Bible Study Guides – Learning to know God

March 31 – April 6, 2002

MEMORY VERSE: “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” 1 John 4:7.

INTRODUCTION: “The power and soul of true education is a knowledge of God, and of Jesus Christ whom He hath sent. ‘The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 392.

“A daily, earnest striving to know God, and Jesus Christ whom He has sent, would bring power and efficiency to the soul. The knowledge obtained by diligent searching of the Scriptures would be flashed into the memory at the right time. But if any had neglected to acquaint themselves with the words of Christ, if they had never tested the power of His grace in trial, they could not expect that the Holy Spirit would bring His words to their remembrance. They were to serve God daily with undivided affection, and then trust Him.” The Desire of Ages, 355.

1 What does God say about Himself? Isaiah 44:6, 8, 24; 45:21,22.

NOTE: “It is Satan’s work to fill men’s hearts with doubt. He leads them to look upon God as a stern judge. He tempts them to sin, and then to regard themselves as too vile to approach their heavenly Father or to excite His pity. The Lord understands all this. Jesus assures His disciples of God’s sympathy for them in their needs and weaknesses. Not a sigh is breathed, not a pain felt, not a grief pierces the soul, but the throb vibrates to the Father’s heart.

“The Bible shows us God in His high and holy place, not in a state of inactivity, not in silence and solitude, but surrounded by ten thousand times ten thousand and thousands of thousands of holy intelligences, all waiting to do His will. Through channels which we cannot discern He is in active communication with every part of His dominion. But it is in this speck of a world, in the souls that He gave His only-begotten Son to save, that His interest and the interest of all heaven is centered. God is bending from His throne to hear the cry of the oppressed. To every sincere prayer He answers, ‘Here am I.’ He uplifts the distressed and downtrodden. In all our afflictions He is afflicted. In every temptation and every trial the angel of His presence is near to deliver.” The Desire of Ages, 356.

2 How does God describe Himself? Exodus 34:6, 7.

NOTE: “It was the privilege of the Jewish nation to represent the character of God as it had been revealed to Moses. In answer to the prayer of Moses, ‘Show me Thy glory,’ the Lord promised, ‘I will make all My goodness pass before thee.’ Exodus 33:18, 19. ‘And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.’ Exodus 34:6, 7. This was the fruit that God desired from His people. In the purity of their characters, in the holiness of their lives, in their mercy and loving-kindness and compassion, they were to show that ‘the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.’ Psalm 19:7.

“Through the Jewish nation it was God’s purpose to impart rich blessings to all peoples. Through Israel the way was to be prepared for the diffusion of His light to the whole world. The nations of the world, through following corrupt practices, had lost the knowledge of God. Yet in His mercy God did not blot them out of existence. He purposed to give them opportunity for becoming acquainted with Him through His church. He designed that the principles revealed through His people should be the means of restoring the moral image of God in man.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 285, 286.

3 In what things does God delight? Jeremiah 9:23, 24.

NOTE: [Jeremiah 9:23, 24 quoted.] “Scarcely can the human mind comprehend the breadth and depth and height of the spiritual attainments of him who gains this knowledge.

“None need fail of attaining, in his sphere, to perfection of Christian character. By the sacrifice of Christ, provision has been made for the believer to receive all things that pertain to life and godliness. God calls upon us to reach the standard of perfection and places before us the example of Christ’s character. In His humanity, perfected by a life of constant resistance of evil, the Saviour showed that through co-operation with Divinity, human beings may in this life attain to perfection of character. This is God’s assurance to us that we, too, may obtain complete victory.” The Acts of the Apostles, 531, 532.

4 What does God say He is able to do? Isaiah 46:9, 10; John 14:29; John 13:19.

NOTE: “The history which the great I AM has marked out in His word, uniting link after link in the prophetic chain, from eternity in the past to eternity in the future, tells us where we are today in the procession of the ages, and what may be expected in the time to come. All that prophecy has foretold as coming to pass, until the present time, has been traced on the pages of history, and we may be assured that all which is yet to come will be fulfilled in its order. The final overthrow of all earthly dominions is plainly foretold in the word of truth.” Education, 178, 179.

5. How do we find God? Jeremiah 29:11–13; Psalm 91:15.

NOTE: “…friends, seek the Lord with all your heart. Come with zeal, and when you sincerely feel that without the help of God you perish, when you pant after Him as the hart panteth after the water brooks, then will the Lord strengthen you speedily. Then will your peace pass all understanding. If you expect salvation, you must pray. Take time. Be not hurried and careless in your prayers. Beg of God to work in you a thorough reformation, that the fruits of His Spirit may dwell in you, and you shine as lights in the world. Be not a hindrance or curse to the cause of God; you can be a help, a blessing. Does Satan tell you that you cannot enjoy salvation, full and free? Believe him not.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 159.

