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Wally

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SDA Sabbath School Lesson 8--4th Quarter 2016--Innocent Blood
« on: November 11, 2016, 01:43:31 PM »
Lesson 8 November 12–18




Innocent Blood


So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 8--4th Quarter 2016--Innocent Blood
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2016, 06:01:52 AM »
Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: Job 10, Isa. 53:6, Rom. 3:10–20, Job 15:14–16, Job 1:18–20, Matt. 6:34.

Memory Text: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Algerian–born writer Albert Camus struggled with the question of human suffering. In his book, The Plague, he used a plague as a metaphor for the ills that bring pain and suffering upon humanity. He depicted a scene in which a little boy, afflicted with the pestilence, dies a horrific death. Afterward a priest, who had been a witness to the tragedy, said to a doctor who had been there, too: “That sort of thing is revolting because it passes our human understanding. But perhaps we should love what we cannot understand.” The doctor, enraged, snapped back: “No, Father. I’ve a very different idea of love. And until my dying day, I shall refuse to love a scheme of things in which children are put to torture.”—Albert Camus, The Plague (New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1991), p. 218.

This scene reflects what we have seen in Job: pat and lame answers to what doesn’t have a simple solution. Job knew, as did the doctor here, that the answers given didn’t fit the reality at hand. Thus, that’s the challenge: How do we find answers that make sense of what so often seems without sense? This week we will continue the pursuit.

Job did not understand, his friends did not understand. All perverted the truth by speaking of things they did not understand. How about you and me? Do we pervert the truth likewise, not knowing it? Or do we even pervert the truth with having the truth set before us? Yes, we see this today. The answer to this most important question has been given to us many years ago. It is called "the great controversy." We are without excuse for not presenting the answer. We understand in a simple way why it is that we are allowed to suffer. There are many verses that help us to understand. But, God sent a prophet that we who have not seen the answer in Scripture may have it presented to us in a manner that even a child may understand. Let us not have "lame" answers.



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

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 8--4th Quarter 2016--Innocent Blood
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2016, 06:36:00 AM »
Sunday November 13

Job’s Protest


Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar had a point: God does punish evil. Unfortunately, that point didn’t apply in Job’s situation. Job’s suffering was not a case of retributive punishment. God was not punishing him for his sins, as He would do with Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. Nor was Job reaping what he had sown, as can so often be the case. No, Job was a righteous man; God Himself says so (see Job 1:8 ), and so Job not only didn’t deserve what had happened to him, he knew that he didn’t deserve it. That’s what made his complaints so hard and bitter.

His complaints were "hard and bitter" because he lost sight of Jesus. And, while Job was righteous (perfect in character) when Satan afflicted him, he did not stay that way. When he separated from Christ, he was not perfect (righteous). He was selfish, thinking of himself and saying things that were no true in his attempt to lift himself up in front of his friends.

Think about this: God foreknew Job was going to sin. Could it be that God wanted to "polish" Job's rough spots? Some will abhor this thought. Others will be blessed to understand that God does not leave us as He finds us, but he "makes us righteous" as we submit to His leading. We can't have it both ways. Either we must be changed in order to enter heaven, or we do not have to become righteous through Christ.  Beyond the minimum of giving the whole heart to Christ, and being converted, born of His Spirit, and manifesting each of the fruits of His Spirit, God wants us to have a greater abundance of this fruit. He would like to see us more patient, able to endure greater trials, that the world may see a more clear revelation of the character of Christ in humanity, fallen humanity.

Do you believe this? Then we understand that it is God's plan to take those who can endure the "polishing" process to a greater degree, to a higher level of character formation. His man Job was chosen to not only reflect Christ at the level where he was tried, but to increase his reflection of Christ. Like Elijah and Moses, he failed, but, like them, he learned a lesson as to his continual need of Jesus in order to resist temptation. He repented of his sin and God blessed him even more than before.
"Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." Verse 42:6.

Read Job 10.

 10:1   My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. 
 10:2   I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; show me wherefore thou contendest with me. 
 10:3   [Is it] good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands, and shine upon the counsel of the wicked? 
 10:4   Hast thou eyes of flesh? or seest thou as man seeth? 
 10:5   [Are] thy days as the days of man? [are] thy years as man's days, 
 10:6   That thou inquirest after mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin? 
 10:7   Thou knowest that I am not wicked; and [there is] none that can deliver out of thine hand. 
 10:8   Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me. 
 10:9   Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again? 
 10:10   Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese? 
 10:11   Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews. 
 10:12   Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit. 
 10:13   And these [things] hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this [is] with thee. 
 10:14   If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity. 
 10:15   If I be wicked, woe unto me; and [if] I be righteous, [yet] will I not lift up my head. [I am] full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction; 
 10:16   For it increaseth. Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again thou showest thyself marvellous upon me. 
 10:17   Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, and increasest thine indignation upon me; changes and war [are] against me. 
 10:18   Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me! 
 10:19   I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave. 
 10:20   [Are] not my days few? cease [then, and] let me alone, that I may take comfort a little, 
 10:21   Before I go [whence] I shall not return, [even] to the land of darkness and the shadow of death; 
 10:22   A land of darkness, as darkness [itself; and] of the shadow of death, without any order, and [where] the light [is] as darkness. 


What is he saying here to God, and why does it make so much sense, considering his circumstances?

At times of great tragedy, have not those who believe in God asked similar questions? Why, Lord, did You bother to create me at all? Or, Why are You doing this to me? Or, Would it not have been better that I had never been born than to have been created and face this?

Again, what makes it all harder for Job to comprehend is that he knows that he has been faithful to God. He cries out to Him: “‘Although You know that I am not wicked, and there is no one who can deliver from Your hand’” (Job 10:7, NKJV).

