Author Topic: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 6--1st Qtr 2017--The Holy Spirit & Living a Holy Life  (Read 2868 times)

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Wally

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 Lesson 6 February 4-10




The Holy Spirit and Living a Holy Life


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: 1 Pet. 1:14-16; Isa. 6:3; Heb. 12:14; 1 Cor. 6:11; 1 Tim. 1:8; Ps. 15:1, 2.

Memory Text: "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 5:23

It's easy to become insensitive to the holiness of God and not to think much about God's revealed hatred of sin and evil.

It is if you are not walking and talking with God. When we read the Word, we have a standard to measure our own lives by. This keeps us from being insensitive to the holiness of God.

Holiness, however, is a crucial theme in the Bible. The pursuit of holiness, to become loving and pure like Jesus, should be a priority for every Christian. We are rightly appalled by the "I-am-holier-than-you" attitude. But, at the same time, we can easily forget what it means to live a pure and sanctified life.

Yes, if we take our eyes off of Jesus, self takes over and we forget much. Sadly, in Laodicea many do not forget what it means to live a pure and sanctified, holy, life, they have not ever experienced it. Many teach that you cannot live a holy life because we live in sinful flesh. Therefore, many think they are saved (converted) when they are not. Jesus speaks the truth when He says the church is in a Laodicean condition.


God's love and His holiness inseparably belong together. Without God's holiness, His love would be in danger of sentimentalism; without His love, God's holiness would be stern and unapproachable. Both attributes, His love and His holiness, are foundational to His nature.

The Holy Spirit is intricately connected with our pursuit of holiness. After all, His name is Holy Spirit and He is called "the Spirit of holiness" (Rom. 1:4). His name reminds us that God is holy and that it is God's great desire to make sinners into the image of His own holiness.

Amen. When the Spirit takes possession of the heart and mind, He brings with Him His holiness and imparts it to those who have died to self. All of the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in the life of the converted Christian.


This week we will have a closer look at what it means to be holy and to live a holy life.

How very important we learn this. Many do not think they can live a holy life. They think they are saved when revealing the works of the flesh. But, Jesus tells us bad fruit comes from a bad tree. "The good tree will produce good fruit. If the fruit is unpalatable and worthless, the tree is evil. So the fruit borne in the life testifies as to the condition of the heart and the excellence of the character. Good works can never purchase salvation, but they are an evidence of the faith that acts by love and purifies the soul. And though the eternal reward is not bestowed because of our merit, yet it will be in proportion to the work that has been done through the grace of Christ." Desire of Ages.




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 February 5

The Holiness of God


Read 1 Peter 1:14-16.

 1:14   As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 
 1:15   But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 
 1:16   Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 

Amen!!

Why is the ultimate motivation for holiness just the reality of God Himself?

The motivation for holiness is twofold. First, for the unrepentant sinner who understands unless he is changed, he will face judgment. That is one motivation.

For the one who has been broken by seeing the great sacrifice made by our God for us while we were yet sinners, the motivation is wrapped up in the reality of the character of God. Do we not want to do all we can for Him who gave all for us? What can we do for Him? At the bottom of my post is the answer. At the very bottom it says: "Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not."

And, the last warning message entrusts to us as a people also says this: "Fear God and given glory to Him...."  What does it mean to give glory to God? It means to reveal Him to the world in our character. We are to be His witnesses. That is why He leaves us in this wicked world, and why He allows bad things to happen to His children. Do you glory when you find yourself in great tribulation? If not, why not? In Romans we read:
" 5:3 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. 


His love is to be seen in us. His holiness is the witness that He is love and justice, truth and righteousness.


What motivates you to live a holy life?

What motivates all who love God supremely is to give glory to God, that both sinners and saints might know of His power and love.


What does it mean that God is holy?

He is love and justice. He sacrificed neither to save man and restore the universe to holiness.


It's popular to emphasize God's love while ignoring His holiness. While God is love, the idea of holiness is more often connected with the name of God in the Bible than is any other attribute (Ps. 89:18, Isa. 40:25, Jer. 51:5, Ezek. 39:7, Rev. 4:8 ). Holiness describes the purity and moral perfection of His nature. God's holiness means that He is perfectly good and completely free from evil. God's holiness is the perfection of all His other attributes.

If we want to see an expression of holiness, we were given a standard, the  only thing on this Earth written with the finger of God. The law of God is a transcript of holiness. It is His character.


If God possessed omnipotence (infinite power), omniscience (perfect and complete knowledge) and omnipresence (everywhere present) but had not perfect holiness, He would be a power of whom we would rightly be terrified. Instead, He is a God whom we should love.

His power is holy power. His mercy is holy mercy. His wisdom is holy wisdom, and His love is holy love. In this sense holiness is the most intimately divine word of all because it has to do with the very nature of God. To deny the purity of God's holy being is, perhaps, worse than denying His existence. The latter makes Him nonexistent, the former an unlovely, even detestable god.

