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Tuesday: Reading the Master Teacher’s Mind — 30 Comments

  1. By believing in Jesus and submitting our will to His, we will reflect Jesus in our lives! There is no way to hide a lamp in the darkness, it will shine!

    • Hi JC - I submit that there is a way to "'hide' a lamp in the darkness.." - if the lamp does not give light! If it is just the outer form, the vessel *meant* for the use to shine the light! It cannot shine by itself; it needs the Holy Spirit's oil to become operational and with it serve its purpose.

  2. Fascinating to learn how differently Jesus interacted with some people here are a few:

    Nicodemus: a teacher himself, he acknowledged Jesus as a teacher, and Jesus gave him a theological conundrum.

    Woman at the well: rejected by society, pointed out Jesus was also not obeying tradition, Jesus revealed that God was interested in the heart/spirit/soul more than rituals.

    Nobleman of Capernaum with sick son: used to getting his own way, he wanted Jesus to come touch the son, Jesus tested him saying unless you see the miracle you won’t believe and when the nobleman persisted, Jesus said go your son is healed, by faith he believed and went home.

    Lame man at the pool of Bethesda: He had been sick for 38 years and still he lay near the pool even though he knew it was hopeless, Jesus gave him hope and immediate healing.

    Which of these resonate with your own life or helps you interact with someone who has recently crossed your path?

  3. I am still somewhat surprised that the lesson authors ignored Jesus' teaching methodology in favour of how he taught. Shirley has hit the nail on the head and has listed some of the most important one-to-one interactions with Jesus. Many of Jesus' teachings were directed at changing people's world view.

    One of the things you learn about world views in education classes is that people don't change their world view incrementally. They change when more than one component of their world view becomes unsupportable. Read the story of Nicodemus in John 3. Of course, we only get the highlights of that conversation but the bits that were recorded obviously made an impression on Nicodemus. (How else would we have learned about the conversation if he had not remembered them?) I think Nicodemus came to Jesus seeking to extend his knowledge, and Jesus confronted him with the born again idea. That meant that He, Nicodemus needed to start again. It required, not change, but a new beginning. And right at the focus of that private intimate conversation we have that well loved text:

    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16 KJV

    Not only was Jesus changing "World Views" in private conversations, when he talked to large crowds his message was radical and called for a complete change in thinking. The Sermon on the Mount wasn't just a collection of good ideas, it was a game-changer, not just in what you believed but the way you interacted with other people. Read what he says about Law-keeping in Matthew 5. He casts aspersions on those who keep the letter of the law, but do not guard the mind against thoughts that are against the spirit of the law.

    He healed the sick who people thought were being punished by God for sins they or their parents had committed. He ate with sinners and publicans. He showed compassion to those condemned by others as sinners.

    Jesus taught by the way he lived as well as by the words that he preached. Study his methods!

    • Hi Maurice,
      How excellent are your words, "I think Nicodemus came to Jesus seeking to extend his knowledge...That meant that He, Nicodemus, needed to start again." Nicodemus wanted to be taught by the Master Teacher. He wanted to re-start his education on what The Father is really like.

      When my week comes to teach the Sabbath School lessons this quarter, I try to remind the class that the theme of this quarter is more about us learning, or the re-education, what Jesus and the Father wants us to learn from His Word. Jesus is always saying to us, through His Holy Spirit, we all have more to learn.

      Excellent, be blessed!

  4. "I am still somewhat surprised that the lesson authors ignored Jesus' teaching methodology."

    It seems to me that next week we will learn more of Christ teaching methods, through his multiple examples. God's character is again woven in next week also, which is a good think for us to be reminded of, I do believe.

  5. Let this mind be in you as it was in CHRIST Jesus. Phil 2:5

    Paul is writing to the churches and addresses them according to their greatest needs in his letters. But what were the needs of the Philippians?

