Participants: Pr. John Lomacang
Series Code: TWH
Program Code: TWH000027A
00:30 But this morning, let us bow as we go before the Lord,
00:33 then we are going to read the scripture.
00:36 And then we are going to open our hearts
00:38 to allow the Lord to lead us.
00:40 Loving Father in heaven, this is Your time.
00:47 I am Your servant.
00:50 Speak to me and through me,
00:54 I pray in Jesus' name.
01:02 In your Bibles, this morning, I'd like you to turn with me
01:04 to the scripture reading of the day.
01:11 I forget where I was
01:12 but it was just about a month ago.
01:17 Not that I need a new project, Pastor CA
01:20 because I have two, I haven't finished yet.
01:23 But the Lord impressed me to work on a new project.
01:26 If you're watching this sermon, don't steal my project.
01:32 We are all born with the...
01:35 It seems as though in the birthing room
01:38 that the doctor repeats to us John 3:16.
01:43 Because no matter where I go,
01:45 what the sporting events or not,
01:47 John 3:16 seems to be the most popular verse
01:52 ever quoted.
01:56 And so the Lord impressed me to write a little booklet
02:00 with a simple title "John 3:17".
02:04 John 3:17.
02:07 Because this verse to me,
02:10 encapsulates why we are called.
02:14 What a minister ought not do?
02:17 What a teacher ought not do?
02:20 What Christians ought not do?
02:24 And so this morning, walk with me
02:26 through what I refer to
02:28 as one of the verses that reveal
02:30 at the very cellular level,
02:33 why Jesus came.
02:37 Let's read this together.
02:39 Are you ready?
02:41 "For God did not send His Son
02:44 into the world to condemn the world,
02:48 but that the world through Him might be saved."
02:53 The ministry of reconciliation,
02:56 not the ministry of condemnation.
02:59 I was raised in an environment
03:03 where if the pastor didn't beat us up on Sabbath morning,
03:06 we didn't think we had church.
03:11 If we were not told how bad we were,
03:16 how swiftly we were going to hell,
03:18 how no good we were,
03:19 we didn't think we had church.
03:23 If our sins were not magnified and projected as it were,
03:29 if our sins were not trumpeted in all the categories
03:33 so emphatically chronicled before the congregation,
03:36 we didn't feel that we had church.
03:39 And we would say, "Pastor really beat us up today."
03:42 And we'd go home wounded and cut and bleeding.
03:46 But we'd come back the next week,
03:48 but that wasn't Pastor CA, I just want to make that clear.
03:53 I want to take bishop off the hook.
03:58 When you preach Jesus...
04:06 you cannot preach condemnation of the sinner
04:10 but you must preach condemnation of the sin.
04:16 There is no third choice.
04:19 Jesus came to condemn sin,
04:22 He did not come to condemn sinners.
04:29 As I was thinking about this,
04:31 I was asking myself the question,
04:33 "How many pages would this booklet need to be?"
04:38 And I thought to myself,
04:39 "If I don't determine that ahead of time,
04:41 it might become another book with more pages
04:43 than war and peace."
04:46 Because when you talk about the ability of Jesus
04:49 to see the vile sinner
04:52 and to forgive the most hideous sin,
04:55 we are talking about a Savior
04:57 who has come with a mission to seek and to save
05:02 that which was lost.
05:07 And I try to figure out what title can I get,
05:10 and so I decided to choose the title today "Undercover".
05:14 Well, needless to say
05:16 the title found its birth in a program I saw,
05:20 I think, once or twice called Undercover Boss.
05:25 I could tell by the reverberation
05:26 that many of you have peeked at that program.
05:32 It featured a high level corporate executive,
05:35 leaving the comfort of his suite, of his office,
05:41 of his limousines, of his palatial surroundings.
05:48 It pictures a man who has wealth that cannot be counted
05:53 or a woman who has wealth that cannot be estimated,
05:58 who is used to being driven to work,
06:01 who is used to being saluted.
06:02 "Good morning, sir. Good morning, ma'am.
06:05 Is there anything I can do for you?"
06:08 And at the snap of their finger,
06:10 they get a reaction without delay.
06:14 High level corporate executives who chose to go undercover
06:19 to find out what their employees
06:23 thought about them.
06:25 But to do so,
06:26 he had to remove himself from all the comforts of life.
06:29 And I've seen some of the beginning scenarios
06:31 where they showed the corporate executive going so far
06:34 as coloring his hair jet black,
06:40 choosing not to shave for two weeks,
06:43 to put on scruffy jeans
06:45 and give his address at a local motel
06:48 rather than his palatial mansion
06:50 somewhere on the isle.
06:52 And coming in to fill out a job application,
06:55 and sitting before and asking for whatever job he could have.
06:59 But he worked in such a way
07:02 that he was going to get in anyhow.
07:05 And he decided what parts of the company to visit.
07:07 So he began in the remedial places
07:09 and he puts himself under the control of an employee
07:16 wondering what he's going to get.
07:20 So he starts in the kitchen,
07:22 or the mail room, or the janitor.
07:24 And he says to the janitor,
07:26 "This is my first day on the job.
07:28 I don't know what to do. Can you tell me?"
07:29 And the janitor says,
07:31 "Well, I'm going to sweep, you mop."
07:35 And he says, "And don't miss the corners.
07:37 I know this is your first day on the job
07:39 but this company is really particular about
07:41 how clean its floors are,
07:42 so clean the corners very well.
07:45 And I'm going to inspect it,
07:46 and if I don't like it, you're going to do it over."
07:48 He's talking to the boss.