God's holiness means that He is separated from sin and entirely devoted to seeking the good that He represents in Himself. In other words, holiness denotes a relational quality as well as a moral quality. It encompasses separation from sin and complete devotion to God's glory.

In Isaiah 6:3 and Revelation 4:8, God is described as "Holy, holy, holy." When the biblical writers wanted to emphasize something that is important, they repeated the word in order to draw our attention to what is said. Jesus draws our attention to important statements by repeating the words "truly, truly" (John 5:24, 6:47, etc.) or "Jerusalem, Jerusalem" (Matt. 23:37) or by calling a name like "Martha, Martha" (Luke 10:41). Of all His attributes, only God's holiness is mentioned three times in a row. This indicates something of highest importance. God's nature is indeed holy. He is pure and good.

How scared would you be, and rightly so, if our all- powerful God and Creator were not holy and loving? What does your answer tell you about why we should be so thankful that God is as He is?

The Sabbath was given to man before sin as a reminder of God's power and love. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will one of continual obedience. As we spend time getting to know God, to understand His character of love and justice, we cannot help but love Him. Also, we have a standard that we might know who we are, and see how much we need Him. What a blessing to understand His holiness and power. He offers them to us that we might be restored to the image in which He created us. It was easy for God to mold and shape Adam, and then breathe life into him. But, not so with fallen man. God must have our cooperation to restore His image in us.

What must we do? We must flee to Christ and drink His blood and eat His flesh. It is only through knowing Him that we can make a full heart surrender of all we are and all we have. It is through a knowledge of His holiness that we fall in love with Him....and it is by beholding that unselfish holy character that we become partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:40) and changed into His image, His character of holiness (2 Cor. 3:18).

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 February 6

The Nature of Holiness

"The closer you come to Jesus, the more faulty you will appear in your own eyes; for your vision will be clearer, and your imperfections will be seen in broad and distinct contrast to His perfect nature. This is evidence that Satan's delusions have lost their power; that the vivifying influence of the Spirit of God is arousing you." - Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, pp. 64, 65.

This truth is perverted to allow for salvation in sin. That we might see our imperfections of character does not mean we are sinning. Yet, this is how this statement is twisted to allow one to sin and be saved at the same time. That is to say, it is possible to serve both Satan and God at the same time.

From Genesis to Revelation the Bible is calling us to holiness. Holiness does not mean sinning known sins. And, character defects are sin.  Then what does the statement mean? It means that we will not receive holy flesh until the second coming. Therefore, we in and of ourselves have imperfections of character. If you don't believe this, just let go of Jesus. Take your eyes off of Him for a moment and see if you can remain pure and undefiled by sin. It is impossible to do any good thing apart from God. We must be born again and filled with the Spirit in order to live a holy life free from sin.

Why is this so difficult? Because Satan has brought his clever deceptions into the church. And, Spiritual things are Spiritually discerned. Until we are born again, there is much we will not understand. But, the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgment prior to conversion. "And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment." John 16:8.

The devil has deceived many on this verse. They are not guilty of sin that condemns, they do not believe in personal righteousness, and therefore, they will not be judged worthy of the second death. Yet, the Bible from beginning to end tells us the wages of one sin is eternal death. John tells us:

 6:20   For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. 
 6:21   What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things [is] death. 
 6:22   But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. 
 6:23   For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. 


The statement quoted in our lesson tells us that we have sinful flesh and in that sinful flesh is hidden sin.


Read Ephesians 1:4, 5:25-27, and Hebrews 12:14.

1:4   According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 

 5:25   Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 
 5:26   That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 
 5:27   That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 

 12:14   Follow peace with all [men], and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 


What is God's purpose for all His people and for the church?

Holiness is both God's gift and His command. Hence we should pray for it and seek to manifest it daily. Holiness is the fruit of the Spirit displayed in our lives as we walk by the Spirit with Christ every day (Gal. 5:16, 22, 25). Holiness, in one word, is Christlikeness. It means belonging to Jesus and living as His child in loving obedience and commitment, being more and more conformed into His likeness. The basic meaning associated with the concept of holiness signifies a state of being separated, being set aside for a special service for God. On the other hand, holiness also signifies an intrinsic moral and spiritual quality, namely that of being righteous and pure before God. Both aspects need to be kept together.

Amen. And this is truth that cannot be perverted without denying what has been said. Either this is true, or it is not true. "Holiness also signifies an intrinsic moral and spiritual quality, namely that of being righteous and pure before God." "Holiness is both God's gift and His command. Hence we should pray for it and seek to manifest it daily. Holiness is the fruit of the Spirit displayed in our lives as we walk by the Spirit with Christ every day (Gal. 5:16, 22, 25). Holiness, in one word, is Christlikeness. It means belonging to Jesus and living as His child in loving obedience and commitment, being more and more conformed into His likeness."

Having stated the truth, we may not then teach contrary to it and retain integrity and authority of Scripture.


