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Third Quarter 2016 (July–September)
COMMENTARY ON THE ROLE OF THE CHURCH IN THE COMMUNITY
Week 13: September 17–23
COMMENTARY ON "HOW SHALL WE WAIT?"
Following is a combined commentary on the material included in the Bible Study Guide with references as necessary to the supplemental passages included in the E. G. White Notes for the Sabbath School Lessons.
Note: Unless otherwise stated, all biblical quotes are from the English Standard Version (ESV).
Today’s lesson discusses some of the philanthropic acts of the seventh day Adventist denomination. These are good things and I am glad that they have contributed to society in this respect. Such acts do not happen in a vacuum however and even in them theology matters.
This is most apparent in the final quote by Ellen White:
“What are we doing while we wait” [for the second coming] “On that answer hangs the destiny of souls”.
This is a disturbing reflection on SDA theology. Notice not only is it an appeal to decision theology, but it also hinges salvation on the work of the evangelist. This doesn’t work with even a mere ascent to foreknowledge, because it is placing the burden on man rather than God to perform the work of the Holy Spirit.
9/18/16 – Sunday
Much of the stuff presented in today’s lesson is absolutely true. I noticed that unlike in Saturdays lesson the writer chose not to place man as being responsible for the timing of the second coming.
“Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?” 2 Peter 3:12 KJV
I bring this up because it was hinted at in yesterdays lesson and is a common error today. A text that many like to quote is the one above, they will zero in on the word “hasting” and eisegete the concept that we have the power to speed up or slow down the will of God. This idea isn’t conveyed in the text, you could drive a bus through the distance between the concepts in the text and that which is eisegeted into it.
The fact is that the Last Day is always upon us as is closer every single day than it was the day before. Trust in God and trust in Christ, for salvation is the same in the end times as it always is.
So I am reading through the lesson and came across this concept of revival and what I am supposed to do to prepare myself for it.
“When we humble ourselves, die to self, unselfishly pray, study God’s Word, and lovingly share it with others in word and loving deeds, we increase our capacity for an infilling of the Holy Spirit in latter rain power.”
Yeah right, show me that in the Bible! It’s like the writer decided to invent a bunch of random terms and concepts completely foreign to scripture and expects the reader to just roll with it.
This looks like a list of things I need to do to give the Holy Spirit power to do his thing. How sad is that, whatever deity the writer is speaking of, he just doesn’t sound very capable of doing much without me helping him out. This conveys a picture of a fundamentally different God than the one spoken of in scripture. Where is the omnipotence? Where is the power? Where is the Holiness? And more applicable to the subject matter, where is the sufficiency of God’s Word in that we trust his promises to be sufficient unto themselves without our assistance?
The writer quotes James 2:14 regarding “faith without works is dead” and ties it to how we should behave in the end times. He brings this up after quoting Ellen White here:
“The world needs today what it needed nineteen hundred years ago—a revelation of Christ. A great work of reform is demanded, and it is only through the grace of Christ that the work of restoration, physical, mental, and spiritual, can be accomplished.”—Ellen G. White, The Ministry of Healing, p. 143.
Where is the Gospel in that message? There is none you only have law, and you have no faith without preaching both it simply isn’t there as the whole council of the Word is preached in the creation of faith in the heart of the unbeliever (Rom 10:17).
So what we are seeing here really is a bizzare concept of works without faith, and that is more than dead it’s damned! You can’t earn salvation or witness the creation of believers without preaching the Word, and that does include the Gospel. We have not received that at all in todays lesson.
So today we get a lesson about preaching and enlarging the kingdom without any mention of the Gospel whatsoever. How does Christ and him crucified not even enter into this topic?
The lesson opines about how some might not be ready to be “reaped” or maybe they are and we just don’t know it. This is a denial of original sin, the Bible says we are dead in trespasses and sins. Nobody is ready to be monergistically saved by God. We are by nature creatures of wrath. (Eph 2:3)(Eph 2:8-9)(Rom 10:17)
You’re not looking for people that might be ready for a pagan message of health and legalism. Your looking for dead sinners who need to hear the law and gospel. And at one point a blood stained cross is going to have to be brought up. It is kinda telling when this topic is never raised, without the gospel there is no life, if a preacher or teacher is withholding that then look elsewhere.
So this lesson happens to mention the blood of the lamb, we get a tiny gospel nugget. But then it’s glossed over quickly by tying that to the work of the Church. So more law. How does the writer discuss the second coming without mentioning the cross? I don’t understand how the latter has no place in this topic.
The answer is simple actually. The writer is accurately teaching the SDA false gospel of the end times. This is why SDA evangelists always focus on the end times, they bring you to a remote location lured by pictures of dragons and leopards, then they preach fear of the end of the world until you convert.
They don’t preach the gospel because they don’t have it. The Gospel of Jesus dying for you on the cross and resurrecting for your redemption is anathema to their message as it takes away from the investigative judgment.
The writer discusses how we should live and behave while we wait for the second coming. Calling people to good works is a good thing, it is just concerning that in this whole week we have received all law and no gospel. How can you expect sanctification and good works with no preaching of the Gospel? With no means of God’s grace the effects of his work cannot be expected to be found. All you are going to have is moralism.
I hope and pray that the Adventist who read this weeks lesson gets to hear about the bloody cross when the pastor is preaching because they have gone a whole week with only law.