Author Topic: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 10--4th Quarter 2018--Unity and Broken Relationships  (Read 438 times)

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Wally

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Lesson 10 December 1-7




Unity and Broken Relationships









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: 2 Tim. 4:11, Philem. 1-25, 2 Cor. 10:12-15, Rom. 5:8-11, Eph. 4:26, Matt. 18:15-17.

Memory Text: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” Romans 5:10

As we have seen, even after Pentecost the relationship between believers was at times strained. The New Testament records repeated examples of the way that church leaders and individual members dealt with such challenges. These principles are extremely valuable for the church today. They reveal the positive results that can come when we use biblical principles to deal with conflicts and preserve our oneness in Christ.

In this week’s lesson, we will focus on restored relationships and how our human relationships impact our oneness in Christ. The ministry of the Holy Spirit involves bringing people closer to God and to one another. It includes breaking down the barriers in our relationship with God and breaking down barriers in our relationships with one another. In short, the greatest demonstration of the power of the Gospel is not necessarily what the church says but how the church lives.

Amen. We either witness the character of Christ, thus leading people to Jesus, or we do not witness His character and bring reproach upon Christ, His church, and Scripture.


“By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:35.
Without this love all our talk about church unity will come to nothing.

Worse than that, it injures the work entrusted to His church. How can we love those who injure us?  It is impossible unless we first love Jesus supremely.


Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, December 8.
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          December 2

Restored Friendship

Paul and Barnabas worked together in witnessing for Jesus. But they had a disagreement over whether they could trust one as fearful as John Mark (Acts 15:36-39). The potential dangers of preaching the Gospel had caused John Mark at one point to desert Paul and Barnabas and return home (Acts 13:13).

“This desertion caused Paul to judge Mark unfavorably, and even severely, for a time. Barnabas, on the other hand, was inclined to excuse him because of his inexperience. He felt anxious that Mark should not abandon the ministry, for he saw in him qualifications that would fit him to be a useful worker for Christ.” - Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 170.

Although God used all these men, the issues between them needed resolution. The apostle who preached grace needed to extend grace to a young preacher who had disappointed him. The apostle of forgiveness needed to forgive. John Mark grew in the affirming mentorship of Barnabas (Acts 15:39), and, eventually, Paul’s heart was apparently touched by the changes.

If Paul did not forgive Mark, that is sin. Is the lesson saying Paul did not forgive Mark? I don't see that written. What, is it necessary to keep someone in employment if they can't do the job? Is it sin to tell someone to get more experience before going into the deep end of the pool? It seems to me that this is judging Paul's motive and the situation. Maybe Paul saved Marks life, and also his and Barnabas' by letting him stay out of the deep end for a season? As I read the Scripture, I find nothing that says Paul did not trust Mark. But, even so, then that would be good reason to let him gain some experience before throwing him into the fire.


How do Paul’s letters to Timothy and the church at Colosse reveal his renewed relationship with John Mark and a new confidence in this young preacher? Col. 4:10, 11; 2 Tim. 4:11.

Although details of Paul’s reconciliation with John Mark may be sketchy, the biblical record is clear. John Mark became one of the apostle’s trusted companions. Paul highly recommended John Mark as a “fellow worker” to the church at Colosse. At the end of Paul’s life, he strongly encouraged Timothy to bring John Mark with him to Rome because he was “useful to me for ministry” (2 Tim. 4:11, NKJV). Paul’s ministry was enriched by the young preacher, whom he obviously had forgiven. The barrier between them had been broken down, and they were able to work together in the cause of the Gospel.

Is it possible that because he did not have to face the great dangers associated with Paul's ministry that he was able to trust in Jesus no matter what? The barrier had been broken down? Why does the author think there was a barrier. It may be that Mark was not ready for the work when Paul judged it to be not good for him to continue at that point in time. Let us not judge Paul when we do not know his heart, nor the situation.


Whatever the issues between them, and however justified Paul might have believed himself to be in regard to his earlier attitude toward John Mark, it was all behind him now.

