"The End of the World As We Know It"
Click below to download the Cornerstone Connections leader’s guide and student lesson. This week’s resources also include two lesson plans and a discussion starter video which offer different ways of looking at the topic. Each lesson plan includes opening activities, scripture passages, discussion questions, and real-life applications.
The Great Controversy
(or Love Under Fire) Chapter 40
We oftentimes focus on the difficulty of the end-times and forget to focus on the power of God to deliver us. We need to remember that we are not alone, and we are truly safe with God!
Have you ever been scuba diving? It’s imperative when scuba diving to pay attention to how much air you have used, how deep you are diving, how long you have been down, and how far from where you started you are. If you run out of oxygen, you may not be able to make it to the surface in time to avoid drowning. If you go too deep, you may find yourself in a situation where too much nitrogen builds up in your body. If you stay down too long, you risk needing to make an extra stop on the way up to avoid decompression sickness. If you go too far away from where you started there are several possible outcomes you won’t like. Our lesson today is like scuba diving: God gave guidelines in Scripture that He wants us to follow. His laws aren’t complicated, but they need to be paid attention to or the outcome won’t be what He had in mind for us. Just when it looks like the situation is hopeless, He steps in and rescues His people.
OPENING ACTIVITY: NAME CROSSWORD
E d d i e V a n d y k e
J a n e e n L i t t l e
S a m a n t h a O w e n s
F r a n k S m i t h
J o n a t h e n H u m p e r d i n k
As any sports fan knows, the final seconds of a game might just be the most exciting, if the game is close. One can go from gut-wrenching despair to triumphant exuberance in the blink of an eye if your favorite team can pull a win out at the last second. In the final moments of earth history, it may seem like a close game, but it’s not—God wins no matter how bleak it looks. Our study time will take a look into the final moments before Jesus comes.
BIBLE STUDY GUIDE
“At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered. 2 Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt.
Read John 14:1-4.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Read Revelation 1:7.
7 “Look, he is coming with the clouds,”
and “every eye will see him,
even those who pierced him”;
and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.”
So shall it be! Amen.
Read Revelation 7:14-17.
14 I answered, “Sir, you know.”
And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore,
“they are before the throne of God
and serve him day and night in his temple;
and he who sits on the throne
will shelter them with his presence.
16 ‘Never again will they hunger;
never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,’
nor any scorching heat.
17 For the Lamb at the center of the throne
will be their shepherd;
‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’
‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.’”
Here is what Ellen White shares about this time period in the Great Controversy:
“The people of God—some in prison cells, some hidden in solitary retreats in the forests and the mountains—still plead for divine protection, while in every quarter companies of armed men, urged on by hosts of evil angels, are preparing for the work of death. It is now, in the hour of utmost extremity, that the God of Israel will interpose for the deliverance of His chosen. Saith the Lord; ‘Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth . . . to come into the mountain of the Lord, to the Mighty One of Israel. And the Lord shall cause His glorious voice to be heard, and shall show the lighting down of His arm, with the indignation of His anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones.’ Isaiah 30:29, 30” (GC, p. 636).
It is in the darkest moments of human history that the brilliance of God shines the most and provides a way of escape.
Read 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18.
16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.
Waiting for Jesus to arrive isn’t always the easiest or most comfortable thing to do. Every day decisions come our way that impact our future. Some question whether they will be able to be faithful enough that Jesus will want to take them home. According to the passages we looked at, our part is to trust Jesus and allow Him to work in our lives. His home is big enough for everyone who wants to live with Him. Don’t get caught in the trap of trying to figure out every little detail regarding His second coming. That shouldn’t be the focus. Our job is to focus on allowing Jesus access to our hearts, falling in love with Him again each day, and being ready when He comes.
Write a prayer to Jesus, describing any fears you have of the future and asking Him to help take those fears away. Remember—Scripture is clear: Jesus Wins!
For a Relational Bible Study (RBS) you’ll want to get into the Scripture passage and encourage the youth to imagine participating in the story while it’s happening. Then you will be able to better apply it to your own situation today.
You will need to ask God for the Holy Spirit to be present as your small group discusses the questions (no more than 3-6 people in a group is recommended). Start with the opening question. It is a personal question and the answer is unique for each individual. There is no right answer and nobody is an expert here, so don’t be surprised when you hear different responses. You are depending on the Holy Spirit to be present and to speak through your group. Say what God prompts you to say, and listen to what others share.
Take turns reading the chapter out loud. Follow that with giving the students some time to individually mark their responses to the questions (a PDF version of the handout is available as a download). This gives each person a starting point for responding when you start to share as a group. Next, begin the discussion by asking the students to share what they marked and why on each question as you work your way through. Feel free to take more time on some questions than others as discussion warrants.
Encourage each person in the group to apply what is discussed to their personal lives and to share with the group what they believe God wants them to do. Then ask them to pray that God will help each of them to follow through in doing so. Remind them to expect that God will show them ways to live out the message of this passage in the coming week, and that they are free to ask others in the group to help hold them accountable.
When you hear about “the end of the world” do you think of a threat or a promise? Ever since Jesus promised to return (John 14:1-3), people have been looking for Christ’s Second Coming. Some people get all worked up and begin a countdown. Others burn out and stop thinking about it at all. You might be one of those people who fully expect Jesus to return during your lifetime, or you could be someone who thinks Jesus will come after you’re dead and gone.
