December 9 – 15, 2001
“Except a Man be Born Again”
MEMORY VERSE: “Jesus answered and said unto him, ‘Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” John 3:3
STUDY HELP: Christ’s Object Lessons, 98–102.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “Born again means a transformation, a new birth in Christ Jesus.” The Adventist Home, 206.
“All are not constituted alike. Conversions are not all alike. Jesus impresses the heart, and the sinner is born again to new life. Often souls have been drawn to Christ when there was no violent conviction, no soul rending, no remorseful terrors. They looked upon an uplifted Saviour; they lived. They saw the soul’s need; they saw the Saviour’s sufficiency and His claims; they heard His voice saying, ‘Follow Me,’ and they rose up and followed Him. This conversion was genuine, and the religious life was just as decided as was that of others who suffered all the agony of a violent process.” Evangelism, 287, 288.
“O Wretched Man that I Am!”
1 What must each of us admit before we can be born again? Romans 7:18. Compare Ephesians 2:2, 3.
NOTE: See Steps to Christ, 19.
2 How does Jeremiah state the impossibility of a person transforming himself? Jeremiah 13:23.
NOTE: “Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them.… Education, culture, the exercise of the will, human effort, all have their proper sphere, but here they are powerless. They may produce an outward correctness of behavior, but they cannot change the heart; they cannot purify the springs of life. There must be a power working from within, a new life from above, before men can be changed from sin to holiness. That power is Christ. His grace alone can quicken the lifeless faculties of the soul, and attract it to God, to holiness.” God’s Amazing Grace, 120.
“Through Jesus Christ Our Lord”
3 What is the only remedy for the soul’s sickness? Romans 7:24, 25, first part.
NOTE: “The converting power of God can transform inherited and cultivated tendencies; for the religion of Jesus is uplifting. ‘Born again’ means a transformation, a new birth in Christ Jesus.” The Adventist Home, 206.
“The change of heart represented by the new birth can be brought about only by the effectual working of the Holy Spirit.…Pride and self-love resist the Spirit of God; every natural inclination of the soul opposes the change from self-importance and pride to the meekness and lowliness of Christ. But if we would travel in the pathway to eternal life, we must not listen to the whispering of self. In humility and contrition we must beseech our heavenly Father, ‘Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.’ Psalm 51:10. As we receive divine light, and cooperate with the heavenly intelligences, we are ‘born again,’ freed from the defilement of sin by the power of Christ. The mighty power of the Holy Spirit works an entire transformation in the character of the human agent, making him a new creature in Christ Jesus.” The Faith I Live By, 137.
4 How does Paul describe the change that God makes through Christ? Ephesians 2:4–6. Compare Ephesians 1:3–6.
NOTE: “We must each become acquainted with Christ in order properly to represent Him to the world. ‘His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue’ (2 Peter 1:3). None of us need excuse our hasty temper, our misshapen characters, our selfishness, envy, jealousy, or any impurity of soul, body, or spirit.…We must learn of Christ. We must know what He is to those He has ransomed. We must realize that through belief in Him it is our privilege to be partakers of the divine nature, and so escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. Then we are cleansed from all sin, all defects of character. We need not retain one sinful propensity. As we partake of the divine nature, hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong are cut away from the character, and we are made a living power for good. Ever learning of the divine Teacher, daily partaking of His nature, we cooperate with God in overcoming Satan’s temptations. God works, and man works, that man may be one with Christ as Christ is one with God. Then we sit together with Christ in heavenly places. The mind rests with peace and assurance in Jesus.…In Him there is inexhaustible fullness.…God has given us every facility, every grace. He has provided the riches of heaven’s treasure, and it is our privilege to draw continually from this capital.” God’s Amazing Grace, 235.
“A Living Sacrifice”
5 What part must we play in the work of conversion? Romans 12:1. Compare Psalm 50:5.
NOTE: See Early Writings, 66.
