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“Watchtower” Study with biblical texts | Week Starting July 6-12, 2015

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“Watchtower” Study: information for personal study

YOU CAN FIGHT SATAN—AND WIN!

“Take your stand against [Satan], firm in the faith.”—1 PET. 5:9.

• shun pride?
• avoid materialism?
• resist sexual immorality?

(1 Pet. 5:9) But take your stand against him, firm in the faith, knowing that the same kind of sufferings are being experienced by the entire association of your brothers in the world.

1. (a) Why is our fight against Satan especially important now? (b) How do we know that it is possible for us to win the battle against Satan?

SATAN is at war with the anointed remnant and the “other sheep.” (John 10:16) The Devil’s goal is to devour as many of Jehovah’s servants as he can in the short time that he has left. (Read Revelation 12:9, 12.) Can we win our fight against Satan? Yes! The Bible says: “Oppose the Devil, and he will flee from you.”—Jas. 4:7.
par. 1 (John 10:16) “And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; those too I must bring in, and they will listen to my voice, and they will become one flock, one shepherd.
par. 1 (Rev. 12:9) So down the great dragon was hurled, the original serpent, the one called Devil and Satan, who is misleading the entire inhabited earth; he was hurled down to the earth, and his angels were hurled down with him.
par. 1 (Rev. 12:12) On this account be glad, you heavens and you who reside in them! Woe for the earth and for the sea, because the Devil has come down to you, having great anger, knowing that he has a short period of time.”
par. 1 (Jas. 4:7) Therefore, subject yourselves to God; but oppose the Devil, and he will flee from you.

2, 3. (a) How does the idea that Satan does not exist actually further the Devil’s objectives? (b) How do you know that Satan is real?

2 Many scoff at the idea that Satan even exists. To them, Satan and the demons are fictional characters of novels, horror movies, and video games. Such people feel that no intelligent person believes in wicked spirits. Now, do you think that it bothers Satan that he and his invisible cohorts have been relegated to the world of folklore? That is not likely! After all, it is easy for Satan to blind the minds of those who doubt that he exists. (2 Cor. 4:4) Promoting the idea that spirits do not exist is one of the many ways that Satan uses to mislead people.
par. 2 (2 Cor. 4:4) among whom the god of this system of things has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, so that the illumination of the glorious good news about the Christ, who is the image of God, might not shine through.

3 As servants of Jehovah, we are not among those who are misled. We know that the Devil is real, for it was Satan who spoke to Eve through a serpent. (Gen. 3:1-5) Satan taunted Jehovah regarding Job. (Job 1:9-12) It was Satan who tried to tempt Jesus. (Matt. 4:1-10) And after the birth of God’s Kingdom in 1914, it was Satan who began “to wage war” with the remnant of anointed ones. (Rev. 12:17) That war still rages as Satan seeks to destroy the faith of the remnant of the 144,000 and the other sheep. To win the battle, we must take our stand against Satan and remain firm in the faith. This article discusses three ways to do so.
par. 3 (Gen. 3:1-5) Now the serpent was the most cautious of all the wild animals of the field that Jehovah God had made. So it said to the woman: “Did God really say that you must not eat from every tree of the garden?” 2 At this the woman said to the serpent: “We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden. 3 But God has said about the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden: ‘You must not eat from it, no, you must not touch it; otherwise you will die.’” 4 At this the serpent said to the woman: “You certainly will not die. 5 For God knows that in the very day you eat from it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and bad.”
par. 3 (Job 1:9-12) At that Satan answered Jehovah: “Is it for nothing that Job has feared God? 10 Have you not put up a protective hedge around him and his house and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his livestock has spread out in the land. 11 But, for a change, stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your very face.” 12 Then Jehovah said to Satan: “Look! Everything that he has is in your hand. Only do not lay your hand on the man himself!” So Satan went out from the presence of Jehovah.
par. 3 (Matt. 4:1-10) Then Jesus was led by the spirit up into the wilderness to be tempted by the Devil.2 After he had fasted for 40 days and 40 nights, he felt hungry. 3 And the Tempter approached and said to him: “If you are a son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4 But he answered: “It is written: ‘Man must live, not on bread alone, but on every word that comes from Jehovah’s mouth.’” 5 Then the Devil took him along into the holy city, and he stationed him on the battlement of the temple 6 and said to him: “If you are a son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written: ‘He will give his angels a command concerning you,’ and, ‘They will carry you on their hands, so that you may not strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus said to him: “Again it is written: ‘You must not put Jehovah your God to the test.’” 8 Again the Devil took him along to an unusually high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him: “All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship to me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him: “Go away, Satan! For it is written: ‘It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.’”
par. 3 (Rev. 12:17) So the dragon became enraged at the woman and went off to wage war with the remaining ones of her offspring, who observe the commandments of God and have the work of bearing witness concerning Jesus.

