Sabbath School Lesson for April 21-27, 2018

Our salvation would not be complete or totally satisfactory were it not for Christ’s Second Coming and events that lead up to it. Having the kingdom of God in our heart is the first step in our salvation, but this alone doesn’t correct the sin problem that has infested our world. And it doesn’t answer for the universe the many questions that Satan has raised about God’s character.

In order to understand and prepare for the end therefore, we must acquire as much knowledge as we can about what our salvation means and how it is attained. It obviously constitutes the “everlasting gospel” spoken of by the first angel in Revelation 14. Just what is this gospel, or good news, that we are to share with the world, “to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people” (v. 6)?

This is the question we explore this week, as we focus on our salvation and its connection with the last days. Because if we’re going to preach it, we’d better know it. What does our salvation have to do with the Second Coming? The “good news” just seems to get better and better as we realize the full impact of what having God’s kingdom available to us means in its entirety.

Focus Text: “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” 1 John 4:10 NIV

We can’t even begin to know what our salvation means without first looking at the God of love who provides it. Both Genesis and the Gospel of John share the same phrase, “In the beginning”. Since God is love, we shouldn’t be surprised to see how much love is involved in our salvation from the very start.

This Focus Text in 1 John not only points to Jesus as the answer to our sin problem, but reminds us that God’s love is behind it all. We did nothing to encourage this love. It was because of God’s love that salvation is possible. There is nothing we can do of ourselves to attain it. He loves us first, most, and best. Any love we have for God or for each other comes from this God of everlasting love.

Sunday: The Love of the Father

Many people have failed to see the love of the Father, especially as He is portrayed at times in the Old Testament. It seems that misunderstandings must have prevailed even among God’s chosen people who lived back then. The disciples were curious enough about the Father to ask Jesus what the Father was like. Did they notice a difference in Jesus’ personality and what they had been taught about God from their religious leaders? Jesus assured Philip that He and the Father are the same (John 14:9-11).

When the Jews demanded an answer about who He was, Jesus replied, “I and My Father are one.” (John 10:30). This, of course, was seen by them as blasphemy, but it should tell us that the same kindness and love manifested by Jesus accurately portrays the loving nature of God the Father. After all, the Old Testament itself repeatedly states that God is full of grace, mercy, and is slow to anger (Psalm 143:8, 103:8, Exodus 34:6).

At times, we are indeed puzzled by some of the ways God has shown this “anger”, especially in ancient times. But let’s not forget that the same God is at work in both the Old and the New Testaments. Wasn’t it Jesus who chased away the money changers in the temple? But through this drama, God is always anxious to give us peace and hope for the future (Jeremiah 29:11).

As a matter of fact, there is an image of God that not many of us have thought about. Did you know that God sings? Yes, He joyfully SINGS over His people, the ones He has loved with an everlasting love.

“…The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Zephaniah 3:17 NKJV

Discussion Questions:

Read Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8, and 1 John 4:8. Why is this love a permanent character trait for both God the Father and God the Son?

Read Psalm 143:8 and Exodus 34:6. How is God’s anger different from ours? What causes such a passionate response from God that we would see and call it anger?

Read Jeremiah 29:11 and Zephaniah 3:17. How can these images of God help us remember that His love is truly there for us?

Monday: The Love of Christ

Equal to the Father’s love is Christ’s love for us. Romans 8:39, a familiar text, points out that “the love of God which is in Christ Jesus”. And, of course, what Jesus did with that love, becoming the sacrificial Lamb for us and dying for our sins, makes Him equally important to our salvation.

Christ, fully divine, became fully human, in order to make this exchange effective. And it was all motivated by love.

“Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13 NKJV

But Jesus’ sacrifice didn’t only consist of His death on the cross. Consider Him “who, being in the form of God…made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.” Philippians 2:6, 7 NKJV Therefore, His birth and life were also a testament to the powerful love God has for His earthly children. He not only gave His life for us. For a time, He gave up heaven! What a sacrficei!

Discussion Questions:

Read John 1:1-3 and Philippians 2:5-8. Why did Jesus, who was God, come in human form as He did? What did it take to accomplish this?

Read Philippians 2:9, 10 and Daniel 3:4-6. Does bowing down constitute a form of worship? How does this uphold the belief that Jesus is indeed God?

Read Romans 8:38, 39. How does this show us that God’s love and Jesus’ love for us are the same?

Tuesday: The Love of the Spirit

Many have misunderstood the character of the Father, and they have doubted the divinity of Christ. But the Holy Spirit has also been under Satan’s attack. We just don’t know what to do with this third Person of the godhead. He is either misused or not used at all by Christians almost throughout church history.

What should never be doubted though is God’s love for us, and the pivotal part each member of the godhead has had in our salvation. Here are a few reminders that the Holy Spirit is a real Person of the godhead, and is powerfully involved in our salvation. He…

  • glorifies Christ (John 16:14)
  • convicts people (John 16:8)
  • can be grieved (Ephesians 4:30)
  • is a Comforter/Helper/Counselor (John 14:16)
  • teaches (Luke 12:12)
  • intercedes (Romans 8:26)
  • sanctifies (1 Peter 1:2)
  • guides people into truth (John 16:13)

Let’s also not forget the everlasting nature of the Holy Spirit. Like Jesus, He was an active force in the creation of our world. “And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.” (Genesis 1:2 NKJV)

The Holy Spirit has and is still performing miracles, concerning our salvation. First, He was the One who brought Jesus, the One who died to save us, into the womb of Mary. Secondly, He brings Jesus into the hearts of God’s people all over the world. Thanks to the Holy Spirit, Jesus can be present with us even today. Therefore, what would our salvation be without Him?

