Living Beyond Ourselves
January 19, 2019
In the years following World War II the Adventist Church in Europe experienced a renewed commitment to spread the gospel. Many young people eagerly joined efforts to sell and distribute Christian literature both in their neighborhoods and in more distant towns and cities.
Jonathan was a young literature evangelist who went long distances in his zeal to sell and distribute Bibles and Adventist literature. His ventures were not without risk. At that time it was forbidden to sell Christian literature.
One day as Jonathan was in a town far from home, someone reported him to the authorities. Pretty soon the police came and found Jonathan carrying and selling Christian literature. He was arrested. After some questioning Jonathan was beaten and placed in prison. When the members of his home church heard the news, they prayed fervently for his release. The conditions in the prison were harsh. In his prison cell Jonathan had only bare wooden planks to rest on. There was no comfortable bed, no pillow, and no warm blankets. Yet in spite of the unfriendly conditions of prison life, Jonathan felt great peace in his heart. He felt honored to suffer for his Lord and felt his Savior especially close during that trying time. In fact, years later Jonathan recalled that he has never slept as soundly as when he had nothing but wooden planks to rest on.
After a number of weeks had gone by, the prison guards called Jonathan to appear before the authorities once again. To his great surprise and joy, Jonathan was granted freedom. He was released from prison on a Saturday morning. With his heart overflowing with joy and gratitude to God, Jonathan went straight to the closest Seventh-day Adventist church. As he opened the door and quietly entered in, he found the congregation kneeling and praying. He bowed his head and started listening to the prayers. To his astonishment, the people in the congregation were praying for his release from prison. At the close of the prayer time it was the church’s turn to be astonished as they witnessed a most tangible answer to their prayers!
When we come to know Jesus, an amazing transformation takes place in our lives. The real joy of knowing Jesus will show in everything we do. Our priorities change. Our lives receive true meaning and purpose. Our number-one mission is to share Jesus everywhere—in the family, at school, in our community, and, if necessary, even before government officials.
Memory Text: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14).
Our Beliefs, no. 13, The Remnant and Its Mission: “The universal church is composed of all who truly believe in Christ, but in the last days . . . a remnant has been called out to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This remnant announces the arrival of the judgment hour, proclaims salvation through Christ, and heralds the approach of His second advent. . . . Every believer is called to have a personal part in this worldwide witness.”
Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, pp. 31-35.
Read Jeremiah 23:3.
Several churches in your community have donated food, money, and clothing to go overseas. Your youth group has been chosen to distribute these supplies in Afghanistan. The government says that while you are there you cannot talk about Christianity or Jesus. Some people think the trip should be canceled. They feel it is not a mission trip if you cannot share Jesus.
Do you think the trip should be canceled? Why or why not? Can you have a mission trip without sharing Jesus? In what ways would you still be able to share Jesus?
Read Revelation 14:6-12; 2 Peter 3:10-14.
“What are you doing, dear youth, to make known to others how important it is to take the word of God for a guide, to keep the commandments of Jehovah?” (Ellen G. White, Messages to Young People, p. 199).
Refer to the Bible Study Guide for the activity.
Read Colossians 4:5, 6
How are you like a missionary? Have you shared with others your love for Jesus?
If we would take some time to get off the phone, leave our electronic devices, or get out of the mirror, we would see the needs of the world around us. We would realize that many people do not know about Jesus and the joy He brings. This is true in faraway lands and right in our neighborhoods.
“The greatest want of the world is the want of [men and women] . . . who will not be bought or sold, . . . who in their inmost souls are true and honest, . . . who do not fear to call sin by its right name, . . . whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, . . . who will stand for the right through the heavens fall” (Ellen G. White, Education, p. 57).
People desperately need to know about Jesus. Our Savior has asked us to tell them. Even if it is not always an easy, popular, or safe task, but we have to think beyond ourselves. When we live for Jesus, God will bless our efforts and empower us to welcome souls into His kingdom.
God’s love can be shared in words and in more practical, tangible ways such as feeding the hungry or helping those who have fallen victim to natural disasters, war, and poverty. When you decide to live for Jesus, you decide to really live!
Match the Bible verse with the phrase from the text. All Bible passages are taken from the New King James Version.
A. “ . . . then will the end come.”
B. “. . . Be ready . . .”
C. “. . . according to what he has done . . .”
D. “. . . preach the gospel . . .”
E. “. . . Declare His glory among the nations . . .”
F. “. . . I will put them together . . .”
G. “. . . you are blessed . . .”
Read Isaiah 6:8.
Review the memory text.
Wanted: an adventurous, brave young person who will answer the call of the gospel, to GO! Your mission is to go into the highways and byways, the halls and the malls, and share Jesus. You can share Him as you dare to be different and live a life pleasing to God. You can share Him as you tell others about Jesus when the subject comes up. You can bring up the subject whenever the opportunity comes.
“How great is the responsibility placed upon the disciple of Christ. How imperative the duty to reflect the light of heaven upon a world enshrouded in darkness” (Ellen G. White, In Heavenly Places, p. 312).
This call to share is not just with your friends and neighbors; it may take you to faraway places. Everybody needs to hear the gospel, and many need your help. There are so many people who have not been as blessed as you are. For some people, you will be the blessing. Giving of your time, your money, and your heart will be worth more to them than anything money can buy.
It is not going to be easy, but God promises to send His Holy Spirit to give you the words to say. He promises that His love will take your fear away and His grace will make up whatever you lack. You just have to be bold enough to trust Him and obey Him!
Read Luke 10:2.
“The soul that turns to God for its help, its support, its power, by daily, earnest prayer, will have noble aspirations, clear perceptions of truth and duty, lofty purposes of action, and a continual hungering and thirsting after righteousness” (Ellen G. White, Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, p. 85).
In what ways does the church participate in spreading the gospel of God’s love?
It is time to get started with your mission work right now. Although there are some places you can’t reach on your feet, you can reach them on your knees. Take some time and write a prayer for people who need the gospel. Pray for those who are being persecuted for their faith. Also, pray that God will show you how He wants you to work for Him.