Category: Sabbath School Lessons

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.

Never Too Old Or Isolated For God to USe

Heron Channelside (5)
I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Jean just passed away at the age of 94. She lost her husband a couple years earlier, and then became ill with cancer. She was telling her daughter she did not even know why she was still living. She felt old and useless. But one day her young health care nurse came for a routine visit. She told Jean about her own mother who had Alzheimer’s and would cry and shake constantly. Jean suggested buying a doll for her to hold. The young nurse did so and came back to tell Jean that it worked! No more shaking and crying. Jean was still helping people even though she was widowed, old and sick.

John was quite old when he was banished to the Island of Patmos. He may have been tempted to feel old and useless. But his best days were still ahead!

Remember Psalms 23:6, God’s goodness and mercy shall be with me all the daysof my life! And that was definitely true in John’s case.

When John was exiled to the Isle of Patmos, there were many who thought him to be past service, an old and broken reed, ready to fall at any time. But the Lord saw fit to use him still. Though banished from the scenes of his former labor, he did not cease to bear witness to the truth. Even in Patmos he made friends and converts. His was a message of joy, proclaiming a risen Saviour who on high was interceding for His people until He should return to take them to Himself. And it was after John had grown old in the service of his Lord that he received more communications from heaven than he had received during all the former years of his life. (-Ellen White, Acts of the Apostles, Pages 572-573)

John wrote,

I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. I was exiled to the island of Patmos for preaching the word of God and for my testimony about Jesus. Revelation 1:9 NLT

Evil people thought to put the old man away in isolation, but instead he spoke with an angel, looked into heaven and wrote the book of Revelation, reaching billions of people around the world throughout the ages!

And it didn’t matter if everyone else thought John was old and useless. God had work for him when no one else did, and God has work for you too, no matter what age you are. Even if you are old, God may still have big plans for you. God was not just talking to young ones when He said,

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV

You may study this week’s SS lesson here. 

The Head of the Body Always Feels the Pain First

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I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

…Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. Ephesians 5:23 NLT

When you pray and tell Jesus about the trials of your day, do you ever stop and ask Jesus how His day was? Remember, while you may have seen one person being abused, Jesus saw every soul that was abused that day. You hay have seen one hungry child. Jesus saw every hungry, hurting child.

A few years ago I was playing a Bible game with my 5th and 6th grade Bible-chain referencing class. One student was trying to guess what Bible character the rest of the class was thinking of. Before he could guess, a 5th grade boy accidentally let it slip, and gave the answer away. The class voiced their disapproval of his gaffe and the embarrassed boy was in tears, as he put his head down on his desk in shame. Before I could even say anything, a 6th grade girl instinctively got up and walked over to him, and put her hand on his shoulder, and patted his back, resembling more of a mother than a grade school girl. She told the class it was an accident that any of us could have made. The class quickly changed its behavior, though I am sure they never intended their slight show of disapproval to cause so much pain. I remember thinking at the time, that the girl acted so quickly and instinctively, that it was as though she actually felt his pain.

The Bible tells us the church is the body of Christ, and Christ is the Head of the body. Just to show how important every member of the church or body of Christ is, consider this. When you get up in the middle of the night and stub you tiny toe on the night stand, damage-detecting sensory neurons flash a message to the spinal cord, spinal cord neurons relay the message to the brain and the brain is the first part of the body that feels the pain. Likewise when the weakest member of the church gets hurt, Christ, the Head of the church is the first One to feel the pain.

When you hit your little toe on the night stand, your hands immediately go to the aid of the little toe. Your brain sends them there, to comfort and support the smallest member of you body. In relieving the pain of the toe, the hands are also relieving the pain of the brain, the head of the body. Likewise when we rescue the abused, and feed and comfort the smallest hungry child, we are relieving the pain Jesus feels as the Head of the body.

