06: Victory Over Evil Forces – Thought Starters

[Thought Starters for Victory Over Evil Forces November 7, 2012]

Image © Lars Justinen from GoodSalt.com

1. Religious power. What wars can you think of that were fought in the name of religion or religious values? How much persecution had its roots in religious zeal? Have you seen the battle between Christ and Satan raging where you live and work this week? this year? What about the conflict in your own mind about what is wrong, what is right, and what you should do about it? How do the evil forces that surround us approach us? Do they identify themselves for what they stand for?

2. Forces of evil. Since God is more powerful than anything in the cosmos, why must He wrestle as He does with the devil and the forces of evil? On the other hand, as weak and frail as we are, why does God allow us to be tempted and tossed in this sinful world? How powerful are you compared to an ant crawling on the screen? a tropical storm raging from the ocean? to God? How much power did it take for Jesus to be resurrected from the dead and seated by His heavenly Father? How much power does it take for God to rescue us from the evil one? Where and how can we obtain that power?

3. Victory. At the edge of the world’s history, the population of earth will be on one side or the other as the total destruction of evil begins. Do you ever feel nervous when you think about end-time events as foretold in Scripture? Are you worried that you might have neglected a sin and thus disqualified yourself for eternal life? Is that the way God wants us to feel? Have you read Romans 38:26-39 lately? Is God on your side? If He is, how much power and love does “your side” have in the battle against sin? Is there enough to put each of us in the winner’s circle if we so choose?

4. Seeking to devour. Is the evil one also powerful? Do you ever picture Satan as an evil-appearing monster with razor-sharp teeth and claws coming after you? Could he be just as effective in causing us to stumble if he appeared in an attractive, human form? How are child abuse, sexual molestation, beating, robbery, alcohol and drug abuse, careless driving and other evil activities used by Satan to snatch us from victory in Jesus? Must we participate in these sinful practices to be affected by them? Can we force Satan to flee from us? If so, how?

5. Victors from the past. Imagine being sent by Jesus to proclaim the gospel to a people who have just crucified your Lord. How confident would you be? What would it take to bring you to your feet and walking down the path to share your beliefs with others? Would you smile a lot? What about taking a few steps to share a few friendly words with a neighbor who doesn’t believe as you do? Or lending a helping hand to a family who is in serious financial straits? Can we “preach” the gospel without “preaching” at all? If so, how?

6. What about today? Do you believe Tropical Storm Sandy was created by the devil? Or was it just a natural working of the laws of weather and physics? Or does it matter? How does the Holy Spirit help us confront bad times? The lesson states that we will be engaged in the conflict between good and evil until the end of time, especially as we seek to fulfill the gospel commission. Have you had a personal experience in this battle as you lead others to Jesus and His love? Would you like to help tell the gospel story? Can you count on being misunderstood, ridiculed, and maybe even hated if you say something that others do not accept? Can the Holy Spirit come to your rescue? Or should we stay clear of conflict and let the Lord guide us to safer areas of witnessing to His love? Or does it depend…?



06: Victory Over Evil Forces – Thought Starters — 7 Comments

  1. Instruments of victory

    Thanks be to God in Christ Jesus! He has not left us alone in our daily battles against the enemy. In order for us to overcome, God has provided for us "the exeeding greatness of his power," demonstrated "when he raised him from the dead". (Eph. 1:19-20) In addition to this "power of his might" (Eph. 6:10) we are offered "the whole armour of God," to be used when assailed by the enemy. (Eph. 6:11-17) This battle is fought in "prayer and supplication... with all perseverance." (Eph. 6:18) The power that raised Christ from the dead, the whole armour of God, together with earnest prayer and supplication in perseverance will assure us vicory.

    Winfried Stolpmann

  2. Is the 144000 prophesy in Revelation 7 a literal or symbolic ? can someone shade some light because the are people spreading a message of confusion in Kenya so that our people may understand the truth. am sorry am not in the contest of the lesson but i can wait until God<children are swayed away.The army of God help please/

    • All Adventist theologians I have heard speak on this issue have spoken with one voice: the 144,000 is a symbolic, not a literal number. It represents a selection that crosses the boundaries and includes believers from every tribe, and even the designation of "tribe" is symbolic and represents people from around the world. The number of the saved is not counted anywhere in Scripture.

    • One of the evidences I see for saying the number "144,000" is not literal is in the math of the passage. Joseph had two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which are the names of the "half-tribes" they fathered. When we look at the list of tribes in Rev 7, verse 6 has Manasseh and verse 8 has Joseph. Since the tribe of Manasseh is a part of the tribe of Joseph, if the tribe of Manasseh has 12,000, that 12,000 is part of the tribe of Joseph. Since the tribe of Joseph has only 12,000, that 12,000 is listed twice, throwing off the total to either 132,000 or not an honest 144,000.

  3. The 144,000 is a literal number ! SOP proves it, let me show thee;
    “And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Sion, and with Him a hundred forty and four thousand, having His Father’s name written in their foreheads.” Revelation 14:1.
    “I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: and they sung as it were a new song before the throne: ... and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.... In their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.” Verses 2-5. {AA 591.2}
    “the voice of harpers harping with their harps.” And they sing “a new song” before the throne, a song which no man can learn save the hundred and forty and four thousand. It is the song of Moses and the Lamb—a song of deliverance. NONE BUT THE HUNDRED AND FORTY FOUR THOUSAND CAN LEARN THAT SONG...for it is the song of their experience—an experience such as no other company have ever had. “These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.” GC 648.3
    Somewhere in SOP it also states that Jesus tells the saints that only the 144,000 are allowed in the Most Holy place and their names will be written in gold in there....in their new names.

    I don't have much time now, I am 100% confident that the 144,000 is a LITERAL number.
    God bless

  4. I have to agree with those saying it is not a literal number. If we take the number literal, we have to take everything literal, meaning they are all 144,000 literal jewish virgins. I may be wrong but I don't think so. Each tribe represents a personality or background which will have its character perfected. In Revelations 7 Dan is not mentioned. Genesis 49 tells us why. Dan is a backbiter, backstabber and gossiper. The like will not be in heaven. Therfore in Revelation 7 no one is sealed to enter heaven with that personality. Having said that, let me close by saying, while we are all free to have our own opinion on this matter, let us focus on the character of the 144,000 more than the number.

  5. If we believe that God offers full salvation to all who commit to Him, how can we possibly believe that He counts them off and when He reaches 144,000 He says, "That's it. These are the people who can sing the song of deliverance. Only them. Sorry about the rest of you, but that's the way it is." I couldn't worship a God that arbitrary. Could you?


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