3ABN Homecoming 2017

The Sanctity of Suffering

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: C. A. Murray


Series Code: 17HC

Program Code: 17HC000004A

00:49 Hello and welcome! Praise the Lord we can come together
00:53 to study the Word. How wonderful.
00:55 We want to welcome everyone that's here
00:58 and everyone around the world that could be watching
01:01 and/or listening to these beautiful wonderful messages.
01:04 Are we having fun yet? Yes!
01:07 Good spiritual time, right? It's been a blessing.
01:09 And I know it's going to get better and better and better
01:11 because the Holy Spirit... we've been praying for the
01:13 Holy Spirit to come in among us.
01:15 So welcome to 3ABN.
01:17 We call it Homecoming and certainly Camp Meeting.
01:20 It's a wonderful time when we can come together
01:23 and be able to sing praises.
01:25 We can pray, we can study together
01:27 and draw closer to Jesus 'cause we do believe what?
01:29 He's coming soon! So we're just glad
01:32 and we welcome each and every one.
01:34 Today's speaker of the hour is going to be Pastor C.A. Murray.
01:39 He doesn't need an introduction
01:41 for most of you, right? We all know Pastor C.A.
01:43 You know, what a blessing he is to us as a personal friend
01:48 and a loved one. And may I say: he's real.
01:52 And that makes a difference, doesn't it?
01:53 He's a real man of God.
01:55 He knows the Word. God has given tremendous gifts
02:00 to him, and he's using those for God's honor and glory.
02:04 So he's going to be speaking to us here in just a few moments.
02:07 Again, we want to make you feel right at home
02:10 and we're glad you're here. Many's traveled from a long
02:12 distance and there's many more going to be coming.
02:14 So be praying for them as they travel and come together.
02:17 Especially those of you at home: we want you to know we love you
02:20 'cause it wouldn't be a good Camp Meeting or Homecoming
02:23 without people viewing and writing in
02:25 and letting us know what a blessing this Camp Meeting,
02:27 Homecoming, is. So before Pastor C.A. comes out
02:31 again I could spend a lot of time talking about him
02:33 as a personal friend and a man of God.
02:36 But I asked him did he want me to say anything.
02:39 Hi, Sweetie. He wanted me to say...
02:41 He wanted me to say something very...
02:43 I said: "Do you want me to say anything special? "
02:45 "Nope... no. "
02:48 And that's kind of the way he is.
02:50 He just wants to get on with the Lord's work.
02:52 And so we're very grate... But before he comes out
02:54 and speaks and blesses your heart
02:56 Celestine Barry is going to have our special music.
02:59 I think most of you know her.
03:01 God has gifted her... wonderful voice.
03:03 It will bless your heart. But I would like to have just
03:06 a quick prayer as we open the meeting
03:09 as she comes out to sing. So bow your heads with me
03:12 and just have our prayer today. Let's pray.
03:15 Our loving heavenly Father, we thank you for the privilege
03:17 of prayer. We ask now that You be with this meeting...
03:20 Camp Meeting today.
03:21 We ask that the Holy Spirit would be poured out in abundance
03:24 on everything that takes place.
03:26 May You be honored and magnified and glorified.
03:28 May the name of Jesus be lifted up.
03:30 We're going to praise You and we're going to thank You
03:32 for the day's activity because we leave it in Thy
03:35 capable hands as the Holy Spirit now descends and occupies
03:39 the hearts and minds of each one.
03:40 And we're going to thank you in advance for what You're
03:42 going to do. Be with Pastor C.A. in a special way.
03:45 Celestine in a special way as she sings.
03:48 May our heart be prepared for that wonderful message.
03:51 In Jesus' name we pray and for His sake, Amen.
03:54 So after the special music
03:55 the next voice you will hear will be Pastor C.A. Murray.
03:58 God bless you.
04:04 There is a candle
04:07 in every soul
04:11 Some brightly burning,
04:14 some dark and cold.
04:18 There is a Spirit
04:21 who brings the fire
04:25 Ignites a candle
04:28 and makes His home.
04:31 Carry your candle,
04:35 run to the darkness,
04:39 Seek out the hopeless,
04:43 confused and torn.
04:46 Hold out your candle
04:50 for all to see it
04:53 Take your candle
04:57 and go light your world.
05:00 Take your candle
05:04 and go light your world.
05:11 Frustrated brother,
05:15 see how he's tried to
05:18 light his own candle
05:22 some other way.
05:25 See now your sister,
05:29 She's been robbed and lied to
05:32 Still holds a candle
05:36 without a flame.
05:40 So carry your candle,
05:43 run to the darkness,
05:47 Seek out the lonely,
05:50 the tired and worn
05:54 Hold out your candle
05:57 for all to see it
06:01 Take your candle
06:04 go light your world...
06:08 Take your candle
06:11 and go light your world.
06:19 We are a family
06:22 whose hearts are blazing
06:26 Let's raise our candles
06:29 and light up the sky.
06:33 Prayin' to our Father
06:36 in the name of Jesus
06:40 Make us a beacon
06:43 in darkest hours.
06:47 So carry your candle,
06:50 run to the darkness,
06:54 Seek out the helpless,
06:57 deceived and poor
07:01 Hold out your candle
07:05 for all to see it
07:08 Take your candle
07:12 and go light your world.
07:21 Run to the darkness...
07:24 Hopeless...
07:28 confused and torn
07:32 Candle...
07:36 for all to see it...
07:38 Take your candle
07:40 and go light your world...
