Restoring Dominion

Scripture: Genesis 1:26, Psalm 8:3-8, 2 Thessalonians 3:10
Date: 07/09/2016 
Lesson: 2
"We have been called by God to be a light and a source of healing and hope in our communities."
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We're starting a new lesson quarterly - actually, this is the second lesson in our new lesson quarterly entitled the role of the church in the community, so I hope that all of you here have the lesson quarterly. As you know, we're three weeks ahead of what it actually says, as far as the dates go, in the lesson quarterly. And, for our friends who are joining us, if you don't have a copy of the study, you can go to the Amazing Facts website - just - and you can download today's lesson - it's lesson #2 entitled restoring dominion - and you can study along with us. We also have a free offer that we'd like to let you know about. It's a book written by pastor Doug Batchelor called who do you think you are? And we'll be happy to send this to anybody who calls and asks.

The number to call is 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer #603. Again, it's 866-788-3966 - ask for #603 - and we'll be happy to send this to anybody here in North America. Well, before we get to our study, we always like to begin with lifting our voices in praise. And I'd like to invite the choristers to come forward and meet me here on stage and they're going to lead us in some wonderful hymns this morning. (Soft piano music) thank you Pastor Ross.

It is lovely to be here and we've been warming up our voices and we're ready to sing with you. All around the world we know you love your hymns, and we do as well, so let's join together on our first one, standing on the promises. You'll find that in - #518 in your hymnals - and we'll do all three stanzas. Join with us. Standing on the promises of Christ my king, thru eternal ages let his praises ring; glory in the highest I will shout and sing, standing on the promises of God.

Standing, standing, standing on the promises of Christ my Savior; standing, standing, I'm standing on the promises of God. Standing on the promises that cannot fail, when the howling storms of doubt and fear assail, by the living Word of God I shall prevail, standing on the promises of God. Standing, standing, standing on the promises of Christ my Savior; standing, standing, I'm standing on the promises of God. Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord, bound to him eternally by love's strong cord, overcoming daily with the spirit's sword, standing on the promises of God. Standing, standing, standing on the promises of Christ my Savior; standing, standing, I'm standing on the promises of God.

Aren't you thankful for the promises that God has given us that we can stand on? They are sure and they won't fail. Whatever he said, he will do. And what a wonderful Heavenly Father. We can trust him just as a child trusts a parent. What heavenly music steals over the sea entrancing the senses with a sweet melody.

This is one of my favorite songs. I love this song for the harmony and the words - just imagine being in heaven as we sing this. You will find it - #452 - #452 - we'll do all three stanzas - what heavenly music. What heavenly music steals over the sea! Entrancing the senses like sweet melody! 'Tis the voice of the angels borne soft on the air; for me they are singing; their welcome I hear. On the banks of old Jordan, here gazing I stand, and earnestly longing, I stretch forth my hand; send a convoy of angels, dear Jesus, I pray! Let me join that sweet music; come, take me away.

Though dark are the waters and rough is the wave, if Jesus permit, the wild surges I'll brave; for that heavenly music hath ravished me so, I must join in that chorus! I'll go! Let me go! At this time, Pastor Ross will lead us in prayer. Let us bow our heads for prayer. Dear Father in Heaven, what a privilege it is for us to be able to gather in your presence to open up Your Word. And father, we ask the holy spirit to come and guide our hearts and our minds. Father, we want to be the people that you want us to be.

We want to be that light on a hill in our community, shining forth the love of Jesus and sharing the truths of Your Word. So we invite you to be with us now as we study about how the church can be more effective in sharing the good news with others, for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen. Our lesson today will be brought to us by the assistant afcoe director - afcoe is the Amazing Facts center of evangelism - and carissa mcsherry is one of our teachers with the program and we thought this lesson, in particular, leans to the subject matter that she teaches at afcoe, dealing with personal evangelism and sharing. And so, thank you, carissa, we appreciate you being willing to share with us today. Good morning.

Good morning. Happy Sabbath. Are you enjoying this nice cool summer weather? We cannot complain. It's been a blessing. Today, as was mentioned, we're going to be looking at the topic of restoring dominion.