    Some SDAs grew up in the church, while others joined the church in many other ways. The SDA church is a worldwide organization from several different cultures and therefore has several different worldviews. Your worldview is not mine.
    If we as an organization used the same bible and EG White books, teach the same things at our churches and schools, at pathfinder, master guide, adventure club, aren't we supposed to have the same mind one for another despite our culture? But how are we so disconnected from our worldviews. With all of that knowledge, are we learning from the school of Christ? Are we willing to let go of the teaching we learned from another school that is opposed to Christ?
    The Master Teacher shows us how to live as one, to be united in our plans and purposes. Are we united as one in our plans and purposes as winning souls for Christ?

    'We are to enter the school of Christ, to learn from Him meekness and lowliness. Redemption is the process by which the soul is trained for heaven. This training means a knowledge of Christ. It means emancipation from ideas, habits, and practices that have been gained in the school of the prince of darkness. The soul must be delivered from all that is opposed to loyalty to God. DA 330

    • Lyn - Thank you for sharing your and Ellen White's comments.
      I agree with you: "The Master Teacher shows us how to live as one", and Mrs.White: "The soul must be delivered from all that is opposed to loyalty to God. DA330."

  6. The lesson guide mentions Jesus' "downward road", yet wasn't He actually demonstrating the true upward way? This is "meek and lowly of heart" in action. This is supreme love for God and love towards others lived out in one's life.

    Only the worldly mind will think of such a life as downward, futile, and will do anything to avoid it. Yet, the apostle wishes all to have this same "mind" in them as Jesus had. He is, after all, the "way, the truth, and THE Life". Jesus has demonstrated the Upward Way for all to follow.

  7. Consistent with what today's lesson asserts, Philippians 2:1-11 is indeed one of the most profound passages in the Bible.

    Within these verses we have affirmation that living in harmony with the principle of beneficent other-centeredness is THE only basis on which life operates - and is therefore THE foundational principle/Law/constant of life within the Kingdom of God.

    In contrast, we also have allusion to the basis on which the Kingdom of Darkness was formed - regarding equality with God a thing to be grasped. This desire is reflective of the principle of self-seeking/self-indulgence. Embracing this principle as heart motivation was the cause of Lucifer's downfall (Isaiah 14:12-15). And via the deception of The Serpent, it was also the cause of Eve's downfall (Genesis 3:4-6) and subsequently also the 1st Adam's. It was also the heart motivation of all who refused to enter the Ark and as a consequence, perished (Genesis 6:5).

    If living in harmony with the foundational principle/'Law' of beneficent other-centeredness is vitally necessary for true/abundant life, then departure from beneficent other-centeredness can only result in death ('perishing'). This is supported by Galatians 6:7,8; James 1:14,15 and Psalm 1:6.

    So, because the 1st Adam exchanged a heart motivated by beneficent other-centeredness for one motivated by self-interest and passed on inheritance of this terminal condition to the rest of humanity (Romans 5:14), what would be needed to actually fix this situation?

    A 2nd Adam would need to re-walk that same 'journey' - only this time holding on to beneficent other-centeredness no matter what He was tempted with. And this is precisely what Jesus did as reflected in Philippians 2:5-8 - which echoes and enlarges Romans 5:19.

    Thus, because of the faithfulness of Jesus as the 2nd Adam who held on to beneficent other-centeredness no matter what, humanity was re-connected back to life as a species and every individual member of that species who was willing, would be offered the opportunity to have their heart re-created back from self-interest to other-centered beneficence. And with this re-created heart of other-centered beneficence, each person is then also assisted to redevelop their character back to what it needs to be for true/abundant life and living.

    This is how Jesus 'purchased'/obtained our salvation - setting us free from the terminal inheritance of self-seeking (Romans 6:23) so that we might have beneficent other-centeredness once again restored within us - and therefore be once-again reconnected with true/abundant/eternal life.

    This is the Master Teacher's Mind, method and experience. And this is the same mind and experience that the Master Teacher wants to develop in each willing 'student' - because without this, true/abundant life is not possible/viable.

