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Wally

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SDA Sabbath School Lesson 2--4th Quarter 2017--The Controversy
« on: October 06, 2017, 03:01:13 PM »
Lesson 2 October 7-13









The Controversy













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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 2--4th Quarter 2017--The Controversy
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2017, 06:36:36 AM »
Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: Heb. 8:6, Matt. 19:17, Rev. 12:17, Leviticus 23, Acts 15:1-29, Gal. 1:1-12.

Memory Text: “The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” John 1:17

The early church was composed mostly of Jews who never for a moment thought that by accepting the Jewish Messiah, Jesus, they were somehow turning away from the faith of their fathers or the covenant promises that God had made to His people. As it turns out, they were right. The issue for the early Jewish believers was whether or not Jews had to become Christians in order to accept Jesus. The other issue for many of them was whether Gentiles had to become Jews before they could accept Christ.

Only later, in the Jerusalem Council, was there a firm answer. They made the decision not to trouble the Gentiles with a host of regulations and laws. That is, Gentiles didn’t need to become Jews first in order to accept Jesus.

That is right. God cut off the Jewish nation. Being Jew had nothing to do with being a follower of God or becoming a Christian. The question that had to be answered for them and us, is what laws are we to obey? This has not been answered very well by the Christian church. It was partly revealed when the first General Conference Session was held to decide about circumcision. There were a few requirements that were made clear, but we do not even see that in order to become a Christian, one must be keeping the commandments. It does not earn salvation, but one must agree to keep them in order to become a Christian. But, what about the other laws, statutes, and judgments? Do we forget about them? No. Then which ones are still binding?


Despite the decision, however, some teachers continued to plague the churches by insisting that Gentile converts to the faith were required to keep these rules and laws, including circumcision (not exactly a procedure that would make joining Christianity particularly appealing for an adult). That is, they thought that these Gentiles, in order to be partakers of the covenant promises, had to abide by many of the rules and regulations that were deemed a requisite for partakers of the commonwealth of Israel.

What were the issues, and how were they to be resolved?

What are the issues today, and how are they to be resolved? Rebellion is in the heart of man. It has come into the church as to how we are to decide theological issues. Whereas the churches accepted the first General Conference's decision, there are those who today refuse to. And, the division they have revealed grows ever wider. There is need to call a special General Conference Session to remove those who will not abide by the rules set by the church which are in harmony with Scripture.

There is also a need for the General Conference in Session to state clearly the most basic of our faith, the gospel. Today, in seminary, we have false gospels being taught to our new pastors. We must take the axe to the root of the matter if we expect to take the true gospel to the world.
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Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 2--4th Quarter 2017--The Controversy
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2017, 07:17:47 AM »
Sunday October 8

A Better Covenant

Read Hebrews 8:6.


But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises. 

What is the message here? How do we understand what these “better promises” are?

We praise God that the title of this lesson brings forth an important truth. The new covenant was not new at all. While it was sealed by the blood of Christ, the covenant promise and conditions were the same as the very first covenant made with man, the everlasting covenant where God promised to change us, to give us a hatred for sin.

The "better covenant" was not being compared to the oldest covenant, but to what Paul called the "old covenant" or the "first covenant." This can be confusing because this "old covenant" was not the oldest. It was the covenant made at Sinai which was over two thousand years newer than the everlasting covenant made in the Garden of Eden just after sin entered the world.

Why is the title so important? Because many think the old covenant was just fine. It was fine for what God intended, but it was not as good as the everlasting covenant, nor the "new covenant" which was also called the "second covenant." Paul was addressing Jews when he used these terms because their history only went back to Sinai. This is where their attention was focused. This was their covenant as far as they were concerned. It was their "old covenant." They were the chosen of God and He gave them the ten commandments. Why was the new covenant a "better covenant"? This must be answered correctly so that the deception regarding the old covenant can be clearly seen. In the church today, it has been widely taught the problem with the old covenant was not with the covenant, but with the people. This is true, but that does not mean the old covenant was as good as the new, it was not. It was not intended to save anyone. It was given that the Jew might see himself dead in trespasses and sins. He would then look for help to keep the law. The law being the "school-master" pointing the unrepentant sinner to Christ.

But, the "new covenant" had better promises than did the Sinai covenant. Like the everlasting covenant, it promised eternal life, not by keeping the law, but by the grace of God. The blood of bulls and goats can save no one. Only the blood of Christ can cleanse from sin.

