12: Rewards of Faithfulness-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt for Sabbath School class, March 25, 2023.

Main Theme: While saved by grace, God rewards faithfulness.

Read in Class: Hebrews 11:6, Isaiah 40:10, Revelation 22:12. Define the common thread of these passages.

Study: What doe these texts mean to us? What do they teach us? How should we respond?

Apply: How do we understand the difference between salvation by grace and a reward according to works?

Share: Your friend asks, “Why is God rewarding us by our works when we are saved by grace?” What do you tell your friend? For a hint see Saved by Faith, Rewarded by Righteousness.

Read in Class: Revelation 21:1-4, 7-8. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: What are some of the things that we are promised?

Apply: Read Revelation 21:8, about the fate of those who will face the second death. Which sin of those depicted there cannot have been forgiven by Jesus? Why, then, are these people lost when some who have done the same things are saved? What is the crucial difference between these two groups?

Share: Your friend asks why God does not save people who are cowardly or fearful? Why be so harsh with someone just for being fearful? What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class: Matthew 25:14-23. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study:  What does God say to those who were faithful money managers in supporting His cause? What does it mean to “enter into the joy of your lord?”

Apply: How are you going to fare when God comes to “settle accounts” with you?

Share: Your friend asks why the master was so harsh on the man who only had one talent? What do you tell your friend.

Read in Class: Romans 8:16-18. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: How was the knowledge that he was a child of God a factor in his faithfulness?

Apply: How have the things you have already suffered helped you become more faithful to God?

Share: Can you think of someone who is going through a hard time and struggling to be faithful? What word of encouragement can you share with them this week?

9: Beware of Covetousness-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

Prepared by William Earnhardt for Sabbath School class March 4, 2023.

Main Theme: By appreciating all God has done for us and given to us we can be happy and content without needing things we don’t have.

Read in Class: Isaiah 14:12-24. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: What hints are given there about the fall of Lucifer? How did covetousness play a crucial role in that fall?

Apply: Read 1 Timothy 6:6, 7. How can focusing on what Paul writes here help protect us from covetousness?

Share: Your friend says he covets rich people’s fancy and homes and expensive cars, but all he does is daydream about these things. He says coveting is a pretty benign sin. In light of Ephesians 5:5 and Colossians 3:5 how do you answer your friend?

Read in Class: Joshua 7. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: What happened after the powerful victory at Jericho, and what message should we take from this story for ourselves?

Apply: Think about how easily Achan could have justified his actions: well, it’s such a small amount compared to all the rest of the booty. No one will know, and what can it hurt? Besides, my family needs the money. How can we protect ourselves from this kind of dangerous rationalization?

Share: Your friend says it was not fair for God to allow Israel to suffer such a defeat just because of Achan’s sin? What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class John 12:1-8 and Acts 5:1-11. Discuss the common thread of these passages.

Study: Judas pretended to be concerned about the poor while Ananias and Sapphira pretended to be generous, but what sin lied in all their hearts? How did this sin lead to their fate?

Apply: How can we make sure we do not suffer the same fate as Judas, Ananias and Sapphira?

Share: Your friend asks, which was worse? Ananias and Sapphira keeping the money or lying about giving the entire amount? What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class: 1 Corinthians 10:13. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: What promise is given here, and why is this so important to understand in the context of covetousness?

Apply: How then, in God’s power, can we be protected against this dangerously deceptive sin?

  1. Make a decision to serve and depend on God and to be a part of His family. “Choose you this day whom ye will serve; … but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Josh. 24:15).
  2. Be daily in prayer and include Matthew 6:13, “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever.” When feeling covetous of something that you know you should not have, pray over it, claiming promises in the Bible for victory, such as 1 Corinthians 10:13.
  3. Be regular in Bible study. “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Ps. 119:11, NKJV).

Share: What, if any, have been the consequences in your own life from covetousness? What lessons have you learned? What might you still need to learn from them?

1: Part of God’s Family-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt, for Sabbath School Class, January 7, 2023.

Main Theme: Being a part of God’s family is both a privilege and a responsibility.

Read in Class; Psalm 50:10-12 and Psalm 24:1. What is the common thread of these passages?

Study: What’s the message here, and what should this truth mean to us and how we relate to whatever we possess?

Apply: “But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly as this?” (1 Chron. 29:14, NKJV). What beautiful principles are expressed in these words, and how do they reflect what our attitude toward God should be and our attitude toward what we possess?

Share: Your friend tells you the story about a great swarm of locusts devouring several farmer’s crops. At the town square one farmer complains to another farmer. The other farmer responds, “If God wants His locusts eating His crops that’s His business.” What did the other farmer mean by that? Do you agree with the other farmer?

