Lesson 2 April 5 - 11

The Poor in Spirit

Memory Text: (Mat 5:3 NKJV) "Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

"Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright ©

1973,1978 & 1984 by the International Bible Society: Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House."

Sabbath Afternoon

Ellen G. White Comments, SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1083

An Argument With Satan. --Bear in mind that it is none but God that can hold an argument with Satan (Letter 206, 1906). Deviation More Grievous Than Death. -- [Matt. 4:4 quoted.] He told Satan that in order to prolong life, obedience to God's requirements was more essential than temporal food. To pursue a course of deviation from the purposes of God, in the smallest degree, would be more grievous than hunger or death Who Can Stand a Dare? --Jesus would not place Himself in peril to please the devil. But how many today can stand a dare (MS 17, 1893)? A View of Real Conditions. --He [Satan] asked the Saviour to bow to his authority, promising that if He would do so, the kingdoms of the world would be His. He pointed Christ to his success in the world, enumerating the principalities and powers that were subject to him. He declared that what the law of Jehovah could not do, he had done. But Jesus said, "Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." This was to Christ just what the Bible declares it to be--a temptation. Before His sight the tempter held the kingdoms of the world. As Satan saw them, they possessed great external grandeur. But Christ saw them in a different aspect, just as they were--earthly dominions under the power of a tyrant. He saw humanity full of woe, suffering under the oppressive power of Satan. He saw the earth defiled by hatred, revenge, malice, lust, and murder. He saw fiends in the possession of the bodies and souls of men (MS 33, 1911). Command Compelled Satan --Jesus said to this wily foe, "Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve." Satan had asked Christ to give him evidence that He was the Son of God, and he had in this instance the proof he had asked. At the divine command of Christ he was compelled to obey. He was repulsed and silenced. He had no power to enable him to withstand the peremptory dismissal. He was compelled without another word to instantly desist and to leave the world's Redeemer (RH Sept. 1, 1874). A Council of Strategy. -- Although Satan had failed in his most powerful temptations, yet he had not given up all hope that he might, at some future time, be successful in his efforts. He looked forward to the period of Christ's ministry, when he should have opportunities to try his artifices against Him. Baffled and defeated, he had no sooner retired from the scene of conflict than he began to lay plans for blinding the understanding of the Jews, God's chosen people, that they might not discern in Christ the world's Redeemer. He determined to fill their hearts with envy, jealousy, and hatred against the Son of God, so that they would not receive Him, but would make His life upon earth as bitter as possible. Satan held a council with his angels, as to the course they should pursue to prevent the people from having faith in Christ as the Messiah whom the Jews had so long been anxiously expecting. He was disappointed and enraged that he had prevailed nothing against Jesus by his manifold temptations. But he now thought if he could inspire in the hearts of Christ's own people, unbelief as to His being the Promised One,

Ellen G. White Comments, SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1083 (continued)

he might discourage the Saviour in His mission and secure the Jews as his agents to carry out his own diabolical purposes. So he went to work in his subtle manner, endeavoring to accomplish by strategy what he had failed to do by direct, personal effort (2SP 97, 98). Sufficient to Prevent Bewilderment. --A study of Christ's wonderful sermon on the mount will teach the believer what must be the characteristics of those whom the Lord calls "Blessed." [Matt. 5:1-12 quoted.] . . .

Education, p. 79

The Teacher Sent From God - Christ was a faithful reprover. Never lived there another who so hated evil; never another whose denunciation of it was so fearless. To all things untrue and base His very presence was a rebuke. In the light of His purity, men saw themselves unclean, their life's aims mean and false. Yet He drew them. He who had created man, understood the value of humanity. Evil He denounced as the foe of those whom He was seeking to bless and to save. In every human being, however, fallen, He beheld a son of God, one who might be restored to the privilege of his divine relationship. "God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved." John 3:17. Looking upon men in their suffering and degradation, Christ perceived ground for hope where appeared only despair and ruin. Wherever there existed a sense of need, there He saw opportunity for uplifting. Souls tempted, defeated, feeling themselves lost, ready to perish, He met, not with denunciation, but with blessing. The beatitudes were His greeting to the whole human family. Looking upon the vast throng gathered to listen to the Sermon on the Mount, He seemed for the moment to have forgotten that He was not in heaven, and He used the familiar salutation of the world of light. From His lips flowed blessings as the gushing forth of a long-sealed fountain.

