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Sabbath Bible Lessons

Lessons from the Epistles of Peter (II)

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Lesson 4 Sabbath, July 27, 2024

The Highest Aim

MEMORY TEXT: “And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness” (Colossians 3:14).

“When consecrated believers assemble, their conversation will not be upon the imperfections of others or savor of murmuring or complaint; charity, or love, the bond of perfectness, will encircle them.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 509.

Suggested Reading:   Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 154–157, 547–549. 

Sunday July 21


a. Why is charity only mentioned after brotherly kindness? 2 Peter 1:7 (last part); Romans 5:7, 8; James 3:17.

“We must love men for Christ’s sake. It is easy for the natural heart to love a few favorites, and to be partial to these special few; but Christ bids us love one another as He has loved us.”—Testimonies to Ministers, p. 156.

b. What does Jesus link with perfection? Matthew 5:43–48; Luke 6:36; Colossians 3:14.

“Men were awed by the purity and moral dignity of our Saviour, while His unselfish love and gentle benignity won their hearts. He was the embodiment of perfection.”—Gospel Workers (1892), p. 73.

“Cherish not a feeling of lofty supremacy, thinking yourself better than others. ‘Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.’ Peace and rest will come to you as you bring your will into subjection to the will of Christ. Then the love of Christ will rule in the heart.”—Messages to Young People, p. 73.

Monday July 22


a. Describe the depth of a true Christian’s attitude toward others. Psalm 101:2; Philippians 2:1–4.

“The hasty, easily roused temper will be soothed and subdued by the oil of Christ’s grace. The sense of sins forgiven will bring that peace that passeth all understanding. There will be an earnest striving to overcome all that is opposed to Christian perfection. Variance will disappear. He who once found fault with those around him will see that far greater faults exist in his own character.”—Messages to Young People, p. 73.

b. How only can the type of attitude described above dwell in the heart of each of us? Philippians 2:5–8; 1 Corinthians 2:16.

“It is the love of self that destroys our peace. While self is all alive, we stand ready continually to guard it from mortification and insult; but when we are dead, and our life is hid with Christ in God, we shall not take neglects or slights to heart. We shall be deaf to reproach and blind to scorn and insult. . . .

“The peace of Christ is a constant and abiding peace. It does not depend upon any circumstances in life, on the amount of worldly goods or the number of earthly friends. Christ is the fountain of living water, and happiness drawn from Him can never fail.

“The meekness of Christ, manifested in the home, will make the inmates happy; it provokes no quarrel, gives back no angry answer, but soothes the irritated temper and diffuses a gentleness that is felt by all within its charmed circle. Wherever cherished, it makes the families of earth a part of the one great family above.

“Far better would it be for us to suffer under false accusation than to inflict upon ourselves the torture of retaliation upon our enemies. The spirit of hatred and revenge originated with Satan, and can bring only evil to him who cherishes it. Lowliness of heart, that meekness which is the fruit of abiding in Christ, is the true secret of blessing. ‘He will beautify the meek with salvation.’ ”—Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 16, 17.

Tuesday July 23


a. Describe the real charity God is ready to give to all eager to take serious hold of it—deeply cherishing it. Matthew 5:6; 1 Corinthians 13:4–8.

“In order for the church to prosper there must be a studious effort on the part of its members to cherish the precious plant of love. Let it have every advantage that it may flourish in the heart. Every true Christian will develop in his life the characteristics of this divine love; he will reveal a spirit of forbearance, of beneficence, and a freedom from envy and jealousy. This character developed in word and act will not repulse, and will not be unapproachable, cold, and indifferent to the interests of others. The person who cultivates the precious plant of love will be self-denying in spirit, and will not yield self-control even under provocation. He will not impute wrong motives and evil intentions to others, but will feel deeply over sin when discovered in any of the disciples of Christ.

“Love vaunteth not itself. It is a humble element; it never prompts a man to boast, to exalt himself. Love for God and for our fellow men will not be revealed in acts of rashness nor lead us to be overbearing, faultfinding, or dictatorial. Love is not puffed up. The heart where love reigns will be guided to a gentle, courteous, compassionate course of conduct toward others, whether they suit our fancy or not, whether they respect us or treat us ill. Love is an active principle; it keeps the good of others continually before us, thus restraining us from inconsiderate actions lest we fail of our object in winning souls to Christ. Love seeks not its own. It will not prompt men to seek their own ease and indulgence of self. It is the respect we render to I that so often hinders the growth of love.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 123, 124. [Author’s emphasis.]

b. How are we warned against false charity? James 2:19; Jude 11–13.

