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Sabbath School Lessons on Worship
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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 4: Rejoicing Before the Lord: the Sanctuary and Worship *
Introduction: When I was in school, I spent a summer working for a
small construction company. It was not a great job. The work was
dangerous because the owners seemed uncertain about some fundamental
rules, like gravity for example. One of the owners cut off a board
that he was sitting on and fell eight feet onto a cement sidewalk. The
owners were hardly alert to danger for their employees since they did
not seem to notice matters involving their own safety. Another problem
involved giving directions. One owner would quickly state what he
wanted me to build, and when I did not understand, he would take his
pencil and draw on the ground what passed for a picture. He would then
announce that he had told me, and even drawn me a picture, and
therefore I had plenty of instruction. Our God has drawn us a picture
about His plan of salvation. Unlike the pictures drawn by my former
boss, God's picture is full of details. Let's dive into our Bible to
see what picture God drew for His people about salvation!
- Heaven's Picture - God With Us
- Read Exodus 25:8-9 and Hebrews 8:5. We see that God told
Moses to make a sanctuary according to a "pattern" that God
showed him. Notice that Hebrews describes it as a "shadow of
what is in heaven." What does that tell us about the earth
version of the tabernacle? (How would you compare your
shadow to yourself? It is a copy, but it gives us only a
general idea of the original.)
- What did God say was His reason for asking Moses to
build a sanctuary? (God wanted to "dwell among" His
- Read Revelation 21:2-4. What is God's ultimate plan for His
followers? (That He will live with them! Heaven will come
down to earth and God will dwell with humans. Notice that
this is a long-standing desire of God.)
- If someone says that they want to live with you (and
they can otherwise afford to pay rent) what does that
say about their attitude towards you? (God loves you!)
- Heaven's Picture - Human Partners
- Read Exodus 25:1-7. How was God's dwelling place on earth to
be built? (By gifts from God's people.)
- Read Exodus 35:20-21. Were the people coerced into giving
God the materials for His sanctuary? (No. "Everyone who was
willing and whose heart moved them" brought gifts.)
- If you were God, and it was an incredible privilege
and honor for whatever group of humans you decided to
honor with your presence, would you have this same
attitude towards the funding of your home?
- Or, if you were God, would you think it was beneath
you to fool around with humans - and you would speak
into existence a great mobile palace?
- What does this teach us about God's attitude towards
humans? (It shows that God wants to partner with us in
accomplishing His will, but God does not coerce us -
even when He has a legitimate claim for our support.)
- Read Exodus 35:22. What do you think about the source of the
gold for God's house?
- You recall that two weeks ago we studied the golden
calf made by Aaron? Read Exodus 32:1-4. What was used
to make the golden calf? (The same thing - gold
- Think even further back about the source of this gold.
Remember that these people were slaves. Their
possessions undoubtedly came from the Egyptians (see
Exodus 12:35-36). What does this tell us about God's
goals for our wealth? (First, God owns everything. The
Hebrews only had this gold because God had intervened
on their behalf. God could justly claim it all, but He
did not. He let the people decide. Second, the gold
was not "clean" or "dirty," rather the question is how
God's people will use it. Will we use it to build an
idol, or will we use it to give glory to God?)
- What do these gifts suggest about the support for
God's work today? (God wants us to bring our secular
talents and our common resources and use them to
advance the Kingdom of God. All sorts of gifts and
talents can be used to support the gospel.)
- Read Exodus 25:9 again. How precise did God ask Moses to be?
(God says make it "exactly like" the pattern.)
- Do you think that God is particular about our part in
our partnership with Him?(God does not coerce us. God
uses our common talents. But, God has high standards
for us. If we choose to join in God's work, He expects
us to obey.)
- God's Picture - Sanctuary Attitude
- Read Hebrews 10:1. Notice the reference again to a "shadow."
Just like we learned that the sanctuary on earth was a
shadow of the one in heaven, so the law is a shadow "of the
good things that are coming." What do you think is the
reality - more laws?
- What does this text suggest is the goal of the law?
(To make us perfect. For this goal it is a mere
- Read Hebrews 10:2-7. What is the reality of the law? What is
the original? (Jesus' sacrifice on our behalf. The goal of
the law was to make us perfect, but for that it was a mere
shadow. Jesus was the reality.)
- Read Hebrews 10:8-10. If God was not pleased with the
sacrifices, why did the Old Testament require them? (Look
again at Hebrews 10:3. We are told that the sacrifices were
for us - to remind us of our sins.)
- How would you suggest that we can be reminded today of our
sins? (Jesus died in our place. We should be reminded of
this through the Lord's Supper. See 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.)
- Is there some way you could be reminded more often?
- Is there a way in which the law could be part of
this reminder? (Read Matthew 22:36-40. Jesus
tells us to love our neighbor "as yourself."
This involves some sacrifice. Hebrews 10 is all
about sacrifice. The idea that forms in my mind
is that when we sacrifice for others, we are
reminded of the sacrifice that Jesus made for us.
In this way the law is a "shadow" of the reality
of Jesus' extreme love for us.)
- Read Romans 12:1. What does Paul teach us about
this kind of sacrificial attitude? (It is a form
of worship - true and proper worship!)
- I'm on vacation as I write this lesson. I've found a
local church to visit each Sabbath of my vacation.
These churches have been very small - and in some
respects this is very discouraging. Why do so few
attend? What would cause you personally to leave a
church? (Do we attend church so that we can sacrifice?
Or, do we attend church so that we can be spiritually
fed by others?)
- If we decided to be part of the group that
spiritually fed others, would that feed us?
- We started out by saying "What picture has God drawn for us
by His sanctuary on earth?" What is your answer to that
question? (God wants to dwell with us. God does not coerce
us. However, dwelling with God is a serious commitment. The
entire system of the law and sanctuary draws a picture of
sacrifice for others. True worship is self-sacrifice. True
worship is a constant reminder of what God has sacrificed
for our sins.)
- Friend, have you examined your life to evaluate whether you
have a spirit of self-sacrifice, or a spirit of self-gratification? Will you ask the Holy Spirit today to convert
your heart so that you better reflect the law and the love
of Jesus towards you?
- Next week: Happy Are You, Israel.
* 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.