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Sermon Outline


The Call to Stand

Lesson #12 for September 16, 2023

Scriptures:Ephesians 6:10-20; Deuteronomy 20:2-4; Romans 13:11-14; 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8; 1 Corinthians 15:23-24.

  1. In this lesson we will talk about the great controversy over God’s character and government. Who is on what side in the great controversy? Sometimes we are confused by this question.

[From the Bible study guide=BSG:] Bleary-eyed, the servant [of Elisha] stumbles out of his lodgings and sees an alarming sight—a large, well-equipped and hostile army with “troops, horses, and chariots everywhere.” Speaking to the Prophet Elisha, he stammers out the news, along with his harried question, “ ‘Oh, sir, what will we do now?’ ”

Elisha responds, “ ‘Don’t be afraid! . . . For there are more on our side than on theirs!’ ” a response that fails to register in the face of his servant. Elisha, pulling him close, prays for him: “ ‘O Lord [sic], open his eyes and let him see!’ ” The prophet’s prayer is answered immediately. The servant steps to the ramparts again, but this time the veil between the seen and the unseen lifts. He now sees not one army, but two. “The Lord [sic] opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire” (2 Kings 6:15–17, NLT).?Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide* for Sabbath Afternoon, September 9.‡§

  1. In the passage for this study,Ephesians 6:10-20, Paul was talking about a specific warfare and the weapons that needed to be used in that warfare. These are not the usual weapons that people use in physical warfare. However, Paul likened them to physical weapons that the Romans used.
  2. How many Christians, how many Adventists, understand the great controversy? What are the issues in the great controversy? Why is it such a big deal to God? Could you describe the great controversy to someone who had no idea about it? And could you do it in such a way that s/he would understand it?
  3. ReadEphesians 6:10-20 once again. Do you understand each part of the armor that Paul described? Do you understand how each part is to be used? We need to use all the armor that God has provided to protect us and to fight this life-or-death battle!
  4. There was no doubt in Paul’s mind about how difficult this battle is going to be. He said we need to be “strong in the Lord” and “put on the whole armor of God.” (Ephesians 6:10-11) We are to put on a special belt, breastplate, shoes, shield, helmet, and sword. (Ephesians 6:14-17)
  5. And most important of all, when it comes time to go into battle, we are to pray! Maybe that is why they say there are no atheists in foxholes.
  6. There are a number of very interesting battles described in the Old Testament. God gave specific instructions about how those battles were to be conducted. Might that be a clue for us?
  7. Consider these messages given by God to His human advocates in preparation for various battles.

Deuteronomy 20:2-4: 2 “Before you start fighting, a priest is to come forward and say to the army, 3 ‘Men of Israel, listen! Today you are going into battle. Do not be afraid of your enemies, or lose courage, or panic. 4The LORD your God is going with you, and he will give you victory.’”?American Bible Society. (1992). The Holy Bible: The Good News Translation* (2nd ed.,Deuteronomy 20:2-4). New York: American Bible Society [abbreviated as Good News Bible].†‡ [This story happened about 1400 b.c.]

Judges 7:15-18: 15 When Gideon heard about the man’s dream and what it meant, he fell to his knees and worshipped the LORD. Then he went back to the Israelite camp and said, “Get up! The LORD is giving you victory over the Midianite army!” 16He divided his 300 men into three groups and gave each man a trumpet and a jar with a torch inside it. 17He told them, “When I get to the edge of the camp, watch me, and do what I do. 18When my group and I blow our trumpets, then you blow yours all round the camp and shout, ‘For the LORD and for Gideon!’ ”?Good News Bible.* [This event took place around 1150 b.c.]

[Read2 Chronicles 20:13-20. This happened about 860 b.c. Is it possible that we could fight that way? Why did the king and the people believe that man? Had he previously proven that he was a reliable prophet? How should we decide in whom we can trust?]

2 Chronicles 20:20: [King Jehoshaphat told the people:] “Believe what his prophets tell you, and you will succeed.”?Good News Bible.*†‡

  1. Do we believe those words from Jehoshaphat? Do we trust all of God’s prophets? Even the modern one, Ellen White?

2 Chronicles 32:6-8: 6He [King Hezekiah] placed all the men in the city under the command of army officers and ordered them to assemble in the open square at the city gate. He said to them, 7 “Be determined and confident, and don’t be afraid of the Assyrian emperor or of the army he is leading. We have more power on our side than he has on his. 8He has human power, but we have the LORD our God to help us and to fight our battles.” The people were encouraged by these words of their king.?Good News Bible.*†‡ [This took place approximately 700 b.c.]

