Jesus' Teachings and the Great Controversy

Scripture: Matthew 11:28, Romans 4:1-6, James 2:17
Date: 02/13/2016 
Lesson: 7
"In this week's lesson, we will look at some of Jesus' teachings on very down-to-earth and practical matters as we all struggle to know and do God's will amid the great controversy."
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Welcome to Sabbath School Study Hour. We are here at Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church located in Rocklin, California, right near sacrament0, and we have been warming up our voices here in the sanctuary ready for you to join us. And so we're going to get right on with our song service this morning so pull out your hymnals, those of you here and those of you at home, and join with us - #223 - lovely song - crown him with many crowns - and we want to hear your voices around the world as we sing together. First, second and fourth stanzas - #223. Crown him with many crowns, the lamb upon his throne, hark! How the heavenly anthem drowns all music but its own.

Awake, my soul, and sing of him who died for thee, and hail him as thy matchless king through all eternity. Crown him the Lord of love! Behold his hands and side, those wounds, yet visible above, in beauty glorified; no angel in the sky can fully bear that sight, but downward bend his wondering eye at mysteries so great. Crown him the Lord of years; the potentate of time, creator of the rolling spheres, ineffably sublime! All hail, redeemer, hail! For thou has died for me; thy praise shall never, never fail throughout eternity. Aren't you looking forward to that day? Yes. When we can face to face with Jesus, crown him with many crowns and cast our crowns at his feet because if wasn't for him and his sacrifice, we would never have the hope of eternal life.

The thing I'm looking forward to - other than seeing Jesus - is hearing the angel choir sing and joining with them. And I want to be there on that day and I hope that you do too. Our next song is #221, just on the other side - rejoice the Lord is king - #221 - and we'll also do the first, second, and fourth stanzas. Rejoice, the Lord is king! Your Lord and king adore! Rejoice, give thanks and sing, and triumph evermore: lift up your heart, lift up your voice! Rejoice, again I say, rejoice! Jesus, the Savior, reigns, the God of truth and love; when he had purged our stains, he took his seat above: lift up your heart, lift up your voice! Rejoice, again I say, rejoice! Rejoice in glorious hope! Our Lord the judge shall come, and take his servants up to their eternal home: lift up your heart, lift up your voice! Rejoice, again I say, rejoice! Join with me in prayer before Pastor Doug brings us our lesson study. Father in Heaven, we do lift up our hearts to you right now and our voices.

We thank you. We praise you. And we rejoice for everything you have done for us. Father, thank you so much for blessing us, for loving us, and for giving us this opportunity that we have now, to study your word while we still have freedoms in this country. In Jesus' Name, amen.

Amen. At this time our lesson study will be brought to us by our senior pastor here at the Granite Bay seventh-day adventist church, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Happy Sabbath. Happy Sabbath. And we're glad that you're here visiting if you're at the Granite Bay church and we know that we have a number of our Granite Bay online members.

We want to welcome you. We have people scattered around the world that have no local church they can attend, for some reason and so, through satellite or the internet, they're part of our extended family. And then there are the other guests at large and we're just glad you're watching on one of the several networks that carries this study. We're continuing our study now in the quarterly dealing with rebellion and redemption and, as always, we have an offer. Today is not just a special offer, it's a special, special offer because this is sort of a premium magazine we're going to send to you.

This is something - I don't believe you can read it online, you really need to send for it - and it's called hidden truth and it covers the high points of what many people misunderstand about the Bible - talks about the Bible being trusted, if God is good why did he make a devil? How is it that we are saved by Jesus? And it just has some of the best theology and it's all fully illustrated. It's a beautiful book. Call simply 866-788-3966 - we'll send you a copy of this. When you do call, say you would like offer #815 - the hidden truth magazine - it's one of our most popular resources and we hope you'll use that. Today's lesson - we're continuing dealing with the theme of the Great Controversy and we're talking, more specifically, about the great controversy as seen in the teachings of Jesus.

Now we talked about it in the context of the great temptation last week and we have a memory verse - memory verse Matthew :28 - and you should all know that - Matthew 11:28 - Jesus said, "come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you..." Rest. "Rest." I think here it's in the niv. It says, "all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest." There are two great declarations that Jesus makes in the book of Matthew that summarize life. One is Matthew 11, verse 28 and the other is Matthew 28, verses 18 and 19. One is called the great - who knows? Invitation.

Invitation. And the other one is the great commission. The great invitation says, 'come to me.' The great commission says what? Go for me. 'Go for me.' And the whole plan of salvation is summed up in those two very important things. We come to Jesus and then we go for Jesus.

And so here you have that memory verse talking about rest. Now we're going to spend a little time talking about the rest that is in this verse here. You know, life - life is involved in rhythms of take and give. When you breathe you're taking in and then you're giving out. If you only take in, you explode, right? You only inhale - you can't do that forever.

