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Thursday: New Covenant and Mission — 12 Comments

  1. Jesus died with this ringing indictment from the priests, echoed by the crowd:

    And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. Luke 23:35 KJV

    Jesus lived and died the very essence of the Gospel. It's not about me, it is about others.

    The big failure of Christendom throughout history is that it has acted so often in self-interest, the very antithesis of Christianity. Most atheists that I have interacted with reject Christianity because of the gap between Christ and institutional Christianity. We have a very big communication gap to bridge if we want to fulfil the Gospel commission.

    I like the way that Paul challenges us:

    His weak, human body died on the cross, but now he lives by the mighty power of God. We, too, are weak in our bodies, as he was, but now we live and are strong, as he is, and have all of God’s power to use in dealing with you.
    Check up on yourselves. Are you really Christians? Do you pass the test? Do you feel Christ’s presence and power more and more within you? Or are you just pretending to be Christians when actually you aren’t at all? 2Cor 13:4,5 TLB

    • You sparked a recent memory of an atheist now Christian giving his testimony to another doctor. I thought it would be appropriate to tell of this. Just to wet appetite, I will reveal a little of the interview between Dr Colin Campbell and Dr. Walter Veith.

      Dr. Veith had read Dr. Campbell's books of his studies in China. This was 1st meeting of each other. Dr Veith had done studies on related issues. Dr. Campbell at the end said we will have to do this again.

      The heart warming part was Dr. Veith gave his testimony of how he as an atheistic scientist became a Christian Seventh-day-Adventist.

      Check it out on YouTube. Be ready to spend over an hour glued to your device.

  2. I often dig quite deeply into scripture and ‘theology’ on this forum. And why I do this might easily be misunderstood. So perhaps today I will share why I do this so you will know better where I come from.

    Today’s lesson states that we have each been invited to “spread to the world the wonderful truth he or she has personally experienced in Christ Jesus.”

    For me, in the ‘roles’ that I am involved in life, truth is both very theoretical and at the same time very practical. The better I know the theory, the better I can apply it into practice - in my life and in the ways I try to help others with the things they too face in their lives. I could just rely on experience, but then I’d be stuck when my experience isn’t enough. In situations like that, ‘theory’ helps me consider new options that take me further beyond so that I can assist with more complex problems.

    Whether I am merely doing something practical for someone else, whether I am merely responding with compassion to someone when I am out-and-about, whether I am merely providing a word of acknowledgment for someone who is sharing their struggle or whether I am trying to assist someone who is asking whether there is any hope for them, all of these activities are guided by the ‘theology’ that is in my mind - my thoughts guided by the Holy Spirit who “brings to remembrance” what I have been studying and pondering that is relevant to the particular situation.

    When your automobile is playing up, you take it to a mechanic who uses his knowledge and experience to be able to work out where the problem lies and what is needed in order to remedy the issue so you car travel reliably on your way. The more knowledgeable and experienced the mechanic, the better they will be able to assist with more complex and hard to find problems.

    I am not saying we all need to get to a certain ‘standard’ of Bible knowledge. Neither am I saying that the one with the more detailed knowledge is more important or valuable. We each have our place in life and we each need to progressively co-operate with The Spirit to grow the “talent/s” we have been given (2 Timothy 2:15) - whether they be one, two or five (Matthew 25:14,15).

    By sharing what we learn here at ssnet, we help each other grow - in both knowledge and practical experience - even if we don’t always display the practical experience that is taking place.

    • Phil- I believe many Christians, SDA find themselves in the path similar to Martin Luther the reformer. Many tries to find righteousness by works. Martin thought he can do things to gain favor with Jesus by climbing the stairs on his knees, until he met Christ going up those long stairs. You see, as we live our lives daily with Christ living in us, we become like Jesus in his character- the fruits of the spirit. Helping, doing, showing, telling, giving testimonies, going an extra mile all comes natural because it is Christ who is doing the work and not me.

  3. And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach. and to have power to heal sickness, and cast out devils. Mark 3:14-15.

