Jesus Won Their Confidence

Scripture: Luke 5:15, Acts 2:42-47, Deuteronomy 4:1-9
Date: 09/03/2016 
Lesson: 10
"If some visitors started attending your church regularly, what would they see, and what kind of witness would it present to them?"
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I love the quote: "the greatest want of the world is the want of men ... Men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall." Yet studies are showing, for several years now, the secular media and culture have sought to portray men as the family idiots. Sadly, respect for the role of fathers and husbands has reached an all-time low. So now, as the dispirited men abandon their roles of Godly leadership, it's not surprising that we're experiencing a moral free-fall in our country. That's why, starting September 30th I'll be presenting a new program called mighty men of God.

Using biblical principles, this encouraging four-part series will address how to be a loving father, faithful husband, and all-around man of God in the family, church and nation. Please plan now to join me for this live event and learn from the word how to live courageously for the King. Hello friends, we'd like to welcome you again to Sabbath School Study Hour coming to you from the Granite Bay Seventh-day Adventist Church. A warm welcome to our extended Sabbath school class and those viewing on the various television networks and also online - and also a warm welcome to our afcoe students who are forming the audience here for our Sabbath school study time together. We're doing something just a little different than we normally do - we usually film our program right here Sabbath morning with our Granite Bay church members, but because the lesson is dealing with witnessing, we thought it would be a good idea to have the afcoe students part of this special class today.

Now we're on our lesson quarterly dealing with lesson #10 and it's entitled Jesus won their confidence. So for our friends who are joining us online or you're watching on the various television outlets, if you don't have a copy of our study together, the role of the church in the community, you can just go to the Amazing Facts website - just - download lesson #10 and you can study along with us. We have a free offer that is called - entitled - the voice of God and this is available to anybody in North America who gives us a call. The number is 866-788-3966 - and ask for offer #816. Again, the book is called the voice of God.

The number to call is 866-study-more - that's -788-3966 - and we'll be happy to send this to you. If you're outside of North America, just go to the amazing facts' website and you can actually read this book for free online - called the voice of God. Well, before we get to our study this morning, we have a special treat. At this time we'll be listening to a special musical item that will be brought to us by some of the members of the Granite Bay church. Jesus be the sun shining on my way warm me on the road to your eternal day; melt my icy heart teach me to obey o Jesus be the sun shining on my way.

Jesus shine on me everywhere I go when I follow fast and if I listen slow; on bright mountains high, in dark valleys low Jesus shine on me everywhere I go. Jesus be the moon shining in my night if temptation calls help me do what's right; when blue shadows crowd me, comfort with your light o Jesus be the moon shining in my night. Jesus shine on me everywhere I go when I follow fast and if I listen slow; on bright mountains high, in dark valleys low Jesus shine on me everywhere I go. Jesus be the star shining in my soul; teaching me to trust as you make me whole sparkle like a diamond in a lump of coal o Jesus be the star shining in my soul. Jesus shine on me everywhere I go when I follow fast and if I listen slow; on bright mountains high, in dark valleys low Jesus shine on me everywhere I go.

Jesus shine on me everywhere I go. Once again, welcome to our Sabbath School Study Hour and thank you for that wonderful music. Just before we go to the lesson, I invite you to bow your heads as we have a word of prayer. Dear Father, once again we want to ask your special blessing as we study Your Word - in particular, Christ's example of ministering to the needs of people and winning their confidence and sharing with them the truth. So may we learn, may we be equipped, and may we be willing to serve for you, for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen.

Amen. Our lesson today will be brought to us by Pastor Doug. Thank you, Pastor Ross. Here, I'll let you take your Sabbath school lesson because I brought mine. Otherwise, I'll be doing a stereo lesson.

How is everybody? Great. Amen. Good to see you here. I want to welcome, again, our friends that are watching and you can see that I'm out of uniform, as Pastor Ross mentioned, the regular teachers of our Sabbath school class are all out of town on a particular weekend and so we were really thankful that the lesson was dealing with an evangelistic subject, and so we're taking what we normally would have as our afcoe training time. And our students - we have, I guess - what - 38 - 39 students in this crop are coming together and we're going to share - study the Sabbath school lesson together with them.

And so we're just really glad you're here. You might be wondering 'what is afcoe'? Afcoe stands for the amazing facts center of evangelism. Sometimes it's called the Amazing Facts college of evangelism and we invite men and women to come together from around the world - we study the principles of evangelism, we have a full-time class that goes on for about three and a half months - is that right? And they will prepare for an evangelistic meeting, go through an evangelistic meeting, be doing door-to-door work, Bible study work, doctrinal work, and then spend some time doing follow-up at an evangelistic meeting and we bring in some of the best evangelism teachers we can find in North America and even guest teachers from other parts of the world. And so, that's our afcoe training class and people that go through that, they are never the same. And so, we're glad that we can use this time to study this lesson.

