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Sabbath Bible Lessons

True Reformation—Then and Now

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Lesson 10 Sabbath, March 5, 2016

Reviving Primitive Godliness

“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (2 Peter 1:3).

“It is only as the law of God is restored to its rightful position that there can be a revival of primitive faith and godliness among His professed people.”—The Great Controversy, p. 478.

Suggested Reading:   Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 339-342
  Colporteur Ministry, pp. 72-75

Sunday February 28

1. THE GREATEST NEED OF THE REMNANT CHURCH

a. What is the most vital and pressing of all the needs of the church? Hosea 6:1, 2; Isaiah 57:14, 15.

“A revival of true godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all our needs. To seek this should be our first work.”—The Review and Herald, March 22, 1887.

b. What power is it that enables a genuine revival? Zechariah 4:6; John 3:5, 6.

“A revival and a reformation must take place under the ministration of the Holy Spirit. Revival and reformation are two different things. Revival signifies a renewal of spiritual life, a quickening of the powers of mind and heart, a resurrection from spiritual death. Reformation signifies a reorganization, a change in ideas and theories, habits and practices. Reformation will not bring forth the good fruit of righteousness unless it is connected with the revival of the Spirit. Revival and reformation are to do their appointed work, and in doing this work they must blend.”—Ibid., February 25, 1902.


Monday February 29

2. A WORK OF RESTORATION

a. What is involved in our mission? Isaiah 58:12; Acts 3:20, 21.

“Living power must attend the message of Christ’s second appearing. We must not rest until we see many souls converted to the blessed hope of the Lord’s return. In the days of the apostles the message that they bore wrought a real work, turning souls from idols to serve the living God. The work to be done today is just as real, and the truth is just as much truth; only we are to give the message with as much more earnestness as the coming of the Lord is nearer. The message for this time is positive, simple, and of the deepest importance. We must act like men and women who believe it. Waiting, watching, working, praying, warning the world—this is our work.”—Evangelism, p. 219.

b. How did Nehemiah meet opposition when rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem after the captivity? Nehemiah 6:3. What can we learn from this experience?

“The work of restoration and reform carried on by the returned exiles, under the leadership of Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah, presents a picture of a work of spiritual restoration that is to be wrought in the closing days of this earth’s history. The remnant of Israel were a feeble people, exposed to the ravages of their enemies; but through them God purposed to preserve in the earth a knowledge of Himself and of His law. They were the guardians of the true worship, the keepers of the holy oracles. Varied were the experiences that came to them as they rebuilt the temple and the wall of Jerusalem; strong was the opposition that they had to meet. Heavy were the burdens borne by the leaders in this work; but these men moved forward in unwavering confidence, in humility of spirit, and in firm reliance upon God, believing that He would cause His truth to triumph. Like King Hezekiah, Nehemiah ‘clave to the Lord, and departed not from following Him, but kept His commandments. . . . And the Lord was with him’ (2 Kings 18:6, 7).”—Prophets and Kings, p. 677.

“God calls for men like Elijah, Nathan, and John the Baptist—men who will bear His message with faithfulness, regardless of the consequences; men who will speak the truth bravely, though it call for the sacrifice of all they have.”—Ibid., p 142.


Tuesday March 1

3. SYMPATHIZING WITH SIN

a. How does the Bible define sin? 1 John 3:4. How does God regard unwise sympathy for sin? Titus 3:10, 11; Ephesians 5:11.

“In the work of reform to be carried forward today, there is need of men who, like Ezra and Nehemiah, will not palliate or excuse sin, nor shrink from vindicating the honor of God. Those upon whom rests the burden of this work will not hold their peace when wrong is done, neither will they cover evil with a cloak of false charity. They will remember that God is no respecter of persons, and that severity to a few may prove mercy to many. They will remember also that in the one who rebukes evil the spirit of Christ should ever be revealed.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 675.

“There is a sympathy for sin and sinners that is dangerous to the prosperity of the church at the present day. You must have charity is the cry. But that sentiment that would excuse wrong and shield the guilty, is not the charity of the Bible.”—The Signs of the Times, January 6, 1881.

b. Should sin go unrebuked? Ephesians 5:11; 2 Timothy 4:2.

