The Sabbath

The Seventh Day as the Sabbath – Discussion Notes

Garden Grove SDA – Young Adult Sabbath School
28 Fundamental Beliefs – #20: The Seventh-Day as the Sabbath
May 10, 2014
Duration ~ 50min

Icebreaker Question

Please state your name and share with us your go-to trick for staying energized/staying awake.


Few of us are aware that at the moment America is suffering from a public health epidemic that is becoming frightfully common in our society. The lack of rest.

Take sleep, for example.

Q1 How many of you get in daily 7-8 hours? 5-6 hours? 4 or less hours?

Adults are recommended 7-8 hours daily. According to data from the National Health Interview Survey, a third of adults sleep less than 6 hours of sleep per day. Furthermore, the average American sleeps time of 6 ½ hours is a 25% drop since the early 20th century. How dismal….

But what about vacations?

Q2 How many of you get paid vacations?

You are a fortunate lot… 23% of American workers get no paid vacation time and no paid holidays.

But it’s not just about the lack of benefits; it’s about actually making use of those vacation privileges, too! Of those Americans who had vacation benefits in the year 2011, 57% of them had not made full use of their vacation days by the end of the year.

We are starved for rest as never before. To make up for it, we rev up on Red Bull, Starbucks, sodas—you name it. Our society is craving the physical and mental health benefits of a day of rest.

So before we begin talking about rest, and the provision God made for our hectic lives, let’s have a word of prayer.


Introduction – The statement from the 28 fundamental Beliefs

The Sabbath is God’s gift to us, a time for rest and restoration of our connection to God and others. It reminds us of God’s creation and Jesus’ grace.

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Gift of Prophecy – Sabbath School Discussion

Garden Grove SDA – Young Adult Sabbath School
28 Fundamental Beliefs – #18 The Gift of Prophecy
April 12, 2014
Duration ~ 50min (Adaptable to 40 min.)


Please state your name and answer the following question.

Q1:      If you had access to a time-traveling Delorean for just ONE round trip, would you travel to the future or to the past—and where?

            FYI most people will want to go to the past—surprising, isn’t it?

It is within our human nature to want to know what is going to happen to us and to our world. That is why the FB we will be discussing today is really important for us. Fundamental Belief #18 deals with the Gift of Prophecy and its role in our lives, especially as we approach the end times.


Intro – Definition of Prophecy

Q2:      What is prophecy? / How would you define “Prophecy”? / What is another word or synonym that could be used instead of “Prophecy”?

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The Sanctuary-Discussion Notes

Young Adult Sabbath School Lesson
The Sanctuary
Discussion for October 12, 2013
Time: ~ 25 minutes


Tell us your name, and answer the question: If you could remodel your home, what would you update or change?


Last week we studied about Heaven, God’s dwelling place. We talked about our different views/pictures of heaven based on what the Bible tells us and also based on folklore and art.  We discussed why knowing that there is a Heaven is important to us as Christians.

Now we move towards one of the important components of Heaven. The concept of Sanctuary, and how it brings heaven to earth.

Note: For clarification, we might use the words “Sanctuary” “Tabernacle” or “Temple” interchangeably during the study—we’ll be referring to the same thing.


A. What is the Sanctuary:

What does SANCTUARY mean to you? How could you define SANCTUARY?

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Sacrifice and Love: Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus–Sabbath School Discussion Notes

Young Adult Sabbath School
SDA Fundamental Beliefs Series — #9: Life, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus
For: February 1, 2014
Duration: ~40 min

Icebreaker Question

Please state your name and share with us your favorite holiday.



So it’s February. Yay! It’s the time of the year in which most people celebrate St. Valentines.  Decorations, Chocolate, Candies, Valentine Cards….

Q1So who were those that said it was their favorite holiday?  Were there any? Are you currently happily dating or married?

The majority think like, “Meh, It’s alright.” Very few people love it intensely or hate it intensely.

