Bible Study Guides – “The Church of the Living God”

Week 1

General Introduction

“I have seen a device representing a bullock standing between a plough and an altar, with the inscription, `Ready for either’, willing to swelter in the weary furrow or to bleed on the altar of sacrifice. This is the position the child of God should ever be in, willing to go where duty calls, to deny self, and to sacrifice for the cause of truth. The Christian church was founded upon the principle of sacrifice. `If any man will come after Me,’ says Christ, `let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’ He requires the whole heart, the entire affections. The exhibitions of zeal, earnestness, and unselfish labor which His devoted followers have given to the world should kindle our ardor and lead us to emulate their example. Genuine religion gives an earnestness and fixedness of purpose which molds the character to the divine image and enables us to count all things but loss for the excellency of Christ. This singleness of purpose will prove an element of tremendous power.

“We have a greater and more solemn truth than was ever before committed to mortals, and we are responsible for the way we treat that truth. Every one of us should be intent on saving souls. We should show the power of the truth upon our own hearts and characters, while doing all we can to win others to love it. To bring a sinner to Christ is to elevate, dignify, and ennoble his whole character, and make him a blessing in the home, in society, and in the church. Is not this a work that is worthy of our noblest powers?” Testimonies, vol. 5, 307.

Lesson 1

“The Whole Family in Heaven and Earth”

MEMORY VERSE: “But now, O LORD, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our Potter; and we all are the work of Thy hand.” Isaiah 64:8.

STUDY HELP: The Desire of Ages, 325-327.

INTRODUCTION: “`Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.’ Here are stated the conditions of adoption into the family of God. We are to separate ourselves from the enemies of the Lord. Those who will firmly take their stand upon God’s word, and obey His commandments, will be called old-fashioned and singular. But God designed that His people should be a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Christ gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, purifying unto Himself a peculiar people. Those who belong to Christ are not like the world in thought or action, and only those who are unlike the world will God acknowledge as His. There are many pretenders to piety, but few really live for Christ, and let their light shine forth to the world in good works. Those who are content to have little knowledge of God here, who take no delight in communing with Him, will never see heaven, because they do not delight in heaven or heavenly things.” Review and Herald, May 13, 1890.

To what family do our sinful actions reveal that we belong? John 8:44.

NOTE: “Jesus denied that the Jews were children of Abraham. He said, `Ye do the deeds of your father.’ In mockery they answered, `We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.’ These words, in allusion to the circumstances of His birth, were intended as a thrust against Christ in the presence of those who were beginning to believe on Him. Jesus gave no heed to the base insinuation, but said, `If God were your Father, ye would love Me: for I proceeded forth and came from God.’ Their works testified of their relationship to him who was a liar and a murderer.” The Desire of Ages, 467.

What fundamental principle did Jesus explain to show whether we are a child of God or a child of Satan? John 8:41, first part.

NOTE: “All that is not in accordance with the known and expressed will of God, is at enmity with God, and has its origin in the synagogue of Satan. The will of God is expressed in His law, and sin is the transgression of the law. Those who disregard the commandments of God, and teach for doctrines the commandments of men, are working in Satan’s line, and are in harmony with the great leader of apostasy. When the Jews were claiming Abraham for their father, while not doing the works of Abraham, Jesus said to them: `Ye are of your father the devil.'” Signs of the Times, June 11, 1894.

“To Them Gave He Power”

How may we cease to become children of the devil and join the family of God? John 1:12.

NOTE: “Christ is our example, our inspiration, our exceeding great reward. `Ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.’ 1 Corinthians 3:9. God is the Master Builder, but man has a part to act. He is to co-operate with God. `We are laborers together with God.’ Verse 9. Never forget the words, `together with God.’ Remember that working with Christ as your personal Savior is your strength and your victory. This is the part that all are to act. To those who do this comes the assurance: `As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God.’ John 1:12. Christ declares: `Without Me ye can do nothing.’ John 15:5. And the humble, believing soul responds: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’ Philippians 4:13.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 39.

What is God’s attitude to those who truly wish to become members of His family? John 6:37.

NOTE: “Let the heart-searching God reprove the erring, and let each one bow before Him in humility and contrition, casting aside all self-righteousness and self-importance, confessing and forsaking every sin, and asking God, in the name of the Redeemer, for pardon. God declares, `Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out’ (John 6:37); and those who in sincerity present themselves before Him will be pardoned and justified, and will receive power to become the sons of God.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 101.

What description did Jesus give of those who are truly members of His family? Matthew 12:46-50.

NOTE: “Here is the relationship that exists between Christ and His followers. We occupy this exalted position, if we are indeed doing the will of God. We are to consider ourselves as constituting the family of Christ, and we are to follow Him as dear children. Adopted into the household of God, shall we not honor our Father and our kindred? We have no excuse to plead, for through Jesus we may command all power in Heaven and earth that we may walk worthy of our high calling.” Signs of the Times, March 23, 1888.

“If we are doing the will of God, we are counted as the brethren and sisters of our Master. We are to remember this in our daily life. We are to be in harmony with God, but at enmity with Satan. There is too much fellowship with the prince of darkness. It is not natural for us to bruise Satan under our feet; but we are to close our hearts to the temptations of the evil one, and to open them to the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. We are to press toward the mark for the prize of our high calling, exerting every God-given power, that we may be overcomers. We must be constantly drawing nigh to God. We must talk of Jesus, expressing His love in a devoted life of entire consecration to His service. The more we dwell upon the purity of the character or Christ, the more we shall desire to become like Him, and thus we shall be brought nearer to Him. The more we behold His loveliness, the more we shall reflect His divine image.” Review and Herald, August 7, 1888.

