March 20, 2004 – March 26, 2004
“Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” John 5:39.
Suggested Reading: The Great Controversy, 598–602.
“Do you ask, What shall I do to be saved? You must lay your preconceived opinions, your hereditary and cultivated ideas, at the door of investigation. If you search the Scriptures to vindicate your own opinions, you will never reach the truth. Search in order to learn what the Lord says. If conviction comes as you search, if you see that your cherished opinions are not in harmony with the truth, do not misinterpret the truth in order to suit your own belief, but accept the light given. Open mind and heart that you may behold wondrous things out of God’s word.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 112.
1 What statement is made concerning the study of the scriptures? By what does the believer live? How are we kept from sin? What is the result of rejecting the Word of God?
note: “We must be constantly meditating upon the word, eating it, digesting it, and by practice, assimilating it, so that it is taken into the life current. He who feeds on Christ daily will by his example teach others to think less of that which they eat, and to feel much greater anxiety for the food they give to the soul.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 89, 90.
(See John 5:39; 11 Timothy 2:15; Matthew 4:4; Psalm 119:11; Jeremiah 8:9.)
2 Quote a text in which we are exhorted to pray. Relate some incidents in the life of Jesus concerning prayer. What promises are given to those who pray?
note: “Never is one repulsed who comes to Him with a contrite heart. Not one sincere prayer is lost. Amid the anthems of the celestial choir, God hears the cries of the weakest human being. We pour out our heart’s desire in our closets, we breathe a prayer as we walk by the way, and our words reach the throne of the Monarch of the universe. They may be inaudible to any human ear, but they cannot die away into silence, nor can they be lost through the activities of business that are going on. Nothing can drown the soul’s desire. It rises above the din of the street, above the confusion of the multitude, to the heavenly courts. It is God to whom we are speaking, and our prayer is heard.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 174.
(See Ephesians 6:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Luke 9:28; 6:12; Matthew 14:23; 17:1; Matthew 21:22; Luke 11:9–13.)
3 What hinders our prayers from being answered? What should be included in each prayer? For whom should we pray?
note: “The Lord’s care is over all His creatures. He loves them all and makes no difference, except that He has the most tender pity for those who are called to bear life’s heaviest burdens. God’s children must meet trials and difficulties. But they should accept their lot with a cheerful spirit, remembering that for all that the world neglects to bestow, God Himself will make up to them in the best of favors.
“It is when we come into difficult places that He reveals His power and wisdom in answer to humble prayer. Have confidence in Him as a prayer-hearing, prayer-answering God. He will reveal Himself to you as One who can help in every emergency. He who created man, who gave him his wonderful physical, mental, and spiritual faculties, will not withhold that which is necessary to sustain the life He has given. He who has given us His word—the leaves of the tree of life—will not withhold from us a knowledge of how to provide food for His needy children.” The Ministry of Healing, 199.
(See Psalm 66:18; Proverbs 28:9; Philippians 4:6; James 5:16; 1 Timothy 2:1, 2.)
4 For what purposes were the experiences of Bible characters recorded? What promise is given if we pray when in trouble? What can we learn from the prayers of godly men?
note: “The Lord in His providence brings men where He can test their moral powers and reveal their motives of action, that they may improve what is right in themselves and put away that which is wrong. God would have His servants become acquainted with the moral machinery of their own hearts. In order to bring this about, He often permits the fire of affliction to assail them that they may become purified. . . .
“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.” God’s Amazing Grace, 330.
(See Romans 15:4; 1 Corinthians 10:11; Psalm 50:15; 107:4–7; Nehemiah 1:4–11; Daniel 9:3–5; 1 Kings 18:17–45; Jonah 1:1–12; 2:1–10; 3:4–10.)
5 What is the foundation of true faith? How only can the Word of God be understood? With what is true faith always accompanied?
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.
(See Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:3; James 2:15–17, 20.)
6 What is man’s condition by nature? How helpless are we to change our sinful condition? What promise is given to all who confess their sins?
note: “God requires that we confess our sins, and humble our hearts before Him; but at the same time we should have confidence in Him as a tender Father, who will not forsake those who put their trust in Him. Many of us walk by sight, and not by faith. We believe the things that are seen, but do not appreciate the precious promises given us in God’s Word; and yet we cannot dishonor God more decidedly than by showing that we distrust what He says, and question whether the Lord is in earnest with us or is deceiving us.
“God does not give us up because of our sins. We may make mistakes, and grieve His Spirit; but when we repent, and come to Him with contrite hearts, He will not turn us away. There are hindrances to be removed. Wrong feelings have been cherished, and there have been pride, self-sufficiency, impatience, and murmurings. All these separate us from God. Sins must be confessed; there must be a deeper work of grace in the heart. Those who feel weak and discouraged may become strong men of God, and do noble work for the Master. But they must work from a high standpoint; they must be influenced by no selfish motives.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 350, 351.
