March 18, 2012 – March 24, 2012
“I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved.” II Corinthians 12:15.
Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 9, 43–48.
“Great is the reward in heaven of those who are witnesses for Christ through persecution and reproach. While the people are looking for earthly good, Jesus points them to a heavenly reward. But He does not place it all in the future life; it begins here.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 34.
1 CENTURIES OLD, TRIED, AND TRUE
- Today, we hear of new methods of labor to reach souls. Yet what is written for our generation as well? Ecclesiastes 1:9; Luke 10:1–3.
Note: “From door to door His [the Lord’s] servants are to proclaim the message of salvation. To every nation, kindred, tongue, and people the tidings of pardon through Christ are to be carried.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 16.
“In visions of the night, representations passed before me of a great reformatory movement among God’s people. Many were praising God. The sick were healed, and other miracles were wrought. A spirit of intercession was seen, even as was manifested before the great Day of Pentecost. Hundreds and thousands were seen visiting families and opening before them the word of God. Hearts were convicted by the power of the Holy Spirit, and a spirit of genuine conversion was manifest.” Ibid., vol. 9, 126.
“The colporteur—who in many cases has been thrown out of employment by accepting the truth—is enabled to support himself, and the sales are a financial help to the office. In the days of the Reformation, monks who had left their convents, and who had no other means of support, traversed the country, selling Luther’s works, which were thus rapidly circulated throughout Europe. Colportage work was one of the most efficient means of spreading the light then, and so it will prove now.” Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, 305.
2 AN INDIVIDUAL CHALLENGE
- Why must we heed the duty of our conscience? Psalm 62:12; Galatians 6:4.
Note: “God has made you depositaries of truth, not that you may retain it, but that you may impart it to others. You should visit from house to house as faithful stewards of the grace of Christ. As you work, devise, and plan, new methods will continually present themselves to your mind, and by use the powers of your intellect will be increased. A lukewarm, slack performance of duty is an injury to the soul for whom Christ has died. If we would find the pearls buried in the debris of the cities, we should go forth ready to do the work required by the Master. Some may work quietly, creating an interest, while others speak in halls.” The Review and Herald, June 11, 1895.
- What protection do we need as we teach the truth, and why? Ephesians 6:10–13.
Note: “Satan will scheme in every possible way so as to benumb the senses, blind the eyes, and close the ears of men against the truth; but notwithstanding this, go to work. Labor from house to house, not neglecting the poor, who are usually passed by.” The Review and Herald, June 11, 1895.
“Those who will not accept the last solemn message of warning sent to our world, will pervert the Scriptures; they will attack the character, and make false statements in regard to the faith and doctrines of the advocates of Bible truth. Every possible means will be employed to divert the attention. Shows, games, horseraces, and various other kinds of amusement will be set in operation. An intense power from beneath will stir them up to oppose the message from heaven.” Sons and Daughters of God, 280.
- What hope comes as we face the reality of our challenge? II Timothy 3:12–15.
Note: “Wicked men, seducing teachers, will grow worse and worse, deceiving themselves and deceiving others. We may expect greater opposition than has yet been experienced.” Our High Calling, 362.
3 DON’T BE SURPRISED
- Serving God in a wicked world, what contrast do we need to see? Titus 2:12, 13.
Note: “Many speak of the life of the Christian taking away from us pleasures and worldly enjoyments. I say it takes away nothing worth saving. Is there perplexity, poverty, and distress endured by the Christian? Oh, yes, this is expected in this life. But is the sinner, of whom we speak as enjoying the pleasures of this world, free from these ills of life? Do we not often see them in deep perplexity and trouble? …
“Christians sometimes think they have a hard time and that it is a condescension in them to lay hold of unpopular truth and profess to be Christ’s followers, that the road seems hard and that they have many sacrifices to make, when in reality they make no sacrifice at all. If in reality they are adopted into the family of God, what sacrifice have they made? Their following Christ may have broken some friendship with their world-loving relatives, but look at the exchange—their names written in the Lamb’s book of life, elevated, yes, greatly exalted, to be partakers of salvation, heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ to an imperishable inheritance. Shall we call it a sacrifice on our part to yield error for truth, darkness for light, sin for righteousness, a perishable name and inheritance upon earth for honors that are lasting, and a treasure undefiled that fadeth not away?” Our High Calling, 201.
