Bible Study – God’s Love in the Church (continued)

November 19 – 25, 2023

Key Text

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” 1 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.a. 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 practice His words. Without this, all else is valueless.” The Signs of the Times, January 27, 1898

1.b. What evidences will show that we know God? 1 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.” Testimonies, Vol. 2, 136



2.a. What should the manifestation of God’s love cause us to consider? 1 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

2.b. 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

2.c. Since God has manifested such a great love for us, how should we act toward our neighbors? 1 John 4:11. How will the world see that God dwells in us? Verse 12

2.d. 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



3.a. What are the main characteristics of perfect love? 1 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

3.b. 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 someone 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



4.a. 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

4.b. 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

4.c. 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,’ 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



5.a. 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

5.b. 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.’ 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



1    How does Christ define life eternal?

2    What is the main evidence that we know God?

3    When we love God, how do we deal with the erring ones?

4    Explain the parable of the two debtors.

5    Can we forgive without being forgiven?

Copyright 2005, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study – God’s Love in the Church

November 12 – 18, 2023

Key Text

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34, 35

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.a. What does John say about the condition on which we can have fellowship with one another? 1 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 fellowmen, 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 Sabbath-keeping 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

1.b.  What is the evidence that we are walking in the light? 1 John 2:9–11



2.a. 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.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 2, 1001

2.b. What is the result of loving the world? 1 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.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, 949



3.a. How does John define our sonship? 1 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

3.b.      What is seen by making a comparison between Cain and Abel? 1 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



4.a. What is the evidence that we have changed direction in life? 1 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.’ 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

4.b. What actions does the true Christian love to produce? 1 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



5.a. What are the two basic conditions for receiving answers to prayers? 1 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.’ 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

5.b.      When and how can we have confidence that our prayers will be answered? 1 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



1    What is necessary in order to have fellowship with our brethren?

2    Why is it not possible to love God and the world at the same time?

3    What is the evidence that we are God’s children?

4    What is the result of Christian love?

5    What are the conditions for receiving answers to our prayers?

Copyright 2005, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study – God’s Love in the Family

November 5 – 11, 2023

Key Text

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” 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.a. How does the Bible depict the Christian home? Psalm 128:1–6

1.b.      Describe the position and duty of the husband. Ephesians 5:25–31; Colossians 3:19; 1 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



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

2.b.      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.” The Health Reformer, April 1, 1880



3.a. 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

3.b.      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

3.c. What was the weak legacy of Eli which is a warning to us? 1 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



4.a. 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

4.b.      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.’ ” Testimonies, Vol. 1, 497, 498

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



5.a. 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

5.b.      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



1    How does the Bible describe a Christian home?

2    Summarize Proverbs 31:10–31.

3    How should parents behave toward their children?

4    Explain the difference in the methods of education adopted by Abraham and Eli.

5    What is included in the fifth commandment?

Copyright 2005, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study – God’s Love – continued

Christian Character (4)

October 29 – November 4, 2023

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 created thing, 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.a. 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.’ ” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 15

1.b.      How should we respond to His wonderful love? 1 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



2.a. 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.’ 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

2.b.      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



3.a. According to the Bible, how many people are included in God’s love? John 3:16

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

3.b. 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



4.a. 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

4.b.      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

4.c. How can we, as sinners, be sure that we love the Lord and His truth? Matthew 11:28–30; 2 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



5.a. How can we become God’s children? John 1:12, 13; 3:3, 5; Galatians 3:26–29; 1 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’ to an immortal inheritance. … Christ and His people are one.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 6, 1077

5.b.      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 forever’ (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



1    What is the best gift we receive from God?

2    What did Christ mean when He said that “only God is good”?

3    What classes of people are the object of God’s love?

4    Why does God love His church so much?

5    What privileges are to be enjoyed by God’s church?

Copyright 2005, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Recipe – Spiced Lentil Soup

Red Lentils

Red lentils, also known as masoor dal, are a type of legume that is native to the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Small, round, and reddish-orange in color, red lentils have a smooth, creamy texture when cooked and are the quickest and easiest to prepare among lentil varieties, which is why they are the perfect ingredient for traditional Indian stews, dal, curries, and thick creamy soups.

