Sabbath School Lesson for April 8-14, 2023
Overview of Lesson 3, The Everlasting Gospel
Memory Text: “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth–to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people.” Revelation 14:6 NKJV
Topics this week will include:
- Sunday: A Grace-Filled Book of Hope–What is the book of Revelation really all about?
- Monday: The “Everlasting” Gospel–Why is it important that the gospel be “everlasting”?
- Tuesday: A Story of Grace–Why do we need grace, and how is it found in the gospel?
- Wednesday: Into All the World–Why must our goal be to preach the gospel to the whole world before Jesus comes?
- Thursday: A Mission Movement–What is our mission to the world in these final days?
Ancient Israel had a different gospel mission than we have today. They were surrounded by heathen nations who believed in many gods, worshiping their idols of wood and stone. Jews, recognizing their unique calling, began reciting their statement of faith morning and night, calling it the Shema prayer, based on the Hebrew word for “hear”. It was simply the verse found in Deuteronomy 6:4, which says, ” ‘Hear O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.’ ” It was important for them to remember that there is only one true God to worship.
God’s remnant church finds its statement of faith in the gospel messages found in Revelation 14. These unique messages, proclaimed by three angels from heaven, are the gospel messages we need to share with the world today. We need to keep ever before us the message that Jesus wins, Satan loses, and we have a choice to make between two striving forces for our allegiance in these last days. What an amazing gospel of hope we have to share with a dying world.
Sunday: A Grace-Filled Book of Hope
Many people shy away from studying the many symbols and strange images in the book of Revelation, not recognizing that it is a prophetic book saturated with hope and grace, and offers us a deep, heartfelt peace during our most troubling experiences on earth. Jesus is found everywhere in the book of Revelation. The slain, perfect Lamb of God, as He is repeatedly called, is the source of all love and hope found on our planet.
The King of kings stands victorious when it’s all said and done. He invites us to accept His atoning death and desires that we share the good news of His soon coming with all those we can. His promise to return and take us to live with Him forever is repeated throughout this final book of the Bible.
His grace forgives our past, empowers our present, and gives us hope for the future. We are delivered from our guilt, from our sins, and at last we will even be delivered from death, when we embrace the grace found in the cosmic messages of Revelation 14.
- Who does this book reveal, why was the revelation given, and what are we to do with it?
Revelation 1:5, 6 and 14:6
- What is the everlasting gospel all about?
Monday: The “Everlasting” Gospel
Understanding the depth of the gospel helps us appreciate its everlasting nature. Jesus died for us, but let’s not forget His resurrection, which proved Him the victor over all death. He had the power to raise Himself. No one else in all the universe could claim that ability.
Paul, especially, felt deeply what the gospel had done for him. He tells us explicitly that we are justified (declared innocent) by the grace of God, and this grace is freely given to all who accept Jesus as their Savior.
God loved us and gave us grace, even while we were sinners, and there is nothing we can do to earn it. Anything good we accomplish is but a reflection of the grace He gives us so generously. Nothing we do, therefore, can add to what the Son of Man has already done for us through a plan of salvation that was established before time began.
And this is why the gospel of salvation is declared to be everlasting. It has no time constraints. God’s love reaches farther back in time than we can imagine, and it will likewise extend beyond the boundaries of time into the “forever” future. God’s grace is simply timeless. We can count on it to always be available whenever needed.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4, Romans 3:24-26, and 5:6-8
- What do you like most about God’s grace, as Paul described it?
- How is God’s grace connected to the gospel message we are to preach to the world?
2 Timothy 1:9, Titus 1:2, and Ephesians 1:4
- How do we understand what it means “before time began”?
- What does this imply about the future of God’s plan and why it’s called “everlasting”?
Tuesday: A Story of Grace
Our redemption came at a heavy cost–the precious blood of Christ, symbolized by the lamb without spot or blemish that was part of the sacrificial worship service for so many years in Israel. Even before the foundation of our world, we were “chosen” as the recipients of His grace. It was not an afterthought, but part of the plan of salvation even before the creation of our planet.
