Participants: Kameron DeVasher
Series Code: AOT
Program Code: AOT000070
00:22 Hello and welcome once again to the 3ABN Worship Center.
00:28 The Thompsonville Seventh-day Adventist church.
00:30 We come now to our fifth and final presentation in this
00:34 wonderful series entitled The Greater Controversy.
00:38 And tonight's... this evening's message will be -
00:41 I've got to get this right - Respectable Conventionality.
00:45 You know it occurs to me that this week we have gone
00:47 as it were to a spiritual health club
00:50 and over and over we have heard the word "fitness... "
00:53 being fit for heaven. So Pastor DeVasher has been
00:56 as it were our personal instructor to help us get fit
01:01 for heaven. And I was thinking...
01:04 several years ago I was working on a sermon
01:07 called The Land of No Regrets which was another name that I
01:10 use for heaven. And we always say, you know, "all good things
01:14 must end. " But I'm so glad that one day in glory
01:18 all good things will never end. There will be no parting;
01:21 no saying good byes; no saying of so longs.
01:24 That's one of the things I think I look for in the kingdom.
01:26 That those good things will never end.
01:29 The preaching of the Word will never end.
01:32 The being with Jesus will never end.
01:33 The joy will never end; the fellowship will never end;
01:36 the friendship will never end.
01:38 There won't be any end. It'll just go on and on and on and on
01:43 throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity.
01:46 And certainly we want to be fit and ready for that day.
01:51 And it is soon and very soon to come.
01:53 And so this afternoon we have Pastor DeVasher
01:57 with us again. We were just talking with him back stage.
01:59 He is a wonderful person.
02:00 You know you like people who are steeped in the Word;
02:03 who are spiritual people but who are real people
02:05 if you know what I mean. And he's a real guy.
02:07 Just a wonderful, wonderful person.
02:10 It has been a blessing to get to know him
02:12 and to listen to him preach these four sermons
02:15 and again this afternoon.
02:17 Our special music this afternoon will come from our own
02:20 Jill Morikone. She'll be praying - playing rather -
02:23 a piece from her project: Great Is Thy Faithfulness.
02:27 A standard hymn of the church that we'll hear in just
02:31 a moment. But before she plays and Pastor DeVasher comes
02:34 to speak to us, would you now bow your heads with me
02:36 in a word of prayer?
02:38 Gracious Father, again we sit before You
02:41 as empty vessels needing to be filled.
02:45 As those who hunger and thirst for righteousness
02:50 we ask this day, Lord, that once again
02:54 You would be pleased to feed us from Your table.
02:59 That You would give us of the good things of the Lord.
03:01 That You would touch our hearts and touch our ears
03:04 and touch our minds as we sit before You.
03:07 We ask that You would use Your servant in a marked and special
03:11 way. That You would give him so that he has to give us.
03:15 So that we hear not the words of man
03:18 but indeed the thoughts, the mind, the words of God.
03:21 Be the honored guest and the teacher this day,
03:26 and we will listen and we will do as You give us strength
03:30 and the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
03:33 Bless us now once again dear Lord.
03:35 Be with the technical aspects of this program.
03:38 And those who worldwide listen now to the Word of God...
03:42 may they eat until they are full.
03:45 And we thank you in Jesus' name, Amen and Amen.
03:51 Just now: Jill Morikone.
03:53 And then after she shall have played
03:56 our pastor, our friend: Kameron DeVasher.
07:40 Amen and Amen.
07:42 What a beautiful piece of music. Thank you so much.
07:46 Well welcome back to our fifth and final installment
07:49 in The Greater Controversy.
07:51 I know that much of what we've covered could be perceived
07:55 as merely an intellectual pursuit...
07:58 just an interesting academic study and exercise.
08:01 And as much as I enjoy and appreciate and hope that you
08:04 also enjoy and appreciate such messages
08:08 I can't end this series without closing with a message
08:11 that is extremely practical.
08:14 So far we've established that God is casting the devil
08:17 out of existence... not in a single event
08:20 but through a logical and necessary four-step process
08:24 which allows every intelligent being in God's vast created
08:28 universe to make a decision for themselves
08:31 for or against God based on a clear demonstration
08:35 of both the character of Christ and the character of Satan.
08:40 The time in which we are now living
08:43 is the third of those four steps.
08:45 The evidence the universe needs to see
08:47 before Christ redeems fallen sinners from the earth
08:50 is that they will be safe to save.
08:53 Will we accept, they wonder,
08:57 Christ's sacrifice as both pardon and power
09:00 allowing Him to recreate within us the image of God
09:03 and thus not just get us in but to fit us in
09:06 to the society of heaven.
09:08 Will we in this life claim not only Christ's promise
09:12 to prepare a place for us but to prepare us for that place.
09:17 The Christ-like character is the goal to be attained.
09:20 It's the great object of life.
09:22 So it behooves us to study, to examine,
09:26 exactly what that entails.
09:28 But before we being our study today, let's bow our heads
09:30 one more time for a word of prayer.
09:33 Dear heavenly Father, thank you so much
09:36 for all of Your wonderful blessings.
09:38 And now as we come into the final message of our series,
09:42 Lord, we ask one more time that You send Your Holy Spirit
09:45 to soften our hearts and to sharpen our minds
09:47 that we may see the truth of Your Word.
09:50 And not just in theory, Lord, but help us to put it
09:52 into practice through Your power in our lives.
09:55 We pray this in Jesus' name, Amen.
09:59 Again, it's this third step that I want to focus on
10:01 in this final message entitled The Manifold Wisdom of God.
10:05 And it's a phrase taken from Ephesians chapter 3 verse 10.
10:09 We looked at that this morning
10:10 where we read of God's plan that "now the manifold
10:15 wisdom of God might be made known by the church
10:19 to the principalities and powers in the heavenly realm. "
10:25 And think about what a radical idea that is.
10:27 That there is some wisdom of God that He wants to teach
10:31 to other heavenly beings through the vehicle
10:34 of His people on earth.
10:36 Through the church He will teach other heavenly beings
10:39 something about Himself.
