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Victory! Do you desire to experience victory? We may have continual victory in Jesus--but we must remember that it will look like the victory Jesus gained--not the glory of this world, but the privilege of being a continuous, unobstructed channel to communicate the character of God to a world that does not know His tender, pitying love. As long as by faith we are connected to Christ in full surrender so the heart is made and kept pure, all of "the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing" {The Desire of Ages, page 676, paragraph 4}.

Here is how we may also experience victory--just as Jesus experienced it through the Holy Spirit:

"Christ rejoiced that He could do more for His followers than they could ask or think. He spoke with assurance, knowing that an almighty decree had been given before the world was made. He knew that truth, armed with the omnipotence of the Holy Spirit, would conquer in the contest with evil; and that the bloodstained banner would wave triumphantly over His followers. He knew that the life of His trusting disciples would be like His, a series of uninterrupted victories, not seen to be such here, but recognized as such in the great hereafter. {The Desire of Ages, page 679, paragraph 2}

An illustration that strikingly reveals this kind of victory is how when a person is stitching something together, there are seen on the underside the knots and the threads that are not beautiful. But God sees the eternal pattern He is weaving in our lives, and He invites us by faith to keep our eyes fixed on the heavenly Pattern--Jesus--for He is working through trials, tribulations, and life experiences here to reveal Christ's character through us. We will only fully realize the beauty and glory of that character in heaven--but the joy of His presence in our lives begins now! Praise God for such a miracle at work in us by the power of grace!   

Sabbath Afternoon

Sorry about last week's lesson. I was distracted. We experienced the most destructive wildfire in California history. It began on Thursday the eighth of November. Death toll is now 71 and rising. Over 9,700 houses destroyed.

Read for This Week’s Study: Acts 4:8-12; Acts 1:11; Matt. 25:1-13; Heb. 9:11, 12; Exod. 20:8-11; 1 Cor. 15:51-54.

Memory Text: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:12

In 1888 Seventh-day Adventists experienced a period of intense debate over the interpretations of some key Bible texts. While pastors and church leaders were debating the identity of the ten horns of the prophecy of Daniel 7 and of the law in Galatians 3:24, few realized how their hostile attitudes toward each other destroyed their fellowship and friendship and thus marred the unity and mission of the church.

It is very good that the subject of 1888 comes up this week as we study "unity in faith." Why? Because what happened in 1888 did not destroy fellowship or unity. It revealed the lack of true faith and thus a lack of conversion in many, which included a large number of church leaders. We have to keep the horse in front of the cart.

What do we know about the church in 1888? It was fighting against the truth. Poor Ellen White was so very sad and tired. Why? Because the gospel message being proclaimed by herself, Waggoner, and Jones was being rejected by church leaders at the highest level. The four volume set on 1888 ought to be studied by all ministers and the rest of the church also. When the gospel is preached and rejected by church leadership, we ought to know it and we ought to understand what is the gospel message. We are just as confused as was the church in 1888.  So, let's get the facts as to why there was no unity in the church at that time. The following was written two years after 1888. We see that Sister White was being "crushed" by men rejecting truth. They were church leaders and the Word being rejected was the gospel itself. "When I see men taking positions contrary to thy word, I am crushed under the load..." Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. The problem was that these men were not in a converted state. They did not have the Holy Spirit indwelling their hearts.

There are many outside our people who are in the favor of God, because they have lived up to all the light that God has given them. For nearly two years we have been urging the people to come up and accept the light and the truth concerning the righteousness of Christ, and they do not know whether to come and take hold of this precious truth or not. They are bound about with their own ideas. They do not let the Saviour in. I have done what I could to present the matter. I can speak to the ear, but I cannot speak to the heart. Shall we not arise, and get out of this position of unbelief? Shall we not bruise Satan under our feet? I beseech of you, Come up where the living waters flow.

Yesterday morning I arose with an agony upon my soul, and I could only say, “Lord, thou knowest all about it. My heart is burdened, and thou knowest that I cannot bear this load. I must have more help than I yet have had. Thou knowest that when I see men taking positions contrary to thy word, I am crushed under the load, and I can do nothing without thy help.” It seemed that as I prayed a wave of light fell about me, and a voice said, “I will be with thee to strengthen thee.” Since then I have been resting in Jesus. I can hide in him. I am not going to carry this load any longer. I shall lay it down at the feet of my Redeemer.

