Bible Study Guides – The Eternal Reward

June 23 – 29, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23.

INTRODUCTION: “The central theme of the Bible, the theme about which every other in the whole book clusters, is the redemption plan, the restoration in the human soul of the image of God. From the first intimation of hope in the sentence pronounced in Eden to that last glorious promise of the Revelation, ‘They shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads’ (Revelation 22:4), the burden of every book and every passage of the Bible is the unfolding of this wondrous theme,—man’s uplifting,—the power of God, ‘which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ 1 Corinthians 15:57.

“He who grasps this thought has before him an infinite field for study. He has the key that will unlock to him the whole treasure house of God’s Word.” Education, 125, 126.

SUGGESTED READING: Education, 301–309.

  1. What was the first promise made to man by God that there would be possibility for victory over sin? Genesis 3:15.

NOTE: “Through the long centuries of ‘trouble and darkness’ and ‘dimness of anguish’ (Isaiah 8:22) marking the history of mankind from the day our first parents lost their Eden home, to the time the Son of God appeared as the Saviour of sinners, the hope of the fallen race was centered in the coming of a Deliverer to free men and women from the bondage of sin and the grave.

“The first intimation of such a hope was given to Adam and Eve in the sentence pronounced upon the serpent in Eden. . . . [Genesis 3:15 quoted.]

“As the guilty pair listened to these words, they were inspired with hope; for in the prophecy concerning the breaking of Satan’s power they discerned a promise of deliverance from the ruin wrought through transgression.” Prophets and Kings, 681, 682.

  1. When is it time to prepare for eternity? Hebrews 3:15; 4:7.

NOTE: “Oh, that now, while it is called today, you would turn to the Lord! Your every deed is making you either better or worse. If your actions are on Satan’s side, they leave behind them an influence that continues to work its baleful results. Only the pure, the clean, and the holy can enter the city of God, ‘Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts,’ but turn to the Lord, that the path you travel may not leave desolation in its track.” The Adventist Home, 358.

  1. Of what kind of harvest are we assured? Galatians 6:7, 8.

NOTE: “The harvest of life is character, and it is this that determines destiny, both for this life and for the life to come.

“The harvest is a reproduction of the seed sown. Every seed yields fruits after its kind. So it is with the traits of character we cherish. Selfishness, self-love, self-esteem, self-indulgence, reproduce themselves, and the end is wretchedness and ruin. . . . Love, sympathy, and kindness yield fruitage of blessing, a harvest that is imperishable. In the harvest the seed is multiplied. A single grain of wheat, increased by repeated sowings, would cover a whole land with golden sheaves. So widespread may be the influence of a single life, of even a single act.” Reflecting Christ, 341.

  1. What does the Bible say will be the reward of the wicked? Malachi 4:1.

NOTE: “God does not desire the destruction of any. ‘As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?’ Ezekiel 33:11. Throughout the period of probationary time His Spirit is entreating men to accept the gift of life. It is only those who reject His pleading that will be left to perish. God has declared that sin must be destroyed as an evil ruinous to the universe. Those who cling to sin will perish in its destruction.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 123.

  1. What promise is made to the righteous? 1 John 2:25; 5:11–13.

NOTE: “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.’” God’s Amazing Grace, 372.

  1. What kind of plans does God have for the saved? Psalms 31:19; 73:1.

NOTE: “All the treasures of the universe will be open to the study of God’s redeemed. Unfettered by mortality, they wing their tireless flight to worlds afar—worlds that thrilled with sorrow at the spectacle of human woe and rang with songs of gladness at the tidings of a ransomed soul. With unutterable delight the children of earth enter into the joy and the wisdom of unfallen beings. They share the treasures of knowledge and understanding gained through ages upon ages in contemplation of God’s handiwork. With undimmed vision they gaze upon the glory of creation—suns and stars and systems, all in their appointed order circling the throne of Deity. Upon all things, from the least to the greatest, the Creator’s name is written, and in all are the riches of His power displayed.” The Great Controversy, 677.

  1. What experiences of this world will never again be repeated in heaven? Revelation 21:4; Isaiah 33:24; 60:18.

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. There will be no sadness in the city of God. No wail of sorrow, no dirge of crushed hopes and buried affections, will evermore be heard. Soon the garments of heaviness will be changed for the wedding garment. Soon we shall witness the coronation of our King. Those whose lives have been hidden with Christ, those who on this earth have fought the good fight of faith, will shine forth with the Redeemer’s glory in the kingdom of God.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 287.

  1. What are we told about the music in Heaven? Psalm 87:7; Isaiah 24:14; Revelation 14:2, 3.

NOTE: “There will be music there, and song, such music and song as, save in the visions of God, no mortal ear has heard or mind conceived.” Education, 307.

  1. What are some of the activities in which the saved will engage? Isaiah 65:21–25.

NOTE: “There every power will be developed, every capability increased. The grandest enterprises will be carried forward, the loftiest aspirations will be reached, the highest ambitions realized. And still there will arise new heights to surmount, new wonders to admire, new truths to comprehend, fresh objects to call forth the powers of body and mind and soul.” Education, 307.

  1. What mysteries of God will be revealed to the redeemed? 1 Corinthians 13:12.

NOTE: “Then much will be revealed in explanation of matters upon which God now keeps silence because we have not gathered up and appreciated that which has been made known of the eternal mysteries. The ways of Providence will be made clear; the mysteries of grace through Christ will be unfolded. That which the mind can not now grasp, which is hard to be understood, will be explained. We shall see order in that which has seemed unexplainable; wisdom in everything withheld; goodness and gracious mercy in everything imparted. Truth will be unfolded to the mind free from obscurity, in a single line, and its brightness will be endurable. The heart will be made to sing for joy. Controversies will be forever ended, and all difficulties will be solved.” Signs of the Times, March 25, 1897.

  1. What will be the one reminder of sin in heaven? Zechariah 13:6.

NOTE: “One reminder alone remains: our Redeemer will ever bear the marks of His crucifixion. Upon His wounded head, upon His side, His hands and feet, are the only traces of the cruel work that sin has wrought. Says the prophet, beholding Christ in His glory, ‘He had bright beams coming out of His side: and there was the hiding of His power.

“The cross of Christ will be the science and the song of the redeemed through all eternity.” The Faith I Live By, 361.

  1. What are we told about the grandeur of heaven? Revelation 21:1–5.

NOTE: “There, immortal minds will contemplate with never-failing delight the wonders of creative power, the mysteries of redeeming love. There will be no cruel, deceiving foe to tempt to forgetfulness of God. Every faculty will be developed, every capacity increased. The acquirement of knowledge will not weary the mind or exhaust the energies. There the grandest enterprises may be carried forward, the loftiest aspirations reached, the highest ambitions realized; and still there will arise new heights to surmount, new wonders to admire, new truths to comprehend, fresh objects to call forth the powers of mind and soul and body. . . .

“As knowledge is progressive, so will love, reverence, and happiness increase. The more men learn of God, the greater will be their admiration of His character. As Jesus opens before them the riches of redemption and the amazing achievements in the great controversy with Satan, the hearts of the ransomed thrill with more fervent devotion, and with more rapturous joy they sweep the harps of gold; and ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of voices unite to swell the mighty chorus of praise.

“‘And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.’ Revelation 5:13.

“The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.” The Great Controversy, 677, 678.

By Ruth Grosboll

Bible Study Guides – The Parting Gift of Jesus

June 16 – 22, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” Isaiah 59:19, last part.

INTRODUCTION: “The lifework given us is that of preparation for the life eternal. If we accomplish this work as God designs we shall, every temptation may work for our advancement; for as we resist its allurements, we make progress in the divine life. In the heat of the conflict, unseen agencies will be by our side, commanded of heaven to aid us in our wrestlings; and in the crisis, strength and firmness and energy will be imparted to us, and we shall have more than mortal power. . . .

“Those who would be conquerors must engage in conflict with unseen agencies. . . .The Holy Spirit is ever at work, seeking to purify, refine, and discipline the souls of men, in order that they may become fitted for the society of saints and angels.” God’s Amazing Grace, 209.

  1. When Jesus was going to leave His disciples and go back to His Father what did He promise to send to them? John 14:16, 17.

NOTE: “Before this [the crucifixion of Christ] the Spirit had been in the world; from the very beginning of the work of redemption He had been moving upon men’s hearts. But while Christ was on earth, the disciples had desired no other helper. Not until they were deprived of His presence would they feel their need of the Spirit, and then He would come.

