Author Topic: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 3--2nd Quarter 2021--“All Future Generations”  (Read 206 times)

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 Lesson 3 April 10-16

“All Future Generations”

Commentary in Navy                  Inspiration in Maroon

So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

Richard Myers

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Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: Gen. 3:6; Gen. 6:5, 11; Gen. 6:18; Gen. 9:12-17; Isa. 4:3, Rev. 12:17.

Memory Text: “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD” (Genesis 6:8 ).

Bacteria are plant organisms too small to see without a microscope. A single, common round bacterium appears no larger than a pencil point, even after being magnified 1,000 times. Given favorable conditions for growth — sufficient warmth, moisture, and food — bacteria multiply at an extremely rapid rate. For example, some bacteria reproduce by simple fission: a mature cell simply splits into two daughter cells. When fission takes place every hour, one bacterium can produce over 16,000,000 new bacteria in 24 hours. At the end of 48 hours, hundreds of billions of bacteria will have appeared.

This microscopic phenomenon in the natural world illustrates the rapid growth of evil after the Fall. Gifted with giant intellects, robust health, and longevity, this virile race forsook God and prostituted their rare powers to the pursuit of iniquity in all forms. While bacteria may be exterminated by sunlight, chemicals, or high temperatures, God chose to check this rampant rebellion by a universal Flood.

Amen. How long did it take for this evil to be so wicked that God destroyed all except what was on the ark? Two generations. The life span then was from 800 to 900 years. God slowed this process of evil growth by reducing man's life to three score and ten. When we look around today we see we have approached the same conditions that were present at the time of the great flood in Noah's day. What does the Bible say is about to take place? Can we hasten that day?

The Week at a Glance: 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?

The everlasting covenant did not benefit many of those living in Noah's day. Why not? What does the Bible say about the numbers today? Will must be lost or saved? Support your answer from the Bible. Why will most reject God's grace?

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, April 17.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Sunday          April 11

The Sin Principle (Gen. 6:5)

The divine opinion at the end of God’s creation was that all “was very good” (Gen. 1:31). Then sin entered, and the paradigm shifted. Things weren’t “very good” anymore. God’s orderly creation was marred by sin and all its loathsome results. Rebellion reached terrible proportions by Noah’s day; evil consumed the race. Though the Bible does not give us many details (see Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 90-92 for more), the transgressions and rebellion were clearly something that even a loving, patient, and forgiving God couldn’t tolerate.

How could things get so bad so quickly? The answer is, perhaps, not that hard to find. How many people, today, looking at their own sins, have not asked the same thing: How did things get so bad so quickly?

Look up the texts listed below. Write down the point they make. Notice the steady progression of sin:

1. Gen. 3:6

2. Gen. 3:11-13

3. Gen. 4:5

4. Gen. 4:8

5. Gen. 4:19

6. Gen. 4:23

7. Gen. 6:2

8. Gen. 6:5, 11

Genesis 6:5 and 11 did not arise in a vacuum. There was a history before them. This terrible result had a cause. Sin progressively got worse. It tends to do that. Sin is not like a cut or a wound, with some automatic, built-in process that brings healing. On the contrary, sin, if left unchecked, multiplies, never satisfied until it leads to ruin and death. One does not have to imagine life before the Flood to see this principle operating. It exists all around us even now.

No wonder God hates sin; no wonder, sooner or later, sin will be eradicated. A just, loving God could do nothing else with it.

The good news, of course, is that though He wants to get rid of sin, He wants to save sinners. That’s what the covenant is all about.

Amen! The "everlasting covenant" (Genesis 3:15) promises us the opportunity to hate sin. Relatively very few will ever come to the point of hating sin so much that they quit sinning. "Many are called, but few are chosen." Matt. 22:14. Few choose righteousness.  How very sad. How can we be among the chosen ones? 2 Cor. 3:18 tells us how we can be changed in a character that will be fit for heaven. Take a moment to read what we must do and the miracle that will follow.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Monday          April 12

The Man Noah (Gen. 6:9)

These [are] the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man [and] perfect in his generations, [and] Noah walked with God. 

Amid all the texts about the evil of the antediluvian (pre-Flood) world, the man Noah stands out in contrast to those around him. Look at the above text, at the three particular points that the Bible mentions about him. To the best of your ability, write down what you think each of these points mean:

Most of the Bible verses being quoted in this quarter's lessons are from the KJV. What a blessing. But, the words in the following statements, appear to come from another modern version. Why choose another version? It does not use the word "perfect."

"Noah was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked faithfully with God." NIV

1. He was “a righteous man”

He did not sin, he was perfect in moral character.

2. He was “blameless”

He was perfect being just and merciful without hurting others and God.

