Bible Study Guides – “Go Ye Therefore and Teach”

November 20, 1999 – November 26, 1999

Memory Verse

“And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 7, 25–28.


“The whole body of believers needs to be vitalized by the Holy Spirit of God. We should study, plan, economize, and set in operation every means possible whereby we may reach and bless suffering and ignorant humanity. The light which God has given to us as a people is not given that we may treasure it among ourselves. We are to act
in harmony with the great commission given to every disciple of Christ, to carry to all the world the light of truth.” Review and Herald, August 12, 1909.

“Go Ye and Teach.”

  1. What task has Christ given to His church? Matthew 28:19, 20.

note: “The commission reaches those who shall believe on His word through His disciples. And all who are called of God to stand as ambassadors for Him should take the lessons upon practical godliness given them by Christ in His word and teach them to the people.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 401.

  1. How is the accomplishment of this task linked to the end of the world? Matthew 24:14.

note: “A crisis is right upon us. We must now by the Holy Spirit’s power proclaim the great truths for these last days. It will not be long before everyone will have heard the warning and made his decision. Then shall the end come. It is the very essence of all right faith to do the right thing at the right time. God is the great Master Worker, and by His providence He prepares the way for His work to be accomplished. He provides opportunities, opens up lines of influence and channels of working. If His people are watching the indications of His providence, and stand ready to co-operate with Him, they will see a great work accomplished. Their efforts, rightly directed, will produce a hundredfold greater results than can be accomplished with the same means and facilities in another channel where God is not so manifestly working.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 24.

“How Shall They Hear?”

  1. How does Paul express the need for people to proclaim the Gospel? Romans 10:14.

note: “While the angels hold the four winds, we are to work with all our capabilities. We must bear our message without any delay. We must give evidence to the heavenly universe, and to men in this degenerate age, that our religion is a faith and a power of which Christ is the Author and His word the divine oracle. Human souls are hanging in the balance. They will either be subjects for the kingdom of God or slaves to the despotism of Satan. All are to have the privilege of laying hold of the hope set before them in the gospel, and how can they hear without a preacher? The human family is in need of a moral renovation, a preparation of character, that they may stand in God’s presence. There are souls ready to perish because of the theoretical errors which are prevailing, and which are calculated to counterwork the gospel message. Who will now fully consecrate themselves to become laborers together with God?” Testimonies, vol. 6, 21.

  1. What Bible story illustrates how the willing servant of God can be used to win a soul to Christ? Acts 8:26–39.

note: “This Ethiopian represented a large class who need to be taught by such missionaries as Philip—men who will hear the voice of God and go where He sends them. There are many who are reading the Scriptures who cannot understand their true import. All over the world men and women are looking wistfully to heaven. Prayers and tears and inquiries go up from souls longing for light, for grace, for the Holy Spirit. Many are on the verge of the kingdom, waiting only to be gathered in. An angel guided Philip to the one who was seeking for light and who was ready to receive the gospel, and today angels will guide the footsteps of those workers who will allow the Holy Spirit to sanctify their tongues and refine and ennoble their hearts. The angel sent to Philip could himself have done the work for the Ethiopian, but this is not God’s way of working. It is His plan that men are to work for their fellow men. In the trust given to the first disciples, believers in every age have shared. Everyone who has received the gospel has been given sacred truth to impart to the world.” Acts of the Apostles, 109.

“The Word of Their Testimony”

  1. How have God’s saints of old been able to overcome the assaults of Satan? Revelation 12:11.

note: “Awake, ye sleeping virgins, and trim your lamps. With the Bible in your hands, go to your neighbors with the message of present truth. In the spirit of deep repentance confess your past neglect in the assembly of God’s people, as they meet to worship God. Then the Lord will pardon your transgressions and forgive your sin. If you feel that you have not the ability nor the knowledge that are needed in order to present the truth to others, read your neglected Bible, and seek for an understanding of the truth as it is in Jesus. Many have not developed a Christlike character in the daily life and conversation. They have not lived for the Lord Jesus and for Him alone, daily gaining a fitness to unite with those who have overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.” Australasian Union Conference Record, March 11, 1907.

  1. How can the word of our testimony strengthen and encourage fellow-believers? Hebrews 10:25; Malachi 3:16–17.

note: “The Lord has shown me that great interest should be taken by Sabbath-keepers to keep up their meetings and make them interesting. There is great necessity of more interest and energy being manifested in this direction. All should have something to say for the Lord, for by so doing they will be blest. A book of remembrance is written of those who do not forsake the assembling of themselves together, but speak often one to another. The remnant are to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. Some expect to overcome alone by the blood of the Lamb, without making any special effort of their own. I saw that God has been merciful in giving us the power of speech. He has given us a tongue, and we are accountable to Him for its use. We should glorify God with our mouth, speaking in honor of the truth and of His unbounded mercy, and overcome by the word of our testimony through the blood of the Lamb.” Early Writings, 114.

“Whom Shall I Send?”

  1. What call to God’s people comes from the throne of God? Isaiah 6:8.

note: “When the Lord’s voice calls, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ the Divine Spirit puts it into hearts to respond: ‘Here am I; send me.’ Isaiah 6:8. But bear in mind that the live coal from the altar must first touch your lips. Then the words you speak will be wise and holy words. Then you will have wisdom to know what to say and what to leave unsaid. You will not try to reveal your smartness as theologians. You will be careful not to arouse a combative spirit or excite prejudice by introducing controverted points of doctrine. You will find enough to talk about that will not excite opposition, but that will open the heart to desire a deeper knowledge of God’s word.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 325.

  1. What promises did God make to one who felt his inadequacy to speak for God? Jeremiah 1:6–9.

note: “In choosing men and women for His service, God does not ask whether they possess learning or eloquence or worldly wealth. He asks: ‘Do they walk in such humility that I can teach them My way? Can I put My words into their lips? Will they represent Me?’” Testimonies, vol. 7, 144.

“O, if we would only lay hold of these assurances by living faith in the One who has abundance of comfort and encouragement for us all. Then we would praise the Lord in the morning and at noon and at night. We would have a message of mercy to carry to others. The Lord of heaven wants us to have an advanced experience. Will you study these words? Will you accept them? Will you be sanctified by the truths they teach?” General Conference Bulletin, May 18, 1909.

“Let Your Light So Shine”

  1. Besides the word of our testimony, in what other way is the follower of God to witness? Matthew 5:16.

note: “The good works of the children of God are the most effectual preaching that the unbeliever has. He thinks that there must be strong motives that actuate the Christian to deny self, and use his possessions in trying to save his fellow men. It is unlike the spirit of the world. Such fruits testify that the possessors are genuine Christians.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 193, 194.

  1. How does Isaiah describe this work of letting the light shine? Isaiah 58:6–8.

note: “Thus in the night of spiritual darkness God’s glory is to shine forth through His church in lifting up the bowed down and comforting those that mourn. All around us are heard the wails of a world’s sorrow. On every hand are the needy and distressed. It is ours to aid in relieving and softening life’s hardships and misery. Practical work will have far more effect than mere sermonizing. We are to give food to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and shelter to the homeless. And we are called to do more than this. The wants of the soul, only the love of Christ can satisfy. If Christ is abiding in us, our hearts will be full of divine sympathy. The sealed fountains of earnest, Christlike love will be unsealed. God calls not only for our gifts for the needy, but for our cheerful countenance, our hopeful words, our kindly handclasp. When Christ healed the sick, He laid His hands upon them. So should we come in close touch with those whom we seek to benefit.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 417, 418.

“And I Saw Another Angel”

  1. What special message are God’s people called to proclaim in the days just before Christ’s coming? Revelation 14:6–12.

note: “The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Savior, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the Commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family. All power is given into His hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto men, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent. This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the Third Angel’s Message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure.” Testimonies to Ministers, 91, 92.

  1. What additional message must also be given to warn God’s people of their danger? Revelation 18:1–4.

note: “There are true Christians in every church who do not know the origin of the Sunday-sabbath, and believe that they are keeping the day which God sanctified and blest. This is true of worshipers even in the Catholic Church; and while this ignorance and integrity remain, God accepts of their sincerity; but when light shall fall upon their pathway, God requires them to come into harmony with His law, and to observe the Sabbath of His appointing. The time has come when the glory of the Lord is to fill the earth, and when the whole earth shall be lightened with His glory. The cry is sounding to the honest in heart to ‘come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.’ ‘And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.’” Signs of the Times, November 19, 1894.

Bible Study Guides – “Holy and Without Blemish”

November 13, 1999 – November 19, 1999

Memory Verse

“And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: to the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” 1 Thessalonians 3:12, 13.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 469–478.


“We believe without a doubt that Christ is soon coming. This is not a fable to us; it is a reality. We have no doubt, neither have we had a doubt for years, that the doctrines we hold today are present truth, and that we are nearing the judgment. We are preparing to meet Him who, escorted by a retinue of holy angels, is to appear in the clouds of heaven to give the faithful and the just the finishing touch of immortality. When He comes He is not to cleanse us of our sins, to remove from us the defects in our characters, or to cure us of the infirmities of our tempers and dispositions. If wrought for us at all, this work will all be accomplished before that time. When the Lord comes, those who are holy will be holy still. Those who have preserved their bodies and spirits in holiness, in sanctification and honor, will then receive the finishing touch of immortality. But those who are unjust, unsanctified, and filthy will remain so forever. No work will then be done for them to remove their defects and give them holy characters. The Refiner does not then sit to pursue His refining process and remove their sins and their corruption. This is all to be done in these hours of probation. It is now that this work is to be accomplished for us.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 355.

“To Serve Him in Holiness”

  1. What is God’s desire for all His people? Luke 1:74, 75.

note: “It is our privilege to stand with the light of heaven upon us. It was thus that Enoch walked with God. It was no easier for Enoch to live a righteous life than it is for us at the present time. The world in his time was no more favorable to growth in grace and holiness than it is now. It was by prayer and communion with God that Enoch was enabled to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. We are living in the perils of the last days, and we must receive our strength from the same source. We must walk with God. A separation from the world is required of us; for we can not remain free from its pollution unless we follow the example of the faithful Enoch.” Review and Herald, January 9, 1900.