Turning from the ambitious, self-satisfied favorites of this world, He declared that those were blessed who, however great their need, would receive His light and love. To the poor in spirit, the sorrowing, the persecuted,

(p. 80) He stretched out His arms, saying, "Come unto Me, . . . and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28.


Object Of The Beatitudes

(Mat 7:13-14 NIV) "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. {14} But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

(Phil 4:7 NIV) And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

(Mat 5:3-12 NIV) "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. {4} Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. {5} Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. {6} Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. {7} Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. {8} Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. {9} Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. {10} Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. {11} "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. {12} Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

(Luke 6:20-26 NIV) Looking at his disciples, he said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. {21} Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. {22} Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. {23} "Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets. {24} "But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. {25} Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. {26} Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.

(Mat 5:3-11 NIV) "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. {4} Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. {5} Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. {6} Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. {7} Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. {8} Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. {9} Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. {10} Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. {11} "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

(Luke 6:20-23 NIV) Looking at his disciples, he said: "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. {21} Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. {22} Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. {23} "Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their fathers treated the prophets.

(Luke 6:24-26 NIV) "But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. {25} Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep. {26} Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for that is how their fathers treated the false prophets.


Blessed Are The Poor

The Desire of Ages, pp. 299 - 300

The Sermon on the Mount - The disciples' place was always next to Jesus. The people constantly pressed upon Him, yet the disciples understood that they were not to be crowded away from His presence. They sat close beside Him, that they might not lose a word of His instruction. They were attentive listeners, eager to understand the truths they were to make known to all lands and all ages. With a feeling that something more than usual might be expected, they now pressed about their Master. They believed that the kingdom was soon to be established, and from the events of the morning they gathered assurance that some announcement concerning it was about to be made. A feeling of expectancy pervaded the multitude also, and eager faces gave evidence of the deep interest. As the people sat upon the green hillside, awaiting the words of the divine Teacher, their hearts were filled with thoughts of future glory. There were scribes and Pharisees who looked forward to the day when they should have dominion over the hated Romans, and possess the riches and splendor of the world's great empire. The poor peasants and fishermen hoped to hear the assurance that their wretched hovels, the scanty food, the life of toil, and fear of want were to be exchanged for mansions of plenty and days of ease. In place of the one coarse garment which was their covering by day, and their blanket at night, they hoped that Christ would give them the rich and costly robes of their conquerors.

The Desire of Ages, pp. 299 - 300 (continued)

