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Lesson 13 - A Community of Servants

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Overall Question: How do Christians become a "community of servants"?

Memory Text: Hebrews 10:23-24 New Century Version 23 Let us hold firmly to the hope that we have confessed, because we can trust God to do what he promised. 24 Let us think about each other and help each other to show love and do good deeds.


Sunday – Agents of Change

Romans 12:1 New Living Translation And so, dear brothers and sisters I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him.

Romans 12:1 COMMENTARY BY MATTHEW HENRY We receive from the Lord every day the fruits of his mercy. Let us render ourselves; all we are, all we have, all we can do: and after all, what return is it for such very rich receivings? It is acceptable to God: a reasonable service, which we are able and ready to give a reason for, and which we understand. Conversion and sanctification are the renewing of the mind; a change, not of the substance, but of the qualities of the soul.

1 Corinthians 12:12-20 Modern English Version 12 For as the body is one and has many parts, and all the many parts of that one body are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether we are Jews or Gentiles, whether we are slaves or free, and we have all been made to drink of one Spirit. 14 The body is not one part, but many. 15 If the foot says, “Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear says, “Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has established the parts, every one of them, in the body as it has pleased Him. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 So there are many parts, yet one body.

2 Corinthians 5:18-20 Contemporary English Version 18 God has done it all! He sent Christ to make peace between himself and us, and he has given us the work of making peace between himself and others. 19 What we mean is that God was in Christ, offering peace and forgiveness to the people of this world. And he has given us the work of sharing his message about peace. 20 We were sent to speak for Christ, and God is begging you to listen to our message. We speak for Christ and sincerely ask you to make peace with God.

2 Corinthians 2:14-16 God’s Word Translation 14 But I thank God, who always leads us in victory because of Christ. Wherever we go, God uses us to make clear what it means to know Christ. It’s like a fragrance that fills the air. 15 To God we are the aroma of Christ among those who are saved and among those who are dying. 16 To some people we are a deadly fragrance, while to others we are a life-giving fragrance. Who is qualified to tell about Christ?

2 Corinthians 2:14 SDA BIBLE COMMENTARY Causeth … to triumph. Gr. thriambeuō, “to triumph,” that is, to celebrate a triumph or to lead in a triumphal procession… Thriambeuō is related to thriambos, a hymn sung in connection with processions celebrating great military victories. The famous Roman triumph was conferred on successful generals by the Roman Senate, in celebration of some outstanding military victory or campaign. A victorious general was welcomed by government officials at the gates of the imperial city, where the triumphal march began. First came the Senators, preceded by a body of magistrates. After the Senators came trumpeters, heralding the approach of the victor. Then followed a long train of carts laden with the spoils of war. Articles of great value, rarity, or beauty were fully exposed to view. There were also white bulls and oxen destined for sacrifice. Here and there incense bearers waved their censers to and fro, perfuming the air. Lions, tigers, elephants, and other strange animals from the captive lands often appeared in the procession. After these came the captive kings, princes, or generals, and a long train of inferior captives, bound and fettered. Next came the great conqueror himself, standing in a splendid chariot. A crown of laurel or gold was upon his head. In one hand he held a branch of laurel, the emblem of victory, and in the other his truncheon or staff of authority. Following him marched many of those who had fought under him—officers, horse soldiers, foot soldiers—each holding aloft a spear adorned with laurel boughs. The procession moved on through the crowded streets, along the Via Sacra, through the Triumphal Arch to the Capitoline hill (see Paul at Rome). There it halted, and some of the captives were executed in cold blood or thrown into prison to await death in the Colosseum. Others, considered worthy of pardon, were set free. Animal sacrifices were offered to the Roman gods, and the triumphal feast began.

Paul envisions Christ as a great conqueror, leading the conquered in a triumphal procession. Paul, his co-workers, and all those won to Christ by them are captives in God’s great triumph. Paul does not speak of himself as the triumphant commander of God’s army, but gives God all the glory.

