Bible Study Guides – The Gift of the Holy Spirit; God’s Assurance of Victory

March 19, 2006 – March 25, 2006

Key Text

“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:13.

Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 47–56.


“All who consecrate soul, body, and spirit to God will be constantly receiving a new endowment of physical and mental power. The inexhaustible supplies of heaven are at their command. Christ gives them the breath of His own spirit, the life of His own life. The Holy Spirit puts forth its highest energies to work in heart and mind. The grace of God enlarges and multiplies their faculties, and every perfection of the divine nature comes to their assistance in the work of saving souls. Through co-operation with Christ they are complete in Him, and in their human weakness they are enabled to do the deeds of Omnipotence.” The Desire of Ages, 827.

1 What struggle is constantly going on in the hearts and lives of men? Galatians 5:17.

note: “The life of the Christian is not all smooth. He has stern conflicts to meet. Severe temptations assail him. . . . The nearer we come to the close of this earth’s history, the more delusive and ensnaring will be the attacks of the enemy. His attacks will grow fiercer and more frequent. Those who resist light and truth will become more hardened and unimpressible, and more bitter against those who love God and keep His commandments (MS 33, 1911).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1111.

2 In His desire for man’s salvation, what has ever been God’s attitude? Ephesians 2:4, 5.

note: “In order to secure man to Himself and ensure his eternal salvation, Christ left the royal courts of heaven and came to this earth, endured the agonies of sin and shame in man’s stead, and died to make him free. In view of the infinite price paid for man’s redemption, how dare any professing the name of Christ treat with indifference one of His little ones? How carefully should brethren and sisters in the church guard every word and action lest they hurt the oil and the wine! How patiently, kindly, and affectionately should they deal with the purchase of the blood of Christ! How faithfully and earnestly should they labor to lift up the desponding and the discouraged! How tenderly should they treat those who are trying to obey the truth and have no encouragement at home, who have constantly to breathe the atmosphere of unbelief and darkness!” Testimonies, vol. 5, 614.

“Those who have an eye single to God’s glory, will earnestly desire to fit themselves for special service; for the love of Christ will have a controlling influence upon them. The love of God imparts more than finite energy, and qualifies for divine achievements. The work of those who love God will make manifest the character of their motives: for the salvation of those for whom Christ has paid an infinite price, will be the object of their effort. All other considerations,—home family, social enjoyment, will be secondary to the work of God; for they will follow the example of Christ. Christ showed his love for fallen man in leaving the heaven of bliss, the love and honor of the angels, to come to the world to meet man in his fallen condition. He worked to reform men, to fit them for a pure and holy heaven. He stopped at no sacrifice; He hesitated not at any self-denial, but for our sakes became poor that we through his poverty might be made rich.” The Bible Echo, September 1, 1892.

3 As God seeks for a dwelling place in the hearts of His children, what part have we to perform? Revelation 3:20.

note: “The Saviour . . . is not repulsed by scorn or turned aside by threatening, but continually seeks the lost ones, saying, ‘How shall I give thee up?’ Hosea 11:8. Although His love is driven back by the stubborn heart, He returns to plead with greater force, ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock.’ [Revelation 3:20.] The winning power of His love compels souls to come in. And to Christ they say, ‘Thy gentleness hath made me great.’ Psalm 18:35.

“Christ will impart to His messengers the same yearning love that He Himself has in seeking for the lost. We are not merely to say, ‘Come.’ There are those who hear the call, but their ears are too dull to take in its meaning. Their eyes are too blind to see anything good in store for them. Many realize their great degradation. They say, I am not fit to be helped; leave me alone. But the workers must not desist. In tender, pitying love, lay hold of the discouraged and helpless ones. Give them your courage, your hope, your strength. By kindness compel them to come.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 235, 236.

4 By what means does God approach the hearts of men? John 16:7, 8.

note: “The great office work of the Holy Spirit is thus distinctly specified by our Saviour: ‘And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin.’ [John 16:8.] Christ knew that this announcement was a wonderful trust. He was nearing the close of His ministry upon this earth, and was standing in view of the cross, with a full realization of the load of guilt that must be placed upon Him as the Sin Bearer. Yet His greatest anxiety was for His disciples. He was seeking to find solace for them. . . .

“Evil had been accumulating for centuries and could only be restrained and resisted by the mighty power of the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 392.

5 What does the Holy Spirit do for the believer? John 14:26.

note: “God does not ask us to do in our own strength the work before us. He has provided divine assistance for all the emergencies to which our human resources are unequal. He gives the Holy Spirit to help in every strait, to strengthen our hope and assurance, to illuminate our minds and purify our hearts. . . .

“Christ has made provision that His church shall be a transformed body, illumined with the light of heaven, possessing the glory of Immanuel. It is His purpose that every Christian shall be surrounded with a spiritual atmosphere of light and peace. There is no limit to the usefulness of the one who, putting self aside, makes room for the working of the Holy Spirit upon his heart and lives a life wholly consecrated to God.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 19.

6 Into what will the Holy Spirit lead us? John 16:13.

note: “The preaching of the word is of no avail without the presence and aid of the Holy Spirit; for this Spirit is the only effectual teacher of divine truth. Only when the truth is accompanied to the heart by the Spirit, will it quicken the conscience or transform the life. A minister may be able to present the letter of the word of God; he may be familiar with all its commands and promises; but his sowing of the gospel seed will not be successful unless this seed is quickened into life by the dew of heaven. Without the co-operation of the Spirit of God, no amount of education, no advantages, however great, can make one a channel of light. Before one book of the New Testament had been written, before one gospel sermon had been preached after Christ’s ascension, the Holy Spirit came upon the praying disciples. Then the testimony of their enemies was, ‘Ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine.’ [Acts 5:28.]” Gospel Workers (1915), 284.

7 What change will result from the coming of the Spirit into our hearts? Ezekiel 36:26, 27.

note: “The Holy Spirit was the highest of all gifts that He [Jesus] could solicit from His Father for the exaltation of His people. The Spirit was to be given as a regenerating agent, and without this the sacrifice of Christ would have been of no avail. The power of evil had been strengthening for centuries, and the submission of men to this satanic captivity was amazing. Sin could be resisted and overcome only through the mighty agency of the Third Person of the Godhead, who would come with no modified energy, but in the fullness of divine power. It is the Spirit that makes effectual what has been wrought out by the world’s Redeemer. It is by the Spirit that the heart is made pure. Through the Spirit the believer becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Christ has given His Spirit as a divine power to overcome all hereditary and cultivated tendencies to evil, and to impress His own character upon His church.” The Desire of Ages, 671.

8 Upon what occasion did Jesus explain the mystery of being born of the Spirit? To what did He liken it? John 3:1–8.

note: “The power of Christ alone can work the transformation in heart and mind that all must experience who would partake with Him of the new life in the kingdom of heaven. ‘Except a man be born again,’ the Saviour has said, ‘he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ John 3:3. The religion that comes from God is the only religion that can lead to God. In order to serve Him aright, we must be born of the divine Spirit. This will lead to watchfulness. It will purify the heart and renew the mind, and give us a new capacity for knowing and loving God. It will give us willing obedience to all His requirements. This is true worship.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 156.

