Wednesday, May 25, 2016

1888 Glad Tidings : Insight #9 May 28, 2016

Idols of the Soul ( and other Lessons from Jesus)
Matthew 18:1-4
"By 'little ones' Christ does not mean babies. Those to whom He refers are 'little ones which believe in Me'--those who have not gained an experience in following Him, those who need to be led like children, as it were, in seeking the things of the kingdom of heaven" Ev 341.

I've recently become more aware of how important it is to encourage new members in the faith. A lady who has been taking Bible studies for over a year recently shared her story with me.

 "Years ago I studied the Bible with someone of another faith. After awhile, I gave my life to Christ and was baptized," she recalled. "Not long after, I was attacked by Satan."

Whatever the nature of the trauma (she didn't explain), the experience blind-sided her. She hadn't been looking for it nor had she expected trouble. She turned to the soul-winner who had led her to Christ, but alas, she said, "That person didn't care about me at all. There were no offers of help or words of encouragement. It was as though all he cared about was being able to say he had won another soul to Christ. Once I was baptized he abandoned me and I had nowhere to turn."

This unfortunate train of events concluded by my friend leaving the church soon after her baptism. Decades have passed in the meantime before she was willing to explore learning about the Bible again. Now she is moving cautiously, and it's taking time to gain her trust.

My friend's story is not unique. Many come under strong attack when they start making changes in their lives. New church members need a lot of encouragement and friendship. In the simple story of Jesus caring for the little children we see the gospel lesson here that not only are we to lead these new babes to the foot of the cross, we are to stand by their side as they learn to walk in their newfound faith. When we bring new people into the church, we aren't just filling a spot on the church pew, we are opening a place in our hearts for a new family member. From a human standpoint, relationship building can be time-consuming and inconvenient. But Jesus has not called us to a life of ease, but a life of service.

Matthew 20:20-27
Have you ever noticed how easy it is to see the faults of others and how correspondingly difficult it is to recognize your own? The disciples' experience here is a case study on this very point. They revealed their self-confidence in answer to Christ's question, "Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?"

The disciples answered affirmatively, of course, why would you ask?: "We are able." Then they proceeded to demonstrate in their behavior the principle of "me-first" endemic to our unconverted human hears. And they saw no inconsistency between their behavior (who gets to sit in the best seat in heaven) and their professed willingness to follow Christ to the cross.

They were blind. How was Christ to open their eyes? By revealing the nature of His kingdom: "Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. . . . just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life a ransom for many." Not long after when the disciples beheld Jesus hanging on the cross, they saw His amazing grace. Blind eyes now opened to behold the goodness of His love. Their own self-serving motives were laid bare. In the weeks that followed, these men underwent a profound transformation, a true heart conversion. They determined to no longer live for themselves but for Christ.

Are we blind also? The words of Christ echo through the ages: "Whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave--just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." We will never come into unity of faith by arguing or discussing contentious points of doctrine. But we will come into the unity of faith as we learn to "Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world" John 1:29.

~Patti Guthrie

Friday, May 20, 2016

1888 Glad Tidings : Insight #8 May 21, 2016

INSIGHT #8 MAY 21, 2016
Second Quarter 2016 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
Peter and the Rock
May 21, 2016

