Lesson for June 28-July 4, 2014

Perhaps the most important reason Jesus came to earth was to show us what God was like. He came to teach us that God’s desire was to be as close to us as a father. As a matter of fact, Jesus referred to God as the Father over one hundred thirty times in the Gospels.

Jesus wanted us to know that we can know the Father intimately. The term “know” in the Bible always meant a very close, personal relationship, as that shared with husband and wife, parent and child. It evokes a very strong bond, based on mutual love and trust.

A father in particular offers certain benefits to the family:

  • love
  • protection
  • security
  • sustenance
  • identity

This week we will explore how God the Father adds these qualities to our life.

Key Text: “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him” I John 3:1 NKJV

Love and identity jumps out to us in this text. God loves us enough to call us His children. The fact that this makes us at odds with the world should not come as a surprise. John said that “He was in the world…and the world knew him not.” (John 1:10).

But here is where the protection, security, and sustenance are provided from the Father. Just as Jesus was supplied with what He needed to accomplish His mission here on earth, so we can be assured that God will not leave us to fight our enemies alone.

Sunday: Our Father in Heaven

Ancient Israel’s personal name for God was YHWH (prounounced Yahweh), rendered “LORD” in the Old Testament over 6,800 times. So much sacredness was attached to the name, however, that by around 300 B.C. the word was never even spoken aloud.

We do find a few Old Testament references comparing God to a father, however:

  • ” Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.” Psalm 103:13 KJV
  • “Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O Lord, are our father, our redeemer; thy name is everlasting.” Isaiah 63:16 KJV
  • “But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.” Isaiah 64:8 KJV
  • “But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me.” Jeremiah 3:19 KJV

Indeed, Jesus may be prophetically spoken of here in Jeremiah as calling God His Father. The Sermon on the Mount includes His prayer, which begins “Our Father which art in heaven” (Matthew 7:9). It also includes verse 14: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:”

Both times, and repeatedly during His ministry, Jesus reminds us that God is in heaven. Calling Him our Father draws us to Him in a loving, tender way. But reminding us that He is in heaven emphasizes the need to approach and worship Him with reverence and awe.

Jesus further tried to illustrate the giving, fatherly nature of God in the Sermon on the Mount with this statement:

“Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?…If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” Matthew 7:9, 11 KJV

Discussion Questions: Explain how it is difficult for some people to relate to God as a father, if their earthly father has been less than ideal–either missing or perhaps even abusive.

How can they overcome this reluctance to embrace God as their father? Is it necessary for everyone to accomplish this? Why or why not?

Monday: Revealed by the Son

Satan has accused God of lacking mercy and fairness. He has tried to convince people through the ages that God is selfish, harsh, and arbitrary. But Jesus came to set the record straight. His life and teachings give us the best revelation of what God is actually like.

Jesus wanted all to see another side of God. Jeremiah 9:24 says “I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth:” Everything that Jesus did was evidence of His love, which was demonstrated to all people, regardless of their wealth or ethnic background.

Jesus, God’s Son, was truly the most perfect revelation we have of God. No wonder His life has been held up for all to examine and has resulted in so many changed lives through the years since His birth.

Discussion Questions: God explained to Moses that he could not see His face because “no man shall see Me, and live” (Exodus 33:20). John also said that “No man hath seen God at any time” (John 1:18). Jesus proclaimed to Philip, however, that “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). In what sense was Jesus speaking? How can we see God through Jesus?

It appears that Philip and perhaps some of the other disciples still questioned who God was, even after He had been with them a substantial amount of time. Is it possible for us to “be with Jesus” almost our whole lives and yet not really “know” Him? Explain and give remedies for this lack in our spiritual experience.

Tuesday: The Love of Our Heavenly Father

Since “God is love” (I John 4:8), naturally this would be one character trait that Jesus was most anxious for us to know about God. Many in Jesus’ time, and even today, fail to see or feel love in their relationship with God. They see God as cold and distant from earth’s inhabitants.

As a tiny planet among billions of galaxies in the universe, how do we sense our value or worth to God, individually or collectively? God the Father answered this question by sending His Son to earth.

Every miracle, parable, and action of Jesus testified to the love of God. He spoke authoritatively about this love, because He was God. Nothing but love was revealed by His life and His cruel death on the cross. It was all accomplished out of love for each and every one of us.

Discussion Questions: Since Jesus has been portrayed as our Mediator to God the Father in heaven, does this indicate that God needs the Son to convince Him to love us? In what way does Jesus mediate for us then? Why is a Mediator needed between God and man?

What evidences of the father’s love do you find in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-24)?

What other parables or actions/words of Jesus help you see most dramatically God’s love?