Again, the lesson is dealing with the subject - it's in our quarterly - the role of the church in the community - lesson #10 and it's Jesus won their confidence. So often, when Jesus would heal somebody or he healed the leper or - and he's say, 'now don't tell anybody'. Because he knew that his teaching ministry was going to be impeded by the throngs that would come to him just for the healing. And he wanted his ministry to have the balance of the practical as well as the physical. And so, but Jesus touched people's hearts and lives where they were.

Now, in the last few lessons, we have been using a quote from a book called ministry of healing as a springboard to understand the ministry of Christ. And let me read that to you again. And, by the way, this is from the book ministry of healing - this was written by Ellen white - page 143 - great quote: "Christ's method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed his sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence.

Then he bade them, 'follow me.'" So there was a sequence to what he did: he mingled with them, went to where they were, you know, kind of walked in their shoes, as you might say, he showed that he desired their good, he showed sympathy for them, he ministered to their practical needs, whether they were hungry and he gave them food or that they needed healing, and then once they developed confidence in him - he won their confidence - he bade them, 'follow me.' Now, our lesson today is based on the concept of winning people's confidence for the purpose of sharing the Gospel and ministering to them. And might take a minute to talk about what is 'confidence?' Confidence, of course, in english comes from the latin words - it's a composite - 'con' means 'with' - 'fidel' means 'faith' - confidence - and it means something that is with faith. He built their faith in him. Now, in Hebrew, the main root for the word 'faith' is 'emunah' - that's actually where you get the word 'amen' and emunah means - it gives the idea of consistency - continuity - reliability - something that you can trust. In Greek, the word that you often find for faith that would be a similar equivalent to emunah would be 'pistis' which that comes out meaning 'belief, trust, absolute certainty, reliability' - it's a form of that word in Greek that you find in John 3:16 - "whosoever believes in him" has everlasting life.

And so, we're wanting to get people's confidence - belief. Now, how important is faith? In just a moment I'm going to have one of you read a verse for me and I think you're going to read Numbers 14:11 - would that be you? Okay, I'm going to read Hebrews 11:1. How important is faith in salvation? Hebrews 11:1 - you know what that says? "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Paul goes on to say, 'without faith it is impossible to please God' - I think that's verse 6 - 'for whoever comes to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him.' Without faith it is impossible to please God. The just will live by faith.

You are saved by grace through faith. Faith is a crucial component and, even in witnessing, at some point, if you're going to be sharing truth with a person, you want them to have faith in what you're saying. It's hard to take in inspirational or spiritual information from a person you have no confidence in. Genesis 15:6 - and it says - Abraham - "believed in the Lord; and he [God] counted it to him for righteousness." And it talks about the righteousness by faith - you've heard that concept before? Alright, you're going to read for us please Numbers 14:11. Numbers 14:11, "then the Lord said to Moses: 'how long will these people reject me? And how long with they not believe me, with all the signs which I have performed among them?" Yeah, he was doing all he could to show the people he had their best interest in mind.

God did for Israel what we need to do for our neighbors. When they were hungry, he took care of their food. When they were going through battles, he gave them victory. When they were thirsty, he gave them drink. He kept their shoes and their clothes from wearing out.

God took care of their practical needs. He delivered them in their distress. He parted the sea when they - saved them from their slavery. In other words, God showed them that he cared about them. And then, when he brought them to Mount Sinai, he was hoping they'd say, 'you've shown that you love us.

We love you and we will keep your commandments.' What's the first commandment? I am the Lord thy God... Yeah, the first commandment includes the part that says, 'I am the Lord your God that brought you out of the land of Egypt; out of the house of bondage' before he ever says, 'don't have other Gods before me', he says, 'I've shown you that I care about you.' Amen. I'm the one who delivered you from slavery. And if you love me' - the implication is - 'here are my commandments. Keep my commandments.

' And so there needs to be a faith there. If you look in Isaiah 7:9 you've got that same word that we read earlier - emunah - and it says, "the head of ephraim is samaria, and the head of samaria is remeliah's son. If you will not believe," - you will not 'emunah' - "surely you shall not be established." How important is faith? If you don't have faith in God, you cannot be established. In the book of habukkuk 2:4, "behold the proud, his soul is not upright in him; but" - who knows the rest of that? - "The just shall live by his faith." The just will live by faith. And so, without faith, you can't please God.

It's very important. But is it faith in man? How often do people lose faith in other people and become cynical? It's hard to find people to trust in our world. And that principle can even be seen in the Bible - look in Micah, for instance - 7, verse 5, "do not trust in a friend; do not put your confidence in a companion; guard the doors of your mouth from her who lies in your bosom." Well that seems pretty cynical - don't trust your friends; don't trust your wife - and Micah here, he's basically - this is in the context of a prophecy of the treachery that was happening in Israel. It's like nobody could trust anybody - you couldn't even trust the people in your own family. Did Jesus say that the day may come where a man's enemies will be those of his own household? Psalm 118, verse 9, someone had said one time, this is the - what is it - the longest chapter in the Bible is psalm 119 - shortest chapter in the Bible is psalm 117 - and between those you have psalm 118 and they were arguing the middle verse of the Bible is psalm 118:9 that says, "it's better to trust in the Lord than put confidence in princes.

