Participants: Lee Venden
Series Code: AOT
Program Code: AOT000124
00:13 Welcome to Anchors Of Truth
00:15 live from the 3ABN Worship Center.
00:22 Hello and welcome to the 3ABN Worship Center.
00:24 Thank you for joining us this beautiful Sabbath morning.
00:27 It's spring here in southern Illinois.
00:30 Beautiful weather, right?
00:31 - You been enjoying it? - I've been enjoying it.
00:32 You've had to stay in quite a bit.
00:34 You're studying the work in your heart.
00:36 It's okay, I get to look out and see the sun shining.
00:39 We have Pastor Lee Venden with us.
00:41 If you haven't been watching this series, you can get it;
00:44 Anchors Of Truth with Pastor Lee Venden.
00:46 I've listened to the sermons the last three nights,
00:49 and you have given me...
00:50 And I mentioned to you behind back stage,
00:53 you're like; we have a big boat, but sometimes
00:55 we don't have a motor.
00:57 You're giving us the motor.
00:58 The power behind the truths that we teach, the biblical truths
01:03 espoused by the Seventh-day Adventist Church,
01:05 is powered by the Holy Spirit.
01:08 It's powered by a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
01:11 Thank you so much for bringing us.
01:13 Sometimes we get so caught up, Elder Venden,
01:16 in our do's and don'ts, and all of our doctrines,
01:19 we leave out Jesus.
01:21 That would be a tragedy.
01:22 Thank you for devoting your life.
01:24 You're not the only one in your family that's done this.
01:27 The Venden's are known for this, bringing us back.
01:31 People have been asking a number of questions.
01:33 So I want to ask you one quickly, is that alright?
01:34 Well, I'll try.
01:36 I have it written down.
01:38 It says, "We believe the teachings on
01:39 righteousness by faith that you have brought us
01:41 are present truth.
01:43 You have shown us from the Bible that we are saved
01:46 through faith and not our works.
01:48 This has been confirmed and you have confirmed this
01:50 through many quotes of the spirit of prophecy
01:52 that you've shared with us.
01:54 Now we also believe, as you do, God has commissioned the
01:58 SDA Church to proclaim present truth to the world.
02:01 My question, does the Christian's acceptance
02:05 of righteousness by faith negate the need for proclaiming
02:09 other present truth doctrine, such as the seventh day Sabbath,
02:12 the mark of the beast, the state of the dead,
02:14 the timeline prophecies of Daniel and Revelation,
02:17 etcetera, etcetera?"
02:19 Well not only does it not negate them,
02:21 it is the core of every one of them.
02:24 You mentioned just a moment ago, the motor
02:26 that powers the boat.
02:29 I have fourteen quotations that I have gathered over the years
02:32 that I keep in the cover of my Bible.
02:34 From the same author you just referred to.
02:37 And everyone of those quotations summarized would say this;
02:41 "Unless Jesus is seen as the heart and core and central
02:44 pivotal theme of each of our pillar doctrines,
02:47 they have not yet been taught correctly."
02:49 So the cool thing is, when we get Jesus in our pillars
02:52 to where they are, you know, kissing, they're embracing,
02:55 they're one, then we've got them.
02:57 We've got the one-two punch.
02:58 We've got the winning dynamic.
03:00 But yeah I totally embrace them, with Jesus
03:04 as the center of each one.
03:07 And what that does, when that happens and we develop that
03:09 personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ,
03:12 then it's He that shines out and not ourselves.
03:15 I remember when I was young, I grew up in a pretty legalistic
03:19 era in a church, and even when I was a kid I'd take
03:24 my Bible to school to beat up other kids.
03:28 I was going to prove to them that they were wrong.
03:31 Now that's an extreme.
03:33 So we don't want to go to that extreme.
03:35 But once I fell in love with Jesus, everything changes.
03:39 And as I said before, that's the power of the gospel.
03:43 That's the power of present truth.
03:45 So sometimes we do get so far to either side.
03:48 But thankfully, I'm so thankful that 3ABN is a tool that God
03:52 is allowing us to...
03:54 He's allowing us as frail human beings to have a tool
03:58 that can disseminate this gospel of the kingdom
04:01 into all the world.
04:02 Present truth to a lost and dying world.
04:05 Most of all, as you have said, relationship
04:08 with the Lord Jesus Christ.
04:10 I'm so thankful that you're here.
04:12 Thank you for what you're doing.
04:13 We're going to pray for you, and you're going to be speaking
04:16 in just a few moments, but before you come
04:18 we have Dr. Yvonne Lewis.
04:19 She's going to be singing a song that I heard you repeating
04:22 the words to back there a while ago,
04:24 Great Is Thy Faithfulness.
04:27 And so Dr. Lewis, it's good to have her.
04:29 She is the manager of our "Dare To Dream" network.
04:32 And Yvonne, thank you for being here.
04:34 And we love you, appreciate you, and so much admire
04:37 what you do for the cause of Jesus on this earth.
04:54 Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
05:03 there is no shadow of turning with Thee.
05:11 Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
05:19 as Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.
05:27 Great is Thy faithfulness. Great is Thy faithfulness.
05:35 Morning by morning new mercies I see.
05:43 All I have needed Thy hands hath provided;
05:51 great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.
06:06 Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
06:14 sun, moon, and stars in their courses above
06:22 join with all nature in manifold witness
06:30 to Thy great faithfulness, mercy, and love.
06:39 Great is Thy faithfulness. Great is Thy faithfulness.
06:47 Morning by morning new mercies I see.
06:55 All I have needed Thy hands hath provided;
07:03 great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.
07:18 Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth;
07:25 Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide.
07:34 Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow;
07:42 blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside.
07:50 Great is Thy faithfulness. Great is Thy faithfulness.
07:58 Morning by morning new mercies I see.
08:07 All I have needed Thy hands hath provided;
08:15 great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.
08:23 All I have needed Thy hands hath provided;
08:31 great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me.
09:02 If it wasn't for His faithfulness,
09:04 we'd be in a heap of trouble.
09:07 Morning by morning new mercies I see.
09:11 Just this morning, fresh mercies as I was on my knees with Jesus.
09:15 And I want to get on my knees with Him one more time.
09:18 Heavenly Father, thank You for that great faithfulness.
