Growing in ChristIntroduction
Daily Discussion Online
Email Discussion List
Everyone believes in something. Even those who claim to believe in nothing, or in nothing absolute, still believe in something (in this case, their relativism). Beliefs are important because they greatly impact how we live. For some Christians, however, more important than belief, or behavior, is belonging, a sense of community. Yet, community must be based on shared beliefs, shared goals, and common concerns.
For Seventh-day Adventists-people from almost every conceivable manifestation of humanity - what holds us together as a community are our "fundamental beliefs," all 28, which are foundational for growing in Christ and living as a community of faith in the light of eternity.
Some argue that what matters is our love of Christ, not doctrine. This sounds nice, but the Bible never separates a love for Christ from a love for the truth. We are told that by "speaking the truth in love," we may grow into Christ (Eph. 4:15, 16). Knowing doctrine is not mere accumulation of correct data; rather, knowing doctrine results in love for God (2 John 6-10). Furthermore, the Bible is concerned about "sound doctrine" because, among other things, it affects the ethical life (1 Tim. 1:9, 10; Titus 2:1-5).
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has a statement of 28 fundamental beliefs. These are not a creed, in the sense that one could not expect any further development of the truths expressed in them (or that even more teachings could be added). And though we must always be open to more light, a firm consensus on these beliefs is crucial to the unity and mission of the church. What has brought together millions of people from all over the world into a unified movement other than our shared doctrines?This quarter, then, we are going to focus on some of those teachings. Though we believe that all 28 are foundational and fundamental to our identity as Seventh-day Adventists, we cannot study them all in one quarter. But we do hope to present a systematic and coherent guide to some of these beliefs. Special attention will be given to belief Number 11, "Growing in Christ," accepted by the General Conference Session in St. Louis, Missouri, in 2005 (see lessons 5-7). This belief, in and of itself, didn't add new or previously unknown teaching; rather, in response to needs in certain parts of the world, it helps to clarify the church's understanding of God's power to give believers in Christ victory over the forces of evil. In fact, all the lessons this quarter will be framed within the context of the struggle between Christ and those forces of evil. It's what we call "the great controversy."
Within the great controversy motif, and directly related to it, salvation in Christ is the thread that runs through all our doctrines. The great controversy, and the issues it has generated, sets the stage for the plan of redemption, which underlies and permeates all 28 of our fundamental beliefs.
Doctrines, then, are not an end in and of themselves. They are a means to an end, and that end is Jesus and knowing Jesus for ourselves and growing in Him. Or, more subjectively, all 28 of our doctrines should lead us to a deeper understanding of what Jesus has done for us through the plan of salvation, which, in turn, should lead us to a deeper love of God and a life more committed to the revealing of that love to the world and to "principalities and powers in heavenly places" (Eph 3:10).
Yes, everyone believes in something. The goal of the quarter is to help us to not just believe in Truth (John 14:6), but to love Him even more and to grow in His grace.
Note: Both versions of our lessons display nicely on a small screen. Our "Mobile" version uses BibleGateway, which works better for some mobile devices. On the other hand, the main version, using Reftagger from Biblia.com works better for other mobile devices. So experiment and take your pick. (We'd also be really interested in what works best for you. Write to us through our "Contact" link and be sure to tell us with what device you are accessing our lessons.)
The Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide is prepared by the Office of the Adult Bible Study Guide of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. The preparation of the guides is under the general direction of the Sabbath School Publications Board, a subcommittee of the General Conference Administrative Committee (ADCOM), publisher of the Bible study guides. The published guide reflects the input of worldwide evaluation committees and the approval of the Sabbath School Publications Board and thus does not solely or necessarily represent the intent of the author(s).
Editorial Office: 12501 Old Columbia Pike, Silver Spring, MD 20904.
Sabbath School Study References
The Study References (formerly called "Helps") include all related Scripture and most EGW quotations. The "New King James Version" of the Bible is used with permission. The related Study References are linked from each lesson and a link to the whole quarter's Helps is provided on this page.
Did you know that you can find all manner of resources for teachers on our site? We offer Teaching Outlines, Thought Starters and links to seeing and hearing the lesson online a week or two ahead of time. See our Teacher Resources page.
Sabbath School Lesson Copyright 1996-2014 by the Office of the Adult Bible Study Guide,
General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. All Rights Reserved.
Published on this site by permission.
For questions and concerns about the Study Guide,
please contact the editor of the Bible Study Guide, Clifford Goldstein
All art in these lessons and on the cover are courtesy of GoodSalt.com.
We invite you to join a discussion of this lesson each day on the Sabbath School Net blog. And on Sabbath mornings, you are warmly invited to join a group discussion of the week's lesson in your local Seventh-day Adventist congregation.
You can help with the costs of keeping Sabbath School Net online by using our links to Amazon.com to buy anything from kitchen gadgets and sheets and blankets and fashion boots to Living Room Furniture.
Kindle Books are available instantly from most countries to read using the FREE Kindle Reading App on most mobile devices. Click here to get yours. (And Amazon will pay us $1 for every new download.) By using our links, you will get great deals, and we will get a small advertising fee (6%-8%) to help pay for our web publishing expenses.
You can click on the images above or the text links below for a small sampling of what is offered in our SSNET Store.
(And you can always click through one of the links directly to Amazon.com):
The Book of James Adult Sabbath School Quarterly 4Q 2014
Sabbath School Lesson Comments By Ellen G. White - 4th Quarter 2014
Lesson companion book, The Practical Christian: Mouth, Money, and Mind
Faith and Works, by Ellen White
Andrews Study Bible by Andrews University Press
Questions and Answers about Women's Ordination, by Martin Hanna and Cindy Tutsch
In order to generate funds for hosting and other costs associated with this site, Sabbath School Net is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Thank you for using our links to help keep Sabbath School Net online.