Living for God

Living for God

Scripture: 1 Peter 3:8-12, Galatians 2:20, Romans 6:1-11
Date: 04/29/2017  Lesson: 5
"Are there some areas in which we need to be in complete unity of thought in order to function as a church? If so, what are they, and how can we find this needed uniformity? In contrast, what are areas in which a diversity of opinion is not harmful but, in fact, could be helpful?"

Who Do You Think You Are? by Doug Batchelor

Who Do You Think You Are? by Doug Batchelor
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Welcome to Sabbath School Study Hour. We're so glad that you are tuning in. It doesn't matter where you're joining us from, we're just glad that you are joining us and you're a part of our Sabbath school family here at the Granite Bay seventh-day adventist church. If you're listening on the radio, we don't want to forget about you. You are special radio listeners and, of course, if you're watching us live on our website or on the various television networks, we have a wonderful program for you today, and our pastor is back from traveling around the world - Pastor Doug - so he is bringing us our lesson study today.

But, before we get to that, we're going to do what we do every week, and we sing your favorite songs - #538 - guide me o thou great jehovah - #538 - and we're going to sing all three stanzas. Join with us. That is one of my favorites and I always like it when we get to sing that one. I have a book offer for you today and it's called heroes of faith: - and it is a bigger book than what we usually give out - inspirational stories of salvation and it is written by Pastor Doug, himself, and so the good news is you can call in to 866-788-3966 and ask for offer #826, but the bad news is you cannot get this online. So, if you're in North America, it is your day: call in and - or you can go to our website - amazingfacts.

org - and request heroes of faith - so it is a nice big book and it is an authentic, inspiring glimpse into the lives of real Bible heroes. So, it is - you're going to enjoy this - so go and ask for offer #826 - heroes of faith. Join me in prayer, would you? Father in Heaven, you are the good shepherd and we are your little children and we are like sheep and we need a loving shepherd who brings us back when we stray. Please be with us. Be with our speaker.

In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time our lesson study will be brought to us by Pastor Doug Batchelor. He doesn't like to be called a senior pastor so, Pastor Doug, we're just glad that you're back from around the world and bringing us our lesson study today. Thank you, debbie and our musicians. Good morning, friends.

I want to welcome our friends who are also studying - part of our online class - and it is good to be home. I have been out of the country with Karen and I for, oh, a couple weeks now and having some great adventures. A long trip - we were in australia and new guinea. And, I thought before I dove into the lesson study today, with your permission, I'll maybe give you just a little mission log of what we were doing and what was going on in the time we went. So, I've got a few pictures and we'll end up writing out, maybe a little bigger article on this trip but, while it's still fresh in my mind, which probably has about a 24-hour shelf life, I ought to share with you (laughs) what just happened.

We went to new zealand [australia] and, outside of brisbane they've got a city there - beautiful - it's on the coast - it's called the gold coast - and there we went and did a special program, sort of an evangelistic revival-style program and it was in two locations, the central gold coast adventist church and then, on Sabbath morning, there were so many people they anticipated that they got a new location - we basically rented a charismatic church called the dream center and about two thousand people came out, which, in australia, is a great group. And so, we had a wonderful program there. Karen and I actually got to walk along the beach - let's take a look at what we've got next here. Then, from there, we flew to new guinea and we had our amazing facts australia team - sam and Ellen Godfrey - plus a couple of our media crew, you know, jared colangelo, who works here, sometimes you'll see him on Sabbath on the camera and in the studio. And we went to do a special week of meetings in new guinea.

Stopped first at the pacific adventist university there outside of port moresby. Again, just a lot of enthusiasm - Karen and I hadn't been there in over ten years and had, oh, about two thousand people came to the university and then we met in the city church that evening - or the next evening - and then about another two thousand people came there. Very well attended and good enthusiasm, but we were not prepared for what happened next. Then we flew, for the main meeting, up to the central part of new guinea - very few people go into the interior, they usually go to port morseby or one of the coastal towns. This is right up in the highlands - the western highlands - and I wasn't aware how cool it would be.

You know, you think, 'oh, going to new guinea, it's seven degrees from the equator - don't bring any warm clothes.' Well, this is over a mile high and so - think like denver - it's much cooler up there and so we had quite a bit of rain. When we got off the plane - now, I've traveled to many parts of the world and sometimes a church will send a small delegation to welcome you and they'll take a picture and they'll, you know, you go to Hawaii they'll put a lei around your neck and, you know, there's some really nice things that happen. We were not at all prepared for this. There were 60,000 people. Now, if you don't believe me - and, from the airport, when they - they had the gates closed.

They had a string of about five cars - two police cars with armed escorts and two cars carrying, you know, some of the dignitaries - they met us at the airport. Once we left the airport gates, for two miles, solid, to the campground, there were just rows and rows of people that - just like you see here - just lining the streets, singing, crying, shouting, waving their arms - and they had deacons that lined the roads. Most of the people in yellow are in the pathfinder group. You can see quite a few people wearing yellow hats or with the community service, and some of the deacons had sticks. I never knew this was a job description for a deacon.

