The Christian Experience

In apostolic times the early church was a force to be reckoned with. The new converts were full of grace and the Holy Spirit. The word of God was preached with the fullness of the Spirit and people were added to the church daily. The message that Jesus was the Messiah was “preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:47). The men and women that Christ drew to Himself were not well educated, were corrupted by sin, and their minds were fixed on temporal things. They were just the kind of people that Jesus had come to save.

“For the carrying on of His work, Christ did not choose the learning or eloquence of the Jewish Sanhedrin or the power of Rome. Passing by the self-righteous Jewish teachers, the Master Worker chose humble, unlearned men to proclaim the truths that were to move the world. These men He purposed to train and educate as the leaders of His church. They in turn were to educate others and send them out with the gospel message. That they might have success in their work they were to be given the power of the Holy Spirit. Not by human might or human wisdom was the gospel to be proclaimed, but by the power of God.” The Acts of the Apostles, 17.

Through their association with Jesus, they came to see the beauty of His character and desired to follow Him. Like most people, it took time for them to fully grasp His mission and the great need of a change to be made in their lives. Jesus is a patient teacher, willing to go the extra mile to shape the minds of His people so they can understand more fully the difference between His character and the character of Satan. In the beginning, the disciples did not fully understand the depths of sin. They were blinded by their own ideas of the world and how they should be saved. It took forty days of instruction after the resurrection of Jesus for them to understand the scriptures of the prophets. Preconceived ideas and worldly politics were set aside. Their only focus was on the kingdom of heaven.

“The disciples were to go forth as Christ’s witnesses, to declare to the world what they had seen and heard of Him. Their office was the most important to which human beings had ever been called, second only to that of Christ Himself. They were to be workers together with God for the saving of men. As in the Old Testament the twelve patriarchs stood as representatives of Israel, so the twelve apostles stand as representatives of the gospel church.” Ibid., 19.

At Pentecost, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples and they went forth preaching repentance to all men. Peter proclaimed, “This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.” “Then Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’ ” (Acts 2:32, 38). In a few years, the message of the crucified and resurrected Messiah was given to the world. People perceived the truth and embraced it. Love for one another in Christ was their theme and the fruit of their labor. “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved” (verses 46, 47).

This is the Christian experience that Jesus came to bring to all people who would forsake the world and follow Him. He had laid out before the disciples the keys to the kingdom of God—righteousness, goodness, and longsuffering. He gave as an example a life of toil and struggle and a deep love for others. He said to His disciples, “If you love Me, keep My commandments” and “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you” (John 14:15; 15:12). As it was for the early disciples, so it is for us today. We must also have this experience in love and faith in Jesus.

“The apostle prayed that love might abound more and more. There must be a living faith, before there can be a living experience. There are many who have a certain formal knowledge of Christ, and an indefinite faith that does not have an active influence upon the life and character. This faith is not a saving faith. Our love for Jesus must commence here, if we expect to love Him through the ages of eternity. All who love Christ will talk of Him. How shall the world know of the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of your Lord and Saviour, unless you make it the theme of your thought and conversation? If our hearts are rejoicing in the hope of beholding our coming Saviour, shall we not speak of it to others? ‘Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh’ (Matthew 12:34). We shall have the Spirit of Christ, if we are in union with Him; and with the same untiring love and patience, we shall seek that which is lost. One soul is worth the world. It is the purchase of the blood of Christ, and those who really love Christ will feel the value of the souls for whom He shed His precious blood.” The Signs of the Times, July 27, 1888.

These early disciples did not have a life of leisure, but of hardship. They were hated for Christ’s sake and persecuted, but they continued to deliver the message that He gave them to proclaim. “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19), Peter said to a dying sinful world that needed to be justified through the blood of Jesus so they might stand before the Lord of Hosts. Many died to self and took on the yoke of Christ. They loved not their lives unto death but freely gave themselves for His cause. With joy in their hearts and words of forgiveness on their lips, they held nothing against any man. Instead, they reached out in love to those who were marred by sin, to uplift them from the mire of the world.

“When Christ sent forth the disciples with the gospel message, faith in God and His word had well-nigh departed from the world. Among the Jewish people, who professed to have a knowledge of Jehovah, His word had been set aside for tradition and human speculation. Selfish ambition, love of ostentation, greed of gain, absorbed men’s thoughts. As reverence for God departed, so also departed compassion toward men. Selfishness was the ruling principle, and Satan worked his will in the misery and degradation of mankind.” The Ministry of Healing, 142.

“Under the fiercest persecution these witnesses for Jesus kept their faith unsullied. Though deprived of every comfort, shut away from the light of the sun, making their home in the dark but friendly bosom of the earth, they uttered no complaint. With words of faith, patience, and hope they encouraged one another to endure privation and distress. The loss of every earthly blessing could not force them to renounce their belief in Christ. Trials and persecution were but steps bringing them nearer their rest and their reward.” The Great Controversy, 41.

What a sharp contrast to the Christian experience of today. Many believe that if they attend church once a week and profess to love God, they have a place in heaven. They believe there is nothing else required of them to be saved. Yet, Jesus gives us a much different view of what it means to be saved. When Mary Magdalene anointed the Savior’s feet with her tears, she found forgiveness in His voice, “Then He said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’ And those who sat at the table with Him began to say to themselves, ‘Who is this who even forgives sins?’ Then He said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you. Go in peace’ ” (Luke 7:48–50). And when the poor woman who had been bleeding for 12 years reached out to touch the hem of His garment, He said, “Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace” (Luke 8:48). What did each of these women have in common that Jesus found worthy of salvation? Faith!

“True faith lays hold of and claims the promised blessing before it is realized and felt.” Early Writings, 72. “Faith is trusting in God—believing that He loves us, and knows what is for our best good. Thus, instead of our own way, it leads us to choose His way. In place of our ignorance, it accepts His wisdom; in place of our weakness, His strength; in place of our sinfulness, His righteousness. Our lives, ourselves, are already His; faith acknowledges His ownership, and accepts its blessings. Truth, uprightness, purity, are pointed out as secrets of life’s success. It is faith that puts us in possession of these. Every good impulse or aspiration is the gift of God; faith receives from God the life that alone can produce true growth and efficiency.” Gospel Workers, 259.

To have the experience of the early church, we must claim the promises of God. It is imperative that we relinquish our will to His will to create the change from sinful selfishness to perfect righteousness. Self must be sacrificed on the altar of God so that the purity of the Holy Spirit will have a fit temple to dwell in. Faith in every word that proceeds from the mouth of God is essential to receive His blessings and prepare for the great work ahead. Jesus said that the last days would be as in the times of Noah and Lot, with great evil at every corner. Temptations and trials will be against God’s people, but the most deceptive test will come from within the church itself.

“Satan therefore laid his plans to war more successfully against the government of God by planting his banner in the Christian church. If the followers of Christ could be deceived and led to displease God, then their strength, fortitude, and firmness would fail, and they would fall an easy prey.” The Great Controversy, 42.

Satan knew that persecution was not having the desired results, so he changed his tactics and started weaving in false doctrines. He insinuated that God’s people could not overcome sin, therefore, they must just keep their sins confessed. Once he established this false doctrine, it was then easy for him to sow strife, jealousy, and evil speaking amongst the good church members. Fault finding became commonplace, unforgiveness grew out of fault finding, and the result was a prideful fallen church.

“The great adversary now endeavored to gain by artifice what he had failed to secure by force. Persecution ceased, and in its stead were substituted the dangerous allurements of temporal prosperity and worldly honor. Idolaters were led to receive a part of the Christian faith, while they rejected other essential truths. They professed to accept Jesus as the Son of God and to believe in His death and resurrection, but they had no conviction of sin and felt no need of repentance or of a change of heart. With some concessions on their part they proposed that Christians should make concessions, that all might unite on the platform of belief in Christ.” Ibid.

Professed Christians will proclaim that they are keeping all God’s laws and that they believe in the resurrection of the dead in Christ, yet there will be something missing. Outwardly, they will be formally keeping His Sabbath, attending church regularly, but the inward change has not been wrought. Selfishness, self-will, pride, and the love of this world will still be hidden in the heart. The unsanctified among God’s people will take leadership roles just as they did in the early church and drive the Holy Spirit away. Complacency will begin to appear, the work will stop, and the love of Christ will wane. We are seeing the result of these very conditions in the church today.

Jesus foresaw this happening in the early church and warns us that it will happen in the last church. “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent.” “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see” (Revelation 2:5; 3:18).

