SDA Sabbath School Lessons
Monday November 4, 1996

The Call of Abraham and the Mission of the Church
(Gen. 12:1-3)

What does Genesis 12:1-3 say regarding the missionary nature of Abraham's call and commission?

Again the Lord reaches down into a pagan, moon-worshiping community and finds a person ready to do His bidding.   He moves Abraham and his family to an area that gives access to a continual flow of people, and He commissions them to spread the gospel. Genesis 10-12 tells us in essence that God made space within the nations for a special group (Abraham and his descendants), who would be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation (Exod. 19:6).  Thus the presence of God would be among His people, and the presence of His people would be in the midst of humanity.  The apostle Paul later followed this pattern, recognizing that his mission to the Gentiles was his "priestly duty" (Rom. 15:16).

"This hope of redemption through the advent of the Son of God as Saviour and King, has never become extinct in the hearts of men.  From the beginning there have been some whose faith has reached out beyond the shadows of the present to the realities of the future.  Adam, Seth, Enoch, Methuselah, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through these and other worthies the Lord has preserved the precious revealings of His will.  And it was thus that to the children of Israel, the chosen people through whom was to be given to the world the promised Messiah, God imparted a knowledge of the requirements of His law, and of the salvation to be accomplished through the atoning sacrifice of His beloved Son."--Prophets and Kings, p. 682.

Review the last phrase in Genesis 12:3.  What are its implications for the role of the church in world evangelization?

The act of electing Abraham coincided with the promise or prospect of blessing for the nations.   Abraham and his Israelite descendants were elected for service.  "The purpose of the election is service, and when service is withheld the election loses its meaning, and therefore fails."-H. H. Rowley, The Biblical Doctrine of Election (London: Lutterworth Press, 1950), p. 52.

What does the connection between election and service mean to you personally as a church member today?   If you refuse to serve God, are you still one of His elect?