|LESSON 8||*May 19 - 25|
|Revelation of Hope|
Read for This Week's Study:
|Pss. 34:7, 91:4, Rom. 3:26, 1 Cor. 15:51-58, Col. 1:14, 2:13, 1 Thess. 4:13-18, 1 Pet. 3:18, 1 John 1:9, 2:12.|
|"For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope" (Romans 15:4, NIV).|
|The Bible reveals to us a world of hope and promise.
Four World War II fliers, shot down, floated for 21 days on a small life raft in the middle of the Pacific. They had no water or food. However, when their thirst got so bad, it rained, and they caught the rain and drank it; when their hunger became unbearable, seagulls landed on the rafts, and they caught the birds and ate them.
When finally rescued, they were interviewed, separately, and each was asked the same question: "To whom do you attribute your survival?" All the men gave basically the same answer: There was a New Testament in the raft, which they read every day. And that book gave them the hope to press on, even when things looked hopeless.
In the Bible, hope isn't used in the popular sense of the word, a wish with little basis in fact. In the Word, hope is presented as the truth about a loving, omnipotent God who cares about us, who will provide for us, and who offers us the promise of new existence in a new world.
*Study this week's lesson to prepare for Sabbath, May 26.
The "Comfort of the Scriptures"
"For whatsoever things were written a fore-time were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope" (Rom. 15:4).
Paul, in the above verse, talked about the "comfort of the scriptures" that would lead to hope. What particular things have you found in the Bible that give you, personally, hope?
The Bible speaks about the condition of humanity, that we all are sinners (Rom. 3:10) and that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23). The struggle for humanity's salvation is expressed by Paul when he said, "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?" (Rom. 7:24, NIV). The answer is found in Jesus Christ our Lord (Rom. 6:23). Because of His love, Christ was willing to come to this world, live as a human being, and die the death that we should die. The Bible points us to the hope of salvation that we can have in Jesus because of His sacrifice in our behalf.
What hope is presented to us in these texts?
1. Rom. 3:26, 1 Pet. 3:18
2. John 16:13, 2 Tim. 3:16
3. Luke 18:29, 30; 1 John 5:13
|At the cross, Jesus, the one through whom all things were made (Col. 1:16), bore in Himself the penalty for our sins. Jesus died in our place, suffered in our stead, all for us. Why would Christ have gone through so much, for us, if there wasn't something incredibly worthwhile at the end of it for us? What is at the end, and what hope does it offer to us?|
Hope of Forgiveness
A woman had been brutally murdered. Police psychologists, after examining the case, devised a plan to catch the killer. They placed a hidden microphone and video camera in the ground at her grave. And they waited. One night a man came to the grave, got on his knees, and begged the woman for forgiveness. The police got it all on tape.
What drove the man back to his victim? There's only one answer: guilt.
As fallen beings, as sinners, we all have done wrong. Even people who don't believe in the Bible, who don't understand the concept of sin as we do, have a sense of right and wrong, and often feel guilty when they do wrong. For some people the sense of guilt is overwhelming. It's the foundational emotion that drives all that they do. For many it has led to incredible despair, not only for themselves but for those who often suffer because of the guilty one's aberrant behavior.
But there's hope, and it's revealed to us in the Scriptures, because in the Scriptures we are given the story of Jesus and His death on our behalf.
What do Act 26:18, Ephesians 1:7, 4:32, Colossians 1:14, 2:13, and 1 John 1:9, 2:12 tell us about the forgiveness offered to everyone through Jesus?
Yes, the Bible is clear that through Jesus we have forgiveness. As to the extent of forgiveness, Scripture represents God as saying that He has removed our sins from us as far as the east is from the west (Ps. 103:12); that He has cast them into the depths of the sea (Mic. 7:19) or behind His back (Isa. 38:17); that He has blotted them out or swept them away (Ps. 51:1, 9; Isa. 43:25; 44:22) and that He will remember them no more (Jer. 31:34). Indeed, it was for the sins of the whole world that Christ died as an atoning sacrifice, efficacious through faith (Rom. 3:25, NIV). No matter who you are or what you have done, your sins can be forgiven by God if you just claim His promises of forgiveness for yourself.
|Are you still struggling with guilt? If so, go back over some of the texts presented today. Read them, pray over them, and pour out your heart to God, asking Him to give you the assurance that these promises are for you, regardless of whatever you might have done.|
Hope to Overcome Sin
Read Proverbs 24:16 and 1 Corinthians 15:57. What hope is found in those verses?
Although we may fall, there is hope-hope that we can rise again and again if need be, hope that we are not cast away by God. And though we might sin, Jesus will defend us as our Mediator (Heb. 7:25, 1 John 2:1). Moreover, the Bible also says that through the power of Jesus we can have victory over sin.
It's one thing to claim God's promises of forgiveness. And there are many. But what about His promises of victory over sin? Are they not just as real? Are they not just as important? How crucial, then, that we make these promises our own and experience their reality in our own walk with Jesus.
Some members may be struggling to overcome their weaknesses, whatever they are. The following Scripture-based steps can lead us to victory:
1. Recognize your weaknesses and that you can't overcome them in your own strength (see John 15:5).
2. Claim God's promises of victory; make them your own (see Phil. 4:13).
3. Believe that the Lord has given you the victory to overcome those weaknesses and thank Him for the victory (see 1 Cor. 10:13).
4. Claim the promise of "death" to self in Christ (see Rom. 6:11).
5. Take concrete and practical steps to avoid the things that lead you into sin (see Rom. 13:14).
6. Live your life in an attitude of praise and prayer to the Lord, who gives you the power to overcome your weaknesses (see 1 Cor. 15:57).
|What about you? You have claimed the Bible promises of forgiveness, but now are you struggling to get victory? Are you failing despite all the promises of victory found in the Bible? What changes do you need to make in order to better apply these above steps in your own walk with the Lord?|
Provision and Protection
"I was young and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread" (Ps. 37:25, NIV).
