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Thursday         September 17

God’s Final Appeal

Read Revelation 14:8, Revelation 17:3-6, and Revelation 18:1-4. What do we learn about spiritual Babylon from these verses?

In the book of Revelation, the term “Babylon” represents a false system of religion based on human works, man-made traditions, and false doctrines. It exalts human beings and their self-righteousness above Jesus and His sinless life. It places the commands of human religious teachers above the commands of God. Babylon was the center of idolatry, sun worship, and the false teaching of the immortality of the soul. This false religious system has subtly integrated many of ancient Babylon’s religious practices into its worship. God’s last-day message to our dying planet is the message of Jesus and His righteousness. It echoes heaven’s appeal, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen … Come out of her, my people” (Rev. 18:2, 4). God has divinely raised up the Seventh-day Adventist Church to exalt the message of Christ in all of its fullness. To exalt Jesus is to lift up everything He taught. It is to proclaim the One who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). It is to expose the errors of Babylon in contrast to the truths of Jesus.

Read Revelation 14:7, 9-11

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. 
 14:9   And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive [his] mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 
 14:10   The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 
 14:11   And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

What contrasting objects of worship are highlighted in these verses?

Revelation 14 describes two different acts of worship — the worship of the Creator, and the worship of the beast. These two acts of worship center around God’s day of worship, the true Sabbath, and a substitute or counterfeit Sabbath. The Sabbath represents the rest, assurance, and security that we have in Christ our Creator, Redeemer, and coming King. The counterfeit day represents a human and false substitute based on human reasoning and man-made decrees.

Read Revelation 14:12.

 14:12   Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. 

What is this text saying, especially in the context of what came before? How are the law and grace both revealed in this text, and what should this teach us about how law and grace are two inseparable aspects of the gospel?

Sinners are saved by grace through faith in Christ. The faith of Jesus enables repentant sinners to keep the law of God. Those who keep the commandments of God glorify God by representing His character. It is the grace of God that causes sinners to fall on their faces and love Him who first loved them. There are those who are religious by profession but do not die to self, do not keep the law, and do not love their enemy. They are those who follow the commands of man and refuse to keep God's fourth commandment at the end of all things in this Earth.
Wednesday        September 16

Understanding God’s Message More Fully

Revelation’s last-day message presents Jesus in the fullness of His saving grace for all humanity (Rev. 14:6). It is an earnest appeal to “fear” or give reverence to God in all we do — to respect His commands and obey His law in the light of God’s judgment (Rev. 14:7). To “fear God” has to do with how we think. It is an appeal to live to please God and to place Him first in all of our thoughts. It is an attitude of obedience that leads us to live godly lives (Prov. 3:7, Acts 9:31, 1 Pet. 2:17). This message also invites us to “give glory” to God. Giving glory to God relates to what we do in every aspect of our lives.

To give glory to God is to reflect His character, to be faithful witnesses as was Stephen when he was stoned. Look at the results of the grace he revealed to the man who wrote most of the New Testament.

Read Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14 and 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. How do these verses help us understand what it means to both fear God and give glory to Him?

In an age of moral irresponsibility, when millions of people feel that they are accountable to no one but themselves, this judgment-hour message reminds us that we are responsible for our actions. There is a relationship between an attitude of reverence for God, obedience to God, and the judgment. Obedience is the fruit of a saving relationship with Jesus. Only His righteousness is good enough to pass the judgment and, in His righteousness, we are secure. Through His righteousness we live to glorify His name in all that we do.

Amen! We may reveal His righteousness in our own character if we will fully surrender the whole heart. He will abide in us through the Holy Spirit. All of the fruits of the Spirit will be seen the lives of all who abide in Jesus.

Read Revelation 14:7, Revelation 4:11, Genesis 2:1-3, and Exodus 20:8-11. What is the basis of all true worship of God, and how does the Sabbath reflect this understanding?

Satan has attacked the Sabbath because he knows that it is the very heart of worship. It exalts Christ as the Creator and appeals to all men and women everywhere to “worship Him who made heaven and earth” (Rev. 14:7, NKJV). It speaks with relevance in an age of evolution. It calls us back to worshiping the Jesus who created us and who gives us a sense of our true worth in Him.