“The Holy Spirit is Christ’s representative, but divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally. Therefore it was for their interest that He should go to the Father, and send the Spirit to be His successor on earth. No one could then have any advantage because of his location or his personal contact with Christ. By the Spirit the Saviour would be accessible to all. In this sense He would be nearer to them than if He had not ascended on high.

“This promise belongs to us now as surely as it belonged to the disciples. . . .Let every church member kneel before God, and pray earnestly for the impartation of the Spirit. Cry, ‘Lord, increase my faith. Make me to understand Thy Word; for the entrance of Thy Word giveth light. Refresh me by Thy presence.’. . .” God’s Amazing Grace, 191.

  1. Who inspired the writings of the Old Testament? 2 Peter 1:21.

NOTE: “From the beginning, God has been working by His Holy Spirit through human instrumentalities for the accomplishment of His purpose in behalf of the fallen race. This was manifest in the lives of the patriarchs. To the church in the wilderness also, in the time of Moses, God gave His ‘good Spirit to instruct them’ (Nehemiah 9:20). And in the days of the apostles He wrought mightily for His church through the agency of the Holy Spirit. The same power that sustained the patriarchs . . . and that made the work of the apostolic church effective, has upheld God’s faithful children in every succeeding age. It was through the power of the Holy Spirit that during the Dark Ages the Waldensian Christians helped to prepare the way for the Reformation. It was the same power that made successful the efforts of the noble men and women who pioneered the way for the establishment of modern missions. . . .” God’s Amazing Grace, 190.

  1. What instructions did Jesus give the disciples as to what they were to do before they went out to preach the Gospel? Luke 24:49.

NOTE: “Christ’s visible presence was about to be withdrawn from the disciples, but a new endowment of power was to be theirs. The Holy Spirit was to be given them in its fullness, sealing them for their work.” God’s Amazing Grace, 192.

  1. What was the result of the disciples praying for ten days in the upper room? Acts 2:1, 2.

NOTE: See The Desire of Ages, 827.

  1. What was the result of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the ‘former rain’? Acts 2:3–8.

NOTE: “The Jews had been scattered to almost every nation, and spoke various languages. They had come long distances to Jerusalem, and had temporarily taken up their abode there, to remain through the religious festivals then in progress and to observe their requirements. When assembled, they were of every known tongue. This diversity of languages was a great obstacle to the labors of God’s servants in publishing the doctrine of Christ to the uttermost parts of the earth. That God should supply the deficiency of the apostles in a miraculous manner was to the people the most perfect confirmation of the testimony of these witnesses for Christ. The Holy Spirit had done for them that which they could not have accomplished for themselves in a lifetime; they could now spread the truth of the gospel abroad, speaking with accuracy the language of those for whom they were laboring. This miraculous gift was the highest evidence they could present to the world that their commission bore the signet of Heaven.” The Story of Redemption, 242, 243.

  1. What does Peter admonish us to do? Acts 3:19.

NOTE: “The Third Angel’s Message is swelling into a loud cry, and you must not feel at liberty to neglect the present duty, and still entertain the idea that at some future time you will be the recipients of great blessing, when without any effort on your part a wonderful revival will take place. . . . Today you are to have your vessel purified, that it may be ready for the heavenly dew, ready for the showers of the latter rain; for the latter rain will come, and the blessing of God will fill every soul that is purified from every defilement. It is our work today to yield our souls to Christ, that we may be fitted for the time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord—fitted for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. . . .” Evangelism, 701.

“Instead of living in expectation of some special season of excitement, we are wisely to improve present opportunities, doing that which must be done in order that souls may be saved. Instead of exhausting the powers of our mind in speculations in regard to the times and seasons which the Lord has placed in His own power, and withheld from men, we are to yield ourselves to the control of the Holy Spirit, to do present duties, to give the bread of life, unadulterated with human opinions, to souls who are perishing for the truth. —Review and Herald, March 22, 1892.” Evangelism, 701, 702.

  1. In whose names did Jesus tell the disciples to baptize? Matthew 28:19.

NOTE: “They were to teach the observance of all things whatsoever Jesus had commanded them, and were to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. Jesus was about to be removed from His disciples; but He assured them that although He should ascend to His Father, His Spirit and influence would be with them always, and with their successors even unto the end of the world.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 3, 238.

  1. Jesus told us to ask and we would receive (Matthew 7:7, 8). For what are we to ask? Zechariah 10:1.

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

“But near the close of earth’s harvest, a special bestowal of spiritual grace is promised to prepare the church for the coming of the Son of man. This outpouring of the Spirit is likened to the falling of the latter rain; and it is for this added power that Christians are to send their petitions to the Lord of the harvest ‘in the time of the latter rain.’” The Acts of the Apostles, 54, 55.

  1. What is the result of receiving the Holy Spirit? Romans 8:1–14.

NOTE: “All who consecrate soul, body, and spirit to God will be constantly receiving a new endowment of physical and mental power. The inexhaustible supplies of heaven are at their command. Christ gives them the breath of His own spirit, the life of His own life. The Holy Spirit puts forth its highest energies to work in heart and mind. The grace of God enlarges and multiplies their faculties, and every perfection of the divine nature comes to their assistance in the work of saving souls. Through co-operation with Christ they are complete in Him, and in their human weakness they are enabled to do the deeds of Omnipotence.” The Desire of Ages, 827.

  1. What sin did Jesus say would not be forgiven? Matthew 12:31.

NOTE: “God destroys no one. The sinner destroys himself by his own impenitence. No one need look upon the sin against the Holy Ghost as something mysterious and indefinable. The sin against the Holy Ghost is the sin of persistent refusal to respond to the invitation to repent.” The Faith I Live By, 58.

  1. What is heaven’s ultimate goal? John 14:1–3.

NOTE: “Better than all the friendship of the world is the friendship of Christ’s redeemed. Better than a title to the noblest palace on earth is a title to the mansions our Lord has gone to prepare. And better than all the words of earthly praise will be the Saviour’s words to His faithful servants, ‘Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ Matthew 25:34.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 374.

By Ruth Grosboll

Bible Study Guides – The Science of Salvation

June 9 – 15, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18.

INTRODUCTION: “Christ was the standard by which they [the believers] were to test the doctrines presented. All that was not in harmony with His teachings they were to reject. Christ crucified for sin, Christ risen from the dead, Christ ascended on high—this was the science of salvation that they were to learn and teach.” The Acts of the Apostles, 474. [Emphasis supplied.]

“The theme of redemption is one that the angels desire to look into; it will be the science and the song of the redeemed throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity. Is it not worthy of careful thought and study now? The infinite love and mercy of Jesus, the sacrifice made in our behalf, calls for the most serious and solemn reflection. We should dwell upon the character of our dear Redeemer and Intercessor. We should meditate upon the mission of Him who came to save His people from their sins.” Christian Education, 57. [Emphasis supplied.]

SUGGESTED READING: The Desire of Ages, 685–697.

  1. Is there anyone who understands the trials and temptations that we have here on earth? Hebrews 4:15.

NOTE: “Praise the Lord, that we have a compassionate, tender High Priest that can be touched with the feelings of our infirmities. We do not expect rest here. No, no. The way to heaven is a cross-bearing way; the road is straight and narrow, but we will go forward with cheerfulness knowing that the King of glory once trod this way before us.” Reflecting Christ, 350.

  1. When was the plan of redemption laid? Revelation 13:8.

NOTE: “Before the foundations of the earth were laid, the covenant was made that all who were obedient, all who should through the abundant grace provided, become holy in character, and without blame before God, by appropriating that grace, should be children of God. This covenant, made from eternity, was given to Abraham hundreds of years before Christ came. With what interest and what intensity did Christ in humanity study the human race to see if they would avail themselves of the provision offered.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 403.

  1. What are God’s thoughts towards His people? Jeremiah 29:11; 1 John 4:19.

NOTE: “Satan has represented God as selfish and oppressive, as claiming all, and giving nothing, as requiring the service of His creatures for His own glory, and making no sacrifice for their good. But the gift of Christ reveals the Father’s heart. It testifies that the thoughts of God toward us are ‘thoughts of peace, and not of evil.’ Jeremiah 29:11. It declares that while God’s hatred of sin is as strong as death, His love for the sinner is stronger than death. Having undertaken our redemption, He will spare nothing, however dear, which is necessary to the completion of His work. No truth essential to our salvation is withheld, no miracle of mercy is neglected, no divine agency is left unemployed. Favor is heaped upon favor, gift upon gift. The whole treasury of heaven is open to those He seeks to save. Having collected the riches of the universe, and laid open the resources of infinite power, He gives them all into the hands of Christ, and says, All these are for man. Use these gifts to convince him that there is no love greater than Mine in earth or heaven. His greatest happiness will be found in loving Me.” The Desire of Ages, 57.

