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Lesson 1 - New Life in Christ

What does my New Life in Christ Look Like?

Goal

The goal of this lesson is to have the student understand more clearly the decision they made to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Preparation

There are many terms or phrases that we could use to talk about our new life in Christ. You might have noticed that we are consistently using the phrase “relationship with God”. It is very important that you choose a similar term or phrase in your language to describe this and use it consistently. Always using this one term or phrase will help bring clarity and consistency as you discuss this lesson.

Also, make sure you read John 3 ahead of time and review all the essential parts of the gospel message in this lesson. You will need to explain each part and how it fits into the whole. You can also use the “bridge” illustration to help you in reviewing the gospel. This can be found in Appendix A of this leader’s guide.

Speak

Through the introductory questions, we really want students to begin talking about the decision they have made to have a relationship with God. We want them to articulate specifically that this has been a significant step in their life and to identify any internal or external life changes since they started this relationship. So, your role will be to help them identify these changes that have taken place – no matter how small they might be. Some possible responses might be: a desire to read the Bible, feelings of happiness or hope, a new attitude toward parents or authority, a more gentle spirit, a desire for purity, etc.

There are usually spaces in each lesson to write answers to these starter questions. It might help the discussion for each person to WRITE their answers first, then enter into the discussion. So give them a few minutes to answer each question on their own before starting the discussion.

Passage

John 3:1-21 – This is the classic account of Jesus’ encounter with Nicodemus. Nicodemus represented the best in Israel as a teacher, a member of the religious leadership, and a member of the political leadership for the Jewish community under the Romans. In this passage a lot is said about being “born again” or being born from above – Jesus is talking about spiritual transformation and what it takes to be transformed. Take the time to look at how Jesus explains this and what it means. Don’t worry about the additional details in this passage; just focus on the spiritual transformation theme for now.

Study – Key Questions to Answer

In the area of salvation it is important for your group members to know the various aspects of what took place. There are also a number of important issues to focus on when we think about this topic. Here are some of the primary ones:

  1. Sin separates the unbeliever from a relationship with God. It is important to note that in Christ, our sins no longer separate us from God. Our sin can cause US to move away from God and his will, but from his perspective, our sins are always forgiven. This does not mean sin is not bad. It is extremely bad and in fact deadly to our ability to walk like Christ, but ultimately it cannot separate us from God. So, this truth underscores the priceless work of Christ to bring us to an all new and different position with God “in Christ”. In light of this, our response to sin should be extremely serious on the one hand, as we struggle to walk more like Christ, and also extremely worshipful on the other hand, as we rest in our unshakable position as “clean” before God. (question 2 from the lesson).
  2. Faith – Our salvation is activated only by our belief (or faith) in what Christ did for us. Jesus Christ died in our place (as our substitute) and took the punishment that we deserved for our sin. (question 3 from the lesson)
  3. Result of Christ’s Death – Our decision to follow Christ is a one-time choice that changes our relationship with God and our eternal destination permanently. There are several other key things that can be emphasized about what Christ’s death did – we can talk about the themes of reconciliation, about redemption or about adoption. You could choose one of these to emphasize here. (question 4 from the lesson).

It is likely that, because we are teaching about this decision about salvation as permanent and final, questions will arise about losing one’s salvation. The Bible teaches that if we have simply believed in the work of Christ, our salvation is sure (John 10:9, Acts 2:21, Acts 16:31). To make our salvation more complicated than that is to understate the power of the death of Jesus Christ and diminish our true position “in Christ”.

It could be helpful here to draw the bridge illustration (Appendix A) to visualize all these ideas.

Skills

The three questions at the beginning of this skills section are very important. They are designed to help the new believer anticipate some possible obstacles concerning their new position in Christ.

The underlying important truth here is that our salvation is by faith alone. If we have believed in the work of Jesus, we don’t have to wonder about or doubt our salvation. We can be sure of it, based on our simple act of faith. So, when we face opposition from others, Satan, or even our own minds, we must keep returning to that truth. My salvation is only based on my act of faith. It is not my actions, my feelings, or any other evidence. These things can help to encourage and affirm our salvation, but they are not the foundation of our assurance and confidence.

The skills summary applications in this lesson focus on two things. First, they encourage the new believer to tell someone about their decision to follow Christ. This will help solidify the decision as well as make them think about how to express their experience in words. Second, they encourage the new believer to somehow commemorate the occasion of their salvation. The idea is to do something that will stand for years to come as a reminder of this life changing decision. We’ve made some suggestions in the lesson, but your group can probably come up with some better and more original ones. Help them customize it and make it personal.

Story

There are two videos for this lesson. One is of Jitka from the Czech Republic. She became a Christian after an English camp. She has a great testimony of growing up in a normal family but being drawn to Christians through the relationships she found at camp. The second video is about Tomáš, who is also from the Czech Republic. He speaks about being a high achiever and trying to find fulfillment through being the best. He also talks about the joy and happiness that he has found since becoming a Christian. Watch both videos beforehand and think of some key questions that could help could help the group remember this lesson.

Summary Verse

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

Habits

Through the Week Study: The texts and responses to these daily readings can be very helpful. The questions can also be excellent for discussion the following week. For this week, note especially the response questions from day 4 and day 7.

Jitka | Czech Republic

Jitka lives in Český Těšín and works for KAM helping with summer English camps.

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Tomáš | Czech Republic

Tomáš is from Český Těšín, but goes to school and filmed his interview in Slovakia.

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