Jesus Desired Their Good

Jesus Desired Their Good

Scripture: Matthew 23:37, Philippians 2:3-5, James 2:14-17
Date: 08/13/2016  Lesson: 7
"Jesus loved people more than anything else, and a church that is truly His will do the same."

Desire of Ages Deluxe Paperback by Ellen White

Desire of Ages Deluxe Paperback by Ellen White
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Welcome to Sabbath School Study Hour. We're so glad that you are tuning in. We have a special program for you today. We have beautiful songs and Pastor Doug is going to be presenting our lesson this morning. Let's start with #294 - if you have a hymnal at home, pull it out and join with us.

We're going to do all three stanzas - #294. (Lively piano music) would you be free from the burden of sin? There's pow'r in the blood, pow'r in the blood; would you o'er evil a victory win? There's wonderful pow'r in the blood. There is pow'r, pow'r, wonder-working pow'r in the blood of the lamb; there is pow'r, pow'r, wonder-working pow'r in the precious blood of the lamb. Would you be free from your passion and pride? There's pow'r in the blood, pow'r in the blood; come for a cleansing to calvary's tide? There's wonderful pow'r in the blood. There is pow'r, pow'r, wonder-working pow'r in the blood of the lamb; there is pow'r, pow'r, wonder-working pow'r in the precious blood of the lamb.

Would you do service for Jesus your king? There's pow'r in the blood, pow'r in the blood; would you live daily his praises to sing? There's wonderful pow'r in the blood. There is pow'r, pow'r, wonder-working pow'r in the blood of the lamb; there is pow'r, pow'r, wonder-working pow'r in the precious blood of the lamb. Aren't you thankful for the power in the blood of the lamb? If it wasn't for that, I don't think I would be here. I know I wouldn't be here. And I'm sure many of you here wouldn't be either.

Our next song is #292 - beautiful song - Jesus, I come - we're going to sing the first, second, and fourth stanzas - #292. Out of my bondage, sorrow and night, Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come; into thy freedom, gladness and light, Jesus, I come to thee; out of my sickness into thy health, out of my want and into thy wealth, out of my sin and into thyself, Jesus, I come to thee. Out of my shameful failure and loss, Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come; into the glorious gain of thy cross, Jesus, I come to thee; out of earth's sorrows into thy balm, out of life's storms and into thy calm, out of distress to jubilant psalm, Jesus, I come to thee. Out of the fear and dread of the tomb, Jesus, I come, Jesus, I come; into thy joy and light of thy home, Jesus, I come to thee; out of the depths of ruin untold, into the peace of thy sheltering fold, ever thy glorious face to behold, Jesus, I come to thee. Join with me in prayer, please.

Father in Heaven, Jesus, we come to you today out of our sickness, out of our ruin, out of our despair, and we ask you to take us as we are and change us and create in us something that we cannot do of ourselves. It is only through you that we can be ready for when you come. So many times we think that we have to be better before we come to you, but the beautiful thing is that you accept us just the way we are and then you transform us to be like you. Father that is our prayer today. I pray you'll be with us as we open up Your Word and we study together.

Be with our extended family around the world and those that are here with us. And we thank you so much for Pastor Doug and his ministry and I pray that you'll give him the words as he brings us our lesson study. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study will be brought to us by our senior pastor here at the Granite Bay seventh-day adventist church, Pastor Doug Batchelor. Thank you - debbie, our musicians - singers.

Morning everybody. Morning. I want to welcome you here to Granite Bay and I also want to welcome our friends who are watching. We have folks who are watching via satellite and internet from all over the world. How do I say this? I got a beard.

That's one way to say it. I noticed. That's because we're - I'm going on a men's retreat camp out this - about thirty percent of the men at Granite Bay are camping out this weekend there up in the sierras about two and a half hours from here and someone needed to mind the fort so we've got some of the faithful are enduring and then others are going to be driving up after the service and joining them, and so I'm looking out and seeing a lot of ladies in the - probably the same number of ladies that we always have, it just seems like more because so many of our men are up at the campout right now. Looking forward to getting into our study today. I want to just remind you that we have a free offer.

The offer is called a love that transforms. We'll send this to you for free and it's offer #710 when you call the number 866-788-3966 - that's 866-study-more - -study-more - we'll send it to you free. A lot of our lesson today is talking about the theme of love and we'd be happy for you to have this. Look at it and then share with a friend. Today we're on lesson #7 talking about the role of the church in the community and the lesson today is Jesus desired their good.

A lot of good elements in our study today. We have a memory verse and the memory verse comes to us from Matthew 23:37 - I believe it's quoted here from what we call the authorized version - king James version - and if you want to say that with me, that'd be great - Matthew 23:37 - are you ready? O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!" You could hear Jesus' heart is breaking, he has tears in his voice, he's pleading for his people. Judgment was coming, but it's not what he wanted. the Lord is not willing that any should perish but he wants all to be saved. You know, there's some who believe in a sort of a predestination view of salvation - that God has arbitrarily pre-chosen who's going to be saved, but the Bible says that he doesn't want any to be lost - 'God, who would have all men to be saved.

