Author Topic: The Desire of Ages--30--"He Ordained Twelve"  (Read 10818 times)

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Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--30--"He Ordained Twelve"
« Reply #40 on: June 23, 2019, 05:57:06 AM »
Amen, Brother Beacon, Sister Dorine and Brother Richard!

I’m thankful for how Jesus shows us His love through the things of nature. We can trust Him fully and let our hearts respond to the invitation to surrender to the one who made all things to bless and encourage us in our heavenward journey!

“In training His disciples, Jesus chose to withdraw from the confusion of the city to the quiet of the fields and hills, as more in harmony with the lessons of self-abnegation He desired to teach them. And during His ministry He loved to gather the people about Him under the blue heavens, on some grassy hillside, or on the beach beside the lake. Here, surrounded by the works of His own creation, He could turn the thoughts of His hearers from the artificial to the natural. In the growth and development of nature were revealed the principles of His kingdom. As men should lift up their eyes to the hills of God, and behold the wonderful works of His hands, they could learn precious lessons of divine truth. Christ’s teaching would be repeated to them in the things of nature. So it is with all who go into the fields with Christ in their hearts. They will feel themselves surrounded with a holy influence. The things of nature take up the parables of our Lord, and repeat His counsels. By communion with God in nature, the mind is uplifted, and the heart finds rest.” {The Desire of Ages, page 291, paragraph 1}
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Beacon

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Re: The Desire of Ages--30--"He Ordained Twelve"
« Reply #41 on: September 15, 2019, 06:24:20 PM »
"When Judas joined the disciples, he was not insensible to the beauty of the character of Christ. He felt the influence of that divine power which was drawing souls to the Saviour. He who came not to break the bruised reed nor quench the smoking flax would not repulse this soul while even one desire was reaching toward the light."

What a great example Jesus has provided for us to follow. We seem to be soo prone to make quick judgments as to the sincerity of others especially when it comes to their personal relationship with Jesus and His remnant church. Many times a weary soul bowed down with stress, from many sources, may appear to be living a life apart from Christ---This is when when they need encouragement the most. I pray that Jesus will make me and you more sensitive, loving and encouraging and beg for the filling of the Holy Spirit so that we might provide the strength that individual needs at that very moment. "Jesus did not repulse Judas..." while even one desire was reaching toward the light."

"The Saviour read the heart of Judas; He knew the depths of iniquity to which, unless delivered by the grace of God, Judas would sink. In connecting this man with Himself, He placed him where he might, day by day, be brought in contact with the out flowing of His own unselfish love. If he would open his heart to Christ, divine grace would banish the demon of selfishness, and even Judas might become a subject of the kingdom of God."
Look up and listen for the shout.

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--30--"He Ordained Twelve"
« Reply #42 on: September 16, 2019, 04:26:07 AM »
Amen Brother Beacon. We ought to be as careful as was Jesus in dealing those who are not converted. Jesus could know the heart, we cannot know if one has passed the point of no return. This poses a problem for us. Are we to allow unconverted sinners into church leadership. Jesus did. When faced with voting for church leaders do we vote to allow those who we know are decoys in the church to be elders in the church?

We are to have a heart of love for all, even our enemies. But, this does not mean we are to elect unconverted sinners as elders or Sabbath School teachers. There is more to the story of Judas than that of allowing him to be an apostle. There were circumstances that forced Jesus to allow Judas into this group. It was the best thing to do under the circumstances. We are to learn from what we know about Judas and how Jesus dealt with him.

Christ did not choose angels who have never fallen. But, He did choose those who could be trained to become fishers of men. Judas was an exception. Jesus did not choose him, but allowed him to be one of the apostles. Judas caused a lot of problems for Jesus and the disciples. We too, at times must allow what we know to be a Judas in church leadership. And we too, as did Jesus, minister to these precious souls for whom Christ died.