  1. What was God’s plan when He created this earth? Isaiah 45:18.

NOTE: “This same earth, freed from the curse of sin, is to be man’s eternal home. Of the earth the Scripture says, that God ‘created it not in vain, He formed it to be inhabited.’ Isaiah 45:18. And ‘whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever.’ Ecclesiastes 3:14.” The Story of Jesus, 183.

  1. What interrupted the plan God had for this earth? Romans 5:12.

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.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 59.

  1. What was God’s plan to take care of sin? 1 Corinthians 15:22; Galatians 4:4, 5; John 3:16, 17.

NOTE: “Man’s need for a divine teacher was known in heaven. The pity and sympathy of God were aroused in behalf of human beings, fallen and bound to Satan’s chariot car; and when the fullness of time was come, He sent forth His Son. The One appointed in the councils of heaven came to this earth as man’s instructor. The rich benevolence of God gave Him to our world, and to meet the necessities of human nature He took humanity upon Himself. To the astonishment of the heavenly host the eternal Word came to this world as a helpless babe. Fully prepared, He left the royal courts and mysteriously allied Himself with fallen human beings. ‘The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.’ John 1:14.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 259.

  1. How was the Saviour of man to appear on earth? Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:21–23.

NOTE: “When the time was fulfilled, Christ was born in a stable, and cradled in a manger, surrounded by the beasts of the stall. And is this indeed the Son of God, to all outward appearance a frail, helpless babe, so much resembling other infants? His divine glory and majesty were vailed by humanity, and angels heralded His advent. The tidings of His birth were borne with joy to the heavenly courts, while the great men of the earth knew it not.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, 15.

  1. What was Satan’s attempt to thwart God’s plan and how did God counteract it? Matthew 2:1–14.

NOTE: See The Desire of Ages, 65.

  1. What was the burden of Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane? Matthew 26:38–46.

NOTE: “Three times has He uttered that prayer. Three times has humanity shrunk from the last, crowning sacrifice. But now the history of the human race comes up before the world’s Redeemer. He sees that the transgressors of the law, if left to themselves, must perish. He sees the helplessness of man. He sees the power of sin. The woes and lamentations of a doomed world rise before Him. He beholds its impending fate, and His decision is made. He will save man at any cost to Himself. He accepts His baptism of blood, that through Him perishing millions may gain everlasting life. He has left the courts of heaven, where all is purity, happiness, and glory, to save the one lost sheep, the one world that has fallen by transgression. And He will not turn from His mission. He will become the propitiation of a race that has willed to sin. His prayer now breathes only submission: ‘If this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.’” The Desire of Ages, 690–693.

  1. What did Jesus tell Pilate about Himself? John 18:33–37.

NOTE: “It is as true now as in apostolic days, that without the illumination of the divine Spirit, humanity cannot discern the glory of Christ. The truth and the work of God are unappreciated by a world-loving and compromising Christianity.” The Desire of Ages, 508.

  1. What did Jesus say to Martha when Lazarus died? John 11:25, 26.

NOTE: “Still seeking to give a true direction to her faith, Jesus declared, ‘I am the resurrection, and the life.’ In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived. ‘He that hath the Son hath life.’ 1 John 5:12. The divinity of Christ is the believer’s assurance of eternal life.” The Desire of Ages, 530.

  1. What did Jesus declare just before He gave up His life? John 19:30.

NOTE: “The scenes of the past and the future were presented to the mind of Jesus. He beheld Lucifer as he was first cast out from the heavenly places. He looked forward to the scenes of His own agony, when before all the worlds the character of the deceiver should be unveiled. He heard the cry, ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30), announcing that the redemption of the lost race was forever made certain, that heaven was made eternally secure against the accusations, the deceptions, the pretensions, that Satan would instigate.

“Beyond the cross of Calvary, with its agony and shame, Jesus looked forward to the great final day, when the prince of the power of the air will meet his destruction in the earth so long marred by his rebellion. Jesus beheld the work of evil forever ended, and the peace of God filling heaven and earth.” The Desire of Ages, 490.

  1. Who laid the body of Jesus in the tomb? John 19:38–40.

NOTE: “The very event that destroyed the hopes of the disciples convinced Joseph and Nicodemus of the divinity of Jesus. Their fears were overcome by the courage of a firm and unwavering faith.” Conflict and Courage, 327.

  1. What did Jesus tell His disciples after His resurrection? John 20:21, 22.

NOTE: “Christ died on the cross to save the world from perishing in sin. He asks your cooperation in this work. You are to be His helping hand. With earnest, unwearying effort you are to seek to save the lost. Remember that it was your sins that made the cross necessary. When you accepted Christ as your Saviour you pledged yourself to unite with Him in bearing the cross. For life and for death you are bound up with Him, a part of the great plan of redemption.” Lift Him Up, 58.

By Ruth Grosboll

Bible Study Guides – Conquering the Conflict

June 2 – 8, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” Hebrews 4:15.

INTRODUCTION: “The directions laid down in the Word of God leave no room for compromise with evil. The Son of God was manifested that He might draw all men unto Himself. He came not to lull the world to sleep, but to point out the narrow path in which all must travel who reach at last the gates of the City of God. His children must follow where He has led the way; at whatever sacrifice of ease or selfish indulgence, at whatever cost of labor or suffering, they must maintain a constant battle with self. The greatest praise that men can bring to God is to become consecrated channels through whom He can work.” The Acts of the Apostles, 565, 566.

  1. When Christ came to earth, what was He to do for man? Matthew 1:21; Acts 5:31.

NOTE: “We should meditate upon the Scriptures, thinking soberly and candidly upon the things that pertain to our eternal salvation. The infinite mercy and love of Jesus, the sacrifice made in our behalf, call for most serious and solemn reflection. We should dwell upon the character of our dear Redeemer and Intercessor. We should seek to comprehend the meaning of the plan of salvation. We should meditate upon the mission of Him who came to save His people from their sins. By constantly contemplating heavenly themes, our faith and love will grow stronger. Our prayers will be more and more acceptable to God, because they will be more and more mixed with faith and love. They will be more intelligent and fervent. There will be more constant confidence in Jesus, and you will have a daily, living experience in the willingness and power of Christ to save unto the uttermost all that come unto God by Him.” God’s Amazing Grace, 34.

  1. What kind of an example did Jesus leave? 1 Peter 2:21–24.

NOTE: “In our behalf Christ has made a tremendous sacrifice. He laid aside His royal crown, He laid aside His royal robe, and came to this world, born of humble parentage. Many were not attracted by the humility of His life, and He was despised and rejected of men. He suffered persecution, until at length He was crucified and died a shameful death. What does this mean to us? He came as the Saviour of every sinner that will accept of the divine sacrifice. He united in Himself divinity and humanity, that He might be the connecting link between fallen man and the Father. But will men accept of the conditions? Who of you will become partakers of the divine nature? There should be no delay in accepting Christ.” Peter’s Counsel to Parents, 10, 11.

  1. What should be our reaction to the provision Christ made for us? Philippians 3:12–14.

NOTE: “The warfare against self is the greatest battle that was ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to the will of God, requires a struggle; but the soul must submit to God before it can be renewed in holiness. . . .” God’s Amazing Grace, 313.

  1. What power is at the root of our trials and persecutions? Ephesians 6:12; Job 1:6–12.

NOTE: “In accidents and calamities by sea and by land, in great conflagrations, in fierce tornadoes and terrific hailstorms, in tempests, floods, cyclones, tidal waves, and earthquakes, in every place and in a thousand forms, Satan is exercising his power. He sweeps away the ripening harvest, and famine and distress follow. He imparts to the air a deadly taint, and thousands perish by the pestilence. These visitations are to become more and more frequent and disastrous.

“The power and malice of Satan and his host might justly alarm us, were it not that we may find shelter and deliverance in the superior power of our Redeemer. . . . Those who follow Christ are ever safe under His watchcare. Angels that excel in strength are sent from heaven to protect them. The wicked one cannot break through the guard which God has stationed about His people.” The Faith I Live By, 328.