07:44 Take your candle
07:51 and go light your world.
08:04 Amen!
08:12 Good morning. Good morning!
08:14 I almost want to say "Good morning and Happy Sabbath"
08:18 but we're not quite there just yet.
08:21 I want to thank my dear friend Pastor Kenny
08:24 for his gracious introduction
08:26 and Celestine for singing for us this morning.
08:31 We want to go right into our message 'cause there's a lot
08:34 to say and little time to do it.
08:37 Turn with me if you will to I Peter chapter 3.
08:41 The title of our message is
08:43 The Sanctity of Suffering/Sacrifice.
08:48 I'm going to use those two words somewhat interchangeably:
08:53 suffering and sacrifice. So we're in I Peter
08:58 chapter 3
09:01 and we'll look at verses 13 and 14
09:07 and then muse for the next several moments.
09:10 Shall we pray? Gracious Father, we praise You and thank You
09:14 for the wonderful privilege that is ours to study Your Word.
09:19 We thank You for the walk that we have with Jesus
09:22 which is not always easy.
09:25 But we have the promise that we will never walk alone.
09:32 So bless us this morning, Father, as we study together.
09:35 Give us encouragement and strength
09:38 and faith. In Jesus' name, Amen. Amen.
09:45 I Peter chapter 3. I'm looking at verses 13 and 14.
09:50 The Bible says: "And who is he
09:55 who will harm you if you become followers
10:00 of what is good?
10:03 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake... "
10:09 What does the Bible say?
10:11 "happy are you. " My New King James says:
10:15 "you are blessed. "
10:18 "But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake
10:22 you are blessed. " Now that is not one of those
10:26 texts that we tend to readily and heartily say amen to.
10:30 But we should! Amen! Amen.
10:35 I said Amen. Amen! Um-hmm.
10:42 The title of this sermon and this text we just read
10:45 presupposes that there is a blessing
10:52 to be had from suffering and sacrifice.
10:59 Amen. Amen.
11:03 The sermon presupposes a number of realities,
11:08 many of which are spiritual - which makes them
11:11 a little counterintuitive
11:16 to the carnal mind which is why
11:18 I'm going to have to pull these amens out of you.
11:24 In other words, the subject of suffering
11:28 and sacrifice, having to endure trial and hardship
11:34 is something that we naturally recoil from.
11:37 There's nobody just running to suffering.
11:40 We tend to want to reject it.
11:44 One of the reasons - certainly not the only - but one
11:46 of the reasons is that so many unenlightened
11:51 and uninformed and frankly misinformed...
11:54 I call them "purveyors of pastoral Pablum... "
12:06 teach us that when you come to Jesus
12:09 all of your trials, all of your suffering,
12:13 all of your challenges come to an end.
12:17 To which I say: "Are you kidding? "
12:24 Anybody who's been in the church, who's been in the Lord
12:27 even for several moments, knows
12:32 that there are some trials, some troubles
12:36 that cease, but there are other trials... other trials...
12:41 that begin. Amen. Amen.
12:45 I knew you were going to say amen to that one.
12:48 When you come to the Lord, the truth is,
12:51 Lewis, war breaks out. That's right. Amen? Amen.
12:56 And you fight that war as long as you're in Jesus
12:58 or until you close your eyes.
13:00 And even if you leave Jesus
13:03 you don't get excused from the war.
13:08 Certain troubles, certain trials, certain suffering
13:13 God solves for you.
13:17 But there are certain trials, certain suffering,
13:21 certain things God chooses to solve THROUGH you.
13:26 Amen... amen.
13:28 The truth is: nobody gets a scholarship on suffering.
13:35 Amen! Everybody's got to pay their spiritual dues.
13:40 I cannot pay it for you; you cannot pay it for me.
13:44 You've gotta pay it for yourself in Jesus. Amen!
13:50 The Bible tells us how to address this unavoidable aspect
13:56 of our Christian experience.
13:59 Ladies and gentlemen: you are going to suffer.
14:03 Amen... amen.
14:06 You're not going to get a pass.
14:09 And if you have not suffered... two words:
14:12 keep living. Amen? Amen!
14:17 It's coming... it's coming.
14:22 Now I'm not going to tell you to rejoice in suffering.
14:27 Because if you don't love Jesus and have a relationship with
14:30 Him that's almost impossible to do.
14:33 Unless you are into pain or a masochist or have some
14:39 kind of Munchausen thing going on.
14:42 I will not say it... I'll let Peter do it.
14:47 Amen... amen.
14:50 Peter has a little more nerve than me.
14:52 And Peter says in I Peter chapter 4 verse 12:
14:56 "Beloved, think it not strange
15:01 concerning the fiery trial
15:05 which is to try you as though some strange thing
15:10 has happened unto you. "
15:12 So when you get your turn... Years ago... years ago
15:15 when I was pastoring in New York City...
15:17 the conference treasurer told me something that I've
15:19 never forgotten. He said: "C.A., everybody gets a turn. "
15:25 Amen... amen.
15:27 Everybody gets a turn.
15:29 So I agree with Peter
15:32 that there is something...
15:35 something sanctifying in sacrifice
15:41 and suffering. In order words, this thing
15:43 that we so much want to avoid
15:47 is actually for our good.
15:51 Amen. Amen!
15:54 And for our growing. Amen.
15:57 I see now this is going to be a tough one.
16:05 Suffering... dealing with adversity...
16:08 builds or perhaps more emphatically or more accurately
16:13 reveals our character,
16:18 the presence of the Holy Spirit - or lack of same.