10:41 This is the "manifold wisdom of God. "
10:44 If you recall the statement from Sermons and Talks
10:46 volume 2 page 294:
10:48 "Without perfection of character no one can enter
10:51 the pearly gates to the City of God. For if... "
10:54 And here's the reason why:
10:55 "If with all our imperfections we were permitted
10:58 to enter that city, there would soon be in heaven
11:01 a second rebellion.
11:03 We must first be tried and chosen and found faithful
11:06 and true. Upon the purification of our character rests
11:09 our only hope of eternal life. "
11:11 And again, that's not to say that the development of a
11:14 Christ-like character causes you to be saved.
11:16 Only the blood of Jesus saves sinners.
11:18 But, a Christ-like character is the only guarantee
11:23 that we will never choose to rebel again.
11:26 I John chapter 3.
11:29 We're going to be doing another Bible study.
11:31 I John chapter 3 verse 2.
11:35 "Beloved, now we are children of God.
11:39 And it has not yet been revealed what we shall be... "
11:41 Again going back to the original premise that
11:43 the salvation Christ provides is not simply a transaction
11:47 that gets you in but a transformation that fits you in.
11:51 And notice this process language:
11:53 "Beloved, now we are children of God. "
11:55 Present tense.
11:57 "And it has not yet been revealed what we shall be,
12:01 but we know that when He is revealed
12:04 we shall be... " What? "like Him. "
12:07 And the reason we know we will be like Him
12:09 is very simple: "for we shall see Him as He is. "
12:14 So if we expect to live in the sight of a holy God
12:17 it behooves us to prepare for that event.
12:19 And here's how it's done... verse 3:
12:21 "And everyone who has this hope in him
12:23 purifies himself just as He is pure. "
12:29 "Just as He is pure. "
12:30 Notice that the hope of seeing Jesus face to face -
12:34 this is not the threat of seeing Jesus face to face.
12:36 This is the hope - drives you to purification...
12:40 "to purify yourselves as He is pure. "
12:43 Which begs to question: how pure is Christ?
12:47 How is He pure?
12:49 Go to the book of Hebrews.
12:51 Hebrews chapter 7. In fact, the entire book
12:54 of Hebrews... It starts at chapter 7 but the entire book
12:58 of Hebrews is a primer on the relation of Christ to sinners
13:03 and His power through the sacrifice that has been made
13:07 available to all who will place their lives in His hands.
13:12 Tells us who Christ is and what we can be through Christ.
13:15 Hebrews chapter 7 starting verse 25.
13:18 Speaking of Christ: "But He is also able to save to the
13:23 uttermost those who come to God through Him
13:26 since He always lives to make intercession for them.
13:29 For such a High Priest was fitting who is
13:33 holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners
13:38 and has become higher than the heavens.
13:42 Who does not need daily as those high priests who offer up
13:45 sacrifices for his own sins and then for the people.
13:48 For this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. "
13:52 Apparently Christ is our High Priest in the heavenly
13:55 sanctuary. He is holy; He is undefiled;
13:57 He is separate from sinners. He's the sinless Savior that
14:01 we need. Now, let's go back a few chapters to chapter 2.
14:05 The same book - the book of Hebrews - chapter 2
14:08 starting now with verse 16.
14:15 Scripture reads of Jesus: "For He indeed does not give aid
14:18 to angels but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. "
14:21 And it makes sense. Why does He not give aid to the angels?
14:24 Why is He not interceding for them?
14:26 They don't need it!
14:27 They're already in the society of heaven. They're good.
14:32 "Therefore... " So because He's giving aid to us here...
14:35 "Therefore... " verse 17... "in all things He had to be made
14:38 like His brethren that He might be a merciful and faithful
14:42 High Priest in things pertaining to God
14:44 to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
14:47 For in that He Himself has suffered,
14:52 being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted. "
14:57 So you notice the contrast here?
14:59 He is separate from sinners enough that He's holy and
15:02 undefiled yet He's close enough to know what it's like to suffer
15:05 under temptation and He can give aid when it's needed.
15:08 This is the type of Savior that we have.
15:10 In fact we see this again two chapters to the right.
15:12 Hebrews chapter 4. I love this passage
15:15 starting with verse 14.
15:17 "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has
15:21 passed through the heavens - Jesus, the Son of God -
15:23 let us hold fast our confession. "
15:26 Here's the reason why in verse 15:
15:28 "For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize
15:31 with our weaknesses but was in all points tempted
15:34 as we are yet... " Here's the big difference:
15:37 "without sin. "
15:40 "Let us therefore... " OK? Notice that he's building
15:43 the argument. Christ has been through everything we've done
15:47 except for sin. And because of that: "Let us therefore
15:52 come boldly to the throne of grace
15:55 that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help
15:59 in time of need. "
16:01 So when you're struggling, when you're suffering,
16:03 when you're tempted, there is power available
16:06 through the blood of Jesus.
16:08 Friends, there is power in the blood! Amen!
16:11 Hebrews chapter 12.
16:13 So the question remains: If we have such a High Priest
16:15 which I believe that we do, and if His offer is not just
16:18 pardon but also power...
16:23 Let's take this back out to the universal realm.
16:25 How does this affect this manifold wisdom of God?
16:28 Hebrews chapter 12 and verse 1.
16:29 "Therefore also, since we are surrounded
16:33 by so great a cloud of witnesses... "
16:38 Again, this is the apostle Paul.
16:40 He always has this idea that we're on display.
16:42 We're a spectacle both to angels and to men.
16:46 We're surrounded by a cloud of witnesses.
16:49 What should we do? "Let us lay aside every weight
16:52 and the sin which so easily ensnares us. "
16:57 We're being watched!
16:58 They're looking for evidence that we're safe to save,
17:01 and we've got a powerful Savior who can make us safe to save.
17:05 So because of that - not in our own strength but in the
17:07 power of Christ - let us put off everything that weights us down.
17:11 Every besetting sin.
