Lesson  11 September 7 - 13

We're on Our Way

Read for This Weeks Study: Luke 12:35-40; Matt. 25:35-40.

Memory Text:  "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Luke 12:40, NKJV).

Key Thought:  This week's lesson answers the question, How should Christians await their Lord's return?



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AN AIRLINE STEWARD HELPED THE NERVOUS YOUNG MAN find his seat next to a young woman who was a frequent flyer.  Noticing that her seatmate even listened to the monologue concerning passenger safety, she smiled and asked, "Is this your first flight?"

The young man nodded and grinned in return.  Then he pulled out of his carry-on bag a picture of an attractive woman who appeared to be about his age.  "I'm going to visit my fiance' and meet her parents."  Just then another steward announced that the captain had turned on the fasten-seatbelt sign.  The apprehensive passenger released the photo only long enough to click his seatbelt into place and tuck his duffle bag under the seat in front of him.  He was interested in and concerned about everything relating to the Boeing 747 that would carry him to the arms of his beloved.

As Christians, we are on our way to see our Beloved--Jesus Christ.  Are we as interested in how we make the trip as the young man in the illustration?  Yes, we are going to see our Saviour.  What should we be doing as we await our arrival?

Sunday September 7

TO BE OR NOT TO BE--FAITHFUL (Luke 12:35-40).

Even though Jesus is speaking to His disciples (Luke 12:22), there is a crowd of thousands gathered around Him (Luke 12:1).  Thus, with this parable, Jesus teaches publicly for the first time about His second coming.

In Luke 12:40, Jesus states the meaning of the parable.  What does the parable tell us about what it means to be ready?  Verse 35.

"Let your loins be girded about" (Luke 12:35) refers to how a man would gather the loose folds of his outer garment and tuck them into his belt so he could work unhindered.

"And your lights burning" (Luke 12:35).  A typical artificial source of light in Bible times consisted of a wick floating in a "sauce boat" of oil.  The wick constantly needed to be trimmed and the oil refilled or the light would fail.

The servants in the parable are waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet.  Such a "banquet might consist only of a single meal; but if the host were a person of wealth, the feasting could continue for days.  When the master of the servants attended a wedding banquet, he would be absent from the household for an indeterminate length of time.  Because of the uncertainty a servant might neglect normal responsibilities and become lazy.  Such a servant would be faithless.  On the other hand a servant might diligently attend to the usual duties regardless of the master's absence and the uncertainty of the time of the master's return."--Pentecost, The Parables of Jesus, p. 83.

One of those duties included waiting by the gate for the master so one could open it immediately upon his return (verse 36).  Because people then did not usually travel at night, it would be logical for a servant to assume that once the sun had set, his master would not be coming.  The next logical thought easily could be to neglect to wait by the gate until it was daylight.

What did Jesus say about performing a duty, regardless of the apparent need for that duty to be done?  Luke 12:38.

The second watch was three hours before midnight, while the third watch occurred three hours after midnight.

What "outer garment' prevents you from faithfully serving Christ while you await His return?

Monday September 8


What interesting, unexpected turn of events occurs in the parable?  Luke 12:37.

Certainly this master is the one to work for!  His fringe benefits are highly unusual.  And not only that, he himself sets the example of service for his employees.

List at least three specific occasions and their texts when the Son of Man served people while He lived on earth.

"In His life and lessons, Christ has given a perfect exemplification of the unselfish ministry which has its origin in God.  God does not live for Himself.  By creating the world, and by upholding all things, He is constantly ministering for others....  This ideal of ministry God has committed to His Son.  Jesus was given to stand at the head of humanity, that by His example He might teach what it means to minister.  His whole life was under a law of service. He served all, ministered to all. Thus He lived the law of God, and by His example showed how we are to obey it."--The Desire of Ages, p. 649.

In what ways does Christ serve us now?

Heb. 4:14;  Heb. 5:9;  Ps. 5:12;  Ps. 29:11

In the future, Christ will serve us at the grandest wedding banquet of all--the wedding supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9).  Thus this little parable teaches us that in order to be served by Christ, we must be willing and faithful to serve others.

As Jesus showed when He washed the disciples' feet at their last Passover together, service for another need not be on a, grand scale.  What little service that could bring great comfort can you do for someone today?

