SDA Sabbath School Lessons
March 23, 1996
#12 Study of Bible Teachings
Read for this week's study: Gen. 2:1-3;
Isa. 58:13, 14;
Memory text: Matt. 24:20, RSV
This week we discover the overall teaching of the Bible on a particular doctrine (teaching). We will investigate the Bible doctrine of the Sabbath.
Repeat Jesus' teaching and practice.
Jesus outlined the work of His followers until His second coming: "teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you" (Matt. 28:20, NRSV). Jesus' teaching includes the entire Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16). Therefore, when we seek to discover Jesus' teaching on a particular Bible doctrine, we investigate that doctrine throughout the entire Bible.
For example, on the doctrine of the Sabbath, the first step is to look up every text in the Bible that mentions the Sabbath. With the help of a concordance (or Bible Gateway), study all the Sabbath passages. This is a time-consuming but very rewarding process. Having listed and examined all these passages, the next step is to organize them under subheadings suggested by the Bible discussion of the Sabbath.
In this lesson, we will assume that all Bible texts dealing with the Sabbath have been examined. The subheadings that we will consider are: (1) What is a Sabbath? (2) Which day is the Sabbath? (3) Should we still keep the Sabbath? (4) How should we keep the Sabbath? (5) How do we apply the Bible Sabbath doctrine to our situation today?
- Sunday March 17: What is a Sabbath? (Gen. 2:1-3)
- There are five steps in theological study:
- Deciding on a doctrine or subject to study.
- Collecting the Bible information.
- Organizing the material in a systematic way.
- Writing a theological statement based on the Bible information.
- Drawing conclusions, including applications to your personal and spiritual life.
- Note how the following passages answer the question: What is a Sabbath?
- Gen. 2:1-3:
God set the Sabbath apart for a holy use.
- Exod. 16:4, 5,
The seventh day was observed before Sinai as "a day of solemn rest, a holy sabbath to the Lord" (verse 23, NRSV).
- Exod. 20:8-11:
Sabbath keeping is commanded as a memorial of Creation.
- Deut. 5:12-15:
The Sabbath is a memorial of Israel's deliverance from Egyptian bondage.
- Luke 4:16,
A day of worship and witnessing.
- God gave us the weekly Sabbath as a day of rest and worship for the specific purpose of reminding humanity that He is the Creator and the Redeemer.
- Monday March 18: Which day is the Sabbath? (Mark 2:28).
- Is God particular about which day we should keep? Why can't we observe one day in seven, irrespective of which day it is? How do we know that the seventh day of the week in our era is the same seventh day that Jesus and the apostles kept? How do we know that it is the day on which God rested at the end of Creation week?
- Note how the Bible addresses these questions:
- Rev. 1:10: The Lord has a day. This was the day on which John was in vision on the island of Patmose (compare Isa. 58:13).
- Mark 2:28: The Lord's day is the Sabbath day that was observed by the Jews.
- Gen. 2:1-3; Exod. 20:8-11: The Sabbath day is the seventh day, the day on which God rested and the day that the fourth commandment stipulates as "holy."
- Luke 23:54-24:7: The seventh day is the day after crucifixion Friday and before resurrection Sunday.
- Tuesday March 19: Should we still keep the Sabbath? (Matt. 24:20).
- Does the fourth commandment apply to Christian believers after the cross? Did Jesus' apostles keep the Sabbath after His resurrection? Did Jesus command His followers to observe the Sabbath until His second advent? Does God's last-day message to the world include instruction regarding Sabbath observance?
- The following Bible passages dealing with the Sabbath enable us to answer these questions:
- Compare Exodus 20:8-11 with New Testament passages that speak of the continuing obligation of Christians to obey the Ten Commandments: Rom. 3:31; 7:7, 12, 14; 8:3, 4; James 2:10-12; 1 John 2:4; Rev. 12:17; Rev. 14:12.
- Acts 13:14, 15, 42-44. Paul and Barnabas met with the people and preached on two Sabbath days.
- Acts 16:12-15. Paul held a religious service by the riverside on the Sabbath day.
- Acts 17:1, 2. According to his custom, Paul went to the synagogue on three Sabbaths of which we have record.
- Acts 18:1, 4, 11. Paul preached every Sabbath for eighteen months; he observed 78 Sabbaths.
