A surprise inside the cover
“What a surprise that is!” Susan held the lesson guide above her head.
“There’s a surprise in the lesson guide for the final quarter of the year?”
“Yes, dear, there is.”
“Do we get a balloon or a lollipop?”
“No, it’s not that. It’s just that when I saw the title to this quarter’s lessons I was surprised when I opened the guide. The title is ‘Growing in Christ,’ but the first lesson is called ‘The Great Controversy.’ Don’t you think that’s surprising?”
“Hmmm. I sure do. That sounds like two topics that don’t belong in the same discussion. Is that what worries you?”
“Sort of. If we’re going to study the great controversy this quarter, I think that should be in the title somewhow.”
“Well, let’s look and see before we jump to conclusions.”
The two paged through the 112 pages of the guide. They agreed that a person who wants to grow in Christ more than anything else will gain a lot of good Scripture-based counsel by a careful study of the weekly lessons, which are based at least to some degree on the “28 Fundamental Beliefs.”
“Let’s go for it,” he said.
[Thought Questions for The Great Controversy: The Foundation October 3. 2012]
1. How important to us is the “great controversy?” Have you read the 28 fundamental beliefs lately? At all? Do these fundamental beliefs identify us as members of a definite Christian body? Do they help to clarify what our attitude is towards Jesus and the rest of the Godhead? Do you think the 28 beliefs are permanent and should never be modified? Do you think all members should be required to affirm their allegiance to these beliefs periodically? Have you ever wondered if there could be a danger in emphasizing the 28 beliefs too much? What might that danger be? Are you willing, ready, and able, to plunge ahead into a deep and soul-feeding search for God’s will through the lessons of this quarter?
2. Key players in the controversy. Do you agree that a good way to look at the world in conflict today is to consider it as a battlefield? Who is fighting whom? Who is winning? What is the score? What role do you think the unfallen angels play in the strategy and conquests of the great controversy? Have you ever tried to convince someone that there is a great controversy? Or do most people seem to accept the continuing conflict between forces of good and evil? How does Satan manage to eliminate references to supernatural beings among some people and yet use supernatural powers in other people groups to further his aims?
3. Lucifer’s fall. Didn’t Lucifer have a lot of talent and abilities to be proud of? Is it wrong to be proud of what you can do or what your strengths are? Or to say to a child, “I’m proud of you”? What made Lucifer’s awareness of his superior talents a stumbling block that led to his downfall? Have you ever been rebellious? Like when you were sixteen? Or when the boss’s requirements made no sense to you? What did Lucifer do–or not do–that kept his rebellious spirit growing within him until he separated himself totally from God’s love? Why do you think God’s law of love and worship irritated Lucifer so much that he gave it all up and has been tormenting us ever since? Should we learn from that and turn away from all rebellion? Or is it time for more of us to rise up in rebellion against the cruel and evil-minded dominion the devil holds over so many people today?
4. Enmity. Why do you think the serpent was the first one God cursed after Adam and Eve’s temptation and fall? Some people hate snakes because of this Bible story. Do you? What are the consequences of the enmity God’s presence caused in the serpent that was Satan? Next, the woman was made aware of her punishment. What was it? What about Adam’s? What did these specific punishments mean in terms of the great controvery between Christ and Satan?
5. Satan’s Fight. Did God continue to show us through the ages what He had in mind for us? The lesson guide outlines three great epochs in the history of the controversy. What are they?