February 5, 2012 – February 11, 2012
“This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13, 14.
Study Help: Education, 262–271.
“Kneeling in faith at the cross, he [the sinner] has reached the highest place to which man can attain.” The Acts of the Apostles, 210.
1 INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY
- Why do we know that we each have an important part in God’s great plan? Mark 13:34. What responsibility does this imply? Mark 13:35–37.
Note: “To His servants Christ commits ‘His goods’—something to be put to use for Him. He gives ‘to every man his work’ [Mark 13:34, last part]. Each has his place in the eternal plan of heaven. Each is to work in co-operation with Christ for the salvation of souls. 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, 326, 327.
- What is true of every human being, whether we realize it or not? Job 37:7.
Note: “God has not given talents to merely a chosen few, but to everyone He has committed some peculiar gift to be used in His service. Many to whom the Lord has given precious talents have refused to employ them for the advancement of the kingdom of God; nevertheless, they are under obligation to God for their use of His gifts. Everyone, whether serving God or pleasing himself, is a possessor of some trust, whose proper use will bring glory to God and whose perverted use will rob the Giver.” Our High Calling, 289.
2 LIFE TO THE FULLEST
- As followers of Jesus, how are we to take up our cross every day? Matthew 10:38, 39; 16:25.
Note: “We are to give God all there is of us; and in giving to God our all, are we to consider that we sustain a great loss?—No, for in giving to Him our talents, we are doubling them.” Our High Calling, 18.
“The Lord has given man capacity for continual improvement, and has granted him all possible aid in the work. Through the provisions of divine grace, we may attain almost to the excellence of the angels.” Ibid., 218.
- How should we respond to the Giver of every good gift? Psalm 116:12–14.
Note: “It is not the amount entrusted or the improvement made that brings to men the approbation of Heaven, but it is the faithfulness, the loyalty to God, the loving service rendered, that brings the divine benediction, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord’ [Matthew 25:23]. This reward of joy does not wait until our entrance into the city of God, but the faithful servant has a foretaste of it even in this life.” Our High Calling, 289.
- What key principle should underlie our Christian experience? Philippians 2:4.
Note: “God has given all something to do. Those who are willing to work in self-denial and self-sacrifice will find their place. But those who seek only a safe and easy place need to be converted. Until their hearts are renewed, their purposes changed, God has no use for them in His work. By an unreserved consecration we are to prepare ourselves for His service. Our ministers are not to hover over the churches, regarding the churches in some particular place as their special care. And our churches should not feel jealous and neglected if they do not receive ministerial labor. They should themselves take up the burden, and labor most earnestly for souls. Believers are to have root in themselves, striking firm root in Christ, that they may bear fruit to His glory. As one man, they are to strive to attain one object—the saving of souls.” Australasian Union Conference Record, August 1, 1902.
3 ONWARD AND UPWARD
- What plan should we adopt for the advancement of God’s work? John 9:4; Philippians 3:13, 14.
Note: “God is waiting for men and women to awake to a sense of their responsibilities. He is waiting for them to link themselves with Him. Let them mark the signals for advance, and no longer be laggards in working out the will of the Lord.
“Do we realize how large a number in the world are watching our movements? From quarters where we least expect, will come voices urging us forward in the work of giving to the world the last message of mercy. Ministers and people, wake up! Be quick to recognize and seize every opportunity and advantage offered in the turning of the wheel of providence.” Australasian Union Conference Record, August 1, 1902.
- What must we realize about the sacredness of our calling? Ephesians 5:8–13.
Note: “There must be no pretense in the lives of those who have so sacred and solemn a message as we have been called to bear. The world is watching Seventh-day Adventists because it knows something of their profession of faith and of their high standard, and when it sees those who do not live up to their profession, it points at them with scorn.
