Author Topic: SDA Sab. Sch. Les. 5--4th Qtr. 2018--The Experience of Unity in the Early Church  (Read 2406 times)

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Wally

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Lesson 5 October 27-November 2






The Experience of Unity in the Early Church






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 1:12-14, Acts 2:5-13, Rev. 14:12, Acts 2:42-47, Acts 4:32-37, Acts 5:1-11, 2 Cor. 9:8-15.

Memory Text: “And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Acts 2:42

Church unity is the result of a shared spiritual experience in Jesus, who is the truth. “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Solid bonds of fellowship are forged in a common spiritual journey and experience. Early Adventists had such an experience in the Millerite movement. Their common experience in 1844 tied their hearts together as they sought to find an explanation for their disappointment. This experience gave birth to the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the truth about the pre-Advent judgment and all that it entails.

The experience of Jesus’ disciples after His ascension to heaven is a testimony to the power of God’s Word, prayer, and common fellowship in creating unity and harmony among believers of widely different backgrounds. That same experience still is possible today.

This is all very true, but why not address the doctrine part of the verse just quoted as our memory verse?


“I would insist that fellowship is a particularly important element in corporate worship. … There is no substitute to the Christian for the realization of the spiritual bond which unites him with other believers and with the Lord Jesus Christ. … Jesus Christ first brings a soul to Himself, but then He always unites that soul to other believers in His body, the church.” - Robert G. Rayburn, O Come, Let Us Worship (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1980), p. 91.

Is Mr. Rayburn from Baker Book House speaking Bible doctrine? Is he an expert on Biblical unity? I don't know. But the statement is his indeed. Did he quote the Bible?


Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, November 3.
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          October 28

Days of Preparation

In the last hours spent with the disciples before His death, Jesus promised that He would not leave them alone. Another Comforter, the Holy Spirit, would be sent to accompany them in their ministry. The Spirit would help them remember many things Jesus had said and done (John 14:26), and would guide them in discovering more truths (John 16:13). On the day of His ascension Jesus renewed this promise. “You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now. … You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:5, 8, NKJV). The Holy Spirit’s power will be given to enable the disciples to be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8 ).

Do we have the Spirit's power to be His witnesses today? What is the difference between us and them, between then and now?


Read Acts 1:12-14.

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


What did the disciples do during this period of ten days?

We can imagine these ten days as a period of intense spiritual preparation, a kind of retreat during which these disciples share together their memories of Jesus, His deeds, His teachings, and His miracles. They were of “one accord in prayer and supplication” (Acts 1:14).

"One accord."  What does this mean?


“As the disciples waited for the fulfillment of the promise, they humbled their hearts in true repentance and confessed their unbelief. As they called to remembrance the words that Christ had spoken to them before His death they understood more fully their meaning. Truths which had passed from their memory were again brought to their minds, and these they repeated to one another. They reproached themselves for their misapprehension of the Saviour. Like a procession, scene after scene of His wonderful life passed before them. As they meditated upon His pure, holy life they felt that no toil would be too hard, no sacrifice too great, if only they could bear witness in their lives to the loveliness of Christ’s character. Oh, if they could but have the past three years to live over, they thought, how differently they would act! If they could only see the Master again, how earnestly they would strive to show Him how deeply they loved Him, and how sincerely they sorrowed for having ever grieved Him by a word or an act of unbelief! But they were comforted by the thought that they were forgiven. And they determined that, so far as possible, they would atone for their unbelief by bravely confessing Him before the world. … Putting away all differences, all desire for the supremacy, they came close together in Christian fellowship.” - Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 36, 37.


What things do you wish you could do over in regard to your faith? What can you learn from your regrets about the past that can help you make a better future?

What can I do that will glorify my Lord? How can I bless Him who gave all for me? We can learn of our continual need of Jesus in order to do any good thing. And, how we can maintain our experience with Him.
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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Regarding the quotation from Mr. Rayburn, I think it is God's wish for us that we have this likeminded fellowship, but I would not say there is no substitute for it. For example, I think of John Huss. He stood very much alone in his understandings and in his sacrifice for Christ. As times get harder many of us will have to stand alone, even among others in our churches.
Paul also experienced this. "At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me...." 2 Timothy 4:16, 17.

The lesson says, "Solid bonds of fellowship are forged in a common spiritual journey and experience." I believe this is why we do not have unity. We are walking different paths, believing different things, living different lifestyles. Unity would come much more naturally if all were earnestly pressing on the upward path together.
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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Amen, Sister Amy. That common spiritual journey begins with a full surrender of the whole heart to Christ. If we have not done that, then there will be no common spiritual journey, for spiritual things are spiritually discerned. We are evil by nature and until we are born again of the Spirit, we have no spiritual discernment upon which to base a common journey.

On the other hand, what a blessing to find those who are reading the same Book with spiritual discernment! Why? Because there is a common bond that runs deeper than a common understanding. That bond is the love we have for God and those for whom He suffered and died. We have a common goal in that we want to be His witnesses on this earth and in this universe! What a common opportunity we share!!! What unity of Spirit and doctrine God has given to us!!
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

thx4mercy

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We are walking different paths, believing different things, living different lifestyles.

