CHRIST OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS:
Sabbath School Lessons Senior Division Fourth Quarter 1988
CHRIST OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS Lesson
AWay of Escape
The Filthy Rags
The Wedding Garment
Our Title to Heaven
Our Fitness for Heaven
Remedying Defective Characters
A Dangerous Counterfeit
A Radical Change
The Work of the Holy Spirit
The Former Rain and the Latter Rain
The Father and the Family Circle
The Influence of the Mother
Building the Character of the Children
God's Church in the Last Days
The Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly. Christ Our Righteousness, for OctoberDecember 1988, is published by the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement General Conference, Sabbath School Department. It is printed and distributed by Reformation Herald Publishing Association, P. O. Box 7240, Roanoke, Virginia 24019-0240, U.S.A. PRINTED IN U.S.A.
FOREWORD One hundred years ago, a very definite message of revival and reformation, designated the message of righteousness by faith, came to the Seventhday Adventist Church. It was first presented by Elders Waggoner and Jones at the General Conference session which was being held in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 17 through November 4, 1888. Its purpose was to lead us to cast aside our cloak of self-righteousness and to receive the righteousness of Christ by faith, His unblemished character, which is perfect obedience to the commandments of God (COL 312, 314, 315; TM 91, 92). The message was not received alike by all who were present at the General . Conference. Some accepted it; others remained neutral, neither accepting nor rejecting it; and there were others who decidedly opposed it. The important fact for us is that the Spirit of Prophecy placed the seal of approval upon the message. Sister White wrote: "The question of most vital importance for this time is, 'Who is on the Lord's side? Who will unite with the angel in giving the message of truth to the world? Who will receive the light that is to fill the whole earth with its glory?' Those who cherish the light that they have, will receive more. Increasing light will shine about the souls who yield to the softening, subduing grace of Christ; and those who love the light, will be saved from the delusions of Satan."- The Review and Herald, November 5, 1889.
The sad thing, however, is that the Adventist people, save exceptions, did not actually receive the message. Sister White stated: "For nearly two years we have been urging the people to come up and accept the light and the truth concerning the righteousness of Christ, and they do not know whether to come and take hold of this precious truth or not.... They do not let the Saviour in."-The Review and Herald, March 11, 1890. "The Lord has seen our backslidings, and He has a controversy with His people.... The displeasure of the Lord is against His people. In their present condition it is impossible for them to represent the character of Christ. . . . They have refused to receive the message; they have refused to come to the light, lest their deeds should be reproved.... The time will come when it must be said of the impenitent, 'Ephraim is joined to his idols; let him alone.' Will the church see where she has fallen?"- The Review and Herald, (Extra), December 23, 1890.
The message of Christ's righteousness was not only to be set before the church, to bring a revival and reformation among the people of God; it was to be given also to the world. "This is the message that God commanded to be given to the world. It is the third angel's message, which is to be proclaimed with a loud voice, and attended with the outpouring of His Spirit in a large measure."- Testimonies to Ministers, p. 92.
It is evident that the mother church is not in a position, now, to do this work, because, since 1888, she has been reaping the accumulated conse(Continued on page 47)
Thirteenth Sabbath Offering for a Chapel in Guayaquil, Ecuador Ecuador is a republic of South America. Area, 269,178 square kilometers. Population, over 9,647,000. The official language is Spanish. The predominant religion is Roman Catholicism (92%). Religious liberty is ensured by the constitution. The message of reformation was brought to Ecuador in 1945 by Brother Mario Linares, who started working in Guayaquil. Churches and groups have since been established in the main cities and towns of the country. The Ecuadorian brethren are now making plans to build a chapel in Guayaquil. To implement this project, they need financial assistance. Here is their appeal: "Unfortunately, until now, we have not been able to secure a proper meeting place in Guayaquil. By the grace of God we already have the building site where we intend to put up a house of prayer. You may be interested to know that we are running a vegetarian restaurant, through which we hope to raise some funds for the prospective construction. However, in spite of all the efforts and sacrifices put forth by the brethren, our financial possibilities are still insufficient for the plans that we have in view. For this reason we appeal to all our brethren and friends for a special contribution in behalf of our project. May the Lord reward you abundantly for your sacrifice!" "And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just." Luke 14:14. The General Conference Sabbath School Department
Sabbath, October 1, 1988
A VVAY OF ESCAPE
Christ has made it possible for man to be reconciled to God and restored by faith to righteousness. KEY TEXT:
"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him." Hebrews 11:6.
o Sunday September 25
MAN FALLS FROM GRACE 1.
In what likeness was the first couple created? Genesis 1:26,27.
"Man was to bear God's image, both in outward resemblance and in character. Christ alone is 'the express image' (Hebrews 1:3) of the Father; but man was formed in the likeness of God. His nature was in harmony with the will of God. His mind was capable of comprehending divine things. His affections were pure; his appetites and passions were under the control of reason. He was holy and happy in bearing the image of God and perfect obedience to His will."-Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 45. 2.
What did man do later? Into what state did he fall and what was the consequence? Hosea 6:7; Romans 3:23 (first part).
"In the beginning God created man in His own likeness. He endowed him with noble qualities. His mind was well balanced, and all the powers of his being were harmonious. But the Fall and its effects have perverted these gifts. Sin has marred and well-nigh obliterated the image of God in man."-Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 595.
Monday September 26
A WAY OUT
3. What did God do to save the fallen race? What made this necessary? Job 33:24; Romans 6:23 (last part).
"The Son of God, heaven's glorious Commander, was touched with pity for the fallen race. His heart was moved with infinite compassion as the woes of the lost world rose up before Him. But divine love had conceived a plan whereby man might be redeemed."-Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 63.
"As the bow in the cloud results from the union of sunshine and shower, so the bow above God's throne represents the union of His mercy and His justice. To the sinful but repentant soul God says, Live thou; 'I have found a ransom.' Job 33:24." -Education, p. 115. 4.
Although the Lord has found a ransom, what is necessary for man to be able to stand before Him and be an heir of salvation? Matthew 22:11-13; Revelation 21:27.
"Only those who are clothed in the garments of His righteousness will be able to endure the glory of His presence when He shall appear with 'power and great glory.' " - The Review and Herald, July 9, 1908.
"The condition of eternal life is now just what it always has been-just what it was in Paradise before the fall of our first parents-perfect obedience to the law of God, perfect righteousness. If eternal life were granted on any condition short of this, then the happiness of the whole universe would be imperiled. The way would be open for sin, with all its train of woe and misery, to be immortalized."-Steps to Christ, p. 62.
o Tuesday BY BELIEVING IN JESUS 5.
How only is man able to reach this perfect obedience? Matthew 1:23; Romans 7:22-25.
"The theme that attracts the heart of the sinner is Christ, and Him crucified. On the cross of Calvary, Jesus stands revealed to the world in unparalleled love. Present Him thus to the hungering multitudes, and the light of His love will win men from darkness to light, from transgression to obedience and true holiness. Beholding Jesus upon the cross of Calvary arouses the conscience to the heinous character of sin as nothing else can do. It was sin that caused the death of God's dear Son and sin is the transgression of the law. On Him was laid the iniquities of us all. The sinner then consents unto the law that it is good; for he realized that it condemns his evil deeds, while he magnifies the matchless love of God in providing for him salvation through the imputed righteousness of Him who knew no sin, in whose mouth there was found no guile."-The Review and Herald, November 22,1892. 6.
How can man come to God? What does this mean in practical life? Hebrews 11:6; John 3:14-18.
"In like manner you are a sinner. You cannot atone for your past sins; you cannot change your heart and make yourself holy. But God promises to do all this for you through Christ. You believe that promise. You confess your sins and give yourself to God. You will to serve Him. Just as surely as you do this, God will fulfill His word to you. If you believe the promise-believe that you are forgiven and cleansed-God supplies the fact; you are made whole, just as Christ gave the paralytic power to walk when the man believed that he was healed. It is so if you believe it."-Steps to Christ, p. 51.
o Wednesday FREE PARDON 7.
What alone makes it possible for men to receive mercy and the help that is needed? Romans 3:25, 26.
"The only way in which he [the sinner] can attain to righteousness is through faith. By faith he can bring to God the merits of Christ, and the Lord places the obedience of His Son to the sinner's account. Christ's righteousness is accepted in place of man's failure, and God receives, pardons, justifies, the repentant, believing soul, treats him as though he were righteous, and loves him as He loves His Son. This is how faith is counted for righteousness."-The Review and Herald, November 4,1890. 8.
What is the result of the exercise of true faith? Romans 5:1; 3:24.
"Faith is the condition upon which God has seen fit to promise pardon to sinners; not that there is any virtue in faith whereby salvation is merited, but because faith can lay hold on the merits of Christ, the remedy provided for sin."- The Review and Herald, November 4, 1890.
o Thursday SALVATION FOR THE RIGHTEOUS 9.
What is the cause for rejoicing and what is promised the sinner who acknowledges his lost and miserable condition? Isaiah 61:10.
"Since we are sinful, unholy, we cannot perfectly obey the holy law.... But Christ has made a way of escape for us.... He died for us, and now He offers to take our sins and give us His righteousness. If you give yourself to Him, and accept Him as your Saviour, then, sinful as your life may have been, for His sake you are accounted righteous. Christ's character stands in place of your character, and you are accepted before God just as if you had not sinned."-Steps to Christ, p. 62. "When men see their own nothingness, they are prepared to be clothed with the righteousness of Christ."- The Review and Herald, September 16, 1902. 10. What will identify the saved and what is said of them? Jeremiah 23:6.
"On Christ's coronation day he will not acknowledge as his any who bear spot or wrinkle or any such thing. But to his faithful one he will give crowns of immortal glory. Those who would not that he should reign over them will see him surrounded by the army of the redeemed, each of whom bears the sign, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS."-The Review and Herald, November 24,1904.
o Friday REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS
Compare the nature of man before and after the fall.
Because there is no way that man can restore himself, what has God done?
What can man do in behalf of his own justification?
How is man reconciled to God?
What must be restored in man?
Sabbath, October 8, 1988
THE FILTHY RAGS
There is a great danger of appearing outwardly correct without putting self away and having an actual continuous connection with Christ.
"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me." Galatians 2:20.
o Sunday COMMANDMENT KEEPING NOT ENOUGH 1.
What danger is possible even for those who outwardly comply with the requirements of the law of God? 2 Corinthians 5:3; Revelation 3:17.
"When we contemplate His purity and excellence, we shall see our own weakness and poverty and defects as they really are. We shall see ourselves lost and hopeless, clad in garments of self-righteousness, like every other sinner. We shall see that if we are ever saved, it will not be through our own goodness, but through God's infinite grace." -Christ's Object Lessons, p. 159. "No outward observances can take the place of simple faith and entire renunciation of self. But no man can empty himself of self. We can only consent for Christ to accomplish the work." -Ibid. 2.
In what way did the early experience of Paul illustrate a positive danger for all who recognize the binding claims of God's love? Philippians 3:5, 6.
"But Israel had not perceived the spiritual nature of the law, and too often their professed obedience was but an observance of forms and ceremonies, rather than a surrender of the heart to the sovereignty of love. As Jesus in His character and works represented to men the holy, benevolent, and paternal attributes of God, and presented the worthlessness of mere ceremonial obedience, the Jewish leaders did not receive or understand His words. They thought that He dwelt too lightly upon the requirements of the law; and when He set before them the very truths that were the soul of their divinely appointed service, they, looking only at the external, accused Him of seeking to overthrow it."- Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 46.
D Monday SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS IS ABHORRENT TO GOD 3.
After his conversion, how did Paul consider his former "blameless" state? What realization made him change his mind? Romans 7:9; Philippians 3:7-9.
