Comrades in Arms

Comrades in Arms

Scripture: Luke 24:32, Matthew 8:23-27, Mark 3:14
Date: 02/20/2016  Lesson: 8
"How many times are modern disciples more eager to race off and work for Jesus rather than spend time with Him?"

Prophets and Kings (ASI Version) by Ellen White

Prophets and Kings (ASI Version) by Ellen White
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Welcome to Sabbath School Study Hour. We're so glad that you are tuning in, because we know you do every week from across the country and around the world. Whether you're listening on the radio, watching live at granite bay s - granitebaysda.org - and we are doing something that we stopped, oh, about almost two years ago, and that is singing new songs as we work our way through the hymnal. So we decided to start that up again. And I know that many of you enjoyed doing that with us and so today we're going to start again and we're going to start at #227 - Jesus shall reign - so those of you here, pull out your hymnals and those of you at home, do the same and join with us.

We're going to sing the first, second, and fourth stanzas - #227. Jesus shall reign where'er the sun does his successive journeys run; his kingdom stretch from shore to shore, til moons shall wax and wane no more. People and realms of ev'ry tongue dwell on his love with sweetest song, and infant voices shall proclaim their earthly blessings on his name. Let every creature rise and bring honors peculiar to our king; angels descend with songs again, and earth repeat the loud amen! It's nice to learn new songs - ones that we don't sing very often we get familiar with them again so we thought you would appreciate that and we're excited to learn these songs with you. Our next song is #423 - #423 - this one actually isn't one that we sing very often either, but it is a beautiful song - good, upbeat - glorious things of thee are spoken - we'll do the first, second, and fourth stanzas.

Glorious things of thee are spoken, Zion, city of our God; he whose word cannot be broken formed thee for his own abode; on the rock of ages founded, what can shake thy sure repose? With salvation's wall surrounded, thou mayest smile at all thy foes. See the streams of living waters springing from eternal love, well supply thy sons and daughters, and all fear and want remove; who can faint when such a river ever flows their thirst to assuage? Grace, which, like the Lord, the giver, never fails from age to age. Savior, if of Zion's city i, through grace, a member am, let the world deride or pity, I will glory in thy name; fading is the worldling's pleasure, all his boasted pomp and show; solid joys and lasting treasure none but Zion's children know. At this time our lesson study will be brought to us by dr. David derose and we will be studying together like we do every week.

Thank you, dr. Derose. Well good morning to each of you. Good morning. It's good to be looking at another installment in our series rebellion and redemption - rebellion and redemption.

We're going through the Great Controversy theme together and we're moving to look at a lesson - lesson #8 - that's entitled comrades in arms - comrades in arms - and the very language seems to suggest what? Battle. Battle - that's right, battle language - imagery of a contest or a conflict. As always, we've got a special offer that goes along with the lesson. That special offer this week is face to face with the real Gospel - face to face with the real Gospel, dennis priebe has pulled this book together. It's offer #789 - if you want offer #789, simply call 866-study more - that's -788-3966 - and ask for offer #789.

You've been there, haven't you? We've all been there. The place I'm referring to is that valley of discouragement. And maybe this last week was a good week for you, maybe you are rejoicing this morning that things have been going well, but all of us have those times in our experience when we're facing discouragement, and in this lesson dealing with comrades in arms as we begin our study, our key text - the memory text - is actually drawn from Luke 24 - and we're going to jump all the way, if you're studying through the lesson quarterly, to Thursday's lesson because that's where that text comes from to really set the stage for something that really pervades the experience of Jesus' disciples. That's what the focus is, the disciples of Jesus while he was on this earth. And we see, in Luke 24, an amazing story - it's one of my favorites - and we turn there right now to Luke's Gospel.

Now, as I'm turning there, just a reminder - Luke has one of the more interesting backgrounds of any of the Gospel writers. You know that Matthew and John were actually among the twelve disciples. Mark was - he actually knew Jesus - Mark was actually closely associated with Peter and many refer to Mark's Gospel, at least in scholarly circles, as Peter's Gospel. But what about Luke? Did Luke have any personal acquaintance with Jesus? He actually didn't. Luke actually joined Paul's missionary team and Luke was a historian - and he was a physician - so we have this interesting background here and Luke tells a story in Luke 24 that none of the other Gospel writers relate.

I'm jumping into the story in verse 13 of Luke 24 - it's a story that took place after the resurrection of Jesus, but the disciples, including the two that we meet in this story, were not aware that Jesus was risen. So beginning with Luke 24, verse 13 it says, "now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know him.

