Sabbath, March 16, 2013
“The world has been committed to Christ, and through Him has come every blessing from God to the fallen race. He was the Redeemer before as after His incarnation. As soon as there was sin, there was a Saviour. He has given light and life to all, and according to the measure of light given, each is to be judged. And He who has given the light, He who has followed the soul with tenderest entreaty, seeking to win it from sin to holiness, is in one its advocate and judge. From the opening of the great controversy in heaven, Satan has maintained his cause through deception; and Christ has been working to unveil his schemes and to break his power. It is He who has encountered the deceiver, and who through all the ages has been seeking to wrest the captives from his grasp, who will pass judgment upon every soul.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 210.
Jesus as the Faithful Witness
1. What very significant name of Christ is found in Revelation 1:5 and Revelation 3:14?
Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.
Revelation 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God.
“One thing will certainly be understood from the study of Revelation–that the connection between God and His people is close and decided. John writes, ‘Grace be unto you, and peace from Him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before His throne: and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth.’” –Manuscript Releases, vol. 18, pp, 24, 25.
2. In what manner does the Faithful Witness address the church of Laodicea?
Revelation 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
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.
“The message to the Laodicean church is applicable to all who have had great light and many opportunities, and yet have not appreciated them.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 306.
“The True Witness says of a cold, lifeless, Christless church, ‘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.’ Revelation 3:15, 16. Mark the following words: ‘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.’ Revelation 3:17. Here is represented a people who pride themselves in their possession of spiritual knowledge and advantages. But they have not responded to the unmerited blessings that God has bestowed upon them….” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 357.
3. What counsel does the Faithful Witness give?
Revelation 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
“Heed the counsel of the True Witness. Buy gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich, white raiment that thou mayest be clothed, and eyesalve that thou mayest see. Make some effort. These precious treasures will not drop upon us without some exertion on our part. We must buy–’be zealous and repent’ of our lukewarm state. We must be awake to see our wrongs, to search for our sins, and to zealously repent of them.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 142.
“Let us consider our condition before God; let us heed the counsel of the True Witness. Let none of us be filled with prejudice, as were the Jews, that light may not come into our hearts. Let it not be necessary for Christ to say of us as He did of them, ‘Ye will not come to Me, that ye might have life.’ John 5:40.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 358.
Jesus as Judge
4. How did Christ become Judge of all mankind?
John 5:22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son.
John 5:26, 27 For as the Father hath life in himself; so hath he given to the Son to have life in himself; And hath given him authority to execute judgment also, because he is the Son of man.
John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.
“And God ‘hath given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of man.’ Because He has tasted the very dregs of human affliction and temptation, and understands the frailties and sins of men; because in our behalf He has victoriously withstood the temptations of Satan, and will deal justly and tenderly with the souls that His own blood has been poured out to save–because of this, the Son of man is appointed to execute the judgment.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 210.
“Christ humbled Himself to stand at the head of humanity, to meet the temptations and endure the trials that humanity must meet and endure. He must know what humanity has to meet from the fallen foe, that He might know how to succor those who are tempted.
“And Christ has been made our Judge. The Father is not the Judge. The angels are not. He who took humanity upon Himself, and in this world lived a perfect life, is to judge us. He only can be our Judge.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 185.
5. First of all, what was the purpose of Jesus for mankind? In reality, how does each individual judge himself?
John 3:17, 18 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
John 12:47 And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
“But Christ’s mission was not for judgment, but for salvation. ‘God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved.’ John 3:17. And before the Sanhedrin Jesus declared, ‘He that heareth My word, and believeth Him that sent Me, hath eternal life, and cometh not into judgment, but hath passed out of death into life.’ John 5:24, R.V….
“In their attitude toward Christ, all would show on which side they stood. And thus everyone passes judgment on himself….
““Hereafter,’ said Jesus, ‘shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.’ In these words Christ presented the reverse of the scene then taking place. He, the Lord of life and glory, would be seated at God’s right hand. He would be the judge of all the earth, and from His decision there could be no appeal. Then every secret thing would be set in the light of God’s countenance, and judgment be passed upon every man according to his deeds.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 210, 211, 57, 707, 708.
Jesus, our Advocate
6. As sinners accused by Satan before God, whom can we choose to defend us?
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I to you, that you sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.
Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
“Satan stands at our right hand to accuse us, and our advocate stands at God’s right hand to plead for us. He has never lost a case that has been committed to him. We may trust in our advocate; for he pleads his own merits in our behalf.” –(Review and Herald, August 15, 1893) Our High Calling, p. 49.
“In all our acts of true devotion, we fix our eye of faith upon our Advocate, who is standing between man and the eternal throne, waiting to meet our every effort, and by His Spirit assist us to a more perfect knowledge of God.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 123.
7. How can the repentant sinner approach the throne of grace?
Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
“You are to come to God as a repenting sinner, through the name of Jesus, the divine Advocate, to a merciful, forgiving Father, believing that He will do just as He has promised. Let those who desire the blessing of God knock, and wait at the throne of mercy, with firm assurance, saying, ‘For thou, O Lord, hast said, ‘For everyone that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.’ The Lord longs to have those who seek after God believe in Him who is able to do all things….
“It is only through Jesus, whom the Father gave for the life of the world, that the sinner may find access to God. Jesus alone is our Redeemer, our Advocate and Mediator; in Him is our only hope for pardon, peace, and righteousness. It is by virtue of the blood of Christ that the sin-stricken soul can be restored to soundness. Christ is the fragrance, the holy incense which makes your petition acceptable to the Father.” –Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 328, 329, 332, 333.
“By His spotless life, His obedience, His death on the cross of Calvary, Christ interceded for the lost race. And now, not as a mere petitioner does the Captain of our salvation intercede for us, but as a Conqueror claiming His victory. His offering is complete, and as our Intercessor He executes His self-appointed work, holding before God the censer containing His own spotless merits and the prayers, confessions, and thanksgiving of His people. Perfumed with the fragrance of His righteousness, these ascend to God as a sweet savor. The offering is wholly acceptable, and pardon covers all transgression.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 174.
For personal study
“The message to the church of the Laodiceans is a startling denunciation, and is applicable to the people of God at the present time.
“… 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.