9: Covenant Sign – Sabbath School Teaching Plan

9: Covenant Sign – Sabbath School Teaching Plan

Prepared by William Earnhardt

Key Thought: The Sabbath is a covenant sign that points back to Creation, the covenant of grace, and to the final recreation when God makes all things new.
May 29, 2021

1. Have a volunteer read Genesis 2:1-3

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the most important point is in this passage.
  2. Why did God rest on the seventh day? Is there a parallel between God resting after creation and Jesus resting in the grave on Sabbath after He redeemed us?
  3. Personal Application: What do you think the first Sabbath was like for Adam and Eve? They didn’t really have a long week that week. What type of a rest did they need? Hint: Psalm 100:3 says it is God who made us and not we ourselves? Do you think they appreciated realizing they were made by God’s work and not their own work? Just was we are redeemed by Jesus’ works and not our own works?
  4. Case Study: I saw a Sabbath debate on Youtube a while back. The person debating against the Sabbath said that while God made the Sabbath at creation He did not tell anyone to keep it until Sinai. How would you respond to this debate? Hint: Mark 2:27 tells us why the Sabbath was originally made. Also see Exodus 16 as well as Exodus 20:8-11. Also see Did God Tell Adam and Eve to Keep the Sabbath?

2. Have a volunteer read Exodus 20:8-11.

  1. Ask class members to share a thought on what the most important point in this text is.
  2. How is the Sabbath commandment linked to creation? If the Sabbath had never been forgotten would man have forgotten his creator? Would atheism still be rampant? Why or why not?
  3. Personal Application: What is it about the Sabbath that makes it appropriate as a symbol of the saving relationship with God? How does the Sabbath symbolize Salvation by grace instead of by works?
  4. Case Study: Your neighbor tells you she does not need the Sabbath because she keeps everyday holy? How do you respond to your neighbor? What in the commandment itself tells us we can’t keep every day holy or alike? Hint: see Exodus 20:9.

3. Have a volunteer read Exodus 31:13-17.

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
  2. What does it mean to be sanctified? Can we sanctify ourselves? Can we make a day holy?
  3. Personal Application: How has the Sabbath helped you in your relationship with Christ? Why do you think God was so particular that no work be done on the Sabbath? Could that have anything to do with us not trusting our works to save us?
  4. Case Study: One of your co-workers says that the Sabbath was just a sign for the Jews. How do you respond? Was the Sabbath a sign that they were Jews or a sign they were God’s people? Also can we claim for ourselves the promises given to the Jews without obeying the commandments given to the Jesus?

4. Have a volunteer read Deuteronomy 5:14-15 and Hebrews 4:1-4.

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of these passages is.
  2. How are we to keep the Sabbath holy? See The Sabbath in Light of the Cross.
  3. Personal Application: While Pharaoh made the Jews work so he could rest, God worked so the Jews could rest. The Sabbath was a sign that the Jews were saved from slavery by God’s works and not their own. What does the Sabbath remind you that you have been saved from?
  4. Case Study: Think of one person who needs to hear a message from this week’s lesson. Tell the class what you plan to do this week to share with them.

(Truth that is not lived, that is not imparted, loses its life-giving power, its healing virtue. Its blessings can be retained only as it is shared.”Ministry of Healing, p. 148).

Video: Baptism in Light of the Cross

Baptism 

Brief overview: By baptism we confess our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and testify of our death to sin and of our purpose to walk in newness of life. Thus we acknowledge Christ as Lord and Saviour, become His people, and are received as members by His church. Baptism is a symbol of our union with Christ, the forgiveness of our sins, and our reception of the Holy Spirit. It is by immersion in water and is contingent on an affirmation of faith in Jesus and evidence of repentance of sin. It follows instruction in the Holy Scriptures and acceptance of their teachings. (Rom. 6:1-6Col. 2:1213Acts 16:30-3322:162:38Matt. 28:1920.)

Why it is important to understand the truth about baptism:

The Bible only teaches one form of baptism. See Ephesians 4:5. We get the word “baptism” from the Greek word, “baptizo” which means, to immerse. To be immersed you must go into the water all the way.

