Participants: Jac Colon
Series Code: RNN
Program Code: RNN000019
00:18 In 1998 we had the privilege to do
00:21 a Revelation Now meeting in Cuba,
00:27 in the little church in Santiago de Las Vegas
00:31 on the outskirts of the Havana near the airport.
00:38 And they were 180 people packed in to this tiny little church
00:46 wanting to hear the word of God,
00:48 some for the very first time in their life.
00:53 A week earlier, Pope John Paul II held a mass
01:00 in the Revolution Plaza downtown Havana,
01:04 over one million people packed into the plaza.
01:12 Now that raises a question in the minds of lots of people.
01:17 One million people packed into the plaza in a 180
01:25 in this little tiny church on the outskirts of the city.
01:33 Hearing something entirely different from the masses
01:38 and what they were hearing in the plaza from the Pope.
01:43 So the question is, who was hearing the truth?
01:50 The tiny little church or the massive gathering
01:55 in the massive plaza of the Revolution
01:58 with the single most recognized religious leader in the world.
02:04 Who was hearing the truth?
02:09 I think if there's one question that burns its way
02:12 into our consciousness that question is what is the truth?
02:18 We want to be sure that the bridge
02:22 which claims to take us into eternity
02:25 is gonna get us there, amen.
02:29 We want to know the truth.
02:34 Well, God has provided a means
02:36 for safeguarding the truth in the world
02:39 and that means for safeguarding the truth
02:42 is the church of Jesus Christ.
02:47 The problem is there are lot of churches
02:50 and they all claim to have the truth
02:54 even though they are all teaching something different
02:57 and contradictory from the others
02:59 or they would have no reason to exist separately.
03:04 They cannot all be teaching the truth,
03:06 they cannot all have the truth
03:07 but they all claim to have the truth,
03:09 at least I have never seen a church post a sign out front,
03:13 that says, we don't have the truth here,
03:20 so which one has the truth?
03:22 How can we know? How can we find the truth?
03:26 Maybe we ought to start even more basically than that
03:30 and question we ought to start with is
03:33 what is the truth or what is the church?
03:40 Why they are so many different churches?
03:44 What is the church?
03:47 Paul tells us in his letter in 1 Colossians1:18.
03:55 He tells us and He that's Jesus,
03:59 He is the head of the body, which is the church.
04:08 So the church is the body of Christ
04:14 and it's not found in any one single location,
04:18 it's not found in any one particular denomination.
04:25 Christ is the head, His body is the church,
04:28 the moment someone accepts Jesus Christ as their savior
04:32 at that moment they are a part of the body of Christ,
04:36 they are a part of His church.
04:39 It's not located in any one place,
04:42 its' located at every place,
04:44 where there's someone who believes in Jesus Christ.
04:49 Luther called this the invisible church,
04:54 the invisible body of Christ,
04:57 because it's not confined
04:59 to a particular location or organization.
05:03 But the question for us today is.
05:07 Does the invisible body of Christ
05:11 ever become a visible organization
05:16 or denomination even in the world?
05:20 What does the Bible have to say about it?
05:23 In the Book of Acts, if you look there with me in Acts 13.
05:31 Luke mentions in verse 1. In the church at Antioch.
05:36 So now he is writing about a particular church,
05:40 a local congregation in a city called Antioch and there verse 2
05:46 "While they were fasting and praying, the Holy Spirit said,
05:49 "Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul
05:54 for the work to which I call them to do."
05:56 So they had fasted, they prayed,
05:59 placed their hands on them and sent them off.
06:03 So here we see the church at Antioch
06:08 has a local congregation,
06:10 a local group of people that met together
06:13 and the Bible says they were the church.
06:16 Furthermore the Holy Spirit chose to use the church
06:21 to send off the Apostle Paul and Barnabas
06:25 to go out and preach the gospel.
06:29 The spirit could have set them aside
06:31 on his own and saying Paul go,
06:34 but no the Holy Spirit chose to work through the church.
06:41 The church is God's idea, not man's idea,
06:46 it's God's idea.
06:49 Then in the Acts 9, in Acts 9 we discover, verse 31.
06:57 "Then that church throughout Judea, Galilee, Samaria
07:00 enjoyed a time of peace and it was strengthened
07:03 and encourage by the Holy Spirit and it grew in numbers."
07:09 So somebody was there counting numbers of the church
07:12 as far back as the Bible time.
07:15 The church was becoming more and more organized.
07:19 The invisible body of Christ is becoming a visible organization,
07:25 a structure in the world
07:27 and they were even counting the members of the church.
07:32 And it began to grow
07:34 but there was trouble in the camp.
07:36 Acts 6, the Greek widows,
07:39 that's the Gentile widows were being discriminated against
07:43 because the Jewish widows were being favored in the church
07:47 this brought a dispute in the church.
07:50 Racial discrimination already in the church
07:53 during the time of the apostles, so the church met
07:57 and they appointed seven men to serve as deacons
08:01 to be administrative leaders of the church
08:04 setting the pastors free to be able to preach the word,
08:08 while the deacons took over
08:10 the administrative chores of the church
08:12 putting out the fires and the debates that kept coming up.
08:17 But as they appointed leaders and organizing the church,
08:22 it becomes more and more
08:24 a visible organization in the world.
08:27 Then more trouble in the camp, Acts 15.
08:32 Now it's really getting bad, not just racial discrimination
08:36 but in Chapter 15:1.
08:38 "So men came down from Judea to Antioch
08:41 and they were teaching the brothers
08:43 "Unless you are circumcised,
08:46 according to the custom taught by Moses, you can't be saved."
08:51 They got Paul's back up. And Paul said, no way.
08:56 This brought such a dispute that Paul and Barnabas
08:59 entered into a debate with them.
09:01 So Paul and Barnabas were appointed
09:03 along with some other believers to go up to Jerusalem
09:06 and see the apostle and the elders about this question.
09:09 So they brought in representatives of the church
09:12 from all around the area to have a council meeting
09:16 or a conference to decide what we're gonna do?
09:19 We have people saying
09:20 you have to be circumcised in order to be saved.