SHUN PRIDE


4. How has Satan shown himself to be full of pride?

4 Satan is anything but humble. In fact, for a spirit creature to have the audacity to challenge Jehovah’s sovereignty and set himself up as a rival god is the epitome of pride and presumptuousness. Therefore, one way that we can take a stand against Satan is by shunning pride and cultivating humility. (Read 1 Peter 5:5.)But what is pride? Is it always bad?
par. 4 (1 Pet. 5:5) In the same way, you younger men, be in subjection to the older men. But all of you clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because God opposes the haughty ones, but he gives undeserved kindness to the humble ones.

5, 6. (a) Is pride always bad? Explain. (b) What kind of pride is dangerous, and what Scriptural examples illustrate this?

5 One dictionary defines pride as “a sense of dignity and self-respect” and “a feeling of satisfaction which you have because you or people close to you have done something good or possess something good.” There is nothing wrong with that. The apostle Paul told the Thessalonians: “We ourselves take pride in you among the congregations of God because of your endurance and faith in all your persecutions and the hardships that you are suffering.” (2 Thess. 1:4) So feeling good about the works of others and even having a degree of pride in ourselves can be healthy. We are not expected to be ashamed of our family, culture, or the region where we grew up.—Acts 21:39.
par. 5 (2 Thess. 1:4) As a result we ourselves take pride in you among the congregations of God because of your endurance and faith in all your persecutions and the hardships that you are suffering.
par. 5 (Acts 21:39) Then Paul said: “I am, in fact, a Jew, of Tarsus in Ci•liʹcia, a citizen of no obscure city. So I beg you, permit me to speak to the people.”

6 On the other hand, there is a kind of pride that can eat away at relationships and damage our friendship with Jehovah. Such pride can cause us to resent and reject needed counsel rather than humbly accept it. (Ps. 141:5) This type of pride is defined as “inordinate self-esteem” or “a haughty attitude shown by people who believe, often unjustifiably, that they are better than others.” Jehovah hates arrogant pride. (Ezek. 33:28;Amos 6:8) But Satan must delight to see humans display boastful pride, for it echoes his own arrogance. How Satan must have reveled in the boasting of such men as Nimrod, Pharaoh, and Absalom—all of whom fell victim to improper pride! (Gen. 10:8, 9; Ex. 5:1, 2; 2 Sam. 15:4-6) Pride also played a role in the downfall of Cain. He was counseled by God himself but was too proud to accept the correction. He stubbornly ignored Jehovah’s admonition and rushed headlong into disaster.—Gen. 4:6-8.
par. 6 (Ps. 141:5) Should the righteous one strike me, it would be an act of loyal love; Should he reprove me, it would be like oil on my head, Which my head would never refuse. My prayer will continue even during their calamities.
par. 6 (Ezek. 33:28) I will make the land an utterly desolate wasteland, and its arrogant pride will be brought to an end, and the mountains of Israel will be desolated, with no one passing through.
par. 6 (Amos 6:8) ‘The Sovereign Lord Jehovah has sworn by himself,’ declares Jehovah the God of armies, ‘“I detest the pride of Jacob, I hate his fortified towers, And I will hand over the city and what fills it.
par. 6 (Gen. 10:8, 9) Cush became father to Nimʹrod. He was the first to become a mighty one on the earth. 9 He became a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah. That is why there is a saying: “Just like Nimʹrod, a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah.”
par. 6 (Ex. 5:1, 2) Afterward, Moses and Aaron went in and said to Pharʹaoh: “This is what Jehovah the God of Israel says, ‘Send my people away so that they may celebrate a festival to me in the wilderness.’”2 But Pharʹaoh said: “Who is Jehovah, that I should obey his voice to send Israel away? I do not know Jehovah at all, and what is more, I will not send Israel away.”
par. 6 (2 Sam. 15:4-6) Abʹsa•lom would say: “If only I were appointed judge in the land! Then every man who has a legal case or judgment could come to me, and I would see that he receives justice.” 5 And when a man came near to bow down to him, Abʹsa•lom would extend his hand and grab hold of him and kiss him. 6 Abʹsa•lom would do this to all the Israelites who would come in to the king for judgment; so Abʹsa•lom kept stealing the hearts of the men of Israel.
par. 6 (Gen. 4:6-8) Then Jehovah said to Cain: “Why are you so angry and dejected? 7 If you turn to doing good, will you not be restored to favor? But if you do not turn to doing good, sin is crouching at the door, and its craving is to dominate you; but will you get the mastery over it?” 8 After that Cain said to his brother Abel: “Let us go over into the field.” So while they were in the field, Cain assaulted his brother Abel and killed him.

