Please see our Updated Index page for the second quarter 2024.
There you can get the Kindle version of the Ellen White Notes
and the Bible Bookshelf Book for this quarter.
Do come join us for discussing the daily lessons
as well as related subjects on our blog.

This is the BibleGateway Edition
Click here for the Biblia Edition
Stewardship: Motives of the Heart
Sabbath School Lesson Begins
Bible Study Guide - 1st Quarter 2018

Lesson 4 January 20-26

Escape From the World’s Ways

Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: Ps. 119:11; Eph. 6:18; Rom. 8:5, 6; Heb. 11:1-6; 1 Kings 3:14; Ezek. 36:26, 27.

Memory Text: “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. . . . He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage” (Proverbs 11:4, 28, NKJV).

Though Satan failed with Jesus, he has succeeded with everyone else. He will continue to do so unless we fight in the armor and power of God, who alone offers us the freedom from the lure of the world.

Thus, we must focus our attention on our heavenly Provider. David realized true value in this life when he wrote, “The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the LORD lack no good thing” (Ps. 34:10, NIV). Solomon recognized that wisdom and understanding were more valuable than silver and gold (Prov. 3:13, 14). True happiness and right living come from turning our eyes from the possessions we own and looking to the living Christ, who owns us.

Our only hope to escape the allure of the world is a vital and successful relationship with Jesus. This week, we will study the elements of that relationship, and how crucial it is for our own spiritual success to recognize the power behind the mask of the world and see the importance of Christ as the real reason for living.

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, January 27.

Sunday January 21

A Relationship With Christ

Love of worldly possessions, even by those who don’t have much, can be a powerful chain that binds the soul to the world instead of to Christ. Even if we don’t have much in terms of earthly possessions, the passionate desire to attain material goods can become a terrible curse that will, if not brought under the control of the Lord, lead a soul away from salvation. Satan knows this, which is why he uses the love of material possessions to ensnare as many as he possibly can.

What is our only protection?

“Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:2, NKJV). How do we do what Paul tells us to do? (See also Ps. 119:11, Eph. 6:18.)

What other texts can you find that talk about what we should be keeping our mind focused on? (See, for example, Phil. 4:8.)

The only cure for worldliness, in whatever form it comes, is a continual devotion to Christ (Ps. 34:1) through the ups and downs of life. Moses “regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt” (Heb. 11:26, NIV). Before any other relationship, Christ must be our first priority. Christ is looking for a commitment based on conviction, not on preference; that is, we must be devoted to Christ because of who He is and what He has done for us, not because of any immediate advantages our faith and commitment to Him might bring.

Our lives are to be hidden in Jesus, and His plans are to be our plans. True commitment is putting our hand to the plow without “looking back” (Luke 9:62, NKJV). When we make that kind of commitment, Jesus elevates us to our full potential. When we surrender to Him, He will break the world’s hold upon our souls. We must become Christ-centered instead of stuff-centered; that alone will fill the void in our lives.

Think about a time you acquired a material possession, something that you really wanted badly. How long did the joy and fulfillment last before it faded away and you were right back where you started?

Monday January 22

In the Word

More than six billion Bibles have been distributed worldwide, but how many are viewed as the Word of the living God? How many are read with a sincere heart open to know truth?

Proper Bible study directs our spiritual compass and enables us to navigate a world of falsehood and confusion. The Bible is a living document of divine origin (Heb. 4:12), and as such it points us to truths that we cannot get anywhere else. The Bible is Christ’s road map for daily living, and it educates us by expanding our intellect and refining our characters.

Read John 5:39, 14:6, and 20:31. The Bible, specifically the Gospels, gives us our most authoritative information about Jesus. What do these specific texts in John say about Him and why He is so important to us and to all that we believe?

