Sabbath, June 25, 2016

“Christ identified Himself with the necessities of His people. Their needs and their sufferings were His. He says: ‘I was anhungered, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me.’ God’s servants should have hearts of tender affection and sincere love for the followers of Christ. They should manifest that deep interest that Christ brings to view in the care of the shepherd for the lost sheep; they should follow the example given by Christ and exercise the same compassion and gentleness, and the same tender, pitying love that He has exercised toward us.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 186, 187.

Ministry to ourselves

1. What parable did Jesus present to illustrate the attitude of a rich man? Of whom was he thinking, and for whom was he working? What was his plan for all his goods?

Luke 12:16-19 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

“God has opened ways in which covetousness can be overcome–by performing benevolent deeds. By your life you are saying that you esteem the treasures of the world more highly than immortal riches. You are saying: ‘Farewell, heaven; farewell, immortal life; I have chosen this world.’ You are bartering away the pearl of great price for present gain. While thus admonished of God, while in His providence He has, as it were, already placed your feet in the dark river, will you, dare you, cultivate your money-loving propensities?… Our Saviour frequently and earnestly rebuked the sin of covetousness.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 545.

2. But what happened to the rich man and his goods? How should we apply this parable today to our own lives and circumstances?

Luke 12:20, 21 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

Matthew 25:41-45 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: 42For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: 43I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. 

“Men will compass land and sea for earthly gain, and endure privation and suffering to obtain their object, yet will turn away from heaven’s attractions, and not regard eternal riches. Men who are in comparative poverty are usually the ones who do the most to sustain the cause of God. They are generous with their little. They have strengthened their generous impulses by continual liberalities. When their expenditures pressed close upon the income, their passion for earthly riches had no room or chance to strengthen. But many, when they begin to gather earthly riches, commence to calculate how long it will be before they can be in possession of a certain sum. In their anxiety to amass wealth for themselves, they fail to become rich toward God.

“It should be your object, in whatever vocation you may be found, to do your work in a manner that shall glorify God. All that you gain, you should look upon as capital to be invested in the bank of heaven. It should be your joy to devote means, and time, and ability to win souls for Christ, to send the light to those who sit in darkness.” –Sons and Daughters of God, p. 275.

Christ’s ministry

3. Who stands in contrast to such people? What did Jesus say about His mission and Himself?

Matthew 20:28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. 

Luke 22:27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. 

“The apostle Paul exhorted his Philippian brethren: ‘Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.’ Is the servant greater than his master? Christ has given us His life as a pattern, and we dishonor Him when we become jealous of every slight, and are ready to resent every injury, supposed or real. It is not an evidence of a noble mind to be prepared to defend self, to preserve our own dignity…. There is strength to be obtained of God. He can help. He can give grace and heavenly wisdom. If you ask in faith, you will receive; but you must watch unto prayer. Watch, pray, work, should be your watchword.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, pp. 426, 427.

4. What service, normally performed by servants and non-Jewish slaves, did Jesus perform for His disciples?

John 13:4, 5 He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. 5After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.

Philippians 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.

“The ordinance of feet washing most forcibly illustrates the necessity of true humility. While the disciples were contending for the highest place, in the promised kingdom, Christ girded Himself, and performed the office of a servant by washing the feet of those who called Him Lord….

“Having washed the disciples’ feet, He

[Jesus] said, ‘I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.’… Christ was here instituting a religious service. By the act of our Lord this humiliating ceremony was made a consecrated ordinance. It was to be observed by the disciples, that they might ever keep in mind His lessons of humility and service.” –The Faith I Live By, p. 298.

Christian ministry

5. Making reference to service for others, what instruction was given by the apostle Paul? Considering the needs of different people, as what did Paul consider himself?

Galatians 5:13, last part … But by love serve one another.

Ephesians 6:7 With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men.

Romans 1:14 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise.

“Is it the disposition generally among servants to do as much as possible? Is it not rather the prevalent fashion to slide through the work as quickly, as easily, as possible, and obtain the wages at as little cost to themselves as they can? The object is not to be as thorough as possible but to get the remuneration. Those who profess to be the servants of Christ should not forget the injunction of the apostle Paul, ‘Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.’ ” –Messages to Young People, pp. 229, 230.

6. Therefore, what spirit should we have as we are called to serve our brother? In whose name should this be done?

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

“With a loving spirit we may perform life’s humblest duties ‘as to the Lord.’ Colossians 3:23. If the love of God is in the heart, it will be manifested in the life. The sweet savor of Christ will surround us, and our influence will elevate and bless.

“You are not to wait for great occasions or to expect extraordinary abilities before you go to work for God. You need not have a thought of what the world will think of you. If your daily life is a testimony to the purity and sincerity of your faith, and others are convinced that you desire to benefit them, your efforts will not be wholly lost.” –Steps to Christ, pp. 82, 83.

