Bible Study Guide- Week 2
By Gordon Anderson
MEMORY VERSE: “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” John.1:12.
STUDY HELP: Christ’s Object Lessons, 307-319.
INTRODUCTION: “Remember that working with Christ as your personal Saviour is your strength and your victory. This is the part that all are to act. To those who do this comes the assurance: `As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God.’ John 1:12. Christ declares: `Without Me ye can do nothing.’ John 15:5. And the humble, believing soul responds: `I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.’ Philippians 4:13.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 39.
How does Paul describe the mind of those who are without Christ? Romans 8:5-8; Ephesians 2:1-3.
NOTE: “Today a large part of those who compose our congregations are dead in trespasses and sins. They come and go like the door upon its hinges. For years they have complacently listened to the most solemn, soul-stirring truths, but they have not put them in practice. Therefore they are less and less sensible of the preciousness of truth. The stirring testimonies of reproof and warning do not arouse them to repentance. The sweetest melodies that come from God through human lips, justification by faith, and the righteousness of Christ, do not call forth from them a response of love and gratitude. Though the heavenly Merchantman displays before them the richest jewels of faith and love, though He invites them to buy of Him `gold tried in the fire,’ and `white raiment’ that they may be clothed, and `eyesalve’ that they may see, they steel their hearts against Him, and fail to exchange their lukewarmness for love and zeal. While making a profession, they deny the power of godliness. If they continue in this state, God will reject them. They are unfitting themselves to be members of His family.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 426, 427.
What struggle takes place in the mind of the one who tries to live a good life without Christ? Romans 7:18-24.
NOTE: “There are many who will be lost, because they depend on legal religion, or mere repentance for sin. But repentance for sin alone cannot work the salvation of any soul. Man cannot be saved by his own works. Without Christ it is impossible for him to render perfect obedience to the law of God; and heaven can never be gained by an imperfect obedience; for this would place all heaven in jeopardy, and make possible a second rebellion.” Signs of the Times, December 30, 1889.
“By sin we have been severed from the life of God. Our souls are palsied. Of ourselves we are no more capable of living a holy life than was the impotent man capable of walking. Many realize their helplessness; they are longing for that spiritual life which will bring them into harmony with God, and are striving to obtain it. But in vain. In despair they cry, `O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from this body of death?’ Romans 7:24, margin.” Ministry of Healing, 84.
In his despair what cry for help did Paul make and who answered his cry? Romans 7:24, 25, first part.
NOTE: “If we are conscious of our needs, we should not devote all our powers to mourning over them. While we realize our helpless condition without Christ, we are not to yield to discouragement, but rely upon the merits of a crucified and risen Savior. Look and live. Jesus has pledged His word; He will save all who come unto Him.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 432.
“Let these desponding, struggling ones look up. The Savior is bending over the purchase of His blood, saying with inexpressible tenderness and pity, `Wilt thou be made whole?’ He bids you arise in health and peace. Do not wait to feel that you are made whole. Believe the Savior’s word. Put your will on the side of Christ. Will to serve Him, and in acting upon His word you will receive strength. Whatever may be the evil practice, the master passion which through long indulgence binds both soul and body, Christ is able and longs to deliver. He will impart life to the soul that is `dead in trespasses.’ Ephesians 2:1. He will set free the captive that is held by weakness and misfortune and the chains of sin.” Ministry of Healing, 84, 85.
How is the sinner’s cry for help answered? Ephesians 2:4-6.
NOTE: “It is His love that encircles us, bringing us back to the fold. His love gives us the privilege of sitting together with Him in heavenly places. When the blessed light of the Sun of Righteousness shines into our hearts, and we rest in peace and joy in the Lord, then let us praise the Lord; praise Him who is the health of our countenance and our God. Let us praise Him, not in words only, but by the consecration to Him of all that we are and all that we have. `How much owest thou unto my Lord?’ Compute this you cannot. Since all that you have is His, will you withhold from Him that which He claims? When He calls for it, will you selfishly grasp it as your own? Will you keep it back and apply it to some other purpose than the salvation of souls?” Testimonies, vol. 6, 479, 480.
