July 1, 2012 – July 7, 2012
“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.” Hebrews 6:1.
Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 529–538.
“We are not yet perfect; but it is our privilege to cut away from the entanglements of self and sin, and advance to perfection.” The Acts of the Apostles, 565.
1 BABIES IN CHRIST
- How does an individual become a Christian? John 3:5; I Peter 1:23.
Note: “The change of heart by which we become children of God is in the Bible spoken of as birth.” Steps to Christ, 67.
“When truth becomes an abiding principle in the life, the soul is ‘born again.’ … This new birth is the result of receiving Christ as the Word of God. When by the Holy Spirit divine truths are impressed upon the heart, new conceptions are awakened, and the energies hitherto dormant are aroused to co-operate with God.” The Acts of the Apostles, 520.
- What type of experience did the believers at Ephesus enjoy at the very beginning of their Christian life? Revelation 2:2, 3; Acts 4:32–34.
Note: “After the descent of the Holy Spirit the disciples went forth to proclaim a risen Saviour, their one desire the salvation of souls. They rejoiced in the sweetness of the communion with saints. They were tender, thoughtful, self-denying, willing to make any sacrifice for the truth’s sake. In their daily association with one another they revealed the love that Christ had commanded them to reveal. By unselfish words and deeds they strove to kindle this love in other hearts.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 241.
2 GROWING UP
- What do we expect from babies as they age? I Peter 2:2.
Note: “In giving us the privilege of studying His word, the Lord has set before us a rich banquet. Many are the benefits derived from feasting on His word, which is represented by Him as His flesh and blood, His spirit and life. By partaking of this word our spiritual strength is increased; we grow in grace and in a knowledge of the truth. Habits of self-control are formed and strengthened. The infirmities of childhood—fretfulness, willfulness, selfishness, hasty words, passionate acts—disappear, and in their place are developed the graces of Christian manhood and womanhood.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 207.
- Spiritually speaking, how important is proper food intake in the growth of a child? II Peter 3:18; Ephesians 4:14, 15.
Note: “The work of sanctification begins in the home. Those who are Christians in the home will be Christians in the church and in the world.” My Life Today, 261.
“If as newborn babes you desire the sincere milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, you will have no appetite to partake of a dish of evil speaking, but all such food will be at once rejected, because those who have tasted that the Lord is gracious cannot partake of the dish of nonsense, and folly, and backbiting. They will say decidedly, ‘Take this dish away. I do not want to eat such food. It is not the bread from heaven. It is eating and drinking the very spirit of the devil; for it is his business to be an accuser of the brethren.’ ” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 458.
“As they [God’s hungering, thirsting people] feed upon His [God’s] word, they find that it is spirit and life. The word destroys the natural, earthly nature, and imparts a new life in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit comes to the soul as a Comforter. By the transforming agency of His grace, the image of God is reproduced in the disciple; he becomes a new creature. Love takes the place of hatred, and the heart receives the divine similitude. This is what it means to live ‘by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God’ [Matthew 4:4]. This is eating the Bread that comes down from heaven.” The Desire of Ages, 391.
3 LEVELS OF ACCOUNTABILITY
- How does God treat those who have a limited amount of knowledge in the present truth? Acts 17:30; James 4:17.
Note: “Said the angel: ‘If light come, and that light is set aside or rejected, then comes condemnation and the frown of God; but before the light comes, there is no sin, for there is no light for them to reject.’ ” Testimonies, vol. 1, 116.
- What is expected of those who are privileged to hear and understand the truth? Proverbs 4:18; Hebrews 6:1.
Note: “It is a sad thing when a people claiming to be reformers cease to reform.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 185.
“God requires of His people according to the grace and truth given them. All His righteous demands must be fully met. Accountable beings must walk in the light that shines upon them. If they fail to do this, their light becomes darkness, and their darkness is great in the same degree as their light was abundant.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 123.
“The word of the Lord, spoken through His servants, is received by many with questionings and fears. And many will defer their obedience to the warning and reproofs given, waiting till every shadow of uncertainty is removed from their minds. The unbelief that demands perfect knowledge will never yield to the evidence that God is pleased to give. He requires of His people faith that rests upon the weight of evidence, not upon perfect knowledge. Those followers of Christ who accept the light that God sends them must obey the voice of God speaking to them when there are many other voices crying out against it. It requires discernment to distinguish the voice of God.
“Those who will not act when the Lord calls upon them, but who wait for more certain evidence and more favorable opportunities, will walk in darkness, for the light will be withdrawn. The evidence given one day, if rejected, may never be repeated.” Ibid., vol. 3, 258.
4 REJECTING KNOWLEDGE
- Does punishment and destruction come to a people because of a lack of knowledge—or is it through a rejection of the knowledge that God gives us? Hosea 4:6.
