Category: Sabbath School Lessons

Was Peter Demon Possessed?

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.
I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead. But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!” Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” Matthew 16:21-23 NLT

Years ago, I was eating at a restaurant with a lady friend. The waitress politely showed the dessert tray to us, when my friend, trying to watch her own figure, put up her hand and said, “Get thee behind me Satan!” The waitress turned red in the face and walked away rather miffed. I did not blame her! I explained to my lady friend that the waitress thought she was calling her Satan. That was very rude, especially when she was only doing her job and being polite. My friend felt terrible and apologized to the waitress even though the waitress really did not want anything to do with her at this point. Regardless if the temptation to eat sweets was actually from Satan or not, the waitress was not Satan!

Jesus realized Peter was not Satan. Jesus was not calling Peter Satan. Jesus was just looking at Peter while He was talking to Satan. Maybe Jesus just wanted Peter to know where that idea that He should not have to die was coming from.

So why was Satan using Peter to sway Jesus from dying? By the way just because Satan temporarily used Peter, did not mean Peter was “demon possessed.” Let’s relax a little and give our Christian brothers and sisters some slack when they make bad decisions in the church. Even if a pastor or church leader does make an actual error, it does not mean they are demonic and part of an underworld conspiracy to destroy the church. It just means they are human like you and me. Even when Aaron made the golden calf, as stupid as that may have been, and we all agree 4,000 years later it was pretty stupid, neither God or Moses accused him of being demon possessed or intentionally trying to destroy God’s movement. Moses berated Aaron’s actions without ever berating his motives.

But I digress. So why was Satan using Peter to sway Jesus from dying? Because Satan knew that if Jesus died His power would be destroyed.

But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil. 1John 3:8 NLT

Jesus destroyed Satan’s works of deception when Jesus showed God’s true character on the cross. If Jesus had an ego or love for self then Satan would have had power over Him, but Jesus had no ego and no love for self or self preservation, therefore Satan had no power over Him! In order for my phone charger to influence my phone with its electricity, my phone must have an outlet that will connect with my charger. In order for Satan to influence us, we too must have a little outlet where he can connect with us. Our ego and love of self is that outlet that lets Satan connect with us! As long as we are alive to self ego and self interest Satan will have a connection with us. The way to break  that connection is to die to self!

For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.Romans 6:7 NLT

Satan wants us to keep ourselves and our selfish ambitions alive, because by doing so he will always have a powerful influence over everything we do-even in the church! But if we die to self we are free from Satan’s power. Truly this is why Jesus said,

“If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?Matthew 16:24-26 NLT

You may study this week’s SS lesson here. 

Is the Church Infallible?

Tampa Hillsborough Bay
I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

And I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.” Matthew 16:19 NLT

Many believe that in Matthew 16, Jesus was setting Peter up as the first pope and giving the church unconditional authority. This comes from reading more into Jesus’ Words than what He intended. Instead of giving the church authority over the consciences of individuals, in making its own laws Jesus was declaring just the opposite. In Matthew 16:9Jesus is not giving the church license. To the contrary He is giving it limits in what it can and should teach. The keys of the kingdom that Jesus gave the church were not keys to authority. The keys of the kingdom are the knowledge of Jesus’ teachings.

What sorrow awaits you experts in religious law! For you remove the key to knowledge from the people. You don’t enter the Kingdom yourselves, and you prevent others from entering.” Luke 11:52 NLT 

Jesus made it clear that no man is authorized to make ecclesiastical laws that man must submit to, much less that heaven must recognize!

Their worship is a farce, for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God. For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.” Then he said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition. Mark 7:7-9 NLT

Contrary to the idea that Jesus told the church that it could make laws that would be recognized in heaven, Jesus told the church to teach completely those things from heaven alone.

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20 NLT

While I was living in Texas, a police officer in a small town was fired, because he was pulling over young girls who were obeying the laws just so he could flirt with them. The town had given him authority to enforce the laws of the city but not to flirt with young girls! Likewise in the passage just cited, Jesus gives the church authority to teach everything He has commanded but nothing more and nothing less!  Just like a police officer cannot make up his own laws and pull people over who are obeying the laws of the land, so a church leader cannot make up his own laws and meddle in the personal affairs of others.

