Dr. Bauer Discusses Grace and Faith at District Meeting
Note: audio recordings of the meetings were done by the Graysville church and should be posted on their web site soon.
Laurelbrook Sabbath services on September 12, 2015 were part of a district-wide church meeting at the Graysville Seventh-day Adventist Church in the one-time Southern Adventist University town of Graysville, Tennessee. The Sabbath School program was mostly done by members of the Graysville church.
Following are some thoughts from the Sabbath School program:
Following are some thoughts from the lesson study on Paul’s missionary work by Pastor Cory Pittman of the Brayton church:
- If each person told one person about Christ each day and that person told someone else, Christ would come very soon because the whole world would be warned.
- A lot of familiar attitudes will be left behind when we leave this earth for heaven – anger, jealousy, lying, stealing, idolatry, Sabbath-breaking.
- Praise to God and thankfulness, God’s style of music, self-control, gentleness, faithfulness, and goodness we all be taking to heaven.
- Jesus came to our world to reveal what a man can do through God’s power.
- Prayer and Bible study are the only things that will get us through the Time of Trouble.
The church service began with announcements about various items dealing with the weekend’s special services. If people wish audio recordings of the meetings, these will be available if you sign up for them. Laurelbrook’s music department provided special music for several of the meetings. There will be a meeting here at 2:30 this afternoon. There will be a meeting at 10:30 a.m. tomorrow in the Graysville church to evaluate the weekend’s meetings and plan future possible meetings.
- Pastor Pittman was brought into the Adventist church by a black Adventist from a Michigan Adventist church in a racially tense area in 1963 at a time when the civil rights movement was reaching its climax.
- Saul of Tarsus was about as resistant to Christianity as any person could be. Saul was highly educated, a strict Jew, and a Roman citizen.
- Acts 7:59-60 “59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon [God], and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. 60 And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.”
- Acts 8:1-3 “1 ¶ And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 And devout men carried Stephen [to his burial], and made great lamentation over him. 3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed [them] to prison.”
- Note Saul’s work persecuting the church. The Jerusalem church was scattered, leading to witnessing in a wide range of areas.
- Saul was choleric, task-oriented, and dedicated to destroying all in the way of what he felt must be done.
- God takes people with certain inherited gifts and, when they are converted, refines those gifts to His glory.
- Acts 9:3 “And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:”
- With his persecuting work, Saul was persecuting Jesus Himself. We have to be careful how we treat fellow Adventists despite their attitudes.
- God offered Saul grace despite his past and his persecuting zeal. God will now use a man who could reason with both Jews and Gentiles due to his background.
- God may have not given Saul (Paul) his entire vision back, keeping him dependent on God as a partly disabled person.
- Annias has a problem dealing with Saul the persecutor.
- Matthew 7:13 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide [is] the gate, and broad [is] the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:”
- The secular world sees Christians as totally out of place today, not needed in the public marketplace or society. You are a Christian first.
- Now Paul has a holy boldness, preaching Jesus as the Son of God instead of arresting the Christian believers.
- The first place Paul usually went on entering a new area was a synagogue where he reasoned with the Jews.
- Sometimes we can be so bold in defending the truth that we turn people off.
- Galatians 6:14 “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
- God can take people who seemingly not receptive and who are seemingly locked into the world’s way of thinking and make them some of the best Christians ever.
The scripture reading was Romans 6:12-14 “12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members [as] instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.”
The Blessed Hope, a quartet from the Graysville church, had special music, singing about the empty tomb on the garden.
Dr. Stephen Bauer, a religion professor from Southern Adventist University, was the featured speaker. Following are some notes from his presentation:
- Ellen White, Mount of Blessing, says that people often make up laws and rules to force themselves to obey God’s laws and rules. This turns the mind away from God’s way and makes people self-centered judges and spies.
- One church didn’t seem to be effective because they were buried in a war of minding others’ business.
- People complained to the conference about his ministry two months before it began.
