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Wally

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Lesson 6 August 4-10



The Ministry of Peter






Commentary in Navy                  Inspiration in Maroon









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

Wally

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 6--3rd Quarter 2018--The Ministry of Peter
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2018, 04:33:39 PM »
Tuesday ↥         August 7

The Gift of the Spirit

Acts 10:44-48 reveals a critical moment in the early church’s history. It was the first time that the gospel was being preached to uncircumcised Gentiles by one of the apostles. Unlike the Hellenistic believers, the apostles and other Judean believers were not ready to receive Gentiles in the church. Since Jesus was the Messiah of Israel, they thought that the gospel was to be shared only with Jews from near and far. The Gentiles would first have to be converted to Judaism and then be accepted into the community of faith. In other words, before Gentiles could become Christians, they first had to become Jews. That was the thinking that needed to be changed among these early Jewish believers.

The gift of tongues given to Cornelius and his household was added as a clear, observable sign that such a concept was mistaken, that God has no favorites, and that in terms of salvation both Jews and Gentiles stand on equal footing before Him.

Read Acts 11:1-18. How did the church in Jerusalem react to Peter’s experience at Caesarea?

The long-established Jewish prejudice concerning Gentiles led the believers in Jerusalem to criticize Peter for having eaten with uncircumcised people. It seems that they were more concerned with Jewish ceremonial scruples than with the salvation of Cornelius and his family. They might have feared that if the church broke with such practices it would represent a denial of Israel’s faith; they would lose God’s favor, and become liable themselves to the same accusations—from their fellow Jews—that had led to Stephen’s death.

“The time had come for an entirely new phase of work to be entered upon by the church of Christ. The door that many of the Jewish converts had closed against the Gentiles was now to be thrown open. And the Gentiles who accepted the gospel were to be regarded as on an equality with the Jewish disciples, without the necessity of observing the rite of circumcision.”—Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 136.

As at Pentecost, here, too, they spoke in languages previously unknown to them, rather than in ecstatic or heavenly languages. Only the purpose was different: while for the apostles the gift aimed at the church’s world mission, for Cornelius it functioned as a confirmation that God’s grace was operating even among the Gentiles.

Wednesday ↥         August 8

The Church in Antioch

Motivated by Cornelius’s conversion, Luke briefly interrupts his account of Peter’s ministry to show the gospel’s initial progress among the Gentiles.

Read Acts 11:19-26. What happened when some Jerusalem refugees came to Antioch?

This section of Acts 11 refers back to Paul’s persecution in chapter 8. Thus, while the previous developments were taking place in Judea and elsewhere, some of the Hellenistic believers who were forced to leave Jerusalem were spreading the gospel way beyond the borders of Judea.

Luke gives special attention to the great city of Antioch, in Syria, where refugees began to preach to their fellow Jews and to the Hellenists, and many of them were accepting the faith. Jesus’ commission in Acts 1:8 was then being realized through the efforts of these Hellenistic Jewish Christians. They were the ones who became the real founders of the mission to the Gentiles.

Because of the church’s success in Antioch, the apostles in Jerusalem decided to send Barnabas to evaluate the situation. Noticing the great opportunities for the advancement of the gospel, Barnabas sent for Paul in Tarsus, feeling he could be a vital helper.

Barnabas was right. During the year he and Paul worked together, large crowds, mostly Gentiles, could hear the gospel. The enthusiasm with which they spoke about Jesus Christ made the believers there become known for the first time as “Christians” (Acts 11:26). That they “were called” Christians indicates the term was coined by those outside the church, probably as a form of mockery, while the believers preferred to refer to themselves as “brethren” (Acts 1:16), “disciples” (Acts 6:1), or even “saints” (Acts 9:13). By the time Acts was written, “Christian” had become a common designation (Acts 26:28), and Luke seems to approve of it. “Christian” means a follower or an adherent of Christ.

What does it mean to you to be called a “Christian”? What about your life is truly Christian? That is, how differently do you live from non-Christians on the things that really matter?
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

Wally

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 6--3rd Quarter 2018--The Ministry of Peter
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2018, 04:34:59 PM »
Thursday ↥         August 9

Herod’s Persecution

Turning again to Judea, we are faced now with the account of King Herod’s executing James, the brother of John and son of Zebedee (Mark 1:19). He also wanted to do the same with Peter.

Read Acts 12:1-4. What does this teach about the challenges the early church faced?