9 What need did David recognize in his life? With what earnest words did he plead for the Spirit? Psalm 51:10–12.

note: “Many accept an intellectual religion, a form of godliness, when the heart is not cleansed. Let it be your prayer, [Psalm 51:10 quoted]. Deal truly with your own soul. Be as earnest, as persistent, as you would be if your mortal life were at stake. This is a matter to be settled between God and your own soul, settled for eternity. A supposed hope, and nothing more, will prove your ruin.

“Study God’s word prayerfully. That word presents before you, in the law of God and the life of Christ, the great principles of holiness, without which ‘no man shall see the Lord.’ Hebrews 12:14. It convinces of sin; it plainly reveals the way of salvation. Give heed to it as the voice of God speaking to your soul.” Steps to Christ, 35.

10 How fully will the Holy Spirit take possession of our lives if we yield to Him? What will He do for us? What shall we then be able to comprehend? Ephesians 3:16–19.

note: “Paul in his letter to the Colossians sets forth the rich blessings granted to the children of God. He says: We ‘do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness.’ Colossians 1:9–11.

“Again he writes of his desire that the brethren at Ephesus might come to understand the height of the Christian’s privilege. He opens before them, in the most comprehensive language, the marvelous power and knowledge that they might possess as sons and daughters of the Most High.” The Great Controversy, 476.

11 As the result of such a surrendered life, what will God develop in us? Ephesians 4:13.

note: “To those who with steadfast perseverance strive to reveal the attributes of Christ, angels are commissioned to give enlarged views of His character and work, His power and grace and love. Thus they become partakers of His nature, and day by day grow up to the full stature of men and women in Christ. The sanctification of the Spirit is seen in thought, word, and deed. Their ministry is life and salvation to all with whom they associate. Of such ones it is declared, ‘Ye are complete in Him.’ Colossians 2:10.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 491.

12 What are we counseled against doing? Ephesians 4:30.

note: “It is a serious thing to grieve the Holy Spirit, and He is grieved when the human agent seeks to work himself and refuses to enter the service of the Lord because the cross is too heavy or the self-denial too great. The Holy Spirit seeks to abide in each soul. If He is welcomed as an honored guest, those who receive Him will be made complete in Christ. The good work begun will be finished; the holy thoughts, heavenly affections, and Christlike actions will take the place of impure thoughts, perverse sentiments, and rebellious acts.” Counsels on Health, 561.

Bible Study Guides – The Blessings Derived from Faithful Stewardship

March 12, 2006 – March 18, 2006

Key Text

“For if there be first a willing mind, [it is] accepted according to that a man hath, [and] not according to that he hath not.” 11 Corinthians 8:12.

Study Help: Christ’s Object Lessons, 390–404.


“However short our service or humble our work, if in simple faith we follow Christ, we shall not be disappointed of the reward. That which even the greatest and wisest cannot earn, the weakest and most humble may receive. Heaven’s golden gate opens not to the self-exalted. It is not lifted up to the proud in spirit. But the everlasting portals will open wide to the trembling touch of a little child. Blessed will be the recompense of grace to those who have wrought for God in the simplicity of faith and love.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 404.

1 In the building of the sanctuary in the wilderness, what spirit was necessary on the part of those who gave the materials? Exodus 25:2. In the time of the judges, what did the same spirit lead the people to do? Judges 5:2.

note: “For the building of the sanctuary great and expensive preparations were necessary; a large amount of the most precious and costly material was required; yet the Lord accepted only freewill offerings. ‘Of every man that giveth it willingly with his heart ye shall take My offering’ [Exodus 25:2] was the divine command repeated by Moses to the congregation. Devotion to God and a spirit of sacrifice were the first requisites in preparing a dwelling place for the Most High.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 343.

2 On what basis is our service and sacrifice acceptable to God? What alone commends our service to Him? 11 Corinthians 8:12.

note: “It is not the length of time we labor but our willingness and fidelity in the work that makes it acceptable to God. In all our service a full surrender of self is demanded. The smallest duty done in sincerity and self-forgetfulness is more pleasing to God than the greatest work when marred with self-seeking. He looks to see how much of the spirit of Christ we cherish, and how much of the likeness of Christ our work reveals. He regards more the love and faithfulness with which we work than the amount we do.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 402.

3 What is said of him who sows sparingly? Bountifully? How should one give? Upon whom is the love of God placed? 11 Corinthians 9:6, 7. How bountifully has God given both temporal and spiritual blessings to His earthly children? Verses 9–11.

note: “God will furnish facilities so that the faithful steward of His entrusted means shall be supplied with a sufficiency in all things, and be enabled to abound to every good work. [11 Corinthians 9:9, 10 quoted.] The seed sown with full, liberal hand is taken charge of by the Lord. He who ministers seed to the sower gives His worker that which enables him to co-operate with the Giver of the seed.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 132.

4 What instruction does the apostle Paul command Timothy to give to those who are blessed with this world’s goods? 1 Timothy 6:17, 18. By following this counsel, for what are they preparing? Verse 19.

note: “God desires us to choose the heavenly in place of the earthly. He opens before us the possibilities of a heavenly investment. He would give encouragement to our loftiest aims, security to our choicest treasure. He declares, ‘I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.’ Isaiah 13:12. When the riches that moth devours and rust corrupts shall be swept away, Christ’s followers can rejoice in their heavenly treasure, the riches that are imperishable. . . .

“Then let your property go beforehand to heaven. Lay up your treasures beside the throne of God. Make sure your title to the unsearchable riches of Christ.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 374, 375.

5 What did Paul say to the Philippians concerning his own experience? Philippians 4:15–17. What kindness shown to the apostle Paul did he say was “well pleasing” to God? Of what was Paul assured for them? Verses 18, 19.

note: “Whenever God’s people, in any period of the world, have cheerfully and willingly carried out His plan in systematic benevolence and in gifts and offerings, they have realized the standing promise that prosperity should attend all their labors just in proportion as they obeyed His requirements. When they acknowledged the claims of God, and complied with His requirements, honoring Him with their substance, their barns were filled with plenty.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 395.

6 With what parable did Jesus illustrate God’s dealing with His workers? Matthew 20:1. What was the reward promised to the first laborers hired? Verse 2.

note: “There is work for everyone in the vineyard of the Lord. None should be idle. Angels of God are all astir, ascending to heaven and descending to earth again with messages of mercy and warning. These heavenly messengers are moving upon minds and hearts. There are men and women everywhere whose hearts are susceptible of being inspired with the truth. If those who have a knowledge of the truth would now work in unison with the Spirit of God, we would see a great work accomplished.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 64.

7 What promise did the householder make to those called at the third, sixth, and ninth hours? Verses 3–5. At the eleventh hour, whom did he find in the market place? What arrangement did he make with them? Verses 6, 7.

note: “The words of Christ apply to the church: ‘Why stand ye here all the day idle?’ [Matthew 20:6.] Why are you not at work in some capacity in His vineyard? Again and again He has bidden you: ‘Go ye also into the vineyard; and whatsoever is right, that shall ye receive.’ [Verse 7.] But this gracious call from heaven has been disregarded by the large majority. Is it not high time that you obey the commands of God? There is work for every individual who names the name of Christ. A voice from heaven is solemnly calling you to duty. Heed this voice, and go to work at once in any place, in any capacity. Why stand ye here all the day idle? There is work for you to do, a work that demands your best energies. Every precious moment of life is related to some duty which you owe to God or to your fellow men, and yet you are idle!” Testimonies, vol. 5, 203, 204.

