August 21, 2011 – August 27, 2011
“When he ascended up on high, he … gave gifts unto men. … For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” Ephesians 4:8, 12.
Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 80–89; Testimonies, vol. 2, 354–376.
“Men were taught that it is possible to obey the law of God; that even while living in the midst of the sinful and corrupt, they were able, by the grace of God, to resist temptation, and become pure and holy.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 88.
1 RESPECTING GOD’S METHODS
- What are God’s tools for the perfecting of His children? I Corinthians 12:28.
Note: “When Christ ascended to heaven, He left the work on earth in the hands of His servants, the undershepherds. [Ephesians 4:11–13 quoted.]
“In sending forth His ministers our Saviour gave gifts unto men, for through them He communicates to the world the words of eternal life. This is the means which God has ordained for the perfecting of the saints in knowledge and true holiness. The work of Christ’s servants is not merely to preach the truth; they are to watch for souls as they that must render account to God. They are to reprove, rebuke, exhort with long-suffering and doctrine.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 237.
- How long will God use this method? Ephesians 4:13, 15. What is our responsibility? James 1:22.
Note: “I was shown that God had given light through the gifts placed in the church, which would instruct, counsel, guide, reprove, and warn. … To disregard light is to reject it. The rejection of light leaves men captives bound about by chains of darkness and unbelief.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 93.
2 HEALTH AND CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
- How does physical health relate to character development? I Thessalonians 5:23; I Corinthians 3:16, 17; 6:19, 20.
Note: “Let it ever be kept before the mind that the great object of hygienic reform is to secure the highest possible development of mind and soul and body. … Obedience to them will promote our happiness in this life, and will aid us in a preparation for the life to come.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 23.
“You need clear, energetic minds, in order to appreciate the exalted character of the truth, to value the atonement, and to place the right estimate upon eternal things. If you pursue a wrong course, and indulge in wrong habits of eating, and thereby weaken the intellectual powers, you will not place that high estimate upon salvation and eternal life which will inspire you to conform your life to the life of Christ.” Ibid., 47.
- How should we respond to all of God’s health instruction? Why? Proverbs 4:20–22.
Note: “There are but few as yet who are aroused sufficiently to understand how much their habits of diet have to do with their health, their characters, their usefulness in this world, and their eternal destiny. I saw that it is the duty of those who have received the light from heaven, and have realized the benefit of walking in it, to manifest a greater interest for those who are still suffering for want of knowledge.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 51, 52.
- Can we disregard any instruction if it is not convenient for us? Proverbs 1:5; 14:12.
Note: “There is danger in departing in the least from the Lord’s instruction. When we deviate from the plain path of duty, a train of circumstances will arise that seems irresistibly to draw us further and further from the right.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 197, 198.
“There are some professed believers who accept certain portions of the Testimonies as the message of God, while they reject those portions that condemn their favorite indulgences. Such persons are working contrary to their own welfare and the welfare of the church.” Ibid., vol. 9, 154.
3 HEALTH AND PRAYER
- What relationship exists between following God’s health principles and having our prayers answered? Proverbs 28:9; 30:5.
Note: “God gave the light on health reform, and those who rejected it, rejected God.” Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 6, 31.
- Can we properly train our children and youth in our homes and churches while disregarding any of God’s instruction? What will the results be? Psalm 119:138; Galatians 6:7.
Note: “Satan is constantly seeking to gain control of your bodies and spirits. … Yet some will say: ‘What business is it to anybody what I eat or what I drink?’ I have shown you what relation your course has to others. You have seen that it has much to do with the influence you exert in your families. It has much to do with molding the characters of your children. …
“You should be instructing them how to shun the vices and corruptions of this age. Instead of this, many are studying how to get something good to eat. You place upon your tables butter, eggs, and meat, and your children partake of them. They are fed with the very things that will excite their animal passions, and then you come to meeting and ask God to bless and save your children. How high do your prayers go? You have a work to do first. When you have done all for your children which God has left for you to do then you can with confidence claim the special help that God has promised to give you.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 359, 362.
