February 7, 2004 – February 13, 2004
“What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive [them], and ye shall have [them].” Mark 11:24.
Suggested Reading: Steps to Christ, 115–126; Education, 253–261.
“The greatest victories gained for the cause of God are not the result of labored argument, ample facilities, wide influence, or abundance of means; they are gained in the audience chamber with God, when with earnest, agonizing faith men lay hold upon the mighty arm of power.
“True faith and true prayer—how strong they are! They are as two arms by which the human suppliant lays hold upon the power of Infinite Love. Faith is trusting in God,—believing that He loves us, and knows what is for our best good. Thus, instead of our own way, it leads us to choose His way. In place of our ignorance, it accepts His wisdom; in place of our weakness, His strength; in place of our sinfulness, His righteousness. Our lives, ourselves, are already His; faith acknowledges His ownership, and accepts its blessings. Truth, uprightness, purity, are pointed out as secrets of life’s success. It is faith that puts us in possession of these. Every good impulse or aspiration is the gift of God; faith receives from God the life that alone can produce true growth and efficiency.” Gospel Workers, 259.
1 What is the victory that overcomes the world? 1 John 5:4.
note: “Faith familiarizes the soul with the existence and presence of God, and, living with an eye single to the glory of God, more and more we discern the beauty of His character, the excellence of His grace. Our souls become strong in spiritual power; for we are breathing the atmosphere of heaven, and realizing that God is at our right hand, that we shall not be moved. We are rising above the world, beholding Him who is the chief among ten thousand, the one altogether lovely, and by beholding we are to become changed into His image.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 335.
2 What explanation is given as to what is to be overcome in the world? 1 John 2:16.
note: “Satan is busily at work in our crowded cities. His work is to be seen in the confusion, the strife and discord between labor and capital, and the hypocrisy that has come into the churches. That men may not take time to meditate, Satan leads them into a round of gayety and pleasure-seeking, of eating and drinking. He fills them with ambition to make an exhibition that will exalt self. Step by step, the world is reaching the conditions that existed in the days of Noah. Every conceivable crime is committed. The lust of the flesh, the pride of the eyes, the display of selfishness, the misuse of power, the cruelty, and the force used to cause men to unite with confederacies and unions—binding themselves up in bundles for the burning of the great fires of the last days—all these are the working of Satanic agencies. This round of crime and folly men call ‘life.’ . . .
“The world, who act as though there were no God, absorbed in selfish pursuits, will soon experience sudden destruction, and shall not escape. Many continue in the careless gratification of self until they become so disgusted with life that they kill themselves. Dancing and carousing, drinking and smoking, indulging their animal passions, they go as an ox to the slaughter. Satan is working with all his art and enchantments to keep men marching blindly onward until the Lord arises out of His place to punish the inhabitants of earth for their iniquities, when the earth shall disclose her blood and no more cover her slain. The whole world appears to be in the march to death.” Evangelism, 26.
3 What promise is given to those who pray in faith? Matthew 21:22; Mark 11:24.
note: “The faith which brings an answer to our prayers must be based, not on our supposed needs, but on a statement in the word of God where the thing for which we ask is promised to us. The Lord has not pledged Himself to answer every request we may make, but He has promised to fulfill His own word. We must therefore study the scriptures, know what God has promised and the conditions upon which the promise is based, and then ask in faith.” Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly, Pacific Press Publishing Association, Mountain View, CA, 1912, 23.
4 What is man’s condition by nature? Romans 7:14; John 8:34. Compare Proverbs 5:22.
note: “Oh, how many flatter themselves that they have goodness and righteousness, when the true light of God reveals that all their lives they have only lived to please themselves! Their whole conduct is abhorred of God. How many are alive without the law! In their gross darkness they view themselves with complacency; but let the law of God be revealed to their consciences, as it was to Paul, and they would see that they are sold under sin and must die to the carnal mind. [Romans 7:14.] Self must be slain.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 475.
5 What promise of victory over the powers of darkness was given to the disciples? Luke 9:1. Compare 1 John 4:4.
note: “God calls upon all who will to come and drink of the waters of life freely. The power of God is the one element of efficiency in the grand work of obtaining the victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil. It is in accordance with the divine plan that we follow every ray of light given of God. Man can accomplish nothing without God, and God has arranged His plans so as to accomplish nothing in the restoration of the human race without the cooperation of the human with the divine. The part man is required to sustain is immeasurably small, yet in the plan of God it is just that part that is needed to make the work a success.” God’s Amazing Grace, 319.
6 What encouraging report of victory did the 70 disciples who were sent out to witness give? Luke 10:17.
note: “Like the twelve apostles, the seventy disciples whom Christ sent forth later received supernatural endowments as a seal of their mission. When their work was completed, they returned with joy. [Luke 10:17, 18 quoted.]” The Ministry of Healing, 94.
7 In what words did the Saviour give assurance of victory for the future? Luke 10:18–20.
note: “Henceforth Christ’s followers are to look upon Satan as a conquered foe. Upon the cross, Jesus was to gain the victory for them; that victory He desired them to accept as their own. [Luke 10:19 quoted.]