    Oh, and what's more, Jesus did this for His student's while they were 'failing'! (Romans 5:6-8).

    • So there was no need for the LORD to bear our sins on the cross because He lived a perfectly connected loving life?

      For at just the right time, while we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God proves His love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
      9Therefore, since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from wrath through Him! 10For if, when we were enemies of God, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life! 11Not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation. Rom 5:6-11

      For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that One died for all, therefore all died. 15And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them and was raised again.
      God made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. 2Cor 5:14-15,21

      • Yes Shirley, Justification(pardon/forgiveness) is Jesus' work FOR us, and Sanctification(obedience/holiness) is Jesus' work IN us. By BOTH, we are saved from past sins and from sinning, as we overcome by grace in this life-long work.

        In both processes, we must die to self for a "continual" work of being saved "by grace through faith". "Continual" is a very important word in Daniel, and it was the abomination of desolation that took this continual work of Christ for and in us, and cast it aside, and based fallen man's salvation on our own works of penance, by which one purchased their forgiveness/absolution, without any need of Jesus' blood or need for obedience by overcoming.

        The Truth once "cast to the ground" has been restored by the Reformation of Truth and the full Gospel of Christ.

        I believe this full Gospel principle is included in Phil's description since without justification, sanctification cannot and will not take place. Dying to self is needed "continually".

        • Hi Robert,

          You stated:

          Justification(pardon/forgiveness) is Jesus' work FOR us, and Sanctification(obedience/holiness) is Jesus' work IN us. By BOTH, we are saved from past sins and from sinning, as we overcome by grace in this life-long work.

          That is my understanding of the Word of the LORD as well.
          However, I didn't notice the part of Justification first in Phil's comment, could you help me find it.

          • Hi Shirley, I agree that it wasn't spelled out in Phil's comment, yet my understanding is that sanctification cannot/will not take place in the unrepentant heart. That's my only reason for "assuming" Phil would agree with your comment.

          • Correct Robert - repentant/submissive heart is absolutely essential for partaking in the salvation being offered under the inheritance of the 2nd Adam who actually repaired that which got broken by the 1st Adam’s ‘fall’.

            Justification is re-alignment back to the basis upon which abundant life was an inherent outcome in Genesis 1 and 2. Specifically it is restoration/realignment of a heart back to self-renouncing beneficence. Justification was attained by Jesus as the 2nd Adam for the human species - but this does not mean that everyone is automatically saved. Each person must submit and receive the offer of the inheritance of the 2nd Adam via the rebirth of a new heart and right spirit (eg John 3:3-6; Ezekiel 36:26; Psalm 51:10).

            Sanctification is the working-out of this new heart such that the individual’s character is progressively renewed back to Christlikeness. Sanctify (hagiazo) means to become (a process) holy/set-apart/Christlike.

            I find the judicial view of these terms has made them more distinct and separate than is the case under a healing view (eg Isaiah 53:5). In actuality, I do not believe there is a sharp distinction. One is the foundation, the other is what arises from that foundation.

    • Phil - thank you for sharing with us your clear, spiritually revealed insights into the incredible, Christian worldview changing Truth that/how God is working out the Salvation of mankind.

    • Shirley and Robert have pointed out that the Scriptures teach Christ's substitutionary death as the basis of our salvation.

      You [Phil] seem to focus more on the sanctification/change of life which Christ works out in us at the same time that He justifies us.

      You also wrote

      If living in harmony with the foundational principle/'Law' of beneficent other-centeredness is vitally necessary for true/abundant life, then departure from beneficent other-centeredness can only result in death ('perishing'). This is supported by Galatians 6:7,8; James 1:14,15 and Psalm 1:6.

      More simply put: In order to live eternally, we need to be connected to the Life Giver and Life Sustainer. As we are in relationship with Him, our lives will reflect His character of self-giving love, which is also the law of life for earth and heaven.

