November 16, 2013 – November 22, 2013
“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” Proverbs 25:11.
Study Help: The Voice in Speech and Song, 140–147; Ibid., 367–377.
“The word of God, spoken by one who is himself sanctified through it, has a life-giving power that makes it attractive to the hearers, and convicts them that it is a living reality.” The Desire of Ages, 142.
1 IN THE HOME
- What character qualities are parents to exhibit in the family circle if they would raise God-fearing children? Colossians 3:21; II Timothy 2:25, first part; I Corinthians 15:58, first part.
- What disposition should parents cultivate in the home? Romans 12:10; Ephesians 4:32.
- How can fathers and mothers promote kindness in their children? Proverbs 31:26; Ephesians 6:4.
Note: “Jesus was the pattern for children, and He was also the father’s example. He spoke as one having authority, and His word was with power; yet in all His intercourse with rude and violent men He did not use one unkind or discourteous expression. The grace of Christ in the heart will impart a heaven-born dignity and sense of propriety. It will soften whatever is harsh, and subdue all that is coarse and unkind. It will lead fathers and mothers to treat their children as intelligent beings, as they themselves would like to be treated.” The Desire of Ages, 515.
2 GOD’S BEST COMMUNICATORS
- Which aspects of the life of old-time Reformers assured the success of their ministry? II Timothy 1:7, 8.
Note: “He [Wycliffe] was an able and earnest teacher and an eloquent preacher, and his daily life was a demonstration of the truths he preached. His knowledge of the Scriptures, the force of his reasoning, the purity of his life, and his unbending courage and integrity won for him general esteem and confidence. Many of the people had become dissatisfied with their former faith as they saw the iniquity that prevailed in the Roman Church, and they hailed with unconcealed joy the truths brought to view by Wycliffe; but the papal leaders were filled with rage when they perceived that this Reformer was gaining an influence greater than their own.” The Great Controversy, 81.
“[While before the Diet of Worms] Luther, understanding his danger, had spoken to all with Christian dignity and calmness. His words had been free from pride, passion, and misrepresentation. He had lost sight of himself, and of the great men surrounding him, and felt only that he was in the presence of One infinitely superior to popes, prelates, kings, and emperors. Christ had spoken through Luther’s testimony with a power and grandeur that for the time inspired both friends and foes with awe and wonder.” Ibid., 161, 162.
- In what sense did John Wesley follow the example of Christ in his work for the Master? Isaiah 42:21; Matthew 7:21.
Note: “While preaching the gospel of the grace of God, Wesley, like his Master, sought to ‘magnify the law, and make it honorable’ (Isaiah 42:21). Faithfully did he accomplish the work given him of God, and glorious were the results which he was permitted to behold. … His life presents a lesson of priceless worth to every Christian. Would that the faith and humility, the untiring zeal, self-sacrifice, and devotion of this servant of Christ might be reflected in the churches of today!” The Great Controversy, 264.
3 ONE OF THE GREATEST TEACHERS
- Outline the step-by-step method used by Paul to reach the Jews. Acts 17:1–4; 28:23.
Note: “Paul did not approach the Jews in such a way as to arouse their prejudices. He did not at first tell them that they must believe in Jesus of Nazareth; but dwelt upon the prophecies that spoke of Christ, His mission and His work.” Gospel Workers, 118.
- How did Paul adapt his approach to suit the mind of the Gentiles? Acts 17:22–28.
Note: “Paul’s words contain a treasure of knowledge for the church. He was in a position where he might easily have said that which would have irritated his proud listeners and brought himself into difficulty. Had his oration been a direct attack upon their gods and the great men of the city, he would have been in danger of meeting the fate of Socrates. But with a tact born of divine love, he carefully drew their minds away from heathen deities, by revealing to them the true God, who was to them unknown.” The Acts of the Apostles, 241.
- Explain why and how Paul improved the thrust of his approach before all men and women. I Corinthians 2:1–5, 13.
Note: “He [Paul] avoided elaborate arguments and discussion of theories, and in simplicity pointed men and women to Christ as the Saviour of sinners.” The Ministry of Healing, 214.
- What lesson can we learn from him about working with higher classes? I Timothy 6:17–19.
Note: “The way of worldly policy is not God’s way of reaching the higher classes. That which will reach them effectually is a consistent, unselfish presentation of the gospel of Christ.” The Ministry of Healing, 214.
4 SPEECH AND HEALTH
- What direct health benefits are promised to those who habitually speak kind, sympathizing words to their fellowmen? Proverbs 12:18; 16:24; 17:22.
Note: “When human sympathy is blended with love and benevolence, and sanctified by the Spirit of Jesus, it is an element which can be productive of great good. Those who cultivate benevolence are not only doing a good work for others, and blessing those who receive the good action, but they are benefiting themselves by opening their hearts to the benign influence of true benevolence. Every ray of light shed upon others will be reflected upon our own hearts. Every kind and sympathizing word spoken to the sorrowful, every act to relieve the oppressed, and every gift to supply the necessities of our fellow beings, given or done with an eye to God’s glory, will result in blessings to the giver. Those who are thus working are obeying a law of heaven and will receive the approval of God. The pleasure of doing good to others imparts a glow to the feelings which flashes through the nerves, quickens the circulation of the blood, and induces mental and physical health.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 56.
- How can we exercise good stewardship over our vocal organs, both in a spiritual and a physical sense? I Peter 4:10, 11.
Note: “Careful attention and training should be given to the vocal organs. They are strengthened by right use, but become enfeebled if used improperly. Their excessive use, as in preaching long sermons, will, if often repeated, not only injure the organs of speech, but will bring an undue strain upon the whole nervous system. The delicate harp of a thousand strings becomes worn, gets out of repair, and produces discord instead of melody.
“It is important for every speaker so to train the vocal organs as to keep them in a healthful condition, that he may speak forth the words of life to the people. Everyone should become intelligent as to the most effective manner of using his God-given ability, and should practice what he learns.” Evangelism, 667.
5 GIVING COUNSEL AND REPROOF
- Identify and discuss the right and wrong way of bringing reproof, as presented in God’s word. Proverbs 25:11, 12; Galatians 6:1.
Note: “In giving reproof or counsel, many indulge in sharp, severe speech, words not adapted to heal the wounded soul. By these ill-advised expressions the spirit is chafed, and often the erring ones are stirred to rebellion. All who would advocate the principles of truth need to receive the heavenly oil of love. Under all circumstances reproof should be spoken in love. Then our words will reform but not exasperate.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 337.
- What will be the result if we are blunt and aggressive in giving reproof? Show by an example what is meant by a rough rebuke. Psalm 52:4; James 3:6; Jeremiah 18:18, last part.
Note: “Some pride themselves on being outspoken, blunt, and rough, and they call this frankness; but it is not rightly named, it is selfishness of the deepest dye. These persons may have virtues; they may be liberal, and have kind impulses; but their discourteous manners render them almost insupportable. They criticize, they wound, they say disagreeable things. Will the character they are cultivating recommend them to Jesus? Will it fit them for the society of heaven? We do well to examine ourselves to see what manner of spirit we are cherishing. Let us learn to speak gently, quietly, even under circumstances the most trying.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 141.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 In what way should we correct the shortcomings of our children?
2 Name some exemplary speaking qualities of the old-time reformers.
3 What can we learn from Paul’s adaptable teaching methods?
4 What will kind, sympathetic words do for our own health?
5 Explain how words of reproof can reform instead of exasperate.
© 2007 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.