Christ is gathering His angels for the last battle, but He is wondering if there will be any faith left on earth when He comes. He is looking for a people to stand up like the early apostolic church and proclaim His love for the world, to warn them of the impending doom that is about to fall upon it. “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth” (Luke 18:7, 8)?

“What is the condition in the world today? Is not faith in the Bible as effectually destroyed by the higher criticism and speculation of today as it was by tradition and rabbinism in the days of Christ? Have not greed and ambition and love of pleasure as strong a hold on men’s hearts now as they had then? In the professedly Christian world, even in the professed churches of Christ, how few are governed by Christian principles. In business, social, domestic, even religious circles, how few make the teachings of Christ the rule of daily living. Is it not true that ‘justice standeth afar off: … equity cannot enter. … And he that departeth from evil maketh himself a prey’ (Isaiah 59:14, 15)”? The Ministry of Healing, 142.

As we look at the experience of God’s early church, we must ask ourselves: What is our experience today? Are we tirelessly working for the souls of others? Do we have the fervent love for our brothers and sisters in the church? Are we fulfilling the great commission that Jesus gave us to “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19, 20)? Time is shorter now than in 1844 when Jesus started His ministry to cleanse the sanctuary of the sins of God’s people. He is waiting for a people who will stand up and be counted, with a pure doctrine of righteousness and a mouth that speaks saving truth to this fallen world. Jesus is at the door now, knocking on each heart to see if we will open the door so that He can make His home with us. Soon our time will be finished, and we will give an answer for what we have accomplished in His name. Let each one of us pray that we will be found ready at the great Day of Jesus.

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

Mike 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.

Inspiration – Be in Earnest

We are to work as we have never worked before. We are to seek every opportunity of drawing souls to Christ. The Lord is coming very soon, and we are entering into scenes of calamity. Satanic agencies, tho unseen, are working to destroy human life. If our life is hid with Christ in God, we shall see of His grace and salvation. Christ is coming to establish His kingdom in the earth. Let our tongues be sanctified, and used to glorify Him. As a people we need to be reconverted, and our lives sanctified to declare the truth as it is in Jesus.

As we engage in the work of distributing our publications, we can, from warm and throbbing hearts, speak of a Saviour’s love. God alone has the power to forgive sins. If we do not deliver this message to the unconverted, our neglect may prove their ruin. Blessed, soul-saving, Bible truths are to be published in our papers. The Lord calls upon all of us to seek to save perishing souls.

We do not realize how cunningly Satan is at work to deceive, if possible, the very elect. Now is our time to work with vigilance. Our books and papers are to be brought before the notice of the people; the gospel of present truth is to be given to our cities without delay. We need to arouse to our duties. If we are making the life and teachings of Christ our study, every passing event will furnish a text for an impressive lesson. It was thus our Saviour preached the gospel in the highways and by ways; and, as He preached, the little group that listened to His words would swell into a great company.

“Be instant in season, out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2, first part). We are to make opportunities for presenting the truth. Christians are to be workers together with Christ. They are to engage in many lines of evangelistic work.

After His resurrection, Jesus spake to His disciples, saying, “All power is given unto Me in heaven and earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:18–20).

Just now, when people are thinking seriously, literature on the signs of the times, wisely circulated, will have a telling effect in behalf of the truth. At this time, when awful calamities are sweeping away the most costly structures as if by a breath of fire from heaven, many sinners are afraid, and stand trembling before God. Now is our opportunity to make known the truth to them.

God’s judgments are abroad in the land. Shall we allow these things to come upon the world without telling the people the meaning of these terrible calamities, and how every one may escape from the wrath to come? Shall we let our neighbors remain in darkness without a preparation for the future life? Unless we ourselves realize where we stand, the day of God will come upon us as a thief.

Brethren and sisters, will you put on the Christian armor? “Your feet shod with the preparation of peace” (Ephesians 6:15), you will be prepared to walk from house to house, carrying the truth to the people. Sometimes you will find it trying to do this kind of work; but if you go forth in faith, the Lord shall go before you, and will let His light shine upon your pathway. Entering the homes of your neighbors to sell or to give away our literature, and in humility to teach them the truth, you will be accompanied by the light of heaven, which will abide in these homes.

The New York Indicator, June 12, 1907.

Bible Study Guides – The Work of the Missionary School

Educating the Last Generation

August 30 – September 5, 2020

Key Text

“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go” (Psalm 32:8).

Study Help: Messages to Young People, 176–180; Patriarchs and Prophets, 592–602.


“With such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Saviour might be carried to the whole world!” Education, 271.



  • What is the divinely appointed method of winning mankind to return to loyalty to God’s government? John 12:32.

Note: “While self is kept out of sight Jesus Christ must be ever lifted up and exalted.” The Voice in Speech and Song, 322.

“Lift Him up, the Christ of Calvary; lift Him up, that the world may behold Him. Talk of His goodness, sing of His love, and give Him the grateful thanks of your hearts.” The Upward Look, 37.

  • How is this work to be accomplished? Proverbs 23:12; Matthew 28:19.

Note: “We must educate, educate, to prepare a people who will understand the message, and then give the message to the world.” The Review and Herald, February 6, 1908.

“Now, as never before, we need to understand the true science of education. If we fail to understand this, we shall never have a place in the kingdom of God.” Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 1, 53.

“As long as time shall last, we shall have need of schools.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 417.



  • How does the call of Elisha highlight physical training as a preparation for spiritual work? 1 Kings 19:19.

 Note: “Practical work encourages close observation and independent thought. Rightly performed, it tends to develop that practical wisdom which we call common sense. It develops ability to plan and execute, strengthens courage and perseverance, and calls for the exercise of tact and skill.” Education, 220.

“In God’s plan for Israel every family had a home on the land with sufficient ground for tilling. Thus were provided both the means and the incentive for a useful, industrious, and self-supporting life. And no devising of men has ever improved upon that plan.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 275.

“Provision should have been made in past generations for education upon a larger scale. In connection with the schools should have been agricultural and manufacturing establishments. There should also have been teachers of household labor. And a portion of the time each day should have been devoted to labor, that the physical and mental powers might be equally exercised. If schools had been established upon the plan we have mentioned, there would not now be so many unbalanced minds.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 153.

“Working the soil is one of the best kinds of employment, calling the muscles into action and resting the mind. Study in agricultural lines should be the A, B, and C of the education given in our schools. This is the very first work that should be entered upon. Our schools should not depend upon imported produce, for grain and vegetables, and the fruits so essential to health. Our youth need an education in felling trees and tilling the soil as well as in literary lines. Different teachers should be appointed to oversee a number of students in their work and should work with them. …

“Daily, systematic labor should constitute a part of the education of youth even at this late period. Much can now be gained in this way. In following this plan the students will realize elasticity of spirit and vigor of thought, and in a given time can accomplish more mental labor than they could by study alone.” Ibid., vol. 6, 179, 180.

“Some do not appreciate the value of agricultural work. These should not plan for our schools, for they will hold everything from advancing in right lines.” Ibid., 178.



  • How does the study of the Bible affect a person’s mind? Hebrews 4:12; 1 Peter 1:23.

Note: “The mind will enlarge, if it is employed in tracing out the relation of the subjects of the Bible, comparing scripture with scripture, and spiritual things with spiritual. Go below the surface; the richest treasures of thought are waiting for the skillful and diligent student.” Messages to Young People, 262.

“A familiar acquaintance with the Scriptures sharpens the discerning powers, and fortifies the soul against the attacks of Satan.” Ibid., 397.

“Let the mind grasp the stupendous truths of revelation, and it will never be content to employ its powers upon frivolous themes; it will turn with disgust from the trashy literature and idle amusements that are demoralizing the youth of today. Those who have communed with the poets and sages of the Bible, and whose souls have been stirred by the glorious deeds of the heroes of faith, will come from the rich fields of thought far more pure in heart and elevated in mind than if they had been occupied in studying the most celebrated secular authors, or in contemplating and glorifying the exploits of the Pharaohs and Herods and Caesars of the world.” Ibid., 255, 256.

  • Through the influence of the Word, what is the New Covenant experience? Hebrews 8:10; Psalm 37:30, 31.

Note: “In the reverent contemplation of the truths presented in His word the mind of the student is brought into communion with the infinite mind. Such a study will not only refine and ennoble the character, but it cannot fail to expand and invigorate the mental powers.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 596–599.