"Paul says that 'as touching the law' -as far as outward acts were concerned-he was 'blameless,' but when the spiritual character of the law was discerned, when he looked into the holy mirror, he saw himself a sinner. Judged by a human standard, he had abstained from sin, but when he looked into the depths of God's law, and saw himself as God saw him, he bowed in humiliation.... "Sin then appeared in its true hideousness, and his self-esteem was gone. He became humble. He no longer ascribed goodness and merit to himself."- The SDA Bible Commentary, [E.G. White Comments] vol. 6, p. 1076.
What is the divine description of "our own righteousness" according to the word of God? Isaiah 64:6.
"In their professed service to God, the Jews were really working for self. Their righteousness was the fruits of their own efforts to keep the law according to their own ideas and for their own selfish benefit. Hence it could be no better than they were. In their endeavor to make themselves holy, they were trying to bring a clean thing out of an unclean.... The works of the selfish heart are 'as an unclean thing;' and 'all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.' Isaiah 64:6." - Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 54.
D Tuesday ACCEPTABLE RIGHTEOUSNESS 5.
What did Jesus teach, in the Sermon on the Mount, concerning righteousness? Matthew 5:20.
"A legal religion is insufficient to bring the soul into harmony with God. The hard, rigid orthodoxy of the Pharisees, destitute of contrition, tenderness, or love, was only a stumbling block to sinners.... The only true faith is that which 'worketh by love' (Galatians 5:6) to purify the soul. It is as leaven that transforms the character."-Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 53.
When Paul understood this principle, what did he then endeavor to do? What did he teach the Gentiles also? Philippians 3:9; Romans 9:30.
"So we have nothing in ourselves of which to boast. We have no ground for selfexaltation. Our only ground of hope is in the righteousness of Christ imputed to us, and in that wrought by His Spirit working in and through us."-Steps to Christ, p 63.
D Wednesday DANGER OF FORMALITY 7.
What condition soon developed in the last period of the church, designated by Laodicea? What warning has the Lord given? Revelation 3:17, 18.
"The testimonies of the Spirit of prophecy which were received during the year 1887 gave warning of danger. They named again and again a specific evil, a deception into which the church was falling. That deception was pointed out as the fatal mistake of drifting into formalism; the substitution of forms, ceremonies, doctrines, machinery, and activities for that heart experience which comes alone through fellowship with Christ Jesus our Lord. Throughout the entire year this specific danger was kept before ministers and people by messages which appeared in the Review and Herald." -Christ Our Righteousness, p. 28. 8.
Since there is always danger of self-deception, what warning should be borne in mind? Matthew 6:21-23.
"It is possible to be a formal, partial believer, and yet be found wanting, and lose eternal life. It is possible to practice some of the Bible injunctions, and be regarded as a Christian, and yet perish because you are lacking in essential qualifications that constitute Christian character."-The Review and Herald, January 11,1887. "The observance of external forms will never meet the great want of the human soul. A mere profession of Christ is not enough to prepare one to stand the test of the Judgment."-Ibid., January 25, 1887. "There is too much formality in the church.... "Those who profess to be guided by the word of God, may be familiar with the evidences of their faith, and yet be like the pretentious fig tree, which flaunted its foliage in the face of the world, but when searched by the Master, was found destitute of fruit."-Ibid., February 15, 1887. "A formal round of religious services is kept up; but where is the love of Jesus? Spirituality is dying.... "Shall we meet the mind of the Spirit of God? Shall we dwell more upon practical godliness and far less upon mechanical arrangements?"-Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 538, 539.
o OBEDIENCE MADE POSSIBLE 9.
What dangerous condition existed among the professed people of God in the time of Christ, and what similar danger exists even today? John 8:39.
"The greatest deception of the human mind in Christ's day was that a mere assent to the truth constitutes righteousness. In all human experience a theoretical knowledge of the truth has been proved to be insufficient for the saving of the soul. It does not bring forth the fruits of righteousness.... The Pharisees claimed to be children of Abraham, and boasted their possession of the oracles of God; yet these advantages did not preserve them from selfishness, malignity, greed for gain, and the basest hypocrisy. They thought themselves the greatest religionists of the world, but their so-called orthodoxy led them to crucify the Lord of glory. "The same danger still exists... ."-The Desire of Ages, p. 309. 10. How only can the righteousness of the law be fulfilled in us? What alone makes this possible? Romans 8:1-4.
"The law requires righteousness-a righteous life, a perfect character; and this man has not to give. He cannot meet the claims of God's holy law. But Christ, coming -10 -
to earth as a man, lived a holy life, developed a perfect character. These He offers as a free gift to all who will receive them. His life stands for the life of men. Thus they have remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. More than this, Christ imbues men with the attributes of God. He builds up the human character after the similitude of the divine character, a goodly fabric of spiritual strength and beauty. Thus the very righteousness of the law is fulfilled in the believer in Christ. God can 'be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.' Rom. 3:26."-The Desire of Ages, p. 762.
D Friday A FULL COMPLIANCE
11. What is needed to make the bearing of good fruit possible? John 15:4, 5.
"While the graft is outwardly united with the vine, there may be no vital connection. Then there will be no growth or fruitfulness. So there may be an apparent connection with Christ withput a real union with Him by faith. A profession of religion places men in the church, but the character and conduct show whether they are in connection with Christ."- The Desire of Ages, p. 676. 12. What did the apostle Paul say about himself after his conversion? How can this become true in our lives? Galatians 2:20.
"A union with Christ by living faith is enduring; every other union must perish. Christ first chose us, paying an infinite price for our redemption; and the true believer chooses Christ as first and last, and best in everything. But this union costs us something. It is a relation of utter dependence, to be entered into by a proud being. All who form this union must feel their need of the atoning blood of Christ. They must have a change of heart. They must submit their own will to the will of God. There will be a struggle with outward and internal obstacles. There must be a painful work of detachment, as well as a work of attachment. Pride, selfishness, vanity, worldliness-sin in all its forms-must be overcome, if we would enter into a union with Christ. The reason why so many find the Christian life so deplorably hard, why they are so fickle, so variable, is, they try to attach themselves to Christ without first detaching themselves from these cherished idols."-The Review and Herald, December 13,1887.
REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS a.
What will enable us to see our own defects of character?
What was Paul's opinion about himself, in the light of the law, before and after his conversion?
Whereby is the only true faith characterized?
What is the greatest danger before every professed believer in Christ?
What is man, in his human strength, able to do as far as meeting the claims of God's holy law? How is obedience possible?
Describe the difference between an apparent connection with Christ and a vital union with Him? •
Sabbath, October 15, 1988
THE WEDDING GARMENT
No one will be permitted in heaven unless he has the white raiment provided by the True Witness and every believer must obtain this from Christ personally.
"And He saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless." Matthew 22:12.
D Sunday LESSONS FROM THE WEDDING FEAST 1.
What parable shows that there are some requirements to be met by the can· didates for the kingdom of heaven? Matthew 22:12.
"The parable of the wedding garment opens before us a lesson of the highest consequence. By the marriage is represented the union of humanity with divinity; the wedding garment represents the character which all must possess who shall be accounted fit guests for the wedding."-Christ's Object Lessons, p. 307. 2.
What was expected of all who accepted the invitation to come to the wedding? What important lesson is herein? Matthew 22:11.
"Only the covering which Christ Himself has provided can make us meet to appear in God's presence. This covering, the robe of His own righteousness, Christ will put upon every repenting, believing soul. 'I counsel thee,' He says, 'to buy of me ... white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.' Rev. 3:18."-Christ's Object Lessons, p. 311.
D Monday THE WEDDING ROBE 3.
What is the significance of the fact that the wedding garments were provided by the king? Isaiah 61:10.
"For every guest at the feast there had been provided a wedding garment. This garment was a gift from the king. By wearing it the guests showed their respect for the giver of the feast. But one man was clothed in his common citizen dress. He had refused to make the preparation required by the king. The garment provided for him at great cost he disdained to wear. Thus he insulted his lord."-Christ's Object Lessons, p. 309. -12 -
What is represented by the wedding robe? What is offered by the True Witness to those living in the last period? Revelation 3:18.
"By the wedding garment in the parable is represented the pure, spotless character which Christ's true followers will possess. To the church it is given 'that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white,' 'not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.' Rev. 19:8. The fine linen, says the Scripture, 'is the righteousness of saints.' Eph. 5:27. It is the righteousness of Christ, His own unblemished character, that through faith is imparted to all who receive Him as their personal Saviour." -Christ's Object Lessons, p. 310.
o A DUTY ILLUSTRATED 5.
What must the "guests" do? What part must we take and what is our duty in this matter? Romans 6:1-13; Colossians 3:12, 14; Revelation 19:8.
"Before the believer is held out the wonderful possibility of being like Christ, obedient to all the principles of the law. But of himself man is utterly unable to reach this condition. The holiness that God's word declares that he must have before he can be saved is the result of the working of divine grace as he bows in submission to the discipline and restraining influences of the Spirit of truth. Man's obedience can be made perfect only by the incense of Christ's righteousness, which fills with divine fragrance every act of obedience. The part of the Christian is to persevere in overcoming every fault. Constantly he is to pray to the Saviour to heal the disorders of his sin-sick soul. He has not the wisdom or strength to overcome; these belong to the Lord, and He bestows them on those who in humiliation and contrition seek Him for help." - The Acts of the Apostles, p. 532. 6.
Who is represented by the one that went to the feast· without the wedding garment? Matthew 22:13, 14.
"The man who came to the feast without a wedding garment represents the condition of many in our world today. They profess to be Christians, and lay claim to the blessings and privileges of the gospel; yet they feel no need of a transformation of character. They have never felt true repentance for sin. They do not realize their need of Christ or exercise faith in Him. They have not overcome their hereditary or cultivated tendencies to wrongdoing. Yet they think that they are good enough in themselves, and they rest upon their own merits instead of trusting in Christ. Hearers of the word, they come to the banquet, but they have not put on the robe of Christ's righteousness."-Christ's Object Lessons, p. 315.
LESSONS REGARDING THE JUDGMENT 7.
o Wednesday October 12
What should be kept in mind when considering the significance of the wedding garment? Hebrews 12:14.
"Moral perfection is required of all. Never should we lower the standard of righteousness in order to accommodate inherited or cultivated tendencies to wrongdoing. We need to understand that imperfection of character is sin. All righteous attributes of character dwell in God as a perfect, harmonious whole, and every one who
receives Christ as a personal Saviour is privileged to possess these attributes."-Christ's Object Lessons, p. 330.
"One defect, cultivated instead of being overcome, makes the man imperfect, and closes against him the gate of the Holy City. He who enters heaven must have a character that is without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. Naught that defileth can ever enter there. In all the redeemed host not one defect will be seen."-Messages to Young People, p. 144. 8.
What characterizes the judgment of God? What principles beside love are in His character? Psalm 89:14; 1 John 4:16.
"God is love. He has shown that love in the gift of Christ.... But the love of God does not lead Him to excuse sin. He did not excuse it in Satan; He did not excuse it in Adam or Cain; nor will He excuse it in any other of the children of men. He will not connive at our sins or overlook our defects of character. He expects us to overcome in His name." -Christ's Object Lessons, p. 316.
D Thursday FORMING A RIGHTEOUS CHARACTER
9. Where does sin begin in the individual? What did the apostle Paul say should be in the believer? Mark 7:21-23; Philippians 2:5. "The courts of the temple at Jerusalem, filled with the tumult of unholy traffic, represented all too truly the temple of the heart, defiled by the presence of sensual passion and unholy thoughts. In cleansing the temple from the world's buyers and sellers, Jesus announced His mission to cleanse the heart from the defilement of sin-from the earthly desires, the selfish lusts, the evil habits, that corrupt the soul."-The Desire of Ages, p. 161. "No man can of himself cast out the evil throng that have taken possession of the heart. Only Christ can cleanse the soul temple. But He will not force an entrance."Ibid.
