Editorial – The Everlasting Gospel

God’s remnant people have been commissioned to take a message to the world. Outlined below are the elements of that message:

The everlasting gospel is the good news that the Son of God paid an infinite price for man’s redemption and all who will repent of their sins and unreservedly commit their lives and be baptized will be forgiven and will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

In 1844, angel messengers connected earth with heaven and all the deeds of man, good or evil, were opened before the eye of Infinite Justice. The hour of God’s judgment had come.

God, our Creator, is to be worshiped by man (see Exodus 20:8–11).

We are to forsake all worship, religious systems and philosophies which cause us to break any of the Ten Commandments.

We are not to worship the beast power of Revelation 13:1–10. “It was apostasy that led the early church to seek the aid of the civil government, and this prepared the way for the development of the papacy—the beast. … So apostasy in the church will prepare the way for the image to the beast.” The Great Controversy, 443.

We are not to worship the image to the beast power described in Revelation 13:11–17. “When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the state to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result.” Ibid., 445.

We are not to accept the mark of the beast. This special mark is the deliberate attempt to change the times in the law of God (see Daniel 7:25).

“As the sign of the authority of the Catholic Church, papist writers cite ‘the very act of changing the Sabbath into Sunday, which Protestants allow of; … because by keeping Sunday, they acknowledge the church’s power to ordain feasts, and to command them under sin.’ ” — Henry Tuberville, An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine, page 58.

We are to keep all the commandments of God (Revelation 14:12; James 2:10–12).

We are to have the same faith that Jesus had. “Amid the awful darkness, apparently forsaken of God, Christ had drained the last dregs in the cup of human woe. In those dreadful hours He had relied upon the evidence of His Father’s acceptance heretofore given Him. He was acquainted with the character of His Father; He understood His justice, His mercy, and His great love. ” The Desire of Ages, 756.

The Simplicity of the Gospel

When Jesus was on earth, He tried to help the people find salvation by using parables and stories that they could relate to their own lives. However, their minds had been dulled by the molding of the church leaders of their day which made it hard for them to comprehend the meaning of these lessons. Each lesson was a key to open their minds to the wonders of the Kingdom of Heaven. They had been inundated with “holy” traditions of the church and had lost sight of the true significance of the Law of God.

As Jesus went about doing miracles and wonders in the sight of the people, He slowly tried to point them back in the right direction that would lead to salvation. “I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture,” Jesus said to them (John 10:9 NIV). He was trying to help them understand that the burnt sacrifices, the weekly tithe, the good works, the attendance of church on the Sabbath, would not bring them salvation, but in Him was the fullness of the Godhead and only through Him could they be saved.

“We do not earn salvation by our obedience; for salvation is the free gift of God, to be received by faith. But obedience is the fruit of faith. ‘Ye know that He was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen Him, neither known Him’ (1 John 3:5, 6). Here is the true test. If we abide in Christ, if the love of God dwells in us, our feelings, our thoughts, our purposes, our actions, will be in harmony with the will of God as expressed in the precepts of His holy law. ‘Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous’ (1 John 3:7). Righteousness is defined by the standard of God’s holy law, as expressed in the ten precepts given on Sinai.” Steps to Christ, 61.

Jesus, of course, encouraged good works; He set down conditions that require our tithe, but He always and continually pointed back to Himself as the way, the truth and the life for a fulfilling and sanctified life. “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me’ ” (John 14:6 NIV). Jesus is the embodiment of righteousness, so if we are to be righteous, it stands to reason we need Him embodied in us. How do we obtain this holy character? That is probably the most commonly asked question among Christians that genuinely want to be like Jesus.

The answer is simple, but in practice it takes a struggle. The gospel of Christ is simply this: confess your sins and make restitution where applicable, repent of your sins by turning from them and commit them no more, and then follow the Lord in all that He says. After all, He gave us the free gift of salvation through His glorious sacrifice, He paid the price for our lives, He did all He could do to make the way as easy as possible for us to have salvation. Our part is to give all of ourselves back to Him.

The struggle is quite real, and many become discouraged, but Jesus is right there next to us, waiting for us to reach out to Him for help. Many are tempted by sin and trials, and Paul said if we are not in a struggle, then we may be lacking. “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12). We all have fallen short of godliness and this is the reason we need our Saviour each day to guide us. We must help one another in this fight, for we wrestle with powers unseen. The prophet tells us to uplift one another when we see a brother or sister struggling with sin. The gospel may be simple but the fight for our soul is ongoing.

“There is many a brave soul sorely pressed by temptation, almost ready to faint in the conflict with self and with the powers of evil. Do not discourage such a one in his hard struggle. Cheer him with brave, hopeful words that shall urge him on his way. Thus the light of Christ may shine from you. ‘None of us liveth to himself’ (Romans 14:7). By our unconscious influence others may be encouraged and strengthened, or they may be discouraged, and repelled from Christ and the truth.” Steps to Christ, 120.

So, how do we have success in the Christian walk? It is through the love of God that all things are possible. The books of John are the books of love, for he talks about how to have that success in Christ. Love conquers all as it is applied to our lives. It can overcome temptation, strife, anger, family issues, faultfinding, evil surmising, and most of all pride and selfishness. These are all enemies of love. Love that flows from the heart is tender, self-sacrificing, humble, and kind, it gives off a scent of a sweet-smelling fragrance. The one who loves is the one who is close to Christ. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (John 13:34).

Love is the simplicity of the gospel because it encompasses all that Jesus taught. In love, we keep His commandments simply because He said to. There are no questions about it. We know that He loves us and all that He requires of us will only bring happiness and peace. By embracing the love of Jesus, we can become holy. He willingly sends the Holy Spirit to us as soon as we ask for it, for He will not withhold that for which we ask. If we will submit to His will, He marries His Spirit with our will to make it one.

“ ‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son’ (John 3:16). He gave Him not only to live among men, to bear their sins, and die their sacrifice. He gave Him to the fallen race. Christ was to identify Himself with the interests and needs of humanity. He who was one with God has linked Himself with the children of men by ties that are never to be broken. Jesus is ‘not ashamed to call them brethren’ (Hebrews 2:11); He is our Sacrifice, our Advocate, our Brother, bearing our human form before the Father’s throne, and through eternal ages one with the race He has redeemed—the Son of man. And all this that man might be uplifted from the ruin and degradation of sin that he might reflect the love of God and share the joy of holiness.” Steps to Christ, 14.

As we follow the love of Jesus to its finality, the Lord will use it to sanctify us. This is not a work that we can perform; it must be achieved through the working of the Holy Spirit. Only He can create the changes needed in each life. No one person is the same as another; therefore, a special work must be done in each one. “Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God” (1 John 3:9). The way we can see this change being wrought in us is through love. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God” (1 John 4:7).

