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What Does it Mean to be Under Grace?
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Friday’s section of this week’s Sabbath School lesson asks,

“What do you say to those who claim that because of the grace of Christ, they are free from the law? What do they often really mean by that, and how would you answer them?”

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I have heard Christians tell me not to worry about keeping the law because we are no longer under the law. We are under grace. Funny thing is, they only tell me that when it comes to Sabbath keeping. They never tell me I am free to kill or steal. Just free to break the Sabbath. Some people say the ten commandments should be posted in our schools and courthouses, and then the moment you mention the Sabbath, they turn around and tell you the commandments were done away with.

Let’s take a look at that motif in its context.

For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace. Romans 6:14 NKJV

The context here, tells us it is sin that we are free from. 1 John 3:4 tells us that …

…sin is the transgression of the law.

So grace frees us from sin so we can keep God’s law. Therefore we are no longer under the condemnation of the law.

Let’s suppose that I am driving 160 KPH down a highway where there is no speed limit. An officer pulls me over and says, “You were going 160 KPH. I was thinking of giving you a ticket but I will just let you go.” Would that be grace? No! There was no speed limit. So what would I need his grace for? If there is no law I don’t need grace. I can’t break a law that is not there. The fact that we need grace tells me there is still a law. My electric company gives me a ten-day grace period to pay my bill after the due date. A grace period would mean nothing without a due date, and God’s grace would mean nothing without a law.

Let’s now suppose I am driving down a highway where there is indeed a speed limit of 80 KPH. I am driving the speed limit. Can an officer pull me over and give me a speeding ticket? No. Why? Because I am in harmony with the law and not under the officer’s condemnation. This is what Paul is talking about when he says we are not under the law but under grace. He makes this clear in the following passage.

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. Romans 6:15-18 NKJV

God’s grace keeps me in harmony with the law, so I don’t fall under its condemnation.

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Hopess: Being and Doing
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You can view a discussion of the current lesson in the Hope Sabbath School class led by Pastor Derek Morris. (Adobe Flash Player version.) A Youtube version of this week’s lesson at Hope Sabbath School is below. You can download the video, the MP3 audio, and the lesson outline from the HopeTV Sabbath School Site. You might also want to bookmark the HopeSS Youtube channel.

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HopeSS: Enduring Temptation
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You can view a discussion of the current lesson in the Hope Sabbath School class led by Pastor Derek Morris. (Adobe Flash Player version.) A Youtube version of this week’s lesson at Hope Sabbath School is below. You can download the video, the MP3 audio, and the lesson outline from the HopeTV Sabbath School Site. You might also want to bookmark the HopeSS Youtube channel.

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Authority and Power Over Temptation
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One day at work many years ago, my boss crossed the line and really upset me. I felt I was being pressured beyond what I could endure. I was about to march into my boss’s office and spew out a series of un-Christlike words. Not that it is wrong to confront your boss when he is out of line, but there is a right way and a wrong way to do it, and I was tempted to do it the wrong way. I just could not take it anymore! I remembered the promise Paul gave.

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT

Instead of simply claiming the promise, I sent up a prayer to God and told Him He was not holding to His end of the agreement, because I was beyond what I felt I could stand and overcome. I remember in that moment I felt a peace come over me, and my desire to march into my boss’ office with a string of unsanctified words was gone. God did hold to His agreement! Ever since then, every time I have been tempted, God has delivered me when I remembered and chose to claim this promise.

It is a misnomer that God will not give you more than you can handle. He will definitely give you more than you can handle, but He will never give you more than He can handle if you just let Him be the One to handle it.

One day Jesus called together his twelve disciples and gave them power and authority to cast out all demons and to heal all diseases. Luke 9:1 NLT

GoodSalt.com-prcas1476A semi truck comes barrelling down the highway but comes to a complete stop when the traffic officer puts up his hand. The truck has more power than the officer, but the officer has the authority. The state backs the officer’s authority, and the state with its military has more power than the semi truck. Likewise on our own we have no power to defeat the enemy. But authority over evil has been given to us, and all the power of heaven backs up our authority over evil. Just like the police officer has no power by himself to stop a semi truck, the state gives him the authority and the state has the power to enforce his authority over the semi truck. Likewise we have no power by ourselves to overcome temptation, but God gives us authority over evil and provides the power to overcome.