09:24 Thank You for sending us Jesus.
09:26 And Jesus, thank You for coming.
09:28 Thank You for promising to come again.
09:31 Thank You that You told a dying thief You'd remember him.
09:34 That You haven't forgotten any of Your friends down here.
09:37 And thank You that I can be one of Your friends.
09:39 And I'm asking for You to remember me right now
09:41 in a very special way.
09:44 I think about Mother Teresa saying, "I just want to be
09:47 a pencil in the hand of God."
09:50 And that's what I want today right now for myself.
09:53 I want to be a pencil, I want You to use me.
09:56 If You need to, Lord, please sharpen the pencil.
10:00 Whatever it takes.
10:01 Crowd sin and self out of me, out of all of us,
10:05 as we look together in Your direction.
10:06 And open Your Word to us with such a power
10:10 that we see spiritually and we hear spiritually.
10:13 And it's more than words, and it's more than information.
10:16 It goes to our hearts.
10:17 That's my prayer for every one of us.
10:19 In Jesus' name, amen.
10:24 I don't know if you have ever struggled along with this,
10:27 but sometimes, even in those we love the most,
10:30 family members, moms and dads, we see characteristics
10:36 that we say, "When I'm an adult, I'm going to
10:38 make a little bit of a difference in that way.
10:39 I'm not going to go quite that extreme here or there.
10:42 I'm going to do a little more of this or a little more of that."
10:44 And you know, then as we grow we discover we're doing
10:47 the very thing we that said we were going to try and be careful
10:50 to be a little different in.
10:51 And I think that was what the writer was thinking when
10:55 they wrote this little thing that I saw in a touristy
10:58 gift shop one time.
10:59 It was a little plaque and it said these words,
11:02 it said, "Mirror, mirror, on the wall,
11:06 I am my mother after all."
11:10 Today, we're going to take a look at a beast
11:14 in a book called the book of Revelation.
11:17 It happens to be Jesus' own book.
11:19 And we're looking for Jesus, and we're looking for
11:21 personal applications relative to Jesus
11:26 as we focus on His book.
11:29 And so we're going to take a look here at a portion of
11:34 Revelation 14, which is often referred to as
11:37 the three angels' messages.
11:39 We're going to look at verses 9 through 11.
12:06 Now, several things pop up in this chapter 14.
12:11 First of all there's a beast.
12:13 Secondly, there is an image.
12:15 The beast has an image.
12:17 Thirdly, there is a mark associated with the beast.
12:20 And then in conjunction with chapter 14 and Revelation 13,
12:23 we have the name, the beast has, and a number,
12:28 the beast has.
12:29 And as you look at all of this in prophetic literature,
12:32 it can sometimes appear somewhat mystical.
12:35 Maybe even somewhat confusing.
12:37 But in the next chapter, Revelation 15,
12:41 we are told that the saints are one day going to be
12:44 gathered alongside a sea that looks like glass,
12:46 and they're going to sing a song.
12:48 I don't know if you've ever been to summer camp,
12:50 but I can remember being at the camp fire bowl
12:53 at summer camp as the sun was going down.
12:56 And the lake out there all smooth like glass
12:58 reflecting the glory of the sunset
13:00 as we're singing songs.
13:02 And somehow in my mind, I'm envisioning the saints
13:06 singing a song beside the sea that looks like glass
13:10 mingled with fire.
13:12 It says about them in chapter 15 verse 2...
13:37 The verse continues, verse 3 goes on.
13:38 I'm not going to add that one, but then it says
13:40 they were singing a song.
13:41 So picture these saints singing this song.
13:48 Do you think they're going to know what they're singing about?
13:51 Do you think?
13:52 Can you imagine one of the saints, in the middle of singing
13:54 and playing the harp to accompany themselves,
13:56 turning to another one of the saints and saying to him,
13:58 you know, a little bit of an elbow, "Excuse me.
14:00 This is a beautiful song.
14:01 I love the tune.
14:03 I love everything about it.
14:06 The harmonies are awesome.
14:07 But what's the beast though?
14:10 And that number and that mark and that name?
14:13 Can you give me a little...
14:14 I'm not sure what we're singing about.
14:15 I like the tune, but what are we singing about?"
14:18 Can you imagine that kind of conversation?
14:20 I can't.
14:21 No, I think that they're going to know what they got
14:23 victory over or they wouldn't be singing about it, right?
14:26 They're going to know.
14:28 Well, maybe they will know, but do we know?
14:33 Are we clear?
14:34 Could we have any confusion?
14:36 Perhaps. Perhaps not.
14:38 Let's take a little look and find out.
14:41 When you consider Revelation, particularly chapter 13,
14:46 and the book of Daniel, another prophetic book,
14:48 particularly chapter 7, there are numerous ways of
14:51 identifying who the beast is.
14:55 And many have done that.
14:56 And so I probably for the most part would be just
14:59 repeating material that many of you are familiar with.
15:02 But just a couple of the identifiers, perhaps,
15:08 will help us as we sort of set the platform for where
15:10 we're going this morning.
15:12 The beast, as you look in Revelation 13 and in Daniel 7,
15:15 has tremendous power over the entire world.
15:18 Over all the world.
15:20 Okay, that's one of the identifiers.
15:22 Another of the identifiers is, this beast springs out of Rome.
15:28 And Rome is identified in the book of Daniel as the
15:31 fourth world power in a chain of world powers.
15:36 So this beast springs out of Rome,
15:38 which is the fourth world power.
15:40 So it becomes next in sequence.
15:42 Alright, we're just looking for identifiers.
15:45 This beast speaks against God.
15:48 This beast blasphemes His name and His dwelling place,
15:53 His sanctuary.
15:54 The beast actually rules with power and persecutes
15:59 the saints, Scripture says, for a period of 1260 years.
16:06 Daniel also tells us that the beast thinks to change
16:11 times and laws.
16:12 Thinks to change them.
16:14 The idea that it thinks to change them implies that it
16:17 can't really do it, but it's thinking that it's going to try.
16:22 So now, one more of the identifiers about this beast
16:26 is that it is described as a different power than the
16:30 ones that preceded it.
16:32 It's different.
16:33 There's something different about this beast power.
16:36 It is a combination power.
16:40 The others have been what you would call political powers.