- Matt. 24:20. Jesus instructed His disciples to observe the Sabbath through the great tribulation involved in the destruction of Jerusalem, approximately 40 years after His resurrection. The same instruction applies to God's people at the end of time, who will be pursued by their enemies.
- Rev. 14:6, 7. The first angel's message is the "everlasting" (KJV), or "eternal" (NRSV), gospel.
- Wednesday March 20: How should we keep the Sabbath? (Isa. 58:13, 14)
- The following scriptures answer the question:
- Exod. 20:8-11; Deut. 5:12-15: Neither believers, their relative, their servants, their visitors, nor their cattle are to work on the Sabbath day. All are to rest and remember the Creator and Redeemer.
- Exod. 31:12-17: The Sabbath is to be observed as a memorial of God's work of creation and sanctification (making His people holy). Such observance of the Sabbath involves worship.
- Lev. 23:32: "From even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath." "Even" is sunset.
- Isaiah 58:13, 14: The Sabbath is to be a day of communion with God and with other believers. It is not a day for secular work, selfish pleasure, or conversation about everyday matters.
- Jer. 17:19-27: Sabbath violation was one of the main reasons that the Lord allowed His people to be taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar's armies (605, 597, 586 B.C.).
- Ezek. 20:10-24: Ezekiel warned that failure to observe the Sabbath would lead to rejection by God.
- Neh. 13:15-22: Nehemiah refused to allow any secular business on the Sabbath day.
- Matt. 12:1-8; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 13:10-17; 14:1-6; John 9: Jesus taught and demonstrated that it is God's will for believers to supply human need and relieve suffering on the Sabbath day. But Jesus in no way contradicted the instruction regarding the Sabbath given by Old Testament prophets. (See Matt. 5:17-19.)
- Thursday March 21: Applying the Bible Sabbath doctrine to ourselves (Rom. 15:4).
- Every method of Bible study concludes with a summary of the teaching discovered in the Word of God and direct application of that teaching to our lives.
- Each believer must study the Bible instruction and apply it to his or her own heart and life. We offer the following suggestions that grow out of the Bible counsel:
- Our Sabbath worship services should exalt our Creator and Redeemer as the Lord of our Lives (Exod. 31:13).
- All our activities on the Sabbath day should contribute to our fellowship with God and with one another (Mark 2:27, 28).
- The Sabbath is an excellent time for evangelistic outreach (Acts 16:13-15).
- Relief of human need and suffering is appropriate activity for the Sabbath day (Matt. 12:1-14).
- No secular business (buying or selling) or work is to be performed on the Sabbath day. Working to make a living is to be done on the six other days of the week (Neh. 13:15-22).
- The Sabbath is not a time for the pursuit of personal pleasure and secular conversation, unrelated to spiritual fellowship with God (Isa. 58:13, 14).
- Secular studies should not be engaged in on Sabbath (Exod. 20:8-11; Isa. 58:13, 14).
- Friday March 22:
Isa. 66:22, 23; Exod. 31:13, 17; Ezek. 20:12, 20; Rom. 4:11; Rev. 7:1-3; 14:1-5.
- Discussion Questions:
- In the light of the Bible teaching regarding the Sabbath, if the state demands that we engage in activities that violate God's holy day, how should we respond?
- There are many borderline activities that some church members regard as Sabbath breaking and some regard as appropriate Sabbath activities. What are the Bible principles that should guide our decisions on such matters?
- A friend with whom you are studying the Bible complains that accepting and practicing the Sabbath truth would involve his losing his job. What counsel would you give him?
- In the light of your study this week, how would you explain the relationship between Sabbath observance and righteousness by faith?
Following the Bible-study method that seeks understanding of a Bible doctrine or teaching, we have discovered important truth regarding the Sabbath. The Sabbath day is God's memorial of His creative and redemptive work. The seventh-day Sabbath is to be observed by God's faithful people until the end of time. we are to observe the Sabbath as the Scriptures instruct; it is a day of worship and fellowship, from which secular work and pleasure is excluded. Sabbath observance is a crucial aspect of our righteousness-by-faith/grace relationship with God, and it is an inseparable part of the lifestyle of those who will receive the end-time seal of God.
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Last updated on February 20, 1996.