Our lesson from Matthew this week focuses on Peter's interaction with Jesus in three settings, the question of who Jesus was and His destiny of the cross (Matthew 16), the transfiguration on the mountain, and the challenge of Jesus paying the temple tax (Matthew 17). The core issue in all of these stories is the character quality of humble giving that Jesus as the divine Son of God came to earth to reveal. Seeing and tracing this principle brings the "insight" we need to learn our lessons from this week's studies. What we will cover has been extracted from the series "Peter and Forgiveness" that are being serialized in the 1888 Message Study Committee Newsletter.
But before we share those, let us set the stage for our considerations by some observations by A. T. Jones and Ellen White on our core principle, as shown by Jesus in His work of redemption.
...What is the meaning of "forgive"? The word "forgive" is composed of "for" and "give," which otherwise is give for. To forgive, therefore, is simply to give for. For the Lord to forgive sin, is to give for sin. But what does the Lord give for sin?--He declares "his righteousness for the remission of sins."
Therefore when the Lord forgives--gives for--sin, he gives righteousness for sin. And as the only righteousness that the Lord has is his own, it follows that the only righteousness that God gives, or can give, for sin is the righteousness of God.
This is the righteousness of God as a gift. As all men have only sinned, and, if they are ever clear, must have forgiveness entirely free; and as the forgiveness of sin--the righteousness of God given for sin—is entirely free,--this is the righteousness of God as a free gift "upon all men unto justification of life." Rom. 5:18.  (A. T. Jones, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, March 14, 1899, p. 168, paragraphs 7-9)
In giving righteousness, God gave faith and love through Jesus to the human race (1 Timothy 1:14; see also Ephesians 6:14 compared with 1 Thessalonians 5:8 for righteousness connected to faith and love).
The spirit of liberality is the spirit of heaven. This spirit finds its highest manifestation in Christ's sacrifice on the cross. In our behalf the Father gave His only-begotten Son; and Christ, having given up all that He had, then gave Himself, that man might be saved. The cross of Calvary should appeal to the benevolence of every follower of the Saviour. The principle there illustrated is to give, give. (Ellen White, Acts of the Apostles, p. 339)
It was this principle of giving that Peter was struggling with, its implications for Jesus and for Peter himself. That is why Peter did not understand that Jesus' being "the Christ [Messiah], the Son of the living God" (Matthew 16:16) was inseparable from Jesus' obligation to "go to Jerusalem, ... and be killed" (verse 21). Peter clearly thought that "the Son of the living God" had come down, down, to this earth, to be lifted up, up, in worldly glory, and that he and the other eleven would be exalted with him. And just maybe he, Peter, would be exalted the highest by Jesus. Of course, they all harbored that secret, selfish desire.
There was no thought in Peter's mind, apparently (yet), that this Son had come down to earth, to humble Himself even further in the ultimate act of giving--giving His life for sinful Peter and all the other sinners who have ever lived. And that when He said to the twelve, "Follow Me," He was calling them as well to join Him in giving all, giving self, even giving one's life if it came to that, in the witness to the unselfish love that is the only solution to the sin problem. That mission and that lesson Peter and the others had yet to learn. And one would refuse to learn it. Do we still need to learn it? Will we refuse like Judas?
So when Peter confessed Jesus' true identity--that this humble man from Nazareth named "Jesus" was also "the Christ, the Son of the living God"--he was unknowingly affirming the great condescension at the heart of Jesus' character and mission. But that confession was not from any earthly source. The "Father which is in heaven" (16:17) had impressed Peter with that reality, the reality that was "this rock" (16:18). Peter would later use this same word to describe the foundational identity and accomplishment of the crucified and risen Jesus (1 Peter 1:19-21; 2:4-8). It was "the precious blood of Christ" that made Him "elect, precious."
But at this point Peter's denial that Jesus would "be killed" showed he not only failed to see where that condescension would lead, but that he would actively try to prevent Jesus' from going there and doing that. Thus Jesus had to identify the source of that confusion--the opposite of the Father. It was from the arch adversary himself--Satan (16:23) who still had Peter confused over what the core principle of God's character and kingdom was. Are we still confused as well?