“The precious faith inspired of God imparts strength and nobility of character. As His goodness, His mercy, and His love are dwelt upon, clearer and still clearer will be the perception of truth; higher, holier, the desire for purity of heart and clearness of thought. The soul dwelling in the pure atmosphere of holy thought is transformed by intercourse with God through the study of His word. Truth is so large, so far-reaching, so deep, so broad, that self is lost sight of. The heart is softened and subdued into humility, kindness, and love.” The Ministry of Healing, 465, 466.



  • How will Bible study and instruction lead to a deeper spiritual experience in our missionary students? 1 Peter 1:23; Ephesians 5:26.

Note: “In giving us the privilege of studying His word, the Lord has set before us a rich banquet. Many are the benefits derived from feasting on His word, which is represented by Him as His flesh and blood, His spirit and life. By partaking of this word our spiritual strength is increased; we grow in grace and in a knowledge of the truth. Habits of self-control are formed and strengthened. The infirmities of childhood—fretfulness, willfulness, selfishness, hasty words, passionate acts—disappear, and in their place are developed the graces of Christian manhood and womanhood.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 207.

“As man uses his talents, however small, with faithfulness, the Holy Spirit takes the things of God, and presents them anew to the mind. Through His Spirit God makes His word a vivifying power. It is quick and powerful, exerting a strong influence upon minds, not because of the learning or intelligence of the human agent, but because divine power is working with the human power. And it is to the divine power that all praise is to be given.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 55.

  • What is the goal of true missionary education? 2 Peter 3:18.

Note: “The highest class of education is that which will give such knowledge and discipline as will lead to the best development of character, and will fit the soul for that life which measures with the life of God. Eternity is not to be lost out of our reckoning. The highest education is that which will teach our children and youth the science of Christianity, which will give them an experimental knowledge of God’s ways, and will impart to them the lessons that Christ gave to His disciples, of the paternal character of God.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 45, 46.

“The education and training of the youth is an important and solemn work. The great object to be secured should be the proper development of character, that the individual may be fitted rightly to discharge the duties of the present life and to enter at last upon the future, immortal life. Eternity will reveal the manner in which the work has been performed.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 418.



  • What did Christ’s work on earth involve? Matthew 4:23. How should we train our missionaries today to do a similar work? Why?

Note: “Let us remember that one most important agency is our medical missionary work. Never are we to lose sight of the great object for which our sanitariums are established—the advancement of God’s closing work in the earth.

“Loma Linda is to be not only a sanitarium, but an educational center. With the possession of this place comes the weighty responsibility of making the work of the institution educational in character. A school is to be established here for the training of gospel medical missionary evangelists.” Counsels on Health, 233.

“The school at Madison not only educates in a knowledge of the Scriptures, but it gives a practical training that fits the student to go forth as a self-supporting missionary to the field to which he is called. In his student days he is taught how to build, simply and substantially, how to cultivate the land and care for the injured. This training for medical-missionary work is one of the grandest objects for which any school can be established. …

“The time is soon coming when God’s people, because of persecution, will be scattered in many countries. Those who have received an all-round education will have the advantage where they are. The Lord reveals divine wisdom in thus leading His people to the training of all their faculties and capabilities for the work of disseminating truth.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 280.



1    Why is the special work of preparing missionaries more important now than ever before?

2    Explain the role of manual labor in education.

3    Why does the study of the Bible afford the best mental development?

4    What will be the result when students feast on the Word of God on a regular basis?

5     What skills help to make a well-rounded missionary?

© 2019, Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-5048, U.S.A.

Bible Study Guides – “Known and Read of All Men”

November 28, 1999 – December 4, 1999

Memory Verse

“Ye are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:14.

Study Help: Ministry of Healing, 349–355.


“It is no small matter for a family to stand as representatives of Jesus, keeping God’s law in an unbelieving community. We are required to be living epistles known and read of all men. This position involves fearful responsibilities.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 106.

“The effort to make the home what it should be—a symbol of the home in heaven—prepares us for work in a larger sphere. The education received by showing a tender regard for each other, enables us to know how to reach hearts that need to be taught the principles of true religion.…The truth lived at home makes itself felt in disinterested labor abroad. He who lives Christianity in the home will be a bright and shining light everywhere.” Signs of the Times, September 1, 1898.

“Ye Shall be My Sons and Daughters”

  1. How does God use the family to teach us about our relationship with Him? Ephesians 5:21–31; Matthew 6:9; 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18.

note: “He who gave Eve to Adam as a helpmeet, performed His first miracle at a marriage festival. In the festal hall where friends and kindred rejoiced together, Christ began His public ministry. Thus He sanctioned marriage, recognizing it as an institution that He Himself had established. He ordained that men and women should be united in holy wedlock, to rear families whose members, crowned with honor, should be recognized as members of the family above. Christ honored the marriage relation by making it also a symbol of the union between Him and His redeemed ones. He Himself is the Bridegroom; the bride is the church.…Christ ‘loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it;…that it should be holy and without blemish.’ ‘So ought men to love their wives.’ Ephesians 5:25–28.” Ministry of Healing, 356.

  1. What does Paul teach about the fathers and children? Ephesians 6:1–4.

note: “The children look to the father for support and guidance; he needs to have a right conception of life and of the influences and associations that surround his family; above all he should be controlled by the love and fear of God and by the teaching of His word, that he may guide the feet of his children in the right way.…The father should do his part toward making home happy.” Ministry of Healing, 390, 392.

“The restoration and uplifting of humanity begins in the home. The work of parents underlies every other. Society is composed of families, and is what the heads of families make it. Out of the heart are ‘the issues of life’ (Proverbs 4:23); and the heart of the community, of the church, and of the nation is the household. The well-being of society, the success of the church, the prosperity of the nation, depend upon home influences.” Ministry of Healing, 349.

  1. What part did his mother and grandmother play in Timothy’s spiritual development? 2 Timothy 1:5.

note: “Especially does responsibility rest upon the mother. She, by whose lifeblood the child is nourished and its physical frame built up, imparts to it also mental and spiritual influences that tend to the shaping of mind and character. It was Jochebed, the Hebrew mother, who, strong in faith, was ‘not afraid of the king’s commandment’ (Hebrews 11:23), of whom was born Moses, the deliverer of Israel. It was Hannah, the woman of prayer and self-sacrifice and heavenly inspiration, who gave birth to Samuel, the heaven-instructed child, the incorruptible judge, the founder of Israel’s sacred schools. It was Elizabeth, the kinswoman and kindred spirit of Mary of Nazareth, who was the mother of the Saviour’s herald.” Ministry of Healing, 372.

  1. How should the divine pattern for our relationships show in our earthly families? Ephesians 4:32; Ephesians 5:1, 2.

note: “‘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. 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?’ Christ Himself became poor for our sake, that we, through His poverty, might come into possession of eternal riches. He has adopted the poor and the suffering as His own peculiar treasure, and has left them to the care of His church. His disciples are to be stewards of His gifts, and to use His bounties in relieving suffering humanity. They are to feed and clothe and shelter those who have need. Parents are to present to their children the example of being God’s almoners, in order that they in turn may become missionaries, may be tender-hearted, pitiful, kind, patient laborers together with God. They are to work as co-partners with Christ to restore, to heal, to save those who are perishing.” Review and Herald, October 15, 1895.

“Ye Are the Light of the World”

  1. What is God’s purpose for the Christian home? Matthew 5:16.

note: “A well-ordered Christian household is a powerful argument in favor of the reality of the Christian religion—an argument that the infidel cannot gainsay. All can see that there is an influence
at work in the family that affects the children, and that the God of Abraham is with them. If the homes of professed Christians
had a right religious mold, they would exert a mighty influence for good. They would indeed be the ‘light of the world.’” Patriarchs and Prophets, 144.

  1. Which young people in the Bible show the missionary power of a godly upbringing? 2 Kings 5:1–5; Daniel 1:1–8.

note: “Missionaries for the Master are best prepared for work abroad in the Christian household, where God is feared, where God is loved, where God is worshipped, where faithfulness has become second nature, where haphazard, careless inattention to duty is not permitted, where quiet communion with God is looked upon as essential to the performance of daily duties.” The Adventist Home, 35.

  1. God had important work for Moses, Samuel and John the Baptist. What does the Bible say about the families in which they were brought up? Exodus 2:1–10; 1 Samuel 1; Luke 1:5, 6.

note: “God designs that the families of earth shall be a symbol of the family in heaven. Christian homes, established and conducted in accordance with God’s plan, are among His most effective agencies for the formation of Christian character and for the advancement of His work. If parents desire to see a different state of things in their families, let them consecrate themselves wholly to God and co-operate with Him in the work whereby a transformation may take place in their households. When our own homes are what they should be, our children will not be allowed to grow up in idleness and indifference to the claims of God in behalf of the needy all about them. As the Lord’s heritage, they will be qualified to take up the work where they are. A light will shine from such homes which will reveal itself in behalf of the ignorant, leading them to the source of all knowledge. An influence will be exerted that will be a power for God and for His truth.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 430.

