April 17, 2011 – April 23, 2011
“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Proverbs 17:17.
Study Help: Education, 84–96; The Desire of Ages, 637–641.
“Many think that it is impossible to love our neighbor as ourselves, but it is the only genuine fruit of Christianity.” Welfare Ministry, 49.
1 TRUE FELLOWSHIP
- What is to govern our fellowship among believers? Proverbs 17:17; 30:5; Galatians 6:10.
Note: “He [Christ] should be presented as the Source of all true pleasure and satisfaction, the Giver of every good and perfect gift, the Author of every blessing, the One in whom all our hopes of eternal life are centered. In every religious exercise let the love of God and the joy of the Christian experience appear in their true beauty.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 175.
- What is God’s plan for our relationship with one another in church capacity? James 2:8; John 17:21; Proverbs 18:24.
Note: “He who is conformed to the image of Christ will possess his grace, and will help to strengthen every brother in the faith. No harsh or bitter words that discourage the soul will fall from his lips. ‘If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.’ ‘Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.’ ‘Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way. … Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord’ [II Corinthians 5:17; Philippians 2:3; Hebrews 12:12–14].” The Review and Herald, February 23, 1897.
2 TOUCHING OUR WORLD
- What principle of service should we keep in mind regarding all our fellowmen? Proverbs 27:10, first part.
Note: “Among the Jews the question, ‘Who is my neighbour’ [Luke 10:20]? caused endless dispute. They had no doubt as to the heathen and the Samaritans. These were strangers and enemies. But where should the distinction be made among the people of their own nation and among the different classes of society? …
“This question Christ answered in the parable of the good Samaritan. He showed that our neighbor does not mean merely one of the church or faith to which we belong. It has no reference to race, color, or class distinction. Our neighbor is every person who needs our help. Our neighbor is every soul who is wounded and bruised by the adversary. Our neighbor is every one who is the property of God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 376.
- What can we learn from the way God’s infinite wisdom was manifested in the ministry of Jesus? Proverbs 11:30.
Note: “Jesus looked upon the world in its fallen state with infinite pity. He took humanity upon Himself that He might touch and elevate humanity. He came to seek and to save that which was lost. He reached to the very depth of human misery and woe, to take man as He found him, a being tainted with corruption, degraded with vice, depraved by sin, and united with Satan in apostasy, and elevate him to a seat upon His throne. But it was written of Him that ‘He shall not fail nor be discouraged’ [Isaiah 42:4], and He went forth in the path of self-denial and self-sacrifice, giving us an example that we should follow in His steps. We should work as did Jesus, departing from our own pleasure, turning away from Satan’s bribes, despising ease, and abhorring selfishness, that we may seek and save that which is lost, bringing souls from darkness into light, into the sunshine of God’s love. We have been commissioned to go forth and preach the gospel to every creature.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 199.
3 A DUTY OFTEN NEGLECTED
- What are we always to bear in mind regarding the poor? Proverbs 14:21; 19:17, 22. How did Jesus explain His perspective on this matter? Matthew 25:31–46.
Note: “To the rich, God has given wealth that they may relieve and comfort His suffering children; but too often they are indifferent to the wants of others. They feel themselves superior to their poor brethren. They do not put themselves in the poor man’s place. They do not understand the temptations and struggles of the poor, and mercy dies out of their hearts. In costly dwellings and splendid churches, the rich shut themselves away from the poor; the means that God has given to bless the needy is spent in pampering pride and selfishness. The poor are robbed daily of the education they should have concerning the tender mercies of God; for He has made ample provision that they should be comforted with the necessities of life. They are compelled to feel the poverty that narrows life, and are often tempted to become envious, jealous, and full of evil surmisings. Those who themselves have not endured the pressure of want too often treat the poor in a contemptuous way, and make them feel that they are looked upon as paupers.
“But Christ beholds it all, and He says, It was I who was hungry and thirsty. It was I who was a stranger. It was I who was sick. It was I who was in prison. While you were feasting at your bountifully spread table, I was famishing in the hovel or the empty street. While you were at ease in your luxurious home, I had not where to lay My head. While you crowded your wardrobe with rich apparel, I was destitute. While you pursued your pleasures, I languished in prison.” The Desire of Ages, 639, 640.
“We should seek to understand the needs of the poor and distressed, and to give them the help that will benefit them most. To give thought and time and personal effort costs far more than merely to give money. But it is the truest charity.” The Ministry of Healing, 195.
- Describe an example of how the impartiality of our love may be tested. James 2:1–9.
4 LOVE FOR OTHERS IN NEED
- What better future can we present to the discouraged? Proverbs 10:28; I Thessalonians 4:13–18.
Note: “We are to bring to the lost the tidings that Christ can forgive sin, can renew the nature, can clothe the soul in the garments of His righteousness, bring the sinner to His right mind, and teach him and fit him up to be a laborer together with God.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 199.
- What should we remember about wealthy persons who know not God? Ecclesiastes 6:1, 2; Proverbs 11:4; 13:22.
Note: “Riches and worldly honor can not satisfy the soul. Many among the rich are longing for some divine assurance, some spiritual hope. Many long for something that will bring to an end the monotony of their aimless life. Many in official life feel their need of something which they have not. Few among them go to church, for they feel that they receive little benefit. The teaching they hear does not touch the heart. Shall we make no special appeal to them?
“God calls for earnest, humble workers, who will carry the gospel to the higher classes. It is by no casual, accidental touch that the wealthy, world-loving souls can be drawn to Christ. Decided personal effort must be put forth by men and women imbued with the missionary spirit, those who will not fail nor be discouraged.” The Review and Herald, April 6, 1911.
- How are we to consider those who hate and abuse us? Proverbs 24:17; 25:21. What was Jesus’ example?
Note: “It was to bring the bread of life to His enemies that our Saviour left His home in heaven. Though calumny and persecution were heaped upon Him from the cradle to the grave, they called forth from Him only the expression of forgiving love.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 71.
5 A MAN WHO WALKED WITH GOD
- How can we have safety from evil company? Proverbs 2:1–15. How did Enoch maintain his strength in service?
Note: “It was by prayer and communion with God that Enoch was enabled to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. We are living in the perils of the last days, and we must receive our strength from the same Source. We must walk with God. A separation from the world is required of us, for we cannot remain free from its pollution unless we follow the example of the faithful Enoch.” In Heavenly Places, 70.
“Enoch faithfully rehearsed to the people all that God had revealed to him by the spirit of prophecy. Some believed his words, and turned from their wickedness to fear and worship God. Such often sought Enoch in his places of retirement, and he instructed them, and prayed for them that God would give them a knowledge of His will. At length he chose certain periods for retirement, and would not suffer the people to find him, for they interrupted his holy meditation and communion with God. He did not exclude himself at all times from the society of those who loved him and listened to his words of wisdom; neither did he separate himself wholly from the corrupt. He met with the good and bad at stated times, and labored to turn the ungodly from their evil course, and instruct them in the knowledge and fear of God. He taught those who had the knowledge of God to serve him more perfectly.
“He would remain with them as long as he could benefit them by his godly conversation and holy example, and then would withdraw himself from all society—from the just, the scoffing and idolatrous, to remain in solitude, hungering and thirsting for communion with God, and that divine knowledge which he alone could give him.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 62, 63.
Review and Thought Questions
1 What is to characterize our Christian fellowship?
2 Name some ways in which we are to follow Jesus.
3 How can we improve our attitude toward the poor?
4 What do we often forget about the wealthy?
5 Describe the balanced life of Enoch.
Copyright © 2002 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.