Sabbath, March 8, 2008
“A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels.” Proverbs 1:5.
1. What exhortation was given to the Jewish Christians in Judaea?
Hebrews 5:11-14 Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
“Paul longed to speak to the church in Corinth of spiritual things. But to his sorrow he found it in great weakness. The church members could not even bear to hear the truth concerning themselves.
“Those addressed in these words had not been feeding on Christ, and therefore they were not advanced in spiritual knowledge. Paul said, ‘I have fed you with milk’–the plainest, most simple truths, suitable for converts young in the faith; “not with meat”–the solid, nourishing, spiritual food suited to those who have made progress in a knowledge of divine things. They were living on a low level, dwelling on the surface truths which call for no thought, no deep research (MS 70, 1901).
“There can be no stronger evidence in churches that the truths of the Bible have not sanctified the receivers than their attachment to some favorite minister, and their unwillingness to accept and be profited by the labors of some other teacher who is sent to them in the providence of God. The Lord sends help to His church as they need, not as they choose; for short-sighted mortals cannot discern what is for their best good. It is seldom than one minister has all the qualifications necessary to perfect any one church in all the requirements of Christianity; therefore God sends other ministers to follow him, one after another, each one possessing some qualifications in which the others were deficient.” – Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 6, p. 1086.
NEED FOR MINISTRY
2. What higher education is provided for all Christians?
Hebrews 6:1, 2 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
“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.’ Says the apostle Paul: ‘This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.’ Philippians 3:13, 14. And Peter sets before us the steps by which Bible sanctification is to be attained: ‘Giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. . . . If ye do these things, ye shall never fall.’ 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 Great Controversy, p. 470.
3. Under what condition should Christians repeat the basic teachings of Christ?
Hebrews 6:3 And this will we do, if God permit.
4. To what danger do Christians expose themselves if they fall away from the truth by which they were converted? What would be required for their new conversion?
Hebrews 6: 4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
“The example of those who minister in holy things should be such as to impress the people with reverence for God and with fear to offend Him. When men, standing ‘in Christ’s stead’ (2 Corinthians 5:20) to speak to the people God’s message of mercy and reconciliation, use their sacred calling as a cloak for selfish or sensual gratification, they make themselves the most effective agents of Satan. Like Hophni and Phinehas, they cause men to ‘abhor the offering of the Lord.’ They may pursue their evil course in secret for a time; but when at last their true character is exposed, the faith of the people receives a shock that often results in destroying their confidence in religion. There is left upon the mind a distrust of all who profess to teach the word of God. The message of the true servant of Christ is doubtfully received. The question constantly arises, ‘Will not this man prove to be like the one we thought so holy, and found so corrupt?’ Thus the word of God loses its power upon the souls of men.
“In Eli’s reproof to his sons are words of solemn and fearful import–words that all who minister in sacred things would do well to ponder: ‘If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him; but if a man sin against the Lord, who shall entreat for him?’ Had their crimes injured only their fellow men, the judge might have made reconciliation by appointing a penalty and requiring restitution; and thus the offenders might have been pardoned. Or had they not been guilty of a presumptuous sin, a sin offering might have been presented for them. But their sins were so interwoven with their ministration as priests of the Most High, in offering sacrifice for sin, the work of God was so profaned and dishonored before the people, that no expiation could be accepted for them. Their own father, though himself high priest, dared not make intercession in their behalf; he could not shield them from the wrath of a holy God. Of all sinners, those are most guilty who cast contempt upon the means that Heaven has provided for man’s redemption–who ‘crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.’ Hebrews 6:6.” – Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 580.
EXAMPLE FROM NATURE
5. How does God look upon the earth that drinks in the rain that falls upon it and yields a useful crop to those for whom it is cultivated?
Hebrews 6:7 For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God.
“Notwithstanding all that has been said and written concerning the dignity of labor, the feeling prevails that it is degrading. Young men are anxious to become teachers, clerks, merchants, physicians, lawyers, or to occupy some other position that does not require physical toil. Young women shun housework and seek an education in other lines. These need to learn that no man or woman is degraded by honest toil. That which degrades is idleness and selfish dependence. Idleness fosters self-indulgence, and the result is a life empty and barren–a field inviting the growth of every evil. ‘The earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: but that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.’ Hebrews 6:7, 8.” – Education, pp. 215, 216.
6. How does He regard another piece of land which is dressed the same way like the previous one, but brings only thorns and briars?
Hebrews 6:8 But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.
EXHORTATION TO MINISTRY
7. What will God not forget if we serve him faithfully?
Hebrews 6:9-12 But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.