Sabbath, June 29, 2019
Lesson 26 – Seated in the Kingdom
“There is a right way and a wrong way, and in one or the other each human being is following. Those who truly believe in Christ live a life of holy obedience. They are sanctified through the truth. Their piety is not a pretense, but a reality. They have a sanctified Christian experience in holy living.
“Let us make sure that we are perfecting Christian characters through belief of the truth. We cannot be too particular in regard to this. If we fail here, our life work will bring us no reward. Those who believe in Christ, and give up their will and their plans for God’s will and God’s plans enter upon a life of Christlikeness. This is the only way to gain salvation.” –Review and Herald, May 19, 1903.
The number saved
1. What question was addressed to the Lord? Why is this question so significant?
Luke 13:23 Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved?
“When we read that many will seek to enter in and shall not be able, then we want to understand what we shall do in order to succeed. This to us is a mournful statement, that there are those who will fail to enter in at the strait gate because they only seek to enter in, and do not strive….
“We are in a world where sin and iniquity prevail, and we want to know what we shall do in order to inherit life. We cannot any of us afford to miss the great reward that is presented before the overcomer. We want to know that the steps that we are taking are heavenward instead of earthward….” –In Heavenly Places, p. 263.
2. According to Jesus’ reply, how many will seek to enter God’s kingdom? Because many will not be able, what did He urge His listeners and everyone to do?
Luke 13:24 And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
Matthew 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
“The belated traveler, hurrying to reach the city gate by the going down of the sun, could not turn aside for any attractions by the way. His whole mind was bent on the one purpose of entering the gate. The same intensity of purpose, said Jesus, is required in the Christian life. I have opened to you the glory of character, which is the true glory of My kingdom. It offers you no promise of earthly dominion; yet it is worthy of your supreme desire and effort. I do not call you to battle for the supremacy of the world’s great empire, but do not therefore conclude that there is no battle to be fought nor victories to be won. I bid you strive, agonize, to enter into My spiritual kingdom.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 141.
3. Why will some people be unable to enter the kingdom? What do Jesus’ words mean: “I know you not whence ye are”?
Luke 13:25 When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are.
Matthew 25:11, 12 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
“‘God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ John 3:16. No man who is not a partaker of this self-sacrificing love is prepared to labor for God. Many are blundering along, clinging to their burden of selfishness, as if it were a precious treasure, keeping diligently their own way. When they knock at the gate of heaven, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open unto us,’ many a man will hear the words, ‘No one enters here but those who can receive the heavenly benediction, “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.” Matthew 25:21. But thou hast faithfully served thyself, worked for thine own selfish interest, been good to thyself. Thou hast not laid up a treasure in heaven.’” –Selected Messages, book 2, pp. 211, 212.
4. For some people, what reasons do they believe should give them the right to enter the holy kingdom? What terrible answer will they hear?
Luke 13:26, 27 Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. 27But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.
“In this life they have not entered into fellowship with Christ; therefore they know not the language of heaven, they are strangers to its joy. ‘What man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.’ 1 Corinthians 2:11.
“Saddest of all words that ever fell on mortal ear are those words of doom, ‘I know you not.’ Matthew 25:12. The fellowship of the Spirit, which you have slighted, could alone make you one with the joyous throng at the marriage feast. In that scene you cannot participate. Its light would fall on blinded eyes, its melody upon deaf ears. Its love and joy could awake no chord of gladness in the world-benumbed heart. You are shut out from heaven by your own unfitness for its companionship.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 413.
5. What torment will people suffer when they will find themselves excluded from the kingdom, with no possibility to improve or change their condition?
Luke 13:28, 30 There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out…. 30And, behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last.
“Not until the personal advent of Christ can His people receive the kingdom.… We have seen by the scriptures just given that when the Son of man comes, the dead are raised incorruptible and the living are changed. By this great change they are prepared to receive the kingdom; for Paul says: ‘Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.’ 1 Corinthians 15:50. Man in his present state is mortal, corruptible; but the kingdom of God will be incorruptible, enduring forever. Therefore man in his present state cannot enter into the kingdom of God. But when Jesus comes, He confers immortality upon His people; and then He calls them to inherit the kingdom of which they have hitherto been only heirs.” –The Great Controversy, pp. 322, 323.
6. What door is closed to those who continue to live in sin? Who will not inherit the kingdom of God?
1 Corinthians 6:9, 10 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; 20Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
“Those represented in these words have mingled the sacred with the common. They profess to believe the truth, but they cannot carry dishonest practices in the narrow road and through the strait gate. By their actions they show that they have chosen the road in which the world travels….