10. What purpose should always be in the mind of Christ's followers as the close of probation comes ever nearer? Philippians 2:12, 13; Hebrews 12:28.
"Mercy and truth are promised to the humble and penitent, but judgments are prepared for the sinful and rebellious. 'Justice and judgment are the habitation of Thy throne.' A wicked and adulterous people will not escape the wrath of God and the punishment they have justly earned. Man has fallen; and it will be the work of a lifetime, be it longer or shorter, to recover from that fall, and regain, through Christ, the image of the divine, which he lost by sin and continued transgression. God requires a thorough transformation of soul, body and spirit in order to regain the estate lost through Adam."-Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 448.
REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS a. b. c. d. e.
D Friday October 14
What provision in the parable of Matthew 22:2-14 enables us to stand in the presence of God? What significance is in the wedding garment then and now? How is the thinking of the rejected guest repeated? What is represented by this special garment? What is a danger because the typical garment is not so highly visible? • -14 -
Sabbath, October 22, 1988
OUR TITLE TO HEAVEN
Justification is pardon and comes by faith or believing in Christ and His provisions for those who really commit their all to Him.
"For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith." Romans 1:17.
What is to be understood by being "justified" in the sight of God? Compare Romans 3:24; Ephesians 1:7.
"Justification is the opposite of condemnation."-The SDA Bible Commentary, [E.G. White Comments], vol. 6, p. 1070.
"Pardon and justification are one and the same thing."-Ibid. "The righteousness by which we are justified is imputed; the righteousness by which we are sanctified is imparted. The first is our title to heaven, the second is our fitness for heaven."- The Review and Herald, June 4, 1895. 2.
What does Scripture clearly state regarding the guilty? What attributes of God are also mentioned? Exodus 34:6,7.
"God can be just while He justifies the repenting sinller."-The Great Controversy, p.415. "When the sinner believes that Christ is his personal Saviour, then, according to His unfailing promises, God pardons his sin, and justifies him freely. The repentant soul realizes that his justification comes because Christ, as his substitute and surety, has died for him, is his atonement and righteousness."-The Review and Herald, November 4, 1890.
o Monday October 17
JUSTIFIED BY GRACE 3.
What must all believers know and understand concerning good works in relation to justification? Romans 3:20.
"In our knowledge of Christ and His love the kingdom of God is placed in the midst of us. Christ is revealed to us in sermons and chanted to us in songs. The -15 -
spiritual banquet is set before us in rich abundance. The wedding garment, provided at infinite cost, is freely offered to every soul. By the messengers of God are presented to us the righteousness of Christ, justification by faith, the exceeding great and precious promises of God's word, free access to the Father by Christ, the comfort of the Spirit, the well-grounded assurance of eternal life in the kingdom of God. What could God do for us that He has not done in providing the great supper, the heavenly banquet?" -Christ's Object Lessons, p. 317. 4.
Through what means may all be justified? Titus 3:7.
"Without the grace of Christ it is impossible to take one step in obedience to the law of God. Then how necessary that the sinner hear of the love and power of his Redeemer and Friend! While the ambassador for Christ should plainly declare the claims of the law, he should make it understood that none can be justified without the atoning sacrifice of Christ."-Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 372.
D JUST MEN MADE PERFECT 5.
What does the shed blood of Christ also do in behalf of the repentant sinner? 1 John 1:9.
"God is approached through Jesus Christ, the Mediator, the only way through which He forgives sins. God cannot forgive sins at the expense of His justice, His holiness, and His truth. But He does forgive sins and that fully. There are no sins He will not forgive in and through the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the sinner's only hope, and if he rests here in sincere faith, he is sure of pardon and that full and free. There is only one channel and that is accessible to all, and through that channel a rich and abundant forgiveness awaits the penitent, contrite soul and the darkest sins are forgiven."-The SDA BibleCommentary, [E.G. White Comments], vol. 7, pp. 912, 913. 6.
What kind of people will finally constitute the true church of God? Hebrews 12:22,23.
"The Lord requires perfection from His redeemed family. He calls for perfection in character-building. Fathers and mothers especially need to understand the best methods of training children, that they may cooperate with God. Men and women, children and youth, are measured in the scales of heaven in accordance with that which they reveal in their home life. A Christian in the home is a Christian everywhere. Religion brought into the home exerts an influence that cannot be measured." -The SDA Bible Commentary, [E.G. White Comments], vol. 5, p. 1085.
D Wednesday COOPERATING WITH CHRIST 7.
What should the repentant sinner remember as he recognizes Christ as His personal Saviour? Why? Isaiah 51:1; Romans 6:18.
"In order to meet the requirements of the law, our faith must grasp the righteousness of Christ, accepting it as our righteousness. Through union with Christ, through acceptance of His righteousness by faith, we may be qualified to work the works of God, to be colaborers with Christ. If you are willing to drift along with the current of evil, and do not cooperate with the heavenly agencies in restraining transgression in
your family, and in the church, in order that everlasting righteousness may be brought in, you do not have faith. Faith works by love and purifies the soul." -Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 374. 8.
What is expected of all who would receive and retain justification? 2 Corinthians 7:1; 1 John 3:23.
"But while God can be just, and yet justify the sinner through the merits of Christ, no man can cover his soul with the garments of Christ's righteousness while practicing known sins, or neglecting known duties. God requires the entire surrender of the heart, before justification can take place; and in order for man to retain justification, there must be continual obedience, through active, living faith that works by love and purifies the soul."-The Review and Herald, November 4, 1890.
D Thursday CERTAINTY OF JUSTIFICATION 9.
What truth was clearly exposed by the prophet Isaiah concerning justification in the dispensation before Christ came as Son of Man? Isaiah 50:7-9.
"The work of God in the earth presents, from age to age, a striking similarity in every great reformation or religious movement. The principles of God's dealing with men are ever the same. The important movements of the present have their parallel in those of the past, and the experience of the church in former ages has lessons of great value for our own time."-The Great Controversy, p. 343. 10. What certainty of being justified do we have in the Christian dispensation? What is the foundation of this assurance? Romans 8:31-33; 1:17.
"Luther was one day devoutly climbing these steps [Pilate's staircase], when suddenly a voice like thunder seemed to say to him: 'The just shall live by faith.' Romans 1:17. He sprang to his feet and hastened from the place in shame and horror. That text never lost its power upon his soul. From that time he saw more clearly than ever before the fallacy of trusting to human works for salvation, and necessity of constant faith in the merits of Christ."-The Great Controversy, p. 125.
D Friday REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS a.
What is the essential definition of justification?
What is Christ's part and what is man's part in justification?
What is the purpose of God in justification?
What is expected of the justified believer?
What makes justification a certainty to the believer?
Sabbath, October 29, 1988
OUR FITNESS FOR HEAVEN
Justification having been imputed, righteousness must become part of the believer's life perfecting him in the image of Christ.
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." 1 Thessalonians 5:23.
D Sunday THE NEXT STEP 1.
What simple illustration did the apostle use to show how our faith is imputed for righteousness? Genesis 15:1-6; Romans 4:17-25.
"In order to meet the requirements of the law, our faith must grasp the righteousness of Christ, accepting it as our righteousness. Through union with Christ, through acceptance of His righteousness by faith, we may be qualified to work the works of God, to be colaborers with Christ."-Selected Messages, book I, p. 374. 2.
After righteousness is imputed, what further step is also necessary? Hebrews 12:14.
"The righteousness by which we are justified is imputed; the righteousness by which we are sanctified is imparted. The first is our title to heaven, the second is our fitness for heaven."-The Review and Herald, June 4,1895.
D Monday EXAMPLES OF SANCTIFICATION 3.
What was the purpose of God with His people Israel? What is His purpose for His people in the last days? Isaiah 58:8.
"The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love. The children of God are to manifest His glory. In their own life and character they are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them. "The light of the Sun of Righteousness is to shine forth in good works-in words of truth and deeds of holiness." -Christ's Object Lessons, pp. 415, 416.
Why is sanctification necessary? What is meant by sanctification? Romans 8:6-8; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7.
"It is the work of conversion and sanctification to reconcile men to God by bringing them into accord with the principles of His law. In the beginning, man was created in the image of God. He was in perfect harmony with the nature and the law of God; the principles of righteousness were written upon his heart. But sin alienated him from his Maker. He no longer reflected the divine image. His heart was at war with the principles of God's law. 'The carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.' Romans 8:7. But 'God so loved the world, that He gave His only-begotten Son,' that man might be reconciled to God. Through the merits of Christ he can be restored to harmony with his Maker. His heart must be renewed by divine grace; he must have a new life from above. This change is the new birth, without which, says Jesus, 'he cannot see the kingdom of God.' "-The Great Controversy, p. 467.
D Tuesday A GROWING EXPERIENCE 5.
What power is needed in the process of sanctification? What is the source of that power? John 14:26; 16:13.
"Our sanctification is the work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is the fulfillment of the covenant God has made with those who bind themselves up with Him, to stand with Him, His Son, and His Spirit in holy fellowship. Have you been born again? Have you become a new being in Christ Jesus? Then cooperate with the three great powers of heaven who are working in your behalf."-The SDA Bible Commentary, [E.G. White Comments). vol. 7, p. 908. 6.
What shows that true sanctification is not an instantaneous experience? Hebrews 12:1,2; 2 Peter 3:18 (first part); 2 Corinthians 7:1.
"The Scriptures plainly show that the work of sanctification is progressive. When in conversion the sinner finds peace with God through the blood of the atonement, the Christian life has but just begun. Now he is to 'go on unto perfection;' to grow up 'unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.' ... And Peter sets before us the steps by which Bible sanctification is to be attained: [2 Peter 1:5-10 quoted]."-The Great Controversy, p. 470.
D Wednesday STEP BY STEP 7.
What provision is made for progress in sanctification? How does this keep the converted sinners from becoming exalted or self-righteous? 2 Peter 1:5-10.
"Those who experience the sanctification of the Bible will manifest a spirit of humility. Like Moses, they have had a view of the awful majesty of holiness, and they see their own unworthiness in contrast with the purity and exalted perfection of the Infinite One. "The prophet Daniel was an example of true sanctification. His long life was filled up with noble service for his Master. He was a man 'greatly beloved.' (Daniel 10:11) -19 -
of Heaven. Yet instead of claiming to be pure and holy, this honored prophet identified himself with the really sinful of Israel as he pleaded before God in behalf of his people: [Daniel 9:18 quoted]."-The Great Controversy, p. 470. 8.
What is a common modern error concerning sanctification? How can this be a danger to those professing present truth? James 2:17-20.
"The sanctification now gaining prominence in the religious world carries with it a spirit of self-exaltation and a disregard for the law of God that mark it as foreign to the religion of the Bible. Its advocates teach that sanctification is an instantaneous work, by which, through faith alone, they attain to perfect holiness. 'Only believe,' say they, 'and the blessing is yours;' No further effort on the part of the receiver is supposed to be required. At the same time they deny the authority of the law of God, urging that they are released from obligation to keep the commandments. But is it possible for men to be holy, in accord with the will and character of God, without coming into harmony with the principles which are an expression of His nature and will, and which show what is well pleasing to Him?"-The Great Controversy, p. 471.
D Thursday LIKE JESUS 9.
How much is involved in this work of sanctification and to what extent? 1 Thessalonians 5:23.
"The sanctification set forth in the Scriptures embraces the entire being-spirit, soul, and body.... In the time of ancient Israel every offering brought as a sacrifice to God was carefully examined. If any defect was discovered in the animal presented, it was refused; for God had commanded that the offering be 'without blemish.' So Christians are bidden to present their bodies, 'a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.' In order to do this, all their powers must be preserved in the best possible condition. Every practice that weakens physical or mental strength unfits man for the service of his Creator."-The Great Controversy, p. 473. 10. Why must sanctification continue making the believer a complete overcomer? As what does the Lord consider such ones? Hebrews 2:11.