Think about how important the Sabbath is as a reminder of God as our Creator and, hence, who alone is worthy of our worship. After all, what other teaching is so important that God commands, commands one-seventh of our lives every week in order to help us remember Him as our Creator?

The teaching that empowers us to keep His commandments. The gospel of grace is to be the center of our message. It is the first angel's message to take the gospel to the whole world.

Tuesday         September 15

Revelation’s End-Time Message

The epicenter of Revelation is chapter 14. This chapter is of paramount importance to God’s people living in the last days of human history. It unfolds God’s last-day message to humankind. This end-time message is crucial to the people of God and to all humanity.

Read Revelation 14:14-20. What symbolism is used here to portray the return of our Lord?

The symbolism of the harvest is used throughout the Bible to describe Christ’s return (Matt. 13:37-43, Mark 4:29). In Revelation 14, the harvest of ripe grain represents the redemption of the righteous, and the harvest of overripe grapes depicts the destruction of the wicked. Revelation 14:6-12 contains an urgent last-day message to prepare men and women for earth’s final harvest.

Read Revelation 14:6, 7. What is the essence of the message found in these two verses? How do they help us understand who we are as Seventh-day Adventists?

The message of the first angel in Revelation 14 appeals to a 21st-century generation longing for purpose in their lives. It presents the gospel of God’s grace that provides forgiveness for all. It cleanses us from the guilt of sin and gives us power to be overcomers. This message provides the basis for all self-worth in the fact that Christ created us and redeemed us. It points out that one day all injustice will come to an end in God’s final judgment. It is incredibly good news because it reveals that unrighteousness will not last forever.

“In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light-bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the Word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import — the proclamation of the first, second, and third angels’ messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention”. — Ellen. G. White, Evangelism, pp. 119, 120. As a church, but even more important, as individuals, how can we take these words to heart?

The first angels message is the gospel first.  Then we are to give glory to God. What does that mean? To give glory to God is to reveal the character of God in our lives. The first angel called upon men to “fear God, and give glory to him” and to worship Him as the Creator of heaven and earth. To do this, they must obey His law. Without obedience no worship can be pleasing to God. “This is the love of God, that we keep his commandments.” 1 John 5:3; See Proverbs 28:9.

Monday         September 14

Revelation’s End-Time Focus

The gospels primarily center on Christ’s first coming. They tell the story of His birth, His life and ministry, and His death and resurrection. Although they speak of His second coming, that is not their main emphasis. The book of Revelation’s primary focus, however, is the climax of the centuries — long conflict of the ages. Each of its major prophecies ends in the glorious return of our Lord.

Read Revelation 1:7, Revelation 11:15, Revelation 14:14-20, and Revelation 19:11-18. What similar conclusion do you see in each of these passages?

From the first to the last chapter of the book of Revelation, the climax of each prophecy is the coming of Jesus. The “Lamb who was slain” (Rev. 5:12, NKJV) is coming again as King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16). He will defeat all of the foes that oppress and persecute His people (Rev. 17:14). He will deliver them from this nightmare of sin and bring them home to glory. The great controversy between good and evil will be ended. The earth will be made new, and the redeemed will live with their Lord forever (Rev. 21:1-4).

And, the world will be set free from ever seeing sin again. What does the Book of Revelation have to do with this wonderful promise?

In Revelation 22:7 (see also Rev. 22:12, 17 and 20), Jesus says: “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book” (NKJV). Thus, Jesus’ final appeal to all humanity is to respond to His love, accept His grace, and follow His truth to be ready for His soon return. Revelation concludes with Jesus’ invitation, “And the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let him who hears say, ‘Come!’” (Rev. 22:17, NKJV).

Our Lord invites all of those who seek for eternal life to come to Him. He then invites those of us who have accepted the message of salvation and are eagerly anticipating His return to join Him in inviting others to accept the message of His love. He sends us out on His mission to share His message to prepare a world for His soon return. There is nothing more rewarding than participating with Jesus in His mission to the world. There is nothing more fulfilling than cooperating with Christ in His last-day plan of salvation.

