February 25, 2007 – March 3, 2007
“Let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” Hebrews 12:28.
Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 5, 491–500; vol. 8, 284–286.
“Godly fear, humility, and meekness are greatly needed by all in order to correctly represent the truth of God.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 259.
1 What two conditions best summarize our duty to God? Ecclesiastes 12:13. How does this differ from the prevailing attitude of the popular churches today? 11 Timothy 3:1, 2, 5.
note: “There should be an intelligent knowledge of how to come to God in reverence and godly fear with devotional love. There is a growing lack of reverence for our Maker, a growing disregard of His greatness and His majesty.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 315.
“Christ’s followers today should guard against the tendency to lose the spirit of reverence and godly fear. The Scriptures teach men how they should approach their Maker—with humility and awe, through faith in a divine Mediator.” Prophets and Kings, 48.
2 How is a healthy fear of God revealed in us? Malachi 3:16; Colossians 3:16. What happens when people lose the fear of God?
note: “True reverence for God is inspired by a sense of His infinite greatness and a realization of His presence. With this sense of the Unseen, every heart should be deeply impressed. The hour and place of prayer are sacred, because God is there. And as reverence is manifested in attitude and demeanor, the feeling that inspires it will be deepened. ‘Holy and reverend is His name,’ the psalmist declares. Psalm 111:9. Angels, when they speak that name, veil their faces. With what reverence, then, should we, who are fallen and sinful, take it upon our lips!” Prophets and Kings, 48, 49.
“When men cast off the fear of God they are not long in departing from honor and integrity.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 557.
3 How did the Hebrew midwives in Egypt show that they feared the Lord? Exodus 1:15–17. What can we also learn from the examples of Job and Obadiah? Job 1:1, 8; 1 Kings 18:3, 13.
note: “It were well for parents to learn from the man of Uz a lesson of steadfastness and devotion. Job did not neglect his duty to those outside of his household; he was benevolent, kind, thoughtful of the interest of others; and at the same time he labored earnestly for the salvation of his own family. Amid the festivities of his sons and daughters, he trembled lest his children should displease God. As a faithful priest of the household, he offered sacrifices for them individually. He knew the offensive character of sin, and the thought that his children might forget the divine claims, led him to God as an intercessor in their behalf.” Review and Herald, August 30, 1881.
“During the apostasy of Israel, Obadiah had remained faithful. His master, the king, had been unable to turn him from his allegiance to the living God.” Prophets and Kings, 138.
4 How was Cornelius blessed because he feared the Lord? Acts 10:1–6.
note: “Believing in God as the Creator of heaven and earth, Cornelius revered Him, acknowledged His authority, and sought His counsel in all the affairs of life. He was faithful to Jehovah in his home life and in his official duties. . . .
“The angel appeared to Cornelius while he was at prayer.” The Acts of the Apostles, 133.
5 What blessings will be bestowed upon all who truly fear the Lord? Psalms 34:7, 9; 85:9; Luke 1:50.
note: “Those who are true to God need not fear the power of men nor the enmity of Satan. In Christ their eternal life is secure. Their only fear should be lest they surrender the truth, and thus betray the trust with which God has honored them.” The Desire of Ages, 356.
6 From what other fear are we to be delivered, especially in the time of trouble, which is to come upon the inhabitants of the world? Psalms 46:1–3; 91:1, 5, 6.
note: “When we put away our sins and come to him in faith, he takes our names on his lips, and presents them to his Father, saying, ‘I have graven them upon the palms of my hands; I know them by name.’ [Isaiah 49:16.] And the command goes forth to the angels to protect them. Then in the day of fierce trial he will say, ‘Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.’ [Isaiah 26:20.] What are the chambers in which they are to hide?—They are the protection of Christ and holy angels. The people of God are not at this time all in one place. They are in different companies, and in all parts of the earth; and they will be tried singly, not in groups. Every one must stand the test for himself.” Review and Herald, November 19, 1908.
7 How should a proper fear of God govern our attitude as we witness to souls in darkness? 1 Peter 3:15.
note: “[1 Peter 3:15 quoted.] The fear here spoken of does not mean distrust or indecision, but with due caution, guarding every point, lest an unwise word be spoken, or excitement of feeling get the advantage, and thus leave unfavorable impressions upon minds, and balance them in the wrong direction. Godly fear, humility, and meekness are greatly needed by all in order to correctly represent the truth of God.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 258, 259.
8 How can a correct understanding of Heaven’s judgments strengthen our faith? Matthew 10:28.
note: “Some seem to think that if a man has a wholesome fear of the judgments of God, it is a proof that he is destitute of faith; but this is not so.
“A proper fear of God, in believing his threatenings, works the peaceable fruits of righteousness, by causing the trembling soul to flee to Jesus. Many ought to have this spirit today, and turn to the Lord with humble contrition, for the Lord has not given so many terrible threatenings, pronounced so severe judgments in his word, simply to have them recorded, but he means what he says.” Review and Herald, October 21, 1890.
