Lesson 27 – God’s Treasurers

money dollarsIntroduction: Human beings were created loving and trustworthy, but sin has made us self-centered, greedy, and dishonest. Therefore, out of love, God has created ways to help us develop love and trust again so that we can be comfortable in heaven, and in harmony with its unselfish spirit. Today we will study this part of God’s plan of redemption.

1. Who is the owner of the earth and everything in it? Ps. 50:10-14 [The Further-study verse is Deut. 10:14.]

2. Money can be a great blessing, but what happens when we covet it and love it instead of the Giver? 1 Tim. 6:6-10 [Matt. 19:23, 24]

3. Who gives us the skill and strength to acquire money? Deut. 8:18 [Acts 17:28; Ecc. 5:19]

4. In one sense, we own nothing; everything we have is only loaned to us. When must we give an account of the goods entrusted to us? Luke 12:16-21 [Ps. 49:10, 16, 17]

5. Since everything comes from God, and He has promised to provide for us, what attitude should we have about our daily needs? Matt. 6:25, 26 [Isa. 33:16]

6. Because God has promised to provide for us and we are not to worry, should we then be lazy and expect Him to make up for our lack of industry, planning, and frugality? 2 Thess. 3:7-10 [Gen. 3:19; 1 Thess. 4:11, 12; 1 Tim. 5:8]

7. What portion of our wealth does God claim for Himself? Lev. 27:30 [Note: Tithe is from a Hebrew word which means ‘tenth’. While all we have comes from the Lord; He permits us to use 9/l0ths and asks us to return 1/10 to test our faithfulness. “All the tithe . . . IS the Lord’s.” When we pay our tithe, we are but returning to God what is already His. Gen. 14:18-20; Gen. 28:18-22]

8. What was the tithe used for in Israel? Heb. 7:5 [Note: The Levites were the tribe especially set apart for ministry to the Lord. Today the tithe is to be used for the support of God’s ministry throughout the world. 1 Cor. 9:13, 14; Matt. 10:9, 10; Heb. 7:6, 9; Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, pp. 245-251]

9. Did Jesus recognize the principle of tithing? Luke 11:42 [Note: Tithe does little good for the giver when given for show or to earn favor with God. Jesus said the Pharisees did right in giving their tithe, but they did it from a wrong motive, and were neglecting essential virtues, such as love, mercy, and faith. They needed a change of heart. Matt. 23:23]

10. Beside the tithe, what else did the children of Israel give to further the work of the Lord? Ex. 35:4, 5; 36:3-5 [Note: The tithe is not an offering. We cannot offer God something He already owns! If we want to give something to the Lord, we must go beyond the tithe as did the children of Israel. In the Second Advent Movement, while the tithe supports the ministry, offerings support church schools, welfare work, various mission projects around the world, and local church programs. 1 Cor. 16:2]

11. What does God call those who withhold their tithes and offerings, and what does He promise those who are faithful with their tithes? Mal. 3:8-10 [Note: If robbing man is bad, how much more serious it is to rob God! Luke 6:38; Prov. 11:24, 25]

12. What factors besides the amount of money are important when we give to God? Luke 21:1-4 [Ps. 50:5; 2 Cor. 8:12]

13. In what spirit should we give our offerings? 2 Cor. 9:7 [2 Cor. 8:9; Rom. 12:8; Matt. 6:1-4]

14. Besides giving tithes and offerings to support God’s work and workers, in what other kinds of giving should we become involved? Matt. 25:34-40 [Ps. 41:1-3]

15. Where only is our money secure? Matt. 6:19, 20 [Luke 12:33, 34]

16. In what way are we affected by our giving habits? Matt. 6:21 [Matt. 19:21]

Commitment: In the Second Advent Movement, the pastors encourage and lead the members into self-sacrifice and giving–not for themselves, but to help each one develop character and get ready for heaven. God does not need our money-He could rain down gold from heaven–but He is helping us to learn to trust Him, and to become loving and self-sacrificing, as Jesus was. Jesus gave His life; what can we give in comparison with that?

STEP 3 (Lessons 21-30): Becoming Part of Christ’s Remnant People

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Lesson 30 – So Send I You

kids sharingIntroduction: This is our final lesson. I hope these lessons have indeed been steps to eternal life for you. Yet we are not through, for it is God’s plan that each person who obtains truth shall share it with others.

1. After Jesus had finished His work on earth, what plan did He have for carrying His work forward? John 17:18 [The Further-study verse is Matt. 16:24]

2. Jesus came to save sinners. How did He do this? John 17:3, 4 [John 14:6, 7, 10]

3. Jesus’ first work was to reveal His Father’s character. This is to be our first work. What character traits (“fruits”) are we to develop? Gal. 5:22, 23 [Note: “By the power of His grace manifested in the transformation of character the world is to be convinced that God has sent His Son as its Redeemer. No other influence that can surround the human soul has such power as the influence of an unselfish life.” MH 470. “The last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His [God’s] character of love…. In their own life and character they [the children of God] are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them.” COL 415, 416. Isa. 29:17-19; 32:15

4. What character “fruits” does Peter say we should develop? Are all these developed at once? 2 Peter 1:5-11 [Eph. 2:19-22]

5. What will God do to those who do not bear this fruit? What will He do to those who do? John 15:1, 2 [Note: “The strongest argument in favor of the gospel is a loving and lovable Christian. To live such a life . . . costs at every step effort, self-sacrifice, discipline. It is because they do not understand this that many are so easily discouraged …. They pray for Christlikeness of character . . . and they are . . . placed in circumstances that seem to call forth all the evil of their nature…. Trials and obstacles are the Lord’s chosen methods of discipline and His appointed conditions of success…. He permits the fires of affliction . . . that they may be purified.” MH 470, 471. James 1:2-4]

