Author Topic: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 13--2nd Quarter 2020--Living by the Word of God  (Read 664 times)

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Lesson 13 June 20-26

Living by the Word of God

Commentary in Navy                  Inspiration in Maroon

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

Richard Myers

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Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: Phil. 2:12-16; Luke 4:4, 8, 10-12; Ps. 37:7; Ps. 46:10; Ps. 62:1, 2, 5; Col. 3:16.

Memory Text: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22.

The best method of studying the Bible is of no use if we are not determined to live by what we learn from Scripture. What is true for education in general is also true for studying the Bible in particular: you learn best not just by reading or hearing, but by practicing what you know. This obedience opens a full treasure house of divine blessings that otherwise would be closed to us, and it leads us on an exciting and life-transforming way to increase our understanding and knowledge. If we are not willing to abide by the Word of God and are not willing to practice what we have studied, we will not grow. And our witness will be impaired because our life is out of harmony with our words.

We grow in grace and wisdom through inspiring models who illustrate to us what it means to live by the Word of God. There is no better example and no motivational force more powerful than Jesus Christ. He gave us a pattern to follow. He lived a life in full harmony with the will of God.

This week, we will study what it means to live by the Word of God and under its divine authority.

What a blessing to learn what it means to live by the Word, or other words what it means to be a converted Christian. It is a good way to end this quarter's lessons. We pray the lesson follows Scripture.

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, June 27.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Sunday        June 21

The Living Word of God and the Holy Spirit

To study the Word of God carefully and with the proper method is very important. But, just as important, perhaps even more so, is that we put into practice what we have learned.

A method of study does not compare to obeying what we learn. If we do not obey what we learn, then we are not in a converted state. If we want to know the truth, if the Holy Spirit is opening our minds to the truth, then we will learn of God's character, His love for us. Then when we know God enough so we trust Him with all we have and all we are, the heart will be fully surrendered. This is what is means to be a true Christian. We may not know of a method, but we can know God as it is our privilege to know Him. Then we shall walk in the light we have been graciously given.

The ultimate goal of studying the Bible lies not in acquiring greater knowledge, as wonderful as that can be. The goal is not about our mastering of the Word of God but about the Word of God mastering us, changing our lives and our way of thinking. That is what really matters. To be willing to live the truth that we have learned means to be willing to submit to that biblical truth. This choice sometimes involves an intense struggle, because we are fighting a battle over who will have the supremacy in our thinking and in our life. And, in the end, there are only two sides from which to pick.

Amen! The greatest battle we shall ever fight is the battle to surrender self to Christ. If we do not surrender daily, moment by moment what does that say about our conversion?

Read Philippians 2:12-16.

 2:12   Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 
 2:13   For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure. 
 2:14   Do all things without murmurings and disputings: 
 2:15   That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;
 2:16   Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.   

What are these verses saying about how we should live?

Not how we should live, but how we live if we are fully surrendered. And who is that? "Blameless." Many do not believe that we will live a blameless life in Christ.

Yes, God works in us, but He does so through the Holy Spirit, who alone gives us the wisdom to understand the Holy Scriptures. Furthermore, as sinful human beings, we often are opposed to God’s truth, and left to our own devices we would not obey the Word of God (Rom. 1:25; Eph. 4:17, 18). Without the Holy Spirit, there is no affection for God’s message. There is no hope, no trust, no love in response. Through the Holy Spirit, God indeed “works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

Yes, the Holy Spirit not only reveals God's grace, He is the One who lives in the heart, and thus He empowers the truly converted Christian to reflect the character of God. He brings with Him all of the fruits of the Spirit, not one is missing. What are those fruits that you have when truly converted?

The Holy Spirit is a teacher who desires to lead us into a deeper understanding of Scripture and to a joyful appreciation of the Word of God. He brings the truth of God’s Word to our attention and gives us fresh insights into those truths, so that our lives are characterized by faithfulness and a loving obedience to the will of God.