In the New Testament, believers are called holy because of their unique relationship to Jesus that sets them apart for a special purpose. Being holy does not make them ethically perfect and sinless, but changes them so that they can start to live a pure and holy lifestyle (compare with 1 Corinthians 1:2 where Paul calls the Corinthians holy ones or saints, even though they are not sinless and perfect). Believers are admonished to pursue holiness, without which no one will see the Lord (Heb. 12:14).

Yes, and no. We must continually pursue holiness, and without being holy we shall shall see the Lord. No, it is wrong to say that being holy does not make one "ethically perfect."  That contradicts what has been said and what the Bible teaches. First the blade, then the ear, perfect at each stage of development. Not perfect in knowledge, but pure and holy while living in sinful flesh. What, shall we sin and be saved at the same time? We can serve two masters? Self may rise up and be holy? The wages of one sin is not death? The mind may be taken back from Christ and we retain our salvation serving Satan?

Why do so many in the world reject Christianity? Because so many professing Christians say one thing and do another. God is looking for witnesses that reveal His character, not Satans. It is true that God will forgive our sins if we come to Him in repentance. But, He does not excuse our sins, nor does He remain in the heart of anyone when they sin a known sin. When the Spirit takes possession of the heart, He brings with Him the character of Christ, each one of the fruits of His Spirit, not one is missing. When one is missing, they all are missing because the Spirit is not in the heart when one sins. "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." Romans 8:9. 


 God's acceptance of each believer is perfect from the beginning, yet our growth in sanctification is a lifelong process and always needs to be extended further so that we become more and more transformed into the unblemished image of Him who has saved us.

Amen! But, this begins with perfection of character, and continues from victory unto victory if we remain in Christ and He in us. There is growth in that we become more obedient and manifest a greater abundance of fruit as we grow in grace. But, we do not sin as long as we have the Spirit within. This is perfection of Christian character. The heart has been cleansed and the mind is given to Jesus. The motives of conduct are pure and holy. We may eat the wrong food, wear the wrong clothes, and keep the wrong day because we do not understand, but the heart is perfect towards God.

There is a tension between being holy and yet having to pursue holiness. How will our pursuit of holiness be different if we know that we already belong to God, and that we are accepted in Him because of the sacrifice of Jesus in our behalf?

We are accepted because 1) He suffered and died for us. 2) Because we are fully surrendered to Him and are filled with the Holy Ghost who brings with Him the His character of holiness.  If we are not fully surrendered, then He does not live in the heart, and we are not His. If we have not His Spirit, we are none of His (Romans 8:9).  There is no condemnation if we are filled with the Spirit, but if we do not have the Spirit, then we can do no good thing. The power is His, not ours. We must have Jesus in the heart in order to be holy and have salvation.

It is true that the church is just as deceived as was Israel of old. Jesus speaks to us today. Don't reject Jesus and His reproof. If we sin, then we must "repent".

3:15   I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 
 3:16   So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 
 3:17   Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 
 3:18   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. 
 3:19   As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 
 3:20   Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 
 3:21   To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 
 3:22   He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. 

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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Tuesday February 7

The Agent of Sanctification


What do 1 Corinthians 6:11, Titus 3:5, and Hebrews 13:12 tell us about sanctification?

 6:11   And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 


When we are no longer in a Laodicean condition, we have repented of our sins because the goodness of God has brought us to repentance, we are filled with the Holy Spirit, the heart is washed and cleansed of all known sin, and each one of the fruits of the Spirit are received into the life. This is what is means to be converted, to be justified and sanctified, made holy. It is not a future event, but takes place when we make a full heart surrender to Christ.


 3:5   Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 


Again we read what happens at conversion, the heart is washed clean as the fresh driven snow. And, it is not because we did good, but because we came to Jesus just as we were, that we saved. Until we are converted, we can do no good thing. We are evil by nature and at enmity with God. It is conversion that brings forth a new creature in Christ Jesus. Then the heart is made new, and we are empower to keep the commandments of God from the heart while still living in sinful flesh.


 13:12   Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. 


Again, when we are fully surrendered to Jesus, we are then sanctified, made holy. The heart is sanctified. Power is given to man to reveal the character of Christ. Unlike last quarter's Sabbath School lesson, we see here the results of a full heart surrender to Jesus. We rejoice in the reproach brought upon us as it was brought upon our Lord. We, too, will suffer willingly without the gate. Shame and reproach is the life of the truly converted Christian. But, remember that when converted we are given love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. Thus, we have peace and joy amid our long-suffering outside the gate.

It is the grace of God that is the agent of sanctification. And, it is the Holy Spirit that opens our mind to see and receive it.


Our sanctification is accomplished by faith (Heb. 11:6) through the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Thess. 2:13, 1 Pet. 1:2). The apostle Paul writes: "but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. 6:11, NASB). Jesus produces in us lifelong growth in holiness, bringing forth the fruit of the Spirit within us. Our being changed into His likeness "comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit" (2 Cor. 3:18, NIV).

