1. CALLED TO BE A BLESSING
a. What has always been God’s plan for the few who accept Him? Micah 5:7.
“God had chosen Israel. He had called them to preserve among men the knowledge of His law, and of the symbols and prophecies that pointed to the Saviour. He desired them to be as wells of salvation to the world. What Abraham was in the land of his sojourn, what Joseph was in Egypt, and Daniel in the courts of Babylon, the Hebrew people were to be among the nations. They were to reveal God to men.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 27.
b. How did Christ depict the way the Hebrew nation failed in His plan—and what warning should we take from it? Luke 20:9–18.
“We need to beware lest we suffer the same fate as did ancient Israel. The history of their disobedience and downfall has been recorded for our instruction, that we may avoid doing as they did.”—The Review and Herald, July 10, 1900.
2. QUALITIES OF THOSE CHOSEN
a. What should we learn concerning specific snares that had especially entrapped ancient Israel? Proverbs 11:2; 29:23.
“As idolaters were roused to crush out the truth, the Lord brought His servants face to face with kings and rulers, that they and their people might receive the light. Time after time the greatest monarchs were led to proclaim the supremacy of the God whom their Hebrew captives worshiped.
“By the Babylonish captivity the Israelites were effectually cured of the worship of graven images. During the centuries that followed, they suffered from the oppression of heathen foes, until the conviction became fixed that their prosperity depended upon their obedience to the law of God. But with too many of the people obedience was not prompted by love. The motive was selfish. They rendered outward service to God as the means of attaining to national greatness. They did not become the light of the world, but shut themselves away from the world in order to escape temptation to idolatry. In the instruction given through Moses, God had placed restrictions upon their association with idolaters; but this teaching had been misinterpreted. It was intended to prevent them from conforming to the practices of the heathen. But it was used to build up a wall of separation between Israel and all other nations. The Jews looked upon Jerusalem as their heaven, and they were actually jealous lest the Lord should show mercy to the Gentiles.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 28, 29.
b. Describe the humility and solemnity of spirit needed in accepting God’s call. Matthew 11:28–30.
“The Jewish leaders thought themselves too wise to need instruction, too righteous to need salvation, too highly honored to need the honor that comes from Christ. The Saviour turned from them to entrust to others the privileges they had abused and the work they had slighted. God’s glory must be revealed, His word established. Christ’s kingdom must be set up in the world. The salvation of God must be made known in the cities of the wilderness; and the disciples were called to do the work that the Jewish leaders had failed to do.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 16.
3. A DISTINCT ASSIGNMENT
a. What is the purpose of God’s children on this earth—and where do we begin to accomplish it? Matthew 5:14–16.
“Every one of Christ’s workers is to begin where he is. In our own families may be souls hungry for sympathy, starving for the bread of life. There may be children to be trained for Christ. There are heathen at our very doors. Let us do faithfully the work that is nearest. Then let our efforts be extended as far as God’s hand may lead the way. The work of many may appear to be restricted by circumstances; but, wherever it is, if performed with faith and diligence it will be felt to the uttermost parts of the earth.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 822.
b. What should startle us to re-examine our motives and priorities in life? 1 Corinthians 9:16; 2 Corinthians 10:16–18.
“The command, ‘Go ye into all the world,’ is not to be lost sight of. We are called upon to lift our eyes to the ‘regions beyond.’ Christ tears away the wall of partition, the dividing prejudice of nationality, and teaches a love for all the human family. He lifts men from the narrow circle which their selfishness prescribes; He abolishes all territorial lines and artificial distinctions of society. He makes no difference between neighbors and strangers, friends and enemies. He teaches us to look upon every needy soul as our brother, and the world as our field.”—Ibid., p.823.
“Instead of our enlarging and erecting additional buildings . . . where our institutions are already established, there should be a limiting of the wants. Let the means and the workers be scattered to represent the truth and give the warning message in ‘regions beyond.’ ”—Testimonies for the church, vol. 8, p. 50.