  1. In trials and tribulations, how are Christians to reveal God’s power in their lives? Matthew 5:10–12; Luke 6:22, 23.

NOTE: “Through trial and persecution the glory—the character—of God is revealed in His chosen ones. The believers in Christ, hated and persecuted by the world, are educated and disciplined in the school of Christ. On earth they walk in narrow paths; they are purified in the furnace of affliction. They follow Christ through sore conflicts; they endure self-denial and experience bitter disappointments; but thus they learn the guilt and woe of sin, and they look upon it with abhorrence. Being partakers of Christ’s sufferings, they can look beyond the gloom to the glory, saying, ‘I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.’ Romans 8:18.” The Acts of the Apostles, 576.

  1. From where may we look for persecutions to come? Acts 20:29, 30; Luke 21:16.

NOTE: “We have far more to fear from within than from without. The hindrances to strength and success are far greater from the church itself than from the world. Unbelievers have a right to expect that those who profess to be keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, will do more than any other class to promote and honor, by their consistent lives, by their godly example and their active influence, the cause which they represent. But how often have the professed advocates of the truth proved the greatest obstacle to its advancement! The unbelief indulged, the doubts expressed, the darkness cherished, encourage the presence of evil angels, and open the way for the accomplishment of Satan’s devices.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 122.

“As the storm approaches, a large class who have professed faith in the Third Angel’s Message, but have not been sanctified through obedience to the truth, abandon their position, and join the ranks of the opposition. By uniting with the world and partaking of its spirit, they have come to view matters in nearly the same light; and when the test is brought, they are prepared to choose the easy, popular side. Men of talent and pleasing address, who once rejoiced in the truth, employ their powers to deceive and mislead souls. They become the most bitter enemies of their former brethren. When Sabbathkeepers are brought before the courts to answer for their faith, these apostates are the most efficient agents of Satan to misrepresent and accuse them, and by false reports and insinuations to stir up the rulers against them.” The Great Controversy, 608.

  1. For what purpose does God allow persecutions? Hebrews 12:5–8, 11.

NOTE: “In the experience of the apostle John under persecution, there is a lesson of wonderful strength and comfort for the Christian. God does not prevent the plottings of wicked men, but He causes their devices to work for good to those who in trial and conflict maintain their faith and loyalty. Often the gospel laborer carries on his work amid storms of persecution, bitter opposition, and unjust reproach. At such times let him remember that the experience to be gained in the furnace of trial and affliction is worth all the pain it costs. Thus God brings His children near to Him, that He may show them their weakness and His strength.” The Acts of the Apostles, 574, 575.

  1. How long will the saved be faithful? Matthew 10:22; 24:13; Revelation 2:10.

NOTE: “The enemy can never take out of the hand of Christ the one who is simply trusting in His promises. If the soul is trusting and working obediently, the mind is susceptible to divine impressions, and the light of God shines in, enlightening the understanding. What privileges we have in Christ Jesus! We are to watch vigilantly for the coming of the Lord. . . . Every moment is to be faithfully employed. ‘He that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.’” Sons and Daughters of God, 351.

  1. What will the saints be doing who are preparing to spend Eternity with Jesus? Romans 12:2, 21; 1 John 4:4.

NOTE: “Sanctification is not the work of a moment, an hour, a day, but of a lifetime. It is not gained by a happy flight of feeling, but is the result of constantly dying to sin, and constantly living for Christ. Wrongs cannot be righted nor reformations wrought in the character by feeble, intermittent efforts. It is only by long, persevering effort, sore discipline, and stern conflict, that we shall overcome. We know not one day how strong will be our conflict the next. So long as Satan reigns, we shall have self to subdue, besetting sins to overcome; so long as life shall last, there will be no stopping place, no point which we can reach and say, I have fully attained. Sanctification is the result of lifelong obedience.” The Acts of the Apostles, 560, 561.

  1. What kind of church will God have when Jesus comes? Ephesians 5:25–27; Colossians 1:22, 28.

NOTE: “The church of God, hated and persecuted by the world, are educated and disciplined in the school of Christ. They walk in narrow paths on earth; they are purified in the furnace of affliction. They follow Christ through sore conflicts; they endure self-denial, and experience bitter disappointments; but their painful experience teaches them the guilt and woe of sin, and they look upon it with abhorrence. Being partakers of Christ’s sufferings, they are destined to be partakers of His glory. In holy vision the prophet saw the triumph of the people of God. He says: ‘I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire; and them that had gotten the victory . . . stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb.’” Sons and Daughters of God, 74.

  1. How does Scripture compare life on earth with the eternal inheritance? 1 Corinthians 2:9; Isaiah 64:4.

NOTE: “Paul had a view of heaven, and in discoursing on the glories there, the very best thing he could do was to not try to describe them. He tells us that eye had not seen nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for those that love Him. So you may put your imagination to the stretch, you may try to the very best of your abilities to take in and consider the eternal weight of glory, and yet your finite senses, faint and weary with the effort, cannot grasp it, for there is an infinity beyond. It takes all of eternity to unfold the glories and bring out the precious treasures of the Word of God (Manuscript 13, 1888).” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1107.

  1. What do we need to do in order to receive the reward? Hebrews 10:23, 35–37.

NOTE: “Those who are finally victorious will have seasons of terrible perplexity and trial in their religious life; but they must not cast away their confidence, for this is a part of their discipline in the school of Christ, and it is essential in order that all dross may be purged away. The servant of God must endure with fortitude the attacks of the enemy, his grievous taunts, and must overcome the obstacles which Satan will place in his way.” Messages to Young People, 63.

By Ruth Grosboll

Bible Study Guides – Revelation of God’s Love in the Law

May 26 – June 1, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” Matthew 22:37–40.

INTRODUCTION: “Love, the basis of creation and of redemption, is the basis of true education. This is made plain in the law that God has given as the guide of life. . . . To love Him, the infinite, the omniscient one, with the whole strength and mind and heart, means the highest development of every power. It means that in the whole being—the body, the mind, as well as the soul—the image of God is to be restored.” Reflecting Christ, 51.

Suggested Reading: Prophets and Kings, 15–22.

  1. What kind of a law did God make? Romans 7:12; Psalm 119:142, 151.

NOTE: “Christ does not lessen the claims of the law. In unmistakable language He presents obedience to it as the condition of eternal life—the same condition that was required of Adam before his fall. The Lord expects no less of the soul now than He expected of man in Paradise, perfect obedience, unblemished righteousness. The requirement under the covenant of grace is just as broad as the requirement made in Eden—harmony with God’s law, which is holy, just, and good.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 391.

  1. How enduring is God’s law? Matthew 5:18.

NOTE: “The moral law was never a type or a shadow. It existed before man’s creation, and will endure as long as God’s throne remains. God could not change nor alter one precept of His law in order to save men; for the law is the foundation of His government. It is unchangeable, unalterable, infinite, and eternal. In order for man to be saved, and for the honor of the law to be maintained, it was necessary for the Son of God to offer Himself as a sacrifice for sin. He who knew no sin became sin for us. He died for us on Calvary. His death shows the wonderful love of God for man, and the immutability of His law. . . .” Lift Him Up, 147.

  1. What is the underlying principle of God’s law? Matthew 22:37–40; John 14:15.

NOTE: “The law of love being the foundation of the government of God, the happiness of all created beings depended upon their perfect accord with its great principles of righteousness. God desires from all His creatures the service of love,—homage that springs from an intelligent appreciation of His character. He takes no pleasure in a forced allegiance, and to all He grants freedom of will, that they may render Him voluntary service.” The Great Controversy (1888), 493.

  1. What is the nature of the law that will judge God’s people? James 2:12.

NOTE: “In the work of redemption there is no compulsion. No external force is employed. Under the influence of the Spirit of God, man is left free to choose whom he will serve. In the change that takes place when the soul surrenders to Christ, there is the highest sense of freedom. The expulsion of sin is the act of the soul itself. True, we have no power to free ourselves from Satan’s control; but when we desire to be set free from sin, and in our great need cry out for a power out of and above ourselves, the powers of the soul are imbued with the divine energy of the Holy Spirit, and they obey the dictates of the will in fulfilling the will of God.” The Desire of Ages, 466.

  1. Why does God require obedience to the commandments? Deuteronomy 30:16; Jeremiah 7:23; Psalm 19:7–11.

NOTE: “Life, eternal life, is for all who will obey God’s law. Perfect obedience, revealed in thought, word, and deed, is as essential now as when the lawyer asked Christ, ‘What shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘What is written in the law? how readest thou? . . . this do, and thou shalt live’ (Luke 10:25–28).” That I May Know Him, 299.