09:23 Paul saying no that's upfront to the very gospel of Jesus Christ
09:27 so there is a political
09:29 theological debate in the church.
09:32 They are arguing over doctrines,
09:34 they come together to try to resolve the issue.
09:37 Peter gave his testimony
09:39 of how Gods poured His Spirit out on Cornelius.
09:41 We've already learned that, the Gentile.
09:44 And then there was Paul giving his testimony
09:47 on how God has been blessing the Gentiles in his ministry.
09:51 So James got up and made a speech
09:56 referring to how the Holy Spirit had been working
09:59 in the ministry of Paul and Peter with the Gentiles.
10:04 But then he said in verse 15
10:07 the words of the prophets are in agreement with this
10:13 and he quoted an Old Testament prophet Amus.
10:18 So James using the evidence of the Holy Spirit
10:23 along with the word of God said, verse 19,
10:29 "It is my judgment then that we should not make it difficult
10:35 for the Gentiles who were turning to God
10:37 and they would not be circumcised."
10:41 So notice what's happening here?
10:43 God could have sent a prophet with a vision
10:47 saying I do not want you to circumcise the Gentiles,
10:52 but he didn't choose to do that.
10:56 God chose to use His church
11:01 and the church met with the tools of the Holy Spirit
11:05 and the word of God and came to the conclusion
11:10 as to what should be taught in the church,
11:15 that's a lesson for us today.
11:18 God chose to use the church as the safeguard for the truth.
11:23 Now of course the Bible contains the truth.
11:26 But even already we see "two versions of the truth".
11:32 Those claiming you have to be circumcised
11:34 thought they were teaching the truth.
11:36 Those saying no, no circumcision.
11:39 Circumcision is by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
11:42 They believed they had the truth
11:44 and so it was resolved by debate concerning the scripture
11:50 and the demonstration of the power of the spirit.
11:55 Now watch what happens.
11:57 Verse 22, Then the apostles and the elders
12:01 with the whole church decided,
12:05 so the church decided what to do
12:08 and they chose some of their own men and send them to Antioch.
12:13 In verse 24, this is the letter they sent.
12:15 We heard that some went out from us
12:18 without our authorization and disturbed you.
12:23 So the leaders of the church in Jerusalem
12:26 considered themselves as authorized to commission
12:32 and send out gospel ministers and preachers
12:36 and decide what was and what was not to be taught in the church.
12:42 So God is using the church as a safeguard
12:46 for understanding the Bible.
12:50 Again, a lesson for us today.
12:55 They went out without our authorization.
12:59 Chapter 16:4, as they traveled from town to town,
13:04 they delivered the decisions
13:05 reached by the apostles and the elders.
13:08 The leaders of the church at Jerusalem
13:10 for the people to obey."
13:13 They expected the people to conform to the decisions
13:17 that the leaders of the church made
13:19 in conjunction with the word of God
13:21 and the leading of the Holy Spirit.
13:24 Well, what if people didn't want to obey?
13:27 I'm sure there was some who didn't.
13:31 But they couldn't be a part of that church
13:34 that God was developing and grooming
13:37 to be His kingdom on earth.
13:42 What was the result?
13:43 Verse 5, "So the churches were strengthened in their faith
13:46 and they grew daily in numbers."
13:49 Again somebody was there counting members of the church.
13:54 And it becomes more and more of an organization
13:57 or dare I say even a denomination
14:02 with leadership in Jerusalem guiding the teachings
14:07 and the work of the church of Jesus Christ on earth.
14:13 The church is becoming more and more visible and organized.
14:17 Now Jesus knew that there would be problems in the church
14:21 when He first set it up, Mathew 18:15.
14:24 "If your brother sins against you,
14:26 go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.
14:30 If he listens you have won him over."
14:32 Notice he says go to him and show him his fault.
14:37 He didn't say go to the telephone
14:39 and tell the whole church, that's easy to do,
14:44 go to him and show him his fault,
14:47 that's not so easy to do.
14:50 I wonder how much better off we would be as a church
14:52 if we follow that rule that Jesus gave.
14:55 Go to him, if he listens you won him over,
14:58 if he won't listen then what do you do?
15:00 Well, take one or two others along,
15:02 so that every matter is established by the testimony
15:04 of two or three witnesses.
15:06 What if he doesn't listen to them? Watch this.
15:08 If he refuses to listen to them then tell it to the church.
15:13 How do you do that?
15:14 I don't know how to do that
15:15 except to have some kind of a church meeting
15:18 where the members are all gathered together
15:21 deciding what to do about this brother
15:23 who is bringing disrepute on the name of the church.
15:28 Folks, this isn't me, this isn't a denomination speaking,
15:31 this is Jesus speaking to His leaders,
15:34 His disciples, His church.
15:38 Tell it to the church--
15:39 what if he doesn't listen to the church?
15:40 Treat him as you were to a pagan or the tax collector.
15:42 Uh? What does that mean?
15:46 Number one, pagans and tax collectors
15:49 were not a part of the church.
15:52 And so Jesus is saying, if they don't want
15:55 to uphold the teachings that I have given to the church
15:58 then they're gonna have to be separated from the church.
16:02 That's not a very pleasant thing to think about,
16:06 but you see the church is not a club.
16:09 It's the kingdom of God on earth.
16:13 The church represents God.
16:15 And if someone insists on taking positions
16:18 that defame and go against the church
16:20 and go against the name of God,
16:22 then the time come when the church has to say,
16:25 look, we love you, we're sorry
16:27 but if you want to persist in this kind of thing,
16:30 we--you can't be a part of us,
16:33 because you no longer represent what we are.
16:36 That's not me saying that,
16:38 that's not the denomination saying that,
16:40 that's Jesus Christ Himself saying that.
16:43 Watch this, it gets even better.
16:47 I tell you whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven,
16:50 whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.
16:53 So Jesus is saying we will listen to you
16:56 and respect your decisions.
16:59 He's giving the church the authority to decide
17:01 who is and who is not to be in fellowship in their congregation
17:07 and He says we'll honor that.
17:09 Now you can't take this as far as some churches
17:12 who say that if you're not a member of our church you're lost
17:16 and if you're disfellowship from our church you're doomed
17:18 and condemned forever, that's not what Jesus is saying.
