1. Communicating With HUMANITY
a. How did God communicate with humanity after sin came? Hebrews 1:1, 2.
“Before the entrance of sin, Adam enjoyed open communion with his Maker; but since man separated himself from God by transgression, the human race has been cut off from this high privilege. By the plan of redemption, however, a way has been opened whereby the inhabitants of the earth may still have connection with heaven.”—The Great Controversy, p. v.
b. How did God communicate personally to humanity? 1 Timothy 3:16; Colossians 2:9.
“Ever since Adam’s sin, the human race had been cut off from direct communion with God; the intercourse between heaven and earth had been through Christ; but now that Jesus had come ‘in the likeness of sinful flesh’ (Romans 8:3), the Father Himself spoke. He had before communicated with humanity through Christ; now He communicated with humanity in Christ.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 116.
c. What was needed after Jesus went back to the Father and what was His purpose? John 14:6, 26; 15:26; 16:7, 12–14; Acts 2:16–18.
2. The Gift of Prophecy
a. Until Christ’s return, how vital are all spiritual gifts? 1 Corinthians 1:4–8.
b. What identifies God’s final church and its gift of the testimony of Jesus? Revelation 12:17; 19:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:2–5, 19–21.
“Perilous times are before us. Every one who has a knowledge of the truth should awake, and place himself, body, soul, and spirit, under the discipline of God. The enemy is on our track. We must be wide awake, on our guard against him. We must put on the whole armor of God. We must follow the directions given through the Spirit of prophecy. We must love and obey the truth for this time. This will save us from accepting strong delusions. God has spoken to us through His word. He has spoken to us through the testimonies to the church, and through the books that have helped to make plain our present duty and the position we should now occupy. The warnings that have been given, line upon line, precept upon precept, should be heeded. If we disregard them, what excuse can we offer?”—Gospel Workers, p. 308.
c. Instead of going to false mediums, where should we turn? Isaiah 8:16, 19.
“[In God’s providence] are revealed the snares and devices of Satan, the importance of perfecting Christian character, and the means by which this result may be obtained. Thus God indicates what is necessary to secure His blessing. There is a disposition on the part of many to let rebellious feelings arise if their peculiar sins are reproved. The spirit of this generation is: ‘Speak unto us smooth things.’ But the spirit of prophecy speaks only the truth. Iniquity abounds, and the love of many who profess to follow Christ waxes cold. They are blind to the wickedness of their own hearts and do not feel their weak and helpless condition. God in mercy lifts the veil and shows them that there is an eye behind the scenes that discerns their hidden guilt and the motives of their actions.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 13.
“In His providence the Lord has seen fit to teach and warn His people in various ways. By direct command, by the sacred writings, and by the spirit of prophecy has He made known unto them His will.
“In ancient times God spoke to men by the mouth of prophets and apostles. In these days He speaks to them by the Testimonies of His Spirit. There was never a time when God instructed His people more earnestly than He instructs them now concerning His will and the course that He would have them pursue.”—My Life Today, p. 40.
3. Tested by Scripture
a. What is the basic test of a true prophet? Isaiah 8:20.
“The Testimonies are not to belittle the word of God, but to exalt it and attract minds to it.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 665.
b. What are we to do if one is proven a false prophet? Deuteronomy 13:1–5; Romans 16:17; 2 John 1:9–11.
“[God] has given us a message to bear to His people. For thirty years we have been receiving the words of God and speaking them to His people. We have trembled at the responsibility, which we have accepted with much prayer and meditation. We have stood as God’s ambassadors, in Christ’s stead beseeching souls to be reconciled to God. We have warned of danger as God has presented before us the perils of His people. Our work has been given us of God. What, then, will be the condition of those who refuse to hear the words which God has sent them, because they cross their track or reprove their wrongs? . . . God is either teaching His church, reproving their wrongs and strengthening their faith, or He is not. This work is of God, or it is not. God does nothing in partnership with Satan. My work for the past thirty years bears the stamp of God or the stamp of the enemy. There is no halfway work in the matter. The Testimonies are of the Spirit of God, or of the devil.”—Ibid., vol. 4, pp. 229, 230.
“[The prince of evil] is now putting forth his utmost efforts for a final struggle against Christ and His followers. The last great delusion is soon to open before us. Antichrist is to perform his marvelous works in our sight. So closely will the counterfeit resemble the true that it will be impossible to distinguish between them except by the Holy Scriptures. By their testimony every statement and every miracle must be tested.”—The Great Controversy, p. 593.
c. How are all new prophets tested and why? 1 Corinthians 14:32; John 10:27.
