Author Topic: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 6--4th Quarter 2018--Images of Unity  (Read 577 times)

0 Members and 3 Guests are viewing this topic.

Wally

  • Moderator
  • Posts: 5321
  • Romans 8:35, 38, 39
SDA Sabbath School Lesson 6--4th Quarter 2018--Images of Unity
« on: November 02, 2018, 03:52:23 PM »
Lesson 6 November 3-9





Images of 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

Wally

  • Moderator
  • Posts: 5321
  • Romans 8:35, 38, 39
Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 6--4th Quarter 2018--Images of Unity
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2018, 03:54:30 PM »
Thursday ↥         November 8

Sheep and Shepherd

Read John 10:1-11. What aspects of this metaphor of the church as a sheepfold speak of unity? See also Psalm 23.

In the modern world of large cities, it has become very rare to see animal husbandry of any kind. Most people now know little of the relationship between sheep and shepherds. However, when Jesus told this parable, people understood Him well. When He said, “I am the good shepherd”, they immediately recognized and appreciated His reference to Psalm 23:1, “The LORD is my shepherd.” The image was not only clear but also full of emotional value that made it vivid. In ancient Near Eastern culture, and still today in the Middle East, shepherds are known to be dedicated to the care of their sheep, regardless of the challenges. The figure of shepherd has become one of the dearest images used in Scripture to describe the character of God and His relationship to His people.

The image of God’s people as sheep is an interesting image. One impression we often have of sheep is their harmless and defenseless nature. Thus, they are dependent on a good shepherd for protection and guidance. They are, quite frankly, seen as stupid. Sometimes, inadvertently, sheep get lost, and the shepherd will seek them and bring them back to the fold. Young sheep often need to be carried and require extra care. Patience and understanding is needed to care for sheep. In many ways, this is a perfect image to represent the church. The church member has nothing to fear but everything to gain in a relationship with the Shepherd.

Jesus also emphasized in this parable the importance for the sheep to listen to the voice of the shepherd. When the conditions require it, it is possible to protect a few flocks of sheep by placing them in the same enclosure or sheepfold. How can they be separated later? All that is required is for the shepherd to stand at the door of the enclosure and call. His sheep will recognize his voice and come to him. “And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice” (John 10:4, NKJV). Listening to the voice of the Shepherd is crucial for the church. In fact, the unity and safety of the people of God depend on their proximity to Him and directly are related to their submissive obedience to His voice.

People don’t generally like to be depicted as sheep. Nevertheless, why is that such an appropriate metaphor for us? What should this image tell us about our need of the Shepherd and our need to obey His voice?

Friday ↥         November 9

Further Study: Ellen G. White, “The Divine Shepherd”, pp. 476-484, in The Desire of Ages; “The Church on Earth”, pp. 240-243, in Counsels for the Church.

“In the context of the Temple in Jerusalem as well as the ubiquitous Greco-Roman structures, New Testament authors employ the temple metaphor to enable believers to visualize the sanctity of the church, God’s role in founding and growing the church, the defining nature of the work of Christ and the Spirit, and the solidarity of believers within the church. The architecture domain would seem to imply a static image. However, the metaphor is used in conjunction with biological imagery and the process of building is often accentuated. Rather than a static image, ‘we are impelled to visualize a story of the process of construction rather than a completed edifice.’ The church is granted the wondrous privilege of humbly acknowledging in its life and story ‘the temple of the living God‘ (2 Cor. 6:16).” - John McVay, “Biblical Metaphors for the Church: Building Blocks for Ecclesiology”, in Ángel Manuel Rodríguez, ed., Message, Mission, and Unity of the Church (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald®, 2013), p. 52.

Discussion Questions:

    Reflect on the biblical images of the church. Which one do you like most? Why are you more attracted to that one? Some other metaphors of the church can be found in these passages: 1 Tim. 3:15, 2 Tim. 2:3-5, 1 Pet. 2:9. What else do these metaphors teach about the church?

    “God wants His people to be united in the closest bonds of Christian fellowship; confidence in our brethren is essential to the prosperity of the church; union of action is important in a religious crisis. One imprudent step, one careless action, may plunge the church into difficulties and trials from which it may not recover for years.” - Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 446. What should this warning teach us about how careful we must seek to be in guarding the unity of the church? What role does each one of us have in this sacred responsibility?

