Author Topic: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 7--2nd Quarter 2019--Keys to Family Unity  (Read 932 times)

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Wally

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Lesson 7 May 11-17





Keys to Family Unity







Commentary in Navy                  Inspiration in Maroon








So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

Richard Myers

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Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: Gen. 33:12-14, Ruth 1:16-18, John 17:21-26, Gal. 3:28, Eph. 2:11-22, 5:21-6:9.

Memory Text: “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” John 17:21

Family life represents different seasons of life for different people. For the mother and father, the introduction of children in their lives represents a major change, one that will last their lifetimes. And for the offspring, of course, going from nonexistence to existence is, indeed, a major transition. Then, too, children go through the various stages of life until they leave home and, indeed, might have children of their own.

Yet whether as parents or children in a family, we all struggle with the same thing, and this is our sinful fallen natures, which can make unity in family life very challenging, to say the least.

Yes, in the body of Jesus Christ on the cross all humanity has been reconciled to God and to one another (Eph. 2:13-16, Col. 1:21-23), but on a daily practical level we must appropriate for ourselves the grace of Christ, which alone can make family unity a living experience for all who seek it in faith. This must be a daily experience in our lives. Fortunately, through the grace of Christ, it can be.

Let's take a look at these verses.
2:13   But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 
 2:14   For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition [between us]; 
 2:15   Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace; 
 2:16   And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: 

 1:21   And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled 
 1:22   In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: 
 1:23   If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and [be] not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, [and] which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; 


Because there is so much false teaching regarding the gospel of salvation, we need to be very clear. All of humanity is not reconciled to God, neither indeed will be. It is true that Christ in His humanity made it possible for all of humanity to be reconciled to God. And, it is true that we must be converted and reconverted daily. We must die to self daily. We must maintaiun our full heart surrender to Christ continually. We must not do as did the disciples that night in the garden when Christ longed for human sympathy, but got none. They, nor many of us, realize the necessity of watchfulness and earnest prayer in order to resist the temptation to sin.

As our memory verse says, we must be reconciled to Christ in order to be one with others. We must allow Christ to sit on the throne of the heart in order to have unity in the family. Otherwise self will taint all we do with selfishness. But, if we are fully surrendered to Christ (reconciled) then we will be one with all others who are so surrendered and dead to self.
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          May 12

Christ the Center

What illustration does Paul use to describe the new unity that exists between peoples in Christ? How has Christ made “one” out of “two”? Eph. 2:11-22; see also Gal. 3:28.

The cross of Christ removes the barriers that separate people from each other. Walls separated worshipers in the Jewish temple, men from women, and Jews from Gentiles. Describing the unity of Jews and Gentiles in Christ, Paul used language that applies equally to other divisions between nations, people groups, social strata, and gender. “To create out of the two a single new humanity in himself, thereby making peace” (Eph. 2:15, NEB) is good news that helps couples to truly know “one flesh” unity in marriage. Also, by faith in Christ, long-divided families can be reconciled.

Let's look at the KJV verse. "Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace." Ephesians 2:15.

It’s one thing to quote Bible texts about oneness in Christ; it’s wholly another to actually experience it. What practical changes does Christ bring to our lives that enable us to experience the oneness and unity we have been promised? See, for instance, Rom. 6:4-7, 2 Cor. 5:17, Eph. 4:24-32.

Ephesians 2:15 explains nicely. We come into the world selfish, disconnected from God. We are in need of the power of God to transform our character. We need to be a "new man." We need to be converted. We need to be reconciled to God, to be at one with Him. Then we are partakers of His divine nature. The heart is cleansed from sin. Self is dead, hidden in Christ Jesus as long as we remain fully surrendered to Him. The "enmity" spoken of is a hatred to God. We are not united with Christ, but are in need of "enmity" towards sin and Satan. That enmity is promised in Genesis 3:15. We have no enmity towards Satan and sin, we are aligned with Him, captives to sin. When we are converted, abiding in Christ and He in us, through the Holy Spirit, we are given all of the fruits of the Spirit, not one is missing. We are in unity with Christ and all who are abiding in Christ and the Spirit in them. There is peace that passeth understanding when we love Jesus supremely and have given Him the whole heart.


“Picture a large circle, from the edge of which are many lines all running to the center. The nearer these lines approach the center, the nearer they are to one another. … The closer we come to Christ, the nearer we shall be to one another”. – Ellen G. White, The Adventist Home, p. 179.