Why it is important to understand baptism in light of the cross:

Romans 6 tells us the reason there is only one form of baptism. Baptism is where we are crucified with Christ and die to self. In Baptism we are giving all of ourselves to Jesus because He loved and gave all of Himself for us. When we go under the water we stop breathing for a moment. That is symbolic of our death to self. When we come up out of the water we take a new breath and that new breath represents the new life that we are now living for Jesus.

Further Study on Baptism

 How essential is baptism?

Jesus replied, “I assure you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit.  John 3:5 NLT

How many types of baptism does God recognize?

There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism Ephesians 4:5 NLT

How was Jesus baptized?

Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized by John.But John tried to talk him out of it. “I am the one who needs to be baptized by you,” he said, “so why are you coming to me?” But Jesus said, “It should be done, for we must carry out all that God requires.” So John agreed to baptize him. After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me great joy.”Matthew 3:13-17 NLT

Why did John baptize there?

At this time John the Baptist was baptizing at Aenon, near Salim, because there was plenty of water there; and people kept coming to him for baptism.  John 3:23 NLT

How did Philip baptize the Ethiopian?

He ordered the carriage to stop, and they went down into the water, and Philip baptized him. Acts 8:38 NLT

What must precede baptism?

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:19-20 NLT

Note: Disciplining or mentoring and teaching takes place before and after baptism.

What else must take place?

Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.  Mark 16:16 NLT

What must follow belief?                                                                                                 

Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Acts 2:37-38 NLT

What does baptism symbolize?                                                                                    

Or have you forgotten that when we were joined with Christ Jesus in baptism, we joined him in his death? For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised to life as he was. We know that our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.  Romans 6:3-6 NLT

Who now lives in us?

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 NLT

What are we declared to be?

For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And now that you belong to Christ, you are the true children of Abraham. You are his heirs, and God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you.  Galatians 3:26-29 NLT

For what reason might one be re-baptized?

While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions until he reached Ephesus, on the coast, where he found several believers “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” he asked them.“No,” they replied, “we haven’t even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” “Then what baptism did you experience?” he asked. And they replied, “The baptism of John.”Paul said, “John’s baptism called for repentance from sin. But John himself told the people to believe in the one who would come later, meaning Jesus.”As soon as they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Acts 19:1-5 NLT

Why wait?

What are you waiting for? Get up and be baptized. Have your sins washed away by calling on the name of the Lord. Acts 22:16 NLT

Video: The Sabbath in Light of the Cross

The Sabbath

Brief overview: The Seventh-day, Saturday is God’s holy Sabbath where we are to rest from all secular work and activity. God sanctified the Sabbath day and made it Holy. See Genesis 2:1-3, Exodus, 20:8-11, Exodus 31:13John 14:15,Revelation 14:12

Why is important to understand the truth about the Sabbath:

The Sabbath is the only commandment that begins with “remember” while it is also the one commandment man has forgotten. While many agnostics believe that God created us and then left us on our own, the Sabbath tells us that our Creator wants to have a relationship with us. The Sabbath also tells us who our God is. You can keep the other nine commandments and worship any god you choose. You can have no other gods before you besides television and not bow to any other god than television and so forth. The Sabbath commandment is the only commandment that tells us who the Lord is. This is why Satan wants us to forget this commandment. He wants us to forget God. He wants to be our god instead! The Sabbath is a sign that we belong to the true God, the one who died for us.

Why it is important to understand the Sabbath in light of the cross:

Satan does not want us to forget the Sabbath because he wants us to forget the law. Satan knows we are not saved by the works of the law but by grace. The Sabbath is a sign of God’s grace. We do no work on that day, demonstrating that it is not our works that sustain or save us but rather God’s work both at creation and the cross that sustain and save us. We rest on the Sabbath showing that we are resting our faith in the only One who can save us, Jesus Christ. I can imagine God walking with Adam and Eve through the garden, as He showed them all He had made for them, and the wonders of not their works but His works. Adam and Eve realized that day with God, “it is] he [that] hath made us, and not we ourselves.” (Psalms 100:3) Before and after the Cross the Sabbath is a sign that it is God’s work that creates and sustains us.

