Sabbath School Lessons 2014 – Lessons on the Atonement

By John Thiel

Word format:

Lessons on the Atonement

Section 1 The Atonement

Introduction

The subject of the Atonement is one sadly understood by few. If asked what the word atonement in the bible really refers to, a great majority reflect back to the Old Testament to the animal sacrifices and temple services of the Hebrew sanctuary. While it is known that this Old Testament symbolism is in reference to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross and the content of the saving Gospel; the great majority have very limited understanding of the practical engagement of the atonement.

“Some who labour in word and doctrine have not a practical understanding…of the atonement of Christ.” – Testimonies for the Church vol. 2, p. 512

Yet the weight of the importance of understanding this Bible activity is seen in the words of Inspiration:

“The sacrifice of Christ as an atonement for sin is the great truth around which all other truths cluster. In order to be rightly understood and appreciated, every truth in the Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, must be studied in the light which streams from the cross of Calvary, and in connection with the wondrous, central truth of the Saviour’s atonement. Those who study the Redeemer’s wonderful sacrifice grow in grace and knowledge.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 5, p. 1137

How fitting then that for the next two quarters we fix our attention on this “great central truth.” May God’s Holy Spirit pour upon us worldwide as the “teacher of righteousness according to righteousness” (Joel 2:23 margin) while we diligently study these lessons week by week together. Our Lessons will commence with the opening words of the following quote, and proceed with detailed systematic research through its summarized content.

“Adam, in his innocence, had enjoyed open communion with his Maker; but sin brought separation between God and man, and the atonement of Christ alone could span the abyss and make possible the communication of blessing or salvation from heaven to earth. Man was still cut off from direct approach to his Creator, but God would communicate with him through Christ and angels.” – Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 67

Please study these lessons in a connective manner. Each lesson is connected to the next and to benefit fully from this six month study you will need to frequently revise the impact of the previous weeks study. With the help of the Holy Spirit you will gain an integrated picture of God’s amazing re-creative science of salvation. By full participation in it our salvation will be certain in these closing moments of our probation.

TOPICS

  • MAN’S ORIGINAL UNION WITH GOD 
  • THE RIFT SIN HAS MADE 
  • GOD’S EFFORT OF LOVE 
  • ISRAEL AND THE SERPENTS 
  • CONFLICT IN THE SOUL 
  • THE SERPENT OF BRASS 
  • THE FACILITIES OF ATONEMENT 
  • GOD – THE FATHER 
  • GOD – THE WORD 
  • THE SON OF GOD 
  • THE JOURNEY OF THE ATONEMENT 
  • THE HOLY SPIRIT 
  • CHRIST IN YOU 
  • Section 2 – Applying The Atonement 
  • TAKING THE REMEDY 
  • ATONEMENT-INGREDIENT OF DIVINITY 
  • ATONEMENT –INGREDIENT OF THE FLESH 
  • UNDERSTANDING TEMPTATION 
  • THE TEMPTATIONS OF JESUS 
  • DEVELOPING A SINLESS HUMAN NATURE 
  • THE SUPREME TEMPTATION 
  • DEATH AND ITS DESTRUCTION 
  • JESUS THE RANSOM 
  • IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF JESUS 
  • THE SEED AND ITS HARVEST 
  • THE DAY OF ATONEMENT 
  • THE CHURCH OF THE ATONEMENT 

Lesson 1

Sabbath

MAN’S ORIGINAL UNION WITH GOD

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18

OBJECTIVES

  • To understand the intimate nature of the relation God has to man.
  • Try to comprehend God’s relationship of love with man.
  • Observe God’s unflinching overtures of love to sinners.

IN GOD’S IMAGE

1.         How closely did man resemble God at creation? Genesis 1:26, 27, 31

And what property of appreciation was he given? Psalms 104:1, 2

“He who set the starry worlds on high and tinted with delicate skill the flowers of the field, who filled the earth and the heavens with the wonders of His power, when He came to crown His glorious work, to place one in the midst to stand as ruler of the fair earth, did not fail to create a being worthy of the hand that gave him life.” –Patriarchs and Prophets p. 45

“Man was to bear God’s image, both in outward resemblance and in character… His nature was in harmony with the will of God. His mind was capable of comprehending divine things. His affections were pure; his appetites and passions were under the control of reason. He was holy and happy in bearing the image of God and in perfect obedience to His will. Ibid par. 2… The sinless pair wore no artificial garments; they were clothed with a covering of light and glory, such as the angels wear…” ibid paragraph 3

2.         In possession of such created qualities, what was man entrusted with?

Genesis 1:26, 28; Psalms 8:3-6

“Very happy were the holy pair in Eden. Unlimited control was given them over every living thing.” –Story of Redemption, p. 22

RELATIONSHIP OF LOVE

3.         Do you think God harboured any fear that man may ruin the planet He had entrusted to man’s care? 1 John 4:16, 18

            “Love…thinketh no evil…believeth all things hopeth all things” (1 Corinthians 13:5, 7)

“From the beginning, God and Christ knew of the apostasy of Satan, and of the fall of man through the deceptive power of the apostate. God did not ordain that sin should exist, but He foresaw its existence, and made provision to meet the terrible emergency. So great was His love for the world, that He covenanted to give His only-begotten Son, “that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16”. –Desire of Ages, p.22

4.         How did God demonstrate His love to Adam and Eve? Genesis 3:8 (first part)

“In His interest for His children, our heavenly Father personally directed their education. Often they were visited by His messengers, the holy angels, and from them received counsel and instruction. Often as they walked in the garden in the cool of the day they heard the voice of God, and face to face held communion with the Eternal. His thoughts toward them were “thoughts of peace, and not of evil.” Jeremiah 29:11. His every purpose was their highest good.” –Education, p.21

“Face-to-face, heart-to-heart communion with his Maker was his high privilege.” – Education, p.15

5.         How only can such a relationship be safeguarded? 1 John 2:3-6 and 5:3; Romans 13:10

“The law of love being the foundation of the government of God, the happiness of all intelligent beings depends upon their perfect accord with its great principles of righteousness.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 34.2

“The law of God is as sacred as God Himself. It is a revelation of His will, a transcript of His character, the expression of divine love and wisdom. The harmony of creation depends upon the perfect conformity of all beings, of everything, animate and inanimate, to the law of the Creator.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 52.3

NO FEAR IN LOVE

6.         What happened to the love in Adam and Eve after they ate of the forbidden Fruit? Genesis 3:7-11; 1 John 4:18. Was there any change in God’s love to them?

            “The divine presence was manifested in the garden. In their innocence and holiness they had joyfully welcomed the approach of their Creator; but now they fled in terror, and sought to hide in the deepest recesses of the garden.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 57

7.         How did this fear affect the whole Human race? Romans 5:12; Hebrews 2:15

            “Against every evildoer God’s law utters condemnation. He may disregard that voice, he may seek to drown its warning, but in vain. It follows him. It makes itself heard. It destroys his peace. If unheeded, it pursues him to the grave. It bears witness against him at the judgement. A quenchless fire, it consumes at last soul and body.” –Education, pp. 144, 145

GOD’S UNFAILING LOVE

8.         With what attitude did God pursue the fleeing couple and all mankind since? Isaiah 43:1; 44:21, 22; Jeremiah 3:11-14 first part.

            “The Lord God through Jesus Christ holds out His hand all the day long in invitation to the sinful and fallen. He will receive all. He welcomes all. It is His glory to pardon the chief of sinners. He will take the prey from the mighty, He will deliver the captive, He will pluck the brand from the burning. He will lower the golden chain of His mercy to the lowest depths of human wretchedness, and lift up the debased soul contaminated with sin.” –Ministry of Healing, p. 161

Lesson 2

Sabbath

THE RIFT SIN HAS MADE

“And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled” Colossians 1:21

OBJECTIVES

  • To explore the destruction of a loving, trusting relationship.
  • To understand clearly where the rift between man and God lodged
  • To ponder the need for an effective measure to mend the rift.

THE DOUBT

1.         What was the serpent doing to Eve’s mind? Genesis 3:1-5

2.         With the suggestion of these doubts, how was Eve’s relationship with God endangered? Proverbs 16:28; 6:12-14

            “Satan entered into the serpent and took his position in the tree of knowledge and commenced leisurely eating of the fruit… Eve found herself gazing with mingled curiosity and admiration upon the fruit of the forbidden tree. She saw it was very lovely, and was reasoning with herself why God had so decidedly prohibited their eating or touching it. Now was Satan’s opportunity. He addressed her as though he was able to divine her thought: “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Thus, with soft and pleasant words, and with musical voice, he addressed the wondering Eve… He extolled her beauty and exceeding loveliness, which was not displeasing to Eve… Eve was beguiled, flattered, infatuated.” – Story of Redemption, pp. 32, 33

THE TEMPTATION AND FALL

3.         What is temptation, and how did it now achieve its results in Eve’s experience? James 1:13-15; Genesis 3:6

“Eve really believed the words of Satan, but her belief did not save her from the penalty of sin. She disbelieved the words of God, and this was what led to her fall.” – Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 55.2

“Our first parents chose to believe the words, as they thought, of a serpent; yet he had given them no tokens of his love. He had done nothing for their happiness and benefit, while God had given them everything that was good for food and pleasant to the sight… Instead of believing and confiding in God, she basely distrusted His goodness and cherished the words of Satan.” – Story of Redemption, p. 37-38

“…The flattering hope of entering a higher state of knowledge had led her to think that the serpent was her especial friend, possessing a great interest in her welfare.” – Story of Redemption, p. 37.0

4.         In giving the fruit to Adam, what did Eve become to him? What happened to Adam’s relationship with God? Ecclesiastes 7:26

            “As soon as Eve had disobeyed she became a powerful medium through which to occasion the fall of her husband.” – Story of Redemption, p.35

“Adam understood that his companion had transgressed the command of God, disregarded the only prohibition laid upon them as a test of their fidelity and love. There was a terrible struggle in his mind. He mourned that he had permitted Eve to wander from his side. But now the deed was done; he must be separated from her whose society had been his joy. How could he have it thus? Adam had enjoyed the companionship of God and of holy angels. He had looked upon the glory of the Creator. He understood the high destiny opened to the human race should they remain faithful to God. Yet all these blessings were lost sight of in the fear of losing that one gift which in his eyes out valued every other. Love, gratitude, loyalty to the Creator–all were overborne by love to Eve. She was a part of himself, and he could not endure the thought of separation…. He resolved to share her fate; if she must die, he would die with her.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p 56.2

THE CONSEQUENCE

5.         What estrangement did the fallen pair now reveal in their attitude towards God? Genesis 3:11-13

            “Adam could neither deny nor excuse his sin; but instead of manifesting penitence, he endeavored to cast the blame upon his wife, and thus upon God Himself: “The woman whom Thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” He who, from love to Eve, had deliberately chosen to forfeit the approval of God, his home in Paradise, and an eternal life of joy, could now, after his fall, endeavor to make his companion, and even the Creator Himself, responsible for the transgression. So terrible is the power of sin. When the woman was asked, “What is this that thou hast done?” she answered, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.” “Why didst Thou create the serpent? Why didst Thou suffer him to enter Eden?”–these were the questions implied in her excuse for her sin. Thus, like Adam, she charged God with the responsibility of their fall. The spirit of self-justification originated in the father of lies; it was indulged by our first parents as soon as they yielded to the influence of Satan, and has been exhibited by all the sons and daughters of Adam. Instead of humbly confessing their sins, they try to shield themselves by casting the blame upon others, upon circumstances, or upon God–making even His blessings an occasion of murmuring against Him.” –Patriarchs and Prophets pp. 57-58

6.         What effect does transgression have on a mind that once enjoyed child like trust, communion and repose in God? Can this mind change its way of thinking? Colossians 1:21; (first part) Romans 8:7; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Jeremiah 17:9; 13:23

            “The result of the eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is manifest in every man’s experience. There is in his nature a bent to evil, a force which, unaided, he cannot resist.” –Education p. 29

            “Through sin the whole human organism is deranged, the mind is perverted, the imagination corrupted. Sin has degraded the faculties of the soul. Temptations from without find an answering chord within the heart, and the feet turn imperceptibly toward evil.” – Testimonies for the Church Vol. 8, p. 312

“It is impossible for us, of ourselves, to escape from the pit of sin in which we are sunken. Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them.” – Steps to Christ p.18

7.         What is the experience of people who have severed their harmonious relationship with God? Proverbs 14:12.13; Romans 3:9-18

MANS ANIALATION AND GOD’S INTERVENTION

8.         Where lies the rift, with God or Man? Isaiah 59:1, 2; Ezekiel 33:10, 11; Psalms 103:10-14

            “But after his sin, he could no longer find joy in holiness, and he sought to hide from the presence of God. Such is still the condition of the unrenewed heart. It is not in harmony with God, and finds no joy in communion with Him. The sinner could not be happy in God’s presence; he would shrink from the companionship of holy beings.” – Steps to Chris, p. 17

“The heart of God yearns over His earthly children with a love stronger than death. In giving up His Son, He has poured out to us all heaven in one gift. The Saviour’s life and death and intercession, the ministry of angels, the pleading of the Spirit, the Father working above and through all, the unceasing interest of heavenly beings,–all are enlisted in behalf of man’s redemption.” –Steps to Chris, p. 21

9.         What was the only way by which God could come near to man and hope to gain access to his heart? Hebrews 10:20; Ephesians 2:13-16; 2 Corinthians 5:18-20

            “…the atonement of Christ alone could span the abyss and make possible the communication of blessing or salvation from heaven to earth.” – Patriarchs and Prophets p. 67

“But the only way in which He could reach men was to veil His glory by a garb of humanity. The angels beheld the hiding of His glory, that divinity might touch humanity. Christ ever retained the utmost hatred for sin, but He loved the purchase of His blood. He suffered in the place of sinful men, taking them into union with Himself…Christ could have done nothing during His earthly ministry in saving fallen man if the divine had not been blended with the human.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary p. 904

Lesson 3

Sabbath

GOD’S EFFORT OF LOVE

“And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” Genesis 3:15

OBJECTIVES

  • Observe God’s effort to create in man the desire for the original union enjoyed with God.
    • Exploring how enmity with Satan and his seed was initiated.
    • Understand how the curses proclaimed by God could benefit man.

IMPLANT OF ENMITY

1.         What attitude toward God and toward Satan did the fall create in man, and what did Satan become to sinners? 1 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 8:7; 1 John 3:8; John 8:44

            “…The flattering hope of entering a higher state of knowledge had led her to think that the serpent was her especial friend, possessing a great interest in her welfare.” –Story of Redemption p. 37

2.         Because Satan so wickedly stole mans affections from God their rightful Father, what measure did God introduce to provide man with an option to choose the Heavenly Father as the object of his affections again? Genesis 3:15; Romans 2:14, 15

            “As through Christ every human being has life, so also through Him every soul receives some ray of divine light. Not only intellectual but spiritual power, a perception of right, a desire for goodness, exists in every heart. But against these principles there is struggling an antagonistic power. The result of the eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is manifest in every man’s experience. There is in his nature a bent to evil, a force which, unaided, he cannot resist” –Education p. 29

3.         From the proceeding note what is the suggested ingredient that God exercised to constitute the implant of enmity against Satan and his seed? Acts 17:27, 28; Ps 66:8, 9

“Wherever there is an impulse of love and sympathy, wherever the heart reaches out to bless and uplift others, there is revealed the working of God’s Holy Spirit. In the depths of heathenism, men who have had no knowledge of the written law of God, who have never even heard the name of Christ, have been kind to His servants, protecting them at the risk of their own lives. Their acts show the working of a divine power.” –Christ Object Lessons p. 385

THE LIGHT THAT LIGHTS EVERY MAN

4.         What does God’s Holy Spirit reveal regarding this ingredient in everyman’s heart? John 1:1, 4, 9-12

“The enmity put between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman was supernatural. With Christ the enmity was in one sense natural; in another sense it was supernatural, as humanity and divinity were combined. And never was the enmity developed to such a marked degree as when Christ became an inhabitant of this earth. Never before had there been a being upon the earth who hated sin with so perfect a hatred as did Christ. He had seen its deceiving, infatuating power upon the holy angels, and all His powers were enlisted against it. The purity and holiness of Christ, the spotless righteousness of Him who did no sin, was a perpetual reproach upon all sin in a world of sensuality and sin. In His life the light of truth was flashed amid the moral darkness with which Satan had enshrouded the world. Christ exposed Satan’s falsehoods and deceiving character, and in many hearts destroyed his corrupting influence.” –Selected Messages Vol. 1, p. 254

5.         What is the activity of this enmity that re-ignites a love for God and creates a hatred for sin and Satan?            Philippians 2:13; Hebrews 13:20, 21

            “Christ is the source of every right impulse. He is the only one that can implant in the heart enmity against sin. Every desire for truth and purity, every conviction of our own sinfulness, is an evidence that His Spirit is moving upon our hearts.” –Steps to Christ p. 26

“…when the light from Christ shines into our souls, we shall see how impure we are; we shall discern the selfishness of motive, the enmity against God, that has defiled every act of life.” –ibid p.28, 29

“The same divine mind that is working upon the things of nature is speaking to the hearts of men and creating an inexpressible craving for something they have not. The things of the world cannot satisfy their longing. The Spirit of God is pleading with them to seek for those things that alone can give peace and rest–the grace of Christ, the joy of holiness. Through influences seen and unseen, our Saviour is constantly at work to attract the minds of men from the unsatisfying pleasures of sin to the infinite blessings that may be theirs in Him.” –ibid p. 28

THE CURSES, A BLESSING

6.         To prevent man from plunging recklessly into sin, and death by sin, what else did God do in His effort of love? Genesis 3:17-19

            “…contrary to His command, they had eaten of the forbidden tree, and now they would continue to eat of it–they would have the knowledge of evil–all the days of their life. From that time the race would be afflicted by Satan’s temptations. Instead of the happy labor heretofore appointed them, anxiety and toil were to be their lot. They would be subject to disappointment, grief, and pain, and finally to death.” –Patriarchs and Prophets p. 59.3

“And the life of toil and care which was henceforth to be man’s lot was appointed in love. It was a discipline rendered needful by his sin, to place a check upon the indulgence of appetite and passion, to develop habits of self-control. It was a part of God’s great plan of man’s recovery from the ruin and degradation of sin.” –ibid p. 60.

