Author Topic: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 2-1st Qtr 2017-Holy Spirit: Working Behind the Scenes  (Read 2500 times)

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Wally

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Lesson 2 January 7-13



The Holy Spirit: Working Behind the Scenes


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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Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week's Study: Ezek. 37:5, 9; Gen. 1:2; Job 26:13; Exod. 31:1-5; John 16:13, 14; Gal. 5:16-23.

Memory Text: "He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you." John 16:14

The Holy Spirit does not receive the same prominent attention in Scripture as do the Father and the Son. Nevertheless the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit was present at significant moments throughout sacred history. At the beginning, at God's creation of this world, He was at work, but more in the background. He was active in the inspiration of God's prophets, thus playing a key role in the writing of God's Word. He was also involved with the conception of Jesus Christ in Mary's womb.

It would not be good to ignore the truth that is given in Scripture about the role of the third person in the godhead. By so doing, we would continue the Laodicean condition of the church. We need the Spirit of God in our hearts. Without which we are lost. We need Him continually. And, even  before we are converted, we are lost without His aid in opening our eyes to our condemnation. Jesus did not come to condemn man, for we were already condemned. It is the role of the Spirit to reveal our lost nature. And, it is the role of the Holy Spirit to reveal the character of God to us while we were yet sinners and to continue to after we are saints, repentant sinners.

We do not half understand the role of the Holy Spirit. Jesus tells us very clearly in John chapter three. We are without excuse for not understanding we must be born again of the Spirit. We are evil by nature and must be transformed through the power of the indwelling Spirit.  In the Old Testament we read: "And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also [is] flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years." Genesis 6:3. And, "And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God [is]?" Genesis 41:38. If Pharaoh can understand, then we ought to also.


Yet He is not at the center of the biblical record, and we know amazingly little about Him. He remains in the background, and that's because His role is to advance the work of Someone else in the Godhead-Jesus, the Son of God-and to give glory to God the Father. All this so that fallen human beings might be saved from the eternal death that sin would otherwise bring them.

From the testimony of Scripture, we learn that the Holy Spirit willingly and gracefully accepts a supporting, helping, sustaining, and equipping behind-the-scenes role. No matter whether it is in creation or redemption or mission, He does not seek to stand in the spotlight, regardless of His crucial role.

In some sense we could say the Holy Spirit is working behind the scenes, but that would be very misleading. It is the Holy Spirit that is trying to speak to every human being that is living on this earth today. And, His work has been this since the creation of Adam and Eve. After sin, His work became more important, for God the Father no longer held conversations with fallen man. Jesus and the Holy Spirit with the angels put forth the effort to lead man  back to God. It was the Holy Spirit that was attempting to stop Cain from killing his brother. And, the Holy Spirit is the One today who takes possession of the hearts and minds of all who make a full surrender to Christ.

Let me again post a very important inspired statement that reveals we know much about the Spirit the Holy Spirit.


     The Comforter is called "the Spirit of truth." His work is to define and maintain the truth. He first dwells in the heart as the Spirit of truth, and thus He becomes the Comforter. There is comfort and peace in the truth, but no real peace or comfort can be found in falsehood. It is through false theories and traditions that Satan gains his power over the mind. By directing men to false standards, he misshapes the character. Through the Scriptures the Holy Spirit speaks to the mind, and impresses truth upon the heart. Thus He exposes error, and expels it from the soul. It is by the Spirit of truth, working through the word of God, that Christ subdues His chosen people to Himself. 
     In describing to His disciples the office work of the Holy Spirit, Jesus sought to inspire them with the joy and hope that inspired His own heart. He rejoiced because of the abundant help He had provided for His church. The Holy Spirit was the highest of all gifts that He could solicit from His Father for the exaltation of His people. The Spirit was to be given as a regenerating agent, and without this the sacrifice of Christ would have been of no avail. The power of evil had been strengthening for centuries, and the submission of men to this satanic captivity was amazing. Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power. It is the Spirit that makes effectual what has been wrought out by the world's Redeemer. It is by the Spirit that the heart is made pure. Through the Spirit the believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Christ has given His Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress His own character upon His church. 
     Of the Spirit Jesus said, "He shall glorify Me." The Saviour came to glorify the Father by the demonstration of His love; so the Spirit was to glorify Christ by revealing His grace to the world. The very image of God is to be reproduced in humanity. The honor of God, the honor of Christ, is involved in the perfection of the character of His people.   
     "When He [the Spirit of truth] is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." The preaching of the word will be of no avail without the continual presence and aid of the Holy Spirit. This is the only effectual teacher of divine truth. Only when the truth is accompanied to the heart by the Spirit will it quicken the conscience or transform the life. One might be able to present the letter of the word of God, he might be familiar with all its commands and promises; but unless the Holy Spirit sets home the truth, no souls will fall on the Rock and be broken. No amount of education, no advantages, however great, can make one a channel of light without the co-operation of the Spirit of God. The sowing of the gospel seed will not be a success unless the seed is quickened into life by the dew of heaven. Before one book of the New Testament was written, before one gospel sermon had been preached after Christ's ascension, the Holy Spirit came upon the praying apostles. Then the testimony of their enemies was, "Ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine." Acts 5:28.   
     Christ has promised the gift of the Holy Spirit to His church, and the promise belongs to us as much as to the first disciples. But like every other promise, it is given on conditions. There are many who believe and profess to claim the Lord's promise; they talk about Christ and about the Holy Spirit, yet receive no benefit. They do not surrender the soul to be guided and controlled by the divine agencies. We cannot use the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is to use us. Through the Spirit God works in His people "to will and to do of His good pleasure." Philippians 2:13. But many will not submit to this. They want to manage themselves. This is why they do not receive the heavenly gift. Only to those who wait humbly upon God, who watch for His guidance and grace, is the Spirit given. The power of God awaits their demand and reception. This promised blessing, claimed by faith, brings all other blessings in its train. It is given according to the riches of the grace of Christ, and He is ready to supply every soul according to the capacity to receive.  The Desire of Ages, pg 672. 



