Author Topic: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 4--2nd Quarter 2021--An Everlasting Covenant  (Read 234 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


  • Moderator
  • Posts: 5606
  • Romans 8:35, 38, 39
Lesson 4 April 17-23

“An 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

  • Servant
  • Posts: 41795
  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
    • The Remnant Online
Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: Exod. 3:14; Gen. 17:1-6; Gen. 41:45; Dan. 1:7; Gen. 15:7-18; Gen. 17:1-14; Rev. 14:6-7.

Memory Text: “And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” Genesis 17:7

How many remember distinctly in our childhood a sickness or a touch of pneumonia that made us very sick, with the potential for something even worse? In the long feverish night, we would awaken from a half sleep to see our mother or father sitting in a chair beside our bed in the soft glow of the night-light.

Just so, in a figurative, human sense, God sat by the bedside of a sin-sick world as moral darkness began to deepen in the centuries after the Flood. For this reason, He called out Abram and planned to establish through His faithful servant a people to whom He could entrust a knowledge of Himself and give salvation.

And who would give glory to Him by reflecting His character that the heathen might know Him (Eze. 36:22-37).

Therefore, God entered into a covenant with Abram and his posterity that emphasized in more detail the divine plan to save humankind from the results of sin. The Lord was not going to leave His world unattended, not with it in such dire need. This week we will look at the unfolding of more covenant promises.

Amen! And not only from the results of sin, but from sin itself.

The Week at a Glance: What is the name of God? What does it mean? What was the significance of the names God used to identify Himself to Abram? What names did He use to identify Himself? Why did God change Abram’s name to Abraham? Why are names important? What conditions, or obligations, were attached to the covenant?

It is interesting and sad to see women trying to get man out of names that are well established, and now they are even attempting to do away with "woman."

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, April 24.
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

  • Servant
  • Posts: 41795
  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
    • The Remnant Online
Sunday          April 18

Yahweh and the Abrahamic Covenant

“And he said unto him, I am the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it” (Gen. 15:7).

Names can sometimes be like trademarks. They become so closely associated in our minds with certain characteristics that when we hear the name we immediately recall these traits. What traits come to mind, for instance, when you think of these names: Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, or Dorcas? Each one is associated with certain characteristics and ideals.

During Bible times, people of the Near East attached great importance to the meaning of names. “The Hebrews always thought of a name as indicating either the personal characteristics of the one named, or the thoughts and emotions of the one giving the name, or attendant circumstances at the time the name was given.” — The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 1, p. 523. (It has become confusing, but I do not believe this is from 7A which is inspired commentary in the SDA Bible Commentary.) 

When God first entered into a covenant relationship with Abram, He made Himself known to the patriarch under the name YHWH (pronounced Yahweh, and translated as LORD, in capitals in the King James Version [Gen. 15:7]). Thus, Genesis 15:7 reads literally, “I am YHWH who brought thee out of … .”

The name YHWH, though appearing 6,828 times in the Old Testament, is somewhat shrouded in mystery. It seems to be a form of the verb hayah, ‘to be,’ in which case it would mean, “the Eternal One,” “the Existent One,” “the Self-Existing One,” “the Self-Sufficient One,” or “the One who lives eternally.” The divine attributes that seem to be emphasized by this title are those of self-existence and faithfulness. They point to the Lord as the living God, the Source of life, in contrast with the gods of the heathen, which had no existence apart from the imagination of their worshipers.

God Himself explains the meaning of Yahweh in Exodus 3:14 — “I AM WHO I AM”(RSV, NASB). This meaning expresses the reality of God’s unconditioned existence, while it also suggests His rule over past, present, and future.

Yahweh is also God’s personal name. The identification of Yahweh as the One who brought Abram out of Ur refers to the announcement of God’s covenant with him in Genesis 12:1-3. God wants Abram to know His name, because that name reveals aspects of His identity, personal nature, and character — and from this knowledge we can learn to trust in His promises (Ps. 9:10, Ps. 91:14).

When you think or hear the name Yahweh, what traits or characteristics automatically come to mind? Those of love, kindness, and care or those of fear, strictness, and discipline? What thoughts automatically come to mind when you think of the name Jesus?

That He left heaven to come to this dark spot in the universe that we might know Him and His love for us despite our sins and sinfulness. What love!
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

  • Servant
  • Posts: 41795
  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
    • The Remnant Online
Monday          April 19

’El Shaddai

“And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect” (Gen. 17:1).