  1. How does Jesus describe the ones who will have the privilege of seeing God? Matthew 5:8.

note: “The Bible contains instruction regarding the character God’s children must possess. ‘Blessed are the pure in heart,’ it declares, ‘for they shall see God.’ Matthew 5:8. ‘Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.’ Hebrews 12:14. ‘Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as He is pure.’ 1 John 3:2, 3.” Counsels to Teachers, Parents and Students, 429.

“Blessed are the pure in heart—now; not, Blessed will be the pure in heart. ‘Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.’ Matthew 5:8. Yes, as did Moses, they shall endure the seeing of Him who is invisible. They have the assurance of the richest blessings, both in this life and in the life that is to come.” Counsels to Teachers, Parents and Students, 103.

“Shall We Continue in Sin That Grace May Abound?”

  1. How may we be freed from the guilt of those sins we have committed? 1 John 1:9.

note: “The conditions of obtaining mercy of God are simple and just and reasonable. The Lord does not require us to do some grievous thing in order that we may have the forgiveness of sin. We need not make long and wearisome pilgrimages, or perform painful penances, to commend our souls to the God of heaven or to expiate our transgression; but he that confesseth and forsaketh his sin shall have mercy. The apostle says, ‘Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.’ James 5:16. Confess your sins to God, who only can forgive them, and your faults to one another. If you have given offence to your friend or neighbor, you are to acknowledge your wrong, and it is his duty freely to forgive you. Then you are to seek the forgiveness of God, because the brother you have wounded is the property of God, and in injuring him you sinned against his Creator and Redeemer.” Steps to Christ, 37.

  1. Is forgiveness all that we need to inherit eternal life? Romans 6:1, 2.

note: “None can endure to be with God if they are not constantly conforming their minds and hearts to His will and developing characters after the divine similitude. None can have forgiveness without living the purity of character exemplified in Christ. No man need expect happiness without the holiness of God. They cannot partake of the feast without the garment of Christ’s righteousness, woven in the loom of heaven. Privileges and opportunities improved will give every soul a fitness to obey the law of His kingdom.” Home Missionary, November 1, 1897. [Emphasis supplied.]

“Let Us Cleanse Ourselves”

  1. What “exceeding great and precious promises” does God give to those who wish to become like Jesus? 1 Corinthians 10:13; Hebrews 2:18; 2 Peter 2:9; Revelation 3:10.

note: “Bid the tempted one look not to circumstances, to the weakness of self, or to the power of temptation, but to the power of God’s word. All its strength is ours. ‘Thy word,’ says the psalmist, ‘have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.’ ‘By the word of Thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.’ Psalms 119:11; 17:4. Talk courage to the people; lift them up to God in prayer. Many who have been overcome by temptation are humiliated by their failures, and they feel that it is in vain for them to approach unto God; but this thought is of the enemy’s suggestion. When they have sinned, and feel that they cannot pray, tell them that it is then the time to pray. Ashamed they may be, and deeply humbled; but as they confess their sins, He who is faithful and just will forgive their sins and cleanse them from all unrighteousness. Nothing is apparently more helpless, yet really more invincible, than the soul that feels its nothingness and relies wholly on the merits of the Savior. By prayer, by the study of His word, by faith in His abiding presence, the weakest of human beings may live in contact with the living Christ, and He will hold them by a hand that will never let go.” Ministry of Healing, 181, 182.

  1. In the light of God’s promises, what counsel does Paul give? 2 Corinthians 7:1.

note: “The Christian life is constantly an onward march. Jesus sits as a refiner and purifier of His people; and when His image is perfectly reflected in them, they are perfect and holy, and prepared for translation. A great work is required of the Christian. We are exhorted to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Here we see where the great labor rests. There is a constant work for the Christian. Every branch in the parent vine must derive life and strength from that vine, in order to yield fruit.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 340.

  1. Who works in co-operation with the Christian to complete the work of salvation from all sin? Philippians 2:12, 13.

note: “God requires us to bear much fruit. He will not give commands without giving with them power for their performance. He will not do our part of the work, neither does He require that we do His. It is God that worketh in us, but we must work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. ‘Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.’ Faith must be sustained by works; the doers of the work are justified before God.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 166, 167.

“Man is allotted a part in this great struggle for everlasting life; he must respond to the working of the Holy Spirit. It will require a struggle to break through the powers of darkness, and the Spirit works in him to accomplish this. But man is no passive being, to be saved in indolence. He is called upon to strain every muscle and exercise every faculty in the struggle for immortality; yet it is God that supplies the efficiency. No human being can be saved in indolence.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 65.

“Be Ye Holy; for I am Holy”

  1. To what kind of lives has God called us? 1 Thessalonians 4:7.

note: “We are called to represent to the world the character of God as it was revealed to Moses. In answer to the prayer of Moses, ‘Show me Thy glory,’ the Lord promised, ‘I will make all My goodness pass before thee.’ ‘And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.’ Exodus 33:18, 19; 34:6, 7. This is the fruit that God desires from His people. In the purity of their characters, in the holiness of their lives, in their mercy and loving-kindness and compassion, they are to demonstrate that the ‘law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.’ Psalm 19:7.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 221.

  1. What is the measure of the holiness to which God has called us? 1 Peter 1:15, 16.

note: “A character formed according to the divine likeness is the only treasure that we can take from this world to the next. Those who are under the instruction of Christ in this world will take every divine attainment with them to the heavenly mansions. And in heaven we are continually to improve. How important, then, is the development of character in this life. The heavenly intelligences will work with the human agent who seeks with determined faith that perfection of character which will reach out to perfection in action. To everyone engaged in this work Christ says, I am at your right hand to help you. As the will of man co-operates with the will of God, it becomes omnipotent. Whatever is to be done at His command may be accomplished in His strength. All His biddings are enablings.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 332, 333.

“Holy and Without Blemish”

  1. How in practical detail is this holiness described? Titus 1:8; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17, Romans 12:1, Colossians 1:22, 1 Peter 1:15, Ephesians 5:27.

note: “Holiness is agreement with God.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 743.

“Holiness is constant agreement with God. Shall we not be that which Christ so greatly desires us to be,—Christians in deed and in truth,—that the world may see in our lives a revelation of the saving power of truth?” Southern Watchman, June 11, 1903.

“True holiness is wholeness in the service of God. This is the condition of true Christian living. Christ asks for an unreserved consecration, for undivided service. He demands the heart, the mind, the soul, the strength. Self is not to be cherished. He who lives to himself is not a Christian.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 48, 49. (See also Desire of Ages, 555, 556; Acts of the Apostles, 51.)

  1. How does the Bible describe those who have part in the first resurrection, at the Second Coming of Jesus? Revelation 20:6.

note: “We may not be living when Christ shall come in power and great glory, for all are subject to death at any time, but if we are righteous, in harmony with the law of God, we shall respond to the voice that will call the people of God from their graves, and shall come forth to receive immortality. It is only the blessed and holy who will be ready for the first resurrection; for when Christ comes, He will not change the character.” Signs of the Times, February 9, 1891.

  1. How does the Bible describe those who are alive to see Jesus as He is? 1 John 3:2.

  2. What important counsel does John give to those who hope to meet Jesus? 1 John 3:3–6.

note: “The exhortation of the apostle is, ‘Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.’ It is by engaging in this work, and by exercising living faith in God, that we are to perfect Christian character. The work of cleansing the soul-temple and preparing for Christ’s appearing must be done while we are in this world of temptation. Just as Christ finds us in character when He comes, so we shall remain.” Signs of the Times, September 29, 1887.

Bible Study Guides – “Not of the World”

November 6, 1999 – November 12, 1999

Memory Verse

“I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” John 17:15.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 600–602.


“I have been shown the high and responsible position which God’s people should occupy. They are the salt of the earth and the light of the world, and they must walk even as Christ walked. They will come up through great tribulation. The present is a time of warfare and trial. Our Savior says in Revelation 3:21: ‘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.’ The reward is not given to all who profess to be followers of Christ, but to those who overcome even as He overcame. We must study the life of Christ and learn what it is to confess Him before the world.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 303.

“The Light Shineth in Darkness”

  1. What is the light that is to shine into the world? 2 Corinthians 4:3–5.

note: “In order to gain a proper knowledge of ourselves, it is necessary to look into the mirror, and there discovering our own defects, avail ourselves of the blood of Christ, the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness, in which we may wash our robes of character and remove the stains of sin. But many refuse to see their errors and correct them; they do not want a true knowledge of themselves. If we would reach high attainments in moral and spiritual excellence we must live for it. We are under personal obligation to society to do this, in order continually to exert an influence in favor of God’s law. We should let our light so shine that all may see that the sacred gospel is having an influence upon our hearts and lives, that we walk in obedience to its commandments and violate none of its principles. We are in a great degree accountable to the world for the souls of those around us.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 58–59.

  1. Whom do God’s remnant people have as their example in bringing light to a dark world? John 3:17.

note: “Our Lord Jesus Christ came to this world as the unwearied servant of man’s necessity. He ‘took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses,’ that He might minister to every need of humanity. Matthew 8:17. The burden of disease and wretchedness and sin He came to remove. It was His mission to bring to men complete restoration; He came to give them health and peace and perfection of character.” Ministry of Healing, 17.

  1. What is Christ asking us to do for our Heavenly Father? John 17:18; Matthew 5:16.

note: “I have been shown that the disciples of Christ are His representatives upon the earth; and God designs that they shall be lights in the moral darkness of this world, dotted all over the country, in the towns, villages, and cities, ‘a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men.’ If they obey the teachings of Christ in His Sermon on the Mount, they will be seeking continually for perfection of Christian character, and will be truly the light of the world, channels through which God will communicate His divine will, the truth of heavenly origin, to those who sit in darkness and who have no knowledge of the way of life and salvation.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 631.

