July 16, 2006 – July 22, 2006
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19.
Study Help: Counsels on Health, 16–18.
“In Satan’s temptations it is his purpose to make the world very attractive. Through love of riches and worldly honor he has a bewitching power to gain the affections of even the professed Christian world. A large class of professedly Christian men will make any sacrifice to gain riches, and the better they succeed in their object the less love they have for precious truth and the less interest for its advancement. They lose their love for God and act like insane men. The more they are prospered in securing riches the poorer they feel because they have no more, and the less will they invest in the cause of God.
“The works of those men who have an insane love for riches show that it is not possible for them to serve two masters, God and mammon. Money is their god. They yield homage to its power. They serve the world to all intents and purposes. Their honor, which is their birthright, is sacrificed for worldly gain. This ruling power controls their minds, and they will violate the law of God to serve personal interests, to increase their earthly treasure.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 478, 479.
1 To what extent was the church of Macedonia liberal in their giving to support the work of the apostles? 11 Corinthians 8:1–3.
note: “Nearly all the Macedonian believers were poor in this world’s goods, but their hearts were overflowing with love for God and His truth, and they gladly gave for the support of the gospel. When general collections were taken up in the Gentile churches for the relief of the Jewish believers, the liberality of the converts in Macedonia was held up as an example to other churches.” The Acts of the Apostles, 343.
“There is a lesson for us in the experience of the churches of Macedonia, as described by Paul. He says that they ‘first gave their own selves to the Lord.’ [11 Corinthians 8:5.] Then they were eager to give their means for Christ.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 734.
2 How does God regard such sacrifices? Philippians 4:19.
note: “Whenever God’s people, in any period of the world, have cheerfully and willingly carried out His plan in systematic benevolence and in gifts and offerings, they have realized the standing promise that prosperity should attend all their labors just in proportion as they obeyed His requirements. When they acknowledged the claims of God, and complied with His requirements, honoring Him with their substance, their barns were filled with plenty.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 395.
3 In what manner can we lend to the Lord with the assurance that he will repay? Proverbs 19:17.
note: “[Isaiah 1:17; Psalm 41:1, 2; Proverbs 19:17 quoted.] He who makes this investment lays up double treasure. Besides that which, however wisely improved, he must leave at last, he is amassing wealth for eternity,—that treasure of character which is the most valuable possession of earth or heaven.” Education, 141.
“The piety and advanced spiritual knowledge and growth of a church is proportionate to the zeal, piety, and missionary intelligence that has been brought into it, and carried out of it to be a blessing to the very ones who need our assistance the most. Again I [Ellen White] urge you to consider Isaiah 58, which opens a wide and extensive vineyard to be worked upon the lines which the Lord has pointed out. When this is done there will be an increase of moral sources and the church will no more remain almost stationary. There will be blessing and power attending their labor. The selfishness that has bound up their souls they have overcome, and now their light is being given to the world in clear, bright rays of a living faith and godly example. The Lord has His promises for all who will do His requirements. [Psalm 41:1–3; 37:3; Proverbs 3:9, 10; 11:24, 25; 19:17; Isaiah 58: 10, 11 quoted.]
“The Word of God is full of precious promises, as the above (MS 14a, 1897).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, 1148.
4 What special promise does the Lord make to those who consider the poor? Psalm 41:1–3.
note: “There is sweet peace for the compassionate spirit, a blessed satisfaction in the life of self-forgetful service for the good of others. The Holy Spirit that abides in the soul and is manifest in the life will soften hard hearts and awaken sympathy and tenderness. You will reap that which you sow. . . . [Psalm 41:1–3 quoted.]
“He who has given his life to God in ministry to His children is linked with Him who has all the resources of the universe at His command. His life is bound up by the golden chain of the immutable promises with the life of God. The Lord will not fail him in the hour of suffering and need. ‘My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.’ Philippians 4:19. And in the hour of final need the merciful shall find refuge in the mercy of the compassionate Saviour and shall be received into everlasting habitations.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 23, 24.
5 To whom should we not give? Proverbs 22:16.
note: “These are principles [numerous texts from Proverbs previously quoted] with which are bound up the well-being of society, of both secular and religious associations. It is these principles that give security to property and life. For all that makes confidence and co-operation possible, the world is indebted to the law of God, as given in His word, and as still traced, in lines often obscure and well-nigh obliterated, in the hearts of men.
“The psalmist’s words, ‘The law of Thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver’ (Psalm 119:72), state that which is true from other than a religious point of view. They state an absolute truth and one that is recognized in the business world. Even in this age of passion for money getting, when competition is so sharp and methods are so unscrupulous, it is still widely acknowledged that, for a young man starting in life, integrity, diligence, temperance, purity, and thrift constitute a better capital than any amount of mere money.