16:43 This next beast is a combination power.
16:48 Well, what followed Rome in the sequence?
16:54 Pagan Rome transferred its power to papal Rome,
17:01 which was a religious political power.
17:07 Now we have a new power on the scene.
17:08 This is different than the ones before it.
17:10 What follows Rome is a combination power.
17:14 So pagan Rome transfers the power to papal Rome.
17:19 Now, must I be a church prelate sitting on a throne in Europe
17:29 to qualify for what this beast represents?
17:33 This is the question we're going to probe into here.
17:36 This is the question.
17:37 See, prophetic literature is filled with symbols.
17:43 Nobody would deny that.
17:44 Prophetic literature is filled with symbols.
17:47 And it's filled with symbols for a reason.
17:49 God has a personal application that He would like us
17:53 to derive from the symbol.
17:56 And it would be tragic if we missed the application
18:00 and focused instead on the symbol.
18:04 See, He gave us the symbol to alert us to an application
18:09 that has personal relevancy.
18:15 I've got a good friend, Buddy Houghtaling.
18:18 I understand he has taped here at 3ABN many times.
18:23 One of the things I love about Buddy,
18:24 he's probably my favorite...
18:26 I shouldn't say, "probably." He is.
18:28 He's my favorite song writer and Christian musician.
18:30 I just love Buddy.
18:32 But one of the things that I enjoy about Buddy's music,
18:34 so many of his songs, just about every one of them,
18:36 they surprise you.
18:38 He starts off on a theme that you think,
18:40 "Well that's kind of neat," and all of a sudden he
18:42 twists and turns, and you find yourself getting a message
18:44 that you hadn't expected.
18:45 Before the song is over, you go, "Oh wow.
18:47 How did he do that?
18:48 That was kind of neat the way it worked."
18:51 I want to give you an example.
18:52 I actually printed out the lyrics to one of his songs
18:54 just a few minutes ago.
18:56 The song is entitled, My Nails.
18:58 And in this song, there's this fellow who's like the...
19:01 He owns the hardware store in Nazareth.
19:04 The Home Depot at Nazareth.
19:06 And in the song, the guy who owns the Home Depot in Nazareth
19:11 is telling about a fellow who has his own cabinet shop
19:14 there in town who keeps coming in to get materials.
19:16 And he brings his little boy with him.
19:18 And the fellow says the little boy is just a prince.
19:20 He's just a wonderful little guy.
19:22 And he says the father is teaching this little guy
19:24 the tricks of the trade and how to be a carpenter.
19:26 And he says, "I get to watch this guy grow,
19:29 this little guy grow, and he learns well.
19:31 And he does such a good job that people start coming from
19:35 miles around just to get a table or a chair
19:37 that this little guy has hand crafted."
19:39 He says he gets a reputation, in the song,
19:41 the little guy gets a reputation that is just unbelievable.
19:45 Everybody talks, "Hey, have you gotten any of the furniture
19:48 from that cabinet shop?
19:49 Because Joseph's son does wonders with wood."
19:53 And in the song that Buddy sings, the Home Depot guy,
20:00 he says, "Now, I'd just like to point out something.
20:03 The wood that the little guy uses, well that's my wood.
20:08 He bought that from me.
20:10 And the nails that he uses, well those are my nails.
20:14 So, I'd like to take a little credit, you know.
20:16 The work that he does is using my wood and my nails.
20:19 I'll take a little credit, thank you very much."
20:21 Trying to catch a ride on the reputation of the young man.
20:26 Well as the song continues...
20:27 I probably should have just played it, because
20:29 I'm taking longer to tell you the song than it would
20:31 take to listen to the song.
20:33 But as the song continues, the fellow says, "I made a lot of
20:35 money and I went off and I began to pursue
20:37 a lot of material stuff, and so on.
20:39 And my life kind of took a different path,
20:40 and the little guy went off in a different path.
20:42 And then one day, I happened to be coming outside the
20:45 city of Jerusalem and I saw a mob of people,
20:47 and they were doing something that caught my attention.
20:49 And I went over to where they were, and I realized
20:51 it was the little guy.
20:53 He's not little anymore.
20:54 And they're nailing him to a cross.
20:56 And all of a sudden, a flash of illumination came into my mind.
21:00 And I recognized something.
21:02 I said, wait a minute..."
21:04 Let me read you the last two stanzas.
21:08 "That's my wood.
21:11 The cross you laid Him on should be my wood,
21:14 because He's done nothing wrong.
21:16 You're pardoning the guilty and you're punishing the Good.
21:20 If things were like they should be, I'd be laying on that wood.
21:24 And those, those nails you've driven in His hands,
21:27 they should be my nails.
21:29 Oh can't you understand?
21:31 You've crucified Perfection and you've spared
21:33 the one who failed.
21:34 If everybody knew the truth, those are my nails."
21:39 You see how that song just, boom, reaches out and grabs you?
21:43 It just about had me in tears just now as I read it.
21:47 And Buddy would say, "Please don't get distracted with
21:51 the Home Depot guy.
21:53 Because the song is not about his products.
21:56 The song is about Jesus on the cross for you and me."
22:02 Don't miss the application because you got sidetracked
22:06 with the symbol.
22:08 You understand what I'm saying?
22:09 Did the song help illustrate my point?
22:12 For example, if I thought I was sick and I took a
22:14 thermometer and I put it in my mouth,
22:16 and I pulled it out again and it said I had a
22:18 temperature of 104.5, I would say, "Oh my word.
22:23 I need to get to a doctor."
22:25 The thermometer wasn't going to fix me.
22:28 The thermometer was going to direct me to where
22:30 I need to go to get help.
22:31 It's going to direct me to the physician, right?
22:34 So it'd be a shame for me to spend the rest of my illness
22:38 cradling the thermometer and looking at it
22:41 and trying to get all the intricate little detail
22:44 about that thermometer well blazed into my mind.
22:47 That would be a mistake.
22:48 Because the thermometer is just pointing me to something
22:51 far more important; get help from a physician.
22:55 Jesus is the great Physician.
22:57 This book is about Jesus.
22:59 And the symbols in this book are there to get us to Him.
23:04 That's what they're there for.
23:05 To get us to Him.
