September 21, 2008 – September 27, 2008
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” Galatians 5:22, 23.
Study Help: Child Guidance, 394-400; The Desire of Ages, 114-123.
“As the youth are educated, and as their characters are molded in their childhood to virtuous habits, self-control, and temperance, so will their influence be upon society.” The Adventist Home, 15.
1 How do our appetites and passions affect our ability to perform noble service? Ecclesiastes 10:17.
Note: “You need to exercise temperance in all things. Cultivate the higher powers of the mind, and there will be less strength of growth of the animal. It is impossible for you to increase in spiritual strength while your appetite and passions are not under perfect control.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 63.
2 What effect do appetite and passions have upon spiritual life? Luke 21:34.
Note: “Every true Christian will have control of his appetite and passions. Unless he is free from the bondage and slavery of appetite, he cannot be a true, obedient servant of Christ. It is the indulgence of appetite and passion which makes the truth of none effect upon the heart. It is impossible for the spirit and power of the truth to sanctify a man, soul, body, and spirit, when he is controlled by appetite and passion.” Counsels on Health, 86.
3 What does the Bible say about the bodies of true Christians? I Corinthians 6:19, 20.
4 What practical illustration did Paul use in regard to the Christian life? I Corinthians 9:24, 25.
Note: “In the hope of impressing vividly upon the minds of the Corinthian believers the importance of firm self-control, strict temperance, and unflagging zeal in the service of Christ, Paul in his letter to them made a striking comparison between the Christian warfare and the celebrated foot races held at stated intervals near Corinth. … Young men of rank and wealth took part in them and shrank from no effort or discipline necessary to obtain the prize.” The Acts of the Apostles, 309.
5 What testimony did the apostle give about his own struggle? I Corinthians 9:26, 27.
Note: “In referring to these races as a figure of the Christian warfare, Paul emphasized the preparation necessary to the success of the contestants in the race—the preliminary discipline, the abstemious diet, the necessity for temperance. … How much more important that the Christian, whose eternal interests are at stake, bring appetite and passion under subjection to reason and the will of God! Never must he allow his attention to be diverted by amusements, luxuries, or ease. All his habits and passions must be brought under the strictest discipline. Reason, enlightened by the teachings of God’s word and guided by His Spirit, must hold the reins of control.
“And after this has been done, the Christian must put forth the utmost exertion in order to gain the victory. In the Corinthian games the last few strides of the contestants in the race were made with agonizing effort to keep up undiminished speed. So the Christian, as he nears the goal, will press onward with even more zeal and determination than at the first of his course.
“To win a perishable prize, the Grecian runners spared themselves no toil or discipline. We are striving for a prize infinitely more valuable, even the crown of everlasting life. How much more careful should be our striving, how much more willing our sacrifice and self-denial!” The Acts of the Apostles, 311, 312.
“That he might not run uncertainly or at random in the Christian race, Paul subjected himself to severe training. The words, ‘I keep under my body,’ [I Corinthians 9:27] literally mean to beat back by severe discipline the desires, impulses, and passions.” Ibid., 314.
6 From what history had Daniel and his fellow captives been warned early in youth? Leviticus 10:1, 2.
Note: “From the fate of the sons of Aaron, they [the Hebrew worthies] knew that the use of wine would confuse their senses, that the indulgence of appetite would becloud their powers of discernment; and as wine had been prohibited to all who should engage in the service of God, they resolved that they would not partake of it.” The Youth’s Instructor, October 29, 1907.
7 Besides refusing strong drink, what further stand did they maintain even under the pressure facing them in the Babylonian court? Daniel 1:8.
Note: “As they [the Hebrew worthies] were brought to the test, they placed themselves fully on the side of truth and righteousness. By earnest prayer and study of the Scriptures, they were prepared to act intelligently in the matter. Flesh meat had not composed their diet in the past, and they determined that it should not come into their diet in the future.” The Youth’s Instructor, October 29, 1907.
“Daniel and his companions knew not what would be the result of their decision; they knew not but that it would cost them their lives; but they determined to keep the straight path of strict temperance even when in the courts of licentious Babylon.” Ibid, August 18, 1898.
8 How did these young men distinguish themselves—both initially and then after a three-year period of training? Daniel 1:11–15, 18–20.
Note: “The four Hebrew youth … did not feel that the blessing of the Lord was a substitute for the taxing effort required of them. They were diligent in study; for they discerned that through the grace of God their destiny depended upon their own will and action. …
“Here are revealed the conditions of success. To make God’s grace our own, we must act our part. The Lord does not propose to perform for us either the willing or the doing. His grace is given to work in us to will and to do, but never as a substitute for our effort.” The Youth’s Instructor, August 20, 1903.
