Bible Study Guides – Review of the Quarter

December 20, 2003 – December 26, 2003

Memory Verse

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 11 Timothy 2:15.

Suggested Reading: Our High Calling, 205.


“We must cherish carefully the words of our God lest we be contaminated by the deceptive workings of those who have left the faith. We are to resist their spirit and influence with the same weapon our Master used when assailed by the prince of darkness—‘It is written.’ [Matthew 4:4–10.] We should learn to use the Word of God skillfully. The exhortation is, ‘Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.’ [11 Timothy 2:15.] There must be diligent work and earnest prayer and faith to meet the winding error of false teachers and seducers; for ‘in the last days perilous times shall come.’ [11 Timothy 3:1.]” Review and Herald, January 10, 1888.

1 Show that man was not created with an immortal soul. Since death was brought on humanity through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, how only can immortality be obtained?

note: “God, in counsel with His Son, formed the plan of creating man in His own image. Man was to be placed upon probation. He was to be tested and proved; if he should bear the test of God, and remain loyal and true through the first trial, he was not to be beset with continual temptations, but was to be exalted equal with the angels and made, thenceforth, immortal.” Confrontation, 10.

“He [Jesus] humbled Himself, and took mortality upon Him. As a member of the human family, He was mortal; but as a God, He was the fountain of life to the world. . . . He yielded up His life a sacrifice, that man should not eternally die.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1127.

(See Genesis 2:16, 17; Romans 6:23; 5:19.)

2 Because of sin, what has passed upon all men? What knowledge do the dead have? What bearing does Christ’s resurrection have upon the death and life of His saints?

note: “After Adam and Eve brought death into the world by their disobedience, a costly sacrifice was provided for the human race. A higher value than that they originally possessed was placed upon them. By giving Christ, His only-begotten Son, as a ransom for the world, God gave all heaven.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 299.

“Christ’s resurrection proves that he has power over death and the grave. He is willing and able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him.” Review and Herald, August 13, 1889.

(See Romans 5:12; Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6; 1 Corinthians 15:20–23.)

3 How did Paul speak of the judgment? Who compose the heavenly judgment court? What are used as the judgment proceeds? By what is every case decided? Who will execute the judgment determined upon?

note: “In 1844 our great High Priest entered the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, to begin the work of the investigative judgment. The cases of the righteous dead have been passing in review before God. When that work shall be completed, judgment is to be pronounced upon the living. How precious, how important are these solemn moments! Each of us has a case pending in the court of heaven. We are individually to be judged according to the deeds done in the body.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 125.

“At this time [the millenium] the righteous reign as kings and priests unto God. . . . It is at this time that, as foretold by Paul, ‘the saints shall judge the world.’ 1 Corinthians 6:2. In union with Christ they judge the wicked, comparing their acts with the statute book, the Bible, and deciding every case according to the deeds done in the body. Then the portion which the wicked must suffer is meted out, according to their works; and it is recorded against their names in the book of death.” The Faith I Live By, 354.

(See Acts 17:31; Revelation 20:12; 22:12; 1 Corinthians 6:2, 3; Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14; John 5:26, 27.)

4 How many resurrections are there? Who are raised in the first resurrection? Who in the second? How many years intervene between them? In connection with what event are the righteous raised? What has made the resurrection possible?

note: “Soon he will appear the second time to declare that there is no more sacrifice for sin. His believing ones have made their calling and their election sure. They come forth at the first resurrection.” The Youth’s Instructor, July 25, 1901.

“Oh, what a scene will we then see—some coming forth to life eternal at the first resurrection! Upon them the second death shall have no power. And then at the end of a thousand years the wicked dead come forth.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, 342.

(See Revelation 20:4–6; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; John 11:25, 26.)

5 Who brought the angels into existence? Describe their work and power. What will be the work of the holy angels at the time of Christ’s Second Coming and the resurrection of the righteous?

note: “When the earthborn children know it not, they have the angels of light as their companions; for the heavenly messengers are sent forth to minister to those who shall be heirs of salvation. A silent witness guards every soul that lives, seeking to win and draw him to Christ. The angels never leave the tempted one a prey to the enemy who would destroy the souls of men if permitted to do so. As long as there is hope, until they resist the Holy Spirit to their eternal ruin, men are guarded by heavenly intelligences.” Our High Calling, 23.

(See Colossians 1:16; Psalm 103:20, 21; Matthew 25:31; 24:31.)

6 What falsehood is the foundation for spiritualism? Cite texts which prove that the dead do not appear to living friends and loved ones. Where do fallen angels meet their doom?

note: “Satan instigated others to rebel, and after they were cast out of heaven he bound them together in a confederacy to do all the evil possible to man, as the only means of striking God. Excluded from heaven, he resolved to be avenged by injuring the workmanship of God. Around the standard of rebellion that he planted, evil workers of all generations have rallied. Evil angels have united with evil men in a warfare against Christ’s kingdom.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1119.

(See Genesis 3:4; Revelation 16:14; 20:7–9; Ecclesiastes 9:5, 6; Matthew 25:41.)

7 What change did Jesus say must take place in order to be saved? Who alone can change the heart? Then what can be said of this same individual?

note: “If there is nothing more in all the Scriptures which point out definitely the way to heaven, we have it here in these words [John 3:1–16]. They tell us what conversion is. They tell us what we must do in order to be saved. And, my friends, I want to tell you that this strikes directly at the root of the surface work in the religious world. It strikes directly against the idea that you can become a child of God without any particular change. There is a decided change wrought in us if the truth of God has found a place in our hearts, for it has a sanctifying power upon life and upon character. When we see the fruits of righteousness in those who claim to have advanced truth, as we claim to have it, then there will be a course of action which testifies that we have learned of Christ.” Faith and Works, 63.

(See Matthew 18:2, 3; 1 John 1:9; Ezekiel 36:26.)

8 Why was Jesus baptized? In following the Lord by baptism into death, what is necessary on the part of the believer? What should precede baptism? What power belongs to the believer as he comes forth from his watery grave?

note: “Jesus did not receive baptism as a confession of guilt on His own account. He identified Himself with sinners, taking the steps that we are to take, and doing the work that we must do. His life of suffering and patient endurance after His baptism was also an example to us.” The Desire of Ages, 111.

“All who live have sins to wash away. . . . True repentance of sin, faith in the merits of Jesus Christ, and baptism into His death, to be raised out of the water to live a new life, are the first steps in the new birth. . . . We are safe in following the example of Christ.” The Youth’s Instructor, February 1874.

(See Matthew 3:13–15; Colossians 3:1–3; Philippians 3:10; Ephesians 1:18–20.)

9 In serving others, whose example are we following? State the real lesson conveyed in the ordinance of footwashing. What double significance attaches to the memorial presented by the Lord in the broken bread and the wine?

note: “The object of this service [footwashing] is to call to mind the humility of our Lord, and the lessons He has given in washing the feet of His disciples. There is in man a disposition to esteem himself more highly than his brother, to work for himself, to serve himself, to seek the highest place; and often evil-surmisings and bitterness of spirit spring up over mere trifles. This ordinance preceding the Lord’s Supper is to clear away these misunderstandings, to bring man out of his selfishness, down from his stilts of self-exaltation, to the humility of spirit that will lead him to wash his brother’s feet.” Review and Herald, May 31, 1898.

“This is a special service; and in its observance there is to be a peaceful, grateful heart. Inasmuch as this service, in the bread and wine, represents the body the Lord gave for the sin of the world, the ministration of the sacrament is commemorative of Christ’s humiliation, betrayal, and sufferings, as an offered sacrifice. In symbol, Christ is set forth crucified among us. The representative of Christ is present.” Ibid., June 28, 1898.

