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Wally

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SDA Sabbath School Lesson 4--4th Quarter 2018--The Key to Unity
« on: October 19, 2018, 03:16:07 PM »
Lesson 4 October 20-26








The Key to Unity






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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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 4--4th Quarter 2018--The Key to Unity
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2018, 07:48:00 AM »
Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: Eph. 1:3-14; Gal. 4:7; Eph. 2:11-22; 4:1-6, 11; Matt. 20:25-28; Eph. 5:15-6:9.

Memory Text: “Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him.” Ephesians 1:9, 10

Ephesus was a major center of commerce and influence in Asia Minor. The church there, in Ephesus, was made up of Jews, Gentiles, and people in all social walks of life. Such a diverse membership might have been as prone to conflicts as the world in which they lived; that is, if it weren’t for Christ and the unity they had in Him as members of the body of Christ. Thus, Paul’s concern for unity among Christ’s followers is the central theme of his Epistle to the Ephesians.

Paul’s concept of unity has two dimensions: unity in the church, where Jews and Gentiles are brought together in one body-Christ; and unity in the universe, in which all things in heaven and earth find their ultimate oneness in Christ.

The source of this unity is Christ. Paul’s expression “in Christ” or “with Christ” is used numerous times in this eppistle in order to show what God has accomplished for us and for the universe through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God’s ultimate purpose in the plan of salvation is to reunify all things through Christ. This unity will be made fully manifest only at the end of the age.

Heaven and the universe are unified with the exception of this planet, the one dark spot in the universe. God's desire and plan is to put an end to sin for eternity. This goes beyond redeeming fallen man. The universe including the Earth may be in unity, but that does not insure there will never be another Lucifer that turns away from God. This restoration of mankind is part of the plan to put an end to sin for eternity. What a plan! What a God who can leave His creatures with free will, yet guarantee affliction shall not arise a second time. See Nahum 1:9.

The author's pointing us to "in Christ" must be understood correctly since teachers in our church have falsely taught this phrase. "In Christ" is to have only one meaning. We are to be abiding in Christ if we want unity in the church. Those who do not abide in Christ, do not have Christ abiding in them. To be "in Christ" is to be in a converted state. If we are not in a converted state, Jesus is not in us, nor we in Him. Unless we have passed the point of no return,  where is He? He is standing at the door of the heart knocking. He continues to call to repentance until we either invite Him in or harden the heart to the point of not being able to hear that still small voice calling. If one cannot hear Him any longer, He then departs leaving the unrepentant sinner joined to his idols.

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, October 27.
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 4--4th Quarter 2018--The Key to Unity
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2018, 07:34:42 PM »

Sunday        October 21

Blessings in Christ


Read Ephesians 1:3-14.

 1:3   Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ: 
 1:4   According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 
 1:5   Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 
 1:6   To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. 
 1:7   In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 
 1:8   Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 
 1:9   Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: 
 1:10   That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; [even] in him: 
 1:11   In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 
 1:12   That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 
 1:13   In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 
 1:14   Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. 


What, according to Paul here, have we been given in Christ?

The followers of Jesus have much to praise God for. In Christ, God has chosen to adopt us as sons and daughters and to represent Him to the world. Paul uses many images to describe our new relationship to God in Christ. Of these images, the image of adoption addresses this lesson’s theme of oneness. In Christ, we have been adopted, and we belong to the family of God. This family image is also a reference to God’s covenant with the children of Israel. In the context of Paul’s epistle, Gentiles who accept Jesus as the Messiah are also children of God, heirs of the promises made to Israel (Rom. 8:17, Gal. 4:7). The benefit of this relationship with Christ, to be in Christ, is fundamental to all Christian unity. This passage also tells us that it has been God’s desire all along to reunite all humanity in Christ. And, in God’s family, knowing Jesus does not provide any special status: we are all children of God, equally loved and cherished.

If we misunderstand what Jesus means to be "in" Him, then we shall not know if we are in Him. Thus, there will be confusion and deception leading many to believe they are in Christ when they are not. Thus, we hear the words of Jesus ringing in our ears from Revelation chapter three.

