Bible Study Guides – Prejudices of the Jewish People

Bible Study Guide- Week 5

By Gordon Anderson

MEMORY VERSE: “My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons.” James 2:1.

STUDY HELP: Gospel Workers, 330-336.

INTRODUCTION: “Then as the children of God are one in Christ, how does Jesus look upon caste, upon society distinctions, upon the division of man from his fellow-man, because of color, race, position, wealth, birth, or attainments? The secret of unity is found in the equality of believers in Christ. The reason of all division, discord, and difference is found in separation from Christ. Christ is the center to which all should be attracted; for the nearer we approach the center, the closer we shall come together in feeling, in sympathy, in love, growing into the character and image of Jesus. With God there is no respect of persons.” Review and Herald, December 22, 1891.

How did Paul express the essential brotherhood of all mankind? Acts 17:26.

NOTE: “The Savior longed to unfold to His disciples the truth regarding the breaking down of the `middle wall of partition’ between Israel and the other nations-the truth that `the Gentiles should be fellow heirs’ with the Jews and `partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel.’ Ephesians 2:14; 3:6. This truth was revealed in part at the time when He rewarded the faith of the centurion at Capernaum, and also when He preached the gospel to the inhabitants of Sychar. Still more plainly was it revealed on the occasion of His visit to Phoenicia, when He healed the daughter of the Canaanite woman. These experiences helped the disciples to understand that among those whom many regarded as unworthy of salvation, there were souls hungering for the light of truth. Thus Christ sought to teach the disciples the truth that in God’s kingdom there are no territorial lines, no caste, no aristocracy; that they must go to all nations, bearing to them the message of a Savior’s love. But not until later did they realize in all its fullness that God `hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us.’ Acts 17:26, 27.” Acts of the Apostles, 19, 20.

In what ways did Christ seek to break down the racial prejudices of the Jewish people? Mark 7:24-29.

NOTE: “They saw that their Master treated her with indifference, and they therefore supposed that the prejudice of the Jews against the Canaanites was pleasing to Him. But it was a pitying Saviour to whom the woman made her plea, and in answer to the request of the disciples, Jesus said, `I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ Although this answer appeared to be in accordance with the prejudice of the Jews, it was an implied rebuke to the disciples, which they afterward understood as reminding them of what He had often told them,-that He came to the world to save all who would accept Him.” The Desire of Ages, 400.

How was the truth brought home to Peter? Acts 10:9-16; Acts 10:28; Acts 11:4-9.

NOTE: “How carefully the Lord worked to overcome the prejudice against the Gentiles that had been so firmly fixed in Peter’s mind by his Jewish training! By the vision of the sheet and its contents He sought to divest the apostle’s mind of this prejudice and to teach the important truth that in heaven there is no respect of persons; that Jew and Gentile are alike precious in God’s sight; that through Christ the heathen may be made partakers of the blessings and privileges of the gospel.” Acts of the Apostles, 136.

What story did Jesus tell to show the relations that should exist among all peoples? Luke 10:25-37.

NOTE: “The great difference between the Jews and the Samaritans was a difference in religious belief, a question as to what constitutes true worship. The Pharisees would say nothing good of the Samaritans, but poured their bitterest curses upon them. So strong was the antipathy between the Jews and the Samaritans that to the Samaritan woman it seemed a strange thing for Christ to ask her for a drink. `How is it,’ she said, `that Thou, being a Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria?’ `For,’ adds the evangelist, `the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans.’ John 4:9. And when the Jews were so filled with murderous hatred against Christ that they rose up in the temple to stone Him, they could find no better words by which to express their hatred than, `Say we not well that Thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?’ John 8:48. Yet the priest and Levite neglected the very work the Lord had enjoined on them, leaving a hated and despised Samaritan to minister to one of their own countrymen. The Samaritan had fulfilled the command, `Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,’ thus showing that he was more righteous than those by whom he was denounced. Risking his own life, he had treated the wounded man as his brother. This Samaritan represents Christ. Our Savior manifested for us a love that the love of man can never equal. When we were bruised and dying, He had pity upon us. He did not pass us by on the other side, and leave us, helpless and hopeless, to perish. He did not remain in His holy, happy home, where He was beloved by all the heavenly host. He beheld our sore need, He undertook our case, and identified His interests with those of humanity. He died to save His enemies. He prayed for His murderers. Pointing to His own example, He says to His followers, `These things I command you, that ye love one another’; `as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.’ John 15:17; 13:34.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 380, 381.

What example of prejudice was found in the early church? James 2:1-4.

NOTE: “Jesus did not seek the admiration or applause of the world. He commanded no army, He ruled no earthly kingdom. He passed by the wealthy and honored of the world. He did not associate with the leaders of the nation. He dwelt among the lowly of the earth. To all appearances He was merely a humble man, with few friends. Thus He sought to correct the world’s false standard of judging the value of men. He showed that they are not to be estimated by their outward appearance. Their moral worth is not determined by their worldly possessions, their real estate or bank stock. It is the humble, contrite heart that God values. With Him there is no respect of persons. The attributes that He prizes most are purity and love, and these are possessed only by the Christian.” The Southern Work, 10.

How did Jesus condemn, among Christians, the distinctions based on rank? Matthew 23:8-12.

NOTE: “He also reproved the vanity shown in coveting the title of rabbi, or master. Such a title, He declared, belonged not to men, but to Christ. Priests, scribes, and rulers, expounders and administrators of the law, were all brethren, children of one Father. Jesus impressed upon the people that they were to give no man a title of honour indicating his control of their conscience or their faith. If Christ were on earth today, surrounded by those who bear the title of `Reverend’ or `Right Reverend,’ would He not repeat His saying, `Neither be ye called masters: for One is your Master, even Christ’? The Scripture declares of God, `Holy and reverend is His name.’ Psalm 111:9. To what human being is such a title befitting? How little does man reveal of the wisdom and righteousness it indicates! How many of those who assume this title are misrepresenting the name and character of God! Alas, how often have worldly ambition, despotism, and the basest sins been hidden under the broidered garments of a high and holy office! The Savior continued: `But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.’ Again and again Christ had taught that true greatness is measured by moral worth. In the estimation of heaven, greatness of character consists in living for the welfare of our fellow men, in doing works of love and mercy.” The Desire of Ages, 613, 614.

How does Christ condemn those who seek the praise of men? Matthew 23:5-8; Matthew 6:1, 2.

NOTE: “In such plain words the Savior revealed the selfish ambition that was ever reaching for place and power, displaying a mock humility, while the heart was filled with avarice and envy. When persons were invited to a feast, the guests were seated according to their rank, and those who were given the most honorable place received the first attention and special favors. The Pharisees were ever scheming to secure these honors. This practice Jesus rebuked.” The Desire of Ages, 613.

What counsel does Jesus give to His followers? Luke 14:7-10.

NOTE: “In this parable Christ gives a safe precept as to the proper manner of conducting ourselves when so greatly honored as to be invited as a guest to the house of one who is honorable. The word of God not only lays out the great principles that should underlie our actions, but also gives a definite rule with which to regulate our conduct. How perfectly adapted are the lessons of Christ to the regulation of society! The Lord desires that all who claim God as their Father should bring their actions into accordance with heavenly principles. He would have men recognize their obligation to their fellowmen. He would not have His children striving for the highest place. In this parable the Lord shows us that He disapproves of the efforts of men who seek to be thought the greatest. The spirit that urges men to seek the highest place, is accompanied with pride, selfishness, and self-esteem, and the result will be that he who struggles for the highest position will find himself in the lowest. Nothing will make a man really great except to be truly good. But he who is wholly consecrated to God does not have the exaltation of self in view, but the glory of God.” Review and Herald, October 8, 1895.

What spirit must never be found among the followers of Christ? Matthew 20:25-27.

NOTE: There was to be a difference between His kingdom and the kingdoms of the world. `The princes of the Gentiles’ were ambitious, and sought for place and power; but their course in this respect resulted from false ideas of greatness and the pride of the human heart. Among the disciples of Christ an entirely different state of things was to exist. One was not to aspire to dominion over his brethren, and to seek to be lord over God’s heritage.” Signs of the Times, January 15, 1885.

How does God regard those who practice respect of persons? James 2:9.

NOTE: “At the feet of Jesus, the rich and the poor, the learned and the ignorant, meet together, with no thought of caste or worldly pre-eminence. All earthly distinctions are forgotten as we look upon Him whom our sins have pierced. The self-denial, the condescension, the infinite compassion of Him who was highly exalted in heaven, puts to shame human pride, self-esteem, and social caste. Pure, undefiled religion manifests its heaven-born principles in bringing into oneness all who are sanctified through the truth. All meet as blood-bought souls, alike dependent upon Him who has redeemed them to God.” Gospel Workers, 330.

What principle of God’s judgement did Jesus reveal? Luke 14:11.

NOTE: “Let us examine ourselves, and see how many vain thoughts dwell within our hearts, how much we love praise, how selfishness is shown in our manners, how often we misjudge the character and motives of others, or feel contempt for them because their appearance is not prepossessing. Let us think how our words sound in the ears of God, how our selfish thoughts look in His sight, when we judge and condemn others, who may be better in heart and purpose than ourselves. . . . The teachings of Christ give no countenance to a spirit of self-righteousness which would exalt self over others. Vanity is never the result of virtue and true piety. `Every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.'” Signs of the Times, February 19, 1885.

Bible Study Guides – Unity Among God’s People

Bible Study Guide- Week 4

By Gordon Anderson

MEMORY VERSE: “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgement.” 1 Corinthians 1:10.

STUDY HELP: Testimonies, vol. 3, 434-448.

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

What vital command did Christ give to His disciples? John 13:34-35.

NOTE: “At the time when these words were spoken, the disciples could not understand them; but after they had witnessed the sufferings of Christ, after His crucifixion and resurrection, and ascension to heaven, and after the Holy Spirit had rested on them at Pentecost, they had a clearer conception of the love of God and of the nature of that love which they must have for one another. Then John could say to his fellow disciples: `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.’ After the descent of the Holy Spirit, when the disciples went forth to proclaim a living Saviour, their one desire was the salvation of souls. They rejoiced in the sweetness of communion with saints. They were tender, thoughtful, self-denying, willing to make any sacrifice for the truth’s sake. In their daily association with one another, they revealed the love that Christ had enjoined upon them. By unselfish words and deeds they strove to kindle this love in other hearts.” Acts of the Apostles, 547.

In what practical ways is this love to be manifested? 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

NOTE: The word that the King James Bible translates as “charity” is precisely the same word translated as “love” elsewhere in the New Testament. This came from the word “caritas” in the Latin version, which did not use the word “amor,” because of its sexual overtones.

“Love is an active principle; it keeps the good of others continually before us, thus restraining us from inconsiderate actions lest we fail of our object in winning souls to Christ. Love seeks not its own. It will not prompt men to seek their own ease and indulgence of self. It is the respect we render to I that so often hinders the growth of love.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 124.

What indissoluble link does the Bible show between obedience to God’s Law and love? Joshua 22:5; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:14; James 2:8.

NOTE: “`Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.’ Have you done this? `Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.’ If this commandment is obeyed, it prepares the heart to obey the second, which is like unto it: `Love thy neighbour as thyself.’ All the Ten Commandments are embodied in the two specified. The first includes the first four commandments, which show the duty of man to his Creator. The second embraces the last six, which show the duty of man to his fellow man. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. They are two great arms sustaining all ten of the commandments, the first four and the last six. These must be strictly obeyed.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 43.

How does John describe the man who claims to love God but does not show love to his brother? 1 John 4:20, 21; 1 John 2:9, 10.

NOTE: “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” Take the question to your own hearts, and answer it as if before the Judge of all the earth. A reformation must take place in every family, in every institution, in every church. `Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.’ `Let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love . . . Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another . . . If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.’ `If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us.’ These sacred lessons, if received into the heart, will bring about the reformation essential. Many will lose heaven unless they change their selfish, unlovable, unsympathetic ways, and learn that the Spirit of Christ is not selfish and forbidding, uncourteous and loveless.” Review and Herald, April 3, 1900.

What vital question did the Lord three times put to Peter? John 21:15-17.

NOTE: It is not easy in an English translation to convey the inner meaning of this conversation between the Lord and Peter. Christ asks Peter whether he loves his Lord more than these, the other disciples. In putting this question, Christ uses the word “agapan”, the love of 1 Corinthians 13. Peter dare not commit himself to such a love; he knows his frailty all too well. He will not compare himself with “these”, the other disciples, and uses another word for love, “philein,” the love between friends. The second time the Lord no longer asks Peter to compare himself with his brethren. This weakness (see Matthew 26:33) has gone from the apostle. “Now his self-confidence was gone. Never again were the old boastful assertions repeated.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 154. But again Peter is too doubtful of his constancy to commit himself to “agapan.” He will only undertake “philein.” The third time the Lord adopts Peter’s own word for love. Peter feels he cannot reach Christ’s standard of love and has chosen one of which he can be more sure. So the Lord asks Peter whether he will commit himself to friendship. Peter knows both his weakness and the Lord’s deep insight into his inner self. “Lord, thou knowest all things. Thou knowest that I love thee.” [“philein.”]

