Bible Study Guides – God’s Love in the Church—Hospitality

November 22, 2008 – November 28, 2008

Key Text

“Use hospitality one to another without grudging.” I Peter 4:9.

Study Help: Christian Service, 191–193.


“The Bible lays much stress upon the practice of hospitality. Not only does it enjoin hospitality as a duty, but it presents many beautiful pictures of the exercise of this grace and the blessings which it brings.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 341.

1 What blessing does Paul mention regarding hospitality? Hebrews 13:2.

Note: “ ‘Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.’ Hebrews 13:2. These words have lost none of their force through the lapse of time. Our heavenly Father still continues to place in the pathway of His children opportunities that are blessings in disguise; and those who improve these opportunities find great joy. ‘If thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.’ Isaiah 58:10, 11.” Prophets and Kings, 132.

2 How else does Scripture promote hospitality? Matthew 7:12; Romans 13:9.

Note: “All acts of injustice that tend to shorten life; the spirit of hatred and revenge, or the indulgence of any passion that leads to injurious acts toward others, or causes us even to wish them harm (for ‘whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer’); a selfish neglect of caring for the needy or suffering; all self-indulgence or unnecessary deprivation or excessive labor that tends to injure health—all these are, to a greater or less degree, violations of the sixth commandment.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 308.

3 At his home how did Abraham receive “three men” who were strangers? Genesis 18:2–8. Who was among them? Genesis 18:1.

Note: “It was Christ who spoke with Abraham under the oaks at Mamre.” The Desire of Ages, 290, 291.

“Angels have appeared in human form to men of God. They have rested, as if weary, under the oaks at noon. They have accepted the hospitalities of human homes.” The Great Controversy, 631.

4 What unique experience did Lot have with “two men”? Genesis 19:2–11. Who were those “men”? Genesis 19:1.

Note: “In the twilight two strangers drew near to the city gate. They were apparently travelers coming in to tarry for the night. None could discern in those humble wayfarers the mighty heralds of divine judgment, and little dreamed the gay, careless multitude that in their treatment of these heavenly messengers that very night they would reach the climax of the guilt which doomed their proud city. But there was one man who manifested kindly attention toward the strangers and invited them to his home. Lot did not know their true character, but politeness and hospitality were habitual with him; they were a part of his religion—lessons that he had learned from the example of Abraham. Had he not cultivated a spirit of courtesy, he might have been left to perish with the rest of Sodom. Many a household, in closing its doors against a stranger, has shut out God’s messenger, who would have brought blessing and hope and peace.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 158.

5 How does the experience of these patriarchs apply to us today?

Note: “The privilege granted Abraham and Lot is not denied to us. By showing hospitality to God’s children we, too, may receive His angels into our dwellings. Even in our day, angels in human form enter the homes of men and are entertained by them. And Christians who live in the light of God’s countenance are always accompanied by unseen angels, and these holy beings leave behind them a blessing in our homes.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 342.

6 How did Joseph receive his brothers in spite of their past cruelty toward him? Genesis 45:1–5.

Note: “He [Joseph] had seen in his brothers the fruits of true repentance. Upon hearing Judah’s noble offer he gave orders that all but these men should withdraw; then, weeping aloud, he cried, ‘I am Joseph; doth my father yet live?’ [Genesis 45:3.]

“His brothers stood motionless, dumb with fear and amazement. The ruler of Egypt their brother Joseph, whom they had envied and would have murdered, and finally sold as a slave! All their ill treatment of him passed before them. They remembered how they had despised his dreams and had labored to prevent their fulfillment. Yet they had acted their part in fulfilling these dreams; and now that they were completely in his power he would, no doubt, avenge the wrong that he had suffered.

“Seeing their confusion, he said kindly, ‘Come near to me, I pray you;’ and as they came near, he continued, ‘I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.’ [Genesis 45:4, 5.] Feeling that they had already suffered enough for their cruelty toward him, he nobly sought to banish their fears and lessen the bitterness of their self-reproach. …

“The news of what had taken place was quickly carried to the king, who, eager to manifest his gratitude to Joseph, confirmed the governor’s invitation to his family, saying, ‘The good of all the land of Egypt is yours.’ [Genesis 45:20.] The brothers were sent away abundantly supplied with provision and carriages and everything necessary for the removal of all their families and attendants to Egypt.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 230, 231.

7 How did Pharaoh deal with Jacob and his family at their arrival in Egypt? Genesis 45:16–20; 47:5–7. How was Pharaoh rewarded?

Note: “Joseph brought his father also to be presented to the king. The patriarch was a stranger in royal courts; but amid the sublime scenes of nature he had communed with a mightier Monarch; and now, in conscious superiority, he raised his hands and blessed Pharaoh.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 233.

8 Who was Rahab, and what kindness did she show to the Israelite spies? Joshua 2:1–7.

Note: “A few miles beyond the [Jordan] river, just opposite the place where the Israelites were encamped, was the large and strongly fortified city of Jericho. This city was virtually the key to the whole country, and it would present a formidable obstacle to the success of Israel. Joshua therefore sent two young men as spies to visit this city and ascertain something as to its population, its resources, and the strength of its fortifications. The inhabitants of the city, terrified and suspicious, were constantly on the alert, and the messengers were in great danger. They were, however, preserved by Rahab, a woman of Jericho, at the peril of her own life. In return for her kindness they gave her a promise of protection when the city should be taken.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 482, 483.

9 How was Rahab’s faith rewarded? Joshua 2:8–13; 6:25; Hebrews 11:31.

Note: “God’s judgments were awakened against Jericho. It was a stronghold. But the Captain of the Lord’s host Himself came from heaven to lead the armies of heaven in an attack upon the city. Angels of God laid hold of the massive walls and brought them to the ground. God had said that the city of Jericho should be accursed and that all should perish except Rahab and her household. These should be saved because of the favor that Rahab showed the messengers of the Lord.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 264.

“All the inhabitants of the city [Jericho], with every living thing that it contained, ‘both man and woman, young and old, and ox, and sheep, and ass’ [Joshua 6:21], were put to the sword. Only faithful Rahab, with her household, was spared, in fulfillment of the promise of the spies. The city itself was burned.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 491.

“Through the teaching of the sacrificial service, Christ was to be uplifted before the nations, and all who would look unto Him should live. All who, like Rahab the Canaanite and Ruth the Moabitess, turned from idolatry to the worship of the true God were to unite themselves with His chosen people.” Prophets and Kings, 19.

10 How did Job treat the poor and the strangers, and how was his faith rewarded? Job 29:12–16; 31:32; 42:10–17.

11 Why is hospitality required even of those who are not especially rich in this world’s goods? Deuteronomy 26:12, 13.

Note: “ ‘Thou shalt eat before the Lord thy God, in the place which He shall choose to place His name there, the tithe of thy corn, of thy wine, and of thine oil, and the firstlings of thy herds and of thy flocks; that thou mayest learn to fear the Lord thy God always.’ Deuteronomy 14:23, 29; 16:11–14. …

“Every third year, however, this second tithe was to be used at home, in entertaining the Levite and the poor, as Moses said, ‘That they may eat within thy gates, and be filled.’ Deuteronomy 26:12. This tithe would provide a fund for the uses of charity and hospitality.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 530.

“ ‘A lover of hospitality’ is among the specifications given by the Holy Spirit as marking one who is to bear responsibility in the church. And to the whole church is given the injunction: ‘Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.’ I Peter 4:9, 10.

“These admonitions have been strangely neglected. Even among those who profess to be Christians, true hospitality is little exercised. Among our own people the opportunity of showing hospitality is not regarded as it should be, as a privilege and blessing. There is altogether too little sociability, too little of a disposition to make room for two or three more at the family board, without embarrassment or parade. Some plead that ‘it is too much trouble.’ It would not be if you would say: ‘We have made no special preparation, but you are welcome to what we have.’ By the unexpected guest a welcome is appreciated far more than is the most elaborate preparation.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 342, 343.

Additional Reading

“If you would have your homes sweet and inviting, make them bright with air and sunshine. Remove your heavy curtains, open the windows, throw back the blinds, and enjoy the rich sunlight, even if it be at the expense of the colors of your carpets. The precious sunlight may fade your carpets, but it will give a healthful color to the cheeks of your children. If you have God’s presence and possess earnest, loving hearts, a humble home, made bright with air and sunlight, and cheerful with the welcome of unselfish hospitality, will be to your family and to the weary traveler a heaven below.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 527.