  1. What was Lucifer’s goal in Heaven? Isaiah 14:12–14.

NOTE: “God’s love has been expressed in His justice no less than in His mercy. Justice is the foundation of His throne, and the fruit of His love. It had been Satan’s purpose to divorce mercy from truth and justice. He sought to prove that the righteousness of God’s law is an enemy to peace. But Christ shows that in God’s plan they are indissolubly joined together; the one cannot exist without the other. ‘Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.’ Psalm 85:10.” The Desire of Ages, 762.

  1. What is to be our attitude towards the Law of God? Psalms 119:97; 1:2.

NOTE: “The law of love is the foundation of God’s government, and the service of love the only service acceptable to Heaven. God has granted freedom of will to all, endowed men with capacity to appreciate His character, and therefore with ability to love Him and to choose His service. So long as created beings worshiped God they were in harmony throughout the universe. While love to God was supreme, love to others abounded. As there was no transgression of the law, which is the transcript of God’s character, no note of discord jarred the celestial harmonies.” That I May Know Him, 366.

  1. How are we to pray as we see the Sunday laws coming in? Psalm 119:126.

NOTE: “Men have gone on in disobedience to God’s law until they have reached a point of insolence that is unparalleled. Men are training in disobedience, and are fast approaching the limit of God’s forbearance and love; and God will surely interfere. He will surely vindicate His honor and repress the prevailing iniquity. Will God’s commandment-keeping people be carried away with the prevailing iniquity? Will they be tempted, because universal scorn is placed upon the Law of God, to think less of that law which is the foundation of His government both in heaven and in earth? No. To His church His law becomes more precious, holy, honorable, as men cast upon it scorn and contempt.” Testimonies to Ministers, 21.

  1. How are we to know if the messages we hear are truth or error? Isaiah 8:20; John 5:39.

NOTE: “Teachers of falsehood will arise to draw you away from the narrow path and the strait gate. Beware of them; though concealed in sheep’s clothing, inwardly they are ravening wolves. Jesus gives a test by which false teachers may be distinguished from the true. ‘Ye shall know them by their fruits,’ He says. ‘Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?’

“We are not bidden to prove them by their fair speeches and exalted professions. They are to be judged by the Word of God. [Isaiah 8:20 quoted.] ‘Cease, my son, to hear the instruction that causeth to err from the words of knowledge.’ Proverbs 19:27. What message do these teachers bring? Does it lead you to reverence and fear God? Does it lead you to manifest your love for Him by loyalty to His commandments? If men do not feel the weight of the moral law; if they make light of God’s precepts; if they break one of the least of His commandments, and teach men so, they shall be of no esteem in the sight of heaven. We may know that their claims are without foundation. They are doing the very work that originated with the prince of darkness, the enemy of God.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 145.

  1. What does Jesus promise us if we keep His commandments? John 14:13–15, 15:7–12; 1 John 3:22.

NOTE: “If we live according to His Word, every precious promise He has given will be fulfilled to us. We are undeserving of His mercy, but as we give ourselves to Him, He receives us. He will work for and through those who follow Him.” The Ministry of Healing, 226, 227.

  1. What is God’s definition of sin? 1 John 3:4.

NOTE: “It is no light matter to sin against God, to set the perverse will of man in opposition to the will of his Maker. It is for the best interest of men . . . to obey God’s commandments.” The Sanctified Life, 76.

  1. What price was paid for the breaking of God’s law? Isaiah 53:3–7; Romans 5:6.

NOTE: “There are but few who have an appreciation of the grievous character of sin, and who comprehend the greatness of the ruin that has resulted from the transgression of God’s law. By examining the wonderful plan of redemption to restore the sinner to the moral image of God, we see that the only means for man’s deliverance was wrought out by the self-sacrifice, and the unparalleled condescension and love of the Son of God. He alone had the strength to fight the battles with the great adversary of God and man, and, as our substitute and surety, He has given power to those who lay hold of Him by faith, to become victors in His name, and through His merits.” Christian Education, 112.

  1. What is the reward to those who keep the commandments? Revelation 22:14.

NOTE: “The redeemed saints, who have loved God and kept His commandments here, will enter in through the gates of the city, and have right to the tree of life. They will eat freely of it as our first parents did before their fall. The leaves of that immortal widespread tree will be for the healing of the nations. All their woes will then be gone. Sickness, sorrow, and death they will never again feel, for the leaves of the tree of life have healed them. Jesus will then see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied, when the redeemed, who have been subject to sorrow, toil, and afflictions, who have groaned beneath the curse, are gathered up around that tree of life to eat of its immortal fruit, that our first parents forfeited all right to, by breaking God’s commands.” My Life Today, 355.

By Ruth Grosboll

Food for Life – Granola and Roast

Recipe – Granola

Submitted by Barbara Bender

In a large bowl, place the following ingredients:

8 cups rolled oats

1 cup coconut

1 cup chopped pecans

1/3 cup sesame seeds

In a separate bowl combine the following:

1 cup oil

1 cup honey

1/3 cup water

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix the wet and dry ingredients together. Spread in a large cake pan (17 x 20). Bake for 2 hours at 250 degrees, stirring two or three times during the baking process, until oatmeal is golden brown. If the granola mixture is quite thick, it may require a few more minutes of baking time to turn it golden brown.

Cool and enjoy with Sun Soy, juice, or berries. Dates, raisins, or other dried fruit may be chopped and added to the granola after it has cooled, if you like.

Raw granola can be made into a cookie by adding enough flour and water to be cookie-dough consistency and baking at 350 degrees until golden brown.

Recipe – Roast

Submitted by Teresa Grosboll

1 pound tofu, crumbled

1 1/2 cans Vegeburger

6 slices wheat bread, crumbled

2/3 cup soy sauce

2/3–1 cup nutritional yeast

1/3 cup olive oil

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon sage

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/2 teaspoon celery salt

1 1/2 teaspoon salt

Sauté the following ingredients in olive oil, and add to other ingredients in large bowl:

2 1/2 medium onions, chopped

1/2 green pepper, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

8 cloves garlic, minced

Mix all. Put in oiled casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. Top with marinara sauce.

Restoring the Temple – Activating Principles of a Changed Life

Christ Works From Within

Men will never be truly temperate until the grace of Christ is an abiding principle in the heart. . . . Circumstances cannot work reform. Christianity proposes a reformation in the heart. What Christ works within, will be worked out under the dictation of a converted intellect. The plan of beginning outside and trying to work inward has always failed, and always will fail.—Counsels on Diet and Foods, page 35.

Power of Self-Control Must be Regained

One of the most deplorable effects of the original apostasy was the loss of man’s power of self-control. Only as this power is regained, can there be real progress.

The body is the only medium through which the mind and the soul are developed for the upbuilding of character. Hence it is that the adversary of souls directs his temptations to the enfeebling and degrading of the physical powers. His success here means the surrender to evil of the whole being. The tendencies of our physical nature, unless under the dominion of a higher power, will surely work ruin and death.

The body is to be brought into subjection. The higher powers of the being are to rule. The passions are to be controlled by the will, which is itself to be under the control of God. The kingly power of reason, sanctified by divine grace, is to bear sway in our lives.—The Ministry of Healing, pages 129, 130.

Futility of Attempts to Stop by Degrees

Shall those who have had more opportunities and much precious light, who enjoy the advantages of education, make the plea that they cannot cut away from unhealthful practices? Why do not those who have excellent reasoning powers reason from cause to effect? Why do they not advocate reform by planting their feet firmly on principle, determined not to taste alcoholic drink or to use tobacco? These are poisons, and their use is a violation of God’s Law. Some say, when an effort is made to enlighten them on this point, I will leave off by degrees. But Satan laughs at all such decisions. He says, They are secure in my power. I have no fear of them on that ground.

But he knows that he has no power over the man who, when sinners entice him, has moral courage to say “No” squarely and positively. Such a one has dismissed the companionship of the devil, and as long as he holds to Jesus Christ, he is safe. He stands where heavenly angels can connect with him, giving him moral power to overcome.— Manuscript 86, 1897.

A Hard Battle, But God Will Help

Do you use tobacco or intoxicating liquor? Cast them from you; for they becloud your faculties. To give up the use of these things will mean a hard battle, but God will help you to fight this battle. Ask Him for grace to overcome, and then believe that He will give it to you, because He loves you. Do not allow worldly companions to draw you away from your allegiance to Christ. Rather let your mind be drawn from these companions to Christ. Tell them that you are seeking for heavenly treasure. You are not your own; you have been bought with a price, even the life of the Son of God, and you are to glorify God in your body and in your spirit, for they are His.— Letter 226, 1903. . . .