7.         What blessing was there in the first curse pronounced upon the woman? Genesis 3:16 (first part) 1 Timothy 2:14, 15

8.         Was the second curse upon the woman also part of God’s effort of love in the plan of redemption? Genesis 3:16 (last part) 1 Corinthians 11:3; 1Timothy 2:11-14  

“In the creation God had made her the equal of Adam. Had they remained obedient to God–in harmony with His great law of love–they would ever have been in harmony with each other; but sin had brought discord, and now their union could be maintained and harmony preserved only by submission on the part of the one or the other.” – Patriarchs and Prophets p. 58

“But after Eve’s sin, as she was first in the transgression, the Lord told her that Adam should rule over her. She was to be in subjection to her husband, and this was a part of the curse…Infinite wisdom devised the plan of redemption, which places the race on a second probation by giving them another trial.” –Testimonies for the Church Vol. 3, p. 484

“It is the duty of the wife to yield her wishes and will to her husband. Both should be yielding, but the word of God gives preference to the judgment of the husband. And it will not detract from the dignity of the wife to yield to him whom she has chosen to be her counselor, adviser, and protector.”

Testimonies for the Church Vol. 1, p. 307

SUMMARY

“It was God’s purpose to remove by toil the evil which man brought into the world by disobedience. By toil the temptations of Satan might be made ineffectual, and the tide of evil be stayed. The Son of God was given to the world, by His death to make atonement for the sins of the world, by His life to teach men how the plans of the enemy were to be thwarted. Taking upon Himself the nature of man, Christ entered into the sympathies and interests of His brethren, and by a life of untiring labor taught how men might become laborers together with God in the building up of His kingdom in the world.” –Fundamentals of Christian Education p.513

Lesson 4

Sabbath

ISRAEL AND THE SERPENTS

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:” John 3:14

OBJECTIVES

  • To recognize that life on earth after the fall is symbolized by the Hebrews path through the wilderness.
  • To identify the serpents that continually bite us.
  • To learn the lesson of trusting God’s provision as the antidote for the poison of sin.

THE WILDERNESS OF SIN

1.         What did God have to do in consequence of our first parents fall? Genesis 3:22-24. And what contrasting surroundings met their senses? Genesis 3:18

“In humility and unutterable sadness they bade farewell to their beautiful home and went forth to dwell upon the earth, where rested the curse of sin. The atmosphere, once so mild and uniform in temperature, was now subject to marked changes, and the Lord mercifully provided them with a garment of skins as a protection from the extremes of heat and cold.” –Patriarchs and Prophets p. 61.5

“In drooping flower and falling leaf Adam and his companion witnessed the first signs of decay…Even the air, upon which their life depended, bore the seeds of death.” –Education p.26

“After his expulsion from Eden Adam’s life on earth was filled with sorrow. Every dying leaf, every victim of sacrifice, every blight upon the fair face of nature, every stain upon man’s purity, were fresh reminders of his sin.” –Adventist Home p. 540

2.         What parallel life experience did God bring about as a parable to describe life on earth after the fall? Deut 8:15; Numbers 21:6-9

3.         Why can we conclude that this was a symbolic picture of life on the sinful planet? John 3:14-16

            “The brazen serpent was uplifted in the wilderness that those who looked in faith might be made whole. In like manner God sends a restoring, healing message to men, calling upon them to look away from man and earthly things, and place their trust in God.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 1, p.1116

THE SERPENTS SEED

4.         As Jesus gave the parallel of the serpents in the wilderness with the life story of man, who was the first serpent that injected poison into humanity? Genesis 3:1-6. What was his sting? 1 Corinthians 15:56; Romans 5:12

5.         Following this deadly sting what provision did God make for the offspring of Believing Adam and Eve? Genesis 3:15; Hebrews 2:14-16

            “Satan bruised Christ’s heel, but Christ bruised Satan’s head. Through death the Saviour destroyed him that had the power of death. In the very act of grasping his prey, death was vanquished; for by dying, Christ brought to light life and immortality through the gospel…By becoming the sin bearer, He lifted from the human race the curse of sin. In His own body He paid the penalty of that on which the power of Satan over humanity is founded–sin” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.7, p.924

6.         What did God reveal in Genesis 3:15 that helps us to comprehend question 2? Matt 3:7, 23:33; John 8:44. Like their father the serpent, what do they do? Psalms 140:1-3

THE WOMAN’S SEED

7.         As the serpent has his offspring, who are the woman’s seed? Jeremiah 6:2; Isaiah 51:16 Galatians 4:26-28; Isaiah 66:8-13. And how are they endangered by the serpents? Revelation 12:1-5, 9, 12, 17

            OUR LIFE BUSINESS

8.         Surrounded by these ferocious biting serpents, what must the Children of the woman do? Isaiah 45:22; John 12:32     

            “In the wilderness, when the Lord permitted poisonous serpents to sting the rebellious Israelites, Moses was directed to lift up a brazen serpent and bid all the wounded look to it and live….If you are conscious of your sins, do not devote all your powers to mourning over them, but look and live. Jesus is our only Saviour; and although millions who need to be healed will reject His offered mercy, not one who trusts in His merits will be left to perish.” –Selected Messages Vol. 1 p.352

“Unless he makes it his life business to behold the uplifted Saviour, and by faith to accept the merits which it is his privilege to claim, the sinner can no more be saved than Peter could walk upon the water unless he kept his eyes fixed steadily upon Jesus.” –Testimonies to Ministers p.93

9.         What does it mean to look upon the serpent on the stick? 2 Corinthians 3:18.

            “The people well knew that in itself the serpent had no power to help them. It was a symbol of Christ. As the image made in the likeness of the destroying serpents was lifted up for their healing, so One made “in the likeness of sinful flesh” was to be their Redeemer.” –Desire of Ages pp. 174, 5

“Beholding Christ means studying His life as given in His Word. We are to dig for truth as for hidden treasure. We are to fix our eyes upon Christ. When we take Him as our personal Saviour, this gives us boldness to approach the throne of grace. By beholding we become changed, morally assimilated to the One who is perfect in character. By receiving His imputed righteousness, through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, we become like Him. The image of Christ is cherished, and it captivates the whole being” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.6 p. 1098

Lesson 5

Sabbath

CONFLICT IN THE SOUL

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” Galatians 5:17

OBJECTIVES

  • To appreciate the conflict that takes place in every human being and how it becomes intensified in a believer.
  • To accentuate the sense of the need of help we require in this conflict.
  • To discover this help in Jesus Christ.

EVERY MAN’S CONFLICT

1.         As in lesson 3, sin created enmity to God (Romans 8:7) and God in mercy created enmity against sin; what baleful experience was mankind subject to ever since Romans 2:11, 12, 14, 15

“Christ is the “Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” John 1:9. As through Christ every human being has life, so also through Him every soul receives some ray of divine light. Not only intellectual but spiritual power, a perception of right, a desire for goodness, exists in every heart. But against these principles there is struggling an antagonistic power. The result of the eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is manifest in every man’s experience. There is in his nature a bent to evil, a force which, unaided, he cannot resist.” –Education p. 29

“Against every evildoer God’s law utters condemnation. He may disregard that voice, he may seek to drown its warning, but in vain. It follows him. It makes itself heard. It destroys his peace. If unheeded, it pursues him to the grave. It bears witness against him at the judgement. A quenchless fire, it consumes at last soul and body.” –Education pp. 144, 5

2.         Why does the human being find it impossible to follow the desire for goodness that exists in his heart? Jeremiah 17:1, 9; 13:23

            “Through sin the whole human organism is deranged, the mind is perverted, the imagination corrupted. Sin has degraded the faculties of the soul. Temptations from without find an answering chord within the heart, and the feet turn imperceptibly toward evil.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 8, p. 312

THE CHOICE THAT INTENSIFIES THE CONFLICT

3.         What kind of help was sent if a man chooses to turn to God? John 1:12, 13; 3:5, 6: 14:16-18

            “Wonderful opportunities are opened before the human agent to understand the unsearchable riches of the wisdom of God. In this work, which nothing less than divine power can accomplish, nothing can be perfected without the cooperation of the human agent. Then the divine and the human are blended, as in the life of the Son of God. . . .” –Upward Look p. 22

4.         What happens when the Holy Spirit comes in to help? 1 Corinthians 2:9-12, 15, 16; Colossians 3:9, 10

            “Only under the direction of the Omniscient One shall we, in the study of His works, be enabled to think His thoughts after Him.” –Education p. 134

5.         With that mind in our human body, how does our deranged human organism react? Galatians 5:17; Romans 7:22-24

“Every Christian will be assailed by the allurements of the world, the clamors of the carnal nature, and the direct temptations of Satan. No one is safe.” –Testimonies for the Church Vol. 5, p. 102

“In our own strength it is impossible for us to deny the clamors of our fallen nature. Through this channel Satan will bring temptation upon us.” –Desire of Ages p. 122

HELP IN THE CONFLICT

6.         How are the clamours of our carnal nature experienced by us and where is our help in this conflict? Romans 7:24, 25; Hebrew 2:17, 18 and 4:15, 16

            “There are thoughts and feelings suggested and aroused by Satan that annoy even the best of men; but if they are not cherished, if they are repulsed as hateful, the soul is not contaminated with guilt, and no other is defiled by their influence.” –Mind, Character and Personality Vol. 2, p. 432

“Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, did as He was told even if the task was not agreeable to His feelings.” –Our High Calling p. 264

7.         Did Jesus really experience the clamours of the carnal nature and what did He do with them? Romans 8:2, 3; 1 Peter 2:24

            “By experiencing in Himself the strength of Satan’s temptation, and of human sufferings and infirmities, He would know how to succor those who should put forth efforts to help themselves.” –Review and Herald, March 18, 1875

“Only by the inexpressible anguish which Christ endured can we estimate the evil of unrestrained indulgence. His example declares that our only hope of eternal life is through bringing the appetites and passions into subjection to the will of God. In our own strength it is impossible for us to deny the clamors of our fallen nature. …by passing over the ground which man must travel, our Lord has prepared the way for us to overcome. It is not His will that we should be placed at a disadvantage in the conflict with Satan. He would not have us intimidated and discouraged by the assaults of the serpent. “Be of good cheer,” He says; “I have overcome the world.” John 16:33.”–Desire of Ages pp. 122, 3

8.         With such a visible help in the conflict of our soul, what are we admonished to do? Hebrews 12:2-4

“The victory gained was designed, not only to set an example to those who have fallen under the power of appetite, but to qualify the Redeemer for his special work of reaching to the very depths of human woe. By experiencing in himself the strength of Satan’s temptation, and of human sufferings and infirmities, he would know how to succor those who should put forth efforts to help themselves.” –Review and Herald, March 18, 1875

“Those who overcome will follow the example of Christ by bringing bodily appetites and passions under the control of enlightened conscience and reason.” –Review and Herald, March 4, 1875

REFLECTIONS

  • Consider prayerfully the very real intimate knowledge Jesus has of our/your personal sufferings in temptation. “He is a brother in our infirmities, “in all points tempted like as we are;” but as the sinless one His nature recoiled from evil; He endured struggles and torture of soul in a world of sin.” –Steps to Christ pp. 93, 94

Lesson 6

Sabbath

THE SERPENT OF BRASS

“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

OBJECTIVES

  • To become acquainted with the reality that Jesus Christ was made to be sin itself.
  • To explore what that fact means to us.
  • That we may understand that looking to Jesus does not have an effect of magic on our being, but that the comprehension of this truth might endear our hearts to God, and break the spell Satan has on our thinking in order to act our part in the science of redemption.

CHRIST’S IDENTIFICATION WITH THE SERPENT

1.         Having been admonished to look to Jesus in our internal conflict, what element in us must first be impacted by the look? Romans 6:6; Colossians 2:11, 12

2.         How does this body of sin itself become affected by beholding Jesus? 2 Corinthians 5:21; Colossians 1:21, 22

            “He, the Sin Bearer, endures the wrath of divine justice, and for thy sake becomes sin itself.” –Desire of Ages p. 756

“As man’s substitute and surety, the iniquity of men was laid upon Christ; He was counted a transgressor that He might redeem them from the curse of the law. The guilt of every descendant of Adam of every age was pressing upon His heart; and the wrath of God and the terrible manifestation of His displeasure because of iniquity, filled the soul of His Son with consternation. The withdrawal of the divine countenance from the Saviour in this hour of supreme anguish pierced His heart with a sorrow that can never be fully understood by man. Every pang endured by the Son of God upon the cross, the blood drops that flowed from His head, His hands and feet, the convulsions of agony which racked His frame, and the unutterable anguish that filled His soul at the hiding of His Father’s face from Him, speak to man, saying, It is for love of thee that the Son of God consents to have these heinous crimes laid upon Him; for thee He spoils the domain of death…He, the sin-bearer, endures judicial punishment for iniquity and becomes sin itself for man.” –The Story of Redemption p. 225

3.         How is this identification with sin in the body of Jesus symbolized in Scripture? Numbers 21:9; John 3:14, 15

            “What a strange symbol of Christ was that likeness of the serpents which stung them. This symbol was lifted on a pole, and they were to look to it, and be healed. So Jesus was made in the likeness of sinful flesh. He came as the sin-bearer. . . .” –Sons and Daughters p. 222

4.         What further significance is embodied in the symbol of the serpent of brass, the alloy of copper and tin – a blend? Ezra 8:27; Isaiah 1:25

            “Was the human nature of the Son of Mary changed into the divine nature of the Son of God? No; the two natures were mysteriously blended in one person–the man Christ Jesus.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p. 1113

“The two expressions “human” and “divine” were, in Christ, closely and inseparably one…” –ibid p. 1129

“As a member of the human family, He was mortal; but as a God, He was the fountain of life to the world.” –ibid p. 1127

“Since the fall the race had been decreasing in size and physical strength, and sinking lower in the scale of moral worth, up to the period of Christ’s advent to the earth. And in order to elevate fallen man, Christ must reach him where he was. He took human nature, and bore the infirmities and degeneracy of the race. He, who knew no sin, became sin for us.” – ibid p. 1081

THE LOOK OF FAITH

5.         As beholding Christ means, studying His life as given in His Word, what benefit can you derive from the revelation of the past four questions? John 16:13, 14; Romans 8:2-4; 1 Peter 2:24

            “We cannot appreciate our Redeemer in the highest sense until we can see Him by the eye of faith reaching to the very depths of human wretchedness, taking upon Himself the nature of man, the capacity to suffer, and by suffering putting forth His divine power to save and lift sinners up to companionship with Himself. O why have we so little sense of sin? Why so little penitence? It is because we do not come nearer the cross of Christ. Conscience becomes hardened through the deceitfulness of sin, because we remain away from Christ. Consider the Captain of our salvation. He suffered shame for us that we might not suffer everlasting shame and contempt. He suffered on the cross, that mercy might be granted to fallen man.” –That I May Know Him p. 287

6.         Having such a vivid picture before our minds eye through the revelation of the Holy Spirit, what will we be prepared to do, and what will happen to us? 1Peter 2:21; Romans 6:5-7; Ephesians 2:8-10

            “While we look constantly to Him whom our sins have pierced and our sorrows have burdened, we shall acquire strength to be like Him. We shall bind ourselves in willing, happy, captivity to Jesus Christ.” – ibid p.278

NO MAGICAL CHANGE

7.         As we gain strength by looking constantly to Jesus, what will that strength bring about in our life? 2 Corinthians 3:18; Philippians 2:12-15

            “But those who are waiting to behold a magical change in their characters without determined effort on their part to overcome sin, will be disappointed. We have no reason to fear while looking to Jesus, no reason to doubt but that He is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto Him;” –Selected Messages Vol. 1, p.336

“The work of gaining salvation is one of co-partnership, a joint operation. There is to be co-operation between God and the repentant sinner. This is necessary for the formation of right principles in the character. Man is to make earnest efforts to overcome that which hinders him from attaining to perfection. But he is wholly dependent upon God for success. Human effort of itself is not sufficient. Without the aid of divine power it avails nothing. God works and man works. Resistance of temptation must come from man, who must draw his power from God.” –Acts of the Apostles p. 482

REFLECTION

  • Have you received Jesus as reflected in this lesson so that John 1:12 is real to you personally? “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:”

Lesson 7

Sabbath

THE FACILITIES OF ATONEMENT

Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” John 14:23

OBJECTIVES

  • To appreciate the personal help of the Godhead.
  • To understand the Godhead.
  • To glean the benefits of the understanding of the Godhead.