(Laughter) but, as people got a little too close to the cars, they were swatting them with the sticks. We didn't know - no one seemed to mind, but that's - they were just hitting the folks as they got too close and folks were reaching in the windows and shaking hands and I finally had to roll the window up halfway because so many people were shaking our hands at one time it was pulling my arm out the window - (laughter) - and then I just had to, you know, wave. But it was pretty amazing. Next picture - and you can look this up - this was the - I think it was the front cover of the main newspaper in the country. We didn't realize that we came just before the elections, which happen in April, so once the politicians in the country found out that there was going to be over 100,000 people at mount hagen, which is where we went, several of them showed up and wanted to welcome us - and then they would make political speeches before they welcomed us.

And, those on both sides - and this was what they call the opposition party - they have those in power and then they have whoever the opposition party - this is the opposition party - don polye - he met us and that made news - and they said 60,000 in their report. And so, you can look that up on the internet if you want. Next - this is just the welcome group. We got there and I felt so bad because they had a nice covered area for us to speak, and a little bit covered for some of the choir, but the people sat outdoors - and this is the rainiest month of the year - well, April and mar - March and April. And the first evening it was just pouring down rain and then another evening we took this picture - in spite of the rain, there must have been ,000 people out there.

And when I first saw the rain like this - I mean, it's just coming down here in Sacramento and we had a really heavy rain. I don't know, some of you - it was coming off the roof in sheets yesterday. Well, it was raining like that and they were sitting out there. The people in the front rows had some benches and seats, but then - and that's like five rows - then the other 15,000 - 18,000 people, on those rainy nights, they're sitting on the ground - and it was muddy - and I thought, you know, people in California, they look out the window from their heated dry living room they - if it's cloudy they think, 'I better not go to church today; I might get wet going to the car.' And these dear people sat through the sermon - I said to the pastor - one of the conference presidents - I said, 'I'll preach a real short sermon.' He said, 'oh no, they'll be really upset. They came all this way and they're sitting in the rain.

They want a sermon.' And so, I've never seen that kind of commitment to the word. They just sat there for an hour before I even got up to preach, listening to all the fanfare and the preliminaries. And they seemed happy - that's the thing that struck me. They didn't look miserable, they were smiling. Matter of fact, some people opened their umbrellas; the people behind them would yell because, they said, 'we can't see now because your umbrella' - you'd hear all this noise they'd say, 'what's that?' They'd say, 'well, they're complaining because someone opened their umbrella and they can't see now.

' But they're very, very - I've never seen anything like it - enthusiastic. Next picture. While we were there we wanted to see some of the real new guinea and so I was very happy that the adventist aviation services - they're a part of the south pacific division - in new guinea there are not roads that just cover the country, like our interstate system. There are a few roads that go through the country and there are a lot of places you cannot get to because there are a lot of steep - their tallest mountain is 14,000 feet, which is unusual for these equator islands. That's taller than the tallest mountain in Hawaii, mauna loa or mauna kea.

And so, they have some very tall mountains and ridges - there are about six to eight hundred different language groups in new guinea. It's twice the size of england. It's the biggest island in the world, if you don't - yeah, island - antarctica is, I guess, a continent. And so there are - all these valleys separate different tribes and they've got really steep hills. And they have runways up on top of the hills and so we went flying with our little group in a ten-seater single engine plane.

Very skilled pilots - and, by the way, if you want some adventure, they are looking for pilots in new guinea. And, boy, they have some really interesting adventures, I'm sure. But we landed on - I don't know if you can see in that picture, there was, kind of, a grass runway that the villagers cut out of the jungle - a little bit rough going uphill. You don't want to miss your approach or your takeoff because you only have one chance, depending on which way you're going, and they come down, they kind of bounce to a stop. And, when we landed - next picture - they were just - started out - it looked like - yeah - it looked like you - this was mount tawa, is where we landed.

It looked like there were just, you know, a dozen people on the runway, but after we landed and started to visit with them, they just came out of the jungle in every direction until there were a couple hundred people gathered on the runway - kids - and they were all so excited and just shouting and - you should have seen how excited they got when our media crew brought one of these drone cameras up there and they took that thing out and started to fly it. Oh man, it looked like the second coming. They were so excited, they were shouting and waving their arms and - those kids were - it was a lot of fun, let me just tell you. And - next picture - and so we went out and we visited some of the villages and - this was Sabbath morning and I asked the president - he said, 'there are 200,000 people here' - I don't know that it was that many, but it was somewhere between 150,000 and 200,000 and all you can do is just guess. They took the drone up and they flew over the area and there were just people that went as far as you could see in every direction.