Conversion the Secret of Victory

The indulgence of unnatural appetite, whether for tea, coffee, tobacco, or liquor, is intemperance, and is at war with the laws of life and health. By using these forbidden articles a condition of things is created in the system which the Creator never designed. This indulgence in any of the members of the human family is sin. . . . Suffering, disease, and death are the sure penalty of indulgence.—Evangelism, page 266. . . .

Christ gave His life to purchase redemption for the sinner. The world’s Redeemer knew that indulgence of appetite was bringing physical debility and deadening the perceptive faculties so that sacred and eternal things could not be discerned. He knew that self-indulgence was perverting the moral powers, and that man’s great need was conversion,—in heart and mind and soul, from the life of self-indulgence to one of self-denial and self-sacrifice.—Medical Ministry, page 264. . . .

Victory Assured Through Christ’s Sinless Life

The Saviour took upon Himself the infirmities of humanity, and lived a sinless life, that men might have no fear that because of the weakness of human nature they could not overcome. Christ came to make us “partakers of the divine nature,” and His life declares that humanity, combined with divinity, does not commit sin.

The Saviour overcame to show man how he may overcome. All the temptations of Satan, Christ met with the Word of God. By trusting in God’s promises, He received power to obey God’s commandments, and the tempter could gain no advantage. . . .—The Ministry of Healing, pages 179–182.

When men who have indulged in wrong habits and sinful practices yield to the power of divine truth, the application of that truth to the heart revives the moral powers, which had seemed to be paralyzed. The receiver possesses stronger, clearer understanding than before he riveted his soul to the eternal Rock. Even his physical health improves by the realization of his security in Christ. The special blessing of God resting upon the receiver is of itself health and strength.— Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, page 13.

Reprinted from Temperance, 102–108.

Children’s Story – The Littlest Firefighter

In Phoenix, Arizona, a 26-year-old mother stared down at her son who was dying of leukemia. (That is a cancer in the blood.) Her heart was filled with sadness; like any parent she wanted her son to grow up and to fulfill all his dreams. Now that was no longer possible. The leukemia would see to that. But she still wanted her son’s dreams to come true.

She took his little hand into hers, and asked, “Billy, did you ever think about what you wanted to be when you grew up?”

“Mommy, I always wanted to be a fireman when I grew up.”

Mom smiled back and said, “Let’s see if we can make that happen now.”

Later that day she went to her local fire department where she met Fireman Bob. She explained her six-year-old son’s wish and asked if it might be possible to give him a ride around the block on a fire engine.

Fireman Bob said, “Look, we can do better than that. If you’ll have your son ready at seven o’clock Wednesday morning, we’ll make him an honorary fireman for the whole day. He can come down to the fire station, eat with us, go out on all the fire calls—the whole nine yards! And if you’ll give us his sizes, we’ll get a real fire uniform for him, with a real fire hat—not a toy one, but one with the emblem of the Phoenix Fire Department on it—a yellow slicker like we wear, and rubber boots. They’re all manufactured right here in Phoenix, so we can get them fast.”

Three days later Fireman Bob escorted Billy, dressed in his fire uniform, from his hospital bed to the waiting hook and ladder truck. Billy got to sit on the back of the truck and help steer it back to the fire station. He was thrilled!

There were three fire calls in Phoenix that day, and Billy got to go out on all three calls. He rode in the different fire engines, in the paramedic’s van, and even in the fire chief’s car. He was also videotaped for the local news program.

One night, several weeks later, all of Billy’s vital signs began to drop dramatically, and the head nurse, who believed that no one should die alone, began to call the family members to the hospital. Then she remembered the day Billy had spent as a fireman, so she called the fire chief and asked if it would be possible to send a fireman in uniform to the hospital to be with Billy as he died.

The chief replied, “We can do better than that. We’ll be there in five minutes. Will you please do me a favor? When you hear the sirens screaming and see the lights flashing, announce over the PA system that there is no fire, it’s just the fire department coming to see one of its finest members one more time. And will you open the window to his room?”

About five minutes later a hook and ladder truck arrived at the hospital and extended its ladder up to Billy’s third floor open window. Sixteen firefighters climbed up the ladder into Billy’s room. With his mother’s permission, they hugged him and held him and told him how much they loved him.

With his dying breath, Billy looked up at the fire chief and asked, “Chief, am I really a fireman now?”

“Billy, you are,” the chief said.

I believe that friends are like angels who lift us to our feet when we have trouble. We can be that kind of friend. Even though you might be young, you can do a good deed for someone. Put your arm around a friend who feels bad, and let them know that you love them.

In God’s law there are ten commands. The first four commands tell us how to love and worship God, but the last six tell us how to love and care for each other.

It is very important to Jesus that we be kind to each other and love each other—then, He says, people will really know that we are His children.

Inspiration – Take Heed How Ye Hear

God desires us to give attention to the words of truth. We are to hear and practise them; for the truth is a message of Heaven to those who take heed. The oftrepeated charge of the Lord is, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Of the Israelites the apostle says, “The word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.” This opens before us the reason why so little is accomplished by the many discourses given. The words may be indited by the Holy Spirit, but if those who hear do not hear with a desire to be benefited, the words spoken do not profit them.

It makes every difference whether the word spoken is received into good and honest hearts. The Israelites had the word spoken to them by Christ from the pillar of cloud, but like many who today hear the glad tidings of truth and righteousness, they did not hear with consecrated ears. They brought guilt upon themselves by failing to hear by faith, and practise the word spoken. Selfishness and pride, murmuring and unbelief, compassed them about as a garment.

It was faith that men lacked in the days of Noah, and it was this lack that brought destruction upon them. How different would have been the result had they heeded Noah’s appeals as the voice of God speaking through him. But they were unwilling to hear and receive the word which would have saved them.

The teacher of truth is to take heed how he presents the truth. He is to speak every word plainly and distinctly, with that earnest conviction which carries conviction to hearts. If the words spoken are crowded upon each other, the impression that should be made is lost. The talent of speech needs to be cultivated, that the truth shall not be spoken in an excited, spasmodic style, but slowly and distinctly, that not a syllable may be lost.

Rapidity of speech can and should be corrected. The teacher must learn daily in the school of Christ, that he may speak in such a way as to make the best and most lasting impression upon his hearers. The appointed guardian of truth, he must conscientiously guard the sacred treasures. He is not to gather only a limited number of surface truths, but is to purchase the field, that he may possess the treasure it contains. He is to seek to improve in methods of labour, and make the very best use of the organs of speech. If the words of truth are of sufficient importance to be spoken before an audience, they are of sufficient importance to be spoken distinctly. The guidance of the Spirit never leads to indistinctness of speech. The Spirit takes the things of God, and presents them through the human instrument to the people. Then let them come from our lips in the most perfect manner possible.

When the pure gospel of Christ is cherished and appreciated, the jewels of truth will be presented as precious pearls. Every teacher, . . . every minister, . . . is to make an earnest effort to obtain knowledge from the Source of all knowledge. All are to have a daily increasing appreciation of the wisdom which is eternal life to the receiver. The teacher of truth needs to learn daily of Christ. He is not to be satisfied with human acquirements; for they are narrow and insufficient. He is to hunger for a deeper knowledge of Christ. “This is life eternal,” the Saviour said, “that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.”

God would have us realize that, as His delegated messengers, we are to grow in grace and in the knowledge of Christ, until we perfect a character that is in entire conformity to His will. His attributes have been presented to us that we may cherish them, and thus learn to use the treasures of truth in such a way as to draw souls to Him.

Christ says to us, “A new heart also will I give you.” You shall act on new, strong principles. By believing and obeying, we are brought into fellowship with Christ, and we partake of the glory revealed by Him. The willing, obedient soul will continue to advance, following the Lord Jesus step by step, until he is complete in Him. God loves those who are one in Christ, even as He loves His only begotten Son.

Earnest and sincere is the Author of our redemption. He humbled Himself that He might uplift the perishing and give them a knowledge of the true God. He desires His followers to represent Him by showing a faith that works by love and purifies the soul, by telling others of the love that has done so much for them. He has made the plan of redemption so definite and complete that the attention of all who are led to look to Him will be attracted.

The words of the true Christian are a power for good; for they are the living echo of the Scriptures. When the teachers of truth learn from Christ as they should, those who listen to their words will not say with indifference, “I have heard that discourse a number of times. It is only a repetition.” If the Lord’s ambassador is what he should be,—an earnest seeker for the hidden treasure,—he will have a daily filled treasure house, from which he can draw things new and old; and if his hearers take heed how they hear, they will go from the service fully prepared to testify, Did not our hearts burn within us, while He walked with us, and opened to us the Scriptures?