6 What relationship did Jesus say He was to God? Matthew 11:27; Luke 10:22. Compare John 10:30.

NOTE: “As a personal being, God has revealed Himself in His Son. Jesus, the outshining of the Father’s glory, ‘and the express image of His person’ (Hebrews 1:3), was on earth found in fashion as a man. As a personal Saviour He came to the world. As a personal Saviour He ascended on high. As a personal Saviour He intercedes in the heavenly courts. Before the throne of God in our behalf ministers ‘One like unto the Son of man.’ Revelation 1:13.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 265.

7 Why did Christ come to the earth? John 3:16.

NOTE: “The Teacher from heaven, no less a personage than the Son of God, came to earth to reveal the character of the Father to men, that they might worship Him in spirit and in truth. Christ revealed to men the fact that the strictest adherence to ceremony and form would not save them; for the kingdom of God was spiritual in its nature. Christ came to the world to sow it with truth. He held the keys to all the treasures of wisdom, and was able to open doors to science, and to reveal undiscovered stores of knowledge, were it essential to salvation. He presented to men that which was exactly contrary to the representations of the enemy in regard to the character of God, and sought to impress upon men the paternal love of the Father . . . He urged upon men the necessity of prayer, repentance, confession, and the abandonment of sin. He taught them honesty, forbearance, mercy, and compassion…” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 177.

8 What did Jesus say He was? John 14:6.

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.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 173.

9 What other description did Jesus give of Himself? John 8:12; 9:5.

NOTE: “God can do without you, but you cannot afford to do without God. He does not compel any man to believe. He sets light before men, and Satan presents his darkness. While the deceiver is constantly crying, ‘Light is here; truth is here,’ Jesus is saying: ‘I am the truth; I have the words of eternal life. If any man follow Me, he shall not walk in darkness.’ God gives to us all evidence sufficient to balance our faith on the side of truth. If we surrender to God we shall choose the light and reject the darkness.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 230.

10 What invitation does Jesus give? Matthew 11:28-30.

NOTE: “Take hold of the arm of God, and say, ‘I am nothing, and Thou art everything. Thou hast said, “Without Me ye can do nothing.” Now, Lord, I must have Thee abiding in me, that I may abide in Thee.’ Then advance step by step, by living faith abiding in Jesus Christ. This is wearing His yoke, the yoke of obedience (MS 85, 1901).” Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1092.

“Wearing the yoke with Christ, means to work in His lines, to be a co-partner with Him in His sufferings and toils for lost humanity. It means to be a wise instructor of souls. We shall be what we are willing to be made by Christ in these precious hours of probation. We shall be the sort of a vessel that we allow ourselves to be molded into. We must unite with God in the molding and fashioning work, having our wills submitted to the divine will (Letter 71, 1895).” Ibid.

11 What is Christ’s desire for us? John 17:23.

NOTE: “Christ is one with the Father, but Christ and God are two distinct personages. Read the prayer of Christ in the seventeenth chapter of John, and you will find this point clearly brought out. How earnestly the Saviour prayed that His disciples might be one with Him as He is one with the Father.…[John 17:20–23 quoted.] What a wonderful statement! The unity that exists between Christ and His disciples does not destroy the personality of either. In mind, in purpose, in character, they are one, but not in person. By partaking of the Spirit of God, conforming to the law of God, man becomes a partaker of the divine nature. Christ brings His disciples into a living union with Himself and with the Father. Through the working of the Holy Spirit upon the human mind, man is made complete in Christ Jesus. Unity with Christ establishes a bond of unity with one another. This unity is the most convincing proof to the world of the majesty and virtue of Christ… (RH June 1, 1905). Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, 1148.

12 What will we be like when we see Jesus? 1 John 3:1–3.

NOTE: “The plan of redemption is not merely a way of escape from the penalty of transgression, but through it the sinner is forgiven his sins, and will be finally received into heaven—not as a forgiven culprit pardoned and released from captivity, yet looked upon with suspicion and not admitted to friendship and trust; but welcomed as a child, and taken back into fullest confidence.” Ellen G. White Comments, Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 950.

By Craig Meeker

Editorial – Divorce, Part I

Divorce is generally the end of a relationship that was originally intended to continue. Although Lucifer could have chosen to remain as a covering cherub, the highest of all the angelic host, he left his position. Eventually, “He who was once the covering cherub, whose work it was to hide from the heavenly intelligences the glory of God, perverted his intellect, and divorced himself from God. If a being so exalted could fall so low as to become the author of sin, let not man boast, but learn to wear gracefully the yoke of Christ, revealing His meekness and lowliness, believing on Him, cooperating with Him.” The Upward Look, 286.

Concerning this divorce there was no hope of a reinstatement: “Understanding the character of God, knowing His goodness, Satan chose to follow his own selfish, independent will. This choice was final. There was no more that God could do to save him.” The Desire of Ages, 762.

However not all divorces are final. “It is a wonderful thing that after man had violated the law of God and separated himself from God, was divorced, as it were, from God—that after all this there was a plan made whereby man should not perish, but that he should have everlasting life. . . .” In Heavenly Places, 11.

