Thursday, October 24, 2013

Lessons from the Sanctuary

A Sabbath School resource from the Victorian Conference of the Adventist Church in Australia


This week’s lesson takes a look at various physical and cultural aspects of the Sanctuary and how they shaped the people who participated in worshipping the God revealed within it's walls. Consider and compare the ancient Sanctuary, today’s temple of the Human heart and the Kingdom on which they are based. The example is both revealing, inspiring and challenging.

Place of Presence

In the Old Testament world, god’s were present to their people through the temple build to honour them. The God of the Hebrews, to reach the people where they were, commissioned a temple - a sanctuary - where He, the omnipresent One, could “live”. How does this temple-building process and final product reveal the nature of the God who wished to ‘know’ His people?

In the New Testament world, God lives in the Heart of his people. How is God’s presence revealed in the heart of the Seventh-day Adventist people? Give some examples of how God is revealed daily in the people sitting in your Sabbath School class. How are we each, like the various emblems in the Sanctuary, revealing the nature and nurture of Jesus?

In the Kingdom of God, “the One who is, who was and who is still to come” is eternally present. How does this definition (from Revelation 1:8) reveal the nature of God? How does it inspire you?

Set Apart

When we finish building a church, we have a “dedication” service. Why? What does this accomplish and for whom? How does it affect the church building? How does it affect the church community?

Compare baptism, dedication of elders, ordination of pastors, dedication of babies and investiture of pathfinders.... How are they similar? How are they different?

What is the benefit in being “set apart” in a public way?
How is this similar to our daily dedication of ourselves to Christ? How is it different?

Tools of the Trade

Last week, a young (in faith) woman asked me, “When you are sick, and you are anointed like the Bible says, what is really happening? What is the oil? What does it do?” How would you answer simply while also answering completely?

The Ark of the Covenant sat in the most prestigious place in the Sanctuary - the place reserved, in every temple of foreign gods, for the image of that particular God. And yet, the Ark held symbols of God’s people - not of God. How did each ingredient in the Ark remind the people of their role as God’s image-bearers? How did the Ark remind them that God was not to be replicated or reflected in objects of metal, wood or stone? How did the Ark challenge them to be true representatives of the One True God to the nations around them?

In the Old Testament Sanctuary, each object had it’s specific purpose. Today, each of us are tools of God’s trade. We are uniquely gifted and blessed to do the work of His hands and feet. What specific functions are served through the individuals in your Sabbath School class - in the church, in the local community, in global mission?

United we Kneel

Apply Solomon’s seven temple prayers (1 Kings 8:31-53) to the life of your Sabbath School as a community of believers. How is your Sabbath School a place of:
 - forgiveness (Do group members forgive each other and seek God’s forgiveness?)
 - accountability (Do group members trust each other with their personal journey?)
 - healing (Do you pray for the healing of past weakness and strength for the future?)
 - blessing (Do you care for others needs and pray for blessing in the lives and livelihoods of your group?)
 - refuge (Do you provide and encourage trust in God when life is bleak?)
 - prayer (Does your Sabbath School invite others to bring their hearts God in prayer?)
 - victory (Do you seek and celebrate victory in the personal and group life of your Sabbath School?)

The Kingdom View

In Psalm 73 we get a picture of the seeming unfairness of blessing to the wicked and suffering to the righteous. Verse 17, at the heart of the chapter, says that once he went into the Sanctuary, things began to make sense. How does understanding the full process of sin and salvation help us deal with the inequalities in the world?

As the living temple today, how do we reveal the truth of the beginning, middle and end of the great controversy raging around us? How does our life, hope, actions speak to others of God’s Kingdom past, present and future?

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