Many religious teachers have opposed the precious light sent them from heaven. They have refused to obey the words, “Take heed how ye hear.” They think that they complete their work and secure their conquests by a continual repetition of fables and traditions, and by shouting, “Victory.” But their efforts are the essence of feebleness, though put forth with an authority which misleads those who do not search the Scriptures for themselves.

Through His Holy Spirit the Lord is seeking to teach men humility. Those who are privileged to hear truth need to listen with receptive minds, appreciating the precious words spoken. Those who are trusted with the presentation of the sacred oracles need to feel the necessity of being taught by the great Teacher. They must remember that instruction is often sent through their fellow-labourers and through laymen, whom the Lord has set apart to teach the truth.

Let every teacher be a constant worker; then the Lord will educate and train the soul, moulding and fashioning it after the divine similitude. Teachers may learn in many ways. They are to gather every ray of light from those whom they have reason to know have a living experience in the things of God. They are to accept abundantly from the great Teacher, that they may give abundantly. They are not to depend on old discourses which they have had for years, but they are to go on progressing, digging for the precious jewels of truth, that they may present them to their hearers.

The teacher must be willing to surrender his will to the will of God. Preparation for the gospel ministry can be obtained only by searching the Scriptures, and seeking the Lord with full purpose of heart. At the altar of God, by self-renunciation, the soul is educated to believe and receive and impart. Those who receive this education realize their own insufficiency, and the wonderful power of God.

Bible Echo, August 14, 1899.

The Consecrated Way, Part III

In this series, we have been studying The Consecrated Way, which is the sanctified way, as outlined in 2 Peter 1. It is found in climbing Peter’s ladder, working our way up round by round. Each time we take a step up, we find ourselves being called to a grander, nobler purpose in the plan of God.

Called to a Higher Calling

If those of us who are Christians had been climbing this ladder all along in our experience, long ago we would have reached a point when Jesus could have come, and we would be in glory. (See Evangelism, 695.) But we are still here, which tells me that there is still need for us to be exhorted, through the Scriptures, to the higher calling that God has given to us.

“Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance . . . .” 11 Peter 1:4–6.

What is temperance? Normally when we think about this word, the first thing that comes to our mind is the counsel to stay free and clear of the consumption of alcohol and of tobacco. But the concept of temperance goes much farther than just these two things.

It covers the full gamut of lifestyle; it calls for us to exercise the choice of our will for right or for wrong. Looking at Vines’ New Testament Dictionary for the meaning of the word temperance, we find that it comes from a Greek root word that means strength, and that makes good sense. Those of us of the older generation, who have kind of reached the pinnacle and are going down the other side, know that we suffer from a loss of strength. We are not as strong as we used to be. My mind tells me that I am sixteen. My body tells me something entirely different. The problem is trying to reconcile those two things together to where we live a balanced life. God has the answer for a balanced life. It is found in the word temperance, meaning strength. How are you going to expend your strength?

Exercising Self-Control

The development of the word beyond the root meaning is that of self-control. In the conflict between the forces of good and evil, it is extremely necessary that we, possessing the sinful nature that we do, exercise self-control, by God’s grace. The various powers that God has given to us in the area of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual are capable of abuse.

The right use of these powers demands the controlling of the will under the operation of the Spirit of God. Temperance, when it is rightly exercised, allows the development of character to take place and allows us to become, through the precious promises that God has given, partakers of the divine nature.

Putting this all into the context of our text, we see that temperance follows knowledge. This suggests to us that what is learned, and temperance is learned, should be put into practice. The Bible is filled with narratives which portray both the positive and the negative aspect of being temperate.

We will look at two individual examples in Scripture—Samson on the one hand, Daniel on the other. Samson was a man for whom God had great plans. He was called to serve God at a time when the spiritual level of Israel was dragging in the dust. The Philistines had overrun their nation; they were sniping them from every corner, harassing, causing them problems in every way, and Israel was weak.

Of themselves, Israel had little temperance. They had little strength. They had no power to overcome the Philistines. God called a man to be the example of self-control and strength, but he became a total wreck of humanity. So that which God intended should achieve grand and noble purposes and prepare the way for the Messiah to come, never really came to fruition.

God, the Pediatrician

During this time of apostasy, when there was wide-spread, national declension, there were a faithful few who were pleading with God for deliverance from oppression. In the course of time, God responded to their needs with this great man of strength. The Lord very carefully instructed his parents on how they were to prepare themselves, as well as the child, in habits of temperance.

“And the angel of the Lord appeared unto the woman [Samson’s mother], and said unto her, Behold now, thou art barren, and bearest not: but thou shalt conceive, and bear a son. Now therefore beware, I pray thee, and drink not wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing.” Judges 13:3, 4.

This is the instruction that God gave to the parents in preparation for the child that would come. This woman was barren, and in Israel, that was a shame. I have discovered that every time God has a plan for something marvelous to take place in the way a child is going to come into being, He closes the womb so that there can be no question in the mind but that God has His hand in the matter and that the instruction given should be carefully followed.

He tells this woman, Prepare yourself; you are going to have a child. Leave the wine bottle alone, and stay away from barbecues. It is still good instruction today. The baby was born and grew up, and the mother instructed the child to follow the ways of the Lord. Unfortunately, as happens too much of the time, the child did not continue in the habits of temperance.

But I Want Her!

Instead, we find that he went down into the town called Timnath, and there he fell where he should not fall. “And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines. And he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, I have seen a woman in Timnath of the daughters of the Philistines: now therefore get her for me to wife.” Judges 14:1, 2.

Where did it really start? When he went to Timnath? No. He fell when he failed to follow the counsel that his parents had received at the hand of God. “Now therefore get her for me to wife.” Ibid. I do not care what your counsel is; I want this woman! How much self-control is being displayed here? None!

There was no respecting his parents’ wishes. They took the instruction that was given, but they decided to take their own course. They did not want to offend this child, apparently their only child, a spoiled child, an indulged child, a child who, from an early age, had no self-control. “Then his father and his mother said unto him, Is there never a woman among the daughters of thy brethren, or among all thy people, that thou goest to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines?” Verse 3.

Did Samson say, I really need to think this thing through; I do believe there is probably someone who would fit the bill? No! He had no temperance, no self-control, no strength. “And Samson said unto his father, Get her for me; for she pleaseth me well.” Ibid.

Timnath was a city located in the territory of Dan, a tribe that lost out totally in the kingdom. Dan did not follow the instruction of the Lord, or they would be numbered among the faithful tribes. Timnath was inhabited by Philistines. What were the Israelites to do as far as the Philistines were concerned when, coming out of Egypt, out of the wilderness experience, they moved into the land of Canaan? They were to destroy them. (See Deuteronomy 4:37, 38; 7.) They were to move in and take total possession and dispossess the heathen. But they settled down instead, so when little Samson grew up, he found this Philistine girl. They began to eat and drink and make merry together and Samson’s self-control was no where to be found.

Led Into Total Darkness

Eventually a point was reached in which Samson lost every bit of his strength. His eyes were put out, and he was left in bondage to the enemy of God. Do you know why such a story as this is in the Bible? That story applies to us right now, and it tells us our end, if we have no greater self-control than did Samson. The devil led him down an alley where it was total darkness.

If you think that happened only in the days of Samson, you had better think again, because if you give the devil an opportunity, he is going to lead you down an alley into total darkness too. Your eyes will also be put out, in bondage to the enemy of God. The story goes that, while Samson was in darkness, he had time to reflect. He began to review his life, and he said, I need to make some changes; I need to repent of my sin. I need to confess to God.

He repented, and God restored his strength long enough for him to make an attack against the Philistines and to destroy the temple in the process. But it cost him his life. If you have ever had a hesitation about whether there is a God in heaven Who cares about you, Who is working on your behalf, then you need to read the story of Samson as found in Judges 13 and 14 and then read Hebrews 11.

Samson is listed in the victors’ hall of fame. A man who went into total darkness and yet, through repentance, confession, and restoration, was honored by God. He destroyed the temple, but the grand and noble future that the Lord had planned for him never happened, because he could not control himself. He failed to practice temperance.

God’s Health Laws

No doubt Samson lost his keen sense of right and of wrong when he first began to dabble with that which was forbidden to him. God made every provision, instructed his parents before his birth: “The angel’s prohibition included ‘every unclean thing.’ The distinction between articles of food as clean and unclean was not a merely ceremonial and arbitrary regulation.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 562.