“The world, divorced from God by sin, has been restored to favor by the sacrifice of his Son. With his own body the Saviour has bridged the gulf that sin has made.” The General Conference Bulletin, April 8, 1901.

“Christ took upon him the nature of man, that he might carry man with him, and place him in the domains of mercy, in the arms of the infinite God. Through disobedience, man had divorced himself from God, and had become an apostate against his government. But it was God’s design that man should be restored, and again have access to the tree of life.” Review and Herald, May 30, 1899.

Following a divorce, the relationship cannot be developed again without a price being paid. In the case of Adam’s sin, the price involved all heaven in sacrifice. For the human being, who wants again to have the benefits of this atonement, a price must be paid—this price is not in terms of money or merit developed from human works. It is repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ as both savior and Lord. (See Acts 2:36; Acts 20:21.) This price includes everything, every asset that a man has. (See Luke 14:33.)

The development of a relationship with God again, after a divorce has occurred, has happened many times in human history. For example, Isaiah writes, “Thus says the Lord, where is the certificate of divorce by which I sent your mother away? . . . Behold you were sold for your iniquities and for your transgressions your mother was sent away. . . . Is my hand so short that it cannot ransom or have I no power to deliver?” Isaiah 50:1, 2. (See also Jeremiah 3:1–20.)

The forbearance of God, in allowing rebels or offenders against His law and government to return and repent, is beyond our comprehension. It happens over and over again, often for a period of many years. However, the forbearance of God does have limits, and there comes a time, just as in the case of Lucifer, when the choice becomes final, and an irrevocable or final divorce is enacted. We want to understand this, because during the closing period of the age of grace, Bible prophecy predicts a final divorce occurring again.

To be continued . . .

Christians and Cars

A friend once told me jokingly that being in church does not make a person a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes a person a mechanic. At the time it was a joking reference made to my insistence on attending church, but in retrospect, she was absolutely accurate. We claim to be Seventh-day Adventists, and we believe in keeping the seventh day holy as prescribed in the Bible by God. The fourth commandment tells us that God “hallowed” the seventh day and “rested” on it. “For the seventh day is the Lord’s day, and in it, you shall do no work.” (Exodus 20: 10.) The Sabbath was made as a day of worship and rest for man, a day set aside specifically for communion with God and contemplation of the individual relationship with Him that all Christians must have. Wonderful! But where does it say that for the other six days of the week we can do as we please, and disregard the relationship we are supposed to nurture with God? What do we, as Seventh-day Adventists, do with the other six days of the week?

“Being in church doesn’t make you any more a Christian than being in a garage makes you a mechanic.”

This thought, taken most literally, is true. A pagan could walk into a sanctuary and sit among us, sing our hymns, listen to a sermon, and we would never know. They could observe the day with us, acknowledge our beliefs, and go home and rest on Sabbath. Yet, if they make a prayer to Isis or Hecate the next day, they are still pagan; simply going to church does not change that. Likewise, they could walk through the service bay of a car dealership and not suddenly gain intimate knowledge of the inner workings of my truck.

How do we gain the knowledge of what we need to do to be Christians? How do we turn “Christian” into a verb? A mechanic can only apply the term to himself if it is what he does for a living. It ought to be the same with Christians. Spending time with God is a good start. The Bible says that wherever two or more gather in My name, I will be there. (Matthew 18:20) So God’s presence is promised to any group that gathers for the purpose of serving Him. But what about individuals? Does God spend time with them? The Bible is full of examples of God spending meaningful time with individuals in isolation from others. Moses spent much time on his own with God, as is evidenced in Exodus when he stays on the mountain for many days and nights, with only the will and power of God to sustain him. He spoke with God alone in the Tabernacle and had a close relationship with God, one of the closest in biblical history.

Jonah was alone in the belly of the whale, but God heard his cries of repentance and his pleas for forgiveness. Alone, Jonah’s acceptance of God’s purpose was acknowledged by God, and Jonah’s life was spared as he accepted the mission God gave him. Imagine the honor God bestowed upon him. He, personally, heard the voice of God commanding him to go and do His bidding, and what did he do? He fled. Jonah ran from the greatest honor and gift any of us could imagine outside of being in the literal presence of God Himself! What would you give to hear the voice of God; what would you do to obey that voice if it honored you with a command? Would anything be too much, too hard? How terrible was Jonah’s cowardice and his sin in running from a command he should have been honored to receive, yet, even after all that, God heard his lone cry for a second chance and granted it. Is that what we are doing in our calling as Christians? God has given us clear instructions through the Bible and other inspired writings; instructions that clearly outline what is proper and necessary for Christians, yet the vast majority, sadly, ignore Him.