Your heart - blood is going in and blood is going out. If you want to thrive as a Christian you need to receive from God and give for God. You receive blessings, you share blessings. You come to Christ, you go for Christ. Every day we receive from Christ, we give for Christ.

As you have one hand open in receiving, you become a conduit, a channel of blessing to the world - you have another hand open in giving. And salvation is about a love relationship. It's this love relationship and it's this love relationship. I always feel like the pope when I do that. But the first part is the great commission: "come unto me" and what does he promise? "I'll give you rest.

" There are many kinds of rest and that's the first section we're considering. Someone's going to read for me Genesis 2:2 in just a moment. You can go ahead and get ready. And the second part of Matthew 11:28 is verse 29, of course, "take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest" - not just physical rest, but "rest for your souls." Jesus is promising us an inner peace and a rest if we take his yoke. Now that sounds like a contradiction, because a yoke - not talking about an egg yolk - a farming yoke is something that you would put on a couple of animals that would be pulling a plow or some farm implement and to get a little more strength, you'd yoke them together.

Two chariot horses would be yoked together so that they could pull the chariot at the same speed. So the very context of a yoke is talking about an instrument of work, but Jesus said 'yoking up to me is easier than yoking up to anyone else. If you're not yoked to Christ, who are you yoked to? Satan. There's only two. This is talking about the Great Controversy - and his burden is heavy and there is no rest.

And it's going to come out later in our - in our study - Paul talks about do not be unequally yoked. What is he talking about there? Talking about believers marrying unbelievers and it's also true in your businesses. You've got to be careful about, in partnerships, not being unequally yoked with somebody who may not share your Christian ethics and it can create all kids of challenges. So he says, 'you'll find rest for your souls.' Jeremiah 6:16, "thus says the Lord: 'stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls.' But they said, 'we will not walk in it.'" You know, Jesus is probably alluding back to Jeremiah's statement when he said, 'come unto me and you'll find rest for your souls.' Someone did a count - and I didn't do it, but based on what I've read, I think it's accurate - that ten percent of everything Jesus said, he is quoting the old testament, or at least paraphrasing the old testament. So Jesus was a Bible teacher.

Alright, go ahead, read for us, Genesis 2:2 - one place it says rest first appears. "Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had done." Thank you. Now we're going to talk a moment about God resting. Did he rest because he was all tuckered out? What does that mean? You know, this is a very important verse if, for nothing else, because it teaches a literal creation.

You know, just driving to church this morning as we often do, it just so happens that the stars line up where when we're coming to church there's a Christian radio program on creation. I don't know if you ever listen to family radio - they've got a little segment this gentleman talks about some of the deeper things - the biblical arguments for creation. I see some of you nodding in recognition. And he was talking about that today. The idea of the - some people say, 'well, yeah, God created but he used evolution to do it.

' And that these were really epochs of millions of years. But everything in the text says that it was literal. It talks about light and dark. It talks about day and night. And it talks about the Lord resting at the conclusion of this time period.

And if you start believing that the first eleven chapters in the Bible are not historical, but they're mythical, what do you do with Luke when it goes through the genealogy of Jesus and it traces the genealogy of Christ right from Jesus' day back to adam? Does Luke, somewhere back when he starts nearing adam, switch over and become spiritual and mythical again? The Bible treats it as very real. And so, you cannot - and Jesus said, 'if you don't believe Moses' - including the first eleven chapters - he said, 'you won't believe me.' Christ talked about God making them male and female - in the beginning. They didn't evolve. And so, I hope that you will not be confused because we're in a culture that is absolutely saturated with this - this teaching about evolution that is becoming more and more shown to be unscientific, but it is certainly unbiblical. And just here, right at the very beginning - and especially if you're a Sabbath keeping Christian.

To be a Sabbath-keeping Christian that believes in evolution is an oxymoron, because every Sabbath is a celebration of the six-day creation. Amen. Of course, I always - is it a six-day creation or is it a seven-day creation? The whole thing wasn't done until he'd rested one day so - anyway, you could argue that. Alright, go to Exodus 31 - talking about rest - God, reminding them of the Sabbath truth - Exodus 31:16, "therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant." Now some stop - I know a number of people who say, 'see, he made the Sabbath for the children of Israel.' There are a couple of verses that say God made it for the children of Israel - Jesus said the Sabbath was made for - man. 'Man.

' When it says that he made it for the children of Israel, he's saying, 'well, a lot of the truth I gave to you. I also gave you the other nine commandments, that doesn't mean it's just for you, it means that you are to be a nation of Kings and priests, teaching these truths to the other nations. And when they accept these truths, they are adopted into' - grafted, as Paul says - 'into Israel.' So it was the truth for all people. Not all people observed it and so that's why God said, 'I'm reminding you that you're to be a nation that teaches these things. I'm going to keep going here - verse 17 - Exodus 31:17 - "it is a sign between me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested" - so it was a sign for the children of Israel and everybody that believes that he made the world in six days.