“What is the work of the Holy Spirit? Jesus told His disciples: ‘When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth’ (John 16:13). And the psalmist says: ‘Thy law is the truth’ (Psalm 119:142). By the Word and the Spirit of God are opened to men the great principles of righteousness embodied in His law. And since the law of God is ‘holy, and just, and good’ (Romans 7:12), a transcript of the divine perfection, it follows that a character formed by obedience to that law will be holy. Christ is a perfect example of such a character. He says: ‘I have kept My Father’s commandments.’ ‘I do always those things that please Him’ (John 15:10; 8:29). The followers of Christ are to become like Him—by the grace of God to form characters in harmony with the principles of His holy law. This is Bible sanctification.” Maranatha, 231.

The law of truth is the law of love in Christ Jesus. In it He has set before us the path to holiness and happiness. Jesus said He knows His sheep and His sheep know Him. They know Him because of the great love they have for Him. Not because they loved Him first, but because He first loved them and showed them true love. “We love Him because He first loved us” and if we love Him, He says, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (1 John 4:19; John 14:15). His commandments are not burdensome because we love Him. If you love your wife or husband or mother or father, would you not try to please them, and do as they ask? How much more so for the One who gave all for us that we may not perish, but have everlasting life with Him.

Jesus illustrated this simple gospel of love in the parable of the good Samaritan. Here was a man beaten and robbed and left to die on the side of the road. The priest and Levite who saw the man beaten and bruised walked past on the other side of the road. They did not want to get involved. They had pressing business in town that would further their own self-interest much more than to help this poor man. These were the professed leaders of God’s church that showed disdain for those who were of a lower class than they. Yet a Samaritan man stopped to help this man. The Samaritan was of a class of people that the Jews considered to be lower than themselves and would have nothing to do with them. Yet the Samaritan saw the pain and suffering of this injured man who was near death and offered him the hand of love. He didn’t know if this man was rich or poor, Jew or Greek, a godly person or an atheist. All he knew was that he needed help. So, he lifted him up and took him to shelter and paid for his care that he might be made well again. The prophet of God remarks about this love shown by the one who was inspired by the love of God, for love only comes from the God of Heaven.

“All this is but a fulfillment of the principle of the law—the principle that is illustrated in the story of the good Samaritan, and made manifest in the life of Jesus. His character reveals the true significance of the law, and shows what is meant by loving our neighbor as ourselves. And when the children of God manifest mercy, kindness, and love toward all men, they also are witnessing to the character of the statutes of heaven. They are bearing testimony to the fact that ‘the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul’ (Psalm 19:7). And whoever fails to manifest this love is breaking the law which he professes to revere. For the spirit we manifest toward our brethren declares what is our spirit toward God. The love of God in the heart is the only spring of love toward our neighbor. ‘If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?’ Beloved, ‘if we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us’ (1 John 4:20, 12).” The Desire of Ages, 505.

Oh, what perfect love to love one another as Christ loved us. It is the simplicity of the gospel of Jesus. Love motivates us to confess our sins, and Jesus has promised to cleanse us. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Love is the inspiration that turns us to repentance. “For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation” (2 Corinthians 7:10). Love is the catalyst that drives us to follow all that Jesus has said and to “Live by every word of God” (Luke 4:4). “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” “And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing” (1 John 4:8; 1 Corinthians 13:3). But through our love for God and one another, we can be confident that Jesus is living through us. “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5:5).

Looking forward, we can see that time is short and if we are to live in Christ, we must prepare for the future. We must pray more fervently, we must struggle harder, we must send up more supplications for the Holy Spirit to be poured out on us that we may fulfill the plan that God has for each of our lives. Most of all, we must ask the God of Heaven to fill us with His love that we may have a change of heart.

The beginning of a life in Christ demands love and not strife. It requires sacrifice and not slothfulness, and that love will produce the perfect character that will fit us for Heaven. Let us come boldly before the throne of God with hearts filled with love for perishing souls. Let us work tenderly, recognizing that we are no better than the worst person in this world. If we love God, we will love them, too, and try to reach those within our sphere of influence.

Remember, on the cross of Calvary Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34). We were once one of those people mired in sin without hope until Someone who loved us lifted us up. Let us give the gift of love that was given to us back to others.

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

Michael C. Wells lives in Wichita, Kansas, and is director of Anointing Oil Ministries.

Inspiration – The Work for This Time

Before It Is Too Late

When the storm of God’s wrath breaks upon the world, it will be a terrible revelation for souls to find that their house is being swept away because it is built upon the sand. Let the warning be given them before it is too late. We should now feel the responsibility of laboring with intense earnestness to impart to others the truths that God has given for this time. We cannot be too much in earnest.

The heart of God is moved. Souls are very precious in His sight. It was for this world that Christ wept in agony; for this world He was crucified. God gave His only-begotten Son to save sinners, and He desires us to love others as He has loved us. He desires to see those who have a knowledge of the truth imparting this knowledge to their fellow men.

Now is the time for the last warning to be given. There is a special power in the presentation of the truth at the present time; but how long will it continue? Only a little while. If there was ever a crisis, it is now.

All are now deciding their eternal destiny. Men need to be aroused to realize the solemnity of the time, the nearness of the day when human probation shall be ended. Decided efforts should be made to bring the message for this time prominently before the people. The third angel is to go forth with great power. Let none ignore this work or treat it as of little importance.

The light we have received upon the third angel’s message is the true light. The mark of the beast is exactly what it has been proclaimed to be. Not all in regard to this matter is yet understood, nor will it be understood until the unrolling of the scroll; but a most solemn work is to be accomplished in our world. The Lord’s command to His servants is: “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show My people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins” (Isaiah 58:1).

There is to be no change in the general features of our work. It is to stand as clear and distinct as prophecy has made it. We are to enter into no confederacy with the world, supposing that by so doing we could accomplish more. If any stand in the way, to hinder the advancement of the work in the lines that God has appointed, they will displease God. No line of truth that has made the Seventh-day Adventist people what they are is to be weakened. We have the old landmarks of truth, experience, and duty, and we are to stand firmly in defense of our principles, in full view of the world.

It is essential that men be raised up to open the living oracles of God to all peoples. Men of all ranks and capacities, with their various gifts, are to co-operate harmoniously for a common result. They are to unite in the work of bringing the truth to the people, each worker fulfilling his own special appointment. …

Brethren and sisters, would that I might say something to awaken you to the importance of this time, the significance of the events that are now taking place. I point you to the aggressive movements now being made for the restriction of religious liberty. God’s sanctified memorial has been torn down, and in its place a false sabbath, bearing no sanctity, stands before the world. And while the powers of darkness are stirring up the elements from beneath, the Lord God of heaven is sending power from above to meet the emergency by arousing His living agencies to exalt the law of heaven. Now, just now, is our time to work in foreign countries. As America, the land of religious liberty, shall unite with the papacy in forcing the conscience and compelling men to honor the false sabbath, the people of every country on the globe will be led to follow her example. Our people are not half awake to do all in their power, with the facilities within their reach, to extend the message of warning.

