September 3-9, 2000
MEMORY VERSE: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.” 2 Timothy 4:2.
STUDY HELP: Evangelism, 431–455.
INTRODUCTION: “…to be instant ‘out of season’ is to be ready, when at the fireside, in the field, by the wayside, in the market, to turn the minds of men, in a suitable manner, to the great themes of the Bible, with tender, fervent spirit urging upon them the claims of God. Many, many such opportunities are allowed to slip by unimproved, because men are persuaded that it is out of season. But who knows what might be the effect of a wise appeal to the conscience?” Gospel Workers, 186, 187.
“In Every House They Ceased Not to Teach”
1 How did Peter show his readiness to respond to those seeking for truth? Acts 10:29.
NOTE: “If one half of the sermonizing were done, and double the amount of personal labor given to souls in their homes and in the congregations, a result would be seen that would be surprising.” Evangelism, 430.
“There are families who will never be reached by the truth of God’s Word unless His servants enter their homes, and by earnest ministry, sanctified by the endorsement of the Holy Spirit, break down the barriers. As the people see that these workers are messengers of mercy, the ministers of grace, they are ready to listen to the words spoken by them.… When such a worker offers prayer to God in the family where he is visiting, the hearts of the members are touched as they would not be by prayer offered in a public assembly. Angels of God enter the family circle with him; and the minds of the hearers are prepared to receive the Word of God; for if the messenger is humble and contrite, if he has a living connection with God, the Holy Spirit takes the Word, and shows it to those for whom he is laboring.” Ibid., 435, 436.
2 Where did the early Christians teach the message of Jesus? Acts 5:42; Acts 20:20; Acts 28:30, 31.
NOTE: “To all who are working with Christ I would say, Wherever you can gain access to the people by the fireside, improve your opportunity. Take your Bible, and open before them its great truths. Your success will not depend so much upon your knowledge and accomplishments, as upon your ability to find your way to the heart. By being social and coming close to the people, you may turn the current of their thoughts more readily than by the most able discourse. The presentation of Christ in the family, by the fireside, and in small gatherings in private houses, is often more successful in winning souls to Jesus than are sermons delivered in the open air, to the moving throng, or even in halls or churches.” Evangelism, 436, 437.
“On the Sabbath Day We Spake unto the Women”
3 What opportunity for witness did Paul and Silas take? Acts 16:13.
NOTE: “Our Sabbath schools are not what the Lord would have them to be, for there is altogether too much dependence placed upon form and machinery, while the life-giving power of God is not manifested for the conversion of souls, for whom Christ died. This order of things must be changed if our Sabbath schools meet the purpose for which they exist. We must have consecrated teachers, who love God supremely and their neighbors as themselves. The Lord has made ample provision that teachers may have increased ability from Sabbath to Sabbath, that they may teach to some purpose, working as for time and eternity. We need in our schools young men and women who have vital godliness, not a cheap, superficial experience, but a deep inward piety that results from learning daily in the school of Christ, that they may impart to others the precious lessons which Christ has taught them.” Testimonies on Sabbath School Work, 41.
4 To what use did Paul put the Sabbath meetings? Acts 18:4.
NOTE: “Some may be listening to the last sermon they will ever hear, and some will never again be so situated that they can have the chain of truth brought before them, and a practical application made of it to their hearts. That golden opportunity lost, is lost forever. Had Christ and His redeeming love been exalted in connection with the theory of truth, it might have balanced them on His side. With an unction of the Holy Spirit upon him, giving him a burden for souls, he [the preacher] will not dismiss a congregation without presenting before them Jesus Christ, the sinner’s only refuge, making earnest appeals that will reach their hearts. He should feel that he may never meet these hearers again until the great day of God. In every discourse fervent appeals should be made to the people to forsake their sins and turn to Christ.” Evangelism, 280.
“They Talked Together”
5 What opportunity did Jesus take to witness? Luke 24:15–17.
NOTE: See Acts of the Apostles, 503 and Counsels on Health, 435.