 3:14   And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 
 3:15   I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 
 3:16   So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 
 3:17   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: 
 3:18   I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 
 3:19   As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 
 3:20   Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 
 3:21   To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 


Not all in the church are in this condition. Those who abide in Christ and He in them, are not Laodiceans. They are not blind to what it means to be in Christ, to be in a converted state. It means to have died to self and be fully surrendered to Christ. Thus there is unity between all who are born again of the Spirit. They may not understand all doctrine the same, but they are filled with the Spirit and love as Jesus loves.


Some get confused when, in this passage, we read about predestination (Eph. 1:5, 11). The promise that God has chosen us to be saved seems to imply also that God has chosen some to be lost. But that’s not the biblical teaching. Rather, God prepared the plan of salvation before the foundation of the world in order that everyone might be saved. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, NKJV; see also 1 Tim. 2:6, 2 Pet. 3:9). God knows beforehand who will accept His offer of salvation, but that is not the same as predetermining one’s decision. Salvation is offered to all humanity because of what Christ has done for us. The question is: How do we respond to this offer? God does not use coercion to save anyone.

That's right, we need to understand that we must respond to His drawing. We must learn of Him, to trust Him, so we can give Him all we have and all we are.


“In the council of heaven, provision was made that men, though transgressors, should not perish in their disobedience, but, through faith in Christ as their substitute and surety, might become the elect of God, predestinated unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself according to the good pleasure of His will. God wills that all men should be saved; for ample provision has been made, in giving His only-begotten Son to pay man’s ransom. Those who perish will perish because they refuse to be adopted as children of God through Christ Jesus.” - Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1114.

Amen!! Do you remember the lesson some time ago when we were discussing "the elect"? There was confusion and still is as to who is the elect. Notice here we are told that "provision was made that men.......might become the elect of God." Not all of Israel was the "elect of God," nor are all Seventh-day Adventists the elect of God. But, provision has been made that all may become the elect of God. What is that provision and how do we take advantage of it? Does this help us stop and consider our condition before God?
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 4--4th Quarter 2018--The Key to Unity
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2018, 07:05:19 PM »
Monday          October 22

Breaking Down the Wall

Some of the deepest divisions among people are caused by differences of race, ethnicity, and religion. In many societies, identity cards indicate the ethnicity or religion one belongs to, and these distinctions often are connected with privileges or restrictions that people have to live with on a daily basis. When wars or conflicts arise, these markers of identity and differences often become catalysts for repression and violence.

If there were one nation in the world where the foundation of the country opposed such divisions it is America. While it is true that there has been division in the past, it was overcome. Those who came to America accepted a new culture based on Protestant principles. Not all have been transformed, but until recently the Protestant principles formed a society in which there was not only freedom, but acceptance of those who held different religious beliefs, different cultures, and were from a multitude of races.

America is no longer a Protestant nation, so we are seeing great division along all of these lines. Trouble is coming to a nation who has rejected God and His Biblical principles.

In Ephesians 2:11-22, Paul indicates a better way for the Christian community. How does our unity in Christ affect our differences? What was broken down by Jesus’ death on the cross?

Differing cultures are held in  check by Protestant principles. Christians can appreciate their heritage, but do not extol their culture above Christian culture. The world extols diversity, even when it includes an evil culture.


Paul invites the Ephesians to remember what their lives were like before they received the grace of God in Christ. Ethnic, cultural, and religious differences created animosity and conflicts between people groups. But the good news is that, in Christ, we are all one people with a common Savior and Lord. We all belong to the people of God. “But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” Eph. 2:13.

The ancient temple in Jerusalem had a wall of separation to distinguish the sections of the temple accessible only to ethnic Jews. This wall had an inscription that forbade foreigners to go any further, under pain of death. It is this regulation that Paul was accused of transgressing when he entered the temple after his missionary journeys. When Paul was arrested he was charged with bringing into the Jewish section of the temple an Ephesian named Trophimus (Acts 21:29). In this epistle Paul argues that Christ “For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us].” Eph. 2:14.

In Christ, believers are descendants of Abraham and receive the circumcision of the heart. The physical circumcision that God gave to Abraham pointed to the spiritual circumcision that believers would receive in Christ (see Deut. 10:16). “In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ” (Col. 2:11, NKJV).

Read again Ephesians 2:11-22.

