The Great Controversy and the Early Church

The Great Controversy and the Early Church

Scripture: Acts 4:13, Acts 1:6-8, Acts 10:12-29
Date: 02/27/2016  Lesson: 9
"The greatest barrier Jesus faced with His followers was their preconceived opinions. The disciples took little notice of what Jesus said if it did not fit in with their own ideas of who He should be."

God Cares: The Message of Daniel by Mervyn Maxwell

God Cares: The Message of Daniel by Mervyn Maxwell
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Good morning, friends, welcome to Sabbath School Study Hour. A very special welcome to those joining us across the country and around the world - our extended Sabbath school Bible study class. Also, a very warm welcome to the members here at the Granite Bay church - so good to see you all here bright and shiny, early this morning. Glad you're here as we study together. Now our study - we're studying through our lesson quarterly dealing with rebellion and redemption.

And for our friends who are joining us, if you don't have a copy of today's lesson, you can go to the Amazing Facts website - just amazingfacts.org and we're studying lesson #9 today entitled the Great Controversy and the early church and you can download the study and you can follow along with us. We also have a free offer that we'd like to let you know about. It is a dvd produced by Amazing Facts called cosmic conflict and if you would like to receive those in North America - a free copy of this dvd - just give us a call on our resource number. The number there is 866-788-3966 - again, that number is -788-3966 and you can ask for offer #809 - that's offer #809 - cosmic conflict. We'll be happy to send it to you.

And for those who are outside of North America, but you'd also like to participate in our free offer, you can go to the amazing facts website and you can actually view the program - I don't know if it's on Amazing Facts, but it is on youtube. You can type in there: 'Amazing Facts cosmic conflict - and you'll be able to participate in viewing this very important documentary dealing with the origin of sin and evil in the world and it goes along with our lesson study. Well, before we get to the study today, we're going to invite our song leaders to come out and they're going to lead us as we sing together lifting our voices in praise to God for his goodness. (Light piano music) good morning and Happy Sabbath. Welcome to the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church.

We'd like to invite you to join us for our song service. We'll be singing #598 - watch ye saints - and we'll sing all five verses. Watch ye saints, with eyelids waking; lo! The powers of heaven are shaking; keep your lamps all trimmed and burning ready for the Lord's returning lo! He comes, lo! Jesus comes; lo! He comes, he comes all glorious! Jesus comes to reign victorious, lo! He comes, yes, Jesus comes. Lo! The promise of your Savior, pardoned sin and purchased favor, blood-washed robes and crowns of glory; haste to tell redemption's story lo! He comes, lo! Jesus comes; lo! He comes, he comes all glorious! Jesus comes to reign victorious, lo! He comes, yes, Jesus comes. Kingdoms at their base are crumbling, hark! His chariot wheels are rumbling; tell, o tell of grace abounding, while the seventh trump is sounding.

Lo! He comes, lo! Jesus comes; lo! He comes, he comes all glorious! Jesus comes to reign victorious, lo! He comes, yes, Jesus comes. Nations wane, though proud and stately; Christ his kingdom hasteneth greatly; earth her latest pangs is summing; shout, ye saints, your Lord is coming. Lo! He comes, lo! Jesus comes; lo! He comes, he comes all glorious! Jesus comes to reign victorious, lo! He comes, yes, Jesus comes. Sinners, come, while Christ is pleading; now for you he's interceding; haste, ere grace and time diminished shall proclaim the mystery finished. Lo! He comes, lo! Jesus comes; lo! He comes, he comes all glorious! Jesus comes to reign victorious, lo! He comes, yes, Jesus comes.

And now we have a special item for you. We'd like to invite the girls' chorus from orangevale Seventh-day Adventist school to come out and share a special music piece with us. You surround me you indwell me you're beside me ever-present always near you're the whisper calling my name gently love eternal reaching to me, jealous for me I will stay with you forever arm in arm we'll walk together you will never let me go I can't live my life without you my whole will to live is for you you've awakened me to know you surround me you indwell me you're beside me ever present always near you're the whisper calling my name gently love eternal reaching to me jealous for me I will stay with you forever arm in arm we'll walk together you will never let me go I can't live my life without you my whole will to live is for you you've awakened me to know Jesus amen. Amen. Thank you, girls chorus from the orangevale Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Before we begin our study, I invite you to bow your heads for a word of prayer. Dear Father in Heaven, thank you so much for the opportunity we have to gather together once again to open up Your Word and to study the unfolding of a Great Controversy during this new testament period. Father, we ask that the Holy Spirit would come and guide our hearts and our minds and lead us into a deeper and fuller understanding of your power to deliver and your willingness to work in us and through us. Bless our time together for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen. Amen.

Our lesson today will be brought to us by our senior pastor, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Lead pastor, not senior pastor. (Laughter) morning. Morning. Happy Sabbath.

