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Thursday: The Firstfruits — 10 Comments

  1. It just dawned on me that Pilot/Jews didn’t cast lots between the two prisoners: Jesus and Barabas. Man made the choice of which prisoner to save/crucify. When we compare this to the sacrificial and the scape-goat, for which lots were chosen (Leviticus 16:8); is it significant that man made the unjust choice? Is it even more significant when we consider that it was the religious leaders of the day that spearheaded the decision? How much more does this prove are need for the Holy Spirit’s influences!?

    • Thank God for the remission of my sins! God offers me not only forgiveness, but also a new mind and heart, as long as I accept His Spirit! It is all a matter of decision! I have to decide whether I want His gift or not! I can reject Him, I have this right! My human and degenerated mind and heart fight against good! But Jesus is the One who convinces me everyday of His constant love (the work of the Holy Spirit)! Even though the dealings of my daily life may seem to distract me, I must be conscious of the constant need of communion with my Saviour!

    • Jesus is and was the lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Both the Bullock and The Lord's Goat at the day of atonement represented that: The Bullock was symbolic of Jesus' flawlessness and sinlessness, The Lord's Goat was symbolic of Jesus becoming SIN for "The whole world." The choice was made way back in the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve when they partook of the forbidden tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And Jesus, The Father, and The Holy Spirit made that choice before Adam and Eve made that choice also, that The Son of God would take the place of every human being at the cross of Calvary. Praise His Holy Name!

  2. Before I can repent of my sins, I must know what is the real problem.
    I believe the problem is that our characters are not in harmony with God's character, we have been rebelling against God, the Everlasting Covenant has been broken, we need to be reconciled to God, to have peace with God to be made a new creature, to be born again, to be like Jesus. So the question is - Do I want to be completely changed? Do I believe I need to be completely changed? If the answer is Yes, then I am repenting of my old ways and asking Jesus to change me to be like Him.

    Rom 3:23  for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, 
    Rom 5:1  Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 
    Rom 5:2  Through Him we also have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice on the hope of the glory of God. 
    Rom 5:10  For if when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son,
    2Co 5:17  So that if any one is in Christ, that one is a new creature; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. 

  3. How do we obtain 1st fruits? We are filled with the Holy Spirit. But what do we do when we are filled with the Holy Spirit? We learned eariler that we don't get caught up with babble. We speak with understanding. "Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing. Whoever wants to embrace life and see the day fill up with good, Here’s what you do: Say nothing evil or hurtful; Snub evil and cultivate good; run after peace for all you’re worth. God looks on all this with approval, listening and responding well to what he’s asked; But he turns his back on those who do evil things.
    1 Peter 3:8‭-‬12. MSG.
    ... Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy. Keep a clear conscience before God so that when people throw mud at you, none of it will stick. They’ll end up realizing that they’re the ones who need a bath...
    1 Peter 3:13-18. MSG.
    Very good advice in being a Christian witness. To be ready to be a witness. Repent and be baptized.
    ...Noah built his ship, only a few were saved then, eight to be exact—saved from the water by the water. The waters of baptism do that for you, not by washing away dirt from your skin but by presenting you through Jesus’ resurrection before God with a clear conscience...
    1 Peter 3:19-22. MSG.
    Praise God. Now we have this hope, to offer to others about Jesus, the everlasting gospel, the good news if you will.

  4. Some have desired to change the requirements for baptism, but Peter's response under the influence of the Holy Spirit shows the requirements of the gospel clearly, in obedience to the teaching and commission of Christ given for all to follow. Churches that wish to remain faithful will follow the Word of God and be blessed.

    The requirement of repentance will reveal those who are sincere. Repentance is exercising faith.

    • I guess I'm not following entirely. The requirement is to repent. That is about our rebellion against God. Certainly there are behaviors involved, but the focus is direction, not progress. When the rebellion stops the relationship can begin, and once the relationship begins God can show each of us what He wants us to do.

      The gospel commission says: 1 Make disciples, 2 Baptize, 3 teach. Make disciples establishes the relationship and produces repentance. Then baptism is appropriate. The details can (and will) come later.

      • Wilton, how is one made a disciple if they don't "watch over/keep" all things Christ has commanded? Are you saying if they profess to accept Jesus, while there is no evidence of it, that they are to be baptized and then (hopefully) teach them to observe? While I agree that teaching is ongoing, isn't their a minimum requirement for baptism?

        If you haven't yet, read the chapter "Baptism" in Testimonies 6. What are your thoughts about what this chapter tells us? Don't forget Who is behind the pen that writes the messages to the church.(The bible is clear on this, but many have come to not see it clearly, and Jesus wants His servants to be clear on the matter in these last days when much has been lost sight of of many. Why else would these be given to us?)

        If you read Matt 28:19,20, the "teaching" was not meant to wait until after baptism. There is no way to be a disciple if not taught how to. Simple logic helps us maintain gospel order here doesn't it?

        • From my perspective the underlying issue is attitude and motive, both in those setting the policies and those being converted. A long running point of contention within Adventism is whether we are saved by works or by grace . . . or by some combination. It is easy to throw up standards to protect the "purity of the church". But God knows that when a person accepts Him and chooses to follow him, the rest WILL FOLLOW, naturally.
          The thief on the cross didn't have time to demonstrate any lifestyle changes, or learn any doctrine (or even to be baptized for that matter).
          I take Mt 28:19 and 20 at face value. Obviously a certain amount of learning about God must occur for one to choose to be a disciple. Logic would suggest that it would primarily be about God's love, which would including understanding the hopeless lost condition of the sinner, the need of a Savior and the free gift of Salvation that was paid for on the cross. But once that concept has sunk in and produced the desired loving response, the person is probably "safe" to baptize. If they demonstrate a willingness to trust that God knows what is best for their life, the rest will follow as the Holy Spirit in His own perfect timing impresses them about changes that need to be made in their life.
          The Acts 2 example presents additional challenges in direct 21st century application because Peter's audience at that point was almost entirely Jewish. So the only part about Christianity that would be new to them was the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, the second person of the Godhead. That was all they needed to know and accept to become disciples and be baptized. Later they would (slowly and sometimes painfully) learn that many of the rituals they had been practicing were not salvific or necessary for Christians, even some that their prophet (Moses) had been inspired by God to tell them about. That, for them, was part of the "teaching" that followed, along with other things such as salvation is equally available to all races, classes and genders.

          • After reading your reply, I wonder if you have seen that chapter "Baptism" in testimonies 6.

            In His commission to the church Jesus says "teaching them to observe all things I have commanded you". What does that mean to you? Is this something you feel is ok after baptism? What if a person decides there are too many "restrictions"? If they are baptized, but decided to not follow "all things" that Jesus has commanded, then what? Jesus has taught that the church must discipline the wayward, so it makes sense to have a set of fundamental beliefs that are a test of fellowship, to avoid the problems later on when teaching testing truths after baptism that might be rejected. If you read that chapter, this will all make sense. The Christian world today is far more complex than in the days of the thief on the cross and the eunuch that Philip baptized, who was already a believer in God, and only needed to receive Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah. The jailer in Philippi had a simple choice, leave his pagan beliefs and accept the Christian faith. Today, the Christian faith includes 40,000+ denominations with many different ideas of truth. So how does the remnant church stand separate and faithful in all this confusion if no standard is required? Look what has happened due to the counsel not being followed as given.


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