Our pastor is trying hard to show our church that a woman pastor is Biblical and supported by Ellen White and they will be bringing one in soon.  Many in the church are not in agreement and upset with how things are going.

Is it possible for our church to ever have true unity under the present circumstances?

Plain Adventist

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Brother Richard, thank you for pointing out that at the very root is full surrender to the Lord. This will then bring the fruit of godly beliefs and lifestyles, and all of this will unite us. It is true that just making sure we have the correct beliefs and practices, without a love for God, a real love for God, is not enough. It may indeed bring an outward uniformity but this will not be true unity in the biblical sense, if our hearts are still unconverted.
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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We are walking different paths, believing different things, living different lifestyles.

Our pastor is trying hard to show our church that a woman pastor is Biblical and supported by Ellen White and they will be bringing one in soon.  Many in the church are not in agreement and upset with how things are going.

Is it possible for our church to ever have true unity under the present circumstances?
That is a good question. Was it possible for the early church to be unified with Judas and others like him in the church? We are told the tares shall grow with the wheat until the end when Jesus shall sweep away the tares. So, no we shall not have a church wherein all agree. Then why all the talk about unity in the church? Because the church remains in a Laodicean condition where most of the church is not unified. But, there is unity of both Spirit and doctrine in God's church. There are converted church members and even pastors in the church. They have spiritual discernment and are unified. Do they agree on all things? No, but they are moving in that direction because they are "teachable." One of the functions of the church to bring the members into unity of doctrine. There is no spiritual pride in the heart when the heart belongs to Christ. Therefore, while you and I may not see eye to eye on every doctrinal point, we are willing to come into unity of doctrine because we are in unity of Spirit. Therein lies the difference between those who love Jesus with the whole heart and those who do not.

As Sister Amy pointed out, we need Jesus in order to be in unity. There is what is lacking to a great degree in the Laodicean condition. There is no Jesus in the heart. He is standing at the door of the heart calling for entrance. He says to us "repent" (Rev. 3:19,20). How long has the church been Laodicean? Is it true that those who are in the Laodicean condition are not converted? Listen to the words of a prophet: "The minds of many are clouded with unbelief because those who unite with the church as the chosen of God do not reveal the virtues that are the fruits of the Spirit. Joining the church is not a sure evidence that a man has joined himself to Christ. The new birth is a rare experience in this age of the world. This is the reason why there are so many perplexities in the churches. Many, so many, who assume the name of Christ are unsanctified and unholy. They have been baptized, but they were buried alive. Self did not die, and therefore they did not rise to newness of life in Christ."  12MR 51.

I was shown that the testimony to the Laodiceans applies to God’s people at the present time, and the reason it has not accomplished a greater work is because of the hardness of their hearts. But God has given the message time to do its work. The heart must be purified from sins which have so long shut out Jesus. This fearful message will do its work. When it was first presented, it led to close examination of heart. Sins were confessed, and the people of God were stirred everywhere. Nearly all believed that this message would end in the loud cry of the third angel. But as they failed to see the powerful work accomplished in a short time, many lost the effect of the message. I saw that this message would not accomplish its work in a few short months. It is designed to arouse the people of God, to discover to them their backslidings, and to lead to zealous repentance, that they may be favored with the presence of Jesus, and be fitted for the loud cry of the third angel. 1T 186.


There will be revival and reformation in God's church. Not all we be converted, but the "fearful message" will do its work. But, today it is not understood to be a "fearful message" because Satan has succeeded in perverting it into something that is not fearful allowing the church to remain satisfied with its lost condition. Let us press together that the world and the church may see a united church in Christ Jesus.

If you want to see and example of unity in the church in both Spirit and doctrine, read through some of the posts in the Desire of Ages Forum. There are others in the church who are likewise in such unity.
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         October 29

From Babel to Pentecost

The days of spiritual preparation, following Jesus’ ascension, culminated in the events of Pentecost. The first verse tells us that on that day, just before the Holy Spirit was poured upon the disciples, they were all together, of “one accord”, in one place (Acts 2:1).

In the Old Testament, Pentecost was the second of three major feasts that every male Israelite was obligated to attend. It was held fifty days (in Greek, pentekoste, fiftieth day) after Passover. During that feast the Hebrews presented to God the first fruits of their summer harvest as an offering of thanksgiving.

It is likely also that by the time of Jesus the Feast of Pentecost included a celebration of the giving of the law on Mount Sinai, as well (Exod. 19:1). Thus, we see here the continued importance of God’s law as part and parcel of the Christian message regarding Jesus, whose death offers everyone who repents forgiveness for their violation of God’s law. No wonder one of the crucial texts regarding the last days deals with both the law and the Gospel: “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus” (Rev. 14:12, NKJV).

Also, as with Mount Sinai, when Moses received the Ten Commandments (Exod. 19:16-25, Heb. 12:18), numerous extraordinary phenomena occurred at this Pentecost. “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:2-4, NKJV).

Read Acts 2:5-13.

 2:5   And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 
 2:6   Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 
 2:7   And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 
 2:8   And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 
 2:9   Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 
 2:10   Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 
 2:11   Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. 
 2:12   And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? 
 2:13   Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. 


What is the significance of this amazing event?

