Bible Study Guides – The Prosperity of the Church

December 25, 2016 – December 31, 2016

Key Text

“From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:16).

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 3, 445, 446.


The true prosperity of the church depends upon separation from the world and a true connection with God.



  • What should be our first interest? Ephesians 2:21.

Note: “Every believer should be wholehearted in his attachment to the church. Its prosperity should be his first interest, and unless he feels under sacred obligations to make his connection with the church a benefit to it in preference to himself, it can do far better without him.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 18.

  • What will promote the prosperity of the church? Ephesians 4:16.

Note: a. A living connection with Christ. (The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1144.) b. Unity and mutual confidence. (Testimonies, vol. 3 445, 446.) c. Religious education of the young people. (Fundamentals of Christian Education, 388, 389.) d. The proper food given her. (The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 942.) e. Personal effort. (Evangelism, 338.) f. Financial contributions. (Testimonies, vol. 3, 405.) g. Order, rules and discipline. (Ibid., 294, 445, 446.) h. Cherishing the precious plant of love. (Ibid., vol. 5, 123.)



  • By what must the prosperity of the church and her institutions be measured? John 15:4.

Note: “If you lower the standard in order to secure popularity and an increase of numbers, and then make this increase a cause of rejoicing, you show great blindness. If numbers were evidence of success, Satan might claim the preeminence; for in this world his followers are largely in the majority. It is the degree of moral power pervading the college that is a test of its prosperity. It is the virtue, intelligence, and piety of the people composing our churches, not their numbers, that should be a source of joy and thankfulness.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 31, 32.

“Our professions are worthless unless we abide in Christ; for we cannot be living branches unless the vital qualities of the Vine abound in us. In the genuine Christian the characteristics of his Master will appear, and when we reflect the graces of Christ in our lives and characters, the Father loves us as He loves His Son. When this condition is fulfilled in those who profess to believe the present truth, we shall see a prosperous church; for its members will not live unto themselves, but unto Him who died for them, and they will be flourishing branches of the living Vine.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1144.

  • Give the distinction between essential and apparent prosperity. Acts 7:48; Isaiah 57:15.

Note: “It is when the vital principles of the kingdom of God are lost sight of, that ceremonies become multitudinous and extravagant. It is when the character building is neglected, when the adornment of the soul is lacking, when the simplicity of godliness is despised, that pride and love of display demand magnificent church edifices, splendid adornings, and imposing ceremonials. But in all this God is not honored. He values His church, not for its external advantages, but for the sincere piety which distinguishes it from the world. He estimates it according to the growth of its members in the knowledge of Christ, according to their progress in spiritual experience. He looks for the principles of love and goodness. Not all the beauty of art can bear comparison with the beauty of temper and character to be revealed in those who are Christ’s representatives.” Prophets and Kings, 565, 566.



  • What may be learned from the mistake made by the founding Fathers of America? What has always resulted from attempting to build up the church by the help of the state? James 4:4.

Note: “A profession of religion being the condition of suffrage and office holding, many, actuated solely by motives of worldly policy, united with the church without a change of heart. Thus the churches came to consist, to a considerable extent, of unconverted persons; and even in the ministry were those who not only held errors of doctrine, but who were ignorant of the renewing power of the Holy Spirit. Thus again was demonstrated the evil results, so often witnessed in the history of the church from the days of Constantine to the present, of attempting to build up the church by the aid of the state, of appealing to the secular power in support of the gospel of Him who declared: ‘My kingdom is not of this world’ (John 18:36). The union of the church with the state, be the degree never so slight, while it may appear to bring the world nearer to the church, does in reality but bring the church nearer to the world.” The Great Controversy, 297.

  • Where should be the real citizenship of true Christians? From what will they abstain? Hebrews 11:10, 13; John 18:36.

Note: “In regard to the world, Christians will say, We will not dabble in politics. They will say decidedly, We are pilgrims and strangers; our citizenship is above. They will not be seen choosing company for amusement. They will say, We have ceased to be infatuated by childish things. We are strangers and pilgrims, looking for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 131.



  • How can church members strengthen the hand of the leaders? Quote an example from the days of Moses. Exodus 17:10–13. What will give members power to support the church?

Note: “Let each church member feel that he himself must be right with God, that he must be sanctified through the truth. Then he can represent Christian character to others and can set an example of unselfishness. If each will do this, the church will increase in spirituality and in favor with God.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 481.

“The churches would realize one hundredfold more of the workings of the Holy Spirit if ministers would educate all to bear in mind that they have a God nigh at hand, and not afar off, and that they can honor God by seeking Him for help and wisdom just where they are. They will then have ability which will strengthen the General Conference.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 326.

  • How can the leaders strengthen the local churches? Quote an example from the days of the apostles. Acts 6:1–3.

Note: “The disciples of Jesus had reached a crisis in their experience. Under the wise leadership of the apostles, who labored unitedly in the power of the Holy Spirit, the work committed to the gospel messengers was developing rapidly. The church was continually enlarging, and this growth in membership brought increasingly heavy burdens upon those in charge. No one man, or even one set of men, could continue to bear these burdens alone, without imperiling the future prosperity of the church. There was necessity for a further distribution of the responsibilities which had been borne so faithfully by a few during the earlier days of the church. The apostles must now take an important step in the perfecting of gospel order in the church by laying upon others some of the burdens thus far borne by themselves.” The Acts of the Apostles, 88, 89.



  • Where is the foundation for the prosperity of the church to be laid? I Timothy 3:4, 5.

Note: “In the home the foundation is laid for the prosperity of the church. The influences that rule in the home life are carried into the church life; therefore church duties should first begin in the home.” The Adventist Home, 318.

  • On what power is the prosperity of the church always dependent? John 14:12–18.

Note: “The promise of the Spirit is a matter little thought of; and the result is only what might be expected—spiritual drought, spiritual darkness, spiritual declension and death. Minor matters occupy the attention, and the divine power which is necessary for the growth and prosperity of the church, and which would bring all other blessings in its train, is lacking, though offered in its infinite plenitude.

“It is the absence of the Spirit that makes the gospel ministry so powerless. Learning, talent, eloquence, every natural or acquired endowment, may be possessed; but, without the presence of the Spirit of God, no heart will be touched, no sinner won to Christ. On the other hand, if they are connected with Christ, if the gifts of the Spirit are theirs, the poorest and most ignorant of His disciples will have a power that will tell upon hearts.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 21, 22.



1 What should have a high priority in our lives?

2 What constitutes real prosperity?

3 What dangers are in seeking material help and support?

4 What examples do we have for cooperation with the ministers in their work?

5 What is necessary for prosperity in the home and the church?

Copyright © 2015 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – The Kingdom in You

December 18, 2016 – December 24, 2016

Key Text

“I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:7, 8).

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 674–678.


“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.



  • What did Jesus declare regarding His kingdom in this present world? Luke 17:20, 21; John 4:20–24.

