Bible Study Guides – Love: The Essence of Righteousness

October 19, 2014 – October 25, 2014

Key Text

“God is love.” I John 4:16.

Study Help: Steps to Christ, 23–36.


“Righteousness is love, and love is the light and the life of God. The righteousness of God is embodied in Christ. We receive righteousness by receiving Him.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 18.


  • In the Christian life, what vital significance does love have in relation to the law of God? Matthew 22:36–40.

Note: “Obedience is not a mere outward compliance, but the service of love. The law of God is an expression of His very nature; it is an embodiment of the great principle of love, and hence is the foundation of His government in heaven and earth. If our hearts are renewed in the likeness of God, if the divine love is implanted in the soul, will not the law of God be carried out in the life?” Steps to Christ, 60.

  • How does the apostle John summarize God’s character—and how does His character relate to righteousness? I John 4:16; Psalm 11:7.

Note: “Righteousness is holiness, likeness to God, and ‘God is love’ (I John 4:16). It is conformity to the law of God, for ‘all Thy commandments are righteousness’ (Psalm 119:172), and ‘love is the fulfilling of the law’ (Romans 13:10). Righteousness is love, and love is the light and the life of God. The righteousness of God is embodied in Christ. We receive righteousness by receiving Him.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 18.


  • What kind of service does the Lord desire? Deuteronomy 6:5; Joshua 24:15.

Note: “The exercise of force is contrary to the principles of God’s government; He desires only the service of love; and love cannot be commanded; it cannot be won by force or authority. Only by love is love awakened. To know God is to love Him; His character must be manifested in contrast to the character of Satan. This work only one Being in all the universe could do. Only He who knew the height and depth of the love of God could make it known. Upon the world’s dark night the Sun of Righteousness must rise, ‘with healing in His wings’ (Malachi 4:2).” The Desire of Ages, 22.

“It is not the fear of punishment, or the hope of everlasting reward, that leads the disciples of Christ to follow Him. They behold the Saviour’s matchless love, revealed throughout His pilgrimage on earth, from the manger of Bethlehem to Calvary’s cross, and the sight of Him attracts, it softens and subdues the soul. Love awakens in the heart of the beholders. They hear His voice, and they follow Him.” Ibid., 480.

  • In contrast to a willing, joyful obedience from the heart, what kind of obedience are some professed Christians rendering to God? Deuteronomy 28:45–47; I John 5:3.

Note: “Christ died on the cross to draw all to Him, and He would have us joyful in that joy which He alone can give, the joy of obedience.” Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, 217.

“The man who attempts to keep the commandments of God from a sense of obligation merely—because he is required to do so—will never enter into the joy of obedience. He does not obey. When the requirements of God are accounted a burden because they cut across human inclination, we may know that the life is not a Christian life. True obedience is the outworking of a principle within. It springs from the love of righteousness, the love of the law of God. The essence of all righteousness is loyalty to our Redeemer. This will lead us to do right because it is right—because right doing is pleasing to God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 97, 98.


  • What will be seen in the life of those who genuinely love God? I John 3:10; 4:20, 21.

Note: “Love is the basis of godliness. Whatever the profession, no man has pure love to God unless he has unselfish love for his brother. But we can never come into possession of this spirit by trying to love others. What is needed is the love of Christ in the heart. When self is merged in Christ, love springs forth spontaneously. The completeness of Christian character is attained when the impulse to help and bless others springs constantly from within—when the sunshine of heaven fills the heart and is revealed in the countenance.” [Emphasis author’s.] Christ’s Object Lessons, 384.

  • Describe some of the characteristics manifested by true love. I Corinthians 13:4–7.

Note: “True love is not a strong, fiery, impetuous passion. On the contrary, it is calm and deep in its nature. It looks beyond mere externals and is attracted by qualities alone. It is wise and discriminating, and its devotion is real and abiding. God tests and proves us by the common occurrences of life. It is the little things which reveal the chapters of the heart. It is the little attentions, the numerous small incidents and simple courtesies of life, that make up the sum of life’s happiness; and it is the neglect of kindly, encouraging, affectionate words, and the little courtesies of life, which helps compose the sum of life’s wretchedness. It will be found at last that the denial of self for the good and happiness of those around us constitutes a large share of the life record in heaven. And the fact will also be revealed that the care of self, irrespective of the good and happiness of others, is not beneath the notice of our heavenly Father. …

“Love cannot live without action, and every act increases, strengthens, and extends it. Love will gain the victory when argument and authority are powerless. Love works not for profit nor reward; yet God has ordained that great gain shall be the certain result of every labor of love. It is diffusive in its nature and quiet in its operation, yet strong and mighty in its purpose to overcome great evils. It is melting and transforming in its influence, and will take hold of the lives of the sinful and affect their hearts when every other means has proved unsuccessful.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 133–135.


  • In light of the self-sacrifice of Christ for us, what law or principle will be at the heart of the Christian life? II Corinthians 5:14, 15; I Corinthians 13:5.

Note: “When the Spirit of God, with its marvelous awakening power, touches the soul, it abases human pride. Worldly pleasure and position and power are seen to be worthless. ‘Imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God’ are cast down; every thought is brought into captivity ‘to the obedience of Christ’ (II Corinthians 10:5). Then humility and self-sacrificing love, so little valued among men, are exalted as alone of worth.” The Desire of Ages, 135.

“In the light from Calvary it will be seen that the law of self-renouncing love is the law of life for earth and heaven; that the love which ‘seeketh not her own’ has its source in the heart of God; and that in the meek and lowly One is manifested the character of Him who dwelleth in the light which no man can approach unto.” Ibid., 20.

  • In order to live a life of self-sacrificing love, what is required of us on a daily basis? Luke 9:23.

