Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Great Controversy: Whose Side Are You On?

Note: The following article is appropriate for all ages, and should be read with family and friends.

Before our earth was created, a war began and is still going on in our world today. This war is called  the Great Controversy. The word controversy (pronounced "khan-tro-verse-ee") is taken from the Latin word controversus (pronounced "khan-tro-were-sus") meaning disputable or, more literally, turned against.

Between whom is this controversy? It is between Jesus Christ and His enemy, the Devil.

So who is turned against whom? The Devil is turned against Jesus and is opposing Him.

And what exactly is being disputed? The Devil thinks that Jesus is not as powerful as He claims to be.
"And the devil said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, command this stone that it be made bread" (Luke 4:3 KJV).
"And the LORD said unto Satan, 'Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?' Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, 'Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face' " (Job 1:8-11 KJV).
Why does Satan assert this? He believes that he can be like the Most High. 
"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High' " (Isaiah 14:12-14 KJV).

What was the result of this dispute? There was war in heaven.
"And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him" (Revelation 12:7-9 KJV).
How does their disagreement affect me? The Devil wants to coax everyone to sin and eternal separation from God; and he wants to oppose and oppress all who follow Jesus.

"...'Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.' And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman [the pure church] which brought forth the man child [Jesus]" (Revelation 12:12-13 KJV).
"And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 12:17 KJV).
 "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23 KJV).
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8 KJV).

Will the dispute be solved? Yes; because Jesus came to earth, lived a perfect and pure life, and willingly died, He overcame the Devil and disproved his lies.
" 'Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out. And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.' This he said, signifying what death he should die" (John 12:31-33 KJV).
"The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had: He always had the nature of God, but he did not think that by force he should try to remain equal with God. Instead of this, of his own free will he gave up all he had, and took the nature of a servant. He became like a human being and appeared in human likeness. He was humble and walked the path of obedience all the way to death--- his death on the cross. For this reason God raised him to the highest place above and gave him the name that is greater than any other name" (Philippians 2:5-9 GNB).

"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need" (Hebrews 4:14-16 KJV).

How will the dispute be solved? At the last judgment, Jesus will be proven to be just and innocent of the charges by the testimony of His life and actions.

"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. The Pharisees therefore said unto him, Thou bearest record of thyself; thy record is not true. Jesus answered and said unto them, Though I bear record of myself, yet my record is true: for I know whence I came, and whither I go; but ye cannot tell whence I come, and whither I go. Ye judge after the flesh; I judge no man. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me. It is also written in your law, that the testimony of two men is true. I am one that bear witness of myself, and the Father that sent me beareth witness of me" (John 8:12-18 KJV).

"And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, 'Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night' " (Revelation 12:10 KJV).

Which side should I choose? The side of victory and life is the side God would like us to choose -- Jesus' side.
" 'I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them' " (Deuteronomy 30:19-20 KJV).
" 'Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne' "
(Revelation 3:20-21 KJV).
What will I gain by choosing God's side? I will gain life everlasting, and treasures of heaven.
"Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city" (Revelation 22:14 KJV).
" 'Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also' " (John 14:1-3 KJV).
" 'But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you' " (Matthew 6:33 KJV).
How do I choose God's side? I must reject the Devil by confessing my sins show the world my commitment by being baptized; and confess Christ by living the life of purity and perfection.
"And [the jailer] brought them out, and said, 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' And they said, 'Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.' And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway" (Acts 16:30-33 KJV). 
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed" (Romans 10:9-11 KJV). 
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage" 
(Galatians 5:1 KJV).
 
"For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do" (Galatians 5:13-17 ESV).
"If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (John 14:15 ESV).
"Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus" (Revelation 14:12 KJV).
Whose side will you choose to be on?
[_] Jesus Christ
[_] The Devil

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