The Missionary Nature of God

The Missionary Nature of God

Scripture: Isaiah 55:4, Genesis 1:26-28, 1 John 2:16
Date: 07/04/2015  Lesson: 1
"Only by knowing where we came from are we off to a good start in knowing who we are, why we exist, how we are to live, and where we are ultimately going."

Amazing Disciples by Amazing Facts

Amazing Disciples by Amazing Facts
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Good morning, friends, and welcome again to Sabbath School Study Hour. I'd like to extend a very warm welcome to our friends joining us across the country and around the world. Thank you for taking the time to open the Bible with us and study these great lessons. To the members here of the Granite Bay church, a very warm welcome to you. Good to see you all back again this beautiful Sabbath morning here in Sacramento, California.

We will begin a new lesson quarterly today, entitled biblical missionaries and we're actually on lesson #1 in this brand-new quarter, entitled the missionary nature of God. If you don't have your lesson quarterly, those here locally, you'll be able to get one. Those watching online, if you don't have today's lesson, you can download a copy at the Amazing Facts website: just amazingfacts.org. Click on the link that says "study hour" and you can download today's lesson - lesson #1 - and follow along with us as we study together. We have a free offer that we'd like to let you know about, it's a book written by Joe Crews entitled amazing wonders of creation and we'll be happy to send this book to anybody who calls and asks.

The number is 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer #116 - a hundred and sixteen - again, that number is 866-788-3966 - and you ask for the book amazing wonders of creation. At this time I'd like to invite our song leaders to come forward and they will lead us in a hymn together before we study our lesson. Thank you Pastor Ross. Happy Sabbath. Those of you at home, it's our time to sing together, so we invite you to pull out your hymnals if you have them, Christ for the world - going along with our new lesson study - our new quarterly - the missionary nature of God.

Christ for the world - #370 - let's do all three stanzas of this one as well. Christ for the world we sing, the world to Christ we bring, with loving zeal; the poor, and them that mourn, the faint and overborne, sin-sick and sorrow-worn, whom Christ doth heal. Christ for the world we sing, the world to Christ we bring, with fervent prayer, the wayward and the lost, by restless passions tossed, redeemed at countless cost, from dark despair. Christ for the world we sing, the world to Christ we bring, with joyful song; the newborn souls, whose days, reclaimed from error's ways, inspired with hope and praise, to Christ belong. Thank you so much for joining with us and - those of you at home - and now our - we're going to turn the time over again to Pastor Ross.

Before we begin our study this morning, I invite you just to bow your heads for a word of prayer. Dear Father, we thank you that we can gather together and study Your Word. And today, as we begin this new lesson, looking at the missionary heart that you have for people, I pray, Lord, that not only will we gather a greater insight to your great love for souls, but that we'd also be inspired to do what we can to share the Gospel with others, for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen. I'd like to thank our singers for leading us in our hymns this morning. Now, from time to time, before we actually get into the lesson, we like to highlight a different missionary activity that some of our church members are involved in - maybe it's something that Amazing Facts is doing - so this morning I'd like to invite tammy steensen to come forward.

Tammy and dave steensen are both members of the Granite Bay church. We don't get to see them too often because they're very busy doing a special missionary work down in southern Mexico. So tammy, come on forward here, and I have a few questions about the missionary work that's happening at el pan de vida. We also have some pictures that we'll put up on the screen so you'll be able to see things that are going on there. So let me begin with this, tammy, where is el pan de vida and how long have you been there? Well, el pan de vida is located in Mexico, down in the southern part of Mexico in the state of vera cruz - in the state of vera cruz.

You can see a little Mark there on the map on the picture - there's our clinic there in the right-hand corner. Our clinic is where we open up our home to all faiths - all people - to be able to come and receive healing, not only physically, although that is our main course there, but also spiritually, so that they can experience the love of Jesus Christ. Tell us what's happened in the last couple of months. Yeah, well we went back down in February and we were off and running. We have a very busy schedule and we had some seminars, first of all, there in different locations and we were able to teach the message of health and Jesus Christ combined, which is such a privilege and an honor that we're able to do that on behalf of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

And so we were able to minister to over, oh thirteen hundred people in two different meetings that we had in coatzacoalcos and, I believe, somewhere near acayucan, which is down in the southern tip of Mexico as well. And we always, always start our presentations with lifting up Jesus Christ. We don't show a picture of tofu or the vegetables first, we show a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ and connect them to him so that they can know the blessing of that health message and how he wants us to be abundantly healthy and live a life to glorify him. The next question that we have is how does the ministry of el pan de vida introduce people to Jesus? Well, I have another picture up there about a little bit more of the work, too, that we're doing. We had an 8-week program, kind of like the weimar program that has eight weeks, and we taught the principles of good health to all the individuals that signed up in our village.