Amen. And while the justification and sanctification occurs at conversion, it must continue moment by moment, day by day until we are either translated or laid to rest. But, if we sin, we now still have a Mediator that will stand at the door of the heart knocking, wanting back in. There is still mercy available that will soon cease to strive with guilty man. The sanctuary in heaven will soon close never more to forgive sin. The day of mercy and Mediation will very soon close.


Read Galatians 5:16, 17.

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. 


What does Paul tell us in these verses?

It is good 5:17 is brought up. It has been twisted to teach that when converted we cannot do the good that we want to do. Just as Romans seven has been perverted to teach it is the life of the converted Christian. Such a heresy which seeks to steal away your prize. We are told in these two verses that if we are filled with the Spirit, converted, we shall not "fulfil the lust of the flesh," even though we still live in fallen flesh. As Paul so clearly illustrated, we are empowered by the indwelling Spirit to keep the flesh (body) under control. " 9:27   But 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.
 
There is a battle going on in every believer. The tension we all face stems from the fact that sin dwells in us (Rom. 7:20). The apostle Paul knew about this battle when he declared toward the end of his life: "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but [this] one thing [I do], forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." Phil. 3:13, 14.

Read Hebrews 12:1, 2.

 12:1   Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 
 12:2   Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 


What is the fight of faith that we are to wage against sin?

The battle we are called to fight is to continue "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of faith" (Heb. 12:2). Too often we are self-centered in our religion. We focus too much on our victories and on our defeats rather than on God, who alone can give us victory over sin. When the Holy Spirit helps us to look unto Jesus, we will have no desire for sin and everything that so easily entangles us is put aside (Heb. 12:1). But when we focus on our sins and shortcomings, we look at ourselves and not to Jesus. This leads to easy defeat because, by beholding our failures, we can so easily get discouraged. However, by beholding Jesus, we will be encouraged and can live victoriously.

Amen!  Now, this explanation can be taken two ways. I do not see a problem with what has been said, but it ought to be made more plain, for it leaves open the perverted teaching which is the popular teaching in the churches of Christianity.

Romans 7 and Galatians 5:17 are quoted in an effort to teach that when converted, we will sin a known sin because sin dwells in us. Thus we leave the sinner thinking he is saved in sin. Here are two key verses that would explain this if one thinks this is the Christian experience as it is so often taught. "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me." Romans 7:19,20.

This is to say, I am converted, but I do not have power to do what I ought to do, and I do that which I ought not do. This is sin. Thus, the Laodicean is taught it is the converted Christian that sins. So it is with the perverted teaching in Galatians 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." This is the battle before conversion or after conversion when the convert loses his connection with Christ and has no power to resist sin. It is not the experience of one who is abiding in Christ and is filled with the Spirit. When quoted with verse 16, as was done in the lesson, we find the truth. "Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh." If we want to walk in the Spirit, we must be filled with the Spirit. This happens when we are fully surrendered to Jesus.


If someone were to ask you, "How do I get the victory over sin that is promised to me in the Bible?" what would you answer, and why? Bring your response to class on Sabbath.

It is good to ask the question in Sabbath School, but be prepared to give the answer to a Laodicean church. Most will not have the correct answer. In the Bible, by what are we saved? We are saved by grace. Grace surrounds us as thick as the air we breathe. Then why are not all saved? We must drink in the grace. It must come into the heart. How does this happen? What must I do to receive this grace? In other words, when the lessons ask "How?" it is saying that we must do something to get the victory over sin. This is true. Unlike what some teach that we can do nothing, God does it all.

We are saved by grace. What must I do to receive that grace. What does Scripture tell us we must do? It must be revealed as it is in the Bible. "We are saved by grace through faith." Ephesian 2:8. But, not all have enough faith to receive the grace. So, we must now ask "how do I get enough faith?" What does the Bible tell us? "Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." Romans 10:17.

If we want enough faith, saving faith, to be saved, then we must hear the Word of God. Why? Because the Word is a revelation of God. It is through a knowledge of God that man is reconciled to God. Another way of saying it is, if we want to make a full heart surrender to Jesus, we must trust Him with all we have and all we are. How can we trust someone with our lives? Can we trust someone who we do not know? Absolutely not. Then we must know Jesus if we are going to have that kind of faith. This is why we must study the Bible to know God.

Then the promise is "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 Cor. 3:18.  By beholding we become changed in character. It is the Spirit that opens our minds to the loveliness of Jesus, and the heart finally is given to Him fully. Then, as the lesson has pointed out, we must fix our eyes upon Jesus and not let go. It is only by maintaining that connection that we retain our justification and sanctification. This is what has to be made plain. We do not retain salvation when the mind wanders away from Jesus. 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.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Wednesday February 8

The Rule of Holiness Is God's Law


We know that God calls us to keep His law. The question arises, though, why should we keep His law if we cannot be saved by it? The answer is found in the idea of holiness.

