How Shall We Wait?

Scripture: Romans 12:11-13, Revelation 21:1-4, 1 Corinthians 3:6-8
Date: 09/24/2016 
Lesson: 13
"How are we waiting for Jesus to return? That is, what are we doing in our lives that reveals the reality of our belief in His return?"
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Good morning, friends. Welcome again to Sabbath school study hour. A very warm welcome to our extended Sabbath school class watching across the country and, yes, around the world. We're glad that you're part of our study time together. Also, a warm welcome to the members and those visiting here at the Granite Bay church - glad to see you here for Sabbath school this morning.

We've been studying through a lesson quarterly entitled the role of the church in the community and we've actually come to the end of this quarter's lessons and so we're on #13 - lesson #13 - and it's entitled how shall we wait? Now, for our friends who are watching, if you'd like to follow along with our study for today, just go to the amazing facts website - just - and you can download lesson #13 and you can study along with us. We do have a free offer that goes along with our study today. It's an Amazing Facts study guide entitled right on time and this is the free offer for anybody [in North America] who would call and ask for it. We'll be happy to send it to you. The number to call is -788-3966 and ask for offer #131.

That number again is 866-study-more - 788-3966 - and ask for offer #131 and we'll be happy to send that to you. The timeless theme, earth and heaven will pass away; it's not a dream, God will make all things new that day. Gone is the curse from which I stumbled and fell, evil is banished to eternal hell. No more night, no more pain, no more tears, never crying again. Praises to the great, 'I am'; we will live in the light of the risen lamb.

See all around, now the nations bow down to sing, the only sound is the praises to Christ, our king. Slowly the names from the book are read, I know the King so there's no need to dread. No more night, no more pain, no more tears, never crying again. Praises to the great, 'I am'; we will live in the light of the risen lamb. See over there is a mansion prepared for me, where I can live with may Savior eternally.

No more night, no more pain, no more tears, never crying again. Praises to the great, 'I am'; we will live in the light of the risen lamb. We will live in the light of the risen lamb. Hallelujah to the risen lamb. Amen.

Happy Sabbath everyone. Happy Sabbath. Please join us in singing hymn #528 - a shelter in the time of storm. No matter what difficulties you may be struggling with, or what may be going on in your life, remember that the Lord is your mighty rock, he is your cooling shade, he is your faithful guide and he will surely sustain you to the end. We will sing all four verses.

the Lord's our rock, in him we hide, a shelter in the time of storm; secure whatever may betide, a shelter in the time of storm. Mighty rock in a weary land, cooling shade on the burning sand, faithful guide for the pilgrim band - a shelter in the time of storm. A shade by day, defense by night, a shelter in the time of storm; no fears alarm, no foes affright, a shelter in the time of storm. Mighty rock in a weary land, cooling shade on the burning sand, faithful guide for the pilgrim band - a shelter in the time of storm. The raging floods may round us beat, a shelter in the time of storm; we find in God a safe retreat; a shelter in the time of storm.

Mighty rock in a weary land, cooling shade on the burning sand, faithful guide for the pilgrim band - a shelter in the time of storm. O rock divine, o refuge dear, a shelter in the time of storm; be thou our helper, ever near, a shelter in the time of storm. Mighty rock in a weary land, cooling shade on the burning sand, faithful guide for the pilgrim band - a shelter in the time of storm. Thank you for singing with us. Pastor Ross will now have our opening prayer.

Let us bow our heads. Dear Father in Heaven, thank you once again that we're able to study together and we're talking about an important subject - what we ought to do as we wait for the glorious coming of Jesus. So we pray that you would lead us by your spirit into a clearer understanding of our duty as Christians ever looking for the blessed hope. For we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen. Amen.

Our lesson today will be brought to us by Pastor Doug. Thank you, Pastor Ross. Morning, class. Morning. How's everybody? Great.

I think he already mentioned that we have a free offer dealing with right on time and that's appropriate because our study today is the last study in this quarterly talking about 'how do we wait for the Lord's return?' And you've heard me say this is the last in this quarter - that means next week we're starting - at least in our class here - the beginning of our new quarter's lesson. And I'm kind of excited about this - it's on the book of job. Those of you who are regular members here at Granite Bay know, we just got done with a series about job. I'm hoping I haven't forgotten everything so I'll be better prepared to teach. Matter of fact, I think we've got that series available for the teachers if they would like to better prep for that series on the book of job.