It was wonderful - a wonderful Sabbath. We really prayed that God would bless the weather that day because it was pouring the night before. But, if you've lived in the tropics, you know it may pour and then it stops and it clears and it pours again. And we just never knew from hour to hour what was going to happen. And had a great program - now, these people are watching - the reason the crowd came is they are watching Amazing Facts on television, principally on 3abn, sometimes on hope channel and, while we were there we dedicated - they asked us if we would help dedicate a 3abn radio station, which, of course, Amazing Facts is also on but we were thrilled to do it.

Three hours of speeches sitting out there - and then it rained and they kept going and - very, very interesting - but just - so the people they'd been watching for years. They all were acquainted with the programs. They were so excited that we would come to the interior - and then we had a baptism and there were 1,700 people baptized and another 5,000 that were getting baptized in their districts when they went home. And we went into the river there, which is a little chilly because, like I said, this is high country. They told us 'be very careful, the current is strong.

' You can actually see the current there and if you get out in the current you get swept downstream. And, so that was just - next picture - I think we got to participate in that in a small way. You know, we just baptized a few people so that we could be part of it, but the pastors did all the heavy lifting - I meant that as a metaphor. So, you know, pastors were baptizing fifty - a hundred people - but it was a wonderful, wonderful experience. A lot more I could tell you.

We'll write an article about it, but I just wanted to give you a little mission update about what's happening. Thank you for making it possible for Amazing Facts and other groups to go there and do this kind of ministry. We will never be the same. And I talked to our media crew and they said, 'we will never be the same.' It just really changed their lives. Anyway, we've got friends - I promised when I got there I would wave - they watch Sabbath school so I want you to wave at the camera.

Wave to our friends in new guinea and say 'Happy Sabbath'. Happy Sabbath. And it's just amazing that they're watching on the internet. They get, like I said, 3abn around the country through satellite and it's just exciting to see what the Lord is doing there. Alright, now, with that long mission report I still think I have time to get to our study.

We're on lesson #5, continuing in 1 and 2 Peter, talking about feeding my sheep and we have a memory verse and the memory verse is from 1 Peter 3, verse 12. If you would like to say that with me I'll give you a chance to find it. Peter 3:12, new king James version - it's in your lesson, you can read it right out of your quarterly, ready? "For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil." And you'll see, through this study, about living for God, he is contrasting it with not living the former evil lives they had in the days before they had encountered Jesus. And so, what our study is going to really be dealing with today is we're going to be covering 1 Peter 3:8, if you just want to know what our assignment is, 1 Peter 3:8 through 1 Peter 4:11. So we're going to be looking at those verses.

Now, something you'll notice is Peter, Paul, the other apostles knew that we battle with sin. They're going to talk, in this lesson, about holiness, but they realized they were sinners and they struggled with it just like we do. You know, sometimes we're, I think, influenced by this - oh, I remember I used to go to catholic school and it's like you had the saints and they prayed to the saints and the apostles were saints, which means 'holy ones'. But the Bible says we're all called to be saints. And it's almost like they were aliens, of a sort, but they struggled with sin.

You remember, Paul wrote, 1 Timothy 1:15, "this is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief." Now why did he feel that way? He was - yeah, he persecuted the church, he was responsible for the death of stephen. What would Peter say if you asked him if he was the chief of sinners? He'd probably say, 'I denied the Lord in the hour of his trial.' And he keenly felt it. And, you know, Peter failed some other times even beyond that, but he was pretty thoroughly converted just before pentecost, after the crucifixion. So they knew what it was to struggle with sin, but God had given them the victory. They had consistent lives.

Remember, a Christian is not a Christian because they never make a mistake. You read in the book steps to Christ - and I forget the reference - 'it is not the occasional good deed or the occasional misdeed that determines who side we are, but it's the habitual words and acts. If you're a Christian you want to habitually be following the Lord. It needs to be the pattern of your life. If you fall, at some point along the way, and you turn and repent, it doesn't mean you were not a Christian and you are not a Christian.

So we all wrestle with - there's a spiritual battle that goes on. Now, Peter, he's appealing to the church and, in verse 8, let's read this together. I'm going to read verses 8 through 12 and then, in a moment, I'm going to have somebody read for me verse 15. And who will that be? Hafdis, okay. It says, "finally," - 1 Peter 3:8 - "all of you be of one mind," - this is under the section being of one mind - "having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.

For" - now Peter begins to quote from psalm 34. You'll notice a lot of what Peter says he is quoting from the Bible - "for 'he who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.'" Now, do you notice a word that popped up about five times in that passage? Now you're looking at it again - that's good. Evil.

Notice there in verses 8 - 9 - 'returning evil for evil' and then it says, 'let him refrain his tongue from evil,' 'let him turn away from evil' 'the Lord is against those who do evil'. What was the challenge that Peter was giving the early church? He had two choices: good and evil. And the lesson, of course, is titled living for God - as opposed to doing evil. And so, where did eve get in trouble? She ate from the tree of good and evil. And so, Peter, through this lesson, he's contrasting - there's two kinds of lives - and he's calling us to live a Godly life and he's saying that 'don't focus on evil'.

