Thursday, April 01, 2010

"Praise God From Whom All Blessings Flow"

What a blessing this quarter will be as the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church focuses its study on one of God‟s greatest gifts—the health message.

With our lesson‟s author we yearn for a clearer understanding of the cross of Christ. We pray the lessons this quarter will motivate each one of us to live for Christ and study to know how to share this life-giving message.

This past weekend we witnessed first hand what happens when the health message is proclaimed in concert with the gospel to unbelievers. We live in a town that is more New Age and Buddhist than it is Christian. People don‟t think they are interested in the Bible, but the health message has a universal appeal. This weekend many of them listened as an Adventist physician powerfully presented the loving character of God in giving us guidelines for healthful living. Unbelievers left the meetings with faces alight with joy! They loved the Bible texts. They appreciated the caring way in which the messages were presented. The health message is the gospel in shoes. Everyone needs it, and everyone who follows it will be blessed, even if only in this life.

Our lesson this week lays the foundation for the health message by sharing several gospel principles.

We will never be effective missionaries for God so long as we are trying to get heavenly credit for our witnessing endeavors. The age-old discussion about faith and works and merit evaporates in the bright light streaming from the cross of Christ. It is all Him. Christ gave up everything to save us.

As we work to save the lost, we are doing the work of Christ. Consider this:

“Christ did not confine his good offices to those who had living, saving faith in him, or who would be his disciples. He „went about doing good‟ (Acts 10:38) because that was his nature. „God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself‟ (2 Cor. 5:12). It is the goodness of God that leads men to repentance (Rom. 2:4); and so Christ, in the fullness of his love and goodness, went about a blessing to all. How often we read that „he was moved with compassion.‟ He could not see suffering without wishing to alleviate it; and so he healed all who would allow him to do anything for them. Some were drawn by his goodness to believe in him to the saving of their souls, while others forgot him. Thus it is now; but if we consider Jesus in this light, as doing good to all, and not simply to those who were or would be his disciples, and then remember that this was but a manifestation of the love of God, we shall have a higher appreciation of that love, and will the more readily incline to yield to such unselfish goodness” (E. J. Waggoner, Signs of the Times, August 11, 1890).

There is no greater joy in this life than that found in laboring to save souls. We don‟t do this because we have to, but because of how precious these dear people are to Jesus. He longs for every one to be saved. If our efforts to save the many result in saving only a few, how much better than if we venture nothing at all.

"‟We love, because He first loved us‟ (1 John 4:19, RV). This is the literal rendering, instead of, „We love Him, because He first loved us‟ (1 John 4:19, KJV). While this is true, it is not the whole truth, as given in the text. The love of God causes us to love, not Him alone, but all men. But for the love of God, there would be no love whatever in the world” (E.J. Waggoner, The Present Truth, Volume 11, December 5,1895).

The gospel does not begin with “I”, but with Christ. Before I loved, He loved. Before time began, every person ever born on this planet had a special place in the heart of God.
“When you and I come to the very heart of health reform, which is the heart of God, we shall find that self-denial is not in the mention; for the happiness of life, the joy of life, the joy of eating, the joy of breathing, the joy of exercising, will be so great that that which we thought was self-denial, in cutting off this and that bad thing, is altogether lost sight of in the joy of the richness that we receive as we take the life. Then life will be worth living. God wants a people prepared by this message whose joy will be full, not those who will go about mourning and sad” (E. J. Waggoner, General Conference Daily Bulletin, April 14, 1901).

Praise God for the privilege and weighty responsibility of sharing Christ with our sick and dying world. Jesus is coming soon! As we seek to lift Him up, our own cold, selfish hearts will be made tender by His love.

Patti Guthrie
Sabbath School Today