Pentecost was to be a joyous feast, a feast of thanksgiving to the Lord for His bounties. Here, perhaps, is the reason for the false accusation of drunkenness (Acts 2:13-15). God’s power especially is seen in the miracle of speaking and hearing in diverse tongues. Jews from all over the Roman Empire who came to Jerusalem for this feast heard the message of Jesus, the Messiah, in their own languages.

In a unique way, Pentecost helps undo the dispersion of the original human family and the formation of ethnic groups, which began in earnest at the Tower of Babel. The miracle of grace begins the reunifying of the human family. The unity of God’s church on a global scale testifies to the nature of His kingdom as restoring what was lost at Babel.

The unity created when the Holy Spirit is allowed into the heart (conversion) testifies to the nature of God's kingdom in restoring what was lost in the Garden of Eden. It is the greatest miracle that God can do, to recreate man in His image. It was easy for God to create Adam out of dust and to create Eve out of Adam's rib. But, to recreate man in His image is impossible for God without man's cooperation. To transform sinners into saints will reveal the glory of God in these last days when His Spirit is poured out upon His church. As the world grows darker, His church will grow brighter reflecting the character of our 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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Tuesday          October 30

Unity of Fellowship


In response to Peter’s sermon and appeal for repentance and salvation, about three thousand people made a decision to accept Jesus as the Messiah and the fulfillment of the Old Testament promises to Israel. God was at work in the hearts of all these people. Many had heard about Jesus from far away and may have traveled to Jerusalem with the hope to see Him. Some may have seen Jesus and heard His messages of God’s salvation but had not made a commitment to become a follower. At Pentecost, God miraculously intervened in the lives of the disciples and used them as witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus. Now they know that, in Jesus’ name, people can have the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38).

Read Acts 2:42-47.

 2:42   And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 
 2:43   And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles. 
 2:44   And all that believed were together, and had all things common; 
 2:45   And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all [men], as every man had need. 
 2:46   And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, 
 2:47   Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. 


What activities did these early followers of Jesus do as a community of believers? What created this amazing unity of fellowship?

It is remarkable that the first activity this community of new believers engaged in was learning the apostles’ teaching. Bible instruction is an important way to facilitate the spiritual growth of new believers.

Yes, if we be not agreed on Bible doctrine, we cannot walk together. But, I don't see in these verses that Bible instruction was the first activity. It may be that new versions of the bible say this, but the KJV says "And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." The "continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine." The kept the apostles' doctrine. Yes, I am sure they studied the Word, but more importantly, they kept the Word of God. They continued in doing the Word.


Jesus had given the commission to His disciples to teach them “all things that I have commanded you” (Matt. 28:20, NKJV). This new community spent time learning from the apostles all about Jesus. They likely heard about Jesus’ life and ministry; His teachings, parables, and sermons; and His miracles, all explained as the fulfillment of the Hebrew Scriptures in the writing of the prophets.

They also spent time in prayer and the breaking of bread. It is unclear whether the breaking of bread is a direct allusion to the Lord’s Supper or simply a reference to sharing meals together, as Acts 2:46 seems to imply. The mention of fellowship certainly infers that this new community spent time together, often and regularly, both in the temple in Jerusalem, which still served as the center of their devotions and worship, and in their private homes. They shared an intimate life. They ate and prayed together. Prayer is a vital element of a community of faith, and it is essential to spiritual growth. This new community spent time in worship. We are told that these activities were done “steadfastly.”

This steadfast fellowship generated good relationships with others in Jerusalem. The new believers are described as “having favor with all the people” (Acts 2:47, NKJV). No doubt the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives made a powerful impression on those around them and served as a powerful witness to the truth of Jesus as the Messiah.

Amen. We are left here on this earth that we might be examples of the transformation that takes place at conversion from sinner into saint. If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit at conversion, we walk in all of the light we have been given. This is the unity that creates the fellowship that reveals His glory in His church.


What can your local church learn from the example set here in regard to unity, fellowship, and witness?

We learn from these verses that when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we will be in unity and will be a witness of the character of our God. But, let us not think we shall not have enemies in this world. If they persecuted those who have gone before us, if they persecuted and put to death our Savior, then we ought to be prepared that the world will also persecute us if we walk in the light as Jesus is in the light.
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          October 31

Generosity and Greed

Luke tells us that one of the natural outgrowths of the fellowship experienced by Jesus’ followers soon after Pentecost was their mutual support of each other. “Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need” (Acts 2:44, 45, NKJV).

This sharing of common goods is not a requirement of the community but a voluntary outgrowth of their love for each other in the fellowship they experience. It is also a concrete expression of their unity. This mutual support continued for some time, and we are given more details about it in Acts 4 and 5. It is also a theme that we find in other places in the New Testament, as we will see next.

What is the difference between what we read of here, and socialism in the world? Share a Bible verse that helps to explain this difference.


It is in this context that Barnabas is introduced for the first time. He appears to be a wealthy person who owned land. Having sold his property for the benefit of the community, he brought the money to the apostles (Acts 4:36, 37). Barnabas is portrayed as an example to follow.

Read Acts 4:32-37 and 5:1-11.

