[Thought questions for The Cosmic Conflict Over God's Character December 18, 2013]
1.The big picture. Can knowing about the great controversy between Christ and Satan bring meaning to your own existence? How? The sanctuary is a living example of the plan or strategy to win this controversy. Do you see this plan in every symbol and operation of the sanctuary?
2. Revolt in heaven. Probably one of the most-often asked questions about Christianity is “How could sin begin in heaven?” Is it hard to understand how in the realm of the Almighty One, envy and jealousy could make their ugly presence known? Do you ever hear expressed the thought that sin began in the Garden of Eden? Or that Eve was the first to sin? Lucifer fell and fell hard. Why do you think God had Satan fall from heaven to this earth? Instead of enduring such a dreadful fall, what did Satan desire for his future?
3. The Accusations. Why was Satan so insanely angry at God? Are we ever tempted to see God as a Being who is powerful enough to solve all our problems, but He deprives us of blessings we need? How does our perception of God’s character show which ‘side’ we are on in the great controversy? Is it true that men–and women–serve God for their own benefit? What is wrong with that? Satan possessed the serpent in the Garden of Eden and turned it into his spokesperson. Can you detect one or more modern day versions of the serpent medium speaking for Satan, not God?
4. Vindication at the cross. Even without mankind’s fall from grace, would God still have waged war with Satan and wiped out his presence in the universe? In any sense at all, did Jesus deserve to die on the cross? If not, then how is justice revealed in His death? What is the connection between the sanctuary service and Jesus’ sacrifice? Are you able to see applications in your study of the sanctuary service that affect your daily life?
5. Vindication at the Judgment. The confession. Since everyone will acknowledge that Jesus is Lord and every knee shall bow to Him, what is the difference between the way the righteous and the unrighteous will pay homage to Christ at His coming? Do we serve Jesus because we know He will win, or because we believe Him to be just? See Gen. 18:25. How can people acknowledge the rightful exaltation of Jesus at the end even though the majority of them will have spent their time and resources (a) ignoring; (b) misrepresenting; (c) doubting; or (c) despising the God of all Creation?
6. The Cosmic Spectacle. If every Adventist Christian was a perfect example of God’s love and care for others, how far would that influence spread? If you lived a life so close to Christ that sin did not find a footing in your life or character, would people sense something different about you? What about the large number of people who don’t live in our solar system but, we believe, inhabit planets many light years away. Do they need to know about our story of salvation here on earth? Why?
7. What does it really mean to “sacrifice”? Does God expect us to sacrifice for the good of others? Have you ever been fortunate in being given opportunities to reach out in a sacrificial way to help another person? or your local church? or family members? What was the result in your heart if you followed through on these opportunities? Is it possible to do something kind and loving without involving sacrifice of some kind? Does the secular millionaire who can afford to make a generous gift receive a greater blessing than the person who shovels snow from the church’s parking lot? How would you know?