Author Topic: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 1--3rd Quarter 2018--You Will Be My Witnesses  (Read 1676 times)

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Wally

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The Victory of the Gospel






Many historians believe that the three most crucial decades in world history occurred when a small group of men, mostly Jews under the power of the Holy Spirit, took the gospel to the world. The book of Acts is an account of those three crucial decades, which spanned from the resurrection of Jesus, in A.D. 31, to the end of Paul’s first Roman imprisonment, in A.D. 62 (Acts 28:30). The book must have been written shortly thereafter, for it stops the narrative at that point, though evidence exists that Paul was released from that imprisonment and that he resumed his missionary endeavors, preaching and traveling until he was arrested a few years later and then executed in Rome, in A.D. 67.

The book is silent about its author, but church tradition has always identified him as Luke, “the beloved physician” of Colossians 4:14 and traveling companion of Paul (2 Tim. 4:11, Philemon 24). Luke is also traditionally believed to be the author of our third Gospel, no doubt “the first book” mentioned in Acts 1:1 (compare with Luke 1:3). Both Luke and Acts are twin volumes on the beginnings of Christianity, respectively its origin (Jesus’ life and ministry) and expansion (the apostles’ missionary endeavors).

Together they comprise about 27 percent of the New Testament, the largest contribution of a single author. Writing to the Colossians, Paul refers to Luke as a Gentile coworker, someone who was not “of the circumcision” (Col. 4:7-14). Luke, then, is the only non-Jewish author of a New Testament book.

This seems to explain one of his main themes: the universality of salvation. God has no favorites. The church is called to witness to all people, irrespective of their race, social class, or gender (Acts 1:8; 2:21, 39, 40; 3:25; 10:28, 34, 35). A failure to do so, whether by prejudice or convenience, is a distortion of the gospel and contrary to the most basic truths of God’s Word. We are, before God, all the same: sinners in need of the redemption found in Christ Jesus.

It is not by chance, then, that Luke’s main hero is Paul, “the apostle to the Gentiles” (Rom. 11:13, NIV), to whom almost two-thirds of the book of Acts is dedicated.

Other important themes found in Acts include: the sovereignty of God and His divine purpose (Acts 17:24, 25; 20:27; 23:11); the exaltation of Jesus as Lord and Savior (Acts 2:32, 36; 3:13, 15; 4:10-12; 5:30, 31); and especially the role of the Spirit in empowering and guiding the church for its mission (Acts 2:1-4; 4:24-31; 8:14-17, 29, 39; 10:19, 20). In fact, the achievements of the early church were not the result of human wisdom or ability, though it pleased God to use someone like Paul to impact the world in a way that no other apostle did or perhaps was able to do (1 Cor. 15:10).

Acts deals with the formative period of the early church, in which there was considerable administrative and even theological growth. We can see this, for example, in the way the church dealt with questions concerning the time of Jesus’ second coming, the status of the Gentiles, and the role of faith for salvation. What the early church was able to accomplish in such a short period of time, however, is a perpetual testimony of what God can do through those who humble their hearts in prayer, live beyond individual differences, and let themselves be used by the Spirit for God’s honor and glory.

Acts is the story of those called of God to start the work; what can we who are called of God to finish it learn from their story?

Wilson Paroschi is a professor of New Testament interpretation at Brazil Adventist University (UNASP), in Engenheiro Coelho, Săo Paulo. He holds a PhD degree in New Testament from Andrews University (2004) and performed post-doctoral studies at the University of Heidelberg, Germany (2011).
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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Lesson 1 June 30-July 6









You Will Be My Witnesses






Commentary in Navy                  Inspiration in Maroon








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

Richard Myers

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Sunday          July 1

The Restoration of Israel

There are two kinds of Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, one that anticipates a kingly Messiah who would rule forever (Ps. 89:3, 4, 35-37; Isa. 9:6, 7; Ezek. 37:25; Dan. 2:44; 7:13, 14), and one that predicts that the Messiah would die for the sins of the people (Isa. 52:13-53:12; Dan. 9:26). Such prophecies do not contradict each other. They just point to two consecutive phases of the Messiah’s ministry: first He would suffer, and then become King (Luke 17:24, 25; 24:25, 26).

