Lesson 6

The "Change" of the Law

(Romans 7 & 8, Revelation 14, Genesis 2)
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Introduction: What is the goal of the Christian life? Isn't it to bring glory to God? How do we bring glory to God in the midst of the controversy raging between good and evil? We learned two weeks ago that part of the end time message is that Babylon is fallen. Revelation 14:8. It is defeated, but not dead. That means we need to be alert to the issues in the controversy and do what we can to promote God and His kingdom. Let's dive into our study this week to find out more about a central issue in the push to bring glory to God!

  1. The Good Law


    1. Read Romans 7:14-16. What is the problem here? (That we struggle with sin. We find ourselves doing things that we do not want to do.)


      1. Wait a minute! How can you say you "don't want to do it," when you voluntarily do it anyway? (I think this means intellectually we know we should not do it. Intellectually, we want to obey God.)


      2. What is the agreed-upon standard, the one that we fail? (The law. This is no attack on the law. It shows that the problem is with us.)


    2. Read Romans 7:17-20. Why is it we fail to meet the standard God sets before us? (Our sinful human nature. "Sin living in me.")


      1. Two weeks ago we learned that the Holy Spirit lives in us. John 14:16-17, 23. How can sin also live in us? (This reflects the struggle in our Christian walk.)


    3. Read Romans 7:21-25. Who rescues us from this struggle? (Read Romans 8:1. Jesus! This is what we studied two weeks ago, belief in Jesus is the key to salvation. The path to heaven goes through Him alone.)


    4. Step back a moment, and contemplate how the law is treated in the verses we just studied. Is the law condemned? (No. Romans 7:22 "In my inner being I delight in God's law." The problem is not the law, the problem is us. The problem is our sinful nature. The great good news is that Jesus obeyed the law on our behalf. Through Him, we paid the penalty for our law breaking.)


  2. The Battle For God


    1. Read Revelation 14:6-7. We also looked at this text two weeks ago, but for a different reason. What two things do these verses tell us about our God? (That He is the Creator and that He is bringing judgment.)


      1. Have you ever said, "You have no right to judge me?" If you have not said it, do you agree that a person who renders judgment over you should have authority to judge? (Of course.)


        1. What is the basis for God's authority to make this judgment? (It is the fact that He is the Creator. Many years ago, I did a Bible study to see what God said was the basis for His claim to our allegiance. I don't recall the precise number, but it was at least 100 times I found God using His Creation as the basis for His claim to authority.)


        2. Hugh Ross has a written a series of books about the science of Creation. Ross's understanding of science is far beyond mine, but his point is that God's scientific work is astonishing and precise. It boggles my mind that a God of such enormous intellect and ability should have a daily concern about me!)


        3. Let's bring logic to Revelation 14:6-7. What would you anticipate is at issue among humans during the years leading up to the end time? (God's authority as Creator!)


    2. Read Genesis 2:1-3. Why did God bless the seventh day and make it holy? (Because He had finished the Creation. The Sabbath is specifically linked to the Creation.)


    3. Read Exodus 20:8-11. We were earlier discussing Paul's view of the law as being delightful. At the heart of the law is the Ten Commandments, and at the heart of the Ten Commandments is this command. What is the reason for this commandment? (To celebrate, to memorialize God as our Creator!)


      1. Do you find holidays and vacation days delightful? Recall that Paul calls the law a delight. Does this weekly vacation day delight you?


    4. Read Revelation 14:8. If you were Satan, and you were encouraging human unfaithfulness in regard to God, what would you target first? (Creation. I would try to destroy the belief that God is the Creator. That attacks God's authority over us. Evolution is the most insidious attack because it claims chance could do God's astonishing and precise work. I would also attack the memorial to God's act of creation, the seventh day Sabbath.)


      1. How is Satan doing with his obvious battle plan?


  3. The Bible and the Sabbath


    1. The reason to keep the Sabbath is compelling, given the battle between good and evil. Let's look at some other texts to see if God directed any change in His Creation memorial. Read Luke 4:14-16. What was Jesus' custom with regard to weekly worship? (To worship on the Sabbath.)


    2. Read Luke 23:55-56. What is the custom of Jesus' followers? (They rested on the Sabbath.)


    3. Read Luke 23:50-54. On what day was Jesus crucified? (The "Preparation Day." This tells us Jesus died on Friday.)


    4. Read Luke 24:1-7. When was Jesus raised from the dead? (Sunday. Both the reference to the "first day of the week" and the "third day" tell us that Jesus was in the grave on Sabbath.)


      1. Why did Jesus rest in the grave on Saturday? If your Son had just won the "Super Bowl" of the universe, if your Son had just been brutalized and killed, would you not want to immediately bring Him home and put your arms around Him? (Of course! Jesus is doing the same thing that He and His followers had been doing - resting on the Sabbath.)


      2. How does resting on the Sabbath make any sense here? (When you recall that the Sabbath rest memorializes Jesus' power as our Creator, then it makes perfect sense that after Jesus won the battle over evil, when He won us back, He would rest again on the Sabbath to memorialize His fantastic victory.)


    5. Read Acts 16:13-14. What does this show us about Paul's activities after the death and resurrection of Jesus? (The Bible refers to this day as the Sabbath (and not by a secular title such as Saturday or the seventh day of the week) and it tells us that Paul and some women were gathered to pray.)


      1. What is significant about the fact that this is not a meeting in the synagogue? (Texts that show the disciples speaking in a synagogue on Sabbath might simply reflect they were motivated by a listening crowd, and not making a statement about a day of worship.)


    6. Read John 20:17-19. Does this show that the disciples are worshiping on Sunday? (No. Recall that Jesus was resurrected on Sunday, so Jesus shows Himself to His disciples that same day.)


    7. Read Acts 20:6-7. What day did the people come together to eat and have a meeting? (Recall the Jewish reckoning of days was from sundown to sundown. See Luke 23:54. The reference to Paul speaking after dark might mean the people were together on Sabbath, and they started eating and having Paul speak after dark - thus, the reference to the first day of the week.)


      1. The timing in this story is not clear. Certainly, a note that a meeting took place on Sunday says nothing about a change in the law. If God intended to change the day of rest do you think He would be clear about the change?


    8. Read 1 Corinthians 16:1-2. What does this say about worshiping on the first day of the week? (It says nothing about worship, but rather about putting together your contributions. Paul tells them to do this so they won't be doing it when he comes. That suggests an activity inconsistent with the Sabbath, rather than proof of Sunday worship.)


    9. Read Isaiah 66:22-23. At what point in time are we worshiping on Sabbath here? (In the earth made new! This points to on-going Sabbath worship.)


    10. Friend, if you understand the point of conflict between God and Satan, if you understand that Satan's goal is to erase our understanding of God as our Creator, then you realize the importance of Sabbath keeping. If you are not already worshiping on Sabbath as a special day of rest, will you make that decision right now?


  4. Next week: Matthew 24 and 25.

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