Thursday, May 02, 2013

Seek the Lord and Live! (Amos)

Sabbath School - May 4 - Amos
A Sabbath School resource from the Victoria Conference of the Adventist Church in Australia

Inspired by Matthew: 25, this sculpture is a representation that suggests Christ is with the most marginalized in our society. The Christ figure is shrouded in a blanket the only indication that it is Jesus is the visible wounds on the feet. The life-size version of the work has enough room that someone is able to sit on the bench.

Memory Text: “Seek good and not evil, that you may live; and thus may the Lord God of hosts be with you, just as you have said!” (Amos 5:14, NASB).

Compare the Memory text to the fifth commandment: 
“Honour your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” Exodus 20:12
If we dishonour our parents and drive them away from us, our life is negatively impacted. How could dishonouring our parents shorten our life? 
Now consider the Memory text: How could dishonouring God shorten our life?
Consider: People say “God be with you”... If He is truly omnipresent, as we believe He is, can He be anything else? And, if God is truly with all people, then shouldn’t our hearts break for those whom His heart breaks for?

Shock and Awe
In Sunday’s lesson it says: “The purpose of the funeral song in Amos 5:1-15 was to shock the people into facing reality.” 
In Amos, the shock tactics are used to impact the wayward people of God. How are shock tactics used similarly by Christian leaders and teachers today? 
Do shock tactics work? What are the positive and negative results of shock tactics? 
What other strategies can be employed to wake people up?

Of Heart and Hands
A change of “heart” leads to lasting change in “hands.” Action follows attitude. How can we impact people at a heart level insuring the change in their action is from the right motives?
Read Isaiah 5:20-24 — Misleading words result in dishonour for the speaker of those words. How can we be sure our words are not just smoke and mirrors?

Broken, Bruised and Battered
Read Psalm 51:17
What kind of people hit rock bottom and beg for help?
What does it take to result in a broken spirit?
Read Amos 5:23, 24; Hosea 6:6; Matthew 9:13
What is your general feeling about:
the homeless person asking for money?
the neighbour parking in your yard?
the teenage mother pushing a pram?
the man raging through traffic?
the homosexual seeking equality?
the child throwing a tantrum?
the adulterer holding a new hand?
the teenager defying their parents?
the elderly person waiting for a family visitor?
the parent of a playground bully?
the skateboarders with spray paint cans?
the man washing your car window at the intersection?
What does “I desire mercy” mean? Why is God so passionate about acts of mercy?
Where, within us, do those acts come from? What does this tell others about our God?

Movement of the Holy Spirit
In chapter 3 of Steps to Christ, Ellen G White writes: 
"The Bible does not teach that the sinner must repent before he can heed the invitation of Christ, 'Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.' Matthew 11:28. It is the virtue that goes forth from Christ, that leads to genuine repentance. ... We can no more repent without the Spirit of Christ to awaken the conscience than we can be pardoned without Christ.
Christ is the source of every right impulse. He is the only one that can implant in the heart enmity against sin. Every desire for truth and purity, every conviction of our own sinfulness, is an evidence that His Spirit is moving upon our hearts."

Why is the message of this quote so important? How does it challenge you?
What happens if we demand lifestyle change of people before the meet Jesus?

Mercy’s Mute Recluses
Read Amos 8:4-12
What happens if God’s people hide away and only emerge to buy/sell/work and then quickly retreat to the safety of their sanctuaries?
If God’s People — His hands and feet — are not doing acts of mercy for those who do not know God, how will such spiritual silence impact the world?
What famine will attack the world and the church alike if we are mute in mercy?
In what ways is it possible to silence the voice of God in our lives? However scary that thought, dwell on the implications. How can we make utterly sure that never happens to us?
A People of Mercy
Amos 9:13-15 describes the utopian Kingdom of God. Only by God’s mercy in our lives will that day come and only in our mercy toward the world around us will God’s plan toward that day progress. 

How would a “people of mercy” impact the expedience of the Second Coming?

A recent quote doing the rounds on Facebook says: 
HOPE = Hang On, Pain Ends
Challenge your class to think of an acronym for HOPE that focuses on the positive rather than the negative.

Here are a few I came up with:
Help Other People Everyday
Handing Other People Eternity
Hands Offering Peace Eternal

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