June 11, 2006 – June 17, 2006
“So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:33.
Study Help: In Heavenly Places, 300.
“How many have come to Christ, ready to cast their interests in with his, and, like the rich young ruler, earnestly desiring to inherit eternal life! But when the cost is presented to them,—when they are told that they must forsake all, houses and lands, wife and children, and count not their lives dear unto themselves,—they go away sorrowful. They want the treasures of heaven, and the life that measures with the life of God, but they are not willing to give up their earthly treasures. They are not willing to surrender all to obtain the crown of life.” Review and Herald, April 19, 1898.
1 Of what does godliness have promise? 1 Timothy 4:8.
note: “ ‘What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?’ Mark 8:36, 37.
“This is a question that demands consideration by every parent, every teacher, every student—by every human being, young or old. No scheme of business or plan of life can be sound or complete that embraces only the brief years of this present life and makes no provision for the unending future. Let the youth be taught to take eternity into their reckoning. Let them be taught to choose the principles and seek the possessions that are enduring—to lay up for themselves that ‘treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth;’ to make to themselves friends ‘by means of the mammon of unrighteousness,’ that when it shall fail, these may receive them ‘into the eternal tabernacles.’ Luke 12:33; 16:9, R.V.
“All who do this are making the best possible preparation for life in this world. No man can lay up treasure in heaven without finding his life on earth thereby enriched and ennobled.” Education, 145.
2 How much should a man forsake to be a true follower of Christ? Luke 14:33.
note: “In giving ourselves to God, we must necessarily give up all that would separate us from Him. . . . Whatever shall draw away the heart from God must be given up. Mammon is the idol of many. The love of money, the desire for wealth, is the golden chain that binds them to Satan. Reputation and worldly honor are worshiped by another class. The life of selfish ease and freedom from responsibility is the idol of others. But these slavish bands must be broken. We cannot be half the Lord’s and half the world’s. We are not God’s children unless we are such entirely.” Steps to Christ, 44.
3 How extensive is the promise to all who forsake everything to be true followers of Christ? Mark 10:29, 30.
note: “Here is the reward for those who sacrifice for God. They receive an hundred-fold in this life, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many, I [Ellen White] saw, that are first, shall be last, and the last shall be first. I was shown those who receive the truth, but do not live it. They cling to their possessions, and are not willing to distribute of their substance to advance the cause of God. They have no faith to venture and trust God. Their love of this world swallows up their faith. God has called for a portion of their substance, but they heed it not. They reason thus, that they have labored hard to obtain what they have, and they cannot lend it to the Lord, for they may come to want. ‘O, ye of little faith!’ [Luke 12:28.] That God who cared for Elijah in the time of famine, will not pass by one of his self-sacrificing children. He that has numbered the hairs of their heads, will care for them, and in the days of famine they will be satisfied. While the wicked are perishing all around them for want of bread, their bread and water will be sure. Those who will still cling to their earthly treasure, and will not make a right disposition of that which is lent them of God, will lose their treasure in heaven, lose everlasting life.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 243, 244.
4 How long will such followers of Christ be in remembrance? Psalm 112:5, 6.
note: “When a man dies, his influence does not die with him; but it lives on, reproducing itself. The influence of the man who was good and pure and holy lives on after his death, like the glow of the descending sun, casting its glories athwart the heavens, lighting up the mountain peaks long after the sun has sunk behind the hill. So will the works of the pure and the holy and the good reflect their light when they no longer live to speak and act themselves. Their works, their words, their example will forever live. . . .
“But what a contrast to this is the life of those who are earthly, sensual, devilish! The sensual pleasure was indulged. In the light of the judgment, the man appears as he is, stripped of the livery of heaven. He stands before others as he is in the sight of a holy God. Let every one of us think seriously whether the works following us will be the mellow light of heaven or the shadows of darkness, and whether the legacies we bequeath are those of blessings or curses.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 429.
5 In what manner does real devotion manifest itself? Acts 10:1, 2.
note: “Cornelius was a man of wealth and noble birth. His position was one of trust and honor. A heathen by birth, training, and education, through contact with the Jews he had gained a knowledge of God, and he worshiped him with a true heart, showing the sincerity of his faith by compassion to the poor. He was known far and near for his beneficence, and his righteous life made him of good repute among both Jews and Gentiles. His influence was a blessing to all with whom he came in contact. . . .
“Believing in God as the Creator of heaven and earth, Cornelius revered him, acknowledged his authority, and sought his counsel in all the affairs of life. He was faithful to Jehovah in his home life as well as in his official duties, and had erected the altar of God in his home. He dared not attempt to carry out his plans or to bear his responsibilities without the help of God, and for that help he prayed earnestly.” Review and Herald, April 6, 1911.