Considered to be a superfood, red lentils are a powerhouse of essential nutrients. One of the main nutritional benefits of red lentils is their high protein content. One cup of cooked red lentils contains approximately 18 grams of protein, making them an excellent source of this essential nutrient. In addition to their high protein content, red lentils are also a good source of fiber. One cup of cooked red lentils contains about 16 grams of fiber. They are also low in fat, with just 1 gram of fat per cup of cooked lentils.

A ½-cup serving is an excellent source of folate and manganese, and a great source of thiamin, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and B vitamins. Masoor dal is high in antioxidants, which is known to boost the immune system and protect the body from diseases and infections.

Look no further for a simple, nutritious, and delicious way to improve your diet.


Recipe – Spiced Lentil Soup


1 ½ Tbs. olive oil, or water

2 cups onion, diced

5 garlic gloves, minced

2 tsp. ground turmeric

1 ½ tsp. ground cumin

¼ tsp. ground cardamom

1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes

1 14-oz. can full fat coconut milk

¾ cup red lentils, rinsed and drained

3 ½ cups vegetable broth, or water and vegetable bouillon

½ tsp. salt, or to taste

red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)

1 5-oz. package baby spinach

2 tsp. fresh lime juice


In a large pot, add oil or water, onion, and garlic. Sauté over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the onion softens. Stir in turmeric, cumin, and cardamom, cooking for 1 minute until fragrant. Add tomatoes, coconut milk, lentils, broth, and salt. Add red pepper flakes, if desired. Bring to slow boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes or until lentils are tender. Stir in spinach until wilted. Add lime juice. Serve.

Likeness is not Sameness

The book of Romans, written by Paul—the greatest theologian of the apostles—is the most systematic and complete explanation of how a person is saved. In it, Paul begins building a case for the salvation of man in the very first chapter, point by point, each chapter tightly connected to the chapter before it.

Romans 6 is about the beginning of the Christian life, when a person is baptized, laying the foundation for Romans 7, which lays the foundation for Romans 8. It is essential, when studying Romans, to study chapters 6, 7, and 8 together as they are very tightly connected. Do not let chapter or verse divisions rob you of the flow of the text as the author meant for it to be studied.

Romans 8:3 is a pivotal text, connecting everything before and after it. “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.” If a person takes a surface reading of this verse, it is actually possible to use the text to commit a fatal error regarding the righteousness of Christ that robs Him of His glory and His divinity and, I believe, unintentionally, ascribing to His humanity a carnal nature. Friends, Jesus did not have a carnal nature.

As we have studied previously in Scripture, the term sinful flesh refers to the sinful or carnal nature. You will recall that Paul says in verse 7 that this sinful flesh, the one that Adam entailed upon all of his posterity when he sinned in the garden of Eden, cannot keep God’s law.

“Because the carnal mind [flesh] is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be.”

The word likeness can mean more than one thing. For example, you can be referring to a physical, mental, or spiritual likeness, or a likeness of disposition. Those are very different things. There are many Adventists who think that the word likeness in this verse means sameness because of the root word Homos. They say that Jesus came in sinful flesh, but the scripture does not say that; it says that He came in the likeness of sinful flesh. They teach that likeness means sameness quoting all kinds of statements. Searching for over 40 years, I have not found a single Spirit of Prophecy reference in which Mrs. White says that Jesus came in sinful flesh.

We must understand the root word. The Greek Lexicon gives us the meaning of the Greek words that are a takeoff or modification of the root word Homos. They are: homou, homoios, homoioo, and homoioma.

Homou means “in the same place, or together,” as in people living in the same house. “For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” 2 Corinthians 5:1. The following statement will help to explain when Paul writes about this earthly house, this tent. “There is not one in a thousand, married or unmarried, who realizes the importance of purity of habits, in preserving cleanliness of the body and purity of thought. Sickness and disease is the sure consequence of disobedience to nature’s laws, and neglect of the laws of life and health. It is the house in which we live that we need to preserve, that it may do honor to God, who has redeemed us. We need to know how to preserve the living machinery, that our soul, body, and spirit may be consecrated to His service.” The Kress Collection, 45. Notice, Mrs. White is talking about maintaining cleanliness of body and then about the house in which we live, our physical body.