Read in Class: Psalm 23:1, Psalm 37:25 and Philippians 4:19. What is the common thread in these passages?

Study: What do these verses say about God’s provision for our daily needs?

Apply: How has God taken care of your daily needs? Do any examples stand out in your mind about how He has provided for you?

Share: Your friend tells you they never bring anything to fellowship lunch at church because they know God will provide. They also tell you they never give to the local church budget because the church will always be there with or without their offerings. What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class: Deuteronomy 6:5 and Matthew 22:37. What is the common thread of these passages?

Study: What does this mean, and how do we do it?

Apply: How have been blessed both temporally and spiritually by loving God?

Share: Your friend says she does not need to keep the commandments. She only needs to love God. How do you respond to your friend?

Read in Class: Matthew 6:19-21. What is the main idea of this passage?

Study: What crucial truths is Jesus speaking here?

Apply: What have you been doing in the last month that reveals where your heart is? 

Share: Can you think of someone this week who is need of food, clothing or other resources? How can you help them in a practical way this week?

14: All Things New- Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

Prepared by William Earnhardt, for Sabbath School class, December 31, 2022.

Main Theme: One day our hope of eternal life on the new earth will become reality.

Read in Class: Isaiah 65:17-25; Isaiah 66:22, 23; 2 Peter 3:13; and Revelation 21:1-5. What is the common thread of these passages?

Study: What is the ultimate message of these passages?

Apply: Many secular writers, without the hope of eternity as presented in Scripture, have lamented the meaninglessness of human existence. Though they are wrong about the future, why is it hard to argue with their point about the meaninglessness of life without a future hope?

Share: You friend asks, what we will be doing in heaven all eternity? Won’t it get boring? What things will be similar to our lives now? What will be different? What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class:  Revelation 7:9-15 with Revelation 21:3, 22. What is the common thread of these passages?

Study: How can we harmonize the description of the great multitude of the redeemed serving God “day and night in His temple” (Rev. 7:15, NKJV) with the statement that John “saw no temple” in the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:22, NKJV)?

Apply: Revelation 21:3 reads: “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God” (NKJV). These verses reflect numerous other passages (Jer. 32:38, Ezek. 37:27, Zech. 8:8, Heb. 8:10). What does it mean for us now, still here on earth, that God will be our God, and we will be His people? How do we live out this amazing truth now?

Share: Your friend asks, Isn’t God already with us now? In what ways is God already with us? How will it be different in the new earth? What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class:  Matthew 5:8; 1 John 3:2, 3; and Revelation 22:3, 4. What is the common thread of these passages?

Study: What do these passages tell us about the supreme privilege of seeing God?

Apply: Read 1 Peter 1:22. How does this text reveal to us the link between obedience and purification? What is it about obedience that purifies us? How, specifically, does Peter say our obedience will be made manifest?

Share: Your friend’s child asks you, if God is real why can’t we see Him? What do you tell your friend’s child?

Read in Class:  Isaiah 25:8, Revelation 7:17, and Revelation 21:4. What is the common thread in these passages?

Study: What comfort and hope can these passages bring us amid the trials and suffering of this present world?

Apply: Who hasn’t felt the unfair ravages of human existence here? Especially in those bad times, how can we learn to trust, and to the degree possible, rejoice in God’s goodness and love?

Share: Can you think of someone who would be encouraged by some things found in this week’s lesson. How can you plan to share it with them this week?

10: Meekness in the Crucible-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt for Sabbath School class, Sabbath September 3, 2022.

Main Theme: Meekness makes us a witness and example even in our crucibles.

Read in Class: Exodus 32:1-14. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: What role is Moses playing here, and why does he ask God not to destroy Israel?

Apply: Think about the people around you who you think are the least deserving of grace. How can you, with meekness and selfless humility, be a revelation of God’s grace to them?

Share: Your friends seem to think that the pastor is doing a good job when he is making them all happy, but he is doing a poor job when he upsets everyone. How might you use the example of Aaron in this story to help illustrate how we should and should not judge our pastors?

Read in Class: Matthew 5:43-48. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: Jesus calls us to love and pray for our enemies. What example from nature does Jesus give us there that helps us understand why we should love our enemies? What’s the point He is teaching us?

Apply: When you look at your “enemies,” what do you normally see — the pearl or the dirt around it?

Share: Your friend says he can never forgive his enemies because of what they have done to him. He feels like forgiveness is just sweeping it under the rug. How can you assure your friend forgiveness is not just sweeping it under the rug? See Forgiveness is not saying it is okay.