    Sunday’s study stressed that even as “the people of God”, we must rely only on God’s grace for salvation, and never on our own merits. In fact, couldn’t you even argue that it’s our very reliance on God’s merit for salvation that indeed makes us “the people of God”? Why or why not is this a valid claim?

Summary: The New Testament uses different metaphors to illustrate both the nature and mission of the church. More important, these metaphors teach that God attentively is watching over His people and protects them. These images also teach that God’s people are intricately linked with each other and that we need each other to do the work that we have been called to do.
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

  • Servant
  • Posts: 39761
  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
    • The Remnant Online
Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 6--4th Quarter 2018--Images of Unity
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2018, 08:05:35 AM »

Sabbath Afternoon


Read for This Week’s Study: 1 Pet. 2:9; Exod. 19:5, 6; Eph. 2:19-22; 1 Cor. 3:16, 17; 1 Cor. 12:12-26; John 10:1-11; Psalm 23.

Memory Text: “   For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ.” 1 Corinthians 12:12

As anyone who has studied the Bible knows, it is filled with images and symbols that point to realities greater than those images and symbols themselves. For instance, the essence of the whole biblical sacrificial system is, in a sense, symbolic of the much greater reality: Jesus and the entire plan of salvation.

Many other kinds of images are used in the Bible, and sometimes from the most basic elements, too-such as water, fire, wind. Depending upon the context, these are images for spiritual and theological truths. For example, when Jesus said, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8 ), the wind was used as a symbol for the Holy Spirit.

The Bible uses a number of images to describe the kind of unity we find in the church, the unity that God calls it to manifest before the world. Each individual image is not complete in and of itself. Instead, as a whole, these images reveal many things about church unity, such as the church’s relationship to God, the members’ relationships to one another, and the church’s relationship to the community as a whole.

Don't we love the symbol of our relationship with Jesus. We know we are represented as "living stones" in the Book of Peter. And, the churches relationship with Christ is represented as the corner stone upon which we all stand. We also see Christ as the husband of the church, and the church His bride. And this is a symbol of the relationship between husband and wife.  These are to be holy relationships which therefore require the individual and the church to be holy. How can this be? Hopefully we will find out in this week's lessons.


This week’s lesson will look at some of the images and what they reveal to us about unity in Christ.

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, November 10.
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

  • Servant
  • Posts: 39761
  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
    • The Remnant Online
Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 6--4th Quarter 2018--Images of Unity
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2018, 08:06:37 AM »

Sunday          November 4

The People of God


Read 1 Peter 2:9; Exodus 19:5, 6; Deuteronomy 4:20; and Deuteronomy 7:6.

2:9   But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 

 19:5   Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth [is] mine: 
 19:6   And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These [are] the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. 

 4:20   But the LORD hath taken you, and brought you forth out of the iron furnace, [even] out of Egypt, to be unto him a people of inheritance, as [ye are] this day. 

 7:6   For thou [art] an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that [are] upon the face of the earth. 


Praise God, the lesson has right off pointed out that the church of God is a holy people. How can this be?


What do these verses say about the special status of the people of God?

The church is about people, but not any kind of people. The church is the people of God, the people who belong to God, who claim God as their Father and Savior, and who have been redeemed by Christ and who obey Him. This image underscores the concept that God has had a people on earth since the introduction of the plan of salvation and that there is continuity between Israel in the Old Testament and the church in the New. From the time of Adam, the patriarchs before and after the Flood, and Abraham, God has made a covenant with His people to be representatives of His love, mercy, and justice to the world.

We need to take a second to understand that God repented of having made man and destroyed every single living thing off the face of the Earth except for the 8 people and the animals on the ark. And, for 2,000 years after that, God had chosen Israel as His people, but, they were cut off as His people for they were not a holy nation and misrepresented His character of love and justice. How does that apply to our church today?


God’s people are called a “chosen generation”, a “royal priesthood”, and a “holy nation.” These terms indicate that they are set aside for a special purpose: to “proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9, NKJV). This is also an echo of a description of God’s gracious character, as described in Exodus 34:6, 7. “God acquired the church as His own special possession in order that its members might reflect His precious traits of character in their own lives and proclaim His goodness and mercy to all men.” - The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 562.

