Sabbath School lesson for August 22-28, 2020
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Our attitude affects us tremendously, as we witness for God. Here are some aspects of our attitude we must consider…
- how to recognize receptive hearts (Sunday)
- what kind of attitudes need changing in order to reach the most people (Monday)
- how do we speak the truth with love and grace (Tuesday)
- why does everyone require our acceptance and respect (Wednesday)
- how and why should we demonstrate humility and patience to others (Thursday)
As we try to apply Jesus’ method of winning friends for God, our attitude will play a crucial role in our success. How we view ourselves, others, and God, as well as how we treat them, will help determine whether our ministry accomplishes its goal of helping others see Jesus in us.
Jesus’ ability to accept and provide affirmation to people was possible because He saw something good in everyone. His constant love and respect drew them closer to their Creator. They responded by becoming the best version of themselves, which led to them having a closer relationship with God.
Memory Text: “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” 1 Peter 3:15 NKJV
There is much in this verse that describes the kind of attitude we must have to be effective soulwinners. We need to be ready to answer the hard questions about our faith with respect, integrity, and humility. Only by having God in our hearts, by recognizing His holy nature, can we bring others closer to God and prevent driving them further away.
Sunday: Receptivity to the Gospel
Without a knowledge of who is ready to receive the gospel, we can only expect sporadic, minimal results from our efforts. But having a heart that is open to the needs of our listeners will greatly expand the outreach we have.
One of the greatest examples of the application of this principle is found in the story of the Samaritan woman Jesus met at the well one day. The disciples thought her probably the least likely candidate for being receptive to the gospel message.
Number one, she was a Samaritan–number two, she was a woman–and number three, she had relationship problems and was not living an exemplary life in her own community. To associate with her in any way was thought to be asking for trouble, as far as the disciples understood the situation.
But Jesus saw deeper into her heart and knew she was seeking Someone to save her from herself. When it dawned on her that she was speaking to the longed-for Messiah, she lost no time in spreading the good news to her entire town. You might say she became the first Christian evangelist.
Her zeal for God resulted in creating an easy mission field later for Philip, when he began working there following Christ’s resurrection. Even Peter and John found many receptive souls in Samaria when they went there to preach. See Acts 8:4, 5, 14.
Bible Verses to Consider:
- What was there about this woman that may have caught the attention of Jesus that day?
- Why is it important that we learn to see Jesus on our own, and not depend on someone else’s report of Him?
Acts 8:4-8 and 6:5
- Who was Philip and why was his preaching so successful in Samaria?
Monday: An Attitude Adjustment
The difficult thing about our attitudes is that often we fail to see a need to adjust or correct them. Even that failure requires an adjustment! This is why we need to have good, solid friends or family members in our life, who aren’t afraid to let us know our inadequacies and gently guide us to more positive thinking patterns.
A harsh, critical attitude does not go unnoticed by those around us. But true friends accept us the way we are and love us enough to gently encourage us to become even better.
Jesus was a master Friend this way. Notice how He ended up affirming two different women.
- First, a Canaanite woman who begged Jesus to heal her demon-possessed daughter–Jesus ended up telling her, ” ‘O woman, great is your faith!’ ” Matthew 15:28.
- Another time, He told the woman who had anointed His feet with expensive oil, ” “Wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.’ ” Mark 14:9
Although Jesus began by sounding harsh to the Gentile woman, He may have only done it to draw attention to His later, public affirmation of her faith. At the beginning of their conversation, Jesus was only responding as anyone else around Him would have. What a contrast to how the conversation ended up with her. People surely noticed the different attitudes on display that day during one simple conversation with a desperate woman from Canaan.
Bible Verses to Consider:
Matthew 15:21-28 and Ephesians 3:6
- What kind of attitude adjustment did the disciples receive through this experience, and what can we also learn from Jesus’ treatment of people who are different from us?
Mark 14:4-9 and Deuteronomy 15:11
- What happens when we allow a critical spirit to grow in our hearts?
- How can we be mindful of the poor and still uplift Jesus in our ministry?
Tuesday: Presenting the Truth in Love
Being a good friend is the best way to be able to minister to the spiritual needs of those around us. Therefore, attitudes that contribute to having good, strong friendships will increase our ability to witness to them about what Jesus means to us.
