Bible Study Guides – Covetousness, Part II

April 23, 2006 – April 29, 2006

Key Text

“[Let your] conversation [be] without covetousness; [and be] content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Hebrews 13:5.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 3, 544–551.


“My brother, you cannot be a Christian and cherish covetousness. You cannot be a Christian and not be a missionary. When you hear that there are thousands upon thousands who are in the darkness of error and superstition, knowing not the things that are coming upon the earth, how can you enjoy the truth and remain at ease? You may feel that the little you can do will be so inadequate to the demand that you will do nothing; but if each will do what he can, God will bless the effort, and the treasury will not be empty. If you were perishing from cold and hunger, would you call one your friend who refused even to attempt to relieve you? Think of the multitudes in foreign lands who are perishing for want of the bread of life in the precious, saving truths for this time; and remember that Christ identifies his interest with that of these needy ones. ‘Inasmuch,’ he says, ‘as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.’ [Matthew 25:40.]” Review and Herald, October 5, 1886.

1 What sin is unbecoming to even be mentioned, as Christians? Ephesians 5:3.

note: “The popular churches are filled with men who, while they make a pretense of serving God, are thieves, murderers, adulterers, and fornicators; but those who profess our lowly faith claim a higher standard. They should be Bible Christians, and they must be diligent in the study of the Chart of life. Carefully and prayerfully should they examine the motives which prompt them to action. Those who would put their trust in Christ should begin to study the beauties of the cross now. If they would be living Christians they must begin to fear and obey God now. If they will they can save their souls from ruin and make a success of winning eternal life.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 493.

2 What other commandment is broken by a covetous man? Can such ever enter heaven? Ephesians 5:5.

note: “The Scriptures speak of the large class of professors who are not doers. Many who claim to believe in God deny Him by their works. Their worship of money, houses, and lands marks them as idolaters and apostates. All selfishness is covetousness, and is, therefore, idolatry. Many who have placed their names on the church roll, as believers in God and the Bible, are worshiping the goods the Lord has entrusted to them that they may be His almoners. They may not literally bow down before their earthly treasure, but nevertheless it is their god. They are worshipers of mammon. To the things of this world they offer the homage which belongs to the Creator. He who sees and knows all things records the falsity of their profession.

“From the soul temple of a worldly Christian, God is excluded, in order that worldly policy may have abundant room. Money is his god. It belongs to Jehovah, but he to whom it is entrusted refuses to let it flow forth in deeds of benevolence. Did he appropriate it in accordance with God’s design, the incense of his good works would ascend to heaven, and from thousands of converted souls would be heard songs of praise and thanksgiving.” Counsels on Stewardship, 223.

3 What is one of the ways in which covetousness manifests itself? 11 Peter 2:2, 3.

note: “Our work is to lead all into the path of hope and courage and helpfulness. Thus we are to make our words and actions Christlike. We are to be actuated by the unselfish motives that lead men to make straight paths for their feet, lest the lame shall be turned out of the way.

“The Holy Ghost is the author of the Scriptures and of the Spirit of Prophecy. These are not to be twisted and turned to mean what man may want them to mean, to carry out man’s ideas and sentiments, to carry forward man’s schemes at all hazards. [11 Peter 2:2 quoted.] We must stand as vigilant soldiers, guarding against the entrance of one wrong principle.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 2, 189.

“The Lord is guarding His people against a repetition of the errors and mistakes of the past. There have always abounded false teachers, who, advocating erroneous doctrines and unholy practices, and working upon false principles in a most specious, covert, deceptive manner, have endeavored to deceive, if possible, the very elect. They bind themselves up in their own fallacies. If they do not succeed, because their way becomes hedged by warnings from God, they will change somewhat the features of their work, and the representations they have made, and bring out their plans again under a false showing. They refuse to confess, repent, and believe. Confession may be made, but no real reformation takes place, and erroneous theories bring ruin upon unsuspecting souls, because these souls believe and rely upon the men advocating these theories.” The Kress Collection, 6.

4 How will the preaching of God’s word affect such persons? Ezekiel 33:31, 32.

note: “There are persons who believe that they are right, when they are wrong. While claiming Christ as their Lord, and professedly doing great works in His name, they are workers of iniquity. . . .

“A mere profession of discipleship is of no value. The faith in Christ which saves the soul is not what it is represented to be by many. ‘Believe, believe,’ they say, ‘and you need not keep the law.’ But a belief that does not lead to obedience is presumption. The apostle John says, ‘He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.’ 1 John 2:4. Let none cherish the idea that special providences or miraculous manifestations are to be the proof of the genuineness of their work or of the ideas they advocate. When persons will speak lightly of the word of God, and set their impressions, feelings, and exercises above the divine standard, we may know that they have no light in them.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 146.

5 What is the characteristic sin of this world? Jeremiah 6:13.

note: “In order to let Jesus into our hearts, we must stop sinning. The only definition for sin that we have in the Bible is that it is the transgression of the law. The law is far-reaching in its claims, and we must bring our hearts into harmony with it. Men may wrap themselves about with their own righteousness, they may reach their own standard of character, but they do not reach the standard that God has given them in his word. We may measure ourselves by ourselves, and compare ourselves among ourselves; we may say we do as well as this one or as that one, but the great question is, Do we meet the claims that Heaven has upon us? The reason why iniquity prevails to such an alarming extent is that the law of God is made void in the earth. His law spoken from Sinai and exemplified in the life of Christ, is perfect, converting the soul. It condemns every sin, and requires every virtue. Not only does it demand a correct outward deportment, but its principles reach even to the thoughts and affections of the heart. . . . In the light of the law, covetousness is seen to be idolatry, lust adultery, and anger murder. No wonder that the carnal mind is enmity against God, and not subject to his law.” The Signs of the Times, March 3, 1890.

6 When does this text (Jeremiah 6:13) especially apply? Jeremiah 6:14, 16, 17; 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 3; 11 Timothy 3:1–5.

note: “The Bible declares that before the coming of the Lord there will exist a state of religious declension similar to that in the first centuries. [11 Timothy 3:1–5 quoted.] ‘Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.’ 1 Timothy 4:1. Satan will work ‘with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.’ And all that ‘received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved,’ will be left to accept ‘strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.’ 11 Thessalonians 2:9–11. When this state of ungodliness shall be reached, the same results will follow as in the first centuries.

“The wide diversity of belief in the Protestant churches is regarded by many as decisive proof that no effort to secure a forced uniformity can ever be made. But there has been for years, in churches of the Protestant faith, a strong and growing sentiment in favor of a union based upon common points of doctrine. To secure such a union, the discussion of subjects upon which all were not agreed—however important they might be from a Bible standpoint—must necessarily be waived.” The Great Controversy, 444.

7 What is the difference between a righteous man and a covetous man? Proverbs 21:25, 26.

note: “This subject of the use of the means entrusted to us should be carefully considered; for the Lord will require his own with usury. While in poverty, many regard systematic giving as a Bible requirement; but when they come into possession of money or property, they do not acknowledge God’s claim upon them. They look upon their means as their own. But not so did King David regard his possessions. He understood that God is the great proprietor of all things, and that he himself was highly honored in that he had been taken into partnership with God. His heart was filled with gratitude for the favor and mercy of God, and in his prayer when presenting offerings for the building of the temple, he said, ‘Of thine own have we given thee.’ [1 Chronicles 29:14.]” Review and Herald, December 8, 1896.

8 For what did David pray? Psalm 119:36.

note: “When the truth is enshrined in the heart, it will be manifested in the daily life. The truth of the psalmist’s words will be realized: ‘The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.’ ‘Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight. Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.’ [Psalms 19:7; 119:34–36.] The home will be sweetened by its influence, and the business transactions will be entered upon as if in full view of the heavenly universe.” Review and Herald, November 17, 1896.

