The Challenge of His Sayings

The Challenge of His Sayings

Scripture: John 7:46, Matthew 19:3-12, Matthew 18:21-22
Date: 05/10/2008  Lesson: 6
Many of Christ's teachings challenged the established social order of His day and give Christians today challenges to meet in their own lives.

The Jesus Difference by Herbert Douglass

The Jesus Difference by Herbert Douglass
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Good morning and Happy Sabbath. Welcome to Sacramento Central Seventh-day Adventist church this morning. A special welcome to those of you that are joining us as guests here in our sanctuary and a welcome to our members as well. And a very special welcome to you that are joining us from across the country and around the world live on the internet this morning through radio, television. However you're joining us, welcome.

We're going to begin our psalm service this morning with number 509, "how firm a foundation." And this comes as a request from charlotte in rio rancho, New Mexico and jasmine in quebec, Canada. Hymn 509 and we're gonna sing verses 1, 2, 4 and 5... [Music] That is a quite unfamiliar hymn to me. Thank you for that request. It's always nice to learn new hymns from our hymnal.

If you have a special request that you would like to send in and have us sing with you on a coming Sabbath, I invite you to go to our website at www.saccentral.org. And there you click on the music link, and you can request any song in the hymnal and we would love to sing that with you on a coming Sabbath. Our next hymn is hymn number 198, "and can it be." And this comes as a request from nigel and henriette in australia; ed in australia; frank and veronica in barbados; lionell in belgium; hermy in Canada; shawn and anoris in grenada; carol in india; mela and julio in Israel; roxson from jamaica and sheldon in jamaica; Georgia, nigeria; gracian from singapore; roger, rhonda and jael in trinidad tobago, oh, and jameal and jordell also; jeffrey in Montana; vern and sandy in North Carolina; John in Oklahoma; and Sarah carnook in queensland, australia. And Sarah writes in, "dear Pastor Doug, I am 15 and I recently decided to get baptized after hearing your revival meetings. Thanks for everything.

"And can it be" is The Song to be sung as I come up out of the water newly born on April 25. God bless and keep it. From Sarah." Congratulations Sarah and God bless you in your new walk with the Lord. Hymn number 198 verses 1, 2, and 4... [Music] Let's bow our heads.

Dear Father in Heaven, how amazing is your love for us? We're so pitiful and we're so alone and we're so unrighteous and unholy. And we thank you for filling us with your holiness, for promising to be with us every step of the way and that you will lead us all the way to heaven's gates. We ask you to please be with us now as we study Your Word. Please bless Pastor Doug. Help us to take Your Words into our hearts to share them with others that we can hasten your coming.

We love you, Lord, and we are forward to your coming soon. We pray these things in your name, Jesus. Amen. Our study this morning will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor, senior pastor here at Sacramento central. Thank you very much.

I want to welcome our friends who are watching and those who are watching and listening on the internet. Last night we had a Bible study at the Batchelor pad where we went online and right about the end of the hour, we had about people online with us that were typing in their Bible questions. And Karen and I were doing our best to answer their questions, and so that was exciting. We know we have a lot of friends who are watching, and so we want to welcome you. Also we have a couple of important announcements.

For one thing, if you go to the website which is saccentral.org, as of this week, at least the week that I'm making this announcement, there's a new website. The church has a new website. We want to thank eric and debbie kippel for putting a lot of work into developing that. It's all been freshened up. It's got a lot more interactive features, a few more things are being added the next few days.

But you'll want to go check out saccentral.org. And a lot of people watching around the world, they're isolated. They don't have a church, but they want to be part of a church. Well, if you want to be part of your cyber church, then you can go there and just register with us. We'll try and keep in touch with you and you can get a little pastoral counseling and some interaction and watch the church service and the studies.

And that's, once again saccentral.org. Also, something else exciting. People sometimes miss the Sabbath school. They may not get to watch in time on either safe tv or 3abn or hope channel. There's a website.

You go to amazingfacts.tv. And amazingfacts.tv not only has evangelistic programs going hours a day. You don't even have to click on them, it's just going like a tv program, all evangelistic programming. But it's got the archives of the Sabbath school program. And so if you go there and you click on amazingfacts.

tv, it will have the library of Sabbath schools. You can watch old ones and say, "what did he say? We missed this note or that quote." And a lot of it will be there. And so we wanted to tell you about those things. We always have a free offer. The free offer today is the book "steps to Christ.

" All you've gotta do is call the number on your screen which is 866-788-3966. That stands for -866-study-more. Ask for offer number 736, please. Now to our lesson with that introduction. The lesson is lesson number 6 today.

It's taking about the challenge of his saying, speaking about the teachings of Jesus and how they're unique. The challenge of his sayings and we've got several passages we're considering. Matthew 5:48. Matthew 18:21-22. Matthew 19:3-12.

