Bible Study Guides – The Close of a Godly Life

March 22, 2015 – March 28, 2015

Key Text

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” II Timothy 4:7, 8.

Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 485–503, 509–513.


“His [Paul’s] own life was a living illustration of the truths he taught; and herein lay his power with the people.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 325, 326.


  • Against all odds, Paul was miraculously set at liberty by declaration of Nero, who was perhaps the most vile, atrocious despot in the line of the Caesars. How did the apostle consider his newly regained freedom? Galatians 5:13.
  • Although spared from the persecution against Christians in Rome, what happened during Paul’s travel back to Troas? II Timothy 4:14, 15.

Note: “The Jews conceived the idea of seeking to fasten upon Paul the crime of instigating the burning of Rome. Not one of them for a moment believed him guilty; but they knew that such a charge, made with the faintest show of plausibility, would seal his doom. An opportunity soon offered to execute their plans. At the house of a disciple in the city of Troas, Paul was again seized, and from this place he was hurried away to his final imprisonment.

“The arrest was affected by the efforts of Alexander the coppersmith, who had so unsuccessfully opposed the apostle’s work at Ephesus, and who now seized the opportunity to be revenged on one whom he could not defeat.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 305.

  • In view of his circumstances, what poignant appeals did the apostle make in his epistle to Timothy, his beloved son in the faith? II Timothy 1:7–14; 4:9.


  • Why was Paul’s second arraignment in Rome especially trying, and what was his attitude toward those who might have helped? II Timothy 4:16.

Note: “Accused of instigating one of the basest and most terrible of crimes against the city and the nation, he [Paul] was the object of universal execration.

“The few friends who had shared the burdens of the apostle, now began to leave him, some by desertion, and others on missions to the various churches.” The Acts of the Apostles, 490.

  • In all of this, what assurance did Paul have? II Timothy 4:17, 18. What human comfort did he also receive?

Note: “Never had the apostle needed the ministrations of his brethren as now, enfeebled as he was by age, toil, and infirmities, and confined in the damp, dark vaults of a Roman prison. …

“Paul, though apparently indifferent to hardship and suffering, yearned for sympathy and companionship. The visit of Onesiphorus, testifying to his fidelity at a time of loneliness and desertion, brought gladness and cheer to one who had spent his life in service for others.” The Acts of the Apostles, 490, 491.

  • After all that the apostle had gone through, why did he long to see Timothy, and why had his heart now softened toward Mark, who by now had become more mature in the faith? II Timothy 1:3–6; 4:9–11.

Note: “Since the earlier years of his profession of faith, Mark’s Christian experience had deepened. As he had studied more closely the life and death of Christ he had obtained clearer views of the Saviour’s mission, its toils and conflicts. Reading in the scars in Christ’s hands and feet the marks of His service for humanity, and the length to which self-abnegation leads to save the lost and perishing, Mark had become willing to follow the Master in the path of self-sacrifice. Now, sharing the lot of Paul the prisoner, he understood better than ever before that it is infinite gain to win Christ, infinite loss to win the world and lose the soul for whose redemption the blood of Christ was shed. In the face of severe trial and adversity, Mark continued steadfast, a wise and beloved helper of the apostle.” The Acts of the Apostles, 455.


  • As Paul preached the gospel to hardened Nero, touching the hearts of many, what did he desire for his son in the faith? II Timothy 2:1–4; 4:1, 2. Of what did the apostle feel compelled to warn and exhort this young minister? II Timothy 3:1–5, 13, 14; 4:3–5.
  • What could Paul say of God’s loving watchcare in the many experiences he obtained while preaching the gospel? II Timothy 3:10, 11. What must we all realize in pondering Paul’s life? II Timothy 3:12; II Corinthians 11:23–28.

Note: “The truth always involves a cross. Those who will not believe, oppose and deride those who do believe. The fact that its presentation creates a storm of opposition, is no evidence against the truth. The prophets and apostles imperiled their lives because they would conscientiously obey God. And our Saviour declares that ‘all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution’ (II Timothy 3:12). This is the Christian’s legacy.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 279.

“Reformatory action is always attended with loss, sacrifice, and peril. It always rebukes love of ease, selfish interests, and lustful ambition. Hence, whoever initiates or prosecutes such action must encounter opposition, calumny, and hatred from those who are unwilling to submit to the conditions of reform. It is no easy matter to overcome sinful habits and practices. The work can be accomplished only with the help of divine grace; but many neglect to seek such help, and endeavor to bring down the standard to meet their deficiencies, instead of bringing themselves up to meet the standard of God.” Ibid., 305, 306.

  • How did Paul feel about closing his life bound in chains? 11 Timothy 2:7–10. Despite all persecution, what must be the source of our every decision and practice, and with what assurance? II Timothy 3:16, 17; John 8:32–36.

Note: “When for the truth’s sake the believer is incarcerated in prison walls, Christ manifests Himself to him, and ravishes his heart with His love. When he suffers death for the sake of Christ, Christ says to him, ‘They may kill the body, but they cannot hurt the soul’ (Matthew 10:28). ‘Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world’ (John 16:33).” Selected Messages, Book 3, 420, 421.


  • At the close of Paul’s life, what did he realize, and what was he fully able to testify? II Timothy 4:6–8. How did he die?

Note: “The emperor’s malice against Paul was heightened by the fact that members of the imperial household, and also other persons of distinction, had been converted to Christianity during his first imprisonment. For this reason he [Nero] made the second imprisonment much more severe than the first, granting him little opportunity to preach the gospel; and he determined to cut short his life as soon as a plausible pretext could be found for so doing. Nero’s mind was so impressed with the force of the apostle’s words at his last trial that he deferred the decision of the case, neither acquitting nor condemning him. But the sentence was only deferred. It was not long before the decision was pronounced which consigned Paul to a martyr’s grave. Being a Roman citizen, he could not be subjected to torture, and was therefore sentenced to be beheaded.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 328, 329.

“Paul was led in a private manner to the place of execution. His persecutors, alarmed at the extent of his influence, feared that converts might be won to Christianity, even by the scenes of his death. Hence few spectators were allowed to be present. But the hardened soldiers appointed to attend him, listened to his words, and with amazement saw him cheerful and even joyous in prospect of such a death. His spirit of forgiveness toward his murderers, and his unwavering confidence in Christ to the very last, proved a savor of life unto life to some who witnessed his martyrdom. More than one erelong accepted the Saviour whom Paul preached, and fearlessly sealed their faith with their blood.” Ibid., 329, 330.

  • What assurance does the apostle eagerly want us to embrace as we deeply ponder the glorious message of the gospel? Romans 8:31–34.