The Sabbath Commandment reminds us that God is our creator and we refrain from work and worldly activities on the Sabbath day as we rest our faith in God’s power to save and provide for us, instead of our own works and ability to do business and make money.

The same principle is seen in the story of Cain and Abel. In Genesis 4 we read about Abel worshiping the way God had commanded in bringing a lamb as a sacrifice. God accepted Abel’s sacrifice as the lamb God instructed him to bring pointed to Jesus: the Lamb of God who would be sacrificed for our sins. Abel, more than just worshiping as God had instructed was saying he trusted in Jesus to save him and not his own works, he was looking to the Cross. Cain’s sacrifice was refused because he did not worship the way God had instructed, and he brought his own fruit, the work of his own hands. God cannot accept our works and could not accept Cain’s works either. Only the Cross can save us.

Today, many people like Cain, try to be saved by worshiping their own way. Jesus says about them, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9). Our own works and man made ways of worship will never save us.

The story goes of a little boy years ago who had built his own wooden sailboat. Tied to a string he set the boat out to sail in a nearby creek and then would use the string to reel it back in. One day the string broke and the little boat fell victim to the rapids and sailed away. Several days later the boy is window shopping downtown when he sees his boat in a toy store window. He goes inside and tells the owner, “That’s my boat in the window.” The owner of the store not sure if he should believe the young lad tells the boy he will have to purchase the boat if he wants it back.

The boy does several chores around the home and neighborhood to get the few dollars the boat costs. He returns to the store and purchases his own boat. Walking home, holding his boat close to his chest he was over heard saying, “little boat you are twice mine. First I made you, and then I bought you.” That is what Jesus is telling us through the Sabbath today. As we rest from our works on the Sabbath and put our faith in Him, He tells us, “You are twice mine. First, at creation I made you, and then at the cross I bought you.”

Further Study on the Sabbath

When did God create the Sabbath?

So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he restedfrom all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation. Genesis 2:1-3 NLT

Note: While some say the Sabbath was made for the Jews, fact is it was created long before there was a Jewish race. It was created at the foundation of mankind for all mankind. When God created the earth, He provided the sun to mark a year, the moon to mark a month, and the earth’s rotation to mark a day. But where do we get a 7-day week from? Nowhere, but in the creation account of Genesis 1, with the creation week ending with the seventh day Sabbath.

“So long as the fact that He is our Creator continues to be a reason why we should worship Him, so long the Sabbath will continue as its sign and memorial. Had the Sabbath been universally kept, man’s thoughts and affections would have been led to the Creator as an object of reverence and worship, and there would never have been an idolater, an atheist, or an infidel. The keeping of the Sabbath is a sign of loyalty to the true God, “him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.” It follows that the message which commands men to worship God and keep His commandments will especially call upon them to keep the fourth commandment.” Lift Him Up, Page 51

Which day is the Sabbath?

The seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy. Exodus 20:10-11 NLT

Who was the Sabbath made for?

Then Jesus said to them, “The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. Mark 2:27 NLT

Note: The Sabbath was made for people, all people, not just Jews. It meets our need of resting in God’s grace as we cease from our works instead of trying to be saved by keeping the legalistic requirements the Pharisees had made up, which were not Scriptural.

Whose day is the Sabbath?

So the Son of Man is Lord, even over the Sabbath! Mark 2:28

Note: The Sabbath is the Lord’s day John referred to in Revelation 1:10 when he wrote: “It was the Lord’s Day, and I was worshiping…”

What does God call the Sabbath?                           

Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly.  Isaiah 58:13 NLT

When does a day begin?

This will be a Sabbath day of complete rest for you, and on that day you must deny yourselves. This day of rest will begin at sundown on the ninth day of the month and extend until sundown on the tenth day.   Leviticus 23:32 NLT

Note: Festival Sabbaths like the weekly Sabbath, and all days begins at sundown. This is not an idea that should be foreign to us, as we all recognize the evening of December 24 as Christmas evening or Christmas Eve.

