August 6, 2006 – August 12, 2006
“And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this [is] our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this [is] the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” Isaiah 25:9.
Study Help: God’s Amazing Grace, 353.
“By waiting and watching, God’s people are to manifest their peculiar character, their separation from the world. By our watching position we are to show that we are truly strangers and pilgrims upon the earth. The difference between those who love the world and those who love Christ is so plain as to be unmistakable. While worldlings are all earnestness and ambition to secure earthly treasure, God’s people are not conformed to the world, but show by their earnest, watching, waiting position that they are transformed; that their home is not in this world, but that they are seeking a better country, even a heavenly.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 194.
1 What will the Lord’s people exclaim when He returns? Isaiah 25:9.
note: “Christ is coming with power and great glory. He is coming with His own glory and with the glory of the Father. He is coming with all the holy angels with Him. While all the world is plunged in darkness, there will be light in every dwelling of the saints. They will catch the first light of His second appearing. The unsullied light will shine from His splendor, and Christ the Redeemer will be admired by all who have served Him. While the wicked flee from His presence, Christ’s followers will rejoice. The patriarch Job, looking down to the time of Christ’s second advent, said, ‘Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not a stranger.’ Job 19:27, margin. To His faithful followers Christ has been a daily companion and familiar friend. They have lived in close contact, in constant communion with God. Upon them the glory of the Lord has risen. In them the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ has been reflected. Now they rejoice in the undimmed rays of the brightness and glory of the King in His majesty. They are prepared for the communion of heaven; for they have heaven in their hearts.
“With uplifted heads, with the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness shining upon them, with rejoicing that their redemption draweth nigh, they go forth to meet the Bridegroom, saying, ‘Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us.’ Isaiah 25:9.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 420, 421.
2 Will the people of God know that Christ’s coming is near? Matthew 24:32, 33.
note: “Christ has given signs of His coming. He declares that we may know when He is near, even at the doors. He says of those who see these signs, ‘This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.’ [Matthew 24:34.] These signs have appeared. Now we know of a surety that the Lord’s coming is at hand. ‘Heaven and earth shall pass away,’ He says, ‘but My words shall not pass away.’ [Verse 35.]
“Christ is coming with clouds and with great glory. A multitude of shining angels will attend Him. He will come to raise the dead, and to change the living saints from glory to glory. He will come to honor those who have loved Him, and kept His commandments, and to take them to Himself. He has not forgotten them nor His promise. There will be a relinking of the family chain. When we look upon our dead, we may think of the morning when the trump of God shall sound, when ‘the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.’ 1 Corinthians 15:52. A little longer, and we shall see the King in His beauty. A little longer, and He will wipe all tears from our eyes. A little longer, and He will present us ‘faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy.’ Jude 24. Wherefore, when He gave the signs of His coming He said, ‘When these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.’ [Luke 21:28.]” The Desire of Ages, 632.
3 Will the redeemed know the exact time of Christ’s coming? Mark 13:32, 33.
note: “You are not to know the day or the hour of the Lord’s appearing, for this has not been revealed, and let none speculate on that which has not been given him to understand. Let everyone work upon that which has been placed in his hands, doing the daily duties that God requires.
“When the Lord shall bid us make no further effort to build meetinghouses and establish schools, sanitariums, and publishing institutions, it will be time for us to fold our hands and let the Lord close up the work; but now is our opportunity to show our zeal for God and our love for humanity.
“We are to be partners in the work of God throughout the world; wherever there are souls to be saved, we are to lend our help, that many sons and daughters may be brought to God. The end is near, and for this reason we are to make the most of every entrusted ability and every agency that shall offer help to the work.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 440.
4 What counsel does Christ give to those waiting for Him to come? Luke 12:35.
note: “You cannot afford to sacrifice heaven or to jeopardize your safety. Do not let the deceitfulness of riches lead you to neglect the immortal treasure. Satan is a wily foe, and he is ever on your track, striving to ensnare you and compass your ruin. We are in the waiting time; let your loins be girded about and your lights shining, that you may wait for the Lord when He returns from the wedding, that when He comes and knocks you may open unto Him immediately.
“Watch, brethren, the first dimming of your light, the first neglect of prayer, the first symptom of spiritual slumber. ‘He that endureth to the end shall be saved.’ [Matthew 10:22.] It is by the constant exercise of faith and love that believers are made to shine as lights in the world. You are making but poor preparation for the Master’s coming if you are serving mammon while professedly serving God. When He appears, you must then present to Him the talents that you have buried in the earth, talents neglected, abused, misused—a divided love.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 123, 124.