07:51 The boss humbles himself.
07:55 With all the authority within himself
07:57 to turn this employee
08:00 into a mound of sweating perspiration,
08:04 he humbles himself to take a command
08:07 from a lowly man at the bottom of the totem pole.
08:13 The story continues and he goes from one employee to the next,
08:16 and he gauges his final reaction.
08:18 And they are stunned
08:20 when they sit before him one day
08:21 as they are called to corporate office
08:24 to sit before the man, the woman
08:28 who has all the power.
08:29 And they walk in.
08:32 And in a very unusual way,
08:34 they, who have never met him before,
08:37 never met her before, they look and they say,
08:40 "Don't we know each other?"
08:43 And he says, "I told you my name was Mark
08:46 but actually my name is Jeffrey.
08:49 I'm the CEO of the company, have a seat."
08:52 And they sit down,
08:54 only to be told how much they are appreciated, how much.
09:03 He takes into estimation
09:05 their dedication to the mission of the company.
09:08 And then he continues to unfold before them
09:11 the gift, either financial or material,
09:14 I'm going to pay for your children's education,
09:16 I'm going to put aside a college fund,
09:17 I'm going to give you
09:20 to do what you will.
09:21 And they sit there only to realize
09:25 that when they succeed, he succeeds.
09:30 When he succeeds, they succeed.
09:35 And for the first time, they come to realize,
09:39 "Me and the boss are on the same level."
09:44 They have a camaraderie.
09:45 And from that day on, they go back to their position
09:48 and they serve him
09:49 with the tenacity and the dedication
09:52 unseen by any other employee.
09:55 You know, I believe, listen to me today,
09:59 I believe when we embrace
10:02 and come to the realization
10:04 that our dynamic, awesome, palatial,
10:09 ever living, glorious,
10:13 almighty God can come down undercover
10:18 through the back door of a manger in Bethlehem
10:21 and choose to lay with the cow and a goat
10:27 just to save me.
10:30 I want to talk to you about that man.
10:33 Excuse me.
10:37 He came undercover to find me.
10:44 And I'm going to walk you today.
10:49 I'm going to walk you today
10:51 and reintroduce you to a man
10:56 who is willing to lay it all down...
11:01 to find me.
11:05 And I'm going to try to do it
11:06 through the man named Levi, Levi Matthew.
11:11 Come with me to the entrance of the city.
11:16 And see a man standing
11:18 at the gate of the entrance of the city
11:20 asking for the tax to be paid upon entrance.
11:24 Levi stands at the entrance.
11:29 And in his position as publican and tax collector,
11:34 he loves to see people coming because he knows that today,
11:39 he's going to fill two pockets.
11:41 One for the city council, for the local IRS office,
11:47 and the other pocket for himself.
11:50 And he takes delight in choosing his victims.
11:53 What makes it even worse
11:55 than being a tax collector
11:57 is he is a Jew.
11:59 The Jews didn't like tax collectors at all.
12:04 But he chose to be hired by the Roman government.
12:06 And in his own community,
12:08 if there was a man that was hated,
12:11 it was a tax collector.
12:16 He was considered the lowest of the low,
12:18 he was under the radar.
12:21 He wasn't invited to dinners,
12:23 he was never thought of as a just man.
12:27 And rightfully so, because tax collectors
12:29 as you look at the word publicans,
12:31 they didn't have a good reputation
12:33 because they skimmed,
12:34 they even taught their under workers...
12:37 The publican was the guy at the top.
12:39 He was the one that supervised all the other collectors.
12:42 And as they brought to him,
12:43 they skimmed ones off of the first collection,
12:46 and then they skimmed off the profits
12:47 of all the guys that brought the collection.
12:49 So Matthew had a thick pocket on both sides,
12:52 and Jesus knew it.
13:03 While Jesus is entering Capernaum...
13:10 He approaches the toll booth where Matthew,
13:14 sorry, where Levi is sitting.
13:23 I would love to have been there
13:27 to see the look on Levi's face.
13:36 I don't know if he asked Jesus for a tax or not,
13:38 but Jesus greeted Levi
13:40 with the statement in Mark 2:14.
13:43 And the Bible says, "As he passed by,
13:50 he saw Levi,
13:53 the son of Alphaeus,
13:56 sitting at the tax office
13:58 and he said to him, 'Follow me.'
14:03 So he arose and followed him."
14:09 And I don't know why he did that.
14:14 But I can't help but to think that any time
14:16 you're in the presence of Jesus,
14:17 there's got to be something overwhelming
14:20 about His divinity.
14:24 When He spoke,
14:26 it was said of Him and recorded,
14:28 He didn't speak like other men,
14:29 He spoke as one having authority,
14:32 He didn't joke and jest,
14:34 but He was a happy individual.
14:37 He was not the guy cutting up in the party
14:42 but He was ever so cheerful.
14:45 He was the last one to speak
14:46 but His words were remembered
14:48 beyond all the other words spoken prior to His.
14:52 And there was a persona about Him,
14:55 you could only cover up so much divinity.
14:57 And I'm sure that every now and then,
15:00 the beauty of His divinity would flash through
15:03 in the eloquence and the pathos of His sympathetic words.
15:07 I'm sure He didn't say, "Follow Me."
15:11 He probably said, "Levi, follow Me."
15:21 But there is something about the textures of divine words
15:24 that finds within the heart of a man, a woman.
15:29 The sincerity of longing to be free from the condition
15:31 they were in,
15:33 and Matthew who Jesus renamed Matthew,
15:38 meaning the gift of Yahweh, He renamed him,
15:41 some expositor suggest
15:43 that Jesus changed his name from Levi to Matthew
15:47 so that in the community when they said,
15:50 "Is Levi coming to get the tax today."