Yahweh had appeared to Abram several times before (Gen. 12:1, 7; Gen. 13:14; Gen. 15:1, 7, 18). Now, in the above text, Yahweh again appears to Abram (“the LORD appeared to Abram”), presenting Himself as “Almighty God” — a name that is used with two exceptions only in the books of Genesis and Job. The name “Almighty God” consists first of ’El, the basic name for God used among the Semites. Though the exact meaning of Shaddai is not entirely certain, the translation “Almighty” seems the most accurate. (Compare Isa. 13:6 and Joel 1:15.) The crucial idea in the use of this name seems to be that of contrasting the might and power of God with the weakness and frailty of humanity.

Read Genesis 17:1-6, which helps place everything in the larger context.

 17:1   And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I [am] the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect. 
 17:2   And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly. 
 17:3   And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying, 
 17:4   As for me, behold, my covenant [is] with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations. 
 17:5   Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee. 
 17:6   And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee. 

Why would the Lord at this time want to stress to Abram His might and power? What was God saying that would require Abram to trust in that might and power? Look particularly at verse six.

A literal translation of Genesis 17:1-6 would be, “Jehovah appeared to Abram, and said, ‘I am ’El-Shaddai; walk before Me, and be thou perfect; and I will make My covenant between Me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly … . And thou shalt be a father of a multitude of nations, … and I will make thee exceedingly fruitful.’ ” This same name appears also in Genesis 28:3, where Isaac says that ’El-Shaddai will bless Jacob, make him fruitful, and multiply him.

Did God make Abraham perfect? If so, how do you interpret this? Is perfect the end of growth? Does it allow for known sin?

A similar promise of ’El-Shaddai is found in Genesis 35:11, Genesis 43:14, and Genesis 49:25, passages which suggest the bountifulness exercised by God: ’El, the God of power and authority, and Shaddai, the God of inexhaustible riches, riches that He is willing to bestow upon those who seek Him in faith and obedience.

It has been said that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, the idea being that the name does not matter. Yet, how much comfort and hope would you have if the Lord’s name was “The Frail God” or “The Weak God”? Look at the text for today. Replace “Almighty God” with these two other names. What would it do for your faith and trust in Him if the Lord were to present Himself to us in that manner? At the same time, how does the name ’El-Shaddai give us comfort?

What gave the disciples comfort in the middle of their storms? Was it the thought that Jesus was going to rule, or was it something else? What kept them faithful to Him?

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

  • Servant
  • Posts: 41795
  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
    • The Remnant Online
Tuesday          April 20

From Abram to Abraham (Gen. 17:4-5)

Though the names of God come with spiritual and theological significance, they do not end just with God. Names of people in the ancient Near East were not just meaningless ways of identification as often they are to us. To name a girl Mary or Susy does not make much of a difference today. For the ancient Semites, however, human names came heavy-laden with spiritual significance. All Semitic names of people have meaning and usually consist of a phrase or short sentence that comprised of a wish or an expression of gratitude on the part of the parent. For example, Daniel means “God is my judge”; Joel means “Yahweh is God”; or Nathan means “Gift of God.”

Because of the significance attached to names, names would often be changed to reflect a radical change in someone’s life and circumstances.

Look up the following texts. What situations are they addressing, and why were the names changed in these situations?

1. Gen. 32:28

And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. 

2. Gen. 41:45
And Pharaoh called Joseph's name Zaphnathpaaneah; and he gave him to wife Asenath the daughter of Potipherah priest of On. And Joseph went out over [all] the land of Egypt.

3. Dan. 1:7
Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel [the name] of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego. 

In one sense, however, it is not that hard, even for modern minds, to understand the significance of what a person is called. There are subtle and, at times, not so subtle effects. If someone is constantly called “stupid” or “ugly,” and if those are the appellations used for them all the time by a lot of people — sooner or later those names could have an impact on how the person views himself or herself. In the same way, by giving people certain names, or changing their names, it seems possible to influence how they would view themselves and thus influence how they would act.

