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Sabbath Bible Lessons

The Church and Her Mission

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Lesson 2 Sabbath, April 9, 2016

God’s Church in the Last Days

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Revelation 12:17).

“Although the law of God will be almost universally made void in the world, there will be a remnant of the righteous that will be obedient to God’s requirements.”—The Signs of the Times, April 22, 1889.

Suggested Reading:   Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 45-62

Sunday April 3

1. THE REFORMATION CHURCH

a. How does God regard the union of Christianity and paganism? Exodus 20:4, 5; Ezekiel 23:37.

“The close and sacred relation of God to His people is represented under the figure of marriage. Idolatry being spiritual adultery, the displeasure of God against it is fitly called jealousy.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 306.

b. When the leadership of the apostate church failed to repent (Revelation 2:21), what principle did the faithful members follow? 2 Corinthians 6:17; Luke 6:22.

“When the Reformers preached the word of God, they had no thought of separating themselves from the established church; but the religious leaders would not tolerate the light, and those that bore it were forced to seek another class, who were longing for the truth.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 232.

“After a long a severe conflict, the faithful few decided to dissolve all union with the apostate church if she still refused to free herself from falsehood and idolatry. They saw that separation was an absolute necessity if they would obey the word of God.”—The Great Controversy, p. 45.


Monday April 4

2. THE REFORMATION CHURCH (CONTINUED)

a. How did the apostate church treat the Reformers who refused to support her corrupt practices? Revelation 12:13, 15. For how long did this treatment continue? Verses 6, 14.

“In the sixth century the papacy had become firmly established. Its seat of power was fixed in the imperial city, and the bishop of Rome was declared to be the head over the entire church. Paganism had given place to the papacy. The dragon had given to the beast ‘his power, and his seat, and great authority’ (Revelation 13:2). And now began the 1260 years of papal oppression foretold in the prophecies of Daniel and the Revelation. Daniel 7:25; Revelation 13:5–7. Christians were forced to choose either to yield their integrity and accept the papal ceremonies and worship, or to wear away their lives in dungeons or suffer death by the rack, the fagot, or the headsman’s ax. Now were fulfilled the words of Jesus: ‘Ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for My name’s sake’ (Luke 21:16, 17). Persecution opened upon the faithful with greater fury than ever before, and the world became a vast battlefield. For hundreds of years the church of Christ found refuge in seclusion and obscurity.”—The Great Controversy, pp. 54, 55.

b. How did God’s true church survive these persecutions of the Dark Ages? Revelation 12:16. What effect do such trials have upon believers? Romans 5:3, 4.

“Romanists have persisted in bringing against Protestants the charge of heresy and willful separation from the true church. But these accusations apply rather to themselves. They are the ones who laid down the banner of Christ and departed from ‘the faith which was once delivered unto the saints’ (Jude 3).”—Ibid., p.51.

“Through ages of darkness and apostasy there were Waldenses who denied the supremacy of Rome, who rejected image worship as idolatry, and who kept the true Sabbath. Under the fiercest tempests of opposition they maintained their faith. . . .

“Behind the lofty bulwarks of the mountains—in all ages the refuge of the persecuted and oppressed—the Waldenses found a hiding place. Here the light of truth was kept burning amid the darkness of the Middle Ages. Here, for a thousand years, witnesses for the truth maintained the ancient faith.”—Ibid., pp.65, 66.


Tuesday April 5

3. THE REFORMATION CHURCH BECOMES BABYLON

a. What did Jesus say would happen to the period of persecution of the Reformation church and why? Matthew 24:21, 22.

“The persecution of the church did not continue throughout the entire period of the 1260 years. God in mercy to His people cut short the time of their fiery trial. . . . Through the influence of the Reformation the persecution was brought to an end prior to 1798.”—The Great Controversy, pp. 266, 267.

b. What prophecy began to be fulfilled after the termination of the Dark Ages, and what event in heaven was announced in connection with the preaching of the gospel? Revelation 14:6, 7.

“A great religious awakening under the proclamation of Christ’s soon coming is foretold in the prophecy of the first angel’s message of Revelation 14. An angel is seen flying ‘in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth.’