It has come to a time where we who believe Christianity is a verb must stand alone. There will be no church available to us on earth. And yet we will be Christians regardless. A mechanic does not need a garage to work in. Wherever there is a vehicle and the tools necessary, he can work. Likewise, if God is in our hearts and minds, we can practice the life of a true Christian. It is a historically documented fact that the ancient Christians sometimes sold themselves into slavery to buy the freedom of another. Do you think these Christians were surrounded by fellow believers? No, many of the slaves kept by Romans were of varied backgrounds, including Greeks, and Gauls; any race or country they conquered. These early Christians had no one with whom to practice their beliefs; they were an outlawed people of an outlawed faith, punishable by death. Do you think God did not hear them and was not with them when they could get away to worship Him?

Being in church does not make you a Christian. We are Seventh-day Adventists, and should live as such. As a mechanic daily works on cars and exercises that knowledge and expertise, so we must daily work at being a Christian and grow in our relationship with God. We are sent out to spread the word of God, to “fix” the lack of knowledge or interest of others in preparation for His coming. Would you let a person who spends one day of the week in a garage in some capacity work on your most valuable, vintage, collectible Mustang? No, you call in an expert mechanic who spends hours every day working on cars to deal with your valuable possession and fix it so it runs perfectly. These master mechanics eat, sleep, and breathe their profession. How much more so, then, must we Christians work on and maintain our own relationship with God if we are to help others? I Corinthians 10:31 says: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” How much must God be in our daily lives to become adequate to help others find their way to God? This is a question that requires exceedingly careful attention. If we are Christians only in name and do not live as such, others who are brought to the church through us will only have a partial picture. They will not understand their responsibility as Christians. What would happen to a mechanic who was hired but only stood in the shop without working? He would get fired. It is the same with Christians. We will not reap unless we work. This is our responsibility and we must impart this information to others. Actions speak louder than words. Likewise, we can exemplify the Christian duty more powerfully than we can speak it.

We are sent to help people establish or repair a relationship with God, but we must always remember not to neglect our own relationship with Him. In the same way a mechanic keeps abreast of the latest technology and advancements, we must keep our relationship with God up to date if we are to help others establish one. If someone sees us not living up to the standards we profess, how much will they trust us if we try to change their practices? Would you trust a mechanic who cannot fix his own car, let alone yours? In that manner, how can we expect someone to trust us to impart knowledge of Christianity, if we are not practicing what we preach?

The relationship between God and a Christian is a deeply personal and private thing at times, and it is not for any of us to judge one another on how it stands between God and the individual. It can be seen and expressed in small ways in church, but that is not enough. As Seventh-day Adventists we must commune with God daily, feel Him in our lives, and do as He has commanded us through the Scriptures. A whispered prayer, or even simply a silent prayer for patience in trying times, or a thanks for something positive, even as minor as a tiny bit of providence, can bring us closer to Him in our daily lives. He is with us all the time, and we owe Him so much should we not at least acknowledge Him?

Just as technology is constantly changing with vehicles, and a mechanic must keep educated, so must we, as Christians, keep up with the light given us and use the truths to draw us closer to Christ. In so doing, we are enabled to spread His light that all may know Him as their personal Savior.

Lauri Hume has completed her BS degree and is currently working as a case manager in Hutchinson, Kansas. She can be contacted at:

Who Am I?

The room was dimly lit. On one of the walls there were a number of posters, a picture of a pop musician, and another of a sportsman; all of which had served as windows into a longed-for reality. Along another wall there was a desk with a few school books on it, but the central feature of this desk was a small but powerful stereo system. Indeed, this was the room of a teenager which showed all the signs of ambition, turbulence, and, yes, dreaming.

An immense battle was raging in the young man’s heart, a battle of destiny, a moment of truth. “I never thought I would do something like that,” he muttered as he stared at the floor. His self-concept was being severely tested. So intense was the battle that he sought comfort from the posters on the walls which had helped him so many times before and diverted his mind from the harvest he was now reaping.

The air was filled with a sense of desperation. His mind was grasping for tokens that would stabilize his state of mind: academic, athletic, articulate were some of the tokens he grasped for, but they now seemed powerless to help him. A sickening cloud descended on him and started to squeeze out his sense of ambition. It kicked open the prized places of the heart and stole its treasure, and then it made for the most sacred chamber of all—hope. He had spoken to his mother in a way he promised himself he never would. This was the final straw that made him realize that he was not the person he wanted to be. He did not like himself and he wanted to change, but it seemed hopeless.

This experience is not unique to this one man. Many of us come to a crisis in our lives where we realize, “Hey, I am not the person that I want to be; I don’t like myself and I want to change,” but how often does it seem hopeless!

Depression is the single greatest curse afflicting our society today. The Director General of the World Health Organization, Dr. Gro Harlem, said in an address, “… initial estimates suggest that about 450 million people alive today suffer from mental or neurological disorders. … Major depression is now the leading cause of disability globally.” This is an enormous problem! In 1998 and 1999 one million suicides were committed each year; 10–20 million attempts every year, or up to 38 attempts every minute. Suicide in the United States for males between the ages of 35 and 49 is the number three cause of death. So what on earth is going on? What is so depressing about life that millions of people are choosing to die rather than face another day?

