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Beholding Jesus With The Eye of Faith

Bible Studies

Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:57.

By faith look upon the crowns laid up for those who shall overcome; listen to the exultant song of the redeemed, Worthy, worthy is the Lamb that was slain and hast redeemed us to God! Endeavor to regard these scenes as real. {RC 99.2} Stephen, the first Christian martyr, in his terrible conflict with principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places exclaimed, "Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God" (Acts 7:56). The Saviour of the world was revealed to him as looking down from heaven upon him with the deepest interest, and the glorious light of Christ's countenance shone upon Stephen with such brightness that even his enemies saw his face shine like the face of an angel. {RC 99.3} If we would permit our minds to dwell more upon Christ and the heavenly world, we should find a powerful stimulus and support in fighting the battles of the Lord. Pride and love of the world will lose their power as we contemplate the glories of that better land so soon to be our home. Beside the loveliness of Christ, all earthly attractions will seem of little worth. {RC 99.4} Let none imagine that without earnest effort on their part they can obtain the assurance of God's love. When the mind has been long permitted to dwell only on earthly things, it is a difficult matter to change the habits of thought. That which the eye sees and the ear hears too often attracts the attention and absorbs the interest. But if we would enter the city of God, and look upon Jesus and His glory, we must become accustomed to beholding Him with the eye of faith here. The words and the character of Christ should be often the subject of our thoughts and of our conversation, and each day some time should be especially devoted to prayerful meditation upon these sacred themes. {RC 99.5} Sanctification is a daily work. Let none deceive themselves with the belief that God will pardon and bless them while they are trampling upon one of His requirements. The willful commission of a known sin silences the witnessing voice of the Spirit and separates the soul from God. {RC 99.6} Whatever may be the ecstasies of religious feeling, Jesus cannot abide in the heart that disregards the divine law. God will honor those only who honor Him. . . . Here is where Christ's help is needed. Human weakness becomes united to divine strength, and faith exclaims, "Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 15:57)!--The Sanctified Life, pp. 91-93.

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How To Read The Bible More Effectively (part 3)

Bible Studies

Adequate understanding of the Bible, like the understanding of any literature, comes by reading it in logical units. These units may be whole books, sections, or paragraphs. If the material is poetry, the poem or the stanza may comprise the unit to be grasped. The chapters of the Bible, as now marked off, may or may not be logical units. 

     Many books of the Bible are reasonably well constructed so that they can be approached as wholes. They are amenable to logical division and investigation by parts.

 

     But one must not expect the kind of logical construction in ancient oriental literature that one finds in modern Western books. There are no author-composed book titles, no writers' prefaces in which they state what they are about, no logically organized tables of contents, no end-of-chapter summaries, and no smooth transitions to subsequent chapters. Loose association of related materials, frequent repetition of essentially the same data and of editorial comments, inept expansions and asides, lack of assimilation or rough joining of source materials, and the like, are characteristic of ancient oriental literature (especially before the Hellenistic period) and offend the modern readers' concept of logic and style. Since the books of the New Testament were written to some extent under the influence of Greek literary standards, they are better organized (from our point of view) than most of the Old Testament ones.

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A Message of Supreme Importance #2

Bible Studies

  The History of the Message

For several years before the 1888 session began, personal differences and animosities had been developing between two groups of church leaders. The Battle Creek brethren were led by George I. Butler, president of the General Conference, and Uriah Smith, editor of the Review and Herald. Associated with these men in their sympathies were several local conference presidents, in particular Elders R. M. Kilgore of Illinois, J. H. Morrison of Iowa, R. A. Underwood of Ohio, and I. D. Van Horn of Michigan, as well as a number of lesser lights.
The other group was led by E. J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones, who served as coeditors of the Signs of the Times and also as Bible teachers at Healdsburg College. Among their friends were W. C. White, S. N. Haskell, and C. H. Jones.
       Initially, the differences between these two groups centered on their interpretation of two passages of Scripture. The eastern brethren believed that the Huns were one of the 10 kingdoms of Daniel 7, and that the “added” law of Galatians 3:19-25 was the Jewish ceremonial system. The western brethren, on the other hand, favored the Alemanni instead of the Huns, and held that the added law was the moral law.
The fact that Waggoner and Jones were comparatively young men—in their 30s—while Butler and Smith were in their 50s tended to exacerbate the situation. Butler found it difficult to believe that two editorial fledglings could possibly understand the Bible better than he did.
     The estrangement between the two sides began when Waggoner published his views on Galatians 3 in the Signs of the Times of September 11, 1884. His explanation that the added law was the moral code flatly contradicted the interpretation accepted by Butler and Smith and probably by most contemporary Adventists as well. It so happened that E. J. Waggoner’s father, J. H. Waggoner, had taken a similar position 30 years earlier. The elder Waggoner had maintained in 1854 that “not a single declaration” in Galatians “referred to the ceremonial or Levitical law.” The epistle, he wrote, “treats solely of the moral law.” J. H. Waggoner, The Law of God (Rochester, N.Y. Review and Herald 1855) p. 74.
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How To Read The Bible More Effectively (part 2)

