Day 1 Lesson 4 Why at Doctrines Important – Isn’t loving Jesus enough? – “doctrine” comes from a Latin word meaning “teaching” – doctrine shouldn’t be just an intellectual exercise – doctrine = “the teaching of Christ” (II John 2:9) Significance of Doctrine a. Knowledge enhances relationships–even relationships with God – Think of your best friends: they are the people you know the most about – Deep relationships are rooted in a knowledge of one-another’s deepest thoughts, feelings, motives – relationship with Jesus, is deepened by reflection on who he is, what he did, etc a.
Belief and Experience are closely related “The fatter I get, the closer I get to God” – actions grew out of a view of death and the after-life a. Doctrines fulfills a practical need – many alternative courses of action – some are dangerous–but seemingly attractive sometimes – examining the truth will help prepare us to discern the error. – a small variation from the truth may have drastic consequences over time – Doctrines in scripture have practical value – Ex 23:12 – Sabbath to provide rest for slaves and work animals – I Thess 4:13, 18 – Second coming present to comfort the grieving a.
God created us with minds and wants us to use them to his glory – Matthew 2:37 “Love the Lord your God … with all your mind” – dealing with the biggest questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What’s going on? Who is Jesus? What did he do? What does he require of me? – not a continuum: Faith – Reason but a grid: Week 1 Day 2 Lesson 2 The Doctrine of Revelation – dealing with God’s communication to us – scripture opens with a picture of God talking face-to-face with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden – sin created a barrier to communication (on which more later) – Adam and Eve told God that basically they didn’t want him – however, they now needed his guidance and counsel more than ever.
General Revelation – Revelation of God in Nature – referred to in scripture: – creation: “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Ps 19:1) – relationships: “As a father has compassion for his children, so the LORD has compassion for those who fear him” – the natural world is marred by sin – Is God seen in the cyclone, the earthquake – Is God seen in the relationship of the incest victim with his/her abuser – the revelation of God in it is obscured – God the mathematical genius, the engineer, the builder but not as a God of love. God can be seen in nature, but he can also be missed – cosmonauts: we went to heaven and didn’t find God there. Special Revelation – a specific revelation by God focusing on those aspects of his being and work not readily discerned in nature – found specifically in scripture/Bible – II Tim 3:16 – all scripture is given by the inspiration of God – II Peter 1:21 – “Holy men of God” who were “moved by the Holy Spirit” – a common claim in scripture – “Thus says the LORD” (messenger formular) in the prophets Evidence for the inspiration of scripture a. Remarkable preservation NT: produced by an illegal sect which was heavily persecuted in the first three centuries – possession of a NT could be a matter of life or death – extremely difficult and expensive to copy – yet the NT survived in greater abundance than any other work in the ancient world – more certain what Matthew wrote than we can be with Julius Ceasar or Plato. a. Prophecy – Daniel 2; Ezekiel 26:3-5, 12-14 a. Changed lives – Ps 119:105 – challenge and an invitation: the God of the universe wants each one of us to be his friend, he has written us a message of his love – changed many other; what about us?
Week 1 Day 3 Lesson 3 – revelation = making something know – God is made known generally in nation and in more specific (special) ways in scripture – what does scripture reveal? – what is scripture? – 66 book written over a period of c. 1500 years – starting with Moses (1450 BC – about 3,500 years ago) – ending with John (100 AD – about 1900 years ago) – divided into OT and NT – OT deals with the period before Christ; NT deals with the period of Christ and his closest followers bible begins with a perfect new world fresh from the hand of the creator (2 chapters) – ends in a similar way (2 chapters) – world isn’t like that now – Gen 3: how the world got into the mess its in – the fall – bible than centres in large message what God does in response to this disaster – choses family of Abraham (Israelites) to reveal his character and plan of salvation to the world – they often fail and he sends them prophets – OT has two major focal points: the promise of a coming delivery (Gen 3:15) and the sacrifices – substitution for the sinner sends Jesus: reveals God’s character – dies for the sins of the world – raised to life again – sends the HS to empower the disciples to go out and tell the world the good news of salvation – story of the book of acts – the implications of the christ-event spelt out in various other NT documents – meanwhile Christ are a mediator in the heavenly sanctuary – promise that Jesus will come again; reward the faithful; punish the wicked; and remake the world – also reveals what God expects of us as we wait for the SC. trust in Jesus – the all sufficient way of salvation – obedience to God (“trust and obey”) – love God/love your neighbour – Matthew 22:34-40 – Bible deals with the great questions that confront people – How did the world get into the mess its in? – What has God done about it; is doing about it; is going to do about it? – How can we get to the new world God is preparing for us? – How should we live now? – many important and valid questions are not directly answered in scripture – what about our ancestors–before the missionaries came? will our pets be in heaven? – what about miscarried babies? – scripture’s only sure answer to such questions is: find your way to heaven where all of these questions will be fully answered. Week 2 Day 1 Lesson 4 Doctrine of God – in the popular imagination God is