Friday, September 9, 2016

Lesson 11. Jesus Bade Them "Follow Me"

Sabbath School Today

With the 1888 Message Dynamic

The Role of the Church in the Community 

Lesson 11. Jesus Bade Them "Follow Me"


In this week's lesson we find the New Covenant, the whole gospel, the everlasting covenant--the centerpiece of the 1888message. It's one sentence in Sunday's lesson: "They Know His Voice." The fourth paragraph says, "When we, His body, set selfishness aside and take on the nature of a servant, letting Him live out His life within us, others will be drawn to the call of the Christ in us." No truer statement could be made!

The lesson points out the difference between the Old and New Covenants. Elder E. J. Waggoner, one of the 1888"messengers," writes about this: "The difference between the two covenants may be put briefly thus: ... In the one case it is what we can do; in the other case it is what the Spirit of God can do. ... Is it to be our own doing, so that the reward shall not be of grace but of debt? or is it to be God working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure?" [1]

To follow Christ is to take every word of scripture and believe those words as coming from the Creator and Redeemer of our race. The power that created us is also the power that redeemed us, therefore creation and redemption are the same thing. [2] The apostle Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that if "anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation." Being "in Christ" is a given since before time began, but God Himself willed that we know that His mystery is Christ in us, the hope of glory.

So much could be included in this essay, but space prohibits, so only a few gems from Scripture, Ellen G. White, and the 1888 "messengers," E. J. Waggoner and A. T. Jones, will be given to whet the appetite for more personal study.

"Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me'" (Matt. 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23). To follow Christ as He bids us to involves: (1) a desire to come after Him; (2) a denial of self; (3) a taking up of His cross; and (4) following Him.

Waggoner writes: "There is only one actual cross in the world, and that is the cross of Jesus Christ. "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me." We have often thought we were denying self, when we were only building self up; we were putting ourselves in the place of Christ. ... The failure with many people is that they make a distinction between the cross of Christ and their own crosses. There is no cross that comes to any person on earth, except the cross of Christ. If we will always remember this, it will be life and joy to us. ... The Lord does not give us some crosses of our own,--little crosses adapted to different ones,--one having one cross and another another. We cannot separate Christ from His cross. Christ is crucified; He is the only crucified one; therefore whatever cross comes to us must be the cross of Christ; and that cross is with us continually. But in the cross of Christ we find Christ Himself." [3, condensed]

The Apostle Paul writes: "Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began" (Rom. 16:25; emphasis added). This secret he refers to is: "The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:26, 27). Note: this mystery is the Gospel and it is God's will that it be known. We are to pray asking for His will to be done.

The lesson points out that we are His body and the denial of self is accomplished through the cross. We are crucified with Him, and Christ in us will draw others to follow Him.

"I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me" (Gal. 2:20).

"Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?--unless indeed you are disqualified" (2 Cor. 13:5).

"Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?" "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God" (1 Cor. 3:16; 1 Cor. 6:19). Note: We know that the Holy Spirit was given to bring Christ to all men and here we see that it is gives it so: "That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; ... that you may be filled with all the fullness of God" (Eph. 3:17-19).

Ellen G. White:
"A large number who claim to believe the present truth, know not what constitutes the faith that was once delivered to the saints--Christ in you the hope of glory. They think they are defending the old landmarks, but they are lukewarm and indifferent." [4]

"Souls that have borne the likeness of Satan have been transformed into the image of God. The change is itself the miracle of miracles. A change wrought by the Word, it is one of the deepest mysteries of the Word. We cannot understand it; we can only believe, that, as declared by the Scriptures, it is "Christ in you, the hope of glory." A knowledge of this mystery furnishes a key to every other. It opens to the soul the treasures of the universe, the possibilities of infinite development. [5]

"The incarnation of Jesus Christ, the divine son of God, "Christ in you, the hope of glory," is the great theme of the gospel.[6]

A. T. Jones:
"Paul wrote to the Galatians who had fallen away from Christ: "My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you" (Gal. 4:19). The Christ within is what they had lost. To the experience of Christ within they must be restored, or they were lost. And this is simply the gospel, which, in itself, is "Christ in you, the hope of glory" (Col. 1:27). [7]

E. J. Waggoner:
"The question for everyone is, "Do you know that Christ lives in you? Are you joined to Him?" There are many who are workers for Him professedly, who dare not say that Christ lives in them; they do not know that Christ is one with them." [8]

"By what life are we saved?--By the life of Christ, and He has but one. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever" (Heb. 13:8). It is by His present life that we are saved, that is, by His life in us from day to day. But the life which He now lives is the very same life that He lived in Judea eighteen hundred years ago. He took again the same life that He laid down. Think what was in the life of Christ, as we have the record in the New Testament, and we shall know what ought to be in our lives now. If we allow Him to dwell in us, He will live just as He did then. If there is that in our lives that was not in His then, we may be sure that He is not living it in us now. [9]

The terms: "the nearness of Christ," "His closeness," and "His drawing near to us" all mean that Christ is in us--that is His nearness to us.

In the Introduction to this quarter's lessons, the author uses an illustration of a pastor holding up his Bible before the congregation--he had cut out every passage dealing with justice, poverty, wealth, and oppression. This left the Bible in shambles.

Let there be no further cutting of Bibles; let God's Word remain intact as He gave it; let Old Covenant teachings cease from our publications; and let Christ be in you, for He bade you to follow Him.

--Daniel Peters

[1] E. J. Waggoner, The Glad Tidings, p. 189 (1900, Pacific Press).
[2] E. J. Waggoner, The Everlasting Covenant, Chapter 1.
[3] E. J. Waggoner, The Cross and CrossesThe Present Truth, February 22, 1894.
[4] Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 403.
[5] Ellen G. White, My Life Today, p. 26.
[6] Ellen G. White, Christian Experience and Teaching, p. 246.
[7] A. T. Jones, Until Christ Is Formed in You, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald
May 22, 1900.
[8] E. J. Waggoner, The Cross and CrossesThe Present Truth, February 22, 1894.
[9] E. J. Waggoner, By What LifeThe Present Truth, July 30, 1896.

Raul Diaz