The Narrow Way Bible Study Lessons
Separation From The World - The Straight and Narrow Way
While we must live in the world, we are not to be of the world. We are called to be pilgrims and strangers in this world, a peculiar people, separate from the world. In this lesson we will explore, through the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, more of what this means and what it involves.
Please note that when we refer to “the world” in this study, we are speaking of the sinful pleasures of this world and those who cling determinedly to them, not of the physical earth itself or the people in it who want to learn to know God.
1) What did Jesus say about the straight and narrow way, and the broad way?
“Enter ye in at the strait gate: for ________ [is] the ________, and __________ [is] the ______, that ______________ to ______________________, and ________ there be which go in thereat: Because ____________ [is] the ________, and ____________ [is] the ______, which ______________ unto ________, and _______ there be that find it.” Matthew 7:13-14
In 1856, Ellen White was given a vision in which she saw the broad and narrow roads. Commenting on it, she wrote, “These roads are distinct, separate, in opposite directions. One leads to eternal life, the other to eternal death. I saw the distinction between these roads, also the distinction between the companies traveling them. The roads are opposite; one is broad and smooth, the other narrow and rugged. So the parties that travel them are opposite in character, in life, in dress, and in conversation.
“Those who travel in the narrow way are talking of the joy and happiness they will have at the end of the journey. Their countenances are often sad, yet often beam with holy, sacred joy. They do not dress like the company in the broad road, nor talk like them, nor act like them. A pattern has been given them. A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief opened that road for them, and traveled it Himself. His followers see His footsteps, and are comforted and cheered. He went through safely; so can they, if they follow in His footsteps.
“In the broad road all are occupied with their persons, their dress, and the pleasures in the way. They indulge freely in hilarity and glee, and think not of their journey's end, of the certain destruction at the end of the path. Every day they approach nearer their destruction; yet they madly rush on faster and faster. Oh, how dreadful this looked to me!
“I saw many traveling in this broad road who had the words written upon them: ‘Dead to the world. The end of all things is at hand. Be ye also ready.’ They looked just like all the vain ones around them, except a shade of sadness which I noticed upon their countenances. Their conversation was just like that of the gay, thoughtless ones around them; but they would occasionally point with great satisfaction to the letters on their garments, calling for the others to have the same upon theirs. They were in the broad way, yet they professed to be of the number who were traveling the narrow way. Those around them would say: ‘There is no distinction between us. We are alike; we dress, and talk, and act alike.’” 1T 127-128
2) According to the Spirit of Prophecy, what is the condition of God’s professed people (the church) today? Read the following quotes, then summarize them in your own words on the lines below. _______________________________________________________
________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________
“The professed followers of Christ are no longer a separate and peculiar people. The line of demarcation is indistinct…. Daily the church is being converted to the world.” COL 315
“Men who are acquainted with the way in which God has led His people in the past, instead of inquiring for the old paths and defending our position as a peculiar people, have linked hands with the world.” 4T 513
“The distance is widening between Christ and His people, and lessening between them and the world. The marks of distinction between Christ's professed people and the world have almost disappeared. Like ancient Israel, they follow after the abominations of the nations around them.” 1T 277
“I was shown the conformity of some professed Sabbath-keepers to the world. Oh, I saw that it is a disgrace to their profession, a disgrace to the cause of God…. They think they are not like the world, but they are so near like them in dress, in conversation, and actions, that there is no distinction.” MYP 127
“The church has received warning after warning.. The duties and dangers of God’s people have been plainly revealed. But the worldly element has proved too strong for them. Customs, practices, and fashions which lead the soul away from God have been for years gaining ground, in defiance of the warnings and entreaties of the Holy Spirit, until at last their ways have become right in their own eyes, and the Spirit’s voice is scarcely heard.” 5T 103
3) What effect can things of this world have on our Christian experience? ____________
“He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the ______
_______________________________, and the deceitfulness of riches, __________ the ________, and he becometh ____________________.” Matthew 13:22
In this parable of the sower and the seed, Jesus warned us of some of the things that would destroy the Christian experience. One of these was becoming involved in the cares and pleasures of this world.
