Author Topic: SDA Sab Sch Lesson 8--1st Qtr 2017--The Holy Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit  (Read 3792 times)

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Wally

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Lesson 8 February 18-24




The Holy Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit



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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Commentary in Navy              Inspiration in maroon

Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week's Study: 1 Cor. 12:4-7, 11; Eph. 4:7; 1 Cor. 12:14-31; Rom. 12:3-8; 1 John 4:1-3.

Memory Text: "Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all." 1 Corinthians 12:4-6

Going away on a long business trip, a man left his son in charge of the household, with a specific task to do. But the son soon realized that his father had not provided him with the necessary means and tools to accomplish that task. Frustrated, the son had to leave it undone.

Likewise, when Jesus left His disciples and went to be with His Father in heaven, He gave them a specific task: preach the good news of the gospel to the world. But Jesus did not leave His disciples unequipped. What He commanded them to do He enabled them to do, but in His name and through the power and help of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 1:4-7, Paul gives thanks "for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in every thing ye are enriched by him, . . . So that ye come behind in no gift." Spiritual gifts are given through the Holy Spirit in Christ to build His church.

This week we will study the Holy Spirit as the Sovereign Giver of God's remarkable gifts and look at the difference between the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit.

This study will be very helpful, for both are widely misunderstood. All of the fruits of the Holy Spirit are given to all who are truly abiding in Christ, at conversion. The gifts are given to those who are truly converted and are given as God chooses. God provides all we need each day to do that which He calls us to do.
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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The question was asked in SS "what is the difference between "the gifts of the spirit and the fruit of the spirit? "

1. A converted person receives all the "fruit"  but not all the gifts necessarily.
2. We do not have the fruit without at least one or some of the gifts.
3. A gift may be  counterfeited if the fruit is ignored. The fruit cannot be easily counterfeited. Sooner or later it will be seen for what it is even if the apple is sprayed with wax.
It's easier to slow a fast horse down than to get a dead one going.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Sunday February 19

The Fruit of Spirit and the Gifts of the Spirit


The fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit have the same Author. Yet, they are not the same. No one is required to manifest a gift of the Spirit, but everyone should manifest the fruit of the Spirit. Spiritual gifts do not necessarily testify to spirituality, but the fruit of the Spirit does. While there is only one fruit, there are many gifts, and some are greater than others.

Read 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 11.
4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.


What is the essence of what Paul is teaching here?

There is only one Holy Spirit. We receive Him into the heart when we are converted, and He will reveal Himself as being upon the throne of the heart keeping the flesh under by the divine nature by revealing all of the fruits of the Spirit (which are one in the sense that they are a divine unity). But gifts come as the Spirit chooses. Not all are given the gift of prophecy. But all are to be edified by the placement of the gifts in the church as the Spirit leads. The different gifts are all to unify the church and the power is all of the same God. It is the same work of the Holy Spirit in different, needed manifestations.

While all aspects of the fruit of the Spirit are designed by God to be visible in the lives of His followers, not every believer has the same gift or gifts. There is no command that all should have one particular gift, such as speaking in tongues. Instead, God sovereignly equips His believers with different gifts as He sees fit. The gifts of the Spirit are given so that we can serve others and build up the body of Christ, His church. These gifts are not given for our own pleasure and glory. They are bestowed to further the cause of God.

Therefore, spiritual gifts are worthless without the fruit of the Spirit. It is interesting that within the context of the spiritual gifts, love is often alluded to. Immediately after 1 Corinthians 12 comes the supreme description of love, in chapter 13. Ephesians 4:11-13 is followed in verses 15 and 16 with reference to love. The next verses after Romans 12:3-8, where the gifts of the Spirit are mentioned, speak about love (see Rom. 12:9, 10).

