Story – Missing Grandpa

Rebecca loved her grandpa! How many of you have to travel quite a ways to see your grandma and grandpa? And some of you can only go to visit them for a vacation or for Christmas? Well, Rebecca was fortunate because her grandma and grandpa lived in the same town she did. In fact, the school bus dropped her off at their house after school every day to wait until her mom got off work and picked her up.

The best thing about Grandpa was he had time. Grandma was often busy preparing dinner, doing church work, or tidying up the house. But Grandpa would always put down whatever he was doing when she arrived, pour her a big glass of lemonade, and just look her in the eye and listen to whatever she had to tell him about her day. Then some days they worked on the big puzzle they were putting together, some days they washed the car, some days they went to the library and then curled up to read, some days they ran errands, whatever, Grandpa was always there.

One morning Mother told Rebecca that she would not be going to Grandpa and Grandma’s after school. Grandpa wasn’t feeling well, she said. He was going to see the doctor. Rebecca was sorry Grandpa was sick, but she wasn’t too concerned. She got sick sometimes, but with a day or two in bed or perhaps a quick trip to the doctor, she was all right. She never even thought about how she would feel if Grandpa didn’t get better. Well, Grandpa did get better, for a while, but soon there were many days when Rebecca couldn’t go to Grandma and Grandpa’s after school, because Grandpa just needed to rest.

One afternoon, just before school let out for the day, the teacher called Rebecca to the door of the classroom. Standing just outside, she saw her pastor waiting. The teacher said that Mother had called and told her that the pastor was going to pick Rebecca up after school and take her home. Rebecca thought this was strange, but since her mother had called the teacher, she thought everything was okay. Rebecca liked the pastor, and they talked all the way home. But when they arrived, Rebecca saw several cars parked in the driveway. There was Grandma’s car, and Aunt Suzie’s car, and Daddy’s car. What were all these people doing over in the middle of the afternoon, Rebecca wondered. When she went into the house, she met Mother in the hall. Her eyes were red like she had been crying. She put her arm around Rebecca and pulled her close. “You know that Grandpa has been very sick,” she said. “Well, today his heart just couldn’t pump any more blood so it stopped. Grandpa died this afternoon. He will sleep now until Jesus comes to wake him up. Then we will all go to heaven together.”

Then Rebecca began to cry, too. She knew Grandpa loved Jesus, and she knew that she loved Jesus, so she was sure they would be together in heaven. But she still felt sad about not having Grandpa with her right now. Who would have time for her every day after school? Mother said it was all right to cry. It was all right to miss Grandpa now. Someone in everybody’s family dies sooner or later, because death is a very sad part of living in a sinful world. But Rebecca was sure glad for Jesus.

Now she was beginning to understand more about why He came to die on the cross. The pastor said at Grandpa’s funeral that Jesus died so that everyone who dies but who loves Him will only sleep for a short time until Jesus wakes them up.

Some of you may know how Rebecca was feeling. Maybe someone close to you has died. Aren’t you glad for Jesus, too? Jesus is always with us when we feel sad. When we cry, the Bible says Jesus cries, too. That’s because He loves us so much. He came here to be with us because He wanted to share in our troubles. And now He is making preparation to come again so that everything that makes us sad will be wiped away, and everything will be made new. I’m looking forward to that day, aren’t you?

Adventist Family Ministries, By Karen Flowers.

How to Be Among the 144,000, Part I

In this article, I want to look at how we can be among the 144,000. This is a very important topic for us to study because inspiration has told us that we should “strive with all the power that God has given us to be among the hundred and forty-four thousand.” Review and Herald, March 9, 1905. Learning how we can be among this special group requires more than simply learning facts, we must ask for the Holy Spirit’s blessing on us if we are to truly grasp these vital truths.

I first want to consider these questions: Is there anything that we can do to be among the 144,000? What makes the 144,000 ready so that they can be translated when Jesus comes? (Only two people in all of earth’s six-thousand-year history have ever been translated. Our God in His wonderful mercy offers us a gift that even Jesus did not have, because He loved us so much that He died in our place. What a privilege to be living in this day and age.)

We will next search for answers to these questions: Are the characters of the 144,000 a gift from God or must their characters be developed? Does it come at a certain time, called the Sealing? Could this type of character development have happened before 1844, or is it reserved for a special group right at the end?

I would like to propose the idea (and we will study what the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy have to say about it) that the 144,000 go through a unique experience that no one else has gone through except Jesus. The character that they develop, however, is the character that God has wanted every Christian to develop throughout all of earth’s history. It is a character that all should have developed and that many did develop. The character of the 144,000 is not supposed to be unique.

In Hebrews 7, Paul wrote about Christ our High Priest. He said: “Therefore, He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him since He ever lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25. It has always been Christ’s ministry to save to the uttermost (there is nothing beyond the uttermost) all who come to God through Him. God has ever wanted His people to develop a pure character. John wrote: “And every one who has this hope in him purifies himself just as He [Jesus] is pure.” 1 John 3:3.

It is impossible to be more pure than Jesus, and God wants everyone to have a purity that is like the purity of Jesus. That is good news! We can develop pure characters through Jesus Christ.

Why is it so important for us to understand this? Sister White gives us the answer: “Those who would be saints in heaven must first be saints upon the earth; for when we leave this earth, we shall take our character with us, and this will be simply taking with us some of the elements of heaven imparted to us through the righteousness of Christ.” The Review and Herald, August 19, 1890.

Is it only the 144,000 who take their characters with them to heaven? No, all “who would be saints in heaven must first be saints on earth.” The process of developing a pure character is not something that we are to wait to do for some time in the future. It is something that we are to engage in today, by the power that God has given us.

Power to Develop Christ-like Characters

What is this power? Can it help us to develop perfect characters like Christ’s? Or did Jesus have some special powers above and beyond what is available to us? The Desire of Ages, 664 says: “Jesus revealed no qualities and exercised no powers that man may not have through faith in Him. His perfect humanity is that which all His followers may possess.”

All the power that was available to Christ is available to each and every one of us, in order that we might develop pure characters like His. Every one since Adam, who has grown to maturity, could have developed that character. God has given us the privilege and ability today to develop that character, just as He did the people in all ages.

I believe there is a special work that is to be done after 1844. I believe with all my heart in the sealing. But there is a danger in any theology that teaches that there are some special powers for the development of character to be given in the future. This type of theology is a temptation to many to wait until “that time” for the character to be developed.

We have the only power today that will ever be given to us for character development. And this short life is the only day we will ever have for this work. Character cannot be given to someone—it must be developed. Character comes because of the free gift of God’s power that is given to us day by day, but it is something that must be developed. It is the work of a lifetime.

The 144,000 will go through a unique experience similar to what Christ endured in the Garden of Gethsemane. But Jesus’ character was developed before He came to the Garden of Gethesemane or He would never have been able to go through that experience.

Anyone who is waiting for some time in the future for their character to be developed, so that they can go through the time of trouble, will be sadly disappointed. It will never happen. They will be unprepared and they will not receive the latter rain, for it only falls on those who have purified their souls “from every defilement.” (Evangelism, 702.)

Three Theological Views

There are three views of theology that affect how we prepare for Jesus’ Second Coming. All three of these views are found in Christendom as well as in the Adventist Church.

The first major theological belief is that Jesus came in Adam’s unfallen nature. Those who believe this generally tend to say that Jesus was born with a different nature than we have, so therefore, we cannot overcome. And, since we cannot overcome, we do not have to overcome. We can just go on enjoying our life of sin, and as long as we believe in Jesus, we will be saved. But the Bible refutes these falsehoods. It says that only those who overcome as Jesus overcame will sit with Him on His throne. (See Revelation 3:21.)

There are many sincere people who believe each of these theologies. But sincerity does not change the effects of one’s belief. For many years people sincerely smoked cigarettes thinking that it was going to clear up their bronchitis. (It was prescribed for them by the doctors back at the turn of the century.) But their belief did not change the fact that many of them developed lung cancer. They may not have been held accountable, but it affected their life on earth. What we believe affects our salvation, and that is the reason why God would have us study and learn what is truth.

There is another group of people who also believe that Jesus came down in a human nature far different than we have. But they believe that although Jesus’ nature was different than ours, we must still live a life like He lived. They do not wish to throw out the verses in the Bible or the statements in the Spirit of Prophecy that say we must overcome, so they teach that we must live a life like Jesus, but that we have to be given the same unfallen nature that Jesus had in order to do this. This is called the Holy Flesh doctrine. It comes in many forms and species, but the essence of this doctrine is that God must come down and do the overcoming for us, because we cannot overcome anything in our fallen nature. It goes like this: as long as we “get out of the driver’s seat” and allow God to be the driver, and we do not get back in, God will drive us all the way through the pearly gates. As long as we spend some time with God every day, He will take care of the rest and He will overcome the sins in us, just the same as He did for Jesus who never really had any temptations!

I have talked to many Adventist preachers and others who believe this and they say, “Jesus was tempted in all points like we are, but He was never tempted to sin.” Now that sounds strange to some of us, but they say: “You see, we will never be tempted to sin once we have the true conversion experience. Jesus’ only temptation was to try to get back into the driver’s seat and drive the vehicle Himself instead of letting His Father drive it for Him. He was never tempted to be proud or selfish.”

This theology, like the first, makes salvation a very easy path. In fact, some would say that it is easy to be saved and difficult to be lost. This is nothing but a lie of the devil. There is nothing in the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy to support such a false teaching. Every one can be saved, just like Jesus was saved, but it is not an easy path. Inspiration tells us: “The gaining of eternal life is no easy thing. By living faith we are to keep on reaching forward, ascending the ladder round by round, seeing and taking the necessary steps; and yet we must understand that not one holy thought, not one unselfish act, can be originated in self . . . All warfare is useless unless Christ’s power is combined with human effort.” The Review and Herald, November 11, 1890.

God’s inspired word is clear that it is a combination of Christ’s power and human effort that is the secret of successful Christian living. Either without the other is useless. Any theology that teaches human works without the power of God is an incomplete theology. It cannot save. And any theology that teaches the power of God to save souls without the cooperative effort of the individual, is also an incomplete theology. Jesus came down to unite humanity with divinity. With this combination of divine power and human effort, all victory is possible. (See Counsels on Diets and Foods, 153.)

