1 September 28 - October 4
Creator and Healer
Read For This Week's Study: Mark 2:1-12; Luke 10:1-9.
Memory Text: "And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all" (Luke 6:19, NKJV').
Key Thought: The One who has the power to create has the power and the desire to re-create, and thereby to heal.
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Sabbath Afternoon September 27
Two Objectives: Jesus had on earth were to reveal the true character of God and to dispel the misunderstandings about Him that had developed over generations. The view of God had become so distorted that He was seen primarily as a God who punishes sin. Jesus wanted humanity to understand that God is also loving, compassionate, and infinitely concerned about His creation - His children.
Christ's work was to restore the relationship that was broken in Eden when Adam and Eve sinned by placing their desires above God's instructions. The healing aspect of Christ's ministry was one of the most effective means for this restoration to take place. The physical healing Christ brought to the sick demonstrated His love for them and his power to save them from the power of sin. Then, as now, often the only way to reach a heart was by means of physical healing.
"Let Us Make Man In Our Image" (Gen. 1:26).
It is humbling to contemplate that the God who created the entire universe and spoke incredibly complex organisms into existence wanted to create us so that He might enjoy our fellowship.
We cannot begin to comprehend God's creative power. The most advanced scientific studies just begin to scratch the surface. We consider ourselves fortunate when we build new telescopes that reveal more of the universe, but we cannot adequately explain how it got there and what keeps it in balance. The study of medicine has produced some understanding of how the body functions, but we cannot fully comprehend where the spark of life comes from or what makes a cut heal.
God understands all this; He designed human life and spoke it into existence. Of all His creation, He considers us the most special.
God spoke the earth, the plants, and the animals into existence, but He stooped down and with His hands molded clay into the form of man and then breathed life into the clay. In addition to His personal touch, God chose to make us in His image, both in appearance and in character. He gave our first parents the ability to reason and love.
What pattern did GOD follow in creating humanity? What method did lie employ? Gen. 1:26; 2:7.
"After the earth with its teeming animal and vegetable life had been called into existence, man, the crowning work of the Creator, and the one for whom the beautiful earth had been fitted up, was brought upon the stage of action." - Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 44.
God could create anything He desired, yet He chose to create us and to make us like Him. He gave us the ability to think and reason and to make choices. He designed us as social beings, with a desire for companionship and love. He shared with us some of His own attributes. One way we may come to understand this love is to enter into God's creative activity by having our own children. As we enjoy the interaction and love of our families, we can begin to understand why God created us and why He wants us to be with Him throughout eternity.
What did Ellen White mean when she wrote that human nature was originally in harmony with the will of God? See Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 45.
Since God made the original couple perfect, what went wrong? How did they come to act so Imperfectly? Compare Genesis 3 with Romans 5:12.
Monday September 29Restoration Begins (Gen. 3:9-15.)
What action did God take after Adam and Eve sinned? Gen. 3:9. What was the basis of. Adam's fear? Verse 10.
Recognizing their sin, the parents of the human race were frightened, and they hid from God. Their carefree joy was replaced by a sense of guilt and foreboding and through sin they were changed. Thankfully, the loving Creator had not changed. He did not love them less. He did not stop caring for their welfare. Although He was deeply saddened by their actions, He brought to bring them comfort and the reassurance of His love. He gave them hope as He revealed a plan whereby their relationship could be restored (Gen. 3:15).
When was this plan developed? Eph. 1:4; Titus 1:2; 1 Peter 1:20 (compare Rev. 13:8; 17:8).
How difficult was it for God to implement salvation's plan? "Before the Father He pleaded in the sinner's behalf, while the host of heaven awaited the result with an intensity of interest that words cannot express. Long continued was that mysterious communing- 'the counsel of peace" (Zechariah 6:13) for the fallen sons of men. The plan of salvation had been laid before the creation of the earth; for Christ is 'the lamb, slain from the foundation of the world' (Revelation 13:18); yet it was a struggle, even with the King of the universe, to yield up His Son to die for the guilty race."--Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 63.
Why did God make the ultimate sacrifice? John 3:16. What did God plan to accomplish? 2 Cor. 5:19; 1 Peter 2:24.
