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Sabbath Bible Lessons

Insights From the Book of Isaiah (II)

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Lesson 10 Sabbath, December 3, 2016

Reaching Out to Souls

“The next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God” (Acts 13:44).

“A tender spirit, a gentle, winning deportment, may save the erring and hide a multitude of sins.”—The Ministry of Healing, p. 166.

Suggested Reading:   Testimonies, vol. 7, pp. 25-41; vol. 6, pp. 31–57. 

Sunday November 27

1. A MESSAGE FOR TODAY

a. What work today was fortold in the prophecy of Isaiah 56? Verses 1, 2.

“The work of Sabbath reform to be accomplished in the last days is foretold in the prophecy of Isaiah. [Isaiah 56:1, 2, 6, 7 quoted.]”—The Great Controversy, p. 451.

b. By what means can we best witness to those in large cities? Luke 14:23.

“It is our work to give to the whole world—to every nation, kindred, tongue, and people—the saving truths of the third angel’s message. But it has been a difficult problem to know how to reach the people in the great centers of population. We are not allowed entrance to the churches. In the cities the large halls are expensive, and in most cases but few will come out to the best halls. We have been spoken against by those who were not acquainted with us. The reasons of our faith are not understood by the people, and we have been regarded as fanatics who were ignorantly keeping Saturday for Sunday. In our work we have been perplexed to know how to break through the barriers of worldliness and prejudice, and bring before the people the precious truth which means so much to them. The Lord has instructed us that the camp meeting is one of the most important instrumentalities for the accomplishment of this work.”—Testimonies, vol. 6, pp. 31, 32.


Monday November 28

2. REACHING BEYOND OUR CIRCLE

a. What was Isaiah shown about God’s plan for precious, sincere souls outside the fold of Christ? Isaiah 56:3–5. How was this seen in the preaching of the apostles? Acts 13:44.

“The Jews had come more and more to regard themselves as superior by divine right to every other people upon the earth; yet they had not been careful to maintain their separate and holy character by rendering obedience to all the commandments of God. Now the prophet declares that the stranger who will love and obey God shall enjoy the privileges that have belonged exclusively to the chosen people. Hitherto, circumcision and a strict observance of the ceremonial law had been the conditions upon which Gentiles could be admitted to the congregation of Israel; but these distinctions were to be abolished by the gospel.”—The Signs of the Times, February 28, 1884.

b. What selfish human tendency must we and our families determine to resist? Haggai 1:4.

“Your interest, and efforts, and anxieties are for your family and your relatives. But you have not entertained the idea of reaching out for others around you, overcoming your reluctance to exert an influence outside of a special circle. You idolize yours, and shut yourselves within yourselves. That the Lord may save me and mine is the great burden. This spirit will have to die before you can flourish in the Lord and make spiritual advancement, before the church can grow and souls be added unto them of such as shall be saved.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 77.

c. How can we avoid the pitfalls of crowding together in one place? Luke 9:6.

“How many towns and cities there are that are utterly neglected. Our people are injuring themselves by crowding into one place. When trees in a nursery are crowded thickly together, they cannot grow healthfully and sturdily. Transplant trees from your thickly planted nursery. God is not glorified in the centering of so many advantages in one place. Give room; put your plants in many places, where one will not lean for support upon another. Give them room to grow. This the Lord demands of you.”—Ibid., vol.8, p. 147.


Tuesday November 29

3. THE LINK TO OUR TASTES AND HABITS

a. What is a wonderful promise given to new believers? Isaiah 56:6, 7. How are we to act a part in sharing the truth?

“Every church is in need of the controlling power of the Holy Spirit, and now is the time to pray for it. But in all God’s work for man He plans that man shall cooperate with Him. To this end the Lord calls upon the church to have a higher piety, a more just sense of duty, a clearer realization of their obligations to their Creator. He calls upon them to be a pure, sanctified, working people. And the Christian help work is one means of bringing this about, for the Holy Spirit communicates with all who are doing God’s service. . . .

“Make regular, organized efforts to lift the church members out of the dead level in which they have been for years. Send out into the churches workers who will live the principles of health reform. Let those be sent who can see the necessity of self-denial in appetite, or they will be a snare to the church. See if the breath of life will not then come into our churches.”—Testimonies, vol. 6, pp. 266, 267.

b. What is the plague of the Pharisees, and how can we avoid it? Matthew 23:1–3; 7:24–29. How do our personal health habits affect our Christian witness? Isaiah 56:10–12; 1 Corinthians 9:26, 27.