15:54 Who's that sitting with Jesus?
15:56 It looks like Levi." "No, it's Matthew."
15:59 But it looks like Levi, but it's Matthew.
16:03 I love it.
16:04 Jesus is a God who believes in anonymity for the sinner.
16:10 That's a big word, let me just break it down.
16:12 He believes in covering our past.
16:17 So instead of looking at Matthew,
16:19 as they looked at Levi,
16:22 Matthew is so touched by the welcoming words of Jesus
16:28 that he leaves, he drops his tax collector's pencil,
16:34 he leaves the books
16:37 and he exits the office
16:39 following Jesus on a journey for which he has no idea
16:44 about its itinerary, "Just follow me."
16:52 You remember the phrase,
16:53 "Follow me and I will make you?"
16:55 Wait, I said to follow Me and I will make you.
17:00 Unless you follow Jesus, He can't make you.
17:05 Forget about the fish.
17:07 If you don't follow Jesus, He can't make you.
17:10 Matthew could have said, "Thank you but I've got
17:14 some accounting work to do and check with me tomorrow."
17:17 He, for whatever reason, knew and you know what,
17:20 I believe that when those moments
17:22 where divinity connects with humanity,
17:24 and hopelessness connects to hopefulness,
17:28 when darkness is chased by divine light,
17:32 and apprehension with assurance,
17:35 I know that there are those moments
17:36 when you know that somebody pulls up
17:39 and says get in.
17:40 You don't say why, you get in
17:44 because you know this is not a basic 'get in'
17:47 but the journey is about to begin.
17:50 And here we are today, able to talk about Matthew.
17:53 So change, you see, the reality of it is,
17:58 Jesus looked under the surface of who Matthew was,
18:02 of who Levi was, to who Matthew could become.
18:06 He looked below the surface of what everybody else saw.
18:09 1 Samuel 16:7, the latter part of the verse
18:13 that often refers to Saul says this,
18:15 I'm going to just read the latter part of the verse,
18:17 "For the Lord does not see as men sees,
18:20 for man looks at the," what?
18:23 "Outward appearance but God looks at the heart."
18:27 He saw in this man.
18:29 And Ellen White comments on that.
18:31 She says, "God saw in this man a heart,
18:34 a longing heart to be set free,
18:36 a longing heart to be different,
18:37 a longing heart to know something
18:39 and have a different reputation
18:41 than what he had so far engineered for himself."
18:44 And I can say much of the reputation that we have,
18:48 we engineer it of ourselves.
18:53 We make ourselves who we want to be.
18:56 We are known by the life we live.
18:59 We are known by the choices we make.
19:01 We are known by the failures in our past
19:06 by the way we treat each other, we are known.
19:10 But I believe there comes a day
19:13 where Jesus can look at the worst of us,
19:16 and see the best of us.
19:18 Come on, somebody.
19:19 I believe before He finishes the work,
19:22 He sees the finished work.
19:25 I believe, He walks up to the project
19:28 and says, "Jim, follow me.
19:34 Donald, follow me.
19:35 Angie, follow me.
19:39 Brian, follow me.
19:43 Jorge, what do they say in Spanish?
19:46 que pasa."
19:49 I don't know what I just said.
19:52 "Follow me."
19:54 He can speak any language.
19:57 And He says it.
19:59 As on the day of Pentecost,
20:00 we hear them do speak in our own tongue,
20:02 the wonderful works of God, "Follow me."
20:06 Every nation, every kindred, every tongue, every people,
20:09 it is said in Revelation,
20:10 "They follow the lamb whether so ever he goes."
20:12 And let me make this point,
20:14 it is not up to us to know where He's going,
20:16 it is up to us to follow him
20:18 because He doesn't follow us on the path we choose,
20:20 He follows us on the path He chooses.
20:24 And it's a narrow path,
20:26 which means you got to leave some things
20:27 before you get on the path.
20:33 But I want to tell you,
20:36 I rather squeeze through a tight opening
20:38 and get into heaven...
20:44 than stay on this side of the opening
20:46 because I won't unload my stuff.
20:53 Why else do you think Paul wrote what he did?
20:55 In Philippians 1:6, he said,
20:57 "When Jesus looks at us, He said to us,"
20:59 and this is what some of us need today,
21:01 we need the confidence.
21:02 What word did I just use?
21:04 We need the confidence.
21:06 Being confident of this very thing
21:11 that he who has begun a, what kind of work?
21:15 Good work in you will complete it
21:17 unto the day of Jesus Christ.
21:19 He didn't start what He couldn't finish.
21:23 But some of us think He did.
21:25 Some of us look at ourselves,
21:27 I could imagine what Matthew's
21:29 alternative ending could have been.
21:31 You know, there are movies with alternate endings.
21:35 We now live in a world with alternate facts.
21:39 Fake news, real news, but Jesus is good news.
21:45 I could imagine what Matthew's end would have been
21:48 if he had said to Jesus, "No, I got work to do.
21:53 Not today."
21:54 Do you know...
21:59 that when blind Bartimaeus said to Jesus,
22:02 "Don't pass me by,"
22:04 that was the last journey
22:06 Jesus was taking through that portion of the city.
22:09 If he had not reached out to Him,
22:11 then he would have not had the deliverance.
22:14 If the woman who had been bound for 12 years
22:19 with the issue of blood did not say to Him,
22:22 "If I could touch the hem of Your garment,"
22:24 she would never have been made whole
22:25 because it was the last journey
22:27 that Jesus was taking through that region,
22:31 in that village before He made it to Calvary.