“Sing Unto God, Sing Praises Unto His Name”

  1. How does God care for those who do not have an earthly family? Psalm 68:5 first part; Psalm 27:10; Matthew 19:29.

note: “If we surrender our lives to His service, we can never be placed in a position for which God has not made provision. Whatever may be our situation, we have a Guide to direct our way; whatever our perplexities, we have a sure Counselor; whatever our sorrow, bereavement, or loneliness, we have a sympathizing Friend. If in our ignorance we make missteps, Christ does not leave us. His voice, clear and distinct, is heard saying, ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.’ John 14:6. ‘He shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper.’ Psalm 72: 12.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 173.

“Christians may have the joy of communion with Christ; they may have the light of His love, the perpetual comfort of His presence. Every step in life may bring us closer to Jesus, may give us a deeper experience of His love, and may bring us one step nearer to the blessed home of peace. Then let us not cast away our confidence, but have firm assurance, firmer than ever before. ‘Hitherto hath the Lord helped us,’ and He will help us to the end. 1 Samuel 7: 12. Let us look to the monumental pillars, reminders of what the Lord has done to comfort us and to save us from the hand of the destroyer. Let us keep fresh in our memory all the tender mercies that God has shown us—the tears He has wiped away, the pains He has soothed, the anxieties removed, the fears dispelled, the wants supplied, the blessings bestowed—thus strengthening ourselves for all that is before us through the remainder of our pilgrimage.” Steps to Christ, 125.

  1. Does God understand the hearts of those who are alone? Psalm 68:6 first part; Psalm 68:5 second part; Isaiah 54:5.

note: “Our work in this world is to live for others’ good, to bless others, to be hospitable; and frequently it may be only at some inconvenience that we can entertain those who really need our care and the benefit of our society and our homes.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 645.

“These acts of courtesy God thought of sufficient importance to record in His word; and more than a thousand years later they were referred to by an inspired apostle: ‘Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.’ Hebrews 13:2. The privilege granted Abraham and Lot is not denied to us. By showing hospitality to God’s children we, too, may receive His angels into our dwellings. Even in our day, angels in human form enter the homes of men and are entertained by them. And Christians who live in the light of God’s countenance are always accompanied by unseen angels, and these holy beings leave behind them a blessing in our homes.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 342.

  1. What counsel did Paul give to those who, like himself, were alone? Philippians 4:11; 1 Corinthians 7:32–35.

note: “Every saint who comes to God with a true heart, and sends his honest petitions to Him in faith, will have his prayers answered. Your faith must not let go of the promises of God, if you do not see or feel the immediate answer to your prayers. Be not afraid to trust God. Rely upon His sure promise: ‘Ask, and ye shall receive.’ God is too wise to err, and too good to withhold any good thing from His saints that walk uprightly. Man is erring, and although his petitions are sent up from an honest heart, he does not always ask for the things that are good for himself, or that will glorify God. When this is so, our wise and good Father hears our prayers, and will answer, sometimes immediately; but He gives us the things that are for our best good and His own glory. God gives us blessings; if we could look into His plan, we would clearly see that He knows what is best for us and that our prayers are answered. Nothing hurtful is given, but the blessing we need, in the place of something we asked for that would not be good for us, but to our hurt.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 120, 121.

“In Thee Shall All Families of the Earth be Blessed”

  1. Through whose line are all families of the earth to be blessed? Genesis 12:1–4.

note: “God made the promise to Abraham, ‘In thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.’ To Abraham was unfolded God’s purpose for the redemption of the race. The Sun of righteousness shone
upon him, and his darkness was scattered.” Youth’s Instructor, September 13, 1900.

  1. What is that blessing, and through whom does it come to us and our families? Acts 3:25, 26.

note: “The gospel is a wonderful simplifier of life’s problems. Its instruction, heeded, would make plain many a perplexity and save us from many an error. It teaches us to estimate things at their true value and to give the most effort to the things of greatest worth—the things that will endure.…Let them remember that the home on earth is to be a symbol of and a preparation for the home in heaven. Life is a training school, from which parents and children are to be graduated to the higher school in the mansions of God.” Ministry of Healing, 363.

“The gospel is the sanctifying influence in our world. Its influence upon hearts will bring harmony.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 77.

Children’s Story – Missionary Spirit

Oh!” thought Anna Markham to herself as she closed the book she had been reading about a mission in Madagascar. “How I wish it were possible for me to do something like this for Christ,” and here Anna lost herself in a sort of heroic dream. She pictured herself teaching, exhorting the unbelievers in India, or in some far African station, where the gospel had never before been heard. She fancied herself enduring suffering, starvation, imprisonment and torture for her faith, and had just come so far in her romance as to be “led out for execution,” and “forgive her murderers with her last breath,” when her mother called her from the next room.

The rapt, ecstatic look on Anna’s face gave way instantly to a fretful frown. “Oh, dear!” she said sharply to herself, “I never can be let alone a minute.”

She threw down the book and went to her mother.

“Well, what is it?” she asked in a most ungracious tone.

“I want you to run over to Mrs. O’Hara and take her the dinner I have prepared for her, and Anna, if you can, get her up and make up her bed.”

“Oh, Mother!” said Anna, as if she had been asked to perform impossibilities, “I can’t bear to go to Mrs. O’Hara’s, and the house is so dirty and disagreeable.”

“She is an old lady and all alone,” said her mother with some displeasure. “She cannot do anything for herself now, and it is the duty of her neighbors to take care of her till she is well.”

“She might go to the resthome and let the nurses take care of her.”

“She won’t go, as you know very well, and there are some good reasons on her side too. Besides, do you think it would be any more agreeable for the staff at the resthome to nurse Mrs. O’Hara than it is for you?”

“Well, I don’t like to,” said Anna very crossly.

Anna obeyed her mother; however, she performed her errand in so ungracious and uncharitable a manner and assumed such an air of martyrdom that Mrs. O’Hara, who was by no means reserved in speech, told her that she’d “never be the lady her mother was.” So Anna went home disgusted and wished herself away from a home where “no one understood her.”

By the next day, however, she had forgotten about the matter and was telling her mother about the missionary story she had been reading and how she should like nothing better than to go as a missionary to Africa.

“What would you do there?” asked Mother, rather amused.

“Oh! Teach the children, and the women, and take care of the sick, and so forth.”

“You think the natives of Africa would be less disagreeable than Mrs. O’Hara and you would take more pleasure in doing for them than for your own neighbor?”

The question at first angered Anna, but then she began to feel a little ashamed.

“Isn’t it rather better on the whole,” said Mother, “to look about us and see what little things we can do if we will, than to spend the time fancying what great things we would do if we only could?”

After a little consideration, Anna began to see how little of the true missionary spirit she possessed and to feel that she was not actuated by right motives.

We must be willing to take up the little crosses that lie in our pathway and to labor for the good of others. In doing this we may show a true missionary spirit.

Editorial – What are you doing today? Part II

Last month I began a list of things each of us can begin to do today for the Lord. The list continues this month with action number five.

5 Contact your fellow church members about supporting missionaries and mission work.

“Why should not the members of a church, or of several small churches, unite to sustain a missionary in foreign fields? If they will deny themselves, they can do this. My brethren and sisters, will you not help in this great work? I beseech you to do something for Christ, and do it now.

“God will put His Spirit upon those who will do something, and do it now.” (Australasian) Union Conference Record, July 21, 1899.

6 Be faithful in the responsibilities God has allowed to come your way today.

“Steady progress in a good work, the frequent repetition of one kind of faithful service, is of more value in God’s sight than the doing of some great work, and wins for His children a good report. . . .

“Do something; do it now. Remember that the angel bearing the closing message of mercy to this world flies swiftly.” Bible Training School, March 1, 1912.

7 Reach for the hand that needs your help.

“Oh, why not go to the wounded sheep, and bind up their bruises, and lead them to the Healer and the Shepherd of souls? Why not bind these weak ones by the cords of love and sympathy to your hearts, and make it hard for them to fall from their steadfastness, instead of pushing them away from you by evil surmising and evil speaking? Why not be a co-worker with Christ? Why not stand ready to grasp the hand that is stretched out for your help? Here are souls that are to be saved, and how earnestly you should labor for their salvation. This work has been long neglected. Why not do it now in the fear of the Master? Seek the lost, gather in the weak ones, help them by your faith and love, that they may gain victory after victory, and that where they are feeble they may become strong and whole.” The Signs of the Times, April 1, 1889.