We have looked at two theologies; both are “easy” theologies. One teaches that we do not have to overcome because we can continue to sin. The other asserts that we do not have to overcome because Jesus will do it all for us.

There is a third theology and it is not as popular because it is not so easy. This theology teaches that Jesus came down in our sinful, fallen nature. In that nature, He had to crucify the lusts of the flesh day by day. With that nature, He developed a character without a taint of sin. While Christ was not “a man with the propensities of sin” He did feel “all the strength of unholy passions and perverted appetites within His nature.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 112; Confrontation, 36. Yet, as He combined His human effort with the power of the Father, He gained the victory so that not even by a thought did He yield to the power of sin. He developed a perfect character within a fallen nature. That is the gospel. And it is the example that can be followed by everyone who is willing to be in subjection to God, as He was, and to follow the bloodstained path that He trod. We had no choice but to be born with a fallen nature, but by following His example we can overcome just as He overcame.

We can develop the same perfect character that Jesus had, but we will never look at ourselves as perfect because as we look at ourselves, we will see only that sinful fallen nature that has to be crucified day by day. The closer we come to the Lord, the worse we will appear in our own sight. And if anybody asks us about our righteousness, we will say, “I do not have any. I have to crucify my will every day. The only righteousness I have is Christ living within me.”


Bible Study Guides – “SINCE BY MAN CAME DEATH…”

August 14, 1999 – August 20, 1999

MEMORY VERSE: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” Romans 5:12.

STUDY HELP: Patriarchs and Prophets, 52–62.


“There is a constant effort made to explain the work of creation as the result of natural causes; and human reasoning is accepted even by professed Christians, in opposition to plain Scripture facts. There are many who oppose the investigation of the prophecies, especially those of Daniel and the Revelation, declaring them to be so obscure that we cannot understand them; yet these very persons eagerly receive the suppositions of geologists, in contradiction of the Mosaic record. But if that which God has revealed is so difficult to understand, how inconsistent it is to accept mere suppositions in regard to that which he has not revealed!” Patriarchs and Prophets, 113.


  1. How does Paul clearly state the origin of death? Romans 5:12.

NOTE: Theistic evolutionists believe that God used evolution to bring about the world as we know it. They believe that He began with the Big Bang, then gradually formed galaxies, stars and planets like our earth. Then He created life (or allowed it to evolve from chemicals) and endowed that life with the capacity to progress upwards from amoeba to man. They believe that the “days” of Genesis 1 were long periods of time. To accommodate these theories, they accept that death and bloodshed took place long before Adam (if he existed at all).

“When this earth was created by Christ, it was holy and beautiful. God pronounced it ‘very good.’ Every flower, every shrub, every tree, answered the purpose of its Creator. Everything upon which the eye rested was lovely, and filled the mind with thoughts of love for the Creator. Every sound was music, in perfect harmony with the voice of God. But a change has come. Sin has brought decay, deformity, death. Today, the whole world is tainted, corrupted, stricken with a mortal disease. The earth groans under the continual transgression of the inhabitants thereof. Human beings have degenerated. One after another they fall under the curse, because sin has entered the world, and death by sin.” Signs of the Times, June 27, 1900.

  1. How is the relationship between sin and death explained? Romans 6:23.

NOTE: “The vials of God’s wrath shall be poured out upon them [sinners]. Black despair, like the pall of death, will gather about their guilty souls, and then they will realize to the fullest extent the sinfulness of sin. Salvation has been purchased for them by the suffering and death of the Son of God. It might be theirs, if they would accept of it willingly, gladly; but none are compelled to yield obedience to the law of God. If they refuse the heavenly benefit and choose the pleasures and deceitfulness of sin, they have their choice, and at the end receive their wages, which is the wrath of God and eternal death. They will be forever separated from the presence of Jesus, whose sacrifice they had despised. They will have lost a life of happiness and sacrificed eternal glory for the pleasures of sin for a season.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 210.


  1. How did Jesus express God’s love for the animal creation? Luke 12:6.

NOTE: Theistic evolutionists contend that disease, suffering and death must have existed for millions of years in the animal creation before the emergence of man.

“Think of it, not one of these little brown sparrows that are carolling forth their praises to God will fall to the ground without the notice of the heavenly Father. Not one of these little brown sparrows that the boys so ruthlessly kill, drops to the ground but His eye marks its fall. ‘But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.’ If God cares for a sparrow that has no soul, how will He care for the purchase of the blood of Christ? One soul is worth more than all the world. For one soul Jesus would have passed through the agony of Calvary that that one might be saved in His kingdom. ‘Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.’” Review and Herald, May 3, 1892.

  1. How did Jesus further explain God’s care for His creation? Matthew 6:26–30.

NOTE: “God, who created man, made the animals, also. They were to minister to man’s comfort and happiness, to serve him, and to be controlled by him. But this power was not to be used to cause pain by harsh punishment or cruel exaction. Yet some are as reckless and unfeeling toward their faithful animals as though the poor brutes had not flesh and nerve that can quiver with pain. Many do not think that their cruelty will ever be known, because the poor dumb beasts cannot reveal it. But could the eyes of these men be opened, as were the eyes of Balaam, they would see an angel of God standing as a witness to testify against them in the courts above. A record goes up to Heaven, and a day is coming when judgment will be pronounced against men who make themselves demons by their dealings with God’s creatures. If animals could speak, what deeds of horror would be revealed—what tales of suffering, because of the perversity of man’s temper! How often those creatures of God’s care suffer pain, endure hunger and thirst, because they cannot make known their wants. And how often is it determined by the mercy or the caprice of man, whether they receive attention and kindness, or neglect and abuse. Punishment given in passion to an animal is frequently excessive, and is then absolute cruelty. Animals have a kind of dignity and self-respect, akin to that possessed by human beings.” Signs of the Times, November 25, 1880.


  1. What was to be man’s original role with regard to the animal creation? Genesis 1:26, 28.

NOTE: “He was placed, as God’s representative, over the lower orders of being. They cannot understand or acknowledge the sovereignty of God, yet they were made capable of loving and serving man. The psalmist says, ‘Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of Thy hands; Thou hast put all things under his feet:…the beasts of the field; the fowl of the air,…and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas.’ Psalm 8:6–8.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 45.

  1. How did the creation share in Adam’s fall? Romans 8:22.

NOTE: “In drooping flower and falling leaf Adam and his companion witnessed the first signs of decay. Vividly was brought to their minds the stern fact that every living thing must die. Even the air, upon which their life depended, bore the seeds of death. Continually they were reminded also of their lost dominion. Among the lower creatures Adam had stood as king, and so long as he remained loyal to God, all nature acknowledged his rule; but when he transgressed, this dominion was forfeited. The spirit of rebellion, to which he himself had given entrance, extended throughout the animal creation. Thus not only the life of man, but the nature of the beasts, the trees of the forest, the grass of the field, the very air he breathed, all told the sad lesson of the knowledge of evil.” Education, 26, 27.


  1. How did God describe the changed relationship between man and the animal creation? Genesis 9:2.

NOTE: “As Noah looked upon the powerful beasts of prey that came forth with him from the ark, he feared that his family, numbering only eight persons, would be destroyed by them. But the Lord sent an angel to His servant with the assuring message: ‘The fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.’” Patriarchs and Prophets, 107.

  1. What change in man’s diet was necessitated by the Flood? Genesis 9:3, 4.

NOTE: “Previous to this time God had given man no permission to eat animal food. But every living substance upon the face of the earth upon which man could subsist had been destroyed; therefore God gave Noah permission to eat of the clean beasts which he had taken with him into the ark. God said to Noah, ‘Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you, even as the green herb have I given you all things.’ God had formerly given them the herb of the ground.” Signs of the Times, March 6 1879.


  1. Who was the first human being to be released from the bonds of death? Jude 9; Matthew 17:1–3; Romans 5:14.

NOTE: “Had not the life of Moses been marred with that one sin, in failing to give God the glory of bringing water from the rock at Kadesh, he would have entered the Promised Land, and would have been translated to heaven without seeing death. But he was not long to remain in the tomb. Christ Himself, with the angels who had buried Moses, came down from heaven to call forth the sleeping saint. Satan had exulted at his success in causing Moses to sin against God, and thus come under the dominion of death. The great adversary declared that the divine sentence—“Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (Genesis 3:19)—gave him possession of the dead. The power of the grave had never been broken, and all who were in the tomb he claimed as his captives, never to be released from his dark prison house. For the first time Christ was about to give life to the dead . . . In consequence of sin Moses had come under the power of Satan. In his own merits he was death’s lawful captive; but he was raised to immortal life, holding his title in the name of the Redeemer. Moses came forth from the tomb glorified, and ascended with his Deliverer to the City of God.’” Patriarchs and Prophets, 478, 479.

  1. What other human beings have already been raised to eternal life or translated without seeing death? Genesis 5:24; (Hebrews 11:5); 2 Kings 2:11; (Matthew 17:1–3); Matthew 27:52, 53, (Ephesians 4:8 margin).

NOTE: “Enoch was a representative of Christ as surely as was the beloved disciple John. Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. To him was committed the message of the Second Coming of Christ. ‘And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, “Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment upon all.” Jude 14, 15. The message preached by Enoch and his translation to heaven were a convincing argument to all who lived in his time. These things were an argument that Methuselah and Noah could use with power to show that the righteous could be translated. That God who walked with Enoch was our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. He was the light of the world then just as He is now. Those who lived then were not without teachers to instruct them in the path of life; for Noah and Enoch were Christians.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 392.


  1. Although the wages of sin is death, what is offered to mankind through Jesus? Romans 6:23.

NOTE: “The Saviour of the world offers to the erring the gift of eternal life. He watches for a response to His offers of love and forgiveness with a more tender compassion than that which moves the heart of an earthly parent to forgive a wayward, repenting, suffering son. He cries after the wanderer: ‘Return unto Me, and I will return unto you.’” Testimonies, vol. 4, 207, 208.