With this in mind, it is not so hard to understand why God would want to change Abram to Abraham. Abram means “Father is exalted”; God changed it to Abraham, which means “Father of a multitude.” When you look at the covenant promise in which God says “I will make you exceedingly fruitful; and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you”(Gen. 17:6, RSV), the name change makes better sense. Perhaps it was God’s way of helping Abraham trust in the covenant promise, which was being made to a 99-year-old man married to an old woman who had up until that time been barren. In short, God did it to help increase Abraham’s faith in God’s promises to him

We are give the opportunity to name our children with names that will encourage them to walk in the path of Jesus to glorify Him. Is this our desire, is this what we have done?

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

  • Servant
  • Posts: 41795
  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
    • The Remnant Online
Wednesday      April 21

Covenant Stages (Gen. 12:1-2)

In those two verses the first stage of God’s covenant promise to Abram (there are three) is revealed. God approached Abram, gave him a command, and then made him a promise. The approach expresses God’s gracious election of Abram to be the first major figure of His special covenant of grace. The command involves the test of total trust in God (Heb. 11:8 ). The promise (Gen. 12:1-3, 7), though made specifically to Abram’s descendants, ultimately includes a promise to the whole human race (Gen. 12:3, Gal. 3:6-9).

The first major figure of God's special covenant of Grace was Eve. God spoke the covenant to Satan in the hearing of both Adam and Eve before which Adam had no hope for anything except death. He and Eve had sinned and were aligned with Satan and sin and at enmity with God. The "everlasting covenant" promised that God would give Eve "enmity" towards Satan and sin. Then God promised that He would also give to her "seed" this hatred toward sin. When this was spoken, Adam and Eve had no hatred of sin, their nature was fallen and evil.

It is sad that as a people we appear to be ignorant of this everlasting covenant made in the garden and what it involves. It gives opportunity for heretical teachings including that which states man is not evil when born, that he has not a bent towards evil and must be born again. "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."  This was the first hope that was given to Adam and Eve after they sinned. They were then given a period of time to learn about the "bruising of His heel." It was a period of "probation" wherein they and us are given temporal life in order to know of God's grace and allow it to transform our characters and be fitted for heaven. Adam was told of the sacrifice of God's Son was instructed to make sacrifices of the lambs that wold represent the transfer of sin from him to Christ for which Jesus would have to suffer and die in his place. The conditions upon which the enmity would be given was that the woman and the "seed" of the woman must love God with the whole heart, the first and greatest commandment. "And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments [is], Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment." Mark 12:29,30 Until the "seed" can do this, there is no salvation. There are conditions that God had to comply with, and He did. And conditions that man must comply with, which is left to us. We must learn of God and surrender the whole heart to Him continually in order to obtain and keep our part of the covenant. It is a simple and powerful truth that many do not understand any more than did the Jews who multiplied the killing of lambs at the disgust of God. "And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he: And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love [his] neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, He said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him [any question]." Mark 12:32-34.

The second stage of God’s covenant with Abram appears in Genesis 15:7-18. In what verses do we find some of the same steps that appeared in the first stage?

The approach of God to man? Verses?

The call to human obedience? Verses?

The divine promise? Verses?

In the solemn ritual of stage two, the Lord appeared to Abram and passed between the carefully arranged pieces of animals. Each of the three animals was slaughtered and divided and the two halves placed one against the other, with a space between. The birds were killed but not divided. Those entering into the covenant were to walk between the divided pieces, symbolically vowing perpetual obedience to the provisions thus solemnly agreed upon.

Describe what took place during the third and final stage of divine covenant making with Abraham. (See Gen. 17:1-14.)

The meaning of the name Abraham underscores God’s desire and design to save all peoples. The “many nations” would include both Jews and Gentiles. The New Testament makes it abundantly clear that the true descendants of Abraham are those who have the faith of Abraham and who trust in the merits of the promised Messiah. (See Gal. 3:7, 29.) Thus, as far back as Abraham, the Lord’s intention was to save as many human beings as He could, whatever nations they lived in. No doubt, it’s no different today.

"The Lord's intention was to save as many human beings as He could" goes back way before Abraham. The everlasting covenant of grace superseded the laying of the foundation of Earth.