The Last Message of Mercy

The Lord God of heaven will not send upon the world His judgments for disobedience and transgression, until He has sent His watchmen to give the warning. He will not close up the period of probation until the message shall be more distinctly proclaimed. The law of God is to be magnified; its claims must be presented in their true, sacred character, that the people may be brought to decide for or against the truth. Yet the work will be cut short in righteousness. The message of Christ’s righteousness is to sound from one end of the earth to the other to prepare the way of the Lord. This is the glory of God, which closes the work of the third angel.

There is no work in our world so great, so sacred, and so glorious, no work that God honors so much, as this gospel work. The message presented at this time is the last message of mercy for a fallen world. Those who have the privilege of hearing this message, and who persist in refusing to heed the warning, cast away their last hope of salvation. There will be no second probation.

The word of truth, “It is written,” is the gospel we are to preach. No flaming sword is placed before this tree of life. All who will may partake of it. There is no power that can prohibit any soul from taking of its fruit. All may eat, and live forever.

Mysteries into which angels desire to look, which prophets and kings and righteous men desired to understand, the remnant church will carry in messages from God to the world. The prophets prophesied of these things, and they longed to understand that which they foretold; but to them this privilege was not given. They longed to see what we see, and to hear what we hear; but they could not. They will know all when Christ shall come the second time; when, surrounded by a multitude which no man can number, He explains the deliverance wrought out by the great sacrifice He made.

Let None Be Unwarned

While the angels hold the four winds, we are to work with all our capabilities. We must bear our message without any delay. We must give evidence to the heavenly universe, and to men in this degenerate age, that our religion is a faith and a power of which Christ is the Author and His word the divine oracle. Human souls are hanging in the balance. They will either be subjects for the kingdom of God or slaves to the despotism of Satan. All are to have the privilege of laying hold of the hope set before them in the gospel, and how can they hear without a preacher? The human family is in need of a moral renovation, a preparation of character, that they may stand in God’s presence. There are souls ready to perish because of the theoretical errors which are prevailing, and which are calculated to counterwork the gospel message. Who will now fully consecrate themselves to become laborers together with God?

As you see the peril and misery of the world under the working of Satan, do not exhaust your God-given energies in idle lamentations, but go to work for yourselves and for others. Awake, and feel a burden for those who are perishing. If they are not won to Christ they will lose an eternity of bliss. Think of what it is possible for them to gain. The soul that God has created and Christ has redeemed is of great value because of the possibilities before it, the spiritual advantages that have been granted it, the capabilities it may possess if vitalized by the word of God, and the immortality which through the Life-giver it may obtain if obedient. One soul is of more value to heaven than a whole world of property, houses, lands, money. For the conversion of one soul we should tax our resources to the utmost. One soul won to Christ will flash heaven’s light all around him, penetrating the moral darkness and saving other souls.

If Christ left the ninety and nine, that He might seek and save the one lost sheep, can we be justified in doing less? Is not a neglect to work even as Christ worked, to sacrifice as He sacrificed, a betrayal of sacred trusts, an insult to God?

Sound an alarm throughout the length and breadth of the earth. Tell the people that the day of the Lord is near and hasteth greatly. Let none be left unwarned. We might have been in the place of the poor souls that are in error. We might have been placed among barbarians. According to the truth we have received above others, we are debtors to impart the same to them.

We have no time to lose. The end is near. The passage from place to place to spread the truth will soon be hedged with dangers on the right hand and on the left. Everything will be placed to obstruct the way of the Lord’s messengers, so that they will not be able to do that which it is possible for them to do now. We must look our work fairly in the face and advance as fast as possible in aggressive warfare. From the light given me of God I know that the powers of darkness are working with intense energy from beneath, and with stealthy tread Satan is advancing to take those who are now asleep, as a wolf taking his prey. We have warnings now which we may give, a work now which we may do; but soon it will be more difficult than we can imagine. God help us to keep in the channel of light, to work with our eyes fastened on Jesus our Leader, and patiently, perseveringly press on to gain the victory. Testimony Treasures, vol. 2, 371–375.

Life Sketches – The True Gospel

So many people seem to be satisfied with what this world has to offer until something catastrophic happens to them or their loved ones. They cannot endure to know the truth about the controversy between good and evil that is raging behind the scenes, so they usually turn away with disdain and often anger from anyone who dares to speak about it. There has never been a time in history when the situation was different.

From the judgment hall of the Roman Caesar, Paul was returned again to the Mamertine Prison, knowing that he had gained for himself only a brief respite. He knew that his enemies would not rest until they had secured his death, but he knew also that the truth had triumphed for the time. He was content in the very fact that he had proclaimed a crucified and risen Saviour before that vast throng who had listened to his words. That, in itself, was a victory for the gospel.

A work had begun that day which would increase and prosper and which the emperor of Rome, with all of his pomp and power, would seek in vain to destroy or hinder. The apostle’s speech had gained for him many friends and he was visited by some persons of rank. There were some people who accepted the gospel that day as a result of his speech. But there was one friend that the apostle Paul wanted to see more than anybody else during these final days of his life, and that friend was Timothy. To Timothy had been committed the care of the church at Ephesus, and because of this he had not been with Paul when Paul had made his final voyage to Rome.

There was great affection between this youthful laborer and the apostle Paul. Timothy’s conversion had occurred earlier through the labors of the apostle Paul, and the apostle decided that he was going to write a letter to Timothy and ask him to come as soon as possible to Rome.

Paul said to be diligent in coming quickly and not delay. However, in case Timothy did not arrive in time, the apostle decided that he must not delay writing his dying testimony which is recorded in 2 Timothy 4:6–8.

He says, “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all those who have loved His appearing.”

In addition to his dying testimony, Paul desired one last time to counsel this young minister and give him the charge that is still repeated today when ministers are ordained in Christian churches. That charge is found in 2 Timothy 4:1–5. It says, “I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”

Paul predicted that the time would come when Christians will not endure the truth, sound doctrine, and they would get for themselves teachers who would turn away their ears from the truth and be turned aside to fables. It is the duty of a Christian minister to hate and reprove sin and at the same time to manifest pity and tenderness for the sinner. That is a difficult attainment.

While we must be careful that we do not have undue severity toward a wrong doer, at the same time, we need to understand the exceeding sinfulness of sin. We need to have Christlike patience and love toward the erring, but at the same time there is danger of manifesting so great tolerance for error that eventually the person who is living in sin will consider himself undeserving of reproof and will reject it as an uncalled-for hardness.

