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Sabbath School Lessons on Teachings of Jesus
About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 38 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 5: How to Be Saved *
Introduction: In our last two lessons we discussed the power of the
Holy Spirit, grace and salvation. That logically leads to our study
this week. What would you answer if someone asked: "How can I be
saved?" Many years ago, a fellow in my Sabbath School class asked me
whether he was saved. I told him I was sure that he was saved because
he knew the gospel, he understood grace. However, I as I reviewed our
conversation later, it occurred to me that with my focus on grace, I
had not suggested that he repent of his sins. He unexpectedly died a
little later. Sometimes our conversations are more important than we
realize. Let's jump into our study of the Bible to be sure we know
what to say when someone asks us, "How can I be saved?"
- Read John 16:7-8. My best friend when I was growing up no
longer seems to have any interest in me. I used to see him
regularly when our travel paths crossed. Because it had
been decades since he attended church, I would talk to him
about his salvation when I would see him. He used to say,
"I've spent years in therapy to get over guilt." I would
respond, "Guilt is good" - meaning that he should pay
attention to his conscience. My wife says that it is my
fault that we are no longer friends. What do you think, is
it the work of the Holy Spirit alone to help us recognize
our need to repent, or should we be helping?
- How are you convicted of your sin? Is it because of
the words of others, or the Holy Spirit speaking to
you? (I am mostly convicted of sin when I am studying
the Bible. But, the words of others also help me to
see things more clearly. I believe the Holy Spirit
speaks through the Bible and others. However, I know
that no one likes to be criticized. My friend and I
used to be very open and frank with each other, but I
think my wife is right that I pressed too hard.)
- If you are worried about the salvation of friends,
co-workers, family or neighbors, what should you do?
(The most fundamental rule of Christianity is love
( Matthew 22:37-40). I think that we need to love
those who are not serious about God, and pray that
the Holy Spirit will convict them of their need for
- Read 1 John 1:8. What is the problem with this person?
(This person is self-deceived.)
- Is this common? (Read Romans 3:10-12 and Jeremiah
17:9. We all want to deceive ourselves about our sin
problem, including you and me.)
- What does this problem suggest about us and
recognizing our need to repent? (We need to give our
own hearts a good, long look. Let's look more closely
at this in the next section.)
- Read 1 John 1:9-10. What is necessary for the forgiveness
of sin? (To recognize it, contrary to our natural
inclination, and confess it.)
- Read Acts 2:37-38. What does Peter tell us to do when we
are convicted of sin? (To repent and be baptized.)
- Notice something very odd. Peter says you will
receive the Holy Spirit after you repent. How do you
explain that? We previously learned that the Holy
Spirit brings repentance. (We know from the Pentecost
story that the Holy Spirit was already present in
power. It was the Holy Spirit working with Peter and
the others who convicted the listeners of their sins.
Peter is telling them that in the future they can
have the Holy Spirit as an active agent in leading
their life and living in them.)
- Read Psalms 51:3-4. To whom should we confess our sins?
(King David says that we only sin against God. Thus, the
confession is to God.)
- Read Leviticus 6:1-5. Notice that this repeats the idea
that sin is being unfaithful to God. But, what does it
suggest we should also do? (It says that we need to make
restitution. There is a personal aspect to sin that
requires us to try to make things right, to the extent
- Read James 5:16. What does this mean? The texts we read in
Psalms and Leviticus say that we sin only against God,
does James disagree with this? (This seems to be more like
a Christian "support group" situation in which we confess
our failures and pray for each other.)
- After reading these texts about repentance, why do you
think God tells us to repent? Why is repentance directed
to God? Is there a practical reason for this?
- Read John 3:19-20. What reason does this text suggest that
we would not want to confess our sin to God? (Because we
love the sin. If we confess the sin, we are saying that we
should turn away from it. Confession of sin to God is an
admission that we have a problem - and that is the first
step to turning away from sin.)
- Read Mark 16:15-16. How important is belief? (It makes the
difference between life and death.)
- What, exactly, is it that we need to believe to be saved?
(Read Romans 10:9-10. We need to believe that Jesus is our
Lord, that He died for our sins, and that He was raised to
eternal life. We need to believe that He did that for us,
and that if we accept what He has done for us, we have
died and will be raised in Him to live eternally.)
- If Jesus is our substitute, if belief in Him gives us
salvation, why do we need to repent and confess our sins?
(I've not completely worked this out in my mind, and my
thoughts at this point are tentative, but I think that it
has a great deal to do with our decision to turn away from
sin and turn to God. This is not so much about single sins
as it is about areas of sin in our life. We give God all
of our life.)
- Salvation Illustration
- Read Matthew 22:2-3. Often we learn something more easily
when it is illustrated with a story. What is this story
about? (It is an illustration of the Kingdom of Heaven.)
- Read Matthew 22:4-6. Why did the invited guests not come
to this wedding? (They were either indifferent or
- Does that describe the world today?
- Read Matthew 22:8-10. What kind of people ended up coming?
(Both good and bad.)
- What was most important to these people coming to the
wedding -- which we learned represents the Kingdom of
Heaven? (That they came. They were not indifferent,
they were not hostile, they made the decision to
- Is that what is really meant by repenting of
sin? That we decide to come to God?
- Did these street people have help in coming?
(Notice that they were "gathered." God
encourages us to be saved.)
- Read Matthew 22:11. Where do you think the guests got
their wedding clothes? (They had been in the streets, they
must have received them from the King when they came to
- Read Matthew 22:12. Why was the man "speechless?" (He had
no excuse. This is further proof that the wedding garment
was a gift - all he had to do was accept it!)
- Read Matthew 22:13-14. After considering this story, what
do you think God means when He says, "few are chosen?"
(God cannot mean few are invited. He cannot mean that
merit is the basis for being chosen because both good and
bad came. What God must mean is that few chose the free
gift of the wedding garment. Few accept the free gift of
- Why do you think that is? (People love sin more than
they love God.)
- Read John 8:31-32. What happens after we receive the free
gift of salvation? (We hold to the teachings of Jesus.)
- Why? By obedience do we merit salvation? (No. Our
robe of righteousness is a free gift. In obedience we
experience the freedom of a life well lived. We
experience the freedom of being released from the
slavery of sin. We experience the freedom of walking
with God! All of this reflects our decision to love
God rather than sin.S)
- Friend, what will you say when someone asks you how to be
saved? How about this: Repent of your sins, accept the
life, death and resurrection of Jesus through baptism,
accept righteousness as a free gift of God, and then
experience the freedom of living a life in accord with
God's will. If you have not accepted salvation, why not
accept right now?
- Next week: Growing in Christ.
* Copr. 2014, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.