' Isn't that what it teaches? And 'whoever will' let him come. And so this lesson talks about that God's desire is not to destroy. Judgment comes because people have persisted in rejecting mercy. the Lord goes the second mile time and time again in the Bible to save as many as he possibly can. Now this was not always understood by his church in the old and the new testament.

And we're going to talk about some examples of that. To begin with, we're going to go to the book of Jonah and, if you look in Jonah chapter 3, I think we're going to start with verse , we're going to read this story. Now we're not going to talk about the part of Jonah so much where he's in the fish. We're talking about post-fish: and after Jonah came out of the fish and God's Word said, once again, 'go and preach to the ninevites' - remember, he didn't want to do that. He thought if God was going to judge them, good riddance - they were the enemy of God's people.

And you go to verse - oh, I tell you what, let's start with verse 3, "so Jonah arose, and went to nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days' journey." Now some versions will say 'a three days' journey in extent' - there's a mystery here about what exactly that meant. We're not sure if it just basically said 'three days' journey'. You'll notice if it says 'in extent' it's in italics in your Bible. We don't know if that meant that Jonah went three days' journey to nineveh from where the fish burped him out.

If he did that, he would have had to ride full speed like a pony express rider to get there, but after going through the fish, he may have done that. To say it's an exceeding great city of three days' journey - that could mean the circumference of the city and that would be including its suburbs. That would be a very big city. So we're not sure. And it says, "and Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey.

" Now, before I go any further, don't forget a very important statement of Jesus: Jesus said, 'it's an evil and an adulterous generation that seeks after a sign and no sign will be given but' - what was the one exception Jesus made when people asked for a sign? 'No sign'll be given but the sign of Jonah.' And, he says, 'for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so The Son of man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.' That's what he says in Matthew 12. In Luke, Jesus says, 'for as Jonah was a sign to the ninevites, so The Son of man will be to this generation.' Now there's many ways Jonah's a sign. Jesus slept in a storm; Jonah slept in a storm. They woke up Jesus and said, 'master, we're perishing!' They woke up Jonah and said, 'carest not that we're perishing? Call upon your God.' It goes on to say that Jonah went three and a half days and then he preached in nineveh, yet - matter of fact, I'm getting ahead of myself. Look at verse 4, "and Jonah began to enter into the city a day's journey," - that means one day - "and he cried, and said, 'yet forty days, and nineveh shall be overthrown.

'" So Jesus - how long was Jesus' ministry? Three and a half days or three and a half years. And then Jesus said, 'this generation would not pass away till all these things be fulfilled.' - Speaking of not one stone being left on another in Jerusalem? So Jonah preached three and a half days that in forty days nineveh would be destroyed, but they repented. Jesus said 'the ninevites would rise up in judgment against the people in Jerusalem because they repented at the preaching of Jonah. And he said, 'a greater than Jonah is here' - you get it? Three and a half years Jesus ministered. Forty years later the city was destroyed.

Three and a half days Jonah began to preach - forty days later God had mercy. And so that's, I think, one of the most striking signs there. But let's read on. And so, the people of nineveh, did they listen? They believed God. They proclaimed him - and Jonah was probably very earnest in his preaching.

He wasn't afraid of very much after going through his experience. And he was very convincing. "So the people of nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, they put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the King of nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes." - the King - "and he caused it to be proclaimed and published through nineveh by the decree of the King and his nobles, saying, let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea," - I don't know how the beasts were going to cry mightily to God - "yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn" - they're trusting in God's mercy - "who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?" That word 'perish' again - God so loved the world - that's why Jesus came.

"And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them;" - here you have the greatest revival in the Bible. The amazing thing is the best evangelist in the Bible that brought revival to a whole city, was not even thoroughly converted himself. So is it the evangelist that makes the revival, or is it the power of God? It was the power of the word. He turned. But look at verse 4, chapter 1 - or chapter 4, verse 1, "but it displeased Jonah exceedingly,' what is he displeased about? 'What's going to happen to my reputation? I said forty days and they'd all be burned up or destroyed somehow and what's with this Lord? Now you're going to make me look bad.

' - It's not - who's Jonah caring about? All the people who are surviving and going to have life now? Or is he caring about him? And he's worried, maybe they're going to attack Israel later. They're our enemies. We wanted vengeance.' Who knows what he's thinking, but he's not thinking about the souls. And so he's mad. He says, 'oh Lord, isn't this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore, I fled, this is why I ran and went to tarshish: for I know you're a gracious and a merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in loving kindness - one who relents from doing harm.