(See Philippians 2:6, 7; John 13:3–17; Matthew 26:26–29; 1 Corinthians 11:26.)

10 In how many things should the Christian be temperate? Name three things mentioned by the Saviour against which His people in the last generation must guard.

note: “In the family circle and in the church we should place Christian temperance on an elevated platform. It should be a living, working element, reforming habits, dispositions, and characters.” Child Guidance, 400.

“As we near the close of time, we must rise higher and still higher upon the question of health reform and Christian temperance, presenting it in a more positive and decided manner. We must strive continually to educate the people, not only by our words, but by our practice. Precept and practice combined have a telling influence.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 443.

(See 1 Corinthians 9:25; Luke 21:34.)

11 To whom belongs all power? When the commands of earthly powers conflict with the commandments of God, what is the duty of the Christian?

note: “It is our duty in every case to obey the laws of our land, unless they conflict with the higher law which God spoke with an audible voice from Sinai, and afterward engraved on stone with His own finger. . . . He who has God’s law written in the heart will obey God rather than men, and will sooner disobey all men than deviate in the least from the commandment of God. God’s people, taught by the inspiration of truth, and led by a good conscience to live by every word of God, will take His law, written in their hearts, as the only authority which they can acknowledge or consent to obey. The wisdom and authority of the divine law are supreme.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 361.

(See Romans 13:1–7; Acts 5:29; 4:19.)

12 What prompts the selfish love of money? What is of more value than all the wealth of the world? Why does God hate covetousness? What would be the result if all the tithe were brought into the treasury? Describe the nature of vows to God.

note: “It is God who gives men power to get wealth, and He has bestowed this ability, not as a means of gratifying self, but as a means of returning to God His own. With this object it is not a sin to acquire means. Money is to be earned by labor. Every youth should be trained to habits of industry. The Bible condemns no man for being rich if he has acquired his riches honestly. It is the selfish love of money wrongfully employed that is the root of all evil. Wealth will prove a blessing if we regard it as the Lord’s, to be received with thankfulness and with thankfulness returned to the Giver.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 452, 453.

“Should means flow into the treasury exactly according to God’s plan,— a tenth of all the increase,—there would be abundance to carry forward His work.” Ibid., vol. 5, 150.

(See 1 Timothy 6:5–11; Ephesians 5:5; Romans 8:32; Malachi 3:10; Numbers 30:1, 2; Deuteronomy 23:21–23.)

Bible Study Guides – Tithes and Offerings

December 13, 2003 – December 19, 2003

Memory Verse

“The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.” Proverbs 11:25.

Suggested Reading: Patriarchs and Prophets, 525–529.


“It is through the blessing of God bestowed upon the unselfish and benevolent soul, that he has wherewith to bestow gifts to help the needy, and to bring tithes and offerings to carry the gospel into regions beyond. Nothing can be given that has not first been received from our heavenly Father. Will the Christian world ever learn that the soul must be refined from the dross of selfishness before Christ can be represented in character? Can anything be withheld by those who know the blessedness of giving? Shall it be said of professed believers in Jesus Christ that he is ashamed to call them brethren? Selfishness, covetousness, pride, and vanity misrepresent Christ to the world. The name of Christian is applied by the world to men and women who are not so named in the books of heaven. On the record above it is written of them, ‘Weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, and found wanting.’ The worldly spirit that leads the professed people of God to misappropriate their Lord’s goods, causes them to bring reproach upon the name of him who has exercised boundless beneficence toward the sons of men. The character of God is falsified before the world by those who withhold their Lord’s intrusted means from benevolent purposes; for they do not represent him who ‘so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ ” The Medical Ministry, November 1, 1894.

1 Into what do those fall who choose to be rich? What is said of the love of money? What exhortation is given the man of God? 1 Timothy 6:9–11.

note: “The love of money has its root in covetousness. Covetousness underlies all evil. It was Lucifer’s coveting the place occupied by God that led him into sin. He coveted the worship, the honor, the power belonging to the Creator. Those who will be rich, those who bend every power of their being to acquire the possession of money, fall into hurtful lusts which drown men in perdition. This is an age of the world when this one thing has well-nigh become the overmastering ambition. Colossal fortunes are amassed only to become a curse to the possessor, to drag the soul down to perdition. From all this God seeks to deliver His children.” Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, 1912, 33.

2 How much money is brought into the world at birth? How much can be carried out? With what should we be content? 1 Timothy 6:7, 8.

note: “With the follower of Christ the love of money will not be all-absorbing. For Christ’s sake he will labor for it, deny self, cut off every needless expenditure, that the means which come into his possession may be used in the great work of saving souls who are without Christ and without hope in the world.” The Signs of the Times, October 13, 1898.

“In the day of final judgment men’s hoarded wealth will be worthless to them. They have nothing they can call their own.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 372.

3 How does Heaven value contentment with godliness? 1 Timothy 6:6.

note: “The love of money is the besetting sin of many. Men and women who profess to worship the true God become so deceived in their pursuit after riches that they suppose gain to be godliness. [1 Timothy 6:6–12 quoted.]

“The length and happiness of our lives consists not in the amount of our earthly possessions. . . . Those who use their wealth in doing good will see no necessity for large accumulations in this world. Their treasure will be used to advance the cause of God.” The Signs of the Times, December 13, 1899.

4 What searching question of God must every one sooner or later face who selfishly lays up treasure for himself on earth? Luke 12:20, 21.

note: “Christ points out the way in which those who have worldly riches and yet are not rich toward God may secure the true riches. He says: Sell that ye have, and give alms, and lay up treasure in heaven. [Luke 12:33.] The remedy He proposes for the wealthy is a transfer of their affections from earthly riches to the eternal inheritance. By investing their means in the cause of God to aid in the salvation of souls, and by blessing the needy with their means, they become rich in good works and are ‘laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.’ [1 Timothy 6:19.] This will prove a safe investment. But many show by their works that they dare not trust in the bank of heaven. They choose to trust their means in the earth rather than send it before them to heaven, that their hearts may be upon their heavenly treasure.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 681.

5 How much of man’s time does God claim as His own? How much of his property? Exodus 20:8–11; Leviticus 27:30.

note: “God has given man six days in which to work for himself, but He has reserved one day in which He is to be specially honored. He is to be glorified, His authority respected. And yet man will rob God by stealing a little of the time which the Creator has reserved for Himself. God reserved the seventh day as a period of rest for man, for the good of man as well as for His own glory. He saw that the wants of man required a day of rest from toil and care, that his health and life would be endangered without a period of relaxation from the labor and anxiety of the six days.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 532, 533.

“All should remember that God’s claims upon us underlie every other claim. He gives to us bountifully, and the contract which He has made with man is that a tenth of his possessions shall be returned to God. The Lord graciously entrusts to His stewards His treasures, but of the tenth He says: This is Mine. Just in proportion as God has given His property to man, so man is to return to God a faithful tithe of all his substance. This distinct arrangement was made by Jesus Christ Himself.” Ibid., vol. 6, 384.

6 What offense is charged against the one who appropriates God’s tithe to himself? Malachi 3:8, 9.

note: “God’s requirements come first. We are not doing His will if we consecrate to Him what is left of our income after all our imaginary wants have been supplied. Before any part of our earnings is consumed, we should take out and present to Him that portion which He claims. . . . If we have prosperity in our secular business, it is because God blesses us. A part of this income is to be devoted to the poor, and a large portion to be applied to the cause of God. When that which God claims is rendered to Him, the remainder will be sanctified and blessed to our own use. But when a man robs God by withholding that which He requires, His curse rests upon the whole.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 477.

