2019 Study Summary 38: Walk in the Spirit
“Walk in the Spirit”
Preachers of false gospels are accursed—Paul received the gospel by revelation—He believes, is taught, and preaches to the Gentiles.
Paul goes to Jerusalem—He contends for the true gospel—Salvation comes through Christ.
God gave the gospel to Abraham—Mosaic law added because of transgressions—The law was a schoolmaster to bring Israel to Christ—The saints are children of god by faith—All who are of the faith, and baptized into Christ, become Abraham’s seed.
The saints are children of God by adoption—Paul calls the Galatians back to Christ—He compares the two covenants.
Stand fast in gospel liberty—Seek faith, love, Christ, and the Spirit—The works of the flesh and the fruits of the Spirit set forth.
Bear one another’s burdens—As ye sow, so shall ye reap—Be not weary in well doing.
What is truth?
The labors and accomplishments of Paul are exciting and dramatic. Many non-Christians (and some Christians, too) feel that Paul “took over” and that the original Jewish nature of the early believers was changed to accommodate the Gentiles. Similar statements were made about President Spencer W. Kimball when he announced the inclusion of all worthy people in priesthood blessings. The factor that is missing in these assumptions is the spirit. The spirit reveals things as they were, as they are, and as they will be. “And truth is knowledge of things as they are, and as they were, and as they are to come;” (Doctrine & Covenants 93:24)
Where is the “Holy Spirit?”
At a recent conference of scholars dealing with “The Bible Code,” one orthodox Jew stated simply, “Judaism does not have the Holy Spirit.” Readers can refer to previous statements and quotes in these supplements about the Holy Spirit. A repetition and other Jewish comments about the spirit are included for comparison. “The rabbis regarded Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi as the last of the prophets, the “divine spirit” having ceased in Israel with their deaths.” “Ruah ha-Kodesh (holy spirit) is often used as a synonym for prophecy. However, according to some rabbis, unlike prophecy, there are some types of ruah ha-kodesh which also can be attained by doing good deeds.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.) One of the necessary requirements to have the true spirit is to have true faith in the Lord. It is a true test with true results. Misinformation usually results in closing the mind and the heart. Finding the truth requires an open heart and an open mind to exercise true faith in the Lord. Faith in the Lord is thinking about what the Lord wants, and that is confirmed by the Holy Spirit of God. Paul explains the “fruit” of the spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23)
HWhat has replaced the spirit of truth in religions?
Surrounding cultures and religions also added their contrasts and created disputations. A popular worship culture included gods of the earth, wind, rain, and sun. Anciently, the religion of Baal featured different gods. Female gods became popular, such as goddesses of victory, a fish goddess (mermaid), and one connected with fertility, Astarte. This goddess was later know as Ashteroth (the word Easter seems to have been derived from Astarte). A very popular goddess was Diana. “Archaeological finds have included hieroglyphic writings, columns of ancient synagogues, and a statue of the Greek goddess of victory standing on a globe of the world supported by Atlas.” “Talmudic sources also mention Ashkelon’s orchards and a fair held there. In the Byzantine period the city was a center of paganism, whose population worshiped a fish-goddess, Derceto, whose image was a mermaid.” “Ecclesia Et Synagoga is the name given to the symbolic representations in Christian art of the Middle Ages of the victorious Church and defeated Synagogue, symbolizing the triumph of Christianity. The representation is often found in medieval Christian manuscript art. It also became a conventional decoration in very many medieval churches, especially in France, England, and Germany, and took the form of two graceful female figures, usually on the outside of the building. The Church is shown erect and triumphant, bearing a cross; the Synagogue is usually blindfold and dejected, bearing a broken staff and sometimes decorated with the Tables of the Ten Commandments symbolizing the Old Testament. The best-known statues of this type are on the exterior of the cathedrals of Strasbourg and Bamberg. They are also found in Rheims, Paris, and Bordeaux. In England, they figure generally in a mutilated condition, as in Rochester, Lincoln, Salisbury, and Winchester.” “The foreign queens Maacah, Jezebel and Athaliah brought in the influence of idolatry, particularly the Canaanite idol Baal, its many names and forms of worship. During this period, it was the mission of the prophets to rebuke the people for their idol worship. The prophets attacked idol worship not only on the grounds that it violates God’s covenant with Israel, but also because it was useless. While the pagans believed that the natural phenomena rain, fertility, health etc. were controlled by idols, the prophets taught that God is in control of nature.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
How did the essence of religion give way to the business of religion?
