Adult Sunday School Lesson Plan


Lesson Date: January 4, 2015

Focal Scripture Passage: 2 Corinthians 4:1-18

AIM: To lead students to identify the hidden treasure Christians possess, and to commit themselves to trying to share their treasure with those who don’t have it.


Before class: Read the notes on 2 Corinthians 4 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.  Locate some pictures of animals or humans that are camouflaged in such a way that it is very hard to see them.  Write the words “Hidden Treasure” on the marker board or chalkboard.


INTRODUCTION (Create Learning Readiness): Read the words written on the board.  Ask the class what those words bring to mind.  They might think of pirates searching for buried treasure, prospectors digging for gold, or sometime they had to follow cryptic clues to find the prize in a scavenger hunt.

Tell the class that things don’t have to be buried in a cave or in the ground to be hidden.  Show the pictures of camouflaged animals or humans to the class.  Ask the class to locate each hidden person or animal and ask them what makes that animal or person hard to see.  Some things can be hidden in plain sight by blending into their background.

Note that some things are not seen simply because people don’t recognize them for what they are.  That is why priceless paintings have been found in attics and valuable coins have turned up in someone’s pocket.  Those items are valuable but people are almost blind to them because they can appear to be so common.

Tell the class that in today’s lesson they will learn about the treasure that is hidden within every Christian and why it is hard for some people to see.



1.     Review.

a.     Remind the class that we are in a three-month study of the book of 2 Corinthians.

b.     Using the lesson titles from the Sunday School Member Quarterly, briefly remind the class what they have learned in chapters 1 through 3.

2.     Mercy and Ministry.

a.     Ask a volunteer to read 2 Corinthians 4:1.

b.     Ask: “What is the first word of that verse?” (“Therefore”).

c.     Tell the class the word “Therefore” ties this verse back to 2 Corinthians 3:14-18, in which Paul rejoiced that the veil of limited understanding had been removed and the Lord Jesus Christ had changed him.

d.     This is the mercy he spoke of in verse 1 – Christ mercifully removed the veil and gave Paul a ministry.

e.     Ask the same volunteer to read 2 Corinthians 4:2.

f.      Ask: “According to verse 2, what did Paul renounce when he got saved?” (dishonesty, craftiness, and using the Word of God deceitfully).

g.     These were likely things Paul practiced before he came to Christ.

h.     Ask: “What was evident about Paul after he was saved?” (honesty and a clear conscience).

i.      Summarize: Through God’s mercy He lifted the veil so Paul could receive Jesus Christ as his Savior.  Salvation caused a change in Paul’s life: he turned away from dishonesty and craftiness, turning instead to truth and honesty.

3.     Hidden or Revealed?

a.     Tell the class the false teachers causing trouble in Corinth accused Paul of secrecy and deceit. 

b.     Read 2 Corinthians 4:3-4

c.     Ask: “From whom is the gospel hidden?” (lost people).

d.     Ask: “Why can’t they comprehend and believe the gospel?” (Satan has blinded their minds).

e.     Ask a volunteer to read 2 Corinthians 4:5-6.

f.      Ask: “Did Paul preach about himself?” (no).

g.     Ask: “What was the subject of his preaching?” (Christ Jesus the Lord).

h.     Ask: “Why did Paul accept the gospel of Jesus Christ?” (because God shined the light of revelation and belief in his heart).

i.      Ask: “According to verse 6, where did Paul discover the glory of God?” (in the face of Jesus).

j.      Explain to the class that lost people are blind to the truth of the gospel.  Ask the class if they have ever shared the gospel with someone but that person simply could not believe it.  That’s because Satan blinds them so they won’t get saved.

k.     The only way anyone comes to Christ is for the Lord to “turn the light on” in his or her heart (Eph. 2:8-9). 

l.      Use the following examples to illustrate this truth:

·       If you go in a pitch dark room you have no idea what is there.  If you turn on the light you can see everything clearly.