Amen!!   What a blessing to hear truth unmingled with error! He reveals the character of God, His grace that we do not deserve. It is this that breaks the hard heart and enables Him to write God's law upon our hearts.

 In this way, spiritual things are interpreted spiritually (1 Cor. 2:13, 14) and we are able joyfully to follow God’s Word “morning by morning” (Isa. 50:4, 5).

Philippians 2:16 says that we should hold “forth the word of life”. What do you think that means? And how do we do that? See also Deuteronomy 4:4, which teaches something similar. What is our role in this whole process?

It means to walk in the light God gives which we will do if we love Him supremely. We must maintain our connection with Christ if we are to have power to do that. Those who sin are not connected to Christ. In other words if we want to hold forth the Word, we must be partakers of God's divine nature (2 peter 1:4).

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

Richard Myers

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Monday         June 22

Learning From Jesus

There is no better and more inspiring example to follow than Jesus Christ. He was familiar with the Scriptures, and was willing to follow the written Word of God and abide by it.

Read Luke 4:4, 8, 10-12.

 4:4   And Jesus answered him, saying, It is written, That man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God. 
 4:8   And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
 4:10   For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: 
 4:11   And in [their] hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone. 
 4:12   And Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.   

How does Jesus use Scripture to counter Satan’s temptations? What does this tell us about how central the Scriptures must be to our faith, especially in times of temptation?

Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word. Why? Because the Word reveals our God. The Word was made flesh that we might know Him by the Word and by His life. If we do not study the Word, then how could we trust in God?

Jesus knew the Scriptures well. He was so intimately familiar with the Word of God that He could quote it by heart. This familiarity with God’s written Word must have resulted from precious quality time with God in studying the Scriptures.

If He had not known the exact words of Scripture and the context in which they appear, He could easily have been deceived by the devil. Even the devil quoted Scripture and used it for his own deceptive purposes. Thus, just being able to quote Scripture, as the devil did, is not enough. One also needs to know what else Scripture has to say on a subject and know its correct meaning. Only such familiarity with God’s Word will help us, like Jesus, not to be fooled by God’s adversary, but to be able to resist the attacks of Satan. Time and again we read about Jesus opening the minds of His followers to understand Scripture by referring them to what “is written” (Luke 24:45, 46; Matt. 11:10; John 6:45; etc.). He assumed that those who read the Scriptures can come to a correct understanding of its meaning: “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” (Luke 10:26, NKJV). For Jesus, what was written in Scripture is the norm that we should live by.

Yes, this is true. Unless we are fully surrendered to His will, then understanding of spiritual things will be lacking. A Laodicean can study the Bible every day, but without a conversion, it will not bring eternal life nor an understanding of spiritual things beyond his condemnation. Paul before he was converted was murdering Christians thinking he was serving God. He understood of lot of what was written, but did not understand what he had read. Deceptions abound in the church today for the very same reason.

In John 7:38, Jesus — the Word of God made flesh — referred His followers back to what Scripture said. It is only through the Bible that we know that Jesus is the promised Messiah. It is the Scriptures that testify about Him (John 5:39). Jesus Himself was willing to abide by the Scriptures, the Word of God committed to writing. If He was willing to do that, what does this tell us about what we should do, as well?

What we should do is understood by the heathen. It is doing what we know that comes when we know God as it is our privilege to know Him. "When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us." Desire of Ages, pg 668. In order to be continual obedient we must maintain our connection with Christ. We must die daily to self in order to obey and have eternal life.

What has been your own experience with using the Scriptures in your battle with temptation? That is, when tempted, did you start reading the Bible or quote Scripture? What happened as a result, and what have you learned from that experience?

From experience and from Scripture we learn that we ought never take our eyes off of Jesus. Like Peter when he fell into the water, we too will fall (sin). We need to be in continual surrender in order to have power to not sin.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Tuesday       June 23

Jesus Versus Scripture?

Read John 5:45-47.

 5:45   Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father: there is [one] that accuseth you, [even] Moses, in whom ye trust. 
 5:46   For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me. 
 5:47   But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words? 