Read in Class: 1 Peter 2:18-25. Discuss the key point of this passage.

Study: Peter is offering some surprising advice to slaves. He describes how Jesus responded to unjust and painful treatment and suggests to them that He has left them “an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Pet. 2:21, NKJV). What principles of meekness and humility in the crucible can we learn from Jesus’ example, as expressed here by Peter?

Apply: How do you deal with situations in which you have been treated unfairly? How can you better apply some of the principles looked at here today to your own life? See Let God be the One to pay you Back.

Share: Your friend asks you to what extent should we get involved in social justice issues? Was Jesus involved in social justice issues? How do you answer your friend?

Read in Class: Psalm 62:1-8. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: What seems to be the background for this psalm? What points is David making? What spiritual principles can you learn from what he is saying? Most important, how can you learn to apply these principles to your own life?

Apply: How immune are you to the reproaches and barbs of others? Most likely not that immune, right? How can you cleave to the Lord and anchor your sense of self-worth on the One who loves you so much that He died for your sins, and thus help protect yourself against the slights of others?

Share: Can you think of someone this week who may be going through a crucible who you may encourage?

6: Struggling With All Energy-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt, for Sabbath School class Sabbath, August 6, 2022.

Main Theme: The Holy Spirit will not force us to obey against our will. We need to cooperate with the Holy Spirit as far as we are able.

Read in Class: John 16:5-15. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: In this passage, Jesus calls the Holy Spirit the “Spirit of truth” (John 16:13, NIV). What does this imply that the Holy Spirit does for us?

Apply: What convictions has the “Spirit of truth” brought to you recently? How well are you listening to His voice? And, most important, what choices are you making with your free will?

Share: Your friend says that if you are led by the Holy Spirit that you will agree with him on every Bible doctrine, because after all, he is led by the Holy Spirit too. Do you agree with your friend? Why or why not? Do we sometimes create unnecessary crucibles by trying to make everyone agree with us? See Do we Have to Agree on Everything?

Read and Compare in Class: Colossians 1:28-29, Deuteronomy 4:4, Luke 13:24, 1 Corinthians 9:25, and Hebrews 12:4.

Study: Though Paul talks about God working in him, in what ways does he show the human effort also involved? 

Apply: What is your own experience with the kind of striving Paul talked about? What things has God laid upon your heart that you are struggling with? How can you learn to surrender to God’s will?

Share: Your friend says, “God understands some of us may be trying very hard to overcome our bad habits, even though it may not look like it to others.” Do you agree with your friend? Consider: “While some are continually harassed, afflicted, and in trouble because of their unhappy traits of character, having to war with internal foes and the corruption of their nature, others have not half so much to battle against. They pass along almost free from the difficulties which their brethren and sisters who are not so favorably organized are laboring under. In very many cases they do not labor half so hard to overcome and live the life of a Christian as do some of those unfortunate ones I have mentioned.” Ellen White, Testimonies Volume 2 page 74 

Read in Class: 1 Peter 1:13-16. Discuss the main idea of this passage.

Study: What is Peter concerned about, and what does he want his readers actually to do?

Apply: What important decisions are you facing? Ask yourself honestly, “How can I know if I am basing my choices on feeling, emotion, desire, as opposed to the Word of God?”

Share: Your friend asks, “How can I tell the difference between the Holy Spirit speaking to me and my own feelings and desires?” What do you tell your friend?

Read in Class: Matthew 5:29-20. What is the main idea of this passage?

Study: Is Jesus suggesting we literally main ourselves physically? What is He actually saying?

Apply: What are some practical ways we can remove temptations?

Share: Think of someone who you have seen grow spiritually over time. Can you affirm them and encourage them this week?

12: Receiving an Unshakeable Kingdom-Sabbath School Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt, for Sabbath School Class, Sabbath, March 19,2022.

Main Theme: Jesus has received a kingdom and is going to share it with us.

Read Together: Hebrews 12:22-24 and Daniel 7:13-14. Define the main idea of these passages.

Study: If this is a celebration, why is God described as a judge? How can a judge be part of or a reason for a celebration?

Apply: How does what we studied today help us understand that God’s judgment in the three angels’ messages is “good news” for this time (Rev. 14:67; compare with Deut. 32:361 Chron. 16:33-35)?

Share: Your friend tells you the judgement scares them? What hope can you share with your friend?

Read Together: Hebrews 12:26-27 and Psalm 96:9-10. Define the main idea of these passages.

Study: What is the purpose of God’s shaking the heavens and the earth? What does this mean?

Apply: Why is the promise that one day justice will be done, and the evil that has been so prevalent in our world will one day be destroyed, such a hopeful promise for us all, especially those who have suffered directly at the hands of evil?