    New Covenant and Mission

    Jesus method alone can save us and the world around us and those who we come in contact with day to day.
    Jesus method is two fold- providing for the physical and spiritual needs of the people. Jesus mingled with the people as one who desired their good. He provided e.g food for their physical body, healed the sick of all sorts of disease, directed some where they can find fishes to feed their families also they sold to sustain their businesses, and he raised the dead. ect. While he was doing those, he presented his father kingdom. A kingdom of righteousness. A kingdom while he was on earth, he was living to the fullest. So Christians today cant separate the physical from the spiritual, the two must go together. Mark 3:14-15. If I cant do the both the physical and spiritual, then I have to go back to the scriptures and pray more to see what I am missing. But to me Christianity is a life style with both the physical and spiritual. Because we love Jesus, our total life is live a life of service which comes naturally. As I behold the suffering of others in the home, church, at the work place and in the community/world, I will be asking Jesus what can I do to help, or what do you want me to do to ease someone else burden? He will reply to me and instruct me as to what to do. This is how faith and works fits so perfectly as hand in gloves.

  4. How urgent is this commission from Christ today as we are on the verge of the final events fulfilling rapidly. Yet how many are prepared for this time, even among those who profess to be God's remnant people?

    The prayerful study the life of Jesus, son of man, will reveal the work He bids us to do. His instructions include "take heed lest any deceive you" and "watch and pray"(Matt 24), and in the following chapter(Matt 25), He illustrates by three parables just how to do this.

    In this commission we can see the importance of having first accepted the "new" covenant with the Lord which will bring us the needed preparation for this great work yet to be accomplished by those who serve the Lord.

  5. The Great Commission!

    The King James Version says, “…teach all nations…” The New King James says “Make disciples…” I think the latter is a more accurate narration. The emphasis must be in making disciples. For Teaching does not necessarily makes a disciple. Teaching may convince and even convict but not necessarily convert. Teaching may lead to a commitment to a set of truths or doctrine but not a commitment to the Truth Giver. Teaching may compel us to follow a denomination but not necessarily lead to a trusting, loving relationship with Jesus. Teaching may nurture church membership not discipleship. We can be taught the Shepherd’s Psalms, and we may even recite it verbatim, but we can’t be taught to know the Shepherd.

    This insight became clear to me one Sabbath. During a Sabbath School discussion, I asked the class this simple question: “If someone had only seconds to live, what we would be more important to share, the Sabbath or God’s love? I was blown away by the long silence!

    Teaching convinces, convicts but does not necessarily converts! An intimate relationship with the Truth Giver, not just a knowledge of truth, is the catalyst to true conversion, true discipleship!

    Let’s keep in mind Jesus’s stern warnings: “Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you’”(Matthew 7:21-23)

    • So true Clifford as you said: Teaching convinces, convicts but does not necessarily converts! An intimate relationship with the Truth Giver, not just a knowledge of truth, is the catalyst to true conversion, true discipleship! so the question for me is how do we make disciples? We can't make someone else have a relationship with the LORD.

      • Happy Sabbath Shirley!
        Just read your comment. I think we are too quick in teaching Adventism. Since a disciple is a follower then we should first and foremost teach them about Who they’re supposed to be following. It seems to me that some of us are more committed to the teaching Adventism then we are to teach about Jesus Christ. I believe we do have an awesome responsibility and privilege to teach the Three Angels Message but the Gospel should be the priority!

        “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”

  6. No more talk shops. It's time for change and action," (South Africa Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula, 2011)

    I don't know if Mbalula was thinking about scripture when he uttered those words above, being frustrated by the lack of progress in his country. "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves, James 1:22. Too much of our services are just that..'talk shops'

    If the heart is willing but the body is week then the body needs to be trained and brought under the control of the spirit.

    In Tuesday lesson we saw that "our faith means nothing if it is not rooted in love for God and love for others (Matt. 22:37–39,

    "He who is truly converted will be so filled with the love of God that he will long to impart to others the joy that he himself possesses....All around us are doors open for service. We should become acquainted with our neighbors, and seek to draw them to Christ. As we do this, He will approve and co-operate with us." (A Call to Medical Evangelism and Health Education, pp. 26, 27).

  7. Reading today’s lesson gives me the impression that the writer, and so many others, still seem to look at the Gospel as a 'mission', something separate – a project - an undertaking - an organized event. In my studies I found that the Gospel is the Way of Life - all of life, not detached from life, not a stand-alone mission, and that this Truth, God's Way of Life and Light, is to be shared/lived in the world in all experiences life brings about.