GOD’S PLEDGE

1.         What has God pledged for those who have come to understand their true and utter helpless condition in consequence of the fall of our first parents? 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18; Isaiah 41:10, 13, 14

            “When we have accepted Christ, and in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit have pledged ourselves to serve God, the Father, Christ, and the Holy Spirit–the three dignitaries and powers of heaven–pledge themselves that every facility shall be given to us if we carry out our baptismal vows to “come out from among them, and be . . . separate, . . . and touch not the unclean thing.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentaries Vol. 6, p.1075

2.         In pledging themselves that every facility be given us; What does scripture manifest of this “Heavenly Trio” that could be appreciated as facilities to help us? 2 Corinthians 6:18 (last part); Isaiah 9:6; Hebrews 5:8, 9; John 14:16-18, 16:13, 14

BEHOLDING THE GODHEAD

3.         Does the bible speak of the Godhead? What could be meant by such a term? Romans 1:20, Acts 17:29; Colossians 2:9, 10; Matthew 28:19

            “There are three living persons of the heavenly trio; in the name of these three great powers –the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit–those who receive Christ by living faith are baptized, and these powers will co-operate with the obedient subjects of heaven in their efforts to live the new life in Christ.” –Evangelism p. 615

4.         How do the following two scriptures reveal that three divine personages indeed are interrelating in reference to the inhabitants of earth? Isaiah 48:16; John 14:16, 17

            “The Father is all the fullness of the Godhead bodily, and is invisible to mortal sight. The Son is all the fullness of the Godhead manifested. The Word of God declares Him to be “the express image of His person…The Comforter that Christ promised to send after He ascended to heaven, is the Spirit in all the fullness of the Godhead, making manifest the power of divine grace to all who receive and believe in Christ as a personal Saviour.” –Evangelism pp. 614, 615

SUCH KNOWLEDGE SAVES

5.         What did Jesus reveal about the benefit of the knowledge of this revelation of God, and what right does scripture give us to glory in this? John 17:3; Jeremiah 9:23, 24

            “What we need is to know God and the power of His love, as revealed in Christ, by an experimental knowledge. We must search the Scriptures diligently, prayerfully; our understanding must be quickened by the Holy Spirit, and our hearts must be uplifted to God in faith and hope and continual praise.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary  Vol. 5 pp. 743, 744

“The knowledge of God as revealed in Christ is the knowledge that all who are saved must have. It is the knowledge that works transformation of character. This knowledge, received, will re-create the soul in the image of God. It will impart to the whole being a spiritual power that is divine.” – Ministry of Healing p. 425

6.         Why does the believer who embraces this knowledge never suffer loneliness? John 17:20-23; 14:16, 18, (margin) 23; 2 Corinthians 13:13

            “Jesus is attractive. He is full of love, mercy, and compassion. He proposes to be our friend, to walk with us through all the rough pathways of life. He says to you, I am the Lord thy God; walk with Me, and I will fill thy path with light. Jesus, the Majesty of heaven, proposes to elevate to companionship with Himself those who come to Him with their burdens, their weaknesses, and their cares… It is our privilege to have a calm, close, happy walk with Jesus every day we live.” –That I May Know Him p. 320

            “Do not forget that you have a Comforter, the Holy Spirit, which Christ has appointed. You are never alone.” –Adventist Home p. 320

7.         How intimately can this sense of companionship knowledge actually be experienced? John 14:17; Revelation 3:20; Romans 8:14-16

            “If you will listen to the voice that now speaks to you, if you will respond without delay to the knocking at the door of your heart, “Come in, Lord Jesus, that I may sup with Thee, and Thee with me,” the heavenly Guest will enter. When this element, which is all divine, abides with you, there is peace and rest.” –Adventist Home p.320

REFLECTIONS

  • Have your perceptions of the Godhead prevented you from appreciating that a literal person was seeking to enter your personal space?
  • Have you been alone in the chambers of your heart, trying to direct your path by the perceptions of your own analytical skills?
  • Or are you yearning for the intervention of an intelligence higher than yours to implant perceptions in the inner man that you can be confident will not miss guide you?

Lesson 8

Sabbath

GOD – THE FATHER

“And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18

OBJECTIVES

  • To understand the role of the first person of the Godhead in the plan of redemption.
  • To appreciate His position toward all the inhabitants of the universe.
  • To comprehend the real efficacy of the facility this person of the Godhead pledges to us.

SENDER OF THE RANSOM

1.         What is in the heart of the Father as He beholds the condition of fallen man in his separation from the life giver, and the terrible consequences that this separation brings? Psalms 103:13, 14; John 3:16-18

            “Through the cross we learn that our heavenly Father loves us with an infinite and everlasting love, and draws us to Him with more than a mother’s yearning sympathy for a wayward child.” – Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p. 1133.

2.         With such a love pulsating in the Father’s heart for those estranged from Him, what deeper dimensions of His love do we see in His action in the one He sent? Isaiah 48:16; Romans 8:31, 32.

            “The light of the knowledge of the glory of God is revealed in the face of Jesus Christ; and the words of pardon are spoken: Live, O ye guilty sinners, live. Your repentance is accepted; for I have found a ransom.” – Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p. 1133

“But this great sacrifice was not made in order to create in the Father’s heart a love for man, not to make Him willing to save. No, no! “God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son.” John 3:16. The Father loves us, not because of the great propitiation, but He provided the propitiation because He loves us. Christ was the medium through which He could pour out His infinite love upon a fallen world… Jesus said, “Therefore doth My Father love Me, because I lay down My life, that I might take it again.” John 10:17. That is, “My Father has so loved you that He even loves Me more for giving My life to redeem you. In becoming your Substitute and Surety, by surrendering My life, by taking your liabilities, your transgressions, I am endeared to My Father; for by My sacrifice, God can be just, and yet the Justifier of him who believeth in Jesus.” –Steps to Christ pp. 13, 14

FATHER OF LIGHTS

3.         Why is the first person of the Godhead related to as Father? Ephesians 3:14, 15; Psalms 90:1, 2

4.         Seeing this person as the source of all living creatures the source of His family, how clearly does the Bible reveal this? Daniel 7:9; Hebrew 12:9 (last part); James 1:17; Job 1:6, 7

            “The Ancient of Days is God the Father…. It is He, the source of all being, and the fountain of all law, that is to preside in the judgment.” –Great Controversy p. 479

FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

5.         To whom else was the first person of the Godhead declared to be a Father? Ephesians 3:14; Hebrews 1:5

            “The Scriptures clearly indicate the relation between God and Christ, and they bring to view as clearly the personality and individuality of each… God is the Father of Christ; Christ is the Son of God. To Christ has been given an exalted position. He has been made equal with the Father. All the counsels of God are opened to His Son.” –Testimonies for the Church Vol. 8, p. 268       

6.         What honour will the Father of Christ extend to all who receive Christ as their personal Saviour? John 12:26, 1:12, 13; 1 John 3:1-3

            “What love, what matchless love, that, sinners and aliens as we are, we may be brought back to God and adopted into His family! We may address Him by the endearing name, “Our Father,” which is a sign of our affection for Him and a pledge of His tender regard and relationship to us. And the Son of God, beholding the heirs of grace, “is not ashamed to call them brethren.” They have even a more sacred relationship to God than have the angels who have never fallen.” –Testimonies for the Church Vol. 5, pp. 739, 740

RECOGNIZING THE PLEDGED FACILITY

7.         What real benefit is there in that the first person of the Godhead is our Father? 2 Corinthians 6:18; Romans 8:31-34, 15-17; Matthew 5:48

            “Our Saviour took up the true relationship of a human being as the Son of God. We are sons and daughters of God. In order to know how to behave ourselves circumspectly, we must follow where Christ leads the way.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p. 1085

8.         How will our Father treat us in order that we will be perfect as He is perfect? Hebrews 12:5-11

REFLECTIONS

  • Do you have a true appreciation of the role of the first Person of the Godhead in your life?
  • Did you understand at the time of your baptism, that the facility this person pledged himself to provide was the parental training of a loving understanding Father?
  • Will you submit yourself to His training in order to gain the character fit for a place in Heaven?

“And what is the happiness of heaven but to see God? What greater joy could come to the sinner saved by the grace of Christ than to look upon the face of God and know Him as Father?” –The Faith I Live By p.130

Lesson 9

Sabbath

GOD – THE WORD

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

OBJECTIVES

  • To discover the distinction between the title “The Word” and that of the “Son of God”
  • To appreciate the eternal, self-existent entity of the second person of the Godhead, as a separate person from the Father.
  • That we may have evidence that the man, Jesus Christ was verily a manifestation of God Himself in Human flesh.

THE WORD WITH GOD

1.         What significance is there in the record of God creating man in His own image as evidence of the God-head? Genesis 1:26, 27. Who was with Him to say “let us make man,” and what was this person identified as? John 1:1-4.

            “If Christ made all things, He existed before all things. The words spoken in regard to this are so decisive that no one need be left in doubt. Christ was God essentially, and in the highest sense. He was with God from all eternity. God over all, blessed forevermore.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 5, p. 1126

2.         What other evidence reveals the identity of God with the Word? Revelation 1:8, 11, 16 and 19:11-16.

FROM EVERLASTING

3.         Was there ever a time in which only God the Father existed in the absence of God the Word? Proverbs 8:22, 23, 30; Micah 5:2.

            “And the Son of God declares concerning Himself: “The Lord possessed Me in the beginning of His way, before His works of old. I was set up from everlasting. . . . When He appointed the foundations of the earth: then I was by Him, as one brought up with Him: and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him.” –Patriarchs and Prophets p. 34

            “Christ is the pre-existent, self-existent Son of God…. In speaking of his pre-existence, Christ carries the mind back through dateless ages. He assures us that there never was a time when He was not in close fellowship with the eternal God.” –Signs of the Times, Aug 29 1900

4.         How did God the Father address the Word? Hebrews 1:8-10; Zech 13:7

THE WORD MADE FLESH

5.         How does the record combine the Word with the human race as a begotten being? John 1:14; Isaiah 7:14 and 9:6

            “Jesus was the Commander of heaven, one equal with God, and yet He condescended to lay aside His kingly crown, His royal robe, and clothed His divinity with humanity. The incarnation of Christ in human flesh is a mystery. He could have come to earth as one with a remarkable appearance, unlike the sons of men. His countenance could have shone with glory, and His form could have been of remarkable grace. He could have presented such an appearance as to charm the beholder; but this was not according to the plan devised in the courts of God. He was to bear the characteristics of the human family, and the Jewish race. In all respects the Son of God was to wear the same features as did other human beings.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 5, pp. 1130, 1131

6.         When the Word became flesh through birth what did the angel explain regarding this Son? Luke 1:30-32, 35. And what did this birth bring to man? Matthew 1:23.

            “In His incarnation He gained in a new sense the title of the Son of God. Said the angel to Mary, “The power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” While the Son of a human being, He became the Son of God in a new sense. Thus He stood in our world–the Son of God, yet allied by birth to the human race.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, pp. 1114, 1115

“In contemplating the incarnation of Christ in humanity, we stand baffled before an unfathomable mystery, that the human mind cannot comprehend. The more we reflect upon it, the more amazing does it appear. How wide is the contrast between the divinity of Christ and the helpless infant in Bethlehem’s manger! How can we span the distance between the mighty God and a helpless child? And yet the Creator of worlds, He in whom was the fullness of the Godhead bodily, was manifest in the helpless babe in the manger. Far higher than any of the angels, equal with the Father in dignity and glory, and yet wearing the garb of humanity! Divinity and humanity were mysteriously combined, and man and God became one.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p. 1130

ALL IN A NAME “I AM”

7.         Why was Jesus called the “Son of God” from Eternity? John 8:57, 58 Exodus 3:13, 14       

            “I AM means an eternal presence; the past, present, and future are alike with God. He sees the most remote events of past history and the far distant future with as clear a vision as we do those things which are transpiring daily…Christ was using the great name of God that was given to Moses to express the idea of the eternal presence” –That I May Know Him p. 12

“The Word existed as a divine being, even as the eternal Son of God, in union and oneness with His Father. From everlasting He was the Mediator of the covenant, the one in whom all nations of the earth, both Jews and Gentiles, if they accepted Him, were to be blessed. “The Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Before men or angels were created, the Word was with God, and was God.” –Selected Messages Vol. 1, p. 247

REFLECTIONS

  • The various titles applied to the second person of the Godhead appear to convey a variety of qualities of this Eternal Being.
  • As “God” “THE WORD” and “I AM” imply unmistakably that He is the eternal God, does “Son of God” contradict the pervious title meanings to suggest that at some distant eternal past He was begotten (born) of the Father?
  • From Question 7 it appears that “I AM” places the true meaning upon the title “Son of God”. That is, the omniscience of God had in place a covenant that required the role of a Son of God to be Mediator in the event of the fall of this planet.

Lesson 10

Sabbath

THE SON OF GOD

“I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” Psalms 2:7

OBJECTIVES

  • To confirm that the term “Son of God” was applied to the second person of the Godhead by decree, not by event of coming into existence by birth.
  • To recognize the decree and the birth at Bethlehem as the item in God’s eternal agenda as the expression of “I AM”
  • To learn how The Father will treat His sons and daughters by observing His treatment of the first begotten.

THE DECREE

1.         Following from the evidences of the previous lesson, what further evidence do we have that the “Son of God” was a title, not an event of being born to the Father? Psalms 2:7; compare Hebrews 1:1-5

2.         What was the event that rendered the decree as a reality in the all encompassing scope of the “I AM”? Luke 1:34, 35; Romans 1:3, 4

“The plan for our redemption was not an afterthought, a plan formulated after the fall of Adam. It was a revelation of “the mystery which hath been kept in silence through times eternal.” Rom. 16:25, R. V. It was an unfolding of the principles that from eternal ages have been the foundation of God’s throne. From the beginning, God and Christ knew of the apostasy of Satan, and of the fall of man through the deceptive power of the apostate. God did not ordain that sin should exist, but He foresaw its existence, and made provision to meet the terrible emergency. So great was His love for the world, that He covenanted to give His only-begotten Son, “that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16” – Desire of Ages p. 22

“While the Son of a human being, He became the Son of God in a new sense. Thus He stood in our world–the Son of God, yet allied by birth to the human race. . . . From all eternity Christ was united with the Father, and when He took upon Himself human nature, He was still one with God. He is the link that unites God with humanity” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, pp. 1114, 1115.

THE FIRST BEGOTTEN

3.         Besides the term Son of God, what other term, related to this, was applied to Jesus? Hebrew 1:6; 1 John 4:9; John 3:16; Romans 8:29; Matthew 1:25

4.         What do these three terms mean if Jesus was not literally begotten or born to God in the eternal past? Was Ephraim literally the firstborn? Jeremiah 31:9; Colossians 1:13-15. Was Jesus literally the firstborn of every creature? What did the firstborn of every creature really mean? Colossians 1:16-19

A SUBMISSIVE SON

5.         Please read Hebrews 1:5 last part again. If the first person of the Godhead would be to the second a Father and the second a son to the first, what significance is there in this for the human race? John 1:12, 13; Hebrews 5:7-9 and 2:10.

“In all His actions He must be the Son of God, that He might dwell among men as the representative of the Father. His work was to make others the sons of God…” –This Day with God p. 59

“Our Saviour took up the true relationship of a human being as the Son of God. We are sons and daughters of God. In order to know how to behave ourselves circumspectly, we must follow where Christ leads the way. For thirty years He lived the life of a perfect man, meeting the highest standard of perfection.” –Sons and Daughters p. 154

6.         What further evidence reveals that by receiving Jesus we become sons of God and proceed with Jesus as children of divine royalty learning obedience? 1 John 3:1-3; Romans 8:15-17; Galatians 4:1, 2.

            “God loves His obedient children. He has a kingdom prepared, not for disloyal subjects, but for His children whom He has tested and tried in a world marred and corrupted by sin. As obedient children, we have the privilege of relationship with God. “If children,” He says, “then heirs” to an immortal inheritance. . . . Christ and His people are one” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 6, p. 1077

7.         Recalling Romans 8:17 what is the suffering with Jesus by which we may be glorified together with Him? Hebrews 5:8 and 12:5-11; 1 Peter 4:1

            “It was through suffering that Jesus obtained the ministry of consolation. In all the affliction of humanity He is afflicted; and “in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted.” Isaiah 63:9; Hebrews 2:18. In this ministry every soul that has entered into the fellowship of His sufferings is privileged to share. “As the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.” 2 Corinthians 1:5.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing p. 13

8.         If Jesus is the first born, what does that make Him among the children of God as the example for their training? Romans 8:29; Hebrews 2:9-11

            “…as our Elder Brother He feels for all our woes. The Majesty of heaven held not Himself aloof from degraded, sinful humanity. We have not a high priest who is so high, so lifted up, that He cannot notice us or sympathize with us, but one who was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” –Testimonies for the Church Vol. 5, pp. 346, 347

REFLECTIONS

  • Reading Isaiah 55:8, 9 have you had trouble understanding the words that describe God’s thoughts regarding the First Begotten?
  • Is it evident that the title “Son of God” has been written for our sakes, so we can relate to the 2nd person of the Godhead from our perspective and comprehension?
  • Does the role model of Son of God appeal to us to provoke our response to unite ourselves to the Son of God in order to become joint heirs of God with Him?

Lesson 11

Sabbath

THE JOURNEY OF THE ATONEMENT

“And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.” John 3:13

OBJECTIVES

  • To explore the experience of Jesus on His journey from heaven down to the lowest depth of Human woe.
  • To permit the meditation of this journey to penetrate our hearts so we will be pleased to come down from our heaven of human pride so we may rise with Jesus to the heaven of divine humility.
  • To appreciate the closeness of God to us when we reach the sense of the true nature of our sinful condition.

COMING DOWN FROM HEAVEN

1.         Having clearly seen that Jesus was the “Son of God” meaning, one equal to God, What did He do to reach down to help us? Philippians 2:5-7; John 6:32, 33

            “Reasoning from prophecy, Christ gave His disciples a correct idea of what He was to be in humanity. Their expectation of a Messiah who was to take His throne and kingly power in accordance with the desires of men had been misleading. It would interfere with a correct apprehension of His descent from the highest to the lowest position that could be occupied. Christ desired that the ideas of His disciples might be pure and true in every specification.” –Desire of Ages p. 799

“He who was Commander in the heavenly courts laid aside His royal robe and kingly crown, and clothing His divinity with humanity, came to this world to stand at the head of the human race as the pattern-man. He humbled Himself to suffer with the race, to be afflicted in all their afflictions. The whole world was His, but so completely did He empty Himself that during His ministry He declared, “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 7, p. 904

“The tongue can never describe it; the imagination cannot take it in. The eternal Word consented to be made flesh! God became man! It was a wonderful humility” –That I May Know Him p. 68

2.         When the Son of God took upon himself the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men what did He experience in this transaction? What do the words of Luke 1:31-35 suggest as to the activity of the Holy Spirit upon the person of the Son of God?

“Christ, at an infinite cost, by a painful process, mysterious to angels as well as to men, assumed humanity. Hiding His divinity, laying aside His glory, He was born a babe in Bethlehem.” –Upward Look p. 90

“The Shekinah had departed from the sanctuary, but in the Child of Bethlehem was veiled the glory before which angels bow. This unconscious babe was the promised seed, to whom the first altar at the gate of Eden pointed. This was Shiloh, the peace giver. It was He who declared Himself to Moses as the I AM.” –Desire of Ages p. 52

GROWING TO MANHOOD

3.         Having suffered the painful process of reduction into unconscious embryonic conception and ultimate birth; how did His journey continue?