God calls us to keep His law, but He never calls us to do something without providing the means for that experience to take place. Until we are converted (with the heart and mind renewed by the Holy Spirit) it is impossible to keep the law of God, "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be." (Romans 8:7). The mind we have by inheritance (through our fallen nature), the fleshly mind, is unable to obey God. It must be crucified. Unless there is a new moral birth, any discussion of the goodness of the law of God (as good as that is) serves ultimately to reveal to the sinner his or her need of a Savior. By beholding Christ in the law we see our sinfulness, and our need of a new moral birth. Only when Jesus, the divine-human Savior, comes to indwell the heart by His Holy Spirit, bringing forth all of the fruits of the Spirit in the life, is it possible to obey God from a pure heart. Unless we have this change, and unless this change is maintained by continual submission and faith in Jesus, then we are not keeping the law (no matter how much we may have deceived ourselves, as Nicodemus, the rich young ruler, and others were self-deceived as to their need of conversion and full surrender to Christ).

Read Romans 7:12 and 1 Timothy 1:8. What attributes does Paul use to describe the law? How does the law reflect the character of God?

"Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good" (Romans 7:12).
1 Timothy 1:8: "But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully"


The law is holy, righteous, and good. These three attributes properly designate only God Himself. Thus, the law is an expression of God's character.

Yes, the law is an expression of God's character, but His character is also the standard in the judgment. We cannot be fitted to stand in the judgment unless we have God (in Christ) indwelling the heart moment-by-moment by His Spirit. Only then are we able to truly obey from the heart the very principles of the law.


To live a Spirit-filled life means that we live according to the law of God. The law is the unchanging rule of His holiness. The standard that the law sets does not change any more than does God Himself. Jesus affirmed that the law is not abolished, but that every part is to be fulfilled (Matt. 5:17-19). To keep the law is not legalism; it is faithfulness. The law does not save us. It never can. The law is never our way to salvation. Rather it is the path of the saved. The law, so to speak, is the shoe in which our love walks and expresses itself. This is why Jesus could say in a most remarkable manner that when "And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold" (Matt. 24:12). Love diminishes when the law is not appreciated.

Let us keep in mind how the law is related to the work of conversion. The Bible clearly reveals what the law is:
Galatians 3:24: "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." When we are converted, God writes His law in our minds and in our hearts by His Holy Spirit. The law is His character, but His character reveals our sinfulness and points us to our need of Jesus. Until we have Jesus, we will not be able to keep the law, for it is a divine reality only experienced through the divine presence of His Sprit at work in the life.


Read Romans 13:10 "Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."

and Matthew 22:37-40:
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.


Why is love the fulfillment of the law?

Love is the fulfillment of the law, for it is the expression of the character of God in the child of God who has been reborn through the Spirit! Only when the heart and mind are renewed by the Spirit can man have true love. The child of God who is converted sees Jesus in the law--His righteousness--and clings to Him continually that His perfection and holiness may be wrought out in the life. Then our joy will be to obey God because He first loved us!

While the rule and norm for holiness is God's law, the heart of His holiness is love. Love is the response to God's saving acts and is manifested in faithfulness. You cannot be a good disciple of Jesus without being a conscientious and loving law keeper. While it is possible to keep the letter of the law without love, it is not possible to exhibit true love without keeping the law. True love desires to be faithful. Love does not abolish the law. It fulfills it.

There is more to this--and this is because the Holy Spirit must have possession of the heart in order for us to be faithful to God: "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Romans 8:9).
Thus, it is possible for one to be truly converted and yet (ignorantly) break one of the Ten Commandments. For example, there are many who will be in heaven who kept the first day of the week as the Sabbath, and they were fully surrendered to God (to all that they knew) and bearing all of the fruits of the Spirit without one missing. This is what reveals conversion--and walking in the law is the fruit of faith. As light shines upon the path of the fully surrendered Christian, there will also be seen a willingness to obey out of a full-heart love for Jesus. Because conversion takes place when the Holy Spirit renews the heart and mind (keeping the flesh under by the working of the divine nature), we need to remember that this is the evidence of someone's acceptance before God, and that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to guide into all truth. We need to recognize that there are those who are truly converted, and yet who (ignorantly) violate one of God's commandments. We need to see that God is changing hearts, and that those changed hearts will be motivated to live obedient lives as a fruit of faith, because all the fruits of the Spirit will be in the life when one is yielded entirely to Jesus!

Why is the law an expression of God's love for us? How are love and obedience related?

The law is a revelation of His character. Christ lived the law in humanity, showing that it is possible for us also to obey through a saving-faith relationship with Him whereby we surrender all to Him. Love and obedience are intimately related, for love is the essence of God's character, for "God is love" (1 John 4:16), and we love (or obey) Him because He first loved us (see 1 John 4:19). The heart must be changed for this to take place. Unless we understand this, we will only continue to remain in a Laodicean condition thinking that we are obeying God when our hearts are still unchanged. God has the power to do this in us--and our part--our continual need--is to behold the loveliness of Jesus (the law lived in humanity), so that we may be changed. That is why it would be well for us to spend a thoughful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ, because by doing so we will experience His renewing in our lives with deeper love, faith, and a quickening of His Spirit! Join us in The Desire of Ages forum! It is SUCH A BLESSING!!
"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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Thursday February 9

Pursuing Holiness


Read Psalm 15:1, 2; Ephesians 4:22-24; and 2 Timothy 2:21.