17:22 He's simply saying the church has the authority
17:24 to decide who is to be a part of that church,
17:27 so that congregation and heaven will recognize that.
17:30 The church has no voice in who is saved and who is lost,
17:34 that's between Jesus Christ and the individual.
17:38 But it shows you how important
17:40 the integrity of the church is to Jesus Christ.
17:45 Now why does He say treat him like a pagan or a tax collector
17:50 or they're not a part of the church?
17:52 How do we treat people that are not a part of the church?
17:55 Are we rude to them, are we mean to them,
17:58 or we say, get away from us you unclean thing
18:00 or do we reach out with out stretched arms embrace him
18:03 and say, we want you to be
18:04 a part of our family and try to win them back.
18:07 You see when a person insist on activity
18:11 that defiles the name of the God
18:13 and blackens the name of the church and the community,
18:16 it destroys the witness of the church.
18:18 The church has to separate themselves from that person.
18:21 If they don't then when that person comes in,
18:24 nobody knows what to do.
18:26 If you hug them and say we're glad you're here
18:28 then they will interpret that to me
18:30 you're approving of their behavior.
18:33 And so nobody knows what to do and they ignore the people
18:37 and don't say anything, but if we take a stance,
18:39 and say, hey, we love you,
18:40 we want you to be part of our fellowship
18:42 but looks like you're choosing to do something else.
18:44 Now we are free to love them
18:47 and move them and bring them back
18:49 without them thinking that we're approving of their behavior.
18:53 Jesus' way makes sense, doesn't it?
18:55 It's not easy, but it makes sense.
19:01 The church is God's idea, it's Jesus' idea.
19:05 It's not a social club, it's the kingdom of God.
19:08 And if it comes through a bunch of people
19:10 all with different conflicting ideas
19:13 that are different from the scripture,
19:14 then the church is meaningless
19:16 and has lost its mission in the world.
19:22 The invisible church is becoming more and more visible
19:25 organized and structured in the world
19:29 until the final revelation of the church.
19:34 I don't know if you ever thought about it this way before.
19:37 The Book of Revelation begins with the words
19:39 the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
19:45 Christ is the head of his body which is the church.
19:52 And the more you know about Jesus
19:54 and the more you see Jesus
19:56 the more you're gonna see His church.
20:01 The Book of Revelation is the final Revelation of Jesus
20:06 and those who choose to follow the Lamb.
20:11 Wow, what a thought.
20:15 The church is the safeguard for the truth.
20:20 Why are there so many different churches today?
20:25 Well, we can see the answer to that question
20:28 in the Book of Revelation.
20:31 When Jesus was here there was just one church,
20:34 that was Jesus and His disciples those who followed Him.
20:39 But after He died we discovered the church split.
20:44 There were two groups.
20:45 Those who said have to be circumcised to be saved
20:48 and those who said, no, we're saved by grace through faith.
20:51 Church split quickly, almost immediately after Jesus died.
20:59 The history of the church is found in the Revelation 2 and 3.
21:04 The first church is Ephesus
21:06 revealing what the church was like at the very beginning.
21:09 Jesus says to His church, I know, in Revelation 2:2,
21:13 "I know that you cannot tolerate wicked men,
21:16 and you have tested those who claim to be apostles
21:18 but are not, and have found them false."
21:21 Jesus--get this, Jesus' commends the church
21:25 for being intolerant of false teachers.
21:33 When I see a lot of churches today
21:35 boasting about being tolerant.
21:37 It doesn't matter what you believe,
21:38 come here, we love every body.
21:40 Well, that's good love everybody but you can't believe everything
21:46 I just read an article somebody gave me a couple of days ago
21:49 about the church right here in Portland, Oregon or in this area
21:53 boasting that we are the most unchurch and unchristian area
21:57 in practically, the whole United States.
22:00 And there was one particular church
22:02 where the pastor was saying
22:03 well, I don't believe in the resurrection,
22:05 I don't believe in the sacrifice
22:06 of Jesus on the cross, but I'm Christian.
22:10 Doesn't matter what you believe,
22:12 but is that the church?
22:16 The church is intolerant of false doctrine.
22:22 Jesus commends the church for that
22:24 and then we discover the second church
22:26 in Smyrna suffering persecution,
22:28 the devil is trying to squelch out the church
22:31 because it is protecting and safeguarding the truth,
22:34 intolerant of error
22:36 trying to squelch the church and squash it out.
22:40 But when persecution didn't work he tried something else.
22:44 He goes to the church in Pergamum and he says,
22:47 "You have people there who hold on to the teaching of Balaam.
22:50 Verse 15, "Likewise you have those
22:52 who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
22:56 Repent or I will come fight against you
22:58 with the sword coming out of my mouth.
23:01 Repent he said or I am gonna come and fight against you."
23:05 So now we discover that Jesus commends one church
23:09 for being intolerant of false doctrines and condemns other
23:13 for tolerating false doctrine in the church.
23:17 Because the church is supposed to safeguard the truth.
23:20 And then it gets even worse the church in Pergamum
23:22 in Chapter 2:20, the church in Thyatira.
23:27 Verse 20, "I have this against you:
23:29 You tolerate that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess.
23:32 By teaching she misleads my servants
23:36 into immorality and other things."
23:38 So now they not only tolerate
23:40 people believing different things
23:42 but they tolerate false teachers in the church
23:45 teaching false doctrine and leading God's people astray
23:48 and He condemns the church for that.
23:50 We have just seen a short history of the church
23:53 being plunged into the depths of the Dark Ages
23:56 that we saw from 538 until 1798.
24:00 The darkness, the tradition,
24:02 the false doctrines coming into the church.
24:05 Is there any hope for God's church,
24:07 her light is beginning to flicker.
24:09 It looks like it's about to go out,
24:11 it looks like there is no witness in the world.
24:13 But God has always had true believers
24:16 even when that light look like it was about to flicker,
24:18 there were always those who truly followed God
24:21 in the scripture and His word.
24:23 And then we see one of them in Chapter 3:4.
24:27 "You have a few people in Sardis
24:29 who have not soiled their clothes.