8 When the time of rewards came, what procedure did the householder follow? How much did each worker receive? What complaint was made? Verses 8–12. What reply did the householder make? Verses 13–16.

note: “The first laborers of the parable represent those who, because of their services, claim preference above others. They take up their work in a self-gratulatory spirit, and do not bring into it self-denial and sacrifice. They may have professed to serve God all their lives; they may have been foremost in enduring hardship, privation, and trial, and they therefore think themselves entitled to a large reward. They think more of the reward than of the privilege of being servants of Christ. In their view their labors and sacrifices entitle them to receive honor above others, and because this claim is not recognized, they are offended.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 399, 400.

9 In what way will the saints of God have made a covenant with the Lord? Psalm 50:5.

note: “Church-members are to contribute cheerfully toward the support of the ministry. They should practice self-denial and economy, that they may come behind in no good gift. We are pilgrims and strangers, seeking a better country, and every soul should make a covenant with God by sacrifice. The time for saving souls is short, and whatever is not needed in supplying positive necessities, should be brought as a thank-offering to God.” Gospel Workers (1915), 454.

10 What will be the reward of all who have willingly and loyally consecrated their all to Christ’s service? Romans 2:6, 7; Revelation 22:12.

note: “There are many who have given themselves to Christ, yet who see no opportunity of doing a large work or making great sacrifices in His service. These may find comfort in the thought that it is not necessarily the martyr’s self-surrender which is most acceptable to God; it may not be the missionary who has daily faced danger and death that stands highest in heaven’s records. The Christian who is such in his private life, in the daily surrender of self, in sincerity of purpose and purity of thought, in meekness under provocation, in faith and piety, in fidelity in that which is least, the one who in the home life represents the character of Christ—such a one may in the sight of God be more precious than even the world-renowned missionary or martyr.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 403.

11 Of what was the apostle Paul assured as he neared the close of his ministry? To how many is the same assurance given? 11 Timothy 4:8.

note: “The one who stands nearest to Christ will be he who on earth has drunk most deeply of the spirit of His self-sacrificing love,—love that ‘vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, . . . seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil’ (1 Corinthians 13:4, 5),—love that moves the disciple, as it moved our Lord, to give all, to live and labor and sacrifice, even unto death, for the saving of humanity.” The Desire of Ages, 549.

“Those who have brought into their service the spirit of true sacrifice, of self-abasement, are the ones who will stand first at last. The laborers who were first hired, represented those who have an envious, self-righteous spirit, and claim that, for their services, preference should be given to them rather than to others. The householder said to the one who questioned his right to give more to others than to him, ‘Friend, I do thee no wrong: didst not thou agree with me for a penny?’ [Matthew 20:13.] I have kept my part of the agreement.

“In a subordinate sense we should all have respect unto the recompense of the reward. But while we appreciate the promise of blessing, we should have perfect confidence in Jesus Christ, believing that He will do right, and give us reward according as our works have been. The gift of God is eternal life, but Jesus would have us not so anxious concerning rewards, as that we may do the will of God because it is right to do it, irrespective of all gain.

“Paul kept in view the crown of life to be given him, and not only to be given to him, but to all who love His appearing. It was the victory gained through faith in Jesus Christ that made the crown so desirable.” Counsels on Stewardship, 339, 340.

12 What do those become who accept of the salvation bought by the blood of Jesus? 11 Corinthians 6:1, first part; 1 Corinthians 3:9, first part.

note: “There must be an awakening among the people of God. The entire church is to be tested. The worldly-wise man, who meditates and plans, and whose business is ever in his mind, should seek to become wise in matters of eternal interest. If he would put forth as much energy to secure the heavenly treasure and the life which measures with the life of God as he does to secure worldly gain, what could he not accomplish?

“The unfaithful steward did not enrich himself with his master’s goods; he merely wasted them. He let idleness take the place of sincere, wholehearted labor. He was unfaithful in the appropriation of his lord’s goods. Unfaithful steward, do you not see that you will lose your soul if you do not co-operate with God and make the most of your talents for the Master? Your mind was given that you might understand how to work. Your eyes were given that you might be keen to discern your God-given opportunities. Your ears are to listen for the commands of God. Your knees are to bow three times a day in heartfelt prayer. Your feet are to run in the way of God’s commandments. Thought, effort, talent, should be put into exercise, that you may be prepared to graduate into the school above and hear from the lips of One who has overcome all temptations in our behalf the words: ‘To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.’ ‘Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If thou wilt walk in My ways, and if thou wilt keep My charge, then thou shalt also judge My house, and shalt also keep My courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.’ Revelation 3:21; Zechariah 3:7. If you do not co-operate with the Lord by giving yourself to Him and doing His service you will be judged unfit to be a subject of His pure, heavenly kingdom.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 297, 298.

Bible Study Guides – A Test of Loyalty and Devotion—Holding the Ropes

March 5, 2006 – March 11, 2006

Key Text

“But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few [stripes]. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” Luke 12:48.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 3, 408–413.


“All who have borne with Jesus the cross of sacrifice will be sharers with Him of His glory. It was the joy of Christ in His humiliation and pain that His disciples should be glorified with Him. They are the fruit of His self-sacrifice. The outworking in them of His own character and spirit is His reward, and will be His joy throughout eternity. This joy they share with Him as the fruit of their labor and sacrifice is seen in other hearts and lives. They are workers together with Christ, and the Father will honor them as He honors His Son.” The Desire of Ages, 624.

1 What test did the Lord provide to prove the loyalty of our first parents? Genesis 2:16, 17; 3:3.

note: “At the very beginning of man’s existence a check was placed upon the desire for self-indulgence, the fatal passion that lay at the foundation of Satan’s fall. The tree of knowledge, which stood near the tree of life in the midst of the garden, was to be a test of the obedience, faith, and love of our first parents. While permitted to eat freely of every other tree, they were forbidden to taste of this, on pain of death. They were also to be exposed to the temptations of Satan; but if they endured the trial, they would finally be placed beyond his power, to enjoy perpetual favor with God.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 48, 49.

2 How was Joseph tested, that he might be fitted for heavy responsibilities? Genesis 37:28; 39:20; 41:41–45.

note: “Joseph regarded his being sold into Egypt as the greatest calamity that could have befallen him; but he saw the necessity of trusting in God as he had never done when protected by his father’s love.” Sons and Daughters of God, 320.

“Joseph [was] subject to the temptations that attend great changes of fortune. In his father’s home a tenderly cherished child; in the house of Potiphar a slave, then a confidant and companion; a man of affairs, educated by study, observation, contact with men; in Pharaoh’s dungeon a prisoner of state, condemned unjustly, without hope of vindication or prospect of release; called at a great crisis to the leadership of the nation.” Education, 51.