For he has not ignored or belittled the suffering of the needy. He has not turned his back on them, but has listened to their cries for help.Psalms 22:24 NLT

In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. Isaiah 63:9 NLT

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

Letting the Bible Explain Itself

Seabasin Park

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

When we allow the Bible to explain itself, God can use ordinary people to do great things.

Years ago, when I worked on the sort isle at UPS, our supervisors would occasionally bring in food to eat, while we worked at four in the morning. One such time, my supervisor, who was also a Protestant seminary student, offered me a slice of pizza with pepperoni. I asked him if there was any pizza with just cheese. He knew I was a Seventh-day Adventist and did not eat pork. Still he asked me, “What about the vision Peter had in Acts 10?” I replied, “You mean the one where Peter said,

God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” Acts 10:28 KJV

My supervisor said, “You know your Bible!” He understood right away that the Bible left no mistake about what the Peter’s vision meant. The Bible does not say Peterrealized he should not call any animal unclean. Peter and the Word of God are clear. God showed Peter he should not call any man unclean.
Likewise when Jesus was asked why His disciples did not follow the traditional ceremonial washing of hands, many jump to conclusions when Jesus said, The Bible will explain itself if we let it. That is one reason why it is so easy to be a Bible Worker, like I am and give Bible studies. You don’t have to be a brilliant philosopher. All you need to do is show people the Word of God, and let God’s Word explain itself.

Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Matthew 15:11 KJV

Some claim Jesus was declaring unclean meats clean, but unclean meat is nowhere in the context of conversation. Once again you don’t need an ordained minister to figure out what Jesus as talking about. He tells us very plainly what He was talking about.

to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man. Matthew 15:20 KJV

Jesus tells us plainly He was talking about eating with unwashed hands. He was not referring to unclean foods. Once again the Bible clearly explains itself without any fancy human philosophy.

Many famous philosophers used witty human reasoning to impress their followers. Jesus does not use human wit and reasoning. Jesus stuck with the Scriptures and a plain “It is Written” or “What saith the Scriptures?” He let the Bible explain itself. Jesus has given us the only weapon we will ever need on the war against evil. It is not human wit or philosophy. It is the plain Scriptures.

The plan of holding Bible-readings was a heaven-born idea. There are many, both men and women, who can engage in this branch of missionary labor. Workers may thus be developed who will become mighty men of God. By this means the word of God has been given to thousands; and the workers are brought into personal contact with people of all nations and tongues. The Bible is brought into families, and its sacred truths come home to the conscience. Men are entreated to read, examine, and judge for themselves, and they must abide the responsibility of receiving or rejecting the divine enlightenment. God will not permit this precious work for Him to go unrewarded. He will crown with success every humble effort made in His name. –Ellen White, Gospel Workers, Page 191. 

Please notice, you don’t have to be a smooth talker with witty illustrations and philosophy. Only present the plain Word of God and let men judge for themselves. And no matter how humble you think your efforts are, “He will crown with success every humble effort.”

In Luther’s Day,

Crowds would gather to hear the truth advocated by men of little education, and even discussed by them with learned and eloquent theologians. The shameful ignorance of these great men was made apparent as their arguments were met by the simple teachings of God’s Word. Laborers, soldiers, women, and even children, were better acquainted with the Bible teachings than were the priests and learned doctors. –Ellen White, The Great Controversy, Page 195.

The humble men, women and children gained knowledge the way Jesus did, and every man woman and child today can do the same.

Every child may gain knowledge as Jesus did. As we try to become acquainted with our heavenly Father through His word, angels will draw near, our minds will be strengthened, our characters will be elevated and refined. We shall become more like our Saviour…. Communion with God through prayer develops the mental and moral faculties, and the spiritual powers strengthen as we cultivate thoughts upon spiritual things. –Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, Page 70.

God blessed my ordinary effort as an ordinary UPS worker, when I convinced a seminary student of truth, by simply referring to Simple Scriptures. As you became acquainted with your Heavenly Father through studying His Word and prayer, the Holy Spirit will use you also to help others to know the truth about God’s love.

You may study this week’s SS lesson here.