Today's lesson is lesson #13, how do we wait? We have a memory verse and the memory verse comes to us from Romans chapter 12, verse 11 and it's - here in the lesson it's from the new international version - not my favorite version, but so we can all sound the same when we read it, if you want to read it out of your quarterly, here we go. You ready? "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

" This verse is talking about just, sort of, an overview of what we're to be doing in the Christian life to stay busy in God's work. You know, this lesson starts out with an interesting quote from the Spirit of prophecy where Ellen white was referring to two churches and, you know, you can find it hard to believe, but the two churches are oakland and san francisco. Today, if you go to oakland and san francisco, our churches there are really struggling for survival. Matter of fact, the northern California conference and the central California conference are working together in harmony to try to bring a revival to that area because there are some active churches there. But for the amount of people there, there were actually bigger adventist churches back in Ellen white's day than there are today.

And it's - they - those churches were so busy - you just read about some of what was going on back then and it says they were 'buzzing with activity, they were involved in visiting the sick and the destitute, they started homes for the orphans, they helped the unemployed. They nursed the sick, they taught the Bible, they had a health food restaurant, a literature ministry, classes on healthful living - they had special meetings during the week, a school for children, missions were maintained, health food store, vegetarian café, and they went down to the port to work with the sailors coming and going and had large evangelistic meetings. So she referred to these churches as beehives of activity. And that'd be a great format for all Christian churches, especially near the borders of the cities. But what are we supposed to do in the meantime while we're waiting for the Lord to come? I faintly remember hearing an illustration, years ago, about this large department store in chicago or New York, and they were looking for a store manager.

And the owner of the store set up an appointment - he was interviewing different store managers - and they would, one by one, come to the place of interview, which was strange because they brought them in the back of the department store and they'd have them wait in this warehouse inventory room, which wasn't far from the owner's office. And this man arrived to interview for the job and the secretary came out and said, 'you know, mr. Williamson is busy right now. If you don't mind, can you please wait here? It may be awhile so just make yourself comfortable.' Well, he sat down and he's waiting for his interview for this managerial position in a department store and he begins to look around the inventory room and it's rather disheveled, which surprised him because the department store was known for being a high-end store. Everything was very neat and crisp inside the store, but the back room was sort of a mess.

You know, there was a table with some clothes that looked like clothes they were going to sell, but they were just in a pile. And then they had - there were books on another table and they were all, kind of, piled up. And there was a rack and some clothes were on the floor next to the rack and he sat there for awhile and pretty soon he got tired of sitting so he stood up and he couldn't help himself, so he walked over and he decided, 'well, I may as well stack these books in order.' And so he kind of started stacking the books and he hoped he wouldn't get in trouble for it. And he stacked the books in order and made it look a little nicer. And he looked at the clothes that were all, sort of, disheveled in a pile and he pulled them out and shook them and folded them and put them in some kind of an order.

And then he saw some other clothes and he began to hang them on the rack and he just went around the room and he - it was an hour or so before the visit. And finally he heard the secretary's door open and he went and he sat down real quick and she came out and she looked around the room and he went in for the interview. First thing the guy said to him was, 'you're hired.' He said, 'well, I haven't really shown you my resume and my qualifi - my experience.' He said, 'no, we were kind of waiting for somebody that was going to fix up that room.' He said - he said, 'we've got a lot of people that want a job and order people around. We want somebody that's going to know what needs to be done and do it.' And a lot of Christians I meet are so preoccupied with the prophecies and the end and the second coming, and they want to know how to run out in the hills and save themselves and they're not really thinking about 'what do I do in the meantime to save the lost?' We've got a work to do. Jesus said, 'until he comes, we're to do our best to make the world a better place and show people what Christianity is.

Now, we talked a couple of weeks ago about voting and people think, 'the world's ending, why bother voting?' And the idea, for a Christian, should be, 'yes, we know how it's going to end. We know that someday America, who started like a lamb, is going to speak like a dragon. But what do we do in the meantime?' Do we try to help the dragon? Or do we try to prolong the lamb? And so, I think we ought to do everything we can, as long as we can, to try to preserve freedom and do as much as we can to help other people until Jesus comes. Amen. We need to stay busy.

This is what our lesson is dealing with today. And we've got a number of verses. Matter of fact, I think in a few moments I'm going to have somebody read a verse from Luke 19 - will you be, hafdis? Okay. I'm going to read Matthew 24 - and this might be a moment before we get to Luke - but look at Matthew 24, verses 4 to 6. When people think about the signs of Jesus' coming, we automatically get excited about the idea of the world ending, the time of trouble, running for the hills, and what are the signs? And we forget that Jesus said, 'don't get too excited, you may be here awhile.

