Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Sabbath School Insights No. 5 Qtr 1-06

Special Insights No. 5

First Quarter 2006 Adult Sabbath School Lessons

“Families in the Family of God”

(Produced by the Editorial Board of the 1888 Message Study Committee)

“Disciples Making Disciples”


In thinking about disciples making disciples, it occurs to me that it is impossible to make true disciples of Christ because of what Proverbs 16:25 says, “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isa. 64:6), and so we tend to think that we understand more than we really do and we like to act on our own understanding and in our own strength.


However, there is good news! I am so glad that before Christ told us to teach all nations He told us the power by which it was going to be accomplished. Sunday’s lesson brings out Mathew 28:18, 19: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (emphasis supplied). This is so much power, that not even Satan has any power over us as long as we allow God’s power to control our lives. That is awesome power!


If we are going to teach all men, making disciples of them, it only stands to reason that what we teach is vitally important. So why not give this subject some thought? What shall we teach? If God will use His people to teach all nations, starting with our own children, what do you suppose He would want us to teach? Sunday’s lesson also cites John 8:31 and 32: “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, [then] are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Why not teach our children the truth? What better place to find truth than in the Bible? So let’s review some references:


1. First, I like 1 John 2:2, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world”(NIV). And 1 Timothy 4:9, 10, “This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the savior of all men, and especially of those who believe” (NIV).


a. Tell them, if you are members of the world, then Christ died for your sins and you have a savior, which means you have already been given salvation. If you keep it and do not throw it away, and believe with all your heart, claiming God’s promises to you, your salvation will be special, for it will result in actual, literal, good works of God, for God will hold your heart with a hand that will never let go. God has given you a great gift at an expensive price. Cherish the gift!—and appreciate the price paid for it.


b. E. J. Waggoner* writes: “All this deliverance is ‘according to the will of our God and Father.’ The will of God is our sanctification. 1 Thessalonians 4:3. He wills that all men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:4. And He ‘accomplishes all things according to the counsel of His will.’ Ephesians 1:11. ‘Do you mean to teach universal salvation?’ someone may ask. We mean to teach just what the word of God teaches—that ‘the grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men.’ Titus 2:11, RV. God has wrought out salvation for every man, and has given it to him; but the majority spurn it and throw it away. The judgment will reveal the fact that full salvation was given to every man and that the lost have deliberately thrown away their birthright possession” (The Glad Tidings, pp. 13, 14). Let’s cherish the gift!


2. And then there is Jeremiah 31:31-33, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day [that] I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this [shall be] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”


a. Teach them that God will write His law in their hearts, if they will let Him. And when they let God write His laws in their hearts, His character will dwell in them and control their thoughts and desires. In fact, Christ will so identify Himself with us that doing His will will not be a gruesome burden, but rather, a pleasure—and our highest delight!


b. Again, E. J. Waggoner, “Do not forget as we proceed that the covenant and the promise are the same thing, and that it conveys land, even the whole earth made new, to Abraham and his children. Remember also that since only righteousness will dwell in the new heavens and the new earth, the promise includes the making righteous of all who believe. This is done in Christ, in whom the promise is confirmed” (Ibid., p. 72).


3. Finally, Romans 8:3,4: “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh [notice, it says that the flesh was weak]. God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”


a. Christ came looking for us—and He found us! That means that we don’t have to go looking for Him, as if He was the One who was lost. (That takes the pressure off, doesn’t it?) And when He found us, He did identify with us. In fact, He identified with us so closely, that He took the same flesh that you and I have. And in that fallen sinful human flesh that had degenerated after 4000 years, and as our Representative, forged out that life of righteousness promised to us in His new covenant—as our heritage. [Please see, The Desire of Ages, pp. 25, 49.]


b. No one could have said it better than A. T. Jones,* “And this must He do to redeem lost mankind. For Him to be separated a single degree, or a shadow of a single degree, in any sense, from the nature of those He came to redeem, would be only to miss everything. Therefore, as He was made ‘under the law,’ because they are under the law whom He would redeem; and as He was made a curse, because they are under the curse whom He would redeem; and as He was made sin, because they are sinners, ‘sold under sin,’ whom He would redeem,—precisely so He must be made flesh, and ‘the same’ flesh and blood, because they are flesh and blood whom He would redeem; and must be ‘made of a woman,’ because sin was in the world first by and in the woman. Consequently, it is true, without any sort of exception, that ‘in all things it behooved Him to be made like unto His brethren.’ Heb. 2:17.” The Consecrated Way, pp. 34, 35 (27, 28).


And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” What more could God have done?


Craig Barnes

* One of the 1888 “messengers.”



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