Lesson 6 | Sabbath, 10 August 2019
“The commandments of God are comprehensive and far reaching; in a few words they unfold the whole duty of man. ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength…. Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ Mark 12:30, 31. In these words the length and breadth, the depth and height, of the law of God is comprehended; for Paul declares, ‘Love is the fulfilling of the law.’ Romans 13:10. The only definition we find in the Bible for sin is that ‘sin is the transgression of the law.’ 1 John 3:4.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 320.
1. What does the Lord emphasize in the First Commandment regarding His relationship with His people and His right to their heartfelt worship?
Exodus 20:2, 3 I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
“Jehovah revealed Himself, not alone in the awful majesty of the judge and lawgiver, but as the compassionate guardian of His people: ‘I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.’ He whom they had already known as their Guide and Deliverer, who had brought them forth from Egypt, making a way for them through the sea, and overthrowing Pharaoh and his hosts, who had thus shown Himself to be above all the gods of Egypt–He it was who now spoke His law.” –Christ Triumphant, p. 114.
2. How broad and extensive is the Lord’s mercy for those who love Him and keep His commandments? Is there a difference between the measure of mercy presented in the gospel and that which is given in Exodus 20?
Exodus 20:4-6 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: 5Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; 6And showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
“‘Showing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments.’ In prohibiting the worship of false gods, the second commandment by implication enjoins the worship of the true God. And to those who are faithful in His service, mercy is promised, not merely to the third and fourth generation as is the wrath threatened against those who hate Him, but to thousands of generations.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 306.
“In rejecting the truth, men reject its Author. In trampling upon the law of God, they deny the authority of the Lawgiver. It is as easy to make an idol of false doctrines and theories as to fashion an idol of wood or stone…. Thousands deify nature while they deny the God of nature. Though in a different form, idolatry exists in the Christian world today as verily as it existed among ancient Israel in the days of Elijah. The god of many professedly wise men, of philosophers, poets, politicians, journalists–the god of polished fashionable circles, of many colleges and universities, even of some theological institutions–is little better than Baal, the sun-god of Phoenicia.” –The Great Controversy, p. 583.
3. In the example of God’s resting after the creation was completed, what did He give to and require of those who were created in His image? In addition to physical and spiritual rest, what other beautiful promise did He connect with the observance of His holy day?
Exodus 20:8-11 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 10But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: 11For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Isaiah 56:2 Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.
“Six days were employed in the work of creation; upon the seventh, God rested, and He then blessed this day, and set it apart as a day of rest for man.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 111.
“The Sabbath is a token between God and His people. It is a holy day, given by the Creator to us as a day upon which to rest, and reflect upon sacred things. God designed it to be observed through every age as a perpetual covenant….” –Christ Triumphant, p. 110.
“All heaven was represented to me as beholding and watching upon the Sabbath those who acknowledge the claims of the fourth commandment and are observing the Sabbath. Angels were marking their interest in, and high regard for, this divine institution. Those who sanctified the Lord God in their hearts by a strictly devotional frame of mind, and who sought to improve the sacred hours in keeping the Sabbath to the best of their ability, and to honor God by calling the Sabbath a delight–these the angels were specially blessing with light and health, and special strength was given them.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, pp. 704, 705.
Remember all His benefits
4. What great privilege did the Sabbath commandment grant to slaves even in ancient times? What did they and will we remember so as to observe the holy day of rest with deep gratitude?
Deuteronomy 5:13-15 Six days thou shalt labour, and do all thy work: 14But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. 15And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.
“God has given us the whole of six days in which to do our work, and has reserved only one to Himself. This should be a day of blessing to us–a day when we should lay aside all our secular matters and center our thoughts upon God and heaven….
“The Sabbath of the Lord is to be made a blessing to us and to our children. They are to look upon the Sabbath as a day of delight, a day which God has sanctified; and they will so consider it if they are properly instructed.” –Child Guidance, pp. 529, 531.
5. What promise is linked to the observance of the fifth commandment that encompasses the esteem and respect owed to one’s parents? What does this reveal about the heart of the Decalogue?
Exodus 20:12 Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
Ephesians 6:1, 2 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise.
“Here is a commandment with a promise which the Lord will surely fulfill to those who obey.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 108; The Adventist Home, p. 75.
“This is the first commandment with promise. It is binding upon childhood and youth, upon the middle-aged and the aged. There is no period in life when children are excused from honoring their parents. This solemn obligation is binding upon every son and daughter and is one of the conditions to their prolonging their lives upon the land which the Lord will give the faithful. This is not a subject unworthy of notice, but a matter of vital importance. The promise is upon condition of obedience. If you obey, you shall live long in the land which the Lord your God gives you. If you disobey, you shall not prolong your life in that land.” –The Adventist Home, pp. 292, 293.
The foundation of God’s law
6. Are love and grace the bases of only some commandments or of them all? What is included in the phrase used by Jesus, “all the law and the prophets”?
Matthew 22:36-40 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38This is the first and great commandment. 39And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
“He here explicitly shows the questioner the two great principles of the law: Love to God and love to man. Upon these two principles of God’s moral government hang all the law and the prophets. The first four commandments indicate the duty of man to his Creator; and the first and great commandment is, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart. This love is not a passion, nor a fruitless faith in the existence and power of God, a cold acknowledgment of His boundless love; but it is a living, active principle, manifested in willing obedience of all His requirements.” –The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, pp. 51, 52.
“The divine law requires us to love God supremely and our neighbor as ourselves. Without the exercise of this love, the highest profession of faith is mere hypocrisy. ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments,’ says Christ, ‘hang all the law and the prophets.’ Matthew 22:37-40.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 218.
7. If the foundation of the Ten Commandments is love, what is necessary for them to be obeyed? Therefore, how is the divine law best summarized?
Romans 13:8-10 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Galatians 5:14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
“God is love, and His law is love. Its two great principles are love to God and love to man. ‘Love is the fulfilling of the law.’ Romans 13:10. The character of God is righteousness and truth; such is the nature of His law. Says the psalmist: ‘Thy law is the truth:’ ‘all Thy commandments are righteousness.’ Psalm 119:142, 172. And the apostle Paul declares: ‘The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.’ Romans 7:12. Such a law, being an expression of the mind and will of God, must be as enduring as its Author.” –The Great Controversy, p. 467.
For additional study
“The love of Christ must control our hearts, and the peace of God will abide in our homes. Seek God with a broken and contrite spirit, and you will be melted with compassion toward your brethren. You will be prepared to add to brotherly kindness, charity, or love. Without charity we will become ‘as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.’ Our highest professions are hollow and insincere; but ‘love is the fulfilling of the law.’ We shall be found wanting, if we do not add charity that suffereth long and is kind, that vaunteth not itself, that seeketh not her own.” –Review and Herald, February 21, 1888.
“When the sinner sees his Saviour dying upon the cross under the curse of sin in his stead, beholding His pardoning love, love awakes in his heart. The sinner loves Christ, because Christ has first loved him, and love is the fulfilling of the law. The repenting soul realizes that God ‘is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.’ The Spirit of God works in the believer’s soul, enabling him to advance from one line of obedience to another, reaching on from strength to greater strength, from grace to grace in Jesus Christ.” –Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 374, 375.