"Jesus teaches us to call His Father our Father. He is not ashamed to call us brethren. Hebrews 2:11. So ready, so eager, is the Saviour's heart to welcome us as members of the.family of God, that in the very first words we are to use in approaching God He places the assurance of our divine relationship, 'Our Father.' "-The Mount of Blessing, p. 103.
D Friday REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS a. b. c. d. e.
In what does sanctification differ from justification as considered in the previous lesson? Why must the people of God be sanctified? How is it shown by its nature that sanctification is a continuing process rather than the work of a moment? What may we learn as we consider the order of progression mentioned by Peter? What is necessary in fallen man in order to rejoin the heavenly family? •
Sabbath, November 5, 1988
REMEDYING DEFECTIVE CHARACTERS
God takes men as they are but does not expect them to remain that way but to change until they are like Jesus.
"For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself." Romans 14:7.
GOD STARTS WITH FAULTY MEN 1.
o Sunday October 30
What is clear evidence that God accepts men as they are? Luke 15:1, 2.
"God takes men as they are, with the human elements in their character, and trains them for His service, if they will be disciplined and learn of Him. They are not chosen because they are perfect, but notwithstanding their imperfections, that through the knowledge and practice of the truth, through the grace of Christ, they may become transformed into His image."- The Desire of Ages, p. 294. 2.
What has been manifested in the people called by God in every age? What desire was expressed by the Psalmist? Genesis 12:11, 13; Psalms 106:32, 33; 69:6.
"In all who have been chosen to accomplish a work for God the human element is seen. Yet they have not been men of stereotyped habits and character, who were satisfied to remain in that condition. They earnestly desired to obtain wisdom from God, and to learn to work for Him."-Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 248.
o MAN HAS HIS PART 3.
Because the righteousness of Christ is not a cloak for unconfessed or cherished sin, what warnings should be carefully heeded? Galatians 6:4; Ephesians 4:22; Philippians 3: 13, 14.
"In order to receive God's help, man must realize his weakness and deficiency; he must apply his own mind to the great change to be wrought in himself; he must be aroused to earnest and persevering prayer and effort. Wrong habits and cust?ms - 21-
must be shaken off; and it is only by determined endeavor to correct these errors and to conform to right principles that the victory can be gained." -Patriarchs and Prophets, p.248. 4.
Where must this work begin? Proverbs 4:23; Malachi 4:5, 6.
"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 Ministry of Healing, p. 349.
DUTY OF PROFESSED SABBATHKEEPERS
D Tuesday November 1
5. Of what divine work is true Sabbath observance a sign, and what must ministers and people do? What was revealed concerning many families of professed Sabbathkeepers? Exodus 31:13; Ezekiel 22:26. "I was shown that merely observing the Sabbath and praying morning and evening are not positive evidences that we are Christians. These outward forms may all be strictly observed, and yet true godliness be lacking.... All who profess to be Christ's followers should have command of their own spirit, not allowing themselves to speak fretfully or impatiently. "There are many such miserable families all through the ranks of Sabbathkeepers. Angels bear the shameful tidings to heaven, and the recording angel makes a record of it all."- Testimonies, vol. 1, pp. 305, 306. 6. What must be ever remembered by believers and especially by every memo ber of Christian families? Romans 14:7. " 'None of us liveth to himself.' The character will manifest itself. The looks, the tone of the voice, the action-all have their influence in making or marring the happiness of the domestic circle. They are molding the temper and character of the children; they are inspiring or tending to destroy confidence and love. All are made either better or worse, happy or miserable by these influences. We owe our families the knowledge of the word brought into practical life. All that it is possible for us to be to purify, enlighten, comfort, and encourage those connected with us in family relation should be done."-Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 50.
D Wednesday THE NEED OF CHRISTLIKENESS IN THE HOME 7.
What does the Lord desire for the family? What would result if there were more sincerity and practical religion in the homes of the believers? Proverbs 21:21; Matthew 5:14.
"Home religion is greatly needed, and our words in the home should be of a right character, or our testimonies in the church will amount to nothing. Unless you manifest meekness, kindness, and courtesy in your home, your religion will be in vain. If there were more genuine home religion, there would be more power in the church." -Messages to Young People, p. 327. -22 -
Of what does complaining and anger testify when found in the family? What is the result? James 3:14-16.
"Unkindness, complaining, and anger shut Jesus from the dwelling. I saw that the angels of God will flee from a house where there are unpleasant words, fretfulness, and strife."-Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 307.
o Thursday DIVINE AID GIVES VICTORY 9.
What is often the cause of problems in the home? What tends to establish the well-being of the family? Proverbs 29:22; 25:15; 15:1.
"Often it is our own attitude, the atmosphere that surrounds ourselves, which determines what will be revealed to us in another. There are many who regard the expression of love as a weakness, and they maintain a reserve that repels others. This spirit checks the current of sympathy."-The Ministry of Healing, p. 360. 10. What should always be in the mind of the believer, and for what should he earnestly seek God? Psalm 119:117,133.
"There is not an impulse of our nature, not a faculty of the mind or an inclination of the heart, but needs to be, moment by moment, under the control of the Spirit of God. There is not a blessing which God bestows upon man, nor a trial which He permits to befall him, but Satan both can and will seize upon it to tempt, to harass and destroy the soul, if we give him the least advantage. Therefore however great one's spiritual light, however much he may enjoy of the divine favor and blessing, he should ever walk humbly before the Lord, pleading in faith that God will direct every thought and control every impulse. "All who profess godliness are under the most sacred obligation to guard the spirit, and to exercise self-control under the greatest provocation."-Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 421.
o Friday REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS
What shows that a Christian character is not conferred in a single experience?
What does God expect of man in the matter of reforming character?
What experience must a believer have in order to become a true Sabbathkeeper?
What experiences in the home all too often reveal that there are still lessons to be learned?
What should every believer seek, especially in time of provocation?
Sabbath, November 12, 1988
A DANGEROUS COUNTERFEIT
Satan leads men to be satisfied with self-righteousness, religious activity and works.
"Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." 2 Timothy 2:19.
o Sunday JUDGING OTHER'S MOTIVES 1.
How did Jesus forcibly show the danger confronting those who think they are right? Matthew 7:1-5. What leads one to condemn another?
"The sin that leads to the most unhappy results is the cold, critical, unforgiving spirit that characterizes Pharisaism. When the religious experience is devoid of love, Jesus is not there; the sunshine of His presence is not there. No busy activity or Christless zeal can supply the lack. There may be a wonderful keenness of perception to discover the defects of others; but to everyone who indulges this spirit, Jesus says, 'Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then $halt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.' He who is guilty of wrong is the first to suspect wrong. By condemning another he is trying to conceal or excuse the evil of his own heart. It was through sin that men gained the knowledge of evil; no sooner had the first pair sinned than they began to accuse each other; and this is what human nature will inevitably do when uncontrolled by the grace of Christ."-Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 126. 2.
To whom has all judgment been given? When any other assumes the right to judge the motives of another, what is he really doing? John 5:22; 2 Thessalonians 2:4.
"Christ is the only true standard of character, and he who sets himself up as a standard for others is putting himself in the place of Christ. And since the Father 'hath committed all judgment unto the Son' (John 5:22), whoever presumes to judge the motives of others is again usurping the prerogative of the Son of God. These would-be judges and critics are placing themselves on the side of antichrist [2 Thessalonians 2:4 quoted]."-Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 125, 126. - 24-
DANGER OF ZEAL AND WORKS 3.
o Monday November 7
What warning is given by Paul to believers not to mistake zeal for merit? What will identify true believers? 1 Corinthians 13:1-7; Matthew 7:21-23.
"The spirit of unselfish labor for others gives depth, stability, and Christlike loveliness to the character, and brings peace and happiness to its possessor. The aspirations are elevated. There is no room for sloth or selfishness. Those who thus exercise the Christian graces will grow and will become strong to work for God."-Steps to Christ, p. 80.
Against what danger did Jesus warn believers? What lesson is left particularly for our time? Matthew 15:9, 11, 16-20.
"The effort to earn salvation by one's own works inevitably leads men to pile up human exactions as a barrier against all sin. For, seeing that they fail to keep the law, they will devise rules and regulations of their own to force themselves to obey. All this turns the mind away from God to self. His love dies out of the heart, and with it perishes love for his fellow men. A system of human invention, with its multitudinous exactions, will lead its advocates to judge all who come short of the prescribed human standard. The atmosphere of selfish and narrow criticism stifles the noble and generous emotions, and causes men to become self-centered judges and petty spies."Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 123.
BLINDED BY SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS 5.
o Tuesday November 8
What mistaken ideas of righteousness developed in Old Testament times? How were these corrected in the Christian dispensation? Romans 10:2-11.
"When we bring our lives to complete obedience to the law of God, regarding God as our supreme Guide, and clinging to Christ as our hope of righteousness, God will work in our behalf. This is a righteousness of faith, a righteousness hidden in a mystery of which the worldling knows nothing, and which he cannot understand."The SDA Bible Commentary, [E.G. White Comments], vol. 1, p. 1118.
What lesson must all learn of Christ if they would become effective workers for Him? How did the elder brother of the prodigal show that he did not understand this lesson? Luke 5:29-32; 15:25-32.
"Self-righteousness not only leads men to misrepresent God, but makes them coldhearted and critical toward their brethren. The elder son, in his selfishness and jealousy, stood ready to watch his brother, to criticize every action, and to accuse him for the least deficiency. He would detect every mistake, and make the most of every wrong act. Thus he would seek to justify his own unforgiving spirit. Many today are doing the same thing. While the soul is making its very first struggles against a flood of temptations, they stand by, stubborn, self-willed, complaining, accusing. They may claim to be children of God, but they are acting out the spirit of Satan. By their attitude toward their brethren, these accusers place themselves where God cannot give them the light of His countenance."-Christ's Object Lessons, p. 210.
D Wednesday November 9
LOOKING IN FAITH 7.
Contrary to human methods, how did the Spirit of Christ work in the early Christian church? John 12:32.
"Seek, and you shall find. God is seeking you, and the very desire you feel to come to Him is but the drawing of His Spirit. Yield to that drawing. "-Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 131.
"Christ does not drive but draws men unto Him. The only compulsion which He employs is the constraint of love. When the church begins to seek for the support of secular power, it is evident that she is devoid of the power of Christ-the constraint of divine love."-Ibid., p. 127. 8.
Where should the chief interest of every Christian be directed? What Old Testament experience illustrates the lifegiving virtue in doing this? Galatians 6:14-16; Numbers 21:8, 9.
"He who looks often upon the cross of Calvary, remembering that his sins placed the Saviour there, will never try to estimate the degree of his guilt in comparison with that of others. He will not climb upon the judgment seat to bring accusation against another. There can be no spirit of criticism or self-exaltation on the part of those who walk in the shadow of Calvary's cross. "-Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 128.
D Thursday TRUE RIGHTEOUSNESS IN CHRISTIANS 9.
What is the only sure foundation for righteousness? Matthew 7:24, 25; 2 Timothy 2:19.
"Christ, the true foundation, is a living stone; His life is imparted to all that are built upon Him. 'Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house.' 'Each several building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord.' 1 Peter 2:5, R.V.; Ephesians 2:21, R.V. The stones became one with the foundation; for a common life dwells in all. That building no tempest can overthrow; for-'That which shares the life of God, with Him surviveth all.' "But every building erected on other foundation than God's word will fall. He who, like the Jews in Christ's day, builds on the foundation of human ideas and opinions, of forms and ceremonies of man's invention, or on any works that he can do independently of the grace of Christ, is erecting his structure of character upon the shifting sand. The fierce tempests of temptation will sweep away the sandy foundation and leave his house a wreck on the shores of time."-Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 150, 151. 10. What parable is given as a warning against self-righteousness in Christians who may not suspect this of themselves? Matthew 20:1-10.