" So here's the context: it's Sunday - it's resurrection Sunday - and Jesus is actually joining two disciples as they're leaving Jerusalem after those momentous events of the passover, where Jesus himself, as our sin bearer, was crucified on the cross. And so, as Jesus walks alongside them, do they recognize Jesus? No. No, they're oblivious to the fact that the one they're mourning is right with them. Let's read on - verse 17, Jesus speaks - "'what kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?' Then one whose name was cleopas answered and said to him, 'are 'are you the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have you not known the things which happened there in these days?' And Jesus said to them, 'what things?'" - Now you would say, 'well, Jesus knows, obviously, what they're talking about, but what is he doing here? He's trying to draw them out. Picture this - picture this: two disciples - two followers of Jesus - and catch their words as they relate to what they say is happening in their experience.

They say to Jesus, 'we're talking about the things concerning Jesus of nazareth, who was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and crucified him. But we were hoping that it was he who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened.'" Do you catch what's going on here? Here are two individuals who, basically, had staked their whole future on Jesus being the Messiah, and what has happened, in their eyes? That's right, the rug has been pulled out, if you will. I mean, everything that they've - they've lived for is gone. Have you been there? I mean, have you been there? I don't know what you're dealing with today.

I don't know what you've been facing in the workplace - maybe you just lost your job - a job that you've had for thirty years. Maybe you can't get a job - you just finished school. Maybe it's something in the family - maybe you've just lost a loved one. Maybe you're dealing with some physical illness - you just got that diagnosis. But we all are there at some point in our lives, right? We're like those disciples.

But I want you to realize something about the story: while they're grieving, while they're longing for the presence of Jesus, where is Jesus? Right there. He's right there. Amen. But do they realize it? They don't realize it. So here's the first message of encouragement that comes in the context of this great controversy to comrades in arms.

By the way, all of us, if we've chosen Jesus as our Savior, are his comrades, if you will, if you want to use that language. Jesus called us his friends. He called us his children. We're part of his family. And as we're going through the challenges in life, sometimes like those disciples, it seems that Jesus is not there.

But let's read on, because what's amazing is Jesus was trying to tell them all along that he was there - that he hadn't forgotten them - that this was part of the plan - of the divine plan, and they were just missing it. Did you catch their language in verse 21? They said, "...besides...today is the third day since these things happened." Turn in your Bibles really quickly, to Matthew chapter 27. I want you to notice something, because here are the disciples failing to take into account Jesus' own words - Jesus' own words. I want you to notice, in Matthew 27, the words of the enemies of Jesus, okay? So we're looking at the friends - the disciples - but now we want to contrast that with the enemies of Jesus. So I'm in Matthew chapter 27.

Now Matthew chapter 27 is recounting Jesus' death on the cross and after he has died - he died on Friday - on Sabbath - on Saturday Jesus is resting in the tomb. Look at verse 62 of Matthew 27, "on the next day, which followed the day of preparation, the chief priests and pharisees gathered together to pilate, saying, 'sir, we remember, while he" - referring to Jesus - "was still alive, how that deceiver said," - what? - "'After three days I will rise.'" Who is saying this? Jesus. That's right, Jesus is saying it, but the enemies of Jesus are quoting it. They knew that Jesus said after three days he would rise again. But did the disciples - did the disciples internalize that? No.

No. So on the emmaus road, they're not walking saying, 'you remember what Jesus promised? In three days he is going to rise again.' Jesus repeatedly was saying that during his ministry. We're going to look at that more because for some reason, sometimes those closest to Jesus miss what he is communicating in His Word. The enemies realized it and so they put that strong guard in front of Jesus' tomb, only proving all the more the miracle of the resurrection. Nobody stole that body.

Jesus came as the mighty conqueror from the grave. Amen. But look back to Luke 24 and to our own experience, often it doesn't seem that Jesus is all that mighty in our own estimation. It seems like he hasn't shown up - that he's gone - and that's what these disciples are dealing with. Verse 22 - I'm back in Luke 24 - the disciples still sharing - in fact, they've been sharing some of the evidences that Jesus gave that he was risen.

It's been three days - okay, they should have gotten it there, but they didn't. Now verse 22, "yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. When they did not find his body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said" - what? He was alive. "He was alive." So, I mean, here is the testimony - now, but wait a minute. Have you noticed this? Who does God often reveal himself to? His church.

