1. THE GOSPEL REPEATED IN OUR TIMES
a. What special truth was given over 100 years ago to prepare God’s people for holiness? Where did it originate? John 17:17; 2 Thessalonians 5:23.
“The Lord in His great mercy sent a most precious message to His people. . . . This message was to bring more prominently before the world the uplifted Saviour, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. It presented justification through faith in the Surety; it invited the people to receive the righteousness of Christ, which is made manifest in obedience to all the commandments of God. Many had lost sight of Jesus. They needed to have their eyes directed to His divine person, His merits, and His changeless love for the human family.”—Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 91, 92.
“The present message—justification by faith—is a message from God; it bears the divine credentials, for its fruit is unto holiness.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 359.
b. What truth is essential for our time—and what was required that we might have hope? John 1:29; Romans 5:10; 8:34.
2. THE NEED OF JUSTIFICATION
a. What truth should each of us individually take to heart—and in what perspective, especially in these last days? Matthew 1:21.
“The third angel’s message calls for the presentation of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and this truth must be brought before the world; but the great center of attraction, Jesus Christ, must not be left out of the third angel’s message.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 383.
“Messages bearing the divine credentials have been sent to God’s people; the glory, the majesty, the righteousness of Christ, full of goodness and truth, have been presented; the fullness of the Godhead in Jesus Christ has been set forth among us with beauty and loveliness, to charm all whose hearts were not closed with prejudice.”—The Review and Herald, May 27, 1890.
“The sweetest melodies that come from God through human lips—justification by faith, and the righteousness of Christ—do not call forth from [many unrepentant church members] a response of love and gratitude. Though the heavenly Merchantman displays before them the richest jewels of faith and love, though He invites them to buy of Him ‘gold tried in the fire,’ and ‘white raiment’ that they may be clothed, and ‘eyesalve’ that they may see, they steel their hearts against Him and fail to exchange their lukewarmness for love and zeal. While making a profession, they deny the power of godliness. If they continue in this state, God will reject them. They are unfitting themselves to be members of His family.”—Testimonies, vol. 6, pp. 426, 427.
b. What does it mean to welcome Jesus into our heart as a heavenly Guest? Revelation 3:20. What happened when the message of Christ’s righteousness was brought before church leaders in 1888?
“Some who greatly need the precious truth that was presented before them, we fear did not receive its benefit. They did not open the door of their hearts to welcome Jesus as a heavenly Guest, and they have suffered great loss. There is indeed a narrow way in which we must walk; the cross is presented at every step.”—The Review and Herald, September 3, 1889.
3. OUR INDIVIDUAL NEED OF THE GOSPEL
a. What evidence reveals that God will not allow me to depend on others for my salvation? Ezekiel 14:20.
“Character is not transferable. No man can believe for another. No man can receive the Spirit for another. No man can impart to another the character which is the fruit of the Spirit’s working.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 412.
“Let everyone who loves God consider that now while it is day is the time to work. . . . Now is the time for the careless to arouse from their slumber. Now is the time to entreat that souls shall not only hear the word of God, but without delay secure oil in their vessels with their lamps. That oil is the righteousness of Christ. It represents character, and character is not transferable. No man can secure it for another. Each must obtain for himself a character purified from every stain of sin.”—Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 233, 234.
“It is impossible for one Christian to impart character to another soul.”—That I May Know Him, p. 215.
b. How do we know that Jesus wants us to serve God with our own individuality? Can we drink the “water of life” for another? Matthew 22:37; John 7:37.
“No one can serve God by proxy. There are so many who seem to think that there is someone in this world stronger than Christ, upon whom they can lean. And instead of coming right to Christ, just as they are, giving themselves unreservedly to Him, they reach out for human help. God wants us to have an individual experience. . . . I cannot work out a character for you, and you cannot work out a character for me.”—Our High Calling, p. 90.
“The gospel deals with individuals. Every human being has a soul to save or to lose. Each has an individuality separate and distinct from all others. Each must be convicted for himself, converted for himself. He must receive the truth, repent, believe, and obey for himself. He must exercise his will for himself. No one can do this work by proxy. No one can submerge his individuality in another’s. Each must surrender to God by his own act and the mystery of godliness.”—Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 423
4. CLOSING THE DOOR TO JESUS EQUALS SUICIDE!
a. What deception were our people warned about in 1893 when the majority believed they were ready for heaven? How is this self-deception repeated today—and might we be affected? Isaiah 58:2–8; Revelation 3:15.
“It is a solemn statement that I make to the church, that not one in twenty whose names are registered upon the church books are prepared to close their earthly history, and would be as verily without God and without hope in the world as the common sinner. They are professedly serving God, but they are more earnestly serving mammon. This half-and-half work is a constant denying of Christ, rather than a confessing of Christ. So many have brought into the church their own unsubdued spirit, unrefined; their spiritual taste is perverted by their own immoral, debasing corruptions, symbolizing the world in spirit, in heart, in purpose, confirming themselves in lustful practices, and are full of deception through and through in their professed Christian life. Living as sinners, claiming to be Christians!”—Christian Service, p. 41.
b. What will happen to anyone who would spoil heaven by his or her character if he or her were ever allowed to enter there? Matthew 22:12–14.
“In this life many have not entered into fellowship with Christ; therefore they know not the language of heaven, they are strangers to its joy. . . .
“Saddest of all words that ever fell on mortal ear are those words of doom, ‘I know you not.’ The fellowship of the Spirit, which you have slighted, could alone make you one with the joyous throng at the marriage feast. In that scene you cannot participate. Its light would fall on blinded eyes, its melody upon deaf ears. Its love and joy could awake no chord of gladness in the world-benumbed heart. You are shut out from heaven by your own unfitness for its companionship.
“We cannot be ready to meet the Lord by waking when the cry is heard, ‘Behold, the Bridegroom!’ and then gathering up our empty lamps to have them replenished. We cannot keep Christ apart from our lives here, and yet be fitted for His companionship in heaven.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 413, 414.
5. GOD’S FINAL MESSAGE TO THE WORLD
a. How will the knowledge of salvation enlighten the whole world? Revelation 18:1; 2 Peter 3:12.
“When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 69.
b. Name some good works that Jesus bids us to use in shining His light on our world. Matthew 5:16; 25:34–40.
“We are to give food to the hungry, clothing to the naked, and shelter to the homeless. And we are called to do more than this. The wants of the soul, only the love of Christ can satisfy. If Christ is abiding in us, our hearts will be full of divine sympathy. The sealed fountains of earnest, Christlike love will be unsealed.
“God calls not only for our gifts for the needy, but for our cheerful countenance, our hopeful words, our kindly handclasp. . . . There are many from whom hope has departed. Bring back the sunshine to them. Many have lost their courage. Speak to them words of cheer. Pray for them. There are those who need the bread of life. Read to them from the word of God. Upon many is a soul sickness which no earthly balm can reach nor physician heal. Pray for these souls, bring them to Jesus. Tell them that there is a balm in Gilead.”—Ibid., pp.417, 418.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What vital message, given to God’s people over 100 years ago, welcomes Jesus into our hearts as a heavenly Guest?
2. Why is this message crucial to the world at this time?
3. Can we reach Heaven just because our parents or friends love Jesus?
4. How may I be in danger of missing Heaven through self-deception?
5. Will I ever enter Heaven if my character does not belong there?