Urban Ministry in the End-Time

Scripture: Jeremiah 29:7, Acts 18:1-28, 2 Peter 3:9
Date: 09/17/2016 
Lesson: 12
"If our actions do not demonstrate the compassion, grace, and hope of which we speak, then what we speak will be powerless."
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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. Good morning, friends. Welcome again to Sabbath school study hour and especially those joining us across the country and around the world - part of our extended Sabbath school class - a very warm welcome to you. And also the members and the visitors here at the Granite Bay church.

Good to see you again here this morning ready to study. We're dealing with our lesson quarterly entitled the role of the church in the community. We've been looking at the example of Jesus and learning from his experience how we can minister to those around us. We're nearing the end of our study so today we're in lesson #12 and it's entitled urban ministry in the end of time. If you don't have a copy of our study, you can go to the amazing facts website - just amazingfacts.

org and you can download lesson #12 entitled urban ministry in the end of time and you can study along with us. We do have a free offer that goes along with our study today, it's called a colossal city in space and this is available to anybody [in North America] who would call and ask. The number to call is 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer #115. Again, that number is -788-3966 - ask for offer #115. We'll be happy to send you this study guide - a colossal city in space.

If you're outside of North America and you'd like to read this, just go to the Amazing Facts website. There's a little search bar and you can type in colossal city in space and you can read the study right there on line. Well, before we get to our lesson quarterly, we'd like to begin by lifting our voices in praise. I'd like to invite our song leaders to join me here onstage. Thank you, Pastor Ross.

This is our time to celebrate and to lift our voices in praise to our Savior and our Lord in song. And, as we do every week, I invite you - those that are at home - to pull out your hymnals. Here, pull out your hymnals and we're going to sing hymn #485 - I must tell Jesus. And I hope that as you go through your week, that this is on your mind and this is on your heart that 'I must tell Jesus about this; I must tell Jesus about this; I must tell Jesus about this.' He knows it all but he wants us to commune with him, so that's what this song is about. #485 - I must tell Jesus.

We'll sing all three verses. I must tell Jesus all of my trials; I cannot bear these burdens alone, in my distress he kindly will help me, he ever loves and cares for his own. I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! I cannot bear my burdens alone; I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! Jesus can help me, Jesus alone. I must tell Jesus all of my troubles, he is a kind, compassionate friend; if I but ask him, he will deliver, makes of my troubles quickly an end. I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! I cannot bear my burdens alone; I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! Jesus can help me, Jesus alone.

O how the world to evil allures me! O how my heart is tempted to sin! I must tell Jesus, and he will help me over the world the vict'ry to win. I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! I cannot bear my burdens alone; I must tell Jesus! I must tell Jesus! Jesus can help me, Jesus alone. Our next song we're going to sing is what a friend we have in Jesus. Now, the four of us ladies are going to sing a special tune with it for you. This was taught to me by kelly mower, a good friend of mine that most of you have heard of.

She likes to mix pieces together - words with different tunes - and if you go through our hymnal you'll see that that is what was done all throughout our hymnal also. So sit back and listen to what a friend we have in Jesus and just really contemplate the words. We hardly ever get the chance to do that. And so, just enjoy and bask in the fact that Jesus truly is our best friend. (Piano music - the rose) what a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer o what peace we often forfeit, o what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.

Have we trials and temptations? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged; take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; take it to the Lord in prayer. Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior, still our refuge take it to the Lord in prayer. Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer. In his arms he'll take and shield thee; thou wilt find a solace there.

Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer. In his arms he'll take and shield thee; thou wilt find a solace there. Our solace there. Our solace there. Amen! At this time, Pastor Ross will have prayer.

Amen. I'd like to invite you to bow your heads as we open with a word of prayer. Dear Father in Heaven, what a privilege it is, indeed, to have a friend that we can take all of our burdens and cares to. And, Lord, you hear each of our hearts cry, but father, you also hear the heart cry of those that have never had an opportunity to hear about you and you've asked us to share good news with them. Today, as we talk about how we can be effective witnesses in our neighborhoods and in the cities, we ask, Lord, for your blessing.

In Jesus' Name, amen. Our lesson this morning will be brought to us by Pastor Doug. Thank you, Pastor Ross - and thank you handerson and ladies, for that beautiful rendition of that song. Familiar words, familiar melody, but blended differently. Morning! Morning! Happy Sabbath.