            Isaiah 7:14, 16; Luke 2:40; Isaiah 53:2

            “In the sunlight of His Father’s countenance, Jesus “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” Luke 2:52. His mind was active and penetrating, with a thoughtfulness and wisdom beyond His years. Yet His character was beautiful in its symmetry. The powers of mind and body developed gradually, in keeping with the laws of childhood.” –Desire of Ages p.68

“With deep earnestness the mother of Jesus watched the unfolding of His powers…” –ibid p.69

“His mother was His first human teacher. From her lips and from the scrolls of the prophets, He learned of heavenly things. The very words which He Himself had spoken to Moses for Israel He was now taught at His mother’s knee. As He advanced from childhood to youth, He did not seek the schools of the rabbis…God was His instructor.” –ibid p.70

“Since He gained knowledge as we may do, His intimate acquaintance with the Scriptures shows how diligently His early years were given to the study of God’s word.” –ibid p. 70

“From the first dawning of intelligence He was constantly growing in spiritual grace and knowledge of truth.” –ibid p.70

HE FOUND HIMSELF

4.         Having traveled from heaven through embryonic unconsciousness and over years of developing consciousness and learning, where and when did He find Himself? Philippians 2:8; Luke 2:42-49

            “For the first time the child Jesus looked upon the temple. He saw the white-robed priests performing their solemn ministry. He beheld the bleeding victim upon the altar of sacrifice. With the worshipers He bowed in prayer, while the cloud of incense ascended before God. He witnessed the impressive rites of the paschal service. Day by day He saw their meaning more clearly. Every act seemed to be bound up with His own life. New impulses were awakening within Him. Silent and absorbed, He seemed to be studying out a great problem. The mystery of His mission was opening to the Saviour.” –Desire of Ages p.78

“In the answer to His mother, Jesus showed for the first time that He understood His relation to God…He had disclaimed kinship to Joseph, and had declared His Sonship to God.” –Desire of Ages pp. 81, 82

JOURNEY OF HUMILIATION

5.         What characterized the life of Jesus for the next eighteen years? Luke 2:51; Isaiah 53:3

            “Because the life of Jesus condemned evil, He was opposed, both at home and abroad. His unselfishness and integrity were commented on with a sneer. His forbearance and kindness were termed cowardice. Of the bitterness that falls to the lot of humanity, there was no part which Christ did not taste. There were those who tried to cast contempt upon Him because of His birth, and even in His childhood He had to meet their scornful looks and evil whisperings. If He had responded by an impatient word or look, if He had conceded to His brothers by even one wrong act, He would have failed of being a perfect example. Thus He would have failed of carrying out the plan for our redemption. Had He even admitted that there could be an excuse for sin, Satan would have triumphed, and the world would have been lost. This is why the tempter worked to make His life as trying as possible, that He might be led to sin.” – Desire of Ages p. 88

6.         When at the age of thirty Jesus commenced His life of ministry how more intense was His journey of Humiliation? John 1:9, 10; Isaiah 49:4, 5

“As the world’s Redeemer, Christ was constantly confronted with apparent failure. He, the messenger of mercy to our world, seemed to do little of the work He longed to do in uplifting and saving. Satanic influences were constantly working to oppose His way.” –Desire of Ages p.678

END OF THE JOURNEY

7.         On Christ’s last journey to Jerusalem, what ominous future was Jesus conscious of? Where was it all to end? Mark 10:32-34; Philippians 2:8; Luke 22:37; Isaiah 53:4, 8, 10, 12

“But He stepped still lower; the Man must humble Himself as a man to bear insult, reproach, shameful accusations, and abuse…He was betrayed by one of His disciples; He was denied by one of His most zealous followers. He was mocked. He was crowned with a crown of thorns. He was scourged. He was forced to bear the burden of the cross.” –That I May Know Him p. 68

8.         In all His Journey for the Atonement what were the final dregs of His experience? How low did He come? 2 Corinthians 5:21; Lamentations 1:12-14; Psalms 40:12

            “All this humiliation of the Majesty of heaven was for guilty, condemned man. He went lower and lower in His humiliation, until there were no lower depths that He could reach, in order to lift man up from his moral defilement. All this was for you.” That I May Know Him p. 68

“If He drank of the cup of suffering, He must open His breast to the griefs and woes and sins of humanity.” –Signs of the Times November 25, 1889

“As one with us, He must bear the burden of our guilt and woe. The Sinless One must feel the shame of sin…Every sin, every discord, every defiling lust that transgression had brought, was torture to His spirit.” –Desire of Ages p. 111

REFLECTIONS

  • “When we see the length of the chain that was let down for us, when we understand something of the infinite sacrifice that Christ has made in our behalf, the heart is melted with tenderness and contrition.” –Steps to Christ p. 35
  • “Shall pride be harbored after you have seen Deity humbling Himself, and then as man debasing Himself, till there was no lower point to which He could descend?” –Review and Herald July 5, 1887

Lesson 12

Sabbath

THE HOLY SPIRIT

“He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” John 16:14

OBJECTIVES

  • To be enlightened of scriptural revealings regarding the Holy Spirit.
  • To become intelligent as to the role the Holy Spirit plays in our salvation.
  • To explore the interaction of the Holy Spirit with the Father and the Son.

PERSONA OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

1.         What do the scriptures reveal about the invisible personage of the Holy Spirit?

“We need to realize that the Holy Spirit…is as much a person as God is a person… The Holy Spirit has a personality, else He could not bear witness to our spirits and with our spirits that we are the children of God. He must also be a divine person, else He could not search out the secrets which lie hidden in the mind of God.” –Evangelism 616, 617

“The Holy Spirit is a free, working, independent agency. The God of heaven uses His Spirit as it pleases Him” –Faith I Live Byp. 521. 1 Corinthians 2.11 – He is capable of knowing.

2. 1 Corinthians 12:11 – He has a will.

3. Romans 8:27 – He has a mind.

4. Romans 15:30 – He loves.

5. 2 Corinthians 13:14 – He communes

6. Ephesians 4:30 – He feels grief

7. Hebrews 10:29 – He can be insulted

8.  Acts 5:9 – He can be tempted

9. Acts 5:3, 4 – He can be lied to.

2.         How easy is it for Human minds to comprehend the reality of the scriptural declarations of the Spirit of God? Psalms 139:1-6; John 3:8-12; Job 11:7

“Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. The carnal mind cannot comprehend these mysteries…The worldly-wise have attempted to explain upon scientific principles the influence of the Spirit of God upon the heart. The least advance in this direction will lead the soul into the mazes of skepticism.” –Testimonies for the Church Vol. 4, p. 585

“The greatness of God is to us incomprehensible. “The Lord’s throne is in heaven” (Psalm 11:4); yet by His Spirit He is everywhere present.” – Education p. 132

OFFICE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

3.         What position does the Hoy Spirit take in the work of our Salvation? Ephesians 4:30; Romans 8: 26, 27; John 16: 12, 13

            “The Comforter is called “the Spirit of truth.” His work is to define and maintain the truth. He first dwells in the heart as the Spirit of truth, and thus He becomes the Comforter. There is comfort and peace in the truth, but no real peace or comfort can be found in falsehood. . . . Through the Scriptures the Holy Spirit speaks to the mind, and impresses truth upon the heart.” –Faith I Live By p. 56

4.         In the light of the previous question and answer how does the Holy Spirit fit into the work of Jesus as He became one with us? John 17:19, 17 and 16:13, 14

            “The Holy Spirit was the highest of all gifts that He [Jesus] could solicit from His Father for the exaltation of His people. The Spirit was to be given as a regenerating agent, and without this the sacrifice of Christ would have been of no avail…It is the Spirit that makes effectual what has been wrought out by the world’s Redeemer. It is by the Spirit that the heart is made pure. Through the Spirit the believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Christ has given His Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress His own character upon His church.” –Desire of Ages p. 671

INTERACTIVE PARTNERSHIP

5.         What interactivity of the Holy Spirit with the Father and Jesus do we behold at creation? Genesis 1:1-3; Job 33:4; Genesis 1:26

6.         After man fell into Satan’s captivity can the same interaction of the Spirit with Father and Son be observed? Isaiah 48:16; Romans 8:26, 27

            “The Godhead was stirred with pity for the race, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit gave Themselves to the working out of the plan of redemption. In order fully to carry out this plan, it was decided that Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, should give Himself an offering for sin.” – Counsels on Health p. 222

“The prince of the power of evil can only be held in check by the power of God in the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit. We are to co-operate with the three highest powers in heaven,–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, –and these powers will work through us, making us workers together with God.” – Evangelism p. 617

7.         In the Throne room–Sanctuary–in heaven how is the Holy Spirit identified as present with Father and Son? Daniel 7:9, 10, 13; Revelation 4:2-5 and 5:6

REFELCTION

  • If our minds cannot comprehend how an invisible agency can be a person, should we doubt it?
  • In reflecting upon the scriptures and testimonies of this lesson do we not require the faith of a little child to read and believe the declarations of inspiration?
  • What are the benefits of believing the message of this lesson?
  • What will I lose if I reject the truth of the personal entity of the Holy Spirit with me?

Lesson 13

Sabbath

CHRIST IN YOU

“To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” Colossians 1:27

OBJECTIVES

  • To learn how the realities of the atonement of Jesus with us can be transmitted to us in experimental reality.
  • To appreciate the deliberate action of the soul required to make Jesus part of me.
  • To embrace the living assurance that Christ may in reality be in me.

THE EFFICACY OF THE SPIRIT

1.         We have learnt that the birth of Jesus was brought about by the action of the Holy Spirit upon Mary – What will the same action achieve upon the believer? John 3:5, 6; 2 Peter 1:2-4

“Those who are begotten unto a new life by the Holy Spirit, have become partakers of the divine nature, and in all their habits and practices they will give evidence of their relationship to Christ.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 6, p. 1101

2.         By what action of the Spirit is this birth effected? 1 Peter 1:23-25; 2 Peter 1:21

            “The Comforter is called “the Spirit of truth.” His work is to define and maintain the truth. He first dwells in the heart as the Spirit of truth, and thus He becomes the Comforter…Through the Scriptures the Holy Spirit speaks to the mind, and impresses truth upon the heart. Thus He exposes error, and expels it from the soul. It is by the Spirit of truth, working through the word of God, that Christ subdues His chosen people to Himself.” –Desire of Ages p. 671

“The understanding, the will, the affections, must be yielded to the control of the word of God. Then through the work of the Holy Spirit the precepts of the word will become the principles of the life.” –Ministry of Healing p. 514

WITH YOU – SHALL BE IN YOU

3.         How closely can the words of the Bible with you be instilled by the Holy Spirit? Deuteronomy 8:3; compare John 6:48-51, 53, 63

            “Christ used the figure of eating and drinking to represent that nearness to Him which all must have who are at last partakers with Him in His glory. The temporal food we eat is assimilated, giving strength and solidity to the body. In a similar manner, as we believe and receive the words of the Lord Jesus, they become a part of our spiritual life, bringing light and peace, hope and joy, and strengthening the soul as physical food strengthens the body” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p. 1135.

4.         From what we have learnt about the Holy Spirit – how can the assimilation of Jesus be realized by the human agent? John 14:16-18.

            “The Holy Spirit is Christ’s representative, but divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally. Therefore it was for their interest that He should go to the Father, and send the Spirit to be His successor on earth. No one could then have any advantage because of his location or his personal contact with Christ. By the Spirit the Saviour would be accessible to all. In this sense He would be nearer to them than if He had not ascended on high.” –Desire of Ages p. 669

RECEIVING OF CHRIST

5.         How can the Holy Spirit in the consecrated believer bring Jesus into the very person of the human instrument? John 16:13, 14

“With amazement they [disciples] read and reread the prophetic delineations of His character and work. How dimly had they comprehended the prophetic scriptures! how slow they had been in taking in the great truths which testified of Christ! Looking upon Him in His humiliation, as He walked a man among men, they had not understood the mystery of His incarnation, the dual character of His nature. Their eyes were holden, so that they did not fully recognize divinity in humanity. But after they were illuminated by the Holy Spirit, how they longed to see Him again, and to place themselves at His feet!” –Desire of Ages p. 507

6.         What did Christ do on earth that the Holy Spirit could take hold of and reveal into the very soul of the believer and thereby benefit the soul unto Salvation by Jesus Christ? John 17:17, 19; Romans 8:3, 4, 10-14

            “The Spirit was to be given as a regenerating agent, and without this the sacrifice of Christ would have been of no avail. The power of evil had been strengthening for centuries, and the submission of men to this satanic captivity was amazing. Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power. It is the Spirit that makes effectual what has been wrought out by the world’s Redeemer. It is by the Spirit that the heart is made pure. Through the Spirit the believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Christ has given His Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress His own character upon His church.” –Desire of Ages p. 671

APPLYING CHRIST

7.         Because the Holy Spirit can dwell in us rather than just with us, how confident can we be that the life and person of Jesus can in all reality be in us? 1 John 3:24; Colossians 1:27.

            “Christ became one flesh with us, in order that we might become one spirit with Him. It is by virtue of this union that we are to come forth from the grave,–not merely as a manifestation of the power of Christ, but because, through faith, His life has become ours. Those who see Christ in His true character, and receive Him into the heart, have everlasting life. It is through the Spirit that Christ dwells in us; and the Spirit of God, received into the heart by faith, is the beginning of the life eternal.” –Desire of Ages p.388

8.         What is written as to the effect of Christ in the soul? 2 Corinthians 4:6, 7 and 3:3; Isaiah 60:2, 3

            “The very image of God is to be reproduced in humanity. The honor of God, the honor of Christ, is involved in the perfection of the character of His people.” –Desire of Ages p.671

REFLECTIONS  Please read The Desire of Ages 671.4 to 672.

  • How is my reality? Does the word merely represent a set of doctrines to me, or is it inscribed as a reality in life and practice?
  • Is Jesus really a present living entity in me, or just one who lived 2,000 years ago?
  • Do I still require the Holy Spirit to make the mystery of the incarnation entirely clear to me as the disciples gained it after Pentecost?

 

Section 2 – Applying The Atonement

INTRODUCTION

The previous three months have hopefully illuminated us in reference to the part that God has in the work of Atonement. He initiated every element in the plan of salvation because we were so totally annihilated by sin from the love He had created us. We are dead in trespass and sins and are sin-sick. God has provided the remedy. Have you dear Sabbath School Student recognized these amazing provisions, the divine exertions manifested in the last three months study? If so does this not prompt us to express with the Jews at the Pentecost sermon “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Acts 2: 37.

If we can discern the wonders of the atonement what shall we do with it?

“The Atonement of Christ is not a mere skillful way to have our sins pardoned: it is a divine remedy for the cure of transgression and the restoration of spiritual health. It is the heaven – ordained means by which the righteousness of Christ may be not only upon us, but in our hearts and characters” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.6, p.1074

From these words of inspiration we can recognize our part. God has provided the remedy, the means; we must take the remedy to benefit.

Our knowledge of God’s methods to cure physical diseases tell us of our practical cooperation of skilful application of the remedy; whether in application of herbal teas, poultices or fomentation, hydrotherapy and massage. So likewise to take the divine remedy for “the cure of transgression and restoration of spiritual health” requires and understanding how to take hold of the remedy – the atonement – and skilfully apply it to the sin-sick soul.

This is the purpose of this quarter’s lesson. Study it with this in mind that you may know the reality of the words of 2 Corinthians 5:21.“For He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him”

Lesson 1

Sabbath

TAKING THE REMEDY

“I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.” John 6:51

OBJECTIVES

  • To reflect in the atonement and its incomprehensible ingredients by which we are to benefit.
  • To explore the means through which we can only absorb the atonement.
  • To engage our intellect to correctly read the revelations given.

THE GIFT OF THE SPIRIT

1.         Recalling our previous quarter’s studies why do we need the gift of the Holy Spirit to benefit from the atonement? John 16: 12-14

“Human science is too limited to comprehend the atonement. The plan of redemption is so far reaching that philosophy cannot explain it. It will ever remain a mystery that the most profound reasoning cannot fathom. The science of salvation cannot be explained.” –Desire of Ages pp. 494, 495

2.         How is it that we can know this science by experience? What does the indwelling Spirit do to bring this science into our comprehensible experience? John 14:17, 18

“The only way in which we can gain a more perfect apprehension of truth is by keeping the heart tender and subdued by the Spirit of Christ. The soul must be cleansed from vanity and pride, and vacated of all that has held it in possession, and Christ must be enthroned within…Only he who sees his own sinfulness can discern the preciousness of the Saviour” –Ibid. p. 494

THE ATONEMENT A REMEDY

3.         What will be the initial experience if the Holy Spirit dwells in us? Galatians 5:17; Romans. 7:18-23

“All who comprehend the spirituality of the law, all who realize it’s power as a detector of sin, are in just as helpless a condition as is Satan himself, unless they accept the atonement provided for them in the remedial sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who is our atonement – at-one-ment with God” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.6, p. 1077

“The Christian will feel the promptings of sin for the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, but the Spirit striveth against the flesh keeping up a constant warfare. Here is where Christ’s help is needed. Human weakness becomes untied to divine strength, and faith exclaims: But thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” –Sanctified Life pp. 92, 93

4.         When in our experience we see the sinfulness of our nature, what is the preciousness of the Saviour, which we will discern? 2 Corinthians 13:4; Romans 8:3, 4

“The atonement of Christ is not a mere skilful way to have our sins pardoned; it is a divine remedy for the cure of transgression and the restoration of spiritual health. It is the Heaven-ordained means by which the righteousness of Christ may be not only upon us but in our hearts and characters.” Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 6, p. 1074

“Through the union of the divine with the human nature Christ could enlighten the understanding and infuse His life-giving properties through the soul dead in trespasses and sins.” –Selected Messages Vol.1, p. 341

ABSORBING THE REMEDY

5.         If the atonement remedy can only be absorbed by a heart tenderized by a sense of one’s sinfulness, where in lies our only safety then to gain a righteous life? 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10; Isaiah 57:15

“All our good works are dependent on a power outside of ourselves. Therefore there needs to be a continual reaching out of the heart after God, a continual, earnest, heartbreaking confession of sin and humbling of the soul before Him. Only by constant renunciation of self and dependence on Christ can we walk safely. The nearer we come to Jesus and the more clearly we discern the purity of His character, the more clearly we shall discern the exceeding sinfulness of sin and the less we shall feel like exalting ourselves” –Christ Object Lessons p.160

6.         What elements in the character of Jesus will we discern that will hold us in this state of sin consciousness? Hebrews 12: 2-4; 1 Peter 2:21-24

“Oh, why have we so little sense of sin? Why so little penitence? It is because we do not come nearer the cross of Christ.” –That I May Know Him p. 287

“We cannot appreciate our Redeemer in the highest sense until we can see him by the eye of faith reaching to the very depths of human wretchedness, taking upon himself the nature of man, the capacity to suffer, and by suffering putting forth his divine power to save and lift sinners up to companionship with himself.” –ibid p. 287

INTELLIGENT INGESTION

7.         What does it mean in practical application to come near to Christ and visualize Him with the eye of faith? Ephesians 1:17-20

“Beholding Christ means studying His life as given in His Word. We are to dig for truth as for hidden treasure. We are to fix our eyes upon Christ…By beholding we become changed, morally assimilated to the One who is perfect in character. By receiving His imputed righteousness, through the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, we become like Him. The image of Christ is cherished, and it captivates the whole being.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 6, p. 1098

8.         How must we read so that the true experience of Jesus becomes clear to us and not mere self creates idea from false Bible teachers? Proverbs 30:5, 6; Isaiah 28: 9, 10; 2 Timothy 2:15; 2 Peter 3:16; 2 Corinthians 11:4

“The language of the Bible should be explained according to its obvious meaning, unless a symbol or figure is employed…If men would but take the Bible as it reads, if there were no false teachers to mislead and confuse their minds, a work would be accomplished that would make angels glad and that would bring into the fold of Christ thousands upon thousands who are now wandering in error” –Great Controversy p. 598

“Intelligent men preach at the Word and round the Word, but they do not touch its inner meaning. They do not present truth in its genuine simplicity” –Sign of the Times, January 11, 1899

REFLECTION:

  • Does the subject of the incarnation of Christ in human flesh arouse conflicting discussion in your church?
  • Be like Nicodemus – “Not through controversy and discussion is the soul enlightened. We must look and live. Nicodemus received the lesson, and carried it with him. He searched the Scriptures in a new way, not for the discussion of a theory, but in order to receive life for the soul. He began to see the kingdom of heaven as he submitted himself to the leading of the Holy Spirit”. –Desire of Ages p. 175
  • Do this with this quarter’s lesson.