Luke 12:32-34. John 19:25-27. Gonna be talking about a number of very important aspects of the uniqueness of Jesus' teachings. And a memory verse, very short. I'm gonna say it once and then you can probably all say it with me.

And it comes from John 7:46, "no one ever spoke the way this man does." You think you can do that? "No one ever spoke the way this man does." Remember, they sent the spies to listen to him and to arrest him. They came back and said, "why haven't you brought him?" And they said, "never a man spake as this man." Nobody taught like Jesus. His teachings were unique. And some of those things are challenging. Now we're going to look at a number of those unique teachings right now in our study today, and some of you have some verses that we've distributed.

We've got microphones here somewhere. I see that elder rengifo has one and we've got one over here. And so if you've got one of those verses and I call you out, to hold your hand up so they can find you. First thing we're gonna look at is some of the interesting things that Jesus taught about marriage and abstinence. To begin with, go in your Bibles to Matthew 19.

I'm gonna read a lengthy passage here that really summarizes Jesus' teaching on the subject. Matthew 19 beginning with verse 3. And I'll read this for you and pause here and there for a comment. "The pharisees also came to him--" Matthew 19:3, "the pharisees also came to him testing him and saying to him, 'is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?' And he answered and said to them, 'have you not read that he who made them in the beginning made them male and female?' And he said, 'for this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. So then they are no longer two but one flesh.

Therefore, what God has joined together, let not man separate.'" Now Jesus takes the strongest position on marriage of any religious teacher. Indeed the statements of Christ here in Matthew 5 and Matthew 19 are the strongest that you'll find anywhere in the Bible. Matter of fact, even the religious leaders listening to Jesus, they said, "didn't Moses give permission?" Matter of fact that's our next verse, verse 7. "Why then did Moses command to give a certificate of divorce and to put her away?" And Jesus said, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts permitted you to divorce your wives. But from the beginning it was not so.

And I say to you that whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries not another commits adultery. And whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery." Wow. I got a question last night on the internet and they were saying, "Pastor Doug, is the Bible teaching that if someone is in a marriage where they did not have biblical grounds for that marriage that they now must separate or that they are in sin?" Well, I'd say it this way, they certainly did sin. If you're in a marriage and you did not have biblical grounds, you sinned, and it's a serious sin. You can look at the example of David in the Bible.

Now of course his circumstances were pretty severe. He killed a man to take his wife. He sort of killed uriah by proxy using the ammonites, but he sent them on a suicide mission is what he did. Now, here's the big question, when David is confronted with his sin of adultery with bathsheba, he married bathsheba ultimately. It says, "you've taken the wife of uriah.

" Calls her the wife of uriah. After David repented, and his repentance is probably more thorough then most people who commit adultery or get remarried without biblical grounds. He spent 7 days on his face in intense repentance, and he suffered for it. He suffered in his family. He suffered in his kingdom.

But God forgive him. And it says, "David them comforted his wife bathsheba." At some point along the way God accepted bathsheba was his wife, and then he gave them the first child, the child of the adulteress relationship died. The second child, after she's referred to as David's wife, was Solomon. So at some point along the way, God forgave his sin. You see what I'm saying? But it was a sin.

That's the only way you really can interpret that unless you take the position, and I've met people who do, that if you marry without biblical grounds, it is the unpardonable sin. If it is not the unpardonable sin, then the only other alternative is that there is some form of pardon along the way. But it's very serious. You gotta be careful what you say 'cause folks that are in marriages where they're unhappy, and there is no marriage where there aren't moments of unhappiness. You could have said, "amen" instead of giggle.

It depends on who you're sitting next to, right? But, you know, people get discouraged. You know, I think it's interesting. I've gotta be careful what I say. The news is filled right now with--well, it's filled a lot with the pope's visit. But beyond that, it's filled a lot with this compound in Texas where they have polygamist relationships.

And frankly, I think that it's very interesting because the place is absolutely spotless. They say the children, those who are commenting, are so well behaved. And the family seemed to all love each other so much. And you know this great interest in this because, well, the girls are getting married before the legal age and it's polygamy. But, if you think about it, Americans divorce and remarry so much that the bulk of Americans believe in polygamy in sequence.

See what I'm saying? Folks, we just kind of have polygamy by virtue of conveyor belts in America. And people, you know, divorce and remarriage is just, you don't like fast food at this restaurant, you go to another restaurant. Americans live for instant gratification. If they're in a marriage where there are challenges, it is so easy to just throw in the towel and say, "well, let's find out. We'll get online and find someone else.

" Eharmony. And so, that's not the way the Lord looks at it. He says they become one flesh. You know how hard it when they have siamese twins that are joined at the head or the heart to separate them without risking a death? Matter of fact, just this last year, they tried to separate some siamese twins that were joined at the head, spent hours in surgery, they both died. When you become one flesh and you divorce, there's a lot of pain.

