A reading of the epistles of the New Testament reveals that the apostles were not only deeply concerned that men and women should decide to accept the gospel, but their deepest concern was that those who decided for the gospel should be thoroughly established in the gospel truth and be faithful in living out that truth to the end of their lives. Likewise, God's ministers, as they proclaim His last message today, should be not only deeply concerned to have men decide to accept our message, but deeply concerned that those who accept the message be so established in the truth that they will be faithful to the end, that they may see them saved forever in God's kingdom.
There will always be some who will fall away until the sealing work is done. There were many who started to follow Christ when He was here, and then later fell away when the way became narrow and hard. There were many who fell away in the days of the apostles through sin and error in various forms. But the more thoroughly the minister does his work by the right kind of spiritual effort in the desk and from house to house, and the more thoroughly he establishes people in the message, the smaller will be the number who will fall away afterward. There are hundreds, and perhaps thousands, who have fallen away from this message, and have been dropped from the church records, who would be with us today if they had been thoroughly established in the truth when they first decided to accept the teachings of Seventh-day Adventists.
We find an illustration that is pertinent in John 6:66-69. There came a time when many of Christ's disciples went back and walked no more with Him because they felt that His doctrine was too strict. There were so many who dropped out that it looked as if even the chosen twelve might decide to leave Christ. So Christ asked the question of the twelve, "Will ye also go away?" Peter, as their spokesman, said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? . . . We believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God." They were established in the truth that Jesus Christ was the true Messiah, the only Saviour; hence they could not leave Him. So today, when people are firmly established in present truth as the only true and saving message from God for this hour, they will hold fast to it when the superficial class fall away.
It is self-evident that we cannot thoroughly establish our converts in present truth unless we can lead them to study the Bible for themselves. As a rule, none will ever make solid Seventh-day Adventists unless they do study for themselves. And it is quite a problem in this age to get people to study at all. This is a superficial era in religion and Bible study. It is a spoon-fed, radio age. It is doubtful if five people out of a hundred ever do any real thinking for themselves in regard to what is truth according to the Bible.
We have given considerable thought to a practical plan for use in connection with a series of meetings, that encourages people to study the message for themselves. We believe that the plan we have developed may be found helpful by other workers, hence we are passing it on through the MINISTRY.
We have prepared a series of twenty-eight Bible lessons on the fundamentals of the truth. These lessons are expressly designed to establish people in the essentials of the message. The list of these twenty-eight lessons follows:
1. The Second Coming of Christ.
2. The Millennium.
3. God's Purpose for This World.
4. The Nearness of the Return of Jesus Christ.
7. The Way of Salvation.
8. The Christian's Rule of Life.
9. The Lord's Day.
10. The First Day of the Week in the New Testament.
11. The Change of the Sabbath.
12. The Punishment of the Wicked.
13. The Meaning of Hell.
14. Where Are the Dead?
15. Bible Plan for the Support of God's Work.
16. Bible Temperance.
17. The Most Wonderful Prophecy in the Bible.
18. The Work of Jesus as Our Great High Priest.
19. The Great Day of Judgment.
20. The Present Truth.
21. The Seven Last Plagues.
22. The Seal of the Living God.
23. The Mark of the Beast.
24. How to Keep the Sabbath.
25. Christians in Dress.
27. The True Church.
28. God's Gathering Call.
Each of these lessons has a key letter, and the Bible references are numbered for people to mark in their Bibles.' In this way they can
I. In this system each subject has its own distinct key letters, which stand for that subject. For example :
SC is Second Coming of Christ.
M is Millennium.
NJ is New Jerusalem.
II. On a blank flyleaf at the beginning or close of your Bible. make a list of all subjects that you are marking, with the key letter which run over these subjects any time they wish from their Bible, or they may take their Bible and teach someone else the truth on that particular subject. Each lesson fills one typewritten page 8 x 11 inches of single-spaced matter in elite type. We have given much thought to these lessons, endeavoring to condense the essential points on each of these Biblical subjects into one page of matter. We have endeavored to make the lessons as concise, direct, pointed, and comprehensive as possible. These lessons, with the directions for marking, are prepared in mimeographed form.'