Do you get that? So is it a sign for you? If you believe that he's the creator, it's a sign for you. "the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed." How does God get refreshed? If God improves, is he perfect? If God learns, is he all-knowing? If God is refreshed, does it say that he must have been tired or musty and dusty and had to wash his face? Is it - do you see what I'm saying? Does the Lord ever slumber or sleep? It says in the Psalms, 'he that keeps Israel will - he neither slumbers nor sleeps.' And even Jesus said, 'I work and my father works' - 'my father works and I work.' In other words, God is always sustaining life. He never takes a rest or we'd all die from that. So what does it mean here when it says, 'God rested and was refreshed? If any of you have created something, whether you made a dish or you made something in - I did a little home repair yesterday and, you know, just had to patch a hole in the wall - and you get done with it - it didn't take that long - you stand back and you look at it and you go, 'yes, I've been looking at that hole in the garage for years. I am so glad to have that covered up.

' I was refreshed. I was encouraged. Have you ever done a job well, whether you knit something or you cook something and you look back and you go, 'ah, it's done.' See, God's a creator and he makes us to create. And he was refreshed in his creation. He wasn't tired.

He wasn't exhausted. He didn't have to wash up because God's perfect. God never gets tired. He doesn't get dirty. He's holy.

So that's what it means. He rested and was refreshed. And we should be refreshed in our relationship with him each week. Let's read this - Exodus 23:10, "six years you shall sow your land and gather in its produce, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat." - So one thing that happens is, whatever crops happen to grow voluntarily that year were for the poor. You were supposed to be blessed during the six years so you stored a provision, just like Joseph stored up during the years of plenty so they could eat during years of scarcity.

And whatever would spring up - volunteer - the poor would have, and it says the land would rest because, you know, there's certain weeds and crops that grow when you don't till the soil that may not be good for eating, but they add nitrogen and nutrients to the soil and you just till them under and it's a cover crop that refreshes things. I think one of the reasons george Washington carver became so famous was not just because of his inventions regarding peanut butter. The reason he made inventions regarding peanut butter - who knows? It's because the south had grown so much cotton - cotton draws nitrogen out of the soil - they had completely depleted the soil and george Washington carver realized that a few things - sweet potatoes and peanuts - when you plant them, actually increase the nitrogen. And he had to convince the farmers, 'you've got to grow peanuts.' And they'll, 'what do we do with peanuts?' He said, 'I'll think of something.' Today it's called peanut butter - and all these other things - and he said, 'but you've got to grow peanuts.' And so he helped create a Market for peanuts so that those farmers in the south wouldn't go broke because, after one or two years of growing peanuts, the cotton would then do well again. And so the land needed rest.

It needed to recover. Now the people of God, you know, they didn't believe His Word and they kept working the land and working the land and they had famines and problems and, I want you to notice, 2 Chronicles 36, verse 19, speaking of when Nebuchadnezzar came and it says, "then they burned the house of God," - the temple - "broke down the wall of Jerusalem, burned all its palaces with fire, and destroyed all its precious possessions. And those who escaped from the sword" - those who weren't killed - "he carried away to Babylon, where they became servants to him and his sons until the rule of the Kingdom of persia," - when they were allowed to come back - "to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her Sabbaths. As long as she lay desolate she kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years." This was for all the years they had neglected the seven-year Sabbath. God said, 'I'm going to make you, now, for 490 years, I'm going to make you make the land keep Sabbath for seventy years to compensate.

And while it was desolate, it kept Sabbath. What was the condition or what is the condition of the world during the 1,000 years or millennium? Desolation. It's desolate. Does God have an operation of you farm the land six years, you let it rest one? Has Jesus been sowing the Gospel seed for 6,000 years? Is he going to let - is he coming to harvest in Revelation? Does it say he's coming to harvest? And then is he going to let the land rest for a thousand years and the - and make a new heaven and a new earth at the end of that? So it's - even the world is going to keep a 1,000-year Sabbath - the land. Right now, the whole creation groans and travails.

And, now, I'm not - I'm not, just so - I've got to issue a disclaimer - I'm not an environmental nut. I'm not a tree hugger. I'm more of a logger than a tree hugger (laughter) but I think that it is valid to know that man is exploiting the resources of the world faster than they can recover. You just - if you're a pilot and you fly around the country, you see it all the time. The sprawl of the cities are spreading.

The forests are getting shorter. There's very little virgin growth left and - in a number of ways the - and the Bible says the whole creation groans and travails. The earth waxes old like a garment. God is coming to destroy those that destroy the earth. God put adam and eve in a garden to take care of it.

But humanity, the descendents of adam and eve, are not doing a really good job and so I think this is just one of the signs. The earth is not resting. It's going to get an enforced rest. I hope I said that in a way that sounded balanced and not radical. Alright, not only does the land rest, the land was to rest - or people were to rest from war.

