Sabbath, August 19, 2006
“And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth.” Deuteronomy 28:1.
“To every promise of God there are conditions. If we are willing to do His will, all His strength is ours.” –Education, p. 253.
SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS AND HYPOCRISY
1. What complaints did the apostle Paul have against those who alleged to know the law and wanted to be teachers?
Romans 2:21-23 Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God?
2. How did Jesus call such dealings?
Luke 12:1-3 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known. Therefore whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.
“Sin may be concealed, denied, covered up from father, mother, wife, children, and associates. No one but the guilty actors may cherish the least suspicion of the wrong; but it is laid bare before the intelligences of Heaven. The darkness of the darkest night, the secrecy of all deceptive arts, is not sufficient to veil one thought from the knowledge of the Eternal. God has an exact record of every unjust account and every unfair dealing. He is not deceived by appearances of piety. He makes no mistakes in his estimation of character. Men may be deceived by those who are corrupt in heart, but God pierces all disguises, and reads the inner life.” –The Great Controversy, p. 486.
DO NOT BE NEGATIVE
3. What advice did Jesus give to His listeners? How should they have acted with respect to the instructions of their hypocritical teachers?
Matthew 23:3 All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
4. What is the sad result when the professed people of God neglect to live in accordance with their confession of faith?
Romans 2:24 For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
Ezekiel 36:20 And when they entered unto the heathen, whither they went, they profaned my holy name, when they said to them, These are the people of the Lord, and are gone forth out of his land.
2 Samuel 12:14 Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.
“There are many who hear the sayings of Christ, but do them not. They make a profession, but their fruits are such as to disgust unbelievers. They are boastful, and pray and talk in a self-righteous manner, exalting themselves, recounting their good deeds, and, like the Pharisee, virtually thanking God that they are not as other men.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 416.
EXAMPLES IN ALL THINGS
5. What can unbelievers justifiably expect from Sabbath keepers? What is our responsibility as those who know the law?
Titus 2:7 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,
“Unbelievers have a right to expect that those who profess to be keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, will do more than any other class to promote and honor, by their consistent lives, by their godly example and their active influence, the cause which they represent. But how often have the professed advocates of the truth proved the greatest obstacle to its advancement! The unbelief indulged, the doubts expressed, the darkness cherished, encourage the presence of evil angels, and open the way for the accomplishment of Satan’s devices.” –Selected Messages, vol. 1, p. 122.
6. What high goal did the apostle Paul set for himself?
1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.
MAKING A DISTINCTION
7. What external sign distinguished Abraham’s male descendants?
Genesis 17:10, 11 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised. And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
“It was to be observed by the patriarch and his descendants as a token that they were devoted to the service of God and thus separated from idolaters, and that God accepted them as His peculiar treasure. By this rite they were pledged to fulfill, on their part, the conditions of the covenant made with Abraham. They were not to contract marriages with the heathen; for by so doing they would lose their reverence for God and His holy law; they would be tempted to engage in the sinful practices of other nations, and would be seduced into idolatry.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 138.
8. Did circumcision make Abraham righteous before God? If not, what did?
Romans 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also.
Genesis 15:6 And he believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness.
• What privilege have we received from the Lord as members of the Reform Movement?
• Are there Biblical truths that I am not pleased to hear?
• Could I present myself to the Lord as a faithful servant in my present condition?