Sabbath School

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The Old Testament (OT) prophets repeatedly called upon literal Israel and the role it plays, as God’s chosen people to obey Him. Seventh-day Adventists believe that the OT prophecies and predictions given to literal Israel were based on the condition that they should obey God. However, the Bible gives numerous examples of how the Israelites disobeyed God and demonstrated disloyalty to Him instead. Disobedience is one of the causes that lead to disunity.

I was giving some Bible studies to a young man who wanted to know the reason for his faith. He had grown up in an Adventist home, had recently graduated from an Adventist school, but was still questioning why he believed what he believed. After our third meeting, he got up and said, “I don’t want any more studies. I don’t think this is for me.”

As he began walking away, I suddenly thought to ask, “During your life, have you ever encountered God’s love?” He looked at me quizzically for a moment, before answering, “no.” But his answer sounded more like a question.

“Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar” (Acts 27:24, ESV).

Paul’s nephew discovers the plot to kill Paul on his way to the Sanhedrin. He reports it to one of the centurions and then to the commander, who takes immediate action and transfers the apostle to Caesarea at night (Acts 23:12-23). Through his letter to the governor, we know the name of that commander; he is Claudius Lysias (Acts 23:24-30).

If you have been the victim of a fake news story, you can sympathize with Paul’s dilemma in Acts 21. He has risked his life to preach the Gospel in Athens, Corinth, and Ephesus, but when he arrives in Jerusalem with a substantial offering he has collected for Jewish church members, James and the church elders confront Paul with a rumor spreading among their church members:

So what really new can we say about Paul’s third missionary journey?

At some point in your life you probably had to memorize the stops on each of his trips around the Mediterranean. You may have played a board game about the details of those trips to while away the Sabbath hours when you were young.

Paul intellectualized the Gospel in Athens and failed. He de-intellectualized it in Corinth and succeeded. Beware of “higher education.” This is how many tell the story.

Drawing upon a variety of sources including her inspiration, Ellen White and those who helped her put together the book Acts of the Apostles, are among are among those who narrate it this way. Here are this book’s words:

Recently there have been debates, nationally and internationally. about culture and inclusivity.  Within the church itself there has been a push for unity and understanding.  In order to navigate the differing views and opinions, we search for templates, models of how things should be done.  Similarly, the early Christian church looked for templates and searched for rules of conduct. They found that template in the life of Christ and in His word.

Acts 10:34, NRSV: Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who does what is right is acceptable to him.”

I. Paul the Jew