Greetings MOL Family!
Welcome back to our “Homeheading” series. What is the potential of a Christian home, rightly used?
In Ministry of Healing, page 355, we find one of those marvelous paragraphs in the Spirit of Prophecy which stands out like a gem:
Our time here is short. We can pass through this world but once; as we pass along, let us make the most of life. The work to which we are called does not require wealth or social position or great ability. It requires a kindly, self sacrificing spirit and a steadfast purpose. A lamp, however small, if kept steadily burning, may be the means of lighting many other lamps. – Ministry of Healing, pg. 355
You know, one of the joys and compensation of getting some grey hair and even white hair is that you can look back on life and see where you’ve lighted some lamps and those have lighted others, and those have lighted others. It’s a wonderful satisfaction.
Our sphere of influence may seem narrow, our ability small, our opportunities few, our acquirements limited… – Ibid
Now what’s the rest of the sentence?
…yet wonderful possibilities are ours through a faithful use of the opportunities of our own homes. – Ibid
What is the potential of a Christian home, rightly used? What does it say? — Wonderful possibilities. Now inspiration doesn’t just throw words around. When this says wonderful possibilities, it means wonderful possibilities are ours through what? — A faithful use of what? — The opportunities of our own homes. This is what we’re seeking to learn better how to do.
Folks that have been around for years are perhaps most conscious of how short we come of the ideal. But the thing that should keep us going, keep us cheered, is this promise:
Constantly God is laboring to make up man’s deficiencies. – In Heavenly Places, pg. 221
If He’s laboring all the time, constantly to make up my deficiencies, it must be that I give Him plenty to do. If He only had once a year to make up my deficiencies, that might be encouraging from the standpoint of my attainments or progress. But if He has to work at it all the time, that’s rather deflating, isn’t it? That’s all right. The point is, He’s doing it. When we do the best we know, to use what He has given us to His glory, He accepts it and makes up the deficiencies.
What’s deficiency? What we lack. Yes, if I want to buy a book and it cost $5.00, and I only have five cents, the deficiency is what? — $4.95. But if some kind friend makes it up, I get the book, don’t I?
Does God really, in this homeheading work (or any other work He gives us to do), make up our deficiencies? Well, He says He does. God has chosen to take poor, weak men and women with all their weaknesses, and faults, and failings, and inadequacy and use them. And you see, He’s making up our deficiencies all the time. And so, this says:
Wonderful possibilities are ours through a faithful use of the opportunities of our own homes. If we will open our hearts and homes to the divine principles of life we shall become channels for currents of life giving power. From our homes will flow streams of healing, bringing life and beauty and fruitfulness where now are barrenness and dearth. – Ministry of Healing, pg. 355
What a picture! Isn’t that what you want? — That’s what I want and that’s what we’re going to have.
The Home Training Plan
In Education, we’ve been looking at this wonderful chapter, “An Illustration of His Methods.” Whose methods? — Jesus’ methods. And we’ve learned that His plan of education was what plan? The home training plan, the family plan.
In the training of His disciples the Saviour followed the system of education established at the beginning. The Twelve first chosen, with a few others who through ministry to their needs were from time to time connected with them, formed the family of Jesus. – Education, pg. 84
So, He had a family, the twelve and certain others. We read about them in Luke 8:1-3, Susanna, and Mary, and several others. They all had a part at different times. That was what? — The family of Jesus.
Now, the important thing is not the fact that certain people were there. It’s what He did with them. What did He do with them? How would you sum it up in a few words? [He trained them]. How did He train them? — Through companionship. Did they eat together? Did they work together? Did they study together? Did they pray together? That’s the picture. They learned first by observation, and then by participation. They learned by watching what He did and then helping Him do it. That’s what you and I are to do in the homes. Is that right? That’s it.
And the great thing they got was not techniques, it was life. It wasn’t just information, it was inspiration.
I think the following story is what we call apocryphal, but what it’s illustrating is far too prevalent. At one of the great universities (several years ago), a professor needed to be away for a time; at least he thought he did for a number of weeks. So, he went to the Dean and he arranged. He said, “Now, I’ve got to be gone on this trip and I’ve put my lectures of my class on tape. While I’m away, you can have it played each time.” So that was worked out.
So it came to pass, midway in the season that he was to be away, he chanced back on campus and decided that he’d drop in on the class and see how they were getting along. He found his tape recording being played, and a group of tape recorders sitting around taking it on tape, nobody sitting in the seats. It was from tape recorder to tape recorder.
