A P A R A B L E
Okay, you. You like adventure and always want to test to the limits. Tuck a small box of matches in your pocket and put on a good sun hat and sunglasses. Head up into the mountains a couple of hours from home. The air is crisp and clean. Evergreen trees are everywhere. And nobody else is here. You’re going to make a difference today.
Park your car on the portion of the parking lot [...]
It is so easy, from our perspective today, to look back at the early church as some sort of model of harmony and peace, an example of what true worship was all about. Unfortunately, New Testament history is so similar to Old Testament history in that both show just how far fallen we all are.
Take, for example, the church in Corinth, which Paul established on his second missionary journey. A commercial hub, known for its luxury and wealth, Corinth was [...]
Several of my young adult friends have messaged me recently with comments like, “I consider myself a Creationist because I believe that God created the earth. Why does it matter if He created it in seven literal contiguous 24-hour periods, or over millions of years? Either way, He created.”
Character of God
It’s a good question, and deserves a thoughtful answer. My first point has to do with the character of the God we worship. Sometime ago, someone dear to me said [...]
Worship is not just about what you do in church on Sabbath. Worship encompasses aspects of our whole faith: what we believe, what we proclaim, how we act. Central to worship is the idea of the Lord as our Creator and our Redeemer. Everything about worship should flow from this fundamental and sacred truth. Again, worship is primarily about God and the actions of God in history. Authentic worship should draw participants into a closer walk with their Lord. It [...]
In the days of the early church, we can see another example of the issue of worship, and of what people worship—this time in the ministry of the apostle Paul when he was in Athens, the place where three of the world’s most influential philosophers (Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle) once lived.
What a different audience Paul had to deal with here than Peter did years earlier before all those devout Jews in Jerusalem!
Read Acts 17:15–34, the account of Paul’s preaching in [...]
A great part of the Protestant worship tradition has been the preaching of the Word. A sacred responsibility falls upon the one given the task to feed the sheep, to teach and to preach and to exhort and to encourage. Music, liturgy, prayer, the Lord’s Supper, and foot washing all have their place, but, perhaps, nothing’s more important than what is preached from the pulpit during the worship hour.
Read Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14–41). How are [...]
Key Thought: God’s Word regarding His law, our history with Him, His redeeming acts, and the future are the foundations of our worship.
1. Have a volunteer read Acts 1:8-11.
A. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
B. Should a focus of our worship be in the second coming of Jesus in the clouds? Why or why not?
C. Personal Application: How do we know that we have received the power of the [...]
From a human perspective, Jesus’ earthly ministry did not look so successful. Though He had attracted a fairly popular following while alive, it did not catch on en masse. Many leaders rejected Him, and, of course, the Romans crucified Him, causing His closest disciples to scatter and flee.
Things looked pretty bad until His resurrection and then Pentecost, when suddenly His followers found a new boldness to proclaim their crucified Master as the Messiah of Israel. It was only after the [...]
Read for This Week’s Study: Acts 1:1–11, 2:14–41, 17:15–34, 18:1–16, 1 Corinthians 13.
“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1, NIV).
Soon after Christ returned to heaven, the early church began to expand and grow. At first, it almost was exclusively Jews who were accepting Jesus as the Messiah and coming into the ranks of believers. Indeed, at [...]
Read Ellen G. White, “God With Us,” pp. 19–26, in The Desire of Ages.
“Not by seeking a holy mountain or a sacred temple are men brought into communion with heaven. Religion is not to be confined to external forms and ceremonies. The religion that comes from God is the only religion that will lead to God. In order to serve Him aright, we must be born of the divine Spirit. This will purify the heart and renew the mind, [...]
Over the long years of Christian history, the church has been divided over the issue of Christ’s divinity. Was He truly the eternal God, one with the Father since eternity? Or was He created later, a being who came into existence through the creative power of the Father?
Though early on in our own church, some confusion on this matter existed, Ellen G. White made it very clear years ago what her position was—a position that, as a church, we have [...]
One of the most popular questions that is posed concerning Sabbath observance is whether or not it is proper for a husband and wife to engage in sexual relations during the Sabbath hours. This question was raised in response to a posting I made on the significance of the Sabbath. (Also found on SSNET.org)
Although the Bible doesn’t answer this question directly, it does provide some key guidelines and principles that can help each couple come to a mutually satisfaction resolution.