Happy Sabbath. And I want to greet our friends who are watching, both those who are part of the international class and we have some of our Granite Bay church members that are scattered around the world that are part of this family because there's no local church they can attend. And we want to welcome you as we study - continue studying - we're going to be dealing with lesson #9 today in our quarterly, talking about rebellion and redemption. We have a memory verse, which is from acts 4:13, if you'd like to say this with me, acts 4:13 - are you ready? "Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

" Now they could tell that they had the Spirit of Jesus because they had spent time with him. And don't miss - that's acts chapter 4 - this is taking place after pentecost. Wouldn't you like people to look at you and say, 'well, I can tell you've been with Jesus.'? For people to know that you've been spending time with Jesus, well they could tell when the Holy Spirit had fallen. Alright, so we're going to get right into the lesson - a lot to cover here - and under the first section, under the beginning of a new beginning, and we're going to go to acts chapter 1. This - this is a - the verse - or the passage in the Bible that sort of sets it up for a big transition in the church.

Acts chapter 1 and it says in verse 3, "to whom he also presented himself alive after his suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God." The number forty is kind of interesting, isn't it? For forty days after the resurrection Jesus appeared to them. What was his central purpose when he did appear to them? From the time of his resurrection, every time he appeared, what was he doing? You can read here in one of those appearances - one of my favorite stories is the road to emmaus - Luke 24:44 - it says, "then he said to them, 'these are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms concerning me.'" So he's teaching them about the things that are in the law and the prophets and the Psalms concerning him and it says - verse 44 - or 45, rather, is the most important part, "and he opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures." What was one of the principle reasons that Jesus continued to appear to the disciples after his resurrection? He opened - well the principle reason, of course, to show that he was alive, but wouldn't one or two appearances convince them of that? But for forty days - he appeared to them in the upper room on several occasions. He appeared to them in the town of emmaus, he appeared to them by the sea. What was he doing during those forty days - every time he appeared? He gave them a Bible study. It says he opened to them the Scriptures.

He was wanting to make sure they understood how to relate the old testament to his life. Now let me give you an example of why that was important. If you look in - oh, let's see here - acts chapter 1 - go to verse 6, "therefore, when they had come together, they asked him, saying, 'Lord, will you at this time restore the Kingdom to Israel?'" What are they asking? What did they think was going to happen? They thought the Messiah was going to come. He would come as The Son of David and naturally, as The Son of David, he would establish them, once again, as an international power, overthrow the Romans, give them independence, the glory of the days of Solomon would return, and Jesus would use a supernatural power to defeat their enemies and set the people free from the oppression of rome. Did Christ tell them everything that they were doing wrong? No - or everything that they misunderstood wrong? No, he just answered by saying it is not - verse 7 - ".

..it is not for you to know times or seasons which The Father has put in his own authority." He wasn't denying that someday he would come as a conquering king and that he would, you know, set his people free, he was just saying, 'you don't need to worry about that right now. I want you to know about your mission now.' He said, "it is not for you to know the times or seasons which The Father has put in his own authority." What does Jesus say about knowing the day and the hour of his coming? He said no man knows. Matter of fact, when Christ was on the earth he said 'not even The Son.' He said the angels don't know. Now I think Jesus knows now, but when he was in his, you know, human state, he didn't have all that cosmic knowledge in his mind. He said, 'these things are in The Father's hand' but this is what he says in verse 8 - great, great verse - "but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and samaria, and to the end of the earth.

" What did he want? He wanted them to be his witnesses. I want to jump down to 1 Corinthians 15 real quick. He appeared to them for forty days - it says, "for I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he was seen by cephas, then by the twelve. After that he was seen by over five hundred brethren at once," - who's cephas? Peter. That's just another name for Peter.

"After that he was seen by over five hundred brethren at once of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep." What does he mean by 'fallen asleep'? They died. They died - like Lazarus slept. "After that he was seen by James, then by all the apostles." One appearance he was seen by ten of the apostles but, of course Judas was dead, thomas was missing then later he came and they were all there - all the living ones, in other words, it says he was seen by all of the apostles - James being the brother of Jesus - "then last of all he was seen by me as one born out of due time." Now the difference is he was seen by all the apostles before his ascension. When did Paul see him? After his ascension. Every time he appeared to the disciples, he opened to them the Scriptures.

Now Jesus was preparing them for a special work, but he didn't want them to do the work right away. From the time of his death, how long was it before he wanted them to go out preaching? How many days? Fifty days. What does the word 'pentecost' mean? You have a big - biggest building in the world is the pentagon - as far as square footage - five sides. Pentecost was fifty days after passover. How many days did Jesus appear? Forty.

Forty days. So how long was it between the time Jesus ascended from the mount of olives and the Spirit was poured out? Ten days. Ten days. Forty plus ten is fifty. What did they do during those ten days in the upper room? They prayed.