The problem with first-century Jewish Messianic expectation, however, was that it was one-sided. The hope of a kingly Messiah who would bring political deliverance obscured the notion of a Messiah who would suffer and die.

Why was the suffering and death of Christ ignored? It reveals the gospel of grace. Satan worked hard to deceive God's chosen people, as he does today. If he can keep humanity from seeing their wretched condition, if he can deceive those who have been entrusted with God's truth as to God's character, then he glories in his efforts.

He is as successful today as he was then. Many believe they are saved when in fact they are lost. "Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." Rev 3:17. This has been the situation in God's church for many many years. "The minds of many are clouded with unbelief because those who unite with the church as the chosen of God do not reveal the virtues that are the fruits of the Spirit. Joining the church is not a sure evidence that a man has joined himself to Christ. The new birth is a rare experience in this age of the world. This is the reason why there are so many perplexities in the churches. Many, so many, who assume the name of Christ are unsanctified and unholy. They have been baptized, but they were buried alive. Self did not die, and therefore they did not rise to newness of life in Christ.  12MR 51.


At first, the disciples shared this hope of a kingly Messiah. They believed that Jesus was the Messiah (Matt. 16:16, 20) and were sometimes caught bickering among themselves about who would sit on either side of Him when He was enthroned (Mark 10:35-37, Luke 9:46). Despite Jesus’ warnings about the fate that awaited Him, they simply could not understand what He meant. So, when He died, they became confused and discouraged. In their own words, “we trusted that it had been He which should have redeemed Israel.” Luke 24:21.

Read Acts 1:6.

When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? 


What does this question say about what they still didn’t understand? In Acts 1:7, how did Jesus answer them?

And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power. 

If Jesus’ death represented a fatal blow to the disciples’ hope, the resurrection revived it, raising their political expectations perhaps to an unprecedented level. It seemed natural to conceive of the resurrection as a strong indicator that the Messianic kingdom would finally be established.

In His reply to their question, however, Jesus gave no direct answer. He did not reject the premise behind the disciples’ question of an imminent kingdom, but neither did He accept it. He left the issue unsettled, while He reminded them that the timing of God’s actions belongs to God Himself, and as such it is inaccessible to humans.

According to Luke 24:25, what was the real problem of the disciples?

Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 


Amen! It was indeed unbelief that caused them so much grief. They wandered in and out of conversion. They loved Jesus supremely at times, but at other times self reared up and they vied for the highest place in His kingdom. The deceptions taught in Israel helped to block their understanding. False doctrine destroys many in the church today as it did then.


Why is it easy to believe what we want to believe, as opposed to what the Bible really teaches? How can we avoid this trap?

The answer is always the same, we need Jesus. We need to be fully surrendered if we want to know the truth and be in His kingdom. If possible the very elect (those converted) will be deceived. But, it is not possible, because they are looking unto Jesus and His Word for truth. We see the deceptions in the church today. Many reject simple Bible truth. Many, so many believe they are rich and increased with goods, and do not know they need Jesus every minute of every day in order to be able to not sin and retain salvation. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit if we want to be saved. If we are not, then we do not have eternal life and we have no power to resist the smallest temptation to sin. "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." Romans 8:9.   

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

Richard Myers

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Monday ↥         July 2

The Disciples’ Mission

Read Acts 1:8.

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. 


Instead of indulging in prophetic speculations, what were the disciples expected to do?

They were to be His witnesses and teachers to the whole world.


There are four important elements in this passage concerning the disciples’ mission:

    The gift of the Spirit. The Spirit had always been active among God’s people. According to the prophets, however, there would be a special endowment of the Spirit in the future (Isa. 44:3; Joel 2:28, 29). As Jesus Himself was anointed with the Spirit, the Holy Spirit was already at work during the time of His ministry (Luke 4:18-21) but officially was not inaugurated until Christ’s exaltation in heaven (John 7:39, Acts 2:33).

    The role of witness. A witness is a firsthand account. The disciples were fully qualified to give such a witness (Acts 1:21, 22; 4:20; compare with 1 John 1:1-3) and were now commissioned to share with the world their unique experience with Jesus.

