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Sabbath Bible Lessons

The Church and Her Mission

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Lesson 3 Sabbath, April 16, 2016

God’s Purpose for His Church

“To make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery. . . . To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:9–11).

“The church is the repository of the riches of the grace of Christ; and through the church will eventually be made manifest . . . the final and full display of the love of God.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 9.

Suggested Reading:   The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 9-16

Sunday April 10

1. CREATED IN GOD’S IMAGE

a. What did God say with regards to the creation of mankind, and to whom did He say it? Genesis 1:26, 27.

“After the earth was created, and the beasts upon it, the Father and Son carried out their purpose, which was designed before the fall of Satan, to make man in their own image. They had wrought together in the creation of the earth and every living thing upon it. And now God said to His Son, ‘Let us make man in our image’ (Genesis 1:26).”—Lift Him Up, p. 47.

b. What does it mean to be created in God’s image? Ecclesiastes 7:29.

“God made man upright; He gave him noble traits of character, with no bias toward evil. He endowed him with high intellectual powers.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 49.

“[Man’s] affections were pure; his appetites and passions were under the control of reason.”—Ibid., p.45.


Monday April 11

2. THE GLORY OF GOD

a. For what purpose did God create humanity? Isaiah 43:7.

“Above all lower orders of being, God designed that man, the crowning work of His creation, should express His thought and reveal His glory. But man is not to exalt himself as God.”—Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 264.

“When Adam came from the Creator’s hand, he bore, in his physical, mental, and spiritual nature, a likeness to his Maker. ‘God created man in His own image’ (Genesis 1:27), and it was His purpose that the longer man lived the more fully he should reveal this image—the more fully reflect the glory of the Creator.”—Education, p. 15.

b. How did inspiration define the glory of God? Exodus 33:18, 19; 34:5–7.

“The glory of God is His character. While Moses was in the mount, earnestly interceding with God, He prayed, ‘I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory.’ In answer God declared ‘I will make all My goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy’ (Exodus 33:18, 19).

“The glory of God—His character—was then revealed: [Exodus 34:6, 7 quoted].”—The Signs of the Times, September 3, 1902.

c. What forms our characters? Isaiah 55:7–9; Ecclesiastes 8:5; 2 Corin-thians 10:5.

“If the thoughts are wrong the feelings will be wrong, and the thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character. When you decide that as Christians you are not required to restrain your thoughts and feelings you are brought under the influence of evil angels and invite their presence and their control.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 310.

“Never forget that thoughts work out actions. Repeated actions form habits, and habits form character.”—The Upward Look, p. 89.


Tuesday April 12

3. GOD’S PURPOSE THWARTED

a. Upon what point did the serpent tempt our first parents and bring them under the dominion of sin? Genesis 3:3–6.

“One of the strongest temptations that man has to meet is upon the point of appetite. . . .

“Since the first surrender to appetite, mankind have been growing more and more self-indulgent, until health has been sacrificed on the altar of appetite. The inhabitants of the antediluvian world were intemperate in eating and drinking. They would have flesh meats, although God had at that time given man no permission to eat animal food. They ate and drank till the indulgence of their depraved appetite knew no bounds, and they became so corrupt that God could bear with them no longer. Their cup of iniquity was full, and He cleansed the earth of its moral pollution by a flood.”—Counsels on Health, pp. 108, 109.

b. How successful was Satan in causing humans to sin? Genesis 6:5; Romans 3:10–12, 18. What was his aim?

“It was Satan’s purpose to bring about an eternal separation between God and man.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 25.

“Man was originally endowed with noble powers and a well-balanced mind. He was perfect in his being and in harmony with God. His thoughts were pure, his aims holy. But through disobedience, his powers were perverted, and selfishness took the place of love. His nature became so weakened through transgression that it was impossible for him, in his own strength, to resist the power of evil. He was made captive by Satan, and would have remained so forever had not God specially interposed. It was the tempter’s purpose to thwart the divine plan in man’s creation, and fill the earth with woe and desolation. And he would point to all this evil as the result of God’s work in creating man.”—Steps to Christ, p. 17.

“Through sin the divine likeness was marred and well-nigh oblit-erated. Man’s physical powers were weakened, his mental capacity was lessened, his spiritual vision dimmed. He had become subject to death.”—Education, p. 15.


Wednesday April 13

4. RESTORING THE LOST IMAGE

a. After Satan succeeded in destroying the image of God in humanity, what plan was put into operation? Genesis 3:15.

“Satan led men into sin, and the plan of redemption was put in operation. For four thousand years, Christ was working for man’s uplifting, and Satan for his ruin and degradation.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 759.

“[Genesis 3:15 quoted.] Here was the first promise of a Saviour who would stand on the field of battle to contest the power of Satan and prevail against him.”—Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 106.

b. What did God propose to accomplish through the plan of redemption? Romans 8:29; 2 Corinthians 3:18.

“The race was not left without hope. By infinite love and mercy the plan of salvation had been devised, and a life of probation was granted. To restore in man the image of his Maker, to bring him back to the perfection in which he was created, to promote the development of body, mind, and soul, that the divine purpose in his creation might be realized—this was to be the work of redemption. This is the object of education, the great object of life.”—Education, pp. 15, 16.

c. Which of the three persons of the Godhead came to our world to restore in human beings the image of God? John 1:18; Luke 19:10.

“Satan was exulting that he had succeeded in debasing the image of God in humanity. Then Jesus came to restore in man the image of his Maker. None but Christ can fashion anew the character that has been ruined by sin. He came to expel the demons that had controlled the will. He came to lift us up from the dust, to reshape the marred character after the pattern of His divine character, and to make it beautiful with His own glory.”—God’s Amazing Grace, p. 11.

“Though the moral image of God was almost obliterated by the sin of Adam, through the merits and power of Jesus it may be renewed. Man may stand with the moral image of God in his character; for Jesus will give it to him.”—Ibid., p.246.


Thursday April 14

5. THE FINAL DISPLAY OF GOD’S CHARACTER

a. What is God’s ultimate purpose for His church? Ephesians 3:8–11.

“From the beginning it has been God’s plan that through His church shall be reflected to the world His fullness and His sufficiency. The members of the church . . . are to show forth His glory.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 9.

b. What must be the condition of God’s church in order to reflect His fullness and His image to the world? Ephesians 5:27; John 13:34, 35. What will happen once this condition is reached? Mark 4:29.

“Now, while our great High Priest is making the atonement for us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ. Not even by a thought could our Saviour be brought to yield to the power of temptation. Satan finds in human hearts some point where he can gain a foothold; some sinful desire is cherished, by means of which his temptations assert their power. But Christ declared of Himself: ‘The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me’ (John 14:30). . . . This is the condition in which those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble.”—The Great Controversy, p. 623.

“Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 69.


Friday April 15

PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS

1. Did God the Father alone create everything? Explain.

2. What was the nature of Adam at creation, and what was he capable of forming?

3. How did Satan manage to thwart the purpose of God in the creation of humanity?

4. What is the main objective of the plan of redemption?

5. What do you understand as the reason why Jesus has not yet returned?

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