We study the Bible because it’s the ultimate source of the Truth. Jesus is the Truth, and in the Bible we find Jesus as we can know Him because of how He has been revealed to us there. Here, in God’s Word, the Old and New Testaments, we learn about who Jesus is and what He has accomplished for us. We then fall in love with Him, and commit our lives and souls to His eternal safekeeping. By following Jesus and obeying His words, as revealed in His Word, we can become free from the bonds of sin and of the world. “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:36, NKJV).

Read Romans 8:5, 6. What are we being warned against here, and how can the study of the Word of God help us in this struggle over our minds?

The love of the world, especially the love of worldly possessions, can easily draw us away from God if we are not careful. That’s why we must keep ourselves in the Word, which points us to the eternal and spiritual realities that are so crucial for the Christian life.

Love of worldly things never elevates the mind to spiritual morality; instead it replaces biblical principles with greed, selfishness, and lust. Love, as revealed in the Bible, builds relationships by teaching us the importance of giving of ourselves to others. In contrast, worldliness is all about getting things for ourselves, which is the opposite of everything Jesus represents.

Tuesday January 23

The Life of Prayer

“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3, NKJV). It is no wonder that Christians often say that their faith is about a relationship with God. If knowing God is “eternal life,” then we can find that life through a relationship with Him. And, of course, central to that relationship is communication. We saw yesterday that God communicates to us through His divine Word. We, in turn, commune with Him through prayer.

If, as we have seen, we are to set our minds and hearts upon heavenly things as opposed to things of this world, then prayer is essential. This is because, by its very nature, prayer points us to a higher realm than of the world itself.

Yet even here we must be careful because sometimes our prayers can be merely an expression of our own selfish nature. That’s why we need to pray in submission to the will of God.

Years ago, a woman sang these words, “Oh, Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz?” It was, in her own way, an attack on the materialism of those who profess faith in God. We, too, must be sure that when we pray, which is in itself an act of submission to God and death to the world, we are seeking God’s will, not just our own.

Read Hebrews 11:1-6. What is the crucial component that must be mingled with all our prayers? Also, what does it mean to come to God in faith and to pray in faith?

If there is no faith attached to our prayers, there will be presumption, Satan’s counterfeit faith. “Prayer and faith are closely allied, and they need to be studied together. In the prayer of faith there is a divine science; it is a science that everyone who would make his lifework a success must understand. Christ says, ‘What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.’ Mark 11:24. He makes it plain that our asking must be according to God’s will; we must ask for the things that He has promised, and whatever we receive must be used in doing His will. The conditions met, the promise is unequivocal.” - Ellen G. White, Prayer, p. 57.

Look at your own prayer life. What do you pray for? What do your prayers tell about your priorities? What other things might you need to be praying for?

Wednesday January 24

The Life of Wisdom

One of the most beautiful stories in the Bible is found in the story of Solomon’s request to God, to give him above all things “an understanding heart to judge Your people, that I may discern between good and evil. For who is able to judge this great people of Yours?” (1 Kings 3:9, NKJV).

What important words did God say to Solomon that, had he heeded, would have spared the king the ruin that his possessions brought upon him? Why was what God said to him here so important for all of us? 1 Kings 3:14; see also 1 John 5:3, 1 Pet. 4:17.

Solomon had great wisdom, but wisdom in and of itself, if not acted upon and lived out, becomes nothing more than good information. In the biblical sense of the word, wisdom not acted upon is not truly wisdom. Many will be lost who will have had plenty of correct information about God and His requirements. But Solomon’s lack of obedience caused him to stray from the paths to which the Lord had called him. Only later in life did he truly come to his senses, writing in humility: “For wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her” (Prov. 8:11, NKJV).

Wisdom is the application of knowledge and understanding. Knowledge represents the facts; understanding represents discernment; and wisdom comes in the process of applying our understanding and knowledge to our lives. A wise steward needs not just knowledge and understanding but the experience that comes from living out that knowledge and understanding.

Solomon’s example shows us how easily even the wisest and most understanding of people can get swept up in the emptiness of a materialist lifestyle if that person doesn’t live out the knowledge that he or she has been given.

