Author Topic: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 4--2nd Quarter 2017--Social Relationships  (Read 1399 times)

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Wally

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Lesson 4 April 15-21




Social Relationships






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

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 4--2nd Quarter 2017--Social Relationships
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2017, 08:05:08 AM »


Commentary in Navy                  Inspiration in Maroon



Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: 1 Pet. 2:13-23; 1 Pet. 3:1-7; 1 Cor. 7:12-16; Gal. 3:27, 28; Acts 5:27-32; Lev. 19:18.

Memory Verse: “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

Peter’s letter also tackles head-on some of the difficult social questions of his time. For instance, how should Christians live with an oppressive and corrupt government, such as what most of them experienced then: the pagan Roman Empire? What did Peter tell his readers, and what do his words mean to us today?

How should Christian slaves react when their master treats them harshly and unjustly? Though modern employer-employee relationships are different from that of a first-century, master-slave relationship, what Peter says will no doubt resonate with those who have to deal with unreasonable bosses. How fascinating that Peter points to Jesus and how He responded to bad treatment as the example of how Christians should conduct themselves when faced with the same (1 Pet. 2:21-24).

How should husbands and wives interact with one another, especially when they differ on a matter as fundamental as religious belief?

Finally, how should Christians relate to the social order when, in fact, the social and/or political order might be decidedly corrupt and contrary to Christian faith?

While we must stand on the Word of God, let us do so if we are in the right by following this one truth: "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves." Romans 15:1.
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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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 4--2nd Quarter 2017--Social Relationships
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2017, 09:20:55 AM »
Sunday April 16

Church and State


Though written long ago, the Bible nevertheless touches on issues very relevant today, such as the relationship between Christians and their government.

In some cases, it’s pretty obvious. Revelation 13 talks about a time when obeying the political powers would mean disobeying God. In such a case, our choice is clear. (See Thursday’s study.)

Read 1 Peter 2:13-17.

2:13   Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 
 2:14   Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 
 2:15   For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 
 2:16   As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. 
 2:17   Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. 


What is the Word generally telling us here about how to relate to the government?

Render unto Caesar what belongs to Caesar.


The evils of the Roman Empire were well-known to those living within its borders. It had grown at the somewhat capricious will of ambitious men using ruthless military force. It met any resistance with violence. Systematic torture and death by crucifixion were just two of the horrors it inflicted upon those it punished. The Roman government was riddled by nepotism and corruption. The ruling elite exercised power with total arrogance and ruthlessness. Despite all this, Peter urges his readers to accept the authority of every human institution in the empire, from emperor to governor (1 Pet. 2:13, 14).

Peter argues that emperors and governors punish those who do wrong, and praise those who do right (1 Pet. 2:14). In doing this, they have an important role in shaping society.

Not always. Not all dictators punish those who do wrong. And some dictators punish those who do right. There is always more to the story. As we know, there are times when we must break the law when it attempts to enforce man's law when contrary to God's law. Such as the Sunday laws that are imminent.


In fact, for all its faults, the Roman Empire provided stability. It brought freedom from war. It distributed a harsh justice but a justice based nevertheless on the rule of law.

Like Saddam Hussein in Iraq, and in Egypt, Hosni Muhammad. They kept order when without them there would be none. Remove either one and we see what happened.


It built roads and established a monetary system to support its military needs. In doing so, Rome created an environment in which the population was able to grow and in many cases prosper. Seen in this light, Peter’s comments about government make good sense. No government is perfect, and certainly not the one that Peter and the church he wrote to lived under. So what we can learn from him is that Christians need to seek to be good citizens, obeying the law of the land as much as they possibly can, even if the government they live under is anything but perfect.

Why is it important for Christians to be as good citizens as possible, even in less-than-ideal political situations? What can you do to make your society better, even in a small way?

The answer is found in Christ. Jesus did not address the wrongs in Rome. He knew the answer was to reach the heart. America was founded as a Protestant nation. When she departed from her Protestant heritage, when liberty of conscience is violated, when the law is used to enforce religious dogma, then hearts are not being reached. It is only the grace of God that can really make a society "good".   We can set an example and we can reach out to those seeking truth and point them to Jesus as Lord and Savior.