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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Sunday January 8

The Elusiveness of the Holy Spirit


Read

John 3:3-8

 3:3   Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 
 3:4   Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 
 3:5   Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 
 3:6   That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 
 3:7   Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 
 3:8   The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 

Ezekiel 37:5, 9.

 37:5   Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: 
 37:9   Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.


Why is the wind a fitting picture for the mysterious workings of the Holy Spirit?

His workings are not mysterious, but He is not seen, as the wind is not seen. We can see what he has done in the lives of those who have given their hearts to Him. The fruits of the Spirit are neither unseen, nor mysterious. Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance are all seen in the lives of those who are fully surrendered to Jesus. Why?  Because the Holy Spirit is seen to be in their hearts and minds. Thus, the character of God is revealed in all who love God supremely. Self is hidden in Christ. Not one of these fruits are missing.


By comparing the Holy Spirit's actions to that of the wind, Jesus describes the Spirit's elusiveness. The movements of the wind have something mysterious about them. It is difficult to predict with exactness where the wind comes from and where the wind is going. Who hasn't at times been baffled by the sudden appearance of wind seemingly out of nowhere?

The work of the Spirit is clearly defined in the transformation of the character from sinner to saint. When one is truly converted, we know what to expect in the life of the repentant sinner.


Yet we can learn to become somewhat familiar with the movements and patterns of the wind. In a similar manner, the Holy Spirit is active where He wills. No one can control Him. Yet we can know where He is active and at work. Just like the wind, the Holy Spirit is invisible but can be most powerful. We of course can feel the presence of the wind and can often see its effect, even if we can't see the wind itself. From a light breeze to deadly blasts, wind can be a very powerful force. When the Holy Spirit is described as wind, His activity has been connected with the idea of bringing life to the dead. This assumes power to the highest potency, something that only God is capable of doing.

Amen, it is the greatest miracle God can do. Bringing life to the dead is impossible without the Holy Spirit. Yet, He does not force it. It requires our cooperation with Him as He reveals the grace of God.


How this is accomplished remains a mystery. God and His workings through the Holy Spirit are greater than what we can fully comprehend, as are so many things both secular and sacred.

This is true, but we can understand what our part is, and that we need the Holy Spirit to open our minds to the truth. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. It is the Spirit of God that reveals the truth.


This does not mean that we cannot know what the Holy Spirit accomplishes. But we have to acknowledge that the appropriate virtue in dealing with divine mysteries is humility. Humility appreciates the grandeur of God and recognizes our creaturely limitations and accepts our need for divine revelation.

Amen, we are erring mortals. Without the aid of the Holy Spirit we would remain such. But, if we will seek His help to know God, He will not deny us this aid. There is much we shall not know, but there is much written in Scripture and much in nature that we can know. We have remained ignorant by our own will. God is not happy that we do not understand the plan of salvation and our continual need of Him to do any good thing. "God will not condemn any at the judgment because they honestly believed a lie, or conscientiously cherished error; but it will be because they neglected the opportunities of making themselves acquainted with truth. The infidel will be condemned, not because he was an infidel, but because he did not take advantage of the means God has placed within his reach to enable him to become a Christian."  Testimony to Ministers, pg 437.


Ellen G. White has aptly stated: "The mysteries of the Bible, so far from being an argument against it, are among the strongest evidences of its divine inspiration. If it contained no account of God but that which we could comprehend; if His greatness and majesty could be grasped by finite minds, then the Bible would not, as now, bear the unmistakable evidences of divinity." - Ellen G. White, Education, p. 170.

Amen! What is revealed in Scripture is for our understanding. But, there are indeed mysteries that are not revealed that are opened to our minds as we learn of God. We know why God allows evil to exist, but we do not know how God knows the end from the beginning. We are not as God, and never will be. But, we may reflect His character if we will give Him all we have and all we are.


What are some unseen forces in nature that can impact our lives? What should this teach us about the reality of unseen yet powerful influences in our world?

Those unseen forces are under the control of God. Satan is unseen and powerful, but He does nothing without God allowing it. We see evidences of this as we read in the Book of Job. We see that Satan was allowed to control the weather as God allowed. We are completely dependent upon God for all we have, even the very heartbeat that keeps us alive is under His control. We are not safe for a moment without God's protection. He gives to sinful man a day of probation that we might learn of ourselves and of His great love and power to save us from ourselves. Many have been called, but few will choose to surrender self to Him who gave all for us that we might live.

Let us do all we can to serve Him with the whole heart. We are to be His witnesses in a world soon to perish.


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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Monday January 9

The Holy Spirit at Creation


The first major work of God on this planet was its Creation. The Bible clearly mentions God (Gen. 1:1) and Jesus Christ (Col. 1:16, 17) as the Creator of heaven and earth and of all that, in fact, was made (John 1:1-3). Yet, the Bible also mentions the presence of the Holy Spirit in the work of Creation.

Read Genesis 1:2; Job 26:13; 33:4; Psalm 33:6; 104:29, 30.

 1:2   And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 

 26:13   By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent. 
 33:4   The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life. 

 33:6   By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. 
 104:29   Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. 
 104:30   Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth. 


What is the role of the Holy Spirit at Creation? How is the Spirit of God related to the creation of life?