What powerful message does Jesus give us here about His relationship to the Bible?

Some people claim that when Jesus spoke He put His words in stark contrast to the words of Scripture, as we find them in the Old Testament. They say that the words of Jesus are even elevated above the words of Scripture.

In the New Testament, we read that Jesus said: “You have heard that it was said … but I say to you … ” (Matt. 5:43, 44; compare with Matt. 5:21, 22, 27, 28, 33, 34, 38, 39). When Jesus said these famous words in the Sermon on the Mount, He was not trying to abandon or abolish the Old Testament, as some interpreters claim. Instead, He responded to various interpretations of Scripture and to oral traditions that were used by some interpreters of His day to justify behavior toward other people that God did not condone and never commanded, like hating your enemy (see Matt. 5:43).

Jesus did not abolish the Old Testament in any way or in any degree lessen its authority. The opposite is true. It was the Old Testament that, indeed, proves who He is. Instead, He intensified the meaning of the Old Testament statements by pointing us to God’s original intentions.

To use Jesus’ authority to disqualify Holy Scripture or to denigrate some parts of the Bible as uninspired is perhaps one of the subtlest, and yet most dangerous, criticisms of Scripture, because it is done in the very name of Jesus. We have Jesus’ example of how much authority He gave to the Scriptures, which, in His day, consisted of the Old Testament only. What more evidence do we need about how we should view the Old Testament, as well?

Far from weakening the authority of Scripture, Jesus consistently upheld Scripture as a reliable and trustworthy guide. In fact, He unambiguously states in the very same Sermon on the Mount: “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill” (Matt. 5:17, NASB). And He continues to say that whoever “annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:19, NASB).

What are some of the key doctrines that, to this day, find their grounding in the Old Testament? Think, for example, of Creation (Genesis 1-2) and the Fall (Genesis 3). What other crucial Christian truths do we find in the Old Testament that are later amplified in the New Testament?

Most important is that the "Lamb" must die in order that we might live. The disciples had been taught by their religious leaders "another gospel."  Poor Peter tried to stop Jesus from going to die at Jerusalem....after three and a half years with Jesus. Such a deception! So it is today. Many do not understand that Jesus wants the heart, the whole heart. Not 99%, but a 100%. This is what Jesus was teaching in the sermon on the mount. He was attempting to teach the "Laodiceans" who thought they were saved that they has been mistaught.

 5:21   Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 
 5:22   But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. 
 5:23   Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 
 5:24   Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. 
 5:25   Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison. 
 5:26   Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by no means come out thence, till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing. 
 5:27   Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: 
 5:28   But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. 
 5:29   And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell. 
 5:30   And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell. 
 5:31   It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 
 5:32   But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. 

The Word had been mis-used to allow Laodiceans like Paul (Saul) to believe they were saved when in fact they were not. It is the intent of the heart that God looks at. The letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life. Keeping the law outwardly is not enough. It can be kept outwardly as did many Pharisees when they were in fact "whited sepulchers." They were white on the outside, but putrid and rotten on the inside. Saul was "blameless" pertaining to outward actions, but then saw who he really was when he caused Stephen to be murdered. The sermon on the mount revealed to a lost nation that they needed to be converted that they might love as Jesus loves, from the heart. Appearing perfect is not good enough. The motives must be right. And that can only happen when the heart is filled with the Holy Spirit and self is crucified by the grace of God.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Wednesday        June 24

Quiet Times With the Word of God

Our lives tend to be hectic and filled with tension and stress.

It need not be so. When fully surrendered to Jesus, we have peace that passes all understanding even in the middle of the storm (Philippians 4:7). When we are truly converted and filled with the Holy Spirit, we have all of the fruits of the Spirit which include, love, joy, and peace. These do not disappear when trials come. No, we are great witnesses of the power of grace when fiery trials come and we still love those who despitefully use us. If we do not have peace in the storm, what does this tell us?

