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 [...]

09: Church Rites and Rituals – Teaching Plan
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Key Thought : Baptism, footwashing, and the Lord’s Supper are symbols of sharing Christ’s suffering, death, and life of commitment and service.

[Teaching plan for The Church: Rites and Rituals November 26, 2012]

1. Have a volunteer read Acts 2:38.

A. Ask class members to share a short thought on what the main idea of this text is.
B. Why is repentance necessary before a person is baptized? Is baby baptism a legitimate rite? Share your thoughts.
C. Personal Application: What do you [...]

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 [...]

A Tale of Two Churches
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“A great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and a crown of twelve stars on her head.” Revelation 12:1, NIV

Revelation’s beautiful image of the church is easy to love. It is the image God shares with the Apostle John on the island of Patmos. God loves His church and clothes it with His grace. He has granted to the church the tremendous blessing of proclaiming His grace to the world. This does not [...]

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 [...]

Inside Story: A Changed Heart
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Fourteen-year-old Veresa [veh-REH-sah] listened as the doctor spoke to his parents.

“Veresa has a hole in his heart. But surgery can repair his heart and help him live a normal life.” Veresa tried not to worry about the surgery; he just wanted to be well.

Veresa’s surgery was a success. His parents couldn’t stay with him while he recovered in the hospital, so his nurse stopped by often to chat. Veresa looked forward to her visits and enjoyed hearing him talk about [...]

08: The Church: In Service to Humanity – Thought Starters
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[Thought questions for The Church: In Service to Humanity November 21, 2012]

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1. The essence of church. When did you go to church last? Were you blessed by being there? Were you able to share Christian love with someone who was there? What is church? Do you think Satan goes to church every week? According to the first paragraph of the lesson, is it possible to be a Christian without church? What is contradictory in the [...]

It Is Not Good For Man to Be Alone
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“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”  Hebrews 10:25

Over the years, I have heard many people tell me they don’t need a church. They can just study the Bible for themselves. They don’t need to go to a church that is filled with hypocrites, even if there is always room for one more. However, you can’t have a “one-person” [...]

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 [...]