2 Corinthians 2:16 New Living Translation To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?


Monday – A Servant Remnant

Exodus 32:1-14 Easy-to-Read Version The people saw that a long time had passed and Moses had not come down from the mountain. So they gathered around Aaron. They said to him, “Look, Moses led us out of the land of Egypt, but we don’t know what has happened to him. So make us some gods to go before us and lead us.” 2 Aaron said to the people, “Bring me the gold earrings that belong to your wives, sons, and daughters.” 3 So the people collected all their gold earrings and brought them to Aaron. 4 He took the gold from the people and used it to make an idol. Using a special tool, he shaped the gold into a statue of a calf. Then the people said, “Israel, here are your gods! These are the gods that brought you out of the land of Egypt!” 5 Aaron saw all these things, so he built an altar in front of the calf. Then Aaron made an announcement. He said, “Tomorrow will be a special festival to honor the Lord.” 6 The people woke up very early the next morning. They killed animals and offered them as burnt offerings and fellowship offerings. They sat down to eat and drink. Then they got up and had a wild party. 7 At the same time, the Lord said to Moses, “Go down from this mountain. Your people, the people you brought out of the land of Egypt, have committed a terrible sin. 8 They have very quickly turned away from what I commanded them to do. They made a calf from melted gold for themselves. They are worshiping that calf and making sacrifices to it. The people have said, ‘Israel, these are the gods that led you out of Egypt.’” 9 The Lord said to Moses, “I have seen these people, and I know that they are very stubborn. They will always turn against me. 10 So now let me destroy them in anger. Then I will make a great nation from you.” 11 But Moses begged the Lord his God, “Lord, don’t let your anger destroy your people. You brought them out of Egypt with your great power and strength. 12 But if you destroy your people, the Egyptians will say, ‘God planned to do bad things to his people. That is why he led them out of Egypt. He wanted to kill them in the mountains. He wanted to wipe them off the earth.’ So don’t be angry with your people. Please change your mind! Don’t destroy them. 13 Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. These men served you, and you used your name to make a promise to them. You said, ‘I will make your people as many as the stars in the sky. I will give your people all this land as I promised. This land will be theirs forever.’” 14 So the Lord felt sorry for the people. He did not do what he said he might do—he did not destroy them.

Exodus 32:10 COMMENTARY BY ADAM CLARKE Moses had already begun to plead with God in the behalf of this rebellious and ungrateful people; and so powerful was his intercession that even the Omnipotent represents himself as incapable of doing any thing in the way of judgment, unless his creature desisted from praying for mercy!  See an instance of the prevalence of fervent intercession in the case of Abraham, Ge 18:23-33, from the model of which the intercession of Moses seems to have been formed.

Revelation 12:17 New King James Version And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.


Tuesday – Reaching Souls

1 Peter 2:12 Contemporary English Version Always let others see you behaving properly, even though they may still accuse you of doing wrong. Then on the day of judgment, they will honor God by telling the good things they saw you do.

1 Peter 2:12 SDA BIBLE COMMENTARY Christians were misunderstood by the heathen, were charged with disloyalty to the state and with being disturbers of the peace. Under such circumstances their only defense was a blameless life, one which even pagans had to admire.

Philippians 2:15 Good News Translation so that you may be innocent and pure as God's perfect children, who live in a world of corrupt and sinful people. You must shine among them like stars lighting up the sky.


Wednesday – Grace Within the Church

Ephesians 2:19 English Standard Version So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God.

Ephesians 2:19 COMMENTARY BY ALBERT BARNES Strangers, and such as proposed to reside for a short time in Athens, were permitted to reside in the city, and to pursue their business undisturbed, but they could perform no public duty; they had no voice in the public deliberations, and they had no part in the management of the state. They could only look on as spectators, without mingling in the scenes of state, or interfering in any way in the affairs of the government. They were bound humbly to submit to all the enactments of the citizens, and observe all the laws and usages of the republic. It was not even allowed them to transact any business in their own name, but they were bound to choose from among the citizens one to whose care they committed themselves as a patron, and whose duty it was to guard them against all injustice and wrong.


Thursday – Encourage Each Other to Good Works

Hebrews 10:23-25 Holman Christian Standard Bible 23 Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. 24 And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, 25 not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Hebrews 10:25 SDA BIBLE COMMENTARY Apparently, some were neglecting to fellowship with their brethren in seasons of worship and devotion, to their own detriment. In so doing they were living in contravention of the counsel of v. 24 to encourage their fellow believers in love and good works. In view of the political situation prevailing at the time the book of Hebrews was written, some may have absented themselves from fear of incurring governmental displeasure and possibly civil penalties. Others remained absent from religious services because of carelessness and indifference.

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