September 1–7, 2002
MEMORY VERSE: “[Let] love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. [Be] kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” Romans 12:9, 10.
SUGGESTED READING: Early Writings, 285–295; The Adventist Home, 533–550.
INTRODUCTION: “Of special value to God’s church on earth today—the keepers of His vineyard—are the messages of counsel and admonition given through the prophets who have made plain His eternal purpose in behalf of mankind. In the teachings of the prophets, His love for the lost race and His plan for their salvation are clearly revealed. The story of Israel’s call, of their successes and failures, of their restoration to divine favor, of their rejection of the Master of the vineyard, and of the carrying out of the plan of the ages by a goodly remnant to whom are to be fulfilled all the covenant promises—this has been the theme of God’s messengers to His church throughout the centuries that have passed. And today God’s message to His church—to those who are occupying His vineyard as faithful husbandmen—is none other than that spoken through the prophet of old: [Isaiah 27:2, 3 quoted.]” Prophets and Kings, 22.
1 Of what did Christ caution His followers, as they see the end times approaching? Luke 21:34, 35.
NOTE: “Dear Brethren and Sisters in _____: June 12, 1868, I was shown that the love of the world was to a great extent taking the place of love to God. You are situated in a pleasant country, one that is favorable to worldly prosperity. This places you where you are in constant danger of having your interest swallowed up in the world, in laying up treasure upon the earth. Your hearts will be where your treasure is. You are situated where there are temptations to be plunging deeper and deeper into the world, to be continually accumulating; and while you are thus engaged, the mind becomes engrossed with the cares of this life to such an extent as to shut out true godliness. But few realize the deceitfulness of riches.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 183.
2 What other peril will confront the church in the last days? Matthew 24:48–51.
NOTE: “The evil servant says in his heart, ‘My lord delayeth his coming.’ He does not say that Christ will not come. He does not scoff at the idea of His second coming. But in his heart and by his actions and words he declares that the Lord’s coming is delayed. He banishes from the minds of others the conviction that the Lord is coming quickly. His influence leads men to presumptuous, careless delay. They are confirmed in their worldliness and stupor. Earthly passions, corrupt thoughts, take possession of the mind. The evil servant eats and drinks with the drunken, unites with the world in pleasure seeking.” The Desire of Ages, 634.
3 In the parable of the ten virgins, how did Jesus illustrate the attitude of His people immediately before His return? Matthew 25:5.
NOTE: “Here [Matthew 25] is brought to view the church living in the last days, the same that is pointed out in the close of chapter 24. In this parable their experience is illustrated by the incidents of an Eastern marriage. . . .
“Two classes are represented. All had taken their lamps, the Bible, and by its light had gone forth to meet the Bridegroom. . . .
“By the tarrying of the bridegroom is represented the passing of the time when the Lord was expected, the disappointment, and the seeming delay. . . . ‘They all slumbered and slept;’ one class in unconcern and abandonment of their faith, the other class patiently waiting till clearer light should be given. Yet in the night of trial the latter seemed to lose, to some extent, their zeal and devotion. The halfhearted and superficial could no longer lean upon the faith of their brethren. Each must stand or fall for himself.” The Great Controversy, 393–395.
4 What should our first priority now be? Romans 13:12–14
NOTE: “Not one is to feel that he can use his time as he chooses. Heavenly requirements are not to be ignored. It is the universal tendency of men to subordinate the eternal realities to temporal matters, to make the claims of the future, immortal life subservient to the commonplace affairs of this fleeting life.” Signs of The Times, July 30, 1894.
5 What urgent counsel has Christ left on record for His remnant church? Revelation 3:15–19.
NOTE: “Christ now calls them [professed Christians]: ‘Be zealous and repent.’ He kindly and faithfully admonishes them to buy gold, white raiment, and eyesalve. They can choose either to be zealous, and partake largely of salvation, or be spewed out of the mouth of the Lord as disgusting, and be thrust from Him. God will not bear always. He is of tender pity, yet His Spirit will be grieved away for the last time. Mercy’s sweet voice will be no more heard. Its last precious notes will have died away, and those described will be left to their own ways, to be filled with their own doings.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 153.
6 What is the duty of God’s people as the end of time approaches? Revelation 14:6.
NOTE: “In the prophecy this warning of the judgment, with its connected messages, is followed by the coming of the Son of man in the clouds of heaven. The proclamation of the judgment is an announcement of Christ’s second coming as at hand. And this proclamation is called the everlasting gospel. Thus the preaching of Christ’s second coming, the announcement of its nearness, is shown to be an essential part of the gospel message.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 227.