23:07 So I ask the question once again,
23:11 do I have to be a church prelate sitting on a throne in Europe
23:14 to qualify for what the beast symbolizes?
23:21 Rome has taken a lot of heat.
23:25 Some of it has been deserved.
23:27 And some of it has been undeserved.
23:30 And perhaps it even has an apology coming to it
23:34 for some of the undeserved heat that has been
23:36 directed towards Rome.
23:38 Protestants, including Seventh-day Adventists,
23:40 around the world for centuries have pointed fingers at Rome.
23:47 But we need to be very careful, because we need to recognize
23:49 that when you point a finger, you have three fingers
23:52 pointing back at yourself.
23:55 And it's easy to overlook the three fingers coming back
23:58 when we're so focused on the finger pointing away.
24:03 Michael Card, in a lyric of a song that he wrote,
24:05 says these words, "Judas, don't you come too close.
24:07 I fear that I might see the traitor's look upon your face
24:11 might look too much like me.
24:13 For just like you, I've sold the Lord;
24:15 and often for much less.
24:16 And like a wretched traitor, I've betrayed Him with a kiss."
24:20 Don't come too close, see.
24:22 One finger pointing at the beast,
24:25 three fingers could be pointing right back at us.
24:28 We need to be really careful that we understand
24:30 what the application is.
24:31 Are we safe if we aren't members of Rome's church?
24:36 Well let me show you a quotation from a little book called,
24:40 Selected Messages, page 406.
24:52 The first coming, now.
25:05 So let's just refresh ourselves.
25:07 Kind of do a quick summary or a paraphrase
25:09 of what was just read.
25:11 "Over and over again," the author says, "I have been
25:14 referred to the children of Israel at the time of
25:18 Christ's birth as examples of what the church will be like
25:24 just before Jesus comes."
25:27 She said that.
25:28 That's not my words, those are her words.
25:30 Now let me read you one more thing.
25:33 This is taken from the book called, Great Controversy.
25:34 This is a book that Seventh-day Adventists
25:36 distribute and share with neighbors.
25:40 Page 568 says this...
25:54 Now, something I learned in algebra.
25:58 Two things equal to each other are also
26:01 equal to the same thing.
26:03 If A = B and B = C, then A = C.
26:08 So let's put our thinking caps on for just a minute
26:10 and do a couple of little exercises in simple logic.
26:13 If she has been shown repeatedly that the church at the end
26:17 is very similar to the church at the first advent,
26:20 and if she says the church at the first advent had a striking
26:26 similarity to Rome, then it follows that the church
26:31 at the end will have a striking similarity to Rome.
26:36 Whoa, all of a sudden we have three fingers pointing back.
26:39 "Mirror, mirror on the wall.
26:41 I am my mother after all."
26:47 See, boiled down, the beast power...
26:49 And we've looked at it a little bit so far.
26:52 And this is just a compressed presentation series.
26:55 I mean, I have 22 presentations I'm boiling down into five.
27:00 So you know, you try to take a drink from a fire hydrant,
27:03 you're probably going to choke.
27:04 But that's what we're doing.
27:07 But boiled down, the beast power simply represents
27:11 an organization that is built on the notion
27:15 that man can save himself.
27:18 That's the common denominator.
27:21 That you can depend on a man.
27:24 You can confess to a man, a man can forgive you.
27:27 A man even has power to absolve or to change laws
27:31 that God has written.
27:32 Man; it's a man based religion.
27:37 So boiled down, the beast simply represents an organization
27:40 built on the notion that man has power to save himself.
27:42 In fact, written on the crown that Rome's leader wears
27:49 is a title; Vicarious Christi.
27:52 You look up the word, vicarious, in Webster's Dictionary
27:54 and it says, "in place of."
27:56 That's what vicarious means, in place of.
27:59 So Vicarious Christi actually translates,
28:02 "in place of Christ."
28:05 And so the crown says that there is a man sitting on a throne
28:09 who is able to act in place of Christ on earth.
28:12 So you see, here we have man depending on man.
28:17 In place of Christ.
28:21 Anywhere you have self dependence in a spiritual sense,
28:28 you have the beast.
28:29 And you don't have to be sitting on a throne with a crown
28:33 to be depending on yourself.
28:37 Do you hear me?
28:38 This goes across every denominational border.
28:44 It includes every human on the planet, regardless of whether
28:49 they are a Christian nation or a non-Christian nation.
28:52 Self-dependence is the beast's problem.
28:57 And it's the problem of the human race.
29:00 Depending on ourselves.
29:03 Is it possible for a church to be depending on itself
29:07 even if it has not been pinpointed in Scripture?
29:11 The answer is, yes.
29:12 Yes it is.
29:14 Have you ever heard somebody say,
29:17 "We need to rise up and finish the work."
29:20 Ever heard that phrase?
29:21 "We need to rise up and finish the work."
29:23 That sounds very similar to me of something that
29:25 Moses once said as he was preparing to get
29:27 water out of a rock.
29:28 Do you remember what he said?
29:29 "Must we bring forth water from this rock?"
29:33 The book of Romans says that when the work is finished,
29:35 God is going to finish it Himself.
29:36 So when I say, "Must we finish the work,"
29:41 "Must we bring water out of the rock,"
29:43 "We need to rise up and finish the work,"
29:44 friends, we need to be very careful that self doesn't
29:46 somehow eclipse who it is that's going to finish the work.
29:49 When it's finally finished, He finishes it.
29:51 We're told the final movements will be rapid ones.
29:53 And the reason they'll be rapid ones is because
29:56 He steps up and takes off.
29:58 And when He does it, there's no more
29:59 dilly-dallying, no more lagging.
30:01 It's going to take off and it's going to go around the globe
30:04 like fire in stubble.
30:07 Okay, so it's possible for a church not pinpointed
30:12 in prophecy to depend upon itself.
30:14 But let's take this application deeper still.
30:16 Because don't forget, the church is not a headquarters
30:23 in Silver Springs, Maryland.
30:25 The church is made up of people.
30:27 We are the church.
30:29 The church is you and me.
30:31 And we don't want to hang on the organized
30:36 church what God intends for us to understand
30:40 and apply personally.
30:42 So let's go for the deeper application even yet.
30:44 Is it possible for me as an individual to be
30:47 depending upon myself?