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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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 4--2nd Quarter 2017--Social Relationships
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2017, 02:56:55 PM »
Monday April 17

Masters and Slaves


Read 1 Peter 2:18-23.

18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:


 How do we today understand the difficult content of these verses? What principle can we take from them for ourselves?


A key thought from this passage is how it speaks of the way we act towards those that mistreat us--especially when it is for the sake of "conscience" or the sake of the gospel. When Jesus has possession of the heart, it is a privilege to be called to suffer for His sake, and His character is most clearly revealed as we abide in Him, revealing all of the fruits of the Spirit without one missing, as we go through such suffering. In fact, there is NO HIGHER PRIVILEGE or more WEIGHTY TRUST than being able to have fellowship with Christ in suffering. "And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name" (Acts 5:41).
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A careful reading of 1 Peter 2:18-23 reveals that rather than an endorsement of slavery, the texts give spiritual counsel on how to think about difficult circumstances that, at the time, could not be changed.

The word translated as “servant” or “slave” in 1 Peter 2:18, oiketes, is used specifically for domestic slaves. The more usual word for slave, doulos, is used in Ephesians 6:5, a passage that gives similar advice to slaves.

In the highly stratified Roman Empire, slaves were considered a legal possession under the absolute control of their master, who could treat them well or cruelly. Slaves came from a number of sources: defeated armies, children of slaves, or those “sold” to pay off their debts. Some slaves were given great responsibility. Some managed the large estates of their owners. Others managed their owners’ property and business interests, and some even educated their masters’ children.

A slave’s freedom could be purchased, in which case the slave was described as “redeemed.” Paul uses this language to describe what Jesus has done for us (Eph. 1:7, Rom. 3:24, Col. 1:14).

It is important to remember that a number of early Christians were slaves. As such, they found themselves caught in a system that they could not change. Those unfortunate enough to have harsh and unreasonable masters were in particularly difficult situations; even those with better masters could face trying circumstances. Peter’s instructions to all Christians who were slaves are consistent with other statements in the New Testament. They should submit and endure, just as Christ submitted and endured (1 Pet. 2:18-20). There is no credit for those suffering punishment for having done wrong. No, the real spirit of Christ is revealed when they are suffering unjustly. Like Jesus, at such times Christians are not to return abuse, nor to threaten, but entrust themselves to God, who will judge justly (1 Pet. 2:23).

What practical applications can we make from what Peter wrote here? Does it mean, then, that we never stand up for our rights? Bring your answer to class on Sabbath.

We need Jesus in our hearts to do any good thing, and by beholding His loveliness, we are to maintain a full surrender to His will. He can give us wisdom and grace in the most difficult situations to reflect His character; we can also pray for wisdom as to whether He would have us remain in a given situation. We see in Jesus an experience in which He did not contend for His rights while He suffered on account of our sins--but His suffering was for the purpose of our redeeming us. If we are suffering wrongfully and we realize that God would not have us unnecessarily endanger our health, our family, or an abiding connection with Christ, then He will give us the grace to know the next step. For example, if I a person is suffering abuse from neighbors in an apartment complex or in a city living situation on account of their faith, could it be that this suffering is actually God's way of prompting that person to study the counsel about country living, and to ask prayerfully for God to give wisdom and guidance as to how to relocate to a retired, country location where conditions are more ideal for the development of character? God knows our pain and our struggles (Isaiah 63:9), and He invites us to seek Him for wisdom (James 1:5). His promise is sure for each day as we abide in Jesus: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1 Corinthians 10:13).
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 4--2nd Quarter 2017--Social Relationships
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2017, 09:38:31 AM »

Tuesday April 18

Wives and Husbands


Read 1 Peter 3:1-7.

 3:1   Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 
 3:2   While they behold your chaste conversation [coupled] with fear. 
 3:3   Whose adorning let it not be that outward [adorning] of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 
 3:4   But [let it be] the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, [even the ornament] of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 
 3:5   For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 
 3:6   Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. 
 3:7   Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. 


What special circumstance is Peter addressing in this passage? How is what is said relevant to marriage in today’s society?