" Now, someone else - depends on what translation you're reading - it's not always the middle verse in the Bible. I just thought I'd let you know that. But it is still interesting that it's between the longest and the shortest verse. And Psalms is the middle of the Bible - "better to trust in the Lord than put your confidence in princes." If you're doing a study on the state of the dead, you'll need to know this next verse, because all good evangelists know psalm , verses 3 and 4, "do not put your trust in princes nor in the son of man in whom there is no help. His spirit departs.

He returns to his earth. In that very day his thoughts perish." So the idea that you're immediately conscious after death is kind of exploded by this verse. But notice the first part - 'do not put your trust in princes.' So the Bible says you've got to be careful about trusting in men. There are some faithful people. I think - is it in Ecclesiastes - Solomon says, 'I've found one man faithful among a thousand.

' And it's easy to see how you can become cynical. Any of you get calls around dinner time at your home? Somebody trying to sell you something? It's very interesting that - the methods they use - they say, 'you've won!' I've heard two or three times this week that I've won a vacation somewhere - 'and all you've gotta do' and, you know, once I got sucked into that and I drove two and a half hours because I had won something and it was just a big sales pitch. I was so disgusted and you know, people get more and more clever. And in your mail, every now and then in your mail you'll get something and it'll say, 'final warning! Don't miss this!' You know, I got one this week - 'final warning!' - I said, 'oh, what did I do? Did I forget a payment?' And you open it up - it's a sales thing. And there's so much Marketing going on and so much of people using people for whatever - for their personal gain to get a profit - they take advantage of other people, they use people - that we're often polite but we're very careful with really trusting, especially some - if growing up, young people that go through families where there's divorce or if they see infidelity in the family or they can't have trusting relationships with teachers or parents or something, you can grow up very cynical and it's hard to win your trust.

Sometimes those people, they go through life and they never get married because they're afraid to put real trust in somebody else. In spite of that, Christians need to be a people that can be trusted. And it becomes one of the most powerful things for witnessing if you can help people realize you can be trusted. Don't you all want friends you can trust? Amen. And so this is one of the ways, of course, to witness.

Jeremiah 17:5, "thus says the Lord: 'cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength..." In other words, ultimately, our trust should be in the Lord. No man can save you. But just, you see this principle all through the Bible. People are often going to let you down. One of the early Christians I met, brother harold, he said, 'many times I've been let down by people' - this was a Jewish Christian that I knew when I lived on the streets in palm springs and he was just a real oracle.

He was a wonderful Christian man - loved the Lord, prayed a lot, studied the Bible in Hebrew and Greek, went to all the hospital rooms and quoted verses to them and he said, 'I've been let down many times by people and I've forgiven them.' And he said, 'I have let down the Lord many times. But' - he said - 'the Lord has never let me down.' God is faithful. Amen. So as Christians, we are to be reflections of Christ. We should be a faithful people.

Why didn't Jesus expose Judas? Did Jesus know that Judas was dipping in the bag? Yes. Why didn't he turn him in? Was Jesus an accomplice in his crime? No, for one thing, Jesus' knowledge about what was going on with Judas was a supernatural knowledge so he decided not to use that. But he wanted to give Judas an opportunity to repent. Jesus was a friend and - that could be trusted - and the world is looking for faithful people so this is very important. Now there's a careful balance when it talks about trust and this is our next section on Monday.

Someone's going to read in 1 Peter 4:8 - who has that one? Over here - I was looking on the wrong side of the room - I'm sorry - 1 Peter 4:8 in just a moment. I'm going to read John 13:35, "by this all will know that you are my disciples, if" - what? - "If you have love for one another." So when the world observes Christians, if your neighbors are going to trust you, they ought to see that you trust each other. If they see that the Christians are biting and devouring one another, what kind of witness is that to the community and are they going to trust you? Look how you treat your own people. And so, if nothing else, they ought to see - behold how they love one another. And so if we love each other, your neighbors are going to say, 'you know, I'd like to have friends like that.

Boy, wouldn't it be great to be part of a group where there's this kind of support and they love each other?' So this is one thing - and Peter echoes that. Go ahead, read for us, please, 1 Peter 4:8. 1 Peter 4:8, "and above all things have fervent love for one another, for 'love will cover a multitude of sins.'" So as the world sees how we love each other and - isn't love - wouldn't that include being faithful to each other - being a people that you could have confidence in? Someone said, 'the greatest obstacle to the spread of Christianity is the missionaries.' - The greatest obstacle to the spread of Christianity is often Christians - or at least the people who say that they're Christians. How many of you have heard someone say with a sneer, 'yeah, I'm not going to be a Christian. I knew some Christians.

