God and Human Suffering

God and Human Suffering

Scripture: Matthew 6:34, Romans 1:18-20, Job 12:7-10
Date: 10/22/2016  Lesson: 4
'Though the Bible teaches the reality of an all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving God, it also teaches the reality of evil, of human suffering, and woe. Evil is not an excuse to disbelieve in God."

Is It a Sin to Be Tempted? (PB) by Joe Crews

Is It a Sin to Be Tempted? (PB) by Joe Crews
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Good morning, friends, welcome to Sabbath School Study Hour. A very warm welcome to our friends joining us across the country and around the world - part of our extended Sabbath school class - and also the members here at the Granite Bay church and those of you who are visiting - a very warm welcome to you. We're glad to see you all here again today, as we study together. Now, our new lesson quarterly is dealing with the book of job. Today we find ourselves on lesson #4, which is entitled God and human suffering so that's going to be the focus that we're going to be looking at here in just a few moments.

But before we get to the lesson, I'd like to let those of you who are watching know about our free offer for today. It is a book entitled: the brook dried up: why do Christians suffer? When the brook dried up - and if you'd like to receive this free offer, just give us a call on our resource phone number. The number is 866-788-3966 - and you can ask for offer #171. That number, again, is 866-788-3966 - ask for offer #171 - and we'll be happy to send you the book. For those outside North America, you can also participate in our free offer by going to the Amazing Facts website - just amazingfacts.

org - and you can download a .pdf version of the book and you can read along with us. Well, before we get to our study, as we normally do, I'd like to invite our song leaders to come join me here on stage and we're going to begin by lifting our voices in praise. Like a river glorious is God's perfect peace, over all victorious, in its bright increase; perfect, yet it floweth fuller every day, perfect, yet it groweth deeper all the way. Trusting in jehovah, hearts are fully blest finding as he promised, perfect peace and rest. Hidden in the hollow of his blessed hand, never foe can follow, never traitor stand; not a surge of worry, not a shade of care, not a blast of hurry touch the Spirit there.

Trusting in jehovah, hearts are fully blest finding as he promised, perfect peace and rest. Every joy or testing comes from God above, given to his children as an act of love; we may trust him fully, all for us to do; those who trust him wholly find him wholly true. Trusting in jehovah, hearts are fully blest finding as he promised, perfect peace and rest. Trusting in jehovah, hearts are fully blest finding, as he promised, perfect peace and rest. Amen.

Thank you for singing with us. This morning we have a special music by chuck holtry, so I'd like to welcome him up at this time. (Guitar music) there is a road that leads us from the lowlands of this life to gates of pearl and streets of gold, immortal happy life. And one has gone before us so we surely know the way and with arms outstretched he leads his children higher every day. Come higher, my children, come higher the guide light is moving on.

Come higher, my children come higher every step you take goes deeper in my heart. Rich or poor will find this road to them an open door for the richest and the poorest Jesus Christ has gone before. And only as it narrows that, for us, a choice is made either drop the treasure or myself fall in the open grave. Come higher, my children, come higher the guide light is moving on. Come higher, my children come higher every step you take goes deeper in my heart.

Some may choose the treasures, maybe houses maybe lands or a selfish heart a cherished sin, grasped tightly in their hands. What will you give for Jesus? Who's the rival in your heart? The call comes to surrender or for us the road will part. Come higher, my children, come higher the guide light is moving on. Come higher, my children, come higher every step you take goes deeper in my heart. Every step you take goes deeper in my heart.

Amen. Beautiful song. Well, before we get to our study, I invite you to bow your heads for a word of prayer. Dear Father, what a privilege it is for us to be able to gather in your presence to talk about a subject that touches on all of our lives - that of suffering. Sometimes we ask questions as to why we're going through trials and difficulties, but Your Word does give us the answers, so we ask that you bless our time together, in Jesus' Name, amen.

Again, welcome to our Sabbath School Study Hour this morning. For those of you who are regular attendees here at our Sabbath school time and also those of you watching online around the world, you'll notice that things look a little different today on stage, kind of going along with a soldier-type theme. There's a reason for that. This weekend we're doing a special series entitled mighty men of God. It actually started last night - it's a men's ministry emphasis series and we'll continue with that during our 11:00 worship hour this morning and then, also, this afternoon.