 2:11   Wherefore remember, that ye [being] in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 
 2:12   That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 
 2:13   But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 
 2:14   For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us]; 
 2:15   Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace; 
 2:16   And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 
 2:17   And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 
 2:18   For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 
 2:19   Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 
 2:20   And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone]; 
 2:21   In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 
 2:22   In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. 
 


In what ways do we see in our own church the reality of what Paul has written here? What challenges remain?


Either we are in unity or we are not, as a people. A Laodicean people cannot be in unity for a Laodicean does not have Christ. Where does Christ stand in relation to one who remains in a Laodicean condition? Many think He is in the heart, but not according to Jesus in Rev. chapter three.  "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." verses 19, 20. We will rejoice when we hear this being taught in our Sabbath School quarterly.
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 4--4th Quarter 2018--The Key to Unity
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2018, 07:22:18 PM »
Tuesday          October 23

Unity in One Body

Paul is practical in his inspired words to the Ephesians. The unity that exists between Jews and Gentiles, between people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, is not a myth or simply a theoretical construct; it is a reality that demands us “to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called” (Eph. 4:1, NKJV).

We can only walk in the light of His glory if we are truly converted and remain so. When we take our eyes off of Christ, we have no protection against sin anymore than Peter could walk on water when he turned back to his friends in the boat. What happened to Peter? Where was Jesus when Peter fell? Did He leave Him? Where is Jesus in relation to you right now?


According to Ephesians 4:1-3, in what way are Christians to walk worthy of their calling in Christ?


 4:1   I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 
 4:2   With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; 
 4:3   Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 


Yes, this is the result of  being filled with the Holy Spirit. But, it is impossible to reveal this character when the Holy Spiritt does not have possession of the heart.


The practical outcome of these virtues and graces in the Christian’s life helps “keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3, NKJV). All these attributes are rooted in love (1 Cor. 13:1-7). The active practice of love preserves relationships among brothers and sisters and promotes peace and unity in the Christian community and beyond. Unity in the church manifests God’s love in unique ways that others can witness. The church is called to be such a witness, especially in a time of strife, divisions, and wars.

Amen. But, while virtues do in indeed preserve relationships, we do not have these unselfish virtues when separated from Christ. Let us not make excuses for our sin when we do not manifest love for others. The reality is that we do not have the mind of Christ because self is alive and well.


Read Ephesians 4:4-6.

 4:4   [There is] one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 
 4:5   One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 
 4:6   One God and Father of all, who [is] above all, and through all, and in you all. 


Amen. Whose spirit do we have? And, if not the Holy Spirit, then whose spirit has the heart?


What is one crucial theme in these three verses?

Christ. Without Him we can do no good thing, thus selfishness is manifest towards our neighbor and God.


In the first verses of this chapter, Paul expresses his deep interest in the unity of the church. He begins with an exhortation to unity (Eph. 4:1-3) and follows with a list of the seven elements that unite believers (Eph. 4:4-6). Unity is simultaneously something that believers already possess (Eph. 4:4-6), something that must be constantly worked on and maintained (Eph. 4:1-3), and something that is the future goal toward which we strive (Eph. 4:13).

“The apostle exhorts his brethren to manifest in their lives the power of the truth which he had presented to them. By meekness and gentleness, forbearance and love, they were to exemplify the character of Christ and the blessings of His salvation. There is but one body, and one Spirit, one Lord, one faith. As members of the body of Christ all believers are animated by the same spirit and the same hope. Divisions in the church dishonor the religion of Christ before the world and give occasion to the enemies of truth to justify their course. Paul’s instructions were not written alone for the church in his day. God designed that they should be sent down to us. What are we doing to preserve unity in the bonds of peace?” - Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 239.

What choices can you make right now in order to be sure that you are walking “worthy of the calling with which you were called”?

The answer is always the same. We ought to be able to answer this correctly every time we are asked as to how we can do good. We need to choose Jesus. And, then follow through in doing what Jesus explained to Nicodemus. "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up" that all might look and live.
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 4--4th Quarter 2018--The Key to Unity
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2018, 07:34:44 PM »
Wednesday          October 24

Church Leaders and Unity

“But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift” (Eph. 4:7, NKJV). While salvation is a gift given to all people who will receive it, some spiritual gifts are given to certain people for a special purpose.