6. What connection must be maintained if one is to bear fruit to God’s glory? John 15:4-8 [Eph. 3:17-21]

7. How can we abide in Christ and grow in grace? 2 Peter 1:2-4 [Ans: Through daily (1) study of the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, (2) prayer, (3) keeping Christ in our thoughts, and (4) praising God even in the midst of trials. John 6:56, 63; 17:17-19; Col. 1:9, 10; 1 Thess. 5:16-18; Isa. 55:7; 1 Peter 1:6, 7; James 1:2-4; Phil. 4:6-8]

8. Beyond setting the example of a good life, Jesus sought opportunities to tell about salvation. What was His final commission to His disciples? Matt. 28:18-20 [Mark 16:15, 16; Isa. 43:10; Matt. 24:14]

9. What will Jesus do for us if we share our faith? Matt. 10:32, 33 [Eze. 33:8, 9]

10. Is it possible to have a “neutral” influence for Jesus? Matt. 12:30 [Matt. 6:24]

11. Who did Jesus promise to send to give power to our witness? Acts 1:8 [John 14:12, 16-18]

12. After Christ’s ascension, what condition among the disciples made it possible for God to give them the Holy Spirit? Acts 2:1 [Acts 4:32-35; Eph 4:3]

13. What results were produced by the Holy Spirit’s influence? Acts 2:37-41 [Acts 4:4; 5:14; 6:7]

14. The Spirit works to convict and convert everyone, but after conversion He gives various gifts for witnessing. How many receive these gifts from the Spirit, and are the gifts the same? 1 Cor. 12:4-7 [1 Cor. 12:14-27]

15. Who decides what gifts a person receives? 1 Cor. 12:11, 18 [Eph. 4:11-13]

16. What gifts does Paul list in his letter to the Romans, and how should they be used? Rom. 12:4-12 [Note: We might call some of these gifts “natural talents,” but even natural talents have been entrusted to us to be used for God, and when the Holy Spirit takes control of these talents they become effective for winning souls to Jesus. 1 Cor. 12:7-10]

17. What abilities do you have that the Holy Spirit could use to win souls? [Suggestions: The ability to use the telephone for Christ, visiting, giving these same Bible studies to someone else, encouraging the discouraged, hospitality that witness, giving out literature, sharing your testimony, writing letters that witness, praying for others, musical abilities, raising children for Christ, bringing others to church, financially supporting God’s work, gospel medical missionary abilities. . . . Matt. 25:14-30]

Commitment: We are all saved for service, and only through service can we maintain a living, growing relationship with Christ. Won’t you make it a lifelong goal to work and witness for Christ, starting today?

STEP 3 (Lessons 21-30): Becoming Part of Christ’s Remnant People

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Lesson 29 – Sanctified Homes

coupleIntroduction: Among the sins of Noah’s day that led God to destroy the world was the almost universal flouting of God’s standards for marriage, sexual relations, and the home. “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of [the coming of] the Son of Man” (Luke 17:26). Today we are seeing that fulfilled. In this lesson we will study about God’s plan for marriage and the home. Again we will quote from the Spirit of Prophecy (the writings of Ellen White) to shed additional light on the Bible. AH refers to a compilation of her writings on the home called Adventist Home.

1. With what were the antediluvians obsessed? Matt. 24:37-39 [Note: “There is in itself no sin in eating and drinking, or in marrying and giving in marriage . . . if that which is lawful is properly treated, and not carried to sinful excess. But in the days of Noah, men married without consulting God, or seeking His guidance and counsel.” So it is at the present day. And marriage ceremonies are “made matters of display, extravagance, and self-indulgence.” AH 121, 100. The Further-study verses are 1 Cor. 7:29-31; Luke 17:26-30]

2. Who established the institution of marriage? Gen. 2:21-24 [Matt. 19:4-6]

3. Are religious orders made more holy by celibacy? Heb. 13:4a [Ans: “Marriage is honorable among all.” 1 Tim. 4:1-3]

4. While marriage is honorable, what does the Bible call those who engage in sex outside of marriage? Heb. 13:4b [Note: “Fornicators” (KJV-“whoremongers”) is from the Greek word “pornos” from which we get the word “pornography.” This verse warns against all sexual relations outside of marriage. 1 Cor. 6:9, 10]

5. On what basis did the antediluvians choose marriage partners? Gen. 6:1, 2 [Note: The descendants of Seth were called the “sons of God” (See 1 John 3:1). They married the descendants of Cain, who were unconverted. This resulted not in the conversion of the unconverted spouses, but in the apostasy of the “sons of God.” Gen. 24:1-3; 26:34, 35; 28:1]

6. What counsel does God give about marriage between a believer and an unbeliever? 2 Cor. 6:14-18 [Deut. 7:1-3]

7. Should one already married to an unbeliever seek a divorce? 1 Cor. 7:13 [1 Peter 3:1]

8. Christ set forth only one legitimate reason for divorce. What was it? Why do you think He considered this reason legitimate? Matt. 19:5, 6, 9 [Note: The Bible does not require the innocent party to divorce the unfaithful marriage partner. In some cases forgiveness can be granted, and trust reestablished. 1 Cor. 7:10-15, 39; Mark 10:11, 12; Deut. 24:1-4]

