1. AWAKENING OUR PRIORITIES
a. What must become the chief aim of every believer today? Isaiah 62:1, 2.
“There is no greater evidence that those who have received great light do not appreciate that light, than is given by their refusal to let their light shine upon those who are in darkness.”—The Review and Herald, July 16, 1895.
“If you . . . were in a saved state, you would all feel the perilous condition of the unsaved. The day will come, unless a great change is wrought in you, when you will hear from many lips. ‘I associated with these Christians, yet they never told me of my danger. They never warned me. I thought that if I was in danger of being lost, they would not rest day or night without arousing me to see my lost condition. Now I am lost. If I had been in their place and had seen one in a similar condition, I would not have rested until I had made them sensible of their state and pointed them to the only One who can save them.’ ”—Testimonies, vol. 2, pp. 181, 182.
“What can be said to the idlers that will lead them to understand, and arouse them from their do-nothing position? O, that Zion would arouse and put on her beautiful garments. Brethren and sisters, as members of the church, let us act our part faithfully. . . .
“God has given to every man his work; not one is excused from service.”—Pacific Union Recorder, February 20, 1908.
2. IN AN AGE OF MORAL DARKNESS
a. What cry strongly echoes down to us all? Isaiah 21:11 (last part), 12.
“Everything seems to be stirred with an intense activity from beneath. Excitement is continually kept up. Feasting, buying, and selling, are brought into the churches. The watchman cries, ‘The morning cometh, and also the night.’ The night symbolizes prevalence of error, misinterpretation and misapplication of Scripture. Every species of delusion is now being brought in. The plainest truths of God’s word are covered with a mass of man-made theories. Deadly errors are presented as the truth to which all must bow. The simplicity of true godliness is buried beneath tradition.”—The Bible Echo, February 1, 1897.
“A great work is to be done in the world, and what efforts are we making for its accomplishment? The people have had too much sermonizing; but have they been taught how to labor for those for whom Christ died? Has a line of labor been devised and placed before them in such a way that each has seen the necessity of taking part in the work?
“It is evident that all the sermons that have been preached have not developed a large class of self-denying workers. This subject is to be considered as involving the most serious results. Our future for eternity is at stake.”—Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 431.
“We are certainly living in the closing days of this earth’s history. We need to devote much time to our spiritual interests, if we would experience the spiritual growth that is essential in this age. We are to make decided reforms. The Voice said: The watchmen need to awake, and give the trumpet a certain sound. The morning cometh; and also the night. Wake up, My watchmen. Voices that should now be heard presenting the truth are silent. Souls are perishing in their sins, and ministers and physicians and teachers are asleep. Wake up the watchmen!”—Pacific Union Recorder, February 20, 1908.
b. How is the Lord eager to transform our churches through His grace? Isaiah 60:1, 2.
“The churches are withering up because they have failed to use their talents in diffusing the light of truth to others. Careful instruction should be given that will be as lessons from the Master that all may put their light to practical use in benefiting others.”—The Review and Herald, February 28, 1893.
3. RESULTS PROMISED
a. What assurance does God offer to all yearning to be imbued with His Holy Spirit in order to share truth with others? Proverbs 1:23; Psalm 81:10.
“All who have received the light of truth are placed under solemn obligations to let that light shine forth to others. Each can, in his humble sphere, do something for the Master. He may not be able to make magnificent offerings to advance the cause of God, but he can give the willing, cheerful, service of an obedient heart. All cannot be preachers; all cannot be generals in the army of the Lord; but all can be faithful privates, following in humble obedience the commands of the Captain of their salvation. They can cheer their companions with words of hope and courage, and by so doing will show forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. God demands of all the very best service that they can give. If they can only do the lowly errands for Him, these should not be neglected.”—The Review and Herald, August 24, 1886.
“Church-members need to be taught that the measure of their success in ministering to souls will be the measure of their self-denial and their faithfulness in following Christ’s example.”—Pacific Union Recorder, February 20, 1908.
b. What results from faithful efforts to share light? Zechariah 8:20–23.