“The love and fear of God kept Joseph pure and untarnished in the king’s court. He was exalted to great wealth, to the high honor of being next to the king; and this elevation was as sudden as it was great.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 544.

3 What test came into the life of Moses? What great decision was made? Hebrews 11:23–26.

note: “At the court of Pharaoh, Moses received the highest civil and military training. The monarch had determined to make his adopted grandson his successor on the throne, and the youth was educated for his high station. . . . His ability as a military leader made him a favorite with the armies of Egypt, and he was generally regarded as a remarkable character. . . .

“By the laws of Egypt all who occupied the throne of the Pharaohs must become members of the priestly caste; and Moses, as the heir apparent, was to be initiated into the mysteries of the national religion. This duty was committed to the priests. But while he was an ardent and untiring student, he could not be induced to participate in the worship of the gods. He was threatened with the loss of the crown, and warned that he would be disowned by the princess should he persist in his adherence to the Hebrew faith. But he was unshaken in his determination to render homage to none save the one God, the Maker of heaven and earth.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 245.

4 What task has been assigned to the church of Christ in these last days? Mark 16:15. For the accomplishment of this work, what did the Saviour teach would be necessary? Luke 5:8–11; 18:22, 23.

note: “How many have come to Christ, ready to cast their interests in with his, and, like the rich young ruler, earnestly desiring to inherit eternal life! But when the cost is presented to them,—when they are told that they must forsake all, houses and lands, wife and children, and count not their lives dear unto themselves,—they go away sorrowful. They want the treasures of heaven, and the life that measures with the life of God, but they are not willing to give up their earthly treasures. They are not willing to surrender all to obtain the crown of life.” Review and Herald, April 19, 1898.

5 How did the apostolic church carry out the principle of liberality in the spreading of the gospel message? Acts 4:31–37.

note: “This liberality on the part of the believers was the result of the outpouring of the Spirit. The converts to the gospel were ‘of one heart and of one soul.’ [Acts 4:32.] One common interest controlled them—the success of the mission entrusted to them; and covetousness had no place in their lives. Their love for their brethren and the cause they had espoused, was greater than their love of money and possessions. Their works testified that they accounted the souls of men of higher value than earthly wealth.” The Acts of the Apostles, 70, 71.

6 What is one of the outstanding dangers to the followers of Christ? What admonition has He given? Luke 12:15, 33. What, rather, ought His people to seek? Where will their hearts be centered? Verses 31, 34. What will God do for those whose hearts are fully surrendered to Him? Verse 32.

note: “One marked feature in the teachings of Christ is the frequency and earnestness with which He rebuked the sin of covetousness and pointed out the danger of worldly acquisitions and inordinate love of gain. In the mansions of the rich, in the temple and in the streets, He warned those who inquired after salvation: ‘Take heed, and beware of covetousness.’ ‘Ye cannot serve God and mammon.’ [Luke 12:15; Matthew 6:24.]

“It is this increasing devotion to money getting, the selfishness which the desire for gain begets, that removes the favor of God from the church and deadens its spirituality.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 82.

“Christ points out the way in which those who have wealth, and yet are not rich toward God, may secure the true riches. He says: ‘Sell that ye have and give alms’ [Luke 12:33]; and lay up treasure in heaven. The remedy He proposes is a transfer of their affections to the eternal inheritance. By investing their means in the cause of God to aid in the salvation of souls, and by relieving the needy, they become rich in good works, and are ‘laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.’ [1 Timothy 6:19.] This will prove a safe investment.” Counsels on Stewardship, 151.

7 In making our choice for Christ and His service, what should be considered? Luke 14:26, 27. What two illustrations does the Saviour use to enforce the lesson? Verses 28–32. What conclusion is drawn? Verse 33.

note: “To us as well as to the disciples, Christ has given the work of carrying the truth to the world. But before engaging in this great and aggressive warfare, upon which eternal results depend, Christ invites all to count the cost. He assures them that if they take hold of the work with undivided hearts, giving themselves as light-bearers to the world, if they will take hold of His strength, they will make peace with him, and obtain supernatural assistance that will enable them in their weakness to do the deeds of Omnipotence. If they go forward with faith in God, they will not fail nor become discouraged, but will have the assurance of infallible success.” Review and Herald, March 15, 1898.

8 What is the basic principle on which God expects us to give for the extension of His cause? Luke 12:48; Matthew 10:8, last clause.

note: “As our blessings and privileges are increased—above all, as we have before us the unparalleled sacrifice of the glorious Son of God—should not our gratitude find expression in more abundant gifts to extend to others the message of salvation? The work of the gospel, as it widens, requires greater provision to sustain it than was called for anciently; and this makes the law of tithes and offerings of even more urgent necessity now than under the Hebrew economy. If His people were liberally to sustain His cause by their voluntary gifts, instead of resorting to unchristian and unhallowed methods to fill the treasury, God would be honored, and many more souls would be won to Christ.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 528, 529.

9 What is the divine standard for individual giving? 1 Corinthians 16:2.

note: “Not only does the Lord claim the tithe as His own, but He tells us how it should be reserved for Him. He says, ‘Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase.’ [Proverbs 3:9.] This does not teach that we are to spend our means on ourselves and bring to the Lord the remnant, even though it should be otherwise an honest tithe. Let God’s portion be first set apart. The directions given by the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul in regard to gifts present a principle that applies also to tithing.” The Adventist Home, 389.

10 Lest we should at any time forget the world’s need, what are we urged to do? John 4:35; Luke 10:2.

note: “We see the great need of missionary work to carry the truth not only to foreign countries, but to those who are near us. Close around us are cities and towns in which no efforts are made to save souls. Why should not families who know the present truth settle in these cities and villages, to set up there the standard of Christ, working in humility, not in their own way, but in God’s way, to bring the light before those who have no knowledge of it?” Christian Service, 180.

“Wake up, wake up, my brethren and sisters, and enter the fields in America that have never been worked. After you have given something for foreign fields, do not think your duty done. There is a work to be done in foreign fields, but there is a work to be done in America that is just as important. In the cities of America there are people of almost every language. These need the light that God has given to His church.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 36.

11 What will our vision of the harvest field and our prayers for workers lead us to do? Acts 16:9, 10.

note: “The Macedonian cry is coming from every quarter. Shall men go to the ‘regular lines’ to see whether they will be permitted to labor, or shall they go out and work as best they can, depending on their own abilities and on the help of the Lord, beginning in a humble way and creating an interest in the truth in places in which nothing has been done to give the warning message?

“The Lord has encouraged those who have started out on their own responsibility to work for Him, their hearts filled with love for souls ready to perish. A true missionary spirit will be imparted to those who seek earnestly to know God and Jesus Christ, whom He hath sent. The Lord lives and reigns. Young men, go forth into the places to which you are directed by the Spirit of the Lord. Work with your hands, that you may be self-supporting, and as you have opportunity proclaim the message of warning.—Letter 60, 1901.” Medical Ministry, 321, 322.