In his book, The Mind Game, Phillip Day gives this very revealing statement: “In times gone by, caring family members gathered around and gave the depressed relative the assurance and attention to talk things through. … Today, with the fracturing of the family unit, the denigration of religion, and the separation of many families from each other with the hectic pace of 21st century life, psycho-analysis has simply taken over the task of counseling that used to be carried out by caring relatives or the neighborhood minister. I strongly believe that this has had a deleterious effect on our society.” Phillip Day lists three factors that play into this: the fracture of the family unit, the denigration of religion, and the separation of many families from one another in the hectic pace of 21st century life—the pivotal factor being the fracturing of the family unit.

David Van Biema, commenting on this topic, said; “A generation unlike any other has come of age, one in which millions have been marked by a profound and early sorrow. They are the children of divorce. They are just the front rank of a seemingly endless phalanx.” Jim Conway, in his book, Adult Children of Legal and Emotional Divorce, describes in vivid detail the pain and loss suffered by thousands who have suffered the effects of a fractured family either legally or emotionally. One of the key attributes he describes is the insecurity and the constant question of “Who am I?” and “Am I worth loving?” These questions drive to the very source of the human dilemma—a sense of significance. Does anyone really care about me? Am I worth anything? How did these questions come to embed themselves in the human psyche? To answer that question we need to go back to the very beginning.

Suddenly Eve found herself staring at the forbidden tree. “Why has God forbidden us to eat from this tree?” she wondered. The fruit looked so inviting. Suddenly she heard a voice coming from the tree. Satan, seeing his opportunity, tempts her through the medium of a serpent: “Did God really say that you must not eat from every tree in the garden?” (Genesis 3:1.) Satan is both enticing Eve to debate and placing doubt in her mind about the literalness of God’s Word. Eve is no match for Satan, however. She accepts the challenge by repeating the words that God has spoken, but she is now deeply in trouble. Her own curiosity, combined with the opening challenge of Satan, left her unprepared for his following statement, “You will not surely die.” (Genesis 3:4.) This was a statement that caught Eve unaware, and Satan, seeing that he has immobilized his prey, now with devastating precision drives home his winning blow. “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:5.)

The concept that Satan introduced to Eve contained the seed of the curse that now plagues all of the children of Adam—the struggle for significance. A concept that sounds so liberating provides the VERY substance of the chains that enslave the human soul in misery and darkness. The question remains: Who am I?

The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands. And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He himself gives all men life and breath and everything else. From one man He made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though He is not far from each one of us. “For in him we live and move and have our being.” As some of your own poets have said, “We are his offspring.” Acts 17: 24–28. What an answer. We are the offspring, or children, of the God of the universe! Here is a God who is intimately involved with every one of our lives as a father to his children!

If we live in Him, it is simple logic that we cannot live without Him. Jesus said, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5. This means that we can’t do anything physically, mentally, or spiritually without our heavenly Father. We are totally and utterly dependent upon Jesus for everything in the same way a newborn baby is upon its parents.

Consider the amazing organ—the heart. It works as a pump to circulate the blood through our bodies, without a break, decade upon decade. What is amazing about the heart is that the pulsing of the heart does not appear to be aided by anything outside itself. The muscle of the heart can contract and relax without any direct stimulus from the nervous system. It has what is called an intrinsic regulating system. As an anatomy textbook puts it, “The conduction system is composed of specialized muscle tissue that generates and distributes the electrical impulses which stimulate the cardiac muscle fibers to contract.” The Bible tells us that this energy comes directly from God. (Refer to Acts 17:28.) We are intimately connected to God, and totally dependent on Him every second of our lives. God is actively, knowingly, and lovingly supplying us the electrical charge that keeps our hearts beating. The King of kings keeps every one of the over six-and-a-half billion hearts in the world beating.

We hear so much about love; songs are written about it, websites devoted to it, magazines full of it. The world is looking for love. So why are there so many lonely people, why so many people falling out of love? Because they believe the lie that Satan told Eve so long ago that you have life in yourself, you don’t need any external force to depend on; you won’t die! You don’t need to look outside of yourself for any power. If you don’t understand that love, joy, peace, and all those other attributes come from the Spirit of God and reach out to the source, then you are just like a doll with batteries in the back: you can only perform while the batteries are charged; you are dependent on successes and excitement to charge the batteries. But sometimes life does not dish up success and excitement; what then? What if you don’t attain the goal you set for yourself or what others expect of you? In Satan’s kingdom you are considered a loser, but if your power comes from God, you are a winner whether you achieve or do not achieve, by the world’s standard, because it is not you who is in control of those things.

