August 20-26, 2000
MEMORY VERSE: “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24, 25.
STUDY HELP: Acts of the Apostles, 9–13.
INTRODUCTION: “The church is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. It was organized for service, and its mission is to carry the gospel to the world. From the beginning it has been God’s plan that through His church shall be reflected to the world His fullness and His sufficiency. The members of the church, those whom He has called out of darkness into His marvelous light, are to show forth His glory. The church is the repository of the riches of the grace of Christ; and through the church will eventually be made manifest, even to ‘the principalities and powers in heavenly places,’ the final and full display of the love of God. Ephesians 3:10.” Acts of the Apostles, 9.
“Till We All Come in the Unity of the Faith”
1 Before the Holy Spirit could be poured out upon the church, what change had to take place among them? Acts 2:1. (Compare Acts 2:44, 45; 4:32.)
NOTE: See Desire of Ages, 827.
2 What was Paul’s desire for the members of the church? Philippians 2:1–5; 1 Corinthians 1:10.
NOTE: “Notice that it was after the disciples had come into perfect unity, when they were no longer striving for the highest place, that the Spirit was poured out. They were of one accord. All differences had been put away. And the testimony borne of them after the Spirit had been given is the same. Mark the word: ‘The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul.’ The Spirit of Him who died that sinners might live, animated the entire congregation of believers. The disciples did not ask for a blessing for themselves. They were weighted with the burden of souls. The gospel was to be carried to the ends of the earth, and they claimed the endowment of power that Christ had promised. Then it was that the Holy Spirit was poured out, and thousands were converted in a day. When we have entire, wholehearted consecration to the service of Christ, God will recognize the fact by an outpouring of His Spirit without measure; but this will not be while the largest portion of the church are not laborers together with God.” Evangelism, 698, 699.
“All That Believed Were Together”
3 How does Paul describe the blessing he and others received from fellowship with believers? Romans 15:32; 2 Corinthians 7:13; Philippians 1:25–26.
NOTE: See Gospel Workers, 1892, 242.
4 What blessing can reports of missionary activity bring to the church? Acts 15:3.
NOTE: See The Adventist Home, 487.
“We Are Laborers Together With God”
5 How does Paul describe the importance of co-operation among the members of the church? Ephesians 4:16; Philippians 1:27.
NOTE: “There is variety in the human body, from the eyes to the feet. Yet all these members are dependent upon one another to make a perfect whole. In all the variety composing the human body, there is harmonious action in conformity to the laws controlling the being….By the figure of the vine and the branches Christ illustrated not only the relation that should exist between Him and His followers but also the union between every believer and his fellow–believer. The branches of the vine are related to each other; but they are not alike. Each has its own individuality, which cannot be merged into that of another, but all have a special connection with each other. The root that supplies nourishment to one branch supplies nourishment to every other branch. Each must depend alike on the vine for sustenance; all must be joined to the parent stalk. The life and growth and faithfulness of each depend alike on the parent vine. In obedience to the laws of nature, their common hold of the true vine makes them one; in their diversity there is unity….It is not the purpose of God to centralize in this way, bringing all the interests of one branch of the work under the management of a comparatively few men. In His great purpose of advancing the cause of truth in the earth, He designs that every part of His work shall blend with every other part. The workers are to draw together in the Spirit of Christ. In their diversity, they are to preserve unity…. They are to work in sympathy and love, with entire confidence in one another….The law of co-operation is the great one work in reciprocal influence. There is to be no kingly power, one man controlling the whole. All influences are brought to bear one upon the other in revealing Christ and the cross to a world that is perishing in sin and iniquity.” Manuscript Releases vol. 5, 361–364.
6 What examples are we given of co-operation among God’s workers? Acts 8:5, 12, 14, 15; 1 Corinthians 3:6–9.
NOTE: “God’s servants are to work together, blending in kindly, courteous order, ‘in honor preferring one another.’ Romans 12:10. There is to be no unkind criticism, no pulling to pieces of another’s work; and there are to be no separate parties. Every man to whom the Lord has entrusted a message has his specific work. Each one has an individuality of his own, which he is not to sink in that of any other man. Yet each is to work in harmony with his brethren. In their service God’s workers are to be essentially one. No one is to set himself up as a criterion, speaking disrespectfully of his fellow workers or treating them as inferior. Under God each is to do his appointed work, respected, loved, and encouraged by the other laborers. Together they are to carry the work forward to completion.” Acts of the Apostles, 275.