These Christians - they were such hypocrites - and these people say they're Christians and they act like kooks and - oh these Christians - and look how mean they are and they're stealing from each other.' Just, you know, things like that. There are some people that claim to be Christians out there and they're just not a good witness and it hurts everybody. It makes them lose confidence. But we want to counter that, as far as possible. Acts 2:46 - how was it with the early church? Were they able to build confidence in their communities? It says in acts 2:46 - and I'll be reading verse 47 too, "so continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house," - they had good social connections - "they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart," - um, just a little extra thought for our afcoe class here: some people say, when they broke bread, it meant that they had a communion service because it tells you that they broke bread on the first day of the week.

And they say, 'oh see, this was proof that they were coming together for Sunday new communion service.' But no, you read this verse, it says they broke bread from house to house and they ate their food. Breaking bread is another term for eating food and they didn't do it just one day a week in one place, they did it daily from house to house. And so, when people say breaking bread means communion service, no, it doesn't always mean that. "Having favor with all the people." - Praising God and having favor with all - not just among the church, but in Jerusalem they had favor. They'd say, 'why are these Christians - they are good people.

They've got good teaching. They are virtuous. They are people of integrity.' So we've got to be good witnesses to our neighbors. - "And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." Notice how the church was growing, evangelistically, when they had favor with all the people - when the Christians were being good witnesses - holy spirit poured out and they were good examples at that time. Similar verse - 1 Corinthians chapter 3, verse 1, "and i, brethren," - this is where Paul is saying, actually he's saying the opposite - 1 Corinthians 3:1 - this is in your lesson - "and i, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.

I fed you with milk, and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?" - You're acting like regular people - "for when one says, 'I am of Paul,' and another, 'I am of apollos,'" - and they're all getting divided on their favorite preachers. It was like, you know, their favorite football team or political party and the other church was all divided and he says that's carnal behavior. What kind of witness is that in the community, when the church is not acting spiritually, but carnally? You're not going to have a lot of evangelism going on. But when you're consistent in your faith, it makes a big difference.

I've had a lot of neighbors that, you know, over the course of my life, and sometimes they're pagans, you know, they don't believe in God - they're atheists or whatever, and they're always a little suspicious. Now, where I'm at now in my particular neighborhood, all of our neighbors - I actually have one neighbor they are good Seventh-day Adventist Christians. Some of our neighbors are Christians, and I know the neighbors, kind of, a couple houses in each direction. I don't know everybody in the neighborhood, but you know what? Most of them know we're on tv now, because in Sacramento we're on so much and they just run into it and they'll say, 'hey, I saw you on tv.' Once they see you on tv and you say you're a Christian, I've got to act extra good. (Laughter) hopefully it's not all acting, amen? Amen.

But because you're a lot more visible then. So I go out of my way to try to be a good neighbor and be consistent and be friendly. And just last week I came back from out of town and my neighbor had his garage door open - he was holding some pipes or something in his hand and I said, 'what's the problem, brother' - I won't mention his name - and he said, 'man, I've got a leaky pipe out back.' And I said, 'well, let me help you with that.' And I grabbed my toolbox, I went over and helped him with his pipe and said, 'here's the problem.' I said, 'I can fix it for you.' I said, 'it's going to be five dollars in parts and I can fix that for you.' He said, 'well, I think it's still under warranty so let me call the plumber first.' Anyway, but he wrote me a note the next day or a day after - he wrote a card and he said, 'it is so nice having a neighbor like you.' And wow, that made me feel pretty good. And so, when you start, then, sharing your faith, they make a connection. They say, 'these are good people.

I wonder if their beliefs have something to do with their good behavior - their virtues?' See? They begin to wonder if there's a connection. And I've got another neighbor and, you know, they kind of ridicule your faith and 'oh, don't preach to me.' But then a crisis comes to their family - someone dies or someone is at the point of death and you say, 'can I pray for you.' And where, before, they said, 'we're atheists, don't bother us,' when there's a crisis, they're not atheist anymore, now they're agnostic. You know the difference? Now they think there could be a God but they don't know him. They're not going to turn down prayer because anything'll help when a loved one is on a death bed. And so - and you know what? Sometimes they'll come to you and they'll ask for answers - if someone dies they'll say, 'what do you guys believe about death?' Because they know you're a trustworthy person, they're wondering what you can share with them.

Now, the reason I mention this is because, in our lesson, it's often talking - we've been studying in previous weeks - you show your neighbors - they're hungry you feed them; they're naked you bring them clothes; they're sick you heal them or you visit them in the hospital. But in reality, a lot of us have neighbors and they're not hungry and they're not naked and they're not homeless and they're not sick all the time, so you have to just witness to them by overcoming (clears throat) you witness to them by just overcoming evil with good and by showering them with being a good neighbor. I've got a plum tree between my house and my neighbor's house. It's supposed to be a fruitless plum but whoever sold us the tree lied. And so every year there's this crop of plums and, you know, it's nice - you can eat them but, I mean, there's tons of them so you can only eat a little bit and it gets old.