  1. What will determine whether we receive the gift of eternal life? Romans 2:6–9.

NOTE: “Said the angel: ‘Will ye have Christ, or the world?’ Satan presents the world with its most alluring, flattering charms to poor mortals, and they gaze upon it, and its glitter and tinsel eclipse the glory of heaven and that life which is as enduring as the throne of God. A life of peace, happiness, joy unspeakable, which shall know nothing of sorrow, sadness, pain, nor death, is sacrificed for a short lifetime of sin. All who will turn from the pleasures of earth, and with Moses choose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of the world, will, with faithful Moses, receive the unfading crown of immortality and the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 101.

The Endurance Race

When I was in school, I ran in track. There were a number of different events that you could run. There was the one hundred-meter dash, the two hundred-meter dash and the four hundred-meter dash—but I did not run any of those. The event that I ran was the 1600-meter or the one-mile race. When the gun was shot, signaling everyone to start, the runners would begin dispersing. Some would get a head start, but it did not matter who started first, it mattered who finished. And many did not finish.

In the 1600-meter race, you have to go around the track four times. After the first lap you would already be exhausted. Your heart would be pounding, your legs would be aching, your chest would be burning and every muscle was yelling to “Give Up”! You wanted nothing more than to sit down beside the track and rest, but you knew that if you sat down and did not finish the race all of the effort you had put into running the race would be wasted.

And so the Christian journey is a race. It is not a walk. It is not a stroll in the park. It is not even a one hundred-meter race. It is the endurance race. Paul wrote about this in Hebrews 12:1.

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

Paul is saying, “Look, we are surrounded by a great crowd of spectators, so let us lay aside the sins which so easily entangle us, and let us run the race, and let us not just run it, but let us run it with endurance.” We cannot run just half-way around the track. And we are not running the one-hundred meter dash, we are in an endurance race.

Unfortunately, today, there are many who begin to run, but do not run with endurance. In this article, we will study how we can run with endurance.

The Devil’s Traps

In the great controversy that is being waged over each soul, the devil’s mission is to see that you and I, and the rest of the world, are not saved and do not finish the endurance race. He has many traps in which he tries to entangle men. He first works to prevent them from starting the race, and he is successful with almost the entire world. He leads men and women to think that there are just too many trials and obstacles to follow the Lord all of the way, and allures them with the pleasures of sin so that they never even start the race.

However, some do begin the race. All who profess Christianity have started to run the race. To these, the devil comes with many temptations to try to make them give up and not run with endurance. He tries to overwhelm them by bringing to mind the trials and hardships that may be in the way.

It is like when you are running a literal race. Your heart is pounding as hard as it has ever pounded, because you are giving it everything you have. Your mouth, throat and lungs burn with every heaving breath. Your legs feel like there are no muscles there and you are just going through the motions. And if you start to think about those things, you are going to give up and you will not make it to the finish line. If you are going to run with endurance, you cannot think about the pain that you may be going through, you must focus on reaching the finish line.

For those who may have been running the race for a longer time, the devil brings a more subtle temptation. He points to the problems within the church, and he says, “Look at all of the problems even among those who claim to be God’s remnant people. It is no use. You might as well give up now.”

Then there are other times that he comes even more deceptively. He does not ask us to give up everything. We may continue to come to church and profess to be Christ’s child, but he persuades us to stop running. He tempts us with self-confidence or discouragement so that we stop advancing in our Christian walk. You cannot win a race by standing still. And so we are not going to win the Christian race if we are not advancing. We may think, “Well, everything is all right.” But if we are not gaining new heights every day, we are not truly running the race.

The Christian’s life can be compared to a plant. It is either growing or it is dying. The minute a tree stops sending its roots out farther and farther to find nourishment, it begins to decay. And if we stop growing we have actually given up and are not running with endurance.

Ye Have Need of Endurance

If we are going to finish the race and make it successfully to the end of our Christian journey, we must run, but not just run, we must run with endurance. Paul spoke of this again in Hebrews 10:35–37:

“Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: ‘For yet a little while, And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.’”

Paul says, once you have begun, do not give up. We must develop endurance which will allow us to stand through the difficult times which are ahead. We need an endurance that will take us all the way to the end. Because, if we do not have endurance and we give up, even just two steps before the finish line, all of the sweat and strain we have put into the race will be in vain.

When I was running, there were times when an individual would get a head start. He would be ahead of everyone else and still running strong. It appeared as though he was certain to win. But if he stopped, just ten feet before the finish line, he would not win any prize. He did not endure until the end. It is not speed that we need. It is not important where we are in comparison to our brothers and sisters who are running the race (we are not racing against one another). What is important is that we finish the race, and everyone who finishes this race is going to be a winner. There will not be a first or a second place. All who have endurance and finish the race will win the prize.

Why does Paul say endurance is so much needed now? Because Jesus is coming soon! “He who is coming will come and will not tarry,” is God’s promise. And the goal of each one of us is to be ready when Jesus comes and hear His voice say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of thy Lord.” We cannot afford to give up now: the stakes are much too high!

Today, as the closing scenes of earth’s history are unfolding before us, and we know that we are living in the very last days, now, as never before, we especially need endurance. For it is at the end of a race when endurance is most needed.

When you are near the very end of the race, and you only have about a quarter of a lap to go, that is the most difficult time. Yes, you are near the end, but you still have to press through when the pain is the absolute worst. And so, right now, we do not know how soon Jesus is going to come, but we know that we are very near His coming, and we need endurance as at no other time.

How to Endure

In Paul’s letter to the Hebrews, he does not leave us with only the truth that we must run with endurance (for we must if we are to win the race). But he tells us how we can run with endurance. “And let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1, 2.

There is only one way we can run the endurance race successfully and it can be summarized into this one phrase, “Looking unto Jesus.” If we have our eyes fixed on Jesus and we are following the example of His overcoming life, we are going to endure until the end. However, if our eyes are not riveted on Jesus, no matter our profession, we will not endure to the end.

It is the same as a race. From the second the starting shot is fired until you cross the finish line, you must focus on one thing. There is not room in your mind for many different things when you are running. Your focus must be on one thing, and one thing only: reaching the finish line. When you are half-way through the first lap, you are thinking “In three and a half laps I am going to make it to the finish line.” And then it is three laps, and then two, and each step leads you closer to the finish line. You cannot think about those behind you or you might slow down and you cannot think of those in front of you because you might speed up and not be able to endure to the end of the race. If you think about your pounding chest, or your aching muscles, you will give up. The only way to endure is to have your eyes and your mind focused on the finish line. And it is the same in our Christian race.

If our eyes are focused on anything other than Jesus we are not going to endure to the end. We may profess to run, or we may be able to make it part of the way, but if our eyes are not firmly riveted on Jesus, the center of our faith, if our thoughts and affections are not focused on Him and what He has done, we will not be able to endure the trials that encompass us. Somewhere, along the path, we will give up.

Jesus tried to illustrate this important lesson to Peter in an experience that is recorded in Matthew 14. The story begins after Jesus fed the five thousand. There was a great tumult among the people who were determined that they were going to take Jesus by force and make Him their king. Anticipation was thick in the air as excited voices repeated the many wonderful things that could happen to their nation if Jesus was their King. “Here is One who can feed all of our armies and heal all the wounded. We would never need to lose a man. We would be able to conquer all of the world. We must make Him our king!”

This was the moment the disciples had been waiting for. They had long dreamed of being rulers of the people, respected by all, instead of the poor followers of a reviled teacher from Nazareth. They mingled with the crowd urging on the excited company.

And then, right as the multitude was rushing forward, ready to take Jesus by force, Jesus, in commanding tones, dismissed the assembly. He told the disciples to get in the boat and to go to the other side of the sea. It was perhaps the hardest command from their Master that they had ever had to obey, but He spoke with authority that could not be disobeyed.

As they sailed on the peaceful sea, their minds were in turmoil. Their thoughts were not on Jesus and the miracle of mercy that He had performed that day. Instead, they were thinking about what could have been, and doubts began to fill their minds with discontent. At first they did not notice the storm clouds gathering in the sky, but it was not long until the sea changed from peaceful ripples, to raging waves. They fought to keep their boat adrift, but soon it was evident that they were losing the battle against the mighty sea. By about three in the morning, they were exhausted and ready to give up. It was then that they saw a figure coming across the billowing waves toward them, and they were very afraid. Amidst their cries of terror, Jesus said, “It is I, be not afraid.”

“And Peter answered Him and said, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ So He said, ‘Come.’ And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, ‘Lord, save me!’” Matthew 14:28–31.

As long as Peter’s eyes were centered on Jesus he was safe, but when he turned his attention to the wind and the waves that were breaking around his feet, fear overtook him and he began to sink.

Jesus has bidden to each one of us, as He did Peter, “Come.” And as long as we keep our eyes fixed on Him, the author and finisher of our faith, we are safe. But the minute we take our eyes off Him, to look to circumstances, to those around us or to the trials that we worry are ahead, we begin to sink.

Easy to Start, Difficult to Endure

When we came to the last night of our seminar in Koforidua, Ghana, we gave an altar call inviting people to go all the way with Jesus. Between 150 and 200 people came forward, choosing to keep the Sabbath and be part of God’s last day people. Many answered the call, but many of that number took their eyes off Jesus, and did not endure. There was a good number at church the next Sabbath, but not nearly all of those who had come out of their chairs and started on the race. It is one thing to hear the voice of Jesus call, and to say, “Yes, I will come,” but it is another thing altogether to endure. And it does not matter if we say we are going to come, if we do not endure we are going to sink like Peter.

Christ has not promised us smooth sailing. There will be waves lapping about our feet or towering above us, and the devil frequently tries to get us to look to these troubles. How easy it is for us to start focusing on our trials, discouragements and troubles, but the minute we do that, our eyes are moved from Jesus. The more we look to them, the larger they become because we start to sink and our troubles get closer and closer to us as we begin to be buried among them. However, our trials were not given to overcome us, they were actually given to strengthen us. James wrote these encouraging words which we should ever keep in mind. “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience (endurance).” James 1:2, 3.

James says, “Do not look to your troubles. Do not mourn over them. Instead, rejoice in them, because it is through trials that the Lord is seeking to teach us how to endure.” Our trials were not given to drown us, they were given to teach us the lessons we need to learn so that we can endure until the very end.