16:25 Suffering - dealing with adversity - shows
16:29 if we have any spiritual backbone.
16:36 Amen!
16:38 Shows you what you're made of.
16:40 God already knows what you're made of... YOU need to know.
16:43 That's right. Amen! Um-hmm.
16:48 So let's look at this quickly.
16:52 Let's look at... well, let's do it in reverse.
16:55 Let's kind of do a reverse kind of thing here.
16:57 Let's look at what we ought not to be suffering for
17:00 then we'll look at the positive aspect of sacrifice
17:03 and suffering. Is that all right?
17:05 I'm going to draw this particular part of the scripture
17:08 from a translation by Thomas Nelson Publishers
17:11 called The Voice. Only been out a couple years.
17:14 I'm not ready to heartily endorse it
17:16 because it calls itself a dynamic equivalent translation.
17:21 That kind of gives me the "willies" a little bit.
17:23 But there are things in here that I find that you can use.
17:25 This is like the New Living Translation.
17:27 You don't want to use it for doctrine
17:29 but it can be inspirational.
17:30 And The Voice is kind of like that.
17:32 I'm in I Peter chapter 4 verse 15.
17:34 I Peter 4:15.
17:39 And I'm reading from the translation called The Voice.
17:42 "But none of you should ever merit suffering
17:46 like those who have murdered or stolen or meddled in the
17:50 affairs of others or done evil things. "
17:54 Now one translation translates that last part as...
17:58 as "trying to pry into other people's affairs. "
18:04 Amen. Um-hmm.
18:06 New Living says: "Trying to run other people's lives. "
18:09 When you try to play God with other people's lives
18:11 you're gonna suffer
18:13 'cause that's not your role. That's God's job.
18:17 One translation I looked up the other day said
18:19 "Trying to be the boss of other people's lives. "
18:22 When you try to play God for other people
18:25 you're putting yourself on dangerous ground.
18:28 So now let's jump quickly into our case study.
18:30 Our target and test subject for our study today
18:34 will be John the Baptist.
18:37 Let's go to Luke chapter 7 and I want to begin reading
18:40 at verse 24.
18:42 Luke chapter 7, and I think I want to begin
18:47 reading at verse 24. Then we'll do some comparing
18:50 and contrasting. Luke 7 verse 24.
18:53 The Bible says in Luke 7:24
18:57 "The poor have the gospel preached to them
19:00 and blessed is he who is not offended
19:04 because of Me. "
19:07 Oh, that's 23. Here we are... 24:
19:11 "When the messengers of John had departed
19:13 He began to speak to the multitudes concerning John. "
19:17 You know, every year I've got to buy a Bible with bigger print.
19:21 And I just got this one two years ago. This is my
19:23 handy study and I love it and somehow it's shrinking on me.
19:30 "What did you go out into the wilderness to see?
19:34 A reed shaken by the wind?
19:36 But what did you go out to see?
19:38 A man clothed in soft garments?
19:41 Indeed, those who are gorgeously appareled
19:46 and live in luxury are in king's courts.
19:49 But what did you go out to see?
19:52 A prophet? Yes, I say to you and more than a prophet.
19:56 This is he of whom it was written: 'Behold I send My
20:01 messenger before your face
20:03 who will prepare your way before Me. ' "
20:06 Now, look at verse 28.
20:07 "For I say to you... " I'm in the New King James...
20:09 "Among those born of woman
20:12 there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist. "
20:17 I want to stop there.
20:19 I want to begin our study by comparing and contrasting -
20:23 excuse me - this statement with one that precedes it.
20:27 So you're in chapter 7 already. Let's go back to verse 20.
20:33 "When the men had come to Him
20:35 they said: "John the Baptist has sent us to You saying:
20:41 'Are You the coming One or do we look for another? ' "
20:48 I'll go a little bit further.
20:50 "And that very hour He cured many of infirmities,
20:54 afflictions, and evil spirits
20:57 and to many blind He gave sight. "
21:04 Now let's try to look at the pedigree
21:09 of John the Baptist by comparing him with another similar case.
21:13 Abraham had a child of promise
21:16 whose name was Isaac.
21:20 Zacharias had a child of promise. His name was John
21:24 who we call "The Baptizer. "
21:28 Zacharias was informed of the coming birth of John
21:32 by Gabriel in the Holy Place standing before the altar
21:36 of incense. Zacharias, like Abraham,
21:40 was an older man who with reason
21:44 doubted his ability to father a child.
21:51 You know, many times God does that.
21:53 God does things and sets things up so that when
21:56 it does take place you know it wasn't you
21:59 it was God. Anybody know what I'm talking about?
22:01 Amen! And so we see this parallel.
22:03 Abraham and Sarah were too old to have children.
22:09 Zacharias and his wife, again: too old to have children.
22:13 So let's look at this scenario in Luke chapter 1 verse 8.
22:18 Luke 1 verse 8.
22:19 Here is Zacharias' response to Gabriel's announcement
22:24 "You're going to have a child. "
22:26 "Whereby shall I know this? For I am an old man
22:30 and my wife stricken in years. "
22:33 Now, he is asking for a sign.
22:37 Basically: "You're saying I'm going to have a child.
22:41 I'm too old for children
22:43 and my wife is way too old for children
22:46 so how am I going to know that this is true? "
22:49 He is asking for a sign.
22:51 He forgot what we many times forget and that is:
22:57 what God promises He is able to perform.
23:02 Amen! Amen? Amen... yeah. When God makes a promise
23:05 it's not really based on...