"God is love" (1 John 4:16). If the Holy Spirit does not have possession of the heart as manifest by His unselfish love (along with all the other fruits of the Spirit), then we are none of His. If we have not His heaven-born love, then we are not Christians, no matter how many gifts we may think we possess. We must realize that no matter how long we have had any particular gift from the Holy Spirit, it does not take away our need to be daily beholding the loveliness of Jesus and being more deeply imbued with His Spirit. That is why in love to us God tells us through His servant that it would be well to spend a "thoughtful hour" contemplating the life of Jesus with a special focus upon the closing scenes. What a blessing to have the lesson here emphasizing how all the fruit will be in the believer, but not necessarily each type of gift.

The gifts are, after all, gifts of grace; that is, they are gifts of love. They are given out of love and serve the love of God in reaching other people. By loving others, we are revealing the love of God to them. A loving and omniscient God provides the means to accomplish what He has commissioned His people to do. Perhaps that is why love is the greatest gift of all (1 Cor. 13:13).

Why is love so central to all that we do as Christians? How does love, in a sense, "empower" our witness?

Love and faith are the gold tried in the fire. This is the remedy for the Laodicean condition. We need to spend time with Jesus to have His love in our hearts.

Revelation 3:14-21
14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
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:
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.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
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.
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.


Let us reflect upon the counsel given to us in Revelation 3, and realize that if we do not repent, to have the love of Christ indwelling the heart as symbolized by the gold tried in the fire, then we are spiritually dead. Only love brings to life those who are frozen in cold selfishness, which is so all-pervading in the world in which we live. We need Jesus constantly to do any good thing. Let us heed the invitation to come and "behold the Lamb of God" (John 1:29). Please join us as we continue to do so each day in The Desire of Ages forum! Jesus changes lives and fills us with His love!!! Then our witness cannot but be a power for good in the world, for love is a potent power for good!
"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. And, today's lesson ends with 1 Cor. 12:31 which points us to our continual need of Jesus in order to be able to use the spiritual "gifts" he gives to His children. Without love that comes when we are truly converted, we would be "as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." 
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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The question was asked in SS "what is the difference between "the gifts of the spirit and the fruit of the spirit? "

1. A converted person receives all the "fruit"  but not all the gifts necessarily.
2. We do not have the fruit without at least one or some of the gifts.
3. A gift may be  counterfeited if the fruit is ignored. The fruit cannot be easily counterfeited. Sooner or later it will be seen for what it is even if the apple is sprayed with wax.

Amen, cp. But, I am not sure that you are entirely correct. Is it possible God will empower one not converted with a spiritual gift? I know it sounds rather strange, but I think we have examples in Scripture where God has done this. But, you bring up and important issue that I will address in today's lesson. Because God has seen fit to give a gift to one not converted, does not mean that many who are under the impression they have a spiritual gift when not converted, truly have one. There is indeed a counterfeit.
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 20

God, the Sovereign Giver of the Spiritual Gifts

It is not we who decide what gifts to have. The Greek word for the gifts of the Spirit is charismata-they are gifts of grace, distributed and given by God Himself. We do not earn them by our status, our position, our honor, our education, or our spiritual performance. They are gifts, freely given out of love so that we can fulfill the task God has assigned us to do.

Read Ephesians 4:7. "But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ."

We often think that the Holy Spirit is the One who bestows spiritual gifts. The apostle Paul also connects Jesus Christ with the giving of the gifts. How is Jesus involved in the giving of the gifts?

Paul says that the grace of Christ secured the right to give us gifts. But it is the Holy Spirit who distributes them to the members of the church. Those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and believe in Him will be equipped by the Holy Spirit with spiritual gifts "as He wills" (1 Cor. 12:11). The bestowal of the gifts is God's sovereign decision.

Innate ability as such is not a spiritual gift. Spiritual gifts are not the same as natural talents that a person might have developed through intense education. Many non-Christians are blessed with such providential talents. While every good thing and perfect gift is ultimately from God (James 1:17), God has decided to equip His believers with special gifts in order to bless the lives of other Christians and to build up His church. God can also use a natural talent for that purpose when the person acknowledges that even such a talent ultimately comes from God and then prayerfully and submissively dedicates that talent to the Lord's work.