“Three times Peter had openly denied his Lord, and three times Jesus drew from him the assurance of his love and loyalty, pressing home that pointed question, like a barbed arrow to his wounded heart. Before the assembled disciples Jesus revealed the depth of Peter’s repentance, and showed how thoroughly humbled was the once boasting disciple.” The Desire of Ages, 812.

What commission did the Lord three times give to Peter? John 21:15-17.

NOTE: “The first work that Christ entrusted to Peter on restoring him to the ministry was to feed the lambs. This was a work in which Peter had little experience. It would require great care and tenderness, much patience and perseverance. It called him to minister to those who were young in the faith, to teach the ignorant, to open the Scriptures to them, and to educate them for usefulness in Christ’s service. Heretofore Peter had not been fitted to do this, or even to understand its importance. But this was the work which Jesus now called upon him to do. For this work his own experience of suffering and repentance had prepared him.” The Desire of Ages, 812.

“In his charge to Peter, the Savior first bade him, `Feed my lambs.’ and afterward commanded him, `Feed my sheep.’ In addressing the apostle, Christ says to all his ministers, `Feed my lambs.’ When Jesus admonished the disciples not to despise the little ones, he addressed all disciples, in all ages. His own love and care for children is a precious example for his followers.” Review and Herald, August 30, 1881.

What was the controlling power in the life of the apostles? 2 Corinthians 5:14.

NOTE: “Christ gave no stinted service. He did not measure His work by hours. His time, His heart, His soul and strength, were given to labor for the benefit of humanity. Through weary days He toiled, and through long nights He bent in prayer for grace and endurance that He might do a larger work. With strong crying and tears He sent His petitions to heaven, that His human nature might be strengthened, that He might be braced to meet the wily foe in all his deceptive workings, and fortified to fulfill His mission of uplifting humanity. To His workers He says, `I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done.’ John 13:15. `The love of Christ,’ said Paul, `constraineth us.’ 2 Corinthians 5:14. This was the actuating principle of his conduct; it was his motive power. If ever his ardor in the path of duty flagged for a moment, one glance at the cross caused him to gird up anew the loins of his mind and press forward in the way of self-denial. In his labors for his brethren he relied much upon the manifestation of infinite love in the sacrifice of Christ, with its subduing, constraining power.” Ministry of Healing, 500.

What example of loving service should we desire to follow? Philippians 2:5-8.

NOTE: “The third angel of Revelation is represented as flying swiftly through the midst of heaven crying: `Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.’ Here is shown the nature of the work of the people of God. They have a message of so great importance that they are represented as flying in the presentation of it to the world. They are holding in their hands the bread of life for a famishing world. The love of Christ constraineth them. This is the last message. There are no more to follow, no more invitations of mercy to be given after this message shall have done its work. What a trust! What a responsibility is resting upon all to carry the words of gracious invitation: `And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.’ Everyone who heareth is to say: Come. Not only ministers, but the people. All are to join in the invitation. Not only by their profession, but by their character and dress, all are to have a winning influence. They are made trustees for the world, executors of the will of One who has bequeathed sacred truth to men. Would that all could feel the dignity and glory of their God-given trust.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 206, 207.

What qualities should the Christian manifest in his attitude to his fellowmen? Colossians 3:12-15.

NOTE: “We must guard well every point; for Satan is unwearied in his work of temptation. Watch well your words; guard well the spirit that prompts your words. Stand as faithful sentinels over your own defective attributes of character, that you may do nothing which will prove a stumbling-block to your brother. Do not make crooked paths for your feet, paths that will turn his feet out of the way of life. I wish all to remember that a day is coming in which the case of every one will be revealed. Then the plague-spot that tainted your character, the rock of offence that wrecked your bark, will be seen. Many will then realize that the tongue, though a little member, can do a weight of mischief. Many, eternally lost, will then, in their despair, look reproachfully upon those who sowed bitterness in their hearts, and planted suspicious thoughts in their minds. No provision has been made for Christians to draw apart from one another. By our unity and love we are to reveal the character of Christ.” Review and Herald, April 27, 1897.

What counsel does the Lord give us concerning differences between brethren? Matthew 18:15-17.

NOTE: “Do not tell others of the wrong. One person is told, then another, and still another; and continually the report grows, and the evil increases, till the whole church is made to suffer. Settle the matter `between thee and him alone.’ This is God’s plan. `Go not forth hastily to strive, lest thou know not what to do in the end thereof, when thy neighbor hath put thee to shame. Debate thy cause with thy neighbor himself; and discover not a secret to another.’ Proverbs 25:8, 9. Do not suffer sin upon your brother; but do not expose him, and thus increase the difficulty, making the reproof seem like a revenge. Correct him in the way outlined in the word of God. Do not suffer resentment to ripen into malice. Do not allow the wound to fester and break out in poisoned words, which taint the minds of those who hear. Do not allow bitter thoughts to continue to fill your mind and his. Go to your brother, and in humility and sincerity talk with him about the matter.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 260, 261.

How did David describe unity among brethren? Psalm 133.

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

What work of the Holy Spirit will also bring a unity among God’s people? Ephesians 4:13.

NOTE: “God is leading a people out from the world upon the exalted platform of eternal truth, the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. He will discipline and fit up His people. They will not be at variance, one believing one thing, and another having faith and views entirely opposite, each moving independently of the body. Through the diversity of the gifts and governments that He has placed in the church, they will all come to the unity of the faith. If one man takes his views of Bible truth without regard to the opinions of his brethren, and justifies his course, alleging that he has a right to his own peculiar views, and then presses them upon others, how can he be fulfilling the prayer of Christ? And if another and still another arises, each asserting his right to believe and talk what he pleases without reference to the faith of the body, where will be that harmony which existed between Christ and His Father, and which Christ prayed might exist among His brethren? God is leading out a people and establishing them upon the one great platform of faith, the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus. He has given His people a straight chain of Bible truth, clear and connected. This truth is of heavenly origin and has been searched for as for hidden treasure. It has been dug out through careful searching of the Scriptures and through much prayer.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 446, 447.

Bible Study Guides – The Gospel of Jesus Christ

Bible Study Guide – Week 3

By Gordon Anderson

MEMORY VERSE: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” John 17: 20, 21.

STUDY HELP: Testimonies, vol. 1, 413-420.

INTRODUCTION: “Honest souls will see the straight chain of present truth. They will see its harmonious connections, link after link uniting into a great whole, and will lay hold upon it. The present truth is not difficult to be understood, and the people whom God is leading will be united upon this broad, firm platform. He will not use individuals of different faith, opinions, and views, to scatter and divide. Heaven and holy angels are working to unite, to bring into the unity of the faith, into the one body. Satan opposes this, and is determined to scatter, and divide, and bring in different sentiments, that the prayer of Christ may not be answered: `Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.’ John 17:20, 21. Jesus designed that the faith of His people should be one. If one goes forth preaching one thing, and another differing with him preaches something else, how can those who believe through their word be one?” Testimonies, vol. 1, 326.

What warning did Paul give about alternative “gospels”? Galatians 6:9.

NOTE: “The position that it is of no consequence what men believe is one of Satan’s most successful deceptions. He knows that the truth, received in the love of it, sanctifies the soul of the receiver; therefore he is constantly seeking to substitute false theories, fables, another gospel. From the beginning the servants of God have contended against false teachers, not merely as vicious men, but as inculcators of falsehoods that were fatal to the soul. Elijah, Jeremiah, Paul, firmly and fearlessly opposed those who were turning men from the word of God. That liberality which regards a correct religious faith as unimportant found no favor with these holy defenders of the truth.” The Great Controversy, 520.

Against what particular false “gospel” did Paul warn the believers in Rome? Romans 6:1, 2.

NOTE: “Today let the question come home to the heart of every one who professes the name of Christ, `Dost thou believe in the Son of God?’ Not, `Do you admit that Jesus is the Redeemer of the world?’ Not to soothe your conscience and the consciences of others by saying, `I believe,’ and think that is all there is to be done. But do you believe with all your heart that Jesus is your Savior? Do you bring Him into your life, and weave Him into your character, until you are one with Christ? Many accept Jesus as an article of belief, but they have no saving faith in Him as their sacrifice and Savior. They have no realization that Christ has died to save them from the penalty of the law which they have transgressed, in order that they may be brought back to loyalty to God. Do you believe that Christ, as your substitute, pays the debt of your transgression? Not, however, that you may continue in sin, but that you may be saved from your sins; that you, through the merits of His righteousness, may be re-instated to the favor of God. Do you know that a holy and just God will accept your efforts to keep His law, through the merits of His own beloved Son who died for your rebellion and sin? You may say that you believe in Jesus, when you have an appreciation of the cost of salvation. You may make this claim, when you feel that Jesus died for you on the cruel cross of Calvary; when you have an intelligent, understanding faith that His death makes it possible for you to cease from sin, and to perfect a righteous character through the grace of God, bestowed upon you as the purchase of Christ’s blood.” Review and Herald, July 24, 1888.

Against which false “gospel” did Paul warn the believers in Galatia? Galatians 2:16.

NOTE: “A legal religion can never lead souls to Christ; for it is a loveless, Christless religion. Fasting or prayer that is actuated by a self-justifying spirit is an abomination in the sight of God. The solemn assembly for worship, the round of religious ceremonies, the external humiliation, the imposing sacrifice, proclaim that the doer of these things regards himself as righteous, and as entitled to heaven; but it is all a deception. Our own works can never purchase salvation.” Desire of Ages, 280.

“Said the Judge: `All will be justified by their faith and judged by their works.’ How vividly then appeared their neglect, and how wise the arrangement of God in giving to every man a work to do to promote the cause and save his fellow men. Each was to demonstrate a living faith in his family and in his neighbourhood, by showing kindness to the poor, sympathizing with the afflicted, engaging in missionary labor, and by aiding the cause of God with his means. But, like Meroz, the curse of God rested upon them for what they had not done.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 386.

What is the true and only Gospel of Jesus Christ? Romans 1:16.

NOTE: “The gospel is to be presented, not as a lifeless theory, but as a living force to change the life. God desires that the receivers of His grace shall be witnesses to its power. Those whose course has been most offensive to Him He freely accepts; when they repent, He imparts to them His divine Spirit, places them in the highest positions of trust, and sends them forth into the camp of the disloyal to proclaim His boundless mercy. He would have His servants bear testimony to the fact that through His grace men may possess Christ-likeness of character, and may rejoice in the assurance of His great love. He would have us bear testimony to the fact that He cannot be satisfied until the human race are reclaimed and reinstated in their holy privileges as His sons and daughters.” The Desire of Ages, 826.

“We have now only a little time in which to prepare for eternity. May the Lord open the closed eyes of His people and quicken their dulled senses, that they may realize that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation to them that believe. May they see the importance of giving so pure and righteous a representation of God that the world shall see Him in His beauty. May they be so filled with the Spirit that dwells in Him that the world will have no power to divert them from the work of presenting to men the wonderful possibilities before every soul who receives Christ.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 11, 12.

What response does the Gospel require from the Christian? 1 Peter 4:17; 2 Thessalonians 1:7, 8; Romans 10:16.

NOTE: “It is the privilege of all to give to the world in their home life, in their customs and practices and order, an evidence of what the gospel can do for those who obey it. Christ came to our world to give us an example of what we may become. He expects His followers to be models of correctness in all the relations of life. He desires the divine touch to be seen upon outward things.” Ministry of Healing, 196.

What example are we given of how even leading men could be led astray from the Gospel? Galatians 2:11-14.

NOTE: “The church was threatened with division. But Paul, who saw the subverting influence of the wrong done to the church through the double part acted by Peter, openly rebuked him for thus disguising his true sentiments. In the presence of the church, Paul inquired of Peter, `If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compelest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?’ Galatians 2:13, 14. Peter saw the error into which he had fallen, and immediately set about repairing the evil that had been wrought, so far as was in his power. God, who knows the end from the beginning, permitted Peter to reveal this weakness of character in order that the tried apostle might see that there was nothing in himself whereof he might boast. Even the best of men, if left to themselves, will err in judgement.” Acts of the Apostles, 198, 199.

How does Paul counsel the believers to behave in order to maintain the unity of the church? Ephesians 4:2, 3.

NOTE: “The apostle exhorts his brethren to manifest in their lives the power of the truth which he had presented to them. By meekness and gentleness, forbearance and love, they were to exemplify the character of Christ and the blessings of His salvation. There is but one body, and one Spirit, one Lord, one faith. As members of the body of Christ all believers are animated by the same spirit and the same hope. Divisions in the church dishonor the religion of Christ before the world and give occasion to the enemies of truth to justify their course. Paul’s instructions were not written alone for the church in his day. God designed that they should be sent down to us. What are we doing to preserve unity in the bonds of peace?” Testimonies, vol. 5, 239.

What especially should unite the people of God? Ephesians 4:4-6.

