By: Louise C. Kleuser
The responsibility for establishing the new believer in Christ does not rest entirely with the evangelistic workers who made the contact. The convert himself must put forth every effort to become well grounded in his new-found faith. He is a babe in the truth, and will continue to grow into the full stature of Christian manhood only as he avails himself of the means of grace provided for him. The goal ahead is holiness. Spirit, soul, and body must be sanctified, and the added light he has recently received will vitalize his religious experience.
Growth in Christ will come as the new member makes progress in his private devotions and in Bible study. He must learn to exercise his spiritual powers by using his talents for the salvation of souls and by participating in the various missionary projects promoted by the church. But growth is not merely denned by these acts of grace or by the things that he should do as a believer. There must also be a daily discipline in overcoming sin. The whole tenor of his life must be decidedly changed, and he must exert a resistance toward the evil habits of the past. He is bound to be a bit con fused at times by these drastic changes, and will then need the sympathetic guidance of those who are responsible for establishing him in our message. Living a life entirely dedicated to God is riot the accomplishment of a few days; it takes time to make a deep-rooted Christian.
After being introduced to the writings of the Spirit of prophecy, the new convert to the faith usually makes rapid progress. But now he will need more direction if he is to learn to understand the proper relationship of these messages to the Bible itself. Zeal is the by-product of conversion to Christ, but if misdirected at this stage, it may lead to fanatical tendencies that frequently bring problems to one's family. It is just as much the duty of the Bible instructor to provide wise counsel now as when the believer was facing the Sabbath test. The teacher assumes the role of a counselor, and this re quires sound judgment and experience.
Explicit obedience to God brings true soul satisfaction and stimulates the spirit of witnessing for truth. This always stirs up the adversary, and persecution is bound to follow. This is a trial to the young Christian, but it is also a blessing to him. It is his privilege to learn to walk with Christ under all circumstances. If the test is not brought to bear from without, it will come from within. He must learn to keep his eyes fixed on Jesus, and not to expect perfection in the church. To bring home to him the truth that his brethren and sisters in the faith are, like him, just "saints in the making," is sound counsel.
No one is better fitted to give the new believer the tender and important counsel needed at this stage of his experience than the worker who helped to bring him into our message. To leave the new convert without this help, too often causes him to wrestle with the foe when he is not spiritually prepared to do so. When the Bible instructor must be transferred to another community, the pastor who is left in charge may fill the need, provided he is well acquainted with these new people. When he is not it will require an extra measure of love and grace on his part to adopt these strange children as his own spiritual babes. On it today hinges the success or failure of Seventh-day Adventists' being able to hold their converts a point controverted by altogether too many ministers of other denominations. For this reason our evangelists, pastors, and Bible instructors should work together closely for the making of informed and deep-rooted Christians.
Teaching Prayer Habits
MARY HARTWELL SEWELL: Former Bible Instructor
For steady Christian growth prayer habits should be encouraged early in the course of a series of Bible studies. This may be done by a special study or two on the subject of prayer. Or it might be done by emphasis on particular points denoting prayer habits, even though the study is on an entirely different subject.
To illustrate, in the study on Daniel 2 there are at least two factors that can be emphasized in such a way as to lay the foundation for en during and beneficial prayer habits.
When giving the background for the dream of the image, I like to acquaint my reader with the man Daniel. He was a noble, stalwart youth, true to principle, and desirous of pleasing his God in all his actions. Not only was he mighty in power, but he was mighty in prayer. Even after becoming the prime minister of a flourishing nation he was not too busy to find recourse to prayer three times daily (Dan. 6:10), a habit doubtless established in his youth and practiced by him all through his lifetime.
Incidentally, here too is given the correct posture for prayer "he kneeled upon his knees" while praying. This little side light in Daniel's life, enforced by the words of the psalmist, "O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker" (Ps. 95:6), can serve readily to acquaint the reader with the proper position in prayer possibly something foreign to his past thinking.
Coming back to Daniel 2, we read that when the crisis came to Daniel he immediately thought of prayer. Daniel knew the meaning and efficacy of Matthew 18:20 the presence of divine power, especially when two or three are gathered together. Besides prayer, the prayer meeting was undoubtedly an established habit with Daniel and his young friends. Might not we too receive blessings, power, and answers to prayer by emulating Daniel's prayer meeting- habit?
Daniel's prayer life did not always consist of asking. He was quick to praise and thank his God for answered prayer. We find Daniel again praying to his heavenly Father before going in to the king with his important message. How many times we make a request of God, and when the request is granted what do we do? Yes, we ought to follow Daniel's example, and thank our Father for all His blessings to us.
Thus, even in a study on prophecy, principles can be emphasized that should form basic prayer habits for new Seventh-day Adventists. Not only should we pray, but we should kneel in prayer.' Not only should we ask in our prayers, but we should be quick to give God the praise and thanksgiving He longs to hear from His children. Not only should we pray, but we should be found at prayer meeting or wherever prayer is wont to be made.
Efficiency in Bible Work
ROSE E. BOOSE: San Diego, California
It it were possible to visualize the ideal Bible instructor, it might also be possible to attain unto the high standard of such conception. But let us hope that when the highest ideals have been presented, someone will immediately see higher peaks in the distance, and will start on the forward stretch of the journey and encourage others to follow; and thus shall we see a band of faithful, earnest workers for the Lord going on to perfection, never slackening the pace until the work is finished and the "well done" spoken.
