Author Topic: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 12--1st Qrtr 2017--The Work of the Holy Spirit  (Read 1511 times)

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Wally

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Lesson 12 March 18-24





The Work of the Holy 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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Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week's Study: John 16:8-11; Rom. 5:10; Heb. 4:15, 16; 1 Pet. 5:8, 9; 1 John 5:12, 13; Ps. 31:24.

Memory Text: "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost." Romans 15:13

As we come to the end of our study this quarter on the Holy Spirit and spirituality, we will focus on one other decisive work of the Spirit that has not yet received our attention.

We have been greatly blessed as we complete this quarter's study of the Holy Spirit. As we finish, let us focus on our continual need of His presence in the heart. Without which, we are "none of His (Romans 8:9). We can do no good thing unless we be reconciled with God and have the Holy Spirit abiding in the heart. When He comes, He brings with Him each one of the fruits of His Spirit. This is the evidence of true conversion. Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance, not one is 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.

Jesus said "3:5   Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." John 3:5,6.


When Jesus announced to the disciples that He would go to the Father, He promised to send them the Holy Spirit. "But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." John 14:26.

According to Jesus, the Holy Spirit is a parakletos, that is, a "helper," or "comforter," or an "advocate" who intercedes for us. At the same time Jesus also announced the work that this advocate would do: "He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment."   John 16:8.

During our final week we will study in more detail this specific work of the Holy Spirit. We also will learn how this work of the Spirit is related to two other important aspects of His ministry for us: our assurance of salvation, and the glorious hope that propels our life as disciples of Jesus Christ.

Let us open this final week's lesson with an understanding of what it means to have an "assurance of salvation." It is widely taught to give one a false sense of an assurance of salvation. What is the correct teaching? What does the Holy Spirit have to do with this assurance?

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

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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We have no assurance of salvation in ourselves. Our assurance is in Christ, and having His life in us. When we do not have Christ by His Spirit, any teaching that leads one to think that they retain salvation when separated from Christ (by the commission of a known sin: Isaiah 59:2) is only contributing to the Laodicean (lost) condition of the church. We must have Christ, by His Spirit (as revealed by all of the fruits of the Spirit being in the life), abiding in the heart, to have eternal life or true, biblical assurance. "He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life" (1 John 5:12). Such assurance must be understood as conditional upon abiding in Christ! So let us "look and live" to Him continually, as we surrender to Him moment-by-moment!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Sunday March 19

Conviction of Sin


Read John 16:8, 9. "And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me"

What crucial work does the Holy Spirit do for us, and why is this so important?

The Holy Spirit defines and maintains the truth. There is no real comfort in falsehood or sin. He comes to reveal to the soul the loveliness of Jesus, the law that is perfect and exemplified in Christ's life, and helps us to see our sinfulness and our need of His cleansing, transforming grace. The Holy Spirit comes to convict us of sin, to show us that which shuts out Jesus from the soul temple. When we heed the invitation to repent, we find true comfort and joy. Whatever supposed comfort we may have thought we had in sin was a counterfeit, and we can be thankful that the Holy Spirit does come to disturb the current of the life that runs in selfish channels, that we might be led to see our CONTINUAL NEED of Jesus and His divine presence by the Holy Spirit. Only when we make a full surrender to Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit are we enabled to benefit fully (in conversion) from the Holy Spirit's work. The evidence that He has done His work in us is that we are bearing all of the fruits of the Spirit without one missing--because He abides in the heart by faith!


Jesus has called the Holy Spirit the paraclete, a word rich in meaning and that conveys the idea of helper, advocate, and comforter. The Holy Spirit does not enter into this important work of conviction as the accuser of the brethren or as our prosecutor. He is not sent by Jesus to condemn us but, rather, to help us see our need of grace.

Only a comforter will be received as a helper. It is a great tragedy that Christians, however well-intentioned, often approach sinners with an accusing spirit rather than a helping one. If we go around pointing out sin in the lives of other people, then we do something that Jesus has not called us to do. After all who are we to point out sin in others when we are hardly sinless ourselves?