And we had quite a few - a number of people - sign up, but we had a few faithful ones end in triumphant victory over the controlling appetite, which is a really strong, strong thing in our life, isn't it? And she, after five weeks, this lovely lady - her name is vicky - she's a really good friend of mine - she was able to conquer over her appetite and her love for Jesus Christ has been growing as we've been walking together every morning, doing little devotionals about why Jesus Christ wants us to be healthy in our physical health, as well as our spiritual - how that's connected. And she lost about seven pounds. She had hypertension and she doesn't have hypertension any more. She had a real struggle with stomach problems and constipation. That's all gone away and now she's living a healthy - she says, "I don't want to go back.

I don't want to go back. I am living a healthy and free life in Jesus Christ and I'm so excited that I can honor him right now with my body." We can go ahead - we can hit the button there - there we go. The love of Jesus Christ is shown in this ministry, as we minister to the people on our front porch. We have many people coming during the course of the day, looking for that physical touch that they cannot find in their community there. The hospitals and the doctors and the medical system is - is very far from what Christ wants for us to be able to love our brothers and sisters, so we accept everybody at the front door.

That little boy up on the right-hand corner, unfortunately, just passed away from cancer. He's sixteen years old and he was having to live those last days in his home because of the lack of medical attention that there is for the sick and dying there. And so the love of Christ is shown when I'm holding that woman, the mother of this young boy, and as she is weeping over the loss of her son and she had no one there but her, her husband, and children in that home as she's suffering to watch that little boy die. The love of Christ is shown as this man with the open wound on his foot - his wife, who they were married when they were fifteen years old - can you imagine? Many years together and she's having to watch him also suffer and possibly pass away as well, because of complications of diabetes. And this lovely note was written by my translator and it just cheered me up because so many times we wonder, 'are we impacting? Are we doing something for our Lord and Savior?' And she writes on there, "I'm grateful" - at the end of her letter - "I'm grateful because you teach me about the love of Jesus.

" Wow, isn't that what we want our lives to be showing to everybody around us? It is, isn't it? Absolutely. Well, that's really what missionary work is all about, sharing the love of Jesus. Amen. Well, tammy, what are some of the plans for the future, then, with el pan de vida and also let us know how folks can get in contact with the ministry, if they want to help - if they're able to come down and do mission work or whatever the needs might be. Okay, yeah, all of our services are free.

We don't make - we don't charge anybody for anything because there's a verse in the Bible that says, "freely he has given and so freely we are to also give to others." And so we believe that Christ will provide for this ministry. We're a ministry of faith and God has provided us, for the last three and a half - we're going on four years - that we have been down there taking a step of faith - an independent ministry of Jesus Christ in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. And you can contact us by internet, if you'd like, we have a website: elpandevidaministries.org - you can locate us on there. And my e-mail is teacherpreacher7@gmail.com - a little name my daughter gave me - teacher-preacher - she said "if you're not teaching somebody - every time I see you with somebody you're teaching or you're preaching, mom." And I said, "it's all about Jesus. It's all about Jesus.

" Our last picture there is showing our future project. We're going to take this house down. Don't you think it needs to be taken down? A family of six lives in this home. Four little children - and they cook in this home. They don't have a stove.

They don't have a refrigerator. They don't have a dishwasher, they don't have a washing machine. They actually cook over an open wood flame inside of this home. And let me tell you, when I go into this home, I have to go out and in because the smoke is so thick in there, many times and these children are living in this environment. So we want to change that.

We want to build a new home for them. We want to get a stove and a refrigerator for them. And we - they actually changed their diet and their health is improving. He lost thirteen pounds and he's feeling so much better. His family is so happy.

Look at that cute little family there. We have a mission team coming down in August to help us with the construction of this project, but we really need your prayers. You know, most of all, I know that God moves through prayer and your prayers are the most important thing that could ever be given to this ministry. Please pray for the people of Mexico. Please pray for the ministry of el pan de vida.

Because we need God to continue to use this ministry to reach the thousands and thousands of people who are suffering in Mexico. Please help us with your prayers. Amen. Thank you, tammy. You wanted to share with us just a little statement in closing here, something that's been an encouragement to the work that you've been doing there.

Absolutely. It's - it is a little word from the pen of inspiration. Please listen to these words, because we are living in the very final days of earth's history. "Medical missionary work brings to humanity the Gospel of release from suffering. It is the pioneer work of the Gospel.

