Lesson 12 | Sabbath, 25 March 2023
“Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.” Romans 12:11. “God’s servants are to be ‘not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.’ Listlessness and inefficiency are not piety. When we realize that we are working for God, we shall have a higher sense than we have ever had before of the sacredness of spiritual service. This realization will put life and vigilance and persevering energy into the discharge of every duty. Religion, pure, undefiled religion, is intensely practical. Nothing but earnest, wholehearted labor will avail in the saving of souls. We are to make our everyday duties acts of devotion, constantly increasing in usefulness because we see our work in the light of eternity.” –(Letter 43, 1902) Colporteur Ministry, p. 77.
A negative influence
- What causes a person to lose his spiritual zeal? What has to change if he desires to be consecrated?
Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
“Many of the professed, peculiar people of God are so conformed to the world that their peculiar character is not discerned, and it is difficult to distinguish ‘between him that serveth God and him that serveth Him not.’ God would do great things for His people if they would come out from the world and be separate. If they would submit to be led by Him, He would make them a praise in all the earth. Says the True Witness: ‘I know thy works.’” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 125.
- What trap does Satan set to make God’s people lose their spiritual enthusiasm? How did Jesus confront this trap?
Luke 4:5-8 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it. 7If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine. 8And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
“Let all be educated to search the Scriptures, to be constantly looking unto Jesus, and not to human agents, to be their guide. The Word of God is to be the man of our counsel. That Word is infinite. Obeyed, it will guide us into safe and sure paths. But the Word diluted with human devices and imaginings is not a safe guide….
“Take the Word of God individually. We may meet Satan with the weapon, ‘It is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve.’ Matthew 4:10. The Bible is the great mine of truth, which we are to work as those seeking for hidden treasure. In no case is the attention to be diverted from that Word….”–The Upward Look, p. 371.
- What happens when one loses his spiritual fervor and becomes a friend of the world? When is he God’s friend?
James 4:4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
“I saw that Satan bade his angels lay their snares especially for those who were looking for Christ’s second appearing and keeping all the commandments of God. Satan told his angels that the churches were asleep. He would increase his power and lying wonders, and he could hold them. ‘But,’ he said, ‘the sect of Sabbath keepers we hate; they are continually working against us, and taking from us our subjects, to keep the hated law of God. Go, make the possessors of lands and money drunk with cares. If you can make them place their affections upon these things, we shall have them yet. They may profess what they please, only make them care more for money than for the success of Christ’s kingdom or the spread of the truths we hate. Present the world before them in the most attractive light, that they may love and idolize it. We must keep in our ranks all the means of which we can gain control. The more means the followers of Christ devote to His service, the more will they injure our kingdom by getting our subjects.’” –Early Writings, p. 266.
- How can one lose the heavenly Father’s love? What does not come from Him that causes a person to lose his spirituality?
1 John 2:15-17 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
“Angels of God who minister unto those who shall be heirs of salvation are acquainted with the condition of all and understand just the measure of faith possessed by each individual. The unbelief, pride, covetousness, and love of the world, which have existed in the hearts of God’s professed people, have grieved the sinless angels. As they have seen that grievous and presumptuous sins exist in the hearts of many professed followers of Christ, and that God has been dishonored by their inconsistent, crooked course, they have been caused to weep. And yet those most at fault, those who cause the greatest feebleness in the church and bring a stain upon their holy profession, do not seem to be alarmed or convicted, but seem to feel that they are flourishing in the Lord.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 125.
- What fatal result will a person suffer if he loves the world and thus loses his spiritual zeal?
Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
“It seemed to me, as these things were presented before me, that Satan had possessed such power to blind minds through a love of the world, that even professed Christians forgot, or lost all sense of the fact that God lives and that His angels are making a record of all the doings of the children of men; that every mean act, every small deal, is placed upon the life record. Every day bears its burden of record of unfulfilled duties, of neglect, of selfishness, of deception, of fraud, of overreaching. What an amount of evil works is accumulating for the final judgment! When Christ shall come, ‘His reward is with Him, and His work before Him,’ to render to every man according as his works have been. What a revelation will then be made! What confusion of face to some as the acts of their lives are revealed upon the pages of history!” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 160.
- What did the Lord Jesus request from the Father in His intercessory prayer? What will bring about His followers’ sanctification?
John 17:14-17 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
“We may see and condemn the faults of others, while we have greater faults which we have never realized, but which are distinctly seen by others. God requires you to give to the world and the church a good example, a life that represents Jesus. There are duties to be performed and responsibilities to be borne. The world has not enough true Christians; the church has need of them; society cannot spare them. Christ’s prayer for His disciples was: ‘I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest keep them from the evil.’ Jesus knows we are in the world, exposed to its temptations, but He loves us and will give us grace to triumph over its corrupting influences. He would have us perfect in character, that our waywardness may not occasion moral deformity in others.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 333.
Called to be victorious
- What gives a person victory over the world?
1 John 5:4, 5 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
“We must search the Scriptures diligently, prayerfully; our under- standing must be quickened by the Holy Spirit, and our hearts must be uplifted to God in faith and hope and continual praise.
“Through the merits of Christ, through His righteousness, which by faith is imputed unto us, we are to attain to the perfection of Christian character. Our daily and hourly work is set forth in the words of the apostle: ‘Looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith.’ While doing this our minds become clearer and our faith stronger, and our hope is confirmed; we are so engrossed with the view of His purity and loveliness, and the sacrifice He has made to bring us into agreement with God, that we have no disposition to speak of doubts and discouragements.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 743, 744.
For additional study
“The present truth, which is the channel, is not regarded, but is trampled underfoot. Men may cry, Holiness! holiness! sanctification! sanctification! consecration! consecration! and yet know no more by experience of what they talk than the sinner with his corrupt propensities. God will soon tear off this whitewashed garb of professed sanctification which some who are carnally minded have thrown around them to hide the deformity of the soul.
“A faithful record is kept of the acts of the children of men. Nothing can be concealed from the eye of the high and holy One. Some take a course directly opposed to the law of God, and then, to cover up their sinful course, they profess to be consecrated to God. This profession of holiness does not make itself manifest in their daily lives. It does not have a tendency to elevate their minds, and lead them to ‘abstain from all appearance of evil.’ We are made a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men. Our faith is blasphemed in consequence of the crooked course of the carnally minded.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 335, 336.