“What we say in the church is not of so great consequence as our deportment in the home circle and among our neighbors. The kindly word, the thoughtful act, true politeness and hospitality, will constantly exert an influence in favor of the Christian religion. Let not the testimony be borne concerning any of us, ‘Religion has made them no better. They are as self-indulgent, as worldly, as sharp in trade, as ever.’ All who bear such fruit scatter from Christ, instead of gathering with him. They place obstacles in the way of those whom they might by a consistent course have won to Jesus. It is our duty as Christians to give to the world unmistakable evidence that we are obeying the great commandment, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself’ [Mark 12:31], which is the same as our Saviour’s golden rule, ‘Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.’ [Matthew 7:12.]” The Signs of the Times, January 12, 1882.

“Our social entertainments should not be governed by the dictates of worldly custom, but by the Spirit of Christ and the teaching of His word. The Israelites, in all their festivities, included the poor, the stranger, and the Levite, who was both the assistant of the priest in the sanctuary and a religious teacher and missionary. These were regarded as the guests of the people, to share their hospitality on all occasions of social and religious rejoicing, and to be tenderly cared for in sickness or in need. It is such as these whom we should make welcome to our homes. How much such a welcome might do to cheer and encourage the missionary nurse or the teacher, the care-burdened, hard-working mother, or the feeble and aged, so often without a home and struggling with poverty and many discouragements.” The Adventist Home, 447, 448.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – God’s Love in the Church Pt.2

November 15, 2008 – November 21, 2008

Key Text

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” I John 4:7.

Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 662–680.


“Whatsoever is done out of pure love, be it ever so little or contemptible in the sight of men, is wholly fruitful; for God regards more with how much love one worketh, than the amount he doeth. Love is of God. The unconverted heart cannot originate nor produce this plant of heavenly origin, which lives and flourishes only where Christ reigns.” Gospel Workers (1892), 312.

1 In His intercessory prayer, how did Christ define life eternal? John 17:3.

Note: “It is only by knowing Christ that we can know God. … To know Christ savingly is to be vitalized by spiritual knowledge, to practise [sic] His words. Without this, all else is valueless.” The Signs of the Times, January 27, 1898.

2 What evidences will show that we know God? I John 4:7, 8.

Note: “Pure love is simple in its operations, and is distinct from any other principle of action. The love of influence, and the desire for the esteem of others may produce a well-ordered life, and, frequently, a blameless conversation. Self-respect may lead us to avoid the appearance of evil. A selfish heart may perform generous actions, acknowledge the present truth, and express humility and affection in an outward manner, yet the motives may be deceptive and impure; the actions that flow from such a heart may be destitute of the savor of life and the fruits of true holiness, being destitute of the principles of pure love. Love should be cherished and cultivated; for its influence is divine.” Gospel Workers (1892), 313.

3 What should the manifestation of God’s love cause us to consider? I John 4:9, 10.

Note: “The love of our heavenly Father in the gift of His only begotten Son to the world, is enough to inspire every soul, to melt every hard, loveless heart into contrition and tenderness; and yet shall heavenly intelligences see in those for whom Christ died, insensibility to His love, hardness of heart, and no response of gratitude and affection to the Giver of all good things? Shall affairs of minor importance absorb the whole power of the being, and the love of God meet no return?” Christian Education, 96.

4 How does the law of God go hand in hand with true love? Matthew 22:35–40; Romans 13:10.

Note: “We have full faith in the scripture that says, ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:8); and yet many have shamefully perverted this word, and have fallen into dangerous error because of a false interpretation of its meaning. God’s holy law is the only standard by which we can estimate divine affection. If we do not accept the law of God as our standard, we set up a standard of our own. God has given us precious promises of His love, but we are not to ascribe to Jehovah a tenderness that will lead Him to pass over guilt and wink at iniquity.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 311.

5 Since God has manifested such a great love for us, how should we act toward our neighbors? I John 4:11. Whereby will the world see that God dwells in us? I John 4:12.

6 What must we realize as we seek to develop this love in our heart? Jeremiah 17:9.

Note: “God considers more with how much love we work, than the amount we do. Love is a heavenly attribute. The natural heart cannot originate it. This heavenly plant only flourishes where Christ reigns supreme. Where love exists, there is power and truth in the life. Love does good, and nothing but good. Those who have love bear fruit unto holiness, and in the end everlasting life.” The Youth’s Instructor, January 13, 1898.

7 What are the main characteristics of perfect love? I John 4:17, 18.

Note: “There are many who desire to love and serve God, and yet when affliction comes upon them, they do not discern the love of God in it, but the hand of the enemy. They mourn and murmur and complain; but this is not the fruit of love to God in the soul. If we have perfect love, we shall know that God is not seeking to injure us, but that in the midst of trials, and griefs, and pains, he is seeking to make us perfect, and to test the quality of our faith. When we cease to worry about the future, and begin to believe that God loves us, and means to do us good, we shall trust him as a child trusts a loving parent. Then our troubles and torments will disappear, and our will will be swallowed up in the will of God.” The Youth’s Instructor, January 6, 1898.

8 How should we deal with those who fall in sin? Matthew 18:14–17.

Note: “In dealing with erring church members, God’s people are carefully to follow the instruction given by the Saviour in the eighteenth chapter of Matthew.

“Human beings are Christ’s property, purchased by Him at an infinite price, bound to Him by the love that He and His Father have manifested for them. How careful, then, we should be in our dealing with one another! Men have no right to surmise evil in regard to their fellow men. Church members have no right to follow their own impulses and inclinations in dealing with fellow members who have erred. They should not even express their prejudices regarding the erring, for thus they place in other minds the leaven of evil. Reports unfavorable to a brother or sister in the church are communicated from one to another of the church members. Mistakes are made and injustice is done because of an unwillingness on the part of some one to follow the directions given by the Lord Jesus.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 260.

“Divine love makes its most touching appeals to the heart when it calls upon us to manifest the same tender compassion that Christ manifested. That man only who has unselfish love for his brother has true love for God. The true Christian will not willingly permit the soul in peril and need to go unwarned, uncared for. He will not hold himself aloof from the erring, leaving them to plunge farther into unhappiness and discouragement or to fall on Satan’s battleground.” The Acts of the Apostles, 550.

9 How did Christ answer Peter’s question about forgiveness? Matthew 18:21, 22.

Note: “The rabbis limited the exercise of forgiveness to three offenses. Peter, carrying out, as he supposed, the teaching of Christ, thought to extend it to seven, the number signifying perfection. But Christ taught that we are never to become weary of forgiving.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 243.

10 What parable did Christ present to clarify the issue of forgiveness? Matthew 18:23–34.

Note: “The pardon granted by this king represents a divine forgiveness of all sin. Christ is represented by the king, who, moved with compassion, forgave the debt of his servant. Man was under the condemnation of the broken law. He could not save himself, and for this reason Christ came to this world, clothed His divinity with humanity, and gave His life, the just for the unjust. He gave Himself for our sins, and to every soul He freely offers the blood-bought pardon. ‘With the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption.’ Psalm 130:7.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 244, 245.

11 Since we have received pardon from the Lord, how should we deal with our fellow sinners? Matthew 18:32, 33.

Note: “In the parable, when the debtor pleaded for delay, with the promise, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all’ [Matthew 18:26], the sentence was revoked. The whole debt was canceled. And he was soon given an opportunity to follow the example of the master who had forgiven him. Going out, he met a fellow servant who owed him a small sum. He had been forgiven ten thousand talents; the debtor owed him a hundred pence. But he who had been so mercifully treated, dealt with his fellow laborer in an altogether different manner. His debtor made an appeal similar to that which he himself had made to the king, but without a similar result. He who had so recently been forgiven was not tenderhearted and pitiful. The mercy shown him he did not exercise in dealing with his fellowservant. He heeded not the request to be patient. The small sum owed to him was all that the ungrateful servant would keep in mind. He demanded all that he thought his due, and carried into effect a sentence similar to that which had been so graciously revoked for him.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 245.

12 What admonition is given us when we are tempted to act like the forgiven debtor who was unforgiving? Colossians 3:13.

Note: “There are many who hope by their own works to merit God’s favor. They do not realize their helplessness. They do not accept the grace of God as a free gift, but are trying to build themselves up in self-righteousness. Their own hearts are not broken and humbled on account of sin, and they are exacting and unforgiving toward others. Their own sins against God, compared with their brother’s sins against them, are as ten thousand talents to one hundred pence—nearly one million to one; yet they dare to be unforgiving.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 245–247.