They spent time praying. They had to put aside some differences. There was some - a little bit of rivalry among them - which of them was the greatest - they had some things they needed to confess and to apologize. You know, thomas had been doubting. James and John wanted the highest position.

Peter publicly denied Jesus. There was probably a lot more going on that we don't know about, but they needed to be - it says when the Holy Spirit finally fell they were all in one place and what else does it say? Of one accord. One accord. What does that mean? They were in a honda? (Laughter) no, what's that talking about? They were in unity. Now this is before the Holy Spirit was poured out the first time.

Is there a chance that might need to happen again before the Holy Spirit's poured out the second time? A couple things are happening - one is there's an intense Bible study - spiritual Bible study - with Jesus for forty days, and then there's prayer and putting away of differences and then the Holy Spirit is poured out and then there is a great work that's done. History may repeat itself in the end. Now he says, 'I'm going to send the Holy Spirit, but not yet. Something has to happen first. You can also read in acts 1, verses 4 and 5, "and being assembled together with them, he commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of The Father," - don't take off - he says 'wait for the promise of The Father.

- "'Which,' he said, 'you have heard from me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the holy spirit not many days from now." Do not depart from Jerusalem, wait for the promise of The Father. Then you read that in Luke 24:49, "...but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power." Why didn't Jesus start preaching when he was 28 years old or 25 years old? When did his public ministry begin? Thirty. Why did it begin when he was thirty? Now I'm not telling anybody to not do evangelism until you're thirty, you understand? But why did Jesus wait? Because he started preaching after he was given the anointing of the Holy Spirit. There was a time. We don't want to go out doing the work of God without the Spirit of God.

And so, if you're going out on a mission or you're going to be doing some work for God, pray that you have the Holy Spirit. Do you want to go out in your own power? No. No. We need to pray for the outpouring of the Spirit to do that. And then if you look in acts 1 - oh, actually, I already read that.

Someone's going to read for me Luke 24:47 - who will have that? Okay, alberto. It talks here about what they're going to be preaching when they go out and where they're supposed to be preaching. So why don't you go ahead and read that now? And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things." So he tells them what the starting place is - where's that? Jerusalem. Beginning at Jerusalem.

Matter of fact, go back to acts chapter 1, verse 8, "but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and samaria and to the end of the earth." Jesus says, through all the disciples - all the apostles, 'you know, I want you to go into all the world' - but he tells them, 'start where you are.' Is that a pattern for us if we're doing mission work? Amen. Yeah. Should we go to foreign fields if we can't reach the person across the street? Shouldn't we try to learn math with pennies before we learn with dollars? And begin where you are in home - Jerusalem - then you go to Judea. That was where they had extended family. Then you go from Judea to samaria.

That was people they worked with that they didn't always agree with or had different beliefs, then they went to the uttermost parts of the earth. So in your home, with your family, your friends, where you work, and then strangers. So you should have a little track record, if you're going to go do mission work, starting in the circle around you. Alright, let's go on to pentecost. This is where it gets really exciting.

And acts chapter 2, verses 2 and 3 - well, I want to read verse 1. "When the day of pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And" - now what were they gathered doing? Praying. Praying. Where are - what city are they in? Jerusalem.

What building are they in? An upper room. We know it's an upper room. Now a lot happened in that upper room. That may be the same upper room where they had the last supper. It may have been the home of John Mark, where they gathered together for fear of the jews.

You'll frequently find the disciples in this upper room, whether they're all the same upper room, we don't know, but they're gathered in this large upper room and they're praying together. And in the midst of their praying for the power of God - I mean, they had great rejoicing and they felt the Spirit already with them. But then they were baptized in a special way. "When the day of pentecost was fully come, they were all of one accord in one place" - I don't want to leave that point - one place. Does it matter that we come together? Does the Lord care if we assemble in his name? I heard a pastor say - I was just so disappointed - he was telling people at a Seventh-day Adventist camp meeting, 'nothing in the Bible says you have to go to church on Sabbath.

' And I said, 'no, I disagree. I think that in Leviticus 23, when it says the Sabbath is a holy convocation, that means you convene - you assemble. We do come together. When it says, in the Bible, that 'as his custom was Jesus went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day' - we're supposed to come together. There are blessings that God pours upon his people when we assemble in his name.

And it would be a tragedy for people to miss that point. It is a time to corporately come together and worship God. Amen. And so, they were in one place. Wouldn't it have been sad if that was the day Peter said, 'you know, I've had a rough week.

I'm going to stay home.' And the Holy Spirit fell and he was the one who was supposed to preach the main sermon? And so you wonder how many times people miss blessings. I've got a friend I pester about going to church because he's not quite as regular in his attendance. And I'll talk to him every now and then and say, 'oh something's happening. You want to come and go to church?' And he says that 'every time I don't feel like going but I end up going, I get blessed more than I ever would have expected. Something unusual happens and I'm so glad I went.