“Tho Cornelius was a Roman, he had become acquainted with the true God, and had renounced idolatry. He was obedient to the will of God, and worshiped Him with a true heart. He had not connected himself with the Jews, but was acquainted with the moral law, and was obedient to its precepts. He had not been circumcised, nor did he take part in the sacrificial service; he was therefore regarded by the Jews as unclean. However, he made liberal gifts to sustain the Jewish worship, and was known far and near for his charity and beneficence. His righteous life made him of good repute, among both Jews and Gentiles. Cornelius had not an understanding faith in Christ, tho he believed the prophecies, and was looking for the Messiah to come. Through his love and obedience to God, he was brought nigh unto Him, and was prepared to receive the Saviour when He should be revealed to him. It is rejection of the light given that brings condemnation.” The Signs of the Times, April 6, 1904.
6 How is such devotion of mingled almsgiving and prayer regarded by God? Acts 10:3, 4.
note: “Those churches who are the most systematic and liberal in sustaining the cause of God are the most prosperous spiritually. True liberality in the follower of Christ identifies his interest with that of his Master. In God’s dealing with the Jews and His people to the end of time, He requires systematic benevolence proportionate to their income. The plan of salvation was laid by the infinite sacrifice of the Son of God. The light of the gospel shining from the cross of Christ rebukes selfishness and encourages liberality and benevolence. It is not to be a lamented fact that there are increasing calls to give. God in His providence is calling His people out from their limited sphere of action to enter upon greater enterprises. Unlimited effort is demanded at this time when moral darkness is covering the world. Worldliness and covetousness are eating out the vitals of God’s people. They should understand that it is His mercy which multiplies the demands for their means. The angel of God places benevolent acts close beside prayer. . . .
“The spiritual health and prosperity of the church is dependent in a great degree upon her systematic benevolence. It is like the lifeblood which must flow through the whole being, vitalizing every member of the body. It increases love for the souls of our fellow men; for by self-denial and self-sacrifice we are brought into a closer relation to Christ, who for our sakes became poor.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 405.
7 What instruction did the angel give Cornelius? Acts 10:5, 6. What do we learn from this circumstance?
note: “The explicitness of these directions, in which was named even the occupation of the man with whom Peter was staying, shows that Heaven is acquainted with the history and business of men in every station of life. God is familiar with the experience and work of the humble laborer, as well as with that of the king upon his throne. . . .
“God gave evidence of His regard for the gospel ministry and for His organized church. The angel was not commissioned to tell Cornelius the story of the cross. A man subject, even as the centurion himself, to human frailties and temptations, was to be the one to tell him of the crucified and risen Saviour.” The Acts of the Apostles, 133, 134.
8 After the healing of Simon from his leprosy, what did he do in honor of Christ? Mark 14:3; John 12:2.
note: “Simon of Bethany was accounted a disciple of Jesus. He was one of the few Pharisees who had openly joined Christ’s followers. He acknowledged Jesus as a teacher, and hoped that He might be the Messiah, but he had not accepted Him as a Saviour. His character was not transformed; his principles were unchanged.
“Simon had been healed of the leprosy, and it was this that had drawn him to Jesus. He desired to show his gratitude, and at Christ’s last visit to Bethany he made a feast for the Saviour and His disciples. This feast brought together many of the Jews. . . .
“Jesus and His friends were invited to Simon’s feast. At the table the Saviour sat with Simon, whom He had cured of a loathsome disease, on one side, and Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead, on the other. Martha served at the table, but Mary was earnestly listening to every word from the lips of Jesus.” The Desire of Ages, 557–559.
9 What scene transpired while Jesus sat at meat? John 12:3; Luke 7:38; Mark 14:3.
note: “There are gifts that we rightly proportion to the character and necessities of the ones upon whom we bestow them. Not many of the poor would appreciate Mary’s offering, or our Lord’s sacrifice of Himself, which gift was the highest that could be given. That ointment was a symbol of the overflowing heart of the giver. It was an outward demonstration of a love fed by heavenly streams until it overflowed. And that ointment of Mary, which the disciples called waste, is repeating itself a thousand times in the susceptible hearts of others.
“The Lord God is profuse in His gifts to our world. The question may be asked, Why does the Lord show such waste, such extravagance in the multitude of His gifts that cannot be enumerated? The Lord would be so bountiful toward His human family that it cannot be said of Him that He could do more. When He gave Jesus to our world, He gave all heaven. His love is without a parallel. It did not stop short of anything. . . .
“To human reasoning the whole plan of salvation is a waste of mercies and resources. They are provided to accomplish the restoration of the moral image of God in man. The atonement is abundantly able to secure to all who will receive it, mansions in heaven. The supposed prodigality of Mary is an illustration of the methods of God in the plan of salvation; for nature and grace, related to each other, manifest the ennobling fullness of the Source from which they flow (MS 28, 1897).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1101.