9 What promise is made to him who hates covetousness? Proverbs 28:16.

note: “The path of obedience to God is the path of virtue, of health, and happiness. The plan of salvation, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures, opens up a way whereby man may secure happiness and prolong his days upon the earth, as well as enjoy the favor of Heaven and secure that future life which measures with the life of God. The words of inspiration will never fail. Whenever we comply with the conditions, the Lord will surely fulfill his promises.” Review and Herald, October 16, 1883.

10 To what does the apostle exhort God’s people? Hebrews 13:5.

note: “The present is our day of trust. To every person is committed some peculiar gift or talent which is to be used to advance the Redeemer’s kingdom. All God’s responsible agents, from the lowliest and most obscure to those in high positions in the church, are entrusted with the Lord’s goods. It is not the minister alone who can work for the salvation of souls. Those who have the smallest gifts are not excused from using the very best gifts they have, and in so doing their talents will be increased. It is not safe to trifle with moral responsibilities nor to despise the day of small things. God’s providence proportions His trusts according to the varied capabilities of the people. None should mourn because they cannot glorify God with talents which they never possessed and for which they are not responsible.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 618.

11 What is the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ? 11 Corinthians 8:9.

note: “Will the church arouse? Will its members come into sympathy with Christ, so they will have His tenderness for all the sheep and lambs of His fold? For their sake the Majesty of heaven made Himself of no reputation; for them He came to a world all seared and marred with the curse, He toiled day and night to instruct, to elevate, and to bring everlasting joy to a thankless, disobedient people. For their sake He became poor, that they through His poverty might be rich. For them He denied Himself; for them He endured privation, scorn, contempt, suffering, and death. For them He took the form of a servant. This is our pattern; will we copy it? Will we have a care for God’s heritage? Will we cherish tender compassion for the erring, the tempted, and the tried?” Welfare Ministry, 24.

Bible Study Guides – Covetousness, Part I

April 16, 2006 – April 22, 2006

Key Text

“Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.” Luke 12:15.

Study Help: Patriarchs and Prophets, 493–498.


“The system of benevolence was arranged to prevent that great evil, covetousness. Christ saw that in the prosecution of business the love of riches would be the greatest cause of rooting true godliness out of the heart. He saw that the love of money would freeze deep and hard into men’s souls, stopping the flow of generous impulses and closing their senses to the wants of the suffering and the afflicted. ‘Take heed,’ was His oft-repeated warning, ‘and beware of covetousness.’ ‘Ye cannot serve God and mammon.’ [Luke 12:15; 16:13; Matthew 6:24.] The oft-repeated and striking warnings of our Redeemer are in marked contrast with the actions of His professed followers who evidence in their lives so great eagerness to be rich and who show that the words of Christ are lost upon them. Covetousness is one of the most common and popular sins of the last days, and has a paralyzing influence upon the soul.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 547.

1 What is more than food or raiment? Luke 12:23.

note: “Men act as though they were bereft of their reason. They are buried up in the cares of this life. They have no time to devote to God, no time to serve Him. Work, work, work, is the order of the day. All about them are required to labor upon the high-pressure plan, to take care of large farms. To tear down and build greater is their ambition, that they may have wherewith to bestow their goods. Yet these very men who are weighed down with their riches pass for Christ’s followers. They have the name of believing that Christ is soon to come, that the end of all things is at hand; yet they have no spirit of sacrifice. They are plunging deeper and deeper into the world. They allow themselves but little time to study the word of life and to meditate and pray. Neither do they give others in their family, or those who serve them, this privilege. Yet these men profess to believe that this world is not their home, that they are merely pilgrims and strangers upon the earth, preparing to move to a better country. The example and influence of all such is a curse to the cause of God. Hollow hypocrisy characterizes their professed Christian lives. They love God and the truth just as much as their works show, and no more. A man will act out all the faith he has. ‘By their fruits ye shall know them.’ [Matthew 7:20.] The heart is where the treasure is. Their treasure is upon this earth, and their hearts and interests are also here.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 662, 663.

2 What assurance does Christ give that we shall be clothed? Luke 12:28.

note: “If God, the divine Artist, gives to the simple flowers that perish in a day their delicate and varied colors, how much greater care will He have for those who are created in His own image? This lesson of Christ’s is a rebuke to the anxious thought, the perplexity and doubt, of the faithless heart.” Steps to Christ, 124.

“Christ is here [Luke 12:27–31] teaching a precious lesson in regard to His service. Whatever experiences may come to you, He says, serve God. Whatever inconveniences and hardships you may encounter, trust in the Lord. We have no cause to worry and fear if we take our position for the truth, that we and our families will suffer. To do this is to manifest unbelief in God. . . . If we would study the Word more faithfully, we would increase in faith.—Manuscript 83, 1909.” Evangelism, 238.

3 Why would Christ not have us live in careful suspense regarding the necessities of life? Luke 12:29, 30.

note: “[Luke 12:30; Matthew 6:32, 33 quoted.] I have come to open to you the kingdom of love and righteousness and peace. Open your hearts to receive this kingdom, and make its service your highest interest. Though it is a spiritual kingdom, fear not that your needs for this life will be uncared-for. If you give yourself to God’s service, He who has all power in heaven and earth will provide for your needs.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 99.

“They only are truly blessed whose chief concern is to secure those blessings which will nourish the soul and endure forever. . . . God has a care for us, even to bestow His temporal blessings upon us. Our earthly good is not beneath the notice of our heavenly Father. He knoweth that we have need of these things.” Our High Calling, 196.

4 Of what does Christ exhort us to beware? Luke 12:15.

note: “One marked feature in the teachings of Christ is the frequency and earnestness with which He rebuked the sin of covetousness and pointed out the danger of worldly acquisitions and inordinate love of gain. . . .

“It is this increasing devotion to money getting, the selfishness which the desire for gain begets, that removes the favor of God from the church and deadens its spirituality. When the head and hands are constantly occupied with planning and toiling for the accumulation of riches, the claims of God and humanity are forgotten. If God has blessed us with prosperity, it is not that our time and attention should be diverted from Him and given to that which He has lent us. The giver is greater than the gift. We are not our own; we have been bought with a price. Have we forgotten that infinite price paid for our redemption? Is gratitude dead in the heart? Does not the cross of Christ put to shame a life of selfish ease and indulgence?” Testimonies, vol. 4, 82.

5 What parable is given to illustrate covetousness? How does this parable show the covetous spirit? Luke 12:16–20.

note: “The length and usefulness of life do not consist in the amount of our earthly possessions. Those who use their wealth in doing good will see no necessity for large accumulations in this world; for the treasure which is used to advance the cause of God and which is given to the needy in Christ’s name is given to Christ, and He lays it up for us in the bank of heaven in bags which wax not old. He who does this is rich toward God, and his heart will be where his treasures are secured. He who humbly uses what God has given for the honor of the Giver, freely giving as he has received, may feel the peace and assurance in all his business that God’s hand is over him for good, and he himself will bear the impress of God, having the Father’s smile.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 546.

“He [the foolish rich man] had an abundance; so have many who profess to believe the truth, and they are acting over the case of the poor, foolish rich man. Oh, that they would be wise and feel the obligations resting upon them to use the blessings that God has given them in blessing others, instead of turning them into a curse. God will say to all such, as to the foolish rich man: ‘Thou fool.’ [Luke 12:20.]” Ibid., vol. 2, 662.

