Bible Study Guides – Whom Will God Redeem?

April 21 – 27, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:14.

INTRODUCTION: “Of His people God says, ‘They shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon His land. For how great is His goodness, and how great is His beauty!’ Zechariah 9:16, 17. The exaltation of the redeemed will be an eternal testimony to God’s mercy. ‘In the ages to come,’ He will ‘show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.’ ‘To the intent that…unto the principalities and the powers in the heavenly places might be made known…the manifold wisdom of God, according to the eternal purpose which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ Ephesians 2:7; 3:10, 11, R. V.” The Desire of Ages, 26.

1 In order to be redeemed, what are the essential character accomplishments given in Revelation? Revelation 3:5, 21; 21:7.

NOTE: “The obedience of Christ to His Father was the same obedience that is required of man. Man cannot overcome Satan’s temptations without divine power to combine with his instrumentality. So with Jesus Christ; He could lay hold of divine power. He came not to our world to give the obedience of a lesser God to a greater, but as a man to obey God’s holy law, and in this way He is our example. The Lord Jesus came to our world, not to reveal what a God could do, but what a man could do, through faith in God’s power to help in every emergency. Man is, through faith, to be a partaker in the divine nature, and to overcome every temptation wherewith he is beset.” Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 929.

2 What is the process in preparing for eternity? Acts 26:18; John 17:19.

NOTE: “The refining influence of the grace of God changes the natural disposition of man. Heaven would not be desirable to the carnal-minded; their natural, unsanctified hearts would feel no attraction toward that pure and holy place, and if it were possible for them to enter, they would find there nothing congenial. The propensities that control the natural heart must be subdued by the grace of Christ before fallen man is fitted to enter heaven and enjoy the society of the pure, holy angels. When man dies to sin and is quickened to new life in Christ, divine love fills his heart; his understanding is sanctified; he drinks from an inexhaustible fountain of joy and knowledge, and the light of an eternal day shines upon his path, for with him continually is the Light of life.” The Acts of the Apostles, 273.

3 What will the people who are saved have more of than others? Matthew 25:1–13.

NOTE: “As Christ sat looking upon the party that waited for the bridegroom, He told His disciples the story of the ten virgins, by their experience illustrating the experience of the church that shall live just before His Second Coming. The two classes of watchers represent the two classes who profess to be waiting for their Lord. They are called virgins because they profess a pure faith. By the lamps is represented the word of God.…the oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit.’” Christ’s Object Lessons, 405, 406, 407.

“In the parable, all the ten virgins went out to meet the bridegroom. All had lamps and vessels for oil. For a time there was seen no difference between them. So with the church that lives just before Christ’s second coming. All have a knowledge of the Scriptures. All have heard the message of Christ’s near approach, and confidently expect His appearing. But as in the parable, so it is now. A time of waiting intervenes, faith is tried; and when the cry is heard, ‘Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him,’ many are unready. They have no oil in their vessels with their lamps. They are destitute of the Holy Spirit.” Ibid., 408.

4 What must we have to be able to see the Lord? Hebrews 12:14.

NOTE: “The Bible contains instruction regarding the character God’s children must possess. ‘Blessed are the pure in heart,’ it declares, ‘for they shall see God.’ Matthew 5:8.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 429.

“Study God’s word prayerfully. That Word presents before you, in the Law of God and the life of Christ, the great principles of holiness, without which ‘no man shall see the Lord.’ Hebrews 12:14. It convinces of sin; it plainly reveals the way of salvation. Give heed to it as the voice of God speaking to your soul.” Steps to Christ, 35.

“It is not a conclusive evidence that a man is a Christian because he manifests spiritual ecstasy under extraordinary circumstances. Holiness is not rapture: it is an entire surrender of the will to God; it is living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God; it is doing the will of our heavenly Father; it is trusting God in trial, in darkness as well as in the light; it is walking by faith and not by sight; it is relying on God with unquestioning confidence, and resting in His love.” The Acts of the Apostles, 51.

5 What must happen to us if we are to enter heaven? John 3:3, 5.

NOTE: “When truth becomes an abiding principle in the life, the soul is ‘born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.’ [1 Peter 1:23.] This new birth is the result of receiving Christ as the Word of God. When by the Holy Spirit divine truths are impressed upon the heart, new conceptions are awakened, and the energies hitherto dormant are aroused to co-operate with God.” The Acts of the Apostles, 520.

6 What are requirements for redemption? Revelation 17:14; Romans 8:28; Matthew 20:16. Compare Isaiah 42:6; 1 Peter 2:9.

NOTE: “We are called to be representatives of Christ. We are bought with a price. As the chosen sons and daughters of God, we should be obedient children, acting in accordance with the principles of His character as revealed through His Son.” Medical Ministry, 256.

“In all ages the Lord has had a people who, while holding communion with God, have by word and character called the attention of their fellow men to the grand themes that are of eternal interest to humanity. . . . These men faithfully improved their talents, and God registered them among his profitable servants. They were acknowledged and honored by God because they were faithful to the light which shone upon them. . . . The chosen of God believed His word, rested on His promises; and their steadfast confidence and strong faith made them willing and able to suffer the loss of all things for His dear sake.” Youth’s Instructor, October 7, 1897.

“As men and women cooperate with God in doing the work He has given them, they go forward from strength to greater strength. As they exercise simple faith, believing day by day that God will not fail to establish them in Christ, God says to them as He did to ancient Israel: ‘Thou art an holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.’ Deuteronomy 7:6.” Our High Calling, 24.

7 What other characteristic is needed to receive eternal salvation? Hebrews 5:8, 9.

NOTE: “Before the believer is held out the wonderful possibility of being like Christ, obedient to all the principles of the law. But of himself man is utterly unable to reach this condition. The holiness that God’s word declares he must have before he can be saved is the result of the working of divine grace as he bows in submission to the discipline and restraining influences of the Spirit of truth. Man’s obedience can be made perfect only by the incense of Christ’s righteousness, which fills with divine fragrance every act of obedience. The part of the Christian is to persevere in overcoming every fault. Constantly he is to pray to the Saviour to heal the disorders of his sin-sick soul. He has not the wisdom or the strength to overcome; these belong to the Lord, and He bestows them on those who in humiliation and contrition seek Him for help.” The Acts of the Apostles, 532.

8 What kind of a covenant must we make? Psalm 50:3–5.

NOTE: “Even the very poor should bring their offerings to God. They are to be sharers of the grace of Christ by denying self to help those whose need is more pressing than their own. The poor man’s gift, the fruit of self-denial, comes up before God as fragrant incense. And every act of self-sacrifice strengthens the spirit of beneficence in the giver’s heart, allying him more closely to the One who was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might be rich.” The Acts of the Apostles, 341.

9 What condition must the church be in when Jesus comes? Ephesians 5:25–27.

NOTE: “As your soul yearns after God, you will find more and still more of the unsearchable riches of His grace. As you contemplate these riches you will come into possession of them and will reveal the merits of the Saviour’s sacrifice, the protection of His righteousness, the fullness of His wisdom, and His power to present you before the Father ‘without spot, and blameless.’ 2 Peter 3:14.” The Acts of the Apostles, 567.

10 How will the saints be clothed, and what does the clothing represent? Revelation 7:14; 19:7, 8.

NOTE: “The fine linen, says the Scripture, . . . is the righteousness of Christ, His own unblemished character, that through faith is imparted to all who receive Him as their personal Saviour. The white robe of innocence was worn by our first parents when they were placed by God in holy Eden. They lived in perfect conformity to the will of God. All the strength of their affections was given to their heavenly Father.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 310.

“This robe, Christ’s own spotless character, is freely offered to every human being. But all who receive it will receive and wear it here.” Education, 249.

11 What qualifications for redemption did Jesus give in the Sermon on the Mount? Matthew 5:3–12.

NOTE: “The Sermon on the Mount is heaven’s benediction to the world, a voice from the throne of God. It was given to mankind to be to them the law of duty and the light of heaven, their hope and consolation in despondency.…Christ leaves us in no doubt as to the traits of character that He will always recognize and bless. . . . He knows that, even though human beings have abused their mercies and destroyed their God-given dignity, yet the Creator is to be glorified in their redemption.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 269.

12 Name qualifications for redemption that are listed in Psalm 15.

NOTE: “Dear Friend: In the last vision given me, I saw that you had faults to correct. It is necessary for you to see these before you will make the required effort to correct them. You have much to learn before you can form a good, Christian character which God can approve.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 307.

“He that taketh up a reproach against his neighbor cannot receive the approval of God.” Ibid., vol. 5, 615.

“Let those who have used the talent of speech to discourage and dishearten God’s servants, who are striving to advance God’s cause, planning and working to master hindrance, ask God to forgive them for the injury they have done to His work by their wicked prejudices and unkind words. Let them think of the harm they have done by spreading false reports, by judging those they have no right to judge.” Ibid., vol. 8, 84.

13 What group of people are promised salvation? Malachi 4:1–3; 3:16, 17.

NOTE: “Christ is seeking to reproduce Himself in the hearts of men; and He does this through those who believe in Him. The object of the Christian life is fruit bearing—the reproduction of Christ’s character in the believer, that it may be reproduced in others.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 67.

“The remnant are to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. Some expect to overcome alone by the blood of the Lamb, without making any special effort of their own.…God has been merciful in giving us the power of speech. He has given us a tongue, and we are accountable to Him for its use. We should glorify God with our mouth, speaking in honor of the truth and of His unbounded mercy, and overcome by the word of our testimony through the blood of the Lamb. We should not come together to remain silent; those only are remembered of the Lord who assemble to speak of His honor and glory and tell of His power; upon such the blessing of God will rest.” Early Writings, 114, 115.