“Between father and son, husband and wife, … stands Christ the Mediator, whether they are able to recognize him or not. We cannot establish direct contact outside ourselves except through him, through his word, and through our following of him”. – Dietrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship (New York: The MacMillan Publishing Co., 1979), p. 108.

How close is your family, or church family, to the center of that circle? What else must come down in order for the relationships to be as they ought to be?

The answer is always the same, we need to die to self, we need to be born of the Spirit. Then we will love others as Christ loves us.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Monday          May 13

Becoming One Through His Love


“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we [do] toward you.” 1 Thess. 3:12.


Jesus prayed to His Father that His followers would “be one even as we are one” (John 17:22). Summarize what Jesus was saying here, focusing specifically on the role of love needed in order to achieve this oneness.

Unity among His followers was on Jesus’ mind in this prayer. Experiencing agape love is essential to this unity. “Agape” is the Bible word for God’s love used in this prayer and in many other places in the New Testament. Such love is God’s very nature (1 John 4:8 ), and it identifies Jesus’ followers (John 13:35). God’s love is not natural to the sinful human heart. It comes into one’s life as Jesus dwells with the believer by His Spirit (Rom. 5:5; 8:9, 11).

As Jesus dwells in the heart, through the Holy Spirit. He will come into the heart when we love Jesus with the whole heart. This is conversion.


“Love each other as I have loved you” (John 15:12, NIV). The disciple John, who wrote these words, was once not lovable but proud, power-hungry, critical, and hottempered (Mark 3:17; Luke 9:54, 55; see also The Desire of Ages, p. 295). Later in life he remembered how Jesus had kept on loving him in spite of these traits. Jesus’ love gradually changed John, enabling him to love others in Christian unity. “We love Him because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19) he wrote, and “if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another” (1 John 4:11).

Yes, it was a gradual process that led to the conversion of John. When we love Jesus supremely, then we can love others unselfishly.


Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Try placing your name where the word “love” appears. How well does it fit? Ask Jesus to bring these qualities of love into your life by His Spirit. What changes might the Spirit prompt you to make in order to reach this Christian ideal?

In order to be filled with the fruits of the Spirit, we must be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will only come into the heart when we love Jesus with the whole heart. Then filled with the Spirit, we love others as Jesus loves us.

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

Richard Myers

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Tuesday        May 14

Selfishness: Family Destroyer

“If pride and selfishness were laid aside, five minutes would remove most difficulties”. – Ellen G. White, Early Writings, p. 119.

As human beings, our natures have been corrupted by sin.

Amen. But, we need not sin in order to have fallen natures. We come into the world separated from and in need of a Savior. We are evil by nature. Some sadly do not believe this. They think they can do good without being born again.  :(


And, perhaps, the greatest example of that corruption is the curse of selfishness. We seem to be born selfish;

We are born selfish. This is the fallen nature we inherit because of Adam's sin.


we can see this reality in small children, whose basic nature is want for themselves. “Me, me, me … ”. By the time we reach adulthood this trait can manifest itself in some pretty terrible ways, especially in the home.

Of course, Jesus came to change this (Eph. 4:24). His Word promises us that we, through Him, don’t have to be dominated by this destructive character trait. His whole life is a perfect example of what it means to live without selfishness; to the degree we emulate His life (1 John 2:6), we will overcome the tendency to live only for ourselves.

When we are born again of the Spirit, we will not live for self. We are then new creatures in Christ Jesus.

Look up the following texts. What do they tell us about living a life of selflessness?

Phil. 2:3-5

1 John 3:16-18

As Ellen G. White wrote above, if pride and selfishness were put aside, so many problems could be solved very quickly, long before they fester and brew and eventually turn into something nasty. All members of the family, especially the parents, must be purged (Prov. 16:6) of this sin at the foot of the Cross (the greatest example in all the universe of selflessness), even if that means constantly coming back to the Cross and kneeling in prayer, faith, tears, and submission.

How much time are you spending at the Cross fighting against whatever selfishness appears in your life? How does this verse (Matt. 7:16) help show you if you’ve been spending enough time there?

If we would spend a thoughtful hour a day contemplating the life of Jesus, self would die. We would love Him because we see that He loves us.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
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Wednesday          May 15

Submission


What counsel does Paul have regarding humility and service in relationships? Eph. 5:21. How do you think this attitude contributes to unity in the church? Why is it so important at home? Eph. 5:22-6:9.