15:1   A Psalm of David. LORD, who shall abide in thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in thy holy hill? 
 15:2   He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. 

 4:22   That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 
 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. 

 2:21   If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, [and] prepared unto every good work.


What do they tell us about holiness?

Holiness is righteousness which is revealed in the life of the repentant converted Christian.

Holiness is the precondition for enjoying the happiness of fellowship with God. It is the precondition for our usefulness to God. We know the truth of the saying: "Sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character." And, we might add, "Character is destiny."

The only thing we will take with us to heaven will be our characters.

Amen. And, that character which will allow one into heaven is there when one obtains everlasting life, at conversion.


Developing new habits and new characters, however, is not self-sanctification by self-effort. Habit forming is the ordinary way that the Spirit leads us in holiness. Habits are all important in our Christian walk, especially those habits that grow in connection with such biblical virtues as patience, love, faithfulness, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control.

When the Holy Spirit has filled our hearts, we will no doubt be active for God. But too often we forget that it is God who sanctifies us and who will finish the good work that He has begun in us (Phil. 1:6). Sometimes we are so busy doing all kinds of things for God that we forget to enjoy time with Him in prayer. When we are too busy to pray, we really are too busy to be Christians.

Perhaps our knowledge and success has made us so self-reliant and self-confident that we take for granted our skills and fine programs and, thus, forget that apart from Christ and without the Holy Spirit we can accomplish nothing.

Amen. But, God does not let us believe we are in a converted state when we forget about Him. He attempts to correct our misunderstanding, and reveal to us that when we lack one of the fruits of His Spirit, we do not have salvation. Thus, that still small voice convicts of sin, righteousness, and judgment. We must overcome the lies that has intruded into God's church that have convinced many they have eternal life even then they sin.


Activism is not holiness. There will be people who think that they have done great works for the Lord, and yet they really were not following Him at all. "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?  And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Matt. 7:22, 23. There is a big difference between being called by God and being driven to do something for God. If we have not first taken the quiet time to hear the call of God, we stand in danger of being self-driven to do whatever we do. But there will be no strength, no power, no peace, and no lasting blessing associated with our work if it does not spring out of a divine calling. Our greatest need in our personal holiness is quality time with God when we hear His voice and to receive new strength from His Word as led by the Holy Spirit. This will give our work distinct credibility and convincing power.

When we make a full surrender of the heart, the Holy Spirit takes possession of the heart and brings with Him all of the fruits of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance, not one is missing. If bad fruit is revealed, we may know the Spirit does not indwell the heart. If good fruit is there, then the tree cannot be bad.

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 February 10

Further Thought: Read Ellen G. White, "Like Unto Leaven," pp. 95-102 in Christ's Object Lessons.

How do we even begin to grasp the holiness of God when our nature is fallen and corrupt and His is uncompromisingly holy? His holiness defines Him as singular and separated from the world of sin and death that we humans experience. Yet, here is the most amazing thing: God offers us the opportunity to participate in His holiness. That's part of what a covenant relationship with Him is about. "Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God [am] holy." Lev. 19:2. Or, as the book of Hebrews says: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah....For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people." Heb. 8:8, 10. In these texts we can see the connection between holiness, covenant, and law. We cannot be holy apart from obeying God's law, and we obey His law only as He Himself, the Holy Spirit, writes His law in our hearts and minds. What a sacred privilege is ours: "that we may be partakers of His holiness" (Heb. 12:10), which we express by loving obedience to His law.

Amen, to the degree we know His law. But, there is another law given in Galatians that is not dependent upon our knowledge of it. When we make a full surrender of our will to the will of God, the Holy Spirit comes into the heart and mind. When He comes, He imparts His holiness in cleansing the heart from sin. He gives us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26) wherein dwells every one of the fruits of the Spirit. As long as the Holy Spirit indwells the heart and mind, the fruits are there. This is the holiness every Christian manifests. Every converted Christian. The evil flesh remains, but the heart is purified. The motives are pure and holy. We may keep the wrong day, eat the wrong food, but the fruits are there, not one is missing. When Jesus said you cannot get bad fruit off of a good tree, and you cannot get good fruit off of a  bad tree, He was speaking of the fruits of the Spirit and the works of the flesh. We do not serve Satan and God at the same time (Matt. 6.24).

Discussion Questions:

    In class, go over your answers to the question at the end of Tuesday's study about what you would tell those who asked about how to have the promises of victory over sin realized in their own lives. What would you tell them?