What is said is not restricted to Peter's day. It is present truth for our day also. Even, if churches rewrite what has been written. It is the world that would make the role of women that of man. Today, in the church and in the world, women are to be allowed, and even made to do all that a man does. There is a push to make girls register for the draft in America. And decadent Western Europe has long been requiring what they call "parity" between men and women. We do not yet have a law suit requiring half of a football team be female, but this is the attitude of many even in God's church. And, placing women on the front line of battle is the result of "parity" between men and women.

Yet, Peter was inspired to say otherwise, as the wife is "the weaker vessel." God made it that way. And as Paul understood what was written in Gen. chapter 3, he penned in First Timothy:I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.    Not withstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety." 1 Tim 2:12-15.

There is one significant clue in the text that enables the careful reader to work out the issue that Peter deals with in 1 Peter 3:1-7. In chapter 3, verse 1, Peter says he is talking about husbands who “obey not the word.” In other words, Peter is talking about what should happen when a wife who is a Christian is married to a husband who is not (even if the number who don’t believe are few).

A Christian wife would find many difficulties being married to a husband who does not share her faith. What should happen in these circumstances? Should she separate from her husband? Peter, like Paul elsewhere, does not suggest that Christian wives leave their nonbelieving husbands (see 1 Cor. 7:12-16). Instead, says Peter, wives with a husband who is not a believer must live exemplary lives.

How is this today, in the world, and in the church? Do women see their opportunity to change a wayward husband? It requires a converted wife for this to take place. In a Laodicean church we do not see this, so we see the same divorce rate in the church as in the world. How many men love their wives as they should?


The roles available to women in the first-century Roman Empire were determined largely by the individual society. Roman wives, for example, had more rights under the law regarding property and legal redress than would most of the women to whom Peter is writing. But in some first-century societies, women were excluded from involvement in politics, government, and leadership in most religions. Peter urges Christian women to take on a set of standards that would be admirable in the context in which they found themselves. He urges them to purity and reverence (1 Pet. 3:2). He suggests that a Christian woman should be more interested in her inward beauty than in the adornment of fashionable hairstyles, jewelry, and expensive clothing (1 Pet. 3:3-5). A Christian woman will conduct herself in a manner that will recommend Christianity to the one who lives with her in a most intimate manner-her husband.

Peter’s words should not be taken by husbands as a license to mistreat their wives in any way. As he points out, husbands should show consideration to their wives (1 Pet. 3:7).

While Peter is addressing a specific issue-Christian wives married to nonbelievers-we can see a little of the ideal of Christian marriage: Christian partners should live in mutual support, living their lives with transparent integrity as they worship God through their everyday activities.

Amen! But, this can only be done if Christ is the center of the marriage. If one is not in a converted state, then there will not be mutual love and support. But, if one loves Jesus supremely, then will he or she not bear with the infirmities of the weaker one? The deceptions regarding the gospel makes it hard for the church to see such marriages. So many believe they are "rich and increased" when in fact they are "wretched, and miserable, and poor, blind, and naked." They then cannot love as Jesus loves. Being full of self, they follow the imaginations of their own corrupt heart.


How many families do you see in the church who suffer because of families being separated because of selfishness? How does God look at the children in such families? How does the church respond to such matters?

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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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 4--2nd Quarter 2017--Social Relationships
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2017, 10:27:26 PM »
Wednesday April 19

Social Relationships


Read Romans 13:1-7; Ephesians 5:22-33; 1 Corinthians 7:12-16; and Galatians 3:27, 28.

 13:1   Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 
 13:2   Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 
 13:3   For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 
 13:4   For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil. 
 13:5   Wherefore [ye] must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 
 13:6   For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 
 13:7   Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute [is due]; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. 

 5:22   Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 
 5:23   For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 
 5:24   Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in every thing. 
 5:25   Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 
 5:26   That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 
 5:27   That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 
 5:28   So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 
 5:29   For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 
 5:30   For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 
 5:31   For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 
 5:32   This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 
 5:33   Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife [see] that she reverence [her] husband. 

 7:12   But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. 
 7:13   And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 
 7:14   For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 
 7:15   But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such [cases]: but God hath called us to peace. 
 7:16   For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save [thy] husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save [thy] wife? 

