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Wally

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Fourth Quarter--2012--SDA SS LESSON 3--Man--God’s Handiwork
« on: October 12, 2012, 05:01:45 PM »
Lesson 3 *October 13-19



Man: God’s Handiwork





SABBATH AFTERNOON

Read for This Week’s Study: Gen 1:27; 1:26; Mark 12:13-17; Gen. 2:19-25; Acts 17:26; Rom. 5:12-19.

Memory Text: “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves” (Psalm 100:3).

Key Thought: God created humanity in His own image; sin defiled that image. God’s plan is to restore that image in us.

A nineteenth-century thinker, Arthur Schopenhauer, while deep in thought about the essence of human identity, accidently bumped into someone on the street. The person whom he hit angrily demanded, “Who do you think you are?”

“Who am I?” Schopenhauer responded. “I wish I knew.”

Who am I? Who are we as a race? What are we doing here? How did we get here, and why?

These are ancient questions that humans still debate today. Scripture, however, answers them all. That’s because there is an inseparable link between the question of our identity and the doctrine of creation. The answer to all those questions is found there; no other biblical doctrine is as central to our understanding of humanity as is creation, because it focuses on our origin, not merely our beginning. “Beginning” simply may refer to the fact of coming to be; “origin” attaches the idea of purpose to that fact of coming to be.

Therefore, radically opposed to evolution, which argues that there is no purpose for our existence (we are here by chance alone), is the Bible teaching on the creation of humanity. Rarely have there been two teachings that present starker or more irreconcilable alternatives to not only our existence but to our identity as human beings.

*Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, October 20.

SUNDAY October 14

Creation and Human Origins

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Gen. 1:27). What does this text tell us about our origins that is so radically different, even openly contradictory, from other views of human beginnings, such as evolution?

It is impossible to miss the point that, as a conscious act of God, humanity’s creation had a purpose behind it. Scripture has no room for any idea of chance. We were made with a distinct purpose, and we were given a distinct nature and essence right from the start.

Made “in the image of God” is about as concrete and distinct an essence, a purpose, as could be imagined. This point is important because some thinkers have argued that humans have to create their own meaning, their own purpose, because we come without any meaning or purpose inherent in us. If, for instance, evolution were true, one could make the point that-because evolution teaches that we didn’t come with any purposes (how could we, being accidents, and all?)- we have to make up our own. In contrast, according to the Bible, we were prepackaged, made in the image of God and created to bring glory to Him.

Origins deal with history. Read Jude 14, Romans 5:12-21, and 1 Corinthians 15:20-22. How do these texts help us to understand the historicity of Adam in Genesis 1, 2? Why is it important to understand Adam as a historical person?

It’s amazing how many Bible scholars dismiss the historicity of Adam: he’s a myth, they say, a symbol for humanity but not a real person. One can hold those beliefs only through greatly distorting the texts themselves, both in the Old and New Testaments.

Dwell on the fact that you were made in the image of God. What should that tell you about your own inherent self-worth, regardless of your faults, weaknesses, and shortcomings?

MONDAY October 15

The Image of God: Part 1

As we saw yesterday, Adam and, of course, Eve were literal people, not symbols or myths but actual flesh and blood beings made “in the image of God.” Obviously, being made in the image of God is something good, something sacred, something that bestows inherent value on us. What, however, does that really mean?

Read Genesis 1:26 carefully. What statement of intention seems to be linked to the creation of man in God’s image? That is, God says that humanity is to be made in His image, and then something immediately follows as a result. What is that, and how does that help us in our understanding of the concept of “the image of God”?

Genesis 1:26 is God’s statement of intention. God creates man in His image and then commands him to do something. Being created in God’s image appears to be necessary for a certain function; in this case, to have “dominion” over the rest of what God had created. Therefore, “the image of God” points to physical, intellectual, social, and spiritual endowments needed in order for humanity to fulfill God’s purpose for it. Whatever it meant to have “dominion over” the rest of the creation, it certainly entailed respect, care, and good stewardship. Humanity was, perhaps, to interact in a dynamic way with the “lower” created order in a way that reflected how God interacted with humans themselves. Being made in the image of God also means that humans were to represent God in the world.

What a responsibility!

Read Mark 12:13-17. How do these verses help us to understand what it means to be made in God’s image?

Jesus’ practical message seems to be “ ‘Give your money to Caesar; it has his image on it, and thus it belongs to him. But give yourselves to God. You bear his image, and you belong to him.’ ”-Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Mich.: Baker Book House, 1998), p. 515.

How is this translated into practical terms? Most likely, we also show that we bear God’s image in our love, commitment, and loyalty to Him, as well as in the way in which we treat others. Again, being made in the image of God, whatever else it entails, is something manifested by our actions.
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

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Re: Fourth Quarter--2012--SDA SS LESSON 3--Man--God’s Handiwork
« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2012, 05:03:22 PM »
TUESDAY October 16

The Image of God: Part 2

Whatever else it means to be “made in the image of God,” it also shows that we were made to be in relationships. What are those relationships, and how should we, made as we are, act in them?

Read Genesis 2:19-20. What does that tell us right away about humanity’s relationship to the world?

Notice the autonomy, the freedom, given to Adam here. He was to name the creatures that God had created. God didn’t do the naming Himself, but He left that work to Adam. The text suggests that God was going to accept whatever names Adam gave to the creatures.

Read Genesis 2:20-25. How do these verses reveal more about the relational aspects for these beings made in God’s image?

A lot of commentary has been written over the centuries about the meaning of these verses. What is fascinating here, among other things, is the closeness and the intimacy that was meant to exist between Adam and Eve. Adam was created out of the ground and Eve out of Adam (something that helps to distinguish her from every other earthly created being). To be made in God’s image, then, certainly entails the capacity for close and loving relationships (something that surely reflects the relationship in the Godhead itself).

Now study Genesis 1:27 together with Genesis 3:20 and Acts 17:26. In what way is the unity between the first pair of humans extended to cover the unity of the entire human race? What does the unity of humanity have to say about ethical issues such as justice, racism, etcetera?

WEDNESDAY October 17

A Defiled Image

One of the many great obstacles for those who read evolution into the biblical creation account is the Fall. In the Bible, the world and humanity were perfect when created, a teaching that contradicts evolution at the most basic level. Only through transgression did suffering and death enter the world, a concept that’s contrary to the evolutionary model, in which suffering and death are part of the very means of creation itself.