Maybe Paul was justified in making the decision he made. I won't judge him. The fact that Paul accepted him later is good. He was a different man then.


How can we learn to forgive those who have hurt or disappointed us? At the same time, why does forgiveness not always include a complete restoration of a previous relationship? Why does it not always need to?

If we do not forgive others of their sins, then God will not forgive us of our sins. Maybe the one being forgiven has not repented. Maybe one can be forgiven, but cannot do what he said he could do.
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          December 3

From Slave to Son


While he was imprisoned in Rome, Paul met a runaway slave named Onesimus, who had fled from Colosse to Rome. Paul realized that he personally knew Onesimus’ master. The Epistle to Philemon is Paul’s personal appeal to his friend regarding a restored relationship with the runaway slave.

Relationships mattered to Paul. The apostle knew that fractured relationships are detrimental to spiritual growth and to church unity. Philemon was a church leader in Colosse. If he harbored bitterness toward Onesimus, it would color his Christian witness and the witness of the church to the nonbelieving community.

Read Philemon 1-25. What important principles about restored relationships can we find here? Remember, the key word is principles.

At first glance it is somewhat surprising that Paul did not speak more forcefully against the evils of slavery. But Paul’s strategy was far more effective. The Gospel, ideally, breaks down all class distinctions (Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:10, 11). The apostle sent Onesimus back to Philemon, not as a slave but as his son in Jesus and as Philemon’s “beloved brother” in the Lord (Philemon 16, NKJV).

Paul knew that runaway slaves had a bleak future. They could be apprehended at any time. They were doomed to a life of destitution and poverty. But now, as Philemon’s brother in Christ and willing worker, Onesimus could have a better future. His food, lodging, and job could be made secure under Philemon. The restoration of a broken relationship could make a dramatic difference in his life. He became a “faithful and beloved brother” and colaborer in the Gospel with Paul (Col. 4:9). Paul was so fervent, so adamant, in his desire for reconciliation between them that he was willing to pay out of his own pocket any financial issues that might have arisen from what happened between the two believers in Jesus.

Drawing from the principles of the Gospel as seen here, what can you take away that can help you deal with whatever stresses and strains, even fractures, you have in relationships with others? How can these principles prevent a breakdown in the unity of your local church?

Freedom. Who ought to better understand it than those who have lost it. America was a land of the free. Sadly, it allowed slavery. There are other forms of loss of freedom. Many around the world are drafted into the military. Is this a loss of freedom? Often it is because you can do nothing to free yourself from the bondage. You follow what others say. Those who will argue that is acceptable, then must also argue that slavery in the Bible must have for some reason be seen as acceptable. There were other things we object to that were also "acceptable" at a particular time. Having more than one wife was acceptable to God. That is He allowed it.

Let us move on then from why might Paul have remained quiet about slavery to how the slave and his owner ought to act towards each other. As we see the story unfold, we do not read of the slave being told it was acceptable to kill the slave owner, but contrariwise, to obey him, to love him. Kind of reminds us of Jesus loving Judas, the traitor. God's ways are not man's ways. But, it is impossible to love those who hold you in slavery, if we do not love Jesus supremely. Having given the whole heart to Him, then we can have the relationship with others that will glorify 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          December 4

Spiritual Gifts for Unity

As As we saw in an earlier lesson, the church at Corinth had deep problems. What principles does Paul outline in 1 Corinthians 3:5-11, 12:1-11, and 2 Corinthians 10:12-15 for healing and restoration, which are so vital to church unity?

In these passages, the apostle outlines critical principles for church unity. He points out that Jesus uses different workers to accomplish different ministries in His church, even though each one is laboring together for the building up of God’s kingdom (1 Cor. 3:9).

God calls us to cooperation, not competition. Each believer is gifted by God to cooperate in ministering to the body of Christ and serving the community (1 Cor. 12:11). There are no greater or lesser gifts. All are necessary in Christ’s church (1 Cor. 12:18-23). Our God-given gifts are not for selfish display, and they are given by the Holy Spirit for service in the spreading of the Gospel.