    While Jesus was preparing the disciples for their ordination, one who had not been summoned urged his presence among them. It was Judas Iscariot, a man who professed to be a follower of Christ. He now came forward, soliciting a place in this inner circle of disciples. With great earnestness and apparent sincerity he declared, "Master, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest." Jesus neither repulsed nor welcomed him, but uttered only the mournful words: "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head." Matthew 8:19, 20. Judas believed Jesus to be the Messiah; and by joining the apostles, he hoped to secure a high position in the new kingdom. This hope Jesus designed to cut off by the statement of His poverty.
     The disciples were anxious that Judas should become one of their number. He was of commanding appearance, a man of keen discernment and executive ability, and they commended him to Jesus as one who would greatly assist Him in His work. They were surprised that Jesus received him so coolly.
     The disciples had been much disappointed that Jesus had not tried to secure the co-operation of the leaders in Israel. They felt that it was a mistake not to strengthen His cause by securing the support of these influential men. If He had repulsed Judas, they would, in their own minds, have questioned the wisdom of their Master. The after history of Judas would show them the danger of allowing any worldly consideration to have weight in deciding the fitness of men for the work of God. The co-operation of such men as the disciples were anxious to secure would have betrayed the work into the hands of its worst enemies. 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--30--"He Ordained Twelve"
« Reply #43 on: September 16, 2019, 07:05:22 AM »
Amen, Brother Beacon and Brother Richard!

Jesus is willing to use us to share His message, yet He offers us the help of the holy angels who desire to speak through us of God's love. As we yield the whole heart to Christ, there is no limit to how God can use us to reflect His character, as by beholding Christ we become changed into His image.

 "We are to be laborers together with the heavenly angels in presenting Jesus to the world. With almost impatient eagerness the angels wait for our co-operation; for man must be the channel to communicate with man. And when we give ourselves to Christ in wholehearted devotion, angels rejoice that they may speak through our voices to reveal God's love." {The Desire of Ages, page 297, paragraph 3}

God gives us a part in sharing the gospel, for when it is evident that all of the fruits of the Spirit are manifest in the life and we gladly obey God's law of love, others are encouraged to see that it is possible for them--no matter how sinful or broken--to also be transformed by God's grace from a rebellious sinner into a repentant saint who abides in Jesus!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Dorine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--30--"He Ordained Twelve"
« Reply #44 on: September 16, 2019, 07:31:27 AM »
The apostles differed widely in habits and disposition. There were the publican, Levi-Matthew, and the fiery zealot Simon, the uncompromising hater of the authority of Rome; the generous, impulsive Peter, and the mean-spirited Judas; Thomas, truehearted, yet timid and fearful, Philip, slow of heart, and inclined to doubt, and the ambitious, outspoken sons of Zebedee, with their brethren. These were brought together, with their different faults, all with inherited and cultivated tendencies to evil; but in and through Christ they were to dwell in the family of God, learning to become one in faith, in doctrine, in spirit. They would have their tests, their grievances, their differences of opinion; but while Christ was abiding in the heart, there could be no dissension. His love would lead to love for one another; the lessons of the Master would lead to the harmonizing of all differences, bringing the disciples into unity, till they would be of one mind and one judgment. Christ is the great center, and they would approach one another just in proportion as they approached the center.  {DA 296.2}

God's amazing grace!! that can change a selfish heart like mine into His character is the greatest miracle I can think of. As I look at what He did for the disciples day by day drawing them closer and closer to Him as they submitted to Him I am saddened to think of Judas. Many hearts today are burdened with sin and guilt that need to know this miracle worker. Jesus is teaching me how to love. Not human love but Godly love. I thought I did but each hour spent with God is showing me where I lack. As He pours out His love for me I in turn want other's to know it too.
But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14

Beacon

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Re: The Desire of Ages--30--"He Ordained Twelve"
« Reply #45 on: December 10, 2019, 02:52:24 PM »
 "All the disciples had serious faults when Jesus called them to His service. Even John, who came into closest association with the meek and lowly One, was not himself naturally meek and yielding. He and his brother were called "the sons of thunder." While they were with Jesus, any slight shown to Him aroused their indignation and combativeness. Evil temper, revenge, the spirit of criticism, were all in the beloved disciple. He was proud, and ambitious to be first in the kingdom of God. But day by day, in contrast with his own violent spirit, he beheld the tenderness and forbearance of Jesus, and heard His lessons of humility and patience. He opened his heart to the divine influence, and became not only a hearer but a doer of the Saviour's words. Self was hid in Christ. He learned to wear the yoke of Christ and to bear His burden."