13 If we are unforgiving, how will God deal with us? Matthew 18:35; 6:14, 15.

Note: “Jesus teaches that we can receive forgiveness from God only as we forgive others. It is the love of God that draws us unto Him, and that love cannot touch our hearts without creating love for our brethren.

“After completing the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus added: ‘If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.’ [Matthew 6:14, 15.] He who is unforgiving cuts off the very channel through which alone he can receive mercy from God. We should not think that unless those who have injured us confess the wrong we are justified in withholding from them our forgiveness. It is their part, no doubt, to humble their hearts by repentance and confession; but we are to have a spirit of compassion toward those who have trespassed against us, whether or not they confess their faults. However sorely they may have wounded us, we are not to cherish our grievances and sympathize with ourselves over our injuries; but as we hope to be pardoned for our offenses against God we are to pardon all who have done evil to us.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 113, 114.

Additional Reading

“O that the mercy and love of God were cultivated by every member of our churches! O that brotherly love might be revived, never to wane, but to grow more and more fervent! It is true that words of admonition and counsel are frequently needed in the church, but they are never to be given by those who are filled with suspicion and distrust, who are eager to weigh others in the scales of their own opinions. No one can do the work of reproving and counseling in the way that Christ would have it done, whose heart is not filled with peace and love. We are near the end, there is no time to waste in educating ourselves in the line of accusation of brethren, and we are not to take up a reproach against our neighbor. Deal tenderly and graciously with every soul, and especially deal tenderly with those who are liable to err. They, of all others, need your help the most. Never take up a report against a brother or a neighbor, or harbor evil surmisings against him. Thou shalt not imagine evil in thy heart against thy brother.” Review and Herald, October 24, 1893.

“Bear in mind the fact that the church militant is not the church triumphant. Cultivate a spirit of kindness, of true, heavenly courtesy. Some may look upon this manner of courtesy as mere weakness; but do not regard it thus. It will always pay to be kind, to be courteous. ‘Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another. … Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.’ [Romans 12:9, 10; 14–18.]” Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, 203, 204.

“If brethren would meet together once or twice a week, and with humble minds, feeling their weakness and realizing their defects, would then ask the Lord to enlighten their understanding and fill their hearts with His love, examining not one another, but the Scriptures, Satan would be defeated. Many imaginary difficulties, mere molehills that have been magnified into mountains and have made barriers between brethren, would vanish, and love, compassion, and respect would take the place of jangling and accusation. When you begin to judge your brethren, you are doing a work God has not given you to do. You are not working with Christ. God did not place you upon the judgment seat to measure and pronounce sentence upon your brethren.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 1087.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – God’s Love in the Church

November 8, 2008 – November 14, 2008

Key Text

“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all [men] know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” John 13:34, 35.

Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 9–16.


“Christ had bidden the first disciples love one another as He had loved them. Thus they were to bear testimony to the world that Christ was formed within, the hope of glory.” The Acts of the Apostles, 547.

1 What does John say about the condition on which we can have fellowship with one another? I John 1:7.

Note: “Heaven is watching to see how those occupying positions of influence fulfill their stewardship. The demands upon them as stewards are measured by the extent of their influence. In their treatment of their fellow-men, they should be as fathers,—just, tender, true. They should be Christlike in character, uniting with their brethren in the closest bonds of unity and fellowship.” Gospel Workers, 495.

“Some had been bringing in false tests, and had made their own ideas and notions a criterion, magnifying matters of little importance into tests of Christian fellowship, and binding heavy burdens upon others. Thus a spirit of criticism, fault-finding, and dissension had come in, which had been a great injury to the church. And the impression was given to unbelievers that Sabbathkeeping Adventists were a set of fanatics and extremists, and that their peculiar faith rendered them unkind, uncourteous, and really unchristian in character. Thus the course of a few extremists prevented the influence of the truth from reaching the people.” Evangelism, 215.

2 What is the evidence that we are walking in the light? I John 2:9–11.

3 What happens when we try to love God and the world at the same time? James 4:4; Matthew 6:24.

Note: “It is not safe for Christians to choose the society of those who have no connection with God, and whose course is displeasing to Him. Yet how many professed Christians venture upon the forbidden ground. Many invite to their homes relatives who are vain, trifling, and ungodly; and often the example and influence of these irreligious visitors produce lasting impressions upon the minds of the children in the household. The influence thus exerted is similar to that which resulted from the association of the Hebrews with the godless Canaanites.

“God holds the parents accountable for disregarding His command to separate themselves and their families from these unholy influences. While we must live in the world, we are not to be of the world. We are forbidden to conform to its practices and fashions. The friendship of the ungodly is more dangerous than their enmity. It misleads and destroys thousands who might, by proper and holy example, be led to become children of God. The minds of the young are thus made familiar with irreligion, vanity, ungodliness, pride, and immorality; and the heart not shielded by divine grace, gradually becomes corrupted. Almost imperceptibly, the youth learn to love the tainted atmosphere surrounding the ungodly. Evil angels gather about them, and they lose their relish for that which is pure, refined, and ennobling.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 2, 1001.

4 What is the result of loving the world? I John 2:15–17.

Note: “As the lovers of the world make religion subservient to the world, God requires His worshipers to subordinate the world to religion. The things of the world, that perish with the using, are not to be made the first consideration; these are not the golden currency of heaven. God has not stamped upon them His image and superscription.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 949.

5 How does John define our sonship? I John 3:10, 11.

Note: “ ‘A new commandment I give unto you,’ Christ said, ‘That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.’ John 13:34. What a wonderful statement; but, oh, how poorly practiced! In the church of God today brotherly love is sadly lacking. Many who profess to love the Saviour do not love one another. Unbelievers are watching to see if the faith of professed Christians is exerting a sanctifying influence upon their lives; and they are quick to discern the defects in character, the inconsistencies in action. Let Christians not make it possible for the enemy to point to them and say, Behold how these people, standing under the banner of Christ, hate one another. Christians are all members of one family, all children of the same heavenly Father, with the same blessed hope of immortality. Very close and tender should be the tie that binds them together.

“Divine love makes its most touching appeals to the heart when it calls upon us to manifest the same tender compassion that Christ manifested. That man only who has unselfish love for his brother has true love for God. The true Christian will not willingly permit the soul in peril and need to go unwarned, uncared for. He will not hold himself aloof from the erring, leaving them to plunge farther into unhappiness and discouragement or to fall on Satan’s battleground.

“Those who have never experienced the tender, winning love of Christ cannot lead others to the fountain of life. His love in the heart is a constraining power, which leads men to reveal Him in the conversation, in the tender, pitiful spirit, in the uplifting of the lives of those with whom they associate. Christian workers who succeed in their efforts must know Christ; and in order to know Him, they must know His love. In heaven their fitness as workers is measured by their ability to love as Christ loved and to work as He worked.” The Acts of the Apostles, 550, 551.

6 What is seen by making a comparison between Cain and Abel? I John 3:12; Genesis 4:8–10.

Note: “In all ages the wicked have hated those who were better than themselves. Abel’s life of obedience and unswerving faith was to Cain a perpetual reproof. ‘Everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.’ John 3:20. The brighter the heavenly light that is reflected from the character of God’s faithful servants, the more clearly the sins of the ungodly are revealed, and the more determined will be their efforts to destroy those who disturb their peace.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 74.

7 What is the evidence that we have changed direction in life? I John 3:14–16.

Note: “Supreme love for God and unselfish love for one another—this is the best gift that our heavenly Father can bestow. This love is not an impulse, but a divine principle, a permanent power. The unconsecrated heart cannot originate or produce it. Only in the heart where Jesus reigns is it found. ‘We love Him, because He first loved us.’ [I John 4:19.] In the heart renewed by divine grace, love is the ruling principle of action. It modifies the character, governs the impulses, controls the passions, and ennobles the affections. This love, cherished in the soul, sweetens the life and sheds a refining influence on all around.” The Acts of the Apostles, 551.

8 What actions does the true Christian love to produce? I John 3:17, 18; James 2:14–17.

Note: “Oh, how important it is that faithfulness in little things characterize our lives, that true integrity mark all our course of action, and that we ever bear in mind that angels of God are taking cognizance of every act! That which we mete to others shall be meted to us again. A fearfulness should ever attend you lest you should deal unjustly, selfishly. By sickness and adversity the Lord will remove from us much more than we obtain by grinding the face of the poor. A just God truly estimates all our motives and actions.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 158.

