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Gospel by John
“And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” .
PROGRAM FOR FAMILY STUDY OF S. S. LESSONS
-(After church services or at the close of Sabbath.) Review the lesson of the day by relating in detail the substance of the lesson, recalling Scripture words and references. Read the lesson for the intermediate division for next Sabbath from the Little Friend, and learn the memory verse.GBJ July 1896, page 2.1
2. Then read the texts in their regular order, carefully considering what each one says before reading the next one. Be sure to have each member-of the family understand the meaning of all the words in each text.GBJ July 1896, page 2.4
3. Assign each one a text found in the first half of the lesson, and let one member of the family ask the questions from the lesson pamphlet, and the others in turn read the answers given in the texts or in the Lesson Quarterly.GBJ July 1896, page 2.10
-Repeat the texts already committed to memory, and ask the questions on the last half of the lesson, being sure that all understand the questions and the meaning of the words used in them.GBJ July 1896, page 2.12
-Repeat the texts already committed to memory, and review the entire lesson by asking the questions in the Lesson Quarterly, the Instructor, or the Little Friend, as may be thought best. The number and age of the children would usually indicate which lesson help would be the best.GBJ July 1896, page 2.14
-Read the lesson notes in the Quarterly and those in the Sabbath School Worker, and any other helps that may be accessible, and review the intermediate lesson in the Little Friend, or the one found in the Lesson Quarterly. Repeat the texts committed to memory.GBJ July 1896, page 2.15
(This program is simply suggestive and can of course be varied to suit circumstances, but we do urge upon alt the necessity of thorough, regular, systematic study of the Scriptures as given in our Sabbath school lessons.)GBJ July 1896, page 2.22
The object of studying the Gospel of John is to learn what the Holy Spirit has revealed in this particular book concerning the person, work, and teaching of Jesus Christ. The true method of studying the Gospels is first to study each one independently of any other, in order to become familiar with the characteristic teaching of each, after which they may be profitably compared. For this reason the principal effort should be to obtain a clear knowledge of each thought as presented by the text of the lesson rather than to divert the mind to the development of the thought in other places. There is no better way to express the thoughts presented in the Scriptures than in the very words of the Scriptures, and teachers are therefore urged to require that the answers to the questions shall be given in the exact words of the text. The effort of the student should be directed to obtaining a complete mastery of each lesson, not by attempting to commit the words to memory, but by so studying the thoughts that they shall become a part of his mental make-up; and he will then find that the easiest way to express the thoughts will be in the exact words of the text.GBJ July 1896, page 3.1
There is constant danger of being diverted from the study of God’s thought, as expressed to us in His word, to the study of what some man has thought about God’s thoughts. The very object of Bible study is to be brought into direct communion with the divine mind, that we may learn from God Himself what He has condescended to reveal to us in language; but this object is defeated when we allow another mind to interpose between us and God’s thought. The Scripture is God’s thought incarnate, so to speak, put into human speech, in order that His mind may be brought into direct contact with our minds, His thought with our thought. But just as soon as we put man’s thought between us and God’s thought, and try to let God’s thought in through some man’s thought, we shut off our minds from a direct contact with the divine mind. Thus the special blessing of real Bible study is lost. The ideal Bible student is not the one who can tell the most about the Bible, but the one who has stored his mind with the precious thoughts of God, and is able to express them readily in the very words in which God has expressed them.GBJ July 1896, page 3.2
This method of study makes it possible that “they shall be all taught of God;” for it is when we consider what He says, as He says it, that He can give us understanding, and the Holy Spirit is appointed to this very work.GBJ July 1896, page 4.1
Those who are skeptical as to this method of Bible study, are urged to give it a fair trial in the study of this Book. Do not consider any lesson properly prepared until any question which will admit of being answered in the words of the text set apart for the lesson, can be readily answered in the exact words of the text without looking at the printed text. This can not be accomplished by a hasty reading of the lesson a short time before the Sabbath school. Make it a subject of much meditation and the topic of conversation “when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” Do not argue with any one as to the meaning of any passage, but be sure that you know exactly what God has said, and then seek the understanding from Him who has promised wisdom to those who ask Him for it. Those who follow this plan faithfully will not only acquire a mastery of what is revealed in the Book of John, but will also gain an experience in study which will enable them to take up any other Book in the same way for themselves, and thus to become Bible students indeed.GBJ July 1896, page 4.2
Use the notes and suggestions only as a means of studying the text itself, and do not allow the mind to be diverted by them from the study of the text. Otherwise they are a hindrance instead of a help.GBJ July 1896, page 5.1
Teachers are urged to make a personal application of the lessons both to themselves and to their classes. We are not to study this book as a record of past events simply, but as living and speaking to us now. We are to see revealed in it a living Saviour, the Bearer of life and light and love to us; and as we receive the truth as it is in Jesus, we are to experience its saving power in our daily lives.GBJ July 1896, page 5.2
After each chapter has been studied, encourage each member of the class to express in few words the leading thoughts of the chapter, and by frequent reviews fix these topics in mind. If parents would do this for themselves, and then help their children to do it, making it-instead of the gossip of the day-a common subject of conversation in the homes, much good might be accomplished. A genuine and lasting interest in Bible study may thus be developed.GBJ July 1896, page 5.3
LESSON I.—July 4, 1896. THE INTRODUCTION. (, .)
