1. WILLINGNESS OF HEART
a. Freshly purged after seeing the vision of the heavenly sanctuary, what was Isaiah’s response to the call of God? Isaiah 6:8–10.
“The prophet [Isaiah] was nerved for the work before him. The memory of this vision [of the temple in heaven] was carried with him throughout his long and arduous mission.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 751.
b. How should we, too, respond to God’s appeal today? Hebrews 3:12–15.
“Heavenly angels have long been waiting for human agents—the members of the church—to cooperate with them in the great work to be done. They are waiting for you.”—Ibid., vol. 9, pp. 46, 47.
“There is something for everyone to do. Every soul that believes the truth is to stand in his lot and place, saying: ‘Here am I; send me.’”—Ibid., vol. 6, p. 49.
2. INTELLIGENT REASONING
a. Explain how and why God makes an appeal to us logically. Isaiah 1:18.
“The Lord requires His people to use their reason, and not lay it aside for impressions. His work will be intelligible to all His children. His teaching will be such as will commend itself to the understanding of intelligent minds. It is calculated to elevate the mind.”—Testimonies, vol. 1, p. 230.
“Christ has bought our hearts. Christ has bought the human intelligence. Christ has bought the reasoning powers; and Christ has entrusted us with capabilities and with powers. He does not want that we should let these powers and capabilities be employed merely in the common things of earthly substance, and lose sight of the eternal.”—Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, p. 251.
“A great name among men is as letters traced in sand, but a spotless character will endure to all eternity. God gives you intelligence and a reasoning mind, whereby you may grasp His promises; and Jesus is ready to help you in forming a strong, symmetrical character.”—God’s Amazing Grace, p. 81.
b. How does the gospel bless us with greater mental clarity? 2 Timothy 1:7.
c. What is the relationship between the heart and the mind? Hebrews 10:16; Ezekiel 36:26.
“What is the new heart? It is the new mind. What is the mind? It is the will. Where is your will? It is either on Satan’s side or Christ’s side. Now it is up to you. Will you put your will today on Christ’s side of the question? That is the new heart. It is the new will, a new mind.”—Sermons and Talks, vol. 1, p. 210.
“The words, ‘A new heart also will I give you’ (Ezekiel 36:26), mean, A new mind will I give you. This change of heart is always attended by a clear conception of Christian duty, an understanding of truth.”—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 452.
3. SHARP WORDS, SERIOUS IMPLICATIONS
a. What simple choice was Isaiah bidden to explain, and what similar choice is given to us? Isaiah 1:19, 20; Joshua 24:14, 15.
“The will is the governing power in the nature of man, the power of decision, or choice. Every human being possessed of reason has power to choose the right. In every experience of life, God’s word to us is, ‘Choose you this day whom ye will serve’ (Joshua 24:15). Everyone may place his will on the side of the will of God, may choose to obey Him, and by thus linking himself with divine agencies, he may stand where nothing can force him to do evil. In every youth, every child, lies the power, by the help of God, to form a character of integrity and to live a life of usefulness.”—Education, p. 289.
“We cannot overestimate the value of simple faith and unquestioning obedience. It is by following in the path of obedience in simple faith that the character obtains perfection.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 4, p. 1137.
b. What sins of God’s people were then mentioned by the prophet? Isaiah 1:21–23.
“[A] grievous sin existing in our midst, is self-sufficiency,—Pharisaism,—feeling that we are righteous, and all our acts are meritorious, when we are far from cherishing the right spirit toward God or toward our brethren. . . . Self-esteem has been cherished, and you have had a spirit of criticism toward others because you were not first. Envy, jealousy, suspicion, faultfinding, and false witnessing have existed. There are unconsecrated hearts among you, who turn everything said or done, even under the special direction of God, in a wrong way. . . . They please the enemy . . . by making a man an offender for a word. In many of these cases that are criticised there is no actual sin; the suspicion is the result of the condition of the mind that entertains it. If one crosses their path, they have no unity or fellowship with him. They feel disgusted with all he may say or do. . . . yet those who are thus creating disaffection and disunion, and planting the seeds of jealousy, all the while claim to be firm believers in the truth. Such do not practice the spirit of the truth.”—The Review and Herald, December 18, 1888.