6 How did Philip use an encounter on the road? Acts 8:27–30.
NOTE: See Christ’s Object Lessons, 338, 339.
“Brought Before Kings and Rulers for My Name’s Sake”
7 How did the apostles speak when brought before rulers? Acts 4:8–12, 19, 20; Acts 5:29–32.
NOTE: “We may know that if our life is hid with Christ in God, when we are brought into trial because of our faith, Jesus will be with us. When we are brought before rulers and dignitaries to answer for our faith, the Spirit of the Lord will illuminate our understanding, and we shall be able to bear a testimony to the glory of God. And if we are called to suffer for Christ’s sake, we shall be able to go to prison trusting in Him as a little child trusts in its parents. Now is the time to cultivate faith in God.” Our High Calling, 357.
8 What counsel are we given for such occasions? Luke 12:11, 12.
NOTE: “We have nothing to do with the government’s actions. It is our duty to obey God, and when they arrest you, take no thought what you shall do. What you are to do is to follow Christ step by step. We need not commence weeks beforehand to examine the question and plan out what we will do when they do so and so, neither what we are to say. Study the truth, and the Spirit of the Lord will bring to your remembrance what you shall say.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 68.
9 What opportunity did Paul find for witness even in prison? Acts 16:25, 30, 34.
NOTE: “…consider Luther in his Wartburg prison. His enemies exulted in his absence; for the light of the gospel seemed about to be extinguished. But instead of this the Reformer was filling his lamp from the storehouse of truth; and its light was to shine forth with brighter radiance. While in prison Luther’s pen was never idle. While his enemies flattered themselves that he was silenced, they were astonished and confused by tangible proof that he was still alive. A host of tracts, issuing from his pen, circulated throughout Germany. He also performed a most important service for his countrymen by translating the New Testament into the German tongue.” Review and Herald, May 30, 1912.
“I Will Pour Out My Spirit”
10 What promise of divine help is given to God’s people? Acts 2:17–20.
NOTE: See Acts of the Apostles, 54.
11 In order to receive the Holy Spirit’s power, what must we do? Zechariah 10:1. (See James 5:7, 8.)
NOTE: “We are called to proclaim the special truths for this time. For all this the outpouring of the Spirit is essential. We should pray for it. The Lord expects us to ask Him. We have not been wholehearted in this work.” Testimonies to Ministers, 511, 512.
“‘Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain.’ Do not rest satisfied that in the ordinary course of the season, rain will fall. Ask for it. The growth and perfection of the seed rests not with the husbandman. God alone can ripen the harvest. But man’s cooperation is required. God’s work for us demands the action of our mind, the exercise of our faith. We must seek His favors with the whole heart if the showers of grace are to come to us. We should improve every opportunity of placing ourselves in the channel of blessing. Christ has said, ‘Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst.’ The convocations of the church, as in camp meetings, the assemblies of the home church, and all occasions where there is personal labor for souls, are God’s appointed opportunities for giving the early and the latter rain.…Let us, with contrite hearts, pray most earnestly that now, in the time of the latter rain, the showers of grace may fall upon us. At every meeting we attend our prayers should ascend, that at this very time God will impart warmth and moisture to our souls. As we seek God for the Holy Spirit, it will work in us meekness, humbleness of mind, a conscious dependence upon God for the perfecting latter rain. If we pray for the blessing in faith, we shall receive it as God has promised.” Testimonies to Ministers, 508, 509.
12 What was the reaction of many when the Holy Spirit was first poured out? Acts 2:12, 13.
NOTE: “Only those who are living up to the light they have will receive greater light. Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognize the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it.” Testimonies to Ministers, 507.
“Those who make no decided effort, but simply wait for the Holy Spirit to compel them to action, will perish in darkness. You are not to sit still and do nothing in the work of God. The Southern Watchman, December 1, 1903.
“Are we hoping to see the whole church revived? That time will never come. There are persons in the church who are not converted, and who will not unite in earnest, prevailing prayer. We must enter upon the work individually. We must pray more, and talk less.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 122.