4) What does God want us to be in relation to the world? __________________________
“Be ye not ______________________________ together with unbelievers: for what ____________________ hath __________________________ with unrighteousness? and what __________________ hath __________ with _______________? And what ______________ hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what __________________ hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore ____________________ ___________________________, and ____________________________, saith the Lord, and __________________ the unclean [thing]; and I will ______________ you, And will be a ____________ unto you, and ye shall be my ____________________________
_________, saith the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
“And ________________________________ to this __________: but be ye ______________________ by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what [is] that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:2
“But ye [are] a _________________________________, a _______________________
________________, an ______________________, a ___________________________; that ye should ________ forth the ______________ of him who hath ____________ you out of ________________ into his ________________________________:…. Dearly beloved, I beseech [you] as __________________ and ________________, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;” 1 Peter 2:9, 11
“The age in which we live is one of temptation, and if the people of God stand clear from the corrupting influences around them, they will be termed, ‘peculiar,’ ‘old-fashioned,’ and ‘odd.’ But God has declared that he is purifying to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. If the truth is brought into the character, it will have a sanctifying power upon the life.” RH, November 18, 1890
“The people whom God is leading will be peculiar. They will not be like the world.”
“ The great Head of the church, who has chosen His people out of the world, requires them to be separate from the world.” MYP 377
“Believers are to shine as lights in the world. A city set on an hill cannot be hid. A church, separate and distinct from the world, is in the estimation of heaven the greatest object in all the earth.” 3SM 17
“Those who will be heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ to the immortal inheritance, will be peculiar. Yes, so peculiar that God places a mark upon them as His, wholly His. Think ye that God will receive, honor, and acknowledge a people so mixed up with the world that they differ from them only in name?… Those who have not moral courage to conscientiously take their position in the face of unbelievers, leave the fashions of the world, and imitate the self-denying life of Christ, are ashamed of Him, and do not love His example.” 1T 287
5) What relationship did the great characters of the Bible hold with the world?
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of [them], and embraced [them], and __________________ that they were ___________________________________________________________________. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that [country] from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a _____________________________, that is, an ________________: wherefore God is not ______________ to be called their God: for he hath ________________ for them a city.” Hebrews 11:13-16
6) What kind of people is God purifying to Himself? _____________________________
“Teaching us that, denying _____________________ and ________________________, we should live ______________, ______________________, and __________, in this __________________________; Looking for that ________________________, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who ________ himself for us, that he might ____________ us from ________________________, and ____________ unto himself a ______________________________, ______________ of good works.” Titus 2:12-14
7) What is pure and undefiled religion? ________________________________________
“__________________________ and __________________ before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, [and] to ________ himself __________________ from the __________.” James 1:27
8) What kind of person is an enemy of God? ___________________________________
“Ye ____________________ and adulteresses, know ye not that the ____________________ of the __________ is ____________ with ______? whosoever therefore will be a ____________ of the __________ is the __________ of ______.” James 4:4
9) What will ultimately happen to the world and its’ wickedness? ________________________________________________________________
“[And] we know that we are of God, and the whole __________ lieth in ____________________.” 1 John 5:19
“________________ the __________, neither the ____________ [that are] in the world. If any man love the world, the ____________________________________ is not in him. For all that [is] in the world, the __________________________________, and the _________________________________, and the __________________________, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world ________________________, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God ______________ for ever.” 1 John 2:15-17
10) What does it mean to be “separate” from the world when we obviously cannot physically leave it? ______________________________________________________
“I pray not that thou shouldest __________________________ of the world, but that thou shouldest ______________________________________________. They are ________________________________, even as I am not of the world.” John 17:15, 16
In Jesus’ prayer for all His disciples down through time, He prayed that while God should not take them physically out of this world, He should keep us from its evil. In other words, that we will not partake of or participate in its wickedness in a thought, a word, or a deed; that we would be separate from all that is of the world and not of God.
