SDA Sabbath School Lessons
Tuesday December 24, 1996

Empowered by God
(Ps. 110:3)

How does God promise to empower the church so it will triumph?  Eph. 3:16-21.

"The church is God's agency for the proclamation of truth, empowered by Him to do a special work; and if she is loyal to Him, obedient to all His commandments, there will dwell within her the excellency of divine grace.  If she will be true to her allegiance, if she will honor the Lord God of Israel, there is no power that can stand against her." - The Acts of the Apostles, p. 600.

What spirit or attitude must the church have if it is to be triumphant?  Ps. 110:3; Rev. 12:11, 17.

God's people will fearlessly press the battle forward. Glorious rescues from Babylon will be made.  The faithfuls' courage and gentleness will give strength to many once-fearful slaves of tradition who loved the truth but were too timid to take an open, unyielding stand for Jesus.

More than one hundred years ago, an earthquake disrupted the citizens of a small seashore village in Japan.  But because the people were used to them, they quickly resumed their daily lives.  On a plain above the village resided a rice farmer who, after the quake, observed that the sea looked dark and was moving against the wind.  Knowing what this meant, he longed to warn the people living in the village.  "Bring me a torch!  Quickly!"  he called to his grandson.   The man rushed with the torch to his rice, harvested and ready for market. As the dry stalks erupted into a conflagration, the bell from the temple alerted the villagers to the fire.  Up the cliff they scrambled to help their neighbor.

"As they reached the plain, the old man shouted back at the top of his voice, 'Look!'  At the edge of the horizon they saw a long, lean, dim line - a line that thickened as they gazed.  That line was the sea, rising like a high wall and coming more swiftly than a kite flies.... "On the plain no word was spoken.  Then the voice of the old man was heard, saying gently, 'That is why I set fire to the rice.'  He stood among them almost as poor as the poorest, for his wealth was gone - but he had saved 400 lives by the sacrifice." - Larson, Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching, p. 201; adapted.

Pray daily that God will empower you to save souls, no matter what the cost.