November 15, 2003 – November 21, 2003
“Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.” Acts 2:38.
Suggested Reading: The Desire of Ages, 109–113
“Christ came to John [the Baptist], repenting on the sinner’s account, believing in behalf of the sinner, that through the plan he had devised, of taking humanity, and in suffering and dying for man, the sinner would, through repentance, faith, and baptism, be accepted of God. He was buried by John in the liquid grave, and came up out of the water to represent to man, in his holy life, the true pattern for him to copy.
“The steps in conversion, plainly marked out, are repentance, faith in Christ as the world’s Redeemer, faith in his death, burial, and resurrection, shown by baptism, and his ascension on high to plead in the sinner’s behalf. At the very commencement of his public ministry, he presents himself in the character he sustains to man throughout his mediatorial work. He identifies himself with sinners as their substitute, taking upon himself their sins, numbering himself with transgressors, and doing the work the sinner is required to do in repentance, faith, and willing obedience. What an example is here given in the life of Christ for sinners to imitate! If they will not follow the example given them, they will be without excuse.” The Youth’s Instructor, February 1, 1874.
1 Just before leaving the 11 apostles on Mount Olivet, what instruction did Jesus give them? Matthew 28:19, 20.
note: “Jesus committed to his disciples the scheme of making known their religion to all nations, tongues, and people. It was the most sublime enterprise ever intrusted to man—to preach a crucified and risen Saviour, and a full and free salvation to all men, both rich and poor, learned and ignorant—to teach that Christ came to the world to pardon the repentant, and to offer them a love high as heaven, broad as the world, and enduring as eternity.
“They were to teach the observance of all things whatsoever Jesus had commanded them, and were to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Jesus was about to be removed from his disciples; but he assured them that although he should ascend to his Father, his Spirit and influence would be with them always, and with their successors even unto the end of the world.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 238.
2 How had Christ already set the example? Matthew 3:13–15; Mark 1:9; Luke 3:21.
note: “Jesus was our example in all things that pertain to life and godliness. He was baptized in Jordan, just as those who come to Him must be baptized. The heavenly angels were looking with intense interest upon the scene of the Saviour’s baptism, and could the eyes of those who were looking on, have been opened, they would have seen the heavenly host surrounding the Son of God as He bowed on the banks of the Jordan. The Lord had promised to give John [the Baptist] a sign whereby he might know who was the Messiah, and now as Jesus went up out of the water, the promised sign was given; for he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit of God, like a dove of burnished gold, hovered over the head of Christ, and a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.’ [Matthew 3:17.]” The Youth’s Instructor, June 23, 1892.
3 What was the burden of John the Baptist’s message? Mark 1:4, 5.
note: “The message given to John the Baptist for the people of his day is one that every believer might study to advantage. ‘And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins . . . .’ [Luke 3:3–14 quoted.]
“The work of reformation here brought to view by John, the purging of heart and mind and soul, is one that is needed by many who today profess to have the faith of Christ. Wrong practises that have been indulged in need to be put away; the crooked paths need to be made straight, and the rough places smooth. The mountains and hills of self-esteem and pride need to be brought low. There is need of bringing forth ‘fruits meet for repentance.’ [Matthew 3:8.]” Review and Herald, April 22, 1909.
4 What should precede baptism? Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38.
Note: “Repent ye and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out. [Acts 3:19.] There is no time for you to waste. Heaven and immortal life are valuable treasures that cannot be obtained without an effort on your part. No matter how faultless may have been your lives, as sinners you have steps to take. You are required to repent, believe, and be baptized. Christ was wholly righteous; yet He, the Saviour of the world, gave man an example by Himself taking the steps which He requires the sinner to take to become a child of God, and heir of heaven.
“If Christ, the spotless and pure Redeemer of man, condescended to take the steps necessary for the sinner to take in conversion, why should any, with the light of truth shining upon their pathway, hesitate to submit their hearts to God, and in humility confess that they are sinners, and show their faith in the atonement of Christ by words and actions, identifying themselves with those who profess to be His followers?” Testimonies, vol. 4, 40, 41. [Emphasis supplied.]
5 At what time in the believer’s experience is baptism proper? Acts 22:16. Compare Romans 10:13.
note: “The honest seeker after truth will not plead ignorance of the law as an excuse for transgression. Light was within his reach. God’s Word is plain, and Christ has bidden him search the Scriptures. He reveres God’s law as holy, just, and good, and he repents of his transgression. By faith he pleads the atoning blood of Christ, and grasps the promise of pardon. His former baptism does not satisfy him now. He has seen himself a sinner, condemned by the law of God. He has experienced anew a death to sin, and he desires again to be buried with Christ by baptism, that he may rise to walk in newness of life. . . .” The Faith I Live By, 148.