“You may believe all the truth; yet if its principles are not carried out in your lives, your profession will not save you. Satan believes and trembles. He works. He knows his time is short, and he has come down in great power to do his evil works according to his faith. But God’s professed people do not support their faith by their works. They believe in the shortness of time, yet grasp just as eagerly after this world’s goods as though the world were to stand a thousand years as it now is.

“Selfishness marks the course of many. …

“Divest yourselves of selfishness and make thorough work for eternity. Redeem the past and do not represent the holy truth you profess where you now live as you have where you have lived hitherto. Let your light so shine that others by seeing your good works may be led to glorify our Father in heaven. Stand upon the elevated platform of eternal truth. Regulate all your business transactions in this life in strict accordance with the word of God.” Ibid., 161.

9 What are the two basic conditions for receiving answers to prayers? I John 3:22–24.

Note: “To pray in Christ’s name means much. It means that we are to accept His character, manifest His spirit, and work His works. The Saviour’s promise is given on condition. ‘If ye love Me,’ He says, ‘keep My commandments.’ [John 14:15.] He saves men, not in sin, but from sin; and those who love Him will show their love by obedience.

“All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall be but carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us.” The Desire of Ages, 668.

10 When and how can we have confidence that our prayers will be answered? I John 5:14, 15.

Note: “We have sinned against Him [God], and are undeserving of His favor; yet He Himself has put into our lips that most wonderful of pleas, ‘Do not abhor us, for Thy name’s sake; do not disgrace the throne of Thy glory; remember, break not Thy covenant with us.’ Jeremiah 14:21. When we come to him confessing our unworthiness and sin, He has pledged Himself to give heed to our cry. The honor of His throne is staked for the fulfillment of His word unto us.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 148.

Additional Reading

“Of the special sense in which this love should be manifested by believers, the apostle writes: ‘A new commandment I write unto you, which thing is true in Him and in you: because the darkness is past, and the true light now shineth. He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.’ [I John 2:8–11.] ‘This is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.’ [I John 3:11.] ‘He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.’ [I John 3:14, last part, 15, 16.]

“It is not the opposition of the world that most endangers the church of Christ. It is the evil cherished in the hearts of believers that works their most grievous disaster and most surely retards the progress of God’s cause. There is no surer way of weakening spirituality than by cherishing envy, suspicion, faultfinding, and evil surmising. On the other hand, the strongest witness that God has sent His Son into the world is the existence of harmony and union among men of varied dispositions who form His church. This witness it is the privilege of the followers of Christ to bear. But in order to do this, they must place themselves under Christ’s command. Their characters must be conformed to His character and their wills to His will.” The Acts of the Apostles, 548, 549.

“ ‘A new commandment I give unto you,’ Christ said, ‘That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.’ John 13:34. What a wonderful statement; but, oh, how poorly practiced! In the church of God today brotherly love is sadly lacking. Many who profess to love the Saviour do not love one another. Unbelievers are watching to see if the faith of professed Christians is exerting a sanctifying influence upon their lives; and they are quick to discern the defects in character, the inconsistencies in action. Let Christians not make it possible for the enemy to point to them and say, Behold how these people, standing under the banner of Christ, hate one another. Christians are all members of one family, all children of the same heavenly Father, with the same blessed hope of immortality. Very close and tender should be the tie that binds them together.” The Acts of the Apostles, 550.

“Suppose Christ should abide in every heart and selfishness in all its forms should be banished from the church, what would be the result? Harmony, unity, and brotherly love would be seen as verily as in the church which Christ first established.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 206.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – God’s Love in the Family

November 2, 2008 – November 8, 2008

Key Text

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” Ephesians 5:25.

Study Help: Child Guidance, 482–485.


“Christian homes, established and conducted in accordance with God’s plan, are a wonderful help in forming Christian character. … Parents and children should unite in offering loving service to Him who alone can keep human love pure and noble.” The Adventist Home, 19.

1 How does the Bible depict the Christian home? Psalm 128:1–6.

2 Describe the position and duty of the husband. Ephesians 5:25–31; Colossians 3:19; I Peter 3:7.

Note: “The husband should manifest great interest in his family. Especially should he be very tender of the feelings of a feeble wife. He can shut the door against much disease. Kind, cheerful, and encouraging words will prove more effective than the most healing medicines. These will bring courage to the heart of the desponding and discouraged, and the happiness and sunshine brought into the family by kind acts and encouraging words will repay the effort tenfold. The husband should remember that much of the burden of training his children rests upon the mother, that she has much to do with molding their minds. This should call into exercise his tenderest feelings, and with care should he lighten her burdens. He should encourage her to lean upon his large affections, and direct her mind to heaven, where there is strength and peace, and a final rest for the weary. He should not come to his home with a clouded brow, but should with his presence bring sunlight into the family, and should encourage his wife to look up and believe in God. Unitedly they can claim the promises of God and bring His rich blessing into the family.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 306, 307.

3 How could many wives be inspired to higher ground by contemplating the sacredness of their trust? Ephesians 5:22–24; Colossians 3:18; I Peter 3:1–6.

Note: “There is often a great failure on the part of the wife. She does not put forth strong efforts to control her own spirit and make home happy. There is often fretfulness and unnecessary complaining on her part. The husband comes home from his labor weary and perplexed, and meets a clouded brow instead of cheerful, encouraging words. He is but human, and his affections become weaned from his wife, he loses the love of his home, his pathway is darkened, and his courage destroyed. He yields his self-respect and that dignity which God requires him to maintain. The husband is the head of the family, as Christ is the head of the Church; and any course which the wife may pursue to lessen his influence and lead him to come down from that dignified, responsible position is displeasing to God. It is the duty of the wife to yield her wishes and will to her husband. Both should be yielding, but the word of God gives preference to the judgment of the husband. And it will not detract from the dignity of the wife to yield to him whom she has chosen to be her counselor, adviser, and protector.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 307, 308.

4 Why is the work of the wife and mother so important? Proverbs 31:10–31.

Note: “The most elevated work for woman is the molding of the character of her children after the divine pattern. … If Christian mothers had always done their work with fidelity, there would not now be so many church trials on account of disorderly members. Mothers are forming the characters which compose the church of God. When I see a church in trial, its members self-willed, heady, high-minded, self-sufficient, not subject to the voice of the church, I am led to fear that their mothers were unfaithful in their early training.” Good Health, April 1, 1880.

5 What should parents take into serious consideration? Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21.

Note: “Great care should be exercised by parents lest they treat their children in such a way as to provoke obstinacy, disobedience, and rebellion. Parents often stir up the worst passions of the human heart, because of their lack of self-control. They correct them in a spirit of anger, and rather confirm them in their evil ways and defiant spirit, than influence them in the way of right. By their own arbitrary spirit they thrust their children under Satanic influences, instead of rescuing them from the snares of Satan by gentleness and love. How sad it is that many parents who profess to be Christians are not converted! Christ does not abide in their hearts by faith. While professing to be followers of Jesus, they disgust their children, and, by their violent, unforgiving temper, make them averse to all religion. It is little wonder that the children become cold and rebellious toward their parents.” The Review and Herald, November 15, 1892.

6 Describe the educational method of Abraham. Genesis 18:19.

Note: “That which gave power to Abraham’s teaching was the influence of his own life. His great household consisted of more than a thousand souls, many of them heads of families, and not a few but newly converted from heathenism. Such a household required a firm hand at the helm. No weak, vacillating methods would suffice.” Education, 187.

7 What was the weak legacy of Eli which is a warning to us? I Samuel 2:12–17, 22–25.

Note: “The neglect of Eli is brought plainly before every father and mother in the land. As the result of his unsanctified affection, or his unwillingness to do a disagreeable duty, he reaped a harvest of iniquity in his perverse sons. Both the parent who permitted the wickedness and the children who practiced it, were guilty before God, and he would accept no sacrifice or offering for their transgression. There are many lessons in the Bible calculated to impress fathers and mothers with the sin of neglecting their duty to their children; and yet how silent are the voices of the teachers in Israel on these important subjects! Parents allow the defects in their children to pass uncorrected, until the curse of God rests upon both their children and themselves. Like Eli, they do not show decision in repressing the first appearance of evil.” The Signs of the Times, April 8, 1886.