' Amen. But he says, 'then again, there are times I go and nothing happens.' But the times that he feels like staying home are the times he knows the devil was trying to keep him from going. They were gathered together so don't miss that point. Wouldn't you be sorry if the Holy Spirit was poured out and you weren't there that day that it happened? "And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them.

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance." Now I want to talk a little bit about that. It says they were gathered together and the Holy Spirit appeared as what? Tongues of... Fire. Fire. If you draw a picture of the Holy Spirit, what do you draw? A lot of people draw a dove.

Eventually, one of these days, we've got a logo we're putting up back here and it's kind of like a combination of dove with three little bands - you see it on our Sabbath school sign - there it is, up on the screen. Yeah, it's kind of a dove - it's an opening Bible, if you look at it - it's wind and it's supposed to be three flames that are coming out. And so - because the Holy Spirit is hard to describe. It appears as water - you know, the Holy Spirit is that living water. The Holy Spirit is the fire.

The Holy Spirit is the wind. You know, there was the sound of a mighty rushing wind. Jesus said the wind blows where it lists. And so, you'll find a number of symbols used - Holy Spirit is the person of the Godhead hard for us to visualize. You ask a kid to draw God and they'll draw somebody with a beard sometimes sitting on a throne.

Ask them to draw the Holy Spirit there are no holds barred. You have no idea what they're going to draw. But here comes this fire. Why fire? Look at Matthew 3:11. John the baptist said, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than i, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry.

He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." Did it literally happen? Did Jesus baptize them with the Holy Spirit and with fire? Why tongues of fire? How was the Holy Spirit manifested that day? You can read there, it says, 'they were filled with the spirit and began to speak with other tongues.' As the Spirit - why did he give them the gift of speaking other - what does the word 'tongues' mean? Languages. Why'd the Lord specifically give them the ability to speak in other languages? Read the next verse. It says, "and there were dwelling in Jerusalem jews, devout men, that all spoke Hebrew." That's not what it says. "...jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. You see, the jews, under the occupation of Babylon and medo-persia and greece, they had, really, been scattered - not as bad as the roman dispersion that happened in ad , but the jews already were scattered.

There were synagogues everywhere through the roman empire. There was a synagogue in Jerusalem; Paul met with them. Paul, as he traveled, first place he'd go is the synagogue in that local town. So they were scattered everywhere. The jews that were in macedonia - now goce, you're from macedonia.

Do you speak macedonian? There were jews that spoke macedonian. They didn't speak very good Hebrew. My mother was Jewish - she didn't speak Hebrew, she spoke New York. (Laughter) she was from New York. There are jews in spain.

There's jews - they've got synagogues in argentina. There are synagogues in china where the jews speak chinese. And so, when these jews, because they were required, according to the law, to all come to Jerusalem for the feast, they all came - they speak these different languages. They may speak a little Hebrew, but they speak the language of the country where they live. When the Holy Spirit is poured out, the disciples are supernaturally given the ability to speak the native tongues of these visiting jews.

Amen. This is a brilliant way to disperse the message. You know, for the first three years - three and a half years - the Gospel is just preached to the jews. Then after cornelius' conversion it goes everywhere. So these visiting jews, they hear the Gospel in their own tongue, they then take it back to their respective countries and the Gospel goes like wildfire everywhere.

So, you know, that was a great method. Alright, let's keep going here. Someone's going to look up for me, in just a moment, acts 4:13, which, of course, is our memory verse, but we're going to read it again. This is - is this the only time in acts chapter 2 when the Holy Spirit was poured out? Did the disciples receive a baptism of the Spirit before pentecost? Do you remember in the upper room where Jesus breathed on them and said, 'receive ye the Holy Spirit.'? Yes. When the disciples went out preaching and they cast out devils, did they do that without the Holy Spirit? Baptism of the Holy Spirit is an immersion.

It means total filling saturation. The special power came at pentecost, but there were elements where they were filled with the Spirit. Can you think of old testament characters that were filled with the Holy Spirit? Samson. Some people get the Holy Spirit and they exercise the gift of tongues. Some people get the Holy Spirit - the gift of healing or casting out devils.

Samson got the Holy Spirit, it was the gift of muscle-bound. (Laughter) it was the gift of physical strength. I don't know what you call it. He got - he became a ninja warrior when he got the Holy Spirit. Samson it was strength because you remember when the holy spirit was taken away, when delilah cut off his hair? He was like other men.