Note: “Not by seeking a holy mountain or a sacred temple are men brought into communion with heaven. Religion is not to be confined to external forms and ceremonies. The religion that comes from God is the only religion that will lead to God. In order to serve Him aright, we must be born of the divine Spirit. This will purify the heart and renew the mind, giving us a new capacity for knowing and loving God. It will give us a willing obedience to all His requirements. This is true worship.” The Desire of Ages, 189.

  • To whom is the kingdom given? Luke 12:32; Matthew 5:3; 7:21.

Note: “Wherever a soul reaches out after God, there the Spirit’s working is manifest, and God will reveal Himself to that soul. For such worshipers He is seeking. He waits to receive them and to make them His sons and daughters.” The Desire of Ages, 189.



  • What is our hope as believers in Christ? Titus 2:13.
  • What is to be given to those who enter heaven? 2 Timothy 4:8. How should this encourage us to steadfastness? Revelation 3:11.

Note: “To the overcomer is promised a crown of unfading glory, and a life that measures with the life of God. ‘To him that overcometh,’ Christ declares, ‘will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.’ ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him’ (Revelation 2:7; I Corinthians 2:9). Let us strive to obtain an abundant entrance into the kingdom of our Lord. Let us diligently study the Gospel that Christ came in person to present to John on the Isle of Patmos—the Gospel that is termed, ‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to shew unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass.’ Let us remember always that ‘blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein; for the time is at hand’ (Revelation 1:1, 3).” The Signs of the Times, February 4, 1903.

  • Though at times evil appears to triumph, what assurance do we have? Romans 8:28; 2 Corinthians 13:8.

Note: “Through centuries of persecution, conflict, and darkness, God has sustained His church. Not one cloud has fallen upon it that He has not prepared for; not one opposing force has risen to counterwork His work, that He has not foreseen. All has taken place as He predicted. He has not left His church forsaken, but has traced in prophetic declarations what would occur, and that which His Spirit inspired the prophets to foretell has been brought about. All His purposes will be fulfilled. His law is linked with His throne, and no power of evil can destroy it. Truth is inspired and guarded by God; and it will triumph over all opposition.” The Acts of the Apostles, 11, 12.



  • What should we pray regarding the kingdom of God? Matthew 6:10. How should this prayer influence our priorities? Verse 33.

Note: “My dear brethren and sisters, let the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ be in your minds continually and let them crowd out worldly thoughts and cares. When you lie down and when you rise up, let them be your meditation. Live and act wholly in reference to the coming of the Son of man. The sealing time is very short, and will soon be over. Now is the time, while the four angels are holding the four winds, to make our calling and election sure.” Early Writings, 58.

  • What part do we have in the nearness of Christ’s coming? Matthew 24:14; 2 Peter 3:12.

Note: “It is the privilege of every Christian not only to look for but to hasten the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:12, margin). Were all who profess His name bearing fruit to His glory, how quickly the whole world would be sown with the seed of the gospel. Quickly the last great harvest would be ripened, and Christ would come to gather the precious grain.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 69.

“In the kingdoms of the world, position meant self-aggrandizement. … Influence, wealth, education, were so many means of gaining control of the masses for the use of the leaders. …

“Christ was establishing a kingdom on different principles. He called men, not to authority, but to service, the strong to bear the infirmities of the weak. Power, position, talent, education, placed their possessor under the greater obligation to serve his fellows. …

“Among His disciples Christ was in every sense a caretaker, a burden bearer. He shared their poverty, He practiced self-denial on their account, He went before them to smooth the more difficult places, and soon He would consummate His work on earth by laying down His life. The principle on which Christ acted is to actuate the members of the church which is His body. … In the kingdom of Christ those are greatest who follow the example He has given and act as shepherds of His flock.” The Desire of Ages, 550.



  • What is the ceremony that reminds us of the coming kingdom? Luke 22:14–20; I Corinthians 11:26.

Note: “The ordinance of the Lord’s Supper was given to commemorate the great deliverance wrought out as the result of the death of Christ. Till He shall come the second time in power and glory, this ordinance is to be celebrated. It is the means by which His great work for us is to be kept fresh in our minds.” The Desire of Ages, 652, 653.

“It is at these [ordinances], His own appointments, that Christ meets His people and energizes them by His presence.” Ibid., 656.

  • Though we may face affliction and persecution, what should we bear in mind? Matthew 5:10; 2 Corinthians 4:16–18.

Note: “Many of your afflictions have been visited upon you, in the wisdom of God, to bring you closer to the throne of grace. He softens and subdues His children by sorrows and trials. This world is God’s workshop, where He fashions us for the courts of heaven. He uses the planing knife upon our quivering hearts until the roughness and irregularities are removed and we are fitted for our proper places in the heavenly building. Through tribulation and distress the Christian becomes purified and strengthened, and develops a character after the model that Christ has given. The influence of a true, godly life cannot be measured. It reaches beyond the immediate circle of home and friends, shedding a light that wins souls to Jesus.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 143.

“The bright and cheerful side of our religion will be represented by all who are daily consecrated to God. We should not dishonor God by the mournful relation of trials that appear grievous. All trials that are received as educators will produce joy. The whole religious life will be uplifting, elevating, ennobling, fragrant with good words and works. The enemy is well pleased to have souls depressed, downcast, mourning and groaning; he wants just such impressions made as to the effect of our faith. But God designs that the mind shall take no low level. He desires every soul to triumph in the keeping power of the Redeemer.” Ibid., vol. 6, 365, 366.



  • In view of the exhortations of the apostles, what should we do from today forward? I John 2:28; John 3:2, 3; 2 Peter 1:10, 11.
  • How will we spend eternity in the everlasting kingdom? Revelation 5:13.

Note: “And the years of eternity, as they roll, will bring richer and still more glorious revelations of God and of Christ. 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. …

“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, 678.



1 How do we ensure our place in the spiritual kingdom of God?

2 What promises can encourage us in the midst of the battle between good and evil?

3 What can you do to hasten the coming of Jesus?

4 Explain some things that can help us keep eternity in view.

5 What are your plans for eternity?

Copyright © 2015 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – The Millennium and the New Earth

December 11, 2016 – December 17, 2016

Key Text

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5).

Study Help: Early Writings, 17–20, 288–295.


“God’s entire universe was clean, and the great controversy was forever ended. Wherever we looked, everything upon which the eye rested was beautiful and holy. … The beautiful new earth, with all its glory, was the eternal inheritance of the saints.” Early Writings, 295.



  • Where will the faithful be after Christ’s second coming? I Thessalonians 4:15–17.

Note: “We all entered the cloud together, and were seven days ascending to the sea of glass, when Jesus brought the crowns, and with His own right hand placed them on our heads. He gave us harps of gold and palms of victory. … All were perfectly satisfied with their crowns. And they were all clothed with a glorious white mantle from their shoulders to their feet.” Early Writings, 16, 17.

