1. THE PLACE TO BEGIN
a. Upon whom has God laid a grave responsibility to begin a work of reformation? Malachi 4:6; Psalm 78:5–7.
“Could parents realize the great responsibility resting upon them when their children are innocent babes in the home, much sin and misery might be averted; temperance would then be taught at the fire-side and the table would afford practical lessons repeated every day. Line upon line, precept upon precept, children should be taught the necessity of self-control and self-denial; and then true reform would make rapid progress.”—The Health Reformer, May 1, 1877.
b. Where is the source of the parents’ wisdom? Ephesians 1:17; James 1:5.
“Let parents take their Bibles and search that they may understand what are the requirements of God in regard to their children. Let them seek to understand what is included in parental duty. The word of God must be our rule in conducting our family affairs;”—Christian Education, pp. 230, 231.
“By prayer, by study of the Bible, and by earnest zeal on their part, [parents] may succeed nobly in this important duty and be repaid a hundredfold for all their time and care.”—Child Guidance, p. 64.
2. EXTENDING THE WORK OF REFORM
a. What does the Lord intend to happen with the faith of the parents? Proverbs 22:6; 2 Timothy 1:5.
“As you faithfully do your duty in the home, the father as a priest of the household, the mother as a home missionary, you are multiplying agencies for doing good outside of the home. As you improve your own powers, you are becoming better fitted to labor in the church and in the neighborhood. By binding your children to yourselves and to God, fathers and mothers and children become laborers together with God.”—Counsels on Health, p. 430.
b. What should you do if you have failed to make God first in your life and in your home? 1 John 1:9; James 5:16.
“If you [parents] have failed in your duty to your family, confess your sins before God. Gather your children about you and acknowledge your neglect. Tell them that you desire to bring about a reformation in the home and ask them to help you to make the home what it ought to be. Read to them the directions found in the Word of God. Pray with them; and ask God to spare their lives and to help them to prepare for a home in His kingdom. Thus you may begin and continue a work of true reform.”—The Review and Herald, April 21, 1904.
c. As we commit ourselves fully to God, what will be the result of our faithfulness? Psalm 51:9–13; Isaiah 60:2, 3; Acts 16:5.
“When the great light that God has given shines forth through human agencies, a great work will be done. In demonstration of the Spirit, and with power, the truth will be revealed in clear, distinct lines. But this work must begin in the home.
“As the right work is done in the home, parents will find their hearts subdued and melted. Strange prejudices that have been cherished by brethren and sisters in the church, prejudices that have borne evil fruit, will be overcome and will disappear. A spirit of candor will come in, a spirit after Christ’s likeness. God’s people will give up the tenacious desire to have their own way and to urge their own ideas; for they will realize that they are in the presence of God’s Son.”—Ibid., July 15, 1902.
3. THE EFFECT UPON THE CHURCH
a. When reformation takes place in the home, how will this be reflected upon the church? Ephesians 5:27; Titus 2:14; Psalm 144:14 (second part), 15.
“In the home the foundation is laid for the prosperity of the church. The influences that rule in the home life are carried into the church life; therefore church duties should first begin in the home.”—The Adventist Home, p. 318.
“[The Lord] desires that the work of reformation shall begin in the home, with the fathers and mothers, and then the church will realize the Holy Spirit’s working. The influence of this work will go through the church like leaven. Fathers and mothers need converting. They have not educated themselves to mold and fashion the characters of their children aright.”—The Review and Herald, March 18, 1902.
“God measures church members by what they are in the home. When Christ’s words are obeyed in the home, the influence extends to the church.”—Ibid., July 21, 1903.
b. How does the influence of a man in his home affect his usefulness in the church? 1 Timothy 3:5. How does this affect his hope of eternal life? Matthew 25:21.
“He who is engaged in the work of the gospel ministry must be faithful in his family life. It is as essential that as a father he should improve the talents God has given him for the purpose of making the home a symbol of the heavenly family, as that in the work of the ministry he should make use of his God-given powers to win souls for the church. As the priest in the home, and as the ambassador of Christ in the church, he should exemplify in his life the character of Christ. . . .