Nehemiah 4:14,19-20: 14 I [Nehemiah] saw that the people were worried, so I said to them and to their leaders and officials, “Don’t be afraid of our enemies. Remember how great and terrifying the Lord is, and fight for your fellow-countrymen, your children, your wives, and your homes.”…

19 I told the people and their officials and leaders, “The work is spread out over such a distance that we are widely separated from one another on the wall. 20If you hear the bugle, gather round me. Our God will fight for us.”?Good News Bible.* [This took place about 440 b.c.]

  1. What should Paul’s warning that we fight not against flesh and blood but against supernatural enemies teach us about where our only hope of victory is? Please note that these great stories of faith were scattered over hundreds of years of Old Testament history. God can work with any group of people at any time if they trust Him and rely on Him. Could we be a part of the winning army in the final battle of the great controversy?
  2. We have no human means to fight against “supernatural enemies.” Our only help must come from Supernatural help!

[BSG:] Paul makes bold use of these themes to exhort believers to be: (1) active in pursuing the church’s mission; (2) attentive to the unseen dimensions that impact their lives and witness; (3) cognizant of the divine provision for their success; and (4) always alert to the importance of unity and collaboration among believers.?Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide* for Sunday, September 10.

  1. Could we succeed as did the ancient armies of Israel by depending fully on God’s plan for our lives? Might that battle plan work in our day? How well are we doing in our day?
  2. Are we aware of what it means to fight a spiritual battle against supernatural forces? Have we had any experience doing that? What kind of help have we needed?
  3. The Greek words describing the kind of Helpers we need in this battle are used to describe both the work of Christ and the work of the Holy Spirit. The Greek word is often translated as Comforter.

[BSG:] “The Church’s strength lies in the almightiness of her risen Lord, the Captain of her warfare.”—G. G. Findlay, The Epistle to the Ephesians (New York: Ray Long & Richard R. Smith, 1931), p. 398.?[as quoted in Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide* for Monday, September 11].‡§

  1. How can we be sure that we have Christ fighting with us or for us? Abraham Lincoln is famous for saying: “Sir, my concern is not whether God is on our side; my greatest concern is to be on God’s side, for God is always right.”
  2. Earlier in Ephesians, Paul described us as being building blocks in the church with Christ as the Chief Cornerstone. (Ephesians 2:20) How does that fit with this warfare motif?
  3. Paul was not confused about the fact that all of us are born selfish. We want to do it our way and follow the natural tendencies of our own bodies. That is no way to win this battle!
  4. Paul made it very clear that the power needed for being successful in this battle is not human power but supernatural power. However, that power is readily available through Jesus Christ. (SeeEphesians 1:19-22; 2:4-6; 3:16-17.)
  5. Is there a way to be sure that we are solidly on His side? Think of how many TV evangelists are claiming that they are on God’s side while teaching things that are contrary to the Bible!

[BSG:] While the initial command announces Christ as active in providing strength to believers (Eph. 6:10), all three members of the Godhead are engaged in strengthening them for spiritual combat against evil. God (the Father) makes His own weapons available as the “armor of God” (Eph. 6:11, 13; compareIsa. 59:17). Earlier, Paul has identified the Spirit as active in strengthening believers. Paul prayed that God may grant you “to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being” (Eph. 3:16, ESV). Here, it is the Spirit who issues the sword, “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” (Eph. 6:17). Also, believers are to pray “at all times in the Spirit” (Eph. 6:18, ESV). Paul wishes his hearers to understand that the triune God is fully engaged in equipping them to battle against these evil powers.?Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide* for Monday, September 11.‡§

  1. Are you aware of times when you have been helped by Christ? Or, by the Holy Spirit? Are we to put on Christ’s armor now? Not for a current battle, but for a future battle?
  2. Do you think of evangelism and the gospel story as being like a military battle? The good news is that we know what the outcome will be.

Philippians 2:9-11: 9 For this reason God raised him to the highest place above and gave him the name that is greater than any other name.