Note: “Every soul that accepts Jesus as his personal Saviour will pant for the privilege of serving God and will eagerly seize the opportunity to signalize his gratitude by devoting his abilities to God’s service. He will long to show his love for Jesus and for His purchased possession. He will covet toil, hardship, sacrifice. He will think it a privilege to deny self, lift the cross, and follow in Christ’s footsteps, thus showing his loyalty and love.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 394.

“Self-denial and the cross are our portion. Will we accept it? None of us need expect that when the last great trials come upon us a self-sacrificing, patriotic spirit will be developed in a moment because needed. No, indeed, this spirit must be blended with our daily experience, and infused into the minds and hearts of our children, both by precept and example. Mothers in Israel may not be warriors themselves, but they may raise up warriors who shall gird on the whole armor and fight manfully the battles of the Lord.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 135.


  • What is the sign of true discipleship? John 8:31; 14:15.

Note: “Obedience—the service and allegiance of love—is the true sign of discipleship. … Instead of releasing man from obedience, it is faith, and faith only, that makes us partakers of the grace of Christ, which enables us to render obedience.” Steps to Christ, 60, 61.

  • What does true obedience mean, and from where does it spring? Romans 5:5; 13:10.

Note: “In the heart renewed by divine grace, love is the principle of action. It modifies the character, governs the impulses, controls the passions, subdues enmity, and ennobles the affections. This love, cherished in the soul, sweetens the life and sheds a refining influence on all around.” Steps to Christ, 59.

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


1 What key element in God’s law does Jesus present to us in Matthew 22?

2 Explain the difference between outward compliance and true obedience.

3 When will the development of our Christian character be complete?

4 Describe the attitude towards service in those who have accepted Christ.

5 How closely will Christ be identified in the obedience of His followers?

Copyright © 2013 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Laying Our Own Glory in the Dust

October 12, 2014 – October 18, 2014

Key Text

“We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6.

Study Help: Steps to Christ, 17–22.


“What is justification by faith? It is the work of God in laying the glory of man in the dust, and doing for man that which it is not in his power to do for himself.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 456.


  • How does Scripture depict the misery of fallen human nature? Galatians 5:17; Romans 7:18–21.

Note: “As through Christ every human being has life, so also through Him every soul receives some ray of divine light. Not only intellectual but spiritual power, a perception of right, a desire for goodness, exists in every heart. But against these principles there is struggling an antagonistic power. The result of the eating of the tree of knowledge of good and evil is manifest in every man’s experience. There is in his nature a bent to evil, a force which, unaided, he cannot resist. To withstand this force, to attain that ideal which in his inmost soul he accepts as alone worthy, he can find help in but one power. That power is Christ. Co-operation with that power is man’s greatest need.” Education, 29.

  • Of what value is the righteousness of any one of us—and what are we powerless to do for ourselves? Isaiah 64:6; Romans 3:12.


  • How does God see us even when we are in our “best” state? Psalm 39:5, 11; Isaiah 40:17.

Note: “Were it not for Christ’s atoning sacrifice, there would be nothing in us in which God could delight. All the natural goodness of man is worthless in God’s sight. He does not take pleasure in any man who retains his old nature, and is not so renewed in knowledge and grace that he is a new man in Christ. Our education, our talents, our means, are gifts entrusted to us by God, that He may test us. If we use them for self-glorification, God says, ‘I cannot delight in them; for Christ has died for them in vain.’ ” The Review and Herald, August 24, 1897.

  • Do we have anything of merit that we can offer to God as a price for sin? Isaiah 1:11; Micah 6:7. What may be said of even our “best” performances? I Chronicles 29:14.

Note: “The question is asked, ‘Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul’ (Micah 6:7)? No; no man can stand before God in his own merit. Those who are saved will be saved because Jesus has paid the full debt; and man can do nothing, absolutely nothing, to merit salvation. Christ says, ‘Without me, ye can do nothing’ (John 15:5). Then whose is the merit?—It all belongs to our Redeemer. All the capabilities of man come alone through Christ, and we may say of our best performances, ‘All things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given to Thee’ (I Chronicles 29:14).” The Signs of the Times, November 10, 1890.

  • What attitude should we cultivate in view of the above statements? Micah 6:8.

Note: “ ‘Man at his best state is altogether vanity’ (Psalm 39:5). Christ came with no outward display. Finding Himself in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, showing that fallen man must ever walk humbly before God. Riches, worldly honor, human greatness, can never save a soul from death. ‘To this man will I look,’ declares the Lord, ‘even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word’ (Isaiah 66:2).” The Youth’s Instructor, December 20, 1900.


  • What experience did Elijah need to go through before God heard his prayer for rain, and why? James 5:16–18; I Kings 18:43.

Note: “The servant watched while Elijah prayed. Six times he returned from the watch, saying, There is nothing, no cloud, no sign of rain. But the prophet did not give up in discouragement. He kept reviewing his life, to see where he had failed to honor God, he confessed his sins, and thus continued to afflict his soul before God, while watching for a token that his prayer was answered. As he searched his heart, he seemed to be less and less, both in his own estimation and in the sight of God. It seemed to him that he was nothing, and that God was everything; and when he reached the point of renouncing self, while he clung to the Saviour as his only strength and righteousness, the answer came.” The Review and Herald, May 26, 1891.

“We have a God whose ear is not closed to our petitions; and if we prove His word, He will honor our faith. He wants us to have all our interests interwoven with His interests, and then He can safely bless us; for we shall not then take glory to self when the blessing is ours, but shall render all the praise to God.” Ibid., March 27, 1913.

  • What happens as we come closer to Jesus and depend on Him? Daniel 10:8; Luke 5:8; Revelation 1:12–17.

Note: “The closer you come to Jesus, the more faulty you will appear in your own eyes; for your vision will be clearer, and your imperfections will be seen in broad and distinct contrast to His perfect nature. This is evidence that Satan’s delusions have lost their power; that the vivifying influence of the Spirit of God is arousing you.

