April 24, 2004 – April 30, 2004
“Blessed [is] the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” James 1:12.
Suggested Reading: Testimonies, vol. 4, 84–89; The Acts of the Apostles, 467, 468, 529–538.
“The trials to which Christians are subjected in sorrow, adversity, and reproach are the means appointed of God to separate the chaff from the wheat. Our pride, selfishness, evil passions, and love of worldly pleasure must all be overcome; therefore God sends us afflictions to test and prove us, and show us that these evils exist in our characters. We must overcome through His strength and grace, that we may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. . . . Afflictions, crosses, temptations, adversity, and our varied trials are God’s workmen to refine us, sanctify us, and fit us for the heavenly garner.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 115.
1 What did the Saviour warn the disciples that they would encounter in the world? What exhortation is given? John 16:32, 33.
note: “God sends trials to prove who will stand faithful under temptation. He brings us into trying positions to see if we will trust in a power out of and above ourselves. Everyone has undiscovered traits of character that must come to light through trial. God allows those who are self-sufficient to be sorely tempted that they may understand their helplessness. He suffers the deep waters of affliction to go over our souls, in order that we may know Him and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, in order that we may have deep heart longings to be cleansed from defilement, and may come forth from the trial purer, holier, happier. Often we enter the furnace of affliction with our souls darkened with selfishness; but if patient under the crucial test, we shall come forth reflecting the divine character.” In Heavenly Places, 279.
2 What examples of such trials are recorded? Hebrews 11:36–39.
note: “The history of the early church testified to the fulfillment of the Saviour’s words. The powers of earth and hell arrayed themselves against Christ in the person of His followers. Paganism foresaw that should the gospel triumph, her temples and altars would be swept away; therefore she summoned her forces to destroy Christianity. The fires of persecution were kindled. Christians were stripped of their possessions and driven from their homes. They ‘endured a great fight of afflictions.’ Hebrews 10:32. [Hebrews 11:36 quoted.] Great numbers sealed their testimony with their blood. Noble and slave, rich and poor, learned and ignorant, were alike slain without mercy.” The Great Controversy, 39, 40.
3 How should we relate ourselves to trials? Romans 12:12. Compare Hebrews 10:32–34.
note: “God desires us to be patient in tribulation and affliction, content to rest in His great arms of infinite love, believing that He is working for us all the time. It is our privilege to be joyful in the Lord. Let us praise Him more. By our joyfulness we reveal that our life is hid with Christ in God, that in Him we find the most blessed companionship, and that through His grace we have a living connection with heaven.” In Heavenly Places, 246.
4 What example is left us in this matter? 1 Peter 2:21–23.
note: “Christ submitted to insult and mockery, contempt and ridicule. He heard His message, which was fraught with love and goodness and mercy, misstated and misapplied. He heard Himself called the prince of demons, because He testified to His divine Sonship. His birth was supernatural, but by His own nation, those who had blinded their eyes to spiritual things, it was regarded as a blot and a stain. There was not a drop of our bitter woe which He did not taste, not a part of our curse which He did not endure, that He might bring many sons and daughters to God.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 253.
5 To whom is salvation promised? James 1:12; Revelation 2:10.
note: “God’s Word declares, ‘Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried’ (Daniel 12:10). Only he who endures the trial will receive the crown of life.” That I May Know Him, 282.
6 What exhortation is given to those who are chastened? Why? What promise is given to those who endure? Hebrews 12:5–7.
note: “The Lord can bring victory out of that which may seem to us discomfiture and defeat. We are in danger of forgetting God, of looking at the things which are seen, instead of beholding by the eye of faith the things which are unseen. When misfortune or calamity comes, we are ready to charge God with neglect or cruelty. If He sees fit to cut off our usefulness in some line, we mourn, not stopping to think that thus God may be working for our good. We need to learn that chastisement is a part of His great plan and that under the rod of affliction the Christian may sometimes do more for the Master than when engaged in active service.” The Acts of the Apostles, 481.
