June 12, 2011 – June 18, 2011
“As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death.” Proverbs 11:19.
Study Helps: The Great Controversy, 544–562; Counsels on Health, 627–630.
“It is a solemn thing to die, but a far more solemn thing to live.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 466.
1 LIFE TO ITS FULLEST
- What does God identify as the key to abundant life? Proverbs 4:10–13, 20–22. How do faith and obedience promote our physical well-being? Proverbs 14:30; 19:23.
Note: “Godliness does not conflict with the laws of health, but is in harmony with them. Had men ever been obedient to the law of Ten Commandments, had they carried out in their lives the principles of these ten precepts, the curse of disease that now floods the world would not be.” Counsels on Health, 627.
- Why does serving God actually make our life easier? Proverbs 13:14, 15; 14:27. What condition results from rebellion against His wisdom? Proverbs 8:32–36; 11:19.
Note: “God is the fountain of life; and when one chooses the service of sin, he separates from God, and thus cuts himself off from life. He is ‘alienated from the life of God.’ Christ says, ‘All they that hate Me love death.’ Ephesians 4:18; Proverbs 8:36. God gives them existence for a time that they may develop their character and reveal their principles. This accomplished, they receive the results of their own choice. By a life of rebellion, Satan and all who unite with him place themselves so out of harmony with God that His very presence is to them a consuming fire. The glory of Him who is love will destroy them.” The Desire of Ages, 764.
2 AVOIDING SELF-DECEPTION
- How does Solomon summarize the major issues of life and death? Ecclesiastes 8:5–13.
- Even if we do not actively commit sin, how may we still be guilty before God?
Note: “In the great Judgment day, those who have not worked for Christ, who have drifted along thinking of themselves, caring for themselves, will be placed by the Judge of the whole earth with those who did evil. They receive the same condemnation.” The Desire of Ages, 641.
- What basic sign of humility before God and man can help to protect us from being deceived? Proverbs 28:13.
Note: “It is a close test upon the courage of men and women to be brought to face their own sins and to frankly acknowledge them. To say, ‘That mistake must be charged to my account,’ requires a strength of inward principle that the world possesses in but a limited degree. But he who has the courage to say this in sincerity gains a decided victory over self and effectually closes the door against the enemy.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 336, 337.
“[Proverbs 28:13 quoted.] If those who hide and excuse their faults could see how Satan exults over them, how he taunts Christ and holy angels with their course, they would make haste to confess their sins and to put them away. Through defects in the character, Satan works to gain control of the whole mind, and he knows that if these defects are cherished, he will succeed. Therefore he is constantly seeking to deceive the followers of Christ with his fatal sophistry that it is impossible for them to overcome. But Jesus pleads in their behalf His wounded hands, His bruised body; and He declares to all who would follow Him: ‘My grace is sufficient for thee.’ 11 Corinthians 12:9. ‘Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.’ Matthew 11:29, 30. Let none, then, regard their defects as incurable. God will give faith and grace to overcome them.” The Great Controversy, 489.
3 UNDERSTANDING DEATH
- What must we know about the solemnity of death—both of ourselves and others? Hebrews 9:27; Proverbs 24:11, 12.
Note: “Among the manifold lessons that we may learn from Solomon’s life, none are more plainly taught than the power of influence for good or for ill. However contracted may be one’s sphere, he exerts an influence. That our influence should be a savor of death unto death, is a fearful thought, yet this is possible. One soul misled—forfeiting eternal bliss—who can estimate the loss! And yet one rash act, one thoughtless word, on our part, may exert so deep an influence on the life of another that it will prove the ruin of his soul! One blemish on the character may turn many away from Christ.” The Review and Herald, February 15, 1906.
- How are we warned against a major form of deception, especially in the last days? Colossians 2:8, 18, 19.
