Paul’s Pastoral Appeal
Sabbath School Lesson 2017 Quarter 3 Lesson 9 Sabbath Afternoon
Read the first paragraph,
“As we’ve seen so far, Paul did not mince words with the Galatians. His strong language, however, simply reflected the inspired passion he felt concerning the spiritual welfare of the church that he had founded. Besides the crucial theological issue Paul was dealing with, the letter to the Galatians in a broad sense also shows just how important correct doctrine is. If what we believed were not that important, if doctrinal correctness did not matter all that much, then why would Paul have been so fervent, so uncompromising, in his letter? The truth is, of course, that what we believe and what we do matter greatly, especially in the whole question of the gospel.”
Does correct doctrine matter? Yes! Why? What is the importance of correct doctrine?
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2nd Corinthians 10:3-5
What is the central issue in the war between good and evil?
The truth about God—His character and methods of love, truth and freedom, thus doctrine is important AS it reveals truth about God that ultimately wins us back to trust in God!
What did the war start over in heaven?
How did Satan get Adam and Eve to rebel? What issue?
Let’s ask some clarifying questions:
What does it mean to be saved? Does it mean a legal declaration or a restoration to righteousness, an actual regeneration of heart, mind, character to be like Christ, which results in immortality?
Can a person be saved who holds to fear, selfishness and deceit? Why not?
- It would be like asking can a person be healed who insists on ingesting cyanide, or smoking, etc. why can’t they be healed?
Can a person claim to accept the legal payment of Jesus but still prefer the methods of coercion, fear, selfishness? Are such persons saved?
- Why not?—it would be like what they did to George Washington—when he had pneumonia the doctors said they were going to heal him and what did they do? They bled about half his body blood to get rid of the evil humors—the doctors claimed to have the remedy, but they didn’t in fact what they did was make his condition worse. This is what happens in the false legal model. The pastors and theology professors who hold it are like the doctors treating George Washington—those doctors really wanted to cure Washington, they were doing what they thought was right, but in reality it was NOT right and thus they harmed while trying to do good. This is what the legal penal model of salvation does, harms while claiming to do good.
Can a person have their characters renewed such that selfishness is replaced with other-centered love, but have never heard the message of Scripture? (Romans 2:12-14)
Can a person be saved while rejecting the methods of God? No!
Can a person be saved who doesn’t worship on Sabbath? Yes!
- Now remember we are talking about the importance of right doctrine, what is its importance—to bring us back to a trust relationship with God such that we are renewed in heart to be like Jesus—can that happen for people who don’t worship on Sabbath?
Can a person be saved who is never baptized by water? Yes!
Can a person be saved who never joins a Christian church? Yes!
Can a person be saved who believes in immortality of the soul? Yes!
Can a person be saved who believes in eternal burning hell? Yes!
Can a person be saved who doesn’t believe in the Trinity? Yes!
Can a person be saved who doesn’t believe in six days of creation? Yes!
Can a person be saved who doesn’t partake communion or practice foot-washing ceremony? Yes!
Can a person be saved who rejects love, truth, freedom, who values lies, coercion, selfishness—regardless of what religion they are, or what blood payments they claim? No!
What do we learn from this? What is the importance of doctrine?
Doctrines are important as they enlighten and inform us of reality—which originates and centers upon God, who is the source of reality—the Creator. If we have doctrines that are disconnected from God, that stand alone as tests of orthodoxy, then we actually obstruct the saving truth that Christ came to bring.
So, let’s examine some doctrines and ask what do they tell us about God?
1. Holy Scriptures—the doctrine that the Old and New Testaments are inspired by God and contain the information necessary for salvation.
- What does this doctrine tell us about God?
- God communicates with us, provides us with evidence to refute the lies told about Him, as well as explanation of our circumstance, how reality works, His plan to heal and fix what is wrong with us and how we can cooperate with Him for salvation. Which says what about God?
- Why would God take the time to explain things to us?
- Does this mean God wants our understanding and agreement?
- What does this say about God? What kind of God wants agreement?
- Why didn’t God just say get in line and obey or else?
- Helpful—ideas, truths, wisdom, primarily about God, His character, design, and methods in contrast to Satan and his methods are communicated. The ideas and truths are what is important, the specific words are not special, magic, inspired and thus the Greek and Hebrew can be replaced with English or other languages as long as the truths are retained.
- Harmful—words are inspired and must be taken literally; it is instruction manual of needs to be done and sins to be shunned. We are not to ask questions or think, merely to believe and do what it says. Only King James is acceptable.
- Helpful—God is love, love is other-centered, outward moving. The smallest number that exists to have genuine other centered love is three. Love cannot exist in a singularity, two can be narcissistically reinforcing, but three requires self-sacrifice for the other two. God is love and the Trinity is evidence of this reality. All three are equal in character, ability, eternity.
- Harmful—There is a hierarchical difference between the Godhead, or there is no Trinity. One being dominates and governs all other beings.
- Helpful—God is Creator and designed life to operate in harmony with His own character of love. We see love in nature in all the protocols of giving upon which life is constructed. Yet all nature groans under the weight of sin and thus we see disease and defect, not of God’s design or origin, but due to violations of God’s design and all such defects will one day be eliminated by God.
