By Gordon Anderson
MEMORY VERSE: “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” Galatians 5:14.
STUDY HELP: Thoughts for the Mount of Blessing, 134–137.
INTRODUCTION: “Man was not made to dwell in solitude; he was to be a social being. Without companionship, the beautiful scenes and delightful employments of Eden would have failed to yield perfect happiness. Even communion with angels could not have satisfied his desire for sympathy and companionship. There was none of the same nature to love and to be loved.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 46.
“AN HELP MEET FOR HIM”
As Adam was giving names to the different animals and birds, what lack in his own life did he become aware of? Genesis 2:20.
NOTE: “After the creation of Adam every living creature was brought before him to receive its name; he saw that to each had been given a companion, but among them ‘there was not found an help meet for him.’ Among all the creatures that God had made on the earth, there was not one equal to man. And God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.’ ” Patriarchs and Prophets, 46.
How did God supply Adam’s need? Genesis 2:21–22.
NOTE: “Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him. A part of man, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self, showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 46.
What counsel are we given that would help us to avoid some of the problems that arise in marriage? 2 Corinthians 6:14–15.
NOTE: “No one who fears God can without danger connect himself with one who fears Him not. ‘Can two walk together, except they be agreed?’ Amos 3:3. The happiness and prosperity of the marriage relation depends upon the unity of the parties; but between the believer and the unbeliever there is a radical difference of tastes, inclinations, and purposes. They are serving two masters, between whom there can be no concord. However pure and correct one’s principles may be, the influence of an unbelieving companion will have a tendency to lead away from God… The marriage of Christians with the ungodly is forbidden in the Bible. The Lord’s direction is, ‘Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.’ 2 Corinthians 6:14, 17, 18.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 174, 175.
What counsel is given to husbands and wives? Ephesians 5:22–25, 28, 33.
NOTE: “Marriage, a union for life, is a symbol of the union between Christ and His church. The spirit that Christ manifests toward the church is the spirit that husband and wife are to manifest toward each other. Neither husband nor wife is to make a plea for rulership. The Lord has laid down the principle that is to guide in this matter. The husband is to cherish his wife as Christ cherishes the church. And the wife is to respect and love her husband. Both are to cultivate the spirit of kindness, being determined never to grieve or injure the other.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 46–47.
“BECAUSE OF THE HARDNESS OF YOUR HEARTS”
How did Christ express the permanence which marriage should have? Matthew 19:4–6.
NOTE: “Examine carefully to see if your married life would be happy, or inharmonious and wretched. Let the questions be raised, Will this union help me heavenward? Will it increase my love for God? And will it enlarge my sphere of usefulness in this life? If these reflections present no drawback, then in the fear of God move forward. But even if an engagement has been entered into without a full understanding of the character of the one with whom you intend to unite, do not think that the engagement makes it a positive necessity for you to take upon yourself the marriage vow, and link yourself for life to one whom you cannot love and respect. Be very careful how you enter into conditional engagements; but better, far better, break the engagement before marriage than separate afterward, as many do.” Review and Herald, January 26, 1886.
Why, according to the Lord, was divorce permitted? Matthew 19:8.
NOTE: “He referred them to the blessed days of Eden, when God pronounced all things ‘very good.’ Then marriage and the Sabbath had their origin, twin institutions for the glory of God in the benefit of humanity. Then, as the Creator joined the hands of the holy pair in wedlock, saying, A man shall ‘leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one’ (Genesis 2:24), He enunciated the law of marriage for all the children of Adam to the close of time. That which the Eternal Father Himself had pronounced good was the law of highest blessing and development for man. Like every other one of God’s good gifts entrusted to the keeping of humanity, marriage has been perverted by sin; but it is the purpose of the gospel to restore its purity and beauty. In both the Old and the New Testament the marriage relation is employed to represent the tender and sacred union that exists between Christ and His people, the redeemed ones whom He has purchased at the cost of Calvary.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 63–64.
How did Jesus express the condemnation of heaven for many divorces? Matthew 19:9.
NOTE: “Among the Jews, a man was permitted to put away his wife for the most trivial offences, and the woman was then at liberty to marry again. This practice led to great wretchedness and sin. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declared plainly that there could be no dissolution of the marriage tie, except for unfaithfulness to the marriage vow.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 63. “In cases of the violation of the seventh commandment, where the guilty party does not manifest true repentance, if the injured party can obtain a divorce without making their own cases and that of their children, if they have them, worse by so doing, they should be free. If they would be liable to place themselves and their children in worse condition by a divorce, we know of no scripture that would make the innocent party guilty by remaining. Time, and labor, and prayer, and patience, and faith, and a godly life, might work a reform. To live with one who has broken the marriage vows, and, covered all over with the disgrace and shame of guilty love, and realizes it not, is an eating canker to the soul; and yet, a divorce is a life-long, heart-felt sore. God pity the innocent party. Marriage should be considered well before contracted. Why! oh, why! will men and women who might be respectable, and good, and reach Heaven at last, sell themselves to the Devil so cheap, wound their bosom friends, disgrace their families, bring a reproach upon the cause, and go to hell at last? God have mercy. Why will not those who are overtaken in crime manifest repentance proportionate to the enormity of their crime, and fly to Christ for mercy, and heal, as far as possible, the wounds they have made? But, if they will not do as they should, and if the innocent have forfeited the legal right to a divorce, by living with the guilty after his guilt is known, we do not see that sin rests upon the innocent in remaining, and her moral right in departing seems questionable, if her health and life be not greatly endangered in so remaining.” Review and Herald, March 24,1868.
