September 17, 2006 – September 23, 2006
“For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land.” Deuteronomy 15:11.
Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 530–533.
“We are God’s servants, doing His service. Into the great web of life we are to draw no thread of selfishness; for this would spoil the pattern. But, oh, how thoughtless men are apt to be! How seldom do they make the interests of God’s suffering ones their own. The poor are all around them, but they pass on, thoughtless and indifferent, regardless of the widows and orphans who, left without resources, suffer, but do not tell their need. If the rich would place a small fund in the bank, at the disposal of the needy ones, how much suffering would be saved. The holy love of God should lead every one to see that it is his duty to care for some other one, and thus keep alive the spirit of benevolence. . . . With what goodness, mercy, and love God lays His requirements before His children, telling them what they are to do. He honors us by making us His helping hand. Instead of complaining, let us rejoice that we have the privilege of serving under so good and merciful a Master (Letter 112, 1902).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1118.
1 Who has ever maintained the right of the poor? Psalm 140:12.
note: “Real charity helps men to help themselves. . . . True beneficence means more than mere gifts. It means a genuine interest in the welfare of others. We should seek to understand the needs of the poor and distressed, and to give them the help that will benefit them most. To give thought and time and personal effort costs far more than merely to give money. But it is the truest charity.” Welfare Ministry, 199.
2 What provision did the law make for those too poor to bring a lamb offering? Leviticus 12:8.
note: “Among the poor there are many who long to show their gratitude to God for His grace and truth. They greatly desire to share with their more prosperous brethren in sustaining His service. These souls should not be repulsed. Let them lay up their mites in the bank of heaven. If given from a heart filled with love for God, these seeming trifles become consecrated gifts, priceless offerings, which God smiles upon and blesses.” The Desire of Ages, 615.
3 What shows that Christ’s parents were thus poor? Luke 2:21–24.
note: “The world’s Redeemer was the son of poor parents, and when in His infancy He was presented in the temple, His mother could bring only the offering appointed for the poor,—a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons. He was the most precious gift of heaven to our world, a gift above all computation, yet it could be acknowledged only by the smallest offering. Our Saviour, during all His sojourn on earth, shared the lot of the poor and lowly. Self-denial and sacrifice characterized His life.” Counsels on Stewardship, 160, 161.
4 What was one evidence of Christ’s Messiahship? Luke 4:18; Matthew 11:4, 5. (Compare Isaiah 61:1.)
note: “The word ‘Messiah’ signifies ‘the Anointed One.’ In the autumn of A.D. 27 Christ was baptized by John and received the anointing of the Spirit. The apostle Peter testifies that ‘God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power.’ Acts 10:38. And the Saviour Himself declared: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor.’ Luke 4:18. After His baptism He went into Galilee, ‘preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, The time is fulfilled.’ Mark 1:14, 15.” The Great Controversy, 327.
“Jesus of Nazareth was the Promised One. The evidence of His divinity was seen in His ministry to the needs of suffering humanity. His glory was shown in His condescension to our low estate.
“The works of Christ not only declared Him to be the Messiah, but showed in what manner His kingdom was to be established.” The Ministry of Healing, 35, 36.
5 In what way could a rich man transfer his wealth to heaven? Mark 10:21.
note: “The lover of self is a transgressor of the law. This Jesus desired to reveal to the young man, and He gave him a test that would make manifest the selfishness of his heart. He showed him the plague spot in his character. The young man desired no further enlightenment. He had cherished an idol in the soul; the world was his god. He professed to have kept the commandments, but he was destitute of the principle which is the very spirit and life of them all. He did not possess true love for God or man. This want was the want of everything that would qualify him to enter the kingdom of heaven. In his love of self and worldly gain he was out of harmony with the principles of heaven.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 392.
“Christ points out the way in which those who have wealth, and yet are not rich toward God, may secure the true riches. He says: ‘Sell that ye have and give alms;’ [Luke 12:33] and lay up treasure in heaven. The remedy He proposes is a transfer of their affections to the eternal inheritance. By investing their means in the cause of God to aid in the salvation of souls, and by relieving the needy, they become rich in good works, and are ‘laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.’ [1 Timothy 6:19.] This will prove a safe investment.” Counsels on Stewardship, 151.