14 What group of people will be saved in the end? Joel 2:32; Romans 10:13; Revelation 12:17.

NOTE: “The remnant church will be brought into great trial and distress. Those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, will feel the ire of the dragon and his hosts. Satan numbers the world as his subjects; he has gained control of the apostate churches. But here is a little company that are resisting his supremacy. If he could blot them from the earth, his triumph would be complete.…While Satan was urging his accusations, holy angels, unseen, were passing to and fro, placing upon them the seal of the living God.” Maranatha, 213.

“When he [Satan] suggests doubts as to whether we are really the people whom God is leading, whom by tests and provings He is preparing to stand in the great day, be ready to meet his insinuations by presenting the clear evidence from the Word of God that this is the remnant people who are keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.” Our High Calling, 85.

By Craig Meeker

Bible Study Guides – Ministry of the Angels

April 14 – 20, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” Hebrews 1:14.

INTRODUCTION: “Angels, who will do for you what you can not do for yourselves, are waiting for your co-operation. They are waiting for you to respond to the drawing of Christ. Draw nigh to God and to one another. By desire, by silent prayer, by resistance of satanic agencies, put your will on the side of God’s will. While you have one desire to resist the devil, and sincerely pray, Deliver me from temptation, you will have strength for your day. It is the work of the heavenly angels to come close to the tried, the tempted, the suffering ones. They labor long and untiringly to save the souls for whom Christ has died. And when souls appreciate their advantages, appreciate the heavenly assistance sent them, respond to the Holy Spirit’s working in their behalf; when they put their will on the side of Christ’s will, angels bear the tidings heavenward.…And there is rejoicing among the heavenly host.” Sons and Daughters of God, 36.

1 What is the first record we have of angels speaking to human beings? Genesis 16:11.

NOTE: “She made her way to the desert, and as she rested beside a fountain, lonely and friendless, an angel of the Lord, in human form, appeared to her. Addressing her as ‘Hagar, Sarai’s maid,’ to remind her of her position and her duty, he bade her, ‘Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.’ Yet with the reproof there were mingled words of comfort. ‘The Lord hath heard thy affliction.’ ‘I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude.’ And as a perpetual reminder of His mercy, she was bidden to call her child Ishmael, ‘God shall hear.’” Patriarchs and Prophets, 145, 146.

2 Who led the Children of Israel out of Egypt? Exodus 14:19; 23:20; 32:34; Numbers 20:16.

NOTE: “God appointed Moses to lead out His people from their bondage in the land of Egypt, that they might consecrate themselves to serve Him with perfect hearts and be to Him a peculiar treasure. Moses was their visible leader, while Christ stood at the head of the armies of Israel, their invisible Leader. If they could have always realized this they would not have rebelled and provoked God in the wilderness by their unreasonable murmurings.” Confrontation, 25.

3 What other function do angels serve, in addition to guidance? Psalm 34:7; 91:11.

NOTE: “In all ages, angels have been near to Christ’s faithful followers. The vast confederacy of evil is arrayed against all who would overcome; but Christ would have us look to the things which are not seen, to the armies of heaven encamped about all who love God, to deliver them. From what dangers, seen and unseen, we have been preserved through the interposition of the angels, we shall never know, until in the light of eternity we see the providences of God. Then we shall know that the whole family of heaven was interested in the family here below, and that messengers from the throne of God attended our steps from day to day.” The Desire of Ages, 240.

4 How powerful are the angels? In addition to saving God’s children what can the angels do to the wicked? Psalm 103:20; 2 Samuel 24:15, 16; 2 Kings 19:35.

NOTE: “Could men see with heavenly vision, they would behold companies of angels that excel in strength stationed about those who have kept the word of Christ’s patience.” The Great Controversy, 630.

“Under God the angels are all-powerful. On one occasion, in obedience to the command of Christ, they slew of the Assyrian army in one night one hundred and eighty-five thousand men. The Desire of Ages, 700.

5 How has God used angels to instruct individuals? Judges 13:3–5; 2 Kings 1:3.

NOTE: “In the words spoken to the Hebrew mother, God speaks to all mothers in every age. ‘Let her beware,’ the angel said; ‘all that I commanded her let her observe.’ The well-being of the child will be affected by the habits of the mother. Her appetites and passions are to be controlled by principle. There is something for her to shun, something for her to work against, if she fulfills God’s purpose for her in giving her a child. If before the birth of her child she is self-indulgent, if she is selfish, impatient, and exacting, these traits will be reflected in the disposition of the child. Thus many children have received as a birthright almost unconquerable tendencies to evil.” The Ministry of Healing, 373.

“Our people are now being tested as to whether they will obtain their wisdom from the greatest Teacher the world ever knew, or seek to the god of Ekron. Let us determine that we shall not be tied by so much as a thread to the educational policies of those who do not discern the voice of God and who will not hearken to His commandments.” Medical Ministry, 61.

6 How did the angels communicate to man the birth of Christ? Luke 1:28; Matthew 1:20–24; Luke 2:8–12.

NOTE: “From the day when she heard the angel’s announcement in the home at Nazareth Mary had treasured every evidence that Jesus was the Messiah.” The Desire of Ages, 145.

“In the fields where the boy David had led his flock, shepherds were still keeping watch by night. Through the silent hours they talked together of the promised Saviour, and prayed for the coming of the King to David’s throne.…The heavenly messenger had quieted their fears. He had told them how to find Jesus. With tender regard for their human weakness, he had given them time to become accustomed to the divine radiance. Then the joy and glory could no longer be hidden. The whole plain was lighted up with the bright shining of the hosts of God. Earth was hushed, and heaven stooped to listen to the song.” The Desire of Ages, 47, 48.

7 Who strengthened Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane? Luke 22:43.

NOTE: “In the Garden of Gethsemane Christ suffered in man’s stead, and the human nature of the Son of God staggered under the terrible horror of the guilt of sin. . . . Human nature would then and there have died under the horror of the sense of sin, had not an angel from heaven strengthened Him to bear the agony.” Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1103.

8. How many angels did Jesus say God would send Him if He asked? Matthew 26:53.

NOTE: “It was difficult for the angels to endure the sight. They would have delivered Jesus, but the commanding angels forbade them, saying that it was a great ransom which was to be paid for man; but it would be complete and would cause the death of Him who had the power of death. Jesus knew that angels were witnessing the scene of His humiliation. The weakest angel could have caused that mocking throng to fall powerless and could have delivered Jesus. He knew that if He should desire it of His Father, angels would instantly release Him. But it was necessary that He should suffer the violence of wicked men, in order to carry out the plan of salvation.” Early Writings, 170.

9 What did angels do at Christ’s resurrection? Matthew 28:2–7.

NOTE: “At the death of Jesus the soldiers had beheld the earth wrapped in darkness at midday; but at the resurrection they saw the brightness of the angels illuminate the night, and heard the inhabitants of heaven singing with great joy and triumph: Thou hast vanquished Satan and the powers of darkness; Thou hast swallowed up death in victory!” The Desire of Ages, 780.

10 After Christ’s ascension, who was still with the disciples? Acts 12:11; 27:23.

NOTE: “To Peter, in prison and condemned to death, God’s angel appeared; how, past the armed guards, the massive doors and great iron gateway with their bolts and bars, the angel led God’s servant forth in safety.…Read of that scene on the sea, when the tempest-tossed soldiers and seamen, worn with labor and watching and long fasting, Paul the prisoner, on his way to trial and execution, spoke those grand words of courage and hope: ‘Be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you.…For 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.’ In the faith of this promise Paul assured his companions. Education, 255.

11. Is there an angel with the last church? Revelation 3:14.

NOTE: “As the praying ones continued their earnest cries, at times a ray of light from Jesus came to them, to encourage their hearts and light up their countenances. Some, I saw, did not participate in this work of agonizing and pleading. They seemed indifferent and careless. They were not resisting the darkness around them, and it shut them in like a thick cloud. The angels of God left these and went to the aid of the earnest, praying ones. I saw angels of God hasten to the assistance of all who were struggling with all their power to resist the evil angels and trying to help themselves by calling upon God with perseverance. But His angels left those who made no effort to help themselves, and I lost sight of them. I asked the meaning of the shaking I had seen and was shown that it would be caused by the straight testimony called forth by the counsel of the True Witness to the Laodiceans.” Early Writings, 270.

“All the heavenly angels are at the service of the humble, believing people of God.…” Testimonies, vol. 7, 17.

“Angels are belting the world, refusing Satan his claim to supremacy, made because of the vast multitude of his adherents. We hear not the voices, we see not with the natural sight the work of these angels, but their hands are linked about the world, and with sleepless vigilance they are keeping the armies of Satan at bay till the sealing of God’s people shall be accomplished. Letter 79, 1900, 12, 13. (To William Kerr, May 10, 1900.)” Manuscript Releases, vol. 1, 145.

12 What is the last message that the angels are proclaiming to this world? Revelation 14:6–12.

NOTE: “The theme of greatest importance is the Third Angel’s Message, embracing the messages of the First and Second Angels. All should understand the truths contained in these messages and demonstrate them in daily life, for this is essential to salvation. We shall have to study earnestly, prayerfully, in order to understand these grand truths; and our power to learn and comprehend will be taxed to the utmost—Letter 97, 1902.” Evangelism, 196.

“The angels are represented as flying in the midst of heaven, proclaiming to the world a message of warning, and having a direct bearing upon the people living in the last days of this earth’s history. No one hears the voice of these angels, for they are a symbol to represent the people of God who are working in harmony with the universe of heaven. The Three Angels’ Messages are to be combined, giving their threefold light to the world.” Maranatha, 173.

13 How will the angels help the saints in the coming time of trouble? Revelation 7:1–3; Ezekiel 9:3–6.

NOTE: “All who have put on the robe of Christ’s righteousness will stand before Him as chosen and faithful and true. Satan has no power to pluck them out of the hand of the Saviour.…Angels of God will walk on either side of them, even in this world, and they will stand at last among the angels that surround the throne of God.” God’s Amazing Grace, 316. See also Early Writings, 283.