Jesus then went to a high mountain and took Peter, James, and John. Here, on this mountain, they would experience the continuity of the two things Peter thought totally incompatible. Jesus' divinity would be revealed--He would be transfigured in majestic glory, and would be visited by two human beings from heaven who had been delivered hundreds of years before from this sinful world, Moses and Elijah. But why had they come, and what did they say to Jesus? Luke recorded this vital piece of the story.
Moses and Elias ... appeared in glory, and spake of his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem.
They were encouraging the divine Jesus to go through with His death. But what of Peter and the other two?
But Peter and they that were with him were heavy with sleep: and when they were awake, they saw his glory, and the two men that stood with him (Luke 9:28-32).
It was the topic of conversation between Jesus and His visitors from heaven--"his decease [death] which he should accomplish at Jerusalem"--that Peter and the other two missed. Their failure to watch and pray, and giving into sleep, kept them from hearing the vital encouragement these two glorified humans gave Jesus to go through with the ultimate act of giving. The three did awaken, but they had missed the key point of the encounter. When the brilliant cloud of the Father's presence came, with His voice repeating the words given at the Jordan River, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased," the Father added the commanding plea, "Hear ye Him." On the core issues of Messiah's mission, the disciples were failing to hear Him. Their response to these words was to become "sore afraid" (Matthew 17:5, 6). The adverb "sore" describes an exceedingly large amount of fear. Their self-focus led them to be thus fearful.
Their failure and sleepiness would be repeated not too many days in the future, this time not on a mountain but in a garden--Gethsemane. The same three would still be out of touch with Jesus' struggle to go through with the "decease"--the final gift of Himself.
Right after the mountain experience Matthew recorded Jesus again telling them of His soon-coming betrayal, death, and resurrection. Their response was similar. "They were exceeding sorry" (Matthew 17:22, 23). The adverb "exceeding" is the same as the "sore." Again the clash of visions must be highlighted. Jesus was moving further down the path of giving motivated by the "joy that was set before Him" (Hebrews 12:2). Failing to see the glory of giving, the disciples saw nothing but great sorrow in such a future. And this not only unfitted them for the great test toward which the events were moving. It also confused them on other lesser forms of giving, as Peter's next story shows.
The religious leaders came specifically to Peter with a trick question on giving, of all topics! Did Jesus pay tribute? (17:24). This payment was for the support of the temple. The question put to Peter was designed to place Jesus on the horns of a dilemma. If Jesus were not to pay it, it would be used as evidence that He was disloyal to the temple. However, if He were to pay it, He would deny His divinity and prophetic role, as prophets were exempt, and for sure also was "the Son of the living God" whose house the temple was.
Peter's hasty response to the question was not a simple "yes" but an emphatic affirmation better translated "assuredly" or "indeed" (17:25). Did he see the inconsistency with his earlier declaration that Jesus was "the Son of the living God"? Perhaps Peter was beginning to see the importance of giving, and of Jesus' embodiment of this principle, and the devil crafted the circumstance of giving the tribute to catch Peter into affirming a superficial act of giving that would actually testify against the enormous act of giving that Jesus' true identity indicated--that the incarnation of the Son of God witnessed to the amazing path of giving He had already embarked on, and was steadily treading to the ultimate act of giving.
Jesus purposely avoided conflict and controversy. He had no desire to "offend them" (17:27). His mission of giving was to remove offenses. The word "offend" echoed what Peter had done in attempting to block Jesus' path to the cross. (The verb "offend" corresponds to the noun "offence"--both sources of our words "scandalize" and "scandal.") Jesus' simple but miraculous solution destroyed the dilemma, by giving what Peter's boast had foolishly promised, but in a way that affirmed that He was not just another human being. For the gift is measured not simply by its being given or by its size, but by the One giving it, and the manner in which it is given.
The forces of taking can hijack the heavenly principle of giving, so it takes divine wisdom to give in a way consistent with the principle. Jesus would promise such divine aid--we would be guided "into all the truth" (John 16:13). Though we don't know what the truth of giving looks like, "the Spirit of the truth" for sure does. Was Peter learning to listen to that still small voice, as Jesus Himself did (John 3:34; see Isaiah 50:4, 5)? Are we?

