Sabbath School Lesson for September 7-13, 2019


Our hope, as seen in the light of the Second Coming, consists of…

  • a longing for God to intervene for His people (Sunday)
  •  a desire to be ready for His Coming through both prayer and active service (Monday)
  • a remembrance of His resurrection to provide us with the hope of an afterlife (Tuesday)
  • a realization that God’s judgment will make all the world’s ills right (Wednesday)
  • a feeling of God’s presence that will make all the difference, both now and in heaven above (Thursday)


A full description of how the early New Testament church fulfilled its mission should inspire us to engage in similar activities, as we continue to prepare for Christ’s Coming to set up of His kingdom of glory here on earth. The spiritual preparation of prayer and worship was accompanied by active service to those in need, both in the church and the community at large.

Christ’s example of preaching and serving others should still be included in how we spread the gospel to the world today. The urgency of the times makes this kind of ministry even more needed as civilization sinks lower and lower into the abyss of evil, and people are suffering more and more because of it.

Memory Text: “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfact, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 15:58 NKJV

It’s tempting to feel our labor is in vain, when we know that soon it will be all over and God’s final justice will alleviate all our trouble and cares. A new earth is on the horizon, so why bother with fixing problems on this earth now, so close to the end of it all?

But God would not have us lighten our load of good deeds. Instead we are counselled in this verse to abound in His work, to be steadfast in our labors. He will not disappoint when it comes to souls saved because of our efforts. The full harvest is yet to be seen.

Sunday: “How Long, O Lord?”

God’s people down through the ages, especially the prophets, did not doubt God’s final intervention and justice. But they longed to know when it would take place. “How long, O Lord” was a refrain repeated by the prophets of old.

The havoc and turmoil seen all around them gave them this desire to know just how long they would have to suffer. It had become so bad by the time of the early church that Paul describes all of creation as groaning for God’s deliverance (Romans 8:22). It felt like labor pains of a woman about to give birth.

In Revelation 6:10, we read of a cry of the martyrs during the fifth seal, when the end of the world is about to occur. They cry with a loud voice, “How long, O Lord…until you avenge our blood…?”

But, we must rest assured that just as God has intervened at times for His people in the past, He will surely make that final sweep of justice someday and the world will be cleansed from sin forever.

Discussion Questions:

Read Psalm 94:3, 14, 15, 19. What comfort does the Lord offer His people, when our trials become almost too hard to bear?

Read Habakkuk 1:2-4. Why does it seem that the Lord doesn’t hear our cries for help?

Read Luke 18:1-8. Why is faith and perseverance necessary for those waiting the Lord’s return?

Monday: A Certain Kind of Hope

It’s understandable that people might place all their hope for the future in their desire for an afterlife. We can rest assured that God does have something better for us in that new heaven and earth He’s promised us. Without that hope, we really have nothing to look forward to in this life.

Some have accused Christians, however, of putting too much emphasis on heaven, telling the poor and suffering to accept their lot because it’s all temporary. But our Advent hope should not relieve us of our duty to our fellowman. We shouldn’t focus on the hope, without demonstrating what that hope will gain for us. If we make someone’s life even a little better, they can see more clearly the hope that heaven offers.

Our dependence on the promises of God should inspire us to engage more in the kind of ministry that took up so much of Jesus’ time here on earth. Matthew 24, which spoke of the signs to look for when He comes, was followed by the next chapter, which described what we should be doing to prepare for that Coming. This becomes a special kind of hope that involves action.

Discussion Questions:

Read Matthew 25:8, 13. How can we be ready for the Second Coming of Jesus? What does the oil represent and how do we know if we have it?

Read Matthew 25:20,21 and Luke 19:13. What does God expect us to do till He returns?

Read Matthew 25:34, 35, 40. What other kind of work does God expect us to be engaged in till He comes?

Tuesday: Resurrection Hope

As important as our good works are, it’s also important to remember why we do them. Were it not for the resurrection of Christ and the hope that brings us, our good works would not satisfy the real longing of those we serve. And that is to be free of all of our trials at some point in the future.

The story of Christ and His resurrection must therefore be part of our ministry, or we are only doing half our job of spreading the gospel. Paul tells us, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile” (1 Corinthians 15:17 NIV). What better thing is there to hope for than being with Christ throughout eternity?

After Pentecost, the disciples preached heavily on Christ’s resurrection. This must continue to be our theme as we witness to others. Our hope in a future, including our own resurrection, depends largely on the story of Christ’s sacrifice and glorious return to heaven after His death.