Notice, Peter is contrasting it with good. He said, 'returning a blessing'' inherit a blessing if you would love life and see good days and do good.' Seek peace - pursue it - so there's a lot of positive that he has, but he's saying the positive comes by turning away from evil. And so, he contrasts those two things in a very dramatic way here. Now, in the first phrase he says, "finally, all of you be of one mind," - what does that mean for Christians - 'all be of one mind'? Are we all to be clones - no. Of one another? Is God a big cookie cutter and every Christian - you know, the cookie cutter Christian? We all need to just think exactly the same.

When Jesus called the twelve apostles, were they unique? When you think of thomas, what do you think of? Doubting. Poor guy. We gave him, you know, he gets a bad rap. Did God - did Jesus choose thomas because of some of his unique evaluation skills? You know, people who are doubters, they - the reason their doubters is they're not gullible, which is, sometimes, a good thing. Some people are gullible and God wants leaders who are wise as serpents and harmless as doves and - but the flip side of that is you always think the worst of everything, you know? And so, Jesus chose them because of their unique - when you think of Peter, what do you think of? What did I hear? Impetuous.

Impetuous. He was just kind of a little bombastic and spoke and then he thought and he - he just always, you know, he was not - he was bold - he was audacious - he was ready to speak up and that got him in trouble, but who preached the first sermon at pentecost? Peter was - because he was bold and outspoken, he wasn't ashamed to speak up for Jesus. When you think of andrew, what do you think of? The apostle andrew? Leading people to Jesus. He was always making friends. You notice, you never hear of andrew preaching a sermon, but andrew found the Greeks, he brings them to Jesus.

Andrew finds a little lad, he brings him to Jesus. Andrew finds Jesus, he brings his brother to Jesus. Andrew's always bringing people. He's leading by example. And so, you could go through, you know, not all the disciples are apostles.

We don't have a lot of information on the individuality of all of them. We know James and John are called The Sons of thunder. John is the apostle of love. And so, they did have their unique attributes. And Jesus chose them to be unique.

How many apostles? Twelve. How many stones were on the breastplate of the high priest? Twelve. Were any two stones the same? No. Were they all precious? Yes. You can be unique, but we're all to be of one mind; meaning they were all on the heart of the high priest.

How many foundations in the new Jerusalem? Twelve. Twelve different stones. Are they precious? Yes. Are they different? Yes. The Tree of Life - how many different kinds of fruit? Twelve.

Are they all giving life? Yes. But they're different. And so, we can love people that are different and God wants us to yet be united in our purpose. We should be united in our theology - you know, you don't say, 'well, you know, we're all different, so you believe this and I believe this' and there's conflicting belief. The Bible's pretty clear we should be united in truth but, you know, allow people to have their personalities and characteristics.

And God made us unique and different. What does it mean to be of one mind? The Bible says, 'let this mind be in you.' It's the mind of Christ. So, we can be different and still have the mind of Christ manifested through us and our unique differences. Paul uses the illustration in 1 Corinthians 12, "and if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it." Karen and i, when we got married, someone - it may have been her grandma - gave us a pillow and it's got embroidery on it and it says, 'love does not mean we think alike, but we think together' and that's the idea for the church. Alright, then it makes a statement about being ready to answer.

Why don't you go ahead and read your verse? "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." So - and then, by the way, that's 1 Peter 3:15 - sanctify the Lord God in your heart; be ready to give an answer to anyone. Now, does that mean we have to all be theologians and you can answer theologians about doctrinal questions? No, he didn't say that. He said, 'give an answer to anyone who asks you the reason for the hope that is in you.' Do you know the reason for the hope that is in you? I mean, you should think about it: 'why do I have this hope?' And we should be able to share with other people. Not every Christian is a pastor. Not every Christian is an evangelist.

Some of us are not teachers, but every one of us can give an answer to someone who says, 'why are you a Christian?' 'Why do you have this hope?' Before our sermon, every week, we sing we have this hope - why? You should be able - even - and, you know what? There's nothing wrong with practicing telling someone why. When we have our evangelism training program, afcoe, we ask people - we have a whole session on - don't we carissa? - Teach people how would you share your testimony? Share your faith - and be able to explain to a person - and it doesn't mean everybody is going to, maybe, be eloquent and - but be ready to give an answer for what you believe - a simple defense for what you believe. And, you know, whenever you do that, you get better at it. You know, I've shared my testimony all over the world and you kind of polish it up after awhile - you know what you're going to say next and you've got your illustrations and your good stories and - and the more you share, sometimes you think of things you left out - it expands - it gets better and - the first few times I shared my testimony people probably got up and walked out - it wasn't that interesting. But then, as time goes by, everything you do, you get better at it.