12 What is required of all stewards, whether entrusted with worldly goods or with positions of responsibility in service? 1 Corinthians 4:1, 2.

note: “The Lord designs that the means entrusted to us shall be used in building up His kingdom. His goods are committed to His stewards that they may be carefully traded upon and bring back a revenue to Him in the saving of souls unto eternal life. And these souls in their turn will become stewards of the truth, to co-operate with the great firm in the interests of the kingdom of God.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 448.

“If there was ever a time when sacrifices should be made, it is now. Those who have money should understand that now is the time to use it for God.” Ibid., 450.

Bible Study Guides – The Laborer Worthy of His Hire

February 26, 2006 – March 4, 2006

Key Text

“Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that [there shall] not [be room] enough [to receive it].” Malachi 3:10.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 3, 381–408.


“We are to praise God by tangible service, by doing all in our power to advance the glory of His name. God imparts His gifts to us that we also may give, and thus make known His character to the world. Under the Jewish economy, gifts and offerings formed an essential part of God’s worship. The Israelites were taught to devote a tithe of all their income to the service of the sanctuary. Besides this they were to bring sin offerings, free-will gifts, and offerings of gratitude. These were the means for supporting the ministry of the gospel for that time. God expects no less from us than He expected from His people anciently. The great work for the salvation of souls must be carried forward. In the tithe, with gifts and offerings, He has made provision for this work. Thus He intends that the ministry of the gospel shall be sustained. He claims the tithe as His own, and it should ever be regarded as a sacred reserve, to be placed in His treasury for the benefit of His cause. He asks also for our free-will gifts and offerings of gratitude. All are to be devoted to the sending of the gospel unto the uttermost parts of the earth.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 300.

1 In what words does Christ indicate that the gospel worker should be properly sustained? Matthew 10:10, last part; 1 Timothy 5:17, 18.

note: “In his first letter to the church at Corinth, Paul gave the believers instruction regarding the general principles underlying the support of God’s work in the earth. . . .

“The apostle here [1 Corinthians 9:7–14] referred to the Lord’s plan for the maintenance of the priests who ministered in the temple. Those who were set apart to this holy office were supported by their brethren, to whom they ministered spiritual blessings. . . . One tenth of all the increase was claimed by the Lord as His own, and to withhold the tithe was regarded by Him as robbery.

“It was to this plan for the support of the ministry that Paul referred when he said, [1 Timothy 5:18 quoted].

“The payment of the tithe was but a part of God’s plan for the support of His service. Numerous gifts and offerings were divinely specified.” The Acts of the Apostles, 335–337.

2 To whom do all things belong? Psalms 24:1; 50:10–12. What part of one’s income has the Lord claimed as His? Leviticus 27:30, 32.

note: “All should remember that God’s claims upon us underlie every other claim. He gives to us bountifully, and the contract which He has made with man is that a tenth of his possessions shall be returned to God. The Lord graciously entrusts to His stewards His treasures, but of the tenth He says: This is Mine. Just in proportion as God has given His property to man, so man is to return to God a faithful tithe of all his substance. This distinct arrangement was made by Jesus Christ Himself.

“This work involves solemn and eternal results, and it is too sacred to be left to human impulse. We should not feel free to deal with this matter as we choose. In answer to the claims of God, regular reserves should be set apart as sacred to His work.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 384.

3 How did Abraham acknowledge the ownership of God and his obligations to Him? Genesis 14:17–20. Under what circumstances did Jacob recognize a similar obligation? Genesis 28:20–22.

note: “The tithing system did not originate with the Hebrews. From the earliest times the Lord claimed a tithe as His, and this claim was recognized and honored. Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek, the priest of the most high God. Genesis 14:20. Jacob, when at Bethel, an exile and a wanderer, promised the Lord, ‘Of all that Thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto Thee.’ Genesis 28:22. As the Israelites were about to be established as a nation, the law of tithing was reaffirmed as one of the divinely ordained statutes upon obedience to which their prosperity depended.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 525.

4 After Israel was delivered from Egyptian bondage, what definite commands were given concerning their payment of tithe? Leviticus 27:30–34. In what other way were the claims of God to be acknowledged by His people? Exodus 23:19, first part; Proverbs 3:9.

note: “The system of tithes and offerings was intended to impress the minds of men with a great truth—that God is the source of every blessing to His creatures, and that to Him man’s gratitude is due for the good gifts of His providence. . . .

“Even before the tithe could be reserved there had been an acknowledgment of the claims of God. The first that ripened of every product of the land was consecrated to Him. The first of the wool when the sheep were shorn, of the grain when the wheat was threshed, the first of the oil and the wine, was set apart for God. So also were the first-born of all animals. . . .

“Thus the people were constantly reminded that God was the true proprietor of their fields, their flocks, and their herds; that He sent them sunshine and rain for their seedtime and harvest, and that everything they possessed was of His creation, and He had made them stewards of His goods.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 525, 526.

5 What resulted when on one occasion the children of Israel failed to bring in the tithe to the Lord’s treasury? Nehemiah 13:10. How was this neglect then corrected? Verses 11, 12.

note: “During his [Nehemiah] absence from Jerusalem, evils crept in that threatened to pervert the nation. Idolaters not only gained a foothold in the city, but contaminated by their presence the very precincts of the temple. . . .

“On returning from Persia, Nehemiah learned of the bold profanation and took prompt measures. . . .

“Not only had the temple been profaned, but the offerings had been misapplied. This had tended to discourage the liberalities of the people. They had lost their zeal and fervor, and were reluctant to pay their tithes. The treasuries of the Lord’s house were poorly supplied; many of the singers and others employed in the temple service, not receiving sufficient support, had left the work of God to labor elsewhere.” Prophets and Kings, 669, 670.

6 What resulted in Haggai’s day from neglect of support for the house of God? What followed the loyal action of Israel? Haggai 1:7–11; 2:18, 19.

note: “A striking illustration of the results of selfishly withholding even freewill offerings from the cause of God was given in the days of the prophet Haggai. After their return from the captivity in Babylon, the Jews undertook to rebuild the temple of the Lord; but meeting determined opposition from their enemies, they discontinued the work; and a severe drought, by which they were reduced to actual want, convinced them that it was impossible to complete the building of the temple. . . .

“God intended that His people Israel should be light bearers to all the inhabitants of the earth. In maintaining His public worship they were bearing a testimony to the existence and sovereignty of the living God. And this worship it was their privilege to sustain, as an expression of their loyalty and their love to Him. The Lord has ordained that the diffusion of light and truth in the earth shall be dependent upon the efforts and offerings of those who are partakers of the heavenly gift. He might have made angels the ambassadors of His truth; He might have made known His will, as He proclaimed the law from Sinai, with His own voice; but in His infinite love and wisdom He called men to become colaborers with Himself, by choosing them to do this work.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 527, 528.

7 Of what are God’s people accused by the Lord through the prophet Malachi? Malachi 3:8, 9. What does God invite them to do? What is the result of obedience and faithfulness in returning to God His own? Verses 10–12.

note: “God called for men in the Mosaic dispensation to give the tenth of all their increase. He committed to their trust the things of this life, talents to be improved and returned to Him. He has required a tenth, and this He claims as the very least that man should return to Him. He says: I give you nine tenths, while I require one tenth; that is Mine. When men withhold the one tenth, they rob God. Sin offerings, peace offerings, and thank offerings were also required in addition to the tenth of the increase.