Now having said that, this is a very sensitive subject. I'm sure I'm gonna get some e-mail on it. Are there ever grounds for divorce? Yeah, there's biblical grounds. Of course Jesus said the most common is for fornication. When the marriage covenant is violated because one partner engages in intimate relationships with another, that is grounds.

There's a lot of complicated things that people get into it. They say, "well pastor, if it's a sin to commit adultery and if that's grounds for divorce, what if you discover that your husband or wife is mentally doing it on the internet through pornography or something like that?" And some are arguing that. He's had a thousand relationships, it's just been via the internet. Well, they say, "after all Jesus said that if you think it in your heart, it's the same thing." No, he didn't say that. Jesus said you can commit adultery in your mind.

He didn't say it's the same thing. And I've actually had people tell me before, "well, Pastor Doug, I'm thinking it, I may as well do it. Same thing Jesus said." No, he didn't say that. For one thing when you think it, it's just you in your mind. When you do it, there's someone else involved.

And so don't fall for that. It isn't the same thing. Jesus is just saying the action of adultery begins with an attitude. And then people say, "what if you're in an abusive relationship?" The quick answer is separate. God does not want you and/or the children, it's usually the wife that's at risk in those cases, to be physically endangered, separate.

It doesn't necessarily mean divorce. Hear what I'm saying? Divorce is a very serious thing. Are there biblical grounds? Well, God told Abraham to divorce hagar. Well, for one thing, he had too many wives. Sarah was his wife and there was great conflict in the family, and it was going to interfere with a promise of a whole nation that was going to go through Isaac.

And finally when the fighting was going on, God said, "you need to tell hagar and ishmael good-bye." It was very serious. Put her away, is what God said. There's also in 1 Corinthians 7 it talks about the example where you've got two unbelievers or pagans one becomes a Christian. Now the pagan no longer wants to be married to the Christian. And God tells the Christian, "if your pagan spouse is willing to stay with you, stay with them because you have a sanctifying influence on them and the children.

It's important that you stay together. If they depart and refuse to stay with you, let them depart. You're not under bondage in such cases." In other words, if you are a believer and you're converted while you're married and your husband's an unbeliever and he says, "look, I don't want to be Christian, I'm out of here," biblically you have grounds to remarry. Now, don't do as some do, they say, "well, I was abandoned." You drove them away and then say that they abandoned you. And I've seen this before where in marriages you make life impossible for the other party and say, "oh, they left me.

" Well, you might have had something to do with it. I'm just being honest, friends. It is okay if I talk to you like a pastor counseling? I'm not just talking to central here. I know people are listening. And this is something, marriage is a covenant that is to be for life.

Now I've given out some verses. Somebody has Malachi 2:16. "For the Lord God of Israel says that he hates divorce for it covers one's garment with violence as the Lord of hosts. Therefore take heed to your spirit that you do not deal treacherously." Thank you. I don't know what the current figures are but last I heard in North America, 50% of those who are married, 50% get divorced.

That's appalling when you consider back in the 1800s it was only 1 out of 32 marriages ended in divorce, 1 out of 32. And that just lets you know that they had a lot more commitment regardless. My grandmother and my grandfather got married. She was like 16 years old. And she says, she says it right in front of him.

She says, "I didn't love him, I just wanted to get out of the house." And he doesn't even react. He's heard it so many times. And she said, "but I grew to love him." And somewhere along the way, they really did fall in love because they believed in commitment back then. And they said, "look, you're married." And my grandmother used to say, "you make your bed, you sleep in it." That's a decision you make for life, and it's something very important. They were married 73 years, and still wondering if they were gonna stick together.

And they fought. I mean you think, oh, they must have had such a blissful relationship. Oh, she'd chase him around the house with a rolling pin. They had some doozies. And I can't repeat what they'd say to each other.

But it's like someone asked this old Texas man who had just celebrated his 50th anniversary, "to what do you attribute your many years of happy marriage and your long marriage?" And he said, "well, we resolved not to let the sun go down on our wrath." And so he said, "we'd never go to sleep until we put aside our differences." He said, "there were weeks when we didn't sleep." All right, we're not done actually reading here in Matthew 19. Verse 10, so I just finished what Jesus said, "'whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another who commits adultery and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery.' His disciple said to him, 'if such is the case with a man and his wife, it's better not to marry.'" Think about that. Things had been so altered. The teachings had been so twisted by the time of the disciples, they said, "you mean you gotta stick with them no matter what? I'm better off not to get married." This is what they're saying because they were having problems with divorce and remarriage back then. And listen to what Jesus said here, "all cannot receive this," verse 11, "but only those to whom it has been given.

