1. CHRIST’S EXAMPLE
a. How did God meet humanity’s greatest need? Romans 5:6–10; John 3:16. How are we to model ourselves after the divine Pattern? 1 Peter 2:21–23.
“We are not to renounce social communion. We should not seclude ourselves from others. In order to reach all classes, we must meet them where they are. . . . Not alone from the pulpit are the hearts of men touched by divine truth. There is another field of labor, humbler, it may be, but fully as promising. It is found in the home of the lowly, and in the mansion of the great; at the hospitable board, and in gatherings for innocent social enjoyment.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 152.
“Follow [Christ] in befriending the most needy and friendless. Follow Him in being forgetful of self, abundant in acts of self-denial and self-sacrifice to do others good.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 178.
b. How will our demeanor help to disarm those in the world? Hebrews 5:2; 1 Corinthians 13:4–8. To what extent does evil association influence destiny? 1 Corinthians 15:33.
“It is natural to seek companionship. Everyone will find companions or make them. And just in proportion to the strength of the friendship, will be the amount of influence which friends will exert over one another for good or for evil.”—Ibid., vol. 4, p. 587.
2. IN THE WORLD, BUT NOT OF THE WORLD
a. How do we know that God never intended that Christians should be isolated in a spiritual enclave? John 17:15–17; Proverbs 18:24. How may the Christian escape the obvious taint of association with sin and sinners? Hebrews 12:2 (first part).
“Let not unholy bonds be formed between the children of God and the friends of the world. Let there not be marriages made between believers and unbelievers.”—The Review and Herald, July 31, 1894.
“Religion should dictate and guide you in all your pursuits and should hold absolute control over your affections. If you yield yourselves unreservedly into the hands of Christ, making His power your strength, then will your moral vision be clear to discern quality of character that you may not be deceived by appearances and make great mistakes in your friendship. Your moral power must be keen and sensitive, that it may bear severe tests and not be marred. Your integrity of soul should be so firm that vanity, display, or flattery will not move you.”—Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 47.
b. What did Christ mean by the “world”? 1 John 5:19; 4:4–6. Why does isolation offer an unsatisfactory solution to contamination by sin?
“God does not mean that any of us should become hermits or monks and retire from the world in order to devote ourselves to acts of worship. The life must be like Christ’s life—between the mountain and the multitude. He who does nothing but pray will soon cease to pray, or his prayers will become a formal routine. When men take themselves out of social life, away from the sphere of Christian duty and cross bearing; when they cease to work earnestly for the Master, who worked earnestly for them, they lose the subject matter of prayer and have no incentive to devotion. Their prayers become personal and selfish.”—Steps to Christ, p. 101.
3. FRIENDS AND FRIENDLINESS
a. Mention an example of lasting friendship as recorded in the Bible. 1 Samuel 18:1–3. What common interest will be the basis of true friendship?
“Cultivate feelings of tenderness and friendliness in your everyday life. You should exhibit true courtesy and Christian politeness. The heart that really loves Jesus loves those for whom He died. Just as truly as the needle points to the pole, so will the true follower of Christ, with a spirit of earnest labor, seek to save souls for whom Christ has given His life.”—Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 466.
“Suppose a friend were with us, and we should meet an acquaintance on the way and direct our whole attention to our new-found acquaintance, ignoring the presence of our friend, what opinion would men have of our loyalty to our friend, of our degree of respect to him? And yet this is the way we treat Jesus. We forget that He is our companion. We engage in conversation and never mention His name or include His instruction in our words. We talk of worldly business matters, and where it does not bruise the soul, where it is essential, we do not dishonor Jesus, but we do dishonor Him when we fail to mention Him in our intercourse with our friends and associates. He is our best friend, and we should seek for opportunities to speak of Him.”—The Signs of the Times, January 9, 1893.
b. How did Ruth show that her friendship for Naomi had a spiritual basis? Ruth 1:16–18. Why cannot a Christian maintain without risk a deep friendship with an unbeliever? Amos 3:3. How does Christ speak of His choice of friends? John 15:14–16.
“In forming friendship, great caution should be exercised lest an intimacy be contracted with one whose example it would not be safe to imitate; for the effect of such an intimacy is to lead away from God, from devotion, and the love of the truth. It is positively dangerous for you to be intimate with friends who have not a religious experience. If . . . you . . . value your soul’s salvation, you will not choose as your . . . intimate friends those who do not maintain a serious regard for religious things.”—Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 42.
4. CHRISTIANS AND THEIR RELATIVES
a. Show an example in which Jesus and the disciples attended a family gathering. John 2:1, 2, 11.
“There was to be a marriage in Cana of Galilee. The parties were relatives of Joseph and Mary. Christ knew of this family gathering, and that many influential persons would be brought together there, so, in company with His newly made disciples, He made His way to Cana. As soon as it was known that Jesus had come to the place, a special invitation was sent to Him and His friends. This was what He had purposed, and so He graced the feast with His presence.’’—The SDA Bible Commentary [E.G. White Comments], vol. 5, p. 1132.
b. How careful should we be in our association with worldly relatives? 1 Corinthians 15:33.
“We cannot serve God and the world at the same time. We must not center our affections on worldly relatives who have no desire to learn the truth. We may seek in every way, while associated with them, to let our light shine; but our words, our deportment, our customs and practices, should not in any sense be molded by their ideas and customs. We are to show forth the truth in all our intercourse with them. If we cannot do this, the less association we have with them, the better it will be for our spirituality. If we place ourselves among associates whose influence has a tendency to make us forgetful of the high claims the Lord has upon us, we invite temptation and become too weak in moral power to resist it. We come to partake of the spirit and cherish the ideas of our associates and to place sacred and eternal things lower than the ideas of our friends. We are, in short, leavened just as the enemy of all righteousness designed we should be.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 543.
“We are not to elevate our standard just a little above the world's standard, but we are to make the distinction decidedly apparent. The reason we have had so little influence upon unbelieving relatives and associates is that there has been so little decided difference between our practices and those of the world.”—Ibid., vol. 6, pp. 146, 147.
“Many children have been utterly ruined by the interference of relatives or friends in their home government. Mothers should never allow their sisters or mothers to interfere with the wise management of their children.”—Child Guidance, p. 288.
5. EXERCISE AND RECREATION
a. What example of Christ shows that Christian workers also need rest and recreation? Mark 6:30–32. Why is exercise in the open air beneficial?
“God encourages us to contemplate His works in the natural world. He desires that we shall turn our minds from the study of the artificial to the natural.”—Sons and Daughters of God, p. 110.
“Exercise in the open air for those whose employment has been within doors and sedentary will be beneficial to health. All who can, should feel it a duty to pursue this course. Nothing will be lost, but much gained. They can return to their occupations with new life and new courage to engage in their labor with zeal, and they are better prepared to resist disease.”—Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 515.
b. Of what aim should we never lose sight in the field of recreation? Philippians 4:8. To what extent should we as Christians avoid questionable places of amusement?
“The true Christian will not desire to enter any place of amusement or engage in any diversion upon which he cannot ask the blessing of God. He will not be found at the theater, the billiard hall, or the bowling saloon.”—Messages to Young People, p. 398.
“In every gathering for pleasure where pride is fostered or appetite indulged, where one is led to forget God and lose sight of eternal interests, there Satan is binding his chains about the soul.”—The Adventist Home, p. 515.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How did God demonstrate the principle of love?
2. By looking to Jesus, how shall we be protected from the world?
3. When forming friendships, how cautious should we be? Why?
4. When attending a family gathering, how can we bless those present?
5. What questionable places of amusement should we avoid and why? Mention some activities that will benefit us and our families.