Perhaps the greatest difference between the religion of the Old Testament and that of the New is the fact that the New Testament era was introduced by the coming of the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. He was sent by God to be the Savior. Men could not ignore Him and expect to be saved. Only through the atonement He provided could their sins be forgiven. Only by the imputation of His perfect life could they stand before God without condemnation. In other words, salvation was through the righteousness of Jesus, and nothing else.

Yes, IF that righteousness is accepted by the sinner. If it is, then the sinner becomes a repentant sinner and has the righteousness of Christ both imparted and imputed. We must never separate the two, as Satan has attempted to do.


Old Testament saints looked forward to the blessings of the Messianic age and the promise of salvation. In New Testament times the people were confronted with the question, Would they accept Jesus of Nazareth whom God had sent as the Messiah, their Savior? If they believed in Him-that is, if they accepted Him for who He truly was and committed themselves to Him-they would be saved through the righteousness that He offered them freely.

Meanwhile, the moral requirements remain unchanged in the New Testament, because these were founded in the character of God and of Christ. Obedience to God’s moral law is just as much a part of the New Covenant as it is of the Old.

Amen! The moral requirements, all of them, remain unchanged. Many have been taught and believe the "moral requirements" are limited to the ten commandments. But, they are wrong, and when they joined God's church they ought to have been instructed otherwise. Most agree to keep more than the ten commandments. We agreed to not eat unclean food, to not drink alcohol, etc. There are many other "moral" laws given in Scripture that remain binding upon all who accept Christ as Savior. This needs to be clearly understood and taught since it has been misunderstood and is being mistaught in the church.

Ten years ago we began a discussion on this subject. You made read through the discussion, Binding Aspects of the Mosaic Law


Read Matthew 19:17; Revelation 12:17; 14:12; and James 2:10, 11.

19:17   And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? [there is] none good but one, [that is], God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 
12:17   And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. 
 14:12   Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. 
 2:10   For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one [point], he is guilty of all. 
 2:11   For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law. 

What do these texts tell us about the moral law in the New Testament?

The moral law is still binding. Those are truly converted will be keeping all of the moral to the degree they understand it. There is much the church does not understand. And, there are those in other denominations that  break the fourth commandment because they do not understand it.


At the same time, th.e entire body of ritual and ceremonial laws that were distinctly Israelite-and were distinctly tied to the Old Covenant, and all pointed to Jesus and to His death and ministry as High Priest-were discontinued, and a new order was introduced, one based on “better promises.”

A "new order" to those who were ignorant of the everlasting covenant. But, the new covenant was not new at all when compared to the oldest covenant made in the Garden. It promised the same thing, a transformed life. God made the promise to write His law upon the heart, IF we would give Him the whole heart. What does it mean to write His law on the heart, and where do we see this in the everlasting covenant?


Helping both Jew and Gentile to understand what was involved in this transition from Judaism to Christianity was one of Paul’s principal aims in the book of Romans. It would take time to make the transition. Many Jews who had accepted Jesus were still not ready for the great changes that were coming.

If one had understood what was written in the Old Testament, there would not be a radical change in life. There would be no added burdens placed on the convert under the "new covenant." And, what was removed, would lighten the burden of attending rituals. The Christian could not go directly to Christ who was a living High Priest.


What are some of your favorite Bible promises? How often do you claim them? What choices are you making that can stand in the way of having these promises fulfilled in your life?

What is the great Bible promise seen in the everlasting and new covenant that was missing in the Sinai covenant? The two covenants had conditions. What were the conditions to be understood in the everlasting covenant? What condition was specified in this first covenant? If we rightly understand the conditions of the everlasting and new covenant, then we know what is standing in the way of having the promise fulfilled.

Understanding this, is to benefit from the lesson we have studied 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 2--4th Quarter 2017--The Controversy
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2017, 07:31:32 AM »
Monday October 9

Jewish Laws and Regulations


As time allows, skim through the book of Leviticus. (See, for instance, Leviticus 12, 16, 23.) What thoughts come to your mind as you read all these rules and regulations and rituals? Why would many of these be all but impossible in New Testament times to follow?

It is convenient for us to classify Old Testament laws into various categories: (1) moral law, (2) ceremonial law, (3) civil law, (4) statutes and judgments, and (5) health laws.

It may be convenient, but this classification does not help us distinguish between which are still binding. Which classes are binding?


This classification is in part artificial. In actuality some of these categories are interrelated, and there is considerable overlap. The ancients did not see them as separate and distinct.

The moral law is summed up by the Ten Commandments (Exod. 20:1-17). This law sums up the moral requirements of humanity. These ten precepts are amplified and applied in various statutes and judgments throughout the first five books of the Bible. These amplifications show what it meant to keep the law of God in various situations. Not unrelated are the civil laws. These, too, are based on the moral law. These define a citizen’s relationship to civil authorities and to fellow citizens. They name the penalties for various infractions.