Tuesday September 9


The parable we have been studying teaches us that while we are waiting for Christ to return, we are to engage in faithful service on His behalf.  How did Christ further develop this concept within this passage?  Luke 12:39.

The person who owned the house not only provided for the material needs of the people under his care.  He was responsible for protecting them, as well.  Thus, it was his obligation to make sure the gate was guarded at all times.  Furthermore, if the owner were to be warned of an approaching burglar, he would defend the gate with extra guards.

We have a duty to protect what Christ has delegated to our care.  What might some of the things be that He has asked us to safeguard?  Think of ways we can safeguard them.

Gen. 1:28;  Ps. 115:16;  Ps. 127:3;  1 Thess. 2:4;  Rev. 12:17; 19:10

God "has given to every man his work; and every true worker sheds forth light to the world, because he is united with God and Christ and heavenly angels in the grand work of saving the lost.  From divine association he becomes more and more intelligent in working the works of God.  In working out what divine grace works in, the believer becomes spiritually great.  He who works according to his entrusted ability will become a wise builder for the Master; for he is under the apprenticeship to Christ, learning to work the works of God.  He will not shun burdens of responsibility, for he will realize that each one must lift in the cause of God to the extent of his ability, and he places himself under the pressure of the work; but Jesus does not leave His willing and obedient servant to be crushed.  It is not the man who carries heavy responsibilities in the cause of God who needs your pity, for he is faithful and true in cooperation with God; and through union of divine and human effort, the work is made complete.  It is he who shuns responsibilities, who has no realization of the privilege to which he is called, who is an object of pity."--Selected Messages, book 1, p. 376.

Wednesday September 10

HOW CAN I HELP YOU? (Matt. 25:35-40).

The first parable we studied this week taught us that we must be ready for Christ to return even when we do not expect Him, and that to be ready means to be active in His work.  Today and tomorrow we will study a parable that describes in more detail what our service should consist of while we await His return.

Once again, Jesus uses items familiar to the people to get His point across.  In Palestine, sheep and goats were often tended together in one flock.  Thus, Matthew 25:32 depicted a familiar sight.

On what basis does the Son of Man separate the people?  Matt. 25:34-36, 41-43.

What principles about helping others can we learn from this parable?  Matt. 25:35-40.

1. Matt. 25:35, 36. Associated with the all-important sharing of the gospel is the effort to satisfy people's basic needs for food and water, clothing, shelter, healthcare, and companionship.  We need people who can fund the building of a new hospital or university science laboratory.  Not everyone has such resources. But we can all give simple help to the people whose lives we touch.

2. Matt. 25:37-39. The type of help God accepts is that which is a natural reaction of a loving heart.  In the parable, those who helped did so, not because they wanted to earn favor with God, but because they were constrained by love to serve others.  The people on the right and the left both asked the same question, "Lord, when did we see you?" (verses 37, 44, NIV).  But what the people on the left actually meant was "Lord, if we had known it was really You instead of just some homeless beggar, we would have helped!"

3. Matt. 25:40. Whatever we do for another person, we do for Christ.  How is this so?  If you really want to make parents happy, do something for their child.  God is our parent, and the way to gladden His heart is to help His children--our fellow humans.

"In making the needs of others our responsibility we reflect this same aspect of the divine character.  When we reflect the character of Jesus perfectly we will feel as He does toward those in need, and through us He will be able to solace and succor others.  The best evidence of love for God is love that leads us to bear 'one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ' (Gal. 6:2...). --SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 512.

Thursday September 11


As you review Matthew 25:31-46, notice that the help given is administered on a one-to-one basis instead of through group effort.  Why did Christ emphasize the personal touch in helping others?

Describe some dangers and benefits in utilizing committees and organizations to help others.

The importance of serving others while we await the return of Christ is underscored by the reward we obtain if we do so or the punishment we receive if we do not.  (See Matt. 25:34, 41, 46.)  This reward or punishment is a natural result.  It should never become the motivation that calls us to service.  You will remember from yesterday's lesson one of the principles regarding service this parable teaches--the type of help that wins God's approval is that help which is a natural reaction of a loving heart.

When Christ came to this earth the first time, He concealed His glory in order to live among us.  The kingdom He established then was His kingdom of grace.  But when He comes the second time, He will come in His glory (Matt. 25:31) to set up His eternal kingdom (Rev. 11:15), referred to in Matthew 25:34 as the inheritance.

