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February 2008 Table of Contents

 
    March 23, 2008 - March 29, 2008
 
 

A Special Invitation

A Special Invitation

 

Key Text

“Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.”  Romans 8:30.

 

Study Help:  The Desire of Ages, 328–332.

 

Introduction

“Calling and justification are not one and the same thing.  Calling is the drawing of the sinner to Christ, and it is a work wrought by the Holy Spirit upon the heart, convicting of sin, and inviting to repentance.”  Selected Messages, Book 1, 390.

 

1          What invitation does Jesus Christ send to all of us?  Matthew 11:28.

Note:   “And to those who are longing for rest and peace today just as truly as to those who listened to His words in Judea, He is saying, ‘Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’  [Matthew 11:28.]”  “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1103.

“Turning from the ambitious, self-satisfied favorites of this world, He declared that those were blessed who, however great their need, would receive His light and love.  To the poor in spirit, the sorrowing, the persecuted, He stretched out His arms, saying, ‘Come unto Me, …. and I will give you rest.’  Matthew 11:28.”  Education, 79, 80.

 

2          What is the relationship between Christ’s invitation and the Sabbath?  Isaiah 58:13, 14.

Note:  “And the Lord says, ‘If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on My holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honorable; … then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord.’  Isaiah 58:13, 14.  To all who receive the Sabbath as a sign of Christ’s creative and redeeming power, it will be a delight.  Seeing Christ in it, they delight themselves in Him.”  The Desire of Ages, 289.

 

3          What does Christ offer us together with His invitation?  Matthew 11:29.

Note:  “‘Take My yoke upon you,’ Jesus says.  The yoke is an instrument of service.  Cattle are yoked for labor, and the yoke is essential that they may labor effectually.  By this illustration Christ teaches us that we are called to service as long as life shall last.  We are to take upon us His yoke, that we may be coworkers with Him.

“The yoke that binds to service is the law of God.  The great law of love revealed in Eden, proclaimed upon Sinai, and in the new covenant written in the heart, is that which binds the human worker to the will of God.  If we were left to follow our own inclinations, to go just where our will would lead us, we should fall into Satan’s ranks and become possessors of his attributes.  Therefore God confines us to His will, which is high, and noble, and elevating.  He desires that we shall patiently and wisely take up the duties of service.  The yoke of service Christ Himself has borne in humanity.  He said, ‘I delight to do Thy will, O My God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.’  Psalm 40:8.  ‘I came down from heaven, not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me.  John 6:38.”  The Desire of Ages, 329, 330.

“When you find your work hard, when you complain of difficulties and trials, when you say that you have no strength to withstand temptation, that you cannot overcome impatience, and that the Christian life is uphill work, be sure that you are not bearing the yoke of Christ; you are bearing the yoke of another master.”  Child Guidance, 267.

 

4          What is Christ willing to teach us?  Matthew 11:29.

Note:  “We are to enter the school of Christ, to learn from Him meekness and lowliness.  Redemption is that process by which the soul is trained for heaven.  This training means a knowledge of Christ.  It means emancipation from ideas, habits, and practices that have been gained in the school of the prince of darkness.  The soul must be delivered from all that is opposed to loyalty to God.

“In the heart of Christ, where reigned perfect harmony with God, there was perfect peace.  He was never elated by applause, nor dejected by censure or disappointment.  Amid the greatest opposition and the most cruel treatment, He was still of good courage.”  The Desire of Ages, 330.

 

5          What does Christ mean when He says, “My yoke is easy”?  Matthew 11:30.

Note:  “The yoke is placed upon the oxen to aid them in drawing the load, to lighten the burden.  So with the yoke of Christ.  When our will is swallowed up in the will of God, and we use His gifts to bless others, we shall find life’s burden light.  He who walks in the way of God’s commandments is walking in company with Christ, and in His love the heart is at rest.  When Moses prayed, ‘Show me now Thy way, that I may know Thee,’ the Lord answered him, ‘My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.’  And through the prophets the message was given, ‘Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.’  Exodus 33:13, 14; Jeremiah 6:16.  And He says, ‘O that thou hadst hearkened to My commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea.’  Isaiah 48:18.”  The Desire of Ages, 331.

 

6          What words does John employ to utter the same message?  1 John 5:3.

Note:  “In the new birth the heart is brought into harmony with God, as it is brought into accord with His law.  When this mighty change has taken place in the sinner, he has passed from death unto life, from sin unto holiness, from transgression and rebellion to obedience and loyalty.  The old life of alienation from God has ended; the new life of reconciliation, of faith and love, has begun.  Then ‘the righteousness of the law’ will ‘be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.’  Romans 8:4.  And the language of the soul will be: ‘O how love I Thy law! it is my meditation all the day.’  Psalm 119:97.

“‘The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.’  Psalm 19:7.  Without the law, men have no just conception of the purity and holiness of God or of their own guilt and uncleanness.  They have no true conviction of sin and feel no need of repentance.  Not seeing their lost condition as violators of God’s law, they do not realize their need of the atoning blood of Christ.  The hope of salvation is accepted without a radical change of heart or reformation of life.  Thus superficial conversions abound, and multitudes are joined to the church who have never been united to Christ.”  The Great Controversy, 468.