And sometimes the people that he reveals himself to are not all that prominent in our estimation. Now some of you realize the culture of Jesus' day - women were not highly regarded. And so for women to be the first ones to give the message to these male disciples, they were struggling with this. Really! Who did the angels appear to on the hills of Bethlehem when Jesus was being born? Shepherds. It was not to the religious leaders.

Often the most receptive ones are ones that are - mmmm - sometimes on - what the world would say - are on the margins of society. Now not in God's eyes. So you might be sitting here today or you may be tuning in with us and you're saying, 'well, I'm nobody. God doesn't do anything for me. If I were a superstar Christian, maybe he would do something for me.

' It's the exact opposite that we see in the Gospels. Jesus shows up for the sincere of heart. And so it is in this story, the women are first given the message by the angels and the disciples, they don't hear it because - remember - remember - verse 17 of Luke 24, what was the attitude of these disciples that Jesus correctly ascertained? They were sad. They were dejected. Their world had fallen apart.

But Jesus is there and Jesus has been telling them for three and a half years, just exactly what would happen. Angels have already confirmed the truth of His Words and they are dejected. And this speaks to me because where am I at today? What am I struggling with? What things am I concerned about? And for every one of us, there are things in our life that we struggle with that are totally unnecessary because God has fully provided. Well, verse 25 - how does Jesus deal with them? Now, some years ago, I remember meeting a fellow and he said, 'you know what? If Jesus would just appear to me - if he would just show me he's there - just hold me - this would be so comforting to me.' Now, some of you, no doubt, have had that same feeling. Maybe even right now you're feeling that way - 'I just want to feel Jesus.

' Jesus was there with these disciples and he didn't say, 'feel me.' He didn't say, 'I'm Jesus. I'm here.' What did he do? This was really remarkable, I think, and it's especially remarkable in light of the lesson because this is the great theme. This is why we're looking at the end of the lesson first, because in verse 25, what Jesus does, I think, is totally remarkable. He doesn't meet their perceived need. You see, their perceived need is to feel that Jesus is there - he's still with them - that everything they've given up was worthwhile.

What Jesus does is he points them to the word. Look at it - verse 25, Luke 24 - "then he said to them, 'o foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!" - And I'm sure I didn't read that just right. Because I'm sure Jesus - Jesus was not criticizing them, he was weeping with them. I mean, how foolish can you be? Don't you understand? Verse 26 - Jesus continues, "'ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into his glory?' And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself." Amen. Do you see what Jesus does? He seeks to anchor their faith, where? The word.

In the word. He is saying, in essence, just what Peter said - you might remember, as Peter is writing in his epistle he says, 'we saw the transfiguration' - but he says - 'we have the word of prophecy made more sure - we have the more sure word of prophecy.' He's saying that God's Word - his revealed word - is the most powerful thing in the world - at least as far as our individual experience in the Revelation of God. Think about it. Some of you say, 'if Jesus had only done this for me - if he'd only showed up in this way - if just when I was in my childhood, like that person across the pew, if he had just appeared in a vision to me' - here's the point: our memories - our memories are fallible, okay? Our memories can erode over time. But you know what I've noticed? No matter what my memory tells me, I have a book in front of me - it's the Bible and it hasn't changed.

Amen. Have you noticed that? I mean, this is - when I read these words - the same words I read ten years ago are still there. Now I may - I may think we may be talking together - and you've been there. You've been at a reunion when you're reliving some experience and say, 'wasn't that great? You remember when the teacher did...?' 'The teacher didn't do that.' 'No, no, you remember?' 'No, the teacher did this.' Have you ever been there? I'm trying to help you see something. What we think is so important in life is often not that important at all.

And in this lesson, what we keep coming back to time and time again - on the emmaus road we first see it - Jesus is saying, 'anchor your experience not in some mystical experience. Don't anchor your experience with me in something that you're looking to happen - following a certain script' - anchor your faith in what? In the word - in the word. Well, if we're in a controversy - if we're in a battle, and we are - if we're in the midst of a rebellion, we need firm instruction - we need a connection too with the one who gave those words, right? Let's go back now to where the lesson started. I'm turning in my Bible, ultimately, but first I'm turning in my lesson quarterly to lesson #8 - this lesson on comrades in arms - and to Sunday's lesson - the call of Peter - and you might have missed something as you were reading this, I think the author of the lesson - the authors - did a good job in highlighting something about the call of Peter. We're going to look at it from Luke 5.