A police officer and even lawmakers are sworn in or inaugurated by an oath to protect the laws and constitutions of the land. In Matthew 16:19 Jesus is swearing in the disciples, simply telling them that they are to bind (lock in or require) what is bound in heaven and are to lose (or allow) only what is allowed in heaven. Matthew 16:19 is a command to His disciples and not a license to make their own laws. Jesus told His disciples, what you forbid should be that which is forbidden in heaven and what you allow should be that which is allowed in heaven. As a young boy, when I would get out of line, my teacher would tell me, “you will march right over to the the principal’s office.” That was a command, not a license! So when Jesus tells the church that what they bind is what will be bound in heaven he was Commanding them to only bind what is bound in heaven.

The doctrine that God has committed to the church the right to control the conscience, and to define and punish heresy, is one of the most deeply rooted of papal errors. –Ellen White, The Great Controversy, Page 293.

I am loyal to my parents without claiming they are infallible. I follow my parents as they follow Jesus. No more no less. I am also loyal to my church without claiming it is infallible. I follow my church as it follows Jesus. No more no less.

You may study this week’s SS lesson here. 

Do you Know the Shepherd?

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I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

That evening the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.” Matthew 14:15-16 NLT

The disciples realized the crowd needed food, but they were not equipped to feed a large crowd, or so they thought. So the decided the crowd should be sent to the villages where there were markets and restaurants. Those people were trained and equipped to feed a large crowd. Imagine the disciples surprise, and maybe even frustration when Jesus said, they did not need to got o the villages and “professionals” to get fed. He told them to feed them.

Have you ever met someone you wanted to share Jesus with, so you called a pastor or elder to study with them? Maybe that wasn’t necessary. Maybe Jesus wanted you to feed them-spiritually. Sometimes we may feel we are not “professional” enough to feed someone spiritually. I am sure the disciples did not feel “professional” enough to feed the crowd. Still, Jesus equipped them to feed a crowd. If you are willing, Jesus can use you to spiritually feed a large crowd, just as well as He can use a professional.

Remember the story of Balaam in Numbers 22? Yes the story was about Balaam’s reward for greed, but there is something else in this story too. God used a donkey to turn Balaam’s life around. If God can use a donkey to change someone’s life, don’t you think He could also use you?

God’s messengers must tarry long with Him, if they would have success in their work. The story is told of an old Lancashire woman who was listening to the reasons that her neighbors gave for their minister’s success. They spoke of his gifts, of his style of address, of his manners. “Nay,” said the old woman, “I will tell you what it is. Your man is very thick with the Almighty.” When men are as devoted as Elijah was and possess the faith that he had, God will reveal Himself as He did then. When men plead with the Lord as did Jacob, the results that were seen then will again be seen. Power will come from God in answer to the prayer of faith. -Ellen White, Gospel Workers, Page 255

The story goes of a pastor celebrating his 50th year in the ministry. At the celebration
Friend, do you tarry long with God? Do you know the Shepherd? If so, then you have a story to tell that will turn someone’s life around, without having to call the “professionals.” 
he invited a good friend and famous orator to read Psalm 23. He agreed so long as the pastor would read it afterwards as well.  The famous orator read the psalm with such oratorical mastery that the congregation applauded. The pastor then humbly approached the podium, feeling that he had been outdone. However when he read the beloved Psalm, the congregation was moved to tears. When the pastor asked the famous orator why people wept after his humble reading of the Word, the orator replied, “I knew the Psalm. You knew the Shepherd.”

You may study this week’s SS lesson here.

The New Testament Sabbath

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I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I was listening to a preacher on the radio talking about the Sabbath. He explained that the weekly Sabbath pointed us to the rest we have in Christ, so we no longer need the weekly Sabbath because we now have Jesus. He sounded sincere, and I really appreciated Him pointing people to Jesus and resting their faith in Him, since the grace of Jesus is the only way to be saved.

