Sabbath Afternoon

 

Memory Text: “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” 1 Corinthians 6:12

 

There are rights within a country that every citizen can exercise. Something can be my legal right but might not be a right that I must exercise. When I became twenty-one I chose not to exercise my legal right to go to a public establishment and drink alcohol. In the above verse Paul describes this reality, that not all things that are lawful are expedient. Expedient is an action that is convenient and practical, although possibly improper or immoral. An activity can be legal for me to exercise but at the same time it is not in my best interest. There are many things we can do at any given time in any country that are legal but a Christian or a reasonable person will look at it and refrain from taking part in the activity because it is not good for them or it is not good for society in general. Most of what society gets fanatical over is practical or convenient short term but long term creates more problems than solutions.

 

This week we are exploring the concept of lawful but not expedient.

 

 

Sunday                                                                                                                                  July 31

 

Title: Does lawful includes immoral acts?

 

The apostle Paul states that, “all things are lawful for me” which could imply, in a weird way, that murder is lawful, but he does not go around and kill people because it is “not expedient” (convenient or practical). So, what is he talking about? The answer to that question is found in the previous passage to our memory text. In that passage of scripture Paul is discussing the situation where one brother in the church takes another brother to court to settle a dispute. Each person has the legal right to file suit for various reasons. Paul describes the action of lawsuit among Christians as an immoral act because oftentimes the real reason the lawsuit was filed was to inflict revenge. Also, these matters should have been settled among brethren and not in the court. Paul goes on to reference those who do these types of lawsuits with those who are fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, etc. as those who will not go to heaven. So, an act could be legal within a country but could be used immorally (suing to inflict revenge). In addition, an act could be immoral but legal (i.e. legalized marijuana or legalized prostitution). Thus, although something is lawful/legal it does not mean that it is right for us to exercise that right.      

 

Did the Lord change the rule on what types of animals should be eaten?

Acts 10:11-16

10:28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. 

 

 

 

 

Monday                                                                                                                                August 1

 

Title: Lawsuits to settle disputes?                                                         

 

So most readers reading up to this point would naturally ask the question, “is it wrong to sue someone in the church who has defrauded me and is trying to get away with it”? The answer is, it is not illegal but there are multiple issues that this whole situation will bring up. Read verse 7 and 8 of the text below, and ask yourself the question, “what is going on in this church”? It seems as though one fraudster is dealing with another fraudster and the madness cannot be settled in the church so they go to the court to fight it out. Imagine the excitement going on in the court to hear two church members go at each other with some of the most vicious accusations. Notice in verse 2 the phrase, “smallest matters” which could mean these are not large cases but small stuff, like a church member having a dispute with another church member who is a carpenter, who didn’t do a good job on his cabinetry. Imagine the kind of “excitement” this type of fight generates in the life of the church members and even in the community. This kind of situation can, for the most part, pause the ministry of the church, the members, and the individual members involved. For those directly involved in a lawsuit like this, their emotions, thoughts, and time are totally focused on this and nothing else. This is why Paul can state that although it might be lawful to sue his brother, he is not going to do this because doing this would bring him “under the power” of that situation. This type of lawsuits turns your world upside down until they are finished, and even after the verdict the mental pain can grow, therefore they are not worth a week of fighting.  

 

How should these disputes be settled among Christians?

1 Corinthians 6:1   Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? 

 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 

 6:3 Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? 

 6:4 If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. 

 6:5 I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? 

 6:6 But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. 

 6:7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather [suffer yourselves to] be defrauded? 

 6:8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that [your] brethren.

_____________________________________________________________________________

 

Have you ever thought about what a church should do if a member is a fraudster?

 

 

Tuesday                                                                                                                                August 2

 

Title: Expedient

 

As previously stated, the word expedient describes an action that is convenient and practical, although possibly improper or immoral. Most of the time we get ourselves caught up in practices that are addictive and will make fanatics out of us because they are expedient. So many people started on the path to prison by uttering the phrases, “I am bored” or “I am broke” and they did the easiest thing they could do to fix the problem. Most things that we get fanatical about are things that easily fix our problems, they are expedient. If I am bored there are a few hard and long term ways to fix the problem, like making an effort to have real friends, or I could sign up to a video streaming service for less than $12 a month and problem “solved”. Expediency often works against making tough decisions because expediency brings a quick painless solution to a vexing problem, so we think. A Lap-Band might be expedient but for long term success it would be better to learn to deny ourselves and take up our cross. Cheating to succeed is often the most expedient thing to do but long term it is always best to commit to learning and moving ahead honestly. Bad habits that are hard to break are often the ones that are most expedient (convenient and practical). Knowing what sin would do to us, Jesus taught us to deny ourselves and pick up our cross, for our best good, because doing this is the good medicine He knew we are in need of.

 

What was the reason why king Saul chose the expedient choice?