3. He “walked with God”

He communed with God not forgetting He was leading Him step by step, moment by moment. Noah heard the still small voice of God and knew he needed Him in order to keep from sinning.

There is no question, Noah was someone who had a saving relationship with the Lord. He was someone whom God could work with, someone who would listen to Him, obey Him, and trust in Him. That is why the Lord was able to use Noah to fulfill His purposes and why Peter, in the New Testament, called him “a preacher of righteousness” (2 Pet. 2:5).

Read Genesis 6:8.

But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. 

How does this text help us understand the relationship between Noah and the Lord?

Noah understood His need of grace. It was his knowledge of the character of God that caused him to follow God. He spent a lot of time communing with God, so he knew Him intimately. Do we spend time with God throughout the day?

The word grace occurs here for the first time in Scripture and clearly has the same meaning as in the New Testament references, where the merciful, unmerited favor of God, exercised toward undeserving sinners, is described. Thus, we need to understand that however “blameless,” and “righteous” Noah was, he was still a sinner who needed the unmerited favor of his God. In that sense, Noah is no different from any of us who seek earnestly to follow the Lord.

What does "he was still a sinner" mean? Does it mean that Noah was sinning? Many have been taught this. But, at the same time the lesson says that Noah was blameless and righteous. Let's assume that the lesson means that he really was blameless. Then what does the lesson mean he was a sinner? We live in fallen flesh. If not for the power of grace, we would continually sin, thus in this sense we are all sinners. But some sinners are saved by grace and are repentant sinners who have not only been forgiven, but have been cleansed from sin. Thus, one can be a sinner and not sin because the power of grace is to transform sinners into saints even while living in fallen flesh. Thus, the gospel of grace needs to be explained so that all may understand Satan has been busy perverting the truth.

Understanding that Noah needed God’s grace, as do the rest of us, look at your own life and ask yourself this question, Could it be said of me that I am, like Noah, “righteous,” “blameless,” and that I “walk with God”? Write down your reasons for whatever position you take and (if you feel comfortable) share it with the class on Sabbath.

The closer we get to God, the more clearly will we see our defects of character. Thus we do not see ourselves as perfect, holy,  blameless, or righteous. But, when we surrender the whole heart to God, holding nothing back, we will manifest all of the fruits of the
Spirit, not one will be missing. We will keep the commandments of God. And if we take our eyes off of Jesus, we will  sin. But, we still have an Advocate, Christ Jesus who will give us more time to repent and forsake our sins.

Satan has been so successful at perverting the truth, that seldom if ever do we hear from the pulpit the following truth from 1 John:

3:4   Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. 
 3:5   And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. 
 3:6   Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not......... 
 3:7   Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. 
 3:8   He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 
 3:9   Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 
 3:10   In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. 
 3:11   For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. 

Do you believe this truth that is not taken out of context, but is quite different from many new translations.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
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Tuesday         April 13

Covenant With Noah

“But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee.” (Gen. 6:18).

In this one verse we have the basics of the biblical covenant that God makes with humanity: God and humankind enter into an agreement. Very simple.

Yet, there are more elements than first meet the eye. To begin, there is the element of obedience on humanity’s part. God says to Noah that he and his family shall go into the ark. They have their part to do, and if they do not do it, the covenant is broken. If the covenant is broken, they are the ultimate losers, for in the end they are the beneficiaries of the covenant. After all, if Noah said No to God and did not want to abide by the covenant or said Yes but then changed his mind, what would have been the results for him and his family?

God says that it is “my covenant.” What does that tell us about the basic nature of the covenant? What difference would there be in our concept of the covenant if the Lord had called it “our covenant”?

There is not enough information in this one verse to know what the covenant is. If God is speaking of the everlasting covenant, then we understand that it is up to Noah to spread the information. He like Adam is responsible to teach the covenant so others may be transformed in character and be made fit for heaven because of God's grace.

However unique this particular situation, we see here the basic God-human dynamic found in the covenant. By establishing “my covenant” with Noah, God here again displays His grace. He shows that He is willing to take the initiative in order to save human beings from the results of their sins. In short, this covenant must not be seen as some sort of union of equals in which each “partner” in the covenant is dependent upon the other. We could say that God “benefits” from the covenant, but only in a radically different sense from which humans do. He benefits in that those whom He loves will be given eternal life — no small satisfaction for the Lord (Isa. 53:11). But that is not to say that He benefits in the same way we — on the receiving end of the same covenant — benefit.

Try this analogy: a man has fallen overboard from a boat in the midst of a storm. Someone on the deck says that he will throw a life preserver over to haul him in. The one in the water, however, has to agree to his end of the “deal,” and that is, to grab on and to hold on to what has been provided him. That, in many ways is what the covenant between God and humanity is all about.

