February 17-23, 2002
MEMORY VERSE: “Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you.” John 15:16.
STUDY HELP: Steps to Christ, 77–83.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: What we sow, we shall reap.
INTRODUCTION: “And the effort to bless others will react in blessings upon ourselves. This was the purpose of God in giving us a part to act in the plan of redemption. He has granted men the privilege of becoming partakers of the divine nature and, in their turn, of diffusing blessings to their fellow men. This is the highest honor, the greatest joy, that it is possible for God to bestow upon men. Those who thus become participants in labors of love are brought nearest to their Creator.” Steps to Christ, 79.
1 What did Jesus say was His reason for leaving heaven and coming to this dark sinful world? Luke 19:10.
NOTE: “Christ came to bring salvation within the reach of all. Upon the cross of Calvary He paid the infinite redemption price for a lost world. His self-denial and self-sacrifice, His unselfish labor, His humiliation, above all, the offering up of His life, testifies to the depth of His love for fallen man. It was to seek and to save the lost that He came to earth. His mission was to sinners, sinners of every grade, of every tongue and nation. He paid the price for all, to ransom them and bring them into union and sympathy with Himself.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 603.
“His time, His faculties, and His life were appreciated and used only as the means for working out the salvation of the souls of men. He had come to seek and to save that which was lost, and He would not be turned from His purpose. He allowed nothing to divert Him.” Ministry of Healing, 448.
2 What did Jesus manifest in all His dealings with mankind? John 17:6; 14:6–9.
NOTE: “In all the gracious deeds that Jesus did, He sought to impress upon men the parental, benevolent attributes of God. In all His lessons He was seeking to teach men the wonderful truth that ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ Jesus would have us understand the love of the Father, and He seeks to draw us to Him by presenting His parental grace. He would have the whole field of our vision filled with the perfection of God’s character. In His prayer for His disciples He says, ‘I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest me to do. I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world.’ Jesus came into the world to illustrate the character of God in His own life, and He swept back the misrepresentations that Satan had originated, and revealed the glory of God. It was only by living among men that He could reveal the mercy, compassion, and love of His heavenly Father; for it was only by actions of benevolence that He could set forth the grace of God.” Sons and Daughters of God, 139.
“Ye Are My Witnesses”
3 What witness have God’s faithful children always given? John 5:33.
NOTE: “The testing truth for this time is not the fabrication of any human mind. It is from God. It is genuine philosophy to those who appropriate it. Christ became incarnate in order that we, through belief of the truth, might be sanctified and redeemed. Let those who hold the truth in righteousness arouse and go forth, shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, to proclaim the truth to those who know it not. Let them make straight paths for their feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 211, 212.
“Oh, that our brethren and sisters might value aright the truth! Oh, that they might become sanctified by it! Oh, that they might realize that upon them rests the responsibility of communicating this truth to others! But they do not feel the importance of living the truth, of being doers of the words of Christ. Many are self-sufficient. They are not filled with the missionary spirit that should animate the disciples of Christ. If they knew what it means to have travail of soul for others, angels of God would work through them to communicate a knowledge of the truth. They would know the truth, and the truth would make them free.” Ibid., 151, 152.
4 Not only are we to be a “witness unto the truth,” but to what other witness are we called? Acts 1:8.
NOTE: “We are to be witnesses for Christ; and this we shall be when we grow up daily into the full stature of men and women in Christ. It is our privilege to grow more and more like Him every day. Then we shall acquire the power to express our love for Him in higher, purer speech, and our ideas will enlarge and deepen, and our judgment become more sound and trustworthy, while our testimony will have more of life and assurance.” Sons and Daughters of God, 72.
“If you truly belong to Christ, you will have opportunities for witnessing for Him. You will be invited to attend places of amusement, and then it will be that you will have an opportunity to testify to your Lord. If you are true to Christ then, you will not try to form excuses for your non-attendance, but will plainly and modestly declare that you are a child of God, and your principles would not allow you to be in a place, even for one occasion, where you could not invite the presence of your Lord.” Messages to Young People, 370. See also Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 243.
