03: Creation and Redemption – Thought Questions
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Timothy was sitting in a fifth grade general science class at an Adventist school when a thought struck him like a bolt from the blue. He waved his hand at the teacher.
“Yes, Timothy?”
“Did you say that God created the world in seven days?”
“That’s what the Bible tells us.”
“Well, I don’t think He could do that.”
“Why not?”
“Because there’s too much in the world. Fish and birds and bugs and worms and snakes. Plus the human body. And all the animals and plants and trees and clouds. Nobody could make this world in seven days. Not even God.”
“I think you’re forgetting something, Timothy. With God, all things are possible. Do you believe that?”
“I guess so. But hardly anybody believes God made this whole world in one week. My friends at home sure don’t.”
“You know what you need, Timothy?”
“What?”
“A bigger God. A God as big as the universe. A God who knows more than all the people in the world. A God so powerful He can speak and create just like that.”
“I don’t understand how He does that,” Timothy said.
“You don’t have to. “Just hold on to Jesus, and some day He’ll explain it all and answer all your questions about how He created the world. All of them.”

Questions for discussing The Sabbath and Worship (click to see the lesson online)

1. Key Thought: agnostic. Do you shiver when you heard the word “agnostic”? Why? The word simply means “without knowledge.” When it comes to the details of Creation, does the Bible give us a complete account of everything that happened? Given our small brains and inadequate skills of comprehension, should we be dismayed that we don’t know everything? Wouldn’t it be honest sometimes to admit we’re agnostic about many aspects of God’s great Creation? Can we admit our agnostic state and still cling to Jesus?

2. The Sabbath. Do most people understand why Adventists worship on the seventh day? What do they think about this “strange” belief of ours? How does their attitude toward the Sabbath as the seventh day impact their evaluation of who we are and what we believe? Do people who worship faithfully on Sunday think that we Sabbath-keepers have drifted away from God? How can we help people see the beauty of the seventh day Sabbath? How can we show how the Sabbath is closely related to our redemption? Is it possible to present the Sabbath without appearing haughty? How?

3. Sabbath as celebration. When God completed the sixth day of creation, did He rest because He was tired? Are you comfortable using the word “celebration” to describe the Sabbath? Why or why not? What do you think was the most significant “thing” God created during creation week? What do we have to celebrate on Sabbath now? Can even those who are ill or crippled enjoy a Sabbath blessing? Should those of us who are hearty try to share something to celebrate with those who cannot worship with us?

4. Freedom from slavery. Have you ever compared the Sabbath commandment of Exodus 20:8-11 with the one in Deuteronomy 5:12? Which means more to you: the emphasis on keeping the Sabbath to remember the rescue of the Children of Israel from Egypt or the admonishing to keep the Sabbath in order to remember Creation week? What about the Israelites during their wilderness journey: Which reason for keeping the Sabbath holy would have greater appeal for them? Does the repetition of the Sabbath commandment with a different reason trouble you? If not, why not?

5. The law and sanctification. What does the word “sanctification” mean to you? Is sanctification a requirement for salvation? Or is salvation a requirement for sanctification? Have you ever known a holy, sanctified person? Why is there so much confusion about the process of sanctification? Have you heard people question what sanctification means that makes it different from salvation by works? Have you ever obeyed a law or a commandment and were glad because you did? Does God intend for obedience to Him to result in joy? How can that be? True or false: We can never be ready for eternal life until we reach a state of perfection.

6. Sabbath’s benefits. Why is the word “Sabbath” as used in the Bible so often linked to the concept of rest? What are some of aspects of Sabbath rest that you appreciate most? How important is a Sabbath-like rest in our lives through eternity? Will we be worn out with work we’re doing in heaven and need to rest? Or will “rest” have a different meaning in a sinless world? On earth as it is now, does the ultimate meaning of rest include slumber? Is it possible to sleep too much on Sabbath? How much is too much? How can you tell? What are some ways we can rest emotionally on Sabbath?

7. The need to worship. Coming as it does every seven days, what can the Sabbath tell us about the importance of habit in serving God? What can we do on Sabbath to develop a deep experience of worshipping one God and praising His creative and redeeming gifts? Do thoughts of work and life’s worries ever pester you on a Sabbath day? Is that sin?

8. Creation and redemption. Your lesson refers to “delusions” about Creation. What might some of those delusions be? How does our salvation relate to a clear understanding of Creation? Can we be saved without any idea of how God created the world and the people and beings on it? Does Satan seem to believe if he can destroy the Sabbath he can destroy God’s people? Is that a fair assumption? What can we learn about Creation that can strengthen the bonds between us on our Lord?

Have a blessed Sabbath!

Joyce Griffith

 

 

 

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03: Creation and Redemption – Thought Questions — 9 Comments

  1. 1. Yes it does, not because of the original meaning in the Greek but because of its current usage. As you said its Greek meaning is "without knowledge" but today, more often than not, it has to do with someone that has a half-hearted belief in God as though He exists - but so what.