But, too often, instead of allowing our trials to increase our faith, we start focusing on the trials and we allow them to overcome us. I have seen it so often while working as a Bible Worker. I have met people who are so thrilled when they first hear the Bible truths. One man, I remember well, had discovered the truth of the Sabbath from His own study. However, he had never found anyone who was keeping it, so he was not keeping it either. But, when we studied the Sabbath, he was so excited to find that there were others who kept it, that he made the commitment that he wanted to start keeping the Sabbath. He ran for a short time. However, when the trials began to mount, he began to take His eyes off Jesus. Although he had once been so thrilled to find the truth, it was not long until he decided that the only thing he could do was to start working on the Sabbath again. He did not run with endurance.

Look Up!

The plan of salvation is described in many ways, but my favorite is when it is described the most simply. The following verses contain the framework of the plan of salvation in three short words. “Who hath declared this from ancient time? Who hath told it from that time? Have not I, the Lord? And there is no God else besides Me, a just God and a Savior; there is none besides Me. Look unto Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! for I am God, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:21–22. [Emphasis supplied.]

God’s invitation is open to all. It is not difficult. He simply says, “Look to Me.” Anyone can be saved if they will turn their eyes to their Savior. Only He can save to the uttermost all who come to Him.

However, the devil is in a battle for each soul, and he has many methods which he uses to draw our eyes from our Savior. If it is not our trials that we look upon, he tries to get us to focus upon the common things of life so we have no time to look to Jesus. Jesus said, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.” Luke 21:34.

There are many other things that the devil brings to us to draw our thoughts away from Christ. Especially now, in the days in which we are living, the devil is working with even greater energy to see that you and I do not endure until the end.

In Isaiah 17, Isaiah saw in prophetic vision the time that we now live in. A time when the majority is not enduring until the end, and many, even of those who profess the truth, are being shaken out. In his vision he saw an olive tree and, on this tree, there were only two or three olives in the top branches and four or five in the fruitful branches. All of the rest had been shaken off. But then he tells us how we can endure the shaking that is going on all around us today. “At that day shall a man look to his Maker, and his eyes shall have respect to the Holy One of Israel. And he shall not look to the altars, the work of his hands, neither shall respect that which his fingers have made, either the groves, or the images.” Isaiah 17:7, 8.

Isaiah saw who would endure this terrible shaking, and it is those who are looking to their Maker. These will not look to their trials, disappointments, the cares of this life, to other men or the problems in the world or in the church; they will be looking to their Maker.

And as we look to our Maker, as our eyes are fixed upon the One who gave His life for you and me, we will be strengthened to endure to the very end. And so Paul says, “Let us run the race. And let us not just run it, but let us run it with endurance.” Oh, how I want to endure. I do not want to be one of those who falls by the side of the track, who does not make it to the finish line. Let us not look to our aching legs. Let us not focus on our burning chest or our heart that is pounding. Let us look to the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Life Sketches – Eternal Destiny

It has been a mystery to many that in all ages, God’s faithful children have often been the object of unfair and malicious attacks and persecution by both the church and the state. Some may wonder why God allows this and why He does not work miracles to deliver His children from difficult circumstances.

If the leaders of the Christian church in Jerusalem, which included the apostles of Christ, had fully surrendered their prejudices and feelings of bitterness toward the apostle Paul and accepted him as one who was specially called by God to bear the gospel to the Gentiles, the Lord would have spared him to continue his labor for the salvation of souls. But there is One in the heavens whom the Bible says sees the end from the beginning. He understands the hearts of all men and women and saw what would be the result of the envy and jealously that was cherished toward Paul. God had not in His providence ordained that Paul’s labors should so soon end. But He did not work a miracle to counteract the train of circumstances to which their own course of the early church leaders gave rise.

We need to be careful that we do not practice presumption, assuming that because we claim to be Christians serving the Lord, He will work a miracle to stop the consequences of our own decisions. Paul was advised by his brethren in the Jewish church to go with four men who had a Nazarite vow and to pay their expenses. The term of their Nazarite vow was almost expired, and Paul was a poor man who worked with his own hands for his daily bread, yet he was asked to bear the expenses of these people. He consented and accompanied the Nazarites to the temple to unite with them in the ceremonies of the seven days of purification. This concession was a mistake. It was not something that God had actually authorized him to do and it cut short his ministry.

Those who counseled Paul to perform this act of concession had not fully considered the great peril to which Paul would be exposed by this act. At this season there were strangers from all regions of the world thronging the streets of Jerusalem. They delighted to congregate in the temple courts. As Paul, in the fulfillment of his commission had borne the gospel to the Gentiles, he had visited some of the world’s largest cities, and he was well-known to thousands of foreigners who came to attend the feast.

Because of the hatred of the Jews against Christianity and Christian leaders, for Paul to enter the temple on such a public occasion was to risk his life. However, for several days he passed in and out among the worshipers apparently unnoticed. But, before the close of the specified period of purification, as he was conversing with the priests concerning the sacrifices to be offered, he was recognized by some Jews of Asia. Now these men had been defeated in their controversy with him in the synagogue in Ephesus and had become more and more enraged against him as they witnessed his success in raising up a Christian church in that city. When they saw him in the temple, where they did not expect him to be, they rushed upon him with the fury of demons.

“When the seven days were almost ended, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, crying out, ‘Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, the law, and this place; and furthermore he also brought Greeks into the temple and defiled this holy place.’ (For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple)” (Acts 21:27–29). The result was that in a very short period of time the whole city of Jerusalem was in an uproar. The Bible says, “All the city was disturbed; and the people ran together, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the temple; and immediately the doors were shut. Now as they were seeking to kill him, news came to the commander of the garrison that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. He immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down to them. And when they saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. Then the commander came near and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and he asked who he was and what he had done. And some among the multitude cried one thing and some another. So when he could not ascertain the truth because of the tumult, he commanded him to be taken into the barracks. When he reached the stairs, he had to be carried by the solders because of the violence of the mob. For the multitude of the people followed after, crying out, ‘Away with him’ ” (verses 30–36)!

As the apostle was carried up into a Roman barracks as a prisoner with the people wanting to kill him just as they had wanted to kill Jesus 30 years earlier, Paul made a request of the Roman commander. He addressed him in Greek. It says, “As Paul was about to be led into the barracks, he said to the commander, ‘May I speak to you?’ He replied, ‘Can you speak Greek? Are you not the Egyptian who some time ago stirred up a rebellion and led the four thousand assassins out into the wilderness?’ But Paul said, ‘I am a Jew from Tarsus, in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city; and I implore you, permit me to speak to the people’ ” (verses 37–39). It says in verse 40, “When he had given him permission, Paul stood on the stairs and motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great silence, he spoke to them in the Hebrew language.” He didn’t want to leave without making some type of a final appeal to his countrymen.

Because he addressed them in the Hebrew language, a great silence fell over the crowd and they stopped to listen to what he had to say. “ ‘Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now.’ And when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they kept all the more silent. Then he said: ‘I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our father’s law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today. I persecuted this Way [that is, the Christians] to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished’ ” (Acts 22:1–5).

Anything that has much importance is generally spoken of at least twice in the Bible. The story of Jesus is recorded four times. This story of the conversion of the apostle Paul is so important in the history of the Christian church that it is recorded three times. This speech Paul made from the stairs addressing the Jews who had just tried to kill him is the second time it is recorded. Paul relates the story of his journey to Damascus, about thirty years before, to bring the Christians back in chains, to be bound or to be killed, three times, each successive time in greater detail. He says, “It happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shown around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ So I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me. So, I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.’ And since I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus. Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there, came to me; and he stood and said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that same hour I looked up at him. Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.’ Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance and saw Him (Jesus) saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.’ So I said, ‘Lord, they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You. And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by and consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’ Then He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles’ ” (verses 6–21).

At this point the crowd was so furious that they tried to rush against him again and kill him. Unable to understand the Hebrew language, the commander did not know what was going on.

Their prejudice against the Gentiles, those who were not Jews, was the cause of their anger. Prejudice is a terrible thing. It has existed in this world for thousands of years and is still present today. People of one race are prejudiced against those of another race, or another religion, or of a different social or economic level. If we cannot overcome our prejudices against other human beings, we will never be in the kingdom of heaven, no matter how much we go to church or how many religious rituals we take part in.

“You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (Galatians 3:26–29).

Regardless of whether you are rich or poor, or whatever your social or economic condition is in this world, God views you the same. All the Lord wants to know is, “Whom are you accepting as your ruler? Who is the sovereign in your life? Who is the Lord of your life?” There is a great controversy going on in our world (see Revelation 12). It says war broke out in heaven and that war is still ravaging this world. It is a war over which supernatural power you yield allegiance.

Have you yielded to the Lordship of Jesus Christ? “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8).

Paul taught that all men were made of one blood. Addressing the philosophical, highly educated audience in the city of Athens, He said, “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings” (Acts 17:24–26).

Notice how he expressed this in Romans, the 13th chapter, verses 9 and 10.  He says, “For the commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ ‘You shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law” (Romans 13:9, 10).

O, friend, how do you measure up? How do you feel about the people around you? Do you love your neighbor as yourself? If not, then how do you expect to go to the kingdom of heaven? When Jesus was here, He told His disciples a story about the end of all things. He said that when He comes back to this world, He will sit on the throne of His glory and all nations will be gathered before Him. He is going to separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides the sheep from the goats. The sheep will be set on His right hand and the goats will be set on the left (see Matthew 25:31–46). What determines whether you have eternal life or eternal death is not if you have the right theology, or belong to the right church, or you were the right race.

Jesus said that your eternal destiny would turn on one point. “Then the king will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King shall answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to Me’ ” (Matthew 25:34–40).

A person’s eternal destiny will be determined in the final day by the way they have treated their fellow men, especially those who were in trouble. How do you treat people who are in trouble? Do you just walk by on the other side and hope that somebody in the government or in the church will step in to help them out without you getting involved? Or are you willing to get involved in helping those around you who are in trouble?

Then sadly, the King will address those He has labored for but have denied Him. The Bible says, “Then He will also say to those on the left hand, ‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life” (verses 41–46).

Where are you headed, friend? The way that you treat your fellow men is going to determine your eternal destiny.

(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)

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

Life Sketches – A Good Inheritance

It is customary today for people to make out and deliver to their heirs their last will and testament. Before his imprisonment, the apostle Paul delivered his last will and testament to the church. In it we find most interesting instruction for not only the early church but for the church in all ages to show the destiny of the different members.