10 And so, in honour [sic] of the name of Jesus

all beings in heaven, on earth, and in the world below

will fall on their knees [including Satan and his followers!],

11 and all will openly proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.—Good News Bible.*†‡

1 Corinthians 15:54-58: 54So when this takes place, and the mortal has been changed into the immortal, then the scripture will come true: “Death is destroyed; victory is complete!”

55 “Where, Death, is your victory?

Where, Death, is your power to hurt?”

56 Death gets its power to hurt from sin, and sin gets its power from the Law. 57 But thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

58 So then, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm and steady. Keep busy always in your work for the Lord, since you know that nothing you do in the Lord’s service is ever useless.—Good News Bible.*

2 Thessalonians 2:8: Then the Wicked One will be revealed, but when the Lord Jesus comes, he will kill him with the breath from his mouth and destroy him with his dazzling presence.—Good News Bible.*

Romans 16:20: And God, our source of peace, will soon crush Satan under your feet.

The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.—Good News Bible.*

  1. Paul was not foolish enough to think that this great controversy will be concluded in a single battle. He recognized that there will be a long-term war—in fact, the longest war in history. While at times the enemies may be succeeding, ultimately, God will win.
  2. Are we aware of times when we have opened our minds to allow Christ or the Holy Spirit to transform us? Are we also aware of times we have yielded to Satan’s temptations? How can we strengthen the one and diminish the other?
  3. Paul reminded us in Ephesians 1 that God has already proven His ability to win! He raised Christ from the dead and set Him at the right-hand side of God on the throne in heaven.
  4. However, not everyone has understood the issues. Nor is everyone ready to make his/her final decision as to which side s/he will choose: God’s side, or Satan’s side; the loving way, or the selfish, greedy way; “others first,” or “self first.”

Ephesians 4:7-11: 7 Each one of us has received a special gift in proportion to what Christ has given. 8As the scripture says:

“When he went up to the very heights,

he took many captives with him;

he gave gifts to people.”

9Now, what does “he went up” mean? It means that first he came down to the lowest depths of the earth. 10So the one who came down is the same one who went up, above and beyond the heavens, to fill the whole universe with his presence. 11It was he who “gave gifts”; he appointed some to be apostles, others to be prophets, others to be evangelists, others to be pastors and teachers.—Good News Bible.*

  1. Paul was aware that Jesus arose after the crucifixion and took with Him a host of believers who were ready to enter heaven. However, they were just a foretaste of what He plans to do in the future. Are we getting prepared?
  2. How has the great controversy impacted your life?
  3. In order to understand Paul’s exhortations about the battles we face, we need to understand a little more clearly how war was conducted in his day.

[BSG:] We must understand Paul’s military metaphor in the context of the ancient battlefield. What did it mean to “stand” (Eph. 6:11, 13, 14)? Does the verb suggest a defensive-only posture? Battle speeches included in the writings of Thucydides, one of the great classical authors of battle literature, highlight three successive actions that must occur if a side is to be victorious: (1) soldiers must “close with the enemy,” which means they must march to meet their foes; then, (2) they must attack and “stand fast,” or “stand our ground,” fighting hand-to-hand with their foes; and finally, (3) they must “beat back the enemy” (see Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War [New York: E. P. Dutton, 1910], 4.10.1–5).

The key moment of an ancient battle occurred with the second of these three actions, when the two opposing phalanxes came crashing together in “a terrible cacophony of smashed bronze, wood, and flesh,” which ancient author Xenophon refers to as that “ ‘awful crash.’ ”—Victor Davis Hanson, The Western Way of War (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989), pp. 152, 153. Standing firm, holding one’s ground at this strategic moment, was the great challenge of ancient battle. In the close combat that would ensue, each side would seek momentum for “the push.”

Paul’s call to arms reflects combat in which soldiers were “bunched together, giving and receiving hundreds of blows at close range.”—Victor Davis Hanson, The Western Way of War, p. 152. This is confirmed by Paul’s depiction of the church’s battle against its foes as a wrestling match (Eph. 6:12; …) and in his use of an intensive form of the verb “to stand” in verse 13: “that you may be able to withstand in the evil day” (NKJV, ESV; emphasis added).