- Harmful—God didn’t create directly in six literal days but used evolutionary forces over millions of years with the strong killing the weak to eventually evolve humans to the point we are today. What kind of being would God be if this were true? (Certain Christians hold to this view because they still cling to imposed law models of right and wrong. Thus they have no problem with a god who is the source of death.)
- What does it say about God that we have freedom to choose?
- What does our ability to love, to procreate say about God?
- What about or mortality—what does it say about God?
- Helpful—man was created mortal with conditional immortality pending development of a perfect sinless character of love
- Harmful—man was created immortal unconditionally—what would it say about God if God created human beings immortal in Eden—He either doesn’t have foreknowledge (or even good anticipatory skills), or is sadistic and unloving
5. Great Controversy
- What kind of a God would allow questions to arise and give liberty to rebel?
6. Life, Death, Resurrection of Christ
- What is revealed about God in the life of Jesus?
- Helpful—Jesus partook of humanity in order to reveal the truth that destroys Satan’s lies and wins us to trust, destroy the infection of fear and selfishness, develop a perfect human character by restoring God’s design (law) of love into the species human and thereby carry humanity to perfection and becoming the source of salvation for all who trust and obey Him. All of this in accordance with God’s will. God was in the Son reconciling the world to himself.
- Harmful—God was angry His law was broken and was required by law to kill the breakers of His law, so Jesus came in order for God to kill Him so that the legal penalty could be paid and God wouldn’t have to kill us. Jesus now stands between us and God working to keep God from killing us.
- Helpful—water baptism is a symbol of the immersion of the heart, mind, character into God—where fear and selfishness, sin, guilt, shame are washed away and we are renewed to be like Christ by the cleansing waves of truth and love emanating from God, revealed and fulfilled in Christ and distributed by the Holy Spirit
- Harmful—water baptism is a legal requirement and the water baptism itself provides saving benefit
- Helpful—bread and wine are reminders to us of Christ and what He provides for our salvation, healing, nurturing and growth. Just as bread and wine provide nutrients to the body which become part of the cells of our bodies, so Jesus is the Word made flesh, the source of all truth. As we ingest into our minds the truth it dispels the lies and becomes the building blocks of ideas, concepts, perspectives, beliefs that form our mindsets and result in our hearts moving from distrust of God to trust. When we trust God we open the heart and God pours His love into our hearts, this is symbolized by the wine, which is the blood, which is the life, which is the perfect character of Christ, which we receive as a gift and we actually experience new motives, desires, in harmony with God. (The bread and wine symbol is to be more than a ceremony but to remind us just as our body needs daily nutrition by ingesting bread and wine so our minds/hearts need daily nutrition by ingesting the truth and love that comes from Jesus. So at every meal we are to be reminded of and partake of Jesus!)
- Harmful—the bread and wine are either magical or legal, they magically transform to the literal flesh and blood of Jesus and by taking them they magically do something to make us acceptable to God; or they are a legal requirements that we must partake in order for Jesus to go to the Father in our behalf and pay the legal payment to God so God won’t punish us.
9. Law of God
- Helpful—God’s laws are design protocols upon which life is constructed, deviations are destructive to the deviant. God has been working through Christ to restore humanity back into harmony with God and His design (law). God like a loving parent, added laws (10 Commandments, Levitical laws) to educate, diagnose, protect, and lead, but never as a means of salvation i.e. healing because the law cannot fix what is wrong.
- Harmful—God’s law functions no differently that human law, a system of imposed rules requiring legal adjudication and infliction of imposed punishments. Therefore God is the righteous judge who hold legal court and investigates records to determine guilt, innocence and length of punishment and then God uses His power to inflict pain, suffering and death on the legally guilty.
- Helpful—Sabbath is a sign, an evidence, a proof of God’s character of love, created in the context of an assault on His right to rule—rather than using power to force His way, God created a day for freedom to think. The Sabbath is evidence of design law, creation, how reality is built to operate. And all who model themselves after God and Christ present the truth in love and leave others free—which is what the Sabbath evidences.
- Harmful—the Sabbath is an arbitrary test of obedience, just observing this day as a weekly religious day of observance makes one right with God, and working on this day ensures one is condemned to hell.
11. Christ’s Ministry in the Heavenly Sanctuary
- Helpful—The entire OT sanctuary system of rituals and rites were symbolic representations of God’s plan, through Christ, to heal and restore human beings back into His original perfection. Thus Christ is in heaven directing all the agencies at His disposal to heal and cleanse the Spirit temple from sinfulness
- Harmful—There is a building in heaven in which Jesus presents blood, smoke and His sacrifice to the Father pleading the Father not to hurt us. In this process records of bad deeds are being removed from record books in heaven or amounts of time of inflicted pain and suffering in the fires of hell are being registered against those who have not accepted Jesus’ legal payment for their sins
Do we understand all doctrine is only important as it informs us of reality—of who God is, how His designs (laws) work, what happens when we break His designs (laws) and how God through Christ works to fix (save/heal) His creation and how we can participate in His healing plan?
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