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Wally

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Making Friends for God









The Joy of Sharing in His Mission

There are times when grasping a single thought makes a profound difference in our lives. A number of years ago, I sat in a ministerial meeting with some of my colleagues. The discussion turned to sharing our faith, witnessing, and evangelism. One of my friends expressed this thought, “Mission is primarily the work of God. He is employing all of the resources of heaven to save our planet. Our work is to cooperate joyfully with Him in His work of saving lost people”. It seemed as if a heavy burden was lifted off my shoulders. It was not my job to save a lost world. It was God’s. My responsibility was to cooperate with Him in what He was already doing.

The idea that mission is God’s work is clarified throughout Scripture. Solomon states it this way, “He [God] has put eternity in their hearts” (Eccles. 3:11, NKJV). When an individual is born into this world, God places a desire for eternity deep within the fabric of that person’s being. As Augustine once said, “Lord, we were made for thee, and our hearts will never find rest until they find rest in thee”. According to John’s Gospel, Jesus is the light that lights every person born into this world (John 1:9). Not only has God placed within each one of us a longing for Himself, He sends His Holy Spirit to draw us to Himself.

Every desire to do right, every conviction of sin, is prompted by the Holy Spirit. Every desire for goodness and inclination toward kindness and unselfishness is motivated first by the Holy Spirit. Even though we may not fully understand or realize it, the Holy Spirit is working in our lives to draw us to Jesus (John 16:7-15). But Jesus Himself is the greatest gift of all.

When the human race was hopelessly lost in sin, condemned to eternal death, the love of God took the initiative. Luke writes, “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10, NKJV). The apostle Paul adds, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8, NKJV). God took the initiative in our salvation. Christ left the glory and splendor of heaven and came to this sin-darkened world on a redemptive mission.

Before we ever took one baby step toward Him, He took a giant leap toward us. Before we ever gave Him our life, He provided salvation to us through His death. We were His enemies, but He was our friend. We turned our backs on Him, but He turned His face toward us. We cared little for Him, but He cared immensely for us.

In Luke 15, He is pictured as the good shepherd relentlessly looking for His lost sheep, a woman frantically looking for her lost silver coin from her dowry, and an old father recklessly running to meet His lost boy. Ellen G. White makes this marvelous statement worth contemplating: “The great plan of redemption was laid before the foundation of the world. Christ did not stand alone in this wondrous undertaking for the ransom of man. In the councils of heaven, before the world was created, the Father and the Son covenanted together that if man proved disloyal to God, Christ, one with the Father, would take the place of the transgressor, and suffer the penalty of justice that must fall upon him”. — Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, November 15, 1898.

Contemplate it for a moment. We have the incredible privilege and the awesome responsibility, as well as the eternal joy of participating with Christ and cooperating with Him in His mission. That’s what these lessons are all about this quarter.

A native of Connecticut, USA, Mark Finley, an internationally known evangelist, was a vice president at the General Conference from 2005-2010. After retiring from full-time employment, he became an assistant to the president of the General Conference. Pastor Finley and his wife, Ernestine, have three children and five grandchildren.
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: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 1--3rd Quarter 2020--Why Witness?
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2020, 04:01:48 PM »
 Lesson 1 June 27-July 3





Why Witness?





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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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 1--3rd Quarter 2020--Why Witness?
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2020, 08:00:33 PM »
Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: James 5:19, 20; Luke 15:6; Zeph. 3:17; John 7:37, 38; 1 Tim. 2:3, 4; 2 Cor. 5:14, 15.

Memory Text: “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:3, 4

God’s great longing is for all people everywhere to respond to His love, accept His grace, be transformed by His Spirit, and be saved into His kingdom. He has no greater desire than our salvation. His love is boundless. His mercy is measureless. His compassion is endless. His forgiveness is inexhaustible. His power is infinite. In contrast to the heathen gods, which demanded sacrifices, our God has made the supreme sacrifice. No matter how much we desire to be saved, God longs to save us more. “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:3, 4, NKJV). His heart’s longing is for your salvation and mine.

Witnessing is all about Jesus. It is about what He has done to save us, about how He has changed our lives, and about the marvelous truths of His word, which tell us about who He is and the beauty of His character. Why witness? When we understand who He is and have experienced the marvels of His grace and the power of His love, we cannot be silent. Why witness? While participating with Him, we enter into His joy of seeing people redeemed by His grace and transformed by His love.