  1. Whose life shows that it possible to live as a pure light for God in today’s world? Genesis 5:21–24.

note: “Christ came into the world to save it, to connect fallen man with the infinite God. Christ’s followers are to be channels of light. Maintaining communion with God, they are to transmit to those in darkness and error the choice blessings which they receive of heaven. Enoch did not become polluted with the iniquities existing in his day; why need we in our day? But we may, like our Master, have compassion for suffering humanity, pity for the unfortunate, and a generous consideration for the feelings and necessities of the needy, the troubled, and the despairing.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 113.

“An Holy Nation”

  1. What characteristics will be seen in our lives if we are truly to reflect God to those around us? 1 Peter 1:13–16.

note: “In order to manifest the character of God, in order that we may not deceive ourselves, the church, and the world by a counterfeit Christianity, we must become personally acquainted with God. If we have fellowship with God, we are His ministers, though we may never preach to a congregation. We are workers together with
God in presenting the perfection of His character in humanity.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 13.

  1. What will be the sign of true holiness and loyalty to our Savior and Creator? Exodus 20:8; Psalm 29:2; Revelation 14:7.

note: “Not all who profess to keep the Sabbath will be sealed. There are many even among those who teach the truth to others who will not receive the seal of God in their foreheads. They had the light of truth, they knew their Master’s will, they understood every point of our faith, but they had not corresponding works. These who were so familiar with prophecy and the treasures of divine wisdom should have acted their faith. They should have commanded their households after them, that by a well-ordered family they might present to the world the influence of the truth upon the human heart.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 213, 214.

“A Royal Priesthood”

  1. A priest is the one who stands between God and man. What is the “royal priesthood” to declare about God to the world? 1 Peter 2:9, 10.

note: “God declares, ‘I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.’ He is the benefactor of the universe. His tender mercies are over all His works. ‘The eyes of all wait upon Thee; and Thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest Thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.’ It is God’s desire that man shall proclaim the benevolence of His character. In word and deed His people are to reveal His mercy, calling attention to His compassionate designs. The world is to see in the believers who make it their first aim to fulfil the will of Christ, a true representation of Christianity.” Review and Herald, November 26, 1901.

  1. What are the sacrifices to be offered by today’s “royal priesthood”? Romans 12:1, 2.

note: “In the ancient Jewish service it was required that every sacrifice should be without blemish. In the text we are told to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service. We are God’s workmanship. The psalmist, meditating upon the marvelous work of God in the human frame, exclaimed, ‘I am fearfully and wonderfully made.’ Psalms 139:14. There are many who are educated in the sciences, and are familiar with the theory of the truth, who do not understand the laws that govern their own being. God has given us faculties and talents; and it is our duty, as His sons and daughters, to make the best use of them. If we weaken these powers of mind or body by wrong habits or indulgence of perverted appetite, it will be impossible for us to honor God as we should.” Christian Temperance and Bible Hygiene, 15.

“A Chosen Generation”

  1. What special work for the world is assigned to the last generation of God’s people? Revelation 14:6.

note: “We are nearing the close of this earth’s history. We have before us a great work, the closing work of giving the last warning message to a sinful world. There are men who will be taken from the plough, from the vineyard, from various other branches of work, and sent forth by the Lord to give this message to the world. The world is out of joint. As we look at the picture, the outlook seems discouraging. But Christ greets with hopeful assurance the very men and women who cause us discouragement. In them He sees qualifications that will enable them to take a place in His vineyard. If they will constantly be learners, through His providence He will make them men and women fitted to do a work that is not beyond their capabilities; through the impartation of the Holy Spirit He will give them power of utterance. Many of the barren, unworked fields must be entered by beginners. The brightness of the Savior’s view of the world will inspire confidence in many workers, who, if they begin in humility, and put their hearts into the work, will be found to be the right men for the time and place…He corrects our erring piety, giving the burden of the work for the poor and needy in the rough places of the earth to men and women who have hearts that can feel for the ignorant and for those that are out of the way. The Lord teaches these workers how to meet those whom He wishes them to help. They will be encouraged as they see doors opening for them to enter places where they can do medical missionary work. Having little self-confidence, they give God all the glory. Their hands may be rough and unskilled, but their hearts are susceptible to pity; they are filled with an earnest desire to do something to relieve the woe so abundant; and Christ is present to help them.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 270, 271.

  1. How will these workers find protection from the final, angry onslaught of the evil one? Ephesians 6:10–18.

note: “The Great General is not only leading a few generals; but the Captain of the Lord’s host is leading the armies of both heaven and earth to battle; and they are marching on to the glorious victory. Every soldier is to put on the whole armor of God, and fight courageously, realizing that he is battling in full view of the invisible universe. If they will obey orders, the Lord’s army will find themselves influenced by the Holy Spirit to work the works of God. The battlefield is glorified with the light shining from the cross of Calvary.” Australasian Union Conference Record, April 1, 1898.

“I Pray for Them”

  1. How are we included in Jesus’ prayer for His disciples? John 17:11, 20, 21.

note: “Yes, that prayer of Christ embraces even us. We should be comforted by the thought that we have a great intercessor in the heavens, presenting our petitions before God. ‘If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.’ In the hour of greatest need, when discouragement would overwhelm the soul, it is then that the watchful eye of Jesus sees that we need His help. The hour of man’s necessity is the hour of God’s opportunity. When all human support fails, then Jesus comes to our aid, and His presence scatters the darkness and lifts the cloud of gloom.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 530.

  1. As we realize our weakness and frailty, what invitation and promises come to us from the Most Holy Place? Hebrews 4:14–16.

note: “Let us begin to work for those who have not had the light. ‘All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth,’ the Savior declares, ‘and, lo, I am with you alway.’ Matthew 28:18, 20. What we need is a living faith, faith to proclaim over the rent sepulchre of Joseph that we have a living Savior, one who will go before us and who will work with us. God will do the work if we will furnish Him the instruments. There needs to be among us a great deal more of prayer and much less of unbelief. We need to lift up the standard higher and still higher before the people. We need to remember that Christ is always at our right hand as we proclaim liberty to the captives and deal the bread of life to hungry souls. When we keep before our minds the urgency and importance of our work, the salvation of God will be revealed in a remarkable manner.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 107.

Bible Study Guides – “Many Members Yet But One Body”

October 30, 1999 – November 5, 1999

Memory Verse

“But now are they many members, yet but one body.” 1 Corinthians 12:20.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 4, 16–20.


“The religion of Christ does not require us to lose our identity of character, but merely to adapt ourselves, in some measure, to the feelings and ways of others. Many people may be brought together in a unity of religious faith whose opinions, habits, and tastes in temporal matters are not in harmony; but if they have the love of Christ glowing in their bosoms, and are looking forward to the same heaven as their eternal home, they may have the sweetest and most intelligent communion together, and a unity the most wonderful. There are scarcely two whose experience is alike in every particular. The trials of one may not be the trials of another, and our hearts should ever be open to kindly sympathy and all aglow with the love that Jesus had for all His brethren.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 65, 66.

“How Good and How Pleasant It Is”

  1. How does David describe the blessings of unity among God’s people? Psalm 133:1–3.

note: “The apostles differed widely in habits and disposition. There were the publican, Levi-Matthew, and the fiery zealot Simon, the uncompromising hater of the authority of Rome; the generous, impulsive Peter, and the mean-spirited Judas; Thomas, true-hearted, yet timid and fearful, Philip, slow of heart, and inclined to doubt, and the ambitious, outspoken sons of Zebedee, with their brethren. These were brought together, with their different faults, all with inherited and cultivated tendencies to evil; but in and through Christ they were to dwell in the family of God, learning to become one in faith, in doctrine, in spirit. They would have their tests, their grievances, their differences of opinion; but while Christ was abiding in the heart, there could be no dissension. His love would lead to love for one another; the lessons of the Master would lead to the harmonizing of all differences, bringing the disciples into unity, till they would be of one mind and one judgement. Christ is the great center, and they would approach one another just in proportion as they approached the center.” The Desire of Ages, 296.

  1. What counsel did Paul give to the believers in Philippi? Philippians 2:1–5.

note: “Brethren and sisters, we have no time to dwell on little differences. For Christ’s sake, go to your knees in prayer! Go to God, and ask Him to give you a clean heart. Ask Him to help you to stand where He wants you to be. Labor in harmony with one another, even though you are not alike. Do you not know that of the leaves on a tree there are no two exactly alike? From this God would teach us that among His servants there is to be unity in diversity.” General Conference Bulletin, March 30, 1903.

“The Unity of the Spirit”

  1. What earnest plea did Paul make to the believers in Ephesus? Ephesians 4:1–3.

note: “I spoke upon the necessity of laboring for unity and cultivating Christian courtesy, ‘endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’ The effect of truth upon the heart is to cleanse it from every defilement. It will not increase self-love, but will lead the receiver to humble his heart, and to ascribe nothing to self, but all to God. He ceases to esteem himself more highly than his brethren. His former sensitiveness to reproach, neglect, or contempt disappears, and he is not so easily irritated; he becomes gentle and condescending, and exemplifies the simplicity of Christ who was meek and lowly of heart. His own nation and personal friends are no longer the boundary lines of his love. He loves Jesus with all his heart, and all who are trying to be the children of God he loves as himself. There is an entire change in his life.” Review and Herald, November 3, 1885.

  1. What specific examples of the oneness of God’s people did Paul mention? Ephesians 4:4–6.

note: “There is but one body, and one Spirit, one Lord, one faith. As members of the body of Christ all believers are animated by the same spirit and the same hope. Divisions in the church dishonor the religion of Christ before the world and give occasion to the enemies of truth to justify their course. Paul’s instructions were not written alone for the church in his day. God designed that they should be sent down to us. What are we doing to preserve unity in the bonds of peace?” Testimonies, vol. 5, 239. (See also The Great Controversy, 379.)

“Unity in the Bond of Peace”

  1. What sound counsel did Paul give to those whose views were causing division? Romans 14:19.

note: “In union there is strength; in disunion there is weakness. God’s chosen ones are to reveal to the world their union one with another. It is not possible for a few to walk to heaven alone because they can agree with no others. God’s people are to be a unit. If some entertain ideas so peculiar that others cannot accept them, they should compare notes in a teachable spirit, and all should be willing to learn. They should make the most strenuous efforts to be one, to come into the unity of the faith in the bonds of peace.” Review and Herald,
April 27, 1897.