"He who called the fisherman of Galilee is still calling men to His service. And He is just as willing to manifest His power through us as through the first disciples. However imperfect and sinful we may be, the Lord holds out to us the offer of partnership with Himself, of apprenticeship to Christ. He invites us to come under the divine instruction, that, uniting with Christ, we may work the works of God. There are souls perplexed with doubt, burdened with infirmities, weak in faith, and unable to grasp the Unseen; but a friend whom they can see, coming to them in Christ's stead, can be a connecting link to fasten their trembling faith upon Christ. "

If we are willing to come under the divine instruction, we also may be a connecting link for some lost and drifting soul to fasten their trembling faith upon Christ. We can be like a Lighthouse or an Airport Beacon to help others make a safe landing on the Heavenly Shore. But first we must come and be molded and shaped into useful vessels to be used in the Lords Harvest Fields.We must be willing to die to self and be filled with the Holy Spirit for only then will others see and hear the loving invitation of Jesus....

 Matthew 11:28 "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Look up and listen for the shout.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--30--"He Ordained Twelve"
« Reply #46 on: December 11, 2019, 10:32:58 AM »
Amen, Brother Beacon!

Let us look upon those whom Christ has called to serve Him with the same tender love and compassion that flowed from the heart of Jesus. How may our hearts have this experience? By beholding His loveliness of character and yielding the whole heart to Him, we find healing and true conversion such that all of the fruits of the Spirit are seen in our lives and not one is missing. As we remember how patiently God has dealt with us, we are then better prepared to deal gently with erring and finite souls who daily need hope and encouragement in Jesus!

"All the disciples had serious faults when Jesus called them to His service. Even John, who came into closest association with the meek and lowly One, was not himself naturally meek and yielding. He and his brother were called "the sons of thunder." While they were with Jesus, any slight shown to Him aroused their indignation and combativeness. Evil temper, revenge, the spirit of criticism, were all in the beloved disciple. He was proud, and ambitious to be first in the kingdom of God. But day by day, in contrast with his own violent spirit, he beheld the tenderness and forbearance of Jesus, and heard His lessons of humility and patience. He opened his heart to the divine influence, and became not only a hearer but a doer of the Saviour's words. Self was hid in Christ. He learned to wear the yoke of Christ and to bear His burden." {The Desire of Ages, page 295, paragraph 5}

This encourages me to look to Jesus and away from self, fully knowing that the greater the struggle, the more sure the healing and deliverance! 
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--30--"He Ordained Twelve"
« Reply #47 on: December 11, 2019, 08:04:53 PM »
This paragraph that both Brother Beacon and Pastor Sean have shared has always interested me, and again today. There are important principles involved in the lesson revealed.

Did Jesus choose to have disciples that were unconverted? If so, then are we to elect in our churches leaders who are unconverted, that they might learn to be Christians? If so, are we to elect Judases also, to be elders and deacons? And, how about pastors who are unconverted? Then we train them as Jesus did?

This is an important subject that not only church leaders ought to understand, but the Christian church member who votes for church leaders needs to understand who to vote for and who to not vote for. We are responsible for the leaders in our local churches and in our local conferences. If the leadership is not consecrated, it is because we elected unconsecrated leaders.

Then what is the lesson we are to learn from this paragraph? Did Jesus want Judas to be a disciple? Then why did He allow him to stay? And when we find an unconsecrated leader in the church, do we vote him or her out office? We need to rightly understand the principles involved. I would like to discuss this subject we might grow in our understanding of our personal responsibilities in the church.