6 What precious gifts will this sacrifice buy for us? Revelation 3:18.
NOTE: “Buy faith and love, the precious, beautiful attributes of our Redeemer.…He invites us to buy the white raiment, which is His glorious righteousness; and the eyesalve, that we may discern spiritual things. Oh, shall we not open the heart’s door to this heavenly visitor? We cannot provide a robe of righteousness for ourselves, for the prophet says, ‘All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.’ Isaiah 64:6. There is nothing in us from which we can clothe the soul so that its nakedness shall not appear. We are to receive the robe of righteousness woven in the loom of heaven, even the spotless robe of Christ’s righteousness. The eye is the sensitive conscience, the inner light, of the mind. Upon its correct view of things the spiritual healthfulness of the whole soul and being depends. The ‘eyesalve,’ the Word of God, makes the conscience smart under its application, for it convicts of sin. But the smarting is necessary that the healing may follow, and the eye be single to the glory of God.…Says Christ, By renouncing your own self-sufficiency, giving up all things, however dear to you, you may buy the gold, the raiment, and the eyesalve that you may see.” Our High Calling, 350.
“Crucified with Christ”
7 How does Paul describe this living sacrifice? Galatians 2:20.
NOTE: “God will accept nothing less than unreserved surrender. Half-hearted, sinful Christians can never enter heaven. There they would find no happiness; for they know nothing of the high, holy principles that govern the members of the royal family. 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.…Earnestly and untiringly we are to strive to reach God’s ideal for us. Not as a penance are we to do this, but as the only means of gaining true happiness. 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.” This Day With God, 145.
8 What change will this sacrifice of self work in us? Romans 12:2.
NOTE: “The transforming power of Christ’s grace molds the one who gives himself to God’s service. Imbued with the Spirit of the Redeemer, he is ready to deny self, ready to take up the cross, ready to make any sacrifice for the Master. No longer can he be indifferent to the souls perishing around him. He is lifted above self-serving. He has been created anew in Christ, and self-serving has no place in his life. He realizes that every part of his being belongs to Christ, who has redeemed him from the slavery of sin; that every moment of his future has been bought with the precious lifeblood of God’s only-begotten Son.” Lift Him Up, 58.
“Christ came to restore to its original loveliness a world ruined by sin.…In the new earth there will be no sin nor disease.…And the body will be restored to its original perfection. We shall wear the spotless image of our Lord.…As the heart becomes transformed by the renewing of the mind, the graces of the Spirit leave their impress on the face, and it expresses the refinement, delicacy, peace, benevolence, and pure and tender love that reign in the heart.” My Life Today, 153.
“A New Heart Will I Give You”
9 How is the contrast between the sinner and the converted soul described? Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26, 27.
NOTE: “Be not discouraged because your heart seems hard. Every obstacle, every internal foe, only increases your need of Christ. He came to take away the heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh. Look to Him for special grace to overcome your peculiar faults. When assailed by temptation, steadfastly resist the evil promptings.…Cry to the dear Saviour for help to sacrifice every idol and to put away every darling sin. Let the eye of faith see Jesus standing before the Father’s throne, presenting His wounded hands as He pleads for you. Believe that strength comes to you through your precious Saviour.” God’s Amazing Grace, 84.
10 What plea does the Lord make to His people? Ezekiel 18:31, 32.
NOTE: See Prophets and Kings, 325.
“Create in Me a Clean Heart”
11 What prayer of David’s should also be ours? Psalm 51:10. Compare Matthew 23:25–28.
NOTE: “Unless the mind of God becomes the mind of man, every effort to purify himself will be useless; for it is impossible to elevate man except through a knowledge of God. The outward gloss may be put on, and men may be as were the Pharisees whom Jesus describes as ‘whited sepulchres,’ full of corruption and dead men’s bones. But all the deformity of the soul is open to Him who judgeth righteously, and unless the truth is planted in the heart, it cannot control the life. Cleansing the outside of the cup will never make the vessel pure within. A nominal acceptance of truth is good as far as it goes, and the ability to give a reason for our faith is a good accomplishment, but if the truth does not go deeper than this, the soul will never be saved.” Our High Calling, 142.
12 What prayer must accompany our desire for a new heart? Psalm 139:23, 24.
NOTE: “The Lord Jesus has given man an example in His own life. For the selfish heart of sin, He gives the new heart of love. He changes the heart, and produces an entire revolution in the soul. He brings light out of darkness, love out of enmity, and holiness out of impurity, that those who believe in Christ may represent Christ’s life and character to the world.” Testimonies to Southern Africa, 39.
“If Christ is abiding in the heart, He will be in all our thoughts. Our deepest thoughts will be of Him, His love, His purity. He will fill all the chambers of the mind. Our affections will center about Jesus. All our hopes and expectations will be associated with Him. To live the life we now live by faith in the Son of God, looking forward to and loving His appearing, will be the soul’s highest joy. ” In Heavenly Places, 163.
By Gordon Anderson