Wednesday, March 31, 2004


Something to make you ponder.


Remember that first person you were in love with
Remember how you felt when you saw him/her
How nervous you got
The butterflies in your stomach
How you had such a hard time saying any word
And, you could not stop staring at him/her
Remember the 1st time you talked
The 1st words you exchanged
Remember the 1st time you held hands
Remember the 1st time you kissed
That electricity going through your body
Remember how giggly you felt
Everything about him/her was your main interest
Remember how you spoke on the phone for hours
And how at every opportunity you told everyone of him/her
And, you knew they felt the same way
Because, You saw it their eyes
You felt it in their touch
The way they said your name
And others complaining how you were the only thing he/she spoke about
This is God
That’s how I feel about you
And, that’s what I want from you

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The Passion

Thought I shared this with you. Enjoy.

The Passion
He chose to love us
While we were yet his enemies
He took our flesh, our sinful nature (and yet sinned not)
And sought to understand us
Before he sought to for us understand Him
He took upon himself our suffering
He died for us…eternally
So we could live…eternally
He paid the price we owed
He took for us what we deserved…
To die hanging from a tree and be accursed forever
And yet we thanked Him not
We despised him and rejected him
With beat Him with a whip
We gave to Him our scorn
We mocked Him
We spat on Him
A crown of thorns we placed on His brow
We nailed Him to the cross
So while hanging from it He would die
We choose to remain the enemies
Of Him who chooses to die for us
Of Him who chooses to love us
Of Him who offers to pardon us
So we can live eternally with Him

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Thursday, March 25, 2004

Are we any different?

Comments to Sabbath School Lesson #13: The Power Of The Resurrection

The resurrection was a grand event. There had been nothing like it since the creation of this world. In fact, the same power that made possible the creation also made possible the resurrection. It is a shame that no one, except for a few Roman Soldiers, witnessed it. And, they ran away scared. Any witnesses would have told us exactly what happened. Then again, since our Scripture is inspired, we probably do know what did happen. The Power that made creation and resurrection possible is still at work today. It is the same power used by the Holy Spirit to sanctify us. It is this power that puts away the old man, and creates in us a new man. It is this power that allows us to be born again. It is this power that gives us victory over Sin.

This power the disciples had not yet received at Jesus’ resurrection. In fact they were disheartened by the death of Jesus. They disregarded all that Jesus had said about His Resurrection. Mary Magdalene and the disciples were sure they would find His corps in the tomb. At this point, it seems that, even the Pharisees believed more than the disciples. They heard Jesus say He would rise again on the third day. They believed Jesus. Otherwise they would have not asked to seal the rock covering the tomb’s entrance. They also bribed the Roman soldiers to start a rumor that the disciples themselves had removed the body.

As Mary Magdalene was mourning by the tomb Jesus appeared to her. At first she did not recognize Him. But, when Jesus called her name she recognized His voice. Immediately, her sad semblance turned to joy. Jesus also appeared to the disciples later on. Thomas was not there. He was incredulous when he heard his partners. “Unless I touch His scars myself, I will not believe,” said Thomas. The next week Jesus appeared again with Thomas present. Jesus challenged Thomas to touch Him. Thomas just said, “My Lord and my God!” He last appeared to a few of the disciples who were fishing. At this time Peter was re-commissioned to ministry.

We look back at this account and think about Mary and the disciples. We may feel tempted to think of them as foolish or dumb. What will it take for them to get it? Remember, that spiritual things are spiritually discerned. They had not yet received the Holy Spirit. What will it take for us to get it? Are we any different than Mary and the disciples? We brag about our Health Message. According to preliminary results of Health Study 2, 60% of the respondents are overweight. After all the light we have we still live in darkness. We have no excuse. We have been promised the Holy Spirit, just like the disciples. Are we choosing to let Him work in us? We’ve known for years that our divorce rates are not too different from those of non-adventists. I would dare say that our debt rate is probably as bad, if not worse, than those of non-adventists.

Let’s look at this week’s passages. Mary recognized the Lord’s voice at the point when He mentioned her name. Most Adventists I talk to, do not believe God speaks to them, but Christ said His sheep know His voice and know Him. Thomas believed when He saw, do we even look? We live in very solemn times. Prophecies are being fulfilled in our very own eyes. And, yet we live as if the second return will never happen. We carry on like most unbelievers, “eating, drinking, and being merry, for tomorrow we die.” We live like in the days of Noah: “marrying and giving ourselves in marriage.” We live too worried about owning homes, growing families, and going up the career ladder. We are more interested in sports, the market, and the news than reading and studying the Bible. We are more interested in gossip than praying. We never ask God for His will, but instead ask Him to bless ours. Are we any different? What will it take for us to get it?