And they're actually prune plums so you've got to be careful how many you eat. (Laughter) but they fall in the driveway and then you drive over them and it makes jam everywhere and it's sticky and the tree is right between my house and my neighbor's house, so they're falling on my neighbor's yard. And so, I figure, it's my tree, I ought to go pick up the plums in front of their yard. Wouldn't - do you think that'd be the thing to do? And I need to offer and say, 'can I - I see some fell on your car, can I clean? Some has made your driveway sticky, can I wash that off for you?' And that's part of being a good neighbor. If you're borrowing your neighbor's leaf blower and he's got to ask for it back - mercy! You're not a good neighbor.

And if you borrow his rake or whatever it is, you want to just bend over backwards to be Christ-like - to be a person of faith. This is a person I can trust. And, you know what? Our neighbors on both sides, when they travel they say, 'doug, Karen, can you feed our dog? Can you watch our house?' One neighbor said, 'you guys are welcome to go over and use the pool.' I mean, they trust us. They gave us the key to the house. If your neighbor gives you the key to the house - trust.

Yeah, they've got faith in you. And so then you start sharing your faith and they're willing to listen. And so this is what it's talking about. This is the principle. Jesus would show that he cared.

He would show he's trustworthy - and that person would say, 'I can trust him with a thousand dollars cash. They travel, they say, 'can you get our mail for us?' That's kind of personal when you're getting someone's mail out of their box - then we give them a bag of mail when they get back - and we tell them the same thing. We show 'we trust you.' And so, with both of our neighbors all around our house, we show we trust you too. And it just builds a camaraderie so that when there's a crisis they'll say, 'brother doug, sister Karen, can you help? Could you pray? And what is it you believe?' And you've got to be patient. It doesn't always happen in a week, right? Alright, social capital is the next session we're going to be talking about.

So we talked about what happens if we're bad witnesses? It backfires, you lose your influence in the community if we're squabbling and we say we're supposed to love each other. But you can develop social capital so you look, for instance, in Proverbs 22:1 - here's a famous verse - it says, "a good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold." Similar verse - Ecclesiastes 7:1, "a good name is better than precious ointment." What does it mean in the Bible when it says 'a good name'? We use the word - I still haven't heard the word I'm looking for. Character is true. What about reputation? Did anyone say that? A good reputation - there's nothing wrong - that means you're of good repute - that you're beyond scorn. If something comes up missing in the neighborhood, they don't first look at your house because you're trustworthy - you've got a good reputation.

And a good name is worth a lot. It doesn't take long to ruin a good name. It takes years to build one. All you have to do is end up in the headlines once and you can ruin a good name. And so, it takes a while to build one.

Acts 7:9 and 10 "and the patriarchs, becoming envious, sold Joseph into Egypt." - Stephen is preaching here and he's rehearsing the history of Israel - "they sold Joseph into Egypt" - patriarchs meaning the twelve tribes - the eleven brothers of Joseph - actually, it was ten of the brothers that sold him; Benjamin did not go on with that - "but God was with him and delivered him out of all his troubles, and gave him favor and wisdom in the presence of pharaoh, king of Egypt; and he made him governor over Egypt and all his house." Now that's a great example of how a Christian ought to operate when you're surrounded by pagans. Joseph, when he was a slave, was he faithful? Yes. I know he was falsely accused, but potiphar didn't even believe his wife, I don't think, or he would have killed Joseph. You try to rape a general's wife - if he really believed - but I think his wife had a reputation, you know, 'oh, here she goes again' - and he said, 'well, I better put him in jail to save face.' Often makes you wonder too, when Joseph became the King and he was riding his chariot by potiphar's house, you wonder what mrs. Potiphar was thinking - when Joseph was prime minister.

He didn't retaliate, did he? At least there's no record of it. But Joseph was so faithful, after he interpreted the pharaoh's dreams he was put in charge of potiphar's house, he was put in charge of the prison, and he was put in charge of Egypt - all because of his witness among pagans. They said, 'Joseph is someone that can be trusted. That is a great lesson for Christians. And then Joseph was able to witness for his God - you know, historians say that during this time in Egypt, it was one of the few times that they had become a monotheistic nation.

Now they called their God by a different name, but they had come to believe in one God and they think that may have had some influence from Joseph - that talked about the one true God and - that he believed in. And Joseph's servants certainly believed that way, so look at the influence of one person. Peter 4:15 - in just a moment someone's going to read for me Timothy 3:7 - that'd be you? Okay, I'll read 1 Peter 4:15, "but let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters." Christians may suffer for their faith and Peter said if you're going to suffer, make sure you're suffering for doing good and not doing evil, but Christians should not be people that are being hauled off in handcuffs because of shoplifting or because we, you know, you don't pay your bills or because you lost your temper - yeah, I was going to tell you a story but I decided not to. (Laughter) somebody was supposed to be a Christian and just totally lost their temper and ended up, you know, the authorities had to be called and I thought - this person that goes to church - oh, what does that do? That's reverse evangelism when that happens. Timothy 5:13, "and besides they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house, and not only idle but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.

