CQ Plus July 16-22 2011

It’s All About Love

Preface: Think of a time when you received a special gift from a special person—your boyfriend, girlfriend, fiancé, husband, wife, mother, father, etc. Thinking of the Sabbath as a special gift from God can help us to appreciate it more, instead of viewing it as a day when you can’t do_______________ (fill in the blank).

When we celebrate the Sabbath, we celebrate God’s love as manifested in His creative and redemptive powers. Because God loved, He prepared a perfect world before He created Adam.

God viewed His creation and saw the vibrant colors of the sky, grass, flowers, and trees. Whales breeched and fish swam in the pristine seas. Birds burst into song. In the heavens, the sun blazed, the moon shimmered, and the stars pulsated. On earth, tame animals roamed. Then, at the end of the sixth day, God created humankind in His image. Humanity was God’s—by creation.

God created the seventh-day Sabbath as a love gift for humankind; as a special day to bring delight (Isa. 58:13, 14). He blessed and sanctified the Sabbath (Gen. 2:3). Today, He still calls people to lay aside all earthly cares and draw closer to Him as they respond to all He has done for them. Sabbathkeepers show the world that God wants to have a loving relationship with everyone. This love includes a plan to redeem us from sin. It is a plan that cost the life of the Creator Himself. Just before Christ died, in His weakest moments, Satan approached Him, asking why He was going to sacrifice His life. After all, had not Christ’s own people rejected Him? And soon a disciple would betray Him for a meager 30 pieces of silver—the price of a slave (Exod. 21:32). Finally, one of Christ’s closest disciples would deny Him—not once—but three times. The Father felt pain when He heard His only Son plead, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will” (Matt. 26:39, NIV).  Christ felt the full weight of sin separate Him from His Father as it bore down upon Him—physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

Yet Christ went through all of this by choice. He bore the accusations, torture, and scorn of His tormentors, the very beings He created. He endured until the very end—a dishonorable death on a cross saved only for criminals. Yet there is joy, for Christ’s resurrection empowered Him to reclaim all who believe and accept Him. Once again we could belong to God by redemption.

The Sabbath attests to the power of a God who created by His words and who resurrected by His words. More than that, however, the Sabbath attests to the power of the love of God—a God who allowed His Son to give up His life to save anyone who accepts Him. Such love elicits adoration and praise from His people each and every day, but especially in the celebration of the Sabbath.

REACT
In what way is the Sabbath message the gospel message?
____________
*The Desire of Ages, p. 289.