      • I would propose that the Scriptures teach Christ’s substitutionary ‘life unto death’ as the basis for our salvation as per Romans 5:19 and Philippians 2:8, for succinct example.

        The emphasis on the death seems to support that death was of pivotal importance. I rather find that Christ’s death had nothing directly to do with the basis of salvation. Instead it was Christ’s life of obedience to/living in harmony with the principles/Law necessary for True Life that secured salvation.

        The only reason for the death involvement was that it was Satan’s ultimate temptation - and therefore the point Jesus needed to exceed in order to remain faithful/obedient. Hence John 15:13.

        I am aware others will disagree with this view.

        • Phil, although I had some idea of your views, I confess I still find this outright statement shocking:

          I rather find that Christ’s death had nothing directly to do with the basis of salvation. Instead it was Christ’s life of obedience to/living in harmony with the principles/Law necessary for True Life that secured salvation.

          I understand that Christ's death is the basis of our salvation. It is how the sinner is justified [made righteous - reconnected with God, legally declared innocent]. Rom 3:24,25,28; 1 Cor 15:3

          Instead of justification as the basis for salvation, you appear to propose sanctification (which requires active cooperation with Christ). That doesn't seem to harmonize well with Paul's statement that "by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God." Eph 2:8

          I understand that "The righteousness by which we are justified is imputed; the righteousness by which we are sanctified is imparted. The first is our title to heaven, the second is our fitness for heaven."—The Review and Herald, June 4, 1895 To me, that means that we are saved by justification, provided by the death of Christ. It provides our "title to heaven" whether or not we have time to allow Christ to work out His righteousness in us. (Think of the thief on the cross.) And sanctification is our grateful response of love.

          I am also curious how the sin offerings fit into your view of salvation.

          As I understand it, not only the paschal lamb, but all offerings for sin were pointing to Christ as the divine Substitute for the human sinner. Certainly in the sanctuary services, the death of the substitutionary animal pointing to Christ was of "pivotal importance." Example:

          Leviticus 1:4 And he [the sinner] shall put his hand upon the head of the burnt offering [the substitute] and it [the substitute] shall be accepted for him [the sinner] to make atonement [reconciliation/salvation] for him [the sinner]

          In light of this common knowledge among the Jews of Christ's time, I find John the Baptist's announcement was highly significant: "Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world." John 1:29

          I assume you would agree that Christ "takes away the sin of the world," but what is your explanation of Christ being referenced as "the Lamb," not only by John the Baptist but also throughout Revelation?

          • Inge - may I point out that all the 'circumstancials' are mere visible evidence that Salvation took place, but God's Love and Grace and Jesus Christ's Faith is what made it all possible.
            I agree with Phil, Jesus' Life and teaching, grounded in unmovable Faith and Love for the Father, imparts the Spirit of Life and Light to all who believe.

            As pointed out in KJV Rom.3:21,22 and KJV Gal.2:16, both speak to the Faith OF Jesus which enabled us to receive God's Righteousness. It is not by our faith IN Jesus that we are saved; this - God's imputed Righteousnes - we receive by Faith; an unmerited favor.
            And yes, the 'Righteousness which we are sanctified with' is imparted as we follow the teachings of the Spirit of the Father's Love contained in the Gospel message by Faith.
            KJV 2Cor.3:18 - "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.(margin: or,of the Lord the Spirit)

          • Hi Inge (and others who may still be following this discussion with interest)

            I am not surprised that you are shocked - my intention was not to intentionally shock anyone, but I understand the cognitive dissonance that is arising from what I am outlining across my posts.

            What I am outlining is either error or truth. I know you consider that I am too black and white at times, but in cases such as this, I can't be a bit right and a bit wrong. And I willingly acknowledge that if I am wrong, then I am doing a disservice to this forum. I am mindful that people are following our exchanges...

            And I know that others have gone before me and there is a risk I am seen in their light. Hopefully the spirit of my presentations has been demonstrated sufficiently so that you know where I am coming from. So, I am not trying to convert anyone, nor to intentionally shock anyone.