24:30 They walk with me, dressed in white."
24:32 The first doctrine to go in the church
24:36 was the doctrine of righteousness
24:38 by faith in Jesus Christ alone,
24:40 that's the white robe of Christ righteousness.
24:43 It got soiled, it got dark.
24:46 The church plunged into darkness.
24:48 But now the first doctrine to be restored
24:51 is the white robe of Christ righteousness,
24:53 the gospel of Jesus Christ lead by men
24:56 like John Huss and Martin Luther.
24:58 Luther of course starting off the great Protestant reformation
25:03 and as Luther began to gain a foothold in the church,
25:08 thousands of people were embracing two main points,
25:12 the scripture and the scripture alone
25:15 plus righteousness by faith in Jesus Christ.
25:22 Luther died and the church was afraid
25:26 that the false doctrines would come back,
25:29 so they met and they decided to establish a creed.
25:34 The creed was a list of the things they believed
25:39 and the intent was to be a fence
25:41 to keep false doctrine out.
25:44 The problem was that Luther had not seen all of the light.
25:49 He was doing good just to see the gospel
25:53 and the fact that were--
25:55 to stand on the scripture and the scripture alone.
25:58 So they locked themselves in with their creed.
26:03 Other scholars like John Calvin recognized
26:06 that Luther was right about the gospel and the scripture
26:09 but he wasn't right about the real presence in the mass
26:14 and so the reformed churches started
26:16 and they wrote their creeds.
26:20 And then the Wesley's came along
26:22 and they said, yeah, Calvin was right,
26:23 Luther was right but they didn't emphasize holy living.
26:27 They just emphasize the gospel
26:29 without the emphases on what happens after the gospel,
26:32 we need to live holy Christian life.
26:34 And so the Wesley brothers started a Methodist church
26:38 and they had their creed and then the Baptist saying,
26:42 well they got it right but they're not baptizing right,
26:45 and so the Baptist started baptizing
26:48 the Bible way by immersion
26:49 and each one was contributing one by one
26:53 to the pieces that had been lost in the Dark Ages.
26:57 Pentecostal has come alone
26:58 and say, well, you're not doing enough with the Holy Spirit
27:01 and so they start emphasizing the Holy Spirit.
27:04 Until finally we come down to the last church,
27:08 the church of Laodicea.
27:11 I know your deeds, Chapter 3:14,
27:14 "You're neither cold nor hot.
27:15 I wish you were either one or the other.
27:17 So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold,
27:20 I am about to spit you out of my mouth."
27:24 And here we see three groups of people.
27:26 Those who are cold, they are not a part of the church,
27:28 those who are hot, they are in the church
27:31 and then there are those who are lukewarm,
27:32 they are in the church
27:33 because their picture is being in Jesus' mouth.
27:35 But He is about to spew them out of His mouth
27:37 because they're not hot, they're not on fire for God,
27:40 that's what we call the judgment.
27:42 So the seventh church Laodicea is the church of the judgment
27:46 that will restore the judgment message.
27:48 If there's a judgment, the standard of the judgment
27:50 according to Bible is the Law of God
27:53 and the Sabbath was brought back into the picture.
27:55 So the seventh church represented by Laodicea
27:59 restores the judgment and the Sabbath
28:01 and now the picture is full and complete
28:04 just like the teachings of the church
28:07 during the time of Christ.
28:09 Now if you happen to be a part of the church
28:12 that proclaims the judgment hour
28:15 and lifts up the Sabbath in honor of the Creator God.
28:19 There's no room to get puffed up,
28:21 stick with chest out and get proud
28:23 because you are the last church.
28:25 And the last church is lukewarm
28:27 and there are lot of people in your church
28:29 that are gonna be spewed out of the mouth of Jesus Christ.
28:34 So there's no room for pride here.
28:36 There's no room for saying, we're better than other churches
28:39 No, we're not any better than other churches.
28:42 We've simply embraced the message that God has created
28:45 for the last days that no one else picked up.
28:48 Jesus said, finally, hey, we're in the last days,
28:51 it's the judgment hour.
28:52 I've got the message for the world.
28:54 It's called the Three Angels' Messages,
28:56 the everlasting gospel calling the world
28:59 to worship the Creator of the heavens and the earth
29:02 and the Sabbath is the sign
29:04 restoring the sign of God's authority as the Creator.
29:07 Here it is, it's the hour of God's judgment,
29:10 it has begun, the hour has come.
29:12 Here are the Three Angels' Messages,
29:14 who wants to preach it?
29:15 No one would touch it,
29:17 except by the little group of Adventist
29:20 that became Seventh-day Adventist.
29:23 You would think that would be the purist church of them all,
29:26 but the Bible says that many of them are lukewarm
29:29 and will be spewed out of the mouth of Jesus.
29:36 But what about all the others.
29:37 How can we recognize God's church
29:41 that is safeguarding the truth?
29:43 Well, there are number of ways to do it.
29:44 One church says the true church of God can trace its roots
29:49 all the way back to the original disciples in Jesus.
29:54 Well that doesn't help because very church can do that.
30:00 When Jesus was here there was only one church.
30:02 We've already seen shortly after He died there were two groups,
30:05 one teaching you're saved by work, circumcision
30:07 and the other saying, no, by faith.
30:09 Now we have two churches,
30:10 both of them can trace their origins back to Jesus.
30:15 That doesn't help.
30:17 Every leaf on a tree can go back to the same trunk.
30:21 Then there are those who say,
30:22 well, the true church has to be biggest church
30:24 but Jesus said, broad is the way that leads to destruction.
30:28 Many are gonna go there,
30:29 straight and narrow the way that leads to life
30:31 and only a few are gonna find it,
30:33 so that's not gonna help.
30:34 Some say, well, the true church has to have a certain name,
30:37 church of God, church of Christ,
30:39 church of the first born, church of this or church of that
30:41 but if that was the case
30:43 every church would have that name on their door.
30:47 The Bible doesn't say the true church has that name.
30:50 The Bible says God's church is gonna teach the truth,
30:54 it's gonna be a safeguard for the truth
30:56 and God gave us two identify marks.