And the important point that they first make is that Luke 5, although it may seem as Jesus is on the shore of Galilee, that this is a very early encounter that Peter had with Jesus - maybe even a first encounter. It's not that way at all. We're not going to go through a chronology of the Gospels. Whether you use Luke's chronology or Mark's or John's, the point is simply this. When Luke 5 comes up, a lot has happened.

Now, I know sometimes when we're going through a lesson study we can touch on some subjects that leave you scratching your heads, and I mentioned something about chronology - time frame. You all realize that if you go through the different Gospels, they give you a little different feel of the sequence in which things happened. Are you aware of that? In fact, in Sunday's lesson, the authors are walking us through Luke's chronology. If we were in a seminary class, I'm sure we would have a lively discussion about whether Luke's chronology is the best chronology to use as far as the Gospels. I will just play my hand and tell you I think Luke's is one of the worst, and it's probably partly because he's a physician.

(Laughter) and I can say that with some authority, you know, being a medical professional. Let me explain to you why. I'll tell you a couple of patients I had just this last week and illustrate this. One of the patients I saw had fallen and also was having problems with her right leg. Now it was very important for me to get the chronology about those two problems.

I wanted to know whether the problem with the leg started first - it was a neurological problem - before the fall, because it's very important for us as physicians to define why a person fell. You know, so did the - was she having a stroke? Did the leg suddenly go numb or did she fall first, trip over her rug, and then injure her leg? Do you see why that would be important? So, sometimes for physicians, chronology is very important. Sometimes, for Luke, he's very, very precise about chronology. But other times the chronology really doesn't make much difference. I had another patient in the office and they were having respiratory problems and I was trying to find out if there were some other things that preceded the respiratory problems and it turned out that they had eye irritation and a sore throat and a runny nose.

I didn't care whether the runny nose came first or the watery eyes, I didn't, you know, I didn't care if it was Thursday night at 5:00 pm that this - I just was trying to put all those things together and say is this maybe pneumonia that they had or is it part of a viral illness that's also affecting their lungs? So the point I'm simply making is sometimes chronology is very important - the exact sequence of things - but as I read through Luke's Gospel, oftentimes Luke is putting some incidents together, not necessarily because they followed in that precise sequence. Now I realize, for some of you this is - you say, 'well, how could this be? I thought the Bible - everything was directly the way it happened?' Realize these are eye-witness accounts - most of them - except for who? Luke and, somewhat, Mark. Mark, you know, seeing through Peter's eyes. Here's why I'm taking a little bit of time with this: don't read into the Bible more than God has given us. Look in your Bible at something that Paul says.

I'm turning to his second letter to Timothy. Turn in 2 Timothy with you - with me, if you will, in 2 Timothy - in 2 Timothy Peter is - excuse me, Paul, of course - Paul is speaking in 2 Timothy about why Scripture was given. Why has God given this Revelation? Timothy chapter 3, verse 16 - 2 Timothy 3:16, "all Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man (or woman) of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." The Bible was not given so that we would have a precise chronology of exactly when everything happened. It's given to do what? To teach us the truths of God - his ways - His Word - and so we have a little bit different sequence. Now I've taken some time with that because the chronology - one part of the chronology that's very important, that you may miss just looking at Luke's Gospel, or just looking at Mark's Gospel, would be more precise, because Mark doesn't give much in the way of detail before some of these events, is just how much happened before Luke 5.

John chapter 2, John chapter 3 - the woman at the well; nicodemus, for example, in Jerusalem; Jesus cleansing the temple for the first time - all these things happened - the wedding at cana and Galilee in John chapter 2. John tells us that was Jesus' first miracle, okay? That was the first miracle. You don't read anything about it in the other Gospels. Look now at Luke 5 - and I'm trying to help you just picture this - I don't want you to get bogged down in the chronology, but you have to realize that a lot has happened. Jesus' ministry has been going on for some time.

Peter has been connected with Jesus. He's met Jesus. John's Gospel reveals how John the baptist had pointed to Jesus and called him what? The lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, right? And Peter is in that context. So Peter has been intimately associated with Jesus for some time before Luke 5 starts. So now, let's pick up the story in Luke 5.

It says the multitude is pressing about Jesus as he's on the shore of the sea of Galilee, also known as the lake of gennesarat, and it says, because that crowd is - is around him, he's got to get a little ways away from the crowd and so the fishermen are recruited - verse 3 - he gets into one of the boats, which was Simon's, and asked him to put out a little from the land and Jesus sits down and he begins to teach the multitude from the boat. And after the sermon is finished and people, apparently are scattering, he says in verse 4, "launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch." Now when is Jesus speaking to the crowd? He's speaking during the day. Some of you have read the book the Desire of Ages - an amazing book - and, by the way, it's a book that largely goes chronologically through Jesus' life. It's a long book - what, about 700 - 800 pages? This story - page 245 in the book Desire of Ages - so a lot's happened in Jesus' life. Let's listen to this.