' Now, I'm paraphrasing, but you see for yourself. Christ says - Matthew , verse 4 - "Jesus answered and said to them: 'take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

'" We always talk about the wars, rumors of wars, false Christs - and we all bunch that together in the last days. Christ said, 'this is going to happen from my day 'til the end - 'til the second coming.' Have there been wars and rumors of wars? All - he said, 'don't let every war that comes along make you think, 'this is it!' He said - I mean, we've had two world wars. What do you think people in - Christians around the world thought during world war i? Don't you think they were thinking, 'this is it!' Come on, let's be honest. Whole world's engaged in a war. And then world war ii - was bigger than world war I and the weapons were more deadly and more people died.

And then when the atomic bombs went off and we entered the nuclear age and the cold war. Everyone was just waiting. They figured if Jesus doesn't come, someone's going to hit that red button and it's going to all be over. So everybody thought that the second coming was just right there at the cusp. Jesus told us in Matthew 24, 'you may be here awhile.

' Why do you think the Lord says, 'he that endures to the end will be saved'? Right? There's something that must be endured. Go ahead, please, read for us Luke 19 - I think it's 12 and 13. "Therefore he said: 'a certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom and to return. So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas, and said to them, 'do business till I come.'" Now, it's interesting the way the King James says this: "occupy till I come" - do business - stay busy. And he gives them money - gives them gifts - talents - minas is another way to say 'money' - another form of money - and he's saying, 'invest these resources I've given you 'till I come back.

I'm going into' - what kind of country? Far country. If you were going in a far country back then, they didn't have jets and if you went to a far country it meant a long trip. And if you went into a far country and you didn't have internet and telephone, you didn't know exactly when they were coming back. And so he's basically saying, 'I'm going. I'm going to be gone awhile.

I'm wanting you to invest and' - you know, the other parable saying, 'I'll repay you when I come back.' Well, that's what the Lord's told us. He says, 'occupy. Stay busy.' Now, our church is involved in a building program and buildings, especially these days, they're not getting cheaper. It's expensive. And, every now and then, I'll hear somebody say, 'but the Lord is coming so soon.

Why would we want to build?' What would happen - look at our hospitals and our universities and our schools and our publishing houses. What if we had said that all along the way? Where would we be now? There's a delicate balance for Christians between being ready every day as though it could be your last because, by the way, it could be your last. We never know, right? Every day's a gift. On the way to church this morning Karen and I got cut off - I mean, somebody totally didn't see me. They not only changed lanes, they did a u-turn right into me and I had to slam on my brakes and honk - and I usually don't honk my horn but, I mean, I - and even after they saw us, we were - had to come to a full stop - they kept their turn going.

They just turned around and just - I don't know. But, you know, it'll make your heart stop for a second when something like that happens and you think it's - but for the grace of God none of us would be here. So none of us knows. So you - but you don't want to live your life in fear and you don't want to live your life never building - never investing - never advancing. What do you do if you're a Christian? Should you think about retirement? Should you save for retirement? Is it a lack of faith? No, it doesn't mean you don't think Jesus is coming again if you save for retirement.

You need to plan like you could be here a thousand years. And if the Lord comes and you've saved for retirement, he won't punish you. If the Lord comes and you're in the process of building a church, he won't punish you, because he told us to 'occupy 'till I come.' Right? We're supposed to stay busy and continue. Let me give you another verse here - 2 Thessalonians 2, verse - 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, "now, brethren," - Paul is writing. This is one of the places where he said you're getting so excited about the imminence of the Lord's coming that you're going too far - "now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that day will not come unless the falling away comes first," - now what is he saying? He's saying, 'look, everyone's getting you all shaken up and you're thinking the day of the Lord is either already come or it's about to come.' He says, 'no, it hasn't come yet. Some things have to happen that haven't happened.' And he talks about a major falling away and he talks about a falling away in the church. Now that has happened. But do we know that there's still other things that need to happen before the Lord comes? Yes. That doesn't mean that you're supposed to relax, because like I said, we never know.

Final events are going to happen quickly. Let me give you something to think about: if you had gone to the children of Israel a week before Moses showed up and said, 'let my people go.' If you had gone to them and said, 'hey, I've got good news.' 'What's that?' 'I believe we're all going to be leaving Egypt in about three weeks.' They'd say, 'you're crazy. We've been here for hundreds of years. We could never get out of here in three weeks. Pharaoh's not in any mindset to let us go.

