Participants: Dee Casper
Series Code: TWH
Program Code: TWH000022A
00:30 Alright, let's begin with the Scripture Reading, I guess,
00:33 and then we'll begin with a word of prayer.
00:34 I believe it's in Romans 8:26.
00:43 I got the older version of David though.
00:45 It was rather fortunate.
00:46 He's in his forties now and has more grey hair than I knew
00:49 that he could have.
00:50 I can say that because he's not here.
00:53 Romans 8:26, and it says this:
01:16 And I begin with a word of prayer.
01:18 I'm going to kneel.
01:20 I just invite you to bow your heads and then we'll begin
01:21 this morning's message.
01:26 Father, thank You for this privilege to come
01:29 into Your presence.
01:30 God I'm praying that You would condescend to this place.
01:35 That you would first and foremost live in my own heart,
01:38 and that You would speak to the hearts of those who are
01:41 present, and that You would live in their hearts as well.
01:44 Lord, this is an important topic, and I just pray that You
01:48 would keep me from getting in the way of that,
01:50 and that You would do Your word justice today
01:53 through this instrumentality.
01:55 Jesus use me. I'm Yours, is my plea.
01:59 And I ask this in Jesus' name, Amen.
02:07 Turn to Jeremiah, Chapter 31.
02:09 We're going to be discussing the two covenants,
02:12 and the beautiful God of those two covenants.
02:16 And it wasn't just for the Israelites.
02:20 It applies to us, and there's some valuable lessons from the
02:24 old covenant that I fear we still need to learn.
02:27 Jeremiah, Chapter 31, and I'll begin in Verse 31.
02:31 Easy text to remember.
02:59 So God here is saying that there was a problem with this original
03:03 covenant, and He says, I'm making a new one;
03:08 not like the old one whenever I took your fathers out
03:10 of the land of Egypt.
03:11 My covenant, which they broke, though I was a husband to them.
03:15 So what is this covenant that God made with them?
03:17 And what was the problem?
03:18 It seems to me as though there's a problem with
03:20 the people, not the content.
03:22 But let's look here and see.
03:23 Turn with me to Exodus, Chapter 19.
03:26 This is the old covenant defined.
03:28 Exodus, Chapter 19, and I'll begin in Verse 3.
03:33 Exodus, Chapter 19, beginning in Verse 3. It says this:
04:28 God says these are things that we're going to
04:30 be expecting of you.
04:32 The people say, No problem!
04:33 All that You have said, We will do.
04:36 Skip then now to Verse, I believe 21, Verse 21.
04:44 So God tells Moses to go down to the people, warn them,
04:46 don't come onto the mountain.
04:47 Don't even touch the mountain.
04:49 Anyone who does is going to have to die.
04:51 And he can't even touch them when they're killed.
04:53 They had to be shot with an arrow or stoned.
04:55 So He says, Go down and tell them,
04:58 don't come on the mountain.
04:59 He comes back up to God and tells Him the people said,
05:01 All that You have said, we will do.
05:03 God says, Go back down now.
05:05 This is Verse 21. It says:
05:17 Moses is confused by this though, because God literally
05:20 just said that, and he already told the people that.
05:23 And so he says:
05:50 Something about what God is about to do is so important
05:54 that God wants Moses with the people when it happens.
05:57 Now what's the very next thing that happens in Scripture?
06:00 The Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai in Exodus, Chapter 20.
06:04 It's the very next thing that happens.
06:06 So God wants Moses there when it goes down.
06:08 Skip now to Exodus, Chapter 24, beginning in Verse 3.
06:13 Exodus 24:3. Moses is given the Ten Commandments.
06:20 He's also given all the other laws that God would
06:22 have for the people.
06:23 He comes down. He's communicating these things
06:25 to the people. And now Verse 3.
06:41 This is Exodus 24:3. Now read Verse 7.
06:53 Three times in Exodus 19 once, and twice in Exodus 24
06:57 God lays the requirements of God before the people,
06:59 and they say, All that You have said, we will do,
07:02 we will do, we will do.
07:04 We got it. No problem.
07:07 All that the Lord has said, we will do.
07:09 Well, I have a very simple question for you this morning.
07:13 Did they? No. In less than 40 days they were running laps
07:18 around a golden calf in pagan revelry, right?
07:21 Just an absolute madhouse.
07:23 They did not. They said they would. They did not.
07:26 This is why Moses then...
07:28 Hollywood does this.
07:30 Every time I read this passage of Scripture
07:31 I see Charlton Heston.
07:33 Anyone else have that?
07:34 The internal images of Charlton Heston with
07:36 his big gnarly beard?
07:37 And he comes down from the mountain.
07:39 And what does Moses do with these two stone tablets when he
07:41 gets to the base of the mountain and sees this
07:43 debauchery happening in front of him?
07:45 What does he do? He throws them down to the ground and breaks
07:48 them signifying what the people themselves have done.
07:52 Right? Moses just doesn't have like a self-control problem.
07:55 The people have broken the law of God!
07:58 They've transgressed the covenant.
08:00 This is why Jeremiah, whenever God is speaking in
08:03 Jeremiah 31, says what He says.
08:05 My covenant which they broke, and then He uses this endearing
08:09 matrimonial language, Though I was a husband to them.
08:14 I was the love of their lives.
08:16 Now if you go to Deuteronomy, Chapter 4,
08:20 it defines specifically.
08:21 Some people want to contend with this idea of what the
08:24 covenants are and aren't, so I'm just going to read the text to
08:26 make sure that that's clear.
08:28 In Deuteronomy 4 that covenant that we're talking about is
08:31 indeed the Ten Commandments.
08:32 Deuteronomy 4. I'll read Verse 11.
08:35 Deuteronomy 4:11. Moses speaking to the people here recapping
08:39 the history of what's happened right before his death. He says:
09:08 Just in case there's any questions, the terms of that
09:11 covenant was the Ten Commandments, but the real issue
09:14 here is that the people seem to be quite confident of the fact
09:17 that they got this.
09:19 So go back to Jeremiah 31 and let's hear about the terms
09:22 of the new covenant then.
09:23 What is this thing?
09:25 What does God have in mind?
09:27 And what is He going to do in response to the people
09:31 failing in the covenant?
