Author Topic: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 2--2nd Quarter 2021--Covenant Primer  (Read 267 times)

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Lesson 2 April 3-9

God’s Everlasting Covenant

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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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 2--2nd Quarter 2021--Covenant Primer
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2021, 07:41:22 AM »
Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: Gen. 9:15; Isa. 54:9; Gen. 12:1-3, Gal. 3:6-9, 29; Exod. 6:1-8; Jer. 31:33-34.

Memory Text: “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine” (Exodus 19:5).

Last week left off with the fall of humanity, due to our first parents’ sin. This week is a quick summary of the whole quarter, as we take one day each to look at the early covenants, the ones that were all, in their own way, present-truth manifestations of the true covenant, the one ratified at Calvary by the blood of Jesus, the one that we, as Christians, enter into with our Lord.

We begin with the covenant God made with Noah to spare him and his family from destruction. We proceed to the covenant with Abraham, so rich and full of promise for all of us; then to the covenant at Sinai and the importance of what was proclaimed there; and finally we look at the new covenant, the one that all the others pointed toward. All of these, of course, will be studied in more depth in the next several weeks. This week is just a sneak preview.

The Week at a Glance: What does the word covenant mean? What elements make up the covenant? What was the covenant that God made with Noah? What hope was found in the covenant with Abraham? What role do faith and works play in the human end of the covenant? Is the covenant just a deal, or does it have relational aspects to it? What is the essence of the “new covenant”?

When we rightly understand the "everlasting covenant" made in the Garden, we will better understand the others.

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, April 10.
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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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 2--2nd Quarter 2021--Covenant Primer
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2021, 06:30:48 AM »
Sunday         April 4

Covenant Basics

“And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly” (Gen. 17:2).

“The Hebrew word translated as ‘covenant’ (appearing about 287 times in the Old Testament) is berith. It can also be translated as ‘testament’ or ‘last will.’ Its origin is unclear, but it has come to mean that which bound two parties together. It was used, however, for many different types of ‘bond,’ both between man and man and between man and God. It has a common use where both parties were men, and a distinctively religious use where the covenant was between God and man. The religious use was really a metaphor based on the common use but with a deeper connotation [meaning].” — J. Arthur Thompson, “Covenant (OT),” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, revised edition (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1979), vol. 1, p. 790.

Shall we seek an inspired statement that will keep us from missing the point? In Genesis chapter nine we read of a covenant which has no conditions. God made the covenant and it applies to all of creation, and it is something He will never do, period.

 9:8   And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, 
 9:9   And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; 
 9:10   And with every living creature that [is] with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. 
 9:11   And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. 
 9:12   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: 
 9:13   I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. 
 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. 
 9:17   And God said unto Noah, This [is] the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that [is] upon the earth. 

And, let us go to the first covenant God made when Adam and Eve were still in the garden. It is found in Genesis chapter three.

 3:14   And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou [art] cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 
 3:15   And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 
 3:16   Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 
 3:17   And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life; 

This is the "everlasting covenant," the first covenant made for man. It has conditions, part of which is revealed in the covenant, part is not.  Adam and Eve had no hope prior to the giving of this covenant. They did not know that when the foundation of the Earth was laid that Jesus and His Father agreed to it. It gave hope to Adam and Eve that they might be transformed in character and obtain what they had lost in the garden. When they sinned they lost their connection with God, they then were aligned with Satan and sin. They could not longer do any good thing, their motives were selfish. They were at "enmity" with God.

The everlasting covenant was a promise that they could regain their experience with God and be saved. God had made provision for fallen man to be reconciled to Himself. But, their were conditions, not all would be transformed into His image, His character. Not all would escape their alignment with Satan. The conditions were twofold. First, we read that Satan would have his head crushed, and Christ would have His heal bruised. Christ could have sinned and then God's part of this covenant would have failed, but He did not. That left the other condition to be fulfilled by man. Only those who would want to be reconciled to God and by beholding His glory would be transformed into His image would then receive the "enmity" towards Satan and sin. And, it was not good enough to be transformed at conversion, man must continue to cling to Christ, to feed upon Him, to behold Him daily, to drink His blood and eat His flesh, to allow grace to continue to strengthen man in His love for God. This growth in grace would deepen his love for God and hatred of sin. By daily obedience through grace, man would  become more loving, more patient, more capable if resisting stronger temptations. It all begins when man ceases to resist the wooing of the Holy Spirit and makes a full heart surrender to God's grace.