“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 Page 560

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Sabbath: Love and the Law
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Read for This Week’s Study: James 2:1-13; Mark 2:16; Lev. 19:17-18; Rom. 13:8-10; John 12:48.

gless05-2014dMemory Text: For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment (James 2:13, NASB).

We know the story well; the question is, How well has it sunk in?

First a priest, then a Levite, going from Jerusalem to Jericho, encountered a man lying half dead in the road. Though both just finished their religious duties, neither was, apparently, able to link those duties with any sense of obligation to the injured soul, and so each kept walking. Finally, a Samaritan, a half-pagan, happened by, took pity on the man, bandaged his wounds, and paid for his stay at an inn where he could recover. He also promised to pay the innkeeper for anything else the man might need (see Luke 10:30-37).

Jesus told that story in response to a question by a lawyer about eternal life. Rather than tell the lawyer,Try harder! or Do more!-Jesus painted a picture of love in action. That is, we are to love even in potentially dangerous or unpleasant circumstances, and we are to love even those we don’t like.

Though it’s not easy, and often goes against our nature, true love involves a substantial amount of risk and calls us to tear down barriers that separate us as people, both outside and (especially) inside the church. This week we’ll see what James has to say about this crucial truth.

*Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, November 1.

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Inside Story: Angels on Main Street, Part I
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Ismael Serrano

Medellín is a large city in the heart of Colombia. While the city has a reputation as the drug capital of the world, it is also known for its beauty, and its citizens are known for their hard work and love of learning.

Colombia Adventist University (Corporacion Universitaria Adventista, UNAC) is located in Medellín. Founded in 1937 as Industrial College Coloveno, it became Colombo-Venezuelan Institute in 1950 and Colombia Adventist University in 1981. UNAC offers undergraduate through doctoral level degrees.

For many years UNAC students have worked in the neighborhoods of Medellín searching for people who want to learn about God. One neighborhood, known for its violence and poverty, was an especially difficult area, but after knocking on many doors, the young people found several residents who wanted to study the Bible. They arranged to hold meetings in the home of a church member who lived in the area.

Each Sabbath the students met with the people and studied the Bible together. Within a few months several people in the Bible study group requested baptism. What joy the young people felt as they saw the fruits of their labors.

Often, after attending the evening meetings, the students had to walk several blocks to catch a bus back to school. If it was late, the students had to walk all the way back to school. The streets, which seemed safe during daylight hours, were full of dangers at night.

One night Mery and Rocio came to the evening worship service. After the meeting they found that they did not have a ride back to the school. They would have to walk several blocks through the dangerous, poorly lit streets. Some people from the church offered to walk with them partway, and the girls gratefully accepted their offer.

As the group walked along, they passed open doors of dimly lit taverns. In the smoky light that filtered out, they could see unshaven men drinking and playing tavern games. Their coarse language and crude laughter sent chills down Rocio’s spine. She shivered as she recalled reports of girls her age who had been attacked or murdered in dark alleys such as those she and her friends were passing.

The little group walked faster, hoping to escape the sounds and smells of this part of town, hardly speaking as they walked quickly through the dim light. They passed men and women standing in the shadows of tall buildings. Sometimes the only hint that a person was there was the smell of a cigarette or alcohol.

Soon they reached the street where their companions lived. Rocio and Mery thanked them for walking with them. The girls tried to smile, hoping that their fear would not show. Then they turned and quickly continued their journey.

(continued)

Ismael Serrano is a pastor in Apartadó, Colombia.

 

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Friday: Further Study: Being and Doing
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Further Study: Ellen G. White, The Test of Discipleship, p. 59-63, in Steps to Christ.

studymoreThe law is God’s great moral looking glass. Man is to compare his words, his spirit, his actions with the Word of God.-Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 935.

“Instead of releasing man from obedience, it is faith, and faith only, that makes us partakers of the grace of Christ, which enables us to render obedience.