His family, they all feel the same way. The political climate, well, they'll never let us go. And think of all the packing that would be involved and how are we going to get ready? And all the legislation - get passed - in order' - and they could think of all the reasons it wasn't going to happen, but when Moses showed up and God began to rain those plagues on Egypt, did things start happening quickly? Are there going to be plagues in the last days too? Yes. Don't underestimate how rapidly things could happen. Have you ever seen laws pass quickly when people are afraid? Look what happened in world war ii after pearl harbor - well, not all of you were here.

I wasn't here. My brother was born on pearl harbor day - December 7th. He wasn't here then either so, I mean, that's what? 1942 - Is that right? It was after world war ii started but we weren't in the war yet. '41 - '42? How many say '42? (Laughter) do I have a 43? (Laughter) any one here positive about what date that is? Was anyone alive then? '41 - '41 - Okay, thank you. I wondered when I said '42 - I think it was '41 - yeah.

What was I saying? Oh, look at all the things that happened. They started to make laws, they began to ration - they started rationing even things like rubber for tires and they - people got rounded up and put in internment camps just almost overnight because of fear. Just all these laws - look at - after 9/11 - did things happen when you fly? Look how quickly laws pass. When people are afraid things can happen very quickly. But because we don't know exactly when that is, we need to plan like we could be here awhile and we need to plan based on what we see today going on around us.

Stay busy for the Lord, amen? What do you want him to see you doing when he comes? Do you want to have - do you want to be sitting on your hands when Jesus comes, waiting for his coming? Or would you rather have him see you busy - involved in doing mission work? There are some things you probably wouldn't want the Lord to come during. You know what I mean? Are you doing anything you wouldn't want the Lord to come at that time? Don't do it. You never know the day or the hour. Be ready always - isn't that what it says? Alright, revival and reformation while we wait. I'll start out with a quote - it's in your lesson - from the book selected messages, book 1, page 121, "a revival of true Godliness among us is the greatest and most urgent of all of our needs.

To seek this should be our first work." What should be the first work? A revival. Now something's going to happen. You know, our church is in a laodicean condition. How many agree? How many feel you are in a laodicean condition. You know, that wasn't near as many hands.

(Laughter) when I asked if the church was in a laodicean condition about 80 percent of the hands went up. When I asked if you were in a laodicean condition, very few hands went up. I'll put my hand up. Compared to where we need to be, I think we're all a little bit Lukewarm and we need the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I'm not sure whether Godly living will bring persecution or persecution will bring Godly living, but something's going to happen.

Bible says all that live Godly will suffer persecution. And nothing gets the devil madder than the holiness of the church. But sometimes, the church doesn't appreciate the importance of holiness until we're going through trials. So I'm not sure how it'll happen, but something's going to happen that is going to cause - is going to trigger a revival. Now there's nothing that would prevent that revival from happening now.

'If my people, which are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven. I will forgive their sin. I will heal their land.' You know that verse there in 2 Chronicles - 2 Chronicles 7:14 or is it 14:7? 7:14. 7:14 - Thank you. I've mentioned I'm dyslexic, haven't i? With Numbers.

What brought about the times when God's people sought his face and turned from their wicked ways? I remember, in the days of jehoshophat, three nations - the moabites, and the ammonites, and the edomites all gathered at one time to attack Israel and they all gathered together. The Israelites, they humbled themselves, they prayed, they sought the face of the Lord. There was a revival and then God worked a miracle for them. In the days of hezekiah, the assyrians were at the wall threatening - they destroyed all the surrounding nations. They destroyed Israel - the northern kingdom - and they said, 'you're next.

' And the people all gathered. Hezekiah put the letter before the Lord. They repented of their sins. They sought God's face. There was a revival and God delivered them from their enemies.

It might take some trials for us to really get on our knees and seek God's face, but something has to happen that's going to wake us up and shake us up and get us out of our Lukewarm condition. A revival is our greatest need. Let me read something to you - and this is a long passage. Someone's going to read for me, in just a moment, 2 Corinthians :17, okay? 2 Peter 3, speaking of the second coming, Peter says here in his second book, chapter - I'll start with verse 3 - "knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts," - now I've got to just pause right here. Peter says there'll be scoffers in the last days.