 4:32   And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any [of them] that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. 
 4:33   And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. 
 4:34   Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, 
 4:35   And laid [them] down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need. 
 4:36   And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, [and] of the country of Cyprus, 
 4:37   Having land, sold [it], and brought the money, and laid [it] at the apostles' feet. 
 
 5:1   But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, 
 5:2   And kept back [part] of the price, his wife also being privy [to it], and brought a certain part, and laid [it], at the apostles' feet. 
 5:3   But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back [part] of the price of the land? 
 5:4   Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. 
 5:5   And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. 
 5:6   And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried [him] out, and buried [him]. 
 5:7   And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. 
 5:8   And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. 
 5:9   Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband [are] at the door, and shall carry thee out. 
 5:10   Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying [her] forth, buried [her] by her husband. 
 5:11   And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things. 


Compare the behaviors and attitudes of Barnabas with those of Ananias and Sapphira. What went wrong with this couple?

The did not love God supremely, nor their neighbors as themselves.


Besides their sin of outright lying to the Holy Spirit, these people also displayed greed and covetousness. Perhaps no sin can destroy fellowship and brotherly love faster than selfishness and greed.

Amen! Then why do so many not understand there will be unity in the church until church members and church leaders are emptied of self (converted)? Until we hear the gospel being preached in our pulpits and printed on our presses, what hope is there we shall have unity?


If Barnabas serves as a positive example of the early church’s spirit of fellowship, Ananias and Sapphira are the opposite. Luke is honest in sharing this story about less virtuous people in the community.

In the Ten Commandments (Exod. 20:1-17), the last commandment, about covetousness, is unlike the others. While other commandments speak of actions that visibly transgress God’s will for humanity, the last commandment is about what is hidden in the heart. The sin of covetousness is not an action; rather, it is a thought process. Covetousness, and its companion selfishness, is not a visible sin but a condition of sinful human nature. It becomes visible only when manifested in selfish actions, such as what was seen here with Ananias and Sapphira. In a sense the last commandment is the root of the evil manifested in the actions condemned by all the other commandments. Their covetousness opened them to Satan’s influence, which led them to lie to God; this is not unlike what Judas’s covetousness led him to do, as well.

Self is the problem. The only way to not be selfish is to be converted, to allow the Holy Spirit to take possession of the heart wholly. If we do not love God with the whole heart, then self remains alive and we are none of His (Romans 8:9 ).


What are ways in which we can seek to uproot covetousness from our own lives? Why is praise and thanksgiving for what we have a powerful antidote to this evil?

We need Jesus all of the time. When we do not have Him, we will sin because our nature is sinful. Our only hope is to be crucified with Christ, to be dead to self, to be born of the Spirit. Then we shall be filled with the fruits of the Spirit, not one will be missing.
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       November 1

Remember the Poor

The sharing of one’s resources was often a tangible expression of unity in the early church. The generosity described in the early chapters of the book of Acts continues later with Paul’s inviting the churches he has established in Macedonia and Achaia to make a contribution for the poor in Jerusalem (see Acts 11:27-30, Gal. 2:10, Rom. 15:26, 1 Cor. 16:1-4). That gift becomes a tangible expression of the fact that churches, consisting mainly of Gentile believers, care and love their brothers and sisters of Jewish heritage in Jerusalem. In spite of cultural and ethnic differences, they form one body in Christ and cherish together the same Gospel. This sharing with those in need not only reveals the unity that already existed in the church but also strengthens that unity.

Read 2 Corinthians 9:8-15.

 9:8   And God [is] able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all [things], may abound to every good work: 
 9:9   (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever. 
 9:10   Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for [your] food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) 
 9:11   Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. 
 9:12   For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; 
 9:13   Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for [your] liberal distribution unto them, and unto all [men]; 
 9:14   And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. 
 9:15   Thanks [be] unto God for his unspeakable gift. 


What does Paul say will be the results of the generosity revealed by the church at Corinth?

Before we get to the generosity, we must put the horse in front of the cart as did Paul in verse 8. Why? Because this is what is lacking in our church where we lack this generosity and unity. Where did this generosity come from? Why was it in the church members? Because they wanted and prayed for the grace of God to come into their hearts....so that they would rightly represent the loving character of Christ.


The experience of unity in the early church shows us what can still be done today. Unity, however, did not happen without intentional commitment on the part of all believers. The leaders of the early community saw it as their ministry to foster unity in Christ. As love between husband and wife and children is a commitment that must be intentionally fostered every day, so is unity among believers. The unity we have in Christ is both encouraged and made visible in a number of ways.

The obvious elements that fostered this unity in the early church were prayer, worship, fellowship, a common vision, and the study of God’s Word. Not only did they understand their mission to preach the Gospel to all nations, but they also realized that they had a responsibility of love and care toward each other. Their unity manifested itself in their generosity and mutual support within their own local fellowships, and more broadly, between church communities, even if long distances separated them.

The element that fostered unity in the early church was there conversion, without which there would have been no unity. Without their full surrender of the heart to Christ there would have been no meaningful prayer, nor worship, nor mutual love. When Jesus has the heart, then we who love Him supremely love the church members also. You cannot have one with the other.


“Their benevolence testified that they had not received the grace of God in vain. What could produce such liberality but the sanctification of the Spirit? In the eyes of believers and unbelievers it was a miracle of grace.” - Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 344.