Q2 – But just to confirm something: is there anyone out there—a brave soul, an honest person—who says, “I Hate it”?  Is it only just me? J/K

Well, a few years back, I was like that. I hated Valentines, it was too …. PINK. I don’t hate it now—I mean pink—bright pink—is one of my favorite colors now, I’ve always loved chocolate, so what’s not to love. So I made this weird truce with Valentine’s day…

I decided that I would study the subject of Love before altogetehr rejecting the occasion that celebrates it. But now we’re stuck with a question:

Q3 — What is Love?

Don’t answer! In my search for knowledge, I collected a few quotes that might help us.  Some of them are pretty cool, others downright wrong. So break into groups of 2, read, and discuss the following lines taken from various books. Then we’ll share and you answer the question

Do you agree? Does it help to shed a bit more light into Love?

“Love has nothing to do with what you are expecting to get — only with what you are expecting to give — which is everything.” – Katharine Hepburn, Me: Stories of my Life

What is love but acceptance of the other, whatever he is. – Anais Nin

Love is like a fever which comes and goes quite independently of the will. … there are no age limits for love. – Stendhal, Threatise on Love

There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one – C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

Love can change a person the way a parent can change a baby — awkwardly, and often with a great deal of mess. – Lemony Snicket, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid

Love is an untamed force. When we try to control it, it destroys us. When we try to imprison it, it enslaves us. When we try to understand it, it leaves us feeling lost and confused. – Paul Coelho, The Zahir

Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness. – Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness

Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction. – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Airman’s Odyssey

Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion… That is just being “in love”, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. – Louis de Bernieres, Corelli’s Mandolin

Do you agree? Or does it help define love by proving what LOVE IS NOT?

1. Bible’s Definition of Love – It is a powerful, overwhelming force

I’m going to read to you something a writer wrote about love that is spot on. You might want to put this on your FB page or on a Valentine’s card, so listen:

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned. (Song of Solomon 8:6-7)

Q4 – Great, huh? What attributes are seen in this verse about Love?

Wear me as a signet ring on your heart, as a ring on your hand. Love is as overpowering as death. Devotion is as unyielding as the grave. Love’s flames are flames of fire, flames that come from the LORD. (GODS WORD)

Hang my locket around your neck, wear my ring on your finger. Love is invincible facing danger and death. Passion laughs at the terrors of hell. The fire of love stops at nothing – it sweeps everything before it.  (THE MESSAGE)

  1. Strong
  2. Jealous (i.e. Passion, Devotion)
  3. Burns (Fire)
  4. Unquenchable (Can’t be Beat)
  5. Cannot be bought or sold

And while we’re in the Bible, let’s look at another quote…this one is by a writer known as John

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16) . . . . And this is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.(1 John 3:16)

If we think about the Bible’s use of Love, then God’s love is defined like this

  1. Strong
  2. Jealous (i.e. Passion, Devotion)
  3. Burns (Fire)
  4. Unquenchable (Can’t be Beat)
  5. Cannot be bought or sold

2. Jesus came to reveal to humans what love really is all about

Q5 – So why do so many people have it wrong? So wrong that 50% of marriages end up in divorce? So wrong that so many people ruin their lives in their desperate search of love?

[Discussion Hopefully]

 Q6 – [Indian parable] who has heard the story of the Elephant and the blind men?

It is long long, and flexible. Like a snake… at the trunk
It is a lot like a thick and sturdy tree trunk…at the feet
It is a sharp spear….at the tusk
It is a lot like a carpet… at the ear
It is a rope…at the tail
It is a great big wall…at its side

Returning back to the quotes we went over, the human definition of Love is sometimes warped, or plain out wrong. Why? Because love apart from God does not exist. People can argue that the concept of God is too abstract. That we are like the blind men trying to describe how an elephant looks like. Yes, love is mysterious to some extent, but God has manifested himself and the concept of love in so concrete a manner that we often take it for granted.

This week we will look into one of the many, many meanings behind the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

The Statement from the 28 Fundamental Beliefs:

God sent Jesus, His Son, to live the perfect life we could not and die the death our sins deserve. When we accept Jesus’ sacrifice, we claim eternal life.