I want to welcome our friends who are watching via the internet or on television around the world. And we also have some of our extended class - we welcome you as well to the Granite Bay church. We are going to begin, in just a moment, with lesson #12 in the book. We're talking about the church in community. We're going to be getting into our lesson #12 now that deals with urban ministry in the end of time and we have a memory verse and the memory verse is from Jeremiah 29, verse 7.

Here in your lesson it's from the niv version, so you can read it right out of the lesson, if you'd like. Jeremiah 29, verse 7 - are you ready? "Seek the peace and the prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper." He's talking about being carried into a city - and we're to be seeking the prosperity of those cities where we're carried. Now, when we say 'urban ministry', you know, we're really talking about ministry where the concentrations of people are: city ministry. What's a city? How big - how many people do you need to have before you start to qualify as a city? In our little town of covelo we call it a one-horse town - except the horse doesn't even have a saddle.

You can drive through - there's no traffic lights in the town. That's - qualifies as a town. The Bible says Jesus went through the villages and the cities, and so you've got both. And so, Jesus had town/country ministry; he had a city ministry. Now, it's just an interesting fact that things have changed with how many people in the world live in the cities.

For example, look at this: in 1800 - let me ask you, what percent of the people in the world do you think lived in cities in 1800? Want to take a guess? Less than ten. >Less than ten? Three percent of the world's population - only three percent lived in cities in the 1800s. By 1900 14 percent of the world's population lived in cities. Of course, back then, there were only twelve cities that had a million people. You know that's changed.

By 1950 30 percent of the world's population lived in what would qualify as a city. And now, I understand that there's over a hundred - oh no, wait - there's over 83 cities in the world that have over a million people. The world has grown - in 2008, for the first time in the world's population, it was split evenly - 50/50 lived in the country/lived in the city. Now, here we are in 2016 - over % of the people in the world are living in the cities. So, we need to come to terms with 'how are we going to reach people in these metropolitan areas.

And, you know, we have an afcoe class - matter of fact, they're meeting right now, next door - not this moment, but they have their meetings next door - and we teach them door-to-door ministry. And when I - I used to do sales where, you know, some cities - some suburbs you can get into a neighborhood and go door to door. Where we live, over the years, we've had people come door to door. You get into the cities like New York and there are doormen there and there are buzzers that get you into the apartment buildings and it's really difficult, when you're in the high-rise cities, to go door to door. And so, how do you reach these people? When I was in New York city earlier this year, I think I told some of you I posted something online that I was down on 42nd street and broadway and I was there for a meeting - I was going to visit my cousin that lived up town and needed to take the subway and I - I hadn't been there in so long, even though I grew up there I couldn't find the subway.

And there on the corner on 42nd and broadway, there were two guys preaching. You know, the old soapbox street preachers, and they were standing on a little platform and he had a little battery-powered megaphone and he was speaking into this megaphone and he was reading from the Bible on his ipad - or on his smart phone - and his friend was holding up signs, you know, 'repent! Jesus is coming!' And so forth. And I thought, well, if I'm going to talk to someone I'd just as soon talk to them. So I went up and I said, 'hey, good job. Keep up the good work.

I can't find the subway entrance, where is it?' And he goes, 'Sacramento!' He watched our programs. You know, that made me think. Here these guys are, they're preaching their hearts out on the streets - there were just thousands of people - the picture's probably still on my Facebook page if you want to see it - thousands of people going by - all kinds of interesting people - and nobody was stopping to listen to them. But when they saw me they said, 'we know who you are because of media.' See what I'm saying? I think one of the best ways to reach the people in the city is - they're getting their information through the internet, through television, through radio, through media. You can get into their homes.

But let's suppose you reach people. Amazing Facts gets letters all the time from people living in metropolitan areas because we're on their cable, we're in their apartments and they say, 'now where do I go?' You then need to send them to a local church. How do the churches receive these people that are your city dwellers when they come? That's one of the big questions we're going to grapple with today. But now - I'm getting ahead of myself. Anyway, so most of the people live in the cities - we've got to figure out how to reach the people in the cities and - before I get to that let me read this.