    All the disciples had serious faults when Jesus called them to His service. Even John, who came into closest association with the meek and lowly One, was not himself naturally meek and yielding. He and his brother were called "the sons of thunder." While they were with Jesus, any slight shown to Him aroused their indignation and combativeness. Evil temper, revenge, the spirit of criticism, were all in the beloved disciple. He was proud, and ambitious to be first in the kingdom of God. But day by day, in contrast with his own violent spirit, he beheld the tenderness and forbearance of Jesus, and heard His lessons of humility and patience. He opened his heart to the divine influence, and became not only a hearer but a doer of the Saviour's words. Self was hid in Christ. He learned to wear the yoke of Christ and to bear His burden. 
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Lena

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Re: The Desire of Ages--30--"He Ordained Twelve"
« Reply #48 on: December 11, 2019, 10:56:50 PM »
Jesus did not choose Judas.

While Jesus was preparing the disciples for their ordination, one who had not been summoned urged his presence among them. It was Judas Iscariot, a man who professed to be a follower of Christ. He now came forward, soliciting a place in this inner circle of disciples. With great earnestness and apparent sincerity he declared, “Master, I will follow Thee whithersoever Thou goest.” Jesus neither repulsed nor welcomed him, but uttered only the mournful words: “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man  hath not where to lay His head.” Matthew 8:19, 20. Judas believed Jesus to be the Messiah; and by joining the apostles, he hoped to secure a high position in the new kingdom. This hope Jesus designed to cut off by the statement of His poverty. { DA 293.2}
The disciples were anxious that Judas should become one of their number. He was of commanding appearance, a man of keen discernment and executive ability, and they commended him to Jesus as one who would greatly assist Him in His work. They were surprised that Jesus received him so coolly. { DA 294.1}

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--30--"He Ordained Twelve"
« Reply #49 on: December 12, 2019, 06:44:54 AM »
Amen Sister  Lena. We have been given great light, and you have pointed us to the solution of one of the issues. The disciples recognized there was a problem with Judas, but did not understand what the issue was. They were surprised at how Jesus received Judas. Jesus did not want Judas as a disciple.  Judas was going to stay despite what Jesus said. This presented a great problem for Jesus. If he had not allowed Judas to stay, if he had not allowed the wheat and tares to grow together, some of the wheat  may have been lost. As it was, none of the disciples were lost, but Judas who was never converted.

We see an important principle laid out before us. At times we may be forced into accepting something that is not good, but by so doing we make the best of a bad situation. Judas caused many problems for the disciples because of his position in this inner group. But Jesus understood that by not pushing Judas away, He could keep a close eye on him, and the other disciples would not be offended if Judas was rejected. The disciples were weak in the faith and if Judas was not allowed to be one of Jesus disciples, some not understanding may have been lost. They had no discernment of his true character, but thought of him as having executive ability.

Thank you Lena for sharing this important truth. Now there was another issue, why did Jesus choose the other disciples who we're not yet ready to be leaders of men? Are we to choose Elders in our churches who are not yet converted?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Dorine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--30--"He Ordained Twelve"
« Reply #50 on: December 12, 2019, 09:27:29 AM »
An excellent question Richard. I've often wondered the same thing. These are my thoughts on the subject but I know there is much more.

Jesus knew the hearts of those He called. We don't. But we can judge by the words and actions of the person. When I was active on committees where I lived back in the day when character was important we went by what we knew of the person. Did they have the fruit of the Spirit in their lives? Did they love and teach the truth? Did they pay tithe? Were they faithful in their attendance? etc. If someone was in office and it was found out that they were living a lie they were prayed with and worked with and if no change they were removed from office. This did not mean that no one had any faults but they did not have the spirit of rebellion or refuse to make things right when they did fall.

As the years went by this drastically changed until now the members in general are asked what office they would be willing to hold. Even those who are living in open sin and are still on the books.

When the disciples were called they became followers of Jesus. They were not set up as leaders to begin with. By being with Jesus everyday they learned lessons that would stay with them through life. By the time Jesus returned to Heaven these rough selfish men had fallen on the Rock and been broken. They understood the mission of Jesus and that they were to follow in His footsteps. They were now ready to take Leadership roles because they were no longer slaves to self but to Christ.
But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--30--"He Ordained Twelve"
« Reply #51 on: December 12, 2019, 07:08:15 PM »
Amen Dear Sister Dorine. Jesus took them under His wing. He did know that they were teachable. They had faults in their character, but they loved Jesus and while they were not yet ready to be on their own, they were the best Jesus could find. Does this mean we ought to ordain those who have not given evidence of conversion? Absolutely not. Not only are we not to ordain men who we do not know are converted, we are told in Scripture to lay hands suddenly on no man. We need evidence that one is called of God and is walking in the light consistently. And, not only are we not to ordain prematurely, we are not to baptize until there is evidence of conversion. What evidence? The fruits of the Spirit.