“If light is turned from in one case, it will be disregarded in another. It is just as much sin to violate the laws of our being as to break one of the ten commandments, for we cannot do either without breaking God’s law. We cannot love the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength while we are loving our appetites, our tastes, a great deal better than we love the Lord.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 45.
“I saw that the reason why God did not hear the prayers of His servants for the sick among us more fully was, that He could not be glorified in so doing while they were violating the laws of health.” Ibid., 25, 26.
4 FURTHER EDUCATION
- By what other means can we honor our Creator? I Timothy 6:11.
Note: “The greatest evidence of the power of Christianity that can be presented to the world is a well-ordered, well-disciplined family. This will recommend the truth as nothing else can, for it is a living witness of its practical power upon the heart.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 304.
“There is no education to be gained higher than that given to the early disciples, and which is revealed to us through the word of God. To gain the higher education means to follow this word implicitly; it means to walk in the footsteps of Christ, to practice His virtues. It means to give up selfishness and to devote the life to the service of God. Higher education calls for something greater, something more divine, than the knowledge to be obtained merely from books. It means a personal, experimental knowledge of Christ; it means emancipation from ideas, from habits and practices, that have been gained in the school of the prince of darkness, and which are opposed to loyalty to God. It means to overcome stubbornness, pride, selfishness, worldly ambition, and unbelief. It is the message of deliverance from sin.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 11, 12.
- What will be the result of this type of education? Proverbs 22:6; III John 4.
Note: “Higher than the highest human thought can reach is God’s ideal for His children. Godliness—godlikeness—is the goal to be reached. Before the student there is opened a path of continual progress. He has an object to achieve, a standard to attain, that includes everything good, and pure, and noble. He will advance as fast and as far as possible in every branch of true knowledge. But his efforts will be directed to objects as much higher than mere selfish and temporal interests as the heavens are higher than the earth.” Education, 18, 19.
“It is the privilege of every soul to be a living channel through which God can communicate to the world the treasures of His grace, the unsearchable riches of Christ. There is nothing that Christ desires so much as agents who will represent to the world His Spirit and character.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 419.
5 PATRIARCHAL EXAMPLES
- In what ways did Enoch and Noah leave us examples to follow in these last days? Hebrews 11:5, 7; II Corinthians 4:18.
Note: “Enoch’s walk with God was not in a trance or a vision, but in all the duties of his daily life. He did not become a hermit, shutting himself entirely from the world; for he had a work to do for God in the world. In the family and in his intercourse with men, as a husband and father, a friend, a citizen, he was the steadfast, unwavering servant of the Lord.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 85.
“In the midst of a life of active labor, Enoch steadfastly maintained his communion with God. The greater and more pressing his labors, the more constant and earnest were his prayers. He continued to exclude himself, at certain periods, from all society. After remaining for a time among the people, laboring to benefit them by instruction and example, he would withdraw, to spend a season in solitude, hungering and thirsting for that divine knowledge which God alone can impart. Communing thus with God, Enoch came more and more to reflect the divine image. His face was radiant with a holy light, even the light that shineth in the face of Jesus. As he came forth from these divine communings, even the ungodly beheld with awe the impress of heaven upon his countenance.” Ibid., 86, 87.
“It was through Noah’s consistent faith and works combined that condemned the world. He not only preached the present truth appropriate for that time, but he acted every sermon. Had he never lifted his voice in warning, his works, his holy character among the corrupt and ungodly would have been condemning sermons to the unbelieving and dissolute of that age.” This Day with God, 235.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 What are God’s tools for your perfection?
2 Explain the connection between health reform and character development.
3 Is there something that keeps God from answering your prayers?
4 What is to be the goal of education?
5 What can you learn from those who have lived before you?
Copyright © 2002 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.