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Tuesday, March 16, 2004

The Suffering Of Christ

For the comments this week I am borrowing from Jack Sequiera. His study on the crucifixion is not only excellent. It also paints a picture of how much Christ loved us that He would die to pay our debt. Glory to Him. Amen.

The Supreme Sacrifice
by E.H. “Jack” Sequeira

1. Importance of the Study

The sacrifice of Christ as an atonement for sin is the great truth around which all other truths cluster. In order to be rightly understood and appreciated, every truth in the Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, must be studied in the light that streams from the cross of Calvary. – Ellen G. White (GW 315)

At the very heart of the gospel message is the truth concerning the cross of Christ [1 Cor. 17, 18]. It is Satan’s determined purpose to enshroud this truth in darkness. In this he has had some measure of success. By convincing the Christian church to believe a lie, that men possesses an immortal soul, he has robbed the cross of its glory. If man possesses an immortal soul, then death is not goodbye to life but simply the separation of the soul from the body. In which case, that which constitutes Christ’s supreme sacrifice was the shame and torture of the cross, no different than that of the two thieves that were crucified with Him and countless others who were executed by crucifixion.

Another factor that has robbed the cross of its glory is perceiving the crucifixion of Christ from the Roman perspective. While it is true Christ was crucified on a Roman cross, it must be remembered that it was not the Romans who demanded His crucifixion but the Jews [that is, the Jewish leadership]. It is only as we perceive the cross of Christ from the Jewish perspective, as did the New Testament writers, that we can begin to grasp the meaning of His supreme sacrifice, that demonstrated His infinite and unconditional love for us [Rom. 5:5-8].

Crucifixion was not a Jewish method of execution; on the contrary, the Jews detested the cross because it had a very special meaning for them. As we discover the significance of the cross to the Jews, we will understand why the Jews demanded that Christ be put to death by crucifixion and why this constitutes the supreme sacrifice.

2. The Supreme Sacrifice

The cross was invented by the Phoenicians approximately 600 years before Christ, then adopted by the Egyptians and later the Romans, who refined it and used it to execute run-away slaves and their worst criminals. Crucifixion was the most painful and shameful instrument of execution ever practiced by man. Besides bringing disgrace and shame, it involved much pain, physically as well as mentally, and it could take anything from three to seven days for the crucified one to die. But as we look at the cross of Christ with Jewish spectacles, we will discover that it meant something totally different to them. The following is a brief outline of the crucifixion of Christ and its significance:

Jn. 19:5-7 The Jews demanded that Pilate have Christ crucified because, according to their law, He had committed the sin of blasphemy.

Lev. 24:16 But the law they were referring to stipulated death by stoning and not crucifixion. Were they not aware of this fact?

Jn. 10;30, 31 The Jews were fully aware that the law of blasphemy was punishable by stoning. Why then did they demand Christ be crucified, especially since crucifixion was not a Jewish method of execution?

Deut. 21:23 Because the Jews of Christ’s day identified crucifixion with hanging on a tree. To the Jew, to be crucified meant you had committed the unpardonable sin and was being punished by the irrevocable curse of God, the equivalent of the second death of the New Testament [Rev.20:6,14]. By crying out “crucify him,” the Jews were asking God to pour out His wrath on Christ that He may experience the eternal death, goodbye to life forever. (It must be remembered that the Jews did not believe in an immortal soul; that was a Greek concept.)

Josh. 10:25-27 An example of God’s irrevocable curse invoked upon Israel’s enemies. (This text must be understood in the light of Gen. 15:13-16.)

Isa. 53:4, 10 To the Jews, Christ crucified meant God had placed His curse on Him; this involved much more than the shame and pain of the Roman cross. The Jews of New Testament times who rejected Christ would often, in contempt, refer to Jesus as “the hanged one,” meaning the one who was cursed by God.

Gal. 3:10, 13 God did place His curse on Christ on the cross. However, it was not for blasphemy but for our sins. On the cross God “spared not His own Son” the full wages of sin, the curse of the law, when He made Him to be “sin for us” [Rom. 8:32; 2 Cor. 5:21]. This is the wrath of God Christ experienced on our behalf and which Jesus identified with “the cup” in the upper room and in Gethsemane [Matt. 26:27, 28, 39; Rev. 14:9-11].

Note: It is for this reason that the New Testament writers identified Christ crucified with “hanged on a tree” [Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; 1 Pet. 2:24]. (This curse was represented by the fire that consumed the sacrificed lamb in the Sanctuary service.)