7 What command is transgressed if we disrespect the Sabbath hours and withhold our tithes and offerings to God? Exodus 20:17 (first four words).

note: “The tenth commandment strikes at the very root of all sins, prohibiting the selfish desire, from which springs the sinful act. He who in obedience to God’s law refrains from indulging even a sinful desire for that which belongs to another will not be guilty of an act of wrong toward his fellow creatures.” Sons and Daughters of God, 65.

8 Why is covetousness so offensive to God? Ephesians 5:5; Romans 8:32. Compare Colossians 3:5.

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

9 Were all the tithe brought in, what would be the result? Malachi 3:10.

note: “God has made men His stewards. The property which He has placed in their hands is the means that He has provided for the spread of the gospel. To those who prove themselves faithful stewards He will commit greater trusts.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 529.

“All His gifts are promised on condition of obedience. God has a heaven full of blessings for those who will co-operate with Him. All who obey Him may with confidence claim the fulfillment of His promises.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 145.

10 At Bethel, what sacred vow did Jacob make to God? Genesis 28:20–22.

note: “A vow or pledge to give the Lord certain things, made at times of spiritual refreshing when the Holy Spirit moves the heart to benevolence, God holds very sacred indeed. It can not ruthlessly be set aside, nor later counted as a light matter, without great peril to the soul.” Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, 1912, 34.

“Jacob made his vow while refreshed by the dews of grace and invigorated by the presence and assurance of God. After the divine glory had passed away, he had temptations, like men in our time, but he was faithful to his vow and would not harbor thoughts as to the possibility of being released from the pledge which he had made.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 466.

11 How serious should we consider to be our vow made to God? Numbers 30:1, 2; Deuteronomy 23:21–23. Should the payment of a vow be put off? Ecclesiastes 5:4, 5.

note: “Of the means entrusted to men, God claims a certain portion,—the tenth. He leaves all free to say whether or not they will give more than this. But when the heart is stirred by the influence of the Holy Spirit, and a vow is made to give a certain amount, the one who vows has no longer any right to the consecrated portion. Promises of this kind made to men would be looked upon as binding; are those not more binding that are made to God?” Counsels on Stewardship, 318.

“If a Christian deliberately or accidentally underpays his neighbor, or refuses to cancel an honest debt, his conscience, unless seared, will trouble him; he cannot rest although no one may know but himself. There are many neglected vows and unpaid pledges, and yet how few trouble their minds over the matter; how few feel the guilt of this violation of duty. We must have new and deeper convictions on this subject. The conscience must be aroused, and the matter receive earnest attention; for an account must be rendered to God in the last day, and His claims must be settled.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 468.

12 Upon whom does God command special blessings? Isaiah 32:8; Proverbs 11:25.

note: “Divine wisdom has appointed, in the plan of salvation, the law of action and reaction, making the work of beneficence, in all its branches, twice blessed. He who gives to the needy blesses others and is blessed himself in a still greater degree.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 253.

“None of our churches need be barren and unfruitful. But some of our brethren and sisters are in danger of starving to death spiritually even when they are constantly hearing the truth presented by our ministers, for they neglect to impart that which they receive. God requires every one of His stewards to use the talent entrusted to him. He bestows rich gifts upon us in order that we may bestow them freely upon others. He keeps the heart flooded with the light of His presence, in order that we may reveal Christ to our fellow men. How can those who fold their hands in ease, content to do nothing, expect God to continue to supply their necessities? The members of all our churches should labor as those who must give an account.” Review and Herald, November 11, 1902.

“A faithful tithe is the Lord’s portion. To withhold it is to rob God. Every man should freely and willingly and gladly bring tithes and offerings into the storehouse of the Lord, because in so doing there is a blessing. There is no safety in withholding from God His own portion.” Counsels on Stewardship, 66, 67.

Bible Study Guides – Religious Liberty

December 6, 2003 – December 12, 2003

Memory Verse

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” Romans 13:1.

Suggested Reading: The Great Controversy, 582–587.


“ ‘When in 1529 the German princes assembled at the Diet of Spires, there was presented the emperor’s decree restricting religious liberty, and prohibiting all further dissemination of the reformed doctrines. It seemed that the hope of the world was about to be crushed out. Would the princes accept the decree? Should the light of the gospel be shut out from the multitudes still in darkness? Mighty issues for the world were at stake. Those who had accepted the reformed faith met together, and their unanimous decision was, “Let us reject this decree. In matters of conscience the majority has no power.” ’—Merle d’Aubigne, History of the Reformation, b. 13, ch. 5.

“This principle we in our day are firmly to maintain. The banner of truth and religious liberty held aloft by the founders of the gospel church and by God’s witnesses during the centuries that have passed since then, has, in this last conflict, been committed to our hands. The responsibility for this great gift rests with those whom God has blessed with a knowledge of His word. We are to receive this word as supreme authority. We are to recognize human government as an ordinance of divine appointment, and teach obedience to it as a sacred duty, within its legitimate sphere. But when its claims conflict with the claims of God, we must obey God rather than men. God’s word must be recognized as above all human legislation. A ‘Thus saith the Lord’ is not to be set aside for a ‘Thus saith the church’ or a ‘Thus saith the state.’ The crown of Christ is to be lifted above the diadems of earthly potentates.” The Acts of the Apostles, 68, 69.

1 To whom belongs all authority? Romans 13:1.

note: “Who, then, is to be regarded as the Ruler of the nations?—The Lord God Omnipotent. All kings, all rulers, all nations, are His, under His rule and government.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1081.

“Should representative men keep the way of the Lord, they would point men to a high and holy standard. Those in positions of trust would be strictly temperate. Magistrates, senators, and judges would have a clear understanding, and their judgment would be sound and unperverted. The fear of the Lord would ever be before them, and they would depend upon a higher wisdom than their own. The heavenly Teacher would make them wise in counsel, and strong to work steadfastly in opposition to all wrong, and to advance that which is right and just and true. The word of God would be their guide, and all oppression would be discarded. Lawmakers and administrators would abide by every good and just law, ever teaching the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment. God is the head of all good and just governments and laws. Those who are entrusted with the responsibility of administering any part of the law, are accountable to God as stewards of His goods.” Review and Herald, October 1, 1895.

2 For what purpose has the Lord established governments? Romans 13:3, 4.

note: “The safety of society, and the progress of reform, depend upon a clear definition and recognition of fundamental truth. The principles of God’s law must be kept before the people as everlasting and inexorable as the character of God himself. Law is defined as a rule of action. Civil law represents the supreme power of the State, regulating the actions of men, and restricting them from doing wrong under penalty of punishment. The good of society and the safety of man require that the law be respected. All enlightened law is founded on the law of Jehovah, given on Mount Sinai.” The Signs of the Times, October 17, 1878.

3 Should the Christian render conscientious obedience to the laws not conflicting with the Word of God in the government where he resides? Romans 13:6, 7.

note: “It is our duty in every case to obey the laws of our land, unless they conflict with the higher law which God spoke with an audible voice from Sinai, and afterward engraved on stone with His own finger. ‘I will put My laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a people.’ [Hebrews 8:10.] He who has God’s law written in the heart will obey God rather than men, and will sooner disobey all men than deviate in the least from the commandment of God. God’s people, taught by the inspiration of truth, and led by a good conscience to live by every word of God, will take His law, written in their hearts, as the only authority which they can acknowledge or consent to obey. The wisdom and authority of the divine law are supreme.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 361.