How does the above analogy help you understand the concept of grace that exists in the covenant? How does it help you understand what your relationship to God even now needs to be based on?

Grace is more than a word, it is the power that transforms the character. We are not saved by obedience, but by grace. God's unmerited love is what causes the heart to surrender all. Grace surrounds us like the air we breathe, but we must take that grace into the heart in order to benefit from it. Do we drink it in? Do we feed upon it? Jesus says that we must drink His blood and eat His flesh. What does He mean? Do we spend a thoughtful hour a day contemplating His life, especially the closing scenes when He suffered and died that we might be healed by His stripes?

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
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Wednesday          April 14

Sign of the Rainbow

“And God said, This [is] the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that [is] with you, for perpetual generations: I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.” Gen. 9:12-13.

Few natural phenomena are more beautiful than the rainbow. Who does not remember as a child one’s first fascination and wonder as those amazing bars of light bent across the sky like some sort of beckoning, mystical portal into the heavens (or maybe merely a clown’s belt)? Even as adults, our breath can be taken away by the sight of those outrageous colors in the clouds. No wonder that even today the rainbow is used as a symbol for so many things: from political organizations to cults to rock bands to travel agencies (look up the word “rainbow” on the Web and see). Obviously, those beautiful bands of color still touch chords in our hearts and minds.

Of course, that was God’s whole point.

Why did the Lord say the rainbow would symbolize? Gen. 9:12-17.

 9:14   And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: 
 9:15   And I will remember my covenant, which [is] between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. 
 9:16   And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that [is] upon the earth. 

The Lord said He would use the rainbow as a sign of “my covenant” (Gen. 9:15). How interesting that He would use the word covenant here, for, in this case, the covenant differs from how it is used elsewhere. In contrast to the covenant with Abraham or the Sinai covenant, there is no specific obligation expressed on the part of those who would benefit from the covenant (even Noah). God’s words here are to all people, to “every living creature of all flesh” (Gen. 9:15, RSV) for “all future generations” (Gen. 9:12, RSV). God’s words are universal, all-encompassing, regardless of whether anyone chooses to obey the Lord or not. In this sense the concept of covenant is not used as it is elsewhere in the Bible when talking about the relationship between God and humans.

In what sense does this covenant also reveal God’s grace? Who initiated this covenant? Who is the ultimate benefactor?

Though the covenant, as expressed here, does not come with specific obligations on our part (God’s part, of course, is never to destroy the world with a flood), how could our knowledge of what the rainbow symbolizes influence us to live in obedience to the Lord? In short, are there some implied obligations on our part when we look up into the sky and see the rainbow? Think of the whole context in which the rainbow came and the lessons we can learn from that account.

Yes, the rainbow is not what many have been taught, that it is to remember that God will not destroy the earth by flood again. No, that is not the sole purpose of the rainbow. It is to remind God and us about the "everlasting covenant" made in the garden. "The bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that [is] upon the earth." verse 9:16. And what is the "everlasting covenant"? It is the promise that God would allow His innocent Son to come to this dark spot in the universe a helpless baby in the likeness of sinful flesh to fight the battle of life as each of us must fight it, at the risk of failure and eternal loss. Such love for sinners!! Jesus has paid the price for the sins of the whole world. He has done His part in fulfilling the everlasting covenant that promises us an opportunity to hate sin. We are evil by nature and love sin. We are at enmity with God,  but are told God will give us enmity towards Satan and sin. But, it remains with us as to whether or not we will accept God's grace that we might gain the hate for sin that has been offered.

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
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Thursday     April 15

“Only Noah Was Left”

“And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained [alive], and they that [were] with him in the ark.” Gen. 7:23.

In this text one finds the first mention of the concept of “the remnant” in the Scriptures. The word translated “was left”(remained alive) comes from another word whose root forms are used many times in the Old Testament where the idea of a remnant is conveyed.

“And God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant on earth, and to keep alive for you many survivors.” (Gen. 45:7, RSV; emphasis supplied).

“And he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy, every one who has been recorded for life in Jerusalem” (Isa. 4:3, RSV; emphasis supplied).

“In that day the Lord will extend his hand yet a second time to recover the remnant which is left of his people” (Isa. 11:11, RSV; emphasis supplied).

In all these cases, the italicized words are linked to the similar words “was left” found in Genesis 7:23, (RSV).

Look at Genesis 7:23 and the other examples. How do you understand the concept of a remnant here? What are the surrounding conditions that led to a remnant? How does the covenant fit in with the idea of a remnant?

At the time of the Flood, the Creator of the world became the Judge of the world. The nearing worldwide judgment raised the question whether all life on earth — even human life — would be destroyed. If not, who would be the survivors? Who would be the remnant?