8 What does the fifth commandment say? Exodus 20:12.

Note: “Parents are entitled to a degree of love and respect which is due to no other person. God Himself, who has placed upon them a responsibility for the souls committed to their charge, has ordained that during the earlier years of life, parents shall stand in the place of God to their children. And he who rejects the rightful authority of his parents is rejecting the authority of God. The fifth commandment requires children not only to yield respect, submission, and obedience to their parents, but also to give them love and tenderness, to lighten their cares, to guard their reputation, and to succor and comfort them in old age. It also enjoins respect for ministers and rulers and for all others to whom God has delegated authority.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 308.

9 How does the apostle Paul stress the importance of the fifth commandment? Ephesians 6:1–3; Colossians 3:20.

Note: “This, says the apostle, ‘is the first commandment with promise.’ Ephesians 6:2. To Israel, expecting soon to enter Canaan, it was a pledge to the obedient, of long life in that good land; but it has a wider meaning, including all the Israel of God, and promising eternal life upon the earth when it shall be freed from the curse of sin.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 308.

“Children who dishonor and disobey their parents, and disregard their advice and instructions, can have no part in the earth made new. The purified new earth will be no place for the rebellious, the disobedient, the ungrateful, son or daughter. Unless such learn obedience and submission here, they will never learn it; the peace of the ransomed will not be marred by disobedient, unruly, unsubmissive children. No commandment breaker can inherit the kingdom of heaven. Will all the youth please read the fifth commandment of the law spoken by Jehovah from Sinai and engraven with His own finger upon tables of stone? ‘Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.’ [Exodus 20:12.]” Testimonies, vol. 1, 497, 498.

10 Why is this commandment especially important to remember in the last days, as we seek to stand together with our children as overcomers? II Timothy 3:1, 2.

11 How did Isaac respond to his father when told he was to be a sacrifice for God? Genesis 22:9–12.

Note: “It was with terror and amazement that Isaac learned his fate, but he offered no resistance. He could have escaped his doom, had he chosen to do so; the grief-stricken old man, exhausted with the struggle of those three terrible days, could not have opposed the will of the vigorous youth. But Isaac had been trained from childhood to ready, trusting obedience, and as the purpose of God was opened before him, he yielded a willing submission. He was a sharer in Abraham’s faith, and he felt that he was honored in being called to give his life as an offering to God. He tenderly seeks to lighten the father’s grief, and encourages his nerveless hands to bind the cords that confine him to the altar.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 152.

12 In what other matter did Isaac show submission to his father? Genesis 24:1–4.

Note: “In ancient times marriage engagements were generally made by the parents, and this was the custom among those who worshiped God. None were required to marry those whom they could not love; but in the bestowal of their affections the youth were guided by the judgment of their experienced, God-fearing parents. It was regarded as a dishonor to parents, and even a crime, to pursue a course contrary to this.

“Isaac, trusting to his father’s wisdom and affection, was satisfied to commit the matter to him, believing also that God Himself would direct in the choice made.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 171.

Additional Reading

“The children are to be instructed with kindness and patience. … Let the parents teach them of the love of God in such a way that it will be a pleasant theme in the family circle, and let the church take upon them the responsibility of feeding the lambs as well as the sheep of the flock.” Child Guidance, 42.

“ ‘Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church; and He is the Saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word; that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth it and cherisheth it; even as the Lord the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery.’ [Ephesians 5:22–32.]

“If this instruction had been heeded by those who enter into the marriage relation, the home life would be pure and elevated, garrisoned by holy love. God made from man a woman, to be a companion and helpmeet for him, to be one with him, to cheer, encourage, and bless him. And he, in his turn, is to be her strong helper.

“All who enter the matrimonial life with a holy purpose, the husband to obtain the pure affections of a woman’s heart, the wife to soften and improve her husband’s character, and give it completeness, fulfil God’s purpose for them. Christ came not to destroy the law, but to fulfil its every specification. He came to pull down and destroy the works of oppression that the enemy had raised up everywhere. It was in perfect harmony with His character and work to make known the fact that marriage is a holy institution. He came not to destroy this institution, but to restore it to its original sanctity. He came to restore the moral image of God in man, and He began His work by sanctioning the marriage relation. Thus He who made the first holy pair, and who created for them a paradise, put His seal upon the institution first celebrated in Eden, when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy.” The Bible Echo, September 4, 1899.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – God’s Love Pt.2

October 26, 2008 – November 1, 2008

Key Text

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38, 39.

Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 546–556.


“Neither life nor death, height nor depth, can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus; not because we hold Him so firmly, but because He holds us so fast. If our salvation depended on our own efforts, we could not be saved; but it depends on the One who is behind all the promises.” The Acts of the Apostles, 553.

1 What else is written about God’s character? Psalm 100:5; Lamentations 3:25; Nahum 1:7.

Note: “Ministers and all the church, let this be our language, from hearts that respond to the great goodness and love of God to us as a people and to us individually, ‘Let Israel hope in the Lord from henceforth and forever.’ [Psalm 131:3.]” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 15.

2 How should we respond to His wonderful love? I John 4:19.

Note: “Supreme love for God and unselfish love for one another—this is the best gift that our heavenly Father can bestow. This love is not an impulse, but a divine principle, a permanent power. … It modifies the character, governs the impulses, controls the passions, and ennobles the affections.” The Acts of the Apostles, 551.

3 When the young ruler came to Jesus calling Him “Good Master,” how did Christ answer him? Matthew 19:16, 17.

Note: “The ruler had addressed Christ merely as an honored rabbi, not discerning in Him the Son of God. The Saviour said, ‘Why callest thou Me good? There is none good but one, that is, God.’ [Luke 18:19.] On what ground do you call Me good? God is the one good. If you recognize Me as such, you must receive Me as His Son and representative.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 390, 391.

4 What is written about humanity when separated from God? Romans 3:10–18.

Note: “In the parable of the lost sheep, Christ teaches that salvation does not come through our seeking after God but through God’s seeking after us. … We do not repent in order that God may love us, but He reveals to us His love in order that we may repent.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 189.

“Many are deceived concerning the condition of their hearts. They do not realize that the natural heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. They wrap themselves about with their own righteousness, and are satisfied in reaching their own human standard of character; but how fatally they fail when they do not reach the divine standard, and of themselves they cannot meet the requirements of God.

“We may measure ourselves by ourselves, we may compare ourselves among ourselves, we may say we do as well as this one or that one, but the question to which the judgment will call for an answer is, Do we meet the claims of high heaven? Do we reach the divine standard? Are our hearts in harmony with the God of heaven?

“The human family have all transgressed the law of God, and as transgressors of the law, man is hopelessly ruined; for he is the enemy of God, without strength to do any good thing. ‘The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be’ (Romans 8:7). Looking into the moral mirror—God’s holy law—man sees himself a sinner, and is convicted of his state of evil, his hopeless doom under the just penalty of the law. But he has not been left in a state of hopeless distress in which sin has plunged him; for it was to save the transgressor from ruin that He who was equal with God offered up His life on Calvary.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 320, 321.

5 According to the Bible, how many people are included in God’s love? John 3:16; Psalm 145:9.

Note: “Christ by His human relationship to men drew them close to God. He clothed His divine nature with the garb of humanity, and demonstrated before the heavenly universe, before the unfallen worlds, how much God loves the children of men.

“The gift of God to man is beyond all computation. Nothing was withheld. God would not permit it to be said that He could have done more or revealed to humanity a greater measure of love. In the gift of Christ He gave all heaven.” Sons and Daughters of God, 11.

6 What did Christ declare about God’s love, and what should this cause us to pause and consider? Matthew 5:44, 45.

Note: “There is a narrowness in human comprehension that is dishonoring to God. Let not him who claims Christ as his Saviour entertain the thought that God’s mercies are confined to him and to the few in whom he is interested. The love and mercy of God are for everyone. Let us gather up the divine tokens of His favor, and return praise and thanksgiving to Him for His goodness, which is bestowed upon us, not to be hoarded, but to be passed along to others. … God expects everyone who enjoys His grace to diffuse this grace as freely as Christ bestows His mercies. As the sun shines upon the just and the unjust, so the Sun of Righteousness reflects light to the whole world.

“God’s blessings, sunshine and showers, heat and cold, and every natural blessing, are given to the world. Exclusiveness is not to be maintained by any people. ‘I am the light of the world’ (John 8:12), Christ said. Light is a blessing, a universal blessing, which pours forth its treasures on a world unthankful, unholy, demoralized. The Lord Jesus came to demolish every wall of exclusion, to throw open every wall in the temple where God presides, that every ear may hear, that every eye may see, that every thirsty soul may drink of the water of life freely.” Our High Calling, 245.

