February 10-16, 2002
MEMORY VERSE: “He that saith he abideth in Him ought himself also so to walk, even as He walked.” 1 John 2:6.
STUDY HELP: Steps to Christ, 67–75.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “Our growth in grace, our joy, our usefulness,—all depend upon our union with Christ.” Steps to Christ, 69.
INTRODUCTION: “God designs that Christians shall grow continually, grow up unto the full stature of men and women in Christ. All who do not grow stronger, and become more firmly rooted and grounded in the truth, are continually retrograding.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 556.
Abiding in Christ
1 What does Jesus say we can produce if we abide in Him and He in us? John 15:4, 5.
NOTE: “‘I am the vine, ye are the branches.’ Can we conceive of a more intimate relation to Christ than this? The fibers of the branch are almost identical with those of the vine. The communication of life, strength, and fruitfulness from the trunk to the branches is unobstructed and constant. The root sends its nourishment through the branch. Such is the true believer’s relation to Christ. He abides in Christ, and draws his nourishment from Him. This spiritual relation can be established only by the exercise of personal faith. This faith must express on our part supreme preference, perfect reliance, entire consecration.” My Life Today, 11. See also Acts of the Apostles, 284.
2 How may we abide in the love of Jesus? John 15:10.
NOTE: “All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience.” The Desire of Ages, 668.
“By obedience the people were to give evidence of their faith. So all who hope to be saved by the merits of the blood of Christ should realize that they themselves have something to do in securing their salvation. While it is Christ only that can redeem us from the penalty of transgression, we are to turn from sin to obedience. Man is to be saved by faith, not by works; yet his faith must be shown by his works. God has given His Son to die as a propitiation for sin, He has manifested the light of truth, the way of life, He has given facilities, ordinances, and privileges; and now man must co-operate with these saving agencies; he must appreciate and use the helps that God has provided—believe and obey all the divine requirements.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 279.
3 What must we experience, if we are going to resist every imagination? 2 Corinthians 10:5, last part.
NOTE: “Few realize that it is a duty to exercise control over the thoughts and imaginations. It is difficult to keep the undisciplined mind fixed upon profitable subjects. But if the thoughts are not properly employed, religion cannot flourish in the soul. The mind must be preoccupied with sacred and eternal things, or it will cherish trifling and superficial thoughts. Both the intellectual and the moral powers must be disciplined, and they will strengthen and improve by exercise.…It is only by the grace of God, combined with the most earnest effort on our part, that we can gain the victory.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 544. See also The Ministry of Healing, 491.
4 Upon what six things does Paul admonish us to think? Phillipians 4:8.
NOTE: “The grace of God must sweep through the chambers of the mind, the imagination must have heavenly themes for contemplation, and every element of the nature must be purified and vitalized by the Spirit of God. The thoughts must be bound about, restricted, withdrawn from branching out and contemplating things that will only weaken and defile the soul. The thoughts must be pure, the meditations of the heart must be clean.…The noble powers of the mind have been given to us by the Lord, that we may employ them in contemplating heavenly things. God has made abundant provision that the soul may make continual progression in the divine life.…” Sons and Daughters of God, 107.
Growing in Christ
5 With what does the Bible tell us our knowledge of Jesus must be connected, for us to grow in our Christian experience? 2 Peter 3:18.
NOTE: “It is the Lord’s desire that His followers shall grow in grace, that their love shall abound more and more, that they shall be filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the praise and glory of God.…Sanctification is not the work of a moment, an hour, or a day. It is a continual growth in grace.…There is no point to which we can come and say we have fully attained.…How is it possible that we may grow in grace?
It is possible to us only as we empty our hearts of self, and present them to Heaven, to be molded after the divine Pattern.” Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 947. See also Steps to Christ, 68.
6 What is the only spiritual food that God has provided for us whereby we are enabled to grow up into the stature of Christ? Matthew 4:4; 1 Peter 2:2.
NOTE: “We receive Christ through His word, and the Holy Spirit is given to open the word of God to our understanding, and bring home its truths to our hearts. We are to pray day by day that as we read His word, God will send His Spirit to reveal to us the truth that will strengthen our souls for the day’s need.…In this communion with Christ, through prayer and the study of the great and precious truths of His word, we shall as hungry souls be fed; as those that thirst, we shall be refreshed at the fountain of life.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 112, 113. See also The Desire of Ages, 390.