He got up to fight and he couldn't fight the philistines anymore because the Spirit was gone. Did the Holy Spirit come on king David? Are there prophets that were baptized in the Holy Spirit? You remember when jehoshophat was going to go to battle with three kingdoms that were coming against him? The Holy Spirit came on one of the local prophets and he spoke. And so, did the Holy Spirit come on king Saul? He did - and he prophesied. The Holy Spirit came on David. There's a number of examples through the old testament.

It was not a new concept when it says they received the holy spirit, but when the Holy Spirit came on them it was demonstrated different ways. But often you receive the Spirit of someone else - now notice this: acts - rather 2 Kings - no, no, no, I want to read Numbers - I'm sorry, Numbers 11, verse 24 - here's one that I left out on purpose. "So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord, and he gathered the seventy men of the elders of the people and placed them around the tabernacle. Then the Lord came down in the cloud, and spoke to him, and took of the Spirit that was upon him," - Moses - "and placed the same upon the seventy elders; and it happened, when the Spirit rested upon them, that they prophesied, although they never did so again." Why was this happening? Moses was trying to do too much administration all by himself and God said, 'you need people to help.' Jethro - God spoke through jethro, his father-in-law, and said 'you can't do this, you'll wear away. You're killing yourself off over work.

' Karen and I were talking about overwork this morning; how James white nearly killed himself. He actually did die young because of overwork. And so, I thought this would be a good time to let you know I'm taking a one-year sabbatical. (Laughter) no, we didn't say that yet. It'd be nice.

But Moses was working himself to death. I mean, he died early - 120 - that was early for them. Jehoiada lived to 130. I'm being sarcastic, forgive me. But it is true that jehoiada lived to 130 and he lived after Moses.

But he was wearing himself out and so he got 70 elders together, they came to the tabernacle, God took the Spirit of Moses and put it on them. Now did Moses have his own Holy Spirit or was God taking the same Holy Spirit he had given Moses and given it to them. Does that sound familiar with 2 Kings 2:15? What did Elisha pray for when Elijah said 'what do you want?' Elisha said, 'let a double portion of thy spirit be on me.' And when Elijah went to heaven, did it happen? You read in 2 Kings 2:15, "now when The Sons of the prophets who were from Jericho saw him," - opposite them - coming across the Jordan - "they said, 'the Spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha.'" And what were they asking John the baptist when they said - John the baptist came filled with the Spirit - he was filled with the Spirit from his mother's womb, right? That's what it says. John the baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit and they said, 'are you Elijah? Do you have the Spirit of Elijah like Elisha did?' Don't you want to be baptized? Whose spirit do you want? Christ's. If you get to - if you could shop and if you could order and download the Holy Spirit, would you want Elijah's, or Moses', or Christ's? Christ's.

Jesus is - it's all the same, isn't it? It's God's Spirit. But, I mean, Elijah had a special mission of revival and Moses, it was a little more administration for what he was doing. And some of you would like the Spirit of Samson, right? (Laughter) any of you young guys, would you like the Spirit of Samson? If there're bullies at your school. Alright, let's 'fess up. Yeah, and you can kill lions too if you ever need to, when you have the Spirit of Samson.

You could pick up the gates and carry them on your shoulders. But the different gifts of the Spirit were manifested, but we all want the Spirit of God, right? To do the work of preaching the Gospel. Alright, read for us now acts 4:13 - what is the purpose - what's the purpose for the filling of the Holy Spirit? Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus." So, Peter and John, did they receive the Spirit of Moses, Elijah, John the baptist, or who? They had been with - they had been with Jesus. They could see the love of Jesus.

So the time they spent with Jesus and the Spirit of Jesus that had rubbed off on them. Now something else is happening here at pentecost. Let's read verse - by the way, I want to read verse - Romans 8:9, "if anyone does not have the spirit of Christ, he is not his." So whose spirit do you want? Christ's. If you do not have the Spirit of Christ 'he is not his.' Can you go to heaven without the Spirit of Christ? Will you belong to Jesus? What will Jesus say to the lost? 'I don't know you.' Would it be safe to say they don't have the spirit of Christ? You must have - we need to have - the Spirit of Christ. We need to pray for it.

What's the most important thing we could ask for? 'If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more would your Father in Heaven give' - what? The Holy Spirit. 'The Holy Spirit to them that' - ask. 'Ask him.' 'Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of latter rain and the Lord'll send flashing clouds.' We need to be asking for the outpouring of God's Spirit, amen? Amen. Alright, so when pentecost happens, something interesting is going on. Why do we speak different languages? I wonder how many language groups we've got here.

Alright, we already talked about goce, he speaks macedonian. Anyone else speak another language? What do you speak? Oh no, I was just going to say the tower of babel. Yeah, I'm - I'm going to get to that. Do you speak another second language, eric? Uh, no. No? Who here speaks another language? Yeah, back there, ron? Serbian and croatian.