So be ready to share your faith. And then he says next, in 1 Peter 3:16 and 17, "have a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil." It's better - I remember one time I was sharing with a very devout Christian that I had to speed to get to an appointment. He said, 'Christians shouldn't speed.' I said, 'well, here in California, if you go too slow, you can get a ticket.' And he said, 'better to suffer for doing good than doing evil.' (Laughter) he said, 'you need to obey the law.' Well that, I thought, was maybe an extreme application of that verse. But it is true that, if you're going to get in trouble, how many of you would rather get in trouble for doing the right thing than for doing the wrong thing? Is what Peter's saying there - having a clear conscience that they defame you as evildoers that they might be ashamed.

Now the next verse - the lesson doesn't say a lot about this, but I took some time because in evangelism, I get more questions on this verse than anything else in the study today, and that is Peter 3, verses 18 through 20. Now, I'm going to read this to you, "for Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the spirit, by whom also he went and preached to the Spirits in prison, who formerly were disobedient, when once the divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water." Now how many of you have heard questions about this verse before? Peter says here that 'by which spirit he went and preached to those spirits in prison - in the days of Noah' and the way that a lot of evangelicals view this verse - some of you know the apostles' creed, which is recited by catholics - and there's a protestant version of the apostles' creed and it says that Jesus died, he went into hell - and they think he went down into hell and he preached to lost souls to sort of give them a second chance. I just thought, now I hope I'm not getting this wrong. I looked up at a very popular evangelical website called got questions where people ask Bible questions and it says, 'the spirits in prison mentioned in the context of what Jesus did in the time between his death and resurrection (note - Jesus' body was dead and awaiting resurrection, but he was spiritually alive during that time, he visited the Spirits in prison' and they say that this was one of two things: that he either went to people during the time of Noah who did not understand the Gospel, so he could preach to them and give them another chance - which means Jesus wasn't really dead - that he kind of just transmigrated when he died on the cross, or they say that he went to speak - to preach to fallen angels that were imprisoned - because it talks about angels and chains of darkness - that some of those who followed lucifer needed a second chance. There's all kinds of weird things that are taught about this.

What does this verse mean and what does it not mean? Well, first of all, what it doesn't mean: Jesus, on the cross, was dead. The penalty for sin is death. The penalty for sin is not to transmigrate into another phase. Jesus died. It's really clear, it says he died for our sins, and then it says he rose, which means before he rose he was dead.

So - and people - but - I can understand people have a struggle. How can The Son of God die? God ceasing to be conscious. Well, how could he be a baby? I mean, you have the same problem there too. It is a mystery. It's called the mystery of Godliness there.

But what does the verse mean? If you look, it says, 'by whom he went and preached to the spirits in prison, who were disobedient in the days of Noah. Go to the book of Genesis and if you turn to Genesis chapter 6 - this is a verse that is often misunderstood. Peter is referring back to this verse, I believe, "and the Lord said, 'my spirit'" - Genesis 6:3 - "my spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years." It's talking a hundred and twenty years - how long did Noah preach while he built the ark? (Inaudible) you'll notice in the next verse it says Noah is called and he preaches from the time he's called, with his hammer, with his voice, to those who are imprisoned by the devil in sin. The Bible is very clear that those who do not have Christ are imprisoned by sin, and he preached to those - God is saying, the same spirit that rose Jesus from the dead is the same spirit that God used to preach to the people who are disobedient in the days of Noah. It's the Spirit of Christ that was preaching through Noah - that same spirit that rose Jesus - that's all that Peter was saying.

He's not saying that Jesus didn't really die on the cross but he went to preach to people that were in a chasm - a cavern somewhere in prison and he'd give them a second chance. Do we get a second chance? Does the Bible teach that once you die you can hear the Gospel one more time? Hebrews 9:27, "...it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment" - not 'die, hear the Gospel one more time', right? It's very important for people to understand that. So, that doctrine that Jesus wasn't really dead on the cross sort of released all kinds of strange heresies. Another simple rule is don't build theology on one verse. If you take one verse that seems obscure, don't say, 'I'm going to build this whole doctrine about that.

' It's like you've got that one reference to Abraham's bosom, in Luke 16 - and I've run into people who've built a whole protestant version of limbo or purgatory out of that one verse. It's not safe to do. You want to have two or three witnesses if you're going to start developing a doctrine. Anyway, does that make sense then? Peter's talking about - let me read it to you one more time, "for Christ suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust," - that's really clear - "that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive" - resurrected - "by the Spirit, by whom" - by what? - By the same spirit - "he" - Jesus - "went and preached to the Spirits" - people - "in prison," - back in the days of Noah - "who [formerly] were disobedient, when once the divine longsuffering waiting in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared" - my spirit will not strive forever, but for a hundred and twenty years - "in which a few...eight souls, were saved..." So, through the preaching of Jesus through Noah, how many were saved? Eight. Any dead spirits? No.

