Testimonies on Sabbath-School Work


Chapter 16—The All-Important Lesson

If the young who are strong will put to the stretch their powers in searching the Bible, they will have minds stored with valuable knowledge that will shine as a light upon those with whom they associate. The Sabbath-school should be a place where those who have made advancement in divine knowledge should be able to inculcate fresh ideas in regard to the faith of God's people. When all those who profess to be Christians are Christians in deed and in truth, the Sabbath-school will be no longer a dry round of service. The teachers will then understand the lesson that Christ gave to Nicodemus, and will teach it in all its momentous bearing on human destiny. Jesus said to the ruler in Israel, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he can not see the kingdom of God.” Except a man be born again, he can not understand the character of the heavenly kingdom, or discern its spiritual nature. Christ was saying to Nicodemus in these words: “It is not learning you need so much as it is inward renovation. You need not to have your curiosity satisfied so much as to have a new heart, and until that change takes place, making all things new, it will result in no saving good to you for Me to discuss with you My authority, My work, My mission as One who bears the credentials of Heaven.” TSS 70.1

The lesson which Christ gave to Nicodemus is important to every teacher, to every Sabbath-school worker, to every youth and child. It is certainly important that we become acquainted with the reasons of our faith, but the most important knowledge to be gained is the experimental knowledge of what it means to be born again. The great want in our Sabbath-school work is the want of the light of life. All through our ranks are needed men and women who have learned at the feet of Jesus what is truth, and how to present it to others. It requires holy men, men who have humility, who are abiding in Christ, to be educators of our youth in the Sabbath-school. TSS 71.1

Nicodemus came to the Lord, thinking to enter into a long discussion with Him concerning points of minor importance, but Jesus laid bare the first principles of truth, and showed Nicodemus that his first need was humility of heart, a teachable spirit, a new heart; that if he would enter into the kingdom of God, he must be born again. Are there not those who hold responsible positions in the Sabbath-school who would be irritated and annoyed if I should testify to them that, though they are rulers in Israel, they too need to be born again? Nicodemus wondered that Christ should speak to him in the way in which He did, not respecting his position as ruler in Israel, and he was not prepared to receive the truth, and he answered Christ in words full of irony. “Nicodemus saith unto Him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter a second time into his mother's womb, and be born?” He revealed the fact, as do many, when the cutting truth is brought home to the conscience, that the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God. There is nothing in them that responds to spiritual things; for spiritual things are spiritually discerned. But, although Nicodemus did not comprehend His words, Jesus did not become impatient or discouraged, but sought to make more plain His statement of truth. In solemn, quiet dignity, Jesus repeated His words in a manner that would convince him of their divine truth: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he can not enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” ... TSS 71.2

How sad it is to think of the great amount of mechanical work that is done in the Sabbath-school, while there is little evidence that there is moral transformation in the souls of those who teach and who are taught! When the work of the Spirit of God is felt upon the heart, we shall see many earnestly seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness. Then earthly things will find their proper, subordinate position, and heavenly things will be supreme in the affections of the children of God.—Sabbath-School Worker, August 1, 1892, par. 9. TSS 72.1