6 With whom is the believer buried in baptism? What should characterize the after-life? By what act of the believer is Christ’s resurrection commemorated? Romans 6:4, 5.
note: “The repentant believer, who takes the steps required in conversion, commemorates in his baptism the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. He goes down into the water in the likeness of Christ’s death and burial, and he is raised out of the water in the likeness of his resurrection—not to take up the old life of sin, but to live a new life in Christ Jesus.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 204.
“Those who have risen with Christ to walk in newness of life are the elect of God. They are holy unto the Lord, and are acknowledged by Him as His beloved. As such, they are under solemn covenant to distinguish themselves by showing humility of mind. They are to clothe themselves in garments of righteousness. They are separate from the world, from its spirit, its practises, and they are to reveal that they are learning of Him. . . . If they realize that they have died with Christ, if they keep their baptismal vow, the world will have no power to draw them aside to deny Christ. If they live the life of Christ in this world, they are partakers of the divine nature.” Sons and Daughters of God, 133.
7 What was Paul and Silas’ jail experience at Philippi, and how did the jailer respond? Acts 16:24–34.
note: “The apostles did not wait until they were refreshed, and their wounds were dressed, before they began their work. This is not the spirit manifested by the natural heart; but Paul and Silas had the spirit of Christ, not the spirit of revenge. And the jailer ‘took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.’ [Acts 16:33.]
“We have a work to do in presenting Christ. We need to talk of Christ, and the practical lessons he gave, until our hearts are warmed with the love of God. We should not make much of the trials and opposition we meet. It is true they may close the door of influence for a time, but it will open to us the wider after a little. The work for us to do is rightly to represent our faith in our life and character as well as in our words. By living faith we must cling to the promises of God.” The Youth’s Instructor, October 11, 1900.
8 Following Peter’s sermon at Pentecost, how many believed on Jesus and were baptized? Acts 2:41.
note: “On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the praying disciples, and they testified as to its source to all, wherever they went.
“The missionary spirit was poured out in unlimited supplies, and the disciples testified of a crucified and risen Saviour, and convinced the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come. They did just as their risen Lord had directed them to do, and began at Jerusalem to publish the gospel, in the very place where the deepest prejudice existed, and where the most confused ideas prevailed in regard to Him who had been crucified as a malefactor. Three thousand received the message, and were converted.” Review and Herald, November 6, 1894.
9 When Philip had preached Jesus to the Ethiopian eunuch, what did this believer request? Acts 8:26–38.
note: “In this instance we have an illustration of the care of God for his children. He called Philip from his successful ministry in Samaria, to cross the desert and go to Gaza to labor for a single inquiring soul. The promptness with which the eunuch accepted the gospel and acted upon its belief should be a lesson to us. God designs that we should be prompt in accepting and confessing Christ, prompt in obeying him, and in answering the call of duty. The eunuch was a man of good repute, and occupied a high and responsible position. Through his conversion the gospel was carried to Ethiopia, and many there accepted Christ, and came out from the darkness of heathenism into the clear light of Christianity.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 305.
10 What should be the experience of the baptized believer? Colossians 3:1–3.
note: “ ‘If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.’ 11 Corinthians 5:17. Through the power of Christ, men and women have broken the chains of sinful habit. They have renounced selfishness. The profane have become reverent, the drunken sober, the profligate pure. Souls that have borne the likeness of Satan have become transformed into the image of God. This change is in itself the miracle of miracles. A change wrought by the Word, it is one of the deepest mysteries of the Word.” The Acts of the Apostles, 476.
11 What was manifested in Christ’s resurrection? 11 Corinthians 13:4. Compare Romans 6:4.
note: “Put away all doubt. Dismiss your fears. Obtain the experience that Paul had when he exclaimed, ‘I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.’ [Galatians 2:20.] Surrender everything to Christ, and let your life be hid with Christ in God. Then you will be a power for good.
“The Lord did not lock the reservoir of heaven after pouring his Spirit upon the early disciples. We also may receive of the fullness of his blessing. Heaven is full of the treasures of his grace, and those who come to God in faith may claim all that he has promised.” The Home Missionary, November 1, 1890.
12 What power is it the privilege of the baptized believer to know? Philippians 3:10; Ephesians 1:18–20.
note: “Do you ask, ‘How am I to abide in Christ?’ In the same way as you received Him at first. ‘As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him.’ ‘The just shall live by faith.’ Colossians 2:6; Hebrews 10:38. You gave yourself to God, to be His wholly, to serve and obey Him, and you took Christ as your Saviour. You could not yourself atone for your sins or change your heart; but having given yourself to God, you believe that He for Christ’s sake did all this for you. By faith you became Christ’s, and by faith you are to grow up in Him—by giving and taking. You are to give all,—your heart, your will, your service,—give yourself to Him to obey all His requirements; and you must take all,—Christ, the fullness of all blessing, to abide in your heart, to be your strength, your righteousness, your everlasting helper,—to give you power to obey.” Steps to Christ, 69, 70.
These lessons are adapted from the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, April 1912.