17:13 "and let us run with endurance
17:15 the race that is set before us. "
17:17 Not in spurts but that long, steady marathon
17:20 hand in hand with Jesus Christ.
17:22 "Looking unto Jesus... " There's the key.
17:25 "Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,
17:30 who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross
17:33 despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand
17:37 of the throne of God.
17:39 For consider Him who endured such hostility for sinners
17:44 against Himself lest you become weary and discouraged
17:48 in your souls. " He said: "I understand it's going to be
17:51 difficult but through Christ you can do it.
17:54 Not on your own, but through Christ there's victory. "
17:58 Which brings him to his point in verse 4:
18:02 "You have not yet resisted to bloodshed
18:05 striving against sin. "
18:07 He's like: "Basically the problem in the Christian life
18:10 is you walk up to a temptation and you just fall down and play
18:13 dead! You're done!
18:14 You don't exercise the power that Christ offers you. "
18:18 He said: "He's got all the power. You just step forward
18:21 in faith but you start to step ba... You don't even try;
18:23 you don't resist. "
18:24 He's like: "Of course you don't have the strength,
18:27 but why don't you exercise some faith
18:29 and let Christ work through you to conquer that which
18:33 in your own strength would be defeat every time? "
18:35 This is the offer that Christ has given us.
18:38 Again, in Desire of Ages page 490,
18:40 speaking of Christ's work on the cross:
18:42 "Henceforth Christ's followers were to look upon Satan
18:45 as a conquered foe. Upon the cross Jesus was to gain
18:48 the victory for them. " And here's the key:
18:50 "That victory He desires them to accept as their own. "
18:55 Why don't you take the victory of Jesus and apply it
18:58 in your life? Purify yourself even as He is pure...
19:02 Hmmm. I Corinthians 10:13.
19:05 "No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.
19:10 And God is... " What? "faithful. "
19:13 He doesn't say: "And therefore you are faithful. "
19:15 No you're not! But God is faithful.
19:18 God is faithful. "He will not let you be tempted
19:21 beyond what you can bear.
19:23 But when you are tempted He will also provide
19:25 a way out so that you can stand up under it. "
19:28 The Christian life is not free of temptation.
19:30 It just has a guarantee of vic- tory in our Savior Jesus Christ.
19:33 James chapter 4 and verse 7.
19:35 "Submit yourselves then to... " Whom?
19:38 "to God. " Remember, you aren't fighting any more.
19:41 You submit yourself to God
19:43 and in that context "resist the devil
19:45 and he will flee from you. "
19:47 That would be fleeing from you? Or is he fleeing from you
19:50 in Christ? There's the key.
19:52 "Submit yourselves to God... " Ephesians chapter 6
19:55 starting with verse 10:
19:57 "Finally be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.
20:01 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand
20:05 against the devil's schemes.
20:08 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood
20:11 but against the rulers, against the authorities,
20:14 against the powers of this dark world,
20:15 and against the spiritual forces of evil
20:18 in the heavenly realms. "
20:20 Notice that Paul repeatedly comes back to this idea
20:23 of we're being watched and there's a cosmic aspect
20:27 to the controversy in which we find ourselves.
20:29 But through Christ we can stand up under the devil's schemes,
20:33 refute the claims of Satan,
20:36 and demonstrate the character of God before an onlooking
20:39 universe. Perhaps one more point.
20:43 Go to John chapter 8 so we see this practically lived out.
20:48 Jesus speaking to the woman caught in adultery:
20:51 John chapter 8. You know the story well.
20:55 And if you don't, read John chapter 8.
20:59 But the woman is dragged out, caught in adultery, and Jesus
21:02 before the stoning begins sits down and begins to write
21:06 in the sand. And we pick up the story in verse 10:
21:11 "And when Jesus had raised Himself up and saw that no one
21:14 but the woman... saw no one but the woman, He said
21:17 to her: 'Woman, where are those accusers of yours?
21:21 Has no one condemned you? '
21:25 She said: 'No one, Lord. '
21:28 And Jesus said to her: 'Neither do I condemn you. ' "
21:31 Which isn't that beautiful?
21:33 But it doesn't end there.
21:35 "Go and sin no more. "
21:39 If there was a thesis statement for what God wants to accomplish
21:41 through the great controversy,
21:44 it is that simple phrase: "Go and sin no more. "
21:50 And of course He doesn't ask you to do this in your own strength
21:52 because He understands that you have no strength.
21:54 He just simply says: "Not by might nor by power
21:57 but by My Spirit saith the Lord. "
21:59 There is victory in Jesus.
22:04 Now that's a fantastic - I believe - study of
22:07 Biblical foundation that we can overcome besetting sins
22:10 through Jesus Christ and therefore develop the character
22:14 of Christ. But I want to take this to a deeper level again.
22:20 The other side of character.
22:25 Follow me along here.
22:27 When we come to believe that the most decisive evidence
22:29 of genuine faith is merely avoiding evil...
22:33 Right here... if we stop right here in the sermon
22:35 you say: "Man, I understand there's a cosmic conflict.
22:39 There's a greater controversy than just saving me.
22:41 I need to help be part of the solution for the entire universe
22:44 for eternity and I'm supposed to develop the character of Christ
22:47 as a witness unto the watching worlds and
22:49 therefore I will stop sinning through the power of Christ.
22:51 I will avoid evil and therefore I'm being like Jesus. "
22:58 That's good but that's also incomplete.
23:01 All right? Follow me with this.
23:03 When we come to believe that the most decisive or the
23:06 singular evidence of genuine faith is avoiding evil
23:10 our commitment to Christ tends to revolve around
23:14 what we want to stop doing.
23:16 All right?
23:18 We become the people who don't.
23:22 We don't use foul language.
23:24 Praise the Lord!
23:26 We don't eat unclean or really any meat.
23:28 We don't wear jewelry; don't work on Sabbath.
23:30 We don't participate in ungodly entertainment.
23:33 You know: music, movies, TV, Internet, etc.
23:36 We don't lie, cheat, steal, kill, fornicate,
23:38 fight, drink, smoke, etc.
23:41 And of course we should do none of those things!
