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Sabbath School Lessons on Garments of Grace
About the Author
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 9: A Brand Plucked From the Fire *
Introduction: The news this week is that the head of the
International Monetary Fund, and the man leading in the polls for
the office of President of France, sexually attacked a woman
cleaning his hotel room. Assuming this is true, how does such a
thing happen? How can such a sophisticated, important, refined man
engage in such horrible behavior? Can we safely laugh and point?
Or, are you and I capable of such things? God's answer is "yes,"
this should be a moment of truth for all of us. In Romans 3:10-18
Paul quotes the Old Testament statement that we are all "worthless."
No one is righteous. We are all destined to burn ( Malachi 4:1). Our
lesson this week is about being plucked from that fire. That sounds
like an important goal! Let's dive into our Bible study and find
- The Road to God's House
- Read Zechariah 1:1. Who is Darius? (Read Daniel 5:30-6:2.
He is the King of the Medes who defeated Babylon.)
- Read Zechariah 1:2-6. What happened when God was angry
with their ancestors? (They were taken into captivity by
Babylon and that captivity continued with the
- How many of us, because of poor choices, find that
we are slaves to sin?
- Read Haggai 1:1. Notice the time frame. How does it
compare to Zechariah 1:1? (It is the same year! We have
two prophets of God giving messages to His people.)
- Read Haggai 1:2-6. What pattern are we seeing in the
messages of these two prophets? (When we pay no attention
to God, we have problems. It is hard to prosper.)
- The last part of Zechariah 1:6 reports that God's people
acknowledged that they deserved the bad things that they
received - and they repented of their sins. Read
Zechariah 1:16-17. What is God's attitude towards us when
we repent? (He wants to show us mercy. He wants to bless
- What is God's specific goal for Jerusalem? (Both the
prophecies of Zechariah and Haggai speak about rebuilding
God's house (the temple). God will join His people)
- Entering God's House
- Read Zechariah 2:10-13. When verse 11 says "many nations"
to whom is it referring? (God says that God's people are
not simply the Hebrews. Rather, all sorts of nations and
races will "be joined with the Lord in that day and will
become My people." We can enter God's house and live with
- The question is, How do we enter God's house?
- Read Zechariah 3:1. Is Joshua a good or bad guy? (Read
Ezra 3:2-4. Joshua is not only the High Priest, he is
reinstating the sacrifices and the feasts as directed by
Moses. He is truly a good guy.)
- If he is a good guy, why is Satan accusing him?
(Read Hebrews 9:7. The High Priest carried the sins
of the people. In essence, we are being accused by
- Read Zechariah 3:2-3. Is Satan right to accuse Joshua?
(Yes. Not only does he have "filthy" clothes on, but his
hair is on fire. (Well, some part of him is on fire.))
- What does being "filthy" and on fire symbolize?
(Read Revelation 20:15. Joshua is sinful - very
sinful. He is close to being burned up for his
- Is there any argument that Satan is not right to
accuse Joshua? (Satan is much worse! However, Satan
is not on trial.)
- How does God react to these allegations against an
obviously dirty guy? (God rebukes Satan!)
- Think about this a moment. If this is some sort of
trial situation, and God is the Judge and Satan the
accuser, why would Satan accuse Joshua if he is
going to be rebuked for it?(I doubt that Satan
thinks he is winning argument points with God. The
question is whether he is winning argument points
- Read Zechariah 3:4. What did it take for Joshua to be
sin-free? (A heavenly declaration.)
- What are the "rich garments" given to Joshua? (Read
Matthew 22:11 and Revelation 7:9. They are a symbol
- What role does Joshua have in the forgiveness of his
sins and our sins? (The High Priest was an
intercessor. He stood before God in God's house (the
temple) bearing the sins of the people.)
- Read Hebrews 8:1-2 and Hebrews 9:24-26. How does the
story of Joshua and our understanding of the sanctuary in
heaven apply to us today? (We are saved the same way. We
are filthy. We come before our Lord confessing our sins
and requesting His intercession. He takes away our sins
as easily as removing a garment. He gives us His
righteousness as easily as putting on a garment.)
- Read Zechariah 3:5. Who is speaking? (Zechariah.)
- What authority does he have to order that Joshua be
given a "clean turban?" (Commentators indicate that
this was a prayer, or a request, rather than a
- What symbolism do you find in the account of a
person asking for a clean turban after being given a
robe of righteousness? (I did not find any
commentators that agree with me, but here is my
thought. What is the first thing you want to do
after being shown grace? You want a change in your
attitude, your thinking. Your mind is where sin
begins. Like King David you want a "pure heart"
( Psalms 51:10).)
- Read Zechariah 3:6-7. Last week we studied Jesus' parable
of the Good Samaritan. Jesus told the story of the
Samaritan in response to the question ( Luke 10:25), "How
do I go to heaven?" Is this another instruction on how
to go to heaven? ("Those standing here" are heavenly
- Are we back to salvation by works? The Good
Samaritan might be a mythical figure, a seemingly
unreachable goal. But, this language is clear - we
are called to some sort of action.)
- What do you think it means to "govern [God's] house
and have charge of [God's] courts?" (A high priest
would "govern" God's house. A chief judge would have
charge of God's courts. But see, 1 Corinthians 6:2.)
- Does this change the "go to heaven" meaning of
the text? (God is not simply telling us how to
go to heaven, He is telling us how to achieve a
high rank in heaven. Those "standing here" were
in the very presence of God.)
- To what kind of action are we called? (Walking and
- What does the symbolism of "walking" suggest?
(Not a moment by moment analysis of your
actions, but rather the general direction of
- What does "keeping requirements" suggest?
(Obeying God's commands.)
- What should we conclude about the path to salvation? (The
forgiveness of sin and the robe of righteousness are not
based on our works. They are based on us coming before
God for forgiveness, and then God gives us righteousness.
Period. However, our life does not stop there. We pure
minds. We need to respond to God's love with a life
generally in accord with His will. We need to pay
attention to His commands and try to keep them.)
- Do our righteous works make a difference? (Our works
will not save us, but this suggests that they affect
our status in heaven! This is not the only text of
this nature. Consider, among others, Matthew 5:19
and Matthew 6:19-20.)
- Read Zachariah 3:8-9. God tells us to pay special
attention at this point. Why? (Because this story
symbolizes the future. God is about to tell us our
- Who is this "Branch?" (Read Jeremiah 23:5-6. Jesus!)
- Who is the "Stone?" (Read Daniel 2:44-45. The Stone
can also be a reference to Jesus.)
- Notice that the Stone has "seven eyes." What
does that teach us about the future? (That
Jesus has perfect vision. He is watching our
life, watching out for us.)
- In the future, "the sin of this land" is removed in
one day. Did that happen? (Yes! When the Branch,
the Stone, died in our place and rose to eternal
life! Praise God!)
- Friend, last week and this week we talked about how you
can be saved by grace alone. There is nothing you can do
to earn your salvation. After our salvation, God calls us
to walk in His ways and be obedient to His commands. In
light of what Jesus has done to save your life, and the
lives of those you love most, will you determine today to
ask for purity of mind so that pure actions will follow?
- Next Week: The Prodigal's New Clothes.
* Copr. 2011, 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.