Author Topic: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 9--3rd Quarter 2018--The Second Missionary Journey  (Read 893 times)

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Wally

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 Lesson 9 August 25-31





The Second Missionary Journey






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

Richard Myers

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Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: Acts 16, Rom. 3:28, Gal. 2:16, Acts 17, 1 Cor. 1:23, Acts 18:1-10.

Memory Verse: Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.” Acts 18:9, 10

Back in Antioch, Paul and Barnabas nurtured the church and engaged in further evangelistic work. This was seemingly the last time they worked together, as a sharp disagreement led to their separation. The reason for Paul and Barnabas’s disagreement was Mark, Barnabas’s cousin (Col. 4:10). When Paul invited Barnabas to return to the places they had evangelized in their previous journey, Barnabas wanted to take his cousin along, but Paul was against it because of Mark’s past failure (Acts 13:13). Paul and Barnabas’s separation, however, was turned into a blessing, because in dividing their efforts they could cover a wider area than they had first planned. Barnabas took Mark and returned to Cyprus, Barnabas’s homeland (Acts 4:36). Meanwhile, having invited Silas to join him, Paul went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches there. Before coming to Antioch the first time, Paul had spent several years in Tarsus (Acts 9:30; 11:25, 26). Now he had the opportunity to revisit the congregations he had established there. Nevertheless, God’s plan for him was much greater than Paul first conceived.

Was is right for Paul to be concerned about Mark? Was it sin to not allow him to go? If so, support your answer with Scripture. There are many in the church who want to teach that Paul sinned. They point to this as his great sin.
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         August 26

Back in Lystra


Luke’s selective choice of events brings Paul almost straight to Derbe and Lystra. About Syria and Cilicia, the only thing he says is that Paul went through those regions confirming the churches (Acts 15:41).

Read Acts 16:1-13.

 16:1   Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father [was] a Greek: 
 16:2   Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. 
 16:3   Him would Paul have to go forth with him; and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek. 
 16:4   And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. 
 16:5   And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily. 
 16:6   Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, 
 16:7   After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. 
 16:8   And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. 
 16:9   And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. 
 16:10   And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them. 
 16:11   Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next [day] to Neapolis; 
 16:12   And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, [and] a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days. 
 16:13   And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted [thither]. 


What does Paul’s action here teach us about how sensitive he was in seeking to reach others?

It was his calling to reach the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ. What is interesting in these verses is Paul was in communion with the Holy Spirit. He knew where he was not to go, and where he was to go.


Though Timothy’s father was a Gentile, his mother was a Jewish Christian; her name was Eunice. Despite being uncircumcised, Timothy knew the Scriptures from childhood (2 Tim. 3:15), implying he was also a pious person. As a Christian, he had already earned the respect and the admiration of all the local believers.

Because the Jews reckoned Jewishness through the mother’s line rather than the father’s, Timothy was a Jew. He had not been circumcised on the eighth day after birth, perhaps because his father, a Greek, viewed circumcision as barbaric.

Wishing to have Timothy as a co-worker and knowing that, as an uncircumcised Jew, he would be forbidden to enter the Jewish synagogues under the charge of apostasy, Paul had him circumcised. Paul’s motivation for doing so, therefore, was entirely practical and should not be seen as a contradiction to the gospel he preached.

After revisiting the places that he had been in his first journey, Paul decided to go southwest, possibly to Ephesus, in the province of Asia, but the Holy Spirit prevented him from doing so. He then moved north, trying to go to Bithynia, but again in some undisclosed way the Spirit prevented him from going there. Because he was already passing through Mysia, Paul’s only option was to go westward to the seaport of Troas, from where he could sail in a number of directions.

In a night vision, however, God showed him he should sail across the Aegean Sea to Macedonia. When his companions learned about the vision, they concluded that God had indeed called them to share the gospel with the Macedonians.

Think about why Paul circumcised Timothy. What should this teach us about being willing to do certain things that we might not always agree with or deem necessary, but that will serve a greater cause?