Stretching back in time before we even existed, and forever into our future, magnifies the grace given to sinful, fallen humanity. Jesus would rather experience the fires of hell Himself than have any of us lost and separated from Him forever.
The everlasting gospel is indeed one of limitless love and grace, extended to all who accept it.
1 Peter 1:18-20
- What does the cost paid for your redemption mean to you personally?
- How should our salvation affect how we serve Him?
Wednesday: Into All the World
Revelation 14:6, our focus of study this week, contains a directive that can’t easily be dismissed. We are to preach the gospel to every nation, in other words, to all the world. This worldwide evangelism, which has always been important, will evidently be most prevalent in the last days.
Jesus recognized the importance of global outreach as He gave His final marching orders to His disciples. What we’ve come to know as the “Great Commission” is found in Matthew 28:19, 20. What is most reassuring to those who commit to preaching the gospel, whether by word or deed, is that Jesus promises to be with us the entire time we are doing it, all the way to the very end of our history.
There is a psychological need that each of us has. It’s the need to be part of something larger than ourselves. Sin has the tendency to shrink our lives down to the point where we are the only person who seems to matter. There is great benefit in reaching out to others, however, and no better way to accomplish it than to point others to the hope and joy found in the gospel message.
This preaching of the gospel is the greatest task God’s church has been given, especially in these final hours before He returns.
Revelation 14:6 and Matthew 28:19, 20
- Why is our preaching to the world so important in the last days?
Thursday: A Mission Movement
Like Jews who faithfully recite the Shema prayer, we should continue taking our mission statement of present truth around the world. Early Adventist pioneers of faith in the United States took this mandate very seriously. If the Adventist church today were a village of 100, 89 of them would be from Africa, Asia, and Inter- and South America–places targeted for foreign missionary work soon after the church was formed.
Their success of having a worldwide church is evidence of their missionary zeal, but we still have a large task ahead of us with rising populations still needing to hear the gospel truth of Christ’s soon coming. There is an Adventist presence today in 210 of the world’s 235 countries recognized by the United Nations. But these are just numbers.
There are still many souls who have never heard our message. We must continue, with the Holy Spirit guiding us, to adapt our methods, refocus our priorities, and use our resources wisely, in order to reach the millions who are in desperate need of hope in our troubling times.
Acts 1:8 and Matthew 24:14
- What can we, as individuals and the church, do to keep spreading the three angels’ messages to every “nation, kindred, tongue, and people”?
- Why is it important to adapt our witnessing to fit the needs of the people–who are increasingly not of other Christian denominations as it was in past generations? How can we do this?
Friday: Final Thoughts
The internet holds tons of information for each of us to access these days. In some ways, we are drowning in a sea of distracting facts and figures, which have the danger of holding our attention hostage and preventing us from seeing the most important piece of information in all the universe. Nothing is more important for us to know and understand than the everlasting gospel, which is filled with grace and hope for our thirsty, troubled minds.
This gospel message is the grandest, most consequential news available to this planet, which is becoming more and more polarized economically, politically, and religiously. Despite this polarization, it seems harder and harder to recognize which side to be on. Both God and Satan are moving full-throttle to gain our allegiance in these last days. There are signs and wonders being performed by the powers of both good and evil, in an effort to grasp our attention and pull us to their side (Revelation 13:13, 14).
But, the only news that matters is the good news that Christ died for us, rose from the grave, and is returning some day to complete our salvation. He was and is the victorious King we are anxious to spend an eternity with. Death, our greatest enemy, has been defeated. We have only to follow our Lord to reach the glorious reward He has promised us all through the book of Revelation. He knows and is the Way to everlasting love and happiness.
Next Week: ” ‘Fear God and Give Glory to Him’ “
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