“Their keen apprehension, their choice and exact language, their extensive knowledge, testified to the unimpaired strength and vigor of their mental power.” My Life Today, 147.
9 After His baptism, how did Christ prepare Himself for the imminent temptation? Luke 4:1, 2; Matthew 4:1, 2.
Note: “When Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted, He was led by the Spirit of God. He did not invite temptation. He went to the wilderness to be alone, to contemplate His mission and work. By fasting and prayer He was to brace Himself for the bloodstained path He must travel. But Satan knew that the Saviour had gone into the wilderness, and he thought this the best time to approach Him.” The Desire of Ages, 114.
10 What was Christ’s first temptation and how did He face it? Matthew 4:3, 4.
Note: “From the time of Adam to that of Christ, self-indulgence had increased the power of the appetites and passions, until they had almost unlimited control. Thus men had become debased and diseased, and of themselves it was impossible for them to overcome. In man’s behalf, Christ conquered by enduring the severest test. For our sake He exercised a self-control stronger than hunger or death. And in this first victory were involved other issues that enter into all our conflicts with the powers of darkness.” The Desire of Ages, 117.
11 What should we learn from the second temptation? Matthew 4:5–7.
Note “The wily foe himself presents words that proceeded from the mouth of God. He still appears as an angel of light, and he makes it evident that he is acquainted with the Scriptures, and understands the import of what is written. As Jesus before used the word of God to sustain His faith, the tempter now uses it to countenance his deception.” The Desire of Ages, 124.
12 What strategy did Satan use in the third temptation, and what did Jesus answer? Matthew 4:8–10.
13 How did Christ overcome? Hebrews 5:7–9.
Note: “The Captain of our salvation was perfected through suffering. His soul was made an offering for sin. It was necessary for the awful darkness to gather about His soul because of the withdrawal of the Father’s love and favor; for He was standing in the sinner’s place, and this darkness every sinner must experience. The righteous One must suffer the condemnation and wrath of God, not in vindictiveness; for the heart of God yearned with greatest sorrow when His Son, the guiltless, was suffering the penalty of sin. This sundering of the divine powers will never again occur throughout the eternal ages.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 924.
14 What is expected from His followers? I Peter 2:21.
Note: “The Lord has a people on the earth, who follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. He has His thousands who have not bowed the knee to Baal. Such will stand with Him on Mount Zion. But they must stand on this earth, girded with the whole armor, ready to engage in the work of saving those who are ready to perish. Heavenly angels conduct this search, and spiritual activity is demanded of all who believe present truth, that they may join the angels in their work.
“We need not wait till we are translated to follow Christ. God’s people may do this here below. We shall follow the Lamb of God in the courts above only if we follow Him here. Following Him in heaven depends on our keeping His commandments now. We are not to follow Christ fitfully or capriciously, only when it is for our advantage. We must choose to follow Him. In daily life we must follow His example, as a flock trustfully follows its shepherd. We are to follow Him by suffering for His sake, saying, at every step, ‘Though he slays me, yet will I trust in him.’ His life practise [sic] must be our life practise [sic]. And as we thus seek to be like him, and to bring our wills into conformity to his will, we shall reveal him.” The Review and Herald, April 12, 1898.
“Of all the lessons to be learned from our Lord’s first great temptation none is more important than that bearing upon the control of the appetites and passions. In all ages, temptations appealing to the physical nature have been most effectual in corrupting and degrading mankind. Through intemperance, Satan works to destroy the mental and moral powers that God gave to man as a priceless endowment. Thus it becomes impossible for men to appreciate things of eternal worth. Through sensual indulgence, Satan seeks to blot from the soul every trace of likeness to God.
“The uncontrolled indulgence and consequent disease and degradation that existed at Christ’s first advent will again exist, with intensity of evil, before His second coming. Christ declares that the condition of the world will be as in the days before the Flood, and as in Sodom and Gomorrah. Every imagination of the thoughts of the heart will be evil continually. Upon the very verge of that fearful time we are now living, and to us should come home the lesson of the Saviour’s fast. Only by the inexpressible anguish which Christ endured can we estimate the evil of unrestrained indulgence. His example declares that our only hope of eternal life is through bringing the appetites and passions into subjection to the will of God.” The Desire of Ages, 122.
©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.