NOTE: “If God’s professed people would receive the light as it shines upon them from His word, they would reach that unity for which Christ prayed, that which the apostle describes, `the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.’ `There is,’ he says, ` one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism.’ Ephesians 4:35. Such were the blessed results experienced by those who accepted the advent message. They came from different denominations, and their denominational barriers were hurled to the ground; conflicting creeds were shivered to atoms; the unscriptural hope of a temporal millennium was abandoned, false views of the second advent were corrected, pride and conformity to the world were swept away; wrongs were made right; hearts were united in the sweetest fellowship, and love and joy reigned supreme. If this doctrine did this for the few who did receive it, it would have done the same for all if all had received it.” The Great Controversy, 379, 380.

What does it mean to acknowledge Jesus as Lord? Luke 6:46.

NOTE: “The Lord desires all to understand that their prosperity is hid with Him in Christ; that it is dependent on their humility and meekness, their wholehearted obedience and devotion. When they shall learn the lesson of the great Teacher, to die to self, to put no confidence in man, nor to make flesh their arm, then, as they call upon Him, the Lord will be to them a present help in every time of need. He will guide them in judgement. He will be at their right hand to give them counsel. He will say to them: `This is the way, walk ye in it.'” Testimonies, vol. 7, 212, 213.

What did Jesus say of those who claimed to call Him “Lord” and yet refused to do His will? Matthew 7:21-23.

NOTE: “Not all who profess His name and wear His badge are Christ’s. Many who have taught in My name, said Jesus, will be found wanting at last. `Many will say to Me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? and in Thy name have cast out devils? and in Thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.’ There are persons who believe that they are right, when they are wrong. While claiming Christ as their Lord, and professedly doing great works in His name, they are workers of iniquity. `With their mouth they show much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness.’ He who declares God’s word is to them `as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear Thy words, but they do them not.’ Ezekiel 33:31, 32. A mere profession of discipleship is of no value. The faith in Christ which saves the soul is not what it is represented to be by many. `Believe, believe,’ they say, `and you need not keep the law.’ But a belief that does not lead to obedience is presumption. The apostle John says, `He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.’ 1 John 2:4.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 145, 146.

What marvelous example of faith is given us? Matthew 8:5-10.

NOTE: “What is faith? It is simply taking God at His word; it is believing that God will do just as He has promised.” Signs of the Times, September 9, 1889.

What does the Bible mean by baptism? Acts 8:35-38. (Compare Mark 16:16.).

NOTE: Our English word “baptize” and its related words come from the Greek word “bapto” which means to cover wholly with a fluid, to immerse or to dip. In common usage, it was the word used for the process of dying fabrics by immersing them. The New Testament knows nothing of the sprinkling or pouring of water over infants which some churches miscall “baptism.”

“Soon after our return from the camp meeting, I, with several others, was taken into the [Methodist] church on probation. My mind was very much exercised on the subject of baptism. Young as I was, I could see but one mode of baptism authorized by the Scriptures, and that was immersion. Some of my Methodist sisters tried in vain to convince me that sprinkling was Bible baptism. The Methodist minister consented to immerse the candidates if they conscientiously preferred that method, although he intimated that sprinkling would be equally acceptable with God. Finally the time was appointed for us to receive this solemn ordinance. It was a windy day when we, twelve in number, went down into the sea to be baptized. The waves ran high and dashed upon the shore, but as I took up this heavy cross, my peace was like a river. When I arose from the water, my strength was nearly gone, for the power of the Lord rested upon me. I felt that henceforth I was not of this world, but had risen from the watery grave into a newness of life.” Life Sketches, 25.

Bible Study Guides – “Power to Become the Sons of God”

Bible Study Guide- Week 2

By Gordon Anderson

MEMORY VERSE: “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” John.1:12.

STUDY HELP: Christ’s Object Lessons, 307-319.

INTRODUCTION: “Remember that working with Christ as your personal Saviour is your strength and your victory. This is the part that all are to act. To those who do this comes the assurance: `As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God.’ John 1:12. Christ declares: `Without Me ye can do nothing.’ John 15:5. And the humble, believing soul responds: `I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’ Philippians 4:13.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 39.

How does Paul describe the mind of those who are without Christ? Romans 8:5-8; Ephesians 2:1-3.

NOTE: “Today a large part of those who compose our congregations are dead in trespasses and sins. They come and go like the door upon its hinges. For years they have complacently listened to the most solemn, soul-stirring truths, but they have not put them in practice. Therefore they are less and less sensible of the preciousness of truth. The stirring testimonies of reproof and warning do not arouse them to repentance. The sweetest melodies that come from God through human lips, justification by faith, and the righteousness of Christ, do not call forth from them a response of love and gratitude. Though the heavenly Merchantman displays before them the richest jewels of faith and love, though He invites them to buy of Him `gold tried in the fire,’ and `white raiment’ that they may be clothed, and `eyesalve’ that they may see, they steel their hearts against Him, and fail to exchange their lukewarmness for love and zeal. While making a profession, they deny the power of godliness. If they continue in this state, God will reject them. They are unfitting themselves to be members of His family.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 426, 427.

What struggle takes place in the mind of the one who tries to live a good life without Christ? Romans 7:18-24.

NOTE: “There are many who will be lost, because they depend on legal religion, or mere repentance for sin. But repentance for sin alone cannot work the salvation of any soul. Man cannot be saved by his own works. Without Christ it is impossible for him to render perfect obedience to the law of God; and heaven can never be gained by an imperfect obedience; for this would place all heaven in jeopardy, and make possible a second rebellion.” Signs of the Times, December 30, 1889.

“By sin we have been severed from the life of God. Our souls are palsied. Of ourselves we are no more capable of living a holy life than was the impotent man capable of walking. Many realize their helplessness; they are longing for that spiritual life which will bring them into harmony with God, and are striving to obtain it. But in vain. In despair they cry, `O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death?’ Romans 7:24, margin.” Ministry of Healing, 84.

In his despair what cry for help did Paul make and who answered his cry? Romans 7:24, 25, first part.

NOTE: “If we are conscious of our needs, we should not devote all our powers to mourning over them. While we realize our helpless condition without Christ, we are not to yield to discouragement, but rely upon the merits of a crucified and risen Savior. Look and live. Jesus has pledged His word; He will save all who come unto Him.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 432.

“Let these desponding, struggling ones look up. The Savior is bending over the purchase of His blood, saying with inexpressible tenderness and pity, `Wilt thou be made whole?’ He bids you arise in health and peace. Do not wait to feel that you are made whole. Believe the Savior’s word. Put your will on the side of Christ. Will to serve Him, and in acting upon His word you will receive strength. Whatever may be the evil practice, the master passion which through long indulgence binds both soul and body, Christ is able and longs to deliver. He will impart life to the soul that is `dead in trespasses.’ Ephesians 2:1. He will set free the captive that is held by weakness and misfortune and the chains of sin.” Ministry of Healing, 84, 85.

How is the sinner’s cry for help answered? Ephesians 2:4-6.

NOTE: “It is His love that encircles us, bringing us back to the fold. His love gives us the privilege of sitting together with Him in heavenly places. When the blessed light of the Sun of Righteousness shines into our hearts, and we rest in peace and joy in the Lord, then let us praise the Lord; praise Him who is the health of our countenance and our God. Let us praise Him, not in words only, but by the consecration to Him of all that we are and all that we have. `How much owest thou unto my Lord?’ Compute this you cannot. Since all that you have is His, will you withhold from Him that which He claims? When He calls for it, will you selfishly grasp it as your own? Will you keep it back and apply it to some other purpose than the salvation of souls?” Testimonies, vol. 6, 479, 480.

What change takes place in the life of the converted Christian? Romans 6:1-6.

NOTE: “`How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?’ And John declares: `This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.’ Romans 3:31; 6:2; 1 John 5:3. In the new birth the heart is brought into harmony with God, as it is brought into accord with His law. When this mighty change has taken place in the sinner, he has passed from death unto life, from sin unto holiness, from transgression and rebellion to obedience and loyalty. The old life of alienation from God has ended; the new life of reconciliation, of faith and love, has begun. Then `the righteousness of the law’ will `be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.’ Romans 8:4. And the language of the soul will be: `O how love I Thy law! It is my meditation all the day.’ Psalm 119:97.” The Great Controversy, 468.

In what way did Jesus describe the change that must take place in the life of the one who becomes a Christian? John 3:3-7.

NOTE: “Though we cannot see the Spirit of God, we know that men who have been dead in trespasses and sins, become convicted and converted under its operations. The thoughtless and wayward become serious. The hardened repent of their sins, and the faithless believe. The gambler, the drunkard, the licentious, become steady, sober, and pure. The rebellious and obstinate become meek and Christlike. When we see these changes in the character, we may be assured that the converting power of God has transformed the entire man. We saw not the Holy Spirit, but we saw the evidence of its work on the changed character of those who were hardened and obdurate sinners. As the wind moves in its force upon the lofty trees and brings them down, so the Holy Spirit can work upon human hearts, and no finite man can circumscribe the work of God. The Spirit of God is manifested in different ways upon different men. One under the movings of this power will tremble before the word of God. His convictions will be so deep that a hurricane and tumult of feeling seem to rage in his heart, and his whole being is prostrate under the convicting power of the truth. When the Lord speaks forgiveness to the repenting soul, he is full of ardor, full of love to God, full of earnestness and energy, and the life-giving Spirit which he has received cannot be repressed. Christ is in him, a well of water springing up into everlasting life. His feelings of love are as deep and ardent as was his distress and agony. His soul is like the fountain of the great deep broken up, and he pours forth his thanksgiving and praise, his gratitude and joy, until the heavenly harps are tuned to notes of rejoicing. He has a story to tell, but not in any precise, common, methodical way. He is a soul ransomed through the merits of Jesus Christ, and his whole being is thrilled with the realization of the salvation of God. Others are brought to Christ in a more gentle way. `The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.’ You cannot see the operating agency, but you can see its effects.” Review and Herald, May 5, 1896.

How does Paul describe this change? 2 Corinthians 5:17. (Compare Galatians 2:20.).

NOTE: “But those who are satisfied to carry with them a vast amount of selfishness, fault-finding, suspicion, distrust, and strife, will be so deceived that they will not know their short measurement. They are filled with their own doings. They have not the least idea of what it means to be crucified with Christ. To humble self is an experience strange to them. Before they can serve God acceptably, self must die. Christ’s words, `Ye must be born again. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God,’ must come home to them with power.” Southern Watchman, December 5, 1899.

What will be the result of the life of the one who abides in Christ? What does sin in the life reveal? 1 John 3:6; 1 John 2:5, 6.

NOTE: “This conformity to Jesus will not be unobserved by the world. It is a subject of notice and comment. The Christian may not be conscious of the great change; for the more closely he resembles Christ in character the more humble will be his opinion of himself; but it will be seen and felt by all around him. Those who have had the deepest experience in the things of God are the farthest removed from pride or self-exaltation. They have the humblest thoughts of self, and the most exalted conceptions of the glory and excellence of Christ. They feel that the lowest place in His service is too honorable for them.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 223.

Though it is not God’s purpose that His followers should continue to sin, what provision has He made for those who fall? 1 John 2:1.

NOTE: “There are those who have known the pardoning love of Christ and who really desire to be children of God, yet they realize that their character is imperfect, their life faulty, and they are ready to doubt whether their hearts have been renewed by the Holy Spirit. To such I would say, Do not draw back in despair. We shall often have to bow down and weep at the feet of Jesus because of our shortcomings and mistakes, but we are not to be discouraged. Even if we are overcome by the enemy, we are not cast off, not forsaken and rejected of God. No, Christ is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Steps to Christ, 64.

What will be the outcome when we lay hold of the spiritual weapons provided by God? 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.

NOTE: “The work of gaining salvation is one of co-partnership, a joint operation. There is to be co-operation between God and the repentant sinner. This is necessary for the formation of right principles in the character. Man is to make earnest efforts to overcome that which hinders him from attaining to perfection. But he is wholly dependent upon God for success. Human effort of itself is not sufficient. Without the aid of divine power it avails nothing. God works and man works. Resistance of temptation must come from man, who must draw his power from God. On the one side there is infinite wisdom, compassion, and power; on the other, weakness, sinfulness, absolute helplessness. God wishes us to have the mastery over ourselves. But He cannot help us without our consent and co-operation. The divine Spirit works through the powers and faculties given to man. Of ourselves, we are not able to bring the purposes and desires and inclinations into harmony with the will of God; but if we are `willing to be made willing,’ the Saviour will accomplish this for us, `Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.’ 2 Corinthians 10:5.” Acts of the Apostles, 482.

What is God’s purpose in our Christian life? Ephesians 4:13-15; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 John 3:2; Matthew 5:48.

NOTE: “The ideal of Christian character is Christ-likeness. There is opened before us a path of constant advancement. We have an object to gain, a standard to reach, that includes everything good and pure and noble and elevated. There should be continual striving and constant progress onward and upward toward perfection of character.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 64.

“The tempter’s agency is not to be accounted an excuse for one wrong act. Satan is jubilant when he hears the professed followers of Christ making excuses for their deformity of character. It is these excuses that lead to sin. There is no excuse for sinning. A holy temper, a Christ-like life, is accessible to every repenting, believing child of God. The ideal of Christian character is Christ-likeness. As the Son of man was perfect in His life, so His followers are to be perfect in their life. Jesus was in all things made like unto His brethren. He became flesh, even as we are. He was hungry and thirsty and weary. He was sustained by food and refreshed by sleep. He shared the lot of man; yet He was the blameless Son of God. He was God in the flesh. His character is to be ours. The Lord says of those who believe in Him, `I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’ 2 Corinthians 6:16.” The Desire of Ages, 311.