Imagine what it would say about the character of God if He created us in the manner that evolution teaches. God uses processes of violence, selfishness, and dominance of the strong against the weak in order to create a morally flawless and selfless being who “falls” into a state of violence, selfishness, and dominance of the strong over the weak-a state from which he has to be redeemed or else face final punishment.

Think, too, of what evolution does to the plan of salvation. he Lord incarnates into an evolved ape created through the vicious and painfully murderous cycle of natural selection, all in order to abolish death, “the last enemy” (1 Cor. 15:26)? But how can death be the “enemy” when it was one of God’s chosen means for creating humans? The Lord must have expended plenty of dead homo erectus, homo heidelbergensis, and homo neanderthalensis in order to finally get one creature into His own image (homo sapien). So, Jesus comes to save humankind from the very process God used to create humankind in the first place? The whole idea is foolish and unbiblical.

Read Romans 5:12-19 and Colossians 3:10. How do these verses help us to understand what sin has done to humanity? How does the great controversy play into this whole picture? See 1 John 3:8.

Sin has touched all aspects of human life, and even the earth itself. Ellen White talked about a “threefold” curse that has rested on the world, the first resulting from Adam’s fall, the next from Cain’s murder of Abel, and then the damage caused by the Flood. Theologians also talk about “total depravity,” the idea that every aspect of humanity, life, and personality has been damaged by sin. As we look around at the world, and even at ourselves, it’s not hard to see, is it?

Some believe that violence, suffering, and death were all part of how God created humanity. Others believe that violence, suffering, and death were all part of how Satan seeks to destroy the humanity that God has created. Think about the differences in the character of God that these two opposing views present.
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

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Re: Fourth Quarter--2012--SDA SS LESSON 3--Man--God’s Handiwork
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THURSDAY October 18

Restoration

As deep and pervasive as the effects of sin have been on humanity, our plight is not irreversible. The Bible speaks about the possibility of renewal and restoration of the image of God in us, at least to some degree.

Study the following passages carefully: Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 4:23-24. What hope is presented?

The Bible clearly holds up the hope for us to be remade in God’s image. The renewal of the image of God in humanity is accompanied by a reduction of the effects that sin has had on us and our relationships. None of this, however, is the result of man’s own achievement. The Bible points to Christ as being the basis of hope for man’s renewal; also, whatever changes are wrought in our lives, our hope of salvation must rest always on what Christ has accomplished for us and the offer of salvation based on His righteousness, not our own.

How is 2 Corinthians 5:17 related to the re-creation of man in God’s image? Does being a new creature place a person beyond the reach of sin and its effects on the human experience? What does your own experience tell you about the answer?

Overall, the evidence from Scripture leads to the conclusion that spiritual renewal comes at the cost of watchfulness in a spiritual warfare. It is a warfare between the flesh and the spirit (Gal. 5:16-17). Those who are being renewed in God’s image find this spiritual warfare to be the reality of the human experience, and thus they embrace the challenge in the strength of the Lord (Eph. 6:10-13). To choose to be re-made in the image of God is to place oneself on the side of God in the great controversy. Writing about those who have experienced the renewing power of Christ, Ellen White noted, “But because this experience is his, the Christian is not therefore to fold his hands, content with that which has been accomplished for him. He who has determined to enter the spiritual kingdom will find that all the powers and passions of unregenerate nature, backed by the forces of the kingdom of darkness, are arrayed against him. Each day he must renew his consecration, each day do battle with evil. Old habits, hereditary tendencies to wrong, will strive for the mastery, and against these he is to be ever on guard, striving in Christ’s strength for victory.”-The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 476, 477.

FRIDAY October 19

Further Study

Read Ellen G. White, “The Creation,” pp. 44-51, in Patriarchs and Prophets.

“In the beginning, man was created in the image of God. He was in perfect harmony with the nature and the law of God; the principles of righteousness were written upon his heart. But sin alienated him from his Maker. He no longer reflected the divine image. His heart was at war with the principles of God’s law. ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.’ Romans 8:7. But ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son,’ that man might be reconciled to God. Through the merits of Christ he can be restored to harmony with his Maker. His heart must be renewed by divine grace; he must have a new life from above. This change is the new birth, without which, says Jesus, ‘he cannot see the kingdom of God.’”-Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 467.

“The true object of education is to restore the image of God in the soul. In the beginning God created man in His own likeness. He endowed him with noble qualities. His mind was well balanced, and all the powers of his being were harmonious. But the Fall and its effects have perverted these gifts. Sin has marred and well-nigh obliterated the image of God in man. It was to restore this that the plan of salvation was devised, and a life of probation was granted to man.”- Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 595.

Discussion Questions

    In what way does the teaching of evolution fit into the great controversy scenario? How has Satan used this doctrine to undermine faith in the Bible?

    Go through the New Testament and look up all the texts that talk about Adam. How clear is it that the New Testament writers all believed Adam to be a real person? Why is that understanding so important to our understanding of who we are, how we got into the situation we are in, and the hope that we have in Jesus?

    Dwell more on the idea of being restored into God’s image. In what way are we meant to understand that, especially as beings who are subject to decay, death, sickness, and disease?

    The two most foundational teachings in physics- quantum theory and general relativity-directly contradict each other. What should that tell us about how careful we need to be when accepting something as “fact” merely because science says it is so?

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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Re: Fourth Quarter--2012--SDA SS LESSON 3--Man--God’s Handiwork
« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2012, 09:45:29 PM »

SABBATH AFTERNOON

Read for This Week’s Study: Gen 1:27; 1:26; Mark 12:13-17; Gen. 2:19-25; Acts 17:26; Rom. 5:12-19.

Memory Text: “Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves.” Psalm 100:3.

Key Thought: God created humanity in His own image; sin defiled that image. God’s plan is to restore that image in us.

Amen! It is His plan to restore His own image in us today, not at the end of time. All who go to heaven will have been re-created in His image. It is the mystery of godliness in humanity.


1 Thessalonians
  3:12   And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: 
  3:13   To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints. 

Colossians
  1:19   For it pleased [the Father] that in him should all fulness dwell; 
  1:20   And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven. 
  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.

Luke
  1:67   And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, 
  1:68   Blessed [be] the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, 
  1:69   And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; 
  1:70   As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: 
  1:71   That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; 
  1:72   To perform the mercy [promised] to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; 
  1:73   The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, 
  1:74   That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, 
  1:75   In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. 
  1:76   And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; 


A nineteenth-century thinker, Arthur Schopenhauer, while deep in thought about the essence of human identity, accidently bumped into someone on the street. The person whom he hit angrily demanded, “Who do you think you are?”

