Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Heaven’s Best Gift (Zechariah - part 2)

Sabbath School - June 22 - Zechariah - part 2
A Sabbath School resource
from the Victoria Conference of the Adventist Church in Australia

Let’s have a careful and prayerful look at Zechariah 8. The lesson deals with much more and if you are wanting a general overview, have a look at the other lesson guides. There is so much to be learned from Zechariah 8. Comparing ourselves and our world to the world and people in Zechariah’s day could lead to great things!

Read Zechariah 8:1-8

What would it feel like to, as a prophet, receive such an exciting and encouraging message from God for your people?

The people receiving this message were refugees. Every one of them had a personal story of being driven from their land and hoping to reclaim it one day. Consider the refugee situation in the world today. Many people in our church have been personally driven from their homeland and people. What would it feel like to hear a prophet declaring this message for your people, today? 
(If you have refugees in your church, consider asking one to tell of their journey from danger to safety, the suffering they have gone through and are going through and their response to the above question.)

How would it feel to be told, not only that you will be going home but that God will be living there with you and protecting you?

Read Zechariah 8:9-13

Based on the repeated message at the beginning and end of this passage, what is God wanting His people to do? Why?

If they are faithful in their building what does God promise to do? Why?

Consider a current task that your entire church is needing to accomplish. What is it? Why is it important? How does this message of promise to the people of Jerusalem give encouragement to your church in it’s task?

Read  Zechariah 8:14-23

In these verses, God gives His people some pointers on how to be a healthy community. How many actions and emotions can you find that God calls them to demonstrate toward each other? Make a list. 

Do you want to have a healthy thriving church? Apply this list of God’s wishes for His people to your church. How are you doing on each? Where do you shine? Where do you need work?
What kind of place would our church be if we were all of these things?
Is it really possible that how we treat each other can have such an impact? 
When have you seen ‘joyful and glad occasions’ at church? How did people respond?
When have you seen ‘love truth and peace’ in action among church members? What effect did it have on those nearby?

How can we become more compassionate to one another for the sake of the Kingdom? 
(Is there a story you can tell from your church about someone or some event that brought people into the church because of the compassion shown? Tell this story to demonstrate the power we have when we ‘love truth and peace’ and have ‘joyful and glad occasions’ in our churches.)

When you have a church like this, people will cling to you when you are going to church, saying, “Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.” How would that make you feel? How do you think it would make God feel?

May we create such places — where God is worshiped in both word and action and revealed through the character of each church member as they interact with each other and the world beyond our church walls. 

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