“No deep-seated love for Jesus can dwell in the heart that does not realize its own sinfulness.” Steps to Christ, 64, 65.

  • What happens when we overestimate ourselves? Galatians 6:3.

Note: “One word which exalts self causes the light of God’s countenance to be withdrawn.” The Review and Herald, August 24, 1897.


  • Despite our wretched condition, what hope is nonetheless extended to us? Romans 7:24–8:2.

Note: “Though the world’s Redeemer sees the misery and wretchedness of the world on account of sin, yet He does not present before the fallen race a vivid delineation of their wretchedness, but teaches them of something infinitely better than that which they have ever heard before. He knows that their wretchedness is the result of sin, and His heart is moved with compassion towards fallen men. The rabbis did not condescend to preach to the common people, or to present to the Gentiles any hope of salvation. But Christ had come to present the plan of salvation before all classes of people; for all were in need of His words. In those that gathered before Him He saw a possibility that they might be allied to an infinite power, because of the parental love of God toward all His children.” Sabbath School Worker, August 1, 1895.

  • What happens when we acknowledge that our sinful efforts have no merit to save us? Zechariah 3:3, 4; 1II Corinthians 12:9.

Note: “When men see their own nothingness, they are prepared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ. When they begin to praise and exalt God all the day long, then by beholding they are becoming changed into the same image.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 20, 117.

“Nothing is apparently more helpless, yet really more invincible, than the soul that feels its nothingness and relies wholly on the merits of the Saviour. God would send every angel in heaven to the aid of such a one, rather than allow him to be overcome.” Sons and Daughters of God, 35.

“The less we see to esteem in ourselves, the more we shall see to esteem in the infinite purity and loveliness of our Saviour. A view of our sinfulness drives us to Him Who can pardon; and when the soul, realizing its helplessness, reaches out after Christ, He will reveal Himself in power. The more our sense of need drives us to Him and to the word of God, the more exalted views we shall have of His character, and the more fully we shall reflect His image.” Steps to Christ, 65.


  • What basic point must we all realize about salvation? Luke 19:10; John 15:5; Psalms 44:6; 31:1.

Note: “It is impossible for us to save ourselves. …

“Christ longs to see His people resist the adversary of souls; but only by looking away from self to Jesus can we do this.” The Review and Herald, September 15, 1896.

“The moment you grasp God’s promises by faith, saying, I am the lost sheep Jesus came to save, a new life will take possession of you, and you will receive strength to resist the tempter. But faith to grasp the promises does not come by feeling. ‘Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God’ (Romans 10:17).” Ibid.

“Sinful man can find hope and righteousness only in God; and no human being is righteous any longer than he has faith in God and maintains a vital connection with Him.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 367.

  • What fundamental principle does God declare to all? Isaiah 43:11; 45:21.

Note: “Oh, what love! What amazing love! that brought the Son of God to earth to be made sin for us, that we might be reconciled to God, and elevated to a life with Him in His mansions in glory. And oh! what is man that such a price should be paid for his redemption?” The Signs of the Times, August 28, 1879.


1 What specifically can we not do for ourselves?

2 Why is our “best” apart from Christ not good enough?

3 Whom must we learn to distrust before we can trust Jesus completely?

4 What must we see prior to developing a deep-seated love for Christ?

5 How much are you worth to God?

Copyright © 2013 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – The Most Precious Message

October 5, 2014 – October 11, 2014

Key Text

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29.

Study Help: Steps to Christ, 71–75.


“As you empty the heart of self, you must accept the righteousness of Christ. Lay hold of it by faith; for you must have the mind and spirit of Christ, that you may work the works of Christ.” The Review and Herald, February 23, 1892.


  • What special truth was given over 100 years ago to prepare God’s people for holiness? Where did it originate? John 17:17; I Thessalonians 5:23.

Note: “The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people. … This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 91, 92.

“The present message—justification by faith—is a message from God; it bears the divine credentials, for its fruit is unto holiness.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 359.

  • What truth is essential for our time—and what was required that we might have hope? John 1:29; Romans 5:10; 8:34.


  • What truth should each of us individually take to heart—and in what perspective, especially in these last days? Matthew 1:21.

Note: “The third angel’s message calls for the presentation of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and this truth must be brought before the world; but the great center of attraction, Jesus Christ, must not be left out of the third angel’s message.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 383.

“Messages bearing the divine credentials have been sent to God’s people; the glory, the majesty, the righteousness of Christ, full of goodness and truth, have been presented; the fullness of the Godhead in Jesus Christ has been set forth among us with beauty and loveliness, to charm all whose hearts were not closed with prejudice.” The Review and Herald, May 27, 1890.

“The sweetest melodies that come from God through human lips—justification by faith, and the righteousness of Christ—do not call forth from them [many unrepentant church members] 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’ (Revelation 3:18) 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 does it mean to welcome Jesus into our heart as a heavenly Guest? Revelation 3:20. What happened when the message of Christ’s righteousness was brought before church leaders in 1888?

Note: “Some who greatly need the precious truth that was presented before them, we fear did not receive its benefit. They did not open the door of their hearts to welcome Jesus as a heavenly Guest, and they have suffered great loss. There is indeed a narrow way in which we must walk; the cross is presented at every step.” The Review and Herald, September 3, 1889.


  • What evidence reveals that God will not allow me to depend on others for my salvation? Ezekiel 14:20.

Note: “Character is not transferable. No man can believe for another. No man can receive the Spirit for another. No man can impart to another the character which is the fruit of the Spirit’s working.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 412.

“Let everyone who loves God consider that now while it is day is the time to work. … Now is the time for the careless to arouse from their slumber. Now is the time to entreat that souls shall not only hear the word of God, but without delay secure oil in their vessels with their lamps. That oil is the righteousness of Christ. It represents character, and character is not transferable. No man can secure it for another. Each must obtain for himself a character purified from every stain of sin.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 233, 234.

