Lesson S4 – New Covenant Ceremonies

bread communionIntroduction: In Old Testament times righteousness by faith was illustrated through the sacrificial system. In the New Testament it is illustrated through the communion service.

1. In the sacrificial system of ancient Israel, what two elements had special significance? Ex. 24:6-8; Lev. 3:16, 17 [Ans: Blood and fat. The Further-study verses are Eze. 44:7, 15]

2. What spiritual reality did the blood represent? Rom. 3:23-26 [Ans: It pointed forward to Jesus’ blood, which was shed for the forgiveness of our sins. Forgiveness is also called justification. Lev. 17:10-14]

3. What special meaning was associated with the fat? 1 Sam. 15:22 [Note: As the blood pointed forward to Christ’s blood and represented forgiveness, so the fat represented Christ’s body, and obedience, or sanctification. King Saul sacrificed the fat of animals, but he had not obeyed the Lord, therefore his offering was unacceptable. Gen. 4:4. Compare Lev. 17:6 and Num. 18:17 with Eph. 5:1,2; and 1 Peter 1:22]

4. What two symbols did Christ include in the new-covenant communion service? Luke 22:19, 20 [1 Cor. 10:16-18]

5. What did the wine, or grape juice, represent? Matt. 26:26-29; 1 Peter 1:18-20 [Ans: As the blood of the animal sacrifice pointed to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, so the wine represented Jesus’ blood that was shed for “the remission of sins.” The “fruit of the vine” Jesus used was “new” and untainted. Yeast, which causes fermentation, was a symbol of sin, hence its use was prohibited at the Passover feast. Rom. 3:24-26; Rev. 13:8; Ex. 34:7]

6. As the fat of the sacrifices anciently represented Jesus’ body, so the bread in the communion service is a symbol of Christ’s body. What was accomplished by the death of Christ on the cross for us? Heb. 10:10 [Note: As the blood and fat of the Old Testament sacrifices were symbols of justification and sanctification, so the grape juice and bread of the new covenant may be viewed as symbols of this two-fold work of grace. Justification and sanctification must always go together, for Jesus died not merely to forgive sin, and thus account us righteous, but to free us from the dominion of sin, and thus make us righteous. 1 Peter 1:2; and 1 Peter 2:24; Matt. 1:21; 1 John 2:1-6; 1 John 3:3-6]

7. What great gift do we receive through partaking of the “bread of life”? John 6:47, 48, 51 [John 6:33-35]

8. What did Christ mean when He said we should eat of His flesh? John 6:51, 63 [Note: When we read the Bible with the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, our lives are changed. Jesus’ life, as manifested in the Bible, becomes our life. We should partake of this spiritual food just as regularly as we partake of physical food. When we partake of the bread of the communion service, we pledge to partake of His Word. John 1:1, 14, 18; 17:14, 17]

9. In the new-covenant service, what order is followed in partaking of the grape juice and the bread? 1 Cor. 11:23-26 [Note: Sanctification begins simultaneously with justification when we surrender ourselves totally to Christ. As soon as we surrender, Christ offers us free and complete forgiveness. But while sanctification begins at the time of justification, it must continue as long as we live. Both justification and sanctification are the work of grace. 1 Cor. 6:11; and 1 Peter 1:2; and 2 Thess. 2:13; and Heb. 10:14]

10. What warning does Paul give to us about partaking of the new-covenant service “in an unworthy manner,” without discerning its sacred character? 1 Cor. 11:27-30 [2 Cor. 13:5; Heb. 10:29]

11. In order to prepare the disciples’ hearts for the communion ceremony, what service did Jesus perform for them? John 13:3-5 [Mark 10:43-45]

12. How important was it for Jesus to wash the disciples’ feet? John 13:6-8 [1 Cor. 6:11]

13. After Jesus had washed their feet, were the disciples spiritually clean? John 13:9, 10 [Note: The disciples had already been washed in baptism, hence did not need a rebaptism. They had not apostatized. But they had harbored jealousy and unbelief, and needed to be cleansed from these sins. Eph. 5:26, 27]

14. After washing their feet, what did Jesus say to His disciples? How do we know that He was establishing a ceremony that He wants us to follow today? John 13:12-15 [Matt. 20:27, 28]