You know, when you think of the word 'dominion' it does not sound very positive, correct? When we think of dominion, we think of authority, we think of power - of dominance - of aggression. But is that the original biblical model of dominion? Today we are going to be looking at three components about dominion. First we'll be considering what is the original biblical definition of dominion, when will dominion be fully restored, and how can we overcome the devil's dominion over our lives? But as we begin, if you wouldn't mind, would you just bow your heads with me for another word of prayer? Heavenly Father, God, we are here on your beautiful Sabbath day. Lord, we delight to gather and to praise your name, Lord, for your blessings and for your presence. And now, father, as we study Your Word, may your spirit open and guide our hearts, is our prayer.

In Christ's name, amen. This week, our memory text was found in the book of Genesis. If you have your quarterly, please open it up with me and we're going to read that memory text together. It is found in Genesis chapter 1 and verse 26 - Genesis chapter 1 and verse 26 - please read with me there. "Then God said, 'let us make man in our image, according to our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.

'" So that, again, is the premise for our discussion today. As we begin to talk about dominion, I want to first set a framework for this discussion and then we'll look at some of the specifics for how this applies to our life today. You see in Sabbath afternoon, the quarterly brings out a beautiful passage from the book signs of the times - from the magazine - November 4 - this is 1908 and it reads, "not only man, but the earth also had, by sin, come under the control of the wicked one and was to be restored by the plan of redemption. At his creation, adam was placed in dominion over the earth, but by yielding to temptation, he was brought under the power of satan and the dominion which he held, passed to his conqueror. Thus, satan became the God of this world.

He had usurped that dominion over which the earth had been originally given to adam. But Christ" - aren't you thankful today for those two little words? - The dominion that was taken over by the devil, "but Christ, by his sacrifice, paying the penalty of sin, would not only redeem man, but would recover the dominion which he had forfeited. All that was lost by the first adam will be restored by the second." Amen? I praise God for that restoration. You see, it was at the cross when Jesus died, that that dominion was assured. But it will not be until the second coming of Jesus Christ that that dominion will be complete.

In other words, does the devil still roam to and fro on the earth today, seeking whom he may devour? Absolutely, but we see that there will come a time where Christ will have that full dominion over the earth where, one day soon, every knee will bow and confess that Christ is Lord. Turn with me to the book of Daniel. We are going to, again, look at this restoration of dominion - this framework - this morning and we'll begin in Daniel chapter 7. Daniel chapter 7 - beautiful picture is given in verses 13 and 14. We see that at the beginning - or I should say, the completion of the 2300-year prophecy.

Jesus is brought before the father during the judgment hour. In verse 13 of Daniel chapter 7 we read, "I was watching in the night visions, and behold, one like The Son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him." Again, when is this speaking of? This is speaking of 1844, the judgment hour. In verse 14, "then to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed." Notice the language that is used here in Daniel chapter 7. In Daniel chapter 2 - what is the emphasis of Daniel chapter 2? What do we see occurring in Daniel chapter 2? There is an image, is there not? Nebuchadnezzar has a dream and in this image you see Babylon, medo-persia, greece, and rome.

You see these great kingdoms that are rising up. At the conclusion of mentioning each of these kingdoms, a warning is given, but they will pass away. But their dominion will not last. Babylon rises, and it falls. Medo-persia rises and it falls.

Greece rises and it falls. Rome rises and it falls. And yet, here we see, in Daniel chapter 7, that Jesus will come before The Father - that Jesus will receive dominion and he will have the Kingdom that never falls. Is that good news today? Amen. Jesus has the Kingdom that will not fail.

So that, again, is our framework for our discussion today. And now we're going to look at the specifics. How does the devil's dominion apply today? Turn with me in your Bibles to Genesis chapter 1. We are in Genesis chapter 1 and we'll be continuing the passage from our memory text - Genesis chapter 1, verses 27 and 28 - Genesis chapter 1, verses 27 and 28 - and the Bible says, "so God created man in his own image; in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, 'be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.

'" Help me out here: after je- excuse me - after adam and eve were created, what did God immediately do? He gave them...? Dominion. Dominion, correct. And that dominion entailed a job. They had employment. They had a purpose, did they not? How many of you have heard little children say, 'I think mommy and daddy only wanted kids so they could take out the garbage.