' 'Here I was going to preach to all these people and you'd forgive them anyway. And here I risk my life for nothing.' 'Now therefore, o Lord, please take my life from me; for it's better for me to die.' He wants to die. He's figuring someone's supposed to die after forty days. And the Lord said, 'is it right for you to be angry?' Boy, talk about a tantrum. And Jonah's only problem is that God didn't burn up the whole city.

You think he would be praising the Lord for this successful revival. He said, 'it isn't right for you to be angry.' "So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become" - he thought, 'maybe if I get lucky, God'll still burn them up.' - 'And the Lord prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might have shade over his head, to deliver him from the misery' - it was a hot sun beating down on him. Jonah was very grateful for the plant, but as morning dawned the next day, God prepared a worm and so it damaged - the worm ate away - you know, it's a gourd, it says in one place, and you know, a gourd is on a long old vine and you just - all you have to do is nibble away at the vine and the whole plant dies almost instantly - big leaves - and he was upset because the worm ate the gourd and it died. He said, "it is better for me to die than to live." Now he's mourning that the ninevites didn't die and the gourd did die. "Then God said to Jonah, 'is it right for you to be angry about the plant?' And he said, 'it is right for me to be angry, even to death!'" - What a miserable life he's got - "but the Lord said, 'you have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grown, which came up in a night and perished in a night.

And should I not pity nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left - and much livestock?'" Now just a little footnote: many of the commentators believe that statement 'cannot discern between the right hand and the left' - that is often referring to children. When they talk about children they would often say - in some of the ancient writings - 'and there are many that can't tell from the right hand to the left' - and they were talking about how many children. So it's saying there was 120,000 children and animals. He said, 'if you don't care about the people who have reached the age of accountability, these little children that don't even know the right from the left - don't you have mercy on them?' And so it is a much greater city than 120,000. That's just the young children who don't know between the right and the left.

And he says, 'if you don't care about them, what about the animals?' And that's the book of Jonah - just stops right there, abruptly with a lesson. Here you've got a reluctant prophet - didn't seem to care. And, you know, before I race on to the next section in this Sabbath school lesson, let me just give you some thoughts on the book of Jonah. The book of Jonah not only tells us about Jonah, who slept in a storm and they woke him up and they were saved by offering Jonah. It's like Jesus, who slept in a storm and they woke him up and they were saved.

And then, again, he preaches three and a half days and forty days and Jesus - three and a half years and then forty years. Jonah represents the Jewish nation who did not care to preach the Gospel to the gentiles. And - how the Jewish nation - even though it looked like they were destroyed, they miraculously rose and, of course, Jonah being three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish is a type of the sufferings of Jesus who, from Thursday when he was betrayed - Thursday night, Friday night, Saturday night - was burying the sins of the world - rose Sunday morning - three days and three nights. It's not just the time in the tomb it's talking about there. And so, it's also amazing that everything in the book of Jonah listens to God - think about it now - you've got a fish - God prepares a fish; the fish listens to God.

The fish swallows Jonah when he's supposed to; burps him up when he's supposed to - takes him where he's supposed to - puts him right on dry land. The storm listens to God. The sailors listen to God. The captain listens to God. The ninevites listen to God.

the King listens to God. The animals listen to God. The worm listens to God. The plant listens to God. Everything obeys God in the book of Jonah but Jonah.

Isn't that right? Jonah's sort of a symbol for the Jewish nation that was not doing the will of God. Jonah was the one, in the whole story, that was a prophet of God - like the nation - they had the Word of God to go to the nations. And so - and the jews often referred to the gentiles and lost as animals and they - and so God was trying to tell a message - 'I care about them too. I want them to be saved.' And that's what our lesson is all about is God desires the good - not just of jews, but of gentiles as well. Amen? Alright, so that's Jonah.

You can read - Ezekiel the prophet seemed to understand this principle. Someone's going to read for me in just a moment, acts 3:19. And I think you've got that there. I'm going to read Ezekiel 33:11, "say to them: 'as I live,' says the Lord God, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways! For why will you die, o house of Israel?'" the Lord is pleading - he doesn't want us to die, he wants us to live.

That's why God so loved the world he sent his son. Please read for us acts - I think it's 3:19. "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord." And some of you - thank you - will have some versions that actually say, 'turn, therefore, that you might be converted and your sins' - so God wants us to turn. He wants us to repent and repent is a u-turn on the road of life. Alright, the next section we're looking at is the - what they call the any way principle and Jesus - let's - several verses or examples here we're going to look at.