" You notice Peter said 'busybodies in other people's matters' - Christians should not be gossips. That's not the reputation we want. Go ahead, you read - these are the qualifications now for an elder that he's going to read next. Go ahead. 1 Timothy 3:7, "moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside, lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.

" So one of the qualifications for leadership was you need to be a good witness. It says, 'for those that are outside' - what does that mean? Outside the church, which would mean the community, believer or unbeliever. We ought to have good reputations. If you're talking about making someone an elder of your church and the people in your neighborhood say, 'oh that fellow, he's - you know, his front yard is the dirtiest yard in town.' That's not a good testimony. So Christians - I didn't say much about that - not only should you be honest in your community, your front yard ought to be a testimony in the community, right? Is that okay? I didn't know if I saw a hand.

Alright, 2 Corinthians, here's another example of the same principle - and this is 2 Corinthians 6:3, "we put no obstacle in anyone's way, so not fault may be found with our ministry." Paul said, 'let's be a good witness.' 1 Thessalonians 4:11 and 12, "that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one." If you're a Christian and you're always out begging from your neighbors because you don't work, that's not a good witness. If he says that we ought - Christians ought to be productive members of the community that are contributing and those around ought to see that you are bringing good things to the society - that you work with your hands and that we walk properly in our conduct before outsiders. So all of this goes along with that passage that we started with - win their confidence. That's have - that comes from living like Jesus lived - not only showing an interest in their good, but being faithful in what they see when they look in your windows of your house. Do they hear you yelling at your spouse and your children? We have a big picture window - so you have good insulation in your house so they don't hear your yelling, right? That's the trick? We've got a big picture window in our house - we didn't do this to show off, it just came that way - it's in the living room.

We always have worship in the living room and we don't do it to try to, like Daniel, pray in the window for everyone to see, but just where we happen to have our worship, sometimes we have guests and we have a piano in the front room and people walking by, they'll see in the Batchelor pad people are singing hymns. You can hear it, you know, coming out and they'll hear us playing hymns on our instruments. They look in the window, they'll see the family kneeling - it's easy to see that you're praying. Again, we're not doing it to be a spectacle, but I've often thought - I've actually thought, 'I don't want to be - maybe I should close the window.' I thought about Daniel - I'm not closing the window. So, let 'em see you pray! They know what you believe.

And so, you want to be a good witness in your community. Alright, now, what is the value - how does this social capital translate? And this is under Wednesday's section. It's largely using the example of Nehemiah, so if you have your Bibles, turn to Nehemiah chapter 2. I'm going to be reading verses 1 through 8 - Nehemiah 2:1-8. "And it came to pass in the month of nisan, in the twentieth year of king artaxerxes, when wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the King.

" - Now Nehemiah is the King's cupbearer and that was his job. And that was a very trusted position. You needed faith in your cupbearer. People frequently tried to poison the King. Some of you remember that someone tried to poison the pharaoh, evidently, and they didn't know whether it was the butler or the baker.

The baker brought the food, the butler brought the wine. And they both had dreams and Joseph interpreted their dreams. 'One of you is going to be found guilty. The other innocent. One'll be killed, the other will be spared.

' Someone tried to poison the pharaoh and it turns out that the butler was spared, but he forgot about Joseph. The baker was hung. And so, the fact that Nehemiah is the butler for the King of persia, you had to trust your butler because he could poison you if he wanted to, right? And it came to pass when the "wine was before him, that I took the wine and gave it to the King. Now I had never been sad in his presence before." - Alright, stop. What does that tell you about Nehemiah? What does it tell you about Christians? Never sad in his presence means that he was normally what? Cheerful.

Positive - optimistic - cheerful. Isn't that a good test - what is the Gospel, bad news or good news? Good news. Yeah, God's people ought to be a happy people. If a Christian's always going around looking morose and like we're on our way to a funeral instead of a feast, then who's going to want your religion? And that's why the King took note. He said, 'wow, you're always real positive.

Something's wrong.' And the King noticed that - "therefore the king said to me, "why is your face sad, since you are not sick?" - Notice, the other thing that's happening. Because Nehemiah was so faithful and he was so positive, the King cared about him. Suddenly the King is concerned with what's going on in his - people will care about you in your community if you show you care about them. Amen. And the King is concerned: "'why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.