23:07 the promise is not based on your belief.
23:10 God makes a promise He is able to make that promise happen.
23:13 Amen. Amen! That is a good handle to hold on to
23:17 when you're suffering or having to make a sacrifice.
23:20 That if God asks you to do some- thing He's going to enable you
23:23 to do precisely that. Amen.
23:26 God doesn't throw promises out and throw injunctions out
23:30 and throw things out for you to do and then not assist you
23:33 in getting them done. If God says: "Do this, "
23:36 He has the ability to help you do this. Amen? Amen. All right.
23:41 So here now in Luke 1:19 is God's answer.
23:49 Three words: "I am Gabriel. "
23:52 Now what kind of answer is that?
23:58 "I need a sign. " "I am Gabriel. "
24:02 It's a great answer... it really is.
24:06 Ellen White says in Desire of Ages page 99
24:09 "The words 'I am Gabriel' shows that he occupies
24:12 the highest position and the message is important.
24:16 Gabriel is next in honor to the Trinity. "
24:22 God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit,
24:25 Gabriel. So Gabriel is saying: "I am Gabriel. "
24:30 In other words: "I didn't come here to pull your leg. "
24:35 Um-hmm. "I didn't come here to waste time. "
24:38 "I didn't fly down here to joke with you. "
24:41 "I am Gabriel. "
24:45 Yeah. "I'm Gabriel; I'm pretty high up in this thing
24:50 so if I'm here it's because God's got something that
24:54 you need to follow. " Amen!
24:57 "I am Gabriel. " He didn't say: "Listen,
24:59 let me explain this to you: God is going to give you youth.
25:02 God is going to give you some sort of spiritual Viagra
25:05 and all of a sudden you're going to have a child
25:07 and it's going to be wonderful. "
25:08 He said: "No... no... I'm Gabriel. "
25:14 Amen. "I'm Gabriel, and I'm here to tell you something
25:20 that God is getting ready to do
25:23 and your job is to have faith and follow through. "
25:27 "I am Gabriel. "
25:29 This is the same Gabriel who 500 years earlier
25:33 homeschooled Daniel and helped him write
25:37 one of the greatest prophetic books in the Bible.
25:40 Amen! So because he doubted
25:42 he was not allowed to speak again until the prophecy
25:46 was fulfilled. He was struck dumb.
25:49 You see, when you doubt you open yourself up for suffering.
25:53 You've gotta trust God. Amen!
26:00 Let's look at John's life in Luke chapter 1 verses 14-17.
26:04 I'm not going to read all of this 'cause I see my time
26:05 is getting away from me. I've got to move kinda fast.
26:07 But I will summarize it for you.
26:09 Luke 1:14-17. This is what was predicted
26:12 about John the Baptist. "Many will rejoice
26:15 and praise his birth. " 1. No wine; no strong drink.
26:19 2. Filled with the Holy Spirit.
26:21 "John the Baptist will be filled with the Holy Spirit
26:23 even in his mother's womb. " You remember verse 41
26:27 when Elizabeth met Mary and they greeted each other
26:30 and the baby leapt in the womb?
26:32 So even before he was born God had something very very
26:36 special for him. "He will turn the hearts of many
26:39 in Israel to God
26:42 and he will labor in the power of Elijah. "
26:47 So I'm begging the point here. I'm telling you what God
26:51 had predicted for and with John the Baptist.
26:57 John had godly parents.
27:00 He was uncontaminated by city life... he was a country kid.
27:05 He was surrendered; he was consecrated;
27:09 he was committed; he was favored by God.
27:13 He was blessed; he was not afraid to call sin
27:17 by its right name. Amen. Amen!
27:22 Now with all of that background
27:25 let me show you a couple things.
27:27 Jesus and John were related; you know that.
27:30 Some people say second cousins; some say first cousins.
27:33 We're not quite sure... the Bible is not clear.
27:35 We know that Mary and Elizabeth were related.
27:39 Again, we're not quite sure.
27:41 Some translations say cousins.
27:45 That's something that could be true, it may not be true.
27:48 It has some tradition but we know that they were related.
27:53 The King James does say cousins in Luke 1:36.
27:58 John and Jesus
28:04 were contemporaries. John was six months older than Jesus.
28:09 We understand from the Spirit of Prophecy
28:12 that John had heard the story of Jesus' birth.
28:16 John knew about Jesus in the temple.
28:21 John was aware of Christ's sinless life
28:25 but he had no personal contact with Jesus.
28:31 In other words, before he baptized Him in the Jordan
28:35 John had never laid eyes on Jesus.
28:37 They functioned in two different arenas.
28:40 They did not have social intercourse with one another.
28:44 Prior to that baptism in Jordan they had never met.
28:49 He obviously - that is, John - had been following Jesus
28:53 by reports and anecdotes.
28:56 But his belief in Christ
28:58 was faith-based... just like you and me.
29:03 Amen! Because he was a forerunner of Christ
29:06 he didn't get any special advantage.
29:09 He had never seen Christ; he had never met Christ;
29:11 he had never talked with Christ.
29:13 His belief in Christ was a matter of his faith
29:16 and nothing more.
29:18 Now get this: even though at Jesus' baptism
29:24 he uttered the words "Behold the Lamb of God
29:29 that taketh away the sins of the world"
29:32 he didn't really understand the depth of what he was saying.
29:38 It was a prophetic utterance.