7 How is patience, or steadfastness, developed? Romans 5:1–3; James 1:2, 3.
note: “Not in freedom from trial, but in the midst of it, is Christian character developed. Exposure to rebuffs and opposition leads the follower of Christ to greater watchfulness and more earnest prayer to the mighty Helper. Severe trial endured by the grace of God develops patience, vigilance, fortitude, and a deep and abiding trust in God. It is the triumph of the Christian faith that it enables its follower to suffer and be strong; to submit, and thus to conquer; to be killed all the day long, and yet to live; to bear the cross, and thus to win the crown of glory.” The Acts of the Apostles, 467, 468.
8 What value is placed on the trying, or proving, of our faith? 1 Peter 1:6, 7.
note: “ ‘Stars shine brightest in the darkest night; torches are the better for beating; grapes come not to the proof till they come to the press; spices smell sweetest when pounded; young trees root the faster for shaking; vines are the better for bleeding; gold looks the brighter for scouring; glowworms glisten best in the dark; juniper smells sweetest in the fire; pomander becomes most fragrant for chasing; the palm-tree proves the better for pressing; chamomile, the more you tread it; the more you spread it. Such is the condition of all God’s children; they are the most triumphant when most tempted, most glorious when most afflicted, most in the favor of God when least in man’s; as their conflicts, so their conquests; as their tribulations, so their triumphs.’—Spencer.” Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, 1912, 13.
9 What instruction is given concerning the value of afflictions? Psalm 119:67, 71.
note: “We must not think when we are afflicted that the anger of the Lord is upon us. God brings us into trials in order that we may be drawn near to Him. The psalmist says, ‘Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all’ (Psalm 34:19). He does not desire us to be under a cloud. . . . He does not desire us to go in anguish of spirit. We are not to look at the thorns and the thistles in our experience. We are to go into the garden of God’s Word and pluck the lilies and roses and the fragrant pinks of His promises.” That I May Know Him, 278.
“The trials and losses that come to you are to purify and refine you, and fit you for immortality.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 7, 140.
10 What does the Lord minister to us when we are afflicted? Why? 11 Corinthians 1:3–5.
note: “As Paul felt the comfort and warmth of God’s love breaking into his soul, he reflected the blessing upon others. Let us so order our conduct that the pictures hung upon the walls of our memory may not be of such a character that we cannot endure to reflect upon them.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 489.
“It was through suffering that Jesus obtained the ministry of consolation. In all the affliction of humanity He is afflicted; and ‘in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted.’ Isaiah 63:9; Hebrews 2:18. In this ministry every soul that has entered into the fellowship of His sufferings is privileged to share.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 13.
11 What did Jesus leave with His children when He left the world? John 14:27. Compare Psalm 85:8.
note: “The peace that Christ gave to His disciples, and for which we pray, is the peace that is born of truth, a peace that is not to be quenched because of division. Without may be wars and fightings, jealousies, envies, hatred, strife; but the peace of Christ is not that which the world giveth or taketh away. It could endure amid the hunting of spies and the fiercest opposition of His enemies. . . . Christ did not for an instant seek to purchase peace by a betrayal of sacred trusts. Peace could not be made by a compromise of principles. . . . It is a grave mistake on the part of those who are children of God to seek to bridge the gulf that separates the children of light from the children of darkness by yielding principle, by compromising the truth. It would be surrendering the peace of Christ in order to make peace or fraternize with the world. The sacrifice is too costly to be made by the children of God to make peace with the world by giving up the principles of truth. . . . Then let the followers of Christ settle it in their minds that they will never compromise truth, never yield one iota of principle for the favor of the world. Let them hold to the peace of Christ.” My Life Today, 77
12 State some promises we should remember when as we experience trials. Deuteronomy 33:27; Isaiah 41:10; Romans 8:28.
note: “When trials come, remember that they are sent for your good. . . . When trials and tribulations come to you know that they are sent in order that you may receive from the Lord of glory renewed strength and increased humility, so that He may safely bless and support and uphold you. In faith and with the hope that ‘maketh not ashamed,’ lay hold of the promises of God. [Romans 5:5.]” My Life Today, 185.
These lessons are adapted from the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, October, 1912.