Witnessing is indeed teaching what one has seen, but this is not as important as witnessing His character in our lives. One can argue against what is said, but cannot argue against what they see in character. God's grace transforms sinners into saints, if we will learn of Him who gave all for us while we were yet sinners.


    The plan of the mission. The disciples were to witness first in Jerusalem, then in Judea and Samaria, and finally to the ends of the earth. It was a progressive plan. Jerusalem was the center of Jewish religious life, the place where Jesus had been condemned and crucified. Judea and Samaria were neighboring areas where Jesus also had ministered. The disciples, however, were not to limit themselves to this locale alone. The scope of their mission was worldwide.

    The orientation of the mission. In Old Testament times, it was the nations that should be attracted to God (see Isa. 2:1-5), not Israel that should “take” God to the nations. The few exceptions (for example, Jonah) do not invalidate the general rule. Now the strategy was different. Jerusalem was still the center, but rather than staying and building roots there, the disciples were expected to move out to the uttermost ends of the earth.

Why did God use Babylon to conquer Israel and take Daniel and his three friends into captivity? Why did God allow Joseph to be sold as a slave? God wanted Israel to be an example both at home and abroad. He placed His faithful ones in the center of the most powerful nations so that they would have a witness of the power of grace. How was it that Naaman learned of the God of heaven? God had His witness in Syria, a young girl who told him about God's power to heal.


Read Luke 24:44-48.

 24:44   And he said unto them, These [are] the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and [in] the prophets, and [in] the psalms, concerning me. 
 24:45   Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 
 24:46   And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 
 24:47   And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 
 24:48   And ye are witnesses of these things. 


What was the core message that the disciples should preach?

It was the gospel message of salvation by grace.


In the forty days He spent with the disciples after the resurrection (Acts 1:3), Jesus must have explained much truth to them about the kingdom of God, even if there was still much they didn’t understand, as their question in Acts 1:6 showed. They were familiar with the prophecies but could now see them in a new light, a light shed from the Cross and the empty tomb (see Acts 3:17-19).

Amen! When they had their eyes opened to their weakness and sinfulness (the night of their desertion), and they saw once again the grace of their Savior, they now were more thoroughly converted. They then had spiritual discernment and saw that Christ came to suffer on their account. It solidified their understanding of who they were and their continual need of Jesus in order to do any good thing.

How often we have read over the description of Christ’s baptism with no thought that there was any particular significance in it for us. But it means everything to us. It means that there can be no excuse for our living in alienation from God. You may claim much leniency because of your human nature, of your temptations and trials, and seek to excuse yourself for sin because of inherited tendencies, but Christ gave himself in behalf of humanity, and there is no reason for failure. Christ bore temptations such as you will never be called upon to bear. He suffered as you will never suffer. He knew all your griefs, he has carried your sorrows. He has made it possible for you to be an overcomer. Do not say it is impossible for you to overcome. Do not say, “It is my nature to do thus and so, and I cannot do otherwise. I have inherited weaknesses that make me powerless before temptation.” We know you cannot overcome in your own strength; but help has been laid upon One who is mighty to save. When God gave his only begotten Son, he provided everything essential to your salvation. And “he that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” The resources of Heaven are open to us. We should believe this precious truth. And when the enemy comes in like a flood to discourage and to dishearten, the Spirit of the Lord will raise up a standard against him. When sorrows press you, cling closer to the Mighty One. Instead of faltering and losing faith, praise God that Jesus has died for you.

It was the disciples mission and our mission to be faithful obedient witnesses of His character amid an evil corrupt world that is soon to perish.





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

Richard Myers

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Tuesday          July 3

He Will Come Again


Read Acts 1:9-11.

 1:9   And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. 
 1:10   And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; 
 1:11   Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. 


How does Luke portray the ascension of Jesus? What is the significance that there were two angels speaking to them (see Deut. 19:15)?

Luke’s account of the ascension is rather brief. Jesus was with the disciples on the Mount of Olives, and while still blessing them (Luke 24:51), He was taken up to heaven. The language, of course, is phenomenological; that is, the scene is portrayed as it looked to human eyes, not as it really was. Jesus was leaving the earth, and there is no other way to do so in a visible form than by going up.

