December 29, 2013 – January 4, 2014
The Gospel Potential
“The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.” Matthew 13:33.
Study Help: Christ’s Object Lessons, 95–102; The Review and Herald, July 25, 1899.
“None are so vile, none have fallen so low, as to be beyond the working of this power. In all who will submit themselves to the Holy Spirit a new principle of life is to be implanted; the lost image of God is to be restored in humanity.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 96.
1 THE LEAVEN
- To what did Jesus liken the kingdom of heaven? Matthew 13:33.
- Leaven is used to symbolize what other things? Were there other meanings used or connected with leaven? Luke 12:1; I Corinthians 5:8.
Note: “Among the Jews leaven was sometimes used as an emblem of sin. At the time of the Passover the people were directed to remove all the leaven from their houses as they were to put away sin from their hearts. … But in the Saviour’s parable, leaven is used to represent the kingdom of heaven. It illustrates the quickening, assimilating power of the grace of God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 95.
- What is the response of those who receive the truth? II John 1:4.
Note: “When leaven is introduced into meal, it penetrates to every part, till an entire change takes place. So it is with the work of the Holy Spirit upon the human heart. The truth received and believed introduces new rules, new principles of action into the life. A new standard of character is set up—the life of Christ. Those who thus receive the truth depend on Christ, and they receive more and still more strength, and greater and still greater light. Daily they expel from their hearts vanity, selfishness, self-righteousness.” This Day With God, 48.
2 RENEWAL OF MIND AND HEART
- Once leaven is introduced, what happens? Matthew 13:33; Luke 13:21.
- What happens when the leaven of truth is introduced into the heart?
Note: “As they receive the spirit of Christ, light shines from them in clear, distinct rays. They have a solemn sense of eternal realities. There is a renewal of the entire mind and heart. As the leaven introduced into the meal leavened the whole, so the leaven of truth, if introduced into the heart, will absorb to itself all the properties of soul, body, and spirit.” This Day With God, 48.
- What must happen before anybody can see the kingdom of God? John 3:3.
Note: “Transformation of heart means an entire change of the entire man. … This change of heart is unseen; for it is an inward work, and yet, it is seen, because it works outward from within.
“Has the leaven of truth been at work in your heart? Has it absorbed the whole heart, the whole affections by its sanctifying power?
“When our minds are controlled by the Spirit of God, we shall understand the lesson taught by the parable of the leaven. Those who open their hearts to receive the truth will realize that the word of God is the great instrumentality in the transformation of character.
“As the leaven operates on the meal, so the Holy Spirit operates on the human heart, absorbing all its capabilities and powers, bringing soul, body, and spirit into conformity to Christ.” The Review and Herald, July 25, 1899.
3 LIGHT AND UNDERSTANDING
- What is it that gives light and understanding? Psalm 119:130, 105.
- To what is the Word compared? Hebrews 4:12; John 17:17.
Note: “Christ came to this world to declare the truth, that we might be sanctified by it.” The Review and Herald, July 25, 1899.
- Why is it important to know Who the Word represents? John 1:9–14; John 17:3; John 3:16.
Note: “These words embody everything; and we can not, therefore, place too much importance on them. … Then shall we not awaken to our holy responsibilities, and strive to meet God’s standard of character? If we are one with Christ by faith, we are sons and daughters of God.” The Review and Herald, July 25, 1899.
- What did Jesus say to Peter regarding his conversion? Luke 22:31, 32.
Note: “A profession of faith and the possession of truth in the soul are two different things. The mere knowledge of truth is not enough. We may possess this, but the tenor of our thoughts may not be changed. The heart must be converted and sanctified.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 97.
4 THE REIGN OF DEATH AND SIN
- What counsel are we given in Romans 6:12–14?