“Who am I?” Schopenhauer responded. “I wish I knew.”

Who am I? Who are we as a race? What are we doing here? How did we get here, and why?

These are ancient questions that humans still debate today. Scripture, however, answers them all. That’s because there is an inseparable link between the question of our identity and the doctrine of creation. The answer to all those questions is found there; no other biblical doctrine is as central to our understanding of humanity as is creation, because it focuses on our origin, not merely our beginning. “Beginning” simply may refer to the fact of coming to be; “origin” attaches the idea of purpose to that fact of coming to be.

Therefore, radically opposed to evolution, which argues that there is no purpose for our existence (we are here by chance alone), is the Bible teaching on the creation of humanity. Rarely have there been two teachings that present starker or more irreconcilable alternatives to not only our existence but to our identity as human beings.

Amen! And Satan is busy to pervert this very truth. So much so that there are those even in our church that have twisted Genesis to do away with the simple truth that God created the and all that is on it in six literal days. Imagine someone saying it is impossible!! They do not trust in the Bible, therefore, they will have a hard, it not impossible time, knowing and trusting God.



SUNDAY October 14

Creation and Human Origins

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Gen. 1:27). What does this text tell us about our origins that is so radically different, even openly contradictory, from other views of human beginnings, such as evolution?

It is impossible to miss the point that, as a conscious act of God, humanity’s creation had a purpose behind it. Scripture has no room for any idea of chance. We were made with a distinct purpose, and we were given a distinct nature and essence right from the start.

Made “in the image of God” is about as concrete and distinct an essence, a purpose, as could be imagined. This point is important because some thinkers have argued that humans have to create their own meaning, their own purpose, because we come without any meaning or purpose inherent in us. If, for instance, evolution were true, one could make the point that-because evolution teaches that we didn’t come with any purposes (how could we, being accidents, and all?)- we have to make up our own. In contrast, according to the Bible, we were prepackaged, made in the image of God and created to bring glory to Him.

Origins deal with history. Read

Jude 14
  1:14   And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, 

Romans 5:12-21
  5:12   Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 
  5:13   (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 
  5:14   Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 
  5:15   But not as the offence, so also [is] the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, [which is] by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 
  5:16   And not as [it was] by one that sinned, [so is] the gift: for the judgment [was] by one to condemnation, but the free gift [is] of many offences unto justification. 
  5:17   For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 
  5:18   Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life. 
  5:19   For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 
  5:20   Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: 
  5:21   That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. 
 
1 Corinthians 15:20-22.
  15:20   But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept. 
  15:21   For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 
  15:22   For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 


How do these texts help us to understand the historicity of Adam in Genesis 1, 2?

Genesis
1:26   And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 
  1:27   So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 
  1:28   And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. 
  1:29   And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which [is] upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which [is] the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. 
  1:30   And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein [there is] life, [I have given] every green herb for meat: and it was so. 
  1:31   And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, [it was] very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day. 
 
Chapter 2

  2:1   Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 
  2:2   And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. 
  2:3   And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made. 
  2:4   These [are] the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens, 
  2:5   And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and [there was] not a man to till the ground. 
  2:6   But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. 
  2:7   And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. 
  2:8   And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. 
  2:9   And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 
  2:10   And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. 
  2:11   The name of the first [is] Pison: that [is] it which compasseth the whole land of Havilah, where [there is] gold; 
  2:12   And the gold of that land [is] good: there [is] bdellium and the onyx stone. 
  2:13   And the name of the second river [is] Gihon: the same [is] it that compasseth the whole land of Ethiopia. 
  2:14   And the name of the third river [is] Hiddekel: that [is] it which goeth toward the east of Assyria. And the fourth river [is] Euphrates. 
  2:15   And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. 
  2:16   And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 
  2:17   But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. 
  2:18   And the LORD God said, [It is] not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 
  2:19   And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought [them] unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that [was] the name thereof. 
  2:20   And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. 
  2:21   And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 
  2:22   And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 
  2:23   And Adam said, This [is] now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 
  2:24   Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 
  2:25   And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. 
 

Why is it important to understand Adam as a historical person?

If we did not, then we would be saying the Bible is not an accurate historical record of the past. Then we would not have the Bible as the rule for our lives. Then we surely would be greatly deceived.


It’s amazing how many Bible scholars dismiss the historicity of Adam: he’s a myth, they say, a symbol for humanity but not a real person. One can hold those beliefs only through greatly distorting the texts themselves, both in the Old and New Testaments.

Dwell on the fact that you were made in the image of God. What should that tell you about your own inherent self-worth, regardless of your faults, weaknesses, and shortcomings?


It is a rather astounding thought, that man was made in the image of God!  More than that, that you personally have some relationship to God because of this!  How it must hurt God to see us when we sin. Especially when we take the name of Christian. He knows His people called by His name and has promised us revival and reformation:

Ezekiel
36:22   Therefore say unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; I do not [this] for your sakes, O house of Israel, but for mine holy name's sake, which ye have profaned among the heathen, whither ye went. 
  36:23   And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I [am] the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes. 
  36:24   For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. 
  36:25   Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 
  36:26   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. 
  36:27   And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. 


God loves us and has proved it by sending His Son to suffer and die in our place. May we behold this grace daily that we might be reconciled to our God.
I'm going home SOON, come along!!

Wally

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Re: Fourth Quarter--2012--SDA SS LESSON 3--Man--God’s Handiwork
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2012, 03:23:00 PM »
Lesson 3 *October 13-19

Man: God’s Handiwork

SABBATH AFTERNOON



It’s amazing how many Bible scholars dismiss the historicity of Adam: he’s a myth, they say, a symbol for humanity but not a real person. One can hold those beliefs only through greatly distorting the texts themselves, both in the Old and New Testaments.



"Bible scholar" is hardly the term to describe these individuals.  They are skeptics, so blinded by their "superior wisdom" that they don't realize what they're doing.  If Adam is a myth, a mere symbol for humanity, then Jesus was mistaken in Mark 10:6, 7, when He quoted from Genesis 1:  But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife.  And what about Paul's statements in Romans that sin came about because of Adam's sin?

