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Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 1: The Voice From Heaven *
Introduction: Would you like to talk with God? In the abstract, I
certainly would. There are a number of topics I would like to
discuss with Him. Why is it we don't have conversations with God? Is
it "our fault?" I've thought that my selfish, rebellious heart might
prefer that God's will be a little ambiguous at times. There are
humans who have communicated with God and some of that talk found its
way into the Bible. This quarter we begin a new study and our topic
is the Bible. Since most readers of these studies first found them on
the GoBible.org web site, you know promoting the study of the Bible
is our mission: so let's dive right into our study and learn more
about conversing with God!
- Whose Looking for Whom?
- Read Genesis 3:1-3. According to Eve, what is God's
standard for her conduct when it came to this tree? (Don't
eat or even touch the fruit of this tree.)
- Read Genesis 3:4. What is the temptation presented to Eve?
(Trusting God. Vanity. Will she die if she eats, or will
she become like God?)
- Read Genesis 3:6. Is this an accidental or a deliberate
violation of God's standard for Eve's conduct?
(Deliberate. She chose to disbelieve God and to believe
- If you were God, what would your reaction be to the
sin of Eve and Adam? (I would be annoyed, to put it
mildly. Eve, at least, does not trust me and has
determined that I would be willing to lie to her.)
- In the universe of sins, how important was this one?
(Very. It plunged the rest of us into sin!)
- Read Genesis 3:8-11. Based on what God does with Adam and
Eve, how do you think God reacts to your deliberate, life-altering sins? (We see that God comes looking for Adam and
Eve. He wants to talk with them about their sin.)
- Read Isaiah 59:1-2. When I was a kid, I was taught that if
I sinned, God would not listen to my prayers. Do you think
that is true?
- If you say, "no, I don't think that is true," what is
wrong with that concept? (It seems to be a variation
on the concept of righteousness by works. Instead of
my works earning salvation, my works earn "access" to
- Let's parse these verses for a few moments. What does
the length of God's arm ( Isaiah 59:1)have to do with
communicating with Him? (This is a common Old
Testament phrase which refers to God's power. His
"arm" is long enough(He has enough power)for whatever
task you have in mind. There is nothing wrong with
God's ability to hear you or help you.)
- So what is the reason why God cannot hear us,
according to Isaiah? (The fault is ours.)
- Getting back to our original question, if "the
fault is ours," does that mean that if we sin
God will not hear us? (Between the Genesis texts
we looked at, and Isaiah's comments about God's
arm and ear, the point is that God is willing
and able to listen to sinners. The "equipment
failure" is on our end. We don't, because of our
sins, want to hear or understand God. Remember
in the introduction where I said sometimes my
selfish, rebellious heart might not want to
clearly understand God's will? I think that is
- Read John 12:37-40. How had sin blocked the communication
between Jesus and the Jewish leaders? Was Jesus unwilling
to communicate? Had God blinded and deafened them? (Jesus
performed miracles in their presence! It was their
decision not to understand the communication.)
- In the Garden of Eden we saw that God directly
communicated with humans. When Jesus came to this earth,
God again directly communicated with humans. What do you
think is the reason why God does not still communicate
with us face to face? (It seems, based on the texts we
have studied, that our sins and our attitudes have
something to do with this.)
- Read Amos 3:7. Why would God talk to His prophets and not
to the population generally? (The prophets must have been
special people, although stories (like that of Jonah) make
us wonder about how special some of them were.)
- Read Joel 2:28-29. Is our sin the only cause of the
limitations on God's conversations with humans? (In the
end times, the Holy Spirit is going to be poured out so
that God will again directly communicate with His people
on a grand scale. That suggests that it is not just our
sins that are at issue, it is God's timing that is also at
- Would you expect that there would be a difference
between the type of people spoken of in Amos 3:7 and
those spoken of in Joel 2:28-29? (I would expect that
the standard for being a prophet would be much higher
in Amos' time - unless the implication of Joel 2 is
that the percentage of "prophet quality" people goes
way up in the end times. In the end times, the people
have the Bible, thus the concerns about accuracy that
you would have if you had only a single source for
determining God's would be diminished.)
- Read 2 Peter 1:20-21. How is God's word revealed through
the words of the prophets recorded in the Bible? (The Holy
Spirit leads humans to record (reveal)the will of God and
not their own will.)
- Does this suggest that prophets have their writings
dictated to them, word for word, by God? (No. The
phrase "carried along" seems to be a cooperative
effort between humans and the Holy Spirit to record
the will of God.)
- Read Hebrews 1:1-3. In what ways has God spoken to us
through Jesus? (Jesus' teachings are recorded in the New
Testament. The fact that God became man and lived with us,
and died for us, speaks volumes about God. Jesus is the
ultimate revelation of God.)
- What do you think the text means when it says that
Jesus is "the exact representation of [God's] being?"
(He shows us what God is like. Jesus is a
conversation about God.)
- When Hebrews 1:3 says that Jesus sustains all things
by "his powerful word," what does that teach us about
God? (Only a word from God is necessary to accomplish
the most difficult feat.)
- Does this suggest a serious imbalance in that
conversation you want to have with God?
- Read John 14:6-8. Was Philip satisfied with Jesus'
statement that if you knew Jesus, you would know God the
Father? (No. He says, "Show us the Father.")
- If one of Jesus' disciples questions Jesus'
revelation of the Father, what should we conclude on
the issue of whether God is revealed through Jesus?
(Read John 14:9-10. Jesus tells Philip that he should
be paying closer attention! God the Father speaks and
works through Jesus.)
- We have previously discussed how God wants to talk to
us, but our sins and our attitudes cause us not to
listen. What else does Philip teach us can keep us
from having a conversation with God? (Not paying
- The Bible
- If the Bible records God's conversations with humans, and
you would like to talk with God, what does that suggest
about you and the Bible? (That you should read it!)
- Read 2 Peter 1:19. What kind of attitude does this text
suggest we should have towards the recorded words of the
prophets? (Like Jesus' statement to Philip, this tells us
to pay attention.)
- When this text says the inspired words of prophets
are like the dawn, what kind of attention does this
suggest we should give to the Bible? (First, dawn is
special. If we want to really see it, we watch
carefully as it slowly becomes day. Second, at dawn
the light becomes steadily brighter. This is a
general principle of Bible study - by studying the
inspired words, more and more you understand the
truth. The light of truth is more clearly seen. If
you keep digging, you find more treasures.)
- Friend, God's words are available to you. If you want to
hear the words of God, you need to read your Bible.
"Reading" is more than a casual activity. The Bible tells
us paying attention while we read, digging to understand
God's will, will give us greater and greater light about
God. Today, will you start to read and dig?
- Next week: The Final Word.
* Copr. 2007, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.