This is the everlasting covenant, an agreement to bring sinful man into an everlasting relationship with Himself, to write His laws upon our hearts IF we will love Him with "all" of the heart, mind, soul, and strength. Not of of humanity will receive the enmity towards Satan and sin, thus we understand there that the everlasting covenant has conditions for man and God. Again, God has fulfilled His and it is left with man to learn to love God with the whole heart that he might receive the promise of hating sin and obtaining eternal life.

Christ on the cross not only draws men to repentance toward God for the transgression of His law—for whom God pardons He first makes penitent—but Christ has satisfied Justice; He has proffered Himself as an atonement. His gushing blood, His broken body, satisfy the claims of the broken law, and thus He bridges the gulf which sin has made. He suffered in the flesh, that with His bruised and broken body He might cover the defenseless sinner. The victory gained at His death on Calvary broke forever the accusing power of Satan over the universe and silenced his charges that self-denial was impossible with God and therefore not essential in the human family.

Christ was without sin, else His life in human flesh and His death on the cross would have been of no more value in procuring grace for the sinner than the death of any other man. While He took upon Him humanity, it was a life taken into union with Deity. He could lay down His life as priest and also victim.... He offered Himself without spot to God.

The atonement of Christ sealed forever the everlasting covenant of grace. It was the fulfilling of every condition upon which God suspended the free communication of grace to the human family. Every barrier was then broken down which intercepted the freest exercise of grace, mercy, peace, and love to the most guilty of Adam’s race.
In the courts above, Christ is pleading for His church—pleading for those for whom He has paid the redemption price of His blood. Centuries, ages, can never lessen the efficacy of His atoning sacrifice. Neither life nor death, height nor depth, can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus; not because we hold Him so firmly, but because He holds us so fast. If our salvation depended on our own efforts, we could not be saved; but it depends on the One who is behind all the promises. Our grasp on Him may seem feeble, but His love is that of an elder brother; so long as we maintain our union with Him, no one can pluck us out of His hand.  God's Amazing Grace; pg 153.

Like the marriage covenant, the biblical covenant defines both a relationship and an arrangement. As an arrangement, the biblical covenant contains these basic elements:

1. God affirmed the covenant promises with an oath (Gal. 3:16; Heb. 6:13, 17)

2. The covenant obligation was obedience to God’s will as expressed in the Ten Commandments (Deut. 4:13)

3. The means by which God’s covenant obligation is ultimately fulfilled is through Christ and the plan of salvation (Isa. 42:1, 6)

Look at the three elements listed above (God’s promises, our obedience, and the plan of salvation). How can you see those factors at work in your own walk with the Lord? Write down a paragraph describing how they are manifest in your life now.

In the Old Testament, the sacrificial syste of types instructed the people regarding the entire plan of salvation. Through its symbols, the patriarchs and Israel learned to exercise faith in the coming Redeemer. Through its rites, the penitent could find forgiveness for sin and release from guilt. The blessings of the covenant could thus be retained, and spiritual growth — restoring the image of God in the life — could thereby continue, even when humankind failed to uphold their end of the bargain.

Restoring the image in man could continue without man's effort? Is there a scholar who can explain this?

Though there are covenants made between people, the main use of the word berith in the Hebrew Bible deals with the relationship between God and humanity. Considering who God is and who we are in comparison to Him, what kind of relationship would such a covenant depict?