The word “submit” (Eph. 5:21) means to place oneself humbly before another person on the basis of voluntary choice. This unique principle began with Christ (Matt. 20:26-28; John 13:4, 5; Phil. 2:5-8) and characterizes all those who are filled with His Spirit (Eph. 5:18). “Reverence for Christ” is what motivates people to submit in this way (Eph. 5:21, NIV). Mutuality in self-giving was, and still is, a revolutionary Christian teaching about social relationships. It brings to life the spiritual reality that all are one in Christ; there are no exceptions.

A household principle. The proving ground of Christian submission is in the home. If this principle is effective there, it will make a dramatic difference in the church. Paul moves immediately from the introduction of the principle of submission to discuss its application in families.

Three pairs of relationships are addressed in Ephesians 5:22-6:9 – the most common yet most unequal relationships in society. The intent is not to reinforce an existing social order but to show how the faith culture of Christ operates when there is a radically different voluntary submission of believers to one another.

Why do you think Paul consistently speaks first to those who are socially weaker in the culture—the wives, children, and slaves? Write the qualifying phrase attached to the submission of each of these.

Eph. 5:22

Eph. 6:1

Eph. 6:5

Those with greater social power—husbands, parents, masters—are always addressed second. Each receives a directive quite uncommon to the culture. These directives must have astonished the believers of the first century. They leveled the ground around the Cross and opened the way for true oneness to be experienced in relationships.

Does one have to read Scripture in order to understand he ought to love even his slave? Which would be harder, to love your slave, or to love your enemy? Do you love those who despitefully use you? You will if you are in a converted state loving God with the whole heart. You do not have to learn to love your enemy. It comes when the Spirit takes possession of the heart.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
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Thursday          May 16

Living the Love We Promise

Ultimately, family cohesion and unity rest on the commitment of family members, beginning with the commitment of the marital partners, to care for one another. Sadly, Bible history is strewn with examples of failed promises, broken trust, and lack of commitment where it should have been present. Scripture also has stirring examples of ordinary people who, with God’s help, committed themselves to friends and families and kept their promises.

Look at the following families and their levels of commitment. How could commitment have been strengthened in some families? What encouraged the commitment shown in the others?

Parent-child commitment (Gen. 33:12-14, Exod. 2:1-10).

Sibling commitment (Gen. 37:17-28).

Family commitment (Ruth 1:16-18; 2:11, 12, 20; 3:9-13; 4:10, 13).

Marital commitment (Hos. 1:2, 3, 6, 8; 3:1-3).

When we commit ourselves to another person, as in marriage or in the decision to bear or adopt a child, there must be a willing surrender of ourselves in order to make a different choice in the future, a surrender of control over an important segment of our lives. Laws may restrain negative behavior, but marriage and family relationships need love within them to enable them to flourish.

What does Jesus’ promise of commitment (Heb. 13:5) mean to you personally? What effect should His commitment to you have on your commitment to Him, to your spouse, to your children, and to fellow believers?

It is grace that transforms sinners into saints. Unless we behold His grace daily and allow it into the heart, we cannot love others unselfishly. Too many do not know the power of grace to keep them from sinning. Too many have been buried alive, self did not die. The heart has not been cleansed from sin. But, if we would spend time with Jesus, we would see His grace and it will cleanse us from all sin.

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

Richard Myers

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  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
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Friday          May 17

Further Thought: Ellen G. White, “A Sacred Circle”, pp. 77-180, in The Adventist Home; Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, pp. 236-238.

Unity—the first work. “The first work of Christians is to be united in the family. … “The more closely the members of a family are united in their work in the home, the more uplifting and helpful will be the influence that father and mother and sons and daughters will exert outside the home”. – Ellen G. White, The Adventist Home, p. 37.

There is only one way to be united in the family, we must first be united with Christ.


The secret of family unity. “The cause of division and discord in families and in the church is separation from Christ. To come near to Christ is to come near to one another. The secret of true unity in the church and in the family is not diplomacy, not management, not a superhuman effort to overcome difficulties—though there will be much of this to do—but union with Christ”. – Page 179.

Amen!!


Discussion Questions:

    Talk about the forces in your own society that work against family unity. What practical solutions can you offer to a family that is struggling against these influences?

The answer is always the same. We need to be reconciled to God, we need to be born again of the Spirit.


    Is there a family in your church right now that has come apart? If so, what can you do as a class to help each member in this crisis time?

Pray with them and point them to Jesus.


    Discuss this whole question of submission. How is it to be understood in a Christian context? In what ways has the principle been abused?

    What principles can you see in regard to family unity that can be applied to the idea of unity in the church, as well?

The answer is always the same. We need Jesus in order to love others. If we are fully surrendered to Christ, then the home and the church will see Christ in us.

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