There’s a difficult irony here: in contrast to what his friends said, Job was not suffering because of his sin. The book itself teaches the opposite: Job was suffering here precisely because he was so faithful. The first two chapters of the book make that point. Job had no way of knowing that this was the cause, and even if he did, it probably would have made his bitterness and frustration worse.

However unique Job’s situation, it’s also universal in that it is dealing with the universal question of suffering, especially when the suffering seems so greatly out of proportion to whatever evil someone might have done. It’s one thing to go over the speed limit and get a speeding ticket; it’s another to do the same thing to kill someone in the process.

How great is it to put to death the Son of God? Who put Jesus to death? Who caused Jesus to suffer so much? How much did Jesus suffer? And, Job was not guilty of such a great crime? Yes, he repented or else God would not have said he was perfect. But, that does not change the fact that he was responsible for the suffering and death of Christ.

Job told God "You know that I am not wicked." What is man, that God should sacrifice His Son? Good? No, none are good but God. What is man? Evil by nature. What if we have Christ in the heart? Then the heart is pure and holy. But, what of the flesh? We retain our sinful flesh until by God's grace we receive a new body, a glorified body which is not evil.

Job was perfect in morality. His heart had been cleansed from sin. But, we do not believe in once saved always saved, so could Job fall from his purity of heart? Could Job become selfish and impure of heart? Yes, he could, and he did. Then, was Job right when he told God how he was righteous (the opposite of wicked). Now, if a man who has not Christ in his heart, tells God is he is not wicked, is that not just a wee bit "self righteous"?

It is true that many do as did Job when in the middle of a great trial. Ought we copy Job's experience? Or ought we have faith in Christ?

What happens when we lose our hold on Jesus and sin? Will God forgive us? What happened with Job? God blessed him after he repented. So, He will with us. But, what is lost when Job sinned? When we lose faith in Christ, what is lost?


What can you say to someone who believes that he or she is suffering unjustly?

We can encourage them if they want to be encouraged. We have a Savior that endured more than we shall ever have to. He is there to help us. He has promised that we shall not be tempted beyond what we can bear. What does this mean? Was Job tempted beyond what he could bear? God's promises never fail? Is this promise a conditional promise? If so, what are the conditions?

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

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 8--4th Quarter 2016--Innocent Blood
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2016, 07:37:03 AM »
Monday November 14

Innocent Blood?


We often hear the question of “innocent” suffering. The Bible even uses the phrase “innocent blood” (Isa. 59:7, Jer. 22:17, Joel 3:19), usually in the context of assault, or even murder, of people who didn’t deserve what happened to them. If we use this understanding of “innocent blood,” then, as we all know, our world is filled with many examples of it.

On the other hand, the Bible does talk about the reality of human sinfulness and human corruption, which brings up a valid question about the meaning of “innocent.” If everyone has sinned, if everyone has violated God’s law, then who is truly innocent? As someone once said, “Your birth certificate is proof of your guilt.”

Now we have someone sounding like Job's three friends. Job was not guilty. He had confessed his sins and was forgiven. His guilt had been removed by the blood of Christ. He was empowered by the indwelling Spirit and was not sinning until he separated from Christ. So, when God said Job sinned not, he was not guilty of any unconfessed sin.


Though theologians and Bible scholars for centuries have debated the exact nature of the human relationship to sin, the Bible is clear that sin has impacted all humanity. The idea of human sinfulness is not found only in the New Testament. On the contrary, the New Testament exploration of the theme expands on what was written in the Old Testament.

Most theologians today are as the theologians at the time of Christ. They are blind. Jesus did not attend their schools, so His mind was not deceived. Neither did He choose the "theologians" for His disciples, for they were not "teachable."

We do not believe in "holy flesh" for us humans after the fall, until the second coming. Thus, we are evil by nature and retain our evil flesh even after conversion. This is generally understood. What is not so easily understood is the fact that when we are converted we have two natures. We retain our sinful flesh, but when we are converted we become partakers of God's divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). The heart is purified and we have the mind of Christ. We are given power to keep the law of God, for it is written on the heart. This only happens as long as Christ has possession of the heart.


What do the following texts teach about the reality of sin?

1 Kings 8:46
If they sin against thee, (for [there is] no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near; 

Ps. 51:5
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. 

Prov. 20:9
Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin? 

Isa. 53:6
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Rom. 3:10–20
 3:10   As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 
 3:11   There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 
 3:12   They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 
 3:13   Their throat [is] an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps [is] under their lips: 
 3:14   Whose mouth [is] full of cursing and bitterness: 
 3:15   Their feet [are] swift to shed blood: 
 3:16   Destruction and misery [are] in their ways: 
 3:17   And the way of peace have they not known: 
 3:18   There is no fear of God before their eyes. 
 3:19   Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 
 3:20   Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin. 

Besides the clear testimony of Scripture, anyone who has ever known the Lord personally, who has seen a glimpse of God’s goodness and holiness, knows the reality of human sinfulness. In that sense, who among us (we’re going to skip, for now, the whole question of babies and young children) is truly “innocent”?

On the other hand, that’s not really the point. Job was a sinner; in that sense he wasn’t innocent, any more than his own children weren’t innocent. And yet, what had he done, or they done, to deserve the fate that befell them? Is this not, perhaps, the ultimate question for humanity in regard to suffering? Contrary to his friends’ “defenses of clay” (Job 13:12, NKJV), Job knew that what was happening to him was not something that he deserved.

How does the experience of knowing God and His holiness, which makes our own sinfulness painful, help us see our absolute need of the Cross?

It is painful to consider how confused many are now after having read today's lesson and the first chapter in the Book of Job.

Tell us now, was Job perfect or not? If so, what was perfect? If not then why did God say he was perfect?

Job was morally perfect before God when God said he was perfect. His motives were pure, holy, and undefiled. Yes, his flesh was sinful, but he flesh was kept under by the power of an indwelling Savior. When Job separated from Christ, his heart was no longer perfect. Self was alive and well and he had no power to keep the flesh under. Paul puts it this way: "I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." 1 Cor. 9:27.