“Every mother should see that her children understand their own bodies, and how to care for them. … We are God’s workmanship, and His word declares that we are ‘fearfully and wonderfully made.’ He has prepared this living habitation for the mind; it is ‘curiously wrought,’ a temple which the Lord Himself has fitted up for the indwelling of His Holy Spirit.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 425, 426. Inspiration uses several different phrases—tabernacle, temple, house, living machinery, and living habitation—to represent the body.

If the body represents the house in which we live, then the mind represents the man, the person, the character, the mind that lives in the house. The root word for likeness means the same in the sense of the same place, living together in one house; the man and his mind living together in his body.

Homoios is the first modification of the root word Homos. It means “similar in appearance, resembling, having a like form or appearance.” The word similar in English means “two things that resemble each other but are not exactly alike or identical.” Things perfectly similar in their nature must be of the same essence, or homogeneous, but generally we understand the word similar to denote a likeness that is not perfect. The word similar does not generally mean exactly the same. For example, we say a person looks like his brother or his father. They have a similar physical nature, such as in features or form, but they are not perfectly identical.

“Had Christ come in His divine form, humanity could not have endured the sight. The contrast would have been too painful, the glory too overwhelming. Humanity could not have endured the presence of one of the pure, bright angels from glory; therefore Christ took not on Him the nature of angels; He came in the likeness of men.” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 5, 1131

Likeness can also refer to a similarity in character. For example, “Your imagination was not given you to be allowed to run riot and have its own way without any effort at restraint or discipline. If the thoughts are wrong the feelings will be wrong, and the thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character.” Testimonies, Vol. 5, 310

Moral character is the combination of thoughts and feelings, but notice, Mrs. White links the word imagination with the thoughts as playing a key role in the moral character. When the Scriptures talk about character, very often they use the word imagination. “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5. This describes man’s character. The imagination produces thoughts and thoughts combined with feelings produce character. “And the Lord said, ‘Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice, nor walked according to it, but they have walked according to the dictates [imagination] of their own hearts and after the Baals, which their fathers taught them,’ therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: ‘Behold, I will feed them, this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.’ ” Jeremiah 9:13–15

“The natural, selfish mind, as it exists in its carnal state, acts without reference to God, and is evil, and only evil, continually.” The Signs of the Times, June 22, 1888. The natural, selfish mind is evil, and only evil. The imagination of the heart is only evil because when man sinned, he forsook God’s law of love, and became carnal, embracing Satan’s law of selfishness.

A dictionary definition of the English word character, not the Greek word kharaktēr which is very similar in meaning, is “the peculiar qualities impressed by nature or habit on a person which distinguish him from others.” These constitute real character, and the qualities which he is supposed to possess constitute his estimated character or reputation. Hence, we say, a character is not formed when the person has not acquired stable and distinctive qualities. There is probably not a single Adventist who would knowingly say that Jesus possessed the same character as fallen humanity possesses. But there are many who are deceived regarding the qualities impressed on His human nature, and unwittingly or unknowingly say that He did have the same character. If that were true, then He would have a carnal mind.

The Greek word homoioo is a second modification of the root word Homos which means “to assimilate or compare” or “to set or bring things together in fact or in contemplation and to examine the relations they bear to each other with a view to ascertain their agreement or disagreement.” For example, to compare two pieces of cloth or two tables or two coins, to compare reasons and arguments, to compare pleasure with pain. In the definition of the word used as a verb to compare there are two parts. In the first part, things are brought together in fact or in mind. In the second part, the purpose is to determine their agreement or their disagreement. To assimilate means to “bring to a likeness, that is, to cause to resemble or to convert into a like substance.”