The Spirit of Christ
5 Why did Jesus rebuke James and John at the village of the Samaritans? Luke 9:55, 56; Romans 8:9.
NOTE: “It is no part of Christ’s mission to compel men to receive Him. It is Satan, and men actuated by his spirit, that seek to compel the conscience. Under a pretense of zeal for righteousness, men who are confederate with evil angels bring suffering upon their fellow men, in order to convert them to their ideas of religion; but Christ is ever showing mercy, ever seeking to win by the revealing of His love. He can admit no rival in the soul, nor accept of partial service; but He desires only voluntary service, the willing surrender of the heart under the constraint of love. There can be no more conclusive evidence that we possess the spirit of Satan than the disposition to hurt and destroy those who do not appreciate our work, or who act contrary to our ideas.” The Desire of Ages, 487.
“John and his fellow disciples were in a school in which Christ was teacher.…The lessons of Jesus, setting forth meekness, humility, and love as essential to growth in grace, and a fitness for His work, were of the highest value to John. These lessons are addressed to us as individuals and as brethren in the church, as well as to the first disciples of Christ.” The Sanctified Life, 59.
6 What are we told is the true fruit of Christ’s character? Galatians 5:22, 23.
NOTE: “There can be no growth or fruitfulness in the life that is centered in self. If you have accepted Christ as a personal Saviour, you are to forget yourself, and try to help others. Talk of the love of Christ, tell of His goodness. Do every duty that presents itself. Carry the burden of souls upon your heart, and by every means in your power seek to save the lost. As you receive the Spirit of Christ—the Spirit of unselfish love and labor for others—you will grow and bring forth fruit. The graces of the Spirit will ripen in your character. Your faith will increase, your convictions deepen, your love be made perfect. More and more you will reflect the likeness of Christ in all that is pure, noble, and lovely.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 67, 68.
“When a man is converted to God, a new moral taste is supplied, a new motive power is given, and he loves the things that God loves; for his life is bound up by the golden chain of the immutable promises to the life of Jesus. Love, joy, peace, and inexpressible gratitude will pervade the soul, and the language of him who is blessed will be, ‘Thy gentleness hath made me great’ (Psalm 18: 35).” Selected Messages, Book 1, 336.
“What is the character of the fruit borne?—The fruit of the Spirit is ‘love,’ not hatred; ‘joy,’ not discontent and mourning; ‘peace,’ not irritation, anxiety, and manufactured trials. It is ‘long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.’” Sons and Daughters of God, 290.
Reaping What We Sow
7 What principle in the natural world is also an absolute principle for the Christian experience? Galatians 6:7, 8; 2 Corinthians 9:6.
NOTE: “By the laws of God in nature, effect follows cause with unvarying certainty. The reaping testifies to the sowing. Here no pretense is tolerated. Men may deceive their fellow men and may receive praise and compensation for service which they have not rendered. But in nature there can be no deception. On the unfaithful husbandman the harvest passes sentence of condemnation. And in the highest sense this is true also in the spiritual realm. It is in appearance, not in reality, that evil succeeds. The child who plays truant from school, the youth who is slothful in his studies, the clerk or apprentice who fails of serving the interests of his employer, the man in any business or profession who is untrue to his highest responsibilities, may flatter himself that, so long as the wrong is concealed, he is gaining an advantage. But not so; he is cheating himself. The harvest of life is character, and it is this that determines destiny, both for this life and for the life to come.” Education, 108, 109.
“Every seed sown produces a harvest of its kind. So it is in human life. We all need to sow the seeds of compassion, sympathy, and love; for we shall reap what we sow. Every characteristic of selfishness, self-love, self-esteem, every act of self-indulgence, will bring forth a like harvest. He who lives for self is sowing to the flesh, and of the flesh he will reap corruption.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 84.
8 What is God’s promise to all those who will go and sow the seeds of truth? Psalm 126:6.
NOTE: “The work of the sower is a work of faith. The mystery of the germination and growth of the seed he cannot understand. But he has confidence in the agencies by which God causes vegetation to flourish. In casting his seed into the ground, he is apparently throwing away the precious grain that might furnish bread for his family. But he is only giving up a present good for a larger return. He casts the seed away, expecting to gather it manyfold in an abundant harvest. So Christ’s servants are to labor, expecting a harvest from the seed they sow.” Ibid., 64, 65.