This ought to help remove some of the confusion created in today's lesson. What does Paul mean in this verse? How does it help to clarify the sinfulness of man and how he is made clean, as clean as snow?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 8--4th Quarter 2016--Innocent Blood
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2016, 08:20:20 AM »

Tuesday November 15

Unfair Fates


Read Job 15:14–16.

 15:14   What [is] man, that he should be clean? and [he which is] born of a woman, that he should be righteous? 
 15:15   Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight. 
 15:16   How much more abominable and filthy [is] man, which drinketh iniquity like water?


What truth is Eliphaz presenting to Job?

Yes, what is the truth in these verses? Is it telling us the gold cannot be separated the dross? Many teach that is cannot.

Again, Eliphaz was speaking truth (as did the others), this time in regard to the sinfulness of all humanity.

The great deception Satan has brought into God's church is that because man is sinful that he cannot be cleansed of sin. He cannot keep the law of God perfectly. Thus we may have salvation when we sin.


Sin is a universal fact of life on earth; so is suffering. And as we also know, all human suffering ultimately results from sin. And there’s no question that God can use suffering to teach us important lessons. “God has always tried His people in the furnace of affliction. It is in the heat of the furnace that the dross is separated from the true gold of the Christian character.” — Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 129.

Maybe then, there was a purpose for allowing Satan to tempt Job?


There is, however, a deeper problem with suffering. What about the times we see no good come from it?

Like with Job, who could see no good come from it?


What about the suffering of those who don’t have the dross separated from the gold in their character because they are killed instantly? What about those who suffer, never knowing the true God or anything about Him? What about those whose sufferings only made them bitter, angry, and hateful toward God? We can’t ignore these examples or try to put them in a simple formula; to do so would perhaps make us guilty of the same errors as Job’s accusers.

It is easy to ask questions and never give an answer. It kind of leaves God where many put Him, unfair. He is omnipotent, and loving according to many Christians, but now we are going to say that God allows great suffering for no reason at all? That we are just going to do Satan's work for him? God forbid!! Why would anyone say that some never are given a chance to repent when they might have? Does that not send an unrepentant sinner to hell when he might have been saved if given a chance to repent? It seems Satan has stolen a march on the church of God.

This idea did not originate with man. It was Satan who came up with the example. As always he is far ahead of unrepentant sinners in this world. God grants to man a period of temporal life in which he can choose to follow Jesus with the whole heart. This period of temporal life is known as a period of probation. Did we not read at the very beginning of this chapter that there are lines drawn? Satan could not touch Job's children. Then he could not take Job's life.  Why not? Because Job's probation was not closed. It was a good thing, because of Job had not been given a chance to repent, then he would not be saved.

God is not arbitrary. So, Job was not cut off without additional time to come to repentance. Is not God so very good!! This is one of the important lessons revealed in the Book of Job. We see here in chapter one that God keeps us alive even though Satan would kill us. Neither wind, nor storm, nor fire, nor flood, and not even Satan himself can get to us without first going through Christ!!


Also, what good arises from the fate of animals in a forest fire who are slowly burned alive in a horrible death? Or what about the thousands of people killed in a natural disaster? Or what about civilians in war? What possible lessons could they have learned, or their families, when their families were swept away with them? And one could reasonably ask questions not just about Job’s ten dead children but about his servants who were killed with “the edge of the sword” (Job 1:15) or those burned alive by “the fire of God” (Job 1:16) or the other servants killed “with the edge of the sword” (Job 1:17).

Whatever lesson Job and his accusers might learn, and whatever defeat Satan will face through Job’s faithfulness, the fate of these others certainly doesn’t seem fair. The fact is, these things are not fair, are not just, and not right.

Here we see one sitting in judgment of God. How does one know things are not fair? God is perfectly fair. This is what is involved in "the great controversy." I warned as we began this quarter we would find difficulties in the lessons. Go and study "the great controversy" and learn what it means to divide the Word of God. What is the issue in "the great controversy"? Whose side are we on? Will you judge God also? Is God unfair in allowing some to die when you cannot understand why? How can sinful man stand in judgment such as this? God is perfectly just. He cannot force one to do good, but He can protect the innocent. He could have stopped Satan from injuring Job, but He did not. Shall we blindly condemn God? How foolish.

We face similar challenges today. A six-year-old dies of cancer, and that’s fair? A 20-year-old college girl is pulled from her car and sexually assaulted, and that’s fair? A 35-year-old mother of three is killed in a car accident, and that’s fair? What about the 19,000 Japanese killed in the 2011 earthquake? Were all 19,000 guilty of something that made this a just punishment? If not, then their deaths were not fair either.

Who said it was punishment? That seems to be what Job's three friends were saying, is it not? We need to be careful before we render judgment. This kind of judgment belongs to God, not man.


These are the hard questions.

Some are just plain foolish. And, the answers given to some are likewise foolish.


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

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 8--4th Quarter 2016--Innocent Blood
« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2016, 08:20:52 AM »
Wednesday November 16

Sufficient for the Day . . .


Read the following verses and think about the immediate fate of those depicted in the texts. Then ask yourself the question: How fair was life treating them?

Job 1:18–20
 1:18   While he [was] yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters [were] eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house: 
 1:19   And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. 
 1:20   Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, 

Gen. 4:8
And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him. 

Exod. 12:29, 30
 12:29   And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that [was] in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. 
 12:30   And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt; for [there was] not a house where [there was] not one dead. 

2 Sam. 11:17
And the men of the city went out, and fought with Joab: and there fell [some] of the people of the servants of David; and Uriah the Hittite died also. 