4 When there is conflict between the command of God and the requirements of any earthly government, what should the Christians do? Acts 5:29; 4:19.

note: “We have men placed over us for rulers, and laws to govern the people. Were it not for these laws, the condition of the world would be worse than it is now. Some of these laws are good, others are bad. The bad have been increasing, and we are yet to be brought into strait places. But God will sustain His people in being firm and living up to the principles of His word. When the laws of men conflict with the word and law of God, we are to obey the latter, whatever the consequences may be.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 201, 202.

5 Cite an instance where God vindicated servants of His in disobeying the command of an earthly monarch. How did the faithfulness of these three men influence the ruling monarch? Daniel 3:13–29.

note: “To bow down when in prayer to God is the proper attitude to occupy. This act of worship was required of the three Hebrew captives in Babylon. . . . But such an act was homage to be rendered to God alone—the Sovereign of the world, the Ruler of the universe; and these three Hebrews refused to give such honor to any idol even though composed of pure gold. In doing so, they would, to all intents and purposes, be bowing to the king of Babylon. Refusing to do as the king had commanded, they suffered the penalty, and were cast into the burning fiery furnace. But Christ came in person and walked with them through the fire, and they received no harm.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 312.

“The attempt to enforce idolatry resulted in bringing the knowledge of the true God before the assembled princes and great men of the vast kingdom of Babylon.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 453.

6 How was another king led to make a decree that interfered with the worship of God? What did Daniel do when he heard of this decree? Daniel 6:1–10.

note: “Daniel’s position was not an enviable one. He stood at the head of a dishonest, prevaricating, godless cabinet, whose members watched him with keen, jealous eyes, to find some flaw in his conduct. They kept spies on his track, to see if they could not in this way find something against him. Satan suggested to these men a plan whereby they might get rid of Daniel. Use his religion as a means of condemning him, the enemy said.” The Youth’s Instructor, November 1, 1900.

“As Daniel, according to his custom, made his supplications three times a day to the God of heaven, the attention of the princes and rulers was called to his case. He had an opportunity to speak for himself, to show who is the true God, and to present the reason why He alone should receive worship, and the duty of rendering Him praise and homage.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 453.

7 When Daniel’s accusers betrayed him to the king, what did the king do and what was the result? Daniel 6:11–22.

note: “Daniel was true, noble, and generous. While he was anxious to be at peace with all men, he would not permit any power to turn him aside from the path of duty. He was willing to obey those who had rule over him, as far as he could do so consistently with truth and righteousness; but kings and decrees could not make him swerve from his allegiance to the King of kings.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 570.

8 When Herod apprehended Peter and caused him to be chained in prison, how was he delivered? Acts 12:5–11.

note: “The heavenly sentinels, faithful to their trust, continue their watch. Though a general decree has fixed the time when commandment keepers may be put to death, their enemies will in some cases anticipate the decree, and before the time specified, will endeavor to take their lives. But none can pass the mighty guardians stationed about every faithful soul. Some are assailed in their flight from the cities and villages; but the swords raised against them break and fall powerless as a straw. Others are defended by angels in the form of men of war.” The Great Controversy, 631.

9 In what way were the plans of the magistrates at Philippi changed by the Lord? Acts 16:25–31.

note: “Through his long term of service, Paul had never faltered in his allegiance to his Saviour. Wherever he was—whether before scowling Pharisees, or Roman authorities; before the furious mob at Lystra, or the convicted sinners in the Macedonian dungeon; whether reasoning with the panic-stricken sailors on the shipwrecked vessel, or standing alone before Nero to plead for his life—he had never been ashamed of the cause he was advocating. The one great purpose of his Christian life had been to serve Him whose name had once filled him with contempt; and from this purpose no opposition or persecution had been able to turn him aside. His faith, made strong by effort and pure by sacrifice, upheld and strengthened him. . . .

“From the Source that never fails those who sincerely seek for divine power, he draws strength that enables him to meet and overcome temptation, and to perform the duties that God places upon him. The nature of the grace that he receives, enlarges his capacity to know God and His Son. His soul goes out in longing desire to do acceptable service for the Master. And as he advances in the Christian pathway he becomes ‘strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.’ [11 Timothy 2:1.] This grace enables him to be a faithful witness of the things that he has heard. He does not despise or neglect the knowledge that he has received from God, but commits this knowledge to faithful men, who in their turn teach others.” The Acts of the Apostles, 500, 501.

10 What instruction did Christ give regarding the Christian’s duty toward God and Caesar? Matthew 22:17–21.

note: “Holding in His hand the Roman coin, upon which were stamped the name and image of Caesar, He [Jesus] declared that since they were living under the protection of the Roman power, they should render to that power the support it claimed, so long as this did not conflict with a higher duty. But while peaceably subject to the laws of the land, they should at all times give their first allegiance to God.” The Desire of Ages, 602.

11 What shall be the nature of the reign in Christ’s eternal kingdom? What is said of His subjects? Hebrews 1:8, 9; Psalm 37:11.

note: “There is a day just about to burst upon us when God’s mysteries will be seen, and all His ways vindicated; when justice, mercy, and love will be the attributes of His throne.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 433.

“Those who receive the law and the testimony, and assimilate the truth of God, are partaking of the divine nature, growing up unto the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus, and the word of truth is working their sanctification. Though they make no boasting profession of holiness, but manifest a meek and quiet spirit, working the works of Christ, they will stand before the throne of God, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. They will be sanctified and glorified through obedience to the commandments of God, wrought by divine power, through the faith of the Son of God.” The Signs of the Times, April 13, 1888.

12 When oppressed unjustly by earthly powers, with what may the child of God comfort himself? James 5:7; Revelation 19:11–16.

note: “The time is coming when God’s people will feel the hand of persecution because they keep holy the seventh day. Satan has caused the change of the Sabbath in the hope of carrying out his purpose for the defeat of God’s plans. He seeks to make the commands of God of less force in the world than human laws. The man of sin, who thought to change times and laws, and who has always oppressed the people of God, will cause laws to be made enforcing the observance of the first day of the week. But God’s people are to stand firm for Him. And the Lord will work in their behalf, showing plainly that He is the God of gods.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 229, 230.

Bible Study Guides – Temperance

November 29, 2003 – December 5, 2003

Memory Verse

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

Suggested Reading: Counsels on Health, 49–51.


“Providence has been leading the people of God out from the extravagant habits of the world, away from the indulgence of appetite and passion, to take their stand upon the platform of self-denial and temperance in all things. The people whom God is leading will be peculiar. They will not be like the world. But if they follow the leadings of God they will accomplish His purposes, and will yield their will to His will. Christ will dwell in the heart. The temple of God will be holy. Your body, says the apostle, is the temple of the Holy Ghost. God does not require His children to deny themselves to the injury of physical strength. He requires them to obey natural law, to preserve physical health. Nature’s path is the road He marks out, and it is broad enough for any Christian. God has, with a lavish hand, provided us with rich and varied bounties for our sustenance and enjoyment. But in order for us to enjoy the natural appetite, which will preserve health and prolong life, He restricts the appetite. He says: Beware; restrain, deny, unnatural appetite. If we create a perverted appetite, we violate the laws of our being and assume the responsibility of abusing our bodies and of bringing disease upon ourselves.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 63.