Read Ephesians 4:11.

 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 


What gifts of leadership does God give to the church?

According to Ephesians 4:12, what is God’s purpose in giving special gifts of leadership to the church? How do these gifts relate to each other?

All Christians are in a sense ministers and servants of God and the Gospel. Christ’s commission in Matthew 28:19, 20 is given to all Christians to go, to make disciples of all nations, to baptize, and to teach. The work of ministry is not given only to a privileged few, such as pastors and/or evangelists, but to all who bear the name of Christ. No one can claim exemption from the work of spreading the Gospel, and no church leader can claim to have an exclusive ministry. The spiritual gifts of leadership are specifically to edify the church. Church leaders are needed to foster, promote, and encourage unity.

Unless they are filled with the Holy Spirit and are putting Jesus in the center of all they do, they will fail at promoting unity.


Paul’s list of gifts of leadership tells us that these roles are also for equipping God’s people to reach the lost. It is the responsibility of some specially called people within the church to help others fulfill their ministry and service for Christ, and to edify the body of Christ, “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13, NKJV). The example of Jesus’ style of leadership must guide how we do ministry. Jesus came to serve others and not to be served (Matt. 20:25-28); we must go and do likewise.

Jesus spent more time healing than preaching. Paul and other of the apostles also healed many. Is this the style we are to seek to do?
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There is a strong tendency among humans to be independent and not accountable to anyone. Western society, in particular, is plagued by this inclination. Paul reminds us, however, that no Christian is alone in this world and that we form a community of faith with spiritual leaders to help encourage one another in our common journey. We are, all together, part of the body of Christ.

The western world has a Christian heritage. Christianity went through some dark times (dark ages). Protestants came forth with individual liberty of conscience. Community is a Roman term which has been taken over by a liberal world. "It takes a village to rear your children."  What then do we account an independent spirit to? Selfishness. Where there is a lack of faith in Christ, then who will take care of me if I can't rely upon Jesus? Self will. Therefor I know best. I don't want to hear about your quotes from the Bible. Pride gets in the way of dependence upon Christ. Let us look to Jesus not to self or the arm of flesh.


What spiritual gifts do you have, and how are you using them for the unity of your local church?

We are to seek the wisdom of God as to how we are to use the gifts given. "There is a way which seemeth right into man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."
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 4--4th Quarter 2018--The Key to Unity
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2018, 08:13:32 PM »
Thursday          October 25

Human Relationships in Christ


Christianity is a religion of relationships: relationship with God and with one another. It makes no sense to claim to have a deep relationship with God without that relationship having an impact on the relationships one has with other people. Christianity cannot be lived in a vacuum. The principles of unity Paul discusses in his Epistle to the Ephesians also are applicable to how we relate to others.

How we relate to God will determine how we relate to others. If we do not love God with the whole heart, then we cannot love our neighbor as ourself. Therefor it is not good to encourage others to do something they cannot do until they make a full heartfelt surrender to Christ. The horse must be put in front of the cart. No power, no light. No Jesus, no love nor unity.


Read Ephesians 5:15-21.

 5:15   See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, 
 5:16   Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 
 5:17   Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord [is]. 
 5:18   And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; 
 5:19   Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 
 5:20   Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; 
 5:21   Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 


What is Paul saying to us in verse 21? What is the relationship between submission and unity?

That is good, but impossible if we are not first fully submitted to God. The horse must be put in front of the cart. We must plug the light in before there can be light. Jesus is the power that brings forth unity.


Paul’s exhortation to be submitted to one another is connected with the phrase being “filled with the Spirit” in Eph. 5:18. One of the expressions of the infilling of the Spirit is submission to one another. This refers to the proper attitude of humility and thoughtfulness that we should have toward people. Of course, this is not a natural attribute of most personalities but is the result of the Spirit’s living in our hearts. It is a gift of the same Spirit, who is the bond of unity in Christ. Viewed from this perspective, submission is an inner quality that expresses our reverence for Christ and His sacrifice for us.

Amen! And the lack of this unity with Christ is the seen in the lack of unity in the church. If we want consecrated leaders, ten we need to have consecrate delegates at the conference constituency meeting. Our leaders often reflect the churches whichy elect them.