Seventh-day Adventists, by our very name “Adventist,” live in anticipation of Christ’s return—we’re looking for the Advent. The Millerites actually predicted Jesus would come on October 22, 1844—more than 175 years ago. When Jesus didn’t return on that date, some set a new date, some gave up, and a few continued to live in expectation of Christ’s return, but no longer set any dates. These became “Seventh-day Adventists.”
If you’re in this Youth Sabbath School, you are probably a Seventh-day Adventist. How do you live as an Adventist? Do you think about Christ’s return? Do you expect it soon? What does “soon” mean to you? Or is this just something in the back of your mind? Christ’s parable of the faithful servant who did what his master asked him to do could live in eagerness for his master’s return rather than hoping his master wouldn’t return because he was living contrary to his master’s instructions (see Luke 12:41-47).
While there are multiple Bible passages and special verses about Christ’s Second Coming, for our RBS (Relational Bible Study) this week, we’ll look at 2 Peter 3:3-14 for Peter’s guidance for those who share the precious faith given us by Jesus which makes us right with God (2 Peter 1:1).
Is Jesus Coming Soon?
Who in your family is the slowest to get ready for something?
Read 2 Peter 3:3-14.
3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. f That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells.
14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.
1. What do “scoffers” scoff about these days?
2. When will Jesus return to this earth?
3. Time—how does God relate to it and how do humans relate to it?
____ Other:______________. ____
4. When does it feel like the Lord is slow in keeping His promises?
5. When you think of the end of the world, what comes to your mind?
6. What does it mean to live a holy and Godly life (vs. 14)?
7. How can we trust God’s promises when they don’t happen right away?
8. Do you want Jesus to return “soon”? Why or why not?
Matthew 24 tells us that no man knows the day or hour that Jesus is coming (vs. 36, 42, 44) and it will be like “a thief in the night” (vs. 43). Does that sound familiar? (Go back to 2 Peter 3:10). This doesn’t mean He will come in a ski mask or break into your house. In fact, His coming isn’t sneaky or quiet at all (see 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). It means it will be unexpected and sudden for those who choose to stay in darkness when Jesus has invited them to a life in Him filled with His light.
The Gospel or good news is simple, and when we choose to accept the gift of salvation He freely gives us, we can read the words of 1 Thessalonians 5 and see that the day He comes will not surprise us like a thief (v. 4). We can put on faith, love, and the hope of salvation (vs. 8-9) as we wait for the Lord and encourage one another (v. 11). Although it seems like we’ve been waiting forever, 2 Peter 3:9 reminds us that God is patiently waiting so all may have a chance to accept Him. As the world gets worse and anxieties and fears surround us, we have a real hope in Jesus who promises to be with us even until the end of this age (Matt. 28:19-20).
About 2,000 years ago, Jesus promised He would return to earth. How does this affect what you will do this next week as a follower of Jesus who is living in anticipation of His return? Here are a few ideas you could use to apply this Scripture to your life, or maybe it will spark other ideas for you to live it out this week.
How soon do you want Jesus to return to earth? Some would like Jesus to return today, while others have some things they want to do first. Often older people have already done many things younger people haven’t yet done, so they might be more eager for Christ’s return. What are your feelings about His return?
Do you want Jesus to spell out in detail what He wants you to do? He’s already given some general instructions for all people (like the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7), as well as some specific instructions for specific people (compare Luke 8:37-39 with Luke 18:22-23).
In 1 Thessalonians 5:11, Christian missionary Paul tells one early church community to encourage each other while they wait for Jesus to come.
While Peter wrote to those waiting for Jesus to come back (2 Peter 3:13), Paul inspired them to look forward to the new heavens and a new earth just as God had promised. In another letter Paul called this “the blessed hope” (Titus 2:13).
By Vandeon Griffin, Tracy Wood, and Armando Miranda
The #ONETEAM CHALLENGE is a 21-day devotional written by leaders for leaders. As co-laborers in the Seventh-day Adventist Church commissioned to lead and serve the youth and young adult generation, we share the burdens and triumphs of ministry.
In this devotional, we will walk together through scripture and journey through the lessons of life and ministry. Daily, you will be challenged with reflective questions and to share your affirmations on social media to encourage and inspire others. We are #ONETEAM!
Birthday in a Box
Spread birthday joy at shelters. Collect and assemble birthday candles, cake mix, frosting, decorations, plates, cups, napkins, and a simple toy or two in a box. Decorate the box.
Cost: Less than $10.00
Sock Collection for Homeless
Give the item most requested at homeless shelters. Collect and donate white crew socks for men, women, and children.
Cost: Less than $5.00
Paper Bag Decorating for Meals on Wheels / Food Bank Snack Pack
Add pizzazz to lunch for seniors. In addition to receiving the hot portion of the meal in a tray, Meals on Wheels recipients get the cold portion in a lunch bag. Add life to their meals by decorating lunch bags. Simply buy paper lunch bags and use your creativity, crayons, markers, stickers, or any art materials you have on hand.
Cost: Less than $5.00