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Lesson 7 August 6-12 Jesus Desired Their Good

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, August 13.

Memory Text: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” (Matthew 23:37).

On Sabbath morning, during Sabbath School and worship service, skateboarders can often be seen rolling past the main doors of a local Seventh-day Adventist church.

Why? Because this church meets in a community youth center facility right next to a skateboard park. And if you thought these skateboarders were an unexpected annoyance, think again.

Instead, in an effort to curb the rising youth crime rate, the government in their city built the park to provide a place for its youth to engage in wholesome recreation. When the youth center and skateboard park were finished, the government wanted a church congregation to hold its worship services in the community youth center facility. The community leaders felt that the presence of a church would have a positive moral influence on the youth who used the park. They invited several churches of various Christian denominations, but only one accepted, the church that had Sabbath School and worship on Saturday morning.

These Adventist church members were excited about moving into the center, for the skateboarders were part of the group they wanted to reach.

The local church’s definition of “church” is: a community that does not exist for itself. This should be the definition for all our churches as well.

Sunday August 7 Jonah in Nineveh

Read Jonah 3:4-4:6. What serious attitude problem does this prophet have? A POSSIBLE ANSWER: The following verses says in Jonah 3:... 1 But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he became angry. 2 So he prayed to the Lord, and said, “Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled previously to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.3 Therefore now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live!” Here we see Jonah is selfish, inconsiderate, rebellious, embarrassed and disgusted to the point of anger.

In Jonah 4:1-11, the prophet Jonah sits down east of the great city of Nineveh. He has delivered the message of doom that God has entrusted to him. He reflects on his journey, his reluctance to come to Nineveh, his runaway tactics, God’s insistence in getting Jonah back on mission, the three-day episode in the fish, and the long journey inland from the coast. And for what? For God to turn around and show His grace on these despicable people? The people repented, but Jonah now feels betrayed. He feels dishonored and used. His hope had been that the destruction of this heathen city of 120,000 inhabitants would show God’s preference for His chosen people and vindicate Jonah’s hatred for the Ninevites.

Read Luke 19:38-42. 38 saying: “ ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees called to Him from the crowd, “Teacher, rebuke Your disciples.”

40 But He answered and said to them, “I tell you that if these should keep silent, the stones would immediately cry out.” Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem 41 Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it, 42 saying, “If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.

What is happening here, and what is Jesus’ attitude toward the city of Jerusalem? A POSSIBLE ANSWER: Jesus and the Disciples have descended the mount of Olives. It the triumphal entry. The whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen. The Pharisees are not in favor of the adoration given Jesus. Jesus attitude is seen in his weeping over the condition of the people and the missed opportunity.

Eight hundred years after Jonah, Jesus rides on a donkey over the crest of a hill overlooking Jerusalem. Shouts of praise to the “King who comes in the name of the Lord” are heard, along with echoes of hope declaring “ 'peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’ ”(Luke 19:38, NIV). In the midst of this triumphal entry Jesus, as He approaches the city, stops and weeps, saying, “ 'If you, even you, had only known on this day what would bring you peace’ ” (Luke 19:42, NIV).

Note the contrast. Jonah reluctantly obeyed the command of God, caring little for the good of the inhabitants of Nineveh. Jesus approaches Jerusalem with one burden on His heart: that they might have the salvation He offers, and at such a high cost.

Two cities: Nineveh and Jerusalem. Two messengers: Jonah and Jesus. The difference is obvious. Jesus exemplifies the selfless, caring attitude that desires the good of the people. May we, through God’s grace, reveal that same attitude as Jesus did toward the lost.

How might selfishness play into the attitude that leaves someone unconcerned about the salvation of others? A POSSIBLE ANSWER: When on is more considerate about their personal needs again soon needs to others. When one permits their biases to impact their relationship with others. Attitude impacts our vision, method of mission, the degree of investment and in the end absorbed is selfish considerations.

Monday August 8 The “Anyway” Principle

A leper approaches Jesus and begs for healing. Conventional wisdom says that this man should be isolated. Jesus, the clean One, touches him and heals him anyway (Matt. 8:1-4). Peter denies Jesus three times during His trial (John 18:1-40). After the resurrection, having searched Peter’s heart, Jesus reinstates him into His service anyway (John 21:1-25). God’s church in Corinth is unappreciative of Paul’s authority and influence. Paul serves them anyway (2 Cor. 12:14-15).

This principle of “anyway” or “in spite of” is essential for revealing the character of the One who desires their good.

“Millions upon millions of human souls ready to perish, bound in chains of ignorance and sin, have never so much as heard of Christ’s love for them. Were our condition and theirs to be reversed, what would we desire them to do for us? All this, so far as lies in our power, we are under the most solemn obligation to do for them. Christ’s rule of life, by which every one of us must stand or fall in the judgment, is, 'Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.’ Matthew 7:12.” - Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 640.

This “golden rule” is foundational to a mind-set of ministry that thinks first of what is good for the ones we are serving instead of what benefits us.

