God Is Love
April May June 1997
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This quarter's Bible study focuses on the books 1, 2, and 3 John. The Adult Sabbath School Lessons are prepared by the Sabbath School/Personal Ministries Department of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. The lesson organization provided here (with explanations) is quoted directly from the Adult Sabbath School Lessons (Copyright 1997 by the Sabbath School Department, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists), and is used here by permission.
"Only God is permanently interesting.- J. F. Newton. In the letters of John we have a firsthand description of the excitement of knowing God. Every verse proclaims: What a God! Added to this is the central conviction that without God there is no hope, no assurance, no salvation, and no love - for God Himself is love. All this is made the more compelling by John's conviction that "this is the last hour" (1 John 2;18, NIV), and that we must "continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming" (1 John 2:28, NIV).
No empty words of pretentious piety here! John's emphasis is "I know because I heard, I saw, I touched. I am a material witness." The personal relationship of "the disciple Jesus loved" with his resurrected Lord shines through in his loving concern for the spiritual welfare of his fellow believers. That is why at times he speaks so strongly, For John and for us, these are life-and-death matters. He writes because he wants no one to miss out on a living relationship with the Savior.
John writes as the elder statesman of the church. In 2 and 3 John he simply identifies himself as "the Elder" - and no one in the Christian church of the time had the spiritual authority of the last living apostle. In 1 John he does not identify himself at all - and in reality he does not have to. There is no doubt as to who is writing. In style, in content, and in personal enthusiasm this is the same John who wrote: "In the beginning was the Word" (John 1:1). John's credentials are those of the "living witness" to Jesus Christ.
He counters the false ideas that are beginning to circulate in the church. He denies the theory that: -the physical world is evil and that Jesus only "seemed" to take on human form; -Jesus was the natural son of Mary and Joseph who took on "Christ" at his baptism; -salvation is dependent on some "secret knowledge" of God; -Christian behavior and morality are unimportant; and so on.
But John does not spend time attacking error point by point; instead. he counters error by promoting the truth, by showing the positive reality of the gospel. We have lessons to learn here!
At the heart of John's message is the true nature of God as revealed by Jesus Christ, and the essential importance of responding to this loving offer of free and full salvation. May we respond to this saving, healing God before it is too late.
Dr. Jonathan Gallagher is the Principal Contributor to this quarter's lessons.
Dr. Gallagher is the executive secretary of the South England Conference. He began his career as district pastor in the same conference in which he currently serves.
Dr. Gallagher received his college degree from Newbold College in 1979 and a Ph.D. from the University of St. Andrews, in Scotland.
He enjoys writing, bird-watching, and computing. Among his credits are two books, Fear Not, Why Not? and Operation Godsmear, and a number of journal articles in leading Adventist publications. he and his wife, Ana Maria, have two children, Paul and Rebekah.
Giardina Sabbath School Study helps:
Jerry Giardina of Houston, Texas, prepares a series of helps to accompany
the Sabbath School lesson. He includes all related scripture and EGW quotations.
These are in zipped wordprocessing files. Download the most appropriate
version to your hard drive, then type filename.exe to unzip the lesson
helps. They are available in three formats:
Copyright 1997 by Jerry Giardina. Used by permission.
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