Note: “I was directed to this scripture as especially applying to modern spiritualism. [Colossians 2:8 quoted.] Thousands … have been spoiled through the philosophy of phrenology and animal magnetism, and have been driven into infidelity. If the mind commences to run in this channel, it is almost sure to lose its balance and be controlled by a demon. ‘Vain deceit’ fills the minds of poor mortals. They think there is such power in themselves to accomplish great works that they realize no necessity of a higher power. Their principles and faith are ‘after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.’ Jesus has not taught them this philosophy. Nothing of the kind can be found in His teachings. He did not direct the minds of poor mortals to themselves, to a power which they possessed. He was ever directing their minds to God, the Creator of the universe, as the source of their strength and wisdom. Special warning is given in verse 18. [Colossians 2:18 quoted.]” Testimonies, vol. 1, 297.
4 A PERIL IN THE LAST DAYS
- What has God declared through Solomon regarding the state of the dead? Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6.
Note: “The teachers of spiritualism come in a pleasing, bewitching manner to deceive you, and if you listen to their fables you are beguiled by the enemy of righteousness and will surely lose your reward. When once the fascinating influence of the archdeceiver overcomes you, you are poisoned, and its deadly influence adulterates and destroys your faith in Christ’s being the Son of God, and you cease to rely on the merits of His blood. Those deceived by this philosophy are beguiled of their reward through the deceptions of Satan. They rely upon their own merits, exercise voluntary humility, are even willing to make sacrifices, and debase themselves, and yield their minds to the belief of supreme nonsense, receiving the most absurd ideas through those whom they believe to be their dead friends. Satan has so blinded their eyes and perverted their judgment that they perceive not the evil; and they follow out the instructions purporting to be from their dead friends now angels in a higher sphere.
“Satan has chosen a most certain, fascinating delusion, one that is calculated to take hold of the sympathies of those who have laid their loved ones in the grave. Evil angels assume the form of these loved ones and relate incidents connected with their lives and perform acts which their friends performed while living. In this way they deceive and lead the relatives of the dead to believe that their deceased friends are angels hovering about them and communing with them. These they regard with a certain idolatry, and what they may say has greater influence over them than the word of God. These evil angels, who assume to be dead friends, will either utterly reject God’s word as idle tales, or, if it suit their purpose best, will select the vital portions which testify of Christ and point out the way to heaven, and change the plain statements of the word of God to suit their own corrupt nature and ruin souls. With due attention to the word of God, all may be convinced if they will of this soul-destroying delusion … [Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6 quoted].” Testimonies, vol. 1, 297, 298.
5 SOLEMN BUT NOT DREADFUL
- How can we avoid destruction? Proverbs 21:15, 16.
Note: “We cannot wait until the judgment before we consent to deny self and to lift the cross. We cannot then form characters for heaven. It is here in this life that we must take sides with the humble, self-denying Redeemer. It is here that we must overcome envy, strife, selfishness, love of money, and love of the world. It is here that we must enter the school of Christ, and learn of the Master the precious lessons of meekness and lowliness of mind. And here it must be our aim and earnest effort to be loyal and true to the God of heaven by obeying all of His commandments and thus be fitting up for the mansions that Christ has gone to prepare for all who love God.” The Upward Look, 192.
- What are some ways to promote true health and happiness in life? Proverbs 3:13–19; I Timothy 4:8.
Note: “There are many amusements that excite the mind, but depression is sure to follow. Other modes of recreation are innocent and healthful; but useful labor that affords physical exercise will often have a more beneficial influence upon the mind, while at the same time it will strengthen the muscles, improve the circulation, and prove a powerful agent in the recovery of health.” Counsels on Health, 627.
“When the mind is free and happy from a sense of duty well done and the satisfaction of giving happiness to others, the cheering, uplifting influence brings new life to the whole being.” The Ministry of Healing, 257.
Review and Thought Questions
1 Name some temporal benefits gained from serving God.
2 What common form of self-deception may be plaguing us?
3 How do many underestimate the solemnity of death?
4 Why is it important to know the doctrine of the state of the dead?
5 How does abundant life involve bearing the cross?
Copyright © 2002 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.