often portrayed as a cosmic kill-joy – in works of theology God is often reduced to a set of dry propositions which are both boring and almost incomprehensible (ineffable; omnipotent; omniscient) – what does the bible say? A. God of relationships I John 4:16 – God is love (not loving) – love requires a partner – common picture: God as a husband consumed with love for his wife – Ez 16 – God finds Israel as an abandoned baby; cares for her, when she is of age he marries her but she is unfaithful to him – like a human lover; God wants love and faithfulness in return – Ex 34:14 – “A jealous god” – fully committed to the relationship with us; and looking for committment in return – God passionately wants a relationship with us – seeking out Adam both before and after the fall. choses Israel to be his special people – Lev 26:12 “I will walk among you and you will be my people” – commissions a Tabernacle so he can dwell with his people – Ex 25:8 – cf the incarnation: God became a man and “dwelt among us” – John 1:14 – cf the end of the story: – Rev 21:3 “See the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them as their God, they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them” A. The God who is in charge – created by the power of his word – “God said … nd it was so” (Gen 1:6-7) – gave mankind free will – so much that happens is contrary to God’s will – protrayed as ruling over the affairs of the nations and individuals – things still go “wrong” but God works it out – Rom 8:28 – All things work together for good for those who love God A. God is Holy and Just – Lev 20:26 – Be holy because I the Lord your God am holy – a constant theme throughout the Bible – a real contrast to the other gods worshipped in the ancient world – Molech – child sacrifices (Jer 32:35) – Baal and Asheroth – fertility rites gods of Greece and Rome: violent, immoral, carpicious – God is holy and righteous; demands holiness and morality from his worshippers A. God is Dealing with the Problem of Evil (at Great Cost) – John 3:16 – God so loved the world, he gave his only son – Evil is a pervasive presence in the world – God has acted decisively against it – not a disinterested observer but one who sends his son to the scene of the disaster where he is killed – future final removal of evil from the universe – along with those who are too closely attached to it – time given to repent – God not willing that any should perish (II Pet 3:9)
A. God is best known in Jesus – John 14:9 – he who has seen me has seen the father – revealed particularly in the Gospels 1. A friend of sinners, who received them and ate with them (Lk 15:1-2) 2. Compassionate to those in need – tending to the sick, weeping with the grieving, touching the lepers 3. Taught the Fatherhood of God 4. Died for us – experienced the fear of death; shrank from the pain; but went through with it – Rom 5:7-8 – “Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man–though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. But God shos his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us”.
Week 2 Day 2 Lesson 5 The Doctrine of the Trinity – Christians affirm a seemingly contradictory doctrine of God called the Trinity – Creeds: we believe in one God–Father, Son and Holy Ghost – what does that mean and does it even make sense? – word “trinity” does not even occur in the Bible – Jehovah’s Witnesses seem to think it means one “monster” God with three heads – One plus one plus one = ? Biblical Data 1. There is only one God Deut 6:4 – Hear O Israel, the Lord your God is one God Rom 3:30 – Since God is one … James 2:19 – You believe God is One. You do well. 1. God in the New Testament is often called the Father Sent Jesus (John 3:16) – Jesus prayed to him (Luke 22:42) 1. Jesus is also God – John 1:1,2,14 – In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God … he became flesh and dwelt among us – John 20:28 – worshipped by Thomas – “My lord and my God” – John 10:30 – The Father and I am one – Phil 2:6-7 – In the form of God, Equal with God – John 1:1 – The Creator – Mark 2:5-6 – Forgave sins 1. The Holy Spirit is also God – He is eternal (Heb 9:14) – He knows everything (I Cor 2:10-11) – blaspheming against the HS is even more serious than blaspheming against God (Mat 12:31-32) . The Father, Son and HS are often grouped together as though equal – baptised in the name (singular) of the Father, son and Holy Spirit (Mat 28:18) – benedictions – baptism of Jesus, creation, salvation How can all this be? – three persons, but only 1 personality – share all attributes together – including thoughts, motives, duration illustration: H20 is the inside of water, gas, and ice but the outside is different – the members of the trinity are exactly the same on the inside – God – but manifest themselves differently (Father, Son and HS) – the doctrine is important the God of relationship was eternally love and eternally (before creation) needed to express that love to another – the atonement meant God himself paying man’s debt and not God beating up on the son because he couldn’t beat up on Adam. – One times one times one = ? Week 3 Day 2 Lesson 8 Did Jesus have a Sinful Human Nature – humanity and divinity of Jesus are difficult to hold together – in the early church, some felt that it was demeaning to say Christ was a man (only pretending) – overemphasis on his divinity – leads to strong affirmations of the humanity of Jesus Heb 2:14-16 – Heb 4:14-16 – what does it mean to be made like his brothers in every regard? or to be tested as we are? – we are sinners by nature – was Jesus? Some people think so – remember: not a biblical question; the biblical question is “was he human, at all? ” – was does the bible teach about this? A. Jesus was not tempted with every temptation – some are mutually exclusive B. No value in being tempted with every temptation – they are only temptations if they tempt us. C. Emphasis on the likeness of Jesus to us is firstly on his mortality D.