What change takes place in the life of the converted Christian? Romans 6:1-6.
NOTE: “`How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?’ And John declares: `This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.’ Romans 3:31; 6:2; 1 John 5:3. In the new birth the heart is brought into harmony with God, as it is brought into accord with His law. When this mighty change has taken place in the sinner, he has passed from death unto life, from sin unto holiness, from transgression and rebellion to obedience and loyalty. The old life of alienation from God has ended; the new life of reconciliation, of faith and love, has begun. Then `the righteousness of the law’ will `be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.’ Romans 8:4. And the language of the soul will be: `O how love I Thy law! It is my meditation all the day.’ Psalm 119:97.” The Great Controversy, 468.
In what way did Jesus describe the change that must take place in the life of the one who becomes a Christian? John 3:3-7.
NOTE: “Though we cannot see the Spirit of God, we know that men who have been dead in trespasses and sins, become convicted and converted under its operations. The thoughtless and wayward become serious. The hardened repent of their sins, and the faithless believe. The gambler, the drunkard, the licentious, become steady, sober, and pure. The rebellious and obstinate become meek and Christlike. When we see these changes in the character, we may be assured that the converting power of God has transformed the entire man. We saw not the Holy Spirit, but we saw the evidence of its work on the changed character of those who were hardened and obdurate sinners. As the wind moves in its force upon the lofty trees and brings them down, so the Holy Spirit can work upon human hearts, and no finite man can circumscribe the work of God. The Spirit of God is manifested in different ways upon different men. One under the movings of this power will tremble before the word of God. His convictions will be so deep that a hurricane and tumult of feeling seem to rage in his heart, and his whole being is prostrate under the convicting power of the truth. When the Lord speaks forgiveness to the repenting soul, he is full of ardor, full of love to God, full of earnestness and energy, and the life-giving Spirit which he has received cannot be repressed. Christ is in him, a well of water springing up into everlasting life. His feelings of love are as deep and ardent as was his distress and agony. His soul is like the fountain of the great deep broken up, and he pours forth his thanksgiving and praise, his gratitude and joy, until the heavenly harps are tuned to notes of rejoicing. He has a story to tell, but not in any precise, common, methodical way. He is a soul ransomed through the merits of Jesus Christ, and his whole being is thrilled with the realization of the salvation of God. Others are brought to Christ in a more gentle way. `The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.’ You cannot see the operating agency, but you can see its effects.” Review and Herald, May 5, 1896.
How does Paul describe this change? 2 Corinthians 5:17. (Compare Galatians 2:20.).
NOTE: “But those who are satisfied to carry with them a vast amount of selfishness, fault-finding, suspicion, distrust, and strife, will be so deceived that they will not know their short measurement. They are filled with their own doings. They have not the least idea of what it means to be crucified with Christ. To humble self is an experience strange to them. Before they can serve God acceptably, self must die. Christ’s words, `Ye must be born again. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God,’ must come home to them with power.” Southern Watchman, December 5, 1899.
What will be the result of the life of the one who abides in Christ? What does sin in the life reveal? 1 John 3:6; 1 John 2:5, 6.
NOTE: “This conformity to Jesus will not be unobserved by the world. It is a subject of notice and comment. The Christian may not be conscious of the great change; for the more closely he resembles Christ in character the more humble will be his opinion of himself; but it will be seen and felt by all around him. Those who have had the deepest experience in the things of God are the farthest removed from pride or self-exaltation. They have the humblest thoughts of self, and the most exalted conceptions of the glory and excellence of Christ. They feel that the lowest place in His service is too honorable for them.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 223.
Though it is not God’s purpose that His followers should continue to sin, what provision has He made for those who fall? 1 John 2:1.