This is no relaxed stance! To “stand,” then, is to be vigorously engaged in battle, employing every weapon in close-order combat, a point obvious from the military imagery in Paul’s earlier exhortation to be found “standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel” (Phil. 1:27, ESV).?Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide* for Wednesday September 13.‡§ [What would that mean in our world today?]

Hebrews 12:4: In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.—New Revised Standard Version.*

  1. Does this verse help us to understand Paul’s comments about “standing”?
  2. There are many Christians who believe that we can be “once saved, always saved.” However, these passages suggest that we have a daily battle to fight. Which is it?
  3. In order to be successful in a battle, it is best by far to understand something about the enemy’s tactics and who it is you are fighting against. InEphesians 6:10-20, the enemy and his tactics are described in several terms: “the Devil’s evil tricks”; “wicked spiritual forces in the heavenly world”; “the rulers, authorities, and cosmic powers of this dark age,” “the enemy”; and “the Evil One.”Revelation 12:8-9 adds that he is “that ancient serpent, called the Devil or Satan” and “the dragon,” that he has earthly forces on his side, and that he is “the deceiver of the whole world!”
  4. What kind of weapons does the enemy use? Lies, deceit, natural passions, etc. There was no question in Paul’s mind about what we should be doing right now.

[BSG:] Paul does affirm that all evil and supernatural powers are subjugated to Christ (Eph. 1:21). However, in any battle, it is never a good strategy to underestimate the forces on the opposing side. Paul warns that we do not just confront human enemies, but “spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:12, NKJV), led by a wily general, the devil [sic] (Eph. 6:11). However, while we must be on the alert against our powerful foes, we need not be daunted by them. God is present with us in the battle (Eph. 6:10) and has supplied us with the finest of weaponry, His own armor, the “armor of God” (Eph. 6:11; compareIsa. 59:15–17). He has placed at our disposal His truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation, and the Holy Spirit (Eph. 6:13–17). With God going before us and our being equipped from head to toe in the armor He has supplied, we cannot fail (Rom. 16:20; 1 Cor. 15:23, 24; 2 Thess. 2:8).?Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide* for Thursday, September 14.‡§

Ephesians 6:13-17: 13So put on God’s armour [sic] now! Then when the evil day comes, you will be able to resist the enemy’s attacks; and after fighting to the end, you will still hold your ground.

14 So stand ready, with truth as a belt tight round your waist, with righteousness as your breastplate, 15and as your shoes the readiness to announce the Good News of peace. 16At all times carry faith as a shield; for with it you will be able to put out all the burning arrows shot by the Evil One. 17And accept salvation as a helmet, and the word of God as the sword which the Spirit gives you.—Good News Bible.*

1 Corinthians 15:23-24: 23But each one will be raised in the right order: Christ, first of all; then, at the time of his coming, those who belong to him. 24Then the end will come; Christ will overcome all spiritual rulers, authorities, and powers, and will hand over the Kingdom to God the Father.—Good News Bible.*

2 Thessalonians 2:8: Then the Wicked One will be revealed, but when the Lord Jesus comes, he will kill him with the breath from his mouth and destroy him with his dazzling presence.—Good News Bible.*

[BSG:] What should the reality of these supernatural evil powers—against whom we, ourselves, are utterly helpless—teach us regarding why we must grasp hold of the Lord Jesus, who is not only greater than these powers but has already defeated them??Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide* for Thursday, September 14.

[From the writings of Ellen G. White:] Our work is an aggressive one, and as faithful soldiers of Jesus, we must bear the blood-stained banner into the very strongholds of the enemy. “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.” If we will consent to lay down our arms, to lower the blood-stained banner, to become the captives and servants of Satan, we may be released from the conflict and the suffering. But this peace will be gained only at the loss of Christ and heaven. We cannot accept peace on such conditions. Let it be war, war, to the end of earth’s history, rather than peace through apostasy and sin.—Ellen G. White, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald,* May 8, 1888, par. 9.