Thus, you can see the stage looks a little different than maybe what you're used to. Nevertheless, we do have our regular Sabbath school lesson and we want to be studying that together. Just a reminder to our friends who were joining us one more time, our free offer for today is a book entitled when the brook dried up: why do Christians suffer? If you'd like to receive this free offer, give us a call on the resource phone number - it's 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer #171 and we'll be happy to send that to you. Now, our lesson for today is lesson #4 and it's entitled: God and human sufferings. We do have a Scripture reading that we're going to be looking at together, and if you have your lesson quarterlies, I'll give you an opportunity to open to it - I believe it's on page 30, where you'll find lesson #4.

Our Scripture reading is Matthew chapter 6, verse 34. It is the words of Jesus in Matthew chapter 6, verse 34 - Jesus said, "therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Now, in Sabbath afternoon - in the lesson quarterly - we have just a few comments that I want to mention there out of our reading. It says, 'unlike every other book in the Bible, the book of job is completely removed from the context of the land and the people of Israel. And there's a reason for that.

It says the most immediate reason is that Moses wrote the book of job and the book of Genesis when he was in midian. Now, you remember the story, he fled from Egypt after killing the Egyptians and he went to midian, and that's where the Holy Spirit moved upon him and he wrote these books. There's another reason why you don't find any reference, in job, to Israel or to the Exodus - obviously, the Exodus hadn't happened at that point, but there's another reason. One of the key themes in the book of job is that of human suffering. And human suffering is universal.

It's not limited to one group of people. It's not limited to one specific point in time, so the book of job is for everyone. It's not only the history of God's people, although they endured suffering, but it's for all of God's people throughout all of time. So our Scripture reading then, Matthew chapter 6:34, Jesus says, "therefore do not worry about tomorrow." Now, is that a suggestion by Jesus or is that a command by Jesus? It's a command. Jesus says, 'don't worry about tomorrow.

' It's not always the easiest thing not to worry about tomorrow or the future, Jesus says, "sufficient for the day is its own trouble." Now, why is it that Christians are not to worry? There are three reasons, in particular, why we as Christians, should not worry. The first is in Romans chapter 8, verse 28, which says, "all things" - can you finish the verse? - "All things work together for" - good. "For good to those who love God, to those who are called according to his purpose." So the promise that we find in Scripture is that all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose. What is the purpose that God has for us, as believers? There are really two things that God has purposed for every one of us. Number 1: that we reveal the likeness of Christ's character.

Can sufferings help to reveal Christ's character in our lives? Yes. The second it to work for the enlargement of his kingdom. So, even though we are going through trials and difficulties, God has a purpose in allowing these things to come to us. Number 1, it's revealing Christ's character to the world through suffering, but it's also working for the enlargement of his kingdom by witnessing, especially in trials when we have faith and patience and confidence in God. There's another reason why a Christian is not to worry - 2 Corinthians chapter 12, verse 9 says, "my grace is sufficient for thee.

" Isn't that a wonderful promise? Whatever the trial, whatever the difficulty, God says, "my grace is sufficient for thee." Now, the word grace there is not only God's unmerited favor, but it also has the connection of God's sustaining power. So God'll give us strength - he'll give us power to face every trial and difficulty that comes our way, if we keep our hearts centered upon him. And then, thirdly - the third reason why Christians ought not to worry: 1 Corinthians chapter 10, and verse 13, "but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it." Jesus knows our hearts. He knows our frame. He knows what we can endure.

And so God is not going to allow us to be tempted or tested or tried to the point where we cannot endure, but with the trial he always has a way of escape to sustain as we trust in him. Three reasons why Christians ought not to worry - God is working all things out for our good, his grace is sufficient for us, and he knows what we can endure. Amen? The question is often asked, and ties into our lesson here, 'if God is good, why does God allow bad things to happen to people.' Have you had that question before? I did a little research on that - matter of fact, you can just go online and you can type in 'why does God let bad things happen to people?' And you'll come up with all kinds of answers, but there were four in particular that I noticed that I wanted to mention. The first reason that's given as to why bad things happen to people, especially good people, or Christians, one of the reasons is: 'all are sinners and therefore deserving of some degree of suffering.' What do you think of that answer? We're all sinners and so, if we suffer, well, we probably deserve it. Now, believe it or not, this was the predominant view in the time of Jesus.