If you go to Matthew 8, verse 1, "when he had come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him." - This is one of the first miracles of healing that Jesus performed, if not the first - "a great multitude followed him and behold, a leper came and worshiped him, saying, 'Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.'" - Now, before I go on any farther, this man was supposed to walk around and he's supposed to veil his face so that someone wouldn't be contaminated. When you had leprosy, if there were other people around, you were supposed to declare 'unclean! Unclean!' - Wouldn't that be terrible if you were sick? Can you imagine if they had a law like that? If a person had some - you've got the flu or if you're hiv positive and you have to walk around and say, 'unclean!' That wouldn't go very well, would it? And this man had to announce his disease for everybody and - Jesus finished teaching and this leper realizes this is my only hope and he comes to Jesus - he's got great faith - and he falls down before him and he said, 'Lord, if you are willing - if you want to - you can make me clean.' He believed it. Now Jesus could have run from him, but Jesus, instead, he reaches out to him - he takes a risk - and he touches him and he says, 'I am willing. Be cleansed.' Couldn't Jesus have cleansed him without touching him? Yes. Yeah.

Why did he go to the trouble of touching him? Any of you ever sung that song - I think the gaithers wrote it - he touched me? Yeah, so Jesus touched this man and he said, 'I am willing. Be cleansed.' Now, you know what Jesus said to that man - when God says, 'be' why is there power in that two-letter word? How did the world come into existence? Let there be light - let there be the animals, the land, the air - everything. God spoke and the Word of God has creative power. Jesus said, 'be' clean. Now, what he said to the leper - what is leprosy a symbol of? Sin.

So if the Lord says, 'be clean' is that just talking about leprosy or can he pronounce us clean? He touched that man - he exposed himself to the risk of leprosy that he might know he cared and he touched him - didn't have to touch him. Did Jesus come into our world and risk contamination to cleanse us from sin? So there's something in that story - and he was cleansed. And then Jesus says, 'now, go show yourself - don't say anything to anyone.' Of course, how could he keep that? "Show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded as a testimony to them." - Meaning the unclean. You know, he took a risk - millions upon millions of human souls - I'm reading a quote from the book Desire of Ages - this is page 640 - "millions upon millions of human souls are ready to perish, bound in chains of ignorance and sin, who never so much as heard of Christ's love for them. Were our condition and theirs to be reversed, what would we desire them to do for us? All this, so far as lies in our power, we are under the most solemn obligation to do for them.

Christ's rule of life, by which every one of us must stand or fall in the judgment, is whatsoever you would that men should do to you, do even so to them." That's a high standard - the golden rule: whatever you would have others do for you, do also for them. Matthew chapter 5:43, "you have heard that it was said, 'you shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you,'" - you ever tried that? That's hard - "do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust." - You know, into everybody's life, every now and then, you'll meet some ornery individual that will maybe take advantage of you or do something very unkind or cruel or betray you in some way and you become angry and, you know, the only way to cope with that is to say, 'Jesus loves that person as much as he loves me. Even though what they did may be dastardly, Jesus loves them as much as he loves me. Jesus wants their salvation as much as he wants mine, I need to pray for them.' And, you know, you may not feel like it, but you'll find when you pray for those who have wronged you, your attitude about them starts to change because, after all, when sinners act sinful, they're doing exactly what is expected. When lost people act mean and cruel, that's what you'd expect.

That's why they need Jesus, right? Love your enemies. He sends the rain on the evil and the good - "for if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?" - He said, you're, as a Christian, called to do much more than just love your friends, everyone does that - "and if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors" - meaning the publicans - "do so? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect." Loving the lost - taking a risk and showing kindness to those that may not be able to pay you back. I had an interesting experience last night. We were finalizing preparation for the Sabbath and Karen was going to drop off - baby - that she later picked up again. And she called - and nathan picked up the phone and she said, 'up here on madison avenue there is a man who has a cart that he's pulling and it looks like the wheel fell off and he's struggling, right on the edge of this busy street, to try to get his wheel back on.

Maybe you and dad could help.' And so nathan told me and I said, 'well, let's throw the tools in the car. And, you know, for a fleeting moment I thought, 'well, it's just before Sabbath.' But then I thought, 'this guy, he's got an ox in the ditch.' What would Jesus do? And so, you know, I knew right away that the Lord would want us to care, so we threw our - I had a little tool box I threw in nathan's car and we went up and there was no place to pull over. We saw the man there. He had - you know those little buggies that they pull behind bicycles and they put a kid in it? Well, he had one of those and they've just got - they've got wheels with plastic axles and he had the thing just loaded down with, you know, groceries and milk and a lot of his gear and we could see that it was really all of his earthly possessions. So we had to pass and park up on the street.

Nathan ran up and said, 'do you need help?' And he said, 'da.' And so nathan ran back and got me. I said, 'let's pull around. I'll jump out with the tool box' - there's nowhere to stop - nowhere to pull over. He's right on the sidewalk and cars are racing by - so he put his emergency blinkers on, I jumped out, I grabbed my toolbox. I stopped - nathan went to park and then came and helped.