“It is impossible for one Christian to impart character to another soul.” That I May Know Him, 215.

  • How do we know that Jesus wants us to serve God with our own individuality? Can we drink the “water of life” for another? Matthew 22:37; John 7:37.

Note: “No one can serve God by proxy. There are so many who seem to think that there is someone in this world stronger than Christ, upon whom they can lean. And instead of coming right to Christ, just as they are, giving themselves unreservedly to Him, they reach out for human help. God wants us to have an individual experience. … I cannot work out a character for you, and you cannot work out a character for me.” Our High Calling, 90.

“The gospel deals with individuals. Every human being has a soul to save or to lose. Each has an individuality separate and distinct from all others. Each must be convicted for himself, converted for himself. He must receive the truth, repent, believe, and obey for himself. He must exercise his will for himself. No one can do this work by proxy. No one can submerge his individuality in another’s. Each must surrender to God by his own act and the mystery of godliness.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 423.


  • What deception were our people warned about in 1893 when the majority believed they were ready for heaven? How is this self-deception repeated today—and might we be affected? Isaiah 58:2–8; Revelation 3:15.

Note: “It is a solemn statement that I make to the church, that not one in twenty whose names are registered upon the church books are prepared to close their earthly history, and would be as verily without God and without hope in the world as the common sinner. They are professedly serving God, but they are more earnestly serving mammon. This half-and-half work is a constant denying of Christ, rather than a confessing of Christ. So many have brought into the church their own unsubdued spirit, unrefined; their spiritual taste is perverted by their own immoral, debasing corruptions, symbolizing the world in spirit, in heart, in purpose, confirming themselves in lustful practices, and are full of deception through and through in their professed Christian life. Living as sinners, claiming to be Christians!” Christian Service, 41.

  • What will happen to anyone who would spoil heaven by his or her character if he or she were ever allowed to enter there? Matthew 22:12–14.

Note: “In this life many have not entered into fellowship with Christ; therefore they know not the language of heaven, they are strangers to its joy. …

“Saddest of all words that ever fell on mortal ear are those words of doom, ‘I know you not’ (Matthew 25:12). The fellowship of the Spirit, which you have slighted, could alone make you one with the joyous throng at the marriage feast. In that scene you cannot participate. Its light would fall on blinded eyes, its melody upon deaf ears. Its love and joy could awake no chord of gladness in the world-benumbed heart. You are shut out from heaven by your own unfitness for its companionship.

“We cannot be ready to meet the Lord by waking when the cry is heard, ‘Behold, the Bridegroom’ (Matthew 25:6)! and then gathering up our empty lamps to have them replenished. We cannot keep Christ apart from our lives here, and yet be fitted for His companionship in heaven.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 413, 414.


  • How will the knowledge of salvation enlighten the whole world? Revelation 18:1; II Peter 3:12.

Note: “When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 69.

  • Name some good works that Jesus bids us to use in shining His light on our world. Matthew 5:16; 25:34–40.

Note: “We are to give food to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and shelter to the homeless. And we are called to do more than this. The wants of the soul, only the love of Christ can satisfy. If Christ is abiding in us, our hearts will be full of divine sympathy. The sealed fountains of earnest, Christlike love will be unsealed.

“God calls not only for our gifts for the needy, but for our cheerful countenance, our hopeful words, our kindly handclasp. …

“There are many from whom hope has departed. Bring back the sunshine to them. Many have lost their courage. Speak to them words of cheer. Pray for them. There are those who need the bread of life. Read to them from the word of God. Upon many is a soul sickness which no earthly balm can reach nor physician heal. Pray for these souls, bring them to Jesus. Tell them that there is a balm in Gilead.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 417, 418.


1 What vital message, given to God’s people over 100 years ago, welcomes Jesus into our hearts as a heavenly Guest?

2 Why is this message crucial to the world at this time?

3 Can we reach Heaven just because our parents or friends love Jesus?

4 How may I be in danger of missing Heaven through self-deception?

5 Will I ever enter Heaven if my character does not belong there?

Copyright © 2013 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Bible Study Guides – Uplifting the Savior

September 28, 2014 – October 4, 2014

Trusting in the Love of Jesus

Key Text

“Behold the man!” John 19:5.

Study Help: Steps to Christ, 9–15.


“The great center of attraction, Jesus Christ, must not be left out of the third angel’s message. By many who have been engaged in the work for this time, Christ has been made secondary, and theories and arguments have had first place.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 383.


  • What act on God’s part demonstrated at the same time both His love for our world and the cost of transgression? John 3:16, 17; II Corinthians 5:21.

Note: “The scheme of redemption far exceeds the comprehension of the human mind. The great condescension on the part of God is a mystery that is beyond our fathoming. The greatness of the plan cannot be fully comprehended, nor could infinite Wisdom devise a plan that would surpass it. …Through this plan the great, the dreadful God can be just, and yet be the justifier of all who believe in Jesus, and who receive Him as their personal Saviour.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1133.

  • What act of Jesus declared beyond doubt the infinite love that He has for each of us? John 15:13; Romans 5:6–8; Ephesians 2:13, 14.

Note: “Oh, wonderful condescension! The Majesty of heaven, through love and pity for fallen man, proposed to become his substitute and surety. He would bear man’s guilt. He would take the wrath of His Father upon Himself, which otherwise would have fallen upon man because of his disobedience.” The Review and Herald, February 24, 1874.


  • What titles in Scripture describe the beauty of Jesus’ character, and what effect will beholding this beauty, have upon us? Song of Solomon 2:1; 5:16; Haggai 2:7.

Note: “With untold love our God has loved us, and our love awakens toward Him as we comprehend something of the length and breadth and depth and height of this love that passeth knowledge. By the revelation of the attractive loveliness of Christ, by the knowledge of His love expressed to us while we were yet sinners, the stubborn heart is melted and subdued.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 76.