1. The object of writing the Gospel is twofold: to furnish ground for confidence that there was the incarnation of the divine nature in the person of Christ (that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, ), and that this incarnation has for its object to give eternal life to mankind (that believing ye might have life through His name, Ib.). Life in Christ only, and life through Christ only, are leading thoughts in this Gospel, and they are suggested in this introduction (of ).GBJ July 1896, page 6.19
2. The true Light has an influence upon all men. “Whenever they make an effort to reform, from a sincere desire to do right, it is the power of Christ that is drawing them.... The sinner may resist this love, may refuse to be drawn to Christ; but if he does not resist, he will be drawn to Jesus.” is also, and properly, rendered, “Unto His own possessions He came, and His own people did not receive Him home.”-Rotherham. They who “receive Him” are they “that believe on His name.” To receive Him is to believe on His name. It is ours to receive Him ( ), and His to bestow the “power” (“right or privilege,” margin). Christ took our nature by birth ( ), that we might take His nature ( ) by birth ( ).GBJ July 1896, page 6.20
3. “He clothed His divinity with humanity, that He might touch humanity; that His personal presence might be among us; that we might know that He is acquainted with all our trials, and sympathizes with our griefs; that every son and daughter of Adam might understand that Jesus is the friend of sinners. He set up His tabernacle (see Revised Version, margin of ) in the midst of our human encampment; He pitched His tent by the side of the tents of men, that He might dwell among us, and make us familiar with His divine character and life.” Thus was He true to His name, Immanuel. .GBJ July 1896, page 7.1
4. “Divinity needed humanity; for it required both the divine and the human to bring salvation to the world. Divinity needed humanity, that humanity might afford a channel of communication between God and man. So with the servants and messengers of Christ. Man needs a power outside of and beyond himself, to restore him to the likeness of God; but this does not make the human agency unessential. Humanity lays hold upon the divine power; Christ dwells in the heart by faith; and through coöperation with the divine, the power of man becomes efficient for good.”GBJ July 1896, page 7.2
5. Christ was a visible manifestation to the world of the glory of the Invisible One (), and this thought runs through this Gospel ( ; ; ; ). The fifteenth verse may be regarded as a parenthesis, and the last clause may be rendered, “He who after me was coming, before me has advanced; because He was my Chief.”-Rotherham.GBJ July 1896, page 7.3
6. Grace appropriated becomes “a foundation for the bestowment of more grace;” or grace received becomes “a title and claim to new grace.” The law, which is the form of truth (), was given by Moses, but the truth itself (that is, the “reality” of the law in life) was in Christ ( ). Christ reveals God ( ), not simply by words, but also by His life. Thus “He declares the invisible God, acts as His interpreter, gives expression to Him, renders Him cognizable to human faculties.” Thus is He the Word. He is able to reveal God fully, for “in the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”GBJ July 1896, page 7.4
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY
1. Compare the first five verses in this lesson with the first chapter of Genesis. Note the three steps in both places: “All things” (inanimate creation), “life” (vegetable and animal creation), “men” (man). Light and life by the Word of God (the Word) in both records. Light in darkness (compare ).GBJ July 1896, page 8.1
4. Note how fully this introduction to the Gospel presents Christ. It teaches the preexistence of Christ (), creation through Christ ( ), John’s witness to Christ ( ), the advent and rejection of Christ ( ), the new birth to become like Christ ( ), the incarnation of Christ ( ), and the representative character of Christ ( ). Seven great facts. Each one might be studied for a day with profit.GBJ July 1896, page 8.4
5. Two great names are mentioned in this lesson: Moses, a type of Christ, whose prayer was, “Show me now Thy way,” and John the Baptist, whose mission it was to “make straight the way.” Both were “sent” to do a special work for God.GBJ July 1896, page 8.5
LESSON II.—July 11, 1896. THE TESTIMONY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST TO CHRIST. (, .)