Jer. 38:6
Then took they Jeremiah, and cast him into the dungeon of Malchiah the son of Hammelech, that [was] in the court of the prison: and they let down Jeremiah with cords. And in the dungeon [there was] no water, but mire: so Jeremiah sunk in the mire. 

Matt. 14:10
And he sent, and beheaded John in the prison. 

Heb. 11:35–38
11:35   Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: 
 11:36   And others had trial of [cruel] mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: 
 11:37   They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; 
 11:38   (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and [in] mountains, and [in] dens and caves of the earth. 


We can add another if some are looking for the unfairness of God in allowing these things to happen. "And when they came unto the threshingfloor of Chidon, Uzza put forth his hand to hold the ark; for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God." 1 Chronicles 13:9,10. Now, if you do not know God, know of His character, then you will judge God. After all, did not Uzza want to keep the ark from falling? Yes, there are mysteries we cannot answer, but one of them is not the character of our God. He is perfectly just.

The Bible reflects a harsh fact about life in our fallen world: evil and suffering are real. It’s only a superficial reading of the Word of God, pulling a few texts out of the whole context, that could give anyone the idea that life here is fair, and just, and good, and that if only we remain faithful to God, suffering won’t come. Certainly faithfulness can reap great rewards now, but that doesn’t mean it provides an absolute barrier to suffering and pain. Just ask Job.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave a powerful homily on why we need to trust God and not to worry about what we will eat, or drink, or wear. And Jesus used examples from nature as object lessons on why we can trust in God’s goodness to meet our needs. He then included these famous words: “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” (Matt. 6:34).

Notice, sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Jesus wasn’t denying the presence in our lives, even the daily presence, of evil (from a Greek word that can mean “badness,” “depravity,” and “malignity”). If anything, He was doing the opposite. He was acknowledging the prevalence and presence of evil in our daily lives. How could He not? As the Lord, He knew more about the evil in the world than any of us ever could, and all of us certainly know a lot about it already.

Who hasn’t tasted a bit (or maybe a lot) of just how unfair and bitter life can be?

As Christians, we understand that God is in absolute control. Nothing happens in this world that God does not allow to happen. We see this clearly illustrated in chapters one and two of Job. So, God treated Job unfairly? I don't think so. The God I know is perfectly fair. I believe He allowed Job to suffer that Job might be more greatly rewarded. Is this unfair? Job will not think so. The idea it was unfair reveals a lack of understanding of God's character.

Does the Book of Jude have anything to add to Wednesday's lesson?


How can focusing on Jesus’ acknowledgment of this evil’s reality help give us comfort and strength amid it?

What gives me comfort are the promises of God. Let me share one that is most precious to me, and I am sure it will bring comfort to you if you will pray for wisdom to understand it.

  "And every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth [pruneth] it, that it may bring forth more fruit." From the chosen twelve who had followed Jesus, one as a withered branch was about to be taken away; the rest were to pass under the pruning knife of bitter trial. Jesus with solemn tenderness explained the purpose of the husbandman. The pruning will cause pain, but it is the Father who applies the knife. He works with no wanton hand or indifferent heart. There are branches trailing upon the ground; these must be cut loose from the earthly supports to which their tendrils are fastening. They are to reach heavenward, and find their support in God. The excessive foliage that draws away the life current from the fruit must be pruned off. The overgrowth must be cut out, to give room for the healing beams of the Sun of Righteousness. The husbandman prunes away the harmful growth, that the fruit may be richer and more abundant. 
     "Herein is My Father glorified," said Jesus, "that ye bear much fruit." God desires to manifest through you the holiness, the benevolence, the compassion, of His own character. Yet the Saviour does not bid the disciples labor to bear fruit. He tells them to abide in Him. "If ye abide in Me," He says, "and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." It is through the word that Christ abides in His followers. DA 676.

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

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 8--4th Quarter 2016--Innocent Blood
« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2016, 08:31:38 AM »
Thursday November 17

Things Not Seen


Read Proverb 3:5.

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
 

Though it is such a common text, what crucial message does it have for us, especially in the context of what we have been studying?

Job could not remain quiet. He had to say things he knew nothing about. This verse tells us we ought not be opening our mouths to show how foolish we are when we do not understand.


Though the case of Job is extreme, it does reflect the sad reality of human suffering in our fallen world. We don’t need the story of Job or even the other stories we can read in the Bible to see this reality. We see it all around us. Indeed, to some degree, we all live it.

“Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not” (Job 14:1, 2).

So again, the question we struggle with is how do we account for suffering, the kind that seems to make no sense to us, that kind in which innocent blood is shed?

As the early chapters of Job have shown, and as the Bible elsewhere reveals, Satan is a real being and is the cause, directly or indirectly, of so much suffering. As we have seen early in this quarter (see lesson two), the great controversy template works so well in helping us deal with the reality of evil in our world.

Yes, it does, but
the lessons are not presenting "the great controversy" principles so we can understand why Satan wanted to cause Job to sin.

Still, it’s hard to understand at times why the things that do take place happen.

No, it is not hard to understand since we have been told why evil is allowed to continue.


    The discord which his own course had caused in heaven, Satan charged upon the government of God. All evil he declared to be the result of the divine administration. He claimed that it was his own object to improve upon the statutes of Jehovah. Therefore God permitted him to demonstrate the nature of his claims, to show the working out of his proposed changes in the divine law. His own work must condemn him. Satan had claimed from the first that he was not in rebellion. The whole universe must see the deceiver unmasked.  PP 42.


Sometimes—many times, actually— things just don’t make sense. It’s at times like these, when things happen that we don’t understand, that we need to learn to trust in the goodness of God. We need to learn to trust God even when answers are not readily apparent and when we can see nothing good coming from the evil and suffering around us.

Hebrews 11:1 reads: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” From the things that we do see, how can we learn to trust God about the things that we don’t see? From what we have read in the book of Job so far, in what sense has Job learned to do just that? How can we learn to do the same?