Our ministry for Christ

7. With whom has Jesus completely identified Himself? Therefore, when we perform some service for those who are needy, for whom are we doing it? What great promise is given to all who work for others in this spirit?

Matthew 25:34-40 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: 36Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? 38When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

“By the terms of our stewardship we are placed under obligation, not only to God, but to man. To the infinite love of the Redeemer every human being is indebted for the gifts of life. Food and raiment and shelter, body and mind and soul–all are the purchase of His blood. And by the obligation of gratitude and service thus imposed, Christ has bound us to our fellow men. He bids us, ‘By love serve one another.’ Galatians 5:13. ‘Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.’ Matthew 25:40.” –Education, p. 139.

For reflection

What do those who will be rejected by God believe concerning themselves and their actions? But whom have they really served?

Whom have those who will be welcomed into the eternal kingdom thought they were ministering to?

With what spirit have they done this?

Do we believe that in serving others we are being a blessing to Christ?

As we work, are we doing it as if we were working for Christ?

Are we speaking as we would speak with Him?

Are we acting as we would act for Him?

Are we doing everything as if we were doing it for Him?

Love means helping others

A kindergarten teacher was trying to explain to the little children in her class what love is. She was having difficulty with this, so she asked them what love is. A little six-year-old girl got out of her chair, went to the teacher, hugged her, kissed her, and said: “This is love.”

Then the teacher said, “Okay, but love is something more. What is this something?” After thinking for a while, the same little girl got up and began to tidy up the chairs that were out of place. She cleaned the chalkboard, picked up the papers on the floor, arranged the books that were scattered around on a table, and then, with an air of satisfaction, told the teacher: “Love is more than words; it is helping others.”

It is true. Love is more than words. This is exactly what we have studied in the lessons for this quarter. This is what the little girl demonstrated. Let us remember that love means helping others and consider what the apostle John wrote: “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.” 1 John 3:18. –Adapted from Expositor Bíblico, quoted by A. Lerín, in 500 Ilustraciones, illustration No. 7.

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Missionary Report
from Bangalore, India

To be read on Sabbath, June 25, 2016

The Special Sabbath School Offering will be gathered
on Sabbath, July 2, 2016

“The churches of Asia salute you.” 1 Corinthians 16:19.

A well-known city in India, Bangalore, officially known as Bengaluru, is the capital of the southern Indian state of Karnataka. With a population of over 10 million, it is the third largest city in India and 27th largest city in the world, located in southern India on the Deccan Plateau at over 900 meters (3,000 feet) above sea level–the highest of all of India’s largest cities. Bangalore is known for its pleasant year-round climate.

The city is also one of the most ethnically diverse in the country, with over 62% of the city’s population made up of migrants from other parts of India. Historically a multicultural city, Bangalore has experienced a dramatic social and cultural change with the liberalization and expansion of the information technology (IT) industry and the outsourcing of many, many such jobs from developed countries to India. IT companies in Bangalore employ over 35% of India’s entire pool of 1 million IT professionals.

The state of Karnataka is also well known for its violence against Christians. In 2008, an extreme Hindu group began anti-Christian activities in this state, including the bombing of Protestant churches. This violent act has been repeated again and again in this state. It is very difficult for Christians to conduct public evangelistic activities. The majority Hindu population is violently opposed to the conversion of Hindus to Christianity. In fact, Bangalore is well known for its huge statues of Hindu gods.

The work of the International Missionary Society, S.D.A. Church, Reform Movement, began in 1982 with the establishment of one local church. At the beginning, there were more than forty members, but there was a decline in the membership because of the difficulties associated with meeting in private homes. Nevertheless the faithful church members continued to work in Bangalore, and at present there are thirteen members and ten regular Sabbath school attendees.

Since India has a very strong caste system, it is difficult to convince an unconverted individual to attend a home church. However, the volunteer workers who carry on the work in this region gather different groups together every Sabbath, even though they cannot accommodate many people in the central place where they meet due to the limitation of space. They have tried many times to rent larger places for worship, but the Hindu landlords are not willing to rent their buildings for Christian religious activities.

For a very long time, this church in India has requested help in acquiring a church building. As a major city in India, Bangalore’s property prices are very high. But there is great potential for God’s work here, because most of the members are employed and there are possibilities to reach many professionals in this region. The young people of the Bangalore church are very active in helping to advance God’s work among the youth in other parts of India. Since they all have jobs, they are a great help to the Indian Field. When it’s time for the communion service, the members all travel to Tirupattur, in the southern state of Tamilnadu, where the headquarters are located.

Your generous gifts for the Bangalore church building next Sabbath will give them the opportunity to acquire a place of worship for the faithful brethren and visitors. Greetings and blessings from heaven to all with 2 Corinthians 8:12: “… It is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.”


–Douglas Francis
Asian Division Leader