1. John’s work made a great stir (), and a general belief that it was time for the Messiah led to a spirit of inquiry concerning this man of the wilderness ( ). The excitement became so great that even the Sanhedrin sent an official deputation to John, which asked him, “Who art thou?” In the dialogue which follows John makes a formal proclamation that the Messiah had come, and was indeed present among them, but unknown by every one except John himself. The literal basis of the figurative reply of John may be found in “the practice of eastern monarchs, who, whenever they entered upon an expedition or took a journey, especially through desert countries, sent harbingers before them to prepare all things for their passage, and pioneers to open the passes, to level the ways, and to remove all impediments.”GBJ July 1896, page 9.20
2. “The rabbis said, ‘Every office which a servant will do for his master a scholar should perform for his teacher, except, loosing his sandal thong.’ But this exceptionally menial office the Baptist declares he was not worthy to perform for Jesus.”GBJ July 1896, page 10.1
3. Sacrificial offerings of animals could not avail (), but the death of Christ met every demand for all time ( ) and for the whole world ( ). “When, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, John had pointed to Jesus as the Lamb of God, a new light was shed upon the Saviour’s mission.”GBJ July 1896, page 10.2
4. “In the throng gathered at the Jordan there were many who had been present at the baptism of Jesus, but the sign then given had been manifest to but few among them. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. Eyes that had never been turned in faith to Him that is invisible, beheld not the revelation of the glory of God, nor heard the voice from heaven. So it is now. Often the presence of Christ and of the ministering angels is manifest in the assemblies of the people, and yet there are many who know it not. They discern nothing unusual. But to some the Saviour’s presence is revealed.”GBJ July 1896, page 10.3
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY
1. Carefully observe the leading thoughts in the teaching of John. The blood of the Lamb, and the baptism of the Spirit, were the two central truths of his creed and his preaching. Jesus the Lamb taking away sin, Jesus the Anointed baptizing with the Spirit.GBJ July 1896, page 10.4
LESSON III.—July 18, 1896. THE FIRST DISCIPLES. (, .)
2. “In the calling of John and Andrew and Simon, of Philip and Nathanael, the foundation of the Christian church was laid. John directed two of his disciples to Christ. Then one of these, Andrew, finds his brother and brings him to the Saviour. Philip is then called, and he goes in search of Nathanael. These examples should teach us the importance of personal effort, or of making direct appeals to kindred, friends, and neighbors.” The testimony which brought both Simon and Nathanael to Jesus was, “We have found” Him. This is the testimony which wins now.GBJ July 1896, page 12.8
3. “At the time when Philip called him, Nathanael had withdrawn to a quiet grove to meditate upon the announcement of John, and the prophecies concerning the Messiah. He prayed that if the one announced by John was the deliverer, it might be made known to him; and the Holy Spirit rested upon him with an overwhelming assurance that God had visited His people, and raised up a horn of salvation for them. Philip’s message seemed to Nathanael a direct answer to his prayer.”GBJ July 1896, page 12.9
4. “Like Nathanael, we need to study God’s word for ourselves, and pray for the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. He who saw Nathanael under the fig tree, will see us in the secret places of prayer, if we seek Him that we may know what is truth. Angels from the world of light will be near to those who in humility of heart pray for divine guidance.” “The tree has never grown which could conceal a soul from the eye of Jesus.”GBJ July 1896, page 12.10
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY
1. Four new titles for Christ are mentioned in this lesson: Master (better, Teacher, R. V., margin), Messias, King of Israel, Son of man. What different ideas of the work of Christ are set forth in these titles!GBJ July 1896, page 13.1
LESSON IV.—July 25, 1896. THE MARRIAGE IN CANA; THE CLEANSING OF THE TEMPLE. (.)
1. It was but natural that the mother of Jesus should be at this gathering; for “the parties were relatives of Joseph and Mary. The special object of Jesus in attending this marriage feast was to commence the work of breaking down the exclusiveness which existed with the Jewish people, and to open the way for their freer mingling with the people. He had come not only as the Messiah of the Jews, but the Redeemer of the world. By attending this feast, Jesus sanctioned marriage as a divine institution, and through all His subsequent ministry, He paid the marriage covenant a marked respect in illustrating many important truths by it. While no shadow of worldly levity marred His conduct, He had sanctioned the social gathering with His presence. He gave no license to scenes of dissipation and revelry, yet innocent happiness was pleasing to Him.”-Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, .GBJ July 1896, page 14.22
2. The marriage relation was instituted before the fall (), and, using it as an illustration of His union with His church ( ), Christ, through the word, has taught precious lessons. It is a striking fact that the Sabbath and marriage, the two institutions which were established during man’s innocency, are now the special objects of Satan’s attack. Men are now declaring that both are a yoke of bondage, interfering with their liberty. True liberty is only found in being in harmony with God ( ), and is not an excuse for sin ( ).GBJ July 1896, page 15.1
4. “This donation of Christ to the marriage supper was a symbol of the means of salvation. The water represented baptism into His death; the wine, the shedding of His blood for the purifying of the sins of the world. The provision made for the wedding guests was ample, and not less abundant is the provision for blotting out the iniquities of men. The wine which Christ provided was not of an intoxicating character.”-. “In the words, ‘Destroy this temple,’ Christ gives a sign that He reads the secrets of their souls. These words of Christ possessed a double meaning, referring to the temple at Jerusalem as well as to His own material body (the earthly temple of the Son of God).... When the Jews should put Christ to death, they would virtually destroy the temple.... As the death of Christ brought to an end the sacrificial system, and destroyed the sacredness of the earthly temple, so the resurrection of Christ involved the opening of the true ministration in the sanctuary above, the temple of God in heaven.”GBJ July 1896, page 15.3
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY
LESSON V.—August 1, 1896. THE NEW BIRTH. (, .)