And his overloading this little cart probably made to hold, you know, a 15-pound kid and he had like 90 pounds of gear in it and the plastic had finally broken in the axle. And he had masking tape - I'm not exaggerating - poor man, he had all his life's possessions on this bike and in this cart and he had some masking tape and he's trying to masking tape this wheel together so it's going to hold 90 pounds of gear. And so we looked at if for awhile and then I saw he had some wire there and so I held up the wire and he said, 'da! Da!' I said, 'you're russian.' 'Da!' He said, 'you speak russian?' Yah panimio nimnoshka ruski? - And so he's an old russian man and so we began to wrap his wheel up. I didn't know what else to do. I didn't have a spare bicycle.

We began to wrap his wheel up with bailing wire - weaving the wire in and out of the good part of the axle with the bad part of the spokes and kind of recreating a new spoke with baling wire and twisting it. And then I did something that I learned from dave, who's sitting here. Remember, your inner tube trick you taught me? He had a spare inner tube in his stuff - I remember once, dave boatwright showed me, you can do anything with inner tube - you just cut up little strips of inner tube, wrap it - you can patch pipes - his car was held together with inner tubes. (Laughter) I remember going around a turn in the car with dave and cindy and cindy would be screaming and saying, 'slow down, dave, there's just the inner tubes holding our front tire on. (Laughter) they're not denying it.

They know it's true. And so I took some inner tube and I cut it up in little slivers and I said, 'wait, look at this.' And so nathan held the tire and I began to wrap over the wire with the inner tube and we tucked it in and put it together and he pushed it up and down the road and the wheel kind of went like that going down the road, but it was holding the cart together and, you know, now it's - the sun is down and he begins to pile everything back in and he's saying 'thank you' 'spasibo' and I thought, you know, maybe we could give him a little money because he needs another cart or something and so we tried to tell him, 'here, let me give you a little something.' He didn't understand - I said, 'ruples' - he turned around and so we gave him a little money and his eyes began to moisten and he said, 'camellia - camellia - pastor' - because, you know, for 20 years I pastored on camellia avenue. He said, 'adventista' - he knew who we were. He had come to central church. Isn't that right, nathan? And so he said, 'pray for me.

' And so we drove away, you know, we just felt really blessed to be able to help the guy. I mean, I had a fleeting thought of maybe we'll bring him home and help him, but I'm leaving - I didn't feel quite right bringing a man into the house and I'm leaving, but God gives us opportunities to help people. And, you know, the Sabbath had begun. This guy, you know, all his earthly possessions were strewn on the sidewalk because his axle came off. That's kind of like the ox in the ditch.

So you say, 'what would Jesus do?' What would Jesus do in those situations? Now someone's going to read for me, in a moment, Luke 6:35 - okay, you'll have that? I'm going to read Luke 6:27 - just before that - "but I say to you who hear: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you." This is the same thing that Jesus said. Now, what I especially want you to notice is this next verse. Go ahead and read for us Luke 35 and 36 - Luke 6:35 and 36. "But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the most high. For he is kind to the unthankful and evil.

Therefore be merciful, just as your father also is merciful." Now did you notice when we read that verse in Matthew he says, 'therefore be perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect.' Now how many of you kind of cringed when you read that verse? Be perfect - everyone here qualify? But when he says it in Luke he says 'be ye therefore merciful'. So the perfection God is talking about - right when Jesus says 'be perfect' he's talking about loving your enemy. the Lord wants us to have perfect love - to do unto others as we would have them do unto us. In keeping with this - that means forgiving. If you look, for instance, in Luke 23, verse 34, Jesus said, "'father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.

' And they divided his garments and cast lots" - for his clothing. Even those who were destroying him, he said 'forgive them'. Now, can church members sometimes make mistakes? Does God show mercy? You wonder what would have happened if Judas had come to Jesus and said, 'Lord, forgive me.' Instead, he threw the money in the temple and went out and hung himself. All of the disciples forsook Jesus that night when he was betrayed, but Peter went the second mile. They not only left, he kind of left Jesus twice.

He left and he came back again, and then he denied knowing him and left. And he didn't just deny knowing him, he denied knowing him three times and then the third time he punctuated it with swearing and cursing that he did not know Jesus. Right then Jesus turned and looked at him after the rooster crowed. We believe the second time the rooster crowed, he had finished denying him three times. So you would think the Lord would say, 'good riddance.

I'm going to deny you too' - because there is a verse that says 'those who deny me I will deny.' But did Jesus show mercy even after that? Yes. You notice when Peter went out when he realized what he had done - he saw the soldiers beating Jesus - he remembered what Jesus had told him that night and Peter had - Peter had boasted and bragged and said, 'though all men forsake thee, I will not forsake thee.' And Jesus said, 'oh yeah, Peter, this - tonight you're going to do the best at denying me - three times.' And he remembered that and he went out and he wept bitterly. So at the resurrection when the angels tell the women - notice what they say - Mark 16, verse 7 - the angel said, "but go, tell his disciples - and Peter" - now why did they include Peter? He may have - for one thing, he was kind of an outcast. He may not have been with the disciples because he didn't feel worthy so they had to hunt down Peter and tell him. the Lord saw Peter praying and his repentance for denying the Lord - and God wants to save.

