Lesson 11 | Sabbath, 15 September 2018
“The fallen world is the battlefield for the greatest conflict the heavenly universe and earthly powers have ever witnessed. It was appointed as a theater on which would be fought out the grand struggle between good and evil, between heaven and hell. Every human being acts a part in this conflict. No one can stand on neutral ground. Men must either accept or reject the world’s Redeemer. All are witnesses, either for or against Christ. Christ calls upon those who stand under His banner to engage in the conflict with Him as faithful soldiers, that they may inherit the crown of life.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 36.
1. What two camps are in constant opposition to each other?
Revelation 12:17. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
“There are only two parties upon this earth–those who stand under the bloodstained banner of Jesus Christ and those who stand under the black banner of rebellion. In the twelfth chapter of Revelation is represented the great conflict between the obedient and the disobedient. [Revelation 12:17; 13:11-17 quoted.]” –(Manuscript 16, 1900) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 974.
“In that time [before the Flood], as in this, there were two classes, the righteous and the wicked. Enoch and others walked with God in uprightness. But the great majority of the inhabitants of the earth were given over to iniquity, and their wickedness rose before God.” –Christ Triumphant, p. 56.
“The great conflict now being waged is not merely a strife of man against man. On one side stands the Prince of life, acting as man’s substitute and surety; on the other, the prince of darkness, with the fallen angels under his command. [Ephesians 6:12, 13, 10, 11 quoted.]” –(Review and Herald, February 6, 1900) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 974.
2. What does the Faithful Witness say to God’s people who are tempted to retreat from the battlefield?
Revelation 3:14-18. 14And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; 15I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. 17Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 18I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
“God leads His people on step by step. The Christian life is a constant battle and a march. There is no rest from the warfare. It is by constant, unceasing effort that we maintain the victory over the temptations of Satan. As a people we are triumphing in the clearness and strength of the truth. We are fully sustained in our positions by an overwhelming amount of plain Scriptural testimony. But we are very much wanting in Bible humility, patience, faith, love, self-denial, watchfulness, and the spirit of sacrifice. We need to cultivate Bible holiness. Sin prevails among the people of God. The plain message of rebuke to the Laodiceans is not received. Many cling to their doubts and their darling sins while they are in so great a deception as to talk and feel that they are in need of nothing. They think the testimony of the Spirit of God in reproof is uncalled for or that it does not mean them. Such are in the greatest need of the grace of God and spiritual discernment that they may discover their deficiency in spiritual knowledge. They lack almost every qualification necessary to perfect Christian character. They have not a practical knowledge of Bible truth, which leads to lowliness of life and a conformity of their will to the will of Christ. They are not living in obedience to all God’s requirements.” –(Testimony Treasures, vol. 1, p. 328) Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 253.
3. As the intensity of the conflict grows right before the end and the scenes on the battlefields are horrendous, of what are Christ’s soldiers assured?
Psalm 91:5-11. 5Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; 6Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. 7A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. 8Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked. 9Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; 10There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. 11For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
“The Christian life is a warfare. But ‘we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.’ In this conflict of righteousness against unrighteousness we can be successful only by divine aid. Our finite will must be brought into submission to the will of the Infinite; the human will must be blended with the divine. This will bring the Holy Spirit to our aid; and every conquest will tend to the recovery of God’s purchased possession, to the restoration of His image in the soul.
“… Jesus has large blessings to bestow, rich gifts to distribute among men. He is the wonderful Counselor, infinite in wisdom and strength; and if we will acknowledge the power of His Spirit, and submit to be molded by it, we shall stand complete in Him. What a thought is this! In Christ ‘dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him.’ Colossians 2:9, 10.” –Ye Shall Receive Power, p. 344.
“If we have on the heavenly armor, we shall find that the assaults of the enemy will not have power over us. Angels of God will be round about us to protect us.” –(Review and Herald, May 25, 1905) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, p. 1119.
4. Because the battle is ceaseless, the soldiers may become weary or even frightened during the terrible conflict. To whom must they turn, and what must they remember?
Isaiah 40:29-31. 29He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
1 Samuel 7:12, last part. … Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.
“Battles are to be fought every day. A great warfare is going on over every soul, between the prince of darkness and the Prince of life…. The Prince of life is at the head of His work. He is to be with you in your daily battle with self, that you may be true to principle; that passion, when warring for the mastery, may be subdued by the grace of Christ; that you come off more than conqueror through Him that hath loved us. Jesus has been over the ground. He knows the power of every temptation. He knows just how to meet every emergency, and how to guide you through every path of danger.