            I could address the points you raised in your response, but I am not sure what the value in doing so would be at this juncture as too many points are being put on the table. I had commented on those points in other posts I have addressed to you and to Robert over the past two days, but it appears what I am saying is not coming through clearly enough. For example, my response to Robert regarding my view of justification and sanctification is, in my opinion, parallel to the notion of imputed and imparted, title and fitness. The inheritance of the 2nd Adam is imputed to us and is our title to heaven (ie re-aligned hearts - the New Covenant). This is justification (re-alignment). The working out of those re-aligned hearts to progressively more and more Christlike characters is sancitification (sanctify: to make/be holy which is God-like).

            You have commented that my language is rather technical. I am aware of that and the reason is I am trying to precisely define terms to reduce misunderstanding. This is because the way I view common terms is different to the way they are typically viewed - as per my unpacking of 2 Corinthians 5:21. While what I am outlining is considerably different to what is typically held, what I am outlining cannot be precluded from interpretation of the original languages. Why do I raise this? Because face-value reading of the English translation is the by-product of the original languages having already been interpreted through the very paradigms that you are outlining.

            Hebrews 9:22 is an example of this where some translations use the term forgiveness and a few use the term remission. The Greek supports both, yet each word has different connotations in the English. Digging into the meaning of forgive in the Greek yields a different view to forgive in everyday English. In the Greek is conveys the ideal of 'lifting/carrying a burden' in terms of the person wronged doing the lifting/carrying to assist the one who has done the wrong. May sound a bit strange except it matches Jesus request on the cross to forgive those who were abusing and crucifying Him. In this light, forgive and remission come closer together with remission being the hoped for end goal for the one who has done the wrong.

            I keep trying to identify the foundation where our views differ - and it appears to be the inter-related concepts of 'forgiveness' and 'justification'.

            It appears you may hold to the widely-held view that a person cannot be forgiven or justified without a death penalty being applied. If this is not your view, please clarify.

            From my side, I find the following:
            *) Forgiving is who God is - therefore God is forgiving by nature. This is reflected in Jesus request on the cross and also in the parable of the prodigal son. Note that it is the older brother who is upset because forgiveness was given without requirement of any 'punishment' for the prodigal's wayward behaviour.
            *) However, while God is freely forgiving (which is a grace-mercy gift), this forgiveness will not benefit us without our 'repentance'. This is why in Exodus 34:7 the Hebrew says God will not clear the not cleared (typically translated by English translators as "will by no means clear the guilty"). God extends forgiveness to all - but not all will benefit because not all are willing to receive - they will not submit to being 'cleared' and therefore will remain 'not-cleared'.
            *) Consequently, forgiveness does not require punishment. The punishment was already unleashed by the sin. Forgiveness is the first step in lifting/carrying the sin-burden that is creating the punishment. Hence Cain's declaration in Genesis 4:13 which was the inherent outcome of what God outlined in Genesis 4:7. The notion of curse as something imposed by a deity was a pagan view of how things operated. The Biblical view is expounded in Galatians 6:7,8 and James 1:14-15.
            *) The notion that 'justice' requires that someone be punished - otherwise it isn't fair - is a decidedly human view. Widespread - but human. If God operates on this same basis, then on this count God's way is no higher than our human way. However, Biblical justice (eg Isaiah 1:16-17) is about actual restoration of what is wrong back to what is right (righteous) - hence justice and righteousness are typically intertwined throughout scripture (eg Isaiah 5:7).
            *) It is widely said that God is merciful and forgiving, BUT that He also must be just (ie He must punish sin). However, I find a 'higher' way within and across scripture that God is merciful and forgiving and just - because they are all the same thing: actually restoring what is wrong back to what is right. To those who actually/genuinely receive forgiveness (though a person can't actually non-genuinely receive it: they either do or they don't), God's justice restores/heals them back to righteousness. To those who do not receive/accept God's freely offered forgiveness, God 'releases'/gives them over/up (Romans 1:24,26,28) to the inherent consequences of their choice to hold to their lawlessness - their self-initiated and self-perpetuated 'curse'. This is God's 'wrath' (Romans 1:18). According to Paul, God's wrath is release to, not imposition of, negative inherent consequences.