“Some who profess to make the word of God their study are found living in direct opposition to its plainest teachings. Then, to leave men and women without excuse, God gives plain and pointed testimonies, bringing them back to the word that they have neglected to follow.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 663.
“Additional truth is not brought out; but God has through the Testimonies simplified the great truths already given and in His own chosen way brought them before the people to awaken and impress the mind with them, that all may be left without excuse.”—Ibid., p. 665.
4. The kingdom within
a. Why is it important to believe in a personal Saviour in our life right now, not just a historic figure? Explain. 1 John 4:1–3; Ephesians 3:17; Colossians 1:27; John 15:4, 5.
“Christ was teaching, and, as usual, others besides His disciples had gathered about Him. He had been speaking to the disciples of the scenes in which they were soon to act a part. They were to publish abroad the truths He had committed to them, and they would be brought in conflict with the rulers of this world. For His sake they would be called into courts, and before magistrates and kings. He had assured them of wisdom which none could gainsay. His own words, that moved the hearts of the multitude, and brought to confusion His wily adversaries, witnessed to the power of that indwelling Spirit which He had promised to His followers.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 252.
“The indwelling of the Spirit will be shown by the outflowing of heavenly love. The divine fullness will flow through the consecrated human agent, to be given forth to others.”—Ibid., p. 419.
“One sentence of Scripture is of more value than ten thousand of man’s ideas or arguments. Those who refuse to follow God’s way will finally receive the sentence, ‘Depart from Me.’ But when we submit to God’s way, the Lord Jesus guides our minds and fills our lips with assurance. We may be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Receiving Christ, we are clothed with power. An indwelling Saviour makes His power our property. The truth becomes our stock in trade. No unrighteousness is seen in the life. We are able to speak words in season to those who know not the truth. Christ’s presence in the heart is a vitalizing power, strengthening the entire being.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, p. 71.
b. How did Moses recognize the need of the personal presence of Christ? Exodus 33:13–16.
“Moses had a deep sense of the personal presence of God. He was not only looking down through the ages for Christ to be made manifest in the flesh, but he saw Christ in a special manner accompanying the children of Israel in all their travels. God was real to him, ever present in his thoughts. When misunderstood, when called upon to face danger and to bear insult for Christ’s sake, he endured without retaliation. Moses believed in God as one whom he needed and who would help him because of his need. God was to him a present help.”—Ibid., vol. 5, p. 651.
5. Straight Testimony
a. What is God’s perspective regarding worldliness? 1 John 4:5; James 4:4.
“The world must not be introduced into the church, and married to the church, forming a bond of unity. Through this means the church will become indeed corrupt.”—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 265.
“The question may be asked, Are we to have no union whatever with the world? The word of the Lord is to be our guide. Any connection with infidels and unbelievers that would identify us with them, is forbidden by the Word. We are to come out from among them, and be separate. In no case are we to link ourselves with them in their plans of work. But we are not to live reclusive lives. We are to do worldlings all the good we possibly can.”—Gospel Workers, p. 394
b. Why is unity with the world an impossibility—and what is the purpose of a prophet in this regard? 2 Corinthians 6:14–18; Ezekiel 44:23.
“The question now to be asked is, Are the professed followers of Christ complying with the conditions upon which the blessing is pronounced? Are they separating in spirit and practice from the world? How hard to come out and be separate from worldly habits and customs. But let us look well to it that Satan does not allure and deceive us through false representations. Eternal interests are here involved. God’s claims should come first; His requirements should receive our first attention. Every child of fallen Adam must, through the transforming grace of Christ, become obedient to all God’s requirements. Many close their eyes to the plainest teachings of His word because the cross stands directly in the way. If they lift it, they must appear singular in the eyes of the world; and they hesitate, and question, and search for some excuse whereby they may shun the cross. Satan is ever ready, and he presents plausible reasons why it would not be best to obey the word of God just as it reads. Thus souls are fatally deceived.”—The Review and Herald, August 25, 1885.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why is communication so important in the life of a believer?
2. What is the purpose of the spirit of prophecy?
3. How do we test the prophets and how are we to deal with the results?
4. How does an indwelling Christ affect our Christian experience?
5. How do God’s true prophets teach His people to separate from the world?