Amen!!  What joy to seek out those who are looking for truth. There is another important reason to witness, good witness. When we live in this world, we are not along. Daily the world and the church sees you and me. Do they see Christians who are reflecting the character of God? Many do not. Why? Because many do not understand that God wants us to stay on this earth that others may know Him. When we sin and others see us, we misrepresent Jesus, His Word, and His church.

Tell the truth to your friends, we are here to set aside, make of no effect Satan's lies that we cannot keep God's law. We can if we are converted and filled with the Holy Spirit. God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear!!
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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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 1--3rd Quarter 2020--Why Witness?
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2020, 08:30:13 PM »
Sunday        June 28

Providing Opportunities for Salvation


God provides opportunities daily for people everywhere to know Him. He moves upon their hearts through His Holy Spirit. He reveals Himself in the beauty and complexity of the natural world. The vastness, order, and symmetry of the universe speak of an infinite God with limitless wisdom and infinite power. He arranges circumstances or providences in our lives to draw us to Himself.

Although God reveals Himself through the impressions of His Spirit, the glories of nature, and acts of providence, the clearest revelation of His love is found in the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. When we share Jesus with others, we provide them with their best opportunity to be saved.

Even better than telling others about Jesus is our witness regarding Christian character. When the heathen in the world see Christian character, then they will know there is a God in heaven with great power!


Read Luke 19:10 and compare it with James 5:19, 20.

19:10   For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. 
 5:19   Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; 
 5:20   Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. 


What does Luke’s gospel teach about Christ’s purpose in coming to earth? How do we cooperate with Christ in His work of saving the lost?

He came to reveal God so that sinners might be saved. We reveal the character of God.

According to James, “He who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death” (James 5:20, NKJV). The book of Romans amplifies this thought. In Romans 1 and 2, both the Gentiles who have seen God’s revelation in nature and the Jews who have received God’s prophetic revelation in Scripture are lost without Christ. In Romans 3-5, the apostle reveals that salvation comes by grace through faith alone. In Romans 6-8, he describes how the grace that justifies each believer is also sanctifying grace. In Romans 10, he states that “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved” (Rom. 10:13, NKJV), and he then points out that none can call if they have not believed, and they cannot believe if they have not heard, and they cannot hear unless someone tells them (Rom. 10:14, 15). We are God’s links in the plan of salvation to reach lost people with the glory of the gospel.

We do not witness to give people their only chance to be saved. We witness to give them their best chance. What is our role in God’s plan of redeeming the human race? Think about this, too: how many people have heard the gospel from your own lips?

And, how many have seen your character when you are reflecting Christ. Think about this: The one who had the most influence initially on Paul (Saul), was who? Was it what he said, or what he did? It was Stephen and it was both what he said and what he did. Saul was not converted then, but the Holy Spirit used Stephen to awaken in Saul that he was a great sinner even though he thought he was blameless.

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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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 1--3rd Quarter 2020--Why Witness?
« Reply #4 on: June 27, 2020, 08:32:34 PM »
Monday          June 29

Making Jesus Glad

Has anyone ever asked you, “How is your day going?” “Is everything all right with you today?” What if you asked God those questions? “God, how is Your day going?” What kind of response do you think you would receive? Possibly it would be one like this. “My day has been extremely difficult. Tears filled My eyes at one thousand refugee camps filled with cold, hungry, crying children. I walked the streets of the world’s crowded cities and wept with the homeless and destitute. My heart breaks over abused women and frightened children sold into sexual slavery. I witnessed the ravages of war, the devastating effects of natural disasters and the painful agony of debilitating, deadly diseases”. Would you respond by asking, “But God, is there anything that makes You rejoice? Is there anything that brings joy to Your heart? Is there anything that makes You sing?”

Read Luke 15:6, 7, 9, 10 and 22-24, 32. How do these stories end, and what do these endings tell you about God?

All heaven rejoices when the lost are found. In a world filled with disease, disaster, and death, we can bring joy to the heart of God by sharing the “good news” of salvation with others. One of the greatest motivations to share Christ’s love is the knowledge that witnessing brings joy to the heart of God. Every time we reveal His love, all of heaven sings.

Read Zephaniah 3:17. What is our Lord’s response when we accept His saving grace?

Imagine this scene. As the result of your witness some man or woman or boy or girl accepts Jesus as his or her personal Savior. Jesus rejoices. All of heaven bursts forth in rapturous song, and our mighty Savior rejoices over that individual with singing. What can be more rewarding, more fulfilling, than knowing your witness brings joy to the heart of God in a world of sadness?