Relegating the Genesis narrative to the status of myth or allegory undermines the rest of Scripture.  Either all Scripture was given by inspiration of God, as it says in II Tim. 3:16, or it wasn't.  If it was (and the evidence for the divine inspiration of Scripture is overwhelming) then we can't dismiss Genesis 1-11 as myth.  If it is myth, then Jesus and Paul were misinformed; and if they were misinformed about that, maybe they and the other NT authors were wrong about many other things, such as the resurrection or the virgin birth.  Once you start picking apart one area of the Bible, especially one as vital as Genesis, you've undermined the whole of Scripture.

The Reformers would be shocked to see how much damaget has been done to Christianity by so-called Bible scholars.
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

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Re: Fourth Quarter--2012--SDA SS LESSON 3--Man--God’s Handiwork
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2012, 03:30:22 PM »



WEDNESDAY October 17

A Defiled Image



Imagine what it would say about the character of God if He created us in the manner that evolution teaches. God uses processes of violence, selfishness, and dominance of the strong against the weak in order to create a morally flawless and selfless being who “falls” into a state of violence, selfishness, and dominance of the strong over the weak-a state from which he has to be redeemed or else face final punishment.

Think, too, of what evolution does to the plan of salvation. he Lord incarnates into an evolved ape created through the vicious and painfully murderous cycle of natural selection, all in order to abolish death, “the last enemy” (1 Cor. 15:26)? But how can death be the “enemy” when it was one of God’s chosen means for creating humans? The Lord must have expended plenty of dead homo erectus, homo heidelbergensis, and homo neanderthalensis in order to finally get one creature into His own image (homo sapien). So, Jesus comes to save humankind from the very process God used to create humankind in the first place? The whole idea is foolish and unbiblical.


My hat (never mind that I don't wear one) goes off to author.  He has gotten to the heart of the matter.  Christians who have bought into some form of "theistic" evolution, or "progressive" creation, have dug themselves a pit for which there is no exit, except to categorically reject any form of evolution.

Paul clearly states that sin came in by the actions of one man.  If God used evolution, then we have death before sin.  Either the Bible is wrong, or evolution is a myth.  The weight of evidence is with the Bible.
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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Re: Fourth Quarter--2012--SDA SS LESSON 3--Man--God’s Handiwork
« Reply #6 on: October 13, 2012, 07:49:12 PM »


It’s amazing how many Bible scholars dismiss the historicity of Adam: he’s a myth, they say, a symbol for humanity but not a real person. One can hold those beliefs only through greatly distorting the texts themselves, both in the Old and New Testaments.

"Bible scholar" is hardly the term to describe these individuals.  They are skeptics, so blinded by their "superior wisdom" that they don't realize what they're doing.  If Adam is a myth, a mere symbol for humanity, then Jesus was mistaken in Mark 10:6, 7, when He quoted from Genesis 1:  But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife.  And what about Paul's statements in Romans that sin came about because of Adam's sin?........

The Reformers would be shocked to see how much damage has been done to Christianity by so-called Bible scholars.

Amen, Wally!!  Amazing how loosely the title "Bible Scholar" is applied.  I have tried very hard to distance myself from the position of both "Bible scholar" and "theologian".  They both have a very bad image in my mind.  At the time of Jesus it was also true. So much so that Jesus chose "unlettered" fishermen to carry on after His departure. Quite a sad commentary on the state of religion. But, that does not mean that God does not have teachers. He does. We will know them by their fruits.
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Re: Fourth Quarter--2012--SDA SS LESSON 3--Man--God’s Handiwork
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2012, 05:22:49 AM »
MONDAY October 15

The Image of God: Part 1

As we saw yesterday, Adam and, of course, Eve were literal people, not symbols or myths but actual flesh and blood beings made “in the image of God.” Obviously, being made in the image of God is something good, something sacred, something that bestows inherent value on us. What, however, does that really mean?

Read Genesis 1:26 carefully.

 1:26   And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 


What statement of intention seems to be linked to the creation of man in God’s image? That is, God says that humanity is to be made in His image, and then something immediately follows as a result. What is that, and how does that help us in our understanding of the concept of “the image of God”?

Genesis 1:26 is God’s statement of intention. God creates man in His image and then commands him to do something. Being created in God’s image appears to be necessary for a certain function; in this case, to have “dominion” over the rest of what God had created. Therefore, “the image of God” points to physical, intellectual, social, and spiritual endowments needed in order for humanity to fulfill God’s purpose for it. Whatever it meant to have “dominion over” the rest of the creation, it certainly entailed respect, care, and good stewardship. Humanity was, perhaps, to interact in a dynamic way with the “lower” created order in a way that reflected how God interacted with humans themselves. Being made in the image of God also means that humans were to represent God in the world.

What a responsibility!

Amen!!  Think about it for a minute.  Represent God?  Created in His image? What is His image? Most would first consider what God looks like. He has a head with hair, two eyes and a mouth. So do we. Yes, we were made in His likeness. But, something more important is meant in this truth. The author is attempting to lead us to an all important truth. It is a truth that few understand. When we do, then we will better understand our responsibilities today. God is re-creating fallen human beings in His image for a purpose. In order to understand what that means, we have to grasp what man's responsibilities were before the fall and how it was that man could fulfill those responsibilities.


Read Mark 12:13-17.

  12:13   And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words. 
  12:14   And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? 
  12:15   Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it. 
  12:16   And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar's. 
  12:17   And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him. 


How do these verses help us to understand what it means to be made in God’s image?

Jesus’ practical message seems to be “ ‘Give your money to Caesar; it has his image on it, and thus it belongs to him. But give yourselves to God. You bear his image, and you belong to him.’ ”-Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Mich.: Baker Book House, 1998), p. 515.

How is this translated into practical terms? Most likely, we also show that we bear God’s image in our love, commitment, and loyalty to Him, as well as in the way in which we treat others. Again, being made in the image of God, whatever else it entails, is something manifested by our actions.


Amen!  Being made in God's image has everything to do with how we act. It is more important than how we look in terms of having the same features as God. We are to have the same character as God. What is God's great attribute that we are to manifest? Love. God is a God of love. What does this mean? If we want to see a transcript of His character, we may see it in His law. That which so many are offended by, is in fact a revelation of our God's character. Take a look at the Ten Commandments which are the great standard upon which all law hangs and you will see our loving God. This is what we are to emulate. God wants to write His law upon our hearts. He wants to write His character upon our hearts. He wants us to love as He loves.
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Richard Myers

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Re: Fourth Quarter--2012--SDA SS LESSON 3--Man--God’s Handiwork
« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2012, 06:04:00 AM »
TUESDAY October 16

The Image of God: Part 2


Whatever else it means to be “made in the image of God,” it also shows that we were made to be in relationships. What are those relationships, and how should we, made as we are, act in them?

