May 19, 2001 – May 25, 2001
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16.
STUDY HELP: Maranatha, 105.
“If there is anything in our world that should inspire enthusiasm, it is the cross of Calvary. ‘Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.’ 1 John 3:1. ‘For God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ John 3:16. Christ is to be accepted, believed on, and exalted. This is to be the theme of conversation—the preciousness of Christ.. . .” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 338.
“For God So Loved”
How does the Bible describe man’s condition without God? Ephesians 2:2, 3.
NOTE: “Many are without God and without hope in the world. They are guilty, corrupt, and degraded, enslaved by Satan’s devices. Yet these are the ones whom Christ came from heaven to redeem. They are subjects for tenderest pity, sympathy, and tireless effort; for they are on the verge of ruin. They suffer from ungratified desires, disordered passions, and the condemnation of their own consciences; they are miserable in every sense of the word, for they are losing their hold on this life and have no prospect for the life to come.” Maranatha, 226.
How does God regard fallen, sinful man? John 3:16, first part; Ephesians 2:4.
NOTE: “‘God is love’ is written upon every opening bud, upon every spire of springing grass. The lovely birds making the air vocal with their happy songs, the delicately tinted flowers in their perfection perfuming the air, the lofty trees of the forest with their rich foliage of living green—all testify to the tender, fatherly care of our God and to His desire to make His children happy. . . . God has bound our hearts to Him by unnumbered tokens in heaven and in earth. Through the things of nature, and the deepest and tenderest earthly ties that human hearts can know, He has sought to reveal Himself to us. Yet these but imperfectly represent His love. Though all these evidences have been given, the enemy of good blinded the minds of men, so that they looked upon God with fear; they thought of Him as severe and unforgiving. Satan led men to conceive of God as a being whose chief attribute is stern justice,—one who is a severe judge, a harsh, exacting creditor. He pictured the Creator as a being who is watching with jealous eye to discern the errors and mistakes of men, that He may visit judgments upon them. It was to remove this dark shadow, by revealing to the world the infinite love of God, that Jesus came to live among men.” Steps to Christ, 10, 11.
“God So Loved the World”
What is the extent of God’s love? John 3:16, first part.
NOTE: “Selfishness would make a monopoly of eternal life. The Jewish nation thought to confine the benefits of salvation to their own nation; but the world’s Redeemer showed them that salvation is like the air we breathe, like the atmosphere that belongs to the whole world. Every soul can be enriched by the love of God. The selfishness that would number Israel is an offense to God; for God’s gift belongs not to a select few but to the whole word.” Review and Herald, November 12, 1895.
What did Jesus say would be the effect of His sacrifice on Calvary? John 12:32, 33.
NOTE: It is believed by many Christians that God’s love is extended to a select few, that the majority of mankind has been chosen by God to be recipients of His wrath. The Bible, however, makes clear that God’s love encompasses the world.
“The sinner may resist this love, may refuse to be drawn to Christ; but if he does not resist he will be drawn to Jesus; a knowledge of the plan of salvation will lead him to the foot of the cross in repentance for his sins, which have caused the sufferings of God’s dear Son.” Steps to Christ, 27.
“Jesus knows us individually, and is touched with the feeling of our infirmities. He knows us all by name. He knows the very house in which we live, the name of each occupant. He has at times given directions to His servants to go to a certain street in a certain city, to such a house, to find one of His sheep. Every soul is as fully known to Jesus as if he were the only one for whom the Saviour died. The distress of every one touches His heart. The cry for aid reaches His ear. He came to draw all men unto Himself. He bids them, ‘Follow Me,’ and His Spirit moves upon their hearts to draw them to come to Him. Many refuse to be drawn. Jesus knows who they are. He also knows who gladly hear His call, and are ready to come under His pastoral care. He says, ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.’ He cares for each one as if there were not another on the face of the earth.” The Desire of Ages, 479, 480.
“That He Gave His Only Begotten Son”
How was God’s love for mankind demonstrated? John 3:16, first part; Romans 5:8.
NOTE: “In taking our nature, the Saviour has bound Himself to humanity by a tie that is never to be broken. Through the eternal ages He is linked with us. ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son.’ John 3:16. He gave Him not only to bear our sins, and to die as our sacrifice; He gave Him to the fallen race. To assure us of His immutable counsel of peace, God gave His only-begotten Son to become one of the human family, forever to retain His human nature. This is the pledge that God will fulfill His word.” The Desire of Ages, 25.
“The greatest gift that God could bestow upon men was bestowed in the gift of His beloved Son. The apostle says, ‘He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?’ There was nothing held in reserve. No second probation will ever be provided. If the unspeakable gift of God does not lead man to repentance, there is nothing that ever will move his heart. There is no power held in reserve to act upon his mind, and arouse his sensibilities. The whole character of God was revealed in His Son, the whole range of the possibilities of heaven is displayed for the acceptance of man in the Son of the Infinite One. The way for man’s return to God and heaven has no barriers. The matchless depths of the Saviour’s love have been demonstrated; and if this manifestation of God’s love for the children of men does not prevail to draw men to Himself, there is nothing that ever will.” Signs of the Times, December 30, 1889.
How does this wonderful love practically aid us in our Christian life? Romans 8:31, 32.