    What does it mean to have God's law written in our hearts and minds? Why is this different from having it written only on tablets of stone?

What does Paul say? Some will find this offensive because they do not understand the law does not bring life, but condemnation. It is the Spirit who brings life. "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the Spirit: for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life." 2 Cor. 3:6.

    When you think of God's holiness, what do you think of? Go around the class and let each person talk about what they envision God's holiness to be like. What does Jesus reveal to us about God's holiness?

    What is the foundation for our holiness?

Christ.


    How is holiness achieved?

By beholding His glory we are changed into His image, which is holiness (2 Cor. 3:18).


    Earlier in the week, Wednesday's study stated: "The law does not save us. It never can. The law is never our way to salvation. Rather it is the path of the saved." How does this sentiment help us understand what the role of the law should be for sanctified Christians in whom the Holy Spirit is working?

For the unsanctified professor of religion, the law is the school master that reveals our condemnation and need of a Savior. "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster [to bring us] unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." Galatians 3:24. What role does the law play in the life of a sanctified (holy) converted Christian? As we read, the law of God is written on the heart when the heart is cleansed by the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is the everlasting covenant made just after sin. It is a conditional promise that God will give us hatred for sin and write His law upon our hearts. But, we may keep the wrong day because we do not understand.  The law of God is a transcript of His character of love. If we love our neighbor, then will we not be keeping the last six of the ten commandments? Then where is the pride of holiness? It is not there in the converted Christian. Holiness is meekness, it is love for our enemy. It is the Pharisee that is proud and not keeping the law. He thinks he is keeping the law, but the law of God reaches to the intent of the heart.

When the new heart is received, then the Christian keeps all of the commandments and judgments he understands. "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. 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." Ezekiel 36:26,27.

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

colporteur

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Sunday February 5

The Holiness of God


Read 1 Peter 1:14-16. [color=maroon

His power is holy power. His mercy is holy mercy. His wisdom is holy wisdom, and His love is holy love. In this sense holiness is the most intimately divine word of all because it has to do with the very nature of God. To deny the purity of God's holy being is, perhaps, worse than denying His existence. The latter makes Him nonexistent, the former an unlovely, even detestable god.


Doesn't that mean that God's wrath is holy ?
It's easier to slow a fast horse down than to get a dead one going.

Richard Myers

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That is a good point, cp.  All that God does is perfect and righteous. Does mercy do away with justice? That is what Satan has said. Satan is not holy, but God is. Mercy will have its end. All will be given an opportunity to be transformed into God's character. When one continues to resist the truth, to fight against God, then what shall God do? If one remains at enmity with God, he is at enmity with truth, with God, and with all who love God supremely.

God's justice is just as much a part of His character and government as is grace. Each will reap what they have sown in the flesh. Justice demands a response to evil. The wrath of God is that response once the evil doer can no longer hear the still small voice pleading with the sinner to turn. God will not burn for eternity those who reject the love of His Son, but they will suffer in direct proportion to their sins which they have done in the flesh. Those who have tortured little children would be better off having a millstone tied around their neck and be dropped in the ocean that to deal with our loving and just God. Yes, His wrath is a "holy" wrath, cp.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

colporteur

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I was pleasantly happy with several things stated in this week's lesson. Happy Sabbath to my friends here.
It's easier to slow a fast horse down than to get a dead one going.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Thursday February 9

Pursuing Holiness


Our greatest need in our personal holiness is quality time with God when we hear His voice and to receive new strength from His Word as led by the Holy Spirit.


I appreciated that the lesson shared the necessity of "quality time with God"--as it is with time that we come to know Him better. But how can we use that time to best account? What is so needful for us to study or read for us to be like Him? This reminds me so much of a more defined way we can spend that time that has such a transforming effect upon us:

"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." {The Desire of Ages, page 83, paragraph 4}


I love this statement so much the Lord gave me a melody to it, and I sing it often. Oh, how we need to behold Jesus! It is from HIM ALONE that we can experience true holiness, and it His Holy Spirit that will imbue us with His attributes--all of the fruits of the Spirit without one missing!
"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}

Glen

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"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." {The Desire of Ages, page 83, paragraph 4}

I love this statement so much the Lord gave me a melody to it, and I sing it often...

How can you share that melody with us; I'd like to hear it?
...Jesus...will live through (YOU), giving (YOU) the inspiration of His sanctifying Spirit, imparting to (YOUR) soul a vital transfusion of Himself. Sabbath-School Worker 02-01-96.03  ...as the blood is in the body, and circulate there as a vitalizing power... 7T 189.02

Glen

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Wednesday February 8

The Rule of Holiness Is God's Law


The law does not save us. It never can. The law is never our way to salvation.

I really rather prefer the explanation from Ellen White, regarding how God's Law lifts us above the power of natural desires and tendencies, above temptations that lead to sin... - - -and works in us the purity of character that will bring joy to us through eternal ages.