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.Jeremiah 31:33 As a matter of fact the Sabbath is a sign that we are resting our faith in Jesus’ grace and not our works. God explicitly set aside that day as a sign of His covenant with His people – a sign that He sanctifies His people, in contrast to sanctification by works.1 That’s why I find it ironic when people accuse me of trying to get to heaven by my own works by keeping the Sabbath. The radio preacher was correct that the Sabbath pointed us to the rest we have in Christ. However, he apparently did not realize that the Sabbath is a sign of God’s New Covenant in which He promises to write His law within our hearts:

Do you see that the New Covenant is the Lord’s promise to sanctify us? A promise to write His law in our hearts, so we would serve Him from the heart? And that’s exactly the meaning of sanctification of which the Sabbath is a sign. Sanctification means to make holy, and God wants to make us holy by writing His law in our hearts.

Some other things he did not appear to consider:

Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.

And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. Genesis 2:1-3 NKJV

While the feast days and ceremonial Sabbaths such as the Passover, were not instituted until sin came into the world, we have the weekly Sabbath made holy (sanctified) before there was sin and the need of a Savior. Paul says in Colossians 2:16-17 that the ceremonial feast Sabbaths were done away with at the cross.2Some people say we should still keep the feast days. They don’t seem to realize that we are literally living in what the feast days symbolized! We no longer need a ceremonial Passover because Jesus dying on the cross was the real Passover to which all the other Passovers pointed. We no longer keep the ceremonial Day of Atonement because,  beginning in 1844 we are living in the real Day of Atonement. So those feast days that point us to the cross are done away with, but the Bible nowhere indicates that the weekly Sabbath was a “shadow of things to come.” The weekly Sabbath was there before our need of the cross, and the Bible tells us that it will still be there after the cross.

While Paul tells us the ceremonial Sabbaths were done away at the cross, He continued observing the weekly Sabbath.

And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks. Acts 18:4 NKJV

The weekly Sabbath was not a Jewish custom. He met with the Greeks also.

Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, Acts 17:2 NKJV

I have heard people argue that the only reason Paul was at the synagogue on Sabbath was because that’s the only day he could meet the Jews there to talk about Jesus. However we just saw in Acts 18:4 that in the New Testament, Greeks were worshiping on Sabbath as well, and Paul was persuading them all about Jesus as they continued keeping the seventh-day Sabbath. In Acts 17:2 we see Sabbath keeping was still Paul’s own custom even after accepting Jesus. In the New Testament, those who accepted Jesus continued keeping the seventh-day Sabbath.

The Sabbath was not just made for the Jews. The gentiles were keeping the Sabbath as well. Jesus Himself said that the Sabbath was made for mankind, which included Jews and Gentiles alike.

The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. Mark 2:27 NKJV

Nowhere does Jesus or anyone else in the Bible say the weekly Sabbath was made for Jews. Jesus says it was made for mankind. Not only was the Sabbath made for everyone, it will be kept by everyone even in the new earth.

And it shall come to pass That from one New Moon to another, And from one Sabbath to another, All flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the Lord. Isaiah 66:23 NKJV

The weekly Sabbath was instituted before sin and remains after the cross. The Sabbath was given to all “flesh” and “mankind.” “Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience.”-Hebrews 4:11.

Will you enter into the Sabbath rest that remains since the creation of the world? Will  you keep God’s holy day as an outward sign of your inward faith in Christ as both your Creator and Redeemer?  Let us remember that only sanctified people can really keep a sanctified day. So let us enter into that rest by letting Jesus be Lord in our lives.


  1. See Exodus 31:13, Ezekiel 20:12, 20 ↩
  2. For more details see “THE SABBATH IN COLOSSIANS 2″ by Andy Nash. He references Ron DuPreez’s book, Judging the Sabbath: Discovering What Can’t Be Found in Colossians 2:16, which you can buy at Amazon.com. The book is particularly valuable in solving the question of whether or not faithful Sabbath keepers should also keep the feasts today. And here’s an article by Ron Dupreez: “No “rest” for the “Sabbath” of Colossians 2:16: A structural-syntactical- semantic study.↩

You may study this week’s Sabbath School lesson here. 

When we Die to Self it is Satan who Gets Destroyed

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I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Today’s Sabbath School lesson  talks about two men who were invited to follow Jesus but had to die to self first. This is true of anyone who wants to follow Jesus.