  1. What characteristics are we to cultivate in order to achieve unity in the bond of peace? Colossians 3:12–15.

note: “The apostle exhorts his brethren to manifest in their lives the power of the truth which he had presented to them. By meekness and gentleness, forbearance and love, they were to exemplify the character of Christ and the blessings of His salvation. There is but one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith. As members of the body of Christ, all members are to be animated by the same spirit and the same hope. Harmony and union existing among men of varied dispositions is the strongest witness that can be borne that God has sent His Son into the world to save sinners. It is our privilege to bear this witness. Our characters must be molded in harmony with His character, our wills must be surrendered to His will.” Review and Herald, November 12, 1908.

“The Unity of the Faith”

  1. What was one of the purposes for members being given the different spiritual gifts in the church? Ephesians 4:11–13.

note: “Honest souls will see the straight chain of present truth. They will see its harmonious connections, link after link uniting into a great whole, and will lay hold upon it. The present truth is not difficult to be understood, and the people whom God is leading will be united upon this broad, firm platform. He will not use individuals of different faith, opinions, and views, to scatter and divide. Heaven and holy angels are working to unite, to bring into the unity of the faith, into the one body. Satan opposes this, and is determined to scatter, and divide, and bring in different sentiments, that the prayer of Christ may not be answered: ‘Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.’ John 17:20, 21. Jesus designed that the faith of His people should be one.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 327.

  1. Though God’s people have different gifts, what are we to do so that diversity does not become division? 1 Corinthians 1:10.

note: “Christ is leading out a people, and bringing them into the unity of the faith, that they may be one, as He is one with the Father. Differences of opinion must be yielded, that all may come into union with the body, that they may have one mind and one judgment. 1 Corinthians 1:10: ‘Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.’ Romans 15:5, 6: ‘Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: that ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Philippians 2:2: ‘Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.’” Testimonies, vol. 1, 324.

“We, Being Many, Are One”

  1. How does Paul describe the diversity that exists among God’s people? Romans 12:4, 6–8.

note: “Study this scripture carefully. God has not given to every one the same line of work. It is His plan that there shall be unity in diversity. When His plan is studied and followed, there will be far less friction in the working of the cause.” Pacific Union Recorder, December 29, 1904.

  1. What picture did Paul use to demonstrate the importance of each individual member to the whole church? 1 Corinthians 12:12–21.

note: “The Lord desires His church to respect every gift that He has bestowed on the different members. Let us beware of allowing our minds to become fixed on ourselves, thinking that no one can be serving the Lord unless he is working on the same lines as those on which we are working. Never is a worker to say, ‘I do not want to work with such a one, because he does not see things as I do. I wish to work with some one who will agree with all I say, and follow out all my ideas.’ The one the worker thus refuses to connect with may have truths to present that have not yet been presented. Because of the worker’s refusal to accept the help provided by the Lord, the work is made one-sided. The work is hurt unless there are brought into it all the gifts that God has bestowed. Many times the progress of the work has been hindered because the laborers thought their gifts all that were necessary for its advancement. The Lord has not done for His people what He would have done if so many of the workers had not limited the development of the work by refusing to co-operate with laborers who should have been given standing room and encouragement. In self-sufficiency, men have ignored and pushed aside those to whom God has given a special work.” Pacific Union Recorder, December 29, 1904.

“By This Shall All Men Know…”

  1. What counsel does Paul give to Christians concerning those who bring division among God’s people? Romans 16:17.

note: “Let the suspicious ones, who think and speak evil of their brethren, remember that they are doing the devil’s drudgery. Let each member of the church work with earnest determination, and with prayer for help, to cure the diseased member, the tongue. Let every one feel that it is his duty and privilege to pass over little differences and mistakes without comment. Do not magnify the small mistakes made by some one, but think of the good that is in him. Each time these mistakes are thought of and talked about, they grow larger. A mountain is made out of a molehill. Ill-feeling and a lack of confidence is the result.” Australasian Union Conference Record, April 15, 1903.

  1. What did Christ say was convincing evidence that we are His disciples? John 13:35.

note: “The more closely we resemble our Savior in character, the greater will be our love toward those for whom He died. Christians who manifest a spirit of unselfish love for one another are bearing a testimony for Christ which unbelievers can neither gainsay nor resist. It is impossible to estimate the power of such an example. Nothing will so successfully defeat the devices of Satan and his emissaries, nothing will so build up the Redeemer’s kingdom, as will the love of Christ manifested by the members of the church. Peace and prosperity can be enjoyed only as meekness and love are in active exercise.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 168.

Food for Life – Creole Corn

Inspiration Counsels Against Extremes in Diet

What a year this has been so far! Truly the Lord is coming soon, to take His faithful ones to Gloryland! Will you be there? I hope to be there to meet my Lord and Savior in the skies and reign with Him throughout eternity. This month, we will continue to look at the chapter in The Ministry of Healing called “Extremes in Diet.”

“God is not honored when the body is neglected or abused and is thus unfitted for His service. To care for the body by providing for it food that is relishable and strengthening is one of the first duties of the householder. It is far better to have less expensive clothing and furniture than to stint the supply of food.

“Some householders stint the family table in order to provide expensive entertainment for visitors. This is unwise. In the entertainment of guests there should be greater simplicity. Let the needs of the family have first attention.

“Unwise economy and artificial customs often prevent the exercise of hospitality where it is needed and would be a blessing. The regular supply of food for our tables should be such that the unexpected guest can be made welcome without burdening the housewife to make extra preparation.

“All should learn what to eat and how to cook it. Men, as well as women, need to understand the simple, healthful preparation of food. Their business often calls them where they cannot obtain wholesome food; then, if they have a knowledge of cookery, they can use it to good purpose.

“Carefully consider your diet. Study from cause to effect. Cultivate self-control. Keep appetite under the control of reason. Never abuse the stomach by overeating, but do not deprive yourself of the wholesome, palatable food that health demands.

“The narrow ideas of some would-be health reformers have been a great injury to the cause of hygiene. Hygienists should remember that dietetic reform will be judged, to a great degree, by the provision they make for their tables; and instead of taking a course that will bring discredit upon it, they should so exemplify its principles as to commend them to candid minds. There is a large class who will oppose any reform movement, however reasonable, if it places a restriction on the appetite. They consult taste instead of reason or the laws of health. By this class, all who leave the beaten track of custom and advocate reform will be accounted radical, no matter how consistent their course. That these persons may have no ground for criticism, hygienists should not try to see how different they can be from others, but should come as near to them as possible without the sacrifice of principle.

“When those who advocate hygienic reform go to extremes, it is no wonder that many who regard these persons as representing health principles reject the reform altogether. These extremes frequently do more harm in a short time than could be undone by a lifetime of consistent living.

“Hygienic reform is based upon principles that are broad and far-reaching, and we should not belittle it by narrow views and practices. But no one should permit opposition or ridicule, or a desire to please or influence others, to turn him from true principles, or cause him lightly to regard them. Those who are governed by principle will be firm and decided in standing for the right; yet in all their associations they will manifest a generous, Christlike spirit and true moderation.” The Ministry of Healing, 322–324.

Recipe – Creole Corn

2 cups fresh or frozen corn

¼ cup chopped onion

¼ cup sliced green pepper

1 cup strained canned tomatoes

1/8 tsp. dill weed

Salt to taste

Cook corn, onion and green pepper in a non-stick pan over low heat until tender. A small amount of water may be added if necessary to prevent sticking. Add remaining ingredients and heat thoroughly.

Children’s Story – How Much Does a Prayer Weigh

So he said, “Write it on a paper,” and turned about his business.

To his surprise, the women plucked a piece of paper out of her bosom and handed it to him over the counter and said, “I did that during the night watching over my sick baby.”

The grocer took the paper before he could recover his surprise, and then regretted having done so! For what would he do with it; what could he say?

Then an idea suddenly came to him. He placed the paper, without even reading the prayer upon it, on the weight side of his old-fashioned scales. Picking up a loaf of bread nearby, he said, “We shall see how much this food is worth.”

To his astonishment the scale would not go down when he laid the loaf on the other side. To his confusion and embarrassment, it would not go down though he kept on adding more food, anything he could lay his hands on quickly, for people were watching him.

He tried to be gruff and he was making a bad job of it. His face got red and he felt flustered. So finally he said, “Well, that’s all the scales will hold anyway. Here’s a bag. You’ll have to put it in yourself. I’m busy.”

With what sounded like a gasp or a little sob, she took the bag and started packing the food, wiping her eyes on her sleeves every time her arm was free to do so. He tried not to look, but he could not help seeing that he had given her a pretty big bag and that it was not full when she had finished. So without saying anything, he tossed down the counter to her several expensive items. Trying not to notice, he saw a timid smile of grateful understanding glistening in her eyes.

When the woman was gone, he went to look at the scales, scratching his head and shaking the scales in puzzlement. Then he found the solution. When the paper had been placed on it, the scales had been broken.

That grocer is an old man now. His hair is white. But he has never forgotten the incident. He never saw the woman again. And, come to think of it, he had never seen her before either. Yet, for the rest of his life, he remembered her better than any other customer he ever had.

And he knew it had not been just his imagination, for he still had the slip of paper upon which the woman’s prayer had been written, “Please, Lord, give us this day our daily bread.”

Used by permission. Taken from the book Shelter in the Storm. Available from Harvestime Books, Altamont, TN 37301.

Victory—the Christian’s Privilege

Few doctrines cause more ire and disdain within the ranks of Seventh-day Adventists than God’s call to Christian character perfection.

Christian character perfection is best defined by referring to its synonyms—

  • The character of Christ in the life (Philippians 2:5)
  • Sanctification (2 Thessalonians 2:13)
  • Holiness (1 Peter 1:15)
  • Surrender of the will to Christ (Romans 6:13, 16, 19)
  • Love to Christ which leads to obeying His commandments (John 14:15)
  • Victory over sin (1 John 5:4)
  • Complete trust in Christ (2 Corinthians 3:4)
  • A character filled with the Holy Spirit (John 20:22; Acts 1:8; 4:8, 31)
  • Overcoming the world (1 John 5:4)
  • Walking in God’s way (1 Kings 8:58)
  • The inclination of the heart of God (1 Kings 8:58)

God’s promise of Christian character perfection is one of the great promises of Scripture. The purpose of the gifts of the Spirit is to bring character perfection to those who desire salvation. “And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” Ephesians 4:11–13.

