June 12, 2004 – June 18, 2004
“Ye are the light of the world. . . . Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14, 16.
Suggested Reading: The Great Controversy, 61–78; 120–170; 317–342.
“God’s work in the earth in these last days is to reflect the light that Christ brought into the world. This light is to dissipate the gross darkness of ages. Men and women in heathen darkness are to be reached by those who at one time were in a similar condition of ignorance, but who have received the knowledge of the truth of God’s word. These heathen nations will accept eagerly the instruction given them in a knowledge of God.
“Very precious to God is His work in the earth. Christ and heavenly angels are watching it every moment. As we draw near to the coming of Christ, more and still more of missionary work will engage our efforts. The message of the renewing power of God’s grace will be carried to every country and clime, until the truth shall belt the world.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 531, 532.
1 In what instruction does the Lord set forth the position of His people in the world? Matthew 5:13.
note: “A traveler to the Euphrates relates that when he came to the Valley of Salt he broke off a piece that had been exposed to the rain, sun, and air, and found that, though it had all the sparkle and other qualities of salt, it had lost its savor. This is true of many professed Christians. If we desire to salt the world, we must begin with ourselves. We must be good if we wish to do good. Salt has preserving qualities; but before its work can be effective in helping the world, it must be brought into close contact with the world.” Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, 1912, 31.
2 By what other illustration is the high calling of God’s people emphasized? Matthew 5:14–16.
note: “The light that shines from those who receive Jesus Christ is not self-originated. It is all from the Light and Life of the world. . . . Christ is the light, the life, the holiness, the sanctification, of all who believe, and His light is to be received and imparted in all good works. In many different ways His grace is also acting as the salt of the earth; whithersoever this salt finds its way, to homes or communities, it becomes a preserving power to save all that is good, and to destroy all that is evil. True religion is the light of the world, the salt of the earth. . . .” God’s Amazing Grace, 124.
3 Before Jesus ascended into heaven, what commission did He give to His followers? Matthew 28:18–20.
note: “In the commission to His disciples, Christ not only outlined their work but gave them their message. Teach the people, He said, ‘to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.’ [Matthew 28:20.] The disciples were to teach what Christ had taught. That which He had spoken, not only in person, but through all the prophets and teachers of the Old Testament, is here included. Human teaching is shut out. There is no place for tradition, for man’s theories and conclusions, or for church legislation. No laws ordained by ecclesiastical authority are included in the commission. None of these are Christ’s servants to teach. ‘The law and the prophets,’ with the record of His own words and deeds, are the treasure committed to the disciples to be given to the world. . . .” Evangelism, 15, 16.
4 To how many has Jesus given His work? Mark 13:34.
note: “All men have been bought with this infinite price [the precious blood of Christ]. By pouring the whole treasury of heaven into this world, by giving us in Christ all heaven, God has purchased the will, the affections, the mind, the soul, of every human being. Whether believers or unbelievers, all men are the Lord’s property. All are called to do service for Him, and for the manner in which they have met this claim, all will be required to render an account at the great judgment day. . . .
“Christ’s followers have been redeemed for service. Our Lord teaches that the true object of life is ministry. Christ Himself was a worker, and to all His followers He gives the law of service—service to God and to their fellow men. Here Christ has presented to the world a higher conception of life than they had ever known. By living to minister for others, man is brought into connection with Christ. The law of service becomes the connecting link which binds us to God and to our fellow men.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 326.
5 What was the mission of Jesus to this world? Luke 19:10. Compare John 20:21, 22.
note: “Christ came to bring salvation within the reach of all. Upon the cross of Calvary He paid the infinite redemption price for a lost world. His self-denial and self-sacrifice, His unselfish labor, His humiliation, above all, the offering up of His life, testifies to the depth of His love for fallen man. It was to seek and to save the lost that He came to earth. His mission was to sinners, sinners of every grade, of every tongue and nation. He paid the price for all, to ransom them and bring them into union and sympathy with Himself.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 603.
6 Where and when are we to sow the seeds of gospel truth? Ecclesiastes 11:1, 6. Compare Isaiah 32:20.
note: “Now is the time to be rich in good works, laying up in store for ourselves a good foundation against the time to come, that we may lay hold on eternal life. One soul saved in the kingdom of God is of more value than all earthly riches. We are answerable to God for the souls of those with whom we are brought in contact, and the closer our connections with our fellow men the greater our responsibility. We are one great brotherhood, and the welfare of our fellow men should be our great interest. We have not one moment to lose. If we have been careless in this matter, it is high time we were now in earnest to redeem the time, lest the blood of souls be found on our garments. As children of God, none of us are excused from taking a part in the great work of Christ in the salvation of our fellow men.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 209.
