December 18, 2011 – December 24, 2011
“The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Proverbs 4:18.
Study Helps: Early Writings, 64–67; The Ministry of Healing, 503–516.
“This very day the Lord desires us to reach a higher standard than we have ever reached in the past. Day by day we are to advance upward, ever upward, until it can be said of us as a people, ‘Ye are complete in him’ [Colossians 2:10].” The Upward Look, 202.
1 HISTORIC OR PROGRESSIVE?
- Is our call today merely to be “historic” Seventh-day Adventists after the pattern of our forefathers—or is it actually to be holier than they were? Proverbs 4:18; Luke 12:48, last part.
Note: “We shall not be approved of God in looking to the example of our fathers to determine our duty instead of searching the word of truth for ourselves. Our responsibility is greater than was that of our ancestors. We are accountable for the light which they received, and which was handed down as an inheritance for us, and we are accountable also for the additional light which is now shining upon us from the word of God.” The Great Controversy, 164.
- Having studied the faith of the patriarchs, prophets, and pioneers this quarter, what should encourage us from what we have read? Romans 15:4; Hebrews 13:8.
Note: “God is as powerful to save from sin today as He was in the times of the patriarchs, of David, and of the prophets and apostles. The multitude of cases recorded in sacred history where God has delivered His people from their own iniquities should make the Christian of this time eager to receive divine instruction and zealous to perfect a character that will bear the close inspection of the judgment.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 15.
2 IN THE LAST DAYS
- Describe the kind of faith that Christ would like to make more evident among His professed people. James 5:10, 11, 17, 18.
Note: “Our standard has been too low; our expectations have been too limited. We must make our aims higher than we have made them in the past; for it is possible for us to be filled with all the fullness of God, to have Christ abiding in our hearts by faith.” The Review and Herald, July 5, 1892.
- What declaration of Christ reveals that faith will be a rare jewel by the time of His second coming? Luke 18:8.
Note: “He who waits for entire knowledge before he can exercise faith, will never be blessed of God.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 322.
“God will do marvelous things for those who trust in Him. It is because His professed people trust so much to their own wisdom, and do not give the Lord an opportunity to reveal His power in their behalf, that they have not more strength. He will help His believing children in every emergency if they will place their entire confidence in Him. He will work mightily for a faithful people who obey His word without questioning or doubt.” The Signs of the Times, July 19, 1899.
- How is faith to be revealed as a vital element in those who escape the wrath of God in the last days? Revelation 14:12.
- What does Jesus declare to every one of us, just as He did to Simon Peter? Luke 22:31, 32. How shall His pleas affect us? Romans 5:1, 2.
3 HIGHER STANDARDS, NOT LOWER!
- How does the writer of Hebrews appeal to us to attain to higher ground? Hebrews 6:1.
- What are some points that we should prayerfully consider in order that such a goal may be accomplished? I John 2:6; 5:4, 5.
Note: “God has a much higher standard for His people to reach than they have reached in the past. What can I say that will give them a consciousness of the responsibility resting on them to be Christlike in word and deed? The lack of Bible religion necessitates much talk about what ought to be done. Did we live the words of Christ, we should be brought into such close contact with Him that we should know what to do in order to advance the work of God. When we take Christ as our example in character building, we shall make decided progress. When we are filled with a desire to be like our Saviour, when we refuse to weave self into the work that we do for the Lord, when we look away from finite counsel to the One who is too wise to err and too good to do us harm, we shall be strong in the strength of the Lord.
“In order to see God, we must humble ourselves. When we accept Christ’s words and Christ’s plans, we shall not place self where Christ should be. We shall not think of going contrary to His plain directions. We shall shun even the thought of self-exaltation.” The Review and Herald, November 24, 1910.