What does Paul tell his readers in 1 Corinthians 12:14-31 about the distribution of the gifts?

12:14   For the body is not one member, but many. 
 12:15   If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 
 12:16   And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 
 12:17   If the whole body [were] an eye, where [were] the hearing? If the whole [were] hearing, where [were] the smelling? 
 12:18   But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 
 12:19   And if they were all one member, where [were] the body? 
 12:20   But now [are they] many members, yet but one body. 
 12:21   And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 
 12:22   Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: 
 12:23   And those [members] of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely [parts] have more abundant comeliness. 
 12:24   For our comely [parts] have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that [part] which lacked: 
 12:25   That there should be no schism in the body; but [that] the members should have the same care one for another. 
 12:26   And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. 
 12:27   Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 
 12:28   And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 
 12:29   [Are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers? [are] all workers of miracles? 
 12:30   Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 
 12:31   But covet earnestly the best gifts:  and yet show I unto you a more excellent way.


Why is this perspective so important for understanding how spiritual gifts function in the church?

Without this understanding, we would not be seeking out those who have been given a gift to make our work more successful. But, with the true comes a counterfeit to spoil the work of God. Sadly, many prize the gift more than the Giver. Without a full heart surrender to Christ, the individual is working for Satan and often has been deceived about having a gift. There are teachers who are not of God that extol false "gifts" in those who are not converted, placing them in positions of authority in the church.


The Holy Spirit is the one who distributes the gifts according to His wisdom and will. Since He loves us and knows best how we can serve Him most efficiently, we do not need to be envious of others and their gifts. To envy other gifts is a sign of ingratitude toward God and of doubting His wisdom in distributing His gifts.

Yes, but it is interesting to note that Paul's inspired statement in 1 Corinthians ends with this: "And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.....covet earnestly the best gifts."

What gifts has God granted to members of your church? What message can you take away from the fact that different people have different gifts?

God wants to bless all of His children, to help them understand how valuable they are, and what a blessing is theirs to be His workers for the saving of souls.

This all is dependent upon the church member being reconciled to God and filled with the Holy Spirit. This is why Paul does not end his message in chapter 12, but in the very last verse, he points to something more important that the "gifts" given by God. Let's look at the following verses that Paul points to when in verse 12:31 he concludes with "...and yet show I unto you a more excellent way."

 13:1   Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 
 13:2   And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 


All of the gifts in the world do no good unless with are converted and filled with the fruits of the Spirit which begins with "love" for others and love for God.

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

Glen

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"...the fruits of the Spirit which begins with "love" for others and love for God.


Amen, Brother Richard! So; I'm bringing my comment from last week's Lesson, as you probably haven't seen it yet: "love" for others and love for God" is defined by the Ten Commandments.

The good works we are to look for are not the day that one keeps, nor the food he eats, but the fruits of the Spirit in the life. If one is fully surrendered, he is abiding in Christ and Christ through the Spirit in him. If the Spirit is abiding in him, then the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in the life, not one will be missing. These are the good works Jesus tells us by which we may judge ourselves and others.


Brother Richard, do you have a reference and quote where Jesus tells us that it's only the fruits of the Spirit by which the people of God "may judge ourselves and others"?

Are you suggesting that the Law of God must not be used to "judge ourselves and others'? Most ecumenical leaders use that stance to do away with the 7th Day Sabbath. This needs to be clarified.

Since LOVE is the first that is listed in Gal. 5:22, I would think that following under an outline heading (as it were) would be the Ten Commandments, as it is the transcript of God's divine character, manifest by Christ’s life on earth. God’s Love, through the Spirit dwelling within the Believer,
“is the fulfilling of the law. “ Romans 15:10; manifesting in the Believer as the fruits of the Spirit. What other platform does the true SDA have for following the Gospel Commission? Remembering that “the Spirit of truth...will guide...into all truth.” John 16:13, makes it imperative that we faithfully share the whole truth of the matter (1 Cor. 4:2). The responsibility of feeding the Lord’s Sheep is a serious business, as I’m certain you are aware. The mandate to warn those in Babylon includes expounding to them “the way of God more perfectly.” Acts 18:26, including the instructing them more fully regarding the Ten Commandments.