The Creation story in Genesis 1:2 mentions the presence of God's Spirit at Creation. Job 26:13, 33:4, Psalm 104:29, 30, and Psalm 33:6 support the active role of the Holy Spirit in the supernatural Creation of the earth. While the Bible clearly mentions God the Father and His divine Son, Jesus Christ, as being active in the creation of the world (see Isa. 64:8; Col. 1:16, 17), the Holy Spirit is present also, though in a more subtle manner.

He does not appear as the central actor in the Creation story. Instead, He is "hovering" over the void, and through His moving He is present at the genesis of life on this earth. The Hebrew word for "moving over," or "hovering" (merahepeth), over the surface of the earth that is used in Genesis 1:2 is the same word that is used in Deuteronomy 32:11, where God is compared to an eagle hovering over its nest of young. The Holy Spirit is intimately involved in the creation of life on this earth and takes care of the newly created living beings as an eagle would do for its young. Psalm 104:30 suggests that the Creation act was possible only through the work of the Holy Spirit and that He played an active part during this process.

The Holy Spirit was not only present at the Creation of this world, He is also active in the process of our re-creation, where He gives us a new heart and new mind. How are both of these activities related?

Amen! Such a blessing to see this truth brought out right at the beginning of our study of the Holy Spirit. God not only filled Adam with the Spirit when he was created, but our only hope of having eternal life is to be filled with the Holy Spirit also. We must be holy as our heavenly Father is holy. If some have a problem with reconciling this with our evil fallen nature, they need to pray for wisdom from the Holy Spirit to understand what it means. We may not ignore Scripture because we don't see how it is truth.

It was easy for God to make Adam holy and undefiled. It is not easy for God to re-create sinful man in His image. He cannot force a new heart into an unrepentant sinner. Man must cooperate in the plan of salvation. What is our part? What must I do in order to be saved? Throughout the Bible this truth is revealed. We must become a partaker of God's divine nature in order to be saved. "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." 2 Peter 1:4.


What does the Sabbath tell us about this work of Creation and re-creation?

God rested on the seventh day. He wanted man to understand His love and creative power. One day in seven is given to us that we might not forget His love and power. That was important before sin, but after sin it is vital to our "re-creation." Many do not believe God has power to restore man to His image, to re-create in an evil sinner the righteousness of Christ. It is true, He cannot force man to love Him. He gives man free will to choose whom he will serve. If we will learn of Him, if we will spend a thoughtful hour a day contemplating the life of Christ, we shall be re-created in His image. It is a promise. "We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Corinthians 3:18.

Notice who it is that works with the sinner to bring Him to repentance and a new life in Christ Jesus? It is the Holy Spirit. Let us pray for more of His Spirit that we might have a clearer vision of God and His love and power. It is this that will save us. Therefore, let us spend this Sabbath Day contemplating the creation God gave to humanity. Such love, such power!! But, greater is the re-creation that He will do in you and me, if we will flee to Jesus just as we are.


     Our Lord Jesus Christ came to this world as the unwearied servant of man's necessity. He "took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses," that He might minister to every need of humanity. Matthew 8:17. The burden of disease and wretchedness and sin He came to remove. It was His mission to bring to men complete restoration; He came to give them health and peace and perfection of character.  Ministry of Healing, pg 17. 

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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Let us do all we can to serve Him with the whole heart. We are to be His witnesses in a world soon to perish.

One of the best ways to learn to serve Him is to behold Him. As I spend time beholding the loveliness of Jesus, I am allowing the Holy Spirit to fulfill the work promised in John 3 upon my own heart. That is why it would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. It is the Holy Spirit that inspired Ellen White to write that sublime statement--truly, what the Holy Spirit does in that "thoughtful hour" {DA 83.4} is something that makes me marvel--because the Holy Spirit ALWAYS FULFILLS THE PROMISES in this statement:

"It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit. If we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross." {DA 83.4}

This is no mystery! This is a great reality! When we have spent time with Jesus, it is the Holy Spirit who can more meaningfully use us that day to bless others--because through beholding the Savior, we have become more like Him. The Holy Spirit brings power to the life to reflect Jesus. May it be said of us what Peter and John experienced:

"Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus" (Acts 4:13).

What a great blessing! If you have not already, please join us in The Desire of Ages forum, and receive a true blessing each day!!!
"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}

Jellis

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Sunday January 8

The Elusiveness of the Holy Spirit


Read

John 3:3-8

 3:3   Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. 
 3:4   Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? 
 3:5   Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 
 3:6   That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 
 3:7   Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. 
 3:8   The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit. 

Ezekiel 37:5, 9.

 37:5   Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: 
 37:9   Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live.


Why is the wind a fitting picture for the mysterious workings of the Holy Spirit?

His workings are not mysterious, but He is not seen, as the wind is not seen. We can see what he has done in the lives of those who have given their hearts to Him. The fruits of the Spirit are neither unseen, nor mysterious. Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance are all seen in the lives of those who are fully surrendered to Jesus. Why?  Because the Holy Spirit is seen to be in their hearts and minds. Thus, the character of God is revealed in all who love God supremely. Self is hidden in Christ. Not one of these fruits are missing.


By comparing the Holy Spirit's actions to that of the wind, Jesus describes the Spirit's elusiveness. The movements of the wind have something mysterious about them. It is difficult to predict with exactness where the wind comes from and where the wind is going. Who hasn't at times been baffled by the sudden appearance of wind seemingly out of nowhere?

The work of the Spirit is clearly defined in the transformation of the character from sinner to saint. When one is truly converted, we know what to expect in the life of the repentant sinner.