14 How will the angels be involved in the final deliverance of God’s people? Matthew 24:31.

NOTE: “I saw angels hurrying to and fro in heaven. An angel with a writer’s inkhorn by his side returned from the earth and reported to Jesus that his work was done, and the saints were numbered and sealed. Then I saw Jesus, who had been ministering before the ark containing the Ten Commandments, throw down the censer. He raised His hands, and with a loud voice said, ‘It is done.’ Early Writings, 279.

“Our compassionate Redeemer listens to the earnest, persevering prayer of faith, and sends to his [the sinner’s] deliverance a re-enforcement of angels that excel in strength.” Signs of the Times, November 18, 1886.

“In all ages, God has wrought through holy angels for the succor and deliverance of His people. Celestial beings have taken an active part in the affairs of men.” The Great Controversy, 631.

15 Who will be the first to greet the resurrected saints in the first resurrection? Matthew 18:10.

NOTE: “Every redeemed one will understand the ministry of angels in his own life. The angel who was his guardian from his earliest moment; the angel who watched his steps, and covered his head in the day of peril; the angel who was with him in the valley of the shadow of death, who marked his resting place, who was the first to greet him in the resurrection morning—what will it be to hold converse with him, and to learn the history of divine interposition in the individual life, of heavenly co-operation in every work for humanity!” Education, 305.

16 To what companionship with angels can the saints look forward in heaven? Revelation 22:8, 9.

NOTE: “To John the angel declared, ‘I am a fellow servant with thee and with thy brethren the prophets.’ Revelation 22:9, R.V. Wonderful thought—that the angel who stands next in honor to the Son of God is the one chosen to open the purposes of God to sinful men.” The Desire of Ages, 99.

“The pure communion with holy beings, the harmonious social life with the blessed angels and with the faithful ones of all ages who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, the sacred ties that bind together ‘the whole family in heaven and earth’ (Ephesians 3:15)—these help to constitute the happiness of the redeemed.” The Great Controversy, 677.

By Craig Meeker

Bible Study Guides – Union with Christ

April 7 – 13, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “Seek ye the LORD while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near.” Isaiah 55:6.

INTRODUCTION: “No human being, even though united with evil angels, can impeach the souls who have fled to Christ for refuge. He has united the believing soul to His own divine-human nature. wediatorial office, His divinity and humanity are combined, and upon this union hangs the hope of the world.—-Signs of the Times, May 9, 1900.” Sons and Daughters of God, 240.

1 Where should we direct our thoughts? Colossians 3:2; Matthew 6:33.

NOTE: “Our minds take the level of the things on which our thoughts dwell, and if we think upon earthly things, we shall fail to take the impress of that which is heavenly. We would be greatly benefited by contemplating the mercy, goodness, and love of God; but we sustain great loss by dwelling upon those things which are earthly and temporal. We allow sorrow and care and perplexity to attract our minds to earth, and we magnify a molehill into a mountain. . . .” Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1100.

As long as we continue to keep our eyes fixed upon the Author and Finisher of our faith, we shall be safe. But our affections must be placed upon things above, not on things of the earth. By faith we must rise higher and still higher in the attainment of the graces of Christ. By daily contemplating His matchless charms, we must grow more and more into His glorious image. While we thus live in communion with Heaven, Satan will lay his nets for us in vain.—The Youth’s Instructor, May 12, 1898.” Messages to Young People, 103, 104.

2 What is one essential for a Christian life? Psalm 37:35; 40:4; Jeremiah 17:7.

NOTE: “So God desires us to trust in Him who justifieth the ungodly. His reward is given not according to our merit but according to His own purpose, ‘which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ Ephesians 3:11. ‘Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.’ Titus 3:5. And for those who trust in Him He will do ‘exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.’ Ephesians 3:20.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 397.

“In the whole Satanic force there is not power to overcome one soul who in simple trust casts himself on Christ. ‘He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might He increaseth strength.’ Isaiah 40:29.” Ibid., 157.

3 What is the goal to be reached, by each Christian? Colossians 1:27; John 14:20.

NOTE: “Heavenly intelligences are waiting to cooperate with human instrumentalities, that they may reveal to the world what human beings may become, and what, through union with the Divine, may be accomplished for the saving of souls that are ready to perish. There is no limit to the usefulness of one who, putting self aside, makes room for the working of the Holy Spirit upon his heart and lives a life wholly consecrated to God.” Maranatha, 103.

“To have fellowship with the Father and His Son Jesus Christ is to be ennobled and elevated, and made a partaker of joys unspeakable and full of Glory. Food, clothing, station, and wealth may have their value; but to have a connection with God and to be a partaker of His divine nature is of priceless value. Our lives should be hid with Christ in God.” God’s Amazing Grace, 341.

4 How is Christ’s life lived out in His subjects? John 14:12; Matthew 21:21. Compare Romans 12:1, 2.

NOTE: “[John 14:12 quoted.] By this, Christ did not mean that the disciples would make more exalted exertions than He had made, but that their work would have greater magnitude. He did not refer merely to miracle working, but to all that would take place under the agency of the Holy Spirit.” The Acts of the Apostles, 22.

“If the world had before them the example that God demands those who believe in Him to set, they would work the works of Christ. If Jesus were set forth, crucified among us, if we viewed the cross of Calvary in the light of God’s Word, we would be one with Christ as He was one with the Father. Our faith would be altogether different from the faith now shown. It would be a faith that works by love to God and to our fellow men, and purifies the soul. If this faith were shown by God’s people, many more would believe on Christ. A hallowed influence would be exerted by the benevolent actions of God’s servants, and they would shine as lights in the world.” Welfare Ministry, 297.

5 How should we relate to the brethren? John 13:34, 35; 1 Peter 1:22.

NOTE: “Do we obey this command, or are we indulging sharp, unchristlike traits of character? If we have in any way grieved or wounded others, it is our duty to confess our fault and seek for reconciliation. This is an essential preparation that we may come before God in faith, to ask His blessing.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 144.

6 What will love of the brethren finally accomplish? Philippians 2:3, 4; Psalm 15:1–3; Romans 12:9, 10.

NOTE: “If the divine harmony of truth and love exists in the heart, it will shine forth in words and actions.…The spirit of genuine benevolence must dwell in the heart. Love imparts to its possessor grace, propriety, and comeliness of deportment. Love illuminates the countenance and subdues the voice; it refines and elevates the entire man. It brings him into harmony with God, for it is a heavenly attribute.

“True courtesy is not learned by the mere practice of rules of etiquette. Propriety of deportment is at all times to be observed; wherever principle is not compromised, consideration of others will lead to compliance with accepted customs; but true courtesy requires no sacrifice of principle to conventionality. It ignores caste. It teaches self-respect, respect for the dignity of man as man, a regard for every member of the great human brotherhood.” The Adventist Home, 426.

7 What did love produce in the apostolic church? Acts 2:1.

NOTE: “The first disciples…prepared themselves for their work. Before the day of Pentecost they met together, and put away all differences. They were of one accord. They believed Christ’s promise that the blessing would be given, and they prayed in faith. They did not ask for a blessing for themselves merely; they were weighted with the burden for the salvation of souls. The gospel was to be carried to the uttermost parts of the earth, and they claimed the endowment of power that Christ had promised. Then it was that the Holy Spirit was poured out, and thousands were converted in a day.

“So it may be now. Instead of man’s speculations, let the word of God be preached. Let Christians put away their dissensions, and give themselves to God for the saving of the lost. Let them in faith ask for the blessing, and it will come. The outpouring of the Spirit in apostolic days was the ‘former rain,’ and glorious was the result. But the ‘latter rain’ will be more abundant. Joel 2:23.” The Desire of Ages, 827.

8 What practice are we counseled to always follow in order to be in constant contact with Christ? 1 Thessalonians 5:17; Ephesians 6:18. Compare Luke 6:12.

NOTE: “Prayer is the breath of the soul. It is the secret of spiritual power. No other means of grace can be substituted, and the health of the soul be preserved. Prayer brings the heart into immediate contact with the Well-spring of life, and strengthens the sinew and muscle of the religious experience. Neglect the exercise of prayer, or engage in prayer spasmodically, now and then, as seems convenient, and you lose your hold on God. The spiritual faculties lose their vitality, the religious experience lacks health and vigor.” Gospel Workers, 254.

9 What special gift did Jesus promise that would impress His character on the church? John 14:13–16.

NOTE: “At every meeting we attend our prayers should ascend that at this very time, God will impart warmth and moisture to our souls. As we seek God for the Holy Spirit, it will work in us meekness, humbleness of mind, a conscious dependence upon God for the perfecting latter rain. If we pray for the blessing in faith, we shall receive it as God has promised. The Holy Spirit will come to all who are begging for the bread of life to give to their neighbors.” The Faith I Live By, 334.

10 What is one great objective of the Holy Spirit? John 14:26.

NOTE: “We need the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit in order to discern the truths in God’s word. The lovely things of the natural world are not seen until the sun, dispelling the darkness, floods them with its light. So the treasures in the word of God are not appreciated until they are revealed by the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. The Holy Spirit, sent from heaven by the benevolence of infinite love, takes the things of God and reveals them to every soul that has an implicit faith in Christ. By His power the vital truths upon which the salvation of the soul depends are impressed upon the mind, and the way of life is made so plain that none need err therein. As we study the Scriptures, we should pray for the light of God’s Holy Spirit to shine upon the word, that we may see and appreciate its treasures.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 113.

11 When the Holy Spirit finishes His work what will happen? Joel 3:13, 14; Revelation 14:15.

NOTE: “It is true that in the time of the end, when God’s work in the earth is closing, the earnest efforts put forth by consecrated believers under the guidance of the Holy Spirit are to be accompanied by special tokens of divine favor. Under the figure of the early and the latter rain, that falls in Eastern lands at seedtime and harvest, the Hebrew prophets foretold the bestowal of spiritual grace in extraordinary measure upon God’s church. The outpouring of the Spirit in the days of the apostles was the beginning of the early, or former, rain, and glorious was the result. To the end of time the presence of the Spirit is to abide with the true church.” The Acts of the Apostles, 54.