6 What kind of men was Moses to select for responsible positions? Exodus 18:21.

note: “In His instruction to Moses the Lord very plainly set forth the character of those who were to fill important positions as counselors. . . . The Lord’s counsel has been strangely neglected. There are men in places of holy trust who, when reproved, have cared nought for it. Some who for years have stood as counselors have boldly stated that they would not receive the testimonies given. In triumph they have declared that many of our most responsible men have lost faith in the message coming from Sister White. Thus the rejecters of light have been strengthened in their unbelief, feeling that they had quite a strong confederacy. Men who have had the light have walked contrary to the light. These words are appropriate: ‘Truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter.’ [Isaiah 59:14.] The malaria of unbelief has been diffusing its deathly atmosphere throughout the ranks, nigh and afar off. All this has been stated plainly, yet for years matters have been left unchanged. Can the Lord’s favor be expected under such circumstances?” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 341, 342.

7 Is the same instruction given to Moses also brought into the New Testament? 1 Timothy 3:1, 3.

note: “The same principles of piety and justice that were to guide the rulers among God’s people in the time of Moses and of David, were also to be followed by those given the oversight of the newly organized church of God in the gospel dispensation. In the work of setting things in order in all the churches, and ordaining suitable men to act as officers, the apostles held to the high standards of leadership outlined in the Old Testament Scriptures.” The Acts of the Apostles, 95.

8 What spirit should characterize a bishop or an elder? Titus 1:7, 8.

note: “The gospel net gathers both good and bad. It takes time for character to be developed; there must be time to learn what men really are. The family of the one suggested for office should be considered. Are they in subjection? Can the man rule his own house with honor? What character have his children? Will they do honor to the father’s influence? If he has no tact, wisdom, or power of godliness at home in managing his own family, it is safe to conclude that the same defects will be carried into the church, and the same unsanctified management will be seen there. It will be far better to criticize the man before he is put into office than afterward, better to pray and counsel before taking the decisive step than to labor to correct the consequences of a wrong move. . . .

“The leaders of churches in every place should be earnest, full of zeal and unselfish interest, men of God who can give the right mold to the work. They should make their requests to God in faith. . . . They must daily be connected with God, drawing their supplies from His exhaustless storehouse and bringing therefrom things new and old. If their own souls have been vivified by the Spirit of God, they will cheer, strengthen, and encourage others; but if they have not drunk at the living fountain of salvation themselves, they will not know how to lead others there.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 618, 619.

9 With what class of sins is covetousness placed? 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10.

note: “The tempter is ever presenting worldly gain and honor to entice men from the service of God. He tells them it is their overconscientiousness that keeps them from prosperity. Thus many are induced to venture out of the path of strict integrity. One wrong step makes the next easier, and they become more and more presumptuous. They will do and dare most terrible things when once they have given themselves to the control of avarice and a desire for power. Many flatter themselves that they can depart from strict integrity for a time, for the sake of some worldly advantage, and that having gained their object, they can change their course when they please. Such are entangling themselves in the snare of Satan, and it is seldom that they escape.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 440.

10 Should Christians fellowship with those who are covetous? 1 Corinthians 5:9–11.

note: “In your connection with worldly societies, are you keeping your covenant with God? Do these associations tend to direct your own mind or that of others to God, or are they diverting the interest and attention from Him? Do they strengthen your connection with the divine agencies, or turn your mind to the human in place of the divine?

“Are you serving, honoring, and magnifying God, or are you dishonoring Him and sinning against Him? Are you gathering with Christ or scattering abroad? All the thought and plan and earnest interest devoted to these organizations, has been purchased by the precious blood of Christ; but are you doing service for Him when uniting yourselves with atheists and infidels, men who profane the name of God, tipplers, drunkards, tobacco devotees?

“While there may be in these societies much that appears to be good, there is, mingled with this, very much that makes the good of no effect, and renders these associations detrimental to the interests of the soul.” Evangelism, 618, 619.

11 How does God regard a covetous man? Psalm 10:3.

note: “Those who allow a covetous spirit to take possession of them cherish and develop those traits of character which will place their names on the record-books of heaven as idolaters. All such are classed with thieves, revilers, and extortioners, none of whom, the word of God declares, shall inherit the kingdom of God. [Psalm 10:3 quoted.] Covetous attributes are ever opposed to the exercise of Christian beneficence. The fruits of selfishness always reveal themselves in a neglect of duty, and in a failure to use God’s entrusted gifts for the advancement of His work.” Review and Herald, December 1, 1896.

Bible Study Guides – To Whom do Man and All His Possessions Belong? Part II

April 9, 2006 – April 15, 2006

Key Text

“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.

Study Help: Counsels on Stewardship, 20, 21.


“Tithes and offerings for God are an acknowledgment of His claim on us by creation, and they are also an acknowledgment of His claim by redemption. Because all our power is derived from Christ, these offerings are to flow from us to God. They are to keep ever before us the claim of redemption, the greatest of all claims, and the one that involves every other. The realization of the sacrifice made in our behalf is ever to be fresh in our minds and is ever to exert an influence on our thoughts and plans. Christ is to be indeed as one crucified among us.

“ ‘Know ye not that . . . ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price.’ 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. What a price has been paid for us! Behold the cross, and the Victim uplifted upon it. Look at those hands, pierced with the cruel nails. Look at His feet, fastened with spikes to the tree. Christ bore our sins in His own body. That suffering, that agony, is the price of your redemption.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 479.

1 For what purpose did Christ come into the world? Luke 19:10; 1 John 3:8, last part.

note: “Jesus is the Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He is the Light of the world, and He bids us come unto Him, and learn of Him. Jesus was the great Teacher. . . . He had come to seek and to save that which was lost, and He could not permit Himself to be turned from His one object. He allowed nothing to divert Him. This work He has given into our hands. Shall we do it?” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 183.

2 In what way did Christ redeem man from death? Hebrews 2:9, 14.

note: “The weight of the sins of the whole world would be upon Him. He told them [the angels] He would die and rise again the third day, and would ascend to His Father to intercede for wayward, guilty man.

“The angels prostrated themselves before Him. They offered their lives. Jesus said to them that He would by His death save many, that the life of an angel could not pay the debt. His life alone could be accepted of His Father as a ransom for man. . . .

“With a holy sadness Jesus comforted and cheered the angels and informed them that hereafter those whom He should redeem would be with Him, and that by His death He should ransom many and destroy him who had the power of death.” Early Writings, 150, 151.

3 What assurance have we that the lost possession will be redeemed? Ephesians 1:13, 14.

note: “Christ, by His sacrifice paying the penalty of sin, would not only redeem man, but recover the dominion which he had forfeited. All that was lost by the first Adam will be restored by the second. . . . That purpose will be fulfilled, when, renewed by the power of God, and freed from sin and sorrow, it [the earth] shall become the eternal abode of the redeemed. ‘The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever.’ ‘And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him.’ Psalm 37:29; Revelation 22:3.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 67.

4 How much will be redeemed? Revelation 21:4, 5; Psalm 104:29–31.

note: “The work of redemption will be complete. In the place where sin abounded, God’s grace much more abounds. The earth itself, the very field that Satan claims as his, is to be not only ransomed but exalted. Our little world, under the curse of sin the one dark blot in His glorious creation, will be honored above all other worlds in the universe of God. Here, where the Son of God tabernacled in humanity; where the King of glory lived and suffered and died,—here, when He shall make all things new, the tabernacle of God shall be with men.” Review and Herald, February 25, 1915.

“Christ’s plan is the only safe one. He declares, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’ ‘If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.’ [Revelation 21:5; 11 Corinthians 5:17.] The Saviour gives no encouragement to any to think that He will accept a patchwork religion. Such a religion is of no value in His sight. There may at first seem to be some of self and some of Christ; but it is soon seen that there is none of Christ. The patches of selfishness increase till the entire garment is covered with them.” The Signs of the Times, January 8, 1902.

5 What relation will man then sustain to the creation? Revelation 21:7.

note: “There [on earth] the Eden life will be lived, the life in garden and field. . . .