 3:27   For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 
 3:28   There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 


How does what Paul says compare to what Peter says in 1 Peter 2:11-3:7?

 2:11   Dearly beloved, I beseech [you] as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 
 2:12   Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by [your] good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. 
 2:13   Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 
 2:14   Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 
 2:15   For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: 
 2:16   As free, and not using [your] liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. 
 2:17   Honour all [men]. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. 
 2:18   Servants, [be] subject to [your] masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. 
 2:19   For this [is] thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 
 2:20   For what glory [is it], if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer [for it], ye take it patiently, this [is] acceptable with God. 
 2:21   For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 
 2:22   Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 
 2:23   Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judgeth righteously: 
 2:24   Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 
 2:25   For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. 
 
Chapter 3

 3:1   Likewise, ye wives, [be] in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 
 3:2   While they behold your chaste conversation [coupled] with fear. 
 3:3   Whose adorning let it not be that outward [adorning] of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; 
 3:4   But [let it be] the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, [even the ornament] of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. 
 3:5   For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: 
 3:6   Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. 
 3:7   Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. 

Paul addresses some of the issues raised in 1 Peter 2:11-3:7 in several places. What he says is remarkably consistent with what is found in 1 Peter. For example, like Peter, Paul urges his readers to be subject to the “higher powers” (Rom. 13:1). Rulers are appointed by God and are a terror to evil works, not good (Rom. 13:3). Thus, a Christian should, then, “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” Rom. 13:7.

Paul also emphasizes that women who are married to non-believing husbands should live exemplary lives, and as a result their husbands may join the church (1 Cor. 7:12-16). Paul’s model of the Christian marriage is also one of mutuality. Husbands should love their wives as Christ has loved the church (Eph. 5:25). Furthermore, he suggests that slaves should obey their earthly masters as they would obey Christ (Eph. 6:5).

Paul, then, was willing to work within legally mandated cultural boundaries. He understood what could be changed about his culture and what could not. Yet, he also saw something within Christianity that would end up transforming the way society thinks about people. Just as Jesus didn’t seek to bring about any kind of political revolution in order to change the social order, neither did Peter or Paul. Change could come, instead, by the leavening influence of godly people in their society.

God understands the difficulties we face. He knows what will bring sorrow and pain to us if we challenge the present order of things. Here is an example of what we know will happen if we begin to attack the established order. The government or even common people will rise up against those who appear to be acting contrary to established order. There are some things we must stand up against, no matter what. We must resist the Sunday law. We ought to object to legalized drugs such as alcohol and other mind altering drugs that destroy lives. But, other social wrongs, we need to be very careful about. When laws are made to not work on Sunday, we ought not work on Sunday. But, we may do missionary work on Sunday and God will be pleased. Let us pray to God for spiritual wisdom, and not rely upon our human reasoning which is foolishness. "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Proverbs 14:12.


Read Galatians 3:27-29.

3:27   For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 
 3:28   There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 
 3:29   And if ye [be] Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.


Though clearly it is a theological statement, what powerful social implications might this text have regarding how Christians are to relate to one another because of what Jesus has done for them?

Yes, it is a theological statement, but not as some interpret it. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. Role distinctions are not done away with when interpreted correctly. There are still slaves, there are still male and females, there are still Jews and Greeks. We do not do away with what is written by this statement. They must all be reconciled without doing away with truth. What is God saying then, in these verses? Do women still submit to their husbands who are in Christ? If so, then we have not done away with the role of women as some teach. We are all "priests" but, this does not mean all are pastors or the office of pastor is gone.

Blindness has come upon many in God's church. Let a scholar among us explain the meaning of these verses in Galatians chapter three.


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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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 4--2nd Quarter 2017--Social Relationships
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2017, 08:00:09 PM »
Thursday April 20

Christianity and the Social Order

Despite knowing that human organizations and governments are flawed and sometimes sinful, and despite their bad experiences with governments and religious leaders, both Paul and Peter urged early Christians to submit to human authorities (1 Pet. 2:13-17, Rom. 13:1-10). Christians, they say, should pay taxes and contribute to compulsory labor obligations. As far as possible, Christians were to be model citizens.

