SDA Sabbath School Lesson 10

Monday December 2, 1996

The Object Of God's Supreme Regard (Eph. 5:25-27).

In what affectionate terms does God speak of His people, the church? Ps. 45:10, 11, 13-17 (compare 2 Cor. 6:16-18).

To our modern senses, the psalmist's language may seem too lavish with praise and affection. But we must remember that God's thoughts and ways are higher than ours. His love is an immeasurable, permeating power (Isa. 55:9). Moreover, He knows what He will perform in the lives of His followers, and at times, He speaks of their glorification as an accomplished fact (Rom. 8:29-31).

"Enfeebled and defective as it may appear, the church is the one object upon which God bestows in a special sense His supreme regard. It is the theater of His grace, in which He delights to reveal His power to transform hearts." - The Acts of the Apostles, p. 12.

Why is God's expression of love for His church not misplaced or exaggerated? 1 Cor. 1:30; 1 Cor. 6:9-11.

The Corinthian church was riddled with schisms, immorality, legal disputes between members, doctrinal errors, lack of tithing, gluttony at the Lord's Supper, and a warped concept of spiritual gifts. Yet Paul insisted that the Corinthians had been washed, sanctified, and justified in Christ (1 Cor. 6:11).

Paul was not justifying them in their sins, but reminding them of their holy calling and seeking to reawaken their commitment to Christ and the lifestyle that accompanies such a commitment. Moreover, some in the church remained faithful to Christ. For all its problems, Paul did not treat the church as hopelessly apostate. Their response to his letter justified his confidence in them (2 Corinthians 7).

"The Lord has an organized body through whom He will work. There may be more than a score of Judases among them; there may be a rash Peter who will under circumstances of trial deny his Lord; there may be persons represented by John ... [who] may have a zeal that would destroy men's lives.... But the great Teacher seeks to give lessons of instruction to correct these existing evils. He is doing the same today with His church." - Reflecting Christ, p. 199.

What lessons of instruction might the great Teacher be trying to give to the church today? To you as a member of that church?

Because the church is the object of Christ's supreme regard, what should be our attitude to the church--even when we see faults and weaknesses?