The context of Jesus asking Peter to throw his net into the lake. Listen, "Peter was disheartened. All night he had taken nothing. During the lonely hours he had thought of the fate of John the baptist, who was languishing alone in his dungeon. He thought of the ill success of the mission to Judea," - so that was when Jesus was down there meeting with nicodemus, when he cleansed the temple - "he thought of the ill success of the mission to Judea and the malice of the priests and rabbis, even his own occupation had failed him, and as he watched the empty nets, the future had seemed dark with discouragement.

We began by looking at the end of Jesus' earthly ministry. The disciples are in what position? They're sad. They're discouraged. They're disheartened. And it seems like Jesus has let them down.

Now we're looking at the beginning of the disciples' ministry. We're looking at Peter - Peter was a fisherman and in those clear waters of the sea of Galilee, when was the time you could fish reliably with a net? At night. At night. You could not fish during the day, I mean, everyone knew that. If I was going to the sea of Galilee with a net during the day, and I was walking through one of those villages toward the sea, what would people be saying? 'Look, a tourist from America - (laughter) - got a net - going to the lake to try to fish in the middle of the day.

' Peter knew this. And so when Jesus tells Peter, in verse 4 of Luke 5, to put your net into the lake, what is he thinking? Crazy. Crazy. Verse 5, "master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing;" - now some of us, if Jesus asks us to do something that doesn't make sense to us, we would say, 'there's no way I'm doing that. They'll all think I'm an idiot.

I'm not going to do that. I mean, they want me to, you know, to teach in the children's class? I'm not going to - the kids'll all laugh at me. I'll forget what I'm supposed to say. I get nervous just standing up in front.' One of you says. But sometimes, maybe oftentimes, Jesus asks us to do what? Yeah, things that push us out of our comfort zone.

Things that we wouldn't do - things that we know better than to do. And what does Peter do here, to his credit? He did it. That's right, listen to His Words, "master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing;" - but he doesn't argue with Jesus, he says, "nevertheless at Your Word I will let down the net." Do you catch what's happening here? In the middle of your discouragement, in the middle of your loss, in the midst of your health struggle, in the challenges you're having in your family, what does Jesus say? He says, 'I'm with you. Listen to my word.' And so Peter does it and it says in verse 6, "and when they had done this," - when they took Jesus at His Word, even when it didn't seem to make sense, what happened? It said they caught a great number of fish and their net was breaking. I mean, this is - this is amazing.

And so they've got to call for their friends in another boat to come and help them. They filled both boats so much that what's happening? They're sinking. That's right, they've got a blessing so big that they can hardly receive it. Amen. By the way, what was the context in which both those blessings were given? The emmaus road and now here at the call of Peter? The midst of discouragement.

You know, we've got a problem. I don't know if you've noticed it, but when we think we've got our act all together, that's when God can't do anything for us, really. I was dealing with someone not all that long ago, just had everything all together, but I could see this person had some real issues, but no one could help them because they just had their act all together until they got into some real trouble. Don't wait until you get into real trouble before you let people help you, okay? That's why we have a church. That's why God calls us into church fellowship.

Let's go on though. The net is pulled in and then when Peter realized what's happened, in verse 8 he falls down at Jesus' knees saying, "depart from me, for I am a sinful man, o Lord!" He realizes, in a very real way, who Jesus is. He is the master of everything. Go with me to Monday's lesson, because here's the greatest - greatest part of all that Jesus offers us - he offers us his word. It's the most powerful thing that we have.

It's the foundation of all. Now you say, 'well the word is only powerful because Jesus is the word.' Right? John makes that very clear in his Gospel and so it's really emphasized here as, after Jesus reveals himself to the disciples, the time comes to actually call twelve to be his intimate associates. So I'm turning, this time, to another Gospel. We're pointed to Mark's Gospel for this recounting of Jesus' call. I'm turning to Mark chapter 3 - Mark chapter 3 - and I'm picking up the story in Mark 3, beginning with verse 13 - Mark 3, verse 13.

It says, "and he went up on the mountain" - referring to Jesus - "and he went up on the mountain and called to him those he himself wanted. And they came to him. Then he appointed twelve, that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach, and to have power to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons:" and then it lists the twelve who he called. What Mark says that's so interesting in this reason for the call - what they're being called to do is - did you catch it there in Mark 3? They were called, first and foremost, to be with him. Did you pick up on that? To be with him.