Share: Your friend has watched too many mystery shows, and laments to you how so many people have gotten away with such heinous crimes without ever being brought to justice. How do you respond to your friend?

Read Together: Hebrews 12:27, Psalm 21:7 and Psalm 62:2. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: What are the things that will not be shaken?

Apply:  How well are you doing now in terms of being shaken or not shaken? What choices can you make to get help in being unmoved? Share your thoughts.

Share: A church member asks, “How do we know we will not be shaken out? Will whole churches be shaken? If so, what hope do we have?” How do you respond to your fellow church member?

Read Together: Hebrews 12:28 and Hebrews 13:15-16. Define the main idea of these passages.

Study: How do we offer God acceptable worship?

Apply:  How could our spiritual sacrifices to God be corrupted? Share your thoughts.

Share: Who can you invite to Sabbath School next week?

“During the thousand years between the first and the second resurrection the judgment of the wicked takes place. The apostle Paul points to this judgment as an event that follows the second advent. ‘Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts.’ 1 Corinthians 4:5. Daniel declares that when the Ancient of Days came, ‘judgment was given to the saints of the Most High.’ Daniel 7:22. At this time the righteous reign as kings and priests unto God. John in the Revelation says: ‘I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them.’ ‘They shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.’ Revelation 20:46. It is at this time that, as foretold by Paul, ‘the saints shall judge the world.’ 1 Corinthians 6:2. In union with Christ they judge the wicked, comparing their acts with the statute book, the Bible, and deciding every case according to the deeds done in the body. Then the portion which the wicked must suffer is meted out, according to their works; and it is recorded against their names in the book of death.

Satan also and evil angels are judged by Christ and His people. Says Paul: ‘Know ye not that we shall judge angels?’ Verse 3. And Jude declares that ‘the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.’ Jude 6.” — Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, pp. 660, 661.

8: Jesus, The Mediator of the New Covenant-Sabbath School Lesson Teaching Plan

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Prepared by William Earnhardt, for Sabbath School class, Sabbath February 19, 2022.

Main Theme: By living a perfect life, and then by dying in our place, Jesus mediated a new, better covenant between us and God. Through His death, Jesus canceled the penalty of death that our trespasses demanded and made possible the new covenant.

Read Together: Hebrews 7:11-19. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: Why was there a need for a change in the law? Exactly what law was changed? The ten commandments or the priesthood?

Apply: Why is it so important to know that our High Priest and Redeemer lived a perfect life? See Romans 5:10.

Share: You son asks you, “If the law does not make us perfect, and we are not saved by it, why obey it?” What do you tell your son?

Read Together: Hebrews 8:1-6. Define the main idea of this passage.

Study: Why is Jesus the mediator of a better covenant?

Apply: How are the promises of the new covenant better than the promises of the old covenant? See Better Promises Make a Better Covenant.

Share: A friend asks, “If Jesus is our High Priest, why do we need priests and pastors here on earth?” How would you answer your friend?

Read Together: Hebrews 8:10-12 with Deuteronomy 6:4-6Deuteronomy 30:11-14, and Jeremiah 31:31-34. Define the common idea in these passages.

Study: What do these verses teach us about the nature of the new covenant?

Apply: Read 2 Timothy 2:13. What can we learn from God’s faithfulness to His people and to His plans as we consider our relationships with others and our plans?

Share: Your friend tells you that his pastor says the new covenant does away with the law. How do you answer your friend?

Read Together: Hebrews 10: 5-10 and Exodus 24:1-8. Define the main idea of these passages.

Study: What are the similarities and differences between these two promises?

Apply: Christ has satisfied the demands of the covenant; therefore, the fulfillment of God’s promises to us is not in doubt. How does this help you understand the meaning of 2 Corinthians 1:20-22? What wonderful hope is found here for us?

Share: What is your main “take away” from today’s study? How can you share it with someone this week?

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

3: All Future Generations-Teaching Plan

Key Thought: What did sin do to God’s creation? What were some of the characteristics of Noah? What elements were involved in the covenant with Noah? In what ways is God’s grace revealed in the covenant with Noah before the Flood? What does the covenant God made with humanity after the Flood teach us about His universal love for us?

Prepared by William Earnhardt

April 17, 2021 Sabbath School Class.

  1. Have a volunteer read Genesis 6:5-9, 11.

A. Ask the class what is the main idea of this passage?

B. Why did God repent that He had made man? (Try to help the class understand that God was sorry because His creatures were in pain. For example Malachi 2:16 says God hates divorce. Does God hate divorcees? Of course not! He loves divorcees which is why He hates the divorce that brings pain to the divorcees.) What does His solution teach us about true Biblical repentance? (Try to help the class the understand that God repented by undoing what He had done. True repentance on our part is undoing what we have done as far as lies in our power.)