Serbian and croatian, is that at all like macedonian? Oh, you can understand each other. Icelandic. Iceland - you're by yourself, hafdis. (Laughter) your boys learned it? I'm impressed. Did they learn dad's spanish too? They're working on it.

They're trilingual. Wow. You've heard the old joke that when someone speaks three languages they're called trilingual. When they speak two languages, what are they called? Bilingual. And if they speak one language? American.

American. Exactly. (Laughter) alright, who else? We've got icelandic and spanish and - russian. Russian. Harasho.

Ya panimayu ninoshka. In the back? Portuguese. Portuguese. Bien. It's similar.

Oh look at that! That's right, go ahead, dessya. Come on, brad just pointed to you, you've got to tell us. Huh? Indonesian. Indonesian. Is that bahasa indonesian? Yeah? Wait, 'cause we've got a couple versions, yeah? Korean.

Look at all the language groups we've got here. Why do we have all these different language groups? Babel. Why did babel happen? Was babel a blessing or was babel a punishment for bad behavior? It was God confounding the languages - confusing the languages because they were not doing what God told them to do. God said, 'go forth, fill the earth. Scatter, disperse, multiply.

' And they didn't believe that God was not going to destroy the world. They wanted to make a name for themselves instead of making - live for the glory of God? They wanted to make an earthly name for themselves and they thought, 'in case we can't trust God's Word that he'll never destroy the world with a flood, we'll make a tower. We'll consolidate our religion.' You know how many religions around the world have these towers, like pyramids you can climb up? It's like man-made mountains, they had them in Egypt, they had them in central America, in south America - they had them in thailand and even in asia. Even in North America they had these mountains that were built. It's like they would try and build these man-made mountains and it all kind of harkens back to babel where we're going to climb the mountain, get closer to God, and save ourselves in case there's a flood.

So God confused their language. He cursed their language. They couldn't understand each other. Those that could kind of congregated in groups and they went and populated the world as they scattered in frustration. God made them scatter.

They had to abandon their building project. Making a man-made name for themselves. Babel became - and why do we call babies 'babies'? Babies babble and Babylon - if you say a person is babbling, where do you think that word comes from? Babylon. It all goes back to the confusion of tongues. So what's happening at pentecost? the Lord is reversing the cursing of babel by supernaturally giving the disciples the ability to - they weren't just speaking in these languages, they knew what they were saying.

They were speaking in languages that they never understood before and - does God still have the gift of tongues today? Amen. He does. I believe that - I've seen people supernaturally get the gift of tongues, but a lot of times, God'll supply people who are just gifted with tongues. How many of you know somebody who could speak like four languages? Five languages? Six languages? We have a lady I met at central church a few years ago, she spoke seven languages. I've met several people who could speak as many as seven languages and Benjamin franklin was something of what they call a polymath - he studied a little of everything and he could speak - he became one of the first American ambassadors to France and to england, but he could speak about seven languages.

The record is - I read about a man that could speak 140 languages. It was a catholic priest, I believe, and I did an amazing fact on this guy. He just had a gift and he would read languages - he had a photographic memory and he would never forget a word. But he knew how to put them together. Just incredible.

Well, the Lord reversed the curse at pentecost so that they could understand each other for the purpose of spreading the Gospel. Alright, let's go to - and, so, you know, I read there Genesis 11 for you. What does it mean, in Revelation 18, verse 2, when it says, "and he cried mightily with a loud voice saying, 'Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!'" What is Babylon then? It's a place - Babylon represents confusion. It's talking about the confusion that you see in the religious world - and do we have that confusion today? And what does God say? 'Come out of her my people.' Now when - in the old testament, when God's people were in Babylon for 70 years and they were conquered, finally, by the persians, God told his people to come out of Babylon and come back to the promised land. While we're talking about coming out of Babylon, don't miss the Spiritual point here.

Abraham, where did Abraham come from when God called him? Ur, which was in what you call mesopotamia. And he went from ur to heron, which is more closely with what we call Babylon, and God brought his wife Sarah from Babylon to the promised land. Where did Isaac get his wife? They sent messengers from the promised land back to Babylon to call his bride out of Babylon - rebekkah, right? When it was time for Jacob to get married, Isaac and rebekkah were heartbroke that esau began to marry the pagan girls. They said, 'our lives won't be worth anything. Our religion will die out if you marry the unbelievers.

Go back and get a wife.' He had to cross the Euphrates river and he went back to that - that's what they call Babylon - mesopotamia back then - brought his wife out of Babylon into the promised land. Children of Israel, after Babylon fell, in the days of belteshazzar - or belshazzar - belteshazzar was Daniel's name. I get mixed - it's easy to confuse the two. How many of you have confused belshazzar with belteshazzar? It's like Elijah and Elisha. Anyway, so after belshazzar's feast, Babylon fell, cyrus declared that God's people could come out of Babylon - but they'd been there so long they got comfortable.