Lesson 2

Sabbath

ATONEMENT-INGREDIENT OF DIVINITY

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” Luke 1:35

OBJECTIVES

  • To reconfirm that in the person Jesus dwelt the Divine Nature.
  • To let inspiration qualify the detailed identity of the Divine attributes in the Person of the man Jesus Christ.
  • To appreciate the blending of the divine with the human.

DIVINE NATURE IN THE HUMAN

1.         When the divine Son of God became man what does this inspiration reveal regarding the attribute of the divine in this man? Ephesians 2:14-16

“But although Christ’s divine glory was for a time veiled and eclipsed by His assuming humanity, yet He did not cease to be God when He became man. The human did not take the place of the divine, nor the divine of the human. This is the mystery of godliness. The two expressions “human” and “divine” were, in Christ, closely and inseparably one, and yet they had a distinct individuality. Though Christ humbled Himself to become man, the Godhead was still His own. His deity could not be lost while He stood faithful and true to His loyalty.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p. 1129

2.         Did Jesus ever use the divine glory of the Godhead inherent in Himself during His life among humanity? Philippians 2:6, 7; John 5:19, 30

“The Son of God had taken upon Himself man’s nature. He must do as man must do in like circumstances. Therefore He would not work a miracle to save Himself the pain and humiliation that man must endure when placed in a similar position.” –Desire of Ages p. 729

“He exercised in His own behalf no power that is not freely offered to us. As man, He met temptation, and overcame in the strength given Him from God.” –Desire of Ages p. 24

THE DIVINE MIND

3.         What divine element in Himself did Jesus use which He makes available to us in the atonement? Philippians 2:5, 8; 2 Timothy 1:7; 2 Peter 1:3, 4

“He clothed His divinity with humanity, He associated with the human race, that with His long human arm He might encircle humanity, and with His divine arm grasp the throne of Divinity. And this, that He might restore to man the original mind, which he lost in Eden through Satan’s alluring temptation.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 7 p. 926

4.         By receiving the divine mind in Jesus how will our thinking differ from our former mind? Galatians 2:20, i.e. Matt 11:29; Psalms 40:1-4

“The Saviour was deeply anxious for His disciples to understand for what purpose His divinity was united to humanity. He came to the world to display the glory of God, that man might be uplifted by its restoring power. God was manifested in Him that He might be manifested in them. Jesus revealed no qualities, and exercised no powers, that men may not have through faith in Him. His perfect humanity is that which all His followers may possess, if they will be in subjection to God as He was.” –Desire of Ages p. 664

DIVINE SELFLESSNESS

5.         What divine attribute does the mind of Jesus display that makes it so different to the mind that Satan has imparted to humanity? Luke 22:41, 42 and 9:23; Philippians 2:7; Romans 15:3

“The life of Christ was one of self-denial and self-sacrifice at every step. And His true follower, with consistent, Christ like tenderness and love, will follow in the footsteps of his Master.” –That I May Know Him p. 120

DIVINE PURITY

6.         What other attributes did this mind of Jesus harbour? Hebrews 7:26; 1 John 3:5

“Would that we could comprehend the significance of the words, Christ “suffered being tempted.” While He was free from the taint of sin, the refined sensibilities of His holy nature rendered contact with evil unspeakably painful to Him. Yet with human nature upon Him, He met the arch apostate face to face, and single-handed withstood the foe of His throne. Not even by a thought could Christ be brought to yield to the power of temptation.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.7, p. 927

“As the sinless one His nature recoiled from evil.” –Steps to Christ p.94

IMMORTALITY

7.         Who alone has immortality? 1Timothy 6:14-16.What did Jesus do in reference to this? 2 Timothy 1:10

“He could, in His divine person, ever have withstood the advances of death, and refused to come under its dominion; but He voluntarily laid down His life, that in so doing He might give life and bring immortality to light.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p. 1127

8.         What did Jesus say about the life that was in Him? John 10: 17, 18. Why could He say something like that? John 1:4, 9

“In Him was life; and the life was the light of men.” It is not physical life that is here specified, but eternal life, the life which is exclusively the property of God. The Word, who was with God, and who was God, had this life. Physical life is something, which each individual received. It is not eternal or immortal; for God, the Life giver takes it again. Man has no control over his life. But the life of Christ was unborrowed. No one can take this life from Him. “I lay it down of myself,” He said. In Him was life, original, unborrowed, underived. This life is not inherent in man. He can possess it only through Christ… This is the open fountain of life for the world.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p. 1130

REFLECTION

  • Can we begin to sense the value of the atonement?
  • A pure selfless mind blended in a human being, no wonder Apostle Paul exclaimed “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord”
  • Ponder the prospect of the combination of immortality blended with mortality- examine it in lesson No.8.

Lesson 3

Sabbath

ATONEMENT –INGREDIENT OF THE FLESH

“Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same” Hebrews 2:14

QUALIFICATION:

“Our impulses and passions have their seat in the body, and it must be kept in the best condition physically and under the most spiritual influences in order that our talents may be put to the highest use.” –Christ Object Lessons p, 346

OBJECTIVES

  • To understand whether Jesus had the flesh of Adam before or after the fall.
  • To explore the meaning of sinful flesh.
  • To appreciate the mortality of the flesh of Jesus.

THE FLESH OF UNFALLEN ADAM

1.         What does inspiration reveal about the body of Adam before the fall?

Genesis 1:27 and 2:7 then Genesis 1:31; Ecclesiastes 7:9

“Man was to bear God’s image, both in outward resemblance and in character…His nature was in harmony with the will of God. His mind was capable of comprehending divine things. His affections were pure; his appetites and passions were under the control of reason. As man came forth from the hand of his Creator, he was of lofty stature and perfect symmetry. His countenance bore the ruddy tint of health and glowed with the light of life and joy.” –Patriarchs and Prophets p. 45

2.         With such a body what was his internal physiology in its relation to His moral nature like? And what took place after sin?

“When Adam was assailed by the tempter in Eden he was without the taint of sin. He stood in the strength of his perfection before God. All the organs and faculties of his being were equally developed, and harmoniously balanced.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p. 1081

“Adam was tempted by the enemy, and he fell. It was not indwelling sin which caused him to yield; for God made him pure and upright, in His own image. He was as faultless as the angels before the throne. There were in him no corrupt principles, no tendencies to evil.” –Signs of the Times, October 17, 1900

“Through sin the whole human organism is deranged, the mind is perverted, the imagination corrupted. Sin has degraded the faculties of the soul.” –Testimonies for the Church Vol. 8, p. 312

LIKENESS OF SINFUL FLESH

3.         When the divine Word became at one with humanity, what was the nature of His flesh? John 1:14; Hebrews 2:14; Romans 8:3. What does that mean?

“He was in human nature. He took our infirmities. He was not only made flesh, but He was made in the likeness of sinful flesh.”-Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p.1124

“Through sin the whole human organism is deranged…Sin has degraded the faculties of the soul” -Testimonies for the Churches Vol. 8, p. 312

“Think of Christ’s humiliation. He took upon Himself fallen, suffering human nature, degraded and defiled by sin” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 4, p. 1147

“When Jesus took human nature, and became in fashion as a man, He possessed all the human organism.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p.1130

“He took our sorrows, bearing our grief and shame. He endured all the temptations wherewith man is beset. He united humanity with divinity: a divine spirit dwelt in a temple of flesh. He united Himself with the temple. The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” because by so doing He could associate with the sinful, sorrowing sons and daughters of Adam” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 4, p. 1147

4.         What is further revealed of His experience of the likeness of sinful flesh? Hebrews 5:7

“In what contrast is the second Adam as He entered the gloomy wilderness to cope with Satan single-handed. Since the fall the race had been decreasing in size and physical strength, and sinking lower in the scale of moral worth, up to the period of Christ’s advent to the earth. And in order to elevate fallen man, Christ must reach him where he was. He took human nature, and bore the infirmities and degeneracy of the race. He, who knew no sin, became sin for us. He humiliated Himself to the lowest depths of human woe, that He might be qualified to reach man, and bring him up from the degradation in which sin had plunged him.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.5, p.1081

SIN IN THE FLESH

5.         Is there such a thing as sin in the flesh? What did Apostle Paul meet as he became enlightened? 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 7:17, 18, 22, 23.

“The lower passions have their seat in the body and work through it.”-Adventist Home p. 127

“Those who overcome will follow the example of Christ by bringing bodily appetites and passion under the control of enlightened conscience and reason.” –Review and Herald, March 4, 1875

“Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, did as He was told even if the task was not agreeable to His feelings.”-Our High Calling p. 264

6.         According to question 3 and 4 the organism Jesus inherited was degraded and deranged by sin; how does that equate with sin in the flesh? Compare 1 Peter 2:24 with Lamentations 1:12, 14. How would our understanding of physiology assist us here?

“All should have an intelligent knowledge of the human frame that they may keep their bodies in the condition necessary to do the work of the Lord. The physical life is to be carefully preserved and developed that through humanity the divine nature may be revealed in its fullness. The relation of the physical organism to the spiritual life is one of the most important branches of education.” Christ Object Lessons p.348

7.         How does the Spirit of Prophecy manifest the physiology of the lower corrupt nature in its potential influence over the moral and intellectual powers?

“The artificial hair and pads covering the base of the brain, heat and excite the spinal nerves centering in the brain. The head should ever be kept cool. The heat caused by these artificials induces the blood to the brain. The action of the blood upon the lower or animal organs of the brain, causes unnatural activity, tends to recklessness in morals, and the mind and heart is in danger of being corrupted. As the animal organs are excited and strengthened, the moral are enfeebled. The moral and intellectual powers of the mind become servants to the animal.” –Review and Herald, October 17, 1871

MORTAL FLESH

8.         Because of the likeness of sinful flesh which Jesus was given, what was the natural ingredient to which He was bound? Hebrews 2:14; Romans 6:23 (first part) Psalms 40:7-12.

“It was the burden of sin, the sense of its terrible enormity, of its separation of the soul from God–it was this that broke the heart of the Son of God.” –Steps to Christ p. 13

“He humbled Himself, and took mortality upon Him. As a member of the human family, He was mortal; but as a God, He was the fountain of life.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p.1127

“When Christ was crucified, it was His human nature that died. Deity did not sink and die; that would have been impossible.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p.1113

REFLECTIONS

  • Can we see the contrast between the sinless flesh of Adam and that of Jesus after 4,000 years of sin?
  • With such a deranged human inheritance can we now appreciate something of the sufferings of Jesus?

“The evil works, the evil thoughts, the evil words of every son and daughter of Adam press upon his divine soul…Though the guilt of sin was not his, his Spirit was torn and bruised by the transgressions of men.” –Review and Herald, December 20, 1892

“If he drank of the cup of suffering, he must open his breast to the grief’s and woes and sins of humanity.”  –Signs of the Times, November 25, 1889

  • Are you afraid that all this makes Jesus too much like a human being?

“Well,” says the cold, formal professor, “this is making Christ too much like a human being”; but the Word of God warrants us to have these very ideas. It is the want of these practical, definite views of Christ, that hinders so many from having a genuine experience in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ…Behold Jesus crucified for you. Behold Him grieved with your sins…” –Our High Calling p. 30

Lesson 4

Sabbath

UNDERSTANDING TEMPTATION

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” James 1:14, 15

OBJECTIVES

  • Before examining the temptations of Jesus; to clearly understand what temptation is in its practical realities.
  • To appreciate the role that sinful flesh plays in temptation.
  • To recognize thoughts and feelings aroused, as temptation and not sin committed by a thought.
  • To distinguish thoroughly between sin and temptation.

THE DESIRES OF THE FLESH

1.         Does the Bible identify desire as having its source not only from the mind, but also from the flesh? Ephesians 2:3; James 4:1

2.         When the mind has no desire to sin what can the body or the flesh do to the mind? Romans 7:23; 1 Peter 2:11; Galatians 5:17.What should the mind do? 1 Corinthians 9:27

“This means literally to beat back its desires and impulses and passions by severe discipline, even as did those competing for an earthly prize” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 6, p. 1089

A PURE MIND

3.         Does a pure mind have desires to do anything that would please the feelings of the body to satisfy its sensual appetites and passions? Romans 7:22; Ezekiel 36:25, 26, 31

            “Conversion is a work that most do not appreciate. It is not a small matter to transform an earthly, sin-loving mind and bring it to understand the unspeakable love of Christ, the charms of His grace, and the excellency of God, so that the soul shall be imbued with divine love and captivated with the heavenly mysteries. When he understands these things, his former life appears disgusting and hateful. He hates sin, and, breaking his heart before God, he embraces Christ as the life and joy of the soul. He renounces his former pleasures. He has a new mind, new affections, new interest, new will; his sorrows, and desires, and love are all new. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, which have heretofore been preferred before Christ, are now turned from…” –Testimonies for the Church Vol. 2, p. 294

4.         Do those who have a converted mind need to fear the desires of the flesh anymore? Phil 2:12

            “Every Christian will be assailed by the allurements of the world, the clamors of the carnal nature, and the direct temptations of Satan. No one is safe. No matter what our experience has been, no matter how high our station, we need to watch and pray continually. We must be daily controlled by the Spirit of God or we are controlled by Satan.” –Testimonies for the Church Vol. 5, p. 102

THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS

5.         What is meant by the clamours of the carnal nature from which we are not safe? How is our converted pure mind to be exercised? James 1:13-15

“In our own strength it is impossible for us to deny the clamors of our fallen nature. Through this channel Satan will bring temptation upon us. Christ knew that the enemy would come to every human being, to take advantage of hereditary weakness, and by his false insinuations to ensnare all whose trust is not in God.” –Desire of Ages p. 122

“There is a science of Christianity to be mastered–a science as much deeper, broader, higher than any human science as the heavens are higher than the earth. The mind is to be disciplined, educated, trained; for we are to do service for God in ways that are not in harmony with inborn inclination. Hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil must be overcome.” –Ministry of Healing p. 453

6.         If Satan brings temptations upon us through the channel of the clamours of our fallen nature, how shall we then deal with the lusts of that nature so they do not prove our ruin? 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; 1 Corinthians 9:26, 27

            “The lower passions have their seat in the body and work through it. The words “flesh” or “fleshly” or “carnal lusts” embrace the lower, corrupt nature; the flesh of itself cannot act contrary to the will of God. We are commanded to

crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts. How shall we do it? Shall we inflict pain on the body? No; but put to death the temptation to sin. The corrupt thought is to be expelled. Every thought is to be brought into captivity to Jesus Christ. All animal propensities are to be subjected to the higher powers of the soul.” –Adventist Home pp. 127, 128

7.         If temptation is the enticing of the lusts of our lower fleshly nature, how will these lusts appeal to our pure converted mind? How again will we deal with them? Colossians 3:5-10

            “There are thoughts and feelings suggested and aroused by Satan that annoy even the best of men; but if they are not cherished, if they are repulsed as hateful, the soul is not contaminated with guilt, and no other is defiled by their influence.” –Mind Character and Personality Vol.2, p. 432

“In order to be fitted for translation, the people of God must know themselves. They must understand in regard to their own physical frames that they may be able with the psalmist to exclaim: “I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” They should ever have the appetite in subjection to the moral and intellectual organs. The body should be servant to the mind, and not the mind to the body.” –Testimonies for the Church Vol. 1, p. 486-487

“The tendencies of our physical nature, unless under the dominion of a higher power, will surely work ruin and death. The body is to be brought into subjection. The higher powers of the being are to rule. The passions are to be controlled by the will, which is itself to be under the control of God. The kingly power of reason, sanctified by divine grace, is to bear sway in our lives.” –Ministry of Healing p. 130

TEMPTATION IS NOT SIN

8.         If our sinful, lower carnal nature, the tendencies of our physical nature, exercise these lusts in thoughts and feelings upon our minds during temptation; have we sinned? Are the movements of temptation sin? When is sin conceived? James 1:15; Romans 8:12-14

“Temptation is not sin, nor any indication that our Heavenly Father is displeased with us.” –Review and Herald. April 15, 1880 (very last sentence).

“An impure thought tolerated, an unholy desire cherished, and the soul is contaminated, its integrity compromised. “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” If we would not commit sin, we must shun its very beginnings. Every emotion and desire must be held in subjection to reason and conscience. Every unholy thought must be instantly repelled…No man can be forced to transgress. His own consent must be first gained; the soul must purpose the sinful act before passion can dominate over reason or iniquity triumph over conscience. Temptation, however strong, is never an excuse for sin.” –Testimonies for the Church vol. 5, p. 177

REFLECTIONS

  • Does it seem impossible to accept that you can have a pure mind and yet have thoughts and feelings or desires of sinful gratification?
  • Can we see that our physical physiology has a component in it that is responsible for thoughts and feelings of evil; that if we exercise our intelligent moral organs aright we will not be guilty of sin?
  • In seeking to master this science, do we need some one to show us how to engage in it?
  • Is there someone? – study carefully the next lesson.

