Sabbath, July 21, 2018
Lesson 3 – The Lord’s Army
“We are soldiers of Christ on the field of battle, and we cannot expect to have an easy time. We must obey the orders of our Captain. He is leading His army on to victory. All that we have to do is to keep close watch of Him, and obey His orders, and we shall be successful in fighting the battles of the Lord.” –Manuscript 8, October 24, 1885.
“The privates in an army must obey orders. They often have to perform duties, the purpose of which they cannot see. They are sometimes brought into places of danger when no reason for the move is given them. So in the army of Christ; we must have confidence in our great Commander, we must rely implicitly upon His guidance, and He will bring us safe out of every danger, victorious through every conflict.” –Signs of the Times, September 7, 1891.
Efforts and suffering
1. If a recruit wants to become a good soldier, what must he be ready to face?
2 Timothy 2:3; 4:5. 3Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ…. 5But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
“We are soldiers of Christ; and those who enlist in His army are expected to do difficult work, work which will tax their energies to the utmost. We must understand that a soldier’s life is one of aggressive warfare, of perseverance and endurance. For Christ’s sake we are to endure trials. We are not engaged in mimic battles.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 37.
“Let us remember that we are laborers together with God. We are not wise enough to work by ourselves. God has made us His stewards, to prove us and to try us, even as He proved and tried ancient Israel. He will not have His army composed of undisciplined, unsanctified, erratic soldiers, who would misrepresent His order and purity.” –Evangelism, p. 95.
Full commitment to service
2. What is expected from every soldier who enlists in the army of Prince Emmanuel? Who is part of His army?
2 Timothy 2:4, 5. 4No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 5And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
“The strength of an army is measured largely by the efficiency of the men in the ranks. A wise general instructs his officers to train every soldier for active service. He seeks to develop the highest efficiency on the part of all. If he were to depend on his officers alone he could never expect to conduct a successful campaign. He counts on loyal and untiring service from every man in his army. The responsibility rests largely upon the men in the ranks.
“And so it is in the army of Prince Immanuel. Our General, who has never lost a battle, expects willing, faithful service from everyone who has enlisted under His banner. In the closing controversy now waging between the forces for good and the hosts of evil He expects all, laymen as well as ministers, to take part. All who have enlisted as His soldiers are to render faithful service as minutemen, with a keen sense of the responsibility resting upon them individually.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 29.
3. What does God give everyone who joins His army?
Romans 12:6-8. 6Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; 7Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; 8Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
1 Corinthians 7:7. For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.
“God has provided divine assistance for all the emergencies to which our human resources are unequal. He gives the Holy Spirit to help in every strait, to strengthen our hope and assurance, to illuminate our minds and purify our hearts.” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 209.
“Our Lord designed that His church should reflect to the world the fullness and sufficiency that we find in Him. His children derive their enjoyment from a Source higher than the world can comprehend; and as they are constantly receiving of God’s bounty in spiritual and temporal gifts, they are to represent to the world the love and beneficence of Christ.” –Review and Herald, December 11, 1888.
4. How does the enemy react when the Lord’s army on this earth is given talents and gifts?
John 15:18-21. 18If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. 20Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. 21But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me.
“Not without a struggle does Satan allow the kingdom of God to be built up in the earth. The forces of evil are engaged in unceasing warfare against the agencies appointed for the spread of the gospel, and these powers of darkness are especially active when the truth is proclaimed before men of repute and sterling integrity….
“Thus the fallen foe ever works to keep in his ranks men of influence who, if converted, might render effective service in God’s cause. But the faithful gospel worker need not fear defeat at the hand of the enemy; for it is his privilege to be endued with power from above to withstand every satanic influence.” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 167, 168.
Subject to God’s will
5. When Christian soldiers submit to God’s will, how does He fight the battles for them?
Philippians 2:13; 4:13. 13For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure…. 13I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
Isaiah 41:10. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
“Although it may seem that you are alone, yet you are not alone, for Christ is with you; you are in blessed company. And you have the words sounding down along the line from the prophets and apostles to encourage you in steadfastness.” –Christ Triumphant, p. 205.