22:33 You see, in so many of our lives,
22:35 we come to the last journeys.
22:37 We never know when it's going to be,
22:39 but if Jesus ever extends to the invitation to follow Him,
22:42 follow Him, let Him make you.
22:50 And I've been through a whole lot of following journeys.
22:56 But I'm getting to the place,
22:59 you know, this week I looked in the mirror
23:00 and I thought, "Man, I don't know
23:02 if it's a white light in my bathroom,"
23:05 because white light makes
23:06 your hair look grayer than it actually is.
23:11 Have you notices that?
23:12 If you use a yellow light, it looks better
23:15 but white light accents.
23:17 Come on, JD, say amen.
23:20 But white light accents the gray,
23:22 it makes it look super gray.
23:26 And I say to my wife,
23:27 "Now when we celebrate
23:29 our 35th anniversary next year,"
23:31 she said, "Now you're gonna color your hair."
23:36 I said, I don't know.
23:39 If I get a command on my...
23:41 But I think she'll let me keep it.
23:45 But there are those moments, there's a reason for that.
23:48 There are those moments
23:50 when the gray reminds you of the lessons you've learned
23:52 when it was black.
23:55 And when the first gray strand showed up,
23:58 you remember that lesson.
24:00 And the day you pulled out which you don't do anymore...
24:07 because you know what the end of the story would be.
24:10 Pastor CA made that mistake,
24:14 pulling out the greys.
24:16 I love him.
24:20 But everything about our life is a journey,
24:22 everything about our life is a journey.
24:25 When Jesus called me, I could not fathom
24:29 that I would go through what I did,
24:31 make the choices that I did,
24:33 go to the pitfalls that I did,
24:36 fall down and get up, and get up and fall down.
24:40 You know, the Bible says,
24:41 "A righteous man falls down seven times
24:44 but he gets up."
24:52 And when I read John 3:17...
25:03 When I read John 3:17...
25:08 Donna, when I read John 3:17,
25:13 I found hope again
25:18 because it's hard to live in a world like ours.
25:22 And even in the Christian community,
25:26 not to feel condemned sometimes.
25:33 And then I read the words
25:34 of the only man that could do it.
25:36 And He says, "I didn't come to condemn you.
25:41 I came to save you."
25:46 One of the failures of the Christian
25:47 is that we don't see Jesus as He is,
25:51 and we don't see ourselves as He sees us.
25:56 Go to 1 John 4:17.
25:58 1 John 4:17, look at how He sees us.
26:11 The beginning of this verse is just as important as the end.
26:15 As He sees us.
26:21 He writes, "Love has been perfected among us in this."
26:26 Let me not rush.
26:27 What it means in the beginning of the verse,
26:29 what it's saying is
26:31 that we finally get it about the love of God.
26:35 When love brings security in us about our standing before God,
26:41 He says, "Ah!
26:43 It's perfect now."
26:45 When we embrace with the rest of the text,
26:49 when we see ourselves the way He sees us
26:52 not as we are but as we can be,
26:56 we say, "Only love
26:59 could see me in the final phase
27:03 and not condemn me in the present phase."
27:07 That's what He's saying.
27:08 Read the rest of the verse,
27:09 "That we may have," what?
27:12 Come on, talk.
27:13 We have may, what?
27:15 Boldness in the day of...
27:16 How many of you want to look at the judgment and say,
27:19 "I'm not afraid."
27:22 I used to be raised in a church where,
27:24 "We are living
27:26 in the antitypical day of atonement."
27:27 That's right.
27:32 But the rest of the sermon made me feel like
27:35 I was going nowhere
27:38 until I did this, and I did that, and I did that,
27:43 and I did that, and I did that, and I did that,
27:47 and I gave up that, and gave up that.
27:51 And I thought I can't do it,
27:54 but I still came to church.
27:59 I had a conversation
28:01 with somebody earlier this week.
28:05 I'm going to read the rest of the text,
28:07 I didn't forget.
28:11 That said they were raised
28:14 in an Adventist community not like ours
28:16 but it was a number of years ago,
28:17 you know, the Adventist church went through some transitions.
28:19 It was a time when we were law, law, law, law, law, law, law.
28:22 Anybody remember that?
28:23 Law, law, law, law, law.
28:27 Condemn, condemn, condemn, condemn, condemn.
28:29 We were not fire and brimstone preachers
28:31 but we'll get real close.
28:34 We were not on the way to hell preachers
28:36 but we had so much do's and don'ts.
28:39 It was the generation when you counted
28:40 how many tracks you gave out,
28:42 how many people you witness through this week,
28:45 how much money you got in gathering.
28:46 Remember those days, Karen, Mitch?
28:48 And surely if you got $200,
28:50 you were more righteous than the person that got $30.
28:52 And they give you a plaque
28:54 and brought you before the church.
28:55 And everybody else felt like they were peons
28:56 because they only got $7.
28:59 So they're going to try harder next year.
29:01 In one of our churches,
29:02 Pastor CA knew who I'm speaking of.
29:03 One of our members in Bethel won every year.
29:07 He always got the gold every year.
29:10 People wondered how could they beat him.
29:12 They were more concerned about beating him
29:15 than they were about serving Jesus.
29:20 We were statisticians of righteousness
29:23 until I realize it is God who works in us
29:28 both to will even to bring the desire out and then to do.
29:32 If we simply yield ourselves to Him,
29:35 we begin to see ourselves in the final stage
29:39 as He sees us in the present stage.