Note: “Paul carried with him through his life on earth the very atmosphere of Heaven. All who associated with him felt the influence of his connection with Christ and companionship with angels. Here lies the power of the truth. The unstudied, unconscious influence of a holy life is the most convincing sermon that can be given in favor of Christianity. Argument, even when unanswerable, may provoke only opposition; but a godly example has a power which it is impossible wholly to resist.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 331.


  • Why can we be energized into love and action by prayerfully contemplating the life of this meek man of faith—a life that, if we so desire, can in many ways be echoed in our own? Romans 8:35–39.

Note: “What has sustained Christians in every age, amidst reproaches, temptations, and sufferings? A pure, trusting faith, constantly exercised to understand what is truth which sanctifies the receiver, a committing of the keeping of the soul to God, under any and every circumstance, as unto One whom they knew would not betray their trust.” The Upward Look, 244.

“Through his long term of service, Paul had never faltered in his allegiance to his Saviour. Wherever he was—whether before scowling Pharisees, or Roman authorities; before the furious mob at Lystra, or the convicted sinners in the Macedonian dungeon; whether reasoning with the panic-stricken sailors on the shipwrecked vessel, or standing alone before Nero to plead for his life—he had never been ashamed of the cause he was advocating. The one great purpose of his Christian life had been to serve Him whose name had once filled him with contempt; and from this purpose no opposition or persecution had been able to turn him aside. …

“The love of the Saviour was the undying motive that upheld him in his conflicts with self and in his struggles against evil as in the service of Christ he pressed forward against the unfriendliness of the world and the opposition of his enemies.

“What the church needs in these days of peril is an army of workers who, like Paul, have educated themselves for usefulness, who have a deep experience in the things of God, and who are filled with earnestness and zeal.” Conflict and Courage, 356.


1 What are we to learn from the outrageously unjust accusation against Paul?

2 Explain the growth in attitude of both Paul and Mark.

3 Why is reformation always a challenge—yet a rewarding one?

4 Describe Paul’s attitude in his martyrdom.

5 Summarize the insights we can gain from studying the life of Paul.

Copyright © 2013 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Rome

March 15, 2015 – March 21, 2015

Key Text

“I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:15, 16.

Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 447–468, 483, 484.


“Paul had long looked forward to a visit to Rome; he greatly desired to witness for Christ there, but had felt that his purposes were frustrated by the enmity of the Jews. He little thought … that he would go to Rome [as a prisoner].” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 225.


  • For how long had Paul hoped to meet the believers in Rome? Acts 19:21. Who had confirmed this goal in the apostle’s heart? Acts 23:11.
  • Describe the impact of Paul’s epistle to the Romans. Romans 1:1–7.

Note: “While addressing the Roman Christians, Paul designed to instruct other churches also; but how little could he foresee the far-reaching influence of his words! The great truth of justification by faith, as set forth in this epistle, has stood through all the ages as a mighty beacon to guide the repentant sinner into the way of life.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 187.

  • Why did Paul want to come to Rome? Romans 1:8–17. What encouraging commendation had the apostle given in his epistle to the Romans? Romans 16:19, 20.


  • Describe Paul’s arrival in the city of Rome. Acts 28:15.

Note: “It was with a heavy heart that Paul went forward to his long-expected visit to the world’s metropolis. How different the circumstances from those he had anticipated! How was he, fettered and stigmatized, to proclaim the gospel? His hopes of winning many souls to the truth in Rome, seemed destined to disappointment.

“At last the travelers reach Appii Forum, forty miles from Rome. As they make their way through the crowds that throng the great thoroughfare, the gray-haired old man, chained with a group of hardened-looking criminals, receives many a glance of scorn and is made the subject of many a rude, mocking jest.

“Suddenly a cry of joy is heard, and a man springs from the passing throng and falls upon the prisoner’s neck, embracing him with tears and rejoicing, as a son would welcome a long-absent father. Again and again is the scene repeated as, with eyes made keen by loving expectation, many discern in the chained captive the one who at Corinth, at Philippi, at Ephesus, had spoken to them the words of life.

“As the warmhearted disciples eagerly flock around their father in the gospel, the whole company is brought to a standstill. The soldiers are impatient of delay, yet they have not the heart to interrupt this happy meeting; for they, too, have learned to respect and esteem their prisoner. In that worn, pain-stricken face, the disciples see reflected the image of Christ. They assure Paul that they have not forgotten him nor ceased to love him; that they are indebted to him for the joyful hope which animates their lives and gives them peace toward God. In the ardor of their love they would bear him upon their shoulders the whole way to the city, could they but have the privilege.

“Few realize the significance of those words of Luke, that when Paul saw his brethren, ‘he thanked God, and took courage’ (Acts 28:15). In the midst of the weeping, sympathizing company of believers, who were not ashamed of his bonds, the apostle praised God aloud. The cloud of sadness that had rested upon his spirit was swept away. His Christian life had been a succession of trials, sufferings, and disappointments, but in that hour he felt abundantly repaid. With firmer step and joyful heart he continued on his way. He would not complain of the past, nor fear for the future. Bonds and afflictions awaited him, he knew; but he knew also that it had been his to deliver souls from a bondage infinitely more terrible, and he rejoiced in his sufferings for Christ’s sake.” The Acts of the Apostles, 448, 449.


  • How were some of Paul’s sufferings relieved in Rome? Acts 28:16.

Note: “At Rome the centurion Julius delivered up his prisoners to the captain of the emperor’s guard. The good account which he gave of Paul, together with the letter from Festus, caused the apostle to be favorably regarded by the chief captain, and, instead of being thrown into prison, he was permitted to live in his own hired house. Although still constantly chained to a soldier, he was at liberty to receive his friends and to labor for the advancement of the cause of Christ.” The Acts of the Apostles, 449, 450.

  • After three days in Rome, Paul made a special request to meet the Jewish elders. What can we learn from Paul’s attitude? Acts 28:17–20.

Note: “He [Paul] said nothing of the abuse which he had suffered at the hands of the Jews, or of their repeated plots to assassinate him. His words were marked with caution and kindness. He was not seeking to win personal attention or sympathy, but to defend the truth and to maintain the honor of the gospel.” The Acts of the Apostles, 450.

  • Describe the results achieved. Acts 28:21–24. What did the apostle finally conclude? Acts 28:25–27.

Note: “He [Paul] related his own experience, and presented arguments from the Old Testament Scriptures with simplicity, sincerity, and power.

“The apostle showed that religion does not consist in rites and ceremonies, creeds and theories. … Paul taught that religion is a practical, saving energy, a principle wholly from God, a personal experience of God’s renewing power upon the soul. …

“To apprehend Christ by faith, to have a spiritual knowledge of Him, was more to be desired than a personal acquaintance with Him as He appeared on the earth. The communion with Christ which Paul now enjoyed was more intimate, more enduring, than a mere earthly and human companionship.