Brethren, shall we not all of us leave our loads there? and when we leave this meeting, may it be with the truth burning in our souls like fire shut up in our bones. You will meet with those who will say, “You are too much excited over this matter. You are too much in earnest. You should not be reaching for the righteousness of Christ, and making so much of that. You should preach the law.” As a people, we have preached the law until we are as dry as the hills of Gilboa that had neither dew nor rain. We must preach Christ in the law, and there will be sap and nourishment in the preaching that will be as food to the famishing flock of God. We must not trust in our own merits at all, but in the merits of Jesus of Nazareth. Our eyes must be anointed with eye-salve. We must draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to us, if we come in his own appointed way. O that you may go forth as the disciples did after the day of Pentecost, and then your testimony will have a living ring, and souls will be converted to God.  Review and Herald, March 11, 1890.

Ellen G. White deeply deplored this state of affairs and encouraged all those involved in these discussions to think carefully about their relationship with Jesus and how love for Jesus ought to be demonstrated in our conduct, especially when we disagree. She also said that we should not expect everyone in the church to agree on every point of interpretation on all Bible texts.

We just read that the Word was being rejected. It was not a matter of everyone seeing everything alike. It was a problem because the foundation of our faith was rejected by church leadership. Study the four volume set, 1888, then you will see the truth.

But she also emphasized that we should seek unity of understanding when it comes to essential Adventist beliefs (see Ellen G. White, Counsels to Writers and Editors, pp. 28-32). This week we look at some essential biblical teachings that make us Adventists and that shape our unity in faith.

Let us pray that these essential Biblical teachings begin with the gospel message, for it is the power of grace to transform sinners into saints, thus bringing unity into the church. The message in 1888 was the "righteousness of Christ." The real righteousness of Christ. It was the presenting of the loveliness of Jesus.

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, November 24.

The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--72--In Rememberance of Me
« Last post by Richard Myers on November 16, 2018, 08:04:44 PM »
Amen Pastor Sean!  It is the heart Christ wants, all of it. If we behold His grace, we shall give Him our sin polluted hearts that He might cleanse them from the stain of sin.

  Christ by the Holy Spirit is there to set the seal to His own ordinance. He is there to convict and soften the heart. Not a look, not a thought of contrition, escapes His notice. For the repentant, brokenhearted one He is waiting. All things are ready for that soul's reception. He who washed the feet of Judas longs to wash every heart from the stain of sin.   

Notice also that it is through the Holy Spirit that this work is done.
Thursday ↥         November 22

Death and Resurrection

At Creation, “God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” (Gen. 2:7, NKJV). This account of the creation of humanity reveals that life derives from God. Is immortality an intrinsic aspect of this life? The Bible tells us that only God is immortal (1 Tim. 6:16); immortality is not given to humans at birth. In contrast to God, human beings are mortal. Scripture compares our lives with “a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14, NKJV), and at death our lives enter a sleeplike state in which there is no consciousness. (See Eccl. 9:5, 6, 10; Ps. 146:4; Ps. 115:17; John 11:11-15.)

Although people are born mortal and subject to death, the Bible speaks of Jesus Christ as the source of immortality and tells us that He gives the promise of immortality and eternal life to all those who believe in His salvation. “The gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom. 6:23, NKJV). Jesus “has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10, NKJV). “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16, NKJV). So, there is hope of life after death.

Read 1 Corinthians 15:51-54 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. What do these passages tell us about life after death and when immortality will be given to human beings?

The apostle Paul makes it clear that God bestows immortality upon people, not at the moment of death, but rather at the resurrection, when the last trumpet will sound. While believers receive the promise of eternal life at the moment they accept Jesus as their Savior, immortality is given only at the resurrection. The New Testament knows nothing of the idea of souls going off to heaven immediately at death; this teaching has its roots in paganism, going back to the philosophy of the ancient Greeks, and is not found in either the Old or New Testament.

How does our understanding of death help us appreciate even more the promise of the Second Coming? How does this belief powerfully unite us as Seventh-day Adventists?

Friday ↥         November 23

Further Thought: Ellen G. White, “The Foundations, Pillars, and Landmarks”, pp. 28-32, in Counsels to Writers and Editors. Read the article “Doctrines, Importance of”, pp. 778, 779, in The Ellen G. White Encyclopedia.