Sometimes we have to work hard just to get by — to survive and to put food on the table. Other times, even when we have the necessities of life, we hustle and bustle because we want more and more. We want the things that we think will make us happy and fulfilled. But, as Solomon in the book of Ecclesiastes warns us, that doesn’t always happen.

Things do not make the Christian happy. It is Jesus that makes us happy when we love Him supremely.

Whatever the reason, we can be terribly busy in our lives, and so it’s very easy, amid the busyness, to crowd out God. It’s not that we don’t believe, but only that we don’t spend quality time reading, praying, and drawing close to the Lord, "in whose hand thy breath is” (Dan. 5:23). We can be too diverted by other things to experience quality time with God. We all need moments in which we deliberately slow down to meet the one who is our Savior, Jesus. How can the Holy Spirit speak to us if we do not pause to listen? The special quiet time with God, in reading His Word and in the communication of prayer, is the source of our spiritual life.

Amen!! Why? Because without beholding Jesus daily, we will forget Him, and when we forget Him, where is our defense? He does not abandon us, but calls out for us to come back to Him. He wants us to be with Him all the time, not part of the time.

Read Psalm 37:7; Psalm 46:10; and Psalm 62:1, 2, 5. What do these texts teach us about quiet time with God? Why is quiet time with God so important?

If you love someone, you enjoy spending time alone with that beloved person. Choose a place in which you can read and reflect on God’s Word without interruptions. In our hectic life, this can succeed only if you deliberately reserve a specific window of time for this encounter. Often the beginning of the day is best for these minutes of quietness and reflection. Such moments before the workday begins can become a blessing for the whole rest of the day, because the valuable thoughts you gain will accompany you for many hours. But be creative to find the right quality time you need in order to meet with God without interruption.

Yes, we need to have personal devotions every morning. And family devotions morning and night. And if we really understand our continual need of Jesus because we live in sinful flesh, we would learn from Daniel's experience. Where did he get the power to obey God when knowing he was going to be thrown to the lions? It was not good enough for this consecrated man in whom no fault could be found to connect with Christ in the morning, no, he stopped at noon every day and made sure he was connected with God. This was the source of his power to obey. It is found in God.

To be connected through prayer with the living God of the Bible affects your life as nothing else ever can. Eventually, it contributes to your becoming more like Jesus.

If at all connected with the living God, we will then be like Jesus. We do not have to wait to be His witness. If we are truly  converted, truly love Jesus with the whole heart, then we will be filled with the Holy Spirit and reveal love, joy,  peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance, not one of these fruits will be missing. Conversion is end of a long protracted process of wooing by the Holy Spirit. When Saul was converted on the road to Damascus, it was his end of having been wooed for a long time. It was then that His heart was surrendered fully to Christ. It was from then that he was like Jesus. He then love his enemy, his fellow Pharisees, and wanted to help them see their error.

How deliberate are you in seeking time to spend alone with the Lord? What are those times like, and how do they help you to know even better the reality and love of God?

A great question! How does spending time with Jesus help? By beholding we become changed into His image! How do we know this? It is a well kept secret as to how we become like Jesus. It would be well to spend a thoughtful hour a day contemplating the life of Christ, especially the closing scenes. Why? Because our minds are like plastic, they will be changed according to what we see continually. It is both an intellectual and a spiritual truth that by beholding we become changed. The mind gradually adapts itself to what it loves. Is this a spiritual truth found in Scripture? Absolutely! It is found in many places, but the most profound statement that even a child can understand is found in 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." Notice first that it is the Holy Spirit that transforms the character into the image of God. And, notice that it is by beholding His glory that enables the Spirit to recreate us in His image (character). What is His glory? It is His character of love and justice.