We see two runners racing towards the finish line. The world values competition and spends much time and money on sports where there is competition, even some of our schools. How can we follow principles of cooperation if self is alive and well? We cannot. We are selfish by nature and must be born again of the Spirit before we can give up our race to be the best or first.


All comparisons with others are unwise, because they will make us feel either discouraged or arrogant. If we think that others are far “superior” to us, we will feel despondent when we compare ourselves to them and easily can get discouraged in whatever ministry we are in. On the other hand, if we think our labors for Christ are more effective than is the work of others, we will feel proud, which is the last sentiment any Christian should be harboring.

We need to keep the horse in front of the cart if we are to see things rightly. There is a difference in the work that each of us do. All are important, but that does not mean that we cannot see a difference between what two people do. If one is not converted and fails to rightly represent Christ, and another is fully surrendered and has a heart filled with the Holy Spirit, which one will be more effective? And, which one will not manifest pride? The truth is always the same. We need to make a full heartfelt surrender to Christ, then there will be no pride in the life as long as that relationship is maintained.


Both attitudes cripple our effectiveness for Christ and the fellowship we have with one another. As we labor within the sphere of influence that Christ has given us, we will find joy and contentment in our witness for Christ. Our labors will complement the efforts of other members, and the church of Christ will make giant strides for the kingdom.

We are still here, we have disunity, and the source of the problem has not  been identified. Why are we not unified, why has not Jesus come? How long before we see unity in the church? What must be done in order to have unity in the church?


Can you think of someone whose gifts in ministry have made you jealous? (Not too hard, is it?) At the same time, how often have you felt proud of your gifts in contrast to those of others? The point is that Paul’s concerns are an ever-present reality in fallen human beings. Regardless of the side on which we fall, how can we learn the unselfish attitudes that are necessary in order to maintain our oneness in Christ?

Let's get the horse in front of the cart, or we shall continue to remain in disunity. "How can we learn the unselfish attitudes that are necessary in order to maintain our oneness in Christ?"  No. How can we maintain our oneness in Christ so we have unselfish attitudes?

Can you see the difference? Which way is it? Do you believe you can be unselfish unless you are one with Christ? The Jews thought they were good on their own. They thought their deeds entitled them to heaven. They thought they could learn unselfish attitudes without being at one with God. What is wrong with this understanding? Can you walk on water without trusting fully in Christ? What can you do in and of yourselves that is not tainted with selfishness? Nothing, not one little thing. We are fallen by nature and can do no good thing. Shall we have a Bible study on this? It is needed. It is why we do this Sabbath School lesson every week. It is precisely to present the gospel of grace as our only hope of heaven. If we want love, joy, and peace in this world, then we had better start putting the horse in front of the cart.

If you wnat to see what happens when you get things backwards, take a look at what Saul went through when he tried to
learn unselfish attitudes not knowing there was even a Savior that could empower him to cease doing evil. He learned that apart from Christ he was in bondage to sin. It was in Romans 8 that he explained that it is the power of God through the indwelling Spirit that he was set free from the law of sin and death. He made it very clear that if the Spirit is not in man, then he has no life."But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." Romans 8:9. 
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          December 5

Forgiveness

What is forgiveness? Does forgiveness justify the behavior of someone who has horribly wronged us? Is my forgiveness dependent on the offender’s repentance? What if the one with whom I am upset does not deserve my forgiveness?

How do the following passages help us to understand the biblical nature of forgiveness? Rom. 5:8-11; Luke 23:31-34; 2 Cor. 5:20, 21; Eph. 4:26.

Christ took the initiative in reconciling us to Himself. It is the “goodness of God [that] leads you to repentance” (Rom. 2:4, NKJV). In Christ we were reconciled to God while we were yet sinners. Our repentance and confession do not create reconciliation. Christ’s death on the cross did; our part is to accept what was done for us.