~Fred Bischoff

Thursday, May 12, 2016

1888 Glad Tidings : Insight #7 May 14, 2016

INSIGHT #7 MAY 14, 2016
Second Quarter 2016 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
Lord of Jews and Gentiles
May 14, 2016

The Faith of a "Puppy"?
Any honest student of the Bible must admit that certain biblical stories seem problematic, especially when encountered for the first time. Yet, upon further investigation, the apparent difficulties vanish and the meanings become increasingly evident. One episode in Jesus' life that has historically been misunderstood by some believers and misrepresented by skeptics is Jesus' encounter with the Syro-Phoenician woman. Mark records the episode as follows:
For a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit heard about Him [Jesus], and she came and fell at His feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by birth, and she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. But Jesus said to her, "Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." And she answered and said to Him, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children's crumbs." Then He said to her, "For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter." And when she had come to her house, she found the demon gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed (Mark 7:25-30; cf Matthew 15:21-28).
When the Gentile woman addressed Jesus, she called Him, "Son of David." Her manner of addressing Him indicated both her familiarity with Jewish Scripture as well as her belief in them; this was something that the Jews had a hard time doing (believing).  
Up to this point in our story, Jesus had been speaking directly to His disciples. Now, He talked to the woman and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." By "children" He meant Israelites (Acts 10:36); while "dogs" were symbols of unclean Gentiles, a proverbial expression used by the Jews to represent their sense of national superiority over the nations. Jesus Himself did not call the Gentiles "dogs." He merely used the term here to point out the traditional antipathy between Jews and Gentiles, which His disciples echoed. The word Jesus used for "dogs" actually meant "little dogs" or, "puppies" versus the large, wild dogs native to the area. In fact, what Jesus was really alluding to was the family pet puppy that could often be found under the table at dinnertime, begging for scraps.
To construe Jesus' statement as unkind or wrong, we would need to prove that the illustration or idiom He used to refer to the Gentiles as "little dogs", is indeed derogatory. But, there is nothing to prove that conclusion. In fact, as mentioned above, the term Jesus used for "little dogs" could easily be taken in an illustrative way without any unkind insinuation. In a commentary on Mark, a renowned commentator (R.C.H. Lenski)  the Greek term used by Jesus (kunaria) as "little pet dogs." This scholar further noted concerning Jesus' statement: "In the Orient, dogs have no owners but run wild and serve as scavengers for all garbage and offal.... It is an entirely different conception when Jesus speaks of 'little pet dogs' in referring to the Gentiles. These have owners who keep them even in the house and feed them by throwing them bits from the table" (1961, p. 304). The Commentator goes on to state: "All that Jesus does is to ask the disciples and the woman to accept the divine plan that Jesus must work out his mission among the Jews.... Any share of Gentile individuals, in any of these blessings, can only be incidental during Jesus' ministry in Israel" (ibid, pp. 304-305). Regarding the non-derogatory nature of Jesus' comment to the Gentile woman, another commentator (Allen Black): "The form of his statement is proverbial. And the basis of the proverb is not an antipathy for Gentiles, but the necessary Jewish focus of Jesus' earthly ministry" (1995, p. 137).
Because of her faith and humility, this mother did not take offense at Jesus' comments. Desperate, His words didn't discourage her. Because of her knowledge of His compassion and ability to heal, she was filled with hope and faith. Feeling deeply unworthy, she accepted her place among the dogs, and merely asked for spiritual crumbs; a little crumb for her daughter is all she sought.
Impressed with this mother's answer, Jesus told her to return home and upon doing so, she found her daughter healed. Notice, Jesus did not touch or come near the possessed girl. He merely healed her by His word. This distal healing is one of the few mentioned in the New Testament, and the only one recorded by Mark. (One other such distal healing is also on behalf of a Gentile -- Cornelius, the Roman Centurian. He too also felt unworthy. "Speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed," he said. Jesus commended the faith of these two Gentiles, and held them up as paragons of faith for the Jews, and for us.).
According to Galatians 3:26, truly we are all the children of God by the faith of Jesus Christ. And God Himself does not show partiality, for the benefits of the gospel are for all. Regarding the Syro-Phoenician woman, she counted herself a "puppy," and faithfully looked forward to being counted by God as His child. Although she stood outside of the elect family of Israel, she trusted that Jesus' goodness would impart a blessing. By intervening on behalf of her and of her daughter, Jesus showed that the Gentiles' potential for salvation was no less than that of Israelites.
Ellen White's statement elaborates on this concept effectively.  Let us read it,
"Christ … received this representative of a despised race as the Jews would have done.... The woman urged her case with increased earnestness, bowing at Christ's feet, and crying, 'Lord, help me.'
She yields at once to the divine influence of Christ, and has implicit faith in His ability to grant the favor she asks. She begs for the crumbs that fall from the Master's table. If she may have the privilege of a dog, she is willing to be regarded as a dog. She has no national or religious prejudice or pride to influence her course, and she immediately acknowledges Jesus as the Redeemer, and as being able to do all that she asks of Him… The Saviour is satisfied.
In faith the woman of Phoenicia flung herself against the barriers that had been piled up between Jew and Gentile. Against discouragement, regardless of appearances that might have led her to doubt, she trusted the Saviour's love. It is thus that Christ desires us to trust in Him. The blessings of salvation are for every soul. Nothing but his own choice can prevent any man from becoming a partaker of the promise in Christ by the gospel. 
Caste is hateful to God. He ignores everything of this character. In His sight the souls of all men are of equal value. 'For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved' (Romans 10:12, 13)." {Conflict and Courage, 297}
Are we unwittingly discouraging the faith of a puppy? Lord help us!