Read Genesis 2:19-20.

  2:19   And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 
  2:20   And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. 


What does that tell us right away about humanity’s relationship to the world?

Notice the autonomy, the freedom, given to Adam here. He was to name the creatures that God had created. God didn’t do the naming Himself, but He left that work to Adam. The text suggests that God was going to accept whatever names Adam gave to the creatures.

Read Genesis 2:20-25.

  2:20   And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. 
  2:21   And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 
  2:22   And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 
  2:23   And Adam said, This [is] now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 
  2:24   Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. 
  2:25   And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. 
 


How do these verses reveal more about the relational aspects for these beings made in God’s image?

A lot of commentary has been written over the centuries about the meaning of these verses. What is fascinating here, among other things, is the closeness and the intimacy that was meant to exist between Adam and Eve. Adam was created out of the ground and Eve out of Adam (something that helps to distinguish her from every other earthly created being). To be made in God’s image, then, certainly entails the capacity for close and loving relationships (something that surely reflects the relationship in the Godhead itself).

Now study Genesis 1:27 together with Genesis 3:20 and Acts 17:26.

  1:27   So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. 
  3:20   And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. 
  17:26   And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 


In what way is the unity between the first pair of humans extended to cover the unity of the entire human race? What does the unity of humanity have to say about ethical issues such as justice, racism, etcetera?


This is an interesting question that requires much thought. "Unity".  In the world there is little unity. The one thing that we can safely say is that there is unity in opposition to Christ and His work.  Today in our church we lack unity. The unity that existed between Adam and Eve before they were separated from God by sin was a unity that is only known between husband and wife and is representative of the unity that is to exist between God and man.

It is true that the relationship between husband and wife in the sense of loving each other unselfishly is to also represent how we are to treat our neighbor. If we go back to the "transcript of God's character", His law, we find Jesus giving the lesson: "Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked Him a question, tempting him, and saying,  Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets." Matthew 22:35-40.

The author of today's lesson is pointing us to our responsibility to be loving to our fellow citizens in this world. God never intended for us to be selfish and uncaring about each other. He wants us to manifest His character of love. Is this possible? Sadly, those to whom His law is entrusted, have a hard time believing this. Excuses are made for those who profess to be serving God in His church. Few really believe that God has the power to keep sinners from falling daily. The Bible is twisted to make if appear that the power of God is limited so that it is impossible to keep God's law of love. When the Bible says "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (James 2:10), it is meant to say that one is not guilty and does not lose his standing before God.

In reality, God's grace can and does transform the character when one is "born again" of His Spirit. It is a radical transformation of nature. In order to maintain the experience we must maintain our connection to Christ. We must abide in Him and continue the full surrender made at our conversion. In practical terms, this does not happen when we are first converted. We are so far removed from our original character at creation that we do not grasp the truth very quickly.  Man must learn of his need of Jesus at all times in order to do any good thing. Sadly, we need to fall in order to see our need. Take a look at poor Peter. He walked on water when he trusted fully in Christ, but he did not know that he had to continue trusting in Christ to keep walking on water. When he allowed his mind to wander off of Christ, what happened? The very same that happens to you and me when our minds wander away from Christ, he fell. But, Jesus did not leave Peter to die in the water. He was there to save Peter when Peter cried out for help. So, today, Jesus stands at the door knocking when we sin. He wants back into our hearts that we may have power to love our neighbor and Him with all the heart.

Do we see our need to cry out for help when we fall? Or do we make excuses, pretending we did not fall? Today's lesson is pointing us to the need to be reconciled to God so that we can rightly represent God in this world. In order to love our neighbor unselfishly we need to love God supremely. Otherwise it is impossible to do that which the author is telling us we are responsible for to God. If we want to return to that great work God planned at the creation of man, if we want to be re-created in His image, then we must give up our sin polluted hearts to Jesus and let Him take over. Then, He can make us partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4), giving us power to reflect His character, His image.

Are you enjoying the lessons as much as I am?  It is a blessing to study our Sabbath School lesson when we are faithfully studying the message God has given us to take to a world soon to perish. Revival and reformation has begun. We are preparing a people to receive Jesus at His soon coming!
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Re: Fourth Quarter--2012--SDA SS LESSON 3--Man--God’s Handiwork
« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2012, 08:51:23 AM »

WEDNESDAY October 17

A Defiled Image

 
One of the many great obstacles for those who read evolution into the biblical creation account is the Fall. In the Bible, the world and humanity were perfect when created, a teaching that contradicts evolution at the most basic level. Only through transgression did suffering and death enter the world, a concept that’s contrary to the evolutionary model, in which suffering and death are part of the very means of creation itself.

Imagine what it would say about the character of God if He created us in the manner that evolution teaches. God uses processes of violence, selfishness, and dominance of the strong against the weak in order to create a morally flawless and selfless being who “falls” into a state of violence, selfishness, and dominance of the strong over the weak-a state from which he has to be redeemed or else face final punishment.

Think, too, of what evolution does to the plan of salvation. he Lord incarnates into an evolved ape created through the vicious and painfully murderous cycle of natural selection, all in order to abolish death, “the last enemy” (1 Cor. 15:26)? But how can death be the “enemy” when it was one of God’s chosen means for creating humans? The Lord must have expended plenty of dead homo erectus, homo heidelbergensis, and homo neanderthalensis in order to finally get one creature into His own image (homo sapien). So, Jesus comes to save humankind from the very process God used to create humankind in the first place? The whole idea is foolish and unbiblical.

Amen! That professing Christians could believe such a fantastic lie is a revelation of how far removed they are from the Word of God. Even in our own church are some who will not take the Bible as it reads in regards to creation because they have been greatly influenced by the world and its false science.


Read Romans 5:12-19 and Colossians 3:10.

 5:12   Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 
  5:13   (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 
  5:14   Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. 
  5:15   But not as the offence, so also [is] the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, [which is] by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 
  5:16   And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 
  5:17   For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 
  5:18   Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 
  5:19   For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. 

  3:10   And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.


How do these verses help us to understand what sin has done to humanity? How does the great controversy play into this whole picture?