The qualities of good friends must go beyond being a fun person to be around. People gravitate toward those who are accepting, patient, and trustworthy. Those kinds of qualities will not only make us a better friend, but will open up more opportunities for us to be the one our friends turn to for advice and support.
By being agreeable and humble, by complimenting and encouraging whenever appropriate, we will automatically be better witnesses for God. We must always be ready to bring Jesus into the conversation and share what God has done for us, and what He means to us.
Bible Verses to Consider:
2 Thessalonians 1:3, 4 and 2 Corinthians 7:3, 4
- How did Paul’s words build up the churches where he ministered?
- What kinds of compliments would you have for those in the church you now attend?
Ephesians 4:15 and Psalm 103:8, 14
- How does having love and truth compare with God’s justice and mercy?
- What should we also remember about our friends that can help us be more patient with them (Psalm 103:14)?
Wednesday: The Foundation of Acceptance
Because of how the Lord has accepted us, because of His forgiveness and patience with us, we must extend these same blessings to everyone we meet. Once we give our hearts to Him, Jesus accepts us no matter how flawed or broken we are. We must extend that same grace to others.
Everyone has a place in God’s heart. If we encourage that same kind of love to grow in our hearts, we too will find it easier to accept people who may be quite different from us. It will then be easier for us to share the gospel with the world, which is, of course, our mission.
This accepting attitude spills into our friendships, making our friends much more likely to listen to us when we share God and Bible truths. They want to know what makes us so kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving–as Paul counsels us to be, in Ephesians 4:32.
Bible Verses to Consider:
Romans 15:7 and 5:1, 2
- How does Christ receive us?
- What kinds of attitudes happen to us after we are justified by God?
- Why is how we treat people important–even those people who aren’t our friends?
Thursday: Truth Lovingly Presented
Blending truth with love is never easy. It’s not a skill that everyone has automatically. Some must practice and perfect it more than others. But it’s extremely important that we do so.
When the cold, hard truth is presented without the warmth of tender love, we may end up with legalism, and sadly, sometimes atheism. And when love alone is shown, without the truth that leads to eternal benefits, we may be fostering sentimentalism that is short-lived and unsatisfying in the end. So, it’s just not enough to have truth or love without an equal amount of the other.
1 Peter 3:15 instructs us to deliver our testimony with “meekness and fear”. Yes, humility and a sense of God’s greatness compared to ours, will enable our words to be received more readily.
In addition, Paul adds that patience, or longsuffering, is needed when we try to bring others to Christ (2 Timothy 4:2). Remembering that we all “fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) gives us the reason to be patient with those who may fall short more than others. We all need the Spirit of Jesus to help deliver and receive the truth with love.
Bible Verses to Consider:
1 Peter 3:15
- How do we sanctify God in our hearts?
2 Timothy 4:2 and 1 Corinthians 13:4-6
- Why is patience, or longsuffering, a part of the love we feel for others?
- What other qualities of love, besides patience, must we be mindful of?
Titus 3:4, 5
- What is it that saves us in the end?
In order to apply the methods Jesus used in His ministry, we must cultivate attitudes of love, humility, patience, and respect for those in our sphere of influence.
See Connie Nelson’s blog on how to increase these attitudes in our social media presence. https://outlookmag.org/before-you-click/
Jesus demonstrated all these traits as He went about doing good and promoting God’s Kingdom. Only when their felt needs were met, when they were hungering and thirsting for the righteousness that He exemplified, did He share the eternal truths that would lead to internal healing.
“In Christ is the tenderness of the shepherd, the affection of the parent, and the matchless grace of the compassionate Saviour. His blessings He presents in the most alluring terms. He is not content merely to announce these blessings; He presents them in the most attractive way, to excite a desire to possess them. So His servants are to present the riches of the glory of the unspeakable Gift. The wonderful love of Christ will melt and subdue heats, when the mere reiteration of doctrines would accomplish nothing.” ~Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 826
If you find yourself needing a change in attitude, here’s an important reminder from the same author…
“By dwelling upon the faults of others, we are changed into the same image. But by beholding Jesus, talking of His love and perfection of character, we become changed into His image.” ~Ellen G. White, Gospel Workers, p. 479
Next Week’s Lesson: An Exciting Way to Get Involved
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