This is a tool for you to use if you lead a Sabbath School (SS) class or small group. It is keyed to the Bible texts used in the current week’s Adult SS lesson and includes a brief story from current news you can use to introduce the discussion and then a series of discussion questions in a relational pattern designed to build fellowship and spiritual reflection.

 

The Ultimate Rest

For use: September 19 – 25, 2021
Texts: Revelation 1:9-19; Matthew 24:4-8, 23-31; Revelation 14:6-12; Hebrews 11:13-16; Philippians 4:4-6

To many of us, the ultimate paradise is life on a tropical island. Though it may seem an impossible dream, there are actually five islands which are advertising job vacancies and offering free land to those who are willing to relocate there, cites travelordietrying.com.

The population of Pitcairn Island has dwindled down to 50 people. Beautiful Easdale Island in Argyll off the west coast of Scotland is in a similar predicament, with a population of 70. They need people who will bring skills to help develop their community. Now that they have electricity and internet service, these islands don’t seem as isolated any longer.

Cape Breton Island, on the east side of Nova Scotia, needs farm workers, and they’ll give a 2-acre plot of land to anyone who will commit to five years of work. The community of Kaitangata on the South Island of New Zealand has nearly 1,000 job vacancies they need to fill. Finally, Hawaii needs qualified education specialists, and they are offering generous salary and compensation packages to those who will work in their local schools.

These all sound like amazing opportunities to realize our dreams of paradisiacal sights and relaxation. Of course, the uber-ultimate paradise is heaven itself, and thanks to Christ’s generous sacrifice, our invitation to live there really is free.

God’s Word guarantees us that Jesus is coming again to take us to our true home. Jesus promised us in John 14:1-3 that there are many mansions there, just waiting for us to occupy them.

It is a challenge, however, to keep our focus on heaven. The cares of this life demand our attention, and thinking of heaven can seem like a fanciful daydream. And, as we face the anxiety and turmoil of daily life on this planet, worldly cares often interrupt our Sabbath rest.

The truth is that this world is not our real home. We are strangers and aliens here, just passing through on our journey home. We can, however, rest assured that we have a bright and hopeful future. Whether we live to see Jesus return, or rest in the grave until that day, we each have a home in paradise right now, waiting for us, with our name etched on the door. When we enter that home and settle down into our heavenly furnishings, we can finally rest from this earthly toil.


For Reflection

Connecting: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you move? Is there some place on your bucket list that you dream of visiting someday? What makes those locations so attractive to you?

Sharing: What, to you, is the most restful aspect of life in heaven?

1. No more alarm clocks and work deadlines
2. The temptation to sin has disappeared
3. All of our relationships are open and honest, devoid of needless drama
4. We won’t worry any longer about our salvation—we will have arrived
5. We experience our true rest in Christ, and we will be in the actual, physical presence of God
6. Other:

Applying: Using a concordance or search feature on a Bible app, look up every instance of the word “saved” in the book of Acts. What do you find there? How then should we prepare for Christ’s return?

Valuing: Do you struggle to keep reminding yourself of the reality of heaven? Do you wrestle with the notion of your assurance of salvation? Make a list of your favorite Bible promises about our eternal home and commit to reviewing them regularly.

~ Chuck Burkeen

Photo credit: https://bensonbaptist.org/zoom/

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