"Christ warned the disciples who had been first called to follow Him, lest the same evil should be cherished among them. He saw that the weakness, the curse of the church, would be a spirit of self-righteousness. Men would think that they could - 26-
do something toward earning a place in the kingdom of heaven. They would imagine that when they had made certain advancement, the Lord would come in to help them. Thus there would be an abundance of self and little of Jesus. Many who had made a little advancement would be puffed up and think themselves superior to others. They would be eager for flattery, jealous if not thought most important. Against this danger Christ seeks to guard His disciples."-Christ's Object Lessons, pp. 400, 401.
o Friday REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS
What is to be judged by men? What is not to be judged?
What danger confronts workers who are zealous for the work?
How can we be on guard against self-righteousness?
What is the contrast between real righteousness and the counterfeit?
What manifestation of righteousness is dangerous to believers and workers? •
• liThe death of Abel was in consequence of Cain's refusing to accept God's plan in the school of obedience, to be saved by the blood ofJesus Christ, typified by the sacrificial offerings pointing to Christ. Cain refused the shedding of blood, which symbolized the blood of Christ to be shed for the , ,
world." -The SDA Bible Commentary, [E.G. White Comments] vol. 6, p. 1109.
Sabbath, November 19, 1988
A RADICAL CHANGE
The natural man must receive divine power to become a spiritual man, holy and righteous, and continually receive power to maintain this experience and avoid self-righteousness.
"It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body." 1 Corinthians 15:44.
o Sunday TWO CONTRASTING CLASSES 1.
Into what two categories do the Scriptures classify all mankind? 1 Corinthians 15:44.
"The old nature, born of blood and the will of the flesh, cannot inherit the kingdom of God. The old ways, the hereditary tendencies, the former habits, must be given up; for grace is not inherited. Those who are begotten unto a new life by the Holy Spirit, have become partakers of the divine nature, and in all their habits and practices, they will give evidence of their relationship to Christ."-The Review and Herald, April 12, 1892.
How does the natural man come into existence? What must he expect? Job 14:1,2; John 3:6 (first part).
A CHANGE POSSIBLE
What is the contrast shown by John between the natural born sons of man and the sons of God? What power is necessary to become a son of God? John 1:12,13.
"When Jesus speaks of the new heart, He means the mind, the life, the whole being. To have a change of heart is to withdraw the affections from the world, and fasten them upon Christ. To have a new heart is to have a new mind, new purposes, new motives. What is the sign of a new heart?-a changed life. There is a daily, hourly dying to selfishness and pride."- The SDA Bible Commentary, [E.G. White Commentsj, vol. 4, pp. 1164, 1165.
What radical change must be seen in a converted soul? What must be replaced and in which way? Romans 8:5-10.
"Christ's plan is the only safe one. He declares, 'Behold, I make all things new.' 'If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature.' Christ gives man no encouragement to think that He will accept a patchwork character, made up mostly of self, with a little of Christ. This is the condition of the Laodicean church. At first there seems to be some of self and some of Christ. But soon it is all of self and none of Christ. The root of selfishness is revealed." - The SDA Bible Commentary, [E.G. White Comments], vol. 6, p. 1101.
D Tuesday MAINTAINING THE SPIRITUAL LIFE 5.
What is manifested in the converted soul? How is this condition maintained? 2 Corinthians 4:6-11.
"One of the most earnest prayers recorded in the Word of God is that of David when he pled, 'Create in me a clean heart, 0 God.' God's response to such a prayer is, A new heart will I give you. This is a work that no finite man can do. Men and women are to begin at the beginning, seeking God most earnestly for a true Christian experience. They are to feel the creative power of the Holy Spirit. They are to receive the new heart, that is kept soft and tender by the grace of heaven. The selfish spirit is to be cleansed from the soul. They are to labor earnestly and with humility of heart, each one looking to Jesus for guidance and encouragement." - The SDA Bible Commentary, [E.G. White Comments], vol. 4, p. 1165. 6.
How is spiritual life to be maintained? What cautions were given the Hebrew believers in this regard? Hebrews 3:12-14.
"The Lord works in cooperation with the will and action of the human agent. It is the privilege and duty of every man to take God at His word, to believe in Jesus as his personal Saviour, and to respond eagerly, immediately, to the gracious propositions which He makes. He is to study to believe and obey the divine instruction in the Scriptures. He is to base his faith not on feeling but upon the evidence and the Word of God."-The SDA Bible Commentary, [E.G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 928.
D Wednesday THE GREAT NEED ~
What will be manifest in those who accept the heavenly gift and accept the righteousness of Christ? Jude 21, 23-25.
"This scripture [Jude from verse 20 to the close of the chapter] brings to view the fact that there is most earnest work to be done, and we need divine intuition that we may know how to work for souls ready to perish. There are souls to be plucked out of the fire, there are souls who are to be treated with the tenderest compassion. Workers are needed who have learned in the school of Christ His method of saving souls." -The SDA Bible Commentary, [E.G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 953.
What are some of the dangers that we have to face in our days? What counsels, if heeded, will enable us to meet these perils victoriously? Revelation 3:17, 18; 1 Timothy 6:9-12.
"Christ sees that which man does not see. He sees the sins which, if not repented of, will exhaust the patience of a long-suffering God. Christ cannot take up the names of those who are satisfied in their own self-sufficiency."-The SDA Bible Commentary, [E.G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 964.
RIGHTEOUSNESS TO PREVAIL 9.
o Thursday November 17
What mighty power will be used to call the righteous from their graves? Matthew 24:30,31; 1 Thessalonians 4:16.
"In this book [Revelation] are depicted scenes that are now in the past, and some of eternal interest that are taking place around us; other of its prophecies will not receive their complete fulfilment until the close of time, when the last great conflict between the power of darkness and the Prince of heaven will take place."- The Review and Herald, August 31, 1897. 10. How complete will be the cleansing of the universe from sin by the power of righteousness? Revelation 21:27; Isaiah 35:8; 60:18-21.
"The hand of Omnipotence is at no loss for ways and means to accomplish His purposes."-The SDA Bible Commentary, [E.G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 946.
"Water will never destroy the earth again, but the weapons of God are concealed in the bowels of the earth, which He will draw forth to unit with the fire from heaven to accomplish His purpose in the destruction of all those who would not receive the message of warning and purify their souls in obeying the truth and being obedient to the laws of God."-Ibid.
o Friday REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS
What should we know concerning the origin and destiny of the carnal man?
What is possible through the power of God alone?
How is it possible to keep a clean heart, clean?
How is selfishness and self-righteousness kept out of the life?
What great manifestation of power will be seen when the work of righteousness is finished? •
Sabbath, November 26, 1988
THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Because true sanctification cannot be obtained by human power alone, the Holy Spirit is divinely delegated to make this possible.
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Romans 8:14.
o Sunday THE DIVINE AGENCY 1.
Who were and still are closely associated in the plan of redemption? Matthew 28:18, 19; 2 Corinthians 13:14.
"The Godhead was stirred with pity for the race, and the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit gave Themselves to the working out of the plan of redemption." -Counsels on Health, p. 222. 2.
Who is continuing to work with man for the salvation of mankind? John 14:16, 17; 16:7-14.
"The Spirit of God is freely bestowed to enable every man to lay hold upon the means of salvation."- The Great Controversy, p. 262.
o Monday LIKE THE SON OF MAN 3.
What did Christ leave for us to be used by the Holy Spirit in the work of atonement and sanctification? John 6:63.
"[John 6:63 quoted.] But spiritual things are spiritually discerned, and the reason of your lack of interest is that you lack the Spirit of God. When the heart is brought into harmony with the word, a new life will spring up within you, a new light will shine upon every line of the word, and it will become the voice of God to your soul." -Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 183.
How completely can a man be restored to his original character? 1 Thessalonians 3:13; Romans 6:22.
"Holiness is wholeness to God. The soul is surrendered to God. The will, and even the thoughts, are brought into subjection to the will of Christ. The love of Jesus fills the soul, and is constantly going out in a clear, refreshing stream, to make glad the hearts of others."-The SDA Bible Commentary, [E.G. White Comments]. vol. 6. p. 1076.
D Tuesday NECESSITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT 5.
What is the power that makes righteous living possible? What is the agency actually working in the believer? Philippians 2:12, 13.
"This work can be accomplished only through faith in Christ, by the power of the indwelling Spirit of God. Paul admonishes believers: [Philippians 2:12, 13, quoted]. The Christian will feel the promptings of sin, but he will maintain a constant warfare against it. Here is where Christ's help is needed. Human weakness becomes united to divine strength, and faith exclaims: Thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.' 1 Corinthians 15:57."-The Great Controversy, pp. 469. 470.
What haIts the work of the Holy Spirit and sanctification? Isaiah 59:1, 2; Hebrews 6:4-6.
"Let none deceive themselves with the belief that they can become holy while willfully violating one of God's requirements. The commission of a known sin silences the witnessing voice of the Spirit and separates the soul from God.... Though John in his epistles dwells so fully upon love, yet he does not hesitate to reveal the true character of that class who claim to be sanctified while living in transgression of the law of God."-The Great Controversy, p. 472.
A DIVINE LEADER
What is promised to those who really hunger and thirst after righteousness? How is this so? Matthew 5:6.
"If you have a sense of need in your soul, if you hunger and thirst after righteousness, this is an evidence that Christ has wrought upon your heart, in order that He may be sought unto to do for you, through the endowment of the Holy Spirit, those things which it is impossible for you to do for yourself. We need not seek to quench our thirst at shallow streams; for the great fountain is just above us, of whose abundant waters we may freely drink, if we will rise a little higher in the pathway of faith."-Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 19. 8.
What is the work of the Holy Spirit for believers as they would go forward in sanctification? John 16:13, first part; 17:17.
"We build on Christ by obeying His word. It is not he who merely enjoys righteousness, that is righteous, but he who does righteousness. Holiness is not - 32-
rapture; it is the result of surrendering all to God; it is doing the will of our heavenly Father. When the children of Israel were encamped on the borders of the Promised Land, it was not enough for them to have a knowledge of Canaan, or to sing the songs of Canaan. This alone would not bring them into possession of the vineyards and olive groves of the goodly land. They could make it theirs in truth only by occupation, by complying with the conditions, by exercising living faith in God, by appropriating His promises to themselves, while they obeyed His instruction. "Not those whose hearts are touched by the Spirit, not those who now and then yield to its power, but they that are led by the Spirit, are the sons of God."-Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 149, 150.
THE LAST WORK 9.
What is essential to bring a revival and thorough reformation amongst God's people? Zechariah 4:6.
"Men of clear understanding are needed now. God calls upon those who are willing to be controlled by the Holy Spirit to lead out in a work of thorough reformation. I see a crisis before us, and the Lord calls for His laborers to come into line.... "I have been deeply impressed by scenes that have recently passed before me in the night season. There seemed to be a great movement-a work of revival-going forward in many places. Our people were moving into line, responding to God's call."- Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 514, 515. 10. How will the Holy Spirit inspire reformers for the finishing of the work? How is the spirit of compromise to be avoided? 2 Corinthians 6:17.
"In vision I saw two armies in terrible conflict. One army was led by banners bearing the world's insignia; the other was led by the bloodstained banner of Prince Immanuel. Standard after standard was left to trail in the dust as company after company from the Lord's army joined the foe and tribe after tribe from the ranks of the enemy united with commandment-keeping people of God. An angel flying in the midst of heaven put the standard of Immanuel into many hands, while a mighty general cried out with a loud voice: 'Come into line. Let those who are loyal to the commandments of God and the testimony of Christ now take their position. Come out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean, and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters. Let all who will come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty." -Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 41.
REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS a.
Friday November 25
What may we know of the divine help available for sanctification?
b. What provision was made by Christ to enable sanctification? c.
What can halt sanctification and why?
How does the Spirit of God help men?
What will be associated with sanctification and the closing work?
Sabbath, December 3, 1988
THE FORMER RAIN AND THE LATTER RAIN
If we wisely improve present opportunities, and allow our light to shine, we will receive more and more power from above for the finishing of God's work on earth.
"Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." Isaiah 60: 1.
o Sunday THE POWER PROMISED 1.
According to Joel, what spiritual blessing did the Lord promise to send to His people? Joel 2:23, 28, 29.
"If this prophecy of Joel met a partial fulfillment in the days of the apostles, we are living in a time when it is to be even more evidently manifest to the people of God. He will so bestow His Spirit upon His people that they will become a light amid the moral darkness; and great light will be reflected in all parts of the world. 0 that our faith might be increased, that the Lord might work mightily with His people." -SDA Bible Commentary, [E. G. White Comments], vol. 4, p. 1175. 2. Where else do we find similar promises? Isaiah 44:3; Zechariah 10:1.
o THE FORMER RAIN 3.
When did the prophecy of Joel 2:23,28, 29 have its first fulfillment? Acts 2:1-3, 16-18.
"The Spirit came upon the waiting, praying disciples with a fullness that reached every heart. The Infinite One revealed Himself in power to His church. It was as if for - 34-
ages this influence had been held in restraint, and now Heaven rejoiced in being able to pour out upon the church the riches of the Spirit's grace. And under the influence of the Spirit, words of penitence and confession mingled with songs of praise for sins forgiven. Words of thanksgiving and of prophecy were heard. All heaven bent low to behold and to adore the wisdom of matchless, incomprehensible love. Lost in wonder, the apostles exclaimed, 'Herein is love.' They grasped the imparted gift. And what followed? The sword of the Spirit, newly edged with power and bathed in the lightnings of heaven, cut its way through unbelief. Thousands were converted in a day." - The Acts of the Apostles, p. 38. 4.
What preparation was required of the disciples as a condition for the receiving of the former rain and what was the result? Acts 1:14.
"Notice that it was after the disciples had come into perfect unity, when they were no longer striving for the highest place, that the Spirit was poured out. They were of one accord. All differences had been put away. And the testimony borne of them after the Spirit had been given is the same. Mark the word: 'The multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul.' Acts 4:32. The Spirit of Him who died that sinners might live animated the entire congregation of believers. "The disciples did not ask for a blessing for themselves. They were weighted with the burden of souls. The gospel was to be carried to the ends of the earth, and they claimed the endowment of power that Christ had promised. Then it was that the Holy Spirit was poured out, and thousands were converted in a day."- Testimonies, vol. 8, pp. 20, 21.
o Tuesday November 29
THE NEEDED PREPARATION 5.
How did Peter emphasize the needed preparation for the receiving of the refreshing (the latter rain), shortly before the second coming of Christ? Acts 3:19,20.
"Not one of us will ever receive the seal of God while our characters have one spot or stain upon them. It is left with us to remedy the defects in our characters, to cleanse the soul temple of every defilement. Then the latter rain will fall upon us as the early rain fell upon the disciples on the Day of Pentecost."-Testimonies, vol. 5, p.214.
What is the counsel of the True Witness concerning this preparation? Revelation 3:18, 19.
"It [the counsel to the Laodiceans] is designed to arouse the people of God, to discover to them their backslidings, and to lead to zealous repentance, that they may be favored with the presence of Jesus, and be fitted for the loud cry of the third angel. ... "Those who come up to every point, and stand every test, and overcome, be the price what it may, have heeded the counsel of the True Witness, and they will receive the latter rain, and thus be fitted for translation."-Testimonies, vol. 1, pp. 186, 187.
D Wednesday THE NEEDED PREPARATION (continued) 7.
What is a special characteristic of those who are getting the needed preparation? 2 Timothy 2:19-21.
"Those only who are constantly receiving fresh supplies of grace, will have power proportionate to their daily need and their ability to use that power. Instead of looking forward to some future time when, through a special endowment of spiritual power, they will receive a miraculous fitting up for soul winning, they are yielding themselves daily to God, that He may make them vessels meet for His use. Daily they are improving the opportunities for service that lie within their reach. Daily they are witnessing for the Master wherever they may be, whether in some humble sphere of labor in the home, or in a public field of usefulness."- The Acts of the Apostles, p. 55. 8.
What else will be seen in our Christian experience if we are actually getting ready for the latter rain and the soon coming of Christ? Luke 21:34-36; Hebrews 10:22-25.
"Today the heralds of the cross are going from city to city, and from land to land, preparing the way for the second advent of Christ. The standard of God's law is being exalted. The Spirit of the Almighty is moving upon men's hearts, and those who respond to its influence become witnesses for God and His truth. In many places consecrated men and women may be seen communicating to others the light that has made plain to them the way of salvation through Christ. And as they continue to let their light shine, as did those who were baptized with the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, they receive more and still more of the Spirit's power. Thus the earth is to be lightened with the glory of God."- The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 53, 54.
D Thursday THE LATTER RAIN 9.
What does the Bible say, specifically, about the outpouring of the latter rain? Habakkuk 2:14; Revelation 18:1-4.
"The outpouring of the Spirit in the days of the apostles was the beginning of the early, or former, rain, and glorious was the result. To the end of time the presence of the Spirit is to abide with the true church. "But near the close of earth's harvest, a special bestowal of spiritual grace is promised to prepare the church for the coming of the Son of man. This outpouring of the Spirit is likened to the falling of the latter rain; and it is for this added power that Christians are to send their petitions to the Lord of the harvest 'in the time of the latter rain.' "-The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 54, 55. 10. What is the glory of God which is to fill the earth, and through whom will God's light shine upon the world? 2 Corinthians 4:5, 6; Isaiah 60:1, 2.
"Christ does not bid His followers strive to shine. He says, Let your light shine. If you have received the grace of God, the light is in you. Remove the obstructions, and - 36-
the Lord's glory will be revealed. The light will shine forth to penetrate and dispel the darkness. You cannot help shining within the range of your influence. "The revelation of His own glory in the form of humanity will bring heaven so near to men that the beauty adorning the inner temple will be seen in every soul in whom the Saviour dwells. Men will be captivated by the glory of an abiding Christ."Christ's Object Lessons, p. 420.
"The world can only be warned by seeing those who believe the truth sanctified through the truth, acting upon high and holy principles, showing in a high, elevated sense, the line of demarcation between those who keep the commandments of God and those who trample them under their feet."- The SDA Bible Commentary, [E.G. White Comments] vol. 7, p. 980.
D Friday REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS a. b. c. d. e.
Under what figure did the Old Testament prophets foretell the outpouring of the Spirit of God? Describe the preparation of the disciples for the outpouring of the former rain and the results that followed. Describe the preparation that is required of us for the outpouring of the latter rain. Summarize the actions of those who are actually getting ready. Through whom and how will the earth be lightened with the glory of God? •
• "All true obedience comes from the heart. It was heart work with Christ. And if we consent, He will so identify Himself with our thoughts and aims, so blend our hearts and minds into conformity to His will, that when obeying Him we shall but be carrying out our own impulses. The will, refined and sanctified, will . find its highest delight in doing His service. When we know God as it is our privilege to know Him, our life will be a life of continual obedience. Through an appreciation of the character of Christ, through communion with God, sin will become hateful to us." - The Desire of Ages, p. 668.
Sabbath, December 10, 1988
THE FATHER AND THE FAMILY CIRCLE The father as the "house-band" is largely responsible for the conditions in the family and can be a great influence for the salvation of all in the home.
"Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered." 1 Peter 3:7.
D Sunday December 4
INFLUENCES FOR GOOD 1.
What instruction is given husbands regarding their attitude and relationship with their wives? How can each help his wife to grow in grace? 1 Peter 3:7.
"He [the husband] should not come to his home with a clouded brow, but should with his presence bring sunlight into the family, and should encourage his wife to look up and believe in God. Unitedly they can claim the promises of God and bring His rich blessing into the family."-Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 307. 2.
What reveals the blessing resulting from a pleasant voice? What should everyone in the family seek to show even in the tone of voice? Psalm 45:2.
"When fathers and mothers are converted, there will be a thorough conversion of their principles of management. Their thoughts will be converted; their tongues will be converted. "There will be no loud, angry talking in the home. The words will be of a character to soothe and bless the hearer. ... Take all the ugly features out of the voice." -The Adventist Home, p. 436.
D Monday PREVENT THE ENTRANCE OF DISCORD 3.
What things constitute a danger to the harmony in any family and if tolerated, what will result? If the love of Christ is dwelling in the heart, what effect will it have? Ephesians 4:31; Proverbs 17:22.
"The husband and father who is morose, selfish, overbearing, is not only unhappy himself, but he casts gloom upon all the inmates of his home. He will reap the result in seeing his wife dispirited and sickly, and his children marred with his own unlovely temper."-The Ministry 0/ Healing, pp. 374, 375. - 38-
What is the source of many of the evils and fightings? James 4:1.
"Brother M: From what was shown me, there is a great work to be accomplished for you before you can be accepted in the sight of God. Self is too prominent. You possess a hasty, passionate temper, and are arbitrary and overbearing in your family.... Brother M, you censure your wife, you are dictatorial, and do not have that love which you should have. She dreads your oppressive spirit. ... "You do not take a course to be loved. You are an extremist. You are severe, exacting, arbitrary, to your children. You talk the truth to them, but do not carry its principles into your everyday life. You are not patient, forbearing, and forgiving. You have so long indulged your own spirit, you are so ready to fly into a passion if provoked, that it looks exceedingly doubtful whether you will make efforts sufficient to meet the mind of Christ."- Testimonies, vol. 2, pp. 84, 85.
o Tuesday ALWAYS A PLEASANT TONE OF VOICE 5.
What is the divine evaluation of the religion of those who do not control their speech or manner of speaking? James 1:26.
"Angels of God will not abide in your family until there is a different order of things.... If any man seemeth to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, that man's religion is vain. Treat your family in a manner that Heaven can approve, and so that peace may be in your dwelling."-Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 86. 6.
If professed Christians reveal lack of restraint and harsh or evil speaking,
what will any testimony given by them have on the children and on unbelievers? James 3:13, 14.
"Your children have had your bad example before them; you have blamed, and censured, and manifested a passionate spirit at home, while you would, at the same time, address the throne of grace, attend meeting, and bear testimony in favor of the truth. These exhibitions have led your children to despise you and the truth you profess. They have no confidence in your Christianity. They believe you to be a hypocrite, and it is true that you are a sadly deceived man. You can no more enter heaven without a thorough change than could Simon Magus, who thought that the Holy Ghost could be bought with money."-Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 86.
o THE PROBLEM IN THE HEART 7.
With all the warnings, what should be remembered? What is a source of deception leading individuals to excuse themselves, thinking that they are better than their actions show? Jeremiah 17:9, 10.
"Your [Brother M's] works are to bear the inspection of the judgment. Will you deal truly with your own soul? Do not deceive yourself. Oh, remember that God is not mocked! Those who possess everlasting life will have all they can do to set their houses in order. They must commence at their own hearts and follow up the work until victories, earnest victories, are gained. Self must die, and Christ must live in you and be in you a well of water springing up into everlasting life. You now have precious hours of probation granted you to form a right character even at your advanced age." - Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 88. - 39-
"Break your heart before God, and know that it is impossible for you to deceive the holy angels. Your words and acts are all open to their inspection. Your motives and the intents and purposes of your heart stand revealed to their gaze."-Ibid., p. 87. 8.