In Christ’s life of perfect obedience to God’s will through His suffering, death and resurrection, God provided the only means of atonement for human sin, so that (1) those who by faith accept this atonement may have eternal life, and (2) all of creation may better understand the infinite and holy love of the Creator. This perfect atonement vindicates the righteousness of God’s law and the graciousness of His character; for it both condemns our sin and provides for our forgiveness. The death of Christ is substitutionary and expiatory, reconciling and transforming. The resurrection of Christ proclaims God’s triumph over the forces of evil, and for (3) those who accept the atonement assures their final victory over sin and death. It declares the Lordship of Jesus Christ, before whom every knee in heaven and on earth will bow.

[Read Phil 2:6-8] One of the verses I’d like to look into is Philipians 2-6-8

6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

 Q6 – Have you ever thought about what this means? [Illustration]

The story is told by the Persians of the great Shah Abbas, who reigned magnificently in Persia, but loved to mingle with the people in disguise. Once, dressed as a poor man, he descended the long flight of stairs, dark and damp, to the tiny cellar where the fire man, seated on ashes, was tending the furnace.

The king sat down beside him and began to talk. At mealtime the fire man produced some coarse, black bread and a jug of water and they ate and drank together. The Shah went away, but returned again and again, for his heart was filled with sympathy for the lonely man. He gave him sweet counsel, and the poor man opened his whole heart and loved this friend, so kind, so wise, and yet poor like himself.

At last the emperor thought, ‘I will tell him who I am, and see what gift he will ask.’ So he said, ‘You think me poor, but I am Shah Abbas your emperor.’

He expected a petition for some great thing, but the man sat silent, gazing on him with love and wonder. Then the king said. ‘Haven’t you understood? I can make you rich and noble, can give you a city, can appoint you as a great ruler. Have you nothing to ask?’

The man replied gently, ‘Yes, my lord, I understood. But what is this you have done, to leave your palace and glory, to sit with me in this dark place, to partake of my coarse fare, to care whether my heart is glad or sorry? Even you can give nothing more precious. On others you may bestow rich presents, but to me you have given yourself; it only remains to ask that you never withdraw this gift of your friendship.’

(story source:

Q7 – What was the motivation behind God’s great sacrifice of himself to humanity? Why did God come to die for us?

Because of Love. He cared about us.

Q8 – Is there such a thing as love without sacrifice? Can you sacrifice yourself without love? Or can you love without sacrificing anything?

[allow for discussion]

Katherine Hepburn puts Love in terms of give and take, with real love expecting nothing while at the same time it gives everything. This is the concept of sacrifice.

Q9 – So did God scarify himself because he loved us? Or love us because he sacrificed himself for us?

1 John 4:10  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father. (John 10:17–18)

Jesus sacrificed himself for us because he loves us. Love came first even before there was a need to be sacrificed. He is the embodiment of Love, and the only way that we can know about love.

3. Our response to such love [Conclusion]

Q10 – How many of us have ever told someone they loved them and the other person didn’t love you back? Or have you ever gone out of your way to help a friend, thus proving Your loyalty to a friend, and that friend turned out to not be such a good friend after all?

There were many risks involved in him coming to earth. But one of the greatest is this: would the human race respond?

Let’s recall what C.S Lewis said,  There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken.– C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

God put his everything out there…and risked getting his heart broken and facing rejection from those he came to save. But he did it hoping that by opening himself to you, me, and showing his character to us we would be drawn to him like before the fall. Because God’s love, as we saw in Song of Songs, is

  1. Strong
  2. Jealous (i.e. Passion, Devotion)
  3. Burns (Fire)
  4. Unquenchable (Can’t be Beat)
  5. Cannot be bought or sold

What should our response be?

 [READ 2 Cor 5:20-21] 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin[b] for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

 [Ephesians 5:2]—Walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.