What was the greater cause?  When Paul went through the purification rites (Acts 21:26) in Jerusalem, was it for the "greater cause"?
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          August 27

Philippi


Once in Macedonia, Paul and his companions traveled to Philippi, where they established the first Christian congregation in Europe.

Read Acts 16:11-24.

 16:11   Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next [day] to Neapolis; 
 16:12   And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, [and] a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days. 
 16:13   And on the sabbath we went out of the city by a river side, where prayer was wont to be made; and we sat down, and spake unto the women which resorted [thither]. 
 16:14   And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard [us]: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul. 
 16:15   And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought [us], saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide [there]. And she constrained us. 
 16:16   And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: 
 16:17   The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation. 
 16:18   And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. 
 16:19   And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew [them] into the marketplace unto the rulers, 
 16:20   And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, 
 16:21   And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. 
 16:22   And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat [them]. 
 16:23   And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast [them] into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely: 
 16:24   Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks. 


Where did the missionaries go on Sabbath and why? What ultimately happened to them there?

Whenever Paul arrived in a city, his practice was to visit the local synagogue on Sabbath in order to witness to the Jews (Acts 13:14, 42, 44; 17:1, 2; 18:4). That in Philippi he and his group went to a riverside to pray—together with some women, both Jewish and Gentile worshipers of God—probably means there was no synagogue in the city. The significance of this is that Paul did not go to Jewish synagogues on Sabbaths only for evangelistic purposes, but also because this was his day of worship.

Read Acts 16:25-34.

 16:25   And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. 
 16:26   And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. 
 16:27   And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. 
 16:28   But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. 
 16:29   Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 
 16:30   And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 
 16:31   And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 
 16:32   And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 
 16:33   And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed [their] stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 
 16:34   And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. 


Review the story of the jailer’s conversion. What did he need to do to be saved?

Don't answer "believe." For this is not the right answer. Evangelicals teach "just believe" and be saved. But, the devils "believe and tremble." What did he need to do to be saved? What must we do to be saved? It is the most important question we can answer correctly. Without our part which is immeasurably small we shall be lost. What must we do?


Paul and Silas’s answer to the jailer’s question is in full harmony with the gospel, since salvation is entirely through faith in Jesus (Rom. 3:28, Gal. 2:16). What we cannot conclude from the episode, however, is that belief in Jesus is all that is necessary for baptism, at the expense of the proper doctrinal and practical instruction.

What do we know about the jailer? Was he a Jew or a Jewish proselyte? In either case, what he needed was to believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior. What if he were a Gentile who already knew and worshiped God, such as Cornelius, Lydia (Acts 16:14), and several others in Acts? What if he had previously attended Paul’s evangelistic meetings in the city? Whatever the facts about him, the brevity of the account should not be used as an excuse for quick baptisms.

Read Acts 16:31-34.

16:31   And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 
 16:32   And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. 
 16:33   And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed [their] stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. 
 16:34   And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.


What does this teach us about just how complete and full Christ’s sacrifice was for us? How can you learn, day by day, to rest in the assurance of Christ’s righteousness covering you as your only hope of salvation?

"Righteousness by faith" is like "just believe."  There is more to it than "believe" or "faith."  What is faith? Are there differing levels of faith? Yes. We must trust Jesus with the whole heart, not part of it. We must love the Lord thy God with all the heart. We can hold nothing back. It is all or nothing. Jesus want's real righteousness by real faith, "saving faith."   Trusting that the righteousness of Christ is going to cover unconfessed and unforsaken sins leads to a loss of salvation by all who accept such a false gospel. When we confess our sins he is faithful and just to not only forgive our sins, but to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He will cleanse our sins as white as snow if we will allow Jesus the whole heart.
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          August 28

Thessalonica and Berea

When Paul and Silas were released from prison, the missionaries departed from Philippi (Acts 16:35-40). From Philippi, Paul and his companions went straight to Thessalonica, the capital city of Macedonia.

Read Acts 17:1-9.

