December 11, 2011 – December 17, 2011
“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” Jude 3.
Study Help: Early Writings, 222–226; Maranatha, 15–17.
“The Waldenses, John Wycliffe, Huss and Jerome, Martin Luther and Zwingli, Cranmer, Latimer, and Knox, the Huguenots, John and Charles Wesley, and a host of others brought to the foundation material that will endure throughout eternity.” The Acts of the Apostles, 598.
1 BIBLE-BELIEVING CHRISTIANS
- What is the main key to victory and genuineness in the Christian life? Matthew 4:4.
Note: “This word [of God] is the bread of heaven, and those who read and study it, making its truths a part of the life, will be given power from above.” The Review and Herald, March 24, 1904.
- How important is Scripture to the Christian faith? Acts 20:32; II Timothy 3:16, 17.
Note: “Spiritual life must be sustained by communion with Christ through His Word. The mind must dwell upon it, the heart must be filled with it. The Word of God laid up in the heart and sacredly cherished and obeyed, through the power of the grace of Christ can make man right, and keep him right; but every human influence, every earthly invention, is powerless to give strength and wisdom to man. It cannot restrain passion, or correct deformity of character. Unless the truth of God controls the heart, the conscience will be warped.” Selected Messages, Book 2,124.
2 THE CHURCH IN THE WILDERNESS
- In the early centuries after the Scriptures were penned, what happened to the true believers in Bible religion, as symbolized by a pure woman? Revelation 12:12–14.
Note: “The faith which for centuries was held and taught by the Waldensian Christians was in marked contrast to the false doctrines put forth from Rome. Their religious belief was founded upon the written word of God, the true system of Christianity. But those humble peasants, in their obscure retreats, shut away from the world, and bound to daily toil among their flocks and their vineyards, had not by themselves arrived at the truth in opposition to the dogmas and heresies of the apostate church. Theirs was not a faith newly received. Their religious belief was their inheritance from their fathers. They contended for the faith of the apostolic church—‘the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.’ Jude 3. ‘The church in the wilderness,’ and not the proud hierarchy enthroned in the world’s great capital, was the true church of Christ, the guardian of the treasures of truth which God has committed to His people to be given to the world. …
“The Waldenses were among the first of the peoples of Europe to obtain a translation of the Holy Scriptures. Hundreds of years before the Reformation they possessed the Bible in manuscript in their native tongue. They had the truth unadulterated, and this rendered them the special objects of hatred and persecution.” The Great Controversy, 64, 65.
- What was one of the key doctrines which these persecuted saints upheld? Luke 6:5.
Note: “Among the leading causes that had led to the separation of the true church from Rome was the hatred of the latter toward the Bible Sabbath. As foretold by prophecy, the papal power cast down the truth to the ground. The law of God was trampled in the dust, while the traditions and customs of men were exalted. The churches that were under the rule of the papacy were early compelled to honor the Sunday as a holy day.” The Great Controversy, 65.
3 THE GREAT REFORMATION
- What precious promises did Christ give to the faithful few living in the era of Thyatira during the Dark Ages? Revelation 2:24–28. How was the prophecy of the “morning star” fulfilled?
Note: “In the fourteenth century arose in England the ‘morning star of the Reformation.’ John Wycliffe was the herald of reform, not for England alone, but for all Christendom. The great protest against Rome which it was permitted him to utter was never to be silenced. That protest opened the struggle which was to result in the emancipation of individuals, of churches, and of nations.” The Great Controversy, 80.
- What beautiful, yet hidden, gems of truth were rediscovered by men such as Martin Luther? I Timothy 2:5; Romans 1:16, 17.