What's a scoffer? Mockers - people who are cynical. Is Peter talking about cynical people in the world that will mock what we believe, or is he talking about cynical people among our own? There have always been cynical people in the world that mock the Christian beliefs. There were in Paul's day. There were in Peter's day. I believe Peter's talking about even from among yourselves cynics will arise, mockers will arise saying, 'yeah, yeah, yeah, we've heard - second coming - the Lord's in his sanctuary and Jesus is going to come out and the plagues - yeah, yeah, yeah.

' And they're going to say, 'all things continue as they were from' - I think he's talking about the church. I think he's talking about a day when, even among those who claim to be believers, they're going to be skeptical about the second coming. Are we there yet? Yes. I think we are, yeah. And it says they're walking after their own lusts.

Why? They doubt the second coming - "saying, 'where is the promise of his coming? For since The Father's fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.'" The founders of our movement believed in the imminence of our Lord's coming and their children and grandchildren have all fallen asleep and he's still not here yet. Here we are a hundred and seventy years later, all things continue as they were from the beginning. "For this they willfully forget: that by the Word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water." How far in advance did God tell Noah before the flood came? A hundred and twenty years. And when Noah began to build and proclaim 'the flood is coming!' They probably started, 'ooh, wow' - some even maybe helped him build the ark. But after a year went by and after a decade went by, and after a century went by - no flood - you know what they said? 'All things continue as they were from the beginning.

It's never rained. It's never going to rain. You're crazy.' And but then he says, 'but it did come.' They're wilfully ignorant - they're forgetting the past "by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgment and perdition of unGodly men. But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

" So if it seems like it's taking longer than it should, God doesn't measure time the way we do. Our lives are like vapor. Our lives are like grass that springs up and a week later it's dead. I'm using Bible metaphors. A day with the Lord is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day.

Now, you've maybe heard me say before, I don't think it's a coincidence that creation goes back approximately 6,000 years and we're going to spend a thousand years with the Lord in heaven. And God has a pattern of you work six days and then you rest the seventh. 6,000 Years God has been out sowing the seed of the Gospel. During the one thousand years we live and reign with Christ, it's like a millennial Sabbath. This is not new with me.

I think j.n. Andrews taught what they call the millennial week - Jesus coming to harvest, just like he's harvesting from sowing the seed. There's a number of principles in the Bible that talk about that. the Lord is longsuffering to us, not willing that any should perish but all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come.

Peter says it will come 'as a thief in the night' - when it happens we're going to think that it's too soon - 'in which the heavens pass away with a great noise' - I've got to pause: the day of the Lord's coming as a thief - that's the secret rapture? You know the story of the secret rapture - you'll be walking along and all of a sudden it says 'left behind' - you know, tim lehay just died recently. I don't know if you know that - the author of the left behind books - the idea that all of a sudden people are going to disappear. You know, pilots are going to pop out of jets and drivers out of trucks and cars'll careen off the road and - and, you know, someone'll be cooking your breakfast and then poof! They're gone and there's a pile of clothes on the floor and your breakfast is there burning and just, you know, all these folks just - and then life's going to go on for seven more years. And they say this is when the Lord comes as a thief. Listen to what Peter says about what happens to the world when the Lord comes as a thief: "but the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.

" Does it sound like life goes on as normal after he comes as a thief? Or is it cataclysmic and everybody knows? It's the end. When he comes as a thief, that's it. Both the earth and the works in it burned up - "therefore, since these things will be dissolved" - now this gets back to our lesson - how do we wait? Since all this is going to be burned up, "what manner of persons ought we be in holy conduct and Godliness, looking for and hastening" - by our Godliness it'll probably hasten the persecution - "looking for and hastening" by our preaching the Gospel in all the world. Isn't there a verse in Matthew 24 that says, 'and when the Gospel of the Kingdom is preached in all the world as a witness, then the end will come'? So if we're helping preach the Gospel in all the world, we're helping, in a sense, hasten the day of his coming. "Looking for and hastening the day of God in which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements melt with fervent heat.

Nevertheless, we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. You therefore, beloved" - look forward - if you look forward to these things, be diligent to be found by him in peace without spot and blameless." Twice he says, 'if you really believe in the second coming you ought to conduct yourself with holy conversation and Godliness.' He says, 'if you believe these things, be found by him in peace without spot and blameless.' How do we wait? By living Godly, holy lives. Holiness is the greatest thing that we could strive for. Please read for me 2 Corinthians 5:17. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.

