Sabbath, May 1, 2010
“If ye will not believe, surely ye shall not be established.” Isaiah 7:9, last part.
Profession of faith and works
l. What can be said about the confessions made in these last days? What do believers lack especially in the Laodicean period?
Matthew 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
Revelation 3:17, 15, first part 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:… I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot:…
“It would be more pleasing to the Lord if lukewarm professors of religion had never named His name. They are a continual weight to those who would be faithful followers of Jesus. They are a stumbling block to unbelievers, and evil angels exult over them, and taunt the angels of God with their crooked course. Such are a curse to the cause at home or abroad. They draw nigh to God with their lips, while their heart is far from Him.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 188.
“The True Witness declares, ‘I know thy works.’ The selfish, covetous heart will be tested. Some are not willing to devote to God a very small portion of the increase of their earthly treasure. They would start back with horror if you should speak of the principal. What have they sacrificed for God? Nothing. They profess to believe that Jesus is coming; but their works deny their faith. Every individual will live out all the faith he has. False-hearted professor, Jesus knows thy works. He hates your stinted offerings and lame sacrifices.” –Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, pp. 237, 238.
The testimony of Jesus and faith
2. What will be revived before the latter rain falls? What will occur before Heaven revives the true testimony?
Matthew 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.
Luke 12:8 Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God.
Romans 8:14, 4 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Hebrews 11:1, 2, 6 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Revelation 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.
“The searching testimony of the Spirit of God ‘will separate those from Israel who have ever been at war with the means that God has ordained to keep corruptions out of the church. Wrongs must be called wrongs. Griev-ous sins must be called by their right name. All of God’s people should come nearer to Him…. Then will they see sin in the true light and will realize how offensive it is in the sight of God.’ ‘The plain, straight testimony must live in the church, or the curse of God will rest upon His people as surely as it did upon ancient Israel because of their sins.’” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 676.
“When difficulties arise or when they are brought into strait places–when their faith and their love to God are tested–they shrink from the trial and murmur at the process by which God has chosen to purify them. Their love does not prove pure and perfect, to bear all things.
“The faith of the people of the God of heaven should be strong, active, and enduring–the substance of things hoped for. Then the language of such will be, ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His holy name,’ for He hath dealt bountifully with me.” –The Story of Redemption, pp. 128, 129.
The fruit of faith
3. According to the Scriptures, what will true faith bear?
James 2:17, 22 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
“In the parable, Christ exalts the Samaritan above the priest and the Levite, who were great sticklers for the letter of the law of Ten Commandments. The one obeyed the spirit of these commandments, while the others were content to profess an exalted faith in them; but what is faith without works? When the advocates of the law of God plant their feet firmly upon its principles, showing that they are not merely loyal in name but loyal at heart, carrying out in their daily lives the spirit of God’s commandments, and exercising true benevolence to man, then will they have moral power to move the world. It is impossible for those who profess allegiance to the law of God to correctly represent the principles of that sacred Decalogue while slighting its holy injunctions to love their neighbor as themselves.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 58.
4. What other divine gift is closely related to faith?
Romans 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.
“When you turn away from the broken cisterns that can hold no water, and in the name of Jesus your Advocate come directly to God, asking for the things you need, the righteousness of Christ will be revealed as your righteousness, the virtue of Christ as your virtue. You will then understand that justification will come alone through faith in Christ; for in Jesus is revealed the perfection of the character of God; in His life is manifested the outworking of the principles of holiness. Through the atoning blood of Christ the sinner is set free from bondage and condemnation; through the perfection of the sinless Substitute and Surety, he may run in the race of humble obedience to all God’s commandments. Without Christ he is under the condemnation of the law, always a sinner, but through faith in Christ he is made just before God.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 330.
Communion and repentance
5. What transpires between the believer and the Lord?
Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Romans 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
“Jesus is ever ready to speak peace to souls that are burdened with doubts and fears. He waits for us to open the door of the heart to Him, and say, Abide with us.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 804.
“I know that in many hearts the inquiry arises, ‘Where shall I find Jesus?’ There are many who want His presence, want His love and His light; but they know not where to look for Him for whom their hearts yearn. And yet Jesus does not hide Himself away; no one need search for Him in vain.… Jesus invites us to accept His presence; we are to open the door of the heart, and let Him in. But He will not share a divided heart. If it be given to the service of mammon, if selfishness and pride fill its chambers, there will be no room for the heavenly Guest; He will not take up His abode with us until the soul-temple has been emptied and cleansed. Yet there is no need of making a failure in the Christian life. Jesus is waiting to do a great work for us, and all heaven is interested in our salvation.” –Our High Calling, p. 55.
6. What will keep this relationship alive and unbroken?
Revelation 3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
Revelation 2:5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.
Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
“The Lord has shown me in vision some things concerning the church in its present lukewarm state, which I will relate to you. The church was presented before me in vision. Said the angel to the church: ‘Jesus speaks to thee, “Be zealous and repent.”’ This work, I saw, should be taken hold of in earnest. There is something to repent of. Worldly-mindedness, selfishness, and covetousness have been eating out the spirituality and life of God’s people.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 141.
A fervent desire to be just
7. What destroys the living testimony of the church?
Psalm 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.
Proverbs 28:9 He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.
“God holds His people, as a body, responsible for the sins existing in individuals among them. If the leaders of the church neglect to diligently search out the sins which bring the displeasure of God upon the body, they become responsible for these sins. But to deal with minds is the nicest work in which men ever engaged. All are not fitted to correct the erring. They have not wisdom to deal justly, while loving mercy. They are not inclined to see the necessity of mingling love and tender compassion with faithful reproofs. Some are ever needlessly severe, and do not feel the necessity of the injunction of the apostle: ‘And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire.’
“There are many who do not have the discretion of Joshua and who have no special duty to search out wrongs and to deal promptly with the sins existing among them. Let not such hinder those who have the burden of this work upon them; let them not stand in the way of those who have this duty to do.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 269, 270.
8. What is lacking?
Matthew 5:6, first part Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness:…
Where does change take place?
Jeremiah 5:24, 25 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him; lest at any time the adversary deliver thee to the judge, and the judge deliver thee to the officer, and thou be cast into prison.
What will the Lord delight to do?
Luke 21:15 For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.
“Let us realize the weakness of humanity, and see where man fails in his self-sufficiency. We shall then be filled with a desire to be just what God desires us to be–pure, noble, sanctified. We shall hunger and thirst after the righteousness of Christ. To be like God will be the one desire of the soul.
“This is the desire that filled Enoch’s heart. And we read that he walked with God. He studied the character of God to a purpose. He did not mark out his own course, or set up his own will, as if he thought himself fully qualified to manage matters. He strove to conform himself to the divine likeness.” –(Letter 169, 1903) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 1, p. 1087.