“Every worker who follows the example of Christ will be prepared to receive and use the power that God has promised to His church for the ripening of earth’s harvest. Morning by morning, as the heralds of the gospel kneel before the Lord and renew their vows of consecration to Him, He will grant them the presence of His Spirit, with its reviving, sanctifying power. As they go forth to the day’s duties, they have the assurance that the unseen agency of the Holy Spirit enables them to be ‘laborers together with God.’” Ibid.

“To prepare a people to stand in the day of God, a great work of reform was to be accomplished. God saw that many of His professed people were not building for eternity, and in His mercy He was about to send a message of warning to arouse them from their stupor and lead them to make ready for the coming of the Lord. This warning is brought to view in Revelation 14.” The Great Controversy, 310, 311.

12 What is the harvest and what special promise has the Lord given to us as we near the end of the world? Matthew 13:39; Joel 12:23.

NOTE: “But near the close of earth’s harvest, a special bestowal of spiritual grace is promised to prepare the church for the coming of the Son of man. This outpouring of the Spirit is likened to the falling of the latter rain; and it is for this added power that Christians are to send their petitions to the Lord of the harvest ‘in the time of the latter rain.’ In response, ‘the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain.’ ‘He will cause to come down…the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain.’ Zechariah 10:1; Joel 2:23.” Ibid., 55.

13 What is one reason the Lord has not yet gathered in the harvest? 2 Peter 3:9,10.

NOTE: “The reason why the Bridegroom delays is because He is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. O the precious longsuffering of our merciful Saviour!” Sons and Daughters of God, 118.

“The long-suffering of God is wonderful. Long does justice wait while mercy pleads with the sinner.” Christ’s Object Lessons.

By Craig Meeker

Bible Study Guides – Learning to know God

March 31 – April 6, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” 1 John 4:7.

INTRODUCTION: “The power and soul of true education is a knowledge of God, and of Jesus Christ whom He hath sent. ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 392.

“A daily, earnest striving to know God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, would bring power and efficiency to the soul. The knowledge obtained by diligent searching of the Scriptures would be flashed into the memory at the right time. But if any had neglected to acquaint themselves with the words of Christ, if they had never tested the power of His grace in trial, they could not expect that the Holy Spirit would bring His words to their remembrance. They were to serve God daily with undivided affection, and then trust Him.” The Desire of Ages, 355.

1 What does God say about Himself? Isaiah 44:6, 8, 24; 45:21,22.

NOTE: “It is Satan’s work to fill men’s hearts with doubt. He leads them to look upon God as a stern judge. He tempts them to sin, and then to regard themselves as too vile to approach their heavenly Father or to excite His pity. The Lord understands all this. Jesus assures His disciples of God’s sympathy for them in their needs and weaknesses. Not a sigh is breathed, not a pain felt, not a grief pierces the soul, but the throb vibrates to the Father’s heart.

“The Bible shows us God in His high and holy place, not in a state of inactivity, not in silence and solitude, but surrounded by ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of holy intelligences, all waiting to do His will. Through channels which we cannot discern He is in active communication with every part of His dominion. But it is in this speck of a world, in the souls that He gave His only-begotten Son to save, that His interest and the interest of all heaven is centered. God is bending from His throne to hear the cry of the oppressed. To every sincere prayer He answers, ‘Here am I.’ He uplifts the distressed and downtrodden. In all our afflictions He is afflicted. In every temptation and every trial the angel of His presence is near to deliver.” The Desire of Ages, 356.

2 How does God describe Himself? Exodus 34:6, 7.

NOTE: “It was the privilege of the Jewish nation to represent the character of God as it had been revealed to Moses. In answer to the prayer of Moses, ‘Show me Thy glory,’ the Lord promised, ‘I will make all My goodness pass before thee.’ Exodus 33:18, 19. ‘And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.’ Exodus 34:6, 7. This was the fruit that God desired from His people. In the purity of their characters, in the holiness of their lives, in their mercy and loving-kindness and compassion, they were to show that ‘the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.’ Psalm 19:7.

“Through the Jewish nation it was God’s purpose to impart rich blessings to all peoples. Through Israel the way was to be prepared for the diffusion of His light to the whole world. The nations of the world, through following corrupt practices, had lost the knowledge of God. Yet in His mercy God did not blot them out of existence. He purposed to give them opportunity for becoming acquainted with Him through His church. He designed that the principles revealed through His people should be the means of restoring the moral image of God in man.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 285, 286.

3 In what things does God delight? Jeremiah 9:23, 24.

NOTE: [Jeremiah 9:23, 24 quoted.] “Scarcely can the human mind comprehend the breadth and depth and height of the spiritual attainments of him who gains this knowledge.

“None need fail of attaining, in his sphere, to perfection of Christian character. By the sacrifice of Christ, provision has been made for the believer to receive all things that pertain to life and godliness. God calls upon us to reach the standard of perfection and places before us the example of Christ’s character. In His humanity, perfected by a life of constant resistance of evil, the Saviour showed that through co-operation with Divinity, human beings may in this life attain to perfection of character. This is God’s assurance to us that we, too, may obtain complete victory.” The Acts of the Apostles, 531, 532.

4 What does God say He is able to do? Isaiah 46:9, 10; John 14:29; John 13:19.

NOTE: “The history which the great I AM has marked out in His word, uniting link after link in the prophetic chain, from eternity in the past to eternity in the future, tells us where we are today in the procession of the ages, and what may be expected in the time to come. All that prophecy has foretold as coming to pass, until the present time, has been traced on the pages of history, and we may be assured that all which is yet to come will be fulfilled in its order. The final overthrow of all earthly dominions is plainly foretold in the word of truth.” Education, 178, 179.

5. How do we find God? Jeremiah 29:11–13; Psalm 91:15.

NOTE: “…friends, seek the Lord with all your heart. Come with zeal, and when you sincerely feel that without the help of God you perish, when you pant after Him as the hart panteth after the water brooks, then will the Lord strengthen you speedily. Then will your peace pass all understanding. If you expect salvation, you must pray. Take time. Be not hurried and careless in your prayers. Beg of God to work in you a thorough reformation, that the fruits of His Spirit may dwell in you, and you shine as lights in the world. Be not a hindrance or curse to the cause of God; you can be a help, a blessing. Does Satan tell you that you cannot enjoy salvation, full and free? Believe him not.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 159.

6 What relationship did Jesus say He was to God? Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22. Compare John 10:30.

NOTE: “As a personal being, God has revealed Himself in His Son. Jesus, the outshining of the Father’s glory, ‘and the express image of His person’ (Hebrews 1:3), was on earth found in fashion as a man. As a personal Saviour He came to the world. As a personal Saviour He ascended on high. As a personal Saviour He intercedes in the heavenly courts. Before the throne of God in our behalf ministers ‘One like unto the Son of man.’ Revelation 1:13.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 265.

7 Why did Christ come to the earth? John 3:16.

NOTE: “The Teacher from heaven, no less a personage than the Son of God, came to earth to reveal the character of the Father to men, that they might worship Him in spirit and in truth. Christ revealed to men the fact that the strictest adherence to ceremony and form would not save them; for the kingdom of God was spiritual in its nature. Christ came to the world to sow it with truth. He held the keys to all the treasures of wisdom, and was able to open doors to science, and to reveal undiscovered stores of knowledge, were it essential to salvation. He presented to men that which was exactly contrary to the representations of the enemy in regard to the character of God, and sought to impress upon men the paternal love of the Father . . . He urged upon men the necessity of prayer, repentance, confession, and the abandonment of sin. He taught them honesty, forbearance, mercy, and compassion…” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 177.

8 What did Jesus say He was? John 14:6.

NOTE: “If we surrender our lives to His service, we can never be placed in a position for which God has not made provision. Whatever may be our situation, we have a Guide to direct our way; whatever our perplexities, we have a sure Counselor; whatever our sorrow, bereavement, or loneliness, we have a sympathizing Friend. If in our ignorance we make missteps, Christ does not leave us. His voice, clear and distinct, is heard saying, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.’ John 14:6.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 173.

9 What other description did Jesus give of Himself? John 8:12; 9:5.

NOTE: “God can do without you, but you cannot afford to do without God. He does not compel any man to believe. He sets light before men, and Satan presents his darkness. While the deceiver is constantly crying, ‘Light is here; truth is here,’ Jesus is saying: ‘I am the truth; I have the words of eternal life. If any man follow Me, he shall not walk in darkness.’ God gives to us all evidence sufficient to balance our faith on the side of truth. If we surrender to God we shall choose the light and reject the darkness.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 230.

10 What invitation does Jesus give? Matthew 11:28-30.

NOTE: “Take hold of the arm of God, and say, ‘I am nothing, and Thou art everything. Thou hast said, “Without Me ye can do nothing.” Now, Lord, I must have Thee abiding in me, that I may abide in Thee.’ Then advance step by step, by living faith abiding in Jesus Christ. This is wearing His yoke, the yoke of obedience (MS 85, 1901).” Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1092.

“Wearing the yoke with Christ, means to work in His lines, to be a co-partner with Him in His sufferings and toils for lost humanity. It means to be a wise instructor of souls. We shall be what we are willing to be made by Christ in these precious hours of probation. We shall be the sort of a vessel that we allow ourselves to be molded into. We must unite with God in the molding and fashioning work, having our wills submitted to the divine will (Letter 71, 1895).” Ibid.

11 What is Christ’s desire for us? John 17:23.

NOTE: “Christ is one with the Father, but Christ and God are two distinct personages. Read the prayer of Christ in the seventeenth chapter of John, and you will find this point clearly brought out. How earnestly the Saviour prayed that His disciples might be one with Him as He is one with the Father.…[John 17:20–23 quoted.] What a wonderful statement! The unity that exists between Christ and His disciples does not destroy the personality of either. In mind, in purpose, in character, they are one, but not in person. By partaking of the Spirit of God, conforming to the law of God, man becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Christ brings His disciples into a living union with Himself and with the Father. Through the working of the Holy Spirit upon the human mind, man is made complete in Christ Jesus. Unity with Christ establishes a bond of unity with one another. This unity is the most convincing proof to the world of the majesty and virtue of Christ… (RH June 1, 1905). Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1148.