Job had learned to trust in God. It is all together different to continue trusting in Him. Job forgot to continue trusting in God. Without a living connection to Christ, he began to whine and complain and speak words without knowledge bringing reproach upon the truth (38:1,2). He was leaning to his own understanding which was faulty.

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

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 8--4th Quarter 2016--Innocent Blood
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2016, 03:02:55 PM »
Friday November 18

Further Thought: Last Sabbath’s introduction began with Albert Camus, who wrote a lot about his struggle for answers, not just to the question of suffering but to the question of life’s meaning in general, which suffering made only more problematic. As with most atheists, he didn’t make much headway. His most famous quote shows how little: “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy.”—The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays (New York: Vintage Books, 1955), p. 3. For sure, the question of human suffering is not an easy one to answer. The book of Job pulls back a veil and shows us a bigger picture than what we might have seen otherwise, but even when we read it all, the book still leaves many questions unanswered.

There is, however, a crucial difference between those who struggle for answers to the question of suffering without God and those who do so with God. Yes, the problem of pain and suffering becomes more difficult when you believe in the existence of God, because of the inevitable problems His existence in the face of evil and pain bring. On the other hand, we have what atheists such as Camus don’t have—and that is the prospect of answer and of resolution. (There is evidence that Camus later in life had wanted to be baptized but he was soon killed in a car accident.) We have the hope that “God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Rev. 21:4). Even if someone didn’t believe this promise or many of the others in the Bible, that person would have to admit, if nothing else, how much nicer life would be now to have at least that hope as opposed to the prospect of just living here amid our toils and struggles and then dying forever, with it all meaning nothing.

On the other hand, is it not a joyful thought that we have the answer now. So much so that we can "glory in our tribulation"!! "We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Romans 5:3-5.

Discussion Question:

    One argument that people bring up in regard to the question of evil is the idea that, Well, yes, there is evil in the world, but there is also good, and the good outweighs the evil. The first question would be, How does one know that the good outweighs the evil? How does one make that comparison? The second question would be, Even if true, what good would that idea do for Job (or others) amid their suffering?

Human philosophy does not work. "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Proverbs 14:12 As Christians we need to stay with the Word of God when seeking answers.

    German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer used a powerful example to debunk that whole notion of some sort of balance between good and evil in this world now. “The pleasure in this world,” he wrote, “it has been said, outweighs the pain; or, at any rate, there is an even balance between the two. If the reader wishes to see shortly whether this statement is true, let him compare the respective feelings of two animals, one of which is engaged in eating the other.” How would you respond to the idea that good somehow balances out the evil?

This week's lesson is entitled "Innocent Blood". The subject is why do bad things happen to good people.  Since God is all powerful, and His character is a revelation of love, how can we reconcile the two? God can indeed prevent evil from happening. He can eliminate Satan at any time. Yet, He allows Satan and evil to continue.

When we say "good" people, we first need to admit that while many are called, few choose to be changed from evil to good. So, much that happens in this world happens not to "good" people, but evil people. We come into this world evil by nature. We deserve to die.

Now, how about those who have Christ enthroned upon the heart? They have been cleansed from sin. Why do bad things happen to them? Job is a perfect example because even though many will quote verses in Scripture taken out of context in an attempt to prove Job was not perfect in heart, God says he was.

So, we have the perfect example to study. Bad things did indeed happen to Job. Why? We have "the great controversy" theme to answer the question. But, since many do not understand it, let us just go to the Bible verses that have been quoted a number of times in this quarter. Romans 5:3-5.  They explain why it was that God allowed Job to be tempted, do they not?


 5:3   And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 
 5:4   And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 
 5:5   And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. 


When great trials come to the converted Christian, he can glory in them. Why? Because he lives to give honor and glory to God. Verse 5 says that because of the tribulation, the love of God will be seen by the world. Is this not good news? We are His witnesses. He is depending upon us to tell the universe about His character. But, even more than "telling" we will be demonstrating the power of grace to keep a fallen being from sinning. What a witness!!!

And, not only are we His witness, but the trials will make us more patient, and give us an experience that will prepare us for what is coming upon the world and God's church. Are we not thankful that God allows the trials to come in stages we are able to cope with, if we have Christ in the heart? Amen!!

It appears we are going to have to repeat this truth over and over since the lessons have gone in other directions. Praise God He has not left us in utter darkness.

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

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 8--4th Quarter 2016--Innocent Blood
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2016, 07:40:10 PM »
Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: Job 10, Isa. 53:6, Rom. 3:10–20, Job 15:14–16, Job 1:18–20, Matt. 6:34.

Memory Text: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

Algerian–born writer Albert Camus struggled with the question of human suffering. In his book, The Plague, he used a plague as a metaphor for the ills that bring pain and suffering upon humanity. He depicted a scene in which a little boy, afflicted with the pestilence, dies a horrific death. Afterward a priest, who had been a witness to the tragedy, said to a doctor who had been there, too: “That sort of thing is revolting because it passes our human understanding. But perhaps we should love what we cannot understand.” The doctor, enraged, snapped back: “No, Father. I’ve a very different idea of love. And until my dying day, I shall refuse to love a scheme of things in which children are put to torture.”—Albert Camus, The Plague (New York: First Vintage International Edition, 1991), p. 218.

This scene reflects what we have seen in Job: pat and lame answers to what doesn’t have a simple solution. Job knew, as did the doctor here, that the answers given didn’t fit the reality at hand. Thus, that’s the challenge: How do we find answers that make sense of what so often seems without sense? This week we will continue the pursuit.