Eight were saved. That's Noah - it's not talking about others - not talking about fallen angels. I just want to make that clear. Now, I'm not just doing this for you, because I think you understand, but a lot of people watch this Sabbath school that are not members of our church that struggle with these things. We get this question all the time on Bible answers live.

Alright, and then we go to the next section - it talks about suffering in the flesh. Someone's going to read for me Romans 8:13, okay? In just a moment. First of all, I want to read to you a promise from the book steps to Christ page 62. Yes, Jesus died for our sins, and our hope of salvation is found only in him - in his righteousness, which covers us and causes us to be accounted righteous in the eyes of God. Because of Jesus, you are accepted before God - this is the quote, actually, "accepted before God just as if you had not sinned.

" So, regardless of our past, when we genuinely confess and repent, how does God look upon us? We're accepted as though we had never sinned. We had the righteousness of Jesus. We're looked upon as being purely innocent. So, with that in mind - you read in 1 Peter 4, verses 1 and 2, "therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourself also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh" - there you've got the same mind again - "...he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,' - now, I've read that verse many times. I remember the first time I read it, I just stopped like you'd slammed on the brakes.

He that - first of all, the thing that jumped out for me was 'ceased from sin'. You have verses, like in 1 John, 'whoever abides in him sinneth not' - and the idea of sinlessness always arrested my attention. I thought, 'is that possible?' And Peter says, 'ceased from sin' - what does that mean? 'Suffered in the flesh' well, I didn't like that very much - anyone here like the verse 'suffered in the flesh'? - That concept? I don't like to suffer. You'd sort of have to be a little masochistic to say 'I like to suffer' - but it's there. What does it mean? Does that mean that you need to go through some terrible painful terminal illness and then you will achieve sinlessness? What does that mean? There are several verses I think we're going to look at in a moment that explain what he's talking about.

There is a battle Paul, Peter, the other apostles describe - and the other Bible writers - between the Spirit and the flesh and it is painful to resist your own desires. I can't remember the reference but, again, I think maybe - steps to Christ - Ellen white says the greatest battle that Jesus fought was the battle of self. It's in - in Desire of Ages in the garden of Gethsemane when he said, 'not my will, thy will be done'. It was a tremendous struggle. He was perspiring blood.

There was an agony there. It wasn't because anybody was putting bamboo shoots under his fingernails, it was the agony of self-denial that he was going through - the agony of separation from God, also, I think, was weighing on his soul. But go ahead, read for us, please, Romans 8:13. "For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." It is hard to put to death the deeds of the body. Let me give you another example where Paul talks about this - 1 Corinthians 9:27, "but I discipline my body" - and you know what that word 'discipline' is, it's using the word of a parent spanking a child.

It means 'whip'. Now some have read that - you remember the catholic monks and martin luther, they would flog themselves for their sins. They took - they had this little cat-o-nine tails and they would whip themselves. I was in the Philippines and I remember I was there during easter - brian, who's behind the wall there in the studio listening right now, he was there with me - and brian was videotaping. We went to this town where they reenact crucifixions and people actually get crucified.

And, before you get there, you walk up the street and you see people are going up the streets and they're whipping themselves with these bamboo cats-of-nine tails, for lack of a better term - and their backs are just bleeding and they're atoning for their sins. And, at one point, I remember brian was getting the video footage and blood spattered on the lens. It just - because we were doing a documentary saying 'God does not want us to do this' and he had, you know, got that footage. Is that what he's talking about? He who has suffered in the flesh is ceased from sin? No. Paul said, 'I beat myself and bring my body into subjection, "lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

" He means 'I beat down the desires of the flesh'. Paul said, 'I die daily' - resisting the desire of - that - any desire that goes against the will of God. Let me give you more: Galatians 6:8, "for he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit" - feed the Spirit - "will of the Spirit reap everlasting life." Romans 8:18, "for I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." And so, there's this battle between the Spirit and the flesh and when you experience that battle and you're willing to say 'yes' to God - 'not my will, thy will be done' - that's an ongoing battle every day. There's suffering involved in self-denial and I think this is the - this is the suffering every Christian experiences before you experience holiness. Peter 2:20, Peter says, "for what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow his steps:" now, here Peter's also saying, 'you may actually suffer physically for your faith. There are Christians that are persecuted. They are imprisoned. They are even, in parts of the world, beheaded for their faith. There's all kinds of trials that people may go through.

And so, there could be suffering. Jesus went through persecution. Most of his trials were concentrated in that last 24 hours of his life, but he had a life of self-denial and probably being mocked and ridiculed for his devotion. Romans 6 - now this verse sums up, I think, best what Paul is talking about. Peter, sorry, "therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.

And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace." Before you're saved, who has dominion? Before you're saved, what power has dominion? Satan. Sin. And, yeah, you're under the curse of the law. Does one power give up its dominion easily? When you have one power trying to seize dominion from another power, is there a battle? Yeah, any kind of struggle you go through to try and gain victory, there's going to be - there'll be a battle.