“There should be a decided change in the spirit and character of the work in the places where men and women have received increased light. What are they doing to warn those who do not understand that the Lord is soon coming? ‘Behold, the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain.’ Isaiah 26:21. Who, I ask, is carrying a burden for the souls that are perishing out of Christ? Who will go forth without the camp, bearing the reproach? Who will leave pleasant homes and dear ties of relationship, and carry the precious light of truth to far-off lands? Every day, every moment, comes to those to whom have been entrusted the light of truth, weighted with the terrible significance that men and women in every land are preparing themselves for weal or for woe, fixing their destiny for eternity.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 53, 54.
4 A FAR-SIGHTED FOCUS
- How did the faithful men of old maintain their focus? Hebrews 11:13–16.
- How should this inspire us all the more today? Romans 13:11, 12.
Note: “Brethren, the biographies of good men of the past will not meet the demand for this time. The Saviour whom you profess to love and serve wants you to have an experience of your own to relate. What do you believe? Is probation soon to close? Is the time at hand when the Judgment shall sit, and the books shall be opened, and we be judged according to our works?” The Review and Herald, December 20, 1881.
“I was pointed to the earth and saw that there would have to be a getting ready among those who have of late embraced the third angel’s message. Said the angel, ‘Get ready, get ready, get ready. Ye will have to die a greater death to the world than ye have ever yet died.’ I saw that there was a great work to do for them and but little time in which to do it.
“Then I saw that the seven last plagues were soon to be poured out upon those who have no shelter; yet the world regarded them no more than they would so many drops of water that were about to fall. I was then made capable of enduring the awful sight of the seven last plagues, the wrath of God. I saw that His anger was dreadful and terrible, and if He should stretch forth His hand, or lift it in anger, the inhabitants of the world would be as though they had never been, or would suffer from incurable sores and withering plagues that would come upon them, and they would find no deliverance, but be destroyed by them. Terror seized me, and I fell upon my face before the angel and begged of him to cause the sight to be removed, to hide it from me, for it was too dreadful. Then I realized, as never before, the importance of searching the Word of God carefully, to know how to escape the plagues which that Word declares shall come on all the ungodly who shall worship the beast and his image and receive his mark in their foreheads or in their hands. It was a great wonder for me that any could transgress the law of God and tread down His holy Sabbath, when such awful threatenings and denunciations were against them.” Early Writings, 64, 65.
“Clear the King’s highway. Lift up the standard higher and still higher.” Evangelism, 397.
5 PILGRIMS AND STRANGERS
- What type of lifestyle were the heroes of faith willing to endure? Hebrews 11:37, 38. What experience of John is soon to be repeated? Hebrews 11:39, 40; Revelation 1:9.
Note: “[As it was with John exiled on Patmos,] so will it be with the remnant people of God who are scattered—some in the mountain fastnesses, some exiled, some pursued, some persecuted. When the voice of God is heard and the brightness of the glory is revealed, when the trial is over, the dross removed, they know they are in the presence of One who has redeemed them by His own blood. Just what Christ was to John in his exile He will be to His people who are made to feel the hand of oppression for the faith and testimony of Jesus Christ. … These were driven by the storm and tempest of persecution to the crevices of the rocks, but were hiding in the Rock of Ages; and in the fastnesses of the mountains, in the caves and dens of the earth, the Saviour reveals His presence and His glory. Yet a little while, and He that is to come will come and will not tarry.” That I May Know Him, 360.
- How is Christ’s call-of-the-hour best summarized to each of us? Colossians 3:1–4.
Note: “Let us be willing to become pilgrims and strangers here [on earth], that we may gain a better country, even a heavenly. The way of the cross is an onward, upward path. As you advance, seeking the things that are above, you will necessarily leave in the distance the things that belong to the world.” The Signs of the Times, May 29, 1884.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 In what areas does God expect us to be on higher ground than were the Seventh-day Adventist pioneers?
2 Where are we experiencing a lack of faith, and how can we overcome this?
3 What are the keys to successful character building?
4 Where should our focus be, and why are we so easily distracted from this priority?
5 Why are we to take courage, even when facing death, dungeons, or banishment?
© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.