Friday, January 3, 2014

"Disciples and Scripture"

Sabbath School Today
With the 1888 Message Dynamic 
Lesson 1: "Disciples and Scripture"

These new lessons on "Discipleship" are rich in Scripture and Spirit of Prophecy, worthy of prayer and study throughout this new quarter.
Make a choice at the beginning as you open the Lesson Book that you will respond to the wooing of the Holy Spirit when He appeals to you to read the Word that is the heart of the lessons themselves.
The Bible is the Book that the Lord intends we shall not only read faithfully, but mark it in ways that the accompanying Holy Spirit may indicate to us, so that your Bible becomes a personal book to you, reminding you of precious moments you have enjoyed alone with Jesus.
Thus your personal Bible will be one like nobody else's--it will be a part of you. The Word will become "flesh" in you--a miracle related to what John 1:14 describes, "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten [Son] of the Father)"!
Just to make payments on the house and the car and provide for the bills and vacations and recreation, all this keeps us working almost night and day. The children must have better opportunities than we had when we were kids; there just doesn't seem to be time to "search the scriptures daily" to see if anything is really true. We are just busy doing our duty!
We don't read that Jesus condemns busy people, but for sure, He feels for them, He is concerned, for they are in danger. As kindly as He can find words to express His concern He says: "Be careful not to let yourselves become occupied ... with the worries of this life, or that Day may suddenly catch you like a trap. ... Be on watch and pray always that you will have the strength to go safely through all those things ..." (Luke 21:34-36, Good News Bible).
Ellen G. White wrote some serious words: "True love for Jesus will lead to the most close and earnest inquiry as to what is truth. ... He who is too indolent to make anxious, prayerful search for truth, will be left to receive errors which shall prove the ruin of his soul." [1] There is no need to be caught in that "trap." Jesus was busier than you or I have ever been, but the Father woke Him up early each morning to study and to pray (Isa. 50:4, 5). The important difference between Him and us is that He did not "rebel." Remember, He takes the initiative in maintaining a "relationship" with you, as the Father did with Jesus. You too can respond to His initiative. Study and learn, "daily." Don't "rebel."
"New Light" or "Old Light"? Is the light of the Revelation 18 message "new light" or "old light"? In one sense it is indeed "old light" because Solomon says, "there is no new thing under the sun." Even Jesus did not teach "new light." But by any human standard of evaluation His message was "precious new light" for this dark world! "As something strange and new, [Christ's] words fall upon the ears of the wondering multitude." [2] Ellen White often says virtually the same regarding Jones' and Waggoner's message.
For nearly a long time there has been an obsession with the idea that the 1888 message was not "new light" but was merely a re-emphasis of what the Protestant churches taught in the 19th century. Yet Ellen White never identified it as a "re-emphasis," and such a position requires logically that the Protestant churches taught "the third angel's message in verity."
No generation of God's people have ever been translated without seeing death; never before has "the harvest of the earth" been "ripe" for the Saviour's sickle. It was the Lord's intention that the 1888 message prepare a people for translation and for the harvest. Would that not require that the message be more mature and developed than any previous generation had ever perceived?
The true question remains: will the light of the loud cry message contain truths not enunciated by Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Moody, Spurgeon, Billy Graham, etc.--even by the Apostle Paul?
While Ellen White says that Luther taught justification by faith "clearly," she also states that he did not proclaim the full gospel as it must yet be proclaimed, for "this message is a part of the gospel which could be proclaimed only in the last days. ... The Reformers did not proclaim it." [3] If the Reformers did not proclaim that full gospel, did they have all the light?
It is proper therefore to recognize that the message that is to prepare the grain for harvest must include "a part of the gospel" which the Reformers did not proclaim. "The gospel" is righteousness by faith, and the "third angel's message in verity" is the same. The light which the Reformers did not see and proclaim would obviously be "new light" so far as the people of 1888 were concerned.
Ellen White adds the shocking statement, "Paul, as we have seen, did not preach it." [4] Preach what? "A part of the gospel which could be proclaimed only in the last days." That "part of the gospel" is not cold mathematical calculations of the 2300 days. The genius of the 1888 message was its relation of justification by faith to the unique judgment hour truth of the cleansing of the sanctuary. [5]
She says that Jones and Waggoner "discovered the precious ore in the rich veins of truth ... that have been hidden for ages." [6] No "precious ore" is ever "new," because it is always old ore that has been buried in the earth since creation. But by all the standards of human communication, something "discovered" that the world has never seen before is "new."
Ellen White was impressed with this reality concerning Paul. She says that "great truths that have lain unheeded and unseen since the day of Pentecost, are to shine" in the future. [7] Since when? Luther's day? Paul's day? No. "Since the day of Pentecost." Therefore it follows logically that there are some "great truths" "of the gospel" that Paul did not teach, because the day of Pentecost preceded Paul's ministry.
Is there a "great truth" that shone clearly on the Day of Pentecost that even the apostle Paul did not preach? Speaking to that great crowd of thousands of people from many nations and languages, Peter boldly declared that they had crucified the Son of God: "Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36). A few days later he told them, "Ye denied the Holy One and the Just, ... and killed the Prince of life" (3:14, 15). Nothing in Paul's epistles is quite so strong, so directly confrontational!
What happened on the day of Pentecost? A repentance deeper than has ever been known. The murder of the Son of God is the greatest sin ever committed; repentance for that sin is the greatest a human heart can ever know. Do you think it might be possible that Peter's sermon applies to us today?
--Paul E. Penno

Endnotes (Ellen G. White):[1] Review and Herald, Feb. 8, 1881.
[2] Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 6 (italics supplied).
[3] The Great Controversy, p. 356.
[4] Ibid.
[5] cf. Early Writings, p. 254.
[6] Review and Herald, "The Darkness Comprehended It Not," June 3, 1890.
[7] Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 473.
Note: “Sabbath School Today” and Pastor Paul Penno’s video of this lesson are on the Internet at:
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