Galatians; Promises

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Here are my thoughts on this week’s SS lesson. You may also download the lessons to your cell phone.

For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. But he [who was] of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman [was] by promise. Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. Galatians 4:22-24

At Sinai, instead of relying upon God’s promises, they made their own promise. “Go thou near, and hear all that the LORD our God shall say: and speak thou unto us all that the LORD our God shall speak unto thee; and we will hear [it], and do [it]. “ Deuteronomy 5:27

Paul makes the contrast between the two covenants. Both involve obedience and the law. One is man promising God, and the other, the one that actually works, is God promising man.  Ishmael was born when Abraham tried to carry out God’s promise instead of letting God make things happen.  This incidentally was why Abraham had to be circumcised. He had to cast away the confidence he had in his body and trust in God. Isaac represents what happens when we trust God and believe in His promises.

Here is another helpful allegory from the Desire of Ages about trusting God’s promises instead of our own works.

The birth of a son to Zacharias, like the birth of the child
of Abraham, and that of Mary, was to teach a great spiritual truth, a truth
that we are slow to learn and ready to forget. In ourselves we are incapable of
doing any good thing; but that which we cannot do will be wrought by the power
of God in every submissive and believing soul. It was through faith that the
child of promise was given. It is through faith that spiritual life is
begotten, and we are enabled to do the works of righteousness.  {Desire of Ages, p 98.3} 

Here are some more precious Bible promises about what can be
accomplished through trusting God’s grace instead of our own strength.

But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which
[was bestowed] upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than
they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me 1 Corinthians 15:10 Notice when we trust in God’s grace we actually labor more abundantly than when we trust in our own strength!

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father
in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father
that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.Believe me that I [am] in the Father,
and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake. Verily,
verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he
do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my
Father.  John 14:10-12Notice by believing Jesus’ promises we do greater works than we do when trusting our own strength and works.

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious
promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having
escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.  2 Peter 1:4

We overcome, not by making promises to God but by trusting
His promises! Also while many argue over exactly what type of human nature
Jesus had, we receive an invitation to experience and participate in His divine
nature!

One last awesome promise from the Spirit of Prophecy. “Just
before us is the “hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world,
to try them that dwell upon the earth.” [Revelation 3:10.] All whose faith
is not firmly established upon the word of God will be deceived and overcome.
But to those who earnestly seek a knowledge of the truth, thus doing what they
can to prepare for the conflict, the God of truth will be a sure defense.
“Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep
thee,” is the Saviour’s promise. He would sooner send every angel out of
Heaven to protect his people, than leave one soul that trusts in him to be
overcome by Satan.”  {Great Controversy, p.560}

John 14; “So it May be With us”

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

John 14:10 Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. 

 14:11    Believe me that I [am] in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake. 

 14:12    Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 

 

14:30 Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me. 

There was in Him nothing that responded to Satan’s sophistry. He did not consent to sin. Not even by a thought did He yield to temptation. So it may be with us. Christ’s humanity was united with divinity; He was fitted for the conflict by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And He came to make us partakers of the divine nature. So long as we are united to Him by faith, sin has no more dominion over us. God reaches for the hand of faith in us to direct it to lay fast hold upon the divinity of Christ, that we may attain to perfection of character.  {Desire of Ages, p. 123}

Mark 16; First Day Texts in The Bible

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Since all four gospels record the ressurection of course, I decided to spend some time here in Mark 16 addressing the first day of the week texts in the Bible to see if any of them say that the first day of the week is now holy. Three references to the first day of the week are found in Mark 16 but let’s take a look at them all.

 

Notes on the Eight New Testament Sunday (first day) Texts. Do any of these inform us of a transfer of the Sabbath from Saturday (seventh day) to Sunday (first day)?

In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first [day] of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. Matthew 28:1

Note: Mary waited until the first day of the week when the Sabbath would be over. Nothing here to tell us that Sunday is now the Sabbath.

And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the [mother] of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first [day] of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. Mark 16:1

Note: They were not coming to worship but to work. Nothing here to tell us that Sunday is now the Sabbath.

Now when [Jesus] was risen early the first [day] of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. Mark 16:9

Note: Another verse mentioning the first day of the week but no command to keep it holy. Nothing here to tell us that Sunday is now the Sabbath.

And] she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And they went and told [it] unto the residue: neither believed they them. Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. Mark 16:10-14

Note: Here it says they believed not. So this obviously was not a meeting of believers on the first day of the week. Nothing here to tell us that Sunday is now the Sabbath.

Now upon the first [day] of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain [others] with them. Luke 24:1                                           

 

Note: No indication of a change in God’s law. Nothing here to tell us that Sunday is now the Sabbath.

The first [day] of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre. John 20:1

Note: No mention of the Sabbath being changed from Saturday to Sunday.

Then the same day at evening, being the first [day] of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace [be] unto you. John 20:19

Note: This is not an assembly for worship but for “fear of the Jews.” Nothing here to tell us that Sunday is now the Sabbath.

And upon the first [day] of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing [him] said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed. And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted. And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot. And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene. Acts 20:7-14

Note: There many lights, because this is a Saturday night meeting. Remember the day begins at evening. See Genesis 1:5 and Leviticus 23:32. Paul preached till Dawn Sunday morning and then walked 20 miles to Assos, something he would never have done on the Holy Sabbath. Nothing here to tell us that Sunday is now the Sabbath.

Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first [day] of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as [God] hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. 1 Corinthians 16:1,2

 

Note: Taking up an offering does not make a day holy. No reference here is even made of a worship service. Paul informed all the churches, including Corinth to lay aside money at home for the poor so that when he passed through he could easily pick it up to take to them. See Acts 11:29,30 and Romans 15:25,26. Nothing here to tell us that Sunday is now the Sabbath.

We clearly see that there is no text in the Bible telling us that Sunday is the new Sabbath. Meanwhile when it comes to keeping Jesus’ New Testament Sabbath, which is still Saturday, or man’s Sabbath which is Sunday, Jesus tells us plainly:

But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men. Matthew 15:9

If ye love me, keep my commandments. John 14:15

 

Matthew 14; Walking on Water

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

When we read about Jesus walking on the water in Matthew 14, we often think that is something He was able to do only because He was God. I remember looking at a greeting card a while back that read, “Some people say I think too much of you, just because I worship the water you walk on.” I have even joked about walking on water because years ago in Oklahoma, I walked across a frozen lake. All joking aside though, Jesus did not do anything that He did not also make possible for us to do as well. Jesus rose raised the dead but so did Peter in Acts 9. Jesus shares His victories over sin and evil with us, and lets us experience the same victories in our lives.

Notice in John 14:10 Jesus attributes His success to His relationship with the Father.  Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

 

Notice in John 14:12 that when we enter into a relationship with Him and the Father that the same success is possible for us.   Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

 

In the story of Jesus and Peter walking on the water in Matthew 14, folks are quick to point out that Peter started to fall in the water when He took his eyes off Jesus, but they fail to point out that he was walking on water, just like Jesus was, so long as he kept His eyes on Jesus. Peter did walk on water! Before Jesus is recorded walking on water, earlier in chapter 14 we see Him spending quality time in prayer alone with the Father. I wonder, if Peter had spent that time in prayer, could he too have walked without falling into the water? Before we can begin to walk like Jesus we must first learn to pray like Jesus.

 

For a Desire of Ages study on how we can experience the same victories Jesus had click here.