30:50 Well friends, if I am not experiencing a meaningful
30:53 ongoing daily time alone with Christ for the purpose of
30:57 becoming better acquainted with Him through His Word
30:59 and through prayer, if He's not a focus of my life
31:02 on a daily basis in something more than a text for the day
31:05 with my hand on the doorknob, then I am living apart from Him.
31:09 Regardless of how I want to describe it,
31:11 I'm living apart from Him.
31:13 I am not in a meaningful intimate relationship
31:16 with Christ if all He hears from me is a prayer when I eat food
31:22 and maybe a song or two when I show up
31:24 on the weekend at church.
31:26 Friends spend a lot more time than that together.
31:29 They spend as much time as they possibly can spend.
31:32 And if Jesus and I are not in regular communion,
31:34 then I am depending upon myself regardless of what I say.
31:38 And if that's true, then the problem with the beast
31:41 is my problem too.
31:44 My problem too. Lee Venden's problem too.
31:47 Regardless of what day I go to church on,
31:49 I can have the problem of the beast.
31:53 We need not forget that.
31:55 Now remember, the beast appeared to have a
32:01 mortal wound, to receive a mortal wound.
32:04 If you've done a little bit of study on this, or heard others
32:06 present on it, this is something you're familiar with.
32:09 Revelation 13:3 says...
32:13 Though it appeared to be a fatal wound.
32:15 The reason that it says, "appeared," is because it didn't
32:17 turn out to be permanent.
32:27 Well this has not happened yet.
32:30 But Jesus showed John what would bring it about.
32:36 He said that there was going to be another beast in prophecy
32:39 that's going to be revealed.
32:40 And it's referred to as lamb-like beast
32:43 which speaks like a dragon.
32:45 Now, biblical studies and historical studies
32:48 by people who are far more skilled and experts than I
32:52 have identified the lamb-like beast as the United States,
32:58 or Protestant America.
33:00 Now we have noticed that the previous beast was a
33:04 religious political power.
33:09 According to prophecy, that beast fades in power;
33:16 appears to have a mortal wound, fades in power.
33:20 And another power appears on the scene, Protestant America,
33:24 and resurrects the beast, or at least an image to the beast.
33:32 That forms an image to the beast.
33:33 Well what is an image?
33:36 An image is a replica that looks very much like the original.
33:43 That's what an image is, it's a replica that looks
33:46 very much like the original.
33:49 Therefore, the image to the beast must also be
33:55 a religious political power.
33:58 Or it wouldn't be very similar to the original.
34:04 Now here's a paragraph some of you have read before from
34:06 Great Controversy, page 445.
34:34 Now take a deep breath and hang onto your seats.
34:37 If they have a seatbelt, you should put it on.
34:39 You should fasten it tight and low.
34:42 I'm not going to go into the deal about, you know,
34:44 your seat can be used as a floating device.
34:47 And that, you know, the oxygen will drop from above.
34:50 But you fasten your seatbelts for what
34:51 I'm going to show you next.
34:52 Just before I show it to you though, I'm going to remind
34:54 us of what we just read.
34:56 "When those leading churches unite on points they hold in
34:59 common and influence the state to enforce their decrees,
35:03 Protestant America will have formed an image
35:05 to the Roman Hierarchy.
35:07 Now here you go.
35:08 Great Controversy, page 449.
35:23 I don't know if you caught that.
35:26 I don't know if you caught that.
35:30 The image to the beast...
35:41 Did you catch it? Did you see it?
35:42 I didn't even change the words.
35:45 That's what it is.
35:52 Secular power is human power.
35:56 Have you ever tried to enforce a religious duty
36:01 in your own strength?
36:03 Have you ever made a new year's resolution?
36:08 Have you ever tried harder to be good?
36:14 Have you ever gritted your teeth and by determined effort
36:18 tried to stay away from something that you knew
36:21 you shouldn't do?
36:23 Have you ever burned all that stuff and thrown that out and
36:26 killed your television and done this and done that
36:29 because you're going to try and make sure that
36:31 you don't fall when the...
36:33 "I'm going to try and be a better person,
36:35 going to try and get a handle on it,
36:36 going to try and produce a Christ-like character."
36:39 Have you ever tried to do this in your strength?
36:42 People say, "Well I know I couldn't do it in my own
36:44 strength, but wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute."
36:46 If I'm not daily in communion and fellowship with Jesus,
36:50 I am in my own strength.
36:52 And if I'm trying to enforce religious duty
36:55 while I am not in a personal relationship with Jesus,
36:58 I am enforcing it in my own strength.
37:00 Which happens to be the image to the beast.
37:08 The image to the beast is enforcing a religious duty
37:12 with secular power.
37:17 We say, "God helps those who help themselves.
37:20 Got to do your part."
37:24 We have all sorts of psychological
37:25 and humanistic gimmicks for behavior modification.
37:32 Picture yourself thin.
37:34 Positive thinking. Possibility thinking.
37:41 Far too many counselors, analysts, and psychiatrists
37:43 will tell you, "You can do it.
37:44 You just need to have the right attitude.
37:46 You just need to get a handle on things.
37:48 You just need to be more determined.
37:49 You just need to be more methodical."
37:50 I even have heard one line of thinking
37:53 that you just need to reprogram the little synopses
37:55 and pathways in your brain.
37:56 And you can reprogram them by six weeks of habitually
37:58 doing something, and eventually it reprograms your brain.
38:01 And all of a sudden, you have righteousness by reprogramming.
38:04 Just reprogram your brain.
38:06 Get those little synopses going off in the right direction.
38:08 That is enforcing a religious duty with secular power.
38:13 Human power. That is an image to the beast.
38:20 Whenever I am forcing myself to be obedient,
38:23 I am a victim of the beast.
38:25 Understanding where the power for victory and overcoming lies,
38:30 and on Whom we are to depend, is what brings
38:34 the revival of the three angels.
38:36 Actually, it is.
38:37 What brings on the revival of the three angels
38:40 is understanding upon Whom we are to depend
38:41 and where victory and power come from.
38:43 That's what it is, it's on a Person.
38:45 It's on a personal relationship with Jesus.
38:47 Now I'm going to tell you, those preachers who
38:49 preach about righteousness by faith in Christ alone...