(See Jeremiah 17:9; 13:23; 1 John 1:9.)
7 What promise is given to those who pray in faith? Give two examples of healing in answer to faith. What invitation has Jesus extended to the weary?
note: “Some are always anticipating evil or magnifying the difficulties that really exist, so that their eyes are blinded to the many blessings which demand their gratitude. The obstacles they encounter, instead of leading them to seek help from God, the only Source of strength, separate them from Him, because they awaken unrest and repining.
“Do we well to be thus unbelieving? Why should we be ungrateful and distrustful? Jesus is our friend; all heaven is interested in our welfare; and our anxiety and fear grieve the Holy Spirit of God. We should not indulge in a solicitude that only frets and wears us, but does not help us to bear trials. No place should be given to that distrust of God which leads us to make a preparation against future want the chief pursuit of life, as though our happiness consisted in these earthly things.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 293, 294.
(See Matthew 21:22; Mark 11:24; Luke 8:43–46; 5:18–20; Matthew 11:28–30.)
8 With what promise did Jesus encourage His disciples in the upper room? What did Jesus say the Holy Spirit would do when He comes? Relate the experience of Pentecost.
note: “The Holy Spirit has been given us as an aid in the study of the Bible. Jesus promised, [John 14:26 quoted]. When the Bible is made the study book, with earnest supplication for the Spirit’s guidance, and with a full surrender of the heart to be sanctified through the truth, all that Christ has promised will be accomplished. The result of such Bible study will be well-balanced minds. The understanding will be quickened, the sensibilities aroused. The conscience will become sensitive; the sympathies and sentiments will be purified; a better moral atmosphere will be created; and new power to resist temptation will be imparted. Teachers and students will become active and earnest in the work of God.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 357.
(See John 14:1–3, 26; Acts 2:1–4.)
9 When the Holy Spirit comes to us, what will He do? To whom has the Lord promised to give His Holy Spirit? Who will the Spirit of God lead us to exalt?
note: “We need the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit in order to discern the truths in God’s word. The lovely things of the natural world are not seen until the sun, dispelling the darkness, floods them with its light. So the treasures in the word of God are not appreciated until they are revealed by the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness.
“The Holy Spirit, sent from heaven by the benevolence of infinite love, takes the things of God and reveals them to every soul that has an implicit faith in Christ. By His power the vital truths upon which the salvation of the soul depends are impressed upon the mind, and the way of life is made so plain that none need err therein. As we study the Scriptures, we should pray for the light of God’s Holy Spirit to shine upon the word, that we may see and appreciate its treasures.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 113.
(See John 16:7–10; Acts 5:32; John 15:26; 16:14, 15.)
10 Name some of the fruit of the Spirit. What are the works of the flesh? In what way is a change wrought in the life?
note: “Jesting, joking, and worldly conversation belong to the world. Christians who have the peace of God in their hearts will be cheerful and happy without indulging in lightness or frivolity. While watching unto prayer they will have a serenity and peace which will elevate them above all superfluities. The mystery of godliness, opened to the mind of the minister of Christ, will raise him above earthly and sensual enjoyments. He will be a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. The communication opened between God and his soul will make him fruitful in the knowledge of God’s will and open before him treasures of practical subjects that he can present to the people, which will not cause levity or the semblance of a smile, but will solemnize the mind, touch the heart, and arouse the moral sensibilities to the sacred claims that God has upon the affections and life. Those who labor in word and doctrine should be men of God, pure in heart and life.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 241.
(See Galatians 5:19–24; 6:14.)
11 Name the gifts of the Spirit. Where are the gifts placed? How long will they continue?
note: “Those who do labor together should seek to be in perfect harmony. And yet no one should feel that he cannot labor with those who do not see just as he sees, and who do not in their labors follow just his plans. If all manifest a humble, teachable spirit, there need be no difficulty. God has set in the church different gifts. These are precious in their proper places, and all may act a part in the work of preparing a people for Christ’s soon coming.” Gospel Workers, 481.
(See 1 Corinthians 12:8–10, 28; 13:8.)
12 In what different ways does the Lord communicate with man? How does the Lord communicate through a prophet? How may we distinguish a true prophet, or teacher, from a false? Cite a text showing that the gift of prophecy will be exercised in the church of the last days.
note: “Before the final visitation of God’s judgments upon the earth there will be among the people of the Lord such a revival of primitive godliness as has not been witnessed since apostolic times. The Spirit and power of God will be poured out upon His children.” The Great Controversy, 464.
(See Acts 3:22; Hebrews 1:1, 2; Numbers 12:6; Deuteronomy 13:1–3; Joel 2:28, 29.)