9. Marriage is not always ideal (as in the case of Paul) and young people should not be hurried into this sacred relationship. But when entered into in the fear of God, how does marriage help to preserve the purity of society? 1 Cor. 7:1-3 [Note: The spouse is to render what is “due.” “Marriage . . . in this degenerate age . . . covers vileness of every description . . . [as] previous to the flood.” God never designed that marriage should cover base lust. “The fact that all the relations of life are of a transitory nature should have a modifying influence on all we do and say.” AH 121, 122. 1 Cor. 7:5, 8, 9; Col. 3:18, 19; Ps. 24:3, 4; 2 Peter 1:4]

10. How important is it that we control our eyes and our thoughts? Matt. 5:27-30 [Note: The antediluvians gave full rein to evil thoughts (Gen. 6:5). Doubtless they enjoyed sensual songs, pictures, and jokes. Col. 3:5-8]

11. How is the spiritual life affected if wives are not honored and understood? 1 Peter 3:7 [ 1 John 4:7-8]

12. What is God’s ideal for the husband-wife relationship? Eph. 5:22, 25 [Note: God took Eve from Adam’s side to be his “helper comparable to him” (Gen. 2:18, NKJV), not his slave. She was to be submissive to his godly affections and Christian leadership as an equal partner. They were to be “one.” Gen. 2:18, 24]

13. What two commandments in the Decalogue deal with the home? Ex. 20:12, 14 [Matt. 19:16-19]

14. In what way may parents show true love to their children? Prov. 13:24 [Note: Discipline and love must always go together. Eli is an example of one who mistook indulgence for love, and did not discipline his sons. 1 Sam. 3:13; Titus 2:4; Ps. 127:3]

15. What disposition in children is a sign of the last days? 2 Tim. 3:1, 2 [1 Tim. 3:2-5; Isa. 8:18]

16. How does Paul summarize the ideal parent-child relationship? Eph. 6:1-4 [Col. 3:20, 21]

Commitment: Today’s society is like Noah’s. Jesus said, “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil” (John 17:15). Will you determine, by God’s help, to be pure in both thought and deed; and to fulfill your Christian duty as a husband, wife, parent, or child?

STEP 3 (Lessons 21-30): Becoming Part of Christ’s Remnant People

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Lesson 28 – Stewards of Time

clockIntroduction: God has made us stewards not only of the money and health He has given us, but of our time. Today’s lesson is about this stewardship of time.

1. What illustration does the Bible use to show the brief nature of our earthly life? James 4:14 [The Further-study verse is Isa. 40:6-8]

2. Unless we are saved, we shall live only a short time. Thus, what should be our chief purpose in life? 1 Tim. 6:11, 12 [Note: Our major goal in life is to be saved and to help others be saved. Everything else is secondary. Ps. 37:9-11, 20, 35-38; Matt. 16:24-26]

3. What activities occupied the people before the flood? Were they concerned about their own salvation or the salvation of others? Matt. 24:37, 38 [Gen. 6:5]

4. After being converted, what use did Paul make of His time on earth? Phil. 3:13, 14 [2 Tim. 4:7, 8]

5. Since most of us have already wasted much of the time allotted to us, as did the antediluvians, what should we do now? Eph. 5:15-20 [Col. 4:5]

6. What does Jesus say about wasting time in worldly cares and activities in these last days? Luke 21:34-36 [Note: “Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures and who have received the love of the truth will be shielded from the powerful delusion that takes the world captive …. Satan will, if possible . . ., so arrange affairs as to hedge up their way, entangle them with earthly treasures, cause them to carry a heavy, wearisome burden, that their hearts may be overcharged with the cares of this life and the day of trial may come upon them as a thief.”–The Great Controversy, p. 625. 2 Tim. 3:1, 4b]

7. In view of the above, what relationship should we maintain with worldly activities that merely consume our time or, worse yet, develop a taste for the common and trivial? Eph. 5:8-11 [Note: “Card playing should be prohibited…. Evil angels are familiar guests in these places. There is nothing in such amusements beneficial to soul or body.”–Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 652. What do you think about dancing and gambling? 2 Tim. 2:22; Ibid., vol. 1, p. 514]

8. On what kind of subjects should we focus our time and thoughts? Phil. 4:8 [Note: In general, movies not only consume time, they lead to sinful, lustful thoughts, and should likewise be discarded by Christians. Most television programs do not even meet Paul’s first requirement–“whatever things are true.” Most, like novels, are fictitious. 2 Cor. 3:18]

9. How compatible is Christianity with worldly activities and friendships? 2 Cor. 6:14, 17, 18; 7:1 [1 John 2:15-17; James 4:4; 3:11-13]

10. What did Jesus say about the man who was saved from sin but did not then spend his time wisely in doing good? Luke 11:24-26 [Note: If we would fill our minds with Bible truths and Christian songs instead of television and rock music, our Christian experience would grow. Our thoughts and our time need to be preoccupied with Christ so that Satan may find no entrance. Rom. 6:18, 19, 22; Rev. 3:20; Matt. 12:30]

11. What is one activity in which we can profitably participate? Matt. 18:20 [Note: “Those who are really seeking for communion with God will be seen at the prayer meeting.”–Steps to Christ, p. 98. Acts 2:44-47]

12. To help us realize that our time belongs to God, He has reserved a special portion of time for Himself. What should we do on the Sabbath? Isa. 58:13, 14 [Note: The Sabbath is not to be spent in idleness, but in attending church, visiting the sick, exploring God’s nature, studying the Bible, praying, and enjoying Christian fellowship. Matt. 12:12]

13. What Sabbath activity becomes even more important as we near the time for Christ to return? Heb. 10:24, 25 [Lev. 23:3; Luke 4:16]

14. What weekday activities are inappropriate during the holy hours of the Sabbath? Neh. 13:15-18 [Note: Buying and selling, engaging in sports, watching television, washing cars, cleaning the house, etc., are our own works. Even our Sabbath meals, God says, should be prepared as much as possible before the Sabbath begins so that we can spend our time with Him. Ex. 16:23; Isa. 58:13, 14]

15. Satan works tirelessly to get us to put off spending time with Jesus. What does Paul warn about this fatal delay? Heb. 3:12-15 [Acts 24:25]

Commitment: We are each the product of the way we spend our time. If we spend our time with Jesus we will become more like Him, but if we spend it with the world and in worldly activities we will become like it. Let us spend the first part of each day with Jesus, and then keep Him with us throughout the day as we travel, work, play, or socialize. Our sojourn in this world is short. Will you just now vow to please Jesus by being a faithful steward of your time?

