This week’s lesson on The Apostles and the Law gives additional insight into the validity of the law. From those who knew Jesus best we see a consistency in their understanding of the ongoing role of the Law in the lives of God’s people. This adds to our arsenal of evidence to defend the Law – but evidence is not enough.
It is true that we should carefully weigh the evidences of the Word of God. Not allowing others to do our thinking or interpreting of the scriptures is paramount to our spiritual safety. God gave us reasoning minds to rightly divide the word of truth. However, understanding and accepting doctrinal evidence depends less upon reason alone and more upon the openness of the heart. Jesus taught this principle to His listeners.
He was in Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles and the excitement concerning Him was high. Was He indeed the Messiah? The stories of His miracles and teachings had drawn travelers from all parts of the world. There was no subject of greater interest to the nation than the Messiah. They had longed for the day when the Conquering King would come to deliver them and restore to them their former glory.
Though watched by spies who were involved in plotting to take His life, Jesus continued to teach the people the truths that would really set them free. It was on this occasion that Jesus shared the heavenly principle for the reception of truth.
“If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” John 7:17
Looking over the crowd He knew that many would be intimidated against thinking and doing anything contrary to what the religious leaders taught. He knew that the false impression that only the learned and educated could possibly understand the Scriptures would need to be broken. He knew that it was essential for all to personally understand the will and the ways of God and that the Scriptures rightly understood would set many captives free. And without a willingness to not just hear but to do His will they would never be free.
“Man’s advantages for obtaining a knowledge of the truth, however great these may be, will prove of no benefit to him unless the heart is open to receive the truth, and there is a conscientious surrender of every habit and practice that is opposed to its principles.” Ellen White, Desire of Ages, Pages 455
A willingness to do His will means much. It means opening the heart and mind to an honest investigation of truth. It means a sincere willingness to adjust the life as truth is revealed. It means a humility that places God on the throne of the heart. Being teachable unlocks the teaching.
“The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His way.” Psalm 25:9
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” James 1:5
Doing His will comes with rewards and none greater than having God to dwell with us.
“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” John 14:23
The key to understanding God’s Word and His ways is a willingness to do as He commands. Evidence is not enough.
Here are a few Hit the Mark questions for this week’s lesson discussion:
- What does “evidence” mean to you?
- Is begrudged obedience better than non-obedience? Why or why not?
- Isn’t it true that as long as a person is a good person and attends worship services on the Sabbath, they are keeping the law? Explain your answer.
- Isn’t it true that living the law is the best evidence for the validity of the law? Why or why not?
- What does it mean to live the law?
We close this week with Jesus’ emphasis on the wisdom of doing His will. Lord make us willing to be willing:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. Matthew 7:21-25
Until next week, let’s all continue to Hit the Mark in Sabbath School!