09:33 How does He address the people who have failed in the covenant?
09:38 I'm going to re-read actually, in Verse 31,
09:42 and then I'll read down to Verse 34.
09:43 Jeremiah 31:31-34. Again:
09:53 This is the definition of the new covenant,
09:56 and it's found in the Old Testament.
09:59 That can't be overlooked or neglected. Verse 32.
10:40 This is amazing! This is absolutely amazing because God
10:44 is speaking to a people who have transgressed His
10:46 covenant perpetually.
10:48 So moving on here, the law no longer is going to
10:52 be outwardly imposed.
10:54 It's going to be inwardly inscribed.
10:57 But it remains a part of the human experience nonetheless.
11:01 So notice, the law does not disappear in the new covenant,
11:04 something else changes.
11:06 The covenant doesn't end.
11:09 What changes is the onus of who is making sure
11:12 that the people keep it.
11:13 God is now promising to empower these people to keep the law
11:18 instead of them promising to keep it in their own strength.
11:21 Are you understanding the difference?
11:22 So it's not a matter of the law is gone, it's that the issue was
11:27 they were self-confident that they could keep the law.
11:31 God says, I have a better idea.
11:33 All that the Lord has said, we will do; God ends up using a
11:37 bunch of I will's in the new covenant to define
11:40 the terms with the people.
11:42 Also, we assume that when we don't keep the law that we're
11:48 cast off and can't be God's people anymore.
11:50 Anyone ever felt that way?
11:51 Maybe you don't want to admit that publicly,
11:52 but I certainly have.
11:54 When you break the covenant, you assume that
11:55 God is done with me.
11:57 And He should be done with me.
11:58 And I don't stand a chance anymore.
12:00 But yet in the very context of the new covenant
12:03 again being given to covenant breakers, God says,
12:06 Your sins, and your lawless deeds I have no
12:09 intention of remembering.
12:10 God has no desire to remember their sins anymore, and He says
12:17 that they will be My people, and I will be their God.
12:19 Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.
12:22 It sounds a little too good to be true, doesn't it?
12:24 Can God actually forgive me? is the question
12:29 that we wrestle with.
12:30 Well, in Revelation, Chapter 12, the reason why we ask this
12:33 question is because the Devil himself is referred to as
12:36 the accuser of the brethren, who stands before our God accusing
12:40 them day and night.
12:41 But he's not just standing before God accusing us,
12:44 he's found access in here, too, hasn't he?
12:47 And that voice of shame and condemnation that we contend
12:51 with isn't coming from Jesus.
12:53 It's coming from the accuser of the brethren.
12:56 Because if he discourages you from believing the things about
12:59 you that God believes, you'll never be the person that
13:02 God desires you to be.
13:03 It's the belief of God that makes us into children of God
13:07 and the people that we should be.
13:08 But when we don't believe that God believes in us,
13:11 and we take hold of our own unbelief towards ourselves,
13:13 or what we do is we actually project our unbelief upon God,
13:17 that we think that God looks at us in the same way
13:21 that we look at us.
13:23 But according to the new covenant here, that is not the
13:25 way that God looks at us.
13:27 And that should be encouraging to us this morning.
13:28 It's certainly encouraging to me.
13:30 So the question then is, if God has no intention of remembering
13:34 your sins, why is it then that we insist on reminding
13:38 ourselves of our sins?
13:43 If God has no intention of remembering your sins,
13:45 why won't you let it go?
13:49 That's the question.
13:51 So go with me to Hebrews, Chapter 8.
13:53 This gives some more insights into the situation of what
13:58 transpired in the new covenant, and what was wrong
14:00 with the old covenant.
14:01 Hebrews, Chapter 8.
14:04 This chapter is dynamite, by the way.
14:07 Hebrews 8, and Romans 8 are full of good stuff.
14:09 Romans, Chapter 8. I'm going to begin in Verse 6.
14:13 Romans 8, I'm sorry, Hebrews 8:6.
14:30 Now this is awesome because no longer is the covenant based
14:33 upon man's faulty promises to God.
14:36 It's now based upon God's faithful promises to man.
14:40 No longer all the Lord has said, we will do,
14:43 which is doomed for failure.
14:45 Now it's all that I have said, I'm going to do in you,
14:49 through you, and for you.
14:50 It's a better covenant built upon better promises.
14:55 And through the hands of a mediator.
14:57 You're not walking this path alone.
15:00 This is the beautiful encouraging promise from God.
15:03 I didn't finish the verses. Alright, Verse 7.
15:09 Alright, we've got one of those pejorative sayings here
15:12 that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Right?
15:14 So if there was nothing wrong with the original covenant,
15:17 God would never have made a second one.
15:19 But then He says what the issue was. He says:
15:25 And then He begins to quote Jeremiah 31.
15:28 Paul actually quotes Jeremiah 31 twice;
15:31 the new covenant twice in Hebrews.
15:32 In Hebrews 8, and I believe in Hebrews, Chapter 10.
15:35 He kind of likes that text, too.
15:36 So I feel okay whenever I overuse it;
15:38 in like every one of my sermons.
15:39 Alright, skipping down to Verse 12, He says:
15:47 That's closing out Jeremiah 31 that he's quoting.
15:50 But here it is in Verse 13.
16:04 So it's not the terms of the covenant that's at fault,
16:07 it's the self-confidence, and self-righteousness of the people
16:11 who made the agreement.
16:12 And Ellen White blows this thing up here in a few slides.
16:17 She says this first of all in The Faith That I Live By,
16:20 111.2. She says:
16:40 When you tell God, All that You've said, I will do,
16:44 you don't leave any room for God to do what He does.
16:47 Now this does not mean obedience doesn't happen
16:51 in the human experience.
16:52 There's a fine balance you have to walk in this.
16:54 But too many times we find ourselves in old covenant
16:57 experiences, which, by the way, always end up in,
17:01 you know, failure and stuff.
17:03 And we continue those paths.
17:07 And I don't really understand why we do that.
17:09 But in Exodus 19 and 24, the Israelites did not
17:12 recognize their nothingness.
17:14 And in turn they were not in a place to receive the
17:17 righteousness of Christ, which is a problem.