7 What cheering promise is given to those who do this work faithfully? Psalm 126:5, 6.
note: “If the chosen messengers of the Lord should wait for every obstacle to be moved out of their way, many never would go to search for the scattered sheep. Satan will present many objections in order to keep them from duty. But they will have to go out by faith, trusting in Him who has called them to His work, and He will open the way before them, as far as it will be for their good and His glory. . . . Those who, in Christ’s stead, beseech souls to be reconciled to God, and who hope to reign with Christ in glory, must expect to be partakers of His sufferings here. [Psalm 126:5, 6 quoted.]” Early Writings, 63, 64.
“While they [parents] sow in tears, amid many discouragements, it should be with earnest prayer. They may see the promise of but a late and scanty harvest, yet that should not prevent the sowing. They should sow beside all waters, embracing every opportunity both to improve themselves and to benefit their children. Such seed-sowing will not be in vain. At the harvest time, many faithful parents will return with joy, bringing their sheaves with them.” Review and Herald, August 30, 1881.
8 When the woman of Samaria found Jesus as her Saviour, what did she do? John 4:28, 29.
note: “The Lord has a work for women, as well as for men. They may take their places in His work at this crisis, and He will work through them. If they are imbued with a sense of their duty, and labor under the influence of the Holy Spirit, they will have just the self-possession required for this time. The Saviour will reflect upon these self-sacrificing women the light of His countenance, and will give them a power that exceeds that of men. They can do in families a work that men cannot do, a work that reaches the inner life. They can come close to the hearts of those whom men cannot reach. Their labor is needed.” Review and Herald, August 26, 1902.
9 What were the results of the Samaritan woman’s work? John 4:39.
note: “In the words spoken to the woman at the well, good seed had been sown, and how quickly the harvest was received. The Samaritans came and heard Jesus, and believed on Him. Crowding about Him at the well, they plied Him with questions, and eagerly received His explanations of many things that had been obscure to them. As they listened, their perplexity began to clear away. They were like a people in great darkness tracing up a sudden ray of light till they had found the day. But they were not satisfied with this short conference. They were anxious to hear more, and to have their friends also listen to this wonderful teacher. They invited Him to their city, and begged Him to remain with them. For two days He tarried in Samaria, and many more believed on Him.” The Desire of Ages, 192.
10 What did Andrew do when he found the Saviour? John 1:40, 41.
note: “Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was . . . interested for his friends and relatives, and was anxious that they also should see Christ, and hear for themselves his precious lessons. Andrew went in search of his brother Simon, and with assurance claimed to have found Christ, the Messiah, the Saviour of the world. He brought his brother to Jesus, and as soon as Jesus looked upon him, he said, Thou art Simon, the son of Jona; thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation a stone.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 64.
11 When Philip began to follow Jesus, what did he do? John 1:45.
note: “[Christ] then calls Philip to follow him, and he went in search of Nathanael. Here is an instructive lesson for all the followers of Christ. It teaches them the importance of personal effort, making direct appeals to relatives, friends, and acquaintances. There are those who profess to be acquainted with Christ for a life time who never make personal effort to induce one soul to come to the Saviour. They have left all the work with the minister. He may be well qualified for his work; but he cannot do the work which God has left upon the members of the church. Very many excuse themselves from being interested in the salvation of those who are out of Christ, and are content to selfishly enjoy the benefits of the grace of God themselves, while they make no direct effort to bring others to Christ. In the vineyard of the Lord there is a work for all to do, and unselfish, interested, faithful workers will share largely of his grace here, and of the reward he will bestow hereafter. Faith is called into exercise by good works, and courage and hope are in accordance with working faith. The reason many professed followers of Christ have not a bright and living experience, is because they do nothing to gain it. If they would engage in the work which God would have them do, their faith would increase, and they would advance in the divine life.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 66.
12 How earnest should we be in the work given us? Why? Ecclesiastes 9:10. Compare Romans 12:11; Colossians 3:23.
note: “The principles that should actuate us as workers in God’s cause are laid down by the apostle Paul. He says: ‘We are laborers together with God.’ ‘Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.’ [1 Corinthians 3:9; Colossians 3:23.] . . .
“When these principles control our hearts, we shall realize that the work is God’s, not ours; that He has the same care for every part of the great whole. When Christ and His glory are made first and love of self is swallowed up in love for souls for whom Christ died, then no worker will be so entirely absorbed in one branch of the cause as to lose sight of the importance of every other. It is selfishness which leads persons to think that the particular part of the work in which they are engaged is the most important of all.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 726, 727.
These lessons are reprinted from Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, 1912.