The ascension of Jesus was a supernatural act of God, one of many all through the Bible. This is implied by the way Luke describes it, with the passive eperthe (“He was taken up”, Acts 1:9). Though used only here in the New Testament, this verbal form is found several times in the Greek version of the Old Testament (the Septuagint), all of them describing actions of God, which suggests that God Himself was the One who took Jesus up to heaven, as He was the One who raised Him from the dead (Acts 2:24, 32; Rom. 6:4; 10:9).

After Jesus already had been hidden by a cloud, Luke reports—only in Acts—the episode of the two figures dressed in white who stood beside the disciples. The description coincides with that of angels in their bright robes (Acts 10:30, John 20:12). They came to assure the disciples that Jesus would come back the same way He had gone up, and it is also only Acts that informs us that Jesus went up “while they beheld” (Acts 1:9).

Thus, the visible ascension became the guarantee of the visible return, which also will happen in a cloud, though “with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27), no longer as a private event, as “every eye will behold Him” (Rev. 1:7), and He will not be alone (Luke 9:26, 2 Thess. 1:7). The glory of the Second Coming will far exceed that of the ascension.

How can we learn to keep the reality, and promise, of the Second Coming always before us? How should this great truth impact all areas of our life, such as finances, priorities, and moral choices?

It would be a mistake to keep it in the mind for those who fear they are not ready. Why so?  Today is the day of salvation. Today will be the last day for some. Probations are closing every day. Many will not have their opportunities extended to the second coming of Christ. Many do not see the second coming as eminent. It would be better to keep the Lord always before us. The promise of heaven is wonderful, but those who love Jesus supremely, do not obey Him because of the reward of heaven, but because they love Him more than anything.
 
The promise of heaven is an enticement for those who do not believe. Humanity fears death, for good reason. To offer eternal life is a beacon of hope to the wicked. What is it worth? But for me, I want to hasten the soon coming of Jesus that I might be with Him and that there will be an end to suffering and death. I think of the suffering Jesus and our heavenly Father must endure as they watch the suffering of humanity.  Let us put and end to their suffering and help to prepare a people so He can come.

Here is a most precious promise: "And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away." Rev 21:4.

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

Richard Myers

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Wednesday         July 4

Preparing for Pentecost


In His reply in Acts 1:7, 8, Jesus made no commitment with regard to time. Yet, the natural implication of His words was that right after the Spirit came and the disciples completed their mission, He would return (see also Matt. 24:14). The angels’ remark (Acts 1:11) also did not answer the question as to when the kingdom would come, but it could be understood as if it would not be long. This seems to explain why the disciples “returned to Jerusalem with great joy” (Luke 24:52). The promise of Jesus’ second coming at an unspecified time, which should give them extra encouragement for their mission, was taken to mean that the end was close at hand. Further developments in Acts will demonstrate this idea.

Read Acts 1:12-14.

1:12   Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a sabbath day's journey. 
 1:13   And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James [the son] of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas [the brother] of James. 
 1:14   These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. 


Who else was in the upper room, and how did they prepare themselves for the coming of the Spirit?

Having returned from the Mount of Olives, the disciples gathered in the upper guest room (in Latin, cenaculum) of a two-story private house in Jerusalem. Some women followers (Luke 8:1-3, 23:49, 24:1-12), as well as Jesus’ mother and brothers, were there with the disciples.

Jesus’ brothers (Mark 6:3) were either younger sons of Joseph and Mary (Matt. 1:25, Luke 2:7) or, more likely, sons of Joseph’s first marriage, in which case Joseph would be widowed when he took Mary for his wife. Their presence among the disciples comes as a surprise, as they had always been rather skeptical toward Jesus (Mark 3:21, John 7:5). Yet, the resurrection and Jesus’ special appearance to James (1 Cor. 15:7) seems to have made all the difference. Later on James apparently would even replace Peter in the leadership of the Christian community (Acts 12:17; 15:13; 21:18; Gal. 2:9, 12).