29:41 The Holy Spirit fell on him at that occasion
29:44 and he said "Behold the Lamb of God
29:46 who taketh away the sins of the world. "
29:49 John was moved by the Holy Spirit
29:51 and I am sure he knew what he said
29:54 but he didn't have a complete understanding of what it meant.
29:58 Now John had been divinely informed... and this is very
30:01 interesting... He had been informed
30:06 that Jesus was going to come to him for baptism.
30:10 So he knew that was coming.
30:11 Too, he knew that something was going to happen
30:15 to prove Christ's divinity at that occasion.
30:19 So he was expecting something to happen.
30:22 Now here's the thing about faith:
30:25 the truth is, ladies and gentlemen,
30:27 if God connected all the dots for you now,
30:31 you wouldn't need faith.
30:33 Amen? Amen! Yeah... if God put it on a platter
30:38 and laid it out for you...
30:40 all of it... you wouldn't need any faith.
30:45 Heaven didn't give even John the Baptist
30:50 that kind of set-up.
30:55 The just - even John -
30:58 have to live by faith.
31:02 You and I and every other man and woman born of woman
31:06 have to live by faith.
31:09 Now for me, I tend to like to have things laid out for me.
31:15 Amen. Yeah, I like to know tomorrow we're going to do this
31:19 and we're going to do that. I kind of like to have it laid
31:21 out. But it is my settled belief
31:24 and let me suggest to you that number one
31:28 it is not God's intention to answer every question now.
31:33 Amen. Some questions you will take into paradise
31:37 and wrestle with that stuff throughout the ceaseless ages
31:39 of eternity. You're not going to get every answer to every
31:41 question now. You know what I'm saying?
31:43 Yeah. Some things you have to just accept by faith.
31:48 Two: it is not God's intention to remove every obstacle now.
31:56 Some stuff you've gotta climb over.
31:59 You know, some mountains the Lord will move.
32:03 Other mountains He says: "Climb it. "
32:07 Amen. Amen? Yeah.
32:10 Three: it is not God's intention to make the road
32:14 perfectly smooth and straight now.
32:18 Anybody know what I mean? Yeah.
32:21 Sometimes you've got to go down a winding path that's not...
32:23 And you don't always see the end from the beginning.
32:29 So God's not going to make it too comfortable for you here
32:33 because you may be in danger of wanting to stay here.
32:37 Amen. So just when you think it's going along perfectly
32:44 you hit a snag.
32:47 I just got my car out of the shop the other day.
32:49 Took it home and opened the car door
32:53 and the handle came off.
32:59 And I didn't have time to take it back to the shop...
33:01 we've got Camp Meeting.
33:03 So if you see me reaching in through the back door
33:05 and trying to open the front door,
33:07 that's cause the handle came off.
33:10 So God doesn't make it too smooth for you.
33:13 Amen. Amen! Yeah... some little bumps in the road.
33:16 That's not earth shattering; I'm not going to die.
33:19 I wish the handle was still there!
33:22 But God doesn't want it to be too smooth for you right now.
33:27 He's not going to answer every question.
33:29 He's not going to remove every obstacle
33:31 and not going to make it too smooth.
33:34 Nobody gets a pass on the exercise of faith.
33:40 Amen. Amen! Everybody's got to know
33:45 that you've got to exercise faith
33:49 and your faith will be tested and tried
33:53 through adversity and sacrifice.
33:56 Amen. Amen. No other way
34:00 to test your faith except through adversity and sacrifice.
34:06 Amen. Amen!
34:08 I'm reading from Desire of Ages page 111.
34:10 Read this when you get home.
34:12 "No one on earth had understood Him, and during His ministry
34:16 He must still walk alone. " Talking about Jesus.
34:19 "Throughout His life His mother and His brothers
34:21 did not comprehend His mission. "
34:23 His mother and His brothers
34:27 didn't understand what He was doing.
34:30 "Even His disciples did not understand Him.
34:34 He had dwelt in eternal light as one with God
34:37 but His life on earth must be spent in solitude. "
34:41 Do you know what it is to go through life and
34:43 nobody understands what you're trying to do?
34:47 Every sin, every discord, every defiling lust
34:52 that transgression had brought was torture to His spirit. "
34:57 Now this was said about Jesus... not John.
34:59 Jesus didn't just suffer on Calvary. Ladies and gentlemen,
35:04 He suffered every single day.
35:07 Amen! Because everything He saw happening on earth
35:11 brought pain to His spirit. When He saw injustice,
35:14 poverty, ingratitude...
35:16 these things hurt Christ within.
35:18 Every single day He was in the face with that.
35:21 Nobody on planet earth had the same reaction to sin
35:26 as did Jesus.
35:29 That alone was cause for suffering.
35:33 Ellen White says, again on page 111 Desire of Ages:
35:36 "He saw and felt all.
35:39 Jesus, too, needed faith and trust in His Father. "
35:44 So even Christ didn't get a pass on faith.
35:45 He had to exercise faith in His Father also.
35:49 "The Savior had to reach out His hand to grasp the hand
35:53 of omnipotent love just like we do. "
35:58 At that baptism in Jordan
36:01 God sent Jesus a coded, personal, encrypted
36:07 video communiqué.
36:10 Heaven opened. Light shone on Jesus.
36:13 The Holy Spirit assumed the form of a dove
36:15 and landed on His head. A voice spoke out
36:17 that sounded like thunder to many.
36:20 Some heard it as thunder but John heard it as words.
36:23 John was moved. He saw Christ pleading with tears
36:26 for the apparent blessing of His Father.