“Yet even of those who appreciate the value of these qualities and acknowledge the Bible as their source, there are but few who recognize the principle upon which they depend.
“That which lies at the foundation of business integrity and of true success is the recognition of God’s ownership. The Creator of all things, He is the original proprietor. We are His stewards. All that we have is a trust from Him, to be used according to His direction.” Education, 137.
6 What words of Christ did the apostle’s life exemplify? Acts 20:34, 35.
note: “Paul sometimes worked night and day, not only for his own support, but that he might assist his fellow laborers. He shared his earnings with Luke, and he helped Timothy. He even suffered hunger at times, that he might relieve the necessities of others. His was an unselfish life. Toward the close of his ministry, on the occasion of his farewell talk to the elders of Ephesus, at Miletus, he could lift up before them his toilworn hands . . . .” The Acts of the Apostles, 352.
7 What is the effect of the love of money? 1 Timothy 6:10.
note: “In no way could the Lord be better glorified and the truth more highly honored than for unbelievers to see that the truth has wrought a great and good work upon the lives of naturally covetous and penurious men. If it could be seen that the faith of such had an influence to mold their characters, to change them from close, selfish, overreaching, money-loving men to men who love to do good, who seek opportunities to use their means to bless those who need to be blessed, who visit the widow and fatherless in their affliction, and who keep themselves unspotted from the world, it would be an evidence that their religion was genuine. Such would let their light so shine that others seeing their good works would be led to glorify their Father which is in heaven. This fruit would be unto holiness, and they would be living representatives of Christ upon the earth. Sinners would be convicted that there is in the truth a power to which they are strangers. Those who profess to be waiting and watching for the appearing of their Lord should not disgrace their profession by bantering in deal and standing for the last penny. Such fruit does not grow upon the Christian tree.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 239.
8 With what challenge do the rich contend? Matthew 19:24.
note: “A rich man, as such, cannot enter heaven. His wealth gives him no title to the inheritance of the saints in light. It is only through the unmerited grace of Christ that any man can find entrance into the city of God.
“To the rich no less than to the poor are the words of the Holy Spirit spoken, ‘Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price.’ 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. When men believe this, their possessions will be held as a trust, to be used as God shall direct, for the saving of the lost, and the comfort of the suffering and the poor. With man this is impossible, for the heart clings to its earthly treasure. The soul that is bound in service to mammon is deaf to the cry of human need. But with God all things are possible. By beholding the matchless love of Christ, the selfish heart will be melted and subdued. The rich man will be led, as was Saul the Pharisee, to say, ‘What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.’ Philippians 3:7, 8. Then they will not count anything their own. They will joy to regard themselves as stewards of the manifold grace of God, and for His sake servants of all men.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 394, 395.
9 To what are riches compared? Proverbs 23:5.
note: “The word of God has much to say in regard to sacrificing. Riches are from the Lord and belong to Him. ‘Both riches and honor come of Thee.’ ‘The silver is Mine, and the gold is Mine, saith the Lord of hosts.’ ‘For every beast of the forest is Mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.’ ‘The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.’ [1 Chronicles 29:12; Haggai 2:8; Psalm 50:10; 24:1.] It is the Lord thy God that giveth thee power to get wealth.
“Riches are in themselves transient and unsatisfying. We are warned not to trust in uncertain riches. ‘Riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away.’ ‘Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal.’ [Proverbs 23:5; Matthew 6:19.]
“Riches bring no relief in man’s greatest distress. . . .
“What provision, Brother P, have you made for eternal life? Have you a good foundation against the time to come, that will secure to yourself eternal joys? Oh, may God arouse you! May you, my dear brother, now, just now, commence to work in earnest to get some of your gain and riches into the treasury of God. Not a dollar of it is yours. All is God’s, and you have claimed for your own that which God has lent you to devote to good works. Your time is very short. Work with all your might. By repentance you may now find pardon. You must loosen your grasp of earthly possessions and fasten your affections upon God. You must be a converted man. Agonize with God. Do not be content to perish forever, but make an effort for salvation before it shall be everlastingly too late.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 549.
10 In view of these things, what is true wisdom for the child of God? 1 Timothy 6:8; Proverbs 30:8, 9.
note: “Let not the poor think that the rich are the only covetous ones. While the rich hold what they have with a covetous grasp, and seek to obtain still more, the poor are in great danger of coveting the rich man’s wealth. There are very few in our land of plenty who are really so poor as to need help. If they would pursue a right course, they could in almost every case be above want. My appeal to the rich is, Deal liberally with your poor brethren, and use your means to advance the cause of God. The worthy poor, those who are made poor by misfortune and sickness, deserve your special care and help. ‘Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.’ [1 Peter 3:8.]” Testimonies, vol. 1, 481.