“The omnipotent power of the Holy Spirit is the defense of every contrite soul. No one who in penitence and faith has claimed His protection will Christ permit to pass under the enemy’s power. It is true that Satan is a powerful being; but, thank God, we have a mighty Saviour, who cast out the evil one from heaven. Satan is pleased when we magnify his power. Why not talk of Jesus? Why not magnify His power and His love?” The Ministry of Healing, 94.
8 When an afflicted woman touched the Saviour, what occurred? What question did Jesus ask? What did Jesus say had gone from Him? Luke 8:43–46.
note: “The golden opportunity had come. She [a woman with affliction] was in the presence of the Great Physician! But amid the confusion she could not speak to Him, nor catch more than a passing glimpse of His figure. Fearful of losing her one chance of relief, she pressed forward, saying to herself, ‘If I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole.’ As He was passing, she reached forward, and succeeded in barely touching the border of His garment. But in that moment she knew that she was healed. In that one touch was concentrated the faith of her life, and instantly her pain and feebleness gave place to the vigor of perfect health. . . .
“The Saviour could distinguish the touch of faith from the casual contact of the careless throng. Such trust should not be passed without comment. He would speak to the humble woman words of comfort that would be to her a wellspring of joy,—words that would be a blessing to His followers to the close of time.” The Desire of Ages, 343, 344.
9 What comforting words did Jesus speak to the woman? What made her whole? Luke 8:47, 48.
note: “Looking toward the woman, Jesus insisted on knowing who had touched Him. Finding concealment vain, she came forward tremblingly, and cast herself at His feet. With grateful tears she told the story of her suffering, and how she had found relief. Jesus gently said, ‘Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.’ [Luke 8:48.] He gave no opportunity for superstition to claim healing virtue for the mere act of touching His garments. It was not through the outward contact with Him, but through the faith which took hold on His divine power, that the cure was wrought.” The Desire of Ages, 344, 347.
“The wondering crowd that pressed close about Christ realized no accession of vital power. But when the suffering woman put forth her hand to touch Him, believing that she would be made whole, she felt the healing virtue. So in spiritual things. To talk of religion in a casual way, to pray without soul hunger and living faith, avails nothing. A nominal faith in Christ, which accepts Him merely as the Saviour of the world, can never bring healing to the soul. The faith that is unto salvation is not a mere intellectual assent to the truth. He who waits for entire knowledge before he will exercise faith, cannot receive blessing from God. It is not enough to believe about Christ; we must believe in Him. The only faith that will benefit us is that which embraces Him as a personal Saviour; which appropriates His merits to ourselves. Many hold faith as an opinion. Saving faith is a transaction by which those who receive Christ join themselves in covenant relation with God. Genuine faith is life. A living faith means an increase of vigor, a confiding trust, by which the soul becomes a conquering power.” Ibid., 347.
10 When the palsied man was brought before Him, what did Jesus say to him? Luke 5:18–20.
note: “The palsied man had sunk into despair. Then he heard of the works of Jesus. Others, as sinful and helpless as he, had been healed, and he was encouraged to believe that he, too, might be cured if he could be carried to the Saviour. But hope fell as he remembered the cause of his malady, yet he could not cast away the possibility of healing.
“His great desire was relief from the burden of sin. He longed to see Jesus and receive the assurance of forgiveness and peace with heaven. Then he would be content to live or to die, according to God’s will.” The Ministry of Healing, 73, 74.
11 How did Jesus rebuke the unbelief of the Pharisees? Luke 5:21–24.
note: “The rabbis had waited anxiously to see what disposition Christ would make of this case [the palsied man]. They recollected how the man had appealed to them for help, and they had refused him hope or sympathy. Not satisfied with this, they had declared that he was suffering the curse of God for his sins. These things came fresh to their minds when they saw the sick man before them. They marked the interest with which all were watching the scene, and they felt a terrible fear of losing their own influence over the people.” The Desire of Ages, 268.
“The Pharisees were dumb with amazement and overwhelmed with defeat. They saw that here was no opportunity for their jealousy to inflame the multitude. The wonderful work wrought upon the man whom they had given over to the wrath of God had so impressed the people that the rabbis were for the time forgotten. They saw that Christ possessed a power which they had ascribed to God alone; yet the gentle dignity of His manner was in marked contrast to their own haughty bearing. They were disconcerted and abashed, recognizing, but not confessing, the presence of a superior being. The stronger the evidence that Jesus had power on earth to forgive sins, the more firmly they entrenched themselves in unbelief. . . .
“Physical disease, however malignant and deep-seated, was healed by the power of Christ; but the disease of the soul took a firmer hold upon those who closed their eyes against the light. Leprosy and palsy were not so terrible as bigotry and unbelief.” Ibid., 270, 271.
12 What gracious invitation is extended to all the afflicted and oppressed? Matthew 11:28–30.
note: “Wearing Christ’s yoke and learning of Him the lesson of meekness and lowliness, we find rest in faith, and confidence and trust. We find that Christ’s yoke is easy and His burden light.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 124.