29:41 Look at the rest of the text.
29:44 Because as He is, is that present tense?
29:48 So are we, when?
29:51 In this world.
29:53 End of 1 John 4:17, as He is.
29:57 How is He? Somebody tell me.
29:59 He's righteous. He's holy.
30:01 He's lovely. He's divine.
30:04 As He is.
30:05 When we come to Him so are we now.
30:11 Can I get an amen? Amen.
30:13 Not going to be, but now.
30:16 You see we've used the phrase 'sinner' to define ourselves,
30:20 how can you be a sinner and come to Jesus
30:23 and still be a sinner?
30:27 Something wrong with that.
30:29 Read your Bible.
30:31 Paul said, "Greet the saints in Rome,
30:34 greet the saints in Ephesus,
30:36 greet the saints in Corinth.
30:38 When you come to Jesus, you were a sinner
30:42 but you are now a saint by His righteousness."
30:48 But so many of us live in that, "I'm only human,"
30:55 rather than we have become partakers of a divine nature,
31:01 having escape the lusts that are in the world.
31:06 And then we don't realize, it is no longer I who live
31:09 but Christ who lives in me.
31:13 The life that this old broken body lives,
31:16 I now live by faith in the Son of God
31:19 who loved me and gave Himself for me.
31:24 You know, I believe
31:26 that there will be a revolution in this denomination
31:30 if we really preach righteousness by faith.
31:35 Forget about the Revelation seminars,
31:37 we've had a million of those.
31:40 I don't mean to...
31:41 I got invited to do a Revelation seminar.
31:43 I understand there's not a production issue
31:46 but I did ask, "Can I preach about Jesus instead?"
31:52 So since I didn't get release from the Revelation seminar,
31:55 I'm going to use Revelation to preach about Jesus
31:58 because He is in there, the Revelation of Jesus.
32:04 Because beasts got their place,
32:06 plagues got their place,
32:09 the woman on the beast got her place,
32:13 but Jesus has His place.
32:16 When all those, where there are prophecies,
32:19 the Bible says they will cease
32:22 but love never fails.
32:27 I used to grow up thinking that sermons about love
32:29 were just like, "Oh, am I going to church
32:32 to hear a sermon about love?
32:33 Can you preach something else?"
32:36 Until I got captured by the love of Christ
32:40 that constrains me.
32:45 That has changed me.
32:51 That gives me hope in the morning.
32:55 And in our home, gives us victory.
33:03 Because I realize that nobody could salvage a wreck
33:06 better than Jesus.
33:10 Isaiah 61:1.
33:13 Look at it.
33:15 Jesus likes to fix broken and leaking things.
33:20 He likes to spend time renovating the falling
33:23 and refurbishing the valueless.
33:26 Isaiah 61:1.
33:37 "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me,
33:42 because the Lord has anointed me,"
33:44 I'm taking this personally,
33:47 "To preach good tidings to the poor.
33:51 He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted,
33:57 to proclaim liberty to the captives,
34:00 and the opening of the prison to those who are bound,
34:06 to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord...
34:14 And the day of vengeance of our God,
34:17 to comfort all who mourn,
34:19 to console those who mourn in Zion,
34:22 to give them," what?
34:24 "Beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning,
34:30 the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness,
34:35 that they may be called trees of righteousness,
34:37 the planting of the Lord that He may be," what?
34:43 That's the message of the first angel.
34:45 Fear God and give glory to Him.
34:47 How can broken lives glorify God?
34:51 Lives put back together can glorify God.
34:54 Lives that proclaim liberty to the captives
34:56 can glorify God.
34:58 Lives that says, I see your ashes
35:00 but let me give you a beauty instead
35:03 can glorify God.
35:04 You see, the glory that God wants
35:06 is not in just the proclamation of 28 fundamentals,
35:10 but the proclamation of freedom of liberty
35:13 of the opening of those doors that keep people bound
35:16 in the prison of circumstances.
35:20 And Levi knows what it's like.
35:26 He got a call that He responded to,
35:28 He had a dinner, Jesus got invited there,
35:31 and they didn't like it, and the publican said,
35:36 "Who is that?"
35:39 Look at Luke 5:28.
35:43 Diving back into the story of Matthew,
35:45 "Who is that?"
35:55 Not only did Matthew follow
35:58 but everybody else that Jesus invited follow.
36:01 I'm going to dive into another story
36:03 and come back into Matthew.
36:12 Speaking of the other disciples.
36:14 When they were invited, the Bible says in Luke 5:28,
36:18 "So He left," how much, "all, rose up,"
36:23 and did what, "followed Him."
36:25 Matthew became the fifth disciple of Jesus.
36:31 He did what the other disciples did
36:34 when the invitation to follow Jesus came.
36:36 What many of us don't know is that
36:38 Peter waited a year and a half before He followed Jesus.
36:44 Andrew, his brother introduced him
36:46 but Peter hung out, and watched from a distance
36:49 until the invitation came to him.
36:51 So when you read the invitation,
36:53 it's powerful in the Book of John,
36:54 you see where Andrew introduces Peter to Jesus.
36:57 And then the next verse is a year and a half later,
36:59 when the Bible says He followed him.
37:01 Ellen White gave me that insight.
37:02 She said Peter studied Christ
37:04 but He didn't immediately commit himself to Him.
37:06 But when Peter committed himself to Christ,
37:08 Andrew fell off the scene.
37:11 That's why Peter had a lot of difficulty
37:13 because he only followed Jesus for a year and a half
37:15 out of the three.
