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Friday: Further Thought ~ Why Witness? — 6 Comments

  1. Friday’s lesson study always quotes from Ellen White but sometimes it is better think about what she did rather than what she wrote. I live in Cooranbong, Australia and Ellen White lived here for a number of years in the late 1800s. She built a home here and if I walk to her home and back from my home I will have done my 10000 steps for the day. She was instrumental in setting up Avondale College. When I was a student at Avondale in the 1960s, there were old people living in the area who actually remembered Ellen White living here and they used to tell stories about her.

    Ellen White was known in the district for being a friend to those in need. She would provide food and help to the needy. She would hear of a family in need to distress and would have the sulky hitched up to the horses and off she would go with some fresh cooking or garden produce to provide help and encouragement. I have a suspicion that many of the long-term Adventist families in the district began their association with Adventism at that time.

    It was during her time here in Cooranbong that Ellen White wrote “Desire of Ages” and it is clear she lived what she wrote. She may have left us a legacy in writing, but she also left a legacy of friendship ministry, that has its effect even today.

    Here is what one recipient wrote to Ellen White when she left Australia to return to America:

    Our first acquaintance with you was marked by an incident which we will never forget. For several weeks we were living on a few small potatoes and a little milk. When one evening the coachman drove up and left us a bag of flour. We asked him where it had come from and he said the Lord had sent it, and really so it seemed to us. The next week you paid us your first visit bringing with you some more of the necessities of this life. You can never know how parched the ground was on which those blessings fell. There was more to this than many sermons. And so right on and spiritual.

    A letter written by Iram James to Ellen White, quoted in Marion de Berg's Book, "Stories from Sunnyside"

    We often think of witnessing as talking about Jesus, but more than anything else today we need the witness of acting like Him. Peter describes the work of Jesus thus:

    How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. Acts 10:38 KJV

  2. Jesus came to seek and to save those who are lost Luke 19:10

    Many do not know they are lost and don't think they need to be saved, they are rich and need nothing but they are really wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked Rev 3:17-18

    How does the Holy Spirit convince people they do need something that only a relationship with the LORD can supply?
    It is a well known fact that people are more open to hearing the gospel when their comfortable lives have been shaken up by loss of a loved one or their lively hood or their health or in a crisis like a pandemic, riots, genocide, storms and wars.
    What do people search for once their basic needs are met? Love, respect and purpose.
    Jesus healed the sick and feed the hungry and then gave them love, identity and mission because He fulfills all our needs.

  3. Wow, I must admit I don't always click on the links at the top of Fridays lesson. I am so glad that I did today.
    I found food for my soul and knowledge for my mind and inspiration to be active.
    There is so much more than could be included in the lesson.
    We are so blessed, I feel like the disciples on the road to Emmaus when Jesus expounded to them the Scriptures Luke 24:27

  4. .......Be ye faithful unto death and I will give you a crown of life
    Rev 2:10

    Further Thought ~ Why Witness? God's purpose for his church?

    Recently I was listening to one of our Evangelist preaching and what he said made sense. In short, he stated the way we have the church structured presently was not the intended purpose as per the bible. Rightly said, he stated in the disciple's time they formed the church, trained the people to manage the church then they kept moving on and on to other places to spread the gospel. None of the twelve disciples became a Pastor or a leader of no church. None was caught up with the basic affairs of the church. Their intention was to preach the gospel to other untouched areas of the world. No church can claim Bro Peter, James, John was our Pastor. We all so settled in the church every sabbath, we so settled that we assigned ourselves our favorite corner and favorite seats. No one dare sit there!!! We have our favorite microphone, a favorite song, favorite group. We are so comfortable with the church temperature-not too hot, hot too cold. Yep, just right. We have become so program from 9-9:15 to 12:30. We knew all of Miss White's quotations about wearing out the saints.

    Are we not seeing it was God's desire to change our mindset. He allowed the coronavirus to keep us away from the building to show us this 'church thing' is more than just formalism. We have to be about our fathers' business.
    Go out, knock on doors, carry the message to a dying world. Take a loaf of bread, some juice, some fruits, some things that we have to show others about the love of God to a dying world. Let people know their trust must be in God and not the leaders of this present world.

    The twelve disciples stated they should not leave the word of God and serve tables. Act 10:2. This says a lot to me.
    Am I missing something in the bible?
    Are we waiting on the outpouring of the "latter rain"? Are we supposed to be working for Jesus doing what we can then the "latter rain" will fall on those who are prepared? Bro John was to last to go, he was aged when he wrote Revelation. Do we sometimes encourage the aged to relax and leave the work to the young people? Are we guiding the young people to face the coming crisis that the church will encounter?

  5. It took me a little while to sort out the meaning of the third question; "Can witnessing and service ever become a substitute for genuine spirituality?" If so, how, and how can we be careful of that trap?

    Witnessing and service can become a trap - that's what the lesson writer lets the student know. How could it become a trap? I believe that - yes - it can actually be a dangerous trap if our acts are motivated by the flesh.
    Some of this week's posts have touched on this. Living/witnessing without/outside the power of the Holy Spirit as the motivating agent would be ineffective.

    All our actions should always be spiritually attached to the guidance of and directive by the Holy Spirit. Only He should be our motivator, and guidance seeking, heartfelt prayer along with the act of service will assure that.

    How can we avoid this - being guided by 'self' - trap? By making sure that we bring everything to God in prayer; all our actions need to be motivated and guided by the indwelling Spirit who was given to us when we accepted and acknowledge that we are a new creature.

    We accept the submission of our 'self' daily and request to by guided instead by the Holy Spirit's Light - guiding our every step, thought and emotion; He is love in action 🙂

    Psalm 139:7-10; Isaiah 59:21; Gal.5:25; 1Cor.2:13; 1Cor.12:7-11; John16:13; Rom.8:14; Rom.8:26,27; Gal.5:18.

  6. Regarding the final questions for this week:

    1. Any heart not fully surrendered, will become complacent with what seems to be a thriving congregation, leading to a lack of understanding of our true condition in the sight of God, and forgetfulness of our purpose and work. By definition: Laodicea.

    2. Jesus' commission to the disciples means the same thing to every individual who has pledged service to the Lord by profession and baptism. Time has changed nothing, and only probation's close will bring an end to the work of the church for the lost.

    3. True service and genuine witnessing cannot take place without worshiping God “in spirit and truth”(John 4:24, Ps 29:2).

    4. The realization that one stands between the living and the dead brings a much closer personal examination with a stricter account of our daily living(2 Cor 13:5), and a greater sense of our individual and collective need for the Holy Spirit.

    5. The fact of God's love is seen in His great demonstration of it. Unless we have become born again, we will have no true conception of this love for us(John 3:3).


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