·       From ancient times to the present day, darkness is a valuable tool in warfare.  When it is daytime or night vision equipment is used the enemy can be clearly seen.

m.   Summarize: The gospel is hidden from lost people because Satan blinds their minds.  When we pray for our lost friends we need to ask God to shine the light of the gospel into their darkened hearts so they can be saved.

4.     Treasure in Clay Pots.

a.     Ask a volunteer to read 2 Corinthians 4:7.

b.     Explain that the words “earthen vessels” refers to clay pots. 

·       Tell the class that in our day of paper and plastic containers, we think of pottery as being pretty special. 

·       That was not the case in ancient times.  Clay pots were used for common ordinary tasks because they were cheap and easily made. 

·       When archaeologists excavate a site they find literally thousands of pieces of broken clay pots. 

·       Ancient people would never put their valuables in clay pots.

c.     Ask: “What is the treasure referred to in verse 7?” (new life in Christ, as described in the preceding verses).

d.     Ask: “Where does God put this treasure?” (in the earthen vessels of our frail mortal bodies). 

e.     To illustrate this ask them to think of the most valuable thing they own.  That might be a piece of jewelry, money in the bank, or a sentimental heirloom. 

f.      Ask: “Where do you keep that valuable item?  Would you keep it in a paper bag in the front yard?”

g.     Ask: “According to this verse, why does God put such a priceless treasure in such a fragile vessel?” (so that any praise for anything good goes to Him and not us – we can’t proudly claim credit for being Christians).

h.     Share these two illustrations of this truth:

·       When a violinist plays a beautiful song we do not praise the instrument, we praise the player.

·       When we see a beautiful painting we do not praise the brush, we praise the artist.

·       We are like that brush or that violin – instruments in God’s hand.

i.      Summarize: God puts the treasure of the gospel and His indwelling Holy Spirit in weak, fragile human flesh.  This insures that the praise goes to Him and not to us.

5.     Seeing the World from a Christian Perspective.

a.     Read 2 Corinthians 4:8-18.

b.     Tell the class having the treasure of the gospel in his heart enabled Paul to endure suffering and hardship.

c.     Ask: “How did Paul view his suffering and affliction?” (as small and temporary when compared to the eternal rewards awaiting him).

d.     Ask: “What did he say in verse 18 about the things that are seen with physical eyes?” (they are temporary and short-lived).

e.     Ask: “What about the things we cannot see with mortal eyes?” (they are eternal).

f.      This is another reason lost people cannot comprehend the gospel – their mortal eyes can only see the temporary things of this world.  God enables saved people to see the eternal things, as well.

g.     Summarize: Having Christ in our heart enables us to see the world from a Christian perspective.  This helps us keep our sufferings in perspective and comprehend spiritual truths that lost people cannot.


PERSONAL APPLICATION: Tell the class we live in a day when the gospel is more widely broadcast and freely available than any time in human history.  Christian churches, Christian radio, Christian television, and Christian Internet sites are more numerous than we could count.  Ask: “Why, then, doesn’t everyone come to Christ?” (the eyes of most of them are blinded by Satan).

Direct the class’ attention to the words written on the board.  Tell the class that Christians possess hidden treasure.  That treasure is the saving gospel of Jesus Christ.  Explain that our treasure is not hidden in a cave or buried in the ground; in fact, it is hidden in plain sight.  Every Christian possesses that treasure, but spiritually blind lost people cannot see it.  To illustrate this fact, hold up the camouflage pictures again.  Now that we know where the “hidden” animal or person is, it is easy to spot them.  Our eyes have been opened to where they are, but someone else might be blinded to their location.

Tell the class we cannot make light shine into a darkened lost heart – only God can do that.  We must busy ourselves sharing our treasure – the Good News of Jesus – with everyone we can, praying that God will send the light of understanding, repentance, and faith to their hearts.  Encourage everyone to make a personal commitment to sharing their treasure with others in this new year.  Lead a closing prayer of commitment.


CONCLUSION: Remind everyone to follow through on the commitment they have made.  One good way to do this is to participate in weekly visitation with their class members.  Ask them to memorize 2 Corinthians 4:6.  Remind them to do the Daily Bible Readings every day.



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