You go to - I told you I'd spend a lot of time on this - Deuteronomy 25, verse 19, "therefore it shall be, when the Lord your God has given you rest from your enemies all around, in the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess as an inheritance, that you will not forget - I'm sorry - an inheritance that you will blot out the remembrance of amalek from under heaven. You shall not forget." So God said there would be a time when they would have rest from their enemies. What is he talking about? Did they conquer the promised land in one year or were there several years of war? Several years. And you'll find, when you come to Christ, there may be several years of war when you're trying to drive out the canaanites and the perizzites and the jebusites and the philistines and everybody else that's giving you a hard time - talking about this battle on the inside so that you have rest. So there was a rest from war the Bible talks about.

Look in 2 Chronicles 14:6, "and he built fortified cities in judah, for the land had rest; he had no war in those years, because the Lord had given him rest." And this happened during the time of asa, during the time of uzzah, and a few Kings - Solomon - the Lord had rest from war. Have you ever thought, 'oh, man, there's just temptations and struggles every day.' Wouldn't you like to go through a week with no temptation? Yes. A couple ways that'll happen: one is you can grieve away the Holy Spirit and you won't notice the temptation because you won't be tempted because you give in to everything. And the other is that Jesus'll come. There are periods - there are spells where it's not so bad.

When Jesus was tempted by the devil, after he resisted the devil the third time, it said satan left him for a season. So, you know, God can even give you peace for awhile from your enemies. But otherwise, Jesus said, 'in the world you will have tribulation. Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.' Then you find another rest here in Jeremiah 30, verse 10, "'therefore do not fear, o my servant Jacob,' says the Lord, 'nor be dismayed, o Israel; for behold, I will save you from afar, and your seed from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return, have rest and be quiet, and no one shall make him afraid.

'" Now this rest is talking about when the children of Israel would finally come back into the promised land. They did have several years of peace during the time of persia and even during the time of the Greeks, but it's, more specifically, talking about the rest that we enjoy when we inherit the promised land. Another rest. Someone's going to read for me Revelation 14:11. I'm going to read one more.

You ever - well, what do you see on graves when it says 'r.i.p'? What does that stand for? Rest in peace. Rest in peace. And you know where that comes from? The Bible. Job 3:11 - someone's going to read Revelation 14:11 in just a minute. Job 3:11 says, "why did I not die at birth? Why did I not perish when I came from the womb?" - Job is, you know, in the midst of his terrible sufferings and physical pain - why did the knees receive me? Or why the breasts, that I should nurse? For now I would have lain still and been quiet, I would have been asleep; then I would have been at rest.

..or why was I not hidden like a stillborn child, like infants who never saw light? There the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary are at rest. There the prisoners rest together; they do not hear the voice of the oppressor." You know, sometimes when someone we love is going through their final sickness and maybe it's cancer or some painful death and they're struggling - they're uncomfortable - and finally, when they do die, there's almost relief in the family because you feel like they're not suffering right now. And this is what job is talking about - praying for. Ultimately, the lack of rest is among those who do not know the Lord. There's this controversy, Jesus says, 'come to me, I'll give you rest.

' You don't come to him and you don't have rest. And go ahead, read for us Revelation 14:11. "And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the Mark of his name." You know, there's a passage and, I don't remember - I think one is in Amos. There's another one in Deuteronomy 28, where Moses says if you disobey God and you run from God, you'll have no rest. It says you'll be troubled in the field, you'll be troubled in the city.

At night you'll pray for morning. At morning you'll pray for night. Matter of fact, in the book of job, job says, 'you know, in the evening I pray for the day.' In the day he prays for the evening - when he was going through his struggles. And then Amos puts it this way, he said, 'there's no peace.' He says, 'it'll be like a man who's running from a lion and he runs into his house and he shuts the door and leans against the wall and a snake bites him. And it's like you just can't - there's nowhere you could go to have rest.

And people who are trying to find peace in this world without God, that's what they're like. They're just trying from this thing and that fad and that habit to this pleasure and just whatever they can do to try and find some satisfaction and they can't find it. Like the old rock song says. The only place you're going to as satisfaction is the rest that Jesus says, 'come unto me and I will give you rest.' Alright, that was a long - a long development of that topic. One more thought on that: when the children of Israel - no rest day or night who worship the beast and his image - when the children of Israel were coming out of Egypt and Moses met with the elders - they realized they had wandered from God - Moses said, 'God is getting ready to work mightily for you.

You need to return to the Lord - humble yourself - stop following the Egyptian Gods - and for one thing, you need to start keeping the Sabbath. And they said, 'oh, well, it's hard to keep the Sabbath and keep up with the quota of bricks that the pharaoh gives us.' Moses said, 'you've got to decide: do you want to follow God or do you want to follow the pharaoh?' So they started resting the Sabbath. Pharaoh heard about that, he got upset, he brought Moses in - he said, 'you are making the people to rest.' You know what that word is in Hebrew? It's - pharaoh said to Moses, 'you are causing them to shabbat.' I am going to increase their workload so they don't talk about freedom anymore. And so, instead of letting them have rest, the pharaoh increased their work so they could not rest. Now Moses represents Jesus.