Compare 1 Corinthians 3:19 and Proverbs 24:13, 14. What is the difference between the two kinds of wisdom talked about in these texts? Share your answers with class on Sabbath.

Thursday January 25

The Holy Spirit

The great controversy is real; two sides are battling for our souls. One is drawing us to Christ (John 6:44) and one to the world (1 John 2:16). The power of the Holy Spirit in our lives can and will draw us in the right direction if we will but submit to Him.

“However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13, NKJV; see also John 14:16). The Holy Spirit empowers us to live by principle and by faith, not by whims or emotions that so dominate the world. Successful preparation for living in heaven comes by living faithfully in this world under the direction of the Holy Spirit.

Paul counsels: “Your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:5, NKJV). The lure of the world, often through material possessions, draws us away from the Lord. In contrast, if we do not resist, the power of the Holy Spirit will pull us toward Jesus.

Success in the battle with the world and its lures will be accomplished only from outside of ourselves. Read Ezek. 36:26, 27; John 14:26; and Eph. 3:16, 17. When we let the Holy Spirit take possession of us, what things will God do to assure that we have spiritual victory?

“It is through false theories and traditions that Satan gains his power over the mind. By directing men to false standards, he misshapes the character. Through the Scriptures the Holy Spirit speaks to the mind, and impresses truth upon the heart. Thus He exposes error, and expels it from the soul. It is by the Spirit of truth, working through the word of God, that Christ subdues His chosen people to Himself.” - Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 671.

The Holy Spirit is the reporter of truth and is the ultimate gift that Jesus could give to represent the deity on earth after His ascension. The Holy Spirit strives to give us power to overcome the powerful lure of the world and its “charms.”

The world does pull at us all, doesn’t it? What choices can you make, right now, that can help you surrender to the Holy Spirit, who alone can give you power to resist the world’s temptations?

Friday January 26

Further Thought: A steward operates from the twin principles of duty and love. “Remember that duty has a twin sister, Love; these united can accomplish almost everything, but separated, neither is capable of good.” - Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 62. Duty is love in action. We need only to dwell on Christ’s sacrifice in order for love to awaken our duty.

In contrast are the principles of the world: hate and its twin, rebellion. Rebellion can be hate in action. Lucifer rebelled against God (Ezek. 28:16, 17) and will never stop doing so until he is destroyed. He turned the authority of love into the love of authority. The religious leaders of Israel hated the authority and power Jesus possessed (Matt. 22:29). Even when they fled the temple or withdrew from His piercing gaze, they did not change their ways.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Dwell more on this idea of love and duty. What does Ellen G. White mean when, after calling them twins, she says that one without the other is not “capable of good”? What does love look like without duty, and what does duty look like without love? Why must they both be together?
  2. The memory verse for this week reads: “Riches do not profit in the day of wrath, but righteousness delivers from death. . . . He who trusts in his riches will fall, but the righteous will flourish like foliage” (Prov. 11:4, 28, NKJV). What is the meaning of this text? What is it saying about riches and what is it not saying?
  3. In class, discuss the life of Solomon. Ask how he could have gone so far off track. Look through the book of Ecclesiastes for texts that help reveal the futility and emptiness of worldly possessions, even when we have, like Solomon, so many of them. What have we learned this week about prayer, about Bible study, and about a relationship with Christ that can keep us on the right track spiritually?
  4. How can people who do not have a lot of worldly possessions nevertheless still be caught in the trap that Satan sets for them?
  5. What answer did you come up with in regard to Wednesday’s final question about the different kinds of wisdom?

Inside Story~ 

Angel Carries Concrete Blocks

By Andrew McChesney, Adventist Mission

Vladimir Moskolenko nudged his wife, Galina, awake in the sleepy Ukrainian town of Buzke. He had an unusual dream to share.

“I was standing with concrete blocks in my hands,” he said. “They were so heavy. Then suddenly an enormous, beautiful, shining angel stood before me. He smiled at me. And he put his hands on mine, carrying the concrete, and raised them up.”