As Seventh-day Adventists we do share important beliefs in common with some other Christian bodies. The central one, of course, is belief in salvation by faith alone through the atoning and substitutionary death of Jesus. We, along with other Christians, believe that our righteousness is found, not in our own works but in Christ’s righteousness, which is credited to us by faith, an unmerited gift of grace. Or, as Ellen G. White famously wrote: “Christ was treated as we deserve, that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His.” - The Desire of Ages, p. 25. At the same time, taken as a whole, our set of fundamental beliefs, and the practices and lifestyle that emerge from those beliefs, make us unique among the Christian world. That’s the way it should be, too; if not, why even exist, at least as Seventh-day Adventists? Our love of Jesus, and the teaching we proclaim, should be the most powerful uniting factor among us.

Discussion Questions:

    In Faith and Works, p. 103, Ellen G. White equates justification with forgiveness of sins. How is an appreciation of our forgiveness and justification in Christ a basis for our fellowship and community with brothers and sisters?

    Think about how important our doctrines are in the context of church unity. That is, what has brought together millions of people from so many diverse ethnic, religious, political, and cultural backgrounds other than our shared doctrinal beliefs? What does this tell us about how important doctrine is, not just in the context of mission and message but for church unity as well?

    Our very name “Seventh-day Adventist” points to two crucial teachings, the seventh-day Sabbath and the Second Advent. One part of our name points to Creation, the other redemption. How are these two teachings related, and in what ways do they together so succinctly capture the essence of who we are as a people?

Summary: Seventh-day Adventists hold in common many fundamental beliefs. Some we hold in common with other Christians; others not. Taken as a whole these teachings form our identity as a distinct church and are the foundation of our unity in Jesus.
Tuesday ↥         November 20

Jesus’ Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary

In the Old Testament, God instructed Moses to build a tabernacle, or sanctuary, to serve as His “dwelling” here on earth (Exod. 25:8 ). Through its services, the sanctuary is where the people of Israel were taught the plan of salvation. Later, in the time of King Solomon, the portable tabernacle was replaced by a magnificent temple (1 Kings 5-8). Both the tabernacle and temple were patterned after the heavenly sanctuary, “the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man” (Heb. 8:2, NKJV; see also Exod. 25:9, 40).

Throughout the Bible, it is assumed that there is a heavenly sanctuary, serving as the primary dwelling place of God. The earthly sanctuary services were “miniprophecies” of the plan of salvation and of Jesus’ priestly ministry in heaven.

Read Hebrews 8:6; 9:11, 12, 23-28; and 1 John 1:9-2:2. What do these passages teach concerning Jesus’ priestly ministry in heaven?

Since His ascension, the heavenly sanctuary is the place where Christ conducts His priestly ministry for our salvation (see Heb. 7:25). Therefore, we are encouraged to “come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16, NKJV).
As the earthly tabernacle had two phases of priestly ministry-first, on a daily basis in the Holy Place and then once a year in the Most Holy Place-the Scriptures also describe these two phases of Jesus’ ministry in heaven. His ministry in the Holy Place in heaven is characterized by intercession, forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration. Repentant sinners have immediate access to the Father through Jesus the Mediator (1 John 2:1). Since 1844, Jesus’ ministry in the Most Holy Place deals with the aspects of judgment and cleansing that were done once a year on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16). The ministry of cleansing the sanctuary is also based on Jesus’ shed blood. The atonement performed on this day foreshadowed the final application of the merits of Christ to remove the presence of sin and to accomplish the complete reconciliation of the universe into one harmonious government under God. The doctrine of this two-phase ministry is a unique Adventist contribution to the understanding of the entire plan of salvation.

Wednesday ↥         November 21

The Sabbath

Another crucial biblical teaching that Seventh-day Adventists believe and uphold is the seventh-day Sabbath. This is a key doctrine that brings unity and fellowship among us. It is one that, with very few exceptions in Christendom, we alone follow.

The Sabbath is God’s gift to humanity right from the Creation week itself (Gen. 2:1-3). At Creation, three distinctive divine acts established the Sabbath: (1) God rested on the Sabbath, (2) He blessed the day, and (3) He sanctified it. These three actions instituted the Sabbath as God’s special gift, enabling the human race to experience the reality of heaven on earth and to affirm God’s six-day Creation. A well-known rabbi, Abraham Joshua Heschel, has called the Sabbath “a palace in time”, a holy day when God meets with His people in a special way.