  • Why is it essential for us to keep our eyes focused on Jesus? Compare Numbers 21:8 with John 3:14. Hebrews 7:25.

Note: “Our faith must be an intelligent faith, looking unto Jesus in perfect confidence, in full and entire faith in the atoning Sacrifice. This is essential that the soul may not be enshrouded in darkness.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 256.

“The intercession of Christ in our behalf is that of presenting His divine merits in the offering of Himself to the Father as our substitute and surety; for He ascended up on high to make an atonement for our transgressions. …

“It is the righteousness of Christ that makes the penitent sinner acceptable to God and works his justification. However sinful has been his life, if he believes in Jesus as his personal Saviour, he stands before God in the spotless robes of Christ’s imputed righteousness.

“The sinner so recently dead in trespasses and sins is quickened by faith in Christ. He sees by faith that Jesus is his Saviour, and alive forevermore, able to save unto ‘the uttermost [all] that come unto God by Him’ (Hebrews 7:25). In the atonement made for him the believer sees such breadth and length and height and depth of efficiency—sees such completeness of salvation, purchased at such infinite cost, that his soul is filled with praise and thanksgiving. He sees as in a glass the glory of the Lord and is changed into the same image as by the Spirit of the Lord. He sees the robe of Christ’s righteousness, woven in the loom of heaven, wrought by His obedience, and imputed to the repenting soul through faith in His name.” Faith and Works, 105–107.


  • What does it mean for us to have an eye single to God’s glory? Luke 11:34; John 8:12.

Note: “What is it to have a single eye? It is to have a disposition to look upon Christ; for by beholding, we become changed from glory to glory, from character to character.” The Youth’s Instructor, September 14, 1893.

  • What specific knowledge does God use to bring light into our life? John 1:4, 9; II Corinthians 4:6.
  • How will beholding the light of God’s glory, as seen in the life of Jesus, help our growth in Him and our commitment to Him? II Corinthians 3:18.

Note: “If we gaze even a moment upon the sun in its meridian glory, when we turn away our eyes, the image of the sun will appear in everything upon which we look. Thus it is when we behold Jesus; everything we look upon reflects His image, the Sun of Righteousness. We cannot see anything else, or talk of anything else. His image is imprinted upon the eye of the soul, and affects every portion of our daily life, softening and subduing our whole nature. By beholding, we are conformed to the divine similitude, even the likeness of Christ. To all with whom we associate we reflect the bright and cheerful beams of His righteousness. …

“Jesus Christ is everything to us—the first, the last, the best in everything. Jesus Christ, His Spirit, His character, colors everything; it is the warp and the woof, the very texture of our entire being. The words of Christ are spirit and life. We cannot, then, center our thoughts upon self; it is no more we that live, but Christ that liveth in us, and He is the hope of glory. Self is dead, but Christ is a living Saviour. Continuing to look unto Jesus, we reflect His image to all around us. We cannot stop to consider our disappointments, or even to talk of them; for a more pleasant picture attracts our sight—the precious love of Jesus. He dwells in us by the word of truth.” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 388–390.


  • How did Jesus treat the great variety of human beings He encountered on this earth? Acts 10:38; Matthew 14:14; 15:32.

Note: “Never was there such an evangelist as Christ. He was the Majesty of heaven, but He humbled Himself to take our nature, that He might meet men where they were. To all people, rich and poor, free and bond, Christ, the Messenger of the covenant, brought the tidings of salvation. His fame as the Great Healer spread throughout Palestine. The sick came to the places through which He would pass, that they might call on Him for help. Hither, too, came many anxious to hear His words and to receive a touch of His hand. Thus He went from city to city, from town to town, preaching the gospel and healing the sick—the King of glory in the lowly garb of humanity.” The Ministry of Healing, 22.

  • Compare the way Jesus treated Judas and Peter? Matthew 16:23; John 13:27; 17:12.
  • What evidence do we have that He provided equal opportunities to both of these disciples—just as He does for each one of us? John 13:1, 5.

Note: “Jesus connected John, Peter, and Judas with Him in His work, making them co-laborers with Him; but at the same time they were to be constantly learning lessons of Christ. They were to gather from His divine teachings instructions which were to correct their wrong ideas and their erroneous views of what constitutes a Christian character. John and Peter were not perfect men, but they improved every opportunity to learn. Peter did not learn to distrust himself, to be jealous of himself, until he was overcome by the temptations of the devil and denied his Lord. Judas had the same opportunity that these disciples had to learn the lessons taught by Christ, but he did not appreciate their value. He was a hearer only and not a doer. The result was seen in his betrayal of his Lord.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 557.


  • Who are we as Christians to represent to the world, and how? Colossians 1:26, 27; I Peter 2:22, 23.

Note: “It is through the word that Christ abides in His followers. This is the same vital union that is represented by eating His flesh and drinking His blood. The words of Christ are spirit and life. Receiving them, you receive the life of the Vine. You live ‘by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God’ (Matthew 4:4). The life of Christ in you produces the same fruits as in Him. Living in Christ, adhering to Christ, supported by Christ, drawing nourishment from Christ, you bear fruit after the similitude of Christ.” The Desire of Ages, 677.

  • How is our Christian growth and maturity revealed in the way we treat our fellow humans? I Peter 3:8, 9; I John 4:7, 8; Hebrews 13:1–3.

Note: “When the attention is fastened on the cross of Christ, the whole being is ennobled. The knowledge of the Saviour’s love subdues the soul, and lifts the mind above the things of time and sense. Let us learn to estimate all temporal things in the light that shines from the cross. …

“In all true disciples this love, like sacred fire, burns on the altar of the heart. It was on the earth that the love of God was revealed through Jesus. It is on the earth that His children are to let this love shine out through blameless lives. Thus sinners will be led to the cross, to behold the Lamb of God.” The Review and Herald, May 6, 1902.