So, let's look again at what Jesus did in today's reading. He ordained twelve, and one of them was to be a traitor. And, God struck down Uzzah when he went to catch the ark of the covenant. There are some things in which Jesus is not our example. Why did God leave Cain alive? We are told that he who sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed. Yet, God did not want Cain to die for killing his brother.  As we study the Bible, God will teach us. And, as we pray and are filled with the Holy Spirit, we will know just what to do and when we we are to do it.

Jesus will work with us and when we are fitted to be ministers, He will call us to this most important work. Sadly, many today who are in the ministry have not been called by God. Others, who are called will be seen to teaching the truth and living it. Those who are feeding upon Christ and are advanced in their knowledge of God and the plan of salvation are to be elected elders in God's churches. And as such, they are to be teaching both in the world and in the church.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Lena

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Re: The Desire of Ages--30--"He Ordained Twelve"
« Reply #52 on: December 13, 2019, 09:47:02 PM »
While thinking about this comment today --
Quote
Did Jesus choose to have disciples that were unconverted? If so, then are we to elect in our churches leaders who are unconverted, that they might learn to be Christians? If so, are we to elect Judases also, to be elders and deacons? And, how about pastors who are unconverted? Then we train them as Jesus did?
This part of this text came to my mind.  and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren. Luke 22:32     

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--30--"He Ordained Twelve"
« Reply #53 on: December 13, 2019, 10:25:43 PM »
Good thought, Sister Lena. The remarks were made to Peter. Often this is misunderstood to mean Peter had never been converted. Better to understand that Peter needed to be re-converted. But, the point you make and that which we understand is that the disciples were not always walking in the light. They wandered in and out of conversion. When Peter was walking on water, he trusted in Jesus with his life. He loved Jesus at the moment supremely. But then why did he fall? He took his eyes off of Jesus. He and the others did not understand they needed a Savior as well as a Friend. They did not know the Lamb had to die in order for their sins to be forgiven.

How sad is this? After 3 1/2 years Peter still wanted to stop Jesus from going to Jerusalem and the cross. Such a deception! They thought Jesus was to rule on an earthly throne. Thus, they did not know Jesus as Savior from sin.

Lena, read the chapter Servant of Servants and you will better understand the conversion of the disciples. When they came into the upper room, they were not in a converted state as they were vying for the highest place. Yet, when they left, they were all in a converted state except for Judas. Thus, Jesus chose 11 men who did not even know what conversion was and how it is obtained and maintained. But, they were all teachable.  :)
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Dorine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--30--"He Ordained Twelve"
« Reply #54 on: December 14, 2019, 08:17:41 AM »
It's wonderful to have another female presence Lena. :)  I feel very out numbered.
But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14

Lena

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Re: The Desire of Ages--30--"He Ordained Twelve"
« Reply #55 on: December 14, 2019, 02:07:55 PM »
Dorine   😎

Beacon

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Re: The Desire of Ages--30--"He Ordained Twelve"
« Reply #56 on: March 06, 2020, 05:06:27 PM »
"The Saviour read the heart of Judas; He knew the depths of iniquity to which, unless delivered by the grace of God, Judas would sink. In connecting this man with Himself, He placed him where he might, day by day, be brought in contact with the out flowing of His own unselfish love. If he would open his heart to Christ, divine grace would banish the demon of selfishness, and even Judas might become a subject of the kingdom of God."

What a great example Jesus has provided for us to follow. We seem to be soo prone to make quick judgments as to the sincerity of others especially when it comes to their personal relationship with Jesus and His remnant church. Many times a weary soul bowed down with stress, from many sources, may appear to be living a life apart from Christ---This is when when they need encouragement the most. I pray that Jesus will make you and I more sensitive, loving and encouraging and beg for the filling of the Holy Spirit so that we might provide the strength that individual needs at that very moment.