" In other words, some people can't comprehend the commitment of marriage that God expects. In the beginning, God made one man, one woman, adam and eve. And for those who still wonder about same-sex marriages, it was not adam and steve. It's one man, one woman. That's God's plan for marriage.

So those who are clamoring for America to recognize same-sex marriages, I think that's an abomination biblically. And I hope as a country, we don't give in on that. By the way, so much of the decay and breakdown of the social fabric of a country begins with how do we relate to marriage and family. When we cease to recognize the sanctification of marriage and the families begin to fall apart and you've got a lot of broken homes and you've got a lot of the baggage and the mixed marriages and the blended relationships, almost everybody's affected by this in some way or the other. It causes a whole train of other problems.

And anyway, heaven only knows what will happen if we get to where we recognize and endorse same-sex marriages in the country with all the problems we have right now. I think that will be a precursor to God withdrawing the residue of his blessing right now. Let me read on here. "All cannot accept this saying for there are some who are eunuchs." Eunuchs, of course, were men who never married. Now there are a couple of ways the word "eunuch" is married.

Some were eunuchs because they had physically gone through a procedure that rendered them eunuchs. Others were eunuchs meaning that they just were born without any desire for marriage. And then there a eunuchs who chose to live the life of a eunuch using simply self-control meaning a life of singleness. A lot of people listening can relate to this because a lot of people in the church are not married. They're of marrying age, but they're not married.

Maybe they've been widowed. Maybe they're single because they're divorced. Maybe they just never married. So Paul addresses that. Matter of fact, let me finish what Jesus says here.

Verse 12, I'm in Matthew 19. "For there are eunuchs who are born thus from their mother's womb. And there are eunuchs who are made eunuchs by men. And there are eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of heaven's sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it.

" Now Paul addresses this, if you look in 1 Corinthians 7:7, Paul when he was an itinerate preacher was unmarried. There's still some speculation whether or not Paul had been married at one time because he says he was a pharisee and part of the sanhedrin. And it seems in some Jewish law, you had to be married in order to qualify. It's possible Paul was married and his wife abandoned him when he was excommunicated for accepting Christianity. It's possible his wife died, and he was a widower.

He never is very clear on what his earlier status was. But we do know that after he accepted Christ, we never hear of Paul being married or having a wife. So Paul makes this statement, Corinthians 7:7, "for I wish that all men were even as I myself." He's speaking about being single. "But each one has his own gift from God. One in this man or another in that.

But I say to the unmarried and to those who are widows. Those who are single always have been or those who have been made single because they've lost their spouse. It is good for them if they remain even as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry, for it's better to marry then to burn with passion." Now that also tells you something very important that some say, "well, you know, adultery is when you're married and you violate your marriage vows and of course that's wrong. But if you're unmarried and you kind of play the field a little bit, well, as long as you're unmarried, you're not hurting anybody.

" Wrong, Paul says, "you must marry in order to participate in the sacred right of intimacy." It's sacred. Sex is sacred. It's God's idea. It's something where two become one flesh and new life is formed. You participate in recreating in your own image.

It's a divine thing, and it's reserved for marriage. I just want to say that for the record. It's amazing when you have to say that in a church but you're not supposed to fool around unless you're married. You gotta tell people that these days because it's like shaking hands on tv. Isn't that right? It's just taken for granted.

And people act like you're an alien from another world if you believe that you should be chased unless you're married. But this is what the Bible teaches and it's still the truth. And any culture that stops teaching that, you end up having a real breakdown, all kinds of problems. I won't go into that right now. Anyway, why did Paul say, "I would that all men were as i"? Is he saying he thinks everyone should be single? He's saying this in the context.

He's speaking to the corinthian church. He's saying it in the context of living in the roman empire right in the midst of the roman empire where Christianity had just been declared religio licita meaning a forbidden religion. Christians were hiding, they were being persecuted. If you got married and you had children, which was often the natural course after you got married, it subjected your family to great suffering. It also kept you from being free to travel and preach the Gospel.

And they were living in a time of great enthusiasm about the great commission. They were going everywhere, teaching and preaching. Marriage slowed you down. But they found that if you remain single, you're more free. So Paul is taking all those things into account when he says that and he also says that by permission.

So it had something to do with the conditions of living in a world where Christianity was illegal and the risks there. So I don't want to take all our time talking about what Jesus said about marriage 'cause there's a lot more in the lesson. All right, we're gonna talk next about forgiven, what Jesus says about forgiveness. I've got someone I think I've given a verse to. Matthew 6:14-15.

"For if you forgive men their trespasses, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your father forgive your trespasses." Wow, that's a pretty heavy verse. Matter of fact it says a almost the same thing in Matthew 18. But there's a story in Matthew 18 that helps us understand the sequence of forgiveness, and we've talked about this before. It's the story of the unmerciful debtor.