    5. Christianity has always been in a turmoil over the question of how we are saved. Even Seventh day Adventist have on ongoing battle with this.
    Paul's focus on the salvation question was on justification rather than sanctification, I think primarily because sanctification doesn't include past sins where justification takes care of everything up to the present. Where the New Testament deals with justification openly sanctification seems to be handled more implicitly by counselling church members on how Christians are to conduct themselves.
    Because the subject of sanctification is treated in that way it has become somewhat nebulous. The fact is that the New Testament treats sanctification either as a completed act or an ongoing process. An example would be Paul's statement to the Corinthian church, "to those who are sanctified" (1Co 1:2 NKJ), "were sanctified" (1Co 6:11 NKJ) as a past act in spite of the fact that the church was enormously corrupt. Yet, in other places we in the process of "being sanctified" (Heb 2:11 NKJ) where what we do is part of the process (1 Thes 4:3-4). Paul understood all of this when he through faith he declared, "there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day" (2Ti 4:8 NKJ) because he knew that he was both justified and sanctified. Yet he also said, "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me" (Phi 3:12 NKJ) because he knew he was also in a process.

    8. Delusions - that reminds me what Jesus said, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free" (John 8:31-32 NKJ). And what Paul said, "The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved" (2Th 2:9-10 NKJ).

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  2. Its very important my dear. I hear some Adventists raising issues over the mood of the persons involved in worship,saying that things are "boring".
    I understand that these fellows are unable to subject the desire of their biochemistry to the pattern God choiced. Its a selfish thought that we should worship God and at the same time 'feel entertained'. There fellows have not realized that they have six days to do that. Though Adventists' method of worship is not perfect,it most certainly mirrors that in the Bible-time synagogues and the Angels' in Revelation. If you're not comfortable with it, I think its time you draw the line: am I worshipping to excite my nerves and emotions,or to please God in humility? God bless you. Hold on, the laws will soon be passed. Hold on.

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  3. Wow! The article has raised so many different questions! I do find one theme, though, that seems to run throughout. Can we be comfortable with taking God at His word, regarding how He made the world, or do we have to know everything? Well, if we have to know all about creation week in order to believe it, then what about trusting God with our lives? There's no way we are ever going to understand all about how God works in this world, and in our personal lives -- not in this life, anyway. But we do have plenty of reason to trust Him. The same goes for sanctification. No, perfection cannot be a prerequisite to eternal life. The penitent sinner has the privilege of experiencing that now, in Jesus. Immortality, on the other hand, is something else. Peter makes it clear that we need to "pursue holiness, without which no one will see the Lord." It should be obvious that, to the extent that we are not yet perfect, we are still evil. Would you want to go to a "heaven" where evil people were present and immortalised? It would be worse than what we have now!

    We so often stumble over the idea of sanctification. Of course, the Bible speaks of sanctification as both a completed act and an ongoing process. That's because sanctification means being set apart for a holy purpose. When we enter God's service, He has already set up apart for Himself, right? Yet, the process is not truly complete until we are truly holy, through and through. But we stumble because we cannot understand just how God is going to get us to that point. When we look at ourselves and our performance, it can easily seem impossible. Not to worry. A 6-day creation also seems impossible, yet it clearly happened. Sometimes it seems impossible for us to get through the problems that arise in our lives, yet God gets us through them. When the disciples asked Jesus, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus answered that it is humanly impossible. "But, with God, all things are possible." So, we should expect salvation to be something that seems impossible to us, and we should not try to reduce it to something less.

    That God intends to perfect us in the righteousness of Christ is one of the most strongly worded promises in the Bible. Paul calls it a predestined result for those whom God has called and chosen. I see it as a matter of taking God at His word. If we do not believe, we shall not be established.

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  4. 2. Yes, it is quite possible to present the Sabbath without sounding haughty. During one course I did some semesters ago at the Adventist University at which I currently study, the recommended text, Reign of God by Richard Rice, presented some wonderful insights into what the Sabbath represents, that I had not thought about before:
    * That God is sovereign over all, since He alone can proclaim a day to be holy;
    * The relational nature and aspect of God, in that He created a day in which His children can spend time getting closer to Him;
    * The closeness of God to His created beings in spite of His greatness, as a result
    * An opportunity to see the earth that God has created as a thing of beauty, rather than merely something that sustains our life;
    * Freedom from the societal differences imposed upon us as fellow human beings because of work, e.g. boss vs. employee, differences in educational level, earning power, etc. and a recognition of our equality in God.

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  5. So true...That it is not only possible but vital to all concerned for us to present the Sabbath and other doctrines we take from Scripture with a meek and humble spirit. The Sabbath opens doors as no other commandment does to a "place in time" where we can focus on God the whole day long.

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    • Joyce, I am going to take what you said a bit further. The Sabbath is the most powerful commandment of the ten for several reasons. Because of that, it is perhaps the one that Satan fears and hates the most.
      As for focusing on God the whole day, as far as I am concerned you are technically correct, but practically speaking, I have yet to see anyone in all the churches that I have been in who could honestly do that.
      Thank you for the many comments and articles you have posted they all add quite a bit to this website.

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      • Your comments are right on, Tyler. How angry the devil must be when he sees God's people enjoying the Sabbath, getting a blessing from it, and drawing closer to God because of it. My statement about being able to "focus on God the whole day long," is not, I'm afraid, always a reality for any of us, including me!

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        • I like this website and I believe we will be blessed through these discussions i have several questions about how to keep the sabbath in exodus35 we read that we should not even light fire on sabbath how are we going to eat if we don't?c'se some of us need to light fire in order to cook.
          plz help me

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          • Sm, my understanding is that the prohibition against lighting a fire on the Sabbath was limited to the circumstances at that time. They didn't need a fire in order to keep warm, nor did they need to warm their food, as their manna was already prepared and ready to eat. I do believe it implies that we ought to do our baking, etc. before the Sabbath begins, leaving no need for food preparation on the Sabbath, other than perhaps reheating it.

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