Lesson: True Believers – 1 John

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Use this children’s Sunday School lesson to teach kids what it means to be a true believer in Christ.

Needed: Bibles

Intro Game: Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing 

Ask students, Have you ever heard the saying, “That person is like a wolf in sheep’s clothing”?

If a wolf put on a sheep costume, would that make him a sheep? (No. He might look like a sheep, but he would still be a wolf.)

What if the wolf said he was a sheep? Then, would he be a sheep? (No. He would be lying. He would still be a wolf even if he said he was a sheep.)

Have students sit in a circle. Choose one student to stand in the middle and close their eyes. The person in the middle spins in a circle with their eyes closed and then, points at someone in the circle, still with their eyes closed.

The person they pointed at must disguise their voice to sound like anyone else in the circle, saying, “I’m _.” If the person in the middle guesses who the person really is, they get a point. If the person in the middle guesses wrong, the person they pointed to gets a point and becomes the next person in the middle.

Play until everyone has had a chance to be in the middle.


Tell students, So, a wolf isn’t a sheep even if they dress up like a sheep, and you’re not someone else even if you try to sound like someone else.

What if someone who doesn’t believe in Jesus came into church and said that they did believe in Jesus? Would that make them a Christian? (No. They would be lying. You can only be a Christian if you really do believe in Jesus.)

(Read 1 John 1:5-2:6.)

“This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin.

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word is not in us.

“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

“We know that we have come to know Him if we keep His commands. Whoever says, “I know Him,” but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys His word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in Him: Whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did.”

Can God sin? Can God do something He knows is wrong? (Yes. God can make choices. He can decide to do the right thing, or He can decide to do the wrong thing. God can sin.)

But does God ever sin? (No. God can do wrong, but the great thing about Him is that He never does. He is completely holy and righteous.)

Do we ever sin? (Yes.)

Does God want us to sin and do wrong things? (No.)

So, if we sin, does that mean that we don’t believe in God? (No. It means we made a mistake.)

And if we sin, if we make a mistake, what should we do? (Confess our sins to God and ask for forgiveness.)

God knows we sin, and He forgives us for those sins when we ask Him to. Just because we sin doesn’t mean that we’re not Christians.

But what if I sin all the time? Can I be a Christian if I keep doing wrong things all the time? (No.)

The Bible says that when we believe in God, we have to listen to Him and do what He tells us. We have to do the right things that God wants us to do. If we keep doing the wrong things, we’re like a sheep in wolf’s clothing. We’re only pretending to be a Christian. We aren’t one really because we’re not listening to God.

If we really want to be Christians, we have to show that we believe in Jesus by doing the things God wants us to do and not doing the things that God doesn’t want us to do.

Prayer Activity: Confessing Our Sins 

Have students spread out around the room to pray quietly. Ask them to think about wrong things they’ve done that they can remember. After a minute, direct them to ask God to forgive them for those wrong things. After another minute, tell students to listen to what God wants to say back to them in their heart.

Game: Jesus Says 

Have students line up at one side of the room. The teacher gives instructions, saying “Jesus Says” as in “Simon Says.” Make the motions as you say the instruction. Every once in a while, do something and give the instruction without saying “Jesus says” first. Anyone who does something without the teacher having said, “Jesus says” is out. You can also give an instruction that doesn’t match your motion to catch kids off guard.

Students who are out wait there until the end of the round and then, join back in. The last student in the game becomes the new leader.

Remind students that if we want to be Christians, we have to do what Jesus said and live how Jesus lived.

Closing Prayer

Father God, thank You for forgiving us whenever we ask to. We pray that You’ll help us to be real Christians who listen to You and live as Jesus did. We don’t want to be fake Christians. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

You can also find this lesson for Kindle or in print in my book, Followers of the Christ.

1 thought on “Lesson: True Believers – 1 John”

  1. Good post. Except that God cannot sin. It’s not His nature. He doesn’t choose to not sin. He can’t.

    See Titus 1:2, for example. God “cannot” lie. It’s not that He chooses to not lie. It’s that He can’t. It’s against his nature to do wrong.

    I’d like to fly but it’s not in my nature. It’s not that I choose to not fly. It’s that I can’t.

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