30:59 I want you to watch this,
31:00 this is an exciting prophecy in Revelation 12,
31:05 in Revelation 12:7, "There was war in heaven.
31:07 Michael and his angels fought against the dragon,
31:09 the dragon and his angels fought back.
31:11 But he was not strong enough, praise the Lord,
31:13 they lost their place in heaven.
31:14 The great dragon was hurled down,
31:16 that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan,
31:18 who leads the whole world astray.
31:19 He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him."
31:21 Oh, oh, bad news for planet earth.
31:24 Verse 13, "When the dragon saw
31:26 that he had been hurled to the earth,
31:27 he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child.
31:30 Who is the woman?
31:31 We have already learned that in the fourth lesson.
31:33 Remember Israel in prophecy, the woman symbolize God's people
31:38 the pure woman in the Old Testament,
31:41 the nation of Israel was the people of God
31:44 symbolized by the woman.
31:46 But in the New Testament the true people of God
31:49 are the church of Jesus Christ.
31:52 So now we see the devil pursuing after the woman,
31:57 so is this Israel or is she the church?
32:02 We have to look.
32:04 Let the Bible decide for us, apply our principles.
32:07 "When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth,
32:09 he pursued the woman who had given birth to the male child."
32:12 Is that before or after Jesus came?
32:17 She had already given birth to the male child.
32:20 So it must be after Jesus came
32:22 and so it must be the church of Jesus Christ.
32:24 There is the church
32:25 right in the middle of the tribulation time
32:28 where the dragon pursuing the remnant,
32:30 the last of God's people on this earth.
32:34 Verse 15, "Then from his mouth the serpent
32:37 spewed water like a river, to overtake the woman."
32:40 And we learned about that over in Europe,
32:42 the massive attempt by the church
32:44 to put to death and destroy the people of God,
32:48 those who have true faith in Jesus Christ alone.
32:51 Verse 16, "But the earth helped the woman by opening its mouth,
32:55 swallowing the river, the earth."
32:57 Remember the two horn beast that look like a lamb
33:01 that came up out of the earth,
33:03 a quiet not a populated part of the world,
33:06 but relatively quite part of the world, a Christian nation
33:09 that would be arising in the late 1700s.
33:12 We already identified her as the United States of America
33:15 when the pilgrims came to this country
33:18 escaping the persecution of the dragon, the water,
33:21 the multitudes trying to wipe out God's church.
33:24 They came to this country to establish a country
33:26 where they are free to worship God as they choose,
33:30 but it wasn't long until she began to speak like the dragon.
33:37 And then Chapter 12:17,
33:40 "The dragon was angry at the woman
33:42 and went to make war against the remnant of her offspring,
33:46 those who obey God's commandments
33:48 and hold to the testimony of Jesus."
33:51 The last of God's people on this earth, this is it.
33:55 This is Genesis 3:15 when the seed of the woman
33:59 would receive a bite on the heal that was the cross,
34:03 but He ascended to heaven remember and he would comeback
34:06 and crush the head of the serpent.
34:08 This is the final fulfillment of that prophecy
34:11 showing us how the seed of the woman
34:14 Jesus is gonna crush the head of the serpent.
34:16 He's after the woman,
34:18 the last of God's people before the end time.
34:21 He's after the woman just before Jesus comes, who are they?
34:25 They obey the commandments of God
34:27 and have the testimony of Jesus.
34:29 Now I am gonna tell you something
34:31 and I'm gonna say it as plainly as I know how,
34:33 but please don't put words in my mouth
34:35 and don't twist and distort what I am saying.
34:39 The Bible gives us two identifying marks.
34:43 They obey God's commandments and hold the testimony of Jesus.
34:50 Any church that does not obey God's commandments
34:55 cannot be this church of Revelation 12:17, can't be.
35:02 Is this talking about all the God's commandments
35:04 or just nine of them.
35:08 If you break one, you're guilty of breaking them all.
35:11 Any church that does not teach that we should obey all ten
35:15 of the Ten Commandments cannot be this church.
35:19 Now that narrows the feel down pretty rapidly.
35:26 Of course, you know,
35:27 we teach we should obey God's commandments.
35:30 We are not saved by obeying the commandments
35:32 we're saved in order to obey God's commandments.
35:40 But what about this second identifying mark?
35:42 They hold to the testimony of Jesus, what is that?
35:46 In Revelation 19 John had just seen the vision
35:51 and afterwards he saw the angel who gave Him the vision.
35:56 Verse 10, "John fell at his feet to worship the Angel.
36:00 He says, "Don't do that!
36:02 I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers
36:04 who hold to the testimony of Jesus."
36:06 And there it is again.
36:08 We'll fine, but what's the testimony of Jesus?
36:11 "He said Worship God,
36:13 because the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy."
36:18 So the testimony of Jesus is Spirit of Prophecy.
36:21 The church would teach obedience to the commandments of God
36:23 and it would have the Spirit of Prophecy
36:25 or the gift of prophecy manifest in the church.
36:29 The testimony of Jesus is actually another way of saying
36:32 it would be the self revelation of Jesus
36:36 that moved the prophets to testify about Him.
36:42 It was the spirit that inspired the prophets to testify of Jesus
36:46 they have such a close connection with Jesus
36:49 that He trusted them with a message to tell about Him.
36:54 And so we should see the testimony of Jesus
36:58 being exhibited in God's church
37:01 as its becoming visible again for the last time.
37:05 It had been invisible during the Dark Ages
37:08 because the visible church had fallen.
37:12 But now she's becoming visible again, how?
37:17 Teaching obedience to all of God's commandments
37:19 and it would have the gift of prophecy manifesting it.
37:24 Someone close enough to Jesus that he could entrust them
37:27 with special messages revealing Himself
37:29 has a special aid or special help
37:32 as we move into the final conflict.
37:35 God always used prophets to help people,
37:38 to help His church to move it along in difficult times.
37:42 Sure we have the Bible
37:44 and the Bible is the only source of truth for any Christian,
37:48 but God has always used prophets
37:51 that didn't write the Bible its an extra help,
37:54 it's an extra boost in special times of need
37:58 and the Bible says that God would use
38:00 the Spirit of Prophecy in the last days.