Job did not understand, his friends did not understand. All perverted the truth by speaking of things they did not understand. How about you and me? Do we pervert the truth likewise, not knowing it? Or do we even pervert the truth with having the truth set before us? Yes, we see this today. The answer to this most important question has been given to us many years ago. It is called "the great controversy." We are without excuse for not presenting the answer. We understand in a simple way why it is that we are allowed to suffer. There are many verses that help us to understand. But, God sent a prophet that we who have not seen the answer in Scripture may have it presented to us in a manner that even a child may understand. Let us not have "lame" answers.


I am so thankful that God allows us to understand and realize the theme of the great controversy is what helps us understand why a loving God would allow for sin to exist--not create it--so that the witness of both good and evil, side by side at the cross of Calvary and in the lives of those who become fully ripe as seed in the end times (either righteous or wicked) will reveal to the onlooking universe the reality of the nature of sin, and also the power of GRACE to change a sinner into a saint. We should count it a high privilege to be a part of the little book of the universe that will seal the universe from every having to experience sin and suffering again. Our sufferings will not outweigh the glory God has in store for us, who willingly trust a God of love who only allows this for the ultimate good of those who love Him. It is unreasonable unbelief to murmur and complain with such promises as these before us:

Romans 8:18 "For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us."

Romans 8:28 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."

Nahum 1:9 "What do ye imagine against the Lord? he will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time."


Praise the Lord! And this is almost over--let us pray that we may maintain a living-faith connection with Christ, bearing all of the fruits of His Spirit without one missing (for such is the evidence that He is in our hearts), that in all of our trials and suffering God may be glorified!!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 8--4th Quarter 2016--Innocent Blood
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2016, 05:45:23 AM »
Amen, Pastor Sean!

Here we have a Seventh-day pastor that did not need the Spirit of Prophecy to understand that
God intends to bless us when we suffer. The Bible provides answers to the subject we are studying in the Book of Job.

And, don't think that Adam did not understand about suffering. He was the first one to take the life of an "innocent" lamb. Don't think he did not suffer when the blood ran over his hands. He cried when he saw the first leaf fall off of a tree. Right there in the beginning of the Bible we find God intended suffering for our good. It is only blindness that keeps so many from seeing the truth as it is in Jesus.

Genesis

 3:16   Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee. 
 3:17   And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed [is] the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat [of] it all the days of thy life; 
 3:18   Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 
 3:19   In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return. 


Adam and Eve suffered when Cain murdered Abel. Who was behind the murder? God did not cause it, but He allowed it. We do not read that Adam blamed God.  It may be that Job did not understand what Adam did, but knowledge was passed down from father to son. Did Job understood that the Lamb had to die?  Was this wise man, the best in the world, ignorant of Satan?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 8--4th Quarter 2016--Innocent Blood
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2016, 07:11:11 PM »
Monday November 14

We often hear the question of “innocent” suffering. The Bible even uses the phrase “innocent blood” (Isa. 59:7, Jer. 22:17, Joel 3:19), usually in the context of assault, or even murder, of people who didn’t deserve what happened to them. If we use this understanding of “innocent blood,” then, as we all know, our world is filled with many examples of it.

On the other hand, the Bible does talk about the reality of human sinfulness and human corruption, which brings up a valid question about the meaning of “innocent.” If everyone has sinned, if everyone has violated God’s law, then who is truly innocent? As someone once said, “Your birth certificate is proof of your guilt.”

Now we have someone sounding like Job's three friends. Job was not guilty. He had confessed his sins and was forgiven. His guilt had been removed by the blood of Christ. He was empowered by the indwelling Spirit and was not sinning until he separated from Christ. So, when God said Job sinned not, he was not guilty of any unconfessed sin.


Though theologians and Bible scholars for centuries have debated the exact nature of the human relationship to sin, the Bible is clear that sin has impacted all humanity. The idea of human sinfulness is not found only in the New Testament. On the contrary, the New Testament exploration of the theme expands on what was written in the Old Testament.

Most theologians today are as the theologians at the time of Christ. They are blind. Jesus did not attend their schools, so His mind was not deceived. Neither did He choose the "theologians" for His disciples, for they were not "teachable."

We do not believe in "holy flesh" for us humans after the fall, until the second coming. Thus, we are evil by nature and retain our evil flesh even after conversion. This is generally understood. What is not so easily understood is the fact that when we are converted we have two natures. We retain our sinful flesh, but when we are converted we become partakers of God's divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). The heart is purified and we have the mind of Christ. We are given power to keep the law of God, for it is written on the heart. This only happens as long as Christ has possession of the heart.


What do the following texts teach about the reality of sin?

1 Kings 8:46
If they sin against thee, (for [there is] no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near; 

Ps. 51:5
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. 

Prov. 20:9
Who can say, I have made my heart clean, I am pure from my sin? 

Isa. 53:6
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Rom. 3:10–20
 3:10   As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 
 3:11   There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 
 3:12   They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. 
 3:13   Their throat [is] an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps [is] under their lips: 
 3:14   Whose mouth [is] full of cursing and bitterness: 
 3:15   Their feet [are] swift to shed blood: 
 3:16   Destruction and misery [are] in their ways: 
 3:17   And the way of peace have they not known: 
 3:18   There is no fear of God before their eyes. 
 3:19   Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 
 3:20   Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law [is] the knowledge of sin. 

Besides the clear testimony of Scripture, anyone who has ever known the Lord personally, who has seen a glimpse of God’s goodness and holiness, knows the reality of human sinfulness. In that sense, who among us (we’re going to skip, for now, the whole question of babies and young children) is truly “innocent”?

On the other hand, that’s not really the point. Job was a sinner; in that sense he wasn’t innocent, any more than his own children weren’t innocent. And yet, what had he done, or they done, to deserve the fate that befell them? Is this not, perhaps, the ultimate question for humanity in regard to suffering? Contrary to his friends’ “defenses of clay” (Job 13:12, NKJV), Job knew that what was happening to him was not something that he deserved.