1. “The mind is an invisible agent of God to produce tangible results. Its influence is powerful, and governs the actions of men. If purified from all evil, it is the motive power of good. The regenerating Spirit of God, taking possession of the mind, transforms the life; wicked thoughts are put away, evil deeds are renounced, love, peace, and humility take the place of anger, envy, and strife. That power which no human eye can see, has created a new being in the image of God....The power of the Holy Spirit transforms the entire man. This change constitutes the new birth.... Human nature is vile, and man’s character must be changed before it can harmonize with the pure and holy in God’s immortal kingdom. This transformation is the new birth.” “Not even a respectable life, and a respectable religiousness besides,-this is not to be reborn; this is but to be mended, patched.” There must be “the communication of life by the Spirit of God.”GBJ July 1896, page 17.5
3. “You have resolved to give yourself to God. Now go to Him, and ask that He will wash away your sins, and give you a new heart. Then believe that He does this, because He has promised. Through this simple act of believing God, the Holy Spirit has begotten a new life in your heart. You are as a child born into the family of God, and He loves you as He loves His Son.”-.GBJ July 1896, page 17.7
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY
LESSON VI.—August 8, 1896. WONDROUS LOVE! INCREASING AND DECREASING; LIFE THROUGH BELIEVING. (, .)
1. The first verse of this lesson contains the whole Gospel,-the love of God, the unspeakable gift (), as the summary of God’s work for the world; faith as the means of apprehending God’s gift, and eternal life as the result, on man’s part. He loved “the world,” He loved “the church” ( ), He loved “me” ( ). “In order to save the sinner, the Creator sacrificed Himself. The Father suffered in His Son. The measure of God’s love is Christ. The Saviour’s sacrifice was not to create in God a love that had not before existed; it was but the expression of a love which had not been appreciated or understood.” “O, what a God have we! What a Benefactor! What claims has He upon our love! Having collected all the riches of the universe, and laid open all the resources of infinite power, He gave all the heavenly treasure into the hands of Christ, and said: ‘All these are for man. Use them to convince him that there is no love greater than Mine in earth or heaven. His greatest happiness consists in loving Me and giving his heart to Me, who hath loved him with an infinite love.’” This verse completes the threefold purpose of God in giving His Son to the world,-that He might be its Life ( ), its Light ( ), and its Love.GBJ July 1896, page 19.12
3. The present possession of eternal life through faith is the lesson of . This life is in the Son ( ), and when we receive Christ by believing on Him ( ), it takes possession of us through the Spirit ( ), to be the power ( ) that worketh in us mightily ( ). This is not to say that we are immortal, or that we are made immortal before the coming of Christ. That which we obtain by faith we must hold by faith. Christ, who is the eternal life ( , last clause), dwells in our hearts by faith ( ). “God is the fountain of life, and we can have life only as we are in communion with Him. Separated from God, existence may be ours for a little time, but we do not possess life.... Only through the surrender of our will to God is it possible for Him to impart His life to us.... It will require a sacrifice to give yourself to God; but it is a sacrifice of the lower for the higher, the earthly for the spiritual, the perishable for the eternal.”GBJ July 1896, page 20.2
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY
1. Observe the many new ideas and words brought out in this lesson: Loved, everlasting life, condemnation (judgment, R. V.), purifying, bride, bridegroom, friend of the bridegroom, joy seal, wrath of God. Study them.GBJ July 1896, page 20.3
LESSON VII.—August 15, 1896. THE WATER OF LIFE. (, .)
