January 4, 2015
Focal Scripture Passage:
2 Corinthians 4:1-18
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
Read the notes on 2 Corinthians 4 found in the Sunday School Teacher Book.
Locate some pictures of
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.
(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
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
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.
HEART OF THE LESSON
Remind the class that we are in a three-month study of the book of 2
Using the lesson titles from the Sunday School Member Quarterly,
briefly remind the class what they have learned in chapters 1 through 3.
Mercy and Ministry.
Ask a volunteer to read 2 Corinthians 4:1.
Ask: “What is the first word of that verse?” (“Therefore”).
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.
This is the mercy he spoke of in verse 1 – Christ mercifully
removed the veil and gave Paul a ministry.
Ask the same volunteer to read 2 Corinthians 4:2.
Ask: “According to verse 2, what did Paul renounce when he got
saved?” (dishonesty, craftiness, and using the Word of God deceitfully).
These were likely things Paul practiced before he came to Christ.
Ask: “What was evident about Paul after he was saved?”
(honesty and a clear conscience).
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.
Hidden or Revealed?
Tell the class the false teachers causing trouble in Corinth accused
Paul of secrecy and deceit.
Read 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.
Ask: “From whom is the gospel hidden?” (lost people).
Ask: “Why can’t they comprehend and believe the gospel?”
(Satan has blinded their minds).
Ask a volunteer to read 2 Corinthians 4:5-6.
Ask: “Did Paul preach about himself?” (no).
Ask: “What was the subject of his preaching?” (Christ Jesus
Ask: “Why did Paul accept the gospel of Jesus Christ?”
(because God shined the light of revelation and belief in his heart).
Ask: “According to verse 6, where did Paul discover the glory of
God?” (in the face of Jesus).
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.
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).
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
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.
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.
Treasure in Clay Pots.
Ask a volunteer to read 2 Corinthians 4:7.
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
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.
Ask: “What is the treasure referred to in verse 7?” (new life
in Christ, as described in the preceding verses).
Ask: “Where does God put this treasure?” (in the earthen
vessels of our frail mortal bodies).
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
Ask: “Where do you keep that valuable item? Would you keep it in
a paper bag in the front yard?”
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
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.
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
Seeing the World from a
Read 2 Corinthians 4:8-18.
Tell the class having the treasure of the gospel in his heart enabled
Paul to endure suffering and hardship.
Ask: “How did Paul view his suffering and affliction?” (as
small and temporary when compared to the eternal rewards awaiting him).
Ask: “What did he say in verse 18 about the things that are seen
with physical eyes?” (they are temporary and short-lived).
Ask: “What about the things we cannot see with mortal eyes?”
(they are eternal).
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.
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.
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
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
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.