The Sabbath Bible Lessons for this quarter will be on the life of the apostle Paul. (Saul was his Hebrew name. After his conversion he was called Paul, the one who was sent forth to labor for the Gentiles.) By either name—why can we be so inspired by considering the life of this man of God?
“No man ever lived who was a more earnest, energetic, and self-sacrificing disciple of Christ than was Paul. He was one of the world’s greatest teachers. He crossed the seas, and traveled far and near, until a large portion of the world had learned from his lips the story of the cross of Christ. He possessed a burning desire to bring perishing men to a knowledge of the truth through a Saviour’s love. His whole soul was engaged in the work of the ministry; but he seated himself to the labor of his humble trade that he might not be burdensome to the churches that were pressed with poverty. . . .
“As a laborer in the gospel, Paul might have claimed support, instead of sustaining himself; but this right he was willing to forego. Although feeble in health, he labored during the day in serving the cause of Christ, and then toiled a large share of the night, and frequently all night, that he might make provision for his own and others’ necessities. The apostle would also give an example to the Christian ministry, dignifying and honoring industry. While thus preaching and working, he presented the highest type of Christianity.”—Sketches From the Life of Paul, pp. 100, 101.
“In his epistles the apostle does not dwell on his own trials, yet there are occasional glimpses of his labors and sufferings in the cause of Christ. Stripes and imprisonment, cold and hunger and thirst, perils by land and sea, in the city and in the wilderness, from his own countrymen, from the heathen, and from false brethren—all these he endured for the truth’s sake. . . .
“Amid the constant storm of opposition, the clamor of enemies, and the desertion of friends, the intrepid apostle at times almost lost heart. But he looked back to Calvary and with new ardor pressed on to spread the knowledge of the Crucified. He was but treading the bloodstained path which Christ had trodden before him. He sought no discharge from the warfare till he should lay off his armor at the feet of his Redeemer. . . .
“Centuries have passed since the apostle rested from his labors; yet the history of his toils and sacrifices for Christ’s sake are among the most precious treasures of the church. That history was recorded by the Holy Spirit, that the followers of Christ in every age might thereby be incited to greater zeal and faithfulness in the cause of their Master.”—Ibid., pp. 147, 148. May this be the goal of us all!
SABBATH, JULY 6, 2013
First Sabbath Offering for the headquarters in China
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the faith and blessed hope in Christ,
On behalf of all believers in the South China Field, we come to you through this means of communication of the truth—the Sabbath Bible Lessons—to appeal to your generosity in relation to the advancement of the work of the third angel’s message in South China.
“The whole world is opening to the gospel. . . . From Japan and China and India, from the still-darkened lands of our own continent, from every quarter of this world of ours, comes the cry of sin-stricken hearts for a knowledge of the God of love. Millions upon millions have never so much as heard of God or of His love revealed in Christ. It is their right to receive this knowledge. They have an equal claim with us in the Saviour's mercy. And it rests with us who have received the knowledge, with our children to whom we may impart it, to answer their cry.”—Education, pp. 262, 263.
It was in 2000 when a group of Advent believers came to know of the existence of this church, the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement which keeps His commandments and has His faith. In that same year, they were organized. Now there is a field with 173 members. Being a very open area in China, it is the most convenient place for seminars. But since we do not have our own property, churches and groups assemble in private homes. One of our sisters offers part of her house, which has been used as the place for camp meetings, the field headquarters as well as the union headquarters. With the development of the work, we are finding it necessary to have our own property. Now our field has purchased a piece of land in the countryside, and we have collected some means for the building of the field headquarters.
We appeal to all Sabbath School students to help us with this project. May God reward you richly as you donate liberally to His cause. We thank you in advance for your generous contribution to this worthy plan.
With love, your brethren and sisters in China
The General Conference Sabbath School Department