1. A DIVINE RELATIONSHIP
a. Describe the relationship Christ had with the Father (a) before He came into the world, and (b) when He was in the world. John 1:1, 14; Philippians 2:5–8; John 17:5.
“The seventeenth chapter of John speaks plainly regarding the personality of God and of Christ, and of their relation to each other.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E.G. White Comments], vol. 5, p. 1145.
“The Sovereign of the universe was not alone in His work of beneficence. He had an associate—a coworker who could appreciate His purposes, and could share His joy in giving happiness to created beings. ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God’ (John 1:1, 2). Christ, the Word, the only begotten of God, was one with the eternal Father—one in nature, in character, in purpose—the only being that could enter into all the counsels and purposes of God.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 34.
b. How did Christ and God the Father confirm the depth of their relationship? John 8:29; Matthew 17:5.
2. THE CREATOR’S DESIGN
a. For what purpose did God create this earth? Isaiah 45:18. When and how will God’s original purpose be fulfilled? Psalm 37:29; 2 Peter 3:13.
“All heaven took a deep and joyful interest in the creation of the world and of man. Human beings were a new and distinct order. They were made ‘in the image of God,’ and it was the Creator’s design that they should populate the earth.”—The Review and Herald, February 11, 1902.
b. What attitude does God take toward those who respond to His proposals? Psalm 145:18, 19; Isaiah 49:14–16.
“When we beseech the Lord to pity us in our distress, and to guide us by His Holy Spirit, He will never turn away our prayer. It is possible even for a parent to turn away from his hungry child, but God can never reject the cry of the needy and longing heart.”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 132.
c. Describe the attitude that will exist in the heart of those who respond to God’s love as revealed in Christ. 1 John 4:19, 9–11.
“Religion is founded upon love to God, which also leads us to love one another. It is full of gratitude, humility, long-suffering. It is self-sacrificing, forbearing, merciful, and forgiving. It sanctifies the whole life and extends its influence over others.
“Those who love God cannot harbor hatred or envy. When the heavenly principle of eternal love fills the heart, it will flow out to others. not merely because favors are received of them, but because love is the principle of action and modifies the character, governs the impulses, controls the passions, subdues enmity, and elevates and ennobles the affections. This love . . . is as broad as the world and as high as heaven, and is in harmony with that of the angel workers. This love cherished in the soul sweetens the entire life and sheds a refining influence on all around. . . . If we love God with all the heart, we must love His children also.”—Testimonies, vol. 4, pp. 223, 224.
3. GOD’S RELATIONSHIP WITH HUMANITY
a. How are we blessed through our relationship with the Godhead? Matthew 7:7–11. What evidence has God given to us that He loves us and is concerned about our well-being? Jonah 4:2 (last part); Micah 7:18.
“The angels love to bow before God; they love to be near Him. They regard communion with God as their highest joy; and yet the children of earth, who need so much the help that God only can give, seem satisfied to walk without the light of His Spirit, the companionship of His presence.”—Steps to Christ, p. 94.
“God has bound our hearts to Him by unnumbered tokens in heaven and in earth. Through the things of nature, and the deepest and tenderest earthly ties that human hearts can know, He has sought to reveal Himself to us.”—lbid., p. 10.
b. What is God willing to do in behalf of the members of the human family in spite of their depraved condition? Matthew 6:25–30.
“In His Sermon on the Mount, Christ taught His disciples precious lessons in regard to the necessity of trusting in God. These lessons were designed to encourage the children of God through all ages, and they have come down to our time full of instruction and comfort. The Saviour pointed His followers to the birds of the air as they warbled their carols of praise, unencumbered with thoughts of care, for ‘they sow not, neither do they reap.’ And yet the great Father provides for their needs. The Saviour asks, ‘Are ye not much better than they?’ (Matthew 6:26).”—lbid., p. 123.
c. Who assists men and women in achieving right relationships? Galatians 5:22, 23; 2 Peter 1:3–7.
“Those who become new creatures in Christ Jesus will bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, ‘love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance’ (Galatians 5:22, 23).”—Ibid., p. 58.
4. GOD RELATES TO HUMAN NEEDS
a. What were the reasons that Hagar and her son went away to the desert, and in what way did God respond to the needs of Hagar and her son? Genesis 21:9–11, 17–20.
b. In regard to personal relationships, what principle is demonstrated in the story of the woman who had been caught in adultery? John 8:10, 11. How did Jesus recognize the dignity of humanity? Luke 15:1, 2.
“In [Jesus’] act of pardoning this woman [accused of having violated the seventh commandment] 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 Desire of Ages, p. 462.
‘’Jesus sat as an honored guest at the table of the publicans, by His sympathy and social kindliness showing that He recognized the dignity of humanity; and men longed to become worthy of His confidence. Upon their thirsty hearts His words fell with blessed, life-giving power. New impulses were awakened, and the possibility of a new life opened to these outcasts of society.”—Ibid., p. 274.
c. What is God’s promise to each individual committed to His care? Zechariah 2:8; Isaiah 49:15, 16; Matthew 10:29, 30. When we commit our lives to God, how can we be sure the heavenly agencies will protect us? John 10:28, 29.
“The soul that is yielded to Christ becomes His own fortress, which He holds in a revolted world, and He intends that no authority shall be known in it but His own. A soul thus kept in possession by the heavenly agencies is impregnable to the assaults of Satan.”—Ibid., p. 324.
“While [Christ] extends to all the world His invitation to come to Him and be saved, He commissions His angels to render divine help to every soul that cometh to Him in repentance and contrition, and He comes personally by His Holy Spirit into the midst of His church.”—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 15.
5. THE IDEAL RELATIONSHIP
a. What is God’s will for us in regard to the heavenly relationship? John 3:16, 17; 17:3, 22.
“He who had created man, understood the value of humanity. Evil He denounced as the foe of those whom He was seeking to bless and to save. In every human being, however fallen, He beheld a son of God, one who might be restored to the privilege of his divine relationship.”—Education, p. 79.
b. When we experience the blessings of a relationship with God, what will it lead us to do? 1 Corinthians 9:16; 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15.
“If you would be [our Saviour’s] followers, you must cultivate compassion and sympathy. . . . If you are looking to Jesus, and drawing from Him knowledge and strength and grace, you can impart His consolation to others, because the Comforter is with you.”—Welfare Ministry, p. 26.
“The love of Christ, revealed to us, makes us debtors to all who know Him not. God has given us light, not for ourselves alone, but to shed upon them.”—Steps to Christ, p. 81.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How can we understand to some degree the relationship between Christ and God?
2. What message is directed to those who in days of darkness feel that God is unmindful of them?
3. What evidence shows that our relationship with the Godhead is very precious?
4. Relate the experiences of Hagar and of the woman caught in adultery. How does God show His concern for humanity?
5. What are some of the traits that Christ’s followers should possess so that they may manifest the characteristics of heaven to others?