May you grab hold of this great and wonderful love. That love that is unbreakable, unbeatable, and absolutely priceless. It’s yours already. Will you chose to let it change your life? My prayer and hope is that you will.

Creation and Human Purpose — Sabbath School Discussion Notes

Young Adult Sabbath School
SDA Fundamental Beliefs Series — #6: Creation
For: January 11, 2014
Duration: ~40 min

Icebreaker Question

Please state your name and share with us your favorite book or story growing up.


Will be discussing FB#6. Ground rules: Not a Creation/Evolution debate.


Introduction – The statement from the 28 SDA Fundamental Beliefs

God made our world with brilliant creativity and tender care. He created humanity to take care of and take pleasure in the planet, with rest and recreation in perfect balance.

God is Creator of all things, and has revealed in Scripture the authentic account of His creative activity.

In six days the Lord made “the heaven and the Earth” and all living things upon the Earth, and rested on the seventh day of that first week. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of His completed creative work. The first man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowning work of Creation,given dominion over the world, and charged with responsibility to care for it. When the world was finished it was “very good,” declaring the glory of God. (See Supporting Texts at end of entry).

Q1 Within the story of creation are important themes/principles. What are they? / If you were to teach a course Christianity 101 using only the story of Creation, what principles would you be able to share?

1.Six Literal Days; Culmination in the Sabbath as day of rest


[Genesis 1:31] also on 5,8,13,19,23: Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

====> (see APPENDIX for more info on why it matters)


[Genesis 2:1-3] New King James Version (NKJV): Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. 2 And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

2.Human Origins and Purpose

I’m going to pass out some papers. Please take five minutes to read it with your group. Tell me

1. What was the creative force,

2. How and of what humans came to be.

3. What was the motivation (or the purpose—if any) to make humans.

Babylonian  — After a power battle between the gods, Marduk (the leader of the winning side) set the vanquished gods to a variety of tasks, including work in the fields and canals. Soon they complained of their work, however, and they rebelled by burning their spades and baskets. Marduk slew Timant, the general of the rebels, and with his blood, clay from the earth, and with spittle of the other gods humans were created. On them was imposed the labor previously assigned to the gods: to maintain the canals and boundary ditches, to hoe and to carry, to irrigate the land and to raise crops, to raise animals and fill the granaries, and to worship the gods at their regular festivals.

India — The “Self” created itself from the nothing and from the death and hunger of a void universe. Self had no happiness because it was alone, and Self longed for another. He grew as large as two persons embracing, and he caused himself to split into two matching parts: husband and wife. From their union arose the human beings of the earth.

Hopi — Sotuknang, the nephew of the powerful and infinite Creator, created Spider Woman. Spider Woman took some yellow, red, white, and black earth and mixed it with saliva to create human beings as she sang the Creation song. She made four men. Then created four women after her own form. From these men and women humans came to be. Sotuknang instructed them that their duties was to respect the Creator and live in harmony with him. But the people forgot to worship the Creator, so they were destroyed—only a few remained. Four times this happened, until after four creations the true remnant settled in the desert in a desolate land, so that the hardship of their life would always remind them of their dependence on, and link to, their Creator.

Norse — The first god was brought out from the earth. He had a son named Bor, who had three sons, one of whom as Odin, the most powerful of the gods. Odin and his two brothers defeated the rebellious frost giants and created the heavens and the earth with the body parts of their vanquished foes. Later they found at the edge of the sea two logs. The three of them together made people out of them—one man and one woman. From these logs—now people—all humans came. The gods left humans to dwell on earth, leaving only a pathway from earth to heaven: the bridge that appears in the sky as a rainbow. It doesn’t last, however. It breaks whenever someone attempts to cross it.

Mayan — Kukulkan and Tepeu created the world. They decided to preserve their legacy by creating an earthbound species looking like them. The first attempt was man made from mud, but Tepeu and Kukulkan found that the mud crumbled. The two gods summoned the other gods and they decided to make man from wood. However, since these men had no soul, they soon lost loyalty to their creators. The Gods destroyed them with a great torrent of rain. Finally, man was constructed from maize—which, by the way, was the food of the gods.