1 What emphasis should be given to the gospel today?

2 What are some meaningful examples of Christ’s love to men and women?

3 Why is the message of the love and life of Jesus important to me?

4 What does it mean to be a Christian?

5 How can I reflect Christ more fully to those around me?

Copyright © 2013 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Recipe – Potato Curry with Peas and Carrots

2 Tbpn olive oil

1 cup (or more as needed) water

1 Tbpn hot curry powder

1 tsp salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp ground coriander

2 large onions, thinly sliced

1 tspn turmeric

8 oz carrots, thinly sliced

1 ¾ cups frozen peas

4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch chunks

1 can coconut milk

In a large, heavy-bottomed skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. When hot, add the hot curry powder and stir it around for 30 seconds. Add the onions to the pan and saute’ until they are tender and slightly golden. Then add the carrots, potatoes, and minced garlic. Give it all a good stir, and add about a half-cup each of water and coconut milk. Stir in the turmeric, salts, and coriander. Reduce the heat to low and cover it. Check every so often to stir the pot and check the moisture level. When the moisture is almost all absorbed, add more coconut milk and water, in equal parts. Continue to cook, stir, and add liquid until the vegetables are very tender and the curry is nice and thick. At this point, taste it to check that the spice levels are where you like them. When you are there, stir in the peas and the rest of the coconut milk (and water if necessary), and cook it for another 3 minutes or so, until the peas are heated through and the curry thickens up again. Serve over brown rice. Makes 4 generous servings.

Helpful Hints: The coconut milk, while a delicious, rich and creamy addition, can be replaced with water or a flavorful broth, if desired.

Food – Spice it up

A spice is a dried seed, fruit, root, bark, or vegetable substance primarily used for flavoring, coloring or preserving food. Sometimes a spice is used to hide other flavors. Spices are distinguished from herbs, which are parts of leafy, green plants also used for flavoring or as garnish.

A spice may be available in several forms: fresh, whole dried, or pre-ground dried. Generally, spices are dried. A whole dried spice has the longest shelf life, so it can be purchased and stored in larger amounts, making it cheaper on a per-serving basis. Small seeds, such as fennel and mustard seeds, are often used both whole and in powder form.

The flavor of a spice is derived in part from compounds (volatile oils) that oxidize or evaporate when exposed to air. Grinding a spice greatly increases its surface area and so increases the rates of oxidation and evaporation. Thus, flavor is maximized by storing a spice whole and grinding when needed. The shelf life of a whole dry spice is roughly two years; of a ground spice roughly six months. The “flavor life” of a ground spice can be much shorter. Ground spices are better stored away from light.

To grind a whole spice, the classic tool is mortar and pestle. Less labor-intensive tools are more common now: a microplane or fine grater can be used to grind small amounts; a coffee grinder is useful for larger amounts.

As a general rule, the flavors from a spice take time to infuse into the food, so spices should be added early in preparation.

Vegan recipes often use more spice than conventional recipes, since spices are plant-based and a great way to add flavor to a non-meat dish. It can be tricky to cook a full range of recipes under strict limitations, but with a little creativity vegan food can be as delicious and satisfying as any other diet.

Children’s Story – The Little Lost Lamb

Judy did not know Bootsie was lost until she went upstairs to get ready for bed. Bootsie was Judy’s favorite doll. Bootsie was a fleecy, little lamb with soft, white wool all over. Every night for several years Judy had tucked Bootsie under the covers beside her and pulled his soft, little body against her cheek before she went to sleep. But tonight she couldn’t find him.

“Mother, have you seen Bootsie?” Judy called down the stairs. “Did you look under the bed?” her mother answered. “He must be somewhere in your room.” But they couldn’t find Bootsie anywhere.

“Judy,” said her mother, “you were up at Mrs. Garland’s house this afternoon playing with Ann. Did you have Bootsie with you?” “Oh, yes, Mother; I believe I did.” “Do you suppose you left Bootsie at Ann’s house?” her mother asked. Judy could not be sure, so her mother phoned Mrs. Garland.

“No,” said Mrs. Garland, “Judy did not leave Bootsie here. I remember distinctly that she had him in her arms as she started home. She also had two story books and her roller skates. It was quite an armful. Do you suppose she dropped him on the way home?”

“Judy,” said her mother, after she had finished talking with Mrs. Garland, “can’t you sleep with one of your other dolls tonight? We will see if we can find Bootsie in the morning.” Just then Judy heard the sound of rain on the roof, and the tears came to her eyes. “Oh, Mother,” she said, “if I lost Bootsie on the way home, then he’s out there in the rain. He’ll get cold and wet. Please let us go find him. I can’t go to sleep without my Bootsie.”

“If you love Bootsie that much, we will go try to find him.” A few minutes later, with raincoats, overshoes, umbrella, and flashlight, they started out in the rain to look for Bootsie. “Judy,” her mother said, “you try to remember exactly which way you walked home from Mrs. Garland’s.”

“I came the short way down the hill through Mrs. Garland’s back yard,” said Judy. So together they walked up the hill in the direction of Mrs. Garland’s house, toward her back yard. About halfway up, beside a rosebush, they found Bootsie. Judy all but cried for joy as she gathered her little lamb into her arms. Back home a few minutes later, she carefully wiped the cold rain from Bootsie with a towel, wrapped him in a nice, warm blanket, then tucked him under the cover in the bed beside her.

The Story of the Good Shepherd – Luke 15:1–7

In the time of Jesus there were many men who made their living by raising sheep.

There were no fences in the pastures, and good grazing land was scarce. Often a shepherd would have to tend his flock many miles away from his home to find grass for his sheep, and sometimes one might fall behind or wander away and be lost from the flock. Each night the sheep were kept in a place called a “fold” – a closed-in space where they would be safe from wolves and robbers.

One day Jesus told the following story to the people who had come together to hear Him teach.

