October 24 - 30
The Holy One
READ FOR THIS WEEK'S STUDY: Gen. 2:3; Exod. 15:11; 3:5; John 17:19; Rom. 7:12; 2 Tim. 1:8, 9.
MEMORY TEXT: "And one cried to another and said: 'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!"' (Isaiah 6:3, NKJV).
KEY THOUGHT: The Sovereign of the universe, by virtue of His perfection, power, and glory, stands distinct-that is, holy-above all else. Whatever He dwells in becomes holy, including the human heart.
HOLY TIMES THREE. Some Bible scholars believe the threefold repetition of the word holy in Isaiah 6:3 suggests the three Persons of the Godhead. Be that as it may, a triple repetition of a characteristic must mean an emphasis. This week, we shall try to discover what the holiness of God means. It seems to be an attribute that distinguishes Him from all other gods. It stands for a high moral perfection that sets Him apart from all others. All three Persons are called holy-the Father (John 17:11), the Son (Acts 4:30), and, of course, the Holy Spirit.
God has attributes that are incommunicable, that are part of His Godhead, such as omniscience and immortality. But holiness is an attribute He not only communicates but desires to communicate. Thus His people are to be a holy people. Holiness is what God is seeking for us so He can take us into His kingdom (2 Pet. 3:14). This is a grace that is possible only through Christ, who said that He sanctified Himself in order that we might be holy (John 17:19). What a wonderful God we worship, a Holy God, whom we have the privilege of worshiping "in the beauty of holiness" (Ps. 29:2).
Exodus 15:11 is part of a victory song that Moses and the children of Israel sang after they crossed the Red Sea and witnessed the destruction of the Egyptian armies. While in Egypt, they saw many gods. They saw these gods put to shame by the plagues that were called down because the Egyptians would not let God's people go. But now they had witnessed how God can work on behalf of His people. He not only did wonders but He was "glorious in holiness." What does this mean? The key idea seems to be separateness and, as applied to God, means that He transcends His created works. He is the Supreme Deity, to whom nothing can be equal. To worship any other is to worship the lesser one. That is sinful. Holiness also has a moral quality and suggests that God is morally excellent. Finlayson says: "Since holiness embraces every distinctive attribute of Godhead, it may be de fined as the outshining of all that God is. As the sun's rays, combining all the colours of the spectrum, come together in the sun's shining and blend into light, so in His self-manifestation all the attributes of God come together and blend into holiness."J. D. Douglas, ed., The New Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Win. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1962), p. 530.
How did the following persons address God and Jesus?
Mary, Jesus' mother (Luke 1:49) ___________________________________________
Jesus (John 17:11) _______________________________________________________
The disciples (Acts 4:30) __________________________________________________
How careful should we be in using God's name, and why? Exod. 20:7.
"This commandment not only prohibits false oaths and common swearing, but it forbids us to use the name of God in a light or careless manner, without regard to its awful significance. By the thoughtless mention of God in common conversation, by appeals to Him in trivial matters, and by the frequent and thoughtless repetition of His name, we dishonor Him. Psalm 11:9. All should meditate upon His majesty, His purity and holiness, that the heart may be impressed with a sense of His exalted character. . . "Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 306, 307.
|Reread Exodus 15:11. Write a "poem" that expresses praise for God's work in your behalf. Be sure to include in your "poem" the concept of God's holiness.|
How did Moses show reverence for the place where God appeared to Him? Exod. 3:5.
The custom Moses followed still prevails in some parts of the world. In other parts of the world, men show reverence by removing their hat and women by covering their heads. It is not the particular custom that is important. It is the fact of reverence.
How were the children of Israel to show reverence at Mount Sinai? Exod. 19:10-13.
God's presence can be terrifying. (See verse 18.) All nature trembles at His presence. How much more should sinful humans enter into His presence with holy fear.
The sanctuary was to be a symbol of God's presence with His people (Exod. 29:42, 43). It was to be a holy place. The garments used by the priests were holy (Exod. 39:41). All the vessels were holy. The altar was most holy (Exod. 40:9, 10). Wherever God is and whatever is dedicated to the Lord is holy. In the same way, the temple was holy (Ps. 65:4). The New Jerusalem is the Holy City (Rev. 21:2). And all heaven is holy (Ps. 20:6).
The Bible makes it clear that there is a difference between that which is hallowed and that which is common. We ignore those differences at great risk to ourselves.
"Humility and reverence should characterize the deportment of all who come into the presence of God. In the name of Jesus we may come before Him with confidence, but we must not approach Him with the boldness of presumption, as though He were on a level with ourselves. "Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 252.