STEP 3 (Lessons 21-30): Becoming Part of Christ’s Remnant People

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Lesson 26 – The Christian’s Dress and Adornment

box of jewelsIntroduction: “Jesus Christ . . . gave Himself for us, that He might . . .purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works” (Titus 2:13,14). When we really love Jesus we will be zealous to glorify Him in the way we live. This involves such practical matters as eating, dressing, giving, spending our time, relating to family members, and witnessing. These things will not save us, but if Jesus is abiding in our hearts we will be growing more and more like Him every day. These last six lessons discuss these issues. Our topic today is on how to dress to the glory of Christ.

1. What did Jesus say about the way men look at women? Matt. 5:27-29 [Note: God made the home for perfect compatibility. He made the man to notice his wife, and the woman to be noticed by her husband. But when men lust, or women dress to invite lust, outside of marriage, it is adultery. Thus the Bible deals with men’s eyes and women’s dress. [The Further-study verses are Prov. 4:25; Heb. 4:12; Mark 7:21; Isa. 55:7; Ps. 139:23, 24]

2. How are wives to be submissive to their husbands? 1 Peter 3:1-5 [Ans: By modesty in conduct, conversation, and dress. God made men and women equal, but in the home He made the wife to be submissive to her husband’s godly affections (not the world’s). Women are not to seek the world’s attraction by wearing outward ornamentation. Submission was to help create peace and happiness for wives, but in sin men have often exploited their wives rather than loving them and encouraging them to reach their potential. Eph. 5:22, 25-28]

3. How should Christian women dress, and what should they not wear? 1 Tim. 2:9 [Note: This text sets forth perfect guidelines for dress: modest, appropriate, and moderate dress; but not extreme hairdos, gold, pearls, or costly clothing. Deut. 22:5]

4. When the Lord judges His people, what fault does He find with the “daughters of Zion”? Isa. 3:13, 16, 18-24 [Note: Many of these items of jewelry came from the idol-worshipping countries around Israel. People in many heathen countries still adorn themselves heavily with jewelry. Num. 31:50; 1 Kings 16:31; 2 Kings 9:30]

5. Today, since 1844, we are living in the “hour of God’s judgment.” When coming down to judge ancient Israel, what did God tell them to do with the ornaments that they had adopted from the surrounding countries? Ex. 33:5, 6 [Mal. 3:2, 3; 1 Peter 2:9]

6. Along with the household idols, what else did Jacob bury before meeting with God? Gen. 35:1-4 [Hosea 2:13]

7. What trait of character was at the root of Lucifer’s downfall? Eze. 28:13, 15, 16 [Note: Pride led Lucifer to become self-centered. No doubt, his appearance when adorned with jewels encouraged him to exalt himself. God is training us for heaven, therefore He forbids us to wear jewelry lest we encourage pride. Rev. 21:19-21; Isa. 14:12-14]

8. In what kind of dress does God picture the woman that represents Satan’s kingdom? Rev. 17:4, 5 [Rev. 18:5-7, 16; Rev. 12:1]

9. What kind of garment is to clothe God’s people? Rev. 19:8 [Note: Our outer garments of simplicity and modesty should reveal that we are wearing the inner garment of Christ’s character. The “fine linen” garment of Revelation, which all the saved must wear, is “the righteousness of Christ, His own unblemished character, that through faith is imparted to all who receive Him.”– Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 310. Matt. 22:11-13; Job. 29:14; Isa. 52:1]

10. Who gives us this garment of Christ’s righteousness? Zech. 3:2-5 [Isa. 64:6; Rev. 3:18]

11. As with the symbolic clothing that represents our characters, in what condition should our real clothing be when we meet with the Lord? Ex. 19:10 [Num. 8:21]

12. What will eventually become of the world’s vain adornments? 1 John 2:15-17 [James 4:4]

13. How can we glorify God in our bodies? Rom. 12:1, 2 [John 17:15]

Commitment: God uses clothing to represent our characters; and in reality the outer covering often reveals what is inside. God calls for every Christian to be renewed, both within and without. He wants us to dress tastefully and becomingly, in a manner that will attract attention to Jesus instead of to ourselves. External adornments that encourage pride God forbids–His perfect character is the only adornment the true Christian needs. And that adornment will be more attractive to the regenerate heart than external glitter! Is it your desire to reflect Jesus’ character in your manner of dress?

STEP 3 (Lessons 21-30): Becoming Part of Christ’s Remnant People

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Lesson 25 – Preparing for Eternity

jewelry and wine glassIntroduction: In Lesson 6 we learned that our bodies are temples “of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:19). We need clear minds so God can effectively communicate to us, and we need healthy bodies with which to serve Him properly. As with money and time, God has made us stewards of our body-temples. The principles of healthful living are set forth in the Bible, but because ours is a special generation that God wants to translate, and because this generation is facing health problems that have never existed before, God has given us special health counsels through Ellen White. To shed light on the Bible, we will quote from her books, The Ministry of Healing (MH) and Counsels on Diet and Foods (CD). Not all these principles are standards for church fellowship–some are ideals to grow into.