 17:1   Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: 
 17:2   And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, 
 17:3   Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. 
 17:4   And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. 
 17:5   But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. 
 17:6   And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; 
 17:7   Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, [one] Jesus. 
 17:8   And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things. 
 17:9   And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go. 


How did the Thessalonian Jews react to Paul’s successful preaching among the Gentiles?

Once again we see Paul looking for the synagogue where he could share the gospel. Many devout Greeks and not a few prominent women were persuaded by Paul’s message. That these converts “consorted with Paul and Silas” (Acts 17:4) seems to mean they formed a separate group and met apart from the synagogue, probably in Jason’s house.

Moved with jealousy, their opponents started a riot. Their intention was to bring Paul and Silas—Timothy is not mentioned—before the city’s assembly and accuse them. As they could not find the missionaries, Jason himself and a few other new believers were dragged to the local authorities under the charge of sheltering political agitators.

Read Acts 17:10-15.

 17:10   And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming [thither] went into the synagogue of the Jews. 
 17:11   These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. 
 17:12   Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. 
 17:13   But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people. 
 17:14   And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still. 
 17:15   And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed. 


What was the response of the Berean Jews in comparison to that in Thessalonica?

The term eugenes (Acts 17:11) originally meant “well born” or “of noble birth” but came to denote more generally a “fair-minded” attitude, which is likely the case here. The Jews from Berea are praised not simply because they agreed with Paul and Silas but because of their willingness to examine the Scriptures by themselves and on a daily basis to see if what the missionaries were saying was correct. A merely emotional response to the gospel, without the necessary intellectual conviction, tends to be superficial and short-lived.

Before long, however, persecution interrupted Paul’s productive ministry in Berea, compelling him to move farther south, to Athens.

Yes, where did it come from? Things were going well in Berea. "when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people." Satan is at work with those who preach a false gospel. They do not stay in one church, but spread out to bring reproach upon the church, Scripture, and God.


When was the last time you diligently searched the Scriptures in order to find out “whether these things [whatever they were] were so”?

Is there need in God's church to study what is being taught? Or is what we read and hear from the pulpits in harmony with Scripture and what others are teaching? If we do not study to show ourselves approved of God, we shall be deceived. The church remains in a Laodicean condition thinking they are "rich and increased with goods, but know not they are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked."
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         August 29

Paul in Athens


Athens, the intellectual center of ancient Greece, was literally given to idols. Marble statues of persons and gods were found everywhere, especially at the entrance of the agora (public square), which was the hub of urban life. Paul was so distressed about such dominant idolatry that he changed his usual practice of going first to the synagogue, and pursued a dual course of action: he disputed weekly in the synagogue with Jews and devout Gentiles, and daily in the public square with the Greeks. (See Acts 17:15-22.)

As the Athenians were always ready to hear something new, some philosophers took interest in Paul’s teaching and invited him to address the Areopagus, the high council of the city. In his speech, Paul did not quote from the Scriptures or recap the history of God’s dealings with Israel, as he did when speaking to a Jewish audience (compare with Acts 13:16-41); this approach would not make much sense with this audience. Instead, he presented some important biblical truths in a way that cultured pagans could understand.

Read Acts 17:22-31.

 17:22   Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, [Ye] men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. 
 17:23   For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. 
 17:24   God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 
 17:25   Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 
 17:26   And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 
 17:27   That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 
 17:28   For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. 
 17:29   Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. 
 17:30   And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 
 17:31   Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by [that] man whom he hath ordained; [whereof] he hath given assurance unto all [men], in that he hath raised him from the dead.


In his Areopagus speech, what great truths about God and salvation and history and humanity did he preach to these people?

Most of Paul’s words sounded ridiculous to that sophisticated pagan audience, whose concepts about God and religion were greatly distorted. We do not know how Paul intended to end his message, for he seems to have been interrupted the very moment he referred to God’s judgment of the world (Acts 17:31). This belief collided head on with two Greek concepts: (1) that God is utterly transcendent, having no dealings whatsoever with the world or concern in human affairs, and (2) that when a person dies there can be no resurrection at all. This helps to explain why the gospel was foolishness to the Greeks (1 Cor. 1:23) and the number of converts in Athens was small.

