Sabbath School Lesson for September 19-25, 2020
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The reasons and rewards of taking a step in faith to share Jesus were explored this week. We must take into consideration…
- the ultimate sacrifice it was for Jesus to come to earth as a man (Sunday)
- the level of commitment required by the disciples to follow Jesus (Monday)
- the enthusiastic passion of Paul and the apostles, as they built the New Testament church (Tuesday)
- the demands of love placed on both Peter and believers now as we near the Second Coming of Jesus (Wednesday)
- the reality and results of our wholehearted devotion to serving God–it’s worth the price! (Thursday)
We, God’s people, have a huge task ahead of us, as we move into the closing days of earth’s history and the beginning of a new life in God’s heavenly kingdom. The same passion and wholehearted commitment required of those who delivered the message of Christ’s First Coming must be experienced by us today, as we prepare for His glorious return.
Only by faith can we accomplish God’s mission and share the gospel to the whole world before He comes. What a privilege to live in such a time as this. Let’s do all we can to hasten the day when our cross is lifted and we can join the heavenly throng, praising the King of kings and Lord of lords.
Memory Text: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:5-7 NKJV
What an example of humility and service was our Savior. We must not forget the high place in heaven He enjoyed, being equal with God, and the lowly form He took here on earth, that of a bondservant or slave, the lowest class in society at that time.
We, too, must be of His mindset and determine to do all we can to represent Him faithfully. We do this best by showing compassion and sharing the gospel at every opportunity provided by the Holy Spirit.
Sunday: Jesus’ Self-Sacrificing Love
The book of Philippians brings out the faith, humility, and rejoicing that corresponds to our…
- justification (when we first receive forgiveness and a clean record),
- sanctification (as our nature and character become closer to God’s), and our
- glorification (when we reach our final destination in the heavenly kingdom).
Chapter 2 of Philippians contains a passage that some have called “The Song of Christ” (v. 5-11). In these verses, Jesus allows us to see what’s on His mind, in order for us to more easily adopt His mindset.
We are reminded of the equality He shared with God and the highly exalted position He left, in order to come to this sin-sick planet of ours. Not only did He come from the highest position in the universe, but He came to earth as the lowliest in society–that of a bondservant or slave. It was a step of faith for our Lord and Savior to do this. Faith in the possibility that mankind would return His love.
Love and humility of heart, even though it will never completely match His, must also be experienced by each of God’s children if we are to be redeemed and saved from Satan’s clutches.
Bible Verses to Consider:
Philippians 2:5, 6 and Matthew 11:29
- How does being meek and gentle, as opposed to proud and boastful, bring rest to our souls?
- By what means do we get the humility of Christ?
Philippians 2:7, 8 Isaiah 53:3, and Psalms 22:6
- What made Jesus’ cross heavier than ours?
Philippians 2:9-11 and Hebrews 2:9
- What earned Jesus the exalted position He now has in heaven?
- What part did grace play in this redemption story?
- How can the description “a little lower than the angels” safely apply to men and women here on earth? What makes us a little lower?
Monday: Commitment’s Call
We don’t often pause to consider the level of commitment required of the disciples and followers of Christ during His public ministry. Each of the men and women who joined Him on those itinerant crusades had left their places of employment and their family homes, in order to accompany Jesus in ministering to the multitudes.
The invitation to some fishermen one day to “follow Him and become fishers of men” caused an immediate response. They left their nets, their boat, and even their father, in order to be part of the grand mission that was beginning to unfold. See Matthew 4:18-22.
Even tax collectors heeded the call to follow Him, leaving their lucrative careers behind. Men and women from all walks of life were attracted to the compassion and wisdom they saw coming from this carpenter of Nazareth. Jesus welcomed all classes of people to join Him in promoting the revival of true religion started by John the Baptist.
We, too, have an inner desire to live for something bigger than ourselves. Following the steps of Christ is a way to achieve our need to do something lasting and worthwhile as we travel through life.
Bible Verses to Consider:
- What does it mean to be a fisher of men?
- What was so attractive about Jesus that people left everything, so they could assist Him in His ministry? Was it just the miracles He performed?
Tuesday: Paul–God’s Chosen Vessel
Paul, formerly known as Saul (an active persecutor of Christians), became one of the most influential evangelists of the first century. God miraculously transformed Paul into a fierce advocate of Christianity, and we can learn much from reading about his conversion. The New Testament indicates that he shared his conversion story many times during his preaching campaigns.