When a soul surrenders entirely to Christ, sinful as his life may have been, he becomes a new creature, bearing all of the fruits of the Spirit, and is given a new heart and mind. The idea that we are to be in the church and be "hardly sinless ourselves" as though this is a reason not to help or reprove those who are practicing sin around us is a teaching that contributes to the Laodicean condition of the church. Many are taught that sin is only to be dealt with by the Holy Spirit, and there is to be no mention of reproof by a fellow member of the church. But Christ has given us counsel about how to deal with the erring. There are sins that are to be reproved and lovingly warned against, but all of this is to be done in the spirit of love and truth, when the soul is abiding in Christ (kept from sin). The Bible pronounces blessing upon those who help those who are in sin to turn and be converted:
James 5
19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
Furthermore, we are told by Jesus: "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24). Many are afraid to deal with sin in the church for fear that in doing so they are overstepping their bounds; while all reproof and correction is to be done in a Christlike spirit, it is sinful for us to remain silent, and reveals a lack of love--a love of self--that fears to become involved:
Leviticus 19
16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour; I am the Lord.
17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.
The Bible is so balanced. We are not to be talebearers (gossipers) of the faults of others (speaking of them to others, but not going to the person in sin himself or herself), but neither are we to remain silent when we see a brother sin, for in so doing we "suffer sin upon him" (that is, by our silence we may well sanction his evil course). Let us take these words prayerfully to heart and realize that in many cases, the "accuser of the brethren" is actually the voice in the church that says any reproof of sin is uncalled for. This is not the case. The Bible teaches us how we are to deal with sin in a brother:
Matthew 18:15-17
15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
May you prayerfully reflect upon how important it is that you abide in Christ by the Holy Spirit's continual presence in order to rightly do your duty to help those around you, and to reprove them in the spirit of love as the case may require.


Read Romans 2:1 "Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things." and Matthew 7:3 "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" To appreciate the context, we need the next two verses:
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."


What message must we take from these verses?

We are unfit to deal with the sinful course of others when we are unconverted, living in sin and hypocrisy. The context clearly does not support the idea that we are not to reprove others, but rather that we are not to be putting ourselves as judges of others when we are in a state of hypocrisy (calling others to a standard we violate). Engaging in a judgmental (non-redemptive) spirit already evinces that one is severed from Christ. Christ came to save, not to condemn, but the very light of His teaching and divine presence condemned sin, and even in His dealing with the woman at the well, she had to be brought to see her sin and her Savior. As we look to Jesus, we begin to realize that it is only as He abides in us by faith that are are saved from hypocrisy and the fatal sins that would make us critical in spirit. We are not to criticize and condemn, but we are to warn, reprove, and reveal the loveliness of Jesus in a way that will help to reveal to those who are in sin their need of Jesus and that which is shutting out His presence. If you are spending a thoughtful hour with Jesus are reflecting the light of His presence, does not your experience bring reproof to those who have no joy or peace, no matter how long they may have professed Christ? We need to see our continual need of Jesus to rightly understand the topic at hand.

We are His witnesses, not His prosecutors. We are called to be witnesses of His redemptive power, not to condemn others for their wrongs. In trying to convict other people of their sins, we assume a work that is not ours; it is the work of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit will often lead a member of the church who is converted to say something that can be used to help bring conviction and conversion to the life of someone who is in sin. We need to be in constant communion with God to know what, when, and how to say anything. I remember back to when I was in a Laodicean (blind to my sin, but felt I was fine) experience while traveling with my uncle who was a Seventh-day Adventist. At the time I was listening to some so-called "Christian Rock" music. My uncle could have assumed that the "Holy Spirit" would just deal with it all without him saying anything, but thankfully my uncle said something that the Holy Spirit used to help me see what I was doing. My uncle said something about the need to listen to "heavenly music." The Holy Spirit would later speak to me very clearly (I believe after working on my heart from what He prompted my uncle to say) in regard to my music choices. While I was listening to music that was not heavenly, the Holy Spirit clearly spoke to me over my music saying, "You don't like this anymore"--that is, who Christ was creating me to be in Him did not like the old worldly, hard music. By faith I obeyed and deleted that old music, and then the next day the Holy Spirit started to pour into my heart Scripture songs. God always has something better to put in the place of our sins, but it is the role of the body of Christ to be cooperating with the Holy Spirit to speak at the right time. I am so thankful for my uncle who was used by God at a needed time. Praise God for godly, loving reprovers who work IN HARMONY with the Holy Spirit!

It is the Comforter-not us-who shall "convince" (John 16:8, RSV) the world of what sin really is. People who have not committed their lives to Jesus often have no real sense of what sin truly is, and just how destructive it can be.

Yes, it is the Holy Spirit who does the work to convict or convince, but we are not to think that this means the church is not to reprove sin as its members are led by the Holy Spirit. We must see the whole counsel of God, in order to navigate this subject aright.

