Lesson 10 | Sabbath, 8 September 2018
“Now the Saviour’s eye penetrates the future; He beholds the broader fields in which, after His death, the disciples are to be witnesses for Him. His prophetic glance takes in the experience of His servants through all the ages till He shall come the second time. He shows His followers the conflicts they must meet; He reveals the character and plan of the battle. He lays open before them the perils they must encounter, the self-denial that will be required. He desires them to count the cost, that they may not be taken unawares by the enemy. Their warfare is not to be waged against flesh and blood, but ‘against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.’ Ephesians 6:12, R.V. They are to contend with supernatural forces, but they are assured of supernatural help.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 352.
The enemy’s plan
1. How does the enemy seek to ensnare God’s children? How can they be safe from such things?
Genesis 3:1. Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
John 8:44. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
Colossians 4:2. Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.
Luke 21:36. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
“Satan is well aware that the weakest soul who abides in Christ is more than a match for the hosts of darkness, and that, should he reveal himself openly, he would be met and resisted. Therefore he seeks to draw away the soldiers of the cross from their strong fortification, while he lies in ambush with his forces, ready to destroy all who venture upon his ground. Only in humble reliance upon God, and obedience to all His commandments, can we be secure.
“No man is safe for a day or an hour without prayer. Especially should we entreat the Lord for wisdom to understand His word. Here are revealed the wiles of the tempter and the means by which he may be successfully resisted. Satan is an expert in quoting Scripture, placing his own interpretation upon passages, by which he hopes to cause us to stumble. We should study the Bible with humility of heart, never losing sight of our dependence upon God. While we must constantly guard against the devices of Satan, we should pray in faith continually: ‘Lead us not into temptation.’” –The Great Controversy, p. 530.
2. Even though God’s children are Satan’s special targets, what encouragement did the apostle Paul give?
1 Corinthians 10:13; 1:8, 9. 13There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it…. 8Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
“Satan will not sift the chaff, because he gains nothing in this. He sifts the wheat. The devil will not try and tempt and persecute those whom he is sure of, because they are living in known transgression of the law of God. Those who have enlisted in the army of the Lord standing under the bloodstained banner of Prince Emmanuel, Satan will seek to harass and destroy. Christians will meet and have many and severe conflicts with the wily foe, who is merciless. He will bring them into the most difficult places and then exult in their distress. But, thank God, Jesus lives to make intercession for every one of us. Our safety is in committing ourselves to God and resting by faith in His merits who has said, ‘I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.’ Hebrews 13:5….
“Satan will use every possible device to make you like himself, and thus separate you from the One who gave His life for you. Evil angels will strive for the mastery in your life. If you have not on the whole armor of God, you will be overcome. Shall it be thus, or shall you sign the pledge that you will not be intemperate in word or in spirit, that you will keep the divine Pattern ever before you?” –The Upward Look, pp. 222, 24.
Carrying out God’s plan
3. What should every soldier of the Lord ask for to face his responsibilities?
James 1:5. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
Psalms 119:66; 51:10. 66Teach me good judgment and knowledge: for I have believed thy commandments…. 10Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
“… Wise generalship is needed in the service of Christ as is needed over the battalions of an army that protects the life and liberty of the people. It is not everyone who can labor judiciously for the salvation of souls. There is much close thinking to be done. We must not enter into the Lord’s work haphazard and expect success. The Lord needs men of mind, men of thought. Jesus calls for co-workers, not blunderers. God wants right-thinking and intelligent men to do the great work necessary to the salvation of souls.
“… In order to lead souls to Jesus there must be a knowledge of human nature and a study of the human mind. Much careful thought and fervent prayer are required to know how to approach men and women upon the great subject of truth.” –(Testimony Treasures, vol. 1, p. 453) Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 67.
4. What is the key to success for every soldier?
James 1:22, 25. 22But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves…. 25But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
1 John 5:3, 4. 3For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. 4For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
“In order to be true soldiers of Jesus Christ we must meet the requirements of His word as loyal subjects of the heavenly kingdom…. Those who claim to believe the truth must appreciate the great warfare before us and what is comprehended in being a faithful soldier of Jesus Christ…. The Saviour’s army invites voluntary enlistment. There must be a complete surrender of the passions, will, and ways to the will of the Master. Our work is to obey the orders of the mighty General of armies. A strong and active bodily organization is to be maintained. The senses must be enlightened as to perfect obedience; duties are to be done which cannot always be seen as essential; but now comes in the necessity of faith in a higher wisdom and power than your own. Have faith in God, unshaken faith in the skill and ability and fidelity of your Commander, who knows the plan of the battle.” –The Upward Look, p. 230.