Amen, this is all true.


The ceremonial law regulated the sanctuary ritual, describing the various offerings and the individual citizen’s responsibilities. The feast days are specified and their observance defined.

Amen, this is also correct.


The health laws overlap the other laws. The various laws relating to uncleanness define ceremonial uncleanness, and yet they als.o go beyond this to include hygienic and health principles. Laws regarding clean and unclean meats are based on physical considerations.

Yes, but we must distinguish between the ceremonial and the moral. One is still binding, the other not.

While the Jew probably largely thought of all of these laws as a package, having all come from God, he or she must have made certain distinctions mentally. The Ten Commandments had been spoken by God directly to the people. This would set them apart as especially important. The other laws had been relayed through Moses. The sanctuary ritual could be kept only while a sanctuary was in operation.

All came from God, all were important. There were moral laws in the laws written by Moses. As was stated, there were other laws that were supportive of the ten commandments.


The civil laws, at least in large part, could no longer be imposed after the Jews lost their independence and came under the civil control of another nation. Many of the ceremonial precepts could no longer be observed after the temple was destroyed. Also, after the Messiah came, many of the types had met their antitypes and no longer had validity.

The civil laws are no longer applicable to God's people because God no longer has a theocracy on this Earth. The meaningful way to classify the laws given to Moses, is to divide them into three categories. Moral, civil, and ceremonial. Two are no longer binding, but all of the moral law remains binding. It is left for us now, to determine which of the statutes and judgments are moral law. When we know, we will be blessed by keeping them. They are for our good and God's glory.



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 2--4th Quarter 2017--The Controversy
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2017, 08:16:13 AM »
Tuesday October 10

As the Custom of Moses


Read Acts 15:1.

 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, [and said], Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. 

What issue was causing dissension? Why would some people believe that this wasn’t just for the Jewish nation? See Gen. 17:10.    This [is] my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised

Why? Why would Peter try to stop Jesus from going to Jerusalem to be put to death? Because these Jews had not studied for themselves. They trusted in their teachers and had no understanding of the ceremonial laws. They did not even know the Lamb had to die. How would they know that circumcision was an object lesson pointing to the need for a new heart?


While the apostles united with the ministers and lay members at Antioch in an earnest effort to win many souls to Christ, certain Jewish believers from Judaea “of the sect of the Pharisees” succeeded in introducing a question that soon led to widespread controversy in the church and brought consternation to the believing Gentiles. With great confidence these teachers asserted that in order to be saved, one must be circumcised and must keep the entire ceremonial law. The Jews, after all, always had prided themselves on their divinely appointed services, and many of those who had been converted to the faith of Christ still felt that since God had once clearly outlined the Hebrew manner of worship, it was improbable that He would ever authorize a change in any of its specifications. They insisted that the Jewish laws and ceremonies should be incorporated into the rites of the Christian religion. They were slow to discern that all the sacrificial offerings had but prefigured the death of the Son of God, in which type met antitype, and after which the rites and ceremonies of the Mosaic dispensation were no longer binding.

Amen.

Read Acts 15:2-12.

15:2   When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. 
 15:3   And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. 
 15:4   And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and [of] the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. 
 15:5   But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command [them] to keep the law of Moses. 
 15:6   And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. 
 15:7   And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men [and] brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 
 15:8   And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as [he did] unto us; 
 15:9   And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 
 15:10   Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 
 15:11   But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. 
 15:12   Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. 


How was this dispute to be settled?

“While looking to God for direct guidance, he [Paul] was ever ready to recognize the authority vested in the body of believers united in church fellowship. He felt the need of counsel, and when matters of importance arose, he was glad to lay these before the church and to unite with his brethren in seeking God for wisdom to make right decisions.” - Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 200.

It’s interesting that Paul-who often talked about his prophetic calling and how Jesus had called him and gave him his mission-was so willing to work with the larger church body. That is, whatever his calling, he realized that he was part of the church as a whole and that he needed to work with it as much as possible.

What is your attitude toward church leadership? How cooperative are you? Why is cooperation so important? How could we function if everyone was doing only what he or she wanted to do, independent of the larger body?

We are to understand God has an organized church, organized for world-wide missionary work. We are also to Scripture as the Word of God, and the church manual is to be subservient to it. Those in rebellion against the church ought to be sure they are in harmony with Scripture, for if they are not, then they are in rebellion against the church and God. There is church leadership that is out or harmony with the Bible and the church, how ought the church member relate to this church leadership? When church leaders teach heresy, then how should we relate to them? How did Jesus relate to church leadership?