The greatest privilege we have is of being with Jesus. And he invites us to be with him, how? Through His Word. Through prayer. Through, what we would say today, is the devotional life - it's through quiet time - it's taking time with Jesus. Is Jesus willing to have you be with him today? Amen.

And that's the whole reason we meet in church fellowship. It's the whole reason why we broadcast messages. Why? Because Jesus wants to work through people and they are often people who are broken people and discouraged people - people that recognize their need for a Savior. And so we're given this great privilege of being with Jesus. Now I want to point something out to you because somebody - some of you may be distressed and you say, 'you know, you've got a man preaching up there and, you know, men's minds and women's minds are different.

' You realize that, don't you? And every now and then my wife sonja has to remind me of this. I think I'm catching on after - oh, okay, I see you - I see 'you don't got it doc - you don't get it dr. Derose.' Well, let me just tell you. I'll just confess. One of the things I tend to do when there is some issue.

Maybe my wife is grieving over something. I, being the good man that I am, want to fix all her problems, okay? And often it's, you know, I'm just going explain things, sonja, and I'll tell you how it all is, but my wife really just wants me to do what the Bible said and weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. Are you following along with me? Some of you are nodding your heads - more of the ladies are nodding their heads. Some of the men are looking bewildered, but the point is simply this: women tend to be more relational and men tend to often, and again, these are generalities, but tend to want to fix things and we see the problems. We see things mechanistically.

And so Jesus, on the emmaus road, what does he do for these men? He gives them the big picture. He kind of walks them, mechanistically, through something. But there's someone else, as we're speaking about these two dimensions - Jesus' word - and now we're talking about relationship - being with him - there's another character that was not one of the twelve but was intimately associated with Jesus and I want to - you to read something with me from Luke's Gospel, as well, in Luke chapter 10. I want you to look at this particular individual, mary magdalene, and in Luke chapter 10 we have a picture of mary and she's illustrating this principle in Monday's lesson of being with Jesus - the importance of being with him and that fellowship with him is founded on His Word. And so, in Luke 10, as Luke is closing out this chapter, he shares this vignette with us - Luke 10, beginning with verse , "now it happened as they went that he entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed him into her house.

And she had a sister called mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet and heard His Word." So what was mary doing? Being with him. She's being with Jesus and she's listening to what? She's listening to His Word. So if we want to see some of the great issues in the great controversy, it doesn't seem that's where the battle is. It seems like we're dealing with all these things - all these experiences - all these demands, but this story is focusing on us - focusing us on what the lesson is focusing on. The foundation of our Christian experience is God's Word and spending time with him - and he offers that to all of us.

So Martha is there and she's doing what? Serving. That's right. We read that in verse 40, "but Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached him and said, 'Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.'" Now, by the way, was Martha doing something important? Yes. By the way, I want to share my appreciation for all of you in this congregation, who are focused on serving. I mean there's lots of you that serve in many ways, whether it's behind cameras, or whether it's in deacon ministries, whether it's keeping the place clean, whether it's opening the doors and shutting the doors, whether it's preparing for a communion service - whatever it is, many of you serve in various ways.

Some of you are printing the bulletin. Some of you are sending out news letters to us, okay? So we appreciate all those ministries of service. They may not be up front. And then how about when we have a fellowship meal here? How many of you are glad that there are some people that like to serve and preparing food? Amen. Yeah, I'm very thankful for that.

So here's my point: Martha was doing something good, but what does Jesus say to her? Verse 41, "and Jesus answered and said to her, 'Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.'" So yes, we need all your service. God calls us to serve. In fact, do you know what the word apostle refers to? It actually, in the Greek, you know what that term comes from? It comes from 'sent out'. So you can't be sent out unless you're there to be sent.

You understand? I mean it may sound kind of basic. So we have to first come to Jesus, then he can send us out. So we're all called to do that great commission work of preaching and teaching - sharing what God's doing in our lives. We're all called to serve, but we first have to do what? Be with Jesus. Be with Jesus.

Hear His Word. Now how do you do that today? You know, this is spoken of so much, you would think that every Christian would have this down but, you know what? It's so easy in our life to squeeze out time with Jesus. I look forward to my time every morning to meet with Jesus through His Word and through prayer. And, if that's not already a regular habit of yours - you might think that preachers just belabor that point, but I need it. As a physician, I need it.