Praise God. I mention it often because it was very dramatic in my life, but I struggled with cigarettes for years - and I see dave and cindy sitting here - how are you guys doing? Dave - when I first met dave and cindy, they were one of the first adventists I met in covelo - I was smoking - and I struggled. I quit and I started - I quit and started - it was a struggle. Finally, I quit and it was a struggle for several weeks - struggle for a few days and then it got easier for the following weeks. Then it got much easier for, actually, a few months.

I would, occasionally, get tempted for the first year. I'm not tempted at all anymore, so has tobacco lost its dominion over me? It didn't want to give it up - any habit is that way - you can just insert whatever your particular struggle is. And so, when Peter's talking about 'he that has suffered in the flesh is ceased from sin', I think he's talking, principally, about that battle against the carnal nature that we all have. Oh, where'd I leave off? Alright - born again - someone's going to read, for me - didn't give you much warning - 1 Peter 1:23. "Being born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, by the Word of God which liveth and abideth forever.

" Being born again - now, how many times in the Bible do you find the phrase 'born again'? Three times. How many times in Christian life do you hear it quoted? A lot. I think jimmy carter was one of the first presidents that openly said, 'I am a born-again Christian'. And a lot of people refer to being born again. And someone might ask you, 'are you a born-again believer?' You really find that only in John chapter 3 - it's mentioned twice - the phrase is mentioned twice - and in Peter.

Of course, in John 3, Jesus answered and said to nicodemus, "most assuredly, I say to you," - and this is verse 3 - "unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God." Nicodemus was trying to, you know, get a mental picture of what that would look like. He said, "'how can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?' Jesus answered, "most assuredly, I say to you, unless on is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." Do not marvel that I say to you, 'you must be born again.'" He doesn't say 'it'd be great' 'it'd be helpful' - he says 'you must be' - if you're going to be saved you must be born again. So, how are we born again? Jesus said you're born of the spirit - Peter actually tells you, did you notice that? He said, 'born through the word which lives and abides in you'. How many of you can trace your new birth, in some way, to the reading or preaching of the word? Isn't that how it typically happens? That's why Peter says - what does a baby eat when they're first born? Milk.

Milk. Peter says, 'desire the sincere milk of the word that you may grow thereby.' And it's the word that causes the birth - it's the word that causes the growth. Eventually it's the meat of the word, as you mature, but it's all the Word of God. And so, it creates - it stirs - within us and it brings us to understand the goodness of God that leads us to repentance. We see he loves us so we love him.

It all comes through looking at Christ and His Word. And so, there's a new - the new birth that's talked about there. And then Peter, he deals with the sins of the flesh in the next section here. And that comes to us from 1 Peter 4 and I'm going to read verses 3 and 4, "for we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the gentiles" - now it's not just the non-jews, he's talking about the lost here - pagans that don't know God - when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries." - Now, I'm reading the new king James version there where it says 'drinking parties' - so he's talking about immorality, partying - and I remember when I first was thinking of being a Christian, you know, I lived that kind of life. I drank and used drugs and went to parties and I thought, 'well, if I'm a Christian I won't be able to do that anymore.

What will I do for fun? Anyone ever think that before? 'What will I do for fun? Christians don't have any fun.' And the - so God doesn't force you to be a Christian so I kept partying, as they call it, and you wake up and you're hung over and you wake up and you're in jail and you wake up and you made a fool of yourself - you wake up and you're ashamed. You wake up and you're sick - hungover - and I heard this voice saying, 'are you having fun doug?' And I realized that's not really that much fun. It might feel good at the moment but, you know, it's just such a shame - and sickness and misery afterward that it's not worth it. And I have - I really do, I have much more fun as a Christian. Boy, I tell you, this last trip we went on, we had a lot of fun.

And it was - it was really fun. You know, working for God is an adventure. Amen. And so, he said, 'well, when you have the new life, you don't walk - you don't live like that anymore. Paul - Peter, rather, is calling us to turn from the old carnal life.

And there are several verses here where he bears that out. And, in particular, he talks about purity. Corinthians 5:1, Paul says, "it is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the gentiles" - could that even happen in the church? Yes. You ever hear someone say, 'well, Christians are all hypocrites'? Were there hypocrites in the church back in Paul's day? Yes. Yeah, even in the apostle's time they dealt with people who took the name of Christ - in the church - and were doing shameful things that the pagans were pointing to and saying, 'that's Christian?' So do you meet people that say, 'I don't go to church because there's hypocrites'? Well, there's always been.

That's nothing new. But he calls us to repent of those things. Corinthians 10:8, Paul says, "nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell;" - matter of fact, if you read in 1 Corinthians 6:9, Paul gets very specific. He's very clear - he said, "do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters," - the pagans did that too - nor adulterers," "nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the Kingdom of God.