The religious leaders felt that if something bad happened to you or if you were suffering, it was because of some hidden sin that you had in your heart or in your life. It was also the view that we see revealed when job's friends came and sat down to consult with job. What did they say to job? They said, 'you must have some terrible wickedness within you because of all of these terrible things that have happened to you.' But is that the position that the Bible gives with reference to why bad things happen to people? No, not at all. In John, chapter nine, verse 1 - from verse 1 to verse 3 we have these words - it says, "now as Jesus passed by, he saw a man who was blind from birth." - You remember the story - "and his disciples asked him, saying, 'rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?'" - Do you understand their questioning here? This man is blind, therefore he must be a great sinner. But if he was born blind, how could he be guilty of sin before he was even born? Well, then, it must be the sins of the parents and that's the reason he's suffering.

' How did Jesus respond to this? Jesus answered and said, 'neither this man nor his parents sinned.' - And then he said, 'but that the works of God should be revealed in him.' So Jesus made it quite clear that not all suffering is the result of our own sins; sometimes these things happen. Now, the answer - specifically as to why these things happen - we'll get to in just a few moments, but notice Jesus says even in the midst of suffering, God is able to work things out towards his glory. And, of course, that verse that we looked at earlier, 'all things work together for good to those who love God.' Alright, another reason that's often given as to why bad things happen to good people, and this is the reason: 'God's reasons cannot be understood by humans so don't even ask.' What do you think of that reason? So bad things are happening to you, well, you can never understand God's reasons - don't even ask. Is that kind of the way God feels? No, not at all. What does - Isaiah chapter 1, verse 18 - God says, "'come now, and let us'" - do what? - "'Reason together,' says the Lord.

" And then we also find in John chapter 15, verse 15 - Jesus, speaking to his disciples said, "no longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from my father I have made known to you." Isn't that an interesting verse? Jesus referred to his disciples and he said, 'you are friends.' Meaning, 'I am revealing to you why God is allowing things to happen. I'm pulling back the curtain to reveal the Great Controversy in God's dealings with mankind. Well, another reason that's sometimes given, as to why bad things happen to people: 'God doesn't need to justify his actions to those that he created.' What do you think of that reason? God doesn't have to justify his actions to us because we were created by him. Well, that's not in harmony with the Bible either. Romans chapter 14, verse 11, "for it is written: 'as I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

'" Now this is talking about that final judgment that occurs at the end of the 1000-year period, known as the millennium, where the Great Controversy is revealed to everyone, even the wicked, and they get to see God's dealings with mankind. And, as a result of seeing God's compassion and God's love, throughout the great controversy, as it has been revealed, every knee ends up bowing and every tongue confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord. So God wants us to choose to serve him based upon understanding. Does that make sense? Based upon reason. Our faith has evidence.

Evidence is based upon God's character - God's love. Alright then, a fourth reason that is given - I think this is the best out of the reasons that I've given this morning: 'God values freedom of choice. That's why there is suffering in the world today.' Let's think about that for a minute. God values freedom of choice. What would happen if every time somebody chooses to do something that's going to bring suffering upon themselves or somebody else, God vetoes that choice and doesn't allow it to happen? Where is freedom? Right? Are you with me? So God has given us freedom, not only to choose to do the right thing, but God has given us freedom to choose to do the wrong thing.

And if we choose to do the wrong thing, that natural consequences of those bad choices is suffering. And, not only is it suffering that comes to us, but the choices we make often bring suffering to others. Isn't that true? I mean, think of the choice that adam and eve made back in the Garden of Eden. Did that make suffering upon us and upon the world? Yes it did. But God values freedom of choice and, if God were to remove all bad choices or all suffering, well, then, where would be the freedom to choose? And, after all, God is love.

Love cannot be forced. You have to choose to love God. And so, God respects freedom. We find in Deuteronomy chapter 30, verse 19, God says, '"have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live.' And that famous verse in Joshua chapter 24, verse 15, "...choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve." Now we can see an example of this in the experience of Jesus. When Jesus was being arrested there in the garden of Gethsemane, the soldiers came and, at first, Peter pulled the sword and went up against the chief priests and the Romans and began swinging his sword and chopped off the high priest's servant's ear.

And Jesus said to Peter, 'put away the sword. He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword.' And then Jesus said something interesting. He said, 'do you not now know that I can call twelve legions of angels to come and deliver me from the Romans - from the chief priests?' Now, a legion was 5,000 soldiers. Twelve would be 60,000, so Jesus could have called for 60,000 angels to come and deliver him from the religious leaders - the Jewish religious leaders - and the Romans, but why didn't Jesus do that? Because Jesus respected the freedom of choice. Are you with me? Jesus allowed his enemies to choose to reject him.