In the story there is a servant brought before the King that owes 10,000 talents he cannot pay. He asks for mercy. the King freely forgives him. Notice the King forgives him first. We read on, we find out that that servant who's forgiven by the King, he also has an unpaid debt with a fellow servant.

He goes to his fellow servant, takes him by the throat, says, "pay me what you owe." His fellow servant falls down and says, "have mercy on me, and I will pay thee all." But he would not have mercy with his fellow servant. Put him in a debtor's prison to be tortured for 40 pence or something. So the servants goes to the King and say, "this man that you forgave 10,000 talents just because he asked you, he would not forgive a fellow servant a fraction of that but put him in prison." Then that man is brought before the King and the King says, "you wicked servant. I forgave you that great some because you asked. Could you not have had compassion on your fellow servant as I had mercy on you?" And he cast him into the debtor's prison.

So, who did the first forgiving? the King forgave the servant first. Who forgives us first? Does God say, "tell you what, I'll make you a deal, you forgive everybody all they've done to you and then I'll forgive you"? Or does God say first, "you come to me, whatever your debts are and offenses against me, I'm gonna forgive you. Then after I forgive you, I'm hoping that my goodness will melt your heart and you'll forgive others as I have forgiven you." First we receive forgiveness because you cannot pass on that divine forgiveness unless you first receive divine forgiveness. So God is not saying, "you go out and forgive everybody and then I'll make you a deal and I'll forgive you." He's saying, "you do not get to keep your forgiveness unless you're willing to pass it on." See the difference? You've got these debts you cannot pay. God says, "not only am I gonna pay your debt, I'm gonna give you extra.

" It's like when you come and you have nothing to feed the multitude, God says, "bring it to me." He multiplies it in our hands and then there's leftovers. He forgives you so much that your cup runs over with forgiveness that you then give to others. You know and this is a very difficult--all these are difficult, marriage and divorce, forgiveness. These are very sensitive subjects, as a lot of people carry a very keen pain and bitterness in their lives. I venture to say everybody listening to me has been hurt by somebody somewhere along the way.

Am I right? I'm seeing almost universal nods. Some are nodding 'cause they're going to sleep. But we've all been hurt. And if I were to ask you in seconds, "think of somebody who's done something to really hurt you or said something to really impugn your reputation," it won't take most of you seconds to have a name come to mind or a face pop on your mental screen. And there's usually a pain associated with it.

If I were to ask you what's the most painful thing that's ever happened in your life, not everybody's gonna talk about surgery. A matter of fact, a shocking percentage will talk about a relationship that hurt them, that was the most painful thing. You wonder sometimes what hurt Jesus more, when they whipped him or when Judas kissed him? The kiss of Judas, the betrayal of Judas I think hurt him more. Was it when they beat him or when Peter when denied him? Jesus was looking outside the courtyard right at Peter when he denied him. He was thinking about that more than the bludgeoning he was getting.

It's the pain from betrayal and relationships and the misunderstandings and the mean things sometimes unprovoked that people do. It can be very disturbing. And it's only by the grace of God that we can sometimes let those things go. You know what I find is helpful? Render yourself crucified with Christ. Consider yourself crucified with Christ.

If you're dead, that old person who was hurt is not alive anymore. You are a new person. You think about what happened to that person like you're reading someone else's history. It makes it easier to think of it that way. Secondly, look at the cross.

Get right there close to the cross. See Jesus on the cross. He's on your cross, you were barabbas, he took your place. Everything he suffered, he's suffering for you. You consider that he's willing to forgive you 10,000 talents.

You realize the difference between what we've done to God and what others have done to us is the distance between the earth and the sun, million-miles. It's like 10,000 talents. And our offenses with each other are 1 inch. Sometimes you and I are not willing to forgive and forget inch, and God is willing to forgive 93 million miles. So what right do we have looking at what Jesus did to forgive us, remember, you're a sinner.

You've hurt others, you've hurt him. If we're willing to accept that forgiveness then how can we say--i mean what we've done to one another laterally, it's nothing like that. And then also look at how much Jesus was hurt by betrayal of his own people. He's the Messiah of the Jewish nation handed off to the gentiles the way that the Israelites handed off Samson to the philistines. Oh, great betrayal.

So nothing that you've gone through and what people have done to hurt you, physically, emotionally Jesus has felt all that, didn't he? Yet, what did he say at the cross? "Father, forgive them." How could he do that? It's the grace of God's love can do it. If you accept Christ inside with Christ in you, you can forgive others. "Now Pastor Doug, is it important that they ask me for forgiveness first?" Well, in order for them to be forgiven by God, they've got something they may need to reconcile with God, but you can choose to forgive them whether they ask for it or not. Because one reason you need to forgive those who offend you is for your own benefit, so that you can just be healed of the bitterness. Now if someone has used you, you can forgive them but you don't have to be foolish and open yourself up again.