17:20 Now in From Eternity Past, Chapter 32,
17:23 it's called the Grace of Christ in the New Covenant,
17:25 or in Patriarchs and Prophets, Chapter 32,
17:28 it's called The Law and the Covenants.
17:29 She makes this amazing point.
17:31 It's a really good chapter.
17:33 You should read all of it.
17:34 It's not that long.
17:35 But she makes the point that you wonder, Well, why did God
17:37 make this covenant with the people if He wanted to make
17:39 this covenant with the people?
17:40 Like, did God make a?...
17:41 She basically says, first of all, that the new covenant and
17:44 the covenant that God made with Abraham were the same thing.
17:47 There's no difference between them.
17:49 And so then you think, Well, wait a minute.
17:51 Why would God make a reasonable covenant with Abraham,
17:54 and then make an unreasonable covenant with the Israelites,
17:57 and then realize His folly, and then go back to making a
17:59 reasonable covenant in Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36?
18:02 The Bible says, I am the Lord, I change not.
18:06 So what is the issue then?
18:08 She says that the reason...
18:09 So the covenant that God made to Abraham was a covenant that
18:13 Jesus would be his righteousness.
18:16 The Bible says that he believed God, and it was accounted
18:19 to him for righteousness.
18:21 Now, that covenant that God made with Abraham at that point
18:24 in time, no blood was shed then.
18:26 The blood that would ratify that covenant was shed at Calvary.
18:30 So from the time He makes this covenant until the covenant
18:33 is ratified in blood, there's a big chunk of real estate, right?
18:37 There's a lot of time that lapses from one to the other.
18:40 Well, in that intervening time the Israelites came out of 400
18:43 years of an appeasement based religion and paganism.
18:48 They completely lost sight of God.
18:51 And she says specifically that because they lost sight of their
18:55 need of a Savior, God had to allow them to make this
18:59 self-confident covenant, so that they would crash and burn,
19:03 and see their need of Jesus.
19:05 That's what she says.
19:07 And so there was blood that was shed right away
19:10 at the old covenants at Mount Sinai,
19:12 because the blood was shed there.
19:14 So why are there these two chronological terms,
19:16 new and old, because the new covenant is really
19:19 the original covenant.
19:20 So why is it not called the old?
19:21 Because the blood at the base of Sinai was shed first,
19:25 which is why it's referred to as the old covenant,
19:28 or the original... Not the original, but the first
19:31 chronological ratified covenant.
19:34 The new covenant is not something different.
19:36 It's going back to the original that He made with Abraham.
19:38 I know it sounds kind of confusing, but here's the point.
19:40 God made a covenant with Abraham.
19:42 That's the new covenant that we're given in
19:44 Jeremiah 31, and Ezekiel 36.
19:46 And the point of both of those covenants is, which is the same
19:49 covenant, Christ is our only hope of righteousness.
19:52 And He had to let the Israelites crash and burn because they
19:56 did not see their need of Jesus.
19:58 And God Himself is allowing a lot of us to crash and burn
20:02 right now because we haven't seen our own need of a Savior.
20:05 We're having the same problem this year, right?
20:08 However many years later we are.
20:11 So God's missional quandary.
20:14 God has an issue. Go to Ezekiel Chapter 36.
20:18 Ezekiel Chapter 36, and we're going to begin at Verse 22.
20:25 Ezekiel 36, beginning at Verse 22.
20:43 Shots fired. God has a problem here.
20:47 God intended for the nation of Israel to be the evangelists'
20:51 who would reach the world.
20:53 His intention was for the Israelites to be the messengers
20:56 to allow the rest of the world to know and to see,
20:58 through their example and teachings,
20:59 Hey, you can be saved, too!
21:02 This is what God intended for the nation of Israel.
21:05 But the Israelites really didn't understand, appreciate, value,
21:10 or succeed in any of that.
21:11 The surrounding nations are blaspheming the name of God
21:15 because of the people of God.
21:18 Paul says something very similar.
21:20 And I believe he's quoting from this verse in Romans 2:24,
21:23 and he's speaking to the church, you all.
21:25 And do you know what he says?
21:27 He says the name of God is blasphemed among the
21:29 Gentiles because of you.
21:35 The name of God is blasphemed among the
21:38 Gentiles because of you; church folk.
21:42 Now this is a problem for God, because He's missional.
21:45 He wants people to be saved.
21:47 And the very people He employed to tell people that they could
21:49 be saved are making them want nothing to do with God.
21:53 Bad religion is keeping people from being saved.
21:59 This is a primary issue that's keeping many of our young people
22:03 from standing for Jesus.
22:04 They're leaving our churches in droves because of bad religion.
22:08 And they're not finding it from televangelists.
22:14 I've had to spend so much time in my experience in ministry
22:19 undoing the harm caused by bad religion.
22:23 And what I love about Ezekiel 36 is that God Himself
22:27 has a beef with it.
22:29 Maybe you've been hurt by bad religion.
22:31 Guess what? so has God!
22:32 And if you've got a beef with it, so does He.
22:35 That's good news for you today.
22:37 That means that Jesus has nothing to do with the harm
22:40 that was done to you by religion.
22:42 That's what it means.
22:43 The way that God fixes this problem of bad religion is by
22:47 infusing good religion into the people of God.
22:50 And when the people of God look like Jesus,
22:52 you'll never believe it.
22:54 Unbelievers kind of find an interest in Jesus.
22:58 Who knew? So that's what God is looking to happen.
23:02 But then the question is, Well, um we've really not been very
23:07 good at that, so how are you going to achieve this?
23:09 Because if that's the case, this crisis is going to remain.
23:12 Well, thankfully He continues in Verse 24.
23:15 Ezekiel 36, beginning in Verse 24. For...
23:17 And I'm going to read through Verse 27.
23:27 And we're a filthy mess at this point.
23:33 All the things that you're running to right now to escape
23:36 from responsibility to God, God says,
23:38 I'll deliver you from that.
23:39 All of the things that you're running to; any idols that
23:41 you may have in your experience.
23:43 I'll cleanse you. I'll deliver you from your idols.
23:45 The He says in Verse 26:
24:00 Amen? That's a promise.