“Those who love Jesus will bring all in their lives into harmony with His will. They have chosen to be on the Lord’s side, and their lives are to stand out in vivid contrast with the lives of worldlings. The tempter will come to them with his blandishments and bribes, saying: ‘All this will I give thee if thou wilt worship me.’ But they know that he has nothing worth receiving, and they refuse to yield to his temptations. Through the grace of God they are enabled to keep their purity of principle unsullied. Holy angels are close beside them, and Christ is revealed in their steadfast adherence to the truth. They are Christ’s minutemen, bearing, as true witnesses, a decided testimony in favor of the truth. They show that there is a spiritual power that can enable men and women not to swerve an inch from truth and justice for all the gifts that men can bestow. Such ones, wherever they may be, will be honored of heaven because they have conformed their lives to the will of God, caring not what sacrifices they are called upon to make.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 23, 24.
4 WHAT SHALL WE DO?
- What should be foremost in our mind when beginning or changing our life work? I Corinthians 3:13; 10:24.
Note: “We should carefully weigh the matters relative to the work we take up. Will this work be a blessing to souls? God has not given us work merely to keep us busy, but for His name’s glory. Many are busily engaged gathering wood, hay, stubble. But this will all be consumed. …
“By God’s appointment each man has his post of duty. The careful, prayerful inquiry is to be made, What duty is assigned us individually, as men and women under accountability to God? And whether our labor be wholly limited to spiritual things, or whether it is temporal and spiritual combined, we are to faithfully discharge our work. … Man is to remember that God has the ownership of all, and that his pursuits are invested with a sacredness that they did not possess before he enlisted in the army of the Lord. Every action is to be a consecrated action, for it occupies God’s entrusted talent of time.” Our High Calling, 220.
- Whatever our occupation, what attitude does Christ teach? Matthew 20:27, 28; Luke 22:27.
Note: “Many a man whose talents are adapted for some other calling, is ambitious to enter a profession; and he who might have been successful as a farmer, an artisan, or a nurse, fills inadequately the position of a minister, a lawyer, or a physician. There are others, again, who might have filled a responsible calling, but who, for want of energy, application, or perseverance, content themselves with an easier place.
“We need to follow more closely God’s plan of life. To do our best in the work that lies nearest, to commit our ways to God, and to watch for the indications of His providence—these are rules that ensure safe guidance in the choice of an occupation.
“He who came from heaven to be our example spent nearly thirty years of His life in common, mechanical labor; but during this time He was studying the word and the works of God, and helping, teaching, all whom His influence could reach. When His public ministry began, He went about healing the sick, comforting the sorrowful, and preaching the gospel to the poor. This is the work of all His followers.” Education, 267, 268.
5 HELP FROM ABOVE
- What is expected of every soldier in the Lord’s army? I Peter 2:21–23; Colossians 2:10; 3:10.
Note: “We are not to walk according to our own ideas, and present before others in our example a human standard which they will follow; but we are to follow in the footsteps of Christ, and make straight paths for our feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. We are to keep the commandments and live.” The Review and Herald, July 12, 1892.
“Through His [Christ’s] sacrifice, human beings may reach the high ideal set before them, and hear at last the words, ‘Ye are complete in him’ [Colossians 2:10].” Our High Calling, 364.
- What was the psalmist able to declare frankly regarding the wisdom he had gained, and why? Psalm 119:99. What kind of education did Paul emphasize? Ephesians 1:3–6.
Note: “Man’s learning may be considered supreme, but it is not that higher education which he can take with him into the kingdom of heaven. The learned men of the world, notwithstanding all their intellectual studies, know not the truth as it is in Jesus. In his epistle to the Ephesians, Paul brings to view a kind of education which these supposed intellectual stars have not: [Ephesians 1:3–6 quoted.]
“These divine heights the true believer may reach. All who will may see the mystery of godliness. But it is only through a correct understanding of Christ’s mission and work that the possibility of being complete in Him, accepted in the Beloved, is brought within our reach. His long human arm embraces the human family; His divine arm grasps the throne of the Infinite, that man may have the benefit of the infinite sacrifice made in his behalf.” The Review and Herald, July 18, 1899.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 Within our individual sphere, what work has been assigned to us?
2 Why is the world shocked to hear Christ’s idea of human potential?
3 Why hasn’t the world yet been enlightened by the Three Angels’ Messages?
4 What guidelines are given to determine our place in God’s vineyard?
5 Describe the high ideal that is set before us.
© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.