March 11, 2012 – March 17, 2012
“We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not Himself.” Romans 15:1–3.
Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 9, 31–42, 49–51; vol. 6, 445–453.
“Suppose that Christ’s professed followers were representatives of Christ in our earth, would not worldlings see this and take knowledge of such that they had learned of Jesus? Will not such be a power?” Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, 96.
1 RUSHING, RUSHING—BUT WHERE?
- In our busy life, how may we be tempted to neglect our calling in connection with the threefold message? Luke 21:34, 35.
Note: “We are to be busy, to be weighted with the last message of mercy to a perishing world. We are to have the truth planted in the heart, and teach it to others as it is in Jesus. The world is in a very solemn period; for souls are deciding what will be their eternal destiny. … Who are willing to be co-laborers with Christ?” The Review and Herald, October 9, 1894.
- What have been some hindrances that have prevented many of us from properly focusing on the fulfillment of Christ’s commission? Luke 12:15–21.
Note: “The reason why more has not been done in the past is that men have held so firmly to themselves, and have thought that they were capable of doing some great thing. Satan tempted them because they were self-sufficient.” The Review and Herald, October 9, 1894.
2 COURAGE TO STAND ALONE
- In the fast-paced society of today, on what—and where—is our chief business to be centered? Luke 2:49.
Note: “How many towns and cities there are that are utterly neglected. Our people are injuring themselves by crowding into one place. When trees in a nursery are crowded thickly together, they cannot grow healthfully and sturdily. Transplant trees from your thickly planted nursery. God is not glorified in the centering of so many advantages in one place. Give room; put your plants in many places, where one will not lean for support upon another. Give them room to grow. This the Lord demands of you.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 147.
“It is not the purpose of God that His people should colonize or settle together in large communities. The disciples of Christ are His representatives upon the earth, and God designs that they shall be scattered all over the country, in the towns, cities, and villages, as lights amidst the darkness of the world. They are to be missionaries for God, by their faith and works testifying to the near approach of the coming Saviour.
“The lay members of our churches can accomplish a work which, as yet, they have scarcely begun. None should move into new places merely for the sake of worldly advantage; but where there is an opening to obtain a livelihood, let families that are well grounded in the truth enter, one or two families in a place, to work as missionaries. They should feel a love for souls, a burden of labor for them, and should make it a study how to bring them into the truth. They can distribute our publications, hold meetings in their homes, become acquainted with their neighbors, and invite them to come to these meetings.” Ibid., 244, 245.
- As we seek to go forth in Christ’s vineyard, what aspect of the Saviour’s experience may also end up as ours? Isaiah 63:3, first part; Psalm 102:7.
Note: “Let the workers stand alone in God, weeping, praying, laboring for the salvation of their fellow men. … While so many love the praise of men more than the favor of God, let it be yours to labor in humility. Learn to exercise faith in presenting your neighbors before the throne of grace and pleading with God to touch their hearts.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 245.
3 IT’S NEVER CONVENIENT
- When we focus on missionary efforts in dark areas where God may perhaps impress us to relocate, what should we keep in mind? Luke 14:33.
Note: “If families would locate in the dark places of the earth, places where the people are enshrouded in spiritual gloom, and let the light of Christ’s life shine out through them, a great work might be accomplished. Let them begin their work in a quiet, unobtrusive way, not drawing on the funds of the conference until the interest becomes so extensive that they cannot manage it without ministerial help.
“When [Bible seminar] institutes and similar meetings are held, let them not be held in connection with our large, established churches. Let them give character to the work and spread the knowledge of the truth in localities where it is little known. This may not be convenient; but I ask, Was it convenient for Christ to leave the royal courts? Was it convenient for Him to leave His honor, His glory, His high command, and humble Himself to become one with us? He did not go to unfallen beings, but to those who needed Him most. His example we, to whom He has entrusted His work, are to copy. …
“There is danger in delay. That soul whom you might have found, that soul to whom you might have opened the Scriptures, passes beyond your reach. Satan has prepared some net for his feet, and tomorrow he may be working out the plans of the archenemy of God. Why delay one day? Why not go to work at once?” Testimonies, vol. 6, 442, 443.