37:16 He had a lot of bugs to work out in his life.
37:19 He didn't have the three year itinerary that Jesus had.
37:25 That's why he talks so much.
37:30 That's why he always stumbled over himself,
37:32 he was impetuous.
37:34 But when he got delivered, watch out,
37:36 the New Testament Church was not the same
37:39 because God lit Peter on fire.
37:42 Verse 11 speaks about this again,
37:44 speaking of Peter, James, and John,
37:46 the Bible reveals about these three disciples.
37:50 Verse 11 of John, I mean of Luke 5, it says,
37:53 "So when they had brought their boat to land,
37:56 they forsook all and did," what?
38:00 "Followed him."
38:01 You see when it comes to following Jesus,
38:03 let me put the gift of Jesus
38:05 in the most beautiful light today.
38:06 Lord, give me the words.
38:13 When it comes to following Jesus...
38:20 You can't anticipate what you're going to get
38:23 because you're going to be disappointed.
38:25 You know why, because you're going to get
38:27 better than what you anticipated.
38:32 You can say,
38:35 "We're just following Him for job."
38:39 And when He reveals to you who you are becoming
38:43 because of following Him, it even shocks you.
38:49 Today, we don't talk about the Pharisees,
38:51 we don't know their names,
38:52 we don't know the names of the scribes,
38:54 we talk about Matthew, Mark, Luke, John
38:56 because they followed Jesus.
38:58 Their names are immortalized,
39:00 their lives are now a testament to us
39:03 to what the Lord can do for us.
39:04 And every one of us, remember, every one of us is a disciple.
39:07 Didn't He say, "Go and make disciples of all nations?"
39:10 Didn't He say, "If you would be My disciple,
39:12 you must deny yourself?"
39:14 You see, when they forsook all,
39:16 let me give you the rest of the scenario.
39:18 And I've said this a thousand times
39:19 but allow me to say it one more.
39:22 I could never have orchestrated my life.
39:25 My wife and I could have never orchestrated
39:28 what has happened to us.
39:33 We couldn't pay for it.
39:35 We couldn't choose it.
39:40 We could never have experienced what we have.
39:45 That was done on the dime and the blood of Jesus.
39:50 So you don't ever give up anything
39:53 without getting much more in return.
39:57 You don't ever give up anything that's not placed with,
40:00 replace with something far better.
40:03 Doug and I was sitting down having lunch in the airport.
40:07 We love to have fun together.
40:10 You don't see the funny side of Pastor Doug Batchelor,
40:12 I said Doug but Pastor Doug Batchelor.
40:16 He's a fun guy to be around.
40:19 But he has the pressure of being in public all the time.
40:23 And he's a godly man.
40:25 We could sit down and we chronicle
40:27 our journey together,
40:28 we were sitting in the airport together.
40:30 He and I, and my wife, and Karen were sitting there,
40:34 talking about how God led us through the years.
40:38 And they were just two guys with our caps on,
40:41 I didn't do my hair.
40:43 He didn't have any hair to do,
40:46 waiting for our flights.
40:49 And we just sat there and just meandered
40:51 for the few minutes we had as we ate our lunch
40:53 before he got on to go to California,
40:55 and we got on the plane to go to Illinois.
40:57 We just talked about, "Look at us.
41:00 Could we have ever imagined this?
41:02 No. No."
41:04 So when Pastor Batchelor one day said to me,
41:08 "John, there's no way that you're going to go
41:10 to California without any prior theological education,
41:13 and be here for less than a year, and get a church.
41:17 There's no way that that's going to happen."
41:20 And I said, "Doug, God found you in a cave.
41:22 What are you talking about?"
41:25 We laughed about that.
41:29 We recalled our journey
41:31 of flying in a plane with no fuel,
41:33 looking for a place to land in northern California
41:35 on an evangelistic Sabbath morning.
41:37 My wife and his son, now deceased in the backseat
41:42 can't find the airport, it's socked in.
41:44 He's not an instrument pilot, switching between tanks,
41:49 trying to fly on flumes.
41:51 And we end up over the Pacific Ocean.
41:55 And turn around and by faith just pull the yoke up.
41:59 And God in His foresight,
42:03 knowing what His plan for us was,
42:07 allowed our plane to come up
42:09 between the peak of two mountains.
42:12 And we saw it maybe 30 feet to the right
42:15 and 30 feet to the left in the dense of fog,
42:19 our story could have ended a different way
42:21 but God, but God,
42:24 but God.
42:35 The devil would have loved to shut us up
42:37 that Sabbath morning.
42:38 We didn't get there for the sermon,
42:40 it was too late.
42:42 We got there for the closing prayer
42:43 and the closing song,
42:45 but we went back for the evangelistic series.
42:48 And here we are 30 years later, looking back at us,
42:52 older now, wiser now, grayer now, saying,
42:58 "Thus far has the Lord helped us."
43:03 You see,
43:06 if you give up your job, your alcohol,
43:08 your cigarettes, your lifestyle, your friends,
43:10 your pleasures, your opinions for Jesus,
43:12 you'll always get so much more.
43:20 Luke 14:33, look at it.
43:25 "So likewise, whoever of you
43:27 does not forsake all that he has
43:30 cannot be My disciple."
43:34 Quickly now, in Matthew 10:37.
43:36 If you are not fast enough, it'll be on the screen.
43:38 Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.
43:42 "He who loves father or mother more than Me
43:45 is not worthy of Me.
43:48 And he who loves son or daughter more than Me
43:51 is not worthy of Me."
44:00 So here we are, Matthew stands at the intersection
44:06 of all of his extortioned money.