38:04 We shouldn't be surprise,
38:05 Paul said in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 and 22.
38:09 He said don't despise prophecy.
38:11 Test everything and hold fast to the good, avoid the evil.
38:15 So don't despise prophecy just because the Bible says
38:19 God is gonna use the gift of prophecy,
38:20 don't turn against it, no, test it.
38:23 See if it measures up with the scripture.
38:25 If it does hold fast, if it doesn't then avoid it.
38:28 In Joel 2, he said "In the last days,
38:31 I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh and many will prophesy."
38:34 We should be looking for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit
38:37 and prophecy in the last days.
38:39 We should be looking for it.
38:41 Jesus said, there would be many false prophets in the last days.
38:44 You don't have false prophets
38:45 to counterfeit something that doesn't exist.
38:49 So there must be true ones.
38:52 In the Book of Revelation he says,
38:53 yes, I am gonna use the gift of prophecy
38:55 to help my little church grow,
38:57 teaching obedience through the commandments of God
38:59 and clinging to the testimony of Jesus Christ.
39:02 And we do believe that God did used
39:06 in the early history of our church
39:08 helping that little group of disappointed Adventists to grow
39:12 and became a major force in the world
39:14 to proclaim the Three Angels' Messages
39:16 and He used a little lady named Ellen G. White
39:22 which we believe had the gift of prophecy.
39:26 Now right away, a lot of people would jump on that
39:31 and say, Adventists have two Bibles,
39:32 Ellen White and the Bible, that's not true.
39:35 Nothing is further from the truth.
39:38 We have one Bible and that's Genesis to Revelation
39:41 the scripture and the scripture alone.
39:43 In fact Ellen White herself said this
39:46 and I thought it was important enough
39:47 to write it down on the back page of my Bible.
39:49 She said the writings of Ellen White
39:52 should not be carried to the front.
39:55 God's word is the unerring standard.
39:59 Ellen White is not to take a place of the word.
40:01 Let everyone prove their point from scripture,
40:04 never do we want anyone to put Ellen White ahead of the Bible.
40:09 And that's the way I believe it's supposed to be used.
40:12 Now you may find some Adventists here and there
40:16 that disregard what she says
40:18 and list Ellen White above the Bible,
40:20 when they do they're going against everything she said.
40:23 You know the devil knows
40:24 the best way to undo a good thing is to overdo it.
40:28 He doesn't care if you overdo it or under do it just don't do it.
40:35 I would expect a prophet to say things like that.
40:38 Test me with the scripture and I will do that.
40:42 At one time I was at home minding my own business
40:45 and two young men came knocking on my door
40:48 and they were dressed in black pants, white shirt,
40:50 a black tie and they had a name tag,
40:52 and they're riding bicycles.
40:56 They knocked on my door, I went to the door and they said
40:59 "Hi there, we have good news for you, can we come in?"
41:04 I said, "Well, you come right in,
41:06 I have good news for you too."
41:12 Well, they came in and we started talking.
41:14 I said, "I want to ask you something
41:16 before you start talking.
41:18 Do you believe in the gift of prophecy?
41:20 And that God has prophets in the last days?"
41:22 Their eyes got big and they said,
41:25 "Oh, yeah, we believe in prophecy."
41:28 I said, "Good, I do too."
41:30 "You do?" "Yes.
41:32 But I want to ask you something else.
41:34 If your prophet ever wrote anything
41:35 that contradicted the scripture,
41:36 which one would you believe, your prophet or the scripture?"
41:40 "Oh, well, we would believe the prophet."
41:43 I said, "But why?"
41:44 "Because the scripture says
41:45 that there will be a prophet in the last days."
41:48 I said, "But I know that, I believe that.
41:51 But if your prophet says something
41:52 that contradicts the scripture, how you know he's a prophet?"
41:56 "Because he's a prophet." "Well, how you know that?"
41:59 "Because the scripture says
42:00 there will be a prophet in the last days."
42:03 There was no way to prove anything.
42:06 The Bible says, "To the law and to the testimony,
42:09 if they speak not according to this,
42:10 there is no light in them."
42:12 We should not be afraid to put the gift of prophecy
42:14 to the acid test to the word of God.
42:17 In fact you should be afraid not to.
42:21 Ellen White can stand on her own
42:23 if God used her with the gift of prophecy,
42:26 then she should measure up to the test, test it.
42:29 We don't require that everybody testify,
42:32 "I believe that Ellen White was a prophet."
42:34 We don't require that.
42:35 But we ask that you're open to all the gifts of the spirit
42:38 and you test it with the scripture,
42:40 if it measures up to the test, then hang onto it.
42:43 If God's trying to tell me something
42:45 to help me understand the word,
42:46 to help me understand my mission in the world through a prophet,
42:50 then I want to know what it is.
42:51 But if it's not God speaking,
42:52 I don't want anything to do with it.
42:54 The only way you're gonna know
42:55 is to test it with the scripture, test it.
42:57 I can say for myself, it's been an incredible blessing for me.
43:02 It's been a tremendous blessing in my ministry.
43:04 And I just got an e-mail
43:06 that someone sent me a couple of days ago.
43:08 I've never seen before.
43:10 There's a freelance writer, his name is Christopher Nigh,
43:13 who went to visit the seventh--
43:14 he goes and visit different places and writes about them.
43:17 He visited a Seventh-day Adventist church.
43:20 And one of the things he came away with was this,
43:22 He said, "Seventh-day Adventist hold in high regard,
43:25 Ellen White, a Christian writer
43:26 of the 19th century and early 1900s.
43:29 Describe by Randall Balmer as one of the most important,
43:31 one of the more important and colorful figures
43:33 in the history of American religion."
43:36 He said, "I feel obliged to address something here,
43:39 and this is coming strictly from one
43:41 who is not a Seventh-day Adventist."
43:44 And he's trying to be as objective as I possibly can be.
43:48 Adventist do not worship Ellen White.
43:52 That's interesting, huh?
43:54 I could have told him that.
43:57 He said, "I found a lot of material
43:59 floating around on the inter tubes,
44:01 that was kind of interesting,
44:03 all kind of tubes out there on the internet.