Who does the pharaoh represent? Satan. The devil. The devil wanted them to stay so busy - work, work, work, for me - that they didn't think about rest. And does he still do that today? Yes. Yeah, the only way you can find relief is come unto Jesus and you'll find rest.

Now, in planting and harvesting we can find the great controversy in Jesus' teachings and parables on this subject. Look, for instance, in Matthew chapter 13, verse 3. It says "then he spoke many things to them in parables, saying: 'behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them.'" - Now somebody, right away, is thinking, 'oh that's pretty wasteful.' Who's the sower in the story? Jesus. Jesus, right? He's the - he's sowing.

Is the seed good? Yes. Good sower sowing good seed. Why does he waste seed on bad ground? Now, in Bible times, when they - you know the word was called 'broadcast' and where we get the word - right now we think of broadcast you think of media. It's really the other way around. Media gets the word 'broadcast' from old farming techniques.

Before they had the modern planters - when I plant grass seed in my yard I've got a little contraption I put the seed in. I've got a crank and I walk around the yard and it sprays it evenly. And you walk around the yard - you kind of do a grid - you walk back and forth and crank this little thing and it's going 'zhh zhh zhh zhh' and it's spraying seed all over the yard and it's somewhat even - you can look and see it. That's called broadcasting - you're casting something broadly. That's where that comes from.

The way they did it in Bible times is they had a big sack of seed with a big mouth open on it. It went over their shoulder. They would stick their hand in and they were pretty good at it - doing it evenly - and they would scatter it but, you know, when you're scattering seed like this there's - it's hard to perfectly control. You want the grass - you want to farm every inch of farmable land that you've got, but that means sometimes you're going to get close to the path. Invariably, some is going to land on the path.

You know what I'm saying? In order to get the good ground - unless you get on your hands and knees and put every seed down - and when you're doing small grain like that, that's ridiculous. So some of it falls on the path. But, instead of it getting a chance to sprout, do you realize that the seed would actually sprout on the path if it wasn't for the fact that the birds got it. If it rained on the path - will a path overgrow if it's not used and if it gets rain? Yes. Yeah.

But what Jesus is saying is, because it's on the surface, and before it gets a chance to sprout, these ravens come along and they snatch it up. And he compares that to the devil. And the Lord is saying that 'as I go out sowing the seed, as soon as some people hear the seed, it just bounces on the surface. It doesn't even take root because their hearts are hard. Their hearts are packed down.

The problem's not with the sower. The problem's not with the seed. The problem's with the soil. Their hearts are hard. And so the seed just sits there on the surface and it doesn't take long before the birds come and pluck it away.

Someone might ponder it for a minute but they don't let it take root. They don't let it sprout. Wherever Jesus goes to sow the seed, the devil is there to try to distract and keep people from hearing it because it changes hearts. The devil hates the truth because when people hear the truth, it takes people - it liberates people from his prison. The devil boasts about how many people he has in prison.

God likes to boast about those who have been freed. Look at the story of job. God says, 'have you considered my servant job? He doesn't follow you, satan.' Satan wants to get job and so they're fighting over this soul. So whenever the word is proclaimed, the devil's trying to stop it. You know, there's a statement in Christ's object lessons that's very interesting.

Satan and his angels are in the assembly where the Gospel is preached. What? I thought that only good people went when Jesus preached. How many of you remember - I think it's in Mark chapter 2 - Jesus is preaching in a synagogue and a man who was demon possessed began to shout? I've - doing a meeting in india and this lady started shrieking. I've had it happen in North America too - not quite that bad - but this lady in india just started shrieking. I've had it happen in africa - somebody started shrieking - the pastors knew right away what it was.

They went and picked her up - bodily picked her up and took her behind the stage and started praying over her and she stopped and went back out and behaved through the rest of the meeting. But the devil will try to do things - now, it's not always as dramatic a spiritual demonstration as someone falling out demon possessed. Sometimes I think the devil pinches babies. I know, it's not quite like that. (Laughter) it just, you know, right when you're going to make your most important spiritual point and you're sowing the Gospel seed, they have a plumbing problem and they start to cry and scream and nobody can hear what you just said because the devil's trying to snatch away the seed.

You know what I'm saying? It could be all kinds of things. It could be things that are perfectly good that, you know, an ambulance will be going to help somebody - it was really bad at central church because the church was right by a main road and I'd be making a point and an ambulance would go by siren blaring. They're on a good mission, but all people would turn and look towards the road. They couldn't see the ambulance, but they'd turn instinctively towards the siren and they wouldn't hear anything you said. The devil comes, like the birds, to snatch away the seed.