36:30 Most of the people did not understand it;
36:33 John did. Most of the people thought it was thunder;
36:36 John heard the words. Ellen White says:
36:38 "Christ prayed a prayer at that baptism
36:41 that angels had never even heard before.
36:46 Christ was bathed in light... the kind of light that ever
36:49 surrounds the throne of God.
36:51 John was in the presence of all of this.
36:55 But here is the warning - the caveat - for you and me:
36:59 It is a spiritual descent from "Behold the Lamb of God"
37:04 to "Are You the One? Do we look for another? "
37:09 That's a great drop. Think about it.
37:12 "Behold the Lamb of God
37:13 that taketh away... " That's a very positive statement.
37:16 That's an affirmative statement.
37:17 So how do we go from "Behold the Lamb of God
37:21 who taketh away the sins of the world"
37:24 to "Are you the Messiah or shall I look for somebody else? "
37:31 That needs to be studied
37:32 because John the Baptist was no ordinary man.
37:35 We just read Christ said "Of man born of woman
37:39 none greater. " So how do we go from "Behold the Lamb of God"
37:43 to "Are you it? Or is there a plan B? "
37:50 And if it could happen to John, ladies and gentlemen,
37:54 it could happen to you and me. Amen!
37:59 Anyone here ever have any doubt?
38:07 Look at what Ellen White says in Desire of Ages 179. I love this!
38:11 "John had by nature the faults and weaknesses
38:14 common to humanity. "
38:18 Um-hmm. So he's just like you and me.
38:21 The fact that he was a great prophet did not excuse him
38:24 from being human.
38:27 But the touch of divine love had transformed him.
38:31 Amen! The touch of divine love
38:35 can transform you and me. Sounds like you and me.
38:37 Now... "He dwelt in an atmosphere... " I love this...
38:40 This is Desire of Ages 179: "He dwelt in an atmosphere
38:43 uncontaminated with selfishness and ambition.
38:47 He was far above jealousy. "
38:50 Are you hearing me?
38:52 He wasn't ambitious; he wasn't selfish;
38:55 he wasn't jealous.
38:57 But life, ladies and gentlemen, has a way of gettin' on you.
39:02 Anybody know what I'm talking about?
39:04 Life can do some stuff to you.
39:07 Amen. He was not naturally jealous.
39:11 He was not a person who was ambitious
39:15 and he wasn't selfish!
39:21 There was a time when John was the most influential person
39:24 in the nation.
39:26 He was a preacher of righteousness.
39:28 The crowds were huge and they flocked to hear him.
39:36 Now that didn't impress John
39:41 because he was not selfish, he was not ambitious,
39:46 and he wasn't jealous.
39:48 So the fact that he had big crowds
39:51 didn't impress him and it didn't seduce him.
39:56 I saw someone the other day... we were talking.
39:58 And, gotta look at my time... Ooh! Forty years ago
40:03 Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones said: "I don't plan to be
40:05 55 and singing "I Can't Get No Satisfaction. "
40:11 You know what? He's heading towards 70
40:14 and he's still singing "I Can't Get No Satisfaction"
40:19 because fame and popularity are seductive -
40:25 Amen - and once you get it it's hard to let it go.
40:29 Amen. Amen.
40:32 So John was the most popular thing in Israel:
40:37 a preacher of righteousness preaching to large crowds.
40:42 It didn't impress John because he was focused on God
40:46 but evidently it impressed his disciples.
40:52 Day by day John and his disciples
40:55 saw their crowds getting smaller
40:58 and Jesus' crowds getting larger.
41:02 Now unless your head is on straight
41:05 that can play with your mind.
41:07 Didn't bother John
41:09 but evidently it did affect his disciples.
41:13 John's disciples, and this is brought out clearly in the
41:15 Spirit of Prophecy, alluded to in the Bible,
41:18 were jealous of Jesus' popularity.
41:22 Not John... John's disciples.
41:25 The Bible indicates that the disciples would come back
41:30 and report to John. They stood ready - Ellen White says -
41:34 to criticize Jesus' work. And the one issue was baptism.
41:44 Here's how we know.
41:46 John chapter 3. Here are the disciples' words
41:52 to John. "Rabbi... " You know, a little butter up...
41:58 "He that was with thee beyond the Jordan
42:01 to whom thou bearest witness
42:05 'Behold... ' The same baptizes all men and all men
42:10 come to Him. " John 3:26.
42:12 Now what's that saying?
42:15 "The guy that you talked about
42:18 who was with you in the Jordan
42:20 He's kind of taking your place. "
42:23 The NIV says:
42:25 "He is baptizing and everybody is going to Him. "
42:30 The unsaid statement is: "And leaving you. "
42:35 "Through these words... " Ellen White says...
42:38 "Satan brought temptation to John. "
42:41 "John... you're slipping in the ratings
42:45 and Jesus is the hot ticket now. "
42:49 Division is a common demonic strategy.
42:55 It is!
42:56 "He doesn't really care about you. "
42:59 "That church doesn't really love you. "
43:02 That's a common demonic strategy.
43:04 And why is Satan still using it?
43:06 Because it still works. Amen.
43:10 Amen! Um-hmm.
43:15 Point: you have to watch out, oh Christian,
43:19 who you allow access into your brain.
43:26 Yeah. You can't let everybody filter stuff into your head.
43:32 Don't let every rattling can
43:36 rent space in your noggin.
43:42 Amen. Amen!
43:44 The Bible says in I John 4:1 "Try the spirits. "
43:48 Don't just listen to everything that's floating by.