True worship of God (to
“Fear God, and give glory to him...and worship him that made  heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." Rev. 14:7), on the Day He set aside for Mankind is paramount for all Believers to comprehend. This is one of the major points of the Three Angel’s Messages. “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” Ecclesiastes 12:13

“Verily I say unto you, The hour is coming and now is when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live.” They are aroused from the slumber of sin and brought into newness of life. They accept the garment of Christ’s righteousness and show to the world a life changed and transfigured by His transforming grace. They hunger to be partakers of the divine nature. They break away from the bondage of sin...” Lt 363, 1904 (September 15, 1904) par. 11

The affect of accepting the garment of Christ’s righteousness is a life “aroused from the slumber of sin...transfigured by His transforming grace.” This is what it means to “break away from the bondage of sin...”

Surely we can agree that the fruits of the Spirit embodies the Law of God as it is in Jesus.

The law of ten commandments...As received in Christ...works in us the purity of character that will bring joy to us through eternal ages. To the obedient it is a wall of protection. We behold in it the goodness of God (fruits of the Spirit), who by revealing to men the immutable principles of righteousness, seeks to shield them from the evils that result from transgression. 1SM 235.1

“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20

...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

Richard Myers

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Absolutely, Glen.  But, we cannot know another's heart, the motive of why he does what he does. The fruits  of the Spirit will be seen in the life, whether or not one knows about them. They come with the Spirit. Does that make sense?

But, the commandments are not this way. The first is, but take the fourth commandment as an example. We know there are many who are truly converted to break the fourth commandment because they do not understand. We are not in a position to understand the motives, so we cannot judge the heart in regards to the fourth commandment. There may be a Seventh-day Adventist who talks about football on the Sabbath. How do we know his heart? Has he been instructed properly. Many have not, therefore we cannot judge his experience by the manner in which he keeps the commandments. Jesus tells us by their fruits we shall know them.

If one kicks his cat, then what does that say? And if he kicks his wife, what does that say? Love, joy, peace? I don't think so. Does this help. It does not do away with the need to obey the commandments, but there is more than just keeping them as we think we ought to. What is the motive? We cannot know this.
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 21

The Purpose of the Spiritual Gifts


Read Romans 12:3-8 and Ephesians 4:8-12.

12:3   For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 
 12:4   For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 
 12:5   So we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 
 12:6   Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, [let us prophesy] according to the proportion of faith; 
 12:7   Or ministry, [let us wait] on [our] ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 
 12:8   Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, [let him do it] with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness. 

 4:8   Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. 
 4:9   (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 
 4:10   He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) 
 4:11   And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 
 4:12   For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:


What is the purpose of the spiritual gifts that God gives us?

The spiritual gifts were clearly given for service, not for our sanctification. They are not miraculous tricks that satisfy our curiosity, nor are they given as an antidote to boredom. Often we think about the gifts of the Holy Spirit in terms of filling our spiritual needs, or as empowering us in our walk with God. The result is a view of the gifts of the Holy Spirit that is more Christian-centered than Christ-centered. It is more focused on us than on God. When we try to recover a God-centered perspective of the spiritual gifts, we realize that the gifts God gives fulfill multiple divine purposes: they are given to further the unity of the church and for building up the church (Eph. 4:12-16). They are given to carry on the divinely commissioned ministry of the church (Eph. 4:11, 12). And ultimately they are given to glorify God (1 Pet. 4:10, 11).

Amen! We and the gifts are to reveal the power and love of God. Through these gifts we are to be His witnesses to the saving of the lost. Through the gifts we are to edify others. "Follow after charity, and desire spiritual [gifts], but rather that ye may prophesy. For he that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth [him]; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men [to] edification, and exhortation, and comfort." 1 Cor. 14:1,2,3.