Peter, of course, became one of the great apostles. And then you look - now, Jesus wasn't quite done just by saying, 'I'm going to tell you the good news of the resurrection.' Peter was one of the first to the tomb - of the men - I think John outran him but Peter went in first. And it says here - John 21:15 - now one of the last times Jesus appears to them up at Galilee, they're fishing and when they'd eaten breakfast he goes for a little walk with Peter and John. He says to Simon - "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?" - Gesturing to the other apostles because Peter said, 'though all these forsake you, I will not forsake you.' So in the presence of the other apostles Jesus said, 'do you love me more than these?' You know, when you publicly sin, you might have to publicly repent - something to think about. "He said to him, 'yes, Lord; you know that I love you.

" - He didn't say, 'more than these'. 'You know I love you.' "He said to him, 'feed my lambs.' He said to him again a second time, 'Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?' He said to him, 'yes, Lord; you know that I love you.' He said, 'tend my sheep.'" - First he says 'feed my lambs' then he says 'tend my sheep' - "he said to him the third time," - they may have spoken a little about other things, but he blurts out again a third time, "'Simon, son of Jonah, do you love me?' Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, 'do you love me?' And he said to him, 'Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.' Jesus said to him, 'feed my sheep.'" - So he says, 'feed my lambs, tend my sheep, feed my sheep.' One is to shepherd the flock and the young - the young meaning not only children but baby Christians. So Jesus is wanting to affirm that love for him. Now love never fails is our next section and if you look in Luke :28 there's that great command: "'you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,' and 'your neighbor as yourself.'" Now how does Jesus illustrate this parable? This - he uses the parable of the good samaritan. You remember the lawyer - he says, 'what must I do?' And he says, 'what does the law say?' And he says, 'well, you should love the Lord.

' And Jesus said, 'you have answered right'. Another place he says, 'you're not far from the Kingdom.' 'Love your neighbor as yourself - love the Lord with all of your heart. And then he uses the parable that we've talked about before of the good samaritan. John - in 1 John 4:7-9, "beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God;" - you know there's a song - I don't know that I've heard this song much in the adventist church, but when I used to - I was a baby Christian going to some pentecostal evangelical churches, they used to sing that song, 'love, let us love one another, for love is of God and everyone that loveth is born' - I won't sing it for you. Anyone else heard that? Oh yeah, several of you have heard that.

So there's a whole song about this verse. "He who does not love does not know God, for God is love." - You may go to church. You may be very religious. You may know a lot of doctrine, but if you don't love, you don't really know God. The greatest litmus test of conversion is agape love - "in this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent his only begotten son into the world, that we might live through him.

" It's through our love for Christ that we demonstrate what it means to be a Christian. And then, of course, you've got Corinthians 13 - that great verse in - read verses 1 through - you could read the whole chapter - "though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, if I don't have love I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal." The next chapter he talks about tongues because the Corinthians were all arguing about tongues and Paul said, 'it's no good if you speak in many languages if you don't love. Even if I spoke in the tongue of angels and I don't love, it's nothing. All I am is a sounding brass or a clanging symbol. And though I have a gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge," - did Paul understand all mysteries and have all knowledge? No, he's saying, 'even if' - that's what 'though' means - and I don't have love, I'm nothing - "and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned," - is it clear that he's saying 'even if'? He didn't give his body to be burned, he was beheaded -"it profits me nothing." And so then he goes on and he talks about the beautiful attributes of love - what Christian love is all about - putting others first. Now, it is possible to be religious and not have love. In fact, in the last days, the people who will persecute genuine Christians - are they religious? Yes. They just don't have love. Daniel 7:25 - and someone's going to read for me in just a moment, John 16:2 - you'll have that? Daniel 7:25, "he shall speak pompous words against the most high, shall persecute the saints of the most high, and shall intend to change times and laws.

Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time." This beast power is going to be a very religious power. It's going to be a blaspheming power, but they're not going to have love. Go ahead, read that next verse for us. "They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service." And that's John 16:2. You wonder: 'he who kills you will think he offers God service.

' Were there some of the scribes and pharisees that sincerely believed that Jesus was a deceiver? Yes. So yeah, exactly - Paul was one of them - and there may have been others. Nicodemus wasn't sure at first. Gamaliel - it seems like the jury was out. He said, 'be careful what you do to these men, you might be fighting against God.

' Joseph of arimathea, he waited until the last minute to come out of the closet and - so they were struggling and they - some were sincere and they were wrong. And so, the real test is 'do you have love?' Will there be people in heaven who went to church on the wrong day? Yes. Will there be people in heaven that smoked tobacco? Yes. You weren't as hearty as that - sure there will. I think I've told you, the guy, John newton, who wrote amazing grace, he smoked until the day he died.

