Key Thought: Our faith in God is shown by our care for others. We need each other, and by encouraging others, we strengthen our own relationships with God.
[Teaching plan for Exhortation From the Sanctuary December 30, 2013]
1. Have a volunteer read Hebrews 4:14-16.
a. Ask class members to share a thought on what the most important point in this text is.
b. What does it mean for us to have full access to God? Why does it say we can [...]
Read Hebrews 10:19–25 again. One theme appears again and again, and that is “confidence.” The Greek word for “confidence” (Heb. 10:19) refers to a boldness, courage, and fearlessness that in the New Testament describes our new relationship with God.
Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com
Originally the word referred to an openness of speech, which, in this context, could specifically mean that one can freely approach God in prayer. This type of openness in our relationship with God produces a joyful [...]
Read Hebrews 10:22. What conditions for approaching God in the heavenly sanctuary are laid down in this verse?
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According to this verse, worshipers should meet four conditions when they draw near to God:
1. Come with a sincere heart. The heart is our inner being, our thoughts, our motivations, our emotions, our will, and our character. God wants us to be sincere. However, the heart can become sincere only if it is cleansed. This doesn’t mean [...]
Read Hebrews 4:16; Heb 6:19-20; and Heb 10:19–21. To what do believers have access, and what does this mean for us? What hope is offered here, and more important, what impact should this hope have on our life and faith?
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Believers have spiritual access to the heavenly sanctuary, to the very throne of God. We can seek closeness to God because our “entry” was made possible by the blood of Christ and by His representation [...]
Read for This Week’s Study: Heb. 10:19–25; Heb. 4:16; Exod. 24:8; James 4:7, 8; John 13:34; Heb. 10:24-25.
Memory Text: “And since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:21-22, NASB).
Throughout the book of Hebrews, passages about Christian faith alternate with passages about Christian living. In other words, [...]
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:13-14 NKJV
What a wonderful message from heaven to fallen man! The angels did not come and say, “God is over in Bethlehem, and you better get over there, and see if you can get things straightened out between you!” No! God is at peace with man if man will just,
“…take hold of [...]
Further Study: Ellen G. White, “Why was Sin Permitted?” pp. 33–43, in Patriarchs and Prophets; “The Character of God Revealed in Christ,” pp. 737–746, in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5.
“There stood in the world One who was a perfect representative of the Father, One whose character and practices refuted Satan’s misrepresentation of God. Satan had charged upon God the attributes he himself possessed. Now in Christ he saw God revealed in His true character—a compassionate, merciful Father, not willing [...]
Shortly after my baptism, my father called me to dance in a big ghost festival in our home village. I was shaking as I told my father, “No, I don’t dance anymore.” Father urged me to dance, but I took a deep breath and told him, “I have found a power that is stronger than witchcraft.” I knew that my words were a challenge to my father and the ghost dancers. I prayed that my God would protect me from [...]
During this time of year much of the world turns its attention to the Bible account of the first Advent of Christ. You can read about it in Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2. Just as the angels of heaven brought “good news” to the shepherds, this is a good time for us to share the good news of Jesus with our friends and neighbors.
Jesus saw in every soul one to whom must be given the call to His kingdom. He reached the [...]
Have you thought about the story of Job lately? Some people don’t like his story because it reminds them that following God doesn’t always make sense.
Bryce Pine tree photo by Maurice Ashton
Sometimes following God (being a Christian) finds us experiencing excruciating physical and/or mental distress, for which there is no logical explanation – surrounded by family and friends who say exactly the wrong things.
Here’s the thing, we want the “happily ever after” part of the story without having to [...]
[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?
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2. Revolt in heaven. Probably one of the most-often asked questions about Christianity is “How could [...]
During the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus utters these amazing words: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 5:16). With this, He reveals a principle that, though easily misunderstood, is nevertheless seen throughout the Bible. It tells how, as followers of Christ, we can bring glory or shame to God by our actions.
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Read Ezekiel 36:23–27. How was God [...]