Jesus allowed his enemies to choose to even bring suffering upon himself because Jesus respects freedom. Does that make sense with everybody? Now somebody might ask the question: 'well, if Jesus respects freedom of choice and he lets everybody choose and, as a result, there's suffering or there is blessing, based on our choice, what difference does intercessory prayer make, right? If somebody's going to go ahead and make a decision and God's going to let that person make the decision, what difference is intercessory prayer? Why should I pray for somebody else?' Well, intercessory prayer does make a difference and here's why: in the Great Controversy between good and evil, there are certain rules of engagement, so to speak. There are things that God will not allow satan to do. We can be very grateful for that. Do you remember the story of job? There was this gathering in heaven and God won't allow satan to take job's life, although he did allow him to suffer? So there are certain rules - things that God will not allow satan to do.

Now, when it comes to this great controversy, when we pray and intercede on behalf of somebody else, that enables God to do more to influence that person, to help encourage that person to make the right choice. And when the devil says, 'foul play! You're breaking the rules. You're not allowed to do that.' God says, 'yes, I have a right to do that because somebody's interceding for that person.' You understand? So intercessory prayer does make a difference. It's very important in this Great Controversy that we've been studying about. Alright, well moving right along then, on Sunday the lesson is entitled God in nature and we have a Scripture that we're going to read here, Romans chapter 1, verses 18 through 20 and we'll get to that in just a minute.

But in Sunday's lesson, the second paragraph says "no question, the natural does reveal much to us about the existence of God. Modern science, too, has revealed to us details about the marvels of creation that our ancestors, even just 300 years ago, much less 3,000 years ago, could not even have begun to imagine. It's interesting, there is an irony here and that is, the more complexity that science finds in life, the less likely becomes the means science claims for its origin - that of accident and chance." Now isn't that interesting? The more we discover about the human body or the cell or the things of nature, the more it testifies of a master designer that organized and put all of these things together. Alright, let's read Romans chapter 1, beginning in verse 18. "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all unGodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.

For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse." Alright, well, thank you. Notice the part in the verse there, it says, "for since the creation of the world his invisible attributes are clearly seen." So there is evidence of God's creative work in the things around us. Now how does creation reveal to us God? And I'm just going to give you four quick or five quick examples of how creation reveals God: #1) the location of the earth. It's pretty important that planet earth be located just where it is, especially in relation to the sun. We're at just the right distance from the sun to get exactly the amount of heat needed to sustain life here on this planet.

#2) The rotation of the earth. How long does it take for the earth to turn? Hours. Have you ever stopped to think about what would happen if the earth slowed down? Let's say it took 36 hours for the earth to make a complete circuit. That would result in intense heat - longer days - and intense cold - longer nights. So even the rotation of the earth is perfectly designed by God.

What about the size of the earth? The size of the earth is rather important. If the earth were the size of the moon, there wouldn't be sufficient gravitational pull for us to have an atmosphere. We wouldn't be able to have water. If the earth was double the size that it currently is, the atmospheric pressure would increase to about 30 pounds per square inch. That's like living 70 feet under water - that would be the atmospheric pressure.

So the size of the earth is important. Point #4) the moon is just the right distance from the earth - not too close, not too far. If the moon was 50,000 miles closer or further than the 280 - 238,900 miles from earth, the ocean tides would completely submerge the continents twice a day, but the moon is just the right distance away. And then, of course, the atmosphere on earth is perfect for life. If it wasn't for our atmosphere, we would have deadly radiation - nothing to shield us from the radiation from the sun.

Now job chapter 12, verse 7 says this: "but now ask the beasts, and they will teach you; and the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you; and the fish of the sea will explain to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this, in whose hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind?" So there, job, we read that nature reveals to us the author of all creation. It is God. It is the creator. Now science reveals the creator - and here's why: science is governed by certain laws, for example: the law of gravity.

And a definition of science that we have is the study of the natural world based upon facts learned through experiments and observations. So, in looking at the natural world, we can take note of certain observations and we can do experiments. There are three, in particular that help to testify of a creator. The first is that all material has a source. Isn't that true? I come home one evening and there is a plate of food in the microwave ready to be heated.

Well, that's evidence that my wife has made a special meal and put it in the microwave for me to eat when I get home. I wouldn't come and open up the microwave and see a plate of food and go, 'oh, look at that. Plate of food made itself.' All material comes from somewhere, right? It has a source. So that's a law of science. Another is that life only comes from life.