“Elder B-----t appeared to be a very holy man. Had much to say upon charity. Speaking of faith he said, ‘All we have to do is believe, then whatever we ask of God will be given.’ Bro. White answered, ‘Blessings are promised on conditions. John 15:7: If ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be given unto you. Your theory of faith is empty as a flour barrel with both heads out. And as regards true charity, she is a very delicate personage, never stepping out of the path of Bible truth.’ ”—Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, pp. 46, 47.

Wednesday July 24


a. How important is it for us to abound in all the Christian graces listed as steps in Peter’s ladder? 2 Peter 1:8.

“Let the Christian graces be and abound in you. Give to your Saviour your best and holiest affections. Render entire obedience to His will. He will accept nothing short of this. Be not moved from your steadfastness by the jeers and scoffs of those whose minds are given to vanity. Follow your Saviour through evil as well as good report; count it all joy, and a sacred honor, to bear the cross of Christ. Jesus loves you. He died for you. Unless you seek to serve Him with your undivided affections, you will fail to perfect holiness in His fear, and you will be compelled to hear at last the fearful word, Depart.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, p. 237. [Author’s emphasis.]

b. In today’s stressful world, what do we often overlook? Song of Solomon 2:15.

“You are pressed with urgent cares, burdens, and duties; but the greater the pressure upon you, and the heavier the burdens you have to bear, the greater your need of divine aid. Jesus will be your helper. You need constantly the light of life to lighten your own pathway, and then its divine rays will reflect upon others. The work of God is a perfect whole, because perfect in all its parts. It is the conscientious attention to what the world calls little things that makes the great beauty and success of life. Little deeds of charity, little words of kindness, little acts of self-denial, a wise improvement of little opportunities, a diligent cultivation of little talents, make great men in God’s sight. If those little things be faithfully attended to, if these graces be in you, and abound, they will make you perfect in every good work.

“It is not enough to be willing to give liberally of your means to the cause of God. He calls for an unreserved consecration of all your powers. Withholding yourselves has been the mistake of your life. You may think it very difficult in your position to maintain a close connection with God, but your work will be tenfold harder if you fail to do this. . . .

“God calls for complete and entire consecration, and anything short of this He will not accept. The more difficult your position the more you need Jesus.”—Ibid., vol. 4, pp. 543, 544.

Thursday July 25


a. If we are lacking in any one of the Christian graces, what has happened? 2 Peter 1:9; Revelation 2:4.

“He who does not climb the ladder of progress and add grace to grace ‘is blind, and cannot see afar off,’ He fails to discern that without taking these successive steps in ascending the ladder round after round, in growing in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, he is not placing himself in a position where the light of God above the ladder is reflected upon him. As he does not add grace to grace, he has forgotten the claims of God upon him, and that he was to receive the forgiveness of sins through obedience to the requirements of God. He is in the position of a sinner before God. If he has the graces of Christ he will exercise and increase them, but if he does not bear fruit in good works to the glory of God he remains in a state of blindness and ignorance, self-indulgence, and sin. He ‘cannot see afar off.’ His eyes are fastened upon the earth, not on God above the ladder.

“This class may have earthly advantages but have no discernment of the privilege and blessings of living in the light which shines from God above the ladder. They know not the things that make for their peace. They cannot look backward with clear spiritual sight, as they do not view things in the light of heaven. They once enjoyed the love of God; they repented of their sins and enlisted to become servants of Jesus Christ, but they forgot all the vows made to God at baptism—all the solemn obligations taken upon themselves to seek for glory, honor, and immortality.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, pp. 350, 351.

Friday July 26


1. Why and in what type of situations am I in danger of unjust partiality?

2. Under what kinds of conditions does my charitable spirit tend to fail?

3. How can we distinguish between true vs. false charity?

4. What small, charitable gestures do I tend to neglect?

5. Why am I still falling short in the realm of charity—and why does this matter so much?

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