' So I became dreadfully afraid," - you're not supposed to be sad in the King's presence. You remember mordecai? You're not supposed to fast or come into the King's presence with torn clothes. And so, he thought, 'oh man, I don't - didn't mean - I didn't mean to look so sad.' But his heart was broken because of bad news he had heard about Jerusalem. And then he prayed. "I was afraid and said to the King, 'may the King live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers' tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?' Then the King said to me, 'what do you request?'" - Wow, wouldn't you all like to have a king say that? By the way, you do have a king that says that.

Amen. the Lord says 'ask and you will receive. Up 'til now you've asked nothing in my name. Ask that your joy may be full.' We can pray and ask - "'what do you request?' So I prayed to the God of heaven." - 'Oh Lord, what do I ask for? Do I dare ask for something big?' He said, 'the King says he's my friend.' - "What do you request?' So I prayed to the God of heaven." - He didn't get on his knees, he prayed where he was - "and I said to the King, 'if it pleases the King, and if your servant has found favor in your sight,'" - 'if I've been a good servant and you want to do something' - "'I ask that you send me to judah,'" - it's in your territory now' - "'to the city of my fathers' tombs, that I may rebuild it.' Then the King said to me (the queen also sitting beside him)," - you know why it says 'the queen sitting behind him'? You know what queen that was? Esther. This is the King artaxerxes, who married Esther - "(the queen also sitting beside him) how long will your journey be?" - Maybe she gave him an elbow.

Like when it said, 'hah!' (Wink, wink) - "how long will your journey be?" - Well, that's a 'yes' - how long will you be gone? - "'And when will you return?' So it pleased the King to send me; and I set him a time. Furthermore I said to the King, "if it pleases the King, let letters be given to me for the governors of the region beyond the river, that they must permit me to pass through till I come to judah, and a letter to asaph the keeper of the King's forest," - up in lebanon - "that he must give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel which pertains" - see, the King owned all the forests. You couldn't just go in and log - "...for the city wall, and for the house that I will occupy." And the King granted them to me according to the good hand of my God upon me." Nehemiah had been such a positive witness in the palace of persia, that when he finally did make a request, the King gave him everything that he asked for because he thought, 'you know, I can trust Nehemiah to be a good governor. I've seen how he's been faithful in little things in my house, I can trust that he will be a good guy. Nehemiah went from cupbearer to governor.

Isn't that right? He said, 'because he can be trusted.' What did the King of persia do for mordecai? Mordecai was interested in the King - someone tried to assassinate the King, he revealed it, he showed himself to be a faithful citizen, and later, when he found out that he was related to the queen, he made him prime minister instead of haman. He saw he could be trusted. And so the Lord often, if you are faithful, he will put you in positions of influence. You see that through history. Shadrach, meshach, abednego, Joseph, mordecai, Nehemiah, Ezra - they were all placed in positions of influence because the pagans saw they could be trusted.

Isn't that a great testimony? And that should be the testimony of believers as well. Alright - and then he says, 'you send me and the hand of my God is upon me.' I want to read you a quote from the book prophets and Kings about Nehemiah - this is page 634 - "the means that he [Nehemiah] lacked, he solicited from those who were able to bestow. And the Lord is still willing to move upon the hearts of those in possession of his goods in behalf of the cause of truth. Those who labor for him are to avail themselves of the help that he prompts men to give. The donors may have no faith in Christ or acquaintance with his words, but their gifts on this account are not be refused.

" Alright, here's a moral question for you: if a visitor comes to your church and brings a big check and hands you a check for $10,000.00 and says, 'this is my tithe on my lotto money.' Are you supposed to take it? I see one 'yes'. Anyone else want to weigh in? I say 'yes.' Okay? Now what if it's a member? Does that make a difference? Yes. I think it does make a difference. I think you ought to think slow on that one because you don't want to endorse or encourage the members to be out gambling. You know what I'm saying? So I - I ran into that once because this one guy, he came to church, and he was not a member and he won all this money at a racetrack.

He said, 'oh, God blessed me and I've got this big win and I want to give some to you.' And we had to talk about that - what are the ramifications of that? But if you've got a member that's going out and gambling every week, and they say, 'oh, I won big this week, here.' You don't want to - you can't pay off a bad conscience by putting an offering in. So that's - it's a little different issue and I'll probably get letters on that. Okay, favor with the people - this is our Thursday lesson. And someone, in a moment's, going to read Luke 16:10 - okay? I'm going to read Luke 12:48, "but he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more.

" And so, if we are faithful in little things, people will trust you with bigger things. If you are faithful to listen to your friends in the little things, when they have a big thing and they're opening their hearts, they'll listen to you. Amen. And so, if you prove that you give them good advice in little things, and you're willing to listen and you care about them and you can keep their confidence and not betray their trust, they will increase how much they trust you. And so, it's something that grows.

And this other verse is on the same principle. Go ahead, you can read yours now. Luke chapter 16, verse 10, "he who is faithful in what is least is faithful also in much; and he who is unjust in what is least is unjust also in much." Yeah, we want to be faithful in the little things as well. In connection with this, Moses actually said, in Deuteronomy 4, verse 5, speaking to the children of Israel - and this - Deuteronomy is the last book of Moses. It really is his last sermon before he dies.