Something that is assimilated is made to resemble something else. To resemble means “to have the likeness, to bear the similitude of something, either in form, figure, or qualities.” One man may resemble another in features and he may resemble a third person in temperament or deportment. Can you see that these are two completely different things? If you resemble someone else in features, the resemblance is of a physical nature, the definition of nature when it refers to the human race in general, a physical manifestation of God’s creation. But if you resemble someone in temper, you resemble that person in disposition of mind, especially regarding passions or affections, which means to resemble that person in character.

The third modification of Homos is the Greek word homoioma meaning “likeness.” The word likeness can mean the following:

  1. Resemblance in form or similitude. These two look alike. Or the reproduction of a painting that looks like the original.
  2. Resemblance in form or external appearance such as the expression “guard against an enemy in the likeness of a friend,” or “a wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
  3. Resemblance of another as a copy or a counterpart.
  4. Resemblance in an image, picture, or statue, a person or a thing.

Paul uses the word homoioma in Romans 8:3 and in Philippians 2:5–8, which is one of the most sublime and profound scriptures in all the New Testament. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” Paul uses several words that help us to clarify and pinpoint exactly what he is meaning when he uses the word likeness—for example, the word form.

Figuratively using the word form, Paul is speaking in relation to human nature. Paul said that Jesus took the form, the shape, the physical nature of a servant and was made in the likeness, or in the form, of men. Then he says that He took the fashion of a man. The Greek word translated fashion can mean to “make into a particular or the required form.” Mrs. White, referencing Philippians 2:6, 7, last part, and most of verse 8, explains what they mean. “He clothed His divinity with humanity. He was all the while as God.” The Review and Herald, September 4, 1900

When Jesus appeared in human flesh, He was God. The gospels record in several places that people fell down and worshiped Him and He accepted that worship. It would be blasphemy for any human being to accept worship, but though He was a human being, Jesus was also God. Therefore it was right that He accepted their worship. “He was all the while as God, but He did not appear as God. He veiled the demonstrations of Deity, which had commanded the homage, and called forth the admiration of the universe of God. He was God while upon earth, but he divested Himself of the form of God, and in its stead took the form and fashion of a man.” Ibid. He divested Himself of the form of God and took the physical form and external condition of man.

“Jesus was the commander of heaven, one equal with God, and yet He condescended to lay aside His kingly crown, his royal robe, and clothed His divinity with humanity. The incarnation of Christ in human flesh is a mystery. He could have come to earth as One with a remarkable appearance, unlike the sons of men. His countenance could have shone with glory, and His form could have been of remarkable grace. He could have presented such an appearance as to charm the beholder; but this was not according to the plan devised in the courts of God.” The Signs of the Times, July 30, 1896

“He was to bear the characteristics of the human family, and the Jewish race.” Ibid. The woman at the well recognized Him immediately as a Jew. “In all respects the Son of God was to wear the same features as did other human beings. He was not to have such beauty of person as would make Him singular among men.” Ibid.

People were not going to be attracted to Christ because of some physical superiority or beauty that He had more than other people. “He was to manifest no wonderful charms by which to attract attention to Himself.” Ibid. So Inspiration clearly teaches that the word likeness in relation to the humanity of Christ is referring to His physical nature.

“It would have been an almost infinite humiliation for the Son of God to take man’s nature, even when Adam stood in his innocence in Eden. But Jesus accepted humanity when the race had been weakened by four thousand years of sin.” The Desire of Ages, 49. This statement is, of all in the Spirit of Prophecy, used by Adventist ministers to prove that the likeness of sinful flesh means the same sinful flesh.