Constantly in prayer (Acts 1:14), and constantly in the temple praising God (Luke 24:53), they all were no doubt involved in a time of confession, repentance, and the putting away of sin. Even if in their minds the coming of the Spirit would immediately lead to Jesus’ return, their spiritual attitude was in full harmony with what was about to happen, as the Holy Spirit comes in response to prayer.

In our daily choices, what are ways we help prepare the way for the work of the Spirit in our lives?

The most important work we are to do is to learn of God. It is by spending time with Him, studying His Word that reveals His character, and we need to talk with Him. We need to look to Him for wisdom and strength. Even after we are re-converted in the morning, we need to cling to Christ that we might not sin against Him. Jesus put it this way in the Book of John:
 6:53   Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. 
 6:54   Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. 
 6:55   For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. 
 6:56   He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. 
 6:57   As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. 
 6:58   This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever. 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Thursday         July 5

The Twelfth Apostle

The first administrative action of the early Christian community, which numbered about 120 believers (Acts 1:15), was to choose a successor to Judas.

Read Acts 1:21, 22.

1:21   Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 
 1:22   Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. 


What qualifications was the successor to Judas expected to have? Why would these be so important?

The need was for a witness of Jesus’ resurrection (compare with Acts 4:33); this is crucial because time and again the resurrection is viewed as powerful evidence for the Messiahship of Jesus and the truth of the whole Christian faith.

The choice, however, was to be made from among those who had accompanied the apostles throughout Jesus’ ministry. Paul would later insist that, despite not having been with the earthly Jesus, he was nevertheless entitled to the apostolic office because his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus qualified him to bear witness to His resurrection (1 Cor. 9:1).

Paul's claim to be an apostle was based on his nearness to Christ. Why would this be of importance? And, why would Paul be closer to Jesus than the other apostles? Did he think himself a more able worker? Yes, he did, in humility. "Not I, but Christ in me."

For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which [was bestowed] upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.  1 Cor. 15:9,10.

Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.  Ephesians 3:7.


Though admitting to be as “one untimely born” (1 Cor. 15:8, ESV), Paul refused to consider himself less qualified than the other apostles (1 Cor. 9:2, Gal. 2:6-9). Only the Twelve and Paul, then, were “apostles” in the technical, authoritative sense (Acts 1:25, 26); yet, in its basic, general sense as envoys or messengers, the term also could be used for other gospel workers (Acts 14:4, 14; Gal. 1:19).

Read Acts 1:23-26. How was Matthias chosen?

1:23   And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. 
 1:24   And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all [men], show whether of these two thou hast chosen, 
 1:25   That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. 
 1:26   And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles. 

The method they used to choose Matthias may seem strange, but the casting of lots was a long-established way of making decisions (for example, Lev. 16:5-10, Num. 26:55). In addition, the choice was between two previously recognized candidates of equal qualifications, not a step into the unknown. The believers also prayed to God, believing that the result would reflect His will (compare with Prov. 16:33). There is no evidence that the decision was ever challenged. After Pentecost, the casting of lots became no longer necessary due to the direct guidance of the Spirit (Acts 5:3, 11:15-18, 13:2, 16:6-9).

If someone were to come to you and ask, “How can I know what God’s will is for my life?” what would you answer, and why?

The Bible makes it clear that we are hear on this earth to be witnesses of His love and power. Else He could take us home when converted. But, there are many different paths we could take and still be His witnesses. We are told to continue on where we are until He directs us in a new path. "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD." Psalms 27:14.

As we contemplate God's will, we need to understand we are His witnesses one way or the other. We are either a savor of life unto life, or death unto death. God wants us to witness His character. He wants to live through us. "For this is the will of God, [even] your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness." 1 Thess. 4:3-7.

It is a matter of setting priorities. When we put Jesus first, then all else will work out. "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day [is] the evil thereof." Matthew 6:33,34.

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

Richard Myers

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Friday ↥         July 6


Further Thought: “The whole interim period between Pentecost and the Parousia [Second Coming] (however long or short) is to be filled with the world-wide mission of the church in the power of the Spirit. Christ’s followers were both to announce what [H]e had achieved at [H]is first coming and to summon people to repent and believe in preparation for [H]is second coming. They were to be [H]is witnesses ‘to the ends of the earth’ ([Acts] 1:8 ) and ‘to the very end of the age.’ . . . We have no liberty to stop until both ends have been reached.”—John R. W. Stott, The Message of Acts: The Spirit, the Church & the World (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1990), p. 44.

