This lesson can help students understand what the Lord will do for us because He knows us and loves us. Additionally, it can help students know what they need to do to gain eternal life.
Note: For more information regarding the Lord’s instructions to the seven Church congregations, you may want to refer to New Testament Student Manual (Church Educational System manual, 2014), 531–32.
Invite a student to read aloud the following account by Sister Sydney S. Reynolds, a former member of the Primary general presidency. Ask the class to listen for what they can learn about the Lord from this account.
“Sister Gayle Clegg of the Primary general presidency and her husband lived for a number of years in Brazil. Recently she had a Primary assignment in Japan. As she came into the chapel on Sunday, she noticed among the Japanese Saints a Brazilian family. … She only had a minute to greet them and found the mother and children very enthusiastic but noticed that the father was rather quiet. ‘I’ll have a chance to talk with them after the meeting,’ she thought as she was quickly ushered to the stand. She delivered her message in English, which was translated into Japanese, and then she felt impressed to bear her testimony in Portuguese as well. She hesitated as there were no translators for Portuguese, and 98 percent of the people would not understand what she said.
“After the meeting the Brazilian father came up to her and said, ‘Sister, the customs are so different here, and I have been lonely. It is difficult to come to church and not understand anything. Sometimes I wonder if I would be better off just reading my scriptures at home. I told my wife, “I’ll give it one more chance,” and I came today for what I thought would be the last time. When you bore your testimony in Portuguese, the Spirit touched my heart, and I knew that this was where I belonged. God knows I am here, and He will help me’” (“He Knows Us; He Loves Us,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2003, 76).
What can we learn about the Lord from this experience?
Write the following incomplete phrase on the board: Because the Lord knows each of us … Invite students to look for truths as they study Revelation 2–3 that help them understand what the Lord can do for them because He knows them.
Explain that Revelation 2–3 contains the Apostle John’s record of Jesus Christ’s words to seven Church congregations in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey).
Invite a student to read Revelation 2:1–3, 6 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord knew about the Saints in Ephesus.
What did the Lord know about the Saints in Ephesus? (Explain that the word Nicolaitans in verse 6 could refer to a group whose members claimed they could commit sexual sins without punishment because the grace of God would save them [see Bible Dictionary, “Nicolaitans”].)
Point out that these verses record that the Lord commended, or praised, the Saints for their good works. Add to the statement on the board so that it reads as follows: Because the Lord knows each of us, He can give us personal commendation …
Invite a student to read Revelation 2:4–5 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what else the Lord knew about the Saints in Ephesus.
What else did the Lord know about the Saints in Ephesus?
Point out that the Lord was giving the Saints correction because of their sins. Complete the statement on the board so that it conveys the following truth: Because the Lord knows each of us, He can give us personal commendation and correction.
What are some ways we can receive personal commendation and correction from the Lord? (Through our personal prayers, scripture study, counsel from Church leaders and parents, and patriarchal blessings.)
How can knowing that the Lord can give us personal commendation and correction influence the way we approach our personal scripture study and prayer? How can it influence the way we respond to the counsel of our Church leaders and parents?
Why should we make an effort to seek out personal commendation and correction from the Lord?
When have you experienced the Lord giving you personal commendation or correction? How did this experience help you know that the Lord knows you individually? (Caution students to not share experiences that are sacred or too private. You might also share an experience.)
Invite students to ponder what actions they think the Lord might commend them for as well as what thoughts or behaviors the Lord might correct them for. Encourage students to set a goal to repent when the Lord corrects them.
Invite a student to read Revelation 2:7 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Lord promised those who overcome, or who endure faithfully to the end.
What did the Lord promise those who overcome, or who endure to the end in righteousness?
What do you think it means to “eat of the tree of life”? (verse 7).
How might hearing this promised blessing after receiving personal correction have been helpful to the Saints in Ephesus?
Remind students that in addition to addressing the Church congregation in Ephesus, the Lord addressed other Church congregations in Asia Minor.
Divide the class into five groups, and assign each group one of the following references:
Invite students to read their assigned verses as a group, looking for what the Lord counseled the Saints to do and the blessings He promised they would receive if they did so. Explain that Elder Bruce R. McConkie of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught that “the hidden manna” in Revelation 2:17 is “the bread of life, the good word of God, the doctrines of Him who is the Bread of Life—all of which is hidden from the carnal [or worldly] mind. Those who eat thereof shall never hunger more; eternal life is their eventual inheritance” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1965–73], 3:451).
After sufficient time, invite a member of each group to report what his or her group found. Invite a student to write on the board (beneath the promised blessing from Revelation 2:7) the promised blessing that each group identified (see Revelation 2:11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12). After the list is complete, point out that each of these promises refers to receiving the blessings of exaltation, which are conditioned upon our enduring faithfully to the end.
What principle can we identify from these verses about what we must do to receive the blessings of exaltation? (Help students identify a principle similar to the following: If we overcome, then we can receive the blessings of exaltation.)
Explain that those who receive the blessings of exaltation are those who, through the grace of God, overcome all obstacles that could prevent them from returning to Him. These include worldliness, trials, sin, and death.
Ask students to consider what they need to overcome in their lives. Invite them to pray and ask Heavenly Father for help to overcome obstacles that could prevent them from returning to Him. Testify of Heavenly Father’s power to help them overcome any obstacle.
Ask students whether they have ever wondered about the Final Judgment and events that occurred in the premortal life. What did the Apostle John write about the War in Heaven? How many were cast out with Satan? What will the Final Judgment be like? What will we be judged by when we stand before God? How did John describe celestial splendor? Explain that as they study Revelation 12–22 during the coming week, they will learn the answers to these questions.