What an opportunity we all have when we surrender the whole heart to Jesus!!

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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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 1--3rd Quarter 2020--Why Witness?
« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2020, 10:01:56 AM »
Tuesday        June 30

Growing by Giving


The Dead Sea marks the earth’s lowest elevation. At 1,388 feet below sea level, it ranks as the world’s lowest sea. The river Jordan flows out of the Sea of Galilee and winds its way through the Jordan Valley until it dead-ends in the Dead Sea.

The hot, dry climate, with the intense sunlight and desert conditions, causes the water to evaporate quite rapidly. Since the Dead Sea’s salt and mineral content is 33.7 percent, little survives in its waters. There are no fish, no plants; only some microbes and bacteria at the bottom.

In our Christian lives, if the grace of God that flows into our lives does not flow out to others, we will become stagnant and all but lifeless like the Dead Sea. As Christians, that’s not how we are to live.

If we do not share His love and grace with others, then we have not been filled with His Spirit. And, if we are not filled with His Spirit, then we are none of His (Romans 8:9). If we love Jesus supremely, then we will be telling all we can that Jesus lives! As Christians we will live that way. If we are not fully surrendered, then what have we to share? Self.


Read John 7:37, 38 and Luke 6:38. In contrast to the Dead Sea experience, when believers receive the refreshing streams of living water from Christ, what is the natural result?

The spiritual result is giving to others what Jesus has given to us.


“God could have reached His object in saving sinners without our aid; but in order for us to develop a character like Christ’s, we must share in His work. In order to enter into His joy — the joy of seeing souls redeemed by His sacrifice — we must participate in His labors for their redemption”. — Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 142.


Amen!


“Those who would be overcomers must be drawn out of themselves; and the only thing which will accomplish this great work, is to become intensely interested in the salvation of others”. — Ellen G. White, Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 207.


Where do we spend our time? Do we make time to tell others about Jesus and are we using the "right arm" of the gospel to gain entry to their hearts?


We grow as we share with others what Christ has done in our own lives. Considering all that we have been given in Christ, what but only the most abject selfishness could keep us from sharing with others what we have ourselves been given? Meanwhile, if we fail to share our faith, our spiritual life will become as stagnant as the Dead Sea.

Grace received into the heart will find a way to get out and bless others. It is the natural result. Living waters do not stay contained. As Elihu said: "I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me. Behold, my belly [is] as wine [which] hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles. I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer." Job 32:18-20.

As for being pushed to evangelize, it is not man's place to tell others what to say and when to say it. It is the Spirit that impresses us with truth and leads us when and where to share it. When life becomes stagnant, it is when we cease drinking the living water that abounds around us as thick as the air we breathe.


What have been your own experiences in witnessing to others, praying with others, and ministering to the needs of others? How have these experiences impacted your own faith and walk with the Lord?

There is no greater joy than being blessed with grace and then in leading others to received that same grace.
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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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 1--3rd Quarter 2020--Why Witness?
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2020, 10:48:19 AM »
Thursday ↥         July 2

Motivated by Love


This week we have focused on answering the question, “Why witness?” We have discovered that as we share our faith, we have the joy of cooperating with God in His mission to the world. Our witness of His love provides people with greater opportunities for salvation, since they can see more clearly His grace and truth.

At the same time, witnessing is also one of God’s means of growing us spiritually. A failure to share what Christ has done for us and to minister to others strangles genuine spiritual life.

Witnessing places us in touch with the heart of the One who longs for all humanity to be saved. It is a response of obedience to His command. In today’s study we will examine the greatest motivation of all for witnessing.

Read 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15, 18-20. What motivated Paul to experience trials, tribulations, difficulties, and hardships for the sake of the gospel? How can this same motivation prompt our service for Christ?

The apostle Paul was motivated by love. There are things you will do for love that you will do for no other reason. When the apostle declares “The love of Christ constrains us”, he was speaking an eternal truth. The word constrains means “to urge, to impel, to control or to highly motivate”. The love of Christ controlled Paul’s actions and motivated his witness. With undaunted purpose and singleness of mind, he shared the plan of salvation throughout the Mediterranean world.

“Love must dwell in the heart. A thoroughgoing Christian draws his motives of action from his deep heart-love for his Master. Up through the roots of his affection for Christ springs an unselfish interest in his brethren”. — Ellen G. White, The Adventist Home, p. 425.