24:02 So God isn't just saying, you know, you get another
24:04 chance, and go get 'em.
24:06 There are ten I will statements in Ezekiel 36,
24:09 starting with Verse 22.
24:11 I will, I will, I will, I will, I will.
24:15 He replaces the we wills of the people
24:18 with His own, I will's.
24:19 He takes onus of responsibility for what's to come.
24:23 So God didn't want the Ten Commandments to be something
24:26 that we believed, He wanted it to be part of who we are;
24:30 the very essence of who we are.
24:32 Because it's the essence of who He is.
24:35 But we tell people about the validity of the law,
24:38 and we completely divorce that from who God is,
24:42 and who we were meant to be.
24:43 It just sounds like legalism.
24:45 And Ellen White said that the people, the Adventist people,
24:49 the people outside of Adventism say this about Adventism,
24:52 that they preach the law, the law, the law, and not Christ.
24:55 That was the problem.
24:57 We believe in the validity of the law, Amen?
24:59 But the way that that works is something that should be inward.
25:04 I don't care what you have on the walls in your churches.
25:07 I don't care what cross stitches you have in your house.
25:10 If nothing is going on in here, it's not helping God
25:12 in His missional quandary.
25:14 Are you understanding?
25:15 And so the Ten Commandments should be the essence of who
25:17 you are, not ten stuff that you're supposed to do.
25:20 When it's part of who you are, you do it naturally.
25:23 And God Himself is the One that makes that a reality,
25:25 and empowers you not only to do it, but to love it.
25:28 Does that make sense?
25:29 That's what God's intention is with the new covenant.
25:32 So then the wall was not the problem that
25:34 needed to be changed.
25:36 What needed to be changed was the people.
25:39 We were the problem that needed to be changed.
25:41 And the laws relevance remains.
25:43 Now, continuing in Ezekiel 36, picking up in Verse 28,
25:47 and I'll read to Verse 30.
25:59 The provision of God comes with the call of God.
26:10 Sometimes we feel that we can't be the people of God,
26:13 and we've got that Romans 7 quandary, right?
26:17 God's going to deliver us from our uncleanness.
26:20 He's going to do all of this stuff for us, but we just don't
26:22 feel like we deserve that, or could actually have that.
26:26 But God reassures us here in this passage that we can be.
26:29 He's making these promises again to a disobedient, ugly people
26:33 with stone cold hearts.
26:35 Now why would God make a promise to someone that He didn't think
26:39 it was possible? Right?
26:42 He knew it was possible. Now Verse 31.
26:56 The amazing long suffering, and provision of God will lead
26:59 people to repentance.
27:01 Romans 2:4 says, The goodness of God leads to repentance.
27:05 When God treats you this good, in spite of how awful, selfish,
27:09 and evil that you've been, it does something to the
27:12 human psyche, doesn't it?
27:14 It breaks your heart.
27:16 This is what God intended to take place to draw
27:18 us closer to Himself.
27:20 God would do that for me?
27:21 Yeah, but I'm dirty. Right?
27:24 I have idols. I have a stony heart.
27:27 I don't obey. Guess what?
27:31 God's goodness towards us is not based upon what we do.
27:35 It's based upon who He is. Amen!
27:40 The goodness of God is not conditional in the sense of God
27:44 will only show love and acceptance to people
27:46 if they do something.
27:48 God only, ever, always thinks thoughts of love towards you.
27:53 Always! He can change the behavior.
27:56 That's not a problem.
27:57 It is a problem, but He can handle that.
27:59 But what He needs is you.
28:01 And the only way that He's going to receive you is if you
28:03 know who He truly is.
28:04 Does that make sense?
28:09 So some here may be getting a little bit ancy.
28:11 Yeah, but what do we do? Right?
28:14 There's bound to be something that I'm supposed to do.
28:16 Well, there is. The I will's of God are
28:20 dependent upon your I will.
28:23 Here's what I mean by that.
28:26 I will cease trying to appease God by my deeds.
28:30 I will stop avoiding the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
28:34 I will choose to believe the things about
28:36 me that God believes.
28:38 I will yield my will, my power of choice, my desires to the
28:41 One who's given all for me, and who desires my happiness.
28:45 The I will's of God of the new covenant are dependent upon
28:48 your I will's. That is true.
28:50 And that's the hardest thing that we can do, isn't it?
28:52 The I will's of God are, again, dependent upon your I will.
28:56 God is asking us to lay down our old covenant experience of
28:59 I will's into rest in His.
29:02 This is what God is asking of us today.
29:05 Yielding your will, and choosing to receive Christ's spirit of
29:09 surrender is the hardest thing that you can do in human flesh.
29:12 I thought math was hard.
29:15 This is way harder.
29:17 Science was harder than math.
29:19 But anyway, this is way harder.
29:21 For me to actually yield my preference and my choice
29:24 in any given moment of temptation is quite difficult.
29:26 But all I'm really doing is receiving from Jesus His spirit
29:31 of surrender so that I then can surrender.
29:34 Does that make sense?
29:35 But it's what's going to lead to our happiness and our victory.
29:39 And so if you see that this process is actually going to
29:42 lead to success, you're probably a little more prone to
29:44 give it a try, aren't you?
29:47 Again, she says, What is justification by faith?
29:50 It's the work of God to lay the glory of man in the dust,
29:52 and doing for man that which it is not in his
29:55 power to do for himself.
29:57 And when men see their own nothingness,
30:00 then they're prepared to be clothed with the
30:02 righteousness of Christ.
30:03 You have to recognize that you've got
30:06 nothing to offer but you. That's it!
30:09 I think I just stole my thing from the slide, sorry.
30:12 We have nothing to offer God but you.
30:16 The best thing you can offer God is you: ugly, broken,
30:20 hypocritical, whatever.
30:23 If you bring what you have to God, He can do something.
30:26 God can do something with something, but He can't do
30:28 anything with nothing.
30:29 And if you choose to give God permission to do for you
30:33 what you can't do for yourself, which, by the way,
30:35 involves confessing that and repenting of our self-will,
30:40 then He can work with that.
30:42 All the resources of omnipotence are at our disposal, we're told.
30:46 But one of the things I love about Jesus is that your piety
30:49 doesn't impress Him, and your dirt doesn't discourage Him.
