October 12, 2008 – October 18, 2008
“By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned.” II Corinthians 6:6.
Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 211, 212, 230–233; The Acts of the Apostles, 255–268.
“He [Paul] clung to the cross of Christ as his only guarantee of success. The love of the Saviour was the undying motive that upheld him in his conflicts with self and in his struggle against evil, as in the service of Christ he pressed forward against the unfriendliness of the world and the opposition of his enemies.” Gospel Workers, 61.
1 How was Joseph treated at the hands of his brothers? Genesis 37:18–28.
Note: “In an agony of terror he [Joseph] appealed to one and another of his brothers, but in vain.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 211.
2 What should we learn from the way Joseph dealt with his brothers in spite of their past cruelties? Genesis 45:3–8.
Note: “The life of Joseph illustrates the life of Christ. It was envy that moved the brothers of Joseph to sell him as a slave; they hoped to prevent him from becoming greater than themselves. And when he was carried to Egypt, they flattered themselves that they were to be no more troubled with his dreams, that they had removed all possibility of their fulfillment. But their own course was overruled by God to bring about the very event that they designed to hinder. So the Jewish priests and elders were jealous of Christ, fearing that He would attract the attention of the people from them. They put Him to death, to prevent Him from becoming king, but they were thus bringing about this very result.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 239.
3 After the king of Syria had made plans against Israel, how did God intervene in behalf of His people? II Kings 6:8–12.
Note: “On one occasion, during a Syrian invasion, the king of Syria sought to destroy Elisha because of his activity in apprising the king of Israel of the plans of the enemy. The Syrian king had taken counsel with his servants, saying, ‘In such and such a place shall be my camp.’ [II Kings 6:8.] This plan was revealed by the Lord to Elisha.” Prophets and Kings, 255, 256.
4 What did the king decide to do with Elisha? II Kings 6:13, 14.
5 How did God intervene to protect His messenger? II Kings 6:15–20.
Note: “ ‘The Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.’ [II Kings 6:17.] Between the servant of God and the hosts of armed foemen was an encircling band of heavenly angels. They had come down in mighty power, not to destroy, not to exact homage, but to encamp round about and minister to the Lord’s weak and helpless ones.” Prophets and Kings, 256, 257.
6 How did Elisha behave toward his enemies? II Kings 6:21–23.
7 In what sense is this attitude of Elisha to be an added inspiration to those seeking to present the Elijah message of today? Romans 12:21.
Note: “ ‘In every age, the call of the hour is answered by the coming of the man. The Lord is gracious. He understands the situation. His will today is that for the present time the lamb-like kindness of Elisha shall exceed the severity of Elijah. …
“ ‘Elisha received a double portion of the spirit that had rested on Elijah. In him the power of Elijah’s spirit was united with the gentleness, mercy, and tender compassion of the spirit of Christ.’ ” Spalding and Magan Collection, 231.
8 With what essential theme does Christ introduce His renowned call, “Be ye therefore perfect”? Matthew 5:43–48.
Note: “The Saviour’s lesson, ‘Resist not him that is evil,’ was a hard saying for the revengeful Jews, and they murmured against it among themselves. But Jesus now made a still stronger declaration:
“ ‘Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven.’ [Matthew 5:43–45.]
“Such was the spirit of the law which the rabbis had misinterpreted as a cold and rigid code of exactions. They regarded themselves as better than other men, and as entitled to the special favor of God by virtue of their birth as Israelites; but Jesus pointed to the spirit of forgiving love as that which would give evidence that they were actuated by any higher motives than even the publicans and sinners, whom they despised.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 73, 74.
9 How does God deal with us when we are far from Him, and what should be our response? Romans 5:6–10; Titus 3:3–5.
Note: “God’s love for the fallen race is a peculiar manifestation of love,—a love born of mercy; for human beings are all undeserving. Mercy implies the imperfection of the object toward which it is shown. It was because of sin that mercy was brought into active exercise.
“Sin is not the object of God’s love, but of His hatred. But He loves and pities the sinner.” The Signs of the Times, May 21, 1902.
“All legalism, all the sorrow and woe by which you may encompass yourself, will not give you one moment of relief. You cannot rightly estimate sin. You must accept God’s estimate, and it is heavy indeed. If you bore the guilt of your sin, it would crush you; but the sinless One has taken your place, and, though, undeserving, he has borne your guilt. By accepting the provision God has made, you may stand free before God in the merit and virtue of your Substitute. You will then have a proper estimate of sin, and the godly sorrow of true repentance will take the place of hopeless discouragement and grief, for you will turn from sin with grief and abhorrence.” Ibid., April 9, 1894.
10 What does Paul reveal as our duty to all people? Romans 1:14, 15; 12:4–13.
Note: “His [Christ’s] love received, will make us, in like manner, kind and tender, not merely toward those who please us, but to the most faulty and erring and sinful.
