February 19, 2006 – February 25, 2006
“I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:6, last half.
Study Help: Gospel Workers (1915), 24–29; Christ’s Object Lessons, 296–303.
“Men are in peril. Multitudes are perishing. But how few of the professed followers of Christ are burdened for these souls. The destiny of a world hangs in the balance; but this hardly moves even those who claim to believe the most far-reaching truth ever given to mortals. There is a lack of that love which led Christ to leave His heavenly home and take man’s nature that humanity might touch humanity and draw humanity to divinity. There is a stupor, a paralysis, upon the people of God, which prevents them from understanding the duty of the hour. . . .
“With the whole world before them in need of the gospel, professed Christians congregate where they themselves can enjoy gospel privileges. They do not feel the necessity of occupying new territory, carrying the message of salvation into regions beyond. They refuse to fulfill Christ’s commission, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.’ Mark 16:15. Are they less guilty than was the Jewish church?” Christ’s Object Lessons, 303.
1 How does the prophet Isaiah describe the condition of the world? Isaiah 60:2, first part.
note: “We are near the close of time. . . . The Lord has given us warning of the events about to take place. Light is shining from His word; yet darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people. ‘When they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them; . . . and they shall not escape.’ [1 Thessalonians 5:3.]
“It is our duty to inquire the cause of this terrible darkness, that we may shun the course by which men have brought upon themselves so great delusion. God has given the world an opportunity to learn and to obey His will. He has given them, in His word, the light of truth; He has sent them warning, counsel, and admonition; but few will obey His voice. Like the Jewish nation, the majority, even of professed Christians, pride themselves on their superior advantages, but make no returns to God for these great blessings. In infinite mercy a last warning message has been sent to the world, announcing that Christ is at the door and calling attention to God’s broken law.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 99.
2 In what condition is every soul who has not found the Saviour? Ephesians 2:12.
note: “Those for whom you labor are your brethren in distress, suffering from physical disorders and the spiritual leprosy of sin. If you are any better than they, it is to be credited to the cross of Christ. Many are without God and without hope in the world. They are guilty, corrupt, and degraded, enslaved by Satan’s devices. Yet these are the ones whom Christ came from heaven to redeem. They are subjects for tenderest pity, sympathy, and tireless effort; for they are on the verge of ruin. They suffer from ungratified desires, disordered passions, and the condemnation of their own consciences; they are miserable in every sense of the word, for they are losing their hold on this life and have no prospect for the life to come.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 568.
3 What does Christ desire that His followers should do for the world in its darkness? Matthew 5:14–16. What command was given to the apostles in Paul’s day? Acts 13:47.
note: “While Christ is dwelling in the heart it is impossible to conceal the light of His presence, or for that light to grow dim. On the contrary, it will grow brighter and brighter as day by day the mists of selfishness and sin that envelop the soul are dispelled by the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness.
“The people of God are His representatives upon the earth, and He intends that they shall be lights in the moral darkness of this world. Scattered all over the country, in the towns, cities, and villages, they are God’s witnesses, the channels through which He will communicate to an unbelieving world the knowledge of His will and the wonders of His grace. It is His plan that all who are partakers of the great salvation shall be missionaries for Him.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 134.
4 While with His disciples in person, what work did the Saviour give them? Matthew 10:1, 5–8.
note: “The Saviour’s commission to the disciples includes all believers to the end of time. All to whom the heavenly inspiration has come are put in trust with the gospel. All who receive the life of Christ are ordained to work for the salvation of their fellow men. For this work the church was established, and all who take upon themselves its sacred vows are thereby pledged to be co-workers with Christ.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 466.
5 How were the disciples to obtain their support while in the field? Matthew 10:9, 10.
note: “On this first tour the disciples were to go only where Jesus had been before them, and had made friends. Their preparation for the journey was to be of the simplest kind. Nothing must be allowed to divert their minds from their great work, or in any way excite opposition and close the door for further labor. They were not to adopt the dress of the religious teachers, nor use any guise in apparel to distinguish them from the humble peasants. They were not to enter into the synagogues and call the people together for public service; their efforts were to be put forth in house-to-house labor. They were not to waste time in needless salutations, or in going from house to house for entertainment. But in every place they were to accept the hospitality of those who were worthy, those who would welcome them heartily as if entertaining Christ Himself. They were to enter the dwelling with the beautiful salutation, ‘Peace be to this house.’ Luke 10:5.” The Desire of Ages, 351, 352.
6 What were the disciples to expect as a part of their experience? Matthew 10:16–24.
note: “They [the disciples] were warned to beware of men, for they should be delivered up to the councils and scourged in the synagogues.
