Please read the Missionary Report from Norway at the end of this lesson
Sabbath, March 31, 2012
“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his Lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when he cometh shall find so doing.” Matthew 24:45, 46.
“God proves His people in this world…. Here, in this world, in these last days, persons will show what power affects their hearts and controls their actions. If it is the power of divine truth, it will lead to good works. It will elevate the receiver, and make him noblehearted and generous, like his divine Lord….
“Young and old, God is now testing you. You are deciding your own eternal destiny.” –Maranatha, p, 43.
Good and faithful servants
1. What do good and faithful servants do?
Matthew 25:20-23 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His Lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His Lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.
“Those who watch for the Lord’s coming are not waiting in idle expectancy. The expectation of Christ’s coming is to make men fear the Lord, and fear His judgments upon transgression. It is to awaken them to the great sin of rejecting His offers of mercy. Those who are watching for the Lord are purifying their souls by obedience to the truth. With vigilant watching they combine earnest working. Because they know that the Lord is at the door, their zeal is quickened to cooperate with the divine intelligences in working for the salvation of souls. These are the faithful and wise servants who give to the Lord’s household ‘their portion of meat in due season.’ Luke 12:42. They are declaring the truth that is now specially applicable. As Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Moses each declared the truth for his time, so will Christ’s servants now give the special warning for their generation.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 634.
2. What will happen to one who is careless? What influence does an unbelieving and evil servant have on others?
Matthew 25:28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
Matthew 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
“The evil servant says in his heart, ‘My Lord delayeth His coming.’ He does not say that Christ will not come. He does not scoff at the idea of His second coming. But in his heart and by his actions and words he declares that the Lord’s coming is delayed. He banishes from the minds of others the conviction that the Lord is coming quickly. His influence leads men to presumptuous, careless delay. They are confirmed in their worldliness and stupor. Earthly passions, corrupt thoughts, take possession of the mind. The evil servant eats and drinks with the drunken, unites with the world in pleasure seeking. He smites his fellow servants, accusing and condemning those who are faithful to their Master. He mingles with the world. Like grows with like in transgression. It is a fearful assimilation. With the world he is taken in the snare. ‘The Lord of that servant shall come … in an hour that he is not aware of, and shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites.’” –The Desire of Ages, p. 635.
The work of God’s church
3. What sacred mission has the Lord entrusted to His church? How broad is the field in which His followers work? For how long will their mission continue?
Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Matthew 13:38 The field is the world….
Luke 19:13 And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come.
“The church of Christ is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. Its mission is to carry the gospel to the world. And the obligation rests upon all Christians. Everyone, to the extent of his talent and opportunity, is to fulfill the Saviour’s commission. The love of Christ, revealed to us, makes us debtors to all who know Him not. God has given us light, not for ourselves alone, but to shed upon them.
“If the followers of Christ were awake to duty, there would be thousands where there is one today proclaiming the gospel in heathen lands. And all who could not personally engage in the work, would yet sustain it with their means, their sympathy, and their prayers. And there would be far more earnest labor for souls in Christian countries.” –Steps to Christ, p. 81.
4. How great is the need of workers in the Lord’s vineyard? Until what hour will a call continue to be made for helpers? What does investment in this work of the Lord include?
Matthew 20:1, 2 For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard. And when he had agreed with the labourers for a penny a day, he sent them into his vineyard.
Matthew 20:6 And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?
“The Lord Jesus estimates the work done by the spirit in which it is done. At a late hour He will accept penitent sinners who come to Him in humble faith and are obedient to His commandments.” –Selected Messages, book 2, p. 182.
“True prosperity can never come to the soul that is constantly aspiring to get higher wages, and who yields to the temptation that leads him away from the work that God has appointed him. There never can be prosperity for any man, or any family, or any firm or institution, unless the wisdom of God presides.” –(Letter 2, 1898; Tract “To the Leading Men in Our Churches,” p. 4) Selected Messages, book 2, p. 183.
Walking with God
5. What is significant about Elijah’s question to the people of Israel and their response–for them and for us today?
1 Kings 18:21 And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
“Elijah, the man of power, had been God’s instrument for the overthrow of gigantic evils. Idolatry, which, supported by Ahab and the heathen Jezebel, had seduced the nation, had been cast down. Baal’s prophets had been slain. The whole people of Israel had been deeply stirred, and many were returning to the worship of God….
“The lesson is for all. None can know what may be God’s purpose in His discipline; but all may be certain that faithfulness in little things is the evidence of fitness for greater responsibilities. Every act of life is a revelation of character, and he only who in small duties proves himself ‘a workman that needeth not to be ashamed’ (2 Timothy 2:15) will be honored by God with weightier trusts….
“No truth does the Bible set forth in clearer light than the peril of even one departure from the right–peril both to the wrongdoer and to all whom his influence shall reach. Example has wonderful power; and when cast on the side of the evil tendencies of our nature, it becomes well-nigh irresistible.” –Education, pp. 60, 61, 150.
6. Whom did Joshua and his family choose to serve?
Joshua 24:14, 15 Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Personal question: To what cause are you willing to dedicate your service?
“God has given us the power of choice; it is ours to exercise. We cannot change our hearts, we cannot control our thoughts, our impulses, our affections. We cannot make ourselves pure, fit for God’s service. But we can choose to serve God, we can give Him our will; then He will work in us to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus our whole nature will be brought under the control of Christ.
“Through the right exercise of the will, an entire change may be made in the life. By yielding up the will to Christ, we ally ourselves with divine power. We receive strength from above to hold us steadfast. A pure and noble life, a life of victory over appetite and lust, is possible to everyone who will unite his weak, wavering human will to the omnipotent, unwavering will of God.” –The Ministry of Healing, p. 176.
7. What lesson can be obtained from the ministry of Enoch, the seventh from Adam? How does our day offer a similar experience to everyone?
Jude 14, 15 And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him.
Hebrews 11:5, 6 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. 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.
“For three hundred years Enoch had been seeking purity of heart, that he might be in harmony with heaven. For three centuries he had walked with God. Day by day he had longed for a closer union; nearer and nearer had grown the communion, until God took him to Himself. He had stood at the threshold of the eternal world, only a step between him and the land of the blest; and now the portals opened, the walk with God, so long pursued on earth, continued, and he passed through the gates of the holy city, the first from among men to enter there….
“To such communion God is calling us. As was Enoch’s must be their holiness of character who shall be redeemed from among men at the Lord’s second coming.” –Maranatha, p. 65.
“We are living in an evil age. The perils of the last days thicken around us. Because iniquity abounds, the love of many waxes cold. Enoch walked with God three hundred years. Now the shortness of time seems to be urged as a motive to seek righteousness. Should it be necessary that the terrors of the day of God be held before us in order to compel us to right action? Enoch’s case is before us. Hundreds of years he walked with God. He lived in a corrupt age, when moral pollution was teeming all around him; yet he trained his mind to devotion, to love purity. His conversation was upon heavenly things.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, pp. 121, 122.
“The service rendered in sincerity of heart has great recompense. ‘Thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly.’ By the life we live through the grace of Christ, the character is formed. The original loveliness begins to be restored to the soul. The attributes of the character of Christ are imparted, and the image of the Divine begins to shine forth. The faces of men and women who walk and work with God express the peace of heaven. They are surrounded with the atmosphere of heaven. For these souls the kingdom of God has begun. They have Christ’s joy, the joy of being a blessing to humanity. They have the honor of being accepted for the Master’s use; they are trusted to do His work in His name.” –The Adventist Home, p. 535.