30:53 This is what I love about Jesus: that His love for you is at its
30:58 zenith no matter what you do.
30:59 Does that mean that He approves of the bad things that we do?
31:02 No. But does it mean that He is going to stop loving
31:05 us if we do them? No.
31:07 God's love for you is unchanging;
31:08 obedience or disobedience.
31:10 If you had a meter, a love meter of sorts, it's at its zenith
31:15 all the time, regardless of the decisions you make.
31:21 Our actions don't change that for the worse or for the better.
31:25 Now, oh man, go back.
31:27 This is what Ellen White... From the Andrews Study Bible
31:29 actually, on the comments of Ezekiel 36.
31:31 It says that God will move His followers to obedience through
31:35 the power of His Spirit.
31:36 And this is a unique declaration about the obedience as a result
31:40 of God's working in humans through the Holy Spirit.
31:43 Thus obedience is not our achievement or performance,
31:47 but a what? But a consequence of letting God work in us.
31:52 Alone we are not able to follow Him.
31:54 Power to overcome evil, live in harmony with His commandments
31:58 comes from a source outside of us.
32:01 Only the Spirit of God can transform hearts
32:06 and enable people to observe His laws and instructions.
32:09 And I love this one.
32:10 What God requires He also provides.
32:14 Many people in our church are wrestling because we at times
32:20 have uplifted the expectations of God at the expense of how
32:24 God enables us to walk in those expectations.
32:26 We forget the most important part.
32:29 Man, I can't wait to tell people all the stuff that God expects.
32:33 And they walk away.
32:34 And so the person that receives the message thinks,
32:36 Wow, um, oh man, this is bad.
32:43 Right? Like this is going to be the response of hearing what
32:46 God expects without telling people the way in which God
32:50 enables you to do what He expects.
32:52 Are you understanding me this morning?
32:53 Please do not give one instead of the other.
32:56 Because it sets our people up for failure. Right?
32:58 We read John 14:15, If ye love Me keep the commandments.
33:02 Which, by the way, in the Greek is not in the imperative.
33:05 It's not. It's a promise.
33:07 And He explains in the very next verse how it happens.
33:09 And I will pray to the Father, and He will send you another
33:11 helper, the Spirit of Truth, who's going to enable you
33:14 to keep the commandments. Right?
33:16 Make sure you don't tell people what Gold expects without
33:19 telling them how He enables them to do what He expects.
33:21 It causes severe psychological damage.
33:24 I'm serious as a heart attack.
33:26 I was just talking to someone this week.
33:27 It's crippled them.
33:29 Last generation theology has crippled them because
33:31 they're hearing all of what God wants.
33:33 He wants an end time spotless righteousness.
33:35 But they're not being told that, yeah, God does need us to stand
33:38 with spotless righteousness at the end of time,
33:40 but God provides that righteousness.
33:42 And we're actually going to cover that this evening
33:44 on what that looks like.
33:45 That God is day by day making us into the person
33:47 who could stand then. Right?
33:49 It's the day to day decisions you're making you should fear,
33:51 not what you're going to be then.
33:53 What you do now makes you into who you'll be then.
33:56 And so day by day we're surrendering our will to God,
33:59 and being transformed into His likeness.
34:00 And there will be a time when we're not going
34:01 to need a mediator. Right?
34:05 I digress. So, this is from Christ's Object Lessons.
34:10 As the will of man cooperates with the will of God,
34:13 it becomes what? omnipotent, all powerful.
34:17 Whatever is to be done at God's command may be
34:21 accomplished in God's strength.
34:23 And then she says this: All His biddings are enabling.
34:27 Everything that God asks of us, God provides the
34:31 means necessary to do.
34:32 Two good examples of this: John Chapter 5.
34:35 So there's a man at the pool of Bethesda
34:37 who's a helpless case.
34:39 In fact the most helpless case.
34:40 He's been an invalid for 38 years.
34:43 His legs are spaghetti noodles.
34:45 There is no chance for him to support his own body weight.
34:49 And as this man is in this condition, Jesus strolls up to
34:52 this guy and asks him a seemingly obvious question.
34:55 He says, Do you want to be made well?
34:58 And your response could be pfffff... Do I want it?
35:01 Of course I want to be made well! Look at me! Right?
35:06 And then he gives this story of all the reasons for why
35:08 he can't be made well.
35:09 My situation isn't conducive.
35:11 No one cares about me.
35:12 And internally there's a whole lot of shame.
35:14 Because we're told in Desire of Ages, he's in that condition
35:17 because of a lifestyle of sin.
35:19 Not that all people in that situation are because of
35:21 a lifestyle of sin, but he was.
35:24 So he's feeling a whole lot of shame and unworthiness, too,
35:27 that I'm not worthy of being made well.
35:28 I don't deserve to be healed, because look at what
35:31 I've made of my life.
35:32 Jesus doesn't give him the time of day on the pity party.
35:36 Then He tells him one thing.
35:40 Rise, take up your mat and walk.
35:44 Some could view that as taunting or insulting if they didn't know
35:49 who it was that was asking the question
35:50 and giving the command.
35:52 But this is what Jesus knew about this situation,
35:54 and why it wasn't taunting.
35:56 Jesus knew that by giving the command, in the command itself
36:00 was the power to obey the command.
36:04 Remember, the word of God imparts life.
36:06 The word of God has the ability to create.
36:08 So built within the framework of the commands of God
36:12 is power from God to walk in these commands.
36:15 And so Ellen White comments on this in Desire of Ages, 203.
36:18 Well, first of all, the guy does take Jesus at His word.
36:21 And by taking Jesus at His word he's running around the temple
36:25 like a five year old boy; jumping and leaping around,
36:29 because he has been made well.
36:31 She says in Desire of Ages, 203, that he took Christ at His word.
36:37 And that in acting upon His word he received strength.
36:41 And she says our souls are palsied, and of ourselves we are
36:46 no more capable of living a holy life than was the impotent
36:49 man capable of walking.
36:52 But she says that by believing what Christ has said,
36:55 and leaning our wills in the direction of the word of God,
36:59 we receive power from God to do that very thing that seems
37:03 impossible, that seems ridiculous. We can't.