43:52 Ephesians 4:14: "Don't be blown about by
43:56 every wind of doctrine. " You've gotta plant your feet.
43:59 Don't let everybody rent space in your brain.
44:04 John's disciples were trying to help
44:09 but they were motivated by jealousy.
44:13 John 1:27, Mark 1:7,
44:16 Matthew 3:11 John said: "Someone is coming after me
44:21 whose sandal straps I am unworthy to unlatch. "
44:27 John knew his place.
44:29 John knew what he had been called to do.
44:32 But when people constantly drum things into your head
44:36 and run their agenda under your nose
44:39 it works on your brain.
44:43 Amen. And if you listen too closely
44:46 it can affect your spiritual life.
44:52 Truth or consequences, pain or circumstances,
44:55 pain and suffering can get inside your head...
44:58 particularly protracted pain. When you're suffering
45:01 for a long time you begin to "think stuff. "
45:05 Anybody know what I'm talking about? Amen!
45:09 Number one: when you're suffering for a long time
45:12 it can skew your sense of priority.
45:17 Things become important that really aren't important
45:19 and important stuff becomes less important
45:21 because you're suffering... you're in pain.
45:24 It can weaken your faith.
45:27 When you're suffering day after day after day after day
45:32 unless you know where Jesus is it can weaken your faith!
45:34 It can!
45:39 It can alter you spiritually,
45:42 psychologically, and even after the suffering is over
45:49 you still suffer. That's what PTSD is all about.
45:54 You're out from under the gun but you're still suffering.
45:59 Desire of Ages page 215:
46:01 "These suggestions... " these things coming to John
46:04 from his disciples - these are his friends not his enemies -
46:07 I said these are his friends. Amen.
46:11 These are his friends - Amen - not his enemies...
46:15 "These suggestions were not without effect. "
46:18 Now this is a godly man.
46:21 "But these suggestions were not without effect.
46:25 Doubts, which otherwise would have never arisen
46:30 in John were suggested to him
46:32 by his friends. " Amen.
46:37 Here's a quote from Desire of Ages 215:
46:40 "How often those who think themselves the friends
46:44 of a good person who are eager to show their fidelity to them
46:49 prove to be his most dangerous enemy. "
46:53 From my friend.
46:56 "Instead of strengthening their words depress
47:00 and dishearten. " In these last days
47:04 you need to be very selective about who you chum
47:07 around with - Amen - and who you are close to.
47:12 Now, your call as a Christian is to be Christ-like
47:17 to everybody. But I'm talking about your intimates.
47:22 Those that you share secrets with
47:24 and who share secrets with you
47:25 and those who have influence on you
47:28 and those on whom you have influence.
47:30 Be very careful about your inner circle. Amen?
47:34 They've got to build you up not tear you down.
47:38 And sometimes your best friend can become
47:41 your worst enemy.
47:45 John had the same general idea -
47:47 and I see I'm going to run out of time so I've got to
47:49 try to speed up here. "John had the same general idea
47:51 as the disciples. He, too, expected Jesus
47:55 to take the throne of David. "
47:57 Now you wouldn't think that John would hold that thought.
48:00 But it was so ubiquitous, it was so in the popular culture,
48:04 I think the only thing equal to that today would be...
48:06 would be Sunday-keeping. There are people
48:08 who are so into Sunday-keeping and it's so wide-spread
48:12 it's just in our culture. Well, this idea that Jesus would come
48:16 and take the throne of David was so widespread in Israel
48:19 even John kind of bought into it.
48:23 Christ was saying: "My kingdom is not of this world. "
48:26 And the truth is there were very few in Israel
48:28 who were ready to accept that.
48:30 They wanted His kingdom to be precisely of this world.
48:34 "We want to get the Romans off our backs
48:37 and Jesus is the One to do it. " And even John
48:40 was buying into that
48:43 and, of course, John's disciples.
48:47 So now John is in a dungeon.
48:49 Ellen White says he's a country boy...
48:51 Used to being out here in nature
48:53 and going where he wants to go and doing what he wants to do.
48:55 He's confined in a little, dirty space
48:58 and that brought pressure. No fresh air.
49:00 He is caged and he is suffering.
49:04 His disciples are saying: "If He is the Son of God
49:07 and if He's doing all of these miracles,
49:09 why are you still in here? "
49:16 "He came to set the captives free
49:19 and last we looked you ain't free. "
49:25 "You're in prison... " Desire of Ages page 216:
49:30 "There were hours when whisperings of demons
49:34 tortured his spirit
49:35 and shadows of a terrible fear crept over him. "
49:39 But here's where John the Baptist shines.
49:41 Ellen White says: "The Baptist did not surrender
49:45 his faith in God. " Amen! Ladies and gentlemen,
49:48 we're all gonna be tested.
49:49 Everything you have is going to be tested.
49:52 And I mean a lot more than your door handle breaking off.
49:55 You are going to be tested
49:58 and will you hold fast to your faith is the question.
50:02 John didn't discuss his doubts and anxieties
50:05 with his companions. John Bradshaw said something
50:08 last night during the panel that was very true.
50:10 If you've got doubts in the church
50:13 and if you've got doubts in the Bible
50:15 and if you have doubts in the Word of God,
50:18 may I humbly suggest: keep that stuff to yourself.
50:22 Amen. Don't spread your doubts.
50:25 Take your doubts to Jesus.
50:26 What is it with us that when we get a disease
50:29 we feel we've got to infect everybody?
50:34 Work that stuff out between you and Jesus. Don't spread that
50:37 because there are people who are weaker than you.