Mrs. White describes Adam as being twice as tall as men now living upon the earth and Eve as coming up to just above Adam’s shoulder in height. Looking at a man proportionate to his height, in this case 12 feet, scientists have estimated that Adam likely weighed about 2,500 pounds, and Eve weighed about 1,700 pounds. The fastest man alive today can only run approximately 28 miles per hour over 100 meters. But given the volume of his lungs and the capacity of his heart, it is believed that Adam could run 70 miles per hour. Adam was innocent and his complexion was “ruddy, glowing with the rich tint of health. Eve was … very beautiful.” Last Day Events, 292

It would have been an almost infinite humiliation if Christ had taken Adam’s human nature when fresh from His creative hand. But no, He took instead man’s nature after 4,000 years of degradation and sin. As a man, Jesus couldn’t run 70 miles per hour and as a Jew, He was not even six feet tall. Instead, “Like every child of Adam He accepted the results of the working of the great law of heredity. What these results were is shown in the history of His earthly ancestors. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations, and to give us the example of a sinless life.” The Desire of Ages, 49

I cannot comprehend or imagine why the King of glory, the One who not only created the universe and upheld it by the word of His power, who determines the eternal destiny of every creature of the universe, chose to come to this world and accept human nature, and chose to become a human being weakened by 4,000 years of sin. It is the second most incomprehensible mystery, after the cross. He came with such a heredity to share our sorrows and temptations. Don’t ever feel that Jesus cannot understand exactly what your sorrow or temptation is.

Friends, Mrs. White is clear that the Son of God took man’s nature. In relation to humanity, there are two different meanings of the word nature—one referring to the race in general and the other to an individual of the race. Nature in reference to the race in general is referring to the physical aspect of man’s being. Nature in reference to an individual is referring to the disposition or condition of his mind and therefore his character.

When God’s prophet said Jesus took man’s nature, his humanity, she is speaking of the race in general. Therefore, we have been discussing His physical nature and not the disposition of His mind or His character.

There is, however, much more evidence that we need to examine from the Spirit of Prophecy, comparing each inspired statement with another to be sure that we do not twist the scriptures or Inspiration regarding Christ’s coming to be in the likeness of sinful flesh.

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

Hats off to Fat

Vibrant health, not just the absence of disease or injury, is something that everyone desires. Good health is one of the greatest blessings we can have and something we can work toward as we cooperate with God in choosing a healthy lifestyle. One area that greatly impacts our health is our diet. There are seven broad, needful categories to be considered when it comes to good nutrition, if we hope to experience vibrant health. These categories are carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and water. Let’s focus on the category of fat.

In nutrition, biology, and chemistry, a fat usually means any ester of fatty acids, or a mixture of such compounds, most commonly those that occur in living beings or in food.

Fat fills your fat cells. It is important in giving cells structure and insulates the body to help keep you warm. It is also used in making hormones. It is a major fuel source for your body and is the main source of stored body energy. Fat provides 9 calories per gram (Cal/gm) versus protein and carbohydrates which provide 4 Cal/gm. It is necessary for the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and certain antioxidants. Omega 3 fats are important for optimum nerve, brain, and heart function. They also give your body essential fatty acids (needed by the body, but cannot be made by the body) called linoleic and linolenic acids. Fat is also needed to keep your skin and hair healthy.

Fats come from both animal and plant sources. There are two broad categories of fats: saturated fat and unsaturated fat. Saturated fats, often called the “bad fats,” are tightly packed and usually solid at room temperature. The most common sources of saturated fats are meats and dairy. There are only two plant sources that contain high amounts of saturated fats: coconut oil and palm oil.

Saturated fats can also be found in many fast, processed, and baked foods. Diets high in saturated fat products can result in many health issues. Low Density Lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) has a reputation for being the “bad cholesterol” and that would be true if you have too much LDL in the blood from a diet high in saturated fat. LDL can form plaque in the arteries and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke. Triglycerides, fat cells that circulate in the bloodstream and are stored in the body’s fat cells, can also be elevated by a high saturated fat diet, and increase the risk of diseases of the heart and blood vessels.

Unsaturated fats are loosely packed and usually liquid at room temperature. Vegetable oils and nuts, seeds, olives, and avocados have mostly unsaturated fats. There are two types of unsaturated fats: monounsaturated and polyunsaturated.

Replacing saturated fats in the diet with plant foods high in monounsaturated fats, particularly extra virgin olive oil and tree nuts, may benefit heart health. Your body needs polyunsaturated fats to function. Polyunsaturated fats help with muscle movement and blood clotting. Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids make up the polyunsaturated fats. Diets high in these fatty acids have many health benefits and can be obtained from a plant-based diet.

