MEMORY VERSE: “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” 1 Peter 5:8.
STUDY HELP: Steps to Christ, 43–48.
INTRODUCTION: “Satan knows better than God’s people the power that they can have over him when their strength is in Christ. When they humbly entreat the mighty Conqueror for help, the weakest believer in the truth, relying firmly upon Christ, can successfully repulse Satan and all his host. He is too cunning to come openly, boldly, with his temptations; for then the drowsy energies of the Christian would arouse, and he would rely upon the strong and mighty Deliverer. But he comes in unperceived, and works in disguise through the children of disobedience who profess Godliness.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 341.
“NOT AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD”
How did Paul describe the war in which the Christian is engaged? Ephesians 6:11, 12.
NOTE: “We fight in a warfare, not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, and against spiritual wickedness in high places. See Ephesians 6:12. In life’s conflict we must meet evil agencies that have arrayed themselves against the right. Our hope is not in man, but in the living God. With full assurance of faith we may expect that He will unite His omnipotence with the efforts of human instrumentalities, for the glory of His name. Clad with the armor of His righteousness, we may gain the victory over every foe.” Prophets and Kings, 111.
What is our only hope of victory in this war against temptation and sin? Ephesians 6:13–18.
NOTE: “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.”Review and Herald, August 25, 1896.
“LET THIS MIND BE IN YOU WHICH WAS ALSO IN CHRIST JESUS”
How was Jesus tempted and how did He meet each temptation? Matthew 4:1–11.
NOTE: “Satan deals with men more guardedly than he dealt with Christ in the wilderness of temptation, for he is admonished that he there lost his case. He is a conquered foe. He does not come to man directly and demand homage by outward worship. He simply asks men to place their affections upon the good things of this world. If he succeeds in engaging the mind and affections, the heavenly attractions are eclipsed. All he wants of man is for him to fall under the deceitful power of his temptations, to love the world, to love rank and position, to love money, and to place his affections upon earthly treasures. If he secures this, he gains all that he asked of Christ. The example of Christ shows us that our only hope of victory is in continual resistance of Satan’s attacks. He who triumphed over the adversary of souls in the conflict of temptation understands Satan’s power over the race and has conquered him in our behalf. As an overcomer He has given us the advantage of His victory, that in our efforts to resist the temptations of Satan we may unite our weakness to His strength, our worthlessness to His merits. And, sustained by His enduring might under strong temptation, we may resist in His all-powerful name and overcome as He overcame.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 480.
What three aspects of temptation did Christ meet and withstand? 1 John 2:16.
NOTE: “The world is given up to self-indulgence. ‘The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life’ control the masses of the people. But Christ’s followers have a holier calling. ‘Come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean.’ In the light of God’s word we are justified in declaring that sanctification cannot be genuine which does not work this utter renunciation of the sinful pursuits and gratifications of the world.” Great Controversy, 475.
How does the Psalmist explain the secret of Christ’s victory? Psalm 119:11.
NOTE: “And how this is accomplished, Christ has shown us. By what means did He overcome in the conflict with Satan? By the word of God. Only by the word could He resist temptation. ‘It is written,’ He said. And unto us are given ‘exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.’ 2 Peter 1:4. Every promise in God’s word is ours. ‘By every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God’ are we to live. When assailed by temptation, look not to circumstances or to the weakness of self, but to the power of the Word. All its strength is yours. ‘Thy word,’ says the psalmist, ‘have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against Thee.’ ‘By the word of Thy lips I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.’ Psalm 119:11; 17:4.” Desire of Ages, 123.
“THE ENEMY . . . IS THE DEVIL”
How far did Satan go in his hatred of Christ? Read one of the following thoughtfully and prayerfully: Matthew 26:47–27:50; Mark 15:43–15:37; Luke 22:47–23:46; John 18:1–19:30.
NOTE: “At the cross of Calvary, love and selfishness stood face to face. Here was their crowning manifestation. Christ had lived only to comfort and bless, and in putting Him to death, Satan manifested the malignity of his hatred against God. He made it evident that the real purpose of his rebellion was to dethrone God, and to destroy Him through whom the love of God was shown.” Desire of Ages, 57.
How does this hatred affect also the followers of Christ? John 15:18; Revelation 12:13.
NOTE: “Every indignity, reproach, and cruelty that Satan could instigate human hearts to devise, has been visited upon the followers of Jesus. And it will be again fulfilled in a marked manner; for the carnal heart is still at enmity with the law of God, and will not be subject to its commands. The world is no more in harmony with the principles of Christ today than it was in the days of the apostles. The same hatred that prompted the cry, ‘Crucify Him! crucify Him!’ the same hatred that led to the persecution of the disciples, still works in the children of disobedience. The same spirit which in the Dark Ages consigned men and women to prison, to exile, and to death, which conceived the exquisite torture of the Inquisition, which planned and executed the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, and which kindled the fires of Smithfield, is still at work with malignant energy in unregenerate hearts. The history of truth has ever been the record of a struggle between right and wrong. The proclamation of the gospel has ever been carried forward in this world in the face of opposition, peril, loss, and suffering.” Acts of the Apostles, 84, 85.