This is how we know the reality of the love of God. We witness it as we behold the life of Christ which is the revelation shown in Scripture. The Word was made flesh, and the Word is a revelation of Him who walked upon this Earth over 2,000 years ago. We are blessed to have His life recorded from His birth to His suffering and death at the hands of those He came to save. Prior to the cross people had to envision the cross that the sanctuary and it services pointed to. But, we who live after His death have the blazing light of the cross ever before us that we might know Him who came to this dark spot in the universe, a helpless baby subject to the weakness of humanity to fight the battle of life as we must fight it at the risk of failure and eternal loss! Satan hated Christ in heaven, he hated him even more when he was dethroned and cast out of heaven. And it added to his hate when Jesus pledged Himself to save a race  of sinners as us. Yet, yes, God allowed His dear Son to suffer and die in our place at a great risk of loving Him for eternity! What love!!! Wonder O heavens and be astonished O Earth!!

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

Richard Myers

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Thursday         June 25

Memory and Song

“Thy Word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You” (Psalm 119:11).

Memorizing Scripture brings multiplied blessings. When we store precious passages of God’s Word in our minds, we can bring to life what has been committed to memory and apply it in new and changing circumstances. That way, the Bible directly impacts our thinking, our decisions, and influences our values and behavior. Memorizing Scripture brings the Bible to life in our daily experience. Furthermore, it helps us to worship God and to live a faithful life according to the Scriptures.

To remember Scripture word by word is a tremendous safeguard against deceptions and false interpretations. Learning Scripture by heart enables us to cite Scripture, even when we do not have a Bible available. This can become a tremendous power for good in situations when temptations arise, or when we are faced with adverse challenges. To recall God’s promises, and to fix our minds on God’s Word rather than on our problems, lifts our thoughts to God, who has a thousand ways to help when we see none.

Read Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16.

5:19   Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 
 3:16   Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 

How can singing God’s Word establish and strengthen the Word of God in our minds?

Singing the words of the Bible can also be a powerful way to memorize the text of Scripture. In singing, the words of Scripture are more easily remembered. To combine the Words of Scripture with beautiful melodies will anchor them in our thoughts more firmly, and be an effective way to dispel our anxious moods. Scripture passages that are connected with simple but harmonious melodies can easily be sung and memorized by little children and adults alike. Scripture was the inspiration for numerous and world-famous oratorios, symphonies, and other music that has shaped and influenced Christian culture throughout the centuries. Compositions that lift up our minds and direct our thoughts to God and His Word are a wonderful blessing and positive influence in our lives.

“Music forms a part of God’s worship in the courts above, and we should endeavor, in our songs of praise, to approach as nearly as possible to the harmony of the heavenly choirs”. — Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 594.

Amen!! We ought to come to an understanding of what that music sounds like. It does not sound like the music produced by the heathen who hate God. At the 1990 General Conference Session in Indianapolis on the last Sabbath evening we heard what heavenly music sounded like when the angels sang. Friend John led the song service. Never before or since has there been such music heard by my ears. Read what Friend John has shared with us on the  "27 Principles of Music."

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

Richard Myers

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Friday          June 26

Further Thought: Read Ellen G. White, “The Privilege of Prayer”, pp. 93-104 in Steps to Christ.

“The natural eye can never behold the comeliness and beauty of Christ. The inward illumination of the Holy Spirit, revealing to the soul its true hopeless, helpless condition without the mercy and pardon of the Sin-bearer — the all-sufficiency of Christ — can alone enable man to discern His infinite mercy, His immeasurable love, benevolence, and glory”. — Ellen G. White, The Upward Look, p. 155.

Amen! It is by beholding this mercy, love, and glory that we are transformed from sinners to saints.

“Portions of Scripture, even whole chapters, may be committed to memory, to be repeated when Satan comes in with his temptations. … When Satan would lead the mind to dwell upon earthly and sensual things, he is most effectually resisted with, 'It is written.’ ” — Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, April 8, 1884.

Amen! It is written reveals God's grace and that is what empowers sinners to not sin. It would be good to dwell upon Christ.

Discussion Questions:

    How does the reality of free will and free choice play into all our decisions regarding faith and obedience?

We have a choice to make each day, it is up to us. Will we spend time with Jesus and by beholding Him die daily, or do we value something else more? Faith and obedience is not ours unless we love Jesus more than anything else. We need to be reminded all the time of His grace that we will continue to follow Him who gave all that we might live.