Read Ephesians 5:22-6:9.

 5:22   Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 
 5:23   For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 
 5:24   Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in every thing. 
 5:25   Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 
 5:26   That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 
 5:27   That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 
 5:28   So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 
 5:29   For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 
 5:30   For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 
 5:31   For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 
 5:32   This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 
 5:33   Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife [see] that she reverence [her] husband. 
 
Chapter 6

 6:1   Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 
 6:2   Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; 
 6:3   That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. 
 6:4   And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. 
 6:5   Servants, be obedient to them that are [your] masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; 
 6:6   Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; 
 6:7   With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: 
 6:8   Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether [he be] bond or free. 
 6:9   And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him. 


What impact on our human relationship does this quality of mutual submission have in the home and workplace of a believer in Christ?

"Mutual submission." Fathers in submission to their children? Husband in submission to their wives? And men on the battle field in submission to their women leaders? Mutual submission is what we hear from Europe. Parity between men and women in the world and in the church. In North America, we hear that there is no more "headship." And, yes, the world leadership is to be in submission to union leadership.  In the world good is called evil and evil is being called good. There is anarchy in the world, and the world has come into the church. Let us follow Scripture and when we abide in Christ and He in us, we shall know how and to whom we shall submit. Read again 5:22 through 6:1.


To some extent, unity in the church depends upon unity in the home. Paul emphasized that the unity, love, and respect that should exist between husband and wife should exemplify the love of Christ toward the church, a self-sacrificing love. Thus, Christlike respect in the home as well as in the church is required of husbands and wives and church members. This Christlike attribute is also to be exemplified in relationships between children and parents and between employees and employers (bondservants and masters). The kind of harmony and peacefulness that should pervade our homes should pervade our church life, as well.

It will if the individual is fully submitted to Christ. When God's Word is rejected, we may know that the Spirit is not in the heart. There there will be no unity in the church.


What principles can you take from the verses for today that can help you better understand how you should act (depending upon your situation) toward a member of your family or a coworker?

Yes, there are principles revealed, but first let's just take the verses as they read. If we love God more than self, then the Spirit will be in the heart. Then we shall want to know what has been written. There is submission expressed in these verses. If we want to know how to act, what does the Bible say? If there is disagreement between husband and wife, who is to submit? Are there exceptions? Yes, the wife is submit to her husband if he is fully surrendered to Christ and walking according to Scripture. If this simple truth is rejected by one, then how can two walk together if they be not agreed? They cannot. Is this a Biblical statement? Has it been rejected by our European brothers and and sisters? Their society has rejected this? Has it influenced the Western European church?
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 4--4th Quarter 2018--The Key to Unity
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2018, 08:30:03 PM »

Friday          October 26

Further Thought: Ellen G. White, “The Spirit of Unity”, pp. 179-188, in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9.

“Christ recognized no distinction of nationality or rank or creed. The scribes and Pharisees desired to make a local and a national benefit of all the gifts of heaven and to exclude the rest of God’s family in the world. But Christ came to break down every wall of partition. He came to show that His gift of mercy and love is as unconfined as the air, the light, or the showers of rain that refresh the earth.

The life of Christ established a religion in which there is no caste, a religion by which Jew and Gentile, free and bond, are linked in a common brotherhood, equal before God. No question of policy influenced His movements. He made no difference between neighbors and strangers, friends and enemies. That which appealed to His heart was a soul thirsting for the waters of life.” - Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, pp. 190, 191.


Discussion Questions:

    Reflect on this statement: “In the fourth chapter of Ephesians the plan of God is so plainly and simply revealed that all His children may lay hold upon the truth. Here the means which He has appointed to keep unity in His church, that its members may reveal to the world a healthy religious experience, is plainly declared.” - Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1117. What do you see in Ephesians 4 that points to the unity of the church? What can we do to help ensure that unity?

The answer is always the same. We can submit the whole heart and mind to Christ, then we shall be in unity with all that are likewise fully dead to self and filled with the Spirit.


    So central to the question of unity is the need for humility and submission. Without these traits, how could any unity exist in the church? If we are proud, sure of our views and positions, and unwilling to listen to others, we have no chance of unity. How can we learn this humility and submission?