Yes, but more so to the point, Jesus is attempting to prepare a people to stand without an Intercessor. The church has not  been cooperating with Him, so time is extended. Repentance is necessary for salvation, but Jesus wants more than this from us today. He wants witnesses that cease to sin, so they do not need to continue repenting of sin. It is time to teach the truths entrusted to His end time church. We cannot take the gospel to the world if we are not living it.


“The Saviour’s commission to the disciples included all the believers. It includes all believers in Christ to the end of time. It is a fatal mistake to suppose that the work of saving souls depends alone on the ordained minister. All to whom the heavenly inspiration has come are put in trust with the gospel. All who receive the life of Christ are ordained to work for the salvation of their fellow men. For this work the church was established, and all who take upon themselves its sacred vows are thereby pledged to be co-workers with Christ.”—Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 822.


Discussion Questions:


    Acts 1:7 recalls Mark 13:32: “But of that day and [that] hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” Ellen G. White says: “There will never again be a message for the people of God that will be based on time. We are not to know the definite time either for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit or for the coming of Christ.”—Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 188. She adds: “Any one who shall start up to proclaim a message to announce the hour, day, or year of Christ’s appearing, has taken up a yoke and is proclaiming a message that the Lord has never given him.”—Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, Sept. 12, 1893. What is the relevance of such statements for us today?

It is clear that we are not to proclaim a definite time for the second coming of Christ. Neither are we to put it off into the future. It is imminent! Jesus is even at the doors right now!! Get ready!!

From Matthew
 24:32   Now learn a parable of the fig tree; When his branch is yet tender, and putteth forth leaves, ye know that summer [is] nigh: 
 24:33   So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, [even] at the doors. 
 24:34   Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled. 
 24:35   Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away. 
 24:36   But of that day and hour knoweth no [man], no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 
 24:37   But as the days of Noe [were], so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 
 24:38   For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 
 24:39   And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 


    Someone once said: “God needs witnesses more than lawyers.” What do you think of this statement?

    What was the role of prayer in the early church? Is it a coincidence that at almost every decisive moment in its life, we find a reference to prayer (Acts 1:24; 8:14-17; 9:11, 12; 10:4, 9, 30; 13:2, 3)? What is the role of prayer in our lives?

Do we go to God and ask of Him? Wisdom? Grace? Help in time of need? Help for others? To hasten the end? Do we thank Jesus? Do we praise God? If so, then how do we do this if not in prayer?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Chamu

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The Holy Spirit was already in the world. When anyone is converted, it is the Holy Spirit who resides in the heart. He is the One who opens the mind to truth.

Thank you Brother Richard for the clarity. There are many false doctrines now revolving on this very same point. Some are even teaching that Jesus IS the spirit, that's why He needed to go to heaven first before He could send the spirit. Firstly, The Holy Spirit was/is not a new "entity" to be introduced only after Jesus's ascension to heaven. In Old Testament David says Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Psalm 51:11.

Lets then clarify what John 16:7 Teaches.

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. John 16:7

Maybe its one of the Point that will be clarified as we move with the Lesson. I'm very happy to start this current lesson with you Guys.




As the mother watches for the smile of recognition from her little child, which tells of the dawning intelligence, so does Christ watch for the expression of grateful love, which shows that spiritual life is begun in the soul. DA 191.

Chamu

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Why is it easy to believe what we want to believe, as opposed to what the Bible really teaches? How can we avoid this trap?

Because the canal mind is by nature enmity against God. As long as we are not converted will always find the truth to be against what we want. So it becomes easy then in our unconverted nature to even twist some of the plainest teaching of the bible to suite what we want. I just read a sad verse now. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Matthew 2 : 3. Imagine, waiting for the Messiah all those ages, only to be greatly troubled when He came in person. WHY?? Because He didn't come in a state they wanted Him in. Its just a sad example of dangerous an unconverted state can be.
As the mother watches for the smile of recognition from her little child, which tells of the dawning intelligence, so does Christ watch for the expression of grateful love, which shows that spiritual life is begun in the soul. DA 191.