What marks the beginning of a day?                                                                                     

God called the light “day” and the darkness “night.” And evening passed and morning came, marking the first day. Genesis 1:5 NLT

And the evening and the morning were the first day.  Genesis 1:5 KJV

Note: The NLT and KJV both make it clear the day begins at evening.

What did Jesus do on the Sabbath?

When he came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. Luke 4:16 NLT

What else should be done on the Sabbath?                                                                

where he noticed a man with a deformed hand. The Pharisees asked Jesus, “Does the law permit a person to work by healing on the Sabbath?” (They were hoping he would say yes, so they could bring charges against him.) And he answered, “If you had a sheep that fell into a well on the Sabbath, wouldn’t you work to pull it out? Of course you would. And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath.” Matthew 12:10-12 NLT

What are we to “remember” to do?

Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Exodus 20:8 NLT

What are we to refrain from on the Sabbath?

You have six days each week for your ordinary work,but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of rest dedicated to the Lord your God. On that day no one in your household may do any work. This includes you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, your livestock, and any foreigners living among you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens, the earth, the sea, and everything in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and set it apart as holy. Exodus 20:9-11 NLT

Note: While some say they keep every day holy or every day alike, we see that God did not make every day alike. Six days are for work and the Sabbath He made holy. In the above passage we see the Sabbath was not just intended for Jews, but for foreigners as well.

Why were the Jews carried into captivity?                                                                        

In those days I saw men of Judah treading out their winepresses on the Sabbath. They were also bringing in grain, loading it on donkeys, and bringing their wine, grapes, figs, and all sorts of produce to Jerusalem to sell on the Sabbath. So I rebuked them for selling their produce on that day. Some men from Tyre, who lived in Jerusalem, were bringing in fish and all kinds of merchandise. They were selling it on the Sabbath to the people of Judah—and in Jerusalem at that!So I confronted the nobles of Judah. “Why are you profaning the Sabbath in this evil way?” I asked.“Wasn’t it just this sort of thing that your ancestors did that caused our God to bring all this trouble upon us and our city? Now you are bringing even more wrath upon Israel by permitting the Sabbath to be desecrated in this way!” Nehemiah 13:15-18 NLT

What are we to learn from this?                                                                                         

So there is a special reststill waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest. But if we disobey God, as the people of Israel did, we will fall.

Footnotes:

  1. 4:9 Or a Sabbath rest.   Hebrews 4:9-11 NLT

Was the Sabbath kept after Jesus died on the cross?

Each Sabbath found Paul at the synagogue, trying to convince the Jews and Greeks alike. Acts 18:4 NLT

Note: Jews and Greeks alike observed the Sabbath of the Scriptures.

What is God’s promise?

“Keep the Sabbath day holy. Don’t pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the Lord’s holy day. Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day,  and don’t follow your own desires or talk idly. Then the Lord will be your delight. I will give you great honor and satisfy you with the inheritance I promised to your ancestor Jacob.   I, the Lord, have spoken!” Isaiah 58:13-14 NLT

Does Romans 9 Teach Predestination for Some or Salvation for all?

Many take Romans 9 to say that God has chosen some people to be saved and others to be lost without any will or choice of their own. They call this predestination. So let’s take a deeper look at this chapter and see for ourselves. We will also let the Bible explain itself. 

With Christ as my witness, I speak with utter truthfulness. My conscience and the Holy Spirit confirm it. My heart is filled with bitter sorrow and unending grief for my people, my Jewish brothers and sisters. I would be willing to be forever cursed—cut off from Christ!—if that would save them. Romans 9:1-3 NLT 

Wow! This is amazing. Paul would rather be eternally lost rather than see his community perish. This reminds me of Moses’ prayer in Exodus 32:32. It reminds me of Jesus being willing to die the second death in order to save the world. I have to ask myself if I love those I give Bible studies to this much? I can only imagine that such love must really change lives. By is Paul so concerned about his fellow Jews? 