This is the reason why the gifts are never given to please us. They are to edify others (1 Pet. 4:10; 1 Cor. 14:12, 26). They are given to bring spiritual profit and edification to the whole church. It is a tragedy when God's gifts, which are supposed to foster unity in the church, are misused so that only certain individuals are elevated. When this happens, individuals receive undue prominence. This in turn fosters disunity and gives room to divisiveness.

Too often we think about spiritual gifts only in terms of ability and talents that we receive. While talents are involved in spiritual gifts, we should keep in mind that in bestowing a spiritual gift the Holy Spirit also always gives a specific task or ministry that goes along with it (1 Pet. 4:10). Thus, we might say that spiritual gifts are certain capacities given supernaturally by God through the Holy Spirit. These gifts fit the person for a special type of service that will build up the church. To reach that goal, diverse gifts are needed.

Why do you think a primary purpose of the gifts is church unity? How can believers with different gifts aim at unity in the church? What needs to take place so that different gifts in the church become a blessing rather than a source of division?

There must be a revival and reformation in the church. The church must be converted. The purpose of the gifts is to bring salvation to the lost and to strengthen the church. They are a witness of the love and power of God.


What has God given to you? Are you in a converted state? Are you using your gift for His glory? If not, the church is lacking and Jesus waits.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Glen

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There may be a Seventh-day Adventist who talks about football on the Sabbath. How do we know his heart? Has he been instructed properly. Many have not, therefore we cannot judge his experience by the manner in which he keeps the commandments. Jesus tells us by their fruits we shall know them.

Romans 2:
13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified.
14 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
15 Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

Romans 8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God


We have a Pastor in our Conference who adamantly, vividly, in great detail, speaks from the Pulpit on Sabbaths of his man-cave exploits of each Football Season as his Right of Passage, as it were. Has he "been instructed properly"? Can we judge his heart? Dear Brother, what part of Football will you tell me reflects love to God and love to mankind? Are they or any one of their "FANS" doing "by nature the things contained in the law"? How would you explain or describe any of the actions of the Players as being "doers of the law"? -their "good" sportsmanship (sic)? Are you positing that a SDA Christian will "bear the fruit" of football and still stand justified before God? Had Rahab continue her harlotry following her rescue from Jericho, would she have stood justified before God?

(Were the Scribes and Pharisees "instructed properly"? Read John 8:43, 44 to know who Christ believed had instructed the "leaders" of the Jews.)

-While we cannot judge motive, Christ himself declares:


Matthew 12:
34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.
...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

Richard Myers

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Brother Glen, we ought to be able to say that a Seventh-day Adventist pastor who speaks of football on the Sabbath is not converted, but I fear that this would be assuming the pastor was converted when ordained. It would also assume the education he received prepared him to understand the law reaches to the intent of the heart. But, I find this assumption to be lacking.

Thus, while a pastor has stood on vantage ground, and ought to know better, I cannot judge his heart. Who knows, maybe the Spirit is convicting him about the subject of football and what we ought not be discussing on the Sabbath Day. After all, we may substitute a discussion on sewing and understand that would not be proper. And, it may be that wearing that tie clasp with diamonds in it, ought not be done in the pulpit. And, we can go on and on about such matters. If the pastor is eating an animal at church potluck, is he not murdering himself and responsible for killing the cow? It is sad to say, but he may be converted, yet he surely has violated the commandments of God, as do many who are not Seventh-day Adventists.

The point being is that we do not know just what others understand. We may know what they ought to understand, but again, we cannot judge the motive.

But, Jesus does tell us we can judge the true from the false by their fruits, the fruit that all bear when they are abiding in Christ. Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. "By their fruits ye shall know them." Matthew 7:20
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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Wednesday February 22

The Gift, Then and Now


Read 1 Corinthians 14:1 and compare the different lists in 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, 27-31; Romans 12:3-8; and Ephesians 4:11, 12.