Where does the power for victory over temptation and sin come from? John 1:12; Matthew 6:13; Romans 1:16; 2 Corinthians 4:7.

NOTE: “Only the covering which Christ Himself has provided can make us meet to appear in God’s presence. This covering, the robe of His own righteousness, Christ will put upon every repenting, believing soul. `I counsel thee,’ He says, `to buy of Me . . . white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.’ Revelation 3:18. This robe, woven in the loom of heaven, has in it not one thread of human devising. Christ in His humanity wrought out a perfect character, and this character He offers to impart to us. `All our righteousness are as filthy rags.’ Isaiah 64:6. Everything that we of ourselves can do is defiled by sin. But the Son of God `was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.’ Sin is defined to be `the transgression of the law.’ 1 John 3:5, 4. But Christ was obedient to every requirement of the law. He said of Himself, `I delight to do Thy will, O My God; yea, Thy law is within My heart.’ Psalms 40:8. When on earth, He said to His disciples, `I have kept My Father’s commandments.’ John 15:10. By His perfect obedience He has made it possible for every human being to obey God’s commandments. When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 311.

Bible Study Guides – “The Church of the Living God”

Week 1

General Introduction

“I have seen a device representing a bullock standing between a plough and an altar, with the inscription, `Ready for either’, willing to swelter in the weary furrow or to bleed on the altar of sacrifice. This is the position the child of God should ever be in, willing to go where duty calls, to deny self, and to sacrifice for the cause of truth. The Christian church was founded upon the principle of sacrifice. `If any man will come after Me,’ says Christ, `let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.’ He requires the whole heart, the entire affections. The exhibitions of zeal, earnestness, and unselfish labor which His devoted followers have given to the world should kindle our ardor and lead us to emulate their example. Genuine religion gives an earnestness and fixedness of purpose which molds the character to the divine image and enables us to count all things but loss for the excellency of Christ. This singleness of purpose will prove an element of tremendous power.

“We have a greater and more solemn truth than was ever before committed to mortals, and we are responsible for the way we treat that truth. Every one of us should be intent on saving souls. We should show the power of the truth upon our own hearts and characters, while doing all we can to win others to love it. To bring a sinner to Christ is to elevate, dignify, and ennoble his whole character, and make him a blessing in the home, in society, and in the church. Is not this a work that is worthy of our noblest powers?” Testimonies, vol. 5, 307.

Lesson 1

“The Whole Family in Heaven and Earth”

MEMORY VERSE: “But now, O LORD, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our Potter; and we all are the work of Thy hand.” Isaiah 64:8.

STUDY HELP: The Desire of Ages, 325-327.

INTRODUCTION: “`Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.’ Here are stated the conditions of adoption into the family of God. We are to separate ourselves from the enemies of the Lord. Those who will firmly take their stand upon God’s word, and obey His commandments, will be called old-fashioned and singular. But God designed that His people should be a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Christ gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, purifying unto Himself a peculiar people. Those who belong to Christ are not like the world in thought or action, and only those who are unlike the world will God acknowledge as His. There are many pretenders to piety, but few really live for Christ, and let their light shine forth to the world in good works. Those who are content to have little knowledge of God here, who take no delight in communing with Him, will never see heaven, because they do not delight in heaven or heavenly things.” Review and Herald, May 13, 1890.

To what family do our sinful actions reveal that we belong? John 8:44.

NOTE: “Jesus denied that the Jews were children of Abraham. He said, `Ye do the deeds of your father.’ In mockery they answered, `We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, even God.’ These words, in allusion to the circumstances of His birth, were intended as a thrust against Christ in the presence of those who were beginning to believe on Him. Jesus gave no heed to the base insinuation, but said, `If God were your Father, ye would love Me: for I proceeded forth and came from God.’ Their works testified of their relationship to him who was a liar and a murderer.” The Desire of Ages, 467.

What fundamental principle did Jesus explain to show whether we are a child of God or a child of Satan? John 8:41, first part.

NOTE: “All that is not in accordance with the known and expressed will of God, is at enmity with God, and has its origin in the synagogue of Satan. The will of God is expressed in His law, and sin is the transgression of the law. Those who disregard the commandments of God, and teach for doctrines the commandments of men, are working in Satan’s line, and are in harmony with the great leader of apostasy. When the Jews were claiming Abraham for their father, while not doing the works of Abraham, Jesus said to them: `Ye are of your father the devil.'” Signs of the Times, June 11, 1894.

“To Them Gave He Power”

How may we cease to become children of the devil and join the family of God? John 1:12.

NOTE: “Christ is our example, our inspiration, our exceeding great reward. `Ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.’ 1 Corinthians 3:9. God is the Master Builder, but man has a part to act. He is to co-operate with God. `We are laborers together with God.’ Verse 9. Never forget the words, `together with God.’ Remember that working with Christ as your personal Savior is your strength and your victory. This is the part that all are to act. To those who do this comes the assurance: `As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God.’ John 1:12. Christ declares: `Without Me ye can do nothing.’ John 15:5. And the humble, believing soul responds: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’ Philippians 4:13.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 39.

What is God’s attitude to those who truly wish to become members of His family? John 6:37.

NOTE: “Let the heart-searching God reprove the erring, and let each one bow before Him in humility and contrition, casting aside all self-righteousness and self-importance, confessing and forsaking every sin, and asking God, in the name of the Redeemer, for pardon. God declares, `Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out’ (John 6:37); and those who in sincerity present themselves before Him will be pardoned and justified, and will receive power to become the sons of God.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 101.

What description did Jesus give of those who are truly members of His family? Matthew 12:46-50.

NOTE: “Here is the relationship that exists between Christ and His followers. We occupy this exalted position, if we are indeed doing the will of God. We are to consider ourselves as constituting the family of Christ, and we are to follow Him as dear children. Adopted into the household of God, shall we not honor our Father and our kindred? We have no excuse to plead, for through Jesus we may command all power in Heaven and earth that we may walk worthy of our high calling.” Signs of the Times, March 23, 1888.

“If we are doing the will of God, we are counted as the brethren and sisters of our Master. We are to remember this in our daily life. We are to be in harmony with God, but at enmity with Satan. There is too much fellowship with the prince of darkness. It is not natural for us to bruise Satan under our feet; but we are to close our hearts to the temptations of the evil one, and to open them to the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. We are to press toward the mark for the prize of our high calling, exerting every God-given power, that we may be overcomers. We must be constantly drawing nigh to God. We must talk of Jesus, expressing His love in a devoted life of entire consecration to His service. The more we dwell upon the purity of the character or Christ, the more we shall desire to become like Him, and thus we shall be brought nearer to Him. The more we behold His loveliness, the more we shall reflect His divine image.” Review and Herald, August 7, 1888.

What will be the fundamental question upon which Christ judges us? Matthew 7:21-23.

NOTE: “This is the assurance given to all who follow the teachings of Christ that they shall become members of the heavenly family. Says Christ, Obedience to My Father in heaven is filial obedience. This is the bond of union between Me and all who shall become members of the heavenly family. All who accept the word of truth will enter the hallowed circle that binds to Me every believer as brother or sister or mother.” Review and Herald, September 26, 1899.

What spirit must be seen in the life of the one who loves God? 1 John 4:20, 21; 1 John 3:18.

NOTE: “I saw that brethren should feel interested for one another. Especially should those who are blessed with health have a kind regard and care for those who have not good health. They should favor them. They should remember the lesson taught by Jesus of the Good Samaritan. Said Jesus: `Love one another, as I have loved you.’ How much? His love cannot be told. He left the glory that He had with the Father before the world was. `He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.’ He patiently bore every indignity and scorn. Behold His agony in the garden, when He prayed that the cup might pass from Him! Behold His sufferings on Calvary! All this for guilty, lost man. And Jesus says: `Love one another, as I have loved you.’ How much? Well enough to give your life for a brother.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 150.

How does Paul describe the life of one who truly loves? 1 Corinthians 13:4-7.

NOTE: “Christ has given us an example of pure, disinterested love. You have not as yet seen your deficiency in this respect, and your great need of this heavenly attainment, without which all your good purposes, and your zeal, even if it be of that nature that you could give your goods to feed the poor and your body to be burned, is nothing. You need that charity which suffereth long, is not easily provoked, beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Without the spirit of love, no one can be like Christ. With this living principle in the soul, no one can be like the world.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 169.

Once we accept God as our Father, what must we be willing to let Him do? Isaiah 64:8. (See Isaiah 45:9; Jeremiah 18:1-6.).

NOTE: “As we come to feel our utter reliance upon Christ for salvation, are we to fold our hands, and say, `I have nothing to do; I am saved; Jesus has done it all’? No, we are to put forth every energy that we may become partakers of the divine nature. We are to be continually watching, waiting, praying, and working. But do all that we may, we cannot pay a ransom for our souls, We can do nothing to originate faith, for faith is the gift of God; neither can we perfect it, for Christ is the finisher of our faith. It is all of Christ. All the longing after a better life is from Christ, and is an evidence that He is drawing you to Himself, and that you are responding to His drawing power. You are to be as clay in the hands of the potter; and if you submit yourself to Christ, He will fashion you into a vessel unto honor, fit for the Master’s use. The only thing that stands in the way of the soul who is not fashioned after the divine Pattern is that he does not become poor in spirit; for he who is poor in spirit will look to a higher Source than himself that he may obtain the grace that will make him rich unto God. While he will feel that he cannot originate anything, he will say, `The Lord is my helper.'” Bible Echo, May 15, 1892.

“The potter takes the clay in His hands and molds and fashions it according to His own will. He kneads it and works it. He tears it apart and then presses it together. He wets it and then dries it. He lets it lie for a while without touching it. When it is perfectly pliable, He continues the work of making of it a vessel. He forms it into shape and on the wheel trims and polishes it. He dries it in the sun and bakes it in the oven. Thus it becomes a vessel fit for use. So the great Master Worker desires to mold and fashion us. And as the clay is in the hands of the potter, so are we to be in His hands. We are not to try to do the work of the potter. Our part is to yield ourselves to the molding of the Master Worker.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 186.

Because God is our Father, what privilege does this give us? Luke 11:2-4.

NOTE: “Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him. . . . Keep your wants, your joys, your sorrows, your cares, and your fears before God. You cannot burden Him; you cannot weary Him. He who numbers the hairs of your head is not indifferent to the wants of His children. `The Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.’ James 5:11. His heart of love is touched by our sorrows and even by our utterances of them. Take to Him everything that perplexes the mind. Nothing is too great for Him to bear, for He holds up worlds, He rules over all the affairs of the universe. Nothing that in any way concerns our peace is too small for Him to notice. There is no chapter in our experience too dark for Him to read; there is no perplexity too difficult for Him to unravel. No calamity can befall the least of His children, no anxiety harass the soul, no joy cheer, no sincere prayer escape the lips, of which our heavenly Father is unobservant, or in which He takes no immediate interest. `He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.’ Psalm 147:3. The relations between God and each soul are as distinct and full as though there were not another soul upon the earth to share His watchcare, not another soul for whom He gave His beloved Son.” Steps to Christ, 93, 100.

For what is the whole creation waiting? Romans 8:19.

NOTE: The marginal reading for “creature” is “creation.” “He God has paid a great price to redeem them from Satan’s power, that they might become sons and daughters of God. When they act like sinners, they are counted as sinners, and must repent and do their first works of love. Christians are to love one another, as Christ has loved them. Upon the manifestation of this love hinges the world’s recognition of the truth of the gospel. It was for this that Christ prayed in the last prayer He offered. Christians must not act like unruly children. Before the world those who claim to be God’s children must give evidence that they have left behind them the childish ways of their unconverted life.” 1888 Materials, 1791.

What will the whole creation see when the sons of God are made manifest? Philippians 2:15; 1 John 3:1, 2.

NOTE: “Christ has given to the church a sacred charge. Every member should be a channel through which God can communicate to the world the treasures of His grace, the unsearchable riches of Christ. There is nothing that the Savior desires so much as agents who will represent to the world His Spirit and His character. There is nothing that the world needs so much as the manifestation through humanity of the Saviour’s love. All heaven is waiting for men and women through whom God can reveal the power of Christianity.” Acts of the Apostles, 600.

Food For Life – Common Sense in Dietetic Reform

“There is real common sense in dietetic reform. The subject should be studied broadly and deeply, and no one should criticize others because their practice is not, in all things, in harmony with his own. It is impossible to make an unvarying rule to regulate everyone’s habits, and no one should think himself a criterion for all. Not all can eat the same things. Foods that are palatable and wholesome to one person may be distasteful, and even harmful, to another. Some cannot use milk, while others thrive on it.* Some persons cannot digest peas and beans; others find them wholesome. For some the coarser grain preparations are good food, while others cannot use them….

“The practice of eating but two meals a day is generally found a benefit to health; yet under some circumstances persons may require a third meal. This should, however, if taken at all, be very light, and of food most easily digested. `Crackers’-the English biscuit-or zwieback, and fruit, or cereal coffee, are the foods best suited for the evening meal.

