December 25, 2011 – December 31, 2011
“I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.” Revelation 3:18.
Study Help: Christ’s Object Lessons, 307–313.
“When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness. Then as the Lord looks upon us He sees, not the fig-leaf garment, not the nakedness and deformity of sin, but His own robe of righteousness, which is perfect obedience to the law of Jehovah.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 312.
1 God’s Plan for Man
- What evidence is there that God’s plan for man has never changed? Matthew 5:48.
Note: “The Lord requires perfection from His redeemed family. He expects from us the perfection which Christ revealed in His humanity. Fathers and mothers especially need to understand the best methods of training children that they may co-operate with God.” Child Guidance, 477.
- How can perfection be possible in an imperfect world? The battleground for the most deadly conflict ever fought on this planet is the human mind. What is the only one effective weapon? Philippians 2:5.
Note: “We are to enter the school of Christ, to learn from Him meekness and lowliness. Redemption is that process by which the soul is trained for heaven. This training means a knowledge of Christ. It means emancipation from ideas, habits, and practices that have been gained in the school of the prince of darkness. The soul must be delivered from all that is opposed to loyalty to God.” The Desire of Ages, 330.
2 A Most Precious Gift
- God made man a free moral agent with the ability to choose. How was this demonstrated in the Garden of Eden? Genesis 2:16, 17.
Note: “The white robe of innocence was worn by our first parents when they were placed by God in holy Eden. They lived in perfect conformity to the will of God. All the strength of their affections was given to their heavenly Father. A beautiful soft light, the light of God, enshrouded the holy pair. This robe of light was a symbol of their spiritual garments of heavenly innocence. Had they remained true to God it would ever have continued to enshroud them. But when sin entered, they severed their connection with God, and the light that had encircled them departed. Naked and ashamed, they tried to supply the place of the heavenly garments by sewing together fig leaves for a covering.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 310, 311.
“This is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of decision, or of choice. Everything depends on the right action of the will.” Steps to Christ, 47.
“You need to drink daily at the fountain of truth, that you may understand the secret of pleasure and joy in the Lord. But you must remember that your will is the spring of all your actions.” Messages to Young People, 153.
3 Obstacles to Enjoying Freedom
- What obstacle do we face in achieving that perfection of character? I Peter 5:8.
Note: “While Satan is constantly seeking to blind their minds to the fact, let Christians never forget that they ‘wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against wicked spirits in high places.’ Ephesians 6:12.” The Great Controversy, 510.
- What two powers are seeking complete control of the mind to the exclusion of the other? Zechariah 3:1.
Note: “The enemy is preparing for his last campaign against the church. He has so concealed himself from view that many can hardly believe that he exists, much less can they be convinced of his amazing activity and power. They have to a great extent forgotten his past record; and when he makes another advance move, they will not recognize him as their enemy, that old serpent, but they will consider him a friend, one who is doing a good work. Boasting of their independence they will, under his specious, bewitching influence, obey the worst impulses of the human heart and yet believe that God is leading them. Could their eyes be opened to distinguish their captain, they would see that they are not serving God, but the enemy of all righteousness. They would see that their boasted independence is one of the heaviest fetters Satan can rivet on unbalanced minds.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 294.
4 Death Brings Life
- How did Paul describe his battle with sin and the remedy for a sanctified life? Galatians 2:20.
Note: “When the soul surrenders itself to Christ, a new power takes possession of the new heart. A change is wrought which man can never accomplish for himself. It is a supernatural work, bringing a supernatural element into human nature. The soul that is yielded to Christ becomes His own fortress, which He holds in a revolted world, and He intends that no authority shall be known in it but His own. A soul thus kept in possession by the heavenly agencies is impregnable to the assaults of Satan. … The only defense against evil is the indwelling of Christ in the heart through faith in His righteousness. Unless we become vitally connected with God, we can never resist the unhallowed effects of self-love, self-indulgence, and temptation to sin. We may leave off many bad habits, for the time we may part company with Satan; but without a vital connection with God, through the surrender of ourselves to Him moment by moment, we shall be overcome.” The Desire of Ages, 324.
- Those who are finally rejected refuse to surrender their whole hearts and affections. Why will not all who claim to be Christians be saved? Matthew 7:22, 23.
Note: “Saddest of all words that ever fell on mortal ear are those words of doom, ‘I know you not’ [Matthew 25:12]. The fellowship of the Spirit, which you have slighted, could alone make you one with the joyous throng at the marriage feast. In that scene you cannot participate. Its light would fall on blinded eyes, its melody upon deaf ears. Its love and joy could awake no chord of gladness in the world-benumbed heart. You are shut out from heaven by your own unfitness for its companionship.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 413.
5 The Wedding Garment
- Will all who call on the Lord be saved? Matthew 7:21–23.
Note: “This robe, woven in the loom of heaven, has in it not one thread of human devising. Christ in His humanity wrought out a perfect character, and this character He offers to impart to us. ‘All our righteousness are as filthy rags.’ Isaiah 64:6. Everything that we of ourselves can do is defiled by sin.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 312.
- When the king entered the feast, why was one man evicted? Matthew 22:11–14.
Note: “The guests at the marriage feast were inspected by the king. Only those were accepted who had obeyed his requirements and put on the wedding garment. So it is with the guests at the gospel feast. All must pass the scrutiny of the great King, and only those are received who have put on the robe of Christ’s righteousness.
“Righteousness is right doing, and it is by their deeds that all will be judged. Our characters are revealed by what we do. The works show whether the faith is genuine.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 312.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 What process will bring man back to the same condition as he was in the beginning?
2 Above all other gifts offered to man, what was given with the most risk, yet the most valuable?
3 What is the source of the power behind all contentions and daily obstacles?
4 What does all nature reveal must happen for us to have life?
5 Why will not all who call themselves Christian be saved?
© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.