1. THE CALL OF GOD
a. Does the commission that Christ gave to His disciples include all the believers—or just some who have received special offices in the church? Matthew 28:19, 20.
“The Saviour’s commission to the disciples included all the believers. It includes all believers in Christ to the end of time. It is a fatal mistake to suppose that the work of saving souls depends alone on the ordained minister. All to whom the heavenly inspiration has come are put in trust with the gospel. All who receive the life of Christ are ordained to work for the salvation of their fellow men.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 822.
b. Must the light of the world shine only upon a certain number of people or must it shine upon all human beings without distinction? John 1:9; 8:12; Matthew 24:14.
“Christ tears away the wall of partition, the dividing prejudice of nationality, and teaches a love for all the human family. He lifts men from the narrow circle which their selfishness prescribes; He abolishes all territorial lines and artificial distinctions of society. He makes no difference between neighbors and strangers, friends and enemies.”—Ibid., p.823.
2. DIVERSITIES OF GIFTS IN GOD’S WORK
a. Why doesn’t God demand the same kind of service from all His servants? 1 Corinthians 12:4–7.
“God asks us to give His service the first place in our lives, to allow no day to pass without doing something to advance His work in the earth. He does not expect from all the same kind of service. One may be called to ministry in a foreign land; another may be asked to give of his means for the support of gospel work. God accepts the offering of each. It is the consecration of the life and all its interests, that is necessary. Those who make this consecration will hear and obey the call of Heaven.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 221.
b. When we are convinced that God is calling us to serve, what should we answer? Isaiah 6:8.
“To everyone who becomes a partaker of His grace, the Lord appoints a work for others. Individually we are to stand in our lot, saying, ‘Here am I; send me.’ Whether a man be a minister of the Word or a physician, whether he be merchant or farmer, professional man or mechanic, the responsibility rests upon him. It is his work to reveal to others the gospel of their salvation. Every enterprise in which he engages should be a means to this end.”—Ibid., p.222.
c. What did Jesus say about some who hesitated when the call came to them? Matthew 19:23; Luke 9:59–62; 14:33. What should those who lack self-discipline in their preparation for evangelistic work understand?
“There must be men who will begin a work in the right way, and hold to it and push it forward firmly. Everything must be done according to a well-matured plan, and with system. God has entrusted His sacred work to men, and He asks that they shall do it carefully. Regularity in all things is essential. Never be late to an appointment. In no department or office should time be lost in unnecessary conversations. The work of God requires things which it does not receive, because men do not learn from the God of wisdom.”—Evangelism, p. 649.
3. OVERCOMING DISCOURAGEMENT
a. What question does God put to hesitant or discouraged Christians? 1 Kings 19:9.
“Much depends on the unceasing activity of those who are true and loyal, and for this reason Satan puts forth every possible effort to thwart the divine purpose to be wrought out through the obedient. He causes some to lose sight of their high and holy mission, and to become satisfied with the pleasures of this life. He leads them to settle down at ease, or, for the sake of greater worldly advantages, to remove from places where they might be a power for good. Others he causes to flee in discouragement from duty, because of opposition or persecution. But all such are regarded by Heaven with tenderest pity. To every child of God whose voice the enemy of souls had succeeded in silencing, the question is addressed, ‘What doest thou here?’ I commissioned you to go into all the world and preach the gospel, to prepare a people for the day of God. Why are you here? Who sent you?”—Prophets and Kings, pp. 171, 172.
b. When we realize what salvation means to us, how will we be able to view the vast needs of those around us? 2 Corinthians 5:14, 19, 20.
“Those who realize, even in a limited degree, what redemption means to them and to their fellow men, will comprehend in some measure the vast needs of humanity. Their hearts will be moved to compassion as they see the moral and spiritual destitution of thousands who are under the shadow of a terrible doom, in comparison with which physical suffering fades into nothingness.
“Of families, as of individuals, the question is asked, ‘What doest thou here?’ In many churches there are families well instructed in the truths of God’s word, who might widen the sphere of their influence by moving to places in need of the ministry they are capable of giving. God calls for Christian families to go into the dark places of the earth and work wisely and perseveringly for those who are enshrouded in spiritual gloom. To answer this call requires self-sacrifice. While many are waiting to have every obstacle removed, souls are dying, without hope and without God.”—Ibid., pp.172, 173.
4. OVERCOMING INDIFFERENCE
a. Besides discouragement, what other danger lies at our door? Revelation 3:15.
“The message to the Laodicean church reveals our condition as a people.”—The SDA Bible Commentary, [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 961.
“The fervor of the love of God is wanting in their hearts, but it is this very fervor of love that makes God’s people the light of the world.”—Ibid.
“Halfhearted Christians are worse than infidels; for their deceptive words and noncommittal position lead many astray. The infidel shows his colors. The lukewarm Christian deceives both parties. He is neither a good worldling nor a good Christian. Satan uses him to do a work that no one else can do.”—Ibid., p.963.
b. How can we as individual believers find the way out of the Laodicean indifference? Acts 3:19, 20; Revelation 3:18, 19.
“When the work of repentance is earnest and deep, the individual members of the church will buy the rich goods of heaven. [Revelation 3:18 quoted.]”—Ibid., p.961.
“The true Witness presents encouragements to all who are seeking to walk in the path of humble obedience, through faith in His name. He declares, ‘To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.’ . . .
“He who is the divine Head of the church, the mightiest of conquerors, would point His followers to His life, . . . that they might be encouraged to press on toward the mark for the prize and reward of the overcomer. Victory is assured through faith and obedience.”—Ibid., p.966.
c. What sentence will be pronounced on those who decide to remain indifferent? Revelation 3:16, 17; Matthew 24:48–51.
5. HOME AT LAST!
a. What will Christ say to the overcomers who have taken an active part in the work of saving souls? Matthew 25:34.
b. What reward is promised to the redeemed saints? John 14:1–3; 1 John 3:2.
“Glorious will be the reward bestowed when the faithful workers gather about the throne of God and of the Lamb. When John in his mortal state beheld the glory of God, he fell as one dead; he was not able to endure the sight. But when the children of God shall have put on immortality, they will ‘see him as he is’ (1 John 3:2). They will stand before the throne, accepted in the Beloved. All their sins have been blotted out, all their transgressions borne away. Now they can look upon the undimmed glory of the throne of God.”—God’s Amazing Grace, p. 355.
c. What surprises will the saints have in heaven? 1 Corinthians 2:9.
“A Christian once said that when he reached heaven he expected to meet with three causes of wonder. He would wonder to find some that he did not expect to see there. He would wonder not to see some that he expected to meet, and, lastly, he would wonder most to find so unworthy a sinner as himself in the Paradise of God.”—The Faith I Live By, p. 370.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Explain the far-reaching extent of the Great Commission.
2. When we truly realize what salvation means to us, how will we be able to view the vast needs of those around us?
3. What question does God put to hesitant or discouraged Christians?
4. How can we be overcomers in the period of Laodicea?
5. What factors compose the eternal joy awaiting successful soul winners?