"To the humble, believing soul, the house of God on earth is the gate to heaven....
"Common talking, whispering, and laughing should not be permit ted in the house of worship, either before or after the service.... "If when the people come into the house of worship, they have genuine reverence for the Lord and bear in mind that they are in His presence, there will be a sweet eloquence in silence. "Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 491, 492.
|Examine carefully how you behave in church. Think of two ways you could be more reverent. Pray that God will help you develop these behaviors.|
What three words does the apostle Paul use to describe God's law? Rom. 7:12. Why can the law be described in such a way? Exod. 20:1.
We generally dislike the law of God (Rom. 8:7) because anything that goes against our fallen natures is unpleasant to us. We want to be free to do what we please. But if we want to be free to enjoy life, we must learn to live in harmony with the laws of God (James 1:25; 2:12). Only by observing the laws of harmony can a musician compose good music. Only by observing the rules of the game can an athlete play and win. Without law there can be only chaos and frustration. Jesus summed up God's holy law in Matthew 22:37-40: "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments" (NIV). Read what else Jesus said about the law in Matthew 5:17, 18.
"If the law could be changed, man might have been saved without the sacrifice of Christ .... The very fact that Christ bore the penalty of man's transgression, is a mighty argument to all created intelligence that the law is changeless; that God is righteous, merciful, and self-denying; and that infinite justice and mercy unite in the administration of His government. "Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 70.
Those who follow God's law are pronounced "blessed" (Ps. 119:1). Discover some of the ways obeying God's holy law can be a blessing by filling in the blanks below with the following words: simple, reviving, eyes, joy.
"The law of the Lord is perfect, _______________ the soul. The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the ____________________ . The precepts of the Lord are right, giving _______________ to the heart. The commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the ___________________" (Ps. 19:7, 8, NIV).
|The Ten Commandments are not merely a list of "Thou shalt nots." Each one has a positive side. "Thou shalt not kill" means "Thou shalt promote life." We desire and work for the happiness of the people we know. (See Seventh-day Adventists Believe. . . , p. 235.) Take time now to consider the other nine commandments (Exod. 20:2-17). What are the positive principles represented by each one? How could each principle improve your life and the life of those around you?|
The weekly cycle has no relationship to any phenomenon of nature, like the day, the month, or the year. It has its origin in a holy God, who created the world in six days and rested the seventh. God's sanctifying it, or making it holy, set it apart for a holy use-holy communion with a holy God.
According to Abraham Heschel, Jewish theologian, God's presence in time makes it holy, just as His presence in a place makes it holy. "The reason that it matters which day one keeps as the Sabbath is that God puts Himself in a special way, so to speak, *into the hours that comprise the Sabbath. He pauses and fills the time that runs between sunset and sunset with a quality of presence not found in any other time period during the week.... The seventh-day is the one God has set aside as a special day for communion between heaven and earth."Donald John, Teaching Aids for Adult Lessons, first quarter, 1978, p. 71.
What did Jesus say about the Sabbath and its Lord? Mark 2:27,28.
People have made the seventh day a day of evil omen, a day of fasting, a day of buying and selling, or doing one's own pleasure. But Jesus pointed out that the day "was designed to bring men into communion with God."The Desire of Ages, p. 286. Jesus showed that bringing release from sin or disease is in harmony with the purpose of the Sabbath. A day of mere rites and ceremonies would be wearisome, and the whole objective of bringing good to others could be set aside by such practices.
What two acts of God does the Sabbath memorialize?
Exod. 20:8-11 _________________________________________________________
Exod. 31:13 (Deut. 5:15) ________________________________________________
The fact that Deuteronomy gives another reason for the keeping of the Sabbath does not negate the fact that the Sabbath is a memorial of Creation. It points out that there may be other reasons for keeping the Sabbath, reasons that have to do with our deliverance from sin.
|One Sabbath, Ann and David's elderly neighbors asked them to fill a desperately needed prescription. It couldn't wait until sun down. What should Ann and David have done? Upon what principles regarding the Ten Commandments in general and the Sabbath commandment in particular would you base your answer?|
Upon what two things is our "holy calling" based?
"There is no alteration of life, no change of condition that implies half so much as the alteration which Christianity introduces. It is a kingdom of heaven begun upon earth, and by being made members of it, we are entered into a new state of goods and evils. "William Law, Christian Perfection (Carol Stream, Ill.: Creation House, 1975), p. 31.
By what term does the writer to the Hebrews address his fellow Christians? Heb. 3:1.