C. Personal Application: In the midst of a wicked world how do we find grace in the eyes of the Lord? What hint does the last part of verse 9 give us?

D. Case Study: Your friend says his pastor says that if Jesus does not come soon to destroy sin and sinners that He will need to apologize to the antediluvians for destroying them? Do you agree with your friend?

2. Have a volunteer read Genesis 6:10-18.

A. Ask the class what is the main idea of this passage?

B. How is the covenant in verse 18 related to the covenant in Genesis 3:15 and why does that make it crucial for God to preserve a posterity on the ark?

C. Personal Application: What part did peer pressure play in Adam choosing to sin in Genesis 3:6 and what part do you believe peer pressure played in no one besides Noah’s family getting on the ark? When it comes to salvation why is it so important that we make our own decisions?

D. Case Study: Your young nephew who just lost his favorite puppy asks you if his pet will be in heaven. After all he says, God saved the animals on the ark. What do you tell your nephew?

3. Have a volunteer read Genesis 9:12-17.

A. Ask the class that is the main idea of this passage?

B. What is the significance of “every living creature” in verse 16 and “all families of the earth will be blessed” in Genesis 12:1-3? Have unbelievers benefited from the covenant? If so how? Hint: “To the death of Christ we owe even this earthly life. The bread we eat is the purchase of His broken body. The water we drink is bought by His spilled blood. Never one, saint or sinner, eats his daily food, but he is nourished by the body and the blood of Christ. The cross of Calvary is stamped on every loaf. It is reflected in every water spring. All this Christ has taught in appointing the emblems of His great sacrifice. The light shining from that Communion service in the upper chamber makes sacred the provisions for our daily life. The family board becomes as the table of the Lord, and every meal a sacrament.” -Ellen White, Desire of Ages Page 660.

C. Personal Application: How well has God kept His covenant with your personally? How well have you kept your covenant with Him?

D. Case Study: Your neighbor asks if the flood covered the entire globe or just the known world in the middle east at that time? What implications does such a question have? What do you tell your neighbor?

4. Have a volunteer read Revelation 12:17.

A. Ask the class what is the main idea of this passage?

B. What relation is there if any, between the “seed” in Genesis 3:15 and “the remnant of her seed” In this passage? How is the remaining and surviving seed identified?

C. Personal Application: If you are a part of God’s remnant how has the dragon made war with you personally? How has God protected you?

D. 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. 149).

The Theme of my Ministry

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

One Sabbath afternoon at a luncheon, I met a former Bible Worker, who asked me what the theme of my ministry was. I told him the cross of Christ. He sneered and told me my theme was rather cliche. He very proudly went on to tell me that his theme was the health message.

I wonder how many people have thought Paul’s ministry was cliche?

For I decided that while I was with you I would forget everything except Jesus Christ, the one who was crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2 NLT

When I first became a literature evangelist many years ago, I was sitting in the conference president’s office along with a few other L.E.s talking about which book we should promote. A few of them said The Great Controversy. It tells us all about the Sabbath and the mark of the beast. I then suggested The Desire of Ages.  I explained why. Unless people are in love with Jesus, it won’t do any good to warn them about last day events. The Desire of Ages helps us fall in love with Jesus. Granted there is plenty of Jesus in the Great Controversy as well. It is also a Christ-centered book. However, warning about the end time events will not do any good unless people’s hearts are broken and they have fallen in love with Jesus.

If telling people that Jesus loved them enough to say goodbye to life forever in order to save them, does not make then want to see Jesus then warning them about last-day events will not do any good.

A while back a man joined our church who just wanted to talk about last-day conspiracy theories. One time when he was having such a discussion, I tried to get him to talk about his experience with Jesus and how his relationship with Jesus has changed his life. He could not do it. He could talk about Sunday laws and theories of how the mark of the beast would be distributed, but he could not talk about how Jesus had changed his life.

All are tested in different ways. On September 11, 2001, when several terrorists were willing to die if they could just kill others too, God magnified himself in the many rescue workers who were also willing to die if they could just save someone else!

Different people are tested in different ways. The rescue workers on 9-11 were not given the Sabbath test. But some followed Jesus by denying themselves and dying just like He did. Some of us will be tested with the Sabbath test one day. Whatever test we meet, we will be able to pass with flying colors if we fall in love with Jesus and make Him and Him crucified the theme of our lives.

You may study this week’s SS Lesson here.