Introduction: What is life like under the New Covenant? Is it good
now? If you say, “yes,” then why did God promise us heaven in the
future? Consider another angle to this. What was life like for early
“new covenant” men like Peter and Paul? How did their life compare to
“old covenant” men like Abraham and Isaac? Is there something that
is not obvious that makes “new covenant” life better? Let’s jump into
our lesson and see what the Bible has to teach us!
- Joy Reason One: Jesus.
- Read 1 John 1:1-2. John gives us several clues about who
he is describing. What are the clues in these verses?
- Who do you think John is describing? (Jesus.)
- Why is “Word of Life” a good name for Jesus? (Jesus
is the message from God about the opportunity for
- Read 1 John 1:3-4. What is the first reason John gives for
telling us about his experiences with Jesus? (So that we
may join the group of Jesus’ followers.)
- What is the second reason John gives for telling us
about Jesus? (It gives joy. It is not clear whether
the original Greek said “our joy” or “your joy.”)
- Why would telling others about the “Word of
Life” create joy?
- Would that joy be greater under the old or new
covenant? (I think it is easier to have joy now
because what was promised has happened. A person
of very strong faith could have had as much joy
under the old covenant because they believed
what would happen. Since the promised substitute
for our sin has come, and lived and died on our
behalf, we can see the promise has been
- Read 1 John 1:5-7. What is critical to having this joy of
the new covenant? (Walking in the light. Living a life of
fellowship with Jesus. For those walking in the light, the
sacrifice of Jesus on the cross purifies us from all sin.)
- Joy Reason Two: No Guilt
- Read Romans 8:1-4. Have you ever dreamed that you
committed some serious crime? Do you ever worry that some
day you might accidentally commit a crime?
- Have you committed a crime or made some serious moral
error in your life? (No need to answer out loud.)
- What was the worst part (for you) of making a serious
error, committing a crime or just dreaming that you
did? (The consequences. One of those consequences is
the feeling of guilt and condemnation.)
- What does Paul say that the new covenant life gives
us? (It sets us free from guilt and condemnation.)
- Why? (Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, if we are
“in Christ Jesus,” frees us from the
condemnation of the law.)
- What obligation do we have in the future about right
living? What does it mean to be “in Christ Jesus?”
(These verses in Romans tell us that Jesus has set us
free from the condemnation of the law (which we could
not keep), but we now are expected to (v. 4)live a
- Read Romans 8:5-6. What does it mean to live a
- Joy Reason Three: New Attitude
- Discussing a Spirit-filled life leads us to the next
reason for joy. Read Ephesians 3:17b-19. What do you think
it means to be “rooted and established in love?”
- Our lesson (Tuesday) suggests that this refers to our
love for God and our love for our fellow men. I’m not
so sure. I think it refers to God’s love for us –
that we are firmly grounded in the belief that God
loves us. Do you understand this text to refer to our
love or God’s love?
- To whose love does verse 18 refer? (God’s love.)
- Verse 19 tells us that we should “know this love
which surpasses knowledge.” Isn’t that a
contradiction in terms?
- How can we know something that is unknowable?
- What do you think this phrase means? (It means
that we can know God’s love, but we do not know
enough to be able to understand His love. God’s
love is beyond our human experience.)
- How does being “rooted and established” in God’s love
affect our attitude towards others?
- How does it affect our enjoyment of life?
- Joy Reason Four: Life Forever
- Read John 11:21-22. You remember this story? Jesus’
friends, Mary and Martha, had sent for Him to come because
their brother Lazarus was very ill and they needed Jesus’
help. Jesus delayed coming until after Lazarus got worse
and died. Tell me what thoughts in Martha’s mind are
reflected in these two verses?
- Read John 11:23-24. Was Martha’s understanding of the
resurrection the same as yours?
- Was that a source of joy for her? Or, was the “joy”
of that knowledge eclipsed by the death of her
- Read John 11:25-26. What is Jesus promising you?
- How often do you think about retirement?
- When you think about “retirement,” are you
thinking about the few years when you are old,
or life eternal?
- Our lesson (Wednesday) says “Of course, we all
die.” If that is true, what is Jesus talking
about when He says “whoever lives and believes
in me will never die?” (Christians live with the
expectation that the “last day” will come during
their lifetime. Jesus’ message for us is that
whether we live to see the last day, or whether
we die before that day, we will live forever if
we believe in Him. Some Christians who are alive
at the Second Coming will never die.)
- Joy Reason Five: Changing Lives
- Read Matthew 28:18-20. What two assignments does Jesus
give us? (To baptize and teach.)
- How do these assignments affect your life?
- Are they a source of joy?
- Our lesson (Thursday)says, “Most anything else we do in
this world will end when this world does. But spreading
the gospel to others is a work that will make an imprint
on eternity.” When I read those words it hit me that some
of my work is much less important than other aspects of my
work. Friend, how about you? What portion of your work
will make an imprint on eternity?
- Is the effort you put forth on certain portions of
your work in line with the extent of its eternal
- Next Week: We start a new quarter of lessons on forgiveness.
Our first lesson is entitled “God and Forgiveness.”