'? They only wanted kids so someone could mow the lawn, right? Maybe you were that child. Maybe you were the parent - absolutely - hearing your child say that. Is that why God created adam? 'Well, I need a gardener. It's a big world so I'm going to create a man to take care of my garden.' Is that why God created adam? No, but is it important for every single one of us to have a role - to have something, again, that gives us that purpose and that meaning? A study was done by the psychological science, looking at 6,000 participants and they looked to see what their self-reported purpose is in life? What brings them joy? Did they have meaning to their live? Then they did a follow-up study about nine years later to see what the results were. How did having a purpose in your life affect your longevity and your quality of life? They found, in this follow-up study, 569 of the participants had passed away, which was about 9-percent of the sample.

I'm not sure I would want to be a part of this study, right? But what they discovered is those who had died had reported lower purpose in life and fewer positive relations than did the survivors. In other words, if we do not have a purpose in life, we are more likely to die early. We have a decreased longevity, a decreased enjoyment in life. Is it important for us to have a purpose? Absolutely, and God recognized that even in this pre-fallen world, even in this perfect universe, man still needed a purpose - something that he could accomplish. You see, at every single stage of life the question is asked, 'what is my purpose?' Maybe you remember those teenage days and you're about to leave the home and you're looking at college or employment, 'what should I do for my occupation?' The underlying question is 'what is my purpose?' You meet middle age and maybe that mid-life crisis comes and the underlying question, yet again, is 'what is my purpose? You meet retirement and you question 'what is my purpose?' And that, again, is what we must establish - what is our purpose in life? If we base our purpose off of our employment, off of our occupation, off of relationships, will we ever be satisfied? No.

The job Market crashes. The economy crashes. Relationships fall apart. Who, then, must we find our purpose in? In Jesus Christ, correct? A purpose found in Jesus Christ will satisfy only as it is met in Jesus Christ. Psalms 138, verse 8 - and the revised standard version tells us this: "the Lord will fulfil his purpose for me;" - the Lord will fulfil his purpose for me - in other words, I firmly believe today, just as God had a purpose for adam in the garden, God has a purpose for our lives today.

Christ's object lessons - this is found on page 326 - and this motivates and inspires me every day. We are told, "each has his place in the eternal plan of heaven. Each is to work in cooperation with Christ for the salvation of souls. Not more surely is the place prepared for us in the heavenly mansions than there is a special place designated on earth where we are to work for God." Is this truth? Not more surely does God have a mansion prepared for you in heaven than God has a plan - than God has a purpose for you on earth today. It's reassuring, is it not? God has a plan for our lives.

You know, you might have thought, 'what if my purpose is just gardening?' Adam was not told to go conquer the world, he was given a shovel, right? He was told to go and work in the garden and it may have seemed like a menial task - a very small accomplishment, but you see, any task that is done to the glory of God is great. The greatest purpose that we can find is in servanthood. Helen keller once said, 'I long to accomplish a great and noble task, but my chief duty is to accomplish small tasks as though they were great and noble.' I want to do something huge, I want to do something significant, but Jesus, if you want to give me a shovel and have me garden, I will do it. Whatever we do, may we do it with all of our might. In Monday's lesson they begin to look at dominion.

Again, what is the biblical definition of dominion and how can we apply the biblical pre-sin definition in our sphere of influence today? We find that dominion is the Hebrew word 'râdâh'. It infers that there is a right and a responsibility to rule. It implies that there is a hierarchy of power and of authority. Turn with me in your Bibles to Genesis chapter 2 - Genesis chapter 2 and we are going to look at verse 15. In this passage, we will again see the explanation of what dominion entails.

This is in Genesis chapter 2 and verse 15. The Bible says, "then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of eden" - to do what? - "To tend and keep it." He put him in the garden to tend it and to keep it. Again, that is the best definition of dominion. We see it exemplified here: he gave him to tend it and to keep it. Again, looking at the Hebrew in these words, 'to tend', which for some of you also is translated as 'to dress', means 'to work; to serve; to till.

' To keep (shamar) refers 'to hedge about; to guard; to protect; to attend; to look narrowly after; to preserve, regard, and reserve.' In other words, here adam is given his dominion and his role is to protect, to serve, to nurture. Is that a positive understanding of the word 'dominion'? That servant leadership of sorts. Again, often we think of dominion, we have very negative connotations. We think of hitler. We think of saddam hussein when we think of dominion.

But this is the biblical model of dominion - it is servant leadership. To serve, to nurture, to encourage - this model, given in the pre-sin model, is the model that Christ longs for his people to fulfil today. Turn with me in your Bibles to the book of 1 Peter. We are in 1 Peter chapter and we'll be looking at verses 2 through 5. Peter chapter 5 and we'll be looking at verses 2 through 5.