Of course, they recommended it for lung ailments back then. They didn't know. Will there be people in heaven who drank alcohol? Yes. Martin luther drank beer his whole life. Water was bad, I guess, and so he figured that was safer.

I expect to see him in the Kingdom. You see where I'm going with this? Will there be people in heaven who had multiple wives at the same time? Yes. David, Solomon sounds like he repented. Will there be anybody in heaven that doesn't love? No. No.

So of all the things you need to get right - and I believe in all the doctrines and I've got, you know, if I start drinking, smoking, and taking extra wives, I'm not going to make it - and I'll tell you right now - so we're not saying those things are okay, we're saying that of all the qualities, love is the supreme thing - and this is what Paul was saying there. Alright - and, by the way, that last verse was John 16:2, they will put you out of the synagogues; they'll think they're serving God and they'll kill you.' That started way back in the time of the apostles and it's going to be emphasized in the last days again. The second touch - Mark 8:18 - we looked at the first touch when Jesus touched the leper, let's look at the second touch - and this is based on - you go to - well, let me - yeah, let me start out by reading Mark 8:22 - this is the miracle we're considering. 'He came to bethsaida, and right after that a blind man was brought to him and he begged him to touch him. So he took the blind man by the hand and he led him out of town' - he's doing this miracle, he takes him out of town - 'and when he had spit on his eyes and put his hands on him, he asked him if he saw anything.

' Now there again you've got the reverse happening. What normally makes a person unclean? Wouldn't you think that if someone spit on you it would be unclean? But if the creator spits on you, that's a good thing. Jesus just exuded life. Instead of making him unclean, it made him clean. Now, yeah, let's not try this - after the service - on our neighbors.

This was Jesus. So he took the blind man by the hand, led him out, he spit on his eyes and said, 'do you see anything?' He looked up and he said, 'I see men like trees, walking.' He heard these men walking around in and out of the town, but they were all foggy - men like trees - is what he was saying. It's all blurry, you know? "Then he put his hands on his eyes again" - this is the second touch - "and made him look up and he was restored and saw everyone clearly. Then he sent him away to his house, saying, 'neither go into the town, nor tell anyone...'" He knew this miracle - this man had gone from perfectly blind to perfect sight. Why did Jesus heal him in degrees? Couldn't Jesus - did Jesus say, 'oh, I must have done it wrong the first try.

I better try again?'? Or was it deliberate? Why do you think he did that? Well, for one thing, notice just before this miracle takes place - look in Mark 8:18 - see, the miracle is Mark 8:22 - Mark 8:18 he says, "having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear?" So healing this man's sight right after Jesus says that there are some who have eyes - they don't see, does our spiritual vision sometimes come back in degrees? People like Paul did not - Paul - not everyone has a dramatic experience like him on the road to damascus, where suddenly he's got perfect sight - at least when the scales fell from his eyes. Sometimes the Lord heals in degrees. Sometimes our understanding comes - our visual sight comes in stages. And the Lord sometimes heals in stages. When you pray for someone's healing, he may not do it all in one day; he might do it with a process.

And so this man was healed with a process. Don't lose patience with people if their spiritual sight is fuzzy and they see men as trees walking, in the beginning. Alright, last section - it's the other-centered church - alright, someone's going to look up for me 1 Thessalonians 4:9 and I'm going to read Philippians 2:3, "let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself." So how do you put that into practice if we're always clamoring for the first place in line at a potluck? Now everyone's going to feel guilty and no one's going to want to get in line at all. I know last week I was at two dinners. We had the church potluck and I was the last in line - I'm not bragging, it just worked out that way because, you know, pastors shaking hands.

And sometimes there's not as much luck left in the pot at the end of the potluck. And then we had a youth program that night and I told everyone - I said, 'look, I was last today.' I said, 'I'm first tonight.' And so I - I was teasing - then I went to the front of the line. But in the Christian religion, it's really thinking about the other person, whether it's in your family and bearing each other's burdens, whether it's the responsibilities in a church family, or there's a member that maybe needs to move and you've got some personal items around your house and you say, 'I've got my honey-do list here at my house, but I've got a brother or sister that needs helping moving' and saying, 'you know, God'll pay me back. God'll compensate somehow.' I - you know, I don't know how it works but I've seen it - maybe you've seen it too - that whenever I have a struggle and say, 'Lord, I know that the right Christ-centered thing to do would be this, but I've got this other list.' And I say, 'alright, Lord, I'm going to do what I think you're impressing me to do.' Somehow, the other things on the list still get done. Amen.

It doesn't make sense that you would wake up earlier so you could pray and have more energy. It doesn't make sense that you would take more time to pray and end up getting more done, but God, somehow, compensates. I remember martin luther used to say, 'unless I spend three hours in prayer, I can't get anything done.' Doesn't that seem antithetical to the way we would think? Alright, please read for us 1 Thessalonians 4:9. But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;" you know, John, he was always saying, 'beloved, love one another. Love one another.

