Sabbath, July 28, 2018

Lesson 4 – Girded by Truth

“The true Christian carefully cherishes the truth, realizing that it is more precious than gold. He has an argument that is proof against all the assaults of the enemy.
“Nothing but the truth of God can meet the needs of the soul. This truth must be enshrined in the heart, becoming a part of the life. Thus an experience is gained that makes the soul watchful, careful to do nothing that would be out of harmony with the will of Him who died that men and women might have eternal life. He was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin. He knows how to succor those who are tempted.” –The Upward Look, p. 214.

The Bible reveals the truth

1. What must the Christian soldier do to prepare to take up spiritual arms and go into battle?
Ephesians 6:14, first part. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth.

“God has provided abundant means for successful warfare against the evil that is in the world. The Bible is the armory where we may equip for the struggle. Our loins must be girt about with truth…. We are to cut our way through the obstructions and entanglements of sin.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 502.
“The Lord calls upon all who believe His word to awake out of sleep. Precious light has come, appropriate for this time. It is Bible truth, showing the perils that are right upon us. This light should lead us to a diligent study of the Scriptures and a most critical examination of the positions which we hold…. Believers are not to rest in suppositions and ill-defined ideas of what constitutes truth. Their faith must be firmly founded upon the word of God so that when the testing time shall come and they are brought before councils to answer for their faith they may be able to give a reason for the hope that is in them, with meekness and fear….” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 30.

2. What is the truth that sanctifies man? What is his only safeguard as the enemy seeks to falsify and destroy God’s holy word?
John 17:17. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Psalm 119:160. Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

“The truth is the principle that sanctifies, and therefore it becomes us to know what is truth. We must compare spiritual things with spiritual. We must prove all things, but hold fast only that which is good, that which bears the divine credentials, which lays before us the true motives and principles which should prompt us to action.” –Selected Messages, book 2, p. 56.
“Those who are truly converted to Christ [must] keep on constant guard lest they shall accept error in place of truth. Those who think that it matters not what they believe in doctrine, so long as they believe in Jesus Christ, are on dangerous ground. There are some who think that they will be just as acceptable to God by obeying some other law than the law of God–by meeting some other conditions than those He has specified in the gospel–as if they obeyed His commandments and complied with His requirements. But they are under a fatal delusion, and unless they renounce this heresy and come into harmony with His requirements, they cannot become members of the royal family.” –Christ Triumphant, p. 235.

3. While the church is the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15), what must each believer do so his faith and testimony are established on the truth? Who makes this possible?
Psalm 25:4, 5; 51:6. 4Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. 5Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day…. 6Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
John 16:13. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

“There is absolutely no safeguard against evil but truth. No man can stand firm for right in whose heart the truth does not abide. There is only one power that can make and keep us steadfast–the power of God, imparted to us through the grace of Christ.
“There are many in the church who take it for granted that they understand what they believe; but, until controversy arises, they do not know their own weakness. When separated from those of like faith and compelled to stand singly and alone to explain their belief, they will be surprised to see how confused are their ideas of what they had accepted as truth….
“… Believers are not to rest in suppositions and ill-defined ideas of what constitutes truth. Their faith must be firmly founded upon the word of God so that when the testing time shall come and they are brought before councils to answer for their faith they may be able to give a reason for the hope that is in them, with meekness and fear….” –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 30.

A prolonged battle requiring strength

4. According to the Scriptures, who is girded with strength and prepared for the battle?
Psalm 18:32, 39; 29:11. 32It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect…. 39For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me…. 11The Lord will give strength unto his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.

“God has given me strength. He is the health of my countenance. Every morning I rejoice in Him. I know I have committed the keeping of my soul to Him, as unto a faithful Creator; and I know He has never failed me. If you place your trust in Him, the Lord will also give to every one of you His strength, His grace, His salvation….
“As you receive the rich grace of God you will diffuse it. The faithful discharge of today’s duties will be the best preparation for tomorrow’s trials. We will not gather together all tomorrow’s liabilities and cares to add unto the burdens of today. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof. God gives us strength for each day.” –The Upward Look, pp. 306, 44.

5. When the battle is long and difficult, what does the Lord do?
Isaiah 40:29-31. 29He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

“If the time seems long to wait for our Deliverer to come, if, bowed by affliction and worn with toil, we feel impatient for our commission to close, and to receive an honorable release from the warfare, let us remember–and let the remembrance check every murmur–that God leaves us on earth to encounter storms and conflicts, to perfect Christian character, to become better acquainted with God our Father and Christ our Elder Brother, and to do work for the Master in winning many souls to Christ, that with glad heart we may hear the words: ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant:… enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.’ Matthew 25:21.” –Ye Shall Receive Power, p. 185.

6. What counsel do the apostles Peter and Paul give to every believer?
1 Peter 1:13. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Philippians 4:8. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

“We have each of us an individual work to do, to gird up the loins of our minds, to be sober, to watch unto prayer. The mind must be firmly controlled to dwell upon subjects that will strengthen the moral powers…. The thoughts must be pure, the meditations of the heart must be clean, if the words of the mouth are to be words acceptable to Heaven and helpful to your associates.
“The mind should be guarded carefully. Nothing should be allowed to enter that will harm or destroy its healthy vigor. But to prevent this, it should be preoccupied with good seed, which, springing to life, will bring forth fruit-bearing branches…. A field left uncultivated speedily produces a rank growth of thistles and tangled vines, which exhaust the soil and are worthless to the owner. The ground is full of seeds blown and carried by the wind from every quarter; and if it is left uncultivated, they spring up to life spontaneously, choking every precious fruit-bearing plant that is struggling for existence. If the field were tilled and sown to grain, these valueless weeds would be extinguished, and could not flourish.” –My Life Today, p. 83.

Jesus girded Himself with truth

7. What did Jesus do during His ministry that made it possible for Him to resist Satan’s attacks?
Matthew 22:16. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.
John 18:37. Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

“While the deceiver is constantly crying, Light is here, truth is here; Jesus is saying, ‘I am the truth; I have the words of eternal life. If any man follow Me, he shall not walk in darkness. If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine.’” –Signs of the Times, December 30, 1886.
“Christ seldom gathered His disciples alone to receive His words. He did not choose for His audience those only who knew the way of life. It was His work to reach the multitudes who were in ignorance and error. He gave His lessons of truth where they could reach the darkened understanding. He Himself was the Truth, standing with girded loins and hands ever outstretched to bless, and in words of warning, entreaty, and encouragement, seeking to uplift all who would come unto Him.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 298.

For additional study
“The thoughts must be trained. Gird up the loins of the mind that it shall work in the right direction and after the order of well-formed plans; then every step is one in advance, and no effort or time is lost in following vague ideas and random plans. We must consider the aim and object of life, and ever keep worthy purposes in view. Every day the thoughts should be trained and kept to the point as the compass to the pole. Everyone should have his aims and purposes, and then make every thought and action of that character to accomplish that which he purposes. The thoughts must be controlled. There must be a fixedness of purpose to carry out that which you shall undertake.” –Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 656.