Sabbath School Summary
By Elder Dr Masimba Mavaza
Memory Text: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord” (2 Corinthians 3:18, NKJV).
Amy Carmichael took a group of children to a traditional gold-smith in India. In the middle of a charcoal fire was a curved roof tile. On the tile was a mixture of salt, tamarind fruit, and brick dust. Embedded in this mixture was gold. As the fire devoured the mixture, the gold became purer. The goldsmith took the gold out with tongs and, if it was not pure enough, he replaced it in the fire with a new mixture. But each time the gold was replaced, the heat was increased. The group asked, “How do you know when the gold is purified?” He replied, “When I can see my face in it.”—Amy Carmichael, Learning of God (Fort Washington, PA: Christian Literature Crusade, 1989), p. 50.
God is seeking to purify us, to refine us like gold, to transform us into His image. That’s an astonishing goal, and it seems even more astonishing that a Christlike character is developed in us only as we pass through life’s crucibles.
SABBATH: Gold that is so rare & of great worth is one that is refined in fire. When dug up from the mine, it can’t be used till it passes through the crucible. Amy Carmichael went to a goldsmith’s shop with children in India. They saw how fire purified gold. When they asked when the gold was purified, the goldsmith said; “When I can see my face in it.” God also uses life’s crucibles to develop His (godly) image in us.
SUNDAY: The worth of mankind is in His Creator. God made us in His image (Rom. 8:29, Gen. 1:27). One soul is of more value than a world. Sadly, sin stained this image (Rom. 3:10-19). But it’s God’s desire to restore His image in us through the perfection of our characters (Rom. 8:29, DA, p. 671). We’re to imitate Christ; be portraits of Christ as the great controversy unfolds (Job 1, Matt. 5:16, 1 Cor. 4:9, Eph. 3:10).
MONDAY: The great controversy can be felt in our lives but we can’t see the forces at play. Those who trust in the “invisible” God for an “unseen” reward are conquerors. When Balaam & Balak longed to crush Israel & Moses & Israel were unaware, God (“invisible”) fought for them (Heb. 11:27). Job unaware about the source of his woes put His trust in God (Job 23:1-10). Our fires come to refine & purify us.
TUESDAY: Christ, in his final days, before the Passover, taught that we’re not to spend our time in idle waiting as we look forward for His redemption. The parables to the disciples (10 virgins & the sheep & goats) is still relevant for us today. We’re to trim our lamps with godly fear as Jesus draws near. The “oil” stands for the Holy Spirit & godly character (Matt. 25:1-12, 31-46). The saved has the divine likeness!
WEDNESDAY: Soon a great trouble such as never before will arise on earth & will not stop until Christ comes. God has always given men warning of a coming judgement. The righteous that have faith in the message will act in obedience, & escape the judgement that will fall on the wicked (Dan. 12:1-10, Rev. 22:11). The saved that’ll be alive at Jesus’ coming are wise for they believed the warnings (Prov. 1:7).
THURSDAY: The fullness of Christ is experienced & revealed when we work together & fellowship with each other (Eph. 4:11-16). No man is an island; every man is part of the main. The church is a body, Jesus is the Head, & His people make up the rest. Thus, our walk with God is not a private affair. We are a community of believers. We may at times stand alone but we’re to unite to witness (Eph. 3:10).
FRIDAY: Good character formation is more important than reputation. It’s the most essential work ever given to man. In ages past, never has men; the youth been tested by issues so great than today. Those who’ll rise above sin & any test are those with a godly character. The foolish virgins beg for oil because they’re unprepared. The wise had extra oil but could not give it out. Character is not transferable!
—Ellen G. White, “God Promises Us a New Heart of Flesh,” p. 100, in Sons and Daughters of God; “! ‘To Meet the Bridegroom,’! ” pp. 405–421, in Christ’s Object Lessons; “The Time of Trouble,” pp. 613–634, in The Great Controversy & The Youth’s Instructor, January 16, 1896.
Oil- An element that was used by Jesus in the Parable of the Ten Virgins. Oil stands for the Holy Spirit and is also used to depict a godly character.
DA- The Desire of Ages.
The time of trouble- A time of crisis that will assail the world just before Jesus comes. It is the final fulfilment of the prophecy in Daniel 11. The wise (righteous) are refined & purified by the time of trouble. The wicked continue their unjust deeds and faces the wrath of God.
SUNDAY- “In His Image”
MONDAY- Faith Amid the Refining Fire
TUESDAY- Jesus’ Last Words
WEDNESDAY- “The Wise”
THURSDAY- Character and Community
📌 What does “character building” mean? How can you do this? How much of a visible priority is character building within your own life and your church community?
📌 Thursday’s study talked about the important role of community in the life of a Christian. How well does your local church function as the body of Christ? How well do you represent the Lord as a community? As a class, talk about what you can do to improve.
📌 As a class, talk about the question of why character building is important, even though we are saved by faith alone in Jesus. Since His righteousness and His perfect character are what save us, then why do we need to develop character?
📌 Helen Keller, who was deaf and blind from an early age, wrote, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”—Leadership, vol. 17, no. 4. Do you agree? Discuss the relationships between character, suffering, and the great controversy.