I mean, God expects us to use common sense. Pray for those who despitefully use you and persecute you. But you don't have to keep making yourself available to that kind of abuse. Because sometimes you are hurting them. You're teaching them that people can be used.

You see what I'm saying? You're giving them opportunity. You are enabling them to continue in their bad behavior. So sometimes the loving thing to do is say, "look, I forgive you, but I'm not gonna do it for you again." You know what I mean? I remember this gentleman who will remain nameless. But when I was in the wood business, he asked me to work with him one day in the firewood business, and I did. My partner and I worked all day long for this fella, split four cords of firewood.

If you know what a cord of wood is and this was stove wood. Stove wood you have to split it smaller, a lot of work, worked like a dog all day long. And he owed me, oh, $120. It doesn't sound like much but that's what it was going for back then. And he gave me $10.

He said, "I'll pay you the rest when I sell it." And every time I saw him, he just had some excuse. And it just used to really bother me. And I finally said, "doug, you gotta let it go." I let it go. Well, one day he called me up and said, "brother doug, want to come cut some wood?" I said, "no, thank you." I said, "I'm dumb but I'm not stupid." So you know what I mean? There's a time you just say, "look, I forgave him, but I'm not doing that again." And so, you know, you gotta learn along the way. Anyway so Jesus, he taught about forgiving others.

I remember hearing a story about this self-sacrificing forgiveness where during the revolutionary war there was a pastor named Peter marshall. Washington had arrested someone who he had been reported of conspiring of with the english. And he was going to be hung as a traitor. Peter marshall heard that. He knew the man.

He walked 60 miles to get a private audience with Washington and he tried to intercede in behalf of this man who was going to be hung. And Washington said, "I'm sorry. It appears the evidence is against him, and I can't spare your friend." Pastor marshall said, "he's not my friend. He's the most bitter enemy I've ever had." Washington said, "you walk miles to plead for the life of your enemy?" He said, "yes." He said, "that puts it all in a different light." And he pardoned the man, and he had marshall bring the pardon to him. And we trusted it melted his heart and changed his behavior.

So forgiveness has a sanctifying influence. It converts. You think about what it does to a person when you forgive someone who is so cruel to you, it often melts their hearts. Have you discovered that sometimes there's a tension between you and somebody else? If you'll take the initiative and say, "you know, I may have had--be part of the problem," usually we are. You go confess your part and it softens their heart where then they say, "well, you know, maybe I was wrong too.

" And, you know, that's good counsel. A lot of couples need that. There's often tension and find if one of them will say-- they say, "it's all his fault." "It's all her fault." If one of them will say, "I'm really sorry I've hurt you, and I've done some things." It usually softens the heart of the other. And they'll say, "well, if you don't know this, this is your turn." If you do the right thing, you're now supposed to say, "I'm sorry too," and confess what you've done wrong. A soft answer turns away wrath.

And often relationships and marriages, when both parties will begin to confess and apologize for their part, then there's healing that takes place. But someone's gotta take the initiative of grace. "I'm waiting for them to apologize. They're responsible. They're gonna come to me.

" And sometimes adults act like little babies when it comes to who offended who and who's supposed to apologize first. "To err is human, to forgive is divine," amen? So this is very important. Look at the stories in the Bible. Do we have examples in the Bible? Look at how David was willing to forgive Saul who was trying to murder him. I mean you don't get anymore serious than that, talk about just hurting someone's reputation or gossiping.

Saul had posters all over the Kingdom with David's face on it. "Wanted dead or alive, reward." And when David had an opportunity, he went to the King. He humbled himself to the King, and he had opportunity to kill him, to get even. And everyone would have thought he was justified. Said, "no, I'm not gonna do it.

I'm gonna try and use grace." And he continued to forgive Saul. And finally when Saul killed himself, David didn't know that, an amalekite soldier came from the battlefield to report that Saul was dead thinking David would say, "well, serves him right. I'm so happy about that." And then the amalekite thought, "I'll say I killed him," even though he didn't. He said, "I'm gonna claim that I killed the King and I'll get a reward." He did get a reward. David said, "how dare you lift your hand against the Lord's anointed.

" And he had one of his soldiers slay the amalekite for claiming that. That'll teach you about lying. David had forgiven Saul. What about Joseph? Think about the years. Here Joseph is, he's the beloved son of Jacob, this wealthy nomad.

And he goes from this pampered status to being a slave and then going to prison and years of labor and being able to brood over what his brothers had done to him. It would have fermented in his life and fermented so that he was just a bitter, angry man. And some people, you've met them, haven't you? Somebody hurt them, someone did them wrong and they can't ever let it go, and their whole lives are wasted with bitterness nurturing this festering womb. Joseph, somewhere along the way, forgave his brothers and he didn't allow it to consume him. And when he finally revealed himself to his brothers, they were so apprehensive, they were frozen when he said, "I am Joseph.

