Series Code: ASIC
Program Code: ASIC000003A
03:51 The last hour: a window of opportunity.
04:01 This phrase, the last hour, brings a certain sense of
04:04 urgency, of finality, and yet in Earth's last hour there is a
04:13 window of opportunity for God to work.
04:17 This Earth is certainly in its last hour, and because of this
04:22 more and more people are literally in their last hour.
04:27 The world's coming apart; there's
04:29 bloodshed, there's conflict.
04:33 And in this world of uncertainty and danger we do not know
04:39 when our last hour might be.
04:42 What do we want to do in Earth's last hour?
04:52 I'm a physician, so news reports like the ones we have had
05:01 recently cut close to home.
05:06 Just last week there was a physician that was killed
05:10 because he refused to prescribe pain pills to
05:16 the wife of the killer.
05:23 A few years ago this incident happened.
05:28 So in health care we seem to think that because we're helping
05:32 people we're somehow immune from these
05:35 dangers, but we're not.
05:38 Do you ever wonder what would be most
05:40 important in your last hour?
05:42 In the last hour the mind clears,
05:45 life compresses and distills to what's most important.
05:54 I met a man I'll call Adam in my office for a routine visit.
06:00 He had excruciating hip pain, and his x-ray showed why.
06:05 He looked terrible.
06:06 He needed a hip replacement.
06:08 Well, I'm an Orthopedic Surgeon.
06:10 I enjoy doing hip replacements and helping people,
06:12 so I was happy to help him.
06:14 He also had some problems with his feet.
06:16 He had some congenital problems that made his
06:19 balance an issue for him, so he was concerned about his
06:21 rehabilitation after surgery.
06:24 He wanted to make sure that he went to a particular rehab
06:28 facility so he could get his balance and get the services
06:31 he needed when he was discharged from the hospital.
06:34 So we had the usual discussion.
06:36 We prayed together, as is my practice with patients like that
06:40 before we proceed with surgery.
06:43 And the surgery went well.
06:44 It went very well. In fact his new hip looked great.
06:48 But something strange happened when he got to his
06:51 room after surgery.
06:55 It's like he decompensated: the stress, the thought of,
06:58 Can I get what I need?
06:59 This self-focus turned into lashing out at other people.
07:05 This is what he did under stress, and I didn't know
07:10 that ahead of time.
07:11 He began to give the nurses a hard time.
07:14 I got reports of them throwing things, and swearing,
07:17 and things just went from bad to worse.
07:21 He was acting out his fears and creating a disaster for himself.
07:28 So what does a good physician do?
07:30 I ordered some medication to calm him down.
07:35 And it was so effective that when I got to his room
07:39 a few hours later, I was in surgery, and got to his room.
07:43 He was up in a chair, and he was sleeping in the chair.
07:47 So I didn't want to bother him because this was a stressful
07:52 situation, and I didn't want to wake him up and
07:54 have him swear at me.
07:59 But when he woke up again he continued to alienate
08:02 everyone around him.
08:05 Unfortunately, the nurses that work at the hospital also do
08:09 part time at the rehab facility.
08:12 And this was a problem because the word soon got to this place,
08:18 and they wanted nothing to do with this man at
08:20 that rehab facility.
08:23 But he refused to go to any other option, so what ended up
08:27 happening was our Physician Assistant
08:29 discharged him to home, put him on the
08:31 doorstep of the hospital.
08:33 I think it was snowing at the time.
08:35 And his estranged, not surprisingly estranged
08:38 wife, took him home.
08:42 And I thought, Well, okay, that's okay.
08:46 But then the phone calls began.
08:47 He had a few falls at home and it was my fault;
08:51 I had abandoned him.
08:53 I left him to suffer.
08:55 He'd swear at me on the phone, swear at my staff.
08:57 He was going to sue me.
09:00 It's a wonderful thought as a physician.
09:10 Well, he did agree to come back for a visit.
09:12 As a physician I have a responsibility to make
09:14 sure he's doing okay.
09:15 And he did agree to come back, but my thought was, Doing this
09:18 is going to be quite risky.
09:21 These reports of physicians being offed by their patients
09:27 are not comforting.
09:31 What risk was I taking in even letting him
09:33 come into the office?
09:34 Well, in the last days and hours preceding his visit I started
09:40 to think, I'm a Christian physician.
09:42 I'm here to minister to my patients.
09:45 How do I deal with the situation?
09:48 Didn't this man create his own disaster?
09:51 What's my responsibility in this situation?
09:54 Could this in any way be my fault, or my responsibility?
09:58 How could I handle the risk and the danger?
10:03 Well, my mind went in an interesting direction as I
10:07 pondered these questions.
10:10 The approach of the last hour had a clarifying
10:12 effect on my thoughts.
10:14 I needed a new way of thinking, a new way of seeing
10:17 this problem with Adam.
10:19 I needed a metanoia, as it says in the original language.
10:26 A change of mind. So I thought only with heaven's help can I
10:33 have this paradigm shift that I need.
10:35 And the word of God provides us the paradigm sift that we need
10:39 in Earth's last hour to deal with the danger and
10:42 stress that we face.
10:44 We read in 2 Corinthians 5:14-16,
11:12 Seeing that Christ's death was a representative death put me on
11:17 equal footing with Adam in the sense his sin was my sin.
11:22 We share the same human nature.
11:25 I have the same weaknesses he does.
11:28 Have I ever lashed out at someone when I'm under stress?
11:34 Not only that, I was compelled, according to this text,
11:40 by the love of God in Christ, to repent myself for not
11:45 ministering this gospel to him.
11:52 I needed the gift of heavenly repentance in order to
11:56 effectively minister to Adam.
11:59 Here's how Ellen White puts it: Repentance represents the
12:05 process by which the soul seeks to reflect the image
12:11 of Christ to the world.
12:13 For me that was a mind altering thought, and my prayer is that
12:20 it might be for us collectively as well.
12:26 Well, how could actual reconciliation with Adam occur?
12:34 How much of this was my responsibility?
12:36 How much of this was his responsibility?
12:40 Did I need to hold him to account for
12:42 what his behavior was?
12:44 How did this actually work out in practical ways?
12:49 So as I thought about this I read further down
12:54 in 2 Corinthians 5.
13:04 Here's what it looks like:
13:26 In this wonderful, glorious act God has gifted us with the
13:31 ministry of reconciliation.
13:32 This is His promise, especially in what could be,
13:37 or is, our last hour.
13:40 I saw that I did not have to hold Adam's
13:45 transgressions against him.
13:48 In fact my not doing so was the key to our reconciliation.
13:59 But more than that I wanted Adam to actually be restored.
14:02 I wanted his mind to actually have a change.
14:06 Could he be restored to a better way of thinking and of living?
14:09 I found that my fear was relieved by
14:14 focusing on what he needed.
14:19 As I interceded with heaven on Adam's behalf
14:22 my focus became clear.
14:28 But I would need resources that I don't possess to help Adam.
14:34 But here was my hope: we, I do not have a High Priest who
14:39 cannot sympathize with my weakness,
14:54 I have a High Priest interceding for me.
14:57 I could boldly ask for the gift of His restoring power on behalf
15:02 of Adam, because He's the second Adam.
15:06 And he already has done the work to reconcile the first Adam
15:13 and complete that restoration.
15:20 Well, it came down to the literal last hour.
15:24 Do you want to know what happened?
15:28 I had arranged, in my weakness, to have a Sheriff's Deputy
15:34 in the office, but out of sight to Adam, because I didn't want
15:39 to stress Adam out.
15:41 That would be the wrong trigger for Adam.
15:43 But I did have a responsibility, actually, to protect my staff
15:47 in case Adam brought something.
15:48 But I would still have to go into the room alone,
15:52 and there would be a moment where Adam and I would have
15:55 to interact one on one.
16:00 But I saw that the confrontation that we were facing,
16:03 potentially facing, was primarily a Spiritual one.
16:06 Because we wrestle not against flesh and blood,
16:09 but against the rulers of darkness, the Spiritual hosts
16:12 of wickedness, as it says in Ephesians 6:12.
16:15 So I needed to apply the mighty weapons of the gospel to pull
16:19 down the strongholds that were holding Adam in place;
16:23 the strongholds that are mentioned in 2 Corinthians 10:4.
16:27 Well, here's what I did.
16:30 I walked in the room and Adam said, Doc, we need to talk.
16:38 I said, Yes, we do.
16:39 Let me start. Adam I want to ask your forgiveness.
16:47 You were in great need.
16:48 You were under stress, and I didn't come and minister to you,
16:53 and for that I ask your forgiveness.
16:56 I'd had another patient bring me some thank you gifts; some food,
17:03 some olives and eggs.
17:05 It doesn't matter what it was.
17:06 But I asked him, Hey, would you like these things?
17:09 And I gave him some gifts.
17:14 And we experienced reconciliation at that moment.
17:18 And then I asked again at the end of the visit,
17:20 Can I pray for you? And he said, Yes.
17:23 But he said, I want you to intercede for me with my family,
17:30 with my wife; these people I've estranged.
17:32 Would you call them?
17:34 So I agreed to do that, and I did call them later.
17:37 And I found out that the reconciliation for this family
17:40 was already occurring.
17:44 The gospel of Jesus Christ applied was
17:46 indeed the power of God.
17:53 So in my last hour what would I want to do?
17:56 Like Daniel I would repent on behalf of the body of
17:58 Christ, the church.
18:00 I would repent of not doing more for others, of not believing
18:02 and living the gospel that transforms lives.
18:07 I would accept my identity truly with Christ, who has identified
18:10 His humanity with me as He gives me the gift of repentance,
18:14 which He exercised on behalf of the race.
18:16 In my last hour I would want to help someone else reconcile
18:20 with God and others, believing the initiative that God has
18:23 taken with me, and applying that as a reconciling
18:26 force in the world.
18:28 In my last hour I would intercede to see people in
18:30 relationships restored.
18:31 I can trust my Intercessor to restore all things.
18:35 He will restore my life if I lose it for His sake.
18:39 I pray He will use me to heal and restore the relationships
18:43 of those around me.
18:45 And it's my prayer in this last hour of Earth's history that we
18:48 can all experience this power of God's love
18:49 revealed in the cross to cast out all fear, so that we can
18:53 become effective ambassadors for Christ.
18:56 Our message will be that God has already reconciled each
19:01 and every member of the human race to Himself through Christ.
19:05 And our simple yet powerful call will be to each one
19:11 this call: be reconciled. Amen!
19:29 To my knowledge I've not faced imminent death.
19:32 However, about a year and a half ago I did walk through the
19:36 valley of the shadow of death with my friend and colleague
19:40 during her battle with an aggressive form of Leukemia;
19:43 A battle which she lost three months following
19:47 the day of diagnosis.
19:48 Because of the severity of the diagnosis she was hospitalized
19:54 from the moment of diagnosis until three days before she
19:57 died, when she was released home to die.
20:01 Being hospitalized in the same hospital in which we both worked
20:05 allowed me to visit her every day.
20:10 And our visits became sort of like Tuesdays with Morey,
20:13 except it was every day with Beatrice.
20:16 She was an English woman, crisp, very stoic, raised Catholic,
20:21 but not particularly religious.
20:23 And initially our conversations were very general;
20:27 things like work, her children, things like that.
20:31 But about a month before she died it became increasingly
20:35 obvious that she was not going to make it,
20:38 and our conversations turned to more serious topics.
20:43 Topics like heaven and God.
20:46 What is He like? and death.
20:49 How was she going to face this death that was unexpected?
20:54 These visits always ended with my praying with her.
20:59 And as I turned to go she would always say,
21:01 Andi, please come back.
21:03 I enjoy your visits.
21:06 About two weeks before she died she looked me straight
21:10 in the eyes and she said, Andi, have you considered what you
21:15 would do if you were facing imminent death?
21:20 I hadn't. And taking in the look on my face
21:24 she said, You should.
21:26 And about the same time that I was going through this
21:29 experience with Beatrice, I was studying the book of 2 Timothy,
21:34 the last book Paul ever wrote; his swan song.
21:39 He was facing imminent and certain death
21:42 at the hands of Nero.
21:43 And on this backdrop the book of 2 Timothy was written.
21:48 And it is a window into how he faced death.
21:53 And I was reminded of a quote made famous by Sir Isaac Newton.
21:57 If I have seen further it is by standing on the
22:02 shoulders of giants.
22:03 And today I would like us to stand on the
22:07 shoulders of giants, giants like the Apostle Paul.
22:11 And see not further than they saw, but what they saw
22:15 as they faced death.
22:18 In 2 Timothy Paul is writing with a chilling
22:21 urgency to Timothy.
22:23 He says, Timothy be diligent to come to me quickly,
22:26 and when you come bring my cloak and my books,
22:30 especially the parchments.
22:32 Why the parchments?
22:33 Well the Bible Commentaries tell us that the parchments were
22:38 his copy of the Septuagint, and early copies of
22:42 the words of Christ.
22:45 Paul in his final hour in this urgent message uses a very
22:51 interesting phrase in 2 Timothy 1:9.
22:54 He says, Timothy grace was given to us in Christ
22:58 Jesus before time began.
23:00 Some translations say before the world began.
23:03 For several years that phrase, Scriptures that contained that
23:09 phrase, before time began, before the beginning of the
23:13 world, or from the foundation of the world,
23:15 have arrested my attention, and captivated my imagination.
23:21 And for the Apostle Paul to use this phrase in this urgent
23:27 letter means that this is not just some poetry,
23:30 some vague theory, but one with profound gospel implications.
23:37 And Proverbs 8 helps us understand that.
23:42 And it was not until I read a paper by Andrews University
23:47 Seminarian, Dr. Richard Davidson, on Proverbs 8:22-31,
23:52 that this took on significance for me.
23:55 Proverbs 8:30 is very well known to us, as it describes the
23:59 relationship of God and Jesus, that they had in Heaven before
24:04 Jesus came to this earth.
24:05 He says, Then I was daily His delight.
24:10 I was beside Him, rejoicing always before Him.
24:14 And we acknowledge that it is Jesus that is
24:17 saying these words.
24:19 But it's interesting because Verse 30 has a context,
24:23 and the context is Verses 22 to 31.
24:26 There's a story being told in Verses 22 to 31 which
24:31 incorporate us as human beings.
24:33 Verse 22, it's the dawn of creation.
24:38 And someone identified as Wisdom is speaking in the first
24:42 person and telling a story.
24:44 That person is identified as Wisdom.
24:48 But it's not just any old story, it's his own story.
24:51 And it's obvious from the surrounding texts that there's
24:55 not just a personification of wisdom,
24:57 but an intelligent person telling a story.
25:00 And that person is the Son of God Himself
25:04 telling His own story.
25:05 He says, The Lord possessed Me at the beginning of His ways,
25:12 before His works of old.
25:14 I've been established from everlasting, from the beginning,
25:18 before there was an earth, I was brought forth.
25:21 Strange words, strange language, language which can be
25:24 misconstrued as someone being created.
25:28 However the Hebrew is helpful here because in the Hebrew
25:32 those words actually mean anointed to, appointed to a
25:37 new office, set up or install into a new role, a new job.
25:42 It has nothing to do with someone being created.
25:47 It is the dawn of creation, and they are about to do
25:53 something risky: create man; thinking, self-willed man
25:58 with the ability to choose, the ability to choose to accept
26:02 and love them, or the ability to rebel.
26:05 This being the case, they make a decision: one of us needs to
26:13 step down into a new role, that of a Savior.
26:17 And so in this passage, the Divine second person in the
26:21 Godhead, the Son of God Himself is describing for us in this
26:26 short autobiography His formal instillation into a new office,
26:32 a new role: that of a son, a faithful and obedient son
26:37 who thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself
26:42 of no reputation, took the form of a servant, came in the
26:48 likeness of man, and became obedient to death,
26:50 even the death of the cross.
26:53 Before time began the Lord cared about us.
27:01 The cross was manifested not just at Calvary,
27:05 but before time began.
27:07 John the Revelator says it this way: that He was the Lamb slain
27:12 from the foundation of the world.
27:13 But I don't want you to miss Proverbs 31, Proverbs 8:31.
27:18 It's my favorite part of this passage.
27:20 It says, and my delight was with the sons of men.
27:25 They did this because they delighted in us.
27:27 Even though They knew that we could rebel,
27:29 They delighted in us.
27:33 And in the fullness of the times He shows up.
27:35 In Isaiah 9:6 it says, for unto us a child is born.
27:43 At Christmastime many of us like to participate in,
27:45 or attend performances of Handel's Messiah.
27:50 And there's one of the best choruses: For unto us a child is
27:54 born; unto us a son is given.
27:56 And the government shall be upon His shoulders.
27:59 It's sung with a triumphant jaunty lilt.
28:03 The choir continues, soaring in emphasis: And His name shall
28:08 be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting
28:12 Father, the Prince of Peace.
28:16 But have you considered the first few words: for unto us
28:23 a child is born, unto us a son is given?
28:36 What did that cost?
28:38 What did that cost Heaven?
28:46 Zachariah describes their relationship this way.
28:49 He says that they were friends.
28:55 He said he was his companion.
28:58 He says he was his best friend, his best beloved, the one who
29:03 stood close to him.
29:06 Most of you know that I have an identical twin sister, Lindy,
29:12 who I love very much, and to whom I am very close.
29:17 And before Bob and I got married, we, I don't know,
29:21 went to premarital counseling.
29:23 And our pastor gave us a questionnaire.
29:27 He knew Bob and me, but he also knew the relationship
29:30 I had with my twin sister.
29:33 So he added a question, true or false: Your family comes
29:37 before your spouse.
29:39 Tough question. God the Father and God the Son were even closer
29:47 than my twin sister and me.
29:50 Nevertheless, God the Father agreed to separate from His
29:57 best beloved and give Him to us.
30:02 And one day, like a poof, He was gone from Heaven.
30:10 And there was a long period of silence when there was no
30:14 communication between Them, because He was
30:17 in the womb of Mary.
30:20 Absolute silence. Someone who was your best friend, your best
30:28 beloved, in the bosom of the Father.
30:31 Now absolute silence.
30:43 A loss was sustained in Heaven that day.
30:46 The Incarnation cost Deity dearly.
30:48 The Godhead was radically changed, but not just for nine
30:52 months, but forever.
30:57 He was given to us willingly, even though we rebelled.
31:03 And then it's time.
31:09 He thinks back to Heaven, when before time began,
31:15 a plan was laid, and now He's in Gethsemane and He trembles.
31:19 He remembers three days before when the Greeks came to Him
31:24 and He said, Father, what should I do?
31:26 Save Me from this hour?
31:29 He says, No, I can't do that.
31:31 Because for this reason I came into the world.
31:37 And He says to the disciples, Watch and pray that you enter
31:42 not into temptation.
31:43 The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.
31:46 How did He know that?
31:51 Most of us interpret that as being a teachable
31:55 moment for the disciples.
31:56 He's giving them a lecture.
31:58 But I want to submit that the Divine Son of God was speaking
32:03 from the flesh that He took when He joined Himself to us,
32:08 and became one with us.
32:10 And was telling them listen, My spirit is willing,
32:14 but the flesh that I took, it is weak,
32:16 and I'm trembling at this hour.
32:19 Abba, Father all things are possible for You.
32:23 Take this cup from Me. I want to go home.
32:28 But praise God, as the Lionel Harrison song says,
32:32 When He saw unfold just how much His love would cost,
32:36 He still ran the final mile between me and heaven
32:39 so I would not be lost.
32:43 In February of 1990, twelve years after its launch,
32:48 Voyager 1 reached the edge of the solar system, and was
32:52 commanded by NASSA to turn around and photograph Earth,
32:56 photograph the planets rather.
32:58 They returned several photographs to Earth,
33:03 and one of them was this one.
33:08 You probably cannot see that very well.
33:12 It's circled here for you.
33:15 It's called the Pale Blue Dot.
33:20 And my clicker's not working very well.
33:26 Carl Sagan, the late great Carl Sagan reflected on that dot
33:30 in a lecture given at Cornell University in 1994,
33:35 and he said this: Look again at that dot.
33:39 That's here, that's home, that's us.
33:41 Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic
33:48 dark, and are obscured in all this vastness.
33:51 There is no hint that help will come from elsewhere
33:55 to save us from ourselves.
33:57 That is one man's opinion, but I want to submit to you that as
34:03 the Godhead looked on that pale blue dot, the shadow of a cross
34:09 arose upon a lonely hill.
34:13 And They made a decision: save man at any cost to Themselves.
34:19 This is what the Apostle Paul saw;
34:22 the giant the Apostle Paul saw.
34:24 He saw that there was a God who, before time began loved him,
34:29 even though he was the chief of sinners.
34:30 He saw that there was a God who before time began decided
34:35 to save man at any cost to Themselves.
34:38 So he turns to Timothy, and he says to Timothy, Timothy, grace
34:42 was given to us before time began.
34:44 And then he says in Verse 10, and has now been revealed
34:48 at the pairing of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
34:52 Praise God! Immanuel, God with us! Amen!
35:07 Just one question this morning that I'd like to ask you.
35:11 And that question is:
35:19 Some, of course, might respond and say, Well, yes, I have.
35:26 Others might say, Well, I probably should.
35:32 And maybe others might say, No way!
35:36 I'm not praying for the President.
35:40 Not this President.
35:42 Because this President is not my President.
35:51 This last political election was extremely disappointing
35:59 to me personally, and individually,
36:03 and I think to many of us.
36:05 But the reason it was disappointing to me is because
36:08 I realized through the process of this political election that
36:14 my heart and my spirit was prone to be drawn away from my God
36:21 given commission, and embroiled in the political influences
36:28 of this world to become critical and negative.
36:32 That was the disappointment personally, individually.
36:35 It was disappointing for me in other ways because I saw that
36:39 same spirit that was cropping up in me, especially in the
36:44 Republican runoffs, I saw that same spirit in my brothers and
36:48 sisters all around me.
36:50 I don't know if you experienced that, but I certainly did.
36:54 It was disappointing to see how I was effected by this
37:00 political election.
37:01 And I think this political election was a test
37:06 of our hearts and characters.
37:08 I think it was a test as to whether or not we really believe
37:14 and practice this gospel.
37:18 If we really are Christians in more than just name,
37:22 if we are really Christ like.
37:28 The whole process has really helped me actually to consider
37:32 prayerfully the question facing us this morning.
37:34 And that question, of course, is if we just had one hour to
37:37 live, what would we say about the gospel?
37:42 If we just had one hour to live, what would we
37:44 say about the gospel?
37:45 And I thought and pondered this.
37:46 And I thought to myself, wouldn't it be a blessing if we
37:53 could actually answer that question from the Bible?
37:56 What I mean by that is, if we could actually go to people,
37:59 individuals in the word of God, in the Bible,
38:02 and find people who were living in their last hour,
38:06 and see demonstrated in their actions, or in their words,
38:11 what they had to say about the gospel.
38:13 What do you think about that?
38:14 So I found three; three that really hit home with me.
38:18 The first one was Stephen.
38:20 Stephen, we all know, had this incredible last hour moment.
38:29 His experience is recorded in Acts 7:60.
38:35 It says that as Stephen, who had been rehearsing the history of
38:40 Israel to the religious leaders of his day, the Sanhedrin
38:44 and the Pharisees.
38:46 As he had come to the close of this discourse, that the anger,
38:51 and the animosity, and the hatred of these religious
38:54 leaders was stirred against, and they began to knash their
38:58 teeth and they grabbed him, and they took him out to a place
39:01 where they could stone him to death.
39:03 And as they began to stone him, throwing stones at him,
39:06 and of course, Saul was there consenting to his death.
39:08 As they began to stone Stephen it says that he kneeled down,
39:12 and he cried with a loud voice, and he said, Lord, lay not this
39:17 sin to their charge.
39:20 Hum, that was quite a revelation for me.
39:24 See the thing I love about the Bible is no matter what the
39:28 media tells us, and no matter what politics tells us,
39:31 no matter what the world tells us, the Bible has a power
39:34 to draw us away from the influences of the world.
39:38 It's powerful! Amen!
39:41 And as I looked at this man, Stephen, in his last hour of
39:48 life, and I thought about what he had to say about the gospel,
39:54 it occurred to me that, well, Stephen was giving a powerful
39:59 testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
40:03 There was another man that I thought
40:06 about, and that was Paul.
40:07 Now you remember Paul was actually Saul,
40:09 who consented to Stephen's death.
40:11 He was standing there next to Stephen when Stephen was being
40:13 stoned, and yet Paul eventually was converted.
40:16 Called out of time as an apostle of Jesus Christ
40:20 by the Lord Himself.
40:21 And Paul became a powerful preacher of the
40:25 gospel of Jesus Christ.
40:27 The Bible tells us that when Paul came to the end of his
40:31 life he was imprisoned, probably because of the Jews,
40:36 and the accusations they made against him.
40:38 He was imprisoned under the Romans.
40:40 And Nero, being the Emperor at that time, wasn't about to
40:45 let him go, though he was released the first
40:49 time he was in prison.
40:52 And Paul, in 2 Timothy, talks about his experience as he went
40:56 before Nero, as he was tried before Nero.
40:58 And he says there in 2 Timothy, he says,
41:05 Paul was deserted like Christ on the cross.
41:08 He was forsaken of friends and companions.
41:12 He stood by himself.
41:13 All men forsook me.
41:15 And then he says this: he says, I pray God that it may not be
41:19 laid to their charge.
41:23 The Bible is powerful.
41:25 Here's a man standing alone, when he should have all of the
41:28 encouragement, and the prayers, and the support of his
41:31 brothers and sisters.
41:33 He's standing alone, and yet he's praying, Don't lay to their
41:37 charge the way they've treated me.
41:43 Then I think about Jesus, of course, our Savior, the One who
41:49 is the gospel incarnate, and His experience as He came to
41:54 the last hour of His life, like Paul and
41:57 Stephen, who followed Him.
41:59 He was hanging on a cross, and there as the Romans,
42:04 the political leaders of his time, and the Jews,
42:10 the religious leaders of his time, and all of the people
42:13 railed against him, accusing and condemning him.
42:18 There, Jesus said, Father, forgive them for they
42:23 know not what they do.
42:26 I think about these experiences: Christ praying for the combined
42:31 religious and civil authorities who were torturing Him to death,
42:36 Stephen praying for the religious leaders and
42:40 authorities who were stoning him to death, Paul praying for those
42:46 people who were responsible for abandoning him
42:48 and forsaking him, praying to God that that sin would not be
42:52 laid to their charge.
42:54 I thought about all of that, and then I thought about this
42:56 political election, and my attitude, and my spirit,
43:05 and the spirit and attitude of those around me.
43:07 I thought about it long and hard, and I began to realize
43:12 that this was a test.
43:14 Truly this was a test.
43:15 Now Paul's death is not described as specifically as
43:20 Stephen and Christ's death are in the Scriptures, but as he was
43:26 nearing the end of his life, he recorded for us something
43:30 that I think is really powerful.
43:32 In 1 Timothy 2, beginning with Verse 1, he says,
44:00 But it goes beyond that.
44:01 In Verses 3 through 5 he says, For this is good and acceptable
44:04 in the sight of God our Savior who will have...
44:07 How many men to be saved?
44:09 All men to be saved, and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
44:12 The reason why we should pray for kings and presidents,
44:16 for prime ministers, and all those who are in authority is
44:18 because God wants everyone to be saved.
44:24 For there is one God, and one mediator between man and God,
44:27 God and men, the man Christ Jesus who gave Himself a ransom
44:31 for all to be testified in due time.
44:38 It's time to testify.
44:40 If there was ever a time in Earth's history when there is an
44:45 atmosphere, a climate in which we can testify of the Savior
44:50 of all men, this is the time.
44:52 If there was ever a time when we would get distracted
44:56 from it this is the time.
44:57 I guess when Paul wrote these words he didn't get
45:02 the memo about Nero.
45:05 He forgot what a wicked, debased person Nero was.
45:10 He forgot that Nero was capable of more atrocious cruelty than
45:15 any ruler that had preceded him.
45:16 That he killed his stepbrother, the rightful heir to the throne.
45:20 And he killed his mother, and eventually killed his wife.
45:26 Pray for Nero? Are you sure about that, Paul?
45:30 Are you sure about that?
45:32 Because he's the one that's going to have you beheaded.
45:37 He's the one that's going to take off your head.
45:40 I guess Paul didn't get the memo, or did he?
45:47 And so I have to ask myself the question, Am I going to be
45:54 siding with the thousands, perhaps the hundreds of
45:58 thousands, perhaps the millions, who are boldly declaring
46:02 NOT MY PRESIDENT?
46:04 Am I going to be influenced by the media,
46:09 or by the word of God?
46:12 I have to ask this question because it's a question that
46:16 relates to us personally, and individually, not just now but
46:20 as we near the end; the end of this Earth's history.
46:24 The question that relates to our destiny, and the destiny
46:31 of others: Have you prayed for the President?
46:38 Now this election was startling, I think, both from a political
46:43 perspective, and from a religious perspective.
46:46 People are under the impression that this
46:50 President is a disgrace.
46:54 And many find it justifiable to engage in unlawful
46:58 demonstrations, and destroy property, and block traffic,
47:02 and generally violate the rights and liberties of whoever happens
47:07 to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
47:10 We think it's justifiable.
47:12 But I think a lot of this has to do with the way the media
47:17 influences us rather than the way the Bible influences us.
47:22 I think that myself personally, and we as Bible believing
47:27 Christians need to step back and take a second
47:30 look at all of this.
47:32 Because to a large degree the media has not, is no longer
47:36 reporting, and investigating, but it's actually telling us how
47:41 to think, and what to do.
47:43 Have you noticed that?
47:46 The very thing that the Bible is supposed to do for us,
47:50 the media is trying to step in and take over.
47:54 For believers in God's holy word, the media is
47:59 spiritually poisoning us.
48:01 It's killing our spiritual experience.
48:04 The media stands in direct opposition, I believe,
48:07 to our heavenly orders, to the position that we would occupy as
48:11 Ambassadors for God.
48:14 When I read my Bible I'm reminded that the kings of Sodom
48:19 had their Abraham.
48:22 Pharaoh had his Joseph.
48:24 Nebuchadnezzar had his Daniel.
48:28 Even the king of Assyria had his reluctant Jonah.
48:33 I'm reminded that the Sanhedrin had their Stephen,
48:39 that the Romans had their Paul, and that the world has a
48:45 Savior, Jesus Christ.
48:50 The entire world is living in the last hour of time.
48:53 And in this last hour some of us may end up in prison,
48:57 some of us may end up being persecuted and mistreated.
49:00 We'll be tested much more than by an election
49:05 that didn't go our way.
49:06 What will be we doing then?
49:08 Will we, like Paul, be praying for all men?
49:15 You know, the Bible isn't called a good book for nothing.
49:19 It reminds us of how wicked, and sinful, and evil,
49:24 and selfish all of us are.
49:28 Therefore we need a Savior.
49:29 You need a Savior, I need a Savior, we need a Savior.
49:32 The political election in the United States of America has
49:34 reminded us that we need a Savior.
49:37 Every political leader, and every person on planet Earth
49:40 needs a Savior, and we have one.
49:43 We have Jesus Christ, who is the Savior of all men.
49:49 So understanding our corporateness, the corporateness
49:54 of our fallen humanity should lead us to pray for all mankind,
50:01 which begs the question,
50:12 Three presentations: one message.
50:18 God's love is greater than we imagined.
50:21 God's grace is larger than we've thought.
50:24 Todd reminded us that God's love and grace leads us to
50:30 repentance, that there can never be reconciliation with another
50:36 human being unless we take the initiative in repentance in our
50:41 own lives for our failures in that relationship.
50:45 Todd reminded us that that repentance leads to
50:50 reconciliation, and that repentance in it's very self
50:54 is not something that we conjure up, but repentance is a gift
50:59 that God gives us, not only for what we've done,
51:03 but for what we haven't done.
51:05 All reconciliation is based on that repentance.
51:10 Jesus came, identified with the human race, and repented,
51:16 not for what He had done, but for what we had done,
51:20 and hung on Calvary's cross, taking our guilt and shame,
51:24 and all of our condemnation for one purpose: to restore us to
51:29 the relationship with God, and He reminded us that before the
51:35 world began, that deep within the heart of God was that desire
51:41 to be one with His children again.
51:43 That before the world began God set in motion, in Christ, a plan
51:50 to reconcile the human race.
51:53 I was moved with the thought, and I know you were, too,
51:57 that when Jesus was in the womb of Mary
52:00 there was silence in Heaven.
52:02 That was a new thought for me.
52:04 I hadn't thought about that before.
52:07 And that that separation between the Father and the Son cost
52:13 Heaven something significant.
52:15 Grace is amazing! God's love is far greater than we have
52:22 imagined or thought.
52:24 And then James reminded us that when we are consumed with God's
52:31 love, and amazed by God's grace, it leads us to reach out and
52:37 pray for those that may abuse us, and may persecute us.
52:43 It leads us to pray for the most unlovely people around like
52:48 Stephen did as he prayed for his persecutors.
52:52 What was it about today's presentations that
52:56 touched your heart?
52:57 What was it about today's presentations that you will go
53:03 away with that will make you a different man
53:06 or a different woman?
53:08 Did you just come and listen, and then go away and say,
53:13 Weren't those nice talks?
53:15 Is there something that you will grasp, something that you will
53:20 go away with, something that will be life
53:24 transformational for you?
53:26 As we bow our heads to pray, I want you to think of this one
53:32 thought, and meditate upon it, and ask God to burn it into your
53:38 heart, to indelibly stamp it upon your mind.
53:45 One single thought, and here it is: God's love is more
53:50 amazing than I've thought.
53:52 And because of that love I today am reconciled to God.
53:59 And is being reconciled to God, I today am an
54:06 Ambassador for Christ.
54:08 I want to live like an Ambassador.
54:10 What does it mean to you today to be reconciled to God
54:14 and to be an Ambassador to Christ?
54:16 As we bow our heads to pray, I'm going to give you just a few
54:19 seconds in your own heart, in your own
54:21 mind to talk to Jesus.
54:26 Tell Him what it means to you to have that thought
54:32 of His amazing grace.
54:33 Tell Him what it means to you that you're an
54:38 Ambassador for Christ.
54:39 Ask Him to help you to be reconciled to others,
54:45 to be restored in every aspect of your being, and every thought
54:52 of your mind into a relationship with Him,
54:55 to reflect His character.
54:58 Ask Him today to enable you to be a powerful
55:03 Ambassador for Christ.
55:13 All that I am, all I can be, all that I have, all that is me.
55:28 Accept the news Lord, as You would choose
55:35 Lord, right now today.
55:43 Take every passion, every skill, take all my dreams,
55:54 and bend them to Your will.
55:57 My all I give Lord, for You I'll live Lord, come what may.
56:13 Often I come with my problems and cares, running to You when
56:24 distressed, but I must bring You the whole of my life.
56:34 Lord I must give You my best.
56:41 All that I am, all I can be, all that I have, all that is me.
56:56 Accept the news Lord, as You would choose
57:01 Lord, right now today.
57:10 Take every passion, every skill, take all my dreams,
57:20 and bend them to Your will.
57:24 My all I give Lord, for You I'll live Lord, come what may.
57:39 Life has no purpose unless it is Yours.
57:46 Life without You has no goals.
57:54 All that fulfills me is doing Your will,
58:00 knowing that You're in control.
58:07 All that I am, all I can be, all that I have, all that is me,
58:23 accept the news Lord, as You would choose
58:29 Lord, right now today.
58:37 Take every passion, every skill, take all my dreams
58:49 and bend them to Your will.
58:52 My all I give Lord, for You I'll live Lord, come what may.
59:06 All that I am.