4. A THOROUGH, INTELLIGENT WORK
a. What is necessary in order for us to have full repentance? Psalm 119:18.
“[1 John 3:2, 3 quoted.] Here is a work for man to do. He must face the mirror, God’s law, discern the defects in his moral character, and put away his sins, washing his robe of character in the blood of the Lamb. . . .
“But the influence of a gospel hope will not lead the sinner to look upon the salvation of Christ as a matter of free grace, while he continues to live in transgression of the law of God. When the light of truth dawns upon his mind and he fully understands the requirements of God and realizes the extent of his transgressions, he will reform his ways, become loyal to God through the strength obtained from his Saviour, and lead a new and purer life.”—Testimonies, vol. 4, pp. 294, 295.
“In your study of the word, lay at the door of investigation your preconceived opinions and your hereditary and cultivated ideas. You will never reach the truth if you study the Scriptures to vindicate your own ideas. Leave these at the door, and with a contrite heart go in to hear what the Lord has to say to you. As the humble seeker for truth sits at Christ’s feet and learns of Him, the word gives him understanding. To those who are too wise in their own conceit to study the Bible, Christ says, You must become meek and lowly in heart if you desire to become wise unto salvation.
“Do not read the word in the light of former opinions; but, with a mind free from prejudice, search it carefully and prayerfully. If, as you read, conviction comes, and you see that your cherished opinions are not in harmony with the word, do not try to make the word fit these opinions. Make your opinions fit the word. Do not allow what you have believed or practiced in the past to control your understanding. Open the eyes of your mind to behold wondrous things out of the law. Find out what is written, and then plant your feet on the eternal Rock.”—Messages to Young People, p. 260.
b. How should our determination to turn away from sin be reminiscent of the great reformation in Nehemiah’s day? Nehemiah 4:6 (last part).
“Oh, may none put off the day of repentance and reformation! Now is the accepted time.”—The Signs of the Times, July 30, 1894.
4. A FORETASTE OF REAL HARMONY
a. Describe the level of earnest repentance Christ is looking to see in us, living as we are in this period of earth’s history. Revelation 3:19.
“ ‘A great work must be done for the remnant. Many of them are dwelling upon little trials.’ Said the angel, ‘Legions of evil angels are around you, and are trying to press in their awful darkness, that ye may be ensnared and taken. Ye suffer your minds to be diverted too readily from the work of preparation and the all-important truths for these last days. And ye dwell upon little trials and go into minute particulars of little difficulties to explain them to the satisfaction of this one or that.’ Conversation has been protracted for hours between the parties concerned, and not only has their time been wasted, but the servants of God are held to listen to them, when the hearts of both parties are unsubdued by grace. If pride and selfishness were laid aside, five minutes would remove most difficulties.”—Early Writings, p. 119.
“Christ is coming. I remember when we thought that the end was to come in 1844, and when we came together in our meetings the question would be asked by one and another, ‘Brethren, have you seen anything in me that is not right? I know that we cannot see our own faults, and if any of the brethren have seen anything wrong in me, I want them to tell me.’ Sometimes there would be wrongs confessed, and we would bow before God and ask His forgiveness. Then you would see brethren who had had some difficulty going away alone in some barn or orchard and pleading with God together. Then they would come arm in arm, loving one another, and at peace among themselves. We felt that we could not separate unless everything was in harmony. The sweet spirit of peace was in our midst, and the glory of God was around us. You could see faces shine.”—Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, p. 24.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why can we be inspired by Isaiah’s eagerness to accept God’s call?
2. What does true Christian religion do for the human mind?
3. How will true repentance transform our relationships with one another?
4. Explain a vital key to how we can achieve real growth in our Bible study.
5. What experience from the early Advent believers would we do well to repeat?