The idea here is not that the Spirit will list specific erroneous acts. Instead, He goes to the fundamental sin of all: unbelief in Jesus Christ (John 16:9). Our deepest misery and alienation does not consist in our moral imperfection, but in our estrangement from God and our refusal to accept the One whom God has sent for the purpose of rescuing us from this condition.

Unbelief is the greatest sin, but all other sins (acts of transgression) are going to also reveal that in some area we are not believing God or His counsel. How necessary for us to make this prayer our own in sincerity: "Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." (Mark 9:24). Christ will never turn us away when we pray this sincerely--never!

The fundamental problem of all sin is that we do not believe in Jesus and, thus, reject the only One who can save us from our sin and guilt. This is the sin that puts self at the center of things and refuses to believe the Word of God. Only the Holy Spirit can open our hearts and minds to our great need of repentance and of the Redemption that is found through Christ's death in our behalf.

How will we see Jesus? How will we see our great need for what it is and be rescued from a Laodicean condition of feeling rich spiritually while we are destitute of His presence in the soul? May we accept the invitation: "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}. We need Jesus, and it is by beholding Him in His loveliness that we more clearly discern our sinfulness--and our continual need of His abiding presence to keep us from sin and make us constant partakers of the divine nature.
"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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Monday March 20

The Need of Righteousness

John 16:8 said that the Holy Spirit will convict the world, not just of sin but also of righteousness. In other words, the world, which does not know what sin really is, does not know what true righteousness is, either.

Unconverted people imagine that external morality will suffice. They desire not the righteousness of God but their own righteousness. They desire a righteousness that comes from their outward acts, such as obedience to the law of God. But our acts of obedience to the law can never justify us before God.

Nor can we keep the law of God when we are separated from God. We may appear to keep the commandments, but the law reaches to the intent of the heart. It is not good enough to not murder. Jesus made this perfectly clear in the sermon on the mount. If we have hatred from another in our heart, then we are guilty. Thus, while Saul thought himself blameless regarding the law, he was not blameless at all, he was a "whited sepulcher."


In Isaiah 64:6 the prophet describes all self-made righteous acts of the people of his day as "filthy rags." Even our best religiously motivated self-perceived righteousness is in fact the opposite: unrighteousness.

Amen! In and of ourselves we cannot be righteous. We are evil by nature. But, we may be cleansed and then Christ will reveal His righteousness in us. It is both imputed and imparted when we are converted, truly converted. Let not anyone believe this is teaching holy flesh. It is not. We retain our evil fallen nature until we are by God's grace gloried at the second coming of Christ. When we become partakers of God's divine nature, we have a dual nature. It is then the mind and heart have power to keep the flesh (body) under. "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.

But the righteousness of Jesus is sufficient for us. It meets all the claims of the law of God. It counts with God the Father. And we can claim it for ourselves through faith in Jesus Christ alone.

Amen! Through "saving faith", faith that allows for no "unbelief".  Faith that trusts Christ with all we are and all we have. It is not good enough to save "just believe." No, we must believe with all the heart, not 90% of it. We cannot hold anything back. We must love the Lord the God will all the heart, all the soul, all the mind, and all of our strength, and our neibher as ourselves if we want Christ to cover us with His righteousness. He will give us a hatred for sin, a new heart, and the fruits of His Spirit if we will make a whole heart surrender to Jesus.


Read Romans 5:10 and Hebrews 4:15, 16.

5:10   For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 

 4:15   For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as [we are, yet] without sin. 
 4:16   Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.


How is our righteousness related to Christ's living ministry in the presence of the Father in heaven?

It is Christ who died for us, it is Christ that lives for us. He hears our prayers for a changed heart. He send angels to help us. He promised the Holy Spirit to lead us into all truth and to indwell the hearts of all who will surrender their will to Him. He stands before His Father pleading for us when we sin, that we be not struck down, but that we be given more time. He continually knocks on the door of the heart when we sin, until we let Him Him. "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. 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." Rev. 3:20,21.

The righteousness which is demanded by the law is fulfilled by Jesus' perfect life. He died in our behalf. Though rejected by those who put Him to death here on earth, He was welcomed by the Father in heaven. By means of the resurrection, God the Father placed the stamp of His approval upon Jesus' life and redemptive work. Now Jesus lives to intercede for us (Heb. 4:15, 16), and He applies the merits of His death in our behalf because we do not have the righteousness needed for salvation.