All hearts thrilled with the proud hope that Israel was soon to be honored before the nations as the chosen of the Lord, and Jerusalem exalted as the head of a universal kingdom. Christ disappointed the hope of worldly greatness. In the Sermon on the Mount He sought to undo the work that had been wrought by false education, and to give His hearers a right conception of His kingdom and of His own character. Yet He did not make a direct attack on the errors of the people. He saw the misery of the world on account of sin, yet He did not present before them a vivid delineation of their wretchedness. He taught them of something infinitely better than they had known. Without combating their ideas of the kingdom of God, He told them the conditions of entrance therein, leaving them to draw their own conclusions as to its nature. The truths He taught are no less important to us than to the multitude that followed Him. We no less than they need to learn the foundation principles of the kingdom of God. Christ's first words to the people on the mount were words of blessing. appy are they, He said, who recognize their spiritual poverty, and (p. 300) feel their need of redemption. The gospel is to be preached to the poor. Not to the spiritually proud, those who claim to be rich and in need of nothing, is it revealed, but to those who are humble and contrite. One fountain only has been opened for sin, a fountain for the poor in spirit. The proud heart strives to earn salvation; but both our title to heaven and our fitness for it are found in the righteousness of Christ. The Lord can do nothing toward the recovery of man until, convinced of his own weakness, and stripped of all self-sufficiency, he yields himself to the control of God. Then he can receive the gift that God is waiting to bestow. From the soul that feels his need, nothing is withheld. He has unrestricted access to Him in whom all fullness dwells. "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." Isa. 57:15. "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted." By these words Christ does not teach that mourning in itself has power to remove the guilt of sin. He gives no sanction to pretense or to voluntary humility. The mourning of which He speaks does not consist in melancholy and lamentation. While we sorrow on account of sin, we are to rejoice in the precious privilege of being children of God. We often sorrow because our evil deeds bring unpleasant consequences to ourselves; but this is not repentance. Real sorrow for sin is the result of the working of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit reveals the ingratitude of the heart that has slighted and grieved the Saviour, and brings us in contrition to the foot of the cross. By every sin Jesus is wounded afresh; and as we look upon Him whom we have pierced, we mourn for the sins that have brought anguish upon Him. Such mourning will lead to the renunciation of sin. The worldling may pronounce this sorrow a weakness; but it is the strength which binds the penitent to the Infinite One with links that cannot be broken. It shows that the angels of God are bringing back to the soul the graces that were lost through hardness of heart and transgression. The tears of the penitent are only the raindrops that precede the sunshine of holiness. This sorrow heralds a joy which will be a living fountain in the soul. "Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God;" "and I will not cause Mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord." Jer. 3:13, 12. "Unto them that mourn in Zion," He has appointed to give "beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness." Isa. 61:3.

(James 2:5 NIV) Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him?

(1 Cor 1:26-29 NIV) Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. {27} But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. {28} He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things--and the things that are not--to nullify the things that are, {29} so that no one may boast before him.

(Mark 10:23-24 NIV) Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!" {24} The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!


Good News To The Poor

Ellen G. White Comments, SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, pp. 1119 - 1120

A Pattern in Courtesy. -After Joseph and Mary had searched for Him for three days, they found Him in the court of the temple, "sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers." He asked His questions with a grace that charmed these learned men. He was a perfect pattern for all youth. Ever He manifested deference and respect for age. The religion of Jesus will never lead any child to be rude and uncourteous (YI Sept. 8, 1898).

A Constant Ministry. --[Luke 2:50, 51 quoted.] Christ did not enter upon His public ministry for eighteen years after this, but He was constantly ministering to others, improving every opportunity offered Him. Even in His childhood He spoke words of comfort and tenderness to young and old. His mother could not but mark His words, His spirit, His willing obedience to all her requirements (YI Sept. 8, 1898). No Worldly Aspirations. --The people thought that John might be the promised Messiah. His life was so unselfish, marked with humility and self-denial. His teachings, exhortations, and reproofs, were fervent, sincere, and courageous. In his mission, he turned not to the right or to the left to court the favors or applause of any. He did not aspire to worldly honor or worldly dignity, but was humble in heart and life, and did not assume honors that did not belong to him. He assured his followers that he was not the Christ (2SP 57). Satan Tried to Make a Contract With Christ. -- [Luke 4:5-8 quoted.] This presumptuous blasphemy, and insult to Jehovah, excited the indignation of Christ, and led Him to exercise His divine authority, and command Satan in an authoritative, dignified manner to desist. Here Satan, in his pride and arrogance, declared himself to be the rightful and permanent ruler of the world, the possessor of all its glory, as though he had created the world and all the riches and glory contained in it. He endeavored to make a special contract with Christ, to make over to Him at once the whole of his claim, if He would worship him. Here Satan showed Jesus the kingdoms of the world. They were presented in the most attractive light. He offered them to Jesus if He would there worship him. He told Jesus that he would relinquish his claims of the possessions of earth. Satan knew that his power must be limited, and finally taken away, if the plan of salvation should be carried out. He knew that if Jesus should die to redeem man, his power would end after a season, and he would be destroyed. Therefore it was his studied plan to prevent, if possible, the completion of the great work which had been commenced by the Son of God. If the plan of man's redemption should fail, he would retain the kingdom which he then claimed. And if he should succeed, he flattered himself that he would reign in opposition to the God of heaven Two Parties and Two Banners. --Satan has called this world his territory. Here his seat is, and he holds in allegiance to himself all who refuse to keep God's commandments, who reject a plain, "Thus saith the Lord." They stand under the enemy's banner; for there are but two parties in the world. All rank either under the banner of the obedient or under the banner of the disobedient (MS 41, 1898). The Gospel to the Poor. -- Christ came to (p. 1120) preach the gospel to the poor. He reached the people where they were. He brought plain, simple truth to their comprehension. How simple His language! Even the poorest, the unlearned and ignorant, could understand Him. Not one needed go to a dictionary to obtain the meaning of the high-sounding titles or words that fell from the lips of the greatest Teacher the world ever knew. While the priests, the rulers, and the expounders of the law were considering themselves as the only teachers of the people, He told these learned rabbis that they were both ignorant of the Scriptures and of the power of God (RH July 19, 1887).