They are the people of Israel, chosen to be God’s adopted children. God revealed his glory to them. He made covenants with them and gave them his law. He gave them the privilege of worshiping him and receiving his wonderful promises. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are their ancestors, and Christ himself was an Israelite as far as his human nature is concerned. And he is God, the one who rules over everything and is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.  Well then, has God failed to fulfill his promise to Israel? No, for not all who are born into the nation of Israel are truly members of God’s people! Being descendants of Abraham doesn’t make them truly Abraham’s children. For the Scriptures say, “Isaac is the son through whom your descendants will be counted,” though Abraham had other children, too. This means that Abraham’s physical descendants are not necessarily children of God. Only the children of the promise are considered to be Abraham’s children.  For God had promised, “I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” This son was our ancestor Isaac. When he married Rebekah, she gave birth to twins. But before they were born, before they had done anything good or bad, she received a message from God. (This message shows that God chooses people according to his own purposes; he calls people, but not according to their good or bad works.) She was told, “Your older son will serve your younger son.” Romans 9:4-12 NLT 

Paul is concerned because not all of his fellow Jews have accepted Christ. Yet they think they are God’s special people just because they are Jews and Abraham is their father.  In John 8:31-59 Jesus told the Pharisees the real children are Abraham are the ones who believe in Him as the Messiah. There was nothing special about being a Jew or a descendant of Abraham apart from the promised Messiah.  Paul shares a similar message with the Galatians in Galatians 4:21-31. in this passage Paul tells us that Hagar represents bondage to legalism and works while the child of promise, Isaac, represents those who believe in God’s promise and accept salvation by believing in the promised Messiah. The entire book of Romans assures us that while the promised Messiah came from Abraham’s Jewish blood line that salvation is offered to the entire world. 

After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is. There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles. Romans 3:29-30 NLT

Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. Romans 5:18 NLT

It is important that we keep in mind that the entire book of Romans is clear that salvation is offered to everyone regardless if they are Jew or Gentile. Romans 9 is not grappling with who is chosen to be saved, but rather who was chosen to be ancestors of the promised Messiah who would bring salvation to the entire world. 

In the words of the Scriptures, “I loved Jacob, but I rejected Esau.” Romans 9:13 NLT

This does not mean that God rejected Esau for salvation. It only means that God rejected Esau from having the birthright and being the ancestor of the promised Messiah. Jacob was preferred to be the ancestor of the promised Messiah. In the KJV it says, Jacob have I loved but Esau have I hated.” It is important for us to see how the KJV uses the word hate and even more important how Jesus uses the word hate. 

If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26 KJV 

Of course Jesus did not mean we must hate our families the way we think of hate today. Love and hate show our preferences. To love means to put one first and to hate means to put one last. The NLT helps clarify this idea. 

If you want to be my disciple, you must, by comparison, hate everyone else—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26 NLT 

So the NLT also helps clarify how the KJV is using the word hate when God says He loves Jacob but hated Esau. Eternal salvation is not the issue. God simple preferred Jacob to have the blessing of being the promised Messiah’s ancestor over Esau. 

Are we saying, then, that God was unfair? Of course not! For God said to Moses, “I will show mercy to anyone I choose, and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.” So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it. For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, “I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth.” So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen. Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?” No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?”  When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into? In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction. He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory. And we are among those whom he selected, both from the Jews and from the Gentiles. Romans 9:14-24 NLT 

Some take these words to mean that God chooses some people to be lost without any will of their own, but this clearly is not idea of this passage. First none of us deserve salvation in the first place. God is not defending His right to not save people. We all have sinned and deserve death. In this passage God is only defending His right to be merciful. You may not believe what I am saying but stay with me! In a moment the Bible is going to explain this passage itself. Meanwhile let’s understand what God is talking about when he says the potter makes one jar for decoration and another for holding garbage. Again this is not talking about eternal salvation. It simply means once again some were chosen to be a part of the promised Messiah’s bloodline while others were not. Also that God uses some of us to glorify God by being honored and He uses some of us to glorify God through our suffering. For example Elijah honored God by being taken into heaven in a chariot of fire. John the Baptist honored God by being beheaded in a lonely prison cell. Did God love Elijah more than John the Baptist? No way! Is Elijah the only one of the two who are eternally saved? Not at all! Both are saved, but one the Potter used as a jar for decoration while the other was used a garbage jar. Both have their part in the big picture of salvation. Both are dearly loved by God. Romans 9:14-24 is making the point that God honors some and dishonors others in order to save the entire world. 