"As the Bible presents two laws, one changeless and eternal, the other provisional and temporary, so there are two covenants. The covenant of grace was first made with man in Eden, when after the Fall, there was given a divine promise that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head. To all men this covenant offered pardon, and the assisting grace of God for future obedience through faith in Christ. It also promised them eternal life on condition of fidelity to God’s law. Thus the patriarchs received the hope of salvation.
This same covenant was renewed to Abraham in the promise, “In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” Genesis 22:18. This promise pointed to Christ. So Abraham understood it, and he trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of sins. It was this faith that was accounted unto him for righteousness. The covenant with Abraham also maintained the authority of God’s law. The Lord appeared unto Abraham, and said, “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.” The testimony of God concerning His faithful servant was, “Abraham obeyed my voice, and kept my charge, my commandments, my statutes, and my laws.” Genesis 17:1; 26:5....

The Abrahamic covenant was ratified by the blood of Christ, and it is called the “second,” or “new,” covenant, because the blood by which it was sealed was shed after the blood of the first covenant.

The covenant of grace is not a new truth, for it existed in the mind of God from all eternity. This is why it is called the everlasting covenant.
There is hope for us only as we come under the Abrahamic covenant, which is the covenant of grace by faith in Christ Jesus. The gospel preached to Abraham, through which he had hope, was the same gospel that is preached to us today.... Abraham looked unto Jesus, who is also the author and the finisher of our faith.  The Faith I Live by; pg 77.

Read Revelation 14:6-7, the first angel’s message.

14:6   And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 
 14:7   Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. 

What parallels can you find between what the angel is saying and what happened in the Abrahamic covenant? In what ways are the issues the same?

The three angels message is justification by faith which is the gospel of salvation by grace. Thus, the proclamation of the gospel is the revelation of the "everlasting covenant" made in Eden and renewed to Abraham. The gospel promises that man can be transformed in character by the power of grace, that he can indeed hate sin and cease from sinning if he will accept the conditions which are to allow the sacrifice of Christ to enter his heart so that he loves the Lord our God with the whole heart holding nothing back.

As we near the end, God will have a people who love God supremely and keep His commandments continually. Then Jesus can finally cleanse and exit the Most Holy Place in the heavenly sanctuary.
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

  • Servant
  • Posts: 41795
  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
    • The Remnant Online
Thursday         April 22

Covenant Obligations

“For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him” (Gen. 18:19).

As we have seen so far, the covenant is always a covenant of grace, of God doing for us what we could never do for ourselves. There is no exception in the covenant with Abraham.

In His grace, God had chosen Abraham as His instrument to assist in proclaiming the plan of salvation to the world. God’s fulfillment of His covenant promises was, however, linked to Abraham’s willingness to do righteously and to obey Him by faith. Without that obedience on Abraham’s part, God could not use him.

Genesis 18:19 demonstrates how grace and law are related. It opens with grace (“I know him”) and is followed by the fact that Abraham is someone who will obey the Lord and have his family obey, as well. Faith and works, then, appear here in a close union, as they must. (See James 2:17.)

Notice , however, the phrasing of Genesis 18:19, particularly the last clause. What is it saying here about Abraham’s obedience? Though obedience is not the means of salvation, what importance is it given here? According to this text, could the covenant be fulfilled without it? Explain your answer.

The blessings of the covenant could not be enjoyed or maintained unless certain conditions were met by the beneficiaries. Though the conditions were not needed to establish the covenant, they were to be the responses of love, faith, and obedience. They were to be the manifestation of a relationship between humankind and God. Obedience was the means by which God could fulfill His covenant promises to the people.

Covenant breaking, through disobedience, is unfaithfulness to an established relationship. When the covenant is broken, what is broken is not the condition of bestowal but the condition of fulfillment.

Amen!  The condition of fulfillment is to love the Lord thy God with the whole heart. Until that is done, there is no salvation for man, for he still does not hate sin, the enmity promised in the everlasting covenant. When man loves God supremely the Holy Spirit takes possession of the heart and brings with Him love, joy, and peace....and all of the rest of the fruits of the Spirit, not one will be missing. Then man has met his part of the covenant and God has fulfilled His part in giving man a hatred for sin.

In your own experience with the Lord, can you see why obedience is so important? Can you think of any examples, either from the Bible or from your own experience, where disobedience makes the fulfillment of covenant promises impossible? If so, what are they, and, more important, what is the remedy?