When the church is following Christ, then what kind of attitude should those who are doing the Lord's work have towards the church? Is there not unity among truly converted Christians? We may not all see alike in all things, but we surely are filled with the same Spirit. The great problems come when there is one who is not filled with the Spirit of God. God is leading a people. His church His representatives on this Earth. Let us love one another as He loves us. This will be the case when we love Jesus with the whole heart.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

JimB

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 2--4th Quarter 2017--The Controversy
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2017, 05:48:08 PM »
Why was the new covenant a "better covenant"? This must be answered correctly so that the deception regarding the old covenant can be clearly seen. In the church today, it has been widely taught the problem with the old covenant was not with the covenant, but with the people. This is true, but that does not mean the old covenant was as good as the new, it was not. It was not intended to save anyone. It was given that the Jew might see himself dead in trespasses and sins. He would then look for help to keep the law. The law being the "school-master" pointing the unrepentant sinner to Christ.

But, the "new covenant" had better promises than did the Sinai covenant. Like the everlasting covenant, it promised eternal life, not by keeping the law, but by the grace of God. The blood of bulls and goats can save no one. Only the blood of Christ can cleanse from sin.

Richard, earlier this week as I came upon Sunday's lesson, not trusting myself and knowing that I don't understand this topic as well as I should, I went back and read the chapter in Patriarchs and Prophets the chapter dealing with the law and the covenants. It is a really good chapter that I think everyone should reread from time to time.  Anyway, what I noticed was is that with the old covenant the law was only written on two tables of stone and not in the hearts of men. With this covenant there was no promise of forgiveness of sin there was only "obey and live" and if you sinned you were cursed to die. I've said all of this to say that I can see what you're saying and I agree with you. However, I one question that still troubles me just a little and if I have this question I'm sure others reading do also. What do we do with with David's words... 

Psa 19:7  The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

My question was addressed to Richard but if anyone else has any thoughts please jump in so we can learn from each other.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 2--4th Quarter 2017--The Controversy
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2017, 08:06:16 AM »
We will let this go, hoping one of our Bible scholars will address your question, Jim. We want others to share what it is that God is teaching them.

What a blessing we have in the Spirit of Prophecy. It makes the teaching on the covenants so much easier to grasp. I so much appreciate that Jim has brought this question before our Sabbath School. When we find Scripture that "appears" to contradict a truth we know to be truth, we ought not overlook it. At first glance, it does appear to contradict the truth. It is used by those who reject the truth Jim and I have shared in this week's lesson. But, those who use this verse to reject the truth about the "old covenant" do so to their own detriment by not doing what Jim has done. Instead of blindly rejecting what appears to be a contradiction, they ought to have prayed, studied, and then sought the  safety of a multitude of counselors such as we have access to here online and in the church of God.

God does not contradict Himself. This is inspired truth we are reading. We must seek to see how they both present truth. Let me add one more bit of truth while we await help from other Bible students.  The law of God is a transcript of His character. So, we find it to appear again, not only written on tables of stone. As we study our Bibles, we find Paul making reference to this subject in a manner that sheds light on our discussion. You may read this in 2 Corinthians chapter three. God would have us understand this subject. It is not "milk", but meat. We ought to have moved past the "milk" stage long ago.

When we better understand the subject of the covenants, when we present the truth of the covenants, we will be better prepared to reach the "Evangelicals" who have twisted the teaching to their detriment. As the church presently sees the covenants, we only hurt ourselves in attempting to defend error instead of truth. They know this is wrong and thus are confirmed in their error.
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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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 2--4th Quarter 2017--The Controversy
« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2017, 03:17:43 PM »
My understanding Jim is that while the Old Covenant was given in the Old Testament the New Covenant / Everlasting covenant was also there. It's just that many did not have the understanding about how the Everlasting covenant worked therefore they were under the Old covenant. Likewise today we can get stuck in the Old covenant or we can come under the new covenant. The Old was basically an attempt at righteousness by works. The New or Abrahamic covenant was/is righteousness by faith. By faith OT people could come under the future blood of Christ.  Both covenants have always been available its just that many of the people did not understand how this works. To be under the Old Covenant is to be unconverted. I do not believe that all of the people in OT times were under the Old covenant. There has been a lot of water under the bridge ( light) since OT times. As God's people we must get understanding about this.

