1. PERSEVERANCE THROUGH DIFFICULTIES
a. What message must be given to everyone today, regardless of the trying circumstances that may confront us? Isaiah 55:1, 2. Why does God permit trials to come upon His church?
“In all ages of the church God’s appointed messengers have exposed themselves to reproach and persecution for the truth’s sake. But wherever God’s people may be forced to go, even though, like the beloved disciple, they are banished to desert islands, Christ will know where they are and will strengthen and bless them, filling them with peace and joy….
“God’s love for His church is infinite. His care over His heritage is unceasing. He suffers no affliction to come upon the church but such as is essential for her purification, her present and eternal good. He will purify His church even as He purified the temple at the beginning and close of His ministry on earth. All that He brings upon the church in test and trial comes that His people may gain deeper piety and more strength to carry the triumphs of the cross to all parts of the world. He has a work for all to do. There must be constant enlargement and progress. The work must extend from city to city, from country to country, and from nation to nation, moving continually onward and upward, established, strengthened, and settled.”—Testimonies, vol. 9, pp. 227, 228.
2. ARISE, SHINE!
a. What light is to shine in the heart of all who hear the gospel message? 2 Corinthians 4:6. Upon whom and through whom will this light shine today? Isaiah 9:2; Philippians 2:15.
“Christ came to our world to reveal the Father amid the gross darkness of error and superstition which then prevailed. The disciples of Christ are to represent Him in their everyday life, and thus the true light from heaven will shine forth in clear, steady rays to the world; thus a character is revealed entirely different from that which is seen in those who do not make the word of God their guide and standard. A knowledge of God must be preserved amid the darkness that covers the world and the gross darkness that envelops the people. Age after age the pure character of Christ has been misrepresented by those who claimed to be believers in Him and in the word of God.”—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 152.
b. How far-reaching is the light of the knowledge of Christ and His glory to extend? Isaiah 49:6.
c. How will God’s glory be revealed in these last days? Isaiah 60:1, 2; Matthew 5:16.
“It is the darkness of misapprehension of God that is enshrouding the world. Men are losing their knowledge of His character. It has been misunderstood and misinterpreted. At this time a message from God is to be proclaimed, a message illuminating in its influence and saving in its power. His character is to be made known. Into the darkness of the world is to be shed the light of His glory, the light of His goodness, mercy, and truth.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 415.
“The lay members of our churches can accomplish a work which, as yet, they have scarcely begun. . . . Where there is an opening to obtain a livelihood, let families that are well grounded in the truth enter, one or two families in a place, to work as missionaries. . . . They can distribute our publications, hold meetings in their homes, become acquainted with their neighbors, and invite them to come to these meetings. Thus they can let their light shine in good works.”—Testimonies, vol. 8, p. 245.
3. FILLING THE EARTH WITH GLORY!
a. How does God depict the great final missionary thrust? Revelation 18:1–4. Why can’t this work be done by proxy?
“God has sent message after message to arouse our people to do something, and to do it now. But to the call, ‘Whom shall I send?’ there have been few to respond, ‘Here am I; send me’ (Isaiah 6:8).”—Testimonies, vol. 9, p. 46.
“Many professors of religion do nothing for Christ by personal effort. They are contented to have others do what properly belongs to themselves to perform, and, by lending a feeble influence for the workers, feel that they are doing good by proxy. Such persons do not possess that faith that works by love, and purifies the soul. They have no genuine religion that enters into their daily business and regulates every action of their lives. A living faith in Christ is demonstrated by good deeds in our families and our neighborhoods, by thoughtful, and practical consideration of the poor, by visiting and comforting the widows and the fatherless in their affliction, by keeping ourselves unspotted from the world, and by using our means and influence for the advancement of the cause of God. This must not be done grudgingly or murmuringly, but freely and cheerfully as Jesus gave all for us.”—The Signs of the Times, August 22, 1878.
b. What are some of the ways in which we can be laborers together with God in this work? 1 Corinthians 3:9, 10.