1 What exhortation is given to those who seek an incorruptible crown? 1 Corinthians 9:24, 25.

note: “This is a most comprehensive text. To be temperate in all things includes more than reforms in a few articles of food. The American Revised Version instead of the word temperate has the word self-control. The same rendering is given also in Acts 24:25; Galatians 5:23; 11 Peter 1:6; Titus 1:8. This expresses the true idea of temperance. It is to be self-restrained, continent in all things. True temperance includes the entire life. Some may be temperate or self-controlled in one or two particulars, yet very intemperate or self-gratifying in other directions. To be temperate in all things, includes temperance in eating and drinking, in labor, both mental and physical, in recreation,—in fact in everything which goes to make up the life.” Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, 1912, 28.

2 What must constantly be kept in subjection by the Christian? Why? 1 Corinthians 9:27.

note: “Many are in the greatest danger of failing to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord. Ministers are in danger of losing their own souls. Some who have preached to others will themselves be cast away because they have not perfected a Christian character. In their labor they do not save souls, and fail even to save their own. They do not see the importance of self-knowledge and self-control. They do not watch and pray, lest they enter into temptation. . . . Every follower of Christ should daily examine himself, that he may become perfectly acquainted with his own conduct. There is with nearly all a neglect of self-examination.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 511.

3 What does the body of the Christian believer become? To whom do we belong? Therefore what should we seek to do? 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.

note: “We are not our own. We have been purchased with a dear price, even the sufferings and death of the Son of God. If we could understand this, and fully realize it, we would feel a great responsibility resting upon us to keep ourselves in the very best condition of health, that we might render to God perfect service. But when we take any course which expends our vitality, decreases our strength, or beclouds the intellect we sin against God. In pursuing this course we are not glorifying Him in our bodies and spirits which are His, but are committing a great wrong in His sight.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 354.

“[1 Corinthians 6:19, 20 quoted.] Yes, we are God’s property, and the path of obedience to nature’s laws is the direct path to heaven. He who is converted from errors in eating, drinking, and dressing is being prepared to hear and receive the truth into a good and willing heart. Many, by practicing the laws of nature and by receiving the renovating grace of God into the soul, obtain a new lease of physical and spiritual life.” Counsels on Health, 221, 222.

4 If we willfully defile the body temple, what follows? 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17.

note: “Nature has affixed terrible penalties to these crimes [defiling the body temple]—penalties which, sooner or later, will be inflicted upon every transgressor. It is these sins more than any other that have caused the fearful degeneracy of our race, and the weight of disease and misery with which the world is cursed. Men may succeed in concealing their transgression from their fellow men, but they will no less surely reap the result, in suffering, disease, imbecility, or death. And beyond this life stands the tribunal of the judgment, with its award of eternal penalties. ‘They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God,’ but with Satan and evil angels shall have their part in that ‘lake of fire’ which ‘is the second death.’ Galatians 5:21; Revelation 20:14.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 461.

5 In the beginning what was given man for food? Genesis 1:29.

note: “In order to know what are the best foods, we must study God’s original plan for man’s diet. He who created man and who understands his needs appointed Adam his food. . . . Upon leaving Eden to gain his livelihood by tilling the earth under the curse of sin, man received permission to eat also ‘the herb of the field.’ [Genesis 3:18.]

“Grains, fruits, nuts, and vegetables constitute the diet chosen for us by our Creator. These foods, prepared in as simple and natural a manner as possible, are the most healthful and nourishing. They impart a strength, a power of endurance, and a vigor of intellect, that are not afforded by a more complex and stimulating diet.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 81.

6 What principle should govern eating? Ecclesiastes 10:17; 1 Corinthians 10:31.

note: “Parents often make a mistake by giving their children too much food. Children treated in this way will grow up dyspeptics. Moderation in the use of even good food is essential. Parents, place before your children the amount they should eat. Leave it not with them to eat just as much as they may feel inclined. . . . Parents, unless this point is guarded, your children will have dull perceptions. They may attend school, but they will be unable to learn as they ought; for the strength which should go to the brain is used in taking care of the extra food that burdens the stomach. Parents need to be educated to see that too much food given to children makes them feeble instead of robust. . . .

“Teach them to deny appetite, to be grateful for the plain, simple diet God gives them.” Child Guidance, 391.

7 What three things did Jesus mention as liable to prevent people from being prepared to meet Him at His coming? Luke 21:34.

note: “The race is groaning under a weight of accumulated woe, because of the sins of former generations. And yet with scarcely a thought or care, men and women of the present generation indulge intemperance by surfeiting and drunkenness, and thereby leave, as a legacy for the next generation, disease, enfeebled intellects, and polluted morals.

“Intemperance of any kind is the worst sort of selfishness. Those who truly fear God and keep His commandments look upon these things in the light of reason and religion. How can any man or woman keep the law of God, which requires man to love his neighbor as himself, and indulge intemperate appetite, which benumbs the brain, weakens the intellect, and fills the body with disease? Intemperance inflames the passions and gives loose rein to lust. And reason and conscience are blinded by the lower passions.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 31.

8 What food did God provide for His people in the wilderness? Psalm 78:23–25. How did the children of Israel show their dissatisfaction with God’s daily provision? 1 Corinthians 10:5–10. For what were these things written? 1 Corinthians 10:11, 12.

note: “Near the close of this earth’s history Satan will work with all his powers in the same manner and with the same temptations wherewith he tempted ancient Israel just before their entering the Land of Promise. He will lay snares for those who claim to keep the commandments of God, and who are almost on the borders of the heavenly Canaan. He will use his powers to their utmost in order to entrap souls and to take God’s professed people upon their weakest points. Those who have not brought the lower passions into subjection to the higher powers of their being, those who have allowed their minds to flow in a channel of carnal indulgence of the baser passions, Satan is determined to destroy with his temptations—to pollute their souls with licentiousness. He is not aiming especially at the lower and less important marks, but he makes use of his snares through those whom he can enlist as his agents to allure or attract men to take liberties which are condemned in the law of God. And men in responsible positions, teaching the claims of God’s law, whose mouths are filled with arguments in vindication of His law, against which Satan has made such a raid—over such he sets his hellish powers and his agencies at work and overthrows them upon the weak points in their character, knowing that he who offends on one point is guilty of all, thus obtaining complete mastery over the entire man. Mind, soul, body, and conscience are involved in the ruin. If he be a messenger of righteousness and has had great light, or if the Lord has used him as His special worker in the cause of truth, then how great is the triumph of Satan! How he exults! How God is dishonored!” The Adventist Home, 327.

9 In Peter’s list of Christian virtues, name those that precede and follow temperance. 11 Peter 1:5–7.

note: “Temperance, or self-control, is only one qualification of many that go to make up a perfect Christian character. All these qualifications here mentioned by Peter blend into one symmetrical whole. Knowledge precedes temperance. Good judgment and sound sense are needed in wisely taking hold of temperance principles. Then it becomes a powerful adjunct in rising to the higher attainments of patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.” Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, 1912, 29.

“[11 Peter 1:5–7 quoted.] Here is a work which rests upon every one who professes to follow Christ; it is to live upon the plan of addition.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 360.

“It is impossible for an intemperate man to be a patient man. First temperance, then patience.” Ibid., 95.

10 What is contained in the wine cup? What warning is given concerning wine? How does Solomon describe a drunkard’s experience? Proverbs 23:29–32. From what will drunkards be excluded? 1 Corinthians 6:10.

note: “No argument is needed to show the evil effects of intoxicants on the drunkard. The bleared, besotted wrecks of humanity—souls for whom Christ died, and over whom angels weep—are everywhere. They are a blot on our boasted civilization. They are the shame and curse and peril of every land.” The Ministry of Healing, 331.