When I'm teaching in church I need it. When I'm teaching in a health setting I need it. We need Jesus' presence with us and he's willing to be there and help us, no matter how bad you feel, even if it feels like he's not there. Well, let's got to Tuesday's lesson and just focus a little bit more on Jesus' power. That's what the focus is on here.

It comes to us from a section in Matthew's Gospel that is really focused on the amazing power of Jesus. Matthew chapters 8 and 9 are remarkable. You read about the absolute authority of God's Word - God's word, if you read through Matthew 8 - maybe if you're turning there we can just quickly fly through Matthew 8 and just catch some of the high points. Maybe you're fortunate enough to have a Bible like mine that has some headings in it, but in Matthew 8 Jesus does what? It begins he cleanses a leper with His Word, then he heals that centurion servant with His Word, then he heals Peter's mother-in-law with His Word. Are you catching this? The power of Jesus' word.

As you go on in Matthew chapter you see him casting out two demons out of two demon-possessed men - that's Matthew 8:28 and on in Matthew chapter 9 Jesus heals a paralytic, but in these two chapters, there's one thing that Jesus does not have power over. There's one thing he does not have power over and this brings us back to the theme of our whole lesson: what does Jesus' word not have power over? Individual choice. That's right, our individual choice. So in Matthew 8, verse 18 - multitudes flocking around Jesus - a certain scribe comes to him and says, "teacher, I will follow you wherever you go." Verse 20 - "and Jesus says to him, 'foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but The Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.'" It seems that this man leaves. Another man comes - verse 21 - "'Lord, let me go first and bury my father.

' But Jesus said to him, 'follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.'" Now a lot of people have struggled with that and, since we mentioned it, there's a number of possibilities here. Maybe his father was older and he's saying, 'let me wait until my father dies and then I'll follow you.' Perhaps his father had died and the funeral was pending and Jesus is saying, let the Spiritually dead attend to the things of this earth. I'm calling you to follow me.' I'm not going to tell you I completely fathom all Jesus is saying here, but the point is, he's calling people to make a radical change in direction and the challenge is, in my life, God has often done that. Has he done it for you? Has he called you out of your comfort zone? Maybe he's calling you out right now. In fact, I was just doing a radio interview yesterday to be airing in a month or so, and this was a couple, quite successful, out on the eastern side of the United States and the Lord was speaking to their hearts.

They needed to leave their good jobs and go and do ministry in kind of a more arid part of the country than where they were living. Now things were going good for them. They had a good - they had been living in the same place for many years, they were close to their children, but the Lord's calling them to pack everything up and leave. They did it. And they were telling me and they told our audience - they were telling their story - how they were so thankful that God led them - that they're - financially, even though they've taken less - they've taken jobs that have reduced their income, they're financially better off.

How can that be? How could you reduce your salary and be better off? They said, 'well, we moved out here, you know, we down-sized, our expenses are less, and we're doing what God wants us to do.' So here we're reading about it. We're reading about people that didn't seem to want to follow and then the lesson points us to this amazing story in Matthew 8 that we skipped over. Matthew 8, verse 23, let's look at it. Now when he, referring to Jesus, got into the boat and crossed over, he came to his own city - am I reading it right? No, "...he got into a boat, his disciples followed him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves.

But he (Jesus) was"? Asleep. Asleep. Here's another one of these stories. Right when you need Jesus, where is he? Now he's sleeping. 13 People on a boat, let's read about twelve of them - or their reaction - verse 25 - they're crying out, ultimately, "Lord, save us!" What? "We are perishing!" It's over.

This is the end. And what's Jesus doing? Sleeping. How could Jesus be sleeping on the boat? How could he be sleeping when 13 - 12 other men are fearing for their lives? By the way, a number of these men had spent their lives on that lake - they're fishermen - they've seen storms before. This is a terrible storm. By the way, as you read through the story, it almost seems like satan, himself, has brought up this storm.

Why is Jesus resting in the boat? the Lord was tired. Okay, I - some of you say he was tired. Others of you - no doubt he probably was - others of you are saying he's trusting. Jesus said, 'I always do the things that please my father.' He didn't do anything on his own. He was always what? Spending time with The Father.

He was reflecting on God's Word. So in the wilderness of temptation, when that was studied in this lesson, what did he do? He's quoting the word. Jesus is finding - founding - is establishing his relationship on The Father and in a trusting relationship with him. I think there's more to it. Some have pointed out that Jesus, perhaps, knew that his time had not yet come.