It is the Gospel practiced - the compassion of Christ revealed. Of this work, there is great, great need and the world" - listen to this - "is open for it." - It's open. Christ is waiting for us to go through the doors and bring this message to life through our lives. Pastor. Amen.

Well thank you, tammy, for sharing with us and we're very interested in the work going on there in southern Mexico with el pan de vida. We'll just keep you in our prayers and - excited to see what God is doing. Thank you, tammy. I'd like to invite our teacher for this morning - he is the afcoe director and I thought it would be appropriate - it just worked out that he's going to be teaching our lesson, today, on biblical missionaries. So chuck holtry, come forward.

Of course, afcoe is all about missionary activity and evangelism and outreach, so we'll turn the time over to you. Thank you. Thank you, Pastor Ross. Good morning. Happy Sabbath.

Good morning. I am looking forward to this lesson this morning. As I was studying it, I realized - you ever study a lesson and you're not quite sure if you got everything? You ever have that happen? You study and you're not quite sure if you got everything? And as I looked at it a second time, I realized there is so much power in what we're going to be looking at today. I would just like to begin with an additional word of prayer. Would you please bow your heads with me? Our Father in Heaven, as we spend time looking at you and your mission, we pray and ask for your Holy Spirit to be with us.

We ask in Jesus' Name, amen. As we start a new quarterly - biblical missionaries - we're going to be looking at the very first one, which is kind of an introduction to everything else we'll be looking at. It's entitled the missionary nature of God. And as you are turning there or getting your lesson ready, I'd like to share a story with you. She was a short lady, four-foot ten, and very small build.

Heavy cockney accent yet, at an early age, she felt a call to be a missionary. She wasn't really that special, at least that's what many people thought. In fact, at one point, she tried to go to a mission society and said, 'i'd like to be a missionary.' And they said, 'you're not smart enough and you're too old.' Because I think at that point she was around 28 years old. Denied her the right because she was too old at age 28. Have mercy! A lot of us would be eliminated at that point.

And also because she wasn't smart enough. She determined that she wanted to do it anyhow and, two years later, saving up money the best she could as a housemaid, she had enough money to take an overland train from her country, obviously in europe, all the way to a place called china. When she arrived in china she started helping whoever she could and soon she, who was too old and not smart enough, was fluent both in the culture of china and in its language as well. She wanted to minister - I thought you're familiar with the name gladys aylward - she wanted to minister the best she possibly could and she found one of the ways to do that was to be a foot inspector. They had recently outlawed the binding of feet - that used to be considered a thing of beauty in ancient china - they eliminated that and so she became a foot inspector.

She said, 'the only reason I'll be a foot inspector is if you will let me tell stories of Jesus while I'm meeting with the people.' And they said, 'of course we'll let you do that.' And soon they started realizing that Christianity was taking root in that little province there, where gladys was at. In 1936, four years after she arrived, she became a citizen of china. In 1938, during a war that was taking place between china and japan, she rescued almost a hundred young people, dragged them across the mountains - several days journey - and escaped, in the process having bullets through her clothing and one grazed her back. Just an incredible woman. Dedicated herself to the mission of reaching the people of china.

We look at gladys and we say, 'wow, that's incredible. She was an incredible woman.' In fact, here's a statement that describes a little bit of her humility. She said, 'I wasn't God's first choice for what I've done in china. There was somebody else. I don't know who it was.

I don't know what happened; perhaps he died, perhaps he wasn't willing and God looked down and he saw gladys aylward.' What a thought. There's other people who are going to do the job. They've been called to. But if they're not going to do it, I'm going to do it because there's a work that needs to be done. You would not have missionaries if you don't have a mission.

Would you agree? What is mission? I was doing a little research, as some of you may have done. A mission is "an important assignment carried out for political, religious, or commercial purposes, typically involving travel." That sounds basic and broad enough, right? So you can have a missionary for many different causes, depending on what your mission may be. But God's mission - what is it? The whole purpose of today is to look at 'what is God's mission?' What has he called us to do as part of his mission and what does it mean to be a missionary? We're going to be looking at lots of missionaries this coming quarter, but this missionary, the focus today, is someone - a being - called God. We're looking at the missionary nature of God. What is our mission? Matthew chapter 28 - you want to read it with me? - Matthew chapter 28, verses 18 through 20 - I'm going to read it from the lesson which is in the new king James version, "and Jesus came and spake to them saying, 'all authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth, go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of The Father, and of The Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I've commanded you and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.