14:1   Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy. 

 12:7   But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 
 12:8   For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 
 12:9   To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 
 12:10   To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 
 12:11   But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. 
 12:27   Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. 
 12:28   And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. 
 12:29   [Are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers? [are] all workers of miracles? 
 12:30   Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 
 12:31   But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way. 
 
 12:3   For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. 
 12:4   For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 
 12:5   So we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 
 12:6   Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, [let us prophesy] according to the proportion of faith; 
 12:7   Or ministry, [let us wait] on [our] ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 
 12:8   Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, [let him do it] with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness. 

 4:11   And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 
 4:12   For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 


Were those gifts given only to the New Testament believers? Why are the gifts available today?

Pentecostals surely don't disavow the gifts. Satan always works both sides of the road. They are for the edification of the church and to do evangelism.


There are some Christians who think that the spiritual gifts mentioned in the New Testament were restricted to the times of Jesus and the apostles. They argue that, with the death of the first apostles, the special spiritual gifts also have ceased to be present in the church. In support of such a view, they quote 1 Corinthians 13:10, where the apostle Paul states that "when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."  Yes, there will be a time when the gifts will cease. But they will cease only when the perfect has come, that is, when we no longer see as through a dark glass, but face to face, when Jesus comes again. The Bible tells us that the spiritual gifts are given to build up the church (1 Cor. 12:28). Paul admonishes the believers to "desire spiritual gifts" (1 Cor. 14:1). They are necessary to the well-being of the body. In the absence of any scriptural proof that God has abolished them, we have to assume that He intends them to remain until the church has completed its mission, and Christ has come again.

Amen! "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." Mark 16:17,18.

The work of God will be completed at the end of time with power and strength far exceeding the first beginnings. As long as the church is called to prepare the world for Christ's second coming, God will not leave the members of the church without help in fulfilling their mission. But these gifts will never supersede the Bible, nor fill the same place as the Bible. Rather they are a fulfillment of the biblical promise to equip the believers so that they can build up the body of Christ and prepare the world for the soon coming of Jesus.

Read Ephesians 4:11-13

4:11   And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 
 4:12   For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 
 4:13   Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 

Especially verse 13, which says: "till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." What does this tell us about the present need for the gifts in the church?

We are not quite there yet. So, we still need the help the gifts give.


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

Glen

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Brother Glen, we ought to be able to say that a Seventh-day Adventist pastor who speaks of football on the Sabbath is not converted, but I fear that this would be assuming the pastor was converted when ordained. It would also assume the education he received prepared him to understand the law reaches to the intent of the heart. But, I find this assumption to be lacking.

Thus, while a pastor has stood on vantage ground, and ought to know better, I cannot judge his heart. Who knows, maybe the Spirit is convicting him about the subject of football and what we ought not be discussing on the Sabbath Day. After all, we may substitute a discussion on sewing and understand that would not be proper. And, it may be that wearing that tie clasp with diamonds in it, ought not be done in the pulpit. And, we can go on and on about such matters. If the pastor is eating an animal at church potluck, is he not murdering himself and responsible for killing the cow? It is sad to say, but he may be converted, yet he surely has violated the commandments of God, as do many who are not Seventh-day Adventists.

The point being is that we do not know just what others understand. We may know what they ought to understand, but again, we cannot judge the motive.

But, Jesus does tell us we can judge the true from the false by their fruits, the fruit that all bear when they are abiding in Christ. Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. "By their fruits ye shall know them." Matthew 7:20

My point, Brother Richard, is that the Remnant have a special work in the last days to call ALL out of Babylon. The Sabbath Rest, 4th of the Commandments, will be preached more fully. It is the 4th Commandment that makes the Remnant aware (or judge that) they must share it with ALL Sunday-keeping professed Christians.