1. Why is God holding off earth’s final disasters? Rev. 7:1-3 [The Further-study verse is Mal. 3:2, 3]

2. What will the church be like when Jesus returns? Eph. 5:25-27 [Rev. 19:7, 8]

3. Therefore, to be acceptable, how should we present our bodies to God? Rom. 12:1, 2 [1 Cor. 10:31]

4. To what extent is God concerned about our physical health? 3 John 2 [Ex. 15:26]

5. How should we live if we hope to win the “imperishable crown”? 1 Cor. 9:24-27 [1 Peter 2:9]

6. What do the Scriptures say about wine? Prov. 20:1 [Note: The immediate effect of intoxicating drink is to deaden the conscience and distort reasoning. It has destroyed millions of lives and homes–surely it is not of heavenly origin. Jesus refused even to taste vinegar upon the cross, and the wine He used for communion was “new” (unfermented) wine. The Adventist Church believes in total abstinence from alcoholic beverages. This applies also to mind-altering drugs, except for true medical purposes. Tobacco, tea, and coffee contain addictive drugs and poisons, and must be given up before baptism. “Tobacco is a slow, insidious, but most malignant poison. In whatever form it is used, it tells upon the constitution …. Can you as Christians indulge a habit that is paralyzing your intellect and robbing you of power rightly to estimate eternal realities?” “Tea and coffee do not nourish the system…. What seems to be strength is only nervous excitement…. These nerve irritants … wear away the life forces.” MH 327, 329, 326. Rom. 6:3, 6, 16; 2 Peter 1:6 KJV; Matt. 27:34; 26:29; Prov. 23:29-33; Isa. 28:7; Gal 5:19-21; 1 Cor. 6:9, 10; Hosea 4:11; Lev. 10:9-11]

7. What is another area of intemperance that Solomon warns about? Prov. 23:2, 19-21 [Note: We should not overeat even of good food. Rom. 8:12-14; Matt. 4:4]

8. What balancing counsels about work does God give? Prov. 6:6; 23:4 [Note: God wants us to be balanced–neither lazy nor “workaholics.” Matt. 6:31-34; Ex. 20:8-11; 2 Thess. 3:10-13; 1 Tim. 6:8; 5:8]

9. What was God’s original diet for mankind? Gen. 1:29 [Note: While vegetarianism is not a test of church fellowship, it is a goal toward which to work for “Flesh was never the best food; but its use is now doubly objectionable, since disease in animals is so rapidly increasing.” MH 313. In most countries, modern transportation and refrigeration make it unnecessary to include flesh in the diet. Moreover, “Among those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat eating will eventually be done away.” “God is trying to lead us back, step by step, to His original design,–that man should subsist upon the natural products of the earth.” CD 380. Dan. 1:8-20]

10. What does the Bible say about honey as part of one’s diet? Prov. 24:13; 25:16, 27 [Note: Just as “It is not good to eat much honey,” so it is not good to eat much sugar. “Far too much sugar is ordinarily used …. Especially harmful are the custards and puddings in which milk, eggs, and sugar are the chief ingredients.” There are other refined foods that, especially when eaten to excess, tend to weaken our bodies. “Fine-flour bread”, for example, “is lacking in nutritive elements to be found in bread from the whole wheat.” MH 301, 300]

11. Into what kind of environment did God place our original parents? Gen. 2:15 [Note: “The Creator chose for our first parents the surroundings best adapted for their health and happiness.” MH 261. Exercise in nature promotes health of body and soul.]

12. What disposition leads to health? Prov. 17:22 [Note: This is that joyful, happy, inner peace that comes from Christ. John 14:27; 15:11]

13. Can healthful living earn us a place in heaven? What do you think should be our motive for healthful living? Eph. 2:8-10 [2 Cor. 5:14; Titus 2:11-14]

Commitment: Keeping our body-temples in health involves the proper use of “pure air, sunlight, abstemiousness, rest, exercise, . . . diet, . . . water, [and] trust in divine power.” MH 127. Will you dedicate your body-temple to God for His service? Will you invite the Holy Spirit to teach you how to preserve your health, preparing you to meet Jesus at His coming?

STEP 3 (Lessons 21-30): Becoming Part of Christ’s Remnant People

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Lesson 24 – Baptism

white doveIntroduction: Having identified God’s remnant church, the true follower of Jesus will want to know how to join it. Jesus said: “Other sheep I have who are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock” (John 10:16). Generally one joins the church through baptism, though those who previously have been baptized may join by receiving Jesus as absolute Lord of their life and accepting the Biblical principles upon which the church is built. In this lesson we will learn the meaning and importance of baptism, as well as the way Jesus showed it should be administered.

1. What two things are involved in being born again? John 3:5 [Note: It takes love AND a legal ceremony for a good marriage. There also are two aspects to the new birth: The spiritual part is our new, love-relationship with Jesus; and the official part is baptism, where we publicly pledge ourselves to Him. Both are called for in Scripture. The Further-study verse is 1 John 5:4-6]

2. Through what rite do we “put on Christ”? Gal. 3:27 [Note: “Baptism” is a Greek word meaning “to dip” or “to immerse.” It was carried over directly into English in our Bibles, being made a “theological” term. To call sprinkling baptism is a misuse of the term. Acts 22:16]

3. What does baptism represent? Rom. 6:3-5 [Note: Immersion represents two things: 1) Our faith in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection; and 2) our death to self, burial of our old habits of sin, and our resurrection to a new way of life in Jesus. Col. 2:11-13]

4. Why was Jesus baptized, and what was God’s response? Matt. 3:13-17 [Luke 3:21, 22]

5. Was Jesus sprinkled, or immersed? Mark 1:10 [Note: There is not a single instance of sprinkling in the New Testament. Sprinkling was substituted by non-inspired men after the death of the apostles. Eph. 4:5]

6. If Jesus Himself was baptized, should any of us consider ourselves too important to be baptized? Should pride prevent anyone from being buried in water for Him, when He was buried in a tomb for us?