“All that is withheld of that which God claims, the tenth of the increase, is recorded in the books of heaven against the withholders, as robbery. Such defraud their Creator; and when this sin of neglect is brought before them, it is not enough for them to change their course and begin to work from that time upon the right principle. This will not correct the figures made in the heavenly record for embezzling the property committed to them in trust to be returned to the Lender. Repentance for unfaithful dealing with God, and for base ingratitude, is required.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 394.

8 How did Christ recognize the obligation to pay tithe? Matthew 23:23.

note: “A legal religion has been thought quite the correct religion for this time. But it is a mistake. The rebuke of Christ to the Pharisees is applicable to those who have lost from the heart their first love. A cold, legal religion can never lead souls to Christ; for it is a loveless, Christless religion. When fastings and prayers are practiced in a self-justifying spirit, they are abominable to God. The solemn assembly for worship, the round of religious ceremonies, the external humiliation, the imposed sacrifice—all proclaim to the world the testimony that the doer of these things considers himself righteous. These things call attention to the observer of rigorous duties, saying, This man is entitled to heaven. But it is all a deception. Works will not buy for us an entrance into heaven.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 388.

9 How great a task has been committed to those who preach the gospel? Matthew 28:18–20.

note: “Very precious to God is His work in the earth. Christ and heavenly angels are watching it every moment. As we draw near to the coming of Christ, more and still more of missionary work will engage our efforts. The message of the renewing power of God’s grace will be carried to every country and clime, until the truth shall belt the world. Of the number of them that shall be sealed will be those who have come from every nation and kindred and tongue and people. From every country will be gathered men and women who will stand before the throne of God and before the Lamb.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 532.

10 What principle does the apostle Paul set forth concerning the support of laborers? What is said of the support of those who minister the Word of God? 1 Corinthians 9:7–14. What would be the result if all God’s children paid a faithful tithe?

note: “The apostle here [1 Corinthians 9:7–14] referred to the Lord’s plan for the maintenance of the priests who ministered in the temple. Those who were set apart to this holy office were supported by their brethren, to whom they ministered spiritual blessings.” The Acts of the Apostles, 336.

11 In the message of the first angel, how is God’s ownership of the world definitely acknowledged? Revelation 14:7.

note: “In the last days of this earth’s history, God’s covenant with His commandment-keeping people is to be renewed. . . .

“They will turn from every idol that binds them to earth, and will ‘worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.’ [Revelation 14:7.]” Prophets and Kings, 299, 300.

12 What will be the attitude of the remnant church toward all God’s requirements? Revelation 14:12.

note: “In the time of the end every divine institution is to be restored. The breach made in the law at the time the Sabbath was changed by man, is to be repaired. . . . In clear, distinct lines they are to present the necessity of obedience to all the precepts of the Decalogue. Constrained by the love of Christ, they are to co-operate with Him in building up the waste places. They are to be repairers of the breach, restorers of paths to dwell in.” Prophets and Kings, 678.

Food for Life – Granola Bars

The following quotes are from the pen of Ellen G. White. The date given after the book reference is the date the statement was said or written.

“We do not mark out any precise line to be followed in diet; but we do say that in countries where there are fruits, grains, and nuts in abundance, flesh food is not the right food for God’s people. . . .

“We are not to make the use of flesh food a test of fellowship, but we should consider the influence that professed believers who use flesh foods have over others. . . . Will any who are ministers of the gospel, proclaiming the most solemn truth ever given to mortals, set an example in returning to the fleshpots of Egypt? Will those who are supported by the tithe from God’s storehouse permit themselves by self-indulgence to poison the life-giving current flowing through their veins?” Testimonies, vol. 9, 159, 160. (May 31, 1909)

“Milk, eggs, and butter should not be classed with flesh meat. In some cases the use of eggs is beneficial. The time has not come to say that the use of milk and eggs should be wholly discarded. There are poor families whose diet consists largely of bread and milk. They have little fruit and cannot afford to purchase the nut foods. In teaching health reform, as in all other gospel work, we are to meet the people where they are. Until we can teach them how to prepare health reform foods that are palatable, nourishing, and yet inexpensive, we are not at liberty to present the most advanced propositions regarding health reform diet.

“Let the diet reform be progressive. Let the people be taught how to prepare food without the use of milk or butter. Tell them that the time will soon come when there will be no safety in using eggs, milk, cream, or butter, because disease in animals is increasing in proportion to the increase of wickedness among men. The time is near when, because of the iniquity of the fallen race, the whole animal creation will groan under the diseases that curse our earth.

“God will give His people ability and tact to prepare wholesome food without these things. Let our people discard all unwholesome recipes.” Ibid., vol. 7, 135. (August 20, 1902)

Granola Bars

Mix together:

6 cups rolled oats

3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds, hulled

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1 cup almonds

3/4 cup pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup flaxseeds

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

In another bowl, mix together:

1 cup honey

1/2 cup olive oil

1 Tablespoon vanilla or 1/2 cup natural cane sugar

vanilla bean equivalent crystals (optional)

Combine moist ingredients with dry ingredients and mix well. Press onto sprayed cookie sheet (should be about 1/2 inch thick). Bake at 250 degrees for 1 hour. Cut into squares while warm or break apart into chunks after cooling.

Adapted from a recipe from Bill Humeniuk who lives with his wife, Becky, in Carrollton, Kentucky. Bill is director of Advent Hope Ministries, Inc., a ministry to supply Bibles and Spirit of Prophecy books to Africa. He may be contacted by e-mail at:

Restoring the Temple – Proteins

Some, in abstaining from milk, eggs, and butter, have failed to supply the system with proper nourishment, and as a consequence have become weak and unable to work. Thus health reform is brought into disrepute. The work that we have tried to build up solidly is confused with strange things that God has not required, and the energies of the church are crippled. But God will interfere to prevent the results of these too-strenuous ideas. The gospel is to harmonize the sinful race. It is to bring the rich and poor together at the feet of Jesus.

“The time will come when we may have to discard some of the articles of diet we now use, such as milk and cream and eggs; but it is not necessary to bring upon ourselves perplexity by premature and extreme restrictions. Wait until the circumstances demand it, and the Lord prepares the way for it.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 368.

Cheese Unfit for Food

“Cheese should never be introduced into the stomach. . . .

“Many a mother sets a table that is a snare to her family. Flesh meats, butter, cheese, rich pastry, spiced foods, and condiments are freely partaken of by both old and young. These things do their work in deranging the stomach, exciting the nerves, and enfeebling the intellect. The blood-making organs cannot convert such things into good blood. The grease cooked in the food renders it difficult of digestion. The effect of cheese is deleterious.” Ibid., 368, 369.

An Aftermath of Sin

“God gave our first parents the food He designed that the race should eat. It was contrary to His plan to have the life of any creature taken. There was to be no death in Eden. The fruit of the trees in the garden, was the food man’s wants required. God gave man no permission to eat animal food until after the flood. Everything had been destroyed upon which man could subsist, and therefore the Lord in their necessity gave Noah permission to eat of the clean animals which he had taken with him into the ark. But animal food was not the most healthful article of food for man.