We need to be careful that toleration of the sinner does not degenerate into toleration of sin. Godliness leads to brotherly kindness, and those who do not cherish the one will surely lack the other. If a person blunts his moral perceptions so that he becomes sinfully lenient towards those whom God condemns, the time will come when he will commit a greater sin by using severity and harshness toward those whom God commends. Paul says that the time is going to come when Christians will not endure sound doctrine. Here he is not talking about people who are atheists, or agnostics, or openly irreligious; he’s talking about professed Christians who have indulged inclination until they are enslaved by their own ungoverned passions and led away with various kinds of cravings or lusts (see 2 Timothy 3).

In His ten holy precepts, God has given a rule for man’s life, a law in which, Jesus said, not even part of a letter would be changed as long as heaven and earth should last. Jesus said in Luke 16:17, “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one tittle [a part of a letter] of the law to fail.” That law is still the Christian believer’s rule of life. That law is still, today, the sinner’s condemnation. That law is that which Isaiah says the Messiah would come to make honorable and magnify, and Jesus did magnify the law. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7), Jesus showed that the law of God is based on the broad foundation of love to God and love to man. Jesus showed that obedience to the precepts of that law comprises the whole duty of man. In His own life, Jesus gave a perfect example of obedience to the law of God.

Jesus showed that the requirements of the law extend beyond outward acts. The law takes countenance of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. And if your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell” (Matthew 5:27–30).

God’s law involves not only the actions of the body, but also the thoughts and intents of the heart. Today, we are living in a world where the enemy of all righteousness has taken almost the entire world captive. And he has led those who call themselves Christians to make void the law of God and excuse sin. The popular belief of millions of Christians today is that because we are carnal, we can’t help but sin, so we will sin and confess, sin and confess until Jesus comes.

Paul foresaw that people would turn away from the plain, searching truths of God’s word and that they would have itching ears and heap to themselves teachers that would present to them the fables that they desire, an easier gospel. These teachers would trample under their feet the fourth commandment and end up trampling the whole moral law.

The Creator of the world is insulted by those who claim to be His children while they transgress His law and Satan laughs at the success of his plot against the human race. We are living in a time when there is a growing contempt for God’s holy law. There is an increasing distaste for religion. There is an increase of pride and love of pleasure. Children are disobedient to parents, contrary to the fifth commandment. People are self-indulgent. The thinking people who are watching what is going on in the world are alarmed, asking what can be done to arrest the evils in society.

Paul told Timothy to preach the word whether people will hear or whether they will not, because a transcript of the will of God is contained in the Bible. It reveals the only safe principles of action to reform or to save society. It is an expression of divine wisdom and opens to the reader’s understanding how to solve the great problem of life. Those who listen to it will be directed in the right way.

It is absolute madness and insanity for men to attempt to change or even question that which has come out of the mouth of God. After infinite wisdom has spoken, how could we have any doubtful questions to settle? How can we have any wavering probabilities to adjust if we’re interested in eternal life?  The only thing to do is ask, “What has God said, and how can I obey?” Obedience is the highest dictate of reason as well as of conscience. But there are millions of people today listening to other voices and willing to follow other guides whose messages have been turned unto fables, and they trust them.

Sadly, on that final day, those who have trusted in fables will meet with infinite loss. How is it with you? Is your life being organized and lived according to the word of God, or are you trusting in popular fables? We are living in a time when fatal errors like deadly poison have so tainted the morals of a large part of the human race that they have no certain hope of eternal life. Can you hear the voice of duty?

In his last letter to Timothy in Ephesus, Paul predicted what would happen in the last days of this earth’s history, the time in which we are now living. He said, “Know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away” (2 Timothy 3:1–5)!

Paul said there would still be religion and people would have a form of godliness, profess to be Christians and go to church in the end times. Looking at them from the outside, people of the world will believe that they are Christians, but Paul said that while they do seem to have a form of godliness, they deny its power.

What is the power of godliness? Paul explains this clearly in his letter to the Romans. He said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, ‘The just shall live by faith’ ” (Romans 1:16, 17).

If a person is living by faith after receiving the gospel, his life will change. “For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:3, 4). You will know if you are walking according to the flesh or according to the Spirit by the life that you are living. To walk according to the Spirit is to have your life in harmony with the law of God.

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal [unconverted] mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be” (verses 5–7). It is impossible for the unconverted person to obey the law of God.

Never argue with somebody who says they cannot obey the law of God, for they are right. But what happens if a person is converted? Paul says, “So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His” (verses 8, 9).

Those who are converted and walk in the Spirit will have the power to obey the law of God. That’s what the new birth is all about and it can happen in your life. (See Romans 8 or Romans 6.)

Paul was concerned that there were people in his day who perverted the gospel. He wrote to the Galatians: “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:6, 7). And then to the Corinthian church, he wrote, “If he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it” (2 Corinthians 11:4)!

The different gospel is the gospel that allows people to live according to the flesh, and still think that they are going to be saved. He said, “The flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness [licentiousness], idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Galatians 5:17–21).

Those who practice such things, Paul said, will not inherit the kingdom of God. Those who are living like that are not yet converted and have not been born again and do not display the fruit of the Spirit in their lives, but rather the fruit of the flesh.

O, friend, how is it with you? There are millions of Christians today who have a false hope of salvation. They think that they can live in sin, and as long as they just confess their sins in the moment of their death, somehow everything will turn out all right. This was not the teaching of Jesus or His apostles.

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:9–11).

O, friend, have you been washed? Have you been forgiven for your sins and been justified by the Lord Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit? Are you being sanctified and allowing the Holy Spirit to work in your life so you can be ready to meet the Lord when He comes back to this earth? Don’t accept any other gospel that teaches you that you can live in sin, and yet go to the kingdom of heaven. You must choose to renounce sin in all its forms, repent of it, confess it and forsake it if you want to be in God’s kingdom. Nothing that defiles will be inside the city (Revelation 21:27).

(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: historic@stepstolife.org, or by telephone at: 316-788-5559.

Editorial – Fishers of Men

“Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the Lord, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks” (Jeremiah 16:16).

Jesus told His disciples that He would make them fishers of men. To fish, you put bait on a line and then wait for a fish to bite. I have watched fishermen sitting for hours waiting for a fish to accept the bait. Evangelistic meetings and literature distribution of all kinds are the bait that is divinely ordained to reach people with the opportunity of salvation.

A hunter though follows a different approach. Instead of waiting for a fish to accept the bait, he goes to where the prey is and seeks to take it. This is like a Bible worker who aggressively visits all the people in a neighborhood or town or city.

We were instructed that “In every large city there should be a corps of organized, well-disciplined workers; not merely one or two, but scores should be set to work.” Evangelism, 96. Also, “A great work can be done by presenting to the people the Bible just as it reads. Carry the word of God to every man’s door, urge its plain statements upon every man’s conscience.” The Review and Herald, July 10, 1883.

But today, just as in Ellen White’s day, “there is a dearth of workers at a time when we so much need men who show all-around efficiency.” Spalding and Magan Collection, 344.

Has God called you to engage full time in the finishing of His work in the earth?