This is an interesting statement that is often used to excuse sin. The author goes on to explain that we must have Christ in the heart to have salvation. Unless we obtain His righteousness, imparted to us, we will not enter heaven. We must obey His commandments in order to have salvation. This is righteousness. Christ's righteousness does not cover unconfessed and unforsaken sins as many teach. No, we must walk in all of the light given to us if we want to claim the righteousness of Christ or the assurance of salvation.

It is true that because all have sinned, none can live no matter how obedient they are without the imputed righteousness of Christ. The wages of one sin is death. And, passing through the evil flesh of man, our righteousness falls short of righteousness of Christ. But, the heart must be purified and we must obey all we know to be true. If it were commonly understood to be thus so, we would not have to labor as we do to remove the false teachings that allow salvation in sin. No, Christ will give a new heart that has His commandments written upon it when the whole heart if given to Christ. It is then the Holy Spirit takes possession of it and all of the fruits of the Spirit come with Him. Not one will be missing from the life of the true convert.


Thus we can live because He lives in us. "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." Gal. 2:20. When Jesus lives in us, we walk by the Spirit (Rom. 8:4) and receive new spiritual life through the power of the Spirit (compare with Gal. 3:2-5; 5:16, 18).

Amen!! What a blessing to read this being taught in the church, especially in our Sabbath School lesson!!


The Father's exaltation of Jesus in heaven is revealed in Christ's powerful presence among us through the Spirit. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, His disciples live in growing conformity to Christ.

Amen!!!!  Let all read what this means in Romans verses 1-14. Here is verse 13: "For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live."

Have you experienced the reality of just how filthy your own attempts at righteousness really are? What does this teach you about your need of Christ's righteousness instead?

No, I don't think I have truly experienced the reality of how filthy I really am apart from Christ. I get a glimpse every day when I see the righteousness of my Savior and our heavenly Father. It is an interesting truth, the clearer picture I get of who God is, the more clearly I see how far removed I am from His character. So, I am sure this will continue, maybe, by God's grace, for eternity. Despite my unlikeness to Him, I know my Redeemer loves me and gave Himself for me!
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Tuesday March 21

Conviction About Judgment


Read John 16:8, 11.

16:8   And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 
 16:11   Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. 

What judgment is Jesus referring to? Why is this judgment good news?

After being convinced of sin and righteousness, God wants us to understand each will receive according what is done in the body, whether good or evil. Judgment is coming.


There remains one last great conviction that is part of the work of the Spirit: the conviction about judgment. Here is where much of our preaching on this passage seems to go in a wrong and harmful direction. Often a discussion of sin and righteousness seems to lead many professed Christians to pronounce a warning about the judgment on those who reject Christ. In doing so, they want to warn sinners, often with fearful overtones, of the future judgment that awaits them.

There are two sides to this doctrine. Satan always works on both sides of the truth. There are some good Pharisees that emphasize the law and the fire and brimstone. There are on the other side those who preach "love, love, love" but not the love of God. Let us quote God's Word to see the truth on both sides: "Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference: And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh." verses 21-23.

Some will respond to God's love, His grace. Others will need to be motivated by "fear" of judgment. That will save no one, but there are no atheists in a foxhole. They will temporarily look for help. The fear of death and judgment will point them to Jesus as Savior. It is not love nor helpful to "protect" the sinner from the reality of the fire that will not be quenched until all sin is consumed in the judgment. Nor is it good to not be truthful about the punishment for sin. In understanding that all will suffer for each sin who have not repented, we better understand how much Jesus suffered when He took our sins upon Himself. Yes, we must preach fire and brimstone with the love of God. His justice and mercy are not to be separated. This is the work of Satan.


And though that judgment is a reality, this is not what Jesus talks about in John 16:11. The language indicates that the Lord is not talking about future judgment, as He did in John 12:48. Instead, the aspect of the judgment that Jesus now refers to is the good news that Satan would soon be judged at Calvary. The devil, the great enemy of truth, is now living on borrowed time. Judgment will come, but the focus here is on an awareness that the prince of this world now already stands condemned (John 12:31).

It appears it could be both. Judgment is judgment for all, booth good and evil In verse 16:8, judgment is clearly tied to sin and righteousness and those living in the world. I believe judgment in the same verse is also tied to the conviction of those in the world.


Read 1 Peter 5:8, 9.

