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First Quarter 2018 December 30–March 30)
COMMENTARY—STEWARDSHIP: MOTIVES OF THE HEART
Week 13: March 24–30
COMMENTARY ON "THE RESULTS OF STEWARDSHIP"
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).
“Having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12, NKJV).
Comment: You will notice in the SS Quarterly, the very first issue we confront is the partial use “here a little” of Bible Scripture. We should, at least, quote the entire sentence. Notice what the Sabbath School quarterly quotes: just one phrase in this Scripture...see above.
Here is the entire Scripture’s sentence:
11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV).
WHY IS IT DANGEROUS TO EDIT THE BIBLE?
Here is the reason “here a little” is dangerous:
“But the Word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken” (Isaiah 28:13).
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO COMPARE BIBLE VERSIONS?
The next important issue is the version of the Bible used: NKJV. A privately written Bible for a certain group of people—such as the Mormon Bible or the KJV (Church of England’s Bible)—often breaks God’s commandment about His Word: Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)
5 Every word of God is pure: He is a shield unto them that put their trust in Him. 6 Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar (Proverbs 30:5-6).
Now that we’ve addressed those issues of leaving out the contextual passages and selecting versions that have less accurate translations—problems we find in the SS Quarterly—let’s continue with the first paragraph about this memory verse.
Let’s notice some important facts given in the memory verse which are ignored:
FACT #1: We ARE GENTILES.
We do not belong to the group of people mentioned in Rev. 7:1-8. We are mentioned in the next group of people mentioned: Rev.7:9-10. How does that fact influence the context of the New Testament? And how does that Bible fact influence our understanding of this memory verse in it’s chapter?
FACT #2: WHO IS PETER TALKING TO? WHY IS THAT FACT IMPORTANT?
Is Peter telling JEWS to be kind to Gentiles? Or is Peter telling CHRISTIANS to be kind to Gentiles?
Verse 1: “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: 3 if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, 5 ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. 6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. (Isaiah 28:16)
7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed Isaiah 8:14).
9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy” (Psalm 118:22).
SO, WHO IS PETER TALKING TO?
Obviously, the people addressed are believers in Jesus who have moved from Mt Sinai (Old Covenant) to Mt Sion (New Covenant) and are keeping the new commandments Jesus has given in that covenant under the New Covenant of Jesus.
Hebrews 12:18 AKJV For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: 20 (for they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: 21 and so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) 22 but ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”
FACT #3. What Royal Priesthood is Peter referring? (verse 9)
The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek” (Psalm 110:4).
And he says in another place, “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 5:6).
and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek (Hebrews 5:10).
where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf. He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek ( Hebrews 6:20).
This Melchizedek was king of Salem and priest of God Most High. He met Abraham returning from the defeat of the kings and blessed him (Hebrews 7:1).
and Abraham gave him a tenth of everything. First, the name Melchizedek means “king of righteousness”; then also, “king of Salem” means “king of peace” (Hebrews 7:2).
because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor (Hebrews 7:10).
If perfection could have been attained through the Levitical priesthood—and indeed the law given to the people established that priesthood—why was there still need for another priest to come, one in the order of Melchizedek, not in the order of Aaron? (Hebrews 7:11).
And what we have said is even more clear if another priest like Melchizedek appears (Hebrews 7:15).
For it is declared: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek” (Hebrews 7:17).
Therefore, from the Memory Verse alone, we already see a false assumption being established, and that false assumption will used to support the rest of this entire lesson.
WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM PETER’S WORDS?
It is simple really. What are our works that Peter is talking about? He, too, heard Jesus answer that question:
28 Then said they unto Him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent (John 6:28-29 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV).
Despite the pretense of the rest of the lesson which is trying to teach you that you must impress other people and God with what you DO...and how much you give...and how hard you “work”, you really are unable to impress God.
4 “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 which He shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life” [Titus 3:4-7 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)]
We do not make FRUITS to turn ourselves into FRUIT trees. We make FRUIT because Jesus has already re-created us into His FRUIT TREES. And if we do the WORK that HE specified...it will be evident...just as He promised:
35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another [ John 13:35 Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)].
Peter is telling you the very same message. Don’t be misled by the guilt being placed upon you in this SS Quarterly lesson, which is the silly idea, which states that you have, somehow, failed God by not DOING ENOUGH, GIVING ENOUGH, or BEING ENOUGH.