February 13, 2011 – February 19, 2011
“Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” I Corinthians 10:12.
Study Help: Early Writings, 266–269; Counsels on Sabbath School Work, 72.
“Faith claims God’s promises, and brings forth fruit in obedience.” The Desire of Ages, 126.
1 What does God’s Word declare concerning pride and love of the world? Isaiah 3:16; I John 2:15–17.
Note: “Pride and the love of the world are the snares which are so great a hindrance to spirituality and a growth in grace.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 187.
“In every gathering for pleasure where pride is fostered or appetite indulged, where one is led to forget God and lose sight of eternal interests, there Satan is binding his chains about the soul.” The Adventist Home, 515.
2 What directions has Satan given to his angels about pride?
Note: “[Says Satan,] ‘We must exert all our wisdom and subtlety to deceive and ensnare those who honor the true Sabbath. We can separate many from Christ by worldliness, lust, and pride. They may think themselves safe because they believe the truth, but indulgence of appetite or the lower passions, which will confuse judgment and destroy discrimination, will cause their fall.’” Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 473.
3 What should we realize about the peril of being slaves of this world through pride? Malachi 4:1.
Note: “The third angel’s message must yet work like leaven upon many hearts that profess to believe it, and purge away their pride, selfishness, covetousness, and love of the world.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 132, 133.
4 What snare is Satan laying especially for the remnant people of God? Matthew 13:22; I Timothy 6:10.
Note: “Satan told his angels that the churches were asleep. He would increase his power and lying wonders, and he could hold them. ‘But,’ he said, ‘the sect of Sabbathkeepers we hate; they are continually working against us, and taking from us our subjects, to keep the hated law of God. Go, make the possessors of lands and money drunk with cares. If you can make them place their affections upon these things, we shall have them yet. They may profess what they please, only make them care more for money than for the success of Christ’s kingdom or the spread of the truths we hate. Present the world before them in the most attractive light, that they may love and idolize it.’ ” Early Writings, 266.
“Christ bids them seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; but Satan walks by their side and says: Whatever may be true in regard to life eternal, in order to make a success in this world you must serve me. I hold your welfare in my hands. I can give you riches, pleasures, honor, and happiness. Hearken to my counsel. Do not allow yourselves to be carried away with whimsical notions of honesty or self-sacrifice. I will prepare the way before you. Thus multitudes are deceived.” The Desire of Ages, 130.
5 What should we consider if tempted to excuse wrong acts or neglected duties through family pressure? Matthew 10:37.
Note: “Those who have possessions have been too willing to excuse themselves on account of wife and children. But I saw that God would not be trifled with. When He speaks, He must be obeyed. If wife or children stand in the way and hold back, they should say as Jesus said to Peter: ‘Get thee behind Me, Satan’ [Matthew 16:23]. Why tempt ye me to withhold from God what justly belongs to Him, and ruin my own soul?” Testimonies, vol. 1, 152.
6 Though he failed with Christ, how does Satan conquer man?
Note: “He [Satan] 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.” Testimonies, vol. 3, 480.
7 How does Satan make men inclined to shun duty and live for ease? Proverbs 5:22, 23. What thought can deliver us?
Note: “The pains of duty and the pleasures of sin are the cords with which Satan binds men in his snares. Those who would rather die than perform a wrong act are the only ones who will be found faithful.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 53.
8 What distinction do we often overlook between true Christianity and simple church-going? Matthew 15:8.
Note: “Those who love society frequently indulge this trait until it becomes an overruling passion. To dress, to visit places of amusement, to laugh and chat upon subjects altogether lighter than vanity—this is the object of their lives. … They are miserable unless there is something to excite. They have not within them the power to be happy, but they depend for happiness upon the company of other youth as thoughtless and reckless as themselves.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 624.
“A profession of faith and the possession of truth in the soul are two different things. The mere knowledge of truth is not enough. We may possess this, but the tenor of our thoughts may not be changed. The heart must be converted and sanctified.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 97.