“Some are continually anxious lest their food, however simple and healthful, may hurt them. To these let me say, Do not think that your food will injure you; do not think about it at all. Eat according to your best judgment; and when you have asked the Lord to bless the food for the strengthening of your body, believe that He hears your prayer, and be at rest.

“Because principle requires us to discard those things that irritate the stomach and impair health, we should remember that an impoverished diet produces poverty of the blood. Cases of disease most difficult to cure result from this cause. The system is not sufficiently nourished, and dyspepsia and general debility are the result. Those who use such a diet are not always compelled by poverty to do so, but they choose it through ignorance or negligence, or to carry out their erroneous ideas of reform.” The Ministry of Healing, 319-322.

Recipe – Millet-Oat Cookies

Place in Blender:
1 cup water
1/3 cup pineapple concentrate
½ cup date rolls or pieces
2 apples peeled and cored
1 t. sea salt
2 t. vanilla

Blend thoroughly then add:
1 cup walnuts or pecans

Blend again and then add:
1 ½ cup millet flour
1 ½ cup oat flour
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup unsweetened coconut
2 t. coriander powder

Drop by spoonfuls on baking sheet and flatten with fork. Bake at 350º for 35-40 minutes

*Further statements about dairy foods: “We know that a free use of these things [salt, sugar and milk] is positively injurious to health, and in many cases we think that if they were not used at all, a much better state of health would be enjoyed.” Counsels on Diet and Food, 468. “Let the people be taught how to prepare food without the use of milk or butter. Tell them that the time will soon come when there will be no safety in using eggs, milk, cream, or butter, because disease in animals is increasing in proportion to the increase of wickedness among men. The time is near when, because of the iniquity of the fallen race, the whole animal creation will groan under the diseases that curse our earth. God will give His people ability and tact to prepare wholesome food without these things. Let our people discard all unwholesome recipes.” Ibid., 356.

Children’s Story – Something Better

Miss S. was in need of a strong man to draw her jinrikisha as she made her daily rounds visiting and superintending the work of the daily schools under her care. Our faithful cook, who had become an earnest Christian since coming to work for us, had undertaken to find a suitable man.

“Sensei,” (name for a teacher) he said, returning one day from a tour of investigation, “I have found a young man who would be just the one for the place, I think, but one thing makes him hesitate.”

“And what is that?” asked the missionary.

“Well,” he replied, “he is only just married, and he and his wife would be glad to come here to work; but his mother, who is old and dependent upon him for support, is very faithful in the worship of her gods, and especially of her husband’s spirit. And as her worship is her only satisfaction in life now, her son is afraid to go and live at a Christian place, for fear she would not be allowed liberty in her religious worship. As for himself and his wife, he said they were not particular about such things; but it was different with his old mother, and he could never consent to anything that would interfere with the happiness of her last days. I told him,” continued our cook, “that if they came to live here, he and his wife, being servants in the household, would be expected to attend morning worship daily, but that I was sure his old mother would be allowed perfect freedom to worship as she pleased in her own room.”

“You are right,” replied the missionary. “See the man again, and tell him that as we are not engaging his mother to work for us, she will be entirely at liberty to worship as she pleases, and never obliged to attend our Christian services. Only we can not permit the display of the emblems of her religion outside her own room or on our gateposts, of course.”

So they came, and took up their abode in the gatehouse. The tiny, wrinkled old lady who claimed the dutiful Cho as her son, evidently shrank in awe from the big, fearsome, “foreign teachers”-specimens, to her, from a strange and unknown world, utterly foreign, truly, to everything she had ever known.

At a stated hour each morning the servants of the household were gathered together for instruction in the things of God. Miss S. was the faithful and efficient teacher of this daily class, carefully explaining the word of God and the way of salvation, and leading these darkened souls into the light. Cho and his wife were regular attendants at the morning service, and after we had smiled a cherry “Good morning, O Baa San!” (title by which old ladies are addressed) often enough to the dear, wee little woman sitting on the mats in her room by the gate, so that she was accustomed to the sight of us, as we daily passed by, and was losing her fear of us, an invitation was sent to her to come with Cho and listen to the teaching. However, invitation after invitation was declined and the missionaries quietly waited for the Spirit of the Lord to woo and win her.

Meanwhile, Cho’s interest was awakened, and developed until at last he took Jesus to be his own Savior and erelong sought and received baptism.

One morning, just as the morning service was beginning, in slipped the little old mother, quiet as a mouse, and dropped on the mats beside her son. No notice was taken of her, and the service went quietly on to the close, and then, as the members of the class bowed low with their heads to the floor-as is Japanese custom before taking one’s departure-the missionary said, quietly but cordially: “We are glad to see you here this morning, O Baa San.” Thereafter she came regularly to hear the “Jesus doctrine,” always quietly dropping in, the last one, at the little gathering, silently listening, and as silently slipping away again at the close. Whether or not any impression was being made upon the heart so long shrouded in the darkness of heathendom, we had no means of knowing. But we prayed on.

Cho’s wife was getting supper ready for the little family in the gatehouse one evening. A baby daughter had come to cheer their home, and had been the unconscious means of drawing the delighted grandmother and the sympathetic “foreign teacher” near together. Just now, however, the wee treasure was tucked away in her quilts in a corner of the room, fast asleep, while Kinu, the young mother, was boiling the rice for the evening meal. A diminutive oil lamp dimly lighted the small apartment. It was early autumn, and the night was cool and clear, and the stars shone brightly down upon the quiet, temporary home of the Bible Training School, their light filtering down through the branches of the weeping willow that stood by the well, and resting tenderly upon the figure of a dear little woman, so small and so frail standing there in the shadows, with clasped hands and upturned face. “O God!” she pleaded, “if there be one true God, who has done so much for my son Cho, reveal Thyself to me also.”

Presently one of the sliding doors of the gatehouse was quietly pushed aside from without and Kinu looked up inquiringly: “Where have you been, mother? I have noticed of late that you frequently slip outdoors in the evening. Is it not cold?” And to the amazement of the daughter-in-law came the quiet earnest reply: “I have been praying to Cho’s God.” In the old lady’s face there was a new light and in her heart a strange, deep, sweet peace-the answer from the unseen Lord.

We heard with great joy that this precious soul, so near the end of a weary lifetime, had at last found rest and peace, and we watched quietly to see the Spirit of the living God still further teach and lead on the soul so newly awakened. Nothing was said about the old idol worship, but daily Miss S. expounded the word of the Lord, and all unseen to human sight the good seed took root and grew up and bore fruit.

One day we were both sitting at our desks in the one room that served us then as office, dining and reception room, when there came a knock at the door. In answer to our “Come in” the door opened, and in came our wee O Baa San. Approaching the table, she placed upon it a small wooden shrine. “Sensei,” she said, turning to Miss S., “you may have this shrine. I don’t need it any more. I have something better.”

Written by Mary Bell Griffiths. Taken from The Youth’s Instructor, November 21, 1901.

The Sabbath – A Delight

“There is need of a Sabbath reform among us, who profess to observe God’s holy rest day.” Evangelism, 245.

Preparation for the Sabbath–What preparations in our homes should be done before the Sabbath?

“On Friday let the preparation for the Sabbath be completed. See that all the clothing is in readiness, and that all the cooking is done. Let the boots be blacked, and the baths be taken. It is possible to do this. If you make it a rule, you can do it. The Sabbath is not to be given to the repairing of garments, to the cooking of food, to pleasure seeking, or to any other worldly employment. . . . Parents, explain your work and its purpose to your children, and let them share in your preparation to keep the Sabbath according to the commandment.” Child Guidance, 528.

“All preparation should be made, every stitch taken, on the six working days; all cooking for the Sabbath should be done on the preparation day. . . . The commandment is, `Bake that which ye will bake to-day, and seethe that ye will seethe, for to-morrow is the rest of the holy Sabbath.’ That day is not to be given to the cooking of food.” Lake Union Herald, April 14, 1909.

When should all ordinary work be completed?

“Before the setting of the sun let all secular work be laid aside and all secular papers be put out of sight.” The Faith I Live By, 34.

“We should jealously guard the edges of the Sabbath. Remember that every moment is consecrated, holy time.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 356.

What are employers responsible to do for their employees on the preparation day?

“Whenever it is possible, employers should give their workers the hours from Friday noon until the beginning of the Sabbath. Give them time for preparation, that they may welcome the Lord’s day with quietness of mind. By such a course you will suffer no loss even in temporal things.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 356.

What other type of preparation is needed before the Sabbath?

“There is another work that should receive attention on the preparation day. On this day all differences between brethren, whether in the family or in the church, should be put away. Let all bitterness and wrath and malice be expelled from the soul. In a humble spirit, `confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another.’ ” The Faith I Live By, 34.

How should families spend the opening of the Sabbath hours?

“Before the setting of the sun let the members of the family assemble to read God’s word, to sing and pray. There is need of reform here, for many have been remiss. We need to confess to God and to one another. We should begin anew to make special arrangements that every member of the family may be prepared to honor the day which God has blessed and sanctified.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 356, 357.

Behavior Upon the Sabbath–What should our attitude and behavior be when we are in the house of God?

“Humility and reverence should characterize the deportment of all who come into the presence of God. In the name of Jesus we may come before Him with confidence, but we must not approach Him with the boldness of presumption, as though He were on a level with ourselves. There are those who address the great and all-powerful and holy God, who dwelleth in light unapproachable, as they would address an equal, or even an inferior. There are those who conduct themselves in His house as they would not presume to do in the audience chamber of an earthly ruler. These should remember that they are in His sight whom seraphim adore, before whom angels veil their faces. God is greatly to be reverenced; all who truly realize His presence will bow in humility before Him, and, like Jacob beholding the vision of God, they will cry out, `How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.'” Patriarchs and Prophets, 252.

“When the worshipers enter the place of meeting, they should do so with decorum, passing quietly to their seats. . . .Common talking, whispering, and laughing should not be permitted in the house of worship, either before or after the service. Ardent, active piety should characterize the worshipers.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 492.

“When the word is spoken, you should remember, brethren, that you are listening to the voice of God through His delegated servant. Listen attentively. Sleep not for one instant, because by this slumber you may lose the very words that you need most-the very words which, if heeded, would save your feet from straying into wrong paths. Satan and his angels are busy creating a paralyzed condition of the senses so that cautions, warnings, and reproofs shall not be heard; or if heard, that they shall not take effect upon the heart and reform the life. Sometimes a little child may so attract the attention of the hearers that the precious seed does not fall into good ground and bring forth fruit.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 493.

Can God be dishonored by our children’s behavior in the house of God?

“The house of God is desecrated and the Sabbath violated by Sabbath believers’ children. They run about the house, play, talk, and manifest their evil tempers in the very meetings where the saints have met together to glorify God and to worship Him in the beauty of holiness. The place that should be holy, where a holy stillness should reign, and where there should be perfect order, neatness, and humility, is made to be a perfect Babylon and a place where confusion, disorder, and untidiness reign. This is enough to shut out God from our assemblies and cause His wrath to be kindled, that He will not be pleased to go out with the armies of Israel to battle against our enemies.” Selected Messages, Book 3, 257.

Does all of the Sabbath need to be spent in meetings?

“In order to keep the Sabbath holy, it is not necessary that we enclose ourselves in walls, shut away from the beautiful scenes of nature and from the free, invigorating air of heaven. We should in no case allow burdens and business transactions to divert our minds upon the Sabbath of the Lord, which He has sanctified. We should not allow our minds to dwell upon things of a worldly character even. But the mind cannot be refreshed, enlivened, and elevated by being confined nearly all the Sabbath hours within walls, listening to long sermons and tedious, formal prayers. The Sabbath of the Lord is put to a wrong use if thus celebrated. The object for which it was instituted is not attained. The Sabbath was made for man, to be a blessing to him by calling his mind from secular labor to contemplate the goodness and glory of God. It is necessary that the people of God assemble to talk of Him, to interchange thoughts and ideas in regard to the truths contained in His word, and to devote a portion of time to appropriate prayer. But these seasons, even upon the Sabbath, should not be made tedious by their length and lack of interest.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 583.

“The Sabbath was made to be a blessing to man, by calling his mind from secular labor to contemplate the goodness and glory of God. It is necessary that the people of God assemble statedly for His worship, to interchange thoughts in regard to the truths of His word, and to devote a portion of time to prayer. But these seasons, even upon the Sabbath, should not be made tedious by their length and lack of interest. During a portion of the day, all should have an opportunity to be out-of-doors.” The Signs of the Times, May 20, 1886.

Upon whom should our thoughts and speech be focused on the Sabbath?

“When you are speaking of your hope in God, of Jesus and of His soon coming, and of the beauties of the New Earth, you are not speaking your own words. Of these things you may freely speak on the Sabbath. On six days you may talk of business matters, and lay plans that are necessary; but the Sabbath is holy time, and all worldly thoughts must, on that day, be dismissed from the mind. The blessing of God will then rest upon you, and you will have the sweet consolations of His Spirit, and you will also have confidence when you approach the throne of grace.” The Youth’s Instructor, February 1, 1853.

Where should our thoughts be on the Sabbath?