1. There Must Be Real Personal Christian Experience. Is the worker personally acquainted with her Saviour? Has she found, by personal experience, that He is all He is said to be a Saviour from sin, a keeper, guide, helper, comforter, friend, companion? Does she know that He was made to her "wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption"; that He is not only the "mighty God" but the "everlasting Father"? If she does not know these as living facts, she must first become acquainted with Him before she can introduce Him to others, for in her daily experience she will find those who need the Saviour for many and all of these qualities.
2. Friendliness Is Essential.—The ideal Bible instructor must like people, enjoy mingling with folks just as they are, with all their faults and failings. She need not enjoy all the things they do, but she must like to be with people and accept them at their face value; for, of all workers, the Bible instructor meets the greatest variety of individuals and must win her way with them in order to give them the help they need.
3. Cultivate a Pleasing Personality.—In the attainment of this end circumstances alter cases. No specific rules for such culture can be laid down. A few fundamental principles are: Be sincere in all that is said and done; dress simply and appropriately; be scrupulously clean in personal appearance from the hair on the head to the heels of shoes.
4. Studious Disposition.—An important trait of the ideal Bible instructor is a studious dis position. If there is no love for books, no hunger and thirst for the whys and wherefores, there will be no great development and growth in service. The desire for knowledge can be cultivated, but it is a strong character that will lead one to discipline herself into the study habit. And study habit means more than simply reading.
5. General Education as Foundation.—This ideal Bible instructor must have a good general education as a foundation upon which to build her store of specific knowledge pertaining to her particular phase of service. She must know her Bible; she must know the sources from which she quotes; she must be positive that she is correct in her statements, and not use them simply because someone said so.
6. Broad-minded.—She must understand human nature, and be broad-minded enough to overlook many things that are annoying, and to give no offense by word or deed.
7. Carry a Good Stock of Courage.—There must be strong faith in God and in the message with which she is entrusted, with a clear vision of the ultimate triumph of the cause she rep resents. The ideal Bible instructor must think courage, speak courage, and be courageous.
ELLEN CURRAN: Bible Instructor, Southern California Conference
Thousands have read the Bible wrong on the subject of justification. Some read, "We are justified by grace"; others, "by works." Still others say, "No, we are saved by the precious blood of Jesus," and again others maintain that it is all accomplished by faith. These theories are all true, but not one of them is complete in itself
I. THE WORLD UNDKR CONDEMNATION.
1. God's throne in center of an immense universe. Ps. 103:19.
2. His government absolutely just and righteous. Ps. 89:14.
3. Whole universe in harmony with His will except our world. This makes a sad picture. Rom. 3:10-12.
4. Man sinned. Rom. 3:23. What is sin that it should throw this world so out of harmony?
5. Sin is transgression of God's law. 1 John 3:4.
6. Millions of earth condemned only God can justify them or they must die. Rom. 6:23.
7. This looks impossible, but God does it. Job 9:2; 1 Cor. 6:9-11.
II. JUSTIFICATION A FOURFOLD TRANSACTION.
1. Justified by grace. Titus 3:7. What is grace?
a. Gospel is the story of God's grace (Acts20:24), and the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Rom. 1:16.
b. God has all things to offer in Christ. Rom. 8:32.
c. There is nothing too hard for Him. Jer.32:17.
d. Grace is God's power and ability to supply our every need through Christ.
2 Cor.12:9; Heb. 4:16.2. Justified by the blood. Rom. 5:8, 9.
a. No remission without blood. Heb. 9:22.
b. He washed us from our sins in His own blood. Rev. 1:5.
c. Redeemed us with His precious blood. That is what He used to pay the penalty. 1 Peter 1:19.
d. A redemption that measures with His in finite grace or power. Eph. 1:7.
3. Justified by faith. Rom. 5:1.
a. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts16:31.
b. All things are possible to him that believeth. Mark 9:23.
c. All that believe are justified from all things. Acts 13:39.
d. Hearts are purified by faith. Acts 15:9.
e. By faith salvation and union with Christ become a reality to you and me. Eph. 3:17.
4. Justified by works. James 2:24-26.
a. By works is faith made perfect. James2:20-22.
b. Purged from dead works to serve the living God. Actions will demonstrate our love. Heb. 9:14.
c. If we walk in the light, the blood of Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness. 1John 1:7.
d. He is the author of salvation to all them that obey. Heb. 5:9.
e. Others will observe our good works and will glorify God for His wondrous power and grace. Matt. 5:16.
1. God's grace is what makes our justification possible. Only an all-powerful God could justify the human race.
2. Christ's blood is the remedy, the means He used to justify us. With His blood He paid the penalty.
3. Faith is the method by which this great salvation becomes ours individually.
4. Works is the evidence, an evidence to everyone around, that we have been wondrously saved from sin, the breaking of God's law. We have accepted His grace to walk in His will and law.
"You ask me how these marvelous things can be?
I do not know. I only know He walks and talks with me As on we go,
And brightens all the way, because I love Him so."
-----MRS. W. W. McCloud.