Karen reminded me this, this morning. She was reading through my Sabbath school lesson, and I study three weeks ahead so she was reading lesson #12 even though we're recording it early, and she told me something I hadn't seen in the lesson. Seventh-day Adventists are a little bit conflicted when it comes to city ministry. We're a little bipolar. You know why? Schizophrenic - whatever you want to call it - because we have a lot of counsel to flee the cities and live in the country and then we've got counsel to work the cities and we wonder, 'how do you reconcile this?' We would all agree, cities are a concentration of people.

People in a lost world - the sin - the human heart is sinful and unconverted. And so, when you've got a concentration of unconverted people that are motivated by selfishness and greed, cities can be hotbeds of crime, drugs, violence, merchandising, worldly distractions and so forth. So, as Christians, are we to go into the cities or run from them? There's the dilemma: how do you balance that? Here's what Karen read this morning: "a seventh-day adventist expert in urban ministry did a study in the e.g. White periodical index regarding her counsel on moving out of the cities. Out of 107 articles, 24 articles gave instruction on moving out or establishing institutions on the outside or the edges of the cities.

" - This is one reason that we're involved, right now, in building an evangelism training center on the outskirts of Sacramento - 'out of the 107 articles, 24 articles gave instruction on moving out and establishing institutions outside the cities, but 75 articles gave specific instruction to move into the cities with meeting houses', it says, 'and maybe restaurants to reach the cities. The other eight articles were neutral.' A church historian summarized Ellen white's counsel on city work, showing that relating to institutions, she advocated working from outpost centers outside the city, and when dealing with local church work or with restaurants, she advocated working from within the city, or if you can have a clinic where you're doing, you know, just on-the-street ministry. And we're trying to follow that. And then it goes on to say here in the notes - and this is in your lesson under Friday, "why should not families who know the present truth, - why should not families who know the present truth settle in these cities? There will be layman who will move into the cities that they may let the light that God has given them shine forth to others. Revelation 14:6, "then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting Gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth - to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people.

" So how far are we to go with the message? We need to go everywhere and that means, yes, even into the cities and risk exposure to that concentration of crime and evil. When missionaries go to foreign countries - I used to wonder - you know, you'd start reading about when you become a Christian, you want to be modest. And I remember reading Joe Crews' book on creeping compromise - great book, I recommend it to everybody. It's got a chapter in their on mixed swimming. I'm really dealing with some interesting subjects today.

He talks about how can a Christian family go to a public beach the way that people dress? We took in a little of the olympics this last few weeks, coming to you from rio. And they would take the camera down and get a couple of the cultural scenes on the rio beach. Some of it was rated for mature audiences. That just means it was immodest. But here you have a missionary - some of these early missionaries, you read about patton and some of the others - John patton - they went to work with cannibals and people that were living very primitively and dressing very primitively.

How do you go work with people like that, that are - they don't hardly wear anything. Some of the first missionaries in North America and other places - do you say, 'well, I can't go work with the missionaries because they're not modestly dressed'? You see the dilemma I'm talking about? At some point you've got to bite the bullet and pray for grace - and you've got to reach people where they're at and that means, yes, you might need to expose yourself to risk and you pray that God goes with you. And so - now, that's not all an endorsement to go to the beach, you understand what I'm talking about? You've got to pick carefully what beach you go to. Anyway, so - first city in the Bible - wasn't good. Who built the first city? Who knows? Cain.

Nimrod built the first city after babel, but before the tower of babel - Genesis 4:16 - then cain murders his brother, "then cain went out from the presence of the Lord" - that ought to tell you something right there - "and dwelt in the land of nod on the east of eden. And cain knew his wife, and she conceived and bore Enoch. And he built a city, and called the name of the city after the name of his son - Enoch." The first city was not babel, it was Enoch. Now we read in acts - the lesson takes us to acts 17 - it talks about Paul's approach to city ministry. Go to acts 18, verse 7.

Someone's going to read for me, in just a moment, Luke 4:43. Who has that? Right up front here, okay? In acts 18:7, "and he departed thence, and entered into a certain man's house, named justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to [or right up against] the synagogue. And crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house;" - so see, some of those in the synagogues that were jews, did accept Jesus. And we know some also rejected him - he "believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized. Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, 'do not be afraid, but speak, and do not be silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you.