Ellen G. White Comments, SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 5, pp. 1119 - 1120 (continued)

Matthew Honored Christ Before Friends. --In his grateful humility, Matthew desired to show his appreciation of the honor bestowed upon him, and, calling together those who had been his associates in business, in pleasure, and sin, he made a great feast for the Saviour. If Jesus would call him, who was so sinful and unworthy, He would surely accept his former companions who were, thought Matthew, far more deserving than himself. Matthew had a great longing that they should share the benefits of the mercies and grace of Christ. He desired them to know that Christ did not, as did the scribes and Pharisees, despise and hate the publicans and sinners. He wanted them to know Christ as the blessed Saviour. At the feast the Saviour occupied the most honored seat. Matthew was now the servant of Christ, and he would have his friends know in what light he regarded his Leader and Master. He would have them know that he felt highly honored in entertaining so royal a guest. Jesus never refused an invitation to such a feast. The object ever before Him was to sow in the hearts of His hearers the seeds of truth, through His winning conversation to draw hearts to Himself. In His every act Christ had a purpose, and the lesson which He gave on this occasion was timely and appropriate. By this act He declared that even publicans and sinners were not excluded from His presence. Publicans and sinners could now bear the testimony that Christ honored them with His presence and conversed with them (MS 3, 1898). Pharisees Did Not Blindly Oppose Christ. --The scribes, Pharisees, and rulers were determined that they would not see the evidences of truth, and they evaded the most manifest conclusions. To justify their course of stubborn unbelief, they lost no possible opportunity of seizing upon anything in the teaching of Jesus that they could misconstrue, misapply, or falsify. When there was no possibility of misapplying the truth of Christ's words, these men who rejected the counsel of God against themselves, started questions that had no reference to the matter in hand, so as to attract the attention of the people away from the lesson that Jesus sought to teach, and adroitly evade the truth. The Pharisees were not blindly opposing the doctrines of Christ; for the truth made deep impressions upon their minds; but they resisted truth, and went contrary to their convictions, closing their eyes lest they should see, hardening the heart, lest they should perceive, and be converted, and Christ should heal them (RH Oct. 18, 1892). Shunning Cross Means Shunning Reward. These words are spoken to every one who desires to be a Christian. He who shuns the cross shuns the reward promised to the faithful (Letter 144, 1901).

Testimonies, vol. 7, p. 226

A Gospel for the Poor The poverty of the people to whom we are sent is not to prevent us from working for them. Christ came to this earth to walk and work among the poor and suffering. They received the greatest share of His attention. And today, in the person of His children, He visits the poor and needy, relieving woe and alleviating suffering. Take away suffering and need, and we should have no way of understanding the mercy and love of God, no way of knowing the compassionate, sympathetic heavenly Father. Never does the gospel put on an aspect of greater loveliness than when it is brought to the most needy and destitute regions. Then it is that its light shines forth with the clearest radiance and the greatest power. Truth from the word of God enters the hovel of the peasant; rays from the Sun of Righteousness light up the rude cottage of the poor, bringing gladness to the sick and suffering. Angels of God are there, and the simple faith shown makes the crust of bread and the cup of water a banquet. The sin-pardoning Saviour welcomes the poor and ignorant, and gives them to eat of the bread that comes down from heaven. They drink of the water of life. Those who have been loathed and abandoned are through faith and pardon raised to the dignity of sons and daughters of God. Lifted above the world, they sit in heavenly places in Christ. They may have no earthly treasure, but they have found the pearl of great price.