In what other way did Jeremiah explain how these sinful traits of character could be overcome? Jeremiah 4:3,4.
"The work now before you [Brother M] must commence in your family. You have tried hard to improve outwardly; but the work has been too much on the surface, an outside work and not a work of the heart. Set your heart in order, humble yourself before God, and implore His grace to help you."-Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 87. "The garden of the heart must be cultivated. The soil must be broken up by deep repentance for sin. Poisonous, Satanic plants must be uprooted. The soil once overgrown by thorns can be reclaimed only by diligent labor. So the evil tendencies of the natural heart can be overcome only by earnest effort in the name and strength of Jesus.... This work He desires to accomplish for us, and He asks us to cooperate with Him."-Christ's Object Lessons, p. 56.
D Thursday A WORK IN THE FAMILY 9.
When we have carefully examined our hearts what should we then ask the Lord to do? Psalm 139:23, 24.
"If you lose heaven, you lose everything; if you gain heaven, you gain everything. Do not make a mistake in this matter, I implore you. Eternal interests are here involved. Be thorough. May the God of all grace so enlighten your understanding that you may discern eternal things, that by the light of truth your own errors, which are many, may be discovered to you just as they are, that you may make the necessary effort to put them away, and in the place of this evil, bitter fruit may bring forth fruit which is precious unto eternal life. 'By their fruits ye shall know them.' Every tree is known by its fruit. What kind of fruit shall henceforth be found upon this tree? The fruit you bear will determine whether you are a good tree, or one which Christ shall say to His angel: 'Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?' "-Testimonies, vol. 2, pp. 88, 89. 10. What prophecy shows that a special work has to be done in the family before it is forever too late? What should all parents be able to say in the last day? Malachi 4:5,6; Isaiah 8:17, 18.
"In your work for your children take hold of the mighty power of God. Commit your children to the Lord in prayer. Work earnestly and untiringly for them. God will hear your prayers and will draw them to Himself. Then, at the last great day, you can bring them to God, saying, 'Here am I, and the children whom Thou has given me.' " - The Adventist Home, p. 536.
D REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS a. b. c. d. e.
What is an influence for good both in and out of the home? What is a common source of provocation in the family? What especially has to be controlled and trained to be an influence for good? What causes many religious people to feel better than they really are? What great responsibility rests on those who undertake to be parents? •
Sabbath, December 17, 1988
THE INFLUENCE OF THE MOTHER
The mother, although not given to be the head of the home, has a most important role and great influence therein which will be seen in the hereafter. KEY TEXT:
"Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain; but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates." Proverbs 31:30, 31.
o Sunday THE MOTHER MUST BE VIGILANT 1.
In what way does the lion seeking food typify Satan? Why is vigilance so necessary? 1 Peter 5:8.
"While men are ignorant of his [Satan's] devices, this vigilant foe is upon their track every moment. He is intruding his presence in every department of the household, in every street of our cities, in the churches, in the national councils, in the courts of justice, perplexing, deceiving, seducing, everywhere ruining the souls and bodies of men, women, and children, breaking up families, sowing hatred, emulation, strife, sedition, murder. And the Christian world seem to regard these things as though God had appointed them and they must exist."- The Great Controversy, p. 508. 2.
How can Satan often bring domestic trouble through the human agent? How does this all too often affect the other partner? Proverbs 25:24.
"I have also been shown that there is often a great failure on the part of the wife. She does not put forth strong efforts to control her own spirit and make home happy. There is often fretfulness and unnecessary complaining on her part. The husband comes home from his labor weary and perplexed, and meets a clouded brow instead of cheerful, and encouraging words. He is but human, and his affections become weaned from his wife, he loses the love of his home, his pathway is darkened, and his courage destroyed."-Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 307.
THE GODLY HOMEMAKER
3. What counsel would be a blessing to mothers also in these days? What coun· sel is the same as that given to husbands? Titus 2:4, 5.
"The mother is God's agent to Christianize her family. She is to exemplify Biblical religion, showing how its influence is to control us in its everyday duties and - 41-
pleasures, teaching her children that by grace alone can they be saved, through faith, which is the gift of God. This constant teaching as to what Christ is to us and to them, His love, His goodness, His mercy, revealed in the great plan of redemption, will make a hallowed, sacred impress on the heart."- The Adventist !iome, p. 235. 4.
How is a diligent woman described? What is often forgotten or neglected by some women? Proverbs 31:27.
"Sister M is slack and untidy in her house. She has not the elements of order and neatness in her organization.... [She] does not do what she might to correct her wrong habits, which make home distasteful and disagreeable."-Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 84. "Dear Sister 0: I think that you are not happy. In seeking for some great work to do, you overlook present duties lying directly in your path. You are not happy, because you are looking above the little everyday duties of life for some higher and greater work to do. You are restless, uneasy, and dissatisfied. You love to dictate better than you love to perform. You love better to tell others what to do than with ready cheerfulness to take hold and do yourself."- Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 79.
IMPORTANCE OF SEEMINGLY SMALL THINGS 5.
o Tuesday December 13
What warning was given to a woman who wanted to do a great work instead of faithfully performing her common home duties? Proverbs 17:24.
"You [Sister 0] murmur at your lot, thus making those around you unhappy and meeting with a great loss yourself. You may never be called to do a work which will bring you before the public. But all the work we do that is necessary to be done, be it washing dishes, setting tables, waiting upon the sick, cooking, or washing, is of moral importance; and until you can cheerfully take up these duties you are not fitted for greater and higher duties.... Woman in her home, doing the simple duties of life that must be done, can and should exhibit faithfulness, obedience, and love as sincere as angels in their sphere."-Testimonies, vol. 3, pp. 79, 80. 6.
What can cause great loss both personally and in the home life? How can such seemingly small things cause so great a trouble? James 3:5, 6; Proverbs 16:32.
"Sister L, you have a great battle before you in order to overcome. You have let self keep the victory. Your stubborn will is the greatest enemy you have. You have an unsubdued temper, and do not control your tongue. The lack of self-control has been a great injury to yourself and to your family. Happiness, quietude, and peace have abode in your dwelling but a shod period at a time. If your will is crossed you are easily irritated, and then you speak and act as though a demon had possession of you. Angels turn from the scene of discord where angry words are exchanged. Many times have you driven the precious, heavenly angels from your family by the indulgence of passion."- Testimonies, vol. 2. pp. 78, 79.
ALL TO BE VIGILANT 7.
What is said of the speech of the sincere and God-fearing woman? Why can this not be so of one in whose heart self is enthroned? Proverbs 31:26; Luke 6:45.
"My sister, these noble qualities [prayers, gentleness, and affection] can never be communicated to other minds unless they first exist in your own. That contentment of mind, that affection, gentleness, and sunniness of temper which will reach every heart, will reflect upon you what your heart gives forth to others. If Christ does not reign in the heart, there will be discontent and moral deformity. Selfishness will require of others that which we are unwilling to give them. If Christ in not in the heart, the character will be unlovely."-Testimonies, vol. 3, pp. 80,81. 8.
What should be done by every member of the family as well as the busy mother? Luke 21:34; 1 Thessalonians 5:6.
"It is important to close every door possible, against the entrance of Satan. It is the privilege of every family so to live that Satan can take no advantage of anything they may say or do, to tear one another down. Every member of the family should bear in mind that all have just as much as they can do to resist our wily foe, and with earnest prayers and unyielding faith each must rely upon the merits of the blood of Christ and claim His saving strength."-Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 309.
VICTORY THROUGH COOPERATION 9.
o Thursday December 15
What duty, that is contrary to current ideas in the world, is enjoined by divine wisdom, upon women? Colossians 3: 18.
"Some have asked the question, Must I be on my guard and feel a restraint upon me continually? I have been shown that we have a great work before us to search our own hearts, and watch ourselves with jealous care. We should learn wherein we fail, and then guard ourselves upon that point. We must have perfect control over our own spirit."-Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 308. 10. How is the peace of the family circle preserved? What divine standard is given each spouse? 1 Peter 3:1-6; Ephesians 5:21.
"The husband is the head of the family, as Christ is the head of the church; and any course which the wife may pursue to lessen his influence and lead him to come down from that dignified, responsible position is displeasing to God. It is the duty of the wife to yield her wishes and will to her husband. Both should be yielding, but the word of God gives preference to the judgment of the husband. And it will not detract from the dignity of the wife to yield to him whom she has chosen to be her counselor, advisor, and protector. The husband should maintain his position in his family with all meekness, yet with decision."-Testimonies, vol. 1, pp. 307,308.
o Friday REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS a. b. c. d. e.
How is the need for eternal vigilance stressed? What is the divine evaluation of a godly woman? What little things are used of God to be a great blessing? What areas need special vigilance? What contributes to victory as a family?
~,tuta,U THE THIRTEENTH SABBA TH OFFERING
Sabbath, December 24, 1988
BUILDING THE CHARACTER OF THE CHILDREN
Parents, standing in the place of God to young children, must teach obedience and respect, especially if they have responsibility in the work of God.
"Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing unto the Lord." Colossians 3:20.
D Sunday TRAINING CHILDREN ARIGHT 1.
What counsel should parents seek, and then what should they endeavor to do? Who has set a good example in this regard? Judges 13:12.
"Not until parents themselves walk in the law of the Lord with perfect hearts will they be prepared to command their children after them. A reformation in this respect is needed-a reformation which shall be deep and broad. Parents need to reform; ministers need to reform; they need God in their households. If they would see a different state of things, they must bring His word into their families and must make it their counselor."-Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 143. 2.
What mistake is often made by parents in the upbringing of their children? What two contrary errors often lead to this? Ephesians 6:4.
"Do not treat your children only with sterness, forgetting your own childhood, and forgetting that they are but children. Do not expect them to be perfect or try to make them men and women in their acts at once."-Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 387. "Some parents raise many a storm by their lack of self-control. Instead of kindly asking the children to do this or that, they order them in a scolding tone, and at the same time a censure or reproof is on their lips which the children have not merited." -Ibid., pp. 384,385. -44-
RESPECT FOR THE HOUSE OF GOD 3.
o Monday December 19
What mistake illustrated in the Old Testament has a similar result today? What is the result when the child is mature and then mildly reproved? 1 Samuel 2:23, 24.
"If professors of religion, instead of putting forth earnest, persistent, and painstaking effort to bring up a well-ordered household as a witness to the benefits of faith in God, are lax in their government and indulgent to the evil desires of their children, they are doing as did Eli, and are bringing disgrace on the cause of Christ and ruin upon themselves and their households."-Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 579. 4.
What duty must be observed by both parents and children when in the house of the Lord or the designated meeting place? What particular unfaithfulness on the part of parents will keep the presence of the Lord away from His people? Habakkuk 2:20.
"The house of God is often desecrated, and the Sabbath violated by Sabbathbelievers' children. In some cases they are even allowed to run about the house, play, talk, and manifest their evil tempers in the very meetings where the saints should worship God in the beauty of holiness. And the place that should be holy, and where a holy stillness should reign, and where there should be perfect order, neatness, and humility, is made to be a perfect Babylon, 'confusion.' This is enough to bring God's displeasure and shut His presence from our assemblies."-Child Guidance, p. 540.
o Tuesday OBEDIENCE TO PARENTS 5.
What promise is given children and what is the condition? Ephesians 6:1-3.
"There is no better recommendation in this world than that a child has honored his parents, no better record in the books of heaven than that he has loved and honored father and mother."-The Review and Herald, November 15,1892. 6.
What prophecy concerning the last days is fulfilled by children of professed believers? 2 Timothy 3:2.