Yet we can learn to become somewhat familiar with the movements and patterns of the wind. In a similar manner, the Holy Spirit is active where He wills. No one can control Him. Yet we can know where He is active and at work. Just like the wind, the Holy Spirit is invisible but can be most powerful. We of course can feel the presence of the wind and can often see its effect, even if we can't see the wind itself. From a light breeze to deadly blasts, wind can be a very powerful force. When the Holy Spirit is described as wind, His activity has been connected with the idea of bringing life to the dead. This assumes power to the highest potency, something that only God is capable of doing.

Amen, it is the greatest miracle God can do. Bringing life to the dead is impossible without the Holy Spirit. Yet, He does not force it. It requires our cooperation with Him as He reveals the grace of God.


How this is accomplished remains a mystery. God and His workings through the Holy Spirit are greater than what we can fully comprehend, as are so many things both secular and sacred.

This is true, but we can understand what our part is, and that we need the Holy Spirit to open our minds to the truth. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. It is the Spirit of God that reveals the truth.


This does not mean that we cannot know what the Holy Spirit accomplishes. But we have to acknowledge that the appropriate virtue in dealing with divine mysteries is humility. Humility appreciates the grandeur of God and recognizes our creaturely limitations and accepts our need for divine revelation.

Amen, we are erring mortals. Without the aid of the Holy Spirit we would remain such. But, if we will seek His help to know God, He will not deny us this aid. There is much we shall not know, but there is much written in Scripture and much in nature that we can know. We have remained ignorant by our own will. God is not happy that we do not understand the plan of salvation and our continual need of Him to do any good thing. "God will not condemn any at the judgment because they honestly believed a lie, or conscientiously cherished error; but it will be because they neglected the opportunities of making themselves acquainted with truth. The infidel will be condemned, not because he was an infidel, but because he did not take advantage of the means God has placed within his reach to enable him to become a Christian."  Testimony to Ministers, pg 437.


Ellen G. White has aptly stated: "The mysteries of the Bible, so far from being an argument against it, are among the strongest evidences of its divine inspiration. If it contained no account of God but that which we could comprehend; if His greatness and majesty could be grasped by finite minds, then the Bible would not, as now, bear the unmistakable evidences of divinity." - Ellen G. White, Education, p. 170.

Amen! What is revealed in Scripture is for our understanding. But, there are indeed mysteries that are not revealed that are opened to our minds as we learn of God. We know why God allows evil to exist, but we do not know how God knows the end from the beginning. We are not as God, and never will be. But, we may reflect His character if we will give Him all we have and all we are.


What are some unseen forces in nature that can impact our lives? What should this teach us about the reality of unseen yet powerful influences in our world?

Those unseen forces are under the control of God. Satan is unseen and powerful, but He does nothing without God allowing it. We see evidences of this as we read in the Book of Job. We see that Satan was allowed to control the weather as God allowed. We are completely dependent upon God for all we have, even the very heartbeat that keeps us alive is under His control. We are not safe for a moment without God's protection. He gives to sinful man a day of probation that we might learn of ourselves and of His great love and power to save us from ourselves. Many have been called, but few will choose to surrender self to Him who gave all for us that we might live.

Let us do all we can to serve Him with the whole heart. We are to be His witnesses in a world soon to perish.


Richard Myers

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  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
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Tuesday January 10

The Holy Spirit and the Sanctuary


"And let them make Me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them" (Exod. 25:8 ).

After the act of Creation, God's plan of salvation is of prime importance in the Bible. In a fallen world, what good would Creation be without the plan of Redemption? As sinners, we need not just a Creator but a Redeemer. How thankful we should be that we have that Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Without Him, we would be without hope in a world that, in and of itself, offers us none.

Amen!  And are we not thankful that Jesus came to dwell with us!  His name is "Immanuel, God with us!" He came to reveal God's character to a world sold into sin.

In the Old Testament it was the sanctuary and its service that illustrated God's forgiveness of sin and foreshadowed the work of Jesus, our Redeemer. It was here that the plan of salvation was revealed to the ancient Israelites (see Exod. 25:8 ). While much of the sanctuary service pointed to Jesus and His death for the forgiveness of sin, the Holy Spirit is depicted as being actively involved by enabling specific people to build the sanctuary according to the pattern God had revealed to Moses.

Yes, the Holy Spirit did enable wisdom and skill to construct the tabernacle. But, more revealing of the work of the Spirit was seen in the Holy Place wherein was the golden lamp stand which shed light throughout the sanctuary. We need the Spirit of God. "Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts." Zechariah 4:6.

     From the two olive trees the golden oil was emptied through the golden pipes into the bowl of the candlestick, and thence into the golden lamps that gave light to the sanctuary. So from the holy ones that stand in God's presence His Spirit is imparted to the human instrumentalities who are consecrated to His service. The mission of the two anointed ones is to communicate to God's people that heavenly grace which alone can make His word a lamp to the feet and a light to the path. "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." Zechariah 4:6. 
     In the parable, all the ten virgins went out to meet the bridegroom. All had lamps and vessels for oil. For a time there was seen no difference between them. So with the church that lives just before Christ's second coming. All have a knowledge of the Scriptures. All have heard the message of Christ's near approach, and confidently expect His appearing. But as in the parable, so it is now. A time of waiting intervenes, faith is tried; and when the cry is heard, "Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him," many are unready. They have no oil in their vessels with their lamps. They are destitute of the Holy Spirit.   
     Without the Spirit of God a knowledge of His word is of no avail. The theory of truth, unaccompanied by the Holy Spirit, cannot quicken the soul or sanctify the heart. One may be familiar with the commands and promises of the Bible; but unless the Spirit of God sets the truth home, the character will not be transformed. Without the enlightenment of the Spirit, men will not be able to distinguish truth from error, and they will fall under the masterful temptations of Satan.
COL 408.


Read Exodus 31:1-5.

