1. THE ISRAEL OF GOD
a. What identifies the children of Abraham? John 8:37–39; Genesis 26:5.
“The Jews claimed to have descended from Abraham, but by failing to do the works of Abraham, they proved that they were not true children of his. Only those who are spiritually in harmony with him are reckoned as true descent.”—This Day with God, p. 183.
“Paul says, ‘They which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.’ Galatians 3:7. But Abraham’s faith was made manifest by his works. . . . Says the apostle James, ‘Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.’ James 2:17. And John, who dwells so fully upon love, tells us, ‘This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments.’ 1 John 5:3.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, pp. 153, 154.
b. What do today’s true Israelites ever keep in mind? Romans 9:24–29.
2. GOD’S MERCY REVEALED
a. Why was God compelled to reject Israel as a nation? Romans 9:31–33; 10:1–3.
“The leaders in the Jewish nation had signally failed of fulfilling God’s purpose for His chosen people. Those whom the Lord had made the depositaries of truth had proved unfaithful to their trust, and God chose others to do His work. In their blindness these leaders now gave full sway to what they called righteous indignation against the ones who were setting aside their cherished doctrines. They would not admit even the possibility that they themselves did not rightly understand the word, or that they had misinterpreted or misapplied the Scriptures. They acted like men who had lost their reason.”—The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 78, 79.
b. Why were the Gentiles able to be grafted in as heirs of the kingdom of God? Romans 9:30; 10:9–13; Isaiah 42:6, 7.
“The Saviour longed to unfold to His disciples the truth regarding the breaking down of the ‘middle wall of partition’ between Israel and the other nations—the truth that ‘the Gentiles should be fellow heirs’ with the Jews and ‘partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel’ Ephesians 2:14; 3:6. This truth was revealed in part at the time when He rewarded the faith of the centurion at Capernaum, and also when He preached the gospel to the inhabitants of Sychar. Still more plainly was it revealed on the occasion of His visit to Phoenicia, when He healed the daughter of the Canaanite woman. These experiences helped the disciples to understand that among those whom many regarded as unworthy of salvation, there were souls hungering for the light of truth.
“Thus Christ sought to teach the disciples the truth that in God’s kingdom there are no territorial lines, no caste, no aristocracy; that they must go to all nations, bearing to them the message of a Saviour’s love. But not until later did they realize in all its fullness that God ‘hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us.’ Acts 17:26, 27.”—Ibid., pp.19, 20.
3. GOD LOVES THE WHOLE WORLD
a. Explain the contrast between Satan’s lie and God’s unbiased plan for the human race. Galatians 3:28; 1 Timothy 2:3–6; 2 Peter 3:9.
“Christ wanted all. He could not endure that one should be lost. O if the human family could only see the results of sin in the transgression and violence and crime that exist in the world! If they could see the transformation of men from the image of God to the similitude of Satan!”—That I May Know Him, p. 67.
“[Christ] died a most shameful death, and made a full and complete sacrifice, in order that no one might perish, but that all might come to repentance. He made an atonement for every repenting, believing soul, in order that all might find in Him a sin bearer.”—Ibid., p.100.
“It is not the will of God that any shall perish, but that all shall have everlasting life.”—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 394.
“All are one in Christ. Birth, station, nationality, or color cannot elevate or degrade men. The character makes the man.”—Christian Service, p. 218.
b. What commission is given to all of God’s people? Matthew 28:18–20; Romans 10:14, 15.
“At the meeting on a mountain in Galilee, all the believers who could be called together were assembled.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 818.
“Clothed with boundless authority, [Christ] gave His commission to the disciples: [Matthew 28:19, 20 quoted.]”—Ibid., p.819.
“It was the Saviour’s purpose that after He ascended to heaven to become man’s intercessor, His followers should carry on the work that He had begun. . . . God demands that every soul who knows the truth shall seek to win others to the love of the truth.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 103.
“The Lord Jesus seeks the cooperation of those who will become unobstructed channels for the communication of His grace. The first thing to be learned by all who would become workers together with God is the lesson of self-distrust; then they are prepared to have imparted to them the character of Christ. This is not to be gained through education in the most scientific schools. It is the fruit of wisdom that is obtained from the divine Teacher alone.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 249, 250.
4. A CALL TO ACTION
a. In view of God’s amazing care for a world steeped in strife, what call to action must we each accept? 1 Corinthians 12:13; Romans 11:1–4.
“Let companies now be quickly organized to go out two and two, and labor in the Spirit of Christ, following His plans. Even though some Judas may introduce himself into the ranks of the workers, the Lord will care for the work. His angels will go before and prepare the way. Before this time, every large city should have heard the testing message, and thousands should have been brought to a knowledge of the truth. Wake up the churches, take the light from under the bushel.
“Where are the men who will work and study and agonize in prayer as did Christ? We are not to confine our efforts to a few places. ‘If they shall persecute you in one city, flee ye to another.’ Let Christ’s plan be followed. He was ever watching for opportunities to engage in personal labor, ever ready to interest and draw men to a study of the Scriptures. He labored patiently for men who had not an intelligent knowledge of what is truth. While we are not awake to the situation, and while much time is consumed in planning how to reach perishing souls, Satan is busy devising and blocking the way. . . .
“Too much labor has been put forth in the plants in a few favored localities. Let not so large an expenditure of means and of time as has been devoted to –––– be given to other places. . . .”—Medical Ministry, p. 303.
b. Explain what is to be our attitude and duty toward the Jewish people living today. Romans 11:5, 11, 17–21.
“The work for the Jews, as outlined in the eleventh chapter of Romans, is a work that is to be treated with special wisdom. It is a work that must not be ignored. The wisdom of God must come to our people. In all wisdom and righteousness we must clear the King’s highway. The Jews are to be given every opportunity of coming to the light.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 6, p. 1079.
c. How does God’s management reveal His mercy? Romans 11:22–25.
5. BRILLIANCE IN THE FACE OF DARKNESS
a. Describe the final message each of us is to share with those with whom we come in contact. Isaiah 40:10; Romans 11:30–32.
“Those who wait for the Bridegroom’s coming are to say to the people, ‘Behold your God.’ The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love. The children of God are to manifest His glory. In their own life and character they are to reveal what the grace of God has done for them.
“The light of the Sun of Righteousness is to shine forth in good works—in words of truth and deeds of holiness. . . .
“Practical work will have far more effect than mere sermonizing. . . . The sealed fountains of earnest, Christlike love will be unsealed.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 415-417.
b. Describe the experience of the true Israel of God at the end of history—and the reason for it. Revelation 12:17; 14:12; Romans 11:33.
“The Lord will work in this last work in a manner very much out of the common order of things, and in a way that will be contrary to any human planning. There will be those among us who will always want to control the work of God, to dictate even what movements shall be made when the work goes forward under the direction of the angel who joins the third angel in the message to be given to the world. God will use ways and means by which it will be seen that He is taking the reins in His own hands.”—Evangelism, p. 118.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How am I to develop more fully the spiritual strength of Abraham?
2. In an age of disparity, what must every Christian keep in mind?
3. How can I develop the type of faith God commends among the Gentiles?
4. In Christ’s strength, what actions can I take to win souls for Him?
5. How can my sharing of the third angel’s message be made practical?