23:43 But... is it possible in our zeal to not sin
23:49 we actually commit a sin?
23:54 When we come to think of Christian character as merely
23:57 the avoidance of evil we leave ourselves vulnerable
24:01 to deeper and more subtle temptations.
24:04 For instance, if I were to ask... And this is,
24:07 this is I'm sure a Biblically- literate congregation...
24:11 if I were to ask what is the Biblical definition of sin,
24:16 I John chapter 3 verse 4,
24:18 everyone could help me finish the sentence.
24:20 "Sin is the transgression of the law. "
24:23 Of course. But how many of us know James chapter 4 verse 17?
24:28 "Therefore to him who knows to do good
24:32 and does not do it, to him it is... " What? "sin. "
24:37 Do you see his intention here?
24:42 Sin is not merely the avoidance of evil. It is also
24:44 the neglect to do good.
24:49 This is... now follow this now.
24:52 Education page 264:
24:54 "Those who reject the privilege of fellowship with Christ
24:57 in service reject THE ONLY training
25:02 that imparts a fitness for participation
25:05 with Him in His glory.
25:07 They reject the training that in this life gives strength
25:10 and nobility of character. "
25:13 Apparently, again, sin is more than the doing of bad
25:17 but is also the refusal or neglect to do good.
25:19 Matthew chapter 19. Let's study this out just a little bit.
25:23 Matthew chapter 19 starting with verse 16.
25:27 Jesus has an interaction with a young man.
25:30 Matthew chapter 19 starting with verse 16:
25:35 "Now behold one came and said to Him:
25:38 'Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have
25:41 eternal life? ' " Now just from his question alone
25:43 is he saying: "Lord, how can I fit into Your kingdom? "
25:48 or "Lord, how can I get into Your kingdom? "
25:51 Obviously he's looking just to get in.
25:53 "What can I do to have it? "
25:57 "So He said to him... " verse 17:
25:59 " ' Why do you call Me good?
26:00 No one is good but one... that is God.
26:02 But if you want to enter into life,
26:04 keep the commandments. '
26:06 He said to Him: 'Which ones? ' "
26:07 Obviously trying to make a list here.
26:10 "Jesus said: 'You shall not murder; shall not commit
26:11 adultery; you shall not steal; shall not bear false witness.
26:15 Honor your father and your mother; and you shall
26:17 love your neighbor as yourself. '
26:18 The young man said to Him: 'All these things I have kept
26:22 from my youth. What do I still lack? ' "
26:25 Notice that most of the things Jesus lists off are not doing.
26:28 I have not done this, not done this, not done this.
26:30 He's like: "Great! Is there anything else? "
26:35 "Jesus said to him: 'If you want to be... ' "
26:37 What's the next word? " 'perfect... ' "
26:40 Jesus' words... not mine.
26:42 " 'If you want to be perfect, go sell what you have
26:47 and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven
26:52 and come follow Me. ' But when the man
26:54 heard what He was saying he went away sorrowful
26:57 for he had great possessions. "
27:00 Not doing in order to get into heaven?
27:04 No problem for this guy. He'll avoid evil till the day
27:07 he dies because it's an investment in self-preservation;
27:10 going to get something at the end of it.
27:11 The Lord says: "Now do some- thing. Sell all you have.
27:16 Give to the poor. "
27:18 And he went away sad. That's a bridge too far.
27:22 He couldn't do it. It wasn't...
27:25 He says the same thing in Luke chapter 10
27:27 in the story of the Good Samaritan.
27:29 Jesus once again - in the same spirit as the one we just saw
27:32 there - was asked a question:
27:34 Luke chapter 10 starting with verse 25:
27:37 "And behold a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him... "
27:40 Jesus had to face theological questions all the time.
27:42 "tested Him saying: 'Teacher, what shall I do
27:46 to inherit eternal life? ' "
27:48 The same premise. He's not asking "Lord, how can I fit into
27:51 Your kingdom? " he's saying "How can I get in?
27:53 What do I have to do to obtain it? "
27:57 "And He said to him: 'What is written in the law?
27:59 What is your reading of it? '
28:00 So he answered and said: 'You shall love the Lord your
28:02 God with all your heart, with all your soul,
28:03 with all your strength and with all your mind AND
28:07 your neighbor as yourself. '
28:09 And He said to him: 'You have answered rightly.
28:11 Do this and you will live. '
28:13 But he... " notice the reason why in verse 29...
28:16 "wanting to justify himself,
28:23 said to Jesus: 'And who is? '
28:25 He didn't say: "Who is the Lord who I should love with all
28:29 of my heart? " No.
28:31 He said: "Who is my neighbor? "
28:35 "Lord I have no problem with this stuff that's for You.
28:37 You know we have a great rapport. But this
28:39 helping my neighbor? What exactly do You mean by that?
28:43 Who... Who is that? "
28:47 And of course the answer that Jesus gave was the parable
28:50 of the Good Samaritan.
28:51 And at the end, Jesus asked a salient question in verse 36.
28:56 "So which of these three do you think was
28:58 neighbor to him who fell among the thieves? "
29:01 "And he said: 'he who showed mercy on him. ' "
29:04 And notice what Jesus says:
29:05 "Then Jesus said: 'Go and do likewise. ' "
29:10 He doesn't say just: "Go and don't do... "
29:14 He says: "Go and do like I've just told you in this parable. "
29:21 In Matthew chapter 16 verse 27
29:23 when Jesus discusses His own return He says that:
29:26 "The Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father,
29:29 with His angels, and He will reward each according to his"
29:32 Was it faith? No. "according to his works. "
29:37 Revelation chapter 22:11-12.
29:39 "Behold I am coming quickly and My reward is with Me
29:41 to give to everyone according to his works. "
29:46 Apparently... for Seventh-day Adventists this might
29:50 blow our minds just a little bit...
29:52 apparently living a Christ-like life entails more than
29:57 not doing bad but actually, actively doing good.
30:03 Christian character is active.
30:07 Turn with me to the book of Isaiah chapter 58.