What counsel did Paul give to those who are married to unbelieving partners? 1 Corinthians 7:12–16.
NOTE: “He who has entered the marriage relation while unconverted, is by his conversion placed under stronger obligation to be faithful to his companion, however widely they may differ in regard to religious faith; yet the claims of God should be placed above every earthly relationship, even though trials and persecution may be the result. With the spirit of love and meekness, this fidelity may have an influence to win the unbelieving one.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 175.
“NOT FORSAKING THE ASSEMBLING OF YOURSELVES TOGETHER”
What counsel did Paul give to Christians who are aware of the nearness of Christ’s Second Coming? Hebrews 10:25.
NOTE: “The Israelites needed the benefits of assembling for worship and entering into covenant together to serve the Lord. In separating themselves from the place of worship divinely appointed, they lost much. God had servants whose lips he unsealed to speak words of warning, encouragement, and reproof, so that the light received from Heaven by one shone not for himself alone, but to lighten the path of others. God knows best what His people need. His words come down to us, in warning and instruction, ‘Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as ye see the day approaching.’ At the present day, as in ancient times, the people of God plead their own ease or convenience as an excuse for neglecting divine service. They will devise means to preserve the Christian name without making any sacrifice of time or means. God requires His people to maintain His worship. And those who are burdened with care and responsibility, should be the last to excuse themselves from religious privileges. They need wisdom from above. They need to be constantly reaching upward to lay hold on the divine arm, lest they stumble and fall.” Signs of the Times, July 28,1881.
What testimony is given of the practice of the early Christian believers? Acts 2:42.
NOTE: “Everyone should feel that he has a part to act in making the Sabbath meetings interesting. You are not to come together simply as a matter of form, but for the interchange of thought, for the relation of your daily experiences, for the expression of thanksgiving, for the utterance of your sincere desire for divine enlightenment, that you may know God, and Jesus Christ, whom He has sent. Communing together in regard to Christ will strengthen the soul for life’s trials and conflicts. Never think that you can be Christians and yet withdraw yourselves within yourselves. Each one is a part of the great web of humanity, and the experience of each will be largely determined by the experience of his associates. We do not obtain a hundredth part of the blessing we should obtain from assembling together to worship God. Our perceptive faculties need sharpening. Fellowship with one another should make us glad. With such a hope as we have, why are not our hearts all aglow with the love of God? We must carry to every religious gathering a quickened spiritual consciousness that God and His angels are there, co-operating with all true worshipers. As you enter the place of worship, ask the Lord to remove all evil from your heart. Bring to His house only that which He can bless. Kneel before God in His temple, and consecrate to Him His own, which He has purchased with the blood of Christ. Pray for the speaker or the leader of the meeting. Pray that great blessing may come through the one who is to hold forth the word of life. Strive earnestly to lay hold of a blessing for yourself. God will bless all who thus prepare themselves for His service. They will understand what it means to have the assurance of the Spirit because they have received Christ by faith.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 362–363.
“WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?”
What duty is an essential part of the Christian’s life? Galatians 5:14.
NOTE: “The World’s Redeemer clearly defines what our duty is. To the lawyer who asked Him how he should obtain eternal life, He said: ‘What is written in the law? How readest thou? And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself. And He said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbor?’ Then Jesus related the parable of the good Samaritan, and clearly showed that he is our neighbor who most needs our charity and help. We are to practice the commandments of God, and stand true to the relation which God has designed shall exist between man and his fellow man. It was never God’s purpose that society should be separated into classes, that there should be an alienation between the rich and the poor, the high and the low, the learned and the unlearned. But the practice of separating society into distinct circles is becoming more and more decided. God designed that those to whom He entrusted talents of means, ability, and gifts of grace, should be good stewards of His beneficence, and not seek to reap all the advantages for themselves. God does not estimate man by the amount of wealth, talent, or education that he may have. He values man in proportion as he becomes a good steward of His mercy and love.” The Southern Work, 37.
In what way did Jesus show that this duty to our neighbor extends to little things as well as great deeds? Matthew 10:42.
NOTE: “Do not shut yourselves up to yourselves, satisfied to pour out all your affection upon each other. Seize every opportunity to contribute to the happiness of those around you, sharing with them your affection. Words of kindness, looks of sympathy, expressions of appreciation, would to many a struggling, lonely one be as a cup of cold water to a thirsty soul. A word of cheer, an act of kindness, would go far to lighten the burdens that are resting heavily upon weary shoulders. It is in unselfish ministry that true happiness is found. And every word and deed of such service is recorded in the books of heaven as done for Christ. ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren,’ He declares, ‘ye have done it unto Me.’ Matthew 25:40.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 50.