April 3, 2004 – April 9, 2004
“God [is] faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:9.
Suggested Reading: Steps to Christ, 67–75.
“When the truth is received, it will work radical changes in life and character; for religion means the abiding of Christ in the heart, and where He is, the soul goes on in spiritual activity, ever growing in grace, ever going on to perfection. . . .
“It is no real evidence that you are a Christian because your emotion is stirred, your spirit stirred by truth; the question is, Are you growing up into Christ, your living head? Is the grace of Christ manifested in your life? God gives His grace to men, that they may desire more of His grace. God’s grace is ever working upon the human heart, and when it is received, the evidence of its reception will appear in the life and character of its recipient. . . . The grace of Christ in the heart will always promote spiritual life, and spiritual advancement will be made. . . .” God’s Amazing Grace, 324.
1 What is the condition of the unconverted? Ephesians 4:17–19. What do they love? Why? John 3:19.
note: “It is not a new thing for a man to be deluded by the arch-deceiver and array himself against God. Consider your course critically before you venture to go any further in the path you are traveling. The Jews were self-deceived. They rejected the teachings of Christ because He exposed the secrets of their hearts and reproved their sins. They would not come to the light, fearing that their deeds would be reproved. They chose darkness rather than light. [John 3:19 quoted.] The Jews pursued their course of rejecting Christ until, in their self-deceived, deluded state, they thought that in crucifying Him they were doing God service. This was the result of their refusing light.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 230.
2 What further description is given regarding the condition of the unconverted? Ephesians 2:11, 12. In Christ what change is effected? Verse 13.
note: “As in the days of Christ, the enemy of God works constantly to lead men to place the will in his control, that God may be forgotten. He knows that if this is done, he can control the whole man. He tempts men in many ways to forget their Creator. To some he offers tobacco and alcoholic drinks. Others he tempts by pointing them to their own degradation and helplessness. Those who yield to his temptations can have no conception of the love of God. The will becomes enslaved, bound to pursue a course which the word of God does not justify. Reason is enfeebled; the power to distinguish between right and wrong is lost; sacred and eternal realities are estimated as of less value than gold, silver, houses, lands, and bank stock. The love of God fades from the mind; and the captives in the tempter’s power live on, ‘having no hope, and without God in the world,’ because they do not behold the Lamb of God. [Ephesians 2:12.]” The Signs of the Times, November 19, 1896.
3 From what has the Christian been delivered? Colossians 1:12, 13. Compare Matthew 4:16.
note: “The light of prophecy still burns for the guidance of souls, saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it.’ [Isaiah 30:21.] It shines on the pathway of the just to commend, and on the way of the unjust to lead to repentance and conversion. Through its agency sin will be rebuked and iniquity unmasked. It is progressive in the performance of its duty to reflect light on the past, the present, and the future.
“If those who have received the light will appreciate and respect the testimonies of the Lord, they will see the religious life in a new light. They will be convicted. They will see the key that unlocks the mysteries that they have never understood. They will lay hold of the precious things that God has given them to profit withal and will be translated from the kingdom of darkness into God’s marvelous light.” My Life Today, 42.
4 What admonition is given to those who have thus been brought out of darkness? John 12:35, 36.
note: “The souls who love God, who believe in Christ, and who eagerly grasp every ray of light, will see light, and rejoice in the truth. They will communicate the light. They will grow in holiness. Those who receive the Holy Spirit will feel the chilling atmosphere that surrounds the souls of others by whom these great and solemn realities are unappreciated and spoken against. They feel that they are in the council of the ungodly, of men who stand in the way of sinners, and sit in the seat of the scornful. . . .
“The Spirit of God is departing from many among His people. Many have entered into dark, secret paths, and some will never return. They will continue to stumble to their ruin. They have tempted God, they have rejected light. All the evidence that will ever be given them they have received, and have not heeded. They have chosen darkness rather than light, and have defiled their souls.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 90, 91.