[BSG:] How doesEphesians 6:10–20 relate to the book of Revelation? The passage exhibits the same basic view of last-day events, or eschatology, as the battle motif in the book of Revelation (see Revelation 12,Rev. 16:12–16,Rev. 19:17–21,Rev. 20:7–10). In both, the people of God are under attack by the enemy who is “in heavenly places” and “is active and powerful in the present aeon” (or age). In both, the people of God are encouraged by “the picture of the future aeon.” Further, “both scenarios explicitly point to the final battle when the enemy will be conquered completely after which the new aeon will be established forever,” a new age in which “the final glorious state of the people of God” and “the eternal doom of the enemy” will be evident (see Yordan Kalev Zhekov, Eschatology of Ephesians [Osijek, Croatia: Evangelical Theological Seminary, 2005], pp. 217, 233–235).?Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guide* for Friday, September 15.†‡?§

  1. Whenever we talk about the final battles involving us in preparation for the final days as the whole great controversy comes to an end, we need to remember Revelation 12;Revelation 16:12-16; Revelation 19:17-21; andRevelation 20:7-10.
  2. What is the most effective way to beat back the forces of evil? Remember what Jesus said when He was faced with the Devil: “Go away, Satan!” (Matthew 4:10, GNB*)

[BSG:] In the last chapter of his letter, Paul reminds the Ephesians, and all of us, that Christians are not simply saved people who are amassed in the fold of Jesus. On the contrary, Paul insists that once Christians join the kingdom of the Lord, they take part in its defense and promotion. They are soldiers of the kingdom of God. But they are not soldiers in the sense that soldiers of the Roman Empire are. Nor are they militarized rebel militias. Their enemy is spiritual, and so are their armor and weapons. It is a cosmic battle, started in the “heavenly places” by “the devil” [sic] and other “world forces of this darkness . . . the spiritual forces of wickedness” (Eph. 6:11, 12, NASB) against the throne of God. [What are the issues in this conflict?]

The source of the power and strength of Christians does not reside in their own muscles, armor, weapons, battle skills, and strategies. Rather, their only source of power is, as always, in the Lord. They fight as their Lord fought, by crushing evil and worldly powers with the power of love and justice that comes from the cross. But the cross is not theirs; it is the Lord’s. It was the Lord who obtained the victory over the powers of evil at the cross; it was the Lord who resurrected and ascended to the heavenly places. It is by virtue of this victory that the Lord Jesus gives His church His resurrection, His life and blessings (Ephesians 1), His gifts (Ephesians 4), and now His armor (Ephesians 6). The Christians fight, clad in Christ’s armor, for a battle that He already has won.?Adult Teachers Sabbath School Bible Study Guide* 158.‡§

  1. Christ died more than 2000 years ago! So, why isn’t this war over?
  2. Look at the example of Martin Luther and his battle against the Roman Catholic Church.

[BSG:] By 1521, Martin Luther (1483–1546) had become the leading voice of the Reformation. Studying the Scriptures in their original languages, the Augustinian monk, who became a professor of biblical theology at the University of Wittenberg, arrived at two major conclusions, both enforced by Paul’s theology. First, that the justification of the sinner is based on God’s grace and accepted by the sinner by faith; this idea translated into the Protestant Reformation principles of sola gratia and sola fide. Second, that the Scriptures constitute the self-sufficient revelation of God and that the Bible, not the church council or pope, is the only, and final, rule of faith and authority in the church. This idea was encapsulated into the sola scriptura principle of the Reformation.

While these ideas were increasingly shaping up in Luther’s mind, Johann Tetzel’s sale of indulgences near Wittenberg inspired Luther to rise against flagrant corruption in the church by publishing his famous Ninety-Five Theses on October 31, 1517. However, instead of witnessing a wave of deep reformation in the church, Luther was confronted with a tsunami of attacks aimed at breaking and silencing him. By the time of the 1518 Diet of Augsburg, Luther already regarded Scripture as the sole basis for faith, morality, and theology. However, caught between his growing popularity in Germany and high pressure from the Papacy, Luther agreed in 1519 not to publish his views if his opponents would refrain from attacking him.

But when, in 1520, he came under repeated attack, Luther decided to let his calls for a profound reformation of the church go fully public. Luther published a series of pamphlets as a result. In these pamphlets, the Reformer used the Scriptures to debunk (1) the papal claim to absolute authority over the church and world through its hierarchy and (2) the church’s claim to control God’s grace through its sacraments and priesthood. Instead, Luther proposed that the church needed to return to the principle of the priesthood of all believers, who have direct access to God and His grace through their faith.

