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Series THE GREAT CONTROVERSY with Pastor Mark Finley  |
Lesson 4. Standing for the Truth  |
Steadfast in Darkness: Courage, Renewal, and the Radiance of Faith  |

Lesson 4 takes us through the dark times of medieval church history, where God’s people remained steadfast despite persecution and challenges. This lesson illuminates the radiance of faith that penetrates even the deepest darkness, showcasing how God gradually revealed light and understanding through chosen servants to lead the world out of darkness. We are inspired by courageous reformers and believers who, despite personal weaknesses and temptations, held firmly to God’s truth and promises.
Memory Text: John 3:14.15 – “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.”
4.1 Persecuted Yet Triumphant
Persecution and Victory: God’s People in Prophetic Times
The verses from Daniel 7:23–25 and Revelation 12:6,14 refer to prophetic periods when God’s people were persecuted but remained victorious. These texts depict a time of persecution by the medieval church, symbolized by 1260 days or a time, times, and half a time, equivalent to 1260 years. Despite these challenges, God’s people found refuge and strength in His love and care. This period of persecution began in 538 AD with the expulsion of the Ostrogoths from Rome and ended in 1798 AD with the deposition of the Pope by Napoleon’s General Berthier. Despite severe persecution, Christ’s believers remained victorious through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, holding onto their faith even unto death. Their victory over the powers of darkness was and is ensured through the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ.
4.2 Light Vanquishes the Darkness
The Triumph of Faith over Misconceptions and the Eternal Hope of the Faithful
The epistle of Jude urges Christians to defend the faith against those who pervert God’s grace. This was especially relevant for the medieval church, which often deviated from the pure teachings of the Bible due to the introduction of pagan practices and human traditions. The Waldensians stood as courageous defenders of biblical truth and genuine faith during a time when the church was marked by such deviations. In Revelation 2:10, God promises faithful believers the “crown of life,” an eternal reward for those who remain faithful through trials, sufferings, and even death. This divine comfort has guided generations of believers, including the Waldensians, through difficult times, reminding us that our faith and loyalty are ultimately of eternal significance.
4.3 Courage to Stand
Unyielding Faith in Times of Darkness
Steadfastness in faith, courage in the face of persecution, and unwavering commitment to God’s Word characterized the Waldensians and reformers. Like Peter and the apostles in the Acts of the Apostles, they recognized the need to obey God rather than men. By secretly transcribing and disseminating the Bible within their communities, they preserved the holy scriptures for centuries. Their determination and commitment, despite great danger, shone like the rising morning light, growing brighter until the full day.
4.4 The Morning Star of the Reformation
The Beacon of the Reformation: Passion for God’s Word
Joy in the Word of God and a profound conviction of its truth were at the heart of the Reformation, shared by courageous reformers like Wycliffe. Their passionate dedication to the Holy Scriptures was not only personally uplifting but also a driving force to propagate the Gospel message. Despite persecution and resistance, they became shining examples, changing the world through their unwavering trust in the Holy Scriptures.
4.5 Cheered by Hope
Hope in Darkness: God’s Unshakable Promises
Even in the darkest times and most severe trials, faithful Christians of the Middle Ages found comfort and strength in God’s unshakable promises. They viewed death as defeated and drew hope and joy from their deep communion with Christ. Jan Hus, despite his own sufferings and impending execution, experienced an inner peace possible only through God’s grace. God’s eternal promises serve as an anchor for us today, reminding us of His faithfulness, even in our most challenging moments.
4.6 Summary
Steadfastness and Hope: The Legacy of Faith in Times of Persecution and Darkness
In the fourth lesson, “Standing for Truth,” the history of the faithful people during prophetic times is illuminated, showing their victory despite persecution by the medieval church. The Waldensians and reformers are highlighted as shining examples of unwavering steadfastness in faith. Their passion for God’s Word and deeply rooted hope in God’s unshakable promises guided them through the darkest times. Despite persecutions and personal sufferings, they found comfort and strength in communion with Christ and the eternal assurances of the Gospel.
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