37:06 Through Christ's strength we can do what He commands.
37:09 And it just makes sense really, because when we do this thing
37:12 of lifting up what God expects, at the expense of how enables us
37:15 to do it it leads to two responses: 1. I'm a loser,
37:18 or 2. God is unreasonable.
37:22 Neither one of those is going to lead to people sticking it out.
37:25 I'm a loser. I tried in my own strength; I failed.
37:29 There must be something wrong with me.
37:31 I'm a defective model.
37:34 I might as well throw in the towel.
37:35 Or, God is just mocking me.
37:38 He's telling me to do stuff that He knows that I can't do.
37:42 And if that's the way that He's going to roll,
37:43 I want nothing to do with Him.
37:44 This is the picture that we paint in the eyes of our young
37:50 people, and our members when we do not share the power of the
37:54 gospel to transform the life.
37:55 When we do not communicate the ministry of the Holy Spirit,
37:59 and how He makes us what we were into what God
38:01 intended for us to be.
38:03 That's actually what we're going to cover this evening.
38:04 Now, there's this amazing section of
38:08 The Great Controversy.
38:09 It's in pages 72 to 75.
38:11 I'm not going to read all of it.
38:13 But this is talking about the Waldenses when they were
38:15 Bible workers preaching the message of righteousness by
38:18 faith in individual homes. Okay?
38:20 And I hope you've got your listening ears with you.
38:22 This is again, 72 to 75.
38:24 But I'm just going to kind of skip through different areas.
38:27 They, the Waldenses, saw that under the guidance of pope and
38:30 priest multitudes were vainly endeavoring to obtain pardon
38:35 by afflicting their bodies for the sin of their souls.
38:40 We still wrestle with penance in our own movement, don't we?
38:43 In different fashions.
38:45 Have you ever had those moments when you disappoint God,
38:47 and your immediate instinct is to go do something in service
38:50 for God just to kind of get yourself out of jail? Right?
38:55 We still have this penance system in our minds,
38:58 because we feel so unworthy of the love of God; that He would
39:01 never just take me back because He loves me nonetheless.
39:04 Like I need to do something to show God that I'm worthy
39:07 of being taken back.
39:09 And our motives are okay in that sense, but the method
39:13 certainly isn't going to work.
39:14 That love is already ours.
39:16 God didn't send Jesus to convince Him that
39:20 He needed to love us.
39:21 God sent Jesus because He loves us, period.
39:25 That's all of us. Taught to trust their good works to save
39:29 them, they were ever looking to themselves,
39:32 their minds drawing upon their sinful condition.
39:35 Seeing themselves exposed to the wrath of God,
39:38 afflicting soul and body, yet finding no relief.
39:43 Thus conscientious souls were bound by the doctrines of Rome.
39:47 Thousands abandoned friends and kindred and spent their
39:50 lives in convent cells.
39:51 By oft repeated fasts, and cruel scourging, by midnight vigils,
39:56 by prostration for weary hours upon the cold damp stones of
39:59 their dreary abode, by long pilgrimages, by humiliating
40:03 penance and fearful torture thousands vainly sought to
40:07 obtain peace of conscience.
40:09 Oppressed with the sense of sin, and haunted with the fear
40:12 of God's avenging wrath, many suffered on until exhausted
40:16 nature gave way, and without one ray or light of hope they
40:20 sank into the tomb.
40:24 These people died without hope, and without Jesus.
40:27 And they worked their guts out in religion
40:30 from stem to stern.
40:33 They're in our churches; same situation.
40:37 People in this room are wrestling with the very
40:39 same thing right now.
40:41 Look what she says in response to that.
40:44 Jesus died as a sacrifice for man because the fallen race
40:49 can do nothing to recommend themselves to God.
40:52 The merits of a crucified and risen Savior are the foundation
40:56 of the Christian's faith.
40:58 The dependence of the soul upon Christ is as real,
41:00 and his connection with Him must be as close as that of a
41:03 limb to the body, or of a branch to the vine.
41:06 It was his, the Waldensian's greatest joy, to give hope to
41:10 the conscientious sin stricken souls who could only see a God
41:14 of vengeance waiting to execute justice.
41:18 And again, that belief structure is happening here too, isn't it?
41:25 It's just a human nature thing.
41:26 I'm not bagging on the Adventist church.
41:28 Don't misunderstand me.
41:29 This is my church! I'm not going anywhere.
41:31 But this is the type of stuff that we all
41:33 wrestle with, isn't it?
41:35 We're still wrestling with the full concept of Protestantism.
41:38 And with quivering lip, and tearful eye did He often on
41:42 bended knees open to His brethren the precious promises
41:45 that revealed the sinners only hope.
41:47 Thus the light of truth penetrated many a darkened
41:50 mind rolling back the cloud of gloom until the Son of
41:53 Righteousness shown into the heart with healing in His beams.
41:56 It was often that the case of some portion of Scripture was
42:00 read again and again, the hearer desiring it to be repeated as if
42:05 he would assure himself that he'd heard aright.
42:08 Is that, is that really what God thinks of me?
42:13 Read that again, please.
42:18 It especially was repetition of these words eagerly desired.
42:22 The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.
42:26 1 John 1:7. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,
42:30 even so must the son of man be lifted up, that whosoever
42:33 believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.
42:36 John 3:14, 15. The assurance of a Savior's love seemed
42:41 too much for some of these poor,
42:43 tempest tossed souls to realize.
42:45 So great was the relief that it brought, such a flood of light
42:50 was shed upon them that they seemed transported to heaven.
42:54 Their hands were laid confidently in the hand of
42:57 Christ, and their feet were planted upon the rock of ages.
43:01 All fear of death was banished, and they could now covet the
43:04 prison and the burning stake if they might thereby honor
43:08 the name of their Redeemer.
43:10 So what prepares people to stand in the time of trouble?
43:12 An encounter with the undying love, and acceptance of God
43:17 in spite of your brokenness, in spite of your
43:20 weakness and otherwise.
43:21 And when someone's willing to love you at your ugliest,
43:24 you're willing to give all for them.
43:27 In the secret place as the word of God was thus brought forth
43:30 and read, sometimes to a single soul, sometimes to a little
43:33 company who were longing for light and truth.