6 What class of persons has God specially chosen? James 2:5.
note: “The faithful, trusting poor man becomes rich toward God by judiciously using the little he has in blessing others with his means. He feels that his neighbor has claims upon him that he cannot disregard and yet obey the command of God, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ [Matthew 19:19.] He considers the salvation of his fellow men of greater importance than all the gold and silver the world contains.” Counsels on Stewardship, 151.
“The Lord’s people are mainly made up of the poor of this world, the common people. Not many wise, not many mighty, not many noble are called. God hath ‘chosen the poor of this world.’ ‘The poor have the gospel preached to them.’ [James 2:5; Matthew 11:5.] The wealthy are called, in one sense; they are invited, but they do not accept the invitation. But in these wicked cities the Lord has many who are humble and yet trustful.—Manuscript 17, 1898.” Evangelism, 565.
7 What is “pure and undefiled religion before God”? James 1:27.
note: “Grace is unmerited favor, and the believer is justified without any merit of his own, without any claim to offer to God. He is justified through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, who stands in the courts of heaven as the sinner’s substitute and surety. But while he is justified because of the merit of Christ, he is not free to work unrighteousness. Faith works by love and purifies the soul. Faith buds and blossoms and bears a harvest of precious fruit. Where faith is, good works appear. The sick are visited, the poor are cared for, the fatherless and the widows are not neglected, the naked are clothed, the destitute are fed. Christ went about doing good, and when men are united with Him, they love the children of God, and meekness and truth guide their footsteps. The expression of the countenance reveals their experience, and men take knowledge of them that they have been with Jesus and learned of Him. Christ and the believer become one, and His beauty of character is revealed in those who are vitally connected with the Source of power and love. Christ is the great depositary of justifying righteousness and sanctifying grace.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 398.
8 Who on this earth personally represents Christ? Matthew 25:34–40.
note: “In the providence of God we are associated with those who are inexperienced, with many who need pity and compassion. They need succor, for they are weak. Young men need help. In the strength of Him whose loving-kindness is exercised toward the helpless, the ignorant, and those counted as the least of His little ones, we must labor for their future welfare, for the shaping of Christian character. The very ones who need help the most will at times try our patience sorely. . . .
“The brows of those who do this work will wear the crown of sacrifice. But they will receive their reward. In heaven we shall see the youth whom we helped, those whom we invited to our homes, whom we led from temptation. We shall see their faces reflecting the radiance of the glory of God. ‘They shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads.’ Revelation 22:4.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 348.
9 For how long will the people of God have the poor with them? Deuteronomy 15:11.
note: “In the providence of God events have been so ordered that the poor are always with us, in order that there may be a constant exercise in the human heart of the attributes of mercy and love. Man is to cultivate the tenderness and compassion of Christ; he is not to separate himself from the sorrowing, the afflicted, the needy, and the distressed.” The Signs of the Times, June 13, 1892.
“While the world needs sympathy, while it needs the prayers and assistance of God’s people, while it needs to see Christ in the lives of His followers, the people of God are equally in need of opportunities that draw out their sympathies, give efficiency to their prayers, and develop in them a character like that of the divine pattern.
“It is to provide these opportunities that God has placed among us the poor, the unfortunate, the sick, and the suffering. They are Christ’s legacy to His church, and they are to be cared for as He would care for them. In this way God takes away the dross and purifies the gold, giving us that culture of heart and character which we need.” Welfare Ministry, 17, 18.
10 What will give light, health, and righteousness to the people of God? Isaiah 58:7, 8.
note: “In the night of spiritual darkness God’s glory is to shine forth through His church in lifting up the bowed down and comforting those that mourn.
“All around us are heard the wails of a world’s sorrow. On every hand are the needy and distressed. It is ours to aid in relieving and softening life’s hardships and misery.
“Practical work will have far more effect than mere sermonizing. We are to give food to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and shelter to the homeless. And we are called to do more than this. The wants of the soul, only the love of Christ can satisfy. If Christ is abiding in us, our hearts will be full of divine sympathy. The sealed fountains of earnest, Christlike love will be unsealed.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 417.