As Jesus was in human nature, so God means His followers to be. In His strength we are to live the life of purity and nobility which the Saviour lived.-Ellen G. White, Our Father Cares, p. 69.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Though we have been told it would be to our advantage to move away (if possible) from worldly places, why is that not the ultimate answer to the problems of sin and temptation? How far would we have to go in order to be away from any kind of temptation at all? What is the only answer for sin and temptation, regardless of where we live?
  2. Police were trying to place electronic eavesdropping devices in an office where they suspected criminals were working. The only problem: vicious Dobermans surrounded the compound. So, the police, each night, would feed the dogs hamburgers. At first they would toss about five or six between the bars. Before long, the dogs were not only eating the burgers out of the officers’ hands, but they were licking the officers’ hands when done. Thus, with the guard dogs tamed, the police were able to infiltrate and plant the devices. What lesson can we take from this story about how we, if we are not careful, can let our own guards down?
  3. Think more about this idea of being a doer of the Word as opposed to just believing the Word. What is, in the end, the real difference between the two?
  4. What do you say to those who claim that because of the grace of Christ, they are free from the law? What do they often really mean by that, and how would you answer them?
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Thursday: Unlike the World
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What does it mean to keep oneself unspotted from the world? (James 1:27, NKJV). How could that even be possible? See also 1 John 2:15-16; 2 Pet. 1:4.

GoodSalt.com-wjpas0725Some people seem to think that if only they could move far enough away from the world, they could avoid most of its temptations. Though there’s some truth to that, and we should try to avoid temptation as much as possible (especially those temptations we find hardest to resist), our problems and weaknesses do tend to follow us wherever we go. The problem with sin isn’t so much what is out there, though that certainly plays a role, as much as it is what’s in us, and in our hearts. That’s where the true battle is, and we will have to fight that battle no matter where we live.

It is also an interesting phenomenon that solving some problems makes those that remain seem more obvious. For example, cleaning one area of a room makes any dirt nearby stand out even more. So also with the spiritual life: the closer you come to Jesus, the more faulty you will appear in your own eyes; for your vision will be clearer, and your imperfections will be seen in broad and distinct contrast to His perfect nature.-Ellen G. White, Steps to Christ, p. 64.

Let’s not have Ellen G. White say here what she isn’t saying. She isn’t saying that the closer we get to Jesus the faultier we actually become. She continues: The more our sense of need drives us to Him and to the word of God, the more exalted views we shall have of His character, and the more fully we shall reflect His image.-Steps to Christ, p. 65.

Real religion leads a person to hunger and thirst for a deeper experience (Matt. 5:6). Jesus spent adequate time alone with His heavenly Father in order to know His will. Yet, He never shut Himself off from people. He went to where the people were. His food was reaching out to the needy, breaking down barriers of prejudice, and sharing the good news of eternal life (John 4:28-35).

Despite the fact that Jesus and the earliest Christians had a diet and lifestyle quite different from the Gentile world around them, these practices never kept them from sharing their faith. They went everywhere, and the gospel spread throughout the empire and became firmly planted, even in centers of corruption and wickedness such as Rome.

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04: Being and Doing – Thought Starters
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[Thought Questions for Being and Doing October 21, 2014]

Image © Standard Publishing from GoodSalt.com

Image © Standard Publishing from GoodSalt.com

1. It’s not enough to be able to see and hear. Do you think it would be harder to follow Jesus if you were deaf? or blind? Didn’t have much intellectual understanding? Does a thorough knowledge of God and His plan of salvation earn you a place in His eternal kingdom? What did the apostle James say that Christians need to do to give them a firm and lasting relationship with God?

2. Your enemy. How much time do you spend every day in front of the mirror? What does James think of people who see themselves in the mirror and take no measures to correct what is wrong? Is there a spiritual mirror in your life to help you recognize your faults and your soul’s deepest needs? Both Peter and the rich young man looked at themselves in their own spiritual mirror. Why did Peter benefit from what he saw while, as far as we know, the rich man didn’t?

3. Be a doer. If your Christian experience consists of spending two or three hours in church every week, how would James sum up your spiritual development? (James 1:22). Is it possible to be a Christian without works? Isn’t attending church and following basic principles of Bible truth good enough? Starting with acts of service, think of some of the hundreds of tasks Christians shoulder with joy as they serve God in deed as well as word.

4. The law of freedom. What is the perfect law of liberty that James refers to in James 1:25? What is perfect about it? In what way is it free? What happens when we try to keep God’s law of love on our own? How does the rule of love affect our choice to work for God in this sin-depressed world? Can a person’s zeal to help others turn into an unfortunate grasp for recognition or success? How? How can this scenario be avoided?

5. Useful or useless? Are some people in this world useless? What about the millions of children dying of starvation? What contribution are they making to the world? What return on our investment would we receive if we spent millions of dollars on these children? Would they be able to repay the funds we invested in them? Should that matter? Why or why not? What does James think of people who care little but talk a lot? (James 1:26) How does James say we should spend our time?