“No one can be written in the books of heaven who is a drunkard. Resist temptation as a man. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth you can lay hold upon divine power. Christ will work in behalf of every one of you.” Temperance, 291.

11 Upon what special point touching appetite did Jesus gain a complete victory? Luke 4:24.

note: “God requires of His people continual advancement. We need to learn that indulged appetite is the greatest hindrance to mental improvement and soul sanctification. With all our profession of health reform, many of us eat improperly. Indulgence of appetite is the greatest cause of physical and mental debility, and lies largely at the foundation of feebleness and premature death. Let the individual who is seeking to possess purity of spirit bear in mind that in Christ there is power to control the appetite.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 156.

12 For what purpose did Christ give Himself up for the church? Ephesians 5:26, 27.

note: “Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement. Then the latter rain will fall upon us as the early rain fell upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 214.

Food For Life – Vegetable Patties

Favorite Recipes from Staff and Friends of Steps to Life

Those who eat flesh are but eating grains and vegetables at second hand, for the animal receives from these things the nutrition that produces growth. The life that was in the grains and vegetables passes into the eater. We receive it by eating the flesh of the animal. How much better to get it direct, by eating the food that God provided for our use!

“Flesh was never the best food; but its use is now doubly objectionable, since disease in animals is so rapidly increasing. Those who use flesh foods little know what they are eating. Often if they could see the animals when living and know the quality of the meat they eat, they would turn from it with loathing. People are continually eating flesh that is filled with tuberculous and cancerous germs. Tuberculosis, cancer, and other fatal diseases are thus communicated.

“The effects of a flesh diet may not be immediately realized, but this is no evidence that it is not harmful. Few can be made to believe that it is the meat they have eaten which has poisoned their blood and caused their suffering. Many die of diseases wholly due to meat eating, while the real cause is not suspected by themselves or by others.” Child Guidance, 382, 383.

Recipe – Vegetable Patties

1 medium to large unpeeled zucchini

1 large onion

cracker or bread crumbs

whole wheat flour

1/2 cup Frontier beef or chicken flavored seasoning

In a blender, puree the vegetables together. Transfer vegetable mixture to a large bowl. Add seasoning, and stir in enough crushed cracker or bread crumbs along with enough flour to make the consistency of cookie dough. Mix well. Drop by tablespoon onto a Pam-sprayed cookie sheet. Flatten slightly. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes each side. Patties may also be browned in a lightly oiled skillet. Patties may be frozen for future use.

Other types of squash and/or carrot pulp (left from carrot juicing) may be used to vary this recipe. If used alone, the carrot pulp may turn dark; it is best to mix it with squash. The blended vegetable mixture may be frozen for use later.

Submitted by Myrtle Partridge – A friend of Steps to Life and a frequent volunteer at the ministry, Myrtle Partridge’s Vegetable Patties are a favorite at the staff’s weekly potluck luncheon.

Ask the Pastor – How do you handle children and the communion service?


How do you handle children and the communion service? Should children who are not baptized take of the bread and the wine? We are blessed with a lot of children in our home church, and they look longingly at the bread and the juice. Should it be offered to them?


Seventh-day Adventists have historically never excluded anyone from the communion service. They have followed the Biblical example of Jesus, on the night of the Last Supper in the upper room. Matthew 26:20–25 tells the story of the disciples coming together with Jesus around the Passover table. Verse 21 tells us that Jesus told them that one of them would betray Him. In John’s gospel, we are told that while all the “Is it I?” questions were being asked, John is lying on Jesus’ bosom, and he is prompted to ask who it is. Jesus plainly reveals to them that Judas is the betrayer.

I bring all of this out for the reason that Judas was living a life and filling a role of a devil. In other words, the devil was in attendance at this Last Supper experience. That Last Supper served as a model of the present day communion service, and there was a devil present that ate the bread and drank the wine. This is why we never close communion service to anyone.

On the other side, there is a certain responsibility that comes with maturity. Judas was a grown man and could understand as a man. It was up to him to examine himself in the light to the truth, which was right before him.

The apostle Paul has been quoted as restricting this service with the words in 1 Corinthians 11:27. Many have taken this text and used it to exclude others or themselves from the communion service, because they felt that they were not worthy to partake. Friend, no body is worthy! Our most righteous righteousness is nothing but filthy rags. This text is not even talking about our worthiness. It is talking about how the communion service is being conducted. If there was ever a time when we should be at the communion service, it should be when we feel the most unworthy. That is when the grace of God is the most manifested. These people were acting in a manner unfitting a Christian. This counsel came to correct what they were doing, not to exclude them for who they were.

As far as children are concerned, there is nothing in the Word that forbids the taking of the bread and the juice. But there is a responsibility of the parents to guide them into an understanding and into a commitment as a follower of Jesus. If a child has the full grasp of what salvation and the death of Christ on the cross of Calvary are all about, as it concerns them, then let them partake. Many parents do not teach their children these important concepts. If these children do not understand, they should not participate, but the why needs to be explained to them.

While the communion service is a sacred and solemn service, it should not close out anyone. For those who can reason, they should be left alone. For children who cannot understand the plan of salvation, the parents should be their guides. The age of that understanding is usually the age of baptism.

That is why these two events are generally tied together. This should not be a divisive issue.

Pastor Mike Baugher is Associate Speaker for Steps to Life Ministry. If you have a question you would like Pastor Mike to answer, e-mail it to:, or mail it to: LandMarks, P. O. Box 782828, Wichita, KS 67278

Nature Nugget – Transformed Cicadas

Cicadas, of which there are 1,500 species worldwide, are in the order Homoptera (sucking insects) and make up the family Cicadidae. Some species are annual, emerging every year, and some are periodical, with numerous years between emergences. As adults and juveniles, they feed on the xylem fluid of woody plants, using piercing and sucking mouthparts.

Female cicadas lay 200 to 600 eggs in slits they cut in the twigs and branches of trees and shrubs. The eggs hatch into nymphs, which drop to the ground and burrow into the soil as deep as six feet. Here they feed on the roots of trees and shrubs until they are ready to emerge. After spending most of their lives underground, the nymphs leave their burrows and climb up the trunks of trees where they emerge as fully-winged adult cicadas, leaving their old, empty, nymphal skins (exubia) behind. As adults, they complete their life cycle in just two to six weeks.

Adult male cicadas produce a loud, species-specific, mate-attracting song, using specialized sound-producing organs on their abdomens called tymbals. These sounds are among the loudest produced by any insect. Some large species, such as the Greengrocer of Australia, produce noise intensity in excess of 120 decibels at close range, which is approaching the pain threshold of the human ear. In contrast, some small species have songs so high in pitch that the noise is beyond the range of human hearing. When male cicadas sing, they have to close their tympana (hearing organs), so they will not be deafened by their own noise. Many species of cicadas gather into groups while calling, producing such a loud chorus that it repels birds, one of their main predators.

Periodical cicadas, of which there are seven species, have a life cycle of either 13 or 17 years, depending on the species, and occur only in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. They have synchronized, regional emergences, which may cover parts of one state or several states, and some that can cover significant portions of the country. Unlike annual cicadas that appear every summer in relatively small numbers, periodical cicadas emerge in mass, numbering more than a million per acre. Their choruses are deafening but fortunately cease before dark, allowing anyone living in a “plagued” area to get some sleep! The whole invasion is over in four weeks after the first emergence, the adults having mated and died. The 17–year periodical cicada is the second longest living insect, next to the queen termite.