Then he said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross daily, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but are yourself lost or destroyed? Luke 9:23-25 NLT 

Something interesting happened with Peter, when Jesus talked about His own death.

From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead. But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. “Heaven forbid, Lord,” he said. “This will never happen to you!” Jesus turned to Peter and said, “Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” Matthew 16:21-23 NLT

Why was Satan influencing Peter to build up Jesus’ ego and try to stop Jesus from dying? Because Satan knew his power would be destroyed when Jesus died.

But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil.1 John 3:8 NLT

Why does Satan influence people to build up your ego so you won’t die to self? Because Satan knows his power over you will be destroyed when you die to self.

Bible Cures for Narcissism

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I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I wrote this post about three years ago for the Sabbath School Network, and this week they decided to run it again as they felt it fit in well with this week’s SS lesson.

Posted on April 6, 2016 by

While Jesus’ popularity was growing, John the Baptist’s friends felt a little slighted for the prophet. John the Baptist however, said about Jesus, “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” (John 3:30 NLT) John knew that God had appointed him to be the messenger to announce the coming of the “bridegroom,” who was Christ Himself, and he was content to play the role he had been given.

Health professionals agree that a lack of feeling loved is what leads to insecurities and even narcissistic attitudes. Because John the Baptist was focused on God rather than self, he was overwhelmed by God’s love, and I believe that is the exact opposite of the focus of a narcissist who is insecure because of self-focus.After conducting a funeral for an elderly lady,  I was eating at the table with her grown children. Each one was talking about projects they had going on in their homes. I was surprised how easily their lives seemed to be moving on. I thought to myself, “If they can move on so easily after losing their mother, how quickly will people forget me after I die?” The thought was making me a little depressed. While they were talking among themselves, I quickly checked my Facebook under the table. And I saw that a friend had written, “Living my life so that people will remember me after I die is too small a cause to live for.” With the timing, I took that as a message straight from heaven. Had I been focusing more on God’s love like John the Baptist did, instead of myself, I probably would not have had that moment of insecurity and depression.

Below are signs, from the Mayo Clinic, that you or someone you know may be narcissistic. 1  The Mayo clinic says this is a rare mental disease. Some may wonder what their definition of “rare” is, since  narcissistic behavior seems to be becoming an epidemic. After each sign, I have provided a Bible passage which offers a cure or example for each sign of narcissism.

I don’t believe people intend to be narcissistic, and may not be aware of their narcissism. If this looks like you, please prayerfully consider the Bible verses and perhaps contact a Christian counselor for help.

If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, how you handle it needs to be determined by the nature of the relationship. In some cases, you may be able to deal with the relationship by leaning fully on Christ and getting your love and strength from Him. In other cases it may be so damaging that it becomes necessary to seek spiritual and maybe even professional counseling to find your best way out. Don’t be surprised if the narcissist makes him or herself look like the victim.

As well as providing the signs listed below to diagnose narcissism, the Mayo clinic also suggests a cause for the disease. They theorize that people who were not properly nurtured and cared for in the early stages of their life are more likely to become narcissists. If only these people realized how much God loves and cares for them!

Lucifer was loved and cared for in heaven, yet he played mind games with himself, until he brainwashed himself into thinking that nobody cared about him but himself. His only self-concocted shred of evidence was that God the Son outranked him. He felt ill-used because he did not have the position of Christ and thought, “What about me?!”

Meanwhile, Jesus, “Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to.” Philippians 2:6 NLT Instead of crying out “What about me!” Jesus has always cried out, “What about others!” Here are the signs of narcissism provided by the Mayo Clinic, along with the examples or cures found in the Bible.

  • Believing that you’re better than others

Biblical Response: Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?

Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.

Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Philippians 2:1-8 NLT

  • Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness

Biblical Response: So Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them.

But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant,  and whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:42-45 NLT

  • Exaggerating your achievements or talents

Biblical Response: Then the people of Ephraim asked Gideon, “Why have you treated us this way? Why didn’t you send for us when you first went out to fight the Midianites?” And they argued heatedly with Gideon.