15. Some, like Peter, hesitate to have their feet washed, or to wash another’s feet. But what promise is given to those who follow Jesus’ example? John 13:15-17 [Matt. 23:11, 12; John 15:11]

16. While the communion service reminds us of Christ’s death, toward what future event does it point? Matt. 26:29 [1 Cor. 11:26]

Commitment: Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53). Will you pledge to partake of Christ’s body, both in the communion service and through the study of His Word, so that you may become more like Jesus? As you drink the grape juice, will you accept Christ’s forgiveness, give thanks for His atoning blood, and determine to be among those who shall be with Jesus when He drinks the fruit of the vine in heaven? And will you follow Jesus’ example in the foot-washing ceremony, giving thanks that through Jesus your sins are washed away?

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Lesson 12 – God’s Court of Justice

gavelIntroduction: In our last lesson we learned that Jesus is working (ministering) for us in the heavenly sanctuary. We might call this sanctuary Jesus’ and His Father’s office or court. The ministering angels are their staff. There are many types of work carried on in the sanctuary, but one of the most important is that of judgment. Sometimes we think of judgment in negative terms, but the purpose of this judgment is to declare us “not guilty”–if possible! In this lesson we shall study the work of the judgment as carried on in the heavenly sanctuary.

1. What court summons do we all have pending? 2 Cor. 5:10 [The Further-study verse is Rom. 14:10.]

2. There are three parts to a court case: (1) Investigation, (2) Sentencing, and (3) Execution of the sentence. When will the investigative part of the judgment be done–before or after Jesus comes? Rev. 22:12 [Ans: Jesus comes WITH the rewards to pronounce sentence, therefore the investigative part of the judgment must already have been done. Matt. 16:27]

3. Must we appear in person, or is there a record of our lives that will be reviewed? Rev. 20:12 [Mal. 3:16]

4. With whom does this investigation of people’s LIFE-RECORD begin? 1 Peter 4:17 [Ans: With the professed followers of God. Daniel 7:22 states: “The Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High” (NKJV). The Beast had judged against the saints, but God judges for them. Actually, the words “in favor” are italicized in the NKJV, meaning they were supplied by the translators. The passage literally reads, “A judgment was made of the saints.” Dan. 7:21, 22; Matt. 22:11-14]

5. Though no longer permitted in the sanctuary courtroom, who is the prosecuting attorney who accuses God’s people? Rev. 12:9, 10 [Job 1:8-11]

6. Who is the defense attorney who serves as our advocate? 1 John 2:1 [Rom. 8:33, 34]

7. What will happen to the record of the sins of God’s people who were converted and who repented of their sins? Acts 3:19 [1 John 1:9]

8. There are various books of record in heaven. What is the name of the register that records the names of those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior and Advocate? Rev. 21:27 [Phil. 4:3; Rev. 13:8; 20:12; 22:19]

9. What will happen to those who were once “saved” and registered in this book of life, but who continue to cherish sin? Ex.32:31-33 [Rev. 3:5; Eze. 18:21-24; 33:11-16]

10. Will all who profess that Jesus is their Savior, and who claim to be saved, ultimately be saved? Matt. 7:21-23 [2 Thess. 2:9-12]

11. Will we be judged by our religious profession or by some other means? Eccl. 12:13, 14 [James 2:12]

12. Although we are saved by grace through faith alone and not by works, for it is by faith that our sins are forgiven and our lives are changed, by what will we be judged? Matt. 16:27 [Rev. 22:12]

13. How do our works reveal our faith? Matt. 7:16-20 [James 2:17]

14. When God showed Daniel the future of the earth (Lesson 7), He depicted the rise of Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome by four symbolic beasts; and then He used ten horns to depict the splintering of the Roman Empire into European fragments. What did Daniel see happening in the heavenly sanctuary, where God’s throne is, sometime after the division of Rome into the European nations? Dan. 7:9, 10 [Rev. 14:6, 7]

15. Jesus offers to be our advocate in this court of justice, but He does not plead everyone’s case. Jesus said He had never “known” (never represented or been the advocate of) those who called Him “Lord” in Matthew 7:21-23. How can we make sure that He will be our advocate and thus win our case, in the judgment? 1 John 2:1-6 [John 15:10; Prov. 28:9]

Commitment: The judgment in the heavenly sanctuary has eternal consequences for every one of us. Do you desire to have Jesus as your advocate in this judgment? Will you continue to learn from Him and to walk in the light that He is revealing to you so that you may have the assurance of eternal life in Him?