7 With what words does God express His love for His people? Deuteronomy 32:9, 10; Zechariah 2:8.

Note: “The Lord has a people, a chosen people, His church, to be His own, His own fortress, which He holds in a sin-stricken, revolted world.

“The church is the property of God, and God constantly remembers her as she stands in the world, subject to the temptations of Satan. … He forgets not His representative people who are striving to uphold His downtrodden law. …

…“The church, soon to enter upon her most severe conflict, will be the object most dear to God upon earth.” In Heavenly Places, 284.

8 On what condition will God acknowledge a people as His true church? Exodus 19:5, 6; Revelation 14:12; Titus 2:11–14.

Note: “The Lord Jesus will always have a chosen people to serve Him. When the Jewish people rejected Christ, the Prince of life, He took from them the kingdom of God and gave it unto the Gentiles. God will continue to work on this principle with every branch of His work. When a church proves unfaithful to the word of the Lord, whatever their position may be, however high and sacred their calling, the Lord can no longer work with them. Others are then chosen to bear important responsibilities. But, if these in turn do not purify their lives from every wrong action, if they do not establish pure and holy principles in all their borders, then the Lord will grievously afflict and humble them and, unless they repent, will remove them from their place and make them a reproach.” The Upward Look, 131.

9 How can we, sinners, be sure that we love the Lord and His truth? Matthew 11:28–30; II Corinthians 6:1, 2.

Note: “The carnal mind finds no pleasure in contemplating the word of God, but he who is renewed in the spirit of his mind, sees new charms in the living oracles; for divine beauty and celestial light seem to shine in every passage. That which was to the carnal mind a desolate wilderness, to the spiritual mind becomes a land of living streams. That which to the unrenewed heart appeared a barren waste, to the converted soul becomes the garden of God, covered with fragrant buds and blooming flowers.” Christian Education, 79, 80.

10 How can we become God’s children? John 1:12, 13; 3:3, 5; Galatians 3:26–29; I John 3:10.

Note: “God loves His obedient children. He has a kingdom prepared, not for disloyal subjects, but for His children whom He has tested and tried in a world marred and corrupted by sin. As obedient children, we have the privilege of relationship with God. ‘If children,’ He says, ‘then heirs’ [Romans 8:17] to an immortal inheritance. … Christ and His people are one.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1077.

11 What is the evidence that we love God and are His children? John 14:14–17.

Note: “There is a great work to be done by every son and daughter of God. Jesus says, ‘If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever’ (John 14:15, 16). In His prayer for His disciples, He says that He not only prayed for those in His immediate presence, but ‘for them also which shall believe on me through their word’ (John 17:20). Again He said, ‘Ye have heard how I said unto you, I go away, and come again unto you. If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father: for my Father is greater than I’ (John 14:28). Thus we see that Christ has prayed for His people, and made them abundant promises to ensure success to them as His colaborers. He said, ‘Greater works than these [those He did] shall he do; because I go unto my Father’ (John 14:12).” Selected Messages, Book 1, 263, 264.

Additional Reading

“How did Christ manifest His love for poor mortals? By the sacrifice of His own glory, His own riches, and even His most precious life. Christ consented to a life of humiliation and great suffering. He submitted to the cruel mockings of an infuriated, murderous multitude, and to the most agonizing death upon the cross. Said Christ: ‘This is My commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.’ [John 15:12, 13.]” Testimonies, vol. 1, 690, 691.

“The offering of Isaac was designed by God to prefigure the sacrifice of His Son. Isaac was a figure of the Son of God, who was offered a sacrifice for the sins of the world. God desired to impress upon Abraham the gospel of salvation of men. … He was made to understand in his own experience how great was the self-denial of the infinite God in giving His Son to rescue man from ruin.

…“To Abraham no mental torture could be equal to that which he endured in obeying the command to sacrifice his son … With a breaking heart and unnerved hand, he takes the fire, while Isaac inquires, ‘Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ (Genesis 22:7). But oh, Abraham cannot tell him now! Father and son build the altar, and the terrible moment comes for Abraham to make known to Isaac that which has agonized his soul during all that long journey—that Isaac himself is the victim. … The son submits to the sacrifice because he believes in the integrity of his father. But when everything is ready, when the faith of the father and the submission of the son are fully tested, the angel of God stays the uplifted hand of Abraham, and tells him that it is enough. ‘Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me’ (verse 12).

“Our heavenly Father surrendered His beloved Son to the agonies of the crucifixion. Legions of angels witnessed the humiliation and soul anguish of the Son of God, but were not permitted to interpose as in the case of Isaac. No voice was heard to stay the sacrifice. God’s dear Son, the world’s Redeemer, was insulted, mocked at, derided, and tortured, until He bowed His head in death. What greater proof can the Infinite One give us of His divine love and pity? ‘He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?’ (Romans 8:32).” That I May Know Him, 20.

“O the height and depth of the love of Christ! ‘Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.’ ‘Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.’ ” I John 4:10; 3:1. The Acts of the Apostles, 334.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Recipe – Pineapple Tofu Cheesecake

20 oz. can of crushed pineapple w/juice ½ cup Pineapple Juice Concentrate
3 ½ Tbsp. Agar-Agar  1/3 cup Honey
2 12.3 oz. pkgs. Mori Nu Silken Tofu,   extra firm Rind of ½ Lemon or ½ tsp. Lemon Extract
½ tsp. salt  
Combine crushed pineapple with Agar-Agar in saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly.  Blend with the remaining ingredients in blender until smooth.   Pour into prepared crumb crust in 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.  Chill and serve.  Adapted from a recipe by Barbara Watson in The Total Vegetarian Cookbook.

Food – Chew? Why?

Man was created with an inquisitive mind. “Why?” is a favorite question from infanthood through adulthood. We like to know the ins and outs and what fors. With understanding comes an ease of mind. When the Adventists were first given the message of health reform, though, they had to go without the answer to their “whys?” But today science has confirmed many of the scientific reasons that were behind God’s instructions by way of our diet.

“Chew your food well; there are no teeth in your stomach!” We have all heard our parents tell us to chew well, but inevitably, as with any curious child (or adult), up pops the question “why?” There is a reason that has nothing to do with old wives tales or superstition, but science and how the body works. The stomach’s job is to mix food, liquids, and digestive juices with its peristaltic, squeezing motions. When large pieces of food enter the stomach, the surface area of the food is decreased, but the chemical breakdown of the food is not as effective. This causes a hindrance in the digestive process.

Most people love to eat. Food tastes so good and we tend to over-do what we like. Chewing food well increases the flavor in the food for our taste buds to pick up, and increases our sense of satiety as we eat. Part of feeling “full” is simply feeling satisfied. This is a factor in portion control and then, obviously, weight control.

Chewing our food well is also important as a preparation for swallowing. The esophagus, the tube that takes food to the stomach, can only be stretched so far. It is important that the food swallowed is small, moist, and well lubricated. This does not happen if the food is not chewed. People sometimes choke on their food simply because it is too large and dry to swallow with ease. The Heimlich maneuver is not as consistently effective or pleasant as simply slowing down enough to chew!

Pavlov so aptly demonstrated for us that even the thought or sight of food can make us salivate. Saliva contains chemicals that are important in the early stages of digestion, one of which is alpha amylase, which begins the chemical breakdown of starches found in carbohydrate, a primary component of the vegetarian diet. A second chemical in saliva is salivary lipase, which is responsible for the breakdown of fats. Fats are found in many vegetarian foods, such as nuts, olives, and oils.

So next time you are tempted to swallow your food before it is a well-lubricated, ground-up bolus, think of Mom and Dad and realize that they did know what they were talking about after all!

Christians and Cars

A friend once told me jokingly that being in church does not make a person a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes a person a mechanic. At the time it was a joking reference made to my insistence on attending church, but in retrospect, she was absolutely accurate. We claim to be Seventh-day Adventists, and we believe in keeping the seventh day holy as prescribed in the Bible by God. The fourth commandment tells us that God “hallowed” the seventh day and “rested” on it. “For the seventh day is the Lord’s day, and in it, you shall do no work.” (Exodus 20: 10.) The Sabbath was made as a day of worship and rest for man, a day set aside specifically for communion with God and contemplation of the individual relationship with Him that all Christians must have. Wonderful! But where does it say that for the other six days of the week we can do as we please, and disregard the relationship we are supposed to nurture with God? What do we, as Seventh-day Adventists, do with the other six days of the week?