 31:1   And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 
 31:2   See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: 
 31:3   And I have filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, 
 31:4   To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, 
 31:5   And in cutting of stones, to set [them], and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship. 


How was the Holy Spirit involved in the building of the sanctuary? How did the Holy Spirit assist those who constructed God's dwelling place?

The Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit was also present at the building of the sanctuary, the central place where reconciliation between God and human beings took place and a holy God met sinners. It was God who communicated to Moses His plan to build the earthly sanctuary according to the heavenly original (Exod. 25:9, 40).

The sanctuary was God's model to illustrate His plan of salvation. God was going to dwell amid His people in a special way, and He was going to do it in the sanctuary, which He told them to build. And it was the work of the Holy Spirit to enable human beings to accomplish with artistic skill and with beauty what God told them to do. Without His help, Israel would not have been able to accomplish this artistic craftsmanship.

Considering the power of the Holy Spirit, He certainly didn't need human help in building the sanctuary. Instead He enabled other people to do it with skill and beauty. How and where can you encourage and assist other people to use their talents to further the kingdom of God to God's glory?

We cannot, unless we have Christ. We cannot give to others what we don't have. We need the Holy Spirit indwelling our hearts so that we can be used of the Spirit. "If we have not His Spirit, we are none of His." Romans 8:9. We must be reconciled to God through the Spirit if we want to love others as Christ loves us. Then we can give glory to God by reflecting His character. God can use a donkey, but He would rather use you and me. He is looking for witnesses of His character. Until He has a people who reflect His character, He will not come.

Jesus told a Laodicean leader that he did not have eternal life, that he needed to be converted, born again of the Spirit. We need to learn what that means. A good start in the lesson is what else Jesus told Nicodemus. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." John 3:6,7. We may believe we have salvation, but if we are not filled with the Holy Spirit, we have no life. We must give Jesus the whole heart before the Spirit will take possession of the heart. We must be born of the Spirit, we must walk in the Spirit. Then we will be His witnesses revealing all of the fruits of His Spirit, not one will be missing.

Jesus went on to give a sanctuary lesson to Nicodemus. Jesus would not reprove someone and then not tell how to be converted. He told Nicodemus what to do. "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up." Who was being lifted up? It was Jesus. Why a serpent? He was made sin for us. He was the Lamb which was slaughtered in the Sanctuary. Like the sacrificial lamb, Jesus was to be slaughtered also. And, as we behold Him hanging on the cross, it is by His stripes we are healed, transformed in character. It would be well to spend a thoughtful hour a day contemplating the life of Christ, especially the closing scenes when Jesus, the Lamb of God was lifted up that He might pay the price for your sins and mine. It is this grace that if we will behold it, will save us.

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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Wednesday January 11

The Holy Spirit in Glorifying Jesus Christ


The Holy Spirit was active during Old Testament times, though it does not appear that His Work was as extensive as in the New Testament era. With the coming of Jesus, the promised Messiah, the ministry of the Holy Spirit is intensified, and He gives His gifts to all believers. While the New Testament tells us that the Holy Spirit is active in many different ways in our spiritual life and in the life of the church, perhaps His most important work is to glorify Jesus Christ.

Read John 16:13, 14 and John 15:26.

16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
16:14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:


What does Jesus say is the work of the Holy Spirit? How is all other work of the Holy Spirit related to this central work?

Jesus makes clear that the role of the Holy Spirit is to work upon in the life of the one who is fully surrendered to God to bring glory to God, testifying and revealing Jesus. We can only reveal the glory of God if we have the Spirit of God possessing our hearts. We cannot have Him abiding in our hearts when we choose to sin and separate from God. Hence, we need to be entirely surrendered to Christ and behold Him. The Holy Spirit works upon our hearts to draw us to behold the loveliness of Jesus, so that we are enabled, by becoming partakers of the divine nature (through the new birth and work of the Holy Spirit) to reveal God's character, which is all of the fruits of the Spirit without one missing. Only by the Holy Spirit can God be glorified in our lives, and Jesus exalted in and through us abiding in Him.

Jesus tells us that the Holy Spirit speaks not of Himself, but of Jesus. His work consists in elevating the redemptive work of Jesus. He keeps Himself in the background and puts the floodlight on Jesus. It has been aptly said that "the Spirit's message to us is never 'Look at me; listen to me; come to me; get to know me' but always 'Look at Him, and see His glory; listen to Him, and hear His word; go to Him, and have life; get to know Him, and taste His gift of joy and peace.' The Spirit, we might say, is the matchmaker, the celestial marriage broker, whose role it is to bring us and Christ together and ensure that we stay together."-J. I. Packer, Keep in Step With the Spirit: Finding Fullness in Our Walk with God, revised and enlarged edition (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2005), pp. 57, 58.

This is highly significant. Any emphasis upon the work of the Holy Spirit that detracts from the Person and work of Jesus Christ is not from the Holy Spirit. As important as the Holy Spirit is for our spiritual life, He should never take the place that is due in our thinking and for our salvation only to Jesus Christ. Wherever Jesus is exalted, the Holy Spirit is at work. This is why we are called Christians, that is, followers of Christ (compare with Acts 11:26), rather than "Pneumians," that is, followers of the Spirit (see Graham A. Cole, He Who Gives Life: The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit [Wheaton, Ill.: Crossways Books, 2007], p. 284).

