Introduction: Our last series of lessons taught us why we can be
assured of our salvation. This quarter we uncover why we can be
certain about the Second Coming of Jesus. Since some Christians do
not believe in a Second Coming, let’s jump right into our first study
in this new series!
- FELLOWSHIP WITH GOD
- Read Genesis 1:26-28. What do you think motivated God to
- Do you find any clue in the fact that He made us in
- Do you find any clue in the fact that He made us
rulers over the creation?
- What do you think His goal was for us?
- Read Genesis 3:8-10. Do you think God regularly walked in
the Garden of Eden?
- If so, why? (We normally choose friends who are “like
us.” These texts point to a God who wanted to have a
friendship, a relationship with man. He made man like
Him in many ways. He gave man free choice. He came
down to visit with man as the greater Ruler to a
- Read Jeremiah 3:18-20. What kind of relationship did God
seek with His people in these verses? (He wants us to be
family. This is just one text of many in the Bible where God
uses the illustration of a family. He variously calls us His
bride and His sons and daughters.)
- God’s original purpose in creating was to make friends and
- FELLOWSHIP BROKEN
- Let’s read on in Genesis 3. Read Genesis 3:11-15, 22-23. Why
did God drive Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden?
- Now that man had knowledge about sin, didn’t that make
them “more complete” companions?
- What was the “big problem” anyway? (It was a test
of loyalty, a test of selfishness. They chose to
disobey God in a way that preferred man over God
(see Genesis 3:5-6).)
- Have you ever had a friend or family member who
consistently preferred himself (herself) over
others? Tell me about the future of those kinds
- Consider Jesus’ life and death. To what extent
did He prefer others over Himself?
- Is selfishness the central test of fellowship
- FELLOWSHIP RESTORED
- Read John 17:3. Why is knowing God eternal life? How does
that work? (If selfishness is such a grave problem, then the
best antidote is to understand that our God was willing to
engage in the ultimate act of unselfishness – to die a
painful death for us.)
- What is the best way to “know” God?
- How do you get to know friends or family better?
- Read Romans 13:8-11. How is love the fulfillment of the
commands not to covet, commit adultery, murder or theft?
(Coveting is wanting something someone else has, and
adultery, murder and theft are taking something someone else
- Compare love with selfishness? (It is the opposite.)
- Can you see why selfishness was the “test” at the
- Notice v. 10 says “love does no harm.” It that a
complete definition of love?
- Read 1 John 4:8-11. Why is love, a lack of selfishness, the
key to restoring fellowship with God? (Because God is like
- Read 1 John 4:16-17. When John says “love is made complete
among us,” what does he mean? (God loves us. If we love our
fellow man, that completes the circle of love.)
- Does love give us an assurance of the Second Coming?
If so, how? (This text tells us we can have confidence
“on the day of judgment.” This confidence stems from
love. The very fact of a day of judgment suggests a
“love reward” for those who pass judgment. What more
appropriate reward than to get back to God’s original
- Read 1 John 4:20-21. Does this make sense to you? Do you
know people who you could love a lot more if you had never
- Be honest with me. Do you find it easy to love others?
- If you do not find it easy to love others, does that
mean you should be worried about the judgment and the
- Read Romans 5:8-9. Who loved first? (Jesus.)
- Does that mean we need not have a minimum “love level”
to be saved? ( 2 Corinthians 9:10, 15 tells us Christ’s
righteousness is a “gift” and He will “enlarge the
harvest of your righteousness.” Righteousness sounds
like farming crops. It grows with time. God gives us
love, we respond with a growing love.)
- Read Ephesians 2:8-10. If you find it hard to love all
others, when does the love for our fellow man come? (This
text reinforces the idea that salvation is a gift, but that
we are created to do good works in response.)
- The fellowship that was broken through selfishness, is
“fixed” by God’s act of unselfishness. What is our
obligation to “fix” selfishness around us by unselfish acts?
- Have you ever seen that happen? Seen someone “fix” an
unhappy situation by unselfish love?
- The “Life-Application Approach” section of the “teacher’s
helps” of our lesson has a very interesting series of three
questions you should consider:
- Can one believe without doing?
- Can one do without believing?
- Can one believe and do without loving?
- OBEDIENCE AND FELLOWSHIP
- We discussed earlier how love for our fellow man will cause
us to keep the commandments which require us to respect the
rights of others. How about those commandments that direct
our relationship with God — does love also cause us to keep
them too? (Read John 14:15. We saw that sin was selfishness
and love was giving up ourselves for others. Surely that
concept embraces giving up ourselves for God. This is the
“Eden test” that comes to us every day. Will we obey God or
will we obey the call to self-centeredness.)
- This week I read a letter by a fellow that I have admired
for his writing and his spiritual leadership. He was
discussing one of the Ten Commandments, the fourth, and he
said that he no longer considered it to be binding. My
reaction was “Why shouldn’t I obey what God says? Can you
think of a reason? (We have to make practical decisions on
how we live. If God tells me to do something, what reason do
I have to do what I prefer over what God prefers? The reason
would be selfishness – the opposite of love.)
- Friend, God created us to have fellowship with Him. We
broke the relationship, by being selfish, and He re-established the relationship by absolute unselfishness. God
obviously wants to fellowship with us in the future as He
did in Eden. Will you agree? Will you respond to God with
- Next week: The Authority of the Bible and the Second Coming.