April 20-26, 2003
MEMORY VERSE: “[Our Saviour Jesus Christ] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:14.
SUGGESTED READING: Lift Him Up, 282.
INTRODUCTION: “We want more, much more, of the spirit of Christ, and less, much less, of self and the peculiarities of character which keep us apart from our fellow-men. We can do much to break down these barriers by revealing the grace of Christ in our own lives. Jesus has intrusted his goods to the church, age after age. One generation after another for over eighteen hundred years has been gathering up this hereditary trust, until the increasing responsibilities have descended to the people of our time. Do we now realize our responsibility? Do we feel that we are stewards of God’s grace? Do we believe that the lowest, humblest service will be accepted, if it is only directed to doing, not our own, but our Master’s will, to promote his glory? We must be clothed, not with our own garments, but with the robe of Christ’s righteousness.” Gospel Workers (1892), 304.
1 With whom was the old covenant made? Jeremiah 31:31, 32.
NOTE: “To Israel encamped before Mount Sinai the Lord had declared: ‘I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the Lord their God.’ Exodus 29:45, 46. And now, notwithstanding the fact that they had repeatedly ‘rebelled, and vexed His Holy Spirit’ (Isaiah 63:10), God once more, through the messages of His prophet, was stretching out His hand to save. As a recognition of their co-operation with His purpose, He was renewing His covenant that His Spirit should remain among them; and He bade them, ‘Fear not.’ ” Prophets and Kings, 575, 576.
2 With whom did the Lord say He would make a new covenant? Hebrews 8:8.
NOTE: “Those who have by baptism given to God a pledge of their faith in Christ, and their death to the old life of sin, have entered into covenant relation with God. The three powers of the Godhead, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are pledged to be their strength and their efficiency in their new life in Christ Jesus.” Australasian Union Conference Record, October 7, 1907.
3 What part, if any, do Gentiles have in the covenants? Ephesians 2:11–13; Colossians 1:21.
NOTE: “Moses beheld the disciples of Jesus as they went forth to carry His gospel to the world. He saw that though the people of Israel ‘according to the flesh’ had failed of the high destiny to which God had called them, in their unbelief had failed to become the light of the world, though they had despised God’s mercy and forfeited their blessings as His chosen people—yet God had not cast off the seed of Abraham; the glorious purposes which He had undertaken to accomplish through Israel were to be fulfilled. All who through Christ should become the children of faith were to be counted as Abraham’s seed; they were inheritors of the covenant promises; like Abraham, they were called to guard and to make known to the world the law of God and the gospel of His Son. Moses saw the light of the gospel shining out through the disciples of Jesus to them ‘which sat in darkness’ (Matthew 4:16), and thousands from the lands of the Gentiles flocking to the brightness of its rising. [Isaiah 60:3.] And beholding, he rejoiced in the increase and prosperity of Israel.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 476.
“He [Christ] was the Mediator of the covenant, the one in whom all nations of the earth, both Jews and Gentiles, if they accepted Him, were to be blessed.” Lift Him Up, 16.
4 What are the promises of the new covenant? Hebrews 8:10–12.
NOTE: “The same law that was engraved upon the tables of stone, is written by the Holy Spirit upon the tables of the heart. Instead of going about to establish our own righteousness, we accept the righteousness of Christ. [Romans 10:3.] His blood atones for our sins. His obedience is accepted for us. Then the heart renewed by the Holy Spirit will bring forth ‘the fruits of the Spirit.’ [Galatians 5:22, 23.] Through the grace of Christ we shall live in obedience to the law of God written upon our hearts. Having the Spirit of Christ, we shall walk even as he walked. [1 John 2:6.] Through the prophet he declared of himself, ‘I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.’ Psalm 40:8. And when among men he said, ‘The Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.’ John 8:29.” Review and Herald, October 17, 1907.
5 What does God promise those who choose to be His people? Hebrews 8:12.
NOTE: “The most striking feature of this covenant of peace is the exceeding richness of the pardoning mercy expressed to the sinner if he repents and turns from his sin. The Holy Spirit describes the gospel as salvation through the tender mercies of our God. ‘I will be merciful to their unrighteousness,’ the Lord declares of those who repent, ‘and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more’ (Hebrews 8:12). Does God turn from justice in showing mercy to the sinner? No; God cannot dishonor His law by suffering it to be transgressed with impunity. Under the new covenant, perfect obedience is the condition of life. If the sinner repents and confesses his sins, he will find pardon. By Christ’s sacrifice in his behalf, forgiveness is secured for him. Christ has satisfied the demands of the law for every repentant, believing sinner. . . .” God’s Amazing Grace, 138.