In Bible times, so much of your vitality and life depended upon the farming economy that when you did war against an enemy, if you wanted to subdue them it often meant you needed to cripple them financially by destroying their farms. How many of you remember the story of Samson? Judges 4 - 15, verse 4 - Judges 15, verses 4 and 5, "then Samson went out and caught three hundred foxes;" - these are like jackals or foxes - "and he took torches," - matter of fact, his catching that many impresses me as much as anything he's done - "he took torches," - he took these long firebrands, tied them to ropes. He tied the foxes tails together and then he tied a long firebrand - something that they would immerse in an oil or something and light and, as the foxes got let go, they would run hither and thither because they're tied by the tail to another fox. Now don't ever try this to see if it's true, but there's just - they're not going to run in a beeline. They are going to just be all over the place.

And he let them go in the orchards and vineyards of the philistines and they just spread fire everywhere. He did it, obviously, during a dry part of the season, and it just totally ravaged their economy. "He had set the torches on fire, he let the foxes go into the standing grain of the philistines, and burned up both the shocks and the standing grain," - they were beginning to harvest. They had already had it stacked in shocks - "the standing grain as well as the vineyards and olive groves." It totally devastated the economy of the philistines so they would attack the farms. With that in mind, this next parable makes more sense.

Jesus - we're still in Matthew 13 - talking about the battle between good and evil in the teachings and parables of Jesus. "Another parable he put forth to them, saying: 'the Kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. Now, what are the tares among the wheat? Well, it could be a couple things. One we just read, where the seed is the Word of God - truth - and the devil will plant lies in among the truth - and it's people who are the fruit. You have good fruit and then you have bad fruit and the devil will have people who will come to the church and they'll say they're part of the church and - and they'll be there to falsely represent Christianity and they're not converted and they bring in all kinds of problems.

And you might say, 'why would Jesus allow that?' Did Jesus have a Judas among the twelve apostles? Yes. Did Jesus point him out the first day when Judas showed up and say, 'this guy - everyone, I want you to know he's a hypocrite, don't let him in.' Did Jesus know - yes. That Judas had those problems? And yet he allowed him - does the Lord sometimes allow the weeds - a tare was a weed. It was something that grew up - it sprouted and, at first, it kind of looked a little bit like wheat. As it matured though, the wheat became very clear what it was and the tares - clear what they were - and he said you've just got to let them grow together.

You'll do more harm than good if you try to pull up the weeds after the good grain has sprouted because their roots become entwined. You pull up one, it kills the other and you almost just had to - and you know what else? The tares would stunt the growth of the wheat, but you had to let it grow together. The work of the church in the world has been stunted by hypocrisy in the church. How many of you have heard someone say, 'well, I would be a Christian but man, I knew this Christian - I went to church once and if you knew what they did to me and this Christian, they're such a hypocrite. I see what Christians do and I hear about the wars of Christians' - and there are so many people that take the name of Christ and they're really tares that grow among the wheat.

They misrepresent Jesus and it does more harm than good. And so the devil uses that. This is why Jesus shared that parable. He says, 'there's a controversy. I'm trying to share the truth to save and the devil is planting counterfeits in.

Most of you who know a little bit of church history know that right after the church was growing, with the greatest outpouring of the Spirit - right after pentecost - and the devil saw that persecution was not stopping the church. He then began to attack through compromise, by planting his representatives in the church. He made it very easy to become a Christian - there was no persecution - and he said, 'oh, we want to reach more pagans so you can bring your pagan teachings in - and all these unconverted people came into the church and that was the entrance of the dark ages. That was the Great Controversy. If the devil can't destroy a church from the outside, he tries to do it by planting representatives in the church and do it from the inside.

Now, you've got to be careful about going on a witch hunt. And we're going to talk next about judging because that's in our lesson today, but - or in a minute we'll talk about judging - building on the rock - running out of time and I want to get into this. Jesus then tells a parable - now someone's going to have Matthew 7:21 and 22 - you'll have that? "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them, I will liken him to a man who builds his house on a rock. The rain descends, the floods come, the winds blow and beat on that house and it did not fall for it was founded on the rock." In Luke, when he shares this story, he says, 'he digs deep and plants it on the rock.' - "But everyone who hears these sayings of mine and does not do them, he'll be like a foolish man who builds his house on the sand. And the rain descended and the flood came and the wind blew and beat on that house and great was its fall.

" What's the central message of this parable? How many people build a house? You've got the wise man, you've got the fool, so there's a difference. How many of them build a house? They both build a house. Do they both use good materials in building the house? Let's assume they do. Do they - does the storm come just to the wise man and not to the fool - or just to the fool - or do they both encounter a storm? That's very important. Are storms going to come to everybody? Yes.

So what is the one difference between the wise man and the fool? The foundation. They both build - maybe in the same locations - not far from a stream because, you know, the Bible says the stream beats against the wise man's house too. The difference is one of them doesn't dig deep and found - it's the foundation. And what does - what does Christ say? 'If you hear these words of mine and do them, you're a wise man. If you hear these words of mine and you don't do them, you're a fool.

' So you know what the difference is? It's a two-letter word: do. Doing - let me illustrate that a little further. Someone go ahead and read for me Matthew 7:21 and 22. "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my father in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name, cast out demons in your name, and done many wonders in your name?'" That's right.