“WAR WITH THE REMNANT”
How does the Bible picture Satan’s war against the final generation of God’s people? Revelation 12:17.
NOTE: “In the near future we shall see these words fulfilled as the Protestant churches unite with the world and with the papal power against commandment keepers. The same spirit which actuated papists in ages past will lead Protestants to pursue a similar course toward those who will maintain their loyalty to God. Church and state are now making preparations for the future conflict. Protestants are working in disguise to bring Sunday to the front, as did the Romanists. Throughout the land the papacy is piling up her lofty and massive structures, in the secret recesses of which her former persecutions are to be repeated. And the way is preparing for the manifestation, on a grand scale, of those lying wonders by which, if it were possible, Satan would deceive even the elect.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 449.
In what ways does Satan make war on the remnant? 2 Timothy 4:3, 4, Luke 8:12, Acts 10:38, Acts 13:10, 2 Timothy 2:26, Revelation 2:10, Revelation 12:9.
NOTE: Consider the following quotations: “Especially will his power be exercised upon the remnant. He will war against them, and seek to divide and scatter them, that they may grow weak and be overthrown.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 210. “He leads fallen man . . . to believe that he can do very well without an atonement, that he need not depend upon a crucified and risen Savior, that man’s own merits will entitle him to God’s favor. And then he destroys man’s confidence in the Bible, well knowing that if he succeeds here, and faith in the detector which places a mark upon himself is destroyed, he is safe. He fastens upon minds the delusion that there is no personal devil, and those who believe this make no effort to resist and war against that which they think does not exist.” Ibid., 294. “Satan has used as agents individuals professing to believe a part of present truth, while they were warring against a part. Such he can use more successfully than those who are at war with all our faith.” Ibid., 326. “Satan has originated fables with which to deceive.” Ibid., 342. “Satan fears that he will lose a captive, and he calls a reinforcement of his angels to hedge in the poor soul, and form a wall of darkness around him.” Ibid., 345. “Satan and his host are at war with commandment keepers, and will work to bring them into trying positions.”Ibid., 356.
“HEALING ALL THAT WERE OPPRESSED OF THE DEVIL”
What work did Jesus do through the power of the Holy Spirit? Acts 10:38.
NOTE: “The power and malice of Satan and his host might justly alarm us, were it not that we may find shelter and deliverance in the superior power of our Redeemer. We carefully secure our houses with bolts and locks to protect our property and our lives from evil men; but we seldom think of the evil angels who are constantly seeking access to us, and against whose attacks we have no method of defense. If permitted, they can distract our minds, disorder, torment our bodies, destroy our possessions and our lives. Their only delight is in misery and destruction. Fearful is the condition of those who resist the divine claims and yield to Satan’s temptations until God gives them up to the control of evil spirits. But those who follow Christ are ever safe under his watchcare. Angels that excel in strength are sent from Heaven to protect them. The wicked one cannot break through the guard which God has stationed about his people.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 336.
Why were the disciples unable to cast out an evil spirit? Matthew 17:21.
NOTE: “It will be a close conflict. Satan will reinforce his evil angels who have controlled these persons; but if the saints of God with deep humility fast and pray, their prayers will prevail. Jesus will commission holy angels to resist Satan, and he will be driven back and his power broken from off the afflicted ones. Mark 9:29: ‘And He said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.’” Testimonies, vol. 1, 344.
How does Jesus show that not all who claim to cast out evil spirits will enter the kingdom of heaven? Matthew 7:21–23.
NOTE: “The work of declaring persons possessed of the devil, and then praying with them, and pretending to cast out the evil spirits, is fanaticism which will bring into disrepute any church which sanctions such work.” Pacific Union Recorder, December 31, 1908.
How great will be Satan’s deceptions? Revelation 12:9.
NOTE: “None are in greater danger from the influence of evil spirits than those who, notwithstanding the direct and ample testimony of the Scriptures, deny the existence and agency of the devil and his angels. So long as we are ignorant of their wiles, they have almost inconceivable advantage; many give heed to their suggestions while they suppose themselves to be following the dictates of their own wisdom. This is why, as we approach the close of time, when Satan is to work with greatest power to deceive and destroy, he spreads everywhere the belief that he does not exist. It is his policy to conceal himself and his manner of working.” The Great Controversy, 516.