Temptation, as intense whether it comes from within or without E. Temptation works through the normal bodily appetites and senses – weariness makes even temper difficult – fear makes faithfulness difficult A. Jesus was faithful to God to the end; despite every incentive to withdraw from the world B. Sin was a turning away from God; but in coming to the world Jesus was obeying God C. Bible affirms in many ways, the absolute purity of Jesus (Heb 7:26) The Work of Jesus – theologians speak of the three offices of Jesus a. Prophet – reveals God’s message of love for the world . Priest – provides the sacrifice for sins – provides intercession for sinners a. King rules overs the hearts of believers; in the future will rule over the whole world – alternative schema a. Creator b. Redeemer c. Friend Week 4 Day 1 Lesson 10 The Person and Work of the Holy Spirit – if God is the God of relationships, how can we have a relationship with a God who is far away (in heaven) – The Father seems far away – Jesus a distant visitor – Holy Spirit is a present presence in the world today – the means of God dwelling in us – I Cor 6:19 not a material being limited in time and place – John 4:24 – to the disciples advantage for Jesus to go away, so HS could come (John 16:7) – because he could be with the disciples whereever they were – not just a force but a person (a personal God) – Eph 4:30 – can be grieved – I Cor 12:11 — chooses how to allocate gifts of the Spirit – Spirit: a neglected field in theological studies – bible tells us little about the HS, but focuses attention on his work – helps people understand the truth (John 14:26; 16:12-14) – intercedes to draw people to God (Rom 8:26-27) a source of God’s power in the world (Acts 1:8) – empowered Jesus ministry (Luke 4:1) – active in the entire Christian life – convicts of sin (conversion) – John 16:8-11 – born again of the Spirit – John 3:3-8 – changes lives so they are more like Christ – Gal 5:16-25 (Fruit of the Spirit) – provides gifts for service (I Cor 12-14) – empowers the church for growth (Acts 1:8) – creates a bond of unity in the church – the unity of the spirit (Eph 4:3) – some look for the spirit in the miraculous and spectacular – sometimes – more often in the recreating of sinners into the image of God again Week 4
Day 2 Lesson 11 Creation – SDAs probably uniquely among the Churches hold to a doctrine of creation as an article of faith – fundamental # 5 – issue generates much heat in conflict with evolutionary theory – which is the issue important? – Christian faith: story of salvation, needed because of sin, entered at fall, presupposes a perfect creation. – evolution suggests continued improvement; Christianity views the natural world as being in a state of “devolution” – without creation: Christianity becomes a subjective mass of ideas with no historical foundation – why is the atonement necessary? What is sin?
Genesis 1-2 not primarily scientific documents, but rather theological – begins with a statement of God as the creator – opening picture of chaos – formless void, dark, water, stormy winds – God brings order to the chaos, by the word of his power – in contrast with pagan mythologies of creation by combat – creation in ordered pairs – light (1) – light givers (4) – sea/sky (2) – sea/sky creatures (5) – land/vegetation (30) – land animals/man (6) – day seven = climax – Sabbath – the one holy thing in a sinless, perfect world – man created in the image of God: Gen 1:26-27 – intended for relationship with God; first full day is spent with God
Second creation account: climax in marriage: Gen 2:24-25 – Sabbath and Marriage are build into God’s design for mankind and the world. – one expresses a stable relationship with God; the other a stable relationship with others – ignoring this plan is a recipe for chaos Implications 1. The physical creation is essentially good: physical pleasure, appetites, sexuality, etc, are given by God (even if distorted by Satan) 2. The creation is valuable and we have a responsibility to care for it 3. The world is not just a chance affair and how we life is important (relationships with God, others, things) 4.
Man is not just an animal but was designed for a relationship with God Week 4 Day 3 Lesson 12 The Fall and Sin – defining characteristic of man as we know him is that he is a sinner – despite the perfect creation – fall narrative in Genesis 3 – test issue: fruit of knowledge of good and evil (Gen 2:15-17) – seems a lot of fuss over an apple. – choice becomes an issue of trust – Satan implies that God has deliberately withheld the best from Adam and Eve (Gen 3:5) – they can choose to believe God and obey him and live in the place he has set them or they can choose to believe Satan and attempt to surp God’s position – they chose to attempt to be “like God” (power and glory–not character) – welcome mat withdrawn for God – relationship broken – if Adam and Eve are like God they don’t need God – they can set their own rules of right and wrong – immediate disaster – inner harmonious relationship with self broken (guilt) – Gen 3:7 – relationship with God broken – Gen 3:8 – relationship with each other shattered – Gen 3:12, 16 – nature rebels against man – Gen 3:17-18 – man has become a sinner. – how does this affect Adam’s descendants – born in the enemy camp, and therefore enemies of God Ephesians 2:3 – a universal experience: I Kings 8:46; Romans 3:10-12, 23 – theologians refer to the doctrine of “original sin” – sin (Satan) became the ruler of the world when Adam sinned. – further doctrine of total depravity – every part of man is corrupted by sin – body subject to sickness and death (Gen 3:19) – mind clouded and befuddled (at least about spiritual things) – Romans 1:21 – will fatally weakened (slaves to sin) – Romans 5:17a; 6:17 – emotions are corrupted (degrading passions) – Romans 1:26-27 Week 5 Day 1 Lesson 15 Death bible teaches the closest connection between sin and death – “as sin entered the world and death through sin” – Rom 5:12 – the wages of sin is death – Rom 6:23 – all have sinned and all die – like an appliance dying because it is separated from the power supply – connection is also in its opposite in Jesus – the cross broke the power of sin; and rose from the grave – Christians are freed from slavery to sin – Rom 6:12-14 – Christians set from from fear of death – Hebrews 2:15 – Christians given the certain hope of the resurrection – II Corinthians 4:14; Rom 6:3-5 – because Christ rose and only because of their connection with Christ victory over sin comes from faith in Jesus; immortality comes only from a relationship with the Immortal One. – God only is immortal – I Tim 6:16 – we gain it only by relationship with Him through Christ – I John 5:12 – Bible never refers to man having an immortal soul or spirit – Ezekiel 18:4 – the soul which sins shall die – every part of man is corrupted by sin and every part dies – soul usually means “life, person” – Gen 2:7 – cf A dear old soul; save our souls – dust + breath of God = a living soul – where does the soul go when the breath leaves the body?