There is truth and error mixed here. The lesson states that "Wherever Jesus is exalted, the Holy Spirit is at work." But there is so much taking place in Babylon (the fallen churches that have rejected the light of present truth), that would seem to pass as something where "Jesus is exalted," but much of it simply takes the name "Jesus" and does not clearly reveal the character of Christ in harmony with His Spirit and Word. If we are lacking even one of the fruits of the Spirit, this is evidence that we do not have Christ abiding in the heart through a living faith surrender to Him, and thus have not His Spirit. We may say the name "Jesus," but that is not enough. Christ is glorified and at work when His character is manifest in us--through the agency of the Holy Spirit. We see in Scripture that the Holy Spirit is the one who makes the new birth possible. "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Colossians 1:27) is only possible by the agency of the Holy Spirit. When Jesus is spoken of, but His character is not revealed, we need to be careful and test everything. Jesus is to be exalted--by a revelation of His character in His people!

Why is it so important for us to uplift the risen Lord in all that we do? After all, think about what Jesus has done for us. We owe everything to Him. How can we show our gratitude (see, for instance, 2 Thess. 1:11, 12)?

1:11 Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:
1:12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.


Goodness and faith are both fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). If we truly have any one of them, we will have all of them by a living-faith experience of abiding in Christ. God is glorified, and Jesus is exalted, by a consistent, Christ-like life. This is only possible through the heart being entirely yielded (and cleansed completely from sin) through the work of the Holy Spirit. We are in continual need of Jesus, and He is accessible to us by His Spirit. We need to dwell more upon the loveliness of Jesus, and realize our utter dependence upon Him to do any good thing. This is why it would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ--and it is the Holy Spirit who does the work of transformation in the character of all who are willing to "look and live"!
"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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Amen, Pastor Sean. Our message to a world soon to perish is the gospel message in the light of the judgment which has begun. We are nearin the end. "Fear God and give glory to Him" is something we ought to preach and live. What does it mean to "give glory to God"? It means to reflect His character. As Pastor Sean has stated, in order to give glory to God we must first die to self. We must have Christ abiding in the heart. It is through the Holy Spirit that Christ lives in the repentant sinner. He is knocking on the door of many hearts, seeking entrance. If we hear Him, then let us invite Him in. If we don't hear Him, then we need to learn of Him so we can discern His voice. Time is running out quickly.

We are left with the great question, what must we do in order to be made willing to make a full surrender of all we have and all we are? It is not in harmony with our selfish hearts to let self be humiliated and die. Man is evil by nature and the greatest battle he shall ever fight is the battle to put self to death. What must I do in order to have the promise God made in Genesis 3:15 come true? What must I do that I will a hatred for sin?
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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Thursday January 12

The Holy Spirit and Christ


The Holy Spirit effected the incarnation of Jesus (Luke 1:34, 35). He anointed Jesus for His mission (Luke 3:21, 22). The anointing of Jesus endued Him with power to fulfill His Messianic mission and qualified Him to bestow the Holy Spirit on His disciples. The Holy Spirit guided and sustained Jesus in His temptations (Mark 1:12; Matt. 4:1; Luke 4:1, 2, 14) so that Jesus "is able to succour them that are tempted." Heb. 2:18; compare with 4:15, 16). The Holy Spirit empowered Jesus for this redemptive work (Heb. 9:14) and made Jesus' resurrection possible (1 Pet. 3:18). In all this the Holy Spirit remained in the background and helped to bring Jesus Christ to prominence.

Read

Luke 24:44-49

 24:44   And he said unto them, These [are] the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and [in] the prophets, and [in] the psalms, concerning me. 
 24:45   Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 
 24:46   And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 
 24:47   And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 
 24:48   And ye are witnesses of these things. 
 24:49   And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. 

Galatians 5:16-23

 5:16   This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. 
 5:17   For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 
 5:18   But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. 
 5:19   Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 
 5:20   Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 
 5:21   Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 
 5:22   But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 
 5:23   Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 

Ephesians 4:23, 24

 4:23   And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 
 4:24   And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.   


What do we learn about the work of the Holy Spirit in these passages? How does the Holy Spirit glorify Jesus?

We may be renewed in our minds and hearts. When born again of the Spirit, we shall walk in the Spirit and manifest love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. None of these will be missing because the Spirit has possession of the heart and mind. If we are not surrendered, if we are not born of the Spirit, we will manifest the works of the flesh and none who reveal the works of the flesh will inherit eternal life. When walking in the flesh we are condemned (Romans 8:1).


The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus in at least the following ways:

    By teaching about Him in the Holy Scriptures in a trustworthy and reliable manner. Nothing that is necessary for us to know about Christ and His salvation is missing or misleading. It's all there in the Word of God, if we would but read it in faith and submission.
    By drawing men and women into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit gently works on people's hearts and minds. He gives them understanding so that they understand spiritual things and so that they will be willing to place their trust in Jesus Christ and accept Him as their Leader and Redeemer.
    By reproducing Christ's character in us. He thus brings to life Christlike virtues in our lives (Gal. 5:22, 23). Through the blood of Jesus we are given victory over sin (compare Rev. 12:11) and the Holy Spirit enables us to walk in faithfulness to God's commandments.
    By enabling us to live a Christlike, selfless, and loving life of service to others. He calls men and women into specific lines of work for God and enables us to reach out to others in the attractive Spirit of Christ.

How does the work of reproducing the character of Christ in our lives bring glory to the Father?

What a blessing to see in our lessons such important truth. The answer to the Laodicean condition, a lost condition, is given in the same message which reveals we are in that lost condition and what it is. Jesus tell us to buy of Him gold tried in the fire and white raiment. "I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see." Rev. 3:18. What is "white raiment"?  It the character of Christ, it is His righteous character, it is holiness. How much does it cost to get this gift? What is "eye salve"? What is "gold tried in the fire", and how do we get it?

When we are fully surrendered and Christ has possession of the heart, through His Spirit, we witness to the character of Christ and His power to transform sinners into saints. Does this not bring honor and glory to God? Does it not vindicate His character before this world and the universe?