(Mat 11:2-5 NIV) When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples {3} to ask him, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" {4} Jesus replied, "Go back and report to John what you hear and see: {5} The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.

(Psa 40:17 NIV) Yet I am poor and needy; may the Lord think of me. You are my help and my deliverer; O my God, do not delay.

(Psa 69:33 NIV) The LORD hears the needy and does not despise his captive people.

(Psa 109:31 NIV) For he stands at the right hand of the needy one, to save his life from those who condemn him.

(Luke 2:25 NIV) Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.

(Luke 2:38 NIV) Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

(Luke 2:21-24 NIV) On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived. {22} When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord {23} (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord"), {24} and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons."

(Acts 2:44-45 NIV) All the believers were together and had everything in common. {45} Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.

(Acts 11:28-30 NIV) One of them, named Agabus, stood up and through the Spirit predicted that a severe famine would spread over the entire Roman world. (This happened during the reign of Claudius.) {29} The disciples, each according to his ability, decided to provide help for the brothers living in Judea. {30} This they did, sending their gift to the elders by Barnabas and Saul.


Those Invited To The Feast

(Luke 18:9-14 NIV) To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everybody else, Jesus told this parable: {10} "Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. {11} The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men--robbers, evildoers, adulterers--or even like this tax collector. {12} I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.' {13} "But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.' {14} "I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."

Christ's Object Lesson, p. 159

Two Worshipers - No man can of himself understand his errors. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?" Jer. 17:9. The lips may express a poverty of soul that the heart does not acknowledge. While speaking to God of poverty of spirit, the heart may be swelling with the conceit of its own superior humility and exalted righteousness. In one way only can a true knowledge of self be obtained. We must behold Christ. It is ignorance of Him that makes men so uplifted in their own righteousness. When we contemplate His purity and excellence, we shall see our own weakness and poverty and defects as they really are. We shall see ourselves lost and hopeless, clad in garments of self-righteousness, like every other sinner. We shall see that if we are ever saved, it will not be through our own goodness, but through God's infinite grace. The prayer of the publican was heard because it showed dependence reaching forth to lay hold upon Omnipotence. Self to the publican appeared nothing but shame. Thus it must be seen by all who seek God. By faith--faith that renounces all self-trust--the needy suppliant is to lay hold upon infinite power.

No outward observances can take the place of simple faith and entire renunciation of self. But no man can empty himself of self. We can only consent for Christ to accomplish the work. Then the language of the soul will be, Lord, take my heart; for I cannot give it. It is Thy property. Keep it pure, for I cannot keep it for Thee. Save me in spite of myself, my weak, unchristlike self. Mold me, fashion me, raise me into a pure and holy atmosphere, where the rich current of Thy love can flow through my soul. It is not only at the beginning of the Christian life that this renunciation of self is to be made. At every advance (p. 160) step heavenward it is to be renewed. All our good works are dependent on a power outside of ourselves. Therefore there needs to be a continual reaching out of the heart after God, a continual, earnest, heartbreaking confession of sin and humbling of the soul before Him. Only by constant renunciation of self and dependence on Christ can we walk safely.