Bible Studies

The Daily Spiritual Diary Worksheet is an example of one of the many ways you can arrange your personal daily devotional diary.  

          First of all, let's be clear about one thing. The mastery of the Bible, like the mastery of any discipline or skill in life, does not come without intense and constant effort. It is hardly a pursuit for dilettantes. But if you have made up your mind that the Bible is what it claims to be--the witness to Jesus Christ, who is the doorway to Life here and hereafter for yourself, your family, and the entire world--you will want to hear and ponder deeply that witness and share your exciting knowledge with others.

 

          It is regrettable that most Bible-reading is "catch-as-catch can" reading--a few verses before retiring at night, a paragraph at the breakfast table, a sample or two to make us feel right before we go to church on Sabbath morning. We somehow expect the Bible to yield up its treasures in two minutes flat. While there may be some value in such casual reading, there are dangers also. We may lift passages out of context and misinterpret and misapply them. One Bible scholar properly reminds us that in Bible reading we need not snapshots but time exposures. We should read when our faculties are most alert, when we have time to ponder the deeper meanings for ourselves, our family, our business, our community, and our world.           We should read the Bible with the kind of excited curiosity scientists have when they are on the track of a new discovery. We should read it the way a young man in the first stages of love pores over a letter from his beloved--not once, hurriedly, but repeatedly, with attention to every detail and the exact meaning of every word.          And we should read the Bible itself, not just books about the Bible. Too many people's knowledge of the Bible is secondhand. They evidently have a basic fear that they will get lost in the Bible's dry lists, archaic vocabulary, and curious symbols. They never experience the thrill of firsthand discovery, develop mature powers of judgment in biblical matters, and come through to rich personal understanding of the significance of biblical perspectives for their own lives.

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How To Read The Bible More Effectively (part 1)

Bible Studies

Editor's Note: This article will appear in three parts during this coming week. I encourage you to make a comment to this article, or any other article on this site.

     An appalling amount of biblical illiteracy exists in our churches these days. Recent polls by Gallup and others have shown that many people do not know even the simplest of facts, such as the city of Jesus' birth (Bethlehem) or the names of the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John). There is no way to justify such ignorance. Because God gave us his Word, we ought to make every effort to find out what it says. The Bible is, in fact, the most important book in existence. In it we find the words of eternal life, and of life here on earth as well. If we do not know what God says, is it any wonder that we go off in wrong directions?

 

     By studying the Bible we get to know who God is and what he is like. The Scriptures include over 15,000 references to God and a thorough study of those passages alone could change our lives. We should also study the Bible in order to test out what we believe. The world is filled with false ideas about God and his purposes for us. So when we hear someone stating what God's will is, we ought to check it out for ourselves in his Word, and then reject what is false and keep what is true. Finally, we need to study the Bible in order to grow spiritually as it encourages us to love and serve God and others, calls our attention to our own sin, and helps us live like Christ. But how do we read the Bible more effectively? These few passages don't provide a comprehensive answer to that question, but they do offer guidelines and point us in the right direction.

 

 

The Basic Quest     What we are trying to do when we read the Bible is to see what is there. Exegesis (the term used to describe biblical interpretation) is the art of seeing the obvious. Too many people try to think profound or deep thoughts when they read the Scriptures. But the Scriptures are deep enough; all we need to do is find out what is there. Another way of defining exegesis is to say it is the art of asking the right questions. If we ask the right questions of the Bible when we read it, we will get the right answers. Some suggested questions are given below for approaching the text with a keen eye, an inquiring mind, and an open heart.      

 

The Living Book     So now we read the passages of the Bible. What do we have? In one sense, we have a book like any other book. It has words, ideas, grammar, figures of speech, history, poetry, etc. The rules that make possible our understanding and interpretation of these data will be little different from those we refer to when reading other literature of a similar type. In another sense, however, the Bible is completely different from any other book. The Bible is God's inspired Word and when we read it, we are not examining it, rather, it is examining us. We do not interpret it; it interprets us. As God's Word it has a life of its own and we must listen to what God says to us through it.      