- But the situation changed when people started to realize that the real question was how close the members were to Jesus’ nature instead of how close members were to people’s ideals of what people should be.
- One alcoholic pianist came to church, looking for help to quit alcohol.
- Fred’s real problem was that he was a slave to sin. All are slaves to sin because we are born slaves to sin.
- The Gentiles rebelled because they didn’t see God’s Law in nature, the Jews because of their view of the Law.
- We are wired to sin. We sin because we are sinners and slaves.
- Romans 7:14 “For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.”
- When you are a slave to sin, you cannot make an effectual choice to not sin.
- Why did Fred come to church? To find a way out of his dilemma.
- Jew and Gentile have the same problem, but the same solution is faith. Just believing in Christ’s atoning merits doesn’t change lives.
- Romans says that the “just shall live by faith”. This phrase is used three times in the New Testament. You get your entrance to heaven by believing.
- In Hebrews, the opposite of living by faith is shrinking back. The Christian must persevere by faith. Lifestyle choices are made choice, not by faith.
- Noah made a choice to build an ark, Abraham a choice to go to Canaan.
- Faith is believing in a promise of God about something you cannot change but act as though you can change. Then God takes over and makes the promise a reality.
- Romans 5 and 6 says that the first Adam brought a universal power set into this world – sin. The second Adam brings another power set – grace and salvation.
- Grace is a reigning power like sin but a more potent power than sin. Thus faith moves us from being under sin to being under grace.
- Paul speaks in Rome 6 as though victory over a sin is an accomplished fact. Romans 6:11 “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
- Christ dies in a condition where he was constrained by the human life but comes up after death in another condition where God is in charge. After baptism, we must reckon ourselves dead to sin.
- Hebrews says we may be a new creature but don’t have to feel like a new creature. We don’t have to feel new when we become new creatures. We trust what God says more than what we feel.
- We have a whole book of the Bible – Psalms – that talks about feeling. But ultimately David is driven by faith, not feeling.
- We have to believe we are new creatures even if we don’t feel like it.
- Romans 6:12 “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”
- Stop acting like you are under sin. Romans 6:13 “Neither yield ye your members [as] instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God.”
- Sin won’t rule over you for salvation, but you are under grace and keep the Law, empowering us to keep the Law because we are under the right slave master – Jesus Christ.
- People don’t like yielding. We want to do more.
- We don’t have to fight sin; we only have to yield to Christ. We will lose if we try to fight sin ourselves.
- If you yield to the Heavenly Father and let Him make the decision, you will have victory, letting someone in authority do the arguing.
- We think we need to do something so we can get some of the credit for it.
- Faith Paul says comes by hearing, the preferred way that the illiterate people could get ideas from God’s Word.
- Today faith comes by reading during your devotional life. The stories in the Bible give you practical ways to let God work in your life. When you do this and feel like you are stepping into a black hole, you feel a hand – God’s hand – holding you up.
- Abraham didn’t make contingency plans when Sarah was too old to bear a child.
- Ephesians 6 talks about the armor of God, which we may or may not know about. “17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;”
- Note that one edge of the sword is intercessory prayer for others. This keeps us from focusing on ourselves. Specifically make it prayer for souls we want to bring to Christ – and the people like the pastor. You are prayer bombing Satan’s kingdom when you do this.
- Pray for yourself during your devotional time, not during the battle with Satan during the day.
- The church labored for Fred. One church member turned out to be an alcohol rehab counselor who managed to get Fred to realize that she could help him. Finally, it came down to Fred wanting to always feel good.
- Alcohol was Fred’s sin that he used to make himself feel good.
- Until you are willing to suffer for Jesus by not feeling good, you are not being able to overcome your sin. Are you willing to have the bad feelings and suffer for it?
- When he finally checked in, his blood alcohol level was that of a person nearly unconscious.
- Then after rehab, he was taken to a self-supporting ministry at Poland Springs where he could be supported in his resolution for a new life. He had small binges of alcohol for six months. Eventually he married and went to a dark area to start a church.
- We are a new creature by faith, not by feeling.