The King Herod mentioned here is Agrippa I, the grandson of Herod the Great (Matt. 2:1); he ruled Judea from A.D. 40 to 44. As a result of his show of piety, he earned popularity among his Jewish subjects, especially the Pharisees. His attempt to win the favor of the Jews by attacking some apostles fits perfectly with what we know of him from other sources.

Because James’s execution was effective in fulfilling Agrippa’s agenda, he planned to execute Peter, as well. Peter was arrested and delivered to four squads of four soldiers each to guard him, one squad for each of the four watches of the night. Peter had four soldiers at a time with him: he would be chained to two soldiers, one on each side, and two would guard the entrance. Such extreme precaution was certainly taken to try to avoid what had already happened to Peter (and John) some time before (Acts 5:17-20).

Read Acts 12:5-18. What happened in response to the brethren’s prayers?

The night before the day that Agrippa had planned to put Peter on trial and execute him, Peter was once again miraculously released by an angel.

Next, we find the story of Agrippa’s death at Caesarea (Acts 12:20-23). Attempts have been made to identify the cause of his death (peritonitis, an ulcer, even poison); yet, Luke is clear in saying that the king died because of a divine judgment.

James is killed, Peter is delivered, and Herod faces divine judgment. In some cases, we see justice; in others, it doesn’t appear that way. What should this teach us about how we just don’t have all the answers to all our questions and why we need to live by faith regarding what we don’t understand?

Friday ↥         August 10

Further Study: “In the tenth chapter of Acts we have still another instance of the ministration of heavenly angels, resulting in the conversion of Cornelius and his company. Let these chapters [8-10] be read, and receive special attention. In them we see that heaven is much nearer to the Christian who is engaged in the work of soulsaving than many suppose. We should learn through them also the lesson of God’s regard for every human being, and that each should treat his fellow man as one of the Lord’s instrumentalities for the accomplishment of His work in the earth.”—Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1059.

“When the church prays, the cause of God will go forward, and His enemies will come to naught, even if this does not exempt the church from suffering and martyrdom; Luke’s belief in the victory of the gospel is thoroughly realistic and recognizes that though the word of God is not fettered, its servants may well have to suffer and be bound.”—I. Howard Marshall, The Acts of the Apostles (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980), pp. 206, 207.

Discussion Questions:

    Cornelius is described as “a devout man who feared God with all his household; he gave alms generously to the people and prayed constantly to God” (Acts 10:2, NRSV). It is evident that God’s Spirit was already working in Cornelius long before he met Peter. Could it be that his devotional life was an opportunity for God to reach him with the gospel message? What lesson is there for us in his story?

    In class go back to Monday’s final question and ask yourselves this question: What is the cultural, social, and political context in which you live that breeds the kind of ethnic tension that Christians are not supposed to harbor? In other words, when we need to, how can we all as Christians rise above our culture and background?

    Despite their damage, Paul’s efforts to persecute turned out to good effect: the refugees who came to Antioch started preaching, to Jews and to Hellenists. In class share a personal experience of pain and suffering that God turned into a blessing.

    James was one of Jesus’ closest disciples (Mark 5:37, 9:2, 14:33); yet, he was the first of the Twelve to suffer martyrdom. What other examples do we find in the Bible of faithful people suffering unfairly? What lessons should we draw from these accounts for ourselves about the whole question of suffering?

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 6--3rd Quarter 2018--The Ministry of Peter
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2018, 10:25:10 AM »
Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: Acts 9:32-43, Acts 10:9-16, Eph. 2:11-19, Acts 11:1-26, Acts 12:1-18.

Memory Text: “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:    But in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him.” Acts 10:34, 35

Christ recognizes no caste, no nationality. He holds it as His prerogative, divine and incommunicable, to work after His own might and pleasure. The compassionate Redeemer, He labored among all classes. When the paralytic was let down through the roof at His feet, He saw at a glance the trouble of the sufferer, and He immediately exercised His power as a sin-pardoning Saviour. “Be of good cheer thy sins be forgiven thee” ( Matthew 9:2).

When the brethren in Judea heard that Peter had gone to the house of a Gentile and preached to those assembled, they were surprised and offended. They feared that such a course, which looked to them presumptuous, would have the effect of counteracting his own teaching.... Peter laid the whole matter before them.... Convinced that Peter’s course was in direct fulfillment of the plan of God, and that their prejudices and exclusiveness were utterly contrary to the spirit of the gospel, they glorified God, saying, “Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.” Conflict and Courage, pg 335.