" There it is, our Gospel commission - our mission, while we would be a missionary. There's also another passage that's quite familiar to us as Seventh-day Adventists, which gives a more distinct understanding: "fear God and" - what? Give glory to him. Give glory to him" - and - "for the hour of his judgment is come and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea, and the springs of water." God has called us - given us the awesome privilege to be partakers with him in his mission work. We are to be missionaries with God, but what is God's mission? Our first three - if you don't mind me giving you an overview of what we'll be looking at - the first three days - Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday - we're going to be looking at why there's a mission. Wednesday and Thursday we're going to be looking at what is the mission? So the first three days we're looking at why there's a mission; the next two days: what is the mission? So why is there a mission? Well, first, God created man.

Now were we the cause of the mission or the result of the mission, or was there a mission when God originally created us or was there a mission after we sinned? When did the mission begin? Did Jesus have a mission in creating us? Yes. So there was a mission that existed before there was sin - would you agree? At least the sin of humanity. Let's look at it. Genesis chapter 1 - Jesus, he had a specific goal. He traveled, actually, to do it, although with the travel with God - it must be amazing - totally different than travel with us, but he traveled to this planet and he had a mission - Genesis chapter 1 and let's look at verses 1 through 5.

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, 'let there be light': and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

And God called the light day, and the darkness he called night. And the evening and the morning were the first day." There it is - initial picture - first day. Now, notice what it says in verse 6, "and God said," - what's those next three words? - "Let there be" - let's look at verse 9, "and God said, 'let the waters'" - and verse 11, "and God said, 'let the earth'" - verse 14 - help me out - "and God said, 'let there be.' - Wow, well, wherever you see 'let it be' - 'let there be' - 'let the earth do this' - 'let the waters do this' - but something changes when you get to verse 26, "and God said," - what? - Let us make. "Let us make" - so on day 1: 'let there be'. Day 2: 'let there be' or 'let there be something something' - its equivalent.

Verse 3 - day 3: the same thing; day 4: the same thing; day 5: the same thing; day 6: the first part - the same thing. But when it came to mankind, God didn't say, 'let there be' - he said, "let us make" - because there's something different between man and the rest of creation. There's a distinction that's being clearly laid out, between humankind and the rest of creation. Amen. The Bible says, in verse 26, "let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

" - Verse 27, "so God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." And then verse 28: a key - another key element here - "and God blessed them, and God said unto them, 'be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." Man was different because all the creation that took place, man was supposed to be in charge of it. Everything that took place on day 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and half of six, was for man to be in charge. Man was to have - humankind was to have dominion over it. I don't know if you've noticed this - you read 29 and 30 and you'll pick up the same point that those things created on the first, second, third, and fourth days were for the benefit of those created on the fifth and sixth days. That which was created in the first four days was for the benefit of the - those created in the fifth and sixth day.

And then mankind was for - now I'm thinking off the top of my head - it's not good to do this when you're being videoed - so I just know they can edit this. But if everything that was created in the beginning was for the benefit of what comes later, and whoever was last is in control of all things, where does that put ladies? Okay, just thought I'd mention it. (Laughter) so here we have this picture; humankind has been given dominion over everything. Does that make sense? Humankind has been given dominion over all things. Now there's something else that stands out.

Help me out. In verses 1:1 through 2:3, how do you see God mentioned in your Bible? It simply says 'God' - capital g-o-d. But when you get to verse 4 in chapter 2, notice that there's a change that takes place. What's connected with the word 'God' in verse 4? Lord. Lord - capital l-o-r-d - all capitals.

Why? You're going to see a retelling of the creation account in chapter 2, focusing almost predominantly on the creation of man and the word 'Lord' God is given instead of simply 'God' because 'Lord' is the intimate, covenant God of the Bible and when we take time to look at the relationship between God and man and the development of man, the creation of man, it's by the covenant God. Not just elohim, but also yahweh, jehovah, the covenant God. So whenever you're studying, notice this: chapter 2 and chapter 1 are different. They're retelling of the same account in chapter 2, but chapter 2 is giving it from the personal covenant relationship of God himself - the covenant God - jehovah yahweh. That's the picture that's being pulled out.

Notice in verse 27: "so God created man in" - what? - "His own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." So what is God's image? Oh, I'm not talking about the physical image, but if you were to give a definition of who is God or what is God, what would you tell me? Some of you might go to 1 John chapter 4, verse 8, right? God is love. So we could say that part of the image of who God is, his character, is love. What about John chapter 3, verse 16 - what kind of love is it? "For God so loved the world that he gave." And it wasn't just simply a minor gift that you buy at the grocery store, it's a gift that is sacrificial in its highest extent. It's a loving, sacrificing God and you and I were created in his image. What does that mean? I'm created in his image.

