October 19, 2008 – October 25, 2008
“In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.” Isaiah 63:9.
Study Help: Steps to Christ, 9–15.
“What had Christ not done to win the hearts of Israel and to inspire them with unwavering confidence in Himself? For ages He had visited His people with manifestations of the most condescending kindness and unexampled love.” Counsels on Health, 455.
1 Mention one of the characteristics of God’s love. Jeremiah 31:3.
Note: “God would not have us remain pressed down by dumb sorrow, with sore and breaking hearts. He would have us look up and behold His dear face of love. The blessed Saviour stands by many whose eyes are so blinded by tears that they do not discern Him. He longs to clasp our hands, to have us look to Him in simple faith, permitting Him to guide us. His heart is open to our griefs, our sorrows, and our trials. He has loved us with an everlasting love and with loving-kindness compassed us about. We may keep the heart stayed upon Him and meditate upon His loving-kindness all the day. He will lift the soul above the daily sorrow and perplexity, into a realm of peace.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 12.
2 What is the simplest definition of God’s love? I John 4:8, 16.
Note: “The love that the Lord has for His children passeth knowledge. No science can define or explain it. No human wisdom can fathom it. The more we feel the influence of this love, the more meek and humble shall we be.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1141.
3 How does Christ Himself describe God’s love? John 3:16, 17.
Note: “If those who today are teaching the word of God, would uplift the cross of Christ higher and still higher, their ministry would be far more successful. If sinners can be led to give one earnest look at the cross, if they can obtain a full view of the crucified Saviour, they will realize the depth of God’s compassion and the sinfulness of sin.
“Christ’s death proves God’s great love for man. It is our pledge of salvation. To remove the cross from the Christian would be like blotting the sun from the sky. The cross brings us near to God, reconciling us to Him. With the relenting compassion of a father’s love, Jehovah looks upon the suffering that His Son endured in order to save the race from eternal death, and accepts us in the Beloved.
“Without the cross, man could have no union with the Father. On it depends our every hope. From it shines the light of the Saviour’s love, and when at the foot of the cross the sinner looks up to the One who died to save him, he may rejoice with fullness of joy, for his sins are pardoned. Kneeling in faith at the cross, he has reached the highest place to which man can attain.
“Through the cross we learn that the heavenly Father loves us with a love that is infinite.” The Acts of the Apostles, 209, 210.
4 What evidence does John show to prove God’s love? I John 4:10; 3:1.
Note: “When we study the divine character in the light of the cross we see mercy, tenderness, and forgiveness blended with equity and justice. We see in the midst of the throne One bearing in hands and feet and side the marks of the suffering endured to reconcile man to God. We see a Father, infinite, dwelling in light unapproachable, yet receiving us to Himself through the merits of His Son. The cloud of vengeance that threatened only misery and despair, in the light reflected from the cross reveals the writing of God: Live, sinner, live! ye penitent, believing souls, live! I have paid a ransom.
“In the contemplation of Christ we linger on the shore of a love that is measureless. We endeavor to tell of this love, and language fails us. We consider His life on earth, His sacrifice for us, His work in heaven as our advocate, and the mansions He is preparing for those who love Him, and we can only exclaim, O the height and depth of the love of Christ!” The Acts of the Apostles, 333, 334.
5 When Moses begged to see God’s glory, what was the first and most important thing God revealed to him? Exodus 33:18, 19. What did He explain further? Exodus 33:20–23.
Note: “Never before had fallen man been thus favored of God. As he laid upon Moses the great work of leading his people through to the promised land, he condescended to manifest to him his glory as he never had to any others upon the earth.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 1, 256.
“Reach up higher and still higher for clearer views of the character of Christ. When Moses prayed, ‘I beseech Thee, shew me Thy glory,’ the Lord did not rebuke him, but He granted his prayer. God declared to His servant: ‘I will make all My goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee.’ [Exodus 33:18, 19.] We keep apart from God, and this is why we do not see the revealings of His power.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 652, 653.
6 What else did God reveal about Himself to Moses? Exodus 34:6, 7.
7 How can God’s glory be revealed even in us? Romans 8:18.
Note: “Through trial and persecution the glory—the character—of God is revealed in His chosen ones. The believers in Christ, hated and persecuted by the world, are educated and disciplined in the school of Christ. On earth they walk in narrow paths; they are purified in the furnace of affliction. They follow Christ through sore conflicts; they endure self-denial and experience bitter disappointments; but thus they learn the guilt and woe of sin, and they look upon it with abhorrence. Being partakers of Christ’s sufferings, they can look beyond the gloom to the glory.” The Acts of the Apostles, 576, 577.
“Study not how to please self. Lose sight of self, and behold the multitudes perishing in their sins. Gather to your souls the courage that can come only from the Light of the world. Forgetting self, help the many who are within reach around you. Talk faith, and your faith will increase. Cease lamenting. Work in Christ’s lines. With loving endeavor strive to please Him. His excellence will help you to be Christlike. Ever stand ready to lift up the hands that hang down, and to strengthen the feeble knees. Shine as lights in the world, attracting others by the brightness of Christ’s glory revealed through your good works.” The Signs of the Times, June 3, 1903.