NOTE: “Why do you not cease from sin? You may overcome if you will co-operate with God. Christ’s promise is sure. He pledges Himself to fill the office of personal Intercessor, saying, ‘I will pray the Father.’ He who could not see human beings exposed to eternal ruin without pouring out His soul unto death in their behalf, will look with pity and compassion upon every one who realizes that he can not save himself. He will look upon no trembling suppliant without raising him up. He who through His own atonement provided for man an infinite fund of moral power will not fail to employ this power in their behalf. We may take life’s controversies and troubles to His feet; for He loves us. His every word and look invite our confidence. He will shape and mold our characters according to His will, and every day we shall be found asking, ‘Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?’” Review and Herald, October 30, 1900.
“That Whosoever Believeth in Him”
What is to be our response to the love which God has shown us in Christ? John 3:16; John 1:12.
NOTE: “You may say that you believe in Jesus, when you have an appreciation of the cost of salvation. You may make this claim, when you feel that Jesus died for you on the cruel cross of Calvary; when you have an intelligent, understanding faith that His death makes it possible for you to cease from sin, and to perfect a righteous character through the grace of God, bestowed upon you as the purchase of Christ’s blood. The eyes of fallen men may be anointed with the eye-salve of spiritual comprehension, and they may see themselves as they really are—poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked. They may be brought to realize their need of repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. The plan of salvation is not appreciated as it should be. It is not discerned or comprehended. It is made altogether a cheap affair; whereas to unite the human with the divine, required an exertion of Omnipotence.” Review and Herald, July 24, 1888.
What examples show us what it means to believe in Jesus? Matthew 8:5–10, 13; Matthew 9:27–29.
NOTE: “God must be served from principle instead of from feeling. Morning and night obtain the victory for yourselves in your own family. Let not your daily labor keep you from this. Take time to pray, and as you pray, believe that God hears you. Have faith mixed with your prayers. You may not at all times feel the immediate answer; but then it is that faith is tried. You are proved to see whether you will trust in God, whether you have living, abiding faith. ‘Faithful is He that calleth you, who also will do it.’ Walk the narrow plank of faith. Trust all on the promises of the Lord. Trust God in darkness. That is the time to have faith. But you often let feeling govern you. You look for worthiness in yourselves when you do not feel comforted by the Spirit of God, and despair because you cannot find it. You do not trust enough in Jesus, precious Jesus. You do not make His worthiness to be all, all. The very best you can do will not merit the favor of God. It is Jesus’ worthiness that will save you, His blood that will cleanse you. But you have efforts to make. You must do what you can on your part. Be zealous and repent, then believe. Confound not faith and feeling together. They are distinct. Faith is ours to exercise. This faith we must keep in exercise. Believe, believe. Let your faith take hold of the blessing, and it is yours. Your feelings have nothing to do with this faith. When faith brings the blessing to your heart, and you rejoice in the blessing, it is no more faith, but feeling.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 167.
“Should Not Perish”
What precious promise is given to those who exercise faith in Jesus Christ? John 3:16. Compare John 10:27, 28.
NOTE: “The Lord Jesus Christ has infinite tenderness for those whom He has purchased at the cost of His own sufferings in the flesh, that they should not perish with the devil and his angels, but that He may claim them as His chosen ones. They are the claim of His love, of His own property; and He looks upon them with unutterable affection, and the fragrance of His own righteousness He gives to His loved ones who believe in Him.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 261.
What is the connection between disobedience and perishing? Deuteronomy 8:19, 20. Compare Psalm 1:6.
NOTE: “In the act of dying, Christ was destroying him who had the power of death. He carried out the plan, finished the work which from Adam’s fall He had covenanted to undertake. By dying for the guilt of a sinful world, He reinstated fallen man, on condition of obedience to God’s commandments, in the position from which he had fallen in consequence of disobedience. And when He broke the fetters of the tomb and rose triumphant from the dead He answered the question, ‘If a man die, shall he live again?’ (Job 14:14). Christ made it possible that every child of Adam might, through a life of obedience, overcome sin and rise also from the grave to his heritage of immortality purchased by the blood of Christ.” In Heavenly Places, 44.
“But Have Everlasting Life”
What wonderful prospect awaits those who believe in Jesus? John 3:16; Romans 6:22.
NOTE: “Would you become assimilated to the divine image? . . . Would you drink of the water which Christ shall give you, which shall be in you a well of water springing up into everlasting life? Would you bear fruit to the glory of God? Would you refresh others? Then with heart hungering for the bread of life, the Word of God, search the Scriptures, and live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Your soul’s sanctification and righteousness will result from faith in the Word of God, which leads to obedience of its commands. Let the Word of God be to you as the voice of God instructing you, and saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it.’ Isaiah 30:21. Christ prayed, ‘Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.” John 17:17.” The Faith I Live By, 21.
What is the connection between eternal life and obedience? Matthew 19:16–19.
NOTE: “Christ does not lessen the claims of the law. In unmistakable language He presents obedience to it as the condition of eternal life—the same condition that was required of Adam before his fall. The Lord expects no less of the soul now than He expected of man in Paradise, perfect obedience, unblemished righteousness. The requirement under the covenant of grace is just as broad as the requirement made in Eden—harmony with God’s law, which is holy, just, and good.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 391.
How is such obedience possible? II Corinthians 10:5; Romans 8:26–32.
NOTE: “By His perfect obedience He has made it possible for every human being to obey God’s commandments. 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.