Vegetarian sources of omega-3 fatty acids include seeds (especially flax seeds), nuts, and certain oils. However, there is controversy among health professionals over the use of such oils as corn, soybean, and safflower oil. Diets high in Omega-3 fatty acids can lower levels of triglycerides in the blood as well as the risk of heart and blood vessel diseases.

Sources of omega-6 fatty acids include corn, cottonseed, peanut, soybean, and sunflower oils. Diets high in omega-6 fatty acids can lower LDL and triglycerides, raise High Density Lipoprotein (HDL), or “good cholesterol,” and help obtain better blood sugar control.

Another benefit of eating more unsaturated fat and less saturated fat is that this can aid in brain health. The MIND diet was developed after “more than 20 years of research into what foods help lower the risk for cognitive (mental or brain function) decline. … The brain-healthy eating plan emphasizes whole plant-based foods while limiting added sugars and foods high in saturated fats. …

“The MIND diet is rich in nutrients that work together to support your brain health. Examples of these brain-healthy nutrients include:

  • Flavonoids
  • Folate
  • Lutein-zeaxanthin
  • Vitamin E

Studies have found that people who follow the MIND diet have a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. The MIND diet advocates eating more of 10 certain foods and less of five others. Among the good ones are healthy-fat foods like nuts and olive oil, while the less helpful ones are butter, pastries, and fried and fast foods that contain high amounts of saturated fat. The association between healthy fats and healthier brains may be related to inflammation. Diets high in saturated fats appear to raise inflammation, while eating unsaturated fats can dampen the inflammatory response.

A third category of fats, trans fats, are artificially produced, unhealthy fats that form when vegetable oil goes through a process called hydrogenation. Trans fats are a type of fat that raises LDL and lowers HDL. There are very small amounts of naturally-occurring trans fat in meats and dairy from grazing animals, such as cows, sheep, and goats. But most trans fats are in plant oils that have been chemically changed by hydrogenation. Numerous studies have found that consumption of trans fats increases the risk of coronary artery disease and overall cardiovascular disease. Other concerning health issues with diets of moderate amounts of trans fat are Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, obesity, infertility in women, and possibly certain forms of cancer.

The benefits and risks of various amounts and types of dietary fats have been the object of much study, and are still controversial topics, except for trans fats, which are almost universally considered unhealthy fats.

A healthy diet is a balance between taking in enough calories and nutrients for your age, sex, environment, and level of activity. One thing to consider is that each gram of fat has 9 calories. That’s true for all fats. So, calories can add up quickly, even with healthy fats. For example, walnuts are a health food high in polyunsaturated fats, but just a dozen walnut halves contain about 160 calories—more calories than in one large apple. The key message about fats is to focus on eating healthy fats and limiting unhealthy fats, but to also remember that consuming high levels of calories—regardless of the source—can lead to weight gain. Even healthy fats should be consumed in moderation.

Eating a vegan diet, choosing the right types of fats, and enjoying both in moderation is the best way to have vibrant health. Here’s to healthy fat!

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Question – What does it mean to be a peculiar people?


What does it mean to be a peculiar people?


The dictionary gives us two definitions of the word peculiar when used as an adjective. The first use refers to something that is strange or odd. But the second use refers to something particular or special. It is this definition that is used in the context of the biblical description of God’s people.