  • What gives the saints the right to enter the New Jerusalem? Psalm 87:3–6; Galatians 4:26; Revelation 22:14; Isaiah 26:1, 2.

Note: “Angels were all about us as we marched over the sea of glass to the gate of the city. Jesus raised His mighty, glorious arm, laid hold of the pearly gate, swung it back on its glittering hinges, and said to us, ‘You have washed your robes in My blood, stood stiffly for My truth, enter in.’ We all marched in and felt that we had a perfect right in the city.” Early Writings, 17.



  • How long will the saints spend in heaven? Revelation 20:4. What will we be doing during this time? I Corinthians 6:2; Matthew 19:28.

Note: “During the thousand years between the first and the second resurrection the judgment of the wicked takes place. … In union with Christ they [the righteous] 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 Great Controversy, 660, 661.

  • Where will Satan be during the millennium? Revelation 20:1–3. In what state will the earth be during this time? Jeremiah 4:23–27.

Note: “Here [on this earth] is to be the home of Satan with his evil angels for a thousand years. Limited to the earth, he will not have access to other worlds to tempt and annoy those who have never fallen. It is in this sense that he is bound: there are none remaining, upon whom he can exercise his power. He is wholly cut off from the work of deception and ruin which for so many centuries has been his sole delight. …

“For six thousand years, Satan’s work of rebellion has ‘made the earth to tremble’ (Psalm 60:2). He has ‘made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof.’ And he ‘opened not the house of his prisoners’ (Isaiah 14:17). For six thousand years his prison house has received God’s people, and he would have held them captive forever; but Christ has broken his bonds and set the prisoners free.

“Even the wicked are now placed beyond the power of Satan, and alone with his evil angels he remains to realize the effect of the curse which sin has brought. …

“For a thousand years, Satan will wander to and fro in the desolate earth to behold the results of his rebellion against the law of God. During this time his sufferings are intense. Since his fall his life of unceasing activity has banished reflection; but he is now deprived of his power and left to contemplate the part which he has acted since first he rebelled against the government of heaven, and to look forward with trembling and terror to the dreadful future when he must suffer for all the evil that he has done and be punished for the sins that he has caused to be committed.” The Great Controversy, 659, 660.



  • What will take place at the conclusion of the judgment in heaven? Revelation 21:2, 3.

Note: “With Jesus at our head we all descended from the city down to this earth, on a great and mighty mountain, which could not bear Jesus up, and it parted asunder, and there was a mighty plain. Then we looked up and saw the great city, with twelve foundations, and twelve gates, three on each side, and an angel at each gate. We all cried out, ‘The city, the great city, it’s coming, it’s coming down from God out of heaven,’ and it came and settled on the place where we stood.” Early Writings, 17, 18.

  • Where will the New Jerusalem be located? Zechariah 14:4.

Note: “As the place of His ascension, Jesus chose the spot so often hallowed by His presence while He dwelt among men. Not Mount Zion, the place of David’s city, not Mount Moriah, the temple site, was to be thus honored. There Christ had been mocked and rejected. There the waves of mercy, still returning in a stronger tide of love, had been beaten back by hearts as hard as rock. Thence Jesus, weary and heart-burdened, had gone forth to find rest in the Mount of Olives. The holy Shekinah, in departing from the first temple, had stood upon the eastern mountain, as if loath to forsake the chosen city; so Christ stood upon Olivet, with yearning heart overlooking Jerusalem. The groves and glens of the mountain had been consecrated by His prayers and tears. Its steeps had echoed the triumphant shouts of the multitude that proclaimed Him king. On its sloping descent He had found a home with Lazarus at Bethany. In the garden of Gethsemane at its foot He had prayed and agonized alone. From this mountain He was to ascend to heaven. Upon its summit His feet will rest when He shall come again. Not as a man of sorrows, but as a glorious and triumphant king He will stand upon Olivet, while Hebrew hallelujahs mingle with Gentile hosannas, and the voices of the redeemed as a mighty host shall swell the acclamation, Crown Him Lord of all!” The Desire of Ages, 829, 830.



  • When the wicked are no more, what will happen to the earth? Revelation 21:1; Psalm 102:25, 26.
  • What will the redeemed do on the new earth? Isaiah 32:18; 65:21, 22.

Note: “Then we began to look at the glorious things outside of the city. There I saw most glorious houses, that had the appearance of silver, supported by four pillars set with pearls most glorious to behold. These were to be inhabited by the saints. In each was a golden shelf. I saw many of the saints go into the houses, take off their glittering crowns and lay them on the shelf, then go out into the field by the houses to do something with the earth; not as we have to do with the earth here; no, no. A glorious light shone all about their heads, and they were continually shouting and offering praises to God.” Early Writings, 18.

“In the earth made new, the redeemed will engage in the occupations and pleasures that brought happiness to Adam and Eve in the beginning. The Eden life will be lived, the life in garden and field.” Prophets and Kings, 730, 731.

  • How does the Bible describe the environment of the new earth? Isaiah 11:6–9; 65:25.

Note: “I saw another field full of all kinds of flowers, and as I plucked them, I cried out, ‘They will never fade.’ Next I saw a field of tall grass, most glorious to behold; it was living green and had a reflection of silver and gold, as it waved proudly to the glory of King Jesus. Then we entered a field full of all kinds of beasts—the lion, the lamb, the leopard, and the wolf, all together in perfect union. We passed through the midst of them, and they followed on peaceably after. Then we entered a wood, not like the dark woods we have here; no, no; but light, and all over glorious; the branches of the trees moved to and fro, and we all cried out, ‘We will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.’ ” Early Writings, 18.

“Their [children’s] minds should be filled with stories of the life of the Lord, and their imaginations encouraged in picturing the glories of the world to come.” Child Guidance, 488.



  • What is prophesied of those who, though outcasts from the present world, will inherit the next? Psalm 37:8–11.

Note: “The meek ‘shall inherit the earth’ (Matthew 5:5). It was through the desire for self-exaltation that sin entered into the world, and our first parents lost the dominion over this fair earth, their kingdom. It is through self-abnegation that Christ redeems what was lost. And He says we are to overcome as He did (Revelation 3:21). Through humility and self-surrender we may become heirs with Him. …

“The earth promised to the meek will not be like this, darkened with the shadow of death and the curse. …

“There is no disappointment, no sorrow, no sin, no one who shall say, I am sick; there are no burial trains, no mourning, no death, no partings, no broken hearts; but Jesus is there, peace is there.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 17.

  • What will be the character of those who dwell in the new earth? 2 Peter 3:13.

Note: “The feet of the wicked will never desecrate the earth made new. Fire will come down from God out of heaven and devour them—burn them up root and branch. Satan is the root, and his children are the branches.” Early Writings, 52.