Then what must I do before I will accept that gift which was obtained at infinite cost? We need to make it abundantly clear that we are not reconciled to God until we accept His grace. In other words, we remain unreconciled until we love God with the whole heart no matter what He did on the cross. It is what He did on the cross that draws us back to Him. It is His love that we must behold before we can trust Him with the whole heart. This is not hard to understand. It is not hard to teach. But, it will not be discerned until we see our condition. That is until we see we are in a lost state because we do not love Jesus more than some things in our lives, we will not have spiritual discernment. For spiritual things are spiritually discerned.

It is the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance. But just because God is good does not mean all are led to repentance. Why not? Because that goodness must be seen. If we do not behold Christ uplifted on the cross, then His grace cannot bring forth repentance. And, just because I saw His goodness today, does not mean I will be kept from sin tomorrow. God gives grace for today, not for tomorrow. I must behold His goodness each day or else I am not going to maintain that relationship with Christ.


It is true that we cannot receive the blessings of forgiveness until we confess our sins. This does not mean that our confession creates forgiveness in God’s heart. Forgiveness was in His heart all the time. Confession, instead, enables us to receive it (1 John 1:9). Confession is vitally important, not because it changes God’s attitude toward us but because it changes our attitude toward Him. When we yield to the Holy Spirit’s convicting power to repent and confess our sin, we are changed.

Is it the conviction of sin that changes the sinner? No. The law reveals sin. There is no salvation in the law. Again, what causes repentance? Not conviction, but love. If we love Jesus supremely, then when the law reveals we have sinned a previously unknown sin, what will we do? Of course we will repent. Why? Because it was the love of God that has changed my heart prior to knowing I sinned. What if I sin a known sin? Then how does this work? Why did I sin? Because I loved the sin more than I loved Jesus. Then what must I do to come to repentance? I must behold His love. By beholding Him we  become transformed in character. This is what bring forth repentance, God's grace which is the highest form of love. "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord."  2 Cor 3:18.


Forgiveness is also so crucial for our own spiritual well-being. A failure to forgive someone who has wronged us, even if they do not deserve forgiveness, can hurt us more than it hurts them. If an individual has wronged you and the pain festers inside because you fail to forgive, you are allowing them to hurt you even more. How often such feelings and hurt are the cause of divisions and tensions in the church. Unresolved hurt between church members hurts the unity of the body of Christ.

It is true that if we are unwilling to forgive others, Christ will not forgive us. Why is it that some things will not be reconciled? Why will some not repent of their sin? Can we force them? No. What will be the very best thing we can do that will provide the best chance for repentance on the part of the offender? Is it not grace. Can God work through the innocent party to bring about repentance? Who is most responsible to make the effort? The sinner or the saint? Well, what does the Bible say? "   We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves." Romans 15:1.


Forgiveness is releasing another from our condemnation because Christ has released us from His condemnation. It does not justify another’s behavior toward us. We can be reconciled to someone who has wronged us, because Christ reconciled us to Himself when we wronged Him. We can forgive because we are forgiven. We can love because we are loved. Forgiveness is a choice. We can choose to forgive in spite of the other person’s actions or attitudes. This is the true spirit of Jesus.

There is no reconciliation until the guilty one repents. We can forgive in our hearts the sinner, but until he accepts God's love, he will not be reconciled to God nor man. It is our love, grace, that can awaken in the sinner his own shame. As the lesson points out, love begets love. Those who are forgiven much love much. It is grace that transforms the life (character).


How can focusing on the forgiveness we have in Christ help us learn to forgive others? Why is this forgiveness such an essential aspect of our Christian experience?

