1. ALWAYS GROWING
a. What is written about Jesus in His childhood? Luke 2:40.
“The Majesty of heaven, the King of glory, became a babe in Bethlehem, and for a time represented the helpless infant in its mother’s care. In childhood He spoke and acted as a child, honoring His parents, and carrying out their wishes in helpful ways. But from the first dawning of intelligence He was constantly growing in grace and in a knowledge of truth.”—Education, p. 106.
b. How about the child John, the cousin of Jesus? Luke 1:80. In fact, what is God’s plan for all His children? 1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24.
“Sanctification—how many understand its full meaning? The mind is befogged by sensual malaria. The thoughts need purifying. What might not men and women have been had they realized that the treatment of the body has everything to do with the vigor and purity of mind and heart.
“The true Christian obtains an experience which brings holiness. He is without a spot of guilt upon the conscience, or a taint of corruption upon the soul.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 909.
2. THE SIN AGAINST THE HOLY SPIRIT
a. What is the fearful condition of those who once enjoyed light from Heaven, yet later rejected it? Hebrews 6:4–6.
b. What serious warning did Jesus give to the Jews who rejected Him? Matthew 12:31, 32.
“No one need look upon the sin against the Holy Ghost as something mysterious and indefinable. The sin against the Holy Ghost is the sin of persistent refusal to respond to the invitation to repent.
“There is no . . . hope of the higher life, but through the submission of the soul to Christ.”—The Faith I Live By, p. 58.
“Those who had spoken against Jesus Himself, not discerning His divine character, might receive forgiveness; for through the Holy Spirit they might be brought to see their error and repent. Whatever the sin, if the soul repents and believes, the guilt is washed away in the blood of Christ; but he who rejects the work of the Holy Spirit is placing himself where repentance and faith cannot come to him. It is by the Spirit that God works upon the heart; when men willfully reject the Spirit, and declare It to be from Satan, they cut off the channel by which God can communicate with them. When the Spirit is finally rejected, there is no more that God can do for the soul.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 321.
c. What influence do our words have upon our character? Matthew 12:36.
“Closely connected with Christ’s warning in regard to the sin against the Holy Spirit is a warning against idle and evil words. The words are an indication of that which is in the heart. ‘Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.’ But the words are more than an indication of character; they have power to react on the character. Men are influenced by their own words. . . . Having once expressed an opinion or decision, they are often too proud to retract it, and try to prove themselves in the right, until they come to believe that they are. It is dangerous to utter a word of doubt, dangerous to question and criticize divine light. The habit of careless and irreverent criticism reacts upon the character, in fostering irreverence and unbelief. Many a man indulging this habit has gone on unconscious of danger, until he was ready to criticize and reject the work of the Holy Spirit.”—Ibid., p. 323.
3. GOD LOVES OUR UNSELFISH WORKS
a. How does Paul write about the way God sees our activities in behalf of our neighbors? Hebrews 6:10.
“Our spiritual strength and blessing will be proportionate to the labor of love and good works which we perform. The injunction of the apostle is, ‘Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ’ (Galatians 6:2). Keeping the commandments of God requires of us good works, self-denial, self-sacrifice, and devotion for the good of others, not that our good works alone can save us, but that we surely cannot be saved without good works. After we have done all that we are capable of doing we are then to say, We have done no more than our duty, and at best are unprofitable servants, unworthy of the smallest favor from God. Christ must be our righteousness. . . .
“All around us there are those who have soul hunger and who long for love expressed in words and deeds. Friendly sympathy and real feelings of tender interest for others would bring to our souls blessings that we have never yet experienced, and would bring us into close relation to our Redeemer, whose advent to the world was for the purpose of doing good, and whose life we are to copy. What are we doing for Christ?”—That I May Know Him, p. 334.
b. Even though we are not saved by our own works, how important are they in our Christian journey? Titus 2:13, 14; 3:8.