'" - 'For I am with you and I will protect you in a special way' - "for I have many people in this city." Well, how do you know where they are? Do you think that God, if he spoke to us today - now, we're broadcasting from the greater Sacramento area - can I say that? Would God say, 'I have much people in this city?' Amen. What does he mean by that? If they're not on our church books, what does he mean by 'I have much people in this city?' It means he knows who they are. They're his people. They're looking for church truth and they're not here yet. I think we have a visitor with us today I'll not identify, that told us a few weeks ago, 'I've been watching you guys on tv for years - finally decided to come.

That was one of the Lord's people in the city. Amen. And he wants to reach them - but it's not all going to happen through media. Sometimes it happens by our getting out in the streets, meeting the people - you can do it with health ministry. You can do it with clothing ministry.

You can do it with health-food ministries. There's just a broad spectrum. What ministry should a church do in the city? Well, you know what? That depends on the gifts of the people in that church. Something I've learned the hard way as a pastor - sometimes I'd get bright ideas - 'we ought to do this ministry' - and I'd try to force the church into doing a particular ministry - but no member really embraced it. And then, it's like trying to push a noodle uphill; you just can't do it.

But when I find the Lord lays a burden on a member in the church and someone says, 'I've got a burden for homeless ministry' - we've got some people here that have a burden. Boy, they got behind it, they made it all happen, they got the homeless bags together and - and it was on their heart. Someone else says, 'I've got a burden to feed people downtown' - at our last church - central church - they got together, they built the roving barbecue and they organized the whole thing. We'd go downtown every week and we'd feed people and preach to them and - but somebody had to have the Lord lay a burden on their heart. They had a gift.

And, as pastors, we found the best thing to do is find out what gifts God has given and empower those people to do the ministry God has given them. Don't wait for your pastor to tell you everything the church ought to do, because I don't see it works that way. I find it works the best when the members say, 'I've got a passion for a clothing ministry.' I've got a friend I - he's a Christian - I play racquetball with him and he says, 'Pastor Doug, I just - you got any old clothes? I want to take clothes and give them to the poor.' And the Lord just laid that on his heart. I said, 'yeah, we'll get you some old clothes. I've got tons at our house.

' And so, you - the Lord may give you a ministry, but these are the ways where you get out and you touch and you connect with the people in the city, so that if they do see some media, maybe they'll make the connection. Alright, go ahead, read for us, please, Luke 4:43. "But he said to them, 'I must preach the Kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.' And he was preaching in the synagogues of Galilee." Yeah, so Jesus, he said - now, I think it's interesting. Did Jesus find a soap box on the corner and stand there? Or where did he go to preach in the city? Synagogues. What does the word 'synagogue' mean? It actually means 'gathering'.

It is the same as a church, but it was the place where they gathered - a gathering place - and one of the things that makes an interesting paradigm for a city ministry - go to where the people are. And that's what Paul did. Paul would go to, you know, he'd go to athens and he'd say, 'oh, all the philosophers are gathering on mars hill.' Wherever the crowd is, that's where I'm going to go. It becomes an opportunity. I know some people, they've got a ministry that whenever there's a baseball game or whenever there's some public gathering, they get down in the parking lot - they get a permit - they go to where the people are.

I know our afcoe students and people from weimar, they've gotten permits from wal-mart. If you sometimes go to wal-mart you'll see there's little things set up outside - whether it's veterans or voter registration - whatever it is - you can also have Christian ministries that go out there and they give out literature. And so they go to where the people are. And this is what Jesus did when he went to the synagogue. If you can get invited to a church in a city to share the three angels' message, go to where the people are.

Acts 18 - you know, I really respect and admire people that have the courage - when we do our radio program on Sunday, Pastor Ross and I occasionally get a call from a guy who is a street preacher. If you've listened to Bible answers live you've heard about this street preacher that calls us. And I've got great respect for people that can just get out there on a busy intersection and stand on a box and start preaching. Sometimes it's fire and brimstone but they start preaching to people there on the street. I've not seen a lot of success come from that.

I do know one or two people that say they were converted from a street people - from a street preacher. Salvation army used to do a lot of that. They'd usually find the corners where all the derelicts were and they'd preach to them right there. And they built their brand doing that. But in our world today, communications have changed a little bit and you've got to kind of change with it and find out how you reach the people.