Without God's power and without man's effort, there would be no success in God's desire to transform man.
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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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 2--2nd Quarter 2021--Covenant Primer
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2021, 04:43:49 PM »
Monday         April 5

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 the above verse the word covenant appears for the first time in the Bible, and, in this context, God has just told Noah about His decision to destroy the earth because of the massive and continuing spread of sin. Though this destruction will come in a worldwide Flood, God is not forsaking the world He created. He continues to offer the covenant relationship first set in operation after the Fall. The divine “I” who offers the covenant is Himself the ground of Noah’s security. As the covenant-keeping God, the Lord promised to protect the family members who were willing to live in a committed relationship with Him, one that resulted in obedience.

Amen!  Yet, where do we see this conditional promise that man has a part to play in the "everlasting covenant"? God did not promise to protect those who were not willing to live in a committed relationship with Him, that results in perfect obedience from the heart. Here He says that Noah will come into the ark. In other words, if Noah did not come into the ark, then how could God protect him?

Was the covenant with Noah just one-sided? Remember that the idea of a covenant implies more than one party. Did Noah have his end of the deal to uphold? What lesson is there for us in the answer to these questions?

What did Noah have to do for God to never flood the whole world again? Nothing.

God tells Noah that there is going to be a flood and the world will be destroyed. But God makes a deal with him, in which He promises to save Noah and his family. Thus, the stakes were quite high, because if God did not uphold His end of the promise, then no matter what Noah did, he would have been wiped out with the rest of the world.

God said He would make a “covenant” with Noah. The word itself implies an intention to honor what you say you will do. It is not just some whimsical statement. The word itself comes loaded with commitment. Suppose the Lord had said to Noah, “Look, the world is going to end in a terrible deluge, and I might save you, or I might not. In the meanwhile, do this and this and this, and then we’ll see what happens, but I’m not making any guarantees.” Such statements hardly come with the kind of assurance and promise found in the word covenant itself.

Some people have argued that Noah’s flood was not worldwide but merely a local deluge. If so, then in the context of what God promises in Genesis 9:15 (see also Isa. 54:9), every time another local flood happens (and they seem to happen all the time), God’s covenant promise is broken. In contrast, the fact that there has not been another worldwide flood proves the validity of God’s covenant promise. In short, what does this tell us about how we can trust His promises?

We trust His promises because we know He is worthy. We trust Him with all we have and all we are. This is the result of allowing His grace into our hearts.

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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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 2--2nd Quarter 2021--Covenant Primer
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2021, 06:37:10 PM »
Tuesday        April 6

The Abram Covenant

“And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12:3).

Read Genesis 12:1-3. List the specific promises God made to Abram.

Notice that among these promises God says to Abram that “in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Gen. 12:3). What does that mean? How were all the families of the earth blessed in Abram? See Galatians 3:6-9. In what ways can you see in this earlier promise the promise of Jesus the Messiah? See Gal. 3:29.

In this, the first recorded divine revelation to Abram, God promised to enter into a close and lasting relationship with him, even before He uses any language that speaks about covenant making. Direct references to the covenant that God would make come later (Gen. 15:4-21, Gen. 17:1-14). For the moment, God offers a divine-human relationship of great significance. The repeated “I will” in Genesis 12:1-3 suggests the depth and greatness of God’s offer and promise.

In addition, Abram receives a single, but testing, command, “Go forth.” He obeyed by faith (Heb. 11:8 ) but not in order to bring about the promised blessings. His obedience was the response of his faith to the loving relationship, which God desired to be established. In other words, Abram already believed in God, already trusted in God, already had faith in God’s promises. He had to; otherwise, he never would have left his family and ancestral land to begin with and headed into places unknown. His obedience revealed his faith both to men and to angels.

Amen! And so will your obedience reveal you having given your whole heart to God, holding nothing back. Why is this so important that men and angels witness your unwavering faith?

Abram, even back then, revealed the key relationship between faith and works. We are saved by faith, a faith that results in works of obedience. The promise of salvation comes first; the works follow. Although there can be no covenant fellowship and no blessing without obedience, that obedience is faith’s response to what God already has done. Such faith illustrates the principle in 1 John 4:19, “We love him [God], because he first loved us.”

