2017 2nd Quarter
Lesson 4, April 15-21, Social Relationships
Wednesday, April 19
“Christ used leaven to illustrate this spirit of evil surmising and evil thinking. As the leaven spreads through the meal in which it is hidden, so will the leaven of evil surmising and malice pervert the entire being—thoughts, actions, and character—where it is received. Of this leaven, he bids his followers beware. Again, he uses leaven to illustrate the gospel of the kingdom. With this leaven, the word of God, true goodness, righteousness, and peace are introduced. This brings the entire affections into conformity to the mind and will of God. Wherever it goes, the leaven of truth makes a change in mind and heart. The entire character is transformed. All who will receive into the heart the truth as it is in Jesus, will reveal its leavening power. When the kingdom of heaven is established in the heart, the whole character is conformed to the character of Christ; for the truth is a life-giving principle. The power of God is working, like the leaven, to subdue the entire being. Even the thoughts are brought into captivity to the will of Christ. ‘If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new.’
“As the leaven, though hidden in the flour, and deposited only in one place, brings all surrounding it under the leavening process, so the working of truth continues secretly, silently, steadily, to pervade all the faculties of the soul. And there is sure to follow a holy influence. A consistency will run through the whole life, showing it to be a work of the heart.” (Ellen White, Review and Herald, September 21, 1897, emphasis added.)
“By some of our brethren many things have been spoken and written that are interpreted as expressing antagonism to government and law. It is a mistake thus to lay ourselves open to misunderstanding. It is not wise to find fault continually with what is done by the rulers of government. It is not our work to attack individuals or institutions. We should exercise great care lest we be understood as putting ourselves in opposition to the civil authorities. It is true that our warfare is aggressive, but our weapons are to be those found in a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ Our work is to prepare a people to stand in the great day of God. We should not be turned aside to lines that will encourage controversy or arouse antagonism in those not of our faith.
“We should not work in a manner that will mark us out as seeming to advocate treason. We should weed out from our writings and utterances every expression that, taken by itself, could be so misrepresented as to make it appear antagonistic to law and order. Everything should be carefully considered, lest we place ourselves on record as encouraging disloyalty to our country and its laws. We are not required to defy authorities. There will come a time when, because of our advocacy of Bible truth, we shall be treated as traitors; but let not this time be hastened by unadvised movements that stir up animosity and strife.
“The time will come when unguarded expressions of a denunciatory character, that have been carelessly spoken or written by our brethren, will be used by our enemies to condemn us. These will not be used merely to condemn those who made the statements, but will be charged upon the whole body of Adventists. Our accusers will say that on such and such a day one of our responsible men said thus and so against the administration of the laws of this government. Many will be astonished to see how many things have been cherished and remembered that will give point to the arguments of our adversaries. Many will be surprised to hear their own words strained into a meaning that they did not intend them to have. Then let our workers be careful to speak guardedly at all times and under all circumstances. Let all beware lest by reckless expressions they bring on a time of trouble before the great crisis which is to try men’s souls.
“The less we make direct charges against authorities and powers, the greater work we shall be able to accomplish, both in America and in foreign countries. Foreign nations will follow the example of the United States. Though she leads out, yet the same crisis will come upon our people in all parts of the world.” (Ellen White, Vol. 6, Testimonies for the Church, 394, 395, emphasis added.)