SDA Sabbath School Lesson 10

Friday December 6, 1996

Further Study: Read Isaiah 62. Also read "The Object of His Supreme Regard" and "The Church the Property of God" in Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 15-19, 21, 22. Consider the resourcefulness of God's love and the power of His grace to transform weak and unworthy beings into "a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 2:5, NIV). You might also want to read the chapter entitled "Tares" in Christ's Object Lessons, pp. 70-75.

"Some people seem to think that upon entering the church they will... meet only with those who are pure and perfect. They are zealous in their faith, and when they see faults in church members, they say, 'We left the world in order to have no association with evil characters, but the evil is here also'; and they ask, as did the servants in the parable, 'From whence then hath it tares?' But we need not be thus disappointed, for the Lord has not warranted us in coming to the conclusion that the church is perfect; and all our zeal will not be successful in making the church militant as pure as the church triumphant. The Lord forbids us to proceed in any violent way against those whom we think erring, and we are not to deal out excommunications and denunciations to those who are faulty." - Testimonies to Ministers, p. 47.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why is the portrait of God's church as His royal crown and His holy bride (Isa. 62:3, 5) not excessive? (See Isa. 40:1,2; Rev. 7:14.)
  2. How can Christ acknowledge the visible church as His own while "tares" and "bad fish" still remain in it? (See Matt. 13:24-30, 33-43, 47-49; 2 Tim. 2:19-21.)
  3. How can we "cleanse the camp from Achans" and yet avoid the urge to separate the wheat from the chaff.? (See 1 Tim. 5:20-22; 2 Tim. 4:1, 2; Titus 2:13-15.)

SUMMARY: Encompassed with internal weakness and outward opposition, the church militant has ever been on the march toward fulfilling Christ's purpose. That purpose is to have a people who faithfully reflect His character and do His bidding. They remain the earthly object of Christ's supreme regard. He invites us to unite through the power of His blood and Word personally appropriated in our lives. Through His grace He protects and perfects His church.