Richard Myers

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Good to see your posts, Chamu! There is safety in a multitude of counselors (teachers). Many read with us, but few are courageous enough to share their thoughts on the lessons. There is great need to clarify the gospel truth. Your desire to better understand the work of the Holy Spirit is most important. We are told why it was that Jesus needed to go in order for the Holy Spirit to be effective. As long as Jesus was with the few disciples, they would not be looking for another Helper. Why look for the Invisible when you have God in the flesh with you. When the lesson brings up such a subject, then they need to make sure it is understood correctly. We have been entrusted with the truth, but have not been doing a very good job of studying it and living it as His witnesses. Let us study the lesson together this quarter that we might be faithful witnesses. Give us more of the Holy Spirit, dear Lord!
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Chamu

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We are told why it was that Jesus needed to go in order for the Holy Spirit to be effective. As long as Jesus was with the few disciples, they would not be looking for another Helper. Why look for the Invisible when you have God in the flesh with you.

Thank you Brother Richard. That's the most clearest explanation i have heard so far. Please share the source.
As the mother watches for the smile of recognition from her little child, which tells of the dawning intelligence, so does Christ watch for the expression of grateful love, which shows that spiritual life is begun in the soul. DA 191.

Richard Myers

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For those seeking truth, as my Brother Chamu is, we have been given an abundance that the we and the world might know the character of our God and the plan of salvation. To all who are willing to follow Jesus no matter what, God will pour out His Spirit and open our minds to truth that will amaze even the most mature Christians.

From The Desire of Ages we read:

Before offering Himself as the sacrificial victim, Christ sought for the most essential and complete gift to bestow upon His followers, a gift that would bring within their reach the boundless resources of grace. “I will pray the Father,” He said, “and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you orphans: I will come to you.” John 14:16-18, margin.

Before this the Spirit had been in the world; from the very beginning of the work of redemption He had been moving upon men’s hearts. But while Christ was on earth, the disciples had desired no other helper. Not until they were deprived of His presence would they feel their need of the Spirit, and then He would come.

The Holy Spirit is Christ’s representative, but divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally. Therefore it was for their interest that He should go to the Father, and send the Spirit to be His successor on earth. No one could then have any advantage because of his location or his personal contact with Christ. By the Spirit the Saviour would be accessible to all. In this sense He would be nearer to them than if He had not ascended on high. page 669.


Such wonderful truth!!! There is so much more God is wanting to give to us. It is there for all who want to know, that they may walk in the light of His love and grace!
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Chamu

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The role of witness. A witness is a firsthand account. The disciples were fully qualified to give such a witness (Acts 1:21, 22; 4:20; compare with 1 John 1:1-3) and were now commissioned to share with the world their unique experience with Jesus.

In this context, the disciples were called to go and witness what they had seen. They had been with Jesus, they heard him speak, they participated in some of his teachings. So witnessing to them meant an account of what Jesus had done in their hearing or sight. Now in our context, if we are called to witness, what does it really mean? We haven't seen Jesus face to face, we haven't heard him speak to us literally BUT we have had an experience with him, and that experience is that what we witness. We all had our Damascus encounters and we know through experience how God can transform lives. Witnessing in our context refers to an encounter of what God had done for us personally. Yes he died for our sins, but much more He has empowered us to live in accordance to His calling and that can only bee seen in our characters.   
As the mother watches for the smile of recognition from her little child, which tells of the dawning intelligence, so does Christ watch for the expression of grateful love, which shows that spiritual life is begun in the soul. DA 191.

Richard Myers

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Amen, dear Brother!  We are to reveal Christ to the world in our character and in our teaching. Satan has attempted to deceive the world and the church as to the character of our God. He claims He is unfair. We know the truth, and as you have shared, we have experienced His grace wherein we are new creatures in Christ Jesus and understand our continual need of grace in order to maintain our experience. Grace is more than a word, it is the power that transforms sinners into saints. It is a truth Satan cannot hide from those seeking truth.

Let us rightly represent our Savior today!  Let the world see an expression of grateful love for the One has given all that we might live!
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.