“Being in church doesn’t make you any more a Christian than being in a garage makes you a mechanic.”

This thought, taken most literally, is true. A pagan could walk into a sanctuary and sit among us, sing our hymns, listen to a sermon, and we would never know. They could observe the day with us, acknowledge our beliefs, and go home and rest on Sabbath. Yet, if they make a prayer to Isis or Hecate the next day, they are still pagan; simply going to church does not change that. Likewise, they could walk through the service bay of a car dealership and not suddenly gain intimate knowledge of the inner workings of my truck.

How do we gain the knowledge of what we need to do to be Christians? How do we turn “Christian” into a verb? A mechanic can only apply the term to himself if it is what he does for a living. It ought to be the same with Christians. Spending time with God is a good start. The Bible says that wherever two or more gather in My name, I will be there. (Matthew 18:20) So God’s presence is promised to any group that gathers for the purpose of serving Him. But what about individuals? Does God spend time with them? The Bible is full of examples of God spending meaningful time with individuals in isolation from others. Moses spent much time on his own with God, as is evidenced in Exodus when he stays on the mountain for many days and nights, with only the will and power of God to sustain him. He spoke with God alone in the Tabernacle and had a close relationship with God, one of the closest in biblical history.

Jonah was alone in the belly of the whale, but God heard his cries of repentance and his pleas for forgiveness. Alone, Jonah’s acceptance of God’s purpose was acknowledged by God, and Jonah’s life was spared as he accepted the mission God gave him. Imagine the honor God bestowed upon him. He, personally, heard the voice of God commanding him to go and do His bidding, and what did he do? He fled. Jonah ran from the greatest honor and gift any of us could imagine outside of being in the literal presence of God Himself! What would you give to hear the voice of God; what would you do to obey that voice if it honored you with a command? Would anything be too much, too hard? How terrible was Jonah’s cowardice and his sin in running from a command he should have been honored to receive, yet, even after all that, God heard his lone cry for a second chance and granted it. Is that what we are doing in our calling as Christians? God has given us clear instructions through the Bible and other inspired writings; instructions that clearly outline what is proper and necessary for Christians, yet the vast majority, sadly, ignore Him.

It has come to a time where we who believe Christianity is a verb must stand alone. There will be no church available to us on earth. And yet we will be Christians regardless. A mechanic does not need a garage to work in. Wherever there is a vehicle and the tools necessary, he can work. Likewise, if God is in our hearts and minds, we can practice the life of a true Christian. It is a historically documented fact that the ancient Christians sometimes sold themselves into slavery to buy the freedom of another. Do you think these Christians were surrounded by fellow believers? No, many of the slaves kept by Romans were of varied backgrounds, including Greeks, and Gauls; any race or country they conquered. These early Christians had no one with whom to practice their beliefs; they were an outlawed people of an outlawed faith, punishable by death. Do you think God did not hear them and was not with them when they could get away to worship Him?

Being in church does not make you a Christian. We are Seventh-day Adventists, and should live as such. As a mechanic daily works on cars and exercises that knowledge and expertise, so we must daily work at being a Christian and grow in our relationship with God. We are sent out to spread the word of God, to “fix” the lack of knowledge or interest of others in preparation for His coming. Would you let a person who spends one day of the week in a garage in some capacity work on your most valuable, vintage, collectible Mustang? No, you call in an expert mechanic who spends hours every day working on cars to deal with your valuable possession and fix it so it runs perfectly. These master mechanics eat, sleep, and breathe their profession. How much more so, then, must we Christians work on and maintain our own relationship with God if we are to help others? I Corinthians 10:31 says: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” How much must God be in our daily lives to become adequate to help others find their way to God? This is a question that requires exceedingly careful attention. If we are Christians only in name and do not live as such, others who are brought to the church through us will only have a partial picture. They will not understand their responsibility as Christians. What would happen to a mechanic who was hired but only stood in the shop without working? He would get fired. It is the same with Christians. We will not reap unless we work. This is our responsibility and we must impart this information to others. Actions speak louder than words. Likewise, we can exemplify the Christian duty more powerfully than we can speak it.

We are sent to help people establish or repair a relationship with God, but we must always remember not to neglect our own relationship with Him. In the same way a mechanic keeps abreast of the latest technology and advancements, we must keep our relationship with God up to date if we are to help others establish one. If someone sees us not living up to the standards we profess, how much will they trust us if we try to change their practices? Would you trust a mechanic who cannot fix his own car, let alone yours? In that manner, how can we expect someone to trust us to impart knowledge of Christianity, if we are not practicing what we preach?

The relationship between God and a Christian is a deeply personal and private thing at times, and it is not for any of us to judge one another on how it stands between God and the individual. It can be seen and expressed in small ways in church, but that is not enough. As Seventh-day Adventists we must commune with God daily, feel Him in our lives, and do as He has commanded us through the Scriptures. A whispered prayer, or even simply a silent prayer for patience in trying times, or a thanks for something positive, even as minor as a tiny bit of providence, can bring us closer to Him in our daily lives. He is with us all the time, and we owe Him so much should we not at least acknowledge Him?

Just as technology is constantly changing with vehicles, and a mechanic must keep educated, so must we, as Christians, keep up with the light given us and use the truths to draw us closer to Christ. In so doing, we are enabled to spread His light that all may know Him as their personal Savior.

Lauri Hume has completed her BS degree and is currently working as a case manager in Hutchinson, Kansas. She can be contacted at:

Children’s Story – Nathan Hale

The young man standing at the front of the podium was anything but unnerved by the crowd that had gathered to decide on the position the colonies would take to England. Though the tension was as tight as a stretched rubber band, Nathan Hale stood with complete composure. “My dear fellow patriots!” At this, all commotion stopped. Mouths gaped and eyes bugged. “Patriot” was a word much like a river’s undercurrent— always present but never surfacing. A murmur of uncertainty rumbled around the room. Heads turned to their neighbors to see their reaction. A frown on a single brow could mean big trouble to all present. “Yes, I mean you,” Nathan continued unhindered. “We have come to a time to choose definitively between the dogmatic British rule, or independence!” Dead silence ensued, except for a fly buzzing unnoticed around the ears of those present. ‘Independence’ was a word of treason and punishable by death. Were they ready to charge down that road? Lexington was a small battle, and neither side had yet lost beyond repair. What would it mean to take on the British? Nathan looked long and hard at each individual present, pressing the invisible button of conscience to a point of great discomfort. Many a body squirmed in its seat before the aged voice of reason broke out from somewhere in the back. “The rash courage of a twenty-year-old boy breaks the spell! Hurrah for independence!” “Hurrah for independence!” came a bone-jarring echo. “Hurrah for independence!”

September 1776 found the cause for freedom still strong, and the Patriots were vying fiercely for freedom from the British hierarchy. Thousands of tents pitched beneath a merciless sun and an equally cruel terrafirma, provided a home-away-from-home (if one could call it that) for the Continental Army. And, indeed, even the most barren of accommodations was a welcome respite when compared to the final resting place of many of their compatriots. In one of these abodes, a most unsavory meeting was taking place …

“I know this is no job for a gentleman, yet it must be done. Do I have a volunteer?” Colonel Knowlton addressed the group of officers before him. Something both forceful and desperate was in his voice. He was most in earnest in his plea. The assignment was dangerous and regarded as degrading. The role of a spy was to play the part of a friend ultimately to betray. “The time is dire, friends. We must know of the enemy plans. The cause for independence could well rest solely upon this mission,” he begged. Still not a soul stepped forward.

“How about you, Lieutenant Bordeaux?” The Colonel looked at a well-dressed Frenchman among the soldiers. The French were such peacocks; perhaps he wouldn’t mind the mission as long as he could carry it out in his best attire.

“I am willing to be shot for the cause, but not hung as a spy,” came the common reply. A murmur of agreement rose and the company dwindled back to silence. So much for that idea.

Here the musty old tent flap lifted, sending in a hot cloud of dust and Captain Hale walked in looking quite pale from a recent illness. Though he was only 21 years of age, the time in bed had made him look even younger than his tender age. Still, with head high and exuding confidence he said, “Any service, necessary for the public good becomes honorable by being necessary. I will go.”

