Lesson 16 | Sabbath, 14 October 2023
“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulter- ers, or even as this publican.” Luke 18:10, 11.
“Why is it that many seem to think that a responsible position exalts the man? Why do they become so self-sufficient when they are so utterly de- pendent upon the atoning Sacrifice? Why is there with some so great a want of tenderness, so little heart work? It is because those who are self-sufficient have not fallen upon the Rock and been broken. This is why there is so little trust in God, so little earnest, contrite repentance, so great a lack of fervent prayer. Well may the questions be put by every instructor: ‘Have I received the Holy Ghost since I believed? Have I re- ceived Christ as my personal Saviour?’ Let these questions be solemnly answered.” –Counsels on Sabbath School Work, p. 111.
DANGERS ON THE CHRISTIAN PATH
1.Where does sin lead? How alone is it possible to find the way back to the Father?
Isaiah 53:6. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Proverbs 14:12. There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.
Romans 2:17-21. Behold, thou art called a Jew, and restest in the law, and makest thy boast of God, 18And knowest his will, and approvest the things that are more excellent, being instructed out of the law; 19And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind, a light of them which are in darkness, 20An instructor of the foolish, a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the law. 21Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal?
“And the Saviour was speaking also to the Pharisees. He did not relinquish the hope that they would perceive the force of His words. Many had been deeply convicted, and as they should hear the truth under the dictation of the Holy Spirit, not a few would become believers in Christ.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 369.
2.What parable did Jesus give for those who trust in themselves? What did He mean when He said, “Except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven”?
Luke 18:9, 10. And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
Matthew 5:20. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Romans 2:21-24. Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? 22Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? 23Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? 24For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.
“The truth of God’s free grace had been almost lost sight of by the Jews. The rabbis taught that God’s favor must be earned. The reward of the righteous they hoped to gain by their own works. Thus their worship was prompted by a grasping, mercenary spirit. From this spirit even the disciples of Christ were not wholly free, and the Saviour sought every opportunity of showing them their error.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 390.
3.How were the two different men presented in the parable? Which one was justified, and why?
Luke 18:10-14. Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulter- ers, or even as this publican. 12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that hum- bleth himself shall be exalted.
“Mark you, it was the self-righteous Pharisee who was not in a position of humility and reverence before God; but standing in his haughty self-sufficiency, he told the Lord all his good deeds. ‘The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself’ (Luke 18:11); and his prayer reached no higher than himself. ‘And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.’ Luke 18:13, 14.” –Selected Messages, book 2, p. 313.
4.What did the Pharisees glorify and believe in? Where do good works come from?
Romans 4:2. For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
Acts 23:8. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.
Hebrews 6:1-3. Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, 2Of the doc- trine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. 3And this will we do, if God permit.
“By their good works, Christ’s followers are to bring glory, not to them- selves, but to Him through whose grace and power they have wrought. It is through the Holy Spirit that every good work is accomplished, and the Spirit is given to glorify, not the receiver, but the Giver. When the light of Christ is shining in the soul, the lips will be filled with praise and thanks- giving to God. Your prayers, your performance of duty, your benevolence, your self-denial, will not be the theme of your thought or conversation. Jesus will be magnified, self will be hidden, and Christ will appear as all in all.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 80.
FEELINGS THAT LEAD TO SALVATION
5.What feelings did the publican express, which must also be the spirit of the faithful convert?
Micah 6:6-8. Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? 7Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? 8He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord re- quire of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?
Psalm 51:17. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.
“A legal religion can never lead souls to Christ; for it is a loveless, Christ- less religion. Fasting or prayer that is actuated by a self-justifying spirit is an abomination in the sight of God. The solemn assembly for worship, the round of religious ceremonies, the external humiliation, the imposing sacrifice, proclaim that the doer of these things regards himself as righteous, and as entitled to heaven; but it is all a deception. Our own works can never purchase salvation.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 280.
A NEW CREATION THROUGH DIVINE ACTION
6.Like the publican, what should the Christian do? What should he remember?
Matthew 11:28. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Ephesians 4:22-24. That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt ac- cording to the deceitful lusts; 23And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Romans 8:13, 14. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
“Religion consists in doing the words of Christ; not doing to earn God’s favor, but because, all undeserving, we have received the gift of His love. Christ places the salvation of man, not upon profession merely, but upon faith that is made manifest in works of righteousness. Doing, not saying merely, is expected of the followers of Christ. It is through action that char- acter is built. ‘As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.’ Romans 8:14. Not those whose hearts are touched by the Spirit, not those who now and then yield to its power, but they that are led by the Spirit, are the sons of God.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, p. 149.
7.What does the Eternal One do for the repentant sinner? Where does divine love guide the soul who longs for salvation?
also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
Romans 2:4. Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
Isaiah 57:15. For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him
Acts 2:47. Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
“How sad it is that so many of them apparently place unlimited confidence in men who present theories tending to uproot our past experiences and to remove the old landmarks! Those who can so easily be led by a false spirit show that they have been following the wrong captain for some time–so long that they do not discern that they are departing from the faith, or that they are not building upon the true foundation. We need to urge all to put on their spiritual eyeglasses, to have their eyes anointed that they may see clearly and discern the true pillars of the faith. Then they will know that ‘the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His.’ 2 Timothy 2:19. We need to revive the old evidences of the faith once delivered to the saints.” –Selected Messages, book 2, p. 25.
For Additional Study
“Imputation of the righteousness of Christ comes through justifying faith, and is the justification for which Paul so earnestly contends.” –Selected Messages, book 1, p. 397.