"That the new covenant was valid in the days of Abraham is evident from the fact that it was then confirmed both by the promise and by the oath of God--the "two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie." Hebrews 6:18. " PP Ch. 32
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Wally

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 2--4th Quarter 2017--The Controversy
« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2017, 04:36:04 PM »
I one question that still troubles me just a little and if I have this question I'm sure others reading do also. What do we do with with David's words... 

Psa 19:7  The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

My question was addressed to Richard but if anyone else has any thoughts please jump in so we can learn from each other.

Since everything God does is perfect, His law must be perfect.  And, as we know, His law is a transcript of His character.  An Spirit guided understanding of God's character (as exemplified in Christ's sacrifice) leads to conversion.  The goodness of God [i.e., His perfect character] leadeth thee to repentance.  Rom. 2:4.

I don't profess to understand all the finer points of the New vs. the Old Covenant, but that chapter in Patriarchs and Prophets does a pretty good job of explaining it.
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 2--4th Quarter 2017--The Controversy
« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2017, 08:48:39 PM »
I do not believe that all of the people in OT times were under the Old covenant. There has been a lot of water under the bridge ( light) since OT times. As God's people we must get understanding about this.

"That the new covenant was valid in the days of Abraham is evident from the fact that it was then confirmed both by the promise and by the oath of God--the "two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie." Hebrews 6:18. " PP Ch. 32

Amen, cp.  The Old Covenant is not the gospel, it is the law only. The covenant was "obey and live." It is impossible to obey and live without a full heart surrender to Christ. God made the covenant with Israel that they might find out they could not keep God's law the way they were. They thought they could and they all agreed when they said "All that the LORD hath spoken we will do." From Exodus:

 19:3   And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; 
 19:4   Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and [how] I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself. 
 19:5   Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth [is] mine: 
 19:6   And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These [are] the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. 
 19:7   And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. 
 19:8   And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD. 
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 2--4th Quarter 2017--The Controversy
« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2017, 08:58:58 PM »
I one question that still troubles me just a little and if I have this question I'm sure others reading do also. What do we do with with David's words... 

Psa 19:7  The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

My question was addressed to Richard but if anyone else has any thoughts please jump in so we can learn from each other.

Since everything God does is perfect, His law must be perfect.  And, as we know, His law is a transcript of His character.  An Spirit guided understanding of God's character (as exemplified in Christ's sacrifice) leads to conversion.  The goodness of God [i.e., His perfect character] leadeth thee to repentance.  Rom. 2:4.

I don't profess to understand all the finer points of the New vs. the Old Covenant, but that chapter in Patriarchs and Prophets does a pretty good job of explaining it.

Amen, Wally.  Let's see if this helps Jim make the connection. There is  a difference between outward obedience and the obedience that comes from knowing God.
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 2--4th Quarter 2017--The Controversy
« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2017, 07:58:34 AM »

Wednesday October 11
The Gentile Believers

Read Acts 15:5-29.

15:5   But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command [them] to keep the law of Moses. 
 15:6   And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. 
 15:7   And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men [and] brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. 
 15:8   And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as [he did] unto us; 
 15:9   And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 
 15:10   Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 
 15:11   But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they. 
 15:12   Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. 
 15:13   And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men [and] brethren, hearken unto me: 
 15:14   Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. 
 15:15   And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, 
 15:16   After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: 
 15:17   That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. 
 15:18   Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. 
 15:19   Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 
 15:20   But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and [from] fornication, and [from] things strangled, and [from] blood. 
 15:21   For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. 
 15:22   Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; [namely], Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: 
 15:23   And they wrote [letters] by them after this manner; The apostles and elders and brethren [send] greeting unto the brethren which are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia: 
 15:24   Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, [Ye must] be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no [such] commandment: 
 15:25   It seemed good unto us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men unto you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 
 15:26   Men that have hazarded their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
 15:27   We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell [you] the same things by mouth. 
 15:28   For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; 
 15:29   That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare ye well. 


What decision did the council come to, and what was their reasoning?

In the light of current events in the church, there is light here that will help us understand what to do today. What lessons may we learn?


The decision was against the contentions of the Judaizers. These folk insisted that the Gentile converts be circumcised and keep the entire ceremonial law, and that “the Jewish laws and ceremonies should be incorporated into the rites of the Christian religion.” - Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 189.

It’s interesting to note in Acts 15:10 the way in which Peter depicted these old laws as a “yoke” that they were unable to bear. Would the Lord, who instituted those laws, make them a yoke on His people? That hardly seems so. Instead, over the years some of the leaders had, through their oral traditions, turned many of the laws from the blessings they were meant to be into burdens. The council sought to spare Gentiles from these burdens.