Yet, among those who came to believe were some of the most influential people of Athenian society, such as Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, and Damaris, whose mention by name implies she was of some status, if not also a member of the council herself (Acts 17:34).

Paul’s different approach before the Areopagus shows his awareness of social and cultural differences. He even quoted a pagan poet (Acts 17:28) in order to make his point. What should this teach us about how we can use different methods to reach different people?

It is true that we use different methods to reach different people. But, Jesus method is an example we need to follow. He spent more time healing than preaching. The "right arm" of the gospel is medical missionary work. We just plow the ground before we plant the seed. We do this by meeting the physical needs of the people. We show them we love them, then they will want to hear about our God.

We are told that Paul had little success in Athens. Did he learn from this? He did. He resolved that human wisdom is not sufficient and resolved to preach Christ and Him crucified.
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         August 30

Paul in Corinth

Acts 18:1-11 recounts Paul’s experience in Corinth, where he would stay for one and a half years. Aquila and Priscilla would become Paul’s lifelong friends (Rom. 16:3, 2 Tim. 4:19). The account implies they were already Christians when they came to Corinth, probably because of the deportation of Jews from Rome by the Emperor Claudius. Roman historian Suetonius seems to indicate that the deportation occurred due to disturbances in the Jewish community associated with the name of “Christ” (Claudius 25.4), which would perhaps be the result of the preaching of the gospel by local Jewish believers. Thus, it is possible that Aquila and Priscilla themselves had been involved in such activities. In any case, besides sharing the same faith and the same Jewish background, Paul and his new friends also shared the same trade.

Read Acts 18:4-17.

 18:4   And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. 
 18:5   And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews [that] Jesus [was] Christ. 
 18:6   And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook [his] raiment, and said unto them, Your blood [be] upon your own heads; I [am] clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles. 
 18:7   And he departed thence, and entered into a certain [man's] house, named Justus, [one] that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue. 
 18:8   And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized. 
 18:9   Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: 
 18:10   For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city. 
 18:11   And he continued [there] a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. 
 18:12   And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat, 
 18:13   Saying, This [fellow] persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law. 
 18:14   And when Paul was now about to open [his] mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O [ye] Jews, reason would that I should bear with you: 
 18:15   But if it be a question of words and names, and [of] your law, look ye [to it]; for I will be no judge of such [matters]. 
 18:16   And he drave them from the judgment seat. 
 18:17   Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat [him] before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things. 


What was the result of Paul’s missionary activities in Corinth?

When Silas and Timothy arrived from Macedonia, they brought some financial support from the churches there (2 Cor. 11:8, 9), which allowed Paul to devote himself entirely to preaching. Paul’s policy was to live at his own expense during his ministry, though he also taught that “those who preach the gospel should live of the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:14).

Despite the strong Jewish opposition to Paul’s message, some Jews did believe, as well as some Gentile worshipers of God. Among the converts were Crispus, the synagogue leader, and his entire household. Many Corinthians also believed and were baptized. The situation among the Jews, however, was rather tense, as the following episode demonstrates (Acts 18:12-17), and Paul was possibly planning to leave Corinth soon, but in a night vision he received divine encouragement to stay on (Acts 18:9-11).

On his way back to Antioch, Paul took Aquila and Priscilla with him and left them in Ephesus, where he spent a few days before resuming his trip. While there, he had the opportunity to preach in the local Jewish synagogue, whose positive response made him promise that, God willing, he would come back (Acts 18:18-21). This happened right in his next journey.

Paul, frustrated by his reception, needed encouragement from the Lord in regard to the salvation of souls there. What do the Lord’s words to him (Acts 18:10) say to us when we might feel something similar to what Paul felt?  For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city. 