“As Paul spoke of what he knew, and testified of what he had seen, concerning Jesus of Nazareth as the hope of Israel, those who were honestly seeking for truth were convinced. Upon some minds, at least, his words made an impression that was never effaced. But others stubbornly refused to accept the plain testimony of the Scriptures.” The Acts of the Apostles, 451, 452.


  • What declaration of Paul still remains evident today? Acts 28:28. What was the result of Paul’s words? Acts 28:29.
  • Describe the new living situation granted to Paul, even though chained still to a Roman guard. Acts 28:30, 31. How did God use this difficulty for a good purpose? Philippians 1:12–14.

Note: “While apparently cut off from active labor, Paul exerted a wider and more lasting influence than if he had been free to travel among the churches as in former years. As a prisoner of the Lord, he had a firmer hold upon the affections of his brethren; and his words, written by one under bonds for the sake of Christ, commanded greater attention and respect than they did when he was personally with them. Not until Paul was removed from them, did the believers realize how heavy were the burdens he had borne in their behalf. Heretofore they had largely excused themselves from responsibility and burden bearing because they lacked his wisdom, tact, and indomitable energy; but now, left in their inexperience to learn the lessons they had shunned, they prized his warnings, counsels, and instructions as they had not prized his personal work. And as they learned of his courage and faith during his long imprisonment they were stimulated to greater fidelity and zeal in the cause of Christ.” The Acts of the Apostles, 454.

  • Though Paul did not try to overthrow the established order of Rome with its policies allowing slave-holding, what principles did he nonetheless teach? Galatians 3:8; Ephesians 6:9; II Corinthians 3:17. Give an example of how he saw hope in the hopeless. Philemon 10–18.

Note: “In the kindness of his heart, Paul sought to relieve the poverty and distress of the wretched fugitive [Onesimus] and then endeavored to shed the light of truth into his darkened mind. Onesimus listened to the words of life, confessed his sins, and was converted to the faith of Christ.” The Acts of the Apostles, 456.


  • Who were among the most remarkable converts during Paul’s stay in the vile, corrupt city ruled by its wicked emperor, Nero? Philippians 4:22. What does this tell us whenever we may be tempted to make excuses for ourselves while we are in unfavorable surroundings? Philippians 4:11–13.

Note: “Are any tempted to make their circumstances an excuse for failing to witness for Christ? Let them consider the situation of the disciples in Caesar’s household—the depravity of the emperor, the profligacy of the court. We can hardly imagine circumstances more unfavorable to a religious life, and entailing greater sacrifice or opposition, than those in which these converts found themselves. Yet amidst difficulties and dangers they maintained their fidelity. …

“By His own example the Saviour has shown that His followers can be in the world and yet not of the world. He came not to partake of its delusive pleasures, to be swayed by its customs, and to follow its practices, but to do His Father’s will, to seek and save the lost. With this object before him the Christian may stand uncontaminated in any surroundings. Whatever his station or circumstances, exalted or humble, he will manifest the power of true religion in the faithful performance of duty.

“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 followers 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.” The Acts of the Apostles, 466–468.


1 How can we be inspired by Paul’s yearning desire to come to Rome?

2 What does the scene of Paul’s arrival teach us about priorities in life?

3 How may we be in danger of missing the point of Christ, as did the Jews?

4 Explain God’s purpose in providing Paul’s living situation in Rome.

5 Why should we feel humbled by the converts in Caesar’s household?

Copyright © 2013 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Sailing Toward Rome

March 8, 2015 – March 14, 2015

Key Text

“There stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.” Acts 27:23, 24.

Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 439–446.


“Paul carried with him the atmosphere of heaven. All who associated with him felt the influence of his union with Christ.” Reflecting Christ, 360.


  • How is Paul’s experience soon to be repeated? Matthew 10:31–33.

Note: “Once more the hatred born of Jewish bigotry and self-righteousness had driven the servant of God to turn for protection to a heathen ruler [Caesar]. … It is the same spirit that the people of God in this age have yet to meet. In the great crisis through which they are soon to pass, they will become better acquainted with the experience of Paul. Among the professed followers of Christ, there is the same pride, formalism, vainglory, selfishness, and oppression, that existed in the Jewish nation. Before the warfare shall be ended and the victory won, we as a people are to experience trials similar to those of Paul. We shall encounter the same hardness of heart, the same cruel determination, the same unyielding hatred.

“Men professing to be representatives of Christ will take a course similar to that taken by priests and rulers in their treatment of Paul. All who would fearlessly serve God according to the dictates of their own conscience, will need moral courage, firmness, and a knowledge of God and His word, to stand in that evil day. …

“God would have His people prepared for the soon-coming crisis. Prepared or unprepared, we must all meet it. Only those whose characters are thoroughly disciplined to meet the divine standard will be able to stand firm in that testing time.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 250–252.


  • What favor did Paul receive from Julius, the centurion who had heard the apostle’s testimony before Agrippa, and to whom he was chained? Acts 27:1–3.

Note: “The journey which would be difficult and dangerous to the ordinary traveler, would be doubly trying to the apostle as a prisoner. Roman soldiers were held responsible with their own lives for the security of their prisoners, and this had led to the custom of chaining prisoners by the right wrist to the left wrist of soldiers, who relieved each other in turn. Thus not only could the apostle have no movement free, but he was placed in close and constant connection with men of the most uncongenial and absolutely repulsive character; men who were not only uneducated and unrefined, but who, from the demoralizing influence of their surroundings, had become brutal and degraded. This custom, however, was less rigidly observed on shipboard than when prisoners were ashore. One circumstance greatly lightened the hardships of his lot. He was permitted to enjoy the companionship of his brethren, Luke and Aristarchus. In his letter to the Colossians, he speaks of the latter as his ‘fellow-prisoner’ (Colossians 4:10). But it was as an act of choice, because of his affection for Paul, that Aristarchus shared his bondage, and ministered to him in his afflictions.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 262.

  • As the Jewish season of safe navigation was now past, what did Paul advise the sailors aboard the ship on which he was a prisoner? Acts 27:4–10. What did the centurion choose to do instead—and why should they all have listened to Paul’s advice? Acts 27:11–20.
  • Despite the wrong decision they had made, how was God nonetheless merciful to the sailors, bringing them comfort through Paul? Acts 27:21–26. In what difficult situation did the sailors find themselves, even after fourteen days of fasting while fiercely battling the tempest? Acts 27:27–29.

