Further Study: Church: Rites and Rituals
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Read The Ministerial Association of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, chapters 15-18, in Seventh-day Adventists Believe.

“Baptism is a most sacred and important ordinance, and there should be a thorough understanding as to its meaning. It means repentance for sin, and the entrance upon a new life in Christ Jesus. There should be no undue haste to receive the ordinance. Let both parents and children count the cost.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 93.

“The Passover pointed […]

Inside Story: Divine Appointment
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I was a troublemaker in my village in India.

My father had introduced me to alcohol when I was 9 years old, and it became an overpowering habit. I quit school and stole money to buy liquor. My family, my health, and my friends all suffered because of me.

I began spitting up blood. Frightened, I stopped drinking until the blood-spitting ended. Then I started drinking again. I was 23 years old and married. Our lives were miserable because of my addiction. […]

Thursday: Anticipation of the Second Advent
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“For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come” (1 Cor. 11:26).

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What great hope is presented here?

With these words we see how closely entwined the Second Coming and the Communion service are. That makes so much sense, too, because the Second Coming is, really, the culmination of what happened at the cross. One could argue that the biggest reason for the First Coming – […]

Wednesday: The Lord’s Supper
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Read Matthew 26:26-28.

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What meaning is evident in what Jesus is telling us to do here? Why is it important to see this in terms of symbols?

The Lord’s Supper replaces the Passover festival of the old covenant era. The Passover met its fulfillment when Christ, the Paschal Lamb, gave His life. Before His death, Christ Himself instituted the replacement, the great festival of the New Testament church under the new covenant. Just as the Passover festival […]

Tuesday: The Ordinance of Humility
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It’s hard to imagine the pain that must have been going on in the heart of Jesus as

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He – about to face the Cross, the greatest humiliation possible – saw the jealousy and infighting among His own disciples over who would be the greatest in His kingdom.

Read Luke 22:24-27 (see also Matt. 18:1, 20:21). What crucial truth had the disciples still not learned?

Our world is so twisted and perverted by sin that we have it all backward, however […]

Monday: Baptism
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The New Testament uses several images to describe what baptism means.

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First, baptism symbolizes a spiritual union with Christ (Rom. 6:3-8), involving participation in His suffering, death, and resurrection, as well as the renunciation of one’s former lifestyle. In this way, baptism is linked with repentance and the forgiveness of sin (Acts 2:38); the new birth and reception of the Spirit (1 Cor. 12:13); and, consequently, entrance into the church (Acts 2:41, 47).

Baptism symbolizes a covenantal and spiritual relationship with […]

Sunday: Naming the Sacred Rites
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During the early stages of the Christian church, believers in the eastern part of the church, where Greek was the common language, used the word mysterion, ‘mystery’, to describe Christian sacred rites.

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In the West, where Latin predominated, the term employed was sacrament (Latin, ‘sacramentum”). A sacramentum was an oath that a Roman soldier swore, declaring his obedience to the commander’s order. Those who employed this word felt that it described accurately the nature of the sacred rites. With time, however, […]

Sabbath: The Church: Rites and Rituals
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Read for This Week’s Study: Matt. 28:19-20; Rom. 6:3-8; Matt. 26:26-28; John 13:1-17; 1 Cor. 11:24-26.

Memory Text: “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (Acts 2:38, NKJV).

Key Thought: God has instituted ordinances that, properly understood, help to reinforce our faith.

Many societies have initiation rituals, sometimes called ‘rites of passage’. In some cultures, rites of passage were designed in order to […]

Further Study: The Church: In Service to Humanity
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Read Raoul Dederen, “The Church,” pp. 538-581, in Raoul Dederen (ed.),

Handbook of Seventh-day Adventist Theology; Ellen G. White, “‘Thou Shalt Have No Other Gods Before Me,’” pp. 361-364, in Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers; “The Church the Light of the World,” pp. 455-467, in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5.

“If a man is sanguine of his own powers and seeks to exercise dominion over his brethren, feeling that he is invested with authority to make his will the ruling power, the best and […]

Thursday: Governance of the Church
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Governance means getting things done.

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This is true of general social life, and it is also true of church life. Governance also involves organization, which means the organizing of things into a functioning, coherent whole with rules, regulations, and structures designed to facilitate a task at hand. Authority is also critical to governance. At the practical level of church life, who has authority to authorize things and who can be authorized to do things? Different […]