12 What will we be like when we see Jesus? 1 John 3:1–3.

NOTE: “The plan of redemption is not merely a way of escape from the penalty of transgression, but through it the sinner is forgiven his sins, and will be finally received into heaven—not as a forgiven culprit pardoned and released from captivity, yet looked upon with suspicion and not admitted to friendship and trust; but welcomed as a child, and taken back into fullest confidence.” Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 950.

By Craig Meeker

Food for Life – Evidences of the End

“March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” —English Proverb

September 11, 2001, will forever be etched in our memory, as long as we have a breath of life within us! A more sobering thought is, what will be the next sign of His coming? As I peruse the Spirit of Prophecy each night upon retiring, I am made ever aware of the very shortness of time and the insecurity of our own lives from day to day.

Last Day Events, 83, states, “At the time when the danger and depression of the church are greatest, the little company who are standing in the light will be sighing and crying for the abominations that are done in the land. But more especially will their prayers arise in behalf of the church because its members are doing after the manner of the world.” Serious thoughts are they not? “Light has been given me that the cities will be filled with confusion, violence, and crime, and that these things will increase till the end of this earth’s history.” Ibid., 110. So we, as many are doing, need to find ways to move to the country. “I have seen the most costly structures in buildings erected and supposed to be fireproof, and just as Sodom perished in the flames of God’s vengeance so will these proud structures become ashes.…The flattering monuments of men’s greatness will be crumbled in the dust even before the last great destruction comes upon the world.” Ibid., 111.

“God is withdrawing His Spirit from the wicked cities, which have become as the cities of the antediluvian world and as Sodom and Gomorrah.…Costly mansions, marvels of architectural skill, will be destroyed without a moment’s notice when the Lord sees that the owners have passed the boundaries of forgiveness. The destruction by fire of the stately buildings, supposed to be fireproof, is an illustration of how in a short time earth’s architecture will lie in ruins.

“Men will continue to erect expensive buildings, costing millions of money. Special attention will be called to their architectural beauty and the firmness and solidity with which they are constructed, but the Lord has instructed me that despite the unusual firmness and expensive display, these buildings will share the fate of the temple in Jerusalem.” Ibid., 112.

“Gluttony and intemperance lie at the foundation of the great moral depravity in our world. Satan is aware of this and he is constantly tempting men and women to indulge the taste at the expense of health and even life itself. Eating, drinking, and dressing are made the aim of life with the world. Just such a state of things existed before the Flood. And this state of dissipation is one of the marked evidences of the soon close of this earth’s history.” Ibid., 22.

Recipe – Pocket Bread

1 tablespoon yeast 

1 1/4 cups warm distilled water 

1 teaspoon sea salt

3 1/2 to 4 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water and let work. Gradually add other ingredients to make a stiff dough. Knead until smooth and elastic.

Let rise, until double in bulk, then turn out on board. After dividing into 8 pieces, approximately 5″ in diameter, flatten each ball with a rolling pin. Place on baking sheet about 3/4″ apart and let rise until double in bulk. Bake at 400 degrees for 4 minutes. Change pan positions and bake an additional 4–6 minutes. To serve, cut in half and separate to create pockets. Place anything in them that suits your taste.

Children’s Story – The Birthday Card, Part II

In our story last month, we read about Pam making a birthday card for her mother. She had just finished putting the final touches of “I LOVE YOU” on her Mother’s card when she saw the stack of dirty dishes
in the kitchen.

Suddenly Pam put down the card and started back to the kitchen. Glasses first, then silverware, then china; that’s the way Mother liked to have it done. Pam washed and rinsed them carefully but quickly. Finally she had the last pan dried and put away, with only the sink left to clean.

The visitor left and Dad came to the kitchen.

“What are you doing up so late, Pam?” he asked.

“I washed the dishes for Mother,” she told him as she made a last clean-up swirl of the dishcloth on the sink.

“Good girl. Tomorrow is Mother’s birthday, you know,” Father said.

“I know. Wait a minute,” said Pam as she hurried out of the kitchen. She flew to her room and came back with the birthday card.

“That’s lovely,” her father told her. “You mean you did the roses and everything?”

“Sure. But I still have to put my name on it,” Pam replied.

Her father looked at the kitchen clock and said, “Not tonight, Pam. It’s much too late. If you don’t get it signed at all, Mother will know it’s from you.”

In her room, Pam stood by her desk. She was really very sleepy. Maybe her father was right. Maybe the card didn’t need to be signed. She would put it at Mother’s place at the table right now, she suddenly decided. Her mother would see it the first thing in the morning.

She was half-asleep when Mother and Helen came home. She heard Helen go to her room. Then Mother came to Pam’s bedroom door.

“Pammie,” she said softly. “Are you awake?”

“Yes,” Pam answered sleepily.

Her mother came in and stood by her bed. “It’s wonderful to come home and find all those dishes washed,” she said.

Pam wondered if Mother had seen the birthday card on the table.

“And the card is beautiful, just beautiful, Pammie,” Mother continued. The words came in jerks as if it might not be easy for Mother to talk.

“I didn’t get it signed.” Pam apologized.

“It didn’t need to be,” Mother said, and she leaned over and kissed Pam’s forehead. “Even the ‘I LOVE YOU’ wasn’t really necessary, though it’s beautifully done. You see, the dishes had already told me that.”

Pam giggled happily and snuggled into her pillow. “As if dishes could talk,” she said. But she knew what Mother meant. The best way to tell people you love them is to do something that will help them, like washing a stack of dirty dishes.

Restoring the Temple – Hygiene

In the teaching that God gave to Israel, the preservation of health received careful attention. The people who had come from slavery with the uncleanly and unhealthful habits which it engenders, were subjected to the strictest training in the wilderness before entering Canaan. Health principles were taught and sanitary laws enforced.

Prevention of Disease

Not only in their religious service, but in all the affairs of daily life was observed the distinction between clean and unclean. All who came in contact with contagious or contaminating diseases were isolated from the encampment, and they were not permitted to return without thorough cleansing of both the person and the clothing. In the case of one afflicted with a contaminating disease, the direction was given: “Every bed, whereon he lieth,…is unclean: and everything, whereon he sitteth, shall be unclean. And whosoever toucheth his bed shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. And he that sitteth on anything whereon he sat…shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. And he that toucheth the flesh of him…shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even.…And whosoever toucheth anything that was under him shall be unclean until the even: and he that beareth any of those things shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. And whomsoever he toucheth…and hath not rinsed his hands in water, he shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and be unclean until the even. And the vessel of earth, that he toucheth,…shall be broken: and every vessel of wood shall be rinsed in water.” Leviticus 15:4-12.

The law concerning leprosy is also an illustration of the thoroughness with which these regulations were to be enforced: “All the days wherein the plague shall be in him [the leper] he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be. The garment also that the plague of leprosy is in, whether it be a woolen garment, or a linen garment; whether it be in the warp, or woof; of linen, or of woolen; whether in a skin, or in anything made of skin;…the priest shall look upon the plague:…if the plague be spread in the garment, either in the warp, or in the woof, or in a skin, or in any work that is made of skin; the plague is a fretting leprosy; it is unclean. He shall therefore burn that garment, whether warp or woof, in woolen or in linen, or anything of skin, wherein the plague is: for it is a fretting leprosy; it shall be burnt in the fire.” Leviticus 13:46–52.

So, too, if a house gave evidence of conditions that rendered it unsafe for habitation, it was destroyed. The priest was to “break down the house, the stones of it, and the timber thereof, and all the mortar of the house; and he shall carry them forth out of the city into an unclean place. Moreover he that goeth into the house all the while that it is shut up shall be unclean until the even. And he that lieth in the house shall wash his clothes; and he that eateth in the house shall wash his clothes.” Leviticus 14:45–47.


The necessity of personal cleanliness was taught in the most impressive manner. Before gathering at Mount Sinai to listen to the proclamation of the law by the voice of God, the people were required to wash both their persons and their clothing. This direction was enforced on pain of death. No impurity was to be tolerated in the presence of God.

During the sojourn in the wilderness the Israelites were almost continually in the open air, where impurities would have a less harmful effect than upon the dwellers in closed houses. But the strictest regard to cleanliness was required both within and without their tents. No refuse was allowed to remain within or about the encampment. The Lord said:

“The Lord thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy.” Deuteronomy 23:14.


The distinction between clean and unclean was made in all matters of diet: “I am the Lord thy God, which have separated you from other people. Ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and ye shall not make your souls abominable by beast, or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing,…which I have separated from you as unclean.” Leviticus 20:24, 25.

Many articles of food eaten freely by the heathen about them were forbidden to the Israelites. It was no arbitrary distinction that was made. The things prohibited were unwholesome. And the fact that they were pronounced unclean taught the lesson that the use of injurious foods is defiling. That which corrupts the body tends to corrupt the soul. It unfits the user for communion with God, unfits him for high and holy service.

In the Promised Land the discipline begun in the wilderness was continued under circumstances favorable to the formation of right habits. The people were not crowded together in cities, but each family had its own landed possession, ensuring to all the health-giving blessings of a natural, unperverted life.

Concerning the cruel, licentious practices of the Canaanites, who were dispossessed by Israel, the Lord said: “Ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them.” Verse 23. “Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it.” Deuteronomy 7:26.

In all the affairs of their daily life, the Israelites were taught the lesson set forth by the Holy Spirit: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” 1 Corin-thians 3:16, 17.