“Those who discuss business matters or lay plans on the Sabbath are regarded by God as though engaged in the actual transaction of business. To keep the Sabbath holy, we should not even allow our minds to dwell upon things of a worldly character. And the commandment includes all within our gates. The inmates of the house are to lay aside their worldly business during the sacred hours. All should unite to honor God by willing service upon His holy day.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 307, 308.

“The human agent cannot afford to lose these blessings by dishonoring God in their loose habits and practices. This is a day of meditation and of closely examining our own spiritual condition before God. `Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith.’ On that day have no loose, cheap, common talk.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, 295.

“God requires not only that we refrain from physical labor upon the Sabbath, but that the mind be disciplined to dwell upon sacred themes. By conversing upon worldly things, or by engaging in light and trifling conversation, we virtually transgress the fourth commandment. Talking upon anything or everything which may come into the mind, is speaking our own words. Every deviation from right brings us into bondage and condemnation.” Gospel Workers, 207, 208.

Are we to leave our worldly occupations on the Sabbath?

“The Sabbath is not intended to be a period of useless inactivity. The law forbids secular labor on the rest day of the Lord; the toil that gains a livelihood must cease; no labor for worldly pleasure or profit is lawful upon that day; but as God ceased His labor of creating, and rested upon the Sabbath and blessed it, so man is to leave the occupations of his daily life, and devote those sacred hours to healthful rest, to worship, and to holy deeds.” Desire of Ages, 207.

“God has given men six days wherein to labor, and He requires that their own work be done in the six working days. Acts of necessity and mercy are permitted on the Sabbath, the sick and suffering are at all times to be cared for; but unnecessary labor is to be strictly avoided.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 307.

When is it necessary that some labor be done upon the Sabbath?

“There are cases in which Christ has given permission to labor even on the Sabbath in saving the life of men or of animals. But if we violate the letter of the fourth commandment for our own advantage from a pecuniary point of view we become Sabbathbreakers and are guilty of transgressing all the commandments, for if we offend in one point we are guilty of all.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 531.

“Your neglect to attend the public worship of God is a serious error. The privileges of divine service will be as beneficial to you as to others and are fully as essential. You may be unable to avail yourself of these privileges as often as do many others. You will frequently be called, upon the Sabbath, to visit the sick, and may be obliged to make it a day of exhausting labor. Such labor to relieve the suffering was pronounced by our Saviour a work of mercy and no violation of the Sabbath. But when you regularly devote your Sabbaths to writing or labor, making no special change, you harm your own soul, give to others an example that is not worthy of imitation, and do not honor God.” Counsels on Health, 368.

Is the Sabbath to be spent sleeping?

“None should feel at liberty to spend sanctified time in an unprofitable manner. It is displeasing to God for Sabbath-keepers to sleep during much of the Sabbath. They dishonor their Creator in so doing, and, by their example, say that the six days are too precious for them to spend in resting. They must make money, although it be by robbing themselves of needed sleep, which they make up by sleeping away holy time. They then excuse themselves by saying, `The Sabbath was given for a day of rest. I will not deprive myself of rest to attend meeting; for I need rest.’ Such make a wrong use of the sanctified day.” Gospel Workers, 208.

How should we be dressed when we come to worship God upon the Sabbath?

“All should be taught to be neat, clean, and orderly in their dress, but not to indulge in that external adorning which is wholly inappropriate for the sanctuary. There should be no display of the apparel; for this encourages irreverence. The attention of the people is often called to this or that fine article of dress, and thus thoughts are intruded that should have no place in the hearts of the worshipers. God is to be the subject of thought, the object of worship; and anything that attracts the mind from the solemn, sacred service is an offense to Him. The parading of bows and ribbons, ruffles and feathers, and gold and silver ornaments is a species of idolatry and is wholly inappropriate for the sacred service of God, where the eye of every worshiper should be single to His glory.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 499

“The ten commandments spoken by Jehovah from Sinai cannot live in the hearts of persons of disorderly, filthy habits. If ancient Israel could not so much as listen to the proclamation of that holy law, unless they had obeyed the injunction of Jehovah, and had cleansed their clothing, how can that sacred law be written upon the hearts of persons who are not cleanly in person, in clothing, or in their houses? It is impossible. Their profession may be as high as Heaven, yet it is not worth a straw. Their influence disgusts unbelievers. Better if they had ever remained outside the ranks of God’s loyal people. The house of God is dishonored by such professors. All who meet upon the Sabbath to worship God should, if possible, have a neat, well-fitting, comely suit to wear in the house of worship. It is a dishonor to the Sabbath, and to God and his house, for those who profess that the Sabbath is the holy of the Lord, and honorable, to wear the same clothing upon the Sabbath that they have worn through the week while laboring upon their farms, when they can obtain other. If there are worthy persons who, with their whole heart would honor the lord of the Sabbath, and the worship of God, and who cannot obtain a change of clothing, let those who are able, donate to such a Sabbath suit, that they may appear in the house of God with cleanly, fitting apparel. A greater uniformity in dress would be pleasing to God. Those who expend means on costly apparel and extra fixings, can by a little self-denial exemplify pure religion, by simplicity of clothing, and then use the means they have usually expended needlessly in aiding some poor brother or sister, whom God loves, to obtain neat and modest apparel.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 474, 475.

Should travel be avoided when possible?

“If we desire the blessing promised to the obedient, we must observe the Sabbath more strictly. I fear that we often travel on this day when it might be avoided. In harmony with the light which the Lord has given in regard to the observance of the Sabbath, we should be more careful about traveling on the boats or cars on this day. In these matters we should set a right example before our children and youth. In order to reach the churches that need our help, and to give them the message that God desires them to hear, it may be necessary for us to travel on the Sabbath; but so far as possible we should secure our tickets and make all necessary arrangements on some other day. When starting on a journey we should make every possible effort to plan so as to avoid reaching our destination on the Sabbath.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 359.

What should Sabbath meals be like?

“We should not provide for the Sabbath a more liberal supply or a greater variety of food than for other days. Instead of this the food should be more simple, and less should be eaten, in order that the mind may be clear and vigorous to comprehend spiritual things. Overeating befogs the brain. The most precious words may be heard and not appreciated, because the mind is confused by an improper diet. By overeating on the Sabbath, many have done more than they think to dishonor God.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 357.

“Cooking on the Sabbath should be avoided; but it is not therefore necessary to eat cold food. In cold weather the food prepared the day before should be heated. And let the meals, however simple, be palatable and attractive. Especially in families where there are children, it is well, on the Sabbath, to provide something that will be regarded as a treat, something the family do not have every day.” The Ministry of Healing, 307, 308.

Children and the Sabbath–How should children be taught to think about the Sabbath?

“All who love God should do what they can to make the Sabbath a delight, holy and honorable. They cannot do this by seeking their own pleasure in sinful, forbidden amusements. They can do much to exalt the Sabbath in their families, and make it the most interesting day of the week. We should devote time to interest our children. We can walk out with them in the open air. A change will have a happy influence upon them. We can sit with them in the groves, and in the bright sunshine, and give their restless minds something to feed upon by conversing with them upon the works of God, and inspire them with love and reverence by calling their attention to the beautiful objects in nature. The Sabbath should be made so interesting to our families that its weekly return will be hailed with joy. In no better way can parents exalt and honor the Sabbath than to devise means to impart proper instruction to their families, and to interest them in spiritual things, giving them correct views of the character of God, and what he requires of us, in order to perfect Christian characters and to attain to eternal life. Parents, make the Sabbath a delight, that your children shall look forward to it, and have a welcome in their hearts for it.” Review and Herald, May 30, 1871.

How should parents keep the Sabbath with their children?

“The parents may take their children outdoors to view God in nature. They can be pointed to the blooming flowers and the opening buds, the lofty trees and beautiful spires of grass, and taught that God made all these in six days and rested on the seventh day and hallowed it. Thus the parents may bind up their lessons of instruction to their children, so that when these children look upon the things of nature, they will call to mind the great Creator of them all. Their thoughts will be carried up to nature’s God-back to the creation of our world, when the foundation of the Sabbath was laid, and all the sons of God shouted for joy. Such are the lessons to be impressed on the minds of our children.” Child Guidance, 533.

“Parents should not allow their children to be out with others in play or amusement. I have found that on the Sabbath-day many are indifferent, and do not know where their children are or what they are doing. Parents can and should give attention to their children, reading to them the most attractive portions of Bible history, educating them to reverence the Sabbath-day, keeping it according to the commandment. This cannot be done if the parents feel no burden to interest their children. But they can make the Sabbath a delight if they will take the proper course. The children can be interested in good reading or in conversation about the salvation of their souls. But they will have to be educated and trained. The natural heart does not love to think of God, of heaven, or of heavenly things. There must be a continual pressing back of the current of worldliness and inclination to evil, and a letting in of heavenly light. It takes line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little and there a little.” Review and Herald, April 14, 1885.

What activities are Sabbath-breaking?

“Parents, above everything take care of your children upon the Sabbath. Do not suffer them to violate God’s holy day by playing in the house or out-of-doors. You may just as well break the Sabbath yourselves as to let your children do it, and when you suffer your children to wander about and suffer them to play upon the Sabbath, God looks upon you as Sabbathbreakers.” Review and Herald, September 19, 1854.

Blessings for Sabbath-keepers–What is the promise for those who keep the Sabbath holy?

“All heaven was represented to me as beholding and watching upon the Sabbath those who acknowledge the claims of the fourth commandment and are observing the Sabbath. Angels were marking their interest in, and high regard for, this divine institution. Those who sanctified the Lord God in their hearts by a strictly devotional frame of mind, and who sought to improve the sacred hours in keeping the Sabbath to the best of their ability, and to honor God by calling the Sabbath a delight-these the angels were specially blessing with light and health, and special strength was given them.” The Faith I Live By, 35.

“The Sabbath was God’s sign between Him and His people, and evidence of His kindness, mercy, and love, a token by which His people are distinguished from all false religionists of the world. And God has pledged Himself that He will bless them in their obedience, showing Himself that He is their God, and has taken them into covenant relation with Himself, and that He will fulfill His promise to all that are obedient.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 84.

“Those who will honor the Lord in keeping His Sabbath holy will be blessed of the Lord. There is not more than one in one hundred who do honor to God in keeping His Sabbath from polluting it. The Word of God is not practiced by thousands who profess to be Christians. The looseness of the habits and practices in observing the Sabbath has become a customary thing. God help us to see that great blessings are enfolded in the observance of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 25, 295.

Can God bless those who do not honor His Sabbath?

“God is merciful. His requirements are reasonable, in accordance with the goodness and benevolence of His character. He claims the Sabbath as His own, and will not let His blessing rest upon those who disregard His holy day; yet the Sabbath institution was designed as a blessing to mankind. Man was not made to fit the Sabbath; the Sabbath was made after his creation, to meet the necessities of his nature. The Sabbath should stand before the people in its moral power, answering its original design-to keep in remembrance the living God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. But the Sabbath has been treated with great disrespect. Men have dared to detract from its dignity; they have ventured to remove the sanctity placed upon it by the Creator Himself.” The Signs of the Times, May 13, 1886.

“He will not pass by unnoticed those who crowd upon His Sabbath, and employ time for their own use which belongs to Him. Some professed Sabbath-keepers will intrude upon the Sabbath in doing those things which should have been done previous to the Sabbath. Such may think they gain a little time; but instead of being advantaged by robbing God of holy time, which He has reserved to Himself, they will lose. The Lord will afflict them for their transgression of the fourth commandment; and that time they thought to gain by intruding upon the Sabbath, will prove a curse to them. God’s prospering hand withdrawn, will cause a decrease in all their possessions, instead of an increase. God will surely punish the transgressor.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 259.

The Galling Yoke

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.” Matthew 22:29, 30.

To many people this is one of the greatest promises in all the Bible. These are the two verses that have given countless scores of miserable people, who are held in bondage by their marriage vows, strength to continue. While some-especially the naïve youth who think that marriage is just bliss-think this is a most discouraging passage, Jesus saw that it was the very promise that some people needed. Most people would be happier unmarried. For most people marriage is a galling yoke.

“Few have correct views of the marriage relation. Many seem to think that it is the attainment of perfect bliss; but if they could know one quarter of the heartaches of men and women that are bound by the marriage vow in chains that they cannot and dare not break, they would not be surprised that I trace these lines. Marriage, in a majority of cases, is a most galling yoke. There are thousands that are mated but not matched. The books of heaven are burdened with the woes, the wickedness, and the abuse that lie hidden under the marriage mantle. This is why I would warn the young who are of a marriageable age to make haste slowly in the choice of a companion. The path of married life may appear beautiful and full of happiness; but why may not you be disappointed as thousands of others have been?” The Adventist Home, 44.

Most of the success we observe in marriage is a put-on, and so few know it. It seems like everyone thinks they are the only ones that are putting on and everyone else is lucky enough to have a lot better marriage-but of course they are not going to let anyone else know that their marriage is not what it should be. (And they should not. What they should do is just get down to business and correct the situation, but the trouble is they do not know how or where to go. No one has told them that God has the only answer.)