Who are God's people? Are they the professed people of God, or are they the ones who love God supremely and keep His commandments?


Read Deuteronomy 7:6-8.

 7:6   For thou [art] an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that [are] upon the face of the earth. 
 7:7   The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye [were] the fewest of all people: 
 7:8   But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. 


What prompted God to select the descendants of Abraham as His people? How is this still applicable today?

He selected Abraham because Abraham would be faithful. God promised Abraham that He would make him the father of a great nation. The people themselves were little better than brute slaves when they came out of Egypt. The nation failed to obey God, so He cut them off as a nation. Today, individual Jews may become a part of modern Israel if they will allow Christ to take possession of the heart.


Perhaps we could ask ourselves, What country today deserves the label of “holy nation” (another image of the church)? None. All nations and ethnic groups are composed of people who do not deserve God’s love and grace. And though the Bible calls us to be a holy people, Scripture also teaches that the selection and establishment of Israel was based entirely on His love and not on any merits that human beings could bring to Him. The formation of God’s people is an act of loving creation and-despite sin and apostasy on a national scale-God kept His promise to Abraham that through his seed, Christ, He would save His people. Just as the election of God’s people was an act of His grace, so is their salvation. This theme reminds us of our common roots in the unmerited grace of God.

Indeed the election of God's children is an act of grace, but it also requires a complete submission and a dying to self. Israel as a nation refused to submit to God. So it has been today. Modern day Israel remains in a Laodicean condition. But, that does not mean that there are not converted Christians in His church. There are. And, it does not mean that the church will be cut off as was Israel as a nation. It will not. There is no prophecy in Scripture saying the Seventh-day Adventist Church will be cut off as there is for Israel of Old. To the contrary, we shared in last week's lessons that both Scripture and a modern day prophet have revealed there will be revival and reformation God last day church.


Why must we always keep before us the sacred truth that our salvation rests upon what Christ has done for us and not upon what we can ever do for ourselves, even if we are “the people of God”?

First, the elect of God are those who accept Christ as Savior. The "people of God" are the elect of God. Then there are the professed people of God. What is the difference? Are there "decoys" 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.

Richard Myers

  • Servant
  • Posts: 39761
  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
    • The Remnant Online
Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 6--4th Quarter 2018--Images of Unity
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2018, 08:32:27 AM »
Monday         November 5

The Household of God

Another image of the people of God in the New Testament is the house or household of God. It is a metaphor of stones and buildings that highlight the intricate and interdependent nature of human relationships in the church. Peter refers to Christians as “living stones” (1 Pet. 2:5). This metaphor also contains a quality of permanency and solidity.

Amen! But, then the "house of God" must be those who are unified standing on the platform of truth being filled with the Holy Spirit. It cannot be those who are unconverted and not walking in the light of God's love and commands.


Read Ephesians 2:19-22.

 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. 


What key ideas does Paul emphasize in this passage? What does this image tell us about unity in the church?

In this passage, Paul combines two images of the church: one inert, a house or building; the other alive, a household of people.

There two other statements of great importance. It is a "holy temple" which we are to be, and it is through the Spirit this is possible. Unless we are born again of the Spirit, we are not a part of the house of God.


A stone is not very valuable by itself, but when it is bonded with other stones, it becomes a structure that can withstand the storms of life.

Elijah withstood the storms of life. Abraham withstood the storms of life. Job did until his three friends drug him down amid his sickness. But, he learned from his experience and then was able to stand again. Daniel and Joseph were able. But, where was the church? They often stood alone, but not alone at all. Christ stood with them, and in them. The church of God is the apple of God's eye, but let's not forget that Christ is the One we need. And, if God be for us then who can be against us!! Even though Israel stood against God and His prophets, it was not an excuse for sin. So it is today. If there are church leaders who forsake us, and if all in the church forsake you, if Christ be in you, you will withstand whatever God allows to come to you. It is a promise. To all who are in Christ and He in them, He will not allow them to be tempted beyond what they can bear.