It is the grace of God that saves us. "We are saved by grace through faith." Jesus said "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all [men] unto me. This he said, signifying what death he should die." John 12:32, 33. When we focus on Christ uplifted on the cross for us while we were yet sinners, we see His love that we do not merit. This transforms the heart. It is this love that brings forth repentance because our sins have hurt the One that loves us. Actually we do not learn to forgive others. It is the response of God's grace that gives us love for the sinner. We need to get the horse in front of the cart. We must learn to love Jesus. How can do this? By beholding we become changed. It is a spiritual and an intellectual truth that by beholding we become changed. The mind gradually adapts itself to that which it is accustomed to love and reverence. So it is the goodness of God that leads us to be sorry for our sins (repentance). It is this sorrow over what our sin did to Jesus that leads to repentance. "For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of." 2 Cor 7:10.
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

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Thursday         December 6

Restoration and Unity

Read Matthew 18:15-17.

 18:15   Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 
 18:16   But if he will not hear [thee, then] take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 
 18:17   And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell [it] unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican. 


What three steps does Jesus give us to help us to resolve conflicts when we are wronged by another church member? How are we to apply these words in our contemporary situations?

Jesus’ desire in giving the counsel of Matthew 18 is to keep interpersonal conflict within the church in as small a group as possible. His intent is that the two people involved solve the problem themselves. This is why Jesus declares, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone” (Matt. 18:15, NKJV). As the number of people involved in a conflict between two individuals increases, the more contention can be created, and the more it can affect the fellowship of other believers. People take sides, and battle lines are drawn. But when Christians attempt to settle their differences privately, and in the spirit of Christian love and mutual understanding, a climate of reconciliation is created. The atmosphere is right for the Holy Spirit to work with them as they strive to resolve their differences. The example given in Matt 18 is when one has "sinned" against another.

This is true. But, how about how the guilty one feels if we are talking about his sin without every going to him? Is that the right thing to do? Why not? First, we may not quite understand all that is going on. Better to go to the other and make an effort to resolve the difficulty. Maybe the offender did not intend to offend. How much better to not have said anything to someone else when we did not even understand ourselves just what was happening. And, if we talk to another first, how will that make the offender feel? The chances of reaching him will be less than if we had gone to him first.

If he does not listen, then the influence of another may help him see his error. If not, then we are left with the only course left, to take it to the church.


Sometimes personal appeals for conflict resolution are ineffective. In these instances Jesus invites us to take one or two others with us. This second step in the reconciliation process always must follow the first step. The purpose is to bring people together, not drive them further apart. The one or two who join the offended party are not coming to prove his/her point or to join in blaming the other individual. They come in Christian love and compassion as counselors and prayer partners in order to participate in the process of bringing two estranged people together.

No, it is not to bring two estranged people together. It is an effort to bring the sinner who transgressed to repentance, to save his soul.


There are occasions when all attempts to solve the problem do not work. In this case, Jesus instructs us to bring the issue before the church. He certainly is not talking about interrupting the Sabbath morning worship service with an issue of personal conflict. The appropriate place to bring the issue, if the first two steps have not helped to reconcile the two parties, is the church board. Again, Christ’s purpose is reconciliation. It is not to blame one party and exonerate the other.

Maybe I have missed something here. There is no reason to take a matter to the church if there is no sin involved. And, if sin, then it is not a matter of estrangement between to people. It is a matter of attempting to bring the unrepentant sinner to repentance. If there is none, then the lesson is clear. What happens then? They are to be removed from the church. I have not read where the author is going with Thursday's lesson, but when we read Scripture we find that it is because of unrepentant sin that the church is brought into the matter.


“Do not suffer resentment to ripen into malice. Do not allow the wound to fester and break out in poisoned words, which taint the minds of those who hear. Do not allow bitter thoughts to continue to fill your mind and his. Go to your brother, and in humility and sincerity talk with him about the matter.” - Ellen G. White, Gospel Workers, p. 499.


