1. REALIZING OUR DANGER
a. Against what must we be continually on guard to avoid falling from grace? Jeremiah 17:9, 10; Proverbs 16:18; 1 Corinthians 10:12.
“Christ has provided means whereby our whole life may be an unbroken communion with Himself; but the sense of Christ's abiding presence can come only through living faith. . . .
“Let all contemplate the completeness it is their privilege to have and ask themselves the question, Is my will submerged in Christ’s will? Is the fullness and richness of the Living Vine—His goodness, His mercy, His compassion and love—seen in my life and character?”—In Heavenly Places, p. 56.
b. Give an example of a proper self-view and of submitting to the will of Jesus. 1 Corinthians 9:26, 27; 15:30, 31. Mark 7:14–23.
“The essential work is to conform the tastes, the appetite, the passions, the motives, the desires, to the great moral standard of righteousness. The work must begin at the heart. That must be pure, wholly conformed to Christ’s will, else some master passion, or some habit or defect, will become a power to destroy. God will accept of nothing short of the whole heart.”—Christian Education, p. 51.
2. DEVELOPING A PROPER PERSPECTIVE
a. What could likely be hindering our ability to serve God? Matthew 18:1–4.
“Self-will in us must die; Christ’s will alone must be obeyed. The soldier in Christ’s army must learn to endure hardness, deny self, take up the cross, and follow where His Captain leads the way. There are many things to do which are trying to human nature, and painful to flesh and blood. This work of self-subduing requires determined, continuous effort. In fighting the good fight of faith, obtaining precious victories, we are laying hold of eternal life.”—The Youth’s Instructor, December 22, 1886.
“Jesus gave His life for the life of the world, and He places an infinite value upon man. He desires that man shall appreciate himself, and consider his future well-being. . . . If the spiritual vision is clear, unseen realities will be looked upon in their true value.”—Counsels on Stewardship, p. 136.
b. What needs to change that we may have a right relationship with God? Matthew 6:24; Proverbs 8:13.
“Naturally we are self-centered and opinionated. But when we learn the lessons that Christ desires to teach us, we become partakers of His nature; henceforth we live His life. The wonderful example of Christ, the matchless tenderness with which He entered into the feelings of others, weeping with those who wept, rejoicing with those who rejoiced, must have a deep influence upon the character of all who follow Him in sincerity. By kindly words and acts they will try to make the path easy for weary feet.” —The Ministry of Healing, pp. 157, 158.
“There are some who think that in matters of practical Christianity they have a superior intelligence. Whether or not this is so will be demonstrated by the life-actions. Are they self-centered, or are they moved by the Holy Spirit of truth and righteousness? Religion is to become a living, active principle. The one all-absorbing motive of the true Christian is to give an expression of the goodness and love of Christ.”—Loma Linda Messages, p. 318.
3. WE ARE SERVANTS WITHOUT MERIT
a. In seeking God, what should we keep in mind? James 4:6–10; Luke 17:10.
“Jesus is officiating in the presence of God, offering up His shed blood, as it had been a lamb slain. Jesus presents the oblation offered for every offense and every shortcoming of the sinner.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 344.
“When Christ died upon the cross of Calvary, the new and living way was thrown open to Jew and Gentile alike.
“Angels rejoiced as the Saviour cried, ‘It is finished!’ The great plan of redemption was to be carried out. Through a life of obedience, the sons of Adam might be exalted finally to the presence of God.”—The Story of Jesus, p. 147.
“Perfection through our own good works we can never attain. The soul who sees Jesus by faith, repudiates his own righteousness. He sees himself as incomplete, his repentance insufficient, his strongest faith but feebleness, his most costly sacrifice as meager, and he sinks in humility at the foot of the cross. But a voice speaks to him from the oracles of God’s Word. In amazement he hears the message, ‘Ye are complete in Him’ (Colossians 2:10). Now all is at rest in his soul. No longer must he strive to find some worthiness in himself, some meritorious deed by which to gain the favor of God.”—Faith and Works, p. 107.
b. What must we always remember about salvation? 1 Corinthians 1:27–31.