Discussion Questions:

Read Genesis 1:2, Matthew 1:20, and Acts 13:2. What role does the Holy Spirit play in our salvation?

Read John 16:7-11. Why does the Holy Spirit convict us of sin, righteousness, and judgment?

Read John 16:12-15. How do we know that the Holy Spirit loves us as much as the Father and Son?

Wednesday: Assurance of Salvation

As we ponder the massive love and righteousness shown by God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, our own worth seems to shrink into oblivion. How can we ever measure up to the outpouring of this perfect love by these divine beings?

The answer is simple. We cannot. But the beauty of their love helps us conquer our misgivings, as God pours out His first blessing to us: the assurance of our salvation. Without it, we would never be able to step out in faith and attempt any good on our own. God lovingly wants us to rest assured that He will always be there for us, to lift us up, to love us, and finally to save us.

Unfortunately, many Christians today, and throughout history, lack this basic assurance. They struggle constantly to do those things they think necessary for God to love them, forgetting that He has loved them from day one and before, despite anything they have done, or will continue to do so in the future. Thus their Christian walk is needlessly dark and scary.

Only when God is taken at His word, and His presence is felt every moment of every day, are we able to withstand Satan’s attacks and do any righteous thing for God. Our salvation should not be a burden to us. It should be full of light and glorious reveling in His promises of an eternity with Him.

We can live holy lives, but only with God’s assurance of salvation lighting our way. And this assurance will be needed even more, as we enter the last days, when Satan will ramp up his efforts to destroy God’s people. Without this assurance, our way will be dark indeed.

Discussion Questions:

Read Matthew 7:14 and Romans 10:9-13. What makes following Christ hard; what makes it easy?

Read 1 John 5:11-13 and Joel 2:31, 32. How necessary is it to have an assurance of our salvation in the end times?

Read John 10:28, Psalm 91:10-12, 14-16, and Hebrews 11:17-19. What causes God to deliver us during times of peril? What assurance is there for those who still may have to give their life for God?

Thursday: The Everlasting Gospel

When Adam and Eve first realized the dastardly way they had messed up their relationship with God, they must have been tormented with grief and heartache. Imagine their joy when they heard God proclaim Satan’s final defeat at the hand of the Seed (who became known as the Promised One). See Genesis 3:14, 15.

This final victory for God’s people has been the focus of the salvation message ever since. All of human history is working toward this final act of deliverance by God. It hasn’t been an easy ride; but people, all people, deserve to know the outcome of all this sin and suffering we’ve endured through the centuries.

This is why we are told to proclaim the everlasting gospel, especially in these last, troublesome days of earth’s history. People are going to need it in a big way then–not only to make the choice of whom to worship, but in order to endure the trials that are to come upon God’s people.

The gospel of salvation, which goes beyond the boundaries of time (being everlasting), reveals to everyone the true character of God’s love. It alone will prepare us for whatever lies ahead.

Discussion Questions:

Read Revelation 14:6, 7. Why are the coming judgment and worshiping the Creator such important messages in these last days?

Read Ephesians 1:3-5. When are we to be “holy and without blame before Him in love”? What spiritual blessings of God make this holiness possible?

Read 2 Thessalonians 2:13 and 2 Timothy 1:9. Why is it important to remember that God’s plan of salvation is everlasting, even reaching before the beginning of our earth? What does this tell us about God’s love?


Emphasizing the love of God in telling the story of our salvation brings assurance and faith, and prepares us for the events that unfold in the last days. In preaching the everlasting gospel, spoken of by the first angel of Revelation 14, we must be careful to include…

  • the love of God the Father (Sunday)
  • the love of God’s Son, Jesus (Monday)
  • the love of the Holy Spirit, God’s Messenger and Comforter (Tuesday)
  • how assured we can be of His love and salvation (Wednesday)
  • the eternal nature of His gospel (Thursday)

Final Words

The name Seventh-day Adventist reminds us of the two-fold aspects of the gospel (law and grace), the two parts of God’s character (justice and mercy), and the nature of faith and obedience in our lives.

For instance, “Seventh-day” draws our attention to the law of God, which includes the fourth commandment, and to God’s justice in requiring obedience to His law.

The “Adventist” part of our name, on the other hand, reveals the grace, mercy, and faith required by God and us, in order for the final Advent or Coming of Jesus to occur, thus marking the end of our earthly struggles with sin.

“Seventh-day”, reaching back to our creation, marks the beginning, the Alpha; and “Adventist”, looking forward to the future, represents the end, the Omega. This name perfectly reflects the everlasting gospel of the first angel (Revelation 14) that God’s people are to preach.

One has to wonder at the divine involvement that was present in the choosing of this denomination’s name. Their hearts were definitely on God’s Word, as they tried to represent Him fully to the world.

Next Week’s Lesson: Christ in the Heavenly Sanctuary

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