 

7          What is the main hindrance that has prevented our entrance into the heavenly Canaan?  Hebrews 3:18, 19.

Note:  “It was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be … delayed.  God did not design that His people, Israel, should wander forty years in the wilderness.  He promised to lead them directly to the land of Canaan, and establish them there a holy, healthy, happy people.  But those to whom it was first preached, went not in ‘because of unbelief.’  Their hearts were filled with murmuring, rebellion, and hatred, and He could not fulfill His covenant with them. 

“For forty years did unbelief, murmuring, and rebellion shut out ancient Israel from the land of Canaan.  The same sins have delayed the entrance of modern Israel into the heavenly Canaan.  In neither case were the promises of God at fault.  It is the unbelief, the worldliness, unconsecration, and strife among the Lord’s professed people that have kept us in this world of sin and sorrow so many years.

“We may have to remain here in this world because of insubordination many more years, as did the children of Israel; but for Christ’s sake, His people should not add sin to sin by charging God with the consequence of their own wrong course of action.”  Evangelism, 696.

 

8          On the other hand, how can we enter into Christ’s rest?  Hebrews 4:1–3.

Note:  “It is not a conclusive evidence that a man is a Christian because he manifests spiritual ecstasy under extraordinary circumstances.  Holiness is not rapture: it is an entire surrender of the will to God; it is living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God; it is doing the will of our heavenly Father; it is trusting God in trial, in darkness as well as in the light; it is walking by faith and not by sight; it is relying on God with unquestioning confidence, and resting in His love.”  The Acts of the Apostles, 51.

“By giving the gospel to the world it is in our power to hasten our Lord’s return.”  The Desire of Ages, 633.

 

9          What is the fruit of entering into Christ’s rest?  Hebrews 4:10, 11.

Note:  “[Hebrews 4:9, 11 quoted.]  The rest here spoken of is the rest of grace, obtained by following the prescription, Labor diligently.  Those who learn of Jesus, His meekness and lowliness, find rest in the experience of practicing His lessons.  It is not in indolence, in selfish ease and pleasure-seeking, that rest is obtained.  Those who are unwilling to give the Lord faithful, earnest, loving service will not find spiritual rest in this life or in the life to come.  Only from earnest labor comes peace and joy in the Holy Spirit—happiness on earth and glory hereafter.”  “Ellen G. White Comments,” Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 928.

 

10        What is the final rest reserved for God’s people?  Revelation 7:15–17.

Note:  “As through Jesus we enter into rest, heaven begins here.  We respond to His invitation, Come, learn of Me, and in thus coming we begin the life eternal.  Heaven is a ceaseless approaching to God through Christ.  The longer we are in the heaven of bliss, the more and still more of glory will be opened to us; and the more we know of God, the more intense will be our happiness.  As we walk with Jesus in this life, we may be filled with His love, satisfied with His presence.  All that human nature can bear, we may receive here.”  The Desire of Ages, 331, 332.

 

Additional Reading:

“The Lord God has provided a banquet for the whole human race.  It is represented in the parable as a great supper where there is provided a festival for every soul.  All connected with this supper may enjoy the heavenly feast, which is the gospel.  This feast is open to all who will receive it.  All are invited and urged to come. …

“All who are partakers of the wedding feast, the gospel feast, by this act say that they have accepted Christ as their personal Saviour.  They wear His distinguishing dress.  They have accepted the truth as it is in Jesus, which is the robe of Christ’s righteousness.  Only those do honor to Christ who accept the invitation, ‘Come, for all things are now ready; come to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’  These put on the white linen, the clean, pure character, showing that they no longer live their old citizen life that they lived in their ignorance.  Their speech is changed.  Their conversation is in altogether another line. …

“All who have the light of the Word presented to them are highly favored.  That Word is the bread of life to those who eat of it.  ‘In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.’  Luke 10:21.

“The priests and scribes and rulers were so self-sufficient that they would not heed the words of Christ.  They were convicted, their understanding was convinced, but they would not receive the Sent of God.  They had been privileged with every temporal and spiritual advantage, but Christ looked upon them as rejecters of all the mercy and compassion and tenderness and love that He had come to the world to bring them.  They turned away from the light and evidence that Christ had given them, and scorned His mercy.  He looked upon them with yearning desire, and said, ‘Even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight’ (verse 21).  He was grieved that the people most favored upon the face of the earth should be the very ones to deny Him and refuse His offer of everlasting life. 

“There is to be a constant advancement on our part.  The revelation of the Father to the human agent will be such a revelation that the mind can take hold of and comprehend.  All who follow on steadfastly to know the truth as it is in Jesus will know that there is still more to be learned.  Expansion, development, an increase of faith and holiness, will give us an experience in the religious life, and this is the law of the Christian life.”  The Upward Look, 304.

 

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia.  Reprinted by permission.

   
   

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