Note: “Notwithstanding all the persecution of the saints, living witnesses for God’s truth were raised up on every hand. Angels of the Lord were doing the work committed to their trust. They were searching in the darkest places and selecting out of the darkness men who were honest in heart. These were all buried up in error, yet God called them, as He did Saul, to be chosen vessels to bear His truth and raise their voices against the sins of His professed people. Angels of God moved upon the hearts of Martin Luther, Melanchthon, and others in different places, and caused them to thirst for the living testimony of the Word of God. The enemy had come in like a flood, and the standard must be raised against him. Luther was the one chosen to breast the storm, stand up against the ire of a fallen church, and strengthen the few who were faithful to their holy profession. He was ever fearful of offending God. He tried through works to obtain His favor, but was not satisfied until a gleam of light from heaven drove the darkness from his mind and led him to trust, not in works, but in the merits of the blood of Christ. He could then come to God for himself, not through popes or confessors, but through Jesus Christ alone.
“Oh, how precious to Luther was this new and glorious light which had dawned upon his dark understanding and driven away his superstition! He prized it higher than the richest earthly treasure. The Word of God was new. Everything was changed. The book he had dreaded because he could not see beauty in it, was now life, eternal life, to him. It was his joy, his consolation, his blessed teacher.” Early Writings, 222, 223.
4 THE LAODICEAN ERA
- What did William Miller, a meticulous Bible student, begin to realize in the 1830s?
Note: “He [William Miller] was forced to the conclusion, from the study of Scripture alone, that the period allotted for the continuance of the earth in its present state was about to close.” The Great Controversy, 323.
- Explain some of the important prophecies which came to light among the believers in the second-advent movement. Daniel 8:14; Revelation 1:7; 14:1–12.
- Despite the great light entrusted and the urgency of the hour, why has Christ been disappointed in the church of this era? I Corinthians 14:8; Revelation 3:14–17.
Note: “We are in danger of giving the third angel’s message in so indefinite a manner that it does not impress the people. So many other interests are brought in that the very message which should be proclaimed with power becomes tame and voiceless.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 60.
- Due to the lukewarm state of spirituality, what does Christ warn? Revelation 3:18, 19. Yet with the passing of time, has this problem become better—or worse? James 2:10–12.
Note: “Of those who boast of their light and yet fail to walk in it Christ says, ‘But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you. And thou, Capernaum [Seventh-day Adventists, who have had great light], which art exalted unto heaven [in point of privilege], shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee’ [Matthew 11:22–24].” The Review and Herald, August 1, 1893. (All explanations in brackets were penned by the author.)
5 A MOVEMENT OF REFORMATION SEPARATED
- When the highest level of church-body leadership turns from its original course, to persecute and condemn to imprisonment and death those upholding the very principles on which the body was founded, what does that indicate? Matthew 23:37–39.
Note: “By the stoning of Stephen the Jews finally sealed their rejection of the gospel.” The Desire of Ages, 233.
“There are clear, decided distinctions to be restored and exemplified to the world in holding aloft the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. The beauty of holiness is to appear in its native luster in contrast with the deformity and darkness of the disloyal, those who have revolted from the law of God. Thus we acknowledge God and recognize His law, the foundation of His government in heaven and throughout His earthly dominions. His authority should be kept distinct and plain before the world, and no laws are to be acknowledged that come in collision with the laws of Jehovah. If in defiance of God’s arrangements the world be allowed to influence our decisions or our actions, the purpose of God is defeated. However specious the pretext, if the church waver here, there is written against her in the books of heaven a betrayal of the most sacred trusts, and treachery to the kingdom of Christ.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 16, 17.
- Why does God endorse a separation in such circumstances? Psalm 11:3; Jude 3.
Note: “Satan has laid every measure possible that nothing shall come among us as a people to reprove and rebuke us, and exhort us to put away our errors. But there is a people who will bear the ark of God.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 411.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 How can I develop a greater appreciation for the Bible as the foundation of faith?
2 Why are we to be inspired by our church forefathers in the wilderness?
3 What made Martin Luther’s experience such a joyous one?
4 Why does God place all church organizations on probation?
5 When God calls forth a reformatory movement, what is its continual duty?
© 2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.