5 To what are believers of truth called? 1 Peter 5:10. Compare 11 Thessalonians 2:13.
note: “Do we believe in Christ? Do we believe that he laid aside his glory, his majesty, his high command, his royal robes, to become a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief? Then how can we sin against him? How can we grieve the Holy Spirit of God? How can we bruise Jesus, and put him to an open shame? If you were eating of his flesh and drinking of his blood, you would not do this. Christ has presented before us eternal life, but we can have it only by thorough identification with Christ, by showing that Christ’s life is woven into our experience, that we have passed from death unto life.” Review and Herald, April 21, 1891.
6 To what fellowship are believers called? 1 Corinthians 1:9; Philippians 3:10.
note: “The true Christian keeps the windows of the soul open heavenward. He lives in fellowship with Christ. His will is conformed to the will of Christ. His highest desire is to become more and more Christlike . . . .
“The only way to gain peace and joy is to have a living connection with Him who gave His life for us, who died that we might live, and who lives to unite His power with the efforts of those who are striving to overcome.” In Heavenly Places, 33.
7 With whom are believers heirs? To what extent? Romans 8:17. Compare John 17:24.
note: “To man is granted the privilege of becoming an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ. To those who have been thus exalted, are unfolded the unsearchable riches of Christ, which are of a thousandfold more value than the wealth of the world. Thus, through the merits of Jesus Christ, finite man is elevated to fellowship with God and with His dear Son.” The Sanctified Life, 17.
8 What standard of spiritual experience is set before the believers? 1 Peter 1:15, 16.
note: “The grace of Christ is to control the temper and the voice. Its working will be seen in politeness and tender regard shown by brother for brother, in kind, encouraging words. An angel presence is in the home. The life breathes a sweet perfume, which ascends to God as holy incense. Love is manifested in kindness, gentleness, forbearance, and long-suffering.
“The countenance is changed. Christ abiding in the heart shines out in the faces of those who love Him and keep His commandments. Truth is written there. The sweet peace of heaven is revealed. There is expressed a habitual gentleness, a more than human love.
“The leaven of truth works a change in the whole man, making the coarse refined, the rough gentle, the selfish generous.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 102.
9 By what are we as Christian believers justified? Romans 3:20–22; Acts 13:39.
note: “We must center our hopes of heaven upon Christ alone, because he is our substitute and surety. We have transgressed the law of God, and by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified. The best efforts that man in his own strength can make, are valueless to meet the holy and just law that he has transgressed; but through faith in Christ he may claim the righteousness of the Son of God as all-sufficient. Christ satisfied the demands of the law in his human nature. He bore the curse of the law for the sinner, made an atonement for him, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Genuine faith appropriates the righteousness of Christ, and the sinner is made an overcomer with Christ; for he is made a partaker of the divine nature, and thus divinity and humanity are combined.” Review and Herald, July 1, 1890.
10 To what important work are we as Christians called? Luke 24:45–48; Acts 1:8.
note: “God has given us the gift of speech that we may recite to others the dealing of God with us, that his love and compassion may touch their hearts, and that praise may also arise from their souls to him who hath called them out of darkness into his marvelous light. The Lord has said, ‘Ye are my witnesses.’ [Isaiah 43:10.] But all who are called to be witnesses for Christ must learn of him, that they maybe efficient witnesses.” Christian Education, 129.
11 What high position do believers occupy? 11 Corinthians 5:20.
note: “Since His ascension, Christ the great Head of the church, has carried forward His work in the world by chosen ambassadors, through whom He speaks to the children of men, and ministers to their needs.” Gospel Workers, 13.
12 What command is given to all Christians? Matthew 5:14–16.
note: “God might have committed the message of the gospel, and all the work of loving ministry, to the heavenly angels. He might have employed other means for accomplishing His purpose. But in His infinite love He chose to make us co-workers with Himself, with Christ and the angels, that we might share the blessing, the joy, the spiritual uplifting, which results from this unselfish ministry.” Steps to Christ, 79.
These lessons are adapted from the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, October, 1912.