One Saturday night while he was in Troas, Paul preached until midnight. The next day, it says in Acts 20:13–16, “Then we [Paul’s disciples] went ahead to the ship and sailed to Assos, there intending to take Paul on board; for so he had given orders, intending himself to go on foot [around 15 or 16 miles]. And when he met us at Assos, we took him on board and came to Mitylene. We sailed from there, and the next day came opposite Chios. The following day we arrived at Samos and stayed at Trogyllium. The next day we came to Miletus. For Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus, so that he would not have to spend time in Asia; for he was hurrying to be at Jerusalem, if possible, on the Day of Pentecost.”

But then, because of a delay, it says in verse 17, “From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church” (about 30 miles away). Paul knew he was going to be delayed for some time so the elders of the church at Ephesus and their families came for what was to be their last meeting with him. We do not know if he intended it to be this way ahead of time, but the Holy Spirit came upon him and revealed to Paul while he was talking to them that this was going to be the last time they were going to see him. So, Paul left with them his final instructions, his last will and testament, for the Christian church.

“When they had come to him, he said to them: ‘You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; and how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house …’ ” (verses 18–20). Paul told them everything. He understood the concept taught in both the Old and New Testaments that all of us one day are going to appear before the judgment seat of Christ. If you are a minister it is a fearful thing to think about appearing before the judgment seat of Christ. What if you have not taught the people what they need to understand so that they can be saved? Paul said, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Jesus had something specific to say about the people who were Christian leaders and teaching others concerning that day of judgment. He said, “Be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his master made ruler over His household, to give them food in due season? Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. Assuredly, I say to you that He will make him ruler over all his goods. But if that evil servant says in his heart, ‘My master is delaying his coming,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he is not looking for him and at an hour that he is not aware of, and will cut him in two and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 24:44–51).

If you study all the statements in the New Testament where Jesus said when He comes again there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, you will find something very interesting. Those who will weep and gnash their teeth are not the heathen, but the Christians who thought that they would be saved. They claim to be God’s people and expect to have eternal life. But Jesus said to them, “There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves thrust out” (Luke 13:28).

What a disappointment for them to find out they are not saved but are in fact wicked servants who beat their fellow servants, eating and drinking with the drunkards. This is not necessarily referring to a physical beating for today there are more sophisticated ways to beat one another. Some use the courts. Others enslave people in debt or use other methods to take control of somebody else’s life. The book of Revelation predicts that the whole world in the last days is going to be spiritually drunk. (See Revelation 14:8; Revelation 17; Revelation 18.) The wicked servants are the people who partake with those who are spiritually drunk and not ready for the day of judgment. Paul told the church that he was not in the category of the false teachers who are afraid to tell the truth and tickle the ears of the church members telling them only what they want to hear.

Notice what Peter says about the false teachers: “They have forsaken the right way and gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness. … When they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness [licentiousness], the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption; for by whom a person is overcome, by him also he is brought into bondage. For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: ‘A dog returns to his own vomit,’ and, ‘a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire’ ” (2 Peter 2:15, 18–22).

The carnal heart looks for a way to be saved in sin, but this is not possible, for sin and holiness cannot abide together. Jesus alone can save you from your sins. Paul said, “I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house, testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:20, 21).

To be saved you must repent of your sins. Sin is the transgression of God’s law (1 John 3:4 KJV).  We all have sinned (Romans 3:23) and need to repent. Repentance means to change your mind about sin. Those who are living in sin and have not been converted, sin because they want to; they choose to sin. But when you repent it means you are sorry for your sins (2 Corinthians 7), a godly sorrow for sin that does not need to be repented of, sorry for what you have done that is contrary to God’s law.

Paul said, “Testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). What happens when you have faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ?

Jesus gives to you the gift of the Holy Spirit (see Romans 8) and through the power of the Holy Spirit you live a new life that is in harmony with God’s law. Many claim that it is impossible to keep God’s law. Without the power of the Holy Spirit that is true. However when you receive the Holy Spirit it is the power necessary to keep God’s law. If you want to be saved, you must have repentance towards God whose law you have broken, and you must have faith toward Jesus Christ who will be your Lord and Saviour and Deliverer from the guilt of your sins. He gives you the power to start living a life that is in harmony with God’s law.

Paul knew what was going to happen in the very near future from the enlightenment he received from the Holy Spirit. He said, “And see, now I go bound in the Spirit to Jerusalem, not knowing the things that will happen to me there, except that the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, will see my face no more. Therefore I testify to you [his last will and testament to the church] this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole council of God” (Acts 20:22–27). Paul did not preach just those things that would please men and win him friends and influence people. He preached all the counsel of God so that nobody could come to him in the day of judgment and say, “You didn’t tell me what I needed to know to be saved.”

Then he gave them a charge. He said, “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He has purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure [his death] savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock” (verses 28, 29). Jesus talked about these wolves. Notice what He said: “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles” (Matthew 7:15, 16)? So, Jesus warned to watch out for false prophets, false teachers. They will come to you in sheep’s clothing. In other words, they claim that they are Christians; they claim that they are disciples of Christ. They claim they are part of God’s people, part of His church. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inside, Jesus said, they are ravenous wolves. You do not know what is in someone’s heart. So, Jesus said, “By their fruit you will know them” (verse 20). The kind of life that they live is a revelation of their character. Do they live a life that is in harmony with the law of God? How is it with your life, friend? What message are you giving to those in your sphere of influence? Is your life in harmony with the law of God, with the government of heaven? Or are you living as though you are a rebel, even though you may claim to be a Christian?

Peter predicted that this same thing would happen, and he devoted a whole chapter to it in 2 Peter 2.

Paul, addressing the same issue, said, “From among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:30). Paul is speaking to the leaders of the Christian church and he said that from among the leadership of the church—the elders, the bishops, the pastors, the overseers of the church—people are going to arise speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after themselves.

And then he says, “Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified” (verses 31, 32). That’s the eternal inheritance.

My dear friend, do you want to receive the eternal inheritance? Have you noticed that in the Bible the only people who receive the eternal inheritance are the sanctified? A sanctified person is a holy person. The word sanctify means to make holy. Paul, who understood from the time he met Jesus on the Damascus road, that the word of His grace is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. Notice how the apostle related his conversion to King Agrippa in Acts 26:17, 18. He said that the Lord told him this: “ ‘I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now send you, to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.’ ”

Paul taught the lesson that the inheritance is only shared among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus. He said, “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth” (2 Thessalonians 2:13). God chose you and you were chosen for sanctification; He chose you to make you a holy person.

The good news of the gospel is that a person who is wicked and sinful can have his or her guilt taken away and receive what the Bible calls “the new birth” experience and through the power of the Holy Spirit can receive a new spirit, a new heart, and a new mind, and can become a holy person. We are encouraged by Paul to “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). It is that plain!

Again Peter taught that, “As obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’ And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot” (1 Peter 1:14–19).

Then, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart” (verse 22). He goes on to say that is the experience of the new birth (verse 23).

O, friend, have you been born again? Have you received the grace of Christ into your heart? Have you received forgiveness of sins and a new birth of the Holy Spirit so that you have new motives, a new heart, a new spirit, and new desires? Is your life coming into harmony with the law of God so that the whole universe can see that you really are one of His children?

Never be deceived by the lie that you can be saved while you are living in sin. That is not the message from the Bible. The choice is yours. If you want to be saved, you must be purified and made holy, not in your own strength, but by the power of the Holy Spirit working in you.

God told Paul that He was sending him to the Gentiles so that they could receive not only forgiveness of sins, but so they could receive an inheritance among all the others who are sanctified. After the apostle Paul told them this, he said, “I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel. Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ And when he had said these things, he knelt down and prayed with them all. Then they all wept freely, and fell on Paul’s neck and kissed him, sorrowing most of all for the words which he spoke, that they would see his face no more. And they accompanied him to the ship” (Acts 20:33–38).

What a last will and testament to the church!  Paul committed the church to God and said the word of God’s grace is able to build each one up and prepare them so that they can receive an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. It is the will and testament of heaven that all should be sanctified and made holy so they can take their places among holy beings but, sadly, not everyone makes that choice. Will you surrender your life to the Lordship and sovereignty of Jesus Christ?

(Unless appearing in quoted references or otherwise identified, Bible texts are from the New King James Version.)

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

Two Conditions You Must Meet to be Saved, Part II

At the end of Part One of this article, we were looking at what our responsibility becomes when we have our names on the membership of a particular organization, and that organization does something that is wrong. Are we responsible? Are we involved with the wrongdoing?

You Are Part of It

Why is it wrong for a Seventh-day Adventist to belong to a labor union? Have you ever thought about that? Have you ever tried to think that through in your mind? Have you read what Ellen White says about labor unions? She says that you cannot belong to a labor union without disregarding every commandment in the Decalogue: “While they belong to these unions, they cannot possibly keep the commandments of God; for to belong to these unions means to disregard the entire Decalogue.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 143.

Now why is it impossible for a Seventh-day Adventist to belong to a labor union without disregarding every commandment in the Decalogue? I have been around a number of Adventists who have belonged to labor unions, and they did not kill anybody. The labor union did not force them to lie or to commit adultery. Why then did Ellen White say that you cannot belong to a labor union without disregarding every commandment in the Decalogue? Because, when you become a member of that organization, you are part of that for which the organization stands.

When you are part of an organization that officially, through its highest elected officers, goes to court and sues God’s people and you do not protest it, do you still bear responsibility? We are all going to the Day of Judgment. Do you think about the Day of Judgment often? I do. I want to tell you, friends, I pray about this. I do not know if it is because I preach too straight or not, but I have enemies in this world, and they tell me, in effect, that I am going to hell.

So I kneel down and pray, and I say, “Lord, I really do not want to go to hell. I want to know You; I want to obey You; I want to do whatever You say. Show me what I am doing or saying that is wrong so it can be corrected, so I can be ready for the Day of Judgment. I want to know You, and I want You to know me. I do not want to have a pretend religion. I am not concerned about what so-and-so says or thinks, but I am very concerned about what You think.”

Is Persecution Ever Right?