    ‘The burden of meaninglessness’, in my opinion, is experienced because man desires to know where he fits in the bigger picture of life - this is actually a good thing, because he/she will find answeres in the teachings of Christ Jesus.
    Once a person knows that he/she is created equal with his fellow man in the eyes of the Creator, this person can rest its life upon/within this assurance of acceptance by the highest authority.
    The intelligent, loving and caring heavenly Father provides all the teaching and learning necessary for this child of His to conduct living according to the Father’s Way of Life and Light.

    Therefore, in my opinion, man needs to know first and foremost that he is a created, physical as well as spirit-endowed being, designed and endowed with the spirit of God who created him.
    Though, before man can learn the things of God, he has to believe there is this Creator God, a heavenly Father; only then will he/she conduct life’s affairs by faith as the Father directs.
    Christ Jesus’ message becomes then his/her handbook, applicable and inspired for all circumstances of life; no more doubt or confusion about how to interact with life’s challenges.
    I have learned that the living Faith of Christ's most salient point is condensed to:
    'Believing that man is the offspring of a heavenly Creator, that this Father provides the spiritually based moral and ethical guidance to live one’s physical life, but that this life’s true focus, though experienced physical, is to prepare us spiritually to live another life, the sequel to this earthly life - which is the gift of God to all who love Him.

    Jesus’ saying: “Go ye into all the world and teach all nations” means to me that the Jewish community, in particular the Apostles and followers of Christ’s Faith, where to go outside of the Jewish nation and teach this good news to the people of all nations.
    Introducing people of all faiths to the teachings that there is only one God, one Creator of heaven and earth and all that is within, and that Christ Jesus is His Son is the Gospel of Life.
    This was then and is today the core message of the Gospel of Christ. The Gospel, the Faith of Christ, is taught in this context – believe that you have a Creator, a Lord and Savior, and you have life!
    This one and only Creator God sent His own Son - our Lord and Savior, vested with His authority to save mankind from the consequences of its iniquity - to give to us the Father’s Word of Light and Life –
    Mark12:29-31KJV: ”… The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord;
    (30) And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all they strength; this is the first commandment.
    (31 )And the second is like, namely this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

    • Brigitte, I see today's focus not as the gospel, per se, but the mission Christ gave His disciples - a specific mission in this world. And, yes, that mission gives purpose to our lives and shapes our lifestyle, as the lesson author suggests and you do as well

      You affirm many good things in your comment, but I want to address some thoughts that seem to recur in your comments from time to time.

      You sometimes write of "the spirit in man" and other phrases such as "spirit-endowed being" (in this comment) which imply that there is an individual spirit that resides within each human. It sounds very much like what is taught by people who believe that man has an immmortal soul, even though I do not think you believe that.

      I understand that the Bible sees a human being as a single, integrated "living being" (Gen. 2:7, translated as "living soul" in the KJV. In the days that the KJV was translated, sea creatures were "souls" as well. See Rev. 16:3 KJV).

      At creation God breathed into Adam and Eve "the breath of life" and man became a living soul. This breath/spirit is not the same as His Spirit, the Holy Spirit. The word used simply means "breath," with the context determining the meaning. (The same word is also used for the Holy Spirit, with the context making this clear.)

      Thus, what I believe you intend to say would be better said this way: "He created a physical and spiritual being." (Every human being, created in the image of God, is endowed with a power akin to that of the Creator—individuality, power to think and to do.)

      Your phrase "endowed with the spirit of God who created him" again suggests a separate "spirit" put within man, rather than spiritual faculties of humanity. I do not read in the Bible that humanity is "endowed" with "the Spirit of God" at creation or birth. John states that Christ is the light that lightens every man that comes into the world (John 1:1). And I believe He does that through the Holy Spirit. But John does not say that every man is "endowed with the Holy Spirit." Instead, the Holy Spirit will join Himself to the believer who invites Him to come into his heart. (See Rev. 3:20)

      See Fundamental Belief 7:The Nature of Man and Fundamental Belief 5: God the Holy Spirit

      I pray that this may help clarify some things about the nature of man and of the Holy Spirt for you and some of our other readers.


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