7. In the Old Testament, the animal sacrifices pointed to Jesus’ death. Were these sacrifices effectual without faith on the part of the worshiper? Heb. 10:4 [Lev. 4:35; Lev. 23:27-30; Rom. 9:31, 32; Deut. 32:20; Hab. 2:4]

8. In this respect, baptism is like these sacrifices. While baptism is necessary, can baptism itself, without faith, save us? Mark 16:16 [Note: Baptizing infants is meaningless because they have no faith. An infant can be dedicated to the Lord, as Jesus was as a baby, but baptism is meaningful only when it expresses the believer’s faith. 1 Peter 3:21; Heb. 11:6; Rom. 5:1, 2]

9. At Pentecost, what did Peter tell the new converts to do? Acts 2:38 [Acts 8:12, 38]

10. What were the new converts “added” to when they were baptized? Acts 2:41, 47 [Note: Some Bible versions omit “to the church.” See KJV or NKJV. Acts 5:14]

11. What symbol represents the church? Eph. 1:22, 23 [Ans: ‘The church . . . is His body.’ Col. 1:24]

12. What are we to be baptized “into”? 1 Cor. 12:13 [Ans: Christ’s body, the church. 1 Cor. 12:27, 28]

13. What is given to those who are baptized? 1 Cor. 12:7-12 [Ans: Everyone receives some gift of the Holy Spirit for service in God’s work and in His church. “Not more surely is the place prepared for us in the heavenly mansions than is the special place designated on earth where we are to work for God.”–Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 327. Rom. 12:4-11]

14. What are we to do with these gifts after we are baptized? John 15:2, 8 [Matt. 12:30]

15. What was Jesus’ last commission to the disciples? Matt. 28:18-20 [Mark 16:15, 16]

16. On one occasion, what did Paul do to those who had been baptized before learning all of the gospel? Acts 19:3-5 [Ans: He baptized them again. Acts 17:30]

Commitment: Jesus said, “Whoever confesses Me before men, him I will also confess before My Father” (Matt. 10:32). Once God gives us the opportunity to develop a faith-relationship with Jesus, and then as we learn how to publicly confess that relationship through baptism by immersion, salvation is conditional upon our obedience. Would you like to request baptism today and begin to prepare for that wonderful event? And while you are preparing for baptism, will you pray that God will show you what gifts He has given you to be used in service for Him and His church?

STEP 3 (Lessons 21-30): Becoming Part of Christ’s Remnant People

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Lesson 23 – God’s Final Generation

generations handsIntroduction: Today we study a prophecy found in Revelation 10. In this prophecy God describes how He would “generate” His final movement to warn the world and to prepare a people for Christ’s second coming, which is described in the next chapter.

1. What did the mighty angel of Revelation 10 have in His hand? Rev. 10:1, 2 [The Further-study verse is Rev. 4:3.]

2. What little book of the Bible had been closed until the “time of the end”? Dan. 12:4 [Note: Daniel is the only Bible book that had been closed and was thus to be opened in the last days. Dan. 12:9]

3. What message did the angel proclaim from the book of Daniel after it was opened? Rev. 10:5-7 [Note: The KJV translates verse 6 literally and correctly as, “time (‘chronos’) no longer.” Dan. 2:44; 7:9, 10, 26, 27; 8:14]

4. This prophecy foretells the rise of a people to whom God would speak by opening up the meaning of the prophecies of Daniel. These people believed Jesus was coming soon, at a time revealed in the book of Daniel. Thus there would be “time no longer.” As they received (or ate) the message, how did it taste? Rev. 10:8, 9 [Ps. 119:103]

5. Though the prophecies of Jesus’ coming, in the book of Daniel, were sweet to contemplate, they were not fully understood. When time did not end the way the people expected it to with Jesus’ second coming, how did those who had received the message of Daniel feel? Rev. 10:10 [Note: This was fulfilled in the Advent Movement headed by William Miller, who, in 1831, began a great revival by preaching Daniel’s message about the cleansing of the sanctuary, which he expected to take place around 1844. Eventually he settled on October 22, 1844 as the exact date. This was the correct date that foretold the beginning of the judgment in the heavenly sanctuary (See Lesson 19). God permitted them to misunderstand the word “sanctuary” to mean the earth, instead of the real sanctuary in heaven where the judgment must take place and Christ receive His kingdom before He returns. Thus, when the judgment hour arrived, they were expecting Jesus to come, and they were bitterly disappointed. Rev. 19:6-9; Luke 12:36 (This wedding is the judgment, not the second coming, for we are to WAIT until “He will return FROM the wedding.”)]