Amen!!  There benevolence and unity revealed that they were in a converted state which came about through the revelation and acceptance of God's wonderful grace. Nothing can produce this unity and liberality except the working of the Holy Spirit in the heart.


In what ways have you and your church experienced the benefits of generosity toward others? That is, what blessings come to those who give to others?

The blessings come from giving to others just as the Bible says it will. To all who give will be blessed for it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). Many do not get to experience this because they have not truly been born again so as to experience unselfish giving.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

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Friday          November 2

Further Study: Ellen G. White, “Pentecost”, pp. 35-46, in The Acts of the Apostles.

“This liberality on the part of the believers [in Acts 2:44, 45 and 4:32-35] was the result of the outpouring of the Spirit. The converts to the Gospel were ‘of one heart and of one soul.’ One common interest controlled them-the success of the mission entrusted to them; and covetousness had no place in their lives. Their love for their brethren and the cause they had espoused was greater than their love of money and possessions. Their works testified that they accounted the souls of men of higher value than earthly wealth.

Thus it will ever be when the Spirit of God takes possession of the life. Those whose hearts are filled with the love of Christ, will follow the example of Him who for our sake became poor, that through His poverty we might be made rich. Money, time, influence-all the gifts they have received from God’s hand, they will value only as a means of advancing the work of the Gospel. Thus it was in the early church; and when in the church of today it is seen that by the power of the Spirit the members have taken their affections from the things of the world, and that they are willing to make sacrifices in order that their fellow men may hear the Gospel, the truths proclaimed will have a powerful influence upon the hearers.” - Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 70, 71.


Discussion Questions:


    Read over the factors from this week’s lesson that helped create the unity that the early church had experienced. How can we, as a church today, do similar things? That is, what might we be lacking in contrast to what was taking place among those believers at that time?

I can answer the question, but how much better to hear it come from Jesus and His prophet. It is sad that the lesson does not put the axe to the root of the tree and express why we do not have unity in our church.  If we only took to heart the quote from above we would be far ahead of where we are today.

From the Book of Revelation we need to take to heart what Jesus is saying to the seventh church, the last church before Jesus comes, the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

 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. 


    How is the example of these early New Testament churches giving a generous offering to help the poor in Jerusalem an example of what we should do today? How about other social issues? How can local churches be involved in their communities in order to alleviate poverty and supply other basic needs?

There are many churches in Babylon who are preaching "social justice" but they are not living for and following Christ. Shall we begin to think we need to have soup kitchens when we have been given something much better? Why do we reject what we have been told to do? Why not follow the example of Jesus and spend more time healing than preaching? What, have we no message about health and sickness to take to the world? You would think we do not, for the health message has been neglected by much of the leadership of God's church.

There are in many of God's churches little children being subjected to cancer from what is placed on the potluck table on Sabbath Day. What, you do not know that cancer is caused by a virus? Why not? Were we not told to cease eating the carcasses of dead animals because of the disease in the animals? Were we not told that "soon" we ought to cease using dairy and eggs because of the increase in disease in the animals? And, since we value health and because we have been told the health message is the "right arm" of the gospel, then we know that modern day science has found a cancer virus in much of the dairy products. And, with all the concern about social concerns, then why are not we as a people telling the mothers of the world that at the University of California in Berkeley they have been studying the connection between breast cancer and the Leukemia Virus found in much of the milk being produced. "A new study by UC Berkeley researchers establishes for the first time a link between infection with the bovine leukemia virus and human breast cancer." Cancer Virus

If this is news to you, why? The study has been ongoing for the last 18 years. We have been reporting on this for the last 20 years here online. Why is not the church (Loma Linda University) not reporting on this? Instead we allow mothers to continue feeding their children milk thinking they are doing a body good.

If we want to help others in the church and do good in the world, then go to work educating them that they can do a lot to prevent breast cancer and other diseases also. We have been healing type 2 diabetics for over the 20 years at least. But, many of our doctors are still ignorant of this.


    What are some lessons we can take away from the sad story of Ananias and Sapphira? What is the importance of the phrase found in Acts 5:5 and 5:11 about the “great fear” that came upon the church in regard to these two deaths?

How about the lesson that God knows the heart. And, if we do not give it to Him, then we are going to die, die for eternity, not just the first death which is sleep. More important is the influence we have on others. If the Jews misrepresented Jesus, then God cut them off. Our church will not be cut off, for we know God is going to cleanse it for His name's sake. He is going to pour out clean water upon it and cleanse it from all of its filthiness and all of its idols. It is a promise found in the Book of Ezekiel.

Why ought we fear this? Because dying the first death is not all that is going to happen to the unrepentant. Those who end up like the two we are discussing, will be raised from the grave to experience the punishment for every sin they are guilty of, even the ones they may have repented of. I know there are some reading this who are objecting. That is very sad because they are fighting against God and His truth. Laodiceans have no discernment for the truth. But, the can know they are under condemnation, and they can know there is a God that loves them. May God hasten His coming!