Not only does the public not know about the galling yoke that is weighing down so many of their acquaintances, but many times even their spouses do not know. The poor people are carrying a most heavy load all by themselves. To these people, Christ’s promise is a most blessed assurance. But until Christ’s promise is fulfilled in heaven, they need help-they need someone to direct them to the source of happiness. They need someone of their own sex whom they can trust, and who has the answers, and who has true purity and understanding. This is where many Adventist women can fill a great role. While there are sometimes godly pastors who the men can counsel with, often there are few godly women that other women can go to for counsel in times of need. (It might interest you to know that this is where both E.J. Waggoner and A.T. Jones began to get off track. They had a burden for helping women with their problems and they got themselves and these other women into problems.) We need more women counselors. For those who would like to gain the knowledge necessary to do this, a good place to start is with the section on the home, in The Ministry of Healing.

Marriage-Like a Taste of Heaven or Hell?

To most people, marriage is a galling yoke. Is it any wonder that Paul said: “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.” 1 Corinthians 7:1, 7, 8.

“Satan is constantly busy to hurry inexperienced youth into a marriage alliance. But the less we glory in the marriages which are now taking place, the better.” The Adventist Home, 80.

Why did they say these things? Were Paul and Mrs. White sour on marriage? No. Paul is the same author who wrote Ephesians 5 and Hebrews 13:4, and Mrs. White wrote many beautiful passages, about what marriage can be, in The Adventist Home. They were not down on marriage, they knew what a beautiful institution it was intended to be and which it can be. But they also knew how things usually are. They understood that the devil has more to do with many marriages than Christ. They understood that marriage is usually a symbol of hell rather than heaven. They have seen some of the “heartaches of men and women that are bound by the marriage vow in chains that they cannot and dare not break.” They knew that “marriage, in the majority of cases, is a most galling yoke.” This is why they warned “the young who are of marriageable age to make haste slowly. . . . The path of marriage life may appear beautiful and full of happiness; but why may not . . . [they] be disappointed as thousands of others have been?”

Paul was not sour on marriage, but his heart must have bled as he was shown the misery that has resulted from the marriage institution. What was intended to be a blessing has turned into a curse for many.

If Paul and Mrs. White warned against marriage, what should be our counsel to others?

“In this age of the world . . . the fewer the marriages contracted, the better for all, both men and women.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 366.

It is so easy when a married couple achieves a home which is a little heaven on earth, to want every other single friend to have the same experience. But the prophets have encouraged us to make haste slowly and the fewer marriages the better. Let us give the same counsel.

God’s Way

For most people marriage is a galling yoke. But suppose you are one of the rare people who follow God’s counsel and have a little heaven in your home and you wish that your happy marriage could continue throughout eternity. Do not worry, God never takes anything away but what He gives something better. In 1 Corinthians 2:9 we read about heaven, “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”

But as to what God has prepared for our family relation in heaven, the silence is golden. We are not to speculate. “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” Deuteronomy 29:29. (See also Selected Messages, Book 1, 173.)

While a majority of marriages are a galling yoke, even most of the minority that are left are not heaven. While many marriages are not yet a perfect hell, they are far from being a heaven either. “There is not one marriage in one hundred that results happily, that bear the sanction of God, and places the parties in a position better to glorify Him.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 504. Oh, they may experience a few thrills along the way, but the real peace and lasting happiness and security of heaven are not there.

Some might say: “Only one in one hundred? Why, no wonder my marriage is lousy, I do not have a chance.” Yes, it is true that less than one in a hundred have happy homes, but that is because less than one in a hundred follow God. But every couple can have perfect happiness at home if they choose. And it works much better if they choose together.

Every couple can achieve all that God intended for their home if they choose together. Choose together, study together, work at it together, pray about it together and claim Matthew 18:19 together. “Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven.” And in all your togetherness, maintain your individual relationship and devotions with God. He claims your highest service. Never forget Matthew 6:33: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”

What If Only You Choose?

But what happens if your partner does not care? If this is the case, you may not be able to have a happy home, but you can have happiness through Christ and you can bear the burden silently and quietly, pouring out your burdens only to God, until the day that Christ gives you something better than marriage. If you are called to suffer for Christ’s sake, rejoice. For Christ said, “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:38.

Whenever one person decides to follow Christ all the way (in the marriage relation as well as in all other affairs of life) and the other person has not decided to do so (even though the other person may be a Seventh-day Adventist) there is always friction. Not because the one following Christ has brought friction, but because the other person is resisting Christ and His way. Jesus said: “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” Matthew 10:34-36.

We do not live in a world of peace. Even when we are following God ourselves, we are not always going to have an ideal home situation. Jesus was accused and spit upon and beaten and crucified, not because He had done wrong, but because others had done wrong. We do not always receive our just reward in this life-either for good or for evil.

“The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?” Matthew 10:24, 25.

“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” Matthew 5:11, 12.

These texts apply as much to the home as anywhere else. This life is a preparatory period for the one above. We do not need to expect that we will go through without trials. If we could get to heaven without having any trials, we would not feel that we had any right to the place. “Would you enter heaven if you could without suffering, and dwell in the presence of that Jesus, who suffered so much for us? . . . O, it would be no place for you. Any other place would be far preferable. You would feel that you had no right there.” Review and Herald, February 17, 1853. But when we get to heaven, we will have passed through trials and overcome, and we will feel we have a perfect right to the city. (See Early Writings, 17.)

However, remember, many people suffer trial and heartache, not for Christ’s sake, but because of their own stubbornness and fanaticism. The only suffering that results in blessing is that which is suffered for Christ’s sake.

Our duty, as we follow Christ, is not to be loved, but to love. Our duty in our home, as we seek to follow Christ’s example, is not to be loved, but to love. (1 John 4:7-10.) This, all of us can do. We may not all receive love, but we can all give love. Our duty is to love, and we must trust God to supply us with the love we all need. This is a matter of developing faith, and God will not let us down.

“And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.” Matthew 10:29, 30.

Our duty is to learn to love. We must love first, not for reward, but because Christ first loved us. We must trust and wait for the reward from Christ. As we show this unselfish love, in many cases, we will win the affection and love of our partners over to us.

The apostles spoke of this. Paul said, “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?” 1 Corinthians 7:14, 16. Peter also admonished, “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives.” 1 Peter 3:1.

No, not everyone will be won, but, the more loving we become, the greater the probabilities. And if it does not happen, count yourself a partner with God-His love is rejected all of the time.

The Work of Sanctification

But what happens when you both decide to follow God by patterning your home after His? Will you have heaven the next morning? No. You can and will have heaven, on this earth, in your home, and it can start tomorrow (today even), but it will be a growing process. It will be a growing process that will not end in this life. You can have sanctified homes, but, “there is no such thing as instantaneous sanctification. True sanctification is a daily work, continuing as long as life shall last.” Sanctified Life, 10.

“Sanctification is not the work of a moment, an hour, or a day. It is a continual growth in grace.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 340.

“The Scriptures plainly show that the work of sanctification is progressive.” The Great Controversy, 470.

“Sanctification is the work of a lifetime.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 65.

The sanctification of the home is the work of a lifetime. Let none think they have arrived. No matter how much happiness you may have experienced in your home today, you can experience more tomorrow. No matter how much sorrow you may have experienced in your home today, you can, in the future, have a sanctified, happy home-if you start the process of sanctification today. “With God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26.

Have faith in God. Trust your life to Him. He will not let you down. He is as concerned about you as if you were the only person on the face of the universe. (Steps to Christ, 100.)

Enter this school toward a sanctified home, today. You can do this by having daily devotions (prayer, mediation and the study of God’s word), by learning of God’s character and then treating your spouse and children as God treats you. Pattern your relationships after the heavenly.

“To gain a proper understanding of the marriage relation is the work of a lifetime. Those who marry enter a school from which they are never in this life to be graduated.” The Adventist Home, 105.

The articles on the family we have printed these last four months have been but a brief introduction. There is so much more we have not covered: communication, finances, recreation, the relation of healthful living to the home, excess and insufficiency of the physical union, and much more. But the answers are in God’s word-in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. Are you studying these books? (A five-minute glance is not studying.) We should have books like The Adventist Home worn out.

Read no faster than you can assimilate. If all you can absorb at one time is one sentence, spend your whole hour of study on that one sentence, praying and pleading with God to make it a part of your life. God’s word is not to be read as a story book, it is to be eaten, digested and absorbed into our lives as fruit from the tree of life. Every word that Christ has given to us is for our happiness and the success of our homes. (John 15:11.)

And along with your reading, pray. Pray to God as you would talk to a friend. Learn to enjoy communion with Him, and soon the fifteen minutes, the half hour, the hour that you are spending in prayer with God, in the morning, will be the most precious part of the day. Tell Him your burdens and joys, your desires and heartaches. He will listen and He will help. He will walk with you all day long. He will sanctify you and He will sanctify your home, with the peace and joy of heaven.

“It is in accord with the will of God that man and wife should be linked together in His work, to carry it forward in a wholeness and a holiness. They can do this.

“The blessing of God in the home where this union shall exist is as the sunshine of heaven, because it is the Lord’s ordained will that man and wife should be linked together in holy bonds of union, under Jesus Christ, with Him to control, and His spirit to guide. . . .

“God wants the home to be the happiest place on earth, the very symbol of the home in heaven. Bearing the marriage responsibilities in the home, linking their interests with Jesus Christ, leaning upon His arm and His assurance, husband and wife may share a happiness in this union that angels of God commend.” The Adventist Home, 102.

The Marian Phenomena

The Marian phenomena, which consists of tens of thousands of sightings, or apparitions of Mary, the mother of Christ, is clearly known to Adventists to be a deception on a massive scale. With the knowledge of the Biblical teaching on the state of the dead we know that each and every sighting is a manifestation of the miracle working power of demons, since Mary, the mother of Jesus, is still resting in her grave awaiting the return of Jesus and the resurrection. Yet, the enormous numbers of sightings and the impact that the Marian movement is having, coupled with an understanding of last day events, as given in scripture and in the Spirit of Prophecy, compels us to examine this phenomena. This examination reveals astonishing events that lead us to believe that we may well be seeing the evidence of the devil’s overmastering deception that is calculated to deceive the world.

Both the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy are replete with warnings about deceptions that God’s last day people, His remnant church, will face in these closing days of the great controversy. In 2 Thessalonians 2: 8-12 we read: “And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” Paul is trying to tell us here that there is no middle ground. Either we know and love the truth or we will be deceived. “Only those who have been diligent students of the Scriptures and who have received the love of truth will be shielded from the powerful delusions that take the world captive. By the Bible testimony these will detect the deceiver in his disguise.” The Great Controversy, 625.

We are warned of strong, almost overmastering delusions and told that if possible even the very elect should be deceived. “As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ . . . He declares that those who persist in keeping holy the seventh day are blaspheming his name by refusing to listen to his angels sent to them with light and truth. This is the strong, almost overmastering delusion.” The Great Controversy, 624, 625.

“Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Matthew 24: 23, 24.

Today, Satan’s two great masterpieces of deception are at work to try to destroy God’s elect. Inspiration defines these clearly for us. “Satan’s masterpiece of deception is popery; and while it has been demonstrated that a day of great intellectual darkness was favorable to Romanism, it will also be demonstrated that a day of great intellectual light is also favorable to its power.” Signs of the Times, February 19, 1894. “Spiritualism is the masterpiece of deception. It is Satan’s most successful and fascinating delusion.” Signs of the Times, August 26, 1889.

Spiritualism and popery are the methods used by Satan to spread his two most seductive errors. “Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation of spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome. The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.” The Great Controversy, 588.

Certainly the Marian apparitions are spiritualism. The dictionary defines spiritualism as, “A belief that spirits of the dead communicate with the living.” Through these apparitions, Satan is preparing the world for his ultimate deception which will take place when he personates Christ in a false second coming.

Books such as The Thunder of Justice, by Ted and Maureen Flynn and The Keys of This Blood, by Malachi Martin (both Catholic authors) tell us the history of the sightings of “Mary.” They also reveal the plans and goals, which have been clearly announced by Papal leaders or by the apparitions themselves, and give timelines of future predicted events. As we examine Satan’s timetable and plans, it is important to remind ourselves that Satan is a mighty foe but he is not in control of events in the universe. “But God’s servants are not to trust to themselves in this great emergency . . . The world is not without a ruler. The program of coming events is in the hands of the Lord. The Majesty of heaven has the destiny of nations, as well as the concerns of His church, in His own charge.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 753. [Emphasis supplied.]

The times are in God’s hands, not the devil’s. Satan, through his knowledge of scripture and his ability to manipulate events, is able to accurately predict some events, but he is not in control and his predictions are faulty. As part of his masterpiece of deception he works to counterfeit last day events. So, while we are waiting and watching, it is vital that we study to understand last day events so that we will be able to distinguish between the true and the false.

The History of the Marian Movement

“Mary” first appeared on May 13, 1917, to three children in Fatima, Portugal. According to the children’s report, she gave them instructions to say the rosary daily and showed them a vision of hell and told them, that in order to save poor sinners God wants to establish, throughout the world, the devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

In October of 1917, 50,000-70,000 people were present when another sighting occurred in Fatima which was accompanied by wonders in the sky and miracles. The message was that a chapel was to be built at the site. A prediction was also made that World War I would soon end. Another prediction that was fulfilled was that two of the children would soon die.