Amen! We need to love Him with the whole heart continually, and we will if we feed upon Jesus daily.

Read Genesis 15:6. How does it, in many ways, show the basis of all covenant promises? Why is this blessing the most precious one of all?

15:6   And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. 

It is true that the aim of Jesus coming to this Earth was to reveal His character and grace so that we would trust Him with all we have and all we are. When we love the Lord our God with the whole heart, then He imputes and imparts His righteousness to us. But, I like to think that this all sits on top of the second part of the "everlasting covenant," the suffering and sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by His stripes that we are healed and cleanses from all unrighteousness (Gen. 3:15).

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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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 2--2nd Quarter 2021--Covenant Primer
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2021, 07:05:42 PM »
Wednesday        April 7

The Covenant With Moses

Read Exodus 6:1-8 and then answer these questions:

 6:1   Then the LORD said unto Moses, Now shalt thou see what I will do to Pharaoh: for with a strong hand shall he let them go, and with a strong hand shall he drive them out of his land. 
 6:2   And God spake unto Moses, and said unto him, I [am] the LORD: 
 6:3   And I appeared unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, by [the name of] God Almighty, but by my name JEHOVAH was I not known to them. 
 6:4   And I have also established my covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land of their pilgrimage, wherein they were strangers. 
 6:5   And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant. 
 6:6   Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I [am] the LORD, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments: 
 6:7   And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I [am] the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. 
 6:8   And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I [am] the LORD. 

1. What covenant was He talking about? See Gen. 12:1-3.

2. How was the Exodus to be a fulfillment, on His part, of the covenant promises?

3. What parallel can you find between what God promised the people here and what He promised Noah before the Flood?

After the Exodus, the children of Israel received the covenant at Sinai, given in the context of redemption from bondage (Exod. 20:2) and containing God’s sacrificial provisions for atonement and the forgiveness of sin. It was, therefore, like all of God’s covenants, a covenant of grace, God’s grace extended to His people.

The "old covenant" given at Sinai was not like the everlasting covenant, nor the "new covenant." It was simply "Obey and live." Obey what? The moral law of God, the civil law of God, and the ceremonial law, perfectly. And the people "We will obey." Why did God make such a simple and impossible to keep covenant? They had just come out from slavery and were little better than brute beasts. They knew nothing about a Savior nor anything about grace. They were as was Saul prior to his conversion. He too thought he could keep the law without giving his whole heart to God. God gave them the "old covenant" so they could see the impossibility of keeping the law in and of themselves. That which ordained unto life, they found to be unto death.

It is very sad that in defense of the law, we as a people have been ignorant of the everlasting covenant and the old covenant. Many have been taught that there was no problem with the old covenant, the problem was with the people as they broke the covenant. This is only part true and misleads precious souls about the covenants. God gave Israel a better covenant than the old covenant. How could it be better if there was not something missing from the old covenant? What was better about the new covenant?

It like the everlasting covenant had better promises. Remember the wording of the everlasting covenant? "I will put enmity between thee and the woman and between thy seed and her seed." That was not included in the old covenant, but it was included in the "new covenant, for it had better promises than the old covenant. From the Book of Hebrews:

 8:6   But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. 
 8:7   For if that first [covenant] had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. 
 8:8   For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: 
 8:9   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 continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. 
 8:10   For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: 

This covenant reiterated, in many ways, the major emphases in the covenant with Abraham:

1. Special relationship of God to His people (compare Gen. 17:7-8 with Exod. 19:5-6).

2. They would be a great nation (compare Gen. 12:2 with Exod. 19:6).

3. Obedience was required (compare Gen. 17:9-14; Gen. 22:16-18 with Exod. 19:5).

“Note the order here: the Lord first saves Israel, then gives them His law to keep. The same order is true under the gospel. Christ first saves us from sin (see John 1:29; 1 Cor. 15:3; Gal. 1:4), then lives out His law within us (Gal. 2:20; Rom. 4:25; 8:1-3; 1 Peter 2:24).” — The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 1, p. 602.