“The same fire from God that consumed the wicked purified the whole earth. The broken, ragged mountains melted with fervent heat, the atmosphere also, and all the stubble was consumed. Then our inheritance opened before us, glorious and beautiful, and we inherited the whole earth made new.” Ibid., 54.



1 On what condition is a person counted as a citizen of the New Jerusalem?

2 What happens during the Millennium in heaven and on earth?

3 Why will God choose the earth for the new location of His headquarters?

4 Describe the earth made new.

5 What kinds of people will inherit the new earth?

Copyright © 2015 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – The Last Enemy

December 4, 2016 – December 10, 2016

Key Text

“The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death” (I Corinthians 15:26).

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 531–550.


“Pain cannot exist in the atmosphere of heaven. There will be no more tears, no funeral trains, no badges of mourning.” The Great Controversy, 676.



  • With what was the first Biblical mention of death associated? Genesis 2:17. What lie was told by the serpent in a conversation that took place at this tree? Genesis 3:1–4.

Note: “The only one who promised Adam life in disobedience was the great deceiver. And the declaration of the serpent to Eve in Eden—‘Ye shall not surely die’ (Genesis 3:4)—was the first sermon ever preached upon the immortality of the soul. Yet this declaration, resting solely upon the authority of Satan, is echoed from the pulpits of Christendom and is received by the majority of mankind as readily as it was received by our first parents. The divine sentence, ‘The soul that sinneth, it shall die’ (Ezekiel 18:20), is made to mean: The soul that sinneth, it shall not die, but live eternally. We cannot but wonder at the strange infatuation which renders men so credulous concerning the words of Satan and so unbelieving in regard to the words of God.” The Great Controversy, 533.

  • When faced with temptation to eat from this tree, what did the first pair do? Genesis 3:6. What came as a result of this sin? Romans 5:12; 6:23.

Note: “It is now evident to all that the wages of sin is not noble independence and eternal life, but slavery, ruin, and death.” The Great Controversy, 668.



  • How did God bring body and breath together to give life to the first person? Genesis 2:7. What happens when a soul dies? Psalm 146:4.
  • What control does a person have over death, and what state does one enter upon dying? Psalm 6:5; 89:48; 115:17; Ecclesiastes 8:8; 9:5.

Note: “Upon the fundamental error of natural immortality rests the doctrine of consciousness in death—a doctrine, like eternal torment, opposed to the teachings of the Scriptures, to the dictates of reason, and to our feelings of humanity. According to the popular belief, the redeemed in heaven are acquainted with all that takes place on the earth and especially with the lives of the friends whom they have left behind. But how could it be a source of happiness to the dead to know the troubles of the living, to witness the sins committed by their own loved ones, and to see them enduring all the sorrows, disappointments, and anguish of life? How much of heaven’s bliss would be enjoyed by those who were hovering over their friends on earth? And how utterly revolting is the belief that as soon as the breath leaves the body the soul of the impenitent is consigned to the flames of hell! To what depths of anguish must those be plunged who see their friends passing to the grave unprepared, to enter upon an eternity of woe and sin! Many have been driven to insanity by this harrowing thought.” The Great Controversy, 545.

  • What did Jesus say about death? Matthew 9:18, 19, 23, 24; John 11:11–14.

Note: “Christ represents death as a sleep to His believing children. Their life is hid with Christ in God, and until the last trump shall sound those who die will sleep in Him.” The Desire of Ages, 527.

  • How did the apostle Peter signify that a righteous person does not go immediately to heaven upon death? Acts 2:29, 34.



  • How were the Israelites warned against heathen customs involving supposed communication with the dead? Leviticus 19:28; Deuteronomy 14:1.

Note: “Nearly all forms of ancient sorcery and witchcraft were founded upon a belief in communion with the dead. Those who practiced the arts of necromancy claimed to have intercourse with departed spirits, and to obtain through them a knowledge of future events. …

“This same belief in communion with the dead formed the cornerstone of heathen idolatry. The gods of the heathen were believed to be the deified spirits of departed heroes. Thus the religion of the heathen was a worship of the dead. …

“The deification of the dead has held a prominent place in nearly every system of heathenism, as has also the supposed communion with the dead. The gods were believed to communicate their will to men, and also, when consulted, to give them counsel. Of this character were the famous oracles of Greece and Rome.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 684.

  • How was King Saul led to seek counsel from Satan under the guise of the supposed spirit of the dead prophet? I Samuel 28:7–14.
  • What should be the perspective of every true worshiper of the living God? Isaiah 8:19, 20.

Note: “If men had been willing to receive the truth so plainly stated in the Scriptures concerning the nature of man and the state of the dead, they would see in the claims and manifestations of spiritualism the working of Satan with power and signs and lying wonders. But rather than yield the liberty so agreeable to the carnal heart, and renounce the sins which they love, multitudes close their eyes to the light and walk straight on, regardless of warnings, while Satan weaves his snares about them, and they become his prey. ‘Because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved,’ therefore ‘God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie’ (2 Thessalonians 2:10, 11).” The Great Controversy, 559.



  • Who controls life and death? Psalm 68:20; Revelation 1:18. Although He holds the keys of death, what did Jesus do? Hebrews 2:9; Acts 2:24.

Note: “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. ‘He that believeth in Me,’ said Jesus, ‘though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?’ (John 11:25, 26). Christ here looks forward to the time of His second coming. Then the righteous dead shall be raised incorruptible, and the living righteous shall be translated to heaven without seeing death. … By His word and His works He declared Himself the Author of the resurrection. He who Himself was soon to die upon the cross stood with the keys of death, a conqueror of the grave, and asserted His right and power to give eternal life.” The Desire of Ages, 530.

  • What has Jesus done to death? 2 Timothy 1:10; Hebrews 2:14, 15.

Note: “The question, ‘If a man die, shall he live again?’ has been answered. By bearing the penalty of sin, by going down into the grave, Christ has brightened the tomb for all who die in faith. God in human form has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. In dying, Christ secured eternal life for all who believe in Him. In dying, He condemned the originator of sin and disloyalty to suffer the penalty of sin—eternal death.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 230, 231.

  • In contrast to death’s penalty, what is God’s gift? Romans 6:23; John 3:16.

Note: “To the believer, Christ is the resurrection and the life. In our Saviour the life that was lost through sin is restored; for He has life in Himself to quicken whom He will.” The Desire of Ages, 786, 787.

“All believers who pass through a natural death, have, through eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God, eternal life in them, which is the life of Jesus Christ. In dying, Jesus has made it impossible for those who believe on Him to die eternally.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 926.



  • What happens after the first and second resurrections? Revelation 20:4–15.

Note: “At the close of the thousand years, Christ … bids the wicked dead arise to receive their doom. … What a contrast to those who were raised at the first resurrection! The righteous were clothed with immortal youth and beauty. The wicked bear the traces of disease and death.” The Great Controversy, 662.

