Commentary on "Corporate Evangelism and Witnessing"
Day 1: Sabbath Afternoon, May 12, 2012 - Introduction
Day 2: Sunday, May 13, 2012 - Letting the Left and Right Hand Know
Day 3: Monday, May 14, 2012 - Planning Together
Day 4: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - Working in Teams
In discussion regarding Corporate Evangelism and Witnessing we need to evaluate what the Sabbath School lesson's definition of words are. For instance, what or who is being referenced when the lesson uses the terms, "the church", "ministry" and "the Gospel"?
As defined by the SS lesson itself, from week 6, "the church" is the whole of Seventh-day Adventists believers.
Ministry is defined by:
The Gospel of Seventh-day Adventism is defined this way:
The question at hand is, where do Seventh-day Adventists find these beliefs in the Bible? I will address the first four days of this lesson by using the Bible to define "the Church", "ministry", and "the Gospel".
Matthew 16:18 (NKJV)
18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
1 Corinthians 11:18 (NKJV)
18 For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it.
Galatians 1:22 (NKJV)
22 And I was unknown by face to the churches of Judea which were in Christ.
1 Timothy 3:14-15 (NKJV)
14 These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly;
15 but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
The Church, then, is made up of those who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, and have been transferred from Satan's domain of darkness into the Light of the Kingdom of God. Salvation includes redemption from sin, reconciliation with God, restoration to fellowship and communion with God. Colossians frames it this way,
Colossians 1:13-14 (NKJV)
13 He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, 14 in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins
Please keep in mind that these verses are taken out of their context for a simple topical study of how the New Testament understands the Church. It is clear from even a cursory reading, though, that the Church is not referring to Seventh-day Adventists because the organization did not exist until the mid 19th century and the Cannon of Scripture was completed by the mid to late 1st century A.D. (For further references, also look at texts which use the phrase "the Body of Christ" or "the Body".)
Luke 3:23 (NKJV)
23 Now Jesus Himself began His ministry at about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, the son of Heli,
2 Corinthians 3:7-11 (NKJV)
7 But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away,
8 how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious?
9 For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.
Hebrews 8:4-6 (NKJV)
4 For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law;
5 who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, "See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mountain."
6 But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.
Biblically speaking, ministry is defined as "service". Here we see that not only people are ministers, but even Covenants are ministers. Out of the truth of God will flow ministry. It is most easy to understand this in terms of the Gospel, which takes us to our next definition.
Please refer again to the description of the Gospel taught by SDA doctrine. Compare to the Biblical thoughts of the Gospel.
The term Gospel means "good news". Because the Gospel is the Good News, it stands to reason that this Good News is given in response to some bad news. What is the bad news? The bad news is that without Christ, we all stand as sinners before a holy, living God. This means that every sin we commit, either intentionally or unintentionally; whether known or unknown, has the ability to separate us from God forever. There are no "little white sins". Every one of our sins is dark enough to commit us to hell.
But, and this is the Good News, God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were still sinners, He sent His own son to die for us, to be a propitiation for us, to reconcile us to relationship with the Father. Did you know that the Bible says Jesus switched places with us on the cross? He took on our sin, so that we could take on His righteousness. This is speaking of our core being. Jesus BECAME sin so that we could BECOME righteous in Him. By believing in Jesus, we are moved out of a place of condemnation and quite literally, our spiritual home becomes Christ Himself where there is freedom from condemnation.
2 Corinthians 5:21 (NKJV):
21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Romans 8:1-2 (NKJV):
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.
The problem with the Adventist gospel is that it requires the Law of Moses (10 Commandments) to govern our behavior. In Galatians, Paul responds directly to this thought when he said:
Galatians 3:1-3 (NKJV):
1 O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified?
2 This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
3 Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?
In this passage, Paul says that the Law and living "fleshly" are one and the same. In other words, the Law only has the power to reveal our fleshly lusts and ungodly desires; and condemn us to death: being apart from God. Whereas the Spirit of God brings freedom, no condemnation, fruit of the Spirit, and the guarantee of salvation.
So, let's revisit the term ministry. The Biblical way of understanding ministry is "service". If we are serving from a place of fleshly desires (to be more attractive to others OR to God), then we are not actually ministering in the Biblical sense. God tells us that we cannot become more attractive to Him by performing religious duties, even if we call it ministry. Paul told us that even his best works were rubbish in light of God.
The Gospel is so clear, so pure, and so simple. Our only hope is to believe on Jesus Christ alone.
The key to any "successful" Evangelistic efforts or ministry, is to be thoroughly convinced of Christ's love for us. A key part of knowing how much He loves us is having a Biblical understanding of the Gospel.
Copyright 2012 BibleStudiesForAdventists.com. All rights reserved. Revised May 9, 2012. This website is published by Life Assurance Ministries, Camp Verde, Arizona, USA, the publisher of Proclamation! Magazine. Contact email: BibleStudiesForAdventists@gmail.com.
The Sabbath School Bible Study Guide and the corresponding E.G. White Notes are published by Pacific Press Publishing Association, which is owned and operated by the Seventh-day Adventist church. The current quarter's editions are pictured above.
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