Note: “Paul had no fears for himself; he felt assured that he would not be swallowed up by the hungry waters. God would preserve his life, that he might witness for the truth at Rome. But his human heart yearned with pity for the poor souls around him.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 266.


  • What selfish intention did the sailors have, and how did Paul perceptively challenge the evil of their plan? Acts 27:30, 31.

Note: “At last through rain and tempest the gray light fell upon their haggard and ghastly faces. The outlines of the stormy coast could be dimly seen, but not a single familiar landmark was visible. The selfish heathen sailors determined to abandon the ship and crew, and save themselves in the boat which they had with so much difficulty hoisted on board. Pretending that they could do something more to secure the safety of the ship, they unloosed the boat, and began to lower it into the sea. Had they succeeded, they would have been dashed in pieces upon the rocks, while all on board would have perished from their inability to handle the sinking vessel.

“At this moment, Paul perceived the base design, and averted the danger. With his usual prompt energy and courage he said to the centurion and soldiers, ‘Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved’ (Acts 27:31).” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 267, 268.

  • What act of resignation soon followed? Acts 27:32.

Note: “The apostle’s faith in God did not waver; he had no doubt concerning his own preservation, but the promise of safety to the crew had been conditional upon their performance of duty. The soldiers, on hearing Paul’s words, immediately cut off the ropes of the boat, letting her fall off into the sea.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 268.

  • How did the apostle bring even more comfort to the suffering men? Acts 27:33–38.

Note: “That worn, drenched, discouraged throng of two hundred and seventy-six souls, who but for Paul would have become despairing and desperate, now took fresh courage, and joined with the apostle in their first meal for fourteen days. After this, knowing that it would be impossible to save their cargo, they righted up the ship by throwing overboard the wheat with which she was laden.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 269.


  • What finally happened to the ship full of prisoners—and why? Acts 27:39–44.

Note: “If any of the prisoners were missing, the lives of those who had them in charge would be forfeited. Hence the soldiers desired to put all the prisoners to death. The Roman law sanctioned this cruel policy, and the proposal would have been executed at once, but for him to whom soldiers and prisoners alike owed their preservation. Julius the centurion knew that Paul had been instrumental in saving the lives of all on board, and he felt that it would be the basest ingratitude to allow him to be put to death; and more, he felt convinced that the Lord was with Paul, and he feared to do him harm. He therefore gave orders to spare the lives of the prisoners, and directed that all who could swim should cast themselves into the sea and get to land. The rest seized hold of planks and other fragments of the wreck, and were carried landward by the waves.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 269, 270.

  • What did the shipwrecked passengers find on the island? Acts 28:1, 2.
  • What happened to Paul in front of the native barbarians, and what did these people immediately assume about the apostle? Acts 28:3, 4. How did they soon afterwards react to the miracle the Lord performed in His servant’s behalf? Acts 28:5, 6.

Note: “Paul was among the most active in collecting fuel. As he was placing a bundle of sticks upon the fire, a viper that had been suddenly revived from its torpor by the heat, darted from the fagots and fastened upon his hand. The bystanders were horror-struck, and seeing by his chain that Paul was a prisoner, they said to one another, ‘No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live’ (Acts 28:4). But Paul shook off the creature into the fire, and suffered no harm. Knowing its venomous nature, they watched him closely for some time, expecting every moment to see him fall down, writhing in terrible agony. But as no unpleasant results followed, they changed their minds, and, like the people of Lystra, said that he was a god. By this circumstance Paul gained a strong influence over the islanders, and he sought faithfully to employ it in leading them to accept the truths of the gospel.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 270, 271.


  • How long were Paul and his fellow prisoners stranded at Melita, and why could their forced stay in that island be seen as a success? Acts 28:8–11.

Note: “During the three months that the ship’s company remained at Melita, Paul and his fellow laborers improved many opportunities to preach the gospel. In a remarkable manner the Lord wrought through them. For Paul’s sake the entire shipwrecked company were treated with great kindness; all their wants were supplied, and upon leaving Melita they were liberally provided with everything needful for their voyage.” The Acts of the Apostles, 446.

  • Where was the apostle finally able to find fellowship again with the brethren? Acts 28:12–14.

Note: “With the opening of navigation, the centurion and his prisoners set out on their journey to Rome. An Alexandrian ship, the ‘Castor and Pollux,’ had wintered at Melita on her way westward, and in this the travelers embarked. Though somewhat delayed by contrary winds, the voyage was safely accomplished, and the ship cast anchor in the beautiful harbor of Puteoli, on the coast of Italy.

“In this place there were a few Christians, and they entreated the apostle to remain with them for seven days, a privilege kindly granted by the centurion. Since receiving Paul’s epistle to the Romans, the Christians of Italy had eagerly looked forward to a visit from the apostle. They had not thought to see him come as a prisoner, but his sufferings only endeared him to them the more.” The Acts of the Apostles, 447.


1 How are we to prepare for the soon-coming crisis?

2 What reveals the influence Paul had on those around him?

3 What was Paul’s main concern during the hour of perilous shipwreck?

4 Describe Paul’s experience on the isle of Melita.

5 How can we be inspired by the way the Christians in Italy received Paul?

Copyright © 2013 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – On Trial in Caesarea

March 1, 2015 – March 7, 2015

The Life of Paul

Key Text

“Herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.” Acts 24:16.

Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 419–438.


“As one of God’s messengers sent to confirm the truth of the Word, he [Paul] knew what was truth; and with the boldness of a sanctified conscience he gloried in that knowledge.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1094.


  • Who was Paul’s accuser—and how did he, with flattering lips, lie to obtain a charge? Acts 24:1–9.
  • How does the Psalmist summarize the way of the flatterer? Psalm 5:8, 9.
  • In contrast, what characterized Paul’s defense, and how does this reflect Paul’s own advice to his flock? Acts 24:10–21; Romans 12:17, 18.

Note: “Felix had sufficient penetration to read the disposition and character of Paul’s accusers. He knew from what motive they [the Jews and their counsel Tertullus] had flattered him, and he saw also that they had failed to substantiate their charges against Paul. Turning to the accused, he beckoned to him to answer for himself. Paul wasted no words in compliments, but simply stated that he could the more cheerfully defend himself before Felix, since the latter had been so long a procurator, and therefore had so good an understanding of the laws and customs of the Jews. Referring to the charges brought against him, he plainly showed that not one of them was true.” The Acts of the Apostles, 420, 421.


Based on Paul’s testimony, what was Felix the governor able to discern and decide? Acts 24:22, 23.

  • How did the Holy Ghost prompt a deeper spiritual interest in the heart of Felix and of his second wife, Drusilla? Acts 24:24.