  • What will finally happen to all the wicked? Matthew 13:40–42. Rather than eternal punishment, what is inflicted on them? Malachi 4:1–3.

Note: “Some [of the wicked] are destroyed as in a moment, while others suffer many days. All are punished ‘according to their deeds’ (Psalm 28:4). … He [Satan] is made to suffer not only for his own rebellion, but for all the sins which he has caused God’s people to commit. His punishment is to be far greater than that of those whom he has deceived. After all have perished who fell by his deceptions, he is still to live and suffer on. In the cleansing flames the wicked are at last destroyed, root and branch—Satan the root, his followers the branches. The full penalty of the law has been visited; the demands of justice have been met; and heaven and earth, beholding, declare the righteousness of Jehovah.” The Great Controversy, 673.

  • What will happen to even death itself? I Corinthians 15:26; Revelation 21:4.



1 How was death introduced to this world?

2 What state does a person enter after death?

3 How was the first lie of the serpent perpetuated throughout history?

4 What has Christ done to the curse of death?

5 How do we know that the wicked are not left to burn eternally?

Copyright © 2015 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – The Second Coming of Christ

November 27, 2016 – December 3, 2016

Key Text

“And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:3).

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 640–646.


“The truth that Christ is coming should be kept before every mind.” Evangelism, 220.



  • What was Jesus’ promise, before His death? John 14:1–3. In what manner did He ascend, and how will this be matched in His return? Acts 1:9–11.

Note: “The promise of Christ’s second coming was ever to be kept fresh in the minds of His disciples. The same Jesus Whom they had seen ascending into heaven, would come again, to take to Himself those who here below give themselves to His service. The same voice that had said to them, ‘Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end’ (Matthew 28:20), would bid them welcome to His presence in the heavenly kingdom.” The Acts of the Apostles, 33.

  • Although the world is full of scoffers, what is the hope of the Christian? 2 Peter 3:3, 4; Titus 2:13.

Note: “Peter was inspired to outline conditions that would exist in the world just prior to the second coming of Christ. … As the end of all things earthly should approach, there would be faithful ones able to discern the signs of the times. While a large number of professing believers would deny their faith by their works, there would be a remnant who would endure to the end.” The Acts of the Apostles, 535, 536.



  • Describe the manner of Jesus’ coming. Revelation 1:7; Luke 21:26.

Note: “Soon there appears in the east a small black cloud, about half the size of a man’s hand. It is the cloud which surrounds the Saviour, and which seems in the distance to be shrouded in darkness. The people of God know this to be the sign of the Son of man. In solemn silence they gaze upon it as it draws nearer the earth, becoming lighter and more glorious, until it is a great white cloud, its base a glory like consuming fire, and above it the rainbow of the covenant. Jesus rides forth as a mighty conqueror. … With anthems of celestial melody the holy angels, a vast, unnumbered throng, attend Him on His way. The firmament seems filled with radiant forms—‘ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands’ (Revelation 5:11). No human pen can portray the scene; no mortal mind is adequate to conceive its splendor. … As the living cloud comes still nearer, every eye beholds the Prince of life. No crown of thorns now mars that sacred head; but a diadem of glory rests on His holy brow. His countenance outshines the dazzling brightness of the noonday sun.” The Great Controversy, 640, 641.

“The derisive jests have ceased. Lying lips are hushed into silence. The clash of arms, the tumult of battle, ‘with confused noise, and garments rolled in blood’ (Isaiah 9:5), is stilled. Nought now is heard but the voice of prayer and the sound of weeping and lamentation. The cry bursts forth from lips so lately scoffing: ‘The great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?’ (Revelation 6:17). The wicked pray to be buried beneath the rocks of the mountains rather than meet the face of Him Whom they have despised and rejected.” Ibid., 642.

  • How does the vision of John in Revelation 6:12–17 confirm other Old Testament prophecies? Isaiah 2:10, 11, 19; 34:4, 8; Joel 3:14–16.

Note: “Satan is not permitted to counterfeit the manner of Christ’s advent. The Saviour has warned His people against deception upon this point, and has clearly foretold the manner of His second coming. … This coming there is no possibility of counterfeiting. It will be universally known—witnessed by the whole world.” The Great Controversy, 625.



  • Amidst the shaking of heaven and earth, what will Jesus do? I Thessalonians 4:16, 17; John 5:25; I Corinthians 15:51–53.

Note: “Amid the reeling of the earth, the flash of lightning, and the roar of thunder, the voice of the Son of God calls forth the sleeping saints. He looks upon the graves of the righteous, then, raising His hands to heaven, He cries: ‘Awake, awake, awake, ye that sleep in the dust, and arise!’ Throughout the length and breadth of the earth, the dead shall hear that voice; and they that hear shall live. And the whole earth shall ring with the tread of the exceeding great army of every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. From the prison-house of death they come, clothed with immortal glory, crying: ‘O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory’ (1 Corinthians 15:55)? And the living righteous and the risen saints unite their voices in a long, glad shout of victory.” The Great Controversy, 644.

  • What will happen to those who have died in faithful expectation of Christ’s coming? John 11:25, 26; I Thessalonians 4:13, 14.

Note: “All come forth from their graves the same in stature as when they entered the tomb. … All arise with the freshness and vigor of eternal youth. In the beginning, man was created in the likeness of God, not only in character, but in form and feature. Sin defaced and almost obliterated the divine image; but Christ came to restore that which had been lost. He will change our vile bodies, and fashion them like unto His glorious body. The mortal, corruptible form, devoid of comeliness, once polluted with sin, becomes perfect, beautiful, and immortal. All blemishes and deformities are left in the grave. Restored to the tree of life in the long-lost Eden, the redeemed will ‘grow up’ (Malachi 4:2) to the full stature of the race in its primeval glory. The last lingering traces of the curse of sin will be removed, and Christ’s faithful ones will appear in ‘the beauty of the Lord our God’ (Psalm 90:17), in mind and soul and body reflecting the perfect image of their Lord. …

“Angels ‘gather together the elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other’ (Matthew 24:31). Little children are borne by holy angels to their mothers’ arms. Friends long separated by death are united, nevermore to part, and with songs of gladness ascend together to the city of God.” The Great Controversy, 644, 645.



  • To what times in Biblical history does Jesus compare His second coming? Matthew 24:37; Luke 17:28.

Note: “Men have taken upon themselves the responsibility of erecting a standard in harmony with their own ideas, and the law of Jehovah has been dishonored. This is why there is so great and wide-spread iniquity. This is why our days are becoming like the days of Noah and Lot.” The Review and Herald, May 2, 1893.

  • What was the result of God’s judgments on both of these occasions? Genesis 7:21–23; 19:24, 25.
  • In the same way, what will happen at Christ’s coming? Luke 17:34–37.

