May 26, 2001 – June 1, 2001
“And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark 16:15, 16.
STUDY HELP: Christian Service, 7–13.
“The church is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. It was organized for service, and its mission is to carry the gospel to the world. From the beginning it has been God’s plan that through His church shall be reflected to the world His fullness and His sufficiency. The members of the church, those whom He has called out of darkness into His marvelous light, are to show forth His glory. The church is the repository of the riches of the grace of Christ; and through the church will eventually be made manifest, even to ‘the principalities and powers in heavenly places,’ the final and full display of the love of God. Ephesians 3:10.” Acts of the Apostles, 9.
“Ye Are My Witnesses”
1 What was Christ’s purpose in setting up a church on earth? Matthew 28:19, 20.
NOTE: “The church of Christ is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. Its mission is to carry the gospel to the world. And the obligation rests upon all Christians. Everyone, to the extent of his talent and opportunity, is to fulfill the Saviour’s commission. The love of Christ, revealed to us, makes us debtors to all who know Him not. God has given us light, not for ourselves alone, but to shed upon them.” Steps to Christ, 81.
2 What is to be the extent of the church’s work? Matthew 24:14; Acts 1:8. Compare Acts 13:47.
NOTE: “If the followers of Christ were awake to duty, there would be thousands where there is one today proclaiming the gospel in heathen lands. And all who could not personally engage in the work, would yet sustain it with their means, their sympathy, and their prayers. And there would be far more earnest labor for souls in Christian countries. We need not go to heathen lands, or even leave the narrow circle of the home, if it is there that our duty lies, in order to work for Christ. We can do this in the home circle, in the church, among those with whom we associate, and with whom we do business.” Steps to Christ, 81.
“Ye Shall Receive Power”
3 What promise of divine help is given to help the church in its task? Acts 1:8. Compare Luke 24:49.
NOTE: “Every individual must realize his own necessity. The heart must be emptied of every defilement and cleansed for the indwelling of the Spirit. It was by the confession and forsaking of sin, by earnest prayer and consecration of themselves to God, that the early disciples prepared for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. The same work, only in greater degree, must be done now. Then the human agent had only to ask for the blessing, and wait for the Lord to perfect the work concerning him. It is God who began the work, and He will finish His work, making man complete in Jesus Christ. But there must be no neglect of the grace represented by the former rain. Only those who are living up to the light they have will receive greater light. Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognize the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it.” Testimonies to Ministers, 507.
4 How is the condition of the church described, as they waited for the promised power? Acts 2:1.
NOTE: “The secret of our success in the work of God will be found in the harmonious working of our people. There must be concentrated action. Every member of the body of Christ must act his part in the cause of God, according to the ability that God has given him. We must press together against obstructions and difficulties, shoulder to shoulder, heart to heart. If Christians were to act in concert, moving forward as one, under the direction of one Power, for the accomplishment of one purpose, they would move the world.” Christian Service, 75.
“He Led Captivity Captive, and Gave Gifts Unto Men”
5 In order that the church might accomplish its work, what gifts did the Lord give to His people? I Corinthians 12:8–11.
NOTE: “At this time the special endowment of divine grace and power is not less needful to the church than in apostolic days. God will today endow men and women with power from above, as He endowed those who on the day of Pentecost heard the word of salvation. At this very hour His Spirit and His grace are for all who need them and will take Him at His word. The gifts are already ours in Christ, but their actual possession depends upon our reception of the Spirit of God. . . . If they are connected with Christ, if the gifts of the Spirit are theirs, the poorest and most ignorant of His disciples will have a power that will tell upon hearts. God makes them the channel for the outworking of the highest influence in the universe.” The Faith I Live By, 292.
6 What was the purpose of these spiritual gifts? Ephesians 4:12–16.
NOTE: “Different gifts are imparted to different ones, that the workers may feel their need of one another. God bestows these gifts, and they are employed in His service, not to glorify the possessor, not to uplift man, but to uplift the world’s Redeemer. They are to be used for the good of all mankind, by representing the truth, not testifying to a falsehood. . . . In every word and act, kindness and love will be revealed; and as each worker fills his appointed place faithfully, the prayer of Christ for the unity of His followers will be answered, and the world will know that these are His disciples.” Signs of the Times, March 15, 1910.
“They Went Everywhere Preaching the Word”
7 What examples are we given of Philip’s fulfilment of the Gospel commission? Acts 8:5–8, 26–40.
NOTE: “Philip left Jerusalem, and preached a risen Redeemer in Samaria. Many believed and received Christian baptism. Philip’s preaching was marked with so great success, and so many were gathered into the fold of Christ, that he finally sent to Jerusalem for help. The disciples now perceived the meaning of Christ, when He said, ‘Ye shall be witnesses unto me, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.’” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 39.