“There man will be restored to his lost kingship, and the lower order of beings will again recognize his sway; the fierce will become gentle, and the timid trustful.” Education, 303, 304.

6 Through whom is this dominion to be restored? Micah 4:7, 8; Ephesians 1:10, 11.

note: “God’s original purpose in the creation of the earth is fulfilled as it is made the eternal abode of the redeemed. . . . The earth originally given to man as his kingdom, betrayed by him into the hands of Satan, and so long held by the mighty foe, has been brought back by the great plan of redemption. . . .

“God created the earth to be the abode of holy, happy beings. That purpose will be fulfilled when, renewed by the power of God and freed from sin and sorrow, it shall become the eternal home of the redeemed. . . .

“The Son of God redeemed man’s failure and fall; and now, through the work of the atonement, Adam is reinstated in his first dominion.” The Adventist Home, 540, 541.

7 What relation does man sustain to the purchased possession in this life? Romans 8:16, 17.

note: “Our sorrows do not spring out of the ground. In every affliction, God has a purpose for our good. Every blow that destroys an idol, every providence that weakens our hold upon the things of earth, and fixes our affections more firmly upon God, is a blessing. The pruning may be painful for a time, but afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness. We should receive with gratitude whatever will quicken the conscience, elevate the thoughts, and ennoble the life. There are branches that are cut off for the fire; let us thank God if we may, through painful pruning, retain a connection with the living Vine; for if we suffer with Christ, we shall also reign with him.” Review and Herald, September 11, 1883.

“The brethren here are being tried by the gospel straightener. Some here who had to work hard to get a living have been complaining of their lot, and when asked to help in the cause of Christ, have thought very strange. . . . The promise is, if we suffer with Christ we shall also reign with him. The sufferings of the human race while under the curse, will not raise them to fellow-heirship with Jesus on his throne. This is the lot of mortals in this world. The heir of God, then, is required to suffer still more. Yes, his whole body is to be a living sacrifice unto God. He is to sacrifice his ease, his pleasure, his comfort, his convenience, his will, and his own selfish wishes, for Christ’s cause, or never reign with him on his throne.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 95.

8 What was the price for man’s redemption? 1 Peter 1:18, 19; 1 John 3:16.

note: “Hating sin with a perfect hatred, He [Jesus] yet gathered to His soul the sins of the whole world. Guiltless, He bore the punishment of the guilty. Innocent, yet offering Himself as a substitute for the transgressor. The guilt of every sin pressed its weight upon the divine soul of the world’s Redeemer. The evil thoughts, the evil words, the evil deeds of every son and daughter of Adam, called for retribution upon Himself; for He had become man’s substitute. Though the guilt of sin was not His, His spirit was torn and bruised by the transgressions of men, and He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.

“Voluntarily our divine Substitute bared His soul to the sword of justice, that we might not perish but have everlasting life. Said Christ, ‘I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again’ (John 10:17, 18). No man of earth or angel of heaven could have paid the penalty for sin. Jesus was the only one who could save rebellious man. In Him divinity and humanity were combined, and this was what gave efficiency to the offering on Calvary’s cross.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 322.

9 Then to whom does man and all he possesses belong? 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.

note: “God has laid His hand upon all things, both man and his possessions; for all belong to him. He says, I am the owner of the world; the universe is mine, and I require you to consecrate to my service the first-fruits of all that I, through my blessing, have caused to come into your hands. God’s word declares, ‘Thou shalt not delay to offer the first of thy ripe fruits.’ ‘Honor the Lord with thy substance, and with the first-fruits of all thine increase.’ [Exodus 22:29; Proverbs 3:9.] This tribute he demands as a token of our loyalty to him.

“We belong to God; we are his sons and daughters,—his by creation, and his by the gift of his only begotten Son for our redemption. ‘Ye are not your own; for ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.’ [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] The mind, the heart, the will, and the affections belong to God; the money that we handle is the Lord’s. Every good that we receive and enjoy is the result of divine benevolence. God is the bountiful giver of all good, and he desires that there shall be an acknowledgment, on the part of the receiver, of these gifts that provide for every necessity of the body and the soul. God demands only his own. The primary portion is the Lord’s, and must be used as his entrusted treasure. The heart that is divested of selfishness will awaken to a sense of God’s goodness and love, and be moved to a hearty acknowledgment of his righteous requirements.” Review and Herald, December 8, 1896.

10 From whom does man derive power to get wealth? Deuteronomy 8:17, 18.

note: “Men of property often look upon their wealth and say: By my wisdom have I gotten me this wealth. But who gave them power to get wealth? God has bestowed upon them the ability which they possess, but instead of giving Him the glory they take it to themselves. He will prove them and try them, and will bring their glorying to the dust; He will remove their strength and scatter their possessions. Instead of a blessing they will realize a curse. An act of wrong or oppression, a deviation from the right way, should no sooner be tolerated in a man who possesses property than in a man who has none. All the riches that the most wealthy ever possessed are not of sufficient value to cover the smallest sin before God; they will not be accepted as a ransom for transgression. Repentance, true humility, a broken heart, and a contrite spirit alone will be accepted of God. And no man can have true humility before God unless the same is exemplified before others. Nothing less than repentance, confession, and forsaking of sin is acceptable to God.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 536.

11 Can man therefore glory in what he possesses? 1 Corinthians 3:21–23; Jeremiah 9:23, 24.

note: “Men act out the true character of the heart. There are about us those who have a meek and lowly spirit, the spirit of Christ, who do many little things to help those around them, and who think nothing of it; they will be astonished at last to find that Christ has noticed the kind word spoken to the disheartened, and taken account of the smallest gift given for the relief of the poor, that cost the giver some self-denial. The Lord measures the spirit, and rewards accordingly, and the pure, humble, childlike spirit of love makes the offering precious in His sight.” Review and Herald, July 3, 1894.

Bible Study Guides – To Whom do Man and All His Possessions Belong? Part I

April 2, 2006 – April 8, 2006

Key Text

“Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright . . . .” Ecclesiastes 7:29.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 1, 341–345.


“Mighty issues for the world were at stake in the conflict between the Prince of light and the leader of the kingdom of darkness. After tempting man to sin, Satan claimed the earth as his, and styled himself the prince of this world. Having conformed to his own nature the father and mother of our race, he thought to establish here his empire. He declared that men had chosen him as their sovereign. Through his control of men, he held dominion over the world. Christ had come to disprove Satan’s claim. As the Son of man, Christ would stand loyal to God. Thus it would be shown that Satan had not gained complete control of the human race, and that his claim to the world was false. All who desired deliverance from his power would be set free. The dominion that Adam had lost through sin would be recovered.” The Desire of Ages, 114.

1 What was man’s nature before he sinned? Ecclesiastes 7:29. Compare Genesis 1:27; 3:6, 7.

note: “God made man upright; He gave him noble traits of character, with no bias toward evil. He endowed him with high intellectual powers, and presented before him the strongest possible inducements to be true to his allegiance. Obedience, perfect and perpetual, was the condition of eternal happiness. On this condition he was to have access to the tree of life.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 49.

“God made man upright, perfectly holy and happy; but he lost the divine favor and destroyed his own happiness by disobedience to the Father’s law. The sin of Adam plunged the race in hopeless misery and despair. But God, in His wonderful, pitying love, did not leave men to perish in their hopeless, fallen condition. He gave His well-beloved Son for their salvation. Christ entered the world, His divinity clothed in humanity; He passed over the ground where Adam fell; He bore the test which Adam failed to endure; He overcame every temptation of Satan, and thus redeemed Adam’s disgraceful failure and fall.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 293.