" Have you heard people say before, 'Christians aren't perfect, they're just forgiven'? It's sort of like a big spray can that they can gloss over unGodly living. 'I'm just forgiven.' The only difference between Christians and the lost is one group has decided to ask for God's forgiveness, but they continue living like everyone else - there'll be no difference. The Bible does not support that. The Bible tells us that Christians are radically different. It says we are a peculiar people.

We are to live holy lives. It tells us that we're to be found of him without spot and blameless. Most of all, it says, 'old things are passed away. Behold, all things are become new.' - Because you've got a new heart, you're a new creature, right? So this idea that Christians are just forgiven, is that true? It makes a good bumper sticker, but it's not a true bumper sticker. Christians are not 'just forgiven'.

Matthew 25, verse 1 - let's go there real quick. "Then the Kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels" - what does that oil represent? Holy Spirit. It's the Spirit.

"But while the bridegroom was delayed," - now that ought to tell you something. Is there going to be the appearance of delay before Jesus comes back? Yes. Can you think of other stories in the Bible connected with the second coming that say there might be some appearance of delay? At the end of Matthew - what's Matthew 24 about? Second coming. You know what he says at the end of Matthew 24? 'If that evil servant says in his heart, 'my Lord delays his coming.'' And during this time of delay - or apparent delay - Peter says, 'they'll say - mockers'll say, 'all things seem to continue as they were from the beginning.'' You remember when Moses delayed coming down the mountain? The children of Israel were being tested and they made a golden calf. Did he - did Moses come? Yes.

Does the bridegroom eventually come? Yes. Do you remember when Saul - I'm sorry, when Samuel, the prophet, told king Saul, 'wait for me at gilgal before you go to battle with the philistines. Wait seven days and I'll come to you.' And at the beginning of the seventh day, Samuel wasn't there and Saul got tired of waiting. Samuel was delayed. And in the delay, king Saul was being tested.

He said, 'well, look, you know, the philistines are gathering and the people are frightened and we're going to get involved in a battle and someone needs to offer sacrifice and, since I'm the King, I'm next in line. I'll do it.' He should not have done that. Only the priest was supposed to do it. And Samuel finally came. He came the seventh day like he said.

Saul just got impatient during the delay and Samuel said, 'you were being tested. Since you failed the test, you are going to lose the Kingdom.' Could it be, in the last days, there'll be another apparent delay? Doesn't it say in Habakkuk, 'though it tarries, wait for it; it will surely come'? It will not tarry. It appears to tarry. And so, God is telling us - especially adventists - it's going to look like he's late. I remember, during 1999, everyone had millennial fever - y2k.

They were sure this was it. People took all their money out of the bank and folks were sure it was time to go to the hills and - we had great participation in net 99 because people thought it was the last evangelistic program and they got involved - some of them out of guilt - 'I ought to do one before I die.' And - but here we are now, in and one of the signs of the nearness of Christ's coming is if you're real quiet, you can hear a collective snore in the church. Sometimes you really can hear snoring in the church. (Laughter) sleeping - an appearance of delay. And then the cry says, 'behold, the bridegroom comes' and they wake up.

But, during the delay, some of them, their lamps burned out and they did not have a reserve of oil. We need to be storing away the Word of God. The reason Noah survived the flood is there was a reserve of food in the ark - and we need to store away. Alright, the mission of the church while we wait - James 2 - if you look, we're at verses 14 to 24 - talking about being useful - working for the Lord. We - you know, we're so scared about the word 'works'.

If you're Christian and you talk about some - talk to someone else about good works, what do they call you? Legalist. A legalist. If you say we need to be involved in good works, you're called a pharisee. Are good works bad? No. You know, you'd almost think, the way you hear some pastors talk, that if you have the audacity to say anything about good works, you should be ashamed of yourself because you are a legalist.

You are a pharisee. The Bible has a lot of good things to say about good works. Good works are not bad. Let me give you a few verses here. James 2:14, he says, "what does if profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, 'depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by" - and, you know what this is an allusion to? You know the parable of the good samaritan.

This man falls among thieves. He's a jew. Two of his own church members walk by. They don't give him anything practical for his very serious crisis. Maybe they pray for him, but they don't do anything.