Concerning the Gentiles, God says in the prophecy of Hosea, “Those who were not my people, I will now call my people. And I will love those whom I did not love before.” And, “Then, at the place where they were told, ‘You are not my people,’ there they will be called ‘children of the living God. And concerning Israel, Isaiah the prophet cried out, “Though the people of Israel are as numerous as the sand of the seashore, only a remnant will be saved. For the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth quickly and with finality.” And Isaiah said the same thing in another place: “If the Lord of Heaven’s Armies had not spared a few of our children, we would have been wiped out like Sodom, destroyed like Gomorrah.” Romans 9:25-29 NLT 

Instead of saying that God only wants Jews to be saved this passage is telling us God plans to save Gentiles as well as Jews. Romans 9 is not about God having the right to deny anyone salvation. It is about His right to save the entire world. Now so there will not be any confusion on this point Paul is about to sum it up. The Bible is about to explain itself as I promised. 

What does all this mean? Romans 9:30 NLT 

Okay here is our cue to pay close attention. To avoid all confusion about the meaning of Romans 9 Paul is getting ready to tell us exactly what it all means. 

What does all this mean? Even though the Gentiles were not trying to follow God’s standards, they were made right with God. And it was by faith that this took place. But the people of Israel, who tried so hard to get right with God by keeping the law, never succeeded. Why not? Because they were trying to get right with God by keeping the law instead of by trusting in him. They stumbled over the great rock in their path. God warned them of this in the Scriptures when he said, “I am placing a stone in Jerusalem that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. But anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Romans 9:30-33 NLT 

Does Paul tell us that everything we just read in Romans 9 is about predestination? No! It is about how we are all saved Jews and Gentiles alike not by our national heritage, works or legalism. We are all saved, Jews and Gentiles alike by believing in the promised Messiah who came through Abraham’s ancestry. As God told Abraham, “All the families on earth will be blessed through you.” See Genesis 12:3. The Jews were not preferred above the Gentiles for salvation. The Jews were only preferred to be the ones who would give birth to the Messiah Who was  promised to every nation. 

I will shake all the nations, and the treasures of all the nations will be brought to this Temple. I will fill this place with glory, says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Haggai 2:7 NLT 

Let’s not make the same mistake many Jews made in the days of Jesus and the days of Paul. Let’s not trust our national or even our religious affiliations to save us. Let’s not trust our works or legalism to save us. Let’s put all our hope in our only hope- the Promised Messiah.

As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him. For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:11-13 NLT 

You may study this week’s Sabbath School Lesson here.

8: Covenant Law-Sabbath School Teaching Plan

8: Covenant Law – Teaching Plan

Posted on  by Michael Frackeravatar

Key Thought: God’s law was an integral part of the covenant. Law is a means by which grace is manifested and expressed in the lives of those who receive grace.
May 22, 2021

1. Have a volunteer read Deuteronomy 4:13.

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the most important point is in this passage.
  2. How closely is God’s covenant linked to His law?
  3. Personal Application: Can you have a love relationship with someone without any rules to guide you? Why or why not? Share your thoughts.
  4. Case Study: One of your friends states, “If the Old Covenant is linked to the Ten Commandments, then the New Covenant destroyed the need for obedience to the Ten Commandments. The New Covenant is based on grace, not law.” How would you respond to your friend?

2. Have a volunteer read Deuteronomy 10:12,13.

  1. Ask class members to share a thought on what the most important point in this text is.
  2. Why is the law- teaching and instruction – good for us and our children and society?
  3. Personal Application: What kind of laws or rules do you have in your household that make sense to you and help keep it running smoothly? Share your thoughts.
  4. Case Study: “I see rules and laws as being restrictive to my freedom and ability to have independent thought and action. I want to choose my own boundaries. I can’t see how that can hurt anyone.” How would you respond to your friend?