NOTE: “There are those who have known the pardoning love of Christ and who really desire to be children of God, yet they realize that their character is imperfect, their life faulty, and they are ready to doubt whether their hearts have been renewed by the Holy Spirit. To such I would say, Do not draw back in despair. We shall often have to bow down and weep at the feet of Jesus because of our shortcomings and mistakes, but we are not to be discouraged. Even if we are overcome by the enemy, we are not cast off, not forsaken and rejected of God. No, Christ is at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Steps to Christ, 64.
What will be the outcome when we lay hold of the spiritual weapons provided by God? 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.
NOTE: “The work of gaining salvation is one of co-partnership, a joint operation. There is to be co-operation between God and the repentant sinner. This is necessary for the formation of right principles in the character. Man is to make earnest efforts to overcome that which hinders him from attaining to perfection. But he is wholly dependent upon God for success. Human effort of itself is not sufficient. Without the aid of divine power it avails nothing. God works and man works. Resistance of temptation must come from man, who must draw his power from God. On the one side there is infinite wisdom, compassion, and power; on the other, weakness, sinfulness, absolute helplessness. God wishes us to have the mastery over ourselves. But He cannot help us without our consent and co-operation. The divine Spirit works through the powers and faculties given to man. Of ourselves, we are not able to bring the purposes and desires and inclinations into harmony with the will of God; but if we are `willing to be made willing,’ the Saviour will accomplish this for us, `Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.’ 2 Corinthians 10:5.” Acts of the Apostles, 482.
What is God’s purpose in our Christian life? Ephesians 4:13-15; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 1 John 3:2; Matthew 5:48.
NOTE: “The ideal of Christian character is Christ-likeness. There is opened before us a path of constant advancement. We have an object to gain, a standard to reach, that includes everything good and pure and noble and elevated. There should be continual striving and constant progress onward and upward toward perfection of character.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 64.
“The tempter’s agency is not to be accounted an excuse for one wrong act. Satan is jubilant when he hears the professed followers of Christ making excuses for their deformity of character. It is these excuses that lead to sin. There is no excuse for sinning. A holy temper, a Christ-like life, is accessible to every repenting, believing child of God. The ideal of Christian character is Christ-likeness. As the Son of man was perfect in His life, so His followers are to be perfect in their life. Jesus was in all things made like unto His brethren. He became flesh, even as we are. He was hungry and thirsty and weary. He was sustained by food and refreshed by sleep. He shared the lot of man; yet He was the blameless Son of God. He was God in the flesh. His character is to be ours. The Lord says of those who believe in Him, `I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’ 2 Corinthians 6:16.” The Desire of Ages, 311.
Where does the power for victory over temptation and sin come from? John 1:12; Matthew 6:13; Romans 1:16; 2 Corinthians 4:7.
NOTE: “Only the covering which Christ Himself has provided can make us meet to appear in God’s presence. This covering, the robe of His own righteousness, Christ will put upon every repenting, believing soul. `I counsel thee,’ He says, `to buy of Me . . . white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear.’ Revelation 3:18. This robe, woven in the loom of heaven, has in it not one thread of human devising. Christ in His humanity wrought out a perfect character, and this character He offers to impart to us. `All our righteousness are as filthy rags.’ Isaiah 64:6. Everything that we of ourselves can do is defiled by sin. But the Son of God `was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin.’ Sin is defined to be `the transgression of the law.’ 1 John 3:5, 4. But Christ was obedient to every requirement of the law. He said of Himself, `I delight to do Thy will, O My God; yea, Thy law is within My heart.’ Psalms 40:8. When on earth, He said to His disciples, `I have kept My Father’s commandments.’ John 15:10. By His perfect obedience He has made it possible for every human being to obey God’s commandments. When we submit ourselves to Christ, the heart is united with His heart, the will is merged in His will, the mind becomes one with His mind, the thoughts are brought into captivity to Him; we live His life. This is what it means to be clothed with the garment of His righteousness.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 311.