Life comes from life. Now, somebody might say, 'well, what about a seed? Isn't a seed dead?' Well, where does the seed come from? The seed comes from life. It comes from a plant, doesn't it? But you don't get life from something that is not life or is not living. So that's another principle - another law of science. And then, thirdly, interdependency comes from design.

Another very important law of science. And the greater the interdependency, the greater the need for a designer. Think of a watch - these old-fashioned wrist watches with all of the different cogs and the gears. In order for that to work nicely together, harmoniously, somebody had to design that and put it all together. I think of the automobile with all of the different parts with many of them moving and they're interacting with other parts.

Somebody had to design that. Somebody had to put that all together. That is a law of science. And when you start talking about the human body and talking about the cells and how all of this works together, that's evidence, indeed, that there is a creator God. Somebody put this all together.

So creation testifies of the creator. One of the illustrations that I like to use, with reference to God's creative power in putting things together, is something they don't often think about, but it's the ear of the bat. A little animal - a little insect - not insect but eats insects - a little - it's not a rodent, is it? Mammal. Flying - it's a mammal. The bat, flying around eating these insects, he has these giant ears.

Now how does the bat locate its prey? It uses echolocation, right? Sends out these high-pitched squeals and, as these sound waves bounce back from whatever it is that he's trying to get, the big ears of the bat pick up that echo that comes back. But as scientists studied this, they began to realize that the ears of the bat are very, very sensitive - and they have to be in order to pick up those faint echos that come back from their high-pitched screams. But the question was asked, 'if the ears are so sensitive to pick up the echo, why is it that the loud noises that the bat makes doesn't deafen the bat?' They did some studies and found out, sure enough, the volume of the noise made by the bat, based upon the sensitivity of its ear, would indeed deafen the bat. So they did some further study and what they found is there are three little bones in the ear of the bat that connect the eardrum to the inner ear. And, on the middle bone, there is a tiny little muscle and just before the bat lets out one of those high-pitched screams, the little muscle pulls tight and it separates the bone from the eardrum to the inner ear.

So when the bat screams, it actually does not hear the scream. And, as soon as it's done screaming, the little muscle relaxes and all the bat hears is the echo bouncing back. And the bat can do this more than a hundred times a second. Now that's master design, isn't it? Amen. That testifies that there is a creator that is concerned even about the little creatures that he has made.

Alright, on Monday's lesson we have the theme called nothing came from itself. And we have a verse here - Revelation chapter 4, verse 11, and I'm going to have somebody read that for us - Revelation chapter 4, verse 11. "You are worthy, o Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for you created all things, and by your will they exist and were created." Alright, thank you. You'll notice, the reading here is from Revelation chapter 4 and Revelation chapter 4 is really a description of the heavenly throne room. The chapter begins by describing God seated upon his throne, surrounding the throne are the four living creatures, all with different faces - the face of a lion, the face of an ox, the face of a man, the face of a flying eagle.

And then, in front of the throne, there are seven burning lamps of fire. Then there's the description of the 24 elders and then you have all the angels there on the sea of glass. And when all of the created beings see God in his glory - in his majesty - their response is 'you are worthy to receive glory and honor and power; for you have created all things.' Now, there are two things in the verse that I want you to note: not only is God the creator, but it also says that he is the sustainer. You have created all things, it says, 'and by your will they exist' - meaning God sustains all things. So he's the source and the sustainer of all things.

It's one thing to, you know, create a child; it's another thing to sustain that child - especially when they're teenagers. Like me, I have teenagers - boy, my boys, they eat - they can eat a loaf of bread at one sitting. It takes a lot of money, right, to sustain the children. And so God not only created things in the beginning, but he sustains all things. He sustains his creation.

Colossians chapter 1, verses 16 and 17 says, "for by him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on the earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through him" - speaking of Christ - "and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things consist." - All things hold together. So God is not only the creator but he is the sustainer. He is concerned about our lives.

He is concerned about all of his creation, from the smallest atom to the largest sun or star, God is concerned about the things that he has made. Another interesting fact is every second the sun emits four hundred trillion trillion watts of power - every second. Now all that power doesn't reach earth, but that is enough power emitted by the sun every second to power everything electric on earth for five hundred thousand years. That's the amount of energy released by the sun in one second. And, of course, where did all that energy come from? Well, God is the one that sustains that.