7, 8. (a) What is racism, and how can it be a form of pride? (b) Explain how pride could disrupt a congregation’s peace.

7 Today, people manifest pride in a number of destructive ways. Pride sometimes goes hand in hand with racism. One dictionary defines racism as “prejudice or animosity against people who belong to other races” and “the belief that people of different races have different qualities and abilities, and that some races are inherently superior or inferior.” Racial pride has led to riots, wars, and even mass murder.
par. 8 (Jas. 4:1) What is the source of the wars and fights among you? Do they not originate from your fleshly desires that carry on a conflict within you?
par. 8 (Prov. 12:18) Thoughtless speech is like the stabs of a sword, But the tongue of the wise is a healing.

8 Of course, such things should not take place in the Christian congregation. Nevertheless, disputes between fellow believers, which sometimes start with pride, can spiral out of control. Evidently, that was true of some first-century Christians to whom James wrote this penetrating question: “What is the source of the wars and fights among you?” (Jas. 4:1) Yes, deep-seated feelings of animosity and superiority can affect our speech and actions, causing untold pain to others. (Prov. 12:18) Clearly, pride can disrupt the peace of a congregation.

9. How does the Bible help us combat racism and other forms of improper pride? (See opening image.)

9 If we personally have a tendency to feel superior to others, we need to remember that “everyone proud in heart is detestable to Jehovah.” (Prov. 16:5) We would also do well to examine our view of those who belong to another race, nationality, or culture. If we harbor feelings of racial or national pride, we ignore the fact that God “made out of one man every nation of men.” (Acts 17:26) In that sense, there is just one race because all mankind has a common ancestor, Adam. Therefore, how absurd it is to believe that some races are inherently superior or inferior. Such thinking would suit Satan’s scheme to disrupt our Christian love and unity. (John 13:35) To fight Satan and win, we must resist all forms of improper pride.—Prov. 16:18.
par. 9 (Prov. 16:5) Everyone proud in heart is detestable to Jehovah. Be assured that he will not go unpunished.
par. 9 (Acts 17:26) And he made out of one man every nation of men to dwell on the entire surface of the earth, and he decreed the appointed times and the set limits of where men would dwell,
par. 9 (John 13:35) By this all will know that you are my disciples—if you have love among yourselves.”
par. 9 (Prov. 16:18) Pride is before a crash, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.

AVOID MATERIALISM AND LOVE FOR THE WORLD


10, 11. (a) Why might it be easy to develop love for the world? (b) How might Demas have displayed love for the world?

10 Satan is “the ruler of this world,” and it is lying in his power. (John 12:31; 1 John 5:19) Therefore, much of what this world promotes runs counter to the standards set forth in the Bible. Of course, not everything the world offers is evil. However, we should expect that Satan would use his world to exploit our desires and try to induce us to sin or to develop love for the world and neglect our worship of Jehovah.—Read 1 John 2:15, 16.
par. 10 (John 12:31) Now there is a judging of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.
par. 10 (1 John 5:19) We know that we originate with God, but the whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.
par. 10 (1 John 2:15, 16) Do not love either the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him; 16 because everything in the world—the desire of the flesh and the desire of the eyes and the showy display of one’s means of life—does not originate with the Father, but originates with the world.

11 Evidently, love for the world affected some first-century Christians. For example, Paul wrote: “Demas has forsaken me because he loved the present system of things.” (2 Tim. 4:10) The Bible does not specifically say what aspect of the world Demas loved, causing him to abandon Paul. It could be that Demas began to love material things more than spiritual pursuits. If that was the case, Demas missed out on thrilling spiritual privileges—and for what? Could the world possibly offer Demas anything that would surpass the blessings Jehovah could give him as an associate of Paul?—Prov. 10:22.
par. 11 (2 Tim. 4:10) For Deʹmas has forsaken me because he loved the present system of things, and he has gone to Thes•sa•lo•niʹca, Cresʹcens to Ga•laʹti•a, Titus to Dal•maʹtia.
par. 11 (Prov. 10:22) It is the blessing of Jehovah that makes one rich, And He adds no pain with it.