11) What example did Christ give us in how to relate to the world?
“Jesus answered, My kingdom is __________________________________: if my kingdom were of this world, then would __________________________________.” John 18:36
“Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the __________________________________________, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, ____________________________, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the ________________________, and ________________ shalt thou serve.” Matthew 4:8-10
12) What is our “only hope of salvation” in regards to how we relate to the world?
“Their (God’s people’s) only hope of salvation is to separate from the world and zealously maintain their separate, holy, and peculiar character.” 2T 444
Obviously, the only way we can be saved is through faith in Christ, but this quote reveals to us what a serious matter separation from the world is, and that we do not have true faith in Christ and therefore cannot be saved if we choose to remain one with the world.
13) How will the world regard us when we separate from it? _______________________
“Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in ______, than he that is in __________________. They are _______________________: therefore speak they of the world, and the ____________________________________. We are of God: he that ______________ God ______________ us; he that is not of God ____________________________.” 1 John 4:4-6
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the ________________________________________, because it knew ______ not.” 1 John 3:1
“I have given them thy word; and the world hath ___________ them, because they are ________________________________, even as I am not of the world.” John 17:14
“If the ____________________________, ye know that it hated ____ before [it hated] ______. If ye were ____ the world, the world would _________________________: but because ye are ____________ the world, but I have ____________ you ______ of the world, therefore the _______________________________.” John 15:18-19
14) Just how separate are we to be? Read the quotes given, then write the answer in your own words on the lines below. _______________________________________________
“God requires of His people now as great a distinction from the world, in customs, habits, and principles, as He required of Israel anciently. If they faithfully follow the teachings of His word, this distinction will exist; it cannot be otherwise.” PP 458
“God calls you to separate from the world. You are not to follow their practices, nor conform to them in your course of action in any respect.” 2T 43,44
“Our only safety is to stand as God's peculiar people. We must not yield one inch to the customs and fashions of this degenerate age, but stand in moral independence, making no compromise with its corrupt and idolatrous practices.” 5T 78
“By conforming entirely to the will of God, we shall be placed upon vantage ground, and shall see the necessity of decided separation from the customs and practices of the world. We are not to elevate our standard just a little above the world's standard; but we are to make the line of demarcation decidedly apparent. When we reach the standard that the Lord would have us reach, worldlings will regard Seventh-day Adventists as odd, singular, strait-laced extremists.” FE 289
15) Shouldn’t we try to be like the world in order to be of influence to them? YES / NO
“Ye are the _________________________________: but if the salt have lost his ____________, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth ______________________
______________, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Ye are the ____________________________________. A city that is set on an ________ cannot be ______. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your __________ so __________ before men, that they may see your ____________________, and ______________ your ____________ which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:13-16
“And have __________________________ with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather ______________________.” Ephesians 5:11
“You have entertained the opinion that the reason why the world is so much opposed to us as a people is that we are too unsocial, too plain in our dress, and too strict in regard to amusements, withdrawing ourselves from them too much in practice as well as in precept. You have thought that if we would be less exclusive and would mingle more with the world, their opinions and impressions of us would be greatly modified. But no greater mistake could affect the human mind.” 5T 433
“The reason we have had so little influence upon unbelieving relatives and associates is that we have manifested little decided difference in our practices from those of the world.” FE 289
“The Lord would have you make it manifest in your manners, in your dress, in your spirit, that you are blessed. He would have you show that the line of demarcation between the world and the followers of Christ is a distinct line, so decided that the difference between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not is always discernible. If the people of the world do not see that you are different from those around them, they will not be influenced by your profession of religion; for you will not be a savor of Christ, and you will win no soul to the service of God.” ST, June 6, 1892
(Satan speaking of those who once followed God but now follow the influence of worldly professed Christians.) “We will thus lead them to conclude that the requirements of Christ are less strict than they once believed, and that by conformity to the world they would exert a greater influence with worldlings. Thus they will separate from Christ; then they will have no strength to resist our power, and erelong they will be ready to ridicule their former zeal and devotion.’” TM 474
Clearly, it is not in any way safe to lower the standards and principles we have been given in order to have an influence over worldlings. Our association with those who do not love and obey God is to be only for the purpose of winning their hearts to the truth, and only then in environments and activities of which God’s Word approves.