“To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” Isaiah 8:20
...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

Richard Myers

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Yes, dear brother, but in due time.  We are to give the last warning message in its order. First, second, and then the third angels message. It is the gospel that the world needs, then they will be open to hear about the Sabbath commandment. We do not want to lead out with those points of our faith that are at variance with most of professing Christianity.
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 February 23

The Holy Spirit and the Gift of Discernment

Read 1 Corinthians 12:10, 14:29 and 1 John 4:1-3.

 12:10   To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 

 14:29   Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge. 

 4:1   Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 
 4:2   Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 
 4:3   And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. 


Why is the gift of discernment important?

This is an interesting gift. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. All who are willing to do the truth, to them will the truth be revealed. So, discernment is promised to all who will give their hearts fully to Christ. But, it appears to some is given an extra measure of discernment?


While there are genuine spiritual gifts present in the church, the Bible also warns us not to believe every spirit but rather to test the spirits by their conformity to Scripture, their consistency, and whether they exalt Jesus as the Lord. It is necessary to distinguish between spirits (1 Cor. 12:10) because not everything that pretends to come from God is really from God. We are warned that there are demonic powers seeking to mislead the church, and that there are devilish reproductions of the genuine gifts of the Spirit, such as false teachings, false prophecy, lying visions, counterfeit tongue-speaking, occult healing powers, misleading signs and wonders, et cetera.

Some who accept the validity of the spiritual gifts even today, however, have placed a special emphasis on some spiritual gifts and have given unwarranted prominence to the presence of special signs and wonders. It is interesting that Paul lists the gift of discernment immediately after he mentioned the gift of the "working of miracles" and the gift of "prophecy" and before he mentions the gift of tongues (1 Cor. 12:10).

In order to preserve the church in truth and unity and to safeguard the members from following false prophets and being deluded by false signs and miracles, God gives the church the gift of discernment. Biblical maturity, knowledge, and faithfulness to God's Word in faith and practice are needed to make proper evaluations. The basis for all discernment, however, has to be the Word of God. Only through testing everything by the Word can we know for sure whether what we are hearing or seeing is truly from the Lord or, instead, from somewhere else.

"The man who makes the working of miracles the test of his faith will find that Satan can, through a species of deceptions, perform wonders that will appear to be genuine miracles. . . . Let not the days pass by and precious opportunities be lost of seeking the Lord with all the heart and mind and soul. If we accept not the truth in the love of it, we may be among the number who will see the miracles wrought by Satan in these last days, and believe them. Many strange things will appear as wonderful miracles, which should be regarded as deceptions manufactured by the father of lies. . . . Men under the influence of evil spirits will work miracles." - Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, vol. 2, pp. 52, 53.

Those who are truly converted, walking in the Spirit, will have discernment. "The wise will understand." Daniel 12:10.
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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Thursday February 23

The Holy Spirit and the Gift of Discernment

Read 1 Corinthians 12:10, 14:29 and 1 John 4:1-3.


This is an interesting  gift. Probably every church leader and many who are not leaders would say they have the gift of discernment. Those promoting WO and spiritual formation would likely say they have this gift. This is why the fruit is a critical aspect of all of this. In the end it may be better to recognize the fruit than the gift. There many who think they are gifted when they may not be gifted at all. There are those that draw a big crowd when they speak but is that necessarily evidence of the gift ? Some might say well, Joel Olsteen has obviously been given a gift of preaching. I suppose that depends on how you define the true biblical gift. Is the ability to draw a great crowd to hear one speak necessarily a gift ? This may be a matter of perspective. Some would say that God gave Lucifer certain gifts but he perverted them. That is true. I really doubt that God gave Olsteen the gift of preaching, however. I believe Satan has given him his gift. It is the gift of deception, a prosperity gospel so called, and the gift of leading people to think they are worshipping God when they are worshipping  materialism calling it the gospel. Surely God gives people gifts that they sometimes abuse. I still question if all that appear gifted are necessarily gifted by God.
It's easier to slow a fast horse down than to get a dead one going.