“He [God] called Philip from his successful ministry in Samaria, to cross the desert and go to Gaza to labor for a single inquiring soul. The promptness with which the eunuch accepted the gospel and acted upon its belief should be a lesson to us. God designs that we should be prompt in accepting and confessing Christ, prompt in obeying Him, and in answering the call of duty. The eunuch was a man of good repute, and occupied a high and responsible position. Through his conversion the gospel was carried to Ethiopia, and many there accepted Christ, and came out from the darkness of heathenism into the clear light of Christianity.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 305.
8 What other examples of faithful Christian service are we shown? Acts 18:24–26.
NOTE: “Aquila and Priscilla were not called to give their whole time to the ministry of the gospel, yet these humble laborers were used by God to show Apollos the way of truth more perfectly. The Lord employs various instrumentalities for the accomplishment of His purpose, and while some with special talents are chosen to devote all their energies to the work of teaching and preaching the gospel, many others, upon whom human hands have never been laid in ordination, are called to act an important part in soul– saving.” Acts of the Apostles, 355.
“The Church That is in Thy House”
9 What pictures are we given of the way the early church developed? Romans 16:3–5, Colossians 4:15; Philemon 1, 2.
NOTE: “I would encourage those who assemble in little companies to worship God. Brethren and sisters, be not disheartened because you are so few in number. The tree that stands alone upon the plain, strikes its roots deeper into the earth, spreads out its branches farther on every side, and grows stronger and more symmetrical while wrestling singly with the tempest or rejoicing in the sunshine. So the Christian, cut off from earthly dependence, may learn to rely wholly upon God, and may gain strength and courage from every conflict. May the Lord bless the scattered and lonely ones, and make them efficient workers for Him.” Our High Calling, 166.
“Let these little companies who seldom have preaching cling more firmly to Jesus. Let them settle this point first of all, that they are willing to walk in the narrow, cross– bearing path where Jesus has traveled before them. Then let them appropriate to themselves God’s promises of divine guidance.” Review and Herald, September 27, 1887.
“Let little companies meet together to study the Scriptures. You will lose nothing by this, but will gain much. Angels of God will be in your gathering, and as you feed upon the Bread of Life, you will receive spiritual sinew and muscle. You will be feeding, as it were, upon the leaves of the tree of life.” This Day With God, 11.
10 What pictures are we given of the way the early church developed? Acts 2:42, 44–47.
NOTE: “Every Christian saw in his brother the divine similitude of benevolence and love. One interest prevailed. One object swallowed up all others. All hearts beat in harmony. The only ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character, and to labor for the enlargement of His kingdom. ‘The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul. . . .’ The Spirit of Christ animated the whole congregation; for they had found the pearl of great price. These scenes are to be repeated, and with greater power. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was the former rain, but the latter rain will be more abundant. The Spirit awaits our demand and reception. Christ is again to be revealed in His fullness by the Holy Spirit’s power.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 120, 121.
“Conquering and to Conquer”
11 What prophetic pictures are we given of the early church? Revelation 2:1– 3, Revelation 6:2.
NOTE: “Take no glory whatever to yourself. Do not work with a divided mind, trying to serve God and self at the same time. Keep self out of sight. Let your words lead the weary and heavy laden to carry their burdens to Jesus. Work as seeing Him who is at your right hand, ready to give you His efficiency and omnipotent power in every emergency. The Lord is your counselor, your guide, the captain of your salvation. He goes before your face, conquering and to conquer.” Review and Herald, December 29, 1904.
12 What problem arose in the early church? Revelation 2:4, 5.
NOTE: “Let us not forget that as activity increases, and we become successful in doing the work that must be accomplished, there is danger of our trusting in human plans and methods. There will be a tendency to pray less, and to have less faith. We shall be in danger of losing our sense of dependence upon God, who alone can make our work succeed.” Christian Service, 98.
“As members of God’s remnant church, we must pray with firm faith for the gift of the grace of love. Love is the fulfilling of the law, and is manifested altogether too little among those upon whom has been shining great light. Genuine religion is life and light to every believer. The Christian graces are given not as ornaments to win admiration, but as talents to be used in accomplishing a work for God.” Bible Training School, June 1, 1903.
“It is our work to know our special failings and sins, which cause darkness and spiritual feebleness, and quenched our first love. Is it worldliness? Is it selfishness? Is it the love of self– esteem? Is it striving to be first? Is it the sin of sensuality that is intensely active? Is it the sin of the Nicolaitans, turning the grace of God into lasciviousness? Is it the misuse and abuse of great light and opportunities and privileges, marking boasted claims to wisdom and religious knowledge, while the life and character are inconsistent and immoral? Whatever it is that has been petted and cultivated until it has become strong and overmastering, make determined efforts to overcome, else you will be lost.” Review and Herald, June 7, 1887.