1 Samuel 15:18-26

 

 

What was the priest trying to accomplish in planning the death of Jesus?

John 11:47-50

 

 

 

Wednesday                                                                                                                         August 3

 

Title: I will not be brought under the power of any                                    

 

 The devil has many ways in which to bring us under the power of practices that cause a mess in our lives and cause us to make fools of ourselves. Often times we look back in amazement at how foolish these habits can have us acting and loving things that are so ridiculous. Understand, I am not talking getting about excited or “into” whatever activity you are doing. I am talking about something greater, coming under the power of an activity where it consumes your thoughts, activities, and emotions. This concept of being consumed by an activity is often referred to as being “under a spell”, which is described as not being fully in control of one's thoughts and actions, as though in a state of enchantment. Fanaticism is experiencing unreasoning zeal for any activity or pursuit. Now, when applied to the situation of a lawsuit, a person could be under the power of winning, because they are right or have rights that are being trampled upon, and will go to whatever lengths they have to go to win. This unreasoning zeal can be applied to a person trying to prove a false doctrine right, to the point where it is no longer about the doctrine being right or wrong, but is about them being right. The problem is not the circumstance but the power of sin to have dominion in our lives; and the individual circumstance can serve to hide the fact that something is wrong with us and that our attitude stinks and we are unreasonable and hard to work with.  

 

What power should we be brought under?

2 Corinthians 10:3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 

 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare [are] not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 

 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

 

 

 

Thursday                                                                                                                              August 4

 

Title: Herd mentality                                            

 

It is easy to get caught up in the herd mentality, “whatever others are doing, I am going to do also”. We live in the world but we are instructed to not be like the world. As Christians we should not behave like secular folks who cannot settle a dispute without the threat of legal action or without legal action being taken against us. Our Christian calling starts with phrases like, “think on these things”, or “come let us reason together”. Our calling begins with reasoning, so as Christians we should not be unreasonable and unmovable. We should not get so locked into a position that we cannot move no matter how much facts, truth, and reality is presented to us. There are things that we must avoid because practicing them is obviously breaking God’s law and will cause pain in our life and the lives of others. There are other things that we must also avoid that are legal but are not in our best interest. Because a practice is done by the wider society, it does not mean that it is okay for us to do, especially when we know better and have other solutions at our disposal to deal with any problems we are having. It is my hope that you avoid getting caught up into things that are lawful but are not expedient for you.

 

How should we be in all our dealings even when we are falsely accused? 

Exodus 23:1-3        

 

 

 

 

Insight: A laparoscopic adjustable gastric band, commonly called a lap-band, A band, or LAGB, is an inflatable silicone device placed around the top portion of the stomach to treat obesity, intended to slow consumption of food and thus reduce the amount of food consumed.

 

Adjustable gastric band surgery is an example of bariatric surgery designed for obese patients with a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or greater—or between 35 and 40 in cases of patients with certain comorbidities that are known to improve with weight loss, such as sleep apnea, diabetes, osteoarthritis, GERD, hypertension (high blood pressure), or metabolic syndrome, among others.

 

In February 2011, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded approval of adjustable gastric bands to patients with a BMI between 30 and 40 and one weight-related medical condition, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. However, an adjustable gastric band may be used only after other methods such as diet and exercise have been tried.

 

 

Friday                                                                                                                                        August 5

 

“When the soul surrenders itself to Christ, a new power takes possession of the new heart. A change is wrought which man can never accomplish for himself. It is a supernatural work, bringing a supernatural element into human nature. The soul that is yielded to Christ becomes His own fortress, which He holds in a revolted world, and He intends that no authority shall be known in it but His own. A soul thus kept in possession by the heavenly agencies is impregnable to the assaults of Satan. But unless we do yield ourselves to the control of Christ, we shall be dominated by the wicked one. We must inevitably be under the control of the one or the other of the two great powers that are contending for the supremacy of the world. It is not necessary for us deliberately to choose the service of the kingdom of darkness in order to come under its dominion. We have only to neglect to ally ourselves with the kingdom of light. If we do not co-operate with the heavenly agencies, Satan will take possession of the heart, and will make it his abiding place. The only defense against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness. Unless we become vitally connected with God, we can never resist the unhallowed effects of self-love, self-indulgence, and temptation to sin. We may leave off many bad habits, for the time we may part company with Satan; but without a vital connection with God, through the surrender of ourselves to Him moment by moment, we shall be overcome. Without a personal acquaintance with Christ, and a continual communion, we are at the mercy of the enemy, and shall do his bidding in the end.” {E. G White, DA 324.1}

 

Discussion questions

Share with the class what section of this week’s study you find inspiring, challenging, and difficult to understand.

 

Prepare to discuss with the class what does it mean to make expedient decisions.

 

What is your understanding of the importance of being reasonable and movable?