You're created in his image. Because we're created in his image, we live like him; therefore...are you ready? Our lives are wrapped around his mission. Amen. Our creation enabled us to be God's missionary. He created us in his image so not only would we be able to have free choice, which we'll be looking at in our next day, but it's also so that you and I can experience his mission.

We were created to carry forward God's mission. You see, God's mission is who he is. Would you say that God has always been a missionary? Amen. I would - absolutely. Always God has been a missionary.

His goal has been to give life and love to the entire universe to his created beings since the beginning of time - whenever that was. That's why he exists and he created us in his image so that we could have the same exact experience and same exact mission because we're the same exact character. That's what God was wanting for us to have. So, why is there a mission? Well, the mission we're going to be looking at here in Bible - in biblical missionaries - is focusing a lot, predominantly, on saving people from sin, right? Restoring humankind back into the nature of God. That's part of it.

It's the main thing we're focusing on. But - and we were created and because of our fall and our sin, that's - mission work must happen. But there's been another mission and that mission is that you and i, in God's image, before sin, would be missionaries to the universe for God. I am looking forward to someday finding out to what extent that could have happened. I'm looking forward to knowing what I don't know right now.

But, that being said, let's go to our next day. Why was there a mission? Because there was a creation. Why else is there a mission? Because there is free will. Is it possible to have love without free will? No, it's impossible. You and i, if we were not given a choice, then love would not be an option.

You know, there are times I - there are sometimes I wish I could take choice away from my children. You ever feel like that? I just want to take the choice away. Forget it. And sometimes I actually say that, but they still have a choice. Am I right? No matter how much I try to control my children, they still have a choice.

They can look at me and say, 'I choose not to like what you're doing.' 'I choose not to like you.' 'I choose not to be involved with what you're saying, but I will obey because that's a choice.' They even have a choice to obey because they could disobey but they don't like the choice's results. There's always a choice. Um, just as there was a choice in separating from God - because we're going to look at that a little bit later - there's also a choice in coming back to God. Free will is huge in the concept of mission. People are not predestined to be lost.

Everyone has been predestined to save. You understand, right? God desired that all men be saved. But there is always a choice that we can be saved or lost and it's based upon that choice that you and I actually go out and give a mission. There's no reason for a mission if there isn't free will. There's no need for a mission if there's not choice.

I believe that my choice to obey God reveals the character - a character trait - of God. Let me explain and we're going to go through a little bit of a run through our quarterly, if that's okay. When a person's character - what a person's character is, is revealed in how they use free will - most of the time. What a person's character is, is revealed in how they use their free will. Free will allows for the development and the revealing of a person's character.

Can you see that for yourself? How you make your decisions - the choices you have made this week - help us know - actually, help God know, not us - help God to know - so where are they now? What is their choice? Their choice tells me what they want in life - what their character is - the development of their character. For example, David's choice to fight Goliath - what that a choice? He chose to do so. Does that reveal something about the character of God? Does it reveal a character trait of God? I believe it does. What character trait would that be? Boldness - would you say that? He chose to obey, but that choosing to obey revealed something - a character trait. Do you realize our choices are not easy, are they? Oftentimes our choices are hard because some of the character traits that needed to be expressed in that choice are not ones that we want to do.

I think of Daniel: Daniel was given a choice. He had a choice to pray or to hide and he chose to - pray. Pray. In that character choice - in that choice to obey - that free-will decision made by Daniel, he exhibited a character trait of God and that is loyalty. So another character trait.

What about Daniel - remember Daniel and his three friends, they had a choice as they came into that beautiful cafeteria of the King's dining hall. And as they were looking at it they had a choice. Eat or not eat. Eat or request something different. And what did they do? They requested something different.

What does it show? And you say, 'well, chuck, it shows obedience.' And yes, I know it shows obedience, but what character trait do you see here? You see something of God coming out in free will. When you exercise free will and you choose to obey God, you see a character trait of God come out. Here, what is it? Temperance. Is that a character - is God temperate? Now, I'm not going to go too much further on this subject, but I wanted to note that in obedience, out of free choice - which, that's what we have - we reveal who God is. Example: Elijah's choice to confront ahab.

Ruth's choice to stay with naomi. Matthew's choice to leave his lucrative business and become a disciple with Jesus. Abraham's choice to leave ur. Esther's choice to go before the King unbidden. Little maid's choice - remember the story of little maid - little maid and naaman - little maid's choice to share God to the one who was her captor.

Jonah's choice to go to joppa and then later to go to nineveh. Jesus' choice to come to our planet. The centurion's choice to believe in a Hebrew God. Paul's choice to serve him whom he used to hate. Peter's choice to visit cornelius.