 

An Average-Reader Approach to Bible Study     Is there an approach that will make Bible reading and study an exciting and rewarding experience with the background and level of competence you have? And how can you get access to the discoveries and insights of the biblical scholars without going through their complicated processes? ...to be continued!

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Prevailing Prayer Made Simple

Bible Studies

     This morning as I was meditating on the life of Jesus, I became impressed with the importance of prayer. Jesus prayed often! The passover service was designed by God to remind the Jews of their deliverance from Egypt. In this work He desired them to see a promise of deliverance from sin. If Joseph and Mary would have kept this idea in mind, they would have never lost sight of Jesus during His first visit to Jerusalem as a child. God desired that they should be led to prayerful study and meditation of Christ's mission. Sadly, the excitment of travel and social intercourse captivated their attention and the service they had witnessed was forgotten.

     How is it with us today? Are we absorbed with worldly cares and social intercourse to the neglect of prayful study and meditation? Remember, prayerful meditation and study is the link that connects us with Christ. It is sometimes stated, "Prayer is the key that op ens heaven." Few realize the mighty power there is in the prayer of faith.

"The prayer of the humble suppliant Christ presents as His own desire in that soul’s behalf. Every sincere prayer is heard in heaven. It may not be fluently expressed; but it the heart is in it, it will ascend to the sanctuary where Jesus ministers, and He will present it to the Father without one awkward, stammering word, beautiful and fragrant with the incense of His own perfection." D.A. 667.

 

Note the following bible verses.

Preparation For Prevailing Prayer    

  1. Heb. 11:6. "He that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." D.A. 200.
  2. Matt. 6:12-15. We must forgive those that have wronged us as we wish God to forgive us.
  3. Matt. 5:23-25. If others have anything against us, we should seek to make it right.
  4. Ps. 66:18. There should be a hatred of sin. God hears prayer when the sinner is ready to exchange sin for righteousness.
  5. Prov. 28:9. Three must be an obedient mind. The transgressor of the law is heard if he is willing to obey. T., v. 9, p. 164.
  6. John 15:16. Our requests must be presented in the name of Jesus. D.A. 668.
  7. Job 35:13. Pride and vanity should be put away.
  8. Jas. 1:6, 7. The individual that one day asks God to help him overcome sin and the next day chooses sin, can not expect help.       

May God help us to learn the science of prevailing prayer!

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A Message of Supreme Importance #1

Bible Studies

 Righteousness by Faith in Jesus   

     My greatest desire is to see Jesus Christ face to face. Nothing in this world matters in comparison to this goal. It is my motivation and my hope everyday. As I consider the condition of the world today; along with the biblical predictions of the last days, I am certain that we are here. I am just as certain that Jesus is coming! But before His coming in the clouds of heaven, He must come in the spirit and power of Elijah the prophet. "Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord:" Malachi 4:5. We are living in a time when the Elijah message is sounding. It is a message of supreme importance! In 1888 it came to the people of God through brethrens Jones & Waggoner, along with the ministry of Ellen G. White.

 

     What were the conditions that led up to this message of supreme importance. In order to understand this, it is well to give most careful consideration to the message of the spirit of prophecy just preceding the Minneapolis conference of 1888.

·       The testimony of the spirit of prophecy during the year of 1887 gave warning of danger!!

·       They named again and again a specific evil, a deception into which the church was falling.

·       That deception was pointed our as the fatal mistake of drifting into formalism; the substitution of forms, ceremonies, doctrines, machinery, and activities

·       The heart experience which comes alone through fellowship with Christ Jesus our Lord was lacking

·       The specific dangers was kept before minister and laymen which appeared in the Review and Herald.

 

Consider the following quotations from the Spirit of Prophecy.

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The Matchless Charms of Christ

Bible Studies

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9.

 

     When the sinner has a view of the matchless charms of Jesus, sin no longer looks attractive to him; for he beholds the Chiefest among ten thousand, the One altogether lovely. He realizes by a personal experience the power of the gospel, whose vastness of design is equaled only by its preciousness of purpose.  