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special [peculiar] people … .” 1 Peter 2:9

“For you are a holy people to the Lord your God, and the Lord has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special [peculiar] treasure above all the peoples … .” Deuteronomy 14:2

“Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special [peculiar] people … .” Titus 2:14

“That which more especially distinguishes God’s people from the popular religious bodies is not their profession alone, but their exemplary character and their principles of unselfish love. The powerful and purifying influence of the Spirit of God upon the heart, carried out in words and works, separates them from the world, and designates them as God’s peculiar people. The character and disposition of Christ’s followers will be like the Master. He is the pattern, the holy and perfect example given for Christians to imitate. …” That I May Know Him, 317

“The Lord hath set apart him that is godly for Himself, and this consecration to God and separation from the world is plainly declared and positively enjoined in both the Old and New Testaments. There is a wall of separation which the Lord Himself has established between the things of the world and the things He has chosen out of the world and sanctified unto Himself. The calling and the character of God’s people are peculiar. … and these peculiarities distinguish them from all people.” The Review and Herald, July 5, 1875

“God’s people are to be distinguished as a people who serve Him fully, wholeheartedly, taking no honor to themselves, and remembering that by a most solemn covenant they have bound themselves to serve the Lord, and Him only.” Our High Calling, 345

“I saw that God was purifying unto Himself a peculiar people. He will have a clean and a holy people, a people in whom He can delight.” Manuscript Releases, Vol. 6, 221

“The religion of Christ does not consist in merely having our names written on the church book; they must be written in the Lamb’s book of life. Examine again the text [Titus 2:11–14]. From this it will be seen that there is a decided difference between the followers of Christ and the world. They are a peculiar people; Jesus came to make them thus. …

“Let us open the door of our hearts, that Jesus may come in and that sin may go out. Let us forsake the evil and choose the good … .” The Review and Herald, March 16, 1886

The Message of the Fungus

Decay is a part of nature that we don’t like to think about. But it is an essential part as long as there is death. Have you ever thought how you would walk through the woods if the trees that had died never decayed? The trees would be piled up over your head. Decay is a merciful provision of the great Creator to take care of the effects of death.

“Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” was part of the curse after sin entered the garden of Eden (Genesis 3:19). Nature demonstrates this fact. There are several agents which are used in this process of building rich loamy soil out of dead vegetation. We will look especially at the fungus. When trees die they would never decay were it not for fungi and bacteria that break down organic compounds and return them to air and soil.

Let’s take a walk and see some of these fungi. The dead logs are sprinkled with several kinds. Some are shaped like sea shells. Others are cup-shaped. The colors are lovely. It is hard to remember they are part of the process of decay.

As I have observed these fungi from time to time, my mind has been impressed with this thought: The Creator could have made these formations ugly. But in His great love I can hear Him say, “Death and decay are so hard for My children to bear. I will make some lovely fungus to work on these dead trees. As they see that, they will think of My love and know that I will soften life’s hard experiences for them.”

I can serve a Creator like that, can’t you?

The Journal of Health and Healing, Vol. 7, No. 4, ©1982, 17

O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus

“Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us; and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”

Micah 7:18, 19

It is said that O the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus was written by Samuel Trevor Francis as a personal testimony after nearly committing suicide as a teenager by jumping from London’s Hungerford Bridge into the Thames River. While there is little evidence to corroborate the story, the hymn itself still stands as a reminder of God’s sustaining, powerful, and immeasurable love.

Francis compares Jesus’ love to the ocean, exemplifying the vastness, unchanging, and sacrificial nature of God’s love for all humanity. The ocean is the largest thing on earth, its deepest point being deeper than the highest mountain on earth. Yet, God’s love is deeper still. We can stand at any point on the coast, and see just a small fraction of it. The ocean is vast, but has its boundaries. God’s love, however, is boundless and free.

We sing of the love of the Father who sent His Son as a sacrifice to redeem us, and who now is interceding on our behalf.

There are several tunes associated with Francis’ words, but the most common is a minor melody in 4/4 time written by Bob Kauflin.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
vast, unmeasured, boundless, free,
rolling as a mighty ocean
in its fullness over me.
Underneath me, all around me
is the current of Your love,
leading onward, leading homeward
to Your glorious rest above.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus.
Spread His praise from shore to shore,
how He came to pay our ransom
through the saving cross He bore;
How He watches o’er His loved ones,
those He died to make His own;
How for them He’s interceding,
pleading now before the throne.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
far surpassing all the rest.
It’s an ocean full of blessing
in the midst of every test.
O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
mighty Saviour, precious Friend.
You will bring us home to glory,
where Your love will never end.