Note: “An example of the unbridled licentiousness that stained his [Felix’s] character is seen in his alliance with Drusilla, which was consummated about this time. Through the deceptive arts of Simon Magus, a Cyprian sorcerer, Felix had induced this princess to leave her husband and to become his wife. Drusilla was young and beautiful, and, moreover, a Jewess. She was devotedly attached to her husband, who had made a great sacrifice to obtain her hand. There was little indeed to induce her to forego her strongest prejudices and to bring upon herself the abhorrence of her nation for the sake of forming an adulterous connection with a cruel and elderly profligate. Yet the Satanic devices of the conjurer and the betrayer succeeded, and Felix accomplished his purpose.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 235, 236.

  • What should we consider by observing God’s earnest longing in behalf of Felix and Drusilla? II Peter 3:9.

Note: “What an insult so many, deceived by Satan’s temptations, offer to the Saviour by abusing their privileges, refusing to acknowledge His loving interest in them.” The Upward Look, 244.

“My brother, my sister, Jesus is inviting you to become a branch of the Living Vine. He is calling upon you to connect with Him, that in His strength you may do His commandments. You have tried to sever yourself from Him, but you have not succeeded. God loves you, and would have you sit at His feet and learn of Him. His forgiveness, compassion, and long-suffering are represented to the world in Christ. If Christ had not paid the ransom for our souls, we would not have had a probation in which to develop characters of obedience to God’s commandments. Then do not disappoint Christ by perversity and unbelief. Appreciate God’s gift to man. Show that you understand what your probation means. It means life or death to each one of us. By our daily conduct we are deciding our eternal destiny.” The Review and Herald, January 26, 1897.


  • What needed message did Paul bring to Felix and Drusilla, the profligate pair—and how did they respond? Acts 24:25; Ecclesiastes 11:9.

Note: “Paul considered this [a private interview with Felix and Drusilla] a God-given opportunity, and he improved it faithfully. He knew that the man and woman before him had the power to put him to death, or to preserve his life; yet he did not address them with praise or flattery. He knew that his words would be to them a savor of life or of death, and, forgetting all selfish considerations, he sought to arouse them to the peril of their souls.

“The gospel message admits of no neutrality. It counts all men as decidedly for the truth or against it; if they do not receive and obey its teachings, they are its enemies. Yet it knows no respect of person, class, or condition.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 240.

“The apostle spoke with earnestness and evident sincerity, and his words carried with them a weight of conviction. Claudius Lysias, in his letter to Felix, had borne a similar testimony in regard to Paul’s conduct. … Yet Felix knew no higher motive than self-interest, and he was controlled by love of praise and a desire for promotion. Fear of offending the Jews held him back from doing full justice to a man whom he knew to be innocent.” The Acts of the Apostles, 421, 422.

  • How limited was the governor’s interest in Paul, and why did the apostle refuse Felix’s offer of freedom? Acts 24:26, 27; Isaiah 33:14–16.

Note: “For two years no further action was taken against Paul, yet he remained a prisoner. Felix visited him several times and listened attentively to his words. But the real motive for this apparent friendliness was a desire for gain, and he intimated that by the payment of a large sum of money Paul might secure his release. The apostle, however, was of too noble a nature to free himself by a bribe. He was not guilty of any crime, and he would not stoop to commit a wrong in order to gain freedom. Furthermore, he was himself too poor to pay such a ransom, had he been disposed to do so, and he would not, in his own behalf, appeal to the sympathy and generosity of his converts. He also felt that he was in the hands of God, and he would not interfere with the divine purposes respecting himself.” The Acts of the Apostles, 426, 427.


  • What did the Jews propose to Porcius Festus, the new governor—and what was the result? Acts 25:1–12. Relate the conversation between Festus and Agrippa. Acts 25:13–22.
  • What should we learn from Paul’s attempt to make the best of the opportunity before him? Acts 26:1–23.

Note: “In honor of his visitors, Festus had sought to make this an occasion of imposing display. The rich robes of the procurator and his guests, the swords of the soldiers, and the gleaming armor of their commanders, lent brilliancy to the scene.

“And now Paul, still manacled, stood before the assembled company. What a contrast was here presented! Agrippa and Bernice possessed power and position, and because of this they were favored by the world. But they were destitute of the traits of character that God esteems. They were transgressors of His law, corrupt in heart and life. Their course of action was abhorred by heaven.

“The aged prisoner, chained to his soldier guard, had in his appearance nothing that would lead the world to pay him homage. Yet in this man, apparently without friends or wealth or position, and held a prisoner for his faith in the Son of God, all heaven was interested. Angels were his attendants. Had the glory of one of those shining messengers flashed forth, the pomp and pride of royalty would have paled; king and courtiers would have been stricken to the earth, as were the Roman guards at the sepulcher of Christ. …

“The apostle was not disconcerted by the brilliant display or the high rank of his audience; for he knew of how little worth are worldly wealth and position. Earthly pomp and power could not for a moment daunt his courage nor rob him of his self-control.” The Review and Herald, November 16, 1911.

“None can know where or how they may be called to labor or to speak for God. Our heavenly Father alone sees what He can make of men. There are before us possibilities which our feeble faith does not discern. Our minds should be so trained that if necessary we can present the truths of His word before the highest earthly authorities in such a way as to glorify His name. We should not let slip even one opportunity of qualifying ourselves intellectually to work for God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 333, 334.


  • How was Agrippa’s reaction different from that of Festus? Acts 26:24–28.

Note: “Festus, Agrippa, and Bernice might in justice have worn the fetters that bound the apostle. All were guilty of grievous crimes. These offenders had that day heard the offer of salvation through the name of Christ. One, at least, had been almost persuaded to accept the grace and pardon offered. But Agrippa put aside the proffered mercy, refusing to accept the cross of a crucified Redeemer.” The Acts of the Apostles, 438.

  • How did the interview conclude? Acts 26:29–32. In what sense was this testimony before heathen rulers a lighter affliction than other trials faced by Paul and other servants of God? Ezekiel 2:3–7; Jeremiah 1:17.
  • Describe the final outcome of Felix.

Note: “[Due to daring acts of injustice and cruelty,] the Jews made a formal complaint against Felix, and he was summoned to Rome to answer their charges. He well knew that his course of extortion and oppression had given them abundant ground for complaint, but he still hoped to conciliate them. Hence, though he had a sincere respect for Paul, he decided to gratify their malice by leaving him a prisoner. But all his efforts were in vain; though he escaped banishment or death, he was removed from office, and deprived of the greater part of his ill-gotten wealth. Drusilla, the partner of his guilt, afterward perished, with their only son, in the eruption of Vesuvius. His own days were ended in disgrace and obscurity.” Sketches from the Life of Paul, 246.