9 How are we to give glory to God? Isaiah 58:6–8. What is necessarily involved in the command to worship God as the Creator of the universe? Revelation 14:7, first part.
note: “To give glory to God is to reveal His character in our own, and thus make Him known. And in whatever way we make known the Father or the Son, we glorify God.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 979.
“By the first angel, men are called upon to ‘fear God, and give glory to Him’ [Revelation 14:7] and to worship Him as the Creator of the heavens and the earth. In order to do this, they must obey His law.” The Great Controversy, 436.
10 Why does our duty to worship God as the Creator involve Sabbath keeping? Exodus 31:16, 17; Hebrews 4:3–5, 9, 10. What three things are connected with Sabbathkeeping? Genesis 2:2, 3.
note: “To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ’s creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight. Seeing Christ in it, they delight themselves in Him. The Sabbath points them to the works of creation as an evidence of His mighty power in redemption. While it calls to mind the lost peace of Eden, it tells of peace restored through the Saviour. And every object in nature repeats His invitation, ‘Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.’ Matthew 11:28.” The Desire of Ages, 289.
“Christ says, Take My yoke of restraint and obedience upon you, and learn of Me. . . . The heart will then be made right with God, through the creative power of Christ.” In Heavenly Places, 162.
Behavior in the House of God
“When the worshipers enter the place of meeting, they should do so with decorum, passing quietly to their seats. . . . Common talking, whispering, and laughing should not be permitted in the house of worship, either before or after the service. Ardent, active piety should characterize the worshipers.
“If some have to wait a few minutes before the meeting begins, let them maintain a true spirit of devotion by silent meditation, keeping the heart uplifted to God in prayer that the service may be of special benefit to their own hearts and lead to the conviction and conversion of other souls. They should remember that heavenly messengers are in the house. We all lose much sweet communion with God by our restlessness, by not encouraging moments of reflection and prayer. The spiritual condition needs to be often reviewed and the mind and heart drawn toward the Sun of Righteousness. If when the people come into the house of worship, they have genuine reverence for the Lord and bear in mind that they are in His presence, there will be a sweet eloquence in silence. The whispering and laughing and talking which might be without sin in a common business place should find no sanction in the house where God is worshiped. The mind should be prepared to hear the word of God, that it may have due weight and suitably impress the heart.
“When the minister enters, it should be with dignified, solemn mien. He should bow down in silent prayer as soon as he steps into the pulpit, and earnestly ask help of God. What an impression this will make! There will be solemnity and awe upon the people. Their minister is communing with God; he is committing himself to God before he dares to stand before the people. Solemnity rests upon all, and angels of God are brought very near. Every one of the congregation, also, who fears God should with bowed head unite in silent prayer with him that God may grace the meeting with His presence and give power to His truth proclaimed from human lips. When the meeting is opened by prayer, every knee should bow in the presence of the Holy One, and every heart should ascend to God in silent devotion. . . .
“When the benediction is pronounced, all should still be quiet, as if fearful of losing the peace of Christ. Let all pass out without jostling or loud talking, feeling that they are in the presence of God, that His eye is resting upon them, and that they must act as in His visible presence. Let there be no stopping in the aisles to visit or gossip, thus blocking them up so that others cannot pass out. The precincts of the church should be invested with a sacred reverence. It should not be made a place to meet old friends and visit and introduce common thoughts and worldly business transactions. These should be left outside the church. God and angels have been dishonored by the careless, noisy laughing and shuffling of feet heard in some places. . . .
“It is too true that reverence for the house of God has become almost extinct. Sacred things and places are not discerned; the holy and exalted are not appreciated. Is there not a cause for the want of fervent piety in our families? Is it not because the high standard of religion is left to trail in the dust? God gave rules of order, perfect and exact, to His ancient people. Has His character changed? Is He not the great and mighty God who rules in the heaven of heavens? Would it not be well for us often to read the directions given by God Himself to the Hebrews, that we who have the light of the glorious truth shining upon us may imitate their reverence for the house of God? We have abundant reason to maintain a fervent, devoted spirit in the worship of God. We have reason even to be more thoughtful and reverential in our worship than had the Jews. But an enemy has been at work to destroy our faith in the sacredness of Christian worship. . . .
“The moral taste of the worshipers in God’s holy sanctuary must be elevated, refined, sanctified. This matter has been sadly neglected. Its importance has been overlooked, and as the result, disorder and irreverence have become prevalent, and God has been dishonored. When the leaders in the church, ministers and people, fathers and mothers, have not had elevated views of this matter, what could be expected of the inexperienced children? They are too often found in groups, away from the parents, who should have charge of them. Notwithstanding they are in the presence of God, and His eye is looking upon them, they are light and trifling, they whisper and laugh, are careless, irreverent, and inattentive. They are seldom instructed that the minister is God’s ambassador, that the message he brings is one of God’s appointed agencies in the salvation of souls, and that to all who have the privilege brought within their reach it will be a savor of life unto life or of death unto death.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 492–497.
Reprinted with permission, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke Virginia, 2003.