Lesson 5

Sabbath

THE TEMPTATIONS OF JESUS

For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrew 4:15

QUALIFICATION

“But the plan of God, devised for the salvation of man, provided that Christ should know hunger, and poverty, and every phase of man’s experience. He withstood the temptation, through the power that man may command.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p, 1082

OBJECTIVES

  •  To apply the principles of temptation to Jesus and examine if they were the same in every respect to ours.
  • To appreciate the implications of the sinful flesh provided for Jesus in His ordeal with temptation.
  • To study closely how Jesus overcame temptation so we can intelligently follow His example.

GOD CAN NOT BE TEMPTED

1.         With the truth in place that Jesus was truly God the Word what is revealed that He had to take our fallen human nature so that He could be tempted as we are? James 1:13; Heb 2:17, 18 and 4:15

            “Christ could have done nothing during His earthly ministry in saving fallen man if the divine had not been blended with the human.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 7 p, 904

“Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life.” –Desire of Ages p, 49

“If He did not have man’s nature, He could not be our example. If He was not a partaker of our nature, He could not have been tempted as man has been.” –Selected Messages Vol. 1 p, 408

“As God He could not be tempted: but as a man He could be tempted, and that strongly, and could yield to the temptations.” –Selected Messages Vol. 3, p, 129

2.         Because He did not know by experience as God what temptation to evil was like, what was His experience when temptation came upon Him? What did contact with sinful flesh affect in His experience? Hebrew 2:18

“He knows by experience what are the weaknesses of humanity, what are our wants, and where lies the strength of our temptations.” –Ministry of Healing p, 71

“By experiencing in himself the strength of Satan’s temptation, and of human sufferings and infirmities, he would know how to succor those who should put forth efforts to help themselves.” –Review and Herald March 18, 1875

“Would that we could comprehend the significance of the words, Christ “suffered being tempted.” While He was free from the taint of sin, the refined sensibilities of His holy nature rendered contact with evil unspeakably painful to Him.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 7 p.927

“He endured struggles and torture of soul in a world of sin.” –Steps to Christ p, 94

“The conflict was at times so severe that the soul of the Son of God was wrung with anguish.” –Review and Herald April15, 1880

JESUS THE BEST OF MEN

3.         When Jesus found himself in fashion as a man (Phil 2:8) what was written about His human greatness? Psalms 45:2; Song of Solomon 5:10; Hebrews 2:9, 10; Romans 8:29

            “Christ stood at the head of humanity in the garb of humanity…Christ stands before us as the pattern Man, the great Medical Missionary–an example for all who should come after. His love, pure and holy, blessed all who came within the sphere of its influence. His character was absolutely perfect, free from the slightest stain of sin.” –Medical Ministry pp, 19, 20

“Christ humbled Himself to stand at the head of humanity, to meet the temptations and endure the trials that humanity must meet and endure. He must know what humanity has to meet from the fallen foe, that He might know how to succor those who are tempted.” –My Life Today p335

4.         As the best of men – at the head of humanity – what will He have met in common with us during temptation?

“There are thoughts and feelings suggested and aroused by Satan that annoy even the best of men; but if they are not cherished, if they are repulsed as hateful, the soul is not contaminated with guilt, and no other is defiled by their influence.” –Mind Character and Personality Vol. 2, p. 432

“He is our example in all things. He is a brother in our infirmities, “in all points tempted like as we are;” but as the sinless one His nature recoiled from evil;” –Steps to Christ p, 93

IN ALL POINTS

5.         As the best of men, how entirely does inspiration reveal His union with us as tempted and beset human beings? Hebrews 4:15 and 5:1, 2 and 12:2-4

“He [Jesus] walked once a man on earth, his divinity clothed with humanity, a suffering, tempted man, beset with Satan’s devices. He was tempted in all points like as we are, and he knows how to succor those that are tempted.” –Signs of the Times September 3, 1886

6.         What does it mean for Jesus to be tempted in all points as we are? Does it mean without and within, at every varying stage of His life, with every evil by which we are tempted? Lamentations 1:12-14; 1 Peter 2:24; Luke 22:37

            Compare the following two statements.

“A man may be trying to serve God, but temptations from within and from without assail him. Satan and his angels urge and coax him to transgress.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 9, p. 222

“Christ alone had experience in all the sorrows and temptations that befall human beings. Never another of woman born was so fiercely beset by temptation…He could feel not only for, but with, every burdened and tempted and struggling one.” –Education p, 78

“He participated in the suffering and trials of sorrowful human nature.”-The Watchman Dec. 10, 1907.

“We have nothing to bear which He has not endured.” –Desire of Ages p. 117

“If we have in any sense a more trying conflict than had Christ, then He would not be able to succor us.” –ibid p, 117

“In His humanity He understood all the temptations that will come to man.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 7, p. 925 (last line)

CLAMOURS OF CHRIST’S FLESH

7.         If Christ was tempted like every other human, does James 1:14 then apply to Him? 1 Corinthians 10:13 (first part)

            “Only by the inexpressible anguish which Christ endured can we estimate the evil of unrestrained indulgence. His example declares that our only hope of eternal life is through bringing the appetites and passions into subjection to the will of God. In our own strength it is impossible for us to deny the clamors of our fallen nature. Through this channel Satan will bring temptation upon us. Christ knew that the enemy would come to every human being, to take advantage of hereditary weakness, and by his false insinuations to ensnare all whose trust is not in God. And by passing over the ground which man must travel, our Lord has prepared the way for us to overcome.” –Desire of Ages pp, 122, 123

HOW JESUS OVERCAME

8.         Having learnt that Jesus used no attributes of His divine nature which we cannot exercise–what then was His method of overcoming the temptations that fell so heavily upon Him? Hebrews 5:7; 1 Peter 4:1

            “When tempted, he sought strength from his Heavenly Father, just as every individual may do who is tempted. He prayed often, pouring out his petitions with strong crying and tears.” –Review and Herald May 19, 1896

“It was necessary for Him to be constantly on guard in order to preserve His purity. He was subject to all the conflicts which we have to meet, that He might be an example to us in childhood, youth, and manhood.” –Desire of Ages p, 71

“Those who overcome will follow the example of Christ by bringing bodily appetites and passion under the control of enlightened conscience and reason. –Review and Herald, March 4, 1875

“His human will was nourished by the divine…When we place our will in unison with the will of God, the holy obedience that was exemplified in the life of Christ will be seen in our lives…” –Our High Calling p, 107

REFLECTIONS

  • It becomes evident that the temptations Jesus had indeed took place because He had our sinful flesh.
  • It is also evident that the only way in which we can overcome our temptations is to have the divine nature, the divine mind that was in Jesus; so like Him we find it possible to submit to God while so powerfully drawn by our passions and desires.

Lesson 6

Sabbath

DEVELOPING A SINLESS HUMAN NATURE

Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;” Hebrews 5:8, 9

QUALIFICATION

“We should have no misgivings in regard to the perfect sinlessness of the human nature of Christ… for He presented to the wondering universe perfect and complete humility in His human character, and perfect obedience to all the requirements of God.” –The Signs of the Times, June 9, 1898.

OBJECTIVES

  • To ensure that in our studies we do not conclude that due to our sinful flesh which Jesus was given-he in any way was a sinful being.
  • To appreciate the sinless character that Jesus was and developed throughout his life.
  • To gain perfect confidence in the fact that at the time of His death He presented a perfectly unblemished sacrifice.
  • To learn from Jesus that those born again can also develop a sinless character.

SINLESS INFANT

1.         When Jesus was born on earth, what did the angel declare regarding his conception in Mary’s womb?” Luke 1:35

“He was born without a taint of sin, but came into the world in like manner as the human family.” –Lift Him Up. p. 345

“He for our sakes laid aside his royal robe, stepped down from the throne in heaven, and condescended to clothe his divinity with humility, and became like one of us except in sin, that his life and character should be a pattern for all to copy, that they might have the precious gift of eternal life.” –Youth Instructor Oct 20, 1886

2.         When we are born how does our condition contrast to that of Jesus at His birth. What is our spiritual nature at birth? John 3:6; Ephesians 2:2, 3

            “Because of sin his posterity was born with inherent propensities of disobedience. But Jesus Christ was the only begotten Son of God. He took upon Himself human nature, and was tempted in all points as human nature is tempted. He could have sinned; He could have fallen, but not for one moment was there in Him an evil propensity.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p. 1128

            “Though He had no taint of sin upon His character, yet He condescended to connect our fallen human nature with His divinity.” –Selected Messages Vol. 3 p. 134

LEARNING OBEDIENCE

3.         Commencing with an untainted sinless nature in character as a baby, what was the task of Jesus, bound to our sinful nature? Hebrews 5:8 and 2:10

            “Christ in His humanity wrought out a perfect character, and this character He offers to impart to us.” –Christ Object Lessons p. 311

“A divine-human Saviour, he came to stand at the head of the fallen race, to share in their experience from childhood to manhood. That human beings might be partakers of the divine nature, he came to this earth, and lived a life of perfect obedience.” –Review and Herald, June 15, 1905

4.         Is it true that Jesus had to learn obedience like every other human being? Isaiah 7:14-16; Hebrews 5:13, 14; 1 Peter 2:2

            “It is because they seek to evade this discipline that so many are weak and inefficient. They may possess precious and amiable traits, but they are nerveless and almost useless when difficulties are to be met or obstacles surmounted. The positiveness and energy, the solidity and strength of character, manifested in Christ are to be developed in us, through the same discipline that He endured. And the grace that He received is for us.” –Desire of Ages p. 73

BEING MADE PERFECT

5.         Why do human beings have to go through a process of disciplinary education and training? Hebrews 12:7-11

6.         Does Jesus provide for us the example so we do not faint in the process? Hebrews 12:2-6, and 5:8, 9

“In His humanity He has gone before us and wrought out for us perfection of character… Perfection of character is based upon that which Christ is to us.” –That I May Know Him p. 130

“Like Jesus, we must be made perfect through suffering. Had Christ’s life been one of ease, then might we safely yield to sloth. Since His life was marked with continual self-denial, suffering, and self-sacrifice, we shall make no complaint if we are partakers with Him.” –Testimonies for the Church Vol.5, p. 71

A SINLESS SACRIFICE

7.         As Jesus grew under discipline of His Heavenly Father what did He attain to by the time He gave His life a sacrifice for sin? Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 9:14.

            “When Jesus came into the world, Satan’s power was turned against Him. From the time when He appeared as a babe in Bethlehem, the usurper worked to bring about His destruction. In every possible way he sought to prevent Jesus from developing a perfect childhood, a faultless manhood, a holy ministry, and an unblemished sacrifice. But he was defeated. He could not lead Jesus into sin. He could not discourage Him, or drive Him from a work He had come on earth to do… All the efforts of Satan to oppress and overcome Him only brought out in a purer light His spotless character.” –Desire of Ages p. 759

8.         What was the two fold benefit of this spotless unblemished sacrifice of Jesus for the salvation of sinners? Galatians 1:4; Titus 2:14; 1 Timothy 2:5, 6; 2 Corinthians 3:18

            “We have no righteousness of our own with which to meet the claims of the law of God. But Christ has made a way of escape for us. He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned. More than this, Christ changes the heart. He abides in your heart by faith. You are to maintain this connection with Christ by faith and the continual surrender of your will to Him; and so long as you do this, He will work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure… Then with Christ working in you, you will manifest the same spirit and do the same good works –works of righteousness, obedience.” –Steps to Christ pp.62, 63

REFLECTIONS

  • Is it possible to understand how Jesus could be sinless and yet have sinful human nature to be tempted by evil?
  • Have you been in danger to try and argue the point over this matter? Don’t try.
  • “It is a mystery that is left unexplained to mortals that Christ could be tempted in all points like as we are, and yet be without sin. The incarnation of Christ has ever been, and will ever remain a mystery.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.5, pp. 1128-1129

Lesson 7

Sabbath

THE SUPREME TEMPTATION

Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the LORD hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger.” Lamentations1:12

QUALIFICATION

“The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race.” –Desire of Ages p.753

OBJECTIVES

  • To explore the sufferings of Christ from Gethsemane to the cross.
  • To appreciate the thoughts and feelings which constituted the sever temptations Jesus met at the cross, so we may understand the help He can give us.
  • To watch Jesus condemning sin in the flesh by dying with it.
  • To behold Jesus subjecting himself to death in order to save us from it.

ARRIVAL AT GETHSAME

1.         How did Jesus feel as He and the disciples arrived at the garden of Gethsemane? Matt 26:36-38.

            “As they approached the garden, the disciples had marked the change that came over their Master. Never before had they seen Him so utterly sad and silent. As He proceeded, this strange sadness deepened; yet they dared not question Him as to the cause. His form swayed as if He were about to fall. Upon reaching the garden, the disciples looked anxiously for His usual place of retirement, that their Master might rest. Every step that He now took was with labored effort. He groaned aloud, as if suffering under the pressure of a terrible burden. Twice His companions supported Him, or He would have fallen to the earth.” –Desire of Ages pp. 685-686

2.         What was the cause of this behaviour? Luke 22:37; Isaiah 53:12

            “The sins of the world were laid upon Christ, and for this reason he was numbered with transgressors.” – Review and Herald June 23, 1896

“Throughout His life on earth He had walked in the light of God’s presence. When in conflict with men who were inspired by the very spirit of Satan, He could say, “He that sent Me is with Me: the Father hath not left Me alone; for I do always those things that please Him.” John 8:29. But now He seemed to be shut out from the light of God’s sustaining presence. Now He was numbered with the transgressors.” –Desire of Ages p. 685

THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS

3.         According to Luke 22:37 “numbered with transgressors” was fulfilled “in” Him; does this suggest that the sins of transgressors were distressing Him inwardly? 1 Peter 2:24; Romans 7:5. How were the thoughts and feelings aroused by Satan annoying Him now?

            “Upon Him who knew no sin must be laid the iniquity of us all. So dreadful does sin appear to Him, so great is the weight of guilt which He must bear, that He is tempted to fear it will shut Him out forever from His Father’s love. Feeling how terrible is the wrath of God against transgression, He exclaims, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.” –Desire of Ages p. 685

“The weight of the sins of the world was pressing his soul, and his countenance expressed unutterable sorrow, a depth of anguish that fallen man had never realized. He felt the overwhelming tide of woe that deluged the world. He realized the strength of indulged appetite and of unholy passion that controlled the world…” –Review and Herald August 4, 1874

4.         As the experience of being numbered with transgressors was surging from inside of His flesh what was written regarding His thoughts and feelings? Psalms 42:5, 9-11 and 69:1-3, 13, 14

            “Who can fathom the suffering of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, as He felt to its fullest extent the weight of the sin of the world? So keenly did He feel the sinfulness of sin that for a moment the cup trembled in His hand, and all heaven heard the agonizing cry, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” –Upward Look p. 223

“The cup which he prayed should be removed from him, that looked so bitter to his soul, was the cup of separation from God in consequence of the sin of the world.” –Review and Herald Nov 19, 1895

OBEDIENT EVEN UNTO DEATH OF THE CROSS

5.         As Jesus submitted Himself obediently by the words of Luke 22:42 what did He now obey to become for us and what were the consequences? Philippians 2:8; 2 Corinthians 5:21

“If he drank of the cup of suffering, he must open his breast to the griefs and woes and sins of humanity.”The Signs of the Times Nov 25, 1889

“He, the Sin Bearer, endures the wrath of divine justice, and for thy sake becomes sin itself.” –Desire of Ages p. 756

“The sword of justice was unsheathed, and the wrath of God against iniquity rested upon man’s substitute, Jesus Christ, the only begotten of the Father.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p. 1103

“Satan with his fierce temptations wrung the heart of Jesus. The Saviour could not see through the portals of the tomb. Hope did not present to Him His coming forth from the grave a conqueror, or tell Him of the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice. He feared that sin was so offensive to God that Their separation was to be eternal. Christ felt the anguish which the sinner will feel when mercy shall no longer plead for the guilty race. It was the sense of sin, bringing the Father’s wrath upon Him as man’s substitute, that made the cup He drank so bitter, and broke the heart of the Son of God.” – Desire of Ages p. 753

“So great was this agony that His physical pain was hardly felt.” –ibid p.753 (last line)

6.         How well are all these sufferings chronicled down to Christ’s internal experience in order for us to be able to benefit in our internal struggles?

            Ps 22:1-18 and 40:7-12. Were these words real or acting?

            “Imagine, if possible, the nature and degree of Christ’s sufferings…Yea, for the church this great sacrifice will be efficacious throughout eternity. Can we compute the amount of her transgression in figures? Impossible. Then who can approach unto a conception of what Christ has endured when standing in the place of surety for His church . . . ?” –Heavenly Places p. 42

            “The evil works, the evil thoughts, the evil words of every son and daughter of Adam press upon his divine soul…Though the guilt of sin was not his, his Spirit was torn and bruised by the transgressions of men.” –Review and Herald December 20, 1892

“The Lord has given evidence of His love for the world. There was no falsity, no acting, in what He did. He gave a living gift, capable of suffering humiliation, neglect, shame, reproach. This Christ did that He might rescue the fallen.” –Evangelism p. 267

7.         What did Jesus do in suffering for us in this way? Ps 69:5-7, 13, 14. Do we read correctly to conclude that He was repenting our sins?

            “It is not now the work of the sinner to make peace with God, but to accept Christ as his peace and righteousness…Yet many think that repentance is a kind of preparation which men must originate themselves before they can come to Christ…but the sinner must come to Christ before he can find repentance. It is the virtue of Christ that strengthens and enlightens the soul, so, that repentance may be godly and acceptable…Repentance is as certainly a gift of Jesus Christ as is forgiveness of sins. Repentance cannot be experienced without Christ; for it is the repentance of which he is the author that is the ground upon which we may apply for pardon…It is from Christ that the grace of contrition comes, as well as the gift of pardon, and repentance as well as forgiveness of sins is procured only through the atoning blood of Christ. Those whom God pardons he first makes penitent.” –That I May Know Him p. 109

THE FAITH OF JESUS

8.         What was the exercise of the faith of Jesus when He found Himself so realistically numbered with transgressors? Ps 40:1, 2; Luke 23:46

            “Amid the awful darkness, apparently forsaken of God, Christ had drained the last dregs in the cup of human woe. In those dreadful hours He had relied upon the evidence of His Father’s acceptance heretofore given Him. He was acquainted with the character of His Father; He understood His justice, His mercy, and His great love. By faith He rested in Him whom it had ever been His joy to obey. And as in submission He committed Himself to God, the sense of the loss of His Father’s favor was withdrawn. By faith, Christ was victor.” –Desire of Ages p. 756

REFLECTIONS

  • When our time of Gethsemane comes and we feel the true magnitude of our transgressions, the overwhelming sense of God’s wrath upon our sins, will we remember this lesson?
  • By beholding Jesus we may also remember God’s justice mercy and great love and exercise the patience and faith of Jesus to allow the loss of God’s favour to be withdrawn.