“The people who lived before the flood ate animal food and gratified their lusts until their cup of iniquity was full, and God cleansed the earth of its moral pollution by a flood. Then the third dreadful curse rested upon the earth. The first curse was pronounced upon the posterity of Adam and upon the earth, because of disobedience. The second curse came upon the ground after Cain slew his brother Abel. The third most dreadful curse from God came upon the earth at the flood.

“After the flood the people ate largely of animal food. God saw that the ways of man were corrupt, and that he was disposed to exalt himself proudly against his Creator and to follow the inclinations of his own heart. And He permitted that long-lived race to eat animal food to shorten their sinful lives. Soon after the flood the race began to rapidly decrease in size, and in length of years.

Antediluvian Depravity

“The inhabitants of the Old World were intemperate in eating and drinking. They would have flesh meats, although God had given them no permission to eat animal food. They ate and drank to excess, and their depraved appetites knew no bounds. They gave themselves up to abominable idolatry. They became violent and ferocious, and so corrupt that God could bear with them no longer. Their cup of iniquity was full, and God cleansed the earth of its moral pollution by a flood. As men multiplied upon the face of the earth after the flood, they forgot God, and corrupted their ways before Him. Intemperance in every form increased to a great extent. . . .

Israel’s Failure and Spiritual Loss

“In choosing man’s food in Eden, the Lord showed what was the best diet; in the choice made for Israel, He taught the same lesson. He brought the Israelites out of Egypt, and undertook their training, that they might be a people for His own possession. Through them He desired to bless and teach the world. He provided them with the food best adapted for this purpose, not flesh, but manna, ‘the bread of heaven.’ [Psalm 105:40.] It was only because of their discontent and their murmurings for the fleshpots of Egypt that animal food was granted them, and this only for a short time. Its use brought disease and death to thousands. Yet the restriction to a nonflesh diet was never heartily accepted. It continued to be the cause of discontent and murmuring, open or secret, and it was not made permanent.

“Upon their settlement in Canaan, the Israelites were permitted the use of animal food, but under careful restrictions, which tended to lessen the evil results. The use of swine’s flesh was prohibited, as also of other animals and of birds and fish whose flesh was pronounced unclean. Of the meats permitted, the eating of the fat and the blood was strictly forbidden.

“Only such animals could be used for food as were in good condition. No creature that was torn, that had died of itself or from which the blood had not been carefully drained, could be used as food.

“By departing from the plan divinely appointed for their diet, the Israelites suffered great loss. They desired a flesh diet, and they reaped its results. They did not reach God’s ideal of character or fulfill His purpose. The Lord ‘gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul.’ [Psalm 106:15.] They valued the earthly above the spiritual, and the sacred preeminence which was His purpose for them they did not attain.

Nonflesh Diet to Modify the Disposition

“The Lord plainly told His people that every blessing would come to them if they would keep His commandments, and be a peculiar people. He warned them through Moses in the wilderness, specifying that health would be the reward of obedience. The state of the mind has largely to do with the health of the body, and especially with the health of the digestive organs. As a general thing, the Lord did not provide His people with flesh meat in the desert, because He knew that the use of this diet would create disease and insubordination. In order to modify the disposition, and bring the higher powers of the mind into active exercise, He removed from them the flesh of dead animals. He gave them angels’ food, manna from heaven.” Ibid., 373–375.

Ellen G. White (1827–1915) wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books during her lifetime. Today, including compilations from her 50,000 pages of manuscript, more than 100 titles are available in English. She is the most translated woman writer in the entire history of literature, and the most translated American author of either gender. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Mrs. White was appointed by God as a special messenger to draw the world’s attention to the Holy Scriptures and help prepare people for Christ’s second advent.

Ask the Pastor – Instant Conversion


Is there such a thing as an instant conversion? Should not conversions take place over a period of time so that people can process the gospel?


The New Testament is our model for carrying the gospel to the entire world. In the Book of Acts, we find the example of an instant conversion of the Philippian jailer. (See Acts 16:16–34.) Although an earthquake is a shaky foundation on which to make a religious decision, the jailer at Philippi serves as an example of such an experience. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

The testimony of the apostle Paul served to make sense of what had happened and caused this jailer to fear God. Fear sometimes contributes to an instant conversion. Certain other circumstances sometimes do the same, but God can use all events in an effort to confront individuals with the decision of accepting Jesus as Saviour.

Fear can bring a person to a point of clarity in understanding so that conversion can, in reality, take place. This jailer was fearful. He was afraid of the earthquake. He was fearful that the prisoners had escaped. He was fearful that he would be held accountable for their escape. When he learned that everything was all right, the first question he asked was, “What must I do to be saved?” Acts 16:30. He recognized that what had happened was not just a natural event. When something unusual takes place in a person’s life, it puts into motion the thought that there might be some supernatural cause for what is happening, and when an explanation is found, conversions can happen instantly.

Paul’s quick response was, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Verse 31. From all appearances, this man was a hardened prison keeper. He was Roman, a heathen man. But an event of such proportions brought about an instant conversion.

Instant conversions such as this one can take place today. We do not know the extent of God’s working in an individual’s life. All we need to know is that we need to be instant in season and out of season to preach the gospel message, as was Paul. Paul’s words were short and to the point: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” This message has not changed since that day. Jesus is still the Saviour of fallen mankind and always will be. Some will study long; others will be converted in an instant. We need to be ready to be used of the Lord to bring the message of hope and salvation whenever circumstances call for us to witness.

Pastor Mike Baugher is a retired minister of the gospel. If you have a question you would like Pastor Mike to answer, e-mail it to:, or mail it to: LandMarks, Steps to Life, P. O. Box 782828, Wichita, KS 67278.

Nature Nugget – Seed Dispersal Methods

An important function of seeds is dispersal, a method of establishing new plants in suitable places away from the parent plant so as to avoid competition with it. There are three main methods of seed dispersal: hitchhiking with animals and humans, drifting on ocean or fresh water, and being carried by the wind.

Some common hitchhiking seeds include the cocklebur and the seeds of the burdock plant which attach like Velcro to fur and clothing. Other hitchhikers go by such names as beggar-ticks, sand-burs, stick-tights, and grappling-hooks. Some seeds hitchhike on the inside of animals and humans by being eaten and passed unharmed through their digestive tracts and finally being deposited on the outside with fertilizer a day or two later. A good example of this is the persimmon seed which is commonly seen in the droppings of raccoons and opossums. Some seeds even require the scarification they receive when passing through the gizzard of birds, before they will germinate and grow. An example of this is the tough seeds of the American lotus, a type of lily pad, which is eaten by waterfowl and carried from one lake to another. The seed coat of this plant is so tough that it actually has to be eaten several times before it is scarified enough to germinate.

Drift seeds can drift on ocean currents for thousands of miles before being deposited on the shores of a distant continent or remote tropical island. Their thick shells protect them from saltwater, allowing them to survive months and even years at sea. Some common drift seeds are the coconut, nickernut, sea bean, sea heart, box fruit, and beach morning glory. The acorn of the burr oak is an example of a freshwater drift seed. A thick, corky cap covers most of the acorn, which gives it good flotation. Rising floodwaters carry it downstream and across floodplains to be deposited when the waters recede. Back currents on the floodplain can even carry it upstream from the parent tree.