Note: “ ‘What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet’ (Romans 7:7). The Holy Spirit presents the law to the sinner as God’s only standard of character. ‘For I was alive without the law once,’ Paul continues; ‘but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. … I delight in the law of God after the inward man’ (Romans 7:9–12, 22).” The Review and Herald, July 25, 1899.
- Why did death reign? Romans 5:17.
- What two things are received through Jesus Christ? Romans 5:19.
Note: “By the grace of Christ we are saved. But grace does not abolish the law of God. The law is the transcript of God’s character. It presents His righteousness in contrast with unrighteousness. By the law is the knowledge of sin. The law makes sin appear exceeding sinful. It condemns the transgressor, but it has no power to save and restore him. Its province is not to pardon. Pardon comes through Christ, who lived the law in humanity. Man’s only hope is in the substitute provided by God, who gave His Son, that He might reconcile the world to Himself. ‘He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him’ (II Corinthians 5:21).” The Review and Herald, July 25, 1899.
- Who are those that received no condemnation? Romans 8:1–4.
5 FITTED FOR USEFULNESS
- What are we to seek first? Matthew 6:33. Once received, how is this expanded? Philippians 2:12, 13.
Note: “Our first work is with our own hearts. The true principles of reform should be practiced. The heart must be converted and sanctified else we have no connection with Christ. While our hearts are divided, we shall never, never be fitted for usefulness in this life or for the future life. As intelligent beings, we need to sit down and think whether we are really seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. The very best thing we can do is to think soberly and candidly whether we desire to put forth the effort necessary to obtain the Christian hope and secure the Christian’s heaven. If through the grace of Christ we decide that we do, the next question is: What is there that I must cut away from my life in order that I shall not stumble?” This Day With God, 48.
- What does Jesus Christ become for us? I Corinthians 1:30.
Note: “Are you standing on the foundation laid by Christ? Have you faith in Him, who is made unto us ‘wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption’ (1 Corinthians 1:30)? His word is true, and it requires those who believe in Him to be sanctified, soul, body, and spirit. Sanctification is the measure of our completeness. The moment we surrender ourselves to God, believing in Him, we have His righteousness. We realize that we have been redeemed from sin, and we appreciate the sacrifice made to purchase our freedom.” The Review and Herald, July 25, 1899.
- Why is our salvation complete when we accept Jesus Christ? Hebrews 10:10.
Note: “Our salvation is complete, because it is founded on the accomplishment of a plan laid before the foundation of the world. Before Christ came, a ceremonial holiness could be obtained by offering the blood of bulls and of goats; but these sacrifices could not cleanse the conscience. They were but a representation of Christ, the great sacrifice. The substance of all the sacrifices and offerings, He came to this world to do God’s will by offering Himself. He came as the world’s Redeemer, to stand at the head of humanity. The Holy Spirit comes to man through Christ. We are given a decided testimony regarding the value of Christ’s offering. God’s word declares, ‘By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all’ (Hebrews 10:10). It was a whole and entire sacrifice that was made for us.” The Review and Herald, July 25, 1899.
- Why does Peter cou0nsel us to control our thoughts and how is this possible? I Peter 1:13, 18–23.
Note: “This sanctification we must all experience, else we can never gain eternal life. It is obtained by a union with Christ, a union which no power of Satan can break.
“Christ demands undivided heart-service—the entire use of mind, soul, heart, and strength. ‘What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s’ (11 Corinthians 6:19, 20). When we make this surrender, Christ sets our minds at rest, and consecrates our hearts and hands to His service. His wisdom gives us spiritual life, and enables us to manifest love to God and to one another. We reveal His grace in our characters; for we have His life. He presents us spotless before His Father; for we are sanctified through His blood. We are purged from dead works; for Jesus takes possession of the sanctified soul, to renew, sustain, and guide all its impulses, and give vitality to its purposes. Thus we become temples for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.” The Review and Herald, July 25, 1899.
Studies compiled by Judy Hallingstad. Judy is part of the LandMarks team and can be contacted by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.