Chinese (one of the many versions) — The earth was a wild and lonely place. There was a goddess named NuWa who roamed it. She was lonely. She gazed into a pond and realized when she saw her reflection, that there was no one in all the world  who looked like herself. She resolved to make something like herself for company. She took some mud and shaped it in the form of a human being. She made many such humans in two days, but she was tired. To solve the problem of making more and more humans after they died, she separated them into male and female so they could reproduce on their own and save her the trouble of being so lonely.

Islam — Adam was created by God out of clay, earth, sand, and water and placed in Paradise. God taught Adam  the names of all of the creatures, and then commanded all the angels to bow down before Adam. All of them bowed but Iblis, who refused to obey. Iblis was a jinni, a spirit of fire, and claimed that his fiery nature was superior to Adam’s flesh which consisted of clay. This resulted in his expulsion from Paradise. Iblis then vowed to separate Adam and Eve from God and corrupt them. Sure enough, after they sinned, Adam and Eve were cast down to the earth away from God, to populate the empty world.

Australian — The Sun Mother was awakened by the Father of All Spirits. Her task was to awaken the sleeping spirits who dwelled in the new earth and give them forms. She created the animals, but they envied each other and argued. The Sun Mother was forced to come down from her home in the sky to mediate their bickering. She gave each creature the power to change their form to whatever they chose. She was appalled when she saw winged rats (bats), giant freak lizards, and a beaver with a duck bill who could lay eggs (platypus).  The Sun Mother looked down upon the Earth and thought to herself that she must create new creatures because otherwise the Father of All Spirits would be angered by what she now saw. She gave birth to two gods: the Morning Star (male) and the Moon (female) and sent them to earth, where they because our human ancestors. She made them superior to the animals because they had part of her mind and would never want to change their shape.


[LETS ALL READ: Genesis 1:26-28]

[26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all[b] the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.

1. What was the creative force,

2. How and of what humans came to be.

3. What was the motivation (or the purpose—if any) to make humans?

 Q2 Where can we find the account of Creation?

At the very beginning Genesis 1, 2

Q3 Why do you think the Bible begins with the story of creation? /  What do you think is the advantage of  the Bible establishing our origins early on? / What more do we gain from the account of creation other than where we came from?

Understanding God’s work of creation is essential. It is the basis of a Christian worldview and helps us make sense out of life. All the truth in the Bible relates back to the basic truths taught in the creation accounts of Genesis 1 – 2.

 Q4 What implications are there in the fact that you are a precious creature and not a “mistake” or made on a whim?

  • Legitimacy—do you guys know how terrible life could be      for someone who was illegitimate? Historically it has ever been a stigma,      a great disgrace.
      • [Deut 32:6] Do you thus        deal with the Lord, O foolish        and unwise people? Is He        not your Father, who        bought you? Has He not made you and established you?
  • Purpose:
    • to inhabit and enjoy the world he created
      • [Isaiah 45:18].        For        thus says the Lord, Who created        the heavens,
        Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it,        Who has established it,
        Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it        to be inhabited:
        “I am        the Lord, and there        is no other.
    • stewardship.
      • [psalm 8:4-6] 4 What is man that You are        mindful of him,
        And the son of man that You visit him? 5 For You have made        him a little lower than the angels,[a] And You have crowned him with glory        and honor. 6 You have made him to have dominion over the        works of Your hands;
        You have put all things        under his feet,
    • do good works
      • [Ephesians        2:10] For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good        works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
  • Self worth —if we are made in the image of God, that      fact alone should give us a real idea of how much an individual is worth.      There is no room for feelings of inferiority or superiority
      • [Malachi 2:10] Have we not all        one Father? Has not one God created us?
        Why do
        we deal treacherously with one        another By profaning the covenant of the fathers?