God had achieved similar transformations for the healed demoniacs, the Samaritan woman at the well, the prostitute Jesus forgave, the questionable tax collector, and some rowdy fisherman. Paul joined the ranks of these converted men and women. He, like them, became one of God’s greatest supporters.
Each of us has a similar calling to stand up for God and represent Him to the world. Even if our transformation pales in comparison to some of the people who have served God so well, we can do our part in sharing what God can and will do for every one who accepts His invitation to believe in Him.
Bible Verses to Consider:
- How did Paul use his house arrest in Rome to continue his ministry?
- What are some of the ways we can still serve God, despite the challenges of the current pandemic?
2 Timothy 4:5-8
- What is required to “fight the good fight” and “finish the race”, and why is this needed so much?
- Why is it important for us to “love His appearing”, and how do we indicate that we do love it?
Wednesday: The Demands of Love
We can learn a lot from Peter’s conversation with Jesus one day by the seashore. Their personal chat helped shape Peter’s commitment and devotion to God, after his dismal failure of denying His Lord three times after Christ’s arrest. See John 21:15-17.
The guilt on Peter’s heart must have been great; but Jesus invited him to cancel those denials with three strong affirmations of his faith and love. Jesus accepted each affirmation with the command for Peter to either feed or tend His sheep and lambs.
Putting Peter’s love into action was the best way to put his past failures behind him. It gave him a new sense of acceptance and purpose–something we all desire, not only from God, but from each other.
Remember that love must be the initial response. Caring actions should follow, and say a lot about the level of our love. We need actions, whenever possible, to spread God’s love and help it grow.
There’s a place for every follower of Christ to partake of this saving grace and become a vessel for God’s love to flow out to others. Jesus’ invitation to “feed My sheep” is given to all of us.
Bible Verses to Consider:
John 21:15-17 and Psalm 79:13
- Who are God’s sheep? And who might the lambs be?
2 Corinthians 5:14, 15 and Romans 5:8
- What is so compelling about God’s love?
- How do we live for Christ? What kind of action does it call for?
Thursday: Love’s Commitment
Jesus concluded His chat with Peter with some solemn words that predicted the end result of Peter’s loving commitment. Peter later became a martyr, experiencing a similar crucifixion as His Lord. The prediction was worded in veiled language, but enough to let Peter know that his commitment would not come without a price. See John 21:18, 19.
We, too, must know that this world may not always be pretty and easy for us. But, the blessing that comes with service and the joy that will be ours in the heavenly Kingdom will far outweigh any hardship we have on this earth.
The commitment to love is never wasted. As Jesus told the disciples, as He was washing their feet, “If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them” (John 13:17). Following the Lord’s example in serving others will always lead to blessings, either now or in the earth made new.
So, feel free to make friends for God and share in His mission of saving them for eternity.
Bible Verses to Consider:
John 21:18, 19
- Why did Jesus feel it was necessary to forewarn Peter about the price of the commitment he was making?
- How can we glorify God in our death?
1 John 3:16-19 and Deuteronomy 15:7
- In what ways can we lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters?
- Why is it important for us to help others in need?
Hopefully, this quarter’s study of ways to witness and share our faith has helped ease our anxiety about making friends for God.
Most of the reasons people have for not witnessing are related to their own fear of rejection or embarrassment. Focusing on God and the ways He has blessed us, however, helps conquer our feelings of inadequacy, giving us the courage and motivation to actively serve Him in love. It’s faith in God, not faith in ourselves, that permits this to happen.
Ellen G. White tells us in The Desire of Ages, p.347:
“Our confession of His faithfulness is Heaven’s chosen agency for revealing Christ to the world. We are to acknowledge His grace as made known through the holy men of old; but that which will be most effectual is the testimony of our own experience. We are witnesses for God as we reveal in ourselves the working of a power that is divine.”
Let’s remember that the word “witness” is a verb (a word that shows action) and also a “noun” (a person or thing). Therefore, we are not only called to witness, but to BE a witness. When we faithfully do both, God is glorified in us. In other words, others will see Jesus in us.
Next Quarter: “Education”–Lesson 1, in the Garden of Eden
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