            God's higher way is often alleged to not be fair (eg the elder son's criticism of the prodigal's father; the parable of the workers who started working at the beginning of the day being upset that those who started at the end of the day getting the same 'wage'). But it is we humans who are looking through our fallen view of what makes something fair that is the problem.

            So, because our human view is that someone can't be forgiven without punishment taking place, or a death penalty occurring, we have trouble comprehending a God who can and does infact freely forgive. And because a death 'penalty' is not 'required', the death of Jesus was not directly necessary for atonement/salvation. As Romans 5:19 and Philippians 2:8 point out, a life of unremitting 'obedience to'/harmony with the Law/s of Life (the foundation of which is beneficent other-centeredness) is what was needed to actually repair what went wrong within humanity at the fall. And death happens to be the most extreme end point a person can go to and not give in to self-seeking/lawlessness.

            Unremitting 'obedience'/harmony to the Law/s of Life (which is also synonymous with connection/relationship with God as the Source of The Breath of Life: this goes without saying) was the basis of life for Adam and Eve prior to Genesis 3. Salvation (justification and sanctification for now, glorification to follow at the Second Coming) is 'merely' actually rebuilding/reinstating that state of affairs.

        • Phil - Thank you! I concur with your conclusion. I had similar thoughts a while ago, when I considered that He died due to man’s persistence to seek their own form of righteousness in the face of what was right based on the law, the prophets and the revealed Truth through the teachings of Jesus Christ - He was tempted until He came to the cross for His last demonstration of His Faith.

          Again, you state it perfectly: “ it was satan’s ultimate temptation“ which was exceeded by Jesus Christ’s demonstration of His unconditional Faith in His Father’s promises.

        • I agree Phil, that the blood sprinkled on the mercy seat(Heb = propitiatory) had to be sinless to propitiate for sinners. Yet, His perfect life without this death(shedding His blood) would have done nothing for us. It required both.

          There is no remission of sin without the shedding of blood. Either mine(eternal death) or Christ's(2nd death, but not eternal due to being sinless Himself). I must choose who's blood it will be.

          • Thanks Robert

            "... His perfect life without this death(shedding His blood) would have done nothing for us. It required both."

            This is where you and I differ. Maybe you can help me out. I find that Jesus shed blood (Leviticus 17:11 in conjunction with John 15:13)- His living a life of unwavering adherence to Agape Love unto even death as the Atoning 2nd Adam (Romans 5:9 in conjunction with Philippians 2:8) - is the full and complete propitiation needed to actually and directly fix the underlying 'sin problem' that happened/'broke-out' in Genesis 3:6,7. What do you see that is missing beyond this?

          • Phil, I am trying to understand exactly how you differ with what you quoted from me? I find what I stated supported in the scriptures you cite. Could you clarify further on the specific point of difference?

            I would highlight Lev 17:11 and Romans 5:9, and ask, what do these verses tell us? In considering these verses, the event of Lev 16 helps to magnify what they are saying as I understand it, as well as Num 19. This would also apply to the sin/trespass offerings as well wouldn't it? In every case, it is the blood of the sacrifice(requiring the life of the sacrifice), that justifies the sinner. In every case this sacrifice was to be without spot or blemish.

            Perhaps we should be clear on why the blood/life is being required(by God per Deut 24:16, Eze 18:4, Rom 6:23) to justify(pardon/forgive) the repentant sinner. He not only requires it, but provides the required blood/life as a substitute for the sinner(Gen 22:8, John 3:16, Rom 3:25,26) IF the sinner will accept it through repentance(act of faith). If this is not the "Glad Tidings", then what is?
            Moderator Note: We have closed discussion on this topic, which has prevented Phil from replying. We expect to allow comments on this topic some time in the future when a post is more relevant to a post on the topic.