What do the following passages teach about the meaning of the Sabbath for humankind? Exod. 20:8-11; Deut. 5:12-15; Ezek. 20:12, 20.

In our desire to follow Jesus’ example (Luke 4:16), Seventh-day Adventists observe the seventh-day Sabbath. Jesus’ participation in Sabbath services reveals that He endorsed it as a day of rest and worship. Some of His miracles were done on the Sabbath in order to teach the dimension of healing (both physical and spiritual) that comes from the celebration of the Sabbath (see Luke 13:10-17). The apostles and early Christians understood that Jesus had not abolished the Sabbath; they themselves kept it as well and attended worship on that day (Acts 13:14, 42, 44; 16:13; 17:2; 18:4) .

Another beautiful dimension of the Sabbath is its sign of our deliverance from sin. The Sabbath is the memorial of God’s salvation of the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt to the rest He promised in the land of Canaan (Deut. 5:12-15). Despite the failure of Israel to enter fully into this rest because of their repeated disobedience and idolatry, God still promises that “there remains therefore a rest for the people of God” (Heb. 4:9, NKJV). All who desire to enter into that rest can enter it by faith in the salvation Jesus provides. The observance of the Sabbath symbolizes this spiritual rest in Christ and that we rely only on His merits, and not works, to save us from sin and to give us eternal life. (See Heb. 4:10, Matt. 11:28-30.)

In what very tangible ways has the Sabbath helped you experience the unity and fellowship that Christ desires for His people?
Lesson 8 November 17-23

Unity in Faith

Commentary in Navy                  Inspiration in Maroon

Sunday ↥         November 18

Salvation in Jesus

Although as Seventh-day Adventists we have much in common with other Christian bodies, our set of beliefs form a unique system of biblical truth that no one else in the Christian world is proclaiming. These truths help define us as God’s end-time remnant.

Read Acts 4:8-12, 10:43. What importance does Peter give to the place of Jesus Christ in his understanding of the plan of salvation?

The apostle Paul told the Corinthians that the good news is “that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself” (2 Cor. 5:19, NKJV). Christ’s death is our reconciliation with the Father, bridging the chasm left by sin and death. For centuries, Christians have pondered the meaning of Jesus’ death, resurrection, and the reconciliation He came to accomplish. This process of reconciliation has been termed atonement, an old English word that originally meant “at-one-ment.” This is a state of being “at one”, or in agreement. Accordingly, atonement denotes harmony in a relationship, and when there has been estrangement, this harmony would be the result of reconciliation. Church unity is thus a gift of this reconciliation.

What What do the following passages teach about the meaning of Jesus’ death and resurrection?
Rom. 3:24, 25 1 John 2:2 1 John 4:9, 10 1 Pet. 2:21-24

Though we hold this belief in Christ’s death and resurrection in common with many other Christian bodies, we proclaim it in the context of the “everlasting Gospel” (Rev. 14:6), part of the three angels’ messages of Revelation 14:6-12. As Seventh-day Adventists, we place an emphasis on these messages that no other Christian body does.

How can you learn to keep before you at all times the reality of Christ’s death and resurrection and the hope that it offers?

Monday ↥         November 19

Second Coming of Christ

The apostles and early Christians considered Christ’s return “the blessed hope” (Titus 2:13, NKJV), and they expected all the prophecies and promises of Scripture to be fulfilled at the Second Advent. Seventh-day Adventists still hold firmly to this conviction. In fact, our name, “Adventist”, states it unequivocally. All who love Christ look forward with anticipation to the day they will be able to share face-to-face fellowship with Him. Until that day, the promise of the second coming of Christ exerts a unifying influence on us as God’s people.

What do the following passages teach about the manner of Christ’s return? How does this differ from some of the popular notions of Christ’s return? Acts 1:11; Matt. 24:26, 27; Rev. 1:7; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Rev. 19:11-16.

The Bible repeatedly assures us that Jesus will come again to claim His redeemed people. When this event will happen should not be a matter of speculation, because Jesus Himself stated, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (Matt. 24:36, NKJV). Not only do we not know when Christ is coming back, we have been told that we do not know.

