BIBLE STUDY GUIDES

LESSON 5 - Experiencing God

The men who framed the Westminster Confession included a question in the document which reveals that they had a least a good understanding of the true goal of life.

The question and answer read as follows:

Question: What is man's chief end?

Answer: Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. This is a wonderful truth. "We were made for Him and our souls are restless until they find rest in Him." In all our searching to understand doctrine and to be theologically correct, we must always remember that all this is only a means to an end. The end, the goal, the purpose is God Himself. To know, to experience, to enjoy God, this is the purpose of life, the aim of all true knowledge. What profit is there in knowing how to define God when we are strangers to that God? How can we ever represent that God to the world unless we are in a constant loving fellowship with Him in which we are being transformed by association with Him?

                    

Part 1: What Does it mean to "know" God?

                                                                                   

Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. (John 15:15)

"All that was communicated to Him by His Father, Christ makes known to His followers. "Henceforth I call you not servants;" He says, "for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you" (John 15:15). How was this done? By words merely? No; by character; by the daily life. It was thus that Christ represented His Father. My brethren and sisters, let us make it known that we are branches of the living vine in that we represent the character of Christ. By a life of fruitbearing we are to make known the truth of the Word. You may profess a religion that is as high as the heavens; but unless you do the commandments of God, you are certainly not recommending the love of Christ to the world." _ Sermons and Talks, Vol. 1, p. 401

"The pure in heart shall see God. While all men shall behold Christ as a judge, the pure in heart shall behold him as a friend; . . . ." {ST, October 3, 1895 par. 3}

How can we get to know God? John 14:7-9

"But turning from all lesser representations, we behold God in Jesus." _ Desire of Ages, p.21 "We cannot by searching find out God, but He has revealed Himself in His Son, who is the brightness of the Father's glory and the express image of His person. If we desire a knowledge of God we must be Christlike. . . . Living a pure life through faith in Christ as a personal Saviour will bring to the believer a clearer, higher conception of God. . . ." _ That I May Know Him, p. 9

"Jesus presented the Father as one to whom we could give our confidence and present our wants. When we are in terror of God, and overwhelmed with the thought of His glory and majesty, the Father points us to Christ as His representative. What you see revealed in Jesus, of tenderness, compassion, and love, is the reflection of the attributes of the Father. The cross of Calvary reveals to man the love of God. Christ represents the Sovereign of the universe as a God of love. By the mouth of the prophet He said, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee" (Jer. 31:3). _ In Heavenly Places, p. 18

"Such is the character of Christ as revealed in His life. This is the character of God. It is from the Father's heart that the streams of divine compassion, manifest in Christ, flow out to the children of men. Jesus, the tender, pitying Saviour, was God "manifest in the flesh." _ Steps To Christ, p. 12                     

                                                                                   

Key Thought

What vital ingredient will be manifested in the characters of those who know God? (Jer 22:16)                        

                                   

Part 2: God is seeking after you

                                                                                               

The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee. (Jer 31:3)

"The heart of God yearns over His earthly children with a love stronger than death. In giving up His Son, He has poured out to us all heaven in one gift. The Saviour's life and death and intercession, the ministry of angels, the pleading of the Spirit, the Father working above and through all, the unceasing interest of heavenly beings,--all are enlisted in behalf of man's redemption." {SC 21.2} "Many are the ways in which God is seeking to make himself known to us and to bring us into communion with him. Nature speaks to our senses without ceasing. The open heart will be impressed with the love and glory of God as revealed through the works of his hands. The listening ear can hear and understand the communications of God through the things of nature. The green fields, the lofty trees, the buds and flowers, the passing cloud, the falling rain, the babbling brook, the glories of the heavens, speak to our hearts, and invite us to become acquainted with him who made them all." _ Christian Edication, p. 54

 

What passages in the Bible represent God's attitude towards us? Hosea 11:3,4; Matt. 23:37; Luke 15:4-32