" Now, if you stop right there a person might read that and say, 'well, then there's no hope for me.' And, you know, we know that there's people who struggle with immorality. Some struggle with homosexual tendencies and the Bible is pretty clear - I know, it's just totally politically forbidden to tell the truth on that anymore, but the Bible hasn't changed even though the culture has radically changed. Sin is still sin. Aldultery's wrong. Homosexuality is wrong.

The Bible's very clear. But you notice what Paul says when he goes on? - "Such were some of you." He goes on to say - yeah, some of you practiced all of these things - "but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God." So the church is composed of people who have all kinds of sordid things in their background. God saves us from our sins. And that list in is the Bible because Paul said, 'if you do these things, you will not inherit the Kingdom of God. And I will not be faithful to you as a pastor if I water down that list.

Amen. The truth is the truth and people need to know. Alright, and then he says, connected with these things, Paul says, then, in verse 5 - we're almost done - there's a judgment day. It says, in 1 Peter 4:5, "they will give an account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this reason" - now, is there a judgment that happens even while people are alive? Or, he says, 'judgment begins at the house of God'.

Before Christ comes there are living that are judged - "for this reason the Gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the Spirit." There again - you see where we talked about those who were dead - spirits that were in prison? Peter says the Gospel was preached to those who are dead and - "that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the Spirit." Looking at the time, I'm going to jump down to love covers all because that's one of the most important verses - or passages. Someone look up for me - you've got Galatians chapter 5:14 - manjeet? You'll have that in just a moment - I'm going to read Romans 13. So, how does Peter summarize what this is all about? He says it - it's really - is all wrapped up in love. "Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, 'you shall not commit adultery,' 'you shall not murder,' 'you shall not steal,' 'you shall not bear false witness,' 'you shall not covet,' and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

' Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." Now, is Paul saying that if you love you don't need to keep the Ten Commandments? Or is he saying the opposite? If you love, you will keep the Ten Commandments? Love does no harm to his neighbor - and he cites all the ten. So love is the embodiment of that. Go ahead, please, and read for us Galatians 5:14. Galatians 5:14, "for the whole law is fulfilled in one word, 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" Isn't that beautiful? And does Jesus say the same thing? Matthew chapter 22, verse 37, "you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself.

' On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.'" He's saying all the law and the prophets can be summed up in loving the Lord with all of your heart and loving your neighbor as yourself. And then Jesus said, in John 14, verse 15, he says, "if you love me," - do what? Keep my commandments. "If you love me, keep my commandments." Now, I just want to conclude by reading a verse in - let me see here - closing out our section here by reading 1 Peter chapter and if you read - oh, I'm going to read - yeah, verse 8, "and above all things have fervent love for one another, for 'love will cover a multitude of sins.'" - And this is what we've been highlighting here - "be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God.

If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever." And forever and ever is always a good way to end the lesson, right? So next week we'll be doing lesson #5. I want to remind those who are watching that, I think debbie mentioned it but you may have missed the beginning. We have a special book we'd like to offer for free, and this is one that is not available online, so you need to call. Call 866-788-3966 - it's called heroes of faith - 866-788-3966 - that's 866-study-more and ask for offer #826 - we'll send it to you for free. We only ask that you read it and then share it with somebody else.

God bless you, friends. And, the Lord willing, we'll study His Word together again next week. So what is the brightest light in the world? Well, naturally, you'd say the sun, but we're talking about the brightest man-made light in the world. It's the light that shines out of the roof of that pyramid-shaped hotel in las vegas called the luxor. There, in the cap of that hotel, there's a room that contains 39 washing-machine sized xenon bulbs; and each of those bulbs requires about 7,000 watts.

Altogether, they produce about billion candle power of light. Can you imagine getting that electric bill at the luxor hotel every month? That light is so bright that planes can see it 250 miles away. They're shooting light ten miles up into space, meaning, if you happen to be floating by, you could read a newspaper up there. And, as you might have guessed, that bright light has become the world's best bug attractor, bringing in moths, bats, and owls - creating it's on ecosystem there at night, above the hotel. But the sad thing about the brightest light in the world is especially when the night air is clear - without any particles - the light doesn't hit anything and it's invisible.

It shoots up into empty space. The brightest light in the world illuminates nothing. You know, the Bible tells us that there's another great wasted light, and that's the light of God's Word. It says in psalm 119, verse 105, "thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.' And yet, so many people are walking in darkness. Furthermore, Jesus said, if you do have that light, make sure you don't put it under a bushel, but you let it shine and illuminate the lives of others.

Jesus said, in Matthew chapter 5, 'set your light up on a hill, like a city, so that all might see it.' Light only benefits others when it reflects off of something. God wants our lights to illuminate the lives of others. So, are you glowing for God? Remember, Jesus said, 'let there be light.' 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'. For life-changing Christian resources, visit afbookstore.com or call 1-800-538-7275.

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