. . . ‘With a loud voice’ he proclaims the message: ‘Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and worship Him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters’ (Verses 6, 7).”—Ibid., p.355.

c. How did the Reformation church respond to the first angel’s message and how did this affect her standing before God? Revelation 14:8.

“When the churches spurned the counsel of God by rejecting the Advent message, the Lord rejected them. The first angel was followed by a second, proclaiming, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication’ (Revelation 14:8). This message was understood by Adventists to be an announcement of the moral fall of the churches in consequence of their rejection of the first message. The proclamation, ‘Babylon is fallen,’ was given in the summer of 1844, and as the result, about fifty thousand withdrew from these churches.”—The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, p. 232.


Wednesday April 6

4. THE REMNANT CHURCH

a. After the fall of the Protestant churches, what church did God raise up to perform a special work of restoration? Isaiah 58:8–14.

“[Isaiah 61:4; 58:12 quoted.] The prophet here describes a people who, in a time of general departure from truth and righteousness, are seeking to restore the principles that are the foundation of the kingdom of God. They are repairers of a breach that has been made in God’s law—the wall that He has placed around His chosen ones for their protection, and obedience to whose precepts of justice, truth, and purity is to be their perpetual safeguard.”—Prophets and Kings, pp. 677, 678.

“[Isaiah 58:12 quoted]. The prophet here refers to the breach made in the law of God by the breaking down of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. This precept has been made waste by the man of sin; and the professed Christian world has accepted a day which he has substituted for the sanctified Sabbath of the Lord. Shall we be of the number who are repairing the breach made in the law of God? or shall we be of the number who receive the mark of the beast, by observing the human institution rather than the divine, thus nourishing the child of papacy?”—The Signs of the Times, February 28, 1878.

b. What prophecy in the book of Revelation parallels the prophecy of Isaiah 58:8–14? Revelation 14:9–12.

“God has called His church in this day, as He called ancient Israel, to stand as a light in the earth. By the mighty cleaver of truth, the messages of the first, second, and third angels, He has separated them from the churches and from the world to bring them into a sacred nearness to Himself. He has made them the depositaries of His law and has committed to them the great truths of prophecy for this time. Like the holy oracles committed to ancient Israel, these are a sacred trust to be communicated to the world. The three angels of Revelation 14 represent the people who accept the light of God’s messages and go forth as His agents. . . . Nothing is to be permitted to hinder this work. It is the all-important work for time; it is to be far-reaching as eternity. The love that Jesus manifested for the souls of men in the sacrifice which He made for their redemption, will actuate all His followers.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 455, 456.


Thursday April 7

5. DISTINGUISHING MARKS OF THE REMNANT CHURCH

a. What does the Bible call those who are fulfilling the prophesied work of restoration and preaching of the three angels’ messages? Revelation 12:17 (middle part).

“In the time of the end every divine institution is to be restored. The breach made in the law at the time the Sabbath was changed by man, is to be repaired. God’s remnant people, standing before the world as reformers, are to show that the law of God is the foundation of all enduring reform and that the Sabbath of the fourth commandment is to stand as a memorial of creation, a constant reminder of the power of God. In clear, distinct lines they are to present the necessity of obedience to all the precepts of the Decalogue. Constrained by the love of Christ, they are to cooperate with Him in building up the waste places. They are to be repairers of the breach, restorers of paths to dwell in.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 678.

b. What are the two most important distinguishing marks of God’s remnant people in these last days? Revelation 12:17 (last part).

“[Revelation 12:17 quoted.] This prophecy points out clearly that the remnant church will acknowledge God in His law and will have the prophetic gift. Obedience to the law of God, and the spirit of prophecy has always distinguished the true people of God, and the test is usually given on present manifestations.”—Loma Linda Messages, p. 33.


Friday April 8

PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS

1. Even as a Christian, how might we possibly be guilty of spiritual adultery?

2. When is it wrong, and when is it right to separate from God’s organized church?

3. During the Dark Ages, who separated from the true church? Explain your answer.

4. Explain what it means to be a repairer of the breach in God’s law.

5. Name some of the distinguishing marks of the remnant church in the last days.

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