“While you have been gratifying your inclination in the appropriation of money—God’s money—for which you must give an account, missionary work has been hindered and bound about for want of means and workers to plant the banner of truth in places where the people have never heard the message of warning.”—Ibid., p.51.
“Who will leave pleasant homes and dear ties of relationship, and carry the precious light of truth to far-off lands?”—Ibid., p.54.
4. THE SECRET OF POWER
a. Explain the significance of the vision given to the prophet Zechariah illustrating the work of God on this earth. Zechariah 4:1–3.
“A great work is to be accomplished in setting before men the saving truths of the gospel. This is the means ordained by God to stem the tide of moral corruption. This is His means of restoring His moral image in man. It is His remedy for universal disorganization. . . .
“All the light of the past, all the light which shines in the present and reaches forth into the future, as revealed in the word of God, is for every soul who will receive it. The glory of this light, which is the very glory of the character of Christ, is to be manifested in the individual Christian, in the family, in the church, in the ministry of the word, and in every institution established by God’s people. All these the Lord designs shall be symbols of what can be done for the world. They are to be types of the saving power of the truths of the gospel. They are agencies in the fulfillment of God’s great purpose for the human race.
“God’s people are to be channels for the outworking of the highest influence in the universe. In Zechariah’s vision the two olive trees which stand before God are represented as emptying the golden oil out of themselves through golden tubes into the bowl of the sanctuary. From this the lamps of the sanctuary are fed, that they may give a continuous bright and shining light. So from the anointed ones that stand in God’s presence the fullness of divine light and love and power is imparted to His people, that they may impart to others light and joy and refreshing. They are to become channels through which divine instrumentalities communicate to the world the tide of God’s love.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, pp. 11, 12.
b. What is the energizing “battery” for the task of enlightening the world? Zechariah 4:6.
“There is far more being done by the heavenly universe than we realize in preparing the way that souls may be converted. We are to work in harmony with the messengers of heaven. We want more of God; we are not to feel that our talking and sermonizing can do the work. Unless the people are reached through God, they will never be reached.”—Ibid., p.50.
5. HEARTS AGLOW
a. Explain our greatest need at this time. John 1:12, 13; 3:5–8; 4:14.
“Fellow laborers, we must have Jesus, the precious Jesus, abiding in our own hearts much more fully if we are to meet with success in presenting Him to the people. We are in great need of the heavenly influence, God’s Holy Spirit, to give power and efficiency to our work. We need to open the heart to Christ. We need much firmer faith and more fervent devotion. We need to die to self, and in mind and heart to cherish an adoring love for our Saviour. When we will seek the Lord with all the heart we shall find Him, and our hearts will be all aglow with His love. Self will sink into insignificance, and Jesus will be all and in all to the soul.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 51.
“The truly converted soul is illuminated from on high, and Christ is in that soul ‘a well of water springing up into everlasting life.’ His words, his motives, his actions, may be misinterpreted and falsified; but he does not mind it because he has greater interests at stake. He does not consider present convenience; he is not ambitious for display; he does not crave the praise of men. His hope is in heaven, and he keeps straight on, with his eye fixed on Jesus. He does right because it is right, and because only those who do right will have an entrance into the kingdom of God. He is kind and humble, and thoughtful of others’ happiness. He never says, ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’ but he loves his neighbor as himself. His manner is not harsh and dictatorial, like that of the godless; but he reflects light from heaven upon men. He is a true, bold soldier of the cross of Christ, holding forth the word of life.”—Ibid., vol.5, p. 569.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. When tempted to think I have no influence on others, what must I realize?
2. What key characteristic can make my witness for Christ more effective?
3. In the sight of God, what should be the greatest priority for His people?
4. How is Zechariah’s vision of the flowing oil to affect me?
5. Describe the truly converted Christian.