Well, John 16:3 and 4 are verses that Seventh-day Adventists need to think through, if we are involved in persecuting our brother in Christ just because they are fanatics or heretics, or whatever they are. The Bible says if we do that we do not know either the Father or the Son. We are not candidates for eternal life at all but are still in the bonds of unrighteousness.

You see, there is no text in the Bible that says you can persecute people if they are heretics or fanatics. There is no statement in inspired writings that condones persecution. Even in the Old Covenant, when punishment for sin was meted out, no one was punished except those who had broken the Law of God. When you study church history you find that all of the people who have been persecuted have been called heretics, schismatics and fanatics. That is what they have always been called. And, by the way, have you ever stopped to think that there probably were some people burned at the stake who, if you knew what they believed, you would say were either heretics or fanatics? You would probably say that about some of those people, yourself. But that does not mean it is right to burn them.

II Corinthians 5:15, 16 says, “And He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again. Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh [That is, if they knew Christ when He was here on earth.], yet now we know Him thus no longer.”

We Need a Deeper Experience in Jesus

Notice there is a deeper experience than knowing Jesus according to the flesh. From now on we regard no one according to the flesh, for now we know Him thus no longer. Verse 17 continues, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”

Oh, friend, do you know Him? Not according to the flesh, but do you know Him? Does He know you? “If anyone thinks that he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know. But if anyone loves God, this one is known by Him.” I Corinthians 8:2, 3.

If you know God, you will love Him, and you will be known by Him.

How do you know whether you love God or not? Let us allow Scripture to answer this question.

In Philippians 3:10, this is Paul’s great desire. In fact, he says in verse 7, I have lost everything, and it is just rubbish compared with this. This is all I want, “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death.” This verse, by the way, reveals why there are so many Christians who do not know God, because there are some parts of religion of which they do not want to be a part.

Are You Part of His Suffering?

They do not want to be part of the suffering, that is the cross. Did you know that the cross is not really popular today like most people think it is? That is a good passage of Scripture to study. That was Paul’s great desire, and because that was his great desire, that desire was fulfilled. He said it was fulfilled.

Read what he said in II Timothy 1:12: “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that day.”

Frightened Seventh-day Adventists

Many Adventists today are frightened, because they see that we are facing the greatest crisis of the ages—and we are.

All preachers have a responsibility. They have a responsibility, not only to the lost world, but they also have a responsibility to God’s people to help them to be ready for the coming crisis. We are going to meet it whether we are ready or not, but it is better if we are ready. Would you not agree? And I want to tell you, friend, a large part of being ready is knowing Him.

Our Divine Lord is equal to any emergency, and you have to know that. You have to know Him. If you know Him, you will be all right. You may be in a dungeon somewhere one of these days; they may tell you that they are going to kill you; they may tell you they are going to torture you to death; they may tell you any number of things that they are going to do to you, but if you know Him, you need not fear. Then to you is the assurance “Every child of God that is brought into difficulty and trial because of His faithfulness to Jesus, may claim the promise, and will receive sufficient grace for every emergency.” Review and Herald, April 15, 1890.

Power to Endure

In An Adventist Apocalypse, Ellen White says that the Holy Spirit will help God’s people to endure whatever may happen. An Adventist Apocalypse is a compliation from the files of the letters and manuscripts written by Ellen G. White. Published by Biblical Studies Institute, Hermosa, S.D., 1992.) You see, nothing can happen that Jesus is not equal to, and that is what we have to know. We have to know Him.

Ellen White, writing concerning the power of Christ, said that by a touch or a word or a look He could banish all manner of disease. (See Counsels on Health, 457.) Is that not wonderful? After reading that I said, “Lord, it is all right with me, whether it is a touch, a word, or a look does not matter, I just want to be healed of all diseases, all spiritual disease.” You have to be healed of your spiritual disease before you can be given a new body.

Of all the Bible writers, the apostle John writes most about knowing God. He makes it simple. “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His Commandments. He who says, ‘I know Him’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoever keeps His Word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.” I John 2:3–5.

The Great Tragedy of the Christian World

Oh, the great tragedy of the Christian world today, is that people think that they know God while they are disobeying Him. John says that the person who says I know God, but is not keeping His commandments, is a liar!

“Whoever commits sin also commits lawlessness, and sin is lawlessness. And you know that He was manifested to take away our sins, and in Him there is no sin. Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him. Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous.” I John 3:4–7.

John says he does not sin. That means that he does not sin—not just at a certain point, but he does not sin continuously! As I was thinking about that, I thought, he is not stating it in the weakest possible way; he is stating it in the strongest possible way. If you know Jesus, He knows you, and He will give you the power to live a new kind of life. If there is not deliverance from sin through Christ, then you can have no confidence in Scripture, and if you cannot have confidence in Scripture, what confidence do you have at all about the future?

Are You Having Personal Victory?

If you are discouraged by what I say, remember that I did not make this up. It came out of God’s Book, and God cannot lie. If you have some besetting sin in your life that you have tried a thousand times to overcome and you cannot do it, go to the Lord and say, “Lord, I am making a complete commitment with You. You have promised that You are going to give me victory. This is what you have promised, and I pray that you will fulfill Your Word in my life. I am going to try.” You will find out that God will work miracles in your life.

You do have to put the fork down and shove yourself away from the table. God will not make you quit eating. But, if you make a full commitment and say, “Lord, whatever is keeping me from having victory in my life, show me what it is, and I will listen, I will put forth my best effort to obey you;” you will have victory.

There are some people who are asking for victory in their lives, but then they negate their own prayers. Let me illustrate that simply so you can understand. You do not ask God to help you overcome smoking and then go to the store and buy cigarettes. Do you? Will God answer your prayer if you are doing that? No, He will not! God never takes away your power of choice. But if you choose to put your will on the side of God’s will and ask Him to fulfill His Word, and if you will cooperate, He will do it. His throne is staked on the fact that He will do it.

Have you ever thought about what would happen if one person could come to God at the Day of Judgment and say, “Lord, I surrendered my life totally to You. I made the commitment. I did everything I could to follow what was in Your Book, and I could not do it. I did not have enough strength; there was not enough power provided.”

If one person could do that, it would destroy the government of God, because God has promised that He will do it for everyone. He is no respecter of persons. Now, by the way, be careful, do not make up your own human test and expect God to fulfill that. I am not talking about what we decide we are going to do or not do; I am talking about what God’s Book says.

The Command Contains the Promise

There are things in His Book that we are told to do and not to do, and anything in His Book that it says to do or not to do, God will give you the power and the grace to obey. But do not make up your own human test and then expect that God will fulfill that. He might or He might not.

Whoever sins, has neither seen Him nor known Him, because when you get to know Him, you are going to quit sinning. “We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one. And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding (that is a sound mind), that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.” (See John 5:18–20.)

Do You Know Him?

That is why Jesus came, so we could know Him. He wanted to have an experience, a relationship with us and make it possible for us to know Him, to have a close, intimate, spiritual relationship with Him. Is this happening in your life? It has to happen, friends, if you are going to get through the coming crisis.

The apostle Paul says that this experience of knowing the love of Christ is beyond knowledge. It is the condition that you must be in if you are going to get through the crisis and be ready for Jesus to come. It is time to go to the Lord in prayer and say, “Lord, I want to know You, and I want to know you better than I know you now.”

Do you think that any of us know the Lord as well as we could, or as well as we will in the future if we are saved? Do you think so? Well, should we not be learning day by day to know Him better?

Are you going to the Lord and saying, “Lord, I want to know you more. I want to get closer. I lack some information; I want to know You as a personal God, and I want to be touched, but a word or a look is all right.”

Obedience is Not Optional

Friends, one touch, one look, one word from the God that we serve can cure us of every physical and spiritual need instantly. He wants to come into your life, but He cannot do it if you are disobeying instructions.

Bible Study Guides – Eternal life

December 23 – 29, 2001

“I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish”

MEMORY VERSE: “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” Romans 6:22.

STUDY HELP: Evangelism, 247; The Faith I Live By, 217.

THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” Matthew 19:17.


“Christ gave Himself for sinners. With what anxiety for the salvation of souls we should be filled as we see human beings perishing in sin! These souls have been bought at an infinite price. The death of the Son of God on Calvary’s cross is the measure of their value. Day by day they are deciding whether they will have eternal life or eternal death.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 28, 29.

“Death by Sin”

1 What two alternatives are available to the human race? Romans 6:23; John 3:36.

NOTE: See Christ’s Object Lessons, 123.

2 Who was the first to teach that those who disobey God will never perish? Genesis 3:3–5.

NOTE: “The great original lie which he [Satan] told to Eve in Eden, ‘Ye shall not surely die,’ was the first sermon ever preached on the immortality of the soul. That sermon was crowned with success, and terrible results followed. He has brought minds to receive that sermon as truth, and ministers preach it, sing it, and pray it. After the Fall, Satan bade his angels make a special effort to inculcate the belief in man’s natural immortality; and having induced the people to receive this error, they were to lead them on to conclude that the sinner would live in eternal misery. Now the prince of darkness, working through his agents, represents God as a revengeful tyrant, declaring that He plunges into hell all those who do not please Him, and causes them ever to feel His wrath.…” The Faith I Live By, 178.

“What Shall I Do That I May Inherit Eternal Life?”

3 What did Jesus say is the first condition for receiving eternal life? Luke 13:3, 5.

NOTE: “Christ’s message to the people was, ‘Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.’ Luke 13:5. And the apostles were commanded to preach everywhere that men should repent. The Lord desires His servants today to preach the old gospel doctrine, sorrow for sin, repentance, and confession. We want old-fashioned sermons, old-fashioned customs, old-fashioned fathers and mothers in Israel. The sinner must be labored for, perseveringly, earnestly, wisely, until he shall see that he is a transgressor of God’s law, and shall exercise repentance toward God and faith toward the Lord Jesus Christ.” Evangelism, 179, 180.

4 What is the next condition for us to receive eternal life? John 3:15–17.

NOTE: “You are a sinner. You cannot atone for your past sins; you cannot change your heart and make yourself holy. But God promises to do all this for you through Christ. You believe that promise. You confess your sins and give yourself to God. You will to serve Him. Just as surely as you do this, God will fulfill His word to you. If you believe the promise,—believe that you are forgiven and cleansed,—God supplies the fact; you are made whole, just as Christ gave the paralytic power to walk when the man believed that he was healed. It is so if you believe it. Do not wait to feel that you are made whole, but say, ‘I believe it; it is so, not because I feel it, but because God has promised.’” Steps to Christ, 51.