44:05 "A lot of material floating around on the inter tubes
44:08 insisting that Adventists hold Ellen White
44:10 on the par with Jesus himself.
44:13 And that Adventists are baptized into Ellen White."
44:16 He said, "During one of my visits
44:18 in one particular Adventist church congregation
44:20 included a lot of times studying Adventist writings
44:23 and the doctrines in their library.
44:25 And I couldn't find anything
44:27 remotely suggesting such a notion."
44:31 He said, "I did however studied
44:32 much of Ellen White's own writings
44:34 than maybe I'm missing something
44:36 but from what I've seen she was a remarkably humble woman
44:39 who did nothing to exalt herself.
44:42 I was looking for such a thing, trust me, I was.
44:45 And instead I did everything--
44:47 and instead did everything to ponder--
44:50 Instead she did everything to ponder
44:52 and meditate upon the glory of God.
44:55 According to Adventist history
44:56 she only had a third grade education,
44:58 yet I found her articulation to be on a par
45:00 with that of Martin Luther and John Wesley."
45:03 Interesting, isn't it?
45:05 Well, a lot of people out there think
45:07 if they can just prove that one thing she said is wrong
45:10 then all of the stuff that we've been studying will topple.
45:14 But all of the stuff that we've been studying
45:16 is straight from the scripture alone. Amen.
45:23 She had a third grade education,
45:25 yet wrote more pages and manuscript
45:27 than any other woman who ever lived.
45:30 In fact, one book that she wrote,
45:32 Education was used as a textbook for a time
45:35 at the University of Southern California.
45:38 Maybe we should listen more to what she had to say.
45:41 But let me just share with you a little bit
45:43 about how God used the gift of prophecy in the early church.
45:47 The church as I mentioned was very small, disappointed.
45:50 They had first come out of the experience
45:52 of thinking Jesus was coming
45:54 and then went back into the scripture
45:55 and discovered the truth about the judgment.
45:57 Now they needed to tell the world
45:59 but they were not very many of them,
46:01 they believed they need to proclaim the gospel to the world
46:04 and so God showed Ellen White in vision
46:08 a printing press with lights coming out from it
46:12 that went around the globe.
46:15 And she understood that mean, we need to press,
46:18 we need to publish the Three Angels' Messages
46:22 and send it out around the world.
46:24 They didn't have any money, they saved everything they could
46:27 and they bought a little printing press
46:28 and today Review and Herald publishing company
46:31 is one of the largest Protestant publishing houses in the world,
46:35 publishing those messages of the three angels
46:37 and sending it around the globe.
46:39 That's an example of how God used the gift of prophecy
46:42 to help build up the church.
46:45 Another example was that God had shown Ellen White
46:52 that it was time to use the medical work,
46:55 because doctors and nurses have access to people
46:59 that are in a crisis in their lives
47:01 when they're most susceptible
47:03 to listening about God and Jesus Christ.
47:06 And she envisioned the team of medical missionaries
47:09 going out around the world helping people.
47:13 So the church said, yeah, that sounds like a good idea.
47:15 They were looking at land
47:17 and they called Ellen White one day from California and said
47:21 "You need to come and take a look at some property."
47:25 We think this is where we should build
47:26 our medical training college?
47:30 God had already shown her a piece of property in vision.
47:34 She went down to California looked at the property
47:37 and it was exactly what God had shown her earlier in the vision.
47:43 The place, Loma Linda, California,
47:47 the school, Loma Linda University,
47:50 one of the top rated medical schools in the world today.
47:56 God used that to train doctors to be able to go and minister
48:00 not only to the body
48:02 but to the hearts and souls of their patients.
48:05 And then the third way that God used the Spirit of Prophecy,
48:08 during that great disappointment Ellen White was caught up in it.
48:12 But don't believe what you see out there
48:14 that God showed her in vision
48:16 that He was coming in 1844, nonsense.
48:19 She was just a little girl, went to church
48:21 with her mother and her parents just like other children,
48:24 got caught up in the Miller movement
48:27 believing Jesus was coming,
48:28 not because of the gift, she had not had a vision.
48:32 It wasn't until after the disappointment
48:35 that God gave her, her first vision
48:37 after they had studied from the Bible
48:40 and came to the conclusion that the judgment began in 1844.
48:44 After all of that came from scripture.
48:47 After they discovered the standard of the judgment
48:49 versus Sabbath, then God gave her a vision.
48:54 She saw Jesus standing
48:55 in the most holy place of the sanctuary in heaven.
48:57 She saw the Ark of the Covenant,
48:59 the Ten Commandments with the ring of light
49:01 around the fourth commandment.
49:03 They had already gotten it from the scripture,
49:05 they didn't get it from the vision.
49:07 God used the vision to encourage
49:09 and confirm what they had learned from the scripture.
49:13 After all, they had just been ridicule
49:15 and made fun of a teaching that Jesus was coming.
49:18 And now they had to teach that Saturday is the Sabbath day
49:21 and they were intimidated by the task
49:24 but encouraged by the gift of prophecy
49:27 urging them and spurring them on.
49:29 Until today the Seventh-day Adventist church
49:31 has become one of the fastest growing
49:33 Protestant churches around the globe.
49:38 I believe largely due to the influence
49:41 that God gave to this church
49:43 through using the gift of prophecy.
49:45 Well, then the next question comes up.
49:46 Do I have to join the church?
49:49 Do I have to join any church to be saved?
49:54 You do have to join the church to be saved,
49:57 but the church you need to join is the invisible body of Christ.
50:03 Salvation comes by grace through faith in Christ alone.
50:07 You are not saved by joining a visible organized church
50:12 that's I want to make clear.
50:16 But God and Jesus established the church for a purpose.
50:24 Why wouldn't we want to be a part of God's church?
50:28 Why wouldn't we want to join?
50:31 Well, people give me a lot of reasons
50:33 why they shouldn't join a church.
50:36 One of them is because they are not good enough.
50:39 They say, well, I'm not joining the church,
50:41 I'm just not good enough to join the church.
50:43 In Luke 5:31, "Jesus said,
50:45 its not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick.
50:48 I haven't come to call the righteous,
50:49 but sinners to repentance."