2 What relation did man sustain to God’s creation? Psalm 8:5–8; Genesis 1:26.

note: “Adam was crowned king in Eden. To him was given dominion over every living thing that God had created. The Lord blessed Adam and Eve with intelligence such as He had not given to any other creature. He made Adam the rightful sovereign over all the works of His hands. Man, made in the divine image, could contemplate and appreciate the glorious works of God in nature.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, 1082.

“After the earth with its teeming animal and vegetable life had been called into existence, man, the crowning work of the Creator, and the one for whom the beautiful earth had been fitted up, was brought upon the stage of action. To him was given dominion over all that his eye could behold.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 44.

3 How did man lose this dominion? Genesis 3:6, 17–19, 23.

note: “It was not the will of God that the sinless pair [Adam and Eve] should know aught of evil. He had freely given them the good, and had withheld the evil. But, contrary to His command, they had eaten of the forbidden tree, and now they would continue to eat of it—they would have the knowledge of evil—all the days of their life. From that time the race would be afflicted by Satan’s temptations. Instead of the happy labor heretofore appointed them, anxiety and toil were to be their lot. They would be subject to disappointment, grief, and pain, and finally to death.

“Under the curse of sin all nature was to witness to man of the character and results of rebellion against God. When God made man He made him ruler over the earth and all living creatures. So long as Adam remained loyal to Heaven, all nature was in subjection to him. But when he rebelled against the divine law, the inferior creatures were in rebellion against his rule. Thus the Lord, in His great mercy, would show men the sacredness of His law, and lead them, by their own experience, to see the danger of setting it aside, even in the slightest degree.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 59, 60.

“When Satan declared to Christ, The kingdom and glory of the world are delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will I give it, he stated what was true only in part, and he declared it to serve his own purpose of deception. Satan’s dominion was that wrested from Adam, but Adam was the vicegerent of the Creator. His was not an independent rule. The earth is God’s, and He has committed all things to His Son. Adam was to reign subject to Christ. When Adam betrayed his sovereignty into Satan’s hands, Christ still remained the rightful King. Thus the Lord had said to King Nebuchadnezzar, ‘The Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will.’ Daniel 4:17. Satan can exercise his usurped authority only as God permits.” The Desire of Ages, 129, 130.

4 Who was affected by Adam’s fall? Romans 5:12.

note: “In consequence of Adam’s sin, death passed upon the whole human race. All alike go down into the grave. And through the provisions of the plan of salvation, all are to be brought forth from their graves.” The Great Controversy, 544.

“Sorrow filled heaven, as it was realized that man was lost, and that world which God had created was to be filled with mortals doomed to misery, sickness, and death, and there was no way of escape for the offender. The whole family of Adam must die.” Early Writings, 149.

5 Who is the author of sin? Genesis 3:13. (See Revelation 12:9; 20:2.)

note: “Evil originated with Lucifer, who rebelled against the government of God. Before his fall he was a covering cherub, distinguished by his excellence. God made him good and beautiful, as near as possible like Himself.” Review and Herald, September 24, 1901.

“There was one who perverted the freedom that God had granted to His creatures. Sin originated with him who, next to Christ, had been most honored of God and was highest in power and glory among the inhabitants of heaven. Lucifer, ‘son of the morning,’ [Isaiah 14:12] was first of the covering cherubs, holy and undefiled. He stood in the presence of the great Creator, and the ceaseless beams of glory enshrouding the eternal God rested upon him.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 35.

6 In what manner did man come under the control of Satan? 11 Peter 2:19. Compare Romans 6:16.

note: “Not only man but the earth had by sin come under the power of the wicked one, and was to be restored by the plan of redemption. At his creation Adam was placed in dominion over the earth. But by yielding to temptation, he was brought under the power of Satan. [11 Peter 2:19 quoted.] When man became Satan’s captive, the dominion which he held, passed to his conqueror. Thus Satan became ‘the god of this world.’ 11 Corinthians 4:4. He had usurped that dominion over the earth which had been originally given to Adam.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 67.

“Very many who profess to be servants of Christ are none of His. They are deceiving their souls to their own destruction. While they profess to be servants of Christ, they are not living in obedience to His will. [Romans 6:16 quoted.] Many, while professing to be servants of Christ, are obeying another master, working daily against the Master whom they profess to serve. ‘No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.’ [Matthew 6:24.]” Testimonies, vol. 2, 442.

7 What relation does man now naturally sustain to sin? Romans 7:14.

note: “It is not enough to perceive the loving-kindness of God, to see the benevolence, the fatherly tenderness, of His character. It is not enough to discern the wisdom and justice of His law, to see that it is founded upon the eternal principle of love. Paul the apostle saw all this when he exclaimed, ‘I consent unto the law that it is good.’ ‘The law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.’ But he added, in the bitterness of his soul-anguish and despair, ‘I am carnal, sold under sin.’ Romans 7:16, 12, 14. He longed for the purity, the righteousness, to which in himself he was powerless to attain, and cried out, ‘O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of death?’ Romans 7:24, margin.” Steps to Christ, 19.

“The Christian life is a battle and a march. In this warfare there is no release; the effort must be continuous and persevering. It is by unceasing endeavor that we maintain the victory over the temptations of Satan. Christian integrity must be sought with resistless energy and maintained with a resolute fixedness of purpose.” The Ministry of Healing, 453.

8 Of whom are those who sin? 1 John 3:8.

note: “God’s ideal for His children is higher than the highest human thought can reach. ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’ [Matthew 5:48.] This command is a promise. The plan of redemption contemplates our complete recovery from the power of Satan. Christ always separates the contrite soul from sin. He came to destroy the works of the devil, and He has made provision that the Holy Spirit shall be imparted to every repentant soul, to keep him from sinning.

“The tempter’s agency is not to be accounted an excuse for one wrong act. Satan is jubilant when he hears the professed followers of Christ making excuses for their deformity of character. It is these excuses that lead to sin. There is no excuse for sinning. A holy temper, a Christlike life, is accessible to every repenting, believing child of God.” The Desire of Ages, 311.

9 How does the apostle describe the world in its present state? 1 John 5:19.

note: “The whole world lieth in darkness. Darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people, and the Lord calls upon the members of the church to labor together with Him in awakening the world, if possible, to their peril. We cannot do this of ourselves. We must derive our efficiency from Christ. Jesus says, ‘I, if I be lifted up, will draw all unto me.’ [John 12:32.] Here is the secret of power, of effectiveness; for though human instrumentalities are employed in the work of salvation, it is the light shining from the uplifted cross that alone can attract hearts heavenward. We must present the truth as it is in Jesus. The light and power of an indwelling Saviour must be ours, or we cannot draw others to Him. We must be imbued with the spirit of truth, the spirit of Christ. There is no power in humanity to draw humanity to Christ. We are as iron that cannot attract unless it be magnetized. We must be sanctified through the truth if we would have a sanctifying influence upon others. Jesus says, ‘Thy word is truth.’ [John 17:17.] It is through a sanctified knowledge of the word of God that we shall be able to overcome the powers of darkness and win souls for the Master.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, vol. 2, 805.

10 Who is the acknowledged ruler of this world? Ephesians 2:2.

note: “Fallen man is Satan’s lawful captive. . . .

“Satan will go to the extent of his power to harass, tempt, and mislead God’s people. He who dared to face, and tempt, and taunt our Lord, and who had power to take Him in his arms and carry Him to a pinnacle of the temple, and up into an exceedingly high mountain, will exercise his power to a wonderful degree upon the present generation, who are far inferior in wisdom to their Lord, and who are almost wholly ignorant of Satan’s subtlety and strength.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 341, 342.