When we truly recognize the immense sacrifice Christ has made for us, we are overwhelmed by His love and compelled to share with others what He has done for us.

The One who created all creation (the galaxies, the stars, the angelic host, the entire cosmos, other worlds) was the One who died on the cross for us. How can this astonishing truth not create in us a love for God and a desire to share that love?

Friday ↥         July 3

Further Thought:

Read Ellen G. White, “God’s Purpose for His Church”, pp. 9-16, in The Acts of the Apostles, and pp. 822-828 in The Desire of Ages.

The New Testament church faced the danger of failing to understand the purpose for its existence. Ellen G. White describes this danger: “The persecution that came upon the church in Jerusalem resulted in giving a great impetus to the work of the gospel. Success had attended the ministry of the word in that place, and there was danger that the disciples would linger there too long, unmindful of the Saviour’s commission to go to all the world. Forgetting that strength to resist evil is best gained by aggressive service, they began to think that they had no work so important as that of shielding the church in Jerusalem from the attacks of the enemy. Instead of educating the new converts to carry the gospel to those who had not heard it, they were in danger of taking a course that would lead all to be satisfied with what had been accomplished”. — The Acts of the Apostles, p. 105.

Discussion Questions:

    Look carefully at the Ellen G. White quote above, especially the last line. Why must we even today be careful of that same potential danger? In the face of the missionary challenges before us, why would such an attitude be so terribly, even tragically, wrong?

    Why do you think each of the Gospels ends with a similar command? Read Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, 16, Luke 24:46-49, and John 20:21. What did this mean to these first-century believers, and what should it mean to us today?

    Can witnessing and service ever become a substitute for genuine spirituality? If so, how so, and how can we be careful of that trap?

    In class, talk about the answer to the question at the end of Tuesday’s study, regarding how witnessing and ministering impacts your own spiritual growth. What are some things you have learned that can help others? What mistakes have you made that you could help others avoid?

    Dwell on the amazing fact that God loves each one of us individually. How do you understand what this means? How should this, perhaps the most important truth in all the universe, impact how you live?
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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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 1--3rd Quarter 2020--Why Witness?
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2020, 10:49:07 AM »
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.


It is the giving of the Laodicean message found in Revelation chapter three. Do not listen to those who interpret the message and pervert its meaning. Read it for yourself. A child can understand it if he wants. Just prayerfully listen to the Words of Jesus spoken to out church today. The preaching of this message is causing a shaking in the church today.

3:14   And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 
 3:15   I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 
 3:16   So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 
 3:17   Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 
 3:18   I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. 
 3:19   As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 
 3:20   Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 
 3:21   To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 
 3:22   He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. 
 

Therefore, as our lesson's title says "be ye faithful to Christ's command" not to the perverted teachings of man so rampant in the church today.
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

  • Servant
  • Posts: 41163
  • A glorious sunset teaches of trust and faith.....
    • The Remnant Online
Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 1--3rd Quarter 2020--Why Witness?
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2020, 04:52:44 AM »
Thursday        July 2

Motivated by Love


This week we have focused on answering the question, “Why witness?” We have discovered that as we share our faith, we have the joy of cooperating with God in His mission to the world. Our witness of His love provides people with greater opportunities for salvation, since they can see more clearly His grace and truth.

At the same time, witnessing is also one of God’s means of growing us spiritually. A failure to share what Christ has done for us and to minister to others strangles genuine spiritual life.

If we are filled with the Spirit, we live to work for Jesus. We have other things we must do, but we do them that we might be witnesses for Jesus. If we are not living for Christ, then who are we living for?


Witnessing places us in touch with the heart of the One who longs for all humanity to be saved. It is a response of obedience to His command. In today’s study we will examine the greatest motivation of all for witnessing.

Read 2 Corinthians 5:14, 15, 18-20. What motivated Paul to experience trials, tribulations, difficulties, and hardships for the sake of the gospel? How can this same motivation prompt our service for Christ?

Paul was motivated by the love of God for one who was the chief of sinners. It is grace that causes us to die to self and to live for Jesus. We need fresh stores of grace daily. It would be well to spend a  thoughtful hour a day contemplating the life of Jesus. It is there we shall find living water (grace) that cleanses the soul and empowers to do good.


The apostle Paul was motivated by love. There are things you will do for love that you will do for no other reason. When the apostle declares “The love of Christ constrains us”, he was speaking an eternal truth. The word constrains means “to urge, to impel, to control or to highly motivate”. The love of Christ controlled Paul’s actions and motivated his witness. With undaunted purpose and singleness of mind, he shared the plan of salvation throughout the Mediterranean world.