7 What response does God expect from His church to this message? Revelation 14:7.
NOTE: “The gospel invitation is to be given to all the world—‘to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.’ Revelation 14:6. The last message of warning and mercy is to lighten the whole earth with its glory. It is to reach all classes of men, rich and poor, high and low. ‘Go out into the highways and hedges,’ Christ says, ‘and compel them to come in, that My house may be filled.’
“The world is perishing for want of the gospel. There is a famine for the word of God. There are few who preach the word unmixed with human tradition. Though men have the Bible in their hands, they do not receive the blessing that God has placed in it for them. The Lord calls upon His servants to carry His message to the people. The word of everlasting life must be given to those who are perishing in their sins.
“In the command to go into the highways and hedges, Christ sets forth the work of all whom He calls to minister in His name. The whole world is the field for Christ’s ministers. The whole human family is comprised in their congregation. The Lord desires that His word of grace shall be brought home to every soul.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 228, 229.
8 How are the members of the remnant church to manifest their faithfulness? Hebrews 10:23–25.
NOTE: “You need to take a decided interest in religious meetings. You have no strength to keep yourself under the sharp assaults of the enemy. You are kept by the power of God through faith. Make earnest and determined efforts to be to every meeting possible. The divine direction is, Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is, but so much the more as you see the day approaching. [See Hebrews 10:25]. You are to be found among the little few who meet to worship God. The help of every soul who loves the truth is needed to bear testimony of the truth and act as missionaries of God, home missionaries to strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die. Every jot of influence from Christ’s soldiers is now called for on the Lord’s side. Where two or three are assembled together in My name, there am I in the midst and that to bless. [See Matthew 18:20.]” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 105.
9 How should the remnant church relate to the needs of mankind? Matthew 25:31–40.
NOTE: “All His gifts are to be used in blessing humanity, in relieving the suffering and the needy. We are to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to care for the widow and the fatherless, to minister to the distressed and downtrodden. God never meant that the widespread misery in the world should exist. He never meant that one man should have an abundance of the luxuries of life, while the children of others should cry for bread. The means over and above the actual necessities of life are entrusted to man to do good, to bless humanity. The Lord says, ‘Sell that ye have, and give alms.’ Luke 12:33. Be ‘ready to distribute, willing to communicate.’ 1 Timothy 6:18. ‘When thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.’ Luke 14:13. ‘Loose the bands of wickedness,’ ‘undo the heavy burdens,’ ‘let the oppressed go free,’ ‘break every yoke.’ ‘Deal thy bread to the hungry,’ ‘bring the poor that are cast out to thy house.’ ‘When thou seest the naked, . . . cover him.’ ‘Satisfy the afflicted soul.’ Isaiah 58:6, 7, 10. ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.’ Mark 16:15. These are the Lord’s commands. Are the great body of professed Christians doing this work?” Christ’s Object Lessons, 370, 371.
10 What should be the spiritual objective of the church that is waiting for Christ to come? 2 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 4:14, 15.
NOTE: “Christ is soon coming in the clouds of heaven, and we must be prepared to meet Him, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing. . . . The converting power of God must be upon our hearts. We must study the life of Christ, and imitate the divine Pattern. We must dwell upon the perfection of His character, and be changed into His image. No one will enter the kingdom of God unless his will is brought into captivity to the will of Christ.” In Heavenly Places, 285.
11 What will be the highest goal of every true Christian? 1 John 3:2, 3.
NOTE: “Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 214.
12 What reward awaits those who persevere to the end? Revelation 2:10; Matthew 24:13.
NOTE: “If we move forward where Jesus leads the way we shall see His triumph, we shall share His joy. We must share the conflicts if we wear the crown of victory. Like Jesus, we must be made perfect through suffering. Had Christ’s life been one of ease, then might we safely yield to sloth. Since His life was marked with continual self-denial, suffering, and self-sacrifice, we shall make no complaint if we are partakers with Him. We can walk safely in the darkest path if we have the Light of the world for our guide.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 71.
13 How much is promised to the faithful? Matthew 19:29; Revelation 21:7.
NOTE: “Says John: ‘Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.’ Sons of God, members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King! Can there be any other honor equal to this bestowed on finite man? Yet the world does not discern our relationship to the divine, nor know the source of our strength. They know not that we are heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ to an immortal inheritance. We may inherit all things. We may have a home where there will be no more death, neither sorrow nor sighing.” Review and Herald, October 7, 1884.
“There is much hard work to be done for the Master, and much wisdom must be brought into the work. It is the unconquerable perseverance, the never-failing endurance, which will bring the victory. Many have a theory of truth, but know scarcely anything of the sweet victories through that faith which overcometh the world. An experience must be gained by each one for himself, or we shall never sit down with the suffering Man of Calvary. It will cost us all we have, but as a reward we shall inherit all things.” Signs of the Times, September 7, 1891.