Going on with this same part in acts - jump now to acts 18:24 - "now a certain jew named apollos, born at alexandria," - he was born in a big city - "an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to ephesus." And it says this man was "...instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit," - notice that? Spirit filled - "he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue." - Again, he went to the synagogue - "when aquila and priscilla heard him, they took him" - they said, 'this guy's bright. He's got talent. He's got potential. He just doesn't have the whole message.

And "...they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately." - Talked about Jesus, the outpouring of the Spirit and all that had happened - "and when he desired to cross to achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him, and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; for he vigorously refuted the jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ." So, you may not know this, but I am fully qualified to do special music. I can sing and I can play - in a small church. People in a small church will say, 'amen' because when you go to a small church you have a limited pool of talent and I can get away with being special music in a little bitty church. You get into a bigger church - there's a point where I'm going - you get into a bigger church where you get a little more sophistication, a little more - bigger pool of talent - you ever heard about being a big fish in a little pond? When you've got more people, you need more power. You need more eloquence.

You need to be able to reach everybody and one of the things that makes a difference is - and Ellen white speaks about this - she says, 'we need ministers. We need people who are mighty in the Scriptures that can go into these large centers and hold large crowds - hold their attention. This is what apollos did. But you notice the part - it said, 'mighty in the Spirit'. You want to know what the key is to city ministry? Acts chapter 2: they were all gathered in one place and they were of one accord.

Where were they? In a city. When the Holy Spirit was poured out, it was not in the country. They were gathered in a city and there were many that were gathered in Jerusalem that day and the Lord filled that upper room with the Holy Spirit and it was the power of the Spirit. Wouldn't that be nice if that happened again? Amen. Can you imagine? It says they heard the sound of a mighty rushing wind and the people hearing the sound ran together.

They heard something that sounded like a tornado coming from this upper room and all the people ran to the courtyard and thought, 'what in the world is that? And they poured out on the balcony and began to preach to them in their native tongues. Wouldn't that be something? You ever been to New York city? Go to - Karen and I were in los angeles. We preached there two weeks ago and just - it was packed. Now - the white memorial church - but we spoke to people who were russian, vietnamese, from one of the many languages of india - everything from telagu to hindi to tamal, chinese, a lot of filipinos, spanish, german - I mean, literally, just that one day we ran into - and we didn't talk to everybody. Wouldn't it be something if, in l.

a., All of a sudden there was, on a calm day, the sound of a mighty rushing wind coming from building and all the people wondered, 'what in the world is going on?' They come together and Christians came pouring out preaching to them the word of God in their native tongues. I think God - that may not happen with the gift of tongues, but I think God is going to do something in the - do you think the latter rain of the holy spirit is going to have less manifestation of power than the former rain? Something's going to happen. Should we be surprised if God does it in the city? I'd be surprised if he didn't, because if he did it out in a one-horse town, who's going to hear about it? Does that make sense? So I think the Lord is going to pour out his spirit in a city. So it would be good for us to be around when that happens. That's why we can't abandon the cities.

God needs people that are going to be there to work. Alright, so apollos is one of these spirit-filled preachers who did a lot of good and he went - he could reach the cities. He went from place to place. Cities are a hurting place. The word 'city' is found 1300 times in the Bible - or some derivative of the word - Jeremiah 4:26: "I beheld, and indeed the fruitful land was a wilderness, and all its cities were broken down at the presence of the Lord, by his fierce anger.

" Have you ever read pilgrim's progress? How does the book begin? "A man by the name of" - Christian. Christian is fleeing from - destruction. Not just destruction - the city of destruction. By the way, he's quoting from the Bible. There's a phrase that says one of the cities will be the city of destruction.

And so, he's fleeing from the city of destruction and he's going to the canaan land and people often think about the cities as a place of misery and woe. And, wherever you've got sin - you've got a concentration of people, you have a concentration of sin. Sin brings suffering. Cities are going to be a concentration of suffering. Where is it going to be the hardest in the last days? In a lot of her counsel, Ellen white says, especially when the spirit of God is withdrawn, it is going to be very hard for those that are stuck in the cities at that time.