No Christian can be a stone alone, but must be associated with others in the fellowship of the household of God. For an edifice to be solid, it must rest on a strong foundation. Jesus Christ is this foundation, and the “cornerstone” of the house of God (see also 1 Cor. 3:11). The church also would cease to exist if it did not make Christ the cornerstone of its activities. The church is really about Jesus Christ: His life, death, resurrection, and return. The church forms a community of believers united to share the good news about Jesus to the world. The church’s agenda is Jesus: who He is, what He has done for us and does in us, and what He offers to anyone who will accept Him as Lord and Savior.

What a blessing we will have when we find a church that is walking in Christ.  As it was with Israel, the church is in a Laodicean condition and that is a lost condition. It is no excuse for sin or to be depressed. It is God's church and it is our responsibility to encourage others to build up God's church. There are today Saul's in His church who will repent of their sins and do a great work. Not all will repent, but we are to seek out those who will and point them to Christ.


The image of a household is also very meaningful. This one rests on the relationships people have among themselves. It is a familiar image of father and mother, brothers and sisters. Ties between family members can be strong, and the accompanying loyalties often transcend all other outside ties. Loyalty is a big part of unity, for how could there be any kind of unity without loyalty, as well?

Our loyalty to Christ will bind together all who are truly surrendered to Him. They will love each other as Christ loves us.


How does this image relate to the church? Church members are also part of one big family. We are linked, not only because we belong to the human family through our common ancestor Adam but also because we are related to Jesus, the Second Adam, through our common “new birth” experience. Thus, we become united with each other, not just because of the doctrinal truths that we hold in common but also in the experience of being converted souls who have a new life in Jesus.

Amen! But, the human link we share does not link us together. Those who are not converted are working against all who are converted. We are closer to our dogs and cats than with those who do not serve God. They are united in their fight against the truth and those who walk in it. Dogs are more loyal that people who are not converted. Look at the number of divorces in the church. Loyalty? Look at the children who suffer in consequence. No, being a human in fallen flesh is not a link that brings about any good unity.


Sadly, not everyone has had a great experience with his or her own family. Hence, that image might not mean much to them. How, though, can we as a church become the family that these people never had?

We must first be linked together through Christ. Until that is done, it does no good to lead church on to think there can be unity that will help those who did not have a Christian family. A church without a living relationship with Christ is like a family without Christ. Neither is able to love unselfishly. The lesson is putting the cart in front of the horse. We must acknowledge the condition of the church if we expect to solve the problem of disunity in the church. If we continue to think we are rich and increased with goods in our present condition, then how can we be transformed into living stones in the temple of God which is to be a holy temple? We cannot when we remain poor, blind, and naked.

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

Richard Myers

  • Servant
  • Posts: 39761
  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
    • The Remnant Online
Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 6--4th Quarter 2018--Images of Unity
« Reply #5 on: November 07, 2018, 09:46:07 AM »
Tuesday         November 6

The Temple of the Holy Spirit

Another building imagery Paul uses is that of the temple of God or of the Holy Spirit. It is the image of a costly and valuable building. Along with 1 Corinthians 6:19, where the image refers to one’s personal body as the temple of the Holy Spirit, Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17 uses the image to refer to the most holy and precious edifice of the ancient Near East, God’s temple.

I have never considered verses 16 and 17 not being our bodies. You will have to choose between what the author says the Greek says, or the multitude of Spirit of Prophecy statements that tell us it is our physical bodies. "The Lord himself has spoken upon this subject of the care of the body. He says in His word, “If any man destroyeth the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” 1 Corinthians 3:17, R. V. This scripture enjoins a conscientious care of the body, and condemns all ignorant or careless neglect. And again: “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20; 10:31.  FE 427. This not a rare statement, there are many many more which say the same thing. It is important that we rightly understand these two verses, for many have no idea that the Holy Spirit wants to reside in our hearts (body). And when the Holy Spirit resides in the heart, we are holy. Many hate this and will reject it no matter how many times the Bible reveals this to be truth.


Read 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17.

 3:16   Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 
 3:17   If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which [temple] ye are. 


What does it mean that the church is the temple of the Holy Spirit? What is he warning about in verse 17?

Apply this to us rather than the church.