5:8   Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 
 5:9   Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 


How is Satan described by Peter? How can we resist Him?

A roaring lion whose time is about up. Only by abiding in Christ and He in us, can we resist the smallest of his temptations.


The devil, knowing that his time is short and that he has been fatally defeated at Calvary, is nevertheless still alive. And he is furious, trying to devour as many as he can. But he is a defeated enemy. Jesus has won the victory. The blood of Jesus makes us free.

Amen....if we will allow it to cleanse the heart from sin.


When, during World War II, the Nazi troops had received the decisive blow with the successful Allied invasion of France on June 6, 1944, it was clear that Hitler was defeated. Yet the eleven months between D-Day (when the attack was initiated) and VE-Day (May 8, 1945 when the war ended in Europe) were the bloodiest of all. Similarly Satan knows that he was decisively defeated at the cross. Yet, he stubbornly fights and tries to devour as many as he can. In these challenging times we are called to be sober and alert and to cast all our anxiety upon Jesus, because He cares for us (1 Pet. 5:7, 8 ).

Why is judgment good news?

It is only good news for the truly converted.


Who is our surety in the judgment?

In the investigative judgment, Jesus is our surety. He has not only changed us into His character, He has paid the price for all of our sins. We will not face the penalty since Jesus already has. That is certainly good news for the repentant sinner. On the other hand, in a Laodicean church, listen to the Words of Jesus:

 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: 


He bids us, as  a people to "repent" that our sins may be blotted out. Else we will suffer in the judgment, just what the Bible says. Fire will devour sin and sinners.


How can we preach about the judgment in such a way that we instill hope rather than fear?

Read all of the Laodicean message found in Revelation, chapter three. It is a straight message full of hope for the unrepentant sinner who thinks all is well. Maybe he needs to have a clearer picture of the loveliness of Jesus and of the judgment to come by fire and brimstone for those who continue to hurt others and Christ.

But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. Luke 12:5. But, it is not the fear of punishment, or the hope of everlasting reward, that leads the disciples of Christ to follow Him. They behold the Saviour’s matchless love, revealed throughout His pilgrimage on earth, from the manger of Bethlehem to Calvary’s cross, and the sight of Him attracts, it softens and subdues the soul. Love awakens in the heart of the beholders. They hear His voice, and they follow Him.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Wednesday March 22

The Assurance of Salvation

Read 1 John 5:12, 13; Romans 8:15-17; and 2 Corinthians 5:5.

5:12   He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. 
 5:13   These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 
 
 8:15   For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. 
 8:16   The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: 
 8:17   And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with [him], that we may be also glorified together.

 5:5   Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing [is] God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.   

Once we have accepted Christ as our Savior, why can we have the assurance of eternal life? What is the basis for this assurance?

Well....because of the false teaching rampant in professing Christians churches, we must add to this statement. It is not enough to have accepted Christ as Savior, we must maintain that experience to have an assurance of salvation. Thus, the assurance comes when we continue to surrender the heart to Christ.. How can we know we have honestly done this? He who hath the Son hath life. How do we know we "have Jesus"?


The Holy Spirit is the One who leads sinners to Jesus. Jesus' substitutionary death has reconciled us with God. Jesus' forgiveness sets us free to live a new life as God's adopted children. Now we are no longer God's enemies (Rom. 5:10), but we walk according to the Spirit (Rom. 8:4) and set our thinking on the things of the Spirit (Rom. 8:5). If we would not have the Spirit of Christ, we would not be His children and would not belong to Him (Rom. 8:9). But now we have the internal testimony of the Holy Spirit, who dwells in us. He testifies to us that we belong to Jesus and that we are heirs of God and heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17). The same powerful life that raised Jesus from the dead is now active in us and makes us, who were spiritually dead, alive (Rom. 8:10). Even more than that, He also seals in our hearts the assurance that we truly belong to God. Having heard and believed the gospel of our salvation, we were sealed in Jesus with the Holy Spirit, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance (Eph. 1:13, 14, NASB). Every believer may have this certainty (1 John 5:12, 13).

I like Romans 8. It is very clear as to who has eternal life. Verse one starts it off nicely. "[There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Some verses one is not able to take the inverse to be true, but in this verse, the inverse is true. If we do not walk in the Spirit, we are condemned. Not sure about it? Many are not, because they have been led astray thinking Romans seven is the Christian experience. Read Romans 8:1 in context with the other verses the author has just shared. Pray for the Spirit to give understanding. There is no need for human commentary here.