30:14 I believe there's a significance in Isaiah 58
30:16 that we have yet to tap into completely
30:19 and the Lord intends us to study this chapter.
30:21 Isaiah chapter 58.
30:24 We'll just read through it so you understand what's here.
30:28 And there's some great things in Isaiah 58, but I want you
30:30 to see the whole context.
30:31 Isaiah chapter 58 starting with verse 1.
30:34 "Cry aloud; spare not.
30:36 Lift up your voice like a trumpet.
30:38 Tell My people their trans- gression and the house of
30:41 Jacob their sins. Yet they seek Me daily
30:44 and delight to know My ways. As a nation they did
30:47 righteousness and did not forsake the ordinance of their
30:50 God. They ask of Me the ordinances of justice.
30:53 They take delight in approaching God. "
30:55 So notice that the people he's addressing:
30:57 these aren't pagans... these aren't heathens.
31:00 But he's supposed to call these people out for their sins.
31:03 But what is their sin? He says: "They seek Me daily.
31:06 They delight to know My ways.
31:08 They did not forsake the ordinance of God.
31:10 They take delight in approaching God. "
31:13 They come to church every Sabbath.
31:16 They even come to special events in the afternoon.
31:21 But look at their question. Verse 3:
31:22 " 'Why have we fasted? ' they say
31:26 'and You have not seen?
31:29 And why have we afflicted our souls
31:31 and You take no notice? ' "
31:33 These people are God's people.
31:35 Worshiping God but they're not receiving the blessing
31:38 they feel that they're supposed to be having.
31:40 They're not having the spiritual experience they long for.
31:42 They're saying: "Lord, we have been doing all of this
31:45 and yet You haven't heard a word we said! "
31:51 "In fact in the day of your fast you find pleasure in it
31:54 and exploit all your laborers.
31:55 "Indeed... " the Lord responds "you fast for strife and debate
31:58 and you strike with a fist of wickedness.
32:00 You will not fast as you do this day
32:03 to make your voice heard on high. " And look at God's
32:06 question in verse 5:
32:07 "Is it a fast that I have chosen? "
32:10 What's it mean to fast?
32:12 Does it mean to withhold things? You know, to limit yourself...
32:16 To really? Look what He's saying here:
32:19 "Is it a fast that I have chosen?
32:21 A day for a man to afflict his soul?
32:24 Is it to bow down his head like a bullrush
32:27 and spread out sackcloth and ashes? "
32:29 These people were coming before God:
32:30 "Oh Lord, we want to receive Your Holy Spirit's power.
32:33 We want to... "
32:34 And nothing happened.
32:39 "Would you call this a fast, an acceptable day to the Lord? "
32:44 And then the Lord says: "Here's the fast that I've
32:46 chosen for you... " verse 6:
32:48 "Is this not the fast that I have chosen:
32:52 to loose the bonds of wickedness;
32:54 to undo the heavy burden;
32:56 to let the oppressed go free;
32:59 and to break every yoke? "
33:01 Verse 7 continues:
33:03 "Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
33:06 and that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out?
33:11 And when you see the naked, that you cover him
33:15 and not hide yourself from your own flesh?
33:19 Then... " verse 8... "Then your light shall break
33:24 forth like the morning. Your healing shall spring forth
33:27 speedily and your righteousness shall go before you,
33:30 the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
33:32 Then you shall call and the Lord will answer;
33:35 you shall cry and He will say: 'Here I am. '
33:38 If you take away the yoke from your midst -
33:41 the pointing of the finger, the speaking wickedness -
33:43 if you extend your soul to the hungry
33:46 and satisfy the afflicted souls
33:49 then your light shall dawn in the darkness
33:51 and your darkness shall be as the noonday.
33:54 The Lord will guide you continually
33:56 and satisfy your soul in drought
33:58 and strengthen your bones.
34:00 You shall be like a watered garden and like a spring of
34:02 water whose waters do not fail. "
34:04 Do you understand what it's saying here?
34:06 These people are not pagans and heathens.
34:08 They are not godless infidels.
34:10 They are people who want the blessing of the Lord.
34:13 They seek to know His will.
34:15 They seek to meet with Him. They want that deeper
34:19 spiritual experience. They come to church.
34:21 They go through the sacrificial process
34:23 and yet at the end of the day they feel unrefreshed.
34:26 And they say: "Lord, where's the blessing You promised? "
34:28 And the Lord looks at them and says: "Have I ever asked
34:31 you to simply not do? "
34:34 "Is this the fast that I want? "
34:36 "Why don't you get up and do for others? "
34:42 He says: "Why aren't you caring for the hungry? "
34:43 "Why aren't you bringing in the homeless? "
34:45 "Why aren't you clothing the naked? "
34:46 "Why aren't you visiting the sick? "
34:51 One-dimensional righteousness is incomplete righteousness.
35:00 You know, Mrs. White picked up on that chapter.
35:08 You know, it seems to me that these people were so intent
35:11 on being good before God
35:13 that they neglected to do good for others.
35:16 They were so focused on receiving a blessing
35:19 that they forgot that the entire purpose of Israel's
35:22 establishment was to be a blessing to others.
35:26 And looking at God's remnant people -
35:29 the Seventh-day Adventist church in the last days -
35:31 Mrs. White interestingly enough picks up on this.
35:37 Notice the strong words she uses to recommend
35:40 a study and implementation of the principles of Isaiah 58.
35:45 You know, sometimes we think
35:48 at the end of this series I tell you I know
35:50 what the work to be accomplished is.
35:52 Number 1: I'm going to... I'm going to review my own soul.
35:56 I'm going to afflict my soul. I'm going to purge every
35:58 besetting sin; I'm going to be like Jesus.
36:01 And so you become even more insular.
36:04 Be careful little eyes... be careful little ears.
36:06 You shut yourself out from the world in an effort to be
36:09 Christ like. Exactly what the people in Isaiah 58 were doing.
36:15 Oh, but then we also have to give the three angels' messages.
36:17 Which we should do! So our Christianity takes
36:20 the form of reclusive piety
36:24 with a proclamation of Bible truth.
