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Sabbath School Lessons on Teachings of Jesus
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 11: The Sabbath *
Introduction: I love the Sabbath! In general, it is hard for me to
rest. If I'm at home, and I see something that needs to be done, I
almost always do it. When I'm at work, I always have something I must
do. At any other time than the Sabbath, I feel guilty (or something
like that) when I'm resting and there are things to do. On the
Sabbath, however, my guilt is gone. If I start thinking about the
work I must do, I say to myself, "This is the Sabbath, work is off-limits." What a blessing to have a guilt-free time of rest! The
Sabbath is an important Bible doctrine, so let's dive right into our
- How It Started
- Read Genesis 1:31 and Genesis 2:1. How long did it take
for God to create the world? (Six days.)
- Do you think He could have done it in less? (Read
Genesis 1:14-19. We see that God created the sun,
moon and stars, and put them in motion in one day. My
thought is that if He could do that in one day,
nothing is impossible for Him.)
- Could God have taken more time to create the world?
(Of course, if He made that decision.)
- Read Genesis 2:2-4. If God could have taken less time or
more time to create the world, why do you think He took
six days? (Read Mark 2:27-28. God did it for us. He wanted
us to rest.)
- Look again at Genesis 2:3. What do you think it means
that God "blessed the seventh day and made it holy?"
(Something that is holy is set aside, it is special.
The Sabbath is a special day.)
- God's Authority
- Read Isaiah 45:11-12. What is happening to God here? (He
is being challenged. Humans are second-guessing God.)
- What does God claim as the basis for His authority
over humans? (He is the Creator! I researched this
and found that God's principal claim to authority
throughout the Bible is the fact that He is our
- Read Exodus 20:8. What is the reason why God says we
should keep the Sabbath? (God links the Sabbath to His
power and authority as the Creator. He says that in a
literal six days He created the world, and therefore on
the seventh day we should rest as He did.)
- Let's take a philosophical moment. If you are Satan,
and you want to challenge the authority of God, what
kind of strategy would you form? If you were God,
what would be your strategy?(If I were Satan, I would
try to create doubt about the creation, and I would
try to make it irrelevant. If I were God, I would do
exactly what we read in the Fourth Commandment - I
would have a weekly reminder that I was the Creator.)
- Do you see these strategies being played out in
the world? (Yes, both the literal six-day
creation and the seventh-day Sabbath are under
- Re-read Exodus 20:11. Recall that Moses received the Ten
Commandments from God. I've read claims that the "days" of
Genesis 1 were not days as we know them today. How were
"days" understood in the time of Moses? (What God conveyed
to Moses is beyond debate. Moses and the people understood
these were literal days.)
- I am not a scientist. I'm a logician and a debater.
There are many so-called Christians, including in my
own church, who do not believe in a literal six-day
creation. Set aside the science issue. What is the
proper conclusion if the world was not created in a
literal six days? (God lied. There is no room for the
argument that humans in Moses' day were primitive and
would not have understood, thus God told them
nonsense. God did not have had to give any specific
explanation of His Creation. But, he did. In Genesis
1 and Exodus 20 He is very specific.)
- If God lied, what is the logical conclusion
that follows? (God lied about the very thing
that He claims as the basis for His authority
over humans. This goes to the heart of the
matter of who God is. It goes to the heart of
the matter of being a Christian.)
- Read John 1:1-4 and John 1:14. Who is this "Word?"
- What does the Bible say about the Word and the
creation? (That Jesus is the Creator of Genesis 1.
This is why accepting the creation account is
essential to accepting the authority of Jesus.)
- What Should Sabbath Look Like?
- Read Matthew 12:1-2. What is the charge leveled against
Jesus? (He is not properly controlling his disciples.
They are breaking the Sabbath.)
- Read Matthew 12:3-5. Is Jesus' answer the same as our
children would answer - my sibling is doing the same
thing? Don't pick on me, he is doing it too!
- Are Jesus' disciples like the priests working in the
- Read Matthew 12:6-8. Wait a minute! Jesus is saying
something much greater than "everyone is doing it." What
is Jesus claiming? (He is saying that His disciples are
like the priests working in the temple because Jesus is
the reason for the temple. More than that, Jesus is saying
that He has authority to decide what is proper to do on
- If the Sabbath were about to go the way of the Dodo
bird (become extinct), would Jesus have responded the
way He did? (No. Jesus gives no hint that the Sabbath
is no longer binding. Rather, He says He is "Lord of
- What does Jesus mean when He says, "I desire mercy,
not sacrifice?" And, why are His disciples
"innocent?" (Notice the pattern in the examples Jesus
gives. The first is showing mercy to those who are
hungry. The second is helping those who have come to
the temple. In both cases, showing kindness to humans
is more important than the letter of the law.)
- I recall being at the zoo on Sabbath with a
church group. One couple had young children who
were crying because it was hot and they wanted
a cool drink or ice cream. The couple would not
buy anything for their children because it was
the Sabbath. How do you think Jesus would have
reacted to that decision?
- Read Matthew 12:9-12. What flaw do you see in Jesus'
logic? (The sheep is in distress. This looks like an
emergency. The man with a shriveled hand is no emergency.)
- If I'm correct in making this distinction, what
lesson is Jesus teaching? (Whether you have an
emergency or not is irrelevant. The only question is
whether you are doing good on the Sabbath. If you
are, then what you are doing is appropriate.)
- I often say that the Bible is very limited real
estate. Any lesson that made its way into the Bible
must be important. What is the important lesson here?
(This is powerful proof that Sabbath-keeping would
continue. These are instructions on how to keep the
- Read Matthew 12:13-14. What are the religious leaders
doing on the Sabbath? (They were not doing good. They were
- Read Matthew 24:15-21. Jesus is speaking about the
destruction of the temple which took place in 70 A.D.
Would it violate the Sabbath to flee death on the Sabbath?
(That is certainly "doing good.")
- If I'm right, what is Jesus saying? (Winter is an
unpleasant time to have to flee. You want to enjoy
your Sabbath, not be running for your life. I think
that is the sense of this.)
- Notice the timing issue. If the Sabbath ended at the
cross, would Jesus' statement make any sense? (Jesus
intended the Sabbath to continue to retain its
- Read Revelation 14:6-7. This is an end-time message. What
role does the Sabbath play here? (Recall that the Sabbath
was created as a memorial to creation. The call to worship
the Creator directly implicates the Sabbath.)
- Friend, some who are reading this may have the wrong view
of Sabbath-keeping and may have missed the message about
mercy. Others, may be disregarding the weekly memorial to
the authority of God, and losing out on a guilt-free time
of rest. Will you resolve today to try to properly keep
- Next week: Death and Resurrection.
* Copr. 2014, 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.