Wednesday: The Compassionate Care of Our Heavenly Father

Knowing that someone loves us is nothing special unless it is demonstrated by loving actions. And Jesus showed the world that God’s love is compassionate and unchanging, despite the difficulties we face in this world of sin. The many acts of healing and forgiveness that Jesus performed while here on earth indicated that He not only preached love, He lived it.

Jesus-Picture-Healing-The-Sick-In-The-Temple-300x295His preaching likewise always pointed to the Father’s love. One example in the Sermon on the Mount was when He pointed to nature (Matthew 6:25-34). He singled out that the birds and flowers, small yet beautiful, were under God’s care.

How much more so does God care for the least and greatest of us humans! If the birds and flowers don’t worry about how they will be fed and clothed, then neither should we. Obviously, God can fulfill all our basic needs. We can trust Him as a loving, faithful Provider.

At the same time, Jesus does not promise us a bed of roses. He recognizes that trials will come. The passage we just read in Matthew closes with “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” The New International says it more clearly: “Each day has enough trouble of its own.” How comforting to know that God isn’t oblivious to our troubles. He knows they will come, but we don’t need to worry endlessly about tomorrow’s sorrows.

God always has our welfare in mind. He knows our needs and will provide for them. Our faith will be tested over and over. But we can rest assured that God the Father will never let go. His love is everlasting.

Discussion Questions: After reading Matthew 6:25-30, discuss why Jesus mentioned the birds and flowers when He could have pointed out the majestic lion, or some large mammal. Why were flowers chosen instead of the lofty trees in the forest?

Is it possible to feel God’s care more when we are having a rough time? Why is that?

Thursday: The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit

The next two weeks we will explore what Jesus taught about Himself and the Holy Spirit, but Jesus didn’t fail to teach us that God the Father was a part of this Godhead we’ve come to call the Trinity.

There were significant times during Christ’s time on earth that we noticed all three persons of the Godhead being active and having a role in our salvation:

  • His birth (Luke 1:26-35) “…The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overpower thee…” v. 35 KJV
  • His baptism (Luke 3:21-22) “…the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son…” v. 22 KJV
  • His death (Hebrews 9:14) “…through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God…” KJV

Jesus indicated that He understood the Godhead and His unique position in this divine relationship. He assured His disciples, “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;” John 14:16 KJV

Jesus was aware that He was to glorify the Father (“I have glorified thee [God the Father] on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” John 17:4). He also assured us that the Holy Spirit had a role (“He [the Spirit of truth] shall glorify me [Jesus]: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” John 16:14).

Our rational minds find it almost impossible to wrap around such a doctrine as the trinity, but this shouldn’t be a reason to neglect its study and try to comprehend what it means for our salvation.

We can only seek to understand and learn more about the trinity, or any troubling doctrine, by applying all our spiritual tools, such as:

  1. faith
  2. obedience
  3. prayer
  4. study

Discussion Questions: Why is it important to understand the Father’s role in the Godhead? And what is that role, as it relates to Jesus?

What other Bible concepts do you find hard to understand? [eternity, Lucifer’s downfall, resurrection, the final destruction of the world]

What aspects of the natural world do you find difficult to understand?  [lightning, gravity, why God created mosquitoes…] Does this mean that it doesn’t happen, or doesn’t exist, just because you can’t explain it?


One of the most essential truths Jesus taught us was the love of our heavenly Father. Satan has portrayed our Father as distant and cold at best, even harsh and unloving at times. Throughout Jesus’ ministry, however, all actions and words spoken by the Savior show His intent to rightly portray the loving nature of a God who invites us to call Him Father.

“In order to strengthen our confidence in God, Christ teaches us to address Him by a new name, a name entwined with the dearest association of the human heart. He gives us the privilege of calling the infinite God our Father. This name, spoken to Him and of Him, is a sign of our love and trust toward Him, and a pledge of His regard and relationship to us…the love of God is larger, broader, deeper, than human love can possibly be. It is immeasurable.” ~Ellen G. White, Signs of the Times, Sept. 30, 1889.


In order to portray God’s love in your life, look for someone in your community who needs to be reached with the Father’s love. It may be an individual or a group of people (such as the elderly, refugees and immigrants, unwed mothers, the illiterate, homeless, those in jail) with whom your Sabbath School or church can make a positive difference.

Brainstorm creative ways to:

  1. engage their interest
  2. sustain the contact so that Christ’s love can be shared
  3. bridge from your Christian-oriented culture to theirs
  4. frame the gospel message in ways they can understand
  5. involve them in meaningful experiences through which they can assimilate God’s love

Next Week: The Son

To read the Sabbath School lesson or for additional resources, see www.ssnet.org