Just as the cicada nymph emerges from a lifetime of darkness underground and is transformed into a winged adult, leaving its old empty shell behind, so the sinner can leave a life of darkness in sin and be transformed into a new person, leaving behind his old, worldly self. “Souls that have borne the likeness of Satan have become transformed into the image of God. This change is in itself the miracle of miracles. A change wrought by the Word, it is one of the deepest mysteries of the Word. We cannot understand it; we can only believe, as declared by the Scriptures, it is ‘Christ in you, the hope of glory.’ ” The Acts of the Apostles, 476. Paul tells us, in Ephesians 4:22–24, to put off the old man, which is corrupt, and to put on the new man, which is created in righteousness and true holiness.

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

Children’s Story – Snake in the Hen House – Part I

And God created . . . every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that [it was] good. And God blessed them, saying, . . . let fowl multiply in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.” Genesis 1:21–23. [Emphasis supplied.]

It was the fifth day of creation week that God created chickens. I am so glad that He created chickens. They are wonderful pets. Do you know that God loves all the creatures that He created, and He wants them to be safe? Let me tell you about it.

One very pleasant evening in Arkansas, I was transcribing a sermon by Pastor John. It was all about Satan’s tricks and how he tries to fool us. The Bible calls Satan a “dragon” and a “serpent,” which is a snake. God wants us to recognize Satan’s temptations and to avoid them, like we would avoid a snake.

As I was happily typing away, all of a sudden a thought came into my head, “Lois, you had better go and close up your chickens.” You see, the only way to protect the chickens from the raccoons was to lock the chicken house at night.

I looked at the clock and objected, “Oh, I do not want to be interrupted right now. It is only five minutes before nine o’clock. I will do it later.” So, I went on typing.

A few minutes later, the thought voice was more insistent. “Lois, you need to shut up your chickens!” Looking at the time on the clock, I decided I might as well obey the persistent thought. So I saved my work on the computer, picked up my temperamental, old, red flashlight, and went outside toward the chicken pen.

The chicken house was divided in half (north and south), and each half had its own yard and its own group of chickens. I headed for the north side first. Click—the flashlight did not turn on. Click, click—finally the light came on.

I smiled, knowing what I would see inside the chicken house. Fluffy, a black, mother hen, would be on her nest, and her little chicks would stick their heads out through her feathers to look at the light. I would look around and count the chickens on the roosts to be sure they were all there. Keeter would be right in back of his mother, Fluffy. Keeter was half grown but handicapped with cerebral palsy, and he could not sit on the roost, so he stayed with Fluffy and the new babies.

I shined the light inside the chicken house. The nest was there, filled with something black, but it was not Fluffy! I could not believe my eyes. There was a huge, ugly, black snake, and he was trying to swallow Keeter! The light did not bother the snake at all. But where was Fluffy?

Before I could think what to do, God came to my rescue. The thought voice in my mind said, “Lois, do not try to be a hero. Go get Ken.”

I ran as fast as I could, bursting into the house, shouting, “Ken, there is a big, black snake in the chicken house, and it is swallowing Keeter.”

Ken jumped out of his chair and headed for the back door. I handed him the old, red flashlight and followed. As he ran out the door, he grabbed a shovel. Click, click, click. The flashlight would not come on. “Dear Lord,” I prayed, “please let the old, red flashlight work.” Click, click—nothing. As Ken got to the door of the chicken yard, the flashlight came on, just when he needed it. “Oh, thank you, Lord,” I breathed. But what would Ken do?

The Pen of Inspiration – How Do We Stand?

There are many who profess to be Christians, while they are living a sinful, immoral life; but their profession will not cover them in the day of God. There is a large class who trample upon God’s law, who break its precepts, and teach others to do the same, terming it a “yoke of bondage”; while with words they exalt Jesus, and talk of being saved by grace. These are the ones who are turning the grace of Christ into lasciviousness. All such teaching has a tendency to enfeeble the maoral tone of the religious world, and accounts for the miserable, heartless, outward form that is taking the place of the genuine piety that God desires in his people. How many come under the condemnation of the words of Christ! “I would that thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” [Revelation 3:15–17.]

We are impressed with these words when we hear men who are trampling on the precepts of Heaven, making the claim that they are sanctified and sinless. They make high professions, but they refuse to search the Scriptures, that they may know what is truth. On one occasion a minister was brought to our notice who claimed that he was sinless. He declared that he was inspired by the Holy Ghost; and yet he would not read a word concerning present truth. He said the Lord taught him, and he had no need to depend on the word of life. He affirmed that the agitation of the Sabbath question was bringing men into bondage, rather than into liberty; and that all he wanted was the freedom of Christ,—the blessed faith of Christ. He professed to be filled with Christ. But could we receive the testimony of this man as truth? What is the language of the True Witness? [Revelation 3:17; Isaiah 8:20; Romans 6:1, 2 quoted.]

Are not such teachers the pretenders to whom Christ referred when he said, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits.” “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” [Matthew 7:15, 16, 21.] God’s will is expressed in his holy law. This is the only correct standard of righteousness, and if a man’s character stands in harmony with the Lord’s standard, his testimony may be received and relied upon; but if he stands in opposition to the requirements of God, he measures himself and others by his own finite, fallible standard, and may claim as much as does the pope of Rome. In the light of the royal law, his character may be lacking in every essential qualification of purity and righteousness. He has torn down the true detector of sin, and has trampled it in the dust. He claims great spiritual riches,—wants nothing that he has not, and boasts of the grace of Christ, which he has turned into lasciviousness. These characters will multiply, and by smooth words and deceptive speeches will deceive the unwary and those who do not try the professions of men by the great Tester of character.

The world’s Redeemer declares, “I have kept my Father’s commandments.” “I counsel thee,” saith the True Witness, “to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.” [John 15:10; Revelation 3:18.] Christ’s righteousness will not cover the unrighteousness of any one. “All unrighteousness is sin,” and “sin is the transgression of the law,” therefore, those who are breaking the law of God and teaching others to break it, will not be covered with the garments of Christ’s righteousness. [1 John 5:17; 3; 4.] He came not to save men in their sins; but from their sins. “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected; hereby know we that we are in him.” [1 John 2:3–5.] These utterances are weighty, and should be duly considered. [1 John 1:8–10; 2:1 quoted.] We need an advocate with the Father, because it is the Father’s law that we have broken. We need to repent of our transgression, and return to our allegiance to God. “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins: and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not; whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.” [1 John 3:4–6.] Here it is plainly stated that whosoever abideth in Christ will not be a transgressor of the law of God.

“Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness, is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the Devil; for the Devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the Devil.” [1 John 3:7, 8.] He was manifested to destroy, not the royal law of God, but “the works of the Devil.” “In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the Devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God.” “And he that keepeth his commandments, dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the spirit which he hath given us.” “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” [1 John 3:10, 24; 5:2–4.]