But Gideon replied, “What have I accomplished compared to you? Aren’t even the leftover grapes of Ephraim’s harvest better than the entire crop of my little clan of Abiezer? God gave you victory over Oreb and Zeeb, the commanders of the Midianite army. What have I accomplished compared to that?”

When the men of Ephraim heard Gideon’s answer, their anger subsided. Judges 8:1-3 NLT

  • Expecting regular praise and admiration.

Biblical Example: Herod put on his royal robes, sat on his throne, and made a speech to them.  The people gave him a great ovation, shouting, “It’s the voice of a god, not of a man!”

Instantly, an angel of the Lord struck Herod with a sickness, because he accepted the people’s worship instead of giving the glory to God. Acts 12:21-23 NLT

  • Believing that you deserve special treatment

Biblical Response: When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, he gave them this advice:  “When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited?  The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table!

“Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests.  For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 14:7-11 NLT

  • Failing to recognize other people’s emotions and feelings

Biblical Response: Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.  Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! Romans 12:15-16 NLT

  • Expecting others to go along with your ideas and plans

Biblical Response: Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers. Proverbs 11:14 NLT

  • Taking advantage of others

Biblical Counsel: Look here, you rich people: Weep and groan with anguish because of all the terrible troubles ahead of you. Your wealth is rotting away, and your fine clothes are moth-eaten rags.  Your gold and silver have become worthless. The very wealth you were counting on will eat away your flesh like fire. This treasure you have accumulated will stand as evidence against you on the day of judgment.  For listen! Hear the cries of the field workers whom you have cheated of their pay. The wages you held back cry out against you. The cries of those who harvest your fields have reached the ears of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. James 5:1-4 NLT

  • Expressing disdain for those you feel are inferior

Biblical Example: Then Jesus told this story to some who had great confidence in their own righteousness and scorned everyone else: “Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a Pharisee, and the other was a despised tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed this prayer: ‘I thank you, God, that I am not a sinner like everyone else. For I don’t cheat, I don’t sin, and I don’t commit adultery. I’m certainly not like that tax collector! I fast twice a week, and I give you a tenth of my income.’

“But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’  I tell you, this sinner, not the Pharisee, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” Luke 18:9-14 NLT

  • Being jealous of others

Biblical Response by Paul: Agrippa interrupted him. “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?”

Paul replied, “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that both you and everyone here in this audience might become the same as I am, except for these chains.” Acts 26:28-29 NLT 

(When Paul had Jesus, He did not want anything King Agrippa had. He wanted Agrippa to have what He had!)

  • Believing that others are jealous of you

Biblical Example: And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who [is] this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him.

And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab’s anger was kindled against David, and he said, “Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.”

And David said, “What have I now done? [Is there] not a cause?”  1 Samuel 17:26-29

  •  Having trouble keeping healthy relationships

Biblical Counsel: A man [that hath] friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend [that] sticketh closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24

  •  Aspiring to the position of someone above you

Biblical Example:
“How you are fallen from heaven, O shining star, son of the morning!
You have been thrown down to the earth,
you who destroyed the nations of the world.
For you said to yourself,
‘I will ascend to heaven and set my throne above God’s stars.
I will preside on the mountain of the gods far away in the north.
I will climb to the highest heavens
and be like the Most High.’
Instead, you will be brought down to the place of the dead,
down to its lowest depths. Isaiah 14:12-15 NLT

  • Feeling easily hurt and rejected

Christ’s Example: He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were [our] faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he [was] wounded for our transgressions, [he was] bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace [was] upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.  Isaiah 53:3-6

  • Having a fragile self-esteem

Biblical Example: And the women answered [one another] as they played, and said, Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands .And Saul was very wroth, and the saying displeased him; and he said, They have ascribed unto David ten thousands, and to me they have ascribed [but] thousands: and [what] can he have more but the kingdom?

And Saul eyed David from that day and forward.  1 Samuel 18:7-9

  • Wanting to appear tough-minded or unemotional

Biblical Promise: And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:  Ezekiel 11:19

If you see yourself here, or someone you have to deal with on a regular basis, you may need to seek professional counseling. (Here is some helpful advice on dealing with a narcissistic boss.)