Today, there are those who try to tell us that this health business is just arbitrary and ceremonial, but it has its authority in the Bible! It was “based upon sanitary principles. To the observance of this distinction may be traced, in a great degree, the marvelous vitality which for thousands of years has distinguished the Jewish people.” Ibid.

The Jews are still benefiting today from those health laws that God gave a long time ago. “The principles of temperance must be carried further than the mere use of spirituous liquors. The use of stimulating and indigestible food is often equally injurious to health, and in many cases sows the seeds of drunkenness. True temperance teaches us to dispense entirely with everything hurtful and to use judiciously that which is healthful. There are few who realize as they should how much their habits of diet have to do with their health, their character, their usefulness in this world, and their eternal destiny.” Ibid.

That is a powerful statement! The apostle Paul, speaking of these instances that took place in the Old Testament, stated, “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 10:11. Do you believe that we are in the time of the end in the world? Then these things apply.

On the other side, those of you who realize how much your habits of diet have to do with health, character, and usefulness in this world, can be found applying the knowledge of the Scripture to bring about positive development.

Daniel’s Temperance

A Bible character, who exemplifies all the attributes of temperance in his life, is Daniel. Before we look at the chapter where we find this story, let us look at Daniel 12. Daniel, of course, is the only book that has been sealed, and it tells us so. “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” Verse 4.

On Peter’s ladder, add to knowledge temperance. “And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end.” Verse 9. The book of Daniel is not just a historical book about the life of Daniel. It is a book that has special meaning for us in these last days, particularly down near the end of time.

This book was to be sealed until the time of the end. Its meaning and its most profound application did not come into play until the time of the end, but when the time of the end arrived, the meaning exploded, literally around the world.

“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.” Daniel 1:1. Do you have the feeling that Israel constantly repeats history? There is a reason for it. “And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god. And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.” Verses 2–4.

Daniel Purposed

Already diligent habits had been brought to the surface by certain captive individuals who were gifted in many areas. They had health; they had character development, and they had usefulness in the world. And the king said, When you find these youth, bring them to me. Out of all of this class, at least four individuals came to the top.

Verse 6 says, “Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.” And we find that early in their experience in the court of Babylon they began to undergo a change: “Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.” Verse 7.

But new names were not all that the Babylonians wanted to impress upon these young men. They wanted to change them entirely, to give them not only new names, but also new food. Verse 5 says, “And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.”

I wonder what those who ate the provisions looked like at the end of three years. “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.” Verses 8, 9.

Daniel purposed in his heart; he won the favor of the eunuchs’ supervisor, and he came out on top. “There are many among professed Christians today who would decide that Daniel was too particular, and would pronounce him narrow and bigoted. They consider the matter of eating and drinking of too little consequence to require such a decided stand,—one involving the probable sacrifice of every earthly advantage. But those who reason thus will find in the day of judgment that they turned from God’s express requirements, and set up their own opinion as a standard of right and wrong. They will find that what seemed to them unimportant was not so regarded of God.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 30.

A Peculiar People

“Our habits of eating and drinking show whether we are of the world or among the number whom the Lord by His mighty cleaver of truth has separated from the world. These are His peculiar people, zealous of good works. God has spoken in His word. In the case of Daniel and his three companions there are sermons upon health reform.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 372.

There are only two ways put forth in the Bible as far as life is concerned—there is the right way and there is the wrong way. The Bible knows no other way. It is either all right, or it is all wrong. There is no gray area in Christianity. We like to believe that there are gray areas. This is why we are where we are right now. We convince ourselves that it does not really matter.

The prince of the eunuchs tried to tell Daniel that there was a gray area. Daniel said, No, as far as I am concerned, there is no gray area. I have had people tell me, Well, you know, I am not a bad person; I do not do this, and I do not do that, naming sins that are obviously wrong. It may well be true that they do not do those things, but if they are not surrendered completely to the Lord Jesus Christ, they can be just as lost as is someone who does all the things they have not done.

If we are doing what we know is wrong, there is no neutral point. That is just where the devil wants us to be. He will keep moving us farther and farther away from the Lord, just like he did Samson. He did not take Samson down to Timnath when he was five years old. The seduction of Samson took a long period of time. Perhaps Samson climbed the hill and stood looking down at the city for a while, every day moving just a little bit closer to temptation, until he was in the city. And he found a woman who pleased him, and he said to his parents, Get her for me; she pleases me well.

Satan Plays to Win!

You do not just pick up and go home when you decide that the game is over. Not in the devil’s court. He does not play the game that way. He plays for keeps, and once you have come into his court and started to play his game, he immediately claims you as his own, and you do not just get up and go home. He has played with a lot of people like you before. When the game was over, he had them bound up so much in his way of fun that they wanted to go back for a repeat performance. Finally they lost their perspective as to where home really is, and they are just as happy in the devil’s house as they were in their own home.

“As the Lord co-operated with Daniel and his fellows, so He will co-operate with all who strive to do His will. And by the impartation of His Spirit He will strengthen every true purpose, every noble resolution. Those who walk in the path of obedience will encounter many hindrances. Strong, subtle influences may bind them to the world; but the Lord is able to render futile every agency that works for the defeat of His chosen ones; in His strength they may overcome every temptation, conquer every difficulty.” Prophets and Kings, 487.

There is no area so big that we cannot get a handle on it—if we allow the Lord to work.

There is a real key in the Scripture concerning the area of temperance in proper eating and drinking. It is found in Matthew 24:37, 38, where Jesus talks about what it is going to be like in the last days: “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark.”

They were eating and drinking in apparent abandonment. Self-control was forgotten. We all need to eat and drink every day in order to maintain health, strength, life, and happiness, but self-control is the problem for many of us. That is the reason why the Lord mentions the days of Noah.

Character Development

Do we need to be reminded that God has a plan? He has given us, as Seventh-day Adventists, a health message. He has given us Scripture that rehearses for us the positive and the negative influences of our eating habits. The most important aspect of the health message is character development—having strength of mind to make right choices, so we have power in the brain to understand where God would have us be.

That is the reason for the health message. It is to produce healthy bodies, which have healthy minds, which are able to comprehend the truth for this hour of earth’s history. Otherwise the mind will be so clouded that truth will fly right by and never be realized.

One of the great thrusts the devil is making in the last throes of this earth is against our minds, and it comes through eating and drinking the wrong things. That is why God’s end-time prophet, Ellen White, wrote about the health message. We must read and study her books, so the message of temperance can be realized in our lives.

Enlightened Conscience

Drive down any street. Notice the billboards. They have very seductive, welcoming commercials of abandonment to fleshly appetites. Think of the television commercials. Probably 90 percent of the commercials make an appeal to the appetite.

Do you know why they do that? Because the advertising is successful. They get people to go out and buy the product that they are advertising, and it dumbs them down. The brain goes. The Spirit of Prophecy says that all of this prepares the way for drunkenness. I believe that means more than just the consumption of alcohol. (See The Ministry of Healing, 334; Testimonies, vol. 4, 578.)

Daniel took his stand for God, conscientious and righteous even in little matters of his food and drink, and this laid a ground work for developing a character which would pass untarnished and unscathed through 70 years of political life.

Daniel went through 70 years without one blemish or one tarnished spot in his career or in his personal life. Daniel’s decision was not a mere whim or strange notion of an extremist. His conscience was enlightened by the Word of God, which is the only safe guide for us to have.

Our minds are the only link that we have between ourselves and heaven. Do not think for a moment that the devil does not know that also. He is going to do everything that he can to ruin the plan of God. What we eat either builds the mind or tears it down. If it tears it down, it gives Satan free access, and we do not even realize it.

“I’m Okay—You’re Okay”

Satan comes in on the sly and begins to control, and all the while we are satisfied that we are all right and that everything is under control, never realizing that he is pulling the strings. Can we afford to allow such a thing to happen this late in life, this late in earth’s history? Are there areas in which we need to reform?

We can never use as an excuse that we did what we did because of what someone else did. We need to think for ourselves. We need to be moved by the spirit of God, not by what others think of us. This is what Daniel did. This is why he had such a noble record.

A Crisis is Coming

In these last days we are going to be faced with a crisis called the Mark of the Beast. Do you think it is possible that temperance can play a part in the issue of the Mark of the Beast? I would suggest that it will. Think about it for a minute. A crisis is coming. We have been warned about it. Eating and drinking the way that God has commanded is part of that preparation.

“And beside this . . . add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance . . . .” 2 Peter 1:5, 6.

To be continued . . .