"Contribute to compulsory labor obligations."  That is an interesting way to phrase the statement. Not sure that we would find this statement a good one. A military draft?  Labor unions? Slavery? "Contribute to"?

Read Acts 5:27-32.

 5:27   And when they had brought them, they set [them] before the council: and the high priest asked them, 
 5:28   Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man's blood upon us. 
 5:29   Then Peter and the [other] apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. 
 5:30   The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. 
 5:31   Him hath God exalted with his right hand [to be] a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 
 5:32   And we are his witnesses of these things; and [so is] also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.


What is the relationship between the obedience that Peter says to render to the authorities (1 Pet. 2:13-17) and what Peter and the other apostles actually did in this one incident?

The early successes of the Christian church led to the arrest of Peter and John (Acts 4:1-4). They had been questioned by the rulers, elders, and scribes, and then let go with a stern warning that they should desist from preaching (Acts 4:5-23). Soon afterward they were arrested again and asked why they had not followed what the authorities told them to do (Acts 5:28). Peter replied, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

What crucial truth must we take from these words?

Peter was not being a hypocrite, saying one thing and doing another. When it became an issue of following God or following human beings, the choice was clear. Until then, Christians should be supportive and obedient to government, even if they also work to try to bring about positions of social change. When moral issues are at stake, Christians have been and still should be involved in legally promoting the kind of social changes that reflect the values and teaching of Jesus. How this should be done depends upon many factors, but being a loyal and faithful citizen doesn’t automatically mean that a Christian can’t or shouldn’t seek to help improve society.

Read Leviticus 19:18 and Matthew 22:39.

 19:18   Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I [am] the LORD. 

22:39   And the second [is] like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.


How might the command to love our neighbor as ourselves include the need to work for change when that change could indeed make life better and fairer for your neighbor?

Today we have many who profess to love God supremely, "working" for others. But, in fact they are often working contrary to freedom God has given to all His creatures. What are some examples we see in the world today?
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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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 4--2nd Quarter 2017--Social Relationships
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Friday April 21


Further Thought: Read Ellen G. White, “The Impending Conflict,” pp. 582-592, “The Scriptures a Safeguard,” pp. 593-602 and “The Time of Trouble” pp. 613-634 in The Great Controversy.

From The Great Controversy, The Time of Trouble, we find this Bible verse quoted: “At that time shall Michael stand up, the great Prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, everyone that shall be found written in the book.” Daniel 12:1.

This happens when probation closes. It is shortly after the King of the North enters into "the glorious holy mountain" "between the seas." Daniel 11:45. Do you know that the powerful leader of Turkey has stated he is going into Jerusalem as the leader of Islam? Turkey is no longer a republic, it is now an Islamic state ruled by a caliph who has set his eyes upon Jerusalem.

Also in the reading our author has requested we read, is this important truth. "When He (Jesus) leaves the sanctuary, darkness covers the inhabitants of the earth. In that fearful time the righteous must live in the sight of a holy God without an intercessor. The restraint which has been upon the wicked is removed, and Satan has entire control of the finally impenitent. God’s long-suffering has ended. The world has rejected His mercy, despised His love, and trampled upon His law. The wicked have passed the boundary of their probation; the Spirit of God, persistently resisted, has been at last withdrawn. Unsheltered by divine grace, they have no protection from the wicked one. Satan will then plunge the inhabitants of the earth into one great, final trouble. As the angels of God cease to hold in check the fierce winds of human passion, all the elements of strife will be let loose. The whole world will be involved in ruin more terrible than that which came upon Jerusalem of old. pg 614.

There will be no more forgiveness of sin. The heavenly sanctuary will be forever closed. The saints must have developed a character that understands it is only by a living connection with Christ they can live without sinning. That character does not come in a moment. It is the work of time. Today is the day of salvation.