“In all fields, nigh and afar off, men will be called from the plow and from the more common commercial business vocations that largely occupy the mind, and will be educated in connection with men of experience. As they learn to labor effectively, they will proclaim the truth with power. ” Testimonies, vol. 9, 96.

There is still opportunity for properly trained gospel workers to gain an abundant harvest in God’s work. If God has called you but you need training or if you are already trained and looking for a full-time opportunity in gospel ministry, please contact us. We know of many opportunities both in the United States and in foreign countries. Contact Steps to Life via email with a statement of your qualifications and desires at historic@stepstolife.org, or by U.S. mail at Steps to Life Ministry, PO Box 782828, Wichita, KS  67278.

Bible Study Guides – The Gospel

“The Power of God Unto Salvation”

Memory Verse: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.” Romans 1:16.

Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 407.

Thought to Remember: “The gospel of Christ…is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.” Ibid.
Introduction “God is an overflowing fountain of efficiency and strength. The Gospel is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes. When this power is utilized, it will be found to be more than sufficient to meet the power of the enemy.” Signs of the Times, November 28, 1906.

“Your Iniquities Have Separated Between You and Your God”

  • What is the problem from which all mankind needs salvation? Romans 3:23.

note: See The Great Controversy, 533.

  • What good news has God given to all mankind? Matthew 24:14; Mark 13:10.

note: “The work of the disciples was to spread a knowledge of the gospel. To them was committed the work of proclaiming to all the world the good news that Christ brought to men. That work they accomplished for the people of their time. To every nation under heaven the gospel was carried in a single generation. The giving of the gospel to the world is the work that God has committed to those who bear His name. For earth’s sin and misery the gospel is the only antidote. To make known to all mankind the message of the grace of God is the first work of those who know its healing power.” Ministry of Healing, 141. “The truth for this time embraces the whole gospel. Rightly presented, it will work in man the very changes that will make evident the power of God’s grace upon the heart. It will do a complete work and develop a complete man.” Counsels on Health, 516.
“Him That is of Power to Stablish You According to My Gospel”

  • What is this good news that must be given to all mankind? Romans 1:16.

note: “We have great victories to gain, and a heaven to lose if we do not gain them. The carnal heart must be crucified; for its tendency is to moral corruption, and the end thereof is death. Nothing but the life-giving influences of the gospel can help the soul. Pray that the mighty energies of the Holy Spirit, with all their quickening, recuperative, and transforming power, may fall like an electric shock on the palsy-stricken soul, causing every nerve to thrill with new life, restoring the whole man from his dead, earthly, sensual state to spiritual soundness. You will thus become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust; and in your souls will be reflected the image of Him by whose stripes you are healed.” God’s Amazing Grace, 312.

  • How may we lay hold of this transforming power? Mark 1:15.

note: “As the sinner comes to Christ, helpless, penitent, and humble; as he views the expensive expiation made in his behalf, let the repenting soul lay hold by faith of the provision made to save him, not in his sin, but from his sin. Christ as the Sin-bearer must take away the sin and rescue the sinner from his morbid spiritual condition. As he asks for a change of heart, the answer comes, ‘My son, give Me thine heart.’ ‘A new heart will I give thee.’ I will restore you to a pure, holy atmosphere, that you, being dead to sin, may live unto righteousness.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 6, 157. “Believe the Gospel”

  • For what should the follower of Christ strive? Philippians 1:27.

note: “Grace can thrive only in the heart that is being constantly prepared for the precious seeds of truth. The thorns of sin will grow in any soil; they need no cultivation; but grace must be carefully cultivated. The briers and thorns are always ready to spring up, and the work of purification must advance continually. If the heart is not kept under the control of God, if the Holy Spirit does not work unceasingly to refine and ennoble the character, the old habits will reveal themselves in the life. Men may profess to believe the gospel; but unless they are sanctified by the gospel their profession is of no avail. If they do not gain the victory over sin, then sin is gaining the victory over them. The thorns that have been cut off but not uprooted grow apace, until the soul is overspread with them.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 50, 51.

  • Why is it important not only to hear the gospel but also to believe it? Hebrews 4:1, 2.

note: “I entreat those who claim to believe that Christ is their personal Saviour to practice His teachings. Shall we not, from this time, believe in Christ, and show our faith by obeying His words? Will not those who proclaim the gospel to sinners believe the gospel, and by their obedience to every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God, testify to its power? Will not those who preach Christ live the Christ life? God calls upon those who have the light to walk in the light. Then their souls
will be all light in the Lord. True Christians find their happiness in obeying the words of the Saviour.” The Southern Watchman, June 18, 1903.

“The Power of God Unto Salvation”

  • Whose power is revealed by the gospel? Romans 1:16; 16:25; 2 Timothy 1:8.

note: “The more we behold Christ, talk of His merits, and tell of His power, the more fully we shall reflect His image in our own characters and the less we shall submit our minds and affections to the paralyzing influences of the world. The more our minds dwell upon Jesus, the less they will be enveloped in the fog of doubt, and the more easily shall we lay all our trials, all our burdens, upon the Burden Bearer.…Let faith pierce through the hellish shadow of Satan and center in Jesus, our high priest, who hath entered for us within the veil. Whatever clouds overcast the sky, whatever storms surge around the soul, this anchor holds firm, and we may be sure of victory.” In Heavenly Places, 127.

  • What example did David give us? Psalm 21:13; 59:16.

note: “He bore my soul’s disgrace, that in His name I might be an overcomer, and be exalted to His throne. Tell of His power, sing of His matchless love. In every trial He will be near you, and will give grace and power according to your need.” Review and Herald, July 19, 1892.

“Exceeding Abundantly”

  • What is the extent of His mighty power? Ephesians 3:20.

note: See The Desire of Ages, 200.

  • How may we receive the gospel power? John 1:12.

note: “Salvation is secured by a mutual contract. ‘As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God.’ Will you, with all your heart and mind and soul, enter into this contract? Look to your Redeemer in faith and loving trust, for power and wisdom to do the work of character building. He sits as a refiner, to purify the gold and silver from all dross. Then look continually unto Him, and no cheap or worthless material will be brought into the structure of your character building. By faith you may accept the merits of the blood of the Son of God, which He has shed that the sinner might not perish, but have everlasting life. God has laid upon Him all power, that He may impart help to every one who will break with Satan and acknowledge Christ as his only hope. . . . When you are ready to cooperate with Him who can keep you from falling, your resolutions will be of some value. Christ, the chief Healer, will make you whole. He works mightily with every one who is in earnest. He will give strength and victory. All the mean and wicked traits of character can be taken away by the One who has purchased you as His property.”…In Heavenly Places, 19.