There is a great deal at stake in the issue of human origins. Not merely a question of how our species arrived on this planet. It involves the larger issues of purpose and destiny, as well as the principles that should guide our lives. It is the power and purpose of a personal God that accounts for our existence. Therefore, we cannot ignore his wishes for us as we attempt to understand the meaning and purpose of our existence.—Rice, Reign of God

3. In his image—Getting to the heart of who God is (Closing remarks)

Q4 What do you guys understand by the phrase “Created in his image”?

Q4.5 If God created us in his image, what aspect of human life does that encompass? / What makes you YOU? / Imagine that some scientists want to make a robot in your image, is it enough for it to just look like you for it to BE a convincing likeness and have your friends thinking “Oh, it’s very much like “so and so”? What else besides how you look like physically is necessary to produce a faithful likeness?

-personality, emotions, character, habit, human intelligence

Q5 So then, what does it mean to be created in God’s image? What else besides the proportions of our physical being are we supposed to reflect?

Can it be that our character and our inclinations towards good and love were part of the original plan?


I want to revert to the original beauty that is God’s image. Millenia’s worth of sin has taken its toll on the human race. We’re shorter, short-lived, or ill, but with the help of the almighty God who created heaven and earth, we can still aspire to have the likeness of God in our character. Not to BE God, but to be LIKE God and reflect his character wherever you go. If this is your wish too, then please stand up and join us in our closing prayer

Closing prayer

– – –


One of the issues that the SDA church has been contemplating in recent years is adding “six literal 24-hour days” on the Fundamental Beliefs statement.

Q – What are the inherent issues at stake in defining the length of the days in which God created the world? What would be different about your Sabbath belief if we allow for the interpretation that each day was symbolic and was actually thousands of years for each “day”?

The last few years have shown that theistic evolution has gained entrance into our church. Should it become more and more accepted, we will be in danger of losing the biblical foundation for the Sabbath and our understanding of salvation. Without the creation week, the Sabbath becomes a Jewish institution; and if death existed long before the appearance of man, then there was no Fall in Eden and therefore really no need for salvation. And if there was no Fall, then Paul was in error when he wrote:

Through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned. (Rom 5:12)

Gerhard Pfandl, Associate Director of the Biblical Research Institute

– – –


(See the Ruling Principle)

* * * *

Supporting Texts

Ex. 20:8-11 –8 i“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 jSix days you shall labor, and do all your work, 10 but the kseventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the lsojourner who is within your gates. 11 For min six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Psalm 19:1-2 1 iThe heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above1 proclaims his handiwork. 2 Day to day pours out speech, and night to night reveals knowledge.

Psalm 33:6 6  By pthe word of the Lord the heavens were made, and by the breath of his mouth all their host.

Psalm 104:24, 27-30  –O Lord, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. . . .27 These all look to you to give them their food in due season; 28 when you give to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things. 29 When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust. 30 When you send forth your spirit,[g] they are created;
and you renew the face of the ground.

Hebrews 11:3 3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

God the Father and the Character of God — Sabbath School Discussion Notes

Young Adult Sabbath School

Seventh Day Adventist Fundamental Beliefs Series — #3: God the Father

For: December 14, 2013

Duration: ~40 Minutes


How did you see God manifest himself in your life this week?


INTRO – The Statement from the 28 Fundamental Beliefs:

God the Father is the source of all love and life. He sent His Son to save us from our sin and ourselves, and to show us what He is like.

God the eternal Father is the Creator, Source, Sustainer and Sovereign of all creation. He is just and holy, merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. The qualities and powers exhibited in the Son and the Holy Spirit are also revelations of the Father.

Q1 Oftentimes however we view our father is how we also tend to view God the father. What are some common ways people tend to do this? How has your view of your father affected your view of God?

 Q2 The concept people have of God generally changes as they grow. How is the view of God you have now different from the one you had as a child or as an adolescent?


One of this section’s particular concern is to establish the character of God. Now, there is much—much written and said out there on the topic—I looked up some books and things online and found some statements of famous writers and thinkers.