Amen, but what about what happens when the church does not persuade the sinner to repent? Let's take a look at Matthew 18 to clear up the matter. "And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen man and a publican." The author led us to believe it is not a matter of blaming someone. How can this be when the church is told to treat the offender "as a heathen man and a publican"?  Matthew 18 is not a matter of reconciling two church members, but it is an attempt to reconcile a sinner to God and the church. It is most serious. Let other matters be resolved without involving others. There is such a thing as sin, and it is to be taken seriously and dealt with seriously.
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          December 7

Further Thought: Read the article “Forgiveness”, pp. 825, 826, in The Ellen G. White Encyclopedia.

“When the laborers have an abiding Christ in their own souls, when all selfishness is dead, when there is no rivalry, no strife for the supremacy, when oneness exists, when they sanctify themselves, so that love for one another is seen and felt, then the showers of the grace of the Holy Spirit will just as surely come upon them as that God’s promise will never fail in one jot or tittle.” - Ellen G. White, Selected Messages, book 1, p. 175.


Amen!! Here we see the prophet putting the horse in front of the carriage. Look at the statement closely and see the results of placing the relationship with Christ first. “When the laborers have an abiding Christ in their own souls, when all selfishness is dead..." Pretty powerful words!  When are fully surrendered to Christ, where is selfishness? It is "dead."  We do not learn how to be unselfish. We learn how to surrender to Christ. We learn how to behold Him who gave all that we might live. What is the result of loving Jesus supremely? "There is no rivalry, no strife for supremacy."  When we abide in Christ and He in us, when the heart is fully given to Christ, then love for one another will be seen and felt.


“If we stand in the great day of the Lord with Christ as our refuge, our high tower, we must put away all envy, all strife for the supremacy. We must utterly destroy the roots of these unholy things, that they may not again spring up into life. We must place ourselves wholly on the side of the Lord.” - Ellen G. White, Last Day Events, p. 190.


Amen! We must "wholly" on God's side. The question then needs to be asked and answered "what must I do in order to be wholly on God's side in this battle between good and evil?" We must learn of Him, we must love Him with all the heart all of our might, all of the mind, and all of our strength.



Discussion Questions:

    Read Colossians 3:12-17. Discuss the Christian qualities the apostle Paul encourages the church at Colosse to seek. Why are these qualities the basis for all conflict resolution? How do they guide us in carrying out the principles that Jesus gives us in Matthew 18:15-18?

    Look again at Colossians 3:12-17 and the teachings found in these verses. Why are these things so utterly essential for the unity in the church?

    If we look at our church, that is, the Seventh-day Adventist Church as a whole, what is the greatest thing holding us back from the kind of unity that will be needed in order to reach the world? Is it our teachings and doctrines? Of course not. These are the very things that God has given us to proclaim to the world. Maybe the problem exists solely in us, in our interpersonal relationships, our petty jealousies, our bickering, our selfishness, our desire for supremacy, and a whole host of other things. Why must you plead for the power of the Holy Spirit to bring the changes that have to occur in you before we see unity in the whole church?

Summary: The Gospel of Jesus Christ is about healing and transformation. And when these come, they cannot help impacting our relationship with others. The Bible gives us powerful principles and examples of how we can have good and close relationships with others, even in a world of sin.

We need go no further in attempting to understand what we must do than in heeding what the author just said. Forget the principles of how to have good relationships with others, and do what the gospel says.  "The Gospel of Jesus Christ is about healing and transformation. And when these come, they cannot help impacting our relationship with others." Healing and transformation for who? For you and me if we want to have good and close relationships with others. If we do not understand the gospel of grace, if we do no listen to Jesus tell us we are in a lost condition (Rev 3:14-22), and heed His instruction, then until we do this, there will be no unity in God's church. All the principles in the Bible will not help the sinner love as Christ loves until he is filled with the Spirit of Christ. The question is not how do we do good, but how do we learn to love Jesus with the whole heart. Then we shall be repentant and love others as Jesus loves us. This is the only foundation upon which Christian unity can exist. Christ is the cornerstone upon which His church is built. We need Jesus and we need Him all the time in order to have unity with the church those in it. Dear Jesus help us to keep our focus on you and not keep trying to be good when our eyes are elsewhere.
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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Memory Text: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.” Romans 5:10

Amen. We either witness the character of Christ, thus leading people to Jesus, or we do not witness His character and bring reproach upon Christ, His church, and Scripture.