With Paul’s departure to Tarsus, Peter is again the main character in Luke’s narrative of the early days of the Christian church. Peter is portrayed in a sort of itinerant ministry throughout Judea and the surrounding regions. Acts here tells two brief miracle stories, the healing of Aeneas and the resurrection of Tabitha (Dorcas), which are then followed by the story of Cornelius in chapter 10.

The conversion of Gentiles was the most controversial issue in the apostolic church. Though the discussions that followed Cornelius’s baptism were far from solving all the difficulties, the outpouring of the Spirit, reminiscent of what had happened at Pentecost, helped to convince Peter and the brethren in Jerusalem that the blessings of the gospel were not restricted to Jews. Meanwhile, the church in Antioch had already started moving toward the Gentiles, as well.

This week’s study also includes the rise of a new, short persecution—this time under King Herod—and its impact on the apostles, who had been spared in the persecution carried out by Paul.

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, August 11.

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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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 6--3rd Quarter 2018--The Ministry of Peter
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2018, 10:25:18 AM »
Sunday          August 5

At Lydda and Joppa

Peter was visiting the Christian communities through the coastal region of Judea. His purpose was probably to give them doctrinal instruction (Acts 2:42), but God used him powerfully to perform miracles in the same fashion as those performed by Jesus Himself.

Read Acts 9:32-35. What similarities do you see in the miracle of Jesus in Luke 5:17-26 and the healing of Aeneas?

Despite the brevity of the account, the miracle reminds us of the well-known story of the Capernaum paralytic healed by Jesus (Luke 5:17-26). Even the detail about the bed is similar. More important, however, was the impact of Aeneas’s cure, not only in Lydda but also in the coastal plain of Sharon. Having verified for themselves the reality of the miracle, many people turned to the Lord.

Read Acts 9:36-43. Review the story of Tabitha’s resurrection. What was so special about her?

Tabitha—the Aramaic for “gazelle” in Greek, Dorcas—was a believer very dear in her neighborhood because of her works of Christian charity. The story of her resurrection also parallels a miracle performed by Jesus, the resurrection of Jairus’s daughter (Luke 8:41, 42, 49-56), which Peter had witnessed. Following Jesus’ example, he asked everybody to leave the room (see Mark 5:40). Then he knelt down and prayed, after which he called to the dead woman, ”Tabitha, get up” (Acts 9:40, NRSV).

The apostles performed many miracles; yet, in fact, these were God’s actions through the apostles’ hands (Acts 5:12). The similarities with Jesus’ own miracles were perhaps to remind the church, including us today, that what matters most is not so much who the instrument is but the measure of his/her surrender to God (see John 14:12). When we fully allow God to use us for the gospel’s cause, great things can happen. Peter not only resurrected Tabitha, but the miracle also led to many conversions in Joppa (Acts 9:42).

Some people think that if only they could see a real miracle, such as what happened here, then they would believe. And though at times miracles helped lead some people to faith, the Bible is filled with stories of those who saw miracles and still didn’t believe. On what, then, should our faith be based?

On the word of God. We are saved by grace through faith. How do we get saving faith?  What does the Bible say? Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. The Bible is a revelation of Christ, of the character of our God. It is His grace that transforms the life.

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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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 6--3rd Quarter 2018--The Ministry of Peter
« Reply #5 on: August 10, 2018, 05:56:02 PM »
Monday         August 6

At Cornelius’s House


In Joppa, Peter stayed with a certain Simon, a tanner by trade (Acts 9:43). Meanwhile, in Caesarea, about twenty-five miles (40 kilometers) from Joppa, there lived a Roman centurion named Cornelius. He and his household were devout worshipers of God, though they had not yet formally adhered to Judaism, meaning that Cornelius was still an uncircumcised Gentile. In a God-given vision, he was instructed to send messengers to Joppa and invite Peter to visit him (Acts 10:1-8).

Read Acts 10:9-16, 28, 34, 35. What did Peter experience, and how did he interpret it?

It is important to know that Peter’s vision was not about food but about people. Yes, it was around noon, Peter was hungry, and the voice told him to kill and eat; yet, God used the vision, not to remove the distinction between clean and unclean animals but to teach Peter about the inclusive character of the gospel.

The vision was explicitly intended to break Peter’s resistance against Gentiles. Peter’s view was that if he entered Cornelius’s house and fellowshiped with him, he would defile himself and so become unfit to worship in the temple or to come before God’s presence. First-century Jews from Judea and the surrounding areas did not associate with uncircumcised Gentiles.

The problem was with the contemporary theology, which excluded the Gentiles from the commonwealth of Israel, even though this view had become a perversion of the whole point of Israel’s existence as a nation, which was to reach out to the world with a knowledge of the true God.