Summary: The early church experienced rapid growth because Jesus’ disciples intentionally prepared themselves for the outpouring of the promised Holy Spirit. Their fellowship and common faith were the means used by the Holy Spirit to prepare their hearts for Pentecost. After Pentecost the Holy Spirit continued to transform this new community, as is manifested in their generosity toward each other and the rapid growth of the church.

If we are waiting for the outpouring of the Latter Rain in order to have church unity, it will never come. The Latter Rain falls on those who are already  in unity in the church. We must be a converted people before the Latter Rain will come upon us. What does the prophet have to say about the Laodicean Church? We have already heard what Jesus says, but now listen to a modern day prophet.

Chapter 33—The Laodicean Church

Dear Brethren and Sisters,

The Lord has again visited me in much mercy. I have been greatly afflicted for a few months past. Disease has pressed heavily upon me. For years I have been afflicted with dropsy and disease of the heart, which has had a tendency to depress my spirits and destroy my faith and courage. The message to the Laodiceans has not accomplished that zealous repentance among God’s people which I expected to see, and my perplexity of mind has been great. Disease seemed to make continual progress upon me, and I thought that I must lie down in the grave. I had no desire to live, therefore I could not take hold of faith and pray for my recovery. Often when I retired to rest at night I realized that I was in danger of losing my breath before morning. In this state I fainted at midnight. Brethren Andrews and Loughborough were sent for, and earnest petitions were offered to God in my behalf. The depression, the heavy weight, was lifted from my aching heart, and I was taken off in vision, and shown the things which I now present before you.
 
I saw that Satan had been trying to drive me to discouragement and despair, to make me desire death rather than life. I was shown that it was not God’s will that I should now cease from the work and lie down in the grave; for then the enemies of our faith would triumph, and the hearts of God’s children would be made sad. I saw that I should often feel anguish of spirit, and should suffer much; yet I had the promise that those around me would encourage and help me, that my courage and strength might not fail while I was so fiercely buffeted by the devil.

I was shown that the testimony to the Laodiceans applies to God’s people at the present time, and the reason it has not accomplished a greater work is because of the hardness of their hearts. But God has given the message time to do its work. The heart must be purified from sins which have so long shut out Jesus. This fearful message will do its work.  1 Testimonies 185.


When we heed the message from our Savior, the Latter Rain will follow. How do we know the church will see revival and reformation? Because we just read " "The heart must be purified from sins which have so long shut out Jesus. This fearful message will do its work."

We need to hear this message and make it applicable to our own hearts until we see evidence in our own lives that we have truly been converted. What is that evidence? We love our neighbor as ourselves. The only way we can do this is to love God with the whole heart, then we will be empowered to love others as Jesus loves us. Then when we are no longer in a Laodicean condition, we will see a unified church. Not all will be converted, but the church will be seen to be united in her efforts to witness the love of God to a world soon to perish.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Glen

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Is Mr. Rayburn from Baker Book House speaking Bible doctrine? Is he an expert on Biblical unity? I don't know. But the statement is his indeed. Did he quote the Bible?

The complete title of Mr. Raburn's book reads: O Come, Let Us Worship: Corporate Worship in the Evangelical Church

Mr. Rayburn’s insistence “that fellowship is a particularly important element in corporate worship.” echoes the Scriptures, and cannot be refuted: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:25

Keeping in mind that:
2 Thessalonians 2:
2 ...the day of Christ is at hand.
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.


As we know, "Biblical unity" has taken on many or various interpretations through dissembling of false shepherds, however innocently; hence, the numerous denominations or churches in this world. That there is some very real danger which may culminate in disunity, through shady interpretations of the Bible, is obvious and evident in the following:


Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. 2 John 1:9-11 Does quoting from a book from other beliefs constitute "bidding...God speed"?

The apostle [Paul] continues in these words: Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment. (verse 10). Paul would not have appealed to [the Corinthian Believers] to do that which was impossible. Unity is the sure result of Christian perfection. 
The Sanctified LIfe p. 85.1

The truth as it is in Christ very clearly includes the sacredness of the Seventh Day Sabbath. Certainly, while considering the Scriptural beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, if Mr. Rayburn keeps the Sunday as sacred, perhaps we may yet, lovingly, tactfully as did Aquila and Priscilla with Apollos...expound...to him the way of God more perfectly. Acts 18:26

I'm not quite certain why our Lesson Quarterly Writers or Publisher would quote from Mr. Rayburn. We would rather consider the admonition of God through His prophet Jeremiah: Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon. Jeremiah 2:7 Is there not a possibility of having just so many things in common, culminating in ecumenism: "the principle or aim of promoting unity among the world's Christian churches" (Wikipedia), which could possibly, or definitely, result in a curse, according to the Word of God? (see Galatians 1:8, 9)

We are in danger of becoming a sister to fallen Babylon, of allowing our churches to become corrupted...will we be clear unless we make decided movements to cure the existing evil?
Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, Page 188


Spiritual adultery can be every bit as fatal to our church/s, or our souls, as physical adultery.