“God will move upon men of humble position in society, men who have not become insensible to the bright rays of light through so long contemplating the light of truth, and refusing to make any improvement or advancement therein. Many such will be seen hurrying hither and thither, constrained by the Spirit of God to bring the light to others. The truth, the word of God, is as a fire in their bones, filling them with a burning desire to enlighten those who sit in darkness. Many, even among the uneducated, now proclaim the words of the Lord. Children are impelled by the Spirit to go forth and declare the message from Heaven. The Spirit is poured out upon all who will yield to its promptings, and, casting off all man’s machinery, his binding rules and cautious methods, they will declare the truth with the might of the Spirit’s power. Multitudes will receive the faith and join the armies of the Lord.”—The Review and Herald, July 23, 1895.
4. COURAGE AMID OPPOSITION
a. Describe the experience of Jeremiah when mocked and derided in witnessing for God and how he overcame his fears. Jeremiah 20:7–11.
“Because of the bitterness, hatred, and opposition manifested against the word of God spoken in reproof, many other messengers of God have decided to do as Jeremiah decided. But what did this prophet of the Lord do after his decision? Try as much as he would, he could not hold his peace. As soon as he came into the assemblies of the people, he found that the Spirit of the Lord was stronger than he was. . . .
“In this generation, when God’s servants speak the word of the Lord to reprove wrongdoers, to rebuke those who bring in wrong principles, have they not had an experience similar to that which Jeremiah had? When a course of action to pervert justice and judgment is introduced, the word of the Lord must be spoken in reproof.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 4, p. 1156.
b. What should we learn from how prophets and apostles shared God’s messages with such tremendous power? Micah 3:8; 1 Corinthians 2:4, 5.
“The word of God was preached by His ministers in early days ‘in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.’ The hearts of men were stirred by the proclamation of the gospel. Why is it that the preaching of the truth has now so little power to move the people? Is God less willing to bestow His blessing upon the laborers in His cause in this age than in the apostles’ day?
“The warning which we bear to the world must prove to them a savor of life unto life or of death unto death. And will the Lord send forth His servants to proclaim this fearfully solemn message and withhold from them His Holy Spirit? Shall frail, erring men, without special grace and power from God, dare to stand between the living and the dead to speak the words of everlasting life? Our Lord is rich in grace, mighty in power; He will abundantly bestow these gifts upon all who come to Him in faith. He is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him than are parents to give good gifts to their children. The reason why the precious, important truth for this time is not powerful to save is that we do not work in faith.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, pp. 157, 158.
5. REAPING THE BOUNTY
a. What was the purpose of Jesus in sending the miraculous draught of fishes? What can we learn from this experience in our labor for souls? Luke 5:4–10.
“Be not so self-caring. There are thousands whose lives are just as precious as yours. Then why do you wrap your coat about you, and hug the shore? Awake to duty and to usefulness! If you will launch out into the deep and let down your nets, the Master will gather in the fishes, and you will see of the mighty working of God. . . .
“Teach the people to have light in themselves, and not to depend upon the ministers. They should have Christ as their helper, and should educate themselves to help one another, so that the minister can be free to enter new fields.”—Historical Sketches, p. 139.
“Our people have had great light, and yet much of our ministerial force is exhausted on the churches, in teaching those who should be teachers; enlightening those who should be ‘the light of the world.’”—Evangelism, p. 382.
b. How is our Creator able to perform His work using the individuality He has graciously bestowed upon each one of us? Job 34:11; 37:7.
“Men with one talent may reach a class that those with two or five talents cannot approach. Great and small alike are chosen vessels to bear the water of life to thirsting souls. . . . Let God work through whom He will. The message must go.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 462.
“My brethren and sisters, study your plans; grasp every opportunity of speaking to your neighbors and associates or of reading something to them from books that contain present truth. Show that you regard as of first importance the salvation of the souls for whom Christ has made so great a sacrifice.”—Ibid., vol. 9, p. 129.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Of what will many lost souls rightfully complain after it’s too late?
2. Beyond mere sermonizing, what is the heart of the church’s duty?
3. Explain God’s plan to enlighten the world with the present truth.
4. How is the example taught by Jeremiah to be rewarded?
5. In what ways can I wean myself from burdening the ministers?