February 2–February 8, 2003
MEMORY VERSE: “For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.” Hebrews 3:14.
SUGGESTED READING: The Great Controversy, 457–459; Selected Messages, Book 1, 68, 69.
INTRODUCTION: “We shall be saved eternally when we enter in through the gates into the [holy] city. Then we may rejoice that we are saved, eternally saved. But until then we need to heed the injunction of the apostle, and to ‘fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of us should seem to come short of it’ (Hebrews 4:1). Having a knowledge of Canaan, singing the songs of Canaan, rejoicing in the prospect of entering into Canaan, did not bring the children of Israel into the vineyards and olive groves of the Promised Land. They could make it theirs in truth only by occupation, by complying with the conditions, by exercising living faith in God, by appropriating His promises to themselves. . . .” That I May Know Him, 162.
1 What warning did the apostle Paul give to his brethren in Hebrews 3:12? Compare Matthew 24:4.
NOTE: “It is right to study closely the teachings of the Bible and to search into ‘the deep things of God’ so far as they are revealed in Scripture. 1 Corinthians 2:10. While ‘the secret things belong unto the Lord our God,’ ‘those things which are revealed belong unto us.’ Deuteronomy 29:29. But it is Satan’s work to pervert the investigative powers of the mind. A certain pride is mingled with the consideration of Bible truth, so that men feel impatient and defeated if they cannot explain every portion of Scripture to their satisfaction. It is too humiliating to them to acknowledge that they do not understand the inspired words. They are unwilling to wait patiently until God shall see fit to reveal the truth to them. They feel that their unaided human wisdom is sufficient to enable them to comprehend the Scripture, and failing to do this, they virtually deny its authority. It is true that many theories and doctrines popularly supposed to be derived from the Bible have no foundation in its teaching, and indeed are contrary to the whole tenor of inspiration. These things have been a cause of doubt and perplexity to many minds. They are not, however, chargeable to God’s word, but to man’s perversion of it.” Steps to Christ, 108, 109.
2 What did Paul direct the Hebrews to do? Hebrews 3:13, first part.
NOTE: “Never entertain the thought that you can be Christians and yet withdraw within yourselves. Each one is a part of the great web of humanity, and the nature and quality of your experience will be largely determined by the experiences of those with whom you associate. Jesus says: ‘Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst.’ Matthew 18:20. Then let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhort one another; and so much the more, as we see the day approaching.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 190.
“As brethren of our Lord, we are called with a holy calling to a holy, happy life. Having entered the narrow path of obedience, let us refresh our minds by communion with one another and with God. As we see the day of God approaching, let us meet often to study His Word and to exhort one another to be faithful unto the end. These earthly assemblies are God’s appointed means by which we have opportunity to speak with one another and to gather all the help possible to prepare, in the right way, to receive in the heavenly assemblies the fulfillment of the pledges of our inheritance.” Our High Calling, 166.
3 What did the apostle say would befall them if they failed to exhort one another? Hebrews 3:13, last part.
NOTE: “Like the hard-beaten path, trodden down by the feet of men and beasts, is the heart that becomes a highway for the world’s traffic, its pleasures and sins. Absorbed in selfish aims and sinful indulgences, the soul is ‘hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.’ Hebrews 3:13. The spiritual faculties are paralyzed. Men hear the word, but understand it not. They do not discern that it applies to themselves. They do not realize their need or their danger. They do not perceive the love of Christ, and they pass by the message of His grace as something that does not concern them.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 44.
4 What is the nature of sin? Hebrews 3:13, last part; Jeremiah 17:9.
NOTE: “Here is a work for man to do. He must face the mirror, God’s law, discern the defects in his moral character, and put away his sins, washing his robe of character in the blood of the lamb. Envy, pride, malice, deceit, strife, and crime will be cleansed from the heart that is a recipient of the love of Christ and that cherishes the hope of being made like Him when we shall see Him as He is. The religion of Christ refines and dignifies its possessor, whatever his associations or station in life may be. Men who become enlightened Christians rise above the level of their former character into greater mental and moral strength. Those fallen and degraded by sin and crime may, through the merits of the Saviour, be exalted to a position but little lower than that of the angels.” God’s Amazing Grace, 232.
5 How was it that the first sin on earth was committed? 1 Timothy 2:14.
NOTE: “Adam was not deceived by the serpent, as was Eve, and it was inexcusable in Adam to rashly transgress God’s positive command. Adam was presumptuous because his wife had sinned. He could not see what would become of Eve. He was sad, troubled, and tempted. He listened to Eve’s recital of the words of the serpent, and his constancy and integrity began to waver. Doubts arose in his mind in regard to whether God did mean just as He said. He rashly ate the tempting fruit.” Review and Herald, April 1, 1875.