"Oh, the mystery of redemption! the love of God for a world that did not love Him! Who can know the depths of that love which 'passeth knowledge ' Through endless ages immortal minds, seeking to comprehend the mystery of that incomprehensible love, will wonder and adore." - Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 64.
If God was hurt by the sin of Adam and Eve, imagine how He must hurt when we fail to respond to his invitation of salvation.
Is there anything more God might do to give salvation to a nonbelieving friend of yours? Is there anything you can do?
The Results Of The Broken Relationship (Gen. 3:8, 19).
By placing their desires and priorities ahead of God's instructions, Adam and Eve broke the perfect relationship with God that had been theirs - They became sinners. They quickly learned that when the relationship with God is damaged, there are other profound consequences.
What happened to their relationship with God? Gen. 3:8. What happened to their relationship with each other? Gen. 3:12, 16. How did their lives begin to change? Gen. 3:16-19.
"As they witnessed in drooping flower and falling leaf, the first signs of decay, Adam and his companion mourned more deeply than men now mourn over their dead" - Patriarchs and Prophets, p 62.
"The fall of man filled all heaven with sorrow. The world that God had made was blighted with the curse of sin and inhabited by beings doomed to misery and death. There appeared no escape for those who had transgressed the law' . Angels ceased their songs of praise. Throughout the heavenly courts there was mourning for the ruin that sin had wrought."- -Patriarch and Prophets, p. 63
Imagine the utter despair and hopelessness of being condemned to death, combined with the anguish of knowing that you had caused the ruin of a perfect world Even though Adam and Eve were devastated, God grieved even more deeply. He could foresee the hurts and sorrows His children would hear, and He was moved with infinite compassion.
Did God cause Adam and Eve to feel sorrow, or was it the natural consequence of disobedience? Explain.
Why do some of our actions cause God such sorrow? Why could God not overlook that first sin?
"In His great mercy, He appointed Adam no severe test. And the very lightness of the prohibition and the sin exceedingly great. If Adam could not bear the smallest of tests, he could not have endured a greater trial had he been entrusted with higher responsibilities." Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 60.
What greater responsibilities do you think God had in mind for Adam and Eve?
The Creator Joins His Creation (John 1:14).
And the Word became flesh and lived among us" (John 1:14, NRSV). A young boy was afraid to sleep in his own room apart from his father and mother. In an effort to give him courage and comfort, his parents bought him a teddy bear to keep him company They named the bear Paddington and told their son that Paddington was a special bear who would be with him in the dark. Shortly after the boy was tucked in one night, a frightened voice called to his father. The father reminded his son that Paddington was there to keep him company. With understanding beyond his years, the son responded, "But Dad, Paddington doesn't have skin."
Why was it necessary for God to take on humanity? Heb. 2:17, 18.
Since Jesus came to dwell with us, we know that God is acquainted with our trials and sympathizes with our griefs. Every son and daughter of Adam may understand that our Creator is the friend of sinners. For in every doctrine of grace, every promise of joy, every deed of love, every divine attraction presented in the Saviour's life on earth, we see 'God with us.' - "The Desire of Ages, p. 24.
What a comfort to know that we have a God who not only told us how to live, but became one of us and showed us how!
Why is it important to understand that Christ personally experienced each of our temptations and struggles? What are the implications of this belief for you? Heb. 4:14-16.
Is Christ's commitment to the human condition temporary or permanent? How long will Christ be a human being like us? Phil. 3:20, 21 (compare Luke 24:39; John 20:20, 27).
"By His life and His death, Christ has achieved even more than recovery from the ruin wrought through sin. It was Satan's purpose to bring about an eternal separation between God and man; but in Christ we become more closely united to God than if we had never fallen. In taking our nature, the Savior has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken.... To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature."-The Desire of Ages, p. 25.
Christ Restores Both Body And Spirit (Mark 2:1-12).
How is Christ's work of restoration described in Matthew 8:17?
"Our Lord Jesus Christ came to this world as the unwearied servant of man's necessity. I He 'took our infirmities, and bore our sicknesses, that He might minister to every need of humanity. Matthew 8:17. The burden of disease and wretchedness and sin He came to remove. It was His mission to bring to men complete restoration." - The Ministry of Healing, p. 17.
