Pick up the Ellen White notes on In the Crucible with Christ,
and the companion book for this quarter on
our index page for this quarter.
Also see some good reads on the Resource Page for these lessons.
Sabbath School Lesson Begins
The Book of Luke
Lesson 7 May 9-15
Read for This Week's Study: Luke 2:25-32, John 16:5-7, Luke 23:46, Luke 11:1-4, Matt. 7:21-23, Luke 11:9-13.
So I say to you, ask, and it will be
given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to
you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him
who knocks it will be opened (Luke 11:9-10,
Of the three synoptic Gospels, Luke speaks more often than do the others about Jesus' relationship to the Holy Spirit. While Matthew refers to the Spirit 12 times and Mark does so six times, Luke has 17 references in his Gospel and 57 in the book of Acts. From the conception of Jesus into humanity (Luke 1:35) to the directive establishing His global mission (Luke 24:44-49), Luke sees an operational link between Jesus and the Holy Spirit. The link is basic to understanding the ministry of our Savior. Likewise, Luke shows the importance of prayer in Jesus' life and mission. Fully divine, equal with the Father and the Spirit, Jesus in His humanity left us an example in regard to prayer.
If Jesus saw the need for prayer, how much more must we need it?
Without unceasing prayer and diligent watching we are
in danger of growing careless and of deviating from the right path. The
adversary seeks continually to obstruct the way to the mercy seat, that
we may not by earnest supplication and faith obtain grace and power to
resist temptation.-Ellen G. White, Steps
to Christ, p. 95.
Study this week's lesson to prepare for Sabbath, May 16.
Sunday May 10
As a Gentile convert and a missionary companion of the apostle Paul, Luke viewed the entire Christological entrance into history-from Jesus' incarnation to His ascension and to the spread of the church-as a divine wonder brought about and guided by the Holy Spirit. In Jesus' life we see the whole Godhead at work in our redemption (Luke 3:21-22); and, through his constant references to the Holy Spirit, Luke emphasizes this point.
What do the following verses tell us about the role of the Holy Spirit in Christ's coming here in human flesh? Luke 1:35,41; 2:25-32.
Jesus' mission began with several references to the Holy
Spirit. According to Luke, John the Baptist predicted that although he
baptized with water, the One who would follow him would baptize with
the Spirit (Luke 3:16).
At Jesus' baptism, both the Father and the Holy
Spirit affirmed the authenticity of His redemptive mission. God the
Father declared from above that Christ is His beloved Son sent to
redeem humankind, while the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form
of a dove (Luke 3:21-22).
From then on Jesus was
filled with the Holy Spirit (Luke 4:1,
NKJV) and ready to take
on the foe in the desert, as well as to begin His ministry (Luke 4:14).
The opening words of His Nazareth sermon were an application
of Isaiah's Messianic prophecy to Himself:
The Spirit of the
Lord is upon Me (Luke 4:18,
NKJV). The Spirit was His constant
companion, His affirming strength, and His abiding presence among His
followers when Jesus would no longer be in their midst (John
16:5-7). Not only that,
Jesus promised that God would give the gift of the Spirit to those who
ask for it (Luke 11:13).
The Spirit that ever linked Christ to His
Father and the redemptive mission is the same Spirit that would
strengthen the disciples in their journey of faith. Hence, the crucial
importance of the Spirit in Christian life: indeed, blasphemy against
the Holy Spirit is the gravest of all sins (Luke 12:10).
What are concrete, practical ways we can open ourselves to the leading of the Holy Spirit? That is, how can we be careful that our choices are not in any way hardening us to His voice?
Monday May 11
Among the many times that Jesus prayed, some are recorded only in Luke. Note the following incidents that show Jesus in prayer during great moments in His life.
A new and important era was opening before Him. He was now, upon a wider stage, entering on the conflict of His life.-Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 111. He dared not begin that wider stage of His public ministry-which would take Him eventually to Calvary's cross-without prayer.
Their office was the most important to which human beings had ever been called, and was second only to that of Christ Himself.- Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 291.
was alone praying,and then after that He challenged them with the crucial question:
Who do you say that I am?(Luke 9:20, NKJV).
beloved Son.Trials thus far, and trials to come, could not change the closest affinity between the Father and the Son. The prayer also resulted in the disciples becoming
eyewitnesses of His majesty(2 Pet. 1:16, NKJV).
Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit,(NKJV) Jesus gives us the ultimate purpose of prayer. At birth or at death, before enemies or friends, while asleep or awake, prayer must keep us in permanent linkage with God.
What do these examples tell you about your own prayer life?