6 On what condition are we partakers of Christ? Hebrews 3:14.
NOTE: “It is difficult to hold fast the beginning of our confidence firm unto the end; and the difficulty increases when there are hidden influences constantly at work to bring in another spirit, a counterworking element, on Satan’s side of the question. In the absence of persecution, there have drifted into our ranks some who appear sound, and their Christianity unquestionable, but who, if persecution should arise, would go out from us. In the crisis, they would see force in specious reasoning that has had an influence on their minds. Satan has prepared various snares to meet varied minds. When the law of God is made void the church will be sifted by fiery trials, and a larger proportion than we now anticipate, will give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. Instead of being strengthened when brought into strait places, many prove that they are not living branches of the True Vine. . . .” Maranatha, 28.
7 How many of the children of Israel who came out of Egypt provoked the Lord? Hebrews 3:16.
NOTE: “God appointed Moses to lead out his people from their bondage in the land of Egypt, that they might consecrate themselves to serve him with perfect hearts, and be to him a peculiar treasure. Moses was their visible leader, while Christ stood at the head of the armies of Israel, their invisible leader. If they could have always realized this, they would not have rebelled and provoked God in the wilderness by their unreasonable murmurings. God said to Moses, ‘Behold I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared. Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions; for my name is in him.’ ” Review and Herald, March 3, 1874.
8 How many of those who came out of Egypt were so faithful as to go into the promised land? Numbers 14:30.
NOTE: “Though they shared with their brethren the forty years’ wandering, Caleb and Joshua entered the Land of Promise. As courageous of heart as when with the hosts of the Lord he set out from Egypt, Caleb asked for and received as his portion the stronghold of the giants. In God’s strength he drove out the Canaanites. The vineyards and olive groves where his feet had trodden became his possession. Though the cowards and rebels perished in the wilderness, the men of faith ate of the grapes of Eschol.” Education, 149.
9 Why could not the other Israelites enter into this rest? Hebrews 3:18, 19.
NOTE: “God did not design that His people, Israel, should wander forty years in the wilderness. He promised to lead them directly to the land of Canaan, and establish them there a holy, healthy, happy people. But those to whom it was first preached, went not in ‘because of unbelief.’ Their hearts were filled with murmuring, rebellion, and hatred, and He could not fulfill His covenant with them.
“For forty years did unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan. The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan. In neither case were the promises of God at fault. It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord’s professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years.—Manuscript 4, 1883.” Evangelism, 696.
10 What fear is held before the brethren? Hebrews 4:1.
NOTE: “The exhortation of the apostle applies to us as well as to those to whom this epistle was directed. . . . Shall we who are living near the close of this world’s history ‘take heed’? Shall we heed the apostle’s warning, [Hebrews 4:1 quoted]? The Lord would have his people trust in him and abide in his love, but that does not mean that we shall have no fear or misgivings. Some seem to think that if a man has a wholesome fear of the judgments of God, it is a proof that he is destitute of faith; but this is not so. A proper fear of God, in believing his threatenings, works the peaceable fruits of righteousness, by causing the trembling soul to flee to Jesus. Many ought to have this spirit today, and turn to the Lord with humble contrition, for the Lord has not given so many terrible threatenings, pronounced so severe judgments in his word, simply to have them recorded, but he means what he says. One says, ‘Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake thy law.’ [Psalm 119:53.] Paul says, ‘Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.’ [2 Corinthians 5:11.]” Review and Herald, October 21, 1890.
11 Why did the gospel preached to the children of Israel not profit them, and why would it not profit us today? Hebrews 4:2.
NOTE: “The unbelief and murmurings of the children of Israel illustrate the people of God now upon the earth. Many look back to them, and marvel at their unbelief and continual murmurings, after the Lord had done so much for them, in giving them repeated evidences of his love and care for them. They think that they should not have proved thus ungrateful. But some who thus think, murmur and repine at things of less consequence. They do not know themselves. God frequently proves them, and tries their faith in small things, and they do not endure the trial any better than did ancient Israel.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 251.
“We need to realize the necessity of exercising that faith which is acceptable to God—the faith which works by love and purifies the soul. Without faith it is impossible to hear the Word in such a way as to profit by the hearing, even though it be presented in a most impressive manner. . . .
“Unless we mix faith with our hearing of the Word, unless we receive the truths we hear as a message from heaven, to be carefully studied, to be eaten by the soul and assimilated into the spiritual life, we lose the impression of the Spirit of God.” The Upward Look, 75.
12 What is said of those that believe? Hebrews 4:3. Compare Joshua 1:13.
NOTE: “As thru Jesus we enter into rest, heaven begins here. We respond to His invitation, ‘Come, learn of Me,’ and in thus coming, we begin the life eternal. Heaven is a ceaseless approaching to God thru Christ. The longer we are in the heaven of bliss, the more and still more of glory will be revealed to us; and the more we know of God the more intense will be our happiness. As we walk with Jesus in this life, we may be filled with His love, satisfied with His presence. All that human nature can bear, we may receive here. But what is this compared with the hereafter! There ‘are they before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple; and He that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters; and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.’ [Revelation 7:15–17].” The Signs of the Times, May 20, 1908.