Sabbath: Preserving Relationships
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Read for This Week’s StudyActs 17:5-910-1516-341 Cor. 1:18-2:21 Thess. 2:17-3:10.

Memory Text: “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy” (1 Thessalonians 2:1920, NKJV).

Key Thought: True evangelism leads to relationships that can stand the test of time and last for eternity.

This lesson covers the aftermath of Paul’s attempt to evangelize Thessalonica. It would have been easy after such an experience for Paul to focus on the opposition and other obstacles along the way. Instead, Paul’s mind was focused primarily on the relationships that he had developed with members of the new Christian community in Thessalonica.

Paul was heartbroken that he wasn’t able to spend more time with the believers. He knew that the short time he had been with them would leave them vulnerable to discouragement and negative influences. Not being able to be there in person, he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write letters to them instead. Those letters make up the books in the New Testament known as “Thessalonians.”

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, July 14.

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Sabbath: Preserving Relationships — 24 Comments

  1. This study is very important in that it reminds us to take care of each other within the church family but more so to our new brothers and sisters (Newly baptised).

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  2. This lesson is important to us because it reminds us how important it is for us to care and evangelize together, not only via vocal but through writing because it strengthens and preserves our relationship to one another, especially new brethren, as well as to God. So let us emulate Paul for it will be well with us, AMEN!

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  3. I agree to this I have been to some SDA churches where people are baptized and just left there to fend on there own, sorta say, and well this creates lots of problems.

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  4. Thank you for the lesson that teaches us that our happiness as believers is in the souls that are saved through our efforts.

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  5. When a lost sheep is found, the heavens rejoices. Indeed it is our role and duty to ensure that the we find our brothers and sisters who have not come to light yet and once they come its our duty to care for them and in turn they will also find other lost sheep by so doing the church shall continue to grow.

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  6. This lesson is quite important to the members of the church. As a church we have an obligation to nurture the newly baptised members to remain in the church. Also as church members we should take note of our code of conduct as this may affect evangelism whether positively or negatively.

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  7. This lesson has taught me something I need to put into consideration, just a month ago, we had an adventist youth crusade in chigoneka side. Thats in Malawi Lilongwe. After the crusade many souls were saved but the bad thing is I was the one doing the visitations that time and after the effort I never visited the saved souls up to now. It's been ringing in my head since I read the introduction to this weeks lesson, am troubled inside and am thinking of visiting them at their respective churches one weekend.

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    • Mr Lubani, Thank you for sharing the concern. I think I am also sailing in the boat. It has reminded me that I had also an effort just there at Mtsiliza School in 2009 from Area 18, 32 people accpted Jesus and were baptised, unfortunately up to now I have never visited them, NOT COPING RIGHTLY WHAT PAUL WAS DOING. So a challenge that we need to improve.To make it worse, I am currently not in Malawi.

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  8. The relationships must also extend to our community. The lessons also highlights about being in constant touch with our society. Maybe oneday, they will see the light through the hospitality and concern we apply to them after a church invitation. Let us continue to encourage one another as SDA's for the second coming is now not soon.

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  9. The lesson is educating us that we are God's stewards or watchmen to look for the sheep and to take care of the sheep and we possess the qualities of a good shepherd.

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  10. Well this lesson is very important for our lifes to being a Christian. We all should perserve our relationship. We all should take care of each and every one because we are related to the Christian community, so it's our duty to help each and every one because God has commandad to love your neighbours as your self so we should love each other. And as you all know that God has shown us His love by His Son so I like this Sabbath lesson very much. I just pray that may God bless all of us by the power of the Holy Spirit that he comes to our life and then we can live peaceful lives in the name of our heavenly Father<3!

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  11. We normally establish relationships with people especially when on evangelistic crusades but once the effort is over we leave them and we don't take our time to visit them. Let us learn from Paul how to preserve these relationships because if we don't we will be like a mother who gives birth yet is not ready to care for the child.

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  12. In order to preserve the relationship, do we have to close our eyes and ignore when someone makes some mistakes? Even when we say politely and with tender heart point out the mistake people think we are their enemies! How do we deal this?

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    • Rajaratnam, it all depends on the mistake people are making. If the mistake is wearing jewelry to church then the answer is NO! You don't point out that mistake. You allow the Word of God to change them. If the mistake is lighting up a cigarette in church, then yes you point out the mistake.

