Sabbath School Lesson for September 10-16, 2022
Overview of Lesson 12
Knowing the basic principles of submission is important to our ability to survive life’s crucibles. Submission includes ideas such as these:
- Our service to God depends on how willing we are to submit to His will. (Sunday)
- Even before knowing the totality of God’s will, we must submit to Him by dying to self. (Monday)
- Cultivating our ability to listen to God will help us know how to surrender ourselves to Him. (Tuesday)
- Relying on our own thoughts and feelings prevents us from submitting to God. (Wednesday)
- We must reject substitutes for God and submit only to Him. (Thursday)
Dying like a seed was a good analogy that Jesus used to explain our need to die to self. The seed has no control over where it will be planted or how it will be cultivated. It knows nothing of the fruit-bearing plant it will later become. Its future is totally in the hands of the farmer and the forces of nature which surround it.
Dying to self and to sin requires our total submission to God and His plan for our life. When life is darkest, we can still shine bright, knowing we have a glorious future with our Lord. Only by dying to sin and fully submitting to God’s will can we have the fullness of life we have been promised.
Memory Text: “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” John 12:24 NKJV
New Living Translation: “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives.”
Sunday: Submission for Service (Philippians 2:5-9)
Just as with patience, God shows us the kind of humility it takes for submitting to God. Jesus modelled perfect submission to His Father with a humility that will always be unmatched by God’s created beings. He, being the Creator Himself, became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:3, 14). He submitted not only in life, but also in His obedient death (Philippians 2:8).
Jesus gave up equality with God in order to serve us as no earthly ministry before or since. His life of selfless love and compassion for those needing it most is unparalleled for its vast influence on the church down through the ages.
Our capacity for service is likewise dependent on our dying like a seed and submitting to God’s will. We must do all we can to be like him in dying to self by dying to sin.
- How has the life of Christ affected your overall attitude about what it means to be humble and submissive?
- How does having a humble, submissive spirit affect our service to others?
- How does submission affect our ability to withstand the pressures of a crucible?
Monday: Dying Comes Before Knowing God’s Will (Romans 12:1, 2)
A close examination of Romans 12:1, 2 reveals that before knowing God’s will, something must happen. Through an understanding of His bountiful mercy, we must offer ourselves as a living sacrifice (much like the seed that dies in the ground).
Then our minds are renewed and our lives are transformed (like the growing of a beautiful, fruit-bearing plant). The renewal of the mind can only happen after we die to self, just as Jesus had to die for us in order to save us. This process allows us to understand most fully what God’s perfect will is.
There may be areas of our life that we have not totally surrendered to God. It is not uncommon for this to happen. As a matter of fact, it is true for most of us. We don’t recognize the impact of everything we are doing when we first come to God.
God may then allow a crucible in order to bring this area of life to our attention. Suffering of any kind can provide insight into what Jesus experienced for us, inspiring us to sacrifice more for Him.
- What part does God’s mercy have in our sacrifice?
- Why is our living sacrifice a “reasonable service” to God?
- How do we change from being like the world?
- What happens when our minds are renewed?
- Why is it important to know God’s will?
Tuesday: Willingness to Listen (1 Samuel 3)
The story of little Samuel reminds us that we must be open to God’s voice, and willing to do what He commands. This was not the case for the high priest Eli, who hadn’t listened to God and had allowed his sons to corrupt the sanctuary services. When young Samuel, however, heard the voice of God calling him, he was told by his mentor Eli to answer, “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”
Whatever God spoke to him about, Samuel was willing to listen and follow through with His directive. So must we be open to whatever the Lord puts on our heart and then obey it with an eager willingness.
Some have described this willingness as “putting our minds in neutral”. We do this by patiently waiting for God’s answer and by allowing Him to direct our actions, based on His word.. The Bible is the one voice many have relied on to teach them God’s will. Reading and studying the Bible with an open heart and mind makes us willing, enthusiastic followers of God. It also makes it easier to survive our hardships and trials.
1 Samuel 3:10
- Why is listening to God important while we’re going through a crucible?
- How can we know that it is God’s voice speaking to us?
Wednesday: Self-Reliance (1 Samuel 13)
Eve’s big mistake in the Garden of Eden began with allowing her own thoughts and feelings to rule her actions. She trusted her own judgment more than God’s. How often we do the same by relying on ourselves to fix our problems.
We saw this tendency with Saul just two years after he became king. God gave him a command to wait for the prophet Samuel, but Saul, under pressure from his enemies, saw the situation and talked himself into offering a sacrifice before Samuel got there. This foolish decision would prove the undoing of Saul’s reign. God was forced to chose another king who would be more willing to listen and obey His directions. See 1 Samuel 13:1-14.
When we rely on our own thinking and feelings, we are likely to act on them in the same manner as Eve and Saul, and all those who foolishly rely on self rather than on God’s clear commands.
1 Samuel 13:11, 12
- How did Saul identify his own self-reliance in his justification to Samuel for what he did?
1 Samuel 13:13
- What was Saul guilty of and why did it require that a new king was needed to take his place?
Thursday: Substitutes (Zechariah 4:6)
In vision, God reminded the prophet Zechariah that there was no substitute for His Spirit. Israel’s strength would not come from their powerful armies or mighty leaders, but by the Spirit of the Lord (Zechariah 4:6).
As humans we tend to look to our own resources when we are in a difficult, uncomfortable situation. When we feel depressed, for example, we turn to food, shopping, or whatever activity or object brings us joy. When we feel small and inadequate, we pursue fame or start bullying others to make ourselves feel more important. When we no longer feel love in our marital life, we look for another partner to make us feel loved.
In each of these circumstances, we should look to God first. Only He can provide real solutions to our unpleasant thoughts and feelings. When stresses overwhelm us, it’s particularly important to pray first and not substitute anything else for God. Nothing in this world can fix our problems. We need His help every step of the way back to happiness. There is no substitute for having His Spirit in our lives.
- What is your first reaction, when something stressful happens? Where do you turn when things go sour?
Friday: Final Thoughts
The beautiful gift of eternal life requires two kinds of death. First, it required the death of Jesus Christ, who was willing to die in our place, taking the punishment we have earned for ourselves by sinning.
Second, it requires our own death to sin. Sin is what separates us from God. Therefore, renouncing sin and learning to avoid it is crucial if we want eternal life. This death, symbolized by baptism, allows us to no longer be slaves to sin. We are dead to sin, but alive to God. See Romans 6:5-11.
Only a total surrender to God which includes death to self and sin will allow us to survive our crucibles and ultimately gain eternal life. Like the seed planted in the ground, we will bear much fruit for God when we surrender all to Him.
Next Week: Christ in the Crucible
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