11 What titles do this acknowledged ruler bear? John 12:31; 11 Corinthians 4:4.

note: “Those who take their position on the side of Christ are to let their light shine forth in good works, and not to act selfishly; but each church is to consider the wants of her sister churches. ‘Therefore, as ye abound in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.’ [11 Corinthians 8:7.] We desire you to abound in the grace of liberality, making your gifts to assist those who have newly come to the faith, and in doing this work your joy will be abundant, according to the measure of your liberality. We call upon the children of God to come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. Who is the mighty?—It is Satan, the prince of this world, for the world has chosen him as its ruler.” Review and Herald, September 4, 1894.

Bible Study Guides – Triumph for Those who Covenant by Sacrifice

March 26, 2006 – April 1, 2006

Key Text

“Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” 1 John 3:2.

Study Help: Prophets and Kings, 722–733.


“Fellow pilgrim, we are still amid the shadows and turmoil of earthly activities; but soon our Saviour is to appear to bring deliverance and rest. Let us by faith behold the blessed hereafter as pictured by the hand of God. He who died for the sins of the world is opening wide the gates of Paradise to all who believe on Him. Soon the battle will have been fought, the victory won. Soon we shall see Him in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. And in His presence the trials and sufferings of this life will seem as nothingness. The former things ‘shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.’ ‘Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.’ ‘Israel shall be saved . . . with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.’ Isaiah 65:17; Hebrews 10:35–37; Isaiah 45:17.” Prophets and Kings, 731, 732.

1 To what may all the world look forward in the very near future? Psalm 50:3, 4.

note: “The time is not far distant when God will arise to vindicate His insulted authority. ‘The Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity.’ Isaiah 26:21. ‘But who may abide the day of His coming? and who shall stand when He appeareth?’ Malachi 3:2. The people of Israel, because of their sinfulness, were forbidden to approach the mount when God was about to descend upon it to proclaim His law, lest they should be consumed by the burning glory of His presence. If such manifestations of His power marked the place chosen for the proclamation of God’s law, how terrible must be His tribunal when He comes for the execution of these sacred statutes. How will those who have trampled upon His authority endure His glory in the great day of final retribution? The terrors of Sinai were to represent to the people the scenes of the judgment. The sound of a trumpet summoned Israel to meet with God. The voice of the Archangel and the trump of God shall summon, from the whole earth, both the living and the dead to the presence of their Judge. The Father and the Son, attended by a multitude of angels, were present upon the mount. At the great judgment day Christ will come ‘in the glory of His Father with His angels.’ Matthew 16:27. He shall then sit upon the throne of His glory, and before Him shall be gathered all nations.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 339.

2 Who will be called in that day? What has been one of their outstanding characteristics? Psalm 50:5.

note: “We have but a little space of time left in which to work for God. Nothing should be too dear to sacrifice for the salvation of the scattered and torn flock of Jesus. Those who make a covenant with God by sacrifice now, will soon be gathered home to share a rich reward, and possess the new kingdom forever and ever.” Christian Experience and Teachings of Ellen G. White, 104.

“Those who . . . are determined to make a covenant with God by sacrifice, will not continue to indulge their appetite for food that they know to be unhealthful. God demands that the appetites be cleansed, and that self-denial be practiced in regard to those things which are not good. This is a work that will have to be done before His people can stand before Him a perfected people.” Counsels on Health, 127.

“There are needed in the cause of God workers who will make a covenant with Him by sacrifice, who will labor for the love of souls, not for the wages they receive.” Ibid., 302.

“As a people we must practise [sic] self-denial and economy. Every soul should make a covenant with God by sacrifice. We should not expend money in extra expensive clothing, and rich furniture. We are pilgrims and strangers seeking a better country, even an heavenly. Time is short, and every dollar not necessary to be used in supplying positive wants, should be brought in as a thank offering to God.” Pastoral Ministry, 244, 245.

3 How fully will those who have made a covenant by sacrifice have consecrated their all to the service of the Master? What promise has been made to them? Mark 10:28–30.

note: “Here is the reward for those who sacrifice for God. They receive an hundred-fold in this life, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many, I [Ellen White] saw, that are first, shall be last, and the last shall be first. I was shown those who receive the truth, but do not live it. They cling to their possessions, and are not willing to distribute of their substance to advance the cause of God. They have no faith to venture and trust God. Their love of this world swallows up their faith. God has called for a portion of their substance, but they heed it not. They reason thus, that they have labored hard to obtain what they have, and they cannot lend it to the Lord, for they may come to want. ‘O, ye of little faith!’ [Matthew 6:30.] That God who cared for Elijah in the time of famine, will not pass by one of his self-sacrificing children.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 243, 244.

4 In forsaking all, what do God’s children confess concerning this present world? Hebrews 11:13. To what are they looking forward? Verse 14. Compare Hebrews 13:14.

note: “It is recorded of the holy men of old that God was not ashamed to be called their God. The reason assigned is that instead of coveting earthly possessions or seeking happiness in worldly plans or aspirations they placed their all upon the altar of God and made disposition of it to build up His kingdom. They lived only for God’s glory and declared plainly that they were strangers and pilgrims on earth, seeking a better country, that is, an heavenly. Their conduct proclaimed their faith. God could entrust to them His truth and could leave the world to receive from them a knowledge of His will.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 188.

5 Because of their faith and trust, what is God preparing for His people? Hebrews 11:16.

note: “Let all that is beautiful in our earthly home remind us of the crystal river and green fields, the waving trees and the living fountains, the shining city and the white-robed singers, of our heavenly home—that world of beauty which no artist can picture, no mortal tongue describe.” The Adventist Home, 545.

6 Where will this city prepared for the saints be established? From where does the city come? 11 Peter 3:13; Revelation 21:1, 2.

note: “We are homeward bound. He who loved us so much as to die for us hath builded for us a city. The New Jerusalem is our place of rest.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 287.

“After the judgment of the wicked dead had been finished, at the end of the one thousand years, Jesus left the city, and the saints and a train of the angelic host followed Him. Jesus descended upon a great mountain, which as soon as His feet touched it, parted asunder and became a mighty plain. Then we looked up and saw the great and beautiful city, with twelve foundations, and twelve gates, three on each side, and an angel at each gate. We cried out, ‘The city! the great city! it is coming down from God out of heaven!’ And it came down in all its splendor and dazzling glory and settled in the mighty plain which Jesus had prepared for it.” Early Writings, 291.

7 What pictures does the prophet Isaiah draw of the saints’ inheritance? Isaiah 65:17, 21–25; 11:6–9.

note: “In the Bible the inheritance of the saved is called a country. There the heavenly Shepherd leads His flock to fountains of living waters. The tree of life yields its fruit every month, and the leaves of the tree are for the service of the nations. There are ever-flowing streams, clear as crystal, and beside them waving trees cast their shadows upon the paths prepared for the ransomed of the Lord.

“The grass will be a living green, and will never wither. There will be roses and lilies and all kinds of flowers there. They will never blight or fade or lose their beauty and fragrance.

“The lion, we should much dread and fear here, will then lie down with the lamb, and everything in the New Earth will be peace and harmony. The trees of the New Earth will be straight and lofty, without deformity.” My Life Today, 354.

8 Who only will be permitted to partake of the joys of the new earth? Revelation 22:14; 21:7, 27.

note: “None who have had the light of truth will enter the city of God as commandment-breakers. His law lies at the foundation of His government in earth and in heaven. If they have knowingly trampled upon and despised His law on the earth, they will not be taken to heaven to do the same work there; there is no change of character when Christ comes. The character building is to go on during the hours of probation. Day by day their actions are registered in the books of heaven, and they will, in the great day of God, be rewarded as their works have been.” Review and Herald, August 25, 1885.

9 What general statement indicates the nature of the influences over which complete victory must be gained by the overcomer? 1 John 2:16.

note: “It is worldly lust that is destroying true godliness. Love of the world and the things that are in the world is separating from the Father. The passion for earthly gain is increasing among those who profess to be looking for the soon appearing of our Saviour. The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life control even professed Christians. They are seeking for the things of the world with avaricious lust, and many will sell eternal life for unholy gain.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 531.