“He who fails to be a faithful, discerning shepherd in the home will surely fail of being a faithful shepherd to the flock of God in the church.”—Reflecting Christ, p. 179.
“The life on earth is the beginning of the life in heaven; education on earth is an initiation into the principles of heaven; the lifework here is a training for the lifework there. What we now are, in character and holy service is the sure foreshadowing of what we shall be.”—The Adventist Home, p. 535.
“The great reformative movement must begin in the home. Obedience to God’s law is the great incentive to industry, economy, truthfulness, and just dealing between man and man.”—Child Guidance, p. 489.
4. PREPARING TO WITNESS
a. When our heart is touched by the Spirit of God, how will we respond? Isaiah 6:8.
“When God would have a special work done for the advancement of the truth, He will impress men to work in the mines of truth with prayerful earnestness to discover the precious ore. These men will have Christlike perseverance. They will not fail or be discouraged. They will sink self out of sight in Jesus. Men will go forth in the spirit and power of Elijah to prepare the way for the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is their work to make crooked things straight. Some things must be torn down, some things must be built up. The old treasures must be reset in a framework of truth. They are to preach God’s Word; their testimony must not be molded by the opinions and ideas that have been regarded as sound, but by the Word of God which liveth and abideth forever. They are to lift up Christ and call sinners to repentance, . . . urging upon all their personal responsibility to be kind and courteous, to do good and to win souls to Jesus.”—The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, p. 169.
b. What will be the living proof of a renewed heart? 2 Corinthians 5:17; Colossians 3:10; Matthew 5:16.
“If the heart has been renewed by the Spirit of God, the life will bear witness to the fact. . . . A change will be seen in the character, the habits, the pursuits. The contrast will be clear and decided between what they have been and what they are. The character is revealed, not by occasional good deeds and occasional misdeeds, but by the tendency of the habitual words and acts.”—Steps to Christ, pp. 57, 58.
“The love of our heavenly Father in the gift of His only-begotten Son to the world is enough to inspire every soul, to melt every hard, loveless heart into contrition and tenderness; and yet shall heavenly intelligences see in those for whom Christ died, insensibility to His love, hardness of heart, and no response of gratitude and affection to the Giver of all good things? Shall affairs of minor importance absorb the whole power of the being, and the love of God meet no return? . . . We need an increase of faith. We must wait, we must watch, we must pray, we must work, pleading that the Holy Ghost may be poured out upon us abundantly, that we may be lights in the world.”—Fundamentals of Christian Education, pp. 198, 199.
5. GOING TO ALL THE WORLD
a. In view of Christ’s soon coming, what is the message to be given today? Zephaniah 1:14; Amos 4:12.
“As a people who believe in Christ’s soon appearing, we have a message to bear—‘Prepare to meet thy God’ (Amos 4:12).”—Testimonies, vol. 8, pp. 332.
b. How extensive is the work of giving the gospel message? Isaiah 61:10, 11; Matthew 24:14; Revelation 14:6.
“The time has come when the message of Christ’s soon coming is to sound throughout the world.”—Ibid., vol.9, p. 24.
c. How is this message to be given? Acts 4:29–31.
“Today we need to speak the truth with holy boldness.”—Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 52.
“The trumpet must give a certain sound, for we are in the great day of the Lord’s preparation.”—Evangelism, p. 218.
“From these chosen men of God [who are His faithful ambassadors] the truth will shine forth. It will be heard from their lips, reflected in their countenances, and demonstrated in their lives. They will be marked by purity and uncorruptness. The grace of Christ has a refining, ennobling influence on the character.”—Reflecting Christ, p. 347.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How can parents begin a work of reformation in their homes?
2. As you faithfully fulfill your duties at home, where else will you be able to labor more effectively?
3. How does God measure us?
4. How can we be lights in this world?
5. What is involved in communicating the truth to the world?