“Men’s hearts are no softer today than when Christ was upon the earth. They will do all in their power to aid the great adversary in making it as hard as possible for the servants of Christ, just as the people did with Christ when He was upon the earth. They will scourge with the tongue of slander and falsehood. They will criticize, and turn against the servant of God the very efforts he is leading them to make. They will, with their evil surmisings, see fraud and dishonesty where all is right and where perfect integrity exists. They lay selfish motives to the charge of God’s servants, when He Himself is leading them, and when they would give even their lives if God required, if by so doing they could advance His cause.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 234.
7 Just before Christ’s ascension, what command did Jesus give to all His disciples? To make the carrying out of this command possible, whose power and presence were promised? Matthew 28:18–20. Where was the disciples’ witness to begin? How far was it to extend? Acts 1:8.
note: “To you, My disciples, I commit this message of mercy. It is to be given to Israel first, and then to all nations, tongues, and peoples. It is to be given to Jews and Gentiles. All who believe are to be gathered into one church.
“Through the gift of the Holy Spirit the disciples were to receive a marvelous power. Their testimony was to be confirmed by signs and wonders. Miracles would be wrought, not only by the apostles, but by those who received their message.” The Desire of Ages, 821.
8 What results followed the first preaching of the gospel by the apostolic church? Acts 2:41; 4:4.
note: “Then the glad tidings of a risen Saviour were carried to the uttermost bounds of the inhabited world. The church beheld converts flocking to her from all directions. Believers were reconverted. Sinners united with Christians in seeking the pearl of great price. . . .
“These scenes are to be repeated, and with greater power. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was the former rain, but the latter rain will be more abundant. The Spirit awaits our demand and reception. Christ is again to be revealed in His fulness by the Holy Spirit’s power.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 120, 121.
9 What conditions did God allow to come upon the church? With what result? Acts 8:1, 4.
note: “If those who know the truth would practice it, methods would be devised for meeting the people where they are. It was the providence of God which in the beginning of the Christian church scattered the saints abroad, sending them out of Jerusalem into many parts of the world. The disciples of Christ did not stay in Jerusalem or in the cities near by, but they went beyond the limits of their own country into the great thoroughfares of travel, seeking for the lost that they might bring them to God. Today the Lord desires to see His work carried forward in many places. We must not confine our labors to a few localities.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 330.
10 When Paul was converted, to what work was he set apart by the Lord? What would come to him in connection with this service? Ephesians 3:7, 8; Acts 9:13–16; 20:22, 23.
note: “At the time of Paul’s conversion, the Lord had declared that he was to be made a minister to the Gentiles, ‘to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me.’ Acts 26:18. . . . And Paul himself, later in his Christian experience, while praying in the temple at Jerusalem, had been visited by an angel from heaven, who bade him, ‘Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.’ Acts 22:21.
“Thus the Lord had given Paul his commission to enter the broad missionary field of the Gentile world. To prepare him for this extensive and difficult work, God had brought him into close connection with Himself and had opened before his enraptured vision views of the beauty and glory of heaven.” The Acts of the Apostles, 159.
11 What testimony did Paul give at the close of his years of faithful ministry? 11 Timothy 4:6–8.
note: “Well-nigh a score of centuries have passed since Paul the aged poured out his blood as a witness for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. No faithful hand recorded for the generations to come the last scenes in the life of this holy man, but Inspiration has preserved for us his dying testimony. Like a trumpet peal his voice has rung out through all the ages since, nerving with his own courage thousands of witnesses for Christ and wakening in thousands of sorrow-stricken hearts the echo of his own triumphant joy.” The Acts of the Apostles, 513.
12 What promises are given for the encouragement of all faithful ministers of Christ? Isaiah 43:5–7; 49:6, 10–12.
note: “The prophet was permitted to look down the centuries to the time of the advent of the promised Messiah. At first he beheld only ‘trouble and darkness, dimness of anguish.’ Isaiah 8:22. Many who were longing for the light of truth were being led astray by false teachers into the bewildering mazes of philosophy and spiritism; others were placing their trust in a form of godliness, but were not bringing true holiness into the life practice. The outlook seemed hopeless; but soon the scene changed, and before the eyes of the prophet was spread a wondrous vision. He saw the Sun of Righteousness arise with healing in His wings; and, lost in admiration, he exclaimed: ‘The dimness shall not be such as was in her vexation, when at the first He lightly afflicted the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, and afterward did more grievously afflict her by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, in Galilee of the nations. The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.’ Isaiah 9:1, 2. . . .
“Looking on still farther through the ages, the prophet beheld the literal fulfillment of these glorious promises. He saw the bearers of the glad tidings of salvation going to the ends of the earth, to every kindred and people. He heard the Lord saying of the gospel church, ‘Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream;’ and he heard the commission, ‘Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; for thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles.’ Isaiah 66:12; 54:2, 3.” Prophets and Kings, 373, 374.