6. Unlike the world. James earnestly wants all believers to keep themselves “unspotted” by the world (James 1:27). Does that mean moving to more isolated areas where the influence of the “world” is less? Or can a servant of God live “unspotted” in a major city? By our works on behalf of others in need can we demonstrate what Jesus is like? Do we spend as much energy as we should in this endeavor?

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Wednesday: Useful or Useless
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Read James 1:26-27 and compare it to Matthew 25:35, Matt. 25:36, Matt.25:40 and Romans 12:9-18. In light of these passages, how would you define true Christianity?

Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com

Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com

If Jesus, James, and Paul emphasize anything, it is the importance of being a useful Christian. By lovingthe least of these (Matt. 25:40), by taking the time to visit those most easily overlooked, by showing hospitality-in all these practical ways and more-we reveal Jesus’ love and become the channel by which Jesus loves through us.

The strongest argument in favor of the gospel is a loving and lovable Christian.-Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 470. Of course, as she goes on to explain, to live such a life, to exert such an influence, costs at every step effort, self-sacrifice, discipline.-Page 470. It does not come naturally or automatically. If our religion consists only in affirmations of belief and listening to sermons, it is largely useless.

James describes religion or religious in verses 26-27 with a word that suggests being unusually devout. Such an attitude has immediate, visible consequences, and people will notice the difference.

One obvious change will be our choice of words. Instead of using uninhibited remarks and harsh tones and gestures, we will become more sensitive to the effect our communication exerts on others. We will bridleour tongue so that it does not dash off ahead of us with all the violence and energy of an untamed horse.

James also singles out orphans and widows as those most needing our love and care. From a worldly standpoint, it does not make sense to focus our resources on those who can give nothing back to society. But from God’s viewpoint, it is precisely how we treat those who have been cast off and rejected by the world that reveals which of us are Christ’s true followers: either by lending money to those who cannot pay us back; inviting to dinner those who cannot reciprocate; or blessing and praying for those who mistreat us (Luke 6:35, Lk. 14:12-14, Matt. 5:44). As Paul points out, we are re-created in Christ Jesus for good works (Eph. 2:10).

How much of your own time and energy do you spend helping those in need? What does your answer say to you about how useful your faith really is?

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04: Being and Doing – Lesson Plan
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Key Thought: When we are saved by grace, we will be doers of God’s Word, because we have placed our faith in Him. He leads us to become new in the Spirit.

gless04-2014d[Lesson Plan for Being and Doing October 20, 2014]

1. Have a volunteer read James 1:22-24.

a. Ask class members to share a thought on what the most important point in this text is.
b. What is the difference between believing the Word and doing it? Are we partial doers of the Word, or do we follow all its counsel?
c. Personal Application: Why is it easier to see the faults of others than those of our own? Share your thoughts.
d. Case Study: One of your relatives states: “Salvation is by grace, not by works. So our works have nothing to do with our salvation. That would be legalism.” How would you respond to your relative?

2. Have a volunteer read James 1:25.

a. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the most important point is in this passage.
b. What does it mean to “look into” the perfect law of liberty and continue therein? How do we look into anything?
c. Personal Application: Is it easier to fall into sin when you are with someone, or when you are alone? Why is this? Share your thoughts.
d. Case Study: One of your neighbors states, “Why are the Ten Commandments called the “perfect law of liberty”? I thought the law led to bondage, not freedom.” How would you respond to your neighbor?

3. Have a volunteer read James 1:26,27.

a. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
b. What does the tongue have to do with following a religious life? How are we to “bridle” our tongue?
c. Personal Application: How much of your own time and energy do you spend helping those in need? Share your thoughts..
d. Case Study: One of your friends states, “I’ve been a member of the church for a long time, and one thing I know is that most pastors and local church leaders aren’t big on visitation of the fatherless and widows.” How would you respond to your friend?

4. Have a volunteer read James 1:17.

a. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
b. Why do people blame God for the bad things that happen in their lives? Even Christians say that God gives them bad things to test their faith.
Personal Application: What good and perfect gifts has God given to you? Share your thoughts.
b. Case Study: Think of one person who needs to hear a message from this week’s lesson. Tell the class what you plan to do this week to share with them.