Tuesday May 12
Read Luke 11:1-4. How do these verses help us to understand how prayer works?
Father is Christ's favorite way of
describing God and is so recorded at least 170 times in the four
Gospels. In addressing God as our Father, we acknowledge that God is a
Person, capable of the most intimate relationship with humans. God is
as personal, as real, as loving, and as caring as a human father. But
He is the Father in heaven. He is different from our earthly father,
for He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and perfectly holy.
Father in heaven forever
reminds us that God is holy and personal and that Christianity is
neither a mere philosophic idea nor a pantheistic notion of a god who
Hallowed be Your name (Luke 11:2,
NKJV). Here we have another reminder of the holiness
and sacredness of God. Those who claim to follow the Lord must sanctify
His name in word and deed. To claim to follow Him and yet to sin
against Him is to defile that name. The words of Jesus in Matthew
7:21-23 can help us better understand what it
means to hallow God's
Your kingdom come (Luke 11:2,
NKJV). The Gospels refer to the kingdom of God more
than 100 times: nearly 40 in Luke, nearly 50 in Matthew, 16 in Mark,
and 3 in John. It is what Jesus came to reveal and establish, both in
the present reality of the kingdom of grace and in the future promise
of the kingdom of glory. Without entering the first kingdom, there
would be no entry into the second, and it is the Savior's wish that His
disciples should experience the first in anticipation of the second.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven
will of God is recognized and obeyed in heaven. Jesus takes that fact
and converts it into a hope that such will be the case on earth, as
On earth suggests not generality but
particularity. Let the will of God be done on earth, but let it begin
with us, with each one of us personally.
Do you know the Lord, or just about Him? In what ways can your prayer life draw you closer to Him?
Wednesday May 13
Give us day by day our daily bread (Luke 11:3,
NKJV). The petition
begins with the word give. Whether the word comes from the lips of a
millionaire or an orphan in perpetual want, the prayer is at once an
expression of dependence and acknowledgment of trust. We are all
dependent on God, and the imperative plea,
forces us to recognize that God is the source of all gifts. He is the
Creator. In Him we live, move, and have our being.
It is He
who has made us, and not we ourselves (Ps. 100:3,
God is the Father who gives us all that we need. In light of this promise, what grand assurance can you find in Luke 11:9-13?
Forgive us our sins (Luke 11:4,
NKJV). The prayer to forgive as
forgive (Luke 11:4,
emphasizes the fact that if we truly have accepted God's forgiveness
into our hearts, we will be ready and willing to forgive others also.
Logically it also follows that if we do not forgive others, then we
have not really accepted God's forgiveness (Matt. 6:14).
forgiveness is not merely a judicial act by which He sets us free from
condemnation. It is not only forgiveness for sin, but reclaiming from
sin. It is the outflow of redeeming love that transforms the heart.-Ellen
G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of
Blessing, p. 114. Therefore, as
disciples of Christ, we have the joy of living within the widening
circle of divine grace-receiving God's benevolence on the one hand as
well as extending His love and forgiveness to others who may have
Do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us
facts need to be noted. First, temptation is not sin. The Greek word
temptation is peirasmos. Greek nouns that end
in -asmos normally describe a process, not a product. The Scriptures do
not look at temptation as a finished product; it is a method, a process
used to achieve a particular product. Although temptation is not sin,
yielding to it is. Second, God is not the author of temptation (James
1:13). God may allow temptations
to come, but He never
tempts in the
sense of alluring one to sin. The prayer, therefore, is recognition
that God is the source of ultimate strength to resist the evil one.
Review Luke 11:1-4. Think about all the issues it covers. In what ways can your experience with each of these issues be enriched and deepened through prayer?
Thursday May 14
Immediately after giving His disciples a model prayer, Jesus taught them, through the parable of a friend at midnight (Luke 11:5-13), the need for persistent prayer. Then, as He neared the end of His ministry, He reminded His followers of the need for penitence and humility in prayer (Luke 18:9-14). Both of these parables show that prayer is not just a religious routine, but a persistent walking, talking, and living with the Father.
Read Luke 11:5-8. Jesus told this parable to encourage perseverance in prayer. Prayer should not become a routine. Instead, prayer should be the foundation of a relationship-of absolute, persistent, and continual reliance on God. Prayer is the breath of the soul: without it, we are spiritually dead. Jesus tells the parable of a neighbor who refuses to be neighborly. The continuous pleas of his friend for a loaf of bread to meet a midnight emergency go in vain. But finally, even such a neighbor gives up and yields to the persistence of the continuous midnight knocks. How much more would God be toward someone persistent in prayer? Such persistence is not to change God's mind but to strengthen our trust.