So, he said it's not everyone that says, 'Lord, Lord,' but he that does. And Jesus says, in Matthew 21:28, "but what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first son," - another parable - he says, "go work in my vineyard.'" He says, 'I'm going' - or - sorry, the first one says "'I will not' but afterward he regretted it and went. Then he came to the second and said...'I go, sir,'" - 'on my way dad' - "but he did not go." And then Jesus says, 'which of the two did the will of his father?'" So the bottom line is, you know, not what they say, but what do you do? Because a lot of people make a profession and they don't do anything and some people don't make much of a profession but they do it. Luke 11:27, "and it happened, as he spoke these things, that a certain woman from the crowd raised her voice and said to him, 'blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts which nursed you!' But he said, 'more than that, blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it!'" James talks about those who are hearers of the word and not - what? Doers. Not doers.

And so it's not just 'Lord, Lord,' but they that do. And John - 1 John 2:17, "and the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." So the Lord wants us not just to be hearers but doers - to practice what we believe. Not judging - Matthew 7:1-5 - Matthew 7:1 through 5 - now some of you thought the most quoted verse in the Bible is John 3:16 - I don't know if any of you saw, but there's a character here in town now that has been writing John 3:16 at a number of the intersections - any of you notice that? With chalk - and he took a bunch of stones and he stacked John :16 on one of the overpasses - it's just been the last month or so - we see it when we go home from church. That's not the most quoted verse. The most quoted verse is "judge not that you be not judged.

" Most people don't know where it is, but they say 'you're judging me. Don't judge.' "Judge not that you be not judged, for with what judgment you judge, you will be judged and with what measure you meet, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck that's in your brother's eye but you don't consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'let me remove the speck from your eye' and look, you've got a plank in your own eye. Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye. Now someone's going to read for me 1 Corinthians 6:3 - you'll have that in just a moment here - get you ready - Romans 2:3, "and do you think this, o man, you who judge those practicing such things, and doing the same, that you will escape the judgment of God?" Same principle.

Romans 14:10, "but why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ." So, quick question: is it wrong to judge others? No. Not always, because if you only read those verses without reading the other verses, you're going to get the wrong idea. Jesus also said some other things. He says, in John 7:24, "do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment." Does the Lord want us to use judgment? He does. Corinthians 2:15, "but he who is spiritual Judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.

" And Karen, you've got one there - 1 Corinthians 6:3. "Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?" Paul was talking to the church in corinth. In 1 Corinthians he's saying, you need to deal with a brother who is living in open sin - he was actually sleeping with his step-mother and nobody wanted to do anything because they said, 'no, Jesus said don't judge. We're not to judge.' And Paul said, 'what? That's not what that means!' He said, 'you've got to judge. You've got to be discriminating.

' He said, 'you're going to judge angels. You can't judge in the smallest of matters with each other?' So when it says 'do not judge' is it saying that we're not to ever make any determinations? Or is it saying 'do not condemn'? Let me read to you from the book Desire of Ages - a great quote: "judge not that you be not judged and do not think yourself better than other men and set yourself up as their judge. Since you cannot discern motive, you are incapable of judging another. In criticizing him, you're passing sentence upon yourself, for you show that you are a participant with satan, who is the accuser of the brethren. the Lord says, 'examine yourselves, whether you be in the faith.

Prove your own selves." So it's talking about passing sentence on another person, now - and judging the motives of their heart. We can't see what's in a person's heart, but sometimes the things that are very plain and external, that you can see. If you see somebody is going down the road and they are swerving all over the place and side-swiping parked cars, will you call 911? How many of you would call 911? How many of you would think that's judgmental because you don't know their hearts? (Laughter) I don't know what's in their heart. It doesn't matter what's in their heart, they're going to kill somebody. They're drunk or having a problem and you know them by their fruits.

And so we've got to know how to apply that 'don't judge' verse. I mean, sometimes it's plain and evident that a person is having a real spiritual problem and people say, 'maybe we should talk to so and so. They look they're drifting from the Lord.' 'Oh, you're judging them!' Well, if you don't care for your brothers and sisters that are struggling spiritually, you sound like cain who says, 'am I my brother's keeper? I don't care about them.' So we are to care about each other. We are to watch - we're not to condemn one another, that's what Jesus is talking about. Often misunderstood verse.

Alright, and now we're going to go on to - yeah, I'm going to go to the last part. Jesus said, 'I am with you always.' - I am with you always - Matthew 28:20, "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Of course, we started with Matthew 11 - 'come unto me' - Matthew 28 - 'go therefore, teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of The Father and of The Son and of the holy spirit.' And he says, 'you do this, I am with you.' So if you're out working for God, God promises to be with you always, doesn't he? And there's a verse - Romans :39 - how many of you remember? 'There's nothing in heaven above, the earth beneath, principalities, powers, good, bad, that can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.' What did God say to Jacob? Genesis 26:24, "and the Lord appeared to him the same night and said, 'I am the God of your father Abraham; do not fear, for I am with you. I will bless you and multiply your descendants for my servant Abraham's sake.'" He says, 'I am with you where you go.' What did God say to Joshua? 'Be courageous. I'm going to be with you. As I was with Moses, so I'll be with you.