That's why the best thing is if you can work the outposts - live in the outposts and then work the cities. You know, it's easier today than it's ever been. Back when that counsel was written, people rode horses. And so, if you said, 'I'm going to go work downtown Sacramento today', well, you better take about five hours to get there. Maybe not that long but, you know what I'm saying? But now you can be there in 20 minutes/half an hour because of our cars.

And so, it's a little easier now to live in a more rural setting and work the city than it used to be. That's the ideal, but cities are hurting places. Exodus 2 - someone's going to read for me, in just a minute, Exodus 6, verse 5, okay? I'm going to read Exodus 2, verse 23, "and it came to pass in process of time, that the King of Egypt died: and the children of Israel" - there's - in that city of Israel - "sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob." Now, you know, even after all this groaning and this suffering - get to - now that's forty years later. Now katrina's going to read a verse - forty years later they're still suffering.

Go ahead, read Exodus 6:5. "And I have also heard the groaning of the children of Israel, whom the Egyptians keep in bondage; and I have remembered my covenant." So from the time Moses is born, when they've been enslaved, until God finally sends Moses back to liberate them, forty years have gone by. There are people who are suffering in the cities for years. What were the Israelite's doing for the Egyptians? They were building their cities. That's what it actually says - and it names ramses and a number of other cities that they were building.

And they made them serve with rigor - hard labor - there's a lot of suffering in the cities. Psalms 12:5, "for the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him." And because of the oppression of the city - cities are going to be places that will, in a special sense, feel the judgments in the last days. Job 24:12, "men groan from out of the city, and the soul of the wounded crieth out: yet God layeth not folly to them." So, I think we all know - you know, what's really hard, um - is when you see suffering in a city and you can't do anything about it. Now, I grew up in - I was born in los angeles, grew up in new york city, miami, boston - my mother lived in london - I've been to london, beijing, shanghai, manila, Mexico city, I mean, you name most of the major cities of the world - india - and you go down the streets like india - just take that and you see people just laying on the street. Any of you been to india? You see people by the hundreds laying on the street - children begging - they literally have nothing.

They beg for their food. They wash in public fountains and they're just so poor. And you want to stop and take every one of them home, but you can't. And it's just really a struggle sometimes to see all that suffering and that oppression. What's the best way - you ever heard the expression 'give a man a fish or teach him to fish, what's better? Teach him to fish.

When you go into the cities and you teach the Gospel, a lot of what's bringing the suffering on the people there is not knowing the Gospel and the principles of the Gospel. For example, in india, there is great wealth in india. India is, right now, going through - they're becoming a first world country when it comes to technology and industry and in some of the cities, you'll see such modern wealth and convenience in some of these cities - the new ones they built. You drive a few miles and you'll just see people dying of leprosy in the streets. One reason it's that way is because they don't know the Gospel.

Because of the indian religions, a lot of it hinduism, they have a fatalistic caste mentality that some of these poor untouchables - they, in their former lives, they did something wrong and they're getting what they deserve. And they don't intervene to try to help the poor that are right at their doors, because of their religion. When they learn Christianity they say, 'maybe we should care for our local poor suffering.' And you're changing the country by preaching the Gospel. The local people, who should have the primary responsibility, when they're middle-class wealthy people, for helping the poor at their doorstep. You know the parable of the rich man and Lazarus? He didn't seem to care about the poor man at his doorstep.

And so, we may not be able to go into all these cities and all these countries and help every poor person and every orphan and every widow, but when you preach the Gospel, you empower their neighbors to help the suffering among them. Does that make sense? Yes. And so, this is one of the important things: going into these communities, teaching them the principles of the Gospel and how Jesus reached them. Just closing off the section on hurting; Paul says - Romans 8:22 - "for we know that the whole creation groans and travails in pain together until now." Sowing and reaping in the cities - alright, let's go to Matthew - Matthew 13. This is a familiar parable.

"Then he spoke many things to them in parables, saying: 'behold, a sower went forth to sow. And when he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the fowls came and devoured them up: some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: but other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." And then, if you go to verse 18, Jesus then interprets what his parable says. "Hear ye.

..the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the Kingdom and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the wayside. But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. He also that received seed among the thorns is he that hearth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.