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


How does one know if he is walking in the Spirit?


Read Ephesians 1:13, 14.

 1:13   In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 
 1:14   Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. 


What does it mean to be sealed by the Spirit?

Those who accept Christ are born again, that is born "of the Spirit" (John 3:3, 5). The Holy Spirit seals this fact in our hearts so that we can have assurance of being saved and experience the joy that comes from being a child of God. The Holy Spirit identifies us as belonging to Christ. "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." Rom. 8:9. We now have a consciousness that God is our loving Father and we are His dear children. The Holy Spirit is the down payment, the deposit or the pledge toward the ultimate gift of eternal life and immortality that will be given to us at Jesus' second coming (1 Cor. 15:51-54). This is the hallmark of authentic faith. It is difficult to see how Christians can witness with convincing power without having such assurance.

Amen. But many are deceived as to what it means to have Christ, thus many believe they have salvation when in fact they are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.

We must not base our salvation upon supposition; we must know of a surety that Christ is formed within, the hope of glory. We must know for ourselves that the Spirit of God is abiding in our hearts, and that we can hold communion with God. Then if He should come to us quickly, if by any chance our life should suddenly be ended, we should be ready to meet our God.—Manuscript 21, 1903, 1, 2.


"Talk courage, talk faith and hope, and you will be all light in the Lord. Keep thinking of the open door that Christ has set before you, that no man can shut. God will close the door to all evil, if you will give him a chance. When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up for you a standard against him." - Ellen G. White, The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, April 16, 1889.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Thursday March 23

The Holy Spirit and Hope


Read Romans 5:4, 5; 15:13; and 1 Corinthians 13:13.

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. 
15:13   Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. 

13:13   And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity. 

How are love and hope related to each other? How is the Holy Spirit instrumental in giving us love and hope?

The very first fruit of the Spirit listed is love. It is only through the Holy Spirit that we can know of God's love for us, and it is only through the Holy Spirit that we can love unselfishly.

Christian hope is related to Christian faith. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."  Hebrews  11:1. Is our hope foolish worldly hope, or is it something we knmow for a certainty because we trust Jesus with all we have and all we are?


The Holy Spirit is the One who has poured out the love of God within our hearts. He connects us to God and makes God's love dwell in us. God's steadfast and unchanging love is the reason and the bedrock of our hope. Without love there would be no hope. Only love generates hope. Because God's love is combined with His faithfulness, we have the wonderful hope that He will come again and take us home to where He is.

Read Psalm 31:24.

Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the LORD.


What effects does hope have on us?

A hope filled with no "unbelief" brings peace and joy knowing God will do exactly what He said He would do for all love Him and keep His commandments.


Hope inspires. Hope gives new strength. Hope lets us sing and be joyful. Hope is essential for life. Without hope, what is the purpose of life?

Having hope, however, is something different from being optimistic. The optimist thinks that everything will get better: the weather, the economy, the school grades, the finances, et cetera. Hope, instead, is not blind optimism. Rather, it is grounded in God's faithfulness and in the promises that He has given in the past. Hope believes that God will fulfill what He has said because He is faithful and true. God has proven to be dependable, and He does not waver. His steadfastness and truth are the foundation for our hope.

No question, too, the foundation of our hope is found in Jesus on the cross. When we look to the cross, we can see in the most powerful way possible the reality of God's love for us. The cross, with Jesus dying for our sins, gives us and the universe an unparalleled revelation of just what our God is truly like. Thus, as fallen and temporal beings in a vast and big cosmos, we can find hope, not in ourselves or in whatever "great" things we accomplish, but in our God, a God who has revealed Himself to us on the cross.

How is the Advent hope grounded in God's faithful promises? How does hope influence our life? How can we develop a lifestyle that reflects hope instead of despair?

The answer is always the same, we need to allow Christ to take possession of the heart, we must be born again of the Spirit.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Friday March 24

Further Thought: Read selections of Ellen G. White, Ye Shall Receive Power, especially the October section "Ready for the Spirit."