8 Decide today to go forward.

“Elder _____’s mind must grow with the work, or he must be replaced by some one who will take a more extensive view of what needs to be done to warn the world. Do something, do it now. Let the pull-back principle go, and the go-forward principle come in. The angel with the third message flies swiftly.” The Paulson Collection of Ellen G. White Letters, 379.

“Our time for work is short. We have not a moment to lose. Let us do something for Christ, and do it now.” Review and Herald, December 17, 1901.

“In the name of the Lord, I call upon my brethren to do something to strengthen the publishing interests and to help establish other lines of work in the South, and to do it now. Soon it will be too late to do anything. Soon our opportunities to work will have passed by forever. The plagues of God are already beginning to be poured out upon the earth. The evidences before us indicate that God’s Spirit is being withdrawn from the earth. Only a little while longer shall we be permitted to labor, and then in heaven it will be said, ‘It is done.’ ‘He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.’ ” Ibid., May 27, 1902.

Lord, What Do You Want Me To Do?

“To His servants Christ commits ‘His goods’—something to be put to use for Him. He gives ‘to every man his work.’ Each has his place in the eternal plan of heaven. Each is to work in co-operation with Christ for the salvation of souls. Not more surely is the place prepared for us in the heavenly mansions than is the special place designated on earth where we are to work for God.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 326.

“Lord, what do you want me to do?” Today, more than ever, choosing, preparing for, and practicing our occupations have become fraught with a bewildering array of difficult decisions and obstacles. Yet an attempt to address some of these without recognizing the recourse we have to practical solutions when serving Christ would be to express a lack of faith. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5, 6. These words are not just a trite familiar phrase, but are part of our living faith. This powerful promise is prefaced with an all-encompassing condition: the complete surrender of our lives, our affections, and ambitions to the Lord.

Preparation is not an event, but a continuous exercise of our time. Our personal diligence and time management to exercise our minds through study, prayer and cultural development and our bodies through temperance, manual labor, and exercise are the foundation of preparation. Do not simply wait for a teacher, friend, pastor, or parent to direct you in specific lines of preparation. The guidance they offer may be extremely important, but the preparation constitutes, with or without the counsel of others, what we make of our time. Ellen White often uses the phrases “usefulness in this world” or “usefulness in this life” to describe the product of this general preparation. “The strength or the weakness of the mind has very much to do with our usefulness in this world and with our final salvation.” The Review and Herald, September 8, 1874.

Inspiration further guides us with specific branches of education that should be taught to all persons as part of preparation for life’s work. Foremost is the study of the Bible, which in addition to the overarching education of salvation it gives, integrates the teaching of important lessons of history, prophecy, health, poetry, composition, public speaking, etc. General preparatory studies should include: human nutrition and physiology, agriculture, home-making skills, voice culture in speech and song, and financial stewardship. (See the book Education by Ellen G. White.)

Choosing a specific life work and the requisite education is certainly one of the most difficult topics to address. If the extraordinary cost of most kinds of education were the biggest concern, our situation would be greatly improved. Ellen White told us that our delay to prepare the way for Christ’s second coming would make our work harder. It certainly has in this aspect.

There are many questions one would do well to consider when prayerfully planning a career:

Have I really surrendered all of my plans to God, and am I regularly praying for His leading?

This, by all useful measures, is the foundation of a successful career in this world, and of readiness for the life to come.

Is financial wealth the goal of my career plans?

If so, the answer to the first question is no, and there is an idol in your heart that can be cast out only by conversion. The apostle Paul tells us that “the love of money is the root of all evil: …” I Timothy 6:10. Additionally, it should be noted that the drive to get wealth does not well correlate with personal and career satisfaction.

What kinds of activities do I enjoy, and what are my aptitudes?

When dedicated to God, our aptitudes and interests can be key indicators of God’s plan for our life’s work. The evaluation of aptitudes is just one reason why the general preparatory education is so important. The exposure to a variety of tasks gives one a chance to evaluate aptitudes.

On a more specific note, Ellen White advises that all should have the capability to make their living at some trade. For some, this may be a backup vocation; nonetheless, an aptitude and enjoyment toward at least one trade should be developed.

Additionally, there are varieties of aptitude tests that can be taken independently, or through a career counselor. These tests can prove beneficial in that they may reveal aptitudes that one may not have realized before.

How can I use my aptitudes, with my training and career, to glorify God and to witness to others?

Remember that every person is called to a ministry, no matter what the occupation. Then this question should be one of the most important to answer when preparing for and practicing our vocations. Any vocation can and should be used directly and indirectly to help further the gospel.

How would my calling be a blessing to society?

The work of Jesus, while here on this earth, was continually a blessing to society. From carpentry to preaching and healing he lived constantly to be a blessing. As we follow Christ’s example we will also find that this is one of the keys to personal and career satisfaction.

What advice or comments do the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy have to say about my intended vocation, and the requisite education?

The list of occupations that are dealt with in some way by the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy is long. Have you studied the subject matter out? The Bible and Spirit of Prophecy also have much to say regarding education. Anyone preparing for a career, or planning to switch careers, should include a prayerful study of inspired writings. In particular, the books Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, I and II Timothy and Education should be carefully investigated.

How will my job choice and location affect my Sabbath keeping?

Certainly there are a number of job types that are not suitable to consider when factoring in Sabbath keeping. And one’s latitudinal location affects the clock time during which the Sabbath is kept, and needs to be considered.

Among jobs that are profitable to consider, jobs in the medical field have a special relation to the Sabbath. Anyone considering a career in one of the medical professions should carefully examine what the Spirit of Prophecy says about Sabbath keeping and the medical professions. A balanced summary of that counsel is beyond the scope of this article. But I will leave the reader with an additional question to ponder if considering a job in a hospital setting: Is the Sabbath respected in the institutions at which I seek employment?

But this is actually a broader question than it may at first appear. There are potential jobs that require an investment of time that would lead many people to make the job and/or requisite education the number one focus of their life. This, then, effectively enshrines the career as an idol, diminishing Sabbath keeping. Great care must then be exercised when considering especially time-intensive career choices.

In my chosen career, will I be directly supporting the advancement of sin?

Certainly the answer should be, No. At first thought, this may seem to be either an obvious or strange question. But it is worth a second thought. Of course, as a Christian you would easily eliminate jobs directly tied to the production of alcohol or tobacco, for example. But it is worth considering the many ways that our economy is integrated, and estimating how closely an industry or particular job may be tied to the overt degradation of society.

An example question could be: As a financial advisor, would I ever be directed to recommend investments in companies in the entertainment, alcohol, or tobacco industries because my recommendations must be based solely on their financial prospects? If so, how could I retain my independence as an advisor?

Are potential social benefits the prime goal of my educational endeavors?

The desire to be with friends of like age and educational goals, and to find a husband or wife, are the prime focus of many who are preparing for careers in college. While the desire for the wholesome social benefits of an education has a place, that place must be subservient to the preparation of life’s work; otherwise that proper preparation is in jeopardy.

Traditionally, for Seventh-day Adventists, this desire has been assumed to be met at a Seventh-day Adventist college or university. The disastrous position of these institutions with respect to God’s plan of education laid out in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy has been well chronicled. As such, they are generally bereft of this benefit.

How may my chosen vocation interact with labor or trade unions?

Ellen White specifically says that God’s people are not to be members of unions. Many trades are tightly connected with unions. The relationship between a chosen trade and unions should be examined carefully. Also, the apprentice should be aware of whether or not he has a legal right to work without belonging to a union. This is the case in some states (“right-to-work” states). Finally, it should be noted that unions have been making in-roads into professions. Notably, this is true of the teaching and nursing professions. Additionally, this author is aware of cases involving the unionization of physicians and engineers.

Can I obtain the education I need with a prudent investment of money and time?

Like a number of these questions, the details of the answers are large, and vary from case to case. But, in general, let the student consider that today, many professionals leave school with more than $100,000 of debt, and no prospects of paying this off quickly. While we do not flatly take the position that to incur debt for any amount, time or reason is wrong or unwise, we should remember the truth that “the borrower is servant to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7. Inspired counsel on investment in time and debt should be studied.

What kind of education do I need, and can I obtain it without being warped?