36:28 Reclusive piety and a proclamation of Bible truth
36:34 which seems to be an incomplete righteousness.
36:39 Let me show you.
36:40 Again, the words of Mrs. White. This is from Welfare Ministry
36:43 page 32. By the way, did you even know there's a book called
36:46 Welfare Ministry? Good!
36:50 "The work specified in these words... "
36:52 referring to Isaiah 58...
36:53 "The work specified in these words is THE WORK
36:57 God requires His people to do.
36:59 It is a work of God's own appointment.
37:02 With the work of advocating the commandments of God
37:05 and repairing the breach that has been made in the
37:07 law of God... " By the way, I'm not saying we should
37:09 do this instead of evangelistic campaigns.
37:12 Please hear me out.
37:13 But apparently with that proclamation work
37:17 we are to mingle compassion for suffering humanity.
37:22 "We are to show supreme love to God and we are to exalt
37:26 His memorial. " Speaking of the Sabbath.
37:27 "which has been trodden down by unholy feet.
37:30 And with this we are to manifest mercy, benevolence,
37:34 and the tenderest pity for the fallen race. "
37:36 Apparently we're not just supposed to proclaim
37:39 the truth of God. We're supposed to demonstrate
37:42 the love of God. Amen. And together that will have
37:46 significance and power.
37:48 Again the next page. Welfare Ministry 33:
37:50 "I cannot too strongly urge all our church members,
37:55 all who are true missionaries... "
37:57 Parenthetically, I love that she thought all church
38:00 members should be true missionaries.
38:02 Amen. You don't hire missionaries; we're supposed
38:04 to be missionaries. But... another sermon.
38:07 "I cannot too strongly urge all our church members,
38:10 all who are true missionaries,
38:12 all who believe the third angel's message,
38:14 all who turn away their feet from the Sabbath,
38:17 to consider the message of the 58th chapter of Isaiah.
38:22 The work of beneficence enjoined in this chapter
38:25 is THE WORK which God requires His people to do at this time. "
38:31 I don't know about you, but I've been in some areas before
38:34 where people try to do some sort of outreach activity
38:37 and they say: "No, no, no, no. That's for the Salvation Army
38:38 to do. We have a message to give. "
38:43 And praise the Lord we do have a message to give,
38:45 but it should be clothed in the character of Christ. Amen.
38:49 If they don't hear the message of Christ from a people who are
38:52 Christ-like, it seems to undermine the message.
38:58 Christ Object Lessons 384:
39:01 "When self is merged in Christ
39:03 love springs forth spontaneously. "
39:09 Ever met a Christian who doesn't seem anything like Christ?
39:13 All right. The saddest, most angry, bitter kind of thing.
39:17 Let me tell you something: a real connection with Jesus
39:21 will turn you into a person who's kind of like Jesus. Amen.
39:24 And you'll smile and you'll be warm and you'll open your arms
39:29 and you'll soften your heart.
39:31 "When self is merged in Christ
39:33 love springs forth spontaneously. "
39:35 You won't even have to fake it!
39:37 We smile now... please don't fake it.
39:40 And watch this next phrase:
39:42 "The completeness of Christian character is attained when... "
39:46 Don't you want to know how that sentence ends?
39:48 'Cause if the whole great object of our life is to attain
39:51 a character like Christ it would be nice to know
39:55 when the completeness of Christian character is attained.
39:58 "The completeness of Christian character is attained when
40:00 the impulse to help and bless others springs constantly
40:05 from within. When the sunshine of heaven fills the heart
40:09 and is revealed in the countenance. "
40:12 Sometimes I think as Seventh- day Adventists we think
40:15 the completeness of Christian character will be attained
40:17 when I stop completely... when I eliminate all sugar
40:19 from my diet.
40:23 That's good... good. It's healthy.
40:25 When we keep the Sabbath... when all of us collectively
40:27 are keeping the Sabbath the way we should be keeping it...
40:29 then the Lord will pour out His blessing.
40:32 Or when we get a... no...
40:37 It's such a simple concept.
40:39 The completeness of Christian character is attained
40:41 when the impulse to help and bless others
40:44 springs forth naturally from within.
40:45 It just comes out of your pores... Christlikeness.
40:52 My Life Today page 241:
40:57 "In the 58th chapter of Isaiah the work that the people of God
41:01 are to do in Christ's lines is clearly set forth.
41:05 They are to break every yoke.
41:07 They are to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked.
41:10 If... " I'm bringing it back to the cosmic conflict,
41:14 the greater controversy... "If they carry out
41:17 the principles of the law of God in acts of mercy
41:20 and love, they will represent the character of God
41:25 to the world AND receive the richest blessings of heaven. "
41:31 Is it possible that by our refusal or neglect
41:35 to do good for others that we are not only
41:40 robbing ourselves of an experience
41:43 that the Lord wants to give us but we're also robbing others
41:46 of an opportunity to see Jesus more clearly.
41:48 With the proclamation of truth should be mingled compassion
41:53 like our Savior. Going back to Ephesians chapter 3 verse 10.
41:59 With this framework in mind we see more clearly
42:04 the mystery of what Paul was speaking about.
42:06 Ephesians chapter 3...
42:15 well we'll start with verse 8.
42:17 Paul again giving his job description.
42:19 "To me whom am less than the least of all the saints
42:21 this grace is given me that I should preach
42:23 among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. "
42:25 So one aspect of his ministry was simply preaching
42:28 to the Gentiles about Christ.
42:29 Verse 9: "And... " In addition to that...
42:32 "to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery
42:35 which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God
42:41 who created all things through Jesus Christ
42:43 to the intent... " verse 10: "to the intent that now
42:47 the manifold wisdom of God might be made known
42:51 by the church to the principalities and powers
42:55 in the heavenly places. "
42:57 There is something about the character of God,
43:01 the wisdom of God, that people who are right there in heaven
43:04 with God cannot see directly from God.
43:08 He can't just turn to them and have a conversation
43:10 and explain it to them in theory.
43:11 They need to see it practiced out in a life.