Lucia, one of the three original children, was given a message for the pope. He was instructed that Russia could be saved if all of the bishops of the world would unite in making a consecration of Russia to Mary’s Immaculate Heart. In 1984, a Catholic bishop secretly made a consecration of Russia, while in that country. Not long after this, the Communist empire was broken up and the way was opened for the “conversion” of Russia.

The years since have seen many renewed calls for more adoration of Mary and declarations by the Catholic church that these apparitions were supernatural. Feasts have been instituted and a basilica built at Fatima, and the world, not just Russia, has been repeatedly consecrated to the immaculate heart.

The Marian phenomena is seen in visions, appearances, weeping statues, bleeding icons, cures, signs in the heavens and messages received by the uneducated for popes and presidents. Sightings have occurred around the world. These are claimed, by believers, to fulfill the words of Joel, that God’s spirit will be poured out upon all flesh.

Papal Devotion to the Marian Movement

On the anniversary of the first Fatima apparition, on May 13, 1981, Pope John Paul II was shot. He felt that he was saved by Mary, because, at the moment the gun was fired, he leaned toward a child who was carrying a picture of Our Lady of Fatima, and the shot, which was intended to be fatal, only wounded him. And so began his devotion to the Marian movement. During his recovery he exhaustively examined documents and questioned living witnesses and participants connected with Fatima.

According to the Catholic scholar, Malachi Martin, the pope believes that he received a vision from heaven giving him “the great design of God for the New World order.” The Keys of This Blood, 48. Also, he says, that in this vision, Mary told him he had been spared for a special mission to bring peace to the world. Under conviction that the messages of Fatima were not for a distant time, but that they had an immediate timetable, the pope began to carry out a program of world travel and redoubled his political efforts to prepare the world for the New World Order, with the Church of Rome as its supreme ruler. To show his devotion to “the virgin,” he wears an inscription on the side of his robe, in Latin, stating, “Mary, I’m all yours,” and has an M for Mary on his coat of arms.

According to Catholic sources, Pope John Paul II is waiting for the greatest of all apparitions when “Mary” will declare, from heaven, the day and the hour of Jesus’ coming. (God has told us that He Himself will declare the time of Jesus’ return in glory. In The Great Controversy, 640, we read, “The voice of God is heard from heaven, declaring the day and hour of Jesus’ coming.”) “Mary” is to appear as a woman clothed with the sun giving birth to a child who will rule the nations with a rod of iron.

What does inspiration say about these events? “Little by little he [Satan] has prepared the way for his masterpiece of deception in the development of spiritualism. He has not yet [in Ellen White’s day] reached the full accomplishment of his designs; but it will be reached in the last remnant of time.” Ibid., 561. “Fearful sights of a supernatural character will soon be revealed in the heavens, in token of the power of miracle-working demons.” Ibid., 624.

The devil will counterfeit every truth and end time event. God’s people will see many miracles and marvelous workings of Satan, but God has given us a source of knowledge that we need not be deceived, if we diligently study. “`To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.’ Isaiah 8:20. The people of God are directed to the Scriptures as their safeguard against the influence of false teachers and the delusive power of spirits of darkness. Satan employs every possible device to prevent men from obtaining a knowledge of the Bible; for its plain utterances reveal his deceptions. At every revival of God’s work the prince of evil is aroused to more intense activity; he is now putting forth his utmost efforts for a final struggle against Christ and His followers. The last great delusion is soon to open before us. Antichrist is to perform his marvelous works in our sight. So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures. By their testimony every statement and every miracle must be tested.” The Great Controversy, 593. “None but those who have fortified the mind with the truths of the Bible will stand through the last great conflict.” Ibid.

There have been several predictions made by “Mary,” in different locations and at different times, that relate to the time when this event will happen. Lucia (the woman who saw many of the Fatima apparitions) was told that she would be alive to see the culmination of all these things. Also apparitions have said that the current pope will be the last. (Both the pope and Lucia are now very old.) The last decade of this century has been predicted to bring the completion of all things. However, some of the predictions made by these apparitions have already failed to occur. This alone would be evidence enough to prove that they are not of divine origin. For we know that God never fails!

Uniting the World

As Satan’s designs are fully accomplished, the world will be united. It seems very possible that it will be “Mary” who will appeal to everyone, according to their beliefs. She will say that the one whom they most need is coming to bring love, unity, peace, justice, and prosperity. All the world will wait in great expectation, hope and joy, for the coming of their Savior, who will actually be Satan in a counterfeit second coming.

“As the crowning act in the great drama of deception, Satan himself will personate Christ. The church has long professed to look to the Savior’s advent as the consummation of her hopes. Now the great deceiver will make it appear that Christ has come. In different parts of the earth, Satan will manifest himself among men as a majestic being of dazzling brightness, resembling the description of the Son of God given by John in the Revelation. Revelation 1:13-15. The glory that surrounds him is unsurpassed by anything that mortal eyes have yet beheld. The shout of triumph rings out upon the air: `Christ has come! Christ has come!’ The people prostrate themselves in adoration before him, while he lifts up his hands and pronounces a blessing upon them, as Christ blessed His disciples when He was upon the earth. His voice is soft and subdued, yet full of melody. In gentle, compassionate tones he presents some of the same gracious, heavenly truths which the Savior uttered; he heals the diseases of the people, and then, in his assumed character of Christ, he claims to have changed the Sabbath to Sunday, and commands all to hallow the day which he has blessed. He declares that those who persist in keeping holy the seventh day are blaspheming his name by refusing to listen to his angels sent to them with light and truth. This is the strong, almost overmastering delusion. Like the Samaritans who were deceived by Simon Magus, the multitudes, from the least to the greatest, give heed to these sorceries, saying: This is `the great power of God.’ Acts 8:10.” The Great Controversy, 624.

By appearing in Fatima, the devil has planned a masterful deception to include the entire Moslem world. The Moslems now bow down to worship the images of Mary in the processions of the North African Catholics. It is believed that they will be led to worship her “Son” at his coming. If she were to appear as a woman clothed with the sun, as has been predicted, the pagan religions, based on sun worship, would be likely to join the multitudes in worship.

The Marian phenomena could be what will unite the world. For “Mary” could introduce the “second coming” to the Jews as their Messiah, and to the Chrisitians as Jesus Christ and to Moslems as their Iman Mahdi. Buddists might recognize their Buddha in his fifth incarnation. Hindus could find Krishna and the new age could find the Matryeia, the Cosmic Christ. All, but the very elect of God, will welcome Satan as their savior.

The Catholic world believes, according to Malachi Martin, that, at this spectacular appearing, “Christ” (really the devil in disguise) will hand over the keys to the pope. It will then appear that Satan, the Papacy, and the New World Order are the winners of the great controversy.

What will the condition of God’s people be at this time? “I saw our people in great distress, weeping, and praying, pleading the sure promises of God, while the wicked were all around us, mocking us, and threatening to destroy us. They ridiculed our feebleness, they mocked at the smallness of our numbers, and taunted us with words calculated to cut deep. They charged us with taking an independent position from all the rest of the world. They had cut off our resources so that we could not buy nor sell, and referred to our abject poverty and stricken condition. They could not see how we could live without the world; we were dependent upon the world, and we must concede to the customs, practices, and laws of the world, or go out of it. If we were the only people in the world whom the Lord favored the appearances were awfully against us. They declared that they had the truth, that miracles were among them, that angels from heaven talked with them, and walked with them, that great power, and signs and wonders were performed among them, and this was the Temporal Millennium, which they had been expecting so long. The whole world was converted and in harmony with the Sunday law, and this little feeble people stood out in defiance of the laws of the land, and the laws of God, and claimed to be the only ones right on the earth.” Maranatha, 209.

The Devil’s Goal

This pope has referred to this century as the “Marian times.” What does this mean? Ted Flynn, a Catholic author, explains that in Old Testament times God spoke through the prophets and in New Testament times Jesus spoke, but that now, God is speaking through “Mary.” (See The Thunder of Justice, 171.) It is the devil’s plan to put himself in the place of Jesus in the hearts of mankind. First he uses the guise of “Mary” and then he comes personating Christ.

Saying the rosary replaces praying to our Father in heaven. “Mary” is referred to as the
Mediatrix; yet, we know that the Bible teaches us, “For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5. “Mary” claims to be the refuge and ark, advocate and intercessor, and the mother of the church. There are even claims that “Mary” will place her “motherly seal” on all those who have consecrated themselves to her immaculate heart.

All this has been predicted, has it not? “The time is at hand when Satan will work miracles to confirm minds in the belief that he is God. All the people of God are now to stand on the platform of truth as it has been given in the Third Angel’s Message. All the pleasant pictures, all the miracles wrought, will be presented in order that, if possible, the very elect shall be deceived. The only hope for any one is to hold fast the evidences that have confirmed the truth in righteousness. Let these be proclaimed over and over again, until the close of this earth’s history.” Review and Herald, August 9, 1906.

Ecumenical Associations Ensnare Adventism

Pope John Paul II plans to unite the world by the year 2000. The pope has laid out specific plans for each year of this last decade of the century. There are special plans being made by thousands of organizations representing the United Nations, governments, businesses, educational and religious bodies for that special time. Inter-religious dialog is taking place under the guidelines of the second Vatican council.

Sister White wrote about this very thing in Christian Service, 50. “The world is a theater; the actors, its inhabitants, are preparing to act their part in the last great drama. With the great masses of mankind, there is no unity, except as men confederate to accomplish their selfish purposes. God is looking on. His purposes in regard to His rebellious subjects will be fulfilled. The world has not been given into the hands of men, though God is permitting the elements of confusion and disorder to bear sway for a season. A power from beneath is working to bring about the last great scenes in the drama,–Satan coming as Christ, and working with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in those who are binding themselves together in secret societies. Those who are yielding to the passion for confederation are working out the plans of the enemy. The cause will be followed by the effect.”

There have been worship services on the steps of the capital in Washington where Jerry Falwell said, “We must network together or we will lose this country.” Oral Roberts prayed for “miracles, healings, and deliverance.” And Benny Hinn held a “faith-healing ceremony.” Announcements are regularly coming in the press of union between various churches.

“When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman Hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result.” The Great Controversy, 445.

How are these plans affecting the Seventh-day Adventist Church? The news is not good. The plans for dialog between various churches are seen reflected in Adventism. The Adventist Review reported dialog with the leaders of the Lutheran Church. Also, during 1998, the master plan of the pope called for an emphasis on the Holy Spirit in the developing spirit of unity. In the fall of 1998, the Adventist Review issued a special edition on the Holy Spirit. Because of the deep involvement with the World Council of Churches there are demands of cooperation with the ecumenical program as planned by the pope. In the year 2000, there are plans for all churches to be represented in Jerusalem, to celebrate the Eucharist together. Will the Adventist church be represented? If so, there is but one step left to embracing the Sunday law.

“Never did this message apply with greater force than it applies today. More and more the world is setting at nought the claims of God. Men have become bold in transgression. The wickedness of the inhabitants of the world has almost filled up the measure of their iniquity. This earth has almost reached the place where God will permit the destroyer to work his will upon it. The substitution of the laws of men for the law of God, the exaltation, by merely human authority, of Sunday in place of the Bible Sabbath, is the last act in the drama. When this substitution becomes universal, God will reveal Himself. He will arise in His majesty to shake terribly the earth. He will come out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the world for their iniquity, and the earth shall disclose her blood and shall no more cover her slain.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 141.

How vital it is that God’s people be unified in the battle against this deceptive power. We must remember who the enemy is and fight together as an army under the banner of Christ, where there will be perfect order and harmony. “As we approach the last crisis, it is of vital moment that harmony and unity exist among the Lord’s instrumentalities. The world is filled with storm and war and variance. Yet under one head-the papal power-the people will unite to oppose God in the person of His witnesses. This union is cemented by the great apostate. While he seeks to unite his agents in warring against the truth he will work to divide and scatter its advocates. Jealousy, evil surmising, evil speaking, are instigated by him to produce discord and dissension. The members of Christ’s church have the power to thwart the purpose of the adversary of souls. At such a time as this let them not be found at variance with one another or with any of the Lord’s workers. Amidst the general discord let there be one place where harmony and unity exist because the Bible is made the guide of life. Let the people of God feel that a responsibility rests upon them to build up His instrumentalities.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 182.

We are seeing before us the union of the fallen churches. Papal documents have already called for worldwide enforcement of Sunday observance with violators to be punished as heretics. Surely the day is not far off when we will see the conclusion of all things. We are living in solemn times. God’s church will be united and ready. May each of us be part of that body.

Editor’s Note: The material for this article was gleaned from a series of sermons by Elder Lawrence Nelson, produced earlier this year under the title Spiritualism, 1-5. Much of his research was taken from The Great Controversy Endgame, by John Janiuk and Sunday’s Coming, by G. Edward Reid. You may obtain the entire series by writing: Keep the Faith Audio Tape Ministry, PO Box 808, Myrtle Creek, OR 97457. Condensed and edited by Cynthia Gaye Clark.