In today’s world, it is not possible to obtain a college or graduate education in many areas of study and in many circumstances from any institution, and not be warped—if we are acting presumptuously. Presumption would include choosing a career and educational path that would require direct, regular, active study of (or participation in, as the case may be) things such as: evolution, spiritualism, materialism, paganism, skepticism, competitive sports, fiction, and drama. This is because we already have specific counsel from inspired writings not to engage in these activities.

If the student is not truly converted—has not committed all of his aspirations to Christ—the unconverted desires may be interpreted directly as God’s will, and the student will find himself acting presumptuously as he chooses an education and career. It is then that he is most vulnerable, and most unaware of his vulnerability!

If you are paying attention to what has been happening in education, you surely realize that there is no field of study that is not at minimum tainted in some way (directly or indirectly) with one or more of these listed problems. If there were no other reasons (but there are), this is sufficient to bar any and all from making sweeping specific recommendations regarding any area of study. We should keep in mind that God would have us all be intellectual Christians (Testimonies, vol. 3, 160), but that in seeking intellectual excellence through education, many have unwittingly allowed worldly philosophy to make them skeptical of the power of the gospel. Remember, in Christ’s time, it was the common people who heard Him gladly. And this is still often true.

Regarding educational preparation, much prayer, and individual counsel from godly advisors, is needed for each individual case.

“A knowledge of science of all kinds is power, and it is in the purpose of God that advanced science shall be taught in our schools as a preparation for the work that is to precede the closing scenes of earth’s history.” Christian Education, 83.

How transportable and flexible is the career of my choice?

This has to do directly with the potential demand for your services in domestic and foreign labor markets, your employability (including self-employability), and what living location options are reasonable for you to expect. Even within a category (such as physician, attorney, or engineer, for example), the answers to these questions can vary greatly depending on the specialty.

How will my career choice fit with a family and church?

Since career choices, at least for the young, often come at a time when they are also thinking of marriage and family aspirations, each should prayerfully consider these subjects together and the mutual impact they have on each other. Counsel from godly parents and friends is of special value here.

Have I done some research to find out what options are really out there?

Actuary, stevedore, apiarist, pattern maker, industrial hygienist: it is advisable that one become familiar with a wide variety of occupations. If you are not familiar with a wide variety of occupations, you may be missing details, or even broad categories of labor, that would well suit you.

If it is a career that you are already familiar with in name, such as a nurse, teacher, mechanic, or accountant—how well do you really know what the job entails? In-depth research would include finding people who are in the field, and interviewing or shadowing them.

Evaluating mid-career options:

If you are in mid-career, you may have occasion to ask: “Where do I go from here?” If you are simply working to survive, your general career preparation was deficient, or your career does not suit you well.

It is true that we cannot perfectly redeem the past, but with God’s help we may make greater strides in our work, both for this life and in preparation for the next, than we can easily imagine. Remember that one of Satan’s traps is to keep people so caught-up in the business of life and earning a living that Christ loses His place at the center of affection. (Matthew 13:7, 22.)

Certainly the Lord can help you optimize a job situation that may not seem to suit your life plan best if you are willing to diligently apply yourself. It is possible that you should seriously consider your options to change employment, but not without carefully considering a potential new career from all angles. Otherwise, you may find yourself jumping from one poor-fitting job to another, and falling farther behind financially for doing so.

There are many tools for examining mid-career improvement and change potential. As always, at the top of the list are the Bible and prayer. Godly, wise friends and family may also be an important resource, (See Testimonies, vol. 1, 224, 225 on the use of counsel.) Other potential tools may include (depending on the occupation involved) community college, distance education, gospel ministries, agricultural extension agents, books, SCORE (non-profit organization of counselors to small entrepreneurial businesses), licensing organizations, etc.

The biggest challenge and obstacle to development that any mid-career person is likely to find is the need most of us have to improve our mental discipline and time management. Without this discipline, success in any line will prove elusive.

Secular vs. gospel employment:

But wait, you say, “Your specific occupational examples focused a lot on secular employment, and obtaining the requisite education for secular employment. That is not what is most important about career planning. What about preparing for employment as direct, full-time gospel workers: missionaries, pastors, evangelists, Bible-workers, Christian educators, and medical workers?”

What of gospel employment?

Some questions one should ask before choosing an education and career. But nothing was said about employment directly in God’s work. That certainly is a most important employment option for one to consider. The relation of secular lines of employment to the work of the ministry in various lines is a very important discussion.

There is an enormous dearth of Historic Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) churches and institutions—and the pastors, Bible workers, teachers, and medical professionals that should be employed by them to lead out in the spreading of the three angels’ messages. There is a lack of people willing to take the large risk of committing to these fields, but there is also a critical lack of a support base for these people. This is a large-scale problem. But, as we will find out, large-scale solutions to problems of this type must start with individuals and families. That is where you and your occupation fit into this problem, reader, and that is what I want to discuss with you.

Isaiah, through inspiration, tells us: “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save …” Isaiah 59:1. We need to first remind ourselves that God has not made His ability to complete His work on earth completely dependent on man! What hopelessness would be our case if it were so? If needed, God can turn to the rocks. But, amazingly, He has made His work partially dependent on us! Paul says, “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent?” Romans 10: 13–15.

God has promised that there will be people who choose to cooperate with Him in finishing His work (see, for example, Isaiah 55:5–11 and Malachi 3:16–18), but this power of choice means that Seventh-day Adventists collectively and individually may or may not be part of that work. The fact that the SDA denomination has strayed significantly from God’s plan for finishing His work is well documented elsewhere. The denomination has been actively opposing those who are preaching and teaching present truth for a number of years now. And the tightly centralized organization of the denomination makes it difficult at best to associate with it regularly without being indirectly involved in their work that often ultimately impedes the gospel. We need to examine for ourselves the implications of this for our occupations.

The reality of our current situation as Historic Seventh-day Adventists is that we could not have a more scattered approach to this problem. There are a number of independent, congregational-style churches (with different names due to past lawsuits and ongoing threats of lawsuits) which have organized in a number of places around the world. A few of them are organized to evangelize and fend off fanaticism. A few of them are capable of hiring pastors and/or Bible workers.

But many Historic Seventh-day Adventists are ambivalent about supporting these churches regularly; and this ambivalence breeds weakness. They may have found a conference church nearby with a good pastor, or another one with a good Sabbath school teacher. Perhaps they worship at home, or just put up with some error, some immodest dress, some poor music, etc. Only when some special weekend revival meeting by one of a select number of ministers is held in their area do they congregate together. This sporadic, halting congregating has in part led to a loss of vision for what the business of God’s church really is. Weekend revivals are a wonderful blessing, but that is not the mission of the church. We, as Historic Seventh-day Adventists, are not in a position to evangelize in any major way—either to invite the world into General Conference-sponsored SDA churches because of apostasy, or to invite them into Historic SDA churches because we have not taken the collective action to ensure that they exist and function robustly!

The organization of the church mutually obligates secular employed and gospel employed workers:

At the outset of the Christian church, Christ placed the physical welfare of the gospel laborers largely in the hands of those employed in secular labor, (See, for example, Matthew 10:1–15 and I Corinthians 9: 1–14.) He placed the organization of the churches for: 1) missionary work (Titus 1:9) and 2) prevention of heresy and fanaticism (Titus 1:10, 11) largely in the hands of apostles and elders (see Titus 1:5–11, I Timothy 3:1–7, I Thessalonians 5:12–15 and The Acts of the Apostles, 262), and the ongoing welfare of the church largely in the hands of elders, deacons, and deaconesses. (See I Timothy 3:8–13, Acts 6, The Acts of the Apostles, 89, 90, and The Review and Herald, July 9, 1895.) Thus those with secular occupations and those employed in the gospel work have mutual obligations to each other through the church body. (See I Corinthians 12:18–25.) If you have a secular job, you have a duty to consider what responsibility you have in helping God’s people collectively work toward making the work of pastors, evangelists and teachers viable! This includes financial support, but, as we will see, goes well beyond it.

Collective intelligence and our collective will to action:

God has appointed both individual and collective will to humans. As Historic SDAs, we have long exercised our muscle of individual will and action, while our muscle of collective will, intelligence, and action has nigh atrophied. In Heaven, the collective will to action is critical to success in the Great Controversy! What about our collective action?