3. Have a volunteer read Malachi 3:6James 1:17Amos 3:3..

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
  2. What does the presence of God’s law in the covenant relationship teach us about God’s essential nature?
  3. Personal Application: In what ways are marriage vows between a husband and wife similar to the covenant between God and His people? Share your thoughts.
  4. Case Study: One of your relatives states: “If the law can’t save us from sin, why is it part of the agreement between God and men?“ How would you respond to your relative?

4. Have a volunteer read Deuteronomy 5:33..

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
  2. How do blessings and obedience relate to each other here? Does obedience earn blessings?
  3. Personal Application: Is it possible that we run the risk of making ourselves ineffective because we do not uphold the law and make it honorable?” Share your thoughts.
  4. Case Study: Think of one person who needs to hear a message from this week’s lesson. Tell the class what you plan to do this week to share with them.

(Truth that is not lived, that is not imparted, loses its life-giving power, its healing virtue. Its blessings can be retained only as it is shared.”Ministry of Healing, p. 148).

What was Really Wrong With Sinai?

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar— Galatians 4:24 NKJV

What did Paul mean by Mount Sinai? Many believe he was referring to the Ten Commandments. Was he? Paul speaks favorably of the Ten Commandments in Ephesians 6, and I doubt he would do so if he really thought they led to bondage. Paul also mentions Hagar. Instead of referring to the Ten Commandments, is Paul referring to a Hagar-like attitude at Sinai?

Hagar represents the man-made covenant or man-made promises. Hagar was not really at fault, and God promised to bless her, but Abraham used Hagar to try to help him get the promised child by the works of his own flesh, instead of trusting God’s promise.

Likewise at Sinai the people promised three times,

“All the Lord has spoken we will do.” Exodus 19:824:324:7.

Their promises are like the “Hagar” mentality. The people were trusting their own promises and works of the flesh, instead of trusting God to work in and through them. When Paul referred to Sinai in Galatians 4:24 instead of the the law of Ten Commandments, he mentions Hagar. In Hebrews Paul explains that the problem at Sinai was the people were making their own promises, instead of trusting God’s.

For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Hebrews 8:7-10 NKJV

Paul promotes the Law and says it is to be written on our hearts. The Law was not the problem at Sinai. The problem, Paul says, is how the people tried to establish the Law. They were depending upon themselves instead of God’s promises. Remember Joshua telling Israel that they could not serve the Lord in Joshua 24:19, but they went on and promised they could anyway?

So Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord for yourselves, to serve Him.” Joshua 24:22 NKJV

Joshua sees the people are making the same mistake made at Sinai. In Galatians, Paul sees the Galatians making that same mistake. They thought they could earn God’s favor. They thought they could rely on their own promises to keep the Law. By trusting the strength of their own promises they were making the “Hagar” mistake, just like Abraham. The commandments are good, and while we can’t keep them in the strength of our own promises, what is impossible with us is possible with God. Remember what we read last quarter?

by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Peter 1:4 NKJV

Abraham trusted the works of his own flesh with Hagar, instead of trusting God’s promise. The problem at Sinai was that the same Hagar mentality was present. Paul wants the Law written on the Galatians’ hearts as well as our hearts, by trusting God instead of the works of the flesh.

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.

7: Covenant at Sinai – Teaching Plan

7: Covenant at Sinai – Teaching Plan

Prepared by William Earnhardt for the Seventh-day Adventist Sabbath School lesson for May 15, 2021

Key Thought: God gave His people a covenant of grace. He promised to deliver them from bondage by His own power.

1. Have a volunteer read Exodus 6:6,7.

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the most important point is in this passage.
  2. What did God redeem Israel from?
  3. Personal Application: How does God ransom us from slavery to sin? If we are saved by grace what role does the law play? Does grace save us from the law or does grace save us from sin? See Romans 1:5, Ephesians 2:8-10 and Titus 2:11-12. These verses show us grace gives us obedience, good works, and righteousness in this present world.
  4. Case Study: your boss tells you his pastor says that Jesus died to save us from the bondage of the law so we would not have to keep it anymore. How do you answer your boss? What verses do you share. For example, Romans 3:31, 1 peter 2:24.