At the end of His ministry, Jesus told the parable of the ten virgins (Matt. 25:1-13) in order to illustrate the experience of the church as it awaits His second coming. The two groups of virgins represent two types of believers who profess to be waiting for Jesus. Superficially, these two groups appear to be alike; but when the delay of Jesus’ coming occurs, the real difference between them becomes obvious. One group, in spite of the delay, had kept its hope alive and had made the adequate spiritual preparation. By this parable Jesus wished to teach His disciples that the Christian experience is not to be based on emotional excitement or enthusiasm but on a continuous reliance on the grace of God and perseverance in faith even when there is no tangible evidence of the fulfillment of God’s promises. Jesus invites us still today to “watch” and be ready at any time for His coming.

Though our very name “Seventh-day Adventist” testifies to how crucial the Second Coming is to us, how can we on a personal level keep the reality of the Second Coming before us? How can we, as the years go by, not make the mistake that Jesus warned about in the parable of the ten virgins?
The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--72--In Rememberance of Me
« Last post by Pastor Sean Brizendine on November 16, 2018, 05:30:08 AM »
May we experience the transformation that comes only through beholding the loveliness of Jesus, and letting it materially change our character--reaching down to our very motives, thoughts, and feelings, so we are truly new creatures in Christ Jesus. Such an experience is the greatest miracle, and is manifest in the life with the witness of all of the fruits of the Spirit without one missing. The degree to which we reveal Christ's character will only increase continually as we remain abiding in Him, seeing ever more fully the sinfulness of our fallen nature, and our deep need of the new heart of faith working by love, so the divine nature that is given us in conversion by receiving His promises may bear much fruit to His glory! "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh" (Ezekiel 36:26). We need deeper union and communion with Christ, and as we experience it, souls around us will be drawn to the Savior!

"He who beholds the Saviour's matchless love will be elevated in thought, purified in heart, transformed in character. He will go forth to be a light to the world, to reflect in some degree this mysterious love. The more we contemplate the cross of Christ, the more fully shall we adopt the language of the apostle when he said, 'God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.' Galatians 6:14." {The Desire of Ages, page 661, paragraph 3}

Church News / Re: Paradise Seventh-day Adventist Church
« Last post by Richard Myers on November 16, 2018, 05:24:39 AM »
I guess I entitled this topic wrongly. I thought it was a Seventh-day Adventist Church, but I see it is not. At least the sign does not say Seventh-day.

Healthful Living / Re: Being Outdoors Can Be Dangerous
« Last post by JimB on November 15, 2018, 11:51:20 AM »
Not exactly my favorite news to hear.

Cases of Lyme disease, Powassan virus; spotted fever rickettsiosis, including Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, babesiosis and tularemia all increased last year. The CDC said there were 59,349 confirmed cases of tickborne diseases in 2017, up from 48,610 in 2016. In past years, health officials have acknowledged that the true number of cases is likely many times higher than the officially tally. Source
The Desire of Ages / Re: The Desire of Ages--71--A Servant of Servants
« Last post by Richard Myers on November 15, 2018, 10:27:12 AM »
Amen and amen. The grace of God will cleanse the heart from the stain of sin and make it white as snow. Where is pride in the heart of one whose heart has been cleansed? There is none, not even hidden pride.

The disciples all were not in a converted state when they entered the upper room. Self was alive in each one. It is not that they had never been converted. We do not believe in once saved always saved, but many believe in a form of it. They believe they still have eternal life (salvation) when they sin a known sin. In other words, they believe their profession of faith is enough. But, this is not Biblical. God requires that we love Him with the whole heart, not part of it.

 So Christ expressed His love for His disciples. Their selfish spirit filled Him with sorrow, but He entered into no controversy with them regarding their difficulty.

Instead, He revealed His love for them while they were yet sinners. It is by grace we are saved. He showed grace to them. They ought to have washed His dirty feet, but they did not. They would not. Why? Pride was in their hearts. But, grace cleanses the heart from pride, from self. How did Jesus reveal grace? He washed their dirty feet. It broke all of their hearts, except for Jesus. The longer we resist His grace, the easier to resist it.

I can't help but think of Judas. He had the same privileges and opportunities as all of the disciples. As they went into the upper room all the disciples were struggling with feelings of envy, pride, jealousy etc. They were not prepared to partake of the Passover.

When Jesus took His place as servant to wash the disciples feet every heart was deeply touched. Even Judas! But his pride kept him from surrendering his heart to Jesus while the rest of the disciples hearts broke. Then we see the miracle working power of the Holy Spirit to completely change the hearts of all but Judas.
Amen, dear Sister.
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