' Paul goes into the city - it was actually corinth - in acts 18:10, Jesus says to him - if you've got a new testament, this is one of the places red letters appear after the Gospel. Jesus spoke and it says, "for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city." You notice the context that Jesus often says, 'I am especially with you when you are doing my work.' 'Go into all the world, I'll be with you.' If you preach the Gospel, if you help the people get into the promised land, I'll be with you.' When we're working for the Lord and we're - he's especially interested in his interests and the Gospel is his interest. And if we're involved in doing his work, I've often said that one of the best things you can do for your health is preach Christ. Now there's a health message, but if you are doing the work of God, God has a good excuse to keep you around, doesn't he? How many of you have seen - how many times did they try to arrest and kill Paul and he survived? Talk about a health message, if you can survive a stoning and three shipwrecks and multiple whippings, God said, 'I've got to keep him around because he's a good preacher.' And so, if you're involved in working for the Lord, that's a good part of the health message. Alright, with that, we've run out of time, but before we go, I want to remind our friends - you may not have caught this at the beginning - we have a special, special offer for everybody.

You can't get this on the internet, but it's a great sharing magazine - beautifully illustrated - it goes through some of the most amazing hidden teachings that people don't know about. Everything from the state of the dead, hell, Sabbath, second coming - it's all in this magazine called hidden truth and we'll send it to you for free. You've got to call the number - 866-788-3966 - that's -study-more - ask for offer #815 when you do. After you read it, please share it with a friend or an enemy. Thank you very much.

I look forward to studying with you again next week. God bless. Hello friends, I have a big announcement. I want to tell you about an exciting evangelistic opportunity that will be coming to your church this spring. Beginning March 21 Amazing Facts, in partnership with 3abn and the carolina conference, will be presenting a fresh new -part tv series called the last day of prophecy.

This unique prophecy program will present the Sabbath truth and the three angels' messages in a winsome way that your friends and family will really appreciate. It's the ideal occasion to invite your community and introduce them to the beauty of the Sabbath. This is also the perfect time in history for a net evangelistic program like this. It's not too late. Plan now to get your church or home group involved in this soul-winning program.

For more information, go to and, of course, please remember to pray for the success of this program. The last day of prophecy March 21, 7:00 pm eastern time. Amazing Facts changed lives. My greatest wish is that my children will see me the way I see my - my own father. He's a very devoted man and that kind of framed my childhood going forward from there, where I was always involved in church work and I had a very rich experience with the Lord at a young age all the way up through college.

Then after I got married, I got in a company called comcast and I spent the past, roughly eight and a half years - nine years - at comcast and I was actually watching television with my son and a comcast commercial came on the air and he said, 'oh daddy, that's comcast - that's where you work, daddy.' And most fathers would be proud of something like that, but it really struck me that, you know, my son's getting older and he does not see me as a servant of the Lord, he sees me as a servant of my company. And I knew that I would have to make some changes because I wanted him to know me as a man of God. I never thought I would de a preacher or anything like that, but I knew that there was room in the work for me and for my talents and I wanted my son to see me operating in the work. That's when I knew that my time there was coming to an end. I was sitting in my office one day and I was kneeling in prayer and I was like, 'God, show me what you want me to do because, you know, this seems like a - a big move here and, you know, everyone's thinking I'm crazy and I don't know exactly how, you know, things are going to go if they don't go well.

Crazy thought when you're thinking about God and I lifted my head up in prayer and there were just like a flock of maybe birds that were just flying and they were swooping down over the water and they would fly back up and then they would chase each other around and, you know, I was just looking at the pattern of the giant flock and the promise of the Lord came to me where he says that, you know, he takes care of the sparrows and you don't see them worrying about how they are going to be taken care of from day to day. You know, they don't, you know, wring their hands wondering, you know, will there be any worms to eat tomorrow? And that promise really stood out to me and he said - you know, he said, 'how much more do I love you? You know, I'm not going to send you on a mission to do my work and leave you high and dry because you claim to be my child. You claim to be my son and everyone knows that.' That assurance allows me to know that whatever happens here, whatever happens after here, we're sons of God and there are certain things that we shouldn't worry about. From the day we arrived at afcoe, it's been obvious that God has blessed the amazing facts ministry - the afcoe program - and I will be using my afcoe experience no matter where I go, to reach people, because the personal touch of face-to-face evangelism - speaking and sharing the Word of God out of your own mouth - there's no replacement for that and Amazing Facts has been very instrumental in helping me find the area of the work of God and showing me how large and how broad it is. It's been a tremendous blessing to be in a place where we're around people seeking to do God's will and listening for his voice in their life and that's very, very important today.

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