But he that received seed into the good ground is he that hearth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty." So, now if - someone's going to read for me psalm 126:6 in just a moment, okay? What's the point of the parable? Of the seed sown, how many different kinds of soil are mentioned? Four. What percentage sprang up? One out of four - well, I mean, what percent, I should say, bore fruit? See, one of them didn't even spring up - the ravens ate it. Three out of four sprang up, but only one out of four - twenty-five percent bore fruit. When you're working in the cities, you're scattering seed. By the way, you know what this is called? When they used to have a bag of seed and they went through the fields - they didn't have the mechanical sowers? They used to take a handful of grain and they would very deftly throw it and that was called 'broadcasting'.

That's where you get the word 'broadcasting'. And so, when - in media when we're doing broadcasting, it very much is related to spreading of the seed. Is all of it going to spring up? The more seed you spread, the better the chance you have someone's going to respond. Now, I understand that - I might be wrong on the statistics, but I understand that mormon missionaries, when they're trained, you know, bless their hearts, they're going door to door. It's admirable.

Would we all went door to door. But they know ahead of time that they have to go to - I forget what the number is - thirty - fifty homes before they secure one Bible study. And then, out of all the Bible studies, it's a small percentage that actually become a convert. So they don't get discouraged because they know going into it that you're going to have to sow seventy-five percent wasted grain, but twenty-five percent's going to sprout. I'm just making up the Numbers here, but you know what I mean? So when you're working in the city, you're not going to reach everybody.

And you can get frustrated standing on a corner handing out tracts and you see that eighty percent - ninety percent of the tracts that you hand out, half a block away they're in the garbage or on the ground. But you're not worried about that. You're concerned about that ten percent that take it home and read it and it changes their heart. Amen. You know, when we do public evangelism in a city - a little amazing fact for you - there is a formula, most evangelists know, that in the cities, for every thousand handbills that you send out, you will get two to three people that will come to the meeting.

What is that? Two to three out of a thousand? That's not even one percent. But do we stop doing it? No, we just say, 'if we want, you know, thirty people to come to our meeting, we need to send out ten thousand handbills. And it's just an accepted cost, but it works. You can almost always - if you've got a decent handbill, you know, you've got to - you can't send out a terrible handbill, but if you've got a good evangelistic handbill and you time when you send it out - now, the smaller the community - I've been in little towns where we got fifty people per thousand. So, in the small communities, there's nothing else to do.

'Hey, there's a meeting' - and there's no theater - there's nothing else to do - they go to the meeting. And so, that's true. But when you're in the cities, people are busy. I've already told you twice I was in 42nd and broadway a couple months ago, and somebody called and said, 'Pastor Doug, we can get you a deal advertising for Amazing Facts on nd street.' And I heard what the price was and I said, 'nope.' They said, 'no?' I said, 'no.' I said, 'that's wonderful but have you been to 42nd street? There is so much there's an absolute blizzard of advertisements. Everywhere you look lights flashing, noises, commercials, video, animation, signs - and people walking by don't even know it.

It's like a blur. So you can spend a lot of money so you can say, 'we're on 42nd street', but will anybody even notice? And so, you have to be selective. But in doing city evangelism, just know - like sowing seeds - of all the homeless people that you feed, or folks that may come to your clinic or folks that come to your health food restaurant, you're sowing seeds. You're not going to reach a hundred percent. You're not going to reach fifty percent.

You may not reach twenty percent, but you're excited about that ten percent and those ten percent, it says some of them produce thirty - sixty - a hundredfold. Amen. Some of those people that you reach will turn into an apollos that become mighty in the Lord - that will be reaching thousands of others. Amen. But you'll never know it unless you go out and you reach them.

I've never understood churches or conferences say, 'well, public evangelism is so expensive.' That, to me, is the craziest thing. That's like a business failure plan. Amen. Because, you know, if churches thrive and survive and spread based upon tithe income and you're not bringing in new tithe payers, then you're going backwards. You've got to always be investing in evangelism and that brings in more people and they end up supplying more resources.

The more souls that you win, the more preachers you convert, right? The more evangelists you reach. And so, you just can't get discouraged. Like a fisherman you're going to have a lot of fish that'll get away. You're going to have a lot of fish that slip the net and you can't say, 'oh, I'm going to give up fishing. I fished all day and I didn't catch anything.