It ceases to be. – if Adam is a living soul there can also be dead souls: Num 5:2 (Nephesh, as in Gen 2:7) – spirit is the same word as “breath, wind, air” – body – can also refer to the whole person – as in “he only wants her for her body” – death is not a friend ushering us into the presence of God but the last enemy (I Cor 15:26) – Jesus weeping at the grave of Lazarus – dead 4 days – Where was his soul? – if heaven, Jesus was cruel to bring him back – if hell, Jesus was unfair to bring him back – Jesus the key: relationship with him makes us agents of the kingdom of God n the devil’s territory – ultimate fate: life in the kingdom of life; for others only death in the kingdom of death Week 5 Day 2 Lesson 14 Great Controversy – problem of sin and death needs to be put into a broader context – I Cor 4:9 – a spectacle to men and angels – sin and evil are not simply human affairs – Isa 14:12-14 – Lucifer, son of the dawn, but also king of Babylon (Isa 14:4) – Ez 28:12-17 – the king of Tyre but also the spiritual power behind him – like a double exposure photograph – origin of sin in an angel beings of a higher order (Ps 8:5) created to enjoy intimate fellowship with God (Rev 1:1, 3:5) – the higher a creature is creatured to be the lower it can fall – there are no evil cows! – sin originates in the pride of Lucifer – an angel in the highest position – cannot say that God withheld anything legitimate from him – wanted God’s power and authority, but not his character – once the question is asked God has three options a. Do nothing – result: utter chaos b. Destroy the rebels – result: fear not love c. Contain the rebellion until all are convinced of the rightness of God’s position Lucifer came to earth and established his kingdom here. – cultivated Eve’s pride – persuaded her that God’s commandment was unjust, unfair and arbitrary – persuaded Eve that she should have God’s position, but not his character – in rebellion against God, Adam and Eve gave dominion of the world to Satan – the Prince of this world (John 12:31) – when the Sons of God gather – Satan is among them (Job 1:6-7) – conflict on earth between those who give allegiance to God and those who give allegiance to Satan (echoed at Spirit level as well) – key issues: God law (the foundation of his government) – sin is lawlessness (I John 3:4) necessity of trust and obedience seen in the life of Christ Character of God – his love seen most clearly at the cross – the decisive battle in the war in heaven (Rev 12:7-12) – Satan cast out; Jesus is now our man in heaven – we are God’s agents in enemy occupied territory Significance of the doctrine – need for constant watchfulness: – military imagery (Armour) for Christian life Eph 6:13-18 – but more than conquers in Christ (Rom 8:37) – explains the problem of suffering – suffering shows the sinfulness of sin – originates in Satan who exults in it – shows sins irrational malevolence God is not passively supervising an experiment in the laboratory of sin – he is an active participant – Jesus died – shows the cosmic significance of the cross – not just human salvation but the vindication of the character of God Week 6 Day 2 Lesson 17 – Doctrine of Salvation – from what sin? – what is sin? Disruption of relationship with God – God is angry about sin – biblical term wrath – anger generated by the pain that sin causes – not anger at sinners – love/grace (being treated better than we deserve) – Christians affirm that salvation from sin centres on the death of Christ – but how? unique among all the great religions: it focuses on the founder and not on his teachings – if Jesus was just a great teacher, you would expect his influence to be less after his death than before – a handful of followers before death: 12 disciples – 120 at pentecost – 5000 converts at Pentecost – The person of Christ is crucial to the whole plan of salvation Death of Jesus – theologians have lots of answers to the question of why Jesus had to die (a number of major theories have dominated throughout history) – bible uses a number of pictures to describe what Jesus death achieved – taken from everyday life . Salvation – meant deliverance from some kind of danger a. Redemption Buying back something of which ownership had been lost (Eph 1:7) a. Justification – a legal term meaning “acquittal” – “just as if we had never sinned” – not given our “just deserts” but treated infinitely better a. Reconciliation – the ending of estrangement (II Cor 5:18-19) a. Adoption – we were aliens, strangers, orphans (Eph 2:12) – brought into the family of God, not as labourers but as sons a. Forgiveness – the cancelling of debts – debt is beyond calculating (Mat 18:21-35) The Bible uses the expression “Second Adam” Adam was the head of the human race which rebelled – all of us are connected to him in the mess we’re in – Second Adam becomes the head of a new human race who have returned to God – by being connected to him, we are involved in the solution – Lived a perfect life and did not deserve death – his death credited to us; as is his life – God himself paying the debt – his life is credited to us – our sins given to him – he experienced our guilt, pain, and lostness; God treats us as though we were his son – guarantee: the resurrection of Christ – if Jesus has conquered the final result of sin; he has conquered sin itself
R. K. McIver, “What is it Really Like to be a Christian? ”, Meaning for the New Millennium, 71-75 Biblical View of Death and its Alternatives – Gen 3:4 – the first lie: “You will not die” – experience quickly proved this to be false (Cain and Abel – Gen 4) – view developed that something of a person continues: All but universally held – immortal soul to heaven or hell (traditional Christian view) – spirits remain which can be communicated with (animist religions, new age, spiritualism) – reincarnation (Hinduism, Buddhism) Characteristics of Death in the Bible a. An enemy (I Cor 15:26) b.