Richard Myers

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I think you are right, cp. Many believe they have a "spiritual gift" when in fact they do not. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. How can those in rebellion have the spiritual gift of discernment when they are so greatly deceived? They believe they are following the Spirit when they are going contrary to the Word and rebelling against the church.  :(

We need Jesus then we will have all of the fruits, then we are safe to give a spiritual gift.
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 24

Further Thought: Read Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, pp. 511-517, 593-602.

Some have asked, "Why don't we see the same kind of miracles, such as the miraculous healings, today that were seen in Bible times?" First, we do hear stories about miracles. And surely some people have seen them firsthand, too. Second, when reading the Bible, we can get the impression that miracles were always happening. But we get that impression only because the Holy Spirit inspired the authors to write about events that were crucial in establishing the early church, and these events often included miracles. We could imagine that in most cases, and most of the time, things back then were the way they are today: people being taught the Word of God and then responding to the Holy Spirit. And, finally, Ellen G. White wrote: "The way in which Christ worked was to preach the Word, and to relieve suffering by miraculous works of healing. But I am instructed that we cannot now work in this way, for Satan will exercise his power by working miracles. God's servants today could not work by means of miracles, because spurious works of healing, claiming to be divine, will be wrought. For this reason the Lord has marked out a way in which His people are to carry forward a work of physical healing, combined with the teaching of the Word. Sanitariums are to be established, and with these institutions are to be connected workers who will carry forward genuine medical missionary work. Thus a guarding influence is thrown around those who come to the sanitariums for treatment." - Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, book 2, p. 54.

What a blessing to have this truth pointed out to the church. As God worked through the church to heal in the past, so He does today. But, not through the miracle of healing as in the past. We are to have institutions that bring healing, God's way, through a change in the life. Sadly, in many divisions, there has been a turning to the world, instead of to God for healing the sick. The major diseases in our day are caused from a corrupted life style. God has entrusted to His people great light in the area of health reform.

The "right arm" of the gospel is the medical missionary work, true medical ministry. Let us learn how to have good health and then we shall not only be a witness of God's ways, but we shall be able to be used by God to heal the sick.


Discussion Questions:

    What is the difference between the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit?

Both come from the Spirit. But, when converted, every one of the fruits are seen in the life of the Christian, not one is missing. The gifts of the Spirit are given as God sees fit.


    How can the understanding that the gifts are given by a loving and wise God help us to appreciate the various gifts in our church?

The gifts are not common, but miraculous. What a blessing to know God empowers His church through the individual church members to edify the body that the work may progress rapidly. Why do we not see many of these gifts working in the church today?


    Why are miraculous healings and wonders in themselves not a safe guide for determining truth?

Satan counterfeits the gifts, thus leading many away from the truth. And, the gifts are powerful, leading some to cherish the gifts more than God. Until we understand and receive God's grace into the heart, we are in great danger of being deceived. Even after conversion, God's blessings can cause some to stumble thinking more highly of themselves than of God. Ellen White in the beginning was fearful that the calling of prophet would cause her to become proud and she would lose her soul. God promised He would keep her from becoming proud when tempted.

I wonder if what happened to Job was necessary to keep him from becoming proud? How about you and me, do we need to be humbled when we have success in ministry? There is a better way. If we would spend a thoughtful hour each day contemplating the life of Christ, we would be humbled, for we would have a perfect standard to measure our own lives by.


What do we need along with them?

    "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith." Rom. 12:3.
What crucial admonition is given to us here? How "highly" should we think of ourselves?

When we see Jesus' character, pure, holy, and undefiled filled with grace and truth, what shall we see in ourselves? Nothing good, unless Jesus is in the heart. Then, because we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we will do the works of mercy and truth. It is Christ, not I. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20.
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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After eight weeks of study in this quarter, I have been so blessed by the lessons that I did a little search this morning to see who the author of our lesson is. Here is a short video of Elder Frank Hasel speaking on the Spirit the Prophecy and Scripture.


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