Sabbath School Lesson for June 15-21, 2019
Key thoughts this week ranged from…
- why we should always uplift Christ in our homes–lesson from King Hezekiah’s mistake (Sunday)
- our first witness should be to those in our family–example of Andrew bringing his brother Simon Peter to meet Jesus (Monday)
- how unbelieving spouses are won to Christ (Tuesday)
- even though we aren’t perfect, families are meant to share their faith (Wednesday)
- what is the true meaning of hospitality, and how does it make us God’s ambassadors (Thursday)
Even before sin came into the world, families were designed by God to fulfill a useful purpose. He told Adam and Eve to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). They were to fill the earth and subdue it (be leaders who would demonstrate to all what God is like–after all, they were made in His image).
Thus, the family unit was instituted to be a witness of God’s character to the world–even to the universe. Often, we forget what our true purpose is. Alone, we are at a disadvantage in displaying all the attributes of God. Ideally, it takes a mother, father, and children to represent all there is to know about Him.
This is not to say that single adults are incapable of sharing what they know of God. Individually, all of us are meant to have an influence for good somewhere. But, God saw from the beginning that families would be a leading force in proclaiming the truth about God that Satan has tried so hard to diminish.
Memory Text: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9 NKJV
Families can be of tremendous value in sharing the gospel with others. A Christian family of parents working in harmony with each other, and children obeying their parents cheerfully, preaches a powerful sermon to everyone around them.
Satan will never fully destroy God’s designated instrument for good. God is always available for families to better themselves and more faithfully represent Him to our dark, sinful world.
Sunday: Learning From a King’s Mistake
All of us could learn from Hezekiah’s mistake. God had performed an astounding miracle in healing him from a life-threatening situation. Even turning back the sun-dial as a sign of what He would do. What a story of redemption he could have told those Babylonian visitors when they came to visit.
But, instead, he proceeded to showcase all his possessions of wealth, bragging on his own accomplishments, rather than on the mighty God, the Giver of all that he had. The blessing that those pagan visitors might have had was turned into a desire to attain like fortunes for themselves.
And, of course, we know that those covetous feelings grew, until generations later, Babylonian descendants would invade Jerusalem, claiming all those fine, palatial possessions for themselves, even sacred articles and furnishings in God’s holy temple.
How easily we, too, can take God’s blessings for granted and focus on the material things that won’t last. Others definitely need to see less of us and our worldly goods, and more of God. We need to daily keep this thought foremost in our minds…we are nothing without Him (John 15:4).
Read 1 Peter 2:9, Acts 26:18, and Matthew 5:16. How are darkness and light described in Acts? How do we become “lights” for God?
Read 2 Chronicles 32:31 and Isaiah 39:1-4. What was God trying to accomplish by testing Hezekiah? Why are we, like Job and Abraham, sometimes given these “tests” of faith?
Read Ephesians 2:4-6 and 1:20. Why are God’s followers given a place next to Christ in heaven?
Monday: Family First
Let’s not forget all the ones who benefit from a good Christian home. Certainly, the neighborhood and community are made better, with an influence that reaches out further than we can imagine. But the first, and perhaps the most important, ones receiving a witness of God’s character are the members of a family itself.
The Bible shows us examples of family members witnessing to each other:
- We think of Andrew, who shared Jesus with his brother Peter. He not only told Peter about the new itinerant preacher in town, he arranged a meeting with Jesus, so they could be introduced. Thus, both brothers were privileged to play a pivotal part in Christ’s earthly ministry and establishment of the New Testament church.
- Naomi, although angry, heartbroken, and depressed about losing her husband and sons in a foreign land, still proved to be a significant force in the salvation of her daughter-in-law Ruth. Together they built a new life for themselves back in Judah, and became part of the Messiah’s line of descendants.
These examples were made possible because parents cared enough to share their faith with their children. Deuteronomy 6 emphasizes the value of diligently educating children about the love and will of God.
Using every opportunity to witness to family members will ensure them a foundation for making godly choices in the future.
Read Deuteronomy 6:4-7. What especially are we to teach our children and what practical teaching methods have you found useful in your family?
Read John 1:40-42. It may be easy to give a report about God to an adult sibling or other close family member, but how do we actually introduce someone to Jesus, now that He’s back in heaven?
Read Ruth 1:12-14, 20, 21. How did Naomi witness to her daughters-in-law, even during her extreme grief and depression? Why is it hard to see the will of God, when we are suffering great loss or experiencing hard trials? How do we survive these difficult times of stress and heartache?
Tuesday: Peace That Wins
Nothing is more heartbreaking than a marriage where one of the spouses follows God and the other one doesn’t. Logic tells us such marriages are doomed, but God’s word indicates there is hope. Not only for the marital ties to remain intact, but hope for the unbelieving spouse to be saved.
“For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy.” 1 Corinthians 7:14 NKJV
This is not to say that someone is saved (sanctified) through someone else’s beliefs. Each of us has the power of choice to accept or reject salvation. But if an unbelieving spouse chooses to remain married, then he or she automatically becomes part of a family, where the members are dedicated or set apart for God’s holy use by the believing spouse.