Hundreds of seed species in many plant families use the remarkable method of wind dispersal, including many we know as weeds. A lot of weedy composites, such as the European dandelion, have worldwide distributions, because their seeds can be carried vast distances by the wind. Some adaptations for the wind dispersal method include seeds that resemble parachutes, helicopters, and gliders. Parachute type seeds have a plumose crown of hairs, some shaped like an umbrella, above the slender seeds. They are so fragile that they can become airborne with the slightest breeze and can literally soar over mountains. Common examples of this method of seed dispersal include salsify, dandelions, milkweeds, thistles, and many types of sunflowers. Helicopter type seeds have a single, rigid wing at one end. The wing has a slight pitch, causing the seed to spin as it falls. Depending on height above ground and wind velocity, helicopter seeds can be carried a considerable distance. Common examples of plants with helicopter seeds are maples, ashes, pines, spruces, firs, and hemlocks. Glider type seeds have two papery lateral wings that resemble an airplane. When released from the tree they sail through the air like a glider. An excellent example of this method is the seed of the tropical Asian climbing gourd. The seed has a five-inch wingspan that resembles a “flying wing” aircraft, such as the Stealth Bomber, and glides through the air of the rain forest in wide circles.

Just as these seeds are carried and dispersed all over by wind, water, and hitchhiking, so should the gospel seed be dispersed and scattered all over the world by Christ’s followers. “Present truth should be scattered among the people like the leaves of autumn.” Evangelism, 36. “Now is the time to sow the gospel seed. . . . We have no time to lose.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 250.

David Arbour writes from his home in DeQueen, Arkansas. He may be contacted by e-mail at:

The Pen of Inspiration – The Living Testimony

Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name. And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.” [Malachi 3:16, 17.]

It is not enough to contemplate the glory of Christ; we should speak of His excellences. Isaiah not only beheld His glory, but he also spake of Him. While David mused, the fire burned; then spake he with his tongue. While he mused upon the wondrous love of God, he could not but speak of that which he saw and felt. Who can by faith behold the wonderful plan of redemption, the glory of the only begotten Son of God, and not speak of it? Who can contemplate the unfathomable love that was manifested upon the cross of Calvary in the death of Christ, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life, and have no words by which to extol the Saviour’s glory? We cannot become partakers of His love, and give no expression to our reverence and adoration.

As believers behold Christ, they will be led to assemble together and to speak one to another words that will express their fervent love. They will say, “He is the chiefest among ten thousand,” “Yea, He is altogether lovely.” “In His temple doth every one speak of His glory.” [Song of Solomon 5:10, 16; Psalm 29:9.] The sweet singer of Israel praised Him upon the harp, singing, “I will speak of the glorious honour of Thy majesty, and of Thy wondrous works.” “And men shall speak of the might of Thy terrible acts; and I will declare Thy greatness. They shall abundantly utter the memory of Thy great goodness, and shall sing of Thy righteousness. . . . They shall speak of the glory of Thy kingdom, and talk of Thy power; to make known to the sons of men His mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of His kingdom.” [Psalm 145:5–7, 11, 12.] This will be the character of the conversation of those who fear the Lord and think upon His name. God is represented as listening to their words, and writing them in a book.

God will be Glorified

John, the beloved disciple, bore a living testimony, saying, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested unto us); that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This, then, is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” [1 John 1:1–5.]

Surely, those who speak one to another of the goodness of the Lord are highly privileged. Peter exclaims, “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light.” [1 Peter 2:9.] We have rich themes for thought and conversation; and those who are subjects of the grace of God, upon whom the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness are shining, are to be God’s witnesses. Should they hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. God will be glorified.

When the members of the church are one with Christ, there will be union one with another, and this unity will be a living testimony to the world of the power of the gospel. Why can we not see from the lessons of Christ, and especially from His prayer for the unity of believers, that Christians must be perfect in unity in order to represent the glory of their Redeemer? As believers in Christ, we are “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone, in whom all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord. In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” [Ephesians 2:20–22.]

Cause of Dissension

The believer in Christ should understand that dissension and division in the church are brought about through the working of the powers of darkness, in order that those who profess to be children of God may not present the oneness for which Christ prayed. God’s people greatly dishonour His name, and misrepresent His truth, when they manifest a lack of love one for another. As love for God grows cold, they lose the childlike simplicity that knits heart to heart in loving tenderness. Hard-heartedness comes in, and there is a drawing away one from another. When we fail to love others as Christ has loved us, Jesus can do little for us; for His words and spirit are not permitted to enter into the heart.

Many are in darkness, and know not the cause; they are not at peace with God, they are not one with Christ nor in unity with their brethren. By their words and actions they testify that they do not desire to be in union with those who do not exactly meet their mind, even though they are believers. They seem to think that they are at liberty to act out the natural feelings of the heart. All who entertain evil surmisings and cherish ill feelings to others, need to be converted. They need to learn to live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

How to Manifest Love

Love for one another is not to be manifested by praise and flattery, but by true fidelity. The love of Christ will lead us to watch for souls; and if we see one in danger, we shall tell him so plainly and kindly, even at the risk of his displeasure. The religion of Christ is not to be controlled by impulse. We need to pray much, and lean wholly upon God. We need to hold the truth with firmness, and in all righteousness; but while we speak the truth with fidelity, we should speak it in love, as it is in Jesus.

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another.” How much?—“As I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” [John 13:34.] Do we regard this commandment sufficiently? Do we permit it to control mind and heart, and mould the character? “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” [Verse 35.] Thus believers are to bear to the world the credentials which will testify that they are indeed the children of God. Jesus says, “The glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them, that they may be one even as we are one. I in them and Thou in Me, that they may be perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.” [John 17:22, 23.]

What can I present before my brethren and sisters in Christ, that is more important for their study and practice than the Saviour’s prayer for His disciples? The entire seventeenth chapter of John is full of marrow and fatness. Are there not urgent reasons why we should take heed to these words of Christ? Is it not time we sought for the unity for which the Saviour prayed? Shall we not open our hearts to the melting love of Jesus? May the Lord unite the hearts of all that believe His word, in that oneness for which Christ prayed, that we may be one, even as He and the Father are one.

The Bible Echo, April 23, 1894.

Children’s Story – Good Neighbor Policy

When I was growing up, my father used to say, “No matter who they are or what they do, treat your neighbors with love.”

I did not fully understand what he meant until one Sabbath, when on our way to church, we spotted someone shoveling corn from our crib into a battered old truck. Dad stopped the car and got out. The man looked up and froze. I knew this man!

Everybody in town had suspected him of stealing their gas! No one had ever confronted him for fear of his violent temper. Now we had caught him red-handed! What was Dad going to do?

My father called to him and kindly said, “If that is not enough, come back tomorrow. Take as much as you need. Remember, you are my neighbor.” The man dropped his shovel and hung his head.

He never stole from us or anyone else in town again, as far as I know. Perhaps he learned how to be a good neighbor that day. I know I did.

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Leviticus 19:18.

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