44:10 Probably got a thick bank account.
44:13 Probably got some money hidden in his leather sack.
44:17 But he forsakes it and he follows Jesus.
44:24 And the Lord changes his name
44:27 from the one who Yahweh loves,
44:31 calls him the man that Jesus loves.
44:35 So I want to pause this morning
44:37 and take you through your journey,
44:38 Matthew 19:28-30.
44:40 Matthew 19:28-30.
44:43 I'm going to move a little more expeditious.
44:45 "So Jesus said to them,
44:48 'Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration,
44:51 when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory,
44:56 you who have followed Me," get this,
45:00 "You who have followed Me," can I say one more time,
45:04 "You who have followed Me
45:07 will also sit on twelve thrones,
45:12 judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
45:15 And everyone who has left houses or brothers
45:19 or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands,
45:24 for My name's sake, shall receive," say it,
45:30 "a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life."
45:36 Praise the Lord.
45:39 I don't know anybody wealthy enough
45:41 that could guarantee that.
45:44 I don't know anybody wealthy enough
45:47 that can buy me a ticket to be with Jesus.
45:53 Ellen White says in Desire of Ages,
45:56 page 273, paragraph 2.
45:58 She says,
46:00 "There was no hesitation, no questioning,
46:04 no thought of the lucrative business
46:07 to be exchanged for poverty and hardship."
46:10 Speaking about Matthew, "It was enough for him
46:14 that he was to be with Jesus
46:17 that he might listen to His words
46:19 and unite with Him in His work."
46:22 When Jesus called Matthew,
46:24 he didn't think about the business,
46:25 he didn't think about hesitation,
46:27 he didn't think about the questions,
46:28 he didn't think about the hardships of the poverty.
46:30 He said, "All that I want to be able to be
46:33 is to be with Him, and to hear His words
46:36 and do His work."
46:39 But I continue in the next paragraph,
46:41 Desire of Ages, 273, paragraph 3.
46:45 "So it was with the disciples previously called
46:48 when Jesus bade Peter and his companions follow him,
46:53 immediately they left their boats and nets.
46:57 Some of these disciples had friends
47:00 dependent on them for support."
47:03 Did you get that?
47:05 Peter, you need to support.
47:06 If you don't, if you stop fishing,
47:08 what are we going to do?
47:09 Some of these disciples had friends
47:11 depended on them for support
47:13 but when they received the Savior's invitation,
47:16 they did not hesitate and inquire,
47:19 "How shall I live and sustain my family?"
47:23 They were obedient to the call.
47:25 And when afterward Jesus asked them,
47:29 look at Luke, Jesus asked them.
47:32 Luke 22:35, "Jesus asked them,
47:34 'When I sent you without a money bag,
47:37 without a knapsack, no sandals, did you lack anything?'"
47:41 And so they said nothing.
47:46 At ASI I was in the pool,
47:51 in the Jacuzzi.
47:54 And I saw this young Asian man on fire.
48:00 He was talking 300 miles a minute with gusts of 500.
48:06 I said, "Who is this kid?"
48:10 Wednesday night he was at our prayer meeting.
48:17 He said he was a video game addict.
48:20 He was a movie addict.
48:24 And he became a youth pastor and he said,
48:25 "On Saturday nights," what do you think He did,
48:29 "He invited the kids over to see a movie."
48:32 That's how addicted he was.
48:39 And somewhere along the way, he met Jesus.
48:43 Gave up everything, including job.
48:47 He has no income.
48:50 He receives no money from anywhere
48:53 on a weekly or daily basis.
48:56 Yet, he's booked 14 months in advance
49:00 to be speaking everywhere.
49:03 And everywhere he goes, all he has
49:06 is his clothes and a backpack.
49:10 And he says, "I'm happier than I've ever been before."
49:14 We said, "Can we get you to come here?"
49:15 He said, "I'm booked for year and a half.
49:19 And I've put out no invitations.
49:23 And I'm happier than I've ever been before."
49:25 He said, "I got into prayer.
49:29 And when I started prayer, I couldn't hardly pray.
49:32 But I prayed for a minute, then five minutes,
49:34 then ten minutes,
49:36 then one day I made it to an hour.
49:38 I introduced the young lady to prayer.
49:40 She said, "I don't like to pray."
49:42 She prayed for a minute, five minutes.
49:44 He said, "I have a prayer room.
49:45 I invited her to pray in."
49:47 He said, "One day the Lord got hold of her
49:49 and she prayed for eight hours."
49:52 He said, "When I call young people to pray,
49:54 they're tumbling over themselves to pray."
49:59 And he said, "I cannot live my life
50:02 without talking to God and reading His word."
50:08 "So where did you get income from?"
50:10 "I don't have an income.
50:12 People just give me stuff.
50:15 And I've never lacked anything.
50:17 God provide every need."
50:19 Did you ever lack anything?
50:22 They said nothing.
50:34 And so while Jesus is sitting and inviting Matthew
50:37 to come to this place of transformation,
50:40 my sermon's going to take a little twist today
50:41 in light of the time,
50:44 because I want to be true to what I just committed to.
50:50 Matthew went through one condemnation
50:52 after the other for following Jesus.
50:55 Jesus went through one condemnation
50:59 after the other,
51:00 for inviting Levi to be His disciple.
51:04 At the suppers, the Pharisees called Jesus
51:07 a friend of sinners.
51:09 I want to tell you that's the most beautiful statement
51:12 I've ever heard, a friend of sinners.
51:25 Ivors, I'm going to go to...
