Introduction: Have you ever watched a boxing match? When I have seen
world championship matches on television, they tell us how much each
contestant weighs, how tall he is, the length of his arms and how he
has done in prior matches. To give us some kind of idea of what kind
of person the boxer is, they generally do some sort of interview.
This week our lesson looks at the two contenders for the championship
of our world: Christ and Satan. Since we learned that we are part of
the battle between good and evil, this fight is personal. So, let’s
jump in and see what we can learn about each of these contenders!

  1. Attitudes of the Contenders

    1. Read Philippians 2:5-8. If you were promoting Jesus, which
      one of His qualifications would especially catch your eye?
      (Verse 6 tells us He is “in very nature God!”)

      1. How would you feel about yourself if you were God?

      2. What kind of attitude does Jesus have?

      3. What does it mean (v.8) to “become obedient to

      4. Is this the attitude you would expect of Jesus?

    2. Read Isaiah 14:13-14. What kind of attitude does Satan

    3. Compare the attitudes of the two contenders? (They are
      diametrically different. Jesus, who has the right to have
      an “attitude,” does not. Satan, who did not have the right
      to have an “attitude,” did.)

      1. If you drew an “attitude line” between Jesus and
        Satan, with the Jesus side being the extreme in
        humility, and the Satan side being the extreme in
        pride, where would you be found on that line?

    4. Let’s go back and look at Philippians 2:5 again. If we are
      on Jesus’ side, whose attitude should be ours?

      1. Is this an attitude that you often see either in the
        church or in the world? If not, why not?

    5. Read Philippians 2:9-11. What was the final result of
      Jesus’ humility? If you are looking to be exalted, is this
      the blueprint, the plan, to follow? Or, have you violated
      the blueprint if you set exaltation as your final goal?

    6. Nothing we learn from the Bible does us any good unless we
      apply it to our daily living. Let’s look at Philippians
      2:5-7 again. Does this apply to our marriage? (Ephesians
      5:24-25) Does this apply to our work? ( Luke 14:8-11)Does
      this apply to our relationships in church? ( Romans 12:3-5)

      1. Are your marriage, work or church relationships in
        need of reformation?

  2. Contenders and Light

    1. Read 1 Thessalonians 5:4-6. The Bible consistently equates
      God with light and Satan with darkness. What does our text
      in Thessalonians suggest is the practical difference
      between light and darkness? (We can see things in the
      light, but have trouble seeing them in the dark. This text
      suggests that we “see,” we understand, God’s will and His
      plan for the future.)

    2. Read 2 Corinthians 4:6. How is Jesus, in a practical way,
      “light?” What does the text mean when it refers to the
      “glory of God in the face of Jesus?”(This is a very
      important concept. Jesus is called “light” because He
      helps us to “see” His Father. Satan is “dark” because he
      does not want us to understand God’s love or character.
      The reference to the “glory of God in the face of Christ”
      is a glorious way to say we see God the Father when we
      behold Jesus!)

    3. Read 2 Corinthians 4:7. What role do we play when it comes
      to light? Do you find yourself described in this text?
      (Yes. We are the “jars of clay” who possess the “treasure”
      of this light.)

      1. If our “treasure” and our “light” is understanding
        God through the record of what Jesus did here, how
        important is your study of the Bible? (To know and
        understand God better, is to have light. To fail to
        study God’s word is to be in darkness. The choice is

    4. Is there some part of your life that you would prefer to
      keep hidden? Where does that suggest you currently stand
      in the contest between darkness and light? (If we have
      some activity that we prefer not to have others know
      about, this is a tip-off that we need to carefully review
      whether our activity is pleasing to God. After all, Jesus
      is aware of all of our actions. How does it make any sense
      not to want others to know when the judge knows? At the
      same time there is a place for what I call “sanctified
      hypocrisy” – see Romans 14:22 and its context.)

  3. Contenders: Christ and Anti-Christ

    1. Read 1 John 2:18, 22-23. I was recently cross-examining a
      witness in one of my religious liberty cases. He contended
      my client was not entitled to a religious accommodation
      because he thought my client should have to prove the
      truth of his religious beliefs. The rule of law in the
      U.S. is that you cannot be required to prove the truth of
      your religious beliefs. To try to show his view was
      ridiculous, I asked this witness about the term “anti-Christ.” He had no idea what the term “anti-Christ”
      meant. What does John tell us the term “anti-Christ”
      means? (Someone who denies that Jesus is the Christ.)

      1. Is there just one anti-Christ? (Verse 18 says “the
        anti-Christ” is coming, but many more have come.)

      2. It is common among more conservative Christian
        denominations to see other Christian denominations as
        the “anti-Christ?” What do these verses suggest about
        the nature of the anti-Christ?

      3. Would it be a better “fit” with these verses to look
        for a religious “anti-Christ” that actually denied
        that Jesus was the Christ?

        1. What religion(s) fit that description? (Islam
          immediately comes to my mind. I am not an expert
          on Islam, but beginning a few years ago I
          started reading the Quran (Koran) and doing some
          study of its teachings. The Quran acknowledges
          Jesus, but does not accept Him as God or

        2. Has the anti-Christ come to America? Has it come
          to Christianity in general?

  4. Contenders: Gathering vs. Scattering

    1. Read John 10:11-13. We’ve got four things to identify in
      this story: the shepherd, the wolf, the sheep and the
      hired hand. Who or what does one each represent? (Jesus
      says in v.11 that He is the shepherd. The wolf is Satan.
      We are the sheep. The hired hand is your pastor or priest.
      (Allow a rebuttal time if your pastor or priest is in the

      1. What does this story say about us — when it calls us
        “sheep?” (It says we are vulnerable. We are heavily
        influenced by the shepherd or the wolf.)

      2. What is the goal of the shepherd? (To keep the sheep
        together and safe. He is willing to give up His life
        for that.)

      3. What is the goal of the wolf? (To kill the sheep and
        scatter them.)

        1. If you were a sheep, would it make any sense to
          side with the wolf? (He would undoubtedly,
          ultimately eat you!)

      4. If someone is tearing apart your church, whose work
        does that person reflect?

      5. What is the problem with the hired hand? (He is doing
        it only for money. For that reason, I assume your
        pastor or priest does not actually fall into the
        category of a true hired hand.)

        1. Are there members of your church who are members
          only for the “money,” the success in life, the
          blessings? How about you?

    2. Let’s read on. Read John 10:14-16. Jesus says His sheep
      know Him. How do we know Jesus?

      1. Jesus says again in these verses that He lays down
        His life for His sheep. How does that contrast with
        the goal of the wolf?

      2. What does verse 16 suggest is the goal of the gospel?
        (Bringing in other sheep so that there is “one flock
        and one shepherd.”)

    3. Friend, do you see a “theme” with our Contender? He is
      humble, concerned, caring, obedient to the point of being
      willing to die for us. Satan, on the other hand, is proud,
      arrogant, and willing to take our life to advance his
      claims. How do you line up between these two contenders?
      Who do you choose today?

  5. Next Week: The War Comes to Earth