43:35 And often the entire night was spent in this manner.
43:38 So great would be the wonder and admiration of the listeners
43:42 that the messenger of mercy was not infrequently compelled to
43:45 cease his reading until the understanding could grasp
43:48 the tidings of salvation.
43:50 Because it seems so far from being accomplished,
43:52 they just needed a moment.
43:54 I just, I just need a moment.
43:56 I need some time to process this.
44:00 Often words like these would be uttered: Will God indeed
44:07 accept my offering?
44:10 Will He smile upon me?
44:12 Will He pardon me? And the answer was read,
44:17 Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden,
44:21 and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28.
44:26 Faith grasped the promise, and the glad response was heard.
44:31 No more long pilgrimages to make.
44:33 No more painful journeys to holy shrines.
44:36 I may come to Jesus just as I am, sinful and unholy,
44:41 and He will not spurn the penitential prayer.
44:43 Thy sins be forgiven thee.
44:46 Mine, even mine, may be forgiven.
44:49 A tide of sacred joy would fill the heart, and the name of Jesus
44:53 would be magnified by praise and thanksgiving.
44:55 These happy souls returned to their homes to diffuse light,
44:59 to repeat to others as well as they could their new experience.
45:03 They had found the true and living way, and there was a
45:06 strange and solemn power in the words of Scripture that spoke
45:09 directly to the hearts of those who were longing for truth.
45:13 It was the voice of God, and it carried conviction to the hearts
45:17 of those who heard.
45:20 This is what the gospel should do.
45:24 This is the type of response that you should see when the
45:27 gospel is preached.
45:28 Because we have people in our own ranks that are in bondage.
45:34 We've got to help these folks.
45:37 We're not getting to heaven alone folks.
45:41 We need each other.
45:42 We need to know the gospel for ourselves so that other people
45:45 can know the hope that we have.
45:47 A Bible study friend of mine's experience; a woman we pulled
45:51 out of the Adventist Reform Movement, she was in the life
45:53 of bondage and miserable.
45:55 Because what they do is bag on the Adventist church for not
45:59 following all of thus saith the Lord's.
46:00 For not following the Spirit of Prophecy as they should.
46:03 But then they themselves are not following the Spirit of Prophecy
46:06 as they should in the way in which they share.
46:08 They're tyrants! And this woman with... That was her first
46:12 exposure to Adventism.
46:13 And she's had years of misery, years of tyrannical misery,
46:19 because she's never going to be good enough for God.
46:21 All they keep talking about is the fact that you'd
46:23 better get it right.
46:25 You'd better get it right because the day is coming
46:26 when, no Jesus for you!
46:28 You've got to fight in your own strength.
46:29 You've got to fight in your own armor.
46:31 And you'd better be good enough to make it.
46:32 Which is not the way that Ellen White describes this process.
46:36 Us being without a mediator; the role of a mediator was to
46:39 transfer sin from outside the Sanctuary into the Sanctuary.
46:43 That's all! Jesus says He'll never leave you nor forsake you.
46:46 He doesn't stop loving you.
46:47 The difference is there's no need for sin to be transferred
46:50 into the Sanctuary for the beloved of God.
46:52 They're sealed, they're ready, and the work has to be finished.
46:56 Do you understand me?
46:57 Jesus is cleansing the Sanctuary that can't be continually
47:00 dirtied while He's cleansing.
47:02 But God is preparing His people to stand in that day.
47:05 It's not a crap shoot.
47:06 I just don't know, I just hope that then I'll
47:08 be someone different.
47:09 You're going to be then who you are today.
47:11 So take advantage of those decisions you have today.
47:14 Receive from God the grace of God for today,
47:17 and ask Him to make you who you need to be today.
47:20 And if you're doing this every day you'll be who
47:23 you need to be then. Amen?
47:25 Ah, it just frustrates me!
47:27 Anyway, so this lady when I explained to her the stuff
47:30 I'm telling you right now, she literally stopped.
47:32 She put her head on her kitchen table and she cried.
47:37 And she cried, and cried, and cried because for the first
47:42 time in her life she saw that she could actually be saved.
47:50 We can't do this to people!
47:52 It's torture. It's abuse.
47:54 If it was done in any other form than spiritual, you should go to
47:58 jail for something like that.
48:04 What she came to see is that she could find rest in Jesus,
48:08 but rest is not inactivity.
48:10 Don't get freaked out by the word rest.
48:12 That's why a lot of us are so anxious.
48:14 We hate that word because it sounds like
48:16 I don't get to do anything.
48:19 I don't get the ownership of what happens.
48:21 You shouldn't have any ownership.
48:22 If you did you'd be in the same old covenant
48:24 problem you had before.
48:25 Resting in Jesus is choosing to receive His faithfulness,
48:30 His surrender, His peace, and His rest.
48:34 We need rest, you all.
48:36 We're Seventh-day Adventists.
48:38 We believe in rest.
48:40 Some of us keep two days.
48:41 We sleep on Sunday, too, don't we? Right?
48:44 We believe in rest.
48:46 My friend calls it the Adventist day of rest because then you can
48:49 like sleep in, because you have to come to church on Sabbath.
48:51 But rest is not inactivity.
48:54 You actually do more when God is working through you.
48:57 The people who have rest in God are the people who do
49:00 the most work for God.
49:03 So don't be afraid of the word rest.
49:05 It's not inactivity.
49:06 Now Romans, Chapter 8... Oh my!
49:10 Romans, Chapter 8... I want to be a good boy.
49:13 I want to be under sixty minutes.
49:14 Pray for me, would you?
49:15 Romans, Chapter 8, beginning in Verse 3.
49:17 We're almost there.
49:19 Why only three slides?
49:20 I've got plenty of time.
49:21 Romans, Chapter 8. I love this text now.
49:25 After giving this background, this is the beauty
49:27 of Romans, Chapter 8.
49:29 I'm actually beginning at Verse 1.
49:55 Jesus had a nature like ours.
49:57 It could have fallen.
49:58 And He overcame sin in the flesh.
50:01 And you know how? By continually abiding in God.
50:05 By continually yielding His power of choice and decision
50:08 to God, and by continually receiving from God power
50:11 to do the right thing.