- What inspired vision should be deeply, prayerfully considered, especially by those who are young? Lamentations 3:27.
Note: “I was shown that the young, especially young men, who profess the truth, have yet a lesson of self-denial to learn. If these made more sacrifice for the truth, they would esteem it more highly. It would affect their hearts, and purify their lives, and they would hold it more dear and sacred.
“The young do not take the burden of the cause of God, or feel any responsibility in regard to it. Is it because God has excused them? Oh, no; they excuse themselves! … Unless they possess the spirit of self-denial and sacrifice, they can never possess the immortal inheritance.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 177, 178.
4 CONTENTMENT IN SACRIFICE
- Why can we be encouraged and motivated by the self-denial of Paul? Acts 20:18, 20, 33–35.
Note: “In many places self-supporting missionaries can work successfully. It was as a self-supporting missionary that the apostle Paul labored in spreading the knowledge of Christ throughout the world. … [Acts 20:18, 20, 33–35 quoted.]
“Many today, if imbued with the same spirit of self- sacrifice, could do a good work in a similar way. Let two or more start out together in evangelistic work. Let them visit the people, praying, singing, teaching, explaining the Scriptures, and ministering to the sick. Some can sustain themselves as canvassers; others, like the apostle, can labor at some handicraft or in other lines of effort. As they move forward in their work, realizing their helplessness, but humbly depending upon God, they gain a blessed experience.” The Ministry of Healing, 154, 155.
- Describe the great personal victory that Paul achieved. Philippians 4:11, 12.
- As in the experience of Paul, how is our purpose in life to reflect clearly—in bright, shining rays—the mission of our Master? Romans 15:1–3; Acts 10:37, 38.
Note: “There is a call for Christian families to go into communities that are in darkness and error, to go to foreign fields, to become acquainted with the needs of their fellow men, and to work for the cause of the Master. If such families would settle in the dark places of the earth, places where the people are enshrouded in spiritual gloom, and let the light of Christ’s life shine out through them, what a noble work might be accomplished.
“This work requires self-sacrifice. While many are waiting to have every obstacle removed, the work they might do is left undone, and multitudes are dying without hope and without God. Some for the sake of commercial advantage, or to acquire scientific knowledge, will venture into unsettled regions and cheerfully endure sacrifice and hardship; but how few for the sake of their fellow men are willing to move their families into regions that are in need of the gospel.” The Ministry of Healing, 155, 156.
5 OUR ENERGY AND OUR MEANS
- What is assured when we share present truth? Psalm 126:6; Isaiah 58:8.
Note: “[Isaiah 58:8 quoted.] … Ye churches of the living God, study this promise, and consider how your lack of faith, of spirituality, of divine power, is hindering the coming of the kingdom of God. If you would go forth to do Christ’s work, angels of God would open the way before you, preparing hearts to receive the gospel. Were every one of you a living missionary, the message for this time would speedily be proclaimed in all countries, to every people and nation and tongue. This is the work that must be done before Christ shall come in power and great glory. I call upon the church to pray earnestly that you may understand your responsibilities. Are you individually laborers together with God? If not, why not? When do you mean to do your heaven-appointed work?” Testimonies, vol. 6, 438.
“The Lord calls for volunteers who will be self-denying, who will endure hardness as good soldiers of the cross of Christ.” The Signs of the Times, June 21, 1899.
- Even if we may not consider ourselves wealthy, what should be our aim with regard to the material goods with which God has entrusted us? Luke 12:33–40.
Note: “We are travelers, pilgrims and strangers, on earth. Let us not spend our means in gratifying desires that God bids us repress. Let us rather set a right example before our associates. Let us fitly represent our faith by restricting our wants. …
“If you do less than your duty in giving help to the perishing, remember that your indolence is incurring guilt.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 452.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 Everyone is busy these days. What is really my primary focus?
2 How may attachments to friends and family be hindering our aims for God?
3 What should be impressed upon us all—as early in life as possible?
4 Why is Paul such an inspiring role model for us in this critical hour of history?
5 Even if we cannot move to darker areas, how can we nonetheless promote the truth there?
© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.