Two weeks later Nathan found himself hiding in the midnight darkness. It was uncannily oppressive. The travel behind enemy lines had been intense. Everyone was suspicious in wartime, and no less so now as loyalties differed from neighbor to neighbor. The mission had ended none too soon for Captain Hale. Under the cloak of darkness, Nathan awaited the longboat and his return to safety. The air was thick with mosquitoes and moisture. The evening had not brought any relief from the heat, yet in spite of this, Nathan shook with cold. Redcoats were as thick as the blood-sucking insects polluting the riverbed, and could be a far greater nuisance. He strained his ears to hear a conversation between soldiers, but the chorus of frogs drowned out the words.

Suddenly a hand grabbed him by the collar, cutting off his air supply and forced him to a standing position. Apparently, the midnight song of the frogs had drowned out more than just the conversing soldiers.

“Who are you and what are you doing here?” demanded an English-accented voice. But before Nathan could open his mouth to respond, the English accent interrupted, “Private! Search him!”

Nathan could do nothing but stand quietly while the English soldier searched him from head to foot. The bayonet in his back assured him of that. The plans he was able to extract from the enemy were hidden in the sole of his boot. Perhaps with a less scrutinizing soldier, they would not be found, but this redcoat was tearing him apart at the seams! Sure enough he got down to the boots. “Aha! What have we here?” the soldier drawled, a triumphant glee showing in his face. “A spy!” He yelled. “To the gallows!”

The dawn of his execution came far too early. “Nathan Hale, you are found guilty and sentenced as a spy. Do you have any last words?” The executioner’s voice was gruff, and the offer sounded more like a dare. With great composure Nathan Hale raised his head and looked at the English general attending the hanging. “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

Just like Captain Nathan Hale, God will give you the courage to face even the most desperate of circumstances with courage and peace, no matter your age, experience, or situation.

Alicia Freedman is currently working on our LandMarks team and can be contacted at:

Health – Process This

The Bible talks about the refining process whereby God prepares His people for everlasting life. (See Malachi 3.) This refining process is necessary and good because it removes impurities from the character just as impurities must be removed from gold or silver by a refining process. However, not all refining is necessarily good. Ecclesiastes 3:14 says that when God does something, nothing can be added to it and nothing can be taken from it; in other words, when we try to add something to it or take something from it we end up getting ourselves into trouble, and this trouble becomes worse the more that we attempt to add or the more that we attempt to take away from what God has made. In no other area is this fact more evident than in the food that we eat. God made certain foods for His children to eat (Genesis 1:29), and when we attempt to add to these foods or take away from them by refining, we can get ourselves into trouble when this becomes a significant part of our diet.

This does not mean that refining of our food is wrong—just that we need to understand exactly what we are doing and not allow this refined food to become a major part of our diet. The fact that refined food is all right in moderation is shown by the communion supper. At the communion supper we do not eat grapes or raisins but a refined product of the grape, the juice of the grape which, of course, is a refined product of the grape. However, this was never intended to become a major part of our diet (See I Corinthians 11:21, 22). Not only do we drink a refined product at the communion supper, but we also eat a refined product—the unleavened bread used at the Passover season was made with oil, which is also a refined product from the olive (or sesame seed in ancient times).

Just as there is nothing wrong with using grape syrup or sugar, in the same way there is nothing wrong with using oil from the olive, even though both are refined products, but we should understand exactly what we are doing and not allow these refined foods to become a major part of our diet.

There has been a great amount of confusion about fat intake and the relation of this fat intake to serious diseases such as heart disease and cancer. A most revealing observation is made by Dr. T. Colin Campbell in The China Study, pages 82 and 83, about this confusion: “The unanswered questions on fat remain unanswered, as they have for the past forty years. … The details that underlie these questions, when considered in isolation, are very misleading. … The correlation between fat intake and animal protein intake is more than 90%. This means that fat intake increases in parallel with animal protein intake; in other words, dietary fat is an indicator of how much animal-based food is in the diet. It is almost a perfect match.”

As Christians we should know what we are eating. With this in mind, we are now going to explain to you briefly how refined oils are processed so that you will have information to evaluate what you are seeing on food labels in the grocery store.

There are three methods of extracting oils from nuts or grains or beans or seeds or fruits such as the olive. Probably the most ancient method is by the use of a press. Today we use hydraulic presses to do this. This method yields a good quality of oil. It can be used only on sesame seeds and olives. These are the only two oils that can truthfully be called “cold-pressed.”

A second method of extracting oils is with a screw or press that has a constantly rotating worm shaft (called an expeller). Cooked material goes into one end and at the other end is discharged with the oil squeezed out. Although this oil is sometimes referred to as cold-pressed, normal temperatures for this process are from 200 to 250 degrees.

The third method of extracting oil from these same plant sources is called solvent extraction. The products containing the oils are ground up and then cooked and then mixed with a petroleum-based solvent which dissolves out of the oils, leaving a dry residue. The solvent is separated from the oils. Naptha solvents are used such as pentane, heptane, hexane or octane, the one most commonly used in the past has been hexane. (Synthetic Trichlorethylene has also been used.) These oils are not processed by a press, but are extracted by the solvent.

Sodium hydroxide and temperatures over 400 degrees are commonly used, but the oil generally undergoes further processing to make it more palatable. These processes include filtration, deodorization and bleaching. Even after considerable refining, it has been acknowledged that traces of solvent (usually hexane) remain in the oil.

Natural oils from plant products contain many nutrients, including pro-Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and a variety of fatty acids. Some of the natural nutrients are either altered, removed or destroyed by the refining processes.

Our ancestors did not eat these oils because they were not available to them, they only had access to what we call cold-pressed oils. Refining of corn began in about 1844, and the first commercial production of corn oil was in 1889.

In the 1950s as a result of conclusions made from the Framingham study (on heart disease), polyunsaturated fat was promoted to the American consumer. The idea was that if we increased our intake of polyunsaturated fat, we would decrease our risk of heart disease. (Study carefully the quotation from Dr. Campbell above in this regard.) Intake of polyunsaturated fat has increased a great deal since the 1950s and many are now asking the question, “Is there any danger in this high intake of polyunsaturated fat?” The answer to this question is sobering. We know now that large amounts of polyunsaturated fats are associated with numerous health problems, including cancer. Excessive use of vegetable oils are damaging to the lungs and the reproductive organs and huge increases in cancer at these sites have occurred during the last few decades.

A new controversial question about oil has emerged in the last 20 years. A hybridized rapeseed oil (given the commercial name “canola,” the actual name is “Low Erucic Acid Rapeseed” or LEAR oil) was developed and was given GRAS status (generally recognized as safe) by the US FDA in 1985. Use of this oil has soared all over the world. It is commonly used in spreads such as margarines, baked goods, snack foods, and use of hydrogenated canola oil for frying is increasing in restaurants.

There are no research studies that would give strong proof that this oil is harmful to humans, but the problem with this statement is that no long-term studies on humans have been done—it has not been used long enough to do a long-term study. We are in unknown territory. We are using a food that has only been in existence for a few years, and we simply do not know what the long-term consequences might be. Some have stated that this oil has been used for thousands of years in China, but remember that it was not the new hybridized rapeseed, and also, just as importantly, it was crude oil processed by stone presses that pressed out the oil at low temperatures, whereas today it is solvent-extracted at high temperatures and with chemicals as explained in the explanations earlier. The standard deodorization process removes a large portion of the omega-3 fatty acids and turns them into trans fatty acids. The University of Florida found trans fatty acids as high as 4.6 percent in the commercial liquid oil. (If the oil is then hydrogenated, the level of trans fatty acids could be as high as over 40%.) You should always read the labels of the products you are buying to see if the oil or fat is hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated.

There are scientific studies using canola oil that point in the direction that this oil may not be healthy for the cardiovascular system. One of the apparent problems with the use of canola oil is lack of saturated fat that can occur if other fats containing saturated fatty acids, such as butter, lard, tallow, palm oil or coconut oil are not part of the diet. It now appears that high levels of omega-3 fatty acids and low levels of saturated fats could be dangerous. In other words, eating some coconut might not be at all as dangerous as you have read in the past.

In our technologically advanced age we might still profitably ponder and choose to adopt some of the dietary practices of our ancestors who chose mainly traditional whole foods which had been grown with biological rather than chemical methods and were processed only minimally, and did not have their fat content altered by chemical means or removed by processing.

Pastor John Grosboll is Director of Steps to Life and pastors the Prairie Meadows Church in Wichita, Kansas. He may be contacted by e-mail at:, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.