“Many Were Gathered Together Praying”
7 What precious promises does Christ make to those who assemble together to pray? Matthew 18:19, 20.
NOTE: “Here are the great cities in England and on the continent with their millions of inhabitants that have not yet heard the last warning message. How are these to be warned? If the people of God would only exercise faith, He would work in a wonderful manner to accomplish this work. Hear the words of Christ: ‘If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven.’ Precious promise! Do we believe it? What marvelous results would appear if the united prayers of this company were to ascend to God in living faith! Jesus stands ready to take these petitions and present them to His Father, saying, ‘I know these persons by name. Send answers to their prayers; for I have graven their names on the palms of My hands.’” Evangelism, 414.
8 What examples are we given of the power manifested when the church meets for prayer? Acts 4:31, 12:5–17, 16:25, 26. (See also Romans 15:30, and 2 Corinthians 1:11.)
NOTE: “Those who are really representatives of Christ are working for the good of others. They delight in advancing the cause of God both at home and abroad. They are seen and heard, and their influence is felt, at the prayer meeting….They do not seek to exalt self, or to receive credit for doing a great work, but labor humbly, meekly, faithfully, doing small errands or doing a greater work, if necessary, because Christ has done so much for them.” Christian Service, 244.
“The Lord has promised that where two or three are met together in His name, there will He be in the midst. Those who meet together for prayer will receive an unction from the Holy One. There is great need of secret prayer, but there is also need that several Christians meet together and unite with earnestness their petitions to God. Seek every opportunity to go where prayer is wont to be made. Those who are really seeking for communion with God will be seen in the prayer meeting, faithful to do their duty, and earnest and anxious to reap all the benefits they can gain. They will improve every opportunity of placing themselves where they can receive the rays of light from heaven. We meet together to edify one another by an interchange of thoughts and feelings, to gather strength, and light, and courage by becoming acquainted with one another’s hopes and aspirations; and by our earnest, heartfelt prayers, offered up in faith, we receive refreshment and vigor from the Source of our strength. These meetings should be most precious seasons.” In Heavenly Places, 91.
“The Disciples Were Called Christians”
9 What special name was given to the early church by the people of Antioch? Acts 11:26. (See also Acts 26:28.)
NOTE: “The name was given them because Christ was the main theme of their preaching, their teaching, and their conversation. Continually they were recounting the incidents that had occurred during the days of His earthly ministry, when His disciples were blessed with His personal presence. Untiringly they dwelt upon His teachings and His miracles of healing. With quivering lips and tearful eyes they spoke of His agony in the garden, His betrayal, trial, and execution, the forbearance and humility with which He had endured the contumely and torture imposed upon Him by His enemies, and the Godlike pity with which He had prayed for those who persecuted Him. His resurrection and ascension, and His work in heaven as the Mediator for fallen man, were topics on which they rejoiced to dwell. Well might the heathen call them Christians, since they preached Christ and addressed their prayers to God through Him.” Acts of the Apostles, 157.
10 What does it really mean to be a Christian? Colossians 3:12–17.
NOTE: “Those professed Christians who are constantly whining and complaining, and who seem to think happiness and a cheerful countenance a sin, have not the genuine article of religion.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 334.
See also The Adventist Home, 431 and Messages to Young People, 363.
“The Assembling of Yourselves Together”
11 What counsel does Paul give to those tempted to absent themselves from meetings of God’s people? Hebrews 10:25. (See also Malachi 3:16, 17.)
NOTE: “A book of remembrance is written of those who do not forsake the assembling of themselves together, but speak often one to another. The remnant are to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. Some expect to overcome alone by the blood of the Lamb, without making any special effort of their own. I saw that God has been merciful in giving us the power of speech. He has given us a tongue, and we are accountable to Him for its use. We should glorify God with our mouth, speaking in honor of the truth and of His unbounded mercy, and overcome by the word of our testimony through the blood of the Lamb. We should not come together to remain silent; those only are remembered of the Lord who assemble to speak of His honor and glory and tell of His power; upon such the blessing of God will rest, and they will be refreshed.” Early Writings, 114.
12 What is the purpose of such meetings? Hebrews 10:24.
NOTE: “Make earnest and determined efforts to be to every meeting possible. The divine direction is, ‘Forsake not the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is, but so much the more as you see the day approaching.’ You are to be found among the little few who meet to worship God. The help of every soul who loves the truth is needed to bear testimony of the truth and act as missionaries of God, home missionaries to strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die. Every jot of influence from Christ’s soldiers is now called for on the Lord’s side. Where two or three are assembled together in My name, there am I in the midst and that to bless. Then if we allow ourselves to be hindered by supposed excuses, the enemy will have a hand in creating circumstances so that we shall not be present where Jesus meets to bless His worshipers.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 105, 106.