38:52 Or sometimes we refer to it as salvation
38:55 by faith in Christ alone.
38:56 Because salvation is an even more inclusive word.
38:58 Those who preach this are sometimes misunderstood
39:04 and are sometimes accused of being soft on obedience.
39:10 I can't tell you the number of times I've been accused of
39:12 being soft on obedience.
39:15 "Well, he doesn't talk about obedience
39:16 like others I've heard.
39:18 And so, you know, all he wants to talk about is
39:20 Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
39:21 Just love Jesus. Have a friendship with Jesus.
39:23 Everything else doesn't matter, just as long as you love Jesus."
39:27 Well that is a tragic misunderstanding.
39:31 A tragic misunderstanding.
39:35 People who preach righteousness by faith,
39:37 the real deal, not some imitation version of it,
39:43 but the real deal, are very interested in obedience.
39:47 Very interested in obedience.
39:49 In fact, I will suggest to you they are the most interested
39:52 in obedience of anybody on the planet.
39:54 And here's why.
39:55 There's only one way to produce genuine obedience;
39:59 it comes from the inside, not the outside.
40:01 And our very first presentation, we pointed out that the problem
40:04 with the church at Laodicea is they focus on externals.
40:07 They are working on trying to make the
40:09 outside of the cup look good.
40:10 That is phony obedience.
40:13 And yet, more than 50% of the church known as Laodicea
40:16 is working on it from that approach.
40:18 What does that mean?
40:20 That means they're not serious about obedience.
40:22 It means they're soft on obedience because
40:23 they're willing to accept an external version of it
40:25 rather than go for the real thing.
40:27 The real thing only comes from within the context
40:31 of a loving ongoing daily relationship with Christ.
40:34 That's the only way the real thing comes.
40:37 So when you focus on righteousness by faith
40:39 in Christ alone, you're looking at the only
40:41 possible way to produce real obedience.
40:44 Now I talked to somebody just last week who told me that,
40:48 "I hear people talk about Jesus and I don't see any changes
40:51 in those congregations."
40:52 Well I'm going to tell you what.
40:54 There are congregations of people who say they love to
40:58 hear about Jesus and still don't go back and spend
41:01 time with Him on a daily basis.
41:04 You're not going to become like Him if you're not
41:06 spending time with Him.
41:07 It's not enough to talk about Him on the weekend.
41:13 There's two kinds of legalists.
41:18 They look like opposites.
41:20 There's one group who find their assurance based on the
41:23 rules they keep and the stuff they avoid.
41:27 That's one kind.
41:28 We call them the conservative legalists.
41:31 There's another legalist though.
41:32 It's the liberal legalist.
41:35 And the liberal legalist finds his assurance
41:38 in the rules he doesn't have to worry about anymore,
41:40 because he believes in grace.
41:43 He's still focusing on the rules,
41:44 he's just saying, "I don't have to worry about them."
41:45 But his focus for assurance is still based on rules.
41:48 It's still rules based, it's on the rules
41:49 he doesn't worry about.
41:50 They're both focusing on the rules.
41:52 Neither one of them have a personal relationship
41:54 with Jesus, which is the only solution for all of us.
41:56 A personal relationship.
41:58 I don't want to fall in either dish.
42:00 I want to be in the middle of the arms of Jesus.
42:05 That's where I want to be.
42:09 Jeremiah 17:9 says, "The heart is the most deceitful
42:12 thing there is and desperately wicked..."
42:17 Couple that with Proverbs 20 verse 9...
42:25 I could give you just a ton of Scriptures that make it clear
42:31 from the Bible that man cannot change the inside.
42:35 Man can't do it.
42:36 Can the Ethiopian change the color of his skin
42:38 or the leopard remove his spots?
42:39 Neither can you. We're accustomed to evil.
42:41 Perform good works; you can't.
42:43 Oh there's all kinds of them.
42:44 None righteous, no not one.
42:46 On and on they go.
42:50 We cannot...
42:52 Even a heart surgeon of the highest caliber cannot
42:56 perform his own triple bypass.
42:59 Somebody else is going to have to do it.
43:00 See, our problem is we have heart trouble.
43:04 And we can't fix our hearts.
43:06 There's only one great Physician who can fix the kind of
43:09 heart trouble that we have.
43:11 Someone else is going to have to do it for us,
43:13 because we cannot do it for Him.
43:15 We noted earlier that the problem with Laodicea
43:18 was it focused on external goodness.
43:19 Now I want to show you where true obedience comes from.
43:22 This is a little bit longer of a quotation than you're
43:24 customarily use to, because it's going to take a few
43:27 moments for me to unpack it.
43:28 But I'm going to put it on the screen anyway.
43:29 It's classic. In, Desires Of Ages, page 668.
43:33 It starts out by saying this...
43:38 Now the word, "true," the author inserts
43:40 the word, "true," on purpose.
43:42 The author wants us to make sure that we know that there's a
43:43 difference between true obedience and false obedience.
43:46 False obedience is the kind Laodicea is known for.
43:49 It's external goodness.
43:50 It is focusing on rules and regulations without having
43:53 a personal relationship with Jesus.
43:54 That's external. That's false obedience.
43:56 Now the author is saying, of Desire Of Ages is saying,
43:59 "Now true obedience however, true obedience..."
44:23 I'm going to pause in that quotation for a moment
44:25 because I want to unpack for just a minute,
44:26 and we'll come back and finish it in just a second.
44:28 But did you catch that?
44:30 It said that if we will consent, Jesus will come in.
44:34 Through an abiding relationship that we have and maintain
44:37 with Him, He will come in.
44:38 And as He dwells within, He will so transform us
44:42 from the inside out that we will actually find ourselves
44:47 delighting to do His will.
44:51 Obedience will become a delight.
44:53 Something that we actually find joy in.
44:58 I mean, think about it.
44:59 Have you ever had a doctor do a little exam on you,
45:02 a little, what do they call it, physical?
45:06 And he's got you sitting on a table and gets his little
45:08 rubber mallet, you know, and he hits you right here.
45:10 And you go, boom.
45:12 He's checking your reflex, right?
45:15 I remember trying to fool a guy.
45:16 You know I thought, "I'm not going to do it," you know.
45:18 I'm going to fool him, he's going to think I've got
45:19 something wrong, because I'm not going to kick out, you know.
