Sabbath, June 7, 2008
“Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” Revelation 14:12.
EXAMPLE OF CHRIST’S ENDURANCE
1. What are all Christians admonished to do by looking unto Jesus as their example?
Hebrews 12:1, 2 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
“Paul presents the contrast between the chaplet of fading laurel received by the victor in the foot races, and the crown of immortal glory that will be given to him who runs with triumph the Christian race. ‘They do it,’ he declares, ‘to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.’ To win a perishable prize, the Grecian runners spared themselves no toil or discipline. We are striving for a prize infinitely more valuable, even the crown of everlasting life. How much more careful should be our striving, how much more willing our sacrifice and self-denial!”—Acts of the Apostles, pp. 311, 312.
2. Why should Christians not be tired or discouraged in their suffering?
Hebrews 12:3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
“Let us, then, cheerfully suffer something for Jesus’ sake, crucify self daily, and be partakers of Christ’s sufferings here, that we may be made partakers with Him of His glory, and be crowned with glory, honor, immortality, and eternal life.” – Early Writings, p. 114.
3. What have many Christians not yet experienced in their struggle with sin?
Hebrews 12:4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
“The Christian life is a warfare. The apostle Paul speaks of wrestling against principalities and powers as he fought the good fight of faith. Again, he declares: ‘Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.’ Ah, no. Today sin is cherished and excused. The sharp sword of the Spirit, the word of God, does not cut to the soul. Has religion changed? Has Satan’s enmity to God abated? A religious life once presented difficulties and demanded self-denial. All is made very easy now. And why is this? The professed people of God have compromised with the power of darkness.”—Testimonies to the Church, Vol. 5, p. 222.
EXHORTATION TO ENDURE GOD’S CHASTENING
4. What Biblical exhortation did many Christians forget?
Hebrews 12:5, 6 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
“Our heavenly Father is never unmindful of those whom sorrow has touched. When David went up the Mount Olivet, ‘and wept as he went up, and had his head covered, and he went barefoot’ (2 Samuel 15:30), the Lord was looking pityingly upon him. David was clothed in sackcloth, and his conscience was scourging him. The outward signs of humiliation testified of his contrition. In tearful, heartbroken utterances he presented his case to God, and the Lord did not forsake His servant. Never was David dearer to the heart of Infinite Love than when, conscience-smitten, he fled for his life from his enemies, who had been stirred to rebellion by his own son. The Lord says, ‘As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.’ Revelation 3:19. Christ lifts up the contrite heart and refines the mourning soul until it becomes His abode.”—Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 11.
5. What is proven when God or natural parents discipline their children?
Hebrews 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
6. If you escape the discipline in which all sons share, what does it mean?
Hebrews 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
7. If we pay due respect to the earthly fathers who discipline us, how should we submit to our heavenly Father?
Hebrews 12:9, 10 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.
“The Saviour’s words have a message of comfort to those also who are suffering affliction or bereavement. Our sorrows do not spring out of the ground. God ‘doth not afflict willingly nor grieve the children of men.’ Lamentations 3:33. When He permits trials and afflictions, it is ‘for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness.’ Hebrews 12:10. If received in faith, the trial that seems so bitter and hard to bear will prove a blessing. The cruel blow that blights the joys of earth will be the means of turning our eyes to heaven. How many there are who would never have known Jesus had not sorrow led them to seek comfort in Him!” – Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 10.
8. Even though the chastening is never pleasant, how should we strengthen one another’s hands and make straight paths for our feet?
Hebrews 12:11-13 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.
“Christ identifies His interest with that of humanity. The work that bears the divine credentials is that which manifests the spirit of Jesus, which reveals His love, His carefulness, His tenderness in dealing with the minds of men. What revelations would come to man if the curtain should be rolled back and you could see the result of your work in dealing with the erring who have needed most judicious treatment lest they should be turned out of the way. ‘Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.’” – Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 184.