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      • Yes, you are right. There are certain mistakes we should let them change by hearing the word of God. But at the same mistake we just cannot close our eyes. which means we really do not love that person.
        May god grant us wisdom to deal such issues and thus preserve the relationships intact.

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  13. This lesson is very important to individual Christians. It poses a challenge. What manner of faith and hope Paul displays. Despite all the crucibles he encounters, he does not give up evangelizing from one city to another. God will not let us down when we give our all to him. We are called to be his ambassadors. Us, calling ourselves to be Christians - this is a challenge! How wiling are we to see other souls saved despite at the expense of our lives-living the comforts of our homes, cities, delicacies of our foods, to suffer for our master. We must remember that we have a dual calling. To be saved and have others saved. Nurturing becomes also paramount to the seed we sow. May God help us to reach the faith of Paul. We are on a race, and soon, very soon, our trophies of victory or failure will be awarded. How I pray that we get trophies of victory. May the good Lord give us courage to hold on to him as we live in this world full of theories that amount to nothing in the sight of our creator. Yes, to philosophers, the cross may mean foolishness, but to you and me means our lives. Look at the philosophers of post antediluvians.. Where did they go with their great ideas in their sight?

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  14. “For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For you are our glory and joy” (1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20, NKJV). This was Paul's aim. At the coming of Jesus Paul wanted the Thessalonians to be present. Having this in mind He sounded strong at times when pointing out their mistakes. But this correction of Paul never was a hinderance to the healthy relationship between Paul and Thessalonians. This should be one's attitude I guess. Corrections can help us to be found in the Eternal Kingdom of God. Relationship does not have to be strained because of corrections. Be supportive.

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  15. This lesson reminds me that we are not an entity unto ourselves. We are part of the bigger picture: the church! As such, we have to run with the ball ourselves. Don't wait for the elders or the pastor to do the work of evangelizing the neighborhood; you must do the work yourself! The pastor's challenge is to minister to the flock at the church, but we, the lay members are supposed to bring our family/friends/neighbors to the church in order so they can be baptized and learn to be followers of Jesus Christ.

    This takes time, effort and energy on your part, but if you are willing to take on the task, you will be richly rewarded!

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  16. After re-reading of Acts 17:16-21, I am disappointed with Jon Paulien's failure to address the 800 Pound Gorilla in the midst of this passage. Vs. 21 states, "for the Athenians... spent their time in nothing else but to either hear or tell of some new thing."

    This is gnosticism! Paul was addressing the Stoic and Epicurean philosophers and trying to get them to see the absurdity of their wasteful occupation of always regurgitating some new or interesting story.

    We have the exact same thing happening in every single household in the 21st century! It's called the television! Every week, a new episode of ** name your favorite TV show ** is broadcast, and the people watch to hear or tell of some new thing. We also have YouTube videos where people can hear or tell some new thing. We're so focused on hearing or telling some new thing, that we've completely missed the old thing: Jesus Christ and Him crucified!

    Mr. Paulien, how could you miss this huge, unmistakable point in lesson number 2: Preserving Relationships?!! Perhaps you should go back and re-read chapters 16 - 18 of Acts of the Apostles and read some inspired commentary!

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    • I am not sure that TV is the 800 pound gorilla it once was. Twenty years ago I would have said it was, but I think we are indeed spending more time now on Internet-based entertainment. Social networking is taking much more time among the younger generations and has become more popular with older people as well now. I am not entirely critical of social networking. I remember that in my youth I spent a lot of time writing letters (mainly to one person). My daughter in her youth monopolized the telephone (the rest of the family had difficulty in even finding the phone hand-piece). Both of these activities, while primarily trivia were important in forging relationships, many of which are still important today.

      What is important is that we determine the appropriate perspective on these activities and ensure that we use out time well and are discerning in what we watch or participate in.

      I learned a valuable lesson in life from my father. He thundered from the pulpit about the evils of the cinema, to the extent that I felt guilty even looking sideways at the advertizements outside the cinema. It was not until well into my adulthood that I went to a cinema to see a movie. Interestingly, My Aunt, Dad's sister, had independently decided to see the same movie. We were both surprised to see one another there. It was a good movie made all the better because we had used discernment in choosing what we wanted to see based on sound principles.

      Even good activities can become obsessions. I know of people who spend too much time on their computers trying to convert the world and ignoring their spouse's pleas for more quality time together.