“The children of God are those who are partakers of His nature. It is not earthly rank, nor birth, nor nationality, nor religious privilege, which proves that we are members of the family of God; it is love, a love that embraces all humanity. Even sinners whose hearts are not utterly closed to God’s Spirit, will respond to kindness; while they may give hate for hate, they will also give love for love. But it is only the Spirit of God that gives love for hatred. To be kind to the unthankful and to the evil, to do good hoping for nothing again, is the insignia of the royalty of heaven, the sure token by which the children of the Highest reveal their high estate.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 75.
11 How should we deal with those who consider us enemies? Romans 12:14–20.
Note: “We may never know until the judgment the influence of a kind, considerate course of action to the inconsistent, the unreasonable, and unworthy. If, after a course of provocation and injustice on their part, you treat them as you would an innocent person, you even take pains to show them special acts of kindness, then you have acted the part of a Christian; and they become surprised and ashamed, and see their course of action and meanness more clearly than if you plainly stated their aggravated acts to rebuke them . …
“A few words spoken in a hasty manner, under provocation, and which seemed but a little thing—just what they deserved—often cut the cords of influence that should have bound the soul to your soul. The very idea of their being in darkness, under the temptation of Satan and blinded by his bewitching power, should make you feel deep sympathy for them, the same that you would feel for a diseased, sick patient who suffers, but on account of his disease is not aware of his danger.” Medical Ministry, 209, 210.
12 How did Christ deal with Satan when disputing over the body of Moses? Jude 9.
Note: “Christ Himself, when contending with Satan about the body of Moses, ‘durst not bring against him a railing accusation.’ Jude 9. Had He done this, He would have placed Himself on Satan’s ground, for accusation is the weapon of the evil one. He is called in Scripture, ‘the accuser of our brethren.’ Revelation 12:10. Jesus would employ none of Satan’s weapons. He met him with the words, ‘The Lord rebuke thee.’ Jude 9.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 57.
13 When in the presence of Christ’s enemies, how should we behave? James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:6–9.
Note: “His [Christ’s] example is for us. When we are brought in conflict with the enemies of Christ, we should say nothing in a spirit of retaliation or that would bear even the appearance of a railing accusation. He who stands as a mouthpiece for God should not utter words which even the Majesty of heaven would not use when contending with Satan. We are to leave with God the work of judging and condemning.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 57, 58.
“Never should you enter a discussion where so much is at stake, relying upon your aptness to handle strong arguments. If it cannot be well avoided, enter the conflict, but enter upon it with firm trust in God and in the spirit of humility, in the spirit of Jesus, who has bidden you learn of Him, who is meek and lowly in heart. And then in order to glorify God and exemplify the character of Christ, you should never take unlawful advantage of your opponent. Lay aside sarcasm and playing upon words. Remember that you are in a combat with Satan and his angels, as well as with the man.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 626.
“The religion of Jesus Christ is a system of the true heavenly politeness and leads to a practical exhibition of habitual tenderness of feeling, kindness of deportment. He who possesses godliness will also add this grace, taking a step higher on the ladder. The higher he mounts the ladder, the more of the grace of God is revealed in his life, his sentiments, his principles. He is learning, ever learning the terms of his acceptance with God, and the only way to obtain an inheritance in the heavens is to become like Christ in character. The whole scheme of mercy is to soften down what is harsh in temper, and refine whatever is rugged in the deportment. The internal change reveals itself in the external actions. The graces of the Spirit of God work with hidden power in the transformation of character. The religion of Christ never will reveal a sour, coarse, and uncourteous action. Courtesy is a Bible virtue. The virtue of this grace of brotherly kindness characterized the life of Christ. Never was such courtesy exhibited upon the earth as Christ revealed, and we cannot overestimate its value.” Our High Calling, 72.
“Here is portrayed the value of eternal riches, in contrast with the treasures of earth. If the purpose and aim of your life is to lay up treasure in heaven, you will be lifted above the base, sordid, demoralizing influence of an inordinate desire to obtain wealth in this life. Laying up treasure in heaven will give nobility to the character; it will strengthen benevolence, encourage mercy; cultivate sympathy, brotherly kindness, and charity. It will unite the soul of man with Christ, by links that can never be broken. You may lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven by being rich in good works—rich in imperishable and spiritual things.” Our High Calling, 195.
“The love of Christ must control our hearts, and the peace of God will abide in our homes. Seek God with a broken and contrite spirit, and you will be melted with compassion toward your brethren. You will be prepared to add to brotherly kindness, charity, or love. Without charity we will become ‘as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.’ [1 Corinthians 13:1.] Our highest professions are hollow and insincere; but ‘love is the fulfilling of the law’ [Romans 13:10.] We shall be found wanting, if we do not add charity that suffereth long and is kind, that vaunteth not itself, that seeketh not her own.” Peter’s Counsel to Parents, 20.
“Godliness leads to brotherly kindness; and those who do not cherish the one, will surely lack the other. He who has blunted his moral perceptions by sinful leniency toward those whom God condemns, will erelong commit a greater sin by severity and harshness toward those whom God approves. Viewed through the perverted medium of an unconsecrated spirit, the very integrity and faithfulness of the true-hearted Christian will appear censurable.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 322.
©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.