“The Lord is not pleased with the backslidden state of His people in regard to health reform. If they do not arouse to the need of heeding the light on health reform, they will soon fail to see the importance of other phases of the message.”—Spalding Magan Collection, p. 418.

“If the churches expect strength, they must live the truth which God has given them. If the members of our churches disregard the light on [health reform], they will reap the sure result in both spiritual and physical degeneracy. And the influence of these older church members will leaven those newly come to the faith. The Lord does not now work to bring many souls into the truth, because of the church members who have never been converted and those who were once converted but who have backslidden. What influence would these unconsecrated members have on new converts? Would they not make of no effect the God-given message which His people are to bear?”—Testimonies, vol. 6, pp. 370, 371.


Wednesday November 30

4. TENDERNESS FOR THE OUTCASTS

a. Describe the special care God has for those who need it most. Isaiah 56:8.

“Everyone who loves God in sincerity and truth will love the souls for whom Christ has died. If we wish to do good to souls, our success with these souls will be in proportion to their belief in our belief in, and appreciation of, them. Respect shown to the struggling human soul is the sure means through Christ Jesus of the restoration of the self-respect the man has lost. Our advancing ideas of what he may become is a help we cannot ourselves fully appreciate. We have need of the rich grace of God every hour, then we will have a rich, practical experience, for God is love. He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God. Give love to them that need it most. The most unfortunate, those who have the most disagreeable temperaments need our love, our tenderness, our compassion. Those who try our patience need most love. We pass through the world only once; any good thing we can do, we should do most earnestly, untiringly, with the same spirit as is stated of Christ in His work. He will not fail nor be discouraged. The rough, stubborn, sullen dispositions are the ones who need help the most. How can they be helped? Only by that love practiced in dealing with them which Christ revealed to fallen man. Treat them, you may, as they deserve. What if Christ had treated us thus? He, the undeserving, was treated as we deserve. Still we are treated by Christ with grace and love as we did not deserve, but as He deserved. Treat some characters, as you think they richly deserve, and you will cut off from them the last thread of hope, spoil your influence and ruin the soul. Will it pay? No, I say no, a hundred times no. Bind these souls who need all the help it is possible for you to give them close to a loving, sympathizing, pitying heart, overflowing with Christlike love, and you will save a soul from death and hide a multitude of sins.”—Fundamentals of Christian Education, pp. 281, 282.

b. How can we work for the outcasts in our own midst? James 5:19, 20.

“There are many who err and who feel their shame and folly. They look upon their mistakes and errors until they are driven almost to desperation. These souls we are not to neglect. When one has to swim against the stream, there is all the force of the current driving him back. Let a helping hand then be held out to him as was the Elder Brother’s hand to the sinking Peter. Speak to him hopeful words.”—In Heavenly Places, p. 295.


Thursday December 1

5. FOLLOWING THE MASTER’S EXAMPLE

a. How can Christ’s compassionate ministry to sin-sick souls be reflected and imitated in the life of His followers? Isaiah 61:1–3.

“The mission of Christ was to heal the sick, encourage the hopeless, bind up the brokenhearted. This work of restoration is to be carried on among the needy, suffering ones of humanity. God calls not only for your benevolence, but your cheerful countenance, your hopeful words, the grasp of your hand. Relieve some of God’s afflicted ones. Some are sick, and hope has departed. Bring back the sunlight to them. There are souls who have lost their courage; speak to them, pray for them. There are those who need the bread of life. Read to them from the Word of God. There is a soul sickness no balm can reach, no medicine heal. Pray for these, and bring them to Jesus Christ. And in all your work, Christ will be present to make impressions upon human hearts.”—A Call to Medical Evangelism and Health Education, p. 23.

“We need not go to Nazareth, to Capernaum, or to Bethany, in order to walk in the steps of Jesus. We shall find His footprints beside the sickbed, in the hovels of poverty, in the crowded alleys of the great cities, and in every place where there are human hearts in need of consolation.

“We are to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and comfort the suffering and afflicted. We are to minister to the despairing, and to inspire hope in the hopeless.

“The love of Christ, manifested in unselfish ministry, will be more effective in reforming the evildoer than will the sword or the court of justice. These are necessary to strike terror to the lawbreaker, but the loving missionary can do more than this. Often the heart that hardens under reproof will melt under the love of Christ.”—The Ministry of Healing, pp. 105, 106.


Friday December 2

PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS

1. For what specific aim were camp meetings originally designed, and why?

2. Why should we manifest interest in new souls with no family in the faith?

3. What do our personal health habits have to do with missionary success?

4. What happens when we treat people as they deserve to be treated? How does Jesus treat us?

5. Where can you find opportunities to minister personally as Christ would?

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