“Never was there greater need of earnest, self-sacrificing labor in the cause of Christ than now, when the hours of probation are fast closing. . . . Brethren and sisters, will you answer the [Macedonian] cry? saying: ‘We will do our best, both in sending you missionaries and money. We will deny ourselves in the embellishment of our houses, in the adornment of our persons, and in the gratification of appetite. We will give the means entrusted to us into the cause of God, and we will devote ourselves also unreservedly to His work.’ . . .
“Thus they can contribute money to send papers and books to those who have not the light of truth; they can help pay the expenses of students who are fitting for missionary work. Let every dollar that you can spare be invested in the bank of heaven.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 732, 733.
4. ENLIGHTENING THE PEOPLE
a. What assuring invitation of mercy are we called to give to all nations, and how are we to give it? Isaiah 55:3–5.
“I entreat the Lord’s people to cease to criticize one another, and to give themselves to the proclamation of the truth for this time. . . . We need now to bow before God in true humility of soul; for the day of clouds and thick darkness is fast approaching.
“The last great conflict is before us; but help is to come to all who love God and obey His law, and the earth, the whole earth, is to be lighted with the glory of God.”—The Review and Herald, April 19, 1906.
“This work is given to all who have had Christ set forth crucified among them. By the baptism of the Holy Spirit, God’s people are to do, through the instrumentality of their Master, the work that Christ did. They are to represent the benevolence of God to our world. Partakers of the divine nature, they are not only to save their own souls, through faith in Jesus; but Christ says of them, Ye are laborers together with God. As His witnesses, He has given to each his work. As His representatives, they are to bear to the world the message of invitation and mercy.
“Christ enjoins upon His disciples to lift up the world’s Redeemer. They are to have a sense of their obligation to devote their entrusted capabilities to the work of winning souls to the gospel of Him who has made so full a sacrifice for the enlightenment and recovery of the world.”—The Review and Herald, March 22, 1898.
b. What should be remembered by those who are seeking to share with others the light of present truth directly from God’s Word? Isaiah 55:9–11.
“The plan of holding Bible readings was a heaven-born idea. There are many, both men and women, who can engage in this branch of missionary labor. Workers may thus be developed who will become mighty men of God. By this means the Word of God has been given to thousands; and the workers are brought into personal contact with people of all nations and tongues. The Bible is brought into families, and its sacred truths come home to the conscience. Men are entreated to read, examine, and judge for themselves, and they must abide the responsibility of receiving or rejecting the divine enlightenment. God will not permit this precious work for Him to go unrewarded. He will crown with success every humble effort made in His name.”—Christian Service, p. 141.
5. A DIVINE STANDARD LIFTED
a. When the enemy overwhelms us with the temptation to give up in our efforts to reach souls, what will God do for us? Isaiah 59:19.
b. What attitude of mind will enable us to press on in the face of difficult circumstances? Isaiah 50:7.
“In my youth I made up my mind that, should I allow myself to be controlled by circumstances, my life would be a failure; I went about whatever I regarded as duty, even though the surroundings were against me. My father would frequently say, ‘Ellen, if it were your duty to go to such a place, it would be made so plain that you could have no doubt in the matter. In consideration of your youth and feebleness, the Lord will give you clear evidence of your duty; and He will give you strength to do it without difficulty.’ ‘But,’ said I, ‘Father, if difficulties appear, I must summon greater resolution to meet them, and in doing this I shall gain a valuable experience, one that will help me to wisely use the abilities entrusted to my care.’
“Here is a work for every one of us to do. Never did I see and sense the value of souls as I do at the present time. How can we realize the importance of the work of salvation? In comparison with the value of the soul, everything else sinks into insignificance. This world and its treasures, this life and its happiness, are of little consequence, when we compare them with the joy of even one soul eternally saved. Until we have clear and distinct ideas of what that soul will enjoy when saved in the kingdom of glory; until we can fully comprehend the value of that life which measures with the life of God; until we can fully realize the riches of that reward which is laid up for those who overcome and gain the victory—we cannot know the inestimable value of the soul.”—The Review and Herald, March 25, 1880.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How can we be persevering in our missionary work today?
2. How can lay people do a tremendous work in spreading the truth?
3. How can we heed the Macedonian cry?
4. How does genuine religion work in the life?
5. When will the world and its treasures lose their significance to us?