Why did Christ's ministry involve both healing and teaching? Mark 2:1-12
We might follow that question with this question: Which is most important on an airplane, the right wing or the left? Or, which is more important. inhaling or exhaling?
Christ understood that both physical and spiritual healing were essential parts of His ministry. His healing of the body illustrated His power to save from sin. Which occurred first in the experiences recorded in the following texts?
Matt. 9:2-7 __________________________________________________
Matt. 15:30, 31 _______________________________________________
Mark 5:25-34 ________________________________________________
Luke 5:12.13 _________________________________________________
The genius of Christ's work was His love-motivated attention to the needs of others.
"The Saviour's work was not restricted to any time or place. His compassion knew no limit. . . . On the green hill slopes of Galilee, in the thoroughfares of travel, by the seashore, in the synagogues, and in every other place where the sick could be brought to Him, was to be found His hospital. In every city, every town, every village, through which He passed, lie laid His hands upon the afflicted ones and healed them."- The Ministry of Healing p.. 17.
Did Christ heal only those whom He know would respond spiritually, or were His healings acts of "disinterested benevolence"? (See The Ministry of Healing, pp. 17-50.)
Friday October 3
Further Study: Read Luke 10:1, 2, 8, 9 to discover the work Christ has given his followers.
"Christ's method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, 'Follow Me.'
"There is need of coming close to the people by personal effort. The poor are to be relieved, the sick cared for, the sorrowing and the bereaved comforted, the ignorant instructed, the inexperienced counseled. We are to weep with those that weep, and rejoice with those that rejoice. Accompanied by the power of persuasion, the power of prayer, the power of the love of God, this work will not, cannot, be without fruit.
"We should ever remember that the object of the medical missionary work is to point sin-sick men and women to the Man of Calvary, who taketh away the sin of the world." - The Ministry of Healing, pp. 143, 144
In response to Christ's example and His instructions to carry on His work. the Seventh-day Adventist Church began an organized health work a century ago. That work exists today in many countries of the world and continues to help bring about physical and spiritual healing.
Summary: Our Creator prepared a perfect world in which He placed physically and spiritually perfect human beings. Since the fall of these beings into sin, humans have been afflicted by physical and spiritual imperfection and disease. Only through Christ can the image of God he restored in humankind. Our work is to cooperate with God's gnat work of restoration.
Going Hungry for Missions
I wiped the perspiration from my brow as I waited in my car for the six young missionaries who were working in the small city of Indang in the northern Philippines. Because there was no telephone to call ahead, the missionaries did not know I was here. At midday they returned home and welcomed me to their cottage. Inside, a poster on the wall announced, "Happy Birthday, Lee." The young people sang "Happy Birthday" to their friend, but there was no cake, and no gifts.
We talked about their work as members of the 1000 Missionary Movement, a volunteer mission program that encourages young people to give one year for the Lord in mission service. As I prepared to leave, one of the missionaries, Hahn Ae-Jong, pulled my shirt sleeve and called me aside. She asked to borrow 200 pesos ($7) to help the missionaries buy food until they received their next $70 stipend in two weeks. Even though the missionaries received small stipends, I was surprised that they had not stretched their money to last until their next paycheck. I asked her why she did not have enough money to last until her next check.
"Pastor," she said, 'once there were Adventists in this town, but they scattered because they had no church. I do not want that to happen again, so I pledged to help build a church. I have no money for food because I have spent my stipend to buy materials to help build the church here in Indang."
As I slipped some money into her hand, I was struck by the realization that these young missionaries were going hungry so that new believers would have a church.
A church in Korea sent 16 young people to help the 1000 Missionary Movement workers conduct an evangelistic crusade in Indang. The Lord blessed the young people's efforts and added 32 soldiers to His army. The youth returned home so excited, they convinced their elders to help them make the dream of a permanent church in Indang a reality.
Pray for the work of the 1000 Missionary Movement, which is growing rapidly toward its goal of training 1,000 youth a year to serve as missionary volunteers in the Philippines and elsewhere in the world.
Kwon Johng Haeng is associate director of the 1000 Missionary Movement in the Philippines.
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