We are not to serve God as if we were not human, but we are to serve Him in the nature we have, that has been redeemed by the Son of God; through the righteousness of Christ we shall stand before God pardoned, and as though we had never sinned. 3SM 140

We have the high privilege of taking our eyes off our own fallen-nature-navel and look to Christ! What resounding impetus this gives to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear! When any new-born Christian is accosted by any temptation, whatsoever, the soul may THRILL with joy at the realization of imminent victory, remembering that; as we meet the present winds of doctrine, we are, through Christ dwelling in us, preparing to stand in the last day: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea... Psalm 46:1, 2

The Lord Jesus came to our world, not to reveal what a God could do, but what a man could do, through faith in God's power to help in every emergency. Man is, through faith, to be a partaker in the divine nature, and to overcome every temptation wherewith he is beset. Our High Calling 48

...we know that He came to this earth and lived as a man among men. The man Christ Jesus was not the Lord God Almighty, yet Christ and the Father are one. SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5 (EGW), Page 1129

When Christ shall come, our vile bodies are to be changed, and made like His glorious body; but the vile character will not be made holy then. The transformation of character must take place before His coming. Our natures must be pure and holy; we must have the mind of Christ, that He may behold with pleasure His image reflected upon our souls.

Enoch was a marked character, and many look upon his life as something far above what the generality of mortals can ever reach. But Enoch's life and character, which were so holy that he was translated to heaven without seeing death, represent the lives and characters of all who will be translated when Christ comes. His life was what the life of every individual may be if he will live near to God. We should remember that Enoch was surrounded by unholy influences. The society around him was so depraved that God brought a flood of waters on the world to destroy its inhabitants for their corruption.

Were Enoch upon the earth today, his heart would be in harmony with all of God's requirements; he would walk with God, although surrounded by influences the most wicked and debasing. The palm tree well represents the life of a Christian. It stands upright amid the burning desert sands, and dies not; for it draws sustenance from springs beneath the surface.

Joseph preserved his integrity when surrounded by idolaters in Egypt, in the midst of sin and blasphemy and corrupting influences. When [he was] tempted to turn aside from the path of virtue, his answer was, “How shall I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” Enoch, Joseph, and Daniel depended upon a strength that was infinite; and this is the only course of safety for Christians to pursue in our day.

The lives of these marked men were hid with Christ in God. They were loyal to God, pure amid depravity, devout and fervent when brought in contact with atheism and idolatry. Through divine grace they cultivated only such qualities as were favorable to the development of pure and holy characters.

Thus it may be with us. The spirit which Enoch, Joseph and Daniel possessed, we may have; we may draw from the same source of strength, possess the same power of self-control, and the same graces may shine out in our lives.—The Signs of the Times, November 11, 1886; Reflecting Christ 307

In His person humanity, inhabited by divinity, was represented to the world. God's Amazing Grace 14

WE ARE, in the right context, SAVED BY WORKS:

But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing. 2 Thessalonians 3:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13

The responsibility rests with us. We must receive in thoughts and in feelings, to give in expression. The law of the human and the divine action makes the receiver a laborer together with God. It brings man where he can, united with divinity, work the works of God. Humanity touches humanity. Divine power and the human agency combined will be a complete success, for Christ's righteousness accomplishes everything. Faith and Works 27

Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself... Ephesians 1:9

“As my Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21). We are to bear as definite a testimony to the truth as it is in Jesus, as did Christ and His apostles. Trusting in the efficiency of the Holy Spirit, we are to testify of the mercy, goodness, and love of a crucified and risen Saviour, and thus be agents through whom the darkness will be dispelled from many minds, and cause thanksgiving and praise to ascend from many hearts to God. There is a great work to be done by every son and daughter of God. 1SM 263
...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