Lesson 8

Sabbath

DEATH AND ITS DESTRUCTION

“O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction” Hosea 13:14

QUALIFICATION

“Was the human nature of the Son of Mary changed into the divine nature of the Son of God? No; the two natures were mysteriously blended in one person–the man Christ Jesus. In Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. When Christ was crucified, it was His human nature that died. Deity did not sink and die; that would have been impossible… Deity did not die. Humanity died, but Christ now proclaims over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, “I am the resurrection, and the life.” In His divinity Christ possessed the power to break the bonds of death.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5. p. 1113

OBJECTIVES

  • To learn the science behind the death and resurrection of the believer.
  • To comprehend the impact of the combination of Divinity and humanity in Jesus at death.
  • To understand how Jesus and the believer in Him does not fear death.

SIN AND MORTALITY IN CHRIST’S BODY

1.         Why did Jesus take the same flesh and blood that every fallen human being possessed? Heb 2:14-17

He humbled Himself, and took mortality upon Him. As a member of the human family, He was mortal;” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p.1127

“When Christ was crucified, it was His human nature that died.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.5, p.1113

2.         What was it in the human nature of Christ that rendered it mortal? Romans 8:3; i.e. 1 Corinthians 15:56  

            “Christ, our Saviour, in whom dwelt absolute perfection, became sin for the fallen race. He did not know sin by the experience of sinning, but He bore the terrible weight of the guilt of the whole world… To break down the barriers that Satan had erected between God and man, Christ made a full and complete sacrifice, revealing unexampled self-denial. He revealed to the world the amazing spectacle of God living in human flesh, and sacrificing Himself to save fallen man.” –Upward Look p. 191

PURITY AND IMMORTALITY IN JESUS

3.         What was the other nature in the dual nature of Jesus Christ? 1 Corinthians 15:47-49; John 1:14

            “In Christ, divinity and humanity were combined. Divinity was not degraded to humanity; divinity held its place…” –Review and Herald February 18, 1890

4.         By divinity holding it’s place in Jesus, what assurance do we have that Jesus was a wellspring of purity to the human nature? 1 Corinthians 15:45, 46; Hebrew 7:26; Romans 8:9, 10

            “There are light and glory in the truth that Christ was One with the Father before the foundation of the world was laid. This is the light shining in a dark place, making it resplendent with divine, original glory. This truth, infinitely mysterious in itself, explains other mysterious and otherwise unexplainable truths, while it is enshrined in light unapproachable and incomprehensible.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p. 1126

DEATH COULD NOT HOLD HIM

5.         With such a volatile combination in one man why did Jesus die? John 10:17, 18; Philippians 2:8; Luke 23:46

            “He could, in His divine person, ever have withstood the advances of death, and refused to come under its dominion; but He voluntarily laid down His life, that in so doing He might give life and bring immortality to light. He bore the sins of the world, and endured the penalty, which rolled like a mountain upon His divine soul. He yielded up His life a sacrifice, that man should not eternally die. He died, not through being compelled to die, but by His own free will…. Wondrous combination of man and God! He might have helped His human nature to withstand the inroads of disease by pouring from His divine nature vitality and undecaying vigor to the human. But He humbled Himself to man’s nature.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p.127

6.         By His obedience to the inroads of death from His human nature, what is written regarding the hold that deaths hand had upon Him? Acts 2:22-24; Hosea 13:14

            “He was in that stony prison house as a prisoner of divine justice. He was responsible to the Judge of the universe. He was bearing the sins of the world, and His Father only could release Him.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p.1114

“When the voice of the angel was heard saying, “Thy Father calls thee,” He who had said, “I lay down my life, that I might take it again,” “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up,” came forth from the grave to life that was in Himself. Deity did not die. Humanity died, but Christ now proclaims over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, “I am the resurrection, and the life.” In His divinity Christ possessed the power to break the bonds of death. He declares that He had life in Himself to quicken whom He will.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p. 1113

THE RESURRECTION OF LIFE

7.         What benefit does the believer derive from the practical knowledge of the Atonement as it relates to the death and resurrection of Jesus? 2 Timothy 1:9, 10; John 17:3; 1 John 5:11, 12; Proverbs 12:28

“Christ became one flesh with us, in order that we might become one spirit with Him. It is by virtue of this union that we are to come forth from the grave,–not merely as a manifestation of the power of Christ, but because, through faith, His life has become ours. Those who see Christ in His true character, and receive Him into the heart, have everlasting life. It is through the Spirit that Christ dwells in us; and the Spirit of God, received into the heart by faith, is the beginning of the life eternal.” –Desire of Ages p. 388

8.         What could Jesus say for those who believe in Him and what event did He point to as the fulfillment of this reality? John 11:25, 26; Isaiah 26:19; John 5:25-29; Psalms 49:15

            “Christ was invested with the right to give immortality. The life which He had laid down in humanity, He again took up and gave to humanity. “I am come,” He says, “that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10)… All who are one with Christ through faith in Him gain an experience which is life unto eternal life… And to the believing one, death is but a small matter. With him to die is but to sleep.” –Selected Messages Vol. 1 pp. 302, 303

REFLECTIONS

  • Does it not become evident from this lesson that the Atonement is a practical measure by which God can intelligently reach us and save us?
  • By connecting sin with death we gain a rightful appreciation that Jesus indeed connected our vial human sinful flesh with His pure divine nature and yet did not become polluted.
  • More than not becoming polluted, His divine purity burst through and conquered the sinful mortal attributes of His flesh just as Romans 8:3 declares, and thus gives us the remedy.

Lesson 9

Sabbath

JESUS THE RANSOM

            “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Matthew 20:28

QUALIFICATION

“The whole treasure of heaven was poured out in one gift to save fallen man. He brought into His human nature all the life-giving energies that human beings will need and must receive.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p. 1127

OBJECTIVES

  • To glean from the previous lessons the details that rendered Jesus as the ransom paid to release humanity from being hostages of Satan and sin.
  • To display before our mind the effective measures that release our mind stresses brought about by sources of fear that have held us captive.

KIDNAPPED HUMANITY

1.         When man fell in Eden, what did He in reality become? John 8:34; 2 Peter 2:19

            “Not only man but the earth had by sin come under the power of the wicked one…At his creation Adam was placed in dominion over the earth. But by yielding to temptation, he was brought under the power of Satan. “Of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” 2 Peter 2:19. When man became Satan’s captive, the dominion which he held, passed to his conqueror. Thus Satan became “the god of this world.” 2 Corinthians 4:4. He had usurped that dominion over the earth which had been originally given to Adam.” –Patriarchs and Prophets p. 67

2.         What two elements did man become a captive to that man can discover through the gospel? Romans 7:14, 15, 19, 20, 23, 24; Psalms 55:4, 5

            “It is impossible for us, of ourselves to escape from the pit of sin in which we are sunken. Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them…” Steps to Christ p. 18

“Paul the apostle saw all this when he exclaimed, “I consent unto the law that it is good.” “The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.” But he added, in the bitterness of his soul-anguish and despair, “I am carnal, sold under sin.” Romans 7:16, 12, 14. He longed for the purity, the righteousness, to which in himself he was powerless to attain, and cried out, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death?” Romans 7:24, margin. Such is the cry that has gone up from burdened hearts in all lands and in all ages.” –Step to Christ p. 19

A RANSOM FOUND

3.         Will our captor let us go? Is there any answer to the cry of Romans 7:24? Isaiah 14:12, 16, 17 and 49:24, 25

            “No cry from a soul in need, though it fail of utterance in words, will be unheeded. Those who will consent to enter into covenant relation with the God of heaven are not left to the power of Satan or to the infirmity of their own nature…The spirits of darkness will battle for the soul once under their dominion, but angels of God will contend for that soul with prevailing power.” –Desire of Ages pp. 258, 259

4.         Is there someone wealthy enough to provide a ransom? Job 33:24; 1 Timothy 2:3-6; Isaiah 61:1

RANSOM IN A PACKAGE

5.         Where does our captivity actually centre? Colossians 1:21; 2 Corinthians 4:4. Where will we first find freedom? John 8:31, 32, 34-36; Ephesians 1:17-20

6.         What do we see in the man Jesus when the eye of our understanding is enlightened? Colossians 2:9; Romans 8:31, 32. What was inside of the human package?

            “He clothed His divinity with humanity. He was all the while as God, but He did not appear as God. He veiled the demonstrations of Deity… He was God while upon earth, but He divested Himself of the form of God, and in its stead took the form and fashion of a man. He walked the earth as a man. For our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich…. He humbled Himself, and took mortality upon Him. As a member of the human family, He was mortal; but as a God, He was the fountain of life to the world… The whole treasure of heaven was poured out in one gift to save fallen man. He brought into His human nature all the life-giving energies that human beings will need and must receive.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p.1126-1127

7.         With such a volatile package, what were the implications of Christ placing Himself on to this fallen planet? Matthew 12:28, 29; John 14: 30 What did He do with the strong man? Hebrews 2:14, 15; Isaiah 49: 25

            “He will take the prey from the mighty, He will deliver the captive, He will pluck the brand from the burning. He will lower the golden chain of His mercy to the lowest depths of human wretchedness, and lift up the debased soul contaminated with sin.” –Ministry of Healing p. 161

“When we see the length of the chain that was let down for us, when we understand something of the infinite sacrifice that Christ has made in our behalf, the heart is melted with tenderness and contrition.” –Steps to Christ p. 36

“The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us. It is the golden linked chain which binds our souls to Christ and through Christ to God. This is to be our study.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 7, p. 904

RELEASE FROM SIN AND DEATH

8.         As at one with us in sin and death what was the ransom payment that releases us from this captivity? 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Peter 1:18, 19

            a) Sin: 2 Corinthians 5:21

“Christ has made a way of escape for us. He lived on earth amid trials and temptations such as we have to meet. He lived a sinless life. He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ’s character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned. More than this, Christ changes the heart…He will work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure… Then with Christ working in you, you will manifest the same spirit and do the same good works –works of righteousness, obedience.” Steps to Christ pp, 62, 63

b) Death: Acts 2:23, 24; Hosea 13:14; 2 Timothy 1:10

“Christ came forth from the tomb glorified…The decree of heaven had loosed the captive. Mountains piled upon mountains over His sepulcher could not have prevented Him from coming forth.” –Desire of Ages pp. 780-781

“Over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, Christ had proclaimed in triumph, “I am the resurrection, and the life.” These words could be spoken only by the Deity. …Only He who is one with God could say, I have power to lay down My life, and I have power to take it again. In His divinity, Christ possessed the power to break the bonds of death.” –ibid p.785

“The death of Christ bore to the death him who had the power of death, and opened the gates of the tomb for all who receive Him as their personal Saviour.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 7, pp. 925, 926

“What right had Christ to take the captives out of the enemy’s hands?–the right of having made a sacrifice that satisfies the principles of justice by which the kingdom of heaven is governed. He came to this earth as the Redeemer of the lost race, to conquer the wily foe, and, by His steadfast allegiance to right, to save all who accept Him as their Saviour. On the cross of Calvary He paid the redemption price of the race. And thus He gained the right to take the captives from the grasp of the great deceiver, who, by a lie framed against the government of God, caused the fall of man, and thus forfeited all claim to be called a loyal subject of God’s glorious everlasting kingdom” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 7, pp. 952, 953

REFLECTIONS

  • “Oh, we do not comprehend the value of the atonement! If we did, we would talk more about it. The gift of God in His beloved Son was the expression of an incomprehensible love. It was the utmost that God could do to preserve the honor of His law, and still save the transgressor. Why should man not study the theme of redemption? It is the greatest subject that can engage the human mind. If men would contemplate the love of Christ, displayed in the cross, their faith would be strengthened to appropriate the merits of His shed blood, and they would be cleansed and saved from sin” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.5, pp. 1132, 1133
  • “This is the heavenly science of redemption, of saving men from eternal ruin, and can be carried out only through the incarnation of the Son of God in humanity, through His triumph over sin and death, and in seeking to fathom this plan all finite intelligences are baffled.” –ibid p. 1133

Lesson 10

Sabbath

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF JESUS

            “..let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;…” Hebrews 12:1, 2

OBJECTIVES

  • To understand that by His experience on earth in human form, Jesus wrote a book which we are to read in order to copy in our life.
  • To be inspired to heed the call of “Follow Me” and commence doing so by opening the heart to the reception of the Divine Nature (mind).
  • To learn to exercise that new mind by crucifying the flesh as Jesus did and living according to the Spirit which Jesus lived by.

THE AUTHOR

1.         Having studied the details of the Incarnation of Jesus in the Atonement – what are we to do about it? Isaiah 45:22; Hebrews 12:2.

            “It will do you good, and our ministers generally, to frequently review the closing scenes in the life of our Redeemer. Here, beset with temptations as He was, we may all learn lessons of the utmost importance to us. It would be well to spend a thoughtful hour each day reviewing the life of Christ from the manger to Calvary. We should take it point by point and let the imagination vividly grasp each scene, especially the closing ones of His earthly life. By thus contemplating His teachings and sufferings, and the infinite sacrifice made by Him for the redemption of the race, we may strengthen our faith, quicken our love, and become more deeply imbued with the spirit which sustained our Saviour. If we would be saved at last we must all learn the lesson of penitence and faith at the foot of the cross.” –Testimonies for the Church Vol. 4, p. 374

2.         If Jesus is the author of our faith and we are to read and let the imagination take it in, how similarly will our experience equate with His? Hebrews 5:7-9

            “While we look constantly to Him whom our sins have pierced and our sorrows have burdened, we shall acquire strength to be like Him. We shall bind ourselves in willing, happy, captivity to Jesus Christ.” Review and Herald August 2, 1881    

“It is high time we devoted the few remaining precious hours of our probation to washing our robes of character and making them white in the blood of the Lamb, that we may be of that white-robed company who shall stand about the great white throne.” –ibid last paragraph

“If we move forward where Jesus leads the way we shall see His triumph, we shall share His joy. We must share the conflicts if we wear the crown of victory. Like Jesus, we must be made perfect through suffering.” –Testimonies for the Church Vol. 5, p. 71

THE CALL

3.         What call did Jesus utter to indicate that we indeed need to follow His authorship of life? Matthew 16: 24, 25; Luke 6:40; John 13: 15, 16

            “What He taught, He lived.”I have given you an example,” He said to His disciples; “that ye should do as I have done.” “I have kept My Father’s commandments.” John 13:15; 15:10. Thus in His life, Christ’s words had perfect illustration and support. And more than this; what He taught, He was. His words were the expression, not only of His own life experience, but of His own character. Not only did He teach the truth, but He was the truth. It was this that gave His teaching, power.” –Education p. 78, 79

4.         What is included in the call that Jesus gave verbally in unison with His actual life example? Philippians 2:5; 1 Peter 2: 21-23.

“If you strive in all humility to understand what is the mind of Christ, you will not be left in darkness. Jesus says, “He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 7, p.903

PARTAKING OF THE DIVINE NATURE

5.         After taking the steps of looking and listening to the call, what is the next most important step? 2 Peter 1:2-4; 2 Timothy 1:7-9. How only can we to some degree enter the mystery of the incarnation?

            “It is by beholding His love, by dwelling upon it, by drinking it in, that we are to become partakers of His nature. What food is to the body, Christ must be to the soul. Food cannot benefit us unless we eat it, unless it becomes a part of our being. So Christ is of no value to us if we do not know Him as a personal Saviour. A theoretical knowledge will do us no good. We must feed upon Him, receive Him into the heart, so that His life becomes our life.” –Desire of Ages p. 389    

            “The limited capacity of man cannot define this wonderful mystery–the blending of the two natures, the divine and the human. It can never be explained. Man must wonder and be silent. And yet man is privileged to be a partaker of the divine nature, and in this way he can to some degree enter into the mystery.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 7, p. 904

CRUCIFYING THE FLESH

6.         With the mind of Jesus finally in us – that sound mind – the divine nature, how are we to exercise this in following Christ’s example? Galatians 2:20; 2 Corinthians 4:10

“When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life.” –Christ Object Lessons p. 312

7.         How do we live His life in the flesh exercising the Faith of Jesus? Will our flesh still give us trouble? Romans 8:1-4, 9-13.

            “The word of God plainly presents before us this truth, that our physical natures will be brought into warfare with the spiritual.” –Testimonies for the Church Vol. 4, p. 215

“Those who overcome will follow the example of Christ by bringing bodily appetites and passions under the control of enlightened conscience and reason.” –Review and Herald March 4, 1875

“The life of the apostle Paul was a constant conflict with self. He said, “I die daily.” 1 Corinthians 15:31. His will and his desires every day conflicted with duty and the will of God. Instead of following inclination, he did God’s will, however crucifying to his nature.” –Ministry of Healing pp.452, 453

8.         Having learnt of Christ’s example in sinful flesh what precise activity can we copy? Hebrews 10: 19, 20; 1 Peter 4:1, 2

            “That He might by His own example condemn sin in the flesh, He took upon Himself the likeness of sinful flesh. Constantly He beheld the character of God; constantly He revealed this character to the world. Christ desires His followers to reveal in their lives this same character.”That I May Know Him p.131

“Although tempted in all points like as we are, He stood before the world untainted by the evil that surrounded Him. Thus we also are to overcome as Christ overcame. Are you a follower of Christ? Then all that is written concerning the spiritual life is written for you, and may be attained through uniting yourself to Jesus.” –Desire of Ages pp. 389, 390

“We are commanded to crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts. How shall we do it? Shall we inflict pain on the body? No; but put to death the temptation to sin. The corrupt thought is to be expelled. Every thought is to be brought into captivity to Jesus Christ. All animal propensities are to be subjected to the higher powers of the soul. The love of God must reign supreme; Christ must occupy an undivided throne. Our bodies are to be regarded as His purchased possession. The members of the body are to become the instruments of righteousness.” –Adventist Home p. 128

REFLECTIONS

  • Is it evident that Salvation through the grace of God is not by some supernatural magical action of God, but by a careful cause to effect process?
  • “But those who are waiting to behold a magical change in their characters without determined effort on their part to overcome sin, will be disappointed.” –Maranatha p. 227

           

11

Sabbath

THE SEED AND ITS HARVEST

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” 1 Peter 1:23

OBJECTIVES

  • To be assured that by receiving the word of the Atonement into the heart, it behaves like a seed that is planted and germinates.
  • To trace the implanting of the seed of Christ‘s incarnation to the ultimate harvest of a sinless character.
  • To establish the assurance that with the word of Jesus Christ in the believer – He has life inside of Himself which will arise at the last trump.