As we read these passages together, consider with me what is the definition of dominion as found in this passage? How can it be exemplified in the Christian life today? We are in 1 Peter chapter 5 and we will continue with verses 2 through 5. The Bible says, "shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly'; nor as being Lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the chief shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away." You see, again, leadership - dominion - is defined in this passage. Do not Lord over them. Do not assert your authority, rather lead by example. Rather, nurture - rather encourage - rather support - just like adam was called to do in the garden of old.

Would it not be powerful if this passage was fully applied in our families, in our churches, in our homes today? The biblical model of dominion - did Jesus demonstrate this model? Absolutely. Imagine again, here he is, the Lord of the universe, the infinite and all-powerful God, and yet there he is, naked and beat on a cross. Jesus was willing to go through that absolute surrender - to demonstrate what is true servant leadership. You see, the jews of old looked at Jesus and said, 'he can't possibly be the Messiah. We are looking for a conquering king that'll come in here and destroy and beat up the Romans.

' To them, that was dominance. To them, that was power. But does Jesus view it the same way? To him, dominance - to him, power is surrendering his life on the cross. That is the epitome of true leadership and that is the example that we are called to follow today. In Tuesday's lesson: we begin to see that there was a fall from dominion.

We see how satan came and tempted adam and eve; how they stepped out of the boundaries that God had given to them and, as a result of their actions, satan began to dominate. He took over the rulership of this world. The quarterly brings out, "even though sin caused humanity to lose the level of dominion given at creation, our original dominion was not entirely lost because of sin. There is plenty that is within our current boundaries of responsibility. You see, although the devil assumed dominion of this earth, God appointed adam to be a caretaker of the world.

Do we still need to be caretakers of this earth today? Does God view it as important today? Absolutely. In fact, we read in Revelation chapter 11, verse 18, that God will destroy those who destroy the earth. In other words, God still looks at his creation and says, 'that is valuable to me.' The heavens declare the glory of God. We still see the work of the creator through his creation. Official general conference statement on the environment says this - I found it rather interesting - it says, "humankind was created in the image of God, thus representing God as his stewards, to rule the natural environment in a faithful and fruitful way.

The ecological crisis is rooted in humankind's greed and refusal to practice good and faithful stewardship within the divine boundaries of creation. We call for respect of creation, restraint in the use of the world's resources, reevaluation of one's needs and the re-affirmation of the dignity of created life. It's true, is it not? We do have a role. We should, again, respect the creation - the painting that the artist has given to us. Did Jesus use nature to demonstrate the relationship that he desires to have with us? Did Jesus often point to nature in his parables? I think, again, of Jesus sitting there on the hillside and he's wanting to explain to the disciples about the glory of God, about the beauty of the universe, about a relationship with The Father, and yet, here sits a group of people who are bickering over who is going to be the leader.

And he wants to explain it in such a way that they can understand it with their finite minds. And so, here Jesus sits and here he is contemplating 'how do I describe the glories of God to this group of men?' And the picture is painted of Jesus sitting there and looking to his side and saying, 'consider the lilies. I want to show you a beautiful picture but you can't understand it. Let's look at the flowers, this little fingerprint of God, and see how the lilies relate to our connection with God today. We find, in Desire of Ages that Jesus often went up into the mountainside and he spent the mornings in nature - his time with God - alone.

One of my favorite things to do - one of my favorite pasttimes, is going camping with my family. And, early in the morning, before anyone else is up and, hopefully before the bears are too, I like to go out into a meadow and to just sit next to the meadow or next to a lake and just look for object lessons that teach me about the Kingdom of God and to sing my heart out to God, there in nature, where no one else can possibly hear me. Because that's the only time that I sing in public. Again, when no one can hear, but singing to God of his praises. And I believe that that's what God calls us to today - to look at his creation and say, 'what can that teach me about the father's love.

How can the beauty of his creation, though marred with sin, how can the beauty of his creation teach me of The Father today? On Thursday's lesson the focus is on the restoration of dominion. Yes, of course, as was mentioned earlier, Jesus will come and that second coming - the glory of The Father - and Jesus will again restore dominion to the earth. Every knee will bow before him. There will be no more sin. There'll be no more death, no more pain, no more suffering.