~Raul Diaz

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Resting in Christ

Second Quarter 2016 Adult Sabbath School Lessons
Resting in Christ
May 7, 2016

"If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath,
From doing your pleasure on My holy day,
And call the Sabbath a delight,
The holy day of the LORD honorable,
And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways,
Nor finding your own pleasure,
Nor speaking your own words,
Then you shall delight yourself in the LORD;
And I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth,
And feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father.
The mouth of the LORD has spoken." Isaiah 58:13,14

"But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God." John 3:21

In this week's lesson, we are challenged to assess our views of the Sabbath - of work and rest. The works of Christ in Galilee, in those cities judged harshly for their unbelief in Matthew 11, included teaching and healing on the Sabbath. The inhabitants of those cities should have repented, and come to the light, as Jesus articulated to Nicodemus in John 3:21, so that they might take the easy yoke of the Savior, enter in to Christ's work, and thus have their work revealed as having been the result the Father's work.

When Jesus said in John 6:29, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent,"
He was speaking also to the nature of Sabbath rest, and the type of work from which we are to rest. We are to lay our burdens down - the burdens of working for our own sustenance, so we can remember who is sustaining us; the burdens of sin, so we can know who is our salvation and righteousness; the burdens of the pride, self-righteousness, and blindness of Laodicea, so we learn from the Master what He really values, and what work He would like to do in and through us, even and especially on the Sabbath.

The Jews seemed set on carrying the wrong burdens, especially those created by unbelief in the the covenant promise of God to write His law in their hearts and minds (Jer. 31:31-34). They also ascribed to the Sabbath the wrong kind of rest - that which focused on doing their own pleasure, speaking their own words, and making themselves the template for the proper Sabbath observance of others. They were constantly using their yoke and their accusing finger (Isaiah 58:9) to bring others in to line with God's Sabbath command, even in the simple matter of "food preparation" by the disciples.

Christ, on the other hand, entered in to the work of His Father - especially  when he was healing on the Sabbath. When challenged about working for others on Sabbath by healing, he replied, "My Father has been working until now, and I have been working." John 5:17.

      "The miracles of Christ for the afflicted and suffering were wrought by the power of God through the ministration of the angels." DA 143.

Jesus was working by faith in the Father - as we should, by the Faith of Jesus.

      "Christ would teach His disciples and His enemies that the service of God is first of all. The object of God's work in this world is the redemption of man; therefore that which is necessary to be done on the Sabbath in the accomplishment of this work is in accord with the Sabbath law." DA 286 

When Sabbath-keeping becomes a sacrifice, an end in itself, rather than a means of bringing humanity into closer communion with God, "its mere outward observance" becomes "a mockery." DA 287

Might we be at risk in similar fashion to the Jews? Perhaps we should contemplate the Sabbath healings of Christ in light of our own willingness, or lack thereof, to enter in to the work of God on the Sabbath, and thus restore with Christ its true purpose.

There are seven gospel records of healing on the Sabbath by Jesus. Three (Mt. 12:9-14; Mark 3:2-5; Luke 6:6-10) appear to refer to the same event of healing a withered hand. The other four (Luke 13:10-16; Luke 14:1-6; John 5:1-15; John 9:1-14) involve restoration of spinal alignment, of coordination,  of motor function, and of sight.

Furthermore, these healings of Jesus were not simply spontaneous, but planned, for a purpose:

      "'He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till He have set judgment in the earth.' Isaiah 42:21, 4. He had come to free the Sabbath from those burdensome requirements that had made it a curse instead of a blessing. 
     For this reason He had chosen the Sabbath upon which to perform the act of healing at Bethesda. He could have healed the sick man as well on any other day of the week; or He might simply have cured him, without bidding him bear away his bed. But this would not have given Him the opportunity He desired. A wise purpose underlay every act of Christ's life on earth. Everything He did was important in itself and in its teaching." DA 206

This begs the question: what healing ministry would God have us choose to do on the Sabbath as we proclaim the judgment hour message of Revelation 14? How should we be ministering to others on this day, the Lord's day? As Thursday's lesson so aptly puts it, "How do we understand the phrase 'repairer of the breach,' especially in the context of the three angels' messages?"