"But in the parable of the lost sheep, Christ teaches that salvation does not come through our seeking after God but through God's seeking after us. "There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way." Rom. 3:11, 12. We do not repent in order that God may love us, but He reveals to us His love in order that we may repent. "When the straying sheep is at last brought home, the shepherd's gratitude finds expression in melodious songs of rejoicing. He calls upon his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, "Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost." So when a wanderer is found by the great Shepherd of the sheep, heaven and earth unite in thanksgiving and rejoicing. "Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance." You Pharisees, said Christ, regard yourselves as the favorites of heaven. You think yourselves secure in your own righteousness. Know, then, that if you need no repentance, My mission is not to you. These poor souls who feel their poverty and sinfulness, are the very ones whom I have come to rescue. Angels of heaven are interested in these lost ones whom you despise. You complain and sneer when one of these souls joins himself to Me; but know that angels rejoice, and the song of triumph rings through the courts above." _ Christ's Object Lessons, p, 189                        

                                                                                               

Key Thought                                                                         

           

What is our response to God's yearning for close fellowship with us?                

                                   

Part 3: The Key of Faith

                                                                                               

For we walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Cor 5:7)

"There is no need for us to hunger, there is no need for us to thirst, while the storehouse of heaven is open for us and the key is given into our possession. What is the key? Faith, which is the gift of God. Unlock the storehouse; take of its rich treasures." _ That I May Know Him, p. 7

"The prayer of faith is the key that unlocks the treasury of heaven. As we commit our souls to God, let us remember that He holds Himself responsible to hear and answer our supplications. He invites us to come to Him, and He bestows on us His best and choicest gifts--gifts that will supply our great need. He loves to help us. Let us trust in His wisdom and His power. O what faith we should have! O what peace and comfort we should enjoy! Open your heart to the Spirit of God. Then the Lord will work through you and bless your labors."--Letter 49, 1903, pp. 4, 6-8. (To Elder Daniells and His Fellow-Workers, April 12, 1903). _ Manuscript Releases, Vol. 8, p. 196

What was the key to Moses extraordinary relationship with God (Numbers 12:6_8)? Heb. 11:27

"Moses had a deep sense of the personal presence of God. He was not only looking down through the ages for Christ to be made manifest in the flesh, but he saw Christ in a special manner accompanying the children of Israel in all their travels. God was real to him, ever present in his thoughts. When misunderstood, when called upon to face danger and to bear insult for Christ's sake, he endured without retaliation. Moses believed in God as one whom he needed and who would help him because of his need. God was to him a present help. ". . . . Moses did not merely think of God; he saw Him. God was the constant vision before him; he never lost sight of His face. He saw Jesus as his Saviour, and he believed that the Saviour's merits would be imputed to him. This faith was to Moses no guesswork; it was a reality. This is the kind of faith we need, faith that will endure the test. Oh, how often we yield to temptation because we do not keep our eye upon Jesus!" _ Conflict and Courage, p. 85

 

Which other Bible personalities were able to attain unto a special relationship with God through faith? Heb 11:5; Rom 4:3

"When we learn to walk by faith and not by feeling, we shall have help from God just when we need it, and his peace will come into our hearts. It was this simple life of obedience and trust that Enoch lived. If we learn this lesson of simple trust, ours may be the testimony that he received, that he pleased God." _ Historical Sketches, p. 133                       

           

Key Thought

God never changes. If we do not have the same relationship with God as these men did, it is because we have not sought after God as they did.                   