These people all had choices and their choosing to obey. That free will enabled them to do a mission that God had. In fact, it enabled them to become part of God's mission - enabled them to show something of who God really is. The character trait of love cannot be expressed without free will. The character trait of boldness cannot be expressed without free will.

The character trait of patience cannot be expressed without free will. Do you realize free will's huge? It's so important. You know, I - I long to be a more patient individual. Some of you may feel like I do, but I long to be a more patient individual. But I can choose.

Is that right? It's one thing to long for it; it's another thing to choose it. And sometimes that choosing takes effort. It's a whole lot easier to long for something than to choose it. 'I long to have money, but I don't choose to work.' Right? 'I long to be healthy, but I don't choose to exercise.' Choice is so important God gave it to us so that we, by his grace, can be partakers of his character. What a mission God had in creating man with freewill.

And, by the way, the free will was created in us before sin, right? So what was it going to do? It was a revealing of God. Did the angels have free will? Yes, very obviously, because satan chose otherwise - lucifer chose otherwise. Free will God has given to his subjects so that we can experience - truly - love and his character. I guess Tuesday's lesson - it's called the fall - probably explains, from this lesson's perspective, why there's missionaries more than any other. There was a fall.

There was a choice that was made by the created beings of God who were in his image. There was a choice that was made to do what? Go another way. Let's look at those choices. I'd like to look at three - chapter 3 of Genesis and verses and 6, "'for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof,'" - who's speaking here? Satan - the serpent - satan through the serpent - "'then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil.' And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

" There's a lot of choices here, but I want to focus on four. Four choices that were made here with the free will that was part of the image of God. They chose to doubt who? Who did they choose to doubt here in this story? Who are they doubting? God. They choose to trust whom? The snake, right? They choose to trust this created being. Number 3: they choose to follow something other than faith - what was it? They were choosing to follow their senses.

She saw that it looked good. It was touch - there's - there are so many senses that came into the picture here - she was listening - she chose to follow her senses. And, finally, number four: they chose leaves instead of light. And you say, 'well, chuck, that was kind of an inadvertent choice.' Does that happen to us a lot? Do we get these inadvertent choices? 'You chose to have this happen.' 'I didn't choose that.' 'Oh, yes you did. You chose this, which happened this, and therefore you chose that.

' Right? That is the picture we see here with adam and eve: three choices, which inadvertently chose another one. God's mission now is to reverse those choices - to let us choose again and to choose the opposite direction. The fall has given Jesus a new mission. A new mission? An enhanced mission. Have you ever thought of missions that cost a whole lot more than they were planning when you first started? I've had things like that happen.

I think I'd like to - I got so excited when I was - I think it was my junior year of high school - the dean came up to me and said, 'chuck, we need someone to clean bathrooms during camp meeting.' And I said, 'clean bathrooms during camp meeting?' He said, 'yeah, I'll pay you two hundred dollars cash.' And back when I was a young guy, two hundred dollars cash was a lot of money for cleaning bathrooms during camp meeting. I said, 'sure, I'd love to do it.' He goes, 'I'll take care of your food for the week. I'll take care of your housing for the week. And you just need to make sure the bathrooms stay clean.' And that was working in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania and they had a large camp meeting - a large campus - and we kept pretty busy. I was so excited and at the end of the week I got my two hundred dollars cash and someone came up to me and said, 'chuck, we noticed that you have two hundred dollars.

We were wondering if you would like to join us in a special business that we have.' 'Really?' And I said, 'well, what is it?' 'Well, if you sell so much of this and get these amount of people to join you in selling it, soon you'll be making more money than you've ever dreamed.' And so I ended up that week with about fifty dollars instead of two hundred dollars because I donated a hundred and fifty dollars to start my own starter kit to join this company and I think I sold nothing. I know I sold nothing. Terrible. I was so excited. It cost a whole lot more than I thought.

I didn't realize it was going to cost a lot of time and energy. It was going to cost someone like me, who was very shy, to actually go out and talk to people - I was going to try to sell them on something. It cost a whole lot more than I expected. You know, with Jesus, it was so much more than anything we can imagine. His mission, to give love and life to the universe, never changes.

He is the source of all life. He's the source of all light. He is the source of all love. That's him. But, with the fall of man, it added a new element.

It made it a very, very costly enterprise - much, much more expensive than was originally planned. Choice - the choice to doubt God now is going to be, by God's grace, a change of choice to doubt who? Who do we need to doubt? What's God trying to change? Satan, right? Evil. Ourselves even, sometimes. Our second choice: originally, choose to trust the snake - yes - now who are we trying to trust? God. God.