A fellow co-worker, in desperate straits, is stealing money from the place where you both work. What should you do? Ignore it? Turn the person in? What saith the Word of God?
At the same time, God also gives us the hope of protection. We are not under what has been called "the tyranny of chance," meaning that our life is ruled by unconscious forces that have no purpose in mind. Though bad things do happen, those who love God have wonderful promises that can give us great hope despite calamity.
Read Psalms 46:1-3, 34:7, 91:4, 125:2, and Matthew 28:20. What hope do you find in these texts?
|How have you experienced the reality of these promises in your own life? What have you learned from your own trials and suffering that could help someone going through a hard situation right now?|
Hope of Everlasting Life
No matter who we are, how rich, how powerful, how beautiful, how famous, we all face death. Medicine, diet, and exercise only can delay the inevitable. No matter our backgrounds, our education, our race, creed, or color, death always gets us. Life here, in and of itself, is always a losing proposition. Kind of tough, if you think about it: going through life, struggling with trials, tragedy, sickness, disappointment, only to have the one thing we fear the most, death, be the only sure way to end those trials.
Fortunately, the Bible shows us what nature, science, history, and philosophy never can: that death does not have the final word. On the contrary, thanks to Jesus, life, eternal life, is how the story ends for those who accept Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Corinthians 15:51-58 and
Thessalonians 4:13-18. In your own words, write down what promise and
hope are found for us in these verses.
In this world, itself offering no answer to death, it's nice to know that there is an answer, and it's found in Jesus. It's nice to know that death is not the end; it's not a long dreaded night that never comes to a morning. The grave is not a prison from which there's no deliverance. Jesus Christ went into the grave and came out triumphant; and, thanks to His triumph over death, we will triumph over it too. That's how powerful Christ's ministry was, that's how efficacious it is for us; even death can't beat it.
This is the hope that we find in the Bible, where the story of Jesus and what He has done for us, and what He will do for us, is found. In the Bible we find the answer to life's hardest question, and that is death. Even more so, in the Bible we find the hope that death doesn't have to be the last stop.
Imagine what life would be like if you believed that everything ended, forever, at death. How differently would your life be now? How differently would you act? What reasons could you give for going on living if, in the end, you knew it would all come to nothing? How should the hope of eternal life influence how you live now?
|Ellen G. White,
Delivered," pp. 635-652,
Ended," pp. 662-678 in The Great Controversy.
"In the word of God there are gracious promises, from which those who are suffering, whether in body or in mind, may receive comfort and hope and encouragement."Ellen G. White, Counsels on Health, p. 213.
"We need to appreciate more fully the meaning of the words, 'I sat down under His shadow with great delight.' Song of Solomon 2:3. These words do not bring to our minds the picture of hasty transit, but of quiet rest. There are many professing Christians who are anxious and depressed, many who are so full of busy activity that they cannot find time to rest quietly in the promises of God, who act as if they could not afford to have peace and quietness. To all such Christ's invitation is, 'Come unto me, . . . and I will give you rest.' Matthew 11:28."Ibid., p. 251.
| Why, despite the promises in the Bible, are there still
so many suffering people? Why does the Lord allow all these things to happen?
How can we use the Bible to give comfort and hope to those who are suffering?
As a class, discuss the role of the church and how the Lord uses it to help bring to people the hope found in the promises of God. How can your local church be better used by the Lord to bring some of these promises to pass in the lives of those who claim them in the name of Jesus?
Despite so many clear and unambiguous promises about victory over sin, why do church members often have so much trouble overcoming? As a class, talk about what steps can be taken to help each other find the victories that can be so elusive.
|I N S I D E Story|
|My Faithful Son: Part 2
by GANTULGA TSEDEN
I thank God that my teenage son, Enkhtaivan [ENK-tai-van], met some faithful Adventist Christians who led him to the Lord. I am even more thankful that my son shared his faith in God with me. For two days after my baptism, my husband had a stroke.
As I sat in the hospital waiting for the doctors to tell me what was wrong, I felt an incredible peace. Instead of blaming God for what happened to my husband, I was praising God that He had saved me before this crisis. Even after the doctors told me there was little hope for my husband, still I felt at peace. I know if I had not met God before this happened, I would have been so traumatized.
I stayed with my husband in the hospital for 40 days. Many people asked me how I survived the ordeal, and I told them, "I was not alone; God was with me. He gives me strength to carry on." The members of our church joined us in prayer for my husband, and slowly he recovered. He can walk a little now, and when he feels better he wants to come to church with us. He too believes that God saved his life, and now he wants to worship God with us in church.
My son started a small group meeting in our home. Having Christians come to our home has helped us all, especially my husband. My son has encouraged me a lot. He keeps telling me that God won't let us go. "Don't worry, Mom," he says. "God will bless us. We have a big family now that supports us."
My husband cannot work, so I support the family. Life is difficult, but God is with us, just as He was when my husband had his stroke. I will not-cannot-let go of Jesus' hand.
God is stretching our faith as He expands our ministry. Our little home has just three rooms-a bedroom, a kitchen, and a living room. But God has sent 11 young people from the countryside who want to study here in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia. Some of these students are Adventists, and some are not. We have divided the kitchen to make another room, and somehow we crowd everyone in. We invite all the young people who live with us to worship God with us, and they do.
Only one thing matters in our life, and that is God and our Lord Jesus. We want to spend time with Him and share His love with others.
Just think, if you had not given mission offerings to send missionaries to Mongolia, we might never have known that Jesus loves us! Thank you!
GANTULGA TSEDEN and her family live in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia.
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