They wanted to stay. the Lord said, 'plagues are going to come. Problems are going to come. Come out of Babylon, my people.' Then, during the days of the apostles, when the Holy Spirit was poured out, a lot of the early Christians said, 'how can I give up pure judaism and go to Christianity? They felt the struggle. The religion of the pharisees and the sadducees had turned into Babylon.

God was calling his people into his church, right? Do we have a similar message now in the last days? Has Christianity today done the same thing that ancient judaism did in that it's co-mingled with paganism and it's become corrupt and God's people are being called out? He says, 'they're my people.' God has his people but they're in this religious confusion. So what brought them out? The Holy Spirit fell at pentecost and there was a great revival. The curse of confusion of the tongues was reversed. Now, so there's a great revival and the devil was so happy that 3,000 people were baptized after pentecost, that he sent them all gifts - the apostles - he just praised them. Was the devil glad or how does the devil respond when the church grows? Opposition.

Opposition. The church is growing, the message is being preached - acts chapter 3, Peter and John are going to church, there's a lame man at the door - he's waiting at a place called 'the beautiful gate'. This lame man is healed. Everybody had seen him there for weeks. He had actually come hoping that Jesus would heal him and he got there and he found out Jesus had been crucified, so he stayed at the gate of the temple.

And so you've got - the 50 days go by and everybody sees the lame man - he's probably pretty gnarly and crippled and he couldn't walk and he's there begging because there weren't too many cripples left after Jesus. And he sees Peter and John - Peter and John look at him and they say, 'silver and gold we do not have, but such as we have we give to you in the name of Jesus.' Peter takes his hand and he says, 'stand up and walk.' And the man felt strength in his legs and his ankles and he has faith and he stands up and he walks. He doesn't just walk, he is so happy his legs turn into springs and he starts to bounce and the Bible says he was walking and leaping and praising God. And wouldn't you? There's that song - any of you know that song we do with the kids? 'Walking and leaping and praising God.' Yeah, about that man at the gate. And he's clinging to Peter and John.

And Peter and John - all the people gather around and they're looking at Peter and John like they're Gods. Peter says, 'it's not us, it's Jesus, who you crucified.' He begins to preach about Jesus in the temple and there's another great revival and thousands are baptized. Oh, that's enough. They arrest Peter and John and they bring them in. And they end up arresting all of the apostles - and they're very threatened.

You can go to acts 4, verse 1 - so there's this controversy that's taking place. You notice - who is persecuting the apostles, the Romans or their own church? What's going to happen in the last days? Is it secular government we need to worry about or religious powers? Acts 4, "now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead." Now why did this especially disturb them? The principle priests were from the sect of the sadducees - different from the pharisees. How did the sadducees feel about the resurrection? What's going to happen to their power base if everybody starts believing in the resurrection? They're going to be pulled out of office. Their whole way of life is being threatened by someone teaching everybody and people believing in the resurrection - especially of Jesus - "and they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to about five thousand.

" Five thousand men - it doesn't even talk about the women and others that were - accepted the message. There's a quote in your lesson from the book acts of the apostles and it says - and this is page 78, "the priests and the rulers saw that Christ was extolled above them. As the sadducees, who did not believe in a resurrection, heard the apostles declaring that Christ had risen from the dead, they were enraged, realizing that if the apostles were allowed to preach a risen Savior and to work miracles in his name, the doctrine that there would be no resurrection would be rejected by all and the sect of the sadducees would soon become extinct." They were fighting for their very existence. That's what the devil's doing is - we preach the truth, the devil, he comes down with great wrath. So they put them in prison and they bring them out and they try them and the disciples give such powerful answers - let's read that together.

In a moment, someone's going to read acts 10:28, but let's read acts 6, verse 10, "and they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke. Then they secretly induced men to say," - I'm jumping ahead here, actually, to the stoning of stephen. The apostles, when they were being tried, Peter said, 'we ought to obey God rather than men. Now when stephen, who is one of the deacons filled with the holy spirit, he is tried and he's being persecuted by the hEllenists that don't believe in the resurrection. They were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.

"Then they secretly induced men to say, 'we have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.' And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council." Can you think of some people who were falsely accused and falsely arrested? Anyone remember the story of naboth? King ahab wanted naboth's vineyard. Jezebel said, 'here, I'll help you with that.' She just paid people to falsely accuse naboth at a public venue. 'He cursed God and the King!' And if you go against the religion and you go against the government - they said he was a traitor and they stoned him. So here they've stirred up false witnesses who were saying something that he didn't believe. 'He's speaking against Moses' - did stephen believe in Moses? Did Jesus believe in Moses? Jesus said, 'think not that I have come to destroy the law and the prophets.