We may be tempted to be narcissistic in some very ordinary circumstances. For instance, a while back, a friend of mine was flying from Tampa to Chicago every week on a work assignment. At the end of a certain week he was tired and ready for a quiet and relaxing plane ride home. It wasn’t going to happen. That day a large group got on the plane who were having a big noisy celebration of some kind. Instead of getting angry or upset, my friend who was already tired, just sighed and smiled, as he told himself, “Apparently today is not about me.”

In many cases, the cure may just be that simple. Remember that “It’s not all about me.”

For the disciples it was a little more complex than that. They had rivalries and arguments over which one would be the greatest in the coming Kingdom. It wasn’t until they saw Jesus on the cross willing to die the second death and go into total oblivion that they then lost their narcissistic tendencies and became selfless and meek like John the Baptist who said,

He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.John 3:30 NLT

The disciples overcame self and narcissism when they did what John the Baptist suggested years earlier.

“Look! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! John 1:29 NLT


  1. Most rest of this post was first published in May 2013. It is re-published now with some revisions because it fits in so well with this week’s focus on John the Baptist and on the reference to Christ’s self-renunciation in Philippians 2:5-8. ↩

Why all Those Begats?

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I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

So now Jesus and the ones he makes holy have the same Father. That is why Jesus is not ashamed to call them his brothers and sisters.Hebrews 2:11 NLT

When I was a youth reading my Bible all the way through for the first time and came to the begats, such as in Matthew 1, I found them very boring. To be honest, I skipped them. I did not find them to be part of the “plot.” Later I found they were very much a part of the plot. Jesus inherited a family full of all kinds of sinners, but He came to make us holy. For example Rahab, who was a prostitute, was one of Jesus’ ancestors.

All the inhabitants of the city [Jericho], with every living thing that it contained, “both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass,” were put to the sword. Only faithful Rahab, with her household, was spared, in fulfillment of the promise of the spies. The city itself was burned.–PP 491 (1890).

See Matthew 1:1-16 for genealogy of Jesus, whose ancestor was Rahab.-Ellen White, Daughter’s of God, Page 36.

He became a part of the human race to rescue us from this world of sin.

For he [Jesus] has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. Colossians 1:13-14 NLT

By reading all of Romans 5 we see that we were all in Adam when Adam sinned because we all came from Adam’s family.

In Romans 1:3 we read that “The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line.” Romans 1:3 NLT

Now the KJV drives it home even closer, saying Jesus was of the “seed” of David, seed being “sperm.” Everything in Adam’s sperm to David’s sperm was passed down to Jesus. Now, the lineage in Matthew 1 is Joseph’s lineage not Mary’s. The point is still the same. Mary and Joseph were both from the tribe of Judah and of the lineage of David so their heredity was very similar. While Jesus was physically fathered not by Joseph but by the Holy Spirit, Mary herself was just as much a product of Adam and David’s sperm as Joseph was.

So what is the point of all of this? While Romans 1:3 tells us Jesus shared the heredity of David, and is a part of David’s family, Jesus has also transformed that family into an obedient nation!

Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name. Romans 1:5 NLT

It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man’s nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin. Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life. –Ellen White, Desire of Ages, Page 49.

You may be saying by now, “Wait a minute William. Yes Jesus was born of Mary but He was also born of the Holy Spirit which gave Him a huge advantage.” Yes you are right, and Jesus tells us in John 3, that He wants us to have the same advantage! He wants us to be born of the Holy Spirit too, so we will have power over our human nature! Jesus, in His humanity showed us the only way to triumph over sin – to be born again by the Holy Spirit.

So the ‘begots’ are a major part of the plot. Jesus became a part of a family of sinners and rescued that family from the penalty and the power of every kind of sin. He become “one” with us and experienced every type of temptation that attacks us.

God sent “His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8:3-4 NKJV

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”Eph. 2:4-6 ESV

Christ become “one” with us in a human body weighed down by a heritage of sin so that we might be “one” with Him, seated with Him “in the heavenly places.”

What wonderful exchange! And all it takes is for us to allow Him to be Lord in our lives.

You may study this week’s SS lesson here.