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Friday: Further Thought ~ The Church and Education — 11 Comments

  1. Last night I sat with my eldest grandson giving him Maths revision for an examination that he will sit today. We were going through past papers and we came to a rather more complex problem than usual. My grandson said that if his examination had that sort of question in it he would leave it out. I said that was ok but if he had time, he should go back to the question and systematically write down the facts and try and relate them together. I reminded him that maths teachers are an exceedingly generous bunch and if they see that you have attempted the question they will often give marks for it.

    We looked at the question - if was a geometry question and we wrote the facts down as given in the question. Then we remembered a couple of rules about triangles and their angles and suddenly the whole solution was staring us in the face. My grandson was amazed. I reminded him to write down what he has been given and what he already knows, then think about it.

    Education is not about knowing a lot. It is about what you do with what you know and how you apply that to new situations. Spiritual education, likewise, it not about knowing a lot, rather it is a dynamic for application. Too many of us limit our spiritual growth to a few doctrines and liturgical practices. I am not saying these are wrong, but if we cannot apply that knowledge to our daily lives and our interaction with others, we are severely limiting the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.

    The early church faced the nexus where they had been students with Jesus for three years and suddenly he was gone. The next phase of their lives was about to begin. The pouring out of the Holy Spirit was not really about the tongues of fire and rushing winds, but the encouragement to take the next steps into the real world. In this, the 21st century, we have the facts, now we have to connect them together to solve the real world problem of spreading the Gospel.


    Our Muslim brothers use this strategy to reach us.
    They ask us tough questions about our faith.
    - If Jesus is God,did God die for 3 days?
    - if Jesus is God,why do you call him son of God and why did he call himself son of man? Just to mention a few.

    But I like the way Muslims give time to ask and answer their questions.

    They know how to twist the question to favor them and even how to evade the question when it gets tough. Infact they undergo a serious training before coming out to face us.

    The SDA Church had created a good environment to ask and answer hard questions before but nowadays we are too busy for that.

    We avoid hard questions while Muslims use them to gain new converts.

    The only strategy that remains with us is that of evading questions.

    ...time is over
    .... We've two minutes to ask questions
    .... That question will be answered later
    ....we'll do research and answer next Sabbath

    If you hear this don't expect any answer to your question.

    Finally Let people discuss during the lesson.STOP preaching to them. In the afternoon teach and then give enough time for questions.

    • Cyrus, you describe a Sabbath School class where the leader didn't promote discussion and evaded off-topic hard questions. This is unfortunate and I hope this is the exception to the rule.
      You gave a good suggestion of another bible study class in the afternoon for those who want to explore the Word more deeply.
      I have found small classes are more conducive to discussion, maybe offer to run one if there aren't any.
      Secondly be prepared to give a short answer to hard questions and offer to continue the discussion electronically.

      In the meantime you are welcome to join the discussions of this electronic Sabbath School.

  3. When we take hold of the truth as Jesus taught and lived it, God will fill us with His Spirit and the Spirit-filled evangelism of the apostolic church will be seen again among us today. The path to this outcome has been clearly defined, and only unbelief will keep us from it. Unbelief will be seen in our love for the things of this world and the resulting reluctance to follow the Lamb "withersoever He goeth"(Rev 14:4).

    Laodicea thinks itself "rich and increased with good", and like the rich young ruler, will too often turn away with sorrow from the invitation of Christ to "follow Me". Isn't this exactly what the Lord has warned us about? It is the straight testimony of His counsel to us that causes the shaking among us at this time(see "Early Writings", 270).

    • Hi Robert, I wonder if we would do best to follow the example of Jesus as cited in our lesson above:

      [Christ]saw the misery of the world on account of sin, yet He did not present before them a vivid delineation of their wretchedness. He taught them of something infinitely better than they had known."

      Laodicea, as delineated in Revelation, fails to deliver that message, being self-focused (rich and increased with goods).

      • I'm not sure I fully understand your comment Inge, but isn't it interesting to realize who authored the message to Laodicea and why? Still, if we read the full message, it offers great hope through the remedies offered, and this hope rests with my response doesn't it? I believe this message reveals how we become able to "follow the example of Jesus as cited in our lesson above".