3. How Christ Could Experience The Second Death

The fact Christ rose from the dead, predicted His resurrection, and claimed that He could lay down His life and than take it up again, is a stumbling block to many in accepting the idea that Christ actually experienced the second death on the cross. It is only when we realize the self-emptying of Christ at the incarnation and its implications that we can grasp the true sacrifice of Christ on the cross. The following is a brief outline of how Christ totally gave Himself up for our redemption:

Phil.2:6-8 At the incarnation Jesus totally gave up His divine prerogatives i.e., the independent use of His divinity. By His own choice, He became a slave to the Father. This meant, as a man, He was completely God dependent and had to live by faith alone, just as we do [Jn. 5:19,30; 6:57; 8:28; 14:10].

Rom. 6:4 Christ was also totally God dependent for His resurrection and the New Testament clearly teaches that He was raised up by the glorious power of the Father [Acts 2:24,32; Eph. 1:20].

Matt. 27:46 On the cross Christ actually felt forsaken by the Father. This meant that the hope of being raised by the Father was taken away from Him. He was now treading the winepress alone, experiencing the full cup of the wrath of God against sin, i.e., God abandonment, the curse of the law [Matt. 26:38-42; Rom. 8:32; Gal. 3:13].

Lk. 23:35-39 Satan was fully aware of this. Taking advantage of the terrible mental anguish this second death experience Christ was undergoing, the devil tempted Him three times to give up His faith in the Father, grab hold of His divine power, and independently come down from the cross and save Himself.

Jn. 19:30 Confronted by these fierce temptations, that no man will fully understand, Christ had to make a choice: “Shall I come down from the cross and save myself or shall I surrender to this second death, goodbye to life forever, so that the world may be saved?” His choice was: “Not my will, but thine, be done.” By submitting to the full wages of sin, Christ demonstrated that He loves us more than Himself [Rom. 5:8; Jn: 15:13; 1 Jn. 3:16; Rev. 1:5].

Mk. 15:43-45 Pilate marvelled at such an early death because it was not normal for the crucified one to die so soon. But it was this curse of the law that Christ experienced on our behalf that actually killed Him within six hours of His crucifixion. The soldiers that watched Christ die were equally surprised and had to make sure He was dead by piercing His side [Jn. 19: 31-34].

Isa. 53:11,12 It is this supreme sacrifice that satisfied a just and holy God and lawfully saved mankind from the curse of the law. Hence, all who receive Christ and Him crucified by faith will never have to experience the second death [2 Cor. 5:18-21; 2 Tim. 1:7-10; Rev. 20:6].

2 Cor. 5:14,15 This self-emptying agape love of Christ, manifested on the cross, is what transformed the disciples from a bunch of greedy self-seeking individuals to men of God who were now willing to totally deny self and turn the world upside down with the good news of salvation. The same truth must transform us so that we feel compelled to live and die for Christ [Eph. 5:2].

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Saturday, March 13, 2004

What Two OF Our Scholars Say about the Passion

Samuele Bacchiocchi
Robert J. Weiland

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Comforting Words

Comments On Lesson #11: The Spirit "Replaces" Jesus

In 2 Kings 20:1 King Hezekiah is ordered by the prophet to “Set thine house in order…” King Hezekiah decides not to follow the order and pleads God for more life. God grants King Hezekiah his wish, and thus begins King Hezekiah downfall. Moses was different. He spends most of the book of Deuteronomy setting his house in order. Moses gave instructions, selected a new leader, assured to the people of Israel God’s love toward them and His faithfulness.
This what Jesus does in these Chapters 13:31 through 16:33. He set His house in order by giving His disciples comforting words. He gave the disciples instructions, announced who would take the position He was leaving, and assured the disciples of God’s love toward them and His faithfulness. Christ was thorough in His work. All pertinent details were covered.
First, Christ gave then instructions on how to live of agape Love. This way of living was foreign to the disciples, and so it is to us. This way of living is part of what Christ came to show us. Christ came to show us how to Love. Which means he came to show us how to be obedient to the law. Love for God and love for our fellow human being is the summary of the law, Christ said. And, by this love “they shall know you that you are my disciples.” Christ told and showed us how to love God is accomplished. This type of love is unconditional, willingly and by choice. This Godly Agape love is the type of love that loves the unlovable, annoying, and those who reject us and hate us. This type of love is the Love that Christ said about, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:13. However, this type of loving can only be when we abide in Him as He abides in the Father. He is the Vine we are the branches. If we the branches remain in Him, we will Love God above all else, and others like ourselves. We will bear fruits, Spiritual fruits. The Father will prune us, to make sure our fruit is pure and wholesome.
Christ also gave His disciples promises. They would not be forsaken. Christ would be with them until the end. He promised them that where He was going, they also would be, eventually. To make this possible Christ promised to send the disciples a helper or comforter. We know this helper or comforter as the Holy Spirit. It would be to their advantage because, The Holy Spirit can be closer to them and us more than Christ ever would. However, the Spirit’s closeness would be the same as Christ closeness. The Holy Spirit in us is Christ in us. Ellen G. White says:

