July 5, 2003 – July 11, 2003
“The Lord [is] good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him.” Nahum 1:7.
Suggested Reading: The Desire of Ages, 324, 325.
“Many are deceived as to their true condition before God. They congratulate themselves upon the wrong acts which they do not commit, and forget to enumerate the good and noble deeds which God requires of them, but which they have neglected to perform. It is not enough that they are trees in the garden of God. They are to answer His expectation by bearing fruit. He holds them accountable for their failure to accomplish all the good which they could have done, through His grace strengthening them. In the books of heaven they are registered as cumberers of the ground. Yet the case of even this class is not utterly hopeless. With those who have slighted God’s mercy and abused His grace, the heart of long-suffering love yet pleads.” The Great Controversy, 601.
1 For what kind of sin is there no forgiveness? Matthew 12:31, 32.
note: “What constitutes the sin against the Holy Ghost? It is willfully attributing to Satan the work of the Holy Spirit. For example, suppose that one is a witness of the special work of the Spirit of God. He has convincing evidence that the work is in harmony with the Scriptures, and the Spirit witnesses with his spirit that it is of God. Afterward, however, he falls under temptation; pride, self-sufficiency, or some other evil trait, controls him; and rejecting all the evidence of its divine character, he declares that that which he had before acknowledged to be the power of the Holy Spirit was the power of Satan. It is through the medium of His Spirit that God works upon the human heart; and when men willfully reject the Spirit and declare it to be from Satan, they cut off the channel by which God can communicate with them. By denying the evidence which God has been pleased to give them, they shut out the light which had been shining in their hearts, and as the result they are left in darkness. Thus the words of Christ are verified: ‘If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!’ For a time, persons who have committed this sin may appear to be children of God; but when circumstances arise to develop character and show what manner of spirit they are of, it will be found that they are on the enemy’s ground, standing under his black banner.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 634.
2 What does the one who commits this sin do to the Son of God? Hebrews 10:29.
note: “We are now in the shaking time. Satan is working with all his power to wrest souls from the hand of Christ and cause them to trample underfoot the Son of God. An angel slowly and emphatically repeated these words: [Hebrews 10:29 quoted]. Character is being developed. Angels of God are weighing moral worth. God is testing and proving His people.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 429.
3 How only can men come to Christ? John 6:44.
note: “None will ever come to Christ, save those who respond to the drawing of the Father’s love. But God is drawing all hearts unto Him, and only those who resist His drawing will refuse to come to Christ.” The Desire of Ages, 387.
“In declaring that none come to him unless the Father draws them, the Saviour wished them to understand that God would never appear in person to teach them concerning the way of life. Humanity could not endure the vision of his glory for a moment; only through the Son could they come to him. In seeing and hearing the Son, they saw and heard the Father. He is Mediator between God and his disobedient children.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 280.
4 How does the Father draw men? Genesis 6:3; John 16:7, 8.
note: “We are to believe that we are chosen of God to be saved by the exercise of faith, through the grace of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit; and we are to praise and glorify God for such a marvelous manifestation of His unmerited favor. It is the love of God that draws the soul to Christ to be graciously received and presented to His Father. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, the divine relationship between God and the sinner is renewed. Our heavenly Father says, ‘I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people. I will exercise forgiving love toward them, and bestow upon them My joy. They shall be to Me a peculiar treasure; for this people whom I have formed for Myself shall show forth My praise’ (see: Jeremiah 30:22; 31:1, 33; Exodus 19:5).” Ye Shall Receive Power, 41.
5 What are we solemnly warned against doing? Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19.
note: “It is a serious thing to grieve the Holy Spirit, and He is grieved when the human agent seeks to work himself and refuses to enter the service of the Lord because the cross is too heavy or the self-denial too great.” Counsels on Health, 561.
“Men have the power to quench the Spirit of God; the power of choosing is left with them. They are allowed freedom of action. They may be obedient through the name and grace of our Redeemer, or they may be disobedient, and realize the consequences.” The Faith I Live By, 58.
6 What has the Lord stated to deter us from grieving the Spirit? Hebrews 10:30, 27.
note: “All can choose life if they will. They can resist sin, take pleasure in the ways of righteousness and true holiness, and be rewarded with eternal life in God’s everlasting kingdom. If they choose to corrupt their ways before the Lord, defile their own bodies and commit self-murder, they can do so; but they should remember the judgment is to sit, and the books are to be opened, and they are to be judged out of those things which are written in the books, according to their works. What a fearful, spotted record will be opened before them, of their secret thoughts, and vile acts. Sentence is pronounced upon them, and they are shut out from the city of God, with the ungodly, and miserably perish with the wicked.” An Appeal to Mothers (1864), 33.