Consider Jesus when He was taken into custody and tried as a malefactor. To all outward appearances He looked like a loser; His friends had left Him, and it even appeared as if His Father had forsaken him; but He wasn’t a loser, He was a winner. It is a wonderful privilege to be a part of God’s kingdom.

“Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid: you are worth more than many sparrows.” Luke 12:6, 7. In these verses Jesus is explaining the principles of His kingdom. We have a formula for what makes people significant in that kingdom. What makes them count, what makes them worth something, what makes them valuable? In an earthly sense, sparrows have little value; you could buy five of them for two pennies, but Jesus makes a contrast and says, “Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.” The contrast here is that because God remembers the sparrows, they are very valuable in God’s Kingdom. He goes further and compares how much God thinks about us as compared to sparrows: “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” Can you imagine anyone being interested in you enough to monitor the number of hairs on your head? Jesus says, “Don’t be afraid, you are worth more than many sparrows.”

In God’s kingdom, worth and significance are gained from simply realizing that God lovingly thinks about us continually. We are definitely on His mind. He is giving us life, making our hearts beat, and actively pouring His love into our lives so that we can enjoy life, and He imparts to us rich gifts, talents, and abilities for our satisfaction, enjoyment, and service for others. Here is the secret of God’s kingdom, the secret of significance. It is the key that unlocks the enslaving kingdom of worthlessness and depression.

“Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders you have done. The things you planned for us no one can recount to you; were I to speak and tell of them, they would be too many to declare.” Psalm 40:5.

If our value is determined by the loving thoughts that God has toward us, by the fact that our Father is the King of the universes, then this text tells us that we are priceless; it says that His plans and thoughts for us are greater than can be declared or numbered. How does it feel to be priceless? It can only be as good as your belief in the truth that God loves us so much regardless of how good or bad we are. Whenever you are tempted to doubt your worth, just look at the sparrows and believe that you are worth more than many sparrows.

There is nothing more critical than the sense of a close family to safeguard us from the ever-widening jaws of depression and worthlessness. A family can be a place where you are accepted for who you are, where you can be yourself and forgiven for your mistakes. Jesus opens for us a vital picture of the kingdom of God when He taught us how to pray. Jesus said, “This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven …’ ” [Matthew 6:9.] Jesus did not say to pray “Dear God,” or “Your hallowed majesty,” or “Dear King” as our first reference point, but rather, “Our Father.” The Kingdom of God is a family.

“And lo a voice from heaven saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” [II Peter 1: 17.] These words are deeply significant, for right here God lays out the core nature of His kingdom. “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” There are many ways that God could have introduced His Son, like: This is the Creator of the universe, listen to Him; or, This is your king, obey Him, but He said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” God proclaims the identity of His Son in the terms of a family rather than the terms of a king or ruler. “This is my Son” gives identity; “whom I love, and am well pleased” bespeaks of His value. In God’s kingdom, significance and worth are determined by our relationship to Him. This is in total contrast to Satan’s kingdom, where significance and worth are determined by your successful performance and achievements, as judged by yourself and others around you. In the Kingdom of God, He is our Father and we are His children, and that is our identity. You are known by Whom you belong to rather than what you do. The fact that God loves His children and pours out blessings upon them continually, is thinking about them constantly, and wants to be close to them gives them an incredible sense of value.

In God’s kingdom your identity and value are as enduring as the everlasting, never-changing God Himself. Regardless of success or failure, the relationship remains constant and your worth secure.

In Satan’s kingdom, your worth is about as secure as the stock market after Sept 11—extremely volatile, totally insecure and bound to crash! There are no guarantees that you will always succeed, neither is there a guarantee that the people around you will always be there for your encouragement, or applaud your efforts. To safeguard our individual identity and to save us from entering into a life of despair, discouragement, worthlessness and death, God has enshrined in the heart of His kingdom a law that will safeguard relationships. It deals with two types of relationships: The relationship between us and our heavenly Father, and the relationship between each of us as brothers and sisters in the kingdom of God. This is why Jesus said: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37–40. These two great commandments are designed to safeguard our Identity and Value as children of God. These two commandments are a summary of the Ten Commandments.

The Ten Commandments are vital in preventing you from losing your self-worth. Within the kingdom of God the Ten Commandments are understood in the context of relationships. If you sever those relationships, you are destroying your identity, and when you destroy your identity, death is yearning to embrace you. So sin (which the Bible defines as the breaking of the Law, I John 3:4) destroys our identity and value. When identity and value are gone, the soul longs for death. This is exactly the reason why depression and suicide are the greatest problems in society today. Sin is the robber of our identity and value as children of God.

By the standards of the world, success and failure are the deciding factors of a person’s worth. But the King of kings says something different. He says that we are His children, and as His children we are recipients of His unlimited love and power. It is our connection to Jesus, whose love has been proven to an unfathomable degree, which gives us our worth.

Adapted from the book, Identity Wars.