Read Luke 18:9-14. What's the crucial lesson here about prayer?
The Pharisee expected God to endorse him on the basis of what he had done, his works of righteousness. The publican threw himself at God's mercy and pleaded for acceptance on the basis of God's grace. God's acceptance comes to us not on the basis of who or what we are but through His grace alone. Only those who are penitent, humble, and broken in spirit can receive that grace.
Meekness and lowliness are the conditions of success
and victory. A crown of glory awaits those who bow at the foot of the
cross.-Ellen G. White, Prophets
and Kings, p. 590.
People who have not known the Lord tend to compare themselves to those who are, supposedly, worse than they are, all in order to convince themselves that they are not so bad. Why is that such a spiritual deception? What does it matter if others are worse than we are?
Friday May 15
The soul that turns to God for its
help, its support, its power, by daily, earnest prayer, will have noble
aspirations, clear perceptions of truth and duty, lofty purposes of
action, and a continual hungering and thirsting after righteousness. By
maintaining a connection with God, we shall be enabled to diffuse to
others, through our association with them, the light, the peace, the
serenity, that rule in our hearts. The strength acquired in prayer to
God, united with persevering effort in training the mind in
thoughtfulness and care-taking, prepares one for daily duties and keeps
the spirit in peace under all circumstances.-Ellen G. White,
Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing,
In calling God our Father, we recognize all His
children as our brethren. We are all a part of the great web of
humanity, all members of one family. In our petitions we are to include
our neighbors as well as ourselves. No one prays aright who seeks a
blessing for himself alone.-Thoughts
From the Mount of
Blessing, page 105.
are endued with power from on high(Luke 24:49, NKJV) before they could go to the ends of the earth with the message of the crucified and risen Savior. Luke then begins the book of Acts with Jesus repeating the promise of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:7-8) and the promise being fulfilled at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-47). What does all this tell us about the central role of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church?
Wherever Song Sungsub goes, people follow-sometimes with stares, other times with their feet-and that’s OK with him because he has a message to share.
The idea began when I was distributing literature door-to-door, Sungsub explains.
We can give [the literature], but of course some people just throw it out.
One day, Sungsub came up with an idea-
I wanted people to see the
truth, so my strategy was to come up with a way for them to immediately
see the heart of the Three Angels’ Messages-the Sabbath.
Sungsub contacted a local advertising company, and designed a
customized backpack advertising banner proclaiming in large yellow
letters on a blue background that the
Sabbath Day = Saturday = Seventh-day. The banner included more details surrounding the main message.
Sungsub wears his backpack banner as he rides his bicycle to and from work each day. He also often takes it for a walk in the park, and has been happily surprised with the response.
When people see the banner, they are curious and they read it
with a loud voice. There are always people around, and they talk about
the words on the banner.
The Sabbath is an important message, a testing truth. There are many ways to spread this message, but this is my strategy, Sungsub says.
In thinking about his unique form of evangelizing, Sungsab had
two biblical examples in mind: 1) Jonah, who was sent to walk around a
large city, proclaiming the need for repentance, and 2) the children of
Israel who were a silent witness as they marched around Jericho.
The idea, he said,
is that in this way I will be able to proclaim the Sabbath truth effectively and conveniently.
When he first started wearing the Sabbath banner, Sungsab worried
that people might feel negative towards him, or judged. Instead, he was
delighted to learn that many were very interested in his message.
One day I took the subway while wearing the banner, and one person was following me. Finally he stated,
I know this is truth. Is there a church that keeps the Sabbath day?
Another time Sungsab was walking with his banner through a park on Sabbath afternoon when he was approached by two couples.
Oh, you must be from the Seventh-day Adventist Church, they told him.
We haven’t attended church in a long time. Where is the church? We have been looking for one!
In addition to adults, children are always happy and intrigued to see the
banner man, and will frequently follow him for as long as they are allowed by their parents to do so
Sometimes people ask me how I can survive carrying this banner around, Sungsab admits.
heart isn’t brave enough, and I need to behave very well because I’m
carrying this important message. And my mind should be peaceful, so I
pray and pray-then I feel at peace and filled with the Holy Spirit’s
power. I find this to be very much a character changing/building
And the idea is catching on. Recently an elder in Sungsab’s church asked for a copy of the banner’s design.
I feel very happy, says Sungsab.
I am seeking lost
sheep. My strategy is: Just one glance, and it’s forever recorded in
their mind. And whenever people ask, I share some literature with them.
This is like a pilot project-who knows what will be the results?
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