6. After October 22, 1844, there was “[prophetic] time no longer”– Jesus could now come as soon as His final movement finished work–but the Adventists joyfully thought there would be “[literal] time no longer.” Why were they “bitterly” disappointed? Rev. 10:11 [Note: The KJV says, “Thou must prophesy (i. e., teach the prophecies) again before many peoples.” Their work was not yet finished as they had hoped. Matt. 24:14]

7. Who else had been bitterly disappointed because they had misunderstood the prophecies, and had expected Jesus to set up His earthly kingdom? Luke 24:17-21 [Luke 19:35-40]

8. The disciples had the right time but misunderstood what was to happen and were scoffed at; but did either the scoffing or their misunderstanding prove the prophecy wrong? 1 Cor. 1:18, 23, 24 [Rom. 1:16]

9. To help generate and establish His final, Advent Movement, Jesus promised to give certain signs that would immediately follow the tribulation period. What were they? Matt. 24:29, 30 [Note: The tribulation of prophecy is that period of persecution that existed during the 1260 years of Papal dominion (See Dan. 7:25, Rev. 6:9-13, and Lesson 15). Toward the end of this period, just after persecution ceased, came the historic “Dark Day” on May 19, 1780. Next came the greatest star (or meteorite) shower of history on November 13, 1833, just two years after Miller began preaching. Many, at the time, recognized these signs as fulfilling Christ’s prophecy, and it gave great impetus to the Advent Movement. Rev. 6:9-14; Joel 2:31; Luke 21:25-33]

10. The Greek word for “generation” (genea) “literally [means] those descended from a common ancestor” (Anedt and Gingrich’s Lexicon, but it may mean the lifetime of a person, movement, or nation. It is the generation of God’s final movement, or church, that concerns prophecy. How long would “this” generation that God began at the time of these heavenly signs, last? Matt. 24:32-34 [Ps. 22:30, 31 KJV]

11. Was this a conditional prophecy? Matt. 24:35 [Note: Some prophecies are conditional–i.e., “If you do this, this will happen….” Others, as this one, are unconditional. Jer. 18:7-10; Jonah 3:10; Gen. 41:32; Dan. 2:45]

Commitment: The Advent Movement of Revelation 10, which proclaimed the special messages of Daniel and Revelation, became the Seventh-day Adventist Church. This is God’s final generation that will not pass away until Jesus comes. Would you like to become a part of this, God’s final movement, that is preparing for Jesus’ second coming?

STEP 3 (Lessons 21-30): Becoming Part of Christ’s Remnant People

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Lesson 22 – God’s People Identified

Jesus churchIntroduction: Throughout history God has had a special people with a special message. In this lesson we will discover who are God’s special people in this age.

1. Who did God say would be His people? Eze. 34:30, 31 [Isa. 51:16 “Zion” was the hill on which Jerusalem was built and is used often as a symbol to refer to the descendants of Israel. Isa. 10:24; 37:22; Micah 4:8]

2. What was the sign that a person gave to become part of the House of Israel? (or part of God’s people) Genesis 17:9-14 [Exodus 12:48 Note: It is important to understand that becoming part of the house of Israel was available not only to the blood descendants of Abraham but to all peoples and nations who were willing to come under the covenant relationship as Exodus 12:48 says.]

3. What did this sign represent? Deuteronomy 30:6 [Jeremiah 4:4]

4. What New covenant sign replaced the old covenant sign of circumcision and makes us a part of Israel? Gal. 3:26-29 [Col. 2:11, 12]

5. We belong to Christ by baptism and are Abraham’s seed or part of Israel when we are baptized, so how is Spiritual or the professed Israel of today organized today? Gal. 1:2; 3:7; 6:16 [Ans: into churches Eph. 2:18-22]

6. What happened to those of Israel who rejected Jesus as the Messiah? Matt. 21:43 [Matt. 23:37, 38]

7. Does God always have a people, a true and faithful remnant of Israel even in times of apostasy? Rom. 9:27 [Rom. 11:5; Luke 12:32]

8. What symbol does God use to represent Israel (or Zion) in prophecy? Jer. 6:2 [Eph. 5:23; Rev. 19:7]

9. What are the two identifying marks of God’s people in the last days (symbolized by a woman, His last or remnant people today)? Rev. 12:17

10. What is the testimony of Jesus? Rev. 19:10 [Rev. 22:9, 16 Note: The two texts in question eight and nine shoe that God’s people in the last days will be a Sabbath-keeping people and will have the gift of prophecy in their midst.]

11. How do we know that God’s professed people in the last days will be a worldwide fellowship or church? Rev. 14:6, 7 [Matt. 24:14]

12. How do we know that God’s professed people in the lasts days will be a Christian people? Rev. 14:12 [Rev. 22:16, 17; Ans. Because they not only keep God’s commandments but have the faith of Jesus.]

13. Just as the Jews were the professed people of God in the time of Christ (although they were in an apostate condition) who are the professed people of God today who meet the above criteria? [Ans. The professed people of God today who meet all the above criteria are the Seventh-day Adventists around the world because they (1) are professed Christians (2) profess to keep all the commandments including the fourth or Sabbath commandment and (3) are worldwide (4) and have the gift of prophecy in their midst. Note: In 1844 God gave to this church the promised gift of prophecy through Ellen G. White. After two men, one after the other, refused to be God’s messenger, He chose this 17-year old woman. She continued her inspired, prophetic ministry until she died in 1915. (See the book Prophet of the End.)]

14. What other women did God call to be His prophets? Luke 2:36; Judges 4:4 [Ex. 15:20; Isa. 8:3; 2 Kings 22:14; Joel 2:28, 29; Acts 21:9]

15. Just as the Jews were in a state of apostasy and most lost their souls in the time of Christ what does Ellen G. White predict will happen to professed Seventh-day Adventists in the last years of earth’s history? [Ans. “In His Word the Lord declared what He would do for Israel if they would obey His voice. But the leaders of the people yielded to the temptations of Satan, and God could not give them the blessings He designed them to have, because they did not obey His voice but listened to the voice and policy of Lucifer. This experience will be repeated in the last years of the history of the people of God, who have been established by His grace and power. Men whom He has greatly honored will in the closing scenes of this earth’s history pattern after ancient Israel.” (13MR, 379) “The word of God plainly tells us that few will be saved, and that the greater number of those, even, who are called will prove themselves unworthy of everlasting life. They will have no part in heaven, but will have their portion with Satan, and experience the second death.” (2T 293, 294)]

16. How can I avoid a bitter disappointment when Jesus comes and be part of His true and faithful remnant people who are prepared and ready to meet Him? Rev. 19:7, 8 [Rev. 14:12; James 1:22. Ans: “He (God) draws the dividing line between those who bear his name by profession, and those whose character shows them to be his children.” Ellen G. White in ST, June 30, 1881.]

