Lesson 1 – The Focus of Our Faith

Lesson 1 – The Focus of Our Faith2015-10-25T20:40:56+00:00

Sabbath, April 3, 2010

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:13, 14.

Waiting for the glorious event

1. What great hope should feed the fire of our faith? What has happened to this among the Adventist people? How is it in your case?
Revelation 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
Luke 18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?

“The coming of the Lord has been in all ages the hope of His true followers. The Saviour’s parting promise upon Olivet, that He would come again, lighted up the future for His disciples, filling their hearts with joy and hope that sorrow could not quench nor trials dim. Amid suffering and persecution, the ‘appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ’ was the ‘blessed hope.’” –The Great Controversy, p. 302.

“Faith in the soon coming of Christ is waning. ‘My Lord delayeth His coming’ is not only said in the heart, but expressed in words and most decidedly in works. Stupidity in this watching time is sealing the senses of God’s people as to the signs of the times. The terrible iniquity which abounds calls for the greatest diligence and for the living testimony, to keep sin out of the church. Faith has been decreasing to a fearful degree, and it is only by exercise that it can increase.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 255, 256.

Lukewarmness and love of wealth

2. What sentence is pronounced upon the church due to its lukewarmness?
Revelation 3:15, 16 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.  So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

“Certain it is that there has been among us a departure from the living God and a turning to men, putting human in place of divine wisdom.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 707.

“Their departure from the cause of right is so gradual and imperceptible that it is frequently difficult to tell the time when the change in them took place….

“I have almost despaired as I have seen, year after year, a greater departure from that simplicity which God has shown me should characterize the life of His followers. There has been less and less interest in, and devotion to, the cause of God. I ask: Wherein have those who profess confidence in the Testimonies sought to live according to the light given in them? Wherein have they regarded the warnings given? Wherein have they heeded the instructions they have received?” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, pp. 626, 484.

3. What causes this decline? What will happen to one who loses his faith and considers himself wise in his own eyes?
Revelation 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.
Proverbs 26:12 Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him.
Proverbs 28:11 The rich man is wise in his own conceit; but the poor that hath understanding searcheth him out.
Isaiah 5:21 Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!

“What greater deception can come upon human minds than a confidence that they are right when they are all wrong! The message of the True Witness finds the people of God in a sad deception, yet honest in that deception. They know not that their condition is deplorable in the sight of God. While those addressed are flattering themselves that they are in an exalted spiritual condition, the message of the True Witness breaks their security by the startling denunciation of their true condition of spiritual blindness, poverty, and wretchedness. The testimony, so cutting and severe, cannot be a mistake, for it is the True Witness who speaks, and His testimony must be correct.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 252, 253.

“You have repeatedly fallen back again into the same state of indifference and selfishness…. Through the greater part of your professed Christian life you have walked in darkness because you have failed to connect with heaven and receive the pure light of God’s Spirit.

“… You have not been diligent, seeking to gain an advanced experience every day. You should be at this time a trusty man in any position of responsibility, but selfishness has marked the performance of everything you have set your hand to do. You have been wise in your own conceit, but have failed to gain wisdom from the experience of many years.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, pp. 189, 190.

Humility and blessing

4. Whom alone can the Lord help to grow in every sense?
Psalm 10:17 Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear.
Psalm 147:6 The Lord lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground.
Psalm 37:11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

“The meek ‘shall inherit the earth.’ It was through the desire of self-exaltation that sin entered into the world, and our first parents lost the dominion of this fair earth, their kingdom. It is through self-abnegation that Christ redeems what was lost. And He says we are to overcome as He did. Revelation 3:21. Through humility and self-surrender we may become heirs with Him when ‘the meek shall inherit the earth.’ Psalm 37:11.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 17.

5. How do fervent and true believers see themselves, unlike the description in Revelation 3:17?
Revelation 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.
1 Corinthians 2:1-4 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.
Romans 8:26, 27 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. 

“Heaven is open to our petitions, and we are invited to come ‘boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.’ We are to come in faith, believing that we shall obtain the very things we ask of Him.” –(ST April 18, 1892) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1078.

Grieved for themselves and others

6. Why do they feel, think, and act this way?
Luke 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
Romans 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

“God imparts His blessing to us, that we may give to others. And so long as we yield ourselves as the channels through which His love can flow, He will keep the channels supplied. When you ask God for your daily bread, He looks right into your heart to see if you will impart the same to others, more needy than yourself. When you pray, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner,’ He watches to see if you will manifest compassion to those with whom you associate. This is the evidence of our connection with God–that we are merciful even as our Father who is in heaven is merciful.” –Counsels on Stewardship, p. 164.

7. What is their greatest interest? Therefore, what do they do?
Ezekiel 9:4 And the Lord said unto him, Go through the midst of the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and set a mark upon the foreheads of the men that sigh and that cry for all the abominations that be done in the midst thereof.

“The class who do not feel grieved over their own spiritual declension, nor mourn over the sins of others, will be left without the seal of God….

“It is with reluctance that the Lord withdraws His presence from those who have been blessed with great light and who have felt the power of the word in ministering to others. They were once His faithful servants, favored with His presence and guidance; but they departed from Him and led others into error, and therefore are brought under the divine displeasure.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 211, 212.

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