A sleep (John 11:11-14) c. Silence (Ps 115:17) – Those who go down into silence d. Separation from God (Ps 6:5) – “No remembrance of you (GOD) in death”; Isa 38:18-19 e. Separation from man – Spiritualism explicitly forbidden (Lev 19:31; Deut 18:10-14; I Chron 10:13; Lev 20:6) f. Non-awareness – Ps 146:4 – his thoughts perish Biblical Hope in the face of death – resurrection, like Jesus (Phil 3:21) – made like his glorious body a. Physical – Luke 24:36-43 b. Recognizable – Luke 24:28-31 Great Controversy, Origin of Sin, Problem of Pain Week 7 Day 1 Lesson 19 Baptism 1. The Meaning of Baptism having discussed salvation from various angles (Atonement, grace, faith), one more facet: Baptism – Acts 2:37-38 – repent and be baptised – belief/faith and baptism are routinely linked – John 3:3-5 – born of water and the spirit – Matthew 28:19 – make disciples, teaching, baptising – Mark 16:16 – he that believes and is baptised will be saved – baptism is the public declaration of our commitment to God – refusal to make it suggests a lack of committment – NT cannot imagine anyone being an unbaptised believer – Who can/should get baptized? – those who have been taught, & have become disciples those who believe/have faith – those who repent – essentially precludes infants 1. Mode of Baptism – word baptizo means “to dip under”, “to immerse” – used for a ship sinking, or cloth being dyed – associated with much water – John 3:23 – John baptising because there was much water there – Mark 1:10 – Jesus came up out of the water – Acts 8:36-39 – there is much water, they went into the water, they came out – Romans 6:3-5 – the parallel with the death and burial of Christ 1. Meaning of baptism a. A testimony for Jesus: deepening and concretizing the relationship b.
Making salvation effective (an Objective reminder that Jesus died for me and I accepted that) c. Reception of the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:2-6) – baptism is the Holy Spirits work (I Cor 12:13) a. Entry into the church – the family of God (Acts 2:38-39) – only effective if mixed with faith – will not create the love of God if none existed already but will enrich it if it did Week 7 Day 2 Lesson 20 The Footwashing and the Lord’s Supper – if baptism is the “marriage” for a Christian; the Lord’s Supper is an “anniversary” – two ceremonies instituted by Christ – Footwashing (John 13) Lord’s Supper (Mat 26:26-29; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 22:14-19; c. f. , I Cor 11:23-25) A. Footwashing – baptism is the beginning of a new life for the Christian – sometimes he falls short of the ideal of that new life – sin in the believer like quarrels in a marriage – doesn’t require a new wedding; but should be taken seriously unless they erode the entire relationship – John 13:6-10 – in ancient Israel guest would have their feet washed by a servant; if no servant a woman; if no women by the youngest man – Jesus act: a reminder that he was a man for others a symbol of the cleansing that Christ provides – an opportunity to renew broken fellowship (as Christ with Judas) A. Lord’s Supper – Mark 14:22-25 – setting – a Passover meal: a reminder (reliving) of God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt – now a celebration of a new act of salvation: the cross – a memorial – and more – by focusing our attention of the cross we renew out commitment to the Lord – c. f. , John 6: 54 – close intimate relationship with Jesus – Jesus is present (not in the elements) but in the worship of his people – an eschatological foretaste (Mark 14:25) compare marriage supper of the Lamb in Rev 19 – first course – Who should participate? – I Cor 11:27-28 – participating unworthily – context suggests that it is not those who are great sinners who are being referred to – rather those who are abuse others in the church by hogging the table (I Cor 11:21-22; 32-33) – How often? – I Cor 11:26 – “Whenever” Week 7 Day 3 Lesson 21 Spiritual Gifts Baptism is a time for the reception of the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:2-6) – baptism is the Holy Spirits work (I Cor 12:13) the Holy Spirit gives gifts to believers (I Cor 12:11) – a topic we are urged not to be ignorant about (I Cor 12:1) – nature of spiritual gifts – I Cor 12:4-6 – variety – gifts, for service, to be active – Spirit, Lord, God – Gifts are relational: God does not send us out to work for him, but says “Come. Lets us go and work together” – not everyone does the same things: Church like the body – because the church has a variety of fuctions to perform it needs a diversity of gifts – basically outreach and upbuilding (from within) list given in Meaning for the New Millennium – gifts are not natural talents but callings for ministry – if an accountant becomes a Christian he may not be called to minister as church treasurer – our gifts should inform our structured activity for God; opportunity should inform our unstructured activity for God – cannot say “I will never share my faith because I don’t have the gift of evangelist” – can be counterfeited by Satan (Matt 7:22-23) How to discover your gifts 1. Commit life to God 2. Become informed about the nature of the gifts (the biblical data) 3.