“The science of salvation is to be the burden of every sermon, the theme of every song. Let it be poured forth in every supplication. Let nothing be brought into the preaching of the Word to supplement Christ, the Word and power of God. Let His name, the only name given under heaven whereby we may be saved, be exalted in every discourse, and from Sabbath to Sabbath let the trumpet of the watchmen give a certain sound. Christ is the science and eloquence of the gospel, and His ministers are to hold forth the Word of life, presenting hope to the penitent, peace to the troubled and desponding, and grace and completeness and strength to the believing.”—The Voice in Speech and Song, p. 337.
4. GAINING DEEPER PERSPECTIVE
a. What are we commanded to do with regard to our own spiritual condition? Galatians 6:4; 2 Corinthians 13:5.
“A great many are likely to be deceived in regard to their spiritual condition. In Christ we shall have the victory. In Him we have a perfect Model. While He hated sin with a perfect hatred, He could weep over the sinner. He possessed the divine nature, while He had the humility of a little child. He had in His character that which we must have in our characters, undeviating perseverance in the path of duty, from which no obstacles or dangers could divert Him, while His heart was so full of compassion that the woes of humanity touched His heart with tenderest compassion.”—This Day With God, p. 279.
b. How does God see us in relation to His law with its demands of justice? Isaiah 63:5, 8, 9; 1 Peter 1:18, 19; Romans 5:8–10.
“The law of God had been broken. The divine government had been dishonored, and justice demanded that the penalty of transgression be paid.
“To save the race from eternal death, the Son of God volunteered to bear the punishment of disobedience. Only by the humiliation of the Prince of heaven could the dishonor be removed, justice be satisfied, and man be restored to that which he had forfeited by disobedience. There was no other way. For an angel to come to this earth, to pass over the ground where Adam stumbled and fell, would not have sufficed. This could not have removed one stain of sin, or brought to man one hour of probation.
“Christ, equal with God, the brightness of the Father’s ‘glory, and the express image of his person’ (Hebrews 1:3), clothed His divinity with humanity, and came to this earth to suffer and die for sinners. The only-begotten Son of God humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. By bearing in His body the curse of sin, He placed happiness and immortality within the reach of all. . . .
“When we realize that His suffering was necessary in order to secure our eternal well-being, our hearts are touched and melted.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, pp. 308, 309.
5. PRIDE IN CONTRAST TO HUMILITY
a. What are the differences between pride, humility, and self-pity? Daniel 4:29–33; James 4:13–16; Genesis 27:34.
“In self-love, self-exaltation, and pride, there is great weakness; but in humility there is great strength. . . . In our separation from God, in our pride and darkness, we are constantly seeking to elevate ourselves, forgetting that lowliness of mind is power.”—The Signs of the Times, October 21, 1897.
b. Why did God’s people fail to obey His will in times past? Numbers 13:30–14:4; 1 Samuel 17:4–11, 24; 1 Kings 19:1–18. How should we behave instead?
“Zeal and energy must be intensified; talents that are rusting from inaction must be pressed into service. The voice that would say, ‘Wait; do not allow yourself to have burdens imposed upon you,’ is the voice of the cowardly spies. We want Calebs now who will press to the front—chieftains in Israel who with courageous words will make a strong report in favor of immediate action. When the selfish, ease-loving, panic-stricken people, fearing tall giants and inaccessible walls, clamor for retreat, let the voice of the Calebs be heard, even though the cowardly ones stand with stones in their hands, ready to beat them down for their faithful testimony.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 383.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Of what must the Christian constantly beware?
2. How does one develop a proper perspective?
3. Are we deserving of salvation?
4. How do I stand in relation to the cross of Christ?
5. What do we too often forget about pride in opposition to humility?