“Genuine faith always works by love. When you look to Calvary it is not to quiet your soul in the nonperformance of duty, not to compose yourself to sleep, but to create faith in Jesus, faith that will work, purifying the soul from the slime of selfishness. When we lay hold of Christ by faith, our work has just begun. Every man has corrupt and sinful habits that must be overcome by vigorous warfare. Every soul is required to fight the fight of faith. If one is a follower of Christ, he cannot be sharp in deal, he cannot be hardhearted, devoid of sympathy. He cannot be coarse in his speech. He cannot be full of pomposity and self-esteem. He cannot be overbearing, nor can he use harsh words, and censure and condemn. . . . We are to be zealous of good works, be careful to maintain good works. And the true Witness says: ‘I know thy works’ (Revelation 2:2).”—Selected Messages, bk. 2, p. 20.
4. THE CERTAINTY OF THE CHRISTIAN HOPE
a. What can we learn regarding the assurance of God’s promises? Hebrews 6:13–15.
b. What does God declare about His promises? Hebrews 6:16–18.
“God is able and willing ‘more abundantly’ (Hebrews 6:17) to bestow upon His servants the strength they need for test and trial. The plans of the enemies of His work may seem to be well laid and firmly established, but God can overthrow the strongest of these. And this He does in His own time and way, when He sees that the faith of His servants has been sufficiently tested.”—Prophets and Kings, p. 164.
c. Where is our anchor of the soul? Hebrews 6:19, 20.
“Our faith must pierce beyond the veil, seeing things that are invisible. No one else can look for you. Your must behold for yourself. In the place of murmuring for blessings that are withheld, let us remember and appreciate the blessings already bestowed.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 930.
“We cannot with safety accept the opinions of any man, however learned, unless they are in harmony with the words of the Great Teacher. The opinions of erring men will be presented for our acceptance, but God’s Word is our authority, and we are never to accept human teaching without the most conclusive evidence that it agrees with the teaching of God’s Word. We are to know that we do know that we are standing on the platform of eternal truth—the Word of the living God.
“Truth, precious truth from the Word of God is to be presented, both in public and in families. We have a message that is to prepare a people to stand amid the perils of the last days. . . . Truth will stand every test that is brought to bear upon it. It cannot be overthrown by the sophistries of Satan. The more it is assailed the more bright and clear it will shine out. As we see indications of the active, earnest efforts of the enemy, shall we not make determined efforts to give the message in clear, decided lines? Shall we not stand forth in the power and Spirit of God, and receive and impart lessons from the Great Teacher? . . . ‘O Lord, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things; thy counsels of old are faithfulness and truth’ (Isaiah 25:1). . . . Let us anchor ourselves to the words of the Lord God of Israel.”—That I May Know Him, p. 210.
5. THE PRIESTHOOD AS A SYMBOL OF CHRIST
a. Which family had been chosen by God for the priesthood in the earthly sanctuary—and why? Exodus 28:1, 2; 32:7, 8, 25, 26.
“By divine direction the tribe of Levi was set apart for the service of the sanctuary. In the earliest times every man was the priest of his own household. In the days of Abraham the priesthood was regarded as the birthright of the eldest son. Now, instead of the firstborn of all Israel, the Lord accepted the tribe of Levi for the work of the sanctuary. By this signal honor He manifested His approval of their fidelity, both in adhering to His service and in executing His judgments when Israel apostatized in the worship of the golden calf. The priesthood, however, was restricted to the family of Aaron. Aaron and his sons alone were permitted to minister before the Lord; the rest of the tribe were entrusted with the charge of the tabernacle and its furniture, and they were to attend upon the priests in their ministration, but they were not to sacrifice, to burn incense, or to see the holy things till they were covered.”—Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 350.
b. Why was this plan replaced by another priesthood which prefigured Christ? Hebrews 7:11, 15–17, 21–23.
c. Contrast the earthly priesthood with that of Christ and explain how effective Christ’s priesthood is for our salvation. Hebrews 7:25–28.
“Christ is able to save to the uttermost because He ever liveth to make intercession for us. All that man can possibly do toward his own salvation is to accept the invitation, ‘Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely’ (Revelation 22:17). No sin can be committed by man for which satisfaction has not been met on Calvary.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 343.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How can the education of Jesus and John the Baptist be an inspiration to us?
2. Explain the downhill process of the sin against the Holy Spirit.
3. How are genuine good works motivated?
4. What evidence have I seen in my life that God’s promises are true?
5. In seeking salvation, why is the priesthood of Christ important for me?