7 How did the prophet Nahum say God would deal with the wicked? Nahum 1:2, 3.
note: “The long-suffering of God is wonderful. Long does justice wait while mercy pleads with the sinner. But ‘righteousness and judgment are the establishment of His throne.’ Psalm 97:2, margin. [Nahum 1:3 quoted.]
“The world has become bold in transgression of God’s law. Because of His long forbearance, men have trampled upon His authority. They have strengthened one another in oppression and cruelty toward His heritage, saying, ‘How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the Most High?’ Psalm 73:11. But there is a line beyond which they cannot pass. The time is near when they will have reached the prescribed limit.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 177, 178.
8 What is a thing to be dreaded? Hebrews 10:31.
note: “To the transgressor it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God; but Moses stood alone in the presence of the Eternal One, and he was not afraid; for his soul was in harmony with the will of his Maker. Says the psalmist, ‘If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.’ Psalm 66:18. But ‘the secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him; and He will show them His covenant.’ Psalm 25:14.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 329.
“You have had many convictions, many pangs of conscience. You have had so many purposes and made so many promises, and yet you linger and will not come to Christ that you may have life. Oh, that your heart may be impressed with a sense of this time, that you may now turn and live! Cannot you hear the voice of the True Shepherd in this message? How can you disobey? Trifle not with God, lest He leave you to your own crooked ways. It is life or death with you. Which will you choose? It is a fearful thing to contend with God and resist His pleadings. You may have the love of God burning upon the altar of your heart as you once felt it. You may commune with God as you have done in times past. If you will make a clean track behind you you may again experience the riches of His grace, and your countenance again express His love.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 296.
9 What is always true of God? 1 John 4:8.
note: “In giving His only-begotten Son to die for sinners, God has manifested to fallen man love that is without a parallel. We have full faith in the scripture that says, ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:8); and yet many have shamefully perverted this word, and have fallen into dangerous error because of a false interpretation of its meaning. God’s holy law is the only standard by which we can estimate divine affection. If we do not accept the law of God as our standard, we set up a standard of our own. God has given us precious promises of His love, but we are not to ascribe to Jehovah a tenderness that will lead Him to pass over guilt and wink at iniquity.
“The Creator loves His creatures, but he who loves sin more than righteousness, error more than truth, perpetuates the transgression that brought woe into our world, and cannot be regarded with favor by the God of truth.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 311.
“The love of God as manifested in Jesus, will lead us to the true conception of the character of God. As we behold Christ, pierced for our sins, we shall see that we cannot break the law of God and remain in His favor; we shall feel that as sinners we must lay hold of the merits of Christ and cease to sin. Then we are drawing nigh to God. As soon as we have a correct view of the love of God, we shall have no disposition to abuse it.” Ibid., 312.
10 While it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of God (Hebrews 10:31), where is our only place of safety? John 10:27–29.
note: “All who have put on the robe of Christ’s righteousness will stand before Him as chosen and faithful and true. Satan has no power to pluck them out of the hand of the Saviour. Not one soul who in penitence and faith has claimed His protection will Christ permit to pass under the enemy’s power. His word is pledged: ‘Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.’ Isaiah 27:5. . . . Angels of God will walk on either side of them, even in this world, and they will stand at last among the angels that surround the throne of God.” Prophets and Kings, 587.
11 Instead of falling into the hands of God (Hebrews 10:31), what should we do? Psalm 91:1; Proverbs 18:10.
note: “ ‘Seek.’ Desire not merely His blessing, but Himself. ‘Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace.’ Job 22:21. Seek, and you shall find. God is seeking you, and the very desire you feel to come to Him is but the drawing of His Spirit. Yield to that drawing. Christ is pleading the cause of the tempted, the erring, and the faithless. He is seeking to lift them into companionship with Himself. ‘If thou seek Him, He will be found of thee.’ 1 Chronicles 28:9.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 131.
“Live in contact with the living Christ, and He will hold you firmly by a hand that will never let go. Know and believe the love that God has to us, and you are secure; that love is a fortress impregnable to all the delusions and assaults of Satan.” Ibid., 119.
12 When we seek the Lord, what shall we thus find Him to be? Nahum 1:7.
note: “Sinners talk of the amusements of the world and the pleasures of sin, but when death is staring them in the face, they say nothing in praise of the beautiful life of sin they have led. The terrible, dark future is before them and if they could only know that their names were written in heaven, what a weight would be lifted from their sin-burdened souls! In every condition, under every circumstance, the Christian can say, ‘The path of holiness is a good way.’ However trying may be their position, they can say, ‘The Lord is good; “his mercy endureth forever”.’ [Jeremiah 33:11] Be of good courage . . . . Trust wholly in God. He will sustain and comfort you in all your trials endured for His name’s sake. . . . Good is the Lord and greatly to be praised.—Letter 9, 1873.” Daughters of God, 233.