45:22 So he goes like that and I'm like...
45:25 He does it again...
45:27 You see, you can't.
45:28 It's reflexive.
45:30 It's so part of you that you can't keep from not doing it.
45:33 And it says that He wants to so identify Himself with us,
45:37 our thoughts and our desires, that when obeying Him
45:39 we'll be just carrying out our own reflexes.
45:42 You can't even keep it...
45:43 You're not working to do it because it becomes natural for
45:46 you to be like Jesus when Jesus lives His life through you.
45:50 It's wonderful.
45:51 Well let's finish the paragraph.
45:53 So how does it work?
46:02 If you delight to do something, is it hard for you to do it?
46:05 Oh, I delight in pure maple sugar candy.
46:11 Oh my.
46:12 We did a seminar in Vermont in the fall.
46:15 What a time to be there, right?
46:17 And oh, I mentioned that the river of life in heaven
46:22 will be flowing with pure maple syrup.
46:26 And they caught on.
46:27 And I can't tell you the amount of plunder
46:29 I got back from Vermont with.
46:31 Boy, I got some...
46:32 I tell you what, every time I eat one of those little
46:34 brown sugars, oh, I delight in it.
46:38 I just delight in it.
46:40 It's not hard for me to eat a piece of maple sugar candy.
46:43 And folks, it's okay. Right?
46:44 Because that's natural, it's normal.
46:46 This is like a healthful thing.
46:47 You find this stuff in health food stores.
46:50 Because it's natural. It's just...
46:53 So give me a little credit for picking the right kind.
46:58 But it's not hard for me to eat a piece,
47:00 because I delight in it.
47:02 I don't have to force myself to do it.
47:04 In fact, if I was going to use any kind of force
47:06 I'd have to force myself not to eat two pieces.
47:09 Because I delight in it, you understand.
47:13 Well, keep going.
47:14 I'm sort of dragging this thing on.
47:16 But I wanted to unpack a little as I went.
47:18 So here it goes, "The will, refined and sanctified,
47:20 finds its highest delight in doing His service."
47:22 Now here's the key right here.
47:28 Now you're talking relationship, friends.
47:46 Friends, do you see where victory comes?
47:49 Do you see where real obedience comes from?
47:51 It comes through appreciating the character of Christ
47:55 and communion with Him.
47:57 That's where real obedience comes from.
47:59 And anybody who is trying to obey apart from that
48:02 is victim to the beast.
48:04 It doesn't matter what church they go to.
48:06 They're a victim to the beast.
48:08 Because the beast is about enforcing a religious duty
48:12 through your own strength.
48:13 That's what it is.
48:16 Now it said that sin would actually become hateful to us.
48:20 If there's something you hate, do you have to try hard
48:23 to stay away from it?
48:25 I mean if you really hate it, literally hate it,
48:27 do you struggle to resist something you hate?
48:30 I hate snakes.
48:32 I just detest snakes.
48:34 I'm telling you, it doesn't matter what size the snake is.
48:36 You can come to me with a little snake and say,
48:38 "You know, Pastor Venden, it's just a little garter snake.
48:40 I mean, it's mouth isn't even big enough.
48:41 It couldn't even bite your little finger if it wanted to.
48:43 And they don't feel all clammy and slimy.
48:45 Here, just go ahead and touch it.
48:46 Just feel it. It'll be okay, Pastor Venden."
48:48 I say, "Get thee behind me, Satan."
48:53 We did a seminar in a town in Idaho.
48:57 It was a town, Grangeville, Idaho.
49:00 Full of ranchers and ranch kids.
49:03 And I told, as an illustration in one of our presentations,
49:07 that I was just terrified of snakes.
49:09 And you know what, the next night when we were
49:10 coming into the parking lot to come to that meeting
49:12 there's half a dozen little ranch kids standing outside
49:15 the door of the entrance to that building waiting for me.
49:17 And they're all saying, "Pastor Venden, Pastor Venden."
49:20 And I thought, "Oh, isn't that sweet.
49:23 They like me. Oh, they like me.
49:25 Oh, little ranch kids. Blessed little ranch kids, oh."
49:29 And they all have their hands out,
49:30 "Pastor Venden, Pastor Venden."
49:32 "Oh, they want to shake my hand, oh, oh."
49:35 And I go over, and suddenly I realize that everyone of them
49:37 has a live snake wrapped around.
49:40 And I'm thinking, "Ranch kids!
49:44 What's wrong with these kids?"
49:46 I'm telling you, I have the victory over snakes.
49:50 You can't tempt me with snakes.
49:52 I don't struggle to resist snakes.
49:54 I am out of here when snakes are around
49:57 because I hate them, I hate snakes.
50:00 Well if you hate something, it's not hard to stay away from it.
50:03 And did you follow that wonderful passage
50:07 that I just read?
50:08 It said, through communion and fellowship with Jesus
50:12 we will be brought to the point where we actually hate sin.
50:17 Hate it.
50:18 And if you hate it, you don't have to...
50:21 "I know I shouldn't do this."
50:26 If I passed a cup around to everybody here,
50:27 one of those 32 ounce cups, the big gulp cups, or whatever,
50:31 and I asked everybody in here to please spit in the cup.
50:32 Just pass it on back.
50:33 Everybody take a good spit and go on with that.
50:35 And then come on down, back to the back.
50:36 Back, back, back, back. Everybody spit.
50:38 Not just a wimpy spit. I mean dig down.
50:39 Come up with some real spit, okay.
50:41 And let's just say we get all the way back
50:43 over here to this side.
50:44 And let's just say that some of you have been thinking about
50:47 how you can't wait for this meeting to be over
50:49 because you want to get a drink.
50:50 Well, I can save you from having to wait till then.
50:53 I go over and get that cup of spit brimming full
50:55 and I come over to you and say,
50:56 "Here go ahead. Quench your thirst."
50:58 Are you tempted?
51:00 Do you have to say to me, "Pastor Venden, please.
51:02 Get behind me, because I know this isn't good for me.
51:04 In my mind, in my heart, I understand the principle
51:06 of spit is not good for me.
51:08 So on principle, I'm going to avoid that cup.
51:11 But it is a struggle, so please get it out of my
51:13 sight before I yield."