“The heart of Infinite Love yearns after those who feel powerless to free themselves from the snares of Satan; and He graciously offers to strengthen them to live for Him. ‘Fear thou not,’ He bids them; ‘for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.’ ‘I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee. Fear not, thou worm Jacob, and ye man of Israel; I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.’ Isaiah 41:10, 13, 14.” –Prophets and Kings, p. 316.
6. What is the key to success for every soldier to the very end of the fight?
James 1:22. But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
Colossians 3:23, 24. 23And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.
“In order to be true soldiers of Jesus Christ we must meet the requirements of His word as loyal subjects of the heavenly kingdom…. Those who claim to believe the truth must appreciate the great warfare before us and what is comprehended in being a faithful soldier of Jesus Christ…. The Saviour’s army invites voluntary enlistment. There must be a complete surrender of the passions, will, and ways to the will of the Master. Our work is to obey the orders of the mighty General of armies. A strong and active bodily organization is to be maintained. The senses must be enlightened as to perfect obedience; duties are to be done which cannot always be seen as essential; but now comes in the necessity of faith in a higher wisdom and power than your own. Have faith in God, unshaken faith in the skill and ability and fidelity of your Commander, who knows the plan of the battle.” –The Upward Look, p. 230.
The army will grow
7. What will happen in our time if Christ’s disciples put forth efforts to proclaim the present truth as did the apostles after Pentecost?
Acts 2:42, 46, 47. 42And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers…. 46And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. 47And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
“As God’s children devote themselves to this work, many will lay hold of the hand stretched out to save them. They are constrained to turn from their evil ways. Some of the rescued ones may, through faith in Christ, rise to high places of service and be entrusted with responsibilities in the work of saving souls. They know by experience the necessities of those for whom they labor, and they know how to help them; they know what means can best be used to recover the perishing. They are filled with gratitude to God for the blessings they have received; their hearts are quickened by love, and their energies are strengthened to lift up others who can never rise without help. Taking the Bible as their guide and the Holy Spirit as their helper and comforter, they find a new career opening before them. Every one of these souls that is added to the force of workers, provided with facilities and instruction as to how to save souls for Christ, becomes a co-laborer with those who brought him the light of truth. Thus God is honored and His truth advanced.” –(Testimony Treasures, vol. 2, p. 497) Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 260.
8. When the elderly standard bearers are laid to rest, whom will the Lord commission to take their places?
Proverbs 23:26. My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.
1 Timothy 4:11-14. 11These things command and teach. 12Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.
Titus 1:5. For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.
“Christ is calling for volunteers to enlist under His standard, and bear the banner of the cross before the world. The church is languishing for the help of young men who will bear a courageous testimony, who will with their ardent zeal stir up the sluggish energies of God’s people, and so increase the power of the church in the world. Young men are wanted who will resist the tide of worldliness, and lift a voice of warning against taking the first steps in immorality and vice.
“But first the young men who would serve God, and give themselves to His work, must cleanse the soul temple of all impurity, and enthrone Christ in the heart; then they will be enabled to put energy into their Christian effort, and will manifest enthusiastic zeal in persuading men to be reconciled to Christ. Will not our young men respond to the invitation of Christ, and answer, ‘Here am I; send me’? Young men, press to the front, and identify yourselves as laborers together with Christ, taking up the work where He left it, to carry it on to its completion.” –Messages to Young People, pp. 24, 25.
For additional study
“The world is to be warned, and no soul should rest satisfied with a superficial knowledge of truth. You know not to what responsibility you may be called. You know not where you may be called upon to give your witness of truth. Many will have to stand in the legislative courts; some will have to stand before kings and before the learned of the earth, to answer for their faith.
“Those who have only a superficial understanding of truth will not be able clearly to expound the Scriptures, and give definite reasons for their faith. They will become confused, and will not be workmen that need not to be ashamed. Let no one imagine that he has no need to study because he is not to preach in the sacred desk. You know not what God may require of you.
“It is a lamentable fact that the advancement of the cause is hindered by the dearth of educated laborers who have fitted themselves for positions of trust. The Lord will accept of thousands to labor in His great harvest field, but many have failed to fit themselves for the work. But every one who has espoused the cause of Christ, who has offered himself as a soldier in the Lord’s army, should place himself where he may have faithful drill.” –Messages to Young People, pp. 186, 187.