Now, as I say that probably is just a little apocryphal. But what it’s talking about is not. And that is that education today is far too much a conveying of information rather than life. They’re experimenting with studying through TV and all kinds of things. And certainly, you can get information that way. And a good teacher on closed circuit TV can reach many more people than you and I are involved in today. But Jesus who had all the treasures and resources of the universe at His command chose to pick out individual people, not a million, not a thousand, a handful it would be called in most any school today, and train them by what? — Personal association, the home training plan.
Jesus considered it so important that this was the method; not merely one of several He used, wasn’t it? True, He spoke to multitudes, but I wouldn’t say that He trained them in the sense we’re studying. In fact, He used what He did with the multitudes as a training laboratory for these that were a part of His inner family. And God intends that in your home the activities there shall be a training laboratory. But remember, this is for people, not tape recorders. And it must come from a person, not a tape recorder.
There is something in the companionship of Jesus with His disciples that spoke to the heart need and heart longing of every one of them. Some got more than others. Notice this on page 87. Who are mentioned here, as those that pressed in to get more? — Peter, James, and John
[They] sought every opportunity of coming into close contact with their Master, and their desire was granted. Of all the Twelve their relationship to Him was closest. John could be satisfied only with a still nearer intimacy, and this he obtained. – Ibid., pg. 87
When you go up to a spring, if you take a gallon jug, you bring home how much? — A gallon. If all you take is a quart bottle, why you bring home a quart. You could take a still bigger bucket than a gallon, and if you could carry it, you could bring it home. There’s more there.
Jesus had much more available than any of them or all of them together ever got. In fact, He told them the last night, “I have yet, many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.” His love was revealed not only in what He said, but in what He didn’t say. We need that kind of help sometimes. We need the kind of love that keeps from telling people everything we know or everything we think they need to know. But my point is, those who wanted more and sought more got more.
You’ll not be able to give everybody in your home the same amount. This is not to be an excuse for partiality. Was Jesus guilty of partiality? No, He was willing to help all of them, but He helped them all as much as they’d let Him. That’s what we need to do, to help people as far as they will let us.
That They May Be One
Now, in this same chapter, we have a summary description of the twelve apostles. It names them all and some of their characteristics and shows how different they were.
In these first disciples was presented a [What?] a marked diversity. – Ibid., pg. 85
In those 12 was presented a marked diversity. Some of them weren’t even close together when they started. Some of them were way out in left field, as we would say, but others were in right field. Did Jesus know what He was doing? Does Jesus know what He’s doing when He puts in your home people of marked diversity? Does He?
If you have children of your own, are they all alike? Have you ever seen a marked diversity even when they have the same inheritance? I shouldn’t say the same inheritance, the same progenitors. The genes are different, aren’t they? Oh, yes. But this is not a calamity. This is not something to lament. God help us. What would life be if there were just so many dominos, if you lost one you could go to Sears and get another like it? What would life be? Thank God every individual is different.
Now, let’s see what Christ did with these. We looked at John 17 in our lesson last time. And I wish you would look at that chapter again while we glean another thought from it.
We noted the fact that the Father gave Him a work, the Father gave Him some people; the Father gave Him the words to give to them. But now, let us notice what He was praying for especially:
I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. – John 17:9-11
Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. – John 17:11
That they may be what? — One. If He wanted them to be one, why did He take such diverse material? Why not take people that were on the same wavelength? Let me tell you, of those twelve there wasn’t a bit of putty in the bunch. They were hardheaded, opinionated, self-seeking. Each one wanted to be first. Well, you wouldn’t want people like that around, would you?
Jesus selected those people with all their individualities, their idiosyncrasies, their peculiarities, their traits of strength and weakness, and He sat Himself the apparently impossible goal of bringing them to what? — To unity. What kind of unity? Look at that verse:
…that they may be [What?] one as we are… – John 17:11
Who is We? God, the Father, and God, the Son. And He keeps going over it in the latter part of the chapter, beginning with the 20th verse. In fact, He reaches on down to include you and me and everybody in our home:
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe… – John 17:20-21
It’s a wonderful thing to take a group of people and watch as the principles of the Word of God presented in the family worship, shared around the table, and lived out in the life in the home, gradually draw that group together, now melting, now chipping away. It takes chisels sometimes, but some things can be done only with melting. But whatever it takes, the Word of God keeps operating, and the life of God keeps operating, and they’re to become what? — One.
Until next week – Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then…
Today we learned that “Wonderful possibilities are ours through a faithful use of the opportunities of our own homes”! Is it your desire to be faithful and, as a family, to unite with Christ in preparation for His finishing work? To help bind your home closer, enter promo code HALFOFF to receive 50% off of “The Adventist Home & The Final Generation” >> Order Now
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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.