“A merry [rejoicing] heart doeth good like a medicine.” Proverbs 17:22. Gratitude, rejoicing, benevolence, trust in God’s love and care—these are health’s greatest safeguards. To the Israelites they were to be the very keynote of life.

The journey made three times a year to the annual feasts at Jerusalem, the week’s sojourn in booths during the Feast of Tabernacles, were opportunities for outdoor recreation and social life. These feasts were occasions of rejoicing, made sweeter and more tender by the hospitable welcome given to the stranger, the Levite, and the poor.

“Rejoice in every good thing which the Lord thy God hath given unto thee, and unto thine house, thou, and the Levite, and the stranger that is among you.” Deuteronomy 26:11.

So, in later years, when the law of God was read in Jerusalem to the captives returned from Babylon, and the people wept because of their transgressions, the gracious words were spoken: “Mourn not.…Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:9, 10.

God gave to Israel instruction in all the principles essential to physical as well as to moral health, and it was concerning these principles no less than concerning those of the moral law that He commanded them: “These words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.” Deuteronomy 6:6–9.

“And when thy son asketh thee in time to come, saying, What mean the testimonies, and the statutes, and the judgments, which the Lord our God hath commanded you? Then thou shalt say unto thy son,…The Lord commanded us to do all these statutes, to fear the Lord our God, for our good always, that He might preserve us alive, as it is at this day.” Verses 20–24.

Had the Israelites obeyed the instruction they received, and profited by their advantages, they would have been the world’s object lesson of health and prosperity. If as a people they had lived according to God’s plan, they would have been preserved from the diseases that afflicted other nations. Above any other people they would have possessed physical strength and vigor of intellect. They would have been the mightiest nation on the earth. God said: “Thou shalt be blessed above all people.” Deuteronomy 7:14.

“The Lord hath avouched thee this day to be His peculiar people, as He hath promised thee, and that thou shouldest keep all His commandments; and to make thee high above all nations which He hath made, in praise, and in name, and in honor; and that thou mayest be an holy people unto the Lord thy God, as He hath spoken.” Deuteronomy 26:18, 19.

“And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, and the fruit of thy cattle, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Blessed shalt thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out.” Deuteronomy 28:2–6.

To Aaron the high priest and his sons the direction was given: “On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, ‘Jehovah bless thee, and keep thee: Jehovah make His face to shine upon thee, And be gracious unto thee: Jehovah lift up His countenance upon thee, And give thee peace. So shall they put My name upon the children of Israel; And I will bless them.”

“…As thy days, so shall thy strength be. There is none like unto God, O Jeshurun, Who rideth upon the heaven for thy help, And in His excellency on the skies. The eternal God is thy dwelling place, And underneath are the everlasting arms.…Israel dwelleth in safety, The fountain of Jacob alone, “In a land of corn and wine; Yea, His heavens drop down dew. Happy art thou, O Israel: Who is like unto thee, a people saved by the Lord,

The shield of thy help, And that is the sword of thy excellency!” Numbers 6:23; 6:24–27, A.R.V.; Deuteronomy 33:25–29, R.V.

The Israelites failed of fulfilling God’s purpose, and thus failed of receiving the blessings that might have been theirs. But in Joseph and Daniel, in Moses and Elisha, and many others, we have noble examples of the results of the true plan of living. Like faithfulness today will produce like results. To us it is written: “Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9.

—Ministry of Healing, 277–286

Inspiration – The Signal of Advance

It is an eternal law of Jehovah that he who accepts the truth that the world needs is to make it his first work to proclaim this truth. But who is there that makes the burden of perishing sinners his own? As I look upon the professed people of God, and see their unwillingness to serve Him, my heart is filled with a pain that I cannot express. How few are heart to heart with God in His solemn, closing work. There are thousands to be warned, yet how few consecrate themselves wholly to the work, willing to be or to do anything if only they may win souls to Christ. Jesus died to save the world. In humility, in lowliness, in unselfishness, He worked and is working for sinners. But many of those who ought to co-operate with Him are self-sufficient and indifferent.

Among God’s people today there is a fearful lack of the sympathy that should be felt for souls unsaved. We talk of Christian missions. The sound of our voices is heard; but we do not feel Christ’s tender heart-longing for those outside the fold. And unless our hearts beat in union with the heart of Christ, how can we understand the sacredness and importance of the work to which we are called by the words, “Watch for…souls, as they that must give account.” Hebrews 13:17.

God is waiting for men and women to awake to their responsibilities. He is waiting for them to link themselves with Him. Let them mark the signal of advance, and no longer be laggards in working out the will of the Lord.

Do we realize how large a number in the world are watching our movements? From quarters where we least expect will come voices urging us forward in the work of giving to the world the last message of mercy. Ministers and people, wake up! Be quick to recognize and seize every opportunity and advantage offered in the turning of the wheel of providence. God and Christ and the heavenly angels are working with intense activity to hold in check the fierceness of Satan’s wrath, that God’s plans may not be thwarted. God lives and reigns. He is conducting the affairs of the universe. Let His soldiers move forward to victory. Let there be perfect unity in their ranks. Let them press the battle to the gates. As a mighty Conqueror, the Lord will work for them.

Let the gospel message ring through our churches, summoning them to universal action. Let the members of the church have increased faith, gaining zeal from their unseen, heavenly allies, from a knowledge of their exhaustless resources, from the greatness of the enterprise in which they are engaged, and from the power of their Leader. Those who place themselves under God’s control, to be led and guided by Him, will catch the steady tread of the events ordained by Him to take place. Inspired with the Spirit of Him who gave His life for the life of the world, they will no longer stand still in impotency, pointing to what they cannot do. Putting on the armor of heaven, they will go forth to the warfare, willing to do and dare for God, knowing that His omnipotence will supply their need.

God’s servants are to make use of every resource for enlarging His kingdom. The apostle Paul declares that it is “good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth,’ that ‘supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men” 1 Timothy 2:3, 4, 1. And James says, “Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” James 5:20. Every believer is pledged to unite with his brethren in giving the invitation, “Come; for all things are now ready.” Luke 14:17. Each is to encourage the others in doing whole-hearted work. Earnest invitations will be given by a living church. Thirsty souls will be led to the water of life.

The apostles carried a weight of responsibility to enlarge their sphere of labor, to proclaim the gospel in the regions beyond. From their example we learn that there are to be no idlers in the Lord’s vineyard. His servants are constantly to enlarge the circle of their efforts. Constantly they are to do more, never less. The Lord’s work is to widen and broaden until it encircles the world.

After making a missionary tour, Paul and Barnabas retraced their steps, visiting the churches they had raised up, and selecting men to unite with them in the work. Thus God’s servants are to labor today, selecting and training worthy young men as co-laborers. God help us to sanctify ourselves, that by our example others may be sanctified, enabled to do successful work in winning souls to Christ.

We are nearing the close of this earth’s history; soon we shall stand before the great white throne. Soon your time for work will be forever past. Watch for opportunities to speak a word in season to those with whom you come in contact. Do not wait to become acquainted before you offer them the priceless treasures of truth. Go to work, and ways will open before you.

At the day of judgment there comes to the lost a full realization of the meaning of the sacrifice made on Calvary. They see what they have lost by refusing to be loyal. They think of the high, pure association it was their privilege to gain. But it is too late. The last call has been made. The wail is heard, “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” Jeremiah 8:20.

Upon us rests the weighty responsibility of warning the world of its coming doom. From every direction, from far and near, are coming calls for help. God calls upon His church to arise, and clothe herself with power. Immortal crowns are to be won; the kingdom of heaven is to be gained; the world, perishing in ignorance, is to be enlightened.

The world will be convinced, not by what the pulpit teaches, but by what the church lives. The minister in the desk announces the theory of the gospel; the practical piety of the church demonstrates its power.

Enfeebled and defective, needing constantly to be warned and counseled, the church is nevertheless the object of Christ’s supreme regard. He is making experiments of grace on human hearts, and is effecting such transformations of character that angels are amazed, and express their joy in songs of praise. They rejoice to think that sinful, erring human beings can be so transformed.

As the Third Angel’s Message swells into a loud cry, great power and glory will attend its proclamation. The faces of God’s people will shine with the light of heaven.

The Lord will fit men and women—yes, and children, as he did Samuel—for His work, making them His messengers. He who never slumbers nor sleeps watches over each worker, choosing His sphere of labor. All heaven is watching the warfare which, under apparently discouraging circumstances, God’s servants are carrying on. New conquests are being achieved, new honors won, as the Lord’s servants, rallying round the banner of their Redeemer, go forth to fight the good fight of faith. All the heavenly angels are at the service of the humble, believing people of God, and as the Lord’s army of workers here below sing their songs of praise, the choir above join with them in thanksgiving, ascribing praise to God and to His Son.

Nothing is apparently more helpless, yet really more invincible, than the soul that feels its nothingness, and relies wholly on the merits of the Saviour. God would send every angel in heaven to the aid of such a one, rather than allow him to be overcome.

The battle-cry is sounding along the line. Let every soldier of the cross push to the front, not in self-sufficiency, but in meekness and lowliness, and with firm faith in God. Your work, my work, will not cease with this life. For a little while we may rest in the grave, but, when the call comes, we shall, in the kingdom of God, take up our work once more.

Review and Herald, January 20, 1903.

Worship Methods Biblical or Culturally Relevant?

Does It Matter to God?

“Unless correct ideas of true worship and true reverence are impressed upon the people, there will be a growing tendency to place the sacred and eternal on a level with common things, and those professing the truth will be an offense to God and a disgrace to religion.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 500.

Does God Leave It Up to Us?

“God…does not leave men to rely on their human judgment.…They are required to have correct views of duty.…They must take God’s word, and walk in accordance with His revealed will.” Signs of the Times, July 24, 1884.

“He who is infinite in wisdom has given explicit directions in regard to His own worship, and all who desire to serve Him should.” Ibid., July 8, 1880. “From the sacredness which was attached to the earthly sanctuary, Christians may learn how they should regard the place where the Lord meets with His people.…God Himself gave the order of His service.…” The Faith I Live By, 189.