Note: “Truth that is not lived, that is not imparted, loses its life-giving power, its healing virtue. Its blessings can be retained only as it is shared.” MH p. 149.

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Tuesday: Law of Freedom
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Read James 1:25. What does he say about the role of the law?

Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com

Image © Krieg Barrie from GoodSalt.com

James echoes the Psalms in calling God’s law perfect (Ps. 19:7) and a way of freedom (Ps. 119:45). But notice that the law in James cannot save us and certainly cannot cleanse us. It shows us God’s ideal, but it cannot make us follow that ideal any more than seeing a world-class athlete perform amazing feats could enable us to do the same. To follow that ideal, we need the power of Christ in our lives.

Read Romans 8:2, 4 and 2 Corinthians 3:17-18. What makes the difference between the law as an instrument of death or as something that shows the way to freedom and life?

Even Paul affirms that not the hearers of the law are just in the sight of God, but the doers of the law will be justified (Rom. 2:13, NKJV). As he says, we can become doers only through the work of the Spirit writing the law on our hearts. Only when we obey it from the heart can the law be a law of freedom.

Thus, the problem is not with the law but with us. We forget who we really are: sinners in constant need of a Savior. Outside of Christ we hear only the law’s condemnation. But in Christ we become new men and women (2 Cor. 5:17) who are set free in Jesus (John 8:36). We hear Him speaking the law to us, that we should love one another, as I have loved you (John 15:12, NKJV). Through Christ, we experience the freedom of God’s sons and daughters who are saved by grace and who will not want to slip back into the condemnation and bondage we had as transgressors. In Christ, not only are we forgiven our sins, we now have a new life, one in which we are able to render obedience to the law. We do so, however, not in order to be saved but out of the freedom that comes from knowing that we already are saved and therefore no longer stand condemned by the law.

Think about what it would be like, having the natures we do, to try to keep the law well enough to be saved by it. How would this make the law a means of bondage? How has Jesus freed us from that bondage while, at the same time, commanding us to keep the law?

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Monday: Being a Doer
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Read James 1:22 again. The Greek says to be doers of the Word. How might the message have been different had James simply said, Do the word?

Image © Darrel Tank from GoodSalt.com

Image © Darrel Tank from GoodSalt.com

James combines being and doing. He does not separate them, nor does he make one more important than the other. They are like two sides of the same coin, inseparable. We are to be doers. Furthermore, the tense of the Greek word for be here refers to an ongoing lifestyle of obedience, one that is expected of us now rather than at some indefinite time in the future.

The point is, we are to become new people in the Lord, and as a result of what we become, we do the things that God commands us to. This is something quite different from us merely following rules (which seems to have been the problem with the rich young ruler, as we saw in yesterday’s lesson).

Read Luke 6:27-38. What are some of the actions that we should be taking?

Love your enemies. Give to everyone who asks of you. Be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful(Luke 6:27, Lk. 6:30, Lk. 6:36, NKJV). Sounds impossible, doesn’t it? And it is, on our own. Love like this does not come naturally to sinful human beings. That is why Jesus goes on to talk about two different kinds of trees and the fruit each produces (Luke 6:43-45).

Similarly, in Galatians 5, Paul contrasts the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21) with the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23). It is almost as if the more we focus on doing, the worse we become; whereas, when we are being led by the Spirit, yields a totally different outcome-the fruit of love and obedience.

Think about a time you did something simply because it was required of you or because it was a rule you had to obey. Contrast that to the time you did something similar because it was something you wanted to do, something that flowed naturally out of you because of Christ living in you. How does this contrast help us to understand the point of today’s lesson?

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Sunday: Knowing Your Enemy
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Someone once said this about his enemy: I see him every day-when I’m shaving. This is exactly what James wants us to recognize: our greatest enemy is ourselves. Salvation begins by seeing who we really are, not who we imagine ourselves to be.

Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com

Image © Rolf Jansson from GoodSalt.com

Read James 1:23-24. Who is described here, and what is the basic problem?

While there is nothing wrong with looking our best, many people spend a great deal of time and money to improve their appearance. But we need to make sure that we don’t deceive ourselves. James says we need to get a better view of ourselves, no matter how much we might not like what we see.

Read Matthew 19:16-22, Matt. 26:33-35, Matt. 26:69-75. How does the self-image of each of these two men compare with the reality? What do their two different reactions to Jesus’ words say about them?

