Sabbath, February 13, 2010

“The steps to heaven must be taken one at a time, and every advance step gives strength for the next.” –Messages to Young People, p. 182.

Approaching the Father through Jesus Christ

1. What is the only path that leads to heaven?
John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. 
Isaiah 30:21 And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.

“There are not many ways to heaven. Each one may not choose his own way. Christ says, ‘I am the way:… no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.’ Since the first gospel sermon was preached, when in Eden it was declared that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head, Christ had been uplifted as the way, the truth, and the life. He was the way when Adam lived, when Abel presented to God the blood of the slain lamb, representing the blood of the Redeemer. Christ was the way by which Patriarchs and Prophets were saved. He is the way by which alone we can have access to God.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 663.

“But when we accept Christ, good works will appear as fruitful evidence that we are in the way of life, that Christ is our way, and that we are treading the true path that leads to heaven.” –Faith and Works, p. 102.

2. What does one carry when he follows Jesus?
Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

“The cross lifts you up from the lowlands of earth, and brings you into sweetest communion with God. Through bearing the cross your experience may be such that you can say, ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth,’ and because ‘He lives, I shall live also.’ What an assurance is this!” (MS 85, 1901)” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1095.

“Those who would gain the blessing of sanctification must first learn the meaning of self-sacrifice. The cross of Christ is the central pillar on which hangs the ‘far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.’ ‘If any man will come after Me,’ Christ says, ‘let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.’ 2 Corinthians 4:17; Matthew 16:24. It is the fragrance of our love for our fellow men that reveals our love for God. It is patience in service that brings rest to the soul. It is through humble, diligent, faithful toil that the welfare of Israel is promoted. God upholds and strengthens the one who is willing to follow in Christ’s way.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 560.

Choosing and following the right path

3. How many paths are there to choose from? But what path alone is safe?
Matthew 7:13, 14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:  Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
Jeremiah 21:8 And unto this people thou shalt say, Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I set before you the way of life, and the way of death.
Psalm 139:23, 24 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. 

“The cross stands where two roads diverge. One is the path of obedience leading to heaven. The other leads into the broad road, where man can easily go with his burden of sin and corruption, but it leads to perdition.” –(MS 50, 1898) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, pp. 1095, 1096.

4. How did Jesus walk in the path of self-denial, and how is that reflected in the lives of His saints?
2 Corinthians 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:).
Revelation 14:12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

“Those who travel in the narrow way are talking of the joy and happiness they will have at the end of the journey. Their countenances are often sad, yet often beam with holy, sacred joy. They do not dress like the company in the broad road, or talk like them, or act like them. A Pattern has been given them. A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief opened that road for them, and traveled it Himself. His followers see His footsteps and are comforted and cheered. He went through safely; so can they, if they follow His footsteps….

“The path that leads to eternal day is not the easiest to travel, and at times it will seem dark and thorny. But you have the assurance that God’s everlasting arms encircle you, to protect you from evil. He wants you to exercise earnest faith in Him, and learn to trust Him in the shadow as well as in the sunshine.” –Messages to Young People, pp. 126, 102.

The path of the just

5. What characterizes the path of the just, and what is needed to walk in that path?
Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.
Psalm 84:11 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

“The path of the just is progressive, from strength to strength, from grace to grace, and from glory to glory. The divine illumination will increase more and more, corresponding with our onward movements, qualifying us to meet the responsibilities and emergencies before us.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 542.

“We may make daily progress in the upward path to holiness and yet we find still greater heights to be reached; but every stretch of the spiritual muscles, every taxation of heart and brain, brings to light the abundance of the supply of grace essential for us as we advance….

“We are living in the day of preparation. We must obtain a full supply of grace from the divine storehouse. The Lord has made provision for every day’s demand.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 181.

Light on our path

6. What illuminates the path so we do not walk in darkness?
John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
Psalm 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

“He who does the will of God, who walks in the path that God has marked out, cannot stumble and fall. The light of God’s guiding Spirit gives him a clear perception of his duty, and leads him aright till the close of his work.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 201.

“As we near the end of time, falsehood will be so mingled with truth, that only those who have the guidance of the Holy Spirit will be able to distinguish truth from error. We need to make every effort to keep the way of the Lord. We must in no case turn from His guidance to put our trust in man. The Lord’s angels are appointed to keep strict watch over those who put their faith in the Lord, and these angels are to be our special help in every time of need. Every day we are to come to the Lord with full assurance of faith, and to look to Him for wisdom…. Those who are guided by the Word of the Lord will discern with certainty between falsehood and truth, between sin and righteousness.” –(MS 43, 1907) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 907.

Springs of joy on our path

7. Do the tribulations on the road to eternity of necessity make us unhappy?
Psalm 16:11 Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.

“And all the way up the steep road leading to eternal life are well-springs of joy to refresh the weary. Those who walk in wisdom’s ways are, even in tribulation, exceeding joyful; for He whom their soul loveth, walks, invisible, beside them. At each upward step they discern more distinctly the touch of His hand; at every step brighter gleamings of glory from the Unseen fall upon their path; and their songs of praise, reaching ever a higher note, ascend to join the songs of angels before the throne.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 140.

For meditation

“Christ has placed upon His church a sacred charge, the fulfilling of which calls for self-denial at every step. When those who believe in Him are seen lifting the cross and bearing it after Him in the path of self-denial, willingly doing all in their power to bring blessing to those for whom Christ died, witness will be borne to the power of Christianity, and in the hearts of many now unbelievers will spring up faith in Him who gave His life to save a guilty world from eternal ruin.” –(Letter 43, March 6, 1903, to Lucinda Hall, one of Ellen White’s closest friends) The Upward Look, p. 79.