“When will be heard once more in the church the voice of faithful rebuke, ‘Thou art the man’? [See 2 Samuel 12:7.] If these words were not so rare, we should see more of the power of God. The Lord’s messengers should not complain of their efforts’ being fruitless until they repent of their love of approbation, their desire to please men, which leads them to suppress the truth, and to cry, Peace, when God has not spoken peace.”—Gospel Workers, p. 150.

“[John 20:23 quoted.] Christ here gives no liberty for any man to pass judgment upon others. In the sermon on the mount He forbade this. It is the prerogative of God. But on the church in its organized capacity He places a responsibility for the individual members. Toward those who fall into sin, the church has a duty, to warn, to instruct, and if possible to restore. . . .

“Deal faithfully with wrong-doing. Warn every soul that is in danger. Leave none to deceive themselves. Call sin by its right name. Declare what God has said in regard to lying, Sabbath-breaking, stealing, idolatry, and every other evil. ‘They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God’ (Galatians 5:21).”—Ibid., p.502.


Wednesday March 2

4. EARNESTNESS TO DO RIGHT

a. How earnest will God’s messengers be for the right? Isaiah 58:1.

“In this time of well-nigh universal apostasy, God calls upon His messengers to proclaim His law in the spirit and power of Elias. As John the Baptist, in preparing a people for Christ’s first advent, called their attention to the Ten Commandments, so we are to give, with no uncertain sound, the message: ‘Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come’ (Revelation 14:7). With the earnestness that characterized Elijah the prophet and John the Baptist, we are to strive to prepare the way for Christ’s second advent.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 4, p. 1184.

“Our message must be as direct as was the message of John. He rebuked kings for their iniquity. Notwithstanding that his life was imperiled, he did not hesitate to declare God’s word. And our work in this age must be done as faithfully.”— Gospel Workers, p. 55.

b. How do we often react when called to engage in a work of reformation, and how does this affect others? Deuteronomy 20:8.

c. What can we remember at such times? Isaiah 35:4; Matthew 28:20 (last part).

“Elijah should not have fled from his post of duty. He should have met the threat of Jezebel with an appeal for protection to the One who had commissioned him to vindicate the honor of Jehovah. He should have told the messenger that the God in whom he trusted would protect him against the hatred of the queen. Only a few hours had passed since he had witnessed a wonderful manifestation of divine power, and this should have given him assurance that he would not now be forsaken. Had he remained where he was, had he made God his refuge and strength, standing steadfast for the truth, he would have been shielded from harm. The Lord would have given him another signal victory by sending His judgments on Jezebel; and the impression made on the king and the people would have wrought a great reformation.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 160.


Thursday March 3

5. THE POWER OF EXAMPLE

a. How effective and far-reaching is the power of example? 1 Timothy 4:12; Isaiah 62:10.

“The people will seldom rise higher than their minister. A world-loving spirit in him has a tremendous influence upon others. The people make his deficiencies an excuse to cover their own world-loving spirit. . . .

“Ministers should be examples to the flock. They should manifest an undying love for souls and the same devotion to the cause which they desire to see in the people.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, pp. 645, 646.

b. How can we all be self-deceived about our own condition? Matthew 23:25–28. What is the remedy? James 4:8.

“Reformers are not destroyers. They will never seek to ruin those who do not harmonize with their plans and assimilate to them. Reformers must advance, not retreat. They must be decided, firm, resolute, unflinching; but firmness must not degenerate into a domineering spirit. God desires to have all who serve Him firm as a rock where principle is concerned, but meek and lowly of heart, as was Christ. Then, abiding in Christ, they can do the work He would do were He in their place.”—Ibid., vol.6, p. 151.

“The religion of Jesus softens whatever is hard and rough in the temper, and smooths whatever is rugged and sharp in the manners. It makes the words gentle and the demeanor winning. Let us learn from Christ how to combine a high sense of purity and integrity with sunniness of disposition. A kind, courteous Christian is the most powerful argument that can be produced in favor of Christianity.”—Colporteur Ministry, p. 73.


Friday March 4

PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS

1. What is the greatest need of the church today?

2. How can we be involved in giving the message of Jesus’ soon return?

3. What is the church’s responsibility toward its members?

4. What should be our attitude as we undertake a work of reformation?

5. How can we follow Jesus’ example in our manner of dealing with others?

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