51:27 Mike, I'm going to Romans 8, my last two scriptures.
51:30 Romans 8:1 and 2.
51:35 You see Matthew was invited
51:42 to reveal the glory of Jesus, I'm winding up now.
51:47 I want to invite someone to come and play softly.
51:51 Matthew was invited to do one thing,
51:55 that is reveal the glory of Jesus.
52:01 What was he invited to do? Reveal the glory of Jesus.
52:07 And he lived in an atmosphere
52:09 of constant bickering and condemnation,
52:12 they saw him for who he was and not for who he had become.
52:19 But Matthew decided, "I'm leaving that with you."
52:24 As one preacher said,
52:27 "Where they're talking about it,
52:32 it doesn't matter.
52:34 And where it matters, they ain't talking about it."
52:44 Matthew went through the personal condemnation
52:48 to reflect the personal glory of Jesus.
52:54 But I want to encourage you this morning.
52:55 If you decide to follow Jesus,
52:57 there's only one thing that you can do,
52:59 and there's something that you don't have
53:00 to concern yourself with.
53:02 Romans 8:1, here it is,
53:04 this is what we must come to the realization.
53:07 When we are at the intersection of who we were
53:11 and who we can be in Christ,
53:13 we must remember that when we decide to follow Christ,
53:16 don't worry about what other people think,
53:23 because these are the words of a man
53:26 who knows this firsthand.
53:27 He says, "There is therefore now no condemnation
53:30 to those who are in Christ Jesus,
53:34 who do not walk according to the flesh
53:35 but according to the Spirit.
53:38 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus
53:42 has made me free from the law of sin and death."
53:48 God broke the law that held Matthew,
53:50 and put a new law in place that kept Matthew.
53:53 Matthew, he was already condemned,
53:55 Jesus came to free him.
53:57 He was already rejected, Jesus came to accept him.
54:02 Matthew was saved not because of what he gave up,
54:06 hear me carefully,
54:07 but because Jesus refused to give him up.
54:15 And so I'm going to challenge us.
54:17 As a people that sometimes one of the challenges
54:20 we have as a people that are still flesh,
54:25 especially when you know each other as well as we do,
54:28 it's easy for us to say,
54:30 "Did you hear what happened to so and so?
54:31 Did you know what went on this week?
54:33 Did you know what happened?" It's easy for us to say that.
54:36 But I'm going to ask Mike to put this final quotation
54:38 up on the screen.
54:41 And I want you to follow me very carefully.
54:43 This quotation is powerful.
54:44 I've been challenged by God to take a different walk
54:48 when it comes to looking at his children.
54:52 Testimonies for the Church, book 5, page 94 to 96,
54:58 "God's all-seeing-eye
55:02 notes the defects of all,
55:07 and the ruling passion of each.
55:10 Yet He bears with our mistakes and pities, our weakness.
55:17 He bids his people, cherish the same spirit
55:22 of tenderness and forbearance."
55:25 Can you say amen?
55:26 Amen. That's the check.
55:27 True Christians will not exalt in exposing the falls
55:31 and deficiency of others.
55:34 They will turn away from vileness and deformity
55:38 to fix the mind upon that which is attractive and lovely.
55:43 To the Christian, every act of fault finding,
55:46 every word of censure or condemnation is painful.
55:52 Painful to who?
55:54 To Jesus.
55:57 For I end with the text I began with,
55:59 and I invite you to read it with me in your mind.
56:02 "For God did not send His Son
56:05 into the world to condemn us,
56:11 but that the world through Him
56:16 might be saved."
56:19 Loving Father in heaven,
56:21 I want to invite Your people to stand today
56:23 as a dedication to wanting to reveal Jesus
56:26 to the world in them, in our conversation,
56:29 in our reaching out, in our love,
56:32 in our prayers for one another,
56:36 and our thoughts of one another.
56:45 You found us at a tax office.
56:50 You bid us to follow You.
56:53 And now today, we want to do what You have called us
56:59 and equipped us to do.
57:01 And that is to reveal Jesus in and through our lives,
57:07 but not just our own independent lives,
57:10 we want to be the vessels through which Jesus is seen
57:13 in others through us.
57:16 He's revealed to others by us.
57:19 So today, Lord Jesus, help us we pray.
57:23 Give us the desire and the willingness
57:28 to invite this great Savior to come in.
57:35 Live in us, work in us,
57:39 transform us from the inside out
57:42 that the undercover God may be revealed
57:47 beautifully before a world that needs a testament
57:50 of the transforming grace of Christ,
57:53 to a world that needs to know that
57:55 we serve a God who forgives and delivers,
57:58 who loves and cherishes, who has not come to tell us
58:04 what we know about ourselves but to tell us
58:08 what we don't know about our Savior.
58:11 Send us forth from this place, Lord,
58:13 as lights shining in this dark community.
58:20 And when the day comes that
58:23 the world is in abject darkness,
58:26 may the lights in the lives of Your children
58:30 shine so brightly that in the hour of judgment,
58:36 we will give You the glory that You are worthy of.
58:41 This is my prayer, Father.
58:44 Do it for me, do it for us, do it for the families,
58:49 the husbands, the wives, the children.
58:51 We pray that You'll anoint our young people
58:53 as they go away.
58:55 Shine through them, the young men,
58:57 the young women, shine through them.
59:01 Shine through Ferrer, this young lady
59:03 who's just committed her life to you, shine through her.
59:07 And may the glory of God
59:09 be always seen
59:15 in the hearts of those
59:18 that respond to the call, "Follow me."
59:22 In Jesus' name I pray.