Obviously, Paul does not, in referring to the church, have in mind a physical temple or place of residence for God. The Greek of the New Testament makes a distinction between a “you” singular, in order to refer to one person, and a “you” plural, in order to refer to many people. In this case it is the latter. This metaphor refers to a corporate entity: together the Christians in Corinth form the temple of the Holy Spirit, and in a spiritual sense God resides among them.

For Paul, God resides within the Christian fellowship; hence, his warning that anyone who attempts to destroy this fellowship will suffer the consequences of the judgment. The unity of believers is at the core of this fellowship and of God’s presence in this temple. Though this text is often used in the sense of taking care of one’s physical body (which is, of course, what Christians are supposed to do anyway), that’s not the specific point that Paul was making here. His message was, instead, a warning about those who would destroy the unity of the church.

God is not happy with those who  bring division into the church. When one is not filled with the Holy Spirit, he will bring division into the church, for he is working against God. We can do no good  thing until we make a full heart surrender, then the Holy Spirit comes into our hearts, for we are the temple where He wants to dwell. Today, we have division in the church, rebellion. Many overlook the truth that the real cause is not a doctrinal matter so much as it is the lack of the Holy Spirit indwelling the rebels. They speak much of the Holy Spirit, but they are not filled with Him.


Earlier in the chapter, Paul referred to what he considers as challenges to unity: “for where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you” (1 Cor. 3:3, NKJV). These attitudes and behaviors are real threats to Christian unity and cause the withdrawal of God’s presence from His temple. In other words, conflicts in the church can destroy God’s temple. Thus, he wants members to put away the attitudes and behaviors that do threaten its unity.

God's  church will not be destroyed. The rebellion will fail when the "shaking" takes place. The division in the church is caused by a lack of consecration of many in the church. http://remnant-online.com/smf/Themes/anecdota_2_0/images/bbc/bold.gif

When conflicts erupt in the church, Paul’s advice to the Corinthians is still applicable today: “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment” (1 Cor. 1:10, NKJV).

Amen! This can only happen when the church repents of its Laodicean condition and allows Jesus to take possession of the heart.


Envy, strife, and division-these are not just problems the church faced in Paul’s day. We face them today, as well. What role does each one of us have in seeking to work through these problems in ways that will not threaten our unity?

We do not have unity, so it cannot be threatened. We have disunity brought on by baptizing unconverted people. The blind are leading the blind in many churches. Rebellion is the result of unconsecrated leaders. Strife and division is the result of rejecting the Holy Spirit's call to repent.

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. 


We each are to be a temple for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. He stands at the door of the heart, knocking, wanting in. Why not let Him in?


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

Glen

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 773
  • Rescue the perishing, care for the dying...
Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 6--4th Quarter 2018--Images of Unity
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2018, 08:05:36 PM »
Many overlook the truth that the real cause is not a doctrinal matter so much as it is the lack of the Holy Spirit indwelling the rebels. They speak much of the Holy Spirit, but they are not filled with Him.

I don't understand why you would think it isn't a doctrinal matter Brother Richard. I see the real cause IS PURELY "a doctrinal matter"; the simple fact, as you share it here: "...rebels...speak much of the Holy Spirit, but they are not filled with Him." They haven't received "the doctrine of the Holy Spirit". I'm reminded of where Paul "asked certain disciples...Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. Acts 19:2 These "certain disciples" hadn't received that "doctrine" either.
...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

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 773
  • Rescue the perishing, care for the dying...
Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 6--4th Quarter 2018--Images of Unity
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2018, 08:57:49 PM »
God is not happy with those who  bring division into the church.

I remember how nearly 25 years ago I was forbidden by the Pastor to mention the topic of the nature of Christ while teaching the Adult SS Lesson. He would become livid when I would share Bible texts and other inspired quotes showing we could overcome sin by the faith of Jesus. He claimed I was causing division in the Church.

While I agree with your comment, I'm also reminded that Christ declared,
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34

Christ brings all true believers into complete oneness with himself, even the oneness which exists between him and his Father. The true children of God are bound up with one another and with their Saviour. They are one with Christ in God. Sons and Daughters of God, p. 293.5

Those who love and keep the commandments of God are most obnoxious to the synagogue of Satan, and the powers of evil will manifest their hatred toward them to the fullest extent possible.
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7 (EGW), p. 974.6 (Ellen G. White)


...I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Revelation 2:9

Christ speaks of the church over which Satan presides as the synagogue of Satan. Its members are the children of disobedience. They are those who choose to sin, who labor to make void the holy law of God. It is Satan's work to mingle evil with good, and to remove the distinction between good and evil. Christ would have a church that labors to separate the evil from the good, whose members will not willingly tolerate wrong-doing, but will expel it from the heart and life (The Review and Herald, December 4, 1900).