Experiment with as many as possible 4. Assess effectiveness 5. Analysis feelings (did you enjoy doing it) 6. Accept evaluation from the body 7. Pray Week 8 Day 3 Lesson 24 The church – baptism is the door to the church – but what is the church 1. What do men say it is? – to many the church is a building? We’re building a church – another popular definition is a denomination: SDA, Catholic, Baptist – for many professed Christians it is an organization/institution: The mission president – see Barry Oliver, “Models of the Church” . What does the NT say it is? – the NT recognizes that there are places of worship but does not call them churches – similarly the NT recognizes the organization factors in church life (e. g. , deacons and elders) but does not call them the church either – church is a relational term – the community of those who have a relationship with God and therefore with each other – NT images of the church stress its communal and relational nature A. The family of God – Heb 2:11-12 – God as Father; Christ as elder brother stressed by use of brother and sister to address believers – stressed by use of the holy kiss (Rom 16:16) A. The body of Christ – Col 1:18 – members as organs; Christ as head (c. f. , spiritual gifts) A. Living Temple – I Peter 2:5 – members as stones; Christ as the foundation – to be a Christian without belonging to the church is like trying to be connected to a wheel hub without being part of the wheel 1. Why should I attend? – possible to be a Christian without attending church – some people can’t attend, but remain of good faith most who do not attend church find their faith atrophies – like a coal taken from the fire: it dies out while the fire continues to burn – Heb 10:25 gives two reasons for attending church a. For direction and encouragement we will receive b. in the light of the immanent second coming our Christianity becomes the most important thing in our life – often other reasons also: to be with friends, to enjoy preaching, to hold office – fellowship is vital in the Christian life – separation from the community is as unthinkable as servering your right arm from the body Week 9
Day 1 Lesson 25 The Nature of the Church: Ideal and Real – important distinction: a. visible church = a church congregation/denomination actually in existence on earth b. invisible church = actual register of family of God in heaven – no exact overlap – sometimes non-Christians appear to be nicer people than Christians – Christians can be members of the church visible but not church invisible – Christians can be in the process of leaving Christ – non-Christians can be in the process of being drawn to Christ Unity of the Church two aspects: within a congregation/denomination; and, between denominations – unity within a congregation/denomination – an expression of the relational aspects of church – unity is the result of the spirit’s work: I Cor 12:13 – by the Spirit baptised into one body – unity, not uniformity: expressed through spiritual gifts – John 13:35 – the supreme testimony of the power of God at work in the church – John 15:12 – Love one another as I have loved you – a supernatural love that encompasses cultural enemies within the church – such unity is an organizational necessity: cannot even have a football came without rules and organization
Unity between denominations – often based on John 17 (esp v. 11) – seen as scandalous that scores of denominations sing “The Church has One Foundation” – attitudes between various churches has often been appalling (not just Catholics to Protestants: but Protestants to Catholics; and, Protestant to Protestant) – today: many would case away any doctrinal differences in order to have unity (at any cost) – the Reformation was a Mistake; we have bigger enemies to fight than Rome – often fuelled by a Charismatic/Pentecostal experience of the Holy Spirit – doctrines don’t matter; we are all one in the Spirit
How should we respond? 1. We should recognize that there are many true believers in churches of all persuasions – all other Christians should be treated with respect and dignity; our work is not to judge but to uplift Jesus 1. We should recognize unity as God’s work, not ours: John 17 is a prayer, not a command. 2. We should recognize that the Spirit is also the spirit of Truth (John 15:26); the truth is found in Scripture (John 17:17) – the unity that God desires is a unity based on a whole-hearted searching of the word and an obedience to the word that is found in it Week 9 Day 2 Lesson 26
The Remnant and its task – overview of church history: Rev 12 – sign in heaven (v. 1) – either as a screen in the sky OR location in heaven to signify the cosmic significance of what is actually happening on earth – a woman (v. 1): common symbol for the people of God in both OT and NT – great red dragon (v. 3): identified in verse 9 as Satan – heads and horns (v. 3): at work through the governments and institutions of the world – hatred between Satan and the child of the woman (v. 4) – child is clearly Christ (v. 5 c. f. , 19:14-15) – attempts to kill the child at birth (v. 4) – Herod child fulfills God’s destiny for him and is taken to heaven (v. 5) – destiny was the death of the cross – the decisive battle in the great controversy (v. 7-10) – Satan unable to touch Christ turns attention to the church (v. 6, 13-16) – attacks of persecution; heresy; and allurements – church suffered (v. 11-12) – 1260 days: traditional Adventist view – year-day principle (538-1798) – a complimentary suggestion: similar experience for the church as for Christ in his ministry – a desert experience: large scale rejection, misunderstanding, hostility, and animosity – throughout church history at the end Satan launches his last great attack on the church – two characteristics: commandments of God/testimony of Jesus – commandments (law) stands at the foundation of God’s government – what is the testimony of Jesus? – Rev 19:10 – spirit of prophecy – Rev 22:9 – prophets – church at the end of time is going to have a revival of the gift of prophet in its midst – broader than this Rev 1:9Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Rev 6:9Word of God and the testimony they had given Rev 14:12The commandments