Let’s do a quick exercise. Break into groups of three, and the quote I will pass out. With your group discuss: do you agree/disagree, why? And any other thoughts on this.

“God is a metaphor. He is a dream, a hope, . . . a father, a city, a mother, a house of many rooms, a watchmaker who left his prize chronometer in the desert, someone who loves you—even, perhaps, against all evidence, a celestial being whose only interest is to make sure your football team, army, business, or marriage thrives, prospers, and triumphs over all. . . ” ― Neil Gaiman

“When I saw my Father lying dead in a pool of his own blood, I knew then that I hadn’t stopped believing in God. I’d just stopped believing God cared. There might be a God, and there might not, but I don’t think it matters. Either way we’re on our own.” ― Cassandra Clare, City of Bones

 “A father has to be a provider, a teacher, a role model, but most importantly, a distant authority figure who can never be pleased. Otherwise, how will children ever understand the concept of God?” ― Stephen Colbert, I am America

 “I always wondered why God was supposed to be a father,” she whispers. “Fathers always want you to measure up to something. Mothers are the ones who love you unconditionally, don’t you think?”― Jodi Picoult

 “Blessed be God’s name? Why, but why would I bless Him? Every fiber in me rebelled. Because He caused thousands of children to burn in His mass graves? Because he kept six crematoria working day and night, including Sabbath and the Holy Days? Because in His great might, He had created Auschwitz, Birkenau, Buna, and so many other factories of death? How could I say to Him: Blessed be Thou, Almighty, Master of the Universe, who chose us among all nations to be tortured day and night, to watch as our fathers, our mothers, our brothers, end up in the furnaces?“ ― Elie Wiesel, Night

 “We want not so much a Father but a grandfather in heaven, a God who said of anything we happened to like doing, ‘What does it matter so long as they are contented?” ― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

 I am persuaded that God has more the quality of a “presence” than of a nonpersonal “energy” or “force”…God has more the quality of a “you” than of an “it,” I see this sense of God as a presence, as a “you,” as grounded in experience

Like flies to us are we to the gods. The kill us for their sport

Never accept a view of the Fatherhood of God if it blots out the Atonement. The revelation of God is that He cannot forgive sin. Cannot stand it. Cannot tolerate it. He would contradict his nature if He did. The only way we can be forgiven is by being brought back to God by the Atonement. God’s forgiveness is only natural in the supernatural domain. Forgiveness is the divine miracle of grace.—Oswald Chambers

[After groups have shared]

As we can  see, there is such a wide opinion of God, his role in our universe, and his character. Even we tend to have such different opinions.

Think. Is your God (or your idea of God)

Primarily concerned about personal virtue?

Primarily a lawgiver and judge, somebody you need to measure up to?

A God of requirements and rewards?

Mostly “nice”?

Mostly indifferent?

A God of compassion?

A God of social justice?

Q3 Why do you think it is necessary for us to understand the true nature, and character of God? / Will our experience with God be any different if we hold this or that view of him? / e.g. Will believing that God is mostly “nice” produce a different result or experience from believing that God is a “wrathful” God?

Q4 What do we stand to lose if we have the incorrect view of God? / What do we gain when we glimpse the true nature? / What is at stake in this question?

POINT 1 – What’s at stake in the question of God’s character is our image of the Christian life.

Is Christianity about requirements?  Here’s what you must do. Check off the list.

Is Christianity about relationship and transformation? Here’s the path: Jesus. Follow him.


POINT 2 – Bible’s OT and NT are united and present a consistent view of God—in particularly God the Father

Q5 What are some of the ways we can get to know God? How can we know not only about God, but know God?

Q6How does the Bible describe God the Father to us? What are some Bible passages or stories that are helpful in describing God the Father?

What do you think about the view some people have of the Bible seeming to contradict itself in how it describes God in the Old Testament and the New Testament?

Someone once told me that Christians themselves are to blame for the confusion of the “Two Gods” in the Bible. Many Christians—myself included at one point—seem to differentiate between the God of the OT and of the NT, and have placed an incorrect emphasis on one and the other.