"By the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation."  There is a physical law of heredity by which characteristics of the parents are passed down to their children. Some do not rightly understand that when a human baby is born into this world, that baby unless filled with the Holy Spirit, is separated from God and has the very same nature that Adam had after he fell from grace. Have you ever wondered why it is that God makes us "partakers of His divine nature" when He through the Holy Spirit indwells the heart? It is because without this vital connection with Christ, we have  nothing good in us. It is true that we can have a desire to do good, but until we are converted and reconciled to God there is nothing good in us. It is all because of our inherited nature from Adam. If it were not for the promise made in Genesis 3:15, we would not even have the opportunity to be changed, to become a partaker of God's divine nature when Jesus takes possession of the heart.

Don't listen to "theologians" pervert this truth. The Bible is very clear that the carnal mind is enmity with God. It has no power to do any good thing. It is a captive to the law of sin and death which is because of our inherited fallen nature. We must be born again of His Spirit to do any good thing. Otherwise all is defiled by selfishness. This is the defilement we are studying in today's lesson. The image of God is not in man until he is converted, born again of His Spirit. Then God's image, His character, is re-created in man even as we still live in these vile bodies of sinful flesh. As the Apostle Paul said "I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." 1 Cor. 9:27.  Paul understood and taught that the "body", the "flesh" is evil and it is only by an indwelling Christ that the flesh can be kept "under" control. When we allow our minds to wander away from Jesus, the flesh takes over and the result is sin. We need Jesus so very much because we live in these vile bodies of fallen flesh. Unlike when Paul before his conversion in Romans chapter seven,  did not know how to do good, the converted Paul testified: "I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:12,13.  So with us today, we may overcome the flesh through the power of an indwelling Christ. We may be re-created in His image today.


See 1 John 3:8.

He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. 

Poor professing Christians who do not understand. They do not believe this verse. They have no peace and joy because they do not experience the victory over sin that comes with a knowledge of God's grace and a full heartfelt surrender to Jesus. He that sins is of the devil, is being led by the devil. We cannot serve two masters. Jesus tells us that we will know the tree by its fruit. Don't drink from the broken cisterns, drink from the pure fountain of God's Word. "A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit." Matt. 7:18. Sin comes from a bad tree, not a good one. That can change as soon as one repents of the sin and allows Christ to take possession of the heart.


Sin has touched all aspects of human life, and even the earth itself. Ellen White talked about a “threefold” curse that has rested on the world, the first resulting from Adam’s fall, the next from Cain’s murder of Abel, and then the damage caused by the Flood. Theologians also talk about “total depravity,” the idea that every aspect of humanity, life, and personality has been damaged by sin. As we look around at the world, and even at ourselves, it’s not hard to see, is it?

It is everywhere. But, God's love can still be seen. Sin has indeed marred God's perfect work, yet that handwriting remains. Even now all created things declare the glory of His excellence. There is nothing, save the selfish heart of man, that lives unto itself. No bird that cleaves the air, no animal that moves upon the ground, but ministers to some other life. There is no leaf of the forest, or lowly blade of grass, but has its ministry. Every tree and shrub and leaf pours forth that element of life without which neither man nor animal could live; and man and animal, in turn, minister to the life of tree and shrub and leaf. The flowers breathe fragrance and unfold their beauty in blessing to the world. The sun sheds its light to gladden a thousand worlds. The ocean, itself the source of all our springs and fountains, receives the streams from every land, but takes to give. The mists ascending from its bosom fall in showers to water the earth, that it may bring forth and bud.

Some believe that violence, suffering, and death were all part of how God created humanity. Others believe that violence, suffering, and death were all part of how Satan seeks to destroy the humanity that God has created. Think about the differences in the character of God that these two opposing views present.


Yes, it is the theme of the "great controversy" between good and evil, between Christ and Satan. It is very sad, but the reason why Satan was left alive is that we are so dense that we cannot just believe God, just accept what He has said, we must not only see the result of sin, we must experience those results before we shall be willing to turn from it. We must learn to hate sin. We do that from seeing what it did to Jesus when He came into this world a helpless little baby in the "likeness of sinful flesh." When we see little children suffering because of sin, we begin to hate it. The question is "Do we hate sin enough to cease sinning?" When we do, we will turn to our only hope, Jesus Christ. He has promised us enmity against sin and Satan and a new heart that will obey. "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. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." Ezekiel 36:26, 27. This is the fulfillment of the promise made in Genesis 3:15.
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Re: Fourth Quarter--2012--SDA SS LESSON 3--Man--God’s Handiwork
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2012, 08:41:05 AM »
THURSDAY October 18

Restoration

As deep and pervasive as the effects of sin have been on humanity, our plight is not irreversible. The Bible speaks about the possibility of renewal and restoration of the image of God in us, at least to some degree.

Study the following passages carefully: Rom. 8:29; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 4:23-24.

  8:29   For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
  3:18   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. 
  4:23   And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 
  4:24   And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 

 
What hope is presented?

The author of our lesson has asked us to study carefully these verses. Because of the great deceptions having entered the church, it would be good to prayerfully study these verses before moving on. Again, the author of this quarter's lesson has identified important truths that are needed for our revival and reformation to take place. It cannot be an external reformation, it must come from the heart. And it will. Today, we are addressing you. We want the revival to include as many as possible. God has prepared a place for you. "He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son." In order for you to be in heaven, you must be "conformed to the image of His Son." Yes, even the thief on the cross has been conformed to His image. This means that we need to study these verses, for they reveal the truth that has been hidden from a Laodicean church.

The Bible clearly holds up the hope for us to be remade in God’s image.

Amen! Look at 2 Cor. 3:18. "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."  By beholding His glory we are "changed into the same image." Changed into the same image! That is the greatest miracle that God can ever do. His grace has the power to transform our nature. God has and is going to re-create sinful fallen humans into sanctified holy new creatures even though we will still live in these vile bodies of fallen flesh. Believe it! The Bible is true and God is not a liar. It is man who has bitten into the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil that is the follower of the father of all lies, that has been practicing a great deception. Seek to know God and His Son and He will make you a partaker of His divine nature. In this verse is hidden the great secret of how that is accomplished. Don't walk away and forget what you have read. "But we all....beholding.....the glory of the Lord." By beholding His glory we are changed into His image.  It is an intellectual and a spiritual truth that by beholding we become changed. The mind gradually adapts itself to what it is accustomed to love and reverence. The mind is plastic and is changed daily by what it beholds. Where do you spend your time? Where are your best thoughts? That is who you are. But, you do not have to remain a fallen sinner. God has promised to put enmity between us and sin. He has promised us new hearts. These are conditional promises and will only apply to those who will learn of Him who gave all for us. We must allow His grace to come into our hearts. We must make a full surrender of self. We cannot serve two masters. We have a part in our own salvation. We must learn of Him. We must behold our Lord lifted up upon the cross, then we shall want to die to self. Then we shall trade our sin polluted hearts for new ones filled with His Spirit.

