Sabbath, April 4, 2015
“Those who consecrate soul, body, and spirit to God, purifying their thoughts by obedience to the law of God, will continually receive a new endowment of physical and mental power. There will be heart yearnings after God and earnest prayer for clear perception to discern the office and work of the Holy Spirit. It is not for us to use it, but for the Holy Spirit to use us, molding, fashioning every power.” –Testimonies on Sabbath School Work, p. 106; Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 40.
1. From ancient times, whom has God used to reveal His will and plan of salvation?
2 Peter 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.
“From the beginning, God has been working by His Holy Spirit through human instrumentalities for the accomplishment of His purpose in behalf of the fallen race. This was manifest in the lives of the patriarchs. To the church in the wilderness also, in the time of Moses, God gave His ‘good Spirit to instruct them.’ Nehemiah 9:20. And in the days of the apostles He wrought mightily for His church through the agency of the Holy Spirit. The same power that sustained the patriarchs … and that made the work of the apostolic church effective, has upheld God’s faithful children in every succeeding age. It was through the power of the Holy Spirit that during the Dark Ages the Waldensian Christians helped to prepare the way for the Reformation. It was the same power that made successful the efforts of the noble men and women who pioneered the way for the establishment of modern missions….
“Today the heralds of the cross are … preparing the way for the second advent of Christ…. And as they continue to let their light shine, as did those who were baptized with the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, they receive more and still more of the Spirit’s power. Thus the earth is to be lightened with the glory of God.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 190.
2. To what can God’s servants who preach the truth be compared?
2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
Romans 15:16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
“God has been pleased to communicate His truth to the world by human agencies, and He Himself, by His Holy Spirit, qualified men and enabled them to do this work. He guided the mind in the selection of what to speak and what to write. The treasure was intrusted to earthen vessels, yet it is, none the less, from Heaven. The testimony is conveyed through the imperfect expression of human language, yet it is the testimony of God; and the obedient, believing child of God beholds in it the glory of a divine power, full of grace and truth.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 198.
“Those only who are constantly receiving fresh supplies of grace, will have power proportionate to their daily need and their ability to use that power. Instead of looking forward to some future time when, through a special endowment of spiritual power, they will receive a miraculous fitting up for soul winning, they are yielding themselves daily to God, that He may make them vessels meet for His use. Daily they are improving the opportunities for service that lie within their reach. Daily they are witnessing for the Master wherever they may be, whether in some humble sphere of labor in the home, or in a public field of usefulness.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 55.
3. What type of service pleases the Lord?
Romans 12:11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.
Psalms 2:11; 100:2 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling…. 100:2 Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
“The greatest praise that men can bring to God is to become consecrated channels through whom He can work. Time is rapidly passing into eternity. Let us not keep back from God that which is His own. Let us not refuse Him that which, though it cannot be given with merit, cannot be denied without ruin. He asks for a whole heart; give it to Him; it is His, both by creation and by redemption. He asks for your intellect; give it to Him; it is His. He asks for your money; give it to Him; it is His. ‘Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price.’ 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20. God requires the homage of a sanctified soul, which has prepared itself, by the exercise of the faith that works by love, to serve Him. He holds up before us the highest ideal, even perfection. He asks us to be absolutely and completely for Him in this world as He is for us in the presence of God.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 566.
4. What results will those who are sanctified by the truth and walk in faith in God’s service experience?
1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Ephesians 3:20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.
“There is no limit to the usefulness of one who, putting self aside, makes room for the working of the Holy Spirit upon his heart and lives a life wholly consecrated to God. All who consecrate body, soul, and spirit to His service will be constantly receiving a new endowment of physical, mental, and spiritual power. The inexhaustible supplies of heaven are at their command. Christ gives them the breath of His own Spirit, the life of His own life. The Holy Spirit puts forth its highest energies to work in mind and heart. Through the grace given us we may achieve victories that because of our own erroneous and preconceived opinions, our defects of character, our smallness of faith, have seemed impossible. To everyone who offers himself to the Lord for service, withholding nothing, is given power for the attainment of measureless results.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 208.
Spontaneous, active witnesses
5. Is it absolutely necessary to receive special instruction before we can testify for the Lord? What two examples in the gospels provide the answer to this?
Ecclesiastes 11:1 Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days.
John 4:28, 29, 42 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, 29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?… 42 And said unto the woman, Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world.
Mark 5:19, 20 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. 20 And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel.
“As the Holy Spirit opens to you the truth, you will treasure up the most precious experiences and will long to speak to others of the comforting things that have been revealed to you. When brought into association with them, you will communicate some fresh thought in regard to the character or the work of Christ. You will have some fresh revelation of His pitying love to impart to those who love Him and to those who love Him not….
“The heart that has once tasted the love of Christ, cries out continually for a deeper draft, and as you impart you will receive in richer and more abundant measure. Every revelation of God to the soul increases the capacity to know and to love. The continual cry of the heart is, ‘More of Thee,’ and ever the Spirit’s answer is, ‘Much more.’… To Jesus, who emptied Himself for the salvation of lost humanity, the Holy Spirit was given without measure. So it will be given to every follower of Christ when the whole heart is surrendered for His indwelling. Our Lord Himself has given the command, ‘Be filled with the Spirit’ (Ephesians 5:18), and this command is also a promise of its fulfillment.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 213.
6. Is it sufficient to speak about Christ and hope to receive the Holy Spirit? Who are Christ’s true representatives?
Acts 5:32 And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.
John 15:26, 27 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: 27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
“There are many who profess to believe and claim the Lord’s promises; they talk about Christ and the Holy Spirit; yet they receive no benefit, because they do not surrender their souls to the guidance and control of divine agencies.
“We cannot use the Holy Spirit; the Spirit is to use us. Through the Spirit, God works in His people ‘to will and to do of His good pleasure.’ Philippians 2:13. But many will not submit to be led. They want to manage themselves. This is why they do not receive the heavenly gift. Only to those who wait humbly upon God, who watch for His guidance and grace, is the Spirit given.” –Gospel Workers, pp. 284, 285.
7. What is God’s intention for everyone? Are we ready to answer the Lord’s call, as did Isaiah?
1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Isaiah 6:8 Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
“Every soul is to minister. He is to use every physical, moral and mental power–through sanctification of the Spirit–that he may be a laborer together with God. All are bound to devote themselves actively and unreservedly to God’s service. They are to cooperate with Jesus Christ in the great work of helping others. Christ died for every man. He has ransomed every man by giving His life on the cross. This He did that man might no longer live an aimless, selfish life but that he might live unto Jesus Christ, who died for his salvation. All are not called upon to enter the ministry, but nevertheless, they are to minister. It is an insult to the Holy Spirit of God for any man to choose a life of self-serving.” –(Letter 10, 1897) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 1159.
For personal study
“The great outpouring of the Spirit of God, which lightens the whole earth with His glory, will not come until we have an enlightened people, that know by experience what it means to be laborers together with God. When we have entire, wholehearted consecration to the service of Christ, God will recognize the fact by an outpouring of His Spirit without measure; but this will not be while the largest portion of the church are not laborers together with God.” –(Review and Herald, July 21, 1896) Christian Service, p. 253.