1 Explain the distinction between respect for authority and flattery.

2 How can we avoid the trap that made Paul’s appeal to Felix unwelcome?

3 Why did Felix treat Paul as he did—both favorably and unfavorably?

4 Describe how God saw the contrast between King Agrippa and Paul.

5 How may we be in danger of repeating Felix and Agrippa’s mistake?

Copyright © 2013 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Keys to the Storehouse – Oh, To Be Faithful!

Throughout the ages God has had many people who have been His appointed witnesses; who, under dire circumstances, stood faithful to Him and to His word. Oh, for you and me to be faithful under all circumstances!

“In the experience of the apostle John under persecution, there is a lesson of wonderful strength and comfort for the Christian. God does not prevent the plottings of wicked men, but He causes their devices to work for good to those who in trial and conflict maintain their faith and loyalty. Often the gospel laborer carries on his work amid storms of persecution, bitter opposition, and unjust reproach. At such times let him remember that the experience to be gained in the furnace of trial and affliction is worth all the pain it costs. Thus God brings His children near to Him, that He may show them their weakness and His strength. He teaches them to lean on Him. Thus He prepares them to meet emergencies, to fill positions of trust, and to accomplish the great purpose for which their powers were given them.” The Acts of the Apostles, 574, 575.

  • “Joseph was maligned and persecuted because he preserved his virtue and integrity.
  • David, the chosen messenger of God, was hunted like a beast of prey by his enemies.
  • Daniel was cast into a den of lions because he was true to his allegiance to heaven.
  • Job was deprived of his worldly possessions, and so afflicted in body that he was abhorred by his relatives, and friends; yet he maintained his integrity.
  • Jeremiah could not be deterred from speaking the words that God had given him to speak; and his testimony so enraged the king and princes that he was cast into a loathsome pit.
  • Stephen was stoned because he preached Christ and Him crucified.
  • Paul was imprisoned, beaten with rods, stoned, and finally put to death because he was a faithful messenger for God to the Gentiles.
  • John was banished to the Isle of Patmos ‘for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ’ (Revelation 1:9).” Ibid., 575.

“These examples of human steadfastness bear witness to the faithfulness of God’s promises—of His abiding presence and sustaining grace. They testify to the power of faith to withstand the powers of the world. It is the work of faith to rest in God in the darkest hour, to feel, however sorely tried and tempest-tossed, that our Father is at the helm. The eye of faith alone can look beyond the things of time to estimate aright the worth of the eternal riches.” Ibid., 575, 576.

Father in heaven: I rejoice in the blessed hope You have placed in my heart. Help me to be patient in trials and to always bear witness to the faithfulness of Your promises. I am awed at how You have sustained my brothers in all of their tribulations and I am so thankful for Your words of promise which will continue to sustain each of us through faith as we walk with You. Amen!

Recipe – Indian Masala Chili

12 oz. Morning Star Crumbles or burger of your choice 1 Tbsp. paprika
1 onion, finely chopped 1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 large carrot, finely chopped 1 15-oz. can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and finely chopped 1 cup vegetable broth
2 cloves garlic, minced ¼ cup soft silken tofu
1 tsp. minced fresh ginger 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tbsp. Indian masala mix
In a large saucepan cook the Morning Star Crumbles over medium heat until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove the burger; set aside. In the same pot cook onion, carrot, jalapeno pepper, garlic and ginger 5 to 7 minutes. Add Indian masala mix and paprika; cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes; cook 5 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Stir in the burger, beans, broth and ¼ tsp. salt. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Mix in soft silken tofu and cilantro before serving.

Food – Flavor Factor

With these flavor blends you will be ready for culinary globe trotting at a moment’s notice. Whip up one or more of these recipes to enliven any meal. Simply combine the ingredients in a small, airtight container and shake to mix.


Flavor Note: Drawing from Japanese principles of simplicity, this blend combines a few hardworking ingredients to achieve a citrusy addition to your recipes.

Combine 2 Tbsp. dried orange peel, 4 tsp. garlic powder, 2 tsp. salt, 2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds, 2 tsp. black sesame seeds, 2 tsp. crushed red pepper.


Flavor Note: Fragrant and herbaceous, this Italian-style mix goes with anything containing tomatoes or veggie cheeses like mozzarella or ricotta.

Combine 2 Tbsp. dried rosemary, 2 Tbsp. dried thyme, 4 tsp. fennel seeds, 4 tsp. garlic powder, 2 tsp. dried marjoram, and 1 tsp. dried sage.


Flavor Note: Warming spices like turmeric and cumin suggest the flavor celebrated in Moroccan cuisine. Sprinkle on roasted veggies or in a dip.

Combine 2 Tbsp. ground turmeric, 1 Tbsp. ground cumin, 1 Tbsp. ground coriander, 2 tsp. paprika, 2 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. dried thyme, and 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper.


Flavor Note: Mexican cuisine is skilled at balancing sweetness and heat. Slightly citrusy Mexican oregano serves as a bridge between these two profiles.

Combine 2 Tbsp. ancho chile powder, 2 Tbsp. smoked paprika, 1 Tbsp. ground cumin, 2 tsp. dried Mexican oregano or dried oregano, 2 tsp. unsweetened carob powder.


Flavor Note: Cayenne and paprika give this blend its spice, but ginger gets credit for the lingering kick. Yummy in tomato or lentil soup.

Combine 10 tsp. paprika, 2 tsp. ground coriander, 2 tsp. ground cumin, 2 tsp. ground ginger, 2 tsp. onion power, and 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper.


Flavor Note: A masala is simply any blend of spices found in South Asian cuisine. This combination is a good place to start.

Combine 2 Tbsp. ground coriander, 2 Tbsp. ground cumin, 1 Tbsp. ground cardamom, 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon, and 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper.


Flavor Note: Refreshing lemon, dill, and tarragon are combined with caraway seeds for a flicker of cooling sweetness.

Combine 2 Tbsp. dried dill weed, 2 Tbsp. dried tarragon, 2 tsp. dried lemon peel, 2 tsp. onion powder, and 1 tsp. caraway seeds.


Keep your blends with the rest of your spices in a cool place away from direct sunlight up to six months.

Children’s Story – Why Read the Bible?

The story is told of an old man who lived on a farm in the river valley of West Virginia with his young grandson.

Each morning, Grandpa was up early sitting at the kitchen table reading from his old worn-out Bible. His grandson who wanted to be just like him tried to imitate him in any way he could.

One day the grandson asked, “Papa, I try to read the Bible just like you but I don’t understand it, and what I do understand I forget as soon as I close the book. What good does reading the Bible do?”

