January 6, 2013
Focal Scripture Passage:
1 Thessalonians 4:1-12
To lead students to discover and list standards for relationships that honor
God, and to evaluate an important relationship and commit to take action to
make necessary corrections.
Read the notes on 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 found in the Sunday School
Teacher Book. Get enough copies of the
handout sheet, which has
Evaluate Your Relationships on one side and God’s Standards for Right
Relationships on the other. Have pens or pencils available for anyone
who might need one. Plan your class time carefully so that everyone (even
choir and orchestra members) will have time to complete the evaluation
before leaving class.
(Create Learning Readiness): Tell
the following case studies to the class (or enlist volunteers to tell them):
Sally grew up in a Christian home and came to know the
Lord as her Savior at age 14. Throughout her teenage years she was a leader
in her church youth group, even telling her church that she felt called to
missions. Soon after going to college she met Ben. He was kind and
considerate to her, and Sally soon fell in love. Ben led Sally into an
improper sexual relationship. Sally became hard to the things of the Lord
and stopped going to church. She lost interest in going to the mission
field. In time, she and Ben broke up, but it was years before she got
active in church again.
Toby was excited about his new job. The job was one
he’d wanted for years, with a big and influential company. He very much
wanted to fit in among his coworkers and be successful. Before long, the
account rep in the next office showed Toby how to get around the company’s
firewall and access pornography on his computer. Toby was uneasy at first,
but soon became hooked. Six months later he and several coworkers were
fired for improper use of company computers. His hopes of finding another
such job were crushed.
Read the lesson aim to the class. Pass out
handouts and pens or pencils.
HEART OF THE LESSON
Briefly review the first three chapters of 1 Thessalonians using the
lesson titles of the previous lessons.
Ask if any volunteer would recite last week’s memory verse (1 Thess.
Remind the class that the Apostle Paul deeply loved the new believers
Ask: “Did your parents ever warn you about things that would hurt
you? Why did they give you those warnings?” (because of their deep love
and concern for your safety).
Because of Paul’s deep love and concern for Thessalonians, God
inspired him to warn them about the dangers of ungodly relationships, a
warning we all need, as well.
Ask everyone to turn their handout to the side that says God’s
Standards for Right Relationships. Tell them you want them to fill in
the blanks as you lead them through the lesson.
Live in a Way that Pleases
Ask a volunteer to read 1
Ask: “According to verse 1,
how should we live?” (in a way that pleases God). Be sure
everyone writes that on the handout.
Tell the class the following:
“Do the things you know to do. Do what the Bible says. Abound more and
more in doing the right things. This is the only way you can hope to get
God’s guidance about specific issues and questions, because God won’t bless,
guide, or direct those who are disobedient in the clearly stated aspects of
Mark Twain once said: “Always
do right. This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest.”
We need to live in a way that pleases God.
Maintain Moral Purity.
Read 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7.
Ask the class members to suggest a word to fill in the blank on line
A-2 of the handout (the word should be sexual).
Ask: “According to verse 3, what must we abstain (stay away)
Explain that the word translated fornication in our Bibles is
the Greek word porneia, which refers to adultery, incest,
pornography, and all types of sexual sins.
Lead the class to write the words fornication, adultery,
and pornography in the blanks on line A-2a. Relationships that
honor God are free from sexual sins.
Reread verse 4, and then ask the class to suggest words to fill in
the blanks on line A-2b (the words should be restraint and control).
Ask the class to look at verse 5. There is a common word in the
verse that tells what godly relationships must not be based upon (lust
goes on line A-2c).
Our world is driven by lust, which is evident in the worlds of
business, entertainment, and advertising. This is a mark of those who “know
Verse 6 tells another thing that we must not do in our
relationships. Ask: “What is that thing?” (defrauded goes on
Explain that the word defraud means to take something by
deception or trickery. Warren Wiersbe states that: “Immorality is
basically selfishness and robbery.”
Here are a few examples:
When an unmarried couple
engages in any activity that should be reserved for marriage, they are
defrauding one another by arousing sensual desires that cannot be
legitimately satisfied outside of marriage. They are also defrauding their
parents and their future marriage partners (even if that is one another) by
stealing something that is to be reserved for later.
When a woman dresses in a
provocative manner, she is defrauding all men with whom she comes in
When a man talks to a woman of
“love” but his real motivation is lust, he is defrauding that woman.
When people in an office
engage in suggestive or off color language and humor, they are defrauding
Our behavior affects others, so we must be careful not to go beyond
the bounds of godly behavior. Note from this verse the seriousness of such
behavior: “the Lord is the avenger of all such.”
Ask everyone to look at verse 7, and fill in the blanks on line A-2e
(uncleanness and holy are the words).
Relationships that honor God are marked by moral purity.
Whose Rules are These,
Ask a volunteer to read 1 Thessalonians 4:8.
Explain that the word despise in the Bible means to think
lightly of, ignore, or reject something.
Ask: “What do you think this verse is talking about people
despising, ignoring, or rejecting?” (the instructions and moral
standards found in verses 1-7).
Ask: “Would you agree that these instructions about moral purity
are ignored by many people?” (yes).
Ask everyone to look back at verse 8. Ask: “Do verses 1-7 contain
God’s rules and standards, or man’s?” (God’s).
Lead the class to fill in the blanks on line B.
Tell the class that those who lead immoral, unclean lives are
despising and rejecting God’s standards for behavior and right
Benefits of Right
Read 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12.
Ask the class if they can fill
in the remaining blanks on the handout (line C-1 should be brethren,
and line C-2 should be lost world).
Right relationships enable
Christians to truly love one another. It has been said that “Duty makes us
do things well; but love makes us do them beautifully.”
Right relationships (verses
1-9) coupled with a good work ethic (verse 11) gives us a good testimony
before the lost people we want to reach with the gospel. Violation of God’s
standards ruins one’s testimony before the world.
Living by God’s standards for our relationships enables us to truly
love other believers and gives us a good testimony before the lost world.
Review the standards for relationships the class has discovered by leading
the class to read the completed
handout sheet aloud in unison. Stress the
fact that these are God’s standards; anyone who rejects these standards is
rejecting God, not man (verse 8).
Ask: “How do your relationships measure
up to God’s standards?” After a moment, say: “If you are involved in
a relationship that does not honor God, you are headed for trouble.”
Ask everyone to turn his or her handout sheet over to the side that says
Evaluate Your Relationships. Ask everyone to think of one
important relationship and to evaluate it by answering the questions. Tell
them this evaluation is for their eyes only. Read each question and allow
time for members to mark their papers.
Read the last paragraph on the evaluation
form, and then lead a time of prayer in which members can silently confess
sins and make commitments to God. After closing the prayer, offer to speak
privately with any who might have questions. Ask them to use the form to
evaluate other important relationships with family members, friends, and
coworkers. Encourage them to keep the form in their Bible and use it as a
guideline for future relationships.
Ask everyone to memorize 1 Thessalonians 4:3. Next week’s lesson is
about the rapture of the church. Encourage everyone to study the lesson and
come to Sunday School next Sunday.
 Bible Illustrator for Windows, Version
3.0f, Copyright © 1990-1998 by Parsons Technology, Inc.
 Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines on the New
Testament, Copyright © 1992 by SP Publications, Inc. All rights
 Bible Illustrator for Windows