The enemy of souls has sought to bring in the supposition that a great reformation was to take place among Seventh-day Adventists, and that this reformation would consist in giving up the doctrines which stand as the pillars of our faith, and engaging in a process of reorganization. Were this reformation to take place, what would result? The principles of truth that God in His wisdom has given to the remnant church, would be discarded. Our religion would be changed. The fundamental principles that have sustained the work for the last fifty years would be accounted as error. A new organization would be established. Books of a new order would be written. A system of intellectual philosophy would be introduced. The founders of this system would go into the cities, and do awonderful work. The Sabbath of course, would be lightly regarded, as also the God who created it. Nothing would be allowed to stand in the way of the new movement. The leaders would teach that virtue is better than vice, but God being removed, they would place their dependence on human power, which, without God, is worthless. Their foundation would be built on the sand, and storm and tempest would sweep away the structure. Selected Messages Book 1, p. 204.2

How very subtle or crafty would it be to quote from "books of a new order", however innocuously? Where could THAT lead? Dr. Robert G. Rayburn taught at Covenant Theological Seminary, sometimes known as Covenant Seminary, which is the denominational seminary of the Presbyterian Church in America. Wikipedia

While his comment regarding the obvious value of christian fellowship with God and others may resonate with Seventh-day Adventists, what emphasis does he give in his book regarding Sunday sacredness, for instance, which might lend itself to "unity" in promoting and receiving the Mark of the Beast during the ensuing closing scenes of The Great Controversy?
...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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What can I do that will glorify my Lord? How can I bless Him who gave all for me? We can learn of our continual need of Jesus in order to do any good thing. And, how we can maintain our experience with Him.

The soul in whose heart faith abides will grow into a beautiful temple for the Lord. He is directed by the grace of Christ. Just in proportion as he depends on the Holy Spirit's teaching he will grow.25Manuscript 8, 1900.

The influence of the Holy Spirit is the life of Christ in the soul. We do not now see Christ and speak to Him, but His Holy Spirit is just as near us in one place as another. It works in and through every one who receives Christ. Those who know the indwelling of the Spirit reveal the fruit of the Spirit—love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.26Manuscript 41, 1896.


...the power of an endless life. Hebrews 7:16 becomes our property "in Christ".

...when we submit to God's way, the Lord Jesus guides our minds and fills our lips with assurance. We may be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Receiving Christ, we are clothed with power. An indwelling Saviour makes His power our property. The truth becomes our stock in trade. No unrighteousness is seen in the life. We are able to speak words in season to those who know not the truth. Christ's presence in the heart is a vitalizing power, strengthening the entire being. Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, Page 71
...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

Richard Myers

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Amen and amen, Brother Glen. We need Jesus all of the time........And we do not want to give influence to teachers who reject important truths.


I'm not quite certain why our Lesson Quarterly Writers or Publisher would quote from Mr. Rayburn.

It is not uncommon for some of our church leaders to point us away from Scripture to the wisdom of man. Nor is it uncommon that they use non Seventh-day Adventists as those we ought to believe are worthy of listening to.
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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Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. 2 John 1:9-11 Does quoting from a book from other beliefs constitute "bidding...God speed"?

...receive him not into your house... should necessarily exclude Sunday-keeper pastors and priests from preaching in our assemblies; especially from our pulpits.

...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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"One accord."  What does this mean?

I would think they spent the entire ten days reminiscing their moments with Christ during His earthly ministry, repenting their blindness and misunderstanding of His mission, their individual shortcomings and former unbelief. Christ became their full focus, His divine character their one anchor of emulation.

...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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Regarding the quotation from Mr. Rayburn, I think it is God's wish for us that we have this likeminded fellowship, but I would not say there is no substitute for it. For example, I think of John Huss. He stood very much alone in his understandings and in his sacrifice for Christ. As times get harder many of us will have to stand alone, even among others in our churches.
Paul also experienced this. "At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me...." 2 Timothy 4:16, 17.

Amen!

Enoch was a holy man. He served God with singleness of heart. He realized the corruptions of the human family, and separated himself from the descendants of Cain, and reproved them for their great wickedness. There were those upon the earth who acknowledged God, who feared and worshiped him. Yet righteous Enoch was so distressed with the increasing wickedness of the ungodly, that he would not daily associate with them, fearing that he should be affected by their infidelity, and that his thoughts might not ever regard God with that holy reverence which was due his exalted character. His soul was vexed as he daily witnessed their trampling upon the authority of God. He chose to be separate from them, and spent much of his time in solitude, which he devoted to reflection and prayer. He waited before God, and prayed to know his will more perfectly, that he might perform it. God communed with Enoch through his angels, and gave him divine instruction. He made known to him that he would not always bear with man in his rebellion 3SG 54

It becomes more and more difficult to associate with Laodiceans who by voice AND example manifest that they are not among those described by Christ as ...him that overcometh...  to whom He declares in solemn promise that He will ...grant to sit with [him] in [his] throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.  Revelation 3:21

The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, powers infinite and omniscient, receive those who truly enter into covenant relation with God. They are present at every baptism, to receive the candidates who have renounced the world and have received Christ into the soul temple. God's Amazing Grace 143

Heaven's perfection is to be your power.—Testimonies for the Church 9:20, 21

You may be encouraged by others in your work, but they can never do your work of overcoming temptation. You cannot be honest and truthful, industrious and virtuous for them, neither can they become thus for you. In one sense you must stand alone, fighting your own battles. Yet not alone, for you have Jesus and the angels of God to help you. But few reach what they might in excellence of character, because they do not make their aim high. Prosperity and happiness will never grow of their own accord. They are the acquisition of labor, the fruit of long cultivation.—Letter 22, June 30, 1875, to W. C. White, her 20-year-old son.