"Everlasting fire" (Matt. 25:41, KJV) refers to the fires that destroy the wicked in the last days.  The Greek word means "lasting for an age" and was often used to describe the Roman emperors--they held office for life.  The length of time signified by this Greek word was determined by the character of the object it described.  In the case of Tiberius Caesar, the word describes a 23-year period--the time his reign began until the time of his death.

Following the principle that the length of time signified by the Greek word was determined by the nature of the object it described, we find that the reward of the righteous is life to which there is no end; the reward of the wicked is death to which there is no end (John 3:16; Rom. 6:23; etc.).  In John 3:16 'everlasting life' is contrasted with 'perish.'  In 2 Thess. 1:9 the wicked are said to be 'punished with everlasting destruction.'  The expression does not signify a process that goes on forever, but an act whose results are permanent."--SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 513. (See also Jude 7.)

Review this week's lesson by summarizing what it means to be ready for Christ's return.  Include as part of your summary how you can put this meaning to use in your life.

Friday September 12

FURTHER STUDY:   Meditate upon Isaiah 58.

Read "Doing for Christ," Testimonies, vol. 2, pp. 24-37.

"I have been instructed to refer our people to the fifty-eighth chapter of Isaiah.  Read this chapter carefully and understand the kind of ministry that will bring life into the churches.  The work of the gospel is to be carried by means of our liberality as well as by our labors.  When you meet suffering souls who need help, give It to them.  When you find those who are hungry, feed them.  In doing this you will be working in lines of Christ's ministry.  The Master's holy work was a benevolent work.  Let our people everywhere be encouraged to have a part in it.--Welfare Ministry, p. 29.


1.  Part of Isaiah 58 deals with the Sabbath (verses 13, 14).  How can the Sabbath help us to "be dressed ready for service"?  (Luke 12:25, NIV).

2.  Time goes faster when we are occupied with meaningful work.  Relate our being occupied in work for the Lord to the discussion that often surfaces regarding the seeming delay of Christ's return.

3.  How can meeting people's basic needs help them to help themselves?  What other types of assistance can help people to improve their situations?

SUMMARY:  We are on our way to see our Saviour.  Indeed, to live with Him.  While we await this reunion, let us encourage others to share such good fortune through our disinterested service in their behalf.

Adriano's Witness, Part 2

Quirino Alencar

Adriano was a teenager whose love for music drew him to the Adventist Church.  His family, members of another church, objected to his decision to become an Adventist.  They made it difficult for Adriano to remain true to his new beliefs.  But Adriano had found something that he could not deny, and he held fast to his faith.  He sang in a choir that traveled to other towns to witness for the church.  But an accident on the way home from one musical rally took the lives of three Adventist youths.  Adriano was one of them.

The day after he died, Adriano was buried.  Nearly every member of the local Adventist church attended the funeral, held in driving rain.  But members of the family's church had not come, because Adriano had chosen to leave their church and join the Adventists.  Even the family's pastor had stayed away.  The family was shocked and saddened but asked the Adventist pastor to speak.

The pastor told of Adriano's influence on the church members and encouraged the family to honor Adriano's faith.  He assured the family that they would meet Adriano again in heaven.  Then Adriano's singing group sang his favorite hymn, which contained the words of Revelation 22:7, "Behold I come quickly."

Later Adriano's father said, "In this time of our need, I have seen that my church does not have the love of Jesus, but the Seventh-day Adventist Church has this love.  I want to visit the church that offers love."  Adriano's father began to study the Adventist message. He testifies, "I miss my son, but through his death many lives will be saved for eternity."

Adriano's parents, his brothers, and his grandmother have been baptized into the Adventist Church.  His father has witnessed to several members of his former church, and they have become Adventists, as well.  Even his butcher shop is a testimony to his changed life.  He no longer sells unclean meats.  In fact, before his baptism, he sold all his pigs and destroyed the pig sty.  He wanted nothing more to do with these animals.

Adriano does not know that his death has brought his family to the Adventist Church.  But when Christ comes Adriano will sing with joy as he sees his family receive the blessing of Jesus in heaven.

Quirino Alencar is now a pastor in Maranhao State in Brazil. Adriano's family lives in the city of Imperatriz, Brazil.

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