     We have a living Saviour. He is not in Joseph's new tomb; He is risen from the dead and has ascended on high as a substitute and surety for every believing soul. . . . The sinner is justified through the merits of Jesus, and this is God's acknowledgment of the perfection of the ransom paid for man. That Christ was obedient even unto the death of the cross is a pledge of the repenting sinner's acceptance with the Father. Then shall we permit ourselves to have a vacillating experience of doubting and believing, believing and doubting? Jesus is the pledge of our acceptance with God. We stand in favor before God, not because of any merit in ourselves, but because of our faith "in the Lord our righteousness."   

     Jesus stands in the holy of holies, now to appear in the presence of God for us. There He ceases not to present His people moment-by-moment, complete in Himself. But because we are thus represented before the Father, we are not to imagine that we are to presume upon His mercy and become careless, indifferent, and self-indulgent. Christ is not the minister of sin. We are complete in Him, accepted in the Beloved, only as we abide in Him by faith.   

     Perfection through our own good works we can never attain. The soul who sees Jesus by faith repudiates his own righteousness. He sees himself as incomplete, his repentance insufficient, his strongest faith but feebleness, his most costly sacrifice as meager, and he sinks in humility at the foot of the cross. But a voice speaks to him from the oracles of God's Word. In amazement he hears the message, "Ye are complete in him" (Colossians 2:10). Now all is at rest in his soul. No longer must he strive to find some worthiness in himself, some meritorious deed by which to gain the favor of God.  

     Beholding the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world, he finds the peace of Christ; for pardon is written against his name, and he accepts the word of God, "Ye are complete in him." How hard is it for humanity, long accustomed to cherish doubt, to grasp this great truth! But what peace it brings to the soul, what vital life!--Signs of the Times, July 4, 1892

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Facebook of Judgement

Bible Studies

By Peter Chung

INTRO: Facebook, is a free-access social networking website that is operated and privately owned by Facebook, Inc. Facebook is the leading social networking site based on monthly unique visitors, having overtaken main competitor MySpace in April 2008. ComScore reports that Facebook attracted 132.1 million unique visitors in June 2008, compared to MySpace, which attracted 117.6 million. In a 2006 study conducted by Student Monitor, a New Jersey-based company specializing in research concerning the college student market, Facebook was named the second most popular thing among undergraduates, tied with beer and only ranked lower than the iPod.

Users can join networks organized by city, workplace, school, and region to connect and interact with other people. People can also add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profiles to notify friends about themselves. But unaware to many, there is another network profile of every man, woman and child that lived on this earth. Where all must Face The Book.

What is this mysterious facebook? Daniel 7:9-10.

What is contained in this face book? Ecc 3:17.

Who is writing a transcript of all our thoughts, actions, and motives? Every man's work passes in review before God, and is registered for faithfulness or unfaithfulness. Opposite each name in the books of Heaven is entered, with terrible exactness, every wrong word, every selfish act, every unfulfilled duty, and every secret sin, with every artful dissembling. Heaven-sent warnings or reproofs neglected, wasted moments, unimproved opportunities, the influence exerted for good or for evil, with its far-reaching results, all are chronicled by the recording angel. {GC88 481.3}

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How God Increases Faith

Bible Studies

Wherefore hast Thou afflicted Thy servant?" --Numbers 11:11

Our heavenly Father sends us frequent troubles to try our faith. If our faith be worth anything, it will stand the test. Gilt is afraid of fire, but gold is not: the paste gem dreads to be touched by the diamond, but the true jewel fears no test. It is a poor faith which can only trust God when friends are true, the body full of health, and the business profitable; but that is true faith which holds by the Lord's faithfulness when friends are gone, when the body is sick, when spirits are depressed, and the light of our Father's countenance is hidden. A faith which can say, in the direst trouble, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him," is heaven-born faith. The Lord afflicts His servants to glorify Himself, for He is greatly glorified in the graces of His people, which are His own handiwork. When "tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope," the Lord is honoured by these growing virtues. We should never know the music of the harp if the strings were left untouched; nor enjoy the juice of the grape if it were not trodden in the winepress; nor discover the sweet perfume of cinnamon if it were not pressed and beaten; nor feel the warmth of fire if the coals were not utterly consumed. The wisdom and power of the great Workman are discovered by the trials through which His vessels of mercy are permitted to pass. Present afflictions tend also to heighten future joy. There must be shades in the picture to bring out the beauty of the lights. Could we be so supremely blessed in heaven, if we had not known the curse of sin and the sorrow of earth? Will not peace be sweeter after conflict, and rest more welcome after toil? Will not the recollection of past sufferings enhance the bliss of the glorified? There are many other comfortable answers to the question with which we opened our brief meditation, let us muse upon it all day long.

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