The grandfather quietly turned from putting coal in the stove and said, “Take this old wicker coal basket down to the river and bring back a basket of water.” The boy did as he was told, even though all the water leaked out before he could get back to the house. The grandfather laughed and said, “You will have to move a little faster next time,” and sent him back to the river with the basket to try again.

This time the boy ran faster, but again the old wicker basket was empty before he returned home. Out of breath, he told his grandfather that it was “impossible to carry water in a basket,” and he went to get a bucket instead. The old man said, “I don’t want a bucket of water; I want a basket of water. You can do this. You’re not trying hard enough,” and he went out the door to watch the boy try again.

At this point, the boy knew it was impossible, but he wanted to show his grandfather that even if he ran as fast as he could, the water would leak out before he got far at all. The boy scooped the water and ran hard, but when he reached his grandfather the basket was again empty. Out of breath, he said, “See Papa, it’s useless!”

“So you think it is useless?” The old man said, “Look at the basket.”

The boy looked at the basket and for the first time he realized that the basket looked different. Instead of a dirty old wicker coal basket, it was clean. “Son, that’s what happens when you read the Bible. You might not understand or remember everything, but when you read it, it will change you from the inside out.”

Take time to read a portion of God’s word each day; it will affect you for good even if you don’t retain a word. God’s love is like the ocean; you can see its beginnings but not its end.

Lord’s Prayer Series – Thy Kingdom Come

In the 19th century it was widely believed and taught that this world was getting better and better and that we would eventually set up a Utopia here on this planet. But sadly, the facts regarding the last hundred or so years have proven very clearly that the world is getting worse and worse, morally. The question on the minds of many people today is, “What will be the end of this?”

The Bible record is very clear on how this world will end. In Revelation 11:15–18, it says, “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’ And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God, saying: ‘We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, the One Who is and Who was and Who is to come, because You have taken Your great power and reigned. The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, and those who fear Your name, small and great, and should destroy those who destroy the earth.’ ”

There is coming a time when God is going to take to Him His great power and reign. The kingdoms of this world will become the kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and at that time, He will destroy those who are destroying the earth. This final triumph is encompassed in one simple phrase from the Lord’s Prayer, “Your kingdom come.”

The kingdom within is the work of the gospel of transforming grace in each individual heart. In the request that God’s kingdom should come, we first ask that heaven with its dominion of grace, peace, joy, and righteousness might rule our hearts right now.

It is also a petition that we may know now an experience in translation from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God’s Son. The apostle Paul wrote about it to the church at Colossae. “Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed [translated] us into the kingdom of the Son of His love.” Colossians 1:12, 13.

We can never be translated physically into the kingdom of glory at the second advent of Christ unless we have been translated spiritually into the kingdom of grace before He returns. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, “Your kingdom come,” we are asking that we might receive that kingdom into our hearts now while we are in this evil world.

The pen of inspiration describes it this way: “By the life we live through the grace of Christ the character is formed. The original loveliness begins to be restored to the soul. The attributes of the character of Christ are imparted, and the image of the Divine begins to shine forth. The faces of men and women who walk and work with God express the peace of heaven. They are surrounded with the atmosphere of heaven. For these souls the kingdom of heaven has begun.” The Desire of Ages, 312. “As through Jesus we enter into rest, heaven begins here. We respond to His invitation, Come, learn of Me, and in thus coming we begin the life eternal. Heaven is a ceaseless approaching to God through Christ. The longer we are in the heaven of bliss, the more and still more of glory will be opened to us; and the more we know of God, the more intense will be our happiness. … All that human nature can bear, we may receive here.” Ibid., 331, 332.

When we say, “Your kingdom come,” we are asking that the principles of the kingdom of heaven, the grace and the righteousness of the kingdom of God’s dear Son come into our heart now. When this happens, we will then become the recipients of every other blessing that God has in store for His children. We are promised that we will receive whatever we need in this world. We will receive pardon of our transgressions. We will have guidance of our footsteps and deliverance from evil. We have a word in the English language for that experience—Christendom. Christendom is simply a contraction for Christ’s kingdom. There can be no kingdom without a king, a throne, a territory, a dominion, and subjects over whom to rule. The kingdom within involves enthroning King Jesus in our hearts, to have complete dominion over the kingdom of the individual life.

The apostle Paul in one of the shortest descriptions of the work and effect of the gospel in all the New Testament described it this way: “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27.

There is no other way for Christ’s kingdom to come and for the final restoration of the kingdom to be given to the children of this world than for His grace to first enter our hearts and have complete dominion over our souls. In Revelation 3:20 we are given a sad picture of the Christian church in our time. Notice what Jesus says: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”

The church here described is the modern Christian church, the last of the seven churches. Christendom today is keeping the King of heaven outside the door. He will not force His way in. The kingdom of God cannot come into our hearts unless the King is invited in. Is it any wonder that the church today that keeps the King outside knocking on the door asking for admission has its condition described in the following language? “ ‘I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew [vomit] you out of My mouth. Because you say, “I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing”—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.’ ” Revelation 3:15–18.

Jesus is described to the last church, the church of Laodicea, as standing outside the door, outside the door of your heart, knocking, asking for permission. He is polite and will not force an entrance, but He’s knocking at the door. He says, “Are you willing to open the door?” Why will people not open the door to Jesus? It is the darling sins that people are not willing to give up, though they know Jesus cannot come into their hearts while they do those things that keep the door shut. While they continue in their sins Jesus stands outside knocking.

If you want to be saved you must be willing to give up your sins and let Jesus come into your life. In Revelation 3:21, Christ says, “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.”

So, what does the coming of the kingdom involve? Some people think it simply involves the prosperity of the church. Millions of people have interpreted the text that way. To others it simply means the transformation of character; when a person is born again and has a new heart and his character is transformed.

To others the coming of the kingdom means the overcoming of evil. And to still others, the coming of the kingdom refers to the second advent of Christ to reign as the king of glory.

Actually, the coming of the kingdom of heaven includes all of these. It includes the results of the first as well as the second advent of Christ. The spirit and scope of the meaning of the Lord’s Prayer is very broad. We do not become citizens of the kingdom of God by natural birth, as in earthly kingdoms, but rather by spiritual birth and a voluntary surrender to the sovereignty of the King of heaven. Have you been born again? Have you actually become a citizen of the kingdom of heaven? Has the kingdom of heaven come into your heart or is the Lord’s Prayer just a meaningless phrase or a religious ritual that you recite?