Galina Moskolenko sat up. She had been praying for U.S.$5,000 to pay for concrete blocks being used to transform an abandoned building into a Seventh-day Adventist church in their town of 1,400 people.

“Listen, some kind of financial help is on its way,” Moskolenko said. “I don’t know where it will come from, but it will come.”

Two days later, a church member called and said, “Three friends are visiting me from Poland.”

“Here comes our money,” Moskolenko told her husband.

On Sabbath, the Polish visitors listened to Moskolenko’s sermon. After sundown, she told them about the debt.

A bank transfer of $5,000 arrived several days later.

The gleaming Buzke church, which opened in 2016 after 11 years of construction, was built on prayer and miracles, Moskolenko said. An Adventist couple from Australia provided $2,000 fora new roof. The Euro-Asia Division and the local conference provided mission funds. U.S. and Czech church members also contributed.

God and His angels intervened repeatedly, said Moskolenko, 54. She told of a bureaucratic showdown after local authorities rejected a request to knock a hole in a wall to create a second window. “I prayed about it and thought: ‘God, please help us knock a hole in the wall,’” she said.

Then something interesting happened.

“We started to repair the one existing window, and a crack formed in the wall,” she said. “The whole wall was going to collapse.

“Our construction workers quickly brought in a tractor with something to support the wall. But as they worked to prop up the wall, it collapsed as if an angel had said, ‘There you go!’“ Moskolenko said, flicking a finger in the air.

That, she said, is what happens when you do your best and trust in God: He accomplishes the impossible.

Galina Moskolenko, church leader in Buzke, Ukraine.

Produced by the General Conference Office of Adventist Mission.  email:  website:

All Rights Reserved. No part of the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide may be edited, altered, modified, adapted, translated, reproduced, or published by any person or entity without prior written authorization from the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

Sabbath School Lesson Ends

For questions and concerns about the Study Guide,
please contact the editor of the Bible Study Guide, Clifford Goldstein

The web version of the Sabbath School lesson is published on this site by permission of the Office of the Adult Bible Study Guide, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
Website contents copyright 1996-2020 by Sabbath School Net, an independent supporting ministry.
For permission to copy contents of the web version of the Sabbath School lesson, please contact both the Office of the Adult Bible Study Guide and the publisher of this site.

All art in these lessons and on the cover is published on this site by permission of
Our Favorite Images come from

We invite you to join a discussion of this lesson each day on the Sabbath School Net Daily Lessons blog. And on Sabbath mornings, you are warmly invited to join a group discussion of the week's lesson in your local Seventh-day Adventist congregation.

Sabbath School Net Home page | Directory of Sabbath School Bible Study materials

Sabbath School Net is an independently funded supporting website not affiliated with nor funded by the Sabbath School Department of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists)It is run by volunteers and costs are covered solely by donations from the users of this site as well as the small commissions generated by sales through our links to online stores.

If you are using this site regularly, please pray for God's blessing on our visitors and ask Him to impress you how you can help with the costs of putting this site up every month. We appreciate any gift to support the ongoing publication of SSNET, and only you and God know how much you can give. Even a small donation every month helps. And larger gifts are much appreciated. (No, you don't need a PayPal account. Just choose the "Continue" link to the left of the PayPal registration. And, yes, it's safe - as safe as your online bank account.)


Sabbath School Net is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

You can find a sampling of materials available to aid you in your studies at our SSNET Store. (We will get a small commission not only from any books you purchase but also from whatever else you purchase at the same time. These commissions help to underwrite a small portion of the cost of publishing this site.)

You can also go directly to the home pages of stores which will pay us a small commission for whatever you choose to buy, without costing you a penny extra: | | | AbeBooks Store

Archive of previous Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guides
Prepared for the Internet by the SSNET Web Team.
Contact the Sabbath School Net Web Team
Go back to top of page