January 24, 2004 – January 30, 2004
“But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrews 11:6.
Suggested Reading: Steps to Christ, 49–55; Education, 253–257; The Ministry of Healing, 59–72.
“True faith and true prayer—how strong they are! They are as two arms by which the human suppliant lays hold upon the power of Infinite Love. Faith is trusting in God,—believing that He loves us, and knows what is for our best good. Thus, instead of our own way, it leads us to choose His way. In place of our ignorance, it accepts His wisdom; in place of our weakness, His strength; in place of our sinfulness, His righteousness. Our lives, ourselves, are already His; faith acknowledges His ownership, and accepts its blessings. Truth, uprightness, purity, are pointed out as secrets of life’s success. It is faith that puts us in possession of these. Every good impulse or aspiration is the gift of God; faith receives from God the life that alone can produce true growth and efficiency.” Gospel Workers, 259.
1 What relation does faith sustain to unseen things? Hebrews 11:1.
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.
2 What must we have in order to please God? Hebrews 11:6.
note: “The faith that is required is not a mere assent to doctrines; it is the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. Humility, meekness, and obedience are not faith; but they are the effects, or fruit, of faith. These graces you have yet to attain by learning in the school of Christ.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 437, 438.
3 What is the foundation of all true faith? Romans 10:17.
note: “The Scriptures are the great agency in the transformation of character. Christ prayed, ‘Sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy word is truth.’ John 17:17. If studied and obeyed, the word of God works in the heart, subduing every unholy attribute. The Holy Spirit comes to convict of sin, and the faith that springs up in the heart works by love to Christ, conforming us in body, soul, and spirit to His own image. Then God can use us to do His will. The power given us works from within outwardly, leading us to communicate to others the truth that has been communicated to us.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 100.
4 What proof has God given of the immutability of His promises? Hebrews 6:16–19.
note: “There is joy and consolation for the true-hearted, faithful Christian, that the world knows not of. To them it is a mystery. The Christian’s hope is big with immortality and full of glory. It reacheth to that within the veil, and is as an anchor to the soul, both sure and steadfast. And when the storm of God’s wrath shall come upon the ungodly, this hope will not fail them, but they are hid as in the secret of His pavilion.” Sons and Daughters of God, 354.
5 How only can the deep things of God be understood? Hebrews 11:3.
note: “The deepest students of science are constrained to recognize in nature the working of infinite power. But to man’s unaided reason, nature’s teaching cannot but be contradictory and disappointing. Only in the light of revelation can it be read aright. ‘Through faith we understand.’ Hebrews 11:3.” Education, 134.
6 With what is true faith always accompanied? James 2:15–17, 20.
note: “We do not earn salvation by our obedience; for salvation is the free gift of God, to be received by faith. But obedience is the fruit of faith. ‘Ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him.’ 1 John 3:5, 6. Here is the true test. If we abide in Christ, if the love of God dwells in us, our feelings, our thoughts, our purposes, our actions, will be in harmony with the will of God as expressed in the precepts of His holy law. ‘Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous.’ 1 John 3:7. Righteousness is defined by the standard of God’s holy law, as expressed in the ten precepts given on Sinai.” Steps to Christ, 61.
7 What gives victory to the soul struggling under temptation? 1 John 5:4, 5.
note: “Jesus says, ‘I am the vine, ye are the branches’ (John 15:5). Can we conceive of a more intimate relation than this implies? The fibers of the branch are identical with those of the vine. The communication of life, strength, and nourishment from the trunk to the branches is unobstructed and constant. The root sends its nourishment through the branches. Such is the believer’s relation to Christ, if he abides in Christ and draws his nourishment from Him. But this spiritual relation between Christ and the soul can be established only through the exercise of personal faith. ‘Without faith it is impossible to please him’ (Hebrews 11:6); for it is faith that connects us with the power of heaven, and brings us strength for coping with the powers of darkness. ‘This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith’ (1 John 5:4). Faith familiarizes the soul with the existence and presence of God, and, living with an eye single to the glory of God, more and more we discern the beauty of His character, the excellence of His grace. Our souls become strong in spiritual power; for we are breathing the atmosphere of heaven, and realizing that God is at our right hand, that we shall not be moved. We are rising above the world, beholding Him who is the chief among ten thousand, the one altogether lovely, and by beholding we are to become changed into His image.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 334, 335.
8 What will be the experience of the righteous in that trying time just before the coming of Christ? Hebrews 10:37, 38.
note: “You gave yourself to God, to be His wholly, to serve and obey Him, and you took Christ as your Saviour. You could not yourself atone for your sins or change your heart; but having given yourself to God, you believe that He for Christ’s sake did all this for you. By faith you became Christ’s, and by faith you are to grow up in Him—by giving and taking. You are to give all,—your heart, your will, your service,—give yourself to Him to obey all His requirements; and you must take all,—Christ, the fullness of all blessing, to abide in your heart, to be your strength, your righteousness, your everlasting helper,—to give you power to obey.” Steps to Christ, 69, 70.
9 How does Christ dwell in our hearts? Ephesians 3:17–19.
note: “Christ must abide in the heart by faith. His word is the bread of life and the water of salvation. Trust in its fullness comes to us through constant communion with God. By eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ we gain spiritual strength. Christ supplies the lifeblood of the heart, and Christ and the Holy Spirit give nerve power. Begotten again unto a lively hope, imbued with the quickening power of a new nature, the soul is enabled to rise higher and still higher.” Counsels on Health, 593.
“A mere assent to truth is not enough. Daily we must live the truth. We must shut ourselves in with God, surrendering all to Him. To listen to the great and grand truths of the Word is not enough. We must ask ourselves the question, Does Christ dwell in my heart by faith? He alone can show us our necessity and reveal the dignity and glory of the truth. At the altar of self-sacrifice—the appointed place of meeting between God and the soul—we receive from the hand of God the celestial torch which searches the heart, revealing its great need of an abiding Christ.” Our High Calling, 21.
10 How is the promise of the Spirit received? Galatians 3:14. To what extent will unbelief hinder the fulfillment of the promise? James 1:6, 7.
note: “It is not enough to believe about Christ; we must believe in Him. The only faith that will benefit us is that which embraces Him as a personal Saviour; which appropriates His merits to ourselves. Many hold faith as an opinion. But saving faith is a transaction, by which those who receive Christ join themselves in covenant relation with God. Genuine faith is life. A living faith means an increase of vigor, a confiding trust, by which the soul becomes a conquering power.” Gospel Workers, 261.
11 What part of the Christian armor is faith? What will it do for us? Ephesians 6:16.
note: “If you make God your strength and subdue yourself, and let the truth bear away the victory, the devices of Satan and his fiery darts will fall upon himself, and you will be strengthened, kept from error, and guarded from every false way. You need to cultivate caution and not rush on in your own strength. The work is important and sacred, and you need great wisdom. You should counsel with your brethren who have had experience in the work. But, above everything else, you should obtain a thorough knowledge of your own weakness and dangers, and should strengthen the weak points in your character, that you may not make shipwreck of faith.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 66.
12 What is an appropriate prayer for us at this time? Luke 17:5.
note: “You have to talk faith, you have to live faith, you have to act faith, that you may have an increase of faith; and thus exercising that living faith you will grow to strong men and women in Christ Jesus.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1121, 1122.
These lessons are adapted from the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, April 1912.