It is interesting to note that Ephesus had a large business surrounding the goddess Diana. The tradition of the burial of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the subsequent veneration of Mary beginning in Ephesus became a counterfeit substitute for a religion. The “business” of religion eclipsed the essence of religion. Jesus taught and re-taught the first aspect of true religion is to love God (Deuteronomy 6:5) and the second is to love your neighbor (Levitcus 19:18). That likens the holiness of all people with the holiness of God. “. . . holiness . . . applies to the ordinary Jew as much as to the priests. Indeed, one memorable verse reads: “The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: ‘Speak to the whole Israelite community and say unto them: You shall be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy,” (Leviticus 11:44-45) and among the laws immediately following this statement comes the commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Leviticus 19:18) (Mark 12:31) Clearly, the holiness is not just that of the Tabernacle and the sacrifice, but that of everyday life.
How does the Son of God become our Father?
God the Father sent his son, born of Mary, an earthling. One of his names is “Salvation.” By literally paying the ultimate price of our salvation, when we accept Him and keep His commandments, He literally adopts us, hence we become His children, so that we can belong to His Heavenly Father’s family, He becomes our father. (Galatians 4:3-7)
What is the difference between being a friend and being friendly?
“Friendship is a relationship between people arising from mutual respect and affection. The ideal of friendship in the western world is derived from classical Greece, which exalted friendship as one of the great human achievements and prime goals of life. The significance of friendship is recognized in the Bible, but is never raised to such an important place. A friend is defined as “one who is like your very self” (Deuteronomy 13:7) and as one “who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). Of the few depictions of close friendship in the Bible, perhaps the most famous is that of David and Jonathan. The Bible appears to be more concerned with social and family relations than with individual ones, and thus puts more emphasis on being a good neighbor than it does on friendship. The Bible also warns against false friendship, saying that people might be attracted to a person solely because of his wealth, and not out of motives of respect.” “Hillel was a great teacher who emphasized the qualities of humility, patience, tolerance, and devotion, and who was responsible for a renewed spiritualism in Jewish life. He is perhaps best remembered for his authorship of what has become the Jewish version of the golden rule: when a heathen came to him and said he would convert to Judaism if Hillel could teach him the whole of Torah while he stood on one leg, Hillel replied, “What is hateful to you, do not do unto your neighbor; this is the entire Torah, all the rest is commentary. Go and study.” This basic law, far different from the Christian conception that a person should do to others what he would have them do to him, has become a fundamental tenet of the Jewish faith.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
Counterfeit or the real thing?
The chastisement that Paul gave to the Saints living in various communities was to help them abandon counterfeit religion and return to the basics. “The Torah very clearly requires the Jew to rebuke his fellow when he sees him acting wrongly. “You shall not hate your brother in your heart. You shall surely rebuke your neighbor and not bear sin because of him” (Leviticus 19:17). The most obvious reason is, of course, to restrain him from evildoing and to correct his past misbehavior. Thus a Jew is not only commanded to watch over his own deeds and behavior; he is also responsible for ensuring that his fellow men act righteously.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
How can I be in the world without being part of the world?
The new Saints were constantly challenged by the “glitz” of the religions around them. Assimilation was a great challenge. The Apostles taught them to be in the world yet not of it. “That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.” (Philippians 2:15) “Assimilation is the process in which one cultural or national group loses its identity and becomes part of another group. Referred to Jews, assimilation means losing Jewish identity and becoming absorbed in gentile society. Throughout Jewish history assimilation of Jews has taken place and has been motivated by many factors. In some cases Jews viewed gentile culture as superior and wished to join it. As early as 175 B.C.E., during the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, there were Jews who wished to accept the mode of life and culture of Hellenism. Later, in the years of early Christianity, there were Jews who gradually assimilated into the Christian way of life. In other cases, the lure of a better social or economic position led Jews to assimilate. During the Middle Ages this was sometimes the cause of apostasy (conversion out of Judaism). At other times, persecution and anti-Semitism compelled Jews to convert, but often only on the surface while secretly they remained Jews.” (Encyclopedia Judaica Jr.)
How is my life guided in this world?
The lesson title means that we must live in the spirit while being in the world. That will guide our life in the society of the world community.