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Tuesday: The Gift of the Spirit — 26 Comments

  1. When someone joins the Seventh-day Adventist Church, what is our response? Do we immediately try to convince them that they have to become vegan, lifestyle evangelists? Or perhaps the circumstances of their conversation are so dramatic that we hold them in awe and esteem. I have seen both responses and have lived long enough to recognize the dangers of both.

    How would you respond if a Muslim Mullah turned up in your church saying that they had seen the light and wanted to become a Seventh-day Adventist? Would you know how to react or would you be scared spitless?

    Paul had this to say: For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law. 1 Cor 19-23.

    • In my experience, I don't think that we try and convert new Adventists to a vegan type life... mainly because most of us are not living that way! I was trying to apply what went on there to what we do and the only comparison I can see is how we initially treat those who come to our church. There's a snobbery that happens based on how they look or dress.. Instead of embracing some one who comes into church, we need to check them out first.

      • I agree with you Darren. One of the things I’ve experienced and have seen is an exclusivity where anyone who is ‘new’ isn’t necessarily treated with the same warmth or friendliness that those who’re known are.

        Some time ago our studies with potentially new converts seemed to focus on almost works alone rather than the importance and value of an authentic relationship with God. That probably is still the case in some, maybe even many places. But the damage that our exclusivity does to a new believer is (I believe) evident in the fact that where these ideas are practiced, the growth of the church (involving those new to the faith) is almost nonexistent.

    • We have learned so far in the lessons the quarter, that when we are filled with the Holy Spirit and guided by the Holy Spirit we will act properly. Would we have fear? No, because we are filled with the Holy Spirit. Now if he came into my SDA church carrying an ak-47 or rocket launcher with black veil covering his face except for eyes and said, "I saw the light I want to become an SDA." I would say, "ya right" and call the police would be my 1st thought. But having been baptized with the Holy Spirit that morning, I would ask him to put his gun down and take off his mask so I could see his Christian face. Even so right about there I would be send up a slient prayer znd claim the promise: Psalms 91:14. And act as instructed in: Exodus 14:14.

  2. How sweet it is to know my ways are not his ways.
    I am limited in my perception of accepting others.
    God bypasses all of my bias and establishes He is the Savior of the world.
    As much as it was a requirement for Cornelius to come to know the knowledge of Christ.
    It was equally important for Peter and all those who went with him to realize God is no respecter of person.

  3. I was raised inside a (very) christian community. A school from primary to college. I left the city by the age of 18 to study. Left the faith also. Thank God that the principles that I learnt growing up were deep inside. As a miracle, God brought me back to the Way...

    "For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." 2 Cor 4:6

    Today, we can shine Jesus wherever we are, to whom we get in touch with.

  4. Sometimes I think as Seventh-day Adventists we think we have a monopoly on the gospel and act as if we are better than those persons we perceive have not yet seen the light. But this lesson clearly tells us that God is no respecter of persons and. The bible also says in Romans 3:10 - There is none righteous, no, not one and in Isaiah 64:6 - and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags... so as Seventh-day Adventists we should see everyone as persons who are in need of salvation. No matter the religion, RACE, sexual orientation etc. "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God" and all need Jesus Christ.

    We are not to lower our standards but we are to be more accommodative and treat others as Jesus did when he walked this earth.

  5. One thing is very interesting about the account of Peter and the fact that he says in Acts 11:15 that the Holy Spirit fell on Cornelius and Cornelius's household as he (Peter) started talking to them; there is nothing there indicating that Cornelius and his household had to be baptized first before they received the gift of God's Holy Spirit.

    • Is it possible they had been baptized by John?

      Or is it possible that the Jews had to be convinced first to accept Gentiles before they could "join" the congregation of believers in Jesus?

      Be careful not to put 'tradition' before caring about salvation.
      Here we see Peter putting things in a different order to when he said "Repent and be baptized and you shall receive the Holy Spirit" Acts 2:38

      Act 10:2  Cornelius was one devout and fearing God, with all his household, both doing many merciful deeds to the people, and praying continually to God. 