9 How does dissipation (wasteful pleasure-seeking) too often afflict our youth—and perhaps us also? Ecclesiastes 11:9.
Note: “There are many things which are right in themselves, but which, perverted by Satan, prove a snare to the unwary.
“As ordinarily conducted, parties of pleasure … are a hindrance to real growth, either of mind or of character. Frivolous associations, habits of extravagance, of pleasure seeking, and too often of dissipation are formed that shape the whole life for evil. In place of such amusements parents and teachers can do much to supply diversions wholesome and life giving.” The Adventist Home, 514.
“Parents flock with their families to the cities because they fancy it easier to obtain a livelihood there than in the country. The children, having nothing to do when not in school, obtain a street education. From evil associates they acquire habits of vice and dissipation.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 232.
10 How does God describe the indifference that controls many professed Christians? Ezekiel 33:31, 32. How can we overcome?
Note: “There are some who profess to be Christ’s followers, yet put forth no effort in spiritual things. In any worldly enterprise they put forth effort, and manifest ambition to accomplish their object, and bring about the desired end; but in the enterprise of everlasting life, where all is at stake, and their eternal happiness depends upon their success, they act as indifferent as though they were not moral agents, as though another were playing the game of life for them, and they had nothing to do but wait the result. Oh, what folly! what madness! If all will only manifest that degree of ambition, zeal, and earnestness for everlasting life that they manifest in their worldly pursuits, they will be victorious overcomers.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 407.
11 How are weak souls often prevented from receiving strength and help from God? Luke 14:18–20; Ephesians 6:11, 12.
Note: “As he [Satan] sees the messenger of God searching the Scriptures, he takes note of the subject to be presented to the people. Then he employs all his cunning and shrewdness so to control circumstances that the message may not reach those whom he is deceiving on that very point. The one who most needs the warning will be urged into some business transaction which requires his presence, or will by some other means be prevented from hearing the words that might prove to him a savor of life unto life.
“Again, Satan sees the Lord’s servants burdened because of the spiritual darkness that enshrouds the people. He hears their earnest prayers for divine grace and power to break the spell of indifference, carelessness, and indolence. Then with renewed zeal he plies his arts. He tempts men to the indulgence of appetite or to some other form of self-gratification, and thus benumbs their sensibilities so that they fail to hear the very things which they most need to learn.
“Satan well knows that all whom he can lead to neglect prayer and the searching of the Scriptures, will be overcome by his attacks. Therefore he invents every possible device to engross the mind.” The Great Controversy, 518, 519.
12 How does Satan succeed in holding a good number of believers in the snare of presumption? Matthew 24:48–51.
Note: “That evil servant who said in his heart, ‘My Lord delayeth His coming’ [Matthew 24:48], professed to be waiting for Christ. He was a ‘servant,’ outwardly devoted to the service of God while at heart he had yielded to Satan. He does not, like the scoffer, openly deny the truth, but reveals in his life the sentiment of the heart—that the Lord’s coming is delayed. Presumption renders him careless of eternal interests. He accepts the world’s maxims and conforms to its customs and practices. Selfishness, worldly pride, and ambitions predominate. Fearing that his brethren may stand higher than himself, he begins to disparage their efforts and impugn their motives. Thus he smites his fellow servants.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 101, 102.
13 What is the difference between faith and presumption? James 2:14–20.
Note: “Faith is in no sense allied to presumption. Only he who has true faith is secure against presumption. For presumption is Satan’s counterfeit of faith. Faith claims God’s promises, and brings forth fruit in obedience. Presumption also claims the promises, but uses them as Satan did, to excuse transgression. Faith would have led our first parents to trust the love of God, and to obey His commands. Presumption led them to transgress His law, believing that His great love would save them from the consequence of their sin. It is not faith that claims the favor of Heaven without complying with the conditions on which mercy is to be granted. Genuine faith has its foundation in the promises and provisions of the Scriptures.” The Desire of Ages, 126.
Review and Thought Questions:
1 How does Satan control many church-goers who find no pleasure in the Bible and meditation on heavenly things?
2 What class is represented by an evil servant, and why?
3 What will be the end of all who love this world?
©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.