STEP 2 (Lessons 11-20): Accepting Christ’s Final Message

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Lesson S1 – Is the Bible God’s Word

Introduction: The Bible says that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God,” for “prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Tim. 3:16; and 2 Peter 1:21). The claim of the Bible is that it is the word of the living God, written by human penmen, to the inhabitants of earth. How can we know that this claim of the Bible is true?

1. What element is essential in order for us to believe the Bible? Heb. 11:3, 6 [Note: Not only the Bible testimony but most of our learning has been received through faith. As children, our parents showed us a ball and said, “This is a ball.” We learned because we had faith in their word. Most of us have not been to Mongolia, but we believe it exists because we have faith in the authorities who have told us. Many people reject the Bible because of their belief in evolution, but evolution itself can be believed only on the basis of faith in someone’s interpretation of selected evidence. The Further-study verse is Heb. 4:2]

2. What is faith? Heb. 11:1 [Ans: Faith is evidence, for it is founded upon evidence. God does not bypass the human mind. He says, “Come now, and let us reason together” (Isa. 1:18). God gives sufficient evidence upon which to honestly base our faith. But faith is founded upon evidence of things which are not seen with natural sight. We cannot see the wind, but we can see the evidences of the wind. Rom. 8:24, 25]

3. What is one evidence that God has given us on which we can base our faith? Isa. 45:18-21 [Ans: The God of the Bible claims to be the only God, the Creator of heaven and earth. As evidence, He says He has foretold current happenings “from ancient times.” 2 Peter 1:19]

4. What knowledge does God alone have? Isa. 46:9, 10 [Note: In the lessons following in this series, we will note prophecies that foretold accurately events happening thousands of years later. We will note prophecies of Greece, Rome, and Europe, in some cases giving the specific dates for certain events. The Bible also describes the events and conditions of today. John 14:29]

5. What conditions does the Bible predict will prevail in society today? 2 Tim. 3:1-4 [Note: Sin has always existed in society, but the conditions describe in our text will increase in the last days. Matt. 24:37-39; Gen. 6:5]

6. What international conditions does the Bible picture for the last days? Matt. 24:6, 7 [ Rev. 11:18]

7. In the midst of calamities, violence, and threats of war, for what will many people be seeking and predicting? 1 Thess. 5:2, 3 [ Rev. 18:7, 8]

8. What religious conditions will prevail in the last days? 2 Peter 3:3-7a [Ans. Men and women will scoff at the faith of Christians, denying the evidences of creation and the flood. They will claim that all things continue in a uniform process of evolution that cannot be, and has not been, changed. Luke 18:8; Rom. 1:19-22]

9. While the moral conditions of society are deteriorating, while efforts to reduce international tensions are preoccupying us, and while evolution is replacing belief in creation, what will suddenly happen to earth? 2 Peter 3:10-13 [ Luke 21:34, 35]

10. How can we be preserved from the coming destruction? John 3:16 [ Ps. 91:1, 2, 7-10; 27:1-5; John 6:39, 40]

11. From whom do we receive the gift of faith, which we must have in order to believe and be saved? Rom. 12:3 [ Heb. 12:2; Mark 9:24; James 1:5, 17]

12. Through what process does God develop faith? Rom. 10:14, 17 [ 1 Cor. 1:21-24; Matt. 24:14]

13. How only can we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ? John 6:44, 45 [Only those who have learned from the Father can believe on Jesus Christ. As we ask God to teach us, while studying the Bible and opening our minds to the evidences of His presence, He will teach us; He will give us faith; and we will be drawn to Christ as our Savior. John 20:31; Mark 16:17]

14. What invitation does God give to each one of us? Ps. 34:8 [ Matt. 11:28-30]

Commitment: To be understood, the Bible must be studied from a higher standpoint than mere human logic. There must also be the element of conviction from God and an exercise of faith. In His Word, God has given abundant evidence upon which to base our faith in Him. We have looked at one evidence-He can foretell the future. The greatest evidence is the abiding presence of Christ within one’s life. God is fair. He says, “Taste and see” for yourself (Ps. 34:8). You do not have to rely on another’s faith. His promise is that “You will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13). Will you give God a chance to demonstrate His goodness in your life?

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