 Though many areas of our life are out of our control, with regard to the crucial things, the things that pertain to eternal life, we do have free choice. What are you doing with the free will that God has given you? What kind of spiritual choices are you making?

    Think about the role that the Sabbath can and should play in terms of giving us quiet time with God. How does keeping the Sabbath protect you from being so caught up in working and doing things that you don’t spend the time with God that you need to spend? How can you learn to make the Sabbath more of the spiritual blessing that it was meant to be?

Experience the difference that beholding Jesus makes. When we behold Him on His Day, we will be converted and thus be His witnesses to the world and to His church.

    What has been your experience in spending time with God alone in prayer and study? How does this spiritual practice impact your faith? How should it impact your faith? In class, if you feel comfortable, talk about your own personal times of reading and praying and what you have gained from them. How might others benefit from what you have learned?

Those who are seeking truth and being led by the Holy Spirit will learn from those who experienced salvation, it is called witnessing the character of our God.

    What are some of your favorite texts that you have memorized? What is it about them that you like so much? How has memorizing them been a blessing to you?

As we close this quarter's lessons, let us remember that if we want to have spiritual life, if want to live for eternity with Jesus, if we do not want to hurt others, ourselves, and Jesus, then we need to die to self daily. And, as Jesus told Nicodemus it is by beholding bronze serpernt uplifted on the cross that we are converted. We are saved by grace, and we find grace in the Word, especially the closing scenes of the life of our Saviour. That is why Jesus said man does not live by bread alone, but by every Word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. And, why Jesus said you must drink my blood and eat my flesh. And why He said He was the Manna which came down from heaven. We must feed upon Jesus if we want to glorify Him. To glorify Him is to reveal His character in our lives. Fear God and give glory to Him. Are you giving glory to God as a witness to the power of grace to keep you from sinning?

The purpose of giving us His Word is that we might know Him. And if we know Him, we will love Him more than the things of this world. Is this why you study your Bible that you might really know God so that you will not hurt Him, those you love, and even your enemies? I know that some will question what I have shared, but it is the foundation of our faith and why we are to study our Bibles. You may not hear this in your church or on your computer, but it is written that our faith comes by reading the Bible which is a revelation of our God. The Word was made flesh that we might see revealed in Jesus the Word of God.

Let me close with this truth: It would be well to spend a thoughtful hour a day contemplating the life of Jesus, especially the closing scenes when He suffered a broken heart when taking our sins upon Himself. This is grace, and beholding it will break our hearts. Jesus then will give us new hearts upon which is written the law of God. What does it mean to have the law of God written upon your heart? If you are not sure, then the answer is written in the Bible. Study this tonight and share with your church tomorrow in Sabbath School.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
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Wednesday      July 1

Faithfulness to Christ’s Command

Loyalty to Christ requires a commitment to do His will. It necessitates obedience to His commands. It results in a heart that beats with His heart in saving the lost. It places priority on the things that He prioritizes.

Read 1 Timothy 2:3, 4 and 2 Peter 3:9.

 2:3   For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 
 2:4   Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. 
 3:9   The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. 

What do these passages tell us about the heart of God? What is His priority?

His priority from what we understand in Scripture is to set the universe on a secure foundation. He promises when it is done, affliction shall not arise a second time. We play a central part in fulfilling that promise. So far, as a people we have not cooperated with God and have delayed the second coming of Christ. The suffering of the world can be laid at our feet since at least 1888. Jesus cannot come  until the church can go through a time of trouble such as never was without a Mediator, and without sinning. When have you read that having printed on our presses or preached from our pulpits? Then, that is the problem. We are holding things up. There is a work to do in the church before God can bring in the multitude who are seeking salvation.