Amen! It has nothing to do with the ten commandments, but it does speak to other moral law which were not brought up. It is not just the ceremonial and civil laws that were to be kept from the Gentiles. There is much more in the moral statutes and judgments that were not to be put upon the Gentiles. Why is this so, and what does this mean to us today? It is important we recognize this and learn from it.


Notice, too, that there was no mention or question of the Gentiles not needing to obey the Ten Commandments. After all, could we imagine the council telling them not to eat blood but that it was acceptable to ignore the commandments against adultery or murder and the like?

Amen!


What rules were placed on the Gentile believers (Acts 15:20, 29), and why these specific rules?

Yes, why were these rules and other important rules left out?


Although Jewish believers weren’t to impose their rules and tradition on Gentiles, the council wanted to make sure that the Gentiles didn’t do things that would have been deemed offensive to the Jews who were united with them in Jesus. The apostles and elders, therefore, agreed to instruct the Gentiles by letter to abstain from meats offered to idols, from fornication, from things strangled, and from blood. Some say that, because Sabbath keeping wasn’t specifically mentioned, it must not have been meant for the Gentiles (of course, the commandments against lying and murder weren’t specifically mentioned either, so that argument means nothing).

Could we, in some ways, be laying on people burdens that are not necessary but are more from tradition than divine command? If so, how? Bring your thoughts to class on Sabbath.

Going further, we have added to the things which must be agreed to before baptism. Why? What determines what is added? Is it time to add more? If so, what and why?  In this discussion we see a standard being set that is above the  foundation of our faith. What is that foundation which was not brought into the discussion at Jerusalem?

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 2--4th Quarter 2017--The Controversy
« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2017, 08:44:51 AM »

Thursday October 12

Paul and the Galatians


However clear the council, there were those who sought to go their own way and who continued to advocate that the Gentiles keep Jewish traditions and laws. For Paul this became a very serious matter; that is, it wasn’t trifling over the fine points of faith. It had become a denial of the gospel of Christ itself.

This is interesting because it actually goes beyond circumcision which was a ceremonial law, to the moral law. Paul is not just concerned about the old Jewish law which was no longer binding. He included all law in his reproof to the church in Galatia. Why was this?


Read Galatians 1:1-12.


 1:1   Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) 
 1:2   And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: 
 1:3   Grace [be] to you and peace from God the Father, and [from] our Lord Jesus Christ, 
 1:4   Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: 
 1:5   To whom [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen. 
 1:6   I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 
 1:7   Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 
 1:8   But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 
 1:9   As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. 
 1:10   For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. 
 1:11   But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. 
 1:12   For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught [it], but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. 


How serious does Paul see the issue he is confronting in Galatia? What should that tell us about the importance of this question?

It is present truth for us today. Many in the church of God are preaching "another gospel." Therefore, we must learn what it is that Paul is saying. If we pass over this and do not learn the lesson, then how much more guilty are we today having this history lesson set before us in clear resounding tones!


As stated before, it was the Galatian situation that in large degree prompted the content of the letter to Rome. In the Epistle to the Romans, Paul further develops the theme of the Galatian epistle. Some Jewish believers were contending that the law God had given them through Moses was important and should be observed by Gentile converts. Paul was trying to show its true place and function. He didn’t want these people to gain a foothold in Rome as they had done in Galatia.

Amen!  Paul in Romans goes much further. He presents the gospel of grace in such a manner that we may be protected from both Phariseeism and liberalism which is so dominant in the church today. Unlike his epistle to the Galatians where Paul is addressing the then present concern, he is lead by the Spirit to lay the foundation so well as to protect against the great heresy we face today, salvation in sin.


It is an oversimplification to ask whether Paul is speaking of ceremonial or moral laws in Galatians and Romans. Historically, the argument was whether or not Gentile converts should be required to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses. The Jerusalem council had already ruled on this question, but some refused to follow its decision.

Yes, the first General Conference Session ruled on circumcision and made a standard which was understood to include the ten commandments. But, it did not include other moral law such as what we keep today regarding unclean meat. Paul went beyond the standard to the foundation of our faith. He was addressing the gospel which was not brought up in the GC Session at Jerusalem. There was no discussion about the law and grace. And, while Paul addressed Phariseeism to the Galatians, in Romans he will move beyond that to show what the gospel is and does. This truth is just as perverted today as it was then, even more so.