Christ, coming quickly? John wrote those words about 2,000 years ago. However, given our understanding of the state of the dead, why is Christ’s second coming, for each one of us in our own personal experience, never more than an instant after our death? How does this fact help us understand how quickly, indeed, Christ is coming?

Coming quickly for those who are dead is not coming quickly for this world. By the signs of the times we can know His coming is indeed very soon! What have you seen that tells you Jesus is even at the doors?

Lesson 13 September 19-25

A Step in Faith

Commentary in Navy                  Inspiration in Maroon

Sunday         September 13

Peter’s Present-Truth Message

Throughout salvation history, God has regularly sent a special message through the prophetic Word to prepare people for what was coming. God is never caught off guard (Isa. 46:9, 10). He prepares His people for the future by sending prophets to reveal His message before the judgment falls (Amos 3:7). In the days before the Flood, God sent a message to the world through Noah that the Flood was coming. In Egypt, God raised up Joseph to prepare for the famine during the seven years of plenty. The Jewish prophets warned the Israelite leaders of the coming destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonian armies. John the Baptist’s message of repentance prepared a nation for the first coming of Jesus.

Read 2 Peter 1:12. What expression does Peter use to describe God’s message to his generation?

Read 2 Peter 1:16-21. What was this “present truth” message that Peter and the disciples proclaimed?

The message of eternal significance for the first century was that Christ had come. The Father’s love was revealed through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Although the “wages of sin is death”, through Christ eternal life has been secured for all. It is our choice whether by faith we will receive it (Rom. 3:23, Rom. 6:23, Eph. 2:8 ). This message of salvation in Jesus will never be out of date. It is present truth for every generation.

The Bible’s last book, Revelation, presents Jesus and His eternal salvation in an end-time context to prepare a people for His soon return. It exposes the falsehood of human tradition and self-centered religiosity. From the beginning to the end, Revelation reveals Jesus and His work in behalf of humanity.

Jesus is the true witness of His Father’s character. He is the “ruler over the kings of the earth”. He is the One “who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and has made us kings and priests to His God and Father” (see Rev. 1:1-6, NKJV). Revelation is all about Jesus and His end-time message to get His people ready for His soon return.

When you think of the book of Revelation, what comes to your mind? Are your thoughts more about beasts and prophetic symbols than about Jesus? Why do you think Jesus gave us the prophecies in Revelation? How do they reveal His loving plans for humankind?

To each is given a period of probationary time is given. Revelation takes the world to the time when the heavenly sanctuary is cleansed from sin and there will be no more forgiveness of sin. The Day of Atonement is the last opportunity to repent of sin. Jesus hates sin, but loves the sinner and give all time to repent and be saved. Also, after the time of probation will be a time of trouble such as never was. Christ is not only judging all who profess to love God, but is preparing a people live through this time of trouble without a Mediator and without sin. We have stopped Jesus from coming because He does not have a people who are ready.

Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: 2 Pet. 1:12, 16-21; Rev. 19:11-18; Rev. 14:14-20; Eccles. 12:13, 14; Rev. 14:6-12.

Memory Text: “Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth — to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people — saying with a loud voice, ‘Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water’” (Revelation 14:6, 7, NKJV).

Christ’s atoning death was universal; that is, it was meant for all people who have ever lived, regardless of when or where. Thus, the gospel speaks to people of every language group, culture, and background. It bridges ethnic divides. It is the incredibly good news that Jesus, in His life, death, and resurrection, has triumphed over the principalities and powers of hell. The gospel is all about Jesus. He died for us and now lives for us. He came once to deliver us from the penalty and power of sin and is coming again to deliver us from the presence of sin. He died the death we deserve so that we can live the life He deserves. In Christ we are justified, sanctified, and one day glorified.

Amen! When fully surrendered, dead to self, converted, we are justified and sanctified.

The Bible focuses on the two comings of Jesus. He came once to redeem us and will return to take home what He has purchased at such an infinite cost. The Bible’s last book, Revelation, was written especially to prepare the world for Jesus’ return. It is an urgent message for this generation. In this week’s lesson, we will study Revelation’s relevance for a 21st century contemporary society. Together we will discover anew Jesus’ appeal to His last day church to share this end-time message.