We notice that the perfection of God’s saints gives them an effective ministry; it edifies Christ’s church; it results in unity of the brethren and increases our knowledge of God and His goodness. Those who allow this transformation to take place in their lives are promised that they will be raised to the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Why Some Despise Christian Perfection

With such immeasurable results of Christian character perfection, well may we pose the question, Who among Christians would despise such an offer and call those who seek the fulfillment of the promise, in their own lives, deceived? Who indeed? But thousands upon thousands of Christians, including not a few Seventh-day Adventist administrators, pastors and lay-people, scorn the concept of Christian character perfection. Why? Surely there can only be one significant reason—sin and worldliness remain dear to their hearts. Yet never has sin brought a single blessing to any one of us.

Sin separates us from God. “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear.”
Isaiah 59:2. No prayer to God is heard while our hearts willfully harbor sin unconfessed and unforsaken unless we kneel to confess our sins and to request the power to forsake them. This is a dire state for any Christian; yet Isaiah and King David declare this fact. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” Psalms 66:18.

We must never forget the power of God. “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear:” Isaiah 59:1. He has called mankind to perfection in all ages. Abraham was thus called. “And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the Lord appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before Me, and be thou perfect.” Genesis 17:1. The Lord also called Israel to character perfection. “Thou shalt be perfect with the Lord thy God.” Deuteronomy 18:13. And His call to Seventh-day Adventists is “Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.” 2 Corinthians 13:11.

The Spirit of Prophecy, in words so plain that none need doubt, states: “God requires perfection of His children. His law is a transcript of His own character, and it is the standard of all character. This infinite standard is presented to all that there may be no mistake in regard to the kind of people whom God will have to compose His kingdom. The life of Christ on earth was a perfect expression of God’s law, and when those who claim to be children of God become Christlike in character, they will be obedient to God’s commandments. Then the Lord can trust them to be of the number who shall compose the family of heaven.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 315.

The Spirit of Prophecy refers to Christian character perfection numerous times. On each occasion we are exhorted to seek God for the bestowal of just such a character. Without it our salvation is unsecured.

Then, again, we ask, Why do such large numbers of church leaders, pastors and lay-people abhor that which God requires and which it is their privilege to receive? Again the answer is sin. There is no abhorrence of sin and no love of righteousness.

Today, numerous pastors are destroying the faith of their congregations by preaching that we will not have victory over sin until the Second Coming. As they preach this message, they are servants of Satan, for it is he and not Christ who declares this diabolical falsehood. Listen to the inspired word. “The holy life of Abel testified against Satan’s claim that it is impossible for man to keep God’s law.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 77.[Emphasis supplied.]

(If Abel had not kept God’s law his life could not possibly have testified against the arch-deceivers claim.)

“Satan had claimed that it was impossible for man to obey God’s commandments; and in our own strength it is true that we cannot obey them. But Christ came in the form of humanity, and by His perfect obedience He proved that humanity and divinity combined can obey every one of God’s precepts.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 314.

It is a fearful matter for ministers, ordained to preach the precious truths of God, to promote the soul-destructive fabrications of Satan. Yet, today numerous pastors do so without the least concern that they will receive retribution in the day of judgement. How dare they delude the flock on a matter so plain in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy! How dare they! But dare they do. It is the duty of every layperson, not merely to ignore such sophistries of the devil, but to stand up in the might and power given to Elijah and to earnestly warn their fellow believers sitting in the pews. Such pastors should be excused from setting messages before the congregation. They are unfaithful servants and thus have forfeited their right to stand in the pulpit.

Christian Perfection Is Not Perfectionism

While Sister White always promoted Christian character perfection, she soundly condemns perfectionism on the sole occasion she refers to it. “God will not entrust the care of His precious flock to men whose mind and judgment have been weakened by former errors that they have cherished, such as so-called perfectionism.” Early Writings, 101. (Unfortunately, some translations of this passage translate the word “perfectionism” as “perfection.” One example is the Dutch translation.) On page 301 of the same book, the editors explain that perfectionism refers to the holy flesh movement which arose at the turn of the twentieth century in the state of Indiana. These people held that they had reached a state of moral perfection beyond which there was no further progress to be made and, secondly, that they could never fall from this elevated state of perfection. No wonder the servant of the Lord rejected such spiritual arrogance and error. Yet, those subscribing to the Biblical concept of Christian character perfection are frequently charged with believing perfectionism. How shallow and misleading are the words of those who deny Scripture! It is time for such confusion between Christian character perfection and the ruinous doctrine of perfectionism to be dispelled.

Seventh-day Adventists have never promoted a fanatical view of Christian character perfection. A man possesses a perfect character when he lives up to all the light God has presented to him. Jesus, Himself, stated: “Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, ‘We see;’ therefore your sin remaineth.” John 9:41.

It is only when we possess light and disobey it that sin is recorded against us. When we are “blind” to a truth because God has not yet seen us to be ready for it, despite our seeking for further truth, He does not condemn us. He takes us step by step along the Christian pathway. That is why Paul declared to the Athenians, “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.” Acts 17:30.

We must never forget that sin is an act of the will. It is the making of a decision to flaunt God’s expressed commandments. Knowledge of God’s will is required before sin is recorded against the soul. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” James 4:17.

In the early days of the Seventh-day Adventist movement, the Sabbath was observed from 6:00pm Friday until 6:00 pm Saturday. After some time, Sister White received a vision which revealed the correct timing of the Sabbath. She was shocked, for the company of Sabbath-keepers had been greatly blessed as they had kept the Sabbath, while breaking the “edges” of that holy day. In reply to Sister White’s concern, the angel replied, “ ‘If light comes, and that light is set aside, or rejected, then comes condemnation and the frown of God; but before the light comes there is no sin, for there is no light for them to reject.’” Testimonies, vol. 1, 116.

Thus, some people who are oblivious of God’s law will be found in God’s kingdom. “Among the heathen are those who worship God ignorantly, those to whom the light is never brought by human instrumentality, yet they will not perish. Though ignorant of the written law of God, they have heard His voice speaking to them in nature, and have done the things that the law required.” The Desire of Ages, 638.

More Than the Crucifixion

Since Christian character perfection is developed through obedience to every word of admonition which God has revealed to us at any given point in our Christian experience, is this a genuine possibility for us today? The glorious news is that Christ demonstrated that this is so.

If the single purpose of Christ’s incarnation was to die on Calvary and be raised from the dead, that was accomplished in three days. If, in addition, He needed to train His disciples, this He completed in 3 ½ years. Yet, Christ spent over 33 years upon the earth. Why? So that He could give us an example that as a child, teenager and adult, a man, filled with the Holy Spirit, could overcome sin. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth.” 1 Peter 2:21, 22.

“The world’s Redeemer passed over the ground where Adam fell because of his disobeying the expressed law of Jehovah; and the only begotten Son of God came to our world as a man, to reveal to the world that men could keep the law of God.
Satan, the fallen angel, had declared that no man could keep the law of God after the disobedience of Adam.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 112.

Bible Examples of Perfection

Has any man reached God’s standard of Christian character perfection? The Scriptures answer emphatically in the positive. “And Enoch walked with God: and he was not, for God took him.” Genesis 5:24.

Does “walking with God” equate with obedience to every commandment? Certainly it does. “Blessed are they that keep His testimonies, and that seek Him with the whole heart. They also do no iniquity: they walk in His ways.” Psalms 119:2, 3. “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 2:3–6.

In these passages we note that walking as Christ walked and in His ways demonstrate the fact that we keep His testimonies, we seek Him whole-heartedly, we do no iniquity, we keep His commandments, the love of God is perfected in us and we abide in Him.

Noah was selected for his holy work because he was such a man. “These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.” Genesis 6:9. So, too, was Job. “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.…And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?” Job 1:1, 8.

Job eschewed evil and sinned not. God, Himself, proclaimed these facts. Even Satan, the father of liars, could not dispute God’s evaluation of His servant. Satan was compelled to fall back to his claim that Job only possessed a perfect character because God had so abundantly blessed him. Satan claimed that in adversity Job’s perfect character would be seen to be only a fair-weather feature. But despite the worst the devil could bring, “Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” Job 1:22. Job demonstrated, through the power of God, that perfection of character could be maintained even during severe adversity.

I have often been asked in a churlish manner, “Are you perfect?” Am I? The answer to this question is provided by Job. He was perfect. God declared so on three occasions. But did he boast of his character? Did he even have the slightest inkling of God’s evaluation of his character? He said, “If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life.” Job 9:20, 21.

All who possess Christian character perfection will only see the sinfulness of their lives as they view the totally sinless life of their Redeemer. They will ever place their total trust in Him, recognizing their human frailties. No boast, no sense of superiority will mar their characters, for they will have fixed their eyes totally upon Jesus.

The 144,000 and Perfection

But one matter is certain, those who will compose the 144,000 will possess Christian character perfection. Review 1 Peter 2:21, 22, quoted earlier. Here we discern that Christ’s character consisted of two characteristics:

  1. He did not sin.
  2. No guile was found in His mouth.

Now let us compare the character of the 144,000. Revelation 14:5 says of this number, “And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.”

It will be seen that these have developed the character of Christ—they have no guile in their mouths and they are faultless before the throne of God. No individual with sin unconfessed and unforsaken in his heart can ever stand faultless before the throne of God. “The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth: for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid.” Zephaniah 3:13.

Christian character perfection is the condition God has prescribed for salvation. The basis for our salvation will ever be the grace (mercy) of our God. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8, 9.

I am burdened for God’s precious flock as I am for my dearest loved ones and myself. It is time that daily, moment by moment, we seek the character of Christ. “God’s ideal for His children is higher than the highest human thought can reach. ‘Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.’ This command is a promise. The plan of redemption contemplates our complete recovery from the power of Satan.” The Desire of Ages, 311.