They say, 'be warmed and filled.' But finally, the samaritan does something and he's the one doing the good works and he's not even the jew. And so, this is kind of what James is referring to. But if you say to your brother or sister that are hungry and naked and destitute, "'depart in peace, be warmed and filled,' but you do not give them the things that are needed for the body, what does it profit?" - You say, 'oh, but I've got faith.' - Thus also faith by itself, if it does not - faith by itself if it does not have works, is dead." The reason is, real faith will be accompanied by works. We don't do the works to be saved, we do the works because we are saved and we have faith. So James is saying, 'if you look and you don't see any works, you better question your faith.

Does that under - does that make sense? "Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, 'well, you have faith and I have works.' Show me your faith without your works, I will show you my faith by my works. You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the devils believe - and tremble!" - They're not saved.

Just believing there's a God is not the kind of faith God says we need to have. "But do you know, o foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?" The Bible says "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted it to him for righteousness." How did Abraham, evidently - or later - show his belief in God? He put his son on the altar. Abraham believed God and he was accounted as righteous and was called the friend of God. You see then that a man is justified by works and not by faith only." Alright, read for me, 1 Peter - well, I'll give you a second to catch that. You're going to read, in just a moment, 1 Peter 2:12.

I'm going to read Titus 2:11. "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying" - this is talking about grace - we're saved by grace - "denying unGodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and Godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for himself his own special people, zealous for good works." That's a long verse, but it says he wants to purify us from every lawless deed and make us his own people, zealous - what does zealous mean? Enthusiastic about good works. Is it okay to be excited about wanting to serve the Lord, do good things, stay busy, make an impression for the lost world? Alright, go ahead, read for us 1 Peter 2:12. "Having your conduct honorable among the gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation." You know, Jesus said, 'let your light so shine before men that they may see what? Your good works. Jesus said we ought to let our light shine so they can see our good works and glorify us? Glorify your father, which is in heaven.

We should not run and duck and hide from the idea of good works, the church should be known for doing good works in the community. This is what Jesus said. It's what Peter said. It's not a bad thing. Let me give you another one - Titus 3:8 - "this is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works.

" If you believe in God - faith - maintain good works. Ephesians 2 - now, you know what the principle verse is that people use against good works? This verse - Ephesians 2:8 - let me read it to you, "for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast." And people stop there. Have you heard that? Read the next verse. "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works," - people never read the rest of the verse. They use this to say, 'don't worry about any good works.

Don't worry about your life. Don't worry about what your church is doing. It's just faith that saves us.' Well, it's true it's faith that saves us, but if it's a saving faith, it will be seen in a changed life and doing good things. Does that make sense? You've got to read the whole verse. Alright, last section.

No, I've got two sections to go. Preparing for the harvest while we wait - 1 Corinthians 3:6 and - now who's got that verse? Do you have that? What verse do you have? Revelation 18:2. Oh good. Okay. 1 Corinthians 3:6 and 7, "I planted, apollos watered, but God gave the increase.

So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase." We're all to be involved in the harvest. Jesus compares soul winning to farming. Does a farmer get food instantly when he plants it? It depends on what you're planting. If you're planting trees, you may not get fruit for years. If you want to feel like a successful farmer, plant turnips.

I remember when I first planted - moved to the hills - first planted my first garden, I planted some turnip seeds. I planted them way too thick because they came up like grass and finally, when I was able to pull up the first little turnips I was so excited because you can actually have a crop in two weeks. But what you'll have is a turnip. (Laughter) but if you want oranges, it takes a little while. If you want wheat, you've got to wait a few months.

And you've got to weed things. You've got to, you know, plant it. You've got to work the soil. Farming takes time and then you get a harvest. Soul winning, it takes good works in the community and then you all work together and then you get a harvest.

Now, is the problem that there's no people out there that want to hear the Gospel? Or is the problem is we don't have enough workers working in the field? Luke 10:1, Jesus said - let me read it, "after these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before his face into every city and place where he himself was about to go." He sent out workers. These aren't disciples - I mean these aren't apostles, they're just disciples - "then he said to them, 'the harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few;" - well he had seventy evangelists and he says it's too few - "therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs among wolves." We're to pray that the Lord'll send laborers into the harvest. I'll tell you what, let's - I'm going to go to the last section here where it says the wait is over. You're going to read for me Revelation 18:2.

There are two principle cities that are at odds in the Bible. You've got Jerusalem and Babylon. Babel was a city built in rebellion to God and God cursed it because they were building it to make a name for themselves. It represented counterfeit man-made religion - salvation by works. They were going to climb this tower and save themselves.