Death, one of man’s greatest fears, is conquered with the victory of Jesus’ resurrection. He has promised to return and take us with Him to that heavenly place (John 14:2, 3). We can surely relay that welcome message as often as possible to those in our ministry.

Discussion Questions:

Read 1 Corinthians 15:13, 14, 16-19. Why is Christ’s resurrection so important to ours? How does our ministry suffer when the message of Christ’s resurrection is left out?

Read 1 Corinthians 15:30-32. How does the hope of a resurrection change how we want to live now? What does it mean to “die daily”?

Read I Corinthians 15:23-26. When does our resurrection occur? How does this affect our preaching of the Second Coming, and why is it important?

Wednesday: Judgment Hope

Somehow it’s easier to speak of a resurrection hope, but a hope for judgment is not as pleasant to talk or preach about. Actually, they are both important though, because without the judgment and the justice and relief it brings to those oppressed, there would be no true value in our resurrection.

When the judgment is taken into account, when people are made to realize that their actions, words, and attitudes determine their fate in the resurrection, then appropriate measures can be taken that will further empower and strengthen them for the life they now have to face.

Yes, there is hope in a future with God, including the coming, final judgment. Hope that will not only affect our afterlife, but will improve the way we live here and now.

Discussion Questions:

Read Ecclesiastes 8:14 and Psalm 73:12-14. How does this verse show us that there is a need for justice in our world?

Read Eccesiastes 12:13, 14. How are knowing God and keeping His commandments our best protection in the judgment? Why is it important to do both?

Read Matthew 12:36, 37 and 1 Samuel 16:7. Why are words as important as our actions in the final judgment?

Thursday: No More Tears or Pain

One has only to go to the last two chapters in the Bible for an immediate sense of relief for all the horrible experiences we face on this earth. Any and all our trials are to be no more when we reach that heavenly shore at the Second Coming, and then, after we are established safely in our new earth home a thousand years later.

The cleansing fires of hell will enable God to re-create this earth (Revelation 20:9, 15 and 21:1), eliminating forever all…

  • pain and suffering (whether physical or mental)
  • inequality, and the oppressive poverty it brings
  • fear of death and dying

Yes, our restoration and healing will be complete and lasting at that time, and this revelation is just too good to keep to ourselves.

Until it happens, we must strive to correct the ills faced by others, just as Jesus did when He walked this earth. We show our desire for this heavenly home, by doing all we can to bring a little bit of heaven down to suffering mankind now, whenever we are given that opportunity.

Obviously, this kind of sharing can only ocurr with the Lord by our side. And He has promised His presence throughout our time remaining on this imperfect world. The same God, who will wipe away all our tears in heaven, is close by those we love now, if we invite Him into our hearts.

Discussion Questions:

Read Revelation 21:1-5 and Isaiah 66:22. Why is God’s presence so important to our existence, both here and in the new earth?

Read Revelation 22:1-5. Why are the water of life and the tree of life important features of this new earth? How important are food and water to us now, making them the best symbols of our Lord?

Read Hebrews 10:36-38 and Hebrews 11:1. What gives us the endurance we need to do God’s will till He returns? What is that will?

Final Thoughts

Advent Christians, those believing in the soon return of Christ, are in danger of two extreme positions that impact their ministry…

  1. being overly excited about the Second Coming, causing them to dismiss the present world as doomed and neglect their full obligations to alleviate the problems of those around them
  2. being overly indifferent about His Coming to the point that their focus is only on eliminating the social ills of those around them and not on the future hope we’ve been given to share

You might see…

  • the overly excited ones as in a “waiting room” (just sitting there, doing nothing but waiting for that wonderful cure) and
  • the overly indifferent ones as in a “living room” (actively participating in family life, but making themselves too comfortable with the way things are).

There is counsel on avoiding these two extremes though. We find them in these two quotes:

For the “waiting room” variety…

“They neglected to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to deal justly, and to love mercy…They have sold their souls for earthly riches and enjoyments, and have not sought to become rich toward God.” Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy,  p. 654

And why would the “living room” ones not want to share this message of hope, along with their admirable work for mankind?…

“The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.” p. 678

There’s a list in the following blog article by Rachel Ashworth of several ideas that you might consider adding to your coming year’s bucket list. Think of all the ways that you can minister to “the least of these” by adopting some of these practices.

Make your own list to fit your current life description. Because each year that passes brings us one year closer to the Lord’s Return!

Next Week’s Lesson: To Love Mercy

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