By this all men will know you are my disciples: by your doctrine, by your building, by your music, by your children's program, by your eloquent preacher - by this all men will know that you are my disciples' - by what? Your love. By your love. That is the most important litmus test. Romans 12:10, "be kindly affectionate to one another" - I've got a sermon I did one time called one another and I took all the one anothers that I could find in the Bible and I went through - and there's quite a few of them, especially from Paul, and he talks about how we should love one another and pray for one another and care for one another and Christianity is being part of a body where we all share this joint love. "Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.

" Peter 1:22, "since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart" - having fervent love for one another. And then Hebrews 13:1, "let brotherly love continue." This was the hallmark of the early church that made it grow so much. The early church, they were willing to die for one another. They cared and loved one another. And this needs to be the standard for us as well.

Can you say 'amen'? And that's why this is a great offer for today - a love that transforms - it talks, really, about the Gospel and if you've not read this - this is one of the best Amazing Facts study guides and - you know, when we hold these things up, they're beautiful lessons. They're full of pictures and Scriptures and illustrations. And so, you ask for it, we'll send it to you for free. And that phone number 866-788-3966 and that adds up to -study-more and just ask; we'll send. You know, we trust that we mail these things out every week from Amazing Facts, just believing that people will say, 'hey, you know, I want to keep this happening.

' If you support our literature ministry, we appreciate that. That's all the time we have for our study today. We want to thank you for joining us, friends. I also want to greet those who are extended members of the Granite Bay church family out there and our regular viewers - God bless you and we'll study together again next week. Every now and then, in the panorama of history, we hear about individuals that go from the lowest depths to the highest pinnacles.

They emerge from the shackles of prison to lead and inspire a nation. Take Joseph, for instance: he's sold by his brothers as a slave, then falsely accused and thrust into prison. Yet, through a series of divine circumstances, he miraculously goes from the prison to the palace, ruling the ones who once imprisoned him. Sound far-fetched? It's happened in history more than you think. South africa is the home of just such a leader.

Nelson mandela worked tirelessly to establish peace and freedom in his country and his influence was felt around the world. Before freedom, there must be forgiveness. Like Joseph, who was unjustly accused of a crime he did not commit, nelson mandela was accused of terrorism and sentenced to life in prison on robin island. He was often exposed to cruel punishment and abuse. But even in the midst of apparent failure and discouragement, he never lost heart and he never gave up.

After years in prison, a growing number of supporters rallied for his release and eventually it took place. And God used him so that he was instrumental in helping to abolish racial segregation in the country of south africa. Incredibly, he now was, virtually, the absolute leader in the country that had imprisoned him. He had all the tools and the power at his disposal to get even with the prison guards and others that had mistreated him. Instead, mandela chose forgiveness.

It reminds me of that verse in the Bible in Ephesians chapter , verse 31, "let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you." I'm so thankful that nelson mandela, like Joseph, chose to forgive those who were once his enemies, and to serve his nation with love and courage. You can find a number of examples of this happening in the Bible. You have Daniel, who was a captive from the land of judah, and yet God arranged things where he becomes the prime minister in the Kingdom of Babylon. You have Esther, who was a poor orphan girl in persia, and yet God worked things out where she becomes the queen of that country.

The book of Jeremiah ends with an incredible story of a young king named jehoiachin, who was in a Babylonian dungeon for 37 years and then king evil-merodach has mercy on him and he had a new status, going from the prison to the palace. This is what the Lord wants to do for you and me, friends. He gives you the bread of life. He gives you the robe of Jesus' righteousness. He gives you a seat at his table.

If you accept his forgiveness and you're willing to pass it on, you and I can live and reign with Christ. Wouldn't you like that experience? Amazing Facts has impacted my life. And I just praise God for Amazing Facts. Amazing Facts actually did have an impact on my life. This whole process - getting where I am today - I felt good about that.

I didn't feel condemned. I began reading the Bible and - I got baptized into a Seventh-day Adventist - I realized that there had to be more to life. God is really doing this. The life that he's given me. This message was so powerful.

I'll follow Christ wherever he goes. Amazing Facts. More than 45 years of proclaiming God's message around the world. And then the logo pops across Amazing Facts presents. I've listened to a lot of different ministers, but this was the first time that he's actually saying something where I had to grab my Bible and actually pick it up and I've never heard this before.

Let me - let me look through and find this. And I just couldn't get enough. And so I started doing Bible studies. Every single one of these guys started being changed, including myself. My question was, 'why did that happen to me, God?' the Lord was able to reach out and - and I actually saw him as a father.

I lost everything and that was when I realized that it was God missing in my life. I went to a prophecy seminar, which knocked me out. This message was so powerful and so irrefutable, I just went, 'this is real. This is - this is amazing.' 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'.

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