6 Whom will those be like who have the Law of God written on their hearts? Psalm 40:7, 8; 1 Peter 2:21.
NOTE: “Consider the life of Christ. Standing at the head of humanity, serving His Father, He is an example of what every son should and may be. The obedience that Christ rendered God requires from human beings today. He served His Father with love, in willingness and freedom. [Psalm 40:8 quoted.] Christ counted no sacrifice too great, no toil too hard, in order to accomplish the work which He came to do.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 282.
“He [Christ] exalted the law, and made it honorable.
“Every soul is under obligation to follow in the footsteps of Christ, the great example for the human family.” Sons and Daughters of God, 48.
7. What characteristic will be seen in those who have the law written in their hearts? Titus 2:14.
NOTE: “God is leading out a people to stand in perfect unity upon the platform of eternal truth. Christ gave Himself to the world that He might ‘purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.’ This refining process is designed to purge the church from all unrighteousness and the spirit of discord and contention, that they may build up instead of tear down, and concentrate their energies on the great work before them. God designs that His people should all come into the unity of the faith. The prayer of Christ just prior to His crucifixion was that His disciples might be one, even as He was one with the Father, that the world might believe that the Father had sent Him.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 17.
8 In order that this work may be done, what must men do? James 4:7, first part; 1 Peter 5:6; Romans 6:13.
NOTE: “Brethren, I entreat you to move with an eye single to the glory of God. Let His power be your dependence, His grace your strength. By study of the Scriptures and earnest prayer seek to obtain clear conceptions of your duty, and then faithfully perform it. It is essential that you cultivate faithfulness in little things, and in so doing you will acquire habits of integrity in greater responsibilities. The little incidents of everyday life often pass without our notice, but it is these things that shape the character. Every event of life is great for good or for evil. The mind needs to be trained by daily tests, that it may acquire power to stand in any difficult position. In the days of trial and of peril you will need to be fortified to stand firmly for the right, independent of every opposing influence.
“God is willing to do much for you, if you will only feel your need of Him. Jesus loves you. Ever seek to walk in the light of God’s wisdom, and through all the changing scenes of life do not rest unless you know that your will is in harmony with the will of your Creator. Through faith in Him you may obtain strength to resist every temptation of Satan and thus increase in moral power with every test from God.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 561.
9 What is the reason why many who profess to desire righteousness do not obtain it? Romans 10:3.
NOTE: “While the law is holy, the Jews could not attain righteousness by their own efforts to keep the law. The disciples of Christ must obtain righteousness of a different character from that of the Pharisees, if they would enter the kingdom of heaven. God offered them, in His Son, the perfect righteousness of the law. If they would open their hearts fully to receive Christ, then the very life of God, His love, would dwell in them, transforming them into His own likeness; and thus through God’s free gift they would possess the righteousness which the law requires. But the Pharisees rejected Christ; ‘being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness’ (Romans 10:3), they would not submit themselves unto the righteousness of God.
“Jesus proceeded to show His hearers what it means to keep the commandments of God—that it is a reproduction in themselves of the character of Christ. For in Him, God was daily made manifest before them.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 54, 55.
10 If the people would humble themselves and submit to God, what would He do for them? Isaiah 61:10.
NOTE: “Is it our greatest concern today that our lives shall be refined and purified, and that we shall reflect the similitude of the divine? This must be the experience of all who join that company who are washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb. They must be arrayed in the righteousness of Christ. His name must be written in their foreheads. They must rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Christ has engraved the names of His people on the palms of His hands. He will never lose His interest in any dependent soul.
“Say to the church members that there is need of thorough consecration to God. Let all understand that they must make a covenant with God by sacrifice. We need the blessings of the gospel every day and every hour. Every proof of the Lord’s power, His presence, and His love, is to be recognized with grateful thanks. Happiness is to be achieved by the right action of the soul toward God.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 56.
11 Through whom alone can this righteousness be obtained? Romans 5:17, 19.
NOTE: “If you would stand through the time of trouble, you must know Christ, and appropriate the gift of his righteousness, which he imputes to the repentant sinner.” The Review and Herald, November 22, 1892.
12 What is the condition on which Christ’s righteousness is given? Romans 3:22.
NOTE: “Do you ask, ‘How am I to abide in Christ?’ In the same way as you received Him at first. ‘As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him.’ Colossians 2:6. ‘The just shall live by faith.’ Hebrews 10:38. You gave yourself to God, to be His wholly, to serve and obey Him, and you took Christ as your Saviour. You could not yourself atone for your sins or change your heart; but having given yourself to God, you believe that He for Christ’s sake did all this for you. By faith you became Christ’s, and by faith you are to grow up in Him—by giving and taking. You are to give all—your heart, your will, your service—give yourself to Him to obey all His requirements; and you must take all—Christ, the fullness of all blessing, to abide in your heart, to be your strength, your righteousness, your everlasting helper—to give you power to obey.” The Faith I Live By, 125.