Read Matthew 5:43-47; Luke 6:27, 35; 23:34. Matthew 5:43-47 Love Your Enemies 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? Luke 6:27 Love Your Enemies “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, Luke 6:35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Luke 23:34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.

What crucial point here has Jesus revealed to us in regard to our attitude toward a certain class of people? A POSSIBLE ANSWER: Jesus has revealed that we will be empowered to love our enemies, bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us, and pray for those who spitefully use and persecute us.

Jesus is calling us to show love and be kind to people “in spite of” the fact that they hate you or are your enemies. Notice, too, that Jesus links these acts and this attitude with the character of God Himself. “ 'But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked’ ” (Luke 6:35, NIV).

How do we understand the idea that God is “kind to the ungrateful and wicked”? A POSSIBLE ANSWER: The unthankful. Christ is not so much concerned with the fact that these persons do not express appreciation for the kindnesses shown them by citizens of the kingdom of heaven, as He is with the basic attitude of the thankless. Even so, God is still kind to them, and the sons of God on earth—those who resemble their heavenly Father in moral character—will do likewise. See on John 8:44.

The evil. In Greek the definite article “the” is not repeated. The entire phrase reads literally, “to the ungracious and evil [ones].” The “ungracious” and “evil” are here treated as one group of people, not two separate groups. The kindnesses God extends are based on His own graciousness as giver, not on any graciousness on the part of the recipients. It is sometimes the case that graciousness extended to the most unworthy and unappreciative individual awakens in him a desire to escape from the bonds of sin, and ultimately brings about a transformation of his character.[1]

(How does this answer, for example, the question “Why do the wicked sometimes prosper”?) A POSSIBLE ANSWER: It answers he question to some degree in that it positions a person to see the larger picture... that which will enhance the possibilities of the salvation of those who are not on the outset, responsive to God’s pleading.

Romans 2:4 Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?

How does Romans 2:4 play into the picture as well? A POSSIBLE ANSWER: This Romans 2:4 text gives additional insight in that helps us see the attributes of God are of such a nature that the responsive heart could make an about face due to the goodness, forbearance and longsuffering of God.

Tuesday August 9 Love Never Fails s

According to Jesus, the two greatest commandments are love to God and love to neighbor (Luke 10:27-28). He also showed us who our neighbors are (Luke 10:29-37). No question, too, that Jesus’ life, from beginning to end, was an expression of the pure love of God, who Himself is love (1 John 4:16). Thus, if we are to reflect the character of God, if we are to help reveal to others the reality of God and what He is like, we are to love.

Think about it another way. One of the greatest “excuses” that people have used to reject Jesus and Christianity as a whole has been professed Christians themselves.

What are some examples you can find in history, or even today, of how “Christians,” or at least people bearing the name “Christian,” have done some terrible deeds, sometimes even in the name of Jesus? A POSSIBLE ANSWER: Priest and child molestation. ISIS and the stamping out of Christianity. Does not even the book of Daniel (see Dan. 7:24-25 or Rom. 2:24) warn about this?

Daniel 7:24-25... Wear out. Or, “wear away.” The event is earlier described in the words, “the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them” (v. 21). The phrase depicts continuous and relentless persecution. The papacy acknowledges that it has persecuted, and defends such acts as a legitimate exercise of power presumably granted her by Christ. The following is from The Catholic Encyclopedia:

“In the Bull ‘Ad exstirpanda’ (1252) Innocent IV says: ‘When those adjudged guilty of heresy have been given up to the civil power by the bishop or his representative, or the Inquisition, the podestà or chief magistrate of the city shall take them at once, and shall, within five days at the most, execute the laws made against them.’ … Nor could any doubt remain as to what civil regulations were meant, for the passages which ordered the burning of impenitent heretics were inserted in the papal decretals from the imperial constitutions ‘Commissis nobis’ and ‘Inconsutibilem tunicam.’ The aforesaid Bull ‘Ad exstirpanda’ remained thenceforth a fundamental document of the Inquisition, renewed or re-enforced by several popes, Alexander IV (1254–61), Clement IV (1265–68), Nicholas IV (1288–92), Boniface VIII (1294–1303), and others. The civil authorities, therefore, were enjoined by the popes, under pain of excommunication to execute the legal sentences that condemned impenitent heretics to the stake” (Joseph Blötzer, art. “Inquisition,” Vol. VIII, p. 34).

Rom. 2: 24. Is blasphemed. Or, “is spoken profanely of,” “is abused.” The Gentiles judged the religion of the Jews by the inconsistent lives of its devotees and thus were led to blaspheme the God and Author of the religion. The Jews boasted of the law, but because of their disobedience, reflected disgrace on the Lawgiver. The evil conduct and hypocrisy of the Jews caused the Gentiles to despise a religion that seemed to have no effect in purifying and restraining those who professed to follow it. The Jews were so jealous of the name of God that they would not even pronounce their most sacred name for God (see Vol. I, pp. 171, 172). Yet they lived in such a manner that the Gentiles were led to blaspheme His name.