The church of Rome responded via Pope Leo X’s 1520 bull, Exsurge Domine, in which the pope identified some 41 alleged theological errors in Luther’s writings. Luther was excommunicated in the same year, and his books were ordered to be burned. Luther responded in kind: when the papal bull reached his place in December of 1520, he burned it publicly. The tense situation turned into an open war. Charles V, the new emperor, attempted to bring order in his domain by summoning Luther to the Diet in the spring of 1521, in the Imperial Free City of Worms (close to the city of Frankfurt), where Luther would be required to answer for his views and his actions. The Reformer was to travel, and attend the Diet, under the protection of Frederick of Saxony, the founder of the University of Wittenberg and a defender of Luther. Luther was well motivated to fight for God, as illustrated in his exclamation before traveling to Worms: “I will enter Worms under the banner of Christ against the gates of hell.”—Roland H. Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther (Nashville, TN: Abingdon-Cokesbury, 1950), p. 179.

Luther arrived in Worms on April 16, 1521, and was ordered to appear before the Diet at four o’clock in the afternoon of the following day. On April 17, Luther was brought before the Diet. The presider proceeded directly to questioning Luther as to whether the books arranged on a desk were his and whether he was ready to recant the views written in them. Realizing the cruciality of the moment and its impact on the future of the gospel, Luther hesitated and requested additional time for consideration. His request was granted, and he returned to the Diet on April 18, at six o’clock in the afternoon.

His appearance and voice differed from the day before: he was well composed, and his voice sounded strong, confident. After acknowledging that the books piled up before him were authored by him, the Reformer explained that he could not recant the ideas in those books because they were falling into three categories, each of which held truths that he could not recant: (1) proclaiming general Christian teachings, (2) denouncing the corruption of the Papacy that was oppressing the German nation, and (3) exposing the corruption of certain individuals. For this reason, Luther requested to be shown his errors by Scripture and not by ecclesiastical mandates.

The presider rebuked Luther for claiming Scripture as the final authority, pointing out that the church would be exposed to shame if it were found in error after so many centuries. For this reason, the presider then challenged Luther to give a direct answer to the question of whether he was renouncing his works and his teachings. Luther’s ringing voice proclaimed the famous answer: “Since then Your Majesty and your lordships desire a simple reply, I will answer without horns and without teeth. Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason—I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other—my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me. Amen.”—Bainton, Here I Stand, p. 185; italics added (see comment below).

Historians have noted that the words “Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise” are not present in the official written records of the Diet but are included in the earliest printed version of the speech (Bainton, p. 185). Ellen G. White describes Luther as having pronounced these words (see The Great Controversy, p. 160). Many historians believe Luther did say these words but posit that the clerk was so overwhelmed by the discourse that he missed recording these specific words. Regardless of how he worded his defense, the fact remains that Luther’s stand before the Diet of Worms was a courageous act: he stood up for truth, for the gospel, for God, and for the salvation of humanity.?Adult Teachers Sabbath School Bible Study Guide* 159-161.†‡§

  1. It is not a good idea to fall down when you are fighting in hand-to-hand battle. But, in this battle, we have Comforters; Christ and the Holy Spirit are ready at any moment to help us stand up if we are willing to put forth the effort.
  2. On the last night Jesus spent with His disciples before His crucifixion, He gave an answer about how to be successful.

John 15:4-8: [Jesus said:] 4 “Remain united to me, and I will remain united to you. A branch cannot bear fruit by itself; it can do so only if it remains in the vine. In the same way you cannot bear fruit unless you remain in me.

5 “I am the vine, and you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me. 6Whoever does not remain in me is thrown out like a branch and dries up; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, where they are burnt. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, then you will ask for anything you wish, and you shall have it. 8My Father’s glory is shown by your bearing much fruit; and in this way you become my disciples.”—Good News Bible.*

©2023, Kenneth Hart, MD, MA, MPH. Permission is hereby granted for any noncommercial use of these materials. Free distribution of all or of a portion of this material such as to a Bible study class is encouraged. *Electronic version. Bold type is added. Brackets and content in brackets are added. §Italic type is in the source. ?Brackets and the content in brackets within the paragraph are in the Bible study guide or source. This source has minor wording differences compared with the first source and may also have punctuation and/or capitalization differences.            Info@theox.org

Last Modified: August 12, 2023