10 By what means is overcoming made possible? 1 John 5:4.

note: “The Spirit of God will answer the cry of every penitent heart; for repentance is the gift of God, and an evidence that Christ is drawing the soul to Himself. We can no more repent of sin without Christ, than we can be pardoned without Christ, and yet it is a humiliation to man with his human passion and pride to go to Jesus straightway, believing and trusting Him for everything which he needs.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 381.

11 Through whom does this victory come to us? 1 Corinthians 15:57; Romans 8:37.

note: “Let no man present the idea that man has little or nothing to do in the great work of overcoming; for God does nothing for man without his cooperation. Neither say that after you have done all you can on your part, Jesus will help you. Christ has said, ‘Without me ye can do nothing’ (John 15:5). From first to last man is to be a laborer together with God. Unless the Holy Spirit works upon the human heart, at every step we shall stumble and fall. Man’s efforts alone are nothing but worthlessness; but cooperation with Christ means a victory. Of ourselves we have no power to repent of sin. Unless we accept divine aid we cannot take the first step toward the Saviour.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 381.

12 What fullness of consecration is demanded of the overcomer? Revelation 12:11.

note: “All should have something to say for the Lord, for by so doing they will be blest. A book of remembrance is written of those who do not forsake the assembling of themselves together, but speak often one to another. 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. I saw that 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.” Early Writings, 114.

Recipe – Country Style Gravy

3 cups water

1/2 cup cashews

2 Tablespoons cornstarch

2 Tablespoons chicken-like seasoning

2 teaspoons onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 Tablespoons Bragg Aminos

1 Tablespoon parsley

Blend 1/2 cup hot water with the cashews until smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients, except parsley. Pour into a saucepan and stir while cooking over a medium heat until thickened. You may add vegetarian “bacon/sausage” to the gravy if desired. Add parsley just before serving.

Do you have a favorite vegan recipe you are willing to share with LandMarks’ readers? Send it to us with a photo of you, if available, and a two or three line bio. We will consider all submissions. Send to the address below or by e-mail at:

LandMarks Recipes

Steps to Life Ministry

  1. O. Box 782828

Wichita, KS 67278

Food for Life – Transitioning to a Vegetarian or Vegan Diet

Change to a vegan diet should be done with study, care, and thought. If people change too quickly, before they know how to cook nutritional, tasteful food, there is a danger that the change may be short lived. It is also important that diet reform be ongoing as more information is learned. It may be very difficult if too much information is given all at once and the person cannot incorporate the knowledge into healthful living. Ellen White made the following comments in regard to diet reform and change:

“Let the diet reform be progressive.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 135.

“When flesh food is discarded, its place should be supplied with a variety of grains, nuts, vegetables, and fruits, that will be both nourishing and appetizing.” Child Guidance, 384.

“Some, after adopting a vegetarian diet, return to the use of flesh meat. This is foolish, indeed, and reveals a lack of knowledge of how to provide proper food in the place of meat.

“Cooking schools, conducted by wise instructors, are to be held in America and in other lands.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 469.

“Nuts and nut foods are coming largely into use to take the place of flesh meats. With nuts may be combined grains, fruits, and some roots, to make foods that are healthful and nourishing. Care should be taken, however, not to use too large a portion of nuts. Those who realize ill effects from the use of nut foods may find the difficulty removed by attending to this precaution.” Ibid., 363, 364.

“Three years ago a letter came to me, saying, ‘I cannot eat the nut foods; my stomach cannot take care of them.’ Then there were several recipes presented before me; one was that there must be other ingredients combined with the nuts, which would harmonize with them, and not use such a large proportion. One-tenth to one-sixth part of nuts would be sufficient, according to combination. We tried this, and with success.” Ibid., 273.

“Olives may be so prepared as to be eaten with good results at every meal. . . . When properly prepared, olives, like nuts, supply the place of butter and flesh meats. The oil, as eaten in the olive, is far preferable to animal oil or fat. It serves as a laxative. Its use will be found beneficial to consumptives, and it is healing to an inflamed, irritated stomach.” Ibid., 349, 350.

Restoring the Temple – An Example

The Lord plainly told His people that every blessing would come to them if they would keep His commandments, and be a peculiar people. He warned them through Moses in the wilderness, specifying that health would be the reward of obedience. The state of the mind has largely to do with the health of the body, and especially with the health of the digestive organs. As a general thing, the Lord did not provide His people with flesh meat in the desert, because He knew that the use of this diet would create disease and insubordination. In order to modify the disposition, and bring the higher powers of the mind into active exercise, He removed from them the flesh of dead animals. He gave them angels’ food, manna from heaven.

Rebellion and Its Punishment

God continued to feed the Hebrew host with the bread rained from heaven; but they were not satisfied. Their depraved appetites craved meat, which God in His wisdom had withheld, in a great measure, from them. . . . Satan, the author of disease and misery, will approach God’s people where he can have the greatest success. He has controlled the appetite in a great measure from the time of his successful experiment with Eve, in leading her to eat the forbidden fruit. He came with his temptations first to the mixed multitude, the believing Egyptians, and stirred them up to seditious murmurings. They would not be content with the healthful food which God had provided for them. Their depraved appetites craved a greater variety, especially flesh meats.

This murmuring soon infected nearly the whole body of the people. At first, God did not gratify their lustful appetites, but caused His judgments to come upon them, and consumed the most guilty by lightning from heaven. Yet this, instead of humbling them, only seemed to increase their murmurings. When Moses heard the people weeping in the door of their tents, and complaining throughout their families, he was displeased. He presented before the Lord the difficulties of his situation, and the unsubmissive spirit of the Israelites, and the position in which God had placed him to the people,—that of a nursing father, who should make the sufferings of the people his own. . . .

The Lord directed Moses to gather before him seventy of the elders, whom he knew to be the elders of the people. They were not to be those only in advanced years, but men of dignity, sound judgment, and experience, who were qualified to be judges, or officers. [Numbers 11:16–23, 31–33 quoted.]

In this instance the Lord gave the people that which was not for their best good, because they would have it. They would not submit to receive from the Lord those things which would prove for their good. They gave themselves up to seditious murmurings against Moses, and against the Lord, because they did not receive those things which would prove an injury to them. Their depraved appetites controlled them, and God gave them flesh meats, as they desired, and He let them suffer the results of gratifying their lustful appetites. Burning fevers cut down very large numbers of the people. Those who had been most guilty in their murmurings were slain as soon as they tasted the meat for which they had lusted. If they had submitted to have the Lord select their food for them, and had been thankful and satisfied for food which they could eat freely of without injury, they would not have lost the favor of God, and then been punished for their rebellious murmurings by great numbers of them being slain.

God’s Purpose for Israel

When God led the children of Israel out of Egypt, it was His purpose to establish them in the land of Canaan a pure, happy, healthy people. Let us look at the means by which He would accomplish this. He subjected them to a course of discipline, which, had it been cheerfully followed, would have resulted in good, both to themselves and to their posterity. He removed flesh food from them in a great measure. He had granted them flesh in answer to their clamors, just before reaching Sinai, but it was furnished for only one day. God might have provided flesh as easily as manna, but a restriction was placed upon the people for their good. It was His purpose to supply them with food better suited to their wants than the feverish diet to which many of them had been accustomed in Egypt. The perverted appetite was to be brought into a more healthy state, that they might enjoy the food originally provided for man,—the fruits of the earth, which God gave to Adam and Eve in Eden.