The Holy Spirit is Christ's representative, but divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally. Therefore it was for their interest that He should go to the Father, and send the Spirit to be His successor on earth. No one could then have any advantage because of his location or his personal contact with Christ. By the Spirit the Saviour would be accessible to all. In this sense He would be nearer to them than if He had not ascended on high. Desire Of Ages p. 669

The Holy Spirit would empower the disciples and believers to do works that according to Christ could be far greater than His. He would give us gifts to do the work. The Spirit would bring conviction of sin, righteousness, and judgment. The Spirit will purify and sanctify us. He will enable us to conquer sin. In the words of Ellen G. White:

Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power. It is the Spirit that makes effectual what has been wrought out by the world's Redeemer. It is by the Spirit that the heart is made pure. Through the Spirit the believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Christ has given His Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress His own character upon His church. Desire of Ages p. 671

The Spirit will bear His fruit in us. The Spirit will give us new wine hearts or characters in our old wine skin body. The Spirit will prepare us for the final stage of salvation. This is when we will be given new wine skins, for our new wine characters. We will be given new perfect, immortal, incorruptible, glorified bodies.
Finally, Christ promised his disciples and believers eternal life to be spent with Him. In mansions and homes prepared for us by Him, where He went 2000 years ago. This will be our eternal place of live. This is the Bride of Christ. Not the church, but The New Jerusalem filled with those who loved God and not their lives unto the death. These are indeed comforting words. Do you believe them?

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Thursday, March 11, 2004

Movie: The Passion

I just started a discussion forum at QuickTopic for our topic
"Movie The Passion". To join in (or just to read) use your web
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Friday, March 05, 2004

The case for Purity and Faith

Comments on Lesson: True Greatness

There are four weeks left for this quarter, and we are barely at half of the book of John. What is more amazing is that half the book is about the last two days of Jesus life. They are important lessons in these two days. Perhaps these lessons are even more important for those whom death will visit before Christ's return. Christ was a great example even for them. In these last two days he shows us how to take care of one’s affairs when death is imminent.
The first call of order was the last supper. Before dinner Jesus washed the disciple's feet. This was a tradition in the Middle East. The servants would wash the dry and dirty feet of the houseguests. We are told that Jesus was teaching us how to be humble, hence the name Ordinance of Humility. I do not argue the point of teaching humility. I also think that Jesus was teaching us another lesson besides humility. I believe calling this ceremony the Ordinance of Humility gives it a wrong focus. It leaves out a very important aspect that Christ emphasized but we often ignore.
One Sabbath morning when I was in college I went to a local church. I arrived late. They had communion and I arrived just as the foot washing was finishing. The elder asked me if I wished to participate. I said, “Yes,” and added, “Is there anybody who needs their feet washed?” He did not answer my question. Instead he lead me to the back room. He asked me to sit down and take off my shoes and socks, and proceeded to wash my feet. When we finished he asked me to join them in the sanctuary. At that moment I asked myself, “What is more important, getting your feet washed or washing someone else’s feet?” Needless to say, I was truly humbled after that experience.
Like a good Bible student I went to the Bible. I notice that it John 13: 6-8 says:

Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.

I realized at this point that it is as important to be clean or pure as it is to be humble. Actually, maybe Jesus was telling us that only those who are pure are truly humble. Washing someone else’s feet every three months will not make me humble. Allowing Christ to make my mind and heart pure will make me humble.
The lesson jumps to chapter 17. It is perhaps the most beautiful and most meaningful prayer in the Bible. Christ, knowing what was awaiting Him, and what was awaiting the disciples and the subsequent believers, prayed for all. This is a great example for all of us. It is especially a great example for those who are dying. Pray for yourself and those who will continue after you, while you have time and strength to pray. We learn form this prayer to pray for ourselves and for others. We learn from this prayer what to pray about. Not only unity among the brethren, but for their sanctification. We learn to pray that we become one with God, as Jesus and the Father are one. We learn to pray that we become one as we become one with Jesus. Unity alone does not guarantee oneness with God. Those who built the Tower Babel were united in their rebellion against God. Oneness with God will guarantee that the believers become one body, regardless of their church affiliation.
What Jesus is praying for here is Spiritual Strength. What Jesus is praying for is that the believers have faith. The type of faith that Jesus himself had. He prayed for a faith of total trust and surrender to God the Father. Jesus prayed that the believers would have a faith that when faced with a trial like He would face, they too could be victorious. This type of faith can only be acquired when we allow the Holy Spirit to sanctify us in Word and in Truth. This faith we cannot purchase or earn with hard work. It is a gift from God. Only those who continually believe will receive it. These are the ones that only need their feet washed. They are clean because they have been bathed with the blood that Jesus shed on the cross.

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