“From Genesis to Revelation the conditions upon which eternal life is promised, are made plain. God requires that those who shall enter heaven shall be without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. Keep My commandments and live, is the requirement of God.” Review and Herald, September 3, 1901.

Russell Standish is a Seventh-day Adventist minister and physician who has offered long service to the Lord’s work. He currently travels extensively from his home in Australia to speak and evangelize around the world.

Message to Parents

Recently there have been repeatedly given to me messages of warning and instruction to parents, pointing out the need of diligent effort, and of seeking the Lord with close searching of heart and with earnestness of purpose. God desires us as a people to stand in a position where we shall honor Him; and we can do this only as we humble our hearts before God, bringing ourselves and our families into right relation to Him. We are safe only when we stand under the broad shield of Omnipotence. Only there can God work through us to will and to do of His good pleasure, as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

The Lord desires to see both the youth and those older brought into a sacred nearness to Himself. Christ is not here in person, as in the days of His earthly ministry, to teach the youth; but it is the privilege of parents and teachers so to represent Christ in word and character that the light of heaven will shine into the hearts of the youth, and many will be converted to Christ.

Parents have a great and important work before them. With an eye single to the glory of God, they must work to fashion the characters of their children after the perfect pattern. Who is this pattern?—It is the Son of God. Christ came to this world as a human being, that He might by His example teach men and women how to bring their lives into conformity to the will of God. He speaks to fathers and mothers, saying, “Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Christ is to be the teacher of those who must train the youth. The law of the Lord is to be their rule of life, for this law is to be written on the hearts of the youth, or they will never obey the truth of God’s word. All the will must be yielded to God; He demands entire obedience. If the youth will learn of Him, Christ will impart to them the knowledge and wisdom needed to serve Him acceptably.

Fathers and mothers, how can I find words to describe your great responsibility! By the character you reveal before your children you are educating them to serve God or to serve self. Then offer to heaven your earnest prayers for the aid of the Holy Spirit, that your hearts may be sanctified, and that the course you pursue may honor God and win your children to Christ. It should give to parents a sense of the solemnity and sacredness of their task, when they realize that by careless speech or action they may lead their children astray.

Parents need the guardianship of God and His Word. If they do not heed the counsels of the Word of God, if they do not make the Bible the man of their counsel, the rule of their life, their children will grow careless and will walk in paths of disobedience and unbelief. Christ lived a life of toil and self-denial, and died a death of shame, that He might give an example of the spirit that should inspire and control His followers. As in their home life parents strive to be Christ-like, heavenly influences will be shed abroad in the lives of their family.

In every Christian home God should be honored by the morning and evening sacrifices of praise and prayer. Every morning and evening earnest prayers should ascend to God for His blessing and guidance. Will the Lord of heaven pass by such homes, and leave no blessing there?—Nay, verily. Angels hear the offering of praise and the prayer of faith, and they bear the petitions to Him who ministers in the sanctuary for His people, and pleads His merits in their behalf. True prayer takes hold upon Omnipotence, and gives men the victory. Upon his knees the Christian obtains strength to resist temptation.

As laborers together with God, parents, you are to carry out His plans for your children. This will call for continual watch-care, unceasing effort; for the enemy of souls is on the alert to lead them astray. So long as you live, your responsibility for them will not end. Your interest in their spiritual welfare must be deep and constant. But by your ministry for them, in cooperation with the Spirit of God, they may be led to see God’s purpose for them, and to accept His will for the disposition of their lives. Who can estimate the value of faithful work in the home? In the midst of difficulties and unceasing care, it is the privilege of parents to look forward to the joys of eternity, and by the eye of faith behold the reward of the faithful.

Until every member of your family is united with you in the faith, do not feel that you can relax your efforts. Through the pleasures and ambitions of the world, the enemy is working to draw the youth into his ranks, and he has much success. As we approach nearer to the close of time, he will invent every possible attraction to draw their minds into worldly channels. At this time we need a pure and undefiled religion. And if parents will make the training of their children their chief work, God will give them increased ability.

God calls us to come out from the world and be separate. “Ye cannot serve God and mammon,” Christ declared. If we are indulging habits that unfit us for a place in the kingdom of heaven, let us in Christ’s strength overcome these habits. By our example of surrender to the will of God, we are to teach our children that if they would inherit eternal life, they must consecrate their lives to Him. If we share the joys of the redeemed in the future life, we must give no place in this life to foolishness and pride and vanity. We are to be overcomers over everything that wars against the principles of the kingdom of God.

We need to seek for a true understanding of how to train our children for the future life. At this time when wickedness is constantly increasing, we cannot afford to be careless or negligent. Our children are God’s property. Shall we let them depart from the paths of righteousness, and make no effort to save them? They have eternal life to win; eternal death to shun; and it is ours to help them to choose the good and resist the evil. When they learn to welcome the spirit of Christ into their hearts, the salvation of God will be seen in their lives.

It is sometimes essential to correct children; when this is necessary, do it in love. Show them that you punish them, not because you like to, but because you fear not to do so, lest they continue to cherish evils in their lives. Parents and children need the softening, subduing influence of the Holy Spirit of God. Often we do more to provoke than to win. Let your methods be of a character that they will create love. Love begets love. Do not scold. This will work counter to the results which God desires to see accomplished. An exhibition of passion on your part will never cure your child’s evil temper. Talk kindly with the children. Pray with them, and teach them how to pray for themselves. They will not forget these experiences, and the blessing of God will rest upon such instruction, leading the hearts of the children to Christ. The Lord wants you to lay hold of eternal things, and to have an experience in Christian development that will be marked by those with whom you associate. It is your privilege to give to the world a representation of the transforming grace of Christ that will cause them to wonder.

When children realize that their parents are trying to help them, they will bend their energies in the right direction. And to the children who have right instruction in the home, the advantages of our schools will be greater than to those who are allowed to grow up without spiritual help at home.

Do not be turned away from your God-given work by the fleeting and unsatisfying pleasures that the world can offer. Parents have no time to spend in parties of pleasure while their children are left to the temptations of the enemy. Say to those who invite you to join them in worldly pleasure, God has given me the work of training my children for eternity. I want them to stand by my side to help me, and I want to help them to accomplish all that they are capable of accomplishing through faith in Christ and His Word. I want to take my children with me to the city of God, to be crowned with immortal life. I want them to sing His praises in the earth made new. I cannot serve the world and accomplish this work.

Do not neglect your children for visitors. Your children should not be left to themselves because company has come to your home. Let your friends understand that your first attention belongs to your children, and that you cannot engage in pleasures that will divert your mind from the interest you should exercise in their behalf. You cannot afford to let any time pass unimproved. You cannot afford to let your children go hither and thither without guardianship or control. The solemn work given to you to do can be neglected only at eternal loss, but the reward for faithful effort is greater than human minds can compute. In winning heaven your children win an inheritance whose value is above that of any earthly possession. Great will be your satisfaction and reward in the future life when you see your children enjoying eternal pleasures, which might have been denied them, had you by the indulgence of self in this life withheld the advantages to be gained by an education in right principles and practice.

Do not spend your time in chatting on the trifling subjects of dress and fashion. Talk of the heavenly dress, the spotless robe of Christ’s righteousness, which all must wear who stand in confidence before the throne of God. Talk to your friends of the truth and the requirements of God’s Word. As you make use of the knowledge you have, God will give you increased light.

We are facing events that closely precede the coming of the Lord. At this time it behooves us to be faithful, to guard well our words and actions. Let us not trifle with eternal realities. Those who would be prepared for the coming of Christ must make diligent work for eternity. They have no time to lose; for the end of all things is at hand. Let heart and mind be sanctified by the truths of the Word. Give evidence that you are preparing for the solemn events of eternity.

Will fathers and mothers work wisely for their children, helping them to form righteous characters? You with your children are to prepare to graduate to the higher grades of the school above. Then educate yourselves daily away from every tendency and practise that would unfit you to pass the test of the great examination day. Let it be seen by those with whom you associate that Christ is your pattern in all things.

Let the instruction you give your children be simple, and be sure that it is clearly understood. The lessons that you learn from the Word you are to present to their young minds so plainly that they will understand. By simple lessons drawn from the Word of God and their own experience you may teach them how to conform their lives to the highest standard. They may learn, even in childhood and youth, to live thoughtful, earnest lives, that will yield a rich harvest of good.

As united rulers of the home kingdom, let the father and the mother show kindness and courtesy to each other. Never should their deportment militate against the precepts they seek to inculcate. Parents, be in earnest in seeking to perfect in your children true wisdom,—the wisdom of righteousness. If you would do this, you must set them an example worthy of imitation. Should you be remiss in this respect, and your children fail in meeting the standard of the Word of God, what will you answer when they stand before the bar of heaven as witness to your neglect? How terrible will be your realization of loss and failure as you face the Judge of all the earth with the fruits of your unfaithfulness before you!

I cannot find words to describe to you the scenes of the judgment. I cannot represent to you how terrible in that day will be the disappointment of those who in this life have chosen to follow their own will instead of the will and way of God. The low standard of the world is not Christ’s standard. The world’s measurement of righteousness is not His measurement. Those only who in their probationary time use their capabilities to honor and glorify God will hear from His lips the benediction and welcome: “Well done, good and faithful servant:…enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

To every father and mother God has given a work in soul-saving that they cannot throw upon others. In this work it is their privilege to draw from the Word of God instruction that will give help in every time of need. For all who make it their life-work to seek for the righteousness of Christ there awaits a welcome to the city of God, where they may join the song of triumph and praise, that the battle of life is over. O that we might as a people appreciate more fully the Word which teaches us the way of this wonderful salvation!

Taken from two Review and Herald articles of the same title, published on February 2, 1912 and February 8, 1912.