We can summarize the activity of the Holy Spirit by saying that the Holy Spirit works harmoniously together with God the Father and God the Son to accomplish our salvation. The Holy Spirit awakens us from our spiritual death. He leads us to an awareness of our sinfulness and opens our eyes to the fact that we are in and of ourselves lost. He kindles in us the desire for change and leads us to Jesus Christ, who alone can meet the needs of our innermost being. He gives us assurance of salvation because He always points us to Jesus and to what Jesus has done for us. He conforms us to be more like Jesus. He keeps us faithful in our walk with God. He enables us to fulfill God's will and effectively engage in mission. He generates the Written Word of God as our safe guide and norm for our Christian life and doctrine. Where would we be without the Holy Spirit? What could we do without the Holy Spirit? We would be miserable and lost and could do nothing that would give God the glory and honor. Thanks be to Jesus for having promised and sent the Holy Spirit. "The Holy Spirit was the highest of all gifts that He could solicit from His Father for the exaltation of His people." - Ellen G. White, Ye Shall Receive Power, p. 13.

Amen! As Jesus said "Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and [of] the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again." John 3:5,6,7.

If the Holy Spirit does not possess the heart, then as we studied this quarter, we are "none of His" (Romans 8:9). Only when the heart is fully surrendered to Jesus can we do any good thing. If we are not filled with the Spirit, then if we think we have salvation, we have believed the lie about the assurance of salvation when one sins.

Discussion Questions:

    Dwell more on the question of what is sin and what is righteousness. Why should we, as Christians who believe in the Bible as the Word of God, have a different understanding of what sin and righteousness are than do those who don't believe in the Bible? What are those differences? What does the Bible teach us about sin and about righteousness that other sources do not?

What is sin? What is righteousness? Can we stop sinning? Can we be righteous? Good questions that ought not be questions in the church, but they are. "Here are they that keep the commandments of God." It used to be taught, but not so anymore. Why not?

Those who do not cease from sin will not enter heaven, for it would ruin the peace of heaven.


    Share with the members of your Sabbath school group what aspect of the work of the Holy Spirit has been most valuable to you. Why was it so important and how has this impacted your life?

    In class, talk about the hope that we have in Jesus. What are the reasons for this hope? That is, if someone were to ask about the "reason for the hope that is in you" (1 Pet. 3:15, NKJV), what answer would you give, and why? How convincing an argument could you make?

    The lesson this week talked about the question of assurance of salvation. What is assurance of salvation? And if we have it, why do we have it? On what must it be based? And how does it differ from presumption ?

Assurance of salvation is a false doctrine that promises eternal life without being transformed in nature, character. Is it possible for a truly converted Christian to believe he is converted, and has eternal life? Of course it is. If Jesus promises something and we meet the conditions, then would we doubt God's Word? What is the conditions we must meet in order to know we have eternal life (salvation)? Where do we first find the promise God made that we could be transformed in character? What conditions were specified?

And, if we believe the lie presented as "assurance of salvation" what makes it presumptuous? Since the Bible says the heart is "desperately wicked" who can know it?" then how can we know if the heart has been cleansed of sin and indwelt by the Holy Spirit?

Is the church still baptizing people with wicked hearts? How can we tell? Hopefully after three months of studying the Holy Spirit, we have learned how to know if we are in a converted state. And, if we have not learned this, then how can one have any assurance he has salvation?

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

colporteur

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In Sunday's lesson last sentence of paragraph 1 " After all, who are we to point out sin in others when we are hardly sinless ourselves."   As a blanket statement this is problematic. First, it could imply that everyone is still sinning. Secondly it could leave impression that since not have not fallen into sin none should ever reprove no matter what. Did John the Baptist point out sin ? We are called to do the work of John the Baptist in the last days.


First sentence in the final paragraph on Sunday's lesson it says, " The fundamental problem of all sin is that we do not believe in Jesus..."
 That is not the problem at all. Satan and his angel's believe in Jesus. The papacy believes in Jesus. Many of the lost believe in Jesus but they do not........ believe him. If this is what the author meant he did not clarify that as well as he could have. 
It's easier to slow a fast horse down than to get a dead one going.

Richard Myers

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Yes, cp. I think you will appreciate that not all agree with his statement.