God is passionate about saving people. There is nothing more important to Him. It is His earnest desire that “all” be saved and “come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” 2 Pet. 3:9. Commenting on this passage, The SDA Bible Commentary indicates that the Greek word used for “willing” is boulomai, which expresses “the inclination of mind, as ‘to want’ or ‘to desire’”. The commentary then makes this insightful observation on the little word but. The Greek word for “but” is alla. It is used here “to emphasize the contrast between the misinterpretation of God’s nature, namely, that He might be willing for some to perish, and the truth that He wishes all to be saved”. — The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 615. Christ’s command for each one of us to participate in His mission as witnesses of His love, grace, and truth is an outgrowth of His desire for all humanity to be saved.

Yes, God wants all to be saved, but He is not only willing for some to be lost, He killed every living thing on the Earth except what was in the ark. Most will be lost because they did not accept the salvation offered after the price had been paid. God's character of mercy does not set aside His character of justice. Not only will the lost lose heaven, they will suffer for every sin they ever did. There is such a thing as justice with fire and brimstone, no matter who says otherwise. Thus saith the Lord "their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched" (Isaiah 66:24) until justice is satisfied.

Read Acts 13:47 and compare it to Isaiah 49:6.

13:47   For so hath the Lord commanded us, [saying], I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. 
49:6   And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. 

To whom did this passage initially apply?

Israel of Old.  We read this in verse 49:3: "And said unto me, Thou [art] my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified." Was God glorified by Israel? No, and He cut them off as His people.  What does it mean to "glorify God"? "Fear God and give glory to Him" is our responsibility as a people. We are modern day Israel. We have not glorified God. It means that we are to reflect His character. How does God look at us today?

 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. 
 36:25   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. 

How does the apostle Paul use it?

He tells us the Christian Church is to be a light to the world. But, we know that Babylon has failed to do this, therefore we are calling all true believers out of Babylon. But, God is not working mightily to bring these precious souls into His church because many will leave and many are leaving because of the hypocrisy in the church. We do not do as we say.

There are times when an Old Testament prophecy has more than one application. Here the apostle Paul takes a prophecy that referred first to Israel and prophetically to the Messiah (see Isa. 41:8, Isa. 49:6, and Luke 2:32) and applies it to the New Testament church. For the church to neglect or minimize the command of Christ is to fail in the purpose of her existence and miss her prophetic calling to the world.

What are the dangers to the church, even a local church, if it becomes so inwardly focused that it forgets what its purpose is to begin with?

How can the church forget her purpose if she is filled with the Holy Spirit and is teaching always what is written? Why did Israel fail? The teachers, priests, and leaders perverted the truth to the degree that when Jesus came, they knew Him not and put Him on the cross. Poor Peter tried to stop Jesus from going to Jerusalem to suffer and die on the cross. Amazing! After three and a half years of being with Jesus, none of them understand the Lamb had to suffer and die for their sins. Such a deception! So it is today. Satan has had another 2,000 years after Christ was murdered to prepare for us. He has succeeded in deceiving Babylon, and now God's last day church. But, the promise I have shared from Ezekiel reveals that God is going to be glorified by modern day Israel. He is not going to cut His Laodicean Church off as He did Israel of Old. No, He is pouring out living water upon Her. Grace is more than a word, it is the power that transforms sinners into saints. Even the church which is represented by dry, dry, dry bones can live as we read in Ezekiel chapter 37. Let none say that God cannot cleans His church! He can and He will, but not all in the church will be cleansed. Many will be sifted out when the "shaking" comes.

Have you a correct understanding of the Laodicean message? Most do not and believe they are fine just the way they are, when in fact they are not converted and unless they come to repentance will be forever lost. What is this "shaking" that has begun in the church today?

I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen, and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans. This will have its effect upon the heart of the receiver, and will lead him to exalt the standard and pour forth the straight truth. Some will not bear this straight testimony. They will rise up against it, and this will cause a shaking among God’s people. The testimony of the True Witness has not been half heeded. The solemn testimony upon which the destiny of the church hangs has been lightly esteemed, if not entirely disregarded. This testimony must work deep repentance, and all that truly receive it will obey it and be purified. Testimonies for the Church, vol 1, pg 181.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.