The rich young man thought he had been keeping the commandments. Suddenly he was challenged to adhere to a different kind of obedience, one that he had never anticipated, one that went much deeper than mere outward compliance to rules and regulations. (See Rom. 7:7.)

Peter, like this young man, also had a distorted picture of himself. Self-confidently he predicted that even if everyone else should stumble and fall away, he would remain faithful–even if it cost him his life. But neither realized how tightly sin held him in its grasp. Both were self-deceived about their true spiritual state. Peter, however, eventually was converted. As far as we know, the rich young ruler wasn’t.

It’s always so easy to see the faults in others but not in ourselves, right? Deep down, though, we probably are more aware of our faults that we want to admit. Look deep into your own soul. What does this view tell you about why you must have a Savior?

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Sabbath: Being and Doing
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Read for This Week’s Study: James 1:23-24; Matt. 19:16-22Luke 6:27-38; Rom. 8:2-4; Rom. 12:9-18; 2 Pet. 1:4.

gless04-2014dMemory Text: But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves (James 1:22).

Jean Francois Gravelet, better known as The Great Blondin, became famous for walking across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. In September of 1860, the Prince of Wales had witnessed Blondin’s crossing of the falls with an assistant on his back. After the walk, Blondin turned to the British prince and offered to carry him across the falls too. Although the prince had heard of the man’s skills, and had even just seen them in action, he was still not ready to place his life in Blondin’s hands.

The point is, of course, that hearing and seeing are not enough when it comes to a relationship with God. We may be intellectually convinced about the existence of God, the truth of the gospel, and the Second Coming. We may have even seen for ourselves the reality of God’s love and care. Yet, even with all that, we may not really be ready to commit ourselves fully into His hands, an action that would be revealed by our works. This is precisely why James emphasizes the importance of being doers, not just hearers, of the Word.

This week we’ll look at what being a doer of the Word means for those saved by grace.

*Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, October 25.

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Inside Story: Heidy’s Hope, Part 2
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Juan Caicedo Solis

The demons in Mirella struggled against the family members who took her to the Adventist church. During the struggle Mirella fainted. When the family tried to carry her limp body through the church door, they could feel a powerful force pushing them away. Inside the church the congregation prayed while deacons tried to pull the family into the church. Finally they managed to enter the church. They laid Mirella on the floor in the pastor’s office.

The pastor told Mirella’s family, “I do not have any powers to fight against the devil and his spirits. But I can call on the One who has defeated sin and the devil, Christ Jesus our Lord.” He urged the family to confess their sins and call on the power of God to overrule. Then the pastor knelt beside Mirella’s still form and prayed. He invited the holy angels of heaven to join in the battle for her soul. Then with a strong voice he commanded, “With the angel host beside me, and with Christ already the victor, I command you, Satan, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, to get out of her!”

Mirella screamed loudly and began to speak, but the pastor repeated the command, “In the name of the Lord, get out of her!” The girl became quiet and lay on the floor, still unconscious. When Mirella opened her eyes, she stood up and rushed into the arms of a family member, clinging to his neck in fear. Heidy placed her hand on Mirella’s shoulder. “You are safe,” Heidy said. “Christ has freed you from the claws of Satan!”

The girls rejoiced in their newfound peace and made preparations for baptism. But the day before their baptism, Mirella began speaking in a strange voice, saying, “I hate Pastor Juan! I hate him!” The evil spirit had returned to try one last time to control Mirella. Someone asked the spirit why it hated Pastor Juan, and the spirit answered, “Tomorrow he will force me to leave this body, and I have no place to go!” With increasing anger the spirit said, “I will kill Heidy and Mirella before they are baptized!”

Then the spirit forced Mirella to grab a knife and try to cut her own wrists. Several people wrestled the knife away from Mirella while the others prayed. In the name of Jesus, the devil left her.

The next day at their baptism, Mirella testified that horrible monsters had held her so tightly that she could not break free. But when the people prayed in the name of Jesus, a stronger hand broke Satan’s grip and set her free. It was the hand of Jesus, the only one more powerful than the demons.

“Never leave the safety of Jesus,” Heidy told the congregation. “Jesus is the only one who can free you from the bonds of Satan.

Heidy Moreno lives in Cali, Colombia where she was a student at the time of this writing. Juan Caicedo Solis is a district pastor in Cali, Colombia.

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