Bible Study Guides – Parallels for Today

May 17, 2009 – May 23, 2009

Key Text

“For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.” John 3:20, 21.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 4, 174–176; “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 3, 1163.


“In this generation, when God’s servants speak the word of the Lord to reprove wrong-doers, to rebuke those who bring in wrong principles, have they not had an experience similar to that which Jeremiah had?” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1156.

1 How did Jeremiah feel about uttering the warnings he was directed to give, and how did God constrain His servant? Jeremiah 20:9.

Note: “So strong was the opposition against Jeremiah’s message, so often was he derided and mocked, that he said, ‘I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name.’ [Jeremiah 20:9.] Thus it has ever been. Because of the bitterness, hatred, and opposition manifested against the word of God spoken in reproof, many other messengers of God have decided to do as Jeremiah decided. But what did this prophet of the Lord do after his decision? Try as much as he would, he could not hold his peace. As soon as he came into the assemblies of the people, he found that the Spirit of the Lord was stronger than he was. … [Jeremiah 20:9, 10 quoted.]” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1156.

2 Why do those who call sin by its right name face such opposition? John 3:19, 20. Of what has God assured His faithful witnesses, both anciently and today? John 3:21; Joshua 1:8, 9.

Note: “When a course of action to pervert justice and judgment is introduced, the word of the Lord must be spoken in reproof. In this our day we find the very same difficulties that the Lord’s servants found in the days of ancient Israel when they were sent to expose existing evils that were corrupting in their influence.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” iThe Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1156, 1157.

3 What reproof did the Lord command Jeremiah to give regarding the Sabbath? Jeremiah 17:19–22. What would have been the result if the Israelites had accepted this truth? Jeremiah 17:24–26.

Note: “On one occasion, by command of the Lord, the prophet took his position at one of the principal entrances to the city and there urged the importance of keeping holy the Sabbath day. The inhabitants of Jerusalem were in danger of losing sight of the sanctity of the Sabbath, and they were solemnly warned against following their secular pursuits on that day.” Prophets and Kings, 411.

“God has designated the seventh day as His Sabbath. [Exodus 31:13, 17, 16 quoted.] … True observance of the Sabbath is the sign of loyalty to God.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 981.

“Had Israel as a nation preserved her allegiance to Heaven, Jerusalem would have stood forever, the elect of God.” The Great Controversy, 19.

4 What should we realize about the Sabbath? Exodus 31:13. What would be the result if all would hallow the Sabbath day?

Note: “If man had always kept the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, there never would have been an atheist or an infidel in the world.” The Review and Herald, April 15, 1890.

5 What message was Jeremiah directed to give the people? What would be the result of rejecting this message? Jeremiah 26:4–6.

Note: “A refusal to heed the invitation of mercy that God was now offering would bring upon the impenitent nation the judgments that had befallen the northern kingdom of Israel over a century before.” Prophets and Kings, 415.

6 When Jeremiah delivered the message to the people, what did they clearly understand, and what action did they take? Jeremiah 26:9.

Note: “Those who stood in the temple court listening to Jeremiah’s discourse understood clearly this reference to Shiloh, and to the time in the days of Eli when the Philistines had overcome Israel and carried away the ark of the testament.

“The sin of Eli had consisted in passing lightly over the iniquity of his sons in sacred office, and over the evils prevailing throughout the land. His neglect to correct these evils had brought upon Israel a fearful calamity. His sons had fallen in battle, Eli himself had lost his life, the ark of God had been taken from the land of Israel, thirty thousand of the people had been slain—and all because sin had been allowed to flourish unrebuked and unchecked. Israel had vainly thought that, notwithstanding their sinful practices, the presence of the ark would ensure them victory over the Philistines. In like manner, during the days of Jeremiah, the inhabitants of Judah were prone to believe that a strict observance of the divinely appointed services of the temple would preserve them from a just punishment for their wicked course.” Prophets and Kings, 415, 416.

7 What illustration did Jeremiah use to instruct the people? Jeremiah 35:1–10.

Note: “To illustrate the importance of yielding implicit obedience to the requirements of God, Jeremiah gathered some Rechabites into one of the chambers of the temple and set wine before them, inviting them to drink. As was to have been expected, he met with remonstrance and absolute refusal.” Prophets and Kings, 423.

8 Explain the significance of the illustration of the Rechabites, both in Jeremiah’s day and for us. Jeremiah 35:13–19.

Note: “The Rechabites were commended for their ready and willing obedience, while God’s people refused to be reproved by their prophets. Because He had spoken unto them but they had not heard, because He had called unto them but they had not answered, therefore God pronounced judgment against them. Jeremiah repeated the words of commendation from the Lord to the faithful Rechabites and pronounced blessings upon them in His name.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 175.