“Resolve, not in your own strength, but in the strength and grace given of God, that you will consecrate to Him now, just now, every power, every ability. You will then follow Jesus because He bids you, and you will not ask where, or what reward will be given.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 37.
Helped by the angels
5. With the eyes of faith, what can we see all around us?
Psalm 34:7. The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.
2 Kings 6:16. And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
“The Lord has not concealed from His followers the plan of the battle. He has presented before His people the great conflict, and He has given them words of encouragement. He charges them not to enter into the battle without counting the cost, while He assures them that they do not fight alone, but that supernatural agencies will enable the weak, if they trust in Him, to become strong against the vast confederacy of evil arrayed against them. He points them to the universe of heaven, and assures them that holy beings are wrestling against principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual wickedness in high places.
“The children of God are cooperating with all the invisible host of light. And more than angels are in their ranks; the Holy Spirit, the representative of the Captain of the Lord’s host, comes down to direct the battle. Our infirmities may be many, our mistakes and sins numerous, but forgiveness is for all who, with contrition of heart, will confess and forsake their sins. Angels of light are sent to render them all the help that is required.” –The Upward Look, p. 82.
6. Part of God’s plan is for His people to go and evangelize. What is the responsibility of every Christian soldier facing the errors spread by the enemy?
Romans 10:9, 13, 14. 9That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…. 13For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
2 Timothy 4:2-5. 2Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
“Bear with a certain voice an affirmative message. Lift Him up, the Man of Calvary, higher and still higher. There is power in the exaltation of the cross of Christ….
“Christ is to be preached, not controversially, but affirmatively. Take your stand without controversy. Let not your words at any time be uncertain. The word of the living God is to be the foundation of our faith. Gather up the strongest affirmative statements regarding the atonement made by Christ for the sins of the world. Show the necessity for this atonement and tell men and women that they may be saved if they will repent and return to their loyalty to God’s law. Gather all the affirmatives and proofs that make the gospel the glad tidings of salvation to all who receive and believe on Christ as a personal Saviour.” –Evangelism, p. 187.
7. How will they use the sword of the Spirit–God’s word–to save souls, not lose them, and to witness the same results as at Pentecost?
1 Peter 3:15, 16. 15But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 16Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
2 Timothy 2:24-26. 24And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 26And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.
“The truth is to be set forth in the power of the Holy Spirit. This alone can make our words effective. Only through the Spirit’s power will victory be gained and held. The human agent must be worked by the Spirit of God. The workers must be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. They must have divine wisdom, that nothing may be uttered which would stir up men to close our way. Through the inculcation of spiritual truth we are to prepare a people who shall be able, in meekness and fear, to give a reason for their faith before the highest authorities in our world.
“We need to present the truth in its simplicity, to advocate practical godliness; and we should do this in the spirit of Christ. The manifestation of such a spirit will have the best influence upon our own souls, and it will have a convincing power upon others. Give the Lord opportunity to work through His own agents. Do not imagine that it will be possible for you to lay out plans for the future; let God be acknowledged as standing at the helm at all times and under every circumstance. He will work by means that will be suitable, and will maintain, increase, and build up His own people.” –(Testimony Treasures, vol. 3, pp. 46, 47) Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 396.
For additional study
“The true minister will do nothing that would belittle his sacred office. He will be circumspect in deportment, and wise in his course of action. He will work as Christ worked; he will do as Christ did. He will use all his powers in carrying the tidings of salvation to those who know it not. A deep hunger for the righteousness of Christ will fill his heart. Feeling his need, he will seek earnestly for the power that must come to him before he can present in simplicity, truthfulness, and humility the truth as it is in Jesus.” –Gospel Workers, p. 17.
“But unless we are constantly on guard, we shall be overcome by the enemy. Although a solemn revelation of God’s will concerning us has been revealed to all, yet a knowledge of His will does not set aside the necessity of offering earnest supplications to Him for help, and of diligently seeking to cooperate with Him in answering the prayers offered. He accomplishes His purposes through human instrumentalities.” –Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1119.
“When you die to self, when you surrender to God, to do His work, to let the light that He has given you shine forth in good works, you will not labor alone. God’s grace stands forth to cooperate with every effort to enlighten the ignorant and those who do not know that the end of all things is at hand. But God will not do your work. Light may shine in abundance, but the grace given will convert your soul only as it arouses you to cooperate with divine agencies.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 37.