' Didn't Peter and the apostles say that? 'Fished all day, didn't catch anything.' You may find, if you're a colporteur, if you're working in these cities and you're handing out literature and you're selling books, you may go days where nothing happens. But then, you sell a book to somebody, and it turns into a george vandeman. And you've just got to keep the big picture in mind. So it's like that sowing/reaping. Alright, please read for us psalm 126:6.

Psalm 126:6, "he who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for sowing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing him sheaves with him." Doing city ministry you might shed a lot of tears and think, 'I don't know if we're getting anywhere. We've been paying to broadcast. We've been doing this food ministry. We've been doing this health ministry and we'll' - oh, you're just weeping - 'all this work?' But what's the promise? "...shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him." You may not see your harvest until you get to the Kingdom. But if you're sowing seed, Christ promised: 'my word will not return to me void.

' If you cast your bread on the water, it will return to you. You will have blessings. Jesus said - Matthew 10:22 - "and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in this city," stop doing city ministry.

Is that what he said? "...when they persecute you in this city flee to another." And then Jesus makes an interesting statement, "for assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before The Son of man comes." That's an interesting statement. He said, 'look, you're going to have city ministry - you'll never finish it. Even when I come, you'll have not finished your city ministry.' There's so much to do. The harvest is great. What's the problem? Laborers are few.

So there's a lot of work to be done. Alright, someone's going to read for me Galatians 6:2. Hafdis? I'm going to read first. This is the section make it personal - what's going to reach them? If we have love. John 15:12, "this is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.

" When people do come in through our health ministry, through our radio ministry, through the tv ministry, through the literature ministry - through whatever it is you're doing in your community - they finally show up at church one day, what do they need to see? Love. Well, hopefully they see it in your ministry as well. Please read for us Galatians 6:2. "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." When they see that you care about them. James 1:27, "pure and undefiled religion before God and the father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.

" And then John 13:35, "by this will all men know that you are my disciples," - what's the rest of that? - "If you have love for one another." And so, everybody out there is looking for the real thing and if we've got love for one another people are going to know that we're his disciples. So how many does the Lord want to save? All. Reaching out to the city - 2 Peter 3:9, "the Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering to usward, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." Some people believe in predestination - that God only wants some to be saved. The Bible says he wants everybody to be saved. Amen.

1 Timothy 2:4, God - "who will have all men to be saved," - he wants everyone to be saved - to come to the truth. Jesus wants - he loves all these people in the city. You know John 3:16? "Whosoever believes in him will not perish." God wants us to reach the 'whosoevers'. Amen. Alright, running out of time here.

I'm going to read something from medical ministry, page 304, "there is no change in the message that God has sent in the past that the work in the cities is essential. It is the essential work for this time. When the cities are worked as God would have them worked, the results will be setting in operation a mighty movement such as yet we have not witnessed. So we need to see that outpouring of the Spirit again. And, you know, I thought I'd end with a positive story about city ministry.

Look at Philip. Acts 8:5 - my last verse - "then Philip went down to the city of samaria, and preached Christ unto them" and multitudes believed with one accord. They heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did." You know, I think if you're working in the cities, God does miracles for you. Amen. "For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.

And there was great joy in that city." There was great revival through the preaching of the word and great joy in the city. It kind of starts out with the city of cain - great misery. But, you know, there were cities Jesus went through and when he got done there wasn't one sick person in the city. Amen. Not in his home town.

They said, 'oh, we know Jesus. He grew up here. What does he know?' And it says he couldn't do many miracles there. But the places that received him? Great joy in the city. Well, we are out of time for our lesson.

I want to remind you that we have a study - it's talking about, you know, we're all going to live in a city someday. You'll have a country home and you'll have a city home. And if you'd like to know about that city home it's called a colossal city in space. It talks about the new Jerusalem. Just call and send for this and you can ask for it.

It's offer #115 and the number is 866-788-3966. We'll be happy to send you a free offer. That's 866-study-more. God bless you, friends. We are out of time.

Don't forget, in two more weeks we're going to begin our new quarterly dealing with the book of job and that's going to be really good. And God bless you 'til we study His Word together again next time. 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.

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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.

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More than 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. Then 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.

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