Pastor Adrian Ebens lives and ministers in Australia. He is dedicated to sharing his faith to help people understand their true value and relationship to a loving Father in Heaven. He can be contacted through his website:

Bible Study Guides – Behold, I Come Quickly — A Personal Relationship with Jesus

August 19 – 25, 2018

Key Text

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Study Help

The Ministry of Healing, 81–85; Selected Messages, Book 1, 40–48.


“When we turn toward the Sun of Righteousness, when we come in touch with Christ, the whole soul is aglow with the brightness of the divine presence.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 40.



  • How does Scripture depict our hopeless state? Job 14:4; Romans 3:23; 8:7.

Note: “It is impossible for us, of ourselves, to escape from the pit of sin in which we are sunken. Our hearts are evil, and we cannot change them.” Steps to Christ, 18.

“Many are unhappy because they are unholy. Purity of heart, innocence of mind, only can be blessed of God. When sin is cherished, it can in the end produce nothing but unhappiness.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 53.

  • In His great love and mercy, what has God revealed to us in the last days, and how is it to affect our life in a practical way? Romans 3:24–26; 8:1–4.

Note: “Our Lord and Saviour laid aside His dominion, His riches and glory, and sought after us, that He might save us from misery and make us like Himself. He humbled Himself and took our nature that we might be able to learn of Him and, imitating His life of benevolence and self-denial, follow Him step by step to heaven.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 170.



  • Explain the completeness of the plan of salvation. 1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 5:19–21.

Note: “Christ gave Himself, an atoning sacrifice, for the saving of a lost world. He was treated as we deserve, in order that we might be treated as He deserves. He was condemned for our sins, in which He had no share, that we might be justified by His righteousness, in which we had no share. He suffered the death which was ours, that we might receive the life which was His. ‘With His stripes we are healed’ (Isaiah 53:5).

“Christ was tempted in all points like as we are, by the one who once stood in loyalty by His side in the heavenly courts. Behold the Son of God in the wilderness of temptation, in the time of greatest weakness assailed by the fiercest temptation. See Him during the years of His ministry, attacked on every side by the forces of evil. See Him in His agony on the cross. All this He suffered for us.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 208, 209.

  • Who can experience the blessings of God’s love? Matthew 11:28; John 6:37.

Note: “Coming to Christ does not require severe mental effort and agony; it is simply accepting the terms of salvation that God has made plain in His Word. The blessing is free to all. …

“In the name that is above every name, the only name given among men whereby men can be saved, claim the promise of God, saying, ‘Lord, forgive my sin; I put my hands into Thy hand for help, and I must have it, or perish. I now believe.’ ” Selected Messages, Book 1, 333, 334.

“A deep sense of our need and a great desire for the things for which we ask must characterize our prayers, else they will not be heard. But we are not to become weary and cease our petitions because the answer is not immediately received. ‘The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force’ (Matthew 11:12). The violence here meant is a holy earnestness, such as Jacob manifested. We need not try to work ourselves up into an intense feeling, but calmly, persistently, we are to press our petitions at the throne of grace.” That I May Know Him, 272.



  • What new attitude and behavior become apparent as we trust in Jesus? 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 5:6; Philippians 2:12, 13.

Note: “The faith which avails to bring us in vital contact with Christ expresses on our part supreme preference, perfect reliance, entire consecration. This faith works by love and purifies the soul. It works in the life of the follower of Christ true obedience to God’s commandments; for love to God and love to man will be the result of vital connection with Christ.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 334.

“Nothing but divine power can regenerate the human heart and imbue souls with the love of Christ, which will ever manifest itself with love for those for whom He died. . . . When a man is converted to God, a new moral taste is supplied, a new motive power is given, and he loves the things that God loves. …

“But those who are waiting to behold a magical change in their characters without determined effort on their part to overcome sin will be disappointed. We have no reason to fear while looking to Jesus, no reason to doubt but that He is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto Him; but we may constantly fear lest our old nature will again obtain the supremacy, that the enemy shall devise some snare whereby we shall again become his captives.” Ibid., 336, 337.

  • What deep desire is to continually fill the heart of every believer, and how is this to affect us on a consistent basis? John 15:4, 5, 10; Romans 6:6, 10, 11.

Note: “Union with Christ, once formed, must be maintained. … This is no casual touch, no off-and-on connection. …

“Abiding in Christ means a constant receiving of His Spirit, a life of unreserved surrender to His service.” The Desire of Ages, 676.

“Through the right exercise of the will, an entire change may be made in your life. By yielding up your will to Christ, you ally yourself with the power that is above all principalities and powers. You will have strength from above to hold you steadfast, and thus through constant surrender to God you will be enabled to live the new life, even the life of faith.” Steps to Christ, 48.



  • When the heart is surrendered to Christ with prayer for His enlightenment, what change occurs in the character? Galatians 5:22, 23; Psalm 119:18.