Because circumcision was the sign of the Abrahamic covenant, uncircumcised Gentiles came to be segregated and treated with contempt. They could have no part whatsoever in the blessings of the covenant unless they accepted circumcision and became Jews. Such a concept, though, was incompatible with the universal scope of Jesus’ death, as the early believers, over time, were coming to understand.

Read Titus 2:11, Galatians 3:26-28, and Ephesians 2:11-19. What do these texts teach us about the universality of the gospel message? What should they tell us about how wrong it is for Christians to harbor prejudice against any group based on ethnicity?

Prejudice, that is an interesting word. There are differences in different cultures. People understand and behave differently in different cultures. We're not to be unloving or unkind to any individual, but neither are we to be blind to the failings of particular cultures. All cultures are not good, neither are all cultures equal. But each individual is of great value, for Christ died for all, not for one particular ethnicity.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Glen

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 6--3rd Quarter 2018--The Ministry of Peter
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2018, 07:11:25 AM »
neither are we to be blind to the failings of particular cultures

Amen, Brother Richard! Those who have the indwelling Christ are more intensely interested in Heaven's culture, than that of the world, near the Close of Probation.

Every uncouth thing will be demonstrated. There will be shouting, with drums, music, and dancing. The senses of rational beings will become so confused that they cannot be trusted to make right decisions. And this is called the moving of the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit never reveals itself in such methods, in such a bedlam of noise. This is an invention of Satan to cover up his ingenious methods for making of none effect the pure, sincere, elevating, ennobling, sanctifying truth for this time. ... A bedlam of noise shocks the senses and perverts that which if conducted aright might be a blessing. The powers of Satanic agencies blend with the din and noise, to have a carnival, and this is termed the Holy Spirit's working. True Revival p. 57


...Jesus...will live through (YOU), giving (YOU) the inspiration of His sanctifying Spirit, imparting to (YOUR) soul a vital transfusion of Himself. Sabbath-School Worker 02-01-96.03  ...as the blood is in the body, and circulate there as a vitalizing power... 7T 189.02

Glen

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 6--3rd Quarter 2018--The Ministry of Peter
« Reply #7 on: August 11, 2018, 07:46:15 AM »
James was one of Jesus’ closest disciples (Mark 5:37, 9:2, 14:33); yet, he was the first of the Twelve to suffer martyrdom. What other examples do we find in the Bible of faithful people suffering unfairly? What lessons should we draw from these accounts for ourselves about the whole question of suffering?

I find it interesting that the thought is implied that those who are closest to Christ should be spared hardship or even death.

When the Spirit of the Father, which possessed Christ in his sojourn among us as a man, possesses us as we submit to Christ, the indwelling Saviour (He and the Father are ONE)  is every bit as hated by Satan and his demons as He was on the Cross of Calvary.

As one with the Father and the Son (John 17:11), the Believer (Colossians 1:37; Galatians 2:20) is as ready to lay down his/her life,
humbling [themselves, becoming] obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” Philippians 2:8

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Luke 9:23

Martyrdom is the sure fruit of being partaker of the divine nature 2 Peter 1:4, part of they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts Galatians 5:24. The Three Young Worthies, as recorded in Daniel 3:17, 18 were verily martyrs, though they were spared of death at that time and test; they were found faithful 1 Corinthians 4:2.

As a Jew and foreigner, Peter was condemned to be scourged and crucified. In looking ahead to this fearful death, the apostle remembered his sin in denying Jesus in the hour of His trial. Once he had been unready to acknowledge the cross, but now he counted it a joy to yield up his life for the gospel. Yet he felt that to die in the same way his Master had died was too great an honor. He had been forgiven by Christ, but he could never forgive himself. Nothing could lessen the bitterness of his sorrow and repentance. As a last favor he asked his executioners to nail him to the cross with his head downward. They granted this request, and so the great apostle Peter died in this way. Unlikely Leaders p. 196

2 Corinthians 4:
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
11 For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
12 So then death worketh in us, but life in the hearer.


HYMN: Moment by Moment
Dying with Jesus, by death reckoned mine;
Living with Jesus, a new life divine;
Looking to Jesus till glory doth shine,
Moment by moment, O Lord, I am Thine.
...Jesus...will live through (YOU), giving (YOU) the inspiration of His sanctifying Spirit, imparting to (YOUR) soul a vital transfusion of Himself. Sabbath-School Worker 02-01-96.03  ...as the blood is in the body, and circulate there as a vitalizing power... 7T 189.02