March 19, 2006 – March 25, 2006
“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.