....While the Lord brings into the church those who are truly converted, Satan at the same time brings persons who are not converted into its fellowship. While Christ is sowing the good seed, Satan is sowing the tares. There are two opposing influences continually exerted on the members of the church. One influence is working for the purification of the church, and the other for the corrupting of the people of God.... The Faith I Live By 305


...all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 2 Timothy 3:12

Let no one man, nor a score of men, dare to take the judgment seat as many have done, and will continue to do, when they lose sight of their own imperfect character and press their own discontented words on their brethren, passing judgment on the ways and works of Christ in the person of His saints. Lt 307, 1903 (March 1, 1903) par. 8

Through the apostles God gave the Jewish people a last opportunity to repent. He manifested Himself through His witnesses, in their arrest, in their trial, and in their imprisonment. Yet their judges pronounced on them the death sentence. They were men of whom the world was not worthy, and yet they were not allowed to live and serve the God whose they were by creation and by redemption. By killing them, the Jews crucified afresh the Son of God, who had given His servants words to speak and a tongue and voice with which to vindicate the truth, and acknowledge Him as the only begotten Son of God. In so doing, the Jews were not only abusing the men; they were abusing Christ in the person of His saints. Ms 78, 1897 (July 28, 1897) par. 39

Persecution cannot do more than cause death, but the life is preserved to eternal life and glory. The persecuting power may take its stand, and command the disciples of Christ to deny the faith, to give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, by making void the law of God. But the disciples may ask, “Why should I do this? I love Jesus, and I will never deny His name.” When the power says, “I will call you a disturber of the peace,” they may answer, “Thus they called Jesus, who was truth, and grace and peace.”—Letter 116, 1896. 3SM 421



...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

  • Servant
  • Posts: 39761
  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
    • The Remnant Online
Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 6--4th Quarter 2018--Images of Unity
« Reply #8 on: November 09, 2018, 09:39:01 PM »
Wednesday          November 7

The Body of Christ


Perhaps the best-known image of the church and one that speaks the strongest about the unity of its varied parts is the body of Christ. “For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. … Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually” (1 Cor. 12:12, 27, NKJV).

Just as a body is a single unit that is made up of many different parts, each with its different function and responsibility, this is the church as the body of Christ.

Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-26. How does this image of one body with many parts apply to your local congregation? How does it apply to a worldwide organization like the Seventh-day Adventist Church?

Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 12 conveys the profound reality that authentic Christian unity is not just in diversity, and certainly not despite diversity, but rather through diversity. We should not be surprised that it is the Holy Spirit who is the source of these expressions of diversity. Just as the human body is both incredibly unified and amazingly diverse, so ideally is the body of Christ, which through this diversity expresses the completeness and richness of the body of Christ.

This image speaks directly to us as a church. In the past few decades, the Seventh-day Adventist Church has grown by leaps and bounds. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is composed of people from almost every conceivable background, culture, and environment. Our ethnic, racial, cultural, educational, and age differences must not be permitted to divide us in Christ. If anything, this diversity should be molded by the Holy Spirit as a force for unity, revealing the truth that despite these differences, we are all one in Christ.

In Christ we will not be divide us. Racial or cultural differences are not to be extolled. It is Christ that we shall imitate. All who praise diversity of culture err. We may be a Protestant culture, but if it is real, then it is because of Jesus, and not of ourselves.


As we have seen, at the foot of the cross we are all equal, regardless of who we are or where we come from. As the world around us becomes more and more fragmented, the church must demonstrate that unity in diversity is attainable. God’s people can demonstrate the healing and reconciling power of the Gospel.

Must demonstrate? Will demonstrate unity if we are "in Christ."