Read Exodus 6:7. What is the one thing that comes through in the first part, where the Lord says they will be His people and He their God? Notice the dynamics there. They will be something to God, and God will be something to them. Not only does God want to relate to them in a special way; He wants them to relate to Him in a special way, as well. Does the Lord not seek the same kind of relationship with us today? Does that first part of Exodus 6:7 reflect your relationship with the Lord, or are you just someone whose name is just on the church books? If your answer to the first part of the question is Yes, give reasons why.

What happened to Israel when they did not keep His laws? What happened when they did not love God with the whole heart? Did God keep His promises to Israel of Old? No, He cut them off three and half years after the death of Christ. How long does God bear with our church today? We have wandered in the wilderness for much more than 40  years. How long did God bear with Israel? Almost 2,000 years before He cut them off. Some today think God has cut off His church. How silly. While we have delayed His coming, God is more patient than that as  we see how He dealt patiently with Israel.

Is God our only hope? While He does not excuse sin, He has made provision that we may be forgiven if we come to true repentance. How patient has He been with you? When we see His grace, it ought to break our hearts so we do not want to hurt Him again. Sin hurts Jesus.
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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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 2--2nd Quarter 2021--Covenant Primer
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2021, 07:20:39 PM »
Thursday        April 8

The New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-33)

These passages are the first time the Old Testament mentions what is referred to as the “new covenant.” It is lodged in the context of Israel’s return from exile, and it talks about the blessings they will receive from God. Again, as in all the others, it is God who initiates the covenant, and it is God who will fulfill it by His grace.

If we fulfill our part of the covenant. What is our part? Who begins the process, us or God? What is our part?

Notice, also, the language there. God referred to Himself as a husband to them; He talked about writing His law within their hearts; and using language from the Abrahamic covenant, He says He will be their God, and they will be His people. Thus, as before, the covenant is not just some legal-binding agreement, as in courts of law today, but it deals with something more.

Read Jeremiah 31:33. Compare it with Exodus 6:7, which details part of the covenant made with Israel. Again, what’s the key element that comes through here? What does God want with His people?

Read Jeremiah 31:34. Compare what is being said there to John 17:3. What is the key thing that the Lord does that builds the foundation for this relationship?

In Jeremiah 31:31-34, one can see the elements of both grace and obedience, just as in the earlier covenants, as well. God will forgive their sins, God will enter into a relationship with them, and God will bestow His grace in their lives. As a result, the people simply obey Him; not in some rote, mechanical way but purely because they know Him, because they love Him, and because they want to serve Him. This captures the essence of the covenant relationship the Lord seeks with His people.

Amen! We are saved by grace, and when we are in a converted state, we obey God. Then why do some sin after conversion.

How do you understand this idea of the law being written in our hearts? Does it imply that the law becomes subjective and personal, something to be interpreted and applied according to the individual configurations of our hearts? Or does it mean something else? If so, what?

Some, not many, believe in "holy flesh."   :(   We will not get holy flesh until Jesus comes and then we who have been faithful to keep His commandments will be given holy flesh.  Then how is it that we can keep His law today? By becoming a partaker of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4).  When we love God with the whole heart, when we surrender all we are and all we have, then the Holy Spirit takes possession of the heart and cleanses it whiter than snow. If we confess our sins, He will not only forgive our sins, but what? Read again and ask yourself if you really believe it. Many do not believe it because they have been taught otherwise.

God wants the heart, the whole heart. Unless you give all of it to Him, and let Him keep it, you do not have salvation? Too steep? No, it is not since it is the power of God that keeps us from sinning. What is our part? To behold Him, to drink His blood and eat His flesh. It would be well to spend a thoughtful hour a day contemplating the life of Christ. For it is beholding His glory that we are changed into His image (2 Cor. 3:18). There is hope for us if we will learn of Him who gave all that we might live.
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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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 2--2nd Quarter 2021--Covenant Primer
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2021, 07:46:37 PM »
Friday          April 9

Further Thought: Read Ellen G. White, “Abraham in Canaan,” pp. 132-138, in Patriarchs and Prophets; “The Prophets of God Helping Them,” pp. 569-571, in Prophets and Kings.