Note: “It is not for lack of knowledge that God’s people are now perishing. They will not be condemned because they do not know the way, the truth, and the life. The truth that has reached their understanding, the light which has shone on the soul, but which has been neglected or refused, will condemn them. Those who never had the light to reject will not be in condemnation. What more could have been done for God’s vineyard than has been done? Light, precious light, shines upon God’s people; but it will not save them unless they consent to be saved by it, fully live up to it, and transmit it to others in darkness.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 123.
- How dangerous is neglecting to follow the light we are privileged to receive? Galatians 3:1.
Note: “Religious knowledge has accumulated, and this has increased corresponding obligations. Great light has been shining upon the church, and by it they are condemned because they refuse to walk in it. If they were blind they would be without sin. But they have seen light and have heard much truth, yet are not wise and holy. Many have for years made no advancement in knowledge and true holiness. They are spiritual dwarfs. Instead of going forward to perfection, they are going back to the darkness and bondage of Egypt. Their minds are not exercised unto godliness and true holiness.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 123, 124.
“God requires of us according to the grace that He has bestowed upon us, and He will not accept less than He claims. All His righteous demands must be fully met. In order for us to discharge our responsibilities, we must stand on that elevated ground which the order and advancement of holy, sacred truth has prepared for us.” Ibid., vol. 3, 65.
“Every person who cherishes a known error, in faith or practice, is under the power of sorcery, and is practicing sorcery upon others. Satan employs him to mislead other souls.” The Signs of the Times, May 18, 1882.
5 NO STOPPING GROUND
- How are we to maintain continual development as we walk with Jesus? Hebrews 13:12; Philippians 3:15; I Thessalonians 4:4.
Note: “The Word of Christ is the bread of life that is furnished for every soul that liveth. To refuse to eat this bread is death. He that neglects to partake of the Word of God shall not see life. Receiving the Word is believing the Word, and this is eating Christ’s flesh, drinking His blood. To dwell and abide in Christ is to dwell and abide in His Word; it is to bring heart and character into conformity to His commands.” The Southern Work, 52.
- To what extent are we to continue our growth? Hebrews 6:1; Matthew 5:48.
Note: “Let us be growing Christians. We are not to stand still. We are to be in advance today of what we were yesterday; every day learning to be more trustful, more fully relying upon Jesus. Thus we are to grow up. You do not at one bound reach perfection; sanctification is the work of a lifetime.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 193.
“Every living Christian will advance daily in the divine life. As he advances toward perfection, he experiences a conversion to God every day; and this conversion is not completed until he attains to perfection of Christian character, a full preparation for the finishing touch of immortality.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 505.
“The Lord chooses His own agents, and each day under different circumstances He gives them a trial in His plan of operation. In each true-hearted endeavor to work out His plan, He chooses His agents not because they are perfect but because, through a connection with Him, they may gain perfection.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 330.
- How can we see ourselves as we really are? Isaiah 6:1, 5; II Corinthians 13:5.
Note: “Every follower of Christ should daily examine himself, that he may become perfectly acquainted with his own conduct.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 511.
“The more experience we gain, the nearer we draw toward the pure light of heaven, the more shall we discern in ourselves that needs reforming.” Ibid., vol. 3, 542.
REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS
1 When we are truly dedicated to our Saviour, how will our priorities change?
2 For proper spiritual growth, of what type of food do we need to partake?
3 As reformers by name, are we—am I—continuing the process of true reformation?
4 What is the true cause of destruction?
5 At what point can we rest satisfied in our Christian journey?
“We may all do a good work in blessing others if we will seek counsel of God and follow on in obedience and faith. The path of the just is progressive, from strength to strength, from grace to grace, and from glory to glory. The divine illumination will increase more and more, corresponding with our onward movements, qualifying us to meet the responsibilities and emergencies before us.
“When trials press you, when despondency and dark unbelief control your thoughts, when selfishness molds your actions, you do not see your need of God and of a deep and thorough knowledge of His will. You know not the will of God, neither can you know it while you live for self. You rely upon your good intentions and resolutions, and the principal sum of life is composed of resolutions made and resolutions broken. What you all need is to die to self, cease clinging to self, and surrender to God. Gladly would I comfort you if I could. Gladly would I praise your good qualities, good purposes, and good acts; but God was not pleased to show me these. He presented before me the hindrances to your gaining the noble, elevated character of holiness needful for you to have that you may not lose the heavenly rest and immortal glory He would have you attain. Look away from yourselves to Jesus. He is all and in all. The merits of the blood of a crucified and risen Saviour will avail to cleanse from the least and greatest sin. In trusting faith commit the keeping of your souls to God as unto a faithful Creator. Be not continually in fear and apprehension that God will leave you. He never will unless you depart from Him. Christ will come in and dwell with you if you will open the door of your hearts to Him. There may be perfect harmony between you and the Father and His Son if you will die to self and live unto God.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 542, 543.
© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.