Those who gave the whole heart to God so that He could give them a new heart, a cleansed heart. The everlasting covenant (Gen. 3:15) promised upon this condition (full surrender) that God would give to man a hatred (enmity) towards Satan and sin. When the whole heart is given to God, then the Holy Spirit takes possession of the heart and brings with Him, all of the fruits of the Spirit, not one missing.

In this case, it was Noah and his family. Yet Noah’s salvation was linked to God’s covenant with him (Gen. 6:18) — a covenant that originated and was executed by a God of mercy and grace. They survived only because of what God did for them, however important their cooperation was. Whatever Noah’s covenant obligations were, and no matter how faithfully he executed them, his only hope was in God’s mercy.

Amen! There was no hope for Adam until He heard the Words spoken to Satan that He would put enmity between us and Satan and we would be aligned with God and not with Satan. The conditions for God were laid out in Gen 3:15, but not the conditions for man, which is that we would love God with the whole heart not holding anything back.

Based upon our understanding of last-day events, which includes a time when God will have a remnant (see Rev. 12:17), what parallels can we learn from the story of Noah that will help us prepare to be part of the remnant? In what ways are we making decisions every day that could impact just where we finally stand at that time?

Ezekiel 36:26 promises a new heart and a new Spirit to all who love God supremely. Then we become partakers of God's divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). In order to be a part of the remnant of God, we must be transformed in character. God does not transform man at the second coming. No, it is today that through the power of grace we are changed into His image (2 Cor. 3:18). Every day our characters are being formed either to more closely reflect God or to more perfectly reflect the character of the evil one.

The remnant of God are those who keep the commandments of God, not those who break them. God gives to man a period of probation to learn to cling to Christ that we might cease breaking His commandments.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
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Friday          April 16

Further Thought: Read Ellen G. White, “The Flood,” pp. 90-104 and “After the Flood,” pp. 105-110, in Patriarchs and Prophets.

“The rainbow, a natural physical phenomenon, was a fitting symbol of God’s promise never to destroy the earth again by a flood. Inasmuch as the climatic conditions of the earth would be completely different after the Flood, and rains would in most parts of the world take the place of the former beneficent dew to moisten the soil, something was needed to quiet men’s fears each time rain began to fall. The spiritual mind can see in natural phenomena God’s revelations of Himself (see Rom. 1:20). Thus the rainbow is evidence to the believer that the rain will bring blessing and not universal destruction.” — The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 1, p. 265.

"A natural" phenomenon?  I don't think so.  It did not just happen. God made it happen. He painted it and gave it to us as a token of His love. And, I do not believe it is a Spirit of Prophecy quote. It appears to be human reasoning.

Discussion Questions:

    “In those days the world teemed, the people multiplied, the world bellowed like a wild bull, and the great god was aroused by the clamour. Enlil heard the clamour and he said to the gods in council, ‘The uproar of mankind is intolerable and sleep is no longer possible by reason of the babel.’ So the gods agreed to exterminate man.” — “The Story of the Flood” in The Epic of Gilgamesh, trans. N. K. Sanders (London: The Penguin Group, 1972), p. 108. Compare this reason for the Flood to the reason given in the Bible.

    Noah did more than warn his generation of God’s approaching judgment. The purpose of his warning was to help the people sense their need of salvation. Why are the truths of salvation generally unpopular? List and discuss some things that hinder many persons from accepting God’s plan for their salvation. See John 3:19; John 7:47-48; John 12:42-43; James 4:4.

False teachers, false professors of faith, and the fallen nature of man. Conversion requires sacrificing pride and sacrificing the things of this world for a future benefit. Stupidity is revealed in refusing happiness in the world and living for eternity in a world without sin.

Summary: In this week’s study, we have noted that the covenants God made with Noah are the first to be discussed explicitly in the Bible. They display His gracious interest in the human family and His desire to enter into a saving relationship with them. God reaffirmed His covenant with Noah, and it was Noah’s commitment to God that shielded him from the prevailing apostasy and eventually saved him and his family from the devastating judgment of the Flood.

“This symbol [the rainbow] in the clouds is to confirm the belief of all, and establish their confidence in God, for it is a token of divine mercy and goodness to man; that although God has been provoked to destroy the earth by the Flood, yet His mercy still encompasseth the earth.” — Ellen G. White, The Story of Redemption, p. 71.

Amen! The everlasting covenant, the promise to write His law upon our hearts did not fail. Many were called, but few chose to follow God. The flood was the result and it is a symbol of what is to come. The rainbow is a reminder of God's love and the everlasting covenant that God sacrificed His Son that we might have a hatred toward sin ( a new heart cleansed from sin).
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.