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Living the Advent Hope


Introduction
Editor's Overview
Contents
Principal Contributor
Helps
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INTRODUCTION   Living the Advent Hope

From the early days of the Advent movement, it has been our delight (not to mention sacred duty) to explain the hope that's implicit in the name Adventist itself: "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have" (1 Pet. 3:15, NIV). And the reason for our hope is Jesus, who, through His sacrificial death, has guaranteed that He will come, at the Second Advent (hence the name Adventist), and retrieve those who cost Him so much.

It is the precious blood of Christ Himself that's the surety of our hope, the one hope to which we are called (Eph. 4:4), the living hope (1 Pet. 1:3), a hope that's absolute, because it does not rest in us but in Jesus Christ, "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8). Our hope rests upon the One who "came unto his own" (John 1:11), who died for our sins, who was resurrected for our justification (Rom. 4:25), and who will return in the clouds of heaven to gather His elect (Matt. 24:31).

In these studies we will look at living the Advent hope-the hope explicit in the promise of His coming in the clouds of glory to take us once and for all out of this world of sin. This quarter will not so much be a doctrinal study as a realistic and experiential look at how we put this hope into practice. We'll look at what the Advent hope means, how it is essential to faith, how it answers questions and provides assurance in the present. We'll look, too, at how hope should impact our lives as we deal with others, with the church, and with those with whom we must share this hope.

Our desire is that, through this quarter's Adult Bible Study Guide, we will know better the wonderful God of hope who so loved this world that He gave Jesus, the express image of His own person (Heb. 1:3), as the ransom for our lost souls. Because to know God is to love Him, and to love God is to experience in our own lives His saving grace, a grace whose end leads to a hope far beyond what sinful fallen minds cannot even begin to imagine, even in their most extreme flights of heavenly fantasy.

"He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32).

And among those things freely given, what could be more precious than hope, particularly the Advent hope?


EDITOR'S OVERVIEW   Sisyphus and Christ

In Greek mythology, Sisyphus had been condemned by the gods to push a rock to the top of a mountain, where it would of its own weight fall to the bottom. Sisyphus would shove it back up, only to have it roll down, again and again, the process continuing forever. The idea was that no punishment could be worse than futile, hopeless labor.

A few millennia after the story was first told, Frenchman Albert Camus wrote a short book entitled The Myth of Sisyphus. Written during World War II, the book used Sisyphus as a metaphor of human existence itself. Because life has no meaning, Camus asked Is it worth living? If all the energy, effort, and passion needed to exist is like Sisyphus's labor, hopeless and futile, why bother?

Camus has a point, at least, given his premise: If there is no God, then this existence—with all its trials, pain, perplexities, and absurdities—is all that we have and are and, therefore, is meaningless. Our whole essence is contained in, and limited by, our own mortality. Nothing transcends it, nothing exceeds it. Our life is its own end, and because our end always dissolves into dust, what can it mean? Obviously, not much.

Camus, however, wasn't the only one to realize the futility of human life in and of itself. Centuries earlier, Paul said the same thing:  If nothing is beyond this life—if death caps it, consummates it, and finalizes it—then it is all for nothing. If Christ does not come back and raise us from the dead to immortality, then all that we have believed in and hoped for is, he said, in "vain" (1 Cor. 15:17).

Both Paul and Camus both understood the ultimate issue: What is the meaning of this short span of existence known as human life? The crucial difference, then, is that while Camus had no hope, Paul did, because Camus (at least when he wrote his essay) did not have Christ while Paul did—and that's why Paul (and all the other Bible writers) could express in their writings a wonderful optimism and hope amid a world limping along in death, decay, and suffering.

This quarter, we look at that hope, a hope not in ourselves or in anything we can do but a hope rooted and grounded in Jesus Christ, who "gave himself for our sins" (Gal. 1:4), whose life and death at His first coming is our surety of resurrection and eternity at His second coming. As sure as we are that Jesus came and died for our sins at the First Coming is as sure as we can be that He will return and collect those for whom He died. That is hope!

Many thanks to Jonathan Gallagher of the General Conference Public Affairs and Religious Liberty department for pulling out of Scripture the places brimming with hope and sharing them with us For it is our humble hope that, once done with these lessons we'll all better know that however difficult our struggles and labor in this life often can be, because of Christ's atonement at the Cross and the hope that it brings us, our labors and struggles unlike those of poor Sisyphus, are not in vain.


Contents:  (all lessons may not be posted)

No. Study
Date
Topic

1

Oct 5 The Need for Hope  (KJV)  (NKJV)

2

Oct 12 Old Testament Hope  (KJV)  (NKJV)

3

Oct 19 The Jesus Hope:  Part 1  (KJV)  (NKJV)

4

Oct 26 The Jesus Hope:  Part 2  (KJV)  (NKJV)

5

Nov 2 The Hope of Our Hope  (KJV)  (NKJV)

6

Nov 9 Hope:  Motivation for Mission  (KJV)  (NKJV)

7

Nov 16 Hope:  Too Much or Not Enough?  (KJV)  (NKJV)

8

Nov 23 A Living Hope  (KJV)  (NKJV)

9

Nov 30 Hope and "The Delay":  Part 1  (KJV)  (NKJV)

10

Dec 7 Hope and "The Delay":  Part 2  (KJV)  (NKJV)

11

Dec 14 Too Rich to Hope?  (KJV)  (NKJV)

12

Dec 21 Called to One Hope  (KJV)  (NKJV)

13

Dec 28 Ultimate Things  (KJV)  (NKJV)


Giardina Sabbath School Study Helps

Jerry Giardina of Pecos, Texas, assisted by his wife, Cheryl, prepares a series of helps to accompany the Sabbath School lesson. He includes all related scripture and most EGW quotations. Jerry has chosen the "New King James Version" of the scriptures this quarter. It is used with permission.  The study helps are provided in three wordprocessing versions Wordperfect; Microsoft Word;  RTF for our MAC friends; and HTML (Web Pages).


Last updated on October 8, 2002

Editorial Office: 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904.
Principal Contributors: Jonathan Gallagher
Editor: Clifford Goldstein (goldsteinc@gc.adventist.org)
Associate Editor: Lyndelle Brower Chiomenti.
Editorial Production Manager: Soraya Homayouni Parish.
Art and Design: Lars Justinen.
Pacific Press Coordinator: Paul A. Hey.

Copyright 2002 Office of the Adult Bible Study Guide,
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist. All Rights Reserved.


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