2. Have a volunteer read Exodus 19:4Deuteronomy 1:29-31

  1. Ask class members to share a thought on what the most important point in this text is.
  2. How did God bring Israel from Egypt to Sinai?
  3. Personal Application: Do we care for each other the way God cares for us? See John 3:34-35. Do we love others the way God loves us? Are we patient and sympathetic towards sinners as Jesus is towards us?
  4. Case Study: Share a time that someone showed selfless interest in you.

3. Have a volunteer read Exodus 19:5,6.

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
  2. What does God mean by “obey” and ‘keep” my covenant? Notice: the word for obey in the original manuscripts simply means to listen. The word “Keep” simply means to cherish and regard. It is the same word in the original manuscripts when God told Adam to “keep” the garden. He meant for him to cherish and care for it. Read here for more info.
  3. Personal Application: When we obey and keep or listen and cherish God’s promises what do we become?
  4. Case Study:  Your cousin tells you he is tired of promising God He will never smoke again because he never can keep his promises he makes to God. What can you share with your cousin about listening to and trusting God’s promises instead of making our own? See 2 Peter 1:4.

4. Have a volunteer read Exodus 19:8.

  1. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
  2. What was the problem with the first covenant? Was the problem with the law or with the people thinking they could promise God to keep the law on their own? Was the problem with the law or with the people trusting their own promises? See Hebrews 8:8. For more info read here.
  3. Personal Application: If we are saved by grace why keep the law?
  4. Case Study: Think of one person who needs to hear a message from this week’s lesson. Tell the class what you plan to do this week to share with them.

(Truth that is not lived, that is not imparted, loses its life-giving power, its healing virtue. Its blessings can be retained only as it is shared.”Ministry of Healing, p. 148).

Saved by Grace, Lost by Disobedience

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

A while back a former Adventist friend was telling me that the Adventist church deceived her. She said when she first came into the church the evangelist was preaching about grace. But once she joined they started preaching about Sabbath keeping and obedience. She found works and obedience to be contradictory to the gospel of grace. I shared with my friend that faith and works were preached long before Adventism. James preached faith and works.

You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. James 2:24 NKJV

Fact is that it is only by grace and faith that we can be obedient and have good works.

Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law. Romans 3:31 NKJV

Through Him we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith… Romans 1:5 NKJV

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJV

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,  teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, Titus 2:11-12 NKJV

For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but faith working through love. Galatians 5:6 NKJV

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. James 2:26 NKJV

There are some important things to keep in mind. While Lucifer was placed in heaven by grace alone and no works of his own, he still lost his heavenly home by rebellion and disobedience.

And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. Revelation 12:7-9 NKJV

While Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden by grace alone and no works of their own, they still lost their paradise home due to disobedience.

therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life. Genesis 3:23-24 NKJV

While Israel was given its own land and nation by grace alone and no works of their own, they still lost it by disobedience.

Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said to them, “What evil thing is this that you do, by which you profane the Sabbath day?  Did not your fathers do thus, and did not our God bring all this disaster on us and on this city? Yet you bring added wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.” Nehemiah 13:17-18 NKJV

Likewise, spiritual Israel has been promised a land  – the New Jerusalem. While that land is given to us by grace alone and no works of our own, we can still lose it by disobedience.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV

After all, when we talk about Biblical salvation by grace, the salvation we receive by grace saves us from a life of sin.

…and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 NKJV

And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. Romans 6:18 NKJV 

The grace that my former Adventist friend found being preached in the Adventist church came straight from the Bible. The importance of works of love and loving obedience that she heard preached in the Adventist church is also straight from the Bible. 

“If you love Me, keep My commandments.” John 14;15 NKJV

Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. Revelation 22:14 NKJV 

I say this because some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God’s marvelous grace allows us to live immoral lives. The condemnation of such people was recorded long ago, for they have denied our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Jude 1:4 NLT

though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey HimHebrews 5:8-9 NKJV

My former Adventist friend was not deceived by the Adventist church regarding grace and faith and loving obedience. The idea of salvation without loving obedience is a deception.

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. James 1:22 NKJV

Let’s pray that we along with all of our friends will understand and appreciate the Biblical teachings of grace, faith, and loving obedience. 

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here.