“Those Who Obey not the Gospel”

  • How does the Bible picture the fate of those who do not obey the gospel? 11 Thessalonians 1:8. Compare 1 Peter 4:17.

note: “How to exercise faith…is the science of the gospel. The Scripture declares, ‘Without faith it is impossible to please God.’ The knowledge of what the Scripture means when urging upon us the necessity of cultivating faith, is more essential than any other knowledge that can be acquired. We suffer much trouble and grief because of our unbelief, and our ignorance of how to exercise faith. We must break through the clouds of unbelief. We can not have a healthy Christian experience, we can not obey the gospel unto salvation, until the science of faith is better understood, and until more faith is exercised. There can be no perfection of Christian character without that faith that works by love, and purifies the soul.” Review and Herald, October 18, 1898.

  • How does Paul describe the gospel? Ephesians 6:15. Compare Romans 10:15.

note: “The religion of Christ means more than the forgiveness of sin; it means taking away our sins, and filling the vacuum with the graces of the Holy Spirit. It means divine illumination, rejoicing in God. It means a heart emptied of self, and blessed with the abiding presence of Christ. When Christ reigns in the soul, there is purity, freedom from sin. The glory, the fullness, the completeness of the gospel plan is fulfilled in the life. The acceptance of the Saviour brings a glow of perfect peace, perfect love, perfect assurance. The beauty and fragrance of the character of Christ revealed in the life testifies that God has indeed sent His Son into the world to be its Saviour.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 419, 420.

Bible Study Guides – Unity Among God’s People

Bible Study Guide- Week 4

By Gordon Anderson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How did David describe unity among brethren? Psalm 133.

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

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

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

Bible Study Guides – The Gospel of Jesus Christ

Bible Study Guide – Week 3

By Gordon Anderson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bible Study Guides – “Go Ye Therefore and Teach”

November 20, 1999 – November 26, 1999

Memory Verse

“And He said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 7, 25–28.


“The whole body of believers needs to be vitalized by the Holy Spirit of God. We should study, plan, economize, and set in operation every means possible whereby we may reach and bless suffering and ignorant humanity. The light which God has given to us as a people is not given that we may treasure it among ourselves. We are to act
in harmony with the great commission given to every disciple of Christ, to carry to all the world the light of truth.” Review and Herald, August 12, 1909.

“Go Ye and Teach.”

  1. What task has Christ given to His church? Matthew 28:19, 20.

note: “The commission reaches those who shall believe on His word through His disciples. And all who are called of God to stand as ambassadors for Him should take the lessons upon practical godliness given them by Christ in His word and teach them to the people.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 401.

  1. How is the accomplishment of this task linked to the end of the world? Matthew 24:14.

note: “A crisis is right upon us. We must now by the Holy Spirit’s power proclaim the great truths for these last days. It will not be long before everyone will have heard the warning and made his decision. Then shall the end come. It is the very essence of all right faith to do the right thing at the right time. God is the great Master Worker, and by His providence He prepares the way for His work to be accomplished. He provides opportunities, opens up lines of influence and channels of working. If His people are watching the indications of His providence, and stand ready to co-operate with Him, they will see a great work accomplished. Their efforts, rightly directed, will produce a hundredfold greater results than can be accomplished with the same means and facilities in another channel where God is not so manifestly working.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 24.

“How Shall They Hear?”

  1. How does Paul express the need for people to proclaim the Gospel? Romans 10:14.

note: “While the angels hold the four winds, we are to work with all our capabilities. We must bear our message without any delay. We must give evidence to the heavenly universe, and to men in this degenerate age, that our religion is a faith and a power of which Christ is the Author and His word the divine oracle. Human souls are hanging in the balance. They will either be subjects for the kingdom of God or slaves to the despotism of Satan. All are to have the privilege of laying hold of the hope set before them in the gospel, and how can they hear without a preacher? The human family is in need of a moral renovation, a preparation of character, that they may stand in God’s presence. There are souls ready to perish because of the theoretical errors which are prevailing, and which are calculated to counterwork the gospel message. Who will now fully consecrate themselves to become laborers together with God?” Testimonies, vol. 6, 21.

  1. What Bible story illustrates how the willing servant of God can be used to win a soul to Christ? Acts 8:26–39.

note: “This Ethiopian represented a large class who need to be taught by such missionaries as Philip—men who will hear the voice of God and go where He sends them. There are many who are reading the Scriptures who cannot understand their true import. All over the world men and women are looking wistfully to heaven. Prayers and tears and inquiries go up from souls longing for light, for grace, for the Holy Spirit. Many are on the verge of the kingdom, waiting only to be gathered in. An angel guided Philip to the one who was seeking for light and who was ready to receive the gospel, and today angels will guide the footsteps of those workers who will allow the Holy Spirit to sanctify their tongues and refine and ennoble their hearts. The angel sent to Philip could himself have done the work for the Ethiopian, but this is not God’s way of working. It is His plan that men are to work for their fellow men. In the trust given to the first disciples, believers in every age have shared. Everyone who has received the gospel has been given sacred truth to impart to the world.” Acts of the Apostles, 109.

“The Word of Their Testimony”

  1. How have God’s saints of old been able to overcome the assaults of Satan? Revelation 12:11.

note: “Awake, ye sleeping virgins, and trim your lamps. With the Bible in your hands, go to your neighbors with the message of present truth. In the spirit of deep repentance confess your past neglect in the assembly of God’s people, as they meet to worship God. Then the Lord will pardon your transgressions and forgive your sin. If you feel that you have not the ability nor the knowledge that are needed in order to present the truth to others, read your neglected Bible, and seek for an understanding of the truth as it is in Jesus. Many have not developed a Christlike character in the daily life and conversation. They have not lived for the Lord Jesus and for Him alone, daily gaining a fitness to unite with those who have overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony.” Australasian Union Conference Record, March 11, 1907.

  1. How can the word of our testimony strengthen and encourage fellow-believers? Hebrews 10:25; Malachi 3:16–17.

note: “The Lord has shown me that great interest should be taken by Sabbath-keepers to keep up their meetings and make them interesting. There is great necessity of more interest and energy being manifested in this direction. All should have something to say for the Lord, for by so doing they will be blest. A book of remembrance is written of those who do not forsake the assembling of themselves together, but speak often one to another. The remnant are to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony. Some expect to overcome alone by the blood of the Lamb, without making any special effort of their own. I saw that God has been merciful in giving us the power of speech. He has given us a tongue, and we are accountable to Him for its use. We should glorify God with our mouth, speaking in honor of the truth and of His unbounded mercy, and overcome by the word of our testimony through the blood of the Lamb.” Early Writings, 114.

“Whom Shall I Send?”

  1. What call to God’s people comes from the throne of God? Isaiah 6:8.

note: “When the Lord’s voice calls, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?’ the Divine Spirit puts it into hearts to respond: ‘Here am I; send me.’ Isaiah 6:8. But bear in mind that the live coal from the altar must first touch your lips. Then the words you speak will be wise and holy words. Then you will have wisdom to know what to say and what to leave unsaid. You will not try to reveal your smartness as theologians. You will be careful not to arouse a combative spirit or excite prejudice by introducing controverted points of doctrine. You will find enough to talk about that will not excite opposition, but that will open the heart to desire a deeper knowledge of God’s word.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 325.