Notice how this happens. "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." "Even as by the Spirit of the Lord." When we do our little part, God will do His immeasurably large part. It would be good to spend a thoughtful hour each day contemplating the life of Jesus. Thus saith the lord "By beholding His glory, His character, we shall be changed into His image, His character." Claim it, practice it, don't forget it!


The renewal of the image of God in humanity is accompanied by a reduction of the effects that sin has had on us and our relationships. None of this, however, is the result of man’s own achievement. The Bible points to Christ as being the basis of hope for man’s renewal; also, whatever changes are wrought in our lives, our hope of salvation must rest always on what Christ has accomplished for us and the offer of salvation based on His righteousness, not our own.

Amen!!

How is 2 Corinthians 5:17 related to the re-creation of man in God’s image?

  5:17   Therefore if any man [be] in Christ, [he is] a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 
  5:18   And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; 


I included verse 18 also since it tells how it is that we are made "new creatures" and "old things are passed away." It is by our allowing Christ to come into our hearts that were are born again of His Spirit. We have been "reconciled" to God through Christ. In order to have this experience, in order to have salvation, we must be abiding in Christ and He in us. We must remain reconciled to Him if we are to retain our justification, our salvation. "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.

Does being a new creature place a person beyond the reach of sin and its effects on the human experience? What does your own experience tell you about the answer?

Being a new creature is wholly dependent upon us being possessed by God's Spirit. When Moses struck the Rock, he was not filled with the Spirit of God. He was a proud and angry man. He had separated from Christ and was walking in the flesh. This was after a life of faithfulness. So, we are not beyond the reach of sin even after a life of faithfulness. But, the character once formed will make it easier to come to repentance, to turn back to Jesus because it has become a habit. On the other hand, it is never safe to take our eyes off of Christ. When Mary and Joseph ceased to watch over Jesus during His first trip to Jerusalem at age 12, it took them three days to find Him.  There is no assurance that when we separate from God that we shall find Him again. He continues to call, but the mystery of iniquity does continue to work in this fallen world. Lucifer did not need anyone to tempt him so sin.


Overall, the evidence from Scripture leads to the conclusion that spiritual renewal comes at the cost of watchfulness in a spiritual warfare. It is a warfare between the flesh and the spirit (Gal. 5:16-17). Those who are being renewed in God’s image find this spiritual warfare to be the reality of the human experience, and thus they embrace the challenge in the strength of the Lord (Eph. 6:10-13). To choose to be re-made in the image of God is to place oneself on the side of God in the great controversy. Writing about those who have experienced the renewing power of Christ, Ellen White noted, “But because this experience is his, the Christian is not therefore to fold his hands, content with that which has been accomplished for him. He who has determined to enter the spiritual kingdom will find that all the powers and passions of unregenerate nature, backed by the forces of the kingdom of darkness, are arrayed against him. Each day he must renew his consecration, each day do battle with evil. Old habits, hereditary tendencies to wrong, will strive for the mastery, and against these he is to be ever on guard, striving in Christ’s strength for victory.”-The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 476, 477.

Amen! We will not have "holy flesh" until glorification when Jesus comes the second time. That will be soon, but until then we must "keep the body under" at all times. That can only be done by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. We must maintain our conversion in the same manner we obtained it, by beholding Jesus. We must remain in Him continually if we want victory over sin. If we cease clinging to Jesus we will fall just as surely as did Peter when walking on the water and Moses when he struck the Rock. We need Jesus every moment of every day. Without Him we can do no good thing. With Him in our hearts, we are made new creatures, partakers of His divine nature and "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13. 
We were predestined to be restored to the image of our God. What will we do with our time today? Will we behold Jesus or will we behold the things of this world? The choice is ours. God has left each of us with free will. We may serve Him or we may serve self, sin, and Satan. Let us choose Christ! He stands at the door knocking. Let Him in today!
I'm going home SOON, come along!!

Mimi

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Re: Fourth Quarter--2012--SDA SS LESSON 3--Man--God’s Handiwork
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2012, 09:33:40 AM »
Wonderful, glorious truths! Amen and amen!
Revlation 21:3 & 4  Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
 

Richard Myers

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Re: Fourth Quarter--2012--SDA SS LESSON 3--Man--God’s Handiwork
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2012, 07:26:26 AM »
FRIDAY October 19

Further Study


Read pp. 44-51, in Patriarchs and Prophets.     The Creation

“In the beginning, man was created in the image of God. He was in perfect harmony with the nature and the law of God; the principles of righteousness were written upon his heart. But sin alienated him from his Maker. He no longer reflected the divine image. His heart was at war with the principles of God’s law. ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.’ Romans 8:7. But ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son,’ that man might be reconciled to God. Through the merits of Christ he can be restored to harmony with his Maker. His heart must be renewed by divine grace; he must have a new life from above. This change is the new birth, without which, says Jesus, ‘he cannot see the kingdom of God.’”-Ellen G. White, The Great Controversy, p. 467.

“The true object of education is to restore the image of God in the soul. In the beginning God created man in His own likeness. He endowed him with noble qualities. His mind was well balanced, and all the powers of his being were harmonious. But the Fall and its effects have perverted these gifts. Sin has marred and well-nigh obliterated the image of God in man. It was to restore this that the plan of salvation was devised, and a life of probation was granted to man.”- Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 595.

Discussion Questions

    In what way does the teaching of evolution fit into the great controversy scenario? How has Satan used this doctrine to undermine faith in the Bible?

    Go through the New Testament and look up all the texts that talk about Adam. How clear is it that the New Testament writers all believed Adam to be a real person? Why is that understanding so important to our understanding of who we are, how we got into the situation we are in, and the hope that we have in Jesus?

    Dwell more on the idea of being restored into God’s image. In what way are we meant to understand that, especially as beings who are subject to decay, death, sickness, and disease?