12. In what ways could we fall victim to “the deceptive power of riches”?

12 Something similar can happen to us. As Christians, we have a normal desire to provide materially for ourselves and our family. (1 Tim. 5:8) Jehovah wants us to live comfortably—a fact that becomes clear when we consider the beautiful surroundings that he provided for Adam and Eve. (Gen. 2:9) But Satan can exploit our desires with “the deceptive power of riches.” (Matt. 13:22) Many think that money will make them happy or that material possessions are the key to success. Such thinking is pure deception, and it can cause us to lose the most valuable possession we have—our friendship with Jehovah. Jesus warned his followers: “No one can slave for two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick to the one and despise the other. You cannot slave for God and for Riches.” (Matt. 6:24) If we slave exclusively for Riches, we have stopped serving Jehovah, and that is precisely what Satan wants us to do! May we never let money or the things it can buy eclipse our friendship with Jehovah. To fight Satan, we must maintain a balanced view of material things.—Read 1 Timothy 6:6-10.
par. 12 (1 Tim. 5:8) Certainly if anyone does not provide for those who are his own, and especially for those who are members of his household, he has disowned the faith and is worse than a person without faith.
par. 12 (Gen. 2:9) Thus Jehovah God made to grow out of the ground every tree that was pleasing to look at and good for food and also the tree of life in the middle of the garden and the tree of the knowledge of good and bad.
par. 12 (Matt. 13:22) As for the one sown among the thorns, this is the one hearing the word, but the anxiety of this system of things and the deceptive power of riches choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
par. 12 (Matt. 6:24) “No one can slave for two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stick to the one and despise the other. You cannot slave for God and for Riches.
par. 12 (1 Tim. 6:6-10) To be sure, there is great gain in godly devotion along with contentment. 7 For we have brought nothing into the world, and neither can we carry anything out. 8 So, having food and clothing, we will be content with these things. 9 But those who are determined to be rich fall into temptation and a snare and many senseless and harmful desires that plunge men into destruction and ruin. 10 For the love of money is a root of all sorts of injurious things, and by reaching out for this love some have been led astray from the faith and have stabbed themselves all over with many pains.

RESIST SEXUAL IMMORALITY


13. How has this world promoted a distorted view of marriage and sex?

13 Another trap of Satan’s world is sexual immorality. Today, many people view marital faithfulness—and even marriage itself—as restrictive and old-fashioned. For example, one famous actress stated: “Monogamy is impossible for both sexes. I don’t know anyone who’s faithful or wants to be.” An actor said: “I’m not sure if it really is in our nature to be with someone for the rest of our lives.” Satan must be pleased when influential people malign God’s gift of marriage. The Devil certainly has no interest in endorsing that arrangement or seeing it succeed. To fight Satan and win, therefore, we must uphold God’s marital arrangement.

14, 15. How can we resist sexual immorality?

14 Whether married or single, we must strenuously resist all forms of sexual immorality. Is the fight easy? By no means! If you are a young person, for instance, you might hear your schoolmates boast about having casual sex or about sexting, a practice that in some places is viewed as being tantamount to distributing child pornography. The Bible says: “Whoever practices sexual immorality is sinning against his own body.” (1 Cor. 6:18) Both suffering and death have resulted from the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. And the majority of unmarried youths who lose their virginity say that they regret what they did. The reality of immoral sex is far different from what is portrayed by the entertainment media, which would have us believe that breaking God’s laws has no consequences. Such thinking makes people fall victim to “the deceptive power of sin.”—Heb. 3:13.
par. 14 (1 Cor. 6:18) Flee from sexual immorality! Every other sin that a man may commit is outside his body, but whoever practices sexual immorality is sinning against his own body.
par. 14 (Heb. 3:13) but keep on encouraging one another each day, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you should become hardened by the deceptive power of sin.

15 If you struggle with temptation to engage in sexual immorality, what can you do? Acknowledge your weakness. (Rom. 7:22, 23) Pray to God for strength. (Phil. 4:6, 7, 13) Avoid situations that could lead to immorality. (Prov. 22:3) And when a temptation arises, reject it without delay.—Gen. 39:12.
par. 15 (Rom. 7:22, 23) I really delight in the law of God according to the man I am within, 23 but I see in my body another law warring against the law of my mind and leading me captive to sin’s law that is in my body.
par. 15 (Phil. 4:6, 7) Do not be anxious over anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication along with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and your mental powers by means of Christ Jesus.
par. 15 (Phil. 4:13) For all things I have the strength through the one who gives me power.
par. 15 (Prov. 22:3) The shrewd one sees the danger and conceals himself, But the inexperienced keep right on going and suffer the consequences.
par. 15 (Gen. 39:12) Then she grabbed hold of him by his garment and said: “Lie down with me!” But he left his garment in her hand and fled outside.