  1. What promises did God make to one who felt his inadequacy to speak for God? Jeremiah 1:6–9.

note: “In choosing men and women for His service, God does not ask whether they possess learning or eloquence or worldly wealth. He asks: ‘Do they walk in such humility that I can teach them My way? Can I put My words into their lips? Will they represent Me?’” Testimonies, vol. 7, 144.

“O, if we would only lay hold of these assurances by living faith in the One who has abundance of comfort and encouragement for us all. Then we would praise the Lord in the morning and at noon and at night. We would have a message of mercy to carry to others. The Lord of heaven wants us to have an advanced experience. Will you study these words? Will you accept them? Will you be sanctified by the truths they teach?” General Conference Bulletin, May 18, 1909.

“Let Your Light So Shine”

  1. Besides the word of our testimony, in what other way is the follower of God to witness? Matthew 5:16.

note: “The good works of the children of God are the most effectual preaching that the unbeliever has. He thinks that there must be strong motives that actuate the Christian to deny self, and use his possessions in trying to save his fellow men. It is unlike the spirit of the world. Such fruits testify that the possessors are genuine Christians.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 193, 194.

  1. How does Isaiah describe this work of letting the light shine? Isaiah 58:6–8.

note: “Thus in the night of spiritual darkness God’s glory is to shine forth through His church in lifting up the bowed down and comforting those that mourn. All around us are heard the wails of a world’s sorrow. On every hand are the needy and distressed. It is ours to aid in relieving and softening life’s hardships and misery. Practical work will have far more effect than mere sermonizing. We are to give food to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and shelter to the homeless. And we are called to do more than this. The wants of the soul, only the love of Christ can satisfy. If Christ is abiding in us, our hearts will be full of divine sympathy. The sealed fountains of earnest, Christlike love will be unsealed. God calls not only for our gifts for the needy, but for our cheerful countenance, our hopeful words, our kindly handclasp. When Christ healed the sick, He laid His hands upon them. So should we come in close touch with those whom we seek to benefit.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 417, 418.

“And I Saw Another Angel”

  1. What special message are God’s people called to proclaim in the days just before Christ’s coming? Revelation 14:6–12.

note: “The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people through Elders Waggoner and Jones. This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Savior, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the Commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family. All power is given into His hands, that He may dispense rich gifts unto men, imparting the priceless gift of His own righteousness to the helpless human agent. This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the Third Angel’s Message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure.” Testimonies to Ministers, 91, 92.

  1. What additional message must also be given to warn God’s people of their danger? Revelation 18:1–4.

note: “There are true Christians in every church who do not know the origin of the Sunday-sabbath, and believe that they are keeping the day which God sanctified and blest. This is true of worshipers even in the Catholic Church; and while this ignorance and integrity remain, God accepts of their sincerity; but when light shall fall upon their pathway, God requires them to come into harmony with His law, and to observe the Sabbath of His appointing. The time has come when the glory of the Lord is to fill the earth, and when the whole earth shall be lightened with His glory. The cry is sounding to the honest in heart to ‘come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.’ ‘And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.’” Signs of the Times, November 19, 1894.

The Church and Its Work

In the gospel of Matthew, we see the reason why Jesus organized the church and gave her a mission. Jesus’ time on this earth was limited and He needed to make sure that the work He started would continue until the end of time. In Matthew 9 we read this account: “But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith He unto His disciples, the harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into His harvest.” Matthew 9:36–38.

After Jesus spoke these words, He did not go and retire somewhere in the wilderness. When Christ said the harvest was ready, He was ready. He immediately began to organize His disciples for involvement in His work. In Matthew 10 Jesus gave them specific instructions on how to work. Too often we make a mistake in not following the Lord’s example. We can show others the need of working for the Lord. We can preach the importance of being involved in missionary work, but if we fail, by not actually showing them how to do it, we are only giving half a message. Jesus did not leave His disciples to themselves to figure out what to do, He gave them His strategy on how they could succeed. The instructions found in Matthew 10 are needed in the church today.

The first thing that we learn is that Jesus is interested in training others to work. He preached the gospel in Matthew 5–9. But He did not continue preaching all the way through the gospel of Matthew. Many sincere Christians are satisfied with just hearing. But that is not God’s perfect plan for His church. In Christ’s day there were many that followed Him because they desired to see a miracle. Others loved to see our Lord battle the demons and cast them out. There were some that liked to row Jesus across the Sea of Galilee, since they knew that He had the power to calm the sea. How many of you would like to have sat around the campfire with the Lord. There is nothing wrong with wanting to do that, but that is not God’s perfect plan for your life. Jesus is in the business of training disciples. In Matthew 28:19, the Lord says, “Go ye therefore, and make disciples.”

You can rejoice that you have heard the gospel. But the Lord says, “Make disciples.” Some say, “Oh, I have been an Adventist all my life.” So what. The Lord says, “Make disciples.” Many successful evangelists or pastors have the talent to preach the Word. Teach others to do what you do. We must not be selfish and think that we are the only ones that should share the Word in our church or ministry. If God has blessed you with the knowledge His Word, then find someone and show them how they can do what you do. If we had a hundred people doing what only one or two are now doing, we could finish the work. And that is what Christ wants to see in His church. Jesus in interested in what is known as “on the job training.”

Jesus often used people who did not appear to be very well fitted for the job. Look at the twelve apostles. Here we see a group of men who did not have the necessary skills for the work they were called to do. They did not have the ability to work well with others. They were not dependable. They were slow and easily discouraged. But that is the wonderful thing about Jesus. He not only sees how we are now, but He can see what we can and will be when we accept God’s call.

“And when He had called unto Him His twelve disciples…” Matthew 10:1. It is to Christ that we are drawn. Who does the calling? The church did not find Christ. The twelve did not say, “This Jesus is perfect for the job.” The church today is guilty of reversing the Biblical order. The church today offers a Jesus that will run all of your errands. Some say, “Lord, You get me a job, You do this or that.” These people have been waiting for years to accomplish something, but the Lord has done nothing for them. It is presumption for us to ask God to do something that He has told us to do. If you notice, the Bible says that Jesus is the one who calls and sends out workers. It is His mission, His work, His church, and His strategy. He sends them; they do not send Him. Let us look at Christ’s strategy for saving souls. Jesus said, in Matthew 10:5-6: “Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

When we think of mission work, we think of Africa or India, and there is nothing wrong with taking our work overseas. But what about the inner city mission? We have a tremendous work that needs to be done in our own neighborhoods. We must get involved in foreign mission, but we cannot forget our own neighborhoods. Jesus said to start with the people that you know. Start with the people that you live with. He called them the lost sheep of Israel. Those are people who know that there is something wrong with them, people who have problems, and people who need help. We are surrounded by those who are crying out for help. Pray for them. Talk to them. Encourage them. Invite them to church. Tell them you love them and that God does, too. You will find many opportunities to minister and witness to those around you. The point is just do something. Make a list of five people that you know and start working for them. Never give up and you will see the fruit of your labor.