1. How plainly the expression “being wearied with His journey” brings out the humanity of Christ! See , and . When Jesus needs food for Himself, He waits, although “wearied,” while His disciples go to buy it, but when others “have nothing to eat,” He has “compassion on the multitude,” and works a miracle to supply their needs. Nothing for Himself ( ), but everything for others ( ).GBJ July 1896, page 22.5
2. “The Samaritans were of heathen origin” (), but “an adulterated Judaism was grafted on their native religion. They accepted the five Books of Moses, and looked for a Messiah-as indeed they still do. The origin of their hatred of the Jews is told in Ezra” ( ). “They were treated as heathen, who had no part in the religion of Israel. Hence the implacable religious enmity which for centuries manifested itself in all sorts of petty annoyances, and, when occasion offered, more serious injuries.”GBJ July 1896, page 22.6
3. It is of the greatest importance to know the gift of God, and to recognize the presence of Jesus to impart it. “If we are not deriving from Christ what we recognize as living water, it is because there is a defect in our knowledge, because we do not know the gift of God.” In speaking of living water Christ “referred to the divine grace which He alone could bestow, and which is as living water, purifying, refreshing, and invigorating the soul.”GBJ July 1896, page 22.7
4. “Jesus did not intend to convey the idea that simply one draught of the water of life would satisfy the receiver; he in whom Christ abides has within himself the Fountain of life. From this source he may draw strength and grace sufficient for all his needs. Jesus will cheer the life and brighten the path of all who will receive Him. From the heart in which Christ dwells, flow out words and deeds of love that will carry a blessing to other lives. The grace of Christ in the soul is like a spring in the desert, welling up to refresh all, and making those who are ready to perish eager to drink of the water of life.”GBJ July 1896, page 22.8
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY
1. Note the universal character of this lesson and the one in the previous chapter, although each was given to a single individual. What two classes are represented by Nicodemus and the woman?GBJ July 1896, page 23.1
2. Observe how an acquaintance with the facts of Old Testament history is taken for granted in the narratives of the New Testament, and how the two are welded together. “The New Testament is enfolded in the Old; and the Old Testament is unfolded in the New. For what is the law but the Gospel foreshadowed? and what is the Gospel but the law fulfilled?” “There are in the New Testament nearly one thousand direct quotations from, and palpable allusions to, the Old Testament scriptures.”GBJ July 1896, page 23.2
5. Mark the contrasts in this lesson. Jesus “asks for a drink of water; yet He offers to set flowing wells and fountains of water. He is a suppliant for the gifts of another; yet He talks of being able to give with unlimited munificence. He is an obscure Stranger; yet He is greater than the venerable patriarch” Jacob.GBJ July 1896, page 23.5
LESSON VIII.—August 22, 1896. THE TRUE WORSHIP; THE TRUE FOOD. (, .)
1. When thus pressed with her own need of forgiveness and cleansing, how much of human nature is shown in the effort to turn the conversation. “Like this woman, we start some old worn-out theological controversy, to put Him off the scent. There are plenty of people who spend their lives in theological disputes and refinements, because in this way they dexterously manage to pass muster as religious people; though, all the while, they dread anything like definite appeals to their hearts.” “How often the same course is pursued! When the Holy Spirit is impressing the heart, when God is seeking to awaken His church to a new life, men turn aside, parrying the arrows of conviction, neglecting that which concerns the salvation of the soul, to dispute over some controverted point of doctrine.”GBJ July 1896, page 25.6
2. In saying, “Ye worship that which ye know not” (R. V.), “Jesus also alluded to the faith of the Samaritans being amalgamated with the worship of graven images. True, they held that these idols were only to remind them of the living God, the Ruler of the universe; but, nevertheless, the people were led to reverence these inanimate figures.” This is the philosophy and the result of all idolatry.GBJ July 1896, page 25.7
3. “That which Jesus had withheld from the Jews and enjoined upon His disciples to keep secret, was distinctly opened before the inquiring woman of Samaria; for He who knew all things perceived that she would make a right use of her knowledge, and be the means of leading others to the true faith.” “Wherever there are hearts open to receive the truth, Christ has glad tidings for them. For such He uses no parables. He seeks not to disguise Himself. He says to them, as to the woman of Samaria, ‘I that speak unto thee am He.’”GBJ July 1896, page 25.8
4. The disciples supposed that they had two good reasons for marveling: first, because Jesus was talking with a Samaritan (); second, because He was talking with “a woman” (R. V.). “A rabbinical prejudice prevailed, to the effect that woman is not capable of profound religious instruction.” The woman’s invitation is that of Christ to His first disciples ( ), and of Philip to Nathanael ( ).GBJ July 1896, page 25.9
5. “The disciples were good men, but they went into Sychar judging the Samaritans good enough to trade with, but never dreaming of telling them that the Messiah was outside their town. They must have been ashamed to find how much more capable an apostle the woman was than they.”GBJ July 1896, page 26.1
6. “The disciples did not seem to appreciate the character of the food which Jesus had to eat () any better than the woman understood concerning the living water ( ). “It was not temporal food alone that sustained Him in His arduous life; the accomplishment of the work which He left the courts of heaven to perform strengthened Him for His labors, and lifted Him above the necessities of humanity. To administer to a soul hungering and thirsting for the truth was more satisfying to the Son of man than eating or drinking. Benevolence was the life of His soul.”GBJ July 1896, page 26.2
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY
3. The woman related her personal experience with Christ as a means of drawing the people of the city to hear Him. Compare this with Paul’s method of defending himself before Agrippa.GBJ July 1896, page 26.5
LESSON IX.—August 29, 1896. FAITH THROUGH HEARING; CHRIST AND THE NOBLEMAN. (, .)
