[Thought questions for The Everlasting Gospel December 23, 2014]
1. Where we are today. How long has it been since God made clear the essence of the gospel? Did He explain the gospel to Adam and Eve in the garden? How? Could you explain the gospel in 25 words or less? We are saved by faith, by the grace of God. Is that the essence of the gospel? Did James understand that the gospel of grace is the gospel of salvation by the faith in God alone?
2. The gospel in the Old Testament. The last time you read the Bible from cover to cover, did you get impatient with the stories of war and killing and long for the stories of a loving Jesus? Is the gospel in the stories of destruction? Did our Old Testament brothers and sisters possess a grasp of the plan of salvation and the goodness of God’s love? When trouble came up, what was God’s people’s immediate response? Can you explain the gospel message in each of these Old Testament texts: (1) Gen 3:15; (2) Exod. 19:4-6; (3) Ps. 130:3-4; Ps. 32;1-5; Isa 53:4-11.
3. The Gospel Made Flesh. Is legalism visible throughout the book of James? How good were the Jewish people at following the details of a legalistic web that defined their religion? Being such obedient people, why were those so involved in the early ministry of Christ shocked when John told them to repent? Can a Seventh-day Adventist be devoted to the principles of the church and not recognize that he or she is wandering away? In what sense is salvation free?
4. The Gospel in Paul. Do people who go to the same church that you do seem thankful that they belong to the “true” church? How diligent was Paul in upholding the teaching and activities of his pre-Christian church? How thoroughly did he change when he was converted? What is the difference in the gospel bound by the Old Covenant and the one defined by the New Covenant? Which covenant do we treasure and follow when we turn wholly to Jesus for our salvation?
5. The everlasting covenant. Some students in Bible classes get confused about the old and new covenants, especially when they find out that the old covenant included animal sacrifices while the sacrificial death of Christ represented something much bigger and more important. Do you think the terms “everlasting covenant” and “covenant of grace” describe more fully the way the gospel of God works than simply “the old covenant?” Explain.
6. The gospel commission. What message in Revelation 14:6 holds special meaning to Christians that are preparing now for the Second Coming of Jesus? What can you and I do to demonstrate our longing for Jesus to come? Your lesson guide gives three types of faith: intellectual faith, presumptuous faith, and faith without understanding, but emphasizes that you and I must have a faith that works. Talk about that. What kind of works does faith need to have?