But can dominion be restored in our lives today? Could there be something that is dominating us, rather than the power and the character of Christ? In Psalms 119, verse 133 we read, "direct my steps by your word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me." Psalms 19 and verse 13 says, "keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me." Romans chapter 6 and verse 14 - turn with me there - we're going to turn to Romans chapter 6 and verse 14. Again, it is continuing this theme of dominion - Romans chapter 6 and verse 14 - and the Bible says, "for sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under" - what? - "Under grace." Sin shall not have dominion over you. Notice, does God say 'someday when I come in the heavens and when I regain this earth, sin will not have dominion over you.' Does he put it in that future tense? No. Instead, Jesus is saying, 'I want you to experience victory in your life today. I don't want sin to have dominion over you any more.

I want you to experience the freedom of a life fully and completely surrendered to me. Turn with me in your Bibles to John chapter 16. Again, Jesus is speaking to his followers soon before his crucifixion. We are in John chapter 16 and we'll be considering verses 32 and 33. John chapter 16, considering verses 32 and 33.

Again, remember that Jesus is towards his closing hours. He is longing to give them a message that will sustain them - that will encourage them, especially as the closing scenes are upon them. In verse 32 we read, "indeed the hour is coming, yes, has now come, that you will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave me alone. And yet I am not alone, because The Father is with me." - Verse 33 - "these things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have" - what? - "Peace. In the world you will" - notice it does not say 'you might' or 'it could possibly happen' - "in the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer," - why? - "I have overcome the world.

" 'Yes, in the world you will have trials. Yes, there will be temptations, but do remember that my dominion is assured - that my kingdom is the one that will last forever. Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.' You know what amazes me about this passage? John 16 and verse 33, was it written - or was it spoken, I should say, prior to the crucifixion or following the crucifixion? Prior to the crucifixion. Here is Jesus Christ knowing that soon he will be in a garden pleading with God, 'if there's any other way, help me not to drink this cup.' Jesus knowing that soon the presence of The Father will be withdrawn, knowing that soon he will be beaten, he will be mocked, his disciples will abandon him - knowing that soon he will go through his darkest hour as there he hangs on a cross and he longs to hear the assurance from The Father. He longs to have his father say, 'this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased.

' And yet, the heavens are silent, and yet he goes into that grave wondering if he will come out again. But notice that Jesus can say, by faith, 'I have overcome the world.' Even though his darkest hour was before him, by faith Jesus could say, 'I have overcome the world.' You know, brothers and sisters, it is the same for us today. Sometimes, in theory, we say, 'well, that's wonderful. Sin can be overcome. It doesn't need to have dominion over me.

I can experience that freedom.' And we see it as theory, but when it becomes application we say it's impossible. 'I've been struggling with this sin for years. I've been dealing with this family problem for decades. It's nice Jesus can have victory, but how can it be experienced in my life?' And yet, by faith, even in his darkest hour, Jesus can say, 'I have overcome the world.' Not, 'I might'. Not, 'I'll try'.

'I have overcome the world.' And I believe it's the same in our lives today. When the devil, like that roaring lion, raises up his head, we can again say, 'sin shall not have dominion over me. Through the grace of Jesus Christ, I have overcome the world.' The story is told of a civilian that was looking on as napoleon was preparing his army for battle. The battle that they were about to face was one in which it seemed it would be impossible for them to win. You see, the other army was much stronger, their weapons far greater, the Numbers were against them.

And yet, as this civilian looked on, he saw a group of soldiers that were excited - that were singing - that were joking as they prepared for the war that would occur the next day. The civilian looked on in surprise and he said, 'this doesn't make sense. Don't you know that tomorrow you're going to war? Don't you know that the enemy is so much greater than you? How could you be happy when certain death faces you tomorrow?' And yet, the soldiers turned to him with a smile and they said, 'we are not afraid of death, for our commander has never lost a battle. It does not matter how great the other army is, it does not matter how powerful they may seem. We are not afraid of death.

Bring on any trial, any tribulation, because, you see, we serve a commander that has not lost a battle.' I believe today, by faith, we can claim the same, can we not? When those battles - when those trials - when sin seeks to have that dominion over us again today, we can say, by faith, 'no, satan. Because you see, I serve a God - I serve a commander who has not lost a battle.' God will - God can be victorious in us. By faith I have overcome the world. You see, we have become so desensitized to the devil's dominion, to the fall from perfection that is experienced in this earth. When adam first saw a leaf fall from the tree and die, what was his response? He was heartbroken - tears - he cried as we cry today when we lose a loved one.