Jesus, Our Example

Ellen G. White Comments, SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, pp. 903 - 904

What Is a Christian? --When the apostle Paul, through the revelation of Christ, was converted from a persecutor to a Christian, he declared that he was as one born out of due time. Henceforward Christ was all and in all to him. "For to me to live is Christ," he declared. This is the most perfect interpretation in a few words, in all the Scriptures, of what it means to be a Christian. This is the whole truth of the gospel. Paul understood what many seem unable to comprehend. How intensely in earnest he was! His words show that his mind was centered in Christ, that his whole life was bound up with his Lord. Christ was the author, the support, and the source of his life (RH Oct. 19, 1897). Paul's Moral Stature. --Paul attained to the full moral stature of a man in Christ Jesus. By what a process was his soul developed! His life was a continual scene of hardship, conflict, and toil [2 Cor. 11:26, 27 quoted] (Letter 5, 1880). Light for the Humble. --"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus." If you strive in all humility to understand what is the mind of Christ, you will not be left in darkness. Jesus says, "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (YI Oct. 13, 1892). The Humble Circumstances of Christ's Life. --After Christ had condescended to leave is high command, step down from an infinite height and assume humanity, He could have taken upon Him any condition of humanity He might choose. But greatness and rank were nothing to Him, and He selected the lowest and most humble walk of life. The place of His birth was Bethlehem, and on one side His parentage was poor, but God, the owner of the world, was His Father. No trace of luxury, ease, selfish gratification,

Ellen G. White Comments, SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, pp. 903 - 904 (continued)

or indulgence was brought into His life, which was a continual round of self-denial and self-sacrifice. In accordance with His humble birth, He had apparently no greatness or riches, in order that the humblest believer need not say Christ never knew the stress of pinching poverty. Had He possessed the semblance of outward show, of riches, of grandeur, the poorest (p. 904) class of humanity would have shunned His society; therefore He chose the lowly condition of the far greater number of the people (MS 9, 1896). Faith Not to Rest on Evidences of Sight. --Before Christ left heaven and came into the world to die, He was taller than any of the angels. He was majestic and lovely. But when His ministry commenced, He was but little taller than the common size of men then living upon the earth. Had He come among men with His noble, heavenly form, His outward appearance would have attracted the minds of the people to Himself, and He would have been received without the exercise of faith. . . . The faith of men in Christ as the Messiah was not to rest on the evidences of sight, and they believe on Him because of His personal attractions, but because of the excellence of character found in Him, which never had been found, neither could be, in another (2SP 39). The Mystery Into Which Angels Desire to Look. --In Christ dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead. But the only way in which He could reach men was to veil His glory by a garb of humanity. The angels beheld the hiding of His glory, that divinity might touch humanity. Christ ever retained the utmost hatred for sin, but He loved the purchase of His blood. He suffered in the place of sinful men, taking them into union with Himself. This is the mystery into which angels desire to look. They desire to know how Christ could live and work in a fallen world, how He could mingle with sinful humanity. It was a mystery to them that He who hated sin with intense hatred felt the most tender, compassionate sympathy for the beings that committed sin (ST Jan. 20, 1898). An Unexplainable Blending. --Christ could have done nothing during His earthly ministry in saving fallen man if the divine had not been blended with the human. The limited capacity of man cannot define this wonderful mystery--the blending of the two natures, the divine and the human. It can never be explained. Man must wonder and be silent. And yet man is privileged to be a partaker of the divine nature, and in this way he can to some degree enter into the mystery (Letter 5, 1889). The Most Marvelous Thing in Earth or Heaven. --When we want a deep problem to study, let us fix our minds on the most marvelous thing that ever took place in earth or heaven--the incarnation of the Son of God. God gave His Son to die for sinful human beings a death of ignominy and shame. He who was Commander in the heavenly courts laid aside His royal robe and kingly crown, and clothing His divinity with humanity, came to this world to stand at the head of the human race as the pattern-man. He humbled Himself to suffer with the race, to be afflicted in all their afflictions.