      Act 10:44  While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those hearing the Word. 
      Act 10:45  And those of the circumcision, who believed (as many as came with Peter), were astonished because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on the nations also. 
      Act 10:46  For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, 
      Act 10:47  Can anyone forbid water that these, who have received the Holy Ghost as well as we, should not be baptized? 
      Act 10:48  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they begged him to stay certain days.

      • in Acts 10:48 he commanded that they be baptized (after they received the Holy Spirit) so I think it's safe to say that they had not been baptized by John the Baptist

    • Not entirely sure what the point you are making here Pete. Is there some sort sequence of events that must take place?

      I have a grandson who is about to be baptized. He has come to that decision himself as part of his growing Christian experience. He is not mature or complete. He is growing and my prayer for him is that the Holy Spirit will work in and through him as he continues to develop. Has the Holy Spirit fallen on Him? Let me tell you this about him. For one so young, he shows a rare compassion for those in need. He can teach me a thing or two about "understanding one another."

      • No Maurice, I am not saying that Baptism is not necessary. I am just simply saying that God can and will give the gift of His Spirit before that is done as He did it for Cornelius and Cornelius' household as Peter spoke about Salvation in Jesus, God's Son, to them.

  6. Thank you for exploring these texts and Peter's experience with Cornelius and his family. Many of my friends use these texts to justify the eating of pork and other 'unclean' animals named in Leviticus. Now I have a clear simplified perspective to share with them. Praying they will not see this as SDAs and their interpretation but will see the Holy Spirit revealed.

  7. I like this lesson today as it shows that God is for everyone and I agree we as SDA act and feel superior to other religions which is off-putting. we have to be humble and know God’s word for ourselves

  8. I've always been confused about " the gift of tongues" as a follower of Christ SDA, I am hesitant to discuss that with others because I'm not too clear on it either. Anyone care to elaborate?

    • Tinah, If you need a Bible Study on the "gift of tongues' I am sure William or someone else can provide one - that is the best way to understand the topic.
      However a short answer is that Spiritual Gifts are given to enable a person to share the Gospel.
      Eph 4:11  And truly He gave some to be apostles, and some to be prophets, and some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 
      Eph 4:12  for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. 
      Rom 12:3  For I say, through the grace given to me, to every one who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think. But set your mind to be right-minded, even as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith. 
      Rom 12:4  For even as we have many members in one body, and all members do not have the same function, 
      Rom 12:5  so we the many are one body in Christ, and each one members of one another. 
      Rom 12:6  Then having gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, if prophecy, according to the proportion of faith; 
      Rom 12:7  or ministry, in the ministry; or he who teaches, in the teaching; 
      Rom 12:8  or he who exhorts, in the encouragement; or he who shares, in simplicity; or he who takes the lead, in diligence; or he who shows mercy, in cheerfulness. 

      We believe the gift of tongues is the gift of languages - see Rev 14:6 where because of the words around it (nation, kindred,tongue), it is clear that "tongues" refers to different languages spoken by different people.

      Rev 14:6  And I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those dwelling on the earth, even to every nation and kindred and tongue and people, 

    • Tinah, in addition see below.
      What was the sign that Paul had received the Holy Spirit?
      In Acts 10 the sign for the Gentiles was that they spoke with tongues and magnified God. (see below)
      However with Paul according to Barnabas it was his vision of Jesus and preaching boldly.
      For the disciples it was tongues of fire, other languages and preaching boldly.
      For Jesus: It was preaching the Gospel and doing good, healing

      What is the common denominator of those receiving the Holy Spirit?
      Preaching the Good News!

      How has the Holy Spirit been manifested in your life?

      Act 10:36 You know the Word which God sent to the sons of Israel, preaching the gospel of peace by Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all!); Act 10:38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, and He went about doing good, and healing all those who were oppressed by the Devil, for God was with Him

      Act 9:27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and told them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had spoken boldly in Damascus in the name of Jesus.

      Act 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell on all those hearing the Word.
      Act 10:45 And those of the circumcision, who believed (as many as came with Peter), were astonished because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on the nations also.
      Act 10:46 For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered,
      Act 10:47 Can anyone forbid water that these, who have received the Holy Ghost as well as we, should not be baptized?
      Act 10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they begged him to stay certain days.