“An enemy has been at work to destroy our faith in the sacredness of Christian worship.” Child Guidance, 541.

Strange Fire/Sacred Fire

“And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which He commanded them not.” Leviticus 10:1.

“As the prayers and praise of the people are ascending before God, two of the sons of Aaron took each his censer…and used strange fire, contrary to the Lord’s commandment. And the wrath of God was kindled against Nadab and Abihu for their disobedience, and a fire went out from the Lord, and devoured them in the sight of the people. By this judgment God designed to teach the people that they must approach Him with reverence and awe, and in His own appointed manner.” Signs of the Times, July 17, 1884.

Sacred Fire—God’s Method of Worship, Following His Way

“The holy principles that God has given are represented by the sacred fire.…” Christian Leadership, 31. “Aaron’s sons did not realize the necessity of explicitly following the requirements of God.…Contrary to God’s express direction they dishonored Him by offering common fire instead of sacred.” Review and Herald, July 29, 1873. “Do not take worldly ideas as your criterion. Let there be no departure from the Lord’s methods of working. Use not common fire, but the sacred fire of the Lord’s kindling.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 267. “…the sacred fire which God Himself had kindled, and which He had commanded should be used.” Gospel Workers, 20.

Strange Fire—Methods of Men, the World (Culturally Relevant)

“The truth of God has not been magnified in His believing people.…They conform to the world, and depend upon it for their influence. They allow the world to convert them and introduce the common fire to take the place of the sacred, that they may, in their line of work, meet the world’s standard. There must not be these efforts made to ape the world’s customs. This is common, not sacred fire.” The Gospel of Health, November 1, 1898. “Men supposed to be sensible men, having discerning minds, will follow their own light, light which heaven has not originated. They will use strange fire in their service, but the Lord will not accept them.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 4, 1820. “Unless the change takes place [born again], we cannot serve God aright. Our work will be defective; earthly plans will be brought in; strange fire, dishonoring to God will be offered.” The Youth’s Instructor, September 9, 1897. “You have mingled with your offerings strange fire, which God has forbidden.…You have acted in your own unsanctified way, and not in God’s way.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 13, 310.

We Are Not to Mingle the Common (Worldly) With Sacred

“The Lord designs that everything connected with His work shall be treated as sacred.…that no common fire is to be used in place of the sacred fire, that common things are not to be mingled with God’s appointed agencies.” Review and Herald, September 27, 1898. “We must keep the way of the Lord, and speak and act as standing in His sight, living by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, that no strange fire shall mingle with that which is holy.” Ibid., May 27, 1890.

Evangelism—The Greatest Excuse for Using Worldly Methods

“Common fire has been used in place of the sacred. Plans, contrary to truth and righteousness, are introduced in a subtle manner on the plea that this must be done, and that must be done, because it is for the advancement of the cause of God. But it is the devising of men.…” Christian Leadership, 31.

What God Does Not Accept

“The Lord of heaven does not accept the strange fire offered to Him.” Pamphlet 46, 38. “Some in positions of trust have been…allowed to make decisions, to advocate methods, to carry out plans, which are not of the Lord’s devising. The enemy has been given an opportunity to control men, and to manage the work which God has shown should be kept pure and sacred, that it may be looked upon with reverence by all who claim to believe the truth. When men entrusted with responsibilities, neglect to cherish that which is sacred, and use common fire in God’s service, God will despise their offering to Him.” Pamphlet 080, 10. “God will not accept your common fire. He wants you to use the sacred fire which He has kindled on the divine altar.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 13, 198.

Using Strange Fire is a Sin—Punishable with Death!

“Aaron’s sons took the common fire which God did not accept, and they offered insult to the infinite God by presenting this strange fire before Him. God consumed them by fire for their positive disregard of His express directions.” Review and Herald, March 25, 1875. “At the hour of worship, as the prayers and praise of the people were ascending to God, Nadab and Abihu…trans-gressed God’s command by using ‘strange fire’…For this sin, a fire went out from the Lord and devoured them in the sight of the people.” Gospel Workers, 20. “Nadab and Abihu failed to reverence the command of God to offer sacred fire upon their censers with the incense before Him. God had forbidden them, upon pain of death, to present the common fire before Him with the incense.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 295. “Behold, all ye that kindle a fire, that…walk in the light of your fire, and in the sparks that ye have kindled. This shall ye have of Mine hand; ye shall lie down in sorrow.” Isaiah 50:11, 12. “It is difficult for men who begin to walk in the sparks of their own kindling to discern that it is not a sacred but common fire, until they lie down in sorrow.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 3, 1297.

Sacred Fire—Worships with Solemnity and Awe

“How few realize how solemn a thing it is to approach the throne of God. Angels bow before that throne with veiled faces, yet men who are stained by sin rush heedlessly into the divine presence. Let us remember that the holy angels approach the throne of God in reverence and holy fear. It is because men do not know God or Jesus Christ whom He has sent, that they take improper attitudes and improper words in their petitions.” Review and Herald, May 28, 1895. “True reverence for God is inspired by a sense of His infinite greatness and a realization of His presence.” Education, 247.

A Fearful Awe is Felt—When We Enter into God’s Presence

“God is greatly to be reverenced; wherever His presence is clearly realized, sinful man will bow in the most humble attitude, and from the depths of the soul cry out, ‘How dreadful is this place!’” Signs of the Time, February 26, 1880.

“I was shown that when God sent His angels anciently to minister or communicate to individuals, and these persons learned that they had seen and talked with an angel, they were struck with awe and were afraid that they should die. They had so exalted views of the terrible majesty and power of God that they thought it would destroy them to be brought into close connection with one direct from His holy presence. I was referred to Judges 13:21, 22: ‘Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the Lord. And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God.’ Judges 6:22, 23: ‘And when Gideon perceived that He was an angel of the Lord, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord God! For because I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face. And the Lord said unto him, Peace be unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.’ Joshua 5:15: ‘…And the Captain of the Lord’s host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot, for the place whereon thou standest is holy. And Joshua did so.’ If angels were thus feared and honored because they came from the presence of God, with how much greater reverence should God Himself be regarded.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 410. “What impression did this vision make on the prophet? Thus he described it: ‘Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.’ Isaiah had denounced woes upon others for their apostasy and separation from God.…But now he sees himself in danger. He is himself ‘a man of unclean lips.’ He had no disposition to exalt himself. O how little he was in his own wisdom, how unworthy, how unfitted for sacred service. He was overwhelmed with a sense of his own weakness and sinfulness.” The Bible Echo, September 9, 1895.

Angels Veil Their Faces—Humbled to Nothing, No Identity

“The angels veil their faces in His presence. The cherubim and the bright and holy seraphim approach His throne with solemn reverence. How much more should we, finite, sinful beings, come in a reverent manner before the Lord, our Maker!” God’s Amazing Grace, 94.

Bow Down—In the Presence of God

“O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God; and we are the people of His pasture .…” “And Moses and Aaron went…unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces and the glory of the LORD appeared unto them.” Num-
bers 20:6. “Joshua…lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, there stood a man…captain of the host of the LORD.…And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship and said unto Him, What saith my lord unto His servant? And the captain of the LORD’S host said unto Joshua, Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place where those standest is holy. And Joshua did so.” Joshua 5:13–15.

Keep Silent—In His Presence

“The Lord is in His holy temple: let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Habakkuk 2:20. “When the worshipers enter the place of meeting, they should do so with decorum, passing quietly to their seats.…Common talking, whispering, and laughing should not be permitted in the house of worship, either before or after the service.” My Life Today, 286. “If some have to wait a few minutes before the meeting begins, let them maintain a true spirit of devotion by silent meditation, keeping the heart uplifted to God in prayer.… “Testimonies, vol. 5, 492. “Do not have so little reverence for the house and worship of God as to communicate with one another during the sermon. If those who commit this fault could see the angels of God looking upon them and marking their doings, they would be filled with shame and abhorrence of themselves.” Child Guidance, 542. “When the benediction is pronounced, all should still be quiet, as if fearful of losing the peace of Christ. Let all pass out without jostling or loud talking, feeling that they are in the presence of God, that His eye is resting upon them, and they must act as in His visible presence. Let there be no stopping in the aisles to visit or gossip.…The precincts of the church should be invested with a sacred reverence. It should not be made a place to meet old friends and visit and introduce common thoughts and worldly business transactions.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 493.

Put Off Thy Shoes—Put Off That Which is Man-Made

“Study and ponder and often repeat those words of Holy Writ that show how the place marked by God’s special presence should be regarded. ‘Put off thy shoes from off thy feet,’ He commanded Moses at the burning bush; ‘for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.’ Exodus 3:5.” Education, 243. “There should be a solemn awe upon the worshipers as they enter the sanctuary, and they should leave behind all common worldly thoughts, for it is the place where God reveals His presence. It is as the audience chamber of the great and eternal God; therefore pride and passion, dissension and self-esteem, selfishness, and covetousness, which God pronounces idolatry, are inappropriate for such a place.” Child Guidance, 543. “Teach them to have the highest reverence for the house of God and to understand that when they enter the Lord’s house it should be with hearts that are softened and subdued by such thoughts as these: ‘God is here; this is His house. I must have pure thoughts and the holiest motives. I must have no pride, envy, jealousy, evil surmising, hatred, or deception in my heart, for I am coming into the presence of the holy God.’” Testimonies, vol. 5, 494.

Theatrical Style—Strange Fire (Methods of the World)

“Some ministers make the mistake of supposing that success depends on drawing a large congregation by outward display, and then delivering the message of truth in a theatrical style. But this is using common fire instead of the sacred fire of God’s kindling. The Lord is not glorified by this manner of working.” Gospel Workers, 383. “God…is as particular and exact in His requirements now as He was in the days of Moses. But in the sanctuaries of worship in our day, with the songs of praise, the prayers, and the teaching from the pulpit, there is not merely strange fire, but positive defilement.” Ellen G. White comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1111.