Let us illustrate the importance of collective intelligence and action for God’s remnant by comparing our needs to evangelize and educate with large-scale projects in the secular world. There are millions of very talented, intelligent and industrious people in our world, but not a single one of them knows in full how to create and manage a major infrastructure project, build a jet plane or computer, or manage a monetary system. Nor can one person simply assign a specified amount of physical and mental energy to be expended by a group of people working separately and accomplish any of these projects. All of these projects require collective intelligence. If the secular world we live in was managed like our gospel work, we would all be tool-poor, barterers, and hunter-gatherers the world over! (Luke 16:8.) It is a key responsibility of each person in the church with secular employment to be a part of the collective intelligence and will to action that is needed so that gospel workers can be trained and hired!

God, in His infinite wisdom, has given to His church collective tasks in evangelism and education that simply cannot be met exclusively by exercising our talents individually! There are parts of our individual characters that simply cannot be properly developed unless we are at least attempting to work collectively. Unfortunately, many of us have been assuming otherwise.

The need for gospel workers and teachers today cannot be satisfied exclusively with some portion of the General Conference of SDAs that is doing a good work—however good that work may be! For example, the Michigan Conference and Amazing Facts are not in a position to hire all of the gospel workers that are needed, nor are they in a position to exercise collective action with the General Conference on all fronts. However large this problem may seem, we must at minimum not ignore it, or pretend that because it takes the action of many, we are in no position to make an attempt to rectify it. You can see that this is about much more than pooling our money.

Difficult Questions and Risk:

It is time to consider more than theoretical future solutions; it’s time to consider pragmatic ones. It is past time to ask some very difficult questions, questions such as: “If someone felt called to the gospel ministry (the gospel ministry as defined in Testimonies to Ministers), what real employment options do they have? Would you want to be in their shoes? Are you in their shoes? (Remember, God will call 11th hour workers from secular employment to gospel employment.) What would it take to train and hire workers? Would the Historic SDA church nearest me need to be better organized? Could I help? Would it take more than one local church to get the job done? Would I be prepared to recognize and act collectively with 11th hour workers from other churches? Would it take things like an identity, plans, goals, boards, and bank accounts? Am I an amicable enough person so that others could get along with me well enough to prosecute a plan of action?

The preceding paragraph may sound like heresy to some. But we are halfway there, and that half-way position will not long be stable. There exist historic SDA churches. There are groups of Historic SDA churches working together in various places in the world. There are Historic SDA teachers and medical professionals. And all of these exist because people believe that the gospel message drives and defines the identity of the remnant, and not the other way around! (Revelation 14:12.) Today we are either half wrong, and need to close shop on these activities, or we are half right, and need to “strengthen the weak hands and confirm the feeble knees.” [Isaiah 35:3.]

You may be tempted to say that the thought of working on a large scale is preposterous, given our current situation and the shortness of time. You may ask, “Do you really expect to launch some large, potentially bureaucratic edifice for training and employing workers when God has said that He will complete His work through surprisingly simple means?” These are fair questions, and they are best viewed through the following statement and a question. First, a statement: A large organization does indeed have the potential to be corrupted by politics, but when we realize the difficulty we have in organizing even two small churches to work together, this problem finds its place lower down on the list of current problems. Second, a question: Even though God has said that He will finish His work in simple ways that will astound us, do you think that He will sanction our part in that work if we simply excuse ourselves from attempting to act collectively, because it is hard to do and takes time?

Finally, let us speak about risk. The good news for us is that Christ has already guaranteed the outcome of the war; there is zero risk that He will lose the great controversy. But there is very real risk in each battle of the great controversy, risk that souls will be lost. When you undertake a project by yourself, you are individually, to a large degree, in control of the risk of failure. When you engage in collective intelligence and action, you as an individual are in a much smaller way in control of the risk of failure. Act collectively with others only in prayer, and with the knowledge that you are collectively putting your efforts at the risk of each other’s good will. There is no way to make money through investment without putting money at risk of loss—at least temporary loss. And when we invest our talents for Christ, we may indeed realize temporary loss and may not in this life realize the gain of our investment. But our risk in these endeavors pales to the very real risk that God made to save you and me, the risk of the loss of His own Son! May God bless you as you prayerfully consider these words.

John T. Grosboll, PE is a mechanical engineer living near Vancouver, Washington. His secular employment includes several years of experience in primary metals and transportation-related industries. He, along with his wife, is actively involved in the work of the Historic Message Church in Portland, Oregon. He may be reached at

Children’s Story — Miraculous Deliverance of Doctor Adam Clarke

“A missionary who had been sent to a strange land to proclaim the gospel of the kingdom of God, had passed through many hardships. He was often in danger of losing his life through the persecutions excited against him. One day, taking his life in his hands, he went to a dangerous place where he had often preached Christ crucified. About fifty believers came to hear the missionary preach.

“He began his sermon, and after he had preached about thirty minutes, a blood thirsty mob surrounded the house, all armed with different instruments of death, and shouting the most murderous purposes. Some that were inside shut the door, and the missionary and the group of believers knelt in fervent prayer.

“The mob attacked the house, and began to throw stones against the walls, windows, and roof. In a little while almost every tile on the roof was destroyed, and the roof nearly uncovered. Before they left the premises, scarcely one square inch of glass was left in the five windows in the house. While this was going on, one of the mob came to the window opposite where the preacher stood. He had a pistol. (The missionary was encouraging the small congregation to be steady, to resign themselves to God, and trust in Him.) The man with the pistol pointed it at him, and pulled the trigger. But it only flashed!

“As the house was a wooden building, the mob took crowbars and shovels to destroy the foundation and knock the house down. The preacher then told his little group: ‘These wicked people seek not you, but me. If I stay in the house, they will soon tear it down, and we shall all be buried in the ruins. I will, in the name of God, go out to them, and you will be safe.’

“He then went towards the door. The distressed people surrounded him and begged him not to venture out, as he would be instantly massacred. However, He went calmly forward, opened the door, and instantly a whole volley of stones and dirt was thrown right in his face. But he was not hurt.

“The people were crowded in front of the door, and filled the road for a long way, so that there was no room to get through. As soon as the preacher made his appearance, the savages became instantly as silent and as still as night. He walked forward, and they divided, to the right and to the left, leaving a path about four feet wide for the missionary and a young man who followed him. They passed on through the whole crowd. No one lifted a hand, or spoke a word, until he and his companion had walked through the whole mob.

The narrator who was present on the occasion goes on to say: “This was one of the most dramatic spectacles I ever witnessed; an infuriated mob without any visible cause (for the preacher spoke not one word), became in a moment as calm as lambs! They seemed struck with amazement bordering on stupefaction. They stared and stood speechless; and after they had fallen back to the right and left to leave him a free passage, they were as motionless as statues!

“They assembled with the full purpose to destroy the man who came to show them the way of salvation; but he passing through the midst of them, went his way. Was not the God of missionaries in this work?”

In the book, the Life of Adam Clarke, the “missionary” referred to above, is identified as Clarke himself.*

“During the whole time of his (Clarke’s) passing through the mob, there was a death-like silence, nor was there any motion, but that which was necessary to give him a free passage! Either their eyes were holden that they could not know him; or they were so over-awed by the power of God that they could not lift a hand, or utter a word against him. The believers, finding all was quiet, came out a little after, and passed through the mob, not one of them being either hurt or molested! In a few minutes the mob seemed to awake as from a dream, and finding that their prey had been plucked out of their teeth, they knew not how, attacked the house afresh, broke every square of glass in the windows, and scarcely left a whole tile upon the roof. Clarke afterwards learned that the design of the mob was to put him in the sluice of an overshot water-wheel, by which he would have been crushed to pieces.”

Yes, the God of the missionaries is still in control!

Doctor Adam Clarke (1762-1832) lived in Londonderry, Ireland. He became a Methodist preacher and worked in Ireland, Scotland, Channel Islands and Shetland Islands.

This true story was taken from the book, Miraculous Powers, by M. E. Cornell. Modernized by Ken and Lois McGaughey.


Bible Study Guides – The Midnight of the World

October 24, 2010 – October 30, 2010

Key Text

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” Hosea 4:6.

Study Help: The Great Controversy, 60–62; The Desire of Ages, 413, 414.


“For centuries, truth and error struggled for the mastery.” The Great Controversy, 265.

1 What condition existed in the Dark Ages and why was there little progress in the arts and sciences during this time? Isaiah 60:2; 59:12, 13; Hosea 4:1, 2; Ezekiel 33:32.

Note: “For centuries Europe had made no progress in learning, arts, or civilization. A moral and intellectual paralysis had fallen upon Christendom.” The Great Controversy, 60.

2 What only could be expected from the people when even priests were quite ignorant of the Word of God? Hosea 4:6, 9; Malachi 2:7.