Here are some quotations for reflection:

     "Christ's method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, "Follow Me."--The Ministry of Healing, p. 143. 

      "The Sabbath was Christ's busiest day for healing the sick. On this day He could best reach those who were laboring during the week. Wherever He went, He was a medical missionary, an unerring physician, speaking words of comfort and love!  From Him flowed a stream of healing power, and the sick were made whole. He healed men and women with unhesitating willingness and with hearty joyfulness; for He was glad to be able to restore suffering ones to health."--Letter 168, 1902, p. 1.

      "The demands upon God are even greater upon the Sabbath than upon other days. His people then leave their usual employment, and spend the time in meditation and worship. They ask more favors of Him on the Sabbath than upon other days. They demand His special attention. They crave His choicest blessings. God does not wait for the Sabbath to pass before He grants these requests. Heaven's work never ceases, and men should never rest from doing good. The Sabbath is not intended to be a period of useless inactivity. The law forbids secular labor on the rest day of the Lord; the toil that gains a livelihood must cease; no labor for worldly pleasure or profit is lawful upon that day; but as God ceased His labor of creating, and rested upon the Sabbath and blessed it, so man is to leave the occupations of his daily life, and devote those sacred hours to healthful rest, to worship, and to holy deeds. The work of Christ in healing the sick was in perfect accord with the law. It honored the Sabbath.  DA 207.2 

     "Genuine medical missionary work is bound up inseparably with the keeping of God's commandments, of which the Sabbath is especially mentioned, since it is the great memorial of God's creative work. Its observance is bound up with the work of restoring the moral image of God in man. This is the ministry which God's people are to carry forward at this time. This ministry, rightly performed, will bring rich blessings to the church."  6T 266. 

Note some cautions regarding sanitarium/hospital staff, likely with some broader application:

     "Often physicians are called upon on the Sabbath to minister to the sick, and it is impossible for them to take time for rest and devotion. The Saviour has shown us by His example that it is right to relieve suffering on this day; but physicians and nurses should do no unnecessary work. Ordinary treatment, and operations that can wait, should be deferred till the next day. Let the patients know that physicians must have one day for rest. The Lord says, 'Verily My Sabbaths ye shall keep: for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations.' Exodus 31:13.  
     "Let no man, because he is a physician, feel at liberty to disregard this word of the Lord. He should plan his work so as to obey God's requirements. He should not travel on the Sabbath except when there is real suffering to be alleviated. When this is the case, it is not a desecration of the Sabbath for physicians to travel upon that day; but ordinary cases should be deferred." MM 213,214

     "Let there be no robbery of God in tithes and offerings, no desecration of His holy time. Man is not to do his own pleasure on God's holy day. He has six days in which to work at secular business, but God claims the seventh as His own. 'In it,' He says, 'thou shalt not do any work.' Exodus 20:10. The servant of God will call sacred that which the Lord calls sacred. Thus he will show that he has chosen the Lord as his leader. The Sabbath was made in Eden, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy. God has placed it in our charge. Let us keep it pure and holy." --MS. 162, 1897.  MM 215 

And from E.J. Waggoner - to be read carefully and prayerfully (the entire article is best for context):
"Jesus was accused of violating the Sabbath, and He did indeed break the
Jewish Sabbath, but not the Sabbath of the Lord. The Jewish Sabbath consisted
in formal cessation of all labour on the seventh day of the week, even though
human life was lost thereby. It was simply a yoke, a burden, an act of penance by
which they thought, to make themselves righteous. It had nothing in common
with the Sabbath of the Lord except that it was kept on the same day of the
week. The Lord's Sabbath is absolute rest in Him and His word,-dependence on
His life; and since His life is activity,-service for others,-it follows that true
Sabbath-keeping may sometimes involve severe physical labour. How can one tell what
works are lawful on the Sabbath day, and what are not?-No list of lawful and unlawful works
can be given, but this principle will guide - whatever labour is necessary for the welfare of 

suffering humanity, whether the disease be of body or of soul, and from which the
labourer derives absolutely no profit or benefit except the consciousness of God's
presence, is proper Sabbath labour. True Sabbath keeping is rest in God,-
absolute and unqualified acceptance of His word."
"Studies in the Gospel of John. Man's Rightful Authority. John v.
17-27" The Present Truth 15, 5. 1899.

~Todd Guthrie