"Jesus did not repulse Judas..." while even one desire was reaching toward the light."
Look up and listen for the shout.

Pastor Sean Brizendine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--30--"He Ordained Twelve"
« Reply #57 on: March 07, 2020, 03:29:36 AM »
Amen, Brother Beacon! Praise the Lord for how the Holy Spirit leads us to be tender towards others, and to be able to speak words that the holy angels guide us to share! Let us cooperate with God today on His holy Sabbath to share what will lift souls to Jesus.

"We are to be laborers together with the heavenly angels in presenting Jesus to the world. With almost impatient eagerness the angels wait for our co-operation; for man must be the channel to communicate with man. And when we give ourselves to Christ in wholehearted devotion, angels rejoice that they may speak through our voices to reveal God's love." {The Desire of Ages, page 297, paragraph 3}

May we be willing to say what God gives us by the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the heavenly angels. When Christ is abiding in our hearts, all of the fruits of the Spirit will be manifest in humble, heartfelt obedience to His will as angels love to see Jesus reproduce His experience in us!
"When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing." {The Desire of Ages, 676.4}

Dorine

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Re: The Desire of Ages--30--"He Ordained Twelve"
« Reply #58 on: March 07, 2020, 05:43:21 AM »
He who called the fisherman of Galilee is still calling men to His service. And He is just as willing to manifest His power through us as through the first disciples. However imperfect and sinful we may be, the Lord holds out to us the offer of partnership with Himself, of apprenticeship to Christ. He invites us to come under the divine instruction, that, uniting with Christ, we may work the works of God.    
"We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves." 2 Corinthians 4:7, R. V.

What an awesome thought to ponder and take hold of by faith. I've enjoyed reading of the different temperaments of the disciples. If Jesus saw potential in them He sees it in us also. The key is in not just believing Him but accepting Him and allowing Him to change our characters day by day and moment by moment. To have a close relationship with Jesus is the most precious experience one could have. Such joy and peace fills the heart and we want others to know Him as their own special friend and Saviour.

But this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press  toward the mark. Phil. 3:13,14

Richard Myers

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Re: The Desire of Ages--30--"He Ordained Twelve"
« Reply #59 on: March 07, 2020, 07:56:42 AM »
This chapter is helpful in better understanding how we are to deal with unconverted in the church. I need to qualify this. Many have never been converted, they were buried alive. Some were converted, but like Peter when he fell into the water or denied Christ, did not understand the gospel message and do not hold on to Jesus continually. Some are pastors, some elders, some deaconesses, and some do not have positions in the church. How do we deal with these? Do we ordain unconverted men? Do we baptize the unconverted?

These questions need to be answered as best we can. We have many perplexities in the church because so very many church members have been buried alive, they did not die to self.

     Jesus reproved His disciples, He warned and cautioned them; but John and his brethren did not leave Him; they chose Jesus, notwithstanding the reproofs. The Saviour did not withdraw from them because of their weakness and errors. They continued to the end to share His trials and to learn the lessons of His life. By beholding Christ, they became transformed in character.
     The apostles differed widely in habits and disposition. There were the publican, Levi-Matthew, and the fiery zealot Simon, the uncompromising hater of the authority of Rome; the generous, impulsive Peter, and the mean-spirited Judas; Thomas, truehearted, yet timid and fearful, Philip, slow of heart, and inclined to doubt, and the ambitious, outspoken sons of Zebedee, with their brethren. These were brought together, with their different faults, all with inherited and cultivated tendencies to evil; but in and through Christ they were to dwell in the family of God, learning to become one in faith, in doctrine, in spirit. They would have their tests, their grievances, their differences of opinion; but while Christ was abiding in the heart, there could be no dissension. His love would lead to love for one another; the lessons of the Master would lead to the harmonizing of all differences, bringing the disciples into unity, till they would be of one mind and one judgment. Christ is the great center, and they would approach one another just in proportion as they approached the center.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.