He says, 'surely I have taught you statutes and judgments just as my Lord God commanded me, that you should act according to them in the land that you go to possess. Therefore, be careful to observe them, for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples who hear all these statutes.' Now, keep in mind, what was the purpose of God calling Israel? I haven't finished reading my verse yet. He said, 'I want you to be a nation of Kings and priests.' Well, if everybody in the nation's a priest, who are they making atonement for? The people outside their nation. The purpose of Israel was they were to be a light on a hill so that they could lead the pagans to jehovah. The Bible said that Israel would be - all the gentiles would flow to them - that every man would take hold of the hand of a jew and say, 'lead me to your house and to your God.

' And so God wanted them to bring the other nations to him. And this, of course, is one of the prophecies about the Messiah - unto him the gentiles will seek. And so, Moses has said 'this'll be your wisdom.' What? These righteous laws. The other nations will see it and they will say, 'surely this is a great nation and a wise and understanding people. For what great nation is there that has God so near to it as the Lord our God is to us?' And, for whatever reason, we might call upon him.

'And what great nation is there that has such statutes and righteous judgments as in all the law that I set before you this day?' I was having a conversation with my son last night and I was talking to him about, oh, just life and philosophy and - and he came back from college where he was studying the philosophers, you know, they make you - even in Christian schools they make you study world philosophy. And if it's not taught right, it can do a lot of harm. If you have a good Christian teacher, there's nothing to be feared from philosophy. And I said, 'well,' - I said, 'one of the things you learn from the philosophers, is the philosophers that were successful, they understood that real wisdom was the fear of the Lord. They're always trying to explore 'what is true knowledge?' And 'what is true wisdom?' Knowledge and wisdom are not the same thing.

And socrates, for example, who was killed for atheism - now, the atheism socrates was killed for was not believing in the pantheon of Greek Gods - he thought it was foolish - and he was right about that, but he believed that if there was a God, he would be a virtuous God. Not all the Greek Gods were virtuous. And his reason was, if you explore true knowledge and wisdom, there is - there are wise reasons for being virtuous. And he'd use the soccratic method of asking questions. What happens to a society if you don't uphold honesty? Break it down.

Can you trust anyone? Are any - are any covenants trustworthy? If everyone's lying to everybody, what happens to society? So socrates would bring out the reasons for honesty. You have to be honest. What happens to a society if people steal? Can anyone be safe if they don't respect property? And what happens to a society if you don't honor the institution of marriage? Well, we're finding out, aren't we? But there's a breakdown in the family - a breakdown in humanity. And so, socrates would reason these things from cause to effect and his conclusion was, one of the greatest things is virtue, which we believe - integrity. And he did it from a logical reason.

Moses is saying, 'when these other nations look at your laws, they're going to say, 'this is a wise and an understanding people because there are logical reasons for the laws that God gave Israel. And, you know, most of western law is based on the law of Moses - that God gave to Moses - the civil laws and everything from first and second-degree murder and the - what was the intent? Was there malice before the crime? And you just start looking into the nuances of our laws and you can almost always point back to the law of Moses and say, 'here's where you first saw that principle.' And so it was a wise and an understanding people. And so, God wanted what happened during the time of the queen of sheba, where she came to seek God because of the wisdom that she saw in the laws and the nation of Israel and, in particular, in Solomon, who loved the Lord at that time in his life. Anyway, so through all this, God wants us to show that we're a people of faith and then we're a witness - we're a light to the world. And this is what God's plan was for Israel, it's his plan for the church, and it's his plan for each of us individually, amen? Amen.

And so, I want to remind you before we go off the air, we have a special book that we'll be willing to share with you for free. It's called the voice of God and just call the number on your screen - it's 866-788-3966 - that translates into 866-study-more. We encourage people to study more. Ask for offer #816 when you call. God bless you, friends, we are out of time for our Sabbath School Study Hour right now.

Thank you for letting the afcoe class join us for this study and God bless you 'til we study His Word again together next week. I love the quote: "the greatest want of the world is the want of men ... Men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall." Yet studies are showing, for several years now, the secular media and culture have sought to portray men as the family idiots. Sadly, respect for the role of fathers and husbands has reached an all-time low. So now, as the dispirited men abandon their roles of Godly leadership, it's not surprising that we're experiencing a moral free-fall in our country.

That's why, starting September 30th I'll be presenting a new program called mighty men of God. Using biblical principles, this encouraging four-part series will address how to be a loving father, faithful husband, and all-around man of God in the family, church, and nation. Please plan now to join me for this live event and learn from the word how to live courageously for the King. Amazing Facts, through your faithful support, has had a major impact on some of the largest non-Christian locations in the world. Beyond the great wall, the printing and translation of our books and video materials are in constant motion.

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