  9. Pete: Baptism by water is a "public" way of testifying to others that you've accepted Christ into your heart. The accepting of Christ into your heart comes first and is baptism with Holy Spirit. Sister White tells us many are "buried alive" in water baptism.

    • Carol, Jesus said it is the Holy Spirit that convicts us of sin, then we repent, then we accept Jesus - without the Holy Spirit we wouldn't even want to accept Jesus

      John 16:8  And when that One comes, He will convict the world concerning sin, and concerning righteousness, and concerning judgment. 

    • Baptism is often practiced in public but it does not have to be practiced in public to be valid (Acts 8:26-40) and can be done privately. Thus baptism is not so much about telling others that we have accepted Christ or about what we do although it is a good witness. A better definition of what baptism is that it is an “outward sign of an inward grace.” As you pointed Christ comes into our heart first, the emphasis should not be on us accepting Christ for “we love him because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19) Thus Baptism is a sign that God loves us and chose us first. If we compare Baptism to a related rite that is circumcision, circumcision is generally performed when a child is eight days old. It thus is not a work of the child or a choice that the baby makes, it is a grace a free unmerited gift that the child is in a covenant relationship with God and a member of Israel, again not of works but an act of grace is based on God choosing him first not he choosing God. In the time of Acts a few of the believers turned this rite of grace into that of works. We should be careful not to do the same with Baptism, it is not something we do, but rather a sign that God has chosen us and He is working in us thus our response. Again “we love him because he first loved us.” Baptism is a sign of God’s grace in us.

  10. It was not “Jewish” prejudice concerning Gentiles that led the believers in Jerusalem to criticize Peter for eating with uncircumcised gentiles. The Scripture and the Jewish religion had no prohibition against Jews eating with Gentiles. Also, Scripture and the Jewish religion did not require Gentiles to be circumcised; this is why Paul rabbinic scholar of the Bible and the Jewish religion is so outraged at this aberration among the believers. Gamaliel had taught no prohibition against eating with Gentiles and received and taught gentiles. Likewise Paul followed scripture; somehow the some of the believers got some very strange ideas that did not come from the Bible or mainline Judaism, these ideas needed correction.

  11. Just a small'note' here: I have a preference that rather than saying "God has no favorites", we say, "Everyone is God's favorite".

  12. According to the Tuesday lesson of the Ministry of Peter study, ''As at Pentecost, here, too, they spoke in languages previously unknown to them, rather than in ecstatic or heavenly languages''. My question is, what is the Heavenly language, or in other words, what language is spoken in Heaven, and if there is a heavenly language, is it the 'tongues' spoken in the charismatic churches?
    God bless us even as I am being helped out with this question, Happy Sabbath.

  13. I am referring back to the lesson quoting the text: "The door that many of the jewish converts had closed against the gentiles was now th be thrown open." (AA 136) This means that the door previous to the opening was shut for the gentiles. Peter said to the gentiles in the house of Cornelius: "You know that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a jew to keep company or to come unto one of another nation." (Acts 10:28) The ritual of ceremonial cleansing after being contaminated by gentiles on the market place is the bakground of this attitude of jews over against gentiles. (Mark 7:3-4) Jesus calls these regulations commandments of men. (Mark 7:7) The Proclamation of a shut door of salvation for gentiles rests on human and not on divine regulations. The door of grace in the heavenly sanctuary is open as long as probation lasts.

    The false view hat Peter had in common with the Jews God corrected by the known vision of unclean animals he was commanded to eate, which Peter himself understands as not being allowed to call any man unclean (Acts 10:29) As the gentile congregation accepted Christ, preached by Peter, and as the Holy Spirit, coming down from heaven, fell on them, they now had access to the throne of grace. On the other hand, the ongregation, listening to Steven`s sermon, closing their ears stoning him, they thereby rejected the gospel and had no access to the throne of Grace. (Acts 7:57). The door of grace in that attitude was shut for them. As is seen by the conversion of Paul, God`s grace is able to turn a shut door condition into an opend door condition.

    Time does not allow to show how our adventist predecessors after 1844 believed on a shut door for all sinners and as to how God corrected this error by the first vision she was shown. Further, the laodicean message is depicting a shut door which Christ was trying to turn into an open door. (Revelation 3:20)

    winfried Stolpmann


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