Jesus was a Bible student. He knew the prophecy of Daniel chapter 9 - if you haven't studied that, boy, that's one to study. His time had not yet come. Maybe that's why he was resting. He knew he wasn't going to die right then.

Whatever the reasons were, it was trust. And then, as the story plays out, verse 26, Jesus criticizes them very gently for their lack of what? Faith. And then it says he arises, he rebukes the wind and the sea, and what happens? There is a great calm. There's a great calm. Jesus is with us in all our discouragements.

Amen. He's with us in all our life's challenges, even if we don't feel him, he's there. It may seem like he's asleep - he's not hearing our prayers - it may seem like he's not there when he's walking with us. It may seem like he's asking us to do things that are unreasonable, but the last part of our lesson, as far as we will cover, is Wednesday's lesson and Wednesday's lesson is about what Jesus called all his disciples to - it's what he calls us to - and that's taking up our cross and following him. But what was the disciples' problem? Yeah, it's the same problem we have, they were basically asking, what's in it for us? What's in it for us? Listen, if I've left all this, you know, am I going to have a really good place? Am I going to have the best place in the Kingdom? And how did Jesus correct them? He corrected them in a number of ways.

He'd call a little child and say, 'you know, if you want to be great, you've got to be like a little child.' Jesus would serve them. He'd minister to them. He'd wash their feet. He said, 'you see what I've done? I'm not here - I'm your Lord and master, but I'm here to do what? I'm here to serve you.' We're called, as comrades in arms - we're called to be partners with Jesus in the greatest work that has ever been commissioned to mortals and that work is extending the Gospel call. The only way we can do it is by getting instructions from the master - from our general, Jesus.

The only way we can do it is by spending time with him. We have the word, we have his presence, and the greatest problem - the only thing that God doesn't have control over is the human heart. He allows us to have our free will to choose for him. Well, if you want to read more that can bring you into closer relationship with our Lord and Savior, we have a special offer for you, it's #789. Did you catch the title? Face to face with the real Gospel - ask for it - call -study-more - that's for all our friends in North America - -788-3966.

If you're outside of north America, go to amazingfacts.org - you can get many of those great resources online. Let's pray together. Father in Heaven, thank you for the power of Your Word. Thank you that we can be comrades of yours. You've called us your children, you've called us your friends - please help us live that way, trusting in Your Word.

We ask in Jesus' Name, amen. 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 lastdayofprophecy.

com 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. Today's smart phones are a virtual universe of information that fits in the palm of your hand. It's a good thing we have opposable thumbs! With it you can buy your groceries, take care of your exercise regime, watch a video, listen to music, you can surf the international world-wide web, which may not always be a good thing. And, you know, there is more computer processing technology and power in a little smart phone today than was used by nasa to put a man on the moon.

And I almost forgot, you can also use these to make a phone call, but who does that anymore? Today communication is not in complete sentences. It's all about short message servicing or sms texting. That's right, there are about 2.5 billion people in the world today that are communicating with their fellow humans in short bytes called texting. That's more data that is being used than those who are surfing the web or even playing video games. And, friends, nowhere is this more true than right here in the Philippines.

Even though the Philippines has about 100 million people, they are responsible for the largest number of text messages of anywhere in the world. They're the twelfth-largest country, but they send 400 million text messages every day. Wow, that's a lot of finger fatigue. Even though the greatest number of texters is here in the Philippines, the record for the fastest texter in the world is from brazil. A young man by the name of marcel fernandes filho - he was able to text 25 very complicated words in a little more than 18 seconds.

Wow, it takes me longer than that to just say 'I love you' to my wife and press send. All thumbs. One of the neat things about texting is you can text just about anywhere. If you're surrounded with people and you want to send a personal message, you text. You're in a crowded subway or an airport, you can text.

If you're surrounded by noise or nosey people, you can text - just don't text while you're driving. That's what's so wonderful, friends, you can always text God a message of prayer from your heart. When you're wondering 'what school do I go to?' 'What job do I take?' 'Who am I supposed to date that may be a future life partner?' Your prayers don't have to be long. The shortest prayer in the Bible is three words - when Peter prayed, 'Lord save me.' And Jesus answered his prayer. It doesn't matter how fast you can text when you're talking to God, he'll know what you're asking for and hear your prayer before you have a chance to say 'amen' and press the send button.

In fact, friends, you'll bring joy to God when you send him regular messages from your heart to his. So why don't you talk to him right now? Together we have spread the Gospel much farther than ever before. Thank you for your support.

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