By faith we can believe Christ's promises belong to us if we are abiding in Christ and He in us. Filled with the Holy Spirit, we have nothing to fear. If God be for us, who can be against us!!
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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  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
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Friday         August 31

Further Study: “Those who today teach unpopular truths need not be discouraged if at times they meet with no more favorable reception, even from those who claim to be Christians, than did Paul and his fellow workers from the people among whom they labored. The messengers of the cross must arm themselves with watchfulness and prayer, and move forward with faith and courage, working always in the name of Jesus.”—Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 230.

Amen!!  We are doing the Lord's work if we are truly converted and living to bless others with a knowledge of Christ and Him crucified.


“If, in the closing scenes of this earth’s history, those to whom testing truths are proclaimed would follow the example of the Bereans, searching the Scriptures daily, and comparing with God’s word the messages brought them, there would today be a large number loyal to the precepts of God’s law, where now there are comparatively few. . . .

“All will be judged according to the light that has been given. The Lord sends forth His ambassadors with a message of salvation, and those who hear He will hold responsible for the way in which they treat the words of His servants. Those who are sincerely seeking for truth will make a careful investigation, in the light of God’s word, of the doctrines presented to them.”—Page 232.


Amen! Those who love the truth will follow where ever it leads. It is the Word of God which is to be our guide and our truth!


Discussion Questions:


    In the context of the last paragraph of Monday’s study, discuss in class the implication of the following statement: “There is need of a more thorough preparation on the part of candidates for baptism. . . . The principles of the Christian life should be made plain to those who have newly come to the truth.”—Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, pp. 91, 92.


What does this teach us about just how complete and full Christ’s sacrifice was for us? How can you learn, day by day, to rest in the assurance of Christ’s righteousness covering you as your only hope of salvation?

Why ought there be more thorough preparation for baptism? Because many are "buried alive," self did not die. There is need to make plain what it means to be a Christian and how we are converted and how we maintain our conversion daily. Too often the new convert believes he can sin and retain salvation (justification). We need to explain the Words of Jesus to Nicodemus in John chapter three. Unless we be born again of the Spirit, we do not have eternal life. And, when we sin, we are not filled with the Holy Spirit and we have no assurance of salvation in sin, no matter who teaches otherwise. Let all turn to the Bible instead of fallible erring man.


    Dwell more on Wednesday’s final question. How can we as a church show the same understanding Paul had of cultural differences and the same willingness to meet the people where they are without compromising the gospel or our own religious identity?


Paul’s different approach before the Areopagus shows his awareness of social and cultural differences. He even quoted a pagan poet (Acts 17:28) in order to make his point. What should this teach us about how we can use different methods to reach different people?

Meeting the people where they are does not mean we use their methods. And Paul had little success in Athens. He was not preaching Christ and Him crucified. We meet different people in ways they can understand. It does not mean we compromise our principles. Paul did that when he went through the purification rites. It cost the church one of its greatest pillars. One of the great blessings we have are thousands of pages of counsel in hour to do church and ministry. Let us refrain from human wisdom and study the counsel and pray much before we decide how to move forward.


    Read Acts 17:32-34.

 17:32   And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this [matter]. 
 17:33   So Paul departed from among them. 
 17:34   Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which [was] Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them. 
 


What can we learn from the three responses that met Paul’s message in Athens? “(1) Some mocked. They were amused by the passionate earnestness of this strange Jew. It is possible to make a jest of life; but those who do so will find that what began as comedy must end in tragedy. (2) Some put off their decision. The most dangerous of all days is when a man discovers how easy it is to talk about tomorrow. (3) Some believed. The wise man knows that only the fool will reject God’s offer.”—William Barclay, The Acts of the Apostles, rev. ed. (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1976), p. 133.

    Paul actually quoted a pagan writer (Acts 17:28) in order to make his point with the Athenians. What should that tell us about how, at times, using sources like this could be of value? What dangers are there, as well?

The Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy quote Satan. That is different from quoting humans to support truth. We need to be very careful in what we present before the people. What was Paul's conclusion that we read in 1 Corinthians?

 1:22   For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 
 1:23   But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; 
 1:24   But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 
 1:25   Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 
 1:26   For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, [are called]: 
 1:27   But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.