7 If we are to be ministers of God’s grace, what avenue of the body must we guard? Ephesians 4:29; Colossians 4:6.
NOTE: “Where the heart is purified and refined, and made fit for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, the tongue will be sanctified to the glory of God.…You can surround your souls with an atmosphere that will be like breezes from the heavenly Eden. Open your heart to the Lord Jesus. Guard your tongue. Let not your tongue run at random in jesting and joking. These are signs that your heart needs to be cleansed from its defilement.…Our words index the state of our heart; and whether men talk much or little, their words express the character of their thoughts. A man’s character may be quite accurately estimated by the nature of his conversation. Sound, truthful words have the right ring in them.” Sons and Daughters of God, 180. See also The Desire of Ages, 323.
8 Jesus reveals the importance of our words in the context of what event? Matthew 12:36, 37.
NOTE: “Our acts, our words, even our most secret motives, all have their weight in deciding our destiny for weal or woe. Though they may be forgotten by us, they will bear their testimony to justify or condemn. As the features of the countenance are reproduced with unerring accuracy on the polished plate of the artist, so the character is faithfully delineated in the books above. Yet how little solicitude is felt concerning that record which is to meet the gaze of heavenly beings. Could the veil which separates the visible from the invisible world be swept back, and the children of men behold an angel recording every word and deed, which they must meet again in the judgment, how many words that are daily uttered would remain unspoken, how many deeds would remain undone.” The Great Controversy, 486, 487. See also Testimonies to Ministers, 224.
Walking with Christ
9 What does John say we ought to be doing, if we are abiding in Christ? 1 John 2:6.
NOTE: “Our Lord and Saviour laid aside His dominion, His riches and glory, and sought after us, that He might save us from misery and make us like Himself. He humbled Himself and took our nature that we might be able to learn of Him and, imitating His life of benevolence and self-denial, follow Him step by step to heaven.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 170.
“Christ came to do His Father’s will. Are we following in His steps? All who have named the name of Christ should be constantly seeking for a more intimate acquaintance with Him, that they may walk even as He walked, and do the works of Christ. We should appropriate the lessons of His life to our lives.” Ibid., vol. 3, 538.
“Those who walk even as Christ walked, who are patient, gentle, kind, meek and lowly in heart, those who yoke up with Christ and lift His burdens, who yearn for souls as He yearned for them—these will enter into the joy of their Lord.” Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 949.
10 What two things are necessary for us to experience before we can truly walk with Christ? Micah 6:8.
NOTE: “The words and law of God, written in the soul, and exhibited in a consecrated, holy life, have a powerful influence to convict the world. Covetousness, which is idolatry, and envy, and love of the world, will be rooted from the hearts of those who are obedient to Christ, and it will be their pleasure to deal justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before God. Oh, how much is comprised in this, walking humbly before God! The law of God, if written in the heart, will bring the mind and will into subjection to the obedience of Christ.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 201.
“God desires His people to place themselves in right relation to Him, that they may understand what He requires of them above all things else. They are to reveal to every struggling soul in the world what it means ‘to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly’ with their God.” Testimonies to Ministers, 458, 459.
11 What habit are we told Jesus formed at an early age? Isaiah 7:14, 15.
NOTE: “At a very early age, Jesus had begun to act for Himself in the formation of His character, and not even respect and love for His parents could turn Him from obedience to God’s word. ‘It is written’ was His reason for every act that varied from the family customs.’” The Desire of Ages, 86.
“‘He that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.’ By unfaithfulness in even the smallest duties, man robs his Maker of the service which is His due. This unfaithfulness reacts upon himself. He fails of gaining the grace, the power, the force of character, which may be received through an unreserved surrender to God. Living apart from Christ he is subject to Satan’s temptations, and he makes mistakes in his work for the Master. Because he is not guided by right principles in little things, he fails to obey God in the great matters which he regards as his special work. The defects cherished in dealing with life’s minor details pass into more important affairs. He acts on the principles to which he has accustomed himself. Thus actions repeated form habits, habits form character, and by the character our destiny for time and for eternity is decided.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 356.
“The life of Daniel is an inspired illustration of what constitutes a sanctified character. It presents a lesson for all, and especially for the young. A strict compliance with the requirements of God is beneficial to the health of body and mind. In order to reach the highest standard of moral and intellectual attainments, it is necessary to seek wisdom and strength from God and to observe strict temperance in all the habits of life.” My Life Today, 254.
12 What does God say He will eventually do with all our thoughts, words and habits? Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14.
NOTE: “We shall be individually, for time and eternity, what our habits make us. The lives of those who form right habits, and are faithful in the performance of every duty, will be as shining lights, shedding bright beams upon the pathway of others; but if habits of unfaithfulness are indulged, if lax, indolent, neglectful habits are allowed to strengthen, a cloud darker than midnight will settle on the prospects in this life and forever debar the individual from the future life.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 452.
By Craig Meeker