“God will have a people zealous of good works, standing firm amid the pollutions of this degenerate age. There will be a people who hold so fast to the divine strength that they will be proof against every temptation. Evil communications in flaming handbills may seek to speak to their senses and corrupt their minds; yet they will be so united to God and angels that they will be as those who see not and hear not. They have a work to do which no one can do for them, which is to fight the good fight of faith, and lay hold on eternal life.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 36.
Supporting each other
5. Even though the enemy is active day and night to destroy God’s children, how can they support each other, and what words must they recall?
Isaiah 41:6. They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.
Hebrews 12:12-15. 12Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. 14Follow peace with all men , and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.
John 16:33, last part. … In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
“We are now on the battlefield. There is no time for resting, no time for ease, no time for selfish indulgence. After gaining one advantage, you must do battle again; you must go on conquering and to conquer, gathering fresh strength for fresh struggles. Every victory gained gives an increase of courage, faith, and determination. Through divine strength you will prove more than a match for your enemies.” –Ye Shall Receive Power, p. 345.
“When in faith we take hold of His strength, He will change, wonderfully change, the most hopeless, discouraging outlook. He will do this for the glory of His name. God calls upon His faithful ones, who believe in Him, to talk courage to those who are unbelieving and hopeless. May the Lord help us to help one another, and to prove Him by living faith.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 12; Christian Services, pp. 234, 235.
6. While the Christian soldier must fight for his own salvation, what is his primary purpose on the battlefield?
1 Timothy 4:10. For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
John 9:4. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
“This is a time for everyone to come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty. The forces of the enemy are strengthening, and as a people we are misrepresented. We desire the people to become acquainted with our doctrines and work. We want them to know what we are, and what we believe. We must find our way to their hearts. Let the army of the Lord be on the ground to represent the work and cause of God. Do not plead an excuse. The Lord has need of you. He does not do His work without the cooperation of the human agent.” –(Testimony Treasures, vol. 2, p. 379) Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 40.
“The standard-bearers are falling, and young men must be prepared to take the places left vacant, that the message may still be proclaimed. The aggressive warfare is to be extended. Those who have youth and strength are to go into the dark places of the earth, to call perishing souls to repentance. But they must first cleanse the soul-temple of all impurity, and enthrone Christ in the heart.” –Gospel Workers, p. 104.
7. What are two main watchwords on the battlefield?
Philippians 2:1-4. 1If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
John 17:21-23. 21That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. 22And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
Exodus 14:15. And the Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward.
“Let each one who claims to follow Christ esteem himself less and others more. Press together, press together! In union there is strength and victory; in discord and division there is weakness and defeat. These words have been spoken to me from heaven. As God’s ambassador I speak them to you.
“Let everyone seek to answer the prayer of Christ: ‘That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee.’ Oh, what unity is this! and says Christ: ‘By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.’ John 17:21; 13:35.” –(Testimony Treasures, vol. 2, pp, 190, 191) Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 488, 489.
“Our watchword is to be, Onward, ever onward! Angels of heaven will go before us to prepare the way. Our burden for the regions beyond can never be laid down till the whole earth is lightened with the glory of the Lord.” –Gospel Workers, p. 470; Evangelism, p. 707.
For additional study
“In this age we can see the necessity of drawing men to Christ. This draws them to one another in that confidence, that love, that unity, for which Christ prayed in His last prayer with and for His disciples. This unity was essential for their spiritual growth. This world is a battlefield, upon which the powers of good and evil are in ceaseless warfare.” –The Upward Look, p. 110.
“We have before us a warfare–a lifelong conflict with Satan and his seductive temptations. The enemy will use every argument, every deception, to entangle the soul; and in order to win the crown of life, we must put forth earnest, persevering effort. We must not lay off the armor or leave the battlefield until we have gained the victory, and can triumph in our Redeemer.
“As long as we continue to keep our eyes fixed upon the Author and Finisher of our faith we shall be safe. But our affections must be placed upon things above, not on things on the earth. By faith we must rise higher and still higher in the attainments of the graces of Christ. By daily contemplating His matchless charms, we must grow more and more into His glorious image. While we thus live in communion with Heaven, Satan will lay his nets for us in vain.” –My Life Today, p. 105.