        Jesus speaks what is appropriate for every individual He is inviting to follow Him, whether Nicodemus, the woman at the well, the rich young ruler, or Laodicea. The context of the quote above(DA, 299) is the sermon on the mount, which was not the church at Laodicea. The Laodicean message is to those who profess to be the remnant people who serve the Lord, not to those who were in great darkness, being misled by their religious leaders, and unaware of the gospel message. Today, the church has more "light" than all previous generations.

        Jesus calls for repentance from those who need repenting, and this message is only effective when we buy of Him by being zealous to repent(Rev 3:18,19).

        • I thought I was responding to your remark regarding "spirit-filled evangelism" and suggesting that we would do well to follow the method of Jesus.
          The cure for Laodicea is to let Jesus in so that He may use the church for evangelizing (telling the Good News) the world.
          I believe that the gospel (including that which introduces the 3 Angels' messages) is always the same - it is the Good News of God's love for humanity demonstrated in and through Jesus Christ and His salvation, although it may be delivered differently in different contexts.

          • Absolutely, Jesus' methods will become ours when we follow Him. Learning of Jesus is how we take His yoke upon us(Matt 11:29). The symbolic remedy(it's a package deal) Jesus offers Laodicea is nothing less than putting on Christ. The Spirit that will fill all who are willing to receive it is the Spirit that worked in Him all His life on earth. This is how that oneness He prayed for will happen(John 17:21-23), which is why He gives this wonderful counsel with the perfect remedy.

  4. The question for today has caused me to conduct a "wondermental ponderling", again. It is a deep question, worthy of prayerful thought and discussion because of its impact upon our church family and changing world. The Bible has our guidance as found in both the OT (2 Kings 5:1-9) and NT (John 8:1-11/Matt 5:3-16).
    The little maid, a slave, could have withheld the salvation awaiting Naaman, but she did not. We surmise that this did not change her slave status- but she was free...her love for God gave her wings!
    The woman caught in adultery was framed by the very ones who paid for her services. She met her death penalty with dignity and remorse. Jesus knew her history, He knew her value, and He offered her hope! His forgiveness was free, her life changed.
    The Sermon on the Mount is my last example. Jesus sought to change their mindset. He clearly demonstrated a different response pattern than tradition. It was a radical speech, light piercing darkness. As I watch our world-changing before our very eyes, I pray for this Sermon on the Mount Jesus effect mindset! Something I can only do with a daily "little talk with Jesus."

  5. Ellen White asks: “What are the fundamental principles of the kingdom of God?” After having followed all of this week’s comments, I found that the most egregious violation of the principle of the kingdom of God is done by violating the Law of brotherly Love and unity. Most grievances shared with the class members focus on the pain and disappointment inflicted on the Christian's spirit by those uncaring, self-seeking, oblivious to the Truth of Love Christian’s. We would expect this conduct from a citizen of this world, but not from a citizen living in the Kingdom of God.

    What does this tell us? Is it telling us that, as Hlupeka on Thursday’s comment noted: “. . . some of our church members are not mature enough in this gospel ..”? If this is true, what would it take to mature in the Gospel? Robert’s comment today notes: “Laodicea thinks itself *rich and increased with good* and points to "the shaking among us at this time" to wake us up, and Inge commented that she wonders: “if we would do best to follow the example of Jesus as cited in our lesson above:”. With Beth, I suggest to look to Christ Jesus' teachings starting with the Sermon on the Mount to describe the citizen’s life in the Kingdom of God – Matthew Chapters 5, 6 and 7.
    Something so vitally fundamental to Christian living, the full knowledge/understanding what the life of a Christian in the Kingdom of God/Kingdom of Heaven looks like, seems still left open to ‘interpretation’.

    Luke17:20,21KJV – “..The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: (21)Neither shall they say, Lo here! Or, lo there! for, behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.
    Mark1:15KJV – “…The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.”
    Mark10:15KJV – “Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein.”
    1Cor.15:50KJV – “…flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.”
    Acts28:31KJV – “Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.
    Rom.14:17KJV – “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

  6. My dear brothers & sisters...thank you for the wonderful comments. I am doing a panel discussion tomorrow for the Sabbath school and your comments have been a wonderful aid. I myself have seen it unnecessary to ask questions out of curiosity but have realized (through this week's lesson) that the church has to be a place where can ask questions (curious/dumb/wise) to grow in knowledge and use the knowledge practically in our daily lives.


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