Note: “When the reasoning of philosophy has banished the fear of God’s judgments; when religious teachers are pointing forward to long ages of peace and prosperity, and the world are absorbed in their rounds of business and pleasure, planting and building, feasting and merrymaking, rejecting God’s warnings and mocking His messengers—then it is that sudden destruction cometh upon them, and they shall not escape.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 104.

  • Explain who are those that will be “taken” at the second coming of Christ. Matthew 24:40–42; Malachi 3:17.

Note: “The time of the judgment is a most solemn period, when the Lord gathers His own from among the tares. Those who have been members of the same family are separated. A mark is placed upon the righteous. … Those who have been obedient to God’s commandments will unite with the company of the saints in light; they shall enter in through the gates into the city and have right to the tree of life. The one shall be taken. His name shall stand in the book of life, while those with whom he associated shall have the mark of eternal separation from God.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 234, 235.



  • What happens to the wicked who are alive when Christ comes? 2 Thessalonians 1:7–9; 2:8; Psalm 97:3.
  • What will the wicked become for the “eagles” mentioned by Jesus in Luke 17:37? Revelation 19:17, 18; Ezekiel 39:17–20.
  • Knowing what is ahead, what should our focus be? 2 Peter 3:11; Psalm 24:3, 4; Jude 23, 24.

Note: “Jesus is coming, but not as at His first advent, a babe in Bethlehem; not as He rode into Jerusalem, when the disciples praised God with a loud voice and cried, ‘Hosanna’; but in the glory of the Father and with all the retinue of holy angels to escort Him on His way to earth. All heaven will be emptied of the angels, while the waiting saints will be looking for Him and gazing into heaven, as were the men of Galilee when He ascended from the Mount of Olivet. Then only those who are holy, those who have followed fully the meek Pattern, will with rapturous joy exclaim as they behold Him, ‘Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us’ (Isaiah 25:9).” Early Writings, 110.



1 What assurance did Jesus give of His return?

2 How will you discern the false claims regarding the nature of Christ’s second coming from the truth which He taught?

3 Describe the order of events from the time Jesus appears in the clouds to the time when the saints join Him in His return to heaven.

4 Do you want to be “taken” or “left behind” when Jesus returns?

5 How can you be sure to be one of Christ’s waiting ones?

Copyright © 2015 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.


Recipe – Vegan Cracker Cheese


1 cup water ½ cup unbleached white flour
½ cup nutritional yeast flakes ½ cup chopped red pepper
3 Tbsp. light tahini 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, fresh squeezed
1 ½ tsp. or less salt Optional: a few sliced olives
Blend all ingredients. Pour into small baking dish (I use a glass baking dish 7” x 5” x 1 ½”), and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. Cool, refrigerate and slice as needed. My grandkids love it on crackers!


Food – Thoughts on Cheese

The word cheese to some may bring to mind milk or cows or goats. In fact, on the many different cheese packages you may find pictures of a beautiful farm, etc. I grew up eating many kinds of cheeses except for one. One cheese I just could not stand the smell—oh did it stink! I used to watch momma chow it down and I wondered how her body could eat such a stinky thing! That was almost as bad as her attachment to “pickled pig’s feet” which she also enjoyed! Aside from that, looking back, I have a lot of good food memories.

Even though there were good memories I turned and decided to go another direction and I became a vegan. The amazing thing about this change was that I learned that you did not need to use any part of an animal to make a variety of different dishes, including different cheeses, and none of which stink! In fact many of the recipes are made from simple, healthy ingredients.

Usually one of the main ingredients in making a cheese is nutritional yeast flakes because it seems to have that cheesy taste. Nutritional yeast also tastes good on popcorn and toast.

“Nutritional yeast contains so much nutritional value, making it a great addition to any healthy diet and lifestyle.

“Nutritional yeast is jam-packed with essential vitamins and minerals. In fact, it’s one of the best non-animal sources of folic acid and vitamin B-12. The yellow color of the flakes is a result of their large amount of vitamin B – ½ Tbsp. fulfills your entire daily vitamin B needs. In addition to B-12, nutritional yeast is high in 15 different minerals and 18 amino acids. Talk about a super food!

“The yeast itself is grown on beets and dehydrated, so don’t let the word “yeast” scare you away. Since it is plant derived and dried out, it’s free of the harmful candida that can wreck havoc on your digestive system. Think of it as the kind of yeast your body will love!”
The following recipe is just a basic cracker cheese which you can season up or down, according to your taste buds!

1 cup water ½ cup unbleached white flour
½ cup nutritional yeast flakes ½ cup chopped red pepper
3 Tbsp. light tahini 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, fresh squeezed
1 ½ tsp. or less salt Optional: a few sliced olives
Blend all ingredients. Pour into small baking dish (I use a glass baking dish 7” x 5” x 1 ½”), and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes. Cool, refrigerate and slice as needed. My grandkids love it on crackers!


Current Events – Euthanasia

A terminally ill minor has become the first child to be euthanized in Belgium since age restrictions were lifted in the country two years ago, according to several sources.

A Belgian lawmaker told CNN affiliate VTM that the physician-assisted suicide happened within the past week.

The child, who was suffering from an incurable disease, had asked for euthanasia, Sen. Jean-Jacques De Gucht told VTM. The identity of the child and age are unknown.

“I think it’s very important that we, as a society, have given the opportunity to those people to decide for themselves in what manner they cope with that situation,” said Gucht, a supporter of euthanasia legislation.

Belgium approves child euthanasia bill 03:03

Wim Distelmans, who chairs Belgium’s Federal Control and Evaluation Committee on Euthanasia, told state broadcaster RTBF that fortunately few children had demanded mercy killing but “that does not mean we should deny them the right to a dignified death.”

Belgium legalized euthanasia in 2002 for those in “constant and unbearable physical or mental suffering that cannot be alleviated.” Minors were included in the original proposals but removed from the final legislation in the face of political opposition.

In 2014, the bill extended the “right to die” to those under the age of 18. But there were additional strict conditions, including that the child was judged to be able to understand what euthanasia means.

Consent of parents or guardians must also be given.

“This can only be in cases of serious and incurable diseases, which is the same thing for adults … but for minors an additional condition is that the death must be expected in the near future,” Jacqueline Herremans told RTBF. Herremans is the president of Belgium’s Association for the Right to Die with Dignity and also a member of the federal committee on euthanasia.

Belgium is the only country that allows euthanasia for children of any age.

The Netherlands also allows mercy killings for children, but only for those 12 and over. It became the first country to legalize euthanasia in April 2002.

Physician-assisted suicide is legal in five US states. Individuals have the option under state law in Oregon, Vermont, Washington and California. In Montana, it is an option given to individuals via court decision. They must have a terminal illness as well as a prognosis of six months or less to live. Physicians cannot be prosecuted for prescribing medications to hasten death.

It is inconceivable that any human can presume to know the future sufficiently well to believe that life is so hopeless that it should end for any given individual. Who knows what miraculous cure awaits? Who knows how the hand of God will move to cure an affliction that limited human foresight might term as “terminal.” What child can possibly be made to understand the consequences of death?