“We shall meet those who have so perverted the conscience that they are unable to discern the precious truth of God’s word. Then let all be careful with whom they connect. When men show themselves unimpressionable, unable to appreciate the pearl of great price; when they deal dishonestly with God and with their fellow men; when they show that the fruit they bear is the fruit of the forbidden tree, beware lest, by connecting with them, you lose your connection with God. They give evidence that God is not working with them, and the knowledge gained by a connection with them is misleading. You can not be a savor of life unto them; for they will not appreciate the word of God.” –Review and Herald, August 1, 1899.
Children of the kingdom
7. What great change is necessary for anyone to be able to enter the kingdom of glory? Where will those come from who have the joy of sitting down in the kingdom?
John 3:3, 5 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God…. 5Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Luke 13:29 And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God.
Isaiah 49:12 Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and from the west; and these from the land of Sinim.
Matthew 8:11 And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.
Luke 14:15 And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.
“The gifts of His grace through Christ are free to all. There is no election but one’s own by which any may perish. God has set forth in His word the conditions upon which every soul will be elected to eternal life–obedience to His commandments, through faith in Christ. God has elected a character in harmony with His law, and any one who shall reach the standard of His requirement, will have an entrance into the kingdom of glory. Christ Himself said, ‘He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.’ John 3:36.” –Sons and Daughters of God, p. 23.
“Those who stand fast shall have an abundant entrance into the kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” –(Manuscript 4, 1888) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 972.
For additional study
“We point you to the mansions Christ is preparing for all those who love Him. We point you to that city that hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God. We show you its massive walls, with the twelve foundations, and tell you that these walls must be scaled. You look discouraged at the magnitude of the work before you. We point you to the ladder set up on earth, reaching to the city of God. Plant your feet on the ladder. Forsake your sins. Climb step by step and you will reach God above the ladder, and the Holy City of God….
“When the successive steps have all been mounted, when the graces have been added one after another, the crowning grace is the perfect love of God–supreme love to God and love to our fellow men. And then the abundant entrance into the kingdom of God.” –Our High Calling, p. 75.
Missionary Report from the General Conference Youth Department
To be read on Sabbath, June 29, 2019
The Special Sabbath School Offering will be gathered on Sabbath, July 6, 2019
Dear brothers and sisters of the church of Christ,
I greet you fraternally with the word of the Lord: “Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed thereto according to Thy word.” Psalm 119:9.
The General Conference Youth Department was created to help our beloved youth worldwide. We know that they are the future of the church. Future husbands and wives, professionals, colporteurs, Bible workers, ministers, and, above all, responsible citizens of this world are developed in the circle of the church. Hence there is a great need to help them develop the potential
that God has given them. Youth is a period of considerable vulnerability. The young person is easily influenced and at the same time possesses powerful gifts that God has given him or her to be a great blessing in the church and society by submitting to the Master. That is why the devil directs all his darts against the young people to induce them to sin and thus destroy their influence for God. All sorts of attractions are presented in the attempts to infatuate and darken their senses. Young people like Abel, Isaac, Joseph, Samuel, David, Jeremiah, the girl who served Naaman’s wife, Daniel, his three Hebrew companions, Mary the mother of Jesus, John, Timothy, and many others dedicated their lives to God’s service; and great was their influence! They left a pleasant fragrance in the world, a powerful influence that inspired millions of young people and adults by their example. Today brave, strong young people who are willing to offer their lives on the altar of service are needed more than ever before. Time is coming to an end, and Christ’s return is near. The church needs to make plans inspired by God to encourage every young person to serve the Master with all his or her strength and to carry the message of salvation and eternal life to a world that is rapidly approaching destruction.
“Young men and women are invited to give God the strength of their youth, that through the exercise of their powers, through keen thought and vigorous action, they may bring glory to Him and salvation to their fellow men.” –Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 535.
In view of the sacred duty and privilege that God gives the young people, the church has the responsibility to support them and provide them with the Christian education that will help them reach the goal. This work has a very high priority. We need to put into the hands of the youth the materials and tools that will inspire them to give their hearts and minds to Jesus. By God’s grace, the Youth Department has developed a plan for the next five years (until 2022) that encompasses various objectives, activities, and the creation of materials to help the leaders and youth counselors in the churches in cooperation with the youth leaders of the fields and unions. We invite you to see this plan at www.uponhighplaces.org.
This work will take a lot of time, effort, prayer, and financial support. I am privileged to ask you for your prayers, advice, and finances so these projects to help, inspire, and support the young people will become reality. The funds will be used to develop an international youth hymnal, materials for youth leaders, face-to-face support in fields and unions, international youth conferences,
morning devotions in several languages, a team of young professional volunteers to develop projects in needy countries, websites, video recordings, and more.
With the help of God, we will be able to fulfill all these objectives and thus uplift the young people in the church. Let us remember that an offering given with all our hearts will be very blessed. “… For all things come of Thee, and of Thine own have we given Thee.” 1 Chronicles 29:14. Consider how many young people will be helped and led to make their covenant with God through your offerings. Thank you for your support.
–Jose V. Giner
General Conference Youth Department Leader