50:52 Did you know that the church
50:54 is the only organization on this planet
50:57 with a requirement for you to join
51:00 is that you not be good enough, that's right.
51:06 If you're good enough to join the church
51:07 you wouldn't need the church.
51:09 I haven't come to call the healthy
51:11 but the sick, Jesus said.
51:14 And so that's not a good enough excuse.
51:17 Then there are those who take the opposite excuse.
51:20 They say, I'm not joining the church,
51:21 I am too good to join.
51:23 You know, I never heard anybody say that, you have.
51:27 I promise you, you have.
51:29 Maybe not those word but it usually comes out like this,
51:34 I would join the church
51:36 but there are hypocrites in the church.
51:38 Did you ever heard that? Sure you have.
51:42 There are hypocrites in the church, I'm not joining.
51:44 What's a hypocrite?
51:45 A hypocrite is somebody who knows
51:47 what they ought to do but they don't do it.
51:50 So the person who know that they ought to join the church
51:52 but don't join it is a bigger hypocrite
51:54 than the hypocrites in the church.
51:58 Furthermore Jesus knew and told us
52:02 that there would be hypocrites in the church
52:04 all the way through until the end.
52:07 That's a fact, Matthew 13:24, "Jesus told a parable:
52:10 He said 'The kingdom of heaven is like a man
52:12 who sowed good seed in his field.
52:14 But while everybody was at asleep,
52:15 the enemy came and sowed
52:17 weeds among the wheat, and went away.
52:21 And then when the wheat sprouted and formed heads,
52:23 the weeds appeared also."
52:26 So the servant said, hey, where did the weeds come from?
52:29 An enemy must have done this.
52:30 You want us to go and root them out,
52:31 isn't that like a church,
52:32 always want to weed it out to make it perfect.
52:35 "And Jesus said, no, don't do that
52:37 because if you pull out the weeds
52:38 you might get some of the wheat with them.
52:42 "Let them grow together until the harvest,
52:45 At that time I will tell the harvesters,
52:47 First collect the weeds, tie them in bundles to be burned
52:50 and then gather the wheat to bring it into my barn.
52:52 Let me do the deciding not you,
52:54 you make mistakes, I don't.
52:57 But can you see what it means?
52:59 It means that there are gonna be hypocrites in the church
53:02 all the way through until the very end.
53:05 The church is not perfect, it never was.
53:12 The moment Jesus got His first disciple
53:14 then the church wasn't perfect anymore.
53:18 People think if I would have been there in the time of Christ
53:21 then the church would have been perfect
53:22 at the time of the apostles, no, it wouldn't have.
53:26 Judas was one of the original 12 and Jesus picked him Himself
53:32 so we shouldn't be surprised if we pick some
53:35 that he tears and weed, the weeds instead of wheat.
53:40 But Jesus said let them grow together until the harvest.
53:44 In the early church we saw where there was
53:45 racial discrimination against the Gentile widows.
53:49 It wasn't perfect.
53:51 Ananias and Sapphira withheld money
53:53 that they had pledge to the church
53:54 and the Holy Sprit struck them dead.
53:58 Church wasn't perfect, there was financial scandal in the church,
54:02 there was racial discrimination in the church
54:05 and then speaking of racial discrimination
54:08 Peter went to Galatia and he was so intimated
54:14 by the group they came down from Jerusalem
54:16 that he refused to sit down and eat with the Gentiles.
54:20 Peter, wouldn't eat with Gentiles.
54:23 Paul came along at the same time
54:26 and saw Peter there wouldn't eat with the Gentiles.
54:29 And Paul called Peter down to his face
54:32 right in front of the congregation.
54:33 Imagine two pastors going out like that
54:35 in front of their church. What would you do?
54:40 Church wasn't perfect back then, it isn't perfect now
54:46 and it's not going to be perfect until Jesus comes.
54:49 The message is perfect, the people are not
54:54 as along as the church consists of people
54:56 who are growing in the grace of Jesus Christ,
54:59 then it's gonna be consisting of people
55:01 who were still making mistakes because they still have growing
55:04 and they will even be hypocrites
55:05 in the church all the way through.
55:07 So that's not a very good answer.
55:10 Jesus knew that, He knew
55:12 there would be hypocrites in the church
55:13 all the way through to the end.
55:14 Yet, in spite of that He said in Ephesians 5:25,
55:17 "Husbands, love your wives,
55:19 just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her."
55:23 Jesus was willing to die for the church
55:25 so the fact there are hypocrites in the church
55:27 that doesn't mean that we shouldn't be a part of it,
55:30 there'll be hypocrites all the way.
55:31 Don't let a hypocrite or any person
55:36 keep you from where God wants you to be.
55:40 Be bigger than that. Amen.
55:43 The church needs you and you need the church.
55:52 One time there was a poor man, didn't have much at all
55:58 but he wanted some thing far better for his son.
56:02 And ever since his boy was born he said,
56:05 I'm gonna save everything I can,
56:07 so I can send my son to medical school
56:10 and he can be a doctor and he did.
56:13 He saved every penny, put it all away
56:17 finally his son went to medical school.
56:20 And time came for him to graduate
56:23 the poor old man didn't even have enough
56:25 to go buy a ticket to watch his son graduate
56:27 but he didn't care, his boy was a doctor now.
56:32 Son came home from medical school
56:36 and after a few days he said,
56:39 dad, I need to tell you something.
56:45 What is it, son?
56:54 I'm not going to be going to church with you anymore.
57:00 The old man's heart was broken
57:05 but he knew he couldn't argue with his son, he was no match.
57:10 He just put his arm around him gave him a hug
57:13 and walked him over towards the fire.
57:18 There's a hot fire going.
57:22 And he picked up the little shovel
57:24 and scooped out hot glowing coal,
57:28 it's beautiful, bright red, warm
57:33 and then he set it down on the brick hearth.
57:36 Wasn't long until that beautiful white hot glowing coal
57:42 was cold and grey and ugly.
57:47 Then he picked it back up with the shovel
57:50 and he put it in the fire again
57:54 it wasn't long until it was white hot,
57:57 beautiful and glowing.