There was once a shepherd who had a hundred sheep. One night as he brought them into the fold he missed one. Quickly he counted them again. Yes, there were only ninety-nine.

He started back to hunt for the lost sheep. It was a long journey back to the valley where the sheep had been grazing that afternoon and it was growing dark. Robbers and wild beasts might be lurking along the way. None of these things mattered to the shepherd. He was thinking only of his lost sheep. Could it have fallen into a pit? Perhaps its leg would be broken. He hoped and prayed that the wolves would not find it before he did.

Troubled by these thoughts, he hurried on. Ever so often he would pause, and over the hills his voice would roll, calling his sheep. At last an answer came, a pitiful bleat from the distance in front of him. The shepherd ran the rest of the way, guided by the bleating sounds that became clearer and clearer as he came closer. Yes, the lost sheep had fallen into a pit. Apart from a few scratches from the rocks and briars, it was unharmed.

Gently the shepherd lifted it to his shoulder. All the way back he carried it, his heart bursting with joy and gratitude because he had found it safe and sound. Back home he rubbed oil into the wounds made by the rocks and briars; then he put the rescued sheep into the fold with the others.

However before he went to bed that night, he called in his friends and neighbors to tell them what had happened. “It meant much to me to find my sheep,” he said, “that I wanted you to know about it and share my joy.

Jesus told this story as a lesson that God loves and cares for each one of us as this good shepherd loved and cared for his sheep.

Parables from Nature, by J. Calvin Reid.

Health – The Forgotten Sunflower Seed

When I was a little girl, I loved to chew on salted, roasted sunflower seeds. In fact, I would chew the whole thing, seeds and shells. Yes, I would choke every so often before I realized it is much easier to chew just the seed without the shell, even though it took a little longer having to first remove the shell. When I had children of my own, I found it amusing to watch my son also chew the whole thing, seed and all. I am sure we received some good roughage through it all! There are some really great benefits you can receive from the humble sunflower seed as its nutrient content is tremendous. The George Mateljan Organization, a not-for-profit foundation, published the following health information on this little seed:

Health Benefits

Looking for a health-promoting snack? A handful of sunflower seeds will take care of your hunger, while also enhancing your health by supplying significant amounts of vitamin E, magnesium and selenium.

Anti-Inflammatory and Cardiovascular Benefits from Sunflower Seeds’ Vitamin E

Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, the body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant. Vitamin E travels throughout the body neutralizing free radicals that would otherwise damage fat-containing structures and molecules, such as cell membranes, brain cells, and cholesterol. By protecting these cellular and molecular components, vitamin E has significant anti-inflammatory effects that result in the reduction of symptoms in asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis, conditions where free radicals and inflammation play a big role. Vitamin E has also been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer, help decrease the severity and frequency of hot flashes in women going through menopause, and help reduce the development of diabetic complications. …

Sunflower Seeds’ Phyto-sterols Lower Cholesterol

Phytosterols are compounds found in plants that have a chemical structure very similar to cholesterol, and when present in the diet in sufficient amounts, are believed to reduce blood levels of cholesterol, enhance the immune response and decrease risk of certain cancers.

Phytosterols’ beneficial effects are so dramatic that they have been extracted from soybean, corn, and pine tree oil and added to processed foods, such as “butter”-replacement spreads, which are then touted as cholesterol-lowering “foods.” But why settle for an imitation “butter” when Mother Nature’s nuts and seeds are a naturally rich source of phytosterols—and cardio-protective fiber, minerals and healthy fats as well?

In a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers published the amounts of phytosterols present in nuts and seeds commonly eaten in the United States.

Sesame seeds had the highest total phytosterol content (400-413 mg per 100 grams), and English walnuts and Brazil nuts the lowest (113 mg/100grams and 95 mg/100 grams). (100 grams is equivalent to 3.5 ounces.) Of the nuts and seeds typically consumed as snack foods, sunflower seeds and pistachios were richest in phytosterols (270-289 mg/100 g), followed by pumpkin seeds (265 mg/100 g).

Calm Your Nerves, Muscles and Blood Vessels with Sunflower Seeds’ Magnesium

Sunflower seeds are a good source of magnesium. Numerous studies have demonstrated that magnesium helps reduce the severity of asthma, lower high blood pressure, and prevent migraine headaches, as well as reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Magnesium is also necessary for healthy bones and energy production. About two-thirds of the magnesium in the human body is found in our bones. Some helps to give bones their physical structure, while the rest is found on the surface of the bone where it is stored for the body to draw upon as needed.

Magnesium counterbalances calcium, thus helping to regulate nerve and muscle tone. In many nerve cells, magnesium serves as nature’s own calcium channel blocker, preventing calcium from rushing into the nerve cell and activating the nerve. By blocking calcium’s entry, magnesium keeps our nerves (and the blood vessels and muscles they enervate) relaxed. If our diet provides us with too little magnesium, however, calcium can gain free entry, and the nerve cell can become over-activated, sending too many messages and causing excessive contraction. Insufficient magnesium can thus contribute to high blood pressure, muscle spasms (including spasms of the heart muscle or the spasms of the airways, symptomatic of asthma), and migraine headaches, as well as muscle cramps, tension, soreness and fatigue.

Improved Detoxification and Cancer Prevention from Sunflower Seeds’ Selenium

Sunflower seeds are also a good source of selenium, a trace mineral that is of fundamental importance to human health. Accumulated evidence from prospective studies, intervention trials and studies on animal models of cancer has suggested a strong inverse correlation between selenium intake and cancer incidence. Selenium has been shown to induce DNA repair and synthesis in damaged cells, to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells, and to induce their apoptosis, the self-destruct sequence the body uses to eliminate worn out or abnormal cells. …

Its selenium richness is another reason that sunflower seeds can make a good snack.