The whole world was His, but so completely did He empty Himself that during His ministry He declared, "Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head" [Heb. 2:14-18 quoted] (MS 76, 1903). Christ Above All Law. --The Son of God came voluntarily to accomplish the work of atonement. There was no obligatory yoke upon Him; for He was independent and above all law. The angels, as God's intelligent messengers, were under the yoke of obligation; no personal sacrifice of theirs could atone for fallen man. Christ alone was free from the claims of the law to undertake the redemption of the sinful race. He had power to lay down His life and to take it up again. "Being in the form of God," He "thought it not robbery to be equal with God" (SW Sept. 4, 1906). Christ's Humanity a Golden Chain. --To redeem man, Christ became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. The humanity of the Son of God is everything to us. It is the golden linked chain which binds our souls to Christ and through Christ to God. This is to be our study. Christ was a real man, and He gave proof of His humility in becoming a man. And He was God in the flesh.

(Phil 2:5-8 NIV) Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: {6} Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, {7} but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

{Phil 2:8} And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-- even death on a cross!


Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 6 - 9 (not included with lesson help)

(Mat 5:2-3 NIV) and he began to teach them, saying: {3} "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Testimonies, vol. 7, pp. 226 - 228 (not included with lesson help)

Christ's Object Lesson, pp. 150 - 163 (not included with lesson help)

The Great Controversy, p. 477

Modern Revivals - Here are revealed the heights of attainment that we may reach through faith in the promises of our heavenly Father, when we fulfill his requirements. Through the merits of Christ, we have access to the throne of infinite power. "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"[2 ROM. 8:32.] The Father gave his Spirit without measure to his Son, and we also may partake of its fullness. Jesus says: "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?"[3 LUKE 11:13.] "If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it." "Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full."[4 JOHN 14:14; 16:24.] While the Christian's life will be characterized by humility, it should not be marked with sadness and self-depreciation. It is the privilege of every one to so live that God will approve and bless him. It is not the will of our heavenly Father that we should be ever under condemnation and darkness. There is no evidence of true humility in going with the head bowed down and the heart filled with thoughts of self. We may go to Jesus and be cleansed, and stand before the law without shame and remorse. "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."[5 ROM. 8:1.] Through Jesus the fallen sons of Adam become "sons of God." "Both he that sanctifieth and they that are sanctified are all of one; for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren."[6 HEB. 2:11.] The Christian's life should be one of faith, of victory, and joy in God. "Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh (p. 478) the world, even our faith."[1 1 JOHN 5:4.] Truly spake God's servant Nehemiah, "The joy of the Lord is your strength."[2 NEH. 8:10.] And says Paul: "Rejoice in the Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice." "Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."[3 PHIL. 4:4; 1 THESS. 5:16-18.]

Testimonies, vol. 3, pp. 211, 252 - 256 (not included with lesson help)

(Col 1:12 NIV) giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.

Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 8

The Beatitudes - Of the poor in spirit Jesus says, "Theirs is the kingdom of heaven." This kingdom is not, as Christ's hearers had hoped, a temporal and earthly dominion. Christ was opening to men the spiritual kingdom of His love, His grace, His righteousness. The ensign of the Messiah's reign is distinguished by the likeness of the Son of man. His subjects are the poor in spirit, the meek, the persecuted for righteousness' sake. The kingdom of heaven is theirs. Though not yet fully accomplished, the work is begun in them which will make them "meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light." Colossians 1:12. All who have a sense of their deep soul poverty, who feel that they have nothing good in themselves, may find righteousness and strength by looking unto Jesus. He says, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden." Matthew 11:28. He bids you exchange your poverty for the riches of His grace. We (p. 9) are not worthy of God's love, but Christ , our surety, is worthy, and is abundantly able to save all who shall come unto Him. Whatever may have been your past experience, however discouraging your present circumstances, if you will come to Jesus just as you are, weak, helpless, and despairing, our compassionate Saviour will meet you a great way off, and will throw about you His arms of love and His robe of righteousness. He presents us to the Father clothed in the white raiment of His own character. He pleads before God in our behalf, saying: I have taken the sinner's place. Look not upon this wayward child, but look on Me. Does Satan plead loudly against our souls, accusing of sin, and claiming us as his prey, the blood of Christ pleads with greater power