We follow the plan of starting a large Bible class on the study of these lessons in connection with our series of meetings. After the meetings have continued four weeks, the people usually become deeply interested in Bible study, and we feel that by the fifth Monday night the time is opportune to start this large Bible class. We have 150 or 200 sets of these twenty-eight lessons run off on the mimeograph, and purchase a like number of five-cent composition books, size 7 x 10 inches.
The sheet containing the directions for marking, and the twenty-eight lesson sheets, are trimmed down to fit into these composition books. The direction sheet is pasted on page one, and the lessons are to follow in their serial order on the right-hand pages only. We leave
stands for that subject and the first Bible reference with which that lesson begins. For example, you would write on the flyleaf :
SC is Second Coming of Christ, begin Heb. 9 :28.
M is Millennium, begin John 5 :28, 29. List each other subject in the same way, copying just the key letters and the first text of each subject on this flyleaf.
1. Then turn to the first reference on each subject, and write the second reference in the margin. Turn to the second reference and write the third reference in the margin near it, and so OD to the end of the lesson. For example, on the second coming of Christ, after putting the key letters and the first reference on the flyleaf, turn to Hebrews 9 :28, the first reference on the subject, and in the margin near Hebrews 9:28, write 2 SC John 14 :1-3, which means that the second reference on the second coming of Christ is John 14:1-3. Then turn to John 14 :1-3, and in the margin near this put 3 SC Luke 24 :36-43, 50, 51, which is the third reference on this subject. Then turn to Luke 24: 3643, 50. -51, and-write-in the fourth reference 4 SC, and so on to the end. When you come to the last reference, write "End SC."
2. Each subject is to be marked in this same way. Note : Mark only those references in the lesson which are numbered, and always put the number of the text and the key letters in front of the text. Put the texts on the margin in each case as near to the preceding reference as possible so you can pick it up quickly to continue the study. The additional references given in each lesson which are not numbered are not to be marked in your Bible, but are for your personal study as additional Biblical information.
the left-hand pages blank, that the people may jot down any additional notes that they wish to make on various subjects in their regular order.
During the fourth week of our meetings we announce that this series of twenty-eight Bible lessons has been prepared, and that each one who is interested may secure a copy of the same for 20 cents. The composition books contain the directions for marking, and lesson number one is already pasted in the book on page three. The 20 cents entitles the people to receive the remainder of the twenty-eight lessons as they are handed out from week to week.
We announce that we will start this special course on the fifth Monday night of our series of meetings, and that everyone following the plan is to study lesson number one from his own book, and be prepared to answer questions that will be put before the class. On this night we teach the lesson on "The Second Coming of Christ," actually endeavoring to teach rather than preach. At the close of the lesson we give the people the opportunity to present oral or written questions on the subject of the lesson. At the close of this first lesson we give to everyone who has purchased a book a copy of lesson number two, "The Millennium." This lesson is to be pasted on page five, leaving page four blank for any notes they may wish to add on the subject of the millennium when that subject is taught at the next meeting of the class. Then on the sixth Monday night we teach lesson number two, which they have had in hand for a week, giving them opportunity to study it at home. When we teach lesson number two, we give them a copy of lesson number three, to be placed on page seven of their book, leaving page six blank for additional notes on that subject. Thus we continue to the end of the course. Later two or three lessons may be given each week if it is thought best.
We have found that this plan stimulates Bible study on the part of the interested people, and we believe that it is of great value in thoroughly establishing converts in the essentials of the message. This Bible class can be carried along with the series of preaching services from the fifth week on, reserving-Monday night-for this feature, as long as the series of meetings may continue.
On page 22 of this issue one of these Bible studies appears, illustrating the use of the key letters. Any worker wishing a set of these twenty-eight lessons can secure them by addressing the Alabama-Mississippi Conference. inclosing 15 cents in stamps. The conference address is 1703 Twenty-fourth Avenue, Meridian, Miss. These lessons will likewise be available in printed form before long, as issued by the Review and Herald Publishing Association.—Editors.