How does the experience of knowing God and His holiness, which makes our own sinfulness painful, help us see our absolute need of the Cross?

It is painful to consider how confused many are now after having read today's lesson and the first chapter in the Book of Job.

Tell us now, was Job perfect or not? If so, what was perfect? If not then why did God say he was perfect?

Job was morally perfect before God when God said he was perfect. His motives were pure, holy, and undefiled. Yes, his flesh was sinful, but he flesh was kept under by the power of an indwelling Savior. When Job separated from Christ, his heart was no longer perfect. Self was alive and well and he had no power to keep the flesh under. Paul puts it this way: "I keep under my body, and bring [it] into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." 1 Cor. 9:27.

This ought to help remove some of the confusion created in today's lesson. What does Paul mean in this verse? How does it help to clarify the sinfulness of man and how he is made clean, as clean as snow?


I appreciate the way you have addressed today's lesson, Richard. Admittedly, some may be confused because they do not believe in the power of conversion, the power of grace to change the heart and make one morally perfect. While you and I will never come to a point when we would look at ourselves and say, "I am holy; I am sinless," we are to realize that God grace has power to make the heart and mind pure and holy, for the testimony of Scripture is so abundant on this topic that if it were not true, there would be no hope and no reason to preach "the gospel."

Sadly, there are many "gospels" floating around in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Today's lesson is evidence of this. There is a false gospel that wants to make people believe that they can be sinners and yet be justified. This is heresy. This leads people to cry out "Christ" in word but in life and character manifest "Barabbas." We cannot have it both ways. While the Scriptures above quoted do clearly show that man is sinful by nature, we need to remember that we, through a living-faith connection with Christ by a full-heart surrender may have a new heart and mind! Praise the Lord! But the flesh--the fallen sinful nature--does not go away--and we are to continually mortify our fleshy nature by feeding our spiritual nature with daily beholding the loveliness of Jesus in that most precious "thoughtful hour," and then through the day behold Him continually! That is why what we fill our mind with is so important, because it is by beholding that we become changed! 

A living-faith surrender is to be continually maintained by a personal union and communion of the soul with Christ! We need Him constantly or we cannot resist sin, and we need His help to keep the mind stayed upon Him, so that it will never be diverted to the pleasures of the world, life's cares, perplexities, and sorrows, the faults of others, or our own faults and imperfections. Having the mind stayed upon Jesus WILL BEAR FRUIT--all of the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in the life without one missing when we live by faith upon the Son of God! And the evidence that one has made such a surrender, and is now a "saint," one who is "perfect" in the sight of a holy God through partaking of His divine nature (while still having the flesh to tempt, but NOT CONTROL), is able to come to Paul's statement in 1 Corinthians and realize that just starting out with Christ is not enough--the moral perfection of character must be continually maintained through Christ's personal abiding in the heart of His disciple. We need to realize the divine reality of God's promise:

"A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26).

I get encouraged when I realize that these promises are for me--and you--and that Jesus wants to give you the truth of the gospel so that your life and character may be continually transformed! Then we can see the book of Job with eyesalve--spiritual discernment--and realize that just because a person is at one point "perfect" morally does not automatically mean that they will continue in that experience. Hence our need to cultivate self-distrust and a realizing sense of Jesus' presence in the heart by living faith bearing all of the fruits of the Spirit without one missing! Praise God!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 8--4th Quarter 2016--Innocent Blood
« Reply #11 on: November 18, 2016, 11:45:04 AM »
Amen, Pastor Sean!  There are many who will read this week's lesson and praise God for the truth being shared. The Holy Spirit is moving on hearts. There will be a witness of the power of God's grace in full display for the world and the universe to see. The glory of God (His character) is being poured out upon His church. When God asks "who shall I send?" who will answer?

One more response to Pastor Sean's post.  He quoted God's promise to give all who come to Him in full surrender, a new heart. And, what does it mean to have a new heart? It means that we have allowed the Spirit of God to take up residence in it. And, what does this mean? Let's read the very next verse, Ezekiel 36:37. "And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." Such a promise for all who love God supremely!  God's grace empowers repentant sinners to walk in His statutes and to keep His law as they abide in Christ, and Christ, through the Spirit, in them.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 8--4th Quarter 2016--Innocent Blood
« Reply #12 on: November 18, 2016, 05:44:15 PM »
From Friday's lesson:


Now, how about those who have Christ enthroned upon the heart? They have been cleansed from sin. Why do bad things happen to them? Job is a perfect example because even though many will quote verses in Scripture taken out of context in an attempt to prove Job was not perfect in heart, God says he was.

So, we have the perfect example to study. Bad things did indeed happen to Job. Why? We have "the great controversy" theme to answer the question. But, since many do not understand it, let us just go to the Bible verses that have been quoted a number of times in this quarter.
Romans 5:3-5.  They explain why it was that God allowed Job to be tempted, do they not?[/color][/b]

 5:3   And not only [so], but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 
 5:4   And patience, experience; and experience, hope: 
 5:5   And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. 


When great trials come to the converted Christian, he can glory in them. Why? Because he lives to give honor and glory to God. Verse 5 says that because of the tribulation, the love of God will be seen by the world. Is this not good news? We are His witnesses. He is depending upon us to tell the universe about His character. But, even more than "telling" we will be demonstrating the power of grace to keep a fallen being from sinning. What a witness!!!

And, not only are we His witness, but the trials will make us more patient, and give us an experience that will prepare us for what is coming upon the world and God's church. Are we not thankful that God allows the trials to come in stages we are able to cope with, if we have Christ in the heart? Amen!!

It appears we are going to have to repeat this truth over and over since the lessons have gone in other directions. Praise God He has not left us in utter darkness.