43:14 You know when Jesus Christ came He was undefiled by sin.
43:17 He was separate from sinners. And He kept the law of the Lord
43:20 beautifully, perfectly... and He lived out its principles.
43:23 And by the way, Christ did not demonstrate His character
43:27 by living like a hermit.
43:31 Jesus you know... the glory of God could have been
43:34 sent in a form like that. It could have just been,
43:36 you know, Jesus like in a museum on a display case.
43:39 You know... shaft of light: Ahhhhhh.
43:42 People would come from far and wide to line up and pass by
43:45 and see for themselves the glory of God in a box.
43:49 But that's not how Jesus did it.
43:51 Jesus wanted people to see the Father
43:55 in His character and He wanted them to see
43:59 His character in His good works.
44:02 And He went about doing ministry.
44:04 Sabbath was the busiest day of His week.
44:07 Not because He was trying to earn a living here
44:10 but He was trying to demonstrate and work for the Father
44:12 who's always at work blessing others. In fact,
44:15 the angels - if they could envy - would envy us.
44:19 Hebrews says that they're all "ministering spirits"
44:24 and they love to minister to those in need.
44:26 And we're the only place in all the universe
44:29 where there's people in need.
44:32 And they're like: "If I could switch places with you,
44:35 I'd do it in a heartbeat 'cause I live to help others. "
44:40 And that's what the society of heaven is all about.
44:42 We receive to give... the cycle of benevolence.
44:48 And when Gabriel and the other angels look down on this world
44:51 and they see those who claim to be Christ's
44:54 they say: "OK, the claim is good but we need to see
44:57 some evidence. Not only will God get you here but
45:01 would you fit in if you came?
45:04 There's no selfishness here.
45:06 There's only love; there's only mercy; there's only benevolence.
45:11 And if you don't appreciate that... if that's not part of
45:14 who you are now... you would not be happy in our association.
45:21 Therefore God wants to make known... He can't just say
45:24 'Trust Me, guys, it'll happen. ' We need to see the evidence. "
45:28 So now the manifold wisdom of God is being made known
45:32 by the church to the principalities and powers
45:35 in the heavenly places. You know I found this in manuscript...
45:40 It's the most obscure reference
45:42 I'm going to give this whole series.
45:44 I saved it till the very end so you can't say that I'm
45:45 always doing obscure references. OK.
45:48 Manuscript 73A written in 1900.
45:53 Just a couple of sentences, but listen how it ties
45:56 to Ephesians 3:10.
45:58 "God desires His people to show by their lives
46:02 the advantage of Christianity over worldliness. "
46:06 Let's just pause right there.
46:08 If we walk out in the world will people look at us and say
46:10 "I don't know what you have but I want some of that. "
46:14 "That is advantageous over what the experience I'm having is. "
46:17 "Whatever you've got... teach me. "
46:21 "God desires His people to show by their lives the advantage
46:24 of Christianity over worldliness.
46:26 Through us God desires to reveal His manifold wisdom. "
46:32 And what does that look like when it's revealed?
46:35 What's the practical application of all of this theory we've been
46:38 discussing? "Therefore He bids us let our light shine
46:43 forth in good works. "
46:47 Sounds very much like Jesus, does it not?
46:49 Matthew chapter 5 and verse 16:
46:51 "Let your light so shine before men that they might see
46:55 your profession of faith... "
46:58 That they might see what?
47:00 "your good works and glorify your Father
47:04 which is in heaven. "
47:06 Apparently through your good works they're going to learn
47:08 something about God and they're going to say:
47:12 "I want some of that. "
47:17 In Matthew chapter 25
47:23 we see a picture
47:26 that Jesus describes of His second coming.
47:35 And we're going to start with verse 31.
47:37 Matthew chapter 25 verse 31.
47:42 "When the Son of Man comes in His glory and all the angels
47:45 with Him then He will sit on the throne of His glory.
47:48 All the nations will be gathered before Him
47:51 and He will separate them one from another
47:53 as a shepherd divides the sheep from the goats.
47:56 And He will set the sheep on His right hand
47:59 but the goats on the left.
48:01 Then the King will say to those on His right hand:
48:04 'Come, you blessed of My Father,
48:05 inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation
48:09 of the world for
48:13 I was hungry and you gave Me food.
48:20 I was thirsty and you gave Me drink.
48:25 I was a stranger and you took Me in.
48:28 I was naked and you clothed Me.
48:31 I was sick and you visited Me.
48:34 I was in prison and you came to Me. '
48:39 Then the righteous will answer and say:
48:41 'Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You?
48:43 Or thirsty and give You drink?
48:45 And when did we see You a stranger and take You in?
48:47 Or naked and clothe You?
48:49 And when did we see You sick or in prison and come to You? '
48:52 And the King will answer and say to them:
48:54 'Assuredly I say to you
48:56 inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these
48:58 My brethren you did it to Me. '
49:02 Then He will also say to those on the left hand:
49:05 'Depart from Me, you cursed...
49:08 into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil
49:12 and his angels. ' "
49:14 I do not want to hear that phrase when Jesus returns.
49:19 And notice that the fire is not prepared for us.
49:22 It's for the devil and his angels.
49:25 There's no reason any of us needs to participate in it.
49:30 But here's the reason why they do... verse 42:
49:32 " 'For I was hungry and you gave Me no food.
49:36 I was thirsty; you gave Me no drink.
49:40 I was a stranger and you did not take Me in.
49:43 Naked... and you did not clothe Me.
49:46 Sick and in prison... and you did not visit Me. '
49:50 Then they will answer and say:
49:52 'Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty
49:53 or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison and did not
49:56 minister to You? '
49:58 And He will say to them: 'Assuredly I say to you
50:01 inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these
50:03 you did not do it to Me. '
50:05 And these will go away into everlasting punishment
50:09 but the righteous into eternal life. "
50:12 The significance of this passage
50:15 cannot be mistaken.
50:17 He boils it down.
50:19 Jesus was a master at taking these great, huge, significant
50:24 spiritual truths and making them so applicable to the daily life.