“To every worker for God this thought should be a stimulus and an encouragement. In this life our work for God often seems to be almost fruitless. Our efforts to do good may be earnest and persevering, yet we may not be permitted to witness their results. To us the effort may seem to be lost. But the Saviour assures us that our work is noted in heaven, and that the recompense cannot fail.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 305.
Witnessing at Home
9 After preaching in the temple in Jerusalem at the age of 12, what did Jesus do at home for the next 18 years? Luke 2:51, 52.
NOTE: “Jesus did not ignore His relation to His earthly parents. From Jerusalem He returned home with them, and aided them in their life of toil. He hid in His own heart the mystery of His mission, waiting submissively for the appointed time for Him to enter upon His work. For eighteen years after He had recognized that He was the Son of God, He acknowledged the tie that bound Him to the home at Nazareth, and performed the duties of a son, a brother, a friend, and a citizen.” The Desire of Ages, 82.
“He who came from heaven to be our example and teacher spent thirty years as a member of the household at Nazareth. Concerning these years the Bible record is very brief. No mighty miracles attracted the attention of the multitude. No eager throngs followed His steps or listened to His words. Yet during all these years He was fulfilling His divine mission. He lived as one of us, sharing the home life, submitting to its discipline, performing its duties, bearing its burdens. In the sheltering care of a humble home, participating in the experiences of our common lot, He ‘increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.’ Luke 2:52.” The Ministry of Healing, 349.
10 What did Jesus tell the demoniacs to do after they were healed? Mark 5:18, 19.
NOTE: “As Jesus was about to enter the boat, they kept close to His side, knelt at His feet, and begged Him to keep them near Him, where they might ever listen to His words. But Jesus bade them go home and tell what great things the Lord had done for them. Here was a work for them to do,—to go to a heathen home, and tell of the blessing they had received from Jesus.” The Desire of Ages, 339.
“Home religion is greatly needed, and our words in the home should be of a right character, or our testimonies in the church will amount to nothing. Unless you manifest meekness, kindness, and courtesy in your home, your religion will be vain. If there were more genuine home religion, there would be more power in the church.” The Adventist Home, 319.
“From every Christian home a holy light should shine forth. Love should be revealed in action. It should flow out in all home intercourse, showing itself in thoughtful kindness, in gentle, unselfish courtesy.” Ibid., 37.
Giving the Three Angels’ Messages
11 With what kind of voice does God command us to give His last message of warning? Revelation 14:7, 9.
NOTE: “The first and second messages were given in 1843 and 1844, and we are now under the proclamation of the third; but all three of the messages are still to be proclaimed. It is just as essential now as ever before that they shall be repeated to those who are seeking for the truth. By pen and voice we are to sound the proclamation, showing their order, and the application of the prophecies that bring us to the Third Angel’s Message. There cannot be a third without the first and second. These messages we are to give to the world in publications, in discourses, showing in the line of prophetic history the things that have been and the things that will be.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 104, 105.
“In a special sense Seventh-day Adventists have been set in the world as watchmen and light bearers. To them has been entrusted the last warning for a perishing world. On them is shining wonderful light from the word of God. They have been given a work of the most solemn import—the proclamation of the First, Second, and Third Angels’ Messages. There is no other work of so great importance. They are to allow nothing else to absorb their attention.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 19.
12 As Christ’s witnesses, how far are we to carry this present truth message? Revelation 14:6; Matthew 28:19, 20.
NOTE: “It is God’s purpose that the truth for this time shall be made known to every kindred and nation and tongue and people. In the world today men and women are absorbed in the search for worldly gain and worldly pleasure. There are thousands upon thousands who give no time or thought to the salvation of the soul. The time has come when the message of Christ’s soon coming is to sound throughout the world.” Ibid., 24.
“My heart is often burdened because so many who might work are doing nothing. They are the sport of Satan’s temptations. Every church member who has a knowledge of the truth is expected to work while the day lasts; for the night cometh, wherein no man can work. Erelong we shall understand what that night means. The Spirit of God is being grieved away from the earth. The nations are angry with one another. Widespread preparations are being made for war. The night is at hand. Let the church arouse and go forth to do her appointed work. Every believer, educated or uneducated, can bear the message.” Ibid., 26.
By Craig Meeker