Had they been willing to deny appetite in obedience to His restrictions, feebleness and disease would have been unknown among them. Their descendants would have possessed physical and mental strength. They would have had clear perceptions of truth and duty, keen discrimination, and sound judgment. But they were unwilling to submit to God’s requirements, and they failed to reach the standard He had set for them, and to receive the blessings that might have been theirs. They murmured at God’s restrictions, and lusted after the fleshpots of Egypt. God let them have flesh, but it proved a curse to them.

An Ensample for Us

“Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.” “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” [1 Corinthians 10:6, 11.]

The church in general . . . have not honored the light of health reform by carrying it out in their families. The sickness that has visited many families . . . need not have been, if they had followed the light God has given them. Like ancient Israel, they have disregarded the light, and could see no more necessity of restricting their appetite than did ancient Israel. The children of Israel would have flesh meats, and said, as many now say, We shall die without meat. God gave rebellious Israel flesh, but His curse was with it. Thousands of them died while the meat they desired was between their teeth. We have the example of ancient Israel, and the warning for us not to do as they did. Their history of unbelief and rebellion is left on record as a special warning that we should not follow their example of murmuring at God’s requirements. How can we pass on so indifferently, choosing our own course, following the sight of our own eyes, and departing farther and farther from God, as did the Hebrews? God cannot do great things for His people because of their hardness of heart and sinful unbelief.

God is no respecter of persons; but in every generation they that fear the Lord and work righteousness are accepted of Him; while those who are murmuring, unbelieving, and rebellious, will not have His favor or the blessings promised to those who love the truth and walk in it. Those who have the light and do not follow it, but disregard the requirements of God, will find that their blessings will be changed into curses, and their mercies into judgments. God would have us learn humility and obedience as we read the history of ancient Israel, who were His chosen and peculiar people, but who brought their own destruction by following their own ways.

Counsels on Diet and Foods, 375–379.

Ask the Pastor – Matthew 15:11


What is the meaning of the text Matthew 15:11? Does it mean that we can eat anything we want?


While in debate with Jewish leaders over His disciples’ practice of eating without washing their hands, Jesus said, “What proceeds out of the mouth defiles the man.” (Matthew 15:11.) In the previous verse, Jesus said, “Hear me and understand.” In other words, “I am about to say something absolutely fundamental, and you must understand it.”

“It is not what goes into one’s mouth that defiles him, but what comes out of the mouth defiles him.” (Verse 11.) Their diligence in washing their hands was not a matter of removing physical dirt, but a matter of spiritual and moral cleanness. To them, holiness consisted in acts one might do or not do. So Jesus explained: “things that . . . come from the heart . . . defile the man.” (See Matthew 15:17–20; Mark 7:21, 22.) Defilement is not a matter of just what is external. “Unholiness” does not consist of actions. What “defiles” is what is in the heart. A mere act, of whatever character, is neither holy nor unholy in and of itself. Morality is not simply in the nature of the act itself but in what is in the heart of the “actor.”

Our heart is the source of all “evil” deeds. God judges our deeds according to what He finds in our hearts. God’s primary question is not, “What did you do?” but, “Why did you do it?” The evil attached to external action depends on the motive of the one doing it. “Good” deeds are not “good” if they arise from legalism or if done from improper motives.

As examples, consider the case of David eating the shewbread and the priests working on the Sabbath day. (See Matthew 12:3–5.) These deeds are not permitted under normal circumstances, but if the heart is right, then the deed is right before God. Jesus tells this as a follow-up to the issue of eating with defiled hands.

Learning this truth is crucial to our spiritual health. Churches are full of people who struggle with personal spirituality and their relationship with God. This mindset is a barrier to prayer, praise, and worship. This faulty self-judgment manifests itself in faulty judgment of others and has been directly responsible for countless church divisions.

God judges motives before He judges actions, and He grants mercy and grace to us when we do wrong things, if our hearts do not lean toward sin. God mitigates sin with grace, for those whose hearts are right. A vivid example of this is seen in His own mitigation of His indisputable law, “Thou shalt not kill,” and “whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed.” (Exodus 20:13; Genesis 9:5, 6.) Notice that God says, “If a man takes the life of any human being, he shall surely be put to death.” (Leviticus 24:17.) His “law” on this cannot be more precisely and emphatically stated. Yet God provided “cities of refuge” for those who “killed” without malice. (See Numbers 35; Joshua 20, 21; 1 Chronicles 6.) Killing another human is the worst thing one could ever do. It is the ultimate breach of God’s fundamental law of love for others. Yet God’s first look is not at the act of taking another’s life. His first concern is the motive of the “killer.” I hope that this helps your understanding of this text.

Pastor Mike Baugher is a retired minister of the gospel. If you have a question you would like Pastor Mike to answer, e-mail it to:, or mail it to: LandMarks, Steps to Life, P. O. Box 782828, Wichita, KS 67278.

Nature Nugget – Freshwater Mussels

Freshwater mussels, a type of mollusk, are benthic (bottom-dwelling) animals. Nearly 300 species occur in the United States, mainly in the Mississippi River drainage. Seventy percent of the United States species are either extinct, endangered, or in need of special protection because of habitat loss and degradation. Most freshwater mussels live with 30–100 percent of their shells buried in sand and gravel on the bottom of rivers and streams. Only a few are adapted to the still, deep, and often muddy waters of lakes, ponds, and reservoirs. Freshwater mussels are long-lived, some acquiring ages of 60 years or more. Large species, like the washboard mussel, can weigh as much as 4 pounds and measure nearly 12 inches in length.

Being bivalves, mussels feed by taking water into their shells through a siphon valve, filtering out algae, plankton, bacteria, and organic particles with their gills. The filtered water, along with waste and rejected particles, leave the mussel through a second valve. Mussels have a large muscular foot which they use for burrowing and moving around. This foot also helps anchor them in strong currents. Their main protection against predators is their shell, which consists of two halves joined by a hinge. The shell consists of four layers of non-living material made primarily of calcium carbonate. The outside shell layer, called the periostracum, contains the color, pattern, and other markings that help distinguish one species from another. Unique names like “monkeyface,” “threehorn wartyback,” and “pink heelsplitter” refer to the wide range of shell size, color, pattern, shape, and texture found among mussel shells. The innermost shell layer that comes in contact with the soft body of the animal is called the nacre.

In Arkansas, where there are 70 different species, the mussel shell industry is fairly big business. Previous to the late 1940s and the invention of plastic, mussels were harvested for the button industry. Now they are collected to be shipped to Japan for the cultured pearl industry. There they are processed into mother-of-pearl nuclei, which are round seed pearls or pellets that are inserted into pearl oysters. The oysters respond to this irritating foreign object placed in their shell by coating it with its own mother-of-pearl secretion, thus producing a pearl. This process takes six months to three years, depending on the size and quality of pearl desired. Freshwater mussels occasionally produce pearls, but they are rarely of any value.

Mussels have an unusual reproductive process. At certain times of the year, males release sperm into the water, which are then siphoned in by the females to fertilize their eggs. The female’s gills are then used as a brood pouch for the young until they develop into larvae called glochidia. When the tiny glochidia, just microns in diameter, reach a certain stage, they are expelled into the water to become parasites on fish. This stage lasts one to six weeks, depending on species; then, the now juvenile mussels drop loose to the bottom of the water to begin life as a free-living mussel.

Just as the mussel shell pellet is transformed into a pearl by being placed in contact with the oyster, where it is covered with its mother-of-pearl secretions, so the person who comes in constant contact with Christ and His redeeming love is covered with His righteousness and transformed into a goodly pearl. “Christ, the heavenly merchantman seeking goodly pearls, saw in lost humanity the pearl of price. In man, defiled and ruined by sin, He saw the possibilities of redemption. . . . God looked upon humanity, not as vile and worthless; He looked upon it in Christ, saw it as it might become through redeeming love.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 118.

David Arbour writes from his home in DeQueen, Arkansas. He may be contacted by e-mail at: