ASI Conventions

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript



Series Code: ASIC

Program Code: ASIC000011A

00:19 Good morning and happy Sabbath, ASI family.
00:22 It's good to have you here this morning with us
00:24 in Houston in 2017 ASI.
00:28 I brought just a few people on stage with me this morning,
00:31 and they represent someone,
00:34 they represent our international attendees.
00:37 This morning, I just want to get a feel
00:39 for how many other
00:41 international attendees we have.
00:42 You can see, we have Mongolia represented here this morning.
00:45 Welcome from Mongolia.
00:47 And we have Australia represented.
00:49 They said they didn't come in
00:51 their national dress this morning,
00:52 but you can see that
00:54 we have guests from all over the world here.
00:56 I would like to ask those in the audience
00:59 who are from somewhere else in the world
01:01 besides the North American division
01:04 to please stand.
01:05 If you're from some other country
01:07 attending ASI,
01:08 you're not from the North American division...
01:11 Amen, hallelujah.
01:13 What a blessing!
01:15 Thank you so much for coming to ASI.
01:18 Thank you for joining us here.
01:20 And we're praying for God's blessing
01:22 upon the work in Mongolia, and upon the work in Australia,
01:25 and everywhere around the world
01:27 where God is reaching out, doing amazing things
01:30 to help finish the work of spreading the gospel
01:33 to the entire world.
01:34 Thank you for coming to ASI here
01:36 in North American division.
01:52 Wonderful, merciful Savior
01:58 Precious redeemer and friend
02:04 Who would have thought that a Lamb could
02:10 Rescue the souls of men
02:15 Oh, You rescue the souls of men
02:26 Counselor, comforter, keeper
02:32 Spirit we long to embrace
02:38 You offer hope when our hearts have
02:44 Hopelessly lost our way
02:48 Oh, hopelessly lost our way
02:56 You are the one that we praise
03:02 You are the one we adore
03:08 You give the healing and grace
03:12 Our hearts always hunger for
03:18 Oh, our hearts always hunger for
03:25 You are the one that we praise
03:31 You are the one we adore
03:37 You give the healing and grace
03:41 Our hearts always hunger for
03:47 Oh, our hearts always
03:50 Hunger for
03:58 Almighty, infinite Father
04:03 Faithfully loving Your own
04:09 Here in our weakness You find us
04:15 Falling before Your throne
04:19 Oh, we're falling before Your throne
04:27 You are the one that we praise
04:33 You are the one we adore
04:38 You give the healing and grace
04:43 Our hearts always hunger for
04:49 Oh, our hearts always hunger for
04:56 You are the one that we praise
05:02 You are the one we adore
05:08 You give the healing and grace
05:12 Our hearts always hunger for
05:17 Oh, our hearts always hunger for
05:35 Amen.
05:37 Good morning, ASI.
05:40 Happy Sabbath, and welcome to Sabbath School.
05:43 As we get started this morning with Sabbath School,
05:46 I'd like us to bow our heads for prayer.
05:49 Father in heaven indeed as the words of the song
05:51 we just heard,
05:53 You are the one that we adore, our hearts hunger for You.
05:58 And this morning at this time of study,
06:01 Father, I just ask that Your Holy Spirit
06:04 who was already present with us
06:07 will be with us now as we open Your word
06:10 for this very important study.
06:12 Guide us, direct our hearts towards You.
06:16 And, Father, may we discover something strange and new
06:20 that will transform us into Your image
06:23 and hasten Your coming.
06:25 Be with each of the panelists, I pray for Jesus' sake, amen.
06:31 Well, it's a great privilege to be here
06:36 as the moderator of this panel today,
06:39 not because I'm an expert
06:41 but because we certainly all love the gospel
06:44 and want to share it together.
06:47 As often it's the case with panel,
06:49 sometimes we could exclude the audience,
06:51 but we want to include you today.
06:53 And so I like you to listen, and actively listen.
06:59 I am Lyndi Schwartz,
07:01 and I'm the moderator of the panel,
07:02 and I'm from Ohio.
07:03 And to my far left, I have Bob Hunsaker,
07:09 he does happen to be a relative,
07:10 he is my brother-in-law.
07:12 And then we have Elias Baquero, and he is from California.
07:19 And then to my immediate right, we have Justin Kim,
07:24 who is no stranger to our audience.
07:26 And then also James Rafferty, my far right,
07:29 and again, he's certainly no stranger to us.
07:33 We're going to open the Word this morning,
07:34 and if you have your Bibles,
07:37 I'd like you to turn
07:40 to the Book of Galatians
07:44 from where the study is today.
07:49 The Book of Galatians,
07:51 I'll be reading the entirety of the passage
07:54 which is Galatians 3:15 to 19,
08:00 and then we'll have a panel discussion.
08:03 The title of the lesson today is the Priority of the Promise.
08:09 And inherent in the title,
08:12 we recognize that somehow the promise has priority.
08:16 So let's read together. Galatians 3:15 to 19.
08:22 "Brethren, I speak in the manner of men.
08:26 Though it is only in a man's covenant,
08:29 yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it.
08:35 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made.
08:40 He does not say, 'And to seeds,' as of many,
08:44 but as of one, 'And to your Seed,'
08:47 who is Christ.
08:50 And this I say, that the law, which was 430 years later,
08:55 cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed
08:59 before God in Christ,
09:02 that it should make the promise of no effect.
09:06 For if the inheritance is of the law,
09:09 it is no longer of promise,
09:11 but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
09:15 What purpose then does the law serve?
09:18 It was added because of transgressions,
09:21 till the seed should come to whom the promise was made,
09:25 and it was appointed through angels
09:28 by the hand of a mediator."
09:34 So today, we want to have a robust discussion
09:37 about this passage.
09:39 And I want to ask the first question
09:41 to our panelists.
09:43 In the interest of time, I believe that
09:45 several commentators agree that covenant and promise
09:50 are essentially the same thing.
09:52 Some may disagree, and that's okay,
09:53 and I can be challenged on that as I make that statement.
09:57 In verse 16, however, let me read that again.
09:59 In verse 16, the text says,
10:03 "Now to Abraham and his seed
10:06 were the promises made.
10:08 He does not say, 'And to seeds,'
10:11 as of many, but as of one,
10:14 'And to your Seed,' who is Christ.'
10:17 " So the question then is,
10:19 why was the promise not made just to Abraham or seeds,
10:24 but to his seed, singular?
10:27 And who was the main recipient anyway of this promise?
10:33 Inherent in this question,
10:35 I'd like you to also discuss the concept
10:38 that there is something crucial, central,
10:41 and core to the gospel in this text, and what is it?
10:47 Andy, it's so... I mean, Lyndi. Whoo, it's so exciting.
10:50 You told me not to do that, huh?
10:52 He just called me Andy, that's my wonderful twin sister
10:54 who I adore.
10:56 I will forgive you James.
10:57 I think it's so exiting that we're studying Galatians,
10:59 and I'm hoping, this time, we get it right.
11:02 It seems like from our discussion previously
11:04 and even from the quarterly which I think
11:06 is been really super.
11:08 I've really enjoyed it that we are on track this time
11:11 to understand that the focus of the Book of Galatians
11:14 is the seed being Jesus Christ,
11:16 that the promises were made to Jesus
11:19 not primarily to us or even to Abraham's descendants
11:21 but to Him as a descendant of Abraham.
11:24 Primarily because He's the only one
11:26 that could actually fulfill the covenant promises
11:29 that He is the focus of the covenant,
11:32 and He is the covenant keeper.
11:33 So I love this whole idea that the seed
11:36 is singled out by Abraham...
11:38 I mean, by Paul himself in Galatians.
11:41 He says, he emphasizes not seeds but to the seed,
11:45 speaking of Jesus Christ.
11:46 Yes, okay.
11:48 Yeah, I think, just following upon what you're saying there,
11:49 James, I think it's really neat to appreciate all the promises
11:53 God has for us.
11:54 But we don't commonly think about all those promises
11:57 relating that Jesus read those promises,
11:59 "Hey, that's in there for me."
12:01 You know, when He saw that promise to Abraham, it said,
12:04 "In you shall all the nations be blessed," He said,
12:06 "You know, that's speaking to me."
12:08 So he read those Old Testament stories
12:11 and as He was growing in wisdom, and stature,
12:13 and favor with God and man, He said,
12:15 "These promises in the Old Testament
12:16 are for me to experience."
12:18 And that, I think, brings up the point
12:19 that just like we have the privilege
12:22 of having faith and God's promises.
12:23 Jesus experienced faith and God's promises to Him.
12:28 Amen.
12:31 Okay.
12:34 So also, I just wanted to look at something here
12:36 that I think is really interesting
12:37 in the quarterly, and that is,
12:40 we misunderstand sometimes the idea of a covenant.
12:43 And I don't know, in my mind, it's been a little bit blurry,
12:48 and I thought this was really...
12:50 I just want to read this.
12:51 This is right on the first day,
12:52 actually it's Sunday's lesson, July 30,
12:57 so it's right as the quarterly begins
13:00 to enter into the discussion.
13:02 And I read this, I started, I emphasized,
13:07 I just thought, "Wow!
13:08 This is really powerful, this can really impact people."
13:10 So it impacted me.
13:12 "So a covenant," it says,
13:13 "and a will are generally different."
13:15 A covenant and a will are generally different.
13:18 A covenant is typically a mutual agreement
13:21 between two or more people,
13:22 often called a contract or a treaty.
13:26 In a contract...
13:27 In contrast, excuse me, a will is the declaration
13:29 of a single person.
13:31 And you get that so far, right.
13:33 A covenant is like an agreement between two parties
13:35 but a will is like a declaration
13:36 of a single person.
13:37 This is my will and testament, okay?
13:40 Now, I've always read the word covenant,
13:42 and I've understood automatically,
13:43 it's an agreement between two people.
13:46 As the quarterly describes, as it goes on to say
13:48 it this way, it says that
13:50 the Greek translation of the Old Testament,
13:54 the Septuagint,
13:56 that's the Greek translation of the Old Testament,
13:57 the Septuagint never translates God's covenant with Abraham
14:03 with the Greek word used for mutual agreements
14:06 or contracts, okay?
14:09 Instead, it uses the word for a testament or a will, why?
14:14 Probably because the translators recognize that
14:17 God's covenant with Abraham was not a treaty
14:19 between two individuals
14:21 where mutually binding promises are made,
14:24 on the contrary God's covenant was based on nothing
14:27 other than His own will.
14:30 No strings, no if's, and's, or but's was attached.
14:33 Abraham was simply to take God at His word.
14:36 I love that. Okay, very good.
14:40 What's great about that is that, you know,
14:42 it shows that if it's a will, we then become heirs.
14:46 And it's not something that we work towards...
14:49 We just happen to have such a loving God
14:52 that He gave us this inheritance
14:54 and we by faith appropriate it.
14:56 And so it's great that it's something that shows that,
14:59 it's not something that we can do in our own strength.
15:01 Okay.
15:03 Yeah, I was just gonna say the point
15:04 you bring out there, James.
15:06 It, sort of, is in the context really,
15:07 even though the word is covenant, it says,
15:09 "No one can annul or add to it."
15:12 So in a two-party system, either one can annul it,
15:15 but in a one-party system, only the one
15:16 who makes the will can annul it.
15:18 So it's bringing that out through that,
15:19 there's nothing we can do to annul God's promise to us,
15:22 He is always gonna be faithful even if we're faithless.
15:24 Okay.
15:26 Now, this is an awesome point you're both making.
15:30 But we've gotten a little ahead of ourselves.
15:33 I want to bring us back a little bit
15:35 because we're going to come and discuss this point,
15:37 that's a very vital point
15:39 that James, and Elias, and Bob have all made,
15:43 but I want to drill that a little further on this text
15:46 that we have just read in verse 16.
15:49 There are many items there.
15:50 And certainly the promise and the covenant
15:52 is also in there, we'll come back to that.
15:54 But I want to read an interesting text,
15:56 Romans 4:13.
15:59 If we could look over there, Romans 4:13,
16:03 this is an interesting passage.
16:06 It says that, "For the promise
16:08 that he would be the heir of the world
16:10 was not to Abraham or his seed through the law,
16:15 but through the righteousness of faith."
16:18 Now how would you apply that text to the seed,
16:23 Jesus Christ.
16:25 Was Jesus Christ righteous by faith?
16:30 If He was righteous by faith, how could that be?
16:33 After all, He was the divine Son of God.
16:37 I think, we know and Paul mentions
16:39 seed versus seeds.
16:41 He's making a distinction
16:42 between the singular and the plural.
16:44 If it was seeds, if a plural, it will be up to us,
16:47 it will be up to human beings,
16:48 it will be up to our performance,
16:51 our fulfilling of the law.
16:53 But he mentions seed, a singularity,
16:56 there's gonna be almost an anomaly with the seed.
17:01 I don't want to emphasize too much to divinity
17:03 or too much to humanity of Christ.
17:04 Christ is Christ, but He comes,
17:07 and He fulfills that component of which Israel has failed
17:11 with its throughout entire history.
17:13 Jesus becomes the new Israel.
17:16 And where Israel failed in the lack of faith,
17:18 Jesus comes, and His faith replaces all their failures.
17:22 Okay. Yeah.
17:25 I think, to me, I remember when someone talk to me
17:28 about Jesus having faith, a few years ago,
17:31 that was a new thought to me.
17:32 And it's been really encouraging to me
17:35 over the years to appreciate that
17:37 just as I need to walk by faith and trusting in the Father,
17:40 Jesus understands that by experience.
17:43 He didn't have, you know, He wasn't born
17:47 with a logo software in His brain.
17:49 He had to grow in wisdom, He had to grow in His faith.
17:52 He wasn't ready for Calvary at two years old
17:54 or at ten years old.
17:55 His faith had to grow and mature as He believed
17:57 and trusted in God's promises.
17:59 And that's an encouragement to us I think.
18:02 Yeah, I love what you just said.
18:03 Faith is not some abstraction,
18:05 it's not something that that's objective and you get,
18:08 it's based on a relationship with Jesus.
18:10 I love this because it transformed my experience.
18:15 Faith is based on two elements, according to Hebrews 11,
18:20 the goodness of God
18:21 and the power, the ability of God.
18:24 And whenever we're in a crisis of faith,
18:26 those two things are questioned.
18:28 I love my grandmother, she's a million years old.
18:31 I know, I without a doubt, she loves me.
18:34 But when I went into a dark alley,
18:37 I know she is not able,
18:39 she's not powerful enough to defend me
18:42 against any enemies that may come about.
18:44 Now there's Arnold Schwarzenegger.
18:47 Well, I don't know about now, but back ago,
18:49 he had the muscle tissue to protect me.
18:51 I know he has the power to do so.
18:53 But I have no relationship.
18:54 I know he doesn't have a good character,
18:55 he will not defend me in a situation.
18:59 So in a crisis of faith, I always have to ask myself,
19:02 "God, are you good enough to save me in this situation?
19:07 Well, of course you're good. Of course, you'll love me.
19:10 But are you strong enough?"
19:11 And this is where doubt comes in.
19:13 And these are, I believe, the struggles
19:15 that Jesus had to develop during His lifetime
19:18 and through the promises of God
19:20 that He's developed in His faith.
19:21 And that's the faith that He transfers to all of us
19:24 through sanctification.
19:26 To me, the other aspect of Jesus' faith in us,
19:29 it's analogous too when you as a parent,
19:33 or a teacher, or whatever,
19:35 even though you see in the student or the child
19:37 an inability to do what they need to do,
19:40 you speak to them encouragement,
19:42 and you speak to them that they're better than they are,
19:45 and investing in them that faith,
19:47 it causes them to experience the things
19:49 that they wouldn't be able to experience
19:50 if you hadn't spoken of them
19:52 or, if you want to use the word accounted them
19:54 better than they were.
19:56 So that's what God is essentially doing towards us.
19:58 He's saying, "Listen, you're not where you could be
20:01 where I want you to be, but I believe in you,
20:04 I have confidence in you.
20:06 If you trust in me,
20:07 I will bring you to this point."
20:08 It's His faith in us
20:10 that can produce a responsive faith.
20:11 It's His confidence in us that can produce
20:12 a responsive faith in us to Him.
20:14 You know, I really see that taking place on Calvary,
20:16 the whole life of Christ was a preparation for Calvary,
20:20 and we know that that was something He exercised.
20:24 As Justin said, He had to trust in
20:27 not only God's goodness but also His power
20:29 to deliver Him.
20:31 It was dark.
20:32 But also, think about this, when Christ comes to Calvary,
20:36 everyone has forsaken Him, everyone is gone.
20:40 "The whole human race," Satan is whispering in His ear,
20:42 "looks like they're not going to respond
20:44 to this gift of love."
20:46 And it becomes very dark for Christ.
20:49 At that point, I want to read this statement.
20:50 It's found in Faith in Works, page 72, it says,
20:54 "It is faith that works by love
20:57 that is witnessed by Jesus Christ
20:59 on the cross of Calvary.
21:02 It is the love that He has for my soul.
21:04 Christ has died for me.
21:06 He has purchased me at an infinite cost,
21:09 and He has atoned for everything
21:11 that is offensive to Him."
21:13 He is dying by faith in us that we will respond.
21:18 Even though everything around Him tells Him,
21:21 "We're not gonna respond, He's gonna do it by faith."
21:24 I love that picture, that beautiful picture
21:26 of God's heart.
21:27 And, James, I agree with you.
21:29 Jesus Christ was dying having faith in us
21:31 that someone may respond.
21:33 He was also dying by having faith in His Father.
21:38 Ellen White speaks of how He was victorious by faith.
21:43 I just, as we close out this particular section,
21:45 I want to read an interesting quote
21:47 to think about.
21:49 And that Jesus Christ's entire life was one of faith.
21:56 One of the first instances of Ellen White's writing
21:58 was in the Desire of Ages, page 336, paragraph 1.
22:03 And when I came across this, I was surprised
22:05 but this is just to close this section,
22:07 just to nail down the point that,
22:10 by faith, Jesus Christ was righteous.
22:13 "When Jesus was awakened,"
22:16 this is when the storm came up and disciples were upset.
22:19 "When Jesus was awakened to meet the storm,
22:22 He was in perfect peace.
22:25 There was no trace of fear in word or look,
22:29 for no fear was in His heart.
22:32 But He rested not in the possession
22:35 of almighty power.
22:38 It was not as the
22:39 "Master of earth, and sea, and sky"
22:42 that He reposed in quiet.
22:44 That power He laid down, and He says,
22:48 "I can of Mine own self do nothing."
22:50 He trusted in His Father's might.
22:53 It was in faith, faith in God's love and care,
22:57 that Jesus rested, and the power of that word
23:01 which stilled the storm was the power of God."
23:05 And I think this is the wonderful quote,
23:07 letting us recognize that in this promise,
23:11 we see here the faith of Jesus.
23:15 It would take faith to accomplish the promise,
23:19 and that's life for us.
23:21 Okay, now let's just move to the next question here.
23:26 And James began to hit on the question already,
23:29 and he already read the section.
23:31 I want to get a little bit more into this concept of covenants
23:34 because I think that not only are other Christians
23:39 a little bit confused about
23:40 what the covenants are all about,
23:42 but sometimes, even in our church
23:44 we can confused about
23:46 what the covenants are really about.
23:48 And so, James, you already read that
23:49 from the quarterly.
23:51 Let me just reiterate again.
23:52 Part of it, there's another section of it.
23:53 Yes, okay, there's more to it.
23:55 And let's do that.
23:56 So, again, the Greek translation
23:58 of the Old Testament,
24:00 the Septuagint never translates God's covenant with Abraham
24:04 with the Greek word used for mutual agreements
24:06 or contracts, syntheke.
24:09 Instead, it uses the word
24:11 for testament or will, diatheke.
24:13 Why does Paul use that word,
24:18 and what are the implications inherent
24:21 in the use of mutual agreements versus will?
24:26 Well, in the context of Galatians,
24:28 we're talking about circumcision
24:29 and where the role of the works takes place.
24:31 And in a contrast that I need to do something,
24:34 and the other person needs to do something,
24:36 and if I follow through what I do,
24:38 I'll get what I agreed upon what the...
24:43 I just got confused,
24:45 but you all know what I'm saying.
24:46 And in a uni-lateral agreement, I can do nothing.
24:49 I just gonna sit there, and I wait for the will
24:54 to carry on the power that it has to do.
24:57 And this is the model of
25:00 which the biblical covenants come from.
25:02 We can do nothing, circumcision and we have our modern day
25:06 circumcision manifestations today,
25:09 but we can do nothing.
25:11 To add to that, that righteousness component.
25:13 Okay, all right.
25:15 He's going a little bit further than that.
25:17 Also in the second paragraph,
25:18 I'll just read it, here it says,
25:20 "Paul picks up on this double meaning of a will
25:23 and covenant in order to highlight specific features
25:25 of God's covenant with Abraham.
25:28 As with a human will,
25:30 God's promises concerns a specific
25:36 beneficiary," excuse me.
25:40 Beneficiary, excuse me, I'm...
25:44 Beneficiary. Beneficiary, yes, thank you.
25:46 "Abraham in his offspring. It also involves inheritance.
25:50 Most important to Paul is the unchanging nature
25:53 of God's promise.
25:55 In the same way that a person's will
25:57 cannot be changed once it is been put into force,
26:01 so the giving of the law through Moses
26:04 cannot simply nullify God's previous covenant
26:06 with Abraham.
26:08 God's covenant is a promise.
26:09 And by no means is God a promise breaker?"
26:11 So here's the point.
26:13 Justin started on it,
26:15 he began it with mentioning circumcision,
26:17 and definitely, that was a fire,
26:20 a point of contention with the Jews.
26:23 But as we come down to our time, in 1888,
26:28 we come into another controversy.
26:30 It's okay for us as Adventists to say,
26:32 "Oh, yes, circumcision,
26:33 that's wasn't part of the covenant.
26:34 We don't need to be circumcised, etc."
26:36 But now, we see a broader perspective
26:39 of the law in Galatians including the moral law.
26:42 And basically, Galatians is speaking
26:45 not only the ceremonial law but also of the moral law.
26:48 And what God is saying here is, "Hey, God made a promise
26:51 based on what He was going to accomplish
26:53 without the moral law.
26:55 You do not complete God's covenant
26:58 by obeying the moral law."
26:59 The moral law was added later,
27:02 it can't delete, it can't undermine,
27:04 it can't nullify the covenant promise
27:06 that God made which is a will.
27:09 And He is going to accomplish that
27:11 where we're gonna inherit that will,
27:13 that salvation promise that God has given us
27:15 without the law.
27:17 It's not through obedience to the moral law
27:19 that we inherit that promise.
27:20 And even from the beginning, you know,
27:22 speaking of circumcision,
27:23 if you read Deuteronomy 30:6, it says,
27:28 "And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart
27:31 and the heart of thy seed to love the Lord
27:33 thy God with all thine heart and with all thine soul
27:36 that thou mayest live."
27:37 And from the beginning,
27:39 it's always been God working in us.
27:41 It's Him, He's the one giving the promise,
27:46 fulfilling the promise, and we're just receiving it.
27:49 Okay. Yes, Bob.
27:50 It's interesting,
27:52 Ellen White makes this interesting statement
27:53 in Steps to Christ that the spirit of Phariseeism
27:55 is the spirit of human nature.
27:57 And we have this natural bias and bent towards legalism.
28:03 And we can even turn righteousness by faith
28:06 into a legalistic mindset.
28:07 Ellen White says that there's danger
28:09 of placing merit on faith.
28:11 So sometimes what we'll do is...
28:13 Well, it's a two part system.
28:14 God's part is all that He does,
28:16 and then He in response to my faith,
28:18 He's obligated to me, and He owes me,
28:20 and my part is faith.
28:22 Therefore, we are both
28:23 contributing to the salvation process
28:26 rather than appreciating that my faith is merely
28:28 appropriating all that He's already done.
28:31 It's appreciating a preexisting reality
28:34 rather than creating a reality that did not previously exist.
28:37 Yes.
28:39 Which makes our faith important.
28:41 But it doesn't allow it to be meritorious.
28:43 Yeah, our faith becomes
28:45 God's accommodating our free will
28:48 rather than in another work that we need to do
28:50 to earn God's favor towards us.
28:52 We don't earn God's favor by being faithful.
28:54 We respond to His favor towards us by being faithful.
28:58 Okay.
29:00 So, Bob, since you mentioned that,
29:01 let me ask you a question.
29:03 I want to make sure we're all in agreement.
29:04 First of all, before we do that,
29:07 I believe that it seems that He wanted to make us sure
29:13 that this is not a contractual agreement.
29:18 Do you agree with that?
29:20 What does not entering into a contractual agreement
29:24 as opposed to will do to us.
29:26 How does that make us feel
29:29 to not enter into contractual agreement?
29:35 I think when you're in a contractual agreement,
29:37 to one degree or another, you're gonna do your part
29:40 under a sense of obligation merely.
29:42 And God is not wanting us to relate to Him
29:45 in a sense of obligation merely
29:47 because we're required to do so.
29:49 He wants us to relate to Him
29:50 because we see something in Him to appreciate.
29:52 We see something in Him
29:54 that's beautiful and attractive,
29:55 and we respond from our heart,
29:57 not because we're obligated to you
29:59 to get my slice of the pie,
30:00 we're responding because, you know,
30:02 He's so beautiful, He's so attractive,
30:03 He's related to me so faithful and so well,
30:06 how can I do anything else but say, "Thank you, Lord.
30:08 I want to be part of Your kingdom."
30:09 In addition to that, a contract, an agreement,
30:14 an obligation would put us in a situation
30:17 where we are lost
30:19 because we have nothing to contribute,
30:21 we can't contribute anything that actually is meritorious,
30:24 so when you look at it from the perspective of that,
30:28 God is actually recognizing our lostness.
30:31 Now we don't always recognize that,
30:33 so when God initiated the covenant with Abraham,
30:37 with Moses, excuse me, in Sinai,
30:39 when God told them about this covenant,
30:42 they said, all the Lord has said, what?
30:44 We will do and be obedient.
30:46 And this is what I think Paul is talking about
30:48 in Galatians when he said the law was added.
30:50 It was added to help us see that
30:53 all the Lord has said we can't be obedient to,
30:56 because 40 days later, they weren't obedient.
30:58 So the law actually brings us to realization of our lostness
31:02 and the impossibility of us actually contributing
31:04 to this covenant.
31:06 It shows us how lost and sinful we are.
31:09 It continually reflects to us, like in a mirror,
31:11 our sinfulness and leads us
31:13 to put our trust 100% in Jesus Christ.
31:16 Okay, so the important thing about the covenant
31:18 has to do with, and what I'm hearing
31:20 you all saying is that God wants us to recognize
31:24 that we cannot do anything.
31:26 In fact, as I like to say,
31:29 this is not a potluck, is that right?
31:32 This is dinner, He's providing the dinner.
31:34 Now let me ask you a question, Bob,
31:36 keying of what you just said.
31:37 This is a simple question. Did the promise...
31:40 That's the kind I need, thank you.
31:41 What? That's the kind I need.
31:43 Yeah.
31:45 So did the promise precede
31:47 or follow Abraham's obedience?
31:52 Preceded. Okay. Next question.
31:55 Next question, but he was hesitant.
31:56 Next question.
31:57 Did the promise precede
31:59 or follow Abraham's faith?
32:05 Preceded. It preceded.
32:06 That is a significant point,
32:08 because sometimes faith, even faith can become a work.
32:13 Is that right?
32:14 And so we have to be very careful about that.
32:16 Yeah, it's in how we process faith.
32:19 You can process faith as my obligatory response to God,
32:23 or you can process faith
32:24 as my heart appreciation of what He has already done.
32:27 And those are two different mindsets,
32:29 two different mindsets.
32:31 One is an old covenant mindset.
32:32 I'm following God out of sense of obligation
32:34 because I'm required to do so.
32:36 Ellen White says,
32:37 "If we obey out of a sense of obligation merely
32:39 because we're required to do so, we do not obey."
32:41 Okay, all right.
32:44 And, James, you've already taken us there a little bit,
32:46 but let us continue and read a few more verses,
32:49 and then we'll come to the crucial question
32:50 you just mentioned about the law.
32:52 And just to summarize again with this section,
32:56 it is clear that God wants to remove
33:00 every confidence we have in the flesh, right.
33:04 In fact, that's why Abraham was circumcised.
33:07 Circumcision for Abraham was not a work,
33:10 it was, "Abraham,
33:12 I want you to remove every confidence in the flesh."
33:16 All right, now let's read this, and then we'll come to the law.
33:20 So in Galatians, I need to get there myself.
33:23 Galatians, back to Galatians 3:17,
33:27 "And this I say, that the law, which was 430 years later,
33:32 cannot annul the covenant
33:34 that was confirmed by God in Christ,
33:38 that it should make the promise of no effect.
33:41 For if the inheritance was of the law,
33:44 it is no longer of promise,
33:46 but God gave it to Abraham by promise.
33:49 What purpose then does the law serve?"
33:52 My question to you is, why then the law?
33:55 Also in Romans, Paul says, why then the law?
33:58 What purpose does it serve?
34:00 And then the question then that says,
34:02 "It was added because of transgressions,
34:06 till the seed should come to whom the promise was made."
34:11 So let's discuss that. Why then the law?
34:13 What purpose was it added, and why was it added?
34:18 What does the seed coming have to do with the law
34:21 or even transgression?
34:24 Yeah, I find the answer in verse 24.
34:26 I have a weird translation Bible.
34:28 Verse 24 says, "The law then was our guardian unto Christ
34:33 so that we could be justified by faith."
34:35 It seems that the law was this temporary school teacher,
34:39 a tutor in some translations.
34:42 Back then, these rich families would have a slave
34:45 come and be a teacher to the heirs of the family.
34:48 And this school teacher would hit,
34:51 would totally discipline this child
34:54 totally underneath the authority of the master
34:57 but a little bit above the child.
34:59 And until the appropriate age came,
35:02 when the child became an adult,
35:03 then the school teacher just reverted back to a slave.
35:06 And the law kind of functions in that capacity
35:09 until Jesus was to come,
35:10 until the right time of adulthood,
35:12 if you will, the fullness of time,
35:15 this school teacher, the law is to discipline us,
35:18 is to teach us that we are sinners,
35:20 that whatever you do, you,
35:23 and it drives us to the foot of the cross,
35:25 drives us to a deeper hope for the faith.
35:28 That's the function of the law according to this verse.
35:30 Okay. All right, all right.
35:31 I just want to read a quote that goes along with that.
35:35 This is from Faith and Works, page 103.
35:37 It says, "As the penitent sinner,
35:40 contrite before God,
35:41 discerns Christ's atonement in his behalf
35:44 and accepts this atonement as his only hope in this life
35:48 and the future life, his sins are pardoned.
35:51 This is justification by faith."
35:54 And so as we see that we can't fulfill the law,
35:57 but Jesus has.
35:58 He's our only hope in this life and the future.
36:02 And we rest in that promise, that's justification by faith.
36:05 Lyndi, a really good quote also from Romans 5
36:09 where Paul is dealing with the subject, in verse 20,
36:12 just a quick snippet, he says,
36:13 "Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound.
36:18 But where sin abounded
36:20 and grace did much more abound."
36:21 So the law came in to show us how sinful we are.
36:24 And therefore, the law is never nullified,
36:26 it never ends.
36:29 It's never done away with because we need
36:31 a continual reminder of how sinful we are.
36:34 The law is not just a code of moral do's and don'ts,
36:37 the law is a revelation of a character of God.
36:41 It's the heart of God,
36:42 it's the heart of unselfish love.
36:44 And so the more we see
36:45 the principles of God's government
36:46 and we see who He is through His law,
36:48 the more we realize how selfish and self-centered we are,
36:52 and the more we see our need of Jesus.
36:54 Okay.
36:55 It's been helpful for me to think
36:57 why didn't God gave the Ten Commandments
36:58 on stone to Abraham.
37:01 He was a different, more mature relationship.
37:04 God was actually condescending
37:06 to sort of meet the Israelites where they are...
37:08 They needed those ten laws posted right in front of them
37:11 to see their true condition, whereas Abraham,
37:13 out of more mature experience than they did.
37:15 There's this fascinating quote,
37:16 I'm sure we're all familiar with,
37:17 from Patriarchs and Prophets, 364,
37:19 but just listen to what she's saying
37:21 about how God is related to us because we needed too.
37:24 "If man had kept the law of God,
37:26 as given to Adam after his fall,
37:28 preserved by Noah, and observed by Abraham,
37:31 there would have been no necessity
37:33 for the ordinance of circumcision."
37:35 No need for circumcision.
37:37 "And if the descendants of Abraham
37:38 had kept the covenant,
37:40 of which circumcision was a sign,
37:41 they would never have been seduced into idolatry,
37:44 nor would it have been necessary for them
37:46 to suffer a life of bondage in Egypt,
37:48 they would have kept God's law in mind,
37:51 and there would have been no necessity
37:54 for the proclaiming of the law from Sinai,
37:56 engraved on tables of stone.
37:59 And had the people practiced the principles
38:02 of the Ten Commandments, there would have been no need
38:05 of the additional instructions given to Moses."
38:08 So God is progressively meeting us
38:10 where we are at in our levels of immaturity,
38:13 that doesn't mean the law has always been there,
38:17 but He had to express it in a more direct revelatory way
38:20 because of our immaturity.
38:22 Okay.
38:24 I want to move to the next question,
38:26 but I was anticipating that one of you
38:30 would discuss something related to Romans 7
38:33 where Paul says that the law is holy,
38:37 it's just, and it's good.
38:39 And Paul is saying, "But how am I gonna fulfill it?"
38:41 In other words, it has to be fulfilled, right?
38:43 And then later on in Romans 8...
38:46 Let's just turn over there very quickly
38:48 because the law is not going anywhere.
38:51 It is here to stay. It must be obeyed.
38:55 In fact, it is a transcript of God's character,
38:59 and the ultimate idea of the covenant
39:02 is to bring us back in harmony reconciled to God
39:07 and fulfilling all He wants us to do.
39:09 So Romans 8 as we close and go to another very important
39:14 and practical question.
39:16 Romans 8:3 and 4,
39:20 "For what the law could not do
39:23 in that it was weak through the flesh,
39:26 God did by sending His own Son
39:29 in the likeness of sinful flesh,
39:31 on account of sin, He condemned sin in the flesh."
39:33 By the way, as He is experiencing this as us,
39:37 this is also our hope, "that the righteous requirements
39:41 of the law might be fulfilled in us."
39:44 By faith, we grasp hold of what He did by faith
39:48 and make it our own.
39:50 "So the righteous requirement of the law
39:52 might be fulfilled in us
39:53 who do not walk according to the flesh
39:55 but according to the Spirit."
39:57 We have a very few minutes for this next question
40:00 because we just have a very few minutes left.
40:03 Lyndi, you're so organized
40:05 but we can't always follow the organization.
40:07 Yes, that's true.
40:08 I just want to illustrate this a little bit.
40:10 When I wash and wax my car, and it's perfectly clean,
40:14 I have an extra measure of desire to keep it clean.
40:18 When my car is dirty, I don't care.
40:20 And so when the gospel says to us, Jesus says to us,
40:23 "I give you My righteousness.
40:25 We have a perfectly clean waxed, polished car,
40:27 it's perfect.
40:28 And the illustration fails
40:31 a little bit of course, or maybe a lot.
40:33 But we are motivated by the love of God
40:36 because of the righteousness gift
40:38 we received from Christ
40:40 to keep clean, to stay clean, if you know what I'm saying.
40:43 But when we're dirty, when we're guilty,
40:45 that just drives us to not care,
40:47 if you understand what I'm saying.
40:49 Yes, I do.
40:50 And, James, my organization is not natural to me,
40:53 it's dictated by that clock down there.
40:57 In one minute, let me ask this question
40:59 because I do want to mix some summary remarks.
41:02 Seventh-day Adventists have something unique to say.
41:06 In fact, I believe that we were not meant to be here
41:08 as a regular denomination
41:10 because we are a prophetic movement
41:13 with the prophetic voice.
41:15 A prophet has something unique to say.
41:17 And as we don't have something unique to say,
41:19 we should not exist.
41:21 No prophet, no message, we shouldn't exist.
41:25 So what are the implications on what we've studied here
41:28 for the preaching of the gospel in the context
41:31 of the third angel's message, the one that says, you know,
41:34 "Here is the patience of the saints.
41:36 Here are they who keep the commandments of God
41:40 and the faith of Jesus.
41:42 One minute, you got it.
41:43 Just quickly, you know, Ellen White says
41:45 it justification by faith,
41:46 everything we've been talking about
41:48 is the third angel's message in verity.
41:50 And you know, I just...
41:52 When we have this devotion to Christ
41:54 and we're living this, you can't help but share it.
41:56 And this quote from Steps to Christ really touches me.
41:59 It says, "When the love of Christ
42:00 is enshrined in the heart,
42:02 like sweet fragrance it cannot be hidden.
42:04 Its holy influence will be felt
42:06 by all with whom we come in contact.
42:07 The Spirit of Christ in the heart
42:09 is like a spring in the desert, flowing to refresh all
42:12 and making those who are ready to perish,
42:14 eager to drink of the water of life.
42:16 Love to Jesus will be manifested
42:18 in a desire to work as He worked
42:20 for the blessing and uplifting of humanity.
42:23 It will lead to love, tenderness, and sympathy
42:25 toward all the creatures of our heavenly Father."
42:27 And so if we see, for example, in 2 Peter 3 that
42:32 the reason Jesus hasn't come is because of us.
42:37 It's because we haven't appropriated that faith
42:40 of Jesus, the love of God.
42:42 And so we haven't actually had that true desire
42:44 to go out and share it.
42:46 And just to backup what you just said,
42:47 there's a quote.
42:48 She said we haven't entered in because of unbelief.
42:51 That's right, okay.
42:52 I'm just looking at righteous by faith,
42:53 there are so many counterfeits
42:55 when it comes to righteous by faith.
42:56 You have righteous by works by which
42:59 the majority of the world
43:00 has religions based around that.
43:02 You also have unrighteousness by faith.
43:05 You have people, Christian denominations
43:07 who believe in double predestination
43:09 and that God has preordained and etc, etc.
43:13 And you have righteous by presumption,
43:15 that, yeah, you just kind of wing it.
43:18 Could it be that Seventh-day Adventists
43:19 have been called for this time to really preach
43:22 a biblical righteousness by faith?
43:24 Amen. Praise God. Let's do it.
43:27 I want to wrap up in the few minutes we have left
43:32 recognizing a very important thought.
43:37 And that is, that the giver of the promise,
43:40 when the promise was made to Abraham,
43:43 it was made by, it says, Yahweh,
43:45 that is the self existent God,
43:48 that promise was given to Jesus Christ,
43:51 God gave God the promise. Isn't that very unusual?
43:54 And so as we look at the initiator of the covenant
43:58 and the recipient of the covenant,
44:00 we see a very unique relationship
44:03 there in the Godhead
44:04 that's very salvific for us.
44:08 And I wanted to conclude our concept today
44:12 by looking at Genesis 15 very, very quickly
44:16 'cause we don't have much time.
44:18 Genesis 15, this is the last text
44:20 that the quarterly actually gave us
44:22 and it just says there that Abraham was having
44:26 a difficult time, a struggle with faith.
44:28 And he said, "Lord, how do I know that
44:31 somebody in my home,
44:33 from my loins will be the heir."
44:36 And Jesus told him to count this...
44:38 God told him to count the stars and so forth.
44:39 And He says, "But I need more than that."
44:42 And so God asked Abraham
44:46 to bring Him a three-year-old heifer,
44:49 a female goat, and a ram, and then two birds.
44:52 Abraham then cut those animals in half
44:57 and separate the pieces.
44:59 And then, although the text doesn't say it,
45:01 Ellen White said he walked between them.
45:05 Mysteriously, maybe not so mysteriously, a deep,
45:11 supernatural sleep came upon him
45:14 as the sun was going down.
45:16 Now what's going on in this text?
45:18 There's an ancient treaty where a superior person
45:23 and an inferior person would have a contract.
45:27 And in that contract, several things were laid out,
45:31 there were stipulations and the stipulations were
45:34 blessings if you obeyed, curses if you disobeyed.
45:38 And as a ratification of that covenant,
45:42 that both of them were to walk
45:45 between the pieces that was severed signifying,
45:49 "If we disobey with this contract,
45:52 so happen to us as happened to these animals."
45:56 I want to draw your attention,
45:59 in Genesis 15:17,
46:04 "And it came to pass, when the sun went down
46:07 and it was dark, that behold, there was a smoking oven
46:11 and a burning torch that passed between those pieces."
46:14 Ellen White says that this represents the Godhead,
46:17 this is divine, this is the God the Son,
46:20 God the Father.
46:22 The text does not say that Abraham and these two
46:25 walk between the pieces but just what was happening
46:27 in the Ancient Near Eastern treaties,
46:30 this was God the Father saying, "I've got this."
46:34 May God be ripped from God if we're not faithful
46:38 to deliver and our promise to make you righteous,
46:42 to sanctify you, to justify you,
46:45 and to give you a work to do.
46:47 And I think the beauty
46:48 of what we have been discussing here today,
46:51 that promise from the initiator, Yahweh,
46:53 God the Father, and Jesus Christ the Seed,
46:56 God the Son, by faith, the seed fulfilled the mission.
47:01 And when Jesus cried on the cross,
47:02 "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me."
47:06 That was a fulfillment of walking
47:08 between those pieces, God being ripped from God.
47:12 I want to thank James, and Justin, and Elias, and Bob,
47:16 and all of you for participating.
47:18 And I'd like to have prayer as we close.
47:22 Let's bow our heads.
47:23 Father in heaven, what a gracious,
47:26 and wonderful, beautiful God you are.


Revised 2018-02-22