Some read in Paul’s letters to the Galatians and the Romans evidence that the moral law, the Ten Commandments (or, in truth, only the fourth commandment), is no longer binding on Christians. Yet, they are missing the point of the letters, missing the historical context and issues that Paul was addressing. Paul, as we’ll see, stressed that salvation was by faith alone and not by the keeping of the law, even the moral law. Yet that isn’t the same thing as saying that the moral law shouldn’t be kept. Obedience to the Ten Commandments was never an issue; those who make it an issue are reading back into texts a contemporary issue, one that Paul wasn’t dealing with.

But, Paul was addressing the moral as well as the ceremonial law when reproving the Galatians. They thought by keeping the law, any law, they were saved. Therefore, he was attempting to persuade them, it is grace received into the heart that saves, not law keeping, whether moral or ceremonial. We see a further explanation of the same concern as he addressed the issue to the Corinthians. There he brings into the lesson, the "letter of the law" and the "Spirit". One kills, the other saves. It is not just the ceremonial law he speaks of, but any law.

The author of the lesson is concerned about what the "Evangelicals" have done with perverting the truth, but I am attempting to reach Seventh-day Adventists who have bitten into the same fruit and use Paul's writings in Galatians to excuse sin. In the Book of Romans we find ordained pastors in our church teaching that Romans seven is the Christian experience. They say that the converted Christian does what he ought not, and does not do what he ought (Romans 7:15). Such heresy!


How do you respond to those who claim the Sabbath is no longer binding upon Christians?

Most of these who reject the Sabbath, do so saying it was for the Jews, it was their ceremonial law given a Sinai. But, they err. According to the Bible it was given at creation. In Exodus  16:26-28 we find that God reproved the Jews for not keeping the Sabbath prior to giving them the ten commandments at Sinai.    Regarding manna He said "Six days ye shall gather it; but on the seventh day, [which is] the sabbath, in it there shall be none. And it came to pass, [that] there went out [some] of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none. And the LORD said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws?"


How can you show the truth of the Sabbath in a way that does not compromise the integrity of the gospel?

Share why it is that we were given the Sabbath. It is a day to remember what God has done for us in creation. It reveals God's power to create and His love for us. How much more do we need this assurance of His power when He must re-create sinners into saints. And, it is His love (grace) that transforms our very nature. The Sabbath is needful for us to not forget what God has done for us, His power, and His grace.

This brings us full circle back to the gospel in the Book of Romans. We must first understand that grace is what saves us by transforming our character. Yes, it is true that God forgives sin, but He must first transform the sinner before he will be forgiven. He must first give repentance to to those seeking it. It is not a complicated gospel if one has not been fed provender laced with heretical doctrine. Let us prayerfully study the Book of Romans, Paul's epic presentation of the gospel of grace and its power to reveal a whole church of converted sinners which will stand through a time of trouble such as never was, without a Mediator.
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 2--4th Quarter 2017--The Controversy
« Reply #13 on: October 13, 2017, 09:51:30 AM »
Friday October 13

Further Thought: Read Ellen G. White, “Jew and Gentile,” pp. 188-192, 194-197; “Apostasy in Galatia,” pp. 383-388, in The Acts of the Apostles; “The Law Given to Israel,” pp. 310-312; “The Law and the Covenants,” pp. 370-373, in Patriarchs and Prophets; “The Chosen People,” pp. 27-30, in The Desire of Ages.

No doubt, our church faces times of controversy and dissension. But this is nothing new. Satan has always been at war with the church. Even in the earliest days of Christianity, dissension and controversy arose in the ranks of the believers. And there was one controversy that, if not resolved, could have destroyed the church in its infancy.

Amen! Today, as in days past, we have rebellion in our ranks. This is nothing new. Korah, Dathan, and Abiram were used in an attempt to bring down God's servant, Moses. They failed, just as will those who are leading the rebellion today. There was something more serious than the rebellion in Israel. It was the false gospel that false teachers had brought into the infant church. So it is today. Rebellion is only a symptom of a much more serious problem, the perversion of the gospel of grace by false teachers inside of God's church.



“Through the influence of false teachers who had arisen among the believers in Jerusalem, division, heresy, and sensualism were rapidly gaining ground among the believers in Galatia. These false teachers were mingling Jewish traditions with the truths of the gospel. Ignoring the decision of the general council at Jerusalem, they urged upon the Gentile converts the observance of the ceremonial law.” - Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 383.


So it is today. False teachers of false "gospels" are mingling "Adventist " and national culture, with the truths of the gospel, ignoring the decision of the general council at Indianapolis, Utrech, and San Antonio. The perversion of Scripture abounds at the highest levels in God's church.