50:13 He said, Of Myself I can do how much? nothing.
50:17 Jesus was totally dependent upon God.
50:19 So when you get yourself in trouble, it's when you say,
50:22 I got it. I need to. I ought.
50:25 That's what leads to our ineptitudes.
50:27 We need to recognize that I know that God wants me to
50:30 obey, and expects me obedience of me, but I also have to be
50:33 humble enough to acknowledge the fact that I'm
50:35 not capable of that.
50:36 And I'm going to have to come to God to receive it.
50:38 That's the difference.
50:40 Are you understanding?
50:41 We're not downplaying obedience.
50:42 We're actually uplifting obedience,
50:44 because this one is actually possible.
50:45 This is the only gospel in which obedience is possible.
50:51 We're lifting up the law.
50:52 We're lifting up the God of the law.
50:54 We're not downplaying obedience.
50:55 We're explaining the process.
50:57 And by not giving practical education to our people,
51:01 by theorizing them to death we're killing them.
51:04 We, we're killing our church members by not giving practical,
51:10 line by line instruction on how to live holy lives.
51:12 Don't downplay the expectations of God.
51:18 Uplift how God enables you to do the expectations of God,
51:22 and uplift the loveliness of Jesus who made that possible,
51:27 and this process will be successful.
51:30 Continuing... So Jesus overcame sin in the flesh.
51:33 He condemned it in the flesh.
51:35 And here's why in Verse 4. So...
51:44 God wants you to walk in obedience to the commandments.
51:46 But the only way that's possible is by acknowledging your
51:49 ineptitude, and by recognizing that Jesus alone is sufficient.
51:53 Jesus succeeds so that you could keep the law.
51:56 So obedience is something God wants.
51:58 But this is how it works. Verse 6.
52:17 Now, some of you may be thinking, that, yeh that's all
52:20 well and good, but that can't be talking about me.
52:23 Because you don't know my story.
52:25 I've done some really dastardly things.
52:28 I'm an awful person.
52:30 This cannot apply to me.
52:31 The promises of God apply to everyone else, but not me.
52:34 And there are people in our own church that feel this way.
52:37 And they are not bad people for feeling this way.
52:39 They need to be loved, and encouraged, and overwhelmed
52:42 with the loveliness of Jesus, and the acceptance
52:46 as listed in the gospel.
52:47 But God anticipates this type of response.
52:51 And do you know what the very next thing is
52:53 that's in Scripture?
52:54 It's Ezekiel 37 and the dry bones.
52:57 Some of you may be thinking that has
52:59 nothing to do with this.
53:00 I beg to differ. Oh, contraire mon frere, I would say.
53:05 Read with me, would you? Ezekiel 37.
53:13 Valleys were always places of discouragement.
53:53 Very similar to Ezekiel 36.
54:10 This is what many false revivals look like.
54:13 A whole lot of noise, a whole lot of action,
54:16 but it's lacking the power of God.
54:19 And so he continues. Verse 9.
54:44 I venture to say that what the Seventh-day Adventist church,
54:47 the remnant church of God needs right now is this very breath;
54:51 the outpouring of God to give us strength to be an exceedingly
54:55 strong and big army to finish the work that
54:58 He's asked us to do.
55:44 When God gets a hold of people and transforms them
55:47 everybody takes notice.
55:48 This is why God said, And then all the world will know Me
55:52 when I'm hallowed in you before their eyes.
55:54 That's what it looks like.
55:55 This is what God wants to give to everyone in this room today.
55:59 If you've been wrestling with the expectations of God,
56:03 but haven't gotten where you wanted to go,
56:04 there's good news for you today.
56:06 It's called the new covenant.
56:08 It's the covenant He made with Abraham.
56:10 It's the covenant He longs to make with you.
56:13 Remember, He's your husband.
56:15 Maybe you've been a perpetual breaker of that covenant.
56:20 Maybe you feel as dead as the bones in the
56:24 middle of the valley.
56:26 There's good news for you today.
56:28 There's a God in heaven who's creative powers know no bounds,
56:33 and who loves you more than His own eternal existence,
56:36 who has what's necessary to make you what you need to be.
56:40 But the big variable today is what will you do with
56:44 the promises of God?
56:47 What will you do when He asks you to rise,
56:50 take up your matt and walk?
56:52 Will you believe Him?
56:55 Will you act upon His word and receive strength?
56:59 His encouragement and His appeal to you today is,
57:02 Please take Me up on My offer.
57:05 I will also let the house of Israel inquire of Me to do
57:10 this for them, He says.
57:12 That's available to you.
57:14 If this is something that you would like to partake of, I just
57:17 want to invite you to stand with me as we close in prayer.
57:28 Oh Father, I thank You that the love of Jesus,
57:31 that the love of the Father know no bounds.
57:34 That You're willing to do all that is necessary to transform
57:38 our lives, but You need access, You need permission.
57:41 You need permission from us at the heart wound,
57:49 and at the will level.
57:50 And I just pray that we would take that seriously today.
57:54 That we would recognize that responding to the promptings
57:57 of the Holy Spirit, that responding to the conviction
58:00 of the Holy Spirit is not something to be afraid of.
58:03 And that if God is asking something of us, with the asking
58:07 is the power to do, both to will and to do according to
58:12 Your good pleasure.
58:13 God our wills need help.
58:15 We are not like Jesus.
58:17 We are so independent.
58:18 We are so self-sufficient that we do not realize how
58:22 desperately dependent upon You we are for any good thing.
58:26 I pray that that would change today;
58:28 that we would see our own nothingness so that we can be
58:31 clothed with the righteousness of Christ.
58:34 Forgive our sin of independence.
58:36 Forgive our sin of unbelief, which is what the Spirit
58:40 came to convict us of.
58:41 Of not believing the things about us that God believes.
58:44 Save us, Oh God, I pray.
58:47 Cover those sins with the blood of Jesus.
58:50 And I prophesy to the breath today.
58:53 I'm praying that You would send that breath to revive us,
58:56 to awaken us, and that there would be an exceedingly great
59:00 army ready to finish the work that You've
59:02 laid out for us to do.
59:03 And I ask this in Jesus' name, Amen.