“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. The eyes of fallen men may be anointed with the eye-salve of spiritual comprehension, and they may see themselves as they really are,—poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked. They may be brought to realize their need of repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.” Review and Herald, July 24, 1888.

5 What further condition is required for us to receive eternal life? Matthew 19:16, 17. Compare John 5:24.

NOTE: “These words meet the individual cases of all. Are we willing to comply with the conditions? Will we obey God and keep His commandments? Will we be doers of the Word and not hearers only? God’s law is as immutable and unchangeable as His character. Whatever men may say or do to make it void does not change its claims or release them from their obligation to obey.” Faith and Works, 42

“This is Life Eternal”

6 What is an essential preparation for eternal life? John 17:3.

NOTE: See Maranatha, 76.

7 When we know God and recognize His voice, from what danger will we be protected? John 10:3–5, 27, 28. Compare John 6:68.

NOTE: “Christ is the Good Shepherd. He leads the way, calling upon His sheep to follow Him. Those who hear and obey His voice will follow His example in all things. Becoming acquainted with Him, they will grow daily more and more like Him. They will be meek and lowly, free from jealousy and envy. Do we hear Christ’s voice? Are we following him? It is of great importance that we know whether we are following the True Shepherd. In order to know this, we must search His word; for it is His voice speaking to us. ‘What saith the Scriptures?’ is to be our watchword at every step. In God’s word we may find an answer to every question.” Youth’s Instructor, October 3, 1901. See also Faith and Works, 56.

“Eat His Flesh and Drink His Blood”

8 What further condition for eternal life did Jesus give? John 6:51–55.

NOTE: See The Desire of Ages, 389.

9 How did Jesus stress the importance of hearkening to His Word? John 5:24.

NOTE: See Christ’s Object Lessons, 38.

10 How did Jesus show that reading the Bible is not enough? John 5:38, 39.

NOTE: “It is not enough to study the Bible as other books are studied. In order for it to be understood savingly, the Holy Spirit must move on the heart of the searcher. The same Spirit that inspired the Word must inspire the reader of the Word. Then will be heard the voice of heaven.…The mere reading of the Word will not accomplish the result designed of heaven; it must be studied and cherished in the heart. The knowledge of God is not gained without mental effort. We should diligently study the Bible, asking God for the aid of the Holy Spirit, that we may understand His Word. We should take one verse and concentrate the mind on the task of ascertaining the thought which God has put in that verse for us. We should dwell on the thought till it becomes our own, and we know ‘what saith the Lord.’ There is but little benefit derived from a hasty reading of the Scriptures. One may read the Bible through and yet fail to see its beauty or to comprehend its deep and hidden meaning. One passage studied until its significance is clear to the mind and its relation to the plan of salvation is evident, is of more value than the perusal of many chapters with no definite purpose in view and no positive instruction gained. Keep your Bible with you. As you have opportunity, read it; fix the texts in your memory. Even while you are walking the streets you may read a passage and meditate upon it, thus fixing it in mind.” In Heavenly Places, 138.

“Patient Continuance”

11 What quality of character will be found in those who receive eternal life? Romans 2:7.

NOTE: “We must all exercise faith.…We are exhorted to be sober and watch unto prayer, but this does not mean that we are to mourn and repine, like orphaned children. True, the struggle for continual advancement in the Christian life must be lifelong, but our advancement in the heavenly path may be hopeful. If we manifest an intense energy, proportionate to the object for which we are striving, even eternal life, we are made partakers of Christ and of all the rich graces He is willing and ready to give to those who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honor and immortality. If we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end we shall see the King in His glory.” That I May Know Him, 170.

12 What promise did Jesus make to those who have sacrificed in order to follow Him? Mark 10:30.

NOTE: “May it not be our great anxiety to succeed in this world; but may the burden of our souls be, How shall I secure the better world? What have I to do to be saved?…The position all must come into, is to value salvation dearer than earthly gain, to count everything but loss that they may win Christ. The consecration must be entire. God will admit of no reserve, of no divided sacrifice, no idol. All must die to self, and to the world. Then let us each renew our consecration to God daily. Everlasting life is worth a lifelong, persevering, untiring effort.” Our High Calling, 308.

By Gordon Anderson

Bible Study Guides – The Eternal Reward

June 23 – 29, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23.

INTRODUCTION: “The central theme of the Bible, the theme about which every other in the whole book clusters, is the redemption plan, the restoration in the human soul of the image of God. From the first intimation of hope in the sentence pronounced in Eden to that last glorious promise of the Revelation, ‘They shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads’ (Revelation 22:4), the burden of every book and every passage of the Bible is the unfolding of this wondrous theme,—man’s uplifting,—the power of God, ‘which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.’ 1 Corinthians 15:57.

“He who grasps this thought has before him an infinite field for study. He has the key that will unlock to him the whole treasure house of God’s Word.” Education, 125, 126.

SUGGESTED READING: Education, 301–309.

  1. What was the first promise made to man by God that there would be possibility for victory over sin? Genesis 3:15.

NOTE: “Through the long centuries of ‘trouble and darkness’ and ‘dimness of anguish’ (Isaiah 8:22) marking the history of mankind from the day our first parents lost their Eden home, to the time the Son of God appeared as the Saviour of sinners, the hope of the fallen race was centered in the coming of a Deliverer to free men and women from the bondage of sin and the grave.

“The first intimation of such a hope was given to Adam and Eve in the sentence pronounced upon the serpent in Eden. . . . [Genesis 3:15 quoted.]

“As the guilty pair listened to these words, they were inspired with hope; for in the prophecy concerning the breaking of Satan’s power they discerned a promise of deliverance from the ruin wrought through transgression.” Prophets and Kings, 681, 682.

  1. When is it time to prepare for eternity? Hebrews 3:15; 4:7.

NOTE: “Oh, that now, while it is called today, you would turn to the Lord! Your every deed is making you either better or worse. If your actions are on Satan’s side, they leave behind them an influence that continues to work its baleful results. Only the pure, the clean, and the holy can enter the city of God, ‘Today if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts,’ but turn to the Lord, that the path you travel may not leave desolation in its track.” The Adventist Home, 358.

  1. Of what kind of harvest are we assured? Galatians 6:7, 8.

NOTE: “The harvest of life is character, and it is this that determines destiny, both for this life and for the life to come.

“The harvest is a reproduction of the seed sown. Every seed yields fruits after its kind. So it is with the traits of character we cherish. Selfishness, self-love, self-esteem, self-indulgence, reproduce themselves, and the end is wretchedness and ruin. . . . Love, sympathy, and kindness yield fruitage of blessing, a harvest that is imperishable. In the harvest the seed is multiplied. A single grain of wheat, increased by repeated sowings, would cover a whole land with golden sheaves. So widespread may be the influence of a single life, of even a single act.” Reflecting Christ, 341.

  1. What does the Bible say will be the reward of the wicked? Malachi 4:1.

NOTE: “God does not desire the destruction of any. ‘As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die?’ Ezekiel 33:11. Throughout the period of probationary time His Spirit is entreating men to accept the gift of life. It is only those who reject His pleading that will be left to perish. God has declared that sin must be destroyed as an evil ruinous to the universe. Those who cling to sin will perish in its destruction.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 123.

  1. What promise is made to the righteous? 1 John 2:25; 5:11–13.

NOTE: “Fellow pilgrim, we are still amid the shadows and turmoil of earthly activities; but soon our Saviour is to appear to bring deliverance and rest. Let us by faith behold the blessed hereafter as pictured by the hand of God. He who died for the sins of the world is opening wide the gates of Paradise to all who believe on Him. Soon the battle will have been fought, the victory won. Soon we shall see Him in whom our hopes of eternal life are centered. And in His presence the trials and sufferings of this life will seem as nothingness. The former things ‘shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.’ ‘Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise. For yet a little while, and He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.’ ‘Israel shall be saved . . . with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.’” God’s Amazing Grace, 372.

  1. What kind of plans does God have for the saved? Psalms 31:19; 73:1.

NOTE: “All the treasures of the universe will be open to the study of God’s redeemed. Unfettered by mortality, they wing their tireless flight to worlds afar—worlds that thrilled with sorrow at the spectacle of human woe and rang with songs of gladness at the tidings of a ransomed soul. With unutterable delight the children of earth enter into the joy and the wisdom of unfallen beings. They share the treasures of knowledge and understanding gained through ages upon ages in contemplation of God’s handiwork. With undimmed vision they gaze upon the glory of creation—suns and stars and systems, all in their appointed order circling the throne of Deity. Upon all things, from the least to the greatest, the Creator’s name is written, and in all are the riches of His power displayed.” The Great Controversy, 677.

  1. What experiences of this world will never again be repeated in heaven? Revelation 21:4; Isaiah 33:24; 60:18.

NOTE: “We are homeward bound. He who loved us so much as to die for us hath builded for us a city. The New Jerusalem is our place of rest. There will be no sadness in the city of God. No wail of sorrow, no dirge of crushed hopes and buried affections, will evermore be heard. Soon the garments of heaviness will be changed for the wedding garment. Soon we shall witness the coronation of our King. Those whose lives have been hidden with Christ, those who on this earth have fought the good fight of faith, will shine forth with the Redeemer’s glory in the kingdom of God.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 287.

  1. What are we told about the music in Heaven? Psalm 87:7; Isaiah 24:14; Revelation 14:2, 3.

NOTE: “There will be music there, and song, such music and song as, save in the visions of God, no mortal ear has heard or mind conceived.” Education, 307.

  1. What are some of the activities in which the saved will engage? Isaiah 65:21–25.

NOTE: “There every power will be developed, every capability increased. The grandest enterprises will be carried forward, the loftiest aspirations will be reached, the highest ambitions realized. And still there will arise new heights to surmount, new wonders to admire, new truths to comprehend, fresh objects to call forth the powers of body and mind and soul.” Education, 307.