51:14 Is that how it works for you?
51:15 Do you have to white knuckle it?
51:17 Do you have to stiffen up your backbone and resolve?
51:20 Do you have to pull out some kind of a little book and
51:22 read something to help you stay away from spit?
51:26 It's a disgusting illustration but you won't forget it.
51:31 And it makes the point.
51:32 Because if you have a relationship with Jesus
51:35 that's ongoing day by day, His promise to you
51:37 is that He will so live His life in you and so transform
51:42 your desires that looking at sin will be like
51:46 looking at a cup of spit for you.
51:48 Do you see why I say the only person who is serious about
51:52 obedience is the person who's focusing on
51:54 knowing Jesus better daily.
51:55 Do you see why I say that?
51:56 It's the only place you get real obedience.
51:58 People who preach salvation by faith in Christ alone
52:01 are not soft on obedience.
52:03 One more thing; the Sabbath.
52:04 I was asked if I believe the Sabbath was important.
52:06 Man, I do. Seventh day Sabbath.
52:08 I'm all for the seventh day Sabbath.
52:09 I'm even for some things that we often overlook.
52:12 Jesus, in Scripture, He says, "I give you My Sabbath
52:16 as a sign that I am the God who sanctifies you."
52:22 Now you think about that.
52:23 If there's one thing we know about the Sabbath, the fourth
52:26 commandment says man is to rest from his own labor.
52:30 We've got that part figured out.
52:32 But if He says, "I gave you My Sabbath as a sign
52:34 that I am the God who sanctifies you,"
52:35 He's also telling you, "A Christ-like character,
52:38 victory and overcoming; the Sabbath is a symbol
52:40 that I do that for you because you can't do it for Me."
52:42 Man rests from his own labor at producing a
52:44 Christ-like character because Christ
52:46 is going to have to do that for you.
52:47 See, in the very beginning in Eden, they said,
52:49 "Let us make man in our image."
52:51 Why did they say that?
52:52 Because man couldn't make himself in God's image.
52:55 And 6000 years later, man still can't make himself
52:58 in God's image.
52:59 Only God can make man in God's image.
53:02 And it comes through a daily walk with Jesus.
53:05 That's where it comes from.
53:06 Which is the message of the three angel's.
53:08 An invitation to a fellowship with Christ
53:11 and a focus on righteousness in His faith.
53:13 The gold and the white raiment and the Holy Spirit, the salve.
53:16 We went over some of this earlier in the series.
53:18 It's the message of the three angel's.
53:21 Scripture is full of this wonderful promise.
53:23 Zechariah 4:6 says...
53:31 Who's in charge?
53:33 Last night we noticed that the fruits of the Spirit
53:36 are descriptors of a Christ-like character.
53:39 Did we not notice that?
53:40 Yeah, and they're the fruits of the Who?
53:43 The Spirit, not the fruits of the person.
53:45 See, the message of Scripture is, you don't try to enforce
53:49 a religious duty with secular power.
53:51 It's the fruit of the Spirit.
53:53 But how do you get the fruit of the Spirit?
53:55 In John 15 Jesus said, abide, abide, abide.
53:58 Depending on the translation you use, at least ten times
54:02 in six verses, it depends on the translation,
54:05 but ten times in six verses Jesus uses the word, "abide."
54:09 This is His farewell speech.
54:11 He's on His way to Gethsemane, He's soon going to die.
54:13 It's His last chance with His disciples.
54:16 If you have one last chance with people that you love
54:18 before and you die and you had a chance to say something to them,
54:20 what would you tell them?
54:21 Something real important, right?
54:23 Like always brush your teeth and change your underwear every day.
54:26 No you wouldn't.
54:27 You would think of something that was really,
54:29 you know, a winner.
54:31 So here's Jesus, and what does He come up with as a winner?
54:36 He says it over and over.
54:37 Abide is a relationship word.
54:39 It's another way of saying; cling to, be in communion with,
54:43 be in relationship with, depend upon.
54:45 He says, "I am the vine, you are the branches.
54:49 If you abide in Me and I abide in you..."
54:51 You will what?
54:53 "...bear much fruit."
54:55 Jesus is not being soft on obedience even though He
54:58 doesn't even mention obedience as His farewell speech.
55:01 He's actually giving them the only cure for disobedience.
55:06 Jesus is actually being strong in obedience because
55:09 He's saying if you will focus on relationship;
55:11 abiding, abiding, abiding,
55:12 you will bear fruit; obedience, obedience, obedience.
55:15 So it's not soft on obedience to focus on abiding.
55:19 Do you understand what I'm saying.
55:21 Jesus did it.
55:22 And anybody who makes Jesus the center of their
55:25 presentations is doing it too.
55:27 And we don't want to, you know, overlook that.
55:32 2 Corinthians says...
55:42 It tells you what your part is,
55:44 and it tells you what His part is.
55:46 What's your part? Beholding who? The Lord.
55:49 So we're talking about keeping your eyes on Jesus.
55:51 We're talking about focusing on Jesus.
55:52 We're right back again to that daily relationship
55:54 and time alone with Him.
55:56 And it says if you will continue to focus on Jesus,
55:59 you will be transformed into His image.
56:00 Who's image?
56:02 Jesus' image.
56:03 If you were transformed into Jesus' image,
56:05 would it be safe to assume that you had a Christ-like character?
56:09 And where does a Christ-like character come from?
56:11 As you focus on Jesus, you're transformed into His image
56:15 by the Spirit of the Lord.
56:18 So He says, "You focus on Me and I will take it from there.
56:22 I will make you obedient commandment keeping people.
56:25 I will do that if you will focus on Me."
56:28 Jesus is the heart of everything that's important in Scripture.
56:32 You know, He said to a group of people,
56:33 "You search the Scriptures because in them you think
56:35 you have eternal life, but they all point to Me.
56:37 So come to Me that you might have life."
56:40 And that's just what I want to pray for right now.
56:42 So let's do.
56:43 Lord Jesus, help us to realize that it's not
56:49 just some beast in Scripture that needs to be avoided,
56:55 but that all of us are being invited into a richer
56:58 deeper personal relationship with You.
57:01 Forgive us for looking past the personal application
57:05 and teach us to know You better and love You more,
57:08 is my prayer in Jesus' name, amen.