Amen!  The Books of Daniel and Revelation are really one Book. Daniel was closed to understanding until this world reached the end of time, our day. It sheds great light on the writings in the Book of Revelation.
The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--51--The Light of Life
« Last post by Pastor Sean Brizendine on September 18, 2020, 03:28:44 PM »
Amen, Brother Beacon!

"The only condition upon which the freedom of man is possible is that of becoming one with Christ." {The Desire of Ages, page 466, paragraph 5}

When we are one with Christ, we have the purpose of the gospel--for Christ in us reveals all of the attributes of His divine nature by the power of His creative word leading us constantly in harmony with His divine law of love!
The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--51--The Light of Life
« Last post by Beacon on September 18, 2020, 06:48:58 AM »
"The manifestation of divine power that had given to the blind man both natural and spiritual sight had left the Pharisees in yet deeper darkness. Some of His hearers, feeling that Christ's words applied to them, inquired, "Are we blind also?" Jesus answered, "If ye were blind, ye should have no sin." If God had made it impossible for you to see the truth, your ignorance would involve no guilt. "But now ye say, We see." You believe yourselves able to see, and reject the means through which alone you could receive sight..

To all who realized their need, Christ came with infinite help.

But the Pharisees would confess no need; they refused to come to Christ, and hence they were left in blindness,--a blindness for which they were themselves guilty. Jesus said, "Your sin remaineth."

"The soul must be emptied of self, that Christ may pour his Spirit into the vacuum. Christ must be chosen as the heavenly guest. The will must be placed on the side of God's will. Then there is a new heart, and new, holy resolves.

It is Jesus enthroned in the soul that makes every action easy in his service."

Quote from Pastor Sean

'We need to know more experiential of the goodness of God that leads us to repentance, of the compassionate tender love of the Savior who implants into our hearts hatred for sin when we see what it cost our Heavenly Father's heart to save us: the birth of Christ into a sinful world from Bethlehem's manger, His sinless yet tempted days in Nazareth and in the desert fasting 40 days at the beginning of His ministry, experiencing the sorrows of humanity to be despised and rejected of men, leading up to His agony in Gethsemane, and death upon Calvary. Even now Jesus ministers for us having conquered death, interceding in heaven as our great High Priest! Behold Him, the soon-coming King of Kings!"


Let us daily take the time to Turn our Eyes Upon Jesus - Look Full in His Wonderful Face - And the thing of earth will grow strangely dim - In the Light of His Glory & Grace. 
The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--50--Among Snares
« Last post by Pastor Sean Brizendine on September 17, 2020, 08:37:41 AM »
Amen, Brother Beacon and Brother Richard! As we behold Jesus, we become transformed in mind and character by yielding fully to Him so He can give us a new heart and a new mind!

The same power the spoke light into existence in the beginning brought light and life to the penitent woman, and by His creative word of love offered her a new beginning that was a true miracle! Wherever you find yourself today, Jesus offers you a new beginning by abiding fully in Him in full surrender! Then the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in your life without one missing as you let Christ the hope of glory reveal His grace through your life!

"In His act of pardoning this woman and encouraging her to live a better life, the character of Jesus shines forth in the beauty of perfect righteousness. While He does not palliate sin, nor lessen the sense of guilt, He seeks not to condemn, but to save. The world had for this erring woman only contempt and scorn; but Jesus speaks words of comfort and hope. The Sinless One pities the weakness of the sinner, and reaches to her a helping hand. While the hypocritical Pharisees denounce, Jesus bids her, 'Go, and sin no more.'" {The Desire of Ages, page 462, paragraph 3}

The invitation to "Go, and sin no more" (John 8:11) is spoken by the One who has power to keep us from falling, to uphold us in His plan that glorifies Him! Even if we do fall into sin, we can know that He will pardon and transform us by His grace, for He gives "grace for grace" (John 1:16). Then, abiding in Jesus, we find sin to be hateful through an appreciation of His character and communion with God, and we will not only delight to do His will, but delight to invite others to share the joy of His salvation!
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