“The yoke that binds to service is the law of God. The great law of love revealed in Eden, proclaimed upon Sinai, and in the new covenant written in the heart, is that which binds the human worker to the will of God. If we were left to follow our own inclinations, to go just where our will would lead us, we should fall into Satan’s ranks and become possessors of his attributes. Therefore God confines us to His will, which is high, and noble, and elevating. He desires that we shall patiently and wisely take up the duties of service. The yoke of service Christ Himself has borne in humanity. He said, ‘I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.’ Ps. 40:8. ‘I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me.’ John 6:38. Love for God, zeal for His glory, and love for fallen humanity, brought Jesus to earth to suffer and to die. This was the controlling power of His life. This principle He bids us adopt.” — Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, pp. 329, 330.


Discussion Questions:

    Was God’s covenant with Noah, Abram, Moses, and us a continuation of His covenant with Adam, or was it something new? Compare Gen. 3:15; Gen. 22:18; and Gal. 3:8, 16.

    Why is the personal, relational aspect of the covenant so important? In other words, you can have a legally binding deal, a “covenant” with someone, without any close, personal interaction. That kind of arrangement is not, however, what the Lord is seeking in His covenant relationship with His people. Why is that so? Discuss.

God gave hope to humanity after Adam and Eve sinned. There was none before that. God gives to man a period of time to learn about the plan of salvation and time to learn about God. He does not cut us off in a moment. Those who reject His wooing will understand one day how long He labored with them. How long has God been speaking to you about sin? About His love? About His justice? All are without excuse for sinning since God has made provision that we cease hurting others and Him. It was an expensive remedy for us to have opportunity to live eternally in eternal peace.

    In what ways is marriage a good analogy for the covenant? In what ways does the analogy of marriage fall short in describing the covenant?

Marriage ought to be matter of the heart. Often it is not because it requires a three way relationship. Ecclesiastes tells us "a threefold cord is not quickly broken." God wants the heart, the whole heart. When we give it to Him, because we love Him  because He first loved us, He loves us even more!!  Marriage does not require that one suffered unto death. It is good enough to die to self and to bear with the infirmities with the spouse. The everlasting covenant required Jesus be bruised and bruised He was. By His stripes we are converted from sinners into saints. If we want to be saints in heaven, we must first be saints here.

Summary: The entrance of sin ruptured the relationship the Creator had originally established with the human family through our first parents. Now God seeks to re-establish that same loving relationship by means of a covenant. This covenant signifies both a committed relationship between God and us (like a marriage bond) and an arrangement for saving us and bringing us into harmony with its Maker. God Himself, motivated by His great love for us, is the Initiator of the covenant relationship. By gracious promises and gracious acts, He woos us to come into union with Him.

Amen we are evil by nature and can do no good thing until we are reconciled to God by His grace. Then we can do all things He asks of us, through our Savior Jesus Christ. Nicodemus was a Laodicean and thought that he was in a saved state when he came under cover of darkness to speak with Jesus. But, Jesus had nothing to do with what Nicodemus wanted to say. He reproved him and told him he did not have a character that was fit for heaven, that he needed to be born again for, that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. He told him plainly that he needed to be born again of the Spirit if he wanted to enter heaven.

It would not be right, not of His character to leave the matter there with Nicodemus. He told him how it is that one can be born of the Spirit. What did He say? Do you understand what you must do if you have not escaped from the Laodicean condition ? What did Jesus say in the Laodicean message? It is the same as He told Nicodemus. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up. What was Jesus telling Nicodemus? Did Nicodemus understand immediately, or did it take some time? Share the meaning of the uplifted serpent with your Sabbath School class and read to them 2 Cor. 3:18.

Have a blessed Sabbath dear friends
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.