Thus, the environment of a home, where one of the spouses is a Christian, hopefully enjoys a more spiritual and less worldly influence, because of the believing spouse. Salvation naturally comes easier when one is close to someone who’s been saved.
Wives are even advised by Peter to remain submissive to unbelieving husbands (1 Peter 3:1, 2). This submissive, humble attitude will better inform the husband of the need for our submission to Christ. Of course, this submission is always “as to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:21-22). Our allegiance is always to Christ first.
In addition, no one is expected to endure the abuse of a violent, angry spouse. God understands when one must take drastic measures to be free of drastic, unbearable circumstances.
Read 2 Corinthians 6:14 and 1 Corinthians 7:12-13. Even though marriages can survive when only one partner is a believer, why is it still good counsel not to marry someone of another faith, if possible? What kind of problems might there be, and how does one cope in such situations?
Read Corinthians 7:14-16. How is an unbelieving spouse saved or sanctified by the believing one? Why is peacekeeping so important in a Christian home and marriage?
Read 1 Peter 3:1, 2 and Ephesians 5:21, 22. How far does one submit to an unbelieving spouse? Why doesn’t submission include suffering chronic abusive behavior at the hands of a spouse? What measures can and should be taken when this abuse occurs?
Wednesday: Family Life Is for Sharing
Ellen White wrote in The Ministry of Healing, p. 354, “Social influence is a wonderful power. We can use it if we will as a means of helping those about us.”
A family that models…
- good communication,
- personal affirmations, and
- conflict resolution when needed
…will have a profound influence on individuals and the community at large.
And the good news is that families don’t have to model these behaviors perfectly. We are all subject to the flaws and discrepancies of the sinful, human condition. But whenever that modeling does happen, it will be a witness to others of the beautiful character and will of God.
We are told repeatedly in the New Testament that following God, means to imitate Him, but also those who follow Him. Imitations, however, never become the real thing. But others can get a glimpse of what God is like by seeing our imitation, or reflection, of the Lord we serve.
Read Hebrews 13:7 and 3 John 11. What are we to imitate above all?
Read Ephesians 5:1, 1 Thessalonians 1:6, 1 Corinthians 4:16, and Hebrews 6:12. What dangers might there be in following others–even preachers who appear very Christlike? How can we remember to follow what they stand for and not let our admiration become too extreme?
Read John 2:25, Jeremiah 17:9, and Romans 3:23. How do these verses support our caution in who we follow? What can we do to prevent “following” the wrong person?
Thursday: Centers of Contagious Friendliness
We’ve all known homes and families that are centers of contagious friendliness. Hospitality just seems to come naturally for some people. Sometimes, we know instantly when we enter a home whether we will have more than our basic tangible needs met there.
True hospitality means more than sharing food, rest, and fellowship. We gather a sense of sacrifice and love in these homes that goes beyond the normal experience of “entertaining guests”.
We can use our homes as places of ministry by making them a place of refuge for those in need, or by just inviting our neighbors over for a simple meal. Anything that allows us to share the gospel in ordinary or extraordinary ways is how we show hospitality to those around us. What better place to do this than in our homes?
And yet, we don’t have to worry that our house, housekeeping, or furnishings aren’t as perfect as we’d like. The important thing is how we make people feel in our presence. They will remember that far longer than the shabbiness and age of our sofa, for instance.
Read Isaiah 58:6, 7, 10. Why is it important to reach out to people who need it most? Who are those people in your community?
Read Luke 19:5-7. How did Jesus model this kind of hospitality? And what lessons can we learn from his association with Zacchaeus?
Read Romans 12:13 and 1 Peter 4:9. Why are God’s people told to be hospitable, especially to each other, the saints?
Many don’t stop to consider how our homes and family life are the first and greatest mission field for launching our service to God. Making one’s family a top priority is also essential for the best salvation results for its members.
Often, we allow education, career, social standing, quality home furnishings, even our volunteer positions to lead our list of life goals, leaving a happy family life as a quiet afterthought. How much better it would be to center all our efforts on family. The rest will follow.
Where does the church fit into this picture of love and service? Ideally, the church should function as a family, a model for individual families that make up the church, but also for the whole neighborhood and community surrounding it.
Church members should work together in peace and harmony, providing a powerful witness of God’s everlasting love and forgiveness.
A church can present itself as a center of hospitality, as much as any individual home. Encouraging social engagement will show that work and play, combined, offers an atmosphere of love and giving that we all crave.
Of equal value are church budgets for evangelism and for social activities. Neither should be neglected or allowed to overshadow the other. Both will show the world a bit of what heaven is like.
Next Week’s Lesson: Turning Hearts in the End Time
To read the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly or see more resources for its study, go to https://www.absg.adventist.org/
Other Outlook blogposts by Teresa Thompson, are at http://outlookmag.org/author/teresathompson/