April 23, 2006 – April 29, 2006
“[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.