And yet, today, when we see leaves fall from a tree, what do we say? Isn't autumn beautiful? The fall weather is gorgeous. We have become so desensitized to the effects of sin around us. Imagine on that day when the earth is fully restored. Imagine on that day when adam will see that newly created earth - when sin will be no more but the Lord will have complete dominion over his handiwork yet again. I want to read to you a beautiful, beautiful passage from adventist home.

This is found in pages 540 and , about what that reunion will be like when adam comes into this restored earth yet again. Picture this scene with me in your minds as I read. "After his expulsion from eden, adam's life on earth was filled with sorrow. Every dying leaf - every victim of sacrifice - every blight upon the fair face of nature - every stain upon man's purity were fresh reminders of his sin. Imagine, again, adam lived for hundreds of years following his sin and he had to watch as babies died, as the world decayed, as people accused him: 'why did you sin? Why did you eat that piece of fruit?' For hundreds of years he experienced this defeat in his life.

"Faithfully," - it says - "did he repent of his sin and trust in the merits of the promised Savior. And he died in the hope of resurrection. The Son of God redeemed man's failure and fall and now, through the work of atonement, adam is reinstated in his first dominion. Picture this with me now, transported with joy, he beholds the very trees that were once his delight. The very trees whose fruit he himself had gathered in the days of innocence and joy.

He sees the vines that his own hands have trained - the very flowers that he once loved to care for. His mind grasped the reality of the scene. He comprehends that this is indeed eden restored, more lovely now than when he was banished from it. The Savior leads him to the Tree of Life and he plucks the glorious fruit and he bids him to eat it. He looks about him and beholds the multitude of his family redeemed, standing in the paradise of God.

Then he casts his glittering crown at the feet of Jesus and, falling upon his breast, embraces the redeemer. He touches the golden harp and the vaults of heaven echo the triumphant song, 'worthy, worthy, worthy, is the lamb that was slain and that lives again.' The family of adam take up the strain and casting their crowns at the Savior's feet, they bow before him." Can you imagine that beautiful scene? Imagine what it will be like, by the grace of God, one day soon to look on as the first adam meets the second adam. The one who died so that eden could be restored, so that the domination would no longer be under the rule of satan but that Jesus could, once again, rule over this world in servant leadership. Imagine, again, the pride that adam must have had as he trained the vines, as he nurtured the fruit, as he viewed the beautiful flowers and now Jesus comes to him and he says, 'you know this Tree of Life, that you could no longer partake of, that I had to block you from lest you live eternally in your sin?' And Jesus takes a piece of fruit from that tree and he says, 'eat, adam, because you see, all things have become new.' I want to be there on that day, don't you? To see the beauty of that day - sin no longer having dominion but Jesus reigning in our lives. The story is told of a missionary.

He was raised in a very affluent family, a family that was loving, that was nurturing - a family that always desired his good - that was affirming. But you see, this man had a burden - a burden for a group of unreached people. And he went before his father and he told him of his burden. You see, this group of people knew nothing of God. And he longed to go and tell them the story of redemption.

As he goes before his father and he pleads, The Father, at first, is hesitant to give him permission because, you see, these people were quite a ways away. The Son would likely have to endure great tribulations and trials and death. Could he let his son go? And yet, finally, The Father gives his blessing and The Son begins his journey. The story is told that when this son arrived, you may have expected he would receive a hero's welcome. And, at first, there was some greeting, but it was not long before political riots began to occur.

It was not long before this missionary had to flee for his life. There he was, now a refugee in a foreign country, but still longing to return to this unreached group of people. They were the burden of his heart. Once the uprising calmed down, he soon was able to return. The focus of his life - all of his energy - was devoted in 'how can I help these people? How can I show them who God truly is? How can I nurture them? How can I help them when they're sick? How can I encourage them when they're depressed?' As you could imagine, all of this caretaking could quickly become draining.

So this missionary made it a point to go off into nature every day. And as he was there in nature, he would read the letters that he had received from home - the letters that said, 'son, I'm proud of you.' 'Son, you're doing a good job.' 'Son, I care about you. I'm with you.' And he would read these letters over and over and over again until, quite literally, they were memorized. The letters from home that he treasured with all his heart. But it wasn't long before, yet again, there was a political uprising.

This missionary could have fled. He could have gone home, but this time he chose not to flee. This time he said, 'I will remain even at the cost of death.' Soon he was indeed captured. Soon he was indeed brought to trial. But before the verdict was read, it was clear.

He knew he would be sentenced to death. Imagine this missionary, as he is being led to his death, how he longed to receive yet another letter from home. How he longed to, yet again, read those words, 'son, I care about you.' 'Son, I'm proud of you.' 'Son, you're doing a good work.' He longed to hear those words again, but you see, heaven was silent as Jesus hung upon that cross. No words from heaven, no letters of affirmation - heaven was silent as Jesus hung upon that cross. You see, Jesus did not have to come.

Jesus could have said, 'it was your choice, your fault. Now you reap the consequences of your own decisions.' But, rather, Jesus looked at this group of people and, even though he was still in perfection, even though he's in his father's presence, he says, 'my heart is not satisfied as long as my people are suffering.' And Jesus went as that missionary, willing to give all so that we can experience the freedom of a life lived in Jesus Christ. I look forward to that day when Jesus will come and when Jesus will truly make all things new - when we will see that dominion is fully restored and that this earth will become the dwelling place of God. Do you look forward to that day? Amen. What a sacrifice Jesus gave.

May we be willing to sacrifice and to love others as he continues to love us. Today we again have a free offer that I would encourage you to read - to take advantage of. It's by Pastor Doug Batchelor and the question is, who do you think you are? What is your purpose in life? This is free offer #603. I would encourage you to call and you can call 866-study-more - 866-study-more - so we encourage you to take advantage of this offer and then also go to - there are many other great free resources and Bible studies that we would encourage you to check out - This week may God bless us as we continue to grow in grace and in knowledge of him.

Have you ever heard the expression before, 'they eat like a bird' talking about somebody who has a minuscule appetite? Well you might want to think twice next time you use that expression. For example, take the hummingbird: in order for it to maintain its incredible metabolism, it has to eat about -percent of its body weight every day. To put that in perspective, if a hundred-pound woman was to eat like a hummingbird, she would have to eat 50 pounds of sugar a day just to maintain her body weight. Imagine that. Maybe you don't want to imagine that, but perhaps you'll want to consider this another way: the hummingbird typically consumes between four to seven calories a day, on the other hand, a human: about 3,500 calories a day.

But if you were to eat like a bird - a hummingbird - you'd have to eat over ,000 calories a day. That's like a man - 170 pounds that would be eating 3,000 oreo cookies. Under normal conditions, a hummingbird needs to eat every five or ten minutes, but there's actually one time during the year the hummingbird will eat its entire body weight every day. You see, once a year they make this migration 500 miles across the gulf of Mexico from Texas to the yucatan peninsula. In order to do that, the hummingbird feasts on nectar and gorges themselves on this nectar for about a week, doubling their body weight.

That's the only way they can store enough calories to help them with their 70-wing beats per second or roughly 4 million wing beats on that journey. You know, in the same way, friends, as we near the end of time, we need to be feasting and gorging ourselves on the nectar of God's Word. We've got to be able to have that strength to get us through the times of trouble that are ahead. So when it comes to the Bible and your personal devotions, if you're going to eat like a bird, eat like a hummingbird. Amazing Facts, through your faithful support, has had a major impact on some of the largest non-Christian locations in the world.

Afcoe global opened up center of evangelism schools in india, the ukraine, the united kingdom, and even in the Philippines. It's people on the ground, in the church, on the door, in the home, doing Bible studies, witnessing to people, winning them to Jesus, leading them to baptism - in england, in india, in africa - or anywhere around the world - but you're seeing change, on a personal level, take place. You know, every week we hear the most incredible stories from all over the globe, of lives that are being changed and hearts that are being transformed by the power of the word. And none of it could happen without the blessing of God and our partnership - your teamwork with this ministry. God bless you.

Did you know that Noah was present at the birth of Abraham? Okay, maybe he wasn't in the room, but he was alive and probably telling stories about his floating zoo. From the creation of the world to the last-day events of Revelation, '' is a free resource where you can explore major Bible events and characters. Enhance your knowledge of the Bible and draw closer to God's word. Go deeper. Visit the amazing Bible time line at ''. For life-changing Christian resources visit

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