1. When the Saviour’s presence is really desired, and He is “besought” to abide with us, He does so. See . The woman brought her neighbors and friends to Christ with the inquiry, “Is not this the Christ?” and after hearing Him for themselves, they “believed because of His own word,” and their belief went beyond hers, just as Nathanael’s belief went beyond Philip’s. “Before, they had looked upon Him as the great Teacher, the Solver of problems, the Answerer of questions. Now they see that he is the ‘Saviour of the world.’” “Come into the very presence of Christ and hear Him for your selves.... Such spiritual contact is the life of the Christian life.”GBJ July 1896, page 28.1
3. “The father thought the presence of Christ was necessary.... Jesus therefore demands a stronger faith; and in His presence that stronger faith which can trust His word is developed.... The faith He approves and delights in is a faith which does not require miracles as its foundation.... There was that in Himself and in His talk which was its own best evidence.” See .GBJ July 1896, page 28.3
4. The words of Christ to the ruler consist of a command (“Go thy way”), and a statement of fact (“Thy son liveth”). The ruler permitted the command to become true in him (he went his way), and the servants met him with the testimony that the statement had become true in his son, repeating the very words of Jesus (“Thy son liveth”). By comparing notes they find that the experience and the statement were synchronous.GBJ July 1896, page 28.4
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY
1. The miracle of this scripture is the third lesson of “life only in Christ,” and the means of apprehending it. To Nicodemus it is the new birth, and “whosoever believeth in Him should ...have everlasting life.” To the woman of Samaria it is “living water, springing up unto everlasting life.” To the ruler it is, “Thy son liveth,” and he “believed the word.” What classes are here represented? To which one do you belong?GBJ July 1896, page 28.5
2. See in this lesson two illustrations of the faith which pleases the Master: “Many more believed because of His own word,” and “the man believed the word that Jesus had spoken.” See .GBJ July 1896, page 29.1
LESSON X.—September 5, 1896. CHRIST AND THE IMPOTENT MAN. (, .)
1. “Jesus did not ask this wretched sufferer to exercise faith in Him. He simply inquired, ‘Desirest thou to become whole?’ But, on hearing the voice of command, he believed Christ’s word, believed that he was made whole, and he made the effort at once. He willed to walk, and he did walk. He acted on the word of God, and God gave the power. Would that the same simple, trusting faith were exercised by every soul in need of spiritual healing. We are stricken, diseased through sin. By transgression man has been severed from the life of God. His soul is palsied. Only through the vivifying influence of the grace of Christ is it possible for us to be restored. Many have long been waiting and vainly striving to obtain by their own efforts that spiritual life which will bring them into communion and harmony with God, but in vain. They find themselves weak in moral power, in slavery to doubt, and controlled by the habits of their life of sin. O weary, struggling ones, look up! The Saviour is bending over the purchase of His blood, saying with inexpressible tenderness, pity, and love, ‘Wilt thou be made whole?’ If you believe Christ’s promise, believe that you do receive life from Him, and will to serve Him, you will receive strength.”GBJ July 1896, page 30.6
2. Christ commanded the man to do three things: “Rise,” “take,” “walk.” The power for rising was in the word “rise;” for taking, in the word “take;” for walking, in the word “walk.” Apply the principle in other scriptures: ; ; . The fruit of the man’s faith was seen in what he did. He did it all by faith. He lived by faith ( ), and he walked by faith ( ). The words accomplished what they commanded. The man “was made whole,” “took,” and “walked.”GBJ July 1896, page 30.7
3. The whole controversy between Christ and the Jews gathered around three miracles, of which this is the first. The other two will be considered in the study of . A new element,-the question of what constitutes proper Sabbath-keeping,-is now introduced. “Jesus had purposely chosen the Sabbath day upon which to perform the miracle at the pool.... A wise purpose underlay every act of Christ’s life on earth; everything He did was important in itself and in its teaching.... The Sabbath, instead of being the blessing it was designed to be, had become a curse through the added requirements of the Jews. Jesus wished to rid it of these incumbrances, and leave it standing upon its own holy dignity. Therefore He chose the Sabbath for this special work.... This would raise the question of what it was lawful to do on the Sabbath day, and would give Him an opportunity to denounce the narrow prejudice and restrictions of the Jews in regard to the Lord’s day, and declare their bigotry and traditions void.”- .GBJ July 1896, page 31.1
4. “Jesus sought to impress upon the narrow minds of the Jews a sense of the folly of their view of the Sabbath. He showed them that God’s work never ceases. It is even greater upon the Sabbath than upon ordinary occasions; for at that time His people leave their usual employments and spend their time in prayerful meditation and worship. They ask more favors of Him upon the Sabbath than upon other days; they demand His special attention; they crave His choicest blessings; they offer importunate prayers for special favors. God does not wait for the Sabbath to pass before He grants those requests, but He deals to the petitioners, with judicious wisdom, whatever is best for them to have. Heaven’s work never ceases for a moment, and men should never rest from doing good.” It should be remembered that “the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath,” and that what He did on that day was in itself Sabbath-keeping.GBJ July 1896, page 31.2
5. Christ was persecuted by the Jews, who would have put Him to death at once if they could have had their way, because He would not keep the Sabbath according to their ideas of Sabbath-keeping. Cain persisted in making an offering to God according to his own mind, and slew Abel because he would not join him in his way of worshiping God. The contest always has been, and still is, between God’s way and man’s way. Now a controversy about the Sabbath question has been entered upon which will end only in the effort to put to death those who will not yield to the demand to keep the Sabbath according to man’s command (); but God will work deliverance for His people. Read the whole Book of Esther upon this subject, but especially .GBJ July 1896, page 31.3
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY
LESSON XI.—September 12, 1896. JESUS, LIFEGIVER AND JUDGE. (, .)