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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Friday January 13

Further Thought: No question, the work of the Holy Spirit is crucial to our walk with the Lord. Again, we might not be able to see Him work, but we can see the effect of His work in our lives and in the lives of others. If your life has been changed through faith in Jesus, it has been changed only through the work of the Holy Spirit in it.

Amen! Amen! And what will that change reveal? When we have Jesus abiding in the heart, the Holy Spirit produces in us all of the fruits of the Spirit so that not one is missing!

"While the wind is itself invisible, it produces effects that are seen and felt. So the work of the Spirit upon the soul will reveal itself in every act of him who has felt its saving power. When the Spirit of God takes possession of the heart, it transforms the life. Sinful thoughts are put away, evil deeds are renounced; love, humility, and peace take the place of anger, envy, and strife. Joy takes the place of sadness, and the countenance reflects the light of heaven." - Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 173.

Amen! The very experience spoken of above in this quote is the "new birth"--this is the foundation of our faith, the everlasting gospel. Our people need this simple truth, often repeated in lessons that can be understood. We can do no good thing apart from Jesus. Our countenance cannot reveal joy if we do not have the abiding presence of Jesus. We need to be praying to Him continually, for continual communion with God to resist temptation and to be kept in a converted state. Only when we have Jesus will it be clear to a world soon to perish that there is a God who truly exists--we are His witnesses! Praise the Lord we can be such by the power of the Holy Spirit!

These are wonderful promises, and an untold number of lives have shown just how real they are. But the work of the Holy Spirit is not instantaneous. We don't automatically become the kind of people we ought to be. A life of faith and submission to the Lord is a life of struggle, of surrender, and of repentance when we fail.

There is truth and error here. What does the Holy Spirit do at conversion? We just read it in The Desire of Ages page 173, which our lesson quoted above. Every act of the life flows from a heart that is either pure and holy or selfish and evil. There is no middle ground here. We are either converted or we are unconverted. We are either abiding, or we are branches that are disconnected, withering. At conversion, Christ makes the heart and mind pure and holy. But the person thus converted may (and likely still does) eat the wrong food, wear the wrong clothes, or not keep the Sabbath the way it ought to be kept. Does this mean that the heart is evil while they do these things? Well, if Jesus has the heart, the new born child of God is revealing love to God and his fellow man in every act--because Jesus abides there. The fruits of the Spirit will be there, and not one will be missing, and there is a wiling obedience not every known statute. We must not confuse conversion with ongoing character growth. At conversion, the new born child of God, a repentant sinner, is a new creature! And there is no need to sin. Why then, would he or she fail? Is it because God fails? No, no. God does not fail the weakest of His children. Let us understand the Scriptures: "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" (1 Corinthians 10:13). The failure comes back to a lack of sensing one's continual need of Jesus--of fleeing to Him in time of temptation for the escape. We need Jesus continually! By sin, we reveal a separation between the soul and God--not because He failed, but because we did not exercise the faith and the promises made available to us, whereby we are "partakers of the divine nature" (2 Peter 1:4).

The Holy Spirit is the Divine Agent that works in our lives to make us new creatures in Christ. This is, though, the work of a lifetime. Though our faults and weaknesses should spur us onto a greater surrender to our Lord, we must not let the devil use them to discourage us in our Christian life, which he is always eager to do.

The lesson speaks of "greater surrender." We need to realize that if we have not made an entire surrender to Christ, then we are not converted. The more we see of the loveliness of Jesus, the more we will realize that we are unlike Him by nature (for we have a fallen nature) and that we have to have Him in us abiding in the heart to be like Him moment-by-moment. This is the lesson of a lifetime, but we can learn it now--not 20 years from now--that we have to have Jesus by His Holy Spirit to do any good thing. So many want to put character perfection far off into the future, when today, if there is an entire surrender to Christ of the whole heart, then we are perfect at that stage of development, just like the corn plant at each stage. This will continue as long as we abide, until perfection of character is fully mature. But at each stage of perfection, the heart is to be kept pure and holy, the mind stayed upon Christ in a perfect state, by beholding the loveliness of Jesus. Let us exalt His power to do this in us NOW! Praise the Lord!!!

When taunted by our sins, we must always remember the death of Jesus on behalf of sinners. It's precisely because we are what we are, sinners in need of grace, that Jesus died for us and gives us that grace.

Yes, but for what purpose has grace been given? As a cloak for sin? No--grace has been given because we need it, and that grace has the power to transform hearts. Grace is revealed in the loveliness of JEsus, in the great sacrifice of the Father in sending His Son at such great risk to our fallen world to die as our Sacrifice and Substitute. Praise God it is so! Receive not the grace of God in vain--let Him change your heart by choosing to spend that "thoughtful hour" with JEsus daily, and know that He will keep His promise to you:
"But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18).


Discussion Questions:

    What can the Holy Spirit's example teach you about ministering from behind the scenes? That is, doing the work of the Lord in a manner that many people don't know about, see, or even appreciate?

We need Jesus continually. We need a daily baptism of the Holy Spirit, and for this we should pray earnestly each day. We need to realize that it is not whether we are recognized by men, but whether we are connected to the Vine that matters. Whether God has us minister in a way that is seen or unseen, it makes no difference to the truly converted Christian. All we ask is "What is Thy will?" We only want to do the will of the One who gave Himself for us--wherever and in whatever way His providence shall indicate. We are to leave the results with Him. Our reward is Jesus, and as long as we have Him, our focus and thoughts are of Him!

    How does the Holy Spirit elevate Jesus and put Him into focus? How can you elevate Jesus without putting yourself at the center of the attention? Why is that sometimes so hard to do? How can we fight the natural inclination to self-promotion?

