Use one or both of these questions to introduce the lesson:
1. What makes you the real you? Give at least three responses to that question. Which of your responses defines yourself by your relationship with someone else?
2. When would you prefer to remain neutral rather than take a side? In what situations have you found it impossible not to take a side?
Read 1 John 3:4, 8, 12.
1. Consider the popular saying, “Rules are made to be broken.” What would prompt someone to say something like that? Do you see a difference between breaking a rule or law and being totally lawless? Explain.
2. If people live as though rules don’t apply to them, whose side does John say they have taken? With verse 12 in mind, decide whether those who continue to live a lawless life do so because they do not believe they are doing wrong. What is their motivation then?
Read 1 John 3:5-7, 9-11.
3. Read Galatians 5:25. What does it mean to keep in step with the Spirit? Does a soldier marching in formation ever make a misstep? Does an occasional misstep mean that he has joined the enemy’s ranks? Use that imagery to explain 1 John 3:5-7.
4. When we are asked about a particular passion or skill we possess, we might say, “It’s in my blood” or “It’s in my DNA.” What do we mean by that? What is “in our blood/DNA” when we are born of God?
Read 1 John 3:13-16.
5. How are armies identified on the battlefield? Without seeing him, how would a soldier expect someone shooting at him to be dressed? What characteristics make up the figurative uniforms of the children of God and the children of the devil?
6. Infamous 1960s radical Jerry Rubin argued that because people use the word love to mean so many different things, the word has lost any real meaning. Give a clear definition of love using Romans 5:8; 1 John 3:16; 4:9-12. How can the church today demonstrate a clear definition of love?
7. John explained the theme of his letter in a single verse (1 John 5:13). Our Bible lesson explained how we have a visible uniform, showing we are on God’s side. What parts of your godly uniform of righteousness and love has gotten a bit tattered? What do you plan to do to repair it?