of God and the faith of Jesus church is actively involved in bearing testimony to and for Jesus – the role of the remnant given in Rev 14:6-11 a. Preach the gospel to the whole world b. Announce the judgement – a call to moral seriousness in light of the unchanging law of God c. Draw attention to God as the creator (especially through the proclamation of the Sabbath) d. Announce the certain victory of God over his enemies (and the enemies of his people): Babylon is fallen – background in the proclamation in the OT of the certainty of the overthrow of Babylon so the exiles could return home – cf Rev 18:4 – come out of Babylon, MY PEOPLE . Warn of the importance of worshipping and serving God aright Week 9 Day 3 Lesson 27 – many churches an movements today claim to have manifestations of prophets in their midst – Mormans – Joseph Smith – Jehovah’s Witnesses – the organization is a prophet – some Charismatic and Pentecostal groups – Seventh-day Adventist – Ellen G. White – also secular prophets of the horoscopes, mediums, etc – claiming the presents of a prophet is not enough to meet the specifications of Rev 12:17 – Revelation also knows the presence of false prophets
Tests of a prophet a. To the law and the testimony (Isa 8:20) – “To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them”. – law = “law of Moses” (first five books) – testimony = “testimony of the prophets” – message of the “prophet” does not supercede the bible or alter what God has already revealed. – Have we established any doctrine from anything but the Bible? – not so with (say) the Mormons a. Fulfilled predictions – Deut 18:21-22 Ellen White on Health: at a time when doctors were prescribing tobacco, she spoke against it – supported a healthy life-style and diet very similar to that promoted by health authorities today – predicted the rise of modern spiritualism (new-age movement) – predicted growing closeness of protestantism and Roman Catholicism a. Upholds Christ – I John 4:2-3 – what is central to God (salvation, which centres on Christ) will be central to his prophets – Ellen White: A major book on life of Christ, another on the sermon on the Mount, another on the parables, another on how to be a Christian . Positive Effects – Matt 7:15-20 – does not suggest the prophet is perfect but that he/she lives a consistent godly life – suggests that “prophets” actually build up the church – Ellen White: the driving force behind the church’s health, education, publishing works, and work-wide mission – people who read who spend more time reading scripture, have a closer relationship with God, are more committed to public evangelism, etc – cf Advent Christian Church: confined to North America, membership in 10s of 1000s
Life and Ministry of Ellen G. White – born in 1827 in Gorham, Maine – dropped out of school at Grade 3 due to health problems – commenced receiving and visions and passing on messages in 1844 – continued until death in 1915 – 80 books, 200 tracts and pamphlets, 4,600 periodical articles: 60,000 pages of sermons, letters, dairies, etc – dealt with health, education, family life, temperance, evangelism, publishing, and many more. – primary function: guide to the application of biblical principles. Week 10 Day 1 Lesson 28 The Law the remnant characterized by testimony of Jesus and commandments of God – but doesn’t the NT say some negative things about the law? Yes – Rom 3:19-20 – brings a knowledge of sin and makes us accountable for sin – Rom 5:20 – increases the amount of sin – Gal 3:21 – could not justify – Gal 3:24 – our disciplinarian – NT in places seems to rejoice in the demise of the law – Rom 10:4 – Christ is the end of the law – Rom 6:14 – not under law but under grace – but doesn’t the NT also say some positive things about the law?
Yes – Mat 5:17-20 – Do not think I have come to destroy the law … nothing will pass away – John 14:15 – If you love me keep my commandments – James 2:8-12 – the perfect law of liberty – Rom 3:31 – Faith upholds the law Resolution – relationships: law is the transcript of God’s character, the basic behavior of one in relationship with him – provokes anger, sin, discipline in one who is in the kingdom of Satan – sin uses even the law to tighten its grip on sinners: Rom 7:8 – impossible for it to make a bridge to the kingdom of God much NT polemic is addressed to those who want to try to do so – for those transferred into God’s kingdom, the relationship with God is different, and so is the relationship with the law – Heb 8:10 – I will write my laws in their mind and on their heart – Rom 8:3-4 – God does what the law could not do so that we can fulfill the righteous requirement of the law – the law based on relationship is deeper: law of the heart, motive, intention – not just action (Mat 5) But wasn’t the law nailed to the cross? – you mean I can commit murder and theft and adulatory now? No! if there’s no law, how can there be sin? If there’s no sin, who needs a saviour? – based on a misunderstanding of one text in particular – Col 2:14 “Blotting out the handwriting or ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross” – but what is the “handwriting”? – Colossians never uses the word “law”. – focus is on “human traditions” (2:8); and “human commands and teachings” – what is the context talking about? Forgiveness of sins (2:13) – what is cancelled when we are forgiven? The record of our transgression. if a murder is pardoned, the law against murder is not revoked, but the black mark against his name is removed. – in the ancient world the record of a debt was called “handwriting” (the word used) here. When the debt was cancelled it was punctured with a nail to signify that it was no longer binding. Week 10 Day 2 Lesson 29 The Sabbath – controversy over the law – really about the Sabbath – no Christian promotes murder, adultery of the telling of lies – what is the sabbath? – day given at Eden (Gen 2:1-3) – written by the finger of God in the Ten Commandments – a day for rest – Ex 23:12 – not everyday can be a Sabbath a commemoration of Creation (Ex 20:8-11) – also a commemoration of Salvation (Deut 5:12-15) – an opportunity to spend all day with God – a reminder of true priorities – seek ye first the kingdom of God – Mat 6:33 – God first, others second, self last – Sabbath was Adam’s first full day – modern society is reversed this order – craving for material things for self, relationships squeezed in, God last (if at all) – Sabbath reminds us who God is (our creator) and therefore who others are (family members) – history tells us Israel forgot the Sabbath, worshipped other God, oppressed one another and went into captivity (Jer 17:19-27)
