LandMarks Magazine      
   

December 2009 Table of Contents

 
    January 17, 2010 - January 23, 2010
 
 

Look Away! Look Up!

 

Key Text

   “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” I Peter 1:6, 7.

 

Study Help: Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 29–35.

 

Introduction

   “How often we feel that we have been dealt with unjustly, that things have been said concerning us that were untrue, and that we have been set in a false light before others. When we are thus tried, we shall need to keep strict guard over our spirit and our words. We shall need to have the love of Christ, that we may not cherish an unforgiving spirit.” Sons and Daughters of God, 144.

 

1          Knowing that “persecuted” means harassed or provoked to anger, troubled or annoyed, what blessing is promised to us when we are persecuted for righteousness’ sake? Matthew 5:10.

 

Note: “Consider the life of Moses. Meekness in the midst of murmuring, reproach, and provocation constituted the brightest trait in his character. Daniel was of a humble spirit. Although he was surrounded with distrust and suspicion, and his enemies laid a snare for his life, yet he never deviated from principle. He maintained a serene and cheerful trust in God. Above all, let the life of Christ teach you. When reviled, He reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not. This lesson you must learn, or you will never enter heaven. Christ must be made your strength. In His name you will be more than conqueror. No enchantment against Jacob, nor divination against Israel, will prevail. If your soul is riveted to the eternal Rock, you are safe. Come joy or come sorrow, nothing can sway you from the right.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 368.

   “In all ages Satan has persecuted the people of God. He has tortured them and put them to death, but in dying they became conquerors. They bore witness to the power of One mightier than Satan. Wicked men may torture and kill the body, but they cannot touch the life that is hid with Christ in God. They can incarcerate men and women in prison walls, but they cannot bind the spirit.

   “Through trial and persecution the glory—the character—of God is revealed in His chosen ones. The believers in Christ, hated and persecuted by the world, are educated and disciplined in the school of Christ. On earth they walk in narrow paths; they are purified in the furnace of affliction. They follow Christ through sore conflicts; they endure self-denial and experience bitter disappointments; but thus they learn the guilt and woe of sin, and they look upon it with abhorrence. Being partakers of Christ’s sufferings, they can look beyond the gloom to the glory, saying, ‘I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.’ Romans 8:18.” The Acts of the Apostles, 576, 577.

 

2          As a servant, Whom are we to follow? What also may we be called? Matthew 10:23–25.

 

Note: “The Saviour says, ‘The reproaches of them that reproached Thee are fallen upon Me.’ Psalm 69:9. In like manner they fall upon His disciples.

   “There was never one who walked among men more cruelly slandered than the Son of man. He was derided and mocked because of His unswerving obedience to the principles of God’s holy law. They hated Him without a cause. Yet He stood calmly before His enemies, declaring that reproach is a part of the Christian’s legacy, counseling His followers how to meet the arrows of malice, bidding them not to faint under persecution.

   “While slander may blacken the reputation, it cannot stain the character. That is in God’s keeping. So long as we do not consent to sin, there is no power, whether human or satanic, that can bring a stain upon the soul. A man whose heart is stayed upon God is just the same in the hour of his most afflicting trials and most discouraging surroundings as when he was in prosperity, when the light and favor of God seemed to be upon him. His words, his motives, his actions, may be misrepresented and falsified, but he does not mind it, because he has greater interests at stake. Like Moses, he endures as ‘seeing Him who is invisible’ (Hebrews 11:27); looking ‘not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen’ (II Corinthians 4:18).” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 31, 32.

 

3          How are we to respond when we are reviled, which means despised or verbally abused?  I Peter 2:23; Proverbs 19:11.

 

Note: “How often we feel that we have been dealt with unjustly, that things have been said concerning us that were untrue, and that we have been set in a false light before others. When we are thus tried, we shall need to keep strict guard over our spirit and our words. We shall need to have the love of Christ, that we may not cherish an unforgiving spirit.” Sons and Daughters of God, 144.

 

4          What did Jesus teach us in His prayer about cherishing our grievances and sympathizing with ourselves? Why is that so important? Matthew 6:15–18.

 

Note: “However sorely they may have wounded us, we are not to cherish our grievances and sympathize with ourselves over our injuries, but as we hope to be pardoned for our offenses against God, so must we pardon those who have done evil to us … When we are reviled, how strong is the temptation to revile in return, but in doing this we show ourselves as bad as the reviler. When tempted to revile, send up a silent prayer that God will give you His grace, and keep the tongue in silence.” Sons and Daughters of God, 144.

 

5          What are the sufferings for this time not worthy to be compared with? How long do they last? Romans 8:18; II Corinthians 4:17.

 

Note: “The eye of faith alone can look beyond the things of time to estimate aright the worth of the eternal riches.” The Acts of the Apostles, 575, 576.

   “I have been shown that in the future we shall see how closely all our trials were connected with our salvation, and how these light afflictions worked out for us ‘a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory’ [II Corinthians 4:17].” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1099.