Amazingly, Paul tells us how this ideal can be accomplished. “Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body” (Eph. 5:23, NKJV). “And He is the head of the body, the church” (Col. 1:18, NKJV). As each believer is spiritually connected to Christ, the entire body is therefore nourished with the same food. We cannot, then, overemphasize the importance of the study of the Word of God, obedience to what we learn in the Word, and the common experiences of worship and prayer for unity in the body of Christ.

We cannot overemphasize the necessity of being fully converted, fully surrendered, having given the whole heart to Christ in order have 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

  • Servant
  • Posts: 39761
  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
    • The Remnant Online
Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 6--4th Quarter 2018--Images of Unity
« Reply #9 on: November 09, 2018, 09:41:57 PM »
God is not happy with those who  bring division into the church.

I remember how nearly 25 years ago I was forbidden by the Pastor to mention the topic of the nature of Christ while teaching the Adult SS Lesson. He would become livid when I would share Bible texts and other inspired quotes showing we could overcome sin by the faith of Jesus. He claimed I was causing division in the Church.

While I agree with your comment, I'm also reminded that Christ declared,
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. Matthew 10:34

Amen Brother Glen!  It is not I who divides the church, but those who reject the truth that cause division. It is the truth that causes the division to become apparent, but it is the rejection and battle against the truth that reveals the division.
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

  • Servant
  • Posts: 39761
  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
    • The Remnant Online
Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 6--4th Quarter 2018--Images of Unity
« Reply #10 on: November 09, 2018, 09:48:50 PM »
Thursday         November 8

Sheep and Shepherd

Read John 10:1-11. What aspects of this metaphor of the church as a sheepfold speak of unity? See also Psalm 23.

In the modern world of large cities, it has become very rare to see animal husbandry of any kind. Most people now know little of the relationship between sheep and shepherds. However, when Jesus told this parable, people understood Him well. When He said, “I am the good shepherd”, they immediately recognized and appreciated His reference to Psalm 23:1, “The LORD is my shepherd.” The image was not only clear but also full of emotional value that made it vivid. In ancient Near Eastern culture, and still today in the Middle East, shepherds are known to be dedicated to the care of their sheep, regardless of the challenges. The figure of shepherd has become one of the dearest images used in Scripture to describe the character of God and His relationship to His people.

The image of God’s people as sheep is an interesting image. One impression we often have of sheep is their harmless and defenseless nature. Thus, they are dependent on a good shepherd for protection and guidance. They are, quite frankly, seen as stupid. Sometimes, inadvertently, sheep get lost, and the shepherd will seek them and bring them back to the fold. Young sheep often need to be carried and require extra care. Patience and understanding is needed to care for sheep. In many ways, this is a perfect image to represent the church. The church member has nothing to fear but everything to gain in a relationship with the Shepherd.

The problem in the church is that there are too many who do not feel their continual need of Jesus in order to do any good thing. Too many believe they are ok just as they are, rich and in need of nothing.


Jesus also emphasized in this parable the importance for the sheep to listen to the voice of the shepherd. When the conditions require it, it is possible to protect a few flocks of sheep by placing them in the same enclosure or sheepfold. How can they be separated later? All that is required is for the shepherd to stand at the door of the enclosure and call. His sheep will recognize his voice and come to him. “And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice” (John 10:4, NKJV). Listening to the voice of the Shepherd is crucial for the church. In fact, the unity and safety of the people of God depend on their proximity to Him and directly are related to their submissive obedience to His voice.

And where and when does God speak to us? How many have daily devotions and pray for wisdom and grace?


People don’t generally like to be depicted as sheep. Nevertheless, why is that such an appropriate metaphor for us? What should this image tell us about our need of the Shepherd and our need to obey His voice?

Why would someone object to being represented by a lamb? The lamb is innocent. It is needy. So, who would not want this character? Or recognize it describes the converted Christian.  It seems that some may retain some pride hidden in the heart, yet they still believe they are just fine.  :(
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

  • Servant
  • Posts: 39761
  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
    • The Remnant Online
Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 6--4th Quarter 2018--Images of Unity
« Reply #11 on: November 09, 2018, 09:53:53 PM »
Friday         November 9

Further Study: Ellen G. White, “The Divine Shepherd”, pp. 476-484, in The Desire of Ages; “The Church on Earth”, pp. 240-243, in Counsels for the Church.