17. If I make a complete commitment of myself to God and surrender myself totally to Him, will He see to it that I am able to, by His grace to develop such a character? Phil. 1:6; 1 Thess. 5:23, 24 [Mark 9:23, 24; 1 Cor. 10:12, 13]

Commitment: As responsible human beings in search of salvation, we must find the predicted remnant people of God in the last days and the reformation messenger God promised to send before His second coming. In Jesus day, because of the apostasy among God’s people, Jesus’ disciples had to be organized separately from the Jewish organization. In the same way because of apostasy from the commandments of God and the instruction of His reformation prophet, it has become necessary for the remnant to be organized separately from God’s chosen people of today in many places. If there is not a congregation of true and faithful remnant meeting the specifications of Revelation 12:17 and 19:10 in your area, you can still be part of the worldwide movement which is coming into harmony with every Word of God.

STEP 3 (Lessons 21-30): Becoming Part of Christ’s Remnant People

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Lesson 21 – Elijah Returns

planet earth lightIntroduction: We are now beginning our third step to eternal life-finding and joining God’s true church, the body of Christ (Col. 1:24). Let us begin by studying a fascinating prophecy about how Elijah is going to return to earth!

1. By what name did Jesus refer to John the Baptist? Matt. 11:13-15 [The Further-study verses are Mal. 3:1; Matt. 17:11-13]

2. Was John the Baptist really Elijah? John 1:19-21 [1 Cor. 15:45]

3. If John the Baptist was not really Elijah, why was he given that title? Luke 1:17 [Matt. 3:1-3]

4. Does the work of some messengers from the Lord include more than the word “prophet” signifies? Luke 7:26-28 [1 Cor. 12:28]

5. Elijah, like John the Baptist, did not write a book of the Bible. He was a “reformation” prophet, sent to bring the people back to the true worship of God. What was Elijah’s message? 1 Kings 18:21 [Isa. 58:1]

6. What had Israel forsaken that demanded a reformation? 1 Kings 18:18 [Neh. 9:13-16; 13:17, 18; Dan. 9:10, 11]

7. With the Christian world trampling on God’s Sabbath and forsaking His commandments, as Israel was doing in Elijah’s day, will God again send another trumpet like message calling upon people to choose between God and the Beast, as Elijah called Israel to choose between God and Baal? Rev. 14:6-12 [Rev. 18:1-5]

8. Will God send another “Elijah-prophet” to go along with this “Elijah” message of Revelation 14? Mal. 4:5 [Note: Though John the Baptist partially fulfilled this prophecy, the “great and dreadful day of the Lord” is specifically Jesus’ second coming, and finds its major fulfillment then. Another messenger of the Lord will come to do two things: (1) To prepare God’s people to give His final message to the world, and (2) to help them be ready for His second coming, as John the Baptist prepared a people for Jesus’ first coming. Rev. 6:17]

9. How long has God promised to continue sending prophets to His people? Eph. 4:11-13 [Note: We have not yet come to “the fullness of Christ.” That is yet in the future (1 John 3:2; Rev. 3:21; 14:1, 12; 19:7, 8; 22:11, 12; 2 Peter 3:14). John 16:12, 13]

10. Jesus warned against false prophets, but did He say there would be no more prophets of any kind? Matt. 7:15-17, 20 [Note: Why would Jesus tell us to test the prophets, instead of reject them, if there were not to be any more true prophets? 1 John 4:1]

11. What test does the Bible give to help us differentiate between true and false prophets? Isa. 8:20 [Heb. 13:8; James 1:17; Mal. 3:6]

12. While the Bible warns against accepting false prophets, it also warns against rejecting true prophets. What warning does Paul give about quenching the Spirit? 1 Thess. 5:19-21 [Note: After testing a prophet we are to hold fast to the good (for Satan always tries to discredit God’s messengers and cause us to lose faith in them). Let us not sin against, and quench, the Holy Spirit by despising prophecies. 2 Peter 1:21; 2 Chron. 20:20; Matt. 10:40, 41]

13. Though but few accepted them, God sent reformation prophets to prepare a people for the flood, to save the northern kingdom of Israel, and to prepare for Jesus’ first coming. He has promised to do so again before Jesus’ second coming. God’s unchanging truth is revealed in the Bible, but He loves us too much to leave anything undone to save us, and so He has promised to again communicate with us directly. What has God promised not to do? Amos 3:7 [Hosea 12:13]

14. How does God reveal His secrets to His prophets? Num. 12:6 [2 Peter 1:21; Gen. 46:2; Num. 24:15, 16; Isa. 1:1; Eze. 1:1; Dan. 10:7-9; Hosea 12:10; Joel 2:28, 29; Acts 16:9, 10; 18:9; Rev. 9:17]

15. Who only will recognize Jesus’ voice when He speaks through someone He has called to be His messenger? John 10:27 [John 7:17; 8:31, 32; 14:16-18]

Commitment: Will you determine, by God’s help, to walk so close to Jesus that you will be able to recognize, and be willing to accept, the voice of a messenger from Him-even a prophetic messenger?

STEP 3 (Lessons 21-30): Becoming Part of Christ’s Remnant People

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