16) How serious a matter is this separation from the world? What will those who do not
separate now, eventually do? Read the quotes given, then write the answer in your own
words on he lines below. ___________________________________________________
“Those who choose to make excuses and continue in sin and conformity to the world will be left to their idols.” 2T 41
“The time is not far distant when the test will come to every soul. The observance of the false sabbath will be urged upon us. The contest will be between the commandments of God and the commandments of men. Those who have yielded step by step to worldly demands and conformed to worldly customs will then yield to the powers that be, rather than subject themselves to derision, insult, threatened imprisonment, and death.” PK 188
“Those who are uniting with the world are receiving the worldly mold and preparing for the mark of the beast.” 5T 216
Many will say, “I will never give up the Sabbath, and receive the mark of the Beast”, but we cannot argue with inspiration, and if God warns us through the Spirit of Prophecy that those who continue to compromise with and conform to the world will accept the mark of the Beast, then we must acknowledge that it will be so. So the question then becomes, am I compromising and conforming?
17) On what should our affections be set if we hope to be ready for Jesus’ return?
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. ____________________________________________________ _______________, not on things on the __________. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, [who is] our life, shall appear, then shall ye also ______________________________ in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4
18) By what method does Satan bring the world into the church? Write the answer in your own words below: ____________________________________________________
Do not expect Satan to boldly march the world right into the church. He does not work that way. We are told, “The work of the enemy is not abrupt; it is not, at the outset, sudden and startling; it is a secret undermining of the strongholds of principle. It begins in apparently small things--the neglect to be true to God and to rely upon Him wholly, the disposition to follow the customs and practices of the world.” PP 718. He lowers the standard so gradually, just a little bit at a time, that few even realize that they are becoming more and more like the world all the time.
At first, he may introduce something which is just slightly questionable, only a borderline compromise, and since no one can even quite explain why they feel uncomfortable with it or why they feel it’s wrong, they just go ahead with it. In this way, Satan continues to urge further and further “little” compromises, until God’s professed people resemble more closely the world than the One they claim to serve.
Speaking of the church, Ellen White writes, “The change in her spiritual state has come gradually and almost imperceptibly…. Every advance step toward the world was a step away from God.” 5T 240
19) Is it ever safe to make the least departure from principle, in order to be more acceptable to the world or have greater apparent unity in the church? YES / NO
“We are always to be as firm as a rock to principle. Bible principles are to be taught and then backed up by holy practice.” 6T 417
“The servants of Christ… should beware lest, in seeking to prevent discord, they surrender the truth. Real peace can never be secured by compromising principle. And no man can be true to principle without exciting opposition.” DA 356
“To secure peace and unity they (the early Christians) were ready to make any concession consistent with fidelity to God; but they felt that even peace would be too dearly purchased at the sacrifice of principle. If unity could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness, then let there be difference, and even war. Well would it be for the church and the world if the principles that actuated those steadfast souls were revived in the hearts of God's professed people.” GC 45, 46
“Many are so fearful of provoking unfriendly criticism or malicious gossip that they dare not act from principle. They dare not identify themselves with those who follow Christ fully. They desire to conform to worldly customs and secure the approbation of worldlings.” MYP 400
“Some have so long sacrificed principle that they cannot see the difference between the sacred and the common.” 8T 96
“An adherence to the strictest principles of truth will frequently cause present inconvenience and may even involve temporal loss, but it will increase the reward in the future life. Religion does not consist merely in a system of dry doctrines, but in practical faith, which sanctifies the life and corrects the conduct in the family circle and in the church…. God requires undeviating principle in the minutest details of the transactions of life. Said Christ: ‘He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much.’”