      It is important that we understand that it is not the place or the technology that is evil, but that there are sound principles for deciding what we should watch, and how much time we can spend on activities. The 800 pound gorilla is that we often lose our perspective on life to the detriment of our relationship with others and God.

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    • John, I can relate to what you are saying because I disagree with some of the points the lessons bring out as well. However, while I am in that state of mind I try to be careful not to single out the lesson author since the lessons go through a committee of reviewers and is often edited before it is published, sometimes quite a bit. To me there are many people that take responsibility for what is presented and should probably be addressed collectively if at all. Therefore, in my opinion it is much better to only address the thoughts and concepts presented rather than the people who present them.

      Second, you said, "This is gnosticism!" in reference to Acts 17:21. It is my understanding that Gnosticism really came into being during the second and third centuries even though there was pre-Gnostic philosophy circulating around prior to that time. From what I have read it is generally thought that the Gospel of John addresses that pre-Gnostic mode of thinking.

      So, in my view those philosophers could have had some Gnostic concepts however what Luke tells us is that they "spent their time in nothing else but to either hear or tell of some new thing" (Acts 17"21). To my way of thinking that says that they were enamored with their own wisdom and knowledge and had a great amount of pride concerning their philosophy irrespective of what was.

      Furthermore the two philosophies that invited Paul to speak at the Areopagus in Athens, Epicurean and Stoic (Acts 17:18), were apparently not Gnostic since they were developed at least 100 years before Gnosticism got started.

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  17. I really appreciate the above comment. It brings our day to day into focus. An area we can improve on. I think the news can also be included in that especially "breaking news". We've become hungry for the ability to know the latest and to be the first to know it. Twitter, FB etc. has become our necessity. A pleasant vacation from all these "must know" entities and gadgets will allow us a refreshing of His presence and the freedom of mind to actually recognize it and be blessed.

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  18. I really appreciate the above comment. Is a woman allowed to preach in the church? The Bible (NIV) reading 1 Corinthians 14:33-35,33 it reads:

    For God is not a God of disorder but of peace. As in all congregations of the saints, 34 women should remain silent in the churches. they are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the law says. 35 if they want to enquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a women to speak in the church.

    You can read they are not even to ask in the church. that is what the Bible say!!!!. & the S.D.A we have brought women ministry why? You tell us to say women should preach in church why? In same church way there are spiritually pastor & elder / church members they have rejected that up now as I'm writing. Is in hand to be discussed, why? Can't we interpret accordingly, why? I'm an S.D.A member. I'm one of those who are against women ministry. I will appreciate your response. Thank you God, BLESS YOU.

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    • Your question is a perfect example of why it is so important for us to understand the context of what is being said in the Bible. Many people are wondering why we are spending so much time in the Sabbath School lessons discussing the political and religious environment of Thessalonica in Paul's day.

      Things were different back then than the way they are today in most countries. Because of that we really can't understand the principles that Paul was presenting to the church in the contextual framework of modern civilization. We need to get back to his day and try and understand what the situation was and why he said what he did.

      In 1 Cor 14:33-35 we need to consider another context, the flow of thought in the entire chapter. Most of the chapter is about speaking in tongues but what disturbed Paul was not tongues speaking as such (1 Cor 13:5,18) but how it was being done and I believe that was also the case with women speaking in church. There are some key texts that give us an indication of what Paul is talking about in that chapter: 1 Cor 14:13-15,23,27-28,30-31,33,40. I will leave the conclusion up to you to decide, however, I will ask you to tell me what law Paul is referring to in 1 Cor 14:34 because I can't find a law from God to that effect in the Bible.

      There are also other resources that you can check out:
      http://www.adventistbiblicalresearch.org/Biblequestions/Ancient%20Customs.htm

      An article by Julia Neuffer, "First Century Cultural Backgrounds in the Greco=Roman Empire" http://www.aaw.cc/PDF_files/Neuffer's%20First-Century%20Cultural%20Backgrounds%20in%20the%20Greco-Roman%20Empire.pdf

      An article by Ivan Blazen, "Women, Culture, and Christ: Hearing Scripture Yesterday and Today" http://www.sdanet.org/atissue/wo/blazen.htm

      [Editor's note: Please do not take this comment as an invitation to discuss women in ministry. Please confine comments to the idea of how a study of history and culture adds to our understanding of the Bible.]

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