' No, Jesus said 'if you believe Moses, you believe me' - and stephen felt the same way. So this was a false accusation. Some people thought that, because they said you don't have to sacrifice lambs anymore and they didn't believe in circumcision - they thought, 'oh, you're preaching against Moses.' Well, even Moses knew those things pointed to Jesus. They set up false witnesses. 'This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law, for we have heard him say that Jesus of nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us.

' No, he's just saying Jesus was going to build another temple - I'll be talking about that in my sermon. Now, while they're accusing him, how does stephen respond? All who sat in the council looking steadfastly at him saw his face as the face of an angel. They could see that he was innocent. He had the power of God with him. You know, one of the most powerful sermons that you're going to see in the Bible is the sermon of stephen that you find in acts and we don't have time to read it all, but if you read this sermon of stephen that you find in acts chapter 7, he traces the history of God's people - it's one of the most powerful summaries of the leading of God and his people.

Why does God fill stephen with the Spirit and help him preach this powerful message that summarizes the calling of God's people and the coming of Jesus? Because this happens at the end of seven years from the teachings - from the anointing of Jesus. Stephen is the culmination of the 490-year prophecy. Stephen is making the last appeal to the Jewish - to the leaders of the Jewish nation - in the 490 years from the command to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem, before they are cut off as the chosen people. It doesn't mean jews cannot be saved. It doesn't mean God doesn't have a special work for them, but their purpose in declaring the Messiah to the world - they were reaching the end of that opportunity and stephen is making the most eloquent spirit-filled appeal.

Now what happens with stephen, while he's preaching, he sees that they're becoming upset. They're plugging their ears - he's talking to the supreme court. What does it mean? Does it look good if you're talking to the supreme court and they plug their ears when you're making your defense? And they grit their teeth and stephen finally says, 'you stiff-necked' - he realizes they're not listening anymore and he tells them that judgment's coming upon them. And he said, 'in the same way that your fathers rejected it, you're rejecting it.' And they grit their teeth and they rushed upon him - they said, 'you' - stephen said, 'you crucified God's holy one.' And they rushed upon him. They stopped their ears.

They led him out of the city. Where was Jesus crucified? Out of the city. They laid down their garments before they executed him. Were their garments laid down before they executed Jesus - they stripped him? They had false witnesses for stephen - took him out of the city. Stephen prays before he's killed.

He says, 'father, forgive them. Lay not this sin to their charge.' Did Jesus pray? The same thing that Jesus does at the end of his three-and-a-half years of ministry, stephen experiences - the first Christian martyr - three and a half years later. That's the final seven years in that last week of Daniel's prophecy - and they kill him - and the amazing thing is who's guarding the clothes and being the primary witness for his execution? Saul. Saul, who ends up becoming the greatest apostle to the gentiles because the Gospel now goes from just the jews to the gentiles. Up until that time - and you go from this, you go to, you know, acts chapter 10, Peter's now taking the Gospel to cornelius and his family.

And - matter of fact, that's our next verse. Go ahead, read acts 10:28. "Then he said to them, 'you know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man uncommon or unclean." Now this was the last section in your lesson, called changing attitudes, yet it took a couple of years for - it actually took a few years for the apostles to realize that God did not want them to be exclusive. You remember when Jesus said to the syrophoencian woman, 'you shouldn't take the children's food and give it to the dogs' - speaking of the gentiles.

This was the attitude that they had about the gentiles - they were the dogs. And God said, 'no, I love them like I love you.' Acts 10, verse - this'll be our last verse - "then Peter opened his mouth and said: 'in truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears him and works righteousness is accepted by him.'" There was now to be no distinction between jew and gentile. The Gospel was to go freely to all people and this was a struggle for them to have that change of attitudes. But then, it wasn't long before there were more gentile believers in Jesus than there were jews.

But, up until this point in acts chapter 10, 99-percent of the church was Jewish. 3,000 Baptized at pentecost - they were devout jews. 5,000 Baptized at the golden gate - jews - it was almost all Jewish. The disciples began to go when there was a great persecution - they started going to the synagogues and preaching to the jews. And I've got a lot more I can say about that, but we are out of time.

I want to remind those who are watching, if you missed it earlier, we do have a free offer, it's the dvd called cosmic conflict. Our lesson is talking about the rebellion - this Great Controversy - this is talking about where sin originated, the fall of lucifer - you want a free copy, call 866-788-3966 and ask for offer #809. We'll be happy to send that to you. God bless you, friends, we'll study that more together again next week. 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. Can't get enough Amazing Facts Bible study? You don't have to wait until next week to enjoy more truth-filled programming, visit the Amazing Facts media library at 'aftv.org'. At 'aftv.org' you can enjoy video and audio presentations as well as printed material all free of charge, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, right from your computer or mobile device. Visit 'aftv.org'. For life-changing Christian resources, visit afbookstore.com.

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