Some Christians are reluctant to apply this term to themselves. This may be because they have met Christians who have done so, yet have lived lives that were otherwise. The fact is that the nearer we come to the pattern Jesus has set for us, the more humble we will become. We should not run away from this pattern. But we should be sure that the experience we enjoy is genuine and God-given.
The apostle Paul calls the Christians to whom he writes saints. (See Rom. 1:7; 1 Cor. 1:2; Eph. 1:1.) The word saint is not a popular word for Christians today. It has been used to refer to outstanding members of a church who have been officially canonized, and thus it cannot be applied to everyone. That is why some modem versions of the New Testament in English avoid using the word. The word saints is translated "his dedicated people" (Rom. 1:7, NEB), "his own people9l (Rom. 1:7, TEV), and "God's holy people" (1 Cor. 1:2, TEV).
Paul lived a life that we may be proud to imitate. But the fact is, he recognized he was nothing in himself (Gal. 2:20). He could glory only in the Cross, because that was the symbol of the salvation that had been purchased for him. It was the reason why he could be what he was (Gal. 6:14).
"Paul realized that his sufficiency was not in himself, but in the presence of the Holy Spirit, whose gracious influence filled his heart, bringing every thought into subjection to Christ."The Acts of the Apostles, p. 251.
|How is it that some people have joined the church, keep the Sabbath, and yet are far from being holy in the way they treat other people?|
FURTHER STUDY: Read John 17:19. In praying to His Father, Jesus said that He sanctified Himself, consecrated Himself (NEB), or dedicated Himself (TEV) so that His disciples may be sanctified, consecrated, and dedicated. This is an example of total commitment. A holy God is dedicated to the cause of having a holy people. Could anything be more appealing to produce a response of dedication in us?
To discover God's desire for us and why it is so important to fulfill this desire, read Leviticus 11:44, 45; 1 Peter 1:15, 16; and Hebrews 12:14. How can we attain this desire? John 15:1-8; Philippians 4:13; Hebrews 8:10. Also read Steps to Christ, "The Sinner's Need of Christ," pp. 17-22, and Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, "Blessed Are the Pure in Heart," pp. 24-27.
"Holiness is not rapture: it is an entire surrender of the will to God; it is living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God; it is doing the will of our heavenly Father; it is trusting God in trial, in darkness as well as in the light; it is walking by faith and not by sight; it is relying on God with unquestioning confidence, and resting in His love."The Acts of the Apostles, p. 51.
SUMMARY: It was not natural for a holy God to take on human nature as Christ did. It is not natural for us to become partakers of the divine nature as we may. But the redemption of a sinful world required God to take this step. Your own personal redemption requires that you take your step. Will you choose to remove all barriers today and allow Christ's power and grace to lead you to holiness?
Face to Face With Death
When a young Polish man named Mark was inducted into the Polish military, he was assigned to the paratrooper school. While on a training mission thousands of feet above the ground, he moved toward the plane's door, ready to jump when his commander gave the signal. When he saw the signal to jump, he pushed himself away from the plane and yanked on his parachute cord. But another paratrooper had jumped at nearly the same instant. Both men's parachutes opened at the same time. The chutes became entangled and failed to open completely.
The two men desperately struggled to separate their parachutes as they plummeted toward earth. In an instant Mark sensed that he was facing death and he was not prepared. He had no idea what lay beyond the grave. After what seemed like an eternity, the men were able to separate their parachutes. They opened their emergency chutes in time to slow their courage to earth and allow for a safe landing.
Dazed, but without any broken bones, Mark could not shake the thought that he had just faced death. But he was not ready to die. During the remainder of that day, thoughts of death haunted him, and the question, What happens to me when I die, played over and over in his mind.
That evening he turned on his radio, hoping to get his mind off his close call. As he searched the shortwave dial for a station broadcasting in Polish, he found Adventist World Radio's Polish Voice of Hope. He listened in stunned silence, unable to believe his ears. The speaker's topic was what happens when you die.
Mark felt that it had to be more than coincidence that he had turned in to this particular program that answered his deepest questions just when he needed it. He became a regular listener and requested a Bible correspondence course. He completed the course and began attending the Seventh-day Adventist Church. In time he was baptized.
Mark thanks God for saving him from death and leading him to hat radio program that in turn led dim to a Christ-filled life. Now Mark and his wife share with others how up-to-date God's ancient truths are.
Pray for people around the world who are finding their way to Jesus through the ministry of radio.
Marec Smalek is director of the Voice of Hope in Poland.
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