" Didn't know quite how to act. And he said, "come to me." After he hugged the first couple they started to say, "hey, he looks sincere. He's forgiven us." And even after Jacob died, they thought, "oh, he's probably gonna get even now." They couldn't believe how far he had gone to forgive them. Joseph wept when they were worried that now that Jacob was dead, he was gonna get even 'cause he had the power to get even. He really forgave them.

All those years of suffering for the mean, unprovoked thing they did. So that's an example of the forgiveness of Christ. He freely forgave them. Amen? This is what Jesus is teaching about. And again, there's so much here we can say on the subject of forgiveness.

"Forgiveness is the perfume that the trampled flower casts upon the heel that crushed it." Isn't that a beautiful quote? I want to read something to you before we leave this from "Christ object lessons." And this is from page 251, "but if you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father in Heaven forgive your trespasses." Of course that's Matthew 6:15. "Nothing can justify an unforgiving spirit. He who is unmerciful towards others shows that he himself is not a partaker of God's pardoning grace. In God's forgiveness, the heart of the erring one is drawn close to the great heart of infinite love." The tide, I like this visual image of an ocean. "The tide of divine compassion flows into the sinner's soul.

And from him, from him, to the souls of others. The tenderness and mercy that Christ has revealed in his own precious life will be seen in those who become sharers of his grace. But if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. He is alienated from God fitted only for eternal separation from him. Those who are going through their lives claiming to be Christians that still are nurturing bitterness and anger and hatred for others who have wounded them.

" Not even talking about if it was justified or not. That really has nothing to do with it. You are commanded to forgive. Amen? It says, "otherwise, you don't have the grace of Christ in your heart." Just let it go. All right, moving on now into some of the revolutionary teachings of Jesus, the challenge of his teachings.

Talk about wealth and giving. Does somebody have for me Proverbs 11:25? "The generous soul will be made rich and he who waters will also be watered himself." The principle of Jesus regarding wealth and giving is based on the simple principle of "give and it will be given unto you good measure, shaken down, pressed together, will men heap into your bosom. For what measure you measure it will be measured to you again." Luke 12:32, "fear not little flock for it is The Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. Sell what you have and give alms, provide yourselves bags that wax not old. A treasure in the heavens that faileth not where the thief does not approach, neither moth corrupts.

For where your treasure is there will your heart be also." God is inviting us to know where to put our treasures, store our treasure in heaven. I remember reading this story one time about this sailor in the south pacific somewhere and his ship went down, and he was floating out in the ocean. Eventually he was washed up on the shore of this island that was filled with these natives that were very friendly. And they found him on the shore and they picked him up and hoisted him on their shoulders and led him to this big village in the middle. And they put him on a throne in the pavilion, and eventually he gathered that they were gonna treat him like a king.

And he thought that was pretty good. Anything he asked for, they did it. And then he began to wonder, were there any Kings before me? By this time he was picking on the language and he learned, "yeah, we had a number of people serve as king. But we've got this law. Whoever gets to serve as king for one year, at the end of the year, they are taken to that island other there that is marooned.

And there's nothing growing on that island and they're abandoned there." And he thought, oh, that doesn't sound too good. So he thought to himself, "well, I'm destined to go to that island, but I am king for a year." He still had several months left. So he sent all of the men to building boats so he could go back and forth from that island to the other island. He transported men to that island to start planting trees on that island. He had them go over there and dig wells.

He sent masons to build a house of volcanic stone. And he turned his desolate island into a virtual paradise. So at the end of his year, yep, his treasure was all there. That's sort of how you and I are to live. Our goal in this life is, you know where you're going to be.

You want to transport in advance as much as you can there so it's there when you get there, right? That's a treasure in the heavens. You remember what Jesus said to the rich, young ruler? This young man, wealthy man, man of great promise and intellect and influence and potential. And he said, "good master, what shall I do that I might have everlasting life?" And Jesus said unto him, "why callest thou me good?" This is Mark 10. "None is good but one that is God. If you would enter in the life, keep the commandments.

" He said, "which ones?" Jesus began to record the commandments principally on the second table of the decalogue. You shall honor your father and mother. You shall not kill. You shall not steal. And he interrupted Jesus before he even finished and he said, "all these I've kept from my youth up.

" Jesus said, "there's one thing thou lackest. Go and sell all that you have. Give it to the poor. You'll have treasure in heaven." Notice what he said, you'll have treasure in heaven. "Take up your cross and follow me.

" Now, is Jesus asking everybody to sell everything they have and give it to the poor? Well, he is asking everybody to put everything on the altar. What that means is when you become Christ's, it requires an entire surrender, your whole heart. If God has all your heart, then he's got everything. I was talking to a friend who's a successful businessman this week, and we were talking about the signs of the times and what potentially may be happening in the economy. And he said, "you know, I'm feeling impressed that God is wanting me to liquidate and to invest in God's Word because we don't know, there could be the perfect financial storm coming right now.