The Character of Daniel

It is through the Bible that we learn about God and His work for us and through us. In 1 Corinthians 10:11, we read that the stories of the Bible were recorded as examples for us upon whom the ends of the world are come. One is the stories contained in the book of Daniel. God’s grace and salvation are seen throughout the entire book of Daniel. In the prophetic portion of the book, the history of the world is pictured in dreams and symbols, but equally significant for us are the lessons that we can learn from the development of Daniel’s character, himself. We are told that “The case of Daniel may be studied with profit by all who desire perfection of character.” Signs of the Times, November 5, 1896. With this counsel in mind, let us look at the character traits of Daniel.

In the first chapter of Daniel, seven character traits are described as well as four rewards which were granted to Daniel because of his faithfulness. Let’s see what we can learn by studying the character of Daniel in relationship to our preparation for the soon appearing of Christ.

Daniel 1:1–2 tells us of the captivity of the children of Israel by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. This was prophesied by God’s prophet in Isaiah 39:3–7. As we research this event in history we learn that over 18,000 people were carried away to Babylon. (See 2 Kings 24:14–16.) Of these 18,000, God was able to chose four as His special messengers to this lost nation of Babylon. Thus the first character trait, seen in Daniel 1:3–7, is that he was chosen. These four young men were chosen because there was something different about their lives and character than the rest of the Israelites. It will be the same with the people of God at the end of the earth. They are a special chosen people who have as their purpose the proclamation of the Three Angels’ Messages of Revelation 14. Just as Daniel chose to follow God, regardless of the cost, so we must make that decision if we will be among the chosen of God.

The second and third character traits can be summarized by the words conviction and commitment. Daniel 1:8 says that “he purposed in his heart the he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank.” As a child, Daniel had been raised to know God’s health laws and in this foreign land he had an opportunity to eat and drink as he wanted. So the offer of the King to eat of his meat and wine was a test of Daniel’s personal convictions in the areas of diet, health, and obedience to God’s claims in all areas of his life. Before he took any public stand in regard to his diet, he determined in his own heart that what he had been taught had been truth and he was convicted of his need to remain faithful to God in this area. His next step was to make a public statement of his conviction not to defile himself. What a commitment this was to truth. When Daniel requested that he might not defile himself with the kings diet, the prince of the eunuchs was fearful that the young men would look worse than those who had the privilege of eating the King’s food. He was concerned that allowing the Hebrews to eat and drink according to their custom would make them less fit than the rest of the young men and could thereby endanger his own life.

We might ask ourselves, “Was the matter of diet really important enough to risk their lives?” This is what Ellen White tells us about their decision in regard to diet. “What if Daniel and his companions had made a compromise with those heathen officers and had yielded to the pressure of the occasion by eating and drinking as was customary with the Babylonians? That single instance of departure from principle would have weakened their sense of right and their abhorrence of wrong.” Fundamentals of Education, 81. This makes it extremely clear that our choices in dietary matters can weaken or strengthen our sense of wrong. There is a strong temptation to eat as we desire or to eat according to the customs around us. We do this because it is easier and does not hurt feelings, but the situation of Daniel had much more at stake than hurting feelings. It could have cost him and the prince of the eunuchs their lives. It is therefore clear that we should not conform our dietary decisions or any other of God’s commands to what is customary in the surroundings we find ourselves. Another statement from The Great Controversy makes a similar observation about putting ourselves on common ground with the world. From page 509 we read, “Conformity to worldly customs converts the church to the world, it never converts the world to Christ. Familiarity with sin will inevitably cause it to appear less repulsive. He who chooses to associate with the servants of Satan will soon cease to fear their master. When in the way of duty we are brought into trial, as was Daniel in the Kings court, we may be sure that God will protect us; but if we place ourselves under temptation we shall fall sooner or latter.”

Just as Christ struggled with appetite in the wilderness, so must we. If we are to gain perfection in character, we must overcome in this area of our life. Overcoming appetite is so crucial that Christ fasted for forty days in order to overcome. Through His strength we may be victors not only of appetite, but we may have the moral power to be victorious over every other temptation of Satan. Please note the following, found in Counsels on Diet and Foods, 59: “The controlling power of appetite will prove the ruin of thousands, when, if they had conquered on this point, they would have had moral power to gain the victory over every other temptation of Satan. But those who are slaves to appetite will fail in perfecting Christian character. The continual transgression of man for six thousand years had brought sickness, pain, and death as its fruits. And as we near the close of time, Satan’s temptation to indulge appetite will be more powerful and more difficult to overcome.” Just as Daniel overcame on the point of appetite, so must we, if we are going to stand in these final days as God’s lighthouse to the world.

So, what would become of Daniel’s request to the prince of the eunuchs? Why would the prince of the eunuchs even consider Daniel’s request if it might cost him his life? Part of the reason the prince considered Daniel’s request was because of his fourth character trait, courtesy. Daniel 1:9 tells us that, “God had brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.” Daniel had indeed gained the respect of the Babylonians, partly because of the courteous and respectful way in which he approached them. He had been taken from his home and was a captive in a strange land, but his courtesy was a daily witness to his captors. In Sanctified Life, 20, 21 we read: “Daniel possessed the grace of genuine meekness. He was true, firm, and noble. He sought to live in peace with all while he was unbending as the lofty cedar whenever principle was involved. In everything that did not come in collision with his allegiance to God, he was respectful and obedient to those who had authority over him, but he had so high a sense of the claims of God that the requirements of earthly rulers were held subordinate. The record of his noble, self denying life is an encouragement to our common humanity. From it we may gather strength to nobly resist temptation and firmly, and in the grace of meekness, stand for the right under the severest trial.”

Daniel’s ability to stand firm based on principle was a result of his fifth character trait, that of confidence in God’s Word. Daniel risked his very life because he had faith in God’s Word. The Bible is full of examples of men and women who have risked everything because of their belief in God’s Word. We may not have been in that position in the past, but each of us may face the same decision Daniel did, some time in the near future. Are we willing to risk all to follow God’s Word? The promise of protection is sure. (See 1 John 4:4, 1 Samuel 2:30, and 2 Peter 1:3–10.)

Because of Daniel’s courtesy and firm stand for principle the head eunuch decided to allow Daniel to have a ten day test of the diet he proposed. (See Daniel 1:10–16.) With confidence in God’s Word, Daniel, for not just the next ten days, but throughout his entire stay in Babylon, displayed his sixth and seventh character traits, courage and consistency. It takes true courage and strength of character, not just a momentary flash of glory, to stand for a lifetime, faithful to our God. Daniel 1:21 says that Daniel “continued.” This kind of courage and consistency, only God can give. Once we take a stand for God, we must, with His help, display consistency in our walk in the truth. Without this our witness will be weak if not even harmful. A quote from Prophets and Kings, 487, 488, brings this home to our heart. It says: “Strong, subtle influences may bind them to the world; but the Lord is able to render futile every agency that works for the defeat of His chosen ones; in His strength they may overcome every temptation, conquer every difficulty. There is need of men who like Daniel will do and dare for the cause of right. Pure hearts, strong hands, fearless courage are needed; for the warfare between vice and virtue calls for ceaseless vigilance.” We must, in our warfare against appetite and every other sin that the Devil brings our way, “stand like Daniel, that faithful statesmen, a man who no temptation could corrupt.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 332.

God never leaves the faithfulness of His children unrewarded. As a result of his obedience, in all areas to God, Daniel experienced rewards that were not shared by the other captives. First, Daniel experienced in his physical being a special impact. He was healthier than those who ate the King’s food. (See Daniel 1:15–16.) His countenance glowed with life and vitality and he had a degree of health that was not experienced by his fellow captives. We too can find health beyond that seen in the world when we follow God’s health laws.

Daniel also experienced an intelligence that was not common among the people around him. (See Daniel 1:17–20.) As we develop our spiritual character and are faithful to follow His requirements for health, God can also bless us with skill in learning. From the Review and Herald, March 22, 1898, this vital link between our spiritual nature and our mental capabilities is emphasized. “As in the case of Daniel, in exact proportion as the spiritual character is developed, the intellectual capabilities are increased.” Daniel 1:17 also states that Daniel had special insight into the meaning of the dreams of the King. He had an understanding and wisdom that only God could give. Finally Daniel was rewarded with a tremendous influence in the country of Babylon. The influence he had in society, and especially with the King, can be seen throughout the rest of the book of Daniel. If these rewards, physical health, intelligence, insight, and influence, were just seen in Daniel, one might say that it was just a coincidence. However, the Bible is full of examples of men and women who, by obeying God, have received similar rewards in their life. One must think of David, Joseph, Queen Esther, Moses, John the Baptist, and Paul. All of these pillars of Bible history were blessed as they obeyed God in their daily lives.

In conclusion, we must, in these closing hours of earth’s history, develop each of these seven character traits if we are going to stand for Jesus during these trying times. God wants us to be His very special chosen people to witness to this world. He wants us to be a people of deep conviction that is based on His word. He wants us to be committed to stand up for our convictions regardless of the circumstances or pressures brought upon us by the world. He wants us to be a courteous people that deal with each other gently and with meekness. He wants us, through study of the Bible and through life’s experiences, to develop firm and unshakable confidence in Him and His Word. Also, He wants us to have courage to privately and publicly stand for principle regardless of the circumstances or costs. Lastly, God wants us to be consistent in our character development and in our Christian walk before Him and the world. The development of these traits is crucial to the perfection of our character and our ability to witness to the power of God.

In Education, 57, we read: “The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost soul are true and honest, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.” I want to develop this kind of character, one that is pleasing to God and is safe for Jesus to take to heaven, where sin will never again exist. We must have each of these seven traits of character. Just as God helped Daniel develop a lovely character, He will be our helper also. May we each strive, in the struggles of our captivity, in this world of “Babylon,” to be ready for the Lord’s soon return to claim His faithful children as His own. May this be not just a desire, but a reality in each of our lives. Let us pray for this experience for ourselves and all those we love in Christ Jesus.

Janet Headrick is a registered nurse, wife, mother and grandmother. She writes from Rago, Kansas.

The Church and Its Work

In the gospel of Matthew, we see the reason why Jesus organized the church and gave her a mission. Jesus’ time on this earth was limited and He needed to make sure that the work He started would continue until the end of time. In Matthew 9 we read this account: “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith He unto His disciples, the harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:36–38.