- How can obstacles actually serve to invigorate us? Romans 5:3, 4; Philippians 1:27–30.
Note: “Go to work in faith. Hold fast to every point of vantage-ground gained. However strong the opposition may be, there must be no weakening. Hold fast by faith. Work and pray, watch and wait, hope and trust, leave everything to God. He can thresh mountains with a worm.
“The church that would prove successful in the Master’s service must be an aggressive one. Its members must not allow their interest in the work to flag. Heavenly intelligences are ready to co-operate with the human agent to press forward the work. At whatever cost press the battle to the gates of the enemy, yea, storm the very citadel. Do not allow yourselves to fail nor to be discouraged. Christ’s authority is supreme, His power is invincible. Through the Holy Spirit the Lord works with the human agent.” The Review and Herald, July 2, 1895.
4 POWER IN PERSEVERANCE
- What must be our response to anyone who would attempt to distract us from laboring for God according to the dictates of our conscience? Nehemiah 6:3.
Note: “Conscientious obedience to the word of God will be treated as rebellion. Blinded by Satan, the parent will exercise harshness and severity toward the believing child; the master or mistress will oppress the commandment-keeping servant. Affection will be alienated; children will be disinherited and driven from home. The words of Paul will be literally fulfilled: ‘All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution’ [II Timothy 3:12]. As the defenders of truth refuse to honor the Sunday-sabbath, some of them will be thrust into prison, some will be exiled, some will be treated as slaves. To human wisdom all this now seems impossible; but as the restraining Spirit of God shall be withdrawn from men, and they shall be under the control of Satan, who hates the divine precepts, there will be strange developments. The heart can be very cruel when God’s fear and love are removed.
“As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the third angel’s message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, abandon their position and join the ranks of the opposition. By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit, they have come to view matters in nearly the same light; and when the test is brought, they are prepared to choose the easy, popular side. Men of talent and pleasing address, who once rejoiced in the truth, employ their powers to deceive and mislead souls. They become the most bitter enemies of their former brethren. When Sabbathkeepers are brought before the courts to answer for their faith, these apostates are the most efficient agents of Satan to misrepresent and accuse them, and by false reports and insinuations to stir up the rulers against them.” The Great Controversy, 608.
- What example has our Master given us in the face of opposition? Isaiah 42:4.
Note: “We are to present the word of life to those whom we may judge to be as hopeless subjects as if they were in their graves. Though they may seem to be unwilling to hear or to receive the light of truth, without questioning or wavering we are to do our part.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 442.
5 BE THE SOLUTION, NOT THE PROBLEM
- How may we ourselves be in danger of actually causing some of the tribulation faced by our own brethren and sisters in the faith? Malachi 2:10; Mark 3:25.
Note: “This is no time to criticize. That which is needed now is genuine sympathy and decided help. We should individually consider the necessities of our brethren. Let every breath devoted to this matter be used in speaking words that shall encourage. Let every power be employed in actions that shall lift.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 455, 456.
- With trials before us, what should we remember? Psalm 138:7.
Note: “The path to freedom from sin is through crucifixion of self, and conflict with the powers of darkness. Let none be discouraged in view of the severe trials to be met in the time of Jacob’s trouble, which is yet before them. They are to work earnestly, anxiously, not for that time, but for today. What we want is to have a knowledge of the truth as it is in Christ now, and a personal experience now. In these precious closing hours of probation, we have a deep and living experience to gain. We shall thus form characters that will ensure our deliverance in the time of trouble.” Our High Calling, 321.
“Only those who are willing to sacrifice all for eternal life will have it, but it will be worth suffering for, worth crucifying self and sacrificing every idol for. The far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory will outweigh every earthly treasure and eclipse every earthly attraction.” Ibid., 189.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 Where shall we begin taking part in fulfilling the visions of God’s messenger?
2 How should we view the things that will oppose our presentation of truth?
3 What is necessary in order for the church to do a successful work?
4 In what sense should we be inspired by the example of Nehemiah in his reforms?
5 What is the secret to having God’s protection in the time of trouble?
© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.