So we're going now - instead of trusting a snake and doubting God, God wants to change it so we trust him and doubt satan. That's the goal. That's the change. That's the mission that God has - what's another part of the mission? Choosing to follow senses. We can't follow our senses anymore.

What do we have to follow? We have to live by - we have to follow truth and we have to live by faith. That's what we're needing. And the final one here, choosing leaves instead of light. I can tell you one thing: what covers you and I spiritually - without God - it's filthy. It's useless.

We must put aside our own righteousness - put aside what makes - we think makes us good and trust in Christ's righteousness to cleanse us and cover us and do a miracle in our lives. That's the choice. That's the choosing that God is wanting us to do. There's a change and that change is very important. So, why the mission? There was a creation, by a creator God, of human beings that were in his image.

And then there was free choice that was given, because you can't have any character traits of God without free choice. You can't have love without free choice. Free choice pre-empts almost everything. Then number 3: there was a fall. That free choice was used.

Choices were given that were wrong and God is now trying to change your choices. Those three things describe why there's a mission today. So what is the mission? I'd like it if God could explain it - what his mission was. Jesus would just simply come here today and say, 'granite bay, let me tell you what my mission is.' Wouldn't you like that? Would you be more inspired if Jesus was telling you what his mission was? I hope so. What is his mission? If you knew what the mission of God was, would you do it? Amen.

Would you be a missionary for God if he could spell it out - 'here is my mission work. I'm going to lay it out before you. God bless you.' I would have to say I think that Granite Bay would become - it's - I already like Granite Bay, but granite bay would be taken to a whole new existence if God was standing here and saying, 'here is my mission. And I'd like you to be missionaries. In other words, followers of my mission.

' So today, he cannot be here in person, although he can be in our hearts so that would be in person, amen? But His Words are here. Would you like to hear what he has to say for us today at Granite Bay? Amen. Let's see, John chapter 3 and verse 16. I would propose that this is Jesus' mission - well, actually, he's saying that. This is what Jesus is saying his mission is, "for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever" - what? - "Believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be" - what? Saved. This is God's mission. This is what he wants to do. Matthew chapter 1, verse 21 - Matthew 1, verse 21 - this is not necessarily Jesus speaking, but this is the Holy Spirit via inspiration - Matthew chapter 1, verse 21 and it says, "and she" - that is, mary - "shall bring forth a son and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall" - do what? - "He shall save his people from their sins." This is part of God's mission, to get people to believe in him and to be saved - and not just saved from their past, but saved in the present and saved in their future. Luke chapter 19 and verse 10 - Jesus gives us a beautiful section here - Luke chapter 19, verse 10 - it tells - now remember, a missionary is someone who's sent to accomplish something.

And here's what Jesus says in , verse 10, "for The Son of man is" - what? He's come - he was sent. He was sent from heaven. He came here to do what? - "Come to seek and to save that which was lost." That's God's mission. That is the mission of Jesus - to seek and save that which is lost. To give them hope when there is no hope.

To save them from the past, the present and the future. John chapter 10 and verse 10 - we could look at Jesus' mission all day and for the sake of time and, also your patience, we will not. Although, of course, you wouldn't mind, I'm sure. John 10 and verse 10 - this is another part of Jesus' mission - beautiful part here - the thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come" - he is sent - he's a missionary - "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." This is his mission. This is why Jesus has come.

Jesus has come so that people can hear him. They can believe on him. They can be saved and not condemned. That they can have salvation from their sins. That they could have a joyful life.

That those who are lost can be found. That's why Jesus was saved. That's why Jesus came as a missionary - correction - John chapter 6. Why else did Jesus come? John chapter 6 and verse 38 - John chapter 6, verse 38, "for I came down from heaven," - I love that - how he says that - he was sent. He came as a missionary - "I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

" So we know that when Jesus came here he was doing what God wanted. What's it say next? "And this is The Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." God's will, his love, his plan for us is beautiful. His mission for us is so incredible. This is his mission, do you want to be part of his mission? The mission doesn't end with that. It's not just to take a sinner like chuck - or anyone who's sitting in the Granite Bay church and make them whole.

That's not the only part of his mission. There's something more. John chapter - excuse me, not John, this is Matthew, I believe - Matthew chapter 5 - Matthew chapter 5 - Jesus wants to take us and restore us fully into his image. The only way you and I could be restored into his image - completely restored into his image - is so that when you and him have the same mission. When you and God have the same mission, that's the full restoration of humanity in the image of God - is when humanity and God have the same mission.