8 What appeals to our heart as we consider God’s abundant mercy? Psalm 136.
Note: “When selfishness is striving for the victory over you, bear in mind One who left the glorious courts of heaven and laid aside the robes of royalty for your sakes, becoming poor that through His poverty you might be made rich. Will you, then, disregard this great love and boundless mercy by refusing to be inconvenienced and to deny yourselves for His dear sake? Will you cling to the treasures of this life and neglect to aid in carrying forward the great work of truth?” Testimonies, vol. 4, 120.
9 How is this great mercy further explained? Micah 7:18, 19.
Note: “Jesus might have remained at His Father’s right hand, wearing His kingly crown and royal robes. But He chose to exchange all the riches, honor, and glory of heaven for the poverty of humanity, and His station of high command for the horrors of Gethsemane and the humiliation and agony of Calvary. He became a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, that by His baptism of suffering and blood He might purify and redeem a guilty world.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 121.
10 Why is God’s grace offered so freely? Romans 3:24–26; Titus 2:11; 3:4–7.
Note: “The Lord saw our fallen condition; He saw our need of grace, and because He loved our souls, He has given us grace and peace. Grace means favor to one who is undeserving, to one who is lost. The fact that we are sinners, instead of shutting us away from the mercy and love of God, makes the exercise of His love to us a positive necessity in order that we may be saved.” The Signs of the Times, June 5, 1893.
“The Lord has enriched the world with a gift so large, so valuable, that there is nothing more held in reserve to give. Christ has linked his interest with that of humanity, and he asks that humanity become one with him for the saving of humanity. He took the nature of man, suffered the inconvenience that humanity is subject to, endured our temptations, and became a partaker of the sorrows, griefs, and disappointments of men. He united divinity with humanity, in order that humanity might become a partaker of the divine nature.” The Home Missionary, December 1, 1894.
11 How does God consider the time of ignorance? Acts 17:30.
Note: “The days of ignorance God winked at. But increased light is shining; the light and privileges of understanding Bible truth are abundant, if workers will only open the eyes of their understanding. The truth must be diffusive. Foreign and home missions call for thorough Christian characters to engage in missionary enterprises. The missions in our cities at home and abroad call for men who are imbued with the Spirit of Christ, who will work as Christ worked.” The Review and Herald, June 14, 1887.
12 On the other hand, what is our duty before God and humanity after we have received the light of the truth? I John 1:7; John 12:35, 36.
Note: “There is need of constant watchfulness, and of earnest, loving devotion; but these will come naturally when the soul is kept by the power of God through faith. We can do nothing, absolutely nothing, to commend ourselves to divine favor. We must not trust at all to ourselves nor to our good works; but when as erring, sinful beings we come to Christ, we may find rest in His love. God will accept every one that comes to Him trusting wholly in the merits of a crucified Saviour. Love springs up in the heart. There may be no ecstasy of feeling, but there is an abiding, peaceful trust. Every burden is light; for the yoke which Christ imposes is easy. Duty becomes a delight, and sacrifice a pleasure. The path that before seemed shrouded in darkness becomes bright with beams from the Sun of Righteousness. This is walking in the light as Christ is in the light.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 353, 354.
“If the frivolous and pleasure-seeking will allow their minds to dwell upon the real and true, the heart cannot but be filled with reverence, and they will adore the God of nature. The contemplation and study of God’s character as revealed in His created works will open a field of thought that will draw the mind away from low, debasing, enervating amusements. The knowledge of God’s works and ways we can only begin to obtain in this world; the study will be continued throughout eternity. God has provided for man subjects of thought which will bring into activity every faculty of the mind. We may read the character of the Creator in the heavens above and the earth beneath, filling the heart with gratitude and thanksgiving. Every nerve and sense will respond to the expressions of God’s love in His marvelous works.” Child Guidance, 50.
“The plan of salvation had its place in the counsels of the Infinite from all eternity. The gospel is the revelation of God’s love to men, and means everything that is essential to the happiness and well-being of humanity. The work of God in the earth is of immeasurable importance, and it is Satan’s special object to crowd it out of sight and mind, that he may make his specious devices effectual in the destruction of those for whom Christ died. It is his purpose to cause the discoveries of men to be exalted above the wisdom of God. When the mind is engrossed with the conceptions and theories of men to the exclusion of the wisdom of God, it is stamped with idolatry. Science, falsely so-called, has been exalted above God, nature above its Maker, and how can God look upon such wisdom?” Christian Education, 83, 84.
“Truth in Christ and through Christ is measureless. The student of Scripture looks, as it were, into a fountain that deepens and broadens as he gazes into its depths. Not in this life shall we comprehend the mystery of God’s love in giving His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. The work of our Redeemer on this earth is and ever will be a subject that will put to the stretch our highest imagination. Man may tax every mental power in the endeavor to fathom this mystery, but his mind will become faint and weary. The most diligent searcher will see before him a boundless, shoreless sea.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 128, 129.
“God calls upon men to see Him in the wonders of the heavens. ‘Lift up your eyes on high,’ He says, ‘and behold who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number: He calleth them all by names by the greatness of His might.’ Isaiah 40:26. God would have us study the works of infinity, and from this study learn to love and reverence and obey Him. The heavens and the earth with their treasures are to teach the lessons of God’s love and care and power.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 456, 457.
©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.