The author of our lesson is hitting at the all important subject of life. It is such a blessing to have a Bible study where the truth as it is in Jesus is being discussed. We are being pointed to the foundation of our faith. Last night I was contemplating this week's lesson, before reading Friday's lesson and felt a great burden to get to the bottom of this week's lesson. I was reminded that we have a message to give to a world soon to perish. It is the three angels message in Revelation chapter 14. This week's lesson ties directly into the first angel's message. The key thoughts for this week's lesson is "God created humanity in His own image; sin defiled that image. God’s plan is to restore that image in us." Let us look a the beginning of the last message of warning entrusted to us to give to the world.

"And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people,  Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters." 14:6,7.
 

It is the gospel message that we are to first give to the world. And, integral to that message is this "Fear God, and give glory to him." What does it mean to "give glory to God"? It means to accept the gospel message, to accept the Son of God as the ruler of our lives, to reflect Christ. It means to be His witness, to be a temple for the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ, to manifest the fruits of His Spirit, to reveal in humanity His character. This is the gospel message,  "Christ in you, the hope of glory." Col 1:27.

    The two most foundational teachings in physics- quantum theory and general relativity-directly contradict each other. What should that tell us about how careful we need to be when accepting something as “fact” merely because science says it is so?


True science is in harmony with Scripture. When we find that "science" contradicts Scripture, then we know that whoever it is that is presenting the matter does not accept the Bible as God's inspired Word. There are some who want to use science as their weapon to fight against God and HIs truth. They go out of their way to ignore Bible truth, including hard science in their effort to disparage God. One of Satan's most successful efforts is to have professing Christians use so called "science" to combat Bible truth.

This week's lesson has sought to place our faith in God's Word that reveals we are to be re-created in God's image. We are to reflect the character of our God. This is only possible when we are fully surrendered to Jesus and filled with His Spirit. Then every one of the fruits of His Spirit are seen in the life. This is the basis of judgment. Are we walking in His Spirit or are we walking after our fallen flesh?  It is our privilege to become partakers of His divine nature while  still living in these vile bodies. It is  Christ who is to be seen, not I in my fallen nature. This is the power of grace. It radically transforms the character at conversion. But, God wants us to be more like Him, so like Jesus who "Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered" Hebrews 5:8, we too, will grow in our character perfection. Perfect at each stage of growth. Always giving glory to God as His witnesses. Such a blessing, such a responsibility for all who call themselves Christian. We are indeed to be His handiwork!
I'm going home SOON, come along!!

Richard Myers

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Re: Fourth Quarter--2012--SDA SS LESSON 3--Man--God’s Handiwork
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2012, 08:14:20 AM »
In Friday's lesson, it began with a statement that said “The true object of education is to restore the image of God in the soul."  We have attempted to show that this is a higher obligation than most realize. God has given us grace through the death of Christ and the impartation of His character through the Holy Spirit. This radical change is the result of being reconciled to God and becoming a partaker of His divine nature. I thought that another statement might help to solidify this Bible truth in our minds.

The world's Redeemer, the only-begotten Son of God, by His perfect obedience to the law, by His life and character, redeemed that which was lost in the fall, and made it possible for man to obey that holy law of righteousness which Adam transgressed. Christ did not exchange His divinity for humanity, but combined humanity with divinity; and in humanity He lived the law in behalf of the human family. The sins of every one who will receive Christ were set to His account, and He has fully satisfied the justice of God. 
     
All the plan of redemption is expressed in these precious words: "For God so loved the world, that He gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." Christ actually bore the punishment of the sins of the world, that His righteousness might be imputed to sinners, and through repentance and faith they might become like Him in holiness of character. He says, "I bear the guilt of that man's sins. Let Me take the punishment and the repenting sinner stand before Thee innocent." The moment the sinner believes in Christ, he stands in the sight of God uncondemned; for the righteousness of Christ is his: Christ's perfect obedience is imputed to him. But he must co-operate with divine power, and put forth his human effort to subdue sin, and stand complete in Christ. 

The ransom paid by Christ is sufficient for the salvation of all men; but it will avail for only those who become new creatures in Christ Jesus, loyal subjects of God's everlasting kingdom. His suffering will not shield from punishment the unrepenting, disloyal sinner. 

Christ's work was to restore man to his original state, to heal him, through divine power, from the wounds and bruises made by sin. Man's part is to lay hold by faith of the merits of Christ, and co-operate with the divine agencies in forming a righteous character; so that God may save the sinner, and yet be just and His righteous law vindicated.
 
The price paid for our redemption lays a great obligation upon every one of us. It is our duty to understand what God requires of us, and what He would have us to be. The educators of youth should realize the obligation resting upon them, and do their best to obliterate defects, whether physical, mental, or moral. They should aim at perfection in their own case, that the students may have a correct model.   
Fundamentals of Education pg 430.

The restoration of the image of God in man is the greatest miracle that God can perform. It takes Christ in us to accomplish this. It cannot happen as long as man refuses to submit wholly to the drawing of Christ. We must be fully surrendered and have the Spirit of God indwelling the heart. Then, we still live in fallen flesh, but the heart has been renewed and cleansed. Then we will manifest the fruits of His Spirit, not one will be missing. We will have been re-created a new creature in His image. The process will continue as we learn more about how to behave as a Christian. While all of the fruits of His Spirit came at conversion, the fruit will become more abundant, our patience will become stronger. Our ability to resist sin will grow stronger, all the time having victory over sin. But, if we sin, Jesus does not forsake us. He calls us back to Him. He stands at the door of the heart knocking, wanting back in. Those who see their sin, who do not make excuses for it and claim to be justified in their sins, will be brought back to repentance and allow Jesus to take control of the heart. Thus, being reconciled to God again, they will again be re-justified in having eternal life.

In next week's lesson, the author states "Repentance is the prerequisite for entering into the experience of forgiveness and justification, and it comes accompanied by confession and baptism (Acts 2:38, 1 John 1:9)."  We need Jesus all the time, not part of the time if we want to act like Him. It is His indwelling Spirit that gives us power and restores us to His image. Let us yield our sin polluted hearts to Jesus today. This is the power of grace. This is what it takes for us to be saved. It is a daily, a moment by moment experience. Don't allow others to disturb your peace. Continue praying and clinging to Jesus and He will keep you!  Have a blessed Sabbath Day!
I'm going home SOON, come along!!