“[Christian parents,] be true to your trust. God will help you. Guided by Him, your children will grow up to bless and honor you in this life and in the life to come.” The Faith I Live By, 269.

Sermon on the Mount Series – The Value of a Soul

If a person cherishes a spirit of malice and unkindness, he is cherishing a spirit that will result in hatred and a desire for revenge. The Bible says that he who hates his brother is a murderer and cannot hope to have eternal life (I John 3:15). The question is, though, how can this spirit be removed or changed?

Across the Sea of Galilee from where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, there was the land of Bashan, a land of wild gorges and wooded areas. It had been a long time favorite lurking ground for criminals of all descriptions. There had been reports, even in Jesus’ day, of frequent murders and robberies that had been committed throughout that area. The people thought that in Jesus’ teaching of the law He would have a strict, stern rebuke for those people committing the crimes. However, they were shocked when, in quoting the sixth commandment that says, “You shall not kill” (Exodus 20:13 RSV), Jesus showed that the commandment applied to themselves.

It is clear as you read the gospel story in any one of the gospels that the people cherished bitter hatred against the Romans as well as other people of their own country who did not in all things conform to their ideas. They were contentious and passionate about their beliefs. Jesus said to them in Matthew 5:21, 22, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment,’ But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council, But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire.”

Actually, many of the most accurate and ancient manuscripts leave out the words “without a cause.” The text would then read like this: “… I say to you that whoever is angry with His brother shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother ‘Raca!’ (equivalent in our speech today to calling somebody an air head) shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says to his brother “marad” (Aramaic for apostate or rebel) shall be in danger of hell fire.”

This same spirit of hatred and revenge is at the basis of all murders. It originated with a leading angel of heaven called Lucifer, whose name became Satan, which means adversary, or devil, which means a slanderer. This spirit of hatred and revenge caused him to put to death the Son of God. The Bible is very clear – the intelligence that was behind the crucifixion of Jesus was not only the Jewish leaders, and it was not just the Roman government, or Pilate; there were supernatural forces that were in conflict. The devil was intent on destroying the Son of God. It was he who was the one that engineered and programmed the whole event.

The whole heavenly universe was privy to the battle in heaven that resulted in Satan and his angels being cast out into the earth; they saw and knew who was behind it. But the people on this earth were ignorant of the bigger controversy and acted like pawns in the devil’s hands. Whoever cherishes malice or unkindness is of the same spirit and its fruit will be unto death. The revengeful thought is the seed that, once germinated and grown or unfolded, will produce the evil deed. For this reason John wrote, “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (I John 3:15).

In the gift of His Son given for our redemption, God has shown how high a value He places upon every human soul. He does not give any of us permission or liberty to speak contemptuously about another human being. It is true that if we have our eyes and ears open, we are bound to see and hear of faults and weaknesses in other human beings. But God claims them as His property. They are His first of all because He created them. “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness of it, the world, and those who dwell in it” (Psalm 24:1 AMP). He owns it all; He made it.

Not only did He create everything in the beginning, but He has also purchased them back by the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. All human beings were created in the image of God and even those who have been most degraded by sin are to be treated with respect and tenderness. When we study the life of Jesus, we find that He even treated His persecutors with politeness and courtesy.

Jesus teaches us here that God is going to hold us accountable if we speak contemptuously about somebody for whom Christ Jesus laid down His life. The New Testament also is very strict about this principle. Notice what it says: “For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you glory as if you had not received it” (I Corinthians 4:7, literal translation)?

Paul says that everything you have is only yours because you have received it from God and since you have received it, why talk as if it were your own and you produced it on your own? Again, the apostle Paul says in Romans 14:4: “Who are you to judge another’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he will be made to stand, for God is able to make him stand.”

We are not to speak contemptuously of any human being, even if they are degraded because of a life of sin. We are not to condemn our brother as somebody who is beyond the reach of salvation and cannot be saved. To pronounce judgment on somebody else, believing they cannot be saved, puts that person who judges in danger of hell fire himself.

In the book of Jude is an example of how we should talk and treat fellow human beings. Christ Himself was contending with Satan about the body of Moses. Notice what it says in verse 9:

“Yet Michael (Mi ka El, One Who is like God) the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, ‘The Lord rebuke you!’ ” Jesus did not bring a railing accusation against the devil. If He had done that, He would have placed Himself on Satan’s ground for accusations are the weapon of the wicked one. Notice what the Bible says in Revelation 12:10: “Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.’ ”

Satan is the one who is called in Scripture, “the accuser of the brethren.” Jesus would not even have stooped to bring an accusation against the devil; He left it for His Father to decide on the condemnation and the judgment of the devil. His example is for us. When we are brought into conflict with the enemies of Christ, and it is true that Jesus Christ still has many enemies in this world, we should say nothing in the spirit of retaliation or that would have even the appearance of being a reviling or railing accusation.

If we stand as a mouthpiece for God as all Christians should be, then we should not utter words that even the Majesty of heaven would not use when contending with the devil. We must leave with God the work of judging and condemning.

Now the love of God is something more than simply not doing certain things. It is a positive, active, principle, a living spring, ever flowing out to bless others. And if the love of Christ really dwells in our hearts, we not only will refrain from cherishing evil against our brother, or speaking in a contemptuous way to him or about him, but we will ever and always be seeking to manifest love to our fellow men. Notice what Jesus said about this in Matthew 5:23, 24: “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” In other words, don’t even go to church to worship the Lord in public until you have made things right with the person that you have wronged or has wronged you.

I cannot expect to be able to express faith in God’s pardoning love if I myself am indulging an unloving spirit. That would be a farce.

If I profess to be a Christian and I injure my brother in any way, I have misrepresented the character of God and that wrong needs to be acknowledged, confessed, and then corrected.

Some may say, “Well, my brother has done me a greater wrong than I have done him.” That may be true and it is up to your brother to correct the wrong that he has done against you, but that does not lessen your responsibility, even if you have been treated worse than what you have done against him. God will not accept worship from those who have unresolved differences. Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34, 35).

The prophet Ezekiel said, “If the wicked restores the pledge, gives back what he has stolen, and walks in the statutes of life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die” (Ezekiel 33:15). If unwittingly I have borne false witness against my brother, by misstating his words or injured his influence in any way, I need to go to the ones with whom I have conversed about him and repair my injurious misstatements.

If Christians followed this Biblical advice in resolving matters of difficulty between their brethren, how many “roots of bitterness, whereby many are defiled” (Hebrews 12:15, literal translation) would be destroyed, and how closely Christians would be united in a bond of brotherly love?