“Thus God taught His people that faithfulness and obedience would be reflected back upon Judah in blessing, even as the Rechabites were blessed for obedience to their father’s command.

“The lesson is for us. If the requirements of a good and wise father, who took the best and most effectual means to secure his posterity against the evils of intemperance, were worthy of strict obedience, surely God’s authority should be held in as much greater reverence as He is holier than man. Our Creator and our Commander, infinite in power, terrible in judgment, seeks by every means to bring men to see and repent of their sins. By the mouth of His servants He predicts the dangers of disobedience; He sounds the note of warning and faithfully reproves sin.” Prophets and Kings, 425, 426.

9 In our days, what solemn responsibility rests upon those holding positions in the church? Titus 1:13.

Note: “Those whom God has set apart as ministers of righteousness have solemn responsibilities laid upon them to reprove the sins of the people. Paul commanded Titus: ‘These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.’ [Titus 2:15.] There are ever those who will despise the one who dares to reprove sin; but there are times when reproof must be given. Paul directs Titus to rebuke a certain class sharply, that they may be sound in the faith. Men and women who, with their different organizations, are brought together in church capacity have peculiarities and faults. As these are developed, they will require reproof. If those who are placed in important positions never reproved, never rebuked, there would soon be a demoralized condition of things that would greatly dishonor God. But how shall the reproof be given? Let the apostle answer: ‘With all long-suffering and doctrine.’ [II Timothy 4:2.] Principle should be brought to bear upon the one who needs reproof, but never should the wrongs of God’s people be passed by indifferently.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 358, 359.

10 What does God require of those who claim to be His followers? Job 8:20; Ecclesiastes 8:11–13.

Note: “In the days of Samuel, Israel thought that the presence of the ark containing the commandments of God would gain them the victory over the Philistines, whether or not they repented of their wicked works. Just so, in Jeremiah’s time, the Jews believed that the strict observance of the divinely appointed services of the temple would preserve them from the just punishment of their evil course.

“The same danger exists today among the people who profess to be the depositaries of God’s law. They are too apt to flatter themselves that the regard in which they hold the commandments will preserve them from the power of divine justice. They refuse to be reproved for evil, and charge God’s servants with being too zealous in putting sin out of the camp. A sin-hating God calls upon those who profess to keep His law to depart from all iniquity.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 166, 167.

Additional Reading

“ ‘Ye shall be witnesses unto Me.’ [Acts 1:8.] These words of Jesus have lost none of their force. Our Saviour calls for faithful witnesses in these days of religious formalism; but how few, even among the professed ambassadors for Christ, are ready to give a faithful, personal testimony for their Master! Many can tell what the great and good men of generations past have done, and dared, and suffered, and enjoyed. They become eloquent in setting forth the power of the gospel, which has enabled others to rejoice in trying conflicts, and to stand firm against fierce temptations. But while so earnest in bringing forward other Christians as witnesses for Jesus, they seem to have no fresh, timely experience of their own to relate.

“What have you to say for yourselves? What soul conflicts have you experienced that have been for your good, for the good of others, and for the glory of God? You who profess to be proclaiming the last solemn message of mercy to the world, what is your experience in the knowledge of the truth, and what has been its effect upon your own hearts? Does your character testify for Christ? Can you speak of the refining, ennobling, sanctifying influence of the truth as it is in Jesus? What have you seen, what have you known, of the power of Christ? This is the kind of witness for which the Lord calls, and for which the churches are suffering.

“Without a living faith in Christ as a personal Saviour, it is impossible to make your faith felt in a skeptical world. If you would draw sinners out of the swift-running current, your own feet must not stand on slippery places.

“We need constantly a fresh revelation of Christ, a daily experience that harmonizes with His teachings. High and holy attainments are within our reach. Continual progress in knowledge and virtue is God’s purpose for us. His law is the echo of His own voice, giving to all the invitation, ‘Come up higher; be holy, holier still.’ Every day we may advance in perfection of Christian character.

“Those who are engaged in service for the Master need an experience much higher, deeper, broader, than many have yet thought of having. Many who are already members of God’s great family know little of what it means to behold His glory, and to be changed from glory to glory. Many have a twilight perception of Christ’s excellence, and their hearts thrill with joy. They long for a fuller, deeper sense of the Saviour’s love. Let these cherish every desire of the soul after God.

“The Holy Spirit works with those who will be worked, moulds those who will be moulded, fashions those who will be fashioned. Give yourselves the culture of spiritual thoughts and holy communings. … As you follow on to know the Lord, you will know that the ‘path of the righteous is as the light of dawn, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.’ [Proverbs 4:18, R. V.]” Gospel Workers, 273, 274.

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