BORN OF INCORRUPTIBLE SEED

1.         What does Jesus liken the word of God to? Mark 4: 26-29; Luke 8:11

“Every seed brings forth fruit after its kind. Sow the seed under right conditions, and it will develop its own life in the plant. Receive into the soul by faith the incorruptible seed of the word, and it will bring forth a character and a life after the similitude of the character and the life of God.” –Christ’s Object Lessons p. 38

2.         When the Word is received, wherein lies the life giving force? John 1:1, 4, 9, 12, 13

“The word of God is the seed. Every seed has in itself a germinating principle. In it the life of the plant is enfolded. So there is life in God’s word. Christ says, “The words that I speak unto you, they are Spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63. “He that heareth My word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life.” John 5:24. In every command and in every promise of the word of God is the power, the very life of God, by which the command may be fulfilled and the promise realized. He who by faith receives the word is receiving the very life and character of God.” –Christ Object Lessons p. 38

GERMINATION AND GROWTH

3.         When a believer is born of the word 1 Peter 1:23 what potential is within and what is it that causes the seed to germinate and grow? Colossians 1:27, 28; Ephesians 3:17-19; Deuteronomy 32:1, 2; Joel 2:23

            “The germination of the seed represents the beginning of spiritual life, and the development of the plant is a beautiful figure of Christian growth…It sends down its roots into the earth. It drinks in the sunshine, the dew, and the rain. It receives the life-giving properties from the air. So the Christian is to grow by co-operating with the divine agencies…As the plant takes root in the soil, so we are to take deep root in Christ. As the plant receives the sunshine, the dew, and the rain, we are to open our hearts to the Holy Spirit…If we keep our minds stayed upon Christ, He will come unto us “as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.” Hosea 6:3. As the Sun of Righteousness, He will arise upon us “with healing in His wings.” Mal. 4:2…By constantly relying upon Christ as our personal Saviour, we shall grow up into Him in all things who is our head.” –Christ Object Lessons p. 65-67

4.         With our minds absorbing the grand truths of the Atonement what is written of our consciousness during growth? Matthew 25: 37-40

            “Imperceptibly to ourselves, we are changed day by day from our ways and will into the ways and will of Christ, into the loveliness of His character. Thus we grow up into Christ, and unconsciously reflect His image.” – Review and Herald April 28, 1891

5.         Because we are studying, contemplating and meditating upon the Incarnation and behold Jesus suffering with our sinful nature, what will we do and what results will this produce? Philippians 3:8-14; Matthew 5:48

            “He whose eyes are fixed on Jesus will leave all. He will die to selfishness. He will believe in all the Word of God, which is so gloriously and wonderfully exalted in Christ. The cross of Calvary challenges, and will finally vanquish every earthly and hellish power. In the cross all influence centers, and from it all influence goes forth. It is the great center of attraction; for on it Christ gave up His life for the human race. This sacrifice was offered for the purpose of restoring man to his original perfection. Yea, more, it was offered to give him an entire transformation of character, making him more than a conqueror. Those who in the strength of Christ overcome the great enemy of God and man, will occupy a position in the heavenly courts above angels who have never fallen.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 6, p. 113

6.         What is written of the generation of believers living prior to Christ’s return? What is their condition due to their experience with God? Revelation 7:13, 14, and 14:1-5; Jude 24, 25

            “The day is coming, and it is close upon us, when every phase of character will be revealed by special temptation. Those who remain true to principle, who exercise faith to the end, will be those who have proved true under test and trial during the previous hours of their probation, and have formed characters after the likeness of Christ. It will be those who have cultivated close acquaintance with Christ who, through His wisdom and grace, are partakers of the divine nature.” –That I May Know Him p. 350

“When the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.” Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.” –Christ Object Lessons p. 69

RESURRECTION –HARVEST OF BELIEVERS

7.         Besides God’s character in the seed, what other component of life is in the seed of the word and consequentially what does the believer have within him? 2 Timothy 1:15, 16; Romans 8:15-17; 1 John 5:11, 12

            “Christ was invested with the right to give immortality. The life which He had laid down in humanity, He again took up and gave to humanity. “I am come,” He says, “that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol.5 pp. 1113, 1114

“All believers who pass through a natural death, have, through eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God, eternal life in them, which is the life of Jesus Christ. In dying, Jesus has made it impossible for those who believe on Him to die eternally. . . It was to make it impossible for men to lose eternal life if they believe on Him. The life of men and women is precious in the sight of God; for Christ has purchased that life by being executed in their stead. Thus He made it possible for us to attain to immortality” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 7, p. 926

8.         Because by birth of the word, believers have eternal life in them, when will this life be manifest? 1Corinthians 15:21-23, 35-38, 42-44, 51-52

            “The resurrection of Jesus was a sample of the final resurrection of all who sleep in Him. The risen body of the Saviour, His deportment, the accents of His speech, were all familiar to His followers. In like manner will those who sleep in Jesus rise again. We shall know our friends even as the disciples knew Jesus.” – Seventh Day Adventist bible Commentary Vol. 6, p.1092

“Our personal identity is preserved in the resurrection, though not the same particles of matter or material substance as went into the grave. . . There is no law of God in nature which shows that God gives back the same identical particles of matter which composed the body before death. God shall give the righteous dead a body that will please Him. Paul illustrates this subject by the kernel of grain sown in the field. The planted kernel decays, but there comes forth a new kernel. The natural substance in the grain that decays is never raised as before, but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him. A much finer material will compose the human body, for it is a new creation, a new birth. It is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 6, p. 1093

REFLECTIONS

  • Can we embrace the internal assurance that is ours, that by receiving into our hearts the terms of the atonement we possess the righteousness of Jesus as well as immortality of Jesus?
  • When the development of that possession is fully matured we then have the assurance that in the time of the harvest we will be in that company which perfectly reflect the image of Christ and are ready for translation because we have held securely to Jesus Christ within, which represents immortality.
  • “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end;” Hebrews 3:14

Lesson 12

Sabbath

THE DAY OF ATONEMENT

“For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD.” Leviticus 16:30

OBJECTIVES

  • To examine the work of the atonement in its two phases.
  • To appreciate the atonement of Jesus as our High Priest.
  • To apply the incarnation upon the believers since 1844.
  • To know our work at this present time in the Atonement.

ATONEMENT AT THE CROSS

1.         What was the work of Jesus from the incarnation to the cross? Hebrews 2:9-11; John 17:19

            “Leaving the royal courts of heaven Christ came to our world to represent the character of His Father, and thus help humanity to return to their loyalty…He came as a helpless babe, bearing the humanity we bear. “As the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same.”… Christ clothed His divinity with humanity, that humanity might touch humanity; that He might live with humanity and bear all the trials and afflictions of man He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. In His humanity He understood all the temptations that will come to man… And having with His own blood paid the price of redemption, having passed through man’s experience, having in man’s behalf met and conquered temptation, having, though Himself sinless, borne the shame and guilt and burden of sin, He becomes man’s Advocate and Intercessor.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 7, pp. 925-926

2.         Was the atonement of Christ with humanity complete at the cross? Did He fall short in any measure in becoming one with us? Isaiah 53:12; Hebrew 2:17 (last part) and 4:15 (last part)

            “Through all our trials we have a never-failing Helper. He does not leave us alone to struggle with temptation, to battle with evil, and be finally crushed with burdens and sorrow. Though now He is hidden from mortal sight, the ear of faith can hear His voice saying, Fear not; I am with you. “I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore.” Rev. 1:18. I have endured your sorrows, experienced your struggles, encountered your temptations. I know your tears; I also have wept. The griefs that lie too deep to be breathed into any human ear, I know. Think not that you are desolate and forsaken. Though your pain touch no responsive chord in any heart on earth, look unto Me, and live.” –Desire of Ages p.483

4.         Reflecting on the previous question, what is His atonement with us now meant to achieve in us? Romans 5:11; i.e. Ephesians 4:13

            “The Saviour took upon Himself the infirmities of humanity and lived a sinless life, that men might have no fear that because of the weakness of human nature they could not overcome. Christ came to make us “partakers of the divine nature,” and His life declares that humanity, combined with divinity, does not commit sin.” –Ministry of Healing p. 180

ATONEMENT SINCE 1844

5.         As Jesus was sent by the Father to bring man back to the Father’s heart again, what has been written about Him since His ascension and especially since 1844? 1Timothy 2:3-5; Hebrew 8:1, 2, 6, 10

            , “For eighteen centuries this work of ministration continued in the first apartment of the sanctuary. The blood of Christ, pleaded in behalf of penitent believers, secured their pardon and acceptance with the Father, yet their sins still remained upon the books of record. As in the typical service there was a work of atonement at the close of the year, so before Christ’s work for the redemption of men is completed, there is a work of atonement for the removal of sin from the sanctuary. This is the service which began when the 2300 days ended. At that time, as foretold by Daniel the prophet, our High Priest entered the most holy to perform the last division of his solemn work,–to cleanse the sanctuary.” –Great Controversy p.421

6.         Obviously the atonement which Jesus fulfilled at the cross was not yet completed in the sinner, How was it to be completed? Leviticus 16:30;

1 John 1:8, 9; 2 Peter 3:14, 15; Jude 24.

            “God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing. By His law He measures the character of every man. As the artist transfers to the canvas the features of the face, so the features of each individual character are transferred to the books of heaven. God has a perfect photograph of every man’s character, and this photograph He compares with His law. He reveals to man the defects that mar his life, and calls upon him to repent and turn from sin.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p. 1085          

            “When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life…Then as the Lord looks upon us He sees, not the fig-leaf garment, not the nakedness and deformity of sin, but His own robe of righteousness, which is perfect obedience to the law of Jehovah.” –Christ Object Lessons p. 312

THE SEALING

7.         While Jesus is pleading and waiting for us to become at one with Him as He became at one with us, what are God’s people doing on earth? Revelation 7:14 (last half)

            “It is now that we must keep ourselves and our children unspotted from the world. It is now that we must wash our robes of character and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. It is now that we must overcome pride, passion, and spiritual slothfulness. It is now that we must awake, and make determined effort for symmetry of character.” –Testimonies for the Church Vol. 5, p. 215-216.

“God leads His people on, step by step. He brings them up to different points calculated to manifest what is in the heart. Some endure at one point, but fall off at the next…Some are willing to receive one point; but when God brings them to another testing point, they shrink from it and stand back, because they find that it strikes directly at some cherished idol. Here they have opportunity to see what is in their hearts that shuts out Jesus. They prize something higher than the truth, and their hearts are not prepared to receive Jesus…Those who come up to every point, and stand every test, and overcome, be the price what it may, have heeded the counsel of the True Witness, and they will receive the latter rain, and thus be fitted for translation.” –Testimonies for the Church Vol. 1, p. 187

8.         Having learnt that God’s people can only attain to sinless purity by fixing the eye of their understanding on Jesus, what does this purifying experience finally do in the mind? Rev 14: 1. How is it spoken of in Revelation 7:2, 3?

            “What is the seal of the living God, which is placed in the foreheads of His people? It is a mark which angels, but not human eyes, can read; for the destroying angel must see this mark of redemption. The intelligent mind has seen the sign of the cross of Calvary in the Lord’s adopted sons and daughters. The sin of the transgression of the law of God is taken away. They have on the wedding garment, and are obedient and faithful to all God’s commands” –Seventh Day Adventist bible Commentary Vol. 7, p. 968

“…it is not any seal or mark that can be seen, but a settling into the truth, both intellectually and spiritually, so they cannot be moved…” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 4, p. 1161

REFLECTIONS

  • Do we now understand what is meant by Sister White that the Atonement is the great truth around which all other truths cluster?
  • The Sanctuary Truth, The Commandments, Christians Standards, Conversion, The Sealing of God’s People are here made meaningful by the Atonement i.e. the incarnation of Jesus.
  • When Jesus occupies my mind completely will I not cherish every item of truth and be zealous in the cause of God? Will this not be the very sealing occupation of my life?

Lesson 13

Sabbath

THE CHURCH OF THE ATONEMENT

I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” John 17:23

OBJECTIVES

  • To gain a correct basis for the identification of God’s true church on earth today.
  • To appreciate the work of the Church if it has the nature of Christ correct in its doctrines.
  • To observe the transition of the Church Militant to the church Triumphant.

MINISTRY OF THE CHURCH

1.         How does God’s true church relate to the atonement of Jesus? Where does the body of Jesus (humanity united to divinity) come into it? John 17:19-21; Ephesians 5:30, 32; 1 Corinthians 12:27, 28

            “By partaking of the Spirit of God, conforming to the law of God, man becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Christ brings His disciples into a living union with Himself and with the Father. Through the working of the Holy Spirit upon the human mind, man is made complete in Christ Jesus. Unity with Christ establishes a bond of unity with one another.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p. 1148

“Christian unity is a mighty agency. It tells in a powerful manner that those who possess it are children of God. It has an irresistible influence upon the world, showing that man in his humanity may be a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. We are to be one with our fellow men and with Christ, and in Christ one with God…To each man is given his work. No one can be a member of Christ’s body and yet be inactive. . . . The workers are to labor together in concert, each one controlled by divine power, putting forth undivided effort to draw those around them to Christ. All must move like parts of a well-adjusted machinery, each part dependent on the other part, yet standing distinct in action.” –My Life Today p. 276

2.         What is this unity in the body of Christ designed to achieve in the plan of redemption? John 17:23; Ephesians 4:8, 11-13

            “When Christ ascended to heaven, He left the work on earth in the hands of His servants, the under shepherds….In sending forth His ministers our Saviour gave gifts unto men, for through them He communicates to the world the words of eternal life. This is the means which God has ordained for the perfecting of the saints in knowledge and true holiness.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 5, p. 237

3.         Among all the various Sabbath keeping bodies of today, how can the searcher for saving truth distinguish the true spirit of the true church of the Atonement? What is the true church meant to be? 1 John 4:1-3, 6;

1 Timothy 3:15, 16

            1888 -THE COMPANY IN THE LIGHT

4.         What was the condition of the Advent people in 1888 and what message did God send them to save them from it? Revelation 3:14-19

            “Spiritual death has come upon the people that should be manifesting life and zeal, purity and consecration, by the most earnest devotion to the cause of truth. The facts concerning the real condition of the professed people of God, speak more loudly than their profession, and make it evident that some power has cut the cable that anchored them to the Eternal Rock, and that they are drifting away to sea, without chart or compass…And yet the case is not altogether beyond remedy. The Mediator has not left them hopeless.” –Review and Herald July 24, 1888

“The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This messages was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God.” –EGW 1888 Materials Chapter 60, p.1336

5.         What angel’s message was this the beginning of, and how was it received by the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Revelation 3:20, 21 Revelation 18:1

            “The time of test is just upon us, for the loud cry of the third angel has already begun in the revelation of the righteousness of Christ, the sin-pardoning Redeemer. This is the beginning of the light of the angel whose glory shall fill the whole earth.” –Seventh Day Adventist Bible Commentary Vol. 7, p. 984

“You must remember that this angel represents the people that have this message to give to the world. Are you among that people?” Review and Herald August 18, 1885

“An unwillingness to yield up preconceived opinions, and to accept this truth, lay at the foundation of a large share of the opposition manifested at Minneapolis against the Lord’s message through Brethren {E.J.} Waggoner and {A.T.} Jones. By exciting that opposition Satan succeeded in shutting away from our people, in a great measure, the special power of the Holy Spirit that God longed to impart to them. The enemy prevented them from obtaining that efficiency which might have been theirs in carrying the truth to the world, as the apostles proclaimed it after the day of Pentecost. The light that is to lighten the whole earth with its glory was resisted, and by the action of our own brethren has been in a great degree kept away from the world.” –Selected Messages Vol. 1, pp. 234, 235

GOD’S CHURCH MILITANT

6.         Does God have a ministry with the right spirit and right message in these last days? Isaiah 52:8-12; Revelation 18:1-4; Matthew 24:44-47

            “The work will grow deeper and become more earnest to the very close of time. And all who are laborers together with God will contend most earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. They will not be turned from the present message, which is already lightening the earth with its glory.” –Selected Messages Vol. 2, p. 114

7.         What are the members of the church militant which proclaims the pure content of the Atonement finally going to become? Daniel 12:10, 3;

2 Corinthians 2:14

            “The life of Christ was a life charged with a divine message of the love of God, and He longed intensely to impart this love to others in rich measure. Compassion beamed from His countenance, and His conduct was characterized by grace, humility, truth, and love. Every member of His church militant must manifest the same qualities, if He would join the church triumphant.” –Fundamentals of Christian Education p. 179

“Look, O look to Jesus and live! You cannot but be charmed with the matchless attractions of the Son of God. Christ was God manifest in the flesh, the mystery hidden for ages, and in our acceptance or rejection of the Saviour of the world are involved eternal interests.” –ibid p. 179

REFLECTIONS

  • Are we sensitive to the fine tuning proposed in 1 John 4:1-3, 6 of question 3?
  • While every church will glibly acknowledge that Jesus came in the flesh, but when that is expressed in its original word” “sarx” flesh of sin there is a rejection manifest.
  • Those that embrace the truth as it is in Jesus will ultimately find themselves with God’s church where the path to perfection will be administered in the Spirit of Christ.

THE END

 

Posted on July 12, 2011, in Sabbath School Lessons, Sermons by John Thiel, The 1888 Message, The Nature of Christ. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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