  1. What mysteries of God will be revealed to the redeemed? 1 Corinthians 13:12.

NOTE: “Then much will be revealed in explanation of matters upon which God now keeps silence because we have not gathered up and appreciated that which has been made known of the eternal mysteries. The ways of Providence will be made clear; the mysteries of grace through Christ will be unfolded. That which the mind can not now grasp, which is hard to be understood, will be explained. We shall see order in that which has seemed unexplainable; wisdom in everything withheld; goodness and gracious mercy in everything imparted. Truth will be unfolded to the mind free from obscurity, in a single line, and its brightness will be endurable. The heart will be made to sing for joy. Controversies will be forever ended, and all difficulties will be solved.” Signs of the Times, March 25, 1897.

  1. What will be the one reminder of sin in heaven? Zechariah 13:6.

NOTE: “One reminder alone remains: our Redeemer will ever bear the marks of His crucifixion. Upon His wounded head, upon His side, His hands and feet, are the only traces of the cruel work that sin has wrought. Says the prophet, beholding Christ in His glory, ‘He had bright beams coming out of His side: and there was the hiding of His power.

“The cross of Christ will be the science and the song of the redeemed through all eternity.” The Faith I Live By, 361.

  1. What are we told about the grandeur of heaven? Revelation 21:1–5.

NOTE: “There, immortal minds will contemplate with never-failing delight the wonders of creative power, the mysteries of redeeming love. There will be no cruel, deceiving foe to tempt to forgetfulness of God. Every faculty will be developed, every capacity increased. The acquirement of knowledge will not weary the mind or exhaust the energies. There the grandest enterprises may be carried forward, the loftiest aspirations reached, the highest ambitions realized; and still there will arise new heights to surmount, new wonders to admire, new truths to comprehend, fresh objects to call forth the powers of mind and soul and body. . . .

“As knowledge is progressive, so will love, reverence, and happiness increase. The more men learn of God, the greater will be their admiration of His character. As Jesus opens before them the riches of redemption and the amazing achievements in the great controversy with Satan, the hearts of the ransomed thrill with more fervent devotion, and with more rapturous joy they sweep the harps of gold; and ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of voices unite to swell the mighty chorus of praise.

“‘And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.’ Revelation 5:13.

“The great controversy is ended. Sin and sinners are no more. The entire universe is clean. One pulse of harmony and gladness beats through the vast creation. From Him who created all, flow life and light and gladness, throughout the realms of illimitable space. From the minutest atom to the greatest world, all things, animate and inanimate, in their unshadowed beauty and perfect joy, declare that God is love.” The Great Controversy, 677, 678.

By Ruth Grosboll

Bible Study Guides – The Nature of Man

September 27, 2003 – October 3, 2003

Memory Verse

“So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” Genesis 1:27.

Suggested Reading: Patriarchs and Prophets, 44–47; Early Writings, 147–149.


“As children of the first Adam, we partake of the dying nature of Adam. But through the imparted life of Christ, man has been given opportunity to win back again the lost gift of life, and to stand in his original position before God, a partaker of the divine nature.” The Signs of the Times, June 17, 1897.

1 What inspired instruction has been given concerning the origin of man? In whose image was man formed? Genesis 2:7; 1:26, 27.

note: “In the creation of man was manifest the agency of a personal God. When God had made man in His image, the human form was perfect in all its arrangements, but it was without life. Then a personal, self-existing God breathed into that form the breath of life, and man became a living, breathing, intelligent being. All parts of the human organism were put in action. The heart, the arteries, the veins, the tongue, the hands, the feet, the senses, the perceptions of the mind—all began their work, and all were placed under law. Man became a living soul. Through Jesus Christ a personal God created man and endowed him with intelligence and power.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 264.

2 Where was man placed? Genesis 2:15.

note: “Although everything God had made was in the perfection of beauty, and there seemed nothing wanting upon the earth which God had created to make Adam and Eve happy, yet he manifested his great love to them by planting a garden especially for them. A portion of their time was to be occupied in the happy employment of dressing the garden, and a portion in receiving the visits of angels, listening to their instruction, and in happy meditation. Their labor was not wearisome, but pleasant and invigorating. This beautiful garden was to be their home, their special residence.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, 34.

3 What command was given Adam and Eve? How were they warned against disobedience? Genesis 2:16, 17.

note: “The Lord placed our first parents in the Garden of Eden. He surrounded them with everything that could minister to their happiness, and He bade them acknowledge Him as the possessor of all things. In the garden He caused to grow every tree that was pleasant to the eye or good for food; but among them He made one reserve. Of all else, Adam and Eve might freely eat; but of this one tree God said, ‘Thou shalt not eat of it.’ Here was the test of their gratitude and loyalty to God.” Counsels on Stewardship, 65.

4 What was the result of disobeying God and eating the forbidden fruit? Genesis 3:17–19.

note: “God cursed the ground because of their sin in eating of the tree of knowledge, and declared, ‘In sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life.’ [Genesis 3:17.] He had apportioned them the good, but withheld the evil. Now He declares that they shall eat of it, that is, they should be acquainted with evil all the days of their life.

“The race from that time forward was to be afflicted by Satan’s temptations. A life of perpetual toil and anxiety was appointed unto Adam, instead of the happy, cheerful labor he had hitherto enjoyed. They should be subject to disappointment, grief, and pain, and finally come to dissolution. They were made of the dust of the earth, and unto dust should they return.” The Story of Redemption, 40.

5 Who brought life and immortality within the reach of man? What did Christ abolish in order to accomplish this? 11 Timothy 1:10.

note: “Christ proclaimed over the rent sepulcher of Joseph, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.’ [John 11:25.] He, the world’s Redeemer, . . . has brought life and immortality to light. The gates of eternal life are thrown open to all who believe on Jesus Christ. All believers who pass through a natural death, have, through eating the flesh and drinking the blood of the Son of God, eternal life in them, which is the life of Jesus Christ. In dying, Jesus has made it impossible for those who believe on Him to die eternally. . . .” “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 926.

6 To whom only is ascribed inherent immortality? 1 Timothy 1:17; 6:14–16. Compare Job 4:17.

note: “No earthly ruler could show himself so jealous of his honor, so interested in his subjects, so kind and tender to those who put their trust in him, as does the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the Ruler high above all rule. He has strictly prohibited all sin, and has strictly enjoined practical obedience.” Review and Herald, June 19, 1900.

7 How is eternal life obtained? Romans 6:23; 5:19.

note: “The ransom has been paid, and it is possible for all to come to God, and through a life of obedience to attain unto everlasting life. . . . The Creator of all worlds proposes to love those who believe in His only-begotten Son as their personal Saviour, even as He loves His Son. Even here and now His gracious favor is bestowed upon us to this marvelous extent. He has given to men the gift of the Light and Majesty of heaven, and with Him He has bestowed all the treasures of heaven. Much as He has promised us for the life to come, He also bestows princely gifts upon us in this life, and as subjects of His grace, He would have us enjoy everything that will ennoble, expand, and elevate our characters. It is His design to fit us for the heavenly courts above.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 234.

8 How is this gift received? 1 John 5:11, 12; John 3:36.

note: “Christ became one flesh with us, in order that we might become one spirit with Him. It is by virtue of this union that we are to come forth from the grave,—not merely as a manifestation of the power of Christ, but because, through faith, His life has become ours. Those who see Christ in His true character, and receive Him into the heart, have everlasting life. It is through the Spirit that Christ dwells in us; and the Spirit of God, received into the heart by faith, is the beginning of the life eternal.” The Desire of Ages, 388.

9 When will immortality be bestowed upon the believer; how quickly will the change from mortality to immortality be made? 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52.

note: “Christ is coming with clouds and with great glory. A multitude of shining angels will attend Him. He will come to raise the dead, and to change the living saints from glory to glory. He will come to honor those who have loved Him, and kept His commandments, and to take them to Himself. He has not forgotten them nor His promise. There will be a relinking of the family chain. When we look upon our dead, we may think of the morning when the trump of God shall sound, when ‘the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.’ 1 Corinthians 15:52. A little longer, and we shall see the King in His beauty.” The Desire of Ages, 632.

10 What will then have been brought to pass, and what shout of victory will be heard? 1 Corinthians 15:53–55.

note: “All come forth from their graves the same in stature as when they entered the tomb. Adam, who stands among the risen throng, is of lofty height and majestic form, in stature but little below the Son of God. He presents a marked contrast to the people of later generations; in this one respect is shown the great degeneracy of the race. But all arise with the freshness and vigor of eternal youth. In the beginning, man was created in the likeness of God, not only in character, but in form and feature. Sin defaced and almost obliterated the divine image; but Christ came to restore that which had been lost. He will change our vile bodies and fashion them like unto His glorious body. The mortal, corruptible form, devoid of comeliness, once polluted with sin, becomes perfect, beautiful, and immortal. All blemishes and deformities are left in the grave. Restored to the tree of life in the long-lost Eden, the redeemed will ‘grow up’ (Malachi 4:2) to the full stature of the race in its primeval glory. The last lingering traces of the curse of sin will be removed, and Christ’s faithful ones will appear in ‘the beauty of the Lord our God,’ in mind and soul and body reflecting the perfect image of their Lord. [Psalm 90:17.]” The Great Controversy, 644, 645.

11 How only can eternal life be obtained by sinful man? John 10:27–29; Acts 4:12. Compare Acts 10:43.

note: “The blessed Bible gives us a knowledge of the great plan of salvation, and shows us how every individual may have eternal life. Who is the author of the book?—Jesus Christ. He is the True Witness, and He says to His own, ‘I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand.’ [John 10:28.] The Bible is to show us the way to Christ, and in Christ eternal life is revealed.” Review and Herald, September 11, 1894.

12 What blessing is promised to those who accept Christ as their Saviour? John 4:13, 14; 6:53, 54.

note: “Would you become assimilated to the divine image? . . . Would you drink of the water which Christ shall give you, which shall be in you a well of water springing up into everlasting life? Would you bear fruit to the glory of God? Would you refresh others? Then with heart hungering for the bread of life, the Word of God, search the Scriptures, and live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. Your soul’s sanctification and righteousness will result from faith in the Word of God, which leads to obedience of its commands. Let the Word of God be to you as the voice of God instructing you, and saying, ‘This is the way, walk ye in it.’ Isaiah 30:21. Christ prayed, ‘Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.’ John 17:17.” The Faith I Live By, 21.

These lessons are adapted from the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, California, April 1912.