God keeps the sun burning, providing light and heat for our world. John chapter 1, verses 1 to 3 - it says, "in the beginning was the word," - who's the word? Christ. The word is Jesus - "and the word was with God, and the word was God. He was in the beginning with God." - Then it says, "all things were made through him, and without him nothing was made that was made." Now there are some interesting parallels between the account that we have of creation in John chapter 1 and what we read in Genesis chapter 1. Both begin with 'in the beginning'.

Genesis chapter 1 - "in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." In John chapter 1, "in the beginning was the word." How did God create in Genesis chapter 1? It says, "and God said, 'let there be light.'" In John chapter 1 it says, "in the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God." It's also interesting to note that later on in John chapter 1, speaking of the word - speaking of Jesus - says, "in him was life, and the life was the light of men." In Genesis chapter 1, what's the first thing that God creates after creating the earth? "'Let there be light.' And there was light." So John is directing our attention back to Genesis chapter 1, and he's emphasizing the fact that Jesus, the word, is involved in creation. So not only is Jesus our creator, he is also our redeemer. We belong to Jesus two times - first by creation, and then by redemption. Alright, moving on then, with Tuesday's lesson, it's called the earliest books and we're going to look at a verse here in just a moment. It's John chapter 16, verse , so if you want to get that ready.

In the middle of Tuesday's lesson there it says, "job deals with the universal issue of human pain and suffering. And God knew that this would be a big question for humans and, thus, right from the very start in His Word he had Moses pen the story of job." God let us know, very early on, that we are not left alone in our pain and in our suffering, but he's there. He knows all about it and he - and we can have hope that he will make things right in the end. Alright, let's look at John chapter 16, verse 33. These things I have spoken to you, that in me you may have peace.

In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." Alright, so here Jesus makes it very clear - he says, 'in the world you shall have' - what? Tribulation. Why is it that we have suffering and tribulation in this world? Because people have freedom to choose. And, based upon the choices that people make, well, that brings suffering and pain. And we're all sharing a certain degree of suffering because of the choice that our parents made - adam and eve - way back there in the Garden of Eden. But, despite the tribulation and the pain that we see in our world today, Jesus promises to give us courage and strength.

He will support us. He will empower us. There is the promise, though, that God will not allow suffering to continue forever. Isaiah chapter 65, verse 17, "for behold," - God says - "I create new heavens and a new earth; and the former shall not be remembered or come to mind." That's good news, right? One day Jesus is going to come and he's going to put an end to suffering and pain and sorrow. The question is, 'well, why doesn't Jesus come and put an end to these sufferings?' Well, 2 Peter chapter 3, verse 9, "the Lord is not slack concerning his promise," - it's talking about the second coming - "as some count slackness, but he is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

" Why has Jesus not yet come? The Bible says he's longsuffering, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. Jesus is waiting 'til the very last moment, wanting to give as many people the opportunity to respond to come to repentance because he's not willing that any be lost. But, having said that, the Bible is quite clear that the time will come where Jesus says, 'he that is holy, let him be holy still; he that is filthy, let him be filthy still.' And probation closes and Jesus comes. Matter of fact, that's our next verse. Daniel chapter 12, verse 1 - it says, "at that time Michael shall stand up," - who's Michael? - The prophetic name of Jesus - "Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over The Sons of your people;" - notice, Jesus stands watch over his people - "and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, even to that time.

And at that time" - here's the promise - "and at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt." So there is coming a time where Jesus says probation is closed. 'He that's holy, let him be holy still; he that's filthy, let him be filthy still.' The same idea is portrayed in Revelation chapter 7, where it describes four angels holding back the four winds of the earth and an angel is seen coming from the east and says to the four angels, 'don't let those four winds of strife go 'til we have sealed the servants of God on their foreheads.' So God is holding back this final time of trouble so that those people can make a decision for him. That sealing has to take place. Matthew chapter 24, verses 7 and - it says, "for nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.

And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows." So, before Jesus comes, there will be a time of trouble. There will be a tribulation here on the earth. Alright, well then that brings us to our Wednesday lesson entitled the dilemma. The dilemma we see here in the book of job and, basically, it's the question: 'if God is good, why does he allow bad things to happen to people?' And our verse there is job chapter 6, verse 4.