Amen! And we too will do the same if we will behold His grace daily.


“Love must dwell in the heart. A thoroughgoing Christian draws his motives of action from his deep heart-love for his Master. Up through the roots of his affection for Christ springs an unselfish interest in his brethren”. — Ellen G. White, The Adventist Home, p. 425.


When we truly recognize the immense sacrifice Christ has made for us, we are overwhelmed by His love and compelled to share with others what He has done for us.

The One who created all creation (the galaxies, the stars, the angelic host, the entire cosmos, other worlds) was the One who died on the cross for us. How can this astonishing truth not create in us a love for God and a desire to share that love?

Amen! He died for me and for you who do not deserve such kindness. He suffered and died for us while we yet sinners. Such love!!
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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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 1--3rd Quarter 2020--Why Witness?
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2020, 05:14:32 AM »
Friday         July 3

Further Thought:


Read Ellen G. White, “God’s Purpose for His Church”, pp. 9-16, in The Acts of the Apostles, and pp. 822-828 in The Desire of Ages.

The New Testament church faced the danger of failing to understand the purpose for its existence. Ellen G. White describes this danger: “The persecution that came upon the church in Jerusalem resulted in giving a great impetus to the work of the gospel. Success had attended the ministry of the word in that place, and there was danger that the disciples would linger there too long, unmindful of the Saviour’s commission to go to all the world. Forgetting that strength to resist evil is best gained by aggressive service, they began to think that they had no work so important as that of shielding the church in Jerusalem from the attacks of the enemy. Instead of educating the new converts to carry the gospel to those who had not heard it, they were in danger of taking a course that would lead all to be satisfied with what had been accomplished”. — The Acts of the Apostles, p. 105.

Amen!  Are you having trouble maintaining your Christian experience? Moses has a little problem that brought his life on Earth to and end. But, how many of these sins did he do prior to striking Christ? We can learn from what was just shared. When we are busy doing the Lord's work in His Spirit, we will grow in our Christian experience and strength. "...strength to resist evil is best gained by aggressive service."


Discussion Questions:

    Look carefully at the Ellen G. White quote above, especially the last line. Why must we even today be careful of that same potential danger? In the face of the missionary challenges before us, why would such an attitude be so terribly, even tragically, wrong?

It is not our power that does the work, it is the Spirit of the Living God. To think we have done a good work, and to rest thinking we are so very good, reveals a lack of connection with Christ. Those who are filled with the Spirit are ever seeking to save the lost.


    Why do you think each of the Gospels ends with a similar command? Read Matthew 28:18-20, Mark 16:15, 16, Luke 24:46-49, and John 20:21.

28:18   And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 
 28:19   Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 
 28:20   Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen. 
  16:15   And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 
 16:16   He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 
 24:46   And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 
 24:47   And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 
 24:48   And ye are witnesses of these things. 
 24:49   And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. 
 20:21   Then said Jesus to them again, Peace [be] unto you: as [my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 


What did this mean to these first-century believers, and what should it mean to us today?

It was there marching orders directly from God to them and to us.


    Can witnessing and service ever become a substitute for genuine spirituality? If so, how so, and how can we be careful of that trap?

It was a trap for the Pharisees who considered their good works capable of taking them to heaven. They were whited sepulchers. The only answer is to be found abiding in Christ whereby we will be found doing His work from the heart for Him, not for our own pleasure.


    In class, talk about the answer to the question at the end of Tuesday’s study, regarding how witnessing and ministering impacts your own spiritual growth. What are some things you have learned that can help others? What mistakes have you made that you could help others avoid?

The great danger to those who have truly been converted is that we forget God. We must maintain our connection daily, even moment by moment. When we take our eyes off of Jesus we will fall just as did Peter when walking on the water.


    Dwell on the amazing fact that God loves each one of us individually. How do you understand what this means? How should this, perhaps the most important truth in all the universe, impact how you live?

What a wonderful beginning for this quarter's lessons!  And this last statement and question sets the foundation for the rest of our lessons. It is knowing God that empowers us to be His witnesses. We are saved by grace that surrounds us as thick as the air we breathe. But, it does us no good if we do not behold it and allow it into our hearts. It this truth that transforms our lives, turns sinners into saints. Yes, the greatest miracle God can do is to re-create us into His image (2 Cor. 3:18).
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.