 

6          Our minds are not to dwell upon what things and why? II Corinthians 4:18.

 

Note: “Our minds take the level of the things on which our thoughts dwell, and if we think upon earthly things, we shall fail to take the impress of that which is heavenly. We would be greatly benefited by contemplating the mercy, goodness, and love of God; but we sustain great loss by dwelling upon those things which are earthly and temporal. We allow sorrow and care and perplexity to attract our minds to earth, and we magnify a molehill into a mountain. …

   “Temporal things are not to engage our whole attention, or engross our minds until our thoughts are entirely of the earth and the earthly. We are to train, discipline, and educate the mind so that we may think in a heavenly channel, that we may dwell on things unseen and eternal, which will be discerned by spiritual vision. It is by seeing Him who is invisible that we may obtain strength of mind and vigor of spirit.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1100.

 

7          What has our Lord promised us which is far better than being exempted from trials? Deuteronomy 33:25; II Corinthians 12:9.

 

Note: “While the Lord has not promised His people exemption from trials, He has promised that which is far better. He has said, ‘As thy days, so shall thy strength be.’ ‘My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Deuteronomy 33:25; II Corinthians 12:9. If you are called to go through the fiery furnace for His sake, Jesus will be by your side even as He was with the faithful three in Babylon. Those who love their Redeemer will rejoice at every opportunity of sharing with Him humiliation and reproach. The love they bear their Lord makes suffering for His sake sweet.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 30.

 

8          When the apostles were persecuted, what was their response? Acts 5:41.

 

Note: “As priests and rulers combined against them, and they were brought before councils and thrust into prison, the followers of Christ rejoiced ‘that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.’ Acts 5:41. They rejoiced to prove, before men and angels, that they recognized the glory of Christ, and chose to follow Him at the loss of all things.

   “It is as true now as in apostolic days, that without the illumination of the divine Spirit, humanity cannot discern the glory of Christ. The truth and the work of God are unappreciated by a world-loving and compromising Christianity. Not in the ways of ease, of earthly honor or worldly conformity, are the followers of the Master found. They are far in advance, in the paths of toil, and humiliation, and reproach, in the front of the battle ‘against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.’ Ephesians 6:12, R. V. And now, as in Christ’s day, they are misunderstood and reproached and oppressed by the priests and Pharisees of their time.” The Desire of Ages, 508, 509.

 

9          If we are truly dead to self and risen with Christ, what effect does that have on us and those around us? Colossians 3:1–3, 12–14.

 

Note: “The soul that loves God, rises above the fog of doubt; he gains a bright, broad, deep, living experience, and becomes meek and Christlike. His soul is committed to God, hid with Christ in God. He will be able to stand the test of neglect, of abuse and contempt, because his Saviour has suffered all this. He will not become fretful and discouraged when difficulties press him, because Jesus did not fail or become discouraged. Every true Christian will be strong, not in the strength and merit of his good works, but in the righteousness of Christ, which through faith is imputed unto him. It is a great thing to be meek and lowly in heart, to be pure and undefiled, as was the Prince of heaven when He walked among men.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 907.

 

10        What shield are we to take above anything else and without which it is impossible to please God? Ephesians 6:16; Hebrews 11:6.

 

Note: “When self is hid in Jesus, we are shielded from the darts of the enemy.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, 908.

 

Additional Reading

 

   “Jesus does not present to His followers the hope of attaining earthly glory and riches, of living a life free from trial. Instead He calls upon them to follow Him in the path of self-denial and reproach. He who came to redeem the world was opposed by the united forces of evil. In an unpitying confederacy, evil men and evil angels arrayed themselves against the Prince of Peace. His every word and act revealed divine compassion, and His unlikeness to the world provoked the bitterest hostility.

   “So it will be with all who will live godly in Christ Jesus. Persecution and reproach await all who are imbued with the Spirit of Christ. The character of the persecution changes with the times, but the principle—the spirit that underlies it—is the same that has slain the chosen of the Lord ever since the days of Abel.” The Acts of the Apostles, 576.

   “There was never one who walked among men more cruelly slandered than the Son of man. He was derided and mocked because of His unswerving obedience to the principles of God’s holy law. They hated Him without a cause. Yet He stood calmly before His enemies, declaring that reproach is a part of the Christian’s legacy, counseling His followers how to meet the arrows of malice, bidding them not to faint under persecution.

   “While slander may blacken the reputation, it cannot stain the character. That is in God’s keeping. So long as we do not consent to sin, there is no power, whether human or satanic, that can bring a stain upon the soul. A man whose heart is stayed upon God is just the same in the hour of his most afflicting trials and most discouraging surroundings as when he was in prosperity, when the light and favor of God seemed to be upon him. His words, his motives, his actions, may be misrepresented and falsified, but he does not mind it, because he has greater interests at stake. Like Moses, he endures as ‘seeing Him who is invisible’ (Hebrews 11:27); looking ‘not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen’ (II Corinthians 4:18).

   “Christ is acquainted with all that is misunderstood and misrepresented by men. His children can afford to wait in calm patience and trust, no matter how much maligned and despised; for nothing is secret that shall not be made manifest, and those who honor God shall be honored by Him in the presence of men and angels.” Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, 32.

 

   
   

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