Sunday March 19

When a soul surrenders entirely to Christ, sinful as his life may have been, he becomes a new creature, bearing all of the fruits of the Spirit, and is given a new heart and mind. The idea that we are to be in the church and be "hardly sinless ourselves" as though this is a reason not to help or reprove those who are practicing sin around us is a teaching that contributes to the Laodicean condition of the church. Many are taught that sin is only to be dealt with by the Holy Spirit, and there is to be no mention of reproof by a fellow member of the church. But Christ has given us counsel about how to deal with the erring. There are sins that are to be reproved and lovingly warned against, but all of this is to be done in the spirit of love and truth, when the soul is abiding in Christ (kept from sin). The Bible pronounces blessing upon those who help those who are in sin to turn and be converted:
James 5
19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
Furthermore, we are told by Jesus: "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment" (John 7:24). Many are afraid to deal with sin in the church for fear that in doing so they are overstepping their bounds; while all reproof and correction is to be done in a Christlike spirit, it is sinful for us to remain silent, and reveals a lack of love--a love of self--that fears to become involved:
Leviticus 19
16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour; I am the Lord.
17 Thou shalt not hate thy brother in thine heart: thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy neighbour, and not suffer sin upon him.
The Bible is so balanced. We are not to be talebearers (gossipers) of the faults of others (speaking of them to others, but not going to the person in sin himself or herself), but neither are we to remain silent when we see a brother sin, for in so doing we "suffer sin upon him" (that is, by our silence we may well sanction his evil course). Let us take these words prayerfully to heart and realize that in many cases, the "accuser of the brethren" is actually the voice in the church that says any reproof of sin is uncalled for. This is not the case. The Bible teaches us how we are to deal with sin in a brother:
Matthew 18:15-17
15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
May you prayerfully reflect upon how important it is that you abide in Christ by the Holy Spirit's continual presence in order to rightly do your duty to help those around you, and to reprove them in the spirit of love as the case may require.


Read Romans 2:1 "Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things." and Matthew 7:3 "And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?" To appreciate the context, we need the next two verses:
4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye."


What message must we take from these verses?

We are unfit to deal with the sinful course of others when we are unconverted, living in sin and hypocrisy. The context clearly does not support the idea that we are not to reprove others, but rather that we are not to be putting ourselves as judges of others when we are in a state of hypocrisy (calling others to a standard we violate). Engaging in a judgmental (non-redemptive) spirit already evinces that one is severed from Christ. Christ came to save, not to condemn, but the very light of His teaching and divine presence condemned sin, and even in His dealing with the woman at the well, she had to be brought to see her sin and her Savior. As we look to Jesus, we begin to realize that it is only as He abides in us by faith that are are saved from hypocrisy and the fatal sins that would make us critical in spirit. We are not to criticize and condemn, but we are to warn, reprove, and reveal the loveliness of Jesus in a way that will help to reveal to those who are in sin their need of Jesus and that which is shutting out His presence. If you are spending a thoughtful hour with Jesus are reflecting the light of His presence, does not your experience bring reproof to those who have no joy or peace, no matter how long they may have professed Christ? We need to see our continual need of Jesus to rightly understand the topic at hand.

We are His witnesses, not His prosecutors. We are called to be witnesses of His redemptive power, not to condemn others for their wrongs. In trying to convict other people of their sins, we assume a work that is not ours; it is the work of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit will often lead a member of the church who is converted to say something that can be used to help bring conviction and conversion to the life of someone who is in sin. We need to be in constant communion with God to know what, when, and how to say anything. I remember back to when I was in a Laodicean (blind to my sin, but felt I was fine) experience while traveling with my uncle who was a Seventh-day Adventist. At the time I was listening to some so-called "Christian Rock" music. My uncle could have assumed that the "Holy Spirit" would just deal with it all without him saying anything, but thankfully my uncle said something that the Holy Spirit used to help me see what I was doing. My uncle said something about the need to listen to "heavenly music." The Holy Spirit would later speak to me very clearly (I believe after working on my heart from what He prompted my uncle to say) in regard to my music choices. While I was listening to music that was not heavenly, the Holy Spirit clearly spoke to me over my music saying, "You don't like this anymore"--that is, who Christ was creating me to be in Him did not like the old worldly, hard music. By faith I obeyed and deleted that old music, and then the next day the Holy Spirit started to pour into my heart Scripture songs. God always has something better to put in the place of our sins, but it is the role of the body of Christ to be cooperating with the Holy Spirit to speak at the right time. I am so thankful for my uncle who was used by God at a needed time. Praise God for godly, loving reprovers who work IN HARMONY with the Holy Spirit!

It is the Comforter-not us-who shall "convince" (John 16:8, RSV) the world of what sin really is. People who have not committed their lives to Jesus often have no real sense of what sin truly is, and just how destructive it can be.

Yes, it is the Holy Spirit who does the work to convict or convince, but we are not to think that this means the church is not to reprove sin as its members are led by the Holy Spirit. We must see the whole counsel of God, in order to navigate this subject aright.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.