The Jews prided themselves on their morality and looked with horror upon the sensual practices of the Romans and other nations. But when Jesus began to speak to them about the seventh commandment in His sermon, He revealed to them something shocking. He showed them that the sixth commandment reflected not only actions, but also what was in their mind and in their heart. The same applies to the seventh commandment. Notice what Jesus said in Matthew 5:27, 28: “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” When the thought of evil is loved and cherished, however secretly, said Jesus, it shows that sin still reigns in the heart. The soul is still in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity.

He who finds pleasure in dwelling upon scenes of impurity and indulges in evil thoughts or the lustful look, may behold in the open sin the end result of what he has been thinking. All human beings are tempted in this world; the Bible is very clear about that. However, the sinful action makes manifest only that which was already in the heart, though it may have been hidden from view. As a man “thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). For it is out of the heart that come the issues of life (Proverbs 4:23).

To prevent a physical disease from spreading to another part of the body and destroying the life, a man would submit to having a part of his body, an arm or a hand, amputated. Much more should a person be willing to surrender whatever imperils the life of the soul. Jesus said, “And if your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell” (Matthew 5:29, 30).

This counsel refers to the spiritual principle that whatever imperils the soul must be given up. If what I am looking at is imperiling my soul, then I must stop looking at it. If what I am handling is imperiling my soul, I must quit handling it. If where my feet are taking me is imperiling my soul, I must quit going there.

Through the gospel, souls that have been degraded and enslaved by sin are to be redeemed and are to share the glorious liberty of the sons of God. God’s purpose is not just to deliver you from the suffering that is the inevitable result of sin. His purpose is to save you from the sin itself.

A soul that has been corrupted and deformed, through the gospel is to be purified, transformed and sanctified. It is to be clothed, the Bible says, in “… the beauty of the Lord our God” (Psalm 90:17). It is “… to be conformed to the image of His Son …” (Romans 8:29). The Bible says that “… eye has not seen, nor has the ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those that love Him” (I Corinthians 2:9, literal translation). In fact, eternity alone can reveal the glorious destiny to which every man or woman may come to when restored to God’s image.

If you and I are going to reach this high ideal, whatever causes our soul to stumble must be sacrificed. Remember that it is through the will that sin retains its hold upon us.

Jesus says that it is better to enter into life, even if you are maimed or crippled, than to keep what you have and lose your soul. God is the fountain of life and you and I can only have life as we are in communion with Him. If we are separated from God, existence may be ours for a little time, but the Bible says we do not possess life. If we are separated from God, it is inevitable that we are going to die. The only way that we can live is if we surrender to the Lord as our Master and Saviour. It is only through self-surrender that we can receive what the Lord wants to give to us.

By refusing to yield to the will of God, clinging to self, is to choose death.

Friend, what is your destiny to be? Are you willing to forsake your sins and choose life? The choice is up to you.

Health – Sight & Sound

It is so easy to get into a groove of everyday living that often we do not realize the effect, or impact, that different sights and sounds around us are having on our emotional well-being. I would like to share with you an excerpt from one of Vicki Griffin’s books, Guilt-free Gourmet, pages 377–380 (Remnant Publications, 1999). The main title is Television& Music. The subtitles are real eye-catchers:

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Serenity—Or Insanity?

As we have been studying various Christian lifestyle issues, we begin to see some interesting contrasts. The principles of living that are taught in the Bible tend to promote strength rather than sickness, order rather than chaos, genuine pleasure rather than artificial stimulation, and soundness of mind rather than depression and mood swings.

God’s prescription for leisure time is no different—He offers serenity instead of insanity, joy instead of jitters. “These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full” (John 15:11).

Biblical counsel on how to live is so critical to health, happiness and salvation that we are admonished: “Receive My instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold” (Proverb 8:10).

Recreation—Or entertainment?

A trip to the park, zoo, or museum—hobbies, crafts, reading, volunteer work, a picnic, building project, even chores—these kinds of recreational activities have a positive impact on the stress system, immune system and mood. They promote a healthy appetite, sound sleep, a sense of well-being and relieve tension.

That’s recreation—but much of today’s entertainment has far different effects. Unfortunately, the above-mentioned activities pale in comparison to America’s major pastime: watching television. Television—is it a harmless outlet for the harried, or an entertainment trap that ensnares and destroys?

TV ADs: The Automatic Income Reducer!

Television and movies seem to be a major pastime of both young and old. It is estimated that 99% of American households own at least one television. The average person spends more than seven hours a day watching TV—2,555 hours per year. Motivational speaker and author Zig Ziglar calls TV “the automatic income reducer” because of the non-productive, wasted time spent there!

The average child watches 31 hours of TV every week, which is 5,000 hours by the time they enter the first grade, and 19,000 hours by the time they finish high school. By the age of 16, a typical young person will have viewed 200,000 acts of violence, and seen 31 incidents of sex, violence and profanity per programming hour. …

TV: Gradual Brain Drain

According to a study conducted at Yale University, children who watch a lot of television are more aggressive than non-viewers, show decreased reading ability, lower levels of imagination, short attention spans and higher levels of restlessness and hyperactivity.

Watching violent television produces biological effects in the body. These effects include cardiovascular stress, suppression of the immune system, and elevated levels of three different stress hormones, especially cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels are associated with neural damage to the hippocampus area of the brain, and are implicated in poor memory, senility and chronic depression.

One study of 1,100 television-viewing children showed that watching “reality-based” programs for as little as two hours a day increased the incidence of aggression, stealing, bullying, temper tantrums, and impulsiveness. These characteristics increased over time.

Now For the Real News

An interesting study from London, England, showed that watching just 14 minutes of negative news significantly impacted anxiety and sadness levels in viewers. In addition, they were more likely to evaluate their own life problems in a catastrophic or disproportionately negative way, compared with non-viewers. Reading printed newspaper accounts, however, did not produce the same effect.

Music, Mind and Mood

Certain types of music also seem to reduce stress and enhance brain function. A study conducted by the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory at the University of California has confirmed that soothing Mozart sonatas and similar complex, highly structured music seem to stimulate cognitive and neural pathways, resulting in IQ scores as much as 10 points higher in test subjects.

Conversely, the harsh rhythms of rock and jazz interfere with abstract reasoning and can actually destroy delicate brain nerves. Researchers from Pennsylvania State University reported that students who listen to the most rock have the highest levels of anxiety, depression, and “sensation-seeking.”

Heavy metal and rap music is associated with increased incidence of behavior problems, drug and alcohol use, sexual activity, low grades and criminal arrests. When young David played his harp for the moody King Saul, he was “refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.” I Samuel 16:23.

Rhythm and Reason

The Bible says: “The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them.” Proverbs 20:12. We are accountable to God for the use of our sensory organs as well as our time. And right use brings blessings! God’s television and magazine guide can’t be beat!

You will find it in Psalm 101. It is not only worth reviewing—it’s worth living!

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We are truly fearfully and wonderfully made and we must take care of our mental, physical and spiritual life; otherwise, the devil will walk right in and destroy us mentally, physically and spiritually.