The Need to Work Together

“No advice or sanction is given in the Word of God to those who believe the Third Angel’s Message to lead them to suppose that they can draw apart. This you may settle with yourselves forever. It is the devising of unsanctified minds that would encourage a state of disunion.” Manuscript 109, 1899.

Our prophet tells us that the Third Angel’s Message will be given by a unified body of Christians. Unity is not an option we choose, but an evidence that the Holy Spirit is leading us. God cannot bless us when we are going contrary to His Word, and His Word says to unify.

We have had brothers who have written us and called us on the phone saying that the Holy Spirit told them not to ever visit us again. Others have said that we are starting a new organization. Some have said that if we are going to follow the Holy Spirit we have to meet in a park under a tree.

“It is not a good sign when men will not unite with their brethren, but prefer to act alone, when they will not take in their brethren because they do not just exactly meet their mind. If men will wear the yoke of Christ, they cannot pull apart. They will wear Christ’s yoke, they will draw with Christ.” Manuscript 56, 1898.

We are our brother’s keeper. If you are in a situation where your brother has erred from the word, only a coward and a traitor would abandon his brother. How can we say we love someone and not do all we can to help them? “But he that is a hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own, the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep. The hireling fleeth, because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep.” John 10:12–13. “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother.” Matthew 18:15.

When you are in a church or a home church, and problems arise, it is so much easier to run far away so that you do not have to deal with the problems. But the most difficult and necessary work is to solve them. Human nature always wants the easy road, but we cannot run away from our duty without risking great loss. Ezekiel 33:6, 7, gives this solemn warning to us, the watchmen on the walls. “But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand. So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at My mouth and warn them from Me.”

In the church, we must look at all men as our brothers and all women as our sisters. And when problems arise, we have a greater need to press closer together and look for solutions. Some of the problems today cannot be remedied in one or two meetings. It will take a lot of humility, study, fasting, and hours on our knees in prayer.

Questions on Unity

At times, people from the conference have read us these statements on unity by Ellen White, and accused us of not following God’s counsel on unity, because we meet in a self-supporting church. We have always believed that one should study the Spirit of Prophecy with the same care that we use when we study the Bible. Seventh-day Adventists have always been very careful Bible students. We never allow anyone to just read one or two texts to prove a Bible doctrine. We read every text that has reference to the subject in question. By doing this, we can make intelligent, informed decisions. But when it comes to the Sprit of Prophecy, we are often no different than those other churches that “twist the scriptures unto their own destruction.” 2 Peter 3:16 (NKJV).

Let us forever settle the fact that Ellen White never intended for anyone to use her statements on unity to refer to those who are in gross apostasy. She wrote in Manuscript 31, 1906: “We have a testing message to give, and I am instructed to say to our people, ‘Unify, unify.’ But we are not to unify with those who are departing from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils. With our hearts sweet and kind and true, we are to go forth to proclaim the message, giving no heed to those who lead away from the truth.” (See also The Great Controversy, 445, 446.)

Let Them Alone

In Matthew 15:12–14, Jesus gives us counsel on unity. At this time Jesus’ disciples were troubled when they saw the Pharisees offended with Christ’s teachings. They approached Jesus in verse 12 saying, “Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?” The Pharisees hated Christ. They wanted Him dead. They were never going to accept Jesus or allow Him to work. Christ knew that, but the people (including His twelve disciples) thought that these men were God’s wonderful leaders. The apostles believed that if Christ was ever going to succeed in His labor, He must find favor with these men. “But He [Jesus] answered and said, ‘Every plant, which My heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.’ ” Matthew 15:13, 14.

Jesus told His disciples “Let them alone.” These men, “however great their authority with people, they could not endure the testing of God.” Desire of Ages, 389. This message rings true for us today, at a time when the prophet tells us that “God is now sifting His people, testing their purposes and their motives. Many will be but as chaff—no wheat, no value in them.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 51.

“The work which the church has failed to do in a time of peace and prosperity she will do in a terrible crisis under the most discouraging, forbidding circumstances.…And at that time the superficial, conservative class, whose influence has steadily retarded the progress of the work, will renounce the faith. …” Testimonies, vol. 5, 63.

“To stand in defense of truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us, to fight the battles of the Lord when champions are few—this will be our test. At this time we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 136.

The Lord is not against human leaders. We see that He organized His work when He ordained twelve. But Christ does warn us against blindly following church leaders. Sadly, today, we are following in the same course as our spiritual forefathers; despite the warnings found in the Spirit of Prophecy. We give unquestionable loyalty and reverence to a man or a group of men.

It is past time that we learned to “Prove all things.” We can support men when they support and follow the Word of God. We should respect the authority of the church, when the church respects the authority of God’s Word. But when the majority forsake the truth, we must take our stand firmly against all unrighteousness, or suffer eternal consequences.

A High Sense of Duty

In order to fulfill the gospel commission, we must have a high sense of duty. This high sense of duty is more important than anything else we may have today. We have a duty to work. No church can last whose people are encouraged to be idlers and loafers. It is our duty to do our best and to be as productive as we can. We must love the work of God. Duty does not fall upon a select group of people, but upon the shoulders of each individual believer.

In the parable of the talents, Jesus described the responsibility of each individual as his use of that which was given him. There was no corporate report of earnings, but each individual stood alone as custodian of his gifts, and this is even more true in the day in which we live.

“We are not doing the will of God if we sit in quietude, doing nothing to preserve liberty of conscience. Fervent, effectual prayer should be ascending to heaven that this calamity may be deferred until we can accomplish the work which has so long been neglected. Let there be most earnest prayer, and then let us work in harmony with our prayers.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 714.

“Let not the commandment-keeping people of God be silent at this time, as though we gracefully accepted the situation. There is the prospect before us of waging a continuous war, at the risk of imprisonment, of losing property and even life itself, to defend the law of God, which is being made void by the laws of men.” SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 975.

“Those who have been warned of the events before them are not to sit in calm expectation of the coming storm, comforting themselves that the Lord will shelter His faithful ones in the day of trouble. We are to be as men waiting for the Lord, not in idle expectancy, but in earnest work, with unwavering faith. It is our duty to do all in our power to avert the threatened danger.” Review and Herald, December 11, 1888.

We have the privilege of being called by Christ to finish the work that He began during His earthly ministry. Let us take heed to His call and bring an end to the great gospel commission of Matthew 28:19. God bless you and prepare to meet thy God.

Raphael Perez has been a Seventh-day Adventist minister for the past ten years. He presently is publishing Earth’s Final Warning in major newspapers across the United States. He writes from West Palm Beach, Florida.