Author Topic: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 7--2nd Quarter 2016--Lord of Jews and Gentiles  (Read 7222 times)

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Richard Myers

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Friday May 13

Further Thought: A Christian was speaking to students on a secular campus about the existence of God. After using all the common arguments, he took a different tack, saying: “You know, when I was about the age of most of you, and not believing in God, every now and then, when something would convict me that maybe God did exist, I always pushed the notion out of my mind. Why? Because something told me that if, indeed, God did exist, then—considering how I was living—I was in deep trouble.” The mood shifted, instantly. Dozens of consciences, in sync, started grinding against themselves. It was almost as if the temperature in the room rose from the friction behind all these suddenly uncomfortable faces. He clearly struck a nerve. These students, not Christians, and thus probably not too concerned about the Ten Commandments, nevertheless still sensed that all was not right with their lives morally and that if there were a God they would have a lot to answer for. As Christians, however, people who should be very attuned to God’s moral standards, we don’t have to feel uncomfortable when confronted with the reality of a moral God, and that’s because of the promise of the gospel. Whether Jew or Gentile, when confronted by our sinfulness, we can take refuge in the righteousness of Christ offered to us by faith “without the deeds of the law.” Rom. 3:28. When we become acutely aware of our sin, we can claim the promise that "there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Rom. 8:1. Jew, Gentile—it doesn’t matter. “Without distinction of age, or rank, or nationality, or religious privilege, all are invited to come unto Him and live.”—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 403.

Since so many in the church have believed a lie, there is great need to clarify the statement being made in today's lesson. Let's look at what was said and how many will take it. "Whether Jew or Gentile, when confronted by our sinfulness, we can take refuge in the righteousness of Christ offered to us by faith “without the deeds of the law.” Rom. 3:28. It appears the author is very concerned about Phariseeism. That is good, but Phariseeism is not the predominate false doctrine being taught in professing Christianity nor in our church today. The great deception is that when one sins a known sin he does not have to repent in order to retain salvation. Therefore, the above statement leads many to believe they are saved in their sin. It is interesting the author used the term "sinfulness". That made the statement good, but it does not appear he meant only "sinfulness" because in the following sentence he used the term "sin". "When we become acutely aware of our sin, we can claim the promise that "there is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” Rom. 8:1.

Many will take this to mean just what the author was saying in his example with the students. When  the professing Christian considers he is sinning, he will not be as the worldly students, because his sin is covered by the blood of Christ. There is no need to have good works because the "righteousness of Christ" stands in place of my sins. This is the "evangelical gospel" that is being taught in our church. The truth is that the blood of Christ and His righteousness will not cover one unconfessed and unforsaken sin.

This is so important that we shall spend a few moments in revealing this is indeed a great lie. First, let us look at Scripture. Let's take Romans 8:1 in context. Does it allow one who sins a known sin to retain salvation? You be the judge:


 8:1   [There is] therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 
 8:2   For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. 
 8:3   For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 
 8:4   That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 
 8:5   For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 
 8:6   For to be carnally minded [is] death; but to be spiritually minded [is] life and peace. 
 8:7   Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. 
 8:8   So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. 
 8:9   But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. 
 8:10   And if Christ [be] in you, the body [is] dead because of sin; but the Spirit [is] life because of righteousness. 
 8:11   But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. 
 8:12   Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. 
 8:13   For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 
 8:14   For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 


Discussion Questions:

    Read Matthew 16:1-12.

 16:1   The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would show them a sign from heaven. 
 16:2   He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, [It will be] fair weather: for the sky is red. 
 16:3   And in the morning, [It will be] foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O [ye] hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not [discern] the signs of the times? 
 16:4   A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed. 
 16:5   And when his disciples were come to the other side, they had forgotten to take bread. 
 16:6   Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. 
 16:7   And they reasoned among themselves, saying, [It is] because we have taken no bread. 
 16:8   [Which] when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O ye of little faith, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread? 
 16:9   Do ye not yet understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 
 16:10   Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up? 
 16:11   How is it that ye do not understand that I spake [it] not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? 
 16:12   Then understood they how that he bade [them] not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. 


What do you think Jesus means when He says, “take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.” Matt. 16:6. At first the disciples thought Jesus meant literal yeast. During Passover, the Jews were careful to get rid of leaven; so, they thought Jesus was instructing them not to buy bread with leaven. But Jesus had in mind something much deeper. What was it?

Jesus was speaking to a Laodicean people who thought they had salvation because they were the children of Abraham. Are the warning Words from Jesus present truth for us today also? Do they give support to the message to the church found in Revelation chapter three? First we need to understand what Jesus meant when He talked about the leaven of the leaders of the church. Leaven is something that spreads through the dough when making raised bread. Just a little bit of yeast will end up in all of the dough. So it was with the deceptions taught by the leaders in the church in Christ's day. He was warning His disciples that the leaders of the Jews had perverted the truth. Their teaching and their lives would "leaven" the nation. All who came in contact with them were in great danger of being deceived.

When we consider the need for revival and reformation in the church today, will we understand how the church got into its Laodicean condition? Why is it that Jesus did not come in 1888? Why has He not come since then? Some will hear these words and become disturbed as they consider their own sins. Others will sadly take today's lesson to mean their sins are covered by the "righteousness of Christ" even if they have not been confessed and forsaken.

Jesus when He spoke these words was attempting to warn His disciples that the leaders of the nation were not walking in the light of God's love and laws. They were not reflecting the character of the God of heaven. They were hypocrites. In another place we find the truth about what Jesus meant. In the Book of Luke we read "beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy." Saying, but not doing. No good works followed their profession of faith. Sound familiar?

Here is what a modern day prophet has to say about thinking our sins are covered when we are still sinning. "Who of us are copying the pattern? Through the grace of Christ are we mastering pride of heart? have we uprooted selfishness? have we opened wide the door of the heart to let in the precious love of Jesus? Or are we cherishing sins that will ruin us at last? We cannot meet Christ in peace with one sin unrepented of, unconfessed, and unforsaken. But John writes, 'If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.'"  Review and Herald, March 17, 1891.

And on the subject of the "righteousness of Christ": "No repentance is genuine that does not work reformation. The righteousness of Christ is not a cloak to cover unconfessed and unforsaken sin; it is a principle of life that transforms the character and controls the conduct. Holiness is wholeness for God; it is the entire surrender of heart and life to the indwelling of the principles of heaven."  Desire of Ages, pg 555.

    The love of Christ for all people should be the message that emanates first and foremost from Christianity. After all, we are struggling sinners too. None of us has any hope outside of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, the message we send can, at times, seem to be one of judgment, arrogance, and superiority. Following the lead of Jesus, how can we as a church better show our compassion for all people?

The answer is always the same, we need Jesus continually in order to do any good thing, including having compassion for sinners. It is only in Christ that we can walk in the path of Jesus as He walked. We must have Jesus. Which brings up what the author our lesson just wrote. "The love of Christ for all people should be the message that emanates first and foremost from Christianity." This is so very true, but what if the good works are not there? What if the church professes to be followers of Christ and only speaks of the love of Christ and do not have this love? Is this not the leaven which Christ spoke of? It is. Then, does the author's statement help or hinder our understanding of the work of Christ in His church? "After all, we are struggling sinners too." What is he saying?

And, what does this mean? "None of us has any hope outside of Jesus Christ."  It is true, but what does it mean to be "outside of Jesus"? This is the all important question, for this is where the great deception resides. What does it mean to be "in Christ"? Many do not understand what Jesus meant when He said "abide in me, and I in you." John 15:4. Go back in today's lesson and read again, what is posted from Romans 8.

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.