Sabbath School Lesson for December 10-16, 2022
Overview of Lesson 12
To understand the biblical worldview, we must know…
- how Jesus grew “in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man”–Luke 2:52 (Sunday)
- that our bodies are the temple of God, linking our physical bodies with our spiritual self–1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 (Monday)
- what it means to have the “mind of Christ”–1 Corinthians 2:16 (Tuesday)
- the role of the Holy Spirit–Acts 8:4-24 (Wednesday)
- how and when to be ready for His appearing–Psalm 95:7, 8 (Thursday)
Basically, the Bible only recognizes two worldviews, or kinds of globalization:
- the globalization of error, presented in Revelation 13, when “all the world” will follow the beast from the sea
- the globalization of truth, presented in Revelation 14, when the gospel will be preached “to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people”
The book The Great Controversy, by Ellen White, p. 588, identifies two great errors that will enable Satan to work miraculous wonders in the last days. “Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation for spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome.”
Memory Text: “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Thessalonians 5:23 NKJV
As this text suggests, our entire being (body and soul) needs to be sanctified, preserved, and found blameless at the Second Coming. There is no separation of the body and soul upon death, as some believe. This false interpretation promotes an error that ties us to spiritualism.
In the same way, observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, instead of the biblical seventh-day Sabbath, ties us to the religious/political system of Rome that ruled much of the world in the Middle Ages. It constitutes the image of the beast in Revelation 13:15.
Sunday: The Model of Jesus
Jesus gave us the perfect model of how a life should be lived. Not much is told of His youth, except that He grew “in wisdom, and stature, and in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52).
His life was always one of balance and moderation. His development included four dimensions: wisdom (mental), stature (physical), being in favor with God (spiritual), and man (social).
Later, His ministry consisted of “teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of disease among the people” (Matthew 4:23). His interest in all aspects of life was evident. Their mental, spiritual, and physical needs were equally addressed and could not be separated. This has caused many churches now to include schools and hospitals, along with churches, as part of their outreach to the world.
Jesus’ model powerfully demonstrates that the physical and spiritual nature of man can’t be separated. His love encompasses our whole being. Every part of us must be surrendered and sanctified by His Spirit.
- What does this tell us about the importance of a person’s well-rounded development?
- How does it affect our parental responsibilities?
- Why did Jesus have these various approaches to ministry?
- How can we imitate His methods, both as individuals and on a corporate church level?
Monday: The Body as a Temple
Many don’t realize that the prevalent religious understanding of our soul, separating from the deceased body and living apart from it, came from ancient Greek philosophers. Pagans have long believed that the soul is liberated from the body when we die. This separation explains their unrealistic belief in the afterlife.
A dualistic concept of human nature, of it consisting of soul and body, is seen in the Bible, however. Paul encourages us to glorify God in our body, as well as in our soul (1 Corinthians 6:20 and 10:31). The soul is our character, our spiritual self, also part of that being that was made in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26).
John wrote to his friend Gaius, wishing him to “be in good health, just as your soul prospers” (3 John 1:2). That’s why Paul counsels us to treat our bodies well, as they are the temple of God. God dwells within us, the whole “us”–our bodies and our souls.
What we don’t see in the Bible is the idea that the soul can be separated from the body to live immortally, either in heaven or in a place called hell. Instead, we are given the hope of a resurrection at the Second Coming, after a nice long rest in the ground from which we were made. Our breath (also called our “spirit”) returns to God, who gave it to us at birth (Genesis 3:19).
1 Corinthians 3:16, 17, 6:19, 20, and 10:31
- What does it mean that our bodies are the “temple of Holy Spirit”?
- How should these verses impact our lifestyle?
3 John 1:2
- Why is it important to recognize both our physical and our spiritual health?
1 Corinthians 15:52-54
- When can we claim that death is “swallowed up in victory”?
Tuesday: The Mind of Christ
Even when we do all we can on a physical level to promote not sinning (like staying away from places and things that tempt us), we often find ourselves falling short of doing God’s will. Paul recommended having the mind of Christ in order to reach the goal of perfection called for in God’s word (1 Corinthians 2:16). But what is the mind of Christ, and how can we have it?
Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount outlined keeping God’s commandments in a deeper way than had been realized before. He explained how our thoughts and intentions must be transformed, in order for any true obedience to take place. And this transformation is only possible through God’s grace, when we ask Him for it.
Like Christ, we must humbly surrender our will to God every day. Only then will we find the strength and courage necessary to change how we live. We will never be perfect enough in this life, however. But God has promised to cover our imperfections with His Son’s perfect righteousness when we surrender our will to His–when we have the “mind of Christ”.
Mark 7:21-23 and Jeremiah 31:33
- What are some of the ways we sin in our minds?
- What is meant by having God’s law in our hearts?
1 Corinthians 2:16
- How does having the mind of Christ transform our thoughts and actions?
Wednesday: The Guidance of the Spirit
The Holy Spirit can do mighty things for us…
- He pours the love of God into our hearts (Romans 5:5).
- He convicts us of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:8).
- He guides us into truth (John 16:13).
- He gives us the power to be witnesses (Acts 1:8).
It’s no wonder Satan has tried so hard to cause us to misunderstand this valuable Person of the Godhead. His work and nature has been greatly distorted–either to the point that we don’t recognize Him at all as part of the deity, or that we put too much emphasis on the gifts of the Spirit without valuing His power to transform us.
In Acts 8:4-24, Luke shares the story of Simon, a former sorcerer in Samaria. Simon tried to buy the Holy Spirit from the apostles, so he could do all the miracles he saw in their ministry. But Peter rebuked him for such an offer, saying his heart was not right with God.
Jesus clearly stated that not everyone who does miracles will be from God (Matthew 7:21-23). Knowing God through His Spirit must come first. Our worldview is vastly different when we have a correct understanding of the work of the Holy Spirit.
- What was wrong with Simon’s offer to buy the Holy Spirit?
- What is necessary for us to receive the Holy Spirit?
Thursday: Ready for His Appearing
Most everyone has noticed a tendency for worldly cares and carnal desires to draw our attention from God. But Peter encourages us to keep our eyes heavenward, look forward to the Lord’s appearing, and diligently prepare ourselves for it (2 Peter 3:13, 14).
He mentions in verse 14 to be “without spot and blameless”. John adds that he who hopes in the Lord should be purifying himself, just as Jesus, the holy Lamb of God, was pure (1 John 3:1-3). And that would be by relying on the grace of God to purify us. We can do nothing on our own, except be willing to have Him do the work through the Holy Spirit.
The plea is given often in the Bible to be ready for Him to come at any time. Psalm 95:7, 8 says, “Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts”. The author of Hebrews expands on that idea: “but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today’, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin” (Hebrews 3:13).
We must be ready continually for Jesus to come, because we never know if today might be our last day of life on earth. Unless we are advancing in our spiritual life, becoming more like Him, we are in danger of falling away and becoming skeptical, cold, and hardened in sin.
2 Peter 3:13, 14 and 1 John 3:1-3
- How and why do these apostles recommend we be ready for His appearing?
Psalm 95:7, 8 and Hebrews 3:13
- How does one’s heart become hardened?
- What is deceitful about sin?
Friday: Final Thoughts
As we near the final days of earth as we know it, there are several principles in the Bible that will fortify us from Satan’s deceptions. When we understand the holistic nature of man, including what happens when we die, we are given hope without leaving ourselves open to the discouragement, anxiety, and fear that Satan wants us to experience.
Knowing the role of the Holy Spirit is crucial to our understanding of God. We know God through the Spirit of Christ. He alone reveals God to us, not some disembodied soul, who may actually be one of Satan’s legions of fallen angels in disguise.
Our breath of life, or “spirit” as it is called, goes back to God in the sense that we stop breathing. Our dead bodies then decompose and become part of the earth again. However, God, the Giver of Life, has the power to recreate us again with new bodies and souls, after what has been referred to as our “sleep” or “rest” in death. We “wake up” in the newness of life at the same resurrection as all who have lived on earth. What could be a more loving, just way to end sin once and for all for the whole universe than this correct, biblical understanding of death?
Next Week: The Judging Process
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