genuine Christianity brings change to the life.
In other words, if your life hasn’t ever changed, then you haven’t truly
The Future of the Genuine
Read 1 Thessalonians 1:10.
Tell the class that the last two phrases on the floor are found in
that verse (“Wait for the Son” and “Delivered from Wrath”).
These last two are related to the third and fourth phrases already
posted. Explain the following:
The genuine Christian
demonstrates patience marked by hope in that he or she waits for the return
of Jesus Christ. Tell the class that the return of Christ is the central
theme of both 1 & 2 Thessalonians. In fact, they will find it mentioned in
every chapter of both Thessalonian letters.
As a result of our election of
God, we have been delivered from the wrath that God directs and will direct
toward lost persons (1 Thess. 5:9).
Put these last two strips on the wall beside the third and fourth
strips. The completed display on the wall (or board) should look like this:
Work of Faith – Turned to God from Idols
Labor of Love – Served the True and Living
Patience of Hope – Wait for the Son from
Election of God – Delivered from Wrath to
Affliction with Joy
Served as Examples
Spread the Gospel
Read the lesson aim to the class, and then read over all the evidences of
genuine Christianity discovered in this lesson. Tell the class that this
lesson is a useless mental exercise unless they apply the things they’ve
learned to their lives. Ask everyone to examine themselves right now to see
if the evidences listed on the wall are present in their lives. Remind them
of the “trial” held at the beginning of the class and ask: “If you were
on trial for being a Christian, and the things listed on the wall were the
standard against which your life was judged, how would you measure up?”
Ask everyone to bow their head and close
their eyes. Encourage any who need to be saved to confess their sins and
trust Jesus Christ right now. Encourage those who are Christians but are
living in disobedience in some area to confess that as sin and recommit
themselves to the Lord. Lead a closing prayer.
Encourage everyone to memorize 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 this week. Ask
them to read the Daily Bible Readings each day and answer the
questions in their Sunday School quarterly.