Would somebody read that for us? Job chapter 6, verse 4. "For the arrows of the almighty are within me; my spirit drinks in their poison; the terrors of God are arrayed against me." Alright, thank you. Here is job speaking in his sorrow and he says it seems that 'the almighty is against me' and 'the terrors of God are arrayed against me' - meaning, 'Lord, why are you allowing these things to happen?' Now, job never questioned the existence of God, nor did he question God's creative power and God's ability to sustain. Job was asking, 'Lord, why? Why are these things happening to me?' And, of course, his friends, they were - they were speaking words of discouragement by saying, 'job, you must be a great sinner. There is something that you're hiding in your heart.

' We read on in job chapter 10, verse 8 - job says, "your hands have made me and fashioned me," - and then he goes on to say, "yet you would destroy me. Remember, I pray, that you have made me like clay." So here, job thinks that it's God that is trying to destroy him. Well, if you go back a little earlier in the book of job and you read about this meeting that took place with the representatives of the unfallen worlds and satan came representing earth. Who was the one that was really trying to destroy job? It was satan. It was God that was protecting job from satan.

But, at first, job does not understand this and he begins to ask these questions and he's wondering, 'why Lord? Why are these things happening to me?' And God keeps quiet as job asked these questions. And, finally, after job is through asking all these questions, God finally responds to job. And you find this in job chapter 38. I really like this passage. God does not explain to job about this Great Controversy and the meeting that took place.

Instead, God says, "then the Lord answered job out of the whirlwind," - this is job 38, verse 1 - "who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?" And then God goes on to talk about how that The Sons of God sang for joy when the earth was made and he talks about the power and the glory and the majesty of all the things that God had created. And he speaks of his care and compassion for all the things that he has made. And, after God gets through talking about his power and his glory and his creative ability, finally job responds. He says, 'I've heard about you with my hearing, but now my eyes have seen you.

Therefore, I repent in dust and ashes.' When God revealed his power and his glory, suddenly job began to realize, 'a God that cares so much to create all these things; surely he cares for me. And even though I don't understand why these things are happening to me, I can have confidence that God loves me and that there is a reason for this and that one day God will reveal his plan to me.' Of course, in the new testament, read 'all things work together for good to those that love God.' So, yes, as a Christian, we do face trials and difficulties. Troubles come our way. And yet, we have the promise that God will be with us through every trial. You know, our family had an experience a number of years ago; my dad got diagnosed with a very rare autoimmune disease.

And finally we got the diagnosis and it was a big word and I thought, 'well, that's interesting. At least we know what it is. I wonder what the treatment is.' Well, then, later on that evening, my sister gave me a call and she said,' did you look up what dad has? On the internet? Do some research?' I said, 'no.' So I went along and I Googled this big word: polychondritis and I began to do some research on it. And the more I studied this, the more my heart sank. It was a disease that they had no cure - and the body, sort of, attacks the cartilage and it describes that after so many months you end up going blind.

Then, after so many months, you can't breathe - or you can't breathe right - after so many months your hearing goes bad and eventually you die and there's no cure. I tell you, oh man, I prayed that night like never before. I said, 'Lord, how can this be?' You know, it's not until we face trials and sufferings that our prayers take on a gravity and an urgency - isn't that true? We don't pray the way we should pray until we have a sense of our need - that we really need God's help. So our family began praying - I began praying - and we did everything we could. Fortunately, he was able to go to mayo clinic and they found out that this autoimmune disease was actually piggybacking on another disease - autoimmune disease - that could be treated.

So, as they treated the other disease, it also took care of the polychondritis, and we praise God for that. He's doing well. It was answered prayer. But, through this experience, we all learned a lesson. I remember my dad shared a dream he had right in the midst of this and in the dream he saw himself standing with a small glass of water in his hand.

And he realized that the water in the glass represented his life. But, as he looked a little closer, he noticed a crack on the side of the glass and the water was seeping out of the crack and it was beginning to lower in the glass. And, of course, he was trying to stop the water from coming out of the crack and he prayed and he said, 'Lord, please, my life is draining away. Please do something.' But it seemed all - the more he tried to stop the water, the more it ran until finally he heard a voice, 'look up.' And he looked up and he was standing on the beach and spread out before him was the giant ocean. And the message was: 'you're so worried about your little life, but God's got an eternity waiting for you.

' Yes, we go through trials and sufferings, and it's difficult from our position where we are, but let's trust in God's goodness because he sees the big picture, amen? He knows what he's doing from the beginning to the end and whatever the trial, whatever the challenge, whatever the difficulty, we can trust in God. He will see us through. That's the message - amen. Of the Great Controversy. We can put our confidence in God.