50:39 Your suggestion of doubt
50:42 can pull someone out of the church of God. Amen.
50:45 Keep that stuff to yourself... work it out with Jesus.
50:49 John NEVER spoke of his doubts.
50:53 He spoke of his pain; he spoke of his sorrow
50:56 but his doubts he kept between him and the Lord.
50:59 So if you don't believe in the Sabbath
51:01 take it to Jesus.
51:03 You've got a problem with health reform?
51:05 Take it to Jesus.
51:07 You just love pork chops...
51:14 Amen! Don't, you know...
51:16 You've got a problem with women's ordination
51:18 or any number of these things
51:21 you've gotta, you know, take that stuff to the Lord.
51:26 Amen? Amen!
51:29 Have I become your enemy because I tell you the truth?
51:31 No! Everything you don't need to share.
51:35 Some stuff... take it to Jesus and work it out with Him.
51:38 Besides, I'm too busy dragging my own wagon.
51:42 Amen.
51:46 Kinda hard to take my wagon and your wagon too.
51:50 That's right! You've gotta drag your wagon.
51:53 And the same Jesus who helps me drag mine
51:56 will help you drag yours. Amen!
52:00 So take that stuff to the Lord. Don't express every doubt
52:03 and every fear. And then even be selective
52:08 who you suggest those to.
52:14 Everybody's not prepared to handle your stuff.
52:18 Too busy handling their own stuff.
52:21 Amen. Amen!
52:23 So John did not do that.
52:25 Lookin' at my clock.
52:27 He sends his two disciples.
52:29 He expected Christ to give him a special little something
52:34 'cause he's in prison and he's suffering for the Lord.
52:38 That's how you go from "Behold the Lamb"
52:42 to "Do we look for another? " Pain, imprisonment,
52:44 bad advice, attack of the devil,
52:47 deferred, delayed, displaced deliverance.
52:49 Invalid expectations accompanied by
52:52 not only the threat of death but the expectation of death.
52:56 Anyone here ever have a lapse in faith?
52:58 I'm raising my hand first. I've had times when my faith
53:01 has sort of given out.
53:03 I'm so glad when we give up on God God doesn't give up on us.
53:06 Amen!
53:10 So you've gotta love Jesus.
53:12 The disciples come and they say: "OK, are You it
53:15 or do we look for somebody else? "
53:16 And you know what Christ said?
53:18 Nothing.
53:21 No response.
53:23 The Bible says He just went about healing.
53:25 He just did what He always did.
53:28 Whole day went by
53:31 and the disciples watched Him heal and bless and preach
53:34 and teach and save, and He never answered the question.
53:37 Then at day's end He said: "Now go back and tell him
53:40 what you saw. " Brilliant!
53:43 "Just go back and tell him what you saw. "
53:45 And I believe from that time on
53:48 John was settled.
53:52 During the day Christ threw them an esoteric bone.
53:58 Now let me do that real quick
53:59 then our time might be gone.
54:01 John... let's go to Luke chapter 7 and verse 23.
54:04 I read it before but I want to just examine it
54:07 for just a second.
54:10 "Blessed is He who is not offended because of Me. "
54:15 Now, John didn't get it at the moment.
54:17 His disciples didn't get it, but I think later on he did.
54:21 And I didn't really get it till I studied it.
54:23 Here is what Christ is saying.
54:27 "Happy is he who does not turn away from Jesus
54:31 because Jesus does not conform to his preconceived ideas. "
54:36 Amen.
54:38 In other words, you can't put Christ in a box.
54:43 Amen. Amen!
54:45 You cannot! Christ has a million ways to do things
54:49 that you know not of.
54:51 So sometimes you've gotta sit back and let God be God
54:55 and not tell Him HOW to save you
54:58 or how to outline the path.
55:01 You've just gotta walk the road that He outlines before you.
55:05 Amen? You don't get a pass on faith.
55:10 That's the message from John for us.
55:13 Blessed is he who believes
55:17 even though it's not working just like you want it.
55:20 You trust God to work it all out as it should be. Amen?
55:25 Amen! Christ didn't give John a secret message.
55:29 He gave him a godly example.
55:32 He didn't give John what he wanted...
55:36 He gave John what he needed.
55:39 I've gotta slip over and I just want to read
55:42 a couple closing statements and then we are done.
55:47 "When the Lord appeared to Saul in his conversion -
55:51 this is the Damascus road experience -
55:54 He did not purpose to show him how much good
55:58 he would enjoy but what great things he should suffer
56:02 for His name. " Um-hmm.
56:04 "Suffering has been the portion of God's people
56:07 from the days of the martyr Abraham.
56:09 And why should we who have the Blessed Hope of immortality
56:14 to be consummated at the soon appearing of Christ
56:18 shrink from sacrifice and suffering? "
56:22 Don't do that. Last one:
56:24 I Testimonies page 126:
56:27 "Those who are willing to make any sacrifice
56:31 for eternal life will have it. "
56:33 Amen! "And it will be worth the sacrifice,
56:38 worth the crucifying of self,
56:42 worth the sacrificing of every idol
56:46 to be forever with Jesus. "
56:49 There is sanctity in sacrifice.
56:54 There is salvation in sacrifice.
56:57 Dare I say we will not see Jesus face to face without it.
57:03 And even the beloved John, you and me,
57:07 each of us must walk the road of sacrifice
57:12 and even suffering. But it will end
57:16 in a face-to-face meeting with Jesus.


Revised 2017-12-19