50:29 That here's what heaven looks like:
50:31 there's people who are hungry... feed them.
50:35 There's people who are thirsty... give them drink.
50:39 And He says when the Son of Man comes there's going to be
50:42 two groups. And to those on the left side who do not come in
50:48 what's fascinating about that is they give the exact
50:51 same response to Jesus Christ as do the righteous.
50:56 Word for word their response is the same.
50:58 "Lord, when did we see You? "
51:02 The implication being in their case
51:04 "Lord, when did we see YOU?
51:06 I mean, if we'd have known it was YOU...
51:09 we'd have put on a potluck!
51:12 We'd have had a clothes drive.
51:15 We'd have had a canned food drive.
51:16 We would have done prison ministry.
51:17 We would have visited people in the hospital.
51:19 We would have done this kind of thing.
51:20 But Lord it wasn't YOU... it was just people! "
51:26 My friends, these people are fully expecting to get into
51:31 heaven, but in this life
51:35 they did not develop a character that would fit into heaven.
51:43 And what I love is that on the other side
51:46 the same exact words: "Lord, when did we see You? "
51:50 And they're not complaining. They're like
51:52 "Hey, whoa, whoa... I'm taking You up on Your offer.
51:54 I'm coming in. " You know?
51:55 "But Lord, when did we see You
51:58 hungry or thirsty or naked or in prison
52:02 and minister to You? " It's like: "We didn't see You.
52:05 We just... we just saw people. "
52:08 And Christ is like: "That's My point.
52:12 You didn't even know it was Me and you did it anyway.
52:17 You fit in. " Amen!
52:21 "Come on in. "
52:31 I don't want to come to the conclusion of these meetings
52:33 and just leave everything 30,000 feet up in the air.
52:36 What an interesting debate... what a fascinating study...
52:40 what a trivial pursuit.
52:41 Theory is good but God works in practical application.
52:49 And friends, Jesus is soon to come.
52:51 What He's looking for now is faith on the earth...
52:56 the faith of Jesus.
52:58 Not just the statement of faith but the actual, real-life
53:03 faith of Jesus lived out in daily duties.
53:07 Practical godliness on the personal level.
53:11 Now praise God if your church does evangelism.
53:13 Fantastic! But can we please begin to see the world
53:19 through Jesus' eyes and begin to see the Jesus in every need.
53:23 Take practical steps to demonstrate the character
53:27 of God, not just to this world but to the worlds around us
53:29 so that maybe as we continue to walk with Christ
53:32 it will... it will just become part of who we are.
53:36 Remember we talked about the reason that we make decisions?
53:38 The choices? Isn't just to prepare for the second coming.
53:41 It isn't just because we might die any day.
53:43 It's because we are forming a character day by day
53:46 that will determine our destiny.
53:50 And that's what the character of heaven looks like:
53:52 the practical daily benevolence.
53:56 Yes! Give them the three angels' messages.
53:59 But it seems to me that giving the truth
54:02 in the character of Christ
54:04 will give a significance and power to the truth
54:07 that would not be available any other way.
54:11 This is Christ's method alone,
54:13 and this is what He asks for His people to see.
54:17 So I love the theory; I love the application;
54:20 I love the four stages; I love the four steps;
54:22 I love to see what's out there.
54:24 But what they're looking for up there
54:26 is what Christ is doing in your life down here.
54:30 And so I don't know about you
54:32 but I want to live a life of practical godliness.
54:36 I want that fitness for partici- pation with Him in His glory.
54:40 I want to... I want to live the faith of Jesus
54:44 in every aspect and I want our churches to do the same.
54:51 I would love to make an appeal.
54:53 I'm not going to have you come down front, but
54:55 I want you to first of all... Has this series
54:58 of thought... has it strung together well?
55:00 Has it made sense? Amen! Praise God for clarity.
55:06 But just understanding a concept... there is too much
55:09 theory in the Seventh-day Adventist church.
55:12 We need practical application.
55:15 Can you take these ideas -
55:17 these scriptural ideas, these messages from inspiration -
55:21 and now say: "Lord, I want to do something for You. "
55:26 "I've been inspired; I've been filled. That's great.
55:29 But Lord take me now. Here I am: send me! "
55:32 "Lord, if You want me to do community services,
55:34 I'm going to do it. "
55:36 "If You want me to work with children's ministries,
55:37 I'm going to do it. " "Do You want me in the prisons?
55:39 I will do it. In fact, Lord, maybe You want me to do
55:41 a thing that we haven't even thought of yet! "
55:46 "So Lord, will you take whatever this is that I am
55:49 and turn it into the character of Jesus
55:52 and let people in this world and the other worlds out there
55:56 see the life of Jesus lived out in me. "
56:01 "Lord, let me decrease and let You increase. "
56:05 Hmmm. That's my appeal.
56:08 We don't want theory, we want practical application.
56:11 We want to see Jesus in real life in real ways.
56:14 Is that a commitment we can make tonight?
56:16 Praise God! Let's bow our heads for a word of prayer.
56:20 Dear heavenly Father,
56:23 Lord I cannot thank you enough
56:25 for being a God of due process.
56:28 A God who had a plan for the eventuality, the possibility
56:32 of sin's entrance into the universe.
56:34 And as we've studied the stages of how You are
56:37 step by step, methodically, logically
56:39 of necessity casting out the devil in the way that You are
56:44 Lord help us to not only see the theory of it
56:46 but help us to see our role in the greater controversy.
56:50 Lord, help us in our daily lives
56:53 to be more like Jesus.
56:56 Lord, help us to be a witness not only to the worlds
56:58 above but to the world right here in our midst,
57:00 in our presence. Wherever it is You've placed us
57:02 let us shine forth in good works that they may see
57:07 a glimpse of our Father in heaven.
57:10 Lord, help us to be more like Jesus every day.
57:13 Help us to win souls to Your kingdom and help us
57:17 to be not ashamed at Your soon coming.
57:21 And Lord I pray that when that day comes
57:23 that not one will be missing.
57:25 We pray this in Jesus' name, Amen.