    • Thus, because of the faithfulness of Jesus...

      Below is, I believe, the faithfulness of Jesus referred to in Revelation 14:12 KJV

      …he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Philippians 2:7-8 NLT

      How do we acquire this faithfulness?

      Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus Philippians 2:5

  8. KJV Phil.2:5-8 stands out to me in that it makes clear that the Son of God “preexisted, has divinity, was incarnated and with this received the form of humanity."

    As a child, I developed my relationship with my heavenly Father without knowing about Jesus; it was strictly a relationship between my heavenly Father and I. Only after coming to America and attending bible study in church did I learn about His Son Jesus Christ.
    To be honest, when I first heard about Him, I resented Him coming ‘between’ me and my Father. Now I know better, having learned the Truth about who He is and His essential work of mankind's redemption. Without Him, we would not have the Truth, the Light and the Life in Him.
    Maybe my focused study to discover who He is and where He comes from, (resulting in deep appreciation and love toward Him and our Father), is why I am taking such pains when trying to make sure that we all understand correctly and fully the pre-existence and Divinity of the Son of God before He became the ‘man’ we know as Jesus.

    Today, my contemplations were prompted by Robert’s question: “The lesson guide mentions Jesus’ “downward road”, yet wasn’t He actually demonstrating the true upward way?” I say that He demonstrated both – the downward and the upward way!
    The downward way: Phil.2:6,7 – “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation.....”(became man). John1:1 - In Heaven He was the Word, was with God and was God.
    The upward way: But then He became man – the incarnated Word, the Son of God, Emanuel – God with us - became flesh; having a body like a man (and all that goes with it) to experience life *like* we do and made it possible for us to walk the *upward* way by Faith.

    The work we observe/experience Jesus Christ do in us is the work of the Son of God who came to us in the form of Jesus, our Christ and Savior incarnate(in the flesh), to redeem mankind; remaining with us in the form of the Holy Spirit to enable us to live “true/abundant life and living.”(Phil)
    Phil expressed this process of reunification so very clearly in his comments to today’s lesson – : “setting us free from the terminal inheritance of self-seeking so that we might have beneficent other-centeredness once again restored within us – and therefore be once-again reconnected with true/abundant/eternal life.”
    What a joy to be a student among many others who seek to understand Truth deeply and fully and share it with us as the Spirit of God reveals it.

  9. Hi All you Saints of Jesus, our Lord,

    Not to be critically of us, the believers of God, because I know that we all mean well of one another. However, I remember hearing a sermon, or maybe reading in a post here, that we are critical of secular people because they do not want to hear and accept God's word, when we present it to them. We actually believe that this is the reason why our churches are not growing as well as we expect.

    Well, according to that sermon or post, the True Reason for the stagnate, or slow, church growth is not the secular people, it is because of the people in the church. We come to church in our Christian outfits (the wedding garment), but then we go home and take off the Christian garment, and the secular people see who we actually are. They see us as the neighbor that is always complaining about something. They see us as the Christian that never smile or say hello (sad-ventist, not Adventist). And they see us as a people that is always criticizing others, but we can not see ourselves. These, according to the sermon or post, are the REAL reasons that the church is not growing.

    When was the last time you went to your neighbor's house just to say "hello, I was thinking about you. How are you and your family doing?"; secular people remember things like that. When was the last time you took a Bible to someone, not expecting to convert them. When was the last time you took a cake, pie, or even vegetables, to an elderly person, whose own relatives don't come visit them anymore. These are the things that we should be doing, that show the secular world that we are God's people, to show that we are the reflection of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

    In 2020, and throughout the rest of our lives, let's show the world what Jesus is like, a God of Love; just as Jesus showed us The Father during His earthly ministry, through actions, not just through words.

    Be blessed my sister and brothers.


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