As speech is to thought, so is Christ to the invisible God. He is the manifestation of the Father, and is called the Word of God. God sent His Son into the world, His divinity clothed with humanity, to make known in His life and character the attributes of the Father, that men might bear the image of the invisible God. He was the embodiment of the law of God, which is the transcript of His character.  The Signs of the Times November 15, 1899 paragraph 2

The law is an expression of God's idea. When we receive it in Christ, it becomes our idea. It (God's law) lifts us above the power of natural desires and tendencies, above temptations that lead to sin. “Great peace have they which love thy law; and nothing shall offend them”—cause them to stumble. There is no peace in unrighteousness; the wicked are at war with God. But he who receives the righteousness of the law in Christ is in harmony with heaven.

As received in Christ, it [God's law] works in us the purity of character that will bring joy to us through eternal ages. The Faith I Live By, p. 83.6

...Jesus...will live through (YOU), giving (YOU) the inspiration of His sanctifying Spirit, imparting to (YOUR) soul a vital transfusion of Himself. Sabbath-School Worker 02-01-96.03  ...as the blood is in the body, and circulate there as a vitalizing power... 7T 189.02

colporteur

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Friday February 10

Further Thought: Read Ellen G. White, "Like Unto Leaven," pp. 95-102 in Christ's Object Lessons.

How do we even begin to grasp the holiness of God when our nature is fallen and corrupt and His is uncompromisingly holy? His holiness defines Him as singular and separated from the world of sin and death that we humans experience.

I wonder what the NAD would use today as a synonym for "singular?"    "Narrow minded ?", straight laced?", "legalistic ?",  picky?"
It's easier to slow a fast horse down than to get a dead one going.

Wally

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I wonder what the NAD would use today as a synonym for "singular?"    "Narrow minded ?", straight laced?", "legalistic ?",  picky?"

Divisive.   :o
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

colporteur

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I wonder what the NAD would use today as a synonym for "singular?"    "Narrow minded ?", straight laced?", "legalistic ?",  picky?"

Divisive.   :o
   ah, yes
It's easier to slow a fast horse down than to get a dead one going.

colporteur

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Thursday February 9

Pursuing Holiness


Our greatest need in our personal holiness is quality time with God when we hear His voice and to receive new strength from His Word as led by the Holy Spirit.


I appreciated that the lesson shared the necessity of "quality time with God"--as it is with time that we come to know Him better. But how can we use that time to best account? What is so needful for us to study or read for us to be like Him? This reminds me so much of a more defined way we can spend that time that has such a transforming effect upon us:

"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." {The Desire of Ages, page 83, paragraph 4}


I love this statement so much the Lord gave me a melody to it, and I sing it often. Oh, how we need to behold Jesus! It is from HIM ALONE that we can experience true holiness, and it His Holy Spirit that will imbue us with His attributes--all of the fruits of the Spirit without one missing!

I was not sure where to present and was wondering pastor Sean if you might respond  from a pastor's perspective, so thought this my be as good a place as any. We wish to pursue holiness in worship. Our pastor last week was leading out in then communion service. During the service as he often does at other times asked us all to say the Lord's prayer together. Toward the end of the service he had us sing hymn # 403, the song with the refrain  "I fall on my knees, with my face to the rising sun, O Lord have mercy on me."  My children were leading out up front singing.

While the Lord gave an example of prayer with what we call "The Lord's prayer I question whether He meant this to be a cookie cutter prayer to be copied. I don't have a big problem with it as long as it does not become too habitual. Not sure what the thoughts of others are on this but my family is not going to sing songs about falling on our knees with our face to then rising sun. I am going to talk to the pastor about the song. He is  maybe close to 50 and has been a pastor for many years. I expect he is aware of objections to this song but will ask. What would be your response if he says he knows and then gives some rationalization like since it was a negro spiritual they sang that when getting up before the days work etc..etc.. At best I perceive this song as problematic and its to bad that my children have to be on the look out as to which songs they can sing or not sing as printed in the bulletin or listed on the board up front. WWYD ?
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Pastor Sean Brizendine

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cp, I appreciate your post and my prayers go with you as you discuss the issue with your pastor. As a pastor, I seek to respect the convictions of my members and encourage them to do God's will as it it is given in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy in accordance with their convictions of conscience. As you expressed a concern for your children, you could prayerfully consider which songs you may have a concern about, and ask the pastor to either use other songs or to let you know if (or when) they might be used, so you could make the decision as to whether have your children be a part of leading songs. Feel free to personal message me if you would like to discuss this further.
"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}

Sister Dee

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Cp, recently we discovered alternative words to this line found in the songbook, "Advent Youth Sing" (copyright 1977 by Review and Herald, song #112).  Apparently someone else was concerned about the wording when these songs were compiled! 

"When I fall on my knees, with my face to the heav'n above, O Lord, have mercy on me."

If you can get hold of this book (perhaps there is one in your church; it's blue, btw) take it with you to show your pastor.  At least he'll know you're not the only one.