“Our workers should now be encouraged to give their first attention to books that deal with the evidences of our faith, which teach the doctrines of the Bible, and will prepare a people to stand in the trying times before us. Having brought a people to the enlightenment of the truth by prayerful labor in Bible instruction, and through a wise use of our publications, we are to teach them to become laborers in word and doctrine. We are to encourage them to scatter the books that deal with Bible subjects, and whose teachings will prepare a people to stand, having their loins girded with truth, and their lamps burning.” Review and Herald, July 30, 1908.
5 Describe the circumstances from which this figure (Luke 12:35) was drawn. Exodus 12:11, 12.
note: “The Jews had been strictly enjoined to celebrate the Passover. This had been instituted at the time of their deliverance from Egypt. Then the children of Israel ate the Passover supper in haste, with their loins girded, and with their staves in their hands, ready for their journey. The manner in which they celebrated this ordinance harmonized with their condition; for they had been thrust out of the land of Egypt, and were about to begin a painful and difficult journey through the wilderness.” Review and Herald, November 4, 1902.
6 Can such a position as described in Luke 12:35 be held without others knowing it? Consider Matthew 25:8–10.
note: “What is our position in the world? We are in the waiting time. But this period is not to be spent in abstract devotion. Waiting, watching, and vigilant working are to be combined. Our life should not be all bustle and drive and planning about the things of the world, to the neglect of personal piety and of the service that God requires. While we should not be slothful in business, we should be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. The lamp of the soul must be trimmed, and we must have the oil of grace in our vessels with our lamps. Every precaution must be used to prevent spiritual declension, lest the day of the Lord overtake us as a thief. That day is not to be put far off; it is near, and no man should say, even in his heart, much less by his works, ‘My Lord delayeth His coming,’ lest for so doing his portion be appointed with hypocrites and unbelievers. [Matthew 24:48.] . . .
“God’s people are in great peril; many are dwellers upon the earth; their interest and affections are centered in the world. Their example is not right. The world is deceived by the course pursued by many who profess great and noble truths. Our responsibility is in accordance with the light given, the graces and gifts bestowed. On the workers whose talents, whose means, whose opportunities and abilities, are greatest rests the heaviest responsibility.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 276, 277.
7 How are those described who do not receive God’s truths? 1 Thessalonians 5:5–7.
note: “The Spirit of God is continually impressing the minds of men to seek for those things which alone will give peace and rest—the higher, holier joys of heaven. Christ, the Lord of life and glory, gave His life to redeem man from Satan’s power. Our Saviour is constantly at work, through influences seen and unseen, to attract the minds of men from the unsatisfying pleasures of this life to the priceless treasure which may be theirs in the immortal future.
“God would have His people, in words and in deportment, declare to the world that no earthly attractions or worldly possessions are of sufficient value to compensate for the loss of the heavenly inheritance. Those who are truly children of the light and of the day will not be vain or frivolous in conversation, in dress, or in deportment, but sober, contemplative, constantly exerting an influence to attract souls to the Redeemer. The love of Christ, reflected from the cross, is pleading in behalf of the sinner, drawing him by cords of infinite love to the peace and happiness found in our Saviour. God enjoins upon all His followers to bear a living testimony in unmistakable language by their conduct, their dress and conversation, in all the pursuits of life, that the power of true godliness is profitable to all in this life and in the life to come; that this alone can satisfy the soul of the receiver.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 580, 581.
8 What special instruction does the Saviour give to His people in view of His soon coming? Luke 12:35, 36.
note: “We are travelers, pilgrims and strangers, on earth. Let us not spend our means in gratifying desires that God bids us repress. Let us rather set a right example before our associates. Let us fitly represent our faith by restricting our wants. Let the churches arise as one, and work earnestly as those who are walking in the full light of truth for these last days. Let your influence impress souls with the sacredness of God’s requirements.
“If in the Providence of God you have been given riches, do not settle down with the thought that you need not engage in useful labor, that you have enough, and can eat, drink, and be merry. Do not stand idle while others are struggling to obtain means for the cause. Invest your means in the Lord’s work. If you do less than your duty in giving help to the perishing, remember that your indolence is incurring guilt.
“It is God who gives men power to get wealth, and He has bestowed this ability, not as a means of gratifying self, but as a means of returning to God His own. With this object it is not a sin to acquire means. Money is to be earned by labor. Every youth should be trained to habits of industry. The Bible condemns no man for being rich if he has acquired his riches honestly. It is the selfish love of money wrongfully employed that is the root of all evil. Wealth will prove a blessing if we regard it as the Lord’s, to be received with thankfulness and with thankfulness returned to the Giver.
“But of what value is untold wealth if it is hoarded in expensive mansions or in bank stocks? What do these weigh in comparison with the salvation of one soul for whom the Son of the infinite God has died?
“To those who have heaped together treasure for the last days the Lord declares: [James 5:2, 3 quoted].” Testimonies, vol. 6, 452, 453.