What's your mission in life? This morning as you're sitting here in church listening, or thinking, or dwelling on the last week or trying to figure out what's going to happen next, what is your mission in life? Why do you exist? Why are you here? What has God called you for? Do you do your mission or God's mission? Do you want to do God's mission? Are you tired of your mission? Why do you exist? What is your mission? Matthew chapter 5 and verse 13, "ye are the salt of the earth." - Verse 14 - "ye are the light of the world." God has called us, you and i, to be salt and light. Jesus called us to be salt and light. So who's the light in the Bible? Who's the light? Jesus is, right? John chapter 8, verse 12, "I am the light of the world." So Jesus is the light of the world - and then 1 Peter chapter , verse 9 - speaking of those who've been called to be a holy generation. It says we are called that way because God has called us out of darkness into what? His marvelous light. So we are simply around God's light.

So when he says 'you are the light of the world.' It's not that we're the light, it's just we have the light in us. Isaiah chapter 60 - it says, "arise, shine, for thy light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon me." My light is not my light, it's the glory of the Lord, risen upon me." So when God calls me to be light, it's God's glory shining through me. What about salt? I'm addicted to salt. Anyone here addicted to salt? Or you don't want to admit it. Okay, some of you.

Thank you. I like salty things. I can only take so much sweet, even though I like sweet things. But man, you get me a box of chips - am I speaking someone's language? Or some kind of snack mix and there's too much salt in it - I can't stop. Oh, it tastes so good.

Salt keeps me wanting to have more. And that is why you and I are salt. Sorry, slight application there. Is that okay? We should be like that. We should be trying to get people to want to have more.

'Man, I like that Christian! I want more of what he's got. I want to have that kind of experience.' You know there's another thing about salt: while you're downing all your salty snacks you're looking for something else, aren't you? Water - something to quench the thirst that's welling up. My friends, you and i, on this planet, you and I know here and our suburbs of Sacramento, we are to be like salt. When people meet us they want more. 'Whatever they've got, I want more.

' And then they realize, 'you know what? I need water.' And Jesus says that he's the water. That those who come to him and drink will not thirst any more. He is the source. People, by connecting with you, will long for Jesus Christ. That's the picture that God has for us.

If I were to summarize - as a teacher, because I have to summarize - I would say we've seen several things in our lesson. We found out what a mission is. We found out God is a missionary. We realized why there's a mission on our planet earth. First, there was a mission to start with, but why we're currently on the mission we are now and that's the mission of salvation because God created us in his image with free choice and we fell.

Now there's a need for a mission and God's mission is to seek and save that which is lost. It's to restore us into his image to save us from the past in the present and to keep us in the future. That's the picture of the salvation God wants to give. But more than that, he wants to take us and make us like him and when you and I are like him, we have his mission - we have his character. Being in the image of God, my friends, is to have his mission.

I'd like to ask you a question to think about. Has God called you to mission work? What may it be? We know the general answer is 'yes' but what's your mission work? What's your call? My friends, your call is not simply to exist here on this planet; your goal is not simply to exist here outside of Sacramento, God's got a mission. He's got a mission here. What is that mission? Do you want to be united with that mission? It sounds for me like I want to do an appeal for you all to come to afcoe. Would that be okay? But I'm not going to do that right now.

What is God's mission for you? In a book by sam wellman, he reads - or quotes - the words of a mandarin leader that was speaking to a lady by the name of gladys aylward, and here it is. I can't pronounce her chinese name that well, but please have mercy. "From the other side of the world, ai-weh-deh, journeyed to china, owing allegiance only to her living God. She brought her Christianity to yangcheng. She had not sat hidden inside a temple contemplating how virtuous she was.

She had unbound the feet of infants. She had helped the poor. She had visited the jails. She had taken orphans under her roof. She had nursed the wounded.

Her faith was alive. Confucianism lives in my head, but not in my heart, as Christianity does in ai-weh-deh and her converts. I wish to be a Christian." I believe that that is the call for no matter where you are on this planet. God may be asking you to take up his mission. It may be in a city, it may be in a country, it may be in a very first world country, it may be in a third world country, but God has asked us to take up his mission and when we do that, I believe that the world's going to look at us and say, 'I want Christianity.

I want Jesus Christ.' That's the kind of experience I want to have. How about you? Amen. We have a special give away, amazing wonders of creation - offer #116. Just call 866-788-3966 - that's 1-866-788-3966. Thank you and God bless you.

In six days God created the heavens and the earth. For thousands of years, man has worshiped God on the seventh day of the week. Now, each week, millions of people worship on the first day. What happened? Why did God create a day of rest? Does it really matter what day we worship? Who was behind this great shift. Discover the truth behind God's law and how it was changed.

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