And I want to make use of my resources while I have them in saving others." And I could tell from what he was saying that everything he owns really does belong to God, and he's just asking God to direct him. You know the trick for Christians, kind of like playing uno. When Jesus comes, you don't want to have anything left. It's like Noah had no regrets about money that was invested in the ark when the storm came. He did have regrets about anything still in the bank.

He wanted everything invested in the ark. See what I'm saying? So when Jesus comes, you don't want to have anything left. I've told you this many times, but it probably bears repeating. When I travel overseas and I've got to convert my America dollars into the currency of the other country-- it used to be the American dollar was so much more valuable. That's not as true anymore.

That when I came home, you know, if you've got a few pesos left, if you've got a few rupees left or rupples left or whatever the currency happens to be. And I get on the plane, I realize, you know, no bank in America's gonna want to take the rupees. It's worthless. I should have given it to someone, some of the beggars. It would have made such a big difference.

And I'm always grieved when I stick my hand in my pocket or I look in my wallet and say, "oh, man, I forgot to give away my last money before I got on the plane." 'Cause the idea is, don't take it with you. You want to get rid of it while you're there and help as many people as you can. Well, why does God give resources to Christians? So that you and I can be channels of blessings to others. I like the methodist philosophy John wesley had on this. "A Christian needs to understand the balance of how to earn all you can, save all you can and give all you can.

" And it's good for Christians to know you keep some to invest, to grow it so you can give more, but you don't want to keep it all. There's a balance there. And I've seen some people that are a little reckless in that way and just as soon as they get something, they don't have anything to invest with. They don't have anything to build with and then they give everything away and then they're begging from others. You know, that's not necessarily the most prudent thing to do.

What Jesus said to the rich, young ruler was unique because he said, "take up your cross and follow me." Jesus was inviting him to be an apostle. The same thing he said to Matthew, Peter, James and John and andrew. We'll never know, there could have been a Gospel written with this man's name on it, don't even know his name. It says, "when he heard this he was sad and he went away grieved for he had great possessions." He went away still with all his possessions but grieved because he thought it's too big a sacrifice. And how sad? He's dead, he's gone now.

Who knows what happened to his resources. He could have stored so much in heaven. So there are some that God calls to liquidate, to walk away from what they've got, to walk away from a great inheritance. Elisha, wealthy son, could have had so much. He walked away to follow Elijah, and that's why he said, "I want a double portion of your inheritance.

" Before Elisha went to heaven, he wanted a double portion of the treasure that Elijah had was the Holy Spirit. By the way, the firstborn son was supposed to get a double portion. Elijah had no children, so Elisha said, "I want the inheritance of the firstborn. I walked away from my family inheritance, so I want a double portion of your spirit." Did he get it? Was he rich? Does he have treasure in heaven? That's the most important thing to remember. Oh, and we've got--last thing.

Well, we got perfection and family. What do you want to talk about in the next 2 minutes? Talk about perfection. Someone read for me Matthew 5:48. Got a hand right here. "Therefore you shall be perfect just as your Father in Heaven is perfect.

" People read that and they get nervous and they think, "who is as perfect as God?" Anyone here claiming to be as perfect as our Father in Heaven? But Jesus says, "be ye therefore." Well, there's a little more information if you read the way Jesus says this in Luke. Luke 6:35, "but love your enemies and do good, lend hoping for nothing again, and your reward will be great. And you shall be the children of the highest for he is kind to the unthankful and to the evil." Notice, "be ye therefore merciful even as your Father in Heaven is merciful." So here in Matthew he says, "be ye therefore perfect." In Luke he says, "be ye therefore merciful even as your Father in Heaven." What kind of perfection is God looking for in us? Perfect love, perfect mercy. He wants us to have his heart in us so that we love one another, so that we have mercy. What does the Lord require of us? But to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God.

Does the Lord want us to be perfectly obedient? Yes. What else can he say? Who's our example? Is Jesus perfect? So if every Christian is a follower of a perfect Christ, then of course God is wanting us to strive for his perfection. But the main thing is we if we've got perfect love, Jesus said, "if you love me, keep my commandments." We're to seek that love, the love of God. It inspires us to want to obey him. I want to love the Lord like Daniel, shadrach, meshach and abednego in the last days, amen? Well, we've run out of time, friends.

I want to remind those who joined us since we already began that we have a free offer called "steps to Christ." We'll send it to you just for asking. Call the number 866-788-3966 and ask for offer number 736. God bless you, friends. Don't forget to check out the new website. The Sacramento central website.

It's saccentral.org. And God bless you. We'll see you next week.

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