1. The statement in , repeated in , brings before us the position of entire dependence upon the Father which Jesus voluntarily took, in order that He might be our example, when He assumed our nature. “Christ came from heaven to give to the world a correct representation of the Father.... The love and justice of God, and also the immutability of His law, are made manifest by the Saviour’s life, no less than by His death. He assumed human nature, with its infirmities, its liabilities, its temptations. ; . He exercised in His own behalf no power which we can not exercise. As man, He met temptation and overcame in the strength given Him of God. He gives us an example of perfect obedience.... His life testified that by the aid of the same divine power which Christ received, it is possible for man to obey God’s law.”GBJ July 1896, page 33.21
2. “Few realize the full force of Christ’s words in regard to His connection with the Father. They teach man that he should consider himself inseparably bound to his heavenly Parent, that whatever position he may occupy, he is responsible to God, who holds all destinies in His hands.”GBJ July 1896, page 34.1
3. The lesson to Nicodemus, the lesson to the woman of Samaria, the lesson in the healing of the nobleman’s son, and the impotent man, are all set forth in ,-“life only in Christ.”GBJ July 1896, page 34.2
4. “They were to behold greater wonders than the healing of the poor sufferer at Bethesda. They would see the Son of God restoring the dead to life, and this would be a testimony to them of His power to restore to spiritual life those who were dead in trespasses and sins. It was His work, through His teachings, attended by the power of the Holy Spirit, to beget a new life in the souls of men, to make them partakers of the divine nature.... This change is no less a miracle of the power of God than is the raising of the dead to life.”GBJ July 1896, page 34.3
5. The present possession of everlasting life through faith is again taught in ; see also of . By comparing these two verses we shall see that believing on the Son includes hearing His words (hearkening to them) and believing on the Father. “Faith is but the appropriation of the lost life, offered to us again in Christ.”GBJ July 1896, page 34.4
7. “Having tasted the very dregs of human affliction and temptation, He is qualified to understand the frailties and sins of men, and to pronounce judgment upon them. Therefore, the Father has given this work into the hands of His Son, knowing that He who victoriously withstood the temptations of Satan, in behalf of man, will be all-wise, just, and gracious in His dealing with, him.... And He who gave the light, He who has followed the soul with tenderest love and entreaty, seeking to win it from sin to holiness, He it is who is to be its final judge.”GBJ July 1896, page 34.6
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY
1. The thought that “the Son can do nothing of Himself” is one of wondrous depth, and the whole subject will repay careful study. In this is wrapped up the philosophy of the temptations of Christ. He came to reveal the Father, but He was tempted constantly to reveal Himself, to do something of Him self.GBJ July 1896, page 35.1
5. The full force of the rebuke in can only be appreciated by a consideration of the way in which the Jews prided themselves upon possessing the Scriptures, and their elaborate study of their outward form. Compare .GBJ July 1896, page 35.5
LESSON XII.—September 19, 1896. CHRIST IN THE SCRIPTURES; THE MIRACLE OF THE LOAVES. (, to .)