“In the context of the Temple in Jerusalem as well as the ubiquitous Greco-Roman structures, New Testament authors employ the temple metaphor to enable believers to visualize the sanctity of the church, God’s role in founding and growing the church, the defining nature of the work of Christ and the Spirit, and the solidarity of believers within the church. The architecture domain would seem to imply a static image. However, the metaphor is used in conjunction with biological imagery and the process of building is often accentuated. Rather than a static image, ‘we are impelled to visualize a story of the process of construction rather than a completed edifice.’ The church is granted the wondrous privilege of humbly acknowledging in its life and story ‘the temple of the living God‘ (2 Cor. 6:16).” - John McVay, “Biblical Metaphors for the Church: Building Blocks for Ecclesiology”, in Ángel Manuel Rodríguez, ed., Message, Mission, and Unity of the Church (Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald®, 2013), p. 52.

Discussion Questions:

    Reflect on the biblical images of the church. Which one do you like most? Why are you more attracted to that one? Some other metaphors of the church can be found in these passages: 1 Tim. 3:15, 2 Tim. 2:3-5, 1 Pet. 2:9. What else do these metaphors teach about the church?

    “God wants His people to be united in the closest bonds of Christian fellowship; confidence in our brethren is essential to the prosperity of the church; union of action is important in a religious crisis. One imprudent step, one careless action, may plunge the church into difficulties and trials from which it may not recover for years.” - Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 446.
What should this warning teach us about how careful we must seek to be in guarding the unity of the church? What role does each one of us have in this sacred responsibility?

Let's get to the bottom of the matter. This ought to lead us to see our continual need of Jesus. If we are not "in Christ" for a moment, and we are careless and plunge the church into difficulties, it ought to cause us to spend more time with Jesus so we won't be careless.


    Sunday’s study stressed that even as “the people of God”, we must rely only on God’s grace for salvation, and never on our own merits. In fact, couldn’t you even argue that it’s our very reliance on God’s merit for salvation that indeed makes us “the people of God”? Why or why not is this a valid claim?

It is just to the point. How can we be God's people if we are following Satan's principles? We cannot.


Summary: The New Testament uses different metaphors to illustrate both the nature and mission of the church. More important, these metaphors teach that God attentively is watching over His people and protects them. These images also teach that God’s people are intricately linked with each other and that we need each other to do the work that we have been called to do.

It is true that God watches over His converted people, but some He watches as He did Ananias and Sapphira. It seems that at the heart of this quarter's lessons is the need to realize that there is a difference between those who love God and keep His commands and those who do not. If we understand our problem of disunity stems from a lack of love for God, then why would we have the church believe God is watching over all of us, even the ones like Judas, Ananias and Sapphira? It is true that many may not end up as did the three of these, but many will be shaken out of the church and thus end up like the three wicked ones.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Glen

  • Full Member
  • Posts: 773
  • Rescue the perishing, care for the dying...
Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 6--4th Quarter 2018--Images of Unity
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2018, 06:38:38 AM »
Friday         November 9
 Sunday’s study stressed that even as “the people of God”, we must rely only on God’s grace for salvation, and never on our own merits. In fact, couldn’t you even argue that it’s our very reliance on God’s merit for salvation that indeed makes us “the people of God”? Why or why not is this a valid claim?

"as “the people of God”, we must rely only on God’s grace for salvation, and never on our own merits."

God's grace is much more than a covering of sin, it is a working Power, even the affective, effective indwelling presence of the Godhead, through the blood of Christ. Paul says of his ministry:
I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Ephesians 3:7

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

God's grace does not and cannot cover sin unconditionally.
In all His dealings with His creatures God has maintained the principles of righteousness by revealing sin in its true character—by demonstrating that its sure result is misery and death. The unconditional pardon of sin never has been, and never will be. Such pardon would show the abandonment of the principles of righteousness, which are the very foundation of the government of God. It would fill the unfallen universe with consternation. God has faithfully pointed out the results of sin, and if these warnings were not true, how could we be sure that His promises would be fulfilled? That so-called benevolence which would set aside justice, is not benevolence, but weakness.
God's Amazing Grace 73

By His death we are reconciled to God; by His life, as it is wrought out in our life, we shall be saved. The Signs of the Times June 17, 1903 paragraph 12
...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