"The enemy is diligently working to see whom he can add to the ranks of apostasy; but the Lord is soon coming, and erelong every case will be decided for eternity. Those whose works correspond with the light graciously given them will be numbered on the Lord's side." - Testimonies to Ministers, p. 163. 7.
What should children and young people remember when tempted to disobey or be disrespectful to their parents? Proverbs 12:1; Luke 12:2.
"You have a fearful record of the past year, which is laid open to the view of the Majesty of heaven and the myriads of pure, sinless angels. Your thoughts and acts, your desperate and unsanctified feelings, may have been concealed from mortals; but remember, the most trivial acts of your life are open to the view of God. You have a -45-
spotted record in heaven. The sins you have committed are all registered there." -Messages to Young People, p. 75.
DUTY TO PARENTS 8.
What will many parents be told in the day of judgment as a result of their neglect when bringing up their children? Daniel 5:27.
"When you stand before the great white throne, then your work will appear as it is. The books are opened, the record of every life made known. Many in that vast company are unprepared for the revelations made. Upon the ears of some the words will fall with startling distinctness, 'Weighed in the balance, and found wanting.' To many parents the Judge will say in that day, 'You had My Word, plainly setting forth your duty. Why have you not obeyed its teachings? Knew ye not that it was the voice of God? Did I not bid you search the Scriptures, that ye might not go astray? You have not only ruined your own soul, but by your pretentions to godliness you have misled many others. You have no part with Me. Depart; depart.' "-Child Guidance, pp. 568, 569. 9.
In the Old Testament, what severe penalties, provided for the son who was disobedient or defiant or who cursed his parents, reveal the heinousness of this sin? What heavy responsibility therefore rests on parents training their children in habits of obedience? Leviticus 20:8, 9; Deuteronomy 21:18-21.
"Parents are entitled to a degree of love and respect which is due no other person. God himself, who has placed upon them a responsibility for the souls committed to their charge, has ordained that during the earlier years of life, parents shall stand in the place of God to their children. And he who rejects the rightful authority of his parents is rejecting the authority of God."-Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 308. "Fond and indulgent parents, let me present for your instruction the directions given in the Bible for dealing with a rebellious son: [Deuteronomy 21:18-21, quoted]." - Testimonies, vol. 4, pp. 204, 205.
o Thursday BLESSINGS FROM OBEDIENCE
10. To enjoy the blessings of God, what should young people keep in mind? What serious obligation is therefore on parents? Colossians 3:20.
"The youth are now deciding their own eternal destiny, and I would appeal to you to consider the commandment to which God has annexed such a promise, 'that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.' Children, do you desire eternal life? Then respect and honor your parents."-Messages to Young People, p. 332. 11. How long do children have a duty toward parents? Leviticus 19:32; Proverbs 16:31.
" 'Honor thy father and thy mother; that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.' This is the first commandment with promise. It is binding upon childhood and youth, upon the middle-aged and the aged. There is no
period in life when children are excused from honoring their parents. This solemn obligation is binding upon every son and daughter, and is one of the conditions to their prolonging their lives upon the land which the Lord will give the faithful. This is not a subject unworthy of notice, but a matter of vital importance. The promise is upon condition of obedience. If you obey you shall live long in the land which the Lord your God gives you. If you disobey you shall not prolong your life in that land." - Testimonies, yol. 2,pp. 80, 81.
D Friday REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS a. b. c. d. e.
How many parents know how to train their children aright? What special training must begin in infancy? Of what should young people be more conscious? What heavy responsibility rests on parents because of this duty of their children? How is the blessing for both children and parents gained? •
(Continued from page 3) quences of her rejection of the message (7T 62; 8T 118, 119, 248-250; TM 265; 5T 210-212; etc.). Notice what was prophesied: "The forms of religion will be continued by a people from whom the Spirit of God has been finally withdrawn; and the satanic zeal with which the prince of evil will inspire them for the accomplishment of his malignant designs, will bear the semblance of zeal for God."-The Great Controversy, p. 615. "He [God] will take His Holy Spirit from the church, and give it to others who will appreciate it."- The Review and Herald, July 16, 1895. A faithful remnant, which is clearly distinguished from the mother church (5T 524), is to have the Holy Spirit for the finishing of the work. They will give the loud cry, calling the people of God out of Babylon, "Hence the movement symbolized by the angel coming down from heaven, lightening the earth with his glory and crying mightily with a strong voice, announcing the sins of Babylon. In connection with his message the call is heard: 'Come out of her, My people.' These announcements, uniting with the third angel's message, constitute the final warning to be given to the inhabitants of the earth."-The Great Controversy, p. 604. Read about the same movement and the same work on page 608. It is our earnest prayer to God that, as we study the lessons of this quarterly, His Spirit will impress our hearts and enable us to see our spiritual needs more clearly. May we tum to the Lord wholeheartedly, confess our shortcomings, obtain the assurance of sins forgiven, and allow Him to cleanse us, so that His righteousness may become ours as taught in these lessons. If this is our experience, then before long, we will see the fulfillment of this prophecy: "Those who come up to every point, and stand every test, and overcome, be the price what it may, have heeded the counsel of the True Witness, and they will receive the latter rain, and thus be fitted for translation." - Testimonies, yol. 1, pp. 187, 188.
The General Conference Sabbath School Department -47-
Sabbath, December 31, 1988
GOD'S CHURCH IN THE LAST DAYS
The Lord has made every provision through the impartation of His spirit and righteousness that the remnant church will be perfect individually and collectively.
"That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." Ephesians 5:27.
TRULY RIGHTEOUS-A GENUINE PEOPLE 1.
What name given in Scripture characterizes the true remnant church recognized by God at the close of probation? Jeremiah 33:16.
"Of the church of Christ it is written, 'This is the name wherewith she shall be called, The-Lord our Righteousness.' Jeremiah 33:16. This name is put upon every follower of Christ. It is the heritage of the child of God. The family are called after the Father. The prophet Jeremiah, in the time of Israel's sore distress and tribulation prayed, 'we are called by Thy name; leave us not.' Jeremiah 14:9."-Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 106, 107.
What made it impossible for the Jewish nation to fulfill their divine trust and carry the gospel of salvation to the world? Romans 10:3.
"While the law is holy, the Jews could not attain righteousness by their own efforts to keep the law. The disciples of Christ must obtain righteousness of a different character from that of the Pharisees, if they would enter the kingdom of heaven. God offered them, in His Son, the perfect righteousness of the law. If they would open their hearts fully to receive Christ, then the very life of God, His love, would dwell in
them, transforming them into His own likeness; and thus through God's free gift they would possess the righteousness which the law requires. But the Pharisees rejected Christ; 'being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness' (Romans 10:3), they would not submit themselves unto the righteousness of God."- Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 54, 55.
D Monday A PERFECT CHURCH 3.
What special provision was made to perfect the church? What standard must it reach? Ephesians 4:8-16.
"When the apostle Paul, through the revelation of Christ, was converted from a persecutor to a Christian, he declared that he was as one born out of due time. Henceforward Christ was all and in all to him. 'For me, to live is Christ,' he declared. This is the most perfect interpretation in a few words, in all the Scriptures, of what it means to be a Christian. This is the whole truth of the gospel. Paul understood what many seem unable to comprehend. How intensely in earnest he was! His words show that his mind was centered in Christ, that his whole life was bound up with his Lord. Christ was the author, the support, and the source of his life."-The Review and Herald, October 19, 1897. 4.
What divine plan will enable the church to attain to God's ideal? What is the agency of purification? Ephesians 5:26, 27.
"Those only who through faith in Christ obey all of God's commandments will reach the condition of sinlessness in which Adam lived before his transgression. They testify to their love of Christ by obeying all His precepts."- The SDA Bible Commentary, [E.G. White Comments], vol. 6, p. 1118.
D RENEWAL OF EPHESUS EXPERIENCE 5.
What condition did the church reach in the period named after Ephesus? What great blessings came on it at that time? Acts 2:47; 4:32, 33.
"At first the experience of the church at Ephesus was marked with childlike simplicity and fervor. The believers sought earnestly to obey every word of God, and their lives revealed an earnest, sincere love for Christ. They rejoiced to do the will of God because the Saviour was in their hearts as an abiding presence. Filled with love for their Redeemer, their highest aim was to win souls to Him."-The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 578, 579. 6.
What is the great need of the remnant from the period of Laodicea? Why must the remnant feel a great need, individually and collectively? Zechariah 4:1-6.
"But no man can impart that which he himself has not received. In the work of God, humanity can originate nothing. No man can by his own effort make himself a light bearer for God. It was the golden oil emptied by the heavenly messengers into the golden tubes, to be conducted from the golden bowl into the lamps of the sanctuary, that produced a continuous bright and shining light. It is the love of God con-49 -
tinually transferred to man that enables him to impart light. Into the hearts of all who are united to God by faith the golden oil of love flows freely, to shine out again in good works, in real, heartfelt service for God. "In the great and measureless gift of the Holy Spirit are contained all of heaven's resources. It is not because of any restriction on the part of God that the riches of His grace do not flow earthward to men. If all were willing to receive, all would become filled with His Spirit. "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, pp. 418, 419.
UNITY IN CHRIST 7.
What should the remnant always remember even if they are poor and few in number? 1 Chronicles 29:11, 12; Zephaniah 3:12.
"Christ has made every provision that His church shall be a transformed body, illumined with Light of the world, possessing the glory of Emmanuel. It is His purpose that every Christian shall be surrounded with a spiritual atmosphere of light and peace. He desires that we shall reveal His own joy in our lives." -Christ's Object Lessons, p.419. 8.
What is the bond that unites believers with one another and the throne of God? Revelation 3:20-22.
"Men are bound in fellowship, in dependence, to one another. By the golden links of the chain of love they are to be bound fast to the throne of God. This can be done only by Christ's imparting to finite man the attributes which man would ever have possessed had he remained loyal and true to God. "Those who, through an intelligent understanding of the Scriptures, view the cross aright, those who truly believe in Jesus, have a sure foundation for their faith. They have that faith which works by love and purifies the soul from all its hereditary and cultivated imperfections."- Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 238.
o Thursday DEPENDENCE ON DIVINE GRACE 9.
As God's people are united in church capacity with Him through "the faith once delivered to the saints," what will result? Isaiah 52:1, 7,8.
"God has united believers in church capacity in order that one may strengthen another in good and righteous endeavor. The church on earth would indeed be a symbol of the church in heaven if the members were of one mind and of one faith. It is those who are not moved by the Holy Spirit that mar God's plan. Another spirit takes possession of them, and they help to strengthen the forces of darkness. Those who - 50-
are sanctified by the precious blood of Christ will not become the means of counterworking the great plan which God has devised. They will not bring human depravity into things small or great. They will do nothing to perpetuate division in the church." -Testimonies, vol. 6, pp. 238, 239. 10. What security will the church have during the "time of trouble"? Isaiah 26:20,21; Psalm 46:1,2.
"When we put away our sins and come to Him in faith, He takes our names on His lips, and presents them to His Father, saying, 'I have graven them upon the palms of my hands; I know them by name.' And the command goes forth to the angels to protect them. Then in the day of fierce trial He will say, 'Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.' What are the chambers in which they are to hide?-They are the protection of Christ and holy angels. The people of God are not at this time all in one place. They are in different companies, and in all parts of the earth; and they will be tried singly, not in groups. Every one must stand the test for himself."-The SDA Bible Commentary, [E.G. White Comments], vol. 1, p. 1109.
D Friday REVIEW AND THOUGHT QUESTIONS
What differenciates the true from the professed people of God?
What will enable God's remnant church to be free from all defects?
What must be manifest in the church to bring a return to primitive godliness? .
What should the church be now seeking that true unity may be achieved?
What will be the dependence of the remnant?
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The arrow on the map above points to Guayaquil, Ecuador, where the brethren plan to build a monument for the Lord. See page 4 for more detailed information.