1. His rejection by the Jews is still the theme of Christ’s discourse with them, and He shows them that, although they pride themselves upon their study of the Scriptures, through their knowledge of which they expect to have salvation, yet they reject that very word when it is made flesh, and are “not willing” to come to Him who is the Life both of the Scriptures and the believer. “The whole Bible tells of. Christ. From the first record of creation ...to the closing promise, ‘Behold, I come quickly,’ we are reading of His works and listening to His voice: If you would become acquainted with the Saviour, study the Holy Scriptures.”GBJ July 1896, page 36.19
2. “The Scriptures are unfolded, not so much to the intellect, as to the heart, of man.... The Bible is a sealed book, so far as its spiritual treasures are concerned, to the man who brings only his intellect to the study of it.... The intellect is but the handmaid to the heart in Bible study.... The Bible is a book addressed to the heart rather than to the head.... Men generally do not understand the Bible, because they seek to understand it with their heads, rather than with their hearts. The Word of God is to be heard with our ears or seen with our eyes, but it is to be understood with our hearts.”GBJ July 1896, page 36.20
3. “Jesus came by the authority of God, bearing His image, fulfilling His word, and seeking His glory; yet the leaders in Israel did not recognize or accept Him; but when others should come assuming the character of Christ, but actuated only by their own will, seeking their own glory; they would be received. And why? Because the teachings of these pretenders were in harmony with the traditions and prejudices of the Jews. The Jewish leaders were destitute of the love of God; and while their hearts were filled with envy, prejudice, and self-righteousness, they could not distinguish the voice of God. They were not acquainted with God. To them His voice through Jesus Christ was the voice of a stranger. Does not the same danger still exist? Are there not still those, it may be even religious leaders, who, by indulging pride, self righteousness, or prejudice, are hardening their hearts against the influence of God’s Holy Spirit, and making it impossible for them to discern His voice? It is thus that many reject the messages of truth that God sends to them.”GBJ July 1896, page 37.1
4. It is “a desert place” (); but this is simply the country as opposed to the city, an uninhabited place, and so there was “much grass” there. Philip’s liberal expenditure of money would only provide “a little” for each one, but Christ’s blessing upon, and ministry of, the little which they had, made it possible for all to be “filled.” A little of this world’s goods, with Christ, is better than all that the money of the world can, buy, without Christ.GBJ July 1896, page 37.2
5. The instruction in is of general application. “Every gift of God is to be made the most of. Fragments of time, money, opportunity, influence, are not to be flung away, but used.”GBJ July 1896, page 37.3
6. This lesson brings out the truth that Christ is the Sustainer of spiritual life, as well as the Giver of it, and He would teach that He sustains this life by imparting Himself. The full import of this miracle is set forth by Christ Himself in his discourse upon the bread of life, which will be studied in later lessons.GBJ July 1896, page 37.4
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY
1. Christ said to the Jews, “Ye have not His word abiding in you,” and “Ye have not the love of God in you.” How are the “word” and the “love” manifested in those who possess them?GBJ July 1896, page 37.5
2. God put His own name in Christ from the first (; ; , etc.) and Christ “was manifested to take away our sins” ( ), by manifesting that name ( ) without which there is no salvation ( ). That name written in our foreheads ( ) is a sign of the completed work. It is a fulfilment of the new covenant promise ( ).GBJ July 1896, page 37.6
LESSON XIII.—Sept. 26, 1896. REVIEW
The object of this lesson will be to obtain a general view of the ground already covered, and to fix in the mind some of the leading thoughts. That portion of the Gospel which has now been studied should be read several times, as a whole, in order to obtain such a grasp of the whole subject as will enable each one to fill out for himself the following outline:—GBJ July 1896, page 38.4
I. Instruction for believers in Christ.
1. The new birth.
(a) What it is.
(b) How it is accomplished.
(c) Results of the new birth.
2. The divine power for cleansing.
(a) From what we are to be cleansed.
(b) Through what instrumentality the cleansing power is to be communicated to us.
(c) In what way we are to cooperate in this work.
3. The living water.
(a) Where obtained.
(b) How obtained.
(c) Results of obtaining.GBJ July 1896, page 38.5
(b) To have such a knowledge of Christ and the work given to them to do that they shall give with, clearness the very message needed at the time.
2. To point out Christ as the Lamb of God.
3. To bring individuals to Christ by personal labor.
4. To rejoice when Christ is so being exalted that the minds of the people turn to Him rather than to the Worker.
5. To know where the wells of salvation are, and to be able to draw water there from for others.
6. To give just as good instruction to an audience of one as of five thousand.GBJ July 1896, page 39.1
III. Instruction in the doctrine of Christ.
1. The preexistence of Christ.
2. The incarnation of Christ.
3. Christ our Sacrifice.
4. Christ the Baptizer with the Holy Ghost.
5. Christ the Messiah, according to prophecy.
6. Christ the means of communication between heaven and earth.
7. Christ the Power of God.
8. Christ the Temple of God.
9. Christ the Gift of God.
10. Christ the Bridegroom.
11. Christ the Water of Life.
12. Christ the mighty Healer.
13. True Sabbath-keeping, as taught by Christ.
14. The divinity of Christ.
(a) Doing the same works as the Father.
(b) Giving life to the dead.
(c) Equal in honor to the Father.
(d) Having life in Himself.
(e) Having authority to execute judgment.GBJ July 1896, page 39.2
IV. Leading thoughts running through all the lessons.
1. Christ our Life, and life only in Christ both now and hereafter.
2. Christ’s work in manifesting the glory (character) of God.GBJ July 1896, page 39.3
The object of this review lesson should be kept carefully in mind and this will suggest the best way to study it. The purpose is not to learn the outline here given, and thus to be able to recite it. This outline is given merely as suggestive, and should be used in that way only. Read these chapters through several times with the outline before you, and note the scriptures which treat of the different topics.GBJ July 1896, page 39.4