The answer is always the same, we need to surrender the whole heart to God. Then when we understand this, the most important question must be answered, how is this possible? What must I do in order to obtain the blessing of the covenant of grace? Listen to Jesus explain this to Nicodemus in the third chapter of John:

 3:3   Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 
 3:4   Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 
 3:5   Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 
 3:6   That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 
 3:7   Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 
 3:8   The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 
 3:9   Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 
 3:10   Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things? 
 3:11   Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. 
 3:12   If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you [of] heavenly things? 
 3:13   And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, [even] the Son of man which is in heaven. 
 3:14   And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: 
 3:15   That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 
 3:16   For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 
 3:17   For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 
 3:18   He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 

The answer is this, "And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life." Don't follow that which so many have and "just believe." No, read both verses, for the answer lieth in verse 14. What did Jesus mean about the  bronze serpent? When those bitten by the serpent looked upon the uplifted serpent, they were healed. Those bitten who did not look up, died. So it is up to us to look upon Jesus hanging on the cross. If we were to spend a thoughtful hour a day contemplating the life and sufferings of Jesus, we would be transformed in nature. We would become partakers of God's divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) and reflect the character of Jesus. This is how we give glory to God (Rev 14:7). It is an intellectual and a spiritual truth that by beholding we become changed. The brain is like plastic and mind will adapt itself to what it beholds and loves. We read of this in 2 Cor. 3:18. "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord."

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

  • Servant
  • Posts: 41795
  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
    • The Remnant Online
Friday          April 23

Further Thought: Read Ellen G. White, “The Call of Abraham,” pp. 125-131, in Patriarchs and Prophets; “Jew and Gentile,” pp. 188-200, in The Acts of the Apostles.
The rainbow is a sign of God’s covenant with Noah. Read Genesis 17:10 to discover what the sign of God’s covenant was with Abraham. Circumcision “was destined: (1) to distinguish the seed of Abraham from the Gentiles (Eph. 2:11), (2) to perpetuate the memory of Jehovah’s covenant (Gen. 17:11), (3) to foster the cultivation of moral purity (Deut. 10:16), (4) to represent righteousness by faith (Rom. 4:11), (5) to symbolize circumcision of the heart (Rom. 2:29), and (6) to foreshadow the Christian rite of baptism (Col. 2:11-12).” — The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 1, pp. 322, 323.

The rainbow will remain as a sign of God’s promise until the end of the world, but the sign of circumcision will not. According to the apostle Paul, circumcision was received by Abraham as a token of the righteousness he had received by faith in God (Rom. 4:11). However, through the centuries, circumcision came to signify salvation by obedience to the law. By New Testament times, circumcision had lost its significance. Instead, the essential element is faith in Jesus Christ, which leads to an obedient, transformed life. Read Galatians 5:6; Galatians 6:15; and 1 Corinthians 7:18-19.

Discussion Questions:

    Discuss the relationship between faith and works. Can there be one without the other? If not, why not?

Works is the revelation of an indwelling Christ, the partaking of His divine nature. No good works, no whole heart surrender and love of God.

    “Many are still tested as was Abraham. They do not hear the voice of God speaking directly from the heavens, but He calls them by the teachings of His Word and the events of His providence. They may be required to abandon a career that promises wealth and honor, to leave congenial and profitable associations, and separate from kindred, to enter upon what appears to be only a path of self-denial, hardship, and sacrifice. God has a work for them to do; but a life of ease and the influence of friends and kindred would hinder the development of the very traits essential for its accomplishment. He calls them away from human influences and aid, and leads them to feel the need of His help, and to depend upon Him alone, that He may reveal Himself to them. Who is ready at the call of Providence to renounce cherished plans and familiar associations?” — Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 126, 127. Discuss any contemporary examples of those you know who heeded this same call.

Many are called, but few choose to give the whole heart to Jesus. What a loss!! To remain in error and sin, to give up love, joy, and peace in this world and to give up eternity in a world without sin! Very sad indeed.

Summary: God called Abraham into a special relationship with Him, one that would reveal the plan of salvation to the world.

God has called you and me to this whole heart relationship with Him who suffered and died that we might be converted and love Him supremely.  But, Satan has stolen a march on His church. As it was with Israel, many have been deceived as to what it means to be a converted Christian. Listen to the
words of Jesus directed to His last church. Words of strong rebuke and great encouragement from the Book of Revelation:

 3:14   And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 
 3:15   I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 
 3:16   So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 
 3:17   Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 
 3:18   I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 
 3:19   As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 
 3:20   Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 
 3:21   To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 
 3:22   He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. 

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