                       

Part 4: Walking in The Spirit

                                                                                   

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. (Rom 8:9)

". . . .None are so vile, none have fallen so low, as to be beyond the working of this power. In all who will submit themselves to the Holy Spirit a new principle of life is to be implanted; the lost image of God is to be restored in humanity. "But man cannot transform himself by the exercise of his will. He possesses no power by which this change can be effected. The leaven--something wholly from without--must be put into the meal before the desired change can be wrought in it. So the grace of God must be received by the sinner before he can be fitted for the kingdom of glory. All the culture and education which the world can give will fail of making a degraded child of sin a child of heaven. The renewing energy must come from God. The change can be made only by the Holy Spirit. All who would be saved, high or low, rich or poor, must submit to the working of this power." _ Christ's Object Lessons, p. 96

 

How does the Bible describe the Christian's experience of total submissiveness to God? (Gal 5:25)

"Walk in the Spirit. Be followers of God as dear children. Seek to be conformed to the image of Christ, and do not seek for the mastery in discussion, but speak the truth in love, because the truth dwells in you. If the truth is in you Christ is in you, and you are then becoming sanctified through the truth, conforming to the image of Christ. Then you can represent Christ to all with whom you associate, and your spirit and actions will speak louder than your profession. You may live in the Spirit, walk in the Spirit, and bear the fruits of the Spirit; you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Then you will be living channels of light, having your life hid with Christ in God. And though the world does not see the heavenly character of the life that is hid with Christ, the effects of that life will be manifest; for those who are partakers of the divine nature will walk as children of light. . . ." _ Manuscript Releases Vol. 4, p. 49

What was Paul's reason for insisting on going to Jerusalem, even though all his friends warned him of the danger awaiting him there? (Acts 20:22)

 

Though danger lay ahead of him Paul had committed his way unto the Lord. He was always ready and willing to go where God directed him by His Spirit. He did not allow consideration of the dangers to persuade him to change his mind, though he was urged to do so by his brethren.

Key Thought

A person who walks in the spirit will live with the constant realization of the real presence of God.               

                                   

Part 5: Fellowship

                                                                                               

Key Thought                                                                         

My fellowship with God may be, and should be closer than that which I enjoy with any human being.              

                                   

Part 6: Abiding in Him

                                                                                               

He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. (Psa 91:1)

"It was not on the cross only that Christ sacrificed Himself for humanity. As He "went about doing good" (Acts 10:38), every day's experience was an outpouring of His life. In one way only could such a life be sustained. Jesus lived in dependence upon God and communion with Him. To the secret place of the Most High, under the shadow of the Almighty, men now and then repair; they abide for a season, and the result is manifest in noble deeds; then their faith fails, the communion is interrupted, and the lifework marred. But the life of Jesus was a life of constant trust, sustained by continual communion; and His service for heaven and earth was without failure or faltering." _ Education, p. 80

"There are troublous times before us; the judgments of God are coming upon our world. The nations of the earth are to tremble. There will be trials and perplexities on every hand; men's hearts will fail them for fear. And what shall we do in that day? Though the earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and be removed like a cottage, if we have made God our trust, He will deliver us. "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." "Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee. . . . For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways." _ Sons and Daughters of God, p. 354

 

What wonderful promise is there for those who abide in God through His Son? John 15:7

. . . . We have the promise that if we abide in him, and his words abide in us, we may ask what we will, and it shall be done unto us. Is it indeed possible that Christ may abide in us, and we in him? Christ says, "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." Would he tempt us and deceive us?--No, indeed. There is everything to encourage any soul who by faith claims the promises that God has given us, for through his grace we may be overcomers." _ Review and Herald, July 29, 1890

"Herein is My Father glorified," said Jesus, "that ye bear much fruit." God desires to manifest through you the holiness, the benevolence, the compassion, of His own character. Yet the Saviour does not bid the disciples labor to bear fruit. He tells them to abide in Him. "If ye abide in Me," He says, "and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. . . ." _ Desire of Ages, p. 677                        

 

Key Thought                                                                         

"Abide" means to remain always. Why is it that our relationship with God is so fluctuating, at times close, at other times very distant and shaky?

Restoration Ministries

Restoration Ministries is dedicated to the promotion of the truths contained in the word of God. In particular to the restoration of those truths which have been cast down to the ground and trampled underfoot by the papacy, and adopted by her daughters.

Our purpose is to motivate men and women to commit themselves wholly to the task of personal preparation for the coming of the Lord, and to the taking of the final warning message to every nation, kindred, tongue and people.

Website: www.restorationministry.com

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