Note: “ ‘The noon of the papacy was the midnight of the world.’—J. A. Wylie, The History of Protestantism, b. 1, ch. 4. The Holy Scriptures were almost unknown, not only to the people, but to the priests. … Fraud, avarice, and profligacy prevailed. Men shrank from no crime by which they could gain wealth or position. The palaces of popes and prelates were scenes of the vilest debauchery. Some of the reigning pontiffs were guilty of crimes so revolting that secular rulers endeavored to depose these dignitaries of the church as monsters too vile to be tolerated. … The condition of the world under the Romish power presented a fearful and striking fulfillment of the words of the prophet Hosea: [Hosea 4:6, 1, 2 quoted]. Such were the results of banishing the word of God.” The Great Controversy, 60.

3 Why did the priests and papal leaders hate the light of God’s Word? John 3:19, 20. What was the eventual result?

Note: “Like the Pharisees of old, the papal leaders hated the light which would reveal their sins. God’s law, the standard of righteousness, having been removed, they exercised power without limit, and practiced vice without restraint.” The Great Controversy, 60.

“For centuries, truth and error struggled for the mastery. At last the evil triumphed, and the truth of Heaven was thrust out. ‘This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light.’ John 3:19. The nation was left to reap the results of the course which she had chosen. The restraint of God’s Spirit was removed from a people that had despised the gift of His grace. Evil was permitted to come to maturity. And all the world saw the fruit of willful rejection of the light.

“The war against the Bible, carried forward for so many centuries in France, culminated in the scenes of the Revolution. That terrible outbreaking was but the legitimate result of Rome’s suppression of the Scriptures. It presented the most striking illustration which the world has ever witnessed of the working out of the papal policy—an illustration of the results to which for more than a thousand years the teaching of the Roman Church had been tending.” Ibid., 265, 266.

4 What prophecy foresaw that the Lord would have His faithful witnesses even through this time of spiritual darkness? Isaiah 43:5, 6, 10.

Note: “Amid the gloom that settled upon the earth during the long period of papal supremacy, the light of truth could not be wholly extinguished. In every age there were witnesses for God—men who cherished faith in Christ as the only mediator between God and man, who held the Bible as the only rule of life, and who hallowed the true Sabbath. How much the world owes to these men, posterity will never know. They were branded as heretics, their motives impugned, their characters maligned, their writings suppressed, misrepresented, or mutilated. Yet they stood firm, and from age to age maintained their faith in its purity, as a sacred heritage for the generations to come.” The Great Controversy, 61.

5 What example did Rome follow to conceal the writings which would be a testimony against her? Jeremiah 36:22, 23.

Note: “The history of God’s people during the ages of darkness that followed upon Rome’s supremacy is written in heaven, but they have little place in human records. Few traces of their existence can be found, except in the accusations of their persecutors. It was the policy of Rome to obliterate every trace of dissent from her doctrines or decrees. Everything heretical, whether persons or writings, she sought to destroy. Expressions of doubt, or questions as to the authority of papal dogmas, were enough to forfeit the life of rich or poor, high or low. Rome endeavored also to destroy every record of her cruelty toward dissenters. Papal councils decreed that books and writings containing such records should be committed to the flames. Before the invention of printing, books were few in number, and in a form not favorable for preservation; therefore there was little to prevent the Romanists from carrying out their purpose.” The Great Controversy, 61, 62.

6 What kind of persecution did the British Christians receive—and for many years, from what kind of corruption did they manage to escape? Matthew 23:15.

Note: “No church within the limits of Romish jurisdiction was long left undisturbed in the enjoyment of freedom of conscience. No sooner had the papacy obtained power than she stretched out her arms to crush all that refused to acknowledge her sway, and one after another the churches submitted to her dominion.

“In Great Britain primitive Christianity had very early taken root. The gospel received by the Britons in the first centuries was then uncorrupted by Romish apostasy. Persecution from pagan emperors, which extended even to these far-off shores, was the only gift that the first churches of Britain received from Rome. …

“When the Saxons invaded Britain, heathenism gained control. The conquerors disdained to be instructed by their slaves, and the Christians were forced to retreat to the mountains and the wild moors. Yet the light, hidden for a time, continued to burn.” The Great Controversy, 62.

7 As the faithful Christians in England were persecuted by the pagans, what instruction did they follow, and with what result? Matthew 10:22–24.

Note: “Many of the Christians, fleeing from persecution in England, found refuge in Scotland; thence the truth was carried to Ireland, and in all these countries it was received with gladness.” The Great Controversy, 62.

8 Name some of the activities of the courageous missionaries from Ireland.

Note: “From Ireland came the pious Columba and his colaborers, who, gathering about them the scattered believers on the lonely island of Iona, made this the center of their missionary labors. Among these evangelists was an observer of the Bible Sabbath, and thus this truth was introduced among the people. A school was established at Iona, from which missionaries went out, not only to Scotland and England, but to Germany, Switzerland, and even Italy.” The Great Controversy, 62.

9 Describe the contrast seen between the missionaries of Columba and the papal leaders who began their own conquest of Britain. Matthew 10:7–10; 11:8; 23:1–7.

Note: “Rome had fixed her eyes on Britain, and resolved to bring it under her supremacy. In the sixth century her missionaries undertook the conversion of the heathen Saxons. They were received with favor by the proud barbarians, and they induced many thousands to profess the Romish faith. As the work progressed, the papal leaders and their converts encountered the primitive Christians. A striking contrast was presented. The latter were simple, humble, and Scriptural in character, doctrine, and manners, while the former manifested the superstition, pomp, and arrogance of popery. The emissary of Rome demanded that these Christian churches acknowledge the supremacy of the sovereign pontiff. The Britons meekly replied that they desired to love all men, but that the pope was not entitled to supremacy in the church, and they could render to him only that submission which was due to every follower of Christ.” The Great Controversy, 62, 63.

10 To what principle did the believers in Britain cling? Matthew 23:8–10. What reaction did they then have to face?

Note: “Repeated attempts were made to secure their allegiance to Rome; but these humble Christians [in Britain], amazed at the pride displayed by her emissaries, steadfastly replied that they knew no other master than Christ. Now the true spirit of the papacy was revealed. Said the Romish leader: ‘If you will not receive brethren who bring you peace, you shall receive enemies who will bring you war. If you will not unite with us in showing the Saxons the way of life, you shall receive from them the stroke of death.’—J. H. Merle D’Aubigné, History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century, b. 17, ch. 2. These were no idle threats. War, intrigue, and deception were employed against these witnesses for a Bible faith, until the churches of Britain were destroyed, or forced to submit to the authority of the pope.” The Great Controversy, 63.

11 While Christian believers in Europe were struggling against papal tyranny throughout these centuries, what could be found in other parts of the world? Zephaniah 3:12, 13.

Note: “In lands beyond the jurisdiction of Rome there existed for many centuries bodies of Christians who remained almost wholly free from papal corruption. They were surrounded by heathenism and in the lapse of ages were affected by its errors; but they continued to regard the Bible as the only rule of faith and adhered to many of its truths. These Christians believed in the perpetuity of the law of God and observed the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. Churches that held to this faith and practice existed in Central Africa and among the Armenians of Asia.” The Great Controversy, 63.

Additional Reading

“ ‘Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.’ I Corinthians 3:11. ‘Upon this rock,’ said Jesus, ‘I will build My church’ [Matthew 16:18]. In the presence of God, and all the heavenly intelligences, in the presence of the unseen army of hell, Christ founded His church upon the living Rock. That Rock is Himself—His own body, for us broken and bruised. Against the church built upon this foundation, the gates of hell shall not prevail.

“How feeble the church appeared when Christ spoke these words! There was only a handful of believers, against whom all the power of demons and evil men would be directed; yet the followers of Christ were not to fear. Built upon the Rock of their strength, they could not be overthrown.

“For six thousand years, faith has builded upon Christ. For six thousand years the floods and tempests of satanic wrath have beaten upon the Rock of our salvation; but it stands unmoved.

“Peter had expressed the truth which is the foundation of the church’s faith, and Jesus now honored him as the representative of the whole body of believers. He said, ‘I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven’ [Matthew 16:19].

“ ‘The keys of the kingdom of heaven’ are the words of Christ. All the words of Holy Scripture are His, and are here included. These words have power to open and to shut heaven. They declare the conditions upon which men are received or rejected. Thus the work of those who preach God’s word is a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. Theirs is a mission weighted with eternal results.” The Desire of Ages, 413, 414.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.