“One step in the wrong direction prepares the way for another…. The least deviation from right and principle will lead to separation from God and may end in apostasy.”
CH 240, 241
“Just as soon as we begin to accommodate the truth to our own circumstances and conveniences, then we begin to lessen the power of the truth and its influence:… And when there is a departure from the strictest principles of truth then there is an inclination for a still wider departure.” 10MR 93
Often in our churches we hear much about the need for unity, but we are led to believe that unity must be attained by our laying aside all principles and standards and having everybody agree with everybody. But this is in no way the method by which true Bible unity is reached, as seen above. True unity must be founded on truth, not compromise.
20) What happens to us when we conform to the world? _________________________
“But the natural man __________________________ the things of the Spirit of God: for they are ______________________ unto him: neither can he ___________________, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14
“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the ________________________________ ________ is ________________________________________.” 1 Corinthians 3:18-19
“They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby ________ we the spirit of __________, and the spirit of __________.”
1 John 4:5-6
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might ________ the ____________ that are ____________________________________ ____________.” 1 Corinthians 2:12
“I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art ________________, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am ________, and ____________________________
____________, and have ______________________________; and ________________ ______ that thou art ________________, and __________________, and ________, and __________, and __________: I counsel thee to buy of me ________ tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and __________________________, that thou mayest be clothed, and [that] the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with ________________, that thou mayest ______. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be ______________ therefore, and ____________.” Revelation 3:15-19
“The minds of many have been so darkened and confused by worldly customs, worldly practices, and worldly influences that all power to discriminate between light and darkness, truth and error, seems destroyed.” 5T 62
When God’s professed people become conformed to the world, they can no longer discern between truth and error, right and wrong. They get so used to the world’s ways that they can’t even see where they are departing from principle, and when God’s faithful people work to bring about reform, these worldly professors call them fanatics and legalists. They exalt over their own closeness to and love for God, while at the same time they invent unnumbered excuses to justify their course of compromise, such as, “We just need to talk about the love of Jesus only and not worry about any of these other things like standards”, or “I can’t see anything wrong with what I’m doing.” Indeed, they can’t see, for the world has blinded their eyes, and only the eye salve of the Holy Spirit could enable them to see again.
21) What earnest appeals are we given in the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy to separate from the world and give our lives fully to Jesus now before it is too late?
“For ________________________________________ a man, if he shall ________ the ______________________, and _________________________________? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” Mark 8:36-37
“Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and _________________________ _________________, where [is] the ________________, and _____________________, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk [therein].” Jeremiah 6:16
“As I saw the dreadful fact that God's people were conformed to the world, with no distinction, except in name, between many of the professed disciples of the meek and lowly Jesus, and unbelievers, my soul felt deep anguish. I saw that Jesus was wounded and put to an open shame. Said the angel, as with sorrow he saw the professed people of God loving the world, partaking of its spirit, and following its fashions, ‘Cut loose! Cut loose! lest He appoint you your portion with hypocrites and unbelievers outside the city. Your profession will only cause you greater anguish, and your punishment will be greater, because ye knew His will, but did it not.’” MYP 129
“I appeal to the churches in every conference. Stand out separate and distinct from the world--in the world, but not of it, reflecting the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness,…. Let the churches awake before it is everlastingly too late.” 6T 437
22) Now it is time for you to make a decision. As you have studied and prayed over this lesson, is there any thing(s) that the Lord has revealed to you are coming between you and Him, and binding you to this world? Are there any areas in your life where you have not been true to principle, but have been compromising with the world? If so, are you willing to lay those things down today, and let Jesus have all of you? Write your commitment below. __________________________________________________________________