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First Quarter 2017 (December 31–March 24)
COMMENTARY ON THE HOLY SPIRIT AND SPIRITUALITY
Week 10: March 4–10
COMMENTARY ON "THE HOLY SPIRIT, THE WORD, AND PRAYER"
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).
This lesson leaves one feeling helpless and hopeless because it talks about the normal communication between God and His people—without admitting that Adventism never gives the gospel and helps people understand how to know Jesus and be hidden with Christ in God (Col. 3:3).
The lesson talks about prayer not being effective without faith. It doesn’t, however, define “faith”. It uses the word in a way that suggests “faith” is deciding internally that one will have what one prayer to receive. This common definition of faith, however, is not the biblical definition.
Faith is the trust that God puts in our hearts to believe that Jesus is our Substitute and that He died and bled for our personal sin. It is trusting that He has finished the atonement and that we need Him in order to be forgiven and in order to live.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast (Eph. 2:8-9).
Faith is not an internal mind-set. It is a gift from God, and it is the ability to believe that Jesus is who He says He is. It is the recognition that He died for us and that we need a Savior—and He is that Savior.
When we believe, we pass from death to life at that moment (Jn. 5:24). We are sealed at that moment by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13-14). We are born again, as Jesus told Nicodemus we must be and as Ezekiel and Jeremiah prophesied that we would be.
This new birth—this passing spiritually from death to life—not just metaphorically and provisorily, but ACTUALLY as the triune God gives us new hearts and put His Spirit in us—this new birth is what is necessary for prayer to be real.
Adventism simply cannot speak of prayer rightly. It does not teach the gospel of the completed atonement; it does not understand the new birth, nor does it believe that people are born with dead spirits that are real. Prayer is theoretical and lacks power apart from our being made alive in Christ.
We do not receive God’s promises by claiming them. The Bible never teaches us such a self-centered method. We receive God’s promises by knowing Him.
When we are born again and know Jesus, all His promises are YES in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:20).
Prayer is not a method nor a way to get God to respond. The New Testament explains that we are to pray for God’s will. Then New Testament gives us commands for prayer that show how we are to trust God to keep His promises.
The New Testament commands to pray are not for natural man; they are instructions give to those who already know the Lord Jesus and are sealed with His Spirit. If you do not know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, admitting that you are a sinner in need of a Savior is the first thing you should do. Prayer will come naturally after you are born again and sealed with the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Phil. 4:6-7).
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints, and pray on my behalf, that utterance may be given to me in the opening of my mouth, to make known with boldness the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in proclaiming it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak (Eph. 6:18-20).
Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus (1 Thess. 5:16-18).
Finally, brethren, pray for us that the word of the Lord will spread rapidly and be glorified, just as it did with you; and that we will be rescued from perverse and eve men; for not all have faith (2 Thess. 3:1-2).