16. How did Jesus respond to Satan’s temptations, and what can we learn from that example?

16 Jesus set a powerful example for us in resisting temptations. He was not fooled by Satan’s promises, nor did he have to take time to weigh the pros and cons. Rather, he immediately responded with the words: “It is written.” (Read Matthew 4:4-10.) Jesus knew God’s Word, and that made it possible for him to act quickly and quote scriptures in the face of temptation. To fight Satan and win, we must not allow ourselves to be tempted to engage in sexual immorality.—1 Cor. 6:9, 10.
par. 16 (Matt. 4:4-10) But he answered: “It is written: ‘Man must live, not on bread alone, but on every word that comes from Jehovah’s mouth.’” 5 Then the Devil took him along into the holy city, and he stationed him on the battlement of the temple 6 and said to him: “If you are a son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written: ‘He will give his angels a command concerning you,’ and, ‘They will carry you on their hands, so that you may not strike your foot against a stone.’” 7 Jesus said to him: “Again it is written: ‘You must not put Jehovah your God to the test.’” 8 Again the Devil took him along to an unusually high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. 9 And he said to him: “All these things I will give you if you fall down and do an act of worship to me.” 10 Then Jesus said to him: “Go away, Satan! For it is written: ‘It is Jehovah your God you must worship, and it is to him alone you must render sacred service.’”
par. 16 (1 Cor. 6:9, 10) Or do you not know that unrighteous people will not inherit God’s Kingdom? Do not be misled. Those who are sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, men who submit to homosexual acts, men who practice homosexuality, 10 thieves, greedy people, drunkards, revilers, and extortioners will not inherit God’s Kingdom.

WIN THE FIGHT BY ENDURING


17, 18. (a) What other weapons are in Satan’s arsenal, and why should this not surprise us? (b) What is in store for Satan, and how does that encourage you to endure?

17 Pride, materialism, and sexual immorality are just three weapons at Satan’s disposal. There are many more. For example, some Christians face opposition from family members, ridicule from schoolmates, or even restrictions on their preaching work from governmental authorities. Such hardships do not surprise us, for Jesus warned his followers: “You will be hated by all people on account of my name, but the one who has endured to the end will be saved.”—Matt. 10:22.
par. 17 (Matt. 10:22) And you will be hated by all people on account of my name, but the one who has endured to the end will be saved.

Satan faces total annihilation (See paragraph 18)

18 How can we fight Satan and win? Jesus told his disciples: “By your endurance you will preserve your lives.” (Luke 21:19) Nothing that any human can do will cause us permanent harm. Nobody can take away our precious friendship with God unless we allow that to happen. (Rom. 8:38, 39) Even the death of Jehovah’s servants does not score a victory for Satan, for Jehovah will see to it that they are resurrected! (John 5:28, 29) On the other hand, Satan’s prospects are bleak indeed. After the destruction of his ungodly system, Satan will be abyssed for 1,000 years. (Rev. 20:1-3) At the end of Jesus’ Thousand Year Reign, Satan will be “released from his prison” for a short time to make a final attempt to mislead perfect mankind. After that, the Devil will be destroyed. (Rev. 20:7-10) Satan faces certain doom, but that is not true of you! Take your stand against Satan, firm in the faith. You can fight Satan and win!
par. 18 (Luke 21:19) By your endurance you will preserve your lives.
par. 18 (Rom. 8:38, 39) For I am convinced that neither death nor life nor angels nor governments nor things now here nor things to come nor powers 39 nor height nor depth nor any other creation will be able to separate us from God’s love that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
par. 18 (John 5:28, 29) Do not be amazed at this, for the hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who did good things to a resurrection of life, and those who practiced vile things to a resurrection of judgment.
par. 18 (Rev. 20:1-3) And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven with the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. 2 He seized the dragon, the original serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for 1,000 years. 3 And he hurled him into the abyss and shut it and sealed it over him, so that he would not mislead the nations anymore until the 1,000 years were ended. After this he must be released for a little while.
par. 18 (Rev. 20:7-10) Now as soon as the 1,000 years have ended, Satan will be released from his prison, 8 and he will go out to mislead those nations in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Maʹgog, to gather them together for the war. The number of these is as the sand of the sea. 9 And they advanced over the whole earth and encircled the camp of the holy ones and the beloved city. But fire came down out of heaven and consumed them. 10 And the Devil who was misleading them was hurled into the lake of fire and sulfur, where both the wild beast and the false prophet already were; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.

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