I am so thankful, Richard, for how you pointed us the the foundation of Romans 5:3-5 in helping us to understand the significance of why God in love allows suffering as it comes upon the righteous. If Satan's existence is the greatest evil in the universe, then that could have been snuffed out a long time ago. No, that is not the greatest evil. The greatest evil is the misuse of free will granted His creatures, and the misuse of our freedom cannot be "coerced." God is so loving and so all-wise that He is allowing great suffering and pain (that the righteous might learn to glory in their tribulation) to show that the greatest evil is the misuse of the freedom God gave, which is transgression of His law. Sin is the transgression of the law, and this cannot be uprooted from the universe unless the entire universe not only understands how good God is (as seen in the loveliness of Jesus, God sacrificing Himself in His Son), but how evil Satan is (who put the Son of God to death). You might say, "Well, didn't the whole universe get to see that at the cross?" Yes, the greater universe did see that, but it was not unmistakably clear that the same God who revealed His love in Christ dying for sinful humanity was also powerful enough to transform sinners into saints who would NEVER FALL AGAIN BY THEIR OWN FREE WILL surrendered and united TO HIM! It is for such a witness that our whole earth groans:

Romans 8:18-23
18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.


While the lesson study posed questions that lead in directions other than understanding the significance of the great controversy as Scripture lays it out, I am so thankful that God saw fit to fulfill Job's anguished request:

"Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!" (Job 19:23). But more than this, not only is Job written for our learning and admonition upon whom the ends of the world have come, but a prayerful study of the book of Job in light of the everlasting gospel gives us encouragement in our trials, likewise! We see that it is possible to remain perfect IN OUR TRIALS:

Job 1
21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.
22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.


Job did not sin AT THIS POINT in the book. But when we realize that unchristlike accusing is sin and reveals a separation from God, it is clear that Job did sin as the trials became more difficult to bear (with three "friends" who did not really comfort him, but rather accused him and twisted the character of God, See Job 16:2: "I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all."). God allowed Job to go through that. Job could have been strong enough to bear that trial if, realizing his weakness, he would have clung to the strength provided him in Christ. God's promises NEVER FAIL, and they are for the weakest as well as those who think themselves strongest:


1 Corinthians 10:12-13
12 Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.


God is preparing a people who will not fall, who will choose to glory in ALL their tribulation, to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5:17)--even when the trials come from our friends and loved ones who do not understand why we are suffering.

In my own life, I am even now facing a health challenge that does not make complete sense, and I am still choosing to thank God for allowing this trail to refine my character--even if others do not understand it. I am thankful that God knows what He is doing and that as long as I trust Him, and give the devil no advantage, Christ will continue His work of preparing me for greater trials, and to be a blessing to others who need to see a revelation of the loveliness of Jesus. How? By beholding the loveliness of Jesus for a "thoughful hour" each day and then allowing Christ to keep the mind and thoughts stayed upon Him throughout the day. Only with the Holy Spirit and much prayer, a earnest purpose of mind, and a willinessnes to shun idle thoughts and the temptations that so easily beset us. But when one has clearly seen the lovely Jesus, he longs for none better! I am not missing out on anything by having my mind stayed upon Christ! He is like a lens through which I am able to see all the affairs of life, and I live in this world only as an ambassador of the heavenly love He has revealed to us, and desires us to behold. Do we have to wait until heaven to understand this experience? Do we have to put off until we experience the promise of God making all things new to see our lovely Jesus? No! No! Away with such thoughts! God has given us a most wonderful inspired revelation of the very thing we need when we are facing trials, and they are found over and over again, chapter by chapter in the phenomenal book The Desire of Ages. I appeal to you from my own experience that has been SO SO BLESSED--please join us in the The Desire of Ages forum as we behold the loveliness of Jesus. It is by beholding Him that we are changed to be able to glory in tribulations, for that was HIS PERFECT EXPERIENCE. And His experience is to be ours.

And when we have the experience of Christ (His life at work in us, which is manifested in all of the fruits of the Spirit without one missing), then we can realize that our words also are written in a book, and that the experience through which we have passed is not in vain, but for the instruction and help of others:

Malachi 3:16-18
16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.


In the last days, it will become unmistakably clear as to who is bearing trial to glorify God, and as to who is only alive to blaspheme God and live for self. God in mercy bears long with the wicked, but like with Job, He bestows His most tender regard upon the painful (and oh so needed) character refining process that takes place in the life of His righteous children's lives who, as long as they abide in Him continually, will have pure hearts and minds with their evil flesh kept under by the power of divine grace! What a blessing that we can be a part of this witness!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 8--4th Quarter 2016--Innocent Blood
« Reply #13 on: November 18, 2016, 06:15:02 PM »
Amen, Pastor Sean!!  We are right on message for this week's lesson. This is what the Book of Job is all about. In order to resist the temptations that come, as did Job until his three friends came, we must have our minds on Christ. As you have shared from Malchi, about those "that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name," we must keep His name in the forefront of our thoughts. Malachi previously in chapter three tells us "who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth? for He is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: And He shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and He shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness." Verses 2, 3.  

Job was certainly in the "Refiner's fire." He was purifying His servant Job, even though he was perfect. Was there room for purification? Apparently so. Job forgot about Christ, and wandered in his trial longer than necessary. After being reproved by Elihu and God, Job learned how dangerous it is to let the mind wander. He repented "in dust and ashes." Job 42:6.

Let us study for ourselves that we might rightly divide the Word of Truth. Have we forgotten so soon the Words of Jesus? "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." Matthew 16:24,25.

Does not the Bible tell us why "good people" suffer? Do we need more encouragement as to why we shall suffer as did Job? "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." 1 Peter 4:12,13.

Next time you see a Christian suffering, know that it is for God's glory and his good as long as he is abiding in Christ. If he takes his eyes off of Christ, then it is to remind him of his dependency on Christ. It is to save him that the trial comes. Jesus delays His coming that all who can be saved, will be. What a God we serve!!!
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.