When the kingdom of heaven comes into your heart and life, both you and other people will know something about it. Jesus refers to this experience as a new birth, being born again. When a baby is born it is the beginning of a new life with new relationships. The same is true with the spiritual life. It is the beginning of a new life with new relationships. Birth is never of our own origin. Never is it brought about by our own power. We cannot give birth to ourselves, either physically or spiritually. That is why Jesus said, “You must be born of the Spirit.” Each of the apostles talks about this in different language over and over again. Peter talks about it. John talks about it. James talks about it. When the subjects of God’s kingdom are born again of the Holy Spirit that person will demonstrate his citizenship by his conduct. The laws of the kingdom of heaven, expressing the will of the King of heaven, will govern his or her life.

Citizenship in the kingdom of grace is obtained on the basis of grace rather than works. But the citizen demonstrates his citizenship by what he does. If he has really been born of the spirit, he will eat, and drink, and talk, and act according to the ruling principles of the kingdom of heaven. In other words, the inward character and the outward life will be in harmony with heaven, for they cannot be separated.

Jesus, the King of heaven came to this world to establish His kingdom at a time when the pagan Roman Empire ruled the world. Their laws governed civilization. To be a Roman citizen was considered the greatest of earthly privileges. And into this atmosphere of pomp, and power, and earthly glory, Jesus came unheralded by blasts of trumpet or by marching armies. His kingdom, in contrast with all that had preceded it, was set up without bloodshed or violence. His weapons were faith and righteousness. His conquests of human hearts were accomplished by the power of love. The kingdom that Jesus came to establish, as He said over and over, was different from all earthly kingdoms.

The general Napoleon is reported to have said about the kingdom of Christ, “Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I founded great empires. But upon what did the creations of our genius depend? Upon force. Jesus Christ alone founded His Empire upon love and millions would die for Him today.”

If you are a member of Christ’s kingdom, it is His plan and purpose to raise you to sonship and rulership. His promise is, if you overcome, you will sit down with Me on My throne as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. (See Revelation 3:21.)

The citizens of the kingdom of God are made up of all races, all classes, and all nationalities. They are bound together in love and unity by ties that are closer and stronger than blood kinship. There have been many efforts by various earthly kingdoms to amalgamate various races and nations into a single unit, but these efforts have all failed. In God’s kingdom “there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcised nor uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave nor free, but Christ is all and in all.” Colossians 3:11.

God’s kingdom is perfect and eternal because it is founded on perfect and eternal principles. The Bible says, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.” Hebrews 1:8.

It must be evident to all genuine Christians that our greatest need is the answer to this petition in the Lord’s Prayer, “Your kingdom come.” Has that kingdom come into your heart? What we daily find our need of is a ruler, and a ruler loving enough to give us all confidence in Him. Firm enough to support us when we are weary, and compel us to the right path when we waver. Powerful enough to do what man cannot do, to change our hearts and deliver us from evil. Such a ruler God offers to us and such a ruler we choose when we pray, “Thy kingdom come.”

The answer to that prayer “Thy kingdom come” will have a final and complete answer when Jesus returns and sets up His kingdom. The kingdom of grace in which we are living today will be replaced by the kingdom of glory. You will never be a citizen of the kingdom of glory in the future world unless you are a citizen of the kingdom of grace in the present world. There is no such thing as a person living like the devil in this present age and then inheriting eternal life in the future age.

If your life has been one of sin and you would like to have eternal life, come to Jesus and repent. Say, “Lord, I want a change of heart. I want to receive the Holy Spirit. I want to quit living like the devil and come into harmony with Your kingdom and the laws of Your kingdom. I want to be born again.” Jesus never turns away anyone who comes to Him with repentance. You can be a citizen of the kingdom of glory. The plan of redemption will be consummated.

The earth someday will be burned up, cleansed of sin and sinners. In II Peter 3:10–13, the apostle said, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”

This earth is going to be recreated. “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, ‘Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying; and there shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.’ Then He who sat on the throne said, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ And He said to me, ‘Write, for these words are true and faithful.’ ” Revelation 21:1–5.

That is what you look forward to when you say in the Lord’s Prayer, “Your kingdom come.” It is indeed coming. Will you be ready?

(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)

Pastor John J. Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church of Free Seventh-day Adventists in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by email at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Health – Protein – How Do You Get Yours?

Some time ago I gave a health presentation, sharing about the delicious foods that God has given to us for nourishment and to build the immune system in order to fight disease. In the front row was an elderly gentleman, 95 years old, who had been invited by his neighbor.

As I was sharing, I could tell he was getting a little agitated. Finally, as he was looking through the handouts, he could no longer contain himself, blurting out, “Where’s the protein? You need protein! Nobody can live without protein!” He was so adamant about protein that I did not think he heard anything else that was discussed. A few days later his neighbor told me that this 95 year old man was concerned for the health of another neighbor and had made a list of all of the foods he had learned about in the class and gave it to her hoping that she would build her immune system. Amazing how God works.

See the table above for a few choice sources of vegan/vegetarian protein.

Too much protein is toxic to our bodies. Agatha Thrash, M.D. makes the following statements in her article entitled Dangers of a High Protein Diet:

“It can be readily stated that a high protein diet is toxic to the body. A high protein diet puts a tax on the liver, breaks down protein tissues, triggers a loss of calcium from bones, and leaves toxic residues which must be eliminated. Before elimination of these toxic residues, however, the body is often damaged so that it is more susceptible to a variety of diseases, including cancer and arthritis. … A high protein diet has been shown to cause excessive loss of calcium in the urine. Five overweight but otherwise healthy men and women volunteers were studied. All five were given a free choice of their regular diet for two weeks. After that time a high protein diet was used for several weeks. Each individual took a vitamin-mineral capsule both during the first two weeks as well as during the test period. When the volunteers were on the high-protein, low carbohydrate diet there was a significant increase in their blood of an enzyme from the liver, a strong suggestion that protein tissue was being broken down in their bodies. These volunteers also lost a lot of calcium in their urine. When a high protein diet is used, a high calcium diet must also be provided to make up for urinary losses of calcium. If an extremely high protein diet on the order of 140 grams a day is taken in, researchers found that it was impossible to maintain calcium balance regardless of the extra calcium given. …

“It can be readily understood that a high protein diet for an elderly person would be particularly detrimental. An elderly person may easily lose bone matrix, resulting in osteoporosis, the thinning of the bones that causes pain and much discomfort in elderly individuals. In addition to loss of calcium, there is also loss of iron, zinc, and phosphorus from the urine during a high protein diet. It is known that zinc is needed to balance other minerals in the blood.

“The best dietary is a very simple one consisting of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Apart from these three food groups, all other foods should be used sparingly.”

Enjoy the simple fare that God provides through a plant-based diet and enjoy good health.