Note: “By beholding we are to become changed; and as we meditate upon the perfections of the divine Model, we shall desire to become wholly transformed, and renewed in the image of His purity. It is by faith in the Son of God that transformation takes place in the character, and the child of wrath becomes the child of God. He passes from death unto life; he becomes spiritual and discerns spiritual things. The wisdom of God enlightens his mind, and he beholds wondrous things out of His law. As a man is converted by the truth, the work of transformation of character goes on. He has an increased measure of understanding. In becoming a man of obedience to God, he has the mind of Christ, and the will of God becomes his will.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 338.

  • Why is open-hearted study and meditation on the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy an important key in this process? Psalm 119:24–27.

Note: “It is not alone those who openly reject the Testimonies, or who cherish doubt concerning them, that are on dangerous ground. To disregard light is to reject it.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 680.

“Says the psalmist, ‘Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path’ (Psalm 119:105). But this is not the case when it is left unopened and unread.” The Review and Herald, January 4, 1881.

“By looking constantly to Jesus with the eye of faith, we shall be strengthened. God will make the most precious revelations to His hungering, thirsting people. They will find that Christ is a personal Saviour. As they feed upon His word, they find that it is spirit and life. The word destroys the natural, earthly nature, and imparts a new life in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit comes to the soul as a Comforter. By the transforming agency of His grace, the image of God is reproduced in the disciple; he becomes a new creature. Love takes the place of hatred, and the heart receives the divine similitude. This is what it means to live ‘by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God’ (Matthew 4:4). This is eating the Bread that comes down from heaven.” The Desire of Ages, 391.



  • What is the most pressing need of this dark world? Matthew 5:14–16.

Note: “It is the privilege of every soul to be a living channel through which God can communicate to the world the treasures of His grace, the unsearchable riches of Christ. There is nothing that Christ desires so much as agents who will represent to the world His Spirit and character. There is nothing that the world needs so much as the manifestation through humanity of the Saviour’s love. All heaven is waiting for channels through which can be poured the holy oil to be a joy and blessing to human hearts.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 419.

  • What is to be the focus of our life, and what results will be achieved through this? Galatians 2:20; Isaiah 60:1–3.

Note: “ ‘Abiding in Christ is choosing only the disposition of Christ, so that His interests are identified with yours. Abide in Him, to be and to do only what He wills. These are the conditions of discipleship, and unless they are complied with, you can never find rest.’ ” Selected Messages, Book 1, 110.

“Through the Holy Spirit, God’s word is a light as it becomes a transforming power in the life of the receiver. By implanting in their hearts the principles of His word, the Holy Spirit develops in men the attributes of God. The light of His glory—His character—is to shine forth in His followers.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 414.



1     Explain the predicament of the human race, and what can be done about it.

2    Why is a casual connection with Christ insufficient?

3    What would you tell a person who is disappointed with the gospel?

4    What role do the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy have in our sanctification?

5    Explain how your influence can become a source of refreshment to others.

Copyright © 2017 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.

Editorial – The Power of Association

“Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.” I Corinthians 15:33. Today we would say evil associations corrupt good habits. The Bible is explicit in the precept and also illustrative of this unalterable principle that the people we associate with will have an effect on us for good or for evil. This is one reason that the Lord told lsrael they were to live separate from idolaters. (See Numbers 23:9.)

The Lord gave them explicit instruction on this point in regard to marriage. (See Deuteronomy 7:3.)

But this instruction applies not only to marriage but to any prolonged or serious association. “The followers of Christ are to separate themselves from sinners, choosing their society only when there is opportunity to do them good. We cannot be too decided in shunning the company of those who exert an influence to draw us away from God. While we pray, ‘Lead us not into temptation’ (Luke 11:4), we are to shun temptation, so far as possible.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 458.

All associations have an effect on us but there are specific types of associations that are potentially much more dangerous than any others where we place ourselves in a subordinate relationship. For example:

  1. The teacher-student relationship—A student’s mind is open to the ideas presented, even if they are error.
  2. The mentor relationship—Often is seen the identical thought pattern emerge from a young person that was urged by his/her mentor.
  3. The counselor relationship—Marriage counselor, financial or other kind of counselor. Marriage counselors have broken up many marriages. A decision to get non-Christian marriage counseling should never be taken lightly.
  4. The pastor or priest relationship—Often error is taught and accepted without critical thought because of the source of the information. (For New Testament Christianity, see Acts 17:11.)

A spiritual war is being fought and is becoming more bitter and fierce. Guard the avenues to your soul. “God is displeased with us when we go to listen to error, without being obliged to go … . The angels cease their watchful care over us, and we are left to the buffetings of the enemy, to be darkened and weakened by him… .” Early Writings, 125.

“Again I was shown the necessity of those who believe we are having the last message of mercy, being separate from those who are daily receiving or imbibing new error. I saw that neither young nor old should attend the assemblies of those who are in error and darkness. Said the angel, ‘Let the mind cease to dwell on things of no profit.’ ” Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 425.