When is the Sabbath? Seventh day – locatable from Easter Friday night/Saturday – sunset to sunset – How is the Sabbath to be kept? – Rabbinic view: legalism – biblical view is different – Jesus is Lord even of the Sabbath – his lordship extends so far (Mark 2:28) a. Deeds of mercy (Mark 3:1-6) b. Deeds of necessity (Mark 2:23-28) c. Deeds of worship (Luke 3:16) d. Time with nature (memorial of creation) Don’t Christians worship on Sunday instead? – no firm evidence of regular Sunday worship in the NT – Rev 1:9 mentions the Lord’s Day but doesn’t identify it as Sunday – Later became a technical title for Sunday Acts 20, Paul preaches on the first day of the week until midnight – probably Saturday night; a special farewell meeting in any case – I Cor 16, a First day of the week collection – a special project offering, saving the money at home and not giving it at church How did Sunday arise? – church became more and more gentile and wanted to look less and less Jewish – invitation: God wants to spend all day with you tomorrow – lets do it. Week 10 Day 3 Lesson 30 Christian standards – salvation moves us from the kingdom of satan to the kingdom of God – means a restored relationship with God a gift pure and simple – cannot be earned, deserved or improved on – involves a transfer into God’s kingdom and the beginning of a new life there (a life in relationship with God) – described as being part of the body of Christ – described as be branches of a vine – if I am in a new relationship than all of me is involved – honour God with your body (I Cor 6:19-20) – whatever you do, do to the glory of God (I Cor 10:31) – what does this mean? – obedience to the law certainly (Rom 8:3-4) – good citizenship (Matt 22:21) unless loyalty to God takes precedence – ethic of love – even to enemies (Mat 5:44-48) love that transcends social norms – values that transcend the norms of society (cultural group loyalty; racism, sexism, etc) – means that issues of sex, diet, entertainment, adornment, money, time management need to be examined in the light of our relationship with Christ – cf marriage – Christianity is not the new oral law – Bible (especially the NT) gives broad principles – Christian are given the indwelling guidance of the Holy Spirit – we need to pray and study to discern God’s will Week 11 Day 1 Lesson 31 Principles of Christian behaviour . Acknowledging the Lordship of Christ – every moment of time, every erg of energy, every toea of money – reminded in two specific ways – time: Sabbath (one seventh) – money: tithe (one tenth) – acknowledges God owns it all (Ps 24:1) – silver and gold (Haggai) – he gives us the power to get weath; when we get wealth we are tempted to forget him – hence tithing – blessing of tithing: flows from organizing and financing (Mal 3:8-11) a. Love to all – neighbour and enemies alike (even despite cultural norms) – love = wanting the best for someone does not = “liking” (an emotional response) – Jesus emphasized that this is what the law was really about – part of this involves not putting stumbling blocks in the way of others – see I Cor 8:9; 13 – concern for the weaker brother (Rom 14:15) a. Respect for authority – Rom 13 – the Government (except when it transgresses into God’s domain) – pay tax, obey the speed limits; fulfill civic duty (render unto Caesar) – here respect for the authority of the university administration a. Respect for creation – environment – body (the temple of God) best of food (whatever you eat or drink) – worst of foods are listed in Lev 11 as unclean – no addictive substances – God wants to set us free – no command explicitly forbidding alcohol in the bible – serious warning against drunkenness – 1 in 10 drinkers becomes an alcoholic a. Modesty, purity, faithfulness – here is the heartland of ethics – sexuality: the most powerful inner force we contend with – Jesus insists not just impure acts but impure thoughts as well – a responsibility not to provoke temptation either marriage instituted in Eden as the appropriate context for sexual activity – non-exploitive: the consummation of a relationship – pre-marital sex: for girls the road to marriage; for boys the privilege without the responsibility a. Inner beauty (beauty of character) – I Pet 3:3; II Tim 2:9-10 – principles: modest, non-showy, financially responsible, inner beauty Week 11 Day 2 Lesson 33 – drawing to an end: important to refocus our attention again on what is really important (sin and salvation) – the fall: God provided a way back (sacrifice) – a key issue in chapter 4 of Genesis (Cain and Abel) throughout Genesis: numerous references to family sacrifices – God teaching several lessons: sin separates from God; sin gives rise to death; a substitute is available – in the book of Exodus: the whole system is elaborated in the sanctuary – half of Exodus; all of Leviticus and most of Hebrews given over to this topic – sanctuary – later a temple – courtyard with tent in the middle – tent divided into two sections (two thirds/one third) – people isolated from God: Gentiles; Women; men; priest; HP–but only once a year – death: awash with blood – substitutes – reflects heavenly realities (Heb 8:5) what did Moses see: the heavenly sanctuary; a model; architect’s plans? – sanctuary: an attempt by God to speak to us in language we would understand–not to describe heaven in detail – two aspects to sanctuary: intercession and judgement – Day of Atonement: those who had not brought an offering were cut off – ministry of Christ in heaven described by Hebrews as the work of our HP – who ever lives to make intercession for us (Heb 7:25) – a fearful looking for of judgement (Heb 9: – ministry of Christ makes the cross present – a contemporary event – not a receding event in history
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