These good tasting, crunchy seeds are good for your body. There are many ways you can use the sunflower seed. One way would be to sprout the raw seed and increase its vitamin/mineral values. Just soak the seeds in a jar overnight or for about 8 hours. Cover the jar with a sprouting lid or piece of nylon so the water can easily be drained. Turn the jar on its side with a slant so any leftover moisture can drain. Rinse and drain a couple of times each day. After two days, you should see little sprouts appear. A good length to let them grow before eating is about ¼ to ½ inch so they do not become bitter. The sprouts can be eaten in salads, blended with your vegetable smoothies, or simply add chopped olives and your favorite salad dressing for a side dish or healthy snack and enjoy!

These seeds are God’s gift to you. They are a product straight from the beautiful sunflower which has bathed in the sunlight and absorbed all of its health promoting properties. Enjoy the health benefits from these simple little seeds.

Question & Answer – What does Circumcision represent? What does it have to do with today?

Part of the conditions of God’s covenant with Abraham required all males born to both him and his descendants to be circumcised on the eighth day. This was to serve as a constant reminder that they had been separated from other nations to be God’s special people.

“He then required of Abraham and his seed, circumcision, which was a circle cut in the flesh, as a token that God had cut them out and separated them from all nations as His peculiar treasure. By this sign they solemnly pledged themselves that they would not intermarry with other nations, for by so doing they would lose their reverence for God and His holy law, and would become like the idolatrous nations around them.” The Story of Redemption, 146, 147.

“By the act of circumcision they solemnly agreed to fulfill on their part the conditions of the covenant made with Abraham, to be separate from all nations and to be perfect. If the descendants of Abraham had kept separate from other nations, they would not have been seduced into idolatry. By keeping separate from other nations, a great temptation to engage in their sinful practices and rebel against God would be removed from them. They lost in a great measure their peculiar, holy character by mingling with the nations around them. To punish them, the Lord brought a famine upon their land, which compelled them to go down into Egypt to preserve their lives. But God did not forsake them while they were in Egypt, because of His covenant with Abraham. He suffered them to be oppressed by the Egyptians, that they might turn to Him in their distress, choose His righteous and merciful government, and obey His requirements.” Ibid.

Though God’s covenant with Abraham remains the same today and physical circumcision is no longer required as an act of separation for God’s people, the symbol represents a circumcision of the heart. Sin is to be cut away, eradicated from the life. When God circumcises our hearts, He gives to us a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26, 27). He puts His Holy Spirit within us so that we will walk in His ways and not in the ways of the world. With a new heart we are born again. We are His people, sojourners in this world, looking forward to the heavenly kingdom and the mansions that He has gone to prepare for us (John 14:2, 3).

Circumcision is an outward sign of an inward attitude and commitment. “Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, circumcise your hearts, you people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem.” Jeremiah 4:4 NIV.

Inspiration – How to Defeat Satan

What are the issues in this great struggle between good and evil? Why has Satan been so successful in confusing so many people? How can we deal with our doubts and overcome them?

The great controversy between Christ and Satan, that has been carried forward for nearly six thousand years, is soon to close; and the wicked one redoubles his efforts to defeat the work of Christ in man’s behalf and to fasten souls in his snares. To hold the people in darkness and impenitence till the Saviour’s mediation is ended, and there is no longer a sacrifice for sin, is the object which he seeks to accomplish.

When there is no special effort made to resist his power, when indifference prevails in the church and the world, Satan is not concerned; for he is in no danger of losing those whom he is leading captive at his will. But when the attention is called to eternal things, and souls are inquiring, “What must I do to be saved (Acts 16:30)?” he is on the ground, seeking to match his power against the power of Christ and to counteract the influence of the Holy Spirit.

The Scriptures declare that upon one occasion, when the angels of God came to present themselves before the Lord, Satan came also among them (Job 1:6), not to bow before the Eternal King, but to further his own malicious designs against the righteous. With the same object he is in attendance when men assemble for the worship of God. Though hidden from sight, he is working with all diligence to control the minds of the worshipers. Like a skillful general he lays his plans beforehand. As he sees the messenger of God searching the Scriptures, he takes note of the subject to be presented to the people. Then he employs all his cunning and shrewdness so to control circumstances that the message may not reach those whom he is deceiving on that very point. The one who most needs the warning will be urged into some business transaction which requires his presence, or will by some other means be prevented from hearing the words that might prove to him a savor of life unto life.

Danger in Neglecting Bible Study and Prayer

Again, Satan sees the Lord’s servants burdened because of the spiritual darkness that enshrouds the people. He hears their earnest prayers for divine grace and power to break the spell of indifference, carelessness, and indolence. Then with renewed zeal he plies his arts. He tempts men to the indulgence of appetite or to some other form of self-gratification, and thus benumbs their sensibilities so that they fail to hear the very things which they most need to learn.

Satan well knows that all whom he can lead to neglect prayer and the searching of the Scriptures, will be overcome by his attacks. Therefore he invents every possible device to engross the mind. There has ever been a class professing godliness, who, instead of following on to know the truth, make it their religion to seek some fault of character or error of faith in those with whom they do not agree. Such are Satan’s right-hand helpers. Accusers of the brethren are not few, and they are always active when God is at work and His servants are rendering Him true homage. They will put a false coloring upon the words and acts of those who love and obey the truth. They will represent the most earnest, zealous, self-denying servants of Christ as deceived or deceivers. It is their work to misrepresent the motives of every true and noble deed, to circulate insinuations, and arouse suspicion in the minds of the inexperienced. In every conceivable manner they will seek to cause that which is pure and righteous to be regarded as foul and deceptive.

But none need be deceived concerning them. It may be readily seen whose children they are, whose example they follow, and whose work they do. “Ye shall know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:16).” Their course resembles that of Satan, the envenomed slanderer, “the accuser of our brethren (Revelation 12:10).”

Darkness Before Dawn, 5–7.