"One and God make a majority" statement made by Frederick Douglass     (Lived: 1818 - 1895)

...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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Is it possible for our church to ever have true unity under the present circumstances?

No, "present circumstances" will very soon change. As I understand, when Sunday Laws pass and are enforced, the majority of professed Sabbath keepers leave the ranks of the people of God, as they join ranks with those who receive the mark of the beast. Probation closes first for the Church: the genuine believer receiving the seal of God on their character; thus, fully prepared by the Latter Rain for their part in The Loud Cry, while the hypocrite, receiving the mark of the Beast, no longer standing among God's remnant people.

The time is not far distant, when the test will come to every soul.... In this time, the gold will be separated from the dross in the church. True godliness will be clearly distinguished from the appearance and tinsel of it. Many a star that we have admired for its brilliancy, will then go out in darkness. Chaff like a cloud will be borne away on the wind, even from places where we see only floors of rich wheat. All who assume the ornaments of the sanctuary, but are not clothed with Christ's righteousness, will appear in the shame of their own nakedness.—Testimonies for the Church 5:80, 81

We as a people have not accomplished the work which God has committed to us. We are not ready for the issue to which the enforcement of the Sunday law will bring us. It is our duty, as we see the signs of approaching peril, to arouse to action. Let none sit in calm expectation of the evil, comforting themselves with the belief that this work must go on because prophecy has foretold it, and that the Lord will shelter His people. We are not doing the will of God if we sit in quietude, doing nothing to preserve liberty of conscience. Fervent, effectual prayer should be ascending to heaven that this calamity may be deferred until we can accomplish the work which has so long been neglected. Let there be most earnest prayer, and then let us work in harmony with our prayers. It may appear that Satan is triumphant and that truth is overborne with falsehood and error; the people over whom God has spread His shield, and the country which has been an asylum for the conscience-oppressed servants of God and defenders of His truth, may be placed in jeopardy. But God would have us recall His dealings with His people in the past to save them from their enemies. He has always chosen extremities, when there seemed no possible chance for deliverance from Satan's workings, for the manifestation of His power. Man's necessity is God's opportunity.

My brethren, do you realize that your own salvation, as well as the destiny of other souls, depends upon the preparation you now make for the trial before us? Have you that intensity of zeal, that piety and devotion, which will enable you to stand when opposition shall be brought against you? If God has ever spoken by me, the time will come when you will be brought before councils, and every position of truth which you hold will be severely criticized. The time that so many are now allowing to go to waste should be devoted to the charge that God has given us of preparing for the approaching crisis. Testimonies for the Church 5:713-717

The time is not far distant, when the test will come to every soul.... In this time, the gold will be separated from the dross in the church. True godliness will be clearly distinguished from the appearance and tinsel of it. Many a star that we have admired for its brilliancy, will then go out in darkness. Chaff like a cloud will be borne away on the wind, even from places where we see only floors of rich wheat. All who assume the ornaments of the sanctuary, but are not clothed with Christ's righteousness, will appear in the shame of their own nakedness.—Testimonies for the Church 5:80, 81.

To stand in the defense of truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us, to fight the battles of the Lord when champions are few—this will be our test. At this time we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason.... Sons and Daughters of God 201


We may eat today of the Tree of Life; no longer as Eve, plucking fruit from that forbidden...

Jesus did not convey the idea that merely one draught of the water of life would suffice the receiver. He who tastes of the love of Christ will continually long for more; but he seeks for nothing else. God's Amazing Grace 119

To all who believe, [Christ] is as the tree of life in the Paradise of God. His branches reach to this world, that the blessings which He has purchased for us may be brought within our reach.... He has given us a Comforter, the Holy Spirit, which will present to us the precious fruit from the tree of life. From this tree we may pluck and eat, and we may then guide others to it, that they also may eat.

The man who loves God meditates on the law of God day and night. He is instant in season and out of season. He bears the fruit of a branch vitally connected with the Vine. As he has opportunity, he does good; and everywhere, at all times and in all places, he finds opportunity to work for God. He is one of the Lord's evergreen trees; and he carries fragrance with him wherever he goes. A wholesome atmosphere surrounds his soul. The beauty of his well-ordered life and godly conversation inspires faith and hope and courage in others. This is Christianity in practice. Seek to be an evergreen tree. Wear the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. Cherish the grace of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness. This is the fruit of the Christian tree. Planted by the rivers of water, it always brings forth its fruit in due season.

If we have the love of Christ in our souls, it will be a natural consequence for us to have all the other graces—joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance....

When the love of Christ is enshrined in the heart, ... His presence will be felt. My Life Today 50.2-5

Love to man is the earthward manifestation of the love of God. It was to implant this love, to make us children of one family, that the King of glory became one with us. And when His parting words are fulfilled, “Love one another, as I have loved you” (John 15:12); when we love the world as He has loved it, then for us His mission is accomplished. We are fitted for heaven; for we have heaven in our hearts. God's Amazing Grace, p. 54.6


...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