And then God instructed David to build a city of peace called Jerusalem, later - first known by melchizedek, king of salem - city of peace. Revelation, you've got the new Jerusalem and spiritual Babylon. Go ahead, read for us, please, Revelation 18:2. Revelation 18:2, "and he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, 'Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!" This is talking about a city that is a monument to opposition to God's kingdom, contrasted with Revelation 21:2, "then i, John, saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, 'behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people.

God himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be nor more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away." You've got the woman clothed with light - the new Jerusalem; you've got the woman clothed with scarlet and purple - and Babylon. You've got these two economies that are completely diametric opposite poles - one of Godliness and righteousness and light and glory; and the other one is speaking about that which is cursed and doomed in the Bible. And our job is to be working to call people out.

He said, 'Babylon is fallen, come out of her my people.' We are to call people out of Babylon into God's church - the new Jerusalem - and that's the final harvest. Some day, then, we're not going to have to wait anymore, the Lord'll be here. Amen? But in the meantime - we're all looking forward to that day, but in the meantime, we need to occupy until he comes. Amen. Well, we've completed our lesson on the role of the church in the community.

I hope you've been blessed by that, friends. Don't forget: next week we're going to be doing our first study in our lesson on the book of job - one of my favorite books in the Bible. And if you'd like to know how you can get a copy of one of those, you can simply go to the adventist church Sabbath school website or and they should be posting those. You can download it. Visit your neighborhood Seventh-day Adventist Church and I'm sure they'll give you one and invite you to come and study with them.

God bless you 'til we study His Word together 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. 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. Friends, if you're scared of snakes, this may not be for you. I'm here at a reptile park outside of durbin, south africa and I'm holding my friend here, who's a red-tail boa.

Snakes are found all over the world and they come in all sizes. Snakes can be found through the trees, they crawl on the ground, they live under the ground, and they swim in the water. Very interesting creatures. Some snakes are venomous. Not my friend here.

But the black mamba - very poisonous. Matter of fact, their bite is often referred to as 'the kiss of death'. They can grow 15-feet long and can travel up to seven miles an hour. They don't call them black mambas because of the color of their skin, but the interior of their mouth is black. Snakes also come in all sizes - like this boa or a python - they can grow to great sizes.

Matter of fact, in south America, they found some fossils of a snake that they call 'titaniboa'. They believe it was as big as -feet long and weighed as much as a car. Say 'cheese!' A lot of people are scared of snakes. I used to live on a mountain in a cave and I ran into snakes frequently. They never bothered me unless I was bothering them.

In the Bible, the snake is often a symbol of the devil. In reality, it's just a symbol. They're animals just like other animals, but it says they were cursed to go upon their belly because they were the first medium that the devil used to tempt adam and eve. In the book of Numbers chapter 21, it tells the story of how, when the children of Israel were going through the wilderness, they began to complain about God's manna and it says the Lord allowed these fiery serpents to go among the people and many were bitten and the venom was deadly. I should probably mention at this point, that bread they were complaining about is a symbol for the Word of God.

As many of the people were dying from this plague of serpents, they went unto Moses and said, 'what shall we do?' God told Moses to make a bronze serpent and put it on a pole and lift it up, that whoever looked upon the serpent, they would be healed of their venom. This is why it's so important, because Jesus says, in the Gospel of John chapter 3, verses 14 and 15, "as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so The Son of man must be lifted up, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life." They needed to look and to live. You see, those ancient shepherds, when they would kill a venomous snake, they would carry it off on their staff and bury it, so a serpent on a pole represented a defeated snake. It's talking about defeating the devil, friends. Have you been bitten by the serpent? We all have.

The only cure for the venom of satan is to look in faith at Jesus. He then defeated the devil. He took the venom of sin in his body to provide the antidote in his blood. So friends, I encourage you to look today and live. Can't get enough Amazing Facts Bible study? You don't have to wait until next week to enjoy more truth-filled programming, visit the Amazing Facts media library at 'aftv.

org'. At '' you can enjoy video and audio presentations as well as printed material all free of charge, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, right from your computer or mobile device. Visit ''. Did you know that Noah was present at the birth of Abraham? Okay, maybe he wasn't in the room, but he was alive and probably telling stories about his floating zoo. From the creation of the world to the last-day events of Revelation, 'Biblehistory.

com' is a free resource where you can explore major Bible events and characters. Enhance your knowledge of the Bible and draw closer to God's word. Go deeper. Visit ''. For life-changing Christian resources visit or call 1-800-538-7275.

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