Well, friends, we're out of time for our study this morning. I would just like to remind you about our free offer, a book entitled why do Christians suffer? And, for those who are watching, you can call the resource phone number: 866-788-3966 and you can ask for offer #171 and we'll be happy to send that to you. Well, let's close our time of study with a word of prayer. Dear Father, thank you for Your Word. Thank you for revealing to us, in Scripture, your great love.

That, not only did you make us, but you sustain us and you care for us. And, even though we go through trials and difficulties, you have promised to be with us, to give us grace - but, ultimately. You have promised a new heaven and a new earth - where there'll be no more pain, no more sorrow, no more death, but forever we'll be with you and with those that love you. Keep us faithful, for we ask this in Jesus' Name, amen. 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.

Amazing Facts, changed lives. I was heading south on interstate 5. This commercial come on kfbk radio about a Revelation seminar by Amazing Facts. I began - my chest began to tighten up. I began sweating profusely.

I had difficulty in breathing. There was this big rest area and, at this time, I pulled into there - I thought 'well, maybe I'm having a heart attack.' I got out of my truck, walked into the men's restroom there and put cold water on my face. And then, finally, things subsided. A week later, again, I heard this Amazing Facts commercial come on the radio - in fact, the meetings were going to start that very night. This - and, again, immediately I had these same symptoms.

I thought, 'you know, this isn't my heart. I have to go to that meeting.' And, as I was going down to Sacramento, I decided to park and go inside. Well, I got in and (chuckles) walked into the furthermost rear seat they had - in the pew there - and this particular evangelist, his name was kim kjaer - it was like taking one layer off at a time - of an onion. He laid it out so perfectly that we could all understand it. And I was really motivated.

I couldn't believe it. Well, I finished. I didn't miss a meeting. In fact, on the fifth night they had an altar call and my knees stood right up and I walked forward and I gave my heart to Jesus Christ. I've learned, throughout this whole thing, that when you - when you leave the devil's territory, he gets pretty active in causing a lot of problems.

Well, I had the evangelists come out and they had prayer with me about my business. I would find a sick business and make it well and then Market it. I finally ended up with a business that I really enjoyed - that was one that was building equestrian centers. And they said to me, 'steve,' he said, 'you know, if you're going to really keep the Sabbath you've got to shut your doors on Sabbath.' Well, I did. And so, I sold the business to my brother.

It took me 22 years to build that business and he lost it in 33 months. My son, who was my business partner, I'd been giving him 10 percent of the business every year. He thought I'd just fallen off the bridge. My son didn't talk to me for five and a half years. And then a few other things happened.

I had an ex-employee living in my guest house - he kind of watched after our place. And he said, 'steve,' he said, 'there's an allied moving van backed up to your front door of your home.' I said, 'you're kidding!' I said, 'what do you mean?' He said, 'they're moving everything out of your house into this truck and your wife is out there supervising them.' And when I went home and opened the front door, my voice echoed in that house. There wasn't any furniture left anywhere. There was one bed left in the house. I knew my wife was upset because of my coming to this church, but I had no idea that she would move out like this.

That was a total shock to me. It was some time there - I locked myself in the bedroom and I began reading the Bible. I spent about a half a year - just every night, getting home and I would study. It allowed me to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Well, to make a long story short, I met crystal and she was a Godly woman.

That was the Lord's doing, not mine. And he was just there to let me know, 'I'm with you all the way. Even though you're going to have some trials and you're going to have some hardships, I want you to know that I'll be with you.' Because, no matter what I do now, he is my leader. He's the leader of my marriage, he's the leader of everything in my life today. That one meeting with the Amazing Facts seminar changed my entire life and, to this day, I'm still on fire for God.

I'm still witnessing to my neighbors. My name is steve Johnson, and it's because of you that Amazing Facts has changed my life. Can't get enough Amazing Facts Bible study? You don't have to wait until next week to enjoy more truth-filled programming, visit the Amazing Facts media library at 'aftv.org'. At 'aftv.org' you can enjoy video and audio presentations as well as printed material all free of charge, 24 hours a day 7 days a week, right from your computer or mobile device. Visit 'aftv.

org'. In six days God created the heavens and the earth. For thousands of years man has worshiped God on the seventh day of the week. Now, each week, millions of people worship on the first day. What happened? Why did God create a day of rest? Does it really matter what day we worship? Who was behind this great shift? Discover the truth behind God's law and how it was changed.

Visit Sabbathtruth.com.

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