There are other characteristics of God the Father all over the Bible. It is very important to keep in mind that OT alludes to the 3 personas of the trinity—but doesn’t clearly differentiate between them. The NT makes clear the roles they take. –Marcus Borg

That is why in this discussion, it is important to establish the one defining characteristic of God: LOVE.

The OT and NT are full of accounts of God’s love for us

1 John 4:7-8 7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God. 8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Hosea 2:19-20 19 I will make you my wife forever, showing you righteousness and justice, unfailing love and compassion. 20 I will be faithful to you and make you mine, and you will finally know me as the Lord.

Isaiah 43:4 Long ago the Lord said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love.
With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.

The prophets in the bible use the language of love to speak of God’s relation to Israel. God is the lover, Israel is the beloved, ALSO note that Song of Songs has been understood as an allegory of the God-human relationship, or the Christ-church relationship.

 Why do you think it is so important to nail down and to get this down right?

[If no one answers, continue:]

How many of You are married? Engaged?

As we said before, being in a deep and lasting relationship with God can be rightly compared to being married. Wouldn’t you agree that it is important to know your future spouses character before tying the knot? What happens to the relationship if there is no real knowledge of who you are marrying? 


I’m going to pass out some quotes. Form groups again, read, share, discuss

Never build your preaching of forgiveness on the fact that God is our Father and he will forgive us because he loves us. It is untrue to Christ’s revelation of God, making the Cross absolutely unnecessary…anything that belittles or obliterates the holiness of God by a false view of the love of God, is untrue to the revelation of God given by Jesus Christ. Never allow the thought that Jesus stands with us against God (against himself!) out of pity and compassion; that he became a curse for us out of sympathy with us.—Oswald Chambers

 This is one way to look at it: God’s Love makes him willing to forgive, sinners, but his holiness requires him to punish sin; the atonement provides a way to meet the demands of both attributes. The problem with this way of looking at it, is that this equates wrath with vengeance and love with indulgence. A better way to interpret their relationship is to see God’s wrath as the expression, not the antithesis, of his love. –Rice

God’s wrath is his loving response to sin. He finds it repulsive, disgusting. It distresses him to see the ones he loves destroying themselves –Rice

Whosoever comes to me I will never cast out, for I have come down from heaven…that everyone who looks on to the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day (John 6:37,40)

 They are very deep passages. What is one thought that it produces. Do you agree? Disagree? What strikes you more?


The God of love isn’t just a “nice God.” Author Marcus J. Borg states that The God of love is also the God of justice. The two are related, for in the Bible justice is the social form of love. Love that has an edge—and a passion for justice. God loves everybody and everything, and we need to take seriously that side of love—prolonged injustice has consequences.

What happens to human beings is the outcome of their own choices. They bear responsibility for their destiny. (rice)

As a moral being, God is more concerned with the way his followers treat other people than he is with the forms of worship they employ…Rituals are worthless, offensive, in God’s eyes if people abuse the weak and ignore the needs of the poor. (R. Rice)

YANCEY: What good is God? Why doesn’t God do something about wicked people? Why doesn’t God take a more active role in human history?

According to the OT, God did take an active and foreceful role in the past yet it failed to produce lasting faith among the Israelintes. And, as eartly powers have learned, force and freedom make uneasy partners and an emphasis on one always diminishes the other; God consistently tilts towards human freedom. In the end, though, we have to sure answer and only fleeting glimpses of God’s ultimate plan.—Phillip Yancey, What Good Is God?


Briefly refer to Conclusion of: –MY STORY IN ALMOST CRASHING THE CAR– and what I learned about love. 


Your life and my life is to vindicate the name of God. Wherever you go, or in your social media, or blog, or wherever your walk of life takes us, we are called on to represent the truth of the God we serve. God the Father, is love.


Ask so that this week, as we draw near to God and seek him in scripture, we may have a clearer revelation of his character.