Discussion Questions:

    In class go over your answer to Wednesday’s final question. In what ways might your local church or you in your own home or maybe even you with yourself be laying burdens on others (or on yourself) that are not necessary? How can we recognize if we are really doing these things? Or might we be in danger of going too far the other way? That is, how can we recognize if we have become too lax in our lifestyles and standards to the point where our lives don’t reflect the high calling that we have in Christ?

In order to know, we must understand more clearly the principles involved in the decision made at that first General Conference Session at Jerusalem. We have added to the standard. Is that correct? If so, why? If we do not understand the underlying principles, then how can we know? We can't. Then we must have a discussion on how this standard is to be set. It was brought up before our Sabbath School, but there is no answer provided?

Let one of our Bible scholars share with us the underlying principle involved in setting the standard to be followed by all in the church. Is our present standard too strict, too lax, or just right. Why?


    What are some of the arguments that folk use to claim that the Ten Commandments are no longer binding on Christians today? How do we answer those claims? Why, on the face of it, are those arguments so wrong, and why in many cases do those who make them not really live as if they believe the Ten Commandments are no longer binding?

If the gospel has been perverted, which it has, then is it not for the purpose of keeping the sinner from repentance? If we believe we are ok just the way we are, when we remain sinning, has not Satan succeeded in his work?


    Read again Galatians 1:1-12. Notice how uncompromising, how dogmatic, and how fervent Paul was regarding his understanding of the gospel. What should that tell us about how we must stand absolutely unwaveringly in certain beliefs, especially in a day and age of pluralism and relativism? How does this show that certain teachings cannot be compromised in any way?

Yes, when it comes to "certain beliefs" we are to be firm in resisting the heresy that Satan brings into the church. Which "certain beliefs" are of such great importance that the false teacher is accursed?


    In class talk about the issues that brought about the Protestant Reformation. What basic differences have not been resolved?

What were the foundation principles involved in the Protestant Reformation? We ought to write them down so we all remember.

1. Justification by faith, the gospel
2. Liberty of conscience
3. The Bible and the Bible Only

What has not been resolved where? Between the papacy and Protestants? It seems most are happy. How about in God's church?

What about justification by faith? Are we in agreement in the church? Absolutely.....not! 

How about liberty of conscience?  Many do not understand that if one will continue to work on the Sabbath, he will be removed from the church. Some argue they have liberty to decide what they will do and what they will not do. They have liberty of conscience. Well.....it seems we have not resolved this either.

And how about the Bible and the Bible only. Some will dismiss other inspired counsel with this statement of truth. Others of the same spirit will take Scripture and twist it in about as many directions as one can in order to make women rulers over men.

So, it is not so much an issue that the papacy and true Protestants have not resolved the issues, but that those who have been entrusted with the sacred oracles of God have not yet resolved the issues involved in the Protestant Reformation. So, we remain on this dark spot in the universe. Sickness, suffering, and death continue on as if God does not care. But, that is far from the truth. It is those called by His name that have caused the suffering to continue on. We have not done that which has been entrusted to us. This is why Jesus has not returned.

As we study the Book of Romans, let us prayerfully do so that we might rightly understand the gospel of grace.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of His Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

JimB

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 2--4th Quarter 2017--The Controversy
« Reply #14 on: October 13, 2017, 06:59:28 PM »
Since everything God does is perfect, His law must be perfect.  And, as we know, His law is a transcript of His character.  An Spirit guided understanding of God's character (as exemplified in Christ's sacrifice) leads to conversion.  The goodness of God [i.e., His perfect character] leadeth thee to repentance.  Rom. 2:4.

Amen, Wally.  Let's see if this helps Jim make the connection. There is  a difference between outward obedience and the obedience that comes from knowing God.

Thank you my friends. After I read Wally's post it got me to thinking and I had some verses come to mind that help with my problem. You'll see those below. While there are no promises of overcoming in the law itself there is grace and forgiveness and beauty of character in the Law Giver. And if we like David allowed our minds to meditate upon the perfect law and let it take our minds to Chirst then we like David can say the following....

Psa_1:2  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
Psa_40:8  I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
Psa_119:70  Their heart is as fat as grease; but I delight in thy law.
Psa_119:77  Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight.
Psa_119:174  I have longed for thy salvation, O LORD; and thy law is my delight.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}

JimB

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 2--4th Quarter 2017--The Controversy
« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2017, 05:20:13 AM »
Yes, the first General Conference Session ruled on circumcision and made a standard which was understood to include the ten commandments.

Last night in looking on the lesson I took the time to read chapter 19  "Jew and Gentile" out of Acts of the Apostles. The parallels to today's situation in the church are uncanny.
By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.  {DA 291.1}