After Jesus spoke these words, He did not go and retire somewhere in the wilderness. When Christ said the harvest was ready, He was ready. He immediately began to organize His disciples for involvement in His work. In Matthew 10 Jesus gave them specific instructions on how to work. Too often we make a mistake in not following the Lord’s example. We can show others the need of working for the Lord. We can preach the importance of being involved in missionary work, but if we fail, by not actually showing them how to do it, we are only giving half a message. Jesus did not leave His disciples to themselves to figure out what to do, He gave them His strategy on how they could succeed. The instructions found in Matthew 10 are needed in the church today.

The first thing that we learn is that Jesus is interested in training others to work. He preached the gospel in Matthew 5–9. But He did not continue preaching all the way through the gospel of Matthew. Many sincere Christians are satisfied with just hearing. But that is not God’s perfect plan for His church. In Christ’s day there were many that followed Him because they desired to see a miracle. Others loved to see our Lord battle the demons and cast them out. There were some that liked to row Jesus across the Sea of Galilee, since they knew that He had the power to calm the sea. How many of you would like to have sat around the campfire with the Lord. There is nothing wrong with wanting to do that, but that is not God’s perfect plan for your life. Jesus is in the business of training disciples. In Matthew 28:19, the Lord says, “Go ye therefore, and make disciples.”

You can rejoice that you have heard the gospel. But the Lord says, “Make disciples.” Some say, “Oh, I have been an Adventist all my life.” So what. The Lord says, “Make disciples.” Many successful evangelists or pastors have the talent to preach the Word. Teach others to do what you do. We must not be selfish and think that we are the only ones that should share the Word in our church or ministry. If God has blessed you with the knowledge His Word, then find someone and show them how they can do what you do. If we had a hundred people doing what only one or two are now doing, we could finish the work. And that is what Christ wants to see in His church. Jesus in interested in what is known as “on the job training.”

Jesus often used people who did not appear to be very well fitted for the job. Look at the twelve apostles. Here we see a group of men who did not have the necessary skills for the work they were called to do. They did not have the ability to work well with others. They were not dependable. They were slow and easily discouraged. But that is the wonderful thing about Jesus. He not only sees how we are now, but He can see what we can and will be when we accept God’s call.

“And when He had called unto Him His twelve disciples…” Matthew 10:1. It is to Christ that we are drawn. Who does the calling? The church did not find Christ. The twelve did not say, “This Jesus is perfect for the job.” The church today is guilty of reversing the Biblical order. The church today offers a Jesus that will run all of your errands. Some say, “Lord, You get me a job, You do this or that.” These people have been waiting for years to accomplish something, but the Lord has done nothing for them. It is presumption for us to ask God to do something that He has told us to do. If you notice, the Bible says that Jesus is the one who calls and sends out workers. It is His mission, His work, His church, and His strategy. He sends them; they do not send Him. Let us look at Christ’s strategy for saving souls. Jesus said, in Matthew 10:5-6: “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

When we think of mission work, we think of Africa or India, and there is nothing wrong with taking our work overseas. But what about the inner city mission? We have a tremendous work that needs to be done in our own neighborhoods. We must get involved in foreign mission, but we cannot forget our own neighborhoods. Jesus said to start with the people that you know. Start with the people that you live with. He called them the lost sheep of Israel. Those are people who know that there is something wrong with them, people who have problems, and people who need help. We are surrounded by those who are crying out for help. Pray for them. Talk to them. Encourage them. Invite them to church. Tell them you love them and that God does, too. You will find many opportunities to minister and witness to those around you. The point is just do something. Make a list of five people that you know and start working for them. Never give up and you will see the fruit of your labor.

The Need to Work Together

“No advice or sanction is given in the Word of God to those who believe the Third Angel’s Message to lead them to suppose that they can draw apart. This you may settle with yourselves forever. It is the devising of unsanctified minds that would encourage a state of disunion.” Manuscript 109, 1899.

Our prophet tells us that the Third Angel’s Message will be given by a unified body of Christians. Unity is not an option we choose, but an evidence that the Holy Spirit is leading us. God cannot bless us when we are going contrary to His Word, and His Word says to unify.

We have had brothers who have written us and called us on the phone saying that the Holy Spirit told them not to ever visit us again. Others have said that we are starting a new organization. Some have said that if we are going to follow the Holy Spirit we have to meet in a park under a tree.

“It is not a good sign when men will not unite with their brethren, but prefer to act alone, when they will not take in their brethren because they do not just exactly meet their mind. If men will wear the yoke of Christ, they cannot pull apart. They will wear Christ’s yoke, they will draw with Christ.” Manuscript 56, 1898.

We are our brother’s keeper. If you are in a situation where your brother has erred from the word, only a coward and a traitor would abandon his brother. How can we say we love someone and not do all we can to help them? “But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own, the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep.” John 10:12–13. “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” Matthew 18:15.

When you are in a church or a home church, and problems arise, it is so much easier to run far away so that you do not have to deal with the problems. But the most difficult and necessary work is to solve them. Human nature always wants the easy road, but we cannot run away from our duty without risking great loss. Ezekiel 33:6, 7, gives this solemn warning to us, the watchmen on the walls. “But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at My mouth and warn them from Me.”

In the church, we must look at all men as our brothers and all women as our sisters. And when problems arise, we have a greater need to press closer together and look for solutions. Some of the problems today cannot be remedied in one or two meetings. It will take a lot of humility, study, fasting, and hours on our knees in prayer.

Questions on Unity

At times, people from the conference have read us these statements on unity by Ellen White, and accused us of not following God’s counsel on unity, because we meet in a self-supporting church. We have always believed that one should study the Spirit of Prophecy with the same care that we use when we study the Bible. Seventh-day Adventists have always been very careful Bible students. We never allow anyone to just read one or two texts to prove a Bible doctrine. We read every text that has reference to the subject in question. By doing this, we can make intelligent, informed decisions. But when it comes to the Sprit of Prophecy, we are often no different than those other churches that “twist the scriptures unto their own destruction.” 2 Peter 3:16 (NKJV).

Let us forever settle the fact that Ellen White never intended for anyone to use her statements on unity to refer to those who are in gross apostasy. She wrote in Manuscript 31, 1906: “We have a testing message to give, and I am instructed to say to our people, ‘Unify, unify.’ But we are not to unify with those who are departing from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. With our hearts sweet and kind and true, we are to go forth to proclaim the message, giving no heed to those who lead away from the truth.” (See also The Great Controversy, 445, 446.)

Let Them Alone

In Matthew 15:12–14, Jesus gives us counsel on unity. At this time Jesus’ disciples were troubled when they saw the Pharisees offended with Christ’s teachings. They approached Jesus in verse 12 saying, “Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?” The Pharisees hated Christ. They wanted Him dead. They were never going to accept Jesus or allow Him to work. Christ knew that, but the people (including His twelve disciples) thought that these men were God’s wonderful leaders. The apostles believed that if Christ was ever going to succeed in His labor, He must find favor with these men. “But He [Jesus] answered and said, ‘Every plant, which My heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.’ ” Matthew 15:13, 14.

Jesus told His disciples “Let them alone.” These men, “however great their authority with people, they could not endure the testing of God.” Desire of Ages, 389. This message rings true for us today, at a time when the prophet tells us that “God is now sifting His people, testing their purposes and their motives. Many will be but as chaff—no wheat, no value in them.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 51.

“The work which the church has failed to do in a time of peace and prosperity she will do in a terrible crisis under the most discouraging, forbidding circumstances.…And at that time the superficial, conservative class, whose influence has steadily retarded the progress of the work, will renounce the faith. …” Testimonies, vol. 5, 63.

“To stand in defense of truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us, to fight the battles of the Lord when champions are few—this will be our test. At this time we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 136.

The Lord is not against human leaders. We see that He organized His work when He ordained twelve. But Christ does warn us against blindly following church leaders. Sadly, today, we are following in the same course as our spiritual forefathers; despite the warnings found in the Spirit of Prophecy. We give unquestionable loyalty and reverence to a man or a group of men.

It is past time that we learned to “Prove all things.” We can support men when they support and follow the Word of God. We should respect the authority of the church, when the church respects the authority of God’s Word. But when the majority forsake the truth, we must take our stand firmly against all unrighteousness, or suffer eternal consequences.

A High Sense of Duty

In order to fulfill the gospel commission, we must have a high sense of duty. This high sense of duty is more important than anything else we may have today. We have a duty to work. No church can last whose people are encouraged to be idlers and loafers. It is our duty to do our best and to be as productive as we can. We must love the work of God. Duty does not fall upon a select group of people, but upon the shoulders of each individual believer.

In the parable of the talents, Jesus described the responsibility of each individual as his use of that which was given him. There was no corporate report of earnings, but each individual stood alone as custodian of his gifts, and this is even more true in the day in which we live.

“We are not doing the will of God if we sit in quietude, doing nothing to preserve liberty of conscience. Fervent, effectual prayer should be ascending to heaven that this calamity may be deferred until we can accomplish the work which has so long been neglected. Let there be most earnest prayer, and then let us work in harmony with our prayers.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 714.

“Let not the commandment-keeping people of God be silent at this time, as though we gracefully accepted the situation. There is the prospect before us of waging a continuous war, at the risk of imprisonment, of losing property and even life itself, to defend the law of God, which is being made void by the laws of men.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 975.

“Those who have been warned of the events before them are not to sit in calm expectation of the coming storm, comforting themselves that the Lord will shelter His faithful ones in the day of trouble. We are to be as men waiting for the Lord, not in idle expectancy, but in earnest work, with unwavering faith. It is our duty to do all in our power to avert the threatened danger.” Review and Herald, December 11, 1888.

We have the privilege of being called by Christ to finish the work that He began during His earthly ministry. Let us take heed to His call and bring an end to the great gospel commission of Matthew 28:19. God bless you and prepare to meet thy God.

Raphael Perez has been a Seventh-day Adventist minister for the past ten years. He presently is publishing Earth’s Final Warning in major newspapers across the United States. He writes from West Palm Beach, Florida.