What will be the fundamental question upon which Christ judges us? Matthew 7:21-23.

NOTE: “This is the assurance given to all who follow the teachings of Christ that they shall become members of the heavenly family. Says Christ, Obedience to My Father in heaven is filial obedience. This is the bond of union between Me and all who shall become members of the heavenly family. All who accept the word of truth will enter the hallowed circle that binds to Me every believer as brother or sister or mother.” Review and Herald, September 26, 1899.

What spirit must be seen in the life of the one who loves God? 1 John 4:20, 21; 1 John 3:18.

NOTE: “I saw that brethren should feel interested for one another. Especially should those who are blessed with health have a kind regard and care for those who have not good health. They should favor them. They should remember the lesson taught by Jesus of the Good Samaritan. Said Jesus: `Love one another, as I have loved you.’ How much? His love cannot be told. He left the glory that He had with the Father before the world was. `He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.’ He patiently bore every indignity and scorn. Behold His agony in the garden, when He prayed that the cup might pass from Him! Behold His sufferings on Calvary! All this for guilty, lost man. And Jesus says: `Love one another, as I have loved you.’ How much? Well enough to give your life for a brother.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 150.

How does Paul describe the life of one who truly loves? 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

NOTE: “Christ has given us an example of pure, disinterested love. You have not as yet seen your deficiency in this respect, and your great need of this heavenly attainment, without which all your good purposes, and your zeal, even if it be of that nature that you could give your goods to feed the poor and your body to be burned, is nothing. You need that charity which suffereth long, is not easily provoked, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Without the spirit of love, no one can be like Christ. With this living principle in the soul, no one can be like the world.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 169.

Once we accept God as our Father, what must we be willing to let Him do? Isaiah 64:8. (See Isaiah 45:9; Jeremiah 18:1-6.).

NOTE: “As we come to feel our utter reliance upon Christ for salvation, are we to fold our hands, and say, `I have nothing to do; I am saved; Jesus has done it all’? No, we are to put forth every energy that we may become partakers of the divine nature. We are to be continually watching, waiting, praying, and working. But do all that we may, we cannot pay a ransom for our souls, We can do nothing to originate faith, for faith is the gift of God; neither can we perfect it, for Christ is the finisher of our faith. It is all of Christ. All the longing after a better life is from Christ, and is an evidence that He is drawing you to Himself, and that you are responding to His drawing power. You are to be as clay in the hands of the potter; and if you submit yourself to Christ, He will fashion you into a vessel unto honor, fit for the Master’s use. The only thing that stands in the way of the soul who is not fashioned after the divine Pattern is that he does not become poor in spirit; for he who is poor in spirit will look to a higher Source than himself that he may obtain the grace that will make him rich unto God. While he will feel that he cannot originate anything, he will say, `The Lord is my helper.'” Bible Echo, May 15, 1892.

“The potter takes the clay in His hands and molds and fashions it according to His own will. He kneads it and works it. He tears it apart and then presses it together. He wets it and then dries it. He lets it lie for a while without touching it. When it is perfectly pliable, He continues the work of making of it a vessel. He forms it into shape and on the wheel trims and polishes it. He dries it in the sun and bakes it in the oven. Thus it becomes a vessel fit for use. So the great Master Worker desires to mold and fashion us. And as the clay is in the hands of the potter, so are we to be in His hands. We are not to try to do the work of the potter. Our part is to yield ourselves to the molding of the Master Worker.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 186.

Because God is our Father, what privilege does this give us? Luke 11:2-4.

NOTE: “Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him. . . . Keep your wants, your joys, your sorrows, your cares, and your fears before God. You cannot burden Him; you cannot weary Him. He who numbers the hairs of your head is not indifferent to the wants of His children. `The Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.’ James 5:11. His heart of love is touched by our sorrows and even by our utterances of them. Take to Him everything that perplexes the mind. Nothing is too great for Him to bear, for He holds up worlds, He rules over all the affairs of the universe. Nothing that in any way concerns our peace is too small for Him to notice. There is no chapter in our experience too dark for Him to read; there is no perplexity too difficult for Him to unravel. No calamity can befall the least of His children, no anxiety harass the soul, no joy cheer, no sincere prayer escape the lips, of which our heavenly Father is unobservant, or in which He takes no immediate interest. `He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.’ Psalm 147:3. The relations between God and each soul are as distinct and full as though there were not another soul upon the earth to share His watchcare, not another soul for whom He gave His beloved Son.” Steps to Christ, 93, 100.

For what is the whole creation waiting? Romans 8:19.

NOTE: The marginal reading for “creature” is “creation.” “He God has paid a great price to redeem them from Satan’s power, that they might become sons and daughters of God. When they act like sinners, they are counted as sinners, and must repent and do their first works of love. Christians are to love one another, as Christ has loved them. Upon the manifestation of this love hinges the world’s recognition of the truth of the gospel. It was for this that Christ prayed in the last prayer He offered. Christians must not act like unruly children. Before the world those who claim to be God’s children must give evidence that they have left behind them the childish ways of their unconverted life.” 1888 Materials, 1791.

What will the whole creation see when the sons of God are made manifest? Philippians 2:15; 1 John 3:1, 2.

NOTE: “Christ has given to the church a sacred charge. Every member should be a channel through which God can communicate to the world the treasures of His grace, the unsearchable riches of Christ. There is nothing that the Savior desires so much as agents who will represent to the world His Spirit and His character. There is nothing that the world needs so much as the manifestation through humanity of the Saviour’s love. All heaven is waiting for men and women through whom God can reveal the power of Christianity.” Acts of the Apostles, 600.