The answer is always the same. We need to learn of Jesus and then surrender the whole heart to Him who gave all that we might live.


    How can we have unity even when we don’t always agree on everything?

The answer is always the same, we need Jesus all the time, not part of the time. We will be humble if we have Christ abiding in the heart. I believe it is highly unlikely we shall agree on everything even when Jesus comes. It is the heart that God wants. When He has the whole heart, then we shall come into unity of doctrine that God wants us to have.


Summary: In his Epistle to the Ephesians, Paul gives many counsels regarding what it means for Christians to be “in Christ.” Salvation in Jesus transforms our lives in practical ways. All our human relationships, including relations between brothers and sisters in the church, are transformed by the power of Christ in our lives. And this transformation is crucial in order for us to have unity.

Amen! The author has brought forward the all important truth. What does it mean to "be in Christ"?  It would have been good for him to have answered the question. We have tried to present this truth in our lessons this week. What does it mean to be "in Christ"?  There are false teachings in the church. Know what the Bible means. It means that Christ is in you, the hope of glory. It means to be fully surrendered to Christ. It means let His mind be in you. It means to be born again of the Spirit. It means that you love the Lord your God with the whole heart, not part of it. When we are in Christ and He in us, then we will be filled with the Holy Spirit. We walk in the light as Jesus is in the light. There will no condemnation for all who are in Christ, and who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit (Romans 7:24 and 8:1  ).  To be in Christ is to be set free from the law of sin and death which had kept you in the bondage of sin (Romans 8:2 ). To be in Christ is the requisite for having unity in the church. And if we do not have the Spirit of God in us, then can we have unity? "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. If we are none of His, how can we have unity with one who is His? We cannot. We must be born again of the Spirit in order to have unity in the church of God. 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Plain Adventist

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 4--4th Quarter 2018--The Key to Unity
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2018, 04:29:47 AM »
Quoting from Friday's lesson: "Reflect on this statement: 'In the fourth chapter of Ephesians the plan of God is so plainly and simply revealed that all His children may lay hold upon the truth. Here the means which He has appointed to keep unity in His church, that its members may reveal to the world a healthy religious experience, is plainly declared.' - Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1117. What do you see in Ephesians 4 that points to the unity of the church? What can we do to help ensure that unity?"

If only verses 12-15 of Ephesians 4 could have been brought out and emphasized in this lesson!

4:12   For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 
 4:13   Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: 
 4:14   That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 
 4:15   But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ: 


Unity is the fruit of speaking the truth in love. It is called "the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God." It is inseparably linked with not being tossed to and fro, carried about with winds of doctrine and the cunning craftiness and deception of men. The lesson did not recognize this--the fact that as long as there is doctrinal and practical lifestyle pluralism to an extreme degree in our church, we cannot have unity. We will continue to have a divided church. We need to get to the root.

This passage also teaches that this true Christian unity will produce perfection of character, measuring up to Christ's character. This desperately needed to be emphasized in the lesson. Without developing Christian character, we cannot have unity. Merely focusing on cultural diversity and how we can all get along and be kind to one another misses the boat of finding unity. Unity is not just getting along in diversity; it is unity of truth and character.
Amy Pavlovik ~~ “The strength and spirituality of the people of God are manifest by the distinctness of the line of demarcation which separates them from the world.” SW 17

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 4--4th Quarter 2018--The Key to Unity
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2018, 09:21:07 AM »
Amen, Sister Amy!   What truth in these verses. Thank you for sharing them. It is very sad the lessons do not get to the bottom of this through Scripture. The knowledge of the Son of God is everything to us. Until we know Jesus as it is our privilege to know Him, we shall not be in unity of the faith. Until we know of His great love for us, we shall not love Him with the whole heart. Why? Because we cannot trust someone with all we have and all we are until we know them. So it is with God. Our faith must be a "saving faith." A faith that believes and where there is no "unbelief." This only comes when we know the character of our God.

It would be well to spend a thoughtful hour a day contemplating the life of Christ. By so doing we will be transformed into His image (2 Cor. 3:18).

Again, thank you dear sister for sharing this important truth. Let us pray that we are able to share this in our Sabbath Schools during this quarter.

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