Are We to Use Drama to Present the Gospel?

“The work in the large cities is to be done after Christ’s order, not after the order of a theatrical performance. It is not a theatrical performance that glorifies God.…” Testimonies, vol. 9, 142. “Do not encourage the men who are to engage in this [our] work to think that they must proclaim the solemn, sacred message in a theatrical style. Not one jot or tittle of anything theatrical is to be brought into our work. God’s cause is to have a sacred, heavenly mold. Let everything connected with the giving of the message for this time bear the divine impress. Let nothing of a theatrical nature be permitted, for this would spoil the sacredness of the work.” Evangelism, 137. “Our success will depend on carrying forward the work in the simplicity in which Christ carried it forward, without any theatrical display.” Ibid., 139. “Ministers in the desk have no license to behave like theatrical performers, assuming attitudes and expressions calculated for effect. They do not occupy the sacred desk as actors, but as teachers of solemn truths.” Ibid., 640.

What Spirit is Behind the use of Drama in Religious Services?

“Through the drama he [Satan] has worked for ages to excite passion and glorify vice.” The Adventist Home, 515. “Can the Lord Jesus Christ accept these theatrical exhibitions as service done for Him? Can He be glorified thereby? No. All this kind of work is done in the service of another leader.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 11, 335. “We must be guarded, for Satan is determined, if possible, to intermingle with religious services his evil influence. Let there be no theatrical display, for this will not help to strengthen belief in the Word of God. Rather, it will divert attention to the human instrument.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 23.

Are We to Use “Rock and Roll” Music to Present the Gospel?

“…a bedlam of noise. This is an invention of Satan.…Better never have the worship of God blended with music than to use musical instruments to do the work which last January was represented to me.…A bedlam of noise shocks the senses and perverts that which if conducted aright might be a blessing.…The Holy Spirit has nothing to do with such a confusion of noise and multitude of sounds as passed before me last January. Satan works amid the din and confusion of such music.…Those things which have been in the past will be in the future. Satan will make music a snare by the way in which it is conducted.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 36–38.

Are We to Use Dancing in the Solemn Service?

“I went into their meetings. There was much excitement, with noise and confusion. One could not tell what was piped or what was harped. Some appeared to be in vision, and fell to the floor. Others were jumping, dancing, and shouting.…I bore my testimony in the name of the Lord, placing His rebuke upon these manifestations.” Ibid., 34.

Are We to Use Humor and Laughter in the Worship Service?

“Ministers should not make a practice of relating anecdotes in the desk; it detracts from the force and solemnity of the truth presented. The relation of anecdotes or incidents which create a laugh or a light thought in the minds of the hearers is severely censurable. The truth should be clothed in chaste and dignified language.” Review and Herald, August 8, 1878. “Ministers are not to…get up theatrical performances.…Let them not bring levity into the work of the ministry, but let them preach the Word in a manner that will leave a most solemn impression upon those who hear.” Ibid., September 28, 1897.

Are We to Use Comic Strips in Church?

“What is the object of the ministry? Is it to mix the comical with the religious? The theater is the place for such exhibitions.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 143.

Are We to Dress Up as Clowns to Present the Gospel?

“We need to study methods whereby we may preach the gospel.…Let no one think that God will approve of a method which will require a man to act the part of a clown, or like a man who has lost his senses. Such methods as these are wholly unnecessary and inappropriate.” Signs of the Times, March 19, 1894. “The minister of Christ should be a man of prayer, a man of piety; cheerful, but never coarse and rough, jesting or frivolous. A spirit of frivolity may be in keeping with the profession of clowns and theatrical performers, but it is altogether beneath the dignity of a man who is chosen…to be [a] mouth-piece for God.” Gospel Workers, 132.

Is Worship an Emotional Feeling? A Happy, “Fun” Time?

“Some are not satisfied with a meeting unless they have a powerful and happy time. They work for this, and get up an excitement of feeling. The influence of such meetings is not beneficial. When the happy flight of feeling is gone, they sink lower than before the meeting, because their happiness did not come from the right source. The most profitable meetings for spiritual advancement, are those which are characterized with solemnity and deep searching of heart; each seeking to know himself, and earnestly, and in deep humility, seeking to learn of Christ.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4b, 152.

“If the preaching is of an emotional character, it will affect the feelings, but not the heart and conscience. Such preaching results in no lasting good.…” Testimonies, vol. 5, 301. “It is through the Word—not feeling, not excitement—that we want to influence the people to obey the truth.…A wonderful power accompanies its proclamation in our world.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 375. “Feelings are often deceiving, emotions are no sure safeguard; for they are variable and subject to external circumstances.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, 126.

Improper Worship Leads to:

Rejecting God: “In seeking to bring the worship of God nearer home, Gideon was but providing to indulge the people in their indolence.… The course pursued by Gideon proved a snare…to all Israel. The irregular and unauthorized worship led the people finally to forsake the Lord altogether, to serve idols.…The services at the place of worship were celebrated with feasting and merriment, and at last became a scene of dissipation and licentiousness.” Signs of the Times, July 28, 1881.

Rejection By God: “The Lord passed by Saul…because, as king of Israel, he did not follow the Lord’s requirement, but chose to follow his own plans and methods.” The Youth’s Instructor, November 10, 1898.

“Ye shall keep My Sabbaths, and reverence My sanctuary: I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:30.

[Emphasis has been supplied.]

And So We Walk Together, My Lord and I

Our neighbor’s wife rang up one day and asked my sister and me if we would visit her father on our way home from church. A few months before, her father had a stroke and was now paralyzed down his right side. He got gangrene in his leg, and they had to amputate it. He could not use his right arm, and the eyelid under his right eye drooped and ran tears all the time.

Old Vic was a grizzly, whining, discontented old man, and he always had been. No one went to visit him, because they got tired of his continual moaning. I did not want to go visit him either. However, our neighbor had three daughters, and the oldest one and I were special friends, so to keep in her mother’s good graces, I agreed to go, and the next Sabbath afternoon we called in. He wanted us to come back the next week, so every week we had to listen to all his problems, and every few minutes he had to wipe the tears off his cheek with his good hand. All the while we sat and listened.

Then he started asking us who preached that day and what the sermon was about. After that he would ask who taught the Sabbath School lesson and what that was about. If we could not give a good account, he would ask us why we went to church. So, during the lesson and sermon, I would take special care to remember something I could later tell old Vic.

Trained by the Holy Spirit

It was not until years later, well after the old chap had died, that I realized that God had used old Vic to train me for a special part in His work. Ever since that time I have visited those who could not come to church for some reason and have given them the Sabbath School lesson at home. This I have done every year since that time, and for the last ten years I have recorded it on audio tape and delivered it and posted it to people all over New Zealand.

At one stage I tried counting those who were hearing the lesson each week, and there were over 60. Some ministers used to copy it and give it out to people in their churches as they visited, so it has gone far and wide.

I visited many people who had lost their faith, stopped coming to church, and I have seen a lot of them come back again and regain their faith. They can all thank a whining, moaning, old man, whom God used to train me to do that type of work. I have no idea how many have benefited from it over the years, but it must run into hundreds and hundreds of people in all parts of New Zealand, and at one stage, the Sabbath School tape even went to Australia.

The Sabbath School Extension Work

After leaving my old hometown, I went to live in Hamilton. Not long after arriving, I was nominated to the job of Assistant Sabbath School Superintendent, then another year to Assistant Sabbath School Extension Leader. The leader and I would go to homes in town to give shut-in members the Sabbath School Lesson. Some of these were too old to sit in church, or one could not hear in church with her hearing aid, or others could not attend for some other reason.

The next year they made me the leader and my wife the assistant, and we worked as a team. That year the Sabbath School Superintendent would study the weekly class reports, and if someone was away for more than two weeks running, she would give their name to me, and we would visit them to see what was wrong.

Sometimes they may have had the flu or been away on holiday and not told anyone they were going. But sometimes they had become discouraged and stopped attending for various reasons. We would visit them, and I think that work was the most rewarding work I have ever done for the Lord. Quite often they had become discouraged and had lost their faith and had not been to church for months or even years. Frequently, one visit from us and they would return to church and continue to do so for the rest of their lives.

Do You Remember Me?

My wife and I once visited a church where we had been members some years before. While talking to someone outside, after the service, I felt a hand rest on my shoulder from behind. Turning around I saw a woman whom we had visited some 20 years before. “Do you remember me?” she asked. Sure I remembered her, she had married a man who did not have anything to do with religion, and she stopped going to church. At the time she and her husband moved to our town, she had not attended church for five years. The Sabbath School Superintendent told us about her, and we visited her. The next week she was back at church with her two little girls, and she was still coming after 20 years.

Another family, who lived on a farm, lost their three-year-old daughter when she drowned in a cattle trough. They gave up their faith and had not been back to church again. My wife and I called on them one Sabbath and listened while they told us all their troubles.

As we were leaving, I asked him if he would like us to come back the next week and go through the Sabbath School Lesson together. He said they would like that. On Friday night the phone rang, and it was him. I thought he was going to tell us not to come, and he did. He said, “Don’t come out tomorrow, we are coming back to church,” and they did. When we visited that church some ten years later, there they were, up in the front seat, father, mother, and three teenage children, all still attending church.

A 70-year-old man, in another church, fell and broke his hip. They placed a pin in it, and soon he could walk again with the aid of a walking stick, but for a year he had never attempted to go back to church. One day, in Sabbath School, I talked another old chap who knew him into going with me to give him the Sabbath School Lesson. The next week he was back at church and continued attending until he died.

I could go on and on about all the similar experiences I have had. All have old Vic to thank for the training he unconsciously gave me many years before; a training that was to help many people. It might be something you would want to try in your church as a regular Sabbath afternoon activity. Someone might just be waiting for an invitation to come back.

To God be the glory; great things He has done.