The answer is always the same. We cannot give what we do not have. We need to heed the invitation given us in inspiration:
It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit. If we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross. {DA 83.4}When we are born from above, truly converted, we will speak of Jesus, and uplift His loveliness. Self will be lost sight of. We need to remember also this inspired promise: "When men and women can more fully comprehend the magnitude of the great sacrifice which was made by the Majesty of heaven in dying in man's stead, then will the plan of salvation be magnified, and reflections of Calvary will awaken tender, sacred, and lively emotions in the Christian's heart. Praises to God and the Lamb will be in their hearts and upon their lips. Pride and self-esteem cannot flourish in the hearts that keep fresh in memory the scenes of Calvary. This world will appear of but little value to those who appreciate the great price of man's redemption, the precious blood of God's dear Son. All the riches of the world are not of sufficient value to redeem one perishing soul. Who can measure the love Christ felt for a lost world as He hung upon the cross, suffering for the sins of guilty men? This love was immeasurable, infinite." {2T 212.1}
"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}

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Both Richard and I posted Friday's lesson. No two minds will express the truth in the exact same way, but there is an underlying unity that is a blessing on this forum. May you be blessed as you see two different studies of Friday's lesson! God bless you and happy Sabbath to all who are reading and sharing today!
"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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I just read your post, Pastor Sean. When I saw your first post of the lesson, I removed mine. But, now that I see your second post, I will re-post my lesson. It will be interesting to compare the two lessons.  A two for the price of one on this Sabbath evening!
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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Friday January 13

Further Thought: No question, the work of the Holy Spirit is crucial to our walk with the Lord. Again, we might not be able to see Him work, but we can see the effect of His work in our lives and in the lives of others. If your life has been changed through faith in Jesus, it has been changed only through the work of the Holy Spirit in it. "While the wind is itself invisible, it produces effects that are seen and felt. So the work of the Spirit upon the soul will reveal itself in every act of him who has felt its saving power. When the Spirit of God takes possession of the heart, it transforms the life. Sinful thoughts are put away, evil deeds are renounced; love, humility, and peace take the place of anger, envy, and strife. Joy takes the place of sadness, and the countenance reflects the light of heaven." - Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 173. These are wonderful promises, and an untold number of lives have shown just how real they are. But the work of the Holy Spirit is not instantaneous. We don't automatically become the kind of people we ought to be.

No, we do not automatically become holy. Holiness happens when we make a full surrender to Jesus. It is then that the Holy Spirit takes possession of the heart. He brings with Him each one of the fruits of the Spirit, not one is missing. Now, this is an amazing truth that addresses what is being said in the lesson. It happens at conversion, but there is still room for growth. What growth happens after one receives all of the fruits of the Spirit?


A life of faith and submission to the Lord is a life of struggle, of surrender, and of repentance when we fail. The Holy Spirit is the Divine Agent that works in our lives to make us new creatures in Christ.

Yes, and what do these new creatures look like? They have love, joy, and peace that passes all understanding. They may keep the wrong day, eat the wrong food, and speak things that are not just right, but it is because of ignorance. But, the heart is holy, pure, undefiled. The motives are holy when Jesus has possession of the heart. This is the perfection that comes with a full surrender.


This is, though, the work of a lifetime.

Yes, it is the work of a lifetime in that we can never let go of Jesus if we want to maintain our experience. When we lose sight of Jesus, self returns. We can do no good thing unless we are fully surrendered to Jesus. We must continue the battle as long as life shall last. At the second coming of Jesus we shall receive glorified bodies if we are abiding in Christ. In the meantime, we retain sinful flesh, but that is not an excuse for sin. Why not?


Though our faults and weaknesses should spur us onto a greater surrender to our Lord, we must not let the devil use them to discourage us in our Christian life, which he is always eager to do. When taunted by our sins, we must always remember the death of Jesus on behalf of sinners. It's precisely because we are what we are, sinners in need of grace, that Jesus died for us and gives us that grace.

Amen!  Grace surrounds us as thick as the air we breathe. But, it does us no good if we will not behold it and allow it into our hearts. It would be good if we would spend a thoughtful hour a day beholding that grace. Where will we see it revealed best?


Discussion Questions:


    What can the Holy Spirit's example teach you about ministering from behind the scenes? That is, doing the work of the Lord in a manner that many people don't know about, see, or even appreciate?

Jesus did not seek out those who were not interested in truth. Most did not respond to Jesus' ministry prior to the cross. So, it is with us. The Holy Spirit is working through us to witness to the world the character of God. We may not see the fruit of our witness, but that makes no difference. We know God's Word will not return void. There will be fruit. While we have planted, others will reap. The Holy Spirit knows the end from the beginning. He knows what is best for us to say and to do. If we will allow Him to take possession of the heart, then others will be blessed whatever we do. Filled with His Spirit, we will live for Christ, not for self.


    How does the Holy Spirit elevate Jesus and put Him into focus? How can you elevate Jesus without putting yourself at the center of the attention? Why is that sometimes so hard to do? How can we fight the natural inclination to self-promotion?

It is hard to do when self is alive. No, it is impossible to elevate Jesus when we are not dead to self. If we are not filled with the Holy Spirit, pride remains in the heart. We cannot serve two masters. The only way to win the battle over self is to surrender our wills to the will of God. By beholding Jesus we become changed into His character of love. We become partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) when the Holy Spirit takes possession of the heart. This is the only way God can be glorified in my life. If Jesus is not on the throne of my heart, then I can do no good thing. If we think we can glorify God when self has not been dethroned, then we have been deceived. We must give the whole heart to Christ, not part of it. Again, we cannot serve two masters. "If we have not His Spirit, we are none of His." Romans 8:9.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.