How bitterly do many of the ministers who stand in the sacred desk denounce the royal law of God, and many of them profess to be wholly sanctified to his service. They are of the class who break the law, and teach others to do the same; but does not Jesus say, “Whosoever shall break one of the least of these commandments and teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven?” [Matthew 5:19.] The True Witness presents encouragements to all who are seeking to walk in the path of humble obedience, through faith in his name. He declares, “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” [Revelation 3:21.] These are the words of our Substitute and Surety. He who is the divine Head of the church, the mightiest of conquerors, would point his followers to his life, his toils, his self-denials, his struggles, and sufferings, through contempt, through rejection, ridicule, scorn, insult, mockery, falsehood, up the path of Calvary to the scene of the crucifixion, that they might be encouraged to press on toward the mark for the prize and reward of the overcomer. Victory is assured through faith and obedience. Let us make an application of the words of Christ to our own individual cases. Are we poor, and blind, and wretched, and miserable? Then let us seek the gold and white raiment that he offers. The work of overcoming is not restricted to the age of the martyrs. The conflict is for us, in these days of subtle temptation to worldliness, to self-security, to indulgence of pride, covetousness, false doctrines, and immorality of life. “By their fruits ye shall know them,” and every church is to bear the test of God’s law. [Matthew 7:20.] Shall we stand before the proving of God?

Review and Herald, July 24, 1888.

Ellen G. White (1827–1915) wrote more than 5,000 periodical articles and 40 books during her lifetime. Today, including compilations from her 50,000 pages of manuscript, more than 100 titles are available in English. She is the most translated woman writer in the entire history of literature, and the most translated American author of either gender. Seventh-day Adventists believe that Mrs. White was appointed by God as a special messenger to draw the world’s attention to the Holy Scriptures and help prepare people for Christ’s second advent.

Converted By The World

The Lord has laid upon my heart a deep concern about the deadly trend of compromise that is paralyzing God’s people. While we praise God for the thousands that are still coming to Christ, we can not at the same time ignore this subtle but deadly conversion of the church to the world!

Losing Our Song

I heard about a canary that sang an unusually beautiful song. During the summer, its owner hung the cage in a nearby tree so the bird could enjoy the sunshine and fresh air. Eventually, sparrows began to frequent the tree. At first, the canary was frightened, but soon he began enjoying his new companions. Yet through the steady exposure to the sparrows, he gradually lost the sweetness of his song as he began mimicking the dull twitter of his new “friends.”

I truly fear what happened to the canary’s song is happening to the church. Through a long series of seemingly minor compromises and constant association with the world, I believe the church is losing its distinctive message and being slowly converted to the world!

World Conversion?

When we hear the phrase “world conversion,” most Christians immediately picture a great moving of the Holy Spirit that brings a global acceptance of Christ. But there is another spirit out there that is involved in a different form of evangelism. The devil is ever working to counteract the soul-winning efforts of God by sowing tares among the wheat.

And instead of the church converting the world to Christ, I believe there is frightening evidence that in many areas the church is gradually being converted to the world!

This subtle shift from service to Christ to serving the enemy is happening so slowly many Christians are unconscious they have changed teams. This drifting trend can be lethal to our souls. Remember, Jesus said when He returns most professed Christians will be astonished that they are excluded from heaven.

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:22, 23.

Spiritual Disorientation

Do you remember when John F. Kennedy Jr.’s single-engine aircraft crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, killing him and two others? Investigators have come to believe that while flying over the blackened ocean on a nearly moonless night, he gazed out the window for reference instead of consulting his instruments. He believed he was flying straight and level, while in reality the plane was making a wide arch downward into the dark sea. He trusted his feelings and neglected to trust his instruments.

I fear this is what the church is doing now! Instead of looking to the compass of God’s unchanging Word for guidance, we are becoming spiritually disoriented from gazing out the window at the world. And many Christians are unaware that they’re flying upside down!

Converted by Comparison

“For we dare not class ourselves or compare ourselves with those who commend themselves. But they, measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.” 11 Corinthians 10:12.

Historically, the church continually makes the mistake of determining how holy it is by comparing itself to the world. But as the standards of the world continue to plummet, the standards of the church tend to follow close behind—retaining just enough distance to maintain the illusion of holiness.

For one example, when I was growing up in New York City, a girlfriend of mine was sent home from school for wearing immodest clothes. (Mind you, this was a public school in New York!) But what was unacceptable then is readily accepted in most Christian schools today! We cannot afford to deceive ourselves by thinking that as long as we are holier than the world, we must be pleasing God! Jesus said in Luke 16:15, “For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God.”

Converted by Compromise

Another common strategy of the devil is to market Christianity to the world by making a few subtle compromises. For instance, some people attach Christian words to devilish music so the lost will be more attracted to the church and feel at home. But music is not a neutral medium. Sensual music does not become holy by simply rewriting a few words. And this door swings both ways, as thousands of our Christian youth develop an appetite for worldly music they eventually lose respect for the holiness of God—and end up leaving the church!

Another example of compromise is the new trend of “dressing down” for church on Sabbath morning to create a more relaxed and familiar environment. People argue that going casual makes visitors feel less pressure to change for church. In reality, the sense of reverence and sanctity for the Lord, His sanctuary, and the occasion of Sabbath worship, is greatly diminished. Obviously some can not afford formal clothing but it seems a little strange to me that some church members will dress up for their employer, but would dress down for the Almighty.

Catatonic Conversions

Did you know that roughly 60 percent of church members rarely make it to Sabbath School because they need to “sleep in” for some reason? Just like the five foolish virgins in Matthew 25, much of God’s church is sleeping without oil reserves for their lamps. And like the apostles in Gethsemane, many are spiritually snoring when we should be watching and praying.

“Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!” Mark 13:35–37.

The World: A Love/Hate Relationship

Jesus was very clear! We are not of the world, and we should make no attempt to be like the world or make peace with the enemy. Remember Delilah had to lull Samson to sleep before she could neutralize his power. Likewise the devil is trying to sedate God’s people with the pleasures of this life.

“Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” James 4:4. [Emphasis supplied.]

“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” 1 John 2:15.

I could cite many more examples, but I think you see the principle. This was the philosophy that brought on the great apostasy of the Dark Ages. The liberals in the church argued, “Let’s reach the pagans by making a few minor compromises.” Soon they were praying to statues, observing pagan holidays, believing pagan doctrines, and idolizing Mary and the priests! Did the church grow? Absolutely! When the church lowers its standards to reach the world to create an illusion of salvation without self-denial, the lost will always come in droves. But how likely is it that these new nominal members will be saved?

A Self Examination

Paul said, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith.” 11 Corinthians 13:5.

Here are a few clues to know if a church is gradually being converted to the world: If minds go blank when someone asks for scriptural reasons for our faith . . . If members can find little time for devotions, study, and prayer but always have time for TV . . . If members don’t see anything wrong with dining out, shopping, or attending sporting events on Sabbath . . . When leaders can’t detect anything wrong with “Christian Rap” and “Christian Rock” music and prefer the shallow “7/11” songs (where you sing the same seven words eleven times) . . . If non-Christian friends don’t notice a distinct difference in the congregation’s dress, diet, or conversation . . . this church is most likely being converted to the world.

It’s important in these last days that we carefully examine all aspects of our lives, or we may be caught unaware when Jesus comes. Friend, I urge you to stand with me as I do the same and work toward allowing God to purify our hearts and His church.

So What Can We Do?

For starters we desperately need a revival, but that can only come after heartfelt repentance.

James 4:7–10: “Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Lament and mourn and weep! . . . Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.”

We need to look to the Word and away from the world! We need to pray for revival!

Pastor Doug Batchelor is President and Speaker for Amazing Facts Ministries. He may be contacted by telephone at: 916-434-3880 or by mail at: P. O. Box 1058, Roseville, California 95678. This article is reprinted with permission from Pastor Batchelor’s August 2003 letter.