Ellen G. White advocated that Seventh-day Adventists be good citizens and obey the law of the land. She even told people not to openly and flagrantly disobey local Sunday laws; that is, though they must keep the seventh-day Sabbath holy, as God has commanded, they don’t need to deliberately violate laws that forbid Sunday labor. In one case in particular, however, she was clear that Adventists should not obey the law. If a slave had escaped his or her master, the law required that the slave be returned to that master. She railed against that law and told Adventists not to obey, despite the consequences: “When the laws of men conflict with the word and law of God, we are to obey the latter, whatever the consequences may be. The law of our land requiring us to deliver a slave to his master, we are not to obey, and we must abide the consequences of violating this law. The slave is not the property of any man. God is his rightful master, and man has no right to take God’s workmanship into his hands, and claim him as his own.” - Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 201, 202


Amen!! What a blessing to have this counsel written in the day when many were prejudiced, even in the church. Many who suffered at the hands of evil people ought to recognized that God worked greatly through the Seventh-day Adventist Church to improve the lives of the blacks in America. The education of them in the South was a great burden on Sister White. She deplored the lack of effort being put forth and took extra measures to see the work advanced, as did one of her sons.

Discussion Questions:

    In class, discuss your answer to the question at the end of Monday’s study about this issue: Should Christians never stand up for their rights? As you do, consider this one question, as well: Just what are our rights?

That question is not for us to use our wisdom to decide. We must have a living connection with God to know what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."

    What are examples in which the impact of Christians on society has been a powerful force in changing that society for good? What lessons can we take from these accounts?

All we have to do is look at the world in which we live today. Do we see some who are not living as if Satan has entirely succeeded in destroying the image of God in man? Why are they different? In most cases, it is because of the influence of a Christian or Christians in their life. On the other hand, one must also recognized that as professing Christians we exert either a good influence or a bad influence on those in the world. If we are truly converted, then we are a testimony to the ways of God. We then are a savor of life unto life. If we are only professing to serve God, then we are a savor of death unto death, misrepresenting God. Then, the world sees hypocrisy which drives them away from the God of the Bible.

What can the world think when it sees a people who do not drink alcohol, eat healthy, and love those who despitefully use them? And, amid the great trials in life, they manifest a countenance that reveals a peace that passes understanding.

The greatest success in dealing with alcohol and drug addiction comes from the 12 step program which points the addict to God as the power to keep one from addiction. While the program has undergone some changes, it still is the most successful life changing program in helping addicts overcome.

In the world we also see the result of Christianity in a most powerful way. God not only deals with people, but with cities and nations. America was founded upon the principle of individual liberty. It was a Protestant nation at one time. As such she set an example of what Christian principles will do when followed. I did not say the nation was perfect, but that it was founded upon Protestant principles. When those principles are not followed, we can see where that leads. Look at America today. The Constitution is being destroyed, and the nation is soon to suffer the final results of apostasy.


    What are examples in which Christians, instead of helping change the ills of society, acquiesced to those ills and even helped justify them? What lessons can we take from those stories, as well?

    First Peter 2:17, says, “Honor the king”. The emperor at that time was probably Nero, one of the more vile and corrupt of what had already been a corrupt and vile line of men. What message does this have for us today? How might what Peter wrote at the beginning of that text, “Honour all men,” help us better understand what he was saying?

We ought to mind our own business instead of attempting to change all of the evil in the world. We cannot do that. The answer lies in finding those who want the truth, and point them to the Bible and Jesus. Look for the good in the king and in all men. We cannot know the heart, where it will be tomorrow. So, think that maybe the king and others may be just about ready to accept the truth. We never know.


    Read 1 Peter 2:21-25 in class.

 2:21   For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: 
 2:22   Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 
 2:23   Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judgeth righteously: 
 2:24   Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. 
 2:25   For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. 


How is the gospel message encapsulated in these verses? What hope do they offer us? What do they call us to do? How